Revisionism

Sometimes looking back on your past is a way to provide perspective but it should never be used as a way to revise the facts.

Recently, I came across a short piece written by an author I know that spoke about her family life and her siblings. I fully expected to read an interesting perspective however what was written quickly dissipated into a tepid piece that went nowhere, and offered a few lies along the way.

How do I know this? Because one of the siblings she referred to as having completely disappeared into a black hole was the same sibling I know she had interacted with online just a few weeks earlier. How odd that the author should misrepresent not only the contact, but the fact that both are easy to find online as is the case with most people these days.

Revisionism works when it’s objective, academic, and a truth based narrative on something from the past that comes replete with facts to support the revisionism. So while there’s something to be said about people telling and retelling their truth, there’s a lot more to be said about making certain the facts support the telling and retelling of their truth.

I realize and understand that perspective has everything to do with a person’s truth in telling and retelling their story. For example, if two people witness the same event at the same time but they aren’t standing in the same exact place when the event happens, you will hear two different versions of what happened. If one was looking one way while the other was looking another, there is no way they will both see and remember the exact same things about what happened.

That’s why personal stories, while important, need to come with cautious perspective from the listener who is only hearing one point of view and one opinion from each person who tells the same story.

It’s why the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are similar but not identical, and why there are a very few discrepancies between each of the gospels. While they and the other disciples were with Jesus, the four who wrote the gospels agree on many of the basic facts, but they remember some of those basic facts a bit differently from each other. Some of that can be chalked up to writing style, but some of it has everything to do with where they were standing at the time these basic facts happened.

That’s not revisionism. That’s interpretation of the facts.

Unfortunately, when people like the author I mentioned decide to revise history with a narrative that has marginal facts and a lot of false assertions, their writing becomes two-dimensional to readers — even those readers who know nothing about the author’s history. It also calls into question everything else the author claims to be a true accounting of their own life.

I’m not saying anyone should out others who are engaged in questionable revisionism. I’m saying that when you find it, remind yourself you are only hearing that one person’s telling and retelling of a story that may or may not be an accurate accounting of what happened.

Before you tell your own story, ask yourself whether you are retelling the situation as it happened to the best of your recollection or if there is revisionism going on intended to lessen your role in what happened or meant to create something so far removed from the truth that no one is able to ferret out the truth from the fiction.

Your silver lining today is that people oftentimes act in a way that allows you to find the loose stitches in the fabric of your own storytelling. When that happens, it’s time to be accountable and responsible and own up to the truth and the facts of the event you are remembering and hoping to share.

Call yourself out long before you tell and retell your story so you can provide the most truthful accounting you can of what happened. And remember to keep the blaming and shaming and fingerpointing and name calling out of your story telling.

In the meantime, my friend who has allegedly disappeared into the sibling’s alleged black hole has decided to continue to give that sibling a wide berth. Why not call her on it? Because sometimes the kindest thing to do when someone insists on presenting lies as fact is to wait for the facts to catch up to them and out that person by way of the facts.

Elyse Bruce
23 July 2021

Wishing My Kid Another Happy Birthday

As you start on the next leg of your journey in life — this being your 26th birthday — the world is a much different place than it was for all of your birthdays before COVID took on the world. Some of the world remains as we knew it, but so much of society has changed.

I think back to your early cosplay days when Hallowe’en was pretty much the only day kids with great imaginations could dress up as one of their favorite characters without anyone picking on them for doing so. Back in 2004, the first Halloweentown movie came out, and you told me for Hallowe’en that year, you wanted to be the main antagonist of the movie, Kalabar. When Hallowe’en rolled around, you were a most convincing Kalabar. Even the night sky agreed, and cooperated by providing a full moon that Hallowe’en. Even the lamppost far in the background agreed as it decided to cosplay a full moon to your Kalabar impersonation.

Photo Credit: Elyse Bruce

A decade later, you attended a cosplay convention and as always, you chose a look you knew you could not only recreate visually, but convincingly. You always liked following the careers of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs being the computer geek you always were through your childhood and teen years.

It was no surprise that with the simple fashion sense Steve Jobs preferred that you were able to recreate the essence of Steve Jobs.

