Relaxing on a quarter tank

The week isn’t even halfway over and I feel like my life is getting out of control already, my mom has so many doctor’s appointments right now for pre-op to get ready for back surgery that we don’t have a date for that my head is starting to spin, my thirteen year old daughter to whom I love dearly is starting to really test the waters of my patience when it comes to her social life and the handling of her responsibilities at home, and I am dealing with car finance issues on the other hand that I  know without any doubt are going to turn out just fine but the stress level is through the roof.I don’t even want to get started on the emotional bull shit that has happened in the last two months which has left me so raw and open and I am still unsure about how I feel about all of it. What I do know is my freak out moment is coming I need to get away I need some time to myself to relax and just be but in the honest reality of life I can’t just drive off into the sunset saying “see ya fuckers” with my duces up.

So I sit here in my little car with a quarter tank of gas and I have another day or two till payday and yet I know I just how much gas it will take to get me to work, and I also know I need peace I have to find someway to have a moment to relax. That is it I have to go I have to go for a drive one way or another I am going for a drive! Just me, my car, my music and the road. I made the choice, I go…….

I start the engine find one of my favorite play lists and I drive. I can’t go far so where in the hell can I go in this small town. I have about an hour before I am needed by anyone at home. I just drive windows up and the volume of my music up sometimes I rock out in the car like I am a mother fucking rock star! Others like today I am subdue and chill I just drive not really caring where I go or which way as long as I drive.

Usually I end up at some body of water the river, the marina, or one of the local beaches,unless I have a full tank and then I am off to the lake. Once is a while I will get out and walk but usually when I am needing to just relax all I do is just sit my car quietly for a while with the music turned down a little more and just stare out at the water and I try to just clear my head and not overthink anything just let it all flow the thoughts that are streaming through my head.

I have days where five mins of looking at the water and I am good to go and others where I need thirty plus or sometimes I have get my feet in the water and ground myself by feeling the cold chill of the water on my feet clearing out all the negativity from me.

Once I am done though I am always amazed at how relaxed and the peace that I feel from just going for a little drive to listen to some music and find stillness in some water. For me in my life as these little drives are my moments of sanity and small ways of capturing some time to relax and quiet my soul in an otherwise hectic life.

 

We are Growing

I am very excited to announce that next month we will have a whole host of new writers contributing to this blog.

I am personally humbled by the stories I have received, and want to share these great reads with all of you.

As we grow into who we will become, I hope to share the journey with all of you.
Please follow us, and remember to keep reaching out in your humanizing experience of life!

We love your passion.

Be what you seek

This week’s blog is brought to you by shit grown flowers. Required attire to avoid the shit ; Hip waders (the kind with the rubber boot attached. Do they make them any other way?), Rubber coat with hood, and shit goggles, intended to keep your eyes clean. The shit? It’s Projection. If we can get through the projection, a beautiful flower will grow.

Disclaimer: I am going to make a lot of sentences with “then you feel this way” and what I mean is “I” feel this way. That’s the thing about blog writing. I have no idea who reads this, so my audience is me. I and you are both me. Don’t take it personally, its personal.

I sit and I observe and I wait. This is where I live now in the world, as an observer and as a good civil servant, serving in the best way I know how. This is how I make the happy. It’s tough in the world today. As a World, we do not know if someone else will make the decision for our lives, a perceived greater good, and annihilate us. We do not have control, we all must wait and see. Or do other stuff, but it feels as though the world is holding their breath, almost anxiously awaiting the big crisis so that we can test our humanity skill level. Who here can live without power? (I ask to my room, with me in my audience sitting and listening.) Refrigerators need power, stoves too, heaters, water, sewer, we are dependent on power. Now that is a funny statement.

We expect a certain level of stability in life, and whereas we cannot have control of the world leader’s decision per se, we do have a level of control in our personal life. I would define personal life being the time spent with close friends and family, where you are not expected to wear a bra or pants, and you pee with the door open to the bathroom. Your people, as Carmen says.

