the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Procrastination, Perfectionism and Blogging Perspective

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SanitySign-PP-crossing (Twitter)

I came up with this image to illustrate the topic for Trauma Recovery University‘s topic this week (which includes the #CSAQT and #sexabusechat Twitter chats as well as their Google Hangout video).

I was going to edit it into An Artist’s Journey: Get the Balance Right! but decided to give the image a post of its own, particularly after reading about the Community Pool at the Daily Post.  I figured it would be good to make some space here for bloggers to offer some feedback; I’m still trying to figure out what I must be missing after 11+ years of blogging and several reworks!

A few of you have been very kind to offer some feedback recently, but I could still use some help, dear readers.  Please be gentle; perfectionism and procrastination really is a stumbling block for me- not just in blogging.

What can I do to invite more conversations with you here?

Or am I just lost in my own little world?  (That’s okay; they know me here.)

Please let me know, in the comments below.


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Boundaries. Trust. To write love on my arms.

Trigger warning: I am about to write about subjects such as self-harm, self-mutilation, co-dependency, emotional enmeshment, and so on.  There will be at least one photo.  Please, please take care if such things upset you, especially if any of these are issues for you too, dear readers.

Looking back

Yes, I’m going to write about it, now.  Maybe some of you remember To write love on her arms (it’s a short post, so I have included most of it, as follows):

Two years ago, I learned that my daughter turned to cutting to deal with the crushing stress in her life.

She turned to it again two nights ago when Cimmorene lost it with Boy when he would not go to bed for several hours.  Cimmy let me know, because she knew I wouldn’t be angry– how could I?  I dealt with it myself.

I cut myself years ago when I was in a stressful romantic relationship that ended with false accusations of rape.  Cimmy wasn’t around then, but she was when I started cutting again, as the university we were attending was soaked in scandal, and the music department especially was mired in dirty politics between professors.  When she miscarried before our son was born… more cuts.

So all I could do was listen to my daughter, and tell her more about my struggles with this issue.

The problem at hand

Yep, I’m having problems again.  If I did this right, hopefully the photo doesn’t show immediately in my blog feed.  Here comes the photo:

This is what the inside of my left forearm looks like, although the cuts have faded a little bit.

This is what the inside of my left forearm looks like, although the cuts have faded a little bit.

Why?  Well, I won’t name names.  I don’t think that’d do any good.  But I got pretty angry and upset with some people.  About all I will say is that a few people were discussing something in one of my support groups, using language and descriptions that I found VERY triggering.  A great big push on the “But I’m a Good Boy!” button.

One of them is a co-founder of said group.  I didn’t trust my intuition when I met this person about a year or so ago, but BIG RED alarms and flags were going off in my mind.  This person did, said, and wrote things… whole books, even, that I find incredibly sexist.

I will leave it at that.  I hate being a sensitive person sometimes; or rather, I don’t like that I have a very difficult time filtering out other people’s bad vibes.  I’m still learning to set boundaries and put distance.  I had to end a few social activities because the hosts, or the participants, were just unpleasant, slightly anti-social folks.

Oh… yes, my daughter knows about the cuts.  We have an understanding, you see.  Not that we think it’s okay, but that we know why we do it.  sigh but just the other day, my father saw them.  I’m not ready to talk to him about it just yet.  I’m not sure he even knows this is a thing with me, even after all these years.

What I’m doing about it

I do have a therapist, now.  I haven’t met with her for a full session, yet; she came with my case manager to meet me in my home, and then I talked with her some more when I dropped by some background information.  She took a moment to show me around her office, get a sense of things so I could be comfortable.  I will meet with her towards the end of the month, but I will probably drop by now and then, so I might continue to collaborate, to prepare beforehand.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all

I’ve learned that the spouse of a fairly prominent WordPress blogger (who is also currently imprisoned), an ertswhile blogger in their own right, passed away earlier this week.

Despite the call for letters of support; I’m sorry, but I won’t be sending one.  I have a really, really difficult time with trust– trusting either full-on, or not at all, and my last interaction ended towards not at all.  I don’t consider myself a cruel, heartless individual, but when things were well, this person just didn’t seem to consider me worth the notice.  I understand things are quite bad, now, but, I’m struggling with my own problems, too.

Bloggers, even before this news, asked for letters to be sent.  I was sorely tempted to quietly send something scathing.  I must have been graced by the better part of wisdom, somehow, because I didn’t.  Now… I’m not able to do such a thing for the sake of social niceties.  This person didn’t really ever interact with me.  I think it would be disingenuous and insincere to try to pretend otherwise.

