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. Walking Away Ignorant .

It has been a while since I’ve blogged. I see this as a sign I’m doing well with keeping my spirits up and remembering the tools in my mental health toolbox to keep me afloat. Something happened over the last week that has been weighing heavy on me, especially as I try to walk through it again in my mind. People were hurt, but definitely not intentionally. Their hurt was molded into an inability to keep emotions aside and the topic in sight: A request for education.

I debated on whether to input the topic of education, but I was accused of not really wanting to learn; which is far from the truth. So here it is…. I have questions about transgendered individuals. An acquaintance wrote her own blog about being transgendered, which prompted me asking if I could ask some questions. I prefaced it with, “I know my questions and thoughts are ignorant, but I’m looking to be educated so I can change that.” I am fully aware and accountable that my thoughts lean towards prejudice and ignorance. But, if I had some kind of understanding into the thought process, then maybe I can emphasize and change my view. But, right now, I am only working from my own presumptions from what I read and observe for myself. My observations, of course, are going to be very biased and lean towards my own ignorant thoughts. She assured me that we can have an open conversation, and she would answer my questions as straightforward as she could. This was definitely proved to be the exact opposite.

Now that the topic itself is out there, I further queried whether or not I should display the exact statements that enraged this person. As true with all my other blog posts, I am going to be very open and honest about what my ignorant thoughts are in hopes someone will reach out and have a very candid discussion, despite any hurt. The only way to learn is to ask, process, and work through hurt and pain.

  I don’t understand the pronoun importance. It’s even asked of new hires now. It’s on emails in the signature line. I just… do not understand how so many people get hung up on the pronouns. This thought bleeds into being “assigned a gender at birth.” This confuses me so much, it comes across aggressive when I talk about it. You were not “assigned” a gender. You were literally born that gender, due to the genetic make up of both parents. It is very black and white, literally from the first sonogram you get. How can genetics, or God if that’s your belief, be so wrong in SO MANY CASES? The response I received, instead of helping me understand was,

  “Who are you to gate keep what pronouns people use?”

That’s just it, I’m not trying to “gate keep” or anything. I just want to understand how this is suddenly a huge thing in our society. Where did it began.

 

The second area where I am actually rather passionate about, but if explained to me in a way I could understand, I could respect the view and opinion of.  I stated, “I am hung up on why Caitlyn Jenner (Bruce Jenner) got woman of the year back in 2015 for Glamour magazine. With all the struggles *women* are still going through, I feel someone like Malala Yousafzai would be a better candidate for this type of reward. I understand, and respect greatly, the struggles Jenner went through to finally come out open and advocate for transgendered individuals. I am in no way trying to take away from the pain and tribulations they went through. But, in my eyes, they have only been a woman for a minute. Women are still not being acknowledged for the greatness they possess. Such as, did you know that the first woman mayor of any major US city was right here in Washington State? Bertha Knight-Landes was the mayor of Seattle. I didn’t know this well until my early 30s. I’m from this state, and we NEVER learned this in history classes.  So yes, I feel a woman who has been a female her whole life, living as it, struggling like the rest has earned a woman of the year medal. I’m not saying that Jenner doesn’t deserve accolades for their struggle, pursuit, and change, just not this one. I feel like it diminishes all the hardships women have gone through since infancy. Instead of helping me understand, maybe change some of my views, I was met with,

  “Who are you to say who a true ‘woman’ or ‘trans’ is?”

And again, I’m nobody. I am a woman who has strong feelings about being a woman and the crap we go through on a daily basis; sexual, discriminatory, and so on. Hell, look at what happened to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. She’s doing her job, the job she was elected into. She was accosted at work by a man who is essentially her coworker. They both work for the American Government. . . Yet, no repercussions took place against him. Women have only been allowed in congress since 1949; same year Bruce Jenner was born. How does it make me a bad person to acknowledge and address, with facts, that women are still struggling to just be equal? I believe part of what the hang up with it is that I’ve completely separated “real born and bred” women with transgendered women. I think this may be seen as a backwards thought processes. But, there are radically two different types of struggles women and trans women have gone through. 

I understand that my opinion can be hurtful to a person who is tending to their own personal wounds. I will support you the best that I know how if we are friends, acquaintances, or even strangers.  Because this person I tried talking about it with was still highly emotional after writing her own blog, she grasped and hung onto the hurt, and launched back. I cannot, nor will I ever again, try to have a conversation with someone who is that high with emotional strife. It is not healthy… for anybody. I tried saying this. I replied back with, “We shouldn’t have this conversation over text anymore. It would be better in person.” I also tried, “Please, stop.” I eventually went radio silent. This person proceeded to message me through another service, apologizing and stating that she wants to help, she’s just in a bad place. She stated that it would be better in person, but she has to calm down until then. I wrote back, “I completely agree.” Which, if anyone has been in a domineering, abusive relationship, you know that even opening the lines of communicate leaves you open for more lashes. It started all over again. I then went on radio silent again, so they went to my partner, then they had their partner message me as well.

