Dear Me,

(I’m on week five of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This is what came from yesterday’s Morning Pages.)

Epiphany – the sudden clarity of thought that exposes the deeper truth. I have epiphanies as I’m sure you do as well. You may have been wrestling with a problem, a decision that had to be made but each solution or choice didn’t FEEL like the truth until one moment, a light bulb came on and suddenly, your path was clearly lit.

Why did I stop publishing my work? Why did I stop working on my existing manuscripts? Why wasn’t I excited to look for opportunities to do readings, to schedule workshops? Why had my annual sojourn to the MileHi stopped inducing that giddy feeling of anticipation or excitement? Why was I feeling blocked, cut off from my passion? Why was I procrastinating on or avoiding altogether the few activities I knew would move me toward some long standing, positive, goals?

Epiphany – because my efforts to that point hadn’t resulted in what I deemed to be other’s show of acceptance, love, or admiration that ultimately was what I was seeking. I wanted my books to garner lots of fans to the point where they’d help me market my work, they’d talk about and share my books to the point where word of mouth would sell my books (allowing me to hide); I would be invited to speak to groups, asked to conduct workshops (allowing me to hide). I’d be featured here and there, gaining some level of notoriety which would then “prove” to my dad that he was wrong for not spending more time with me, for not telling me he loved me, or thought I was beautiful. I would prove to the bullies and ex-boyfriends that they were wrong for calling me ugly names, teasing me, excluding me, using me, molesting or hitting me. I would show them all that I am worthy!

I mean, look at all the people who buy my books, and listen to me when I do readings, or attend my workshops.  If all of that outside attention didn’t prove it then what would?

Well, that’s not how things work out. My workshops where hit and miss with attendance, so I lost my enthusiasm for them. My first book sold relatively well despite its issues, my next two books did okay, but I was losing my motivation to keep marketing the way I had been. I didn’t realize it at the time but hindsight, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted / craved, so I’d begun to retreat. The fourth book didn’t do as well as I’d hoped but by then, I’d stopped actively marketing my work. It felt too much like begging by then. My unrealistic expectation that  other’s reactions to my books / workshops / coaching  would “make” me worthy, wore me down. Each failure to sell, to raise the money, to save the money, to meet the deadline, to have people show up, highlighted (the lie) that I wasn’t worthy after all. I rushed into this or that scheme, plan, idea, in hopes that it would be The ONE.  Each time I fell short, not taking the time to realize the level of fantasy my expectation had reached was never going to be met by reality.

So, what did I do. I blocked. I stopped writing; stopped going out; stopped taking my walking breaks; I stopped doing anything that would allow the voice of my Muse and my Divinity to be heard. They told the truth, They exposed the fantasy.  They put the responsibility for my life back where it belonged (in my hands) and I didn’t want the responsibility. I wanted to blame my dad, the bullies, the folks who didn’t think my writing was the bomb. I filled up my time with activities that didn’t do squat to move me toward my desired feelings (that ultimately are my responsibility to generate). I spent hours watching YouTube videos, hours doing spreads in my BuJo that ultimately I ignored no sooner than they were done. I kept up the schemes and plans – throwing parties I knew wouldn’t be well attended; fitness challenges, the wedding, my Count Down to 50 and its accompanying group-site and list of activities NO ONE kept up with, including myself. I did any and everything to maintain that damn lie. To be unreliable, unworthy.

Epiphany – “Healing is as ugly as Healed is beautiful”, Danielle LaPorte.  I began the healing process four years ago now. I’m feeling just about as ugly as I can. Scattered. Untethered. Unsure of what to do next. Emotionally all over the place but where I “should” be.  But I am healing. So there’s that.

Please, bear with me a little longer. Please forgive me. Please breathe. We’re going to get through this and we will be better for it. Thank you, I love you.

Dana

Eight Legged Freaks…or Good Omens

Either way, I am arachnophobic (is that a proper word?). So what does Life send me as good omens? Uh huh. And it can’t be little, tiny ones either. Oh no, it’s got to be the urban, jumbo size.

