Awaken Your Integrity

Being yourself sounds easy. It’s the current advice. It will solve all of your problems from dating to your life’s work, but what does it mean?

Recently, we’ve watched society reject men doing their thing. Vulgar stuff. Alpha men have gone their ways for centuries and getting by with it. Is that the answer? Gawd, I hope not. Oppression is not me. I’m uncomfortable in that world.

Society and the current work environment makes it almost impossible to be yourself. Even your day and night cycles are timed to fit someone else.

So, what are the solutions? Claim as much of your life as you can. Take assertiveness courses. Learn your style and use the information to your advantage.

Is there an area in your life that bugs you? Can you take action? Even if it’s a small change, it can help. Tell yourself ‘yes’ and others ‘no.’ Read, learn, and find like-minded people.

Regarding integrity, I believe Anthony Bodine lived his truths. Hello Darkness, My Old Friend by Mike Rowe

check out one of my posts, To Love Yourself

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Weather Patterns

Try not to take it to heart. It’s a day. Or something a person said, and it was meant to cause you pain, but it doesn’t have to.

Earthquakes shake the ground, leaving rubble and chaos. People react differently to Mother Nature. One person’s bad day might be another’s exhilarating ride.

I love a rainy day, but I know some who won’t leave their house if there’s a mist in the air. A sudden downpour will cause a crowd to scatter. We can panic, or we can let it happen, let the rain pour down our backs. We could also choose to go inside out of the storm.

There will always be storms. Prepare for them. Your house, if it has a strong foundation will weather any storm. #moods

Scarred But Not Dead

I loved frogs and toads when I was growing up. I’d capture them and hold them in my chubby hands. I loved their exotic skin and long legs, but mostly it was their soft underbelly where I could feel the beat of their tiny hearts.

We’re drawn to babies. Kittens, puppies, and youngsters of all varieties. Kittens pounce and attack, batting at fluff. Their playfulness can make even an old crank of a person smile. Because somewhere inside that cranky person there’s still a child. Life wore him down, and he forgot how to play.

accept yourself

as you were designed

– rupi kaur, Milk and Honey

I was driving home today and stopped at a red light, my hand automatically went to rub my neck. Tight muscles. When my fingers touched my pulse, I jolted with a thought. I’m alive. Corny. But the thrill was the same as touching the tiny animals, the frog’s pulse. I rubbed it again, and yes my response was the same. I’m thrilled to be alive. And to feel my pulse. Is this crazy?

Life is a strange and fragile moment. You can take machines apart and put them back together without causing much damage. Tinker with it until you get it running. But people and critters are not as easy to piece together again. We do surgeries, but we are hesitant because if the life goes out, we haven’t learned how to retrieve it. So, no, I don’t think I’m crazy for being overjoyed or even ecstatic about being alive. Being alive is fantastic and beautiful. And I don’t want to forget about the beating of life in all of us.

You have scars, wounds, and bruises. Don’t let them keep you from living. It’s possible you might need help or therapy, don’t give up on yourself. Don’t let anyone else bring you down. Be your best. Live.

image from Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Here is Important

Mom says I cried a lot when I was a baby. Ear infections. I don’t remember. I was too young of course. I wonder what would have happened to me if I would’ve been that easy babe who plays and could be placed on the floor.

When I was two weeks old my family, mom, dad, and two older brothers stacked the truck full of the Sapulpa house’s belongings and moved to Collinsville. Dad got an opportunity to buy some land, and he took it. He’d been driving to his business there in downtown Collinsville for a while, and this was an excellent opportunity.

I’ve often felt sorry for my mom over the years. The move from a house in town to a small travel trailer to what seemed a long ways from civilization is a time that would have been difficult for any woman. There was also the dirt road and the river. When it rained the long dirt road became a muddy mess. Like quicksand, the mud would suck the tires and root them into the rutted path. It was a hike past the cattle gate, up the long road, carrying groceries or laundry home. I don’t know if she asked dad for help, but she never quit going.

