Sunday, December 2


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 na├»ve 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.

Sunday, November 25

Bullied, or Picked on?

I’ve been trying to decide in a recent situation why I feel picked on, and not bullied. What’s happening could easily be called bullying, and I finally realized the difference (I’ll say FOR ME) is that I do not feel inferior. I don’t feel weak enough to be harmed. My being a woman, and his being a man is also part of it. I’ll come back to that.

Is it bullying? Technically, yes. Does it feel like it? No. And the answer I reach when asking myself why -is that I’m too old and too strong. The reality is this happens over and over on a regular basis, and has by this guy for five years. This repetition does 1000% mean I’m being picked on, and if it were someone else, and I were watching, I would call it bullying.

Thing is, at this age quite a few things have managed to sink in:
1. Most people picking on someone totally believe they are justified for some reason.
2. Young people who don’t know what they don’t know will always be “right”.
3. My self-view is not dictated by someone’s attitude toward me. (that took a long time to learn.)
4. A Bullier could be so far from present, they don’t have self-perception.

To be clear, these are not excuses. Far from it. Someone’s shortcomings are seldom seen by them, but we all must remember, our shortcomings are not invisible to others. You will show people who you are, and if that is just by default because you can’t be self aware, so be it. Nobody will stop you.
Over those five years of being picked on sporadically, I’ve wanted to say a thousand times, “Stop watching me. Stop paying attention to me, stop picking on me, stop putting me down”…and I never have. I don’t because of a few reasons. I feel like bullying is obvious to everyone in the room. It’s the bullier’s way of showing people they have a problem and need a punching bag. I’d rather let them show as many people as they can who they are. Anyone watching will see their true colors. Integrity is scarce, so when people want to shout that they have none, I let them. I am not going to change who I am because of your desire to make me your punching bag.

When asked by my manager if I confronted him and told him to stop, I said “No, and I won’t allow his small mindedness to change me. I am not a confrontational person.” And frankly, my history has everything to do with this decision to not be a confrontational person. I grew up on the attack mentally, emotionally, and physically by a small-minded man. In fact, attack in any form is not the route an intelligent man takes. This was the biggest lesson of my childhood. I have been quiet most of my life, allowing others to show me in word and deed all I need to know about them.

I also must acknowledge I allowed this dude treating me as a punching bag off and on for so long to hold the title “friend” off and on as well. Sometimes I give some people more opportunities than others. I’m not sure why I do this, there doesn’t seem to be good reasons, but eventually, if punched enough times, I guess it finally goes in. And frankly, there just aren’t enough men out there of high enough quality that I will ever be too surprised when they finally say “I am not worth your time/energy/love/praise/etc”. Which makes me sound like a man-hater. I’m actually a man-cheerleader constantly looking for work. Constantly getting laid-off from the job of cheering a quality man on. Women too, don’t get me wrong, but of the people I know that are “top quality” 95% of them are women, and they are really amazing at the game of life. Oozing integrity from every pore and orifice. Women bully too, but it is not as much in our nature as it is for men. Plus we don’t tend to have our ego threatened the way men seem to. I have seen many times how men react to strong women, and that too is them showing the world their small mindedness.

This will all sound too harsh for the mind that uses bulling as a tool to keep themselves “right”, “justified”, “smarter”, or “in charge”. The thing we see when given enough time -the bullier believes they are one thing, while showing the world they are another. Can someone like this change? Maybe so. I think every one of us is in control of who we are. Have I seen many change? No. But I won’t lose hope, I am a cheerleader by nature, and wouldn’t it be cool if a year from now I were sitting here writing about how many incredible men I know. Because guys… you are in control of yourself. You decide what others see. You decide who you will be. We (the not small minded) are not blind, and we know when we are picked on.

Tuesday, November 6


(Audio below)
It seems that for most of us it’s easier to identify with a label someone else gives you than it is to identify with a label you give yourself. In fact, few of us create our own labels, but we get handed them all the time by others. It starts when we are little.

I’ve decided that this happens because at no point in growing up does anyone tell you “Hey, you should start deciding for yourself who you are”. We just kind of fall into the existence of being told how others see us, “You are overweight”, “You should be a ballerina”, “You are funny”, “You are too serious”, “You are effeminate”, “You are weird”. And we let these mean something to us and tell us who we are.

Now, I’m not saying we consciously allow this to happen or we consciously don’t decide for ourselves who we are. It’s one of those things we fall into because we never think to be/do otherwise. It’s more by default.

I too did this most of my life, and it wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I was suddenly able to hear it, and realize I should be the one deciding these labels, not others. And the reason I say that is that it almost doesn’t matter what other people want to label you with, if you don’t make your own labels, you will ACCEPT you are who you’ve been told you are.

And before I go much further I’m going to throw out a spoiler of sorts… the labels you are given have everything to do with the person labeling you. Based on THEIR views of themselves and how they grew up being labeled. It’s kind of a messed up way to receive self view. But I’ll come back to this.

I want to use an analogy to explain what I mean.

Imagine being handed a card every time someone tells you something about who you are. Lets say that as you are growing up, your dad continuously hands you an “overweight” card. Again, this is based on what HE considers to be overweight, and also, that concept “overweight” must be an issue for him! It’s not an issue or important to everyone and doesn’t have to be important to you either. It’s also based on which part of the world he lives in and what he is exposed to. Is he hanging out at the gym? This kind of thing.

Also, you think your dad is only going to hand you ONE of these cards in your lifetime? No… he is likely going to hand them to you over and over. So you are figuratively finding pockets for all these cards, and carrying them around with you everywhere you go. They become your reality and almost a safety-net, so that at any time you can pull out a stack of cards from one of these pockets and SHOW people who you are by listing your labels.

And chances are, you do not at any point realize you are being handed these cards/labels. You take them and you put them in your pockets. You even find that you keep being handed the same cards by the same people, so they don’t even stand out or feel strange anymore. And when your pockets are full and you are feeling down on yourself, you don’t notice it’s because of all the cards you have taken on board. Picture a pair of overalls, with added makeshift pockets to carry all the cards you have as you’ve got older and met more labeling people. Maybe it’s only at that point you realize you’re sick of these heavy overalls full of inaccurate labels. At some point, it might just get too much.

This was true for me. And when I finally had the idea of taking off everything that had a pocket, I stripped down to nakedness and taped a couple of those cards to my body, unable to let go of every label I’d been given, still unsure who I really was. And what an uncomfortable space to be in. The realization that you don’t know what you think because you have been taking on board what others think for so long. Its freedom on a level you might not be able to immediately accept. “Well, if I’m not going to believe “this”: ___, then what is my “that”?

To be honest, it’s giving yourself a blank slate to decide anything about yourself really. The craziest thing is that you COULD HAVE been doing this your whole life, but for some reason, you missed the memo.

This removal of all pocket and card containing layers of clothes coincided with a bunch of uncomfortable life changes for me, and finally reaching a point where I had to make my own decisions about who I am in order to like who I was. This is where I’m trying not to turn this into my story, but show others I have the same story. But this time, I’m hoping so bad that I’m not talking to people my age with decades of taking on cards they turned into a mountain of labels. I’m hoping that my young friends might be able to see “I’m doing this too. Nat is over here encouraging me to take off all those layers of labels and be comfortable in my own skin. Label and card free.”

You want to know what labels I’m willing to accept now? Happy. Loving. Kind. And when people try to hand me cards, I don’t reach out and take it, I let it fall to the ground. I decide who I am now. With a bit of attitude about it too. People can create or make as many labels for me as they wish. That’s their thing; let them be a label maker. I’m going to be me, do me, and worry about me. So that what I feel about ME…is all good.

