Monday, June 3

This is a YAB Sticker


15 months ago today I wrote about a friend whom I call Beautiful Man. It was in my video communication on Marco Polo with him that all kinds of light bulbs started going off -which culminated in my blog post Self Perception and YAB stickers.

In those months since I wrote about him, the nickname I gave him has become much more than that; it is now an embodiment. That sounds like a corny exaggeration, but it’s actually not even accurate enough. The friend I have in Beautiful Man is one of continual example, because WHO he is –is someone I can look up to, get advice from, trust, feel top quality connection with, and most importantly: be understood.

With nothing or nobody being perfect, and all of us being so flawed, I don’t get to use words like adore, esteem, value, love, enjoy, appreciate, admire, and need…being related to one person.

I include aspects of him in what I write kind of often, because of his example of being a true friend full of grace, kindness, and beauty on a constant basis. I am spoiled by his amazing example of humanity, and without even attempt or desire, he makes other people I know look poor quality.

I know he would never want to hear that, so I admit it while being pretty sure he won’t know I said it publicly. I DO tell him as often as I can without being overwhelming (I hope) that his personality and qualities are entirely SEEN. His Beauty has gone from being external, to internal, to radiating and affecting.

I’m not sure I’ve ever known someone that I can say anything to, and without exception; be so easily understood. That's why here, I also call him "Nat".

In something I’m currently writing, I talk about some basic human needs. What I’m working on is not at all related to Beautiful Man, but I do mention a list. To steal the words from that dissertation: “
There are some basic needs you have in life. Needs ALL of us have. They include being comfortable, being happy, understanding what’s going on, feeling understood, the ability to relate to others and feel related to. Not feeling isolated or alone, and interestingly -the ability to empathize.”

Extracting my words from the subject matter I’m writing in my dissertation, and applying them directly to Beautiful Man; I can say this is why I love him so. He makes me feel comfortable, happy, understood, related to, near, and we have reciprocity in empathy. His views “get” mine, and although I have long since stopped using the term “best friend” he is the best kind of friend I could ask for.

“Nat”, YOU Are Beautiful!!




Tuesday, April 23

KNOW vs. FEEL

I can KNOW many things. My common sense is pretty on point. I’m sensible and I do the Shelves & Tables thing on a regular basis; being honest with myself and getting clarity on everything that appears looking unclear. I often need a few hours to figure out something “new” that comes up in my psyche. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks before I’m able to effectively write about some things, but overall I feel I’m sensible and I USE my sensibility.

Now…

What I FEEL is another story. And no, I’m no psychiatrist, so what I say could be entirely textbook and obvious to some. It’s all experiential for me. When I say “feel” (this time) I mean specifically feelings we don’t choose. Feelings that arise and are like a 5 gallon bucket of paint poured over your head from the heavens. It can’t be ignored, it has to be felt. This is how I see feelings I have through conditioning. I literally mean like Pavlov’s dogs knowing that a bell equates to food. Our whole youth is full of conditioning.

It’s association.

This + this = that. Almost everything is association and conditioning. If you have a dog you make association for them on a regular basis. If you have children you are doing it, and sometimes creating who they are in the process. Which isn’t to remove their volition; they WILL make decisions you don’t like –despite your conditioning.


I’m writing not because I’m willing to share what conditioning appeared for me recently, what paint got poured over my head, but to acknowledge that what I felt/feel was/is incredibly real. It affects the adult me. How do I undo/delete/fix this conditioning I don’t want to be feeling, since I don’t choose it?

Annoyingly, it took a wise 20 year old that lives with me to give me the advice my sensible self should have already said.

Communicate it away.

“Natalie do what you do, communicate this feeling to the person it’s related to, then they will know, and its power will be gone. Be open about it, and there can’t be an issue because you put that feeling out there before you could have your conditioning affect the situation.”

Through my cloudy head of snot and tears, I absolutely saw she was right and what she said was THE sensible answer. I already could see I was being silly allowing a feeling that wouldn’t appear to be a fear it COULD appear, and that had everything to do with my upset also. I could say and happily admit the possibility of what I feared arising was almost impossible, but the conditioning was/is so damn REAL, what I felt was larger than what I knew.

So, I communicated.

What happened then? I cried anew at the grace, beauty, love, and understanding shown to me by sharing something affecting me so heavily. Also being shown that who created this conditioning is nothing like or could ever be like this force of goodness that was communicating the feeling away for me. It’s stupid –but I needed that. It was like they stood there and said “I’m not your dad. I’m nothing like your dad, and I’m NEVER going to harm you”. Only, all of that got said by being reminded WHO I WAS talking to, and that person only knows kindness.

I will undo what that man did to me and I will continue undoing it using tools he didn’t ever use. Shouts and threats aren’t communication. He will forever be a really good bad example. I will continue to accept the quality examples like my wise 20yo, and my beautiful, graceful friend –full of pure goodness.


