Don’t Speak

Helen Sinclair:
No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
From Bullets Over Broadway

It’s time to hunker down, to stay inside, to do the opposite of what Americans do best. We do not do idle. And even when we rest, it’s not a quiet thing. We fidget. We plan. We vacation.

Today was the first weekend after Oklahoma Governor Stitt ordered nonessential businesses closed and people to remain home.

KFOR News – As part of the new restrictions, Stitt said that all non-essential businesses located in the counties affected by COVID-19 are being ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 until April 14.

So what happens when you’re home sheltering in place, and the electricity shuts off? No lights or television or computers. Netflix is unavailable. No binge-watching the latest show. Well, earlier, I swept the floor but couldn’t do the laundry. The WiFi was off, so I wasn’t able to edit, not even from my phone.

We took a walk. Thankfully the electricity was turned on by the time we had made the trek around the neighborhood. I had work to do: writing, laundry, and other busy stuff.

This week I will try to rest. Really.

My Recovery

My cervical fusion was on January 23. Afterward, I began my recovery. I truly appreciate those who have taken care of me. My stress tolerance is low, and my need for kindness and patience is enormous. Pain Management is everything. Yes, I feel the pain. I’m not that person who says no to the prescriptions. I understand the risks, but goodness, let’s not become martyrs. I also wish I could stay forever cocooned in my nest. I have my boyfriend, my heating pad, my audio books, my cats, and my iphone, but unfortunately, I only have two more weeks. It will be back to work then.

Thank you, myceliumcrusader from Instagram for your words of truth and encouragement. They resonated with me, so with permission, I am sharing them below. See it on Instagram.

Some things change

Are We Going Audio?

Check me if I’m blowing this out of proportion, but has the scenery changed? It seems we keep stubbing our toe in the same place as if someone moved the furniture.

I’ve purchased books over the past couple of years that I couldn’t finish. Either didn’t have the time, or I was interrupted in the mid-flow. A great novel deserves quality attention to be enjoyed. I’ve discovered audio is a dimension open for me. At work, I have audio space. Besides, I welcome the barrier of my headphones, blocking out the office noise. In my childhood, I would read for hours and couldn’t wait to hoard books from the library or the book club, but now I hear those creations instead.

There’s speculation that the quality of writing has dropped. Therefore we have lost interest. It’s possible. Others state our attention span is shorter. Yeah. Of course, we have higher expectations for ourselves today. Politics, passwords, and aging issues. Take care of the kids and the parents. Oh, did you remember to stop and get milk on the way home? Make dinner. Do the dishes. Well, you know the drill.

Yes, there’s a colossal video explosion. It’s streaming addiction. I don’t knock it. I love it. My downstairs neighbor’s television plays nonstop. I don’t tease. He is elderly. And he plays it balls loud!

TOP DEFINITIONBalls LoudAn extremely loud sound. Its like balls deep… but in your ear. “Dude, that concert last night was balls loud!”

BCore June 10, 2008 UrbanDictionary.com

Truthfully though, it doesn’t pay to be so hard on ourselves. Reading isn’t a virtue. Novels, self-help books, magazines, and all of these carriers of words are opportunities for some. Never let them become a burden. Once-upon-a-time stories were passed from Grandfather to grandchild around the fire. Night after night, they told the same stories, weaving them into the tribe’s psyche. We can honor our ancestors. Tell an old favorite over a cup of chocolate this season. Make a storytime.

Landscapes change. We grow old. Maybe we notice the furniture moved. Honor is listening to the times.

Seriously Happy

There’s no guarantee for success or one formula for not ending your life with regrets, but there are a few pieces of wisdom which have been shared over many generations.

  • Hang around positive people.
  • Don’t fix negative people.
  • Help your tribe.
  • Seek tasks and lessons that are challenging to you.
  • Respect the human needs: camaraderie, love, family, tests, learning, struggle.

Did I Do This?

The product you have in front of you is the result of years of practice. If you like what you see, keep going. Otherwise, it’s never too late for improvement.

Feel the breeze. Notice what you like and enjoy it. Make it happen again.