Photo Credit: Unknown

You and technology have been inseparable for over two decades at this point in your life. I suppose that’s what it means to be one of the earliest digital natives in history. I have a few photos of you over the years that showcase you and technology, but the majority of photos I took of you were from non-technology activities I encouraged you to do from swimming to hiking to going on vacations away from home.

A preschool Lewis at the computer.
A kindergarten Lewis with school technology.
An elementary school Lewis at the computer.
Award winning teen Lewis at the computer.

You have always been an amazing individual. You have dealt with autism and battled with Myasthenia Gravis all your life and when all is said and done, you are your own person.

As you move into the next stretch of your life’s journey, I know you will be involved in a great many things, and some of those things are things no one can begin to imagine at this point in time.

The future is yours to make of it what you wish, and I look forward to finding out what all of that might be. Until then, have a very happy birthday.

Love,

Mom



Other Lewis Related Entries You Might Be Interest In Reading

A Quarter Century and Three Pandemics Later (2020)
Wishing My Kid A Happy Birthday (2019)
I Never Regret Mother’s Day (2018)
Net Neutrality’s Own Zero Requiem (2014)
Is This Real Life or 8-Bit Fantasy (2013)
The Glory Days of G4 and Tech TV (2013)
Calling All Whovians (2013)
Another Milestone Reached (2011)
The Quick Answer Is No (2011)
The Pursuit of Exactness (2011)
Dream Big (2010)
Life Through Lewis’ Eyes (2010)
Must Be Santa (2010)
Santa: Person of Interest (2010)
Santa Y2K (2010)
Santa’s Promotion (2010)
The Meaning of Christmas (2010)
Doctors and Surgeons and Nurses, Oh My! (2010)
10 To 15 For Every 1 (2010)
Perseverance Rewarded (2009)
Thank You For Being A Friend (2009)
This Is What New Normal Looks Like (2009)
We Are Somewhat Like Borg (2009)
The Power of One (2009)

These aren’t all the Lewis related entries on the blog but they are certainly among the most entertaining.

The First Six Months of 2021

Every week for over six months, the focus of my blog has been to celebrate positivity, and to encourage cultivating an attitude of gratitude while searching for the silver lining in every cloud. Surely after more than a year of dealing with the pandemic, people are ready to embrace positive mindsets and to gather together with like-minded people to change their community — and the world — for the better. Or at least, that’s what I thought at the beginning of the year.

What I have learned from the first six months of 2021 is that people seem to naturally tend towards the negative, and most prefer to feed into drama and controversy and — dare I say — negativity.

I have to admit this surprises me because being positive is better for your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health overall according to peer-reviewed studies.

Studies have proven that positive thinking tends to increase a person’s life span. You don’t have to blindly take my word on this. Even the Mayo Clinic will tell you this is a fact.

When you focus on the upside of things, you’ll be amazed at how this changes how you view everything — good or bad — that happens in life. Good and bad? Well, yes. Positive thinking doesn’t mean you ignore all the negative things that may happen to you and pretend as if none of that exists. A healthy positive mindset acknowledges all aspects of any situation and allows you to deal with the fallout in a more positive, productive way.

Negative thinking allows the negative aspects of a situation to grow like a cloud of thick smoke, choking out anything positive until all that can be seen is the thick cloud of negative perception. Everything that was right with the situation is obliterated by the overwhelming cloud of doom.

The odd thing about negative thinking is that is creates a polarizing effect with no middle ground that is based on the unbalanced weighing of everything that played a part in a situation. Many insist this is the problem with positive thinking — that it blocks out everything that isn’t happy-happy-joy-joy — and points to that as the reason things go so wrong.

Oops!

Negative thinking has a finite way of dealing with problems. Once a situation appears to be a failure, the person (or persons) involved is (are) a failure.

Positive thinking opens up the flood gates of possibility when dealing with problems. Once a situation does not end as anticipated, there are countless options to take another run at it in order to maximize the success rate. The person (or persons) involved is (are) still working towards a successful conclusion.

A negative mindset looks at a situation and the thought is, “There is no way in the world this is going to work.”

