October 7th, 2017 | No Comments »

My commute takes the better part of two hours, each way.  I use the time to think.  I’m in my thirty second year of indentured servitude, and once again the corporate machine is groaning.  I’ve always been flummoxed by a company’s ability to stay in business and make profits under a consistent flow of poor decisions.

Comparison.  Competition.  There are times when I slip into that region of discontent.  I say discontent, because it seems that the state of contentedness is contrary to the concepts of competition and comparison.  Those concepts imply winning versus losing, better versus worse.  Contentedness suggests enough.  I like the idea of enough.

It started with an innocuous comment about success.  So and so is more successful than you (me) because so and so is perched at the top of the corporate ladder and is compensated accordingly.  The comps are flying already and I’ve barely begun this post.  I feel compelled to look into the root word structures –surely there are connections.  Comparison.  Competition.  Compensation.  Compel.  I digress, in true sueeeus fashion…

I was thinking about my initial reaction to the comment.  I felt defensive.  So and so isn’t better than me!  I could have reached the echelons of corporate leadership, had I chosen.  I felt hurt, as though it were some sort of reflection of failure on my part, as though I needed to convince someone, anyone, everyone, that I am just as good.  I felt jealous.  So and so makes more (money) than I do and has a fancy pants title.  Of more concern to me is why it even mattered.  My reaction was so immediate, and I felt as though I needed to justify myself and somehow assert that I am not a failure.  I also wonder why my reaction is so binary, so extreme.  Success.  Failure.  No in-between.

The nature of my work is all about the ones and the zeros, so there is that.  But the nature of my self is all about the in-betweens, or rather, perspectives.  Just because true/false, on/off, all/none, right/wrong are points that describe entities in a known dimension, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those are the only states.  They are obvious states, but not necessarily the only states.  Perception through one facet of a crystal may be very different from perception through another facet of the same crystal.  Is either right? Is either wrong?  They are simply different.  Why does there have to be a right or a wrong?

I think it’s a limitation of the human mind.  People are generally comfortable with the knowns.  Binary things are easy to wrap one’s mind around, because they are very simple to grasp.  Multidimensional things are complex.  Matrices within matrices from infinity to infinity in all directions.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I fell into a funk for a few days, as I worked through these thoughts.  I thought about the comparison game.  I mostly have the experience of my own life and culture to draw from, and it occurs to me that life as I know it has contained a steady feed of information that has contributed to the shape of my thoughts and emotions.  I don’t remember when it dawned on me that I could choose how to steer my thoughts and emotions.

There is so much conditioning taking place with the onslaught of information that we absorb through media.  When, if ever, does it occur to us to question the validity of the information that we absorb?  We get notions of body image based on the examples we see in print and on screen.  Does it occur to us to take a look around at a general cross-section of society and realize that almost nobody looks like the actors and models we see portraying life?  We get notions of romance which stem from fantasy and set expectations for reality, then feel let down that true love seems unattainable, when in fact we are living in a perfectly beautiful loving situation.  We are fed carefully crafted information designed to promote [something, someone].  It’s called marketing, and it’s a product of capitalism. It’s reason for being is to pad someone’s pockets or promote someone’s power or influence.

It’s so exhausting to justify myself to myself!  Once I recovered from my initial reactionary response to the self-inflicted judgment of failure (since I’m not the CEO), I reminded myself that I had faced precisely such a decision in my early twenties — I recognized ‘career path’ and saw clearly that although I was and am quite capable of ‘success’, that the capitalistic model of corporate America was contrary to my soul, and although the financial rewards and professional accolades are or were tempting, the internal price of or for success was simply not worth it.  I made a choice.

In retrospect, I don’t know where or how I ever attained such wisdom (I am working on some theories), but I am grateful.  Before I’d ever read Buckminster Fuller’s Critical Path, and by the grace of God, I made the better choice, the more valuable choice.  My success isn’t measured in terms of social status, professional status, financial status.  My success is measured in terms of soul status, and it’s only measured by me.

Throughout these thought streams, some key words or concepts kept surfacing.  Source.  Core.  For whatever reason, I am driven by the need to understand.  Anything. Everything.  It consistently emerges as something core to my very being.  I don’t know why (but I’m working on some theories).

Here’s an aside.  I have this thing about connections and structures and origins.  Keys.  Some of the keys that I’ve noted in order to collect and frame my thoughts are the words ‘core’ and ‘source’.  These words resonate with my soul.  In the overlap of my personal life with my professional life, the relevant catchphrase du jour emerges, “Never outsource your core competency.”  Look at that — source, core, comp.  All neatly bundled in a span of five words.  This correlation is busy whirring about in a background process of my mind, and I’m certain that something interesting will come of it, when the forefront of my mind is ready.

