Competent Confidence

A hundred years ago I used to (try to) sell mobile homes, or the proper term is Manufactured Houses. These weren’t trailers and none of them could be hooked up to the back of a truck and moved in the dead of night to skip out on space rent. When I started in the business the licensure was a step above used-car salesman. I worked at a now defunct firm in Santa Clara called Roney and Associates where the broker was ga-ga over a real estate sales guru called Tommy Hopkins. He was big in the business at the time and he did seminars, boot camps in Scottsdale AZ and sold all sorts of books and cassette taped lectures. Though he was an accomplished real estate salesperson, he made his hard core money selling his classes, books, boot camps and cassette tapes. My mother internalized a lot of it as a professional way to manipulate the family. Her mistake was to let my sister C and I listen to the tapes and we could hear the “close” coming and realize we were being played. I bring him up because one portion of a lesson has always stuck with me…

The Stages of Competence

Stage 1: Unconscious INCOMPETENCE

This is a euphoric state when you realize everyone around you is floundering and you’re sailing through. All the square blocks are effortlessly falling into the really large round holes but you’re too pleased with yourself to notice. You keep plugging along because it’s working and you aren’t sweating it.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

Suddenly the euphoria erupts into chaos. The round holes are smaller and the square blocks were actually pyramid shaped and they HAVE to go sideways into the only visible hole in front of you. You throw your hands up and scream to the heavens but you don’t quit because you know you can and will get it…..maybe……someday…..if they don’t fire you first. I will have to say, at this stage it never occured to me I could go back to my old job. Like I said before, the benefits are just too good to leave. So, the only thing to do is remember all the kind encouragement, barked instructions and training and keep pushing toward stage 3.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

I think I hit this stage today. Our float to help out didn’t make it, probably had to cover for someone who didn’t make it to their site. It was steady and I wasn’t overwhelmed by a throng of patients. Luckily. I found myself pausing when stressed and taking a deep breath and (I hate to admit it but…) the trainer from Training Is Fun-Da-Mental‘s advise of highlighting everything (even though it eats into the wait time) is helping me catch things like stool samples that also read as blood, duplicate orders and other things I’M SUPPOSED TO BE CATCHING but generally don’t. We’ll see how well this works when it’s busy tomorrow, especially if I’m alone at the desk but it was nice to evaluate myself today as not drowning at the front desk for the first time EVER.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

The hithertofore yet to be obtained stage for my work at the front desk and in the lab.

This is the goal.

This is the ultimate of ultimates.

I know once I subdue the beasty known as the front desk my next battle royale will be the lab. I’m doing okay, I have help if I have any questions, but I need to go faster. But I’m not beating myself up about it because I’ve learned in the post apocalypse, I can’t handle more than one challenge on my plate at one time. It stymies me into inaction which doesn’t help anyone…..especially me. So, for the front desk, I’m hoping by the end of this month or the middle of next I will have a handle on it and the aforementioned trainer won’t have too much of a need to bark instructions at me from over my shoulder. The lab is just a matter of accurate speed. Speed is a matter of muscle memory. Muscle memory in a body which feels like it’s wrapped in dementia most of the time is the hurdle I need to clear. But that, my dear reader, is a blog for another day…..soon.

Reverse Pride

Reverse pride isn’t humility.  Humility is humility.  Reverse pride is when you are prideful of the fact you aren’t better than anyone else.  We all know this idiom:

Pride goeth before the fall.

I didn’t think that really applied to me because I was on the floor, I would never be ‘worthy’ of the grace of God, to take part of the sacrifice Christ provided for me.  Which is why my thoughts when I do something less than Christ-like I hear, “It doesn’t matter, I’m going to hell anyway”  I wrote it off to self-esteem problems.  I’ve been reading a book called “The Miracle of Forgiveness” and in the beginning it talks about pride.  It talked about how pride is also telling God who/what/where/why anything that isn’t in your responsibility to change or judgement you can pass.  I realized in a moment of clarity I hadn’t just been telling myself I’m bad and unworthy but I’ve been telling Christ I’m bad and unworthy and the grace He secured with his blood isn’t going to save me.  EVERYONE will have a share of His grace, no matter what they’ve been in this life.  Life is eternal, growth is eternal, the Grace of Christ is eternal.  With this knowledge came the realization of there is absolutely nothing I can do about my future, well, other than be the best person I can be.  No matter how messed up I perceive myself to be.  I have no control, and I am not perfect and neither of those are within my grasp or prevue anyway so I’m trying to figure out how I can better utilize the time feeling like an eternal-bug-in-the-radiator kind of person.  I’m moving forward towards my future again, it’s nice.