Projection is alive and well in relationships, and defined as controllable, but my question lies within the communication bridge it takes to be able to identify projection when oneself is projecting. I have been seeking an equation of logic that is a match for my feelings that are regulating my emotions. I think that we don’t know how to build a bridge. We know failure and rejection and for the first time, before irreparable harm has been done (as defined by each individual), this relation is important. It is important enough to make yourself sick in the stomach and in the head. The pain is worth the idea of success in this particular relationship. In this place, this horrendously painful old wound, you view the prize as worth the suffering in order to change your life paradigm. In this intimate moment, you can find a place to be honest with yourself. Or not. You should do what’s good for you.  If not, then the rest will not pertain to you yet. If so, then we move forward.

The honesty place can be overwhelming, and it is not pretty. This often occurs as life roles change, becoming a parent you reckon with parenting, or caring for your ailing parent or the loss of a parent, spouse, a child. This is when life becomes important. As an enlightened person you recognize the permanence of lost life. For me, it feels like standing on a cliff and not ready to join your friends in the swimming pool. No thank you. That could possibly not be fun. And all your friends are like “Yeah!! It’s super shitty! But then you’re ok.”  My question is always, what if I am not ok? I do not have great luck, or I am incapable of seeing good luck, but I don’t push my luck either way. Your teeth could be left on the sidewalk in Seattle, you could get cancer, you could…blah blah blah. What if I feel the pain too acutely? What if….I fail. Ohhhh…failure. There it is. That fear of failure, even though every failure in my personal life has been followed by beauty and a lesson.

The lesson learned is I am grateful to be alive and know I have spent so much time hating myself, denying myself, grieving for myself and everyone around me for my afflictions, that I realize I have forgotten how to have fun. How to laugh. How to love.

I feel like the issue again lies within a healthy enveloping of projection. We must disarm our projections, give no credibility to negative.  This is baggage. If you want a solution, projection has no place in the conversation. If you can arrive there, honest and disarmed with your partner as another soul trying to reach the next beautiful plateau of enlightenment, you will succeed. I believe in this idea that it takes two people to reach and meet, disarmed, as friends. No wasted time on shit flinging to take power or control in the relationship dynamic. Unarmed, even.  There is no fight because there is no enemy. Then, when an understanding plateau has been reached, we can go have some fun.

I need fun. I need to know how to do stupid but not too dangerous of things with friends, laughing like happy people. I need to not be serious. I need to focus. My brain, my little ADHD beast of a cyber brain, with it’s 10,000 tv’s all on blast with something different on each screen at any given moment, yo, SHE NEEDS A BREAK. She needs fun. I need fun.

I had fun yesterday in an observing kind of way, almost parallel play. We all needed to get out of town, and I like to think our friend needed love too, and we answered the call on a few different levels. We did not talk much, and it was ok. We needed separate togetherness. We put a huge ass couch in the back of the Toyota van, and it mostly fit. Those 6 zip ties really came in handy on keeping the hatch down and the couch and Carmen contained within the van. It was raining and there were flood warnings. I am confident saying we all felt the very real danger of the impossible yet possible task at hand. We got back into town kind of late, and resolved to move the couch the next day.  The task complete-ish, we felt accomplished and had fun. I realized in our silence that I have no idea what is fun for me anymore.

I love silence, I love laughing, I love art..These things are fun. Food is fun. Coffee and talk is fun. Cleaning things is fun. Organizing is fun. But where is the stupid fun? Taping cardboard boxes together to make a sled for the nearby hill. Our kids aren’t fun either. Everyone is in their phone. Me too. Everyone. We cannot teach our children how to have fun when we don’t know how to have fun. I’m not fun.

I guess the paradigm changed. Maybe it happened within one of those role identity life issues that arrived on time. Within this time, I know we can find fun again. We all arrived on time, and that time is now.

Fun.

 

“Walking together in the direction of our dreams, trusting that what you seek will also seek you.”

