Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Posts tagged ‘humor’

Weekly Serving of Optimism: Quotes & Thoughts (St. Patrick’s Day)

Thank you http://photodaisy.blogspot.com/ and morgue file for the use of this photo

I celebrate a summer birthday.  Due to the fact I was doomed to always miss the school ritual of bringing in birthday cake and celebrating with my classmates, my parents embraced our Irish heritage and proclaimed St. Patrick’s Day as my day to take in treats.  This yearly activity created many fond memories for this March 17th holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day is now right around the corner.  As an adult, I have attempted to continue creating fun memories regarding this day with my children.  We will soon be making shamrock pictures and creating stories about leprechauns.  I always find warmth, happiness and sometimes humor within common St. Patrick’s Day sayings and blessings.  Here are a few, I found just for you:

“May the Irish hills caress you.

May her lakes and rivers bless you.

May the luck of the Irish enfold you.

May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.”

Morgue File photo

“May you have warm words on a cold evening,

a full moon on a dark night,

and the road downhill all the way to your door.”


Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don’t want to press your luck. –Unknown


“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.

And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”


“May God give you…

For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile,

For every care a promise and a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share,

For every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”


“May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead!”


This last blessing is one that always brings a smile to my face:

“As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction!”

Thank you Kevin Connors for this Morgue File photo

I would love to read your favorite Irish blessing or saying.  Do you know a good Irish toast or joke?  Share those, too.  I can’t wait to read your comments!  As the sign said that used to hang in an old, familiar kitchen, “Éirinn go Brách”.

A Frightened Stranger In the Mirror

This week a near run-in with a lady made me gasp as I stepped back in surprise.  I was polite and apologized for our near collision.  She reacted exactly as I had.  I noted fear in her eyes.  We had not expected to be so close to each other as we rounded the corner.  Her hand slid to her mouth quickly like mine had.  I knew she was attempting, as was I, to conceal a small startled sound from escaping her lips that would draw attention.  There we were nearly nose to nose.  We jumped, we locked eyes and there was identical fear that could be noted between the two of us.  Not fear stemming from anticipated harm, but fear developed from nearly running into each other in the compact store aisles.

Twice now I have written about being shocked by a female unexpectedly invading my body space.  Once was a situation I wrote about face blindness to display humor.  This week I write about it to display how even though I am constantly aware of my condition, prosopagnosia, images of a stranger can still create surprise, humor and fascination.  The woman this week, as I went around a pillar in a shop, was not a stranger at all; rather, the lady was again my reflection in a very tall, wide mirror.  I did not apologize to a stranger that was as startled as I was.  In this store I, yet again, made an apology everyone could hear to my own reflection.

I assume you are curious how I could not know myself and how I came to realize this was my own image.  I do not keep a record of every time this happens to me.  Trust me it is often: my image has been a stranger many mornings in the mirror, in unfamiliar houses where I believe a stranger is near me as I pass a mirror I never knew existed or as I try on new clothes and do not connect this face attached to the newly outfitted body as the person I had just seen.  I never maintain a memory of what I look like.  When I do have the expectation of a female with similar characteristics to be looking back, I have no doubt it is me.  In the mall, there are many mirrors in unexpected places.  These are the times I truly realize the extent of prosopagnosia and how it has taken away a significant part of my memory of how I appear.

This week was one example of how my reflection becomes a complete stranger when an unexpected female surprises me.  I saw her eyes.  She registered surprise instantly.  I understood the discomfort she felt considering how close we had come to running into each other.  I next noticed her glasses.  I wore similar glasses that day.  They were a narrow, gold frame.  I quickly glanced down to see how close our feet had brought us to colliding.  Her shirt was a black sleeveless blouse.  Her shorts were a tan material.  By this time, I had already said how sorry I was.  Then everything started to register.  I had tried on two different tops that morning.  I decided on the black sleeveless blouse.  This day, I wore shorts rather than jeans because of the high temperatures.  Wait, we were wearing identical outfits and had the same style of glasses.  All of these thoughts, all of this processing, were completed within a few seconds.  I knew this stranger.  I did not know her appearance, but I knew the surprise and shock she felt instantly.  We had the same haircuts verifying it was me!  I turned away and quickly glanced around to see if others had watched this awkward exchange.  I laughed not a quiet laugh but more of my cackle relieving my embarrassment and expressing humor I truly felt.

Every day I see myself I am a familiar stranger.  I do not see the visual resemblance between the memory of what I look like and reflections from the passing mirror.  I do comprehend what this reflection feels.  There is confusion, uncomfortable humor, amazement and fascination with the reality she is me.  All of my life I have had mirrors.  Most days I notice my reflection as I style my hair and put in contacts.  The person in my mirror is someone I should know.  A reflection I knew for twenty-seven years.  This reflection is now a stranger.  I have no doubt several people in the busy store saw me apologize to the mirror.  I have no doubt their curiosity was raised.  So is mine when I, once again, come to understand this familiar stranger is me.

LAUGH Even When No Joke Is Told

“Laugh and the world will laugh with you; Weep and you will weep alone.”  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 muscles to smile.