In all of this, I was called:

* Hypocrite
* Condescending
* Evil
* Disrespectful
* Playing victim

All because I stepped away from the anger, hurt, and backlash as a way to suffocate the fire that was wrecking control. I am not a victim. I am a fallible human being, with biased and ignorant views. I can’t just wake up and say, “Oh, ok my views are a lot better now.” I thirst knowledge and understanding. I have many types of people in my life; gay, straight, trans, bi, black, Asian, male, female, etc. I am also intelligent enough to know that my personal thoughts can be destructive and are definitely hurtful. I do not want to be this way. Which is why I tried reaching out. I’m hurt by all of this. My partner is hurt by this. I know this person is also hurt by this.

But I will say, the therapy I had for domestic violence, PTSD, and trauma helped me stop, back up, and disengage. I am thankful that I had the cognitive thought to pull back; even if that means I’m a hypocritical, condescending, evil person.

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. Learning to Dance Again .

First, I wanted to say, I created this blog coming up on ten years. TEN YEARS!!! I reflect back and think about why I created my blog and how it has grown into what it is now. I used to write a lot, almost daily, in this blog. I created this blog during a pretty dark depression state. The original title was, “365 Days of Gratitude”. I would force myself to post something, anything, during my thick haze of anxiety and depression that I was thankful for. Daily posts were needed at first. It was a coping skill to learn to work through the fog and practice mindfulness. My blog then became a morphed version of 365 Days of Gratitude and finally settled upon “Authentically Me”. As I have fully become the most authentic self I am at present.

Although my posts are more sporadic moments, and not daily as before, it’s where the magic happens; reflection and growth can actually be seen through the words. Seldom posts is actually a really good sign. It means, I have strengthened my coping mechanisms during depression to the point that it’s become habit. Through growth and self reflection, I now blog about what I’ve learned, observed, and how specifically it has enabled the growth. Holy Toledo Batman! I have come a long way. With that said, I’m here to blog about one of those growth moments that occurred last night.

I have been wrecked with insomnia, depression, and anxiety the last few nights. I couldn’t figure out why; I’m in a great place mentally currently. I have little frustrations, but they’re definitely small enough to work through without wrecking me. I’m in love with a great man, after taking much needed time to myself. I live on my own, first time ever. My health is okay. My bills are paid. My work is going really well. However, during this stage of contentment,  I have found myself sinking again. Instead of allowing it to consume, I use those previously mentioned coping mechanisms to dissect, process and define why the quicksand is trying to pull me under. The rabbit hole began with one facebook memory post. The memory I found myself reading was of an entry post-abuse I made here on WordPress (I’ve linked it if you wish to read or reread it):  Catching Up. 


I
re-read the blog I had written six years ago. I cringed and cried with each painfully written word. I put myself right back there, six years ago, when nerves were raw and self hate was afire. I remember that woman very well.  I allowed myself to feel each emotion as it presented itself. It was a reminder that it is okay to not be okay. In allowing myself to feel it, I also allowed myself to move past it while processing the feelings surroundings it; move past it is the key words. I didn’t unpack my baggage in Murkville and stay in the depression that greeted my arrival. I then re-read the entry again, but this time I did so in a therapeutic eye. I read the words like a Gypsy reads the cards, looking for the symbolism and meanings behind what I had written six years ago.

Six years ago I left an abusive man, in that moment and time, I also left behind my strong will, my strength, my individualism, my unique inner light that makes me, “me”. I left behind self-esteem, self-care, and so much more. I left in somewhat of a hollow shell. I wrote out a timeline so I could really dive into it all.

 

It’s been 6 years to the date on my first suicide attempt.

    • 1.9.14 – he kicked my ass, bad, after he got pissed because the pharmacy costs were more than I had in the bank.
    • 1.16.14 – kicked my ass for not showing up at his work to get him. We lived four blocks away.
    • 1.18.14 – he punched me in the face, while I was driving 70 on the freeway, because I got lippy with him. Or as he said, “running your fat fucking mouth”. He went to jail that night. I tried to kill myself for a second time. “The only way I’m going to get out of this is if he dies, or I do.”
    • 1.22.14 – is the date I fled.

Even in that numb and vacant blog entry six years ago, I still felt hope. I felt that “ME” was still in there screaming to be heard. I had ended the blog entry with three simple sentences.

But I will dance again.
I will love again.
I will love me first and far most. I, just as everyone else, is worthy of my love and respect.

1.3.2020 – Today, I reflect back and allow these three sentences to reverb throughout my soul.
“But I will dance again.” – Not only have I learned to dance again, I have embraced the dance, missteps, and routine. It all takes practice, my friends. Practice and patience with self. No more self-deprecating words when I make a mistake. No more berating thoughts when I’m too slow, too tired, too fat. I allow myself to be present, in the moment, and learn from whatever it is the Universe is trying to remind me of.

“I will love again. I will love me first and foremost. I, just as everyone else, is worthy of my love and respect.” MAN what a powerful statement I wrote, 6 years ago. SO Powerful. 

I never really stopped loving others; only myself. So the statement should say, “I will love myself, and learn a healthier method of loving others.” You’re allowed to be reserved with your love and kindness. Not everyone is going to reciprocate the same love you give them. SO STOP GIVING PIECES OF YOURSELF AWAY TO OTHERS, UNLESS THEY’VE PROVEN TO BE WORTHY OF THE BEST OF WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER. I am firmly against the saying that you can’t find love until you learn to love yourself. No, you can find love, as love is all around us, it more of what kind of love you attract depending on what you see in yourself. I learned that I am worth loving, even loving myself first and foremost. I am a pretty awesome gal, I wish I took the time to get to know me earlier in life.

