Constructive Anger (or, "Anger & Motivation")
Good Afternoon All:
With a title like this one, you could expect a lot of anger in this post. So let's start off with a chuckle instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1Y6PchDYfw
That flub was made in talking about Erik Weihenmayer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Weihenmayer), the only blind person ever to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.
To give a sense of how severe this is for those able to see let alone those who are blind, this is noted from the Wikipedia page for Mount Everest: "As of 2016 there are well over 200 corpses on the mountain, with some of them even serving as landmarks."
I write about him now as I actually met him yesterday, and spoke at length with him as I came to his talk at The Free Library of Philadelphia, coordinated by The Geographical Society of Philadelphia.
Currently, I feel no real sense of comparison between us given his astounding efforts and incredible accomplishments both. I have a copy now of his most recent book, titled "No Barriers", which he signed for me yesterday. It covers his efforts to kayak the Grand Canyon.
When we spoke, I told him about what had happened to me, with the loss of much of my organic episodic memory ability (yet I'm unsure if I mentioned the seizures too) given my being hit by that car. While I would not draw a one-to-one comparison between us, I shared how I knew I would continue traveling around the world for NYEs in different countries both with others (Netherlands, Mexico, Sweden) and alone (UAE, France). So what that I couldn't remember organically as much as I used to? My injury didn't need to change me any more than it had already.
It is far too early for me to know what may come as a result of our meeting, but we have already emailed and discussed my potential as a prospect for "No Barriers University" (http://www.nobarriersusa.org/), given how I have decided to handle my own memory loss.
Which brings me back to the title for this post: "Constructive Anger (or, 'Anger & Motivation')". While Erik's astonishing accomplishments receive much attention now, I imagine his earlier days as he was becoming blind did not receive that sort of attention. Now people are celebrating with him his achievements and he continues to reach for more. Before though, I imagine that people thought it was kind not to reflect on his situation, but rather to talk with him on what else he would keep, if not his eyesight. I imagine he was angry at his changing circumstances.
If so, then I think it was much the same for myself. I imagine he agrees, given our subsequent emailing.
Other than feeling sorry, and wondering if I would be "OK", there was not much for others to do with me towards the beginning of my post-accident life. I'm actually smiling now as I type this, because I could honestly feel the mood changing around me as time went by. Initially, people sought to console me, wondering if I would be OK and/or telling me that I would be OK.
That hasn't happened for a long time now. I started up again in classes at CCP to "test the waters", then applied for, entered my graduate program, and earned my M.Ed., such that if people felt sorry for me, I noticed that I certainly didn't.
I also went relatively quickly (I mean, just what is the time frame for accepting that you cannot remember much of your life any longer?) from anger and frustrations over my severe episodic memory loss to the development of solutions/strategies for it:
"My Clippings - Note Loc. 1 | Added on Sunday, December 26, 2010, 11:02 PM
it works!" [first entry using a Kindle's "My Clippings" feature as a memory tool]
12/29/10 - "will this show on twitter?" [first entry using my Kindle-Twitter combo approach]
4/1/13 - "Maybe I could just use an iPhone-only system from now on, [...]" [Decided to stop using my Kindle as it kept freezing and as I could carry an external phone battery so "battery life" was no longer an issue.]
7/20/15 - "This is my first use of ME.mory... Will it actually work how I want it to?" [Subject: "First post ever by me"]
9/1/15 - "And it seems that ME.mory may be back online again!!! Time to switch to ME.mory once more, maybe the last time? Bye Twitter!!" [My last tweet, in that the issues with using ME.mory were worked out, and I no longer needed Twitter.]
While I think of ME.mory as "indispensable" for me as I live with my situation given how it stands in for an organic memory, it likely has also been indispensable for me given the sense of purpose and focus I feel around both using it and advocating for its growth and use by others. Nothing else in my life currently, aside from the hour-per-day which I require myself to give so that I'll actually write my book (which, BTW, now has 160 pages of material in it), maintains a focus of my attention, and with that my attention focused on it.
All of this to write: Look at what I have constructed with my anger over the lemons I was handed. See what has been built and continues to be built, instead of destroyed.
We may all be feeling a lot of anger, for one reason or another. I encourage you to find those beneficial outlets for your anger. Build, even if it is anger that leads to your motivation. I have been there and will continue to be there with you.
Until next time!
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