Healing Through Hope and Humor  – https://findingstrengthtostandagain.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/through-humor-and-hope-we-shall-heal/

Laughing at what life hands you is a choice.  It is a conscious decision each of us can make.  At times, it is a rather hard decision, but we are creatures of free-will.  With this understanding, it might be better to laugh and smile as we feel the painful situation pass.  As the saying goes, sometimes we merely need to “fake it until we make it”.

Recently I was honored to attend the departure of a military group.  The USS Higgins pulled away from the pier as family members waved goodbye.  There were tears.  There were a lot of tears.  Both, from the innocent eyes of young children and the eyes of the seasoned spouses, painful tears fell.  I watched with a heavy heart as the ship pulled away carrying nearly three hundred service members.  Each of them left behind the role of a husband or wife, a dad or son, a father or mother.  But in my heart, I had an immense amount of pride for the job these sailors do.  I had dry eyes that morning.  I turned to one young bride whose shoulders were shaking as she wept, and I offered that we could turn into the crazy stalker wives.  I explained, if we jumped into our car quickly we could race to Seaport Village.  Once we were there, we could watch the ship as it pulled around the bend.  We could embarrass our kids and keep yelling out words of love to the passing ship.  Then we could again race to the car and rush through red lights to make it up to Cabrillo National Monument where we could see it head off into the open ocean.  I laughed and said up there we could again start yelling at the top of our lungs, “Can you please come back?  Hey hurry home!”  She laughed.  There were tears left on the pier that morning as many sailors carried away pieces of their loved one’s hearts.  But that morning there was also a little hope and a cautious laughter offered to the world.  It is okay to hurt, but it helps to smile.

Life does and will, without question, knock us to the ground on occasion.  When this happens, there are different ways we can handle it.  You could look around, pull your knees to your chest and cry.  There will be an awkward moment as people watch, but eventually people will be drawn towards you and offer support.  Your other option is to look around and exclaim, “Hey, how did my other foot just trip me? That wasn’t right!”  Laugh, get up and brush yourself off.  Sure, your knees may be bruised.  Your ego may have even taken a hit, also. However, the pain will wear away.  Keep walking and keep moving.  Your knee will be stiff for a while.  There may be a slight, lingering pain that you will be left with.  But the world, the observers watching, they will comfortably join you.  They will come to your side not in pity, but in joy.  In your hope, they can find reason to celebrate.  You have found the strength to stand again.

Every day we have a choice to laugh or to cry.  Every day we have the right to feel sorrow or sadness within our souls.  Today, I will smile. Today I will laugh.  I hope it is contagious.  I would love to see your smile.  Soon enough the bruises will fade, the stiff knee will again bend with ease and our families will be all together once again.

Saying goodbye from the pier

Saying goodbye from the pier

Prosopagnosia Humor

It is okay to laugh.  That is what I want everyone to know.  Because you feel like laughing at a particular situation brought on by my limitations, I will not assume that you are laughing at me.  I always feel bad for people that are uncomfortable and appear to experience regret the moment a smile slips on to their face or a muffled, unexpected laugh escapes their lips.  For me, it is healthy to find the humor in events that have occurred.  I encourage you to laugh with me.  For example, prosopagnosia can be awkward at times. When you realize –yet again- that the person that startled you in the mirror was not a stranger invading your home but rather your own reflection, it provides a slight level of discomfort and regret.  Still, it is okay to laugh about it.  Take the following story for instance, how many people do you think saw this event at a local mall and thought I was a bit odd?  How many people do you think wanted to laugh? 


Even small alterations of my looks can cause disruption in the slight familiarity that I have in recognizing my own face.  I quickly became aware that I should not alter my looks too drastically within a short amount of time.  I truly gained an understanding of this on a day I had my hair cut, colored and styled.  As I left the salon in the mall, I realized that a lady was walking too close to me.  She was close enough that I felt my body space was being invaded.  Our eyes quickly met.  I moved away and she did, too.  But out of the corner of my eye, I realized she was still following me.  Soon we were walking in-step too close together again.  At some point, she was so close that I felt her shoulder brush against me.  I swatted my hand at her.  It was then that my hand hit the mirror.  That was not some lady walking too close to me.  Rather it was my own reflection in the mirror!  I stopped and stared.  She, I, looked so different.  The body shape was the same, but it was as if I had never before seen myself from the shoulders up.  It is a moment that is hard to capture with words.  There was absolutely no self-recognition!  Yes, it was this precise moment that I learned to never make drastic changes.  For days, I spent time looking in the mirror trying to find at least one noticeable feature in the face that was looking back at me.

Because of events like these, I rely heavily on other people’s comments and opinions.  Never before did I care what people had thought about my hair or my clothes.  Now I hang on every word that may be said about how a new shirt brings out my eyes, or how the length of my hair makes my facial features look better or worse.  It is not so much that I crave to please these people; rather, I yearn for the chance to see what they recognize as the consistent beauty I can no longer easily perceive.

No, I do not always recognize the person in the mirror looking back at me.  I no longer make drastic quick changes to my appearance.  And now, I always make sure that the person walking too close to me is not preparing to swat at me when I swat at them.  After all, it would be a comical error to push away from myself yet again in a crowded area!  I know that I chuckled.  It is okay if you do too!  😀

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