Sunday, December 31

Resilience vs Resistance

I’m not sure what’s happening. It’s not just happening to me, but to others around me. Relationships are ending. Not that I know too many details about the people around me I’m referring to, but there seems to be a pattern. In these relationships, one party is Resilient and the other is Resistant. Clearly I won’t be sharing examples from my friends’ breakups, or mine, but the fascinating nature of this synchronistic time has me compelled to analyze.

How is it that a resilient person ends up in a relationship with a resistant person? I’m such a firm believer you should be in a relationship with someone LIKE YOU, and although  all of “us” (those I know who are Resilient and going through a break up) thought we were getting into relationships with people we believed we had things in common with. It turns out that there is this fundamental difference of whether or not a person can bounce back, bend, extend, grow or plants their feet in the ground and refuses to move.

I have to get clearer. I feel like I’m skimming the surface.

Life is fucking hard. Most of us go through a bunch of shit. Some have to experience shit that others will never know. This journey of body, mind, heart is no smooth sail.

Furthering this point, there are two kinds of people seeing life is hard. Those who wish for smooth sailing despite the shit, and those who don’t believe smooth sailing exists. Those of us who wish for it know that the only way to ever get it is to turn ourselves into a sailboat. Our Resilience keeps us flexible in our attempt to continually try and figure out how we become this boat that will one day finally sail smoothly.

The Resistant ones refuse to believe that working on themselves to be come a sailboat is eve possible. They act like it’s and urban legend while watching the resilient ones flourish. And they do it WHILE trying to explain away why what they are doing in their resistant state (not working on themselves) is serving them just fine. What’s almost crazy about his thinking is that they are standing RIGHT THERE experiencing no change, no growth, and the relationship being destroyed because of this opposition of Resilience and Resistance.

As a resilient one I don’t get it. Life isn’t easier when you won’t work on yourself and your past. We all have “issues” and ignoring them makes life HARDER. Why would I want this hard life to be harder? I am not a reveler in misery –I want happiness, I want comfort, I want love, I want peace of mind, I want self esteem, and I want to be an incredible sailboat.

What will I be using to build this boat? All things flexible. An open mind, the ability to heal, the humility to say I’m wrong, the ability to put the drill in reverse and remove the rusty screws I’ve hung onto for too long. They will not serve me as I get stronger.

Where do I find a resilient one like me? How do I know sooner who the resistant ones are? The closest resilient friends also going through breakups need this question answered too. I’m not sure. Maybe we need a Resilient quiz.

And it’s only now that my mind begins to wonder if the resistant ones will ever figure out that working on themselves and being resilient is the key to it all. Was I once resistant? Have I always been resilient? I am not sure. Seems so, for the most part.

I fall, I break, I collapse, I melt. That’s life. But it’s because I’m resilient that I get up, I heal, I rehydrate, and I put myself back together. Giving up and becoming a resistant one who does “status quo” is not how I reach “smooth sailing”. In fact this time around my boat is so well constructed and flexible, I survived this storm pretty good. I don’t have more repairs than I can handle, and that’s thanks to the greatness of my boat thus far.

Tuesday, December 12

Shelves & Tables

I put a lot of effort into “working on myself” which to many is a silly statement –kinda corny too. I see that, but it’s accurate. By working on myself I am working on life getting easier. On my being more flexible. On my growth and my success at this being human thing. I have good bad examples of people who don’t work on themselves, and man, I’m not going to choose that route for myself. I also have one really amazing example of somoene who has been working on themselves for over 20 years. I see the difference; it’s worth doing.


I’ve experienced the difference of not doing self-work, and doing it and its actually necessary now. I’m not going to swim in anything shitty whether it’s my doing or anyone else’s.

So… the shelves and tables is one of the tools I use toward finding life easier. For dealing with issues that arise and being able to move forward. Which is why I should share it.

I will start with the table.

When I have something I’m spending a lot of time thinking about, or need to make a decision on, I find it most useful to take this thing (whatever it is) and imagine setting it on a table in front of me. Whether it’s an emotion, a situation, a friendship… anything. I use the table as a way to extract myself from it, take a step back, and look at it from all sides as an outsider. (This is only hard if you’ve never done it before. So it DOES get easier.) One of the reasons this is so helpful is that it’s kind of like a friend coming to you with an issue, not being attached to it means you have clearer perspective. You have good advice for friends and when you “set it on the table” you too can have good advice for yourself. I find it also helpful to finally see my underlying feelings. The stuff I’m denying, or the stuff I think I’m only slightly feeling. Setting it on the table gives me the opportunity to be very honest with myself without it hurting. This is especially helpful to me because I always want to be sensible. Putting something on the table helps me be as sensible as I possibly can be and even admit difficult things to myself.

I am forever saying “lets set it down and look at it” This is the setting it down thing. It’s the most useful tool out there for self-work.

The second tool is the shelf. This is almost the same idea as the table -as I’m removing something from myself. But instead of the goal to be the ability to look at it, the goal is to allow myself to walk away from it for a time. Thing is, we get so attached to ideas and feelings and situations, it becomes impossible at times to throw things in the garbage… so just putting it on the shelf is like giving your mind a small vacation. You know it’s not gone, you know where it is and you can go back to the shelf anytime to pick it up. Yes, a benefit is being able to see it clearer, as with the table, but you can see it clearer and still be walking away. The table is used for examining and self reflection while essentially problem solving. The shelf is the freedom from that. 

Monday, November 20

Relationships and Bread

Is it funny that a divorced girl has relationship advice?

I have a friend that recently said that she believes she has a problem. She only manages to get into relationships with a certain type of person. She sent me a link and as I read through it, I can see that she could be right. I have known her for over 12 years, so I can see her point.

As I read, I felt I had so much to say to her, I decided to write a post. Maybe someone else can use this perspective too. Not that I think I’m so problem solving, but perspective is one of my “things”, so maybe I have something useful.

The link she sent me explained what someone who is a “Love Avoidant” is. It said this:
 
“Love Avoidance is an “intimacy disorder”. When people have an intimacy disorder, it means they all share a profound fear of intimacy. (e.g., closeness, being known, vulnerability, sharing thoughts/feelings)

In a Love Avoidant’s mind, intimacy with another person is equivalent to being engulfed, suffocated, and controlled. Too much closeness with another feels literally like losing themselves, and yes, can even feel like dying. (That is how intense their fears can be) Consequently, in romantic relationships they have a heightened focus to make sure their partner keeps from getting too close.

A Love Avoidant does not embrace intimate connection - but embraces ‘defying it’.

The Love Avoidant partner may send just enough mixed messages to keep the fantasy alive— just enough to give you some hint of what “might be” possible, or “could be” possible, or “would be” possible.  Yet the REALITY is: What is possible will NEVER actually be. Any sporadic crumbs of connection you get, is as much as you will ever get with an Avoidant.”

This might not be a long post simply because I don’t think I’m in a place to change anyone, or offer how to change, I simply have something to say that pertains to a successful relationship… and this topic of avoidance actually helps me make the point since what we read in this article is contrary to a successful relationship.

This subject has been on my mind recently, not the avoidance part, but my thoughts on successful relationships and ones ability/inability to change their view on the person they are in a relationship with. You know how the beginning of a relationship is such a great time… you get excited to see one another, you don’t take one another for granted, you don’t annoy each other… So many relationships change after the beginning and don’t recover, while you are left saying, but it was so great in the beginning.

