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

We Are Beautiful People

She is broken.

A misfit. She doesn’t fit anymore. The whispers surround her. You see that lady, the one at the end of the bar, her clothes were once beautiful but now are wrinkled with lingering odors.

When the men knew her name, they poured glasses of champagne, brought her lush red roses, and whispered sweet things in her ear. Now, she drinks alone.

In her dreams at night, she still stands on the stage. She’s engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke and wearing her favorite dress. She belts out a song with such enthusiasm that the audience rises to their feet—the best day of her life.

Bowls and Memories

The world was big and ready to be explored when I was four. It was also a scary place where I could fall. But the fear didn’t stop me.

There was a hole in the kitchen floor. In my two-year-old mind, it was huge. My family lived in a travel trailer. There were a hundred acres of land with pecan trees and livestock, horses, chickens, all with a nearby river and wooded area, wild enough for any child’s fantasy. The hole—I avoided it, walked around it, afraid of falling.

When I was three or four, I remember picking pecans. My first experience with money and the thrill of commerce. Power.

I remember sitting carefully on the toilet. Mom bought an adapter seat so that I wouldn’t be afraid.

Falling in holes, dropping in toilets, we can’t forget that I dove out the door. I was young. Early that morning, dad had been plowing the cornfield, and he had a bowl that he wanted me to come and get. I was happy to run to help — a good little worker. I stood on the edge of the open door, and I knew I should sit down and scoot. The steps were tall. Four-year-old little legs can’t leap the way her big brothers do, but I never realized this. So I jumped.

I jumped and missed the steps. What happened afterward is a blur. I screamed. I’d fallen awkwardly on my arm, pinning it under my body against the concrete steps. People say there’s no pain when you break a bone. Or it hurts worse if you’re an adult. I don’t know what type of weed they’re smoking because pain hurts everyone.

For fifty years, I’ve tried to convince Mom that I jumped, that Dad did not force me to run outside for the bowl, but she’s stayed stuck in the blaming. Dad will always be The Evil One. And I’m not sure where that puts me.

I had difficulties at a young age. As a kid, my life was out of my hands. Written in these paragraphs are memories, vivid. They are the squares of fabric I’ve sewn into my life. Why did I save these and shelve the others? Memories are packets, and you change them each time you examine them. And every person who sees an event will see it differently.

How do you see yourself?

That’ll Do Pig

Picture – me as I was some years ago. I was a chubby lady jogging and hugging through my neighborhood in old running shoes and shorts, a disposable water bottle. I can’t say my pace was worthy of applause. My GPS phone app clocked me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which was not happening. More likely, I’d lean on a tree and watch a few birds fight with the squirrels. By the time I got another mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of running in, I was sweating like it was August in Texas. My calves were burning, and my knees hurt. Not a picture of athletic prowess.

-Gotta love sweat humor.

We feel silly when we start. The first step out the door in a strange outfit. But time passes. We practice, we learn. Hopefully, we develop good habits. It’s why we need good training early. I muscled up enough to run a few miles. My calves couldn’t fit into most of the dress boots in the stores. That was fine. I was proud of my legs. I could run up the hills in my neighborhood, and if you saw, you’d understand my satisfaction. Yeah, I felt good.

Aside: Running vs. Jogging.

The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.

– Me

Why debate the words? Run or jog. Possibly it started in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.

When I began, with my out-of-date shoes, I felt awkward. So I purchased expensive running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, it’s really 14%, and I’m exaggerating, but they are thin girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.

Remember at the end of school? No more summer of lounging. Probably by now, the zeal of the first job is gone. Parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees you’re stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not run forever or attain a gazelle-like grace, I can stroll about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes. And I tried something new.

Need something new? Here are a few suggestions.

Wed March 16, 2021 – Wed August 31 2022

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November 1-30, 2021

What Is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write #50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists. 798,162 Active novelists 367,913 Novels completed #NANOWRITMO

Now- Current day

Be brave and speak up. Squeal like a pig. Do you have a sweat story or funny phrase? I would love to hear it. Share in the comments.

