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Monday, December 24, 2012

Self, Self, Self

I have self-esteem issues. Let me just throw it out there, get it out of the way, prior to any further conversation. From the time I was very young, I've always had the distinct knowledge that I wasn't 'enough' -- not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, clever enough, talented enough. Just not 'enough.' I don't know why that is. I cannot point to a specific event that provided me with that knowledge. On the contrary, I often excelled at things, as a child. I found formal education to be particularly easy and somewhat dull. I could perform virtually any task I put my mind to at an average level, or above. Those things are still mostly true, today. I'm an insatiable learner, who is never tired of gaining new information, most of which I retain without difficulty. And, I love to do new things, to learn new things. I'm always teaching myself obscure tasks -- reading tarot, writing in Runic, making corsets or shoes or homemade soap. I never tire of those pursuits.

But, despite all of my many interests, the ugly demon Inferiority comes to call, occasionally. Normally, I'm able to manage her attacks by looking at things from an intellectual and objective perspective. But, not always. Sometimes, she sneaks up on me, gathering her energies, and sits on my shoulder, very quietly, while she whispers sick horrors in my ear, "you're not good enough...why even try that when you know you're going to fail...stop trying to pretend you're a good person when you know you're's easier to let it all go and just do your worst...if you do nothing, you cannot fail...they will only laugh at you behind your one really likes you."

When she takes this insidious approach, it is more difficult to fend her off. It seems to happen more frequently, for me, at this particular time of the year...when the world seems quite busy, and darkness rules with long nights and so much time spent indoors. When we're all surrounded by the chaos of the holiday season, with their lights and glitter and unrealistic expectations. When, for whatever reason, our entire society has been socialized into the belief that everything can and should be perfect, outstanding, and and downright miraculous. Everyone should be blissfully happy. Every house should be filled with beloveds and good cheer. Miracles fly free around the world and settle on each of our lives by virtue of the season. We will have money from who knows where that will suddenly fill our wallets so that we don't have to worry about the possibility of rejection by others, because we're going to buy their companionship and love.

Can you hear my disbelief? Its there, quite raw and front. I don't believe in commercial holiday chaos. I don't participate in it. I give gifts only to my immediate family, most of them are handmade. I ask that no gifts be given to me, less they are handmade. Although, I gladly accept photos of my beloveds, if they wish to share them. Does this keep me from doubting myself and my convictions when I read the busy Facebook statuses of my friends..."wrapping, wrapping, wrapping...lots of shopping today...I know what you got..."? Nope. That ugly demon Inferiority comes to call, spitting into my ear, "You should be doing that..spending every last must not love your people at don't make enough're never good enough, you should be ashamed."

I have no need of gifts. I have the material things I need. And, when it comes right down to it, what I DO need is fellowship, love, companionship, togetherness. Because, it is very easy for me to spend most of my time alone, where there's no chance of criticism or complaint, other than the ones that stir in my own head. I can indulge myself in my many pursuits and feel well. I have the benefits of a soul-mate who understands me, friends who accept me, and a structure for living that suits me.

We all must walk our path, side-stepping its refuse and pollutants. I have named mine. Its in my nature to give words to things. So, for today, I banish the demon Inferiority. She will not sit my shoulder, today. Instead, I'll spend my day in the light (even when its cold), with my beloveds.

I wish you good cheer, no matter your holiday. Not the kind that comes from packages and bottles, but the kind that comes from hearts and laughter.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes

My attitude around loss sometimes gets me in trouble with other people, who mistake my admission of lack of control to a cavalier dismissal. It is not. Here are my thoughts: While it is a true tragedy what happened in CT, yesterday, it was beyond all of my control. I cannot control an errant, ill person who commits such a crime; nor the deaths of innocents; nor the deaths of those attempting to protect them. I cannot deem whose time it is to move on to the next realm and whose time it is to stay. I have no ability to heal those who've suffered the tragedy. I have no say, at all.

