The world (maybe the old world) tells us that we are not allowed to have two careers ~ that we have to define who we are, with a singular thought; give our all to building our brand; stay loyal to one industry; then, slowly, climb that corporate ladder until we’ve achieved a thirty year resume of impressive, award winning accolades.
Then retire with a big shebang, move to Myrtle Beach, drive a golf cart, then become a lady who lunches at the club over mixed drinks.
Not a single drop of that describes the life I’ve lived. It does describe the majority of people I had all around me the majority of my adulthood.
I went rogue a long time ago.
I attribute this to the karen crisis. All these middle aged women are only just coming out of their Xanex induced comas to discover that they are humans, far beyond what others expect of them.
Living the life not meant for us, but expected by others is torture.
If you have the desire to write ~ write.
Currently flipping that switch back on. I finished a full novel in 2006 ~ my first.
I entered it in a contest with a large organization. When we do that (did that), it got shopped out to six judges who were also writers.
It came back as an “eh!” at best. Fair. I got two rejections, then gave up.
ONLY TWO! Then, I read Stephen King’s On Writing ~ still my favorite Writers on Writing book if you are shopping for one. There are others.
The people in my personal life all laughed. They all belittled and devalued the writing career possibilities. I took it personally.
I welcomed that bullshit lack of support into my brain house, then served it tea.
It didn’t occur to me for two decades to get rid of them, and get some new, more encouraging people ~ my tribe was long distance ~ I still haven’t fully met them.
Online served my need for writing buddies ~ sort of. At least they were speaking the language I thought I had made up. Stuff like,
“Are you a plotter or a panster”
“Do you dream about writing? Are you writing while waiting on line? Do you stare out the window, imaging worlds that nobody else can see?”
I’m a natural born day dreamer, but told my whole life that it’s not practical.
Of course, I was already past my traditional 21-55 age before I decided to go for it.
A friend died. It woke me up. Then, another. And another. Three more announced their struggle with cancer.
Have we woken up to doing everything we can to pursue the love of what we do yet?
This past year was screaming at us to get the fuck up and start running like fire to the thing that we dream of, even when we’re asleep in our daily lives.
So here I am. Writing.
The transition is giving me anxiety ~ it’s a good thing that boring day job of mine also helps people to heal from anxiety.
Know who makes the BEST rehab/addiction counselors? People who have been there. Know why? They have a nuanced, fine tuned sense of each stage of the journey of recovery.
Know who makes the BEST career advisor? It’s not the young college student turned career counselor who never actually worked outside of their chosen field. Nope.
It’s the person who has failed. The person who no longer gets debilitating self doubt when they receive the rejections. The person who has tried on a few hats in various industries to fully know what they do not want to do.
That’s part of living our best ([in my case, writing] life.
Knowing what we DON’T want as much as we know what we DO want.
Reading is part of writing.
Researching is part of writing.
Shit~ I took every last class and then some of a doctorate, which required 40-page papers x2 in almost every one. I was already writing.
Who are these non-writers to tell us what a writing career is and more importantly, WHY are we listening to them.
Give the world the gift of your writing ~ Take what you need to make it succeed.
Creative writing is a muscle ~ however out of shape it is, it can become a toned, sexy, beast of a career. Magic flows from the finger tips as they connect to the conscious awareness of worlds that can’t be seen.
For all that there is a mad passion with books, there will always be a mad passion to write.
Part of this verbal diarrhea of a website is to also write in a flow that makes more sense to me than to prove a point or emulate any of the ‘old me’ professional life.
I’m writing a novel ~ I get stuck ’cause my brain is trained to be academic about it. Stop. Research. Stop. Clean up the writing. Stop. Think critically. Stop. Use third person. Stop. Follow all the rules. Stop. Be sure that it will be acceptable to others in the field. Stop. …. you get the point.
Talk about a mood killer when you’re writing fiction!
Even the NaNoWriMo kills it for me. I’ve finished 50K goal every year for years. What I haven’t done? Publish most of them or not like any of the stuff that I have written.
The problem is, there is so much damn cheerleading, not to mention the survival skills to be popular, right and well read along the way. In and of itself, the NaNo is a great idea. How we get that writing to print is what stops me cold. I have zero interest in being either popular or seen. I don’t care about that at all. Sort of a buzz kill for a writing career, don’t you think?
I’m in the process of unlearning everything I’ve learned so I can jog my creative brain to kick it up a notch.
I’m glad to see people popping out their fiction here. I’m still a newbie on WordPress, which is nice.
When you slide into your fifties ~ it’s fun to be new at something. Back in the 80’s, I did two degrees in mass communications ~ the writing and art part were my favorite. Then, I went to NYC ~ took a job in advertising only to realize that I was not living out my dream but someone else’s supply and demand.
Seem’s like a theme for me.
If I could tell every person out there what not to date in a career ~ it’s this ~ don’t commit to the career that isn’t meant for you.
Run, like hell toward your passion, then hold on tight as you learn how to fly with it.
Writing ~ like life, is an art form. Right now, I’m remembering who I was before I did what was expected of me back in the day. It’s a process.
For the longest time, I was the lighthouse for people. Now? I’m in search of one ~ new shores. Old metaphors. Hm? I think I may have a metaphor problem. What’s an anagram of Metaphor + Addiction?
Anywho ~ to all the writers out there ~ Flow ~ however imperfect or weird ~
I put this website together on the fly ~ have struggled with “figuring it out” on my own and fork if it isn’t making me nuts.
.Instead of killing time or raising my blood pressure ~ I’m going to leave it unfinished for now ~ go to WordPress school ~ kvetch like the k.aren that I am and own that I have NO idea what I’m doing.
I’m okay with that.
We don’t become masters by doing something once. Or, hiring someone else to do it for us.
I have no idea what I’m doing. I am used to Blogger and Wix. Both were a LOT easier. I don’t know why I didn’t go back to them, except ~ I am a noetic nomad and love to move. I love to sit in discomfort as a master a new skill. I love to be wrong so I can deep dive into the truth.
It would be SO easy to hire a ghost writer ~ a web developer ~ an editor and social media manager ~ I could go live in the woods, wandering around fairy mounds, thinking up ways to spend my day. But nope.
I want to learn ~ more every day.
By the time I die, I want a head full of useless trivia. And skills that will die with me.
Life could be a selfie or it could be a down and dirty rumble the likes of which Brene Brown talks about in her brilliant work.
I want the rumble.
It appears, website building will feel more like Minecraft for grownups. Rome was not built in a day and neither will this structure. I love a good challenge ~ just giving you the heads up in case you say, “WTF” to my patchwork quilt of a website.
I’ve used up my metaphor quota for the day. Thanks for being patient with me.
New Age and Old School don’t mean the same thing that they meant just ten years ago. The new trend (and it is new) to just blankly accept a truth if it seems to align with the people you already have in your life vs. a more logical approach to understanding something by staying open to learning about it.
To be ~ or not to be ~ that IS the question.
I’m a total fan of higher education because it teaches people how to think. At least it used to. Not to memorize for the purpose of passing a test, but to really think. Critical thinking; problem solving; emotional intelligence; purposeful conversations that involve multiple views of the same issue. That’s why we are whole heartedly on team higher edu.
The catch? It’s so expensive that many people are finding alternative routes to life beyond schools. It continues to open up like a sink hole on exposing classism.
Privilege and wealth allow people to attend 4-year colleges and beyond. The community or trade colleges are teaching a craft.
I worked for one for a short time, until I realized it wasn’t there for students, it was there to take their money. It was the worst state run 2-year school I had ever seen. I was told that out of the 4.0 system, this school would keep students enrolled if they had a .5 … that’s a .5 out of 4.0 ~ that’s just taking people’s money. Basically, even if they were failing every class, the school would hold on to them, as long as they could find money.
That’s criminal ~ isn’t it? It should be.
The point is ~ where are we cultivating real learning? How to tell the morals, ethics, philosophies and critical thinking skills that used to be part of spirited campus conversations? A new Age of Enlightenment has a new face. Social media.
On YouTube? Tik Tok for the win? There are a LOT of professionals on Tik Tok, teaching skills, facts, and funny sides of their professional endeavors. I don’t hate it. There’s also a LOT of garbage and stupidity ~ it’s all in what we choose to see.
In the 80’s and 90’s, when we spoke of a ‘new age’, we were talking about enlightenment which to some was dumb but to those experiencing an awakening of the self, it was profoundly deep.
Today, it’s being used to sell candles and tarot cards.
Another trend ~ people’s belief systems are also big business. You don’t have to have any training, education or knowledge beyond your own point of view and BAM!
You have 300K followers and now, considered an expert ’cause you have charisma.
The better looking you are, the more followers.
Are we seriously going to be that vapid?
At the moment, yes, we are.
Twenty years ago, when reality tv was still a novelty, I remember saying out loud to my kids (who were very little at the time), “This is so stupid, it’s never going to take off”.