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

For Those Who Feel Helpless

Heart wrenching. Yeah, that’s what it’s been.

After talking to a coworker about current events, I felt her pain. We have both lost people we love to Covid. When my mom broke her hip and was in the hospital, my brother and I couldn’t see her. Visitors were limited to two – my dad and his pastor. They were the only ones who could be there. These rules keep us safe, but they are heavy on the heart. It’s worse if your family has Covid because no one is going inside.

Without physical contact, how can we be of service to others? I’m no doctor or nurse who can treat a Covid patient. I write. I talk with friends and family. I pray for people in the world and those close to me. I can intend to do good. I can hold space for love and healing.

The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.

Ovid, Roman poet

What can we do?

To some, a prayer or a word of encouragement isn’t their thing. I hear you. Action is your cure. So, take action. Join a team with a cause. Don’t use this time as an excuse for immobility. Frozen injustice is still injustice. We participate in the not caring, by turning away. And yes, I know – I am guilty at times. Satisfaction is around the corner. Read, The Keys to Life

Intention, Holding Space, What?

Action is force. It shows you have power, which is why we need action after a tragedy. A hurricane hits the coast, and people volunteer to help. It’s only after years and years of losses when the feeling of injury has set up house. This is when our power is dragging. When our batteries are low, we can’t muscle another show of strength. The next generation can fight. There may be a way to prevent power outages in our society.

If we are together, as a team, then we’re making a pact. In the old days, these contracts were sacred. As kids, we would save each other a seat on the bus or in the cafeteria. These are examples of holding space. And we can keep each other strong.

“It takes two flints to make a fire.”

Louisa May Alcott (Novelist)

I’ll keep sharing my thoughts with you. And I’ll continue reading yours. Thank you for being here with me.

Get Smarts With Stories

I love stories. A good story isn’t only for kids. A hearty tale is filling, leaving me satisfied. I am entertained and I learn, but learning wasn’t the point. Stories are my sunshine, my light. Here are some I enjoy.

THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN – ÆSOP

A dispute arose between the North Wind and the Sun, each claiming that he was stronger than the other. At last they agreed to try their powers upon a traveller, to see which could soonest strip him of his cloak.

The North Wind had the first try; and, gathering up all his force for the attack, he came whirling furiously down upon the man, and caught up his cloak as though he would wrest it from him by one single effort: but the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped it round himself. Then came the turn of the Sun.

At first he beamed gently upon the traveller, who soon unclasped his cloak and walked on with it hanging loosely about his shoulders: then he shone forth in his full strength, and the man, before he had gone many steps, was glad to throw his cloak right off and complete his journey more lightly clad.
Fortune and Fate
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

Along similar lines, here is an audio which I listened to recently. I hadn’t heard either. I especially enjoyed Luck vs Wisdom. It’s about 15 minutes or so. There’s a commercial and then the second story. No torture, I promise.

LUCK VS WISDOM (with Host Simon Brooks)

What is more important? Luck or wisdom? Discover the answers with host Simon Brooks and Joel Ben Izzy telling “Luck vs Wisdom” and Jenni Cargill- Strong telling “Reaching for the Moon”.

The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories. — Muriel Rukeyser

Fighting

I struggle with “I am worthy of asking for help”
I struggle with “I am loved enough”
I struggle with “I can have the ability to do - the power - the authority even”
Am I enough?

I want to promote myself
I want to set boundaries - and not to back down
I want to accept all of me.

Yet, that includes my struggles and tears, and body pain.
- janetkwest.com

Trigger Yourself Happy

Are you telling yourself that you never win anything? The loser. Stupid. Have to get everything the hard way. If you get any extra money, something will break. Or any other hysterically depressing life script. It’s not a laughing matter at all.

Emotions are a great navigation tool. We feel jealous, irritated, and mean if someone gets an opportunity we wanted.

Is someone bragging about their perfect marriage? An opportunity to go back to school? A moment in the limelight? Yep, we all know the feeling. So I get irritated when I hear that some celebrity has published a book. And it’s a children’s book. I pull out my collapsible podium and go at them. How dare they? What qualifies them to write anything? They are a celebrity without skills. Not fair! Your sister or coworker gives birth to a baby, and their baby is adorable—cough, cough, gag.