What we say might not come out openly. The words trip over our emotions as we try to get them out. But, if we keep them to ourselves no one wins. Speak up. Babies can only cry. And it’s their healthy way of getting their needs met. You can do more. Sing, make art, do poetry, dance, show love to someone, craft a meal, be with someone or read a book to a friend. Make it a way of life to share your thoughts and needs.

After you raise your hand…
Show up.

Show up and keep showing up.

Show up with at least as much enthusiasm as you had when you first raised your hand to volunteer.

The volunteering part is easy. Making promises is a fun way to get someone’s attention.

Keeping those promises is often unsung, but that’s how you build something.

Posted by Seth Godin on April 22, 2018

Neuroticism on Board

I sat at the kitchen table and listened to my mom, the same one who ripped at me since I was a child about my friends and my clothes, were they too big or should I by a size larger because I could shoot up a couple of inches in height this year.

There was a time she’d read the letters from my friend in Wyoming. Janie had moved at the beginning of 9th grade. Her parents divorced, and she’d decided to move north with her dad. Not quite a Twilight story since there were no vampires involved and Wyoming has skiing. Janie and I kept in touch throughout our high school years by writing letters every week. It was the thrill of my day when I’d go to the mailbox and run back with an envelope in my hand. My mom would ask, “Is that a letter from your friend Janie?”

Yep. And being the teenager that I was, I’d go into my room to read it away from prying eyes. Janie would tell me about her classes and friends, about her guys and her after school job. I never thought there was anything different about her. She was me but with different parents. Well, she was able to do things I couldn’t. School dances, dates, and she had a real job. I never thought about it until my mom said one strange comment. “Your friend Janie seems a little wild.”

What? Of course, I was surprised. I never talked about Janie or read the letters aloud. I realized what had happened, and I didn’t have a lot of options. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. She’d read my letters because I had left them out. And I didn’t understand the wild girl accusation. So, I dismissed it and hid them all away and anything else I didn’t want her to find.

The years passed, and many incidents like that one. I’ve put each aside. I didn’t give them a lot of weight other than thinking, Mom is strange, or where does she get these ideas? My mom believed particular women, like Kim with the red hair, were going to steal my husband. Then she felt my mother-in-law was actively plotting to take our money. The list goes on. It’s been a constant battle for me to shield myself from her jabs. They’ve felt like accusations. As if I couldn’t see the evil in others.

Here’s the truth: she stripped me of my self-confidence. I was always defending myself against the person who was supposed to nurture me.

I saw her last night when I was back at the kitchen table. I was doing some financial planning with her, my brother and dad. This time the neuroticism was not directed at me. I saw the blood red eyes of the monster. I saw my mom rip into my older brother, and it disgusted me. It was ugly, and I want nothing to do with it ever again. I’m not toying with it anymore.

No more putting it aside. I call it what it is. My mom is insecure. She is high in neuroticism. It’s a personality trait, yes. Even that can’t be excused, though. I’m glad I saw the monster.

Strengthening Character

At the end of the day, it’s only you. Alone. How you met each challenge and each conflict was up to you. Did you face your demons or pretend they didn’t exist?

There’s a lot of talk about being real. Authenticity. For me, it’s not always easy to be myself. It’s not that I try to fake people out by pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m not an impressive person and never wish to be.

My nature is to relate to people on the level they are. You might think me inauthentic at times because I’m a human who has been damaged by life. My cracks show.

When I feel I’m in an emotionally dangerous situation I’ll plaster a fake smile on and spout out the trite phrases, whatever it takes to get me through the situation. This is the game we call life.

Our character is built by the choices we make. We develop strength or kindness or wisdom through practice. Such as continuing to practice grace and mercy if you’re wishing to become a more forgiving person. Truthfully, it comes down to living intentionally, as best you can.

Blind Fish Red Seas

In the Odyssey, Homer describes the ocean as “wine-dark” and other strange hues, but he never uses the word ‘blue’. Science Alert

There’s actually evidence that, until modern times, humans didn’t see the colour blue at all. In a fascinating feature over at Business Insider, Kevin Loria breaks down the evidence behind the claim.

