Tuesday, November 12

Honesty is the way


I know I’ve already touched on honesty being vital to a healthy relationship with ANYONE. I talk about how honesty is more than not telling lies. It’s also being clear about things that are truths.

Since it’s more than not lying, lets get the definition the dictionary has for lying: 1.To make an untrue statement with intent to deceive. 2. To create a false or misleading impression. Yes, to do this is also to not be honest, but you can still not be honest while insisting you aren’t making untrue statements, not deceiving, or being misleading. Let’s say whether or not you can see or say you are lying, if you aren’t dealing with or speaking what lives as TRUTH, you aren’t being HONEST.

I ended up in an uncomfortable relationship recently (and for those that know me will see this is a pattern) where I called out the person for lying to me not in words and untrue statements, but for misleading and harmful actions. Their later “honesty” seemed forced by situation and their internal storytelling which must have on some level been a voice of reason somewhere inside -pointing out the lying. I’m left saying that it doesn’t matter whether you are lying, insist you aren’t lying, or can’t tell if you are lying, the storytelling is the mark of dishonesty.

When people are unaware of their cognitive distortions (the storytelling to themselves and others) the lack of honesty stops being so much about lying, (meaning with “intent”) and becomes more about an inability to be accurate and truthful with yourself and the world around you. This affects others in your world, because you are literally a walking “storybook of beliefs”…and people around you can see it, or eventually will encounter it and hear it –FROM YOU.

Cognitive distortions are thoughts that cause individuals to perceive reality inaccurately. That’s the definition by psychiatrist Aaron Temkin Beck. I would advise looking up cognitive distortions, and Dr Beck because this information is extremely useful to someone wanting to be more self-aware than the average person. There are 17 main distortions, but the reality is: anything inaccurate that you tell yourself so that you can function in your world -is a cognitive distortion. This absolutely means: you likely use these as your coping mechanisms. And that is not a criticism. It is a statement about Humans. Humans do some pretty awful things to other humans, and in our deep need to feel ok, to be happy, to be comfortable, to be functioning…we have to tell ourselves some kind of story. Either about what happened TO us, or about what we DID to someone else. Most of us do this in some form or another in order to make it through every day.

So, talking about Honesty…I have recently had to be very honest with myself about what I am feeling mid-life as compared to what I felt in my childhood. I’ve had to get very honest with myself and admit that I do not know what it feels like to FEEL SAFE. One of my cognitive distortions is around being “fine” and being “strong” and being capable. While literally refusing to admit that a core wound of mine is a lack of security and safety. My distortion has centered on what I insist I am vs. what I am unwilling to look at about my childhood and what I felt. It was likely in my infancy that I picked up on things being unsafe, because I came into this world and into a home, where the mother trying to keep ME safe, was being shouted at and hit on a regular basis. I don’t think I could possibly guess how early in life I sensed danger, and therefore a lack of safety. Some of my earliest memories are ones that have my father hitting, shouting and throwing things at me.

Another one of the main reasons I’m looking at honesty and cognitive distortions is because of a book someone very kind shared with me: The Mindbody Prescription by John E. Sarno. This book has raised many questions and concerns for me about getting myself healthy, and the further I delve, the more I realize this book is as accurate as they come. No, his thinking is not mainstream, but mainstream thinks we haven’t cured cancer, so I avoid mainstream everywhere I can.

What I’ve already learned at the beginning of this book, is that when we find core wounds and address them, pain lessens or goes away. And this is standard for people who are willing to open their minds to the way he says the body works. Those who don’t understand, believe, or attempt what he says -are the people who remain in physical pain. One of the reasons I believe that is, is because the most negative people who aren’t open to all solutions, would rather stick with their cognitive distortions because they are telling themselves THOSE are the truth. This isn’t conscious, they don’t know they are lying to themselves, or not being honest with themselves, they think they are smart. While not seeing the obvious, that a Dr who spent his career trying to help people in pain, found patterns, addressed those patterns, and started “healing” people by informing them about how their body works, and then asking them to be willing to open their minds to what their TRUE FEELINGS ARE. Ya, it’s almost too easy to work, but like so many things I write about, the solution is usually clarity and communication, and sometimes you have to do that with your own mind and body.

So lets return to how I’m accepting that I have cognitive distortions that I too thought were “truths”.

(If you are willing to indulge me in the only real examples I have, since I don’t live anyone else’s life, keep reading. This gets very personal.)