A positive mindset looks at a situation and the thought is, “I wonder if this is something we need right now. If it is, I wonder how we can make this happen. If we can make it happen, I wonder what the best way is to get to where we’re going with this.”

A positive mindset means you are aware the goal set may not be the goal achieved in the timeframe alloted. It means the good that is created — even when the goal is not achieved — is still good.

A large study on emotional well-being collected the data of over 450,000 people and the data revealved that money was not one of the greatest identifiers of emotional well-being. Yes, money is nice, and people want enough to sustain them, but there are four basic needs that trump lots of money when it comes to being happy.

  1. Create and cultivate interactions that are sincerely kind towards others which, in turn, feeds being sincerely kind towards yourself.
  2. Mindful meditation that allows you view every neutral event as it is so you can apply feelings that will assist you in making the most of every situation including obstacles and setbacks.
  3. Exercise your body even if all you are doing is walking a mile every day. You don’t even have to go outside to walk that mile. You can walk a mile inside. By walking, you allow your mind to wander wherever it will (within reason, of course, since it would be terrible to put yourself in danger by ignoring warning signs along the way) which leads to some pretty amazing endorphins being released.
  4. Practice gratitude and forgiveness. Just so you know, forgiveness doesn’t mean you absolve others of the negative things they have brought into your life. One of the best definitions of forgiveness I heard years ago was that forgiveness was “for giving” the burden of what was done back to the person responsible for the situation in the first place. Let them do what needs to be done to resolve the problems that continue to linger in the present.

So while many people will continue to focus on the negativity going on around them, I know some who read this blog will be inclined to adapt a more positive mindset. And that, my friends, is one of the things I love best about writing this blog.

Elyse Bruce
16 July 2021

P.S. Be sure to check back in two days for my regular July 18th blog entry!

The Benefits of Being Ignored

I’m certain that the title of this week’s blog entry has a few people perplexed because it certainly doesn’t sound like a positive perception entry. Except it is … sort of.

June was Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month (MG is a rare, incurable, life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease). That’s a little tidbit that will come in again later on in this entry.

April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, and truth be told, everyone from autism supremacists through to warrior mommies and anti-vaxxers make the most of presenting their opinion on what autism is and how it affects people diagnosed with autism and their families as well as the lack of services and programs available to autistics. In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network stated that 1 in 59 children have autism (1 in 34 boys, and 1 in 144 girls). At the end of the day, that makes for a pretty hefty number of advocates — when you blend in the parents and grandparents and service providers who jump on the awareness and acceptance bandwagon — raising awarness and acceptance of autism where children are concerned.

As I stated earlier, June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, and the data indicates that 2 in 1 million children is diagnosed with MG. That means there aren’t nearly as many advocates raising awareness and acceptance of Myasthenia Gravis where children are concerned. How could there by? Autism is almost the norm these days and Myasthenia Gravis is a rare disease.

A few people in the MG community worked hard at raising awareness of Myasthenia Graivs last month. In each case it was a valiant effort but the attention given these campaigns by mainstream and alternative media as well as society in general was, for the most part, non-existent. Even people within the MG community seemed to be lackadaisical about the easy-to-do, no money involved, less than ten minutes required, campaigns that could have brought about a lot of attention to Myasthenia Gravis — what it is, how it affects people, why a cure is needed.

Basically, the efforts to raise awareness and acceptance of those diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (from infants through to seniors) were ignored.

“What’s good about that?” you may be asking yourself at this point.

When looking for a silver lining, you have to look at situations from a very different perspective. In this case, being ignored means that society is not less or more ignorant about what MG is than it was before Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month happened. Society has the same level of ignorance as before Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month happened. Society still has pretty much no idea what Myasthenia Gravis is, how dangerous it is, and how it presents itself.

That means society didn’t internalize any new misinformation or disinformation about Myasthenia Gravis this year during Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month. Society is still running with the same misinformation and disinformation it runs on — and has run on for years and years (basically decades and decades but who’s counting years here?).

To that end, the only misinformation and disinformation that needs to be undone is the same old misinformation and disinformation that’s always floating around in society. What’s more, chances are that if you mention Myasthenia Gravis to someone, they’ll wrinkle up their nose and ask, “What’s that? I never heard of it before?”

