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

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My Purpose

There are mornings when I wake, and I don’t dread the day ahead. There’s a slight thrill running in my veins. I enjoy this feeling and wish I could recreate it. Bottle it and save it for a rainy day.

I once believed that if only I had a calling or a mission, it would be so easy to jump out of bed each day. I’d want to walk out the door and help others. Passion would be a part of the package.

(Success is about a happy life, and happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people do not allow the happy moments because they are so busy trying to get a happy life.) Esther Hicks

Now, my bones creak more, and my muscles have less vigor. Aging has brought experience also. I’ve paid attention. There are people with ordinary jobs who do them with the enthusiasm of an artist. I’ve seen love smiling through the eyes of a neighbor. And kindness, I believe is appropriate anywhere.

Maybe you have a unique voice and can say the words which need to be said. One person to one person. One person to one thousand. If you help one person in your life, isn’t it worth it? Don’t hesitate. Our gifts can be lost in the noise, the hatred, and the confusion. Turn off the distractions. Put joy on your list.

Why are you here?

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.

New Hope

This isn’t something I do often, but for people I love I would walk a thousand miles, then I would walk a thousand more.

A friend’s husband is having a heart and liver transplant. This has been a long ordeal for their children as you can imagine. Long grueling days of worrying about dad. Loss of income. Yeah we know the story about healthcare and insurance. Well this is one time it came close to home. Job choices.

Imagine you’re about to get the heart transplant for your husband and your company abruptly calls you into the office. Oh damn! Layoff. Reorganization. You have one month to find a new job.

Sometimes there are endings with happy beginnings.

#Thisisreallife. #Loveyourpeople.

I’m not saying anyone should help, but if you want and if you have an extra $5.00 or $10.00 or share a prayer, it is appreciated. Positive vibes please. Love.

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Power of Choice

In the early 1300s, Scotland was at war. Each man was defending his right to be King. Swords in the air, blood on the soil, raw power. You can read about Robert the Bruce here. It’s the strength of the fighting man. Right?

It makes me wonder, what is power? Am I a person of means? Rich people appear dominant, and so do those who have a higher status. These are traits we usually have to acquire or inherit. So how does someone ordinary get power? Or are we stuck?

Power is making decisions, and whatever course you are charting, I choose you, my husband.

It’s time to understand where we are. The crossroads. These are days you want to tell your grandchildren about. I do hope someone takes notes. Why? There is a drama of contrasts playing on the stage for the world to see.

We have politicians in mock battle pretending to be warriors. They’ve puffed their chests and beat their drums while marching through the streets on their way to nowhere. It’s all talk. Loud sounds. Build up the beat. Build up the beat. And yes this strategy works.

Charisma, you’re a pretty tune. But can you feed the people? All of this drama has taken our attention from real needs. How do we rebuild our school systems and prepare our children for the future? Can we make our cities better for families?

My power is my choice. I don’t pay attention to their mock battles. The shadow boxing is a distraction. It’s only keeping us from doing real work.

There are many examples we can follow. To their actions, we should pay attention. Women who decided civil disobedience was a good thing, who created their power by the Women’s Suffrage movement. The Doctors Without Borders who chose to go into areas of crisis, putting their lives at risk. They do this by choice. This is their power. And they give this power to their patients in the form of health.

Elizabeth de Burgh: [to Robert the Bruce]
Power is making decisions. Power is not allowing yourself to be buffeted on the tides of history. Instead, it is choosing a boat, climbing aboard, and hoisting the sail. I choose you. And whatever course you are charting, I choose you, my husband.

Read more: script from outlaw king

I choose to find out the truth. To look past the lies. Ignore the arguments. I remember why I am here, my power, my love, my reason for being. Do you know yours?

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

Lost Sheep

It’s not the Bible you cherish. Or the goodness of Jesus. Love, joy, peace. Seriously? I was naive. It was never those things. I kept referring back to those traits saying, ‘You’re missing the path.’

And now I genuinely am bewildered. What makes you follow the radicals? How can the redeemed follow a rapist? An adulterer? And what is the siren’s call?

I am not questioning as a judge. Honestly, it baffles me, but human behavior always confuses me. I was taught to be pure, strong, wise, and hard working.

