Authenticity In Times Of Crisis

We know instinctively that some things are precious. Your health, relationships, family, sanity, and mobility must be prized so that you can have a happy life. Your true self is also worth protecting.

Authentic – representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/authentic

I follow trends. Fashion is a hobby of mine and in my blood. As far back as I can remember, my very reason for getting out of bed was to pick my outfit for the day. The magazines influenced me on the colors I liked and the amount of brightness. It’s subtle. Soon after indulging in the magazines, I’d forget who I was. Do I like lace? Why am I suddenly craving, needing their product? I’ve been swept into a river of marketing.

Authentic


Do I remember who I am?

There were terrorists on the news. Now, it’s politics. I watch stories of sickness, epidemics, murders, crime, and war. Can I hide at home? I can’t stay this way. I don’t want to be swept into the kinetic frenzy of herd mentality. How do I handle my life?

I remember me.

I have made it through many rough times and difficult trials. Victorious. I know am strong enough to make it through the dark night. There’s light. But in the dark moments I still feel hopeless. I had to find focus on a good thought and remind myself of it over and over again. Sometimes it helped to have a physical token as in the movie Inception. Recently, I started listening to positive podcasts and guided meditations. Brain Software With Mike Mandel: Dealing With Disaster is a good episode. I also like Tracks to relax: I Am Deserving Sleep. I’m trying to laugh and do silly things. I know it’s one day at a time. It will get better.

Sometimes after bad things happen, after the storm, it takes time to find footing. I’m still finding mine. My surgery left me weak. Our nation, this world, we as a whole will need to find our strength again. It will get better. Remember who you are. You are strong. You are funny.

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

With Much Gratitude

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.”

Gertrude Stein

I learned several valuable lessons from my religious training.

  • It’s good to plant seeds. If you care for them, they will grow into sturdy trees.
  • Treat others with the same respect you wish returned to you.
  • Be honest.
  • Be kind.
  • Above all else, be grateful.

Last year brought new experiences for me and more growth, and I have appreciated the open doors. Creativity and the joy of sharing my thoughts with an audience are immensely satisfying. It’s something I want to do more of in the future. But I have been lacking in one aspect.

The world of blogging doesn’t make it easy to reach out, to notice those who contribute. Blogging is a lot about ME. I say my piece, and you listen. And as opinionated as I am, this can get pretty damn boring. Even for me.

Dialogue is much more appealing, even in books. So, I’ve puzzled over how to solve this for a long time without coming to a solution.

Though unsaid, your LIKES, FOLLOWS, and, READS are not unnoticed. They are as beautiful as a well-made bed, and yet these are the moments we fail to give thanks.

I see you. And dammit, thanks. Knowing you are here with me gives me the warm fuzzies. To all who are reading my blog–Thank You!

And to the ONE who has believed in me, my special Patron, You are the best! Thank You!

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

William James

Tricksters and Gamers

warning: this is from 2017

I love new beginnings. Fresh starts are more enlivening to me than finishing touches. It’s me. The end is just that, the end. It’s over. Done. The toys go away, and everyone goes home.

Infinite all the way for me.

There’s a book that tells of the two types of games people play, the infinite and the finite. Usually, we lean, each to their own, as we say. Mine is endless, but life does not cater to my preference. So with every ending of a book, I start a new one. I have a massive stack of books to read. It continues the adventure.

“In infinite games, a surprise is a reason it continues.”

Gary Carmell

About beginnings, they always meet resistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a military coup or painting your newborn’s nursery, the complexity of the job doesn’t matter. You’ll face obstacles in any game you play. The way you handle those challenges is telling.

Finite and Infinite Games of Investing – Painting Your Masterpiece According to Carse, the entire purpose is not to win the game but to continue the game.

Gary Carmell, The Philosophical Investor

I listened to a podcast forecasting the events and mood of 2017. I rarely live my life according to astrology, but if a bright idea strikes me, I’ll write it down. You never know, it might contain some truth. I’m shortening it a bit and probably corrupting the message, but this is how I heard it. Please forgive my näivete. Here’s the link ->Gordon White. Talking Astrology in 2017

Jack Sparrow is a trickster. He’s light-footed, has few rules, disregards society’s constraints, has a unique style. I find it interesting that movies put the trickster as the hero. We cheer for him.

Riddle me this Mr. Joker.

The good guy, Mr. Stiff Shirt, becomes the villain. He’s followed the rules, climbed the corporate brigadier ladder, and no dirty pirate is going to steal his girl. Or naval vessel. Inconceivable! 

We cheer BECAUSE Jack breaks the rules. And our collars are feeling a little tight around our necks. We feel restricted. We’ve piled up debt, carried too many responsibilities, forgotten to laugh, and restrained our anger. Becoming a light-footed trickster is mighty tempting. Running off to Colorado in a camping trailer is also. 

Captain Jack Sparrow is a con artist, but we still love him. Impossible for long term commitments, yes. But we can hardly hate him. I’d invite him over for a beer. Just lock up the valuables.

Inconceivable!

An exclamation of disbelief. Impossible to comprehend or grasp fully. So unlikely or surprising as to have been thought impossible; unbelievable.“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” #inconceivable #the princess bride #exclamation #gadzooks #disbelief #surprise

Urban Dictionary – Rose Pose

LIST OF MODERN DAY TRICKSTERS

Disappointment

The holidays can leave me feeling like an abused spouse. I never think I meet the hidden expectations and wonder if I’m a failure.

