Not Everything Can Be Fixed!

Helpers are not too good at asking for help, which is very ironic!

Michelle

While I listen to the birds sing on day 14 of my new place in Jamaica, I can’t help but to wonder what they are saying to one another.

I am especially curious because as a comparison to humans, in the Bible you find a word picture describing how the birds don’t worry about what they will eat or where they will sleep. So I am thinking, are they discussing what they will be eating for breakfast or what they will to do today. In either case, it is a beautiful melody of sounds all working together, it is also the sounds of a new day.

A new day…there is something magical about a new day…and yet not so magical…magical because I am curious what will happen today…not so magical because things are not going my way and I do not like that!

What do you do when things don’t go your way? I am talking to the “fixers”, the “helpers”, the people people. You know those of us who love people but don’t really love people, it is this thing God gave us, this dichotomy, sort of situation, this Smeagol complex (if you don’t know, you betta ask somebody)!

Photo: Sméagol from Lord of the Rings. showing his two personalities.

For one, I pick up my computer and start typing, it brings immediate relief! Try it! It doesn’t mean you have to be a blog writer; but it is therapeutic! I can not tell you how many draft posts I have.

When things are not going my way, it typically helps me to turn my attention to the areas I do have control over. Those things which I can fix or have a part in fixing.

One last idea when things are not going my way, is figure out if there is something that I can give myself, or if there is any one or any thing else that can assist, ask for help! Helpers are not too good at asking for help, which is very ironic!

Anyway, today’s post is not about what you do when things don’t go your way although I think it is important to note.

If you know me at all, you know that I am very much into things that are not just so they become just or that which involves young woman in various seasons of life, but in general you know that I do not do well with injustice. I am pretty sure this is part of my work on Earth.

So to get to the point, I am pretty well travelled from my time in the military so I have seen some things, I have nearly died a few times in my lifetime and have certainly had my share of hardships and been through some pretty shitty times but what strikes me the most is injustice looks the same everywhere. No matter where you go there will always be injustice. Injustice reigns in America just look at our justice system, pun intended! How many are locked up for crimes they didn’t commit? (• Number of unsentenced inmates in prisons in the U.S. 2019 | Statista) Or those who could be rehabilitated through counseling/therapy, etc., and never had an opportunity for whatever reason. Anyway, my thoughts are not even about the justice system itself because that is a waste of time rather it is about the injustice that happens everywhere.

Photo: “Some things just can’t be fixed” with black arrows pointing different directions.

Injustice is no respecter of persons. People groups. It does not discriminate at all!

What do we do in the face of so much injustice? What is our part? I am working out some of these answers and the role I see myself playing especially here in Jamaica. But certainly, among my fellow countrymen and women! While I say under my breath in a grumbling voice, “I ain’t fighting for those people, I am going to hide in the bushes with the rasta man!” I could not actually do that. I would fight for what I believe in. I believe in people still!

I do believe in the human spirit. Not the American spirit. The human spirit.

And the intent is not to discuss crime or guns however I have much to say on that topic and the data supports my thoughts, but people… guns create more suicides than homicide…shall we start there…and I am not surprised. I would encourage folks to reconsider there issues with guns, they are not the problem! Just saying.

Check out the statistics: US Crime, Police, Prisons & More Statistics | 2022 State of the Union (usafacts.org) 5.6 million people in prison, mostly for murder. I tried to locate the stats of those who have not been convicted to date or proven guilty. Not everybody has Johnnie Cochran as their attorney

I believe in the people who will stand for the same reasons I would. Justice. Fairness. Kindness.

Injustice may prevail within systems that are built by people, yes, but injustice cannot prevail in the human heart where justice has preference.

The HSP and Digital Media Literacy

Do any of these images ring familiar? Strike maybe, a nerve or two? Maybe not? But if you have discovered that you are a bothered or feel overwhelmed by the thought of sorting through so much information through news and social media outlets then maybe you are a Highly Sensitive Person or, an HSP. For the Highly Sensitive Person, (HSP) these images are familiar and not fondly so (Aron, 2019).

