Behind starburst eyes

Value and Worth Aren’t The Same

I’ve noticed that many people seem to be attracted to or pulled towards those that see their value. Western society seems to equate someone noticing all we could do for them with importance and therefore we crave our value being recognized by others.

What I’ve also noticed is that we seem to view our value to others as being the same as our worth. Only, I don’t see it that way. For me, my value is what I can do for another, my worth is what I bring to the table as a whole. One is about what I can do for them, the other is simply about me as a person.

For example, when Mr.N was a year old my value to him high as he needed allot of things because he was only a baby, but my worth was low because I was not viewed as an individual so much as I was the provider of food, comfort, clean diapers and security. However, now at almost 10, he can feed himself, cook basic meals, wash and dress himself and so on and so my value is lower but my worth is higher because he sees more of who I am as a person. This is a natural progression for children of course.

However, I think for many adults we still get stuck looking and evaluating people based on their value instead of their worth. Basically, we get stuck focusing on what specific dishes they bring to our table that we can consume instead of the worth they bring to our table with their presence.

While I’m sure part of this is due to a primitive survival mechanism that makes us seek out those that can help us have a better life (or thrive), I wonder if it’s something we need to consider as no longer inherently necessary.

How much better would it be if we attempted to develop relationships (platonic as well as romantic) with those who’s worth we saw instead? Would we be happier overall if we stopped focusing on what others can actively do for us and intentionally developed relationships based on the worth we saw within others instead?

I ponder these things because secretly adults that primarily view my value feel like a burden to be honest, I feel like the only reason they ask me to their table is for what I can provide that they will use/consume. I want to be invited because they see my worth as a whole person, not for what I can do for them, and I don’t view my value to another and my worth as a person to be the same thing.

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Step 3: Kill it with fire

Every blog posting about buying a used trailer to fix up will tell you that more work is needed than you think.

Naively, I ignored the myriad of warnings ūüė¶ and I ended up finding this:

While I knew from the back that one small section of floor would need to be replaced I had no idea how bad it actually was or the real reason why.

I’d been told the back corner ripped when it was moved as a deck was attached to it and not properly unattached before they moved it, the real truth was much, much worse:

Carpenter ants, hundreds of them living and swarming throughout the entire inside of the walls and floor. The more we removed hoping it was the last “bad” section the more we found ūüė¶ Was it hard on the kids and I to realize we wouldn’t be travelling this summer and that our plan for this trailer was not going to go anything like we’d thought…yep!

But as we took the entire trailer apart, separated each type of material, recycled what we could and brought the rest in multiple loads to the dump, I was able to help them to see that even though we plan, life doesn’t always go according to plan and we have 2 choices: Give up or give it all we’ve got to create a solution.

For this specific case we simply started again but from the ground up lol. Which meant our new first step was cleaning any loose rust from the chassis and then treating it with tremclad.

Now the real building begins! With just over 5 weeks left until I begin University again and the kids start their homeschooling year again the race is on! Do I think the whole thing will be finished in 5 weeks, no I truthfully don’t. BUT we’ll have the floor, walls, and roof done at least and that will give us more time to work on the inside of it on weekends as it gets cooler.

As we build a tiny home now instead of fixing up a trailer we’ll learn lots, work hard, and grow a dream and memories together. Wish us luck! ūüėÄ

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Step Two: Travel Trailer

Now that we’ve got a truck with a towing capacity of 11,800 pounds we’ve got the freedom to really look at trailers and find the right one for our family of 7.

While we only have my step-daughters part-time I don’t want there to NOT be enough room for them to come along as well because they’re a part of our family at all times; not just the days they’re physically with us.

So we need something big enough to sleep 7, and since 3 of those are teenagers, we can’t squish multiple kiddos into a single bed! However, we don’t want something SO big that we barely get anywhere before we have to refill the truck’s gas tank!

After looking on Kijiji, AutoTrader, and at various dealerships’ websites we went with a used 29ft Dutchmen via private seller on Kijiji. We checked it out in person while maintaining physical distancing and wearing our masks and arranged for it to be delivered to a friend’s farm where we could continue to maintain physical distancing from everyone while we camp in a tent and work on it.

We’ll be going back and forth from the farm to our apartment throughout the summer as we work on fixing the parts that need it and getting it all ready for our first grand adventure in it ūüôā

She’s a handyman special, but that makes it even more exciting to me, because the kids and I will be able to create our adventure space together ūüôā

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Step One: Make A Plan

Last week I wrote how I had decided to finally follow my dream and chase the sun with my husband and kids.