What does all this mean? It means that subconsciously the trauma stays. It will resurface unknowingly, at random times, without preview. It means that it’s all in how you receive it, you can either allow it to blindside you, knocking you down for the count. Or, you can acknowledge it lingering, welcome it in, and work with it to heal through whatever the subconscious message may be.

This time, my message was simple, “Look at how far you’ve come. You have an amazing love of self, love of life, and attracted an unbelievably great person to be your partner.” Six years ago, I knew it was possible, it was just my inner self working hard at making my full embodiment believe it. I really wish my DV therapist, DV group, and my personal therapist could see me now. Man, what a success I am.

Will I be A-OK from here on out? Mostly.
Will depression and anxiety be a thing of the past? Definitely not.
Will I be able to navigate rough waters when a storm presents? Oh to the Hell YES.
Will I still need depression medications? Most likely. (Nothing wrong with medications, as it is an illness not an attention seeking attitude). 


2020 – I BELIEVE
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”- Vivian Greene

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. Life and Lotus .


“I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.” – Rune Lazuli

Holy Emotional Flashback Batman!

 When things like this come up in your memory feed two things can happen. It will either cause reflection, or, it will cause a crippling domino effect. For me, reflection is deep today.  If you had met me five years ago, when this screenshot was taken, you would have found the crippling, devastating effect.  I was still being triggered daily by the abuse. In that dark, murky mud, I never thought I’d come out healthy. I never thought I’d be able to bloom. No mud, no lotus. 

I have seen jewelry with the quote, “No mud, no lotus.” I never fully understood it. I knew the gist of it, the organic earthen side. The lotus doesn’t grow like most plants, dirt, water, sun, air. The lotus grows deeply rooted in murk and mud. It is surrounded by bugs, pests, fish, algae, and a deep, dark, dankness. Sometime around my 40th birthday (three years ago) a light went on and I fully recognized the correlation between life and lotus.

“The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud.” – Buddhist Proverb

The lotus gained its symbolism because its life begins deeply rooted that mucky, muddy pond. Even though it begins in mud, as it blooms, each individual petal is unblemished, unscarred from the the mire below. The lotus represents growing through adversity, trials, tribulations, and conflicts. The lotus represents the strength it takes to bloom in spite of, and when it blooms the beauty she shares with the world is indescribable. 

“A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana” – Buddhist Proverb

The word karma is from Sanskrit, where, fittingly, it refers to one’s work as well as one’s fate.  I could have very well ended up the murk and mud, being pulled under into the sludge. I could have listened to the horrible things that were said to me during the time of abuse. I could have believed the truth of my worth is held hostage in the echoing of those words. I just could not connect to who I was anymore, as I could only see myself through his eyes. “Toad”, “Worthless”, “It’s like putting makeup on a pig”, “Unwanted”, and so many more.

I was determined to overcome. I was determined to do the work and push my authentic self through his sludgy marsh. I was not his words. I was not his abuse. In that moment, five years ago, I was weakened by his constant attempts to suffocate me through social media and stalking. I wanted to wipe away anything and everything that defined me; my poetry, my artwork, my photography…. Me.   I am the lotus.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet. – Gandhi

In the five years since, I have worked hard on me; every single aspect of me. I am not perfect, but I am accepting of my flaws. I no longer reside in the suffering. I have moments where wounds reopen, but they do not overpower me. These wounds are areas seen that need additional healing. I ask myself, “What was the trigger?” and “What would be the best way to work through this?” I take the blood from my wounds and and form a new petal.   I am the lotus.

Now, as I sit and reflect on that moment and move into mindfulness, I am amazed and proud of myself.
I have an amazing job.
I have a great little studio apartment, with relaxing zen garden.
I have successfully purchased my own car.
My pugs are happy.
I am genuinely happy.

But this grew from nothing. This grew from self hate to self love. This grew from his poisonous swamp to my sunlit soul. 

I am the lotus.

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. Disconnected Attachments .

Kondo

There has been a lot of discussion, negative and positive, around Marie Kondo’s “purging your life, decluttering your space” comments. “Get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy…” has prompted a firestorm of meme’s in her honor; a lot of which are in mocking or attacking way.

As I sit back in my (yet again) new place, I think about this last move and the process of moving overall. It has taken this move, the 5th in two years, for me to identify why this is such a source of anxiety to me. It also took a discussion with my housemates to help me process further, and a comment from a friend who defined the root of my anxiety to finite detail. It all comes down to de-cluttering vs. attachments. So, I would like to offer another perspective on the sentiments Ms. Kondo has shared.

Before I go into the deep seed by the name of, “Anxietatem Inordinatio” that has been growing and taking root within my soul, let me share this last move to you. We received notice in January that our previous landlord decided not to renew our lease. Our lease was up at the end of March, however, we discussed with the landlord if we could be out a month earlier; she wanted to move family into her rental and we had an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. We decided, that this time, this move, we were hiring movers. Such a novel idea, pay someone to move your crap for you. However, the reality is, you’re still responsible for sorting, purging, and packing your items. Thus watering the rooted seed that was planted deep within my soul at a very young age and spreading throughout my psyche with rapid strangling vines.

