Living Today – After Pain

I hurt for years. It was bad. The pain enveloped me, which made it impossible for my senses to find clear guidance. I don’t want to go through it again, nor anyone else. For the love of God, let it stop with me. The rolling tide of generational abuse doesn’t need to continue. People pleasing, bowing to bullies, and narcissistic abuse should not be normal everyday life. But it was my life.

I never knew what it meant to be “Present.”

Working with therapists on emotional healing and emotional literacy to recognize my pain has helped me see more panorama.

A child recites her alphabet. She sounds out the letters, combining them, and struggling to form words. When the connection happens inside the child’s mind, it resembles magic, but it’s not. With enough stimulation and fuel, one begins creating words. They will comprehend. Looking back at the alphabet, I don’t grasp why reciting the ABC’s helped me become a proficient reader. I know that it works, and I know that I practiced until I learned. It’s training in the most basic form.

I couldn’t understand the purpose of therapy even though I knew it would be helpful.

Becoming a healthy person takes a process. Some of the stuff I have in me may never completely heal, and I need to live with the limitations of who I am. Overall, I have made significant progress. So can you. Commit to doing the work and learn how to live.

I live now. If I become angry because a coworker says a thing, I’m offended now. I have worked on my emotional literacy and I can respond to the anger itself.

You need tools

What is Emotional Literacy? It’s the ability to identify the feelings you are experiencing. Most people are shallow in noticing our feelings. Feeling scared is different than me knowing I’m terrified and panicked. Name your emotion.

#Trauma: I evaluate the emotion. Is my flashback from an older, emotionally charged time? My childhood was angry. (This is part of the emotional literacy.)

#Emotion: If it is new and not something with a deep root, I handle it differently. Current emotions deserve a valid response also. We have rights as humans and must care about ourselves.

The first step to developing empathy is emotional literacy, or the ability to read or recognize your own emotions and the emotions of others so that you can figure out what they are feeling.

Children and Empathy: Teaching Emotional Literary

Excerpt from The Jungle of My Emotions – “This rage is my jungle. I should know my way through it by now, but I don’t. A therapist will tell you to name the emotions. Instead of rage, get down to the baser emotions. Fear. Insecurity. Feeling utterly alone and vulnerable. When I was negotiating, I was taking it personally. She was attacking me and saying I was wrong. Backed into a corner, I felt powerless. So, I defended my territory.”

Related Content

Hell Is Love – With a Side of Abuse

When I am with you, I seem useless.
With all of my caring
Straining to be my best,
yet, you criticized, scrutinized, and rejected.

I wonder about your parents.
Were you abused? Was your life this hell?
I’ve bowed and pampered you
as I did my own mother.

I fell for her schemes.
But now, I must learn a new way.
Amusing you is impossible.
Impossible, impossible, utterly impossible.

It’s the dog with Mother Hubbard,
Always looking into a cupboard.
I will not give myself to exhaustion,
I’ll not lead a bone-weary trek to the grave.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Squirrels

There are subtle cues in the universe that alert you to surrounding issues. Be aware of them. It’s not always a reason for panic, but awareness is necessary. The book The Gift of Fear speaks of us losing our attention. But it’s not a permanent thing.

February 15, 2019–from my personal journal

I walked out my door, and the squirrel I call George was fussing. His chit-chat-chattering sound came from above me. He was furious. I expected a cat or bird to be terrorizing him, but there wasn’t anything around that I could see. Curious.

Intuition is always right in at least two important ways;

It is always in response to something.

it always has your best interest at heart.

Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from ViolenceTags: common-sense, intuition

There might still be hope for humans if we remember to listen. Talk less. Hear more. Pay attention to your friends and family. Our greatest gift this season is attentive and mindful care. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. For most of us, we give as we want. I usually buy gifts that I appreciate. For some of my family, I miss the target big time. The irony is—I’ve always considered myself to be intuitive.