I’m no expert.  On anything.  That is the nature of knowledge.  The more you know, the more you realize how little you know of what there is to know.  That is where my affinity for source and core stem from (oh, if ever I could learn how to express myself without dangling participles, split infinitives and any and all manner of grammatical faux pas).

The affinity for source and core spans both my personal and professional lives.  One can think in terms of platform or foundation.  If the foundation isn’t sound, what then?  Every conclusion drawn from such a basis is suspect.  Bad data.  This is where assumptions are dangerous.  Something can become common knowledge through careful marketing or accidental means, yet have no sound basis.  An example is the theory of evolution.  It’s proposed as a theory, yet is generally accepted as a fact.  It might be a fact.  I don’t know.  I haven’t been exposed to the proof.

The core value of what I do professionally relies upon valid source [data].  Finally I remember what I was thinking when I entitled this post, “who’s afraid of the big bad [data] wolf?”.  It’s all about bad data.  Foundation.  Source.

The society in which I live seems to be built on a basis of bad data.  Conclusions or definitions of things like success, beauty, worth, and value are vapor without real substance.

I stand in stubborn defiance and cling to the quest for source, with my own assumption that whatever conclusion(s) may be drawn will be closer to valid, and therefore have some real meaning.

Understanding, for whatever reason, is a hunger of my soul, and I am seeking the peace that passes understanding.  It is attainable, by some measure.  I’m sure of it.

from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard; and I have come for thy words

Many years ago I set my heart to understand.  It’s part of my driving force.  I don’t know why –it’s intrinsic to me.  I haven’t gotten very far.  Or rather, the farther I get, the more I realize how little I know.  I’m very slowly putting the pieces together.

March 31st, 2016 | 1 Comment »

I was going to title this “threads”, but when I fired up my computer, Pandora gave me Mason Jennings crooning something about your love.  What could I do, but comply?  It’s because, ultimately, this post will come around to being about a declaration of harmony and gratitude for such a love that I couldn’t have even imagined had I not lived the life I’ve lived.  The thread.  Mason Jennings.  One of the sweetest early memories of this present love was a silly karaoke session we had on one of our first evenings together.  It was winter time.  Possibly New Year’s Eve.  He had come over, and we were singing, but mostly I was singing and trying to get him to sing.  I can be persuasive.  Ahem.  So I eventually did get him to sing, and the song he chose was a Mason Jennings song (Your New Man –it’s a hoot!).  So.  There you go.

I’ll get back to him.  Meanwhile, I’ve just remembered the original thread I had in mind.  I was reflecting on past loves and moments.  I was thinking about the trials and lessons and various moments of beauty and pain and sorrow, and I was thinking about who remains in my life now, who has a particular place reserved in me, in my heart, just for them.  There are only a few.  I’ve always loved deeply and fully, with whomever I was loving deeply and fully at the time.  With time, however, healing has occurred and left remaining a warm and comfortable glow in which I finally see that I have lovingly let go those who needed to be let go, and loving retained in a gentle and altruistic way those who have their own special place in my life.  Everyone who has ever been has a very special place in my heart, in the depth of my memories.  But not everyone remains in my life, in my real world here and now.

I think back to the beginning.  JJW.  The father of my first two  unborn.  We were so young.  We were kids ourselves.  Those children weren’t meant to be.  We weren’t meant to be.  Yet today, here, now, we are friends.  We see a glimpse of each others’ lives from afar.  He has a wonderful wife, a true soul connection, a beautiful life that could not have been had we not been.  I am so happy that he found her and that he’s lived the rich and beautiful life that he’s lived.  Who are we to each other now?  Warm friends from childhood.  Nerds.  We reveal our stupid silly nerdy quirky selves in the occasional Facebook posts.  JJW.  Yes, he has a place in my life.  Smiley face.

Who’s next in my OCD lineup of present life former loves?  Oh.  JEM.  We text each other on our respective birthdays every year.  Every year!  Once in a while we’ll call, maybe once a year.  We inquire about family members, laugh about goofy old times, describe our children to each other.  It’s always sweet and sincere.  Genuine.  It’s especially sweet because we had ended badly, with such a sour taste remaining for so very many years.  I’m always grateful for this particular friendship, because my heart is so heavy when sourness lingers.

Then there’s DAN.  Mister Divorce Rebound.  Perhaps that’s the main reason why he lingers in the periphery of my present life, if Facebook status can be considered present life periphery.  I will probably always have a fondness for the one who gave me a glimpse of the possibilities that life held post-divorce.  Hope!  Of course we could never be, but I think we were meant to be when we were.  Maybe, also, we can be real life friends now, as with JEM, because enough years have passed to let the bitterness of the breaks fade and be replaced with the brightness of younger days.

