Tacos, Love, and Parenting Yourself

My parents didn’t realize the importance of teaching me, a daughter, to care for myself. They taught me to be kind, thoughtful, and take care of others. My parents and I came from separate sources. It seemed to me as if we were as different as salt water and fresh water.

As society changed for my parent’s generation, they were still swimming in their saltwater tank. From the viewpoint of my culture, saltwater can kill you. Structure. Rules. Binding contracts.

I’ve learned to celebrate discovering my needs, all of them–for comfort, happiness, and safety. It started when I was feeling abandoned. I needed to GIVE and GATHER for myself–not wait and allow resentment to build when another doesn’t come through for me. Being polite wasn’t helpful anymore.

Caring for yourself

Once I was hanging out with a guy at his friend’s house, (boring) which was to be a short visit. After an hour, I NEEDED to eat. I took some initiative and told him I’d be back in a few minutes. I was going to grab a bite to eat (tacos.) It upset him, surprising him a little, but my needs were dire. Blood sugar issues are more important than a man’s ego. Quite honestly, I realize now that I was having a panic attack. But this taco moment is when I realized I had power.

Keep your power. Reclaim any scraps you find along the way–any.

Song Lyrics

Every breath I take has been taken before 
Every note’s been sung…… 
Who can I sing them all again for? Baba, Baba Baba…. 
Please don’t give up - please don’t lose that sound 
So many people fought to gain that ground 
Please don’t give up – please don’t hide your voice 
So many people did not have that choice. - Bellow/Unzip The Horizon, lyrics from a song released on April 7, 2018, Moira Smiley 

The Busyness of Being

Ideas excite me, wake me. I feel the novelty bubble up like soapy suds flooding out of the washing machine. I know joy. At that exact moment, there’s a lie hiding among the zeal of promise. If you scratch away the top layer, you’ll find the untruth—everything would be perfect if I tried harder.

I expect by finishing my tasks, I will feel at peace, and I will enjoy my life, knowing I have things in place. But life doesn’t cycle in that manner. There’s always something that breaks and issues to solve. There’s another needling, prickly urge. And I scratch.

Restless

I’ve often griped about my mom not sitting still. She would get up and down to get things, all in the name of taking care of her family. It was as if she had Mexican jumping beans in her veins. She annoyed me by continually asking if we wanted something else to eat or drink. Do we need a napkin to wipe our not yet dirty faces? As the perfect hostess, she didn’t want to leave anything undone.

Mom called it, “Fretting.” I’ve heard it said as, “Worrying the bone.” At the age of 55, I not only understand, but I have the diagnosis—Attention Deficit Disorder along with anxiety.

Bubbles

I want to do so many things. Travel. Take pictures of places I’ve seen. Buy a rug. Clean the closet. Paint the bedroom. Redecorate. Change something.

Hypervigilance, OCD, and Anxiety- someone save me from me.

I want to write a short story about the dream I had last night. Edit my other stories. Work on a new article that came to me while I was showering. Update blog pages. And I want—more.

Today, I am stressed. I’m having surgery again. In my head, I think if I get everything prepared, all will be fine. No mistakes. I now laugh at my arrogance. I’m not in charge. Fear makes me cling to control. Anxiety isn’t shut off like a water tap, so my brain gives me soap bubbles of new ideas. At least in my doing, I’m distracted from my pain.

For more

If you relate to any of these things and are needing help, please ask. Talk to a doctor or a counselor. I have a great psychiatrist who works with me.
 
I’ve studied my issues for years. My education is in childhood development, so I understand the importance of the developing mind. Trauma and PTSD are real. Abuse of any type can scar a person and even change their personality from upbeat and positive into a frightened, self-loathing person.
 
There’s counseling available, even online. Heal the pain. Namaste. You are worth it.

Itty Bitty Treasures

Life isn’t tidy. It’s not organized into categories for us to tick off the boxes as we go along quickly. Done! There are no rules for life to follow. Life is like a thing with mechanical clockwork, moving faster and faster as we age. Occasionally, we get lucky, and the gears chink and even stick for a moment.

You look up and see a kitten in a window.