Ha! I was so wrong. It’s cool. I can laugh at my own mistakes.
🙂 I love it when a motivational speaker looks directly into the camera and tells you to stop listening to motivational speakers. Hilarious! Does anyone else see the irony? Anybody? Funny right? BTW, I love Mel Robins, but y’all know what she’s up to? Or am I just old enough to have been around that block enough times.
We raised a generation of humans with those reality tv shows, and now?
They live by them. They live in them. They have all seemed to turn themselves into reality celebrities.
When we take something special and make it ordinary, it is nothing more than ordinary.
The ones who are rising to the top?
Here’s the formula ~ humble brag about your flaws ~ find some thing that’s really hard or sad in your own life ~ tell your “vulnerability” story to the world, followed by ~ being critical of others about their flaws and vulnerability.
In the words of Igino Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”
*We don’t have to be super model skinny to be enlightened.
*We don’t have to be young or forever striving for “reverse aging” to be enlightened.
*We don’t even have to look damn good in yoga pants or show an abundance of financial wealth to understand that to be enlightened is not a new matcha formula.
But damn ~ keeping up with the digitally altered perfection is exhausting.
For some weird reason, we are now rebelling against kindness ~ I saw it in a New Yorker Cartoon calling kindness the new pandemic like it was a bad thing.
We are worshipping celebrities ~ accepting everything they say, even if they are dumb as rocks but look amazing in their impossibly expensive clothes that are made out of only okay materials made in awful factories that exploit others.
We are buying the illusion but forgetting our own lives are just as spectacular.
Normalizing normal ~ will that ever trend?
I hope so.
Look at Jay Shetty, who let’s face it, gives good face which is how he, over all other temporary monks ~ has become famous.
Young women (and men) swoon when Jay Shetty speaks ’cause he’s so damn beautiful. Then, he gets his message of enlightenment in there while gazing into the camera. Good on you Jay and your look alike lovely wife.
The laughing ~ the happily partnered up couple (also trending, to be in a secure coupledom)~ the joyful positive energy ~ all while traveling to lovely places, or creating a moment with a simplicity ~ carefully set up to create envy from the viewers.
What have we done to ourselves?
We have been sucked into the envy, greed, and desire business.
We envy these people ~ that’s why we follow them. We want to be them in some subconscious way.
We have been convinced that we need the words of these people and they play the part to perfection.
Hell, I love ’em too. I would LOVE to “live my best life” perfectionism ~ but instead, I’m cleaning up dog vomit at 3 am ’cause the reality of a 16-year old dog is, he has old man problems.
I’m constantly cleaning up after him and the cats; car pooling a kid to high school and writing my own content ~ no assistants or ghost writers or money managers.
Is it just SO easy to create this illusion of a life just by studying reality technology celebrities?
We’ve watered down our tea; our traditions and our talent. We take the easy way out by using digital alterations rather than putting in the work.
When the internet (or social media) goes down, people lose their minds. We are SO addicted to being online that I see it as just another crack.
What did you do all day when it went down?
Savor? Engage? Read ~ an actual book? Socialize? Nap? Write ~ on paper, with a pen?
MORE than ever ~ people are becoming clinically depressed or socially anxious because they can’t live up to the expectations of what we’re viewing.
What we’re viewing is a total illusion Matrix ~ dangerous shit, if you ask me.
I’m not into False positives ~ which includes people, places and experiences that require I update myself on the regular about who or what is trending.
Sorry. I’m just not that into you ~ trend ~ whatever you are.
Here’s the oxymoron of the whole thing ~
We can’t be pulled in to follow a trend and also be true to ourselves at the same time.
What’s the point of all this?
Embrace change ~ but stay aware ~ be true to yourself ~ as hard as that is in our addiction to following trends ~ love what you have “as is” without falling into the trap of craving what we don’t have.
OH ~ and don’t attend a shitty school that keeps taking your money without teaching you anything. You can actually learn more about what to look for in a college or educational investment on Tik Tok than in an antiquated, out of date old school.
That about sums it up.
Also ~ this blog is long ~ on purpose. 300-word attention spans are not my cup of tea. Build up that muscle or paying attention for longer than 15-30 seconds.
Let’s go girls ~ to all the people out there saying it’s not professional to cuss, but would give their left foot to hang out with a celebrity ~ this post is for you.
Katy Perry ~ Madonna ~ Adele ~ Dame Judy Dench ~ Helen Mirren ~ Cher ~ Dr. Brene Brown ~ every one of the Professional Author’s Network of RWA ~ almost every one of my now successful former students who are currently holding PhD’s; PsyD’s; MSW’s; PT’s; LMHC; and more ~ Emily Blunt ~ Jennifer Lawrence ~ Leslie Mann ~ ALL of the cast of Bride’s Maids ~ ALL of the cast of SNL [Saturday Night Live] ~ Amy Poehler ~ Tina Fey ~ shall I go on? Here’s a list … have at it.
The thing is ~ it’s not about the cursing at all. I grew up pretty Jersey style tough in a family dominated by males as the shadow to those males. I cuss. A lot. At home and in my writing. In public? When I forget myself or feel very comfortable with you, but otherwise, not as much.
I’m just not that into if you are judging me based on the words I speak.
For the longest time, I was trapped in that false narrative that we have to worry about who likes us. It’s actually the opposite. We have to ask ourselves if we like them!
Why are we told from birth to ever worry about “fitting in” when we have nothing in common with the “them”?
Cursing is in and of itself ~ language ~ language I might add that is more than accepted and welcome in a male dominated world and yet, even other women say, “Oh, I don’t like cursing but especially when done by women” ~
I defer to the online magaine Jezebel for any further discussion about the matter. ~ their tagline is “Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With teath” ~ I’m sure they won’t be shy in talking about professional women who cuss a lot.
That’s not my focus.
Actually, I don’t give a shit if someone curses up a storm or not. No word is going to bother me. I’m immune to them. Girl ~ I’ve been called them all ~ in some circles, I’ve had my fair share of flavorful epitaphs tossed my way.
I don’t write to make other people happy.
Hell, I don’t live my life in need of praise or promise of the opinions of others. And neither should you and yet ~ here we are.
This blog ~ journey ~ new life re-write and healing space is all about people finding not only their own voice after years of trauma or stunted soul growth ~ it’s about having the freedom to be one’s self. NOT what society and culture demand of them.
Women are leaving places and spaces that no longer work for them. It’s that simple.
I gave myself permission to leave a place that was abusive ~ people who were toxic and that feeling that the other shoe was going to drop at any second because that’s what toxic single parenthood always is.
I was done with having to fight for my right to merely exist in the cruelest of places.
The hypocrisy and humor is in the knowledge that every single person who says, “I’m offended by off-color language, cussing, potty words, or cursing” would also bend over backward to have a smart female professional like Adele, come hang out with them or speak at their event. Whatever that is.
For all the people who tell Madonna or Katy Perry or Mila Kunis or Dame Judy Dench that they are not professional ~ please …. do. Then come back and let me know how that goes.
I’ll wait here ~ just knowing I will be excited to hear that story.
I’m not as spicy in my words as the writers over at Jezabel, but I do admire their colorful words. I’d much prefer their company than that of a pias, judgmental, pinched up gossip queen who throws hate all over anyone who isn’t exactly like her. (or him).
Karma has a funny way of calling people out on their bullshit.
As for habits ~ good or bad ~ have you seen The Good Place? I forking love how they approach cussing. Those benches knock it out of the park. We can change our language if we want to, but only for ourselves. Never change you for the comfort of someone else.
I don’t judge but I do know that part of the gift of writing is to shut up and observe. I’ve seen church ladies and elementary school teachers toss out some serious shade on others while sucking down wine like a hungry kitten looks to a nursing mama cat. Daily.
Unless you are crystal clear perfect in every single way ~ there is no space for being the judge, jury or critic of anyone else.
The beauty of living in our own bubble of truth is ~ we work on ourselves, for ourselves, by ourselves. Then, the right people do come along.
Here’s to finding your own truth, using whatever fucking language you want to.
No matter what your gender is.
Always remember and never forget ~ everything, no matter how clear ~ has a shadow self.
In peace and clarity,
K. Aren for @happinessnoir @InkHoneyPub @K.ArenHenryMiller @HenryHealing.com
So when I hear that a leading academic is both studying sexual abuse while being sexually violating to his students ~ yeah …. I got triggered BIG TIME. He’s not the first, nor will he be the last. I won’t even go into the sexual abuse of certain religions, family values, cultural permissiveness and classism when it comes to some regions are living in dinosaur ages when it comes to helping people to heal from abuse.
Trauma And yes ~ the body DOES keep score.
One of my goals is to contribute my verse to the growing cacophony of noise around this subject to help shift the paradigm to actually doing something about it.
