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.