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Well, at the new house (which I have yet to write about. Maybe this weekend…), I’d been blessed with the occasional cockroach / waterbug, whatever you want to call them.  Those large, redish-black, monster beetle like things (one of them with WINGS for goodness sakes).  Those are bad enough. Especially when they FLY!!!    But then, a couple of months or so ago, there was this non-descript (which I’m sure was a spider) sort of tan, multi-legged critter that JUMPED toward me as I tried to kill it.  It managed to get right up on me while I was sitting in my favorite spot on my couch. Gack. I flicked it off the couch, leapt to safety and ran to get the bug spray. I was shooting the stream of poison from about two feet away and that’s when it JUMPED toward me. Oh the horror.

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Last night though, shortly after I registered for the New York deal, this large, grey, obviously – spider appears in the middle of the floor, heading straight for the couch as if purposefully wanting me to see it. I jump up to a standing position on the couch, leap to safety, then run for my shoe.  Mind you, by this time, the eight legged monster has made its way to the couch. I swat at it from behind, just missing it as it disappears underneath the very section of the sofa I was sitting on. It’s going to be days before I can sit on the couch, let alone anywhere in the room.

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My phobia aside, was that the Universe sending me tidings that my trip to New York was a done deal? That I’m going to somehow come up with the money, a place to stay, and a way to safely get there and back?

I’d like to believe that with all my heart. Even if it was a flipping spider delivering the message.

And yeah, because…well, reasons.

It’s been a LONG time since I leapt without looking. So of course, what did I do?  I registered for a workshop happening in New York City in January.

WTF?  How am I going to get there? Where am I going to stay? How am I going to afford it? You have got to be kidding me, life. Seriously? But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited in that, goofy, giddy, way I tend to feel when I’ve set my sights on something amazing.

Wanna join me? Click

Wow.  I am. Just. Wow.  Remember when I said I was feeling oddly hope-ful? Then Trump and the Hate Train pulled in and I died, sort of. But then The Artist’s Way was found on a bookshelf and purchased. Since then, that sneaking feeling of hope (LIFE) is returning. The cynic in me is afraid this is false and that untold darkness is about to overtake the land.  This back and forth between the consuming fear and blinding faith in the positive is going to wear me out.

Still, recovery is at hand and I will take my joy as often as I can in any way that I can.

I’m About to be on a watch list.

And granted, I’m not the most politically savvy person on the planet. Hell, I’ve given up social media, television, and news reports just so I could attempt to live a somewhat anxiety-lite existence. So no, I won’t be spouting historical fact or linking to an encyclopedia of quotes and such supporting my belief at this point. Nope, I’ll just point out that all that avoiding the biased, fear mongering that has somehow become “entertainment”, was a ridiculous waste of time.

Yeah, it was a good run while it lasted. And for a while there, I was starting to feel as if there was hope that somehow, rationality would prevail.  But alas.  Here we sit.

As long as he who shall remain nameless on this blog; the embodiment of all that I think is wrong with humans in general, is in the office he has been *gag* elected to hold, then I will live in fear.

You see, I am the embodiment of all he made fun of, of all he seeks to control, of all he holds nothing but contempt for – I’m a “minority”, a woman, and gasp, a non-Christian.  I’m also lower middle class. From what little I heard of his campaign vomit, I can expect to be a target for his minions just because he proved that white, cis, “Christian” males can display their mis-placed hate, anger, and fear without negative consequences.

I thought it was bad when citizens were angry that a man of color dared to earn the seat in the Oval office.  Things kicked up a notch when someone with breasts sought to seek the same…I figured if she’d won, then I’d be a target because there’d be so many men who believed they’d been personally wronged that they’d react violently toward others of her kind, but for some reason, the idea while unsettling, didn’t rob me of some sense of security. Oh well. As I’d said, it was a good run while it lasted.

I honestly hoped I’d never have to learn what it felt like to live in post Civil War America. So much for that, eh?

Still trying to live with love,

Dana

We Lie Best When We Lie To Ourselves

The title is a thought I had a few years ago.

