Shameful

Shame is possibly the worst side-effect of trauma.  Guilt, shame’s ignoble cousin, seeps in churning the mess.  Guilt has its place, when you do something unkind, unhealthy, or unhelpful, guilt proves conscience – and shows that you’re probably not a psychopath, although you still might be an asshole.

But guilt that worms its way into my psyche without validity serves no purpose.  Shame lies to me, but I believe its lies.

I’ve read that young children cannot process that their parents or caregivers might be wrong, or harmful, so I took it in as my fault.  I didn’t have friends in my first years of school, and even then, at 5 or 6 years old, I thought my classmates knew that I was defective.  But I was resilient;  I knew how to laugh, and laughter was my guardian.  I didn’t know I was smart because I didn’t grow up in a nurturing environment – I just knew ways to escape without going anywhere, and how to hold in my anger and fear until they finally exploded in tantrums and sometimes blind rage – usually toward my antagonizing next oldest sister.

Fotolia_57156905_Woman-Shame-Covered-Face

Fotolia_57156905_Woman-Shame-Covered-Face

Shame clung to me – it twisted into my DNA, bored into my neurons, exchanging itself through synapses.

Of course I’d try to get unkind people to love me throughout my life, it’s what I was taught.  Of course I’d find men who would add to my shame, further deepening what I already believed about myself.  I never got what I so desperately wanted and needed, love and approval.  Approval is exoneration, absolution.  If I got validation from others, then I wouldn’t have to be ashamed anymore.

Only it doesn’t work that way.  I have to validate and approve of myself.

I don’t want to live in shame anymore.  I’ve done nothing to warrant such heavy chains, such a terrible prison.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

One For The Ages

Did our ancestors age in the same way we did, or would they have if life expectancy weren’t half of what it is today?

They ate much better than we do – when food was plentiful.  They had all the super anti-oxidant berries, fruits, many grains, nuts, seeds, and non-pesticide or other chemical laden, non-gmo meats and vegetables.  They breathed cleaner air, drank purer water, even though air and water may have been polluted by methane, or volcanic ash, or animal and human waste, it was still better than our toxic world, and their immune systems had to have been fairly robust to advance our species to today.

So many new supplements, creams, and ‘super foods’, crowd store shelves in our collective quest to stay young, and energetic – full of piss and vinegar – maybe literally as Fire Cider asserts better health and its implication of longevity, or at least more energy.

I want what they’re selling.  Youth in a bottle piques my interest every time, and I spend too much time searching for the truth behind the façade, feeling more uncertain of those products’ plausibility.  And whether or not those foods and substances hold real promise, I can’t afford them anyway.

Staying young will be for the ultra-rich.

We’ve all seen examples of those chasing permanent youthfulness, with hundreds of horrifying plastic surgery examples making those people nearly unrecognizable, and certainly not better looking.  Even successful surgeries don’t always increase happiness, some creating greater insecurity as the chase for the next enhancement is on.

Self-acceptance, wherever we are in life, is our best ally, but that doesn’t mean it’s easily achieved, and it’s advertisers’ goal to make us life-long consumers of their products, and they are very good at their job.

It seems like younger generations are getting more savvy, however, and that’s good to see, but they haven’t reached middle age and beyond yet, and whether I’m still here or not, I hope they’ll remain skeptical of promised life-enhancing elixirs.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Spaced Out

An astrophysicist on TV proclaims that we need to find a new home before the sun expands, broiling us to a crisp, in about 5 billion years.

5 Billion years.

It’s amazing to me that anyone thinks we’ll last that long as a species, never mind resemble the beings that we are now.

Maybe we’ve reached the pinnacle of human evolution, but we are in the age of 3-D printing, not just objects, but limbs, and potentially replacement organs!

We’re in the age of brain study, mapping, and technology.  We know how to interrupt Parkinson’s disease brain patterns, for instance, and are looking toward controlling and perhaps, eradicating, many brain-caused conditions.

Neuro- (and other) scientists – and brain researchers are making new discoveries on an accelerated pace, and as artificial limbs and our electro-chemical processes are paired more and more, humanity will morph into a species that can handle an increasingly toxic environment, or so is the hope.

