Joy

Who am I?

Meet Gerlind -named after my PenFriend
(1978, Germany)

I drive down the road in the seat of luxury and wonder… who am I really? Who am I to be seated in this power, warmth and fancy? AUDI fancy. Steering wheel solid and cool. Decisive and direct. Too cool for my meager roots. The feels. The power. Brilliance. Kinda like me… All of what I’ve had to keep hidden. All of what I’ve never let myself fully have. Until now.

I was forever seated in lack and want. In the back. Seat. Disgusting. Making do with less, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Hand-me-downs, free lunches, government cheese and discount milk from the gentle eyed milkman. 8 tiny children wild n hungry. We were lucky to barely have the essentials. Free Summer camp, programs for underprivileged youth and bags of clothing from the church. Too many mouths to feed with not enough dollars to make a difference.

Depending upon others for some joy, something memorable. Living and accepting less being less felt like home. Fabulousness squelched by my inner joy stealer. Habitually feeling flawed and unworthy – blocking honor and reverence. It was a comfortable cruxifixction of my magnificence. Poverty of the pocketbook and my young soul.

But now, in the literal drivers seat. Leather seat. Wait, what? I’m suddenly queen of the highway. The power and potential colliding under my bottom. Seat warmer welcoming me with open arms. Allowing the melt of my “sale rack” exterior. I deserve this. I work hard for this right here. Right now. No apologies. None.

I feel like the smaller parts of me disappear in this auto. Automatic re-configuration. Auto correct. Auto-manic smoothing out the highs and lows of my achy, frozen past. I am reborn, repurposed, recycled into comfort and acceptance and reality. The reality of joy for just being. Joy for how I’ve not only survived but thrived. From hand outs to hand ups.

I wasn’t supposed to make it to this. They didn’t want me to succeed. I have so much gratitude for the government assistance, kindness of church people, school programs, psychologists, extended family members and complete strangers who took the time to notice a struggling family, needy children, gems that needed a good polish. I thank you all! Now excuse me

I’m Audi- here.

Human Spirit

All The Things You Never Said

As a Lotus, I rise from the muddy waters. Anyway. Pic belongs to afishnamedkaren

The things I needed to hear. To feel real, validated and seen. Human. When I was not wanting to live, I could have used some reality. But let’s be honest. Seriously, you’ve buried everything. What you’ve done mummified, locked away. Of course, in the likeness of what was done to you. Someone ruined your lives so you then turned that on me. The damage you three have done. Shattering any chance of normalcy. For me. History repeated, when no one was looking. Default, complacency, asleep.

But still, there are all the things you never said. All the things I was starving to hear. All the things that might have changed my sad life, allowing me to feel instead of just surviving. To thaw my frozenness…

Imagine hearing – I’m sorry you hate your body, we did that. I’m sorry you need hyper vigilance just to feel safe, we did that, we never let you rest. I’m sorry you feel transparent, like everyone knows what you’re thinking, we needed to keep you feeling exposed. We apologize for pressuring you, never letting you rest- for if you rested you might have gathered courage and strength to outsmart us or tell others what we were doing. We’re sorry you fear assault will come any moment. Keeping you fearful kept you compliant. We’re sorry you cringe when you hear whispers in the night, we didn’t want to wake anyone. We’re sorry we ruined everything for you and aren’t sorry about it. We’re sorry we treated you like you were nothing, insignificant and insane when you confronted us. We couldn’t let others see our crazy. We still can’t see it ourselves.

All these things you’ve never said, running through my head, running through my head, running through my head. But it’s all ok. I say them. I tell that precious little girl inside me, who is growing up now because I’m in charge. I apologize to her for you, despite you, in defiance of you and for the love of me. All the ways I love myself. All of the love that I am, that I have to give. Anyways.

You never destroyed me. Never took it all. All along, I had the golden goose. My army was just waiting…My Spirit watched from afar as I soaked up all your bullshit wrapped in a pretty package of care and family. While I lived as a shadow, on the periphery of even my own life. While I tried to not exist at the age of 7. While I would hardly speak and just watched others most of my younger years. While I would never bring anyone over to my house because it was evil but everyone was smiling – you(s) and I could never have known the slow burning fuse had been lit.

I was meant for greater than I could ever have imagined. I am this. A private joke that keeps delivering. A smile so deep into my core it’s engraved into my soul. The smug smile of knowingness. I am that. Of overcoming. Of pity for you tinged with a hint of compassion – yes I said compassion- for your (still) inner turmoil and lack of awareness.

I have walked. Far. Never to return to you. For you are invisible. Because you could never say that you’ve tried to destroy me. That you wanted to destroy me. Because you were destroyed by your abusers. You’ve never been honest. You all can’t be. I understand. I understand everything now. Thats why I’m so powerful. So powerful.