Permit yourself to be happy today. I have not always allowed myself to enjoy my current progress. I wasn’t where I needed to be yet. How will I ever appreciate more if I can’t see today’s beauty?

Today, find your sunshine.

Illegitimate

What does it mean to not belong? It never mattered how hard I tried. I didn’t feel I was part of the family. Mine. Two brothers. My middle brother finally admitted to me a couple of years ago that he hated me as a child. From the day I was born. The odd thing- I had felt his resentment as I was growing up. Sadly, it only made me want his attention more. I adored both of my brothers. But I never belonged. I was the outsider.

Feelings

Belonging is a bone-deep craving you never escape. You dress it up or down depending on your personality, but it’s the snark as you reply to your coworker. Do they make more money? Get more time off? You hate. And you don’t know why.

Keep On

It keeps you on your toes, always jumping higher. Or you hide. I’m not an expert on the whole human race with its quirky ways, but I know how I feel when I’m relaxed and authentic. When I’m in my element, I smile from the inside. Finding these pockets of authenticity didn’t come naturally. Most of my life has been a walk through a jungle of emotions I couldn’t name. Confusion. Chaos. They call from the trees above. Tangled vines surrounded me and jungle snakes dropped in front of me, even preventing my progress when I tried to do something different. Stick with the familiar, the snake seemed to whisper. Yesterday’s action might be the answer, but I’d never change and I didn’t want to stay tormented forever. Daily life is difficult. Working through the jungle, untangling the vines was tough. How did I get here?

It’s Complicated

To most people, there are paths. Yes, life has problems, sadness, grief, breakups, and pain. There is a source for that pain. Emotionally healthy people can say, “I had a car accident.” Period. In the jungle of messed up folk, such as me, or those who have feelings of not belonging, a car accident is rarely just a car accident. There are tangled vines of doubt. “Was I speeding?” Guilt and shame. “I can’t face anyone tomorrow. That was stupid to rush this morning. I was going too fast.” This torment continues. In the case of my mom, who is 82, she is still chewing on thoughts from her childhood.

Understand

I created a story in my head as a child. I didn’t know why my brother pushed me away when I was three. Logic was not involved. Only a small child’s fear. And when he ran instead of playing, I didn’t understand it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t an adult who could reason this through. And my adults didn’t know to explain. I learned twisted patterns on how to relate to life, problems, and men. I expected difficulty and avoidance. Vines and snakes. And I got them.

Resolution

There’s a way out of the jungle. The vines have names as well as do the snakes. If you put signs on the trees, you create paths. An amazing thing can happen with this jungle. It might not be the family you were born with, but it becomes a world you create. You belong. Name the emotions you feel when they come to you. Don’t ignore them. Go deep into the jungle. If it’s sorrow, put a big stamp on it. SORROWS! Journal, write, talk to friends, walk in nature, play music, whatever helps you. We are legitimate.

Thank you for being my friend!

You might want to read Belonging or My People or Memories of A Childhood

Painting by Julie Gray

QUIT-repost

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event, and I’m prepared to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming? We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

Vulnerable

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard. All of these things make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of your life zone. That’s not you. We act like we’re afraid. Like that sick fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be frightened, but we aren’t hopeless.

Tilt

Once when I was dating a guy, without telling him anything, he started saying things like, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’d been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder if the universe isn’t responding to my thoughts. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how, when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium Find the parts of your life with wiggle room. Look for the loose teeth.

The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

Rebuilding the Brickwork Of My Mind

We are afraid we’re alone.

I’ve spent years lugging around baggage. I have issues. Pain. I was injured, and I’ve hurt people in return. “Look, everyone. See my pain.” I didn’t do a lot of workshops or therapy sessions, but I donned the clothing of the wounded, shamed warrior. My name badge if you dared get that close read, Unworthy.

Recently, I’ve started to doubt the wounded me story, ripping it away like it was ivy growing unrestrained on the side of my house. But by now shame was buried in my mortared joints. I had so much to learn. And much to unlearn. These are not the renovations you see on HGTV with quick before and after snapshots.

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty.

In most lives, there’s a sense that we aren’t doing enough. And we feel that life is complicated. It’s so freakin’ tricky as we think we have to do everything and we are alone. My mental training was built on struggle framed in the guise of independence, strength, endurance, and survival. Go Go NIKE! Just Do It!