We might figure out better ways to get energy, use and share resources like clean water, breathable air, and arable land, or we’ll kill each other off with increasingly terrifying weaponry here, and orbiting our world.

New telescope technology hopes to not only see beyond our current limits, but to aid our quest for life-sustaining planets while we seek the answers to cosmic origins.

Meanwhile, back on earth, it’d be nice to find sustainable work, and I look forward to digging into a rich swath of earth, sowing our next garden – which is all the new exploration I can currently handle.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Simple Is Better

My S. O. likes to try to cheer me up when I’m spiraling down, which is sweet, and it would be great if that were the answer to my mental illness, but rather than climb into bed and try to sleep away my hell (which doesn’t work, but at least it’s warm in bed), I agreed to go out with him.

He had plans and it was fun to not know where we were going, but it turned out tickets were sold out for what he had planned. (Of course they were – I could have told him that.)

Aside from the asshole in my head, he rallied and told me we could eat out wherever I wanted.  Initially I chose a place that we’ve been to once before for coffee, and aside being good coffee, offered a simple menu of pizza, calzones, salads, and pastries, but my S. O. said anywhere, and I had never been to another, fancier, restaurant in the town, so off we went.

He got the blackened swordfish, and I opted for chicken pot pie, which was good, but heavy on the cream sauce in the filling.  The dessert menu included crème brûlée, an amazing dessert when done right.  Alas, it was a dense custard than the better pudding quality, but I still ate it, being a long time member of the ‘clean plate club’.  Sigh.

We soon wished we had saved half of what my S. O. spent and gone to the other place, but we couldn’t know until we tried, and soon after, the heaviness too much, I threw it all up.

Maybe that wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t having an episode, but I rarely eat rich foods anyway.

Perhaps a cleanse (and an exorcism) will make me well again.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Bugged Out

It sat for months, waiting to be sold.  Every time I went by I wished I could buy it, but $1500 was out of my range, even though it’s not much for a car.  I finally called to see if the price was negotiable and was told the lowest they’d let it go for was $1200, but I didn’t even have that – and even if I did – the cost to get it on the road would most likely be $1000 more.

I kept imagining myself behind the wheel, trying to remember what it was like when I rode with my sister when she had one.

This VW Bug was in great shape for being nearly forty years old, and allegedly it only had one owner, the guy’s mother, who maintained it well.

Of course he’d say that, and I hoped it was true.

After looking it over, the guy let me take it for a spin.  It was harder to drive than I imagined.  None of the pedals had padding, and my foot keep slipping as I engaged the clutch, which went way in – so different from today’s cars.  The steering wasn’t too difficult even though it wasn’t powered steering, but the fantasy I had created about how great it would be to own and drive the cute yellow Bug was bursting all over the run-down seats, a nearly rusted through floor, and lower side panel, and the flat windshield and tiny side mirrors that made me wonder how anyone ever liked driving it.

I thanked the guy for letting me take it for a ride, and told him I hoped someone would buy it, but it wouldn’t be me.

VW Bug

VW Bug

It shouldn’t have surprised me how the idea of owning and driving it surpassed the reality, as that is often the case in so many life circumstances.

Even though I don’t want to own one anymore, the VW Bug holds a tender spot in my heart, and I can always remember times I rode with my sister all those years ago – more precious for the fun and good company than the transportation.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Support Wishes

There are so many crowd-funded creations I wish I could support, and wish I could own!  One of my favorites is the Ombee adjustable stand up desk with swivel pads for standing and eliminating fatigue.

Another is the Stand desk, but that’s more expensive, and not mobile like the Ombee stand up desk.

I’d like to market my music with crowd-funding, but I don’t have any videos, and most of my songs are in the rough cut stage, so I have to afford studio time to make them marketable.

Several years ago, I purchased a share in, Story Forge, when I had $5 bucks to spare.  It was nice to see the project funded, and I do like the cards.  They’re a great resource for story-telling.  My brain, however, fights all my efforts at consistency and overcoming procrastination, but some new tools I got from Learning How To Learn have helping me advance my writing work.