Packing. Sorting. Purging. . . yet again in my life.
Packing. Sorting. Purging.
Which should really read, “Water. Sowing. Sprouting… these suffocating roots taking hold of my soul again.” So the gist is, this simple act of packing is a huge trigger for anxiety. I was triggered. I was anxious, snippy, pissy for a month prior to “THE MOVE”.

As a child we moved A LOT. So much in fact, I believe in my primary years I attended every elementary school in the Kent School District. In my teen years, I was in/out of foster homes, lived with friends, never really knew where I’d lay my head or what crazy was going to uproot my false sense of security again. The only time in my life I can remember staying in one place longer than a year was during my marriage. I perfected the art of packing, purging, moving, and unpacking.  All of this relocation has carved a canyon in my soul that is filled with anxiety, disconnection, and depression. I learned transitioning into adulthood this way of life is my “norm”, it is just the way it is. I am now finding that the learned responses are not normal, my life just was not normal.

  • I learned that material things were replaceable, but never were replaced.
  • I learned that getting attached to material items only gains more hurt in the end.
  • I learned that people are easily to befriend, but hard to maintain friendship with relocation after relocation.

From these “norms” I formed rules.

  • If I haven’t seen it or used it in a year, donation or trash it is.
  • If it’s one of the, “…last minute items” tossed into a box, it’s probably trash or donation anyways.

Whoah… As a 42 year old woman (almost 43) the realization that that’s a lot of my life I haven’t retained, maintained, or stayed attached to. I’ve thrown a lot out, from pictures to people. A lot of youth who are in the system try to hold onto and keep any item that reminds them of their “safe place” or “home”. I was the exact opposite. I have mastered the practice of disconnect and not attaching to anything that’s “given” to me. It’s things that can be replaced, maybe. In a sense, I would like to defend Ms. Kondo. I fully understand what the sentiment behind what she was trying to teach, “If it doesn’t bring you joy…” I think that a lot of those who are mocking her for her statements on non-attachment are missing one key point, she’s Japanese and Zen Buddhist. Non-attachment doesn’t mean to dismiss all from your life and disconnect. It means to not allow materialistic items, negative relationships, or such own you.

I’ve compared life to a river. There’s no aspect of the river that’s permanent. The water that’s flowing is continually changing. The very edges and banks of the river are constantly eroding and sand is being carried away. If a big storm comes, and the water rises, the shape of the river can change. The water finds a new path and that becomes the new path of the river. So there’s not aspect of a river that’s permanent. Life is a lot like that. There’s no aspect of life that’s permanent. It’s when we get caught up in those moments of making things in life seem permanent that we run the risk of becoming attached. So when we attach to the permanence of things, then those things start to own us.- Noah Rasheta

In my possession are a few items that do spark joy, as Marie Kondo mentions, and has travelled to and fro by my side. I have a old school Mickey Mouse stuffed animal that has been mine since I was around 3. I kept a rocking chair that my grandfather won for me back in 1976, before I was born. I only got rid of it this year after major weather damage from being on the back patio. It was sad to see it go. But, it’s just a material item, the memories I hold of my Gramps is far greater than anything he’s ever given me.

I also have a handful of friends that have been with me since junior high (1989-1991) and seen the chaos that is my life.
Kevin, I love you to the moon and back. There is no question about that.
Veener Schliden, You’re my sister from another mister. I’d fight any dude for you.

1993 – THE BEST SUMMER of my life, downtown Seattle, WA.
The day McDonald’s never knew what was coming.

Overall, however, I find that things that bring me full joy in life are the things in this moment. As much as I collect items like Star Wars or Wonder Woman, I know that in the event I need to purge them, they can be replaced. I know that these materialistic pieces that are being donated will make someone else’s day, and I’m okay with that. 

  • My pugs on either side of me, nesting in bed, while I read or play on my phone.
  • Any and every time my son tells me he loves me.
  • A hearty laugh with my best friend.
  • Inside jokes that took 15 years to marinate and still tickle my soul each day.

Satisfying, comforting, and safe memories that are being made each minute of my day. These are the things I choose to hold on to.

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. Content of Your Soul .

I watched the video/commercial. I am stating my opinion, which may be biased as a woman, but here we go. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this commercial.
 
If anything, I find it empowering, for BOTH men and women.
 
If anything, I find it validating, for BOTH men and women.
 
If you’re a man who is finding issue with a commercial or company promoting respect, then the issue is not with the content of the commercial, but the content of your soul.

We are in the midst of an awakening within our society. People, men and women alike,  are beginning to hold each other accountable for unacceptable behaviors.

Women no longer need to remain tight lipped with grace over inappropriate behaviors, comments, or actions towards them or their bodies.

Women no longer need to, “smile and giggle” when there’s an unwanted ass grab. 

Women no longer need to accept unsolicited dick pics in private message while active on social media.