One of the little reasons I DO have an opinion on this is because of what my ex-husband and I DID do in our marriage. (And for the record, it was alcoholism that finally destroyed my marriage. I was really in love with the sober him, and not the drunk him). For some reason throughout our 12 years, every day we said hello like we had just been apart. It was a greeting. A way of saying I’m happy to see you again. A way of showing love and appreciation anew, even though we had only been sleeping or spent the day at work.

One of the things that you notice about relationships that are “old” is how the partners talk to each other. They no longer use intonation that says I love you, I appreciate you, I’m happy to be in your company. Instead, the intonation turns to annoyance, impatience, and even (I have heard many times with married couples), intonation that says “you are annoying and stupid”. If you know me you know intonation is a HUGE deal to me… it’s another level of communication far stronger than language, and actually takes language to another level…There’s proof in how a robot would say “I love you with all of my heart”. Ya, not super effective.

When people do get used to one another, they also seem to find the other embarrassing at times… I have a friend that when she drinks, her boyfriend gets so embarrassed by her, he no longer has fun. Instead of letting her “own” her silliness, which is actually cute-as-all-get-out, he takes it upon himself to be embarrassed FOR her. If only he let her own it, he would put himself in a position of being able to laugh at her cuteness and humor along with the rest of us. His discomfort is totally unnecessary, and just looks like a way for him to be an ass.


What is this thing that happens as relationships get older? It’s perspective. It’s the way we change the way we see one another. And honestly, I don’t think it’s conscious. I think people allow it to fall into existence by NOT paying attention, by NOT listening to themselves, by not consciously caring about their intonation, their perspective, and how they interact. Then they wake up and find themselves in this crappy interaction… they allowed it like they would allow a loaf of bread to sit on a counter and go moldy instead of making awesome sandwiches, or French toast out of it… and then buying MORE bread to do the same with. Go ahead… ignore the bread, let it go moldy, but don’t then go looking for another loaf of bread to make moldy too… covering your soul in loaves of moldy bread is not the path to happiness. What is the path to happiness? Avocado sandwiches, cinnamon toast. Bread dipped in potato soup… Eat that fucking bread and enjoy it. And KEEP eating it. The more moldy bread you pile up on your counter, whether it’s all inside of one relationship or multiples, it doesn’t matter. Moldy bread never made anyone happy.

Never get so used to your partner that you don’t see the mold growing. Because that mold affects you BOTH. There is no one-sidedness to it, you CAN’T succeed if anyone is allowing unconsciousness in the interaction. You must be paying attention. You must listen to yourself. You must give a shit and care about how you are living lives in a connected manner. Find me a happy relationship where one or both partners are unconscious and not actually trying to have success. Being IN a relationship DOES NOT mean happiness follows. The majority of relationships look unhappy. People default to letting the bread just sit on the counter because it is easier than making a sandwich. They don’t say “I’d rather have mold”. No, what happens is mold. It just happens unless you eat the bread.

So… it’s almost like I left the subject of a Love Avoidant. Since I have been talking about people who just don’t try. Avoidant’s are trying. They are trying to make sure no sandwiches get made while hoping no mold grows. They are paying attention on some levels, because they are wishing for no mold instead of just ignoring the bread to the point of mold. But they are also saying “Not going to use it… not going to mess it up, not going to let it mess me up"... and they stare at it, possibly even hoping that keeping a close eye on it will stop the mold.

Wrong.

Mold (the poor relationship) will 100% grow if you do not eat the bread in time. And what IS eating the bread? It’s laughing together, it’s looking each other in the eyes, its letting each other be genuinely themselves and loving their uniqueness and communicating it. It’s saying hello every day because you are happy that person is in your life. It’s paying attention to your tone of voice, it’s cheering them on when they have a dream, and letting them cheer you on too! It’s BEING CONSCIOUS about all aspects of what you are both doing in this thing you call “a relationship” and you are making some fucking delicious sandwiches together… even coming up with new ideas for that boring loaf of bread. It’s watching others grow mold and saying “I’m not going to do that”.


Eat your bread if you’re lucky enough to have bread. And enjoy the fuck out of it!

Thursday, November 2

Tainted/Cynical/Skeptical, Inevitable?

As I approach yet another birthday, and feel this sense of “older” that I both love and hate, I come to write about cynicism. How can one grow older and continue learning that people disappoint, continue learning that life is a ball of hardness wrapped in layers of giggles, smiles, tears, and heartache; while NOT growing cynical? It seems a bit impossible really. (Just like learning there is no Santa, that you are too big to trick-or-treat, and that the Easter bunny is just a pagan symbol that represents energetic breeding.) Getting older comes with getting wiser, and with the wise-ness comes cynicism.

I’ve said before that I don’t want to be the person that allows a broken heart to shut off my heart entirely. Having seen this living example, and not wanting to be like that person, I still find it a conscious choice I have to make as I find myself being faced with emotions and feelings that look, sound, taste, and feel like something that could rip me open again to bleed love and adoration all over my tear-stained bed.
 
But to even open my mind to that memory, I am looking into a possibly non-existent future of pain. What if my current crescendo of what might be love does not peak and rip me open to experience the diminuendo of breaking heart and putting oneself back together with invisible stitches? What if the skeptical and cynical nature of these thoughts are a complete waste of energy and actually a creation of burden for myself I needn’t choose?

Ya, I feel like cynicism is inevitable, but rationally, I have to accept it is still A CHOICE. And really, my choice of feeling it is experience based, so I have to consciously set the experience down making me more cynical and tell it I am not going to carry it like a weight. Better than calling it a weight, would be to call it a gallon of paint. If the experience creates this gallon of cynicism paint that I fill my hands with, I have to then deal with the fact it’s not light, it’s not easy to multitask with it in my hands, and the frequency with which I open that gallon of cynicism, shove in my paintbrush, and paint it onto things around me is MY CHOICE. If I set that gallon down, I don’t forget it just because I set it down, and that too needs to be pointed out. Setting it down isn’t going to make me forget history, it isn’t going to make the cynicism paint disappear, and so there SHOULD be some part of me that can relax a bit without the need to be painting everything and carrying that heavy thing around. It requires being conscious of it!

Can I avoid painting it all over something that currently looks very beautiful and feels very right? Can I also stop the cynicism from becoming skepticism? A quote that fits this subject perfectly:

“Skepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of skepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we must set aside old notions and embrace fresh ones; and, as we learn, we must be daily unlearning something which it has cost us no small labour and anxiety to acquire.”  -THEODORE ALOIS BUCKLEY

There is no better way to put it. One becomes tainted, cynical, and skeptical after experience… I’m keen to turn all experience into useable knowledge, and therefore, to say “no small labour…”, That is exactly right. But how capable am I to “…continually forget and emancipate” myself from knowledge previously acquired and allow myself those fresh ones?

CHOICE

CONCIOUSNESS

PRESENCE

Am I someone strong enough to move forward? Am I strong enough to not paint everything and shut all my doors to not be open to what would ultimately equate to happiness? I think I am. The fact I HAVE been through the need for those invisible stitches, the fact I have thicker scar tissue, the fact I even own that can of paint… this all points quite clearly to me being strong enough. If I ever decide I’m not strong enough, that is a choice. See… the nature of decide proves it’s a choice.

