Happy birthday, America!

Happy Independence Day to all!  And a special thanks to all those who have sacrificed over the years to keep this country free.

I consider myself a patriot – not in the soldier sense, but in my heart.  I recognize that as a country we are far from perfect, but flaws and all I love this country.  I am grateful to all those who have fought and served to make and keep her free.  I have often looked into my most strongly held beliefs (also known as analyzing the crap out of them) to explore the origins, my actual attachment to them and belief in them, et cetera.  I associate my love of country with my mother, and like my mother, it was just always there.  I don’t remember her expressly saying things about loving my country – it wasn’t a lesson that was learned that way.  I remember her discussing different points in American history and the importance of them and how they helped shape the growth of a new nation.  I remember her teaching me to respect the flag because it is a representation of our nation.  I remember her reciting the Gettysburg Address, then explaining why it was important.  I remember that she listened to patriotic music, and experienced it every time.

Perhaps this is why I associate the fourth of July with my mom – it is the day of the year that we celebrate this pride and love of country, a day of unity as Americans.  Or perhaps it really just comes down to the fact that patriotic music makes me think of my mom, and short of sporting events, Independence Day is the day we listen to and sing these songs.  I suppose the reason doesn’t matter – the association is there.

So happy Independence Day to all!!  And thanks, Mom, for teaching me not only that it is important, but why.

(This post did not end at the intended destination of departure…this may happen often – apologies in advance.)


Almost a year later…

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote here…and I am apparently still learning the lesson that I wrote about in my last post.  Still putting myself out there to help others because it is the right thing to do and it is just who I am.  Still taking care of my own stuff, because that is what one does…and still surprised when it is me who needs help and the offers just aren’t there.

Why I continue to be surprised is the question, I guess.  What continues to make me expect different results to the same situation?  But why belabor the point, I simply found it interesting that on a day I chose to go back and check out my long forgotten blog I was experiencing a very similar situation regarding reliability of the folks in my life.

On a positive note…coming soon, comments on an article re: negativity published in huffington post.  


One day I’ll learn

Yup, someday I am sure I will learn NOT to put myself out there.   Damn, I thought I already had.  Then I dunno, a year into a friendship you kinda think that you know where you stand and all.  Apparently not.  Apparently, no matter what I just need to do it myself.  People say they are my friends, but when it comes down to it, when I actually break down and ask for something…it’s too much.  I’m done.  All set.  Have a good life, folks, cuz I’m done giving.

All done reaching out…all done helping out.  Every man for himself…I give…mercy, I surrender.  The good news is, at least I know where I stand.

Good memories lead to sad realizations…

Had a discussion with a coworker…the conversation is irrelevant except for the fact that it made me recall a phrase a friend of mine and I used to say all the time.  It was a happy memory, made me smile…and my coworker a tad confused, but oh well.  A little later in the day I was off on errands and had some time to myself.  I reflected back on the conversation, and the phrase…and thought about it a bit.

At the time that we were saying it, both of us were being sexually abused…although she didn’t know I was.  We were, strangely enough, using it as a form of empowerment.  We were friends with a few boys, and we each had one in the group that we were interested in.  When having conversations between the two of us we would say it…and I do believe we even sneered it at the guys once or twice.  I know…what the hell was the phrase?

Honestly, I am a little embarrassed by it, and by my casual disclosure of it to my friend.  It’s really no big deal, but now that I have put the extra thought into it, I wish I had done the thinking first…LOL.  In any case, we used to say, “you can’t rape the willing.”  So, we  shouldn’t have used such a terrible thing so casually, but in a way it was a quiet cry for help.  And I don’t think we realized the gravity of what we were saying…I know I didn’t, at least not consciously.  Obviously, we were basically saying that we wouldn’t say no if they asked…or tried.

When I put that extra thought into it is when I realized, for the first time, just what a terrible thing it is to say…and how sad that we were throwing it around like nothing at all.  I still agree with the sentiment, which sounds a little hypocritical, but, by definition, you can’t.  That is a whole different discussion, though.  In any case, not that I have used it since we were kids, but I won’t be using that phrase again.


This probably isn’t going to be very coherent, or maybe even interesting, but if I don’t get it out, I just might explode.  I went into today with a positive attitude.  I was looking forward to 3 things, maybe 4: a nice shift at work today involving lunch out and shopping; getting together with friends after work to let off some steam and get a little crazy; having 2 days off in a row; and getting to go see the boys because I had two days off.  Bit by bit it was all taken away…I guess if you don’t count the fact that this crap all happened while I was at work and trying to enjoy my day, I had a good shift.  It is so very frustrating to me that it seems like every time I make plans to just have fun or maybe just enjoy a day doing whatever, something happens to prevent it.