Moira DeBussy

Affect Regulation

Affect regulation
1.the act of trying to change or extend one’s emotional attitude or disposition. Nugent, Pam M.S.-April 7, 2013
2. emotional regulation

Emotional dysregulation has been defined as difficulties in controlling the influence of emotional arousal on the organization and quality of thoughts, actions, and interactions. Individuals who are emotionally dysregulated exhibit patterns of responding in which there is a mismatch between their goals, responses, and/or modes of expression, and the demands of the social environment.[ (wikipedia)
Cognitive appraisal
Cognitive appraisal is the personal interpretation of a situation; it is how an individual views a situation. “Appraisals refer to direct, immediate, and intuitive evaluations made on the environment in reference to personal well-being.” They are “evaluative frameworks that people utilize to make sense of events.”
Cognitive appraisal – Wikipedia

Expressive suppression:
changing the way one behaviorally responds to emotion-eliciting events.
When we talk about affect regulation, and expressive suppression I often think about an unhealthy repression. I particularly do not like this term. It feels like it means that it is proper and better that I push down my instincts and expression of those  and behave in a manner that is acceptable to society..    YUCK.   Rather the term expressive suppression is the effect of realizing true freedom.   There was a time when I needed to yell and Scream when I wasn’t heard. When I wasn’t understood. When I was talking with someone who can’t wrap their head around new ideas, and I was forced to act in specific ways by an authority. In today’s case I do not recognize anything as an authority other than myself.    I am forced to explore my inner self and actualize my ideas. As creator of my world it is my job to be who I am.  I do not react to ignorant thought processes.   Expressive suppression, I like to think, is the freedom I have to take the time to assess my goals and intentions.  My real goals.  Not the ones where I have a goal to be safe and respected but the ones I have when I already am safe and respected.  The ones I want to see happen.  The one where I get to be me in a state of self-actualization…. I used to be angry with a confused world back when I had no freedom. Today I am still annoyed, but do understand that it is just confused. Who knows what has happened in the past to my partner which caused them to believe that going dancing alone means something equivalent to topless flirting and sexual suggestions (or worse).  I have no clue, as smart as I think I am, what went through their head on this day.  No matter what I AM ME. It is my job to express my reality. Not anyone else…   Expressive suppression and reappraisal is the act of knowing what causes our emotions, what sensations it’s causing in the body and taking the time to get calm and be real.  It, to me, is literally the performance of the saying…” to thine own self be True. 

Affect regulation is my forte’ HAH until I care.  I have always held myself at an esteem   valid to this term.   AHHHH   The ability to be the eye of the storm!  Your partner is a raging mess.  All over the place because you mentioned that you wanted to go dancing and your partner catches fire.  Raging how, “its fine that you go dancing”, even if you never dance for them. hey will just invite their old stripper friend over that night to settle the injustice to equilibrium. As a woman I have to admit I’m an emotional being.  My rage meets his….

COGNITIVE APPRAISAL
“Oh you wanna play that game?  Your stripper friend’s aint got shit on what I can make happen in less than 20 mins. “PLUS…….. This assholes bullshit idea about what a woman is and his need to reduce my artistic expression with likeminded people down to his ignorant view is EXACTLY why I don’t dance for him.  Third thought. He said he wasn’t involved with or attracted to this old stripper friend. I wonder what really went down back in the day…   

This is a recipe for disaster. Suddenly, I’m acting ignorant. I’m a great multitasker.  All at once.  I’ve got brilliant ideas. I have the funds to get enough alone time with a stripper to get her home with me.  I’m pretty confident, I don’t think I’d actually have to spend funds , but am willing to, and I’d rather go to Mexico later this year.   Also, I’ve left the reasons why I love my partner behind… suddenly we are completely incompatible… Why does my partner believe that I want to produce the kind of energy that a stripper produces?  What the hell good does my partner think it does for them to “one up” me? They are completely lost as a person! Does my partner really see this in me?  Is it even possible that they would think that about me?  Suddenly my partner is a liar.  They said that they haven’t been attracted to this “stripper” in years but really they still are.  I won’t be a fool    ima walk away from all this right now!!!  It’s all a bunch of bullshit.

REAPPRAISAL
So, let’s call for the truth and move forward…   It’s possible that my partner is a liar and completely insecure and due to this does not trust me. Let’s say that my partner does like watching or did like watching this stripper dance back in the day.  (I’m sure he did, in fact).  Lol, lets also remember that we are all almost 40 and though all women are sexy till they die. It aint gonna be all like titties bouncing and tight asses, puttin it down till hotel motel time, or the after party. Although, I’d give any 40 year old all the props in the world for trying. Then call it a success. It won’t be like that at the club either. I wish it was though I sure do miss those days….
I’m going to go ahead and give the benefit of the doubt… My partner clearly recognizes that they can’t meet every single need that I have.  I suppose that it could be worrisome that I need some space. Even worse, some space to cut loose.   It’s fair that I remind my partner who I am. 