If there were a giant “sum up” to this subject, it would be the fact we are ruled by love and fear. We by nature -love, we by experience -fear. Ya that’s the oversimplified version of this subject and it lives in that giant section of the library only labeled LIFE, but if life is what we are doing… how deep do you want to tip the scales to fear? How deep do you want to tip the scales to love? Yes both are painful, but if life is to be lived, where those scales tip, and what paint you are painting, is your call.

I’m going to try and do my best. Maybe somewhere out there is something I’ve heard about. They call it success.

Tuesday, October 10

Word & Deed

The devil is in the details. I see so much in the people around me. First impressions are interesting and often I just let the aether give me a sense of a person. (I’ll have to elaborate on the mass of information I get from aether another time) But as I get to know them, the details from them are what talk to me the loudest. This no doubt comes from a childhood with the need to be hyper-aware for my own safety. Some of my earliest memories have me breathing slow and shallow to stay safe (or so I felt) I have survived on the details I suppose. At times it feels exhausting, but nonetheless I forever benefit. Even when it’s the details that tell me a friendship or relationship needs to change.

I know I’m an actions speak louder than words person, but this is because so often there are far more actions than words. And it’s the details I’m looking at anyway. Sometimes when there are only words, there is still detailed information that lies behind them. We have all experienced being unable to find the right words in explaining something, only for the person we are talking to to totally understand anyway. Words are just one form we use to communicate and tell people things.

I call myself a communicator, but communication is not what I do when I notice details… instead I make choices. Choices on perception, perspective, relationship, and action. I’m not going to let someone know change has occurred. Nor am I going to educate them on the details I got from them that caused the change in me. That has to do with my not needing to control a person, as well as not wanting them to know how to hide the details in future from me or someone else.

When noticing details, it is CHOICE that determines some things:
1. How willing am I to ignore it and let them continue?
2. How awkward would it be if I called attention to what I’m being shown?
3. What is in my power to change?
4. How will I move forward if I want change?
5. How will I move forward if I allow status quo?

Me personally, I let them show whatever they want to show and I change my respect. (Most of the time.) This kind of relates to my Analyzing Kindness post recently where I decide whether or not kindness will remain part of how I interact with that person. The level of kindness is directly related to the level of the details I’ve seen that say this relationship can’t stay the same. Their details become my knowledge.

THIS is how I find the top quality humans of the world. Which suddenly sounds like Im making myself so pedestal perfect like… NO, -every person either does this too, or doesn’t. Noticing details and turning it into education for you to benefit from by finding the people YOU see as top-quality is your freedom to DO or NOT do.
I DO.

Sunday, September 24

Real Connection

I spend a lot of time thinking about the NEED people seem to have for others to agree with them. Whether it’s political, religious, philosophical, it doesn’t matter. The majority of people want anyone and everyone to be on the same page as THEM. And it seems to be getting worse. The tone of so much controversy out there is non-yielding and more insistent than ever that they are “right” in what they are saying, and you should see it the same as them.

I have a great theory as to why this is… but most people aren’t conscious enough to consider it or even step back and see what’s at their core of needing others to agree. They aren’t even able to see that it’s something they are seeking. They are looking for people to get them, people to connect with. And the fact that many don’t agree/connect is upsetting to the point that these people WANT others to change to be LIKE THEM.

Break it down, this is nail/head. It’s unacceptable for countless people out there that others are not “on the same page”. Hell, the mormons spend millions upon millions trying to get people to agree with them. Not to mention other religions, soapbox corners, political debates, and on and on.

People can’t seem to see this because most people can’t break down something so general to the human condition. A NEED for Connection. If sameness and agreement were a detailed quilt, the need for connection would be the design cut out and stitched numerous times to build that quilt. But what most people are seeing is just a quilt, not the design or the detail that created it.

The longer I live the more people I meet and the more I see that no two lives experience the same things, so no two people can be the same. Our vast differences in everything means that the likelihood of finding people who do agree with you, and connect with you are slimmer than ever. Which really seems to be pointing to people being less and less tolerant of differences… and therefore a need to argue it. See, that need for connection is a big deal. If it weren’t we wouldn’t have war. Differences wouldn’t matter. But look at the planet… differences are such a big deal anyone can be talked into the NEED for war with people who disagree or see things differently. (and yes, I did just simplify it like that because if you aren’t someone who has looked at the non-american side of war, you are too closed minded to be reading this. Exit the building now.)

Back on topic. We should be searching for connection with a healthy form of agreement and a healthy measure. That healthy measure is what this is about -because we need that sense of others being like us. And no, this is nothing to do with appearance, skin color, school, town or click… I’m not talking about all the rich blond girls hanging out together… I’m talking about that amazing feeling that comes from being understood. And I think this is what people are desperate for and can’t articulate or wrap their heads around. It’s so part of us we can’t stand back and look at it. “I need connection” “I need to feel understood”. So few are saying that.

Your BIGGEST RELATIONSHIPS in life are you feeling understood and having a connection with someone because of it. It’s also how these relationships end. You stop understanding and you stop feeling connected. Have you ever had a friend that gets your subtle jokes? Who sees the little things, who doesn’t need you to explain yourself? That’s the NEED I speak of, the need we all have. This is how we get a best friend, and how we get married. We connect, and it’s on levels that are closer and greater than with the general public… because statistics insist it works out like that. It’s not easy. We are all so different.

I tried dating someone for a couple months and quite quickly he started saying “I still haven’t figured you out”. I allowed /accepted I might be an anomaly, since I’m different than your average JoAnna, but it didn’t stop. He continued to say it, while hammering two nails into the coffin of this dating-death each time it was said. There is nothing in me cool with being unable to be figured out. I’ve spent years writing about the need for connection, what connection looks like, and relationship dynamics. Connection is not something you can fake, I’ve known the real stuff. “I still haven’t figured you out” directly translates into “we are too different to connect”, and I already know most people don’t “get me”, so I’m one of the few aware of the quilt design being there, and it being the main factor in the beauty of the quilt. I too am looking for connection and for someone to see what I see.

We ARE all different. Connection is RARE. Ya we all want it, ya, on a giant scale would be cool, but there’s these two things that also come into play: Individuality and Freedom. These are huge. People can and should be themselves. LET GO of any needs or desires to expect anyone to be like you or to make the same choices. Freedom, real freedom only happens in the mind. Same-makers out there, Fuck the fuck off and let everyone have that freedom to think whatever they want. And THEN, when you do find those rare friends who “get you”--Love them. Hold them. Treat them like the gold they are and don’t let them forget you care about that connection. Again, it’s rare and real and being conscious of it is part of the success in having it.

And this, my friends is how we consciously healthy people end up connecting physically with someone. The desire in us doesn’t stop at mentally wanting connection. Ya, that’s obvious… when you do connect mentally, you often connect emotionally, and it makes sense to include a physical connection too. And lets talk like we are all consciously healthy people… meaning we are conscious about our connection. Healthy; in that we don’t have a need to fuck like rabbits indiscriminately because we just defined what a real connection is. So really, it’s even harder to find this type of connection: mentally, emotionally, and physically all in one.