Saturday, September 22

Fuel, Drive, Joy, Motivation, Creation, Accomplishment

My use of the word accomplishment recently led a friend to misunderstand that I meant it in a way that brought me some status, or money, or lifelong dream finally built. I shouldn’t be surprised, because the word itself kind of insinuates much effort was put forth and an end goal was reached.

When I typed “accomplishment” I was trying to sum up and find a word that fit why I love to write. Which really just did the opposite, I then had to explain what I meant by using that word, and I’m so glad my friend didn’t hear it how I meant it because that gave me opportunity to do what I love… explain and clarify so that I feel a sense of being understood. AKA Accomplishment. Point made.

And in the writing of my explanation, I realized I have another friend who might like to hear this, because that friend is in a place of not feeling fuel, drive, joy, motivation, creation, or accomplishment. To the point that friend is putting themselves inside a “cave” to be unreachable and alone. Outside of my arms length to affect or help. Sometimes that’s all I need to find a reason to write and feed myself a sense of accomplishment. (This same friend in the cave calls me a wordsmith, so you bet I want to be writing for that friend.)

And that is really the point I am going to make by the end. MY sense of accomplishment isn’t actually conditional upon success of a large end-goal. Sure I want my friend to come out of the cave, feel helped by my words, and benefit somehow from knowing me, but the truth is… MY sense of accomplishment, MY motivation, MY drive is just finding a way to say the things I want to say -to someone I care about. Whether my friend ever even reads this does not change, whether or not I have succeeded in that desire to clearly explain thoughts and feelings. I don’t write earth shattering words. I don’t feel ground breaking concepts, I write because I love to, and for how it makes me feel.

Like a race car driver. I doubt Kimi Raikkonen races ONLY to win and stand on the podium. He can’t. He clearly must love to race. He must love the team, the car, the tracks, the competition, the atmosphere, the everything, or he would not be doing this since the age of 10 (28 years). Every aspect is his fuel, his drive, his joy. Each of us have those things in us that bring us motivation in life. Which tends to be the stuff we are good at because that’s the stuff we enjoy doing most.

So lets go back to my slow small slug-like version of accomplishment. For me it’s nothing large. It’s nothing so fancy as that for Kimi. For me it’s taking a concept like mattering to a person and organizing words in a fashion where I feel people could get what I’m trying to say. And MY MIND feels satisfied and accomplished by the end result. As long as I’m satisfied, I am accomplished.

This is not an idea that has been with me all my life. I used to have giant towers and mountains of ideals surrounding me that looked and felt impossible to ever conquer. I had so many imaginary un-scaleable mountains that provided me with a million excuses for why I couldn’t become this or ever succeed at that. And eventually I saw that these towers and mountains were all created by my imagination. They weren’t real, and nobody else could even understand them, let alone see them. “Are you fucking crazy Natalie? What are you looking at?” could be the words spoken to me. And I realized accomplishment comes wherever I want it -in whatever form I enjoy and want to feel it. I could just as easily decide that none of my writings will ever be read by anyone and feel accomplishment in filling the hard drive of my laptop with a library of essays. (I do that too.) The realization I DECIDE was the real groundbreaker. Not anything I actually did or “accomplished”. I can feel fuel, drive, joy, motivation, creation, accomplishment, over anything I choose to feel it over and I even decide if I’m going to argue that with the negative committee in my head. I can decide also that nothing is up for debate, because the negative committee is not me, not employed by me, and they are best seen as squatters who need to be kicked out.

What we feel, the levels at which we feel, the end results of our feelings, so much is for you to decide. You own you. It’s easier to believe you don’t and that those mountains aren’t scaleable… but that is only because that is what you are used to. I’m now used to not seeing mountains, just molehills I can cover.

If my “caving” friend reads this, my friend will remember the many things I’ve had to deal with this year. And how I have not sailed through easily. Life can happen to us as well…but that is why we have to remember to be in charge of the things we can be deciding. There are plenty of things outside of our control. We may as well control the things we can. And frankly, I want to be having joy in all the areas I am capable of joy. Personally, I want to choose to feel accomplishment even at typing black letters onto a white screen…because all those things happening to me aren’t at my fingertips to delete or rewrite. So you bet I will control all the things I can. My attitude is the most important one. This has nothing whatsoever to do with reward or money for said accomplishment. I create my creation. I love the process. I feel fulfilled. This is why I have never cared for money. It’s a necessary tool. Its not attached to what is my joy. My feeling accomplishment at what I wanted to accomplish is the real goods.

Tuesday, September 11


How do I explain feeling so lucky when it has everything to do with someone's suicide? I know I just wrote about suicide of my friend, but two weeks earlier my adopted sisters best friend Berta committed suicide. Berta is also the sister of one of my close friends. And as I watched as these people I love so much mourn this incredible woman, (who I never somehow met) I continually felt, and feel lucky. For multiple reasons.

The first reason feels cruel to type. But I am glad that as I hear so many stories about Berta; her talents, her kindness, her beauty, they are still stories for me. I didn't know her voice, I don't have conversations cataloged, and no memories to replay in pain. I don't have to feel the giant hole her loss has created for my loved ones who are worthy of knowing top quality humans.

What I do have, is more love for my loved ones in pain, and luck to have them around.

An even bigger reason for me to feel Lucky these last couple days is that Berta should have turned 40 a couple days ago. My 40th birthday was the best birthday of my life. I was on the best vacation of my life, and having some of the biggest realizations of my life. I even wrote a short story about it. So, for someone to miss out on something that was so great for me, it's like I'm being reminded, "You are so Lucky!".

Anyone reading that knowing what stresses I've been through this year would question my honesty, considering how big a mess I have been at times, but today as I think about Berta missing out on turning 40, the sensation of being so lucky is loud and clear. Fact is I didn't lose a best friend or a sister and that too makes me lucky. Life is fragile and a gift. The only way to enjoy it is through choice combined with perspective. I NEED to love life. the alternative is too hard and uncomfortable to bear. So here I sit in a soft chair in my creative canvas I call home, and with a list of countless people I love and who love me...lucky is the most accurate word I have.

Another friend also touched with suicide in his life posted a pic of a fortune from a cookie on instagram. It read: "The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground". I am going to continue hoping I will be so lucky to become a mighty oak. Not letting anyone -including myself- chop me down before I get there. This little nut is going to hold tight.

Ya know, when I die I don't need there to be a reward or an "after". All I need is to be happy and feel good. Anything after or "next" would be a bonus. I'm already lucky.

Sunday, July 22


I was recently introduced to that YT video with the recorded voice saying a word that some people hear as Yanny and others hear Laurel. Twitter says 47% hear Yanny, and 53% hear laurel. Other videos have been done where they change the pitch of the word which does affect what people hear, but lets stick with the fact that in its original sound, we hear something different. Does this mean anything?
It does.

It means that no one person can be 100% right because there is no RIGHT. There IS perspective. And Nobody has to change who they are to hear something different, all anyone should do is accept we aren’t all the same. We won’t all agree and most of the time there isn’t only two things to argue rightness about.

I’m also feeling the need to write about this because it’s one of my biggest pet peeves… when someone insists there is no other perspective but theirs. Usually these are people who believe everything is black and white, and since I’m a believer of countless grays, I can’t even entertain conversation with a B&W closed mind anymore. It’s pointless and time wasting. I write about this in Gray is Good and recently have referenced Statistical Uniqueness in conversations about this too. The world is obsessed with our differences right now, to the point of a mentality being created. This “You are offending me” kind of thinking. Which creates this over inflation of pride which then makes the offended individual offend. It’s like the building of an attitude too. One that doesn’t allow for Yanny to be Laurel. And if I get to throw out an opinion now –I think that changing this attitude could be easy. It would only require putting oneself in a space of RESPECT. Because there, one could accept what I hear: Laurel, is not what you hear: Yanny. And does this have to break the bank? No. Not in a space of Respect. In that space we accept EVERYONE is different.