Men no longer need to remain “tough” and carry the persona of “strength” when bullied, belittled, or mocked for showing emotion.

Men no longer have to hide their “less than masculine” hobbies or interests. I have male friends who find that over the last 10-20 years, aspects of their “male persona” have changed. “I used to be uncomfortable with my wife’s purse in our cart. Now, I just don’t care.”

Men are even allowed to show support in one another without it looking, “Gay”.

If toxic masculinity is, as Piers Morgan says, “… pathetic global assault on masculinity,” then why is it even a hot topic? What I am finding is that men who are offended, protesting, and boycotting like Piers Morgan, are avoiding the question of whether or not they’re actually guilty of these very behaviors.” (compiled with the fact that a lot of them I’m reading on social media haven’t actually WATCHED the video). Don’t come at me with your defensiveness if you haven’t fully educated yourself on the topic at hand.

Just to be clear, Gillette’s ad does not implicate all men as those who act in this manner. This ad promotes that all men should hold each other accountable by calling out the behaviors.

This is not attacking “all” men for this behavior, it’s attacking the behavior itself. If those seeing this as an attack on “all men’s” masculinity, then it’s not the commercial with the issue, it’s your perception of masculinity that is.

“The gender doth protest too much,  me thinks. “

Maybe it’s time to actually discuss and define, “Toxic Masculinity”? What I have found researching the new coined term, “…a manifestation of Patriarchy that both harms men, and causes men to be violent and aggressive against women and occasionally other men.”

Personally, for me, it is when we even need to call out “boys will be boys” mentality. It’s when we tell girls that, “…it means he likes you if he pulls your hair”, as opposed to teaching our sons that pulling hair is not way to express your crush on a person.

Or, the doxxing of female game programers, artists, geeks, nerds, cosplayers, and activists who fight against the men who feel women have no place in the gaming cyber geek world.

Women, such as Brianna Wu, had all of their personal information released online opening avenues of abuse from men worldwide. “One tweet said, “I’ve got a K-bar and I’m coming to your house so I can shove it up your ugly feminist cunt.”

If you do not see an issue with this, then the problem isn’t Gillette, again, it’s you and your belief systems.

Another example of abuse because of gender and nationality, Kelly Marie tran. Who had this to say when she penned a beautiful statement as to why she’s leaving social media. She was mocked and harassed for everything from gender to weight, from role to ethnicity. The attackers took open hunt on her instagram and even her woookiepedia page.

Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories,” Tran wrote. “Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was “other,” that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them. And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”

Or, how schools push and shame their preteen to teen girls about their clothing, as opposed to teaching boys to respect women and their bodies, and then punish them for wearing shorts and tank tops in 102 degree weather.

Our daughters are raised with vile, sexually charged advertising in EVERYTHING, but then shamed if they immulate the very examples they’re taught. Toxic masculinity is defending and promoting advertisers like Abercrombie & Fitch or Carl’s Jr, who make a point of objectifying women, and encouraging the behaviors behind it. There’s even a study that shows men and women (BOTH) are affected mentally by these types of advertisers. (Sited Resource) This study has found that sexualized advertisements could have a negative effect on men as well as women .

Final example of toxic masculinity, in my eyes, are the sheer number of sexual violence and assaults that do not get reported. Why? Because women aren’t taken serious when they say they are victims.

Do you know how many rape kits have sat unopened, unexamined, untested? In my state, Washington State, according to a 2018 statewide inventory conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, 6,460 backlogged. If that’s just one state, imagine the numbers for our whole nation. It doesn’t help when certain celebrities promote these ideals

If toxic masculinity isn’t a thing, there wouldn’t be NUMEROUS social media pages dedicated to showing that women are property/meat, and men deserve all of it no questions asked….
Because, as Piers Morgan says, “Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men. Sexually harasses coanchor.

More sources:
Women Women Refuse

#MeToo

Addressing Gender-Based Harassment in Social Media: A Call to Action
Rachel N. Simons, The University of Texas at Austin

End the Backlog – Accountability Project by Joyful Heart Foundation

Justice and Research Statistics Association

#Gillette #MeToo #Empowerment #Toxicmasculinity
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. Manifestation .


I personally think that being a high functioning depressive is more exhausting than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life thus far. This is coming from a woman who has experienced everything from single motherhood (SO exhausting) to abuse (childhood and adulthood, even more exhausting). I’ve experienced sleep deprivation, burn-out, and extreme work out fatigue. The exhaustion that comes from depression is a whole new level. A level that there are no valid description options to fully define what my mind and body are doing to me at present.

I’ve discovered that my depression is manifesting in new ways. It was not fully acknowledged until I had a discussion with my housemate about her anxiety. She told me the cycles in which her anxiety has morphed every time she feels she has a handle on it. We both have had therapy, and both have learned tools to combat stressors when we are triggered. I utilize those tools on an almost daily basis; painting, writing, my pugs. But still, it’s there lingering like a painful hang nail that you’re not ready to cut off just yet, but causes mild pain when poked wrong.