Anywhere a squirrel can go

When you follow intuition, The solutions come to you, and you don’t know how or why.

Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Squirrels chatter when they feel threatened. A cat could be walking on the ground below. Mr. Squirrel will fuss, letting the neighbors know that a cat is nearby. He’s no match for that cat, and he probably knows it, but one thing is sure, he’s not quiet.

There is a time for listening, and there is a time to speak your mind. Do you know what time it is?

Melancholy

I’m battling through overgrown weeds of depression and the bramble of my mind, getting my thoughts in order. Following the confused tangle causes me to lose my balance. And direction.

I indulge in my despair and failure.

I’m comfortable sitting on the forest floor, and I cry. Scream. I can’t stay here forever. So, I get up and go …again..

Janet West
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The holidays are a difficult time for me. Our culture has high expectations, and there’s no way for most of us to live up to those. We are disappointed. Somehow I must change my way of living. I need a new view of life, so I will not cry half of the day for two months.

My challenge is yours. Start your own traditions by creating a holiday or non-holiday for you and your family. Live on your terms. Release yourself from other’s chains. And may each year be better than the last

Happy days ahead!

Love in Cuchara Pass

I’ve wanted to share part of my Colorado trip, but I haven’t taken the time to organize my thoughts. Sometimes you have to do it. Organize later.

Off the highway in Las Animas County, Colorado, my boyfriend and I stopped for a chance to rest and take few pictures. It was more interesting than I was expecting. I found out later the area is called Cuchara Pass. We were north of a town called Cuchara on the downhill grade before you get to La Veta.

We both love Aspen trees. And driving through scenic Colorado in September is divine. The Aspens were beautiful—but they were Summery green—not yet turning golden for fall. It was a sunny day with a blue sky over us and the wind blowing softly through the round leaves. Perfection. As I walked into the grove, I noticed the fallen logs, which make for outstanding photography. Nature shots are my favorite to take. I happened to look up and see the Cupid hearts with initials carved into the bark of a tree. Several of the initials are replicated on other trees. Aha, a story. Those are the things that keep me curious, what keeps me alive. Art.

Disclaimer: I don’t encourage this practice—it’s harmful to trees. If someone finds this location, please don’t add more scarring to their skin.

Wind in the trees

Interested in learning more about the area? Here are some links I found.

Thank you for stopping by!

Their World, Not Mine

I have felt the need to pull attention. Grab, grasp, latch onto it—the amorphous thing we all desire—as if awareness was a scarce commodity. At times, when you’re parenting children, there can be moments when there’s a shortage, but I think it’s more like our current situation with toilet paper. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

I’ve often been jealous of the selfish people who could capture everyone’s eye, whether it be beauty or victimhood. As if by gravity—there are plenty of people orbiting around them. I fume. I want to poke their eyes out. Yes, I have issues.

Entitlement

When the Coronavirus started, there were concerns for our elderly parents, actual problems. Whose family was the most vulnerable? Why aren’t we staying home? The weeks have grown long. Somewhere along the way, this all became a competition.

Maybe you know the feeling. There’s a person you talk with about life, and suddenly their tragedy is worse, far worse or their life is more demanding. Sad story. After a time, you’re not chatting. Your blood is boiling because your calm talk is a rivalry.

Conflict is a trigger moment for me. I’ve retrained my response to these moments. I must first remember there’s no shortage of talk time. I can chat with other folks. Second, I respect the other person as best I can, but not to my harm. Sometimes I simply walk away.

We are in strange days. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.

Makeup and Neckties, Following Social Norms

If orange is the new black, I find myself wanting to wear blue. Colors are trendy. Early summer may be eucalyptus blue, while in the middle of Autumn, people will be tired of the pale colors and want vibrant colors. Oranges and reds will seem comfortable. It never seems to change my mind about what I should wear, though. My palette comes from an inner need.

What drives you?