So… how often can we put ourselves in this space? Trying to go there after an argument is already underway is rather impossible. So why not try to make it the space you occupy continually? Like your Aura, your bubble, your surrounding vibrational field that people feel when you are nearby? Why not live in that space of respect?

I’ve also referenced Being Understanding When I Don’t Understand, in a couple conversations recently. The two ARE different. You don’t have to understand a person and their choices to be understanding that they are struggling with those choices. It also doesn’t mean you have to garnish their load and make it your burden. To be in a respectful space and to be understanding, you are in the best place for yourself. If they expect your respect and understanding to be your lifting of the load too… that is their inability to grasp being in a respectful space and that in our differences, nobody need be exactly on the same page. Because fact is, some hear Laurel.

We are not automatons. We are humans with a googolplex of cells making each of us unique.

Saturday, June 16

The Heart Pumps Love

I can only imagine what it is like to have a human created from YOU and who you are. I have to just guess how it feels to see the best of you in them, and have your heart pump love because of them.

I made the choice to not know this kind of love, because I could imagine it, and it seemed so incredibly giant. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it. I even let “god” know that if “he” somehow made it happen, I would stop it.

I realize this is a decision I could one day regret when I’m old and alone, but thus far in life, I’m glad I made the choice I did.

If we did have past lives, I would be more than happy to assume I know this feeling of your heart pumping love because of a human you created. It would make sense that somewhere in me remembers that giant level of love, and somewhere in me also knows that in this incarnation I am strong in some ways, but very weak in others.

I start even saying this because I realized at the appearance of someone I love so very much, that there are faces in my mind that 100% of the time bring me a physical smile, and make my heart pump with love. What would I do without these dearhearts? Because fact is… If my heart can’t pump with love, there is no reason for it to operate at all.

Everyone is NOT equal. Sorry. Not everyone knows how to be a dearheart, and that’s a private club for every individual to check ID at the door.

To my Dearhearts, you know who you are… I live for your beauty, love, and knowing you are happy. My heart pumps because of you.

Saturday, June 9

Wholeness (and Dancing)

(A friend who knows me well said that this was too short. She asked me to elaborate because it ended too soon. I love my Melissa, therefore: EDITED)
There are tooo many things to write about these days. I’m so in my head with multiple life lessons and “issues” needing my attention. I would say I’m overwhelmed, except for the gravity of each of them. I think they are all bigger than me. So really, its like looking at planets or moons… all I can do is stare and talk. There is no holding them or trying to carry their weight. They are just too big. Feeling these things are bigger than me, I do still feel pushed by them. Despite not collapsing under the weight, I find myself needing coping mechanisms.

I have two great ones. The first is more temporary than the second, and its also a bit ethereal because it requires the decision to be present. I think that decision to be present is possibly why so many people love PHOTOGRAPHY. I highly doubt most people know why they love taking pictures, just that they do. I think for many, the joy comes in that capturing of the NOW. They don't consciously say "I am being present, I am enjoying this scene, I am composing this image, I am paying attention to this beauty, I am a sentient being" (haha). All they know is it's fun and feels nice.

It's fun and feels nice to me too. It is also an enigma to me. I've been taking pictures since I could operate my mom's Kodak Instamatic 608 using 110 film. (Which btw, I still have; it's in my camera collection.) I have done portraits, glamour photography, food, still life, and ads. All fun, but my greatest love with photography is what I see vs. what the camera sees. Many people argue this, when I say it, but I stick to my experience, and that is I don't decide what looks good. The camera does. And with that in mind, I regularly grab the camera when I see something that looks cool to my eyes, to see if the camera agrees. I would say 75% of the time it does, and it even shows me MORE than what I SAW. And then there are all those times the camera can't see anything I am wanting to capture. One thing I know for sure, is that if what I'm seeing has elements of light... Then the camera and I conspire in fascination for coolness and we have even more fun together. Which is also a reason why I love macro photography. I want to see the little stuff the naked eye can't appreciate, like how the shape of water is sometimes only evident because of light. The camera is fond of this too, and we regularly PLAY.

Instagram was made for people like me who take hundreds of photos and share one every few hundred taken. I love to see what other people are finding cool, and what their camera is finding beautiful. The mention of instagram compels me to say that people who are finding their own face or body fascinating everyday are the ones I just can't follow for long. Sorry Charlie, your pouty lips just aren't as cool to me as they are to you. But, Yay You, for loving your face!!

Photography is one of the few things that give me a separation from those weighty planets, with my brain happy to say: “I’m busy right now. Call back later. I'm already occupied with looking at beautiful things”. 

The second coping mechanism is actually a pretty big thing I should have discovered long ago –and many have. It’s DANCING. Not dancing for anyone to see, just dancing for me to feel. This also comes back to what I write about all the time: getting to know yourself and improving self esteem. Which is how the dancing started, actually. I decided to use it as a way to try and feel more comfortable in my own skin. And I’m going to jump ahead for a second to say: It Totally Fucking Worked!

I’ve said this so many times, but I have not known myself most of my life. I’ve been an enabler ON HOLD. So as I've been getting to know ME and realizing I have many things to fix and heal, I have learned much about who I am and who I’m not. This is my journey now. It’s possibly best described as a path to wholeness. So, in my attempts to feel whole, I must stretch and step outside of the space I regularly stand… and Dance.

How I started was like a coward. In the dark, in the bathroom, in front of the mirror, but with the only light coming through a crack in the door from my bedroom. So I began dancing in that sliver of light, and used my fascination of light and shape as a way to keep moving. The REAL key was having just discovered the music of Andrew Belle. Dancing to his Black Bear album was more fun that I could believe, and so the dancing continued effortlessly, until one day, the dark didn't even matter. I knew how certain songs made my body feel, and then The 1975 got involved, and it's impossible to hold still when I hear songs I love.

Dancing has altered so much in me. It’s been over a year now, and there is no going back. The benefits literally can’t be explained or shared. It has changed how I see myself and how I even see life. It has increased my love of music (which seems impossible) and I can’t squeal enough about this new found tool. I do realize dancing is so normal for most people they don’t think twice about it. But for me it was never normal, and now it has become extraordinary.

Having explained the dancing, I will say this is one of the reasons my lovely Melissa and I connected. It is also why she said this post was not long enough. I had already started dancing as a therapy, before I learned she is in school to become a dance therapist. She saw the dancing become more and more fluid to me as this whole process unfolded.

That old Lee Ann Womack song “I hope you dance” has new meaning to me. I always heard the message as taking what life gives you and turning it into success –Dance being the metaphor for success. But now I want to hear it as Dance being the tool to get through everything. Don’t do what I did and NOT dance. Keep yourself healthy, keep you eyes and ears open, keep you body and mind willing to be fluid, and when you need some help, or happiness, or therapy, DANCE. I’m proof it does things, it changes you.

Now I’m gunna dance my way to Wholeness.

Saturday, April 14

The LITTLE things ARE the BIG things.

What do we call this thing we have inside us that wants to feel like we've mattered? That we make a difference, that we WILL HAVE made a difference, and that our long life has affected something for the better,?

It's really
 a need to know the world is a better place because we were in it. That sounds a bit narcissistic from a shallow viewpoint, but when coming at it from the heart; it’s knowing you’ve done something beneficial for a person or people. Some of us think “making a difference” has to be some multi-life-saving event that we will be memorialized by. And yet, most of us also still feel content knowing we “helped” whether by giving someone twenty bucks, offering a much needed hug, or by being understanding and kind to someone really needing it. This need to feel “a difference” follows us throughout life and I think it might be a thirst that’s unquenchable for some.