Sunday, April 21

Misappropriated Forgiveness


((I wrote this over a year ago, and I didn’t share it at the time. In typing it up from my notebook, It sounds pretty harsh, and yet, I am not disagreeing with my words. I’ve referenced this many times when talking to people, so I actually forgot it only lived in my notebook. I think it’s time I put it out there for reference online. I’m going to keep the harsh tone. I must have had attitude for a reason when I wrote it. Sometimes mental light bulbs are like that.))

One of the best things to come to me with age is my acceptance I can question everything and I need no permission. This state of mind that allows me to ask “Why?” to the most basic of concepts -is the liberation of mind. How this decision of mental freedom didn’t come to me at 16, 19, 21, or even 30, I will never fully know. I just have theories. Maybe everyone else has had this “question everything” permission for a long time and that is why I’m finding it such a big deal -it’s new to me. 

Well, relatively speaking, but it’s growing. It stared by questioning kindness and if I’m not Jesus, do I have to be kind to those that prove they don’t deserve my kindness? And for the record, “Jesushood” is not a personal goal of mine. It was the misappropriated use of the word forgiveness that a friend showed me this questionable belief that the conscious decision to “forgive” could somehow fix a situation. Then I suddenly saw the word as moot for many instances.

I think we humans have a bunch of things ass-backwards.

These aren’t her words I use to tell this, but she basically was saying that she felt she could move on and get past a “non-ex boyfriend” (loaded term) if she could just forgive him for being promiscuous. Which is to say what he was doing that was upsetting to her was not going to stop. Wouldn’t her ability to “just forgive” make everything all better in the upsetting “relationship”?

Yeah, NO.

Let’s say she could forgive him, what then? Does his continual treatment of her make her feel anything pleasant? And since it’s the biggest deal to me, I have to ask: What then happens to her self esteem? This particular application of forgiveness creates a monster and a doormat.

And lets look at the core of what she said and ask, why would she believe in forgiveness? Because just like everything in life, we are told we have to be the personification of all these things, and not just accept it, but believe it, be happy with it, and do it. Not only am I questioning things I never did before, I’m questioning that I have to believe what I’m told to believe.

Beep. Restart.

It is in the willingness to look at a word or emotion and study it that allows me to conclude completely new information about it.

Brené Brown has done this with shame and vulnerability, shedding light on things we think we are so familiar with. But when you begin to question these words attached to feelings, you find more aspects to them that give rise to “what if I say no?” And I’m not turning this into a refusal to forgive. I’m saying what if forgiveness is not what a situation requires? Because what changes after forgiving in a situation that cannot change after forgiveness is applied? The only answer I can conclude is a LIE. The only thing that changes is that a person is now lying to themselves.

In the need to be clear, I’m not talking about a situation where one person said sorry after hurting another and then both move forward with the apology and forgiveness applied. That IS how forgiveness should work. An apology, a change, and new direction for BOTH. No need to stay in the past.

This also applies in the reverse when you don't want to have anything to do with a person, but they should apologize and DO. Go on, allow change, forgive, and move forward feeling better. You don’t have to then have them in your life, walking your new direction with you. No. But when communication happens, and a person apologizes, accept it for your own benefit. There is much power in an apology. EVEN IF you don’t want that person apologizing to be talking to you again. You can still benefit from the apology and move forward in forgiveness as it applies to YOUR benefit.

In a situation where forgiveness can’t be applied because a person is dead, or no longer in your life, and no apology is being given…I would suggest that forgiveness is still moot. What needs to happen there is you need to sensibly look at the past and set it down, making the decision to move forward without it in your hands. When change is impossible, change you. Set the past down. Move on. Don’t walk backwards. Acknowledge you’ve crossed a bridge, and keep walking.


In talking about the decision to use forgiveness as a way to tell yourself you have done something that needed to happen in order for your mental and emotional comfort…I am posing this idea that I can choose mental and emotional comfort in the decision to move on without applying misappropriated forgiveness. I have a feeling we are using this word in too many places where we need more words.

I’m going to go ahead and say what I feel like I haven’t been saying. If someone treated me in a way I shouldn’t have been treated and it happened many times, (until they were either forced to stop or I removed myself from the situation) if they didn’t affect or apply any change, is there any point where my forgiveness does anything? Saying or feeling forgiveness would only change the story in my head, which to be frank sounds like an unhealthy story. Why not apply KNOWLEDGE instead of forgiveness? What if instead I consciously say this person will never change, but I’m going to change the way I see myself and the way I see them. I’m going to ACKNOWLEDGE the poor quality of that human and acknowledge my greatness in my ability to move on. It’s not forgiveness. It’s being WISE. It’s bigger and better than forgiveness because it doesn’t make me a doormat. It insists I’m not. Nor does it invite the person to remain in my life. Forgiveness as it is regularly misappropriated, is permission to stay who they are and usually to stay in your life. No, THAT is where the change needs to be taking place. Not the application of a non-applicable word, just so you can pretend things are “all better”. Don’t forgive, be wise! Wise to who they are, wise to what isn’t possible, wise to who you are, and wise in a way that stops the situation your old self would be trying to apply forgiveness to and then not benefiting from any change.


