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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Life is incredibly hard, sometimes. Because, there are people that you love who are in the grips of a million different tragedies that cannot love you back. Instead, their daemons tell them to lie, to steal, to fabricate beliefs that in no way represent the realities of any other person.

I've had the experience of fighting some of the same daemons. They are relentless. They are malicious. They are purposeful. Without fortitude and desire and the direction of something greater, they will win.

Its a cloudy, rainy day, today. Appropriate for pushing beloveds away. They've stopped looking like themselves. Instead, they've come to look like the daemons they fight. The daemons are winning.

And, I'm terribly broken.

My soul recognizes the struggle, but no longer recognizes the person.

So, with tears streaking and fingers tight, I say what I must.

I rationalize and justify in my mind, but really, I just must survive another day. I know where the journey the beloved is on will end. I cannot go there, again.

I cannot go there, again.

And, even here, I'm left terribly broken.


Is this MY legacy? The result of my own daemons? The remnants of my own fight? The whip comes out, once again, and I begin the lashes. But, the beating never frees me of the remorse. It never, ever numbs the feelings squirming like maggots in my flesh.

Instead, I'm only broken.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throw-back Thursdays

If you have a Facebook account, you are probably familiar with the idea of Throw-Back Thursdays (TBT). The idea is that you post old pics of yourself and others so that everyone can reminisce. So, a friend from high school posted a photo, this morning, of a pair of Jordache jeans. If you are my age, this will not require explanation. But, for those of you who are a bit younger or older, I'll suggest that you Google "Jordache Jeans 80s" and see what comes up. For the purposes of time, I'll tell you this: Jordache Jeans were the iconic symbol of popularity, wealth, status, and attractiveness when I was a kid in school; right along with white Nike sneakers with the red stripe, British Knights in all white or all black with neon laces; Hawaiian print Ocean Pacific shorts; short-sleeved Izod shirts with the alligator logo. I could go on, but you get the point. In fact, I bet that each of you has a similar list from your middle and high school years. And, even today, many years later, you remember who had all the gear, who didn't, and how you felt about it no matter what side of that fence you were on.

When I saw the picture, I had one distinct memory jump into my brain with utter clarity: It was dark outside. I was overwhelmingly excited, because I knew my mom was taking me to the Early Bird sale at the mall. I had saved up $20 (a lot of money for a middle-school kid in the early 1980s) from babysitting and my paper route. I was going to spend that money on Jordache jeans, which the sale add said there would be a limited number of items for my $20. My mom said she would pay the 5% sales tax. It must have been winter, because it was dark outside at 7 am, but I don't remember being cold. I remember climbing into our truck and going off to the mall. None of the cool kids were there that early. It wasn't cool to have to buy things on clearance sales, back then, and I was a little embarrassed to look around at who was there. There were mostly young adults and frumpy moms, some with their hair still in scarves and rollers. In a panic, I realized there was only one pair of Jordache in my cords. I remember standing in that store, with tears in my eyes, knowing they weren't the 'right' pair of Jordache; but, also knowing that they were the closest I was likely to get. I bought them and wore them forever.

And, with that memory, rushed back all those feelings of despondency that marked most of my life -- being unworthy, unlikable, not good enough, too fat, unattractive. My dad was a construction worker. And, truth be told, he struggled with alcoholism, gambling, and more than one other vice. He didn't come home, sometimes. Our power was off, sometimes. My mom was depressed and angry. I realize, now, how powerless they must have both dad feeling powerless over addictions that he didn't know how to manage, feelings he had to medicate; and, my mom feeling powerless over her situation and my dad and, to some degree, us kids. Its awful how those messages we get about our worth stick with us for decades, despite a wide variety of approaches to manage them. In my own life, I tried to fit in. I didn't. I never felt like other people. I didn't act like them. I was never really a part of any group, because eventually I would do or say or think the wrong thing and would have to flee from the impending rejection. I quickly learned to numb those unpleasant feelings with a wide variety of methods, none of which were good for my body or my soul.

And, if I close my eyes, today, I can still hear all those little whispered lies that were told to me and the ones I told myself -- you're too fat/ugly/stupid/unattractive; no one likes you; no one will ever like you; you're a slut/whore/loser; you're trash/useless/poor; you'll never succeed/learn/do anything worthwhile. The monologue is endless and cruel.

I've been working on this piece for a long time. Every time I think I'm getting closer to completion, another layer comes up. Every time I believe I've recovered from the insanity of those lies, they return. And, measures of success never mattered. Those lies persisted despite frequent accolades and accomplishments. I have a long list of awards, recognition, degrees, and certifications behind me.

Over the past 4 years, some important things have happened. I got sober. That doesn't mean that I don't still struggle with other addictions (food is my giant one), I do. But, I'm clean and I know how to deal with those things. I began evaluating who and what I truly am -- not what I've pretended to be, not who I thought I should be, not the thing that was expected of me. I've made changes. I've embraced some things. I started painting, again, something I hadn't done since high school. I began seeking people like me, and building honest, meaningful relationships with them. I began structured training in my spiritual path. Probably, most importantly, I started being who I am, to the best of my knowledge. And, I work hard to be okay with that woman. My values and beliefs guide me, rather than external forces.

The whispers haven't gone away. They run a constant stream of malice in the back of my head. I can choose to jump in that stream and be washed away. Or, I can choose to walk in another direction. Today, my choice is obvious.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Speak YOUR Truth

I have some very close friends. One, in particular, is my confidante and the person who most often lets me know when I am behaving in a way that reflects my ego-centric desires, rather than a person of spirit. We disagree on few areas, but there is one that I have adamantly remained opposed on. She states that most people are frightened by (and unprepared to) have meaningful conversations during every day life. Instead, most people prefer to have chit chat, gossip, or meaningless drivel to pass the time.