A final word

I’m not broadcasting blog posts to Twitter for now– I I was considering deactivating Twitter entirely, but I didn’t.  But… I’m not going to use it to promote my blog material for now.  shrug See for yourself, dear readers.  I appreciate all your comments, I truly do.  But you do see that they number about 3 to a half dozen, on average.  The art of SEO eludes me, and apparently, I’m not writing much that appeals to a wide variety of people.

But I realize that your interactions are genuine, and real.  And for that, I’m grateful.


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Update on Hero Introduction (A Pride of Heroes)

For the original post, please see BeWoW: Hero Introduction (A Pride of Heroes).

I sent Matt Langdon this message:

Thanks, Matt!

I’ve been admiring the work of The Hero Construction Company for a while.  After I decided to start blogging about the Hero’s Journey, I wondered if others were writing about it, and I came to the collection of blogs that include the Hero’s Handbook.

I hope you don’t mind that I included this message in a blog post: https://jaklumen.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/bewow-hero-introduction/ while referencing “A Pride of Heroes”.  I really do want more people to know what you do.  So many others I’ve talked to think the Monomyth is just about writing stories, and haven’t considered its real-life applications.

Due to indigent circumstances, I’m not sure I can scrape enough money to attend the Hero Round Table Conference anytime really soon.  But I’ll do my best to participate as much as I can until circumstances change and/or a conference comes closer to the Pacific Northwest.

and Matt had this to say by way of reply last Tuesday:

Thanks a lot for the blog posts. No idea how I didn’t see your original posts, but the internet is a funny place. Thanks also for the compliments. It means a lot.

Keep an eye on the Hero Round Table. If you can make it there, I can comp you a ticket. It’s a really energizing time. You’d meet some kindred spirits.
Wow!  How about that?  I’m still not sure how I’d make it to Brighton, Michigan.  The last (well, only time, really) I was in Michigan, was when Cimmorene and I were still university students, and we stayed with friends in Ann Arbor.  The plane ticket alone wasn’t terribly cheap, and I have no idea how I’d gather the funds now.  Just by comparison, the Trauma Recovery U/#NoMoreShame Project retreat is in Portland, Oregon at the end of June– much closer to us, and I’m not sure if we have the funds to go to that.
We’ll see.


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BeWoW: Hero Introduction (A Pride of Heroes)

What is BeWoW?

BeWoW stands for Be Wonderful on Wednesdays, a blog hop/blog prompt started by Ronovan at RonovanWrites.  The idea is to share a blog post that meets the definition of encouraging, positive, or wonderful.

For more information, click on this link: Be A #BeWoW Blogger

For Ronovan’s entry this week, click this link: Being Positive Support for Others.

Okay.  What Wonderful Thing do you have to share, jak?

I got this message very early this morning:

Hey Jonathan,

Nice to see your comment on the Hero Handbook. Thanks for stopping by. If you’re interested in talking to more hero people, I would suggest checking out the conference we’re running in Michigan (for the third year). The Hero Round Table basically came into being because I wanted people like you in the same room as each other. It’s been a cool experience thus far.
Blogging for more than ten years is pretty damn impressive. Well done.
Matt
The Hero Construction Company
810 689 HERO
theherocc.com

 
Join Us at the Hero Round Table Conference:
The comment that Matt is talking about is on his post A Pride of Heroes.
Here’s an excerpt from that post, to give you an idea:

A while ago I asked the Hero Construction Company Facebook page what a group of heroes could be called. Some offerings were host, league, and army. Then came pride. It won me over instantly.

I like it because it highlights that heroes should be proud. Heroes are always humble, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t be proud. I like the lion connotation too, as it seems lions of different shapes and sizes all fit equally well into the pride.

He offered anyone who was reading an invitation to this collaboration he calls The Pride, and all readers had to do was comment with their first name, initial of their last name, and their general location.  So I left a comment, and that led to the rest of the story.

Let’s wrap it up.

I’ve followed the Hero’s Handbook for a while, along with some other blogs done by fine folks at the Hero Construction Company and the Janus Center.  I wrote about them previously (here and here).  I was so impressed not just that they were teaching schoolkids about the Hero’s Journey, but that they were teaching them how to integrate it into their own lives.

As seen at Ronovan Writes- https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com All image rights reserved to Ronovan and his son.