This brings me to BXD.  Surely he’ll post a comment that I should have given him the BFD tag when I wasn’t able to google a middle initial in 30 seconds or less.  I think we each suffered our own kind of anguish and had to work through some layers of bitterness before the friendship was able to re-emerge.  I am delighted and grateful that it survives.  He is like a lifeline to me, because he understands the incomprehensible dark sides that are so  hard for anyone to understand.  He understands, because he lives with it too.  Depression.  The elephant in the room.  He is so refreshingly logical that I can fully trust that anything that I might run by him will be evaluated clearly, completely, and truthfully.  Also, our professional fields  have some overlap, so there’s something to be said about being able to talk shop.  We share sporadic flurries of email communications a few times a year.

As I’m finding these words to describe these chapters of my life, I’m counting the calendar time during which such life moments were defined.  Four years with JJW.  One year with JEM.  Four months with DAN.  Two, maybe three months with BXD.  Friendships fostered during a span of five and half years of my life.  I love that what surfaces in the here and now with all these friends is the laugh.  We chuckle.  We grin.  We snicker.  We chide.  The relationships we have are all grounded in levity and warmth.  It’s a beautiful thing.

And this brings me to the here and now, here and now.  EHB.  Nearly sixteen months and it’s as fresh and sweet and fun as the day we met.  We have so much fun together!  We laugh!  We talk for hours about all sorts of deep and interesting or crazy and ridiculous things.  We toil over projects at his place or mine, always with a smile and a spring in the step.  I wonder how much of our compatibility is merely because I finally sorted myself out.  Maybe he recently sorted himself out too, or maybe we both found ourselves ready at the same time, so somehow, miraculously, we just fit.  I don’t think I can explain it, but I certainly am grateful for it!

He’s nerdy.  I don’t know how many people actually know that about him.  I doubt very many.  He’s a cool cat on the exterior.  I love that he’s nerdy, and I love that he’s a cool cat too.

He’s thoughtful.  He’s a very internal person, so he thinks deeply about the things he thinks about.  I can take him seriously.

He’s fun.

Integrity means something to him.  I could go on and on, but I was working towards a conclusion of sorts.

The other day I told him that we should start counting down our anniversary (given that we have an anniversary), starting at 40, because it seems like we will have to be together that long in order to do the things together that we want to do.  All the books to read, the movies to see, the podcasts to hear, the places to go.  There is so much living to live!

And so I’ve finally come to the point of all this.  I’m finally here!  I wandered down paths with all sorts of twists and turns until now.  Every moment had its value.  And through it all, some friendships remain like glowing embers, softly warming the outer reaches of my heart.  I think I can say that I am truly making peace with my past, that I like my present, and that I have hope for my future.  I think I am finally on my way to getting over myself, so I am finally on my way!

 

February 6th, 2016 | No Comments »

Put your dreams away for now, I won’t see you for some time…
I am lost in my mind, I get lost in my mind…
Mama once told me “you’re already home where you feel loved”
I am lost in my mind, I get lost in my mind…

Oh my brother, your wisdom is older than me.  Oh my brother, don’t you worry about me!
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, don’t worry about me…

all you need is love ... love is all you need

all you need is love … love is all you need

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Again.  I’m making a serious effort to understand myself and the way I form my thoughts and the channels that I follow… I’m very conscious of time these days. I’m very aware of the years. I’ve arrived at this place called mid-life. My indentured servitude spans nearly 30 years. I have two young children. It’s up to me to shape them, form them and prepare them for life. And how can I do that, if I don’t have it figured out myself?! There’s a whole new generation of young people in my life, looking to me for guidance, and what can I give them? I’m fumbling along under a facade waving the fake it till you make it flag and hoping that nobody notices that I really don’t have it all going on. (To be fair to myself, I do actually have almost everything going on –I’m just trying to wrangle this emotional thangggggg…..)

I’ve been thinking about human behaviors. I’ve been observing the way insecurity manifests in people and myself. I’ve been thinking about self destructive thoughts a lot lately, and wondering where they come from, why they’re there, how to obliterate them, etc… It occurs to me that they are entirely manufactured! Not that that is any big news. I’ve known that all along, but somehow I am beginning to let it sink in, that any negative thoughts originate within myself. So if they’re coming from me, I can change my mind, and turn that ship around.  Easily enough said.

Certain thought streams tend to short circuit to emotionally unattractive destinations.  I intend to repair my mother board so that my thought streams lead to healthy destinations.