Tuesday, March 26

BY FORCE

Dearheart,

In the midst of writing about tragedy and pain, and how so few seem to escape it, you told me of your loss today. My heart aches for you, I'm powerless and not even near to hold you. What is in my power under the circumstances? To say I love you. To let you know I want to do anything I can to help you, and the reality is, I cannot replace your loss or rewind time. If only I could.

My writing is rather interrupted by my worrying about you, so the last thing I feel is eloquent. I will have to revisit what I was wanting to share, and instead give you what I wrote this weekend as I listened to multiple incredible women share their stories of a life roughly lived.

Loss, pain, heartache and hardship seem to be part of the human condition. We need to remember this, and add as an even bigger reminder that there are people who want to help you get through it. No, you don't feel like laughing, no, you don't feel like socializing, no, you don't feel like going out and having a fun time. But you know what? Those are things that WILL help you, and those are things that those of us who love you CAN DO.

The pain will not magically disappear, your grief WILL be real, EVEN IF you allow yourself to see some beauty and feel some joy irrespective of your pain. Gah, I want to dress your wounds... I want to hold you... I want to help you heal. Please know that it is YOU who says to YOUR Dearhearts that you will receive their help. We are here for you.


I'm going to share two things I wrote recently. They both apply to you today. By Force is the first, and what I felt as I was humbled to be in the presence of others in pain.
To Be Held is the second, and it is a poem I wrote recently. (I usually don't share poems publicly)

By Force

If we actually got to choose we would choose ease, beauty, perfection, happiness, and fun. We would choose a path of joy and we would revel in it continuously.

But that's not what happens. It isn't tidy, it isn't smooth, its a mess and shit happens. No choice, no permission, full of pain and often awful.

Other people make choices that DO affect us, and we don't always have a say in the measure to which we are hit. 

So what do you do? Crumble. Break. Fall apart, and sob. Stop eating, stop getting out of bed, and wish that IF the pain and sadness CAN'T disappear, that YOU will.

And how long does it last? In some ways, forever. Yep. But that's because nothing gets erased. How long it hurts is up to how long healing takes. A scratch can heal quickly, but a severed leg will take time.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't heal. Be patient, know it's happening because that's what the body does; it heals, -so let it. As time passes, as you walk down your path, accept you can turn and look at the past, but that's not where you are. You've past the past, leaving it behind you doesn't erase it, the scars are there. That part of you that insists on remembering-will. But don't turn around and keep walking back to the past, believing you must keep it near. Continually walking back is stopping you from getting to wonderful things up ahead.

To keep walking is how you grow. Your pains, your heartaches, your sorrow is how you get stronger, braver, wiser. And none of this started by choice. It happened by force.

DO you feel stronger? Do you feel brave? Maybe. Maybe not. But you're growing, you're learning, you're becoming...a hero-by force.


To Be Held

It's not that I need you. It's more that you make me feel safe. Some days it's less about life, and more about now. Those times my desire is simple, I become as basic as it gets. I only have one wish, and that is to be held.

Today was no harder than others. It had its ups and downs. When I sit and ask what I want, I can only point to one thing. And that is simple really, just to be held.

I know it's not appropriate to ask. I know it would seem like more. I don't want to complicate, muddy, or label. It's not a big deal. I'm happy to go without, I always do. It would however be so nice -to be held.

I know you are going through things. None of us get off scot free. We each pay the price of being human, and I see you know what I mean. Don't do what I'm doing. Don't insist on being strong. Because I'm here if you need, -just to be held.

I won't claim you are weak. I won't label it anything. Your pain is not mine to bear. So when you aren't feeling strong, you won't even have to speak. Just turn up and say nothing, -to be held.


(This sunset photo I took tonight. As soon as I saw it I thought of you for two reasons. The sunset reminds me of you often, and it looked symbolic of your heart; split in two. I love you)

Friday, March 1

HONEST WITH YOURSELF

I once had a boyfriend insist he wasn’t lying while he was completely unable to be honest with himself about his feelings. Ya, no shit Homie, you can’t easily make up a lie about something when you refuse to admit to yourself the truth. The only person he was actually lying to was himself, because he didn’t know how to be honest with himself.

I ended up seeing he had a lot of issues and his refusal to look inward, know himself, understand his feelings, acknowledge what he was ignoring, no… it wasn’t so much lies as it was a TOTAL LACK of honesty. These are two different things.

The reason I bring this up is not at all related to the ex-boyfriend, it’s because I see that many find it so hard to be honest with themselves; about all sorts of things. The more honest I am with myself the less “confused” I feel about anything. So I personally want to be brutally honest. I hate confusion.

We all have “things” that exist in our minds through conditioning that we tell ourselves we are not supposed to feel. And then, how often when you feel these unavoidable and unacceptable feeling do you say to yourself: “Hey, why am I feeling this? How big a deal is this? I’ve been feeling this for a long time now.”?
Ya, NEVER.
Why is that?
Good question. Because you have in your head some reason why you SHOULDN’T. You can’t be honest and just admit you DO. So whether you ignore your “unacceptable” feelings or you make up a story to tell yourself instead… you refuse to be honest.