If I could even purchase the anti-fatigue mats from Ombee,

that would be a great help in my ability to keep working at my make-shift stand-up desk called the kitchen counter and a few thick books. 🙂

I’m working long-distance with my writing partner now, and while slow, at least I’ve made more progress with her than I have on my own for many years.

The time of year plays a big role in my depression, often over-taking me mid-winter through early spring.  Light box therapy, and a new antidepressant I’m hoping will get me through the roughest spots this year – fingers crossed! – and I’m doing my best to stay present rather than in regret from the past, or anxiety of the future.

All we’ve got is now.

But without education, training, and dedication to my mission, current efforts are doomed, so planning for the future is important too.  I’d rather have a reliable map than keep going off course into the scary wilds of my life.

my life map so far

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Uncomfortable

Life is incomprehensible to me.  I learn from my mistakes as I make them, but it sucks to live this way.  You’d think I would have gotten better at it as time went on, but no.

At 16, I traveled to Virginia Beach with a friend, where we decided to stay for the summer, and quickly ran out of the forty bucks between us.  My friend got a waitress job, but I hadn’t found anything yet.  We met a few kids our age, and I hung out with them, smoking pot, while waiting for my friend’s shift to end after midnight.  The police pulled up where me and the two kids were sitting, and one of the kids ran while the cops asked me and this other kid what we were doing and how old we were.  We both said our ages and were promptly hand-cuffed and put into the back of the cruiser, roughly, as though we were resisting, when I asked why I was being hand-cuffed, and was told to ‘shut up’.

I was taken to Tidewater Detention Home, where I was strip searched, and put in a cell, and had no idea what would happen next.  The next day I took a book, or magazine, to my cell, and at roll call, I was told I couldn’t watch TV anymore for violating the rule of not bringing materials into my cell.  I learned the rules by violating them, and I still had no idea why I was there.

It wasn’t until four days later, when I had a court appearance, that I learned I was picked up for loitering and breaking curfew.  LOITERING AND BREAKING CURFEW.  As well as possessing a pipe with pot resin in it.  No pot.  Just resin.  I was told I was never welcome in the state of Virginia again, which was fine with me, but I still felt as though the punishment was ridiculous compared to the ‘crime’.

My son has a sister, whom I dearly love, from his father’s first marriage.  I was out of touch with her for a while but re-connected on Facebook. Unfortunately she felt she was being FB stalked as I liked all her posts, wanting to be a part of her life, however virtual.  I had no idea that was creepy.  I’m the last person on earth who wants to be creepy, but there’s the rub, I guess?

I try to remember that I was born into hell, pretty much.  I experienced domestic violence from day one, being the fifth child of six in a family that was sick from child number one.  I witnessed my mother’s abuse, my siblings abuse, as well as my own – and I became the scapegoat: the one young enough that I might not be as harmed as the rest, but not too young, like my little brother.  I confessed to many things I never did, my older sisters pleading with me to say I did it because the beating was sure to be less for me than my older siblings, but I still got the beating.

I accept that I saved my siblings from worse at times.  I’m grateful if that was true. Unfortunately for me, I never learned how to cope with the rest of my life as well as my brethren.  Had my issues only stemmed from my family of origin, that might have been more manageable for me, but there were several other mitigating abusive circumstances throughout my young life that have made success elusive.

An anti-poverty organization I held a seat on a decade ago sponsored a poverty conference.  I can’t remember the speaker’s full name – Chuck Flugel? (my apologies), but he said that people in poverty will never make it out of poverty.  It’s not going to happen.  I remember how pissed I was at such a pronouncement.  How could he say something like that in a room full of despairing people?  But, he was right.  I’ve never made it out of poverty, and most people I’ve ever known in poverty are still there.  Still. there.

We had a vote to increase the salary of our Executive Director that year, and I had to recuse myself from voting because I thought $80,000 a year was appropriate, and they wanted to increase it to $90,000.  The board spoke of how they might lose the director to another company who would pay more, and I thought that if the director left the organization for that, then they were better off.  It was astounding to me that several board members were upset with me for not wanting to authorize the pay increase, but I was looking at the big picture.  Why was the director there?  If salary was the reason, then the director was better off looking for a higher paying position.  $80,000 a year was an incredible amount in my mind, and that was in the mid-1990’s!