I suppose when it comes to society discriminating against a minority, not having heard of Myasthenia Gravis is a great opportunity to educate them with accurate information so that’s kind of a bonus, right?

In any case, my son has autism as well as Myasthenia Gravis which means I’m in an interesting position to observe how both communities act and react to their respective awareness months, and I’m in an interesting position to know how much — no matter if it’s accurate or conspiracy theory based or something between those two points — people really know about both diagnoses. I also find myself in an interesting position where I see so much battling going on within the autism community that the public in general tends to feel saturated with the many opinions and anecdotal stories about autism.

There’s not much of that going on in the Myasthenia Gravis community although there are factions there as well. The public doesn’t feel saturated because nearly all of them have absolutely no idea what Myasthenia Gravis is.

I know it’s no longer June, but if you would like to still join in with a campaign that will help give you a vague idea what Myasthenia Gravis can feel like, feel free to create a video based on this challenge:

https://elysebruce.com/mgchallenge

Of course, if you would rather wait until next June, that’s fine as well. Your video will be greatly appreciated in 2022 just as much as it is greatly appreciated in 2021.

Elyse Bruce
9 July 2021

Even If

We’re more than halfway through 2021, and even though we now have a COVID vaccine, I still hear people complaining about how bad they have things. Undoubtedly they do feel things are bad but I have to wonder if they are looking at what’s good alongside all that’s not quite as good as they would like things to be?

Even if your health isn’t great, chances are high you still have a number of working parts. After all, you’re alive and able to complain, right? That right there says you have parts that are still working even if those parts aren’t working like they once did.

Even if you don’t have a lot of friends, chances are you have at least one or two friendships that are quality friendships. When you have one or two good friends you can rely on, you are among the richest people in the world.

Even if you don’t have as much money in the bank as you would like to have, and even if you’re in debt regardless of big that amount of debt might be, you have clothes on your back, food in your belly, and unless you’re homeless, a roof over your head.

Even if you don’t have the job you dreamed of having when you were younger, you have an education and that education was free until you graduated Grade 12. If you didn’t make the most of it back then, there’s nothing stopping you from upgrading your education which takes me to the next thing to be grateful for: Learning from your mistakes.

Yes, no matter how old or young you may be as you read this blog entry, you have had the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry because you have a lifetime in which to learn from your mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up for having made mistakes. Encourage yourself to learn from them and move on!

Whether you enjoy dark humor or puns, high-brow humor or slapstick, or any kind of humor that falls anywhere on the humor continuum, there are times when you find a reason to laugh. Without laughter, imagine how sad and lonely the world would be. So laugh, and laugh heartily. Allow yourself to fall into the waiting arms of whatever sense of humor awaits you. And if your humor relies on others being harmed in the process, then take the time to embrace the concept of learning from your mistakes because someday, you may find yourself the object of someone else’s sense of humor that laughs at others getting hurt to bring them joy.

Perhaps you are someone who says they need more time. Unless you die partway through your day, you have the same amount of time as others who make it through the day and on to the next one. In other words, don’t squander the time you have, and don’t fret over the time you haven’t had yet. Celebrate the fact that when you greet a new day, you probably have 24 hours to experience it. Go for it!

And rainbows! Most people get to see at least one rainbow in their lifetime. Many of us see many rainbows over the course of several years. Nothing is as beautiful as a rainbow and sometimes that rainbow shows up in a shape you hadn’t anticipated. Those rainbows aren’t always half-circles. And while no one has ever proven they found a pot of gold or the end of a rainbow, most people feel like they have found a pot of gold as they enjoy the sight of a rainbow.

Rainbow Twist © Elyse Bruce 2015

Grocery stores, indoor plumbing, electricity, motor cars … imagine how complicated your life would be if you had to live your life the way your great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents lived their lives. Ordering a pizza for supper certainly would require a lot more time and effort than it does today.

Modern medicine and vaccines: Without these two, most of us might not be as old as we are.

And lastly, you can read. For that I am truly thankful. If people were as literate as they were just a few generations ago, most of you wouldn’t be reading my blog and knowing that you are here reading my blog makes me happy.

Elyse Bruce
2 July 2021

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