Well to do that I needed to make a plan. I know I could have just leapt blindly, but as a mom and still a student myself I couldn’t just have us pack a bag and hope for the best!

Logically step one was to research trucks, and insurance:

After researching we choose this awesome truck:

Stay tuned for step 2: researching and purchasing a trailer!!!

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So I begin…again

When I was about 9 years old my grandfather wanted to go on a month long adventure touring down to Florida and back in an RV, and he invited my mother and us with him. He and my mom made all sorts of plans and my mom spent weeks researching various places to stay, planned routes and so on. Shortly before it was time for the 4 of us to go, he became too ill. He insisted my mother take my brother and I, and she asked a long-time friend of the family to come with us as my dad couldn’t take a month off of work (but did fly down to Florida where we spent a few wonderful days at Disney Land together).

My grandfather never got to go on his grand adventure, and as a child I missed him on our trip, but didn’t understand the way I do now how hard it must have been for him to dream, plan and then at the last moment not be able to finally experience his dream.

There were so many amazing memories for my brother and I during that month, and to this day I cherish the time we spent. Once I had my own child I decided I wanted to take them across the Americas and “chase the sun” for a year. Where we traveled based on the weather and simply went where it was warm for the year, slowly making our way out west to B.C and then down south as far as we desired only to go east and back up north to our home at the end.

Well dear readers as I last posted I am determined to live a life where I actively pursue my dreams. So while I won’t be heading out just yet as Covid-19 is still causing a pandemic (not to mention lots of researching, planning and most likely repairing to do first) I’m going to take this leap and chase the sun with my husband and children. I have read many different travelers blogs so I know such an experience isn’t always perfect, but nothing that is real is perfect. It won’t be perfect, but it WILL be amazing, because it’ll be my family and I actively living out a dream, together.

For such a large endeavour the first step for me is researching and planning. Hence my brand new research journal:

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NOT leaving on a jet plane

Awhile back I stated I wanted to take a figurative big leap, and I did, well I started too…I bought 5 plane tickets to Portugal, and then plane or bus tickets to 15 more countries for a trip spanning 4 months. I researched different places, museums, historical sites, UNESCO World Heritage sites, different travel sites innumerable “top 10 places/things to do” downloaded walking tour apps, street and local transit maps for each place we’d go to, and booked places for us to stay. I was SO excited!

Then Covid-19 struck the world ūüė¶ As of writing this over 100,000 people have lost their lives to this pandemic…I can’t even begin to express my sorrow for the families of those who have passed from it.

Over the past two months our family has attempted to adjust and get through this time of uncertainty, fear and social distancing. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty. I chose an apartment because I didn’t want to pay more for a house with a big backyard when “the world was our backyard”. Instead we went and did all sorts of things, played at parks, used our local libraries, went on nature walks at conservations, and so on. But for many weeks now all of those options have been closed to all residents of our province (as they are in many countries worldwide).

Slowly the cancellation emails came from the airlines, only 2 flights have received refunds, the rest are credits for future travel. While there have been many messages back and forth for various Airbnb stays 3/4 of the reservations have been refunded to us, and I’m still attempting to receive the rest at least as credits.

So now what? Our grand adventure has been put on hold for an indefinite period of time, and we’re in an apt with no backyard of our own for the kids to run around in.

Well now a new adventure begins, because I can curl up and cry about our cancelled plans (okay I might have already done that a time or 2) or I can do something else. Stay tuned dear readers for my next wild plan!

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Taking a leap

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When my mom was in palliative care she spoke with me about all the things she regretted. Only one was some thing she had done, all the rest were things she hadn’t done, dreams she had never chased, moments she hadn’t fully lived, chances she was too afraid to take.

I told her I looked forward to telling her about all my zany adventures when I saw her on the other side. Then to borrow one of her favorite sayings “I put my money where my mouth is”.

I applied to University again and was accepted as a full-time student for my bachelor degree in Anthropology and Psychology. I’m now in my second year, and I’ve worked hard to stay on the honour roll both years.

It hasn’t always been easy, as we still homeschool the kids, and we’re always working on various tools they need to learn to live their best lives too. But, it IS worth it!

I don’t want to regret all of the things I didn’t do, and all of the chances I didn’t take. Nor do I want them to live that way either. Being Autistic, I’ve noticed that my boys are encouraged by society to conform to social norms even more heavily than if they weren’t. Some thing I’ve noticed allot of adult Autistics speaking about lately. So when I say we’re working on the tools they need, a key one of them is the courage to be true to themselves. They are amazing human beings that I’ve been privileged to be a parent to. I never want them to lose sight of their authentic selves, and chase their own dreams. Can you imagine what life could look like if we weren’t afraid to take a leap?