For me, I wasn’t furious that he did what he did. The dude also makes fun of heavy people on his Facebook pages, and openly laughs about stealing other people’s ideas to turn into his own research. He’s a jackass. A jackass who, when caught, quickly turns to suing people ~ like a pit bull defending a bone. Own up to his behavior? Never. Karma will have to do that.
What made me furious to the point of rethinking my entire career was the number of people ~ professional people who make a LOT of money promoting healthy happy habits ~ who support and back him ~ giving zero fucks about the victims of his sexual harassment. They simply ghost those women and new academics. They basically said, “Well, he sure is controversial, but he helps the industry, so…”
As long as the money and fame flow ~ the abuse will continue.
Ironically, these same people who don’t like the word “fuck” because it’s offensive, are defending a MALE who talked about his blow jobs in a hot tub with his mentees ~ as many male professors do.
How many of you have been sexually abused or harassed at some point in your lives?
Let’s just throw this out there because we all know it’s true ~ IF he had been a black male, he would have been immediately fired and he would have had charges brought against him.
Yet another layer of the double standard in higher education.
Don’t get me wrong ~ I LOVE higher education ~ so much good is in the academic setting for growth ~ it’s important to a healthier world. BUT, there is always a bad apple that gets protected by the system.
It’s the systemic misogeny, racism, puritanical hypocrisy that drives me nuts.
The people most hurt?
Those silenced by shame and blame ~ young or financially disempowered ~ naive, blindsided and targeted young women (and men) who give carte blanche trust to their teachers, faculty, mentors and managers.
People who are betrayed on a cellular level.
My entire career in the field of psychology began with counseling sexually abused college students and it ended with counseling sexually abused women and girls.
For forty years ~ I have heard story after story after story of abuse. WHY hasn’t the industry changed in all that time.
At 18, I was still a virgin. I was hit on … hard … by a 45 year old professor who saw that I was ignorant of his intentions.
I was so embarrassed. I never told.
In silence. In embarrassment because I should have known better.
Women have told me that it’s happened to them too. An overwhelming number of women, who then, stop talking to me or ‘un-friend’ because they are ashamed of speaking out loud after decades of abuse.
That’s what we do. We get bold, then retreat, then speak up ~ then retreat.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of just leaving the internet entirely because I KNOW what the backlash is and will be.
Courage is part of the Post Traumatic Growth cycle. But so is being afraid of our own shadow from time to time. Being UN-liked? That’s ingrained in the cycle.
Yeah ~ if I had had more self awareness and worked on my own courage to say, “fuck off” ~ my life would have gone in a whole other direction.
Yes ~ I know that women are NOT supposed to use curse words in the delicate ears of “professionals” and yet ~ Gary Vaynerchuck said it best in his addressing cussin’, language and how we deliver our message to the world.
Remember ~ it’s an angry word ~ this is an angry subject ~ we are angry people who are whole heartedly done being told what we can or can’t say about our own life experiences.
You betcha that makes people uncomfortable.
It should be uncomfortable to defend abusers.
I WISH I was blissfully unaware like so many others that I know or have met along the way.
I am acutely aware of the long lasting effects of trauma and what it does to the body.
We as a society are still in a quagmire of a double standard about what women are allowed to exist as and what men are allowed to exist as.
There are outliers. I’m one of those. I was raised in a male dominated society ~ to the point where looking like a boy as a child, probably saved me from being sexually abused.
As a young adult, I wasn’t so lucky.
My survivor story launched a two decade long career into saving others ~ at least, helping others but the trauma I endured also had a repeat pattern on a loop until I was able to get myself out of it.
I know that this sort of thing tends to be discussed more on Tik Tok and YouTube, but writing about it ~ it leans toward the silence in a way that verbal story telling can’t achieve.
Everything out there will help you in a short amount of time. Mindfulness ~ CBT ~ DBT ~ meaning centered therapies ~ feminist theory ~ family systems therapies …. I’ve studied and used them all both for myself and my people.
I have been witness to sexual abuse for half a century ~ I know it when I see it.
It changes your brain. It changes your body. It changes your spirit.
What is trauma? The Body Keeps Score is a great book ~ we have scars that nobody can see ~ well, trained experts can see them, but don’t always acknowledge them.
p.s… I’ve shared both male and female perspectives from experts on purpose. There are really good men out there helping the world and foundations that support the discovery of the health and wellness community ~ it’s important to embrace all genders for this very insidious, base action against humanity ~ and to learn from our own stories in how to live a healthier, happier tomorrow.
Life is never fully easy ~ until we punch our way through the duplicitous nature of that which stands in our way. It’s a strength building exercise in awareness.
The easy answer to having the life we want is to focus ONLY on that life, and nothing, nobody else until we’ve achieved it.
We are drowning in duplicity right now. The toxic culture of the internet makes it worse, but it’s on the ground too. This nature of being. We are, at the base level, carnivorous animals who fight for survival.
How then, do we create a mindset that ignores the toxic, negative behaviors of those around us who mean us harm? Who have an edge? Who somehow manage to always get whatever they want?
Do we in fact, ignore them?
Take the whole housing issue ~ more and more people are wanting/trying to buy, but giant billion dollar companies are buying up everything already made in order to turn them for a profit, or, keep them to rent out to those who can’t afford a 1/2 million dollar 2-bedroom bungalow.
I’ve spent the entirety of the pandemic working from home, but also studying culture at large. I’ve been studying the housing market, the investment advisors, and even the medical field to better understand the nature of health and healing.
“We’re not listening to each other”
The social media untrained incorrect warriors who put out content as fast as dandelions multiply are creating a vortex of hurt for everyone who doesn’t know to go to the original source.
It’s creating havoc from soup to nuts across the entire globe and it’s exhausting. Listening to it can trigger every upsetting feeling we have. On either side.
Emotion Regulation is calling all to the table, but only some will come along to ask, “where is your source”.
We have to let it go. We have to ignore the opinions of others at a time, when the people with the authentic, genuine, expert training in things are being silenced by the masses of willful ignorance.
Silence is the best answer for some ~ but we do a disservice to ourselves when we give up our ability to have a civil conversation … some people don’t even know how to do that at all. As in, they’ve never been taught how to agree to disagree.
We have mega successful companies putting dangerously inhumane meme’s out that say things like, “just walk away” when our feelings are hurt. How is that going to help any human grow? It’s not. It’s going to shorten our attention span to the human condition as a whole.
There is a vast difference between surviving trauma or something deeply offensive and the idea that if we don’t feel good about someone or something, we just ~ ghost them.
Avoidant behavior is just as dangerous to our own sense of well being as trying to survive this world wholly on our own.
We are out there promoting social isolation as this romanticized, glamorous, lovely idea of peace ~ yet never are willing to just put down our phones. Instead, we take a picture of ourselves IN the social isolation to prove that we were there.
The cuter the body, the more we selfie ourselves into the world while having our mountain top moments to what? Prove that we are both cute AND free?
We are not free if we have to prove that we are free.
The same goes for some of this wisdom sharing. Why are we compelled to show our boobs in the “positivity” freedom of life media?
Um? You don’t have to have a 12-pack or spectacular boobs or a distorted plastic surgeon mastery in order to be respected, seen or listened to.
As a matter of fact, what that is doing is creating chaos and a deep sense of insecurity.
Why are women my age feeling compelled to bulk up into a super tight, sexy body, clothed only in a string bikini for all the world to see? To prove that we still have value or worthy attention from the masses? To say, “See! I’m still hot. I still matter.”
Girl ~ you matter whether you are online or not.
Love yourself and stop giving a shit what other people think of you.
The most courageous act you can undertake is to get to know yourself; appreciate your own value; love who you are “as is” and then ~ only then, tell the rest of the world that they will accept you just as you are.
Not easy. Not in today’s rather malicious duplicitous world.
I have seen Associate and full professors try to “take down” an adjunct because that part time person saw the truth of the full time person’s duplicitous nature.
I have seen not for profit leaders allow an office bully so horrible, they lost employees left and right, but secretly were terrified of the office manager.
I have seen people in education ~ sleeping with the parents of their students; giving unbelievably bad advice to young girls and gossip about children’s families in front of those children ~ causing immeasurable harm to their young minds.
I have seen junior high, high school and college level teachers seducing and sexually abusing the vulnerable students who just never saw it coming.
I have had to work with bosses who would say the most disgusting things about their employees, but get away with it because they were just master craftsman narcissists that nobody would believe the employee. Why? Because these predators knew exactly who to target when they set out to fuck with that person’s life. For sport.
The only way to take back the night (a program, I’ll link below) or to teach our next generation how not to be abused, is to encourage them to not be afraid of their own emotions.
It’s the only way.
Teach a girl how to throw a punch. I’m grateful that I learned how to do that when I was seven years old. It helped me when I was 25 and had to defend myself. It helped me not to be afraid of an extremely volatile, dangerous business partner.
Teach a boy how to spot a creep every bit as much as we teach our girls. We must never assume that all abuse only happens to girls.
