Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "A Way That Helps You Blossom"

This poem is spillover from the April 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills "the Patriarch" square in my 4-1-16 card for the Archetypal Characters Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"A Way That Helps You Blossom"


Lawrence notices, over time,
that Stan does a lot better at
taking care of other people
than taking care of himself.

It's not so much that Stan has
bad habits like not eating
or eating mostly junk.

It's more that Stan will drop
whatever good habit he's
currently doing to go solve
somebody else's problem.

Lawrence has lost count of
how many times Stan has
abandoned food or grooming
or homework or personal projects
to dash after some superhero thing.

This is a habit shared by
many superheroes, which
is pretty worrisome given that
nobody can stay on duty 24/7
and not burn out from it.

"You need to take better care
of yourself," Lawrence tells Stan
one afternoon when they're back at
Stan's house toweling off the sweat
from their latest endeavor.

"Now if that's not the pot
calling the kettle black,"
Stan says with a grin,
and all right, Lawrence
knows that this is not
exactly his forte either.

"I'm just saying, superheroes
tend to ignore their own needs
until they go splat, and that's not
an area I need encouragement,"
Lawrence says. "If you fall over,
then you can't help anyone else."

"Good point," Stan concedes.

"At least eat something,"
Lawrence says. "I'm hungry,
and if I'm hungry then you
must be ravenous by now."

"Yeah," Stan says, and
heads for the kitchen.

Stan's father Stuart is there,
and he listens to them ramble
as he helps the boys lay out
a generous sandwich bar so
that Stan can make himself
an enormous dagwood.

Lawrence's selection is
far more modest, with
only one extra slice of
rye bread in the center,
but it is delicious and
he is grateful to have it.

"You know, the way you're
always going on and on
about the Activity Scouts,
maybe you should just
get a self-care badge,"
Lawrence suggests.

"There isn't one," Stan says.
"I know, I've earned all of
the old Boy Scout Badges
and I'm into the new ones
ported over from Girl Scouts,
along with the stuff made fresh
for Activity Scouts," Stan says.

"You could design your own,"
Stuart says as he slices
his sandwich diagonally.
"That would be a very useful
badge to add to the set."

"So how does that work?"
Lawrence asks. "I'm not
very familiar with scouting.
Do we just make a list?"

Stan chuckles and shakes
his head. "Gosh, no, there's
a lot more to it than that," he says.
"First you pick a topic, then you
decide what you need in order
to learn it. Do the work. Then
you share what you learned in
a presentation or whatever.
After a scoutmaster approves,
you can design and print out
the badge for your uniform."

"That sounds really complicated,"
Lawrence says, returning
his attention to his food.

"It's not meant to be easy,"
Stan says with a shrug.

"You already have a topic,
self-care," Stuart says. "That's
one step completed already.
What do you need next?"

"Self-assessment," Stan says.
"I need to know where I am now
before I can figure out what kind
of changes I need to make."

Lawrence stuffs the last crust
into his mouth and goes to find
his notebook so that he can
start taking notes for this.

"Consider the problems,"
Stuart is saying to Stan when
Lawrence gets back to the table.
"What are the risks if you don't
take good care of yourself?
What are the obstacles that
might get in your way?"

"Burnout is a major risk,"
Lawrence says. "If you look
at superheroes you can see
how they run themselves
right into the ground."

"But people need us,"
Stan protests, frowning.

"That's an obstacle,"
Stuart says, and points
to Lawrence's notebook.
Lawrence writes it down.

"I can't just abandon people,"
Stan says. "It's not right."

"Abandoning yourself isn't
any better," Lawrence says.

"So you need to find a way
to make sure that other people
are taken care of, and also
a way that helps you blossom,"
Stuart says. "You can do it."

"Yeah, self-care is radical,"
Lawrence says with a nod.

"Self-care in a world that would
rather you just quietly went away
and stopped inconveniencing
them is revolutionary," Stuart adds.

"True for poor folks," Lawrence says.
"I think with superheroes, it's more
that people want you to be a doormat,
or maybe a vending machine."

"No is a very important word,"
Stuart says firmly. "Use it wisely."

"This all sounds really complicated.
Self-care is a big field," Stan says.
"I remember that from health class.
It'll be easier if I break it down."

"Process and subprocesses,"
Lawrence says, and makes a note.
"Pick some categories and then
some steps to work on each."

"Support and accountability,"
Stuart suggests. "Who can help
if you get stuck, or make sure you're
actually following through on plans?"

"Yeah, badges are supposed
to involve talking or working with
different people, and you have
to document accomplishments
for the scoutmaster," Stan says.

"And that's your outline,"
Stuart says, waving a hand at
Lawrence's notebook. "Well done.
Write it up, Stan, so that I can log
the beginning of your project."

"Lawrence should get credit
for it too," Stan says. "This was
his idea, and he's taking the notes."

"I'm keeping track of his work,
so if Lawrence ever decides that
he wants to join up, then he can get
the badges at that time," Stuart says.

He's pretty good about not pressuring
Lawrence, even though Stan has
been all gung-ho about how
awesome scouting is.

The thing is, Lawrence has
to admit that it's growing on him,
and has been for a while now.

Stan has coaxed him into trying
a lot of different activities, and
Lawrence wouldn't even be
the only geek in the troop.

"I'll think about it," Lawrence says,
and Stan's answering smile is
sunshine and honey and
everything good in the world.

* * *
Notes:

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.”
Deborah Day

A dagwood is a giant sandwich named after a comic strip character. Here is a discussion of how to build sandwiches. This is Stuart's sandwich. This is Lawrence's sandwich. This is Stan's sandwich, and no it will not serve two. Read about creating a sandwich bar on a budget.

The Girl Scouts have listed requirements for making your own badge. Compare that with Mozilla's Open Badges. Here is a badge activity sheet and badge affidavit sheet.

Burnout is a serious risk at work and other places. It is particularly common when there is only one person who can do the work, or more broadly, the amount of work exceeds the workers available. There are steps for preventing burnout.

Self-care spans all the stuff people do to keep their body and life in good working order. There are internet prompts and other self-care resources that can help.

Worksheets on self-care include life assessment, areas of wellness, a simple self-care plan, a daily self-care worksheet, a not-to-do list, overcoming obstacles, obstacles and solutions, and support system.

This flow chart shows how to handle problem-solving whether it worked or not. It came out of health care but applies to a much wider range of challenges.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, life lessons, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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