What do you think happens when you find that? And you are conscious of all of it?
Magic, that’s fucking what.

Most people don’t even know about their need for connection, much less enter a connecting relationship knowing what they are actually doing. What if both parties did? Both felt all levels of connection. Both were conscious of the choice to take it physical, and both brought magic. That makes a new kind of energy that is the real shit, the big Kahuna. The thing that is missing for most people. The thing people everywhere are needing and seeking. Real Connection.

Is it any wonder people find it so hard to have a great and long-lasting relationship? Is it any wonder they need the world to agree with them? Connection is missing. It’s not remotely easy to find connection on more than one level. Most of us do know someone who has it, but it certainly isn’t common. The less conscious and present people are, the more shitty relationships flourish.

I’ve known Mental, Emotional, and Physical connection, not quite all at once, but I tell you what, all three are the stuff dreams are made of.

I know a guy that seems to find really awesome girl friends. Top quality women; some of them. But he never seems to wake up to their awesomeness. I doubt he’s ever conscious about even one of the aspects of connection, and he loses them. Usually because HE can’t stop looking for connection without knowing what he’s searching for and without knowing it might be amazing with the current girl. If only he woke up to what he was doing, what he needed, what he had, and became consciously healthy, he might be able to stop searching and revel in something wonderful he already has in front of him. (Well, had.)

Thursday, August 10

The OTHER kind of CURRENCY

We each have perspective that equates to what we see as “the goods”, “the currency”, the stuff that carries weight in how we look up to or respect others. THIS currency is totally related to a persons life experiences and not just childhood ones (the old ones). It’s possible new views are being created every year of you life that alters what you see as the currency that has you looking up to others, admiring them, respecting them, loving them… all of these together or separately. And conversely, NOT feeling any of these things because a person continually shows you they have none of the stuff you consider “currency”.

For example: Wealth is NOT something that I personally consider currency in this regard. A person could be a billionaire, and I don’t care. What I care about is how they treat people. THAT is where they have currency that equates to my admiration, or respect, or love. Wealth is also one that IS currency for many. They feel that if a person can reach a point of countless dollars in the bank, they want to admire, respect, or even love that individual. AND to each his own! I am not saying that anyone’s view on “currency” is right or wrong. That’s not even part of my point. My point is that I’m realizing each of us throughout our lives build perspective, most often without even having to be conscious of it; it happens. Or like in my case. My life has been so full of incident, people, experience, I am looking at what I call currency, and why I see individuals the way I do.

Part of this current thinking is related to a realization that I do not love or respect or admire someone I’m “supposed to”. This particular individual has been in my life my whole life, and so oddly enough I am only just realizing that this person does not have any currency for me. Now, used in that respect… that sentence that way… it sounds like I’m saying that person has nothing I can take. No. Remember we are referring to currency as valuable qualities, the things that my mind sees as the ability to turn over to that person MY admiration, MY respect, MY love, TO them.

Which also takes me to a thought that sometimes we meet new friends and they show you quite quickly they are going to be someone who has your forms of currency. I don’t like to say value, because value makes us forget the way I’m using the word as it pertains to every individual having different perception. Because everyone has value to someone… just not to everyone. Currency in this instance is one’s own freedom to perceive, and equate.

Someone who is a new friend has shown me that they see compliments as currency, and so deliver compliments to me at every opportunity. I am not a person who hands out compliments easily and everywhere. It is also true that I don’t want a compliment without earning it. Not because I want to have to “work hard” for it, but I WANT to feel it’s a genuine compliment; warranted. Genuineness is very much a quality that is currency TO ME. And genuineness has to be seen over time. You can’t just hand it to someone once and be done. Compliments are likely currency for many, including this new friend. This new friend is likely expecting that all the compliments mean something to me, and on some level equate to full pockets. Here I stand with empty pockets, because they are not MY currency. Nor have they been preceded by time spent equating to genuineness.

Explaining this has taken me longer than I thought it would. I started out thinking this would be a short post because it felt like a simple concept. I’ve also been writing about differences lately that I haven’t yet shared. It’s this time spent dwelling on all of us being so vastly different, that I am looking at why I see people the way I do. And that is how I’ve ended up using the word currency. That person who I’m “supposed to” love, admire, and respect might be why my currencies are what they are, and that person has none. Apparently some people feel bad about not feeling the way they are “supposed to”. I do not. I look at my currencies: friendly, helpful, funny, loving, soft-hearted, open-minded, genuine, kind, happy… and they all lean to “top quality human”. There is no reason for me to feel bad that a person does not have these currency traits. Who they are is up to them. New friend or old, people will show ME when they have currency that gels with who I am. This is true for all of us whether or not we even do it consciously.


Sunday, July 16

Blame and Accountability

Nobody had a perfect childhood… one parent or two, I don’t care. Just try find me someone who had it easy and doesn’t have trauma of any sort. They don’t exist, or… I have yet to meet anyone from this minority.

When I think of how I was raised, some of the shit I went through, in all colors of the rainbow, I could pull out the blame card. But that is like a dead end to me. To blame someone for something is like saying “You did this, and I have zero control to change it”.

It was a friend in search of the most accurate word for what she was saying about her father that brought out her blurting "Accountable!" When people refuse to be accountable for any reason, they do themselves a disservice. Because it doesn't matter if someone else inflicts anything on you -YOUR movement forward or LACK OF is your call. Blame is the way to insist you remain frozen in the past of the experience and “can’t” change anything.

If someone set you on fire, would you choose to stand and burn? Or would you jump into a pool of water next to you? If you choose to stand and burn, you’ll die. Most examples I can think of as it pertains to ME BEING OK have ME being accountable for my choices after someone else is involved in my pain. And no... others aren't always involved, so I need to take accountability in those situations too. And deal with it! Whatever IT is.

If I cut my hand, if my heart gets broken, if I invest too much into something temporary, whatever it is if I'm not ok, I MUST BE THE ONE TO FIX IT.

This has nothing to do with being single or not. I'm not saying that since you’re alone you have to move forward alone. I'm saying that your personal health mentally, physically, spiritually, it's all in your hands. JUST YOURS. Nobody else is going to make sure you are ok... nobody can actually. However much you want THEM TO. And yes, others can help by making you feel supported, but it’s all still yours.

The ‘I have zero control’ statement is one I won’t be making. So when I talk about my childhood, or things that I have to address, I’m not blaming my parents… I’m pointing out the reasons why I am now dealing with something that is very real, and that I need to change.

If anyone ever mislabels what I’m saying, and uses the words, “You are blaming your parents” then you have not listened and have totally missed the point. I don’t need to blame. I need to understand, and then use that understanding to move forward. The word blame is like the word guilt for me. It’s useless, it’s a stupid emotion, and I have no need to feel it/them… guilt or blame…

How we deal with whatever it is/was depends on many things. But the main one is Accountability. Sure, people have different ways of dealing, and I personally find crying extremely beneficial. Actually, crying is something I usually struggle to NOT do. I cry easily and often for any emotion that is large. It’s so rare I can actually hold tears in.