One of the show stoppers is that dangerous zone of caring what others think.  Why so much concern?  Why ANY concern?  Judgment…   It’s such a slippery slope!  The reality of the matter is that I don’t know what another person thinks or feels. Those thoughts are entirely theirs. Am I spending my time passing judgment on the people in my sphere?  Or  do I simply love them?  Ummm.  I simply love them.  So, uhhhh, hello?  Stands to reason, doesn’t it, in the most simplistic way, that not too many, if any for that matter, are spending time passing judgment on me.  Why would I bother to waste any brain space on wondering or dreading what others might think of me?  Good grief! And even if I were to play the devil’s advocate, what kind of ugliness might someone dredge up on me?  Her.  Yeah her.  She goes to work every day.  Yeah.  Imagine that.  She pays her bills.  Amazing. She lives within her means.  Unbelievable.  She takes care of her family.  Whoa.  She saves for a rainy day.  What the what?  She tries to make people smile.  Crazy.  Oh sure, she gets emo once in a while. She’s a sensitive creature with an empathetic nature, so of course the travails of others can take their toll if she’s not careful, but she’s wicked smart and kind of funny, so hey.  She’s all right.  Mmmmm hmmmmm, yes ma’am.  She’s all right.

Seriously.  It’s ridiculous to waste time and life energy on wondering what others think, and worse yet, assuming what they think.  That’s a one-man-band, honey.  It’s ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!!!  SMH…

Okay.  Sure.  I have issues.  Daddy issues.  I’ve written about it before.  WHY DIDN’T HE CARE ABOUT ME?  WHY DIDN’T I MATTER TO HIM?  etc etc etc.  The thing is, I did matter to him.  I just didn’t recognize it.  Where he could display his love, affection and admiration to and for my sisters, somehow he was unable to convey it to me.  Maybe, all along, I’ve felt irrelevant only because I’m not the charming vivacious spitfires that my sisters are.  Maybe it was difficult for him to find a way to reach me.  Who knows?!  But the fact is that I’ve carried an invalid assumption along with me for most of my life, that I somehow just don’t quite measure up to what I should.  And don’t you see?  That’s the comparison game!  Comparing myself to my sisters!  We are apples and oranges (as well as peas in a pod).  Oh how I love my sisters!!!  They are amazing people!  And we are beautiful in our differences and in our similarities.  As beautiful and amazing as they are, I am as well!  I just wasn’t tuned in to the same bat channel.  So I didn’t get the message.  That is SO tragic!!!  Fifty years old and only now just dawning.

Anyway.

One way or another, this post was meant to be about love, and how you’re home where you feel loved.  All this blah blah blah about the great “why am I the way I am?” question, but the crux of the matter and the bottom line is that happiness is that place where we feel home, where we are home.

I feel home.

This.

This is what life and love are all about.  This is everything.  Now is now. I’m living it. Now! I laugh, I smile, I hug my children. I listen.  I act silly.  I cook. I eat. I work. I take care of business. I keep up my home. I do laundry. I do dishes. I love.

I am happy.

January 15th, 2016 | No Comments »

Black boxes. Those mysterious entities of which the knowns are made visible on a strictly limited basis. You know. The need to know basis. The guzzintahs (inputs – what goes in) and the guzzoutahs (outputs – what goes out) might be evident, but the inner workings? Good luck with that.

I’m no stranger to depression.  Good gravy, that’s an understatement.  I’m the queen of understatements.

I’ve recently experienced new-to-me forms to which the only explanation I can muster is the tangled cocktail of hormones clashing within my body, wherever it is that they wage war.  Probably some minuscule region in my big giant convoluted and messy brain.  I dunno.  The ‘m’ word surfaces.  It’s probably the culprit.  Most likely.  But what do I know?

I will say, this latest bout was short-lived, and THANK GOD FOR THAT, because it was a whole new level of numbness and confinement that I’d never before experienced.  In a way, if I’d had the capability for emotion beyond numbness, I’d have been terrified.  Terrified because I could see clearly that I was absolutely stuck in a place that had no way in and no way out.  I didn’t know how I got there.  I didn’t know how I could get out of there.  I was just there.  Stuck.  In a box.  Stuck in a black box.  Stuck with no will for anything.  Living?  Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.  Existing?  Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.  Dying?  Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.

While I was there, I was at least able to battle myself with self-talk.  It went like this:

depression1

depression2

depression3

depression4

depression5

 

I did snap out of it later that afternoon.  Maybe the tides changed with the latest hot flash.  Who knows.  I’m left with mixed yearnings.  I want to be helpful to someone, anyone, with the experiential knowledge that I have.  If someone else at least knows that they are understood, even if there’s little to no explanation for the given emotional state, it gives a sense of comfort and hope.  I’m generalizing based on my own perceptions, of course.  The conflicting yearning is one that wants to distance myself as far as possible from things of this nature.  This is not a pleasant place to be. Or to think about.  Ever.

I’m calling a truce and settling for the moment with a blog post.  I seldom have the energy to actually polish my thoughts, so I throw this out as a placeholder and maybe one day I’ll revisit it.  Or not.

October 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
abby normal

abby normal

I am an INTJ.  Lest I forget.