If you have read or heard very many things I’ve written, you know that I’m not normally afraid to look at my “shit”. I want to gain perspective, get clarity, improve my mental health, and be the best human I can figure out how to be…so to say I do “self-work” is very true.

I have found the mark of things I need to work on is usually tears. If when talking about something that I feel, and I suddenly want to cry, I know that I still have some healing to do, because the things I’ve worked hard on healing, don’t cause that sensation. Sometimes something just strikes me as sad, and so I feel tears of sadness appear. But those feel different than tears that tear at the back of my throat and take away my voice. Those tears are tethered to the pain, and so the exiting of those tears is not a comfortable sensation, those tears involve my body and spirit.

Have you ever watched a video of someone doing something sweet or nice? And you didn’t even notice until it was over that it made you cry. That you just sat there watching, possibly smiling, and when it was done…your face was wet. Those are the tears I’m NOT talking about. Those are tears of empathy, and they are tears that come from your understanding of what others can feel. They fall with ease.

The tears that are “tethered to the pain” as I put it -can’t go unnoticed. For me, sometimes they feel attached to my throat as though it is being constricted to squeeze out the tears. Which is also why I want to resist those tears, they freaking hurt!

I’m going to be very vulnerable and share my realization of a cognitive distortion I have, that has come about since the end of the aforementioned relationship ending, and the accepting I have always felt a lack of safety. My cognitive distortion has been something I was not being honest with myself about because of a number of things I was using as “proof” in the story I was telling myself. The measure of time I’ve been telling it -is one factor, the comparison of others to myself -a second factor, my disdain for the word as it relates to my personal perspective -yet another factor, and lastly my knowledge of the word as I see others experience it.

I sound very cryptic, but really, it’s still so hard to say because I don’t want to say it. I am still resisting it and it is still tethered to the pain, and therefore tethered to the tears. (When I record this, I will do as many takes as I have to in order to share without crying) I imagine one listening to me is expecting me to reveal a mountain, when the opposite is actually true. And the fact the word is so used every day, means I want to resist it even more because every time I hear it, I tell myself that that is not me. When the reality is, it has been me since I was a child. Since I don’t know when, just as I don’t know when the lack of safety started. The two are likely linked. And when I’m especially honest and willing to look at my history, I can see it’s obvious, and I literally had to LIE to myself and create the cognitive distortion and insist I had “proof” I was not part of this word, and it was not part of me.

The same friend that SHOWED ME I was an enabler is the friend that every few years helps me see something in myself that I resist seeing. She is “in all intents, purposes, and forces” -my sister (except in blood). She knows me like only a sister can. She sees me like only a sister does. And in her most understanding and respectful way, she said to me the other week: “Natalie, I think you have high functioning depression”.

Had anyone else in the world said it, I would have given them all my reasons why I DO NOT. But because it was her, I know better than to pull out my shield and fend it off. I stopped frozen and gave it a minute to be considered.

My mind went to my teens when I used to wish I did not exist. I didn’t want to kill myself, I did not want my family to lose me, I didn’t have any desire to hurt them by disappearing, but I was consumed with the thought “I wish I didn’t exist”. That consumption in conjunction with the love of my mother -put me in counseling. Which is a very poor word for how pathetic it all was. I had to answer hundreds of questions, coloring in the bubbles like a school test to be scanned by a computer and generate a score. Then a woman so big she had to have had more than one chair under her, “told me who I was”, as I sat there crying and feeling like this was the most useless experience I could be put through. And then she put me on prozac. My violent narcissistic father was put on prozac after we ran away 5 years earlier and reports of it helping HIM were in my head. For two weeks I took it and the only change was that my stomach hurt so much that I couldn’t eat and I lost 10 lbs I couldn’t afford to lose.

That’s not “help”, so I stopped taking it. I gave it a chance, but I also felt relieved that that huge woman was wrong, and since it didn’t help me, I was even LESS like my father. Even as a teenager I was collecting proof for my case of how UNlike him I am. As an adult, I have long since won that case, happy to admit my physical structure is very much like him. I didn’t get the body type of my mothers side. Everything internal is from her. Who I am is way more like my mother and her father, and that too was a healthy realization I had late in life.

So, as I break apart my cognitive distortions and get honest with myself, I experience what Dr John E. Sarno worked on into his 90’s teaching his patients…that what you FEEL (emotions) will affect what you FEEL (body pain). Let me shorten that: That what you feel will affect what you feel. This is the furthest thing from rocket science. It’s clear as clear. The proof is in the pain.

