• Benefits to Being a Freak

    Benefits of Being a Freak

    (4 minute read)

    “Be a freak. Normal is mind-numbing.” –Jamie Cearley, PhD

    I am a freak. No matter what crowd or setting I find myself in I always seem to be the one who is more than a little odd. This used to bother me quite a bit more than it does these days. Yet, my husband still prods me to be more social on a regular basis. In a bit of awkward irony he just texted me, urging me to contact an out of town friend next week. Evidence, I don’t make this stuff up. As I age I am starting to see the underlying cause for this social paradigm of mine. It turns out there are some positive features to being a freak.

    Although I am sure there are more, here are 3 benefits to being a freak I have found:
    • I am versatile. I should have realized this back in high school when my senior class voted me most versatile. Back then, I interpreted this award went to the biggest freak in the class and was a PC way of picking fun. Now I look back on this award as the biggest honor they could have bestowed. Why? Because it meant I was different. I was more than a one trick pony. I was a good student; the only one who could find anything in the microscope in biology lab. I was an All-State point guard for our Alabama State Championship basketball team. I was the only one in Home Economics class to sew a sweatshirt instead of an apron. I thought aprons were boring and useless. Yes I know, it turns out aprons are far more useful than sweatshirts. I was 16 years old. Cut me some slack. I hot rolled my hair every morning, and helped my dad do things like dig trenches, and fix cars at night. I can identify more tools than the finest mechanic. What’s more, this ability includes kitchen gadgets. As it turns out being versatile has helped this freak out quite a bit in life.
    • I am interesting to talk to, if you are willing to give it a try. More often than not the world looks different to me than to most people. Part of this is because I don’t see the world through Hollywood glasses. My basis for relating to the world is reality. You might say I am “out of the loop” on most topics. I know a little about current sports, have seen a small number of movies, watch little television, and know nothing about video games. I once had to hastily dust my television when company was coming over to watch an event it had been off for so long. Of course I would have dusted ahead of time had I either a clue or interest the event was happening. My husband often teases me saying I had a deprived childhood because we did not sit around and watch Planet of the Apes! He gasped the first time he realized I did not even know the show existed. Turns out we were watching the Lawrence Welk Show at our house. It is the only show I have vivid memories of watching on a regular basis as a child. What I do know is how to play,  in the dirt, rain, and snow. I know how to spend 14 hours a day in a swimming pool. People tell me I have an opinion on about every topic. It is true, I am well versed in topics ranging from how to clone a mouse, which I understand few people care to discuss, train a horse, roast a turkey, or what to do when your car alternator is going dead and you are driving. I also enjoy reading about politics, religion, money management, nature, and science. The sad thing is most people either aren’t interested or cannot engage in a meaningful conversation for any length of time. Hey, is that a Pokémon over there? Hence, I am a freak.
    • I am true to self. In spite of immense pressure to conform I remain a freak. In case you know me or have looked at my website and are thinking, “I don’t see how she could feel like a freak,” here are a few points to consider:

    I do not have children. Most people my age do.

    I have a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Most people do not.

    I am a woman who does not do my nails or wear much makeup if any. I have never had a manicure, pedicure or spa treatment nor do I want to. The thought of a stranger touching me makes me cringe.

    I don’t wear jewelry other than a wedding band.

    My favorite all-time birthday presents include a battery powered hedge-trimmer, and a small shovel.

    I like to fix and take care of my own stuff when I can. This includes farm machinery, mowers, appliances, and a host of other things.

    I so dig digging. Except when it’s hot. I had to put in a disclaimer in case my dad reads this.

    I don’t believe in spending money I don’t have.

    I own one purse and it was a free gift for purchasing some riding boots.

    On an on it goes…

    I will never be what my culture thinks of as typical. I refuse to fit in.

    This post started out being my proclamation of freakishness to the world. Then I started to think, I bet everyone feels this way to some degree. Has our culture convinced us there is some kind of strict mold into which normal fits? Are we all pressured by thinking we are to look, act, and be this or that? I wonder; does everyone feel like a freak?

    Could it be we are a world of freaks struggling to change so we fit in? Would we be doing ourselves a favor to scrap any hope of normal and be our true selves? I say yes. I choose freak.

    As Albert Einstein said, “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”

    How Strong is Your Will to be a freak?

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  • 4 Ways to Kill Any Relationship

    (2 minute read)

    “If you want to know what is inside a person, look at their relationships.”-Jamie Cearley, PhD

    Whether you want to strengthen your marriage, teach your kids to keep their room clean, or train your puppy to pee outside your level of success will boil down to your relationship. It is true, what you do in a relationship is important. But, many problems erupt not because of negative actions but because of the negative attitudes preceding those actions. Even if the action appears to be positive, if you have the wrong attitude you are killing the relationship.

    Here are 4 ways to kill any relationship:

    1. Be chauvinistic. This is believing you are higher than the one you are trying to have a relationship with. Do you think your species is superior to any other? Is the dog, “just a dog?” Or you think your gender is superior to another? Are women smarter than men? Are men better than women? Should kids “do as told” because you are in charge? Or is it skin color, education level, nationality or even religion that places you above others in your mind? We all struggle with chauvinism one way or another. Until we come to treat others as equals we are in danger of destroying our relationships with them.
    2. Be autocratic. This is playing the power card. To rule with absolute power and authority without consideration of another’s opinions, wishes, or perspective: tyranny. This attitude in a relationship often shows itself in the failure to allow choice. One skilled at relationship building recognizes the difference between make and choice. Will you make your kid do their homework or will you find a way to cause them to choose to do their homework?
    3. Anthropomorphize. In the truest sense this is assigning human qualities to another species or object. We do this a lot with animals; and not only our domestic pets but wild animals too. Here we will use this term to illustrate how failing to recognize an individual’s uniqueness in this world is destructive whether human or animal. For example, let’s say you were an outstanding sports star back in the day and so you think your kid will also grow up to be a sports hero. Yet, reality says the kid has no athletic talent whatsoever, but wait, they can play any instrument they pick up. Pushing this kid into sports is a lot like putting an owl on a stuffed horse and making a video to go on social media: both wretched and awkward. Let individuals excel in their own way. You will find their dignity remains intact and your relationship deepens.
    4. Use direct line thinking. Following an unyielding path toward a goal. This is heading straight for the target without consideration of the needs, wants or desires of the other. Humans are first-class direct line thinkers. We see or dream up what we want and it seems nothing can cause us to waver from our path. In a marriage relationship this can take many forms. Do you consider your spouse’s needs, wants, and desires when it comes to financial goals and management for example? What about the cloths your children wear? Could it be a man and a woman have different views on what is appropriate clothing for an 8 year old? Getting back to the puppy: the bladder of a puppy is quite small. Are you conscientious of their needs being different than yours?

    In summary, relationships are best built when we recognize and respect each other as unique individuals and allow one another the freedom of choice.

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