Wearing makeup is about fitting in and blending for some women. For others, it’s a statement. “This is who I am,” they say. Audrey Hepburn had a classic style. Bold eyeliner with black lashes. Crisp and classic. We love this style. Marilyn Monroe had a rigid formula for her makeup. Besides the eyeliner and eyelash routine, she added a white line on the outside corner, which extended her eyes’ width.

Statements.

When I read the article, Kamala Harris wears white, I had forgotten about the suffragettes. I didn’t remember Hillary Clinton’s white pantsuit or Geraldine Ferraro wearing white when she accepted the nomination to become the first female candidate for vice president in 1984. Heck, I didn’t grasp the significance of women and white suits. 

First Lady Melania Trump wore a blouse with a pussy bow to a presidential debate in 2016.

USA Today

There are groups, movements, non-conformists who refuse to wear what the tribe wears. Few men wear suits today, just as few wear hats or wigs. But there are still those who love to wear matching khakis and shirts—uniforms. There are many more who enjoy following the trends.

What Your Clothes Say to You, Not About YouAnd how they make you feel.Forbes

Style can be a statement or expression. I like options.

​Healing Your Space

Space, we call it a thing. Star Trek started its program with the words, Space, the final frontier. Conquerors of times before claimed lands, they planted homes and flags saying this area belonged to them, and they now owned it.

Personal

Disclaimer: this article was written pre-COVID-19

Personal space isn’t so easily defined. Do you run and hug a new coworker? Is a handshake necessary? When talking with someone do you leave a two feet distance? What about crowded places, are you in their space? Every culture has their own comfort level. And within each culture there are variations. Children and parents can hug and snuggle without discomfort, but you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and act the same way. Not unless you wanted to be punched. For etiquette read- >Don’t Stand Too Close.

Some days boundaries are natural. Put up a fence. Close the door. Hide in a closet. I can do these things. The one thing I have trouble with is an emotional cut-off. How do you close the door without hurting people? Clearing your emotional space is as important as cleaning your room. Sometimes they go hand in hand.

Emotional and Mental

If you were raised by controlling parents, emotional and personal space is probably an issue for you. I didn’t have the right to my own religion. Barely had the right to my choice of clothing. There was no arguing about politics or doctrine. In my state this is normal. Strict parenting meant good wholesome children. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

But when a child has no right to privacy, or they are threatened for having an opinion that is different, a line is crossed. I call foul. Emotional space is every bit as important as physical. Don’t let anyone take your life – space.

There’s a lot of information about boundaries. Here are a few links.

Getting Space in a Relationship

The Emotional Space Theory

BOOK – Codependent No More – Melody Beattie

The above blog post was originally posted in the winter of 2017, but became corrupted. Reinstated today, October 11, 2020.

Confinement

Stay in your lane, boy.

The other day, my therapist asked me how I was doing in this worrying time. Without familiar touch and close contact, some people become depressed, she said. I smiled and told her I’d enjoyed the freedom this time has brought me. I don’t like human contact except with my closest family.

Every culture has their comfort level. And in each culture, there are differences. The area is not so easily defined. How do you decide how close to stand to someone? Are you in their territory?

“You create within your mind your own cages that confine you.”

Steven Redhead, Life’s Impressions

Reset

Moments such as these are history makers. They are a little uncomfortable, a little too tight, like a pair of new jeans. If we break them in, they’ll be old favorites. But until then, we have to learn to live as they are today. This is a time for rethinking our lives.

It is not a right or wrong challenge, contrary to the talk around the water cooler. We don’t need to pick sides. Let the others dispute over the correct number of people allowed to gather. Or, if any, should congregate.

Know one thing, it matters how well you can adapt.

When Everything Changes, Change Everything.

Book by Neal Donald Walsch

For me, this is time for space clearing. Healing, learning, and creating are on the list today. I can do things differently. When the rules are changing, pay attention.

I wish you health and joy in the coming days. And remember to take care of those you love.

Namaste.

artwork by Arna Baartz