THE RESPONSE:
Babe, I love you, but ima say something to you and I need you to hear me the first time I say it. Cause I’m only going to say it once. “First,  Do NOT   EVER pit me against another woman. EVER.  Mostly because you will be the one to lose. I love women and I refuse to let shit like this get in between me and ANY female.  I refuse to do it. I certainly will not do it for you.  My whole will is to make women love and respect each other.  DO NOT ever reduce me to the kind of person who might be intimidated by another womans qualities. If you had been successful at what you were just trying to accomplish you would have ruined any chance of me being able to relate to someone that I have at least a little respect for.  I already can’t stand all of your other ignorant friends, and that hurts you enough.  I will not have you shooting yourself in the foot by downplaying a smart lady just to hurt my feelings because you are misunderstanding my wants.  Second, I don’t know who the fuck you think I am, but I haven’t been in a club shaking anything for anyone but myself since I was in my early 20’s.  That’s not going to change today. Whether or not you sexualize your friends….  I refuse to reduce them to bodies…  

On this night I received an apology.. thank goddess.   But the argument from my partner certainly shows all the work I need to do in representing myself and a number of conversations we need to have.  without complete accountability and representation of myself I would surely have lost any chance of rectifying my partners doubts, or making my needs more clear. Who knows how long this idea of his about me shaking my ass for others would have remained a reality on his head had I just agreed with him and  acted out in a way of rebellion to his reality and proven I could do what he feared.

Highly Sensitive

Big Number 10! Let’s celebrate by all taking a moment to breath and eat chocolate.
I am back from Emotion land and her to stimulate your brain with logic.

I am going to start by saying that this last week was rough. I have been taking in a lot of time and space for self-awareness, collecting statistics and narrowing patterns. The good work is always the hardest work, and this work on my self has been like peeling skin back from a grape. And I’m all soft and green and mushy, yet firm with my basic shape in place.
Im a grape. Great analogy Peg. (I call myself Peg when I talk to myself, inside my head.)
Any fucking how, what I learned was the magic of not giving a fuck, as seen in this Ted Talk link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwRzjFQa_Og

This discovery of how not to be an asshole opened my brain up with a question, what else am I giving my time money or focus to that I am not happy with? What is creating this issue of anxiety, crippling anxiety, acting out of ordinary in isolation and outbursts? My alarm is going off, and I need to attend to something.
I walked to the library and found a book on Highly Sensitive People, by Dr. Arthur Aron and Dr. Elaine Aron, that narrowed down my sensitive nature into a tell-tale sign. I knew immediately after reading this list of traits who I was. I am sensitive. Which to me is as tangible of a good as “the ghost moved your shit” I need to know more. What I found was science. We’re almost to logic and science, stay close beside me.

The following study through the National Institute of Health offered an explanation. We are not all wired the same in our actions and processes, as seen any time you drive anywhere. People react differently based on previous learned experiences AND the body’s physical reaction. The body’s physical response in the mind is able to be measured through an f MRI, which monitors the brains neural system. The main idea is that sensory processing can create some erratic behavior. Over-stimulation, to be specific.

The sensitive is not because I am soft like a grape. It is because my brain recognizes details as a survival instinct. ADHD also correlates with sensory processing. The hyper activity and need to never fail and complete all tasks leads to anxiety. Anxiety is characterized as a nervous system disorder where excessive unease can create compulsive or erratic behavior in an individual. I feel it is safe to say I have a different map for the way my brain processes information. Something is not right for me. I know what I need now. To give myself space and time to work, to settle into a career that is specifically right for me. I can do this, I have the tools, and I cannot believe I missed such a glaring detail to my own narcissistic shiny life.