Here I am, going along with life, feeling mighty fine, owning my place in this world only to find out that in the back of my subconscious is a negative world. I mean, I have known it to be there since childhood. I learned how to navigate this world with ease. I’ve learned where to change focus, self direct, and change the self talk. But it never truly goes away, does it? It will always be there. So, again, here I am actually enjoying life. I mean, what do I have to complain about? I have a great job. My housemate is one of my best friends, and coworker. My bills are taken care of. I have some cushion financially. My son is such an amaze-balls young man. My pugs are the bestest doggos ever. I have a routine where I’m able to contribute to and create my artwork. What is to complain about?

Over the last month or so, I have honed in on the fact that I am bloody exhausted. I mean totally wiped out. Or as Grandiloquent posted, “Forswunke“; knackered. I know a lot of this empty and exhausted feeling derives from the fact I have no vehicle now. I am a bit cabin fevered and reliant on my housemate to get me to and fro.  I am pretty sure this is the epicenter of my current depression manifestation.

I could sleep at any given moment, just give me a comfortable spot and light’s out. This is new for me. I mean, I’ve always been a gal who thoroughly enjoys her naps, but this is different. Weekends consist of waking, feeding doggos, feeding my face, and being awake for maybe two hours. I then go back to bed for a couple more hours. I cycle like this all weekend. If it weren’t for my work responsibilities M-F, I am afraid I’d have no living existence on this planet. I know for a fact that when I had my own car, I was able to go do outdoorsy things. I would gather up the puddles of pugs and head out to geocache’, or something similar,  which I know would combat the murk and mire. 

On a subconscious level, I believe my inner guardian knew this was an indicator, and began putting my therapy tools to use. I have been working a lot more on my art and painting. However, I have also been spending more time “zoning out” on my phone. Two things I do religiously when I start to feel a slip in mood regulation. Fast forward to a few weeks later, and after the discussion with my housemate, I’m starting to take note on the various forms of manifestation outside of the sleep patterns. I am not getting good sleep, at all. I don’t wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated. The cup hath runneth over…. as the lack of sleep has created a muscle weakness. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon every day. My ankles, knees, hips and lower back are always aching; albeit, my weight is a huge part of this. i know when I’m getting out more they don’t hurt nearly as much. I also know that when I’m tired, when it’s combined with my sarcoidosis, my legs cramp. I have this uncontrolled jerking twitch when I try to relax at night. It makes it virtually impossible to fall asleep. 

I’ve always been a firm believer in allowing my emotions to be exactly what they are. Emotions were stifled so much so growing up, that I internalized a lot of them. They would usually manifest in an angry, anxious explosion. Things were said that weren’t meant. Actions were done that weren’t intended. I finally found a therapist who broke those flood gates. I cried, literally, for two days straight (over EVERYTHING). My ex-husband thought I was broken. He kept asking me, “How do I stop the flood?” Since then, whatever emotion arises, I allow it to take course and I cater to the needs my emotions are trying to convey. However, lately I am unable to “emote” properly. I am on edge and feel like I could cry. If I could cry, I would. It’s like a sneeze that’s right at the tip of your nose, it tickles and you can feel it coming on strong… but nothing happens. My cry function right now is like that. 

Speaking of sarcoidosis, and breathing issues, this is a new manifestation for me. I don’t feel like I can breathe. I can’t get a good, adequate, oxygenated breath in. The more I try, the more I panic. The more I panic, the more I try. Vicious cycle yo’. My biggest fear is suffocation… and here I am with a disease that causes me to feel like I can’t breathe. Irony is thick with this. I believe it’s cellular memory from being choked in childhood. I believe it’s a lingering, evil, manifestation that developed into a legitimate disease. So the inability to breathe like a normal person is causing even more exhaustion. It’s like a work out to breathe right now.

Finally, I feel on edge with panic that everything good in my life is going to crash… again. That’s just how it’s always been. I have a review coming up, so, immediately I think I suck and I will be let go. I have no control over it, but I fret and fester until the actual day of review. So healthy, right? I’ve been debating back and forth on reinstating my therapy. I just do not want to go through the whole reintroduction with a new therapist. The one who helped me SO much, who walked with me through every tribulation with ease and guidance, is no longer providing care. She had a lot of her own life struggles rise and had to remove herself from it. It takes a lot for me to connect and trust a therapist, she’s the only one I have ever been able to. She didn’t spit typical psych 101 crap. She seen a hole tear in my psyche, and to pushed through it and made me focus on it. Fuck I loved her. But, here I am again afraid that I may be going down that path I’m oh so familiar with. I just don’t know if I have the strength or patience at 42 to start that process over again. And yes, I am on anti-depressants. I’m worried they may not be effective anymore.

So, there you have it. Depression is like a bacterium that has learned evolution; a bacteria that can adapt to ever changing environments (like antibiotic resistant strains). It has found weakened aspects of my psyche, taken hold, and morphed into a new ugly demon to fight. My fight right now is exhaustion. The weapons of choice are not working, at all. I don’t know how to battle this new being. That alone is causing greater depressive angst.

 

 

Changing · Consumerism · Gratitude · Greed · Happiness · My Life · Spirit

. Less is More .

So, there I was, standing at the sink doing dishes… so many dishes for just two people; my housemate and I. The sheer amount of flatware to wash, ugh! Anyone who truly knows me, knows that dishes are not the chore of choice. But there I was, swipe, wipe, rinse, repeating and staring off into the nether realm. It was in that moment that I fully understood the meaning of, “less is more.”