The HSP makes up a small percentage of individuals. Interestingly, common themes are seen in the personality and overall disposition of an HSP. Aron (2019), explains how conscientiousness and sensitivities to a variety of situations from relationship matters to loud noises, are examples (Aron, 2019). Digital media is among one of many context that may overstimulate the HSP depending on the delivery of the content, as one matter of discussion.

Digital Media Literacy is almost this live and learn lesson, literally, it seems most hold the mindset that when it comes to learning the ins and outs of technology, no matter the platform, it is like the ‘white elephant’ in the room. Do we talk about it, or do we ride it out, these may be the questions some parents ask themselves?  Or what about the adult learners considering a job in a highly automated profession that for example leans heavily on data that most adult learners would not know how to interpret to inform professional practice and especially in a learning environment.

In most learning settings, being a digitally literate citizen (ISTE Standard) is a prerequisite, there is no longer a paper application to mail in or paperback textbooks for your college course. But digital media literacy is not just knowing “how” to use technology either or having documents online and sent electronically; it is also asking questions about the information, or decoding. Being a literate citizen of digital media requires inquiry, thinking critically, and being conscientious about the responsibility right within our fingertips (Project Look Sharp, 2022).

Photo by Oziel Gu00f3mez on Pexels.com

Decoding information can be done in a variety of ways whether through analysis in questions asked not for the answer but for inquiry, to think critically. Or how about asking how the message makes you feel, what effect does the information have on you? Lastly, not exclusive but for the sake of the time, how is this message constructed to trigger a certain emotion or reaction from the audience. Just a few examples of ways for the HSP to counteract the manipulated constructs of digital media (Project Look Sharp, 2022).

According to the ISTE Standards, Knowledge Constructors, will “critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.” (ISTE, Standard 1:3, n.d.). Therefore, then, self-awareness and awareness of the nuances of media, how it is constructed, the intended message, and so much more are important considerations for the HSP especially but as a learner in a digital world. The HSP must guard against overstimulation or, cognitive overload (Jong, 2009).  

What is cognitive overload?

Cognitive overload is when too many cognitive processes are operating at lower levels rather than operating with fewer at higher levels (Gallagan, 2013). For example, if you there is too much text on the screen this can create cognitive overload. Consequently, hindering working memory where knowledge is no longer constructed. Remembering that cognitive overload impacts the workings of actual knowledge attainment and working memory (Springer, p. 23, 2013) is important to the HSP and educators of potential HSP’s.

Practical tips for educators. If we recall, media constructs information to influence the reader depending on the intent or motive of the creator (Project Look Sharp). Thus, one way to avoid cognitive overload is to design learning material differently. Construct digital media, with room left for the HSP learner to explore ways to decode and break down all the information. Furthermore, create curriculum that respects different learners. An example of this for the HSP would be pressured in a classroom setting, while being watched by peers or evaluators to perform certain activities but with background noise of their peers talking and giggling. This would be cognitive overload and lessen the learning experience for the HSP (Springer, p. 22, 2013).

Practical tips for the HSP when navigating digital media:

  • Decoding with questions – check out this handy resource.
  • Think critically, stop, calm down and then take in the information one bite at a time (Technology & the Interrupted Brain).
  • Limit the amount of media intake in all formats but especially digitally (Aron, 2017).

Finally, think on what Aristotle said about learning,

Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe.

Aristotle

References

Aron, Elizabeth. (2017). The Highly Sensitive Person. Broadway Books.

Galagan, Pat. (2013). Technology and the Interrupted Brain. cqtus-Technology_and_the_Interrupted.pdf

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). ISTE Standards. ISTE Standards: Educators | ISTE

Jong, Ton de. (2009). Cognitive Load Theory, Education Research, and instructional design: some food for thought. de Jong Cognitive Load (1).pdf

Project Look Sharp (2022). Categories and Samples Questions for Media Decoding. Key-Questions-for-Decoding Dec-21.pdf

Journaling Jamaica

Day 5 in my new officially official 😊 house in St. Ann’s Parish, Jamaica. The smells of burning at nights and in the morning are just as familiar as the coffee churning every morning in downtown Jacksonville from the Maxwell House coffee plant. The coffee smells each morning from the Hubbard Street house were only supplemental to the lovely smells of my own coffee percolating. And occasionally as we are still quite close to the main highway here in Jamaica, I hear fast cars and bikes racing by and big Mack trucks blowing by with their steam powered horns that get your immediate attention no matter what you are doing. The frogs that lull me to sleep at night with the cool “winter” breeze (about 72 at night with mid percentages of humidity) are one of my favorite parts of Jamaica.