I’m not sure if Honesty, Cognitive Distortions, Trauma, and Pain are all linked for everyone since I do not have a childhood without trauma to use as reference. But what I do know is that Honesty is more important than any of us realize. It’s akin to gold. You know about it, it’s valuable, you might have some of it, but if you really want a lot of it, you have to dig, you have to do some work, you have to filter and forge, keep working hard, and definitely keep your eyes open.

Honesty is not a mountain to climb and call good once you do it. Honesty is a paved path you take and either stick to or veer off of. Your whole life can be walked on the path, but some of us just can’t see the paved path is smoother. We all have choice. I hope I keep choosing Honesty. I am not a fan of pain.

Thursday, October 31

Who are you trying to impress?


Who are you trying to impress?

I need to write a bullet point bio that isn’t a bio. It’s a list of accomplishments. What did my years get me…what did my study conclude…what was my thesis, and what did I prove?

How do I quantify, qualify, explain, and impress the immeasurable effort, days, years, experiments, successes and failures -that this life I’ve led has stamped upon me? I didn’t choose a classroom, I chose a planet. I didn’t take tests that got graded, I failed or I passed. I observed, concluded, observed, fell, observed, succeeded, observed and shared. Becoming this person with a million opinions, and a thousand suggestions. I am a complicated construct of a girl that has so much to say on psychology, etiquette, couth, transformation, correlation, intonation, relation, narcissism, autism, conditioning, trauma, desire, and dynamics.

No, I’m not a simple creature. At times, I’m too much for myself, but if asked to bullet point bio this complicated girl, I fail for a few reasons.

The first is that I do not have a need to impress. If impressing others were a goal I would have given even 10 minutes thought into turning my fascinations and interests into something akin to a qualification that brought me a fancy “career” and letters to attach to my name.

To even say “I fail” makes it sound like I’ve tried. No, I fail to care that my life long obsession with observation, transformation, and understanding doesn’t “look like something” to someone else. Who am I trying to impress? Nobody. And why?

Because that is not related to who I am, what I do, why I want clarity, and every other reason I have become this person with no need for someone else to be interested in what I say.

It’s my approval of myself I have spent years seeking. Having wrapped my head around that is how I reached the realization everything else can just rest AS IS from there. I got what I needed. I have what I searched for.

I fail also to care if anyone just listens. Because what I actually care about is listening with aim for betterment. If someone wants to better themselves, and work on the things I work on, THEN I care if they listen, because maybe that is someone who gets what I’m talking about. Maybe that is someone who notices the details like me. Maybe that is someone who doesn’t like “status quo” either.

I know the unlikelihood of what I write benefiting the masses. I am not for the masses. Twitter, tinder, facebook, and snapchat are for them. That’s where the masses be. Anyone interested in wholeness and healing the insides of this human condition are the ones that might find my perspective useful.

Impressed, impressive, it’s all in the eye of the beholder…where the beholder has been is what really dictates what they hear, what they think, what they understand. A beholder reading bullet points will see I am nothing.

If we have multiple lives, this one wasn’t to be the one that I concentrate on others opinions. This one is for my growth, understanding, and benefit. I will not exclude others on a path similar to me, and what I also won’t do, is insist anyone follow, or be impressed.

Stubborn or Strong?


Before you tell yourself you are standing your ground, not moving, “sticking to it”, or being “steadfast” in your decision…you should really ask yourself if you are being Strong, or just Stubborn.

Strength knows when to apologize, it knows when to change, it knows when to make a new decision, and it understands being flexible. Strength is telling the truth. It’s being honest with yourself, it’s communicating to reach understanding, and it’s NOT one sided.

Stubbornness is insisting your side is right. Whether it’s attitude or position, story tale, or truth. To be stubborn is to decide you are going to be difficult, not move, be determined, and dogged in your attitude. Stubbornness is not deciding you are going to stand in a place of strength and educated in doing so.

Stubbornness comes when feelings get hurt. It appears when one part of your mind is sad, mad, upset, or crushed. While another part of your brain says: “Never again.” And the stubbornness switch gets flipped. Honestly, being stubborn is the easy decision. The first decision. It’s the decision to not be humble in your hurt, or to feel empathy for where the other person might be coming from or what they could be feeling. Strength knows humility and empathy. Strength is WILLING to stand and see all sides. Strength is also ok with the result being a lack of understanding, because humility and empathy fill that hole.