It’s funny, given the broken record that is my life and my emotional state, that I don’t seem to recall, when it would be most helpful, that I am an INTJ.  I would save myself so much emotional anguish, were I able to remember that one small detail.  It explains so much.

Why am I so unlike most of the population?  Because I am an INTJ.  It’s normal (for an INTJ).

There is an explanation for me.  There is a category for me.

BAM.

Case closed.

Return to zen.

Amen.

And hallelujah to boot.

(p.s. I am a very Feeling INTJ. More like a borderline INXJ.  Which explains more.)

Posted in me, mental health
October 20th, 2015 | 2 Comments »
a matter of perspective

a matter of perspective

Night time, alone, I sit in my bed with my thoughts.  Music softly fills the background.  I sit with my back against the leather headboard. Toni Childs sings The Dead are Dancing. I sit, letting thoughts of my life drift through my mind. Tears stream down my face. My thoughts are in parallel with unuttered prayers. What is expected of me, come tomorrow? Mother. I’m a mother. Yet here I sit, late at night, cleaving to whatever fragments of thought I can visualize that represent me.  My essence. My spirit. My soul. My self.  I take this moment to find myself, to honor myself.  Otherwise, through the day, I live from moment to moment to moment, consumed by the myriad tasks and responsibilities that never end.

Tears.

Tears.

Tears.

So healing.

Could I even do this, sit in silence with my thoughts and my tears, if I were married? How do people who are coupled survive? They must be able to find the moments they need, no matter their life situation. Or maybe most people aren’t like me.

Probably.

I suppose I’m a rare bird.

Part of me hungers and aches for the feeling of being wanted. It seems so ridiculous, to spend a lifetime chasing such a fleeting experience. As if I’m missing something. Does anybody else feel this? Why do I? I feel so alone. I always feel so alone. Why? I am NOT alone! So how can I feel this? Why do the tears continue to stream down my face? I wish I knew.

~*~*~*~

Coping. How do people learn to cope? How do they learn about coping? When I was young, I had lots of headaches and tummy aches. As in, every day. Every single day. My sensitive nature has been with me all along. As an adult, here I am, 50 years old, pondering the notion of coping. I have a gin with olives that I’m nurturing, and a playlist of some of my favorite tunes set on shuffle, keeping me company. The boys are peacefully retired for the night. The morning reality includes a commute — 1.5 hours realistically; 2+ hours if conditions aren’t favorable. It’s excruciating for the gentle soul that I am to face that in the morning. Daily. Its so hard for me. So I sit here, again propped in my bed, tears streaming, thinking of the word ‘cope’. I’m coping.

Why am I not shaking my fist at the sky and triumphing? Why am I just coping? Everything is SO GOOD.

SO. GOOD.

My life is truly GOOD! So why am I struggling so? Will I ever make peace with myself? Is it all about me, when it boils down to it?

~*~*~*~

I don’t mind being raw. I don’t mind being vulnerable in writing these things that represent my moment, my now, my thoughts and emotions as they travel across the landscape of my mind and my heart.  Truth is truth. It’s courageous. I rock! I say what others might not have the courage to say.

And the dead are dancing again. Probably it’s meant to be, the way the music shuffles and certain songs repeat. All things have a reason.

Love. <3 I’m writing love everywhere. <3 Leaving love everywhere. <3  Cuz that’s all I am, when it boils down to it. Love.  <3

~*~*~*~

I don’t mind being raw. Truth is truth.

September 14th, 2015 | No Comments »
cherish is the word I use to describe...

cherish is the word I use to describe…

The word popped into my head a few minutes ago, and I had a train of thought I planned to explore, but have since forgotten.  Still, I will hold the title and keep on writing. Maybe it will come back to me.

There are so many interesting thoughts of late that I want to capture and ponder.  My boys spent three weeks with their dad.  Unprecedented.  During that time, I had the opportunity to take a grown up camping vacation.  I haven’t had so much grown up time in YEARS!

It was hard, to be separated from my boys for so long.  I had a few tearful moments.  I sort of wished that I had been able to plan ahead for that particular window of time.  I might have spent it differently, rather than work through the first two weeks.  I was ecstatic to be able to go camping, though.  It was important to me on so many levels.

When I picked up my boys, the early evening sun was shining and the color of their eyes in the sunlight was dazzling and mesmerizing.  Their eyes are a grey green rainbow of sparkling color.  They are so beautiful — they take my breath away.  I wanted to take a picture and capture those colors and that beauty, but my phone camera skills are lacking.  The emotion of the moment was pure joy.  Reuniting with my boys.  Oh how I lufffffff them.

