Still September 20, 2003 - There's just too much for me to type about it all right now. But there are just a few things more that I have discovered about myself. First of all, I am very protective of myself. It's why I can get so defensive. I'm so protective that I avoid any situation which may hurt or upset me. I'm not really paranoid, I don't anxiously see danger everywhere. No, I don't even risk it, I just accept the existence of danger and I have built my life to just avoid even the possibility. I think I feel threatened by the very notion of living.

One of the most interesting things that I did was examine the various roles that I have been assigned over the years. Everyone plays different roles, like mother, teacher, athlete, geek, contrarian, etc. An individual plays many different roles at different times. Some roles you like and wish you could always play, other roles you play perhaps to protect yourself. I had to think of these roles as if they were parts in a movie or play. Every movie has a script, and the script calls for different roles/parts, it dictates the actions taken by the person playing a particular role, and it dictates the reactions of the other characters to that role. One thing I did was select a role I have played, then list all of the actual actions I took as part of that role, and then I wrote a paragraph or two about how other people reacted to me in that role. These are my primary, life-effecting roles over the years: Jehovah's Witness, loner, invalid, daughter, sister, friend, smart girl/geek, worker/customer service person, student, debater. When playing the role of Jehovah's Witness, here is what I did as part of my script:

study, comment, encourage, inspire, teach, set example, preach, pray, trust, obey, serve, defend, debate, learn, support, dedicate my life, be responsible, understand, help others to understand, consolidate all other roles, be right, be humble, be meek, have faith, be patient, be kind, love everyone

After reading my actions as part of that role, and also going over how people treat me as a Jehovah's Witness, I decided this is a role I want to keep (really, I would keep it anyway and just change my actions if I didn't like them, but I see this role has brought me joy over the years). Here is another role, one I found to be toxic and abhorrent. Here is how I acted out the role of invalid:

expect the worst, don't usually take medication or follow prescribed treatment, believe every bad thing doctors say, find a dark cloud in every silver lining, be defensive, withdraw, be an avid student of my condition (but not typically of treatments), trust the diagnoses of doctors, avoid hospitals, fake and exaggerate conditions for sympathy and an excuse to avoid doing something, be anxious, make myself physically sick with anxiety, expect depression, doubt the extent of my illness, avoid Jehovah, be empathetic with sick people

After carefully examining my actions as an invalid and also how people react to me, I have decided that this is a role I will actively work to eliminate from the script of my life. I'm not very good at being an invalid, now am I? This will be a difficult role to give up even though in print it is obviously undesirable. Not all of the actions are bad but most of them are, and the overall tone of the role is pretty bad. I did the same thing with all of my various roles and wrote out these scripts and learned some things, good and bad, all very interesting. The last script I wrote was the script of Danielle, the ideal life script for me, these are the actions required of the part:

be optimistic, sing, dance a lot, write for a living, love, nurture, protect, be empathetic, tutor, study, travel, be supportive but not co-dependent, be smart, learn, trust, dress well, swim, take care of my body, play bass, play piano, be funny, read a lot, think independently, observe, be sympathetic and understanding, be patient, work hard but enjoy it, don't be taken for granted or taken advantage of, listen, absorb information, be reliable, undemanding, sensitive to others' needs, share thoughts & feelings with friends and through writing, be kind, be responsible, be realistic, be needed, encourage, inspire, teach, set example, be honest, be a little mysterious, be obedient, be principled, be humble, bold, unashamed, be very faithful, be logical, energetic, investigate things, love people, be courteous and show respect, live in the moment, seek mental stimulation, act for fun, learn quickly, speak French and Italian, love unconditionally, provide, exercise self-control, affirm, be sexy, be wealthy (my definition of wealthy is probably not like that of most people), be wise, sweet, thin & fit, happy, content, safe

A lot of actions to keep me busy.

September 22, 2003 - I was listening to the radio and I heard a beautiful song. I've probably heard it before but I didn't notice it before. It's called "Leader of the Band" by Dan Fogelberg. This song brings tears to my eyes because it really makes me think about my father. My father truly is the "leader of the band" in so many ways. As in the song, he has passed on a legacy of music to his children. But in another way, he has led our family through trying times, through a lot of pain and misfortune, and he has raised children who can only hope to pass on his legacy of strength, patience, determination and kindness. As the song says, "Papa I don't think I said I love you near enough."

This song makes my heart well up, especially as I think of my Daddy getting older and hobbling about in pain. He still tries to provide for his family and gives us so much love. He listens to me even though he doesn't always understand. He never put himself first, he always put Jehovah first. He has taught me so much, probably much more than I realize. He has been through so much in his short life and I hope that I can help make the rest of his life a happy one. That means I have forever to prove I learned the lessons he has taught me in twenty years. I promise to make the best of it.

I Thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I Thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I Thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And Papa I don't think I said I love you near enough

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band

September 28, 2003 - I was just thinking about stereotypes and me. I guess I am not "normal" in a number of ways. For example, and this is what got me thinking about the subject, African-Americans are notorious for being "bad tippers". Because of this, I am convinced that I have been the recipient of mediocre service mainly because they didn't expect a good tip from me anyway. However, I generally tip at least 30% and I have been known to tip over 100%. Another thing, according to some studies, the average IQ of a black person is well-below average. However, mine is not and most of the black people I know seem to be at least average on the IQ scale, and I'm not just talking about friends and family. But if the studies say so, then I guess most black people are bad tippers and they're dumb.
Just more meaningless words....next page