Stubbornness insists that something has been removed. That there is less than, and insecurity. Strength says, everything is fine as is…I’m wiser, I know more, I will use this information to help me be even STRONGER, more humble, more empathetic, and better than I was.

I know I can be stubborn, that’s how I know what it says to my psyche. I know I can be strong, that’s how I know what benefits it gives me.

Today I think of past friendships, and current beautiful ones. The clarity on Stubbornness for one or both parties in those “past friendships” is more obvious now. Reasons can't always known when the stubbornness wasn’t mine, but the understanding through strength is there when I’m willing to transform my stubbornness.

We tend to see our feelings getting hurt similar to the way we see our physical body being hurt, even without realization of this. If you are in a car accident, and the reason for the accident is clear, (who did what for the cause) that is information you use for the rest of your life when you are driving. It makes sense to hang onto it. But when our feelings are hurt, the lack of knowledge (who did what for the cause) is most often totally unknown, add to that: bad days, life struggles, general stress, and even hormones, and the understanding of why the feelings got hurt are almost impossible, especially if stubbornness appears before communication does.

So without a personal story this time, and just a lot of realization. I am writing this for myself, and anyone else interested, to remember -that the next time you make a decision and it looks at all like being stubborn, ask yourself if you are wishing to be strong instead. Stubbornness is weak, flawed, and uneducated. Do you want to stand with your hands full of that? Or do you want to decide you will be strong, and do the harder thing which probably requires you communicate. Sometimes the end result can look the same, such as: I need to avoid that person because they are unhealthy for me. Strength sometimes decides that. But if stubbornness decides it, you are probably the one missing out, choosing weakness, not communication, and your pride in deciding that -keeps you oblivious to all kinds of benefit Strength carries.

Be aware -just that. Pay attention, be clear, don’t be so afraid of feelings. You’re built around them, why not understand them, and not just feel them.

Thursday, August 29

No Really, Worry About Yourself


The concept of “worry about yourself” was totally new to me until about 5 years ago. So, here I’m admitting that one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life; I learned after 40. Since I wrote about it 5 years ago, I have so much more to say on the subject than I did when I was just wrapping my head around it.

When it was said to me, it was because I was making issue about how I perceived myself as being treated by someone else. That person’s reply to me was “Worry about yourself” and I was like “What does that even mean?” I hadn’t heard anyone say that before, and since I had a pretty solid framework for the word WORRY, I totally didn’t get it.


For a couple weeks, I repeated it over and over in my head, because of my confusion and the discomfort of the situation where I thought I was being treated bad. As I dwelled on it -it sunk in.

Since then, I have used this expression and shared its benefit many times in conversation…because you see, although it sounds self-centered, it’s actually a self-actualized concept.

Let’s imagine for a minute that you have multiple things going on… This pile of “things” is making life harder! You are feeling overwhelmed, and know you need to come up with some solutions to “fix” some of these things, and try to get your life back to feeling like you have order and ease on at least some levels. Your problems, are big and small, and you see you need solutions.

The ability to be in a space of feeling like this, AND TO UNDERSTAND FULLY that every other person COULD ALSO be in a space like this, struggling with their own issues…AND it having NOTHING to do with YOU and your “things”, is how you are not being self centered.

A self-centered person would see their own issues and “things” as being overwhelming, all encompassing, and ALSO MATTERING to others, not even considering that others have a life and issues too. Worse than even being self centered, a narcissist would believe that their issues are the only issues, and their life is part of your life.

So to see yourself and others separately, to have empathy that they could feel overwhelmed or upset, or feel ANY emotion, and it having nothing to do with you -is a healthy place to be. Not that having an overwhelming pile of “things” feels healthy, but your ability to stand back and actually SEE Yourself, to SEE others, and to HAVE empathy for them, because you know what you feel like, so you can “get” what they feel like; THIS is a self-actualized trait.

So…back to topic.

To “worry about yourself” is NOT to say “be selfish”. It is to say Be SMART, let’s be sensible: everybody hurts, everybody struggles, what someone is doing, saying, acting, feeling doesn’t necessarily HAVE ANYTHING to do with you. Don’t insert yourself into what is going on with them. Worry about yourself.
And this is a good place to point out, that if you CHOOSE to be offended by someone having a bad day because of THEIR LIFE, you are choosing to swim in mud and make your day harder. Being offended the majority of the time is you being unable to see how they are acting is about what they are experiencing, -how they are feeling, -what they are going through. To MAKE IT about you is for you to ignore they might have a pile of “things”, and so what they say or how they say it could sound harsh and about you. No! It’s about them. LET THEM act however they are going to act. Their mood is theirs, let them show it to as many people as they want. Let them do their upset, overwhelmed thing and NOT turn it into being about you.