By doing this, and hanging onto the thing you are telling yourself INSTEAD, you allow something that is unhealthy for you and you make it MORE unhealthy. The irony is that if you were to just look at it and be Honest, you could very well solve the problem you have or at least be healthy with it by doing the honesty thing.

Part of why being honest with yourself matters so much is because of where you go mentally when you keep refusing to find the honesty to say what’s really up. To DEAL on a conscious level with what’s happening in your heart, mind, life, wherever, is how you become more mentally healthy.

And if you think I’m referring to only big things-Addictions, Affairs, Drugs…NO! I mean ANYTHING!! Whether it’s a friendship that is harmful, a job that robs your joy, fill in the blank…because everyone is struggling to look at the uncomfortable parts of life and just be honest.

And you know it stands to reason…if you CAN’T be honest with yourself, are you really being honest with others? And your inability to be honest with yourself is almost never invisible. People can see it. So what do you think they think you are doing with them? Being DIShonest likely.

The stories you are telling yourself about the things you can’t look in the eye and admit to being there makes you a story-teller. NOT an honest person. How many stories are you telling, and wouldn’t you rather be healthy and just be honest? It’s far easier than you think.

Back when I too was afraid of honesty, I was at least willing to admit I was chicken-shit. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it means scared/afraid. I was too chicken-shit to ask myself what I was feeling, and I was double that amount of chicken-shit when it came to considering answers. How did I get out of it? My discomfort from my lack of honesty outweighed the fear of my chicken-shit state…and I quit closing my eyes.

From there I learned that like most excuses we tell ourselves, and the stories we come up with, the truth and honesty is actually FAR FROM scary. I have not had any of the honesty jump up and stab me when I looked at it. It did nothing TO me. I look, feel, and UNDERSTAND. Being in a position of understanding is one of the most comfortable places to be, EVEN WHEN what you are looking at or admitting to is a “bad” thing. (I don’t say bad meaning bad, I say bad because of the nature of what you can’t be honest with yourself about…assuming its bad.)

I have a blog post called Shelves and Tables. This is similar to taking a “thing” and setting it on the table in front of you. Removing yourself, and stepping back to look at it from all angles. It’s liberating, it clarifying, it’s informational on many scales, and more than anything it’s HEALTHY. Do this with honesty and you won’t be sorry. You’ll be clearer in your own mind, and in the eyes of others.

Saturday, February 16

SEEN


It’s been a couple years, and I thought I was “over it”, I thought my little wounds were healed, and I thought the history didn’t matter. I’ve moved on and so has he.

Then we ran into one another, I was in a space where I knew he would be, and I felt strong enough to be there without feeling it needed to matter we had both stepped away from our once close friendship. Nothing got said, so I was comfortable that we could be in the same space and neither of us had to feel any glass underfoot, or vibrations of discomfort due to proximity.

I could feel he knew I was there, and his continual walking past me confirmed this. I’m not an expert on body language, but I took this to mean I had been seen.

Interestingly, our friendship ended with me feeling entirely unseen, unappreciated, with my words twisted, and my heart a little stepped on after the realization that someone who mattered so much to me was not someone I mattered to. The irony of the word “seen” after he’d read a message from me and wouldn’t bother to reply got harder and harder as I felt more and more “unseen”.

 It was at this same time that I had other friends showing me they could see me, and they didn’t even have to try to convey I mattered, I knew it without question. The difference was night and day and led to a post I wrote called Who Matters?

(Have you ever had a friend change on you? To the point you can’t tell if they are even hearing you, or seeing you, or getting you in any form? If you’ve experienced this you know what I mean when I say you start to shut down, you stop saying what’s on your mind, and you start figuring out how to word every little thing so as not to be misunderstood, because they will either easily offend, or twist what you are saying further into something they can be upset by. This is very possibly a disorder of sorts on their part, but on your part, this feeling of being unable to be genuine literally makes you disingenuous because of all the thinking you have to do before you speak.)

It was on the second occasion recently when we saw one another that he had the balls to come up to me, take my hand, hug me, and say he was glad to see me and that he had missed me. His humility shocked me. His genuineness was palpable, and I was seeing the version of him I knew and loved before he made me feel so confused by all the misunderstandings. I was almost surprised by the melting effect his words had on my grudge since I didn’t realize I was carrying it until that moment it started melting. He was apologizing and it was actually what I needed. How crazy that something so “small” could have such a tangible effect that I literally physically felt a morphing of my feelings as he spoke.

