Exploration

I've mentioned it a lot lately to the point where it is boring. I've been exploring who I am. It turns out, and I'm not ever going to be done this adventure, that I am complicated like every other person on the planet. There is nothing about me that makes my life any worse or better than anyone else's. I am everyone.

No one else knows my challenges. I have my own experience of everything and my reality will never ever match anyone else's reality exactly. I am unique.

From having this paradox , and many others, exist in my head all at once, I will never be at peace indefinitely. I will be angry and joyful and full of grief and exuberant and weeping with sadness and lost in amazement and paralyzed by fear and awestruck and sick with worry. I need all of those emotions to experience life fully. I am thankful for them all.

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My 7-Year-Old Self

My life is pretty near as great as it can be at this moment. I have shelter and food, a little girl, a supportive and loving and generous and off-center husband that I'm in love with, great friends, great family, am surrounded by opportunities to make my life even better, and finally, time to enjoy it all. These things have mostly always been, I just didn't see them as more important than the misery I was putting myself through.

I came to understand last week that I haven't been this sustainably happy since I was seven. Six months ago, I would have blamed events in my life for the amount of anger in my life. Mostly not people, but the events as I believed it was less caustic to those around me. Since then, I have seen that the anger was not even at the events for bringing out the anger in me, but truly at myself for reasons that I didn't know existed. The anger has grown in me since forever and got so bad that I forgot how to have fun. This tipping point made me almost unbearable to myself and was frequently directed outward.

A good friend of mine once gave me this card. I cried and asked, "Is this how you see me?" The response was of the positive. I connected so much with the feeling of this picture, the wild abandon of joy. There was only that moment and I ached with longing for that moment. I cherished the thought that someone could actually see that in me when I felt that I was losing it.


Everybody has a list of events that has made them more cynical, more sheltered, more untrustworthy of the world. I am letting mine go. There is no joy to be gained in protecting oneself. There is only joy in being vulnerable. I want to be there.

Being a good friend has always been very important to me. It turns out that as my anger grew, so did my ability to be a friend. I am examining every bit of data I have on friendship and still have no idea how to be a good friend as I once did so naturally.


My rules for being considered a friend of mine consist of two:
I MUST LIKE YOU.
I MUST TRUST YOU.

These two rules have a bazillion subset rules on what I like and what I trust, but these two rules are it. No time limits, no extra shoulds, just the connection between two people. Unfortunately, not everyone that I wanted to be friends with always wanted to be friends with me. Then, I had the realization that if I didn't like me, how could anyone else? If I didn't trust me, how could anyone else? I believe I was about 20 or 22 when this dawned on me. I took some time then to learn how to like myself and my life got better for a time.

I lost being able to like and trust me sometime since then and I can't even tell you when. So, if I wasn't a friend to myself, how could I possibly be a friend to anyone else? Everything I see in you is a reflection of me - the good, the bad, and the beautiful.

Thanks to Katrine for not knowing me at all and treating me more like a friend than I have in years. (I can't wait to hug you.) Thanks to cenobyte for showing me that vulnerability doesn't hurt as much as I thought it did. Thanks to Ril Badil for being so indulgent of me in our friendship (and teaching me that I only need one space between sentences on the internet). Thanks to all the friends from the past and current and future who remain or don't because you have all been wonderful, fantastic additions to my life.

And for the first time in my life, no validation required.

*****

If you are interested, BrenĂ© Brown is inspirational in her research around Shame and Vulnerability. These are two TEDtalks given in 2011 and 2012. The second references the first.

2011:


2012:

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An Inquiry on Change

Life of Choice? Here's my dilemma. Both sides are trying to control the other side and make them like us. Neither is truly tolerant of the others' viewpoint. I get outraged as the thought of someone telling me what to think. I do this on a good day, let alone, what happens when I'm already riled.

Doesn't social change mean that someone somewhere decides something is bad/good and that it needs to change. Then someone convinces (exerts their supposed control) over others and those others and those more until we have enough momentum for community, provincial, national, global change? The trouble is that not everyone will ever agree on what change is necessary. We all want everyone else to think like us (me) and are dumbfounded when someone else has a different idea about what's best for humanity.

Wars are waged because someone wants someone else to be like them.

I have been questioning why I shouldn't be open to racism. It seems ridiculous, I know. Isn't every viewpoint worth considering? What makes them wrong? Don't get me wrong, I want equality. But is there a point where I reject that racism is a valid idea when I become just as close-minded?

Edit: I had the opportunity to watch Jonathan Haidt on TEDTalks and he simplified my whole dilemma for me.