As seen at Ronovan Writes- https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com
All image rights reserved to Ronovan and his son.

heroesjourneynew


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Compassion for the Sensitive

This was the name of the title of a post on the forums of The Icarus Project.

(TRIGGER/SENSIBILITIES WARNING: If you’ve got a problem with salty, crass language, you might want to stop reading right here.  Several four-letter bombs are to follow, a few sections down.)

It’s difficult for me to sum up what it was about, although I can recall some details quite clearly.  The content was raw, and the statement wasn’t terribly lucid.  No surprise, really, given the purpose of the site is to look at mental illness in a radical way– to look at it as a gift to creativity, insight, and alternative perspectives.

What I can say is that it was clear to me that the author wanted respite.  She described a therapy/counseling session, in which she described her frustration with being sensitive, so easily upset by seemingly small things in the world, expressing sorrow for the tiniest expressions of suffering.  Although I found her story a bit rambling and incoherent, I found succinct, articulate eloquence in the title.

Are we compassionate to the sensitive souls in our life?

Navigating social media hasn’t been easy for me.  If you’ve followed my 10 Year Blogging Journey, dear readers, I hope that’s been clear.  I hope you’ll forgive me a moment to be selfish and speak sharply against those who have been so unkind.As I said, I started blogging to face the darkness of my childhood abuse.  I started when blogging was relatively new, and people still looked at it as presenting a diary to the world.  I was drawn into LiveJournal by a live-action roleplaying group– a toxic lot, I found.  When they weren’t pretending to be scheming, backstabbing, warring vampires, mages, werewolves, fairies and other fantastical supernatural creatures, they busied themselves with drama whoring, pettiness, gossip, and gutter sniping in real life.  Much of the rest of the community seemed to be that way, too.  What remains popular there now is the “Oh No, They Didn’t” subcommunity– which I would sum up as the TMZ of blogging.

“Damn it, Val, you really are a sick fuck!  … Good thing I like sick fucks.”

When I looked to the old VOX blogging platform as a possibly more mature alternative to LiveJournal, things didn’t get too much better.  Does the notion of controlled, private content bring out the worst in people?  (The site took the idea of controlling which readers could see which content, although a little less customizable.  Most blogging sites now hide posts individually by password, instead of filters.)

Jack Yan at Wellington's Software Freedom Day ...

Jack Yan at Wellington’s Software Freedom Day 2010 event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I met some folks I still have the pleasure of interacting with, such as Jack Yan.  A lot of the people I initially connected with are gone, however.

I still miss Valerie Rae (valerae) in particular.  The quote above in this section is easily how I’d sum up my impressions of her.  She was into shock humor and geek culture, and while her aggressive, mischevious style sometimes wore thin with me, I’d still have a smirk or a shit-eating grin on my face.  A certain core of the community, however, decided to ostracize her, as she decided to have an extramarital affair, and her would-be paramour decided to air all the dirty laundry about it.

I apologize if that offends some of my ex-Vox readers, but, seriously, now.  Did any of you catch wind of the whole #Gamergate debacle?  It’s okay if you didn’t; I think it relates, though.  I’ll sum it up like this: People that talk smack about folks in their personal lives should recognize it for the smelly, steaming shit that it is, and shut off the damned diarrhea from their mouth already.  Both “The Great Shunning of Val” and #Gamergate involved people spewing their personal shit for all the world to see (like someone they just fucked is now apparently a skanky slut), and it just resulted in more stinky shit.

I don’t pretend to give myself a free pass or an exception here.  I was really sad to see that continue on WordPress.  What was the scandal?  Rachel Mallino decided to call out Eric “Le Clown” Robillard on sexually predatory behavior.

The backlash against her, as a result, I think was very unjustly deserved.  Sure, I’m biased, I guess.  For the first time in my life, I met someone who understood and had lived– no, survived— maternal abuse, albeit with a complex case of PTSD (cPTSD).  I’d say the tales of her mother’s narcissistic abuse are much more horrifying than my own, even if my own mother is too quick to gossip about her co-worker’s vagina falling out.

Western society is not kind to those who wear their emotions on their sleeve.

It was a really awkward journey, getting to the point where I was ready to write The Analogy of the Splinter.  Metaphorically, I was bleeding, urinating, and defecating in pain across the blogging community I knew, spilling out ugly details of my pain and suffering.  To be fair, I guess that’s against the social mores and folkways of blogging: you’re supposed to air your stench on your own space, not in the comments section of someone else’s.  But instead of receiving some tender care and merciful attention, I got people recoiling in disgust and revulsion.