Fast forward a couple weeks and we were at the same place again. Without hesitation he approached me, told me how happy he was to see me again, and said he wants me to come back. He told me he’s accepting how imperfect he is, that he’s learning to love himself, and he wants to mend or attempt to heal the interactions of his past that hurt others. Without being interested in placing blame, I acknowledged my role, what head space I was in, and then I started remembering my last conversation with him that was essentially our goodbye two years ago. Again his apologizing and my remembering of the sadness melted more of my grudge and hurt and it started to pour down my cheeks without any control on my part. We stood outside and since it was dark, I hoped there was no light to reflect my tears and give away my melting. This wasn’t the moment I wanted to look so vulnerable and affected by something I had been convincing myself I was over. I take being a friend very seriously, and having put so much into that friendship, for it to end with so much sadness and confusion on my part, I totally took for granted how much I still needed to hear words that included me being seen, that he was sorry and that he wanted me to be seen more.

On one hand I feel so weak admitting all this. That I couldn’t heal something by myself and move on like I assumed I could. Despite my insisting I only had “little wounds”. But the action of an apology, and his discussing the past did affect me so thoroughly I cry even as I type this. And yet…this is how fucking huge an apology is. Sometimes our role in an event is mainly as witness, we see and feel the choices and actions of another without any control over their decisions, their words, their consequences, and it’s ultimately self respect that is the ride outta there. An apology is like a magical salve to a scar that really won’t ever fully heal without it. And to fully heal is not always what you get either, but any level of healing is healing. And an apology is a big deal.

This is also why if one decides that an apology has made it possible to trust again, to have that trust violated or abused; the wound is not just open anew, but deeper than before. We beat ourselves up for believing the apology, for handing over trust, and since we hurt all over again, the experience morphs from one of benefit and learning to one of pain and closure; locking up the heart with frantic hands of “never again, I can’t believe I let this happen”. To be giving someone an apology is to be in a place of power. It’s also a place of humility. If as the giver of an apology, you do not stick with your words, staying a changed person, you have new power to make yourself look worse than ever, to hurt the person more than ever, and the amazingness you could have created becomes an abyss of worthless pain.

As he apologized, he used words I have used many times. That he needs to benefit from the pain. That he must take the painful lessons and become a better person because the alternative is unacceptable. “Life is short” he said, “I get overwhelmed. I end up hurting people. I’m terribly imperfect, but I need to love myself despite these things. Because it then becomes easier to treat others the way I should.”

Like a mom who is always preaching self love, to hear it said back to me through HIS realizing this on his own; I feel a sense of pride. 
I hope many things in this moment: 
*that he always remembers this,
*that he flourishes in understanding how much better life gets as you continue to love yourself,
*and that following through with these realizations are like exercising muscles. 
It’s a continual thing. You will only benefit with strength if you continue to exercise.

I love you sweet friend. I dream of your success in all aspects of life, but most importantly the success that happens inside your heart and mind. Please don’t give me reason to feel the frantic panic of needing to lock up my heart from you. Please continue to see me, please accept I’m not perfect either, and that enough pain has passed for you that much transformation can and should take place.

Tuesday, February 5

IT'S ME


”It’s not you, it’s me.” If only we could all see and accept that so much of what we experience/feel/believe/see is not because of other people. It’s because of who we are as an individual. Over the years of relationships, friendships, experiences, hurts and happiness’s we build a construct of who we are, and how we will see things. It doesn’t matter what any one person does toward me, around me, to me, I will decide to act/react/speak/avoid/attach to anything because of who I am. It is who I have become. This is true for each of us. All our interactions have everything to do with what you are going through, what you have gone through, and to say “It’s not you –it's me” is the reality of it. 

How much can you tolerate being treated a certain way? How much attitude do you have for a specific personality trait? How will you respond when your personally assigned “lines” finally get crossed? That is up for each of us to decide. And so, to be frank, it is completely within the decision of each individual whether or not they can/will get along with another individual. This is the same for the people you find yourself connecting with, attaching to, falling in love with, and generally adoring.

I’ve learned I’m not someone who is good around negative people. They are draining for me and I find I have very little to talk to them about because they tend to carry around emotions I don’t. Through my life and childhood I’ve had opportunity to try and “get over” this fact, when what has actually happened is I’ve learned to see it clearly, spot it quickly, and I have to stay away from the negativity. No, this isn’t always possible, so in the instances I have no choice, I do my best.

I recently experienced a negative person explaining that something I did in an effort to stand up for myself was enough of an attack on her and her time, that she raised her voice and demanded an apology for what transpired after I stood up for myself and made a decision about how I was being treated. (which was to remove myself from the building) Now, since this person is always negative and she didn’t want to be even remotely supportive of my standing up for myself, she decided to take the negative route, throw attitude all over the room and demand I should be apologizing to her.

Ya, no. I stood up for myself yet again. I said the person that created the issue that had me leave the building should apologize to her, because their actions affected more than me. She got louder and insisted once more I apologize. I got louder and repeated myself, “I will never apologize for standing up for myself” and I walked away unwilling to argue what was already clear. A difference of perspective.

My response to a “demand” also comes back to my experiences, my history, and my current knowledge of who she is in my eyes. How I respond to her is not about her. It’s about me. How she responds to me, is not about me, it’s about her.