Recently I experienced something related to trauma from my childhood. I did not pull out the blame card. I accepted it was something I needed to deal with and change my perspective on…. And then THIS had me thinking, writing, and crying. I was so damn annoyed with the amount of crying. And it wasn’t just one day. It was two days with some lingering tears on a third. That is no little thing…After writing about it, and allowing myself to cry, I don’t have to even come close to blaming anyone. I am the one saying, this thing is not nice. It hurts, it’s something that is upsetting, so it is something I need to fix. How do I fix it? Mostly I cry. I work it out in my mind... I admit how I feel, I look at it at face value, and I accept it's real. I have a great example of someone who has done this countless times in this life, and I turn to her for as an example of accomplishment in "overcoming" anything... how she puts it is "We are on a journey to enlightenment. Not all people are willing to accept that, so they might waste their life, but many of us aren't."

Because of the desire to get help, I want to add: If you want to know what someone else CAN do... like the only thing they can actually do... They can give you love. Which is Icing! It’s just the extra. Don’t expect icing & extra, just be grateful if you are lucky to have it also. I am lucky to have examples AND icing.

Love you...

Saturday, June 24

Analyzing Kindness

My mind is bombarded by this subject lately. To the point that if I don’t find a way to write and articulate the mess in my head I might explode. Writing always helps me feel I have an outlet as well as helps me organize the shelves of my over-thinking mind.

I do have a “Chloe”. Chloe is a sister to me because she understands me like only a sister can. Everyone should have a Chloe. She is a busy person so I don’t get to have her often, but when I do, talking to her makes me say the things I need to hear. It organizes my shelves far faster to talk to her than it does to write. BUT- writing requires only my availability –so write I do.

Kindness has always been a big deal to me. I grew up with the opposite of kindness in the home and so from a very young age I felt and saw what humans should NOT be like. It was as though I was born with knowledge about kindness so watching and hearing the opposite never sat right. I did not integrate what I witnessed into who I am –instead I intrinsically and consciously did “kindness”. (Yes, this started me on the road to enabling very young.)

This is where I break down the word. It’s a complicated subject in my head because of my life experiences in trying to always stay kind. I saw it as a flat thing. Just kind. Be kind. The end. But as I’ve got older I’ve learned that to “be kind” in all situations irrespective of circumstance is a very unhealthy thing to do. Because this makes one an ENABLER. (Now, I’m not saying anything even close to “don’t be kind”, like what I saw growing up… far from it. There are no blanket statements here. And as always, I see things very gray, never black and white.) An enabler is always trying to placate everyone else –trying to make everyone happy –doing and saying anything necessary to “keep the peace”. It’s the HOPE of happiness. It’s a dead end. Its not actually doing anything toward happiness or fixing a situation. It’s just hope that everything will be ok. And then doing or saying anything necessary for everyone to be ok in the moment… which is very much BLIND KINDNESS. It’s just flat… ignorant… kindness with no substance or reason behind it. Placating-enabling-kindness.

I’m trying to get to: No more! I have no desire to continue that type of kindness. My kindness is going to be driven and have reasons behind it. I’ll insist on respect to all parties and when kindness is UNDESERVED it will not be given. It’s educated kindness with purpose and if a person or situation requires me to be more bitchy than kind, that’s what I’m going to do. I won’t so easily be put in enabling situations anymore. From a creepy old guy being nosey with personal questions, to my father insisting he is right in his black and white ways. Now, I’m not going to just sit and have flat kindness. Maybe a situation requires silence. Maybe it requires a “none of your business” or the facial expression to convey it. Maybe it even requires harsh words. When kindness is not the appropriate response it should not be what’s used. THAT is how one stops being an enabler. Stop throwing flat hope at it through false kindness. The Jesus allegory totally damaged our ability to see kindness in a healthy way. Jesus would say 100% of the time be kind. Which is almost funny when you look at the mean god of the old testament who didn’t seem to know kindness… I digress…

A “cups of kindness” initiative has been started by the partnering of Starbucks and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. 25 cents from each of the drinks sold during this campaign goes to support the foundation and its exceptional goals. ( https://bornthisway.foundation/ ) I watched as someone purchased one of the cups of kindness drinks and then immediately made fun of the person handing it to him –the gay barista. The irony of a kindness initiative toward LGBTQ individuals being “supported” by a gay hating/mocking person is what started me on this analysis of kindness. SHOULD that person who acts like an ass be treated with kindness? Many would say yes. I am not. NOR am I saying be mean. I’m saying be honest, stand tall, acknowledge attitude like that is not alright. Kindness isn’t even the word or the response to use in this circumstance. This answer is respect based. If a person does not show respect, does not show kindness, don’t respond with flat/enabling kindness. It’s a dead end. It accomplishes nothing. Would that kid go home and say to himself, “The kindness shown to me after I mocked that gay kid has me feeling bad.” NO. He’s not going to suddenly care that he’s on some level a gay-basher. Even if it’s slight. Kindness is not going to show him he’s in the wrong. What will? Flat out saying: “Not cool. Totally unacceptable you acted like that. You aren’t welcome here.” It’s clear, it’s communication, it’s not cow-towing to the rudeness. It’s looking at it face value and saying “No”. Can you see why I refer to the wrong kind of kindness as being blind? Be awake to the ass-hole-ery of the individual, and use the appropriate response. Kindness might not be part of it.

Just yesterday I was a bitch. I totally stood up for myself and was very clear to a person that does not deserve/warrant my kindness. My response/reaction to him is an educated one. It’s based on knowledge, experience and my UNWILLINGNESS to treat a mean, nosey, gossip with kindness. Especially since he walked up to ME. I did not approach him or invite him into my space. With this particular person I did the blind kindness thing for years -allowing him to take my time and ask nosey questions. This person can only be titled “next door neighbor”. There is no relationship with him to describe him clearer. That’s all there is. It was a few years ago that I stood up and said “no more”. So when he walked into my space, my “no more” was still very true. This neighbor can be heard from outside shouting and swearing at his wife. So my refusal of kindness is educated on not just MY interactions with this nosey/mean individual. He probably went home from my yard butt-hurt or further angry because I had been a bitch. I did not appreciate my book reading to be interrupted by him walking over to me with his attack-dog barking its head off at me in MY yard. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve told him to keep his gawd-awful-attitude dogs out of my yard, and he was trying it on again telling me to pet his dog so it could stop barking and I could answer the question “I just want to know how you are”. No, no, no, no…. this is not going to happen yet again. “Get out of my yard, I’m fine, I don’t want your dogs in my yard. Dogs aren’t hard to train!” Was I able to calmly go back to my book reading? I tried. I tried to be present and calm, telling myself I was welcome to go back to reading my book, but the reality was, he might put his dog inside and then think he could come back to try and be nosey again. I am not going to sit in my front yard and let him see that as some sort of invitation to come talk to me, so I went inside unable to read. MAYBE this neighbor believes he needs to be kind to me despite my attitude… Well, my reply to that is “Go find some kindness for your wife instead.”

One last story, I know this is long. I come in contact with all shapes and sizes of people and I’ve become very adept to picking up on shyness and discomfort. I would estimate between 30-40% of people are uncomfortable talking to a stranger or being in a business they haven’t been in before. How I treat these people is not throwing blind kindness at them. THAT would be very fake. What I do is use intonation of respect, patience, understanding, and friendliness. Sure these could all be called kindness, but again, can you see how much deeper and complicated kindness is? I’m no longer going to think of it as flat or use it in flat ways. If someone has the ability to call me kind it will be backed up with reasons why and kindness will be more like the finish line.