I disagree. My belief is that people behave this way, because they've learned that no one is truly interested in what they have to say. From early childhood, we were hushed, told to mind our manners, not to speak unless spoken to, or diminished for our comments. As we got older, if we were brave enough (or defiant enough) to speak our opinions, we were ridiculed, demeaned, argued with, or dismissed. Finally, as adults, we were told that it is not about your feelings, but instead about the bottom line. How you felt about any particular issue was a matter for private voting booths or debate clubs. It was not for check out line conversation.

I disagree.

Finally, as technology replaced human contact, we stopped using the social niceties that those of us over 40 were schooled in as children. There is no need to say hello or goodbye or to ask about someone's family during a text message. Instead, we use abbreviated language to give only directional information. Phone conversations are a thing of the past with instant messaging. In-person meetings are nearly never done, because it is much more convenient to use Facetime, Skype, or another technological marvel.

I disagree.

When we are genuine, we provide permission for all of those around us to stand in their own space and be genuine as well. There is some risk involved. Being authentic, speaking your truths, requires the ability to be vulnerable -- to allow others to see who you really are at your center, rather than the persona that we are taught to display over and over. If I am genuine, I am not always well. Sometimes, I'm sad or angry or sick. I needn't pretend that I'm the picture of perfect health and perfect attitude. Many people will now argue with me that we attract what we put out. I agree. I also believe that we must allow ourselves to honor what we feel. I can be sad or angry or depressed and speak to someone about it, honor that it is what I feel at the moment. I know that, of course, like all emotional states, it is transient and will pass.

If I refuse to acknowledge the emotional state, however, how genuine am I being? Am I not playing the same old game to pretend to be something I'm not -- in this case, happy when I'm not? How is that genuine? I also needn't delve into every emotion like a treasure hunt, looking for all possible causes and related issues. Some reflection is necessary if any state of being resides within me for any length of time (Yes! That's right! I'm saying that its not expected that I will always be happy. What a ludicrous thought?!). If a period of depression follows the death of a loved one, I would not consider this abnormal nor worthy of assessment. Instead, it is to be honored. Grief is a process, which can be beautiful in its raw pain if we allow it.

Life is a cycle. Its only absolute is the constant flow of change. I'm going to speak my truth. If someone asks me how I am, I will answer honestly. This does not mean that I will divulge intimate details of my life at the gas pump on a regular basis. It does mean that I will be genuine with those in my life. How dare I not be? Because if I fail to be genuine, I'm sending the message that I am unworthy, as are my feelings and thoughts and values and beliefs. And, the second message is that YOU are unworthy, also, because I don't trust you to share myself with you; nor, should YOU be real when I've clearly not done so.

I'm going to speak my truth. I'm going to allow space for everyone else to do so, as well. I will listen if you decide to talk about politics in the waiting room. Its okay if we don't agree on all issues, but isn't it a gift to treat each other with respect and discuss our thoughts? Sometimes, I'm not clear on my own beliefs until I've explained them to someone else. Sometimes, I don't know my own truth until it exits my mouth in sound.

We are connected. We have forgotten. We can remember.

Blessed Be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Duality Contained Within

It took me years to accept the duality within myself. I just couldn't reconcile that I was both cruel and compassionate, violent and venerable, aggressive and avoidant, intelligent and idiotic, nurturing and negative. 
Then, once I did accept those things...not flagellate, not scream or repent my unworthiness...just accept that all of that is part of who and what I am; that I'm not condemned because of the parts of me that society deems 'bad.' Because, in the beginning, I saw those things that society teaches us are awful characteristics, and I tried to gouge them out of myself. The only thing I accomplished was to be left bleeding and sick
I am not created to please society. I am not created to please anyone. I am created for the Divine purpose fated to me. And, that purpose requires that I have the ability and willingness to protect myself, the strength to speak my truth against opposition, and the fortitude to protect those unable to stand with me. I do not fear to speak my opinion, even when its unpopular. I have learned to do so with tact, when needed. I can also stand, solidly on my truth without the need for external validation. This does not make me special. In fact, it makes me EXACTLY like everyone else. 

THEN, once I learned and accepted that these things existed within myself, I had to learn and accept that they existed inside EVERYONE else, too. People did not fit into a single category, the way I wanted to organize them: family member, friend, mentor, teacher, coworker, etc. They sometimes were more than one thing. It was only in the last year that I've learned to allow other people outside the categorically organized boxes in my mind. Some of the people in my life live in more than one file drawer...they are both my mentor, my friend, and my chosen family, for instance. As a result of the struggle I had, the discomfort, and the hurt feelings in 1 particular relationship -- a relationship far too important to me to release, one that I'd spent years building, and that entered my heart without my conscious consent -- I learned that it was ok for other people to have multiple purposes in my life and the lives of others. I took another step on the journey to being whole

Thursday, May 8, 2014


What do you do when you're just not sure?
There are hard decisions to make and none of them seem right?
No matter which choice, there are consequences for each.
The consequences could be unbearable in every, single circumstance.

The panic rises and holds.
It grips.
It screams.
It binds.
It terrifies, because with panic, comes the fear.
It grips.
It screams.
It binds.
It terrifies.
It paralyzes; and, it preys upon every other emotion that surges upward.

Panic stays. Fear permeates.

Everything else bubbles and wanes....anger, resentment, fury, compassion, love, rejection, separation, impotency, deficiency, unworthiness.

Froth and fall.

Froth and fall.

Over and over and over and over.

Until only exhaustion remains.

Numbness wrought from exertion, from stillness in the face of misery.

And, powerlessness prevails. I cannot decide. I cannot control. I cannot prevent.

I can only bear witness.