My friend gave me a unique example the other day…not knowing it was perfect for this concept.

She has an 18 year old daughter. This daughter has developed a habit of being embarrassed by everything happening around her. My friend says “I said this, and she was embarrassed. I did this, and she was embarrassed. I do my hair like this, and she thinks it’s embarrassing.” So with all of the examples my friend had, they were all her daughter criticizing her in some form, about everything she does.

So, I pointed out two things.
The first was this daughter is very insecure.
To the point that she is even allowing everything happening around her (like what her mother is doing, saying, and looking like) to be something that makes her feel MORE insecure. My friend knows this about her daughter, but because they are close, all of the things that this daughter says; hurts. For her daughter to tell her: “Your hair looks like David Bowie” she struggles to not turn that into “Your hair looks terrible, I’m embarrassed to be seen with you”. And what is the daughter doing here? She is being so self centered, that she is making what other people look like around her, -part of her, so not liking what her mom’s hair looks like as a way for her to be yet MORE uncomfortable. It’s a very unconscious thing…obviously.

The second thing I pointed out is what my friend hasn’t done.
She hasn’t ever said to the 18 year old, she needs to worry about herself and say to her: “I will do my hair how I want to do my hair, you will do yours how you want it, and neither of us EVEN NEED to have an opinion about what the others hair looks like, because we can BOTH worry about ourselves”.

The 18 year old also needs to hear:

“You don’t need to be embarrassed by what I say, because I’m the one saying it and I’M responsible for what comes out of MY mouth. YOU be responsible for what you say, and if you do something embarrassing, and you want to feel embarrassed, go ahead. But don’t decide YOU need to be embarrassed FOR ME when I’m NOT embarrassed. Worry about yourself. Let me do me. Your criticism of me -is about you; stop it. What you are accomplishing with your critical words is making yourself look like an ass. Stop being an ass and forcing your opinions onto me and my comfort. Because YOUR discomfort is YOUR choice. You don’t have to choose to be embarrassed. Become self-aware, accepting your feelings are almost always a choice. Make new choices, and worry about yourself.”

Can you see how much you simplify life by ALLOWING others to be, feel, do, whatever they want? You are not responsible for them. Let it go, don’t make it about you, HEAR what they say as them telling you about who they are and what they are going through. And if you can…turn their “harsh or mean” words into them saying: “I feel really shitty”, and ask them if they need a hug. We don’t NEED to take their life, their past, their discomfort, their lack of happiness, and turn it into anything that belongs to us. You do you. I’ll worry about myself.

Wednesday, July 31

Childhood and Monsters

In recently reading through a book I wrote, I’m realizing there are things that have come up in the 4 years since I finished it, and I should add them now. I am seeing I missed a very important point in the scheme of becoming a top quality human and liking who you are…and that important point boils down to childhood pain. I’ve been writing for much longer than I have been writing and INCLUDING aspects of my childhood pain. I’m finally accepting, this isn’t something that can just be ignored. In my dealing with it, I'm writing about it.

In fact, I’m looking at it clearer than ever, after attending a women’s retreat and hearing the stories of so many sweet women who all have a heart of gold despite their trauma. Listening to the things people endure as children has me thinking two things in large amounts.
* My childhood trauma could be seen as mild.
AND
*Most people my age have trauma and abuse in their childhood.

It’s actually disheartening to realize this as you start allowing conversations about trauma to be part of everyday communication. No, I’m not going around saying “Were you abused? Hey, me too!” But in dealing with neck problems from being hit so much as a child, and it now being a daily issue for me as an adult, I end up hearing through shared pain that few people “escaped” abuse in their childhood.

And let’s define that really quickly… You wouldn’t think it would need definition, but there is a perspective on social media that is not the perspective I’m taking. Apparently people hearing things they don’t like makes them feel “unsafe” and even offended. Actually…THAT’S offensive to the people who know what UNSAFE is. If a person wasn’t abused and doesn’t have trauma they are trying to heal, they just like saying they feel unsafe. It feeds the obtuse measure of me too for those who aren’t able to relate, but wish they could “join in”.