Friday, June 9

Sponges

What if our homes absorb what we feel inside them? What if they are sponges that fill up to “squeeze out” and “give off” what we have put in them? I’m wondering this about my childhood home full of anger my father constantly put out, and fears that we put out because of him. Conversely too… thinking of my home now.

What if you can literally create a perpetual cycle/circle of health in your home because of what you constantly feel?

The main reason I’m thinking this is because I am constantly telling my home I love it. I’m forever appreciating it and I view it as the safest place in the world. I love to rearrange the furniture, to make things look pretty, and even having affection for the things in my home that belonged to my grandpa, or paintings of my grandmothers. These are all things I look at, while feeling love.


So, what do you think people would feel when they came into my home if in fact it is a sponge? What would I feel?

If I fill my house with love –it has no choice but to put out love TO ME! This would be why people say the things they do when they come into my home. It’s NOT so incredibly beautiful, it’s that every piece of furniture I’ve refinished I’ve done with love, every wall I’ve painted I painted with love, and every time I look at these things –I put out MORE love!

So if someone isn’t doing this, can they HAULT, and change what their house gives off? Change the sponge? I have to believe YES! A sponge is a sponge. Squeeze it, and you’ll see what you put in it!

Wednesday, May 31

Dear High School graduates

This is the time of year that we (the world) has thrust onto us the new year of “know-it-alls”, Yes it happens every year, and since your fellow students from last year have had all year to learn they know nothing, their number is diminishing.

Those of you thinking you have finished school and are ready to be unleashed annoyingly onto the rest of us, don’t yet know we are expecting your eyerolls… as well as your blanket statements, your soapboxes, and your ignorant comments that sometimes make us speechless.

Thing is, you are leaving high school with this false belief you know everything high school needed to teach you. I’m not even confident you are leaving high school knowing how to fully diagram sentences or calculate a circumference. And something you might need to hear is that every year the lack of common sense coming from high school students gets worse. So in a way it’s ironic you think you know so much. Those of us with decades of life experience since high school really struggle to take you seriously. If only you didn’t walk around saying things and making faces like you are so smart. If only you knew how ignorant you still are.

One of my theories you do this is because you don’t know what you don’t know. So we have to be a bit patient. You do know how to eat, shit, and wash yourselves, and you hopefully have a job which equates to some dosh in your wallet, but at this stage, there isn’t much else you have in hand.

Maybe the best advice you COULD heed, if you have the ability to accept you could use advice, would be to know out the gate that people who are older than you don’t have your views because they have more experience. Not because you are by some great fortune smarter than them. Believing you are smarter, makes you look stupid. Remind yourself of that as often as you can. LOTS of us with years of experience were just like you right out of high school… thinking we were ready. Well, you too will eventually learn your little ass is ignorant, just do yourself a favor and don’t go around shouting and showing your ignorance any more than necessary.

Especially about religion… gawd, I have to throw this in because there’s a reason you can now represent your church and try to get converts at 18 and 19 now… That’s the age you’re too stupid to know it’s not true. AND you think you’re right because the fact you’ve been brainwashed is something you are ignorant to as well… When you get older you will learn how easy that is also. (brainwashing people) Why else would so many of us older people no longer want anything to do with religion… we have educated ourselves out of it. See, again, young/old… you’ll get it one day.

So enjoy your youth… know you have a fuck-ton to learn, and do what you can to figure out what common sense is, instead of telling people how smart you are at your inexperienced age. We will all thank you for it.

Wednesday, May 10

Ok, Jump!

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to skydive or paraglide. At some point in the terrifying sky-high process you will have to jump. Jumping is the hardest and scariest part of everything and far too many things in life can feel like being thousands of feet above the ground and being told it’s time to jump –then to just fucking FALL.

I think it’s that I’m too sensible for my own good –jumping (in order to fall) is not something I should do to remain healthy and IN ONE PIECE.
 
And yet…
People do jump often!
Daily.

And what do they get? 99% of the time exhilaration is what. How much exhilaration do I experience being a non-jumper? Ya, you guessed it… very little. Not that I’m saying I find myself needing that level of excitement in my life, I’m not. What I’m saying is there seems to be a lack of ability TO jump for me. Reward or not.

Some of my biggest realizations and lessons have come to me SINCE turning 40, and I’m constantly saying where would I be if only I had learned this at 25? Further ahead is where. But even as I say that, on my “cosmic scale of self-evolution”, I know full well that I was still a baby at 25. I don’t think I could have grasped a quarter of the things I’m realizing now.

Which makes me say: What are you going to do with this piece of information now girl? You going to benefit? And I hear myself replying –That looks like jumping. Even if it’s just moving forward with this new information about myself I’m still so damn unsure. (As I perceive it to be my hovering at the edge of the mountain cliff or at the open door of the plane.)

I feel like this is where I admit: Nobody gives a fuck of you jump Natalie. Only if you don’t’ survive would anyone care. And guess what little lady? You 100% will survive. It’s not actually a mountain top or a plane. It’s your courage, your ego, your self-perception, and your WILLINGNESS to be brave again after you jump. Which by the way is more like the height of the front step. “Mountains out of molehills” is what I’m doing, and if I insist I’m a tiny ant, then a mountain that molehill will be. But I’m not an ant, it’s not a mountain, I’m not skydiving or paragliding, there is NO actual falling.

The REALITY is that I’ve constructed a FALSE REALITY where fear is nicely hidden in the cracks and crevices so I’m able to pretend it’s not there, and in some areas it’s not. But in others it’s the glue holding the whole false perception together.


This is where I look at all this information and tell myself: Make a big deal of it if you want, it’s still only the size of the front step. So jump, or just walk.

Saturday, April 1

Balancing Act

I feel like I've spent so much of my life unbalanced, that I now know quite well what Balance is. I also think it's fair to say that for me, balance is not just the obvious, and the main things I'm going to type here, but it's also little things like not hanging onto something you should just get off your chest... it's having an alcoholic drink when it's needed, and it's singing a song when you have not sung for a few days... so also in my mind, balance is like a web of many scales, that are all different sizes but still connected. When all of the scales have their balance accurate for their size, the web rests. When the scales are all off balance, the web is bouncing, stretching, breaking, and continually needing repair. THAT lack of balance is uncomfortable. So in order to be comfortable, everything on some level is a balancing act.

The tricky part... is finding out what balance is when your web has never felt still. This aspect (for me) has come through what I feel is attached to the word WISE. I've had to learn many tricks, had to fall apart, and had to figure out how to put things back together and test "balance".

Obviously what "balance" is for everyone is going to be different. Because some people have a larger patience scale than others... so what balances that part of their web will be different from others. Same with the giving scale. Some have more to give... too many scales, too many things that can make us feel unbalanced.

So with this making sense, I need to introduce the part that you have to pretend you haven't heard before. Because I'm saying it from that WISE space, not the brainwashed space. And that part of balance is realizing and accepting that the body and mind need some things... and these things are pretty standard across the board for most people.