~*~*~*~

While camping, I experienced a plethora of thoughts, sensations, and emotions.  Granted, it was likely due to a mixture of erratic blood sugar control, substance consumption, and the heat.  One day, I had a series of out of body thoughts that I found perplexing and worthy of further exploration.  It was almost as though I had a starkly defined split personality.  On the one hand, I was so peacefully content that I had found my way to this stage in life where I have the most amazing, comfortable relationship with a truly decent, kind, loving, capable, intelligent, fun and interesting man, with whom I can clearly imagine growing old with and loving deeply until the end of time.  On the other hand, there was this nearly over powering persona that I’d call Doom, who stood by, authoritatively looking down on me, telling me that I couldn’t or shouldn’t live like this, that it couldn’t be real, that I should just walk away and spend my life alone where I belong.  It was such a strong and defeating sensation, so physical, in fact, that I could almost feel myself being compelled to stand up, start walking, and just leave it all behind.  All the while, the other persona (who I will call the real me) looked on with disbelief and horror, saying, good grief, you’re not buying into this bullshit, are you?

In the end, I reasoned with myself that I have no control over another’s thoughts or feelings, nor do I wish for such control.  He’ll never purposefully hurt me.  If he loves me, he loves me.  If he wants to be with me, he will be with me.  If he decides we don’t fit after all, he will say so, and we will part on kind terms.  There is no need for fear or anxiety or second guessing or anything at all.  And the converse holds true in all cases.  I will never purposefully hurt him.  If I love him, I love him.  If I want to be with him, I’ll be with him.  If I decide we don’t fit after all, I will say so, and we will part on kind terms.  He isn’t worried or concerned about us.  It’s all very simple for him.  He loves me, he respects me, and that’s that.  Similarly, I love him, respect him, and that’s that.  So why does this nemesis of a personality emerge?  I suppose it’s a manifestation of fear, and it’s not welcome here!  I have to acknowledge that it tried to grip me, though.  I’m also grateful that he’s not saddled with these ridiculous emotions.  He is so very steady.  Unflinching.  Unwavering.  I truly admire that in him.  He is solid.

~*~*~*~

I wrote this ages ago, and it’s been hanging out in my drafts, along with the 200+ spam comments attached to my Presence and Life post that I can’t for the life of me figure out.  Search engines are blocked.  Somehow there must be a thread or fragment somewhere that the bots have found.  I don’t find it when I inspect my code, so I am perplexed.  Maddening.  Anyway.  Even though the moment is long over, and my emotions haven’t taken too much of a dark turn (in general) since then, I think it’s good to be able to preserve some of these thoughts for further exploration, should they ever resurface.

The photo is taken from the cover of this year’s journal.  I was diligent until mid-July, and not a word since.  Interestingly enough, that time frame seems to coincide with the time frame when my kids were away.  I’ve either been too busy, too stressed, or having too much fun to bother with daily summaries.  Certainly, life overall has been wonderful, as evidenced by the lack of lengthy self-psychoanalyzing posts (since June, at any rate).  One of these days I may find my way back to blogging about the beauties of this simple life I’m leading.  Facebook and Snapchat, while fun, are nowhere near as fulfilling, and the seeming constant monotony of working through difficult emotions makes for a very lopsided blog.  So.  Posts of alpaca adventures, tree felling, trail blazing, carburetor rebuilding, farmer’s markets, fantastical Lego creations, gorgeous grey-eyed kids, road trips, country vistas, water sport shenanigans, and such may be on the horizon.  Or not.

June 18th, 2015 | No Comments »

I have a LOT of time to think during my commute.  This morning I was watching my thoughts and my emotions as they swirled about, playing with and against each other.  There was nothing concrete; it was all very nebulous.  I noted that thoughts and emotions are completely different animals, so it’s almost futile to even attempt to manage or  understand them in the same manner.  Thoughts can be concrete and follow reason, so they can be grasped, given the effort.  Emotions,  however, are entirely different.  They are a form of data that requires a completely different translator.  The same rules of analysis don’t apply.

I’ve been wondering why certain emotions are surfacing.  Logically, there is little to no reason for anything but giddy happiness.  Life is so GOODMY life is so good!  Yet these emotions are surfacing and overtaking me.  Just when I think I’m all sorted out, grounded, steady, solid — BAM, tears are streaming from my face and my heart feels as though it’s clenched by an iron fist.

For some reason, I thought of PTSD.  It’s not reserved for battle scarred war heroes, you know.  Not that I want to assign another disorder to the list of labels already attached to me, but the words themselves –post, trauma, stress– align well with the emotional experience that I’m trying to describe.  I also thought of memories and associations.  So many associations stir fragments of memories that evoke buried emotions.  A song, the color of the sky, a turn in the road, the sound of a voice –so many random things in any given day can stir something up.