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty. This was the way of their life, but it can’t work anymore. I cannot conform because it isn’t who I am. And I was shamed, blamed, misunderstood, and told I needed to change because I was broken. I did not fit. Who told me this? The ones who refused to change. The generation who tried to keep me safe. I learned fear and paranoia.

What if I’m not broken? Do I enjoy my day? Could I? These are my new questions for rebuilding my thoughts. Instead of the repairing, I am living.

from Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk

I wouldn’t dream of telling you to believe as I do. I am saying, and you might not be broken. And if I’m not broken and you’re going not to break, we could learn to love our lives.

You are not alone. It appears we are, but there are so many who care. We aren’t isolated from each other. We don’t compete with our coworkers for our meals. There’s no lack. Also, I believe we have access to a collective. Maybe my words fail in the description. It could be a group we belong to, and we draw energy from when necessary, anyway, I imagine a gathering of friends on a beach. We’re sitting around a fire laughing and sharing our experiences. We belong to this family. Someone has our back. Maybe your group meets at the local bar and drinks shots. Or has pie at the cafe.

I honor you. Namaste.

Stumbling Around

Fear of Failure. Atychiphobia. Anxiety.

It’s sometimes the reason old people sit in their recliner too long. And why the snappiness gets lost from their step. Not on their sixtieth birthday or even in their seventy-fifth year. Just one day it’s easier not to try. Not push. Effort and achievement cause expectations.

The unknown is difficult to face. The young stare it down. Every job interview, each new friend, the new 10-page application they fill out for renting the house, new schools, and moving. But somewhere after the home and the kids and the third new job, life settles. It changes less. By the time the kids grow up, life has rolled on—around and over us.

As we age, we expect to know more. Be smarter. Shouldn’t we be advising our children? We feel we shouldn’t need to improve ourselves anymore. We did that in our twenties.

This is a new time to live. And I refuse to rust, whether it’s by sitting in a recliner or refusing to learn a new language.

We can do this. Don’t turn off your curiosity.

Is it possible, that some of us are afraid of diving, of jumping into the deep end? What’s the worst that could happen if we lived?

How To Conquer The Fear of Failure

Get Well Meme

My mom had surgery. Watching her deal with pain, watching Dad’s emotions, his helplessness, grief, and feelings of failure and remorse have been exhausting.

The decisions leading to the surgery for my family have been tricky. For years, Mom has ignored her neck issues and pain as well as any arthritis. I didn’t realize she’d been using a heating pad every day as her method of treatment. There was a cortisone shot many years ago. Also, a few significant falls. All of this information, would have been useful for doctors to know, but she denied everything. She believed her recent fall caused her problems.

Decisions are difficult. Cutting is not something to jump to as the first solution. But my parents were so scared of surgery they were avoiding it to the cost of Mom’s enjoyment of life. Her hands were gone. Clasping a cup, the sense of holding a hand or feeling a face was gone. She felt nothing. All was numb. And her grip was based on sight.

Dad took over the cooking and cleaning. This is the role change many families go through. He’s helped her walk from bed to the chair and the table. And in all of this time, there has been this hope she’d get better. Until she didn’t. She kept falling. It was emotionally difficult for both of them.

After multiple attempts to see the doctor and pounding on that door to find out what Mom needed, surgery became the only option. She has rheumatoid arthritis in her cervical spine.

They finally operated early Friday morning. Both of my parents are surgery virgins. And after seeing Mom fresh from surgery, Dad broke down in tears feeling he had harmed his wife, the love of his life.

I keep reassuring them that it will get better. The first days after surgery are the worst, but that might not be true. I’m not sure. At home, there are no nurses to move you or bring you Sprite.

One thing I know is what her doctor said, if she hadn’t gone for the surgery she eventually would have become paralyzed losing the rest of her mobility and dying. Maybe this isn’t as real to her as it is to her children and grandchildren. We got it. We were there encouraging her to see the doctor. My kids were cheerleading her forward.

She is loved. If love can speed recovery, she will fly through this.

#family #pain #loveyourpeople

featured image from The Girl God