One of my jobs is serving coffee, and although some could argue that serving coffee is making a difference, (*big smile*) I come in contact with many people who make a difference to me. Whether it’s getting to experience their kind heart, hearing their encouraging words, or just being that regular happy face that makes the sun brighter… these small things make a difference to me because these people are sharing their lives and hearts with me. I have to then hope that I might be doing this for someone else, either through coffee or in my general life, also sharing myself.

Really, we can’t possibly know what difference we’ve made at the end of a well-lived life. We can’t quantify each encounter to end up with a great sum. The sad thing is that the way we spend so much of our lives beating ourselves up for not being “enough”, it’s likely we don’t even see the difference we make on a continual basis.

I know that I don’t tell people who give me a much needed laugh that their light-heartedness, or my medicinal laughter because of them -helped me. But the truth is, things like those are vital. I survive on those small moments as they happen daily, and I’m surely not alone in that feeling.

Life is fragile, not just our physical life; but our hearts too. Cruel words, a mean attitude, and general negativity affect us. They affect our day, our sleep, our happiness, and when it comes to feeling “ok” or “not ok” it’s the small things that make a difference and keep us going. Two of the biggest small things are love and kindness. THAT is how we make a difference.

Wednesday, March 28

Balance… and imbalance

After a concussion and then a car accident, I’ve recently had reason to wish for balance. I had an abundance of vertigo and dizziness, with the concussion. Once that left, the car accident gave me whiplash and a lack of balance in all areas even without the vertigo or dizziness reappearing. I easily lose physical balance, but in addition to that, I have found there is now an emotional need for balance. Because what comes with a car accident? The need to find another car, countless phone calls and appointments to put everything right again... My balance of simple/busy life has tipped the scales to busy leaving me wishing for simple again. And with my physical balance still and issue even though the vertigo and dizziness are gone I’m continuing to dwell on the word BALANCE mostly because of whiplash and neck pain. Physical imbalance makes it almost impossible to have a good attitude and be willing to exert oneself beyond what in the immediate moment you could call “comfort”.

I’ve started getting massages to help. The muscle relaxants make me feel shit in my whole body, so it’s just trading one form of feeling shit for another. NOT what I want. So these massages are a new experience for me. I’ve never had so much physical attention to my bones and muscles finding I hurt in places I didn’t know were hurting. But I’m also experiencing that its when I am laying on that massage table that I am closest to feeling balance. At least that was the case today as this “desire for balance” was in the forefront of my mind. When it comes to having a massage, if I’m not present in the massage I am wasting the opportunity to be there. And why would I want to waste a massage? Ya, I don’t.

This lesson of being present for the massage has come about because of a realization with my work schedules that are ever changing. There is no point stressing myself out trying to remember what time I work each day and each week. So how I stop my mind from going out of balance is to stop my mind from the attempt to remember. I remove the need to remember by looking at when I work the day before. This keeps me present and doesn’t fill my mind with unnecessary information. If I need to know I can look it up.

I also got myself a dry erase board for the fridge that holds a fortnights worth of upcoming appointments. My memory since the car accident is pretty crap, and so I kind of have no choice but to put my appointments in one place. Doing so on the fridge… somewhere I visit each morning is like giving myself a place to trust instead of my memory.

I am also leaving a job because it is forever tipping me to imbalance. I can no longer work such long hours when mental and physical are non-stop. The need to take a break and relax is a real need.10-12 hours of working straight is something my dog hates me doing too… and I also need balance for her. She’s a priority I paid a lot of money for, and she too cares about long work hours.

Am I naive in wanting to find balance in existence irrespective of me? I want balance to BE. What I mean is, whether it is me or someone else that walks into the room the environment is balance, not the individual entering. Which isn’t to say I don’t want to be balance or HAVE TO be balance—because frankly—if the environment is balance then my turning up and also being balance is a successful situation, and I’ve said it before, success takes us to happiness, and what is happiness? (the meaning of life when I’m the one answering that question.) I want to be balance without being the balance generator. I feel like this might be daydreaming. I can’t be the only person out there seeing the great need for balance.

Here… it’s like rims and tires… I don’t want to be the rims or the tires. Or even the alignment for that matter. Id rather turn up and do the part as the tire tread. If I also have to be the entire tire, I’m left wondering just how effective the rims are, and considering my need to be rims too. Balanced rims and tires mean my tread is totally useful and needed as a balanced part of this “system”. Concentrating on my role of helping the vehicle move forward safely. Some people in this world want to be the tread, the tire, the rims, and the whole damn vehicle. But you know what that is? Imbalance. I don’t care what aspect of life you look at, whether it’s what you put in your body (food/drink/drugs), how you treat your body (exhaustion/abuse/respect), and where you stand emotionally (lack/steady/excessive), you will “succeed at living” when you find balance. Learning to see when too much is too much, when scarcity is too severe, and learning (or just finally seeing) where balance is and how you capture it.

I have glimpses of balance, I’m going to use those to get more of it.

Thursday, March 8

The Sparkly Ones

I’m going to sound like a little kid, and the giddiness that comes when I talk about sparkly people only makes it worse. I’m not saying this topic makes it hard for me to be taken seriously, but it is a funny/quirky topic.

I started using the term “Sparkly” because of a regular customer at work. He’s a young married dude who I shouldn’t even be noticing, but I am not in control of how his insides shine through his face and eyes. And NO… he is not flirting, I don’t even know if he knows how much he sparkles. And truth be told, I have no idea if he has a good heart or who he is. But traditionally when someone sparkles, they not only have a good heart, they have an amazing heart and the ability to care, be kind, be present, and thoughtful and have huge amounts of inner beauty… and THAT is why I’m writing this. Its having seen sparkly peoples insides.

The people I DO know well, and sparkle, they have Beautiful insides oozing out of them. In fact, I’ve learned too; that the non-sparkly people, and I mean the assholes, DO NOT have inner beauty that is big enough to radiate out. Which isn’t to say I’m calling them people without any inner beauty, but I am saying that they don’t have it at such high levels with a genuine-ness that makes their inner beauty shine. –To Sparkle.

And yes, if you haven’t already heard it, the Sparkly ones are beautiful. I say it clearly on the gallery page of my instagram account: It doesn’t matter what your outsides look like when your insides are ugly. And do you know what this means? Beauty is not an outer thing. Its an inner thing.

And guess what? I just made a connection. Correlation is a thing I love, and this connection has been staring me in the face my whole life. (THIS IS WHY I write –I can put things together and come up with answers and clarity)

In my last post I talk about the Beautiful Man, and seeing myself as the Ugly Girl. With that poor self esteem taking me to the severe word: “ugly”. Part of that conclusion is looking like my father whose outsides match his insides. That fact makes me see my resemblance to him as me being ugly… but… and this is what I just realized: The real way to be ugly, the ONLY way, is to not have beautiful insides, and if there is ONE THING I have learned to this point in life, it’s that my insides are NOT ugly.

So really, to have used the word ugly associated with ME, Natalie, is crazy. It’s inaccurate and based on what I’m writing about today, what I see in others, and who I am to them, it’s far more likely that I too sparkle.

That’s a bold statement! HA! It’s even hard to reread. My ego mind wants to criticize the writer of that sentence with a sarcastic “Wow”.

