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.