Bravery In The Wee Hours

Ready. I prepared to hit the spider my cats had cornered in the bathroom, and I held a napkin for the clean-up—me, the tired human living with two felines who chase bugs.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears

Even in the middle of the night, my male cat leaps over objects to obtain prey. Like the predators they are, my two lovely beasts will stop at nothing, not even toppling lamps, to reach a moth or “water bug.” I put the last in quotes since exterminators have informed me those large critters are American Roaches.

Oh My!

It was before my coffee, and I expected to see one of the brown American visitors being the latest prey. Until I saw it wasn’t. I’d been rather blasé regarding the event because of my assumption. Seeing changed my attitude. Every inner alarm came on and I was awake. I started grabbing needed supplies and shouting commands like a drill sergeant, “I need paper towels.” I also snatched a shoe I’d slipped off after work last night.

I was ready.

I flew into the bathroom, still freaking out about seeing the massive spider in front of the two cats, and then I looked closer. Dammit! It was a black plastic Halloween spider. My cats had spoofed me.

Cats! They do the darnedest things.

Cats make me smile

Shame on you

Invisible rules, unspoken. You know them. And if you don’t, you may be pulled to the side by the wise leader of the tribe because they’ll correct you. Chuckle. We have too many who think they’re hip.

Why is she tanning in winter? Is she trying to get a man at her age still? Her hair is getting so long. So out of date. I have heard this one from my mom and people at work. It goes with she’s too old to have long hair—over 40—darn rules.

The over 40 men with the flash of a car and smile—well, we know he’s on the prowl. Watch out, girls. Tsk tsk. If he was 38, he could get by with it, I’m sure.

Is it advice or shame? Be careful of the council you take.

DEFINE

According to Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” It’s an emotion that affects all of us and profoundly shapes the way we interact in the world.Feb 17, 2016

How to Listen to Pain – Greater Good Science Center

Some cultures, religious or pagan, use a system of shunning. They will never look at you, talk to you, or in any way acknowledge your existence. I’ve had people attempt to dismiss me, cold shoulder me, which is an attempt to gain control. In my opinion, it’s abuse.

Shunning often involves implicit or explicit shame for a member who commits acts seen as wrong by the group or its leadership.

Shunning

These forbidden activities, taboo behaviors are from a period when we needed shame-based boundaries. We needed the community to survive. Love, with its short-lived blush, planted you into a family and gave you a home. Over the years, you and your family became one. We still want to belong.

When slapped with shame, I feel angry. There’s a tinge of rejection. I want to fight and cry out, Unfair. I hurt, and like any creature, I long for safety. We must find our center. Do you have someone or something to cling to, even if it is a poem?

My one thing was the sunrise. Could you read about it here? Touchstones and Totems

Emotional healing

My forest has dark shadows.

My parents make bizarre statements, “But I thought your headaches would be gone by now.” And I feel as if I have failed. So I start to explain the process of migraines and how treatments work. And the difference between the cervical spine issue. I’ve been stuck in a perpetual defense for long enough.

Exhaustion.

Next time I talk to them, I want to hear the words and not react. I don’t want to answer or explain. It’s about paying attention to my emotions. My parent’s words are not important. I have to separate the two. This is how I heal.

Turn on a light.

By naming the emotion I can plot its place on my map. Label the bastard. Nail it. When it becomes recognizable then I can see it clearly. Read The Jungle of My Emotions to understand more.

More to read –

Sunny Side

I’ve been a blonde since as far back as I can remember. That’s how I think of myself, a blonde. I don’t say I have light hair, or I’m the one who streaks bleach through my short strands then masks on some vanilla toner. Nope. It’s a self-portrait thing. This is me, The Blonde. As a teenager, my method was a cocktail of lemon and peroxide. Then, with a bit of music, hot sunshine, and my stinky stuff on my hair, I had my own spa and salon.

The ridiculousness of color and identity isn’t lost on me. So I’ve been pushing those boundaries, trying to gently explore new possibilities. But there are limits. As a child, I wished to be as dark-eyed and brown-haired as my cousins were. My mom’s youngest brother has almost black eyes, and in my memories from my childhood, his hair was dark and wavy brown.