Oh! All the things I CAN say now. And I do.

Holiday

13 Holiday Cluster Hacks

So, the Holidays, hmmmmm. I’m guessing that some of my readers may be very excited for Holidays. I am also knowing that there’s another, less visible, section of the general pop who are digging themselves a large hole, preparing to jump in to escape all things “family celebration”. I’m a proud member of the second, gasp less acknowledged group. Actually I’m a charter member, with 10 years of sanity under my belt 😂 (and all over my body, actually LOL).

Tis the season for hushed-toned conversations, multiplying in frequency, “Oh, she doesn’t come around” and “He doesn’t bother with us” even “I think she’s crazy, she doesn’t talk to any of her family”. “Who could walk out on their family?” Well, there’s ALWAYS a pretty good fucking reason why someone would cut the ties with their tribe. Always. Period. It’s usually one badass warrior mother f’er who can pull this off on the road to a wonderfully joy-filled life. Someone like um… like um… ME. Turning out to have found peace…away from their tragic family of origin. This, my friends, is the elephant in the room.

I write about this in support of those badassreaders I have. The people who don’t feel entirely settled when the Holidays arrive. Those who are depressed, anxious, angry, revengeful or indifferent when it comes to “family”. For those of you who are new to my blog, I use quotation marks when I write “family” because the word is LOADED – ya’ll know what I’m talkin bout. This is, in NO way, a normal word for me and can be very heavy. You’re feelin me.

Chances are, your “family” wants you to just forget everything that’s happened in the past and smile. They have. Just be pretty and pretend like everything is normal. Hell, deep down, you WANT to believe you have the best family ever (who tf doesn’t?) – So you, against your better judgement, attend the family Holiday party —- thinking it will be fine this time. You got this. Fuck them. I’m not going to let them get to me this time. Let’s do this. Put on your party clothes and grab a bag…big enough to carry home all those triggers. They weigh a ton you know. Happy Holidays 😳

It can be very very diff to go through the motions and attend Holiday gatherings just for the sake of keeping the peace. As if. As if you want to be there. As if. As if. Usually, there’s a price… predictably sacrificing your own needs and boundaries for the sake of others’ needs and happiness. Familiar tune. That shit never feels good and the next day we make ourselves pay for it in whatever way feels familiar to us.

Me? well, the day after, I’m curled up in a ball, feeling punched in the gut, filled with regrets, swearing to God I’ll never say yes again. So much crazy shit swirling in your head- hate for them, hate for yourself and guilt. Guilty for hating everyone and everything. Enter mind-fuck…maybe it IS me. Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing…they all seem happy 😳. Ewe, WAIT! NO.

So how does one survive this holiday scenario from the abyss? this gathering on the bloodline battlefield, this no-thankyou portion of family tree, this nothing-is-as-it-appears commemoration? I am so glad you asked