The cool breeze runs through the house. I can see the leaves of the mango trees blowing in the wind; they remind me of home, like home, my cousins, especially David, he loved mangoes… I can remember family dinners when we were little, the cool evening Florida breeze as we wreaked havoc through the streets of north St. Pete with our hide-n-go-seek and cops and robbers games. Jamaica is like home.

Then there is the money system, the injustice, the economics, the rat race, and on the macro level remnants of years of wanting more for its country as it slightly eludes the Jamaican people each time.

And yet, this hasn’t wrecked the spirit of the people, rather, its, “welcome to Jamaica” with her big smile and brimmed hat, as we left the food store!

Jamaican woman hustling to sell her goods

She is an example of the Jamaican heart, the Jamaican way. I am so excited to learn the culture more and more each day. I enjoyed our walk to town yesterday for the first time alone – two white girls with our carmel skin and curls, hearing whistle after whistle and “pst” after “pst,” nonetheless, there is respect. No harm, just enjoying what they see. People are complicated enough already…

But when you add other characteristics of Jamaica, like culture you see something very cool! The teacher in me must explain “culture” a bit further. Culture happens on different levels. There is our immediate family culture (what we experienced and learned from those in our immediate home). Community culture, your neighborhood and other family members and close friends, perhaps. Work culture is developed within professions but more influential would likely be the culture experienced with specific employers. Finally, and only to serve as a brief explanation of the ways that culture influences, the final level of culture would be your place of birth. The country you call home. The place that has formed the parts of you that make your people group different than another.

Photo by Kelly L on Pexels.com

Jamaica is quite different from America. America may be accused of lacking culture, it is not particularly distinct in culture like Jamaica, and has been called a melting pot – various people groups contributing to the diversity of the “United” States of America by adopting various cultures. This is very different from more collectivist countries like Jamaica. In my experience, this can make assimilating challenging. People are people… people change, assimilate, evolve, and yet still there spans a bridge that connects all of humanity no matter how different. At least that is what I have discovered so far in my travels. And that is love – at the end of the day we have all the same needs – being known and knowing.

As I spoke with a special person last night, under the stars, literally! We talked about what matters and keeps a relationship. He asked what I believe keeps a relationship together. My answer was textbook A+++, “Love and Respect, of course,” I said, with complete confidence he would agree. He di, but, he his point was the first one. Love! Of course, and I do believe that love can and will indeed conquer all! Yet somehow, I felt so shallow and unlovable to give such an answer, because the words are easy, living it is another, especially when loving requires sacrifice.

In a world where inequities reign, and where often the greater of two evils must be chosen, there still can remain the simplicity of loving your neighbor. May we all have the same fighting spirit as the little old Jamaican lady welcoming us to Jamaica!

We live in a digital world? And a material one!

If we asked 100 people what digital media literacy is, we would likely get a variety of answers. With anything you want to know available at our fingertips it is crazy how little research there is on how to be a digitally literate citizen.

The purpose of this post is to share the ways a literate citizen of digital media will approach unfamiliar digital media that room to be desired. We have all received that email that has mix matched alphabet case, or stumbled on the article online about your favorite actress and you wonder if its true.

There are qualities of a literate citizen of literacy in a digitized world. We will discuss each characteristic and at the end challenge each reader to think about ways they can disrupt the negative influences of digital media. These qualities are also those that align with the program competencies of learning and instruction.

We must continue as individuals, educators, parents, friends, aunts and uncles to grow as sound digital citizens navigating a tricky world. Our brains are wired and popping off lots of synapses and circuits right in our fingertips (Gregorie, 2015). Psychology shows that it affects our attention, focus and the way we think about the world (Psychology Today, 2012).

Navigating a Digital World – You Tube Video by Michelle Hampton

How do you fare navigating the digital world, without avoiding duplicity and false narrative?