Memories are things of the past, and the experiences are over.  Any traumas and stresses were overcome, because they are in the past.  I am here.  I am healthy.  I am strong.  So why and how can an associated memory bring me to my knees and knock the wind from me and rob me of my now?  As I was pondering this, I wondered in terms of PTSD.  Maybe at the time I couldn’t actually process or deal with whatever it was.  Maybe survival was the only thing that I had the bandwidth for (and may the gods and my departed dad forgive my overabundant use of stranded prepositions).  Maybe, when caught up in the fray of whatever drama I was caught up in, all I could do was stay afloat and suppress rather than address the emotions and stresses du jour.  So maybe, because I’m no longer in sheer survival mode, the associations that stir memories release those emotions as though they are fresh.  BAM!  Ouch!  Me no likey.

I wanted to write these thoughts down, and I thought I’d entitle this post, “memories and associations” — it has a certain flair.  But it also rings a bell (hello?  how many things are endless repeats in this blog?), and so it happens that I’ve written at length about memories and associations before.  I re-read that post and thought, oh shit.  More tears.  I really needed more tears.

So here I am again.  I wish I knew a healthy way to address the emotions that overtake me.  I wish I knew how to pick and choose which emotions could overtake me.  I’d love to keep the giddy highs and dismiss the dark lows.  I bet it’s possible.  I just need to find the right decoder ring.

June 16th, 2015 | No Comments »

Stage I.  Darkness

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts regarding depression. Maybe it’s best not to make a global statement here and I will simply qualify this conclusion as a description of my own particular depression.

The state of being depressed is the inability to feel, see, hear, remember or understand love.  When I say love, I mean all love.  The love that others have for me, the love that I have for others, and the love I have for myself.  In short, a love eclipse.  Complete and utter darkness.

In the moments when I am stuck there, it’s almost impossible to imagine being elsewhere, because at those times there IS no elsewhere.  It’s a lost land.  Another world. Breaking free from that place is almost unfathomable. During those moments of darkness,my thoughts drift to the conclusion that life (in this form) is pointless and empty, and being gone would mean no longer feeling the desolation of the absence of love.  Add to that the vile voice from without, sneering the words “you are unlovable”.  At the same time, I yearn for loving arms to hold me, without judgment over my ridiculous display of ego, while my tears release the poison that somehow got stuck inside me.  Clearly (now that I am collecting my thoughts), the yearning for the external expression of loving kindness is to thwart those acrid words, proving that I am, in fact, lovable.  So yes, I feel the need for an outside source to envelop me, accept me, and let me be me, while I flush the icky stuff out.  Also at the same time, I am tempted to flee and sequester myself from humanity altogether.  I want to hide somewhere alone, curled up in fetal position, and weep until I am strong enough to emerge.  Meanwhile, another part of my brain also derides me for this despicable self absorptive indulgence.  I am well aware that in this place, my ego is running wild, an untamed beast.  I am also fully aware that, logically, reasonably, the balance of positive things in my life so far outweighs any measly negatives, that in reality there is absolutely no shortage of love in my life, and it’s almost inconceivable that I would or could ever get to such a place of despair.  I don’t want to feel like this.  Ever.  And yet I do.

It’s perplexing.  It’s embarrassing.

I got stuck there for a little while yesterday.  I felt it coming on the day before, and tried to power through it with various thoughts and reasonings.  I even went so far as to try the prescription my doctor gave me when I tried to describe this phenomenon of getting stuck once in a while.   In all fairness, the pill did help a little.  I could feel that I had taken something, and I could feel it maybe keep the wave at bay, but it didn’t keep it from hitting.  In fact, I felt disoriented the next morning, and that could be due, in part, to the effects of the medication.  At any rate, the eclipse happened.  I knew it was coming and I didn’t know how to diffuse it.  Bam.

Stage II.  Anger

I come out of it when I get some sleep and rest, and distance myself with a little time, but I noticed this morning that, although the darkness and despair is gone, something else lingers.  It’s like a constipation of the brain.  I’m nearly full up, blocked up, and have barely any margin for throughput, so the slightest inconveniences or irks or frustrations push me to the ragged edge where I feel like I’m gonna blow, and I just want to explode somehow, or smash something, break something, do something, anything, to get this detritus OUT of me.  It manifests as anger.  I start dredging up thoughts of other frustrations or experiences, etc etc etc, and think about how awful so and so was, and how horrible such and such was, then immediately turn it back on myself, because ultimately, I’m the one who made the choices that put me in the situations that resulted in the various unpleasant outcomes.  So then I chastise myself for my poor choices, for wafting through life with my idealistic notions that all people are good and nice and honest and loving and kind, and everyone deserves a chance because who am I to think that I am better than someone, or that someone is unworthy of me –rather than exercise a little bit of common sense and self respect to protect my heart and my soul, for God’s sake.  Ohhhhhh, I’ve already been down this thought path before, and established that I am The Fool.  I may yet come out of this diatribe emotionally intact.  So.  Anger.  Because I am not at liberty to break or smash things, I manifest with tears.  I must be quite the vision, should passersby glance in my car as I’m driving to or from work.  Sobbing, otherwise attractive woman behind the wheel.