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Other People's Things


I associate certain things with certain people, like every extraordinary item with that theme belongs to that person. Take penguins, for example. Penguins belong to cenobyte. As do ducks, but other people are allowed to have ducks. And octopuses and rhinoceros also have owners for me. I can't help it. I think of these things all the time, but when trying to remember them outside of the object's influence, they are elusive. Snakes are a friend from high school who I still love dearly but have seen once in the past 15 years. Otters are R:tAG which doesn't really fit with that nickname, but they're still adorable. I love them, but they belong to him.

I've actually caught myself thinking, "You can't have that! It belongs to so-and-so," about a stranger picking up something in a store of that particular theme.

These associations may not actually be something that person really loves, but I have the association anyway. It's an odd way of categorizing people. I once made a mix tape of other people's favourite songs. It didn't matter to me if I liked the song, it was a reminder to me of them and how much I enjoy the person. Little Beggar Dude will always be Brock. The Headstones will always be Drang. I think the music list is bigger for me than the items I associate with people.

I still do this - surround myself with other people's things. It's like I can be near them whenever I want without having to bother them because it's 2 a.m. or I might get interrupted suddenly by Starbuck. It gives me time with the people I love a few moments in a day. Real life is better, but this will do in a pinch.

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Crime and Punishment

So there was this thing that happened. And I didn't really explain my actions because I thought I deserved the consequences being dealt. I do this. I think it's fair.

And now, I am realizing that I do this all the frakking time to the point where I think I deserve bad things because of those few bad things I did over my lifetime. That's not fair. This is one of those things where we say we want one thing, but our actions and thoughts actually get us the opposite - I want friends, but I move away from all my friends and don't call and don't write because I don't think they want to hear from me because I did a bad thing. I must punish myself for all these bad things I'm capable of doing - that everyone on the planet is capable of doing. I don't want to do them to people so I just shouldn't be around people anymore.

I'm hiding out in the countryside behind my baby girl. I'm hiding how dumb I feel when I have nothing interesting to say, hiding how I can't seem to let go of my rules of polite and respectful conduct until I can't stand them anymore and then hurt someone's feelings. I lash out to hide because I am flawed. Hiding so I can't hurt you.

I understand that every person on the planet has problems, we are all fucked up. And I'm saying it out loud because I need to accept that in myself before it is even remotely possible for peace. This doesn't mean that I'm not going to overreact ever, it just means that I'm going to try to see the choice I have.

Yes, I did those things. I miss you and I'm sorry for running away to hide.

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Waking To Me

Our immediate reactions to things do not define us. Those are behaviors of which every human on the planet is capable. Even though they seem to happen every g-d time we react at all, those behaviors are not our identity.

The choices we make with respect to those reactions are far more important. Do you squash them? Bend them to your will? Experience them fully? See them as f-d up and don't know what to do?

Prior to recently, my reactions were fueled by incomprehensible anger which was fueled by fear which was a fear of living fully. As I've said before, I am emotional. I took those emotional reactions, or over-reactions if you will, and if I didn't like them, created rules so I didn't have to feel that again. Slowly, my world had become rules upon rules upon more rules. It started somewhere, right? How does one undo all these rules to find oneself?

It does have to be explored - what is the consequence to not following the rules. For me, it was that I was unloveable. Ridiculous and unfathomable to my conscious mind, but deeply seeded in my subconscious. I have seen it every day in my life since finding this nugget of belief in my life. And I am more at peace because I can see it, but it does not rule me anymore. If I don't have a clean house, I am loveable is actually true to me now.

This is the world I'm walking in right now. And I've been kinder to myself in the past weeks than ever before in my life. I have to say that it is a remarkable thing to be truly gentle with oneself.

I feel like I'm waking up.

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I'm quirky, confident and happy. My friends say I'm generous, warm, reliable, and dependable. My mom, dad, and angel say I'm beautiful. I'm not perfect, but that makes me human.

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    Games We Play

    • Rune Factory Frontier (Wii)
    • Galactrix (DSi)
    • Arkham Asylum (BG)
    • Puerto Rico (BG)
    • Liar's Dice (BG)
    • Smallworld (BG)
    • Agricola (BG)
    • Blue Moon (BG)

    Happenings

    • House renovations
    • D&D with Kaz
    • Playing Eclipse with TWS
    • Preparations for Alien Invasion

    Books On the Go

    • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
    • What to Expect When You're Expecting by Murkoff
    • From the Neck Up by Denise Dreher

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