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.

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Belonging

Socks that match, folded and placed in a drawer or cheese and crackers with a glass of wine, these things belong together.

My tribe, my peeps.

Some times I get morose, lonely, and angry because I wasn’t born into a family in which I fit neatly. I feel like a baseball bat at a football game in my family some days. We relate but it’s not a warm snuggle-in feeling with my parents.

I learned like many people, the belonging I need comes from outside of our blood family. It can be a spouse or friends. Building ties in groups we enjoy or online forums can be what we need to feed our mental and emotional hungers.

I have a small space and a few good friends. I pad my nest well. Pillows, blankets, books, and plenty of chocolate. And a lot of love for those around me.

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.

Show Them You

It’s easy to respond in kind. Someone cuts in front of me in traffic and I want to yell, raise my fist, maybe run them down to show no mercy to bullies. It’s a quick impulse requiring no thought. Any stupid person could do it, yet I consider myself smarter than average. Laugh with me, please.

I’ve had a few road rage issues in the past that could have gone wrong as I’ve mentioned in past posts here. I stepped back from those as if I’d been burned. Anger turns to rage so quick. And it can lead to some horrific results.

I read a post that said when someone gives you a taste of their medicine hit back with yours. Be you. Relax. Don’t stoop to their level. You’ll just make yourself miserable otherwise. Give patience in place of their anger. Show kindness to every insult.

Examine your motives and check yourself before you respond. The more often you do this, the better you will be at governing your rage.

In Your Face

FaceTime, Facebook, we are up close and personal. You would think we all loved each other like cult wives, but we don’t. We’re afraid of getting lost.

 

Lost

Our world is too busy, and we have lost touch with each other, so we place our close conversations and intimacy on Reddit and SnapChat. Our birthdays are celebrated on screen as well every relationship status and break up right down to the dramatic ending.

We long for exposure. It isn’t enough anymore to enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of apple pie. We talk about it. Share. Instagram a pic of it in nostalgic shades. Touch me, see me, like me. Am I real? Do I matter?

Mind Numb

Our chase of meaning only comes to one conclusion. The need for another try. The system is rigged against us. The game is a casino slot machine. Pull the lever and hear the bells. Watch the lights flashing again. How many times have we done this? Have I been sitting here long? My butt is numb. Oh well, I’ll do one more quarter then go home.

Please and thank you can be used by everyone. They are the salt and pepper of society. – JW

Spells and Magic

If this were a magic spell being cast in a children’s fairytale book we would be screaming at the characters. Run. Get out of the building. Turn off your phone. It’s a plot by a wicked queen. But we know these are not fairytales. There are no plots, right? Well, there is the one guy who says otherwise. I’ll link to his Ted talk HERE.

Acknowledge

How do we take care of ourselves since we are aware of our need to be noticed? Acknowledge it. Post the wedding pictures. Enjoy the Likes. But try to find a life outside of your profile. Give to others. Remember to show respect to those around you.

…and my mouth said, “It was his way of saying he loved me. He used to say, ‘I see you Yi-yi.’ ” – Jada from Feversong: A Fever Novel, by Karen Marie Moning

A complaint I heard recently is when a man opens a door for a woman many times she walks through without saying a word. Not even a Thank You.

Here in my part of the country, men are taught to open doors for women, to take out the trash, to say, ma’am. These are courteous actions yes, but so much more. Please and thank you can be used by everyone. These acknowledgments are the salt and pepper of society. Without these ingredients our lives become irritating. Life chafes from constant obligations. It’s not an enjoyable way to live a life. Kindness is needed to keep our society healthy. I want to support others, to see them, show them love, every day.

Namaste

What Are We Saying When We Are Saying When We Are Saying Namaste?

 

I have warm memories of my grandparents. They were an extension of the family I had close to me every day, and the promise of more. More love. More cookies. The extra part I didn’t know consciously extended into the linage and the hint of longevity. These people made it through hard times. Lined faces and crinkled smiles told their stories. Grandma’s mole was duplicated on my mom’s face just as I had inherited my dad’s small pinky toenail. So, I’ve wondered what other characteristics were passed on to me.

Below I have an article from The Girl God. We’ve forgotten much of our family ties but it’s never too late to remember.

“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.

You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.

Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”

Message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

Photo by Joey Lawrence

The Difference You Make​

People who really want to make a difference, usually do it, but it’s not always how you expect. Years ago, when I was a young woman, I craved to help and even make a dent in the universe. And maybe I did.

We who are idealistic have a faulty way of seeing things. If we don’t help by teaching or doing some large mission like Mother Teresa touching thousands, we feel we have failed. Our purpose is misty and unfocused.

Crowning Achievement

With maturity, I’ve developed wisdom. I know there small steps can change your life. One moment can make a difference. And if you can hold out a little longer than others you can be mighty. But I’ll tell you what has become the pièce de résistance.

There’s a habit I’ve developed, and this little detail has made the most significant difference in my life. It’s the practice of saying thank you and acknowledging those things I appreciate.

Worry, Worry, Fret, and Worry

Before, I spent my time fretting over what I didn’t have, praying for more, listing my needs, and planning how I’d get them. I still ask, but now I put more emphasis on my gratitude. This is how I focus. This is how my vision comes with a better focus.

Live Now or Never

Live Now

We don’t have a promise that tomorrow will be here. It’s easy to put every fun event off until we can give it a big push. I’ll go on vacation when I have enough money saved to fly to Europe, we say. Then we don’t go anywhere. And we cheat ourselves out of life. We die bit by bit.

In our culture, snails are not considered valiant animals – we are constantly exhorting people to “come out of their shells” – but there’s a lot to be said for taking your home with you wherever you go.- The Power of Introverts

Friend or Foe

I tend to live wide open, full blast and today I find I’m exhausted. I don’t regret this. My only angst is trying to relate to those who are unavailable to my affection. This is how my heart gets broken, and my life goes haywire for a while. Yes, they sometimes warn me, like in the most recent drama. “Like you, a lot, but don’t love you,” were the words. But anyone who has feelings knows that doesn’t stop the rage or the tears after they are gone, even if they have warned me.

Many of my choices are not wise. Downloading the entire Justin Timberlake album while at work instead of waiting until I had wifi available, that’s not sage economics. Will it crash my bank account? Probably not. Did I benefit from the music therapy? Freakin’ yes! I do the ratio game in my head, pro vs. con and the emotional reward is worth it.

This moment

We make decisions. We live with them, which is why it’s impossible to advise someone on careers or marriages. Who am I to make a decision which could affect someone’s happiness? I ask questions. Poke around in the answers, and usually, we know the answer.

But honestly, heterosexual relationships are my nemesis, my dark curse it seems.

Make peace with your life however you can and be good to yourself. Show kindness to those around you. Namaste.

 

 

The Mentoring Life

Mentors

 

Sometimes we forget where we are and how we came to be. Maybe our contribution isn’t on a grand scale, worthy of a Nobel Prize, but never underestimate the value of your daily life. Small gestures, little acts of kindness keep us from killing each other. The bricks of human society are held together by spit and grit and have for thousands of years.

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I have moments of bitterness in between the good spots. Pain in places I don’t want others to see. I remember hurtful people telling me I either shouldn’t be here or I’ve made idiotic choices. Complete errors that I’d never recover from. Those times were directed to hit me with fists of words. Had my life been built on a weak foundation it would have wiped me out. But as I put on my Facebook page, Honestly, I’m in love with living this life. I can’t be trusted to voluntarily stop!

Hold your own
And know your name
Go your own way

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling? Jason Mraz James Morrison Details in the Fabric

Gifts

There have been good people also, surrounding me, supporting me. Those men and women strengthened the fibers of who I became as a woman. I learned from watching their resolve and I learned because they encouraged me to contribute, to show up in life. They saw something in me that was worth encouraging. these are the people worth remembering. They are Bud and Wilma McAfee, Ginger and Kelvin Limbocker, Vicki and Mike Sowards, and I could go on. There are the many pastors and teachers I’ve known. Rose Scanlon my favorite English teacher, Mr. Brewster from my four years of history classes. That man had a lot of patience.

Honor

I honor them and thank them for their gift. I never want to forget each step of the way. I want to feel each mountain ledge under my calloused toes. Pain, joys, everything. I know this path. My feet and hands have memorized every ledge, rock, and crevice. If I get knocked back I can climb it again. And maybe I will.

“There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.”
~Bjork

A Wild Woman’s Soul

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