Janet West has been a writer since the late 1990s. When someone asked, "If nothing were impossible, what would she do?" The answer was automatic. Write. When she crafted her ideas into words, she felt alive.
Her early writing years were in child development magazines, but now her interests have expanded. Although the love of learning and teaching is still the core of who she is.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 You…And how they make you feel. –Forbes
Style can be a statement or expression. I like options.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Do you meditate and say, I’m just not good at this? Your mind drifts, and find yourself thinking about the movie you’d like to be watching. Might as well be sitting on the couch watching television. Right? Not quite. I was listening to a podcast earlier, which isn’t entirely related, but did make me think of this, and yes, I’ll explain.
Saints and Prophets – Real people
We love our gurus: pedestals and high statues. India is well known for putting its spiritualists at quite an exalted status. But there are those in other parts of the world who do the same. I hear people talk about how perfect someone is. “She never says a bad word about anyone. She helps at fundraisers and gives money to charities.” Blah, blah, blah. Usually, we follow with a self-deprecating, “Naw, I’m just not that good of a person.” If you come to that conclusion, you’ve missed the point. You can’t be good all of the time. You’ll miss. One day you’ll be tired and say the wrong word. Not good. Instead of being good, be real.
Games – There’s no scoreboard
Most of us grow up living life as if it’s a game. Level up. Goals to beat. Lives to live. School, job, marriage, children, etc. Somewhere in there, we throw in vacations as bonus runs, just for fun, and we call it a good game. If we think we need extra life points, we go to a doctor, a priest, or even a yoga studio. Some of us have gotten into meditation, thinking we can add even more health points. There’s some talk that it can give you some superpowers, or have you heard? Yeah, be careful with that one.
We aren’t going anywhere
The point is, we in the western philosophy are goal seekers. We want a prize. We get a trainer to get the abs to get the girl, or am I wrong? Let’s get this straight. I meditate to remember myself and to clear away the clutter of everyone else. I can do this by journaling if I wish. I could go for a long walk in the park instead. Anything away from structure and demands. Drawing, painting, sailing, biking, tanning. So if today my mind wanders a bit, it’s okay. In it’s walking, it allows me the freedom to release and let go. I relax. Then, I return to myself once again and slip out of the coils that the chokehold of daily life had held me in. And it feels so good to be me also.
The book Death on Diamond Mountain is just a glimpse into one of those moments when things go wrong. Take a glimpse. If you’re a Plus member of Mysterious Universe or want to be, they give you an interview with the author. Quite a trip, but the meditation that I’m referring to is remember your peace.
The masks we wear today are not so hideous as the ones from the early 1900s. FYI, I found some remakes on Amazon. For fun, I include the link.
If you want to have a bit of fun online, you could always use this as your profile picture.
BTW this is just a little light-hearted look at masks.
The mask or not mask argument is hot. People are willing to lose friends and family over this protective device. Could we be taking our stance, our seriousness too far? Imagine if your mask were the beak of 1917?
My mom was having a difficult time wearing masks. Unable to drive due to health issues, she only had access to my dad’s black utilitarian ones. I find this sad since there are so many pretty, trendy face coverings available. I don’t know if she will wear them, but I purchased her a couple if she needs them.
Let’s make this time fun. Make it a game or make it practical. It’s your choice.
Honking is an annoying noise to me, so much so that it took me a full year before I realized the one-year-old car I purchased didn’t have a working horn. Hmmm, darn. My warranty was gone by that time. I’ve had the car for ten years now, and it’s still not repaired.
People honk, and it’s difficult to know, are they telling me, “Hey lady, speed up!” or “Yeah, you can move on into the spot in front of me.” A loud noise is a loud noise. It startles and offends. Honking rarely accomplishes it’s purpose unless the purpose is for the person honking is to yell. In those situations, it is useful. Honk, honk, honk, honk. Just like being downtown in Chicago.
I’m contrasting this to those who complain. My mom complained when I was growing up, and it was difficult for me to learn the difference until more recently. I asked her to voice her concerns to her doctor, which she had spoken so freely to me, and she said she didn’t want to complain. I was baffled. She told me my dad didn’t approve of this behavior, and then I understood a little more. He is the one who keeps things to himself. He is always alright. He would never let the doctor know of his issues because it exposes weakness. So, mom’s complaining to me is her way of telling me she has a problem, but she has no way of getting help.
Voicing an issue is a good thing, in my opinion. Speaking up, and even protesting is a right we should protect with all of our beings. If we don’t want to lose our humanity in this age, we need to wake up and use this time wisely. Speak up. If there’s an issue on your job, or at your apartment complex, or anywhere that is affecting your life, use your right to say something.
This society we live in is built upon these customs. The structure our ancestors chose were laws, rules, and the ability to stand up for ourselves. We sometimes need to request help from others stronger or wiser than we are to speak for us, but the purpose is the same, don’t sit in the mud and complain about being wet and dirty. Find a way, ask for help, holler, cry, kick, and scream if you must, but say something until you are heard and can grab a hand that will pull you out of that mud. But whatever you do, don’t stay there.
I live in an area where complacency is the norm. This is the way it is. We’ve always lived here and don’t you dare think you’re better than anyone else. I’m watching businesses die because of this attitude, and these are ones that could update their equipment, update their ways, and stay in touch with the times, but they refuse. It reminds me of when typewriters were going out, and computers came in. So many talented older women didn’t learn how to use these new pieces of equipment. Modern ways came in and left them behind. I shouldn’t be sad, I guess. I should let it go, but I find it disheartening because this is what I see happening in my government as well. It’s time for a change. I don’t know what it will look like, but the old way isn’t working. We have to speak up.
Say something. If you have opinions and you have ideas, say them. If you are in a position to do something in a local area, use it to your advantage. Make wise decisions. Move forward.
If you’re a person in need, don’t give up hope. This is a day for you. The sun is rising. Decide what you want, even if it seems impossible. Imagine if it were. If you were not sitting in the mud, how would you live?
Shall we? Let’s do it together. I’m serious. On the count of three—One, Two, Three, Sigh. There are days when I can’t hold it inside any longer. At work, every thing seems frustrating. If one more person calls to ask if I can rush a work order, it’s possible I might freaking yell at them.
If you’re exhausted, be kind to yourself and take a break. Make space for rest. Lighten the load if you can. Even an imaginary vacation can help for a time. Or grab a friend virtually and do a movie night together. In these days when everyone is working from home, I’m still commuting to work. I’m not complaining since it’s good to have a paycheck, I only need others to understand that I am not feeling the boredom from staying home. I would welcome my place, some couch time, and Netflix. But it’s against some companies’ policies.
We’re going to kick this thing.
I’m reading the book, You Are A BadAss. It’s a bit cheesy in its positive spin, but I needed it this week. A short shove in the right direction.
Never apologize for who you are. It lets the whole world down.
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