  1. put yourself first, listen to your heart and do what feels correct for you. It is your decision. No-one knows what it’s like to be inside of your body. Eyes wide open, ask yourself what you need, what would make YOU happy (for a change). What makes you feel good.
  2. know that you are making the best decision for you – only you, because you’re the only one who knows and lives your truth. 
  3. create a holiday tradition that touches your heart. Something specific to honoring what is important to you around the Holidays. Whatever brings you joy, keeps you centered, grounded and calm. Giving your time/talents to others or creating something for yourself with no outside influences.
  4. write about how things will be different if you do spend time with family over the Holidays. (write it out, read it to someone or keep for next year – so you can chronical your growth. If you’re into ceremony and ritual maybe you meditate on your written ideas and set fire to it when it feels complete. Re-writing your new and improved version of the Holiday – sending your intention out to the Universe for manifestation. 
  5. surround yourself with people (outside of your family) who support your feelings. Do not expect your family of origin to understand what you are going through. They don’t. They can’t. Period. Find those outside of your “family”. They won’t be triggered by YOUR “family” shit – they most likely have different baggage and can support you in an unbiased way. Their baggage is different. 
  6. stay away from alcohol if you can possibly help it. Your guard will be down and you may end up saying and doing things you prob wouldn’t have. Seriously, resist the urge with all you have. It can be so tempting to numb yourself out but save the drinking for when you are with more supportive, less triggery folks. You’re welcome.
  7. give yourself an energy bath – wipe that nasty energy off with a washcloth and down the drain it goes. Replacing the nasties with clean white or golden light. Filling in the holes that were punctured intentionally and unintentionally during your “family” time.
  8. If you must go into the battle zone aka “family” gathering, I suggest you envision a shield protecting you prior to entering the sketchy soirée. Shield your heart, solar plexus (core) and sacral chakras. In no way are you a bad person for protecting yourself from negative energy. It’s brilliant and gives you a slight giggle as you try on, “You can’t have me” or “You can’t get me” or “I’ll decide what you get from me”! delicious, absolutely delicious. Better than a plate of cookies! Self empowerment, strength and self advocacy sure looks sexy on you. You’re so hot! Only you can do this for you. 
  9. be gentle with yourself!!! it’s exhausting work to challenge your family’s structure. The emotions of guilt, anger, betrayal, sadness, frustration are all a normal part of creating boundaries with people who do not respect our “NO”.
  10. make a plan. escape route, get away line, time limit, certain people to avoid. Identify what is off limits for you and what you’ll spend less time around – these suggestions all go a long way to create a sense of control over the situation. No-one has to be IN on this plan. Use when triggered and repeat if necessary. Creating and sticking to boundaries will feel MEAN initially, mostly because we were raised to not have/expect boundaries. But if practiced enuff, you’ll get over it, trust.
  11. make alternate plans for the Holiday – out of state, out of the country, Mars? And divulge these plans early so people have time to get used to the idea! There, now you can breathe deeply. Can’t see the dysfunction from there can ya?
  12. fake an illness – who wants to be with someone who is ill… strep, chicken pox, cock-sakie (good Lord), or the dreaded flu? “He/she was sick” has a better ring to it than “he/she didn’t want to come” You might actually be the recipient of some sympathy and people will be glad you didn’t show up. And BONUS… your needs are met! Just don’t use Covid as an excuse – cause it’ll backfire and they’ll be more up your ass than ever. 
  13. even if you do not attend, and you’re anything like me, you might… feel like shit because you’re not with your family, feel like shit because you don’t want to be with them, feel like shit because you are feeling relieved and happy because you didn’t blindly agree to attend, feel like shit because you can’t imagine it will EVER be any different, feel like shit because you feel so alone and unloved and cast aside, betrayed, crazy. That’s a whole lot of shit to shovel. This can be very, very difficult to push through. I speak from experience. been through this for several holidays in a row. It’s so very important to create your own Holiday rituals and traditions.

Happy Holidays!!! 😘😘😘 Do YOU and let me know how it goes 💪 👑

appreciation

In Love #20

I’m in love with sleepy smiles. Gently spreading east and west. Following a long night’s rest. Transforming the expressionless. An open invitation to hang out deep as shoulders sag. Head tilt welcoming each moment without expectation.

The glistening morning sun sweeping across my tired face, caressing my smile with golden warmth. I lie still basking, breathing, planning. Nothing. Existing fully in my expression. Of pleasantry, of nothingness, in the space between thoughts.

The gentle childlike energy swirling amidst my unassuming grin. Keeping me whole. Wanting me present. Between my lips, gracefully ushering in the newest, sweetest oxygen. To be ushered out in turn, discarded purposefully. Taking with it, everything challenging the grandest of facial postures.

I love sleepy smiles.

healthy · heart

Check Engine

If you have a car you are familiar with the CHECK ENGINE light. If you have a body you might also be familiar with the same kind of warning. The warning might come in the form of swollen joints, fever, chest pains or any other sign there is a security breach of wellness – inside your castle.

The early warning beacon, letting you know that you need to go in for service. Probably skipped that last service appt as things were going well. Why fix what’s not broke? 2 weeks ago my CHECK ENGINE siren went off in my chest.

I awoke with chest discomfort. A cramp of sorts that I just could not ignore. It had been less severe during the week but this was different.

Of course, I fast forward to my funeral. Have I made a difference? Will anyone miss me? When will my heart stop? Will it hurt? Then, the pain disappears just as quickly. Relief. But will it return? Will this be it?

As I wait for my appointment, I live my best life, wondering if each hour could be the last. Waffling between panic and satisfaction, I carry on. For the next 3 days I reflect on my life, how I’ve been able to bust up my FOO (family of origin) and continue to stand tall atop the rubble.

I am flooded with pride, my love for myself spilling from my pores, a purple mist entering my heart space. A healing mist, mist of comfort and knowing and grace. Angel’s exhaled grace holding my heart in tender appreciation.

I’ll be fine. My heart is fine. Scarred? Yes. A thorough exam and stress test reveal normal function. A beautiful, typical pitter-patter. Nothing wrong they say. My heart whispers, “there was never anything wrong with you.”

My check engine light is off for now. I resume normal function. Listening to my body, everyday. Slowing down to take notice of my needs. My self heal modalities cued up. My toolkit brimming. Self-talk extremely important. Ready for this to happen never again.

Remember

Oh that child

I never lost the child within. She’s right here next to me. Gathering trinkets on walks. Stones that peak interest, pine needles that prickle on my cheek, pods yet opened, full of possibility and promise of another season.

