Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The More We Get Together

(Written in August, 2014 adapted Nearly August, 2019.)

New years eve I participated in a twitter #ideaparty hosted by Barbara Sher. She suggested for finding local friends. Boy did it work good.

It never occurred to me that atheists would have a meeting local to me. When I saw them on that list, I felt elated. It's exactly "my thing."

Faith and church felt like alien concepts to me. I thought about going to one just for the fellowship aspects. Then I realized that would be so hypocritical and very uncomfortable. I know me, I would say something about inconsistent interpretations of biblical teaching.

What I understand of Christ makes me think that he had some interesting things to say. I have no problem with discussing his philosophical point of view. I know less about Mohamed but I bet he has some intriguing concepts as well.

How other people choose to navigate the social landscape has little to do with me. I ask lots of questions about that which I sense around me. These observations lead me to a conclusion of random happenstance.

Should some evidence of a higher power show in my sensing of data, I would adjust my world view. Until such time, i remain skeptical of the notion of god.

As a small child, I don't remember ever feeling valued in church. My sister loved it and felt the fellowship that comes from participation. I'm not sure how much this had to do with the way I was treated or if the lack of faith was innate in my mind even that early.

The faith came from my family tradition. I don't know how other churches treat children. I felt as though I was a nuisance to everyone there. Plus I was forced to go. I don't suppose that makes for positive memories. I like having choices.

My family didn't want me. That's why my sister and I were living with the devout lady. She didn't want me, she wanted my sister. When she beat me up in church, I felt that no one in the congregation cared. I felt like they thought I was "bad."

I remember Sunday School, but I don't remember learning anything or enjoying any friendship or acceptance there. It's not being different, as my sister has albinism just like me.

I guess I'm strangely grateful that they were unkind. I might have been seduced by friendship and acceptance. I like being an atheist. I like asking questions and chatting with others who question things too.

The more I think about faith, the more I find I have no need for it in my real life. Though it may be a bit of a challenge to find people who think as I do, they do exist and do value my company. Just as important, *I* value my company.

How other people run their philosophical life is none of my business. If someone has a deep faith, I can respect that to the point they don't bother me over it. Some have crossed that and I wish them peace and let them go. Life's way too short to worry over being judged by someone.

It's just an untestable theory, but I suspect I could hang with Christ. I suspect he would discuss things with me, but let me make up my own mind. At least that's my interpretation of his attitude. In a way I am the leper and he hung out with them.

Who do you hang out with and why?

Kind comments encouraged.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lucky (Woah) Man

A few months ago I read a book by the CEO a major online retailer who said he would rather hire a person who thought they were lucky over a person who thought they were skilled. Um, I'm not getting a job there. Sokay, despite the hype about it being a "fun" place, I don't get a vibe that the hype is real.

Now I'm reading a book that analyzed a bunch of different companies. They suggests those CEOs use planning to overcome "bad luck." I'm more in this camp, but I do think there are amazing life experiences that happen from knowing when to go with the unforeseen.

The Los Angeles Times awarded me and about 30 others small scholarships at a nice dinner and talk in their building. After our meal, they brought all of us down to the newsroom. We couldn't go in very far as we were a large group. It just looked like a bunch of cubicles. Messy empty offices filled with books and papers. Not terribly impressive.

Several months later, I had a job interview across the street from that same building. I had a contact of a guy who had visual problems who worked at the LA Times moving stories to the wire service. I'd never met him, but I thought it would be cool to see what he did.

I called and arranged to meet after I had my interview. Nice man, we chatted while I watched him work and then went to lunch. Turns out his wife ran some big department and after lunch he took me up to her office. Right into the news room and even cooler, she gave me a private tour of the paste up room, explained how they sent the pages to the printer and treated me as if I could work there once I finished my degree.

I never finished my degree and I am not that into newspaper journalism, but I'm glad I got to see all that. Wish I'd known someone in the press room so I could see that too.

Neither luck nor skill made it happen. I think coincidence, the randomness and happenstance that comes with casual networking.

I've done the active planning and seeking contacts, and it seems to not come to as much as that coincidental liaison. I do think that the planning teaches us to know what we want before we see it. I don't consider it "bad" to plan. I do think it's limiting to limit anything to only the plan. Seize the day.

I think my problem with calling coincidence luck comes from growing up in Las Vegas. Yeah, some things are chance, and one can use that to "play the odds." That just seems so erratic. I don't like erratic. I don't like being thought it and living with those around me who live it.

And there's the atheism coming into play. Relying on randomness seems like giving up my power to something beyond my control. It seems like fantasy.

I've heard that when we can't predict most of our outcome, we drive ourselves nuts trying to make things work out. Why rely or even look for something that makes us crazy? Why look for employees that want to tempt insanity? I want to do what works most of the time. I want to do what matters to me.

I think I would say that I am open to the possibilities of coincidence.

How do you view luck?

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Let it Go!

I don't have kids unless inner children and a cat count. For some reason, I picked up on parenting tips from TV because it really seemed weird the way I got parented.