How was your family time? Or aloneness?

Tyler Knott Gregson

Traditional holiday seasons are triggering. I cling to unfulfilled desires even though they will never be mine. I need the light of grace to see past the fog.

Joy in connecting

Today was a day for recovery. My guy and I walked around downtown. There’s a bookstore, Magic City Books, and we’ve wanted to go. I purchased a couple of books (below) after allowing myself a lengthy browse. We had coffee at the shop next door, and afterward, we went home. It was refreshing. No rush. Like the slow stretch you do when you exit the car after a long drive.

Maybe you do well through the holidays. If so, I’m glad. Let me know either way. I’d love to know.

Boundaries and Bandaids

A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.

From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.

Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the Buddha

With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse

As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably

      – Frederick Buechner

The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.

Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.

Portals and Spells

Magic isn’t candles and herbs. Enchantment whispers telling us we’re beautiful. And all things are possible. Or the opposite. It stops us where we stand to make us forget how dazzling we are. Someone else is prettier. All that was brilliant clunks like a piano out of tune. Ugly. We are ugly.

Trauma is a gateway

I watched a YouTube video to help me line up with the Universe. That’s a good thing, right? It’s the current “The Secret” guru-ish Vudu spell casting thing. But this one hit me at the wrong moment, and I was in the worst mood. Triggered. What the video was trying to say was, “Do these things, and you will be in a better position to receive.” It was good advice. Only, I heard, “You’re a fuck up. You can’t get it right.” This is bad magic. It’s the hurt that runs through the veins of scarred people and causes us to warp the words of others. The piano is out of tune, and it’s not our fault. Something is twisted, scarred, bent or broken, and we are a little off-balance.

There are ways of relearning, but it takes time and dedication. We must be patient with ourselves. It’s essential to surround ourselves with loving friends. Those who are kind are the only ones who should be allowed to stay. If you’ve made it this far in life, you deserve good friends. Let go of people who are cruel or who don’t support you. Learn to lean on those who are good. Remember you are probably better than think you are. Your vision is usually skewed. I know mine is.

Support

A good resource for healing – Spartan Life Coach Richard Grannon has been both a martial arts instructor and trauma counselor. His style is easy going. He knows his stuff.

Always Well Within Blog lists several good books

Kris Godinez deal mostly with abuse but also with trauma. She’s blunt and a straight forward person. She’s a writer and public speaker.

Cleaning Our Gunk

I’d put it off for a while. Longer than most people usually do, but I’m single and with that said there’s not anyone here to scold me or to please but me. I had a spare moment this evening when I opened the refrigerator, caught the awful whiff of the rotting unknown and decided to investigate.

It’s not that I’m untidy or filthy. Life had come at me hard like a WWE smackdown. When my sweet cat had become sick, there was some chicken in the fridge or possibly something had spilled or so I kept thinking. But I couldn’t face cleaning up. After Ms. Kitty lost her tooth, she didn’t get better. I realized she had a tumor which overgrew. A common thing in older cats and the vet couldn’t do anything. It was in her upper jaw near her eye. Within a couple of months, she passed in the night. I had her cremated.

I had been so busy and exhausted. My place was only partially maintained. I had a demanding Monday through Friday job as well as my writing. The weekend Ms. Kitty died, I had a Migraine episode. These are a frustrating fact of life. Take 3 to 5 days and toss them away. Can’t do anything. Body shut downtime.

I ignored my refrigerator. My house was quiet. I recovered. I grieved. Cried. I missed my cuddle partner. She’d been with me from the time I’d been divorced and through my kids growing up. Sixteen years is a long time to have a friend. I’ve not talked about her a lot. In my family, animals were for outside and you don’t cry over them.

I know what the stink was in the fridge– an old onion in a baggie. Ironically, it didn’t take long to clean once I started.

A couple of weeks after I had decided I’d stay cat-free, a lady I know sent me a picture of a kitten. You see where this goes. “Pattycake” had a sister also, Dottie. My place isn’t quiet anymore. They are adorable little furballs.

Not Owned

People make crazy statements. Well, you have to take care of your job. I understand what they mean. It’s scarcity. They believe there aren’t enough office cubicles to go around for everyone. But this body, this person is far more precious. I can find another desk to roll my chair under, but who cares if I can’t mentally function anymore.

The same rules apply to relationships. You must take care of yourself. Don’t tell me how much that person needs you until you’re taking care of your needs.

You cannot hold me.

I am not concrete. I move. I change. You cannot use me as a prop to make your life easier. I am not property.

The breeze blows. Whispers in your ear. The air flows and you breathe, then it is gone. Did you expect more? It returned to the wind.

We are this moment. Play, work, struggle, holding our forms. But soon the body will be dust and ash stirred by the winds while in elation what remains flies on to further adventure.

J West

How’s your sleep? Did someone hug you recently and let you know you are worth loving? We must, must remember. Our worth, our innate value is not a luxury. Tell yourself. It sounds stupid, I know, but it works. Show the world you have value by standing tall, brushing your teeth, and getting a good night’s sleep.

There are too many who will nudge you off the sidewalk of life if you let them. Don’t. And by all that’s holy, stop apologizing for being in their way. You belong.

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