As a matter of fact, my very first client when I became a mental health counselor, was a young boy who went on his first ever date with a man, when that naive 18 year old finally found the courage to come out. That man raped that boy, who in turn, wanted to kill himself.
Another client, a group of college girls who were being seduced by their professor ~ a double PhD from Columbia ~ who would lure them to his private estate in a tropical location ~ only to encourage as many of them as possible to sleep with him.
I’m sick and furious just thinking about it.
Yes. Even those of us trained in trauma healing ~ can feel the fury of what duplicitous snakes in the grass are out there doing.
The more we share what we know with the world, the more these creeps have to hide in the shadows.
The more we educate ourselves and our children about what’s out there ~ the danger not always the most obvious ~ the better we can equip them with knowledge in how to live safe, happy, well informed lives.
Why do so many get away with it? Because we aren’t having uncomfortable conversations with our kids, or, we aren’t around any of them so think it’s all just make believe drama that people make up to sell books.
Once you see the shadow side of the world, you can’t unsee it.
There is a whole world of wonder and beauty under every cloud.
Be careful out there in the world of online or on the ground ~ live simply if that’s calling you but live smartly which is preferred to the overconfident ignorance.
OH ~ I just discovered Tik Tok a few weeks ago. I’m adding doctors, lawyers, nurses, psychology professionals whom I can tell are factual ~ to try to correct the algorithm so I don’t get a lot of just …. idiots who are terrifyingly spreading absolute incorrect information. I’m not going to Tik Tok so no followers for me ~ just following … I guess in the online world, that looks weird but ~
We must embrace the fact that the dark side is there ~ it’s real ~ and it may be wearing a pretty pink suit, ~ ready to burn the hand of the best wizard in the school. Remember ~ some of the most dangerous people are those smiling at you while plotting your death.
Get to know your environment ~ learn how to embrace the dark side so you can learn not to fear it.
Then ~ be as happy as you want in the place where you are.
The whistleblower ~ followed by the Ooopsy from Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp/Messenger ~ followed by ~ sorry … we seemed to misplace our keys ~ followed by … well, ya know … it’s a long list.
My cat was thrilled that I was offline, hanging with her more yesterday. Look at that face. She’ll in heaven 🙂
My first thought was ~ I didn’t miss social media all that much, followed by, wow, that lady has guts!
Then, my opinion went to … it’ll all work out in the end, like everything seems to ~ with enough time.
Time truly is the greatest healer.
Remember the OJ trial ~ if you’re old enough ~ you’ll remember how obsessed people were with it. I was working on my master’s at the time, so also working in my father’s restaurant. That was when people could still smoke in restaurants and his partner, but all their friends smoked.
It was disgusting.
The obsession noir AND the smoking were disdainful.
When doctors ask you, “Have you ever smoked?”, they should include “Have you ever survived working in an enclosed space for an extended period of time, where others were smoking, forcing you to breathe in their 2nd hand smoke?”
‘Cause that happened. I now have chronic seasonal asthma because of it. If they weren’t all dead, I’d think about suing them.
But I digress.
The point is ~
… those people along with people around the country, all held on to the televisions from first thing in the morning until late at night. They were thrilled at the tragedy. I was mortified. I’m pretty sure that pathological behavior is what sparked my interest in psychology in the first place.
Not the trial. That made me cringe. The human need to watch the trial with the morose hope that someone would get the death penalty. They even sexualized the victim, which was particularly disgusting.
Anywho ~ that was the the first voyeur pathology I ever witnessed. Then, reality TV launched the lawyer’s daughter and her family into a billion dollar brand with many, many spin offs and now, everyone seems to be jumping on that voyeur obsessed need to be seen or watch the destruction of others.
For as long as I’ve been an adult ~ not necessarily mature, LOL, but an adult ~ I’ve witnessed my fare share of abuse ~ from all walks of life.
Just recently ~ I saw that one of my favorite leaders in the field had abused his students with his power over them ~ and trust me ~ when a female actually takes legal action against a guy in power ~ it’s usually MUCH worse than the legal system will allow ~ but he wasn’t punished or even really reprimanded.
I’m old enough to not give a shit about speaking of that which can’t be talked about “or else” and young enough to continue to speak up for victims of sexual abuse (all genders) who aren’t strong enough to speak for themselves ~ yet.
As a matter of fact, he is being supported by other powerful people, both male and female ~ people who will help him to launch his career even further.
The students will be living with this trauma for the rest of their lives. It will follow them, as it has followed me, and every client I’ve ever met ~ for the rest of their lives.
We are giving a message loud and clear that abuse of power is a way of life.
When colleges allow rape, abuse, torment, traumatizing, threatening, beating, and covering up ~ they are sending a clear message about who matters and who does not.
When I became an advocate for survivors of trauma ~ I lost a lot of people who didn’t want me to talk about it.
As a matter of fact, the silence of the woods is so much easier ~ the silence of the ever chattering internet is so much easier when turned off.
We can choose to gobble up the overwhelming understanding that humanity is choosing to be a voyeur on the tragedy of the lives of others ~ while preaching a whole hearty, “I’ll show you how to be happy” mantra.
Even people in the happiness industry, can be either sensitive to the needs of others or monsters in disguise.
We must realize that ~ people are people with every human emotion that all others have. There are no gods or goddesses here.
Every industry ~ and country ~ and civilization has a multitude of both good and bad. Life is balance.
I have known monsters ~ but I’ve also met enough angels to balance them out.
It takes great courage to show up to your own life ~ your own truth.
To listen to the brave woman ~ the Whistleblower ~ who stood up to share what was going on behind the algorithms at Facebook confirm my suspicion that we are intentionally being spoon-fed the poison of hatred and anger.
Our mental health is so much more important than being admired online by a bunch of strangers.
To me, the way we live defines the way we feel about ourselves. WHEN we have a choice in how we live. Not all people everywhere have that luxury of choice.
I only just discovered Tik Tok ~ I try to change the algorithms by “liking” or is it “following” people who are positively funny (as opposed to jerks who make fun of people for sport) OR, informational people in the medical/legal/psychological industries.
It’s awesome to see people doing something proactive with it.
Unfollow any and all who are not contributing a verse to your life.
I’m adding this here because even talking about abuse can be triggering. I’m here to help the silent ones ~ the victims ~ the survivors. Links to resources, including my own.
One day ~ you too, will find your voice ~ until then, there is help everywhere. You may not know that ~ I know I didn’t and only barely survived it 100% on my own.
There is a growing stereotype that seems to be attaching itself to happiness. The thing is ~
We have to be flexible in our understanding of what ‘happy’ looks like.
You can be sad, and still, at your core a happy person. That doesn’t mean you’re leaping and jumping with joy all the time ~ in the event your on camera or being ‘seen’ by the world.
You can be furious at an injustice, but at your core, know that this too, shall pass ~ but first, you want to fight like hell on behalf of that thing that you believe in.
You can be unhappy all you want without anyone else telling you that you have no right to be unhappy.
You can have a moment where you totally lose your marbles while in a stressful situation, but that doesn’t mean that you are a bad person or deserving of public ridicule or humiliation … you had a bad moment ~ maybe day ~ maybe year.
You don’t have to be wealthy, physically fit, or attractive to be happy.
Heavier people ARE happy without having to change their shape to suit anyone else’s opinions. They don’t have to change their appearance so that other people can interpret their mood or personality; but that happens all the time.
The same goes for financially challenged people. We don’t have the right to treat fiscally disadvantaged people as less-than, simply because they can’t buy the $400 t-shirt or trending juice cleanse or even organic anything.
We have divided ourselves and assumption of what it is to socially accepted as happy or not that has nothing to do with our actual lives.
We monotonized happiness so that the wealthy can preach to the lesser bank account holders how to BE happy.
Walk into any organic grocery store anywhere. We teach and preach about organic foods; certain organically made, responsibly sourced product from yoga clothes to apples to dragon fruit to sushi bars ~ it’s all very expensive.
What costs $20 in one store will only cost $7 in a bigger, more generalized grocery. Single parents aren’t going to the organic stores and single income families are going to shy away.
Don’t shame them for the choices they make ~ more than that. Don’t make only crap food while also telling people to eat healthier choices. Talk about an oxymoron of a system!
Traveling also indicates a shift on consciousness ~ those who can, brag about it. But it’s expensive. The price of gas alone will pin a single income family down to a region.
We selfie our delighted incandescent joy, but when people aren’t posing or showing off our financial success, we are wondering how other people are living a happy life without the same globe trotting delirious well-lived life.
You don’t have to be boastful online to prove that you are happy ~ you don’t have to show off as much of your skin in provocative poses, or the size of your house/car/boat/travels.
You don’t even have to “prove your worth” by being publicly out there doing grand things ~ like capturing the moment you laughed the hardest or scored that winning goal (literally or figuratively).
Why do we give in to the collective peer pressure?