It’s amazing the lies I’ve told myself over the years. Lies I believed despite the facts reality consistently put in front of me. I’d be willing to bet you’ve told yourself a few whoppers over the years as well.

I got to thinking about this on the drive back from the hubby’s place. I want to issue a challenge. Try this – tell yourself the absolute truth once a day every day in November. You don’t have to DO anything different or tell anyone your truths.  Perhaps jotting them down though would be a good idea, but certainly, that’s not a mandatory part of the challenge. Nope, I simply want you to muster up the courage to tell yourself the truth.

For example:

  • I really don’t care how much I weigh.
  • I’m only doing this because I want him / her / them to like / accept me.
  • My mother / father really is abusive.
  • I feel better when I…
  • I’m sad.
  • I’m so freakin’ happy.
  • I don’t want to be friends with him / her / them anymore.
  • I would much rather be fishing.
  • I don’t like the way my (insert person or thing here) behaves.
  • I’d love to start my own business for real.
  • It really is only about the sex.
  • I really want that.
  • I’m afraid.
  • I am worthy no matter what he / she / they say
  • I don’t want to go to my / his / her parent’s place for the holidays this year.
  • Sometimes, I really wish – I didn’t have kids / I would have had kids.
  • I drink too much when I’m in these situations.
  • I like taking naps.

And so on. No judgement, no critique, no “oh but I shouldn’t feel this way / think like that…”  Just the truth.

Don’t know if it’ll set you free as “they” say, but I know that once I started telling my own truths, I couldn’t help but change for my good. I stopped so many of the negative behaviors that had caused me grief over the years. I came to accept all of me, as I was (as I am, as I continue to grow into being). I’m betting the same thing can happen for you. But it starts with being able to tell yourself the truth.

What have you got to lose?

Love you,

Dana

Triggered, Part One.

3:00 AM, or so.  Loud voices on the staircase. An argument of some sort. A man and woman.  Louder, then stomping up the stairs. A door slams. Stomping in the apartment overhead.  Even louder voices. The argument moves back out onto the staircase and I hear, “put your hands on me like you did her.” Repeated three or four times. No response. There were male voices eventually, the conversation was unclear. More loud voices, female; screaming, yelling.  Stomping overhead.  This went on until almost nine this morning.

I couldn’t stop the memories, the questions.  I was triggered. What follows is the first part of what came forward as I listened to this domestic situation unfold in the apartment above where my husband lives.

His name was Cedric. He was beautiful.  We met on a dance floor. He outweighed me by 100 pounds and was built solid, just like I like ’em.  I have no idea how he afforded rent, food, or anything else. I was in lust and didn’t care. He was beautiful.

He told me to clean the kitchen. The kitchen in the house he shared with two or three other roommates. I hadn’t been in it, let alone used anything that came out of it. I refused. He pushed me, a little.  Next clear memory, I am in the bedroom gathering  my things into my overnight bag. He pins me to the bed, wrestles my arm up behind my back, his knee pressing between my shoulder blades. He threatens to break my arm if I don’t answer his question correctly.  “Who’s in control?”  My response, “In control of what?”  It frustrated him and he let go.  I got up and went into the bathroom to finish gathering my things.

Next clear memory, he pops into the bathroom wielding a knife. His next threatening question, “What would you do if I stabbed you right now?”  My response, “probably bleed to death because I don’t think you’d call an ambulance.” He got tired of the game, thankfully.

Next clear memory, he’s dropping me off at my place. My silent vow to never be in his presence again firmly embedded in my mind.  A month or so later, he threatens a friend of mine into bringing me to him. I had cut off all contact. She picked me up one weeknight under the guise of taking me with her to work so she could do my hair later.  He showed up at her job demanding I go home with him. There are strong words, more threats. My so called friend urges me to go with him so he doesn’t get any angrier. I protect myself and I DO NOT go with him. His parting words, meant to hurt me in some way perhaps, “The problem with you is you won’t let anyone love you!”

So this is love?