This begs the question: Why do I feel this way?  I’m not a bad person (in comparison to like Hitler, Dahmer, and the ilk).  They’re going to receive grace.  I’m not ‘useless’ or a ‘waste of clay’.  Where do these thoughts come from?  Is it that sometimes when someone corrects you by calling you stupid, where every other time it just bounces off your psychic armor until one day the chink is displayed and you are mortally wounded?  I’ve called myself stupid most of the time when I do something wrong, from burning dinner and blowing a tire to stubbing my toe on something I’ve left on the floor.  I’m far from stupid.  I still compare myself to others and, yes, that’s wrong, but I’m finding out all the useless information I seem to gather has made me rather intelligent.  Not to be prideful, but my last IQ test (online) I hit in the high 120’s.  If I could do math it might be a little higher but I suck at math.  How can I be so easily fooled and so completely without guile that I would believe everything bad and evil that I am told both inside and outside my head?  The bigger question is, how to I seal up that chink so the darts of negativity aren’t hitting the pink flesh beneath?  I am correcting my thoughts when I become aware of them, I try to keep positive quotes handy on my phone, my notebook, my walls, but how can I paper the inside of my head with them?  Any suggestions?  Please share.

Entitled to Surrender

I’ve been looking for a definition that encompasses my meaning and feelings for the word entitled.  Microsoft wasn’t helpful, nor were the additional sites it sent me to.  Merriam Webster Dictionary  was accurate but didn’t quite go far enough.  I went to the Urban Dictionary and it was almost spot on but the language used on the site isn’t as refined as I would prefer it for my use here.  So, I’m going to give you my definition:


The belief of when you are doing something that benefits the whole you should be compensated, taken care of and/or relieved from your efforts from time to time.

That said, I’ve been fighting with this concept all through the holidays.  It really hit home when my nephew gave his 18 month old nephew an iPad mini.  I’ve wanted one for like ever but I never have the money in hand at the best time to buy so I’ve just made due with my iPhone and my Kindle.  Honestly, this almost brought me to tears.  It shouldn’t but it did.  I feel like I’m completely forgotten by the outskirts of the family.  The Grandkids know what a handful their Grandmother is but as long as it doesn’t impact their schedule or cause them any hardship they deign to visit for an hour or so or call once every eclipse. [Don’t get offended, I’m not done yet.]  After I wiped the tears away about the give before anyone could see them, I started to get angry.  I’m doing all the heavy lifting both emotionally and a good portion of the time physically but the 18 month old is entitled to an iPad to help him learn his ABCs.   (I’ve got an opinion on that but it’s not suitable for this forum….I’ll have it on Psyche-Stew soon.  Then on top of all of this, my sisters have been pulling back and recognizing I need a break but only willing to dole it out in one to four hour increments.  I need a Freaking Vacation….one that doesn’t include Mom, or a massage, or even just a weekend away so I don’t have the constant static of the baby monitor hissing in my ear while I’m trying to sleep.  But mostly the recognize it but are too busy to do anything about it.

So, for kicks and giggles I sat down and figured out just what I feel I’m entitled to.  We have someone during the day to take care of Mom, which is very helpful for me. However, that leaves me with 18 hours a day M-F and 24 hours per day for the weekend when Mom is all mine.  I would want the three of us to rotate the weekends, for the sisters to come three to four times a week to spend time with Mom so she’s not completely glommed onto me all the time, help with cleaning the house and cooking [because, honestly, I suck at both]. send me to a spa on a regular basis and understanding when I reach out to them for help and/or support I don’t get a litany of the things they’re doing and a bright “Hang in there” before I hang up.

To sum it up, I want them to take over preferably all of the work and leave me with the praise and accolades I receive when people see me and I tell them what I do. Not much, really.  😉


The only thing I am entitled to is my life and my free agency.  Beyond that, if Iwant to be entitled to something Ihave to find it within myself to provide those accolades and care I crave.

That said…..

I surrender.

Merriam Webster got it right this time defining Surrender as:


: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed

: to give the control or use of (something) to someone else

: to allow something (such as a habit or desire) to influence or control you

I’m not talking about backing away from my commitment to my mother or to my family.  I’m not going to quit anything that I am already doing,  that is not an option unless I plan to surrender who I am entirely.  No, I mean I’m going to stop fighting with reality and waging a spiky-word warfare with unsuspecting siblings.  My life, for now, is to be here for Mom, and I can’t do that fully if I’m allowing unhelpful thoughts discourage me and distract me into thinking that I’m being taken advantage of by the whole family.  I surrender the  illusion of entitlement.  I realize everyone is doing the absolute most they feel they can do and I can’t ask, demand, or whine about them giving more.  I’m the one who volunteered for this, to be the caregiver, and I will continue to give until my service is complete  My choice.  My free agency.  And that is how it is for every persons life.  I know that kind of has an over tone of I’ll-show-them, but I’ll assure you it’s not.  I’m anxious to live my life, to get out and meet the oncoming trials head on and ready to wrestle them to the ground.  For the first time I think in ever I am going to put my needs (writing, meditation, mental health, etc.) before anyone else’s.  I will be my next caregiving opportunity, for that, I believe, I am entitled.