As a second-grader, jealousy gripped me and possibly taught me a lesson. A schoolmate had a Mickey Mouse watch with the gloves of Mickey that turned to show the time. I knew that she was rich. And for a few minutes, I convinced her to let me wear her fantastical watch. It didn’t matter what else happened that day. This girl and I had bonded, and I was wearing her Mickey Mouse watch. If I were persuasive enough, maybe she’d let me wear it home. At times I had guts. Raw desire made me bold.
I always thought it was logic. Truthfully, it was about pain. Choices—which option didn’t hurt as much as the other? If I saw a new phone I wanted, I would think the process through in my mind. It cost x amount, and currently, I am in debt xx amount. But in my thinking, it was a smart purchase if I could purchase it immediately or somehow arrange it into my budget. Logic—as I was calling it—was a lie. Peel back a layer, and you see the pain.
As a very young kid, I learned how to earn money from labor. We had a farm. All pecans that fell onto the ground were mine to pick up, and I could sell them by the pound if the hogs didn’t eat them first. Back then, I made about ten dollars. I felt a thrill at having that money. My life also developed a good dose of shame.
Around two years ago, I went to a group meeting to learn how to organize my life. My expectations were too high. And I was clueless on how little the teacher knew. It was far too simple. Don’t hoard, Sort your clothes, and so on. But I was there with people who had five sets of chinaware.
There’s nothing shameful about wanting things.
The teacher, who I knew from therapy sessions, said I had a poverty attitude. I left angry. These people were downsizing and trying to throw their shame onto me. I have no reason to be ashamed. I’ve lived in her world—the money—and like her, I suddenly lost it. So yes, I want things.
In my years of recovery from abuse, I’ve learned that a victim’s coping methods are smart. List making and stocking up on supplies are virtues we admire in others, but we can use them to hide also. It’s like procrastinating until it’s too late. I’m the same way, there are many healthy habits we can develop.
Creating small memories throughout your day is a great way to build a beautiful life. Totems can be made to honor your life. It’s an easy way to remind yourself of your values. You can have unique traditions or days of your own. My two girlfriends and I created our winter holiday in which we exchange socks. The holiday is our day. And it is sacred.
Only you are in charge of your life. Yes, others cause things to happen around you, but you are the ultimate chooser. Be well in your life today.
“Simply asking yourself the question, ‘How am I doing right now?’ is a gentle reminder to take care of yourself,” Hill Kooienga said. – HuffPost
Thanks for your patience while I am recovering from my surgery. Healing is slow but sure.
Recently I ran into a brick wall. I felt I couldn’t bust through. I had ideas, but they just hung out in the air. Pen to paper. Fingers to the keyboard. Where to start? Frustrating. This has been my struggle the last few months.
Back in my junior high days, there was a group from the wrestling team in my history class. They were often cutting up before the class started, before the teacher came into the room. Now, I knew what a full-nelson and a half-nelson hold were. I was familiar with martial arts and wrestling in general. My two older brothers were excellent teachers of how to remove yourself from holds and better still of how not to become entangled.
These three boys in class demonstrated something which shocked me. One guy would hold another wrestler up by gripping him around the neck, cutting off the blood flow. At first, I didn’t believe it was real. The guy fainted. Blacked completely out. Teen boys don’t faint. He’s joking around–right? They did it again to demonstrate. WTF. And then the teacher walked into the room. The chattering of 30 teenagers hushed to a whisper.
They were using a modified choke hold. And the wrestlers got high from the choke out. It became a tough guy competition and a then a demonstration to show what they knew. It was even an “I’ll hold you against the wall by the throat thing” until you pass out. Which is what happened and they’d get up and laugh it off.
That’s what I did to myself. Accidently. Only it wasn’t a real choke hold, just in the mad panic of getting too much done I dropped my writing. I quit editing my book. I had ideas, but I choked. I couldn’t seem to get enough air between my crazed thoughts. “Not enough time,” “that’s a dumb idea,” “later,” “everyone else has done that,” you’re a moron.” I choked.
Like those wrestlers, I’m getting back up and laughing it off. I relaxed the choke hold. I let the events pass that held me captive. One by one the stressors left. One more important thing I’ve done is to receive guidance. I’ve had therapy before, and it helped. This time I’d been thinking about having a life coach and I still might. What I did this time was order some coaching online that fit my specific needs. It has helped me tremendously. Maybe that’s what we all need, a little help, someone to nudge us in the right direction.
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