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Blue?

Wine?

Does it matter?

Whatever we ignore will fade away. If your opinions are not listened to, or those around you act as if your ideas don’t matter, you learn to be quiet. Keep your thoughts to yourself. No one cares anyway.

At times trying to fit in becomes so numbing that a person forgets even to have a desire or an individual thought. We wear whatever is available because our senses are dead.

The limestone caverns of Mexico’s Sierra del Abra Tanchipa rainforest contain deep cisterns cloaked in utter blackness. This is where researchers at the University of Cincinnati traveled to find a little fish (Astyanax mexicanus) that has evolved to feast or endure famine entombed hundreds of feet below the ground.

“They have been able to invade this really extreme environment. They are exposed to darkness their entire life yet they’re able to survive and thrive,” said Amanda Powers, a UC graduate student and lead author of a study on blind cavefish published in May in the journal PLOS One.

“They’ve evolved changes to their metabolism and skull structure. They’ve enhanced their sensory systems. And they can survive in an environment where not many animals could,” she said. Phys.org

To the other extreme, many have overdeveloped patterns of behavior to protect themselves the same as the blind fish. I’m hyper-alert to what I’m wearing, thinking, saying or doing because I never want to offend anyone. My spidey senses are always on alert.

When children are yelled at or ridiculed, they learn to avoid exposing themselves. They learn to walk away from confrontation and challenges. Life becomes full of danger instead of the hope it could have held.

Stepping out of the dark into the light takes time. It is possible though. I’ve been rewriting my thinking to know what is safe, but it takes time. And practice.

Nothing happens without putting in the work. Panic, Anxiety, Rage, Depression, and Codependency, these are just a few of the symptoms that show your nervous system is overreacting. It’s not to blame and neither are you any more than if you had a cough.

Understand why you are anxious. And decide if you’re ready to get help. The same if you went into a rage. This is not solitary work.

Our environment made us blind, and we need help to heal.

And now have I put in here, as thou seest, with ship and crew, while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech, on my way to Temese for copper; and I bear with me shining iron. – Odyssey

Choices

We come into this world thinking only of our own needs. Eat. Sleep. Play. Mine. Need. Grasping. We grow, we learn, we become. And depending on our experiences we develop into an adult with the ability to give, to nurture others. Self-preservation is healthy. It’s the way of nature. But being stuck in either an ego trip or self mutilation is unhealthy.

Choose your path

Your life today is the result of your accumlated experiences. As children, we couldn’t see that our parents had bad days or were drunk when they were screaming. We only knew the screaming, so we hid. The pounding of our heart and the fear in our belly told us we caused this, so we vowed to never do it again. If only we knew what we had done then we could be a perfect person. I remember thinking crazy thoughts like that. As if there was some magic checklist to complete to become a better person. And if I became that person my parents would no longer yell at me. But none of it was our fault! We are never responsible for another’s actions. Not our parents and not our bosses. There’s a better way to live.

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I’m an adult now, and I have choices. I can keep reliving those old stories, or I can be here today. To be present is going to take some work. We have to remind ourselves where we are. Every time my mind gets lost in a clusterfuck of bad memories I have to shake myself out of them. I have to sing that song I love. “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance.” If you can’t do it by yourself, grab a partner. Two together are hard to defeat. Friends, buddies, and partners help to keep each other healthy.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 Bible Hub

Love the one you’re with

Live now not worrying about tomorrow. Keep your life simple. Create small attainable goals and take steps toward them each day. The truth is that our brain is not structured to handle much more than this one moment. We overload it when we expect it to handle worrying about Timmy’s nightmares while calling the bank about a bounced check. Choose a practical approach. What can be fixed? And get stuff out of the way that can’t be fixed.

You can do this. We can do this. Share love with each other. Nothing else matters.