Not just because of all the surviving abuse bit. But that every day how to be a human stuff that adults are supposed to show their kids. Mine missed a lot of that.

That seems to be a generational trauma symptom. If your parents are fighting their own demons, they don't have time to teach you how to brush your hair. At least they don't know how to do the little things without a struggle.

Some of us were left to figure it all out on our own.

So as an adult, I kind of obsess on parenting guidance. There used to be a reality show called Super Nanny where a well meaning child expert showed up to observe parents try and handle their kids. She reminded me of a much kindlier and far less magical Mary Poppins.

Though I can say she did do magic. Practical conjuring that encouraged the parents to be consistent and helpful. She taught them that children WANT consistent rules that get the same reaction every time.

Most often she taught parents to meet chaos with calm. That if they could calm down and give everyone in their family as much of what they needed, things would run smoother. She trained them to see a noisy fussy child as an unmet need rather than a chaos demon.

That helped me see the feelings inside me as the same. Some piece needed something. Most of those noisy radical feely demons, just needed to be helped.

Super Nanny excelled at helping kids get to sleep. She taught the parents to create a calming ritual at bedtime. Every night the same routine chosen by the parents. Something like washing up, brushing teeth, a story then lay down.

For the first couple of nights, parent would sit inside the room with their back to the child. Then outside the door where the child could see them, again with their back to the child.

If the child was old enough to get out of bed, they didn't say a word. No extra lights, just gently put the child back into the bed. On the first try, reminded the child that it is bedtime now. No extra words, no arguing.

Sometimes this took a while for the child to get the message that they needed to do what they were asked. Eventually, the parents could simply ask the child to wash up and read them their story and they would go to sleep on their own.

I decided to try similar things with the children inside my head. We have sleep rituals like I think up a story for them to hear and we end up rested.

Anxiety can run loose at times not related to rest. Like a frightened child, it responds to anger and irritation with more fear and acting up. Those feelings manifest into invisible monsters. Such feelings are only contained with calm, peace and love.

I give them freedom inside a place of their own. I write about them in a journal and let them play with my stuffed animals. I encourage them to draw, and sing and twirl during their special time.

Then, when it's time for them to rest, I gently put them to bed. If they get out, I remind them it's bed time and gently bring them back.

I heard that in recovery to hug your demons or they'll bite you in the ass. I say hug them because they're frightened needy parts of you that need your help.

Kind comments encouraged.

Friday, November 16, 2018


I wonder where I bonded with trauma from my childhood? I know that I get a kind of weird excitement when telling a story. I still think those stories need telling, though I'm wondering now how to take a step back and take the heat off.

Psychologists have been talking about trauma bonding for a while now. It's prevalent when people have survived abuse within families where we are dependent upon them for our basic needs. Hard to leave a husband who convinces you that you'll starve without him.

A friend's dad told her a horrific story about a place to keep her from going with me. I found out later he was abusing her. I offered a thought pattern that would have challenged his authority.

Even though she and I could see the abuse and avoid the love and honor our parent delusion, we both did fall into what I call drama bonding.

Our families taught us that drama brought attention to something bigger than the abuse they were engaged in. My mother told me that "The big bad world is going to eat you alive, little girl." While I didn't believe her, it did take my focus away from the reasons I wanted to go out in it.

I found telling my story gave me some attention and did help a little. Yes, it's dramatic, sad and depressing. Some people walk away from me. Part of me likes that. It feels like I have a power over them.

Drama stories push people away and draw others in at the same time. They obscure and reveal too.

I know that drama also saps energy I could use for other things. It also feels like a stage of recovery. Maybe it's a kind of step down from trauma bonding.

I figured out I had to let go of the fantasy that my mother could be anything other than who she was. Part of grieving, I know, but there's more to it. Seeing her as a whole person.

So many words define my mother. At first the ones I used were things like selfish, cruel and absent. As time goes on, I think things more like hurt, abused and lonely. Still, she could also be called smart, funny and capable.

Bonding with my mother didn't quite happen because I bonded with my older sister instead. Yes, we can bond with more than one person, but my mother and I just didn't get that. At least i the mother/daughter sense.

She did pass on the drama bonding, though.

Troubles were never because she made mistakes or did something wrong. My dad was often the blame for any misfortune. Later, she trauma bonded with other abusers.

I feel I drama bonded with most of the partners I dated. My ex could be the hero comforter when I told the stories of my troubled childhood. They were drama bonded to their mother. I could see that bond as stifling.

When I went to loosen the ties that bind, my ex found another to drama bond enslave.

It takes lots of effort to move out of drama mode. And I see it as a necessary step. I need to get to all the feelings, before I can sort through the ones to change.

Keep the joy and let go the sad and angry.

Kind comments encouraged.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Love is all you need

Big Beautiful Me!
I wrote a post in 2013 at the height of the year of hell. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong that year. Dad died, got cancer (I'm fine), my partner lost two jobs and our business blew sky high.