Hmmm.

It’s called “read between the lines”. Credit: save-send-delete.blogspot.com

Oh, wait.  Maybe I wasn’t clear.

When “hold your horses” just won’t do. As seen at danceswithfat.wordpress.com

I loved this Depeche Mode tune back in the day (actually, I still do), because it encapsulates my outlook on how I interact with the Internet and the world around me:

What you see, is what you get.

Hey, I’ve got no problems making fun of myself.  I mean, speaking of feces, grand kudos to those of you dear readers that got through The ER doc told me I was full of shit.  Especially those that commented to great comedic effect; clearly, you fine folks realize that shit happens. Or rather, that sometimes it doesn’t, and you’ve got to take some drastic steps to get it to happen (no, seriously, this is how it went down, folks):

Why yes, my bowels are cramped up and hating me all over again– thanks for asking! Image credit: memeshare.net

Coming back full circle to The Icarus Project, I remember crudely parodying Rienhold Niebuhr’s The Serenity Prayer on those forums:

God grant me the serenity to accept the shit that happens,
The courage to clean up the shit I did shit,
And the wisdom to know not to mess with someone else’s shit.

I don’t always practice well what I preach, but I do strive to be consistent.

There are some people in my life, mostly close friends and family, that would be shocked by my liberal use of profanity, such as “fuck this shit”It’s a bit hypocritical, because when I discussed such things with my daughter, I listed several of the common 4-letter bombs and admonished her not to use them in polite company, and to use them precisely for what they meant.  Generally speaking, I don’t believe in silly Old English-Latin dichotomies where saying “fornicate” or “feces” is acceptable, but “fuck” or “shit” isn’t.  But then I use those “vulgar” words broadly, as in, I’m not really going to stick my gentalia in a pile of manure, or literally penetrate something with my penis, and that stuff isn’t literally splattered with excrement.

For the record, she loves humor that is just littered with coarse words, but since her brother with autism is too prone to parroting a lot of things, well, there was this dialogue…

(audio from some random YouTube channel)

“Motherfucker…”

(me in the background)

“What?  The only person I want to hear saying ‘fuck’ around here is me, damn it!”

What’s all this?  This is the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, that’s what.

Oh yes, this raw, crass post has a purpose.  It’s in response to the massive event Yvonne Spence and Lizzi “the Considerer” Rogers put together.  Please see their posts 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and We ALL need The Village for context.  Or see this lovely video that the awesome Tamara Woods put together:

Again, apologies if my four-letter bombs were offensive, yet, I tell you, dear readers– that’s life.  Life is messy.  Life is ugly.  Life is raw, and brutal.  If you got past my salt and spew, I salute you.  I almost didn’t write anything for this, because I was still smoldering with rage, festering and boiling in pain.

Please, have some compassion for those who are suffering, even if they are thrashing about in an awkward, unseemly, even vile and disgusting way.  It’s more than worrying about someone in a land far away, or fretting over the depressing headlines the mass media uses to sell news.  Not that such isn’t important, or such empathy for those you don’t personally know is invalid.  I ask you, dear readers, to notice and care those that are right beside you, or those you might not consider as worthy of compassion.  Someone like me.

This quote has been kicking around Twitter lately, and I think it’s appropriate:

as seen at hannekeantonelli.com — Please visit wendymass.com for more info about the author quoted here

Dare I say it, dear readers, we’re all quite possibly clueless– completely clueless.

Click through for image source/credit. Seriously, I find some of the best images right from WordPress bloggers, and for that, know that I am forever grateful.

becuo.com – Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself Shirt Images & Pictures

To close, consider a more recent offering from Martin L. Gore and his Depeche Mode bandmates:


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Suzie has Questions and I have Answers

So suzie81speaks has written a post called Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment and I am honored that she asked me personally to respond to it.  It’s a series of questions that I know as a “getting to know you meme”.   I admit that “Community Experiment” had me hoping for something bigger, but I like these questionnaires nevertheless.

I like them because the answers can be thoughtful, and pleasantly revealing; more so than the quizzes you might find on Facebook now, or the ones I remember when I first started out on LiveJournal 10 years ago.

On to the questions:

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

I settled on the title when I was still blogging on the VOX platform.  Giving a blog a name was a new idea to me in 2007.  I was still with the idea that blogging was like a personal diary when I started with LiveJournal in 2002, and I didn’t have a title for that blog until later.