Because the happiness industry has created a desire which in turn, has turned us all into a need to be liked, accepted, and sameness.
We want to prove that we have the most ~ are the most ~ wear the most ~ live in the most ~ be the most ~
We are competing with nobody, yet fools to the somebodies we don’t even know.
Look at the “likes” thing we’ve done to ourselves. Talk about an epidemic of needing to be seen!
Who is that? How many likes do they have?
Perception is a real sink hole of everything humanity craves.
We crave acceptance as if we can’t accept ourselves ‘as is’.
We crave financial abundance as if modest living isn’t enough.
We crave popularity to fill the void of never fully loving ourselves so much, we HAVE to buy the books that tell us how to love ourselves.
It’s not actually a secret ~ but we all fell into that trap of thinking there is a “secret” of how to live ~ how to be.
What if ~ we all just work on our own business ~ work on our own sense of meaning, purpose, and love of self ~ allow ourselves to be amazed in our own space without having to fly off of the planet to feel fulfilled.
What if ~ as a human being who spends their lives living in simple abundance, is completely content, with everything we have as we have it without need or want for anything else.
Then, to finish off the look, we also mind our own business to not judge other people as they are doing the same thing.
I know. It’ll never fully work. Humans are funny that way. Seeking outside of themselves for the one thing they can 100% control internally.
We can choose to be happy, but know that it’s not actually normal to be happy ALL THE TIME. If you’ve never experienced sadness, or disappointment or fear, or maybe grief ~ you aren’t a complete human experience yet. If you think that you must be a certain size, or have a certain amount of friends to be successful, then you’ve never known the human experience of feeling whole.
Just as you are.
I can promise you this ~ as someone who always seeks to understand our wholeness, I know that depth and breadth of the human condition is much more authentic than only this one sided, 2-dimensional sense of selfie land.
As someone who wants to know how to paint a human face, I’d much prefer someone with some blemishes, or scars, wrinkles, or wisdom lines. Depth of character and the story on the imperfections are far more interesting than, the flawless, perfect (perceived) lovely images we carefully construct online.
I’m never interested in stereotypes. I want to know about the outliers, the off the beaten path types and the people we say are not normal.
There is no such thing as normal.
There is only perception.
If only people would mind their business and let it be. We can choose happy but more importantly, we can choose what that even means ~ trust me, it’s going to mean something different for every person.
Here’s to your quest for coming up with your own definition of happiness, gratitude, joy, curiosity, creativity ~ and the rest of the creation of a life worth living.
“I can not control what makes people stay or what makes people go.”
“I can not control how other people receive me or how other people act in our world.”
Those statements ~ …. those two simple little statements ~ … took years … no, …
Took me decades to come up with and over several years to accept as truth.
In 2014 (’13?) I published a book I called, Poppins, on Amazon. It wasn’t remarkable and made a few dollars, but not much. I didn’t do it for fame and a pulitzer. I did it during the very worst year of my life as a way to be outside of myself for a while. I couldn’t control the tsunami of my world falling apart, but I could control what happened in that little book.
It had nothing to do with Mary Poppins. Other than, perhaps, it was inspired by the concept of the fairy godmother, flying in to fix everything. I could have used a real friend back then. Instead, while everything was awful, the universe sent me a truly awful person disguised as a friend. Because I was the walking wounded, I believed the lie which ended up hurting even more. I didn’t pay attention to any of the warning signs, or my inner voice ~ the guardian angels if you will.
I didn’t listen to myself. A funny thing happens on the way to a painful life lesson. You guard up, rather than let go.
When we live through traumatic events, we have this internal need to control everything in our environment. Then, we hold on to the control so hard, it makes us go off the rails ~ sometimes a little bit, but other times, a lot.
Fangs out ~ armor up.
Funny thing about experiencing trauma, we remember it at the weirdest times.
We negotiate with ourselves before we own the solution to dissolving the repeat pattern of thoughts.
No matter how many times we tell ourselves to say or do anything to change a pattern, we must first embrace the hurt.
We have to grieve ourselves ~ those parts of us that wanted so badly for something or someone to be different.
We can’t go back in time, but we can record the history of our experiences.
I think about the Bridges of Madison County, where the adult children of a woman who made a hard choice she had to live with for the rest of her life, found her journals after her death. They only truly got to know what their mother gave up for them, after she died.
The same for Sophie’s choice and pretty much all the Robin Williams movies. We make choices that nobody else knows about and live with intolerable torment that nobody else really understands.
When we need to connect to the outside world in order to hold on to the inside, but all the psychology in the world can only go so far; we can reach out to the poets, the storytellers, the words and wisdom of others and their experiences.
When we hear how other people survived something so inexplicably awful that we dare not to speak of it, we can be soothed by word art. Music can help us to heal but it can also trigger a painful past. We must choose it wisely.
Then, reclaim the idea that any part of our past can hurt us again.
That’s what panic attacks do. They try to take back that piece of you that was hurt long ago.
That’s what fear does. It will rise up when it recognizes something familiar. We have to tramp it back down by mentally taking ownership of our thoughts and mind ~ reminding ourselves that we own the fear, not the other way around.
We also have to remember that just because someone shattered the idea of love, doesn’t mean that love itself doesn’t exist.
Love is in everything we experience. It is the ultimate internal healer.
For entirely too long, I surrounded myself with people who only harbored hate, while I studied the psychology of being human. Instead of receiving love, I received their hate, until their petty, mean spirited, spiteful, belittling hatred became the accepted pattern of emotion I lived with.
I often wonder if I pushed through so many years of dissecting the human condition through the field of psychology because I was avoiding my own acceptance of pain and sadness in every relationship I had.
I suspect it is in part, true.
We do that to ourselves. We convince ourselves that we have to live a certain way as if it’s just “normal” ~ we invite in people, places and experiences that cause us suffering because we condition our minds that the suffering is all there is.
Here’s the rub though ~ when we live with trauma for a long period of time ~ we have NO IDEA what that even means. Self love? What is that? We tell and teach people that they have to ‘self love’ but what we leave out is ~ asking them to first know what love is ~ we have to talk about that more. Help them learn what love is, define it, identify it, realize it is their right to feel that way in the first place.
Then, one day (or in a slow leak), we wake up to remember that our soul craves love ~ fun ~ joy ~ adventure ~ laughter ~ light ~ trust ~ friendship ~ romance ~ curiosity and so many other lighter human experiences.
We deserve to be loved but when we go through being tormented or abused for so many years, we forget that part of us. It’s less painful to accept it than it is to realize it’s wrong but we’re taking it anyway.
Find your poet or become one.
2. Seek that one piece of music that sets your soul on fire. Create a playlist for your life.
3. Let go of the knowledge that there are people out there who will continue to hurt others ~ there’s nothing we can do about all of them. Exposing them on social media? It only helps to a certain extent, but to what personal gain?
4. Be where your feet are ~ be present ~ Be wholly invested in yourself and then, your children, and then, the world at large.
5. Take that first step to seek to change what you no longer accept.
When we cultivate a state of pure life satisfaction, the triggers all but disappear and the sadness never reaches to that place of a clinical depression or anxiety.
Letting go of control is an art form for people who are survivors.
Finding inspiration both within your own soul and outside from newly acquired knowledge ~ that’s part of the adventure of life itself.
The moment a human decides that some form of art needs to be banned, be it literature, or paintings, movies, documentaries, poetry, visual or performing art ~ long list, short blog ~ in that moment … we lose a piece of our humanity.
We look away from what scares us ~ we become afraid of knowledge, rather than learning from it. We don’t want to know our universal truth, so try to erase the past, or not think about the future. It’s too overwhelming for our brains.
We become repeaters ~ then spend our lifetimes, setting up the next big fail so history can repeat itself.
That’s why people are afraid of the dark. We don’t allow our eyes to adjust to it. We don’t let the shadows in to understand them, but instead, flick on that flourescent light in hopes to drown out our natural ability to do pretty much whatever we want.
We are living in a world that lies to us w/giving us only what it thinks we need but holding back the truth that sets us free.
Know how I speak of angel numbers or numerology? ~ Something that some members of the psychology community think are silly, while others, in the field know are absolutely important to our connection to others?
70% of the world’s population believe in angels. Three major religions that have often warred with each other, share a common belief in some of those same arch angels. Yet, what do the humans do to protect what they know?
They denounce the other as “wrong” ~ even when they are saying the exact same thing.
This very blog is evidence that I am an eternal optimist who believes in the power of knowledge, learning and unabashed hope for our world.
I’m not the only one who is looking into the abyss. There are researcher/scholar/practitioners from a multitude of disciplines who are right now ~ pouring out content that is agreeing with me.
Not just me ~ but the entire reality that we have to sit with the darkness to learn where it can contribute to our soul work ~ our psychological work and our body work. Mind. Body. Soul.
Well, I starting seeing “1010” ~ so many meanings but it sums up to “focus on the light” “stay positive” even though I’ve said the word “positive” so many times, it’s lost it’s meaning for me.