Kitten in a window
Cats are everywhere
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― douglas adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I was on vacation a few years ago. Remember vacations? My son and his wife invited me along on a trip to France. There were three areas of the country we visited. I experienced a fairytale of a vacation in Aix-En-Provence. We ate genuine French cuisine, drank wine until late, sat out in the sun, shopped in the markets, and went to a museum, all before leaving for Nice and Paris, our other two destinations. I won’t bore you with my details regarding the flight or the ordeals I had before I took off to fly across the big pond. I’ll allow you to believe the flow of my life is perfect.

At a museum I toured with my daughter-in-law, I made a new friend.

A French kitty

My life is busy, painful, and rushed. But there are moments. I remember disagreeing with teachers on their beliefs and opinions. No! I do not have to live my life the way they believe. I am not confined to the rules of another. I am a success or a failure because of my standards, not anyone else. Life is active. It rolls, flows, moves, bumps, rises and falls. Sometimes it even stops. Enjoy the breaks. They don’t come often enough.

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

Your Rules

We have algorithms by which we live our lives. Previously, I lived from a list that included too many freakin’ I shouldn’t and Don’ts.

I shouldn't talk about myself. It's bragging. - Thanks, bro!
Don't ask for things. If you're at someone's place, never take sustenance. Never impose. - Thanks, Mom!
I'm too slow. Too much. Not enough. Well, no matter what I do, it won't be right. - Thanks, society!

My old rules have worn me out. I’m needing something new.

I do things because I like them. I eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm tired. I ask for what I need.

When your habits aren’t working for you, it may be time to change your ways. Make new rules.

Want to read more?

I Want Things

As a second-grader, jealousy gripped me and possibly taught me a lesson. A schoolmate had a Mickey Mouse watch with the gloves of Mickey that turned to show the time. I knew that she was rich. And for a few minutes, I convinced her to let me wear her fantastical watch. It didn’t matter what else happened that day. This girl and I had bonded, and I was wearing her Mickey Mouse watch. If I were persuasive enough, maybe she’d let me wear it home. At times I had guts. Raw desire made me bold.

Decisions

I always thought it was logic. Truthfully, it was about pain. Choices—which option didn’t hurt as much as the other? If I saw a new phone I wanted, I would think the process through in my mind. It cost x amount, and currently, I am in debt xx amount. But in my thinking, it was a smart purchase if I could purchase it immediately or somehow arrange it into my budget. Logic—as I was calling it—was a lie. Peel back a layer, and you see the pain.

“A lion runs the fastest when he is hungry.”

Salman Khan

As a very young kid, I learned how to earn money from labor. We had a farm. All pecans that fell onto the ground were mine to pick up, and I could sell them by the pound if the hogs didn’t eat them first. Back then, I made about ten dollars. I felt a thrill at having that money. My life also developed a good dose of shame.

Around two years ago, I went to a group meeting to learn how to organize my life. My expectations were too high. And I was clueless on how little the teacher knew. It was far too simple. Don’t hoard, Sort your clothes, and so on. But I was there with people who had five sets of chinaware.

There’s nothing shameful about wanting things.

The teacher, who I knew from therapy sessions, said I had a poverty attitude. I left angry. These people were downsizing and trying to throw their shame onto me. I have no reason to be ashamed. I’ve lived in her world—the money—and like her, I suddenly lost it. So yes, I want things.

Tools for Healing

Sometimes we need the right tool to do the job. We’ve talked and planned, but now we need to work. Here are a few tidbits to start. The first one comes from one of Richard Grannon’s courses. I wish I could tell you which it was from exactly. I’ve worked through both the Discipline and the Emotional Flashback Course. The following is a loose version of his formula.

Gaining Perspective

  1. I am not my flashbacks
  2. Name my goals. (Agency)
  3. I welcome my feelings (anger, fear) name current emotions.
  4. Self interested action – self care. Do it.
  5. I am my own self! This is my body.
Instagram-Narcandempath

Live one day at a time. Keep your attention in present time. Have no expectations. Make no judgements. And give up the need to know why things happen as they do. Give it up!

Caroline Myss

With time and generous amounts of love, you can heal. If you make your goals distinct-it will be more obvious when you meet them. If you know that beginning meditation is a goal for you, then you have to start practicing. Make a goal of sitting for 15 minutes daily or five of the seven days this week, and listen to the sounds around you. Sit, listen, and breathe. And celebrate your successes. It is important. There’s plenty of pain in this world, so finding joy in the everyday stuff is crucial.

Namaste.

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

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.

​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.

Take It Easy

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.

Namaste

Repost — Originally published April 18, 2015