This, in no way, diminishes the sad and horrific events. It is merely an admission of true powerlessness. I have also taken notice that, when events such as these occur, people want to DO something. They want to regulate something. They want to pass laws. They want to make a difference to try to prevent it in the future. Delaware was a wonderful case in point on this fouled attempt. Earl Bradley, who is perhaps the most prolific child sex offender ever prosecuted in the USA was a Delaware pediatrician who amassed more than 100 known victims, most under the age of 12 months. He video taped many of the assaults. He was successfully stripped of his medical license, tried, convicted, and incarcerated for the rest of his life. But, then Delaware did the predictable things -- they wanted to DO something. So, they passed 26 pieces of legislation in response to the tragic evil of one man. The legislation is redundant and contradictory in some cases. It also does nothing to prevent the act from occurring. There were already systems in place to address these issues. The problem was that the entities and agencies in charge of doing so didn't follow their own protocols, not that they were powerless or unable to act. But, Delaware, like most people, wanted to point the finger and assign blame. Was that really necessary? How does it help the victims to further convolute our legal system with more laws? Its will never prevent tragedy.

I hear, again, the cry for gun law restriction. There are no ongoing psychological evaluations required to own a weapon. Unless we are willing to create those laws, there is no reason to further regulate weaponry. And, lets face it: the only persons impacted by gun laws are law-abiding citizens. Criminals do not buy their guns in legal ways. They buy them on the street, unregistered, from other criminals. They will ALWAYS have access to weapons. Making gun laws stricter does nothing but keep weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. It makes no sense. (Yes, I am a gun owner. Yes, I have the RIGHT to defend myself against those who would do me harm in this world.)

If you really want to DO something, pray. Pray for all involved, including the perpetrator and his family. If we truly want human kindness to be a part of the reality of the fabric of our universe, than we need to begin to practice it ourselves. Otherwise, its all just lip service. Hug your own loved ones. Tell them what they mean to you. Be a good friend, parent, partner, lover, child, etc. Work to be a loving influence in the lives of others, every day, not just when something terrible happens. We shouldn't need reminders to be kind to our beloveds.

Finally, I've heard, repeatedly, by well-meaning and kind people in their comments on this particular tragedy how the world is a "big...lonely...scary...terrifying...awful" place. IT IS NOT! I so sincerely hope that none of those people believe that. Because, therein lay our biggest problem. Our world is NOT a scary or cruel place. Our world is amazing, joyful, filled with light and love and phenomenal people and things. I can only imagine that these people have fallen victim to our sensationalistic and interloping media, who focus so intently on every awful thing, with no mention of the positive, that people begin to believe their lies and misrepresentations. Let me help you put things into perspective: How many bad things have happened to you, this year? Now, how many good things? I would venture to bet that the list is pretty even. And, if you really think about it, there are probably far more blessings than challenges. There are lots of psychological reasons why we focus heavily on those situations which are tragic...there is actually good brain science that explains how we feel more impact and are more likely to remember traumatic events than good ones. Therefore, our thinking mind requires us to put things in appropriate perspective.

I do not watch the news media's representations of human cruelty. They are invasive. They repeatedly and uncaringly re-victimize the victims, the families, and the communities. They care not who they get their sound-bytes from or whether that source is responsible or, even, involved and informed. Its offensive to me. I will not encourage their misrepresentation of the world in their vain attempts to garner readers, viewers, or participation.

I will not ruminate on the details of this or any other tragedy. I will not talk about it with others. I will say my prayers and move forward. There is quite enough negative energy in our world. I will not contribute to that layer of negativity any further. I will be positive, and contribute love and light. I have always believed that we reap what we sow. If we put nothing but negativity in the world, we are letting those who would spread darkness win. Does that sound dramatic? Maybe. But, its truth, isn't it? The constant struggle between light and dark, good and evil, love and sorrow is really the definition of our lives, in sum total. I choose light, love, and good. I will focus myself there. I hope that others will join me.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Little Things

Sometimes, its not the "big" pieces that matter...not the ones you plan to "say something" with.

Sometimes, its the little, simple things you do...things meant as a gift, holding love in your heart for the person intended.
Sometimes, those are the ones that mean the very most...the ones you craft with adoration and care.
I noticed, again, that it took several layers to get the effect I wanted, and this is only step 1. I want to add glimmer (step 2); and lettering for my granddaughter's room (step 3).
Because, after all, isn't life all about building the layers? Layers of relationships, deepening or shallowing, as we move toward and away from each other. Layers of understanding, tentative steps forward and racing back, as we come to acceptance.
I'll keep working. On layers.