The first one is Sleep. Unfortunately, most of our bodies need about 8 hours of sleep. A Third of our day given to sleep means that we are emotionally more capable, physically more capable, and sleep seems to be the key to not getting sick, staying full of energy, and frankly, finding that space we call "good mood".

The second one I will call Accomplishment. This aspect of life is where we earn money for food, for our home, for our gas to drive our car... We are lucky if we have a job that we enjoy, because a giant chunk of our day is spent accomplishing something for someone, and they give us money for it. This aspect of balance is also HUGELY important because it means we can live in a world that requires us to have money in order to survive. (Shitty but true)

And THAT brings me to the third part of this balance trilogy... and I will call it Happiness. This third of the main balance web is the part where we keep our sanity. Having sanity is also a pretty big deal. We NEED to laugh, we NEED to play, we NEED to feel carefree, and without this important piece, our scale can topple over by being so lop-sided. And then what? You are so stressed you can't sleep or be productive... and if you can't have fun, you can't sleep, and you can't be productive... what do you feel like overall? A PIECE OF SHIT, that's what.

So... back to my simple point... If you can't divide every day into three parts, and accept there are also lots of little aspects that need a wee bit of attention, you will either go crazy or make yourself physically sick. Neither is ok.

Now the part where you say "I've heard it all before"... the general goal to aim for is 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of play. People think it's too easy. too cut and dried. BUT if you try it and accept it will HELP YOU live more comfortably in every area, you too will become a cheerleader of balance because you will finally feel your web settling. It isn't really until you know what that feels like that you will be sold. I wasn't... but in desperation I tried it. I made sleep and happiness both as important as working.

It's not like you don't know if you need balance. I can guarantee nobody reading this is unsure.

Friday, March 10

The Offended Generation.

I made a connection recently. I’ve noticed more and more people these days are saying “sorry” without any reason. They could brush against you, stand in front of you for 1 second too long, or any no-big-deal thing that happens. Often I hear “sorry” and I don’t know why I’ve heard it. Some of us are constantly saying, “don’t apologize” but it’s like a current culture habit people have to think an apology is needed for every little thing. It’s so common it’s been on my mind lately… but so has something else… and I think there is a connection.

The generation that contains 20-23 year olds is in love with being offended. They want to insert themselves into any opinion, into any situation, and they are continually searching for something that might prickle someone’s feels. Then BAM! They have a reason to be upset and offended on behalf of someone or something, and if they are lucky; themselves. This then gives them reason to complain publicly… and this too is part of it. “IT” being the connection I’m pulling together.

I’m a pretty sensitive person. I see kindness as vital, I see respect as HUGE, and so the fact I’m saying what I’m about to say is not contrary to being a good person, treating people ‘right’, or anything even close to derogatory.

I lived in England for 10 years, and with people getting upset and offended so easily, I have an expression continually ringing in my mind. “Put your big girl panties on”. Or as its said in the US: “Grow up”. Whether you are male or female, the message is kind of a harsh one because someone NEEDING to tell you to stop being such a baby about something means you probably are being a baby. The act of “feeling hurt” is a decision you make. Some people do the opposite and say “so what?”

The world is NOT a nice place, mean things are said often, people ARE rude, but that doesn’t mean you need to act like you aren’t capable of saying something back… that you can’t call an asshole an asshole, that you aren’t able to stand up for yourself, or that you need to turn the situation into one where your feelings are hurting and you can’t do anything about it.

If you are willing to stand up for yourself (or someone else) and if you have to say “shut up” do it! Situation over. Don’t go home and write about it on facebook, or twitter, so you can get a bunch of people on your bandwagon of hurt feelings. Grow up and realize that being offended is your choice, your childish choice. You don’t have to choose to be the child and be “hurt” by words. Didn’t all of our parents teach us “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? Do you know why that is true? Because you have CHOSEN for it to be true. What people think of you is none of your business. What they think of a stranger is none of your business… what you think of THEM is none of their business… This is easy stuff folks. Grow up.

Lets say someone is rude to my face about something that embodies me either physically or personally. Yes, I’m going to feel bugged immediately… How long I CHOOSE to carry that around is my decision alone. Nobody is telling me to take that rudeness and fill my pockets with it, sharing it with everyone I come in contact with. If I do… I’m deciding to do it.

I am not saying I never ever get offended, but actually, in order to offend me, you have to really know me, know what would hurt me, and then choose to hurt me. The choosing to hurt me intentionally is how I feel offended. And really, what that does is just destroy my ability to respect a person. Which is like them deciding that they want me to think less of them, so I do. This is not common. People don’t tend to insist on hurting others, so I rarely feel offended.

How often am I bugged? Pretty often, but I put on my big girl panties, and I get over it. Ya, it’s common to tell a friend how big an ass someone was, then to agree people don’t need to act like that. Generally the being bugged ends with the telling of the story. Like the words spoken in telling it puts it outside the body and therefore outside the mind. This is a common practice for me when I feel bugged. I say it out loud… and gone.

Eckhart Tolle talks about this same thing in being attached to “the story” and the “pain body” needing to keep repeating “my story”. The ability for one to see that your story does not bring you benefit or happiness, will then give you the ability to move on. Can you see how emotionally healthy it is to do that?

I’d like people to realize that so much apologizing is not only unnecessary, but dangerous to society. What are you actually sorry for? Your existence? Your momentary hesitation? Your standing there for a second too long? Because sometimes that’s all there is in the apologizing for nothing, and don’t you dare apologize for existing. Don’t apologize for standing up for yourself, for standing up for someone else, for anything trivial. That is not the world we want to live in.

The last part of this connection is in my noticing people apologizing for their phone speed… I work in a job where people use an ap. Sometimes people have to log into the ap, and so need to take a few seconds to enter an email and password. I can’t believe how often people apologize for doing this. I am on a one woman crusade to try and convince people that if we can’t wait those couple moments it takes to get into our technology, well then we may as well not even be using it. I remind them that conditioning by internet speed does not mean we ourselves have to apologize for not being lightning fast at everything we do, because 20 years ago we weren’t apologizing for anything attached to phones or speed. Have we become Pavlov’s dogs? MUST we salivate every time we hear a bell? Are we really that far outside of choice? Gawd I hope not.

Tuesday, February 14

The kaleidoscope of LOVE

It makes sense to say love is a kaleidoscope, and everywhere you turn it shifts… who you look at, the angle you take, how the light enters, where the silhouettes are… and the reasons for which you hold it up to your eye even factors in.

Love and what it encompasses is an individual perception thing. Some don’t love much, some love overboard, and some have to learn about loving. I might be one of those that had to learn. I say might because I feel like I’ve always been a loving person for the most part, but as I look back at evidence, showing love, expressing love, and following through with love, I was lacking and have changed as the years have passed. I’m also looking at what reasons I have behind loving those that I currently love, and who these people are to me in life.

I don’t think there are two people in this world I love the same way. Just as I can’t get two exact images looking through a kaleidoscope. There are too many reasons, why’s, levels, and factors.