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We’re not in Kansas anymore…

“Of all the things that are different its the bees that make me homesick, they look like regular bees but they are blue and purple. Every time I catch a glimpse I think it is a real bee but then I am reminded that it is not home.”

The above passage from a book struck me deeply.

It made me think of many conversations I have had over the years with many persons and the struggles of trying so hard to “be a part of this world” when you feel like you really don’t belong. And isn’t that one of our most basic needs as human beings, the feeling of belonging? The feeling of being accepted? The feeling that yes, we too are a part of something larger than just ourselves. Some people find that feeling within their families. Some find it with a couple of close friends. Some find it at a place of worship.

But what about those that don’t find it? What about those that struggle each and every day to just BE a part of a group that loves and accepts them unconditionally?

98% of our DNA is the same as every single person’s on the planet, surely 2% out of 100% shouldn’t be enough reason for someone to feel different and excluded from the rest of the world…
How can we as their fellow human beings help? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer, but I’m hoping someone somewhere reading this just might. SO PLEASE, add your ideas at the bottom. Perhaps with many minds we can find a way to ensure ALL people feel the love and acceptance they deserve as fellow human beings.

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What dreams may come…

In grade 11 I took a fashion/sewing class. About three quarters of the way through it I stayed after class to show my teacher the sketches I had been working on for months of clothing I’d designed.¬†I knew the fabrics¬†each piece would be made out of, and I could see in my head a 3D image of the finished article. I could turn it around in my head and see where each seam was, and exactly how to¬†make it. I asked her if she could help me to understand how to draw the female form a bit easier as I had some difficulty sketching what I saw in my head. She¬†sloughed off my¬†explanations and question and basically told me not to¬†worry about¬†how to draw my¬†ideas better as I’d really not need them.¬†My face grew hot, my hands sweaty and my stomach¬†churned as I tried to get outta there as fast as I could, all the while calling myself a fool. I¬†still drew the things I imagined but I never dreamed of showing anyone again.

That afternoon is why no matter what¬†dreams may come to them I encourage my children. I might tell them it’ll¬†take a lot of hard work to break into an industry or a great deal of additional formal education. But I¬†ALWAYS tell them I believe in them and their ability to pursue their dreams. Because really, sometimes¬†when someone shares a dream, while they may want it with their whole heart, their confidence in being able to¬†accomplish it is¬†still as fragile as a butterflies wings, and I want to¬†watch them soar.

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It’s not money that is the root of all evil it’s….

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I don’t believe money is the root of all evil. How can it be, it’s just a bunch of paper and some metals shaped or coloured in certain ways. Numerous parts of Earth have different looks and patterns for their money. It’s simply a physical representation of a value we as a people have decided to use to barter with for our time or goods or services instead of bartering directly for the goods or services we need with one another.

That being said, the ability to collect money, to hold onto more than one needs for their well-being can become a negative thing when the right (or wrong depending on which way you look at it) person is the one hoarding it. The endless pursuit to obtain more, to never be satisfied with how much one has, that greed is the evil, not the money. It doesn’t really matter if it’s metals, jewels, or painted pieces of paper, when one is consumed with collecting to the point that they no longer can see how their actions might affect others, or even worse they don’t care how their actions affect other’s then it’s just plain greed.

It’s greed in general that is the real evil, not money. When we stop looking at one another as people, deserving of respect and common decency and instead simply evaluate how we can use them to bolster our collection of material goods it’s a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in.
Does this have anything to do with Autism? In a way yes actually it does, but it’s so much more than just about Autism. See, when we only look at other’s and evaluate their worth to us in terms of potential return we don’t see them for who they are. And it’s very easy to miss all that they could contribute to our lives. That can easily and readily be said about every single person on this planet! Each human being has the potential to add to this planet in meaningful ways. Some contributions might at first appear smaller than others, but just as the ocean is made up of countless rain drops, every contribution does make a difference!

When we decide that a person is worth less because we don’t believe they will make enough money for us, or provide us with an opportunity to make more money we are devaluing human life. We are saying that a collection of material goods that cannot feed, house, heal, or love us is more important that our fellow human beings.

There is a Pagan song that is sung often at different festivals around a fire, and the chorus is “We all come from the Goddess” No matter what religion you believe in they all state in their own ways that we all come from a central place, a central being or set of beings.

Even most Atheists agree that human beings come from a central source, even if it has no “Higher Power” but was in fact an evolutionary thing.

So while the entire world can agree that we all come from the same source (regardless of what we personally believe that source to be) why can we not see the intrinsic value each person on this planet holds and treat them better than we do our money or gold?

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