TELL YOUR NEW STORY

Old: I need to catch up. I need to be faster, or I will get left behind.

New: I am going at my speed. Life has varied paces. We are not in a timed race, and there’s not a finish line.

If the story of a friend’s vacation makes you want to punch her, take a hint. You want a break. Do you deserve one? Or do you think you’ve worked harder than her and you didn’t take one? Investigate your envy. Start checking your irritations instead of ignoring them. The “Not Fair” flashing alert comes on for me at times. When you feel anger, ask, “what am I missing in this?” Do I want what they have? Or the ability to have a choice?

When you feel anger, learn to question why.

Memories can be the beginning of your new story. You’ve done the most challenging part. You’ve identified what makes you jealous. Finally, you can make it into a new story, the story you want to develop. So now, let’s give it some life.

START AGAIN

Find a memory that supports your new story. I have a strong memory of enjoying work. I loved making money. It started around age three. And all the way through high school, people knew me and thought of me as a good worker. This is important since I had Fifteen years of not officially working and being told that my money wouldn’t be needed in the household. Those years in my marriage drained away my confidence. I had to pull from my memory to rebuild myself. So, I am incredibly thankful for the old votes of confidence.

I am thankful for every determined woman or man who refused to sit down and shut up when someone challenged their rights.

Energy flows to where your attention goes. And if you are driving in the fog and it’s difficult to see, maybe all you can see is the car in front of you. That’s where you look. Otherwise, you drift off the road. Your life script is your guidance. When the times are tough, you have to remember that it doesn’t last forever. That a new day will come. When someone else gets the job you wanted, remember you are just as blessed. Maybe their boss favors them. But tomorrow is a new day. That boss may not last another week, you don’t know. I’ve seen it happen. That sure thing can fall through. And yes, we have seen the sure bets collapse. If everything fails, what do you have? Your life story can’t be taken from you.

IN SUMMARY

  • Find your emotional flashing lights.
  • Examine the emotional story.
  • Use your emotions to learn what you want.
  • Build a new story with examples from your memories.
  • Repeat.
  • Keep at this and you will forget the envy and jealousy.

Sound Triggers

I had a discussion with my mom recently. She asked why we have specific generational issues, such as fear of falling. Trauma or birth? I said it probably is due to our shortcomings both in the parents and the baby. This is where forgiving each other comes in.

In truth, trauma causes so much damage it makes it hard to find the natural person. What could a child have become if there had been love and healthy interactions instead of the fear-provoking experiences. The ones who did well in school were usually the ones with support at home, encouragement. Instead, certain people feel as if they belong. They walk alongside their peers.

Trauma, nurture, or birth? Is ADHD, Autism, Addictive behaviors, or any other adaptive issue, a preventable disorder? They are complex. I was conceived by a mom from a lineage of stressed and traumatized women. Mom was tired and probably depressed. Panic attacks. Anxiety. Afraid of doing life. When I was growing up, I watched her, trying desperately to help reassure her.

Babies developing in high adrenaline flooded wombs can have underdeveloped nervous systems. 

My issue currently is annoying sounds. This is how my ADHD/Aspergers works. People are talking at work, doors opening and closing. They are more than distracting. I feel anger. Rage. It is something I’m trying to understand. Currently, I am allowed to shut my office door. I’m fortunate.

Misophonia

Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses that some might perceive as unreasonable given the circumstance. Those who have misophonia might describe it as when a sound “drives you crazy.” Their reactions can range from anger and annoyance to panic and the need to flee. – WebMD What is Misophonia?

Earplugs and Earbuds sometimes solve a problem, listening to books or music, or sometimes I use white noise. So I’m looking at these special dBuds – earplugs as an answer.

Flawed

Humanity isn’t perfect, is what I tell people. Incomplete parents are having babies. We train them and love them with the best we have. It’s not always enough. Our hope is always to do better than the last generation, put in a little more knowledge, a bit more assertiveness, and sometimes another dose of love. Those kids have to make it.