You captain your ship, I captain mine. I won’t sail over to “I’m sorry” when it’s undeserved, and uncalled for. Instead, I sail on! It’s my choice to act/react however I see fit in a situation based on who I am. And if removing myself from the building is hard for her to accept, she might want to consider -my decisions on how I react to the way I’m treated, are mine to make.

The older I get the more I see we are all so different, we won’t be “everyone’s friend”. There will be people that don’t like you, there will be people who don’t agree with you. How you act/react/speak/choose will be your call. Some may choose confrontation, I choose civil disobedience. You be your captain, I will be mine, and we will have to accept we don’t get our decisions “passed off” by one another. You see; I’m living my life, not yours.

Wednesday, January 23

HEY, "FRIEND"...


...what do ya know, you're getting a blog post... Not because you're so great, but because people like you need to know that people like me see you for what you are.
And what are you? That would be labeling you... I'm happy not to come up with any one or two words to describe you, because you have many things that make you stand out to people like me. In fact, it's your insistence on labeling ME, that has me writing this.

Yes I'm bugged that "friend" is one of the few titles I can use for you because of our weekly interaction for almost a year now. What makes writing this sit even more uncomfortable, is your position over me. Frankly, anyone in an overseeing role to others should be working harder at making everyone feel part of a "team" so to speak, not continually ostracizing them by including them only to ignore them, tease them, bully them, and make them prey to your mind games. In addition to finding every opportunity to call them "weird".

Your know-it-all attitude and arguing gets old when you regularly have to admit not knowing anything about the subject you are insisting you are right on. It's even more amazing that you do it over subjects I do have knowledge on. Can't you hear yourself? Really? What do you think I think of you????

I've wondered if the way you treat me has anything to do with me being the same age as your mother. She had you young, so you might not feel respect for her like you should... I dunno. Maybe you think she's stupid or "weird" too... but your continual desire to argue anything, including things I know, is how you do so well at showing me on a regular basis that you are the fool by assuming I am.

"True wisdom is knowing what you don't know" -Confucius

I am not like you. I'm me.
I'm a girl, I build stuff, I create stuff, I write stuff, I paint stuff, and I like to do lots of STUFF. If I don't fit some preconceived mold you've created and you feel the need to keep calling me weird, go ahead.. but one day you will have to get over it. There's a bunch of weird people out here in this world. Many of us feel free to be ourselves, we refuse to see your boxes, and we are going to keep doing our stuff. I can't believe you think everyone should be like you...but you DO keep showing me you are too stupid for an expanded mind, so after hearing "you're weird" today for the millionth time, I finally have a reply. "Fuck YOU".

Did you somehow miss that the world is FULL of people that I have to compare you against? Have you not considered you stand out like a sore thumb with your asshole actions and your judgmental words? I think you just believe you can get away with it by acting cute, pretending to be young and fun while you pull off "asshole" nicely. That actually speaks to why it keeps happening, you pull off closed-minded-stupidity AND I put up with it constantly. This isn't high school...as much as you want it to be with your clickyness, and your brand name fashion putdowns.

In the adult world, we don't have "the popular kids", "the nerds", and "the wierdo's". Your insistence doesn't change the world, it just shows me who YOU are.

I'm reminded of how I felt the first time I watched The Greatest Showman, and heard the song "This is me".
I know I don't stand out like a bearded lady, fuck, you'd never shut up if I had a beard, but I know I'm different, and I don't care if people see it. What I do care about is people who just can't wrap their fucking head around it enough to never shut up about it and call me weird for what I eat, for how I dress, for the words I use, for my height, for every gawd-damn thing you can think of... so I'll leave you with some of the lines that I can sing to you with a middle finger in the air.

When the sharpest words want to cut me down,
I'm going to send a flood,
going to drown them out.
I am brave, I am bruised,
I am who I'm meant to be.
This is me.
Look out -cuz here I come,
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum.
I'm not scared to be seen.
I make no apologies.
This is me.

Saturday, January 5

BUTTERFLIES


It’s come to my attention that not everyone gets butterflies when they come in contact with someone they “like”. (You know what I mean)
It’s my lack of butterflies the majority of the time that the arrival of butterflies has me in analyzation mode yet again. And then I learned that butterflies are not analogous for everyone, or even universally existing.

I’m trying to look at the situations that brings butterflies, and wondering how to explain feeling them to someone who doesn’t have them. It’s challenging. It’s kind of like having ASMR. If you don’t have it (and I don’t) I can only imagine what it feels like when friends that do have it -explain what causes their symptoms, and how those symptoms feel. I know what a tingle is, I know what extreme calmness feels like, so I am able to understand.

I doubt I would be writing about this if I weren’t single. I think being single provides an opportunity to be extra honest since we often find that butterflies disappear once in a relationship. Which is also part of what I want to elaborate on. That disappearance and if it’s inevitable.

I’m not going to go into a story of who I feel butterflies for, I want to start with basic facts about why I think butterflies are felt.  (For me anyway…clearly I can’t write for anyone else.)

