There have been a few things bothering me of late.  Nothing life threatening.  Not even anything I have direct control over.  But enough to cause some angst.  So finally this morning I started writing it out.

I’ve written in a journal since I was in high school.  Nothing new.  Sometimes I forget how therapeutic it can be.  Once I started putting all my anxieties on paper, they didn’t seem to be so overwhelming anymore.  Most monsters are not what we think they are.  Getting mine in black and white made them much smaller.

Like any situation that has pros and cons, write them out.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Find all the possibilities and put them on paper.  Even if there is nothing you can do but sit there and look at it, the act of getting it out of your head will work wonders. 

The longer I wrote this morning, the clearer everything became.  I like when that happens.  It means I have my head in the right place again.  That’s when the fog lifts and my path opens up in front of me.


Get your hands dirty…

*(That is not a sexual innuendo.  Shocker!  )*

I had forgotten how messy chalk pastels could be.  Reminded myself today and had more fun than should be possible doing a line study.  All I was doing was drawing lines of various widths in different colors.  But I was making something, creating something.  And I was getting my hands dirty.

When was the last time you did something not work-related that you enjoyed while making a thorough mess?  I’m talking dirty hands, sweaty, smudges on your face kinda dirty.  Do you remember?  Did you enjoy it?

I’ve been looking at the box of chalks for over a week now.  They got quite loud over the weekend.  “Take us out! Let’s make a picture!”  It’s been a very long time since I got artsy.  Yes, I forgot how much dust you make with chalks, and how the colors smudge on your fingers.

I also forgot the simply joy of putting color on paper in a pattern all my own.  I’ve been rediscovering a lot of things about myself lately.  The one I enjoy the most is how much I love to create things.  Several of my friends found out recently that I sew.  Now there’s talk of making costumes.  And I have my sketch pad and chalks, among other things.

I think the art exhibit I saw during my recent trip to the science center helped relight this spark of creativity.  I found a quote from Joss Whedon yesterday that sums it up nicely:  Write it.  Shoot it.  Publish it.  Crochet it, saute it, whatever.  MAKE.

What are you making today?


A slow day…

I’ve been crocheting for a couple of days on some projects for a friend who is expecting.  I like making things, creating something.  Not only do I have something beautiful when I’m done, but it gives me time to sit still.  I rarely sit still unless I’m writing or crafting.

I don’t meditate as much as I should so it has given me time for some reflection.  That’s a good thing.  Right?  It might be if it didn’t feel like I had so many people in my head.  There are at least four in there with all sorts of issues that need to be addressed.

Unfortunately they are not characters in any of my stories.  Maybe I should use them as characters.  Would they recognize themselves?  Probably not.  It’s been a slow day.  Guess I will just keep sewing…

Do you see what I see?

What would you see if you looked in my mirror?  Do you see the basics, eyes, mouth, nose, hair?  Do you see the flirt behind my smile?  Do you see the hours spent pouring through books on polymer chemistry and asteroids and naval history?  Do you see the radio DJ who drops into a sultry Southern accent when the mic goes hot?

Do you see the handmade teddy bears and home cooked meals?  The classic car photos and pin-up posters?  Do you see the collection of pens and pencils and notebooks?  Do you see my poker face?

Don’t forget to look for my tarot cards and my big hoop earrings.  The favorite heels under the bed, and the candles and crystals and dragons.  Can you see the stories trapped inside my head?  Can you hear the passion in my voice when I sing to the radio?

Do you see the tattoos and the scars?  The gray in my hair?  My inner editor, the grammar nazi?

What do you see when you look in my mirror?  What will I see in yours?


Speak softly…

For a really long time, I was a wallflower.  I was not shown the possibilities of trying new things.  The little bit of encouragement I got was usually accompanied by negative reinforcement.  I was taught self-doubt and fear of failure.

The attack I blogged about last time was not the only one, but it was the most traumatic.  Those events helped knock down my self-confidence further.  Well, the part my mother hadn’t already tried to kill off.  Yep, I was a total wallflower.

I had no idea how to stand up for myself, how to express myself, how to figure out who I was.  In trying to deal with …everything… I developed some really bad habits.  The one that bugs me most is not finishing things.  Part of that, I think, is because I feel like I am unfinished.

It’s taken me 40 years to find my backbone.  Now the problem is that I’ve over-corrected.  Maybe that’s part of why I come across as aggressive.