Again, it’s perception… If you need something in life, and someone shows up with that thing, fulfilling that need, you will perceive them differently than you would any other. Examples always make it real for me, and I always resist sharing personal examples only to relent when I feel I’m not getting where I want to get… so examples it is:

Quite some time ago, a friend appeared out of nowhere and offered encouragement. I don’t remember if I knew in the moment how deeply I needed to be encouraged, but I did. I was telling myself that something that was exciting to me meant nothing, and I shouldn’t bother sharing it. My encourager appeared and said they wanted me to keep going. Suddenly I wasn’t the only one finding this thing exciting, and I had a reason to share. This simple little thing was giant for me. My encourager was completely clueless to the need I had, or the long term effect of it. It was actually pivotal for me. To be clearer, pivotal means: of crucial importance in relation to the development or success of something else. Almost the exact definition of what encouragement means to me.

Another friend is a safe listener. Which is a two-parter skill. Listening is one thing, but making someone feel like they are safe in the things they say, that’s something expanded. The safety part is a complicated thing to explain because although it’s one word; feeling safe only happens because of many little things. And frankly, not many people WANT to listen, so just listening is pretty damn cool too. My safe listener wants to hear the shit with the good, the uncomfortable with the funny, and it doesn’t seem to matter what I say on any given day, my safe listener doesn’t let me feel heavy… which is how they remain safe. My knowing I’m not causing any harm by what I say, even if I’m whining.

Understanding and being understood are a big deal to me. Which would also be labeled as “relating”. The inability to relate to someone keeps you outside their circle. The ability to relate, creates bonds, it bridges, it builds, it is a foundation that proves to be more vital than anything put atop it. Because the contrary; being misunderstood --is destructive. It hurts. It’s harmful to love, relationships, friendships and happiness. The feeling understood element is why your best friend becomes your best friend. Feeling as though someone “gets you” is how we aren’t ever completely alone. What I love about a person who gets me, is that I can use less words. I can say one sentence and that’s all it takes for my feelings to be understood. Ya, I’m pretty wordy, as you have evidence for here, but LESS words AND being understood… that’s pretty damn awesome.

Self esteem --the subject I might harp-on about most in the world, because I have so much to say on it… Here too it’s a big deal because when you have someone who sees you, and I mean really sees you, you can’t help but like yourself more. It’s like they give you glasses with some of their vision in it, and you are able to see who they see, and love being that person. I have a friend that doesn’t even mean to alter how I see myself, but their sheer adoration for me makes me love being me. It communicates the need to stay genuine, true to myself, and a stupid way of saying it… they give me permission to be me. Why the fuck I should appreciate it in those words “permission to be me” I don’t know, because if I imagine someone who is an ass, that I don’t love, my mind says “I don’t need your permission to blow wind out my ass, let alone to be myself”. But the friend increasing my self esteem is like continually touching me with a magic wand turning me into gold so I stay who I am, and like being there.

Lastly, this will sound redundant, but bear with me. Some people LET you love them. How I put it in a book I wrote was: “There’s a difference between those people who let you love them, and those who won’t. One is a joy. The other is painful”. I did that painful thing far too long. I think I had to learn that lesson the hard way. But now it’s in… I get to experience love that’s not only wanted, but appreciated. I get to feel the joy from “allowed” to love. Anyone not “letting” me love them now, will simply not be loved to any great extent. Simple. The not letting is also non-reciprocal… so why would you want to waste love? Good question, so don’t!

Love is a bloody beautiful kaleidoscope, I hope you too get to see it with awe and grandeur today, faceted, full of shape and color, as I do. Not just as a choice between two shitty heart shaped cookies with mangled frosting pushed around a few times before landing on your desk and labeled “love” from some random well meaning nobody.

Happy Valentines Day to my Dearhearts.

Tuesday, January 10

The Gold Standard

It was actually to my surprise in December 2016 to hear people talking about what an awful year it was and that they wanted it to be over. I hadn't had conversations with people in real life about how shitty the year was, and so I really thought it was just me.

To which I want to make a side point actually... it's incredible how often I feel the "it's just me" thing, only to find out No... no... impossible... no Natalie, you aren't so unique that you could be experiencing something and nobody else is. So if you ever find yourself saying like I have, "it's just me", YOU'RE WRONG. Nothing could possibly be just you. Statistical fact. Impossible. Whatever you may be telling yourself.

So, back to the point... gawd-awful year for many. I found it to be a year of good lessons, with the biggest ones being painful; as the most beneficial lessons always seem to be. And because I'm very much a people person, and a detail person, I'm forever noticing random shit and trying to find places for it in my head. I have this thing... I've had it since I was a child -the desire to be wiser. I felt like my teens were just a giant block of time where nothing changed, I didn't get smarter, I didn't become a better artist, I didn't feel creative or clever, or interesting, or even capable of carrying on a good conversation. And I wasn't wrong... I was such a nothing teen... and yet I wished... I wished for all those things. That one day I'd be smart, creative, funny, interesting, able to talk to anyone about anything, and on some level at least... wise-ish.

2016 definitely had an effect on me, and at the end of it (starting on Dec 31st) I began to feel wiser. The lessons I learned this year all point to older and wiser. I think I even lost some levels of patience. Like I outgrew the ability to be lenient with being treated poorly. Starting early in the year, and stretching right to the end, I think I decided "no more" with five people. I didn't add it up until just now when I tried to think of the times I stood up for myself and was honest. Five is a lot. Not when compared to all the people I talk to and spend time with in my very social jobs, but it is when I think about how much patience I've lost for having my words twisted, being taken advantage of, not listened to, and treated like I'm not worth 2 minutes of clear communication. And really all of this is because I also had the complete opposite from even more people. I was listened to, I was appreciated, I was respected, I enjoyed incredible communication, and to use a term I've mentioned before -treated like gold.

The sum in this equation after a slightly rough 12 months IS a lack of willingness/patience for poor humanity toward me and others. I'm wiser, I'm more judgmental, I'm looking at details, I'm paying attention, and if you are a poor caliber human based on "the gold standard" shown to me, I will be pleasant to you, but I won't waste time on you. I sound like a narcissist I know well... that person would say this too... but I'm feeling like I've reached this point through pain. One of those five people would argue that I need to endure whatever, take the shit with the good, stick it out forever. Well, I ain't Jesus. I'm not going to. I'm more inclined after 2016 to say "fuck you for not being a better human". "Fuck you for not being kind". "Fuck you for having NO desire to communicate, understand, or listen". "Fuck you for walking all over me multiple times". I'm the one who needs to give the biggest shit about me, and my 'giving a shit' is getting bigger. Interestingly, each of these five people did not like me standing up and saying I'm not cool with this. I didn't say "I'm done", to three of them, but all five relationships ended after I said "This isn't going to keep happening". Some dragged out, but by December 31st, all of them were done and I spent new years eve feeling so much hope for the coming year my evening was filled with writing. It was nice.

If I hadn't noticed before, I'm noticing now... High caliber people come in at HIGH and stay there. This is part of their gold standard. They show you over and over that they are amazing people in word and deed. Just as the poor caliber people do... but I am going to try my hardest from now on to not make excuses for the poor ones, and accept sooner there is no gold standard there. Move along.

To 2016 I say "Ouch, good riddance, and thank you". (maybe depending on my mood, a "fuck you" to it also.)

Postscript:
The photo for this post is not mine. It is taken by someone that exemplifies the gold standard in every way. Someone who has been a champion for my sanity countless times in countless months. Believed in me, encouraged me, cared about me, and thoroughly made me feel like I matter. As I've said, The gold standard is bloody high!!!