I am trying so hard to stay positive and in this good head space I’ve found, but it really isn’t easy at all.  It just doesn’t seem right.  I know life isn’t fair and we all have our burdens to bear, but damn, can I get a minute?  I started to try to look at the silver lining…I still have one day off, and I had one last week, too, so that is a step in the right direction, but between those two days I have had an extremely emotional and difficult week.  I am still irate over the entire situation, so much so that I am not going into it here.  Still find it difficult to make eye contact with the offenders, never mind try to talk to them about it.

I so needed some time to just be silly and have fun…and we had it all planned…my boss even managed to get me coverage for the late shift so I got out at a decent hour!  Then the person I was going with got called in to work and no more plans.  Disappointment doesn’t begin to cover it, but I guess it’s the closest there is.  And this came after I found out that I had lost my second day off.  Not only lost it, but added hours!  And somehow, I am supposed to just take it all in stride.  When is it enough?  When exactly do I get to do for me or what I want instead of what everyone else wants or needs?  I just don’t know how much I have left to give without something back.


Been thinking about this for a while now.  Every once in a while it strikes me that I surround myself with distractions during almost all of my waking hours.  The other night I was listening to Pandora…as always…but on this night, instead of working on the computer or doing paperwork, I was knitting.  Yup, I now remember why I watch tv when I knit…way too much thinking time.  Which got me to thinking…(see, it is dangerous)…that is why I always make sure there are sufficient distractions.  I am almost always engaging at least two parts of my brain: playing Scrabble online and listening to Pandora (sometimes I will even throw a conversation in there, too!); knitting while watching a Red Sox game; watching tv while chatting with a friend and checking out Facebook (FB).  Even when I am reading, I usually have music on in the background.  I don’t drive without the radio, unless I am on the phone.  This is not because I have so much to do that I have to be doing multiple things at a time (although this is sometimes the case).  Mostly it is because if I engage enough of my brain, I can’t think, or at least focus on, those deep or emotional thoughts.

When I was young…not sure exactly how old, but a teenager, my sister Janice had a psychic party.  The psychic told me to take off the headphones…be quiet…and listen.  I don’t think I have sat in quiet since other than at a church service of some kind.  No, that is not quite true…I have appreciated the quiet from time to time…but usually when I have something specific to contemplate or decide and can focus on that one topic.  Even still, like now, I am usually still writing and listening to music.  Although, there are times that I have turned off the radio and listened to nature.    So, an exaggeration, but on a daily basis, I engage multiple parts of my brain at the same time for the majority of the day.

I have been contemplating this for a while.  I had realized that I was using the tv this way, and I turned it off.  But I simply replaced it with music.  There is now a constant soundtrack, externally.  I guess now that I have realized I never take time to be quiet…the next step is taking some.

How about you?  Do you multitask to get things done or to keep your mind busy?


False starts

I’ve started three different blog topics….and thrown them all away.  None of them were inspiring me.  I wrote a paragraph or so and was all set with the topic I had chosen.  Deciding what to explore and analyze can be difficult.  Some things I don’t want to look at too closely, others I have examined so often I can’t stand to look at them anymore.  Some things catch my fancy and I look deeper.  The past few days, nothing has caught my fancy.

So…I decided that I am going to pick one of the quotes on my quote page and talk about that.  If it doesn’t last, it doesn’t last…at least I will have posted something.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.”  Khalil Gibran

This one quite obviously speaks to me because I am scarred…and I am strong.  I wouldn’t have made it this far if I wasn’t.  I have weaknesses…and definitely a few “buttons”…but I am strong.  I have always made sure I was physically strong so I could do anything I needed to.  I would depend on no man to do things for me.  My emotional strength, well, that has just developed due to overuse.


I am very comfortable being angry.  I have been angry for a large portion of my life.  If you read my previous posts, you know that anger is my default emotion for any negative emotions.  Any pain or sorrow I have to watch myself, because I can easily just let something little send me off into a rage…and it is all over.  Once the anger comes in, there is no stopping it.  There’s an irony to that, because the reason I go to anger is because it gives me a sense of control.  I know just how crazy that sounds…losing your temper is a cliche for a reason.  But it’s true…because I opted for anger and because I have used it for so long, I feel like I have a modicum of control over it.