The thing is, being able to focus on the dark, makes the dark less scary for us. Seeing the darkness IS being positive ~ the shadow side of optimistic isn’t negative it’s seeing the balance and acting on keeping everything firmly grounded ~
Even the positive psychology scholars are telling people to go outside in nature ~ to walk barefoot in the soil ~ to breathe in the fresh air and soak up some sunshine. They are even telling people to appreciate the stars and moon. The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.
Being able to read a book or watch a film about real life that is upsetting helps us to motivate to do better ~ to be better humans.
We look away and try to ban it.
Then, we go to films that are made intentionally to terrify us. October is the biggest month for the horror film genre … no thanks. I’m more of a Casper the Friendly Ghost sort of person.
But I also get how people are scrambling to desensitize from the nightmares.
We write books that keep us up at night, giving us dark thoughts that disturb us. We see the world differently when we scare ourselves.
We should be scared of complacency.
We should be terrified of the human monsters who walk around justified in their horrible actions.
Ironically, the people who fight against banned books ~ will also try to ban certain movies, or documentaries ~ tv shows ~ series on networks such as Netflix ~ but banning is banning.
It has two faces.
Discussing in a flock of humans how something is “bad” for the world instead of using some deep listening as to why others think it’s a good for us to see, no matter how uncomfortable ~ is equally dangerous.
Arguing is useless, but it is very human. Banning books is giving power to those who may not have earned it or are good at it, but instead, are trying to simply control a part of the world that they themselves, feel no control over ~ inside their own mind.
For you ~ a few lists of banned books. Banned words are the very words we need to take notice of.
Words are only words until our own mind gives them meaning. They are not dark, or evil, or dangerous.
I missed it. I didn’t pay attention to the details. It didn’t bum me out, but it sort of did. TODAY is National Coffee Day but the deals? They were yesterday. Those tricksters.
So? Disappointing but also ~ ya know ~ who doesn’t want to drop $3.59 +tx on a cup of coffee that was so strong, I couldn’t actually drink it? Me. I DID say it was trick or treat for grown ups. I got tricked.
C’est La Vie!
One of these days, I’m going to pick up a cuppa from every coffee place in the city, then do a compare and contrast TikTok or YOuTube or something. Then, some jerk is going to call me a “karen” and I’m going to get mad ~ have a bad day and steam about it for a while.
Then, I’ll head home, have my team look at me with their little, “we love you” eyes ~ and I’ll be forced to cheer up so not to bum them out. After that? I’ll kick the coffee habit for a while ~ then 5 am will roll around, and ~ right back to my morning routine. Java’d up and writing snark.
All full of my own version of happy, while I contemplate how the rest of the world works.
Ah, yes. A day in the life of the socially isolated with intention.
Instead of coffee hunting ~ I decided to follow an experiment and let the universe reveal messages to me. I followed a trail of signs to see if that could cheer me up. It lead me to Twitter (God only knows why, since I’m not a fan of Twitter) ~ which lead me to Stephen King, who shared a YouTube about his new book in reference to his other writing masterpiece (On Writing) ~ BEST writing book ever written BTW, IMO.
Now? Though I literally made a vow to NEVER read another King book ’cause he’s TOO good, after reading The Stand some twenty years ago ~ nightmares, and pit of despair stuff … I’m going to have to read his new one. It just sounded too good.
Here ~ listen for yourself ~
People LOVE to talk about and write about darkness. We are a macabre bunch, we humans. We obsess over our horror films, and jump on the most terrifying parts of nightmares on Halloween.
We write darkness into every story, and show our darker side in the gritty details of what it means to be happy.
Are we facing our fears? Trying to scare others? Revealing a part of ourselves that we dare not speak of out loud, for fear of being judged?
Perhaps a bit of all of it, really.
We humans are forever chasing happiness as if it’s this illusive, unimaginable thing that we have to obtain like Peter Pan grabbing at his shadow’s foot. We never connect to it with the realization that like Dorothy, it’s with us all along.
Who the fuck taught us to be scared of ourselves ~ or other humans ~ or … the shadows.
When someone says, “Oh, those are only your thoughts.” ~ I agree. I also know that our thoughts are so powerful, they can convince us to literally change the molecular structure of the rest of the organic matter; career; family; friend group; and every other part of our human life.
Thoughts are the most influential, powerful part of our existance. Listen to them. Or, change them. Don’t accept them “as is” if that’s not working for you but damn … don’t just stew in them if they aren’t treating you well!
Break up with them if they are abusive!
Do NOT go reading that book if you know it’s going to scare you out of your precious sleep pattern.
The darker side of humanity is in each and every one of us. No matter how upbeat and bubbly we are, there is something dark (not sinister, unless there’s also a mental illness) but darkness is everything.
Standing up to our fears is one solution ~ but that’s when our fear is superficial. For those who have REAL fear, and terror in their lives ~ well, then we need to step aside and let them be. Not tell them how to live, but instead, admit that sometimes, it’s the master craftsman who get to take over as the guide to the universe ~ give way to those who know the darkness as a field guide.
PTSD survivors helping others, etc. Artists, showing us our inner most thoughts through their art, as a beacon of courage.
We don’t need Stephen King to terrify us with his brilliant writing or the incessant news outlets trying to freak us out.
We are quite capable of freaking ourselves out, simply by being human.
Ok then, that’s my thought for tonight.
I’m off to reimagine a novel I’ve been stuck in ~ because though some advice once told me that we can’t have a dual career ~ writing both fiction and non-fiction that is ~ those people should have kept their opinions and thoughts to themselves ~ considering they never wrote a book of any sort.
Today is like Halloween for grown ups. 🙂 Addicted to caffiene grown ups that is.
Today’s the day we all drive around from one java joint to the next, in search of the free coffee.
Yes, I did say addicted.
Yes, it’s perfectly normal
Yes, we are exploring the world at large while finding our succulent deliciousness.
My ONLY complaint is ~ I’m in the south, unless you go high end, they WILL NOT put regular 1% milk in the liquid gold. They add cream, which gives me a terrible shiver of acid reflux. Everything is butter, pork fat and pure cream down here.
Skim milk? Don’t even talk about it.
Cow’s milk? Not in this town full of vegans who apparently have oat farms and avocado trees dripping from the tropical forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Anywho, it is what it is.
So? We adapt.
Trick or Treat!
You also have to buy a donut or something to get the free goods, but that isn’t exactly good for a sugar addict either.
Wow, see how in one flow up ~ we can dream, crush said dream, then go do the right thing ~ EVERY time.
You grieved. You processed. You followed all the self-help books. You may have even taken a course, or linked in with some big names in the happiness game.
You spent all your diet industry money on the happiness industry, in hopes that you could kill two birds with one stone. You followed Oprah, bought all her books, saw all her stuff and you even discovered ~ Dr. Brene Brown, and other mega-level celebrity academics ~ Now what?
Pull yourself out of the drama of other people who linger in it.
Exist the way our little flying buddies do ~ follow your instincts. Before you healed, you weren’t able to ’cause the world f*cked with you, but now? You’re back and tapped in to your gut (your emotional intelligence).
You must stand in the strength of your own knowledge that you deserve more than whatever it was that broke you.
Remember, I’m writing this for every student, every client and every survivor of trauma that I’ve ever met. And then some.
Trauma survivors are a special breed of human ~ stronger, wiser, funnier, emotionally smarter and more observant. It’s actually really cool to have a conversation with a survivor. It’s also terrifying for someone who’s never experienced it. Power on.
Over the course of thirty five years, I’ve seen more predators and sexual abusers than anyone should ~ but it’s out there. They are out there.
The dark side of happiness is that survivors will not be gitty without also being gritty. Some might.
Humans ARE a sliding scale of experiences. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to cookie cutter you.
I’ve also met some powerfully insightful, down to earth wonder women who were unapologetic and unafraid of the judgement of others.
There are more survivors of abuse of all kinds than you can imagine.
Most people don’t like to think about it, but then, there are some people who have to think about it because they don’t have a choice.
Survivors don’t want to stay stuck in the trauma of what happened to them. They want to go live their lives without the world telling them how they are supposed to be.
There is another side of trauma ~ the healed side. But that side will never look like the same as those who’ve never actually been through something.
PTSD changes people forever. That doesn’t mean it breaks them forever.
You know the crinkled paper theory, right? Take a plain piece of paper, crumble it into a ball, now smooth it out again. It will never look like it did before crushing it. It’s still a wonder of modern technology ~ so simple, yet, so effortlessly complex.
The key? We heal ~ then live differently than before. The most important part? It will look differently for everyone.
Some go full on neon over the top happy out loud because that’s what’s called to them, while others withdraw into themselves as a quieter sort of contentedness.
Both are scary. Both are valid and normal. Both are beautiful.