By digital literacy we mean those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society.

Jisc Info Net (2011)

References

Gregoire, Carolyn. (2015). The Internet May be Changing Your Brain in Ways You’ve Never Imagined. Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/internet-changing-brain-nicholas-carr_n_5614037de4b0368a1a613e96

JISC InfoNet. (2011). Digital Literacy. http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk

Psychology Today. (2012). How Technology is Changing the Way We Think. John Taylor. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201212/how-technology-is-changing-the-way-children-think-and-focus

The No Caller ID Phone Call

If I thought the call on my screen were a bill collector I would just let it go to voicemail but unfortunately, I had seen this “no caller id” call a few other times and ignored so I figured I would answer it today in the car coming home from an errand. I am glad I did.

I answer, “this is Michelle,” my phone serving as both my personal and business cell. Hello, she says, I am calling to ask a few questions, I pause and think I know she doesn’t think she can start talking without telling me who she is.

She proceeds to tell me, “I am (the man’s name) wife. And I just had a baby! I literally could not breathe. This man is a pastor, we had great conversations, we have known each other a few years now, dare I call him one of my best friends that is a guy.

Sometimes the conversations go into what it would be like to be together, but nothing real serious. Last week (when his wife was giving birth) he told me his sister was in the hospital and had to be moved to ICU. Like wow, he asked me to pray for his sick sister in ICU to cover for what is really happening – HIS WIFE GIVING BIRTH!

Over the last three years, we (I say we but really it is “I”) have shared the ups and downs, pains and sorrows since I have known him. He knows two of my children well and has a special name for one of them even, and they know of him. I mean seriously they just think he is some cool guy that just happens to be pastor.

As I still sit in shock, I find it hard to focus on what I need to do, I am trying to find something good in this. I decided to make something good out of it by sharing it with the world. In sharing my hope is to perhaps move another woman to ask some hard questions, especially if you are single and have male friendships with potential, considering marriage, etc., in whatever case, if something just doesn’t feel right, LISTEN! The more he flirted with suggestive remarks about our relationship, the more I felt uncomfortable, at times, but recently the red flags were clearer or am I “woke” as they say! The louder the inside voice the more I pressed him recently about his life and future.

About a year ago, I became angry at his games and some of what he would share about his family life that sounded out of pocket to me, I never gave him my new number. Eventually we were back in touch after I called him to let him know I would be in town and by this time I was no longer dating someone. After about 6 months of an occasional phone call or hello, he called. We caught up and picked up where we left off.

During my travels, I would ask to meet up, but it seemed it was more comfortable for him to visit me then me going to him, another red flag. Considering too many red flags presenting themselves, I decided to tell him that we would discuss the future of our relationship after his sister was better.

Meanwhile, his wife is supposed to call me back and according to her, we were going to support each other. Um, no sweetie, we are not. Instead, I would highly recommend a therapist and not a pastor! A licensed therapist! I will also maintain that having been in a dysfunctional marriage, at best, for most of the 17 years I was married, that is likely the direction of their marriage given all this and many other concerns he and I discussed. It was all too very familiar to me. I am starting to grow very weary of the familiar!

Listen to yourself, what you need is within, just listen, perhaps we just don’t listen because most of the time we want what we want, this blinds and binds us.

It seems the best place to end is, to repeat as I repeat to myself, listen to yourself, all that we need is within. Perhaps we don’t listen because we want we want and or our issues blind us. My eyes are open, but my heart still trusts until I am shown otherwise and clearly the two don’t mix at times. There are times to bypass the emotions straight to thinking and logic. I am grateful that I am not as blind as I used to be. I am grateful that what happens in the dark is brought to the light…eventually…and if not in this life well that’s another blog post.

My take-aways –

I have no idea what to say! Maybe only that it is not a woman’s job to uphold a man to honor. I am not responsible for his actions. This is not a reflection on me. However, I am learning the law of attraction and attachments. (more on this later).

Don’t stop dreaming!

Dreaming is a way to visualize what you plan to accomplish. This blog post is sort of on a whim. Nonetheless, a good reminder. We are feeling creatures who think and feelings are the beginning of an idea. Ideas are creative and imaginative. I think we forget to create and imagine because we get wrapped up in what others are creating and imagining and sharing on social media.