Finding work I can do has been a life-long struggle.  Two years ago, before a surgery that left me with a paralyzed arm for nearly a year, I had found a job that seemed pretty good, but the repetitious nature of data-entry precipitated my need for surgery, and I can’t do that kind of job anymore.  C’est la vie, right?

So, chin up!  Keep looking.  Keep striving.  Keep a happy face, baby, because nobody likes a downer.

And the irony is, I do.  It’s my nature to hope.  Maybe it’s all of our nature to hope.  Is that what was left in Pandora’s box?  It’s both the chain-lock and the key.

Like many, I’m a sucker believing that I might hit it big, so play the lottery when I can.  What’s a dollar or two when millions stand to be gained?  What’s a dollar or two a month over a year – a couple of gallons of milk, or bread, or other necessities.  Those millions have never been realized, and yet, people do win the lottery, pretty consistently.

It’s easy to believe that some ‘god’ directs all that, but what an asshole god that would be.

Nah, it’s just my insane desire for a miracle to lift me out of poverty.

So, the uncomfortable truth is that I’m fucked.  I have to do the best I can with what I have, and keep hoping, but do my best to stop being a sucker, for love or for money.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

Age Is As Age Does

I’m in the thick of aging on the decline side, and part of me is all: ‘oh, you just have to accept it’, and ‘this is where we’re all headed’, and ‘this is the way it’s supposed to be’, to ‘Screw you life! This is not going to happen to me!’  I think people before me just lacked the knowledge to keep themselves from aging, but we know more now, and aging is an alleged choice, not a definitive.

But, reality intervenes, as it so often rudely does, and reminds me that I am not in control of anything except dying, and I’m not really in control of that.

I think I want to age gracefully, but I’m also aggressively against that.  Anyone seeking to tell me how I should act, and what I should or should not do, is acting from their insecurities, or issues, and has nothing to do with me.

If I get facial hair maybe I’ll dye my chin hairs purple.  Maybe I’ll have a shaved, tattooed head – I don’t know.  I am not cool with life’s progressive decline, and as I look around me, precious few are.  I see celebrities and non-celebrities doing whatever they can to make themselves appear younger.

A healthy diet, with some supplements as needed, lots of water, and exercise, are the biggest age-slowing activities, along with joyful living.  But, fight it or not, I am aging.

Behind my worry about age is fear.  Fear of never accomplishing anything I wanted to; fear of losing relevance or status, and fear of becoming decrepit and thereby dependent on others for complete care.

The upside of aging is perspective, more compassion for elders, and seeing them not as old people, but as lived people – people with stories to tell, and hopefully, wisdom to share.  Plus, I’ll eventually get senior discounts, so I suppose I have that to look forward to…

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Stormy Weather Again, *%&^%$!

Poor Lena Horne can’t stop singing, but of course, this isn’t about stormy weather in your life, this is actual stormy weather.

I admit the first tender flakes made me smile and think of making snow sculptures, and sledding, to sipping hot cocoa by the fireside, and I was taken in by the romance, like the blush of new love.

My giddiness lasted through the day, especially as the snow was light, sparkling, and easy to move.

It’s right that there’s snow in February in the Northeastern U.S., but I’d like it to end with February too.  Alas, nature thinks winter should continue through March, and sometimes well into April – even though the calendar plainly notes the vernal equinox – Spring – dammit!

Unable to leave for warmer, snow-free, climes, enduring whatever comes is our lot, so I’ll drink a cup of cocoa, pretending it isn’t going right to my hips, and try to enjoy the fire that rockets glowing embers, while belching smoke at me, filling my nose and burning my eyes with its acrid stench – no matter how often I change spots around the bonfire – and appreciate my efforts toward the graceful, artfully rendered sculpture in my mind’s eye looking more like quasi-moto than the angel it was supposed to represent, while begrudgingly appreciating nature’s ice I’m pressing my bruised tail bone against from the ill-advised sledding, and subsequent and spectacular ejection from said sled, earlier in the day.

At least I snapped a few photos before the worst:

Image by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Image by Jerri Higgins

Image by Jerri Higgins

By the way, while Lena Horne is famous for her rendition of Stormy Weather, among others, I think Ella Fitzgerald sings it better.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current