Feathers of hawk, abandoned hornets nests, berries artistically encased in ice – saved in the freezer, crimson leaf pressed in the pages of the Mother Earth catalogue, brown, striped seeds of mystery.

Recuerdos, mementos for recalling yesterdays, telling the earth’s story one tchotchke at a time. Don’t lose the child within. He/she is counting on you.

resilient

Stacked in Your Favor

I think it’s common to feel overwhelmed these days. Most of the pressure to DO, to HAVE, to BE, is created within ourselves. Do more, be perfect, have it all, win. At our own expense. The target always moving. Higher. Unattainable.

We are MORe. Already. We are perfect. Perfectly imperfect. All that we are looking for. When life appears to be stacking up against us. Remember, the pile consists of great potential. Great strength. Warmth. Energy/fuel to persevere. Raw material from which to create. Build anew. Wood you dare to believe in your own potential?

gratitude

My Darling Gratitude

Today I am so thankful to lead a normal life. Making mistakes and laughing to others about it. Knowing it’s ok to be an unmade bed in a sea of “seemingly” perfect beds. It’s ok. Not perfect. I have gratitude for my awareness of…Shit’s def gunna happen, sometimes all in one day. Sometimes all in 30 minutes. I’ll be fine. I’ll fix it, or maybe it doesn’t need fixing. Maybe I’ll have gratitude for Spirit orchestrating things just the way life SHOULD unfold…

I feel gratitude for the folks on my path. Teaching me more about myself and how to BE in the world. I know most people I meet are caring and supportive and generous souls. I feel thankful that I can be real and messy and quirky and forgetful and have that be ok.

If these are the only issues today – it was a damn fine day. I feel thankful that I can dig deep and muster GRATITUDE even when life feels like a dirty trick. Even when it feels like someone might be filming me with a hidden camera. Even when everything I touch turns to shit. Even when. Gratitude lives here. Everyday.

What are you Thankful for?

awareness · exploration

One Sideways Glance

I close this day today giving a voice to those nasty little flea bitten thoughts, buzzing around crazily, irritatingly, making me want to hide under cover. “You don’t know anything” they chant. Sometimes so loud I wonder if others hear them.

Kept at bay only when feeling content, successful or helpful. But one sideways glance delivered by a perfect stranger – holds more weight than it should – wrecking ball heavy. Tearing down all the goodness —- “I have great ideas”, “things are always working out for me”, “I have the right to my feelings and ideas”, “I am not responsible for how someone feels about my truth”, “I am a quick learner” and “I feel my opinion is valued”—— I have accumulated all morning.

My basket of good feelings loosely wound, unraveling, allowing all the good shit to tumble out the self doubt gate…..all I’m left with is, “Why did I think that was a good idea?”, “Maybe he/she is right”, “By voicing my truth, someone else will feel bad/uncomfortable”, “How dare I?”, “I’m so selfish” “I am so mean”… All the voices I was obedient to as a little person. Oh, it was so important to be obedient to my Mother’s idea of what I should feel and who I should be. Meant to keep me compliant, controlled and away from myself. My truth.

Again, I relinquish my grip on confidence. Yielding to a fear-filled joy stealer. That in your face joy stealer – external now but so eloquently and stealthily triggers my OWN inner thief. The place I know so well. Swooping in all crow-ish, to steal my eggs of wisdom in their infancy. More like, I surrender, serve them wisdom bits up on a platter. You’re welcome. I’m left with the cracked, runt eggs and my prize is run off with. Anything I could be proud of, swiped. Empty nest again.

LI give my excitement up to those who cast their panic shadows on my truth, my clarity and boundaries. How do I allow this to happen? How do I surrender my good feelings without a fight? In a split second I concede. In a split second. Because it’s an old, well worn path. That’s how.

A path someone else created FOR me and I perfected it. Surrendering my joy, on some level, is without thought or struggle. I could not stay in it for long, maybe a minute or two. And down came the curtain, the cloak of darkness. I did not exist, especially my joy, I was not the owner of it. I rented it for a couple of minutes, privately. Before someone took it and left me flat, deflated, resentful, questioning my original motives and goal. Questioning if I had the right to my own life.

Only now can I reframe this, “This is my truth, I will not allow his/her fear to steal my excitement, confidence, giddiness, aliveness, my center or drive”. It takes a conscious effort to shine some light on the possibility that my joy might be surrendered and prepare. Sit with it quietly, in celebration, without any outside interference. Fortress-like this little inside party of aliveness. And when it is time to express (that which I used to be killed for) I am choosing a supportive listener. Someone who is not threatened by my joy, wisdom, balls, or clarity.

Just try and steal my joy. No longer taking that hell and running with it.