Check out my other posts – Dancing to the Rhythm  When the Quiet Ones Roar  Respect Yourself

 

My Right to Say No

I have been harassed since November 25, 2017. It’s unnerving. This happened before when I was in high school. A boy I dated when I was 16 decided we were destined to be together forever wasn’t letting me go, so he followed me. Everywhere. He showed up at my school, my church, and in the town where I lived. At the time I was still with my parents, surrounded by more protection. It didn’t seem unsettling. Today, I see everything with merciless eyes.

mmd_saint_seiya_video____taking_back_my_love_by_mmdmodelsall-d90pig8

None of this had to happen. I wasn’t in a relationship. So here’s the thing, if I decide I want to stop seeing someone I say so. And I did. No stringing it out, no rude remarks, and no yelling or breaking of objects. Mature adults. Oh, was I wrong. One-sided maturity. I was slapped in the face with a string of drunken texts claiming there were audio sex tapes. (Illegal alert) Days later I was threatened to be exposed for the vile woman I was and told I gave the man HIV. (He had flu-like symptoms.) During this time, he also had contacted a friend of mine and made verbal sexual advances toward her. (Illegal.)

The court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to the women and certified him as a sex offender. — Forbes

After doing some research I’m surprised by how common this is. Recording audio or video without consent is illegal. Nonconsensual Taping of Sex Partners Is a Crime.

As Stephanie’s Law and other unlawful surveillance statutes make clear, invasions of sexual privacy constitutes a crime. – Forbes

Harassment is a crime, as is slander and defamation of character.

Harassment Law and Legal Definition. Harassment is governed by state laws, which vary by state, but is generally defined as a course of conduct which annoys, threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear of their safety.

Harassment Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc. https://definitions.uslegal.com/h/harassment/

If someone is threatening you, tell a friend, phone the police, get a lawyer involved. Don’t let anyone bully you. It’s alright to say no, and you should be free to walk away. There’s no voice without the ability to refuse, and the Almighty “NO!” Courage grows its roots in the choosing.

 

Want to read more? Check out Limitations, Boundaries, and those cute Picket Fences or Hope

Respect Yourself

I am angry

I want to be seen and heard. Noticed. Jump up and down, throw a tantrum like a small child in the grocery store. I want others to act as if I matter. As if I am an appointment that can’t be missed. A craving. An addiction. But sometimes people aren’t capable.

It’s not always in their DNA to respond in the way I want. I’m not saying it’s alright for others to abuse me, I’m stating a fact. My expectations are misplaced, and I need to change. My truth, I’m asking someone else for validation. To respect me. Tell me I’m important. Tell me these things.

  • I matter
  • I’m important
  • I’m valuable
  • I’m impressive
  • I’m irreplaceable
  • I’m undeniable
  • My needs are pressing
  • I am a priority

I don’t want to be second or to not even be chosen at all. I’ve been there. It hurts. The stabbing pain of feeling abandoned is gut-wrenching, especially when it’s from your loved ones. But I can’t be a child throwing a temper tantrum. It’s selfish. Nor do I want the bitter anger building inside of me anymore.

I am the love child of the universe.

I am loved. I’m important. Esteemed. Undeniable. I am heard. Valuable. I rate here. This is my territory. The universe hears my voice and respects me. Blessed. I am home in this world. But, I cannot wait for someone, anyone else to tell me. It’s my life and my responsibility.

Woman’s Inhumanity to Women by Phyllis Chesler

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Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

6. Learn to Ask for what you want; Learn to Move On If You Don’t Get What You Want.
A woman must be encouraged to put what she wants into words, to ask for it directly rather than waiting for someone to guess what it is she wants. If a woman cannot get what she wants, she does not have to blame herself, give up, disconnect, or become enraged. She must learn that she can get what she wants another day or at another job or with another person. Women must be encouraged to move on as well as to stay the course. – The Girl God 

P.S.

Don’t forget to support each other. We all need to hear that we are loved and valuable. It’s life-changing. It will rock your loved one’s world. Better yet, show them. Make someone a priority.

Today, you are loved.

You might want to read Expectations vs Reality or Pajamas are For Wearing All Day Long or Am I Expecting Too Much?