When my housemate and I moved into our duplex, we had two spoons, two forks, a number of plastic flatware, and I think one butter knife. This absolutely drove me mad, so I went out and purchase a flatware set for six. It was this decision that I realized doing the dishes I made a grave mistake. When we had the few utensils we had, we were forced to be proactive and actually tend to the dishes, almost daily. With the ease of having a plethora of spoons to choose from, we no longer stayed up on doing our dishes. Abundance equates laziness. 

How does this apply to the rest of my life? In so many ways, food, clothes, knick-knacks… just so many things. Things I do not need, but want.

I realize that this is another avenue of seeking balance in my life. I have decided that I’m going to attempt to use less, starting with flatware. 

Beauty · Changing · Compassion · Happiness · My Life · Self Esteem · Spirit

. Scheme of Things .

 

My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents,
and I lay them both at His feet. – Gandhi

In the grand scheme of things, we are told that “love your neighbor, do onto others, etc” is the golden rule. However, that is just a snippet of the actual “golden rule”. There is a second half that we so quickly forget.

In Buddhism, “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
In Taoism, “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”
Even in Christianity (The most debated, discussed, and wrongfully interpreted religion outside of Muslim) says, “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.”

The part that we so quickly put to the side is the aspect of respecting and loving yourself. It is so easy to do onto others in a respectful, friendly, positive way. I know personally, loving and respecting myself is the biggest hurdle to jump in this lifetime.

How many times have I heard, “Would you say that to a younger Regan?” “Is that something you would say to a friend?” All preceding some negative self talk that escapes my lips. What if the golden rule isn’t do onto others, but really, Do onto yourself and the rest will follow?

When I meet my maker and my negatives are brought forward in question, it will be easy for me to acknowledge the mean side I’ve projected onto others. However, when questioned about my self love, I know that I am going to stumble over my words far worse than a young mom navigating through scattered lego blocks with bare feet.

The hardest part for me is the knowledge that this takes place on a daily basis, I’m rational this way. However, my emotional maturity is lacking, and I am blank on how to correct this. I would hope that my maker isn’t such a malevolent God that I’m banished to some personal hell to replay on repeat daily. I would hope a loving God would guide and teach like a mentor.

I do love so many areas of my life, my employment, my friends, my freedom. I sit here at 42 and realize I do love myself, but damned if I didn’t learn this way later than I could have.

I figure I have about 20 more years of life ahead of me. Here’s to due diligently focusing on the Golden Rule, “Love yourself first, and the rest will follow.

My Life · Spirit

. Spiraling Vicariously .

Let me preface this by saying I know I am far, far from perfect. I have triggers that cause irrational responses to negative stimuli, but only after repeated instances and lack of respect. I have learned, practiced, and instilled the art of reflection, processing, and establishing my boundaries around those triggers. This week I am finding myself trying to stay afloat in others mental chaos.

Scenario One: One housemate is unmedicated Bipolar II; I shall call her Princess. She actually seems proud of the fact that she’s not taking her medications and in a serious rapid spiraling with a heavy lean on angry, negative, violent mania. She uses it as a crutch to treat everyone around her like shit, and gloats about it. Everyone who is around her allows her to do this. She makes threats of stabbing, hurting, or attacking and people bend at her will. Her words, actions, behaviors are very  C-PTSD triggering. “Worst decision I made was helping you out.” . . . . She can’t even help herself.

Same housemate will drop an opinion on you, but when you try to discuss another view point, she freaks out. If you’re going to come at me with a harsh opinion on something, you have to be open to a rebuttal or opposing opinion. Conversation is not ALL in your hands. If you don’t want a response, think twice before stating something. Instead I’m met with, “You better watch what you say, remember last time you said something.” And, “blah blah blah. This conversation is over.” Who does that? You don’t rule my world, the world,
only yours.

Scenario Two: Homeowner/Landlord. She’s constantly in pain due to her Fibromyalgia. But again, it’s a crutch to detach and not give a rat’s ass about her home, her pets, or herself. I’ve tried, calming and rationally, to ask her to establish rules and boundaries in the house that regulate the crazy housemate 1 is causing. I’ve been met with a “Martyr / “Woe is me” Eeyore attitude. She refuses to put stipulations down to prevent the aggressive threats of bodily harm from housemate 1. I’m not too sure what it is, but she’d rather go off on me in a way warped manner than to nip the shit in the bud.

I’ve been pushed to my limit; over my limit. I’ve asked politely and have been met with a shitty response. Some of the basic quotes from tonight’s blowout:

Landlord: “I’m most likely going to die in a week.”
Me: “No. You’re just in pain.”
Landlord: “Oh that’s right, you’re so much smarter and know everything” (insert tears here).

Landlord: “You’re killing me. Right now, you’re killing me.”
Me: That’s a bit much.
Landlord: “I’m on the verge of suicide, and you’re killing me.”

Landlord: “That’s fine. Whatever. You’re not going to pay me anyways. “
Me: Excuse me? IF anything, I have always communicated funds, been open, and have paid you FIRST and foremost of anyone I owe.
Landlord: “Whatever. I don’t care about any of this. I just want your money.”
Me: Okay. You just want my money. Okay. I want a safe home to come home to.

