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?

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The Jungle of My Emotions

I get caught up in the anger. My emotions of rage, betrayal, and wrongness engulf me. There’s no compassion, only my problem. Monkey mind is in control, and I struggle to make sense of the chaos.

Maybe you don’t have this problem, but emotions are painful for me. I was trying to negotiate a bill with my homeowners association which should have been a logical discussion. But I was PISSED. How dare they say this is my bill. They agreed to pay. With each thought, my temper guzzled a gallon of gasoline before striking a match. I had an ice cube’s chance in hell to win really. I’m one against the organization and the proof I was using was vague. But emotions are the fire in our belly that keeps us fighting even when the odds are against us. Yet, sometimes we win.

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.

Here’s my thought, over time, if I keep walking back through my jungle, I will have markers on my emotions, and I will see them and their triggers. My jungle will have paths with directional markings. But I have to be brave enough to walk into it with my eyes open. Face my demons. Lose some battles. But, someday, I won’t be walking around blind anymore.

“Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.” #StillIRise #MayaAngelou

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

 

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?

I’m Not Abused, Really

Abuse is about being broken. It’s about seeing things askew. It’s like trying to put on your morning makeup while using a mirror from the fun house carnival. You just never get it right.

I just picked a bad time to ask….I should have waited.

If I’d been more polite to the officer, this wouldn’t have happened. (This is exactly what abuse feels like. Watch below how hopeless it is.)

Truth: No one deserves mistreatment. Ever.

Truthfully, once we see that the dress is really blue, it’s seen as truth thereafter.

Once a woman realizes that it’s alright to say no and that it’s alright to speak her opinion, it’s accepted by society as truth.

There are certain words that should not be used in condescension again.

Bitch. Slut. Whore. These are only some of the minor words that many women hear. I’ve had them used against me by men who’ve wanted to put me in my place. Or take me down a notch. Every time I think about the times it happened, I want to throw things. I want to jump up and down and stir up dust. I get angry. They couldn’t hit me, so a word was used instead. It didn’t work, because I’m fortunate–I know who I am, but not all women do. I hope the next generation gets a better grip on this and doesn’t feel the need to inflict pain to get their way.

The Dress – Why is so hard to see Black and Blue? Article – www.independent.co.uk/