I decided to "lose weight" after the cancer surgeon suggested my weight would cause healing problems. It didn't, he was wrong, a massive ass and stigmatizing.

I tried to edit the post but hit a wrong key and now I think it's disappeared. I still had the preview up and so I can cut and paste. I'll just do a new post and include bits from the original.

I love me. All of me. Yeah, I'm a big girl and there are health problems with my weight. I get that. (I no longer believe there are health problems that specifically relate to weight.) It has a purpose. I have NO IDEA what it is, but I know it's there for a reason.

Maybe it's my armor like I've said before. Maybe it's something not for me. My efforts are not working so I think there's a purpose beyond those things.

I'm not alone in loving me. That's a nice thing. I think maybe people forget that wherever they are, they are lovable. Even by other people.

I really dig Martha Beck. She writes about living our best lives. She recently wrote that we need to love ourselves. Something I wholeheartedly agree with. Then she went on to say that we cannot get love from anyone else until we love ourselves. This is where we part company.

I think it's way hard to ACCEPT love when we don't love ourselves, but certainly others can see in us what we cannot see in ourselves. Plenty of times in my life when I felt unloved, just a person being around with kind intentions, helped me get back to loving who I am.

So as I sit in all my glorious bulk, I smile at it. The universe will reveal whatever it chooses whenever it chooses. That might be never. In the mean time, I'll be grateful for being alive.

Love, peace and understanding.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Heart Belongs to Me

As a survivor of abuse, so much emotional distress can come from political news. The #metoo movement, rape culture and abuse culture being all over the news can set me into a place of panic.

These feelings leave unseen marks on my being. The panic shows in quiet fitful sleep moments. I do talk about it out in the open AND I keep it to myself. At the same time.

Been thinking about all the Keep Calm and Carry On strategies I employ silently. We just recently saw the documentary about Mr. Rogers and I've always loved his thinking on "look for the helpers." Sometimes there is only me. I am a good helper to others and myself.

I like that about me. This blog, other places and to myself, I can help. I can mother my unruly inner children. I can remind my stuffy adult self to remember moments of perfect beauty and pure laughing joy.

Saw this video by a counselor where she says that the goal is to get to where we think "this shitty thing happened," but we don't curl up in a ball and cry every time we think of it. Lots of my story is like that. Just history. (her story)

Lots of times I have to employ a "strategy" to get to the shitty thing because it's a shitty thing rolled in broken glass and cactus needles. To "deal" with them requires special gloves and a plan.

I own some lovely dishes that depict iris flowers. When putting them away on the open shelf, Murry sometimes puts them with the flower facing away. To him, they're just dishes. To me, they're a piece of art that happens to be useful.

I can turn my past to face the flowers to the outside. Displaying the mosaic that is me in the best light. Seeing the "broken" bits as just a part of the pattern, rather than the whole of the thing.

Such reframing takes a lot of effort and the right kind of gloves. I've spoken before about feeling pain so deep that I wished my life was over. For a real long time, my strategy was; "I'm too much of a fuck up, I'll just end up worse off." While that is slightly still there, I found that I want to also see the future. Way better.

So taking the broken glass and prickly bits out and filling the cracks with gold. I've been an artist for longer than I even realized.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


This post isn't about tears alone, but I thought it was a good starting emotion. I thought so back when I first realized how much trauma I survived and it's still my go to first reaction most of the time.

I suffered. A lot. Piles of pain and most of it before the age of 10. 

When a baby falls down learning to walk, sometimes it cries because it's scared or hurt. It's a way to let those bigger beings in charge to come help fix the "bad" thing. 

Most girls learn that it is okay to cry over a loss or an emotional situation like a friend moving away. Maybe some boys do too. Sometimes the bigger beings say shitty emotionally repressive things like "I'll give you something to cry about." Usually when they're hurting you. Crazy making that.

Girls are NOT supposed to be angry. But boys are sometimes encouraged to do angry things like punch each other, kick over blocks and generally use a n outburst to get their way. 

The onion of person existence has many other emotions, but I'll stick to those two for the moment. 

I like the nature of onions because as a metaphor it's both common and not entirely understood. Other things, like a package, has layers atop a reason for the layers. Onions ARE the layers. No center exists for finding. 

Some onions are even hollow at the middle. Like someone swiped the prize. 

Perfect for metaphor. 

The layers ARE the prize. 

When I bring out the memories of my trauma and count them, the first emotional layer presenting usually involves tears. I've long ago decided that's how my body begins the healing process. 

First, clean the wound. Then assess what to do.

Though some of this is simply about "grief process" and it moves through stages, some things need to come first. I've written previously about counting and compelling incidents. 

Through some kind of weird instinct I knew I had to have time to cry for as long as I needed. Then I moved into righteous anger for as long as that serves me. It's starting to wane. 

I still cry, I am sure I will still be angry over stuff for a really long time. The more I tell the story, the more it becomes personal history. 

I think what's next is compassion. 

It all seems so natural, nuanced and ordered. Layers peeling away, tearing up and falling from view. 

Kind comments encouraged.