I want to do all the things I never got to try, experience new things, see new places.  Some days I feel like a teenager again.  I have OCD and a bit of ADD which doesn’t help.  On days I wake up hyper, I can literally bounce off the walls.

I was hyper this morning before my cup of coffee.  I get impatient, too, because I’m ready to try stuff and do things and go places.  Maybe my impatience adds to the aggression as well.

You know how someone is when they first realize they’ve fallen in love?  How annoying they can be because they want everyone around them to be in love, too?  Sometimes that’s how I feel when I’ve had a breakthrough moment.  I want everyone to be as open and light and free as I feel.

The last blog was very cathartic.  It helped me knock over a few more bricks and let go of some baggage.  I’m learning, albeit slowly, to try to temper my excitement.  I try not to rush headlong into stuff.  I plan, I budget, I put ideas in the back of my head and let them stew.  Apparently I still come on too strong, but I’m trying to learn to speak softly.

Open palm

I found a sign on Facebook recently that read, “You don’t find yourself.  You create yourself.”  I both agree and disagree with that.

Sometimes we do lose ourselves.  The things that happen to us when we have little control can bury us.  We get used to having those walls around us.  They become the devil we know which  is more comfortable than facing the world around us.

Our battle scars become security blankets that we cling to.  The stuff we have no control over, the stuff other people do to us, things that happen to us as kids… these things Do Not define who we are.

When I was 12 years old I was molested by a stranger in my neighborhood.  It was a one time thing, but once was enough.  That one moment was enough to start building my walls.  One negative brick at a time it grew higher.

Don’t show any cleavage.  Hide the curves.  Don’t dress in a way that will draw attention.  Does it show?  Can anybody else tell it happened?  Why me?  What did I do?  Is this how I’m supposed to be treated?  Is this all I’m worthy of?

When you can’t find the answers you hide behind those walls.  You find a way to distract your mind so you don’t think about it, so you don’t feel that pain, anguish, fear, despair.

If you keep building that wall you lose yourself inside a dusty shell.  It is possible to find you way out, though.  Want some bread crumbs?

Start with your head:

Who else is in there?  Look in the mirror and say out loud the first thing that pops into your head.  Is it negative or positive?  If you’ve survived any type of abuse, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts it’s something negative that someone else has said to you.  Well, ya know what?  THEY LIED!!!

You are a beautiful person on the inside and a beautiful person on the outside.  You are worthy of being loved and cared for.  You deserve joy and happiness and laughter and respect. 

No one can pass you on the street and know that someone hurt you.  It is your choice if you want to share that with someone.  Nobody needs to know it happened.  But you need to know that it was not your fault.  Let me repeat that:  It was not your fault!

Let’s add your heart to the conversation:

You have to forgive yourself.  We can’t always speak up for ourselves.  That does not mean you’re to blame for it.  If you think you should have told someone or you should have fought back or you should have done something to stop it… forgive yourself and let go of any responsibility.

Your choice was taken from you.  You are not responsible for the actions of another person.

Time for some elbow grease:

Every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am a beautiful person.”  Keep doing this until you can look yourself in the eye and not flinch when you say it.

Then add this, “I am worthy of love and happiness.”  Keep saying it until you believe it.  You also have to start packing up all the negative emotion and set it at the curb.

Take one thing or one person, forgive yourself and forgive them for one action.  Imagine it as a ball of negative energy.  Let the air out of it and trash it!  Keep doing this until you can let go of it and not look back at it.

Start with small stuff and work your way up to the big stuff.  It’s work, but once you start doing it you will feel lighter, brighter, freer.  Every time you push that trash to the curb another brick comes off the wall.

Let in the light and the fresh air.  Set aside the baggage and open your hands.  If you hold tight to the negative of your past your hands have no room to take hold of something new and positive.

There are moments I still have to deal with those memories.  I don’t talk to a lot of older men and I don’t linger in places when I’m alone.  But I no longer feel the need to ram my car into any man who looks like the old man who attacked me.

I’m not afraid to be who I am.  I’m still knocking down a few bricks, but the walls are gone.  I know I deserve to live my life without fear and shame.  And I will not give that sick old bastard any more control of my life.  It is my choice to let go of the shame, embarrassment, anger, fear, pain.  I choose to let go of the negative and reach for the positive.

This is my life, and I’ll share it with the people I choose to open up to.  It’s up to me how many people I let in.  And I will not let my past keep me closed off to the possibilities before me.  I have a whole world to explore and people to meet.  I’ve knocked down the walls.  My hands and heart are open.  Take my hand…