Carlton say’s he likes it when I’m angry, really angry, because I get really honest and he thinks I am hilarious. I adore him for allowing me to joke about the things that hurt the most. If he didn’t laugh, I wouldn’t have either. I realize I need to be me. Now.

Here is a link to that above mentioned study by Dr’s Arons.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086365/

Freud was Bullshit Mostly

The following blog was previously published on Blogger.com in 2015 and received 7,637 views. I wanted to re-share this with you all because I believe it to be still pertinent in the fact of loving one’s self.

B.F. Skinner once described psychology that digs for the past as a way to explain the behavior of a person as “explanatory fictions”.
FFFFwwhhHHHhaaaattt?!!! Oh my Lord, he is right.
I never thought about the idea that behavior is not a past, because a past cannot be studied as a science. It is not a tangible thing. The past is a jumbled picture book of perceptions. We can learn from the past, but there is nothing more to do with it than learn. This is a labeling practice. I was abused therefore I engaged in a behavior that produced a response. The behavior is what needs to be focused on, because reaction is tangible and produces an environmental effect. You can describe the physical act, the measurement, the social environmental reaction and description of events as they unfold. Then, you can change it.
I am in shock. A de-emphasis on past events? Freud and all his friends with their big thinking was nothing more than a label. They gave us a basis of understanding, a foundation for critically breaking down the process and changing the action. Pavlov demonstrated this in his famous drooling dog theory. I see it in my own house. Something as small as telling my daughters to keep the doors closed to all rooms so the dog wont get into garbage and the rooms stay warm. Now we have a woodstove and I moved all the garbage’s and all doors must be left open. Do you think ANY of us do? Nope. We have been conditioned and now must modify this.
On another note, I’m not smoking cigarettes as much, I have an excess behavior in smoking. I am one hour at a time. If I smoke one, then that happened and I keep trying until the behavior is modified. I also do not want anything heavy in my house. I want all furniture to be on the lighter side. No ornate heavy clutter. This is not just getting rid of my shit so I don’t have to move it when that time comes. No. This is letting go of heavy shit. This is making my shell lighter. This is making my soul de-cluttered. Ill give you an example why.
I received a message from a very upset woman saying to not talk to her man. I knew her man alright. I knew he was a lot of drama. A bunch. He is the 38 year old version of a 13 year old girl. If you ever notice you’re life is constant spikes of up and down, perhaps it is time to change YOUR behavior. I modified by cutting him out. He is not local, I do not see him. He does not have my number. I have blocked him from all social media. It was not personal, except I just did not like him personally anymore and he drained my energy. Now you know about him. His woman (as far as I could understand) had found a text to my number. This is where it gets funny dramatic. She is very upset and tells me I must be miserable with my man (I love him! Remember? Funny timing.) She is attacking in every passive aggressive way possible. I respond that I am not sure what is going on. I read the messages from her to my daughter, whose eyes get all huge. She then tells me she got weird texts from this guy at 1 am a few months ago. You see, I had gotten a new phone and new number and she had my old phone and number. She said they didn’t make sense but she thought it was something I had posted on facebook and he thought it was about him. He must be Carly Simon.
The end of the story is, this man and woman are getting married and are in love and I better stay out of it. Then she sends well wishes of peace and harmony and I gave her the thumb. Sometimes reactions come from places that are misdirected. My daughter never told me he had text because she knew I couldn’t stand him. It was so not important that it just didn’t come up. This woman’s perception is that I am the wedge between them. I still don’t like him, and I do not like being attacked, but I feel kind of indifferently sad for her. She seems creative and smart and beautiful, and she is going to marry a guy who reaches out to other women because he is insecure. These are not my behaviors though. Therefore I have nothing to modify
Unpacking my soul clutter, freshly scrubbing off the paint of the past and allowing myself to be loved by someone, and I have even been paying my own bills and budgeting…all these modifications are what are leading me to a better life. A life without anger, which is just a label for behavior actions. Let the labels go. Let the past go. Let’s get on with life already.

Being Vulnerable

I have been focusing on feelings and emotions in reference to my ADHD. Many years ago I learned I was different from society; I felt every emotion strongly, and my skin felt like someone had taken sandpaper and rubbed my body raw.  I had an issue with intimacy and touch.