Stage III.  Back in the Saddle

I’m glad that I took the time to try to capture these thoughts.  Well intentioned friends and family members may point out that I don’t love myself (enough, not necessarily at all), or don’t respect myself (enough, not necessarily at all), or that I don’t treat myself as though I am complete or whole.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It’s a whole helluva lot easier to see things from another perspective when you’re on the outside.  I don’t know.  This blog is testimony to my emotional struggles.  I should probably take some time to write about the joys and wins, but I’m generally too busy enjoying and living those days and moments to bother documenting them.  Writing out and working through my struggles helps me get back to my normal self.  I suppose it’s true to say that when I am caught up in a dark place, of course I’m not whole, of course I’m not complete, of course I’m not self-loving, of course I’m not self-respectful.  Which causes which?  If I were whole, etc, would I ever get caught in that dark place?  Or am I whole, except when I get caught in that dark place?

The mere fact that I felt it coming leads me to think that with proper and rigorous vigilance, I could thwart it.  And if that’s the case, maybe I don’t have depression at all.  Maybe I just have an untrained, untamed mind.  And if’n that’s the case, well I’munna beat that thang into submission.

Posted in depression, ego, me
June 9th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Being the vain creature that I am, I like best the photos in which I look lovely.  It makes perfect sense.  If I feel as though I look good, I might actually feel good.  Why is self-esteem such a strange beast for so many?  From our earliest days we are bombarded with images and ideas of what is pleasing and acceptable, and God help us if we don’t measure up to whatever standards are presented.  All that aside, it’s always been somewhat interesting, the disparity between how people see themselves and how others may see them.  This could hold true for more than just face value.  Ha ha.  Face value.  I slay myself sometimes.  What I mean to say is that the view  we have of ourselves, be it our emotional element, our mental element, our spiritual element, or our physical element, may vary widely from the view others hold as they perceive us.

Recently my mother expressed interest in updating her profile photo on Facebook.  She imagined that she must look so much better now than she did last year, as she’s lost quite a lot of weight since then.  Last year my sisters and I ditched our families and responsibilities for a weekend and descended upon our mom’s lair to celebrate her birthday.  We had a wonderful grown up girls time together, and even subjected our poor mother to endure a photo shoot in which we, the artists, applied makeup, arranged hair, advised wardrobe and took photos.  It was a time to treasure, in so many ways.  It was the first time we’ve  had a photo taken together.  Ever.  We were being girly.  My mother is NOT girly.  We would giggle when we’d notice her peeking at her reflection when she passed a window or a mirror.  She would scoff and grumble, but secretly we could tell that she was tickled by what she saw.  We all looked so beautiful, and not one of us under the age of forty.

glamour girls

I always see my sisters as beautiful, regardless of makeup, hairdo, or wardrobe.  They are eternal to me, locked in my heart as silken beauties with intelligence and abilities that span the cosmos.  We are KIM GIRLS!!  But I know with certainty that they don’t see themselves as the radiant beauties and paragons of humanity that I see.  I wish they did, because THEY ARE!!!

This year, while visiting my mother, I took a quick photo and showed it to her.  She was dismayed, to say the least.  The face she saw in the photo clearly did not match the visage she imagined.  I love the photo, though.  I love it because it’s a facet of our reality.  In this photo, I see, almost for the first time, our resemblance.  For most of my life, much of this resemblance has been masked by the prominence of my Korean heritage, but in this photo, it is very clear that we are cut from the same cloth.  This is a reflection of our everyday selves.  Unpolished.  Untamed.  These are the faces of a mother and daughter, 25 years apart in age.  She is 75 and I am 50.

peas in a pod

We both look dramatically different from the earlier photo.  We’ve gone from Vanity Fair to Mother Earth News.  Regardless of what I actually look like, I still prefer to imagine myself in a similar light as I see my sisters — timeless exquisite beauties.  And so it is, that I continue to wear the emperor’s new clothes.  But I’m not so vain that I won’t share a picture like this, that is more likely a representation of reality than any of the other pictures I share.  I can look at a picture like this and see a different kind of beauty.  I can see that I am my mother’s child.  She is, and always has been, beautiful to me.  A glamour girl like her own (and only) sister?  No.  A winner of any sort of popularity contest?  No.  An old hag in her own estimation.  But to me?  She is and always has been indomitable.  A pioneer spirit who can make something from almost nothing.  A tenacious survivor.  These are all beautiful traits that I am happy to inherit, should Providence be so inclined.

Posted in ego, family, me, mental health