To explain, I have to start with flattery. It seems butterflies are hugely related to flattery, so it makes sense to admit: I’m not someone who flatters easily.

I had a friend years ago that would post ads on Craig’s list to get creepy attention. She was flattered by the replies, and it didn’t matter what they said, what they looked like, or any factor. She only needed the one aspect to feel flattery--a reply. I may have sounded very harsh the first time she brought up she did this. I was so confused and shocked that irrespective of a persons mind, face, attitude, personality, location, job, criminal record, integrity…she could feel flattered by anything, and get excited to read her emails. I am never going to understand that.

For me, flattery ONLY has to do with who the person is and what they are saying. My disingenuous meter is rather fine tuned, and if a person tries to compliment me without knowing who I am, my meter is on full read. If flattery is felt, I tend to know who they are. The degree of flattery usually depends on how well I know them, and even what I think of them through an interaction history. Another factor is how long I have had them in my world, and what they have shown me in WHO they are during that time. But most importantly, MY opinion of them has to be high in order for large flattery to exist.

This is not to say that I have to know a person only for a long time and know them really well. Some people have the ability to show you who they are in the words they choose, in the vibe they carry around with their facial expressions, and their ability to come across as genuine. It’s similar to clean air and smog. A person who carries a clean air vibe is a totally different person than one that is walking around with smog. Maybe everyone is not sensitive to the air a person carries, but as a historic enabler, I learned very young how to read people and watch for details. I should also admit that many people carry neither clean air or smog… I don’t know how to explain that part of my perception, only that they are the majority of people. I think I can break it down this way…Most people don’t give off their WHO they are as they walk around… maybe 50% of people aren’t allowing themselves to be read. 25% of people seem to be unaware that their shitty attitude is like a cloud around them that affects their face, their walk, and the way they feel when they stand near you. Then, another 25% of people put out their general goodness in their demeanor; the face, the walk, the voice, the attitude… these are the people I connect with and make my friends. I know better to leave the other 75% of people alone, and that has been one of the best lessons I’ve learned about friends and myself in recent years.

So… looking at these types, I’ll call them the silent, the cloudy, and the clear. And I must add that my perception of these three types of people are exclusive to ME and MY perception. As well as my history, experiences, and decisions. A clear person for me can be a cloudy person for another. This too has been obvious on many occasions. (I hope this is starting to make sense.)

I wrote a post a little while back titled My Who, Your Who, Who are You? And that is good backup for this post if you care to read it.

So lets jump back to Butterflies. I have found that tiny butterflies can be experienced in general compliments that feel nice. Complimentary Butterflies I’ll call them. Those aren’t what I’m writing about today. The butterflies that spurred this desire to explain today are Attraction Butterflies, and Attraction Butterflies I’ve decided are not entirely mine.

Shit, I’m trying so hard not to tell a specific story, but I might have to. After spending a number of months watching a guy that comes into my general vicinity, after having a few conversations, after saying hello to him countless times, I find that when I walk near him I feel Attraction Butterflies. It’s like they are flying around HIM, not flying inside me, and the proximity to him, dictates how big those butterflies are. I also like the way he speaks to me, he’s intelligent, he is clear, he smiles when I look at him, and he listens when I speak. His clear air, his genuineness, and his ability to show me he sees “My Who” are all present. So although I don’t KNOW him well, or many details about him, all factors are in place for his words to flatter me, and for me to experience butterflies. This “perfect combination” of factors is so rare in this day and age, I’m thinking I’m an oddball unable to change with the times, and I will remain “old-school” in this, because I don’t want it to change. I like it this way. I like reaching a point of Attraction Butterflies, because it’s an educated place to be.

This is like going back to the world of dating before cell phones, dating sites, or anything outside of actual human connection that happened only in person. This is how people fell in love “old-school” and decided to experience life together. It was actual mental connection, then actual physical connection. Most of which happened at a normal pace in a healthy world of actual human interaction. NOT via any intermediary device.

That healthy world started changing… my story about Craig’s list and my friend is a good example of that…that was before smartphones and apps got involved in human interaction on intimate levels.

I must not forget the part where butterflies disappear. This too is related to what you feel from the other person, and I feel like its part of proof that butterflies are not necessarily yours alone, they are directly related to what the other person is putting out or not. I believe that people very much in love, don’t stop having butterflies if they don’t stop seeing the clarity of one another, if they don’t stop saying things that flatter, if they stay genuine and open; actually putting effort into not allowing the familiar to turn into the mundane. I believe present people who care about keeping mundane from knocking on the door are the people that get to keep experiencing the other person’s feelings, and reveling in Attraction Butterflies. This means maintaining trust, willingness to compliment, awareness of intonation, and many more things that come with a healthy relationship that can be called solid. The people who have THAT don’t have it by chance. They give a shit, they know their Who…and it’s a two part process; both individuals have to be this way.