In 2005, I was a newly divorced single mother raising two young daughters. I was bar-tending at a pizza joint, and felt wholly unfulfilled. I needed a career that would support me supporting my kids. We went on a trip to Seaside Oregon, and on the way back I got a call from the local Cosmetology program asking if I was still interested in attending. I was, but to be honest, I’m not a girl. I never braided anyone’s hair. I do remember brushing my friend’s hair once, she yelled at me for pulling it, and I threw the hairbrush across the room… I’ll give it a try. Maybe I will learn how to be a girl. Classes started in 3 days, and I was signed up and attending.

The hair school I attended was ridiculous in theory. We sat in a back room for 6 weeks, 3 of us ladies who already knew one another from high school. For 8 hours we sat in an empty classroom with textbooks. We tried to learn, but without instruction, it was so boring…An instructor would come in and administer our tests. That was it. We played games, tried to engage in hair conversation, talk about our relationships. This was more an entry into how to successfully and consistently have a “sisterhood” than it was about text.

After that, we were placed on the floor where we learned how to do all things cosmetology. The science and physical learning was tough, but touching people was even harder for me. I did not learn touching in appropriate manners as a young person, so the concept of touching someone’s head, and shampooing them, was enough to give me a panic attack. In fact, I hid in that school bathroom quite a bit, avoiding potential clients because I did not want to touch them. This touch was the first catalyst.

I couldn’t even be shampooed, it hurt. I am so highly sensitive that the over stimulation of a stranger rubbing my head with my neck WIDE OPEN to the potential dangers of the world created a fight or flight reaction. This was my first obstacle, and I can honestly tell you now that I am happy I had to wrap around the issue. Shampooing someone gives the person in the shampoo bowl the gift of relaxation and a tiny bond of trust. The client is being vulnerable with the stylist as much as the stylist is with the client. There is an exchange of happiness. The soft touch on a person’s shoulder can be reassuring and calming. There is an energy transference that happens when the stylist touches the client’s shoulders, making the client aware of any tension. Sometimes, I even take deep breaths because I know the tendency to mimic. Breathing sets us free. This touch I finally understand. I walked away from hair because I was overwhelmed in emotion, and could not control the energy balance I needed. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to save the world, this world that I have taken so much from. I went to college, got a degree, and got a fancy new job in social work.

I say “fancy” with laughter. Anyone who has ever worked in Social Services knows the cycle of what every day looks like. These Social Workers (Men and Women alike) practice altruism through a combination of guidance and law. This job is thankless, and in order to have this type of career long term, you have to have solid grounding and know your identity. I lost my house 1 year into having a job in Social Services, after a sewer pipe exploded under our rental, tacking 7 months of homelessness and graciousness from our family and friends. I lost my job because I reported to CPS and my supervisor did not agree with my legal decision of court mandated reporting, and the excuse was I did not have stable housing. I joined the Food Bank line with my clients, right back where I was.

When CPS called for an interview, I was so empty I passed on the opportunity. I do not know if it was the right choice, but I think maybe it was. I went to work at a seaside camping and RV park, and I had to tell people to leave the private beach if they did not pay. I absolutely understood why I was collecting the funds, and really cared and respected the management and other camp hosts. One day my manager and I were talking about defensive behavior and she said (I cannot remember why she said it) touching someone’s arm constitutes in legal Assault. Whoa. I had never even thought about that perspective. I touched shoulders, scalps, hands and feet. I waxed body parts, smeared clay on clients..legal assault? What a different world I stepped into. This job at the beach taught me my next lessons in value; Boundaries.

I work on patience every day and created a scheduled for myself to keep me accountable. I have done my best to run from being vulnerable, and I am realizing vulnerable may be exactly where I need to be. To be vulnerable is one of my fears, as historically learned from bad relationships and sexual assault. I want to be better. I need boundaries that make sense for my paradigm now. I also need to relax and enjoy the sunny moments. I can do that with my people.

I have been looking and talking about strong community for a long time. I worked at the idea, and now I look around and see that I have a great support system, the best it has ever been, and it was due to being vulnerable. I am now recharged and ready to serve.
Thank you for letting me be vulnerable.

With Love,
Peggy

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