I experimented with different titles– “the world of jaklumen”, “the eccentric world of jaklumen”, “the eclectic world of jaklumen”, and so on.  Blogging was moving away from personal writings to niche interests, but I insisted on writing about whatever caught my whimsy.  Things were a bit looser and freer at VOX– I really didn’t see anyone that was trying to settle on one particular look.  We were actually encouraged to change our headers as we felt like it, although that was about all we could customize from the interface.

A friend (whom I have called my “Sifu-of-sorts”) at that time turned me on to studying the Eastern paths, and I became very interested in the Tao Te Ching and philosophical Taoism.  I decided I wanted to reflect that in my blog title, and settled on “the tao of jaklumen”, which I carried over to WordPress when VOX closed in 2010.

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

I reckon I’m pretty bad at giving advice; I’m still trying to figure this all out myself.  But I followed the Zero to Hero course at The Daily Post on WordPress, and I found it very helpful.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

What is THE strangest experience?  Hmm, can’t think of one that I’d call the most strange, but, these sorts of experiences seem to happen in my dreams at night.  Relatively few are ones I’d call cool or inspiring; they tend to be bizarre on average.

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

I can’t think of one.  I’m tired, grumpy, grouchy, hurting… and this answer isn’t coming easily for me.

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

I’m not sure if I’d go– I’ve consumed enough sci-fi that explores all sorts of chaos that could ensue with interfering with the space time continuum.  I figure I’d be even more awkward than Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”.

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

Oh, I don’t know.  I rather like my first name.  I figure it’s much easier to say I want to choose my next nickname.  Jack (or as I spell it, “jak”) is a nickname of my real first name.

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

What kind of B Movie?  If it’s the 1950’s campy invader type, it’d probably be something like “Revenge of the Lab Wererat”.  If it could include late ’70s and ’80s sci-fi and comic book movies, it might be “Song of the Stars”.


My Funny Valentine: Monday Monster Mashup meets the Weekly Writing Challenge!

In today’s entry, I take the Monday Monster Mashup and mash it even further with the Weekly Writing Challenge!

As usual, comments are closed at the tao of jaklumen. If you aren’t already following us at Jak & Cimmy’s Journal Jar, why not do so now? Thanks!

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What’s your Valentine’s story?

Today’s prompt comes from the WP Weekly writing challenge: Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine?

First, the MASHUP:

Then, the photo:

12 roses for 12 years 2nd shot

Now, the story:

Our wedding anniversary is on December 12th.  Sometimes, it gets eaten up in the Christmas fervor.  In 2010, we had a church Christmas dinner on the 12th.  While Cimmorene said she was fine with attending a ward Christmas dinner on our anniversary (and we did), I didn’t think this was sufficient.

So come February, I decided I needed to make up for it.  I figured I would act early, and beat the Valentine’s Day rush.  On a whim, I stopped in to the local Just Roses flower shop, and asked for 12 white short-stemmed roses, in a vase.  They had such on hand.  Wow.  I told one of the florists, as she was ringing up my purchase, “If I do this right, she’ll…

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Hero pulls a zero on Blogroll challenge so far

The assignment for Day 13 is to create, edit, or expand a blogroll.

I have to admit, this challenge has got me stumped and stalled cold.

There’s a number of ways this challenge could be interpreted.

I have two solutions that I’m intending to move forward with.  The first part is to build something that will promote the other blogs I work on, especially the one that I work on with Cimmorene.  The second part is to build something more in the vein of what I’ve noticed a blogroll to be.

Oh, and this draft has stalled for about a half-day, too.  But I did get an awesome post rolled out today, which helps Cimmorene with Day 28 and gets 27 done for me.  Will reblog that in a moment…

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Further into the transformation (Zero to Hero Day 8)

The assignment for Day 8 is to create an About page, or revisit and improve the one you have.

This was no small feat!

First, I decided to hide all but one of the existing Pages I had written.

Two were about other blogs I work on.  I think promoting them will be covered better in a later challenge: Day Thirteen: Build a (Better) Blogroll.

One was about the last blogging platform I wrote at, and another blog that I contribute to for other bloggers that used that blogging platform, too.

The other three were all about this blog here, so it made sense to unite them into one: About the tao of jaklumen and the Hero’s Journey.  That page wasn’t easy to write– I decided to put up links to categories of blog posts I was especially pleased with.  But WordPress starts the Categories page with the newest post, ending with the oldest– and for categories having to do with the Hero’s Journey, it would be like reading a story backwards.

