You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out” right? That statement unequivocally has numerous connotations. I will enlighten you to a few: Gasoline is not necessarily garbage, but try putting it in a diesel engine, right guys?( NO, I have NOT done that)! I did try to iron once with “Easy Off” oven cleaner thinking it was “Easy On” speed starch. That didn’t turn out so well either. Washing machines are another great example. I might know someone who may have put a micro bead pillow in the washer. The washer looked like it had a bad case of rabies as it was foaming at the mouth (I heard). Those tiny pillows have a gazillion or more of those tiny beads in them…who knew? Milk is not considered garbage, but I know if I give it to my dogs they-well use your imagination. Sugar is a sweet crystalline carbohydrate but if you give it in excess to small children their behavior will make you feel like garbage! I could go on and on, but you get the drift.
From the moment we’re born, we constantly take in information. Babies are like sponges, absorbing their environment long before they can utter a word. The brain (the stinkin’ thinker) is a curious thing. It has been compared to the computer but unlike a computer, it is always changing and being modified. There is no “off” for the brain (unless you’re brain dead-I’m not going there). And don’t I know it as I have been suffering from insomnia as of late. Suffice it to say, your environment and what the people in your environment “programs” into you, shapes who you become. When I was a little tyke of about 4 years old, my brother (two years older) told me to step on a nail. Now mind you, I had snow boots on and he told me that the nail would not go through my boot. I thought I was going to bend that nail over with my foot and leap tall buildings with a single bound. After all, I did grow up watching the original Batman series (oh wait, that was a Superman reference). Point being, I had not learned to think abstractly yet- everything I was told, I believed. If you were lucky enough to grow up in a super positive environment that’s a beautiful thing, until you venture out into the world of the unknown-the world of naysayers and dream dashers. As we grow, we internalize and start to believe the things that are told to us about ourselves if we are told them often enough. I grew up with a lot of “cant’s” with no real explanation as to why. As a result, I became somewhat rebellious and strong-willed but I eventually learned to question everything. Let me tell you, it has been a long, slow process reprogramming the “hard drive.”
Take advertising for example. It is designed to make us believe that we have a true need for xyz product and that we are going to be left in the dust, a mere speck of a human being on the underfoot of society if we don’t make the leap and buy, buy, buy with EVERYone (sic), else. Because the new car gets the girl, the designer cologne will make Channing Tatum appear in your bedroom. That old furniture? Get rid of it or your friends and neighbors will hate you, and for goodness sake pu-leeeease ask your doctor about a sample of any & all of the myriad of pharmaceuticals out there because something has to be wrong with you especially if you are over the age of forty. Because only “old” people get erectile dysfunction and constipation…and die. Have you ever noticed that all of the life insurance commercials feature “older” looking people as if the young don’t/can’t die? A few months before I turned the big “5-0” I began receiving literature from AARP. That’s cool, no big deal. The other day I received an addressed flyer/coupon to purchase “poise pads” for “light bladder leakage.” Oh heck no- that’s NOT cool! The ONLY time I have had “bladder leakage” was during pregnancy & that was a couple of decades ago when I was “young.” Believe me when I say that as an RN, I take care of a LOT of “young” people who have many of the health problems that are geared to elders in advertising. The problem arises when we start believing this garbage. Garbage in, garbage out-“Well you know, I’m not as young as I used to be, my bowels sure are acting up, my heart is weak, I tire easily, my joints are stiff, I may need a little blue man to hang in my windshield”…ad nauseum!
October 1998 I flipped my mustang to avoid being hit head on by a car on the wrong side of a gravel road. I basically turned quickly to the left and lost control. My then three year old daughter was in the back in her car seat. I have always said there was an angel with a pillow to protect that girl. Strange feeling to be upside down, smelling gasoline and not knowing how you are going to get out. Momma protection mode/adrenaline kicked in and I somehow managed to get out and get her out. It’s really all a blur. She just had a little bump on her chin and I knew there was something terribly wrong with my back. It was probably a half mile to my house, so I attempted to carry her and walk. This was out in the country, so not much traffic. Thankfully someone drove by and saw the car and then us a few yards away. I ended up with an L1, T12 vertebral fracture with a lot of soft tissue damage. It took weeks in a brace and months of therapy just to walk somewhat normal without pain. I was not a runner then. Orthopedic doctors said much physical activity was going to be difficult for the rest of my life…Pfffffft! ALL things are a matter of perspective and the innate stubbornness I possess fueled me to prove them wrong…and I did. To quote a portion of a book I am reading called, “Running Within” by Jerry Lynch & Warren Scott:
“Perhaps one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of your running life is the potential to go beyond your self-imposed limitations. You begin to realize that many of your limiting beliefs about what can or cannot be done are simply preconceived restrictions and attitudes taught to you by parents, teachers, friends, and others during your formative years, with no objective basis in reality. The most damaging of these beliefs is the notion that such restrictions can never be changed and must be accepted without question as blueprints for your future.”
We must purge our lives of negativity and “record over” the lies and “self-imposed” & “others-imposed” limitations & restrictions. I can’t and won’t be someone I’m not…not now, not ever. But then again, I am somewhat of a rebel. Garbage is meant to be thrown out. That coupon? It went promptly into the trash. 🙂
Until we meet again,
“Whoever I am is not to be confused with the names people give me or what they call me. I am not my name. I am territory. What they say about me is a map of me. Where O! Where is my territory?” -R.D. Laing, psychiatrist (as quoted in “Running & Being” by Dr. George Sheehan).