I don’t…I know that when I’m not in it.  Anger is powerful…it is very good at chasing away all other emotions.  It is a very good mask because people tend to stay away…you don’t poke an angry animal, you quietly walk away.  It is a comfortable emotion for me simply because of how long I have been angry…it isn’t really a pleasant experience.  Just more pleasant than experiencing those other nasty emotions, at least to me.  I’m learning that isn’t true…it’s really better just to experience the emotions as they come and let them go.  Holding onto them to deal with later just lets them fester and grow.

Anger will always be easy for me…and I have to watch that.  When I find myself becoming angry I try to discern what type of angry: frustrated, disappointed, annoyed…whatever.  If I can’t identify it…I may be disguising some other emotion in that anger. Figuring out what is important, it’s the only way to the other side of the emotion – through it.


What a loaded word.  Secrets can be innocuous…but only the temporary ones.  The secrets you keep to give a gift or throw a surprise party.  Secrets can be dark…especially the ones you keep completely to yourself.  Not suggesting you go around sharing all your stories with everyone…by any means!  Just make sure you share them with someone.  Science fiction author Cory Doctorow agrees with me, “All secrets are deep. All secrets become dark. That’s in the nature of secrets.”

If you are keeping secrets from everyone, not sharing at all…chances are you have some shame associated with that secret.  Shame will eat away at your soul.  Trust me, I know.  Sharing that secret with someone…even just one person…eases the burden.  Which leads me to another favorite quote of mine, by John Churton Collins: “If we knew each other’s secrets, what comforts we should find.”

This one is very complicated for me, and resonates on several levels.  The initial response is a sense of companionship…I am  not alone. Then empathy and understanding come to the forefront as I contemplate  my reaction to learning someone else’s secrets and the insight that knowledge would provide to their perspective.  Then I start to disagree…there are some secrets I do not want to know…or share…at least not with the world.  And it leads me down the path of being able to read another’s thoughts…and that just does not sound like a good thing to me…from either side.  At least not without the ability to turn it on and off.

Sigmund Freud believed that man is unable to keep a secret.  “No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.”  I like this thought, although I am not sure I agree with it.  Maybe, if the observer is truly looking for a secret, but then, we ALL have secrets, at least from someone, so wouldn’t everyone be betraying themselves as having a secret to an observer?  Also, like most of Freud’s observations, it was formed from his psychotherapy patients…of course they have secrets, and are anxious about them in front of their therapist.

Secrets, for me, have never been a good thing.  I kept too many for too long…then had to repair the damage.  My recommendation is not to keep secrets to yourself.  Share with at least one person….a friend, a lover, a stranger…someone.  Get it out in the light…look it over and ask yourself if you want to carry that around forever.  If the answer is yes…pack it away and keep it.  If the answer is no…share it.  A burden shared is a burden lessened.


Indifference is my safe place.  When everything just gets to be too much…usually too sad…I just shut down.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  At first it is…shutting down makes the pain go away.  But it is more than just shutting down, it is detaching from your emotions.  That means NO feelings.  Everything is equally bland.  I don’t need Prozac…I can be numb all by myself! (Apologies to those who actually need Prozac and take it as prescribed, but I have issue with the handing out of pills to solve all our problems.)

Indifference is also my prison.  Disconnecting from emotions and just functioning is easy in some ways, the pain is gone, and going through the motions takes little effort.  There are two major downsides to this…first, the emotions don’t go away, I am just out of touch with them…second, it is existing, not living.  It works the same as my memory defense mechanism…I can forget, but I have to forget everything; I can stop the pain, but I have to stop all feelings.

I have become so out of touch with my emotions that I can’t identify stress until my body reacts to it.  I get eczema and have heart issues…but if you had asked me the day before I would have told you everything was fine…maybe a little busy.  Extreme situations would still get through so the outward response is appropriate….births of babies bring smiles, deaths of loved ones bring tears…but these barely register enough to elicit the required response….and the emotions don’t last beyond the outward stimulus.

And when I wake up one day…all those emotions I couldn’t deal with are still there…and I don’t want to carry them around anymore.  I take them out, look at them, think about them, feel them and let them go.   Then the struggle begins.  To relearn how to feel.  Sounds ridiculous, right?  Like it should be instinctual and not something you learn.  It probably is.  But when you create your own obstacles against feeling, only you can take those obstacles down again.  After years of blocking, getting back in touch with my emotions can be difficult.  There are some things that seem to storm through and others that are more difficult to discern.  Grasping those nuances and feeling what I feel is where I am for now.

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