I’m killing her because I’m asking her not to be passive aggressive in regards to house chores, and actually address the issue at hand. Princess brings days worth of dishes up from her room and dumps them into the sink. She doesn’t do her own dishes, expects everyone else to do everything for her. Landlord does dishes and sends me a nasty passive aggressive message about doing dishes. Um. I DO my dishes. I even CONTRIBUTE to the house with dish soap, sponges, etc.  But no, she won’t say anything to Princess, nope. There’s really an unhealthy disconnect with these two; which makes them great housemates for each other. It’s a weird symbiotic relationship. It’s the blind leading the deaf. It’s unhealthy.

I also have the right as an adult and human being to express my discomfort. I pay rent. This is supposed to be a safe place. It’s not ATTACKING another if you request a meeting to discuss calmly the concerns you have. You escalated way before I could even fathom doing so. 

So, what do all the triggery issues do to me? A lot, from mental to emotional to physical.

First, I start to panic inside. I immediately go to a doom spot. My actions to prevent that, speak out about my concerns. When those concerns are neither heard or rectified, I go very internal.

When I go internal, I literally feel like my physiological self is trapped in a box and it starts to lash out trying to break out. I get IBS, headaches, inability to sleep. I get super depressed. I begin to question everything; my movements, my thoughts, am I bothering anyone.

As I descend into the depression, I find myself pushing. Pushing people, pushing buttons, pushing away. I give things away. I delete friends from contacts or social media. I’d rather push you away than get into a place where anxiety and fear open the doors for hurt and disappointment.

Finally, I become the very person I’m trying set boundaries around. I get aggressive, argumentative, and angry. I get passive aggressive. I push everyone that I respect away. I find reasons to snip, growl and attack. I’m constantly on edge. I also start believing the voices in my head that tells me the world would be better off without me.

Essentially, I on a mental spiral that makes me feel out of control. It’s the weirdest sensation. I can rationally see myself spiraling, but can’t stop. It’s like, tripping on your shoelace on the stairs, seeing the tumbling ahead of you, but nothing to grasp to steady your gait. I need to be in a place that I feel safe and in control. I need to be in a place where I feel respected and heard.

Compassion · Happiness · Hope · My Life · Spirit

. Behind the Mask .

 

Walking into my office at work, you’d make quick observations of me:
1. “She’s really a fat woman.”
2. “Damn, she’s happy though.” or “Look at her chair dancing away!”
3. “She knows her shit.”

If you’re privy to become apart of my tribe, you’d meld your observations into formed opinions:
1. “She’s a strong woman.”
2. “She’s got a great personality.”
3. “She’s a loyal friend.”

All of these are various masks that I wear on the outside; which is exhausting to maintain during sun up to sun down. I literally have to put cognitive thought into making, “…happy” around me. It’s not a natural part of my being. This is what High Functioning Depression, or Dysthymia, looks likes on me.

As a fly on the all in my secure and safe abode, you would observe a radically different woman. I sit and stare, a lot, at nothing really. The television is usually on in the background, running some blathering show about something. I am surrounded by blank canvas, acrylics, and books; so many avenues of creativity, but lacking one major thing. Ooomph.

I don’t know how to properly describe what it is: Drive? I mean, I have inspiration. I have imagination. I sit here and think about all these interesting things to paint and create. I think about the process of thought to fruition. But it’s that initial start that I cannot muster. This is what high functioning depression does to me.

See that pile of laundry? I know I should do it. I know that my vacation ends today, and my work starts again tomorrow. I stare, endlessly, at that pile of laundry. But, putting my foot onto the floor and taking that first step towards finishing this goal is nil in void. This is what high functioning depression does to me.

I sit at the edge of my bed. I stare mindlessly at the room in front of me. I barely acknowledge my pugs snuggled warmly behind me. I rationally take in the aspects of my life I am very thankful for: Roof over my head, food in my belly, secure employment, insurance, etc. But I cannot find “joy” in the finer things in life. The best way to describe it is numb. I KNOW on a articulate, mental level that I shouldn’t be this dissonant. This, however, is exactly what high functioning depression does to me.

There are ample things I want to do with my day, weekend, or life. I have a bucket list  of things I desire to complete before death. I think about these things everyday. I pull out my computer to pick up and write in the novel I have started. I find myself an hour later having divided my time between facebook, games, and nothing… absolutely nothing. It is not laziness. It’s not lack of motivation. It’s just a weird lack of everything. THIS is what high functioning depression does to me.

So, I may be a happy gal when we meet. I may seem like I’m an embodiment of strength. I may seem to “have my shit together”. . . but I’m numb all the time. I lack a drive to write, eat, speak. It’s taken me four days to write this blog, from start to finish. I start, and give up within minutes of opening the WordPress app.

Please, if there is anyone in your life who “…seems normal” but is suffering depression, please just be there for them. Offer to do small steps with them. Encourage them, don’t chastise them. Listen to them, don’t just hear them. Because, High Functioning Depression is very debilitating. It is very real. Medications help, but don’t cure. They add to the numbing effects of life.