Me? I’m cranky. I fought that tooth and nail. Until I allowed myself to be myself. Now? I’m totally fine with it. I gave myself permission to be whom I am without trying to force happy down my own throat. Other people’s version of it anyway.
The thing is ~ society is putting a lot of pressure on people to be “loud” with our happiness and joy.
We have to be smiling like we just won the lottery in every picture. **Some manipulators are doing this intentionally to PROVE they our upbeat and happy when in truth, they are conning others ~ it’s a play.**
This is exactly why survivors will be more guarded. They will be more cautious when they meet new people.
They will also be master’s of the game in that they were forced to learn what not to wear in a relationship (at work or at home).
They will be aware of the BS a lot quicker than those who haven’t been there.
But here you are ~ fully ready to join the world again, but there’s that little voice in the back of your head saying, “be careful” ~
Cautious and curious while also more aware of others than most.
Trauma changes how you feel the world.
That doesn’t mean it ends it for you ~ it means a new beginning.
The success is in the details of that. Those self help books? Some give the details while others, broad strokes of imagination.
Here’s a bit from a self help book I wrote a while ago called Indellible Women:
Write down your dream life
Write down your every day life.
Find the discrepencies ~ alter as necessary.
Detail the stuff that’s still clinging to you (nightmares? toxic people cyber stalking you? you have to see the monster in court?)
Then, write out solutions that will help you not let that stuff bother you anymore.
Then exposure therapy to the fear. Expose yourself until you are numb to it or indifferent, which is better.
Replace the routines that keep you grounded to the wrong things like picking up a new hobby or trying out something you always wanted to do.
This one’s the tricky one ~ ignore as many advice givers as possible ~ find your own voice and your own POV. One of the hardest transitions for someone who lived in an abusive situation is being comfortable and safe in your own environment. Being alone is really important.
Pick out times throughout your day when you can focus 100% on yourself. Date yourself. Be by yourself. This is particularly hard for single parents.
Single parents get burnt out fast ~ then are forced to stay that way ~ while dealing with their new life, the old life tries to cling to you ~ cut the ties … this is hard, but necessary. Cut the ties with everything that doesn’t feel good in your heart.
Rejoining the world as a new leveled up version of yourself means learning new internal patterns and external action on those thought patterns.
Nike said it best ~ Just Do It. Take the leap. Happy or not. Just go for it.
Okay ~ late entry, but getting it in there under the wire.
Guess what? ALL of these people fight for happiness ~ but happiness has different voices ~ different styles ~ a different feel ~ different labels.
This is what I actually do for my own happy hour ~ I cloud watch ~ or stare at nature, soaking in the sounds of wildlife. This IMO, is a chubby penguin in a Santa hat, flying with a backpack on. But then, it could be a duck riding a single engine airplane but I see the Super Penguin. (my favorite animal since the 80’s when the Far Side came out.
The more sophisticated folks call this mindfulness but I rather like holding on to the magic of imagination. It’s more fun than sitting criss cross applesauce, holding our thumb to forefinger for a solid hour. Arthritis. Lack of movement. Your legs fall asleep. I’m no yogi. 😉
This is what Happiness Noir is all about. Honoring and celebrating the other stuff that isn’t drenched in delighted light and giggling glee.
I also scroll Instagram for about 5 minutes ~ but I don’t have a lot of patience for that + I don’t think it’s healthy to stay on social media all day. I promised myself a few years ago to give myself 1 hour a day outside of work related stuff.
We choose how we live ~ when we are free people.
To be happy, we must dare to see everything as two sides of the same coin. To know how to truly help people, we have to first know ourselves. Even the darkest parts. Maybe especially the darkest parts.
I googled it to cut some time in locating a definition. 229,000,000 answers. I just don’t have that sort of time. Hold on, I need to grab my coffee for this one.
I’ve been watching the spider build this web for over a month now. The lawn dudes keep swiping it away as they meticulously manicure the grounds. I like it a lot shaggier and wild than this but, I digress.
I don’t believe that it’s ‘negative’ to not be positive all the time. The same is true for retraining our brain to BE positive. The reason is …
1st ~ everyone’s brain is different
2nd ~ we all interpret the world a bit differently from one another
3rd ~ we are all connected to this wild ride energy force, so can be influenced one way or another by the people, places, experiences, belief systems, schooling, likes, dislikes, loves, brain chemistry, family systems, cultures, etc.
There are too many variables to list here, but this gets the point across.
Eeyore ~ is my favorite character in the 100 Acre wood. I get him. He makes the storyline whole. Each character represents an emotion but when we were kids, we didn’t realize that. The parts of the friend group made up the whole.
Empathy + compassion = love.
All people who have brought great light into the lives of others, yet have openly talked about suffering from depression
are the true heroes of our wholeness with the world.
Creative people feel their feelings stronger than others.
Let them be.
See, the positive psychology movement never said, or was not supposed to go in the direction of saying that suffering didn’t exist.
It wasn’t trying to “fix” depression or sadness or even erase grief as if it didn’t exist.
Yet, some influencers in the field went there ~ which is fecked up ’cause what that does is cause MORE suffering for those who now also walk around feeling guilty for not being an upbeat ray of sunshine all the time. People are calling out the positivity movement in droves.
I love that actors are outing their UNhappiness.
That’s where the movement needs to go. To a place of suffering without shame, without blame, and without a need to please the rest of the world.
Feeling WHOLE is more human than anything that’s only a part of a person.
They feel trapped in the web of social media influence that has turned their sadness into the closet full of their emotions.
Because of the trickle down effect. First, these millionaire big name influential Ivy League celebrity Professors are hitting up all the giant conferences for the big companies.
Hey ~ it’s commerce and they want to make money so charge $50K a speaking engagement ~ why shouldn’t they? If a person can hire a ghost writer, then claim to have written a book, then ask that, the big name professor who did his/her own research (sort of) gets to ask it.
That trickles back to the HR department trainings that teach their employees how to use the PP in the workplace ~ thinking it’s an easy fix to some of the morale issues.
Then, those people bring it to the middle managers, who we all know, aren’t always a ray of sunshine, but now, have a happiness index to achieve and quotas of productivity to meet, so happiness becomes mandated.
Required sunshine and rainbows or else. It’s right in the job descriptions ~ go look at Indeed, or Glassdoor. Happiness is now required ~ that also slips into the way people look. Fat people are so UN-happy … right? They can’t legally say “old” or, “fat”, or “wears weird clothes” but you better bet your bottom dollar, they ARE screening for it.
So? Now we are talking about weeding out the UN-pretty people from the get go, in tandem with saying, ‘why won’t anyone work for us’. Um?
Because people are smart. They are aware. They are culturally sensitive and can smell fake a mile away.
One person told me that they were “sick of all this mindfulness shit because it was being shoved down their throats” by the Principal of the school system. The same system that once used, “respect” as a school theme ~ then proceeded to have the all white administrative team dress up like Black women from the 70’s ~ including padding their butts and doing afro wigs ~ singing while bobbing their heads to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”. They were VERY proud of themselves.
When I casually mentioned how racist and blindly inappropriate that was, and that it most likely deeply offended the four black kids in the school, well, let’s just say, I didn’t leave there popular.
We can’t MAKE people see what we see.
That’s the point. If we don’t get everyone on board with what our motive is, the entire concept is lost.
We also can’t sacrifice some to appease the few.
Like that spider web ~ it starts to fall apart. Then, we have to add an emoji spider ’cause the gardener killed the real one, leaving the fake message up, but not really being able to change the culture.
Which was the point in the first place.
What happens when we demand and even force happiness on people?
They celebrate their cranky, mean spirited, closeted rage. Then, the company culture feels the pain. They just don’t know why. They made everyone SO HAPPY!
Why not give them a rage page?
Speaking of teachers ~ there was a page/group on Facebook that was thousands of teachers who all used it to vent. Holy hell in a hand basket! These people let loose!
If that’s all I ever knew about the field, whew! I would be convinced that all teachers hate their job, hate the parents, hate their way of life, complain all the time about everything and rage to high heaven about their working conditions.
I asked them (again, making me VERY unpopular) ~ but it was an honest question, not at all filled with malice,
“If you are so unhappy with your job, why do you do it? There are a lot of other jobs that will pay more, offer more work satisfaction, and give you what you need.”
Do NOT ask a teacher that question!
I got blasted by many …. many of them. How DARE I suggest … well, you can imagine.
I flew right into that one. The web of raging teachers verbally beat me up but good.
In controlled settings in research, we can ask any questions we want. On a whim, after reading thousands of “I hate this job” posts …not so much.
I thought about Mel Robins and got out of there.
These people weren’t “stuck” ~ they LIKED being miserable. They LIKED to kvetch to blow off steam. They LOVED their jobs, but wanted to be in communion with complaining ~ daily.
A stress reliever?
I see the benefits of it ~ respect.
I think this is also why I jumped off the positive psychology train ~ where it’s heading anyway. It’s unrealistic to be THAT happy and THAT positive all the time. Sorry, but it is.