So here I am, single in this world of connection that mostly happens via technology, and I am not feeling flattery through it, I am not feeling butterflies through it, and I am feeling entirely “old-school” needing actual time and actual interaction to feel actual feelings. I think I’m healthy. I think butterflies the way I feel them are healthy, and I wish for that world to come back.

As for my handsome example of getting to feel Attraction Butterflies…he’s not available. Is he attracted to me? Not sure. I can guess so, because few feelings so strong that are vibrationally felt when you go near a person--are imagined. They tend to be there because of BOTH parties, not because they are simply wished for. So is he feeling something? Probably. After all, if he is going to be genuine, sincere, and act as though he “sees” me, he too will pick up on the butterflies flying around me. Will he feel them? Not sure, remember that part is exclusive to the individual. Will he feel something? I bet so. It would be interesting to read his take on it, but for now, in true Natalie form, I’m going to be clear to myself about me, and not ask for clarity from him.

I’m maddening in my desire to allow others their privacy. ;) With my lack of questions, I’d make a terrible reporter.

Sunday, December 2

MOTHERING


I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of living when my mom dies. I’m not a mama’s girl by the usual definition, I’m more of a girl adored by her mama. I’m also a girl who never understood, related to, or liked her father, so although I didn’t have the typical mama’s girl relationship, I was thoroughly convinced of her unwavering love for me. But if you wanted to tattoo “Mama’s Girl” on me, I’d wear it proudly.

It was in Romania when I learned how huge the job of a mother is. I went there the most naïve 19 year old on the planet (before the days of internet) and what I experienced was that 100% of the children abandoned before the age of three were severely autistic. Which meant -most of them. What this showed me was how big-a-deal the job of a mom is. I went there because I saw a need for babies to be held; what I was oblivious to is that there is a point very early on that it’s too late. That sounds harsh, and there’s much that goes into that statement because my mom adopted two of these children. They were 6 & 7 when the adoptions were finally complete and despite MY MOM becoming their mom, their autism is and was so severe that to discuss it would be changing the subject. An infant needing a mother is like a small seed needing water.

I feel very weak these days as my mom starts to hunch with arthritis in her spine and gets scammed by a world she doesn’t understand. I’m in a position now of needing to mother her and try to fend off and fix the attack from the bad guys she knows nothing about. At times that’s the hardest part of her getting old… my inability to wrap my fucking mind around how to protect her when she can’t see the bad in anyone, and answers the phone to these ass-hats that prey on the elderly. Being in the mom role and trying to explain to HER why the world doesn’t protect her, and why she can’t do things she’s done her whole life (like answer the phone), is upsetting. I don’t want the roles to swap. There are more systems in place for protecting a 13 year old girl that knows more about how this shitty world works than there are for an elderly woman who doesn’t understand much anymore. I’m actually still searching for ways build protection, as this problem is unending and getting worse.

My heart is too soft. Watching her hobble away from my front door with her cane, as she beams from one ear to the other (because she only sees good in the world and she only feels love) is almost more difficult than it is sweet. I don’t want her bent over. I don’t want her to age. I don’t want her to leave.

I’ve said before, “being a mom” is bigger than me. Why? I never say that part… I don’t know how anyone’s heart can handle the love you must feel by being a mom. She’s so full of love for me it’s overwhelming. I think my heart would have exploded if I’d ever had a child.

I remember stepping out of a room and into the hall at the orphanage with Florina in my arms and sinking to the floor in tears; accepting I could accomplish nothing for her. No amount of Natalie love would fill any holes in the heart of this little girl who was so miserable she chewed holes into her hands and pulled her hair out in clumps. Did she want to be loved? Desperately. So did all the children that tried to climb me like a tree when I walked into the room. I would be felled by their insistence to be held and loved. This was not the case when an orphanage worker came into the room. These little ones knew where the love was. As I say, at 19 I was so naive as to think I could hold children and DO SOMETHING. I could do nothing but temporarily radiate what they should have been getting all along in their tiny fragile state.

I felt a lot of anger about this too, because I had this ridiculously perfect example of motherly love and trying to wrap my head around the severity of it all in the orphanage was impossible. I still to this day don’t understand that lack. I still to this day personally receive it in abundance.

People ask me if I’m going to have kids. People who think I’m not too old, and I still believe my heart would burst. I’m finally convinced some people have more love to give than others, and frankly I feel like my heart manufactures too much already. The notebook I’m writing in is my reminder with love note stickers all over the cover by one of the teenagers I mother. “You’re my favorite human”, “I love you”, “You deserve everything” “I freaking <3 you”. Again, they aren’t mine, but they feel my love. Would I be a good mom? No question. I’ve learned a lot from this imperfect person that perfectly loves. As that seed needing water, my mom has stood beside me with her watering can my whole life. She’s taken pride in watching me grow and has never stopped telling me she loves me

When the day comes that this mama’s girl is without her mom, the world will be a different place. One I will struggle to live in -not being watered continually. And I will relate to Florina better –in her desire to chew holes into her hands and pull her hair out, because without a mom I will be thoroughly incomplete too.