Across the Border

A girlfriend and I decided to walk across the border from Brownsville, Texas, into Mexico. We were on vacation one summer around 2005 and had driven 18 hours to get away, to be free. This was our wild moment. So we walked our very American-looking selves into the crowd and the cars already filtering toward Mexico. Neither of us had been here before. My friend, “C,” had recently lightened her hair a lot. Ordinarily, she’s a brunette. She was 5 foot and prayer tall, with a good dose of the short person’s complex, or as she called it, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Personally, I think C just had a rough life.

Cigarettes were cheap on the other side. And it was C’s smoking habit that encouraged us to make this trip into Mexico. I was excited to do a new thing. We stepped onto brick streets and entered a narrowing old-world city. The roads were willy-nilly, and we came with no map. C became agitated, which surprised me. For all of the time I had known her, I had thought of her as bold and brash. Finally, I said we should walk on, just remember the way we came in.

Hey Blondie

While we walked through markets that were selling blankets, bags, dolls, and rugs, the male stall owners hollered in English, “Hey Blondie, Over here. You come. Buy.” over and over again. “Hey, Blondies.” Now, my friend was ready to go. And I understood. I’m sure she had been catcalled and whistled at before, but she was feeling like prey. It made me reconsider how I have been treated. The men didn’t upset me. This concerns me.

As a child, I was blondie, even to strangers. I didn’t choose my identity or my name. The culture I was born into chose my religion, politics, dress style, and education. Somewhere in all of that, I made choices. Our identities guide us. Yet, we are blind to the choices we make because of their influences.

For another version of this story read my earlier post from 2016 Profiling Me.

Softness

We want to come back to the group, remember the warmth and laughter, but some of us never belonged. We didn’t know the feeling of loving arms nor the joy of being welcomed. The lack of love bleeds into our present life, making it difficult to find peace, to accept everyone around us.

We see our life as a struggle. It’s all we know. Hardship is proof that we matter. But we tire of the game.

A Little Old & A Little New

It has taken me years to learn, to heal. I have gone to therapy and read books. Each has been a step for recovery. You don’t see why you need help except that your life isn’t working. There is pain. Then, amazingly your vision clears as you learn.

I believe in learning. If you can be brave, you can heal. Only you can decide your best practices.

Find The Story

Do you read? Maybe you listen to audiobooks? That’s my current speed. I also like podcasts, and I watch movies based on books and short stories.

I haven’t decided yet if short stories are trending or if it’s my imagination. Recently short has been more doable for me. Making a long-term commitment to a movie or a book makes me edgy. Although if I start watching something I like, sometimes I don’t want to quit.

#Trauma in the #emotional house

Society feels fractured, and it’s easy to point out the flaws. This is a painful time. People go to work and do the daily grind, showing up in offices, construction sites, hospitals, and grocery stores. They are hard-working, rushed, busy, and tired. Still, they find a way to keep going. Life, with no break, has no meaning. It can become pointless. It’s ADHD with an extra burst of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Throw in Narcissistic and Abusive, and then we will have a full house. We have trauma. We need to learn a new way of living.

We can learn how to live a decent life. It’s a skill. Keep in touch with health. Getting back into nature and remembering to be kind are the most important ones for me. What are yours?

These are a few things which help me

  1. Go outside or open a window.
  2. Make a furry friend.
  3. Read a story, short or long, real or true. Read for pleasure.
  4. Help someone else, furry or human. Be kind.
  5. Don’t forget yourself. Buy some candy or flowers—for yourself. Like ruts in the road, your care for yourself sets the standard for others’ treatment of you.

I enjoy a podcast called The One You Feed. I’ve included it below. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read it.

In this episode, Eric and George discuss his book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. 

In his introduction, Saunders writes, "We're going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art--namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here?
What were we put here to accomplish?

What should we value?

What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?"

