Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Words We Use And How They Are Defined

When I hear the word "pity', it's like nails on the chalkboard. In my head, if you pity me, you think less of me and what I can do. That without your help I'd wither away and die...that it's pointless to even make an effort. 

Early this morning I was looking for an inspirational quote that used the word "pity" in a way showed my thoughts above, but I couldn't find anything. I searched and searched for it on the interwebs, but every quote I came upon used pity in a positive context. I was so confused, so I looked up "pity" in the dictionary and here was the definition:



The feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.
Feel sorrow for the misfortunes of.
noun.  compassion - mercy - sympathy - ruth - remorse
verb.  commiserate - sympathize


I read the definition over and over again thinking it was wrong. "Compassion" is NOT a synonym of "Pity. When I hear the word compassion, I envision the love and generosity of mankind. That people see someone working so hard to follow their dreams in spite of all their struggles and are so moved that they want to help that person reach their full potential in whatever way they can. They help because they believe in someone's potential.

 In an effort to soothe my soul, I looked up the word "compassion":



Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others: "the victims should be treated with compassion".
pity - mercy - sympathy - commiseration - ruth - clemency


My mind was blown. 

How can two words that mean the same thing by written definition, yet illicit such different emotional interpretations in my heart? It's been two hours and I still can't wrap my mind around it.

My only thoughts are that words are powerful and, like everything in life, they are open to individual interpretation. They have the ability to empower or destroy what someone has worked so hard for. They have the strength to fill our hearts with love or agony that can rattle even the most strong-willed soul. And yes, when those words are dark you can live through them, but—just like physical trauma—those words can leave emotional scars. I know they have in me...I just didn't know how deep those scars were until recently.

When I speak at events, I know how tempting it is to latch onto a phrase because it's simple, powerful and memorable. I know it's important to make a mark on a person by showing the darkness that can be a part of our lives. That's all part of being real, but I don't want the true essence of a person, place or thing to get lost in a well meant and impassioned effort to compel others to help us. 

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me or my sister. I just want people to know our story and the story of thousands like us who live life with passion and overcome so much...even in loss or death. A belief that we are more than what we're labeled with...two little letters that can go to hell.

These aren't just words in a blog, lyrics in a video, phrases in a graphic or a message in a speech. We represent the memory of who someone was or is, what something is and what we see for the future. It's not a game, a campaign or a trendy catch phrase. It's real life and it's important to respect that.

I know almost everything in life is open to individual interpretation, and thank God we all have free will to make those interpretations. All I'm asking is that when you do interpret something...take everything you can into consideration. 

And above all: Have compassion...and not pity. In my mind there is a difference.

Peaceful Things,


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have a list of resolutions for 2013:


1. Make more lists and leave myself helpful reminders.

• I don't hate very many things. Only snakes, heights, birds and Regis Philbin. I mean, come on! Regis is so annoying on TV, yet he has more hours on television than anyone in history. That just doesn't make a lick of sense to me. I don't hate him as person, just as an annoying person he portrays on my TV. He's been gone for a few years now and he still bugs the hell out of me...Anyways...

I've recently become aware that I hate lists. Maybe it's because they're so long and never ending, maybe it's because I'm a stubborn jackass who refuses to believe I can't store everything in my brain and get it done without reminders. Maybe it's because I'm embarrassed to admit that my mind doesn't work quite like everyone else's thanks to cerebral palsy.

Whatever the case, I'm going to be like Santa up in this muthafluffer and make a list every day that I can check twice...or probably more than that.

2. Stop multitasking so much.

• I play on the internet while I watch TV and I spend too much time looking at my phone when I'm out with friends. I really don't like the fact that I can't just watch a show anymore—that my brain needs to be doing something else too. The more I think about it, the more it annoys me. What did I do before the internet? God forbid I actually had an attention span that was longer than a toddler or that I didn't need my phone attached to my hand 24 hours a day. It stops today.

3. Spend a set time blogging, puppeteering, podcasting, creating presentations and and being on social media.

• I'm going to allot myself time to do each thing during the week because I love to be creative and I love connecting with the CF Community. However, that creative time will have a definitive start and end point. It has to or I'll lose myself in all this CF stuff. Being engulfed in one thing and neglectful of other equally important things isn't healthy.

4. Gossip less and encourage others more while still being respectfully honest.

• I ain't perfect. People, places and things piss me off, but I know can deal with my feelings better than I do sometimes. I just gotta be like Thumper from Disney's "Bambi":

Negativity is an evil time and energy sucker. It's time I worry more about what I'm doing rather than complaining about what other people are doing.

5. and 6. Take better care of myself so I can give more of my time to others AND lessen my guilt over things I cannot control.

• Still trying to find the balance I need on these two. Hoping I'll get closer in 2013.

7. Read 12 books this year.

• More words from a page, less late night YouTubes.

8. Write more funny stories on my blog.

• Too many sad stories this year in Joshland. Time to bring back the silly.

9. Be more active.

This is a pattern I seem to fall into every year. The snow hits and I worry more about preventing a cold than I do about replacing my daily exercise routine of walking the dogs and pushing my physical limits in daily chores or activities. I'd also like to give running another shot, but with a less intense training regimen than the last time.

10. Take the time to be happy every day, even in the worst of times.

• No matter what happens in my life, there is always something to smile about every single day. It doesn't have to be for very long, but I need to be open to accepting those gifts when they come. That's why it's called "being present".


I'm sure I'll add more, but for now that's my list. Hey! I just made a list for the day! Who's productive and smells like cheap body wash? I do! I do! Self high-five!

Peaceful Things,


What'd You Think?

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Peaceful Things ~ Josh
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