Another example… I learned this lesson recently when I went to see one of my most favorite singer/songwriter/musicians in concert. Andrew Belle was opening for Matt Kearney and between acts I stood in line and met the wonderful Andrew. First of all let me admit I have never seen via instagram that AB was Sparkly. He just seemed like a great dude overall that makes incredible music. But standing in line to be one of the adoring fans wanting a photo and an autograph, I saw not just sparkly, but humble and beautiful through and through. I was surprised. I did not know he would be one of the Sparkly Ones. I felt shock and awe learning that inner beauty is really only seen when you get to stand in front of a person and see WHO they are. I’m fascinated by this. I finished up looking like a teenage fan with my adoration and walked away to find his sparklyness had affected me enough that it fell out of my eyes. (When something feels big, it “falls out my eyes”.)

Back to topic. Whether it’s a customer, Beautiful Man, or Andrew Belle, it doesn’t matter what your outsides look like because once your insides get seen through your eyes, your choice of words, your intonation, your actions and deeds, even your smile for godsake… You show people who you are and you WILL be ugly or beautiful. You might even Sparkle.

Saturday, March 3

Self Perception and YAB stickers

I recently installed Marco Polo on my phone. For most people this is probably nothing to blog about. But as someone who has spent her adult life trying to tackle self esteem, it’s a “thing” for me to suddenly be watching myself as I hold a conversation. Cuz you see, I have become an avid believer in NOT doing things you know can “damage” your self esteem. For me, one of those things is not watching myself on video. I have plenty of reasons why, but that’s not the point. The point is I have accepted that although I don’t see myself in conversation, others DO see me talking to them. So I need to wrap my head around it being NOTHING for them to see me talking. And it shouldn’t be for me either. Annoyingly this is not easy. I don’t look on the outside like I see myself. I’m also thinner than I’ve been most of my life, so this only adds to my lack of recognition when I see myself talking. Why is this so different from what I see in the mirror? Clearly I can’t see myself very far from straight on, so self view is limited. This is true for all of us. Plus I’m not a selfie taker, so I don’t have an obsession with my own face.

Since I’m being so up front writing about my childhood as of late, I’m going to admit something… *deep breath* The thinner I am the more I look like my father. And since I don’t want to be anything like him, that physical fact is actually upsetting. Yes, I try to put weight on but fact is my body is operating better than when it was 30lbs heavier. However, that additional weight is what I want to look like again. The main reason being I didn’t look as much like any family member. I just looked like me. I want to look like me again.

This last summer I learned that children who were hit on the head, grow up with self loathing issues. Although the word loathing is extreme for me, I would be a liar if I sat here and said I didn’t have some level of self loathing. My understanding of the psychology is that being hit on the head as opposed to being punched in the face means that there aren’t natural instincts in place to block a hand coming from the side or back. This psychologically causes not just self-loathing, but loathing for the person hitting you. Can I even tell you how big that light bulb shone as I heard that. *Hand in Glove*

Continuing to over-share, because self esteem is one of the “things” I’m fascinated by; how could I possibly like my appearance if:
1. I think I don’t look like the “me” I know
2. I think I look like my dad
3. I was continually hit on the head as a child

And… you know what else? I’m not unique. This story is not unique. Countless people have this same issue. I’m not the only kid that got hit.

So what do we do? Frankly I’d love advice because I’ve come up with a few things to remember.
1. Know your insides ARE visible to others.
2. Avoid things that add to a detrimental self view.
3. (And probably the biggest) Know that it is impossible for anyone to see you the way YOU see you.

I ended up in a self-perception discussion recently with someone I went to high school with. That’s almost not the best way to describe him because I spent a lot of time at his house. I met him around the age of 16 or 17 when his family moved into my neighborhood. It was an extra large family because the parents got married each already having many kids. I became friends with his siblings and step-siblings. I was at their house often, and sometimes 4-5 of them would hang out with me laughing and having fun. We created numerous inside jokes, and when I was over, even some of the little ones enjoyed my company. It was like I was “a family friend” since there were so many ages often in the room. “Going to High school” with him is almost the best way to describe my association with him, because although I was continually at his house, he kept his distance. He was in my year of school, and all of the siblings and step-siblings I hung out with were younger than us. Over time I accepted he didn’t want to have anything to do with me because—he didn’t. We never spoke. This guy even avoided the room I was in whether it was the kitchen, the family room, or anybody’s bedroom. And what made it worse, was the fact he was so beautiful. Me with my hyper-poor self esteem feeling ugly already, was avoided and ignored by the most beautiful person in the house. And it wasn’t just once or twice, it was always.

After high school I continued to hang out with his sisters and step sisters, even regularly hanging out with the two brothers closest in age, and then I left the country. He too left the country, then around 20 years later I saw him again. And guess what? He still didn’t speak to me. He still silently told me with his beautiful face and absent words that I was ugly. This was long after I started tackling my self esteem problem, so as you can imagine, for me to STILL have a deep held belief attached to a person that I’m ugly, I developed a slight “fuck you” attitude toward him. His being in the room when I would cross paths with his sisters now and again was a cruel reminder of an even cruller attitude toward me; I was to forever be ignored. The “not good enough” unspoken words ringing loudly in my ears.

So when we crossed paths more at local events, I was actually bothered when I saw him. On occasion he had no choice but to acknowledge me, so I did get “hello”. But I let his silence be mean words toward me that equated to something like “You aren’t good/interesting/attractive/cool enough.” He was only a reminder I was ugly. (If he reads these words I will be horrified.)

Me having tackled so much of my self esteem issues I turned his example into a lesson I now happily preach: Not everyone is going to like you. Fact. You might be unable to gel with many people in this world. Even ones you find beautiful. He never actually did or said anything for me to confirm what he thought of me, so fact was, his outsides remained beautiful. You know when someone shows you how shitty they are as a human and they then become extra ugly on the outside?
*cough cough*
*my dad*
Well, Beautiful Man never did show me his insides, so annoyingly, he remained beautiful. I couldn’t turn his outsides ugly simply because of my perception of what his silence meant.

Then one day I crossed paths with him again and it had just been his birthday. So with all normalcy and familiarity I went up to him and said “Happy recent Birthday”. He turned and hugged me thanking me the way an old friend would, and just started talking. Was I surprised? Damn straight! This was my first contact with him feeling like I was a friend DESPITE my long held closeness as a friend to the majority of his family. If I’m honest with myself, and my math is accurate, we are talking somewhere around 25 years of potentially applicable friendship that was never applied. It was at this point (by my view) we became friends. So really, he is a new friend. The only elements I knew of him that I would have if we had been actual friends all these years were connected to either his siblings instagram accounts or his. And looking through his photos, I did find it funny that someone so beautiful would put up You Are Beautiful stickers in random places, sharing that attitude of love, because those were MY words TO HIM for so long. A beautiful person telling people they are beautiful, when what I felt all these years was You Are Ugly. It was almost funny. Not because he had anything to do with it, hell, he had nothing to do with it… literally. He just ignored me. I decided what his silence meant. It was me that had him giving me YAU stickers instead.

As we have become better friends I’ve learned he is someone with perspective I want to hear. So when we would cross paths, we would have great conversation, sometimes short, sometimes long; always topics up my alley. THEN recently two things happened. I had opportunity to tell him while in a discussion on self esteem that his unwillingness to have anything to do with me as a teenager had me sure I wasn’t good enough for him. His response to that was very soft and kind. He said he needed to mourn that, and explained that his teens were full of hardship for him wrapping his head around the merger of these two families and leaving his life and mom behind. His teens were full of HIS woes, and he related a story of someone else in high school calling him arrogant. His silence and introverted needs were labeled by others including me as him being too good for us. And why was this? I can’t speak for others but I know it’s because I found him so beautiful.