My parents taught me how to learn. If I needed information, I gathered books or knowledge. But what I’m seeing from their actions and the actions of their peers is equivalent to a herd of buffalo stampeding. All learning be damned.

I see Christianity equaling power. Voting power. And powerful men that are growing up in the Republican Party are using the evangelical Christians as their sword. I am saddened by this because there was a day when Christians were known for love and love was a power. They stood proud of their accomplishments. Today is a sad day for Christians, for they have lost their truth.

Things That Are Lost

  • Socks in the dryer
  • Teddy bears left on vacation
  • Virginity on Prom night (cliche)
  • Money at the casino
  • My hearing after a Thirty Seconds To Mars concert
  • A place in line if you leave
  • Old men sitting in coffee shops
  • Tolerance

It seems we no longer appreciate the obsolete or outdated. While I was pondering lost items, I realized we had forgotten tolerance. This easy to be with attitude is accepting, never strict. Being tidy, as in the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” written by Marie Kondō or the minimalist movement, suggests life is better with less.

Minimalism has been with us through the centuries. It’s been the balancing force used to expose the excesses of Royalty and the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago. Monks lived this way as a lifestyle, but others lived in holy protest.

Collections are not the same as hoarding. There are few items which please me, and I love them enough to collect them, stack them, line them together on shelves long enough to gather dust.

A book that I have read and shelved still brings pleasure. Although this passes the Tidy Up test, usually it fails the minimalist movement’s criteria since I own more books to place than I have shelving

Here’s is my dilemma, I am picking up the vibe from Society that I should pare down more. And more. A clean home is good, but what if I had a sanitary? The holy grail. Paring down might become the current recent alternate religion I rebel against.

Listen to your guidance on this. It’s possible you’re a two pair of jeans person who only needs one good towel which you wash every other day. Or something of the sort. I have two towels, and I can last a week, but only you know your comfort level. I love my books even though they are alone, collecting dust.

Initiations Into Adulthood

When I was a girl, I became curious about butterflies and cocoons the same as many children do. I’m impatient. And I was trying to help when I peeled the extra bits away for the butterfly. Helping.

No one has a perfect childhood. Reading this might cause a few people to cringe or even flash into old traumas. Fair warning. But stay with me, there’s no graphic material here.

At a certain age, sometimes a gang of men will hire a local professional woman for their young member, to initiate him into manhood. Maybe some of you don’t believe me, but it’s a thing, and it’s secret.

Why do they feel the need to interfere? Nature does her work quite well. There are too many violent stories already, and they aren’t trying to be helpful. Most children are beautiful if you leave them be. Please, don’t peel away the last layer of protection.

Too many altar boys are awakened sexually by those who are supposed to be their caretaker. A disgusting abuse of power and violation of innocence.

There are uncles and aunts, grandparents and parents alike who have done not such sunny initiations, the same as those priests, children unprepared, non consensual, and usually leaving pain and confusion on the child’s part.

Who is protecting our children?

Find An Ally

My mom has been trying to schedule an appointment for surgery for months, but she’s been waiting for the doctor to call her. Dad, during the first round of doctor’s visits, said to wait. This is how it always worked. The old insurance operated this way. They’re still waiting.

My parent’s previous coverage dropped because the insurance decided to lower cost. It was terminated according to where you lived. Insurance companies do this to ’shake off the excess,’ and they’ll open to the area again at a later time. It’s a mind fuck.

There are clunky systems in our world and maybe there have been for a very long time. If you’re not paying attention, then you’ll still see squabbling and politics. It is that. But there is an underlying feeling of contrived chaos. Unnecessary red tape.

Why is healthcare so difficult? Expensive? Protocol. A ridiculous amount of hoops to jump through for doctors and hospitals. With each year, restrictions are added for the sake of saving costs. My job is to work through those requirements so the insurance will pay, helping patients in the long term.

We need a better way and I don’t necessarily mean universal healthcare. Our system is inside-out. I am concerned even alarmed. I worry for the people who can’t keep up with the speed of change. I also worry what will happen when I am my parents age? If it’s this bad now, if nothing improves, will I be able to navigate such a Maze?

I work for a company, but who is working for the people anymore? We’ve forgotten to love our people.

Who is watching the Watchers?