There is no shame or embarrassment in struggling with mental health.
Instead of adding to normalizing an open discussion about our mental health as a whole, the industry took a left turn that ended up SHAMING people who were experiencing a chemical imbalance in our brains, or lower levels of happiness as a whole (I’ll talk about that research in another post, it’s there).
Being sad, depressed, mad, worried, afraid, or any of the other “negatives” is not a bad thing.
Collectively attacking anyone who disagrees with them on the internet ~ that’s pretty fecked up. That happens too. I’ve been part of those discussions. Don’t let them fool you for a minute.
They are human, after all ~ and have bad days … plus some of them are serious jerks. Preach and teach ~ an odd combination.
Employers will screen you out if you don’t meet their happiness quota. This is so vastly unfair to the quiet people; the introverts; the grieving; the naturally more anxious.
But that’s what’s happening.
While people are profiting from forcing happiness down our global throats, other people just trying to make a living and exist, are having to suffer in silence while they disguise their depression and anxiety to the point of taking drastic measures.
The same Principal who was shoving “mindfulness” down her employees throats almost totally lost it when I took a child out of a school pep rally to walk with her in the quieter halls. She was on the autism spectrum, having a panic attack. The leader only listened to her own idea of the rightness of things.
She was closed off from hearing what her students and employees had to say. Not great.
It’s cruel. It’s inhumane. Its unrealistic and honestly ~ in some cases, its criminal.
Give people a break. Give people some space. Allow them to be creative where they are, instead of trying to force their foot into the wrong shoes.
Let them be.
Nobody can actually walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Nice gesture ~ usually lost on the person.
If they all gather on a Facebook group to kvetch about their jobs ~ stay out of it and let them alone.
They clearly need to vent to let off some steam.
Mind your business middle managers. Be confident enough in your own job as a leader to know that your followers NEED to bitch and complain but will come back better for it. Just ~ if you ARE the kvetcher ~ don’t unpack and live there. That’s JUST as toxic and annoying.
Middle ground ~ balance ~ find both pro and con ~ yin and yang ~ that’s internal and external ~ if ALL you do is complain … well that’s not good for anyone.
The racist shit? That has to stop. That’s an archaic, antiquated, hate filled tirade that has no place in the 21st century. It’s ridiculous ~ but I’ll rage if I go off on that tangent.
This one is this. The opposite of “positive’ ~ is ambivalence. Being too happy or not caring at all.
Opposites are forcing everyone to be happy all the time OR, not caring at all about anyone.
Okay, technically, it is negative but at least with ‘negative’ ~ there is still passion.
FAKE positive can be more negative than honest negative.
In other words ~ how about trading in “the positive psychology” movement for “the honest truth psychology” movement.
It doesn’t look as good on bumper stickers, but it will get the job done in helping people to feel whole and human.
According to numerology (as I have read it), I am surrounded by angels (the 4’s) and big changes are coming my way (the 5’s). I’ve just heard that another retrograde is happening and the fall equinox recently opened a portal of light ~ in other words ~ we’re very busy over here ~ making my list of fun projects intertwined with science meets writing meets … ??? other stuff.
Psychology of course, adds in some practical advice that when we believe we’re going to see something (like repeat numbers), we are also preprogramming our unconscious to see it.
Curiously ~ an old Irish proverb also says, “If you believe it to be so, it is so” ~ which also happens to come right out of philosophy from a variety of ancient texts.
I could go on but do you see the thread of truth in all of these? I can. But then, I study all of them.
We’re more connected than directed.
Somebody somewhere is going to be upset that I’m curious about the unexplained ~ somebody else is going to complain about the people who complain and yet another one ~ well, you get the point.
If 666 shows up ~ well, then I’m either in trouble OR, Lucifer has a new season. 😉 I’m KIDDING … so please don’t comment/yell at me.
I am of course, speaking of the Netflix show … don’t come at me with your religious beliefs either. The world has become entirely too serious about everything.
We’re allowed to have some fun with knowing how much we know we don’t know.
I worry about people who take things too literally ~ unless you have a brain/body condition that makes you wired that way, then, all is forgiven. I’m sure that metaphors aren’t your cup of tea either. Or the mystical world of tarot ~ or the energy work, like Reiki … but I digress.
The thing is ~ I’m curious about everything. That’s what got me into studying how the human and animal world work in the first place.
Too often, we are quick to judge ~ fast to criticize and triggered by every single thing on the planet.
Don’t just blindly follow the crowd. What a dark, depressing, sad way to live. There is no air down there in that cess pool of mob mentality. Pop your top and let it breathe for a while.
The point of being a scholar is NOT to just go along with the person who put the crown on and said, “I’m King!” or, “I’m Queen” ~
The point of being a scholar is not to be a minion or … as some pessimists say, but I don’t dig it … ‘sheeple’. Minions are better. And cuter.
The scholar/practitioner/researchers in our world are SUPPOSED to be able to comfortably, confidently disagree, or at the very least, agree to consider the points of view of others.
It is quite disconcerting when someone or a group of someones just ~ shut you down for having an opinion.
Not only is it upsetting ~ it’s dangerous. That’s both mob mentality AND bad practice.
Yet, here we are ~ talking about how certain groups or communities of people will attack …. just attack …. anyone who dares speak up against or in opposition to them.
If someone is being cyber bullied, they will feel all the same emotions as someone who is being bullied in real life. That’s not something to quip about as if it’s just another day at a park.
When hindbrain people are crushing someone for something they saw out in the wild (the urban wild that is), by recording it on their phone, then uploading it for the whole of the universe to laugh at ~ what’s their goal?
How would they like it if it happened to them?
What would they do if it was their mother, sister, grandmother, or favorite aunty who was being publicly humiliated en masse?
We need to be either holding the people holding the phone accountable ~ legally, and morally ~ or continue to just ghost and gray rock those people too. ~ the one’s with the phone.
Today in 2021 ~ it’s a global pandemic. The way people treat each other. It’s the other pandemic that people aren’t talking about.
Nobody’s talking about it because the people on the receiving end are either terrified of public humiliation OR, they can’t be bothered.
We didn’t unify as much as the selfie generation would have you think. We allowed mass bullying but with phones.
I am an eternal sunshine of the spotless mind optimist who saw and experienced bullying but any time I spoke of it ~ I got knocked down. Then, I walked away. Today, I openly speak loud enough for the person in the back of the room to hear me.
I hate injustice ~ and bullying ~ and the fact that I hate anything, but here we are.
Are there some who are capturing injustices? You bet. MY question for them is ~ instead of picking up the phone, why are we not stepping in?
That’s a bigger debate than this blog has time for, but asking questions ~ good questions … is how we create a better world.
The moment people in power (influencers) start shutting others down who simply don’t agree with them … that’s where we will fail as a species.
Knowing both what makes life worth living in perfect harmony with what makes it not worth living is important. Having a different POV isn’t what we should fear.
Knowing that it’s out there but we’re not allowed to talk about it for fear of mob mentality scholars? That’s the part that is truly terrifying.
I love the number of scholar/practitioners who realize that they may be mega celebrities in their own field/niche, but outside of that? Nobody’s heard of them.
There’s a lot to be said for humble living instead of humble bragging.
Here’s to living your life ~ wanting to know more ~ seeing the wonder in all of it ~ then daring to create a world that’s safe for everyone ~ not just the trending popular group.
Lucifer makes more sense than how some people are treating others on the internet and in life.
So? Netflix is living its best life instead.
Dare to ask questions ~ Dare to wonder ~ Dare to live out your dreams and believe what you believe regardless of what other people say. Dare to lead, even if you’re leading your life only. Love Dr. Brene Brown work, Braving the Wilderness ~ this toolkit is from that book. I dare you to buy and read it. 😉
Dare to love yourself so much that when the darkness of asshats come around, you won’t stop wondering. Dare to live in wonder. Dare to not be afraid of the bullies. Dare to speak up.
p.s… there will be typos ~ I only edit sweep once ~ to keep these first drafts flowing. Typos don’t bother me as much as they may bother other people. We’re all perfectly imperfect just the way we are.
I’m goofing around with my pages, content and themes so I can learn more about WordPress in general.
As soon as I say that in public, I receive a plethora of invites on Linkedin from tech folks who offer to do it for me.
I’m a self help sort of fella so ~ thank you but no thank you for now.
If I make mistakes ~ I’m okay with that. My biggest mistakes were my best teachers.
If I make it work, I have the satisfaction of the DIY thrill of victory.
If I want to save time, I’ll leave it ~ like the pile of books in my “to be read” pile.
I like to create my own version of a thing ~ that and I have trust issues, but who’s counting.
Okay ~ off to explore, learn and play.
**I just wanted to let you know in case you were wondering why the look of the page is so Wonka land for a while. I like the “Hemingway” theme I have now, but I want to create something that’s even simpler.