So for the Equilibrium and Silver Surfer categories, I had to sort through every post and include a link at the bottom indicating which post was next in the series.

I also used an image and a text link to each category.  It was hard to line up each image to each text link correctly.

It’s finally done… for now.  I had to revise things over 25 times.  I hope it’s worth it!  The Silver Surfer series will have some additions to it, but I need to get a copy of the Infinity Gauntlet graphic novel first.

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

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A Blogger’s Journey: The beginning

I still have trouble believing it.

I think I realized how long it’s been when Aussa prompted comments with a “How long have you been blogging?” question, in one of her posts.

Then I was reading Rara’s blog and saw her mentions of being 29 years old.  Looking back, I slowly realized that I started blogging when I was 29, too.  I had tried to think of what was happy when I was 29.  I thought of my daughter, when she was born, but that was a year earlier.  She brought such joy, but 2003, the year I began blogging, was filled with sadness and sorrow.

 

I created my account at LiveJournal on the 12th of November, 2003.  My first public post was the next day, with this quiz meme (reconstructed as the original code has been taken down):

You are Morpheus, from “The Matrix.” You have strong faith in yourself and those around you. A true leader, you are relentless in your pursuit.

It was a time of fluff– lots of users did these quizzes, posting the result.  Although some users wrote about their lives in the old journal/diary style that was common for the time, others were writing in the same style, for fictional characters.  I’d been drawn into LiveJournal by LARPers (Live Action RolePlayers).  The organization they were part of was known as the Camarilla (at that time), and so users were writing diaries as development for their characters– usually vampires and mages, for a horror-based setting.

I will save tales of woe concerning them for another time.  Know simply this, dear readers, was that so very many of them blurred the line between fantasy melodramatics and drama in their own personal lives.  And it brought out some of the worst in me.  I’d already been with them for about three years, if I remember right.

Anyways, I continued on with the meme fluff at LiveJournal until November 18th:

I got a job for the holidays! It’s work with Noerr Programs (www.noerrprograms.com) working as a Santa at the Columbia Center Mall. It’s full-time hours, Monday-Thursday, 10-8, $10/hour. My final interview included two hours on the floor playing the actual role and I got a photo of my daughter on my lap, which was actually sent to the regional manager, which I’m sure sealed the deal. I’m very excited.

Not to mention I can get off the dole for December and be rid of my case manager at DSHS for a little while…

This is the picture in question.  Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This is the picture in question. Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This was the first time I gave a hint to the ugly reality of that year.  The year previous, we had been homeless and bankrupt, and so we had stayed with a friend, whose marriage was ending while we were there.  We had moved to a fourplex, which brought horrors detailed in the 5 Truths, 1 Lie meme.  Both Cimmy and I were in welfare-to-work, because we were valiantly trying to be self-sufficient.  This dragged on until Cimmy had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the DSHS office, and Rhenda Stewart (the “battleaxe” of a case manager I mentioned in the quote) wormed it out of me that I was on psychiatric medicines, and then they pushed us to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

I had worked as a mall Santa before, but I didn’t get the job that year.  I had been walking the mall and an employee at the Pepperidge Farm kiosk tried to give me a sample, and I just couldn’t manage with that fake beard.  Noerr normally insists Santas have real beards, bleached white, but I did not have a long enough, full enough beard at that time.  This was my post on December 5:

Well, I found out the Santa gig won’t pan out… I got grounded because of a background check, and they just kept me hanging forever. I had to play phone tag between my case manager and the set until I finally found out the background check would take too long (and my case manager called me to tell me this… no, my employer couldn’t tell me that. Meanwhile, I was five days without money). I wish they would have just been straight with me. I had to reapply for benefits today, and the whole thing just rather cheesed me off.

By the way, Princess was only a year old in that photo.  Cimmy was worried she might freak out, as young children that age sometimes do, but she was fairly calm and serene.  She told me today that she knew it was me with my kind, smiling eyes.  (Tell me, how many of you are saying “Awww…” right now?)

Now what does this have to with the Hero’s Journey?  Well, this time I started blogging– I was already past The Ordinary World (outer), and the Limited Awareness of the Problem (inner).  This was well into the Call to Adventure, with its increased awareness of the need for change, but also the Refusal of the Call, with fear and resistance to that change.

Inner steps: 2. Increased awareness of need for change 3. Fear; Resistance to Change (from Christopher Vogler)

Inner steps:
2. Increased awareness of need for change
3. Fear; Resistance to Change
(from Christopher Vogler)

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: The hidden beginning