So back to where this started. I installed Marco Polo on my phone and the whole reason I’m writing this has everything to do with this App. Because guess who messages me?
Beautiful Man.
And guess who I have to see replying to him?
Ugly Girl.
Remember what I know I need to avoid to keep a healthy self esteem? Don’t see myself on video. This is also why I’m so willing to snapchat. I can filter my face to look nothing like me, and THERE I am safe. I can watch it and I don’t feel worse or as though I’ve damaged my self image. Because remember I’m fully aware I’m the only one that sees what I see.

So in the sending messages with Beautiful Man, I get on the subject of how hard I find it to have the camera on me, and then we get on a discussion about Self Perception. In that discussion I admit finding his sharing of the YAB sticker ironic because he’s the beautiful one. And then he tells me that he has never considered himself beautiful. It wouldn’t even be in the list of words he’d use to describe himself. Which then made me admit the word beautiful is the first word I’ve always used to describe him. (Can you even believe I’m being so honest?)

With a perfectly humble and sincere response he says thank you and laughs that he’s glad my perceptions of him are no longer a barrier to our friendship.

Did you hear that? Did you just catch what happened?

I have been the wall. There was no point where I set down my self perception and my judgment  of him to step up and even slightly get to know him. I let my self view (which is specific to ME) dictate everything, including what he thought. Are you kidding me? Am I kidding me? It’s taken me THIS LONG to get this? And an app that makes me uncomfortable taught me this by giving rise to a self perception conversation. Damn.

And as it turns out, he’s more beautiful on the inside than the external version I saw. Neither of which match his views on himself. I say it all the time, perspective is everything. Why do we find it so hard to consider that not only do we decide how to see something, we COULD change it, and there are plenty of ways to see it anew. Will you be forced, or will you make a choice?

What facts do I take away with this fascinating lesson?
1. Beautiful Man is only beautiful.
2. Nobody sees me the way I do.
3. If you think you know a person and you’ve never talked, you know nothing.

Saturday, February 17

Oneness and Silence

I’ve always had a hard time with the “we are one” concept as it pertains to us all being connected. Although I do feel oneness; I feel entirely alone. As just ONE. I have experienced being 1 of 2, but for the most part, my life has been me and The World. I really struggle to understand this universal oneness and always have. I feel so singular and alone being shown in every stage of life not to trust anyone, not to rely on anyone, and that singularity is what the deal is. I believe there must be people out there that feel this too, and there must be people out there that never feel they are alone. That “universality” people speak of as us being part of—I want to know better.

On the smallest of levels I can feel joined to others. I can understand hardship, I understand love, I know joy, and I’m very aware we “share” in these. But the singularity I’ve felt my whole life has me reading a book called the Language of Silence and feeling awe at what he describes, and wishing that I could know too what he explains when he talks about this oneness; having telepathic communication with a monkey named Just Joe.

In the chapter Thought Bayonets, he says:

“The silent but effective correspondence that went on between Just Joe and myself, during those intimate sessions, was never the functioning of “a superior human brain in my skull” with “an inferior monkey brain in his skull”. Just Joe and I, in that rather uncommon experience of ours, were individual inlets and outlets for the everywhere-present and everywhere-operating Mind of the universe –like rays of light and warmth in their relationship with the sun.

The more practiced I became in finding how to establish the right kind of two-way thought traffic with that monkey as a fellow state of consciousness the easier it became for us to move along together in a mutuality of knowing … of being … of doing … of sharing … the easier it also became to speak silently to that monkey so that he could instantly understand me, and for him to speak silently to me so that I could instantly understand him. He and I were accomplishing, through the lovely and invaluable language of echoing heartbeats, a language that is ever moving from out of the silence through the silence and into the silence. But a language, I also had to learn, that can be spoken and heard only by those whose hearts are sufficiently pure for such cosmic inter communicating.”

I feel rather speechless at reading this. Its so eloquently written and so full of the genuineness I seek everywhere in life. Because the closest I come to not feeling so alone is when I feel a persons genuineness radiating. What seems to always accompany their genuineness is love, and love is the only real doorway to feeling less singular. And maybe that is stating the obvious. This is probably true for everyone.

Staying on the subject of what J. Allen Boone writes about in this quote but slightly changing topic, I have to mention something that keeps shouting at me to acknowledge. Two posts ago in Trauma Drama I write about a rabbit my dad pulled out of a bush by the ears, and as it screamed in terror, he held it there and shot it. As I read J. Allen Boone’s words about echoing heartbeats and it being in and through silence we communicate and understand one another, my memory of the screaming rabbit has me not just horrified but wanting to apologize because I’m not in that space of having a heart “sufficiently pure” that I could hear that rabbit before it was too late. That sounds corny to even my ears, but if you can imagine how J. Allen Boone would hear me say it (he’d understand perfectly) then you might feel what I’m feeling—a desire to know that silence, a desire to know that oneness; the “Mind of the universe” operating “like rays of light and warmth in their relationship with the sun”. We are existing in a state of separateness. The MAJORITY completely unable to relate to communicating with a monkey or a rabbit. And since nobody is also reading the Language of Silence to relate to what I’m finding so fascinating, this is almost a blog post for myself. Unless someone finding this relates to my clarity/confusion and also wishes to know that silence where the mind if the universe is open and audible. Handing over understanding on levels we dream of.

Well, I dream of.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to experience  "a language that is ever moving from out of the silence through the silence and into the silence".

I will admit… I don’t believe I’m alone, even if that’s what I feel.

Monday, February 12

My Who, Your Who. Who are you?

I admit I obsess about a few things, so you end up finding themes in my posts here. One of my biggest comes from my being detail oriented. Because of that… I’m hyper-aware of differences and comparisons on this thing I tend to obsess over. Which is ones ability or inability to determine WHO they are.

Which internal and external factors are within your control, and which of those play the biggest parts in determining Who You Are, and are not?? I’m not saying there’s a set answer, and it will actually be different for everyone based on what they focus on in life; where they put importance and attention, both for themselves and others. So, I’ve kind of already made my point, but you know I can’t stop there.

I’m going to tell you first how I even approached this subject to begin with. If you read my last post you heard some of what I grew up with. My father was emotionally, mentally, and physically abused by both of his parents. He became a violent narcissistic individual, and many more undiagnosed labels. (Some of which I think I’ve non-professionally diagnosed pretty accurately.) What this did (his messed up ways) was make me hyper-aware. From the earliest age I was on the edge; ready to jump if he said jump. Ready to fly if I saw something coming that required my speed. His crazy ways had me hyper-vigilant for what might happen and how I might need to react. I suppose a simple way to put it is I was tuned up all the way a child could be on the survival dial. This made me the enabler I excelled at later in life being married to an alcoholic. I was never Natalie. I was “Ready”. Ready for what? Nothing really-I didn’t actually have an action plan. I was just like a bird-dog waiting for the word “go” paying attention to every detail I might have to “go” for. My belief being I could somehow bring calmness, quiet, diffusion, not getting hit, or possibly prevent any situation from getting worse that arose, DESPITE my inability to see the obvious: I was a powerless child. My mind had no concept of this fact.

Getting back on track with this information, I was in a state of frozen bird-dog just watching every detail I could. THIS is how (saying this for my friends that comment on it) I notice so many things that others don’t, and why I’m so great at reading facial expressions and intonation. Clearly, I was trained. Just like a dog.

Again, back on topic, I’m obsessed with this thought that my genes are not the details that dictate MY “Who”. I want to insist I’m in charge of my Who, that my dad COULD HAVE decided HIS Who. The way he acted, the way he reacted, whether he made a fist or picked up a gun. Because at the end of the day, what your hands do in relation to others near you IS within your power of choice.

The WHO you show the world you are, is not in your genes. YOU make a million choices a day and many of those are decisions about your WHO. AND… I have to tell you with as much seriousness as I can in this moment –Who you are –affects Who others are!