Rabbit trail: Not everything needs to be shared on social media! Just saying!

I have come to understand imagination as the brains way of exploring all the possibilities and impossibilities. The above picture is an example of what imagination and innovation can bring about. Oh and if you missed my recent posts, innovation requires disobedience. We must be rule breakers for revolution and real change to come about in whatever capacity we are dreaming of change.

If you don’t already know my story then I hope you check it out. This is my Italian Grandpa and my first born son. This is my grandpa who, when I first brought my black best friend home, Briana, he told me that I won’t be bringing any n____ (that word) in his house.

Needless to say, my Grandpa gave in to such cuteness no matter the color of his skin! In a day where there is so much crap floating in the air and people hate people because of the color of their skin, I thought I would share that dreams do in fact come true. It is good to dream. I dreamed! I dreamed of a day that he would change his mind! I am glad he did! It is necessary that you dream! Don’t stop dreaming!

Everyone Needs Some Power!

I could remember days thinking if I only had someone to call that is neutral and will tell me the truth but be kind and gentle. I mean the type of help that is not bossy or imposes their crap on me, etc. This is what a life coach can be. A life coach does not take the place of friends, family or even therapy. Instead, I view it as a supplement to what you may be already doing. If that is not the case, and you do not have support, I highly suggest a life coach or therapist.  

To paint the picture plainly, I liken it to vitamins. I used to hate when my mom would say, “that supplement will be more effective if you took it with this…so I took the other vitamin, then she would add another vitamin and before you knew it I would have a pile of vitamins on the counter that all had a specific purpose. While true, super annoying and it is super expensive!

It cost to take care of yourself. Not just monetarily but it costs time, emotional energy, creating intentions, mindfulness, and exercise to get all the chemicals working together and balanced in your body!

Hiring a life coach can be a pivotal shift in your next steps. I listen, I ask questions. Life coaches are not necessarily giving advice, we are not advice givers. All that you need is within, sometimes, we just need help rediscovering it. That is my role, to ask the right questions to help you rediscover what somehow got tucked away somewhere. There are many reasons why we compromise or ignore our conscience, nonetheless, we do and finding our way back to knowing ourselves and making decisions that are true to self is what coaching is all about.  

Personal power was a big one for me. It was that space where I constantly squashed my gut feelings and resigned myself to being agreeable for the sake of peace. While there is a place for peace and agreement, in my experience this was not a healthy response overall and wounded my spirit and self worth. I will never forget one couples counseling session and the counselor told me in front of my ex-husband that it is perfectly normal to desire personal power over areas in my life even while married. In this space, the space that I had permission, just like everyone else, despite my experience for 17 years in a difficult marriage…for the first time, in a long time I felt like I was given this space in time to experience a level of freedom and power. I felt of little value for so long in our marriage that I lost sight of my personal value regardless of my behavior or what anyone else thought of me.

When I began rediscovering my personal power I experienced so much freedom, l felt like a bird let out of its cage! I knew exactly where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, and began that journey as soon as I was free! I hope this happens for you too!

New name and new everything

As I contemplated how to jump back into my blog, I immediately thought of this picture. I remember thinking on this day, what the hell, just make a funny face and take a picture, it was when the Mayor was about to declare that we all had to wear face masks when entering any public place.

Then I realized I had to change the name of my blog for sure (even though we are still “Harried Hamptons”) the change was needed, in addition to adjustments to some posts for those who might be new to the website. About two weeks ago during my soul searching, therapy, self-care time on the beach, the phrase: my book in a blog, came to my mind and I added it to my notes (the notes feature I keep on my phone for moments like this.). That was it, its the name of my new blog, and I need to start writing again.

Meanwhile, I am almost half way through a graduate program to be a clinical mental health counselor. I am super excited and can’t wait to take all this knowledge in my brain that’s about to explode and put it into practice with clients! I can’t wait for the ideas and visions I have had for my private practice to come to life!

All this being said, the websites focus then is still to share my story but it is also to feature and highlight the deep things of life and particularly surrounding mental health and therapy. Now come with me for the next leg of my race!