Actual abuse is ANYTHING done to a child that causes physical, emotional, or mental harm. Disciplining a child and sending them to their room because of something they did and shouldn’t have, is not abuse. I almost just want to say, lets all pull our heads out of our asses and sensibly understand the word harm also. This world we live in now, is one where people seem to have their own definitions for words, and I don’t have patience for it…and anyone wanting to twist the word harm into something its not -is not the person I’m writing to…it’s the person I’m writing ABOUT.

So when is a child no longer a child? When is it ok to say, “You’re old enough, I can treat you like this because you are an adult”?
Never! You see, we are never supposed to harm anyone, and we are ESPECIALLY never supposed to harm children. MY WORLD is one where this is still not common knowledge.

Now, to return to my original topic.
Monsters.
Anyone willing to harm a child is not just a shitty human, they are a monster. Let’s be clear about that. AND there are monsters in most of our lives. And No, everyone isn’t a monster. Some have more monsters in their lives than others, so it can feel like that. Some people had BOTH parents that were monsters, not just one, and it’s knowing actual people who had to live with two Monsters that got me started writing this post.

I experienced being raised by a Monster AND an Angel. Not having two monsters is how I think I managed to see my monster so clearly. I’ve called him a two headed alien a few times in my writings because I couldn’t relate to him or understand where he was coming from. His continual attacks on us sitting with the Angel next to us is what made it so clear. He constantly put himself on the outside of “us”. He took the “outsider/foreigner/alien” role and more often than not put us on the couch to shout at us as the team of Angels we were.

I’d say this makes me lucky, if I had to have a monster, for the monster to clearly be a monster, is beneficial for me. I wasn’t also experiencing passive aggressive behavior, or gaslighting, or any mind games. It was all pretty cut and dried for me. Which might also be key to my unraveling the emotional damage he did. It’s not complicated damage. The physical damage is another thing, but maybe it's related.

Something I’ve also realized that has helped me see things clearer, (I ascribe to one day be saying clearly) is that pain is a distraction from sensibility. And it can be overwhelming. This being the case, when we stay in pain, where we were when we experienced pain, we do not have access to sensibility the way we would if we could step away from the pain. I have found this applies emotionally and physically. Sometimes a pill that could help my neck goes ignored because the pain is so loud and commanding my attention. The times I am not in pain, I’m able to remember the things that help me when I’m uncomfortable. Go ahead and think of an example of pain you have had recently; physical or emotional…and then think of how sensible you were in those moments? If you are no longer in quite such a painful place, can you think right now of things that help you when you are like that?

I have some supplements I’m going to go grab right now in the interest of trying to remain sensible despite the discomfort in my neck and head currently with pain at the back, pain at the front, and vertigo.

It’s a debatable topic whether or not emotional pain is far greater than physical pain. I’m one of those on the side of saying I’d take physical pain over emotional pain any day of the week. Which also reminds me of the book The Mind/Body Prescription by John E. Sarno. I haven’t finished reading it, but he talks about the body having to be involved because the mind is overwhelmed and allocating its pain. CREATING physical pain from emotional pain. I’m totally open to that, and trying to lean more currently. It’s a rabbit hole that could change everything if we started dealing with emotional issues and found we could be healing physical ones. As I say, I’m working on this, and since this book appeared, I have even more reasons to heal the emotional stuff. I'm trying to understand the belief I have that "blame" does not serve me, so why do I turn to it? Should I be allowing blame instead of fighting it? I just can't see that blame heals, so I try to move past it.
UGH.

I wish I could get rid of all the monsters, or I wish they didn’t exist. My mother didn’t have abusive parents, and I have always enjoyed listening to her talk about her childhood and how much happiness she had. Her world didn’t include monsters until she married one. Maybe that’s how it happened, there was no recognition.

Tuesday, April 23

KNOW vs. FEEL

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

Now…

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

It’s association.

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


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

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

Communicate it away.

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

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

So, I communicated.

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

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


Sunday, April 21

Misappropriated Forgiveness


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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, NO.

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

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

Beep. Restart.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Tuesday, March 26

BY FORCE

Dearheart,

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

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

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

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


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

By Force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To Be Held

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, March 1

HONEST WITH YOURSELF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 16

SEEN


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 5

IT'S ME


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 23

HEY, "FRIEND"...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 5

BUTTERFLIES


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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