Yes, clearly my grandmother and my grandfather both being shitty people gave their child some shitty genes, but the bigger issue is Who They Were TO HIM. They both had a reputation, and neighbors even had stories back when they were alive about how awful my grandma and grandpa were. Their Who affected his Who. But this is my whole point… be a piece of shit… be an awful human… or be someone awesome… It’s YOUR choice!!

The hyper-vigilance and “nothingness” I became because of my father is FAR greater than whatever genes he may have given me. And what I did, what I chose, and Who I became is MY choice. If you know me, if you meet me, you experience someone that no longer sits as a bird-dog. I don’t wait to be affected or to move. I decide my Who. And now, every choice I make from how I act, to what my reactions are, is done by the details of my Who and their Who. (happiness being the destination)

So if you find yourself wondering why people treat you a certain way (just as my father might) you should really take a long hard look in the mirror and see your Who. THAT is why people treat you the way they do. THAT is why your interactions with others seem to have a pattern. You are showing your Who on a daily basis, don’t be surprised if people get to know it, expect it, and stay away. Or… come close.

I get a lot of people show me they see my Who and they like my Who. I reckon I’m on a successful path to happiness, not as a bird-dog or an enabler, but instead someone accepting responsibility for her Who.

Sunday, February 4

Trauma Drama

(written a couple months ago because I couldn’t share it immediately)

Unfortunately I’ve had to analyze the word Trauma today. I feel like the reason is so fucking dumb on one hand, and yet the reality of my feeling a word as big as “trauma” has me writing.

First of all I have to acknowledge we all have issues. Nobody gets to have a perfect life with a perfect childhood, and nobody reaches adulthood unscathed. Fact. AND… and… one doesn’t even begin to reach adulthood until one is around the age of 40. So all of you 30 year olds… don’t be think’n you are grown up. You have so much more experience and perspective in this decade of life, before you are even close to being a “grown up”. And THEN… being a grown up seems to be largely about accepting how hard life is and how you “process”, “deal”, “fix”, “realize” things. Because you don’t really process, deal, fix, or realize things until you get old enough to look back and do so.

So… this word “trauma”. I’m personally using it in a situation that I am accepting in my 40’s that it was in fact traumatic for me. Anyone at any age in my life could have told me that this story/experience was traumatic, sure, however, it’s more that I have realized it myself that has me finally able to label and look at it.

Anything involved in a traumatic situation can be attached to trauma. So as much as I want to belittle MY particular thing, I know full well that any of my friends coming to me with a “traumatic” experience, even if it involved STRING or WATER or a PILLOW… it wouldn’t matter what their trigger was for a traumatic situation, I would listen. I would care, I would accept that their experience was real and a problem for them. And if they were telling me their story, I would do my best to offer perspective that MIGHT help. I would not belittle it for a friend, so I need to not belittle it for myself.

If I am perfectly honest, I’m so gawd-damn annoyed I’m even feeling this and having to accept something so “little” is a “big issue” for me. I seem to have two sensible sides of my brain at play here. One side is saying “get over it, it’s not a big deal”, and the other sensible side is saying, “It doesn’t matter how little it was, it was in fact a traumatic experience, and so you can’t just get over it, you need to deal with it, and in some way… heal if you want to move on”.

With both of these things in mind I say to myself: “How does one heal trauma?”

I think the best answer and one that most people would come to, would be to get counseling. The two times I had counseling in my life, they were about me crying over upset, and then someone telling me the sum up of: “what I’m hearing is…”. So I automatically in this instance have to wonder if blogging my upset about this “trauma”, is all I need in order to “get counseling”? Although nobody will necessarily read my words and offer advice, it seems to me that the larger aspect of counseling help is just in the telling of the story.

So here I sit, having cried far too much today over something that in my mind should not be this upsetting.

Before I tell the story, I have to say I’ve asked myself if it is hormones. I would kind of like that “out”. If this were just hormones, it would go away. Unfortunately, I can’t just wish that into reality. I have an issue. It’s a stupid issue. It’s one that is exclusive to me and my story, and frankly my trigger isn’t the way to fix it. I don’t actually know how to fix it. So… clearly, it’s not hormones.

I can tell I’m delaying. I’m not sure how this story will unfold, so I should just tell it.

I’ve said many times that after my father has passed, I will tell/voice some stories about him and how hard childhood was with him as my father. Not that he was so especially shitty as a father… no, that’s not really it… I do on some level feel that when one is overall not a top quality human BY CHOICE, one should not be surprised that there are “stories” to tell about them. Without a need to disrespect him or treat him poorly, I’ve said that these stories don’t need to be told while he is alive. And then today jumped into my face and my “trauma” over this particular story it has me writing.

When I was 10 I helped my dad build a chicken coop, and a pigeon coop. We lived on a third of an acre, and I was the daughter that fit the role of “son”. I was the one that helped with all the projects, all the building, installing, hunting, construction things. Mostly the “help” of a 10 year old is hand me this, hand me that. I don’t remember all the details of my helping build these coops… but I know I was the 2nd man in this 2 man construction outfit. I’ve recently learned firsthand that stress affects memory, and my childhood was full of stress, so I should not be surprised that I do not have solid memories of all things. Broken memories with vivid visuals is what I have. Sometimes it’s exact sentences I remember, sometimes it’s the full picture. I guess the clarity really depends on the level of stress I was feeling in the moment.

My father was a very unstable individual. He was violent and it seemed far too often without conscience. I don’t dare label his level of actual conscience, that is not the point, but when someone acts in a way that by all accounts looks like one having no conscience, then… ya… we can wonder if conscience is there.

When I say unstable, I really mean angry with the inability to stop himself from being violent. I was hit by him many times before we finally left when I was almost 12. Between the age of 10 and 11 is when the chicken and pigeon coops were built, and we had somewhere around 26-32 chickens… I used to know this number because I had to count them. The exact number escapes me now. One day when my dad came home from work, he took his anger out on the chickens, not us. You could argue this was a good thing… but what he did was kill all of our chickens with a baseball bat.  No, I didn’t have to see this happen, but I have a memory/visual of a garbage can full of dead chickens. I have no memory of the WHY. Who upset him? Was it a person, was it the chickens? God knows. All I know is that chickens… squirrels, dogs, cats, rats… no animal will EVER deserve to be killed by baseball bat.

This is one of the facts I mentally refer to when I say I am nothing like my father. It is entirely outside the realm of possibility for me to kill an animal, and in such a violent way.

At the time… I did not cry. I did not question, I did not react in any way because it was not for me to question anything my dad did. Even being hit by him… it was his way… how it had always been. He always hit us, he always broke things, he always shouted, he was ALWAYS violent, so this was “the norm”. I almost wish “the norm” was something that wasn’t awful throughout my life, but the reality is that violence is not ok. NO part of me could turn his violence into something acceptable. I never became violent, I only saw who he was and knew it was not alright. Nothing he did was acceptable to my construct… to my conscience… to my creation. HE was the foreigner, HIS actions were the ones that stood out as unacceptable to my nature. I remember going hunting with him and him reaching into a bush and pulling a rabbit out by the ears. He had chased the rabbit into the bush, and then holding the rabbit at arms length he shot it. Nothing in me said this was acceptable. Nothing in me ever has. I have no desire to kill an animal, never have.

The chickens were replaced, we ended up with the same number again, somewhere around 30, and I was 11. My dad got yet another job and he told us that if when he got home on his first day, if the house was perfectly clean, he wouldn’t get mad, even if his first day had been terrible. So with the bribe of no anger, he went to work and we proceeded to clean an already clean house. Mom was the bread winner with a job she’d had for many years, so she was not home while we cleaned our hearts out.