By Nakeia Homer

Tacos, Love, and Parenting Yourself

My parents didn’t realize the importance of teaching me, a daughter, to care for myself. They taught me to be kind, thoughtful, and take care of others. My parents and I came from separate sources. It seemed to me as if we were as different as salt water and fresh water.

As society changed for my parent’s generation, they were still swimming in their saltwater tank. From the viewpoint of my culture, saltwater can kill you. Structure. Rules. Binding contracts.

I’ve learned to celebrate discovering my needs, all of them–for comfort, happiness, and safety. It started when I was feeling abandoned. I needed to GIVE and GATHER for myself–not wait and allow resentment to build when another doesn’t come through for me. Being polite wasn’t helpful anymore.

Caring for yourself

Once I was hanging out with a guy at his friend’s house, (boring) which was to be a short visit. After an hour, I NEEDED to eat. I took some initiative and told him I’d be back in a few minutes. I was going to grab a bite to eat (tacos.) It upset him, surprising him a little, but my needs were dire. Blood sugar issues are more important than a man’s ego. Quite honestly, I realize now that I was having a panic attack. But this taco moment is when I realized I had power.

Keep your power. Reclaim any scraps you find along the way–any.

Song Lyrics

Every breath I take has been taken before 
Every note’s been sung…… 
Who can I sing them all again for? Baba, Baba Baba…. 
Please don’t give up - please don’t lose that sound 
So many people fought to gain that ground 
Please don’t give up – please don’t hide your voice 
So many people did not have that choice. - Bellow/Unzip The Horizon, lyrics from a song released on April 7, 2018, Moira Smiley 

Hell Is Love – With a Side of Abuse

When I am with you, I seem useless.
With all of my caring
Straining to be my best,
yet, you criticized, scrutinized, and rejected.

I wonder about your parents.
Were you abused? Was your life this hell?
I’ve bowed and pampered you
as I did my own mother.

I fell for her schemes.
But now, I must learn a new way.
Amusing you is impossible.
Impossible, impossible, utterly impossible.

It’s the dog with Mother Hubbard,
Always looking into a cupboard.
I will not give myself to exhaustion,
I’ll not lead a bone-weary trek to the grave.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Melancholy

I’m battling through overgrown weeds of depression and the bramble of my mind, getting my thoughts in order. Following the confused tangle causes me to lose my balance. And direction.

I indulge in my despair and failure.

I’m comfortable sitting on the forest floor, and I cry. Scream. I can’t stay here forever. So, I get up and go …again..

Janet West
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The holidays are a difficult time for me. Our culture has high expectations, and there’s no way for most of us to live up to those. We are disappointed. Somehow I must change my way of living. I need a new view of life, so I will not cry half of the day for two months.

My challenge is yours. Start your own traditions by creating a holiday or non-holiday for you and your family. Live on your terms. Release yourself from other’s chains. And may each year be better than the last

Happy days ahead!

Their World, Not Mine

I have felt the need to pull attention. Grab, grasp, latch onto it—the amorphous thing we all desire—as if awareness was a scarce commodity. At times, when you’re parenting children, there can be moments when there’s a shortage, but I think it’s more like our current situation with toilet paper. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

I’ve often been jealous of the selfish people who could capture everyone’s eye, whether it be beauty or victimhood. As if by gravity—there are plenty of people orbiting around them. I fume. I want to poke their eyes out. Yes, I have issues.

Entitlement

When the Coronavirus started, there were concerns for our elderly parents, actual problems. Whose family was the most vulnerable? Why aren’t we staying home? The weeks have grown long. Somewhere along the way, this all became a competition.

Maybe you know the feeling. There’s a person you talk with about life, and suddenly their tragedy is worse, far worse or their life is more demanding. Sad story. After a time, you’re not chatting. Your blood is boiling because your calm talk is a rivalry.

Conflict is a trigger moment for me. I’ve retrained my response to these moments. I must first remember there’s no shortage of talk time. I can chat with other folks. Second, I respect the other person as best I can, but not to my harm. Sometimes I simply walk away.

We are in strange days. Stay calm. There’s enough for all.

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.