Every morning the chickens were let out of the coop, and every afternoon, along with the two ducks, we put them back in the coop. I remember I was cleaning the kitchen sink when I noticed the time and went out to put the chickens away. Two of them refused to be corralled, and despite trying a few times, I decided that I would just go back out in a little bit and put get them into the coop. This was a common occurrence that a couple chickens would not feel “finished” and need more time hanging out in the yard.

Well, as you may have just guessed, I forgot about those two chickens as I continued cleaning. Dad came home from work, and instead of coming in the house to ensure it was spotless, he went out to the chicken coop and clearly counted the chickens and TWO were missing. His appearance from work entering the house was something explosive about the two chickens. I ran out into the yard looking for them, couldn’t find them, and as my dad freaked out shouting about these chickens, I moved into the next door neighbor’s yard to search… just in case.

This is where my memory is clearest. My dad was fuming, and as he often did when he got this angry, his mouth frothed. He picked up some rocks and started throwing them at me. “Find those chickens. Go find those chickens or don’t bother coming home.” Part of me knew that the chickens were never far away, so I could see this as him over-reacting. And part of me started to wonder, where the heck would I go if I didn’t find them? For a brief second I considered telling the police I couldn’t go home because I couldn’t find the chickens, but my sensible nature won out, and instead I wandered further than I ever would have guessed the chickens could have traveled. I went through the block to he houses on the next street… knocked on doors, and asked people if they had seen two chickens. House after house I knocked, until I had covered all the houses they could have traveled to. I retraced my steps, and I headed back through the neighbors yard that I started in, and although I did not see my dad as I approached the spot where he threw rocks at me, I did see the chickens. They were in the lilac bush IN OUR yard, next to the fence where I stood. They obviously would have been there the whole time… Literally yards from where they always wandered, and just chill’n in the lilac bush. My dad had been less than 5 feet from them as he threw threats and rocks. I walked back around to our side of the fence, I got the chickens out of the bush, and they went directly into the coop without any issue.

I do not actually remember telling my dad they were in the lilac bush, but I did. What I remember instead is him getting so mad at me he threw a big metal cylinder object through my bedroom window. Then he went into my bedroom, picked it up again, and threw it back outside.

Just below my bedroom window was a doll bed with my dolls and stuffed animals. Strewn across it, my floor, and my bed were a million pieces of glass. His only words I remember were to all three of us (my older sister of 15, my younger sister of 5, and myself) that we had to pick up every piece of glass both inside my bedroom and outside on the ground. This we did until my mom got home from work, and we finished as my dad sat in the living room telling the whole awful story to my mom… as though something was actually terribly wrong. He told her that he should have thrown the stove through the wall, and he used these words: “Next time I’ll start on people”. Those were the words I remember, and those were the words my mom repeated when she told the story of why we left the following morning for good. NOT that his words made sense; even as to the why.

In complete fear and panic we packed up everything we could and put it in a storage garage while dad worked at his second day on this new job. It was far more likely he would quit and come home than it was likely that he would stay and finish a day’s work. So we hurried, and somewhere around 4:00pm we left him with a plate, fork, knife, and spoon on the kitchen table in addition to a $20 bill and an empty house. My mom clearly knew this job was not going to last either… but she finally had to put our safety ahead of everything.

What I hadn’t necessarily considered until this moment, was that she was probably telling herself… “all this… over chickens”. We tried to leave when I was 6 and we disappeared to Canada, but he found us and came and got us; promising everything would be different. We went home, and nothing changed until the day after he freaked out about the two chickens missing.

It was years later that I realized the irony that he could beat chickens to death with a baseball bat, but needed to freak out over two simply missing. I think it’s fair to say that it was with that realization I grew up a little. He was never upset about two chickens missing. He was upset about who knows what. It would take a special kind of hypocrite to kill 30 chickens and freak out about two being in a lilac bush.

I don’t need to convince myself I am nothing like him because I’m clearly not. That level of stupidity is impossible to relate to. I don’t understand him, I can’t relate to such severe anger, and frankly, I don’t find myself one bit attracted to causing “drama”. What his drama did… what it always did, was create trauma for his wife and children. Trauma and drama are not part of me. Which is also why I’m writing this. I do not want to hold onto this trauma… it’s like creating drama as an adult.

The reason this trauma appears so real for me today is because of it hitting home what “having chickens” means to me. The story of why that seemed real today is a moot point, but it came up and I kind of fell apart. It’s impossible to sum up in a sentence, or even two how trauma is real… it’s attached to anything, it’s caused by anything, and as desperate as I feel like I want to minimize it, I can’t.

Although this trauma almost feels like I’m just making drama, I’m not. Nobody is making drama when they have a shitty experience attached to something small and find themselves needing to work through it so they can finally set it down. For me, I need to write. I can allow my mind to trust the writing to be the safe keeper and not continue playing the story on repeat.

When talking to an enlightened friend about it, he said that everything from childhood is a bigger deal. That’s where trauma’s easily occur. When we agreed on how helpful it is to write about these things, he said “It’s like the writing closes the loop that the brain was continuing to keep open. By putting it on paper, there is no longer the need to replay the open loop over and over”.

Sunday, January 28

Statistical Uniqueness

If I could coin one phrase in my lifetime, it would be Statistical Uniqueness.

We are overwhelmed by political correctness, labels, being offended, victim mentality, and I would like to point out the obvious.

Who you are… all the things that make you YOU, come from your life experiences, your feelings, your choices of perspective, your genetics from your parents and grandparents, your life lessons, your pains, your successes, and every gawd-damn thing you could think to list. So… clearly, no two people on this planet could possibly be the same.


Not in any way. It is statistically totally and utterly impossible. Even twins have different life experiences because they are not one person… so even twins have Statistical Uniqueness. It’s like a universal law… ya, I just said that. There is no fucking way in the entire universe that anyone is going to be the same as someone else. There will only ever be similarities.

That being true, and there are few things in this world I’m willing to label with giant fucking letters of TRUTH, but this is the biggest… and I will… so that being true, I have to ask why anybody is arguing about political correctness, skin color, labels, or anything that comes close to words that relate to people having their feels hurt on a scale that is global or social or correctness or “wrong”.

How is this even a thing so dwelled upon in the world when Statistical Uniqueness is the reality. It’s like we are so fucking stupid we can’t see the obviousness staring at us… people don’t even LOOK the same, how could all their insides be the same? And we want to argue about differences? Huh? We are all different! Get over it. Stop looking like a dimwit, and see the obvious. Are you really going to get caught up in the word used for the color of your skin? White people aren’t white!!! My fucking pillow cases are white. Must we spend so much time concentrating on skin color? Can’t it be “skin” and that’s all… it changes when sunshine rays hit it… it’s not even constant. Are we children? Will we always be children? Will we argue for the sake of arguing because we aren’t smart enough to stop? Smart enough to accept Statistical Uniqueness.

It can also be blamed on the internet… everyone gets to have an opinion. Even me… sitting here typing up my opinion. We all have some level of narcissism that is internet based because we have the ability to put words out there that COULD POSSIBLY be seen by countless eyes. That possibility puts importance on the words one has. 40 years ago… only thousands or tens of thousands of people “heard you” if you were important enough to get heard. You had to be a president or a leader, or an influencer in the world. Now… a person saying “hide your kids, hide your wife”… has their words heard by tens and hundreds of thousands all over the globe.

Ok… assume your voice is important, assume you are potentially as important as a president. Fact is you have Statistical Uniqueness. Very few people might want to hear your words, very few might agree with you, and now, MILLIONS of people are able to do this same thing… HAVE A SAY. There is no longer importance in having your words heard. Let alone possibility you will say anything that should be globally agreed with. FACT.