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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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”.


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Gratitude X2 for Blogging Diversity!

Cross-posted from 43Things— Now with extra edits here on the WordPress entry!

1. WordPress bloggers are working on goals and I have reasons to use 43Things again.
a. Building Rome from Bradley “Green Embers” Corbett
Bradley knows about 43Things and I told him I’d use it while participating in this project.  I am confused about whether this week is about passion, or reaching out, or both.
b. Ten Things of Thankful from Lizzi at Considerings
Lizzi’s series was what originally reminded me, “Hey, I’m involved in a goal at 43T just like this!”

2. I still have a TENS unit I can use although I will have to send it back

it looks more or less like this

3. Food bank Friday

cff_logo

4. The chore boards Cimmy got for her and the kids (don’t worry, I have my task lists too) AND she agreed to review chores again today

5. Cimmy is reading to me “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Verbal Self-Defense” even though the book isn’t very good (at least compared to “Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion”)

6. Cimmy still laughs when I fart, like just now

fart photo you-what-woman-fart-ladies-first-da.jpg

My mother told me no nice girl would want to marry a guy who burped, and farted… Guess I showed her.

7. For that matter, Princess usually laughs when either of us fart

and your loved ones laugh about it.

Actually, this is more the exchange I have with both Princess AND Cimmy. But more often Princess. Dayum!

8. Irrigation is back on! SeeWater returned to some KID customers in east Kennewick, Finley

I wonder if this has any connection to those damn rodents burrowing in OUR backyard

9. Pizza for dinner (see #3)

Not homemade, not delivery, but DiGorno.

10. Fresh fruit (also see #3)

which, coincidentally enough, makes me fart


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How to Be a Man – For My Son (jak responds)

Laura Lord at History of A Woman wrote a wonderful article called How to Be a Man – For My Son a few months ago and my thoughts on it were long enough I figured it would be courteous to write a post in response rather than a really long comment.

She writes:

Awhile back I wrote a post for my daughter: Life Hacks for My Daughter. I was struck by the unfairness of that. I mean, here I am, a mother of two wonderful children, and I only dedicate a post to my daughter.  I mean, surely there are some “life hacks” out there for boys…ones I would want to share with my son.

But I’m a woman.

I don’t have the necessary equipment to figure out what is hack-worthy when you’re a grown up of the male variety.

Yeah. A lot like Horshack. Ooh, ooh, Ms. Lord!

Now the inner little boy inside me says, “Ooh, me, me, me!” while raising his hand.  “I’m a boy!  I know!”  Hehe.  Yep.  There’s actually some great resources on the Internet– one of them The Art of Manliness, which I will refer to a few times in this post.

Laura’s a smart cookie, though, and I think she understands that good advice is good advice, even if it doesn’t come from a gender-specific authority figure:

I may not have life hacks for my son, but I have some serious advice on how to be a man I won’t be afraid of passing along to some unsuspecting woman some day.

It is good advice.  Consider, dear readers, since I do have the necessary equipment, that I can confirm it as such.  So, on to her list of advice.

1. Hold the door (and other good manners)

The business world has changed this a bit, since manners are not dictated so much by royalty anymore.  It is for everyone, and I think it’s built on common courtesy and respect.

The Art of Manliness has an illustration series called “Dim and Dash”, which is based on the “Goofus and Gallant” feature from Highlights magazine.

Here’s an example that would apply specifically to the examples Laura gave:

Obviously, the McKays and Ted Slampyak are drawing on a familiar idea, but upgrading it for young men.  If you’d like to look at more of Slampyaks’ “Dim and Dash” illustrations for The Art of Manliness, click here.

2. Learn to Cook…Something

As Laura points out, this is a domestic skill that benefits men and women.  But I’ll put this from a guy’s perspective– cooking for a potential life partner DEFINITELY says, “Hey, I’m ready to settle down, quite very possibly with you.”  Now, I was born and bred to be domestic.  Although my blogging started out sorting out how my mother hurt me, I have to give credit where credit is due.  I learned a lot of domestic skills from my mother (and her mother too, actually), and one of them was to cook.  When my son was born, I decided to take over the bulk of the cooking… and I found I really liked it, and that I was pretty good at cooking.  After a while, my mother started to feel jealous.

jak likes this very much

I’m actually doing some canning/preserving here, but, you get the idea.

Cimmy knows how to cook, but she’s much more talented at baking, especially since she knows VERY well how to make bread completely by hand.  So one of my pet nicknames for her is Baker, because I’m the Cook much of the time.

Kneading dough prep table

My mother overkneaded bread, so it came out crusty. Cimmy kneads no more than 10 times.

Smells good!

Cimmy bakes bread just right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Grooming.

Yep, The Art of Manliness has this covered, too (although good manners of dress, i.e., wearing clothes, is included in this category).  I learned about wet shaving with an old-school safety razor from the site.  Even more specifically, Brett and Kate wrote an excellent article called Heading Out on Your Own — Day 4: Keep a Regular Grooming and Hygiene Routine which covers most of the basics.

Laura speaks more particularly about facial hair, though.  I usually keep some, because I have a boyish looking face (and I’ll use the same image she did):

Yep, I relate to this.

But I won’t tolerate ANY man who tells me facial hair is to save food for later.  That is DISGUSTING!  I’d much rather someone give me a “beard check” (i.e. let me know I’ve got food in it).  I use a fine-toothed comb– one to nitpick head lice out, even (it’s disinfected regularly, settle down)– to make sure the face dandruff, food, etc. is picked out.  I don’t always oil my beard, but, in general, some vitamin E and tea tree oils do a lot to keep things clean, disinfected, and healthy.  Tea tree oil has a strong scent to it, but Cimmy likes it well enough.  And while I tend to let my beard grow out full and bushy in the wintertime, by the warmer months, I prefer to keep it neat and trimmed.  (Sometimes even in the winter I get tired of it looking too bushy.)

4. Self-Control

Verbal self defense, or what the late George “Doc” “Rhino” Thompson called Verbal Judo or Tactical Communication, is a must here.  Words, carefully and thoughtfully chosen, can actually help to prevent, de-escalate, or even end confrontation, and physical violence.

Dear readers, I would recommend that you look into this further– it is difficult for me to sum up these techniques succinctly.  It is far more than Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.  It is tactically engaging people with respect, clarity, and precision– even when people are difficult (Doc Thompson said he was one such person) or cowardly (who he simply called “wimps”).  Thompson applied this specifically to law enforcement first (in fact, the L.A. officers who beat Rodney King had been scheduled to receive such training), but he wished to share it with everyone– parents and anyone working in a service profession.

It works.  I have seen it for myself.

5. Learn to Clean

This is something I actually teach my son– and I have him wipe the floor too, if possible.  I started doing more maintenance cleaning– cleaning and squeegeeing the shower after I use it, and scrub and wipe the toilet and countertop, etc.

This goes for everyone, of course.

There’s something to be said about cleaning up a mess immediately after it’s been made!  I still have some areas I need to work on, but trust me, it does a lot in the long run.

And Cimmorene has turned over a new leaf and done some great tidying up.  (I used to be a neat freak– she is the more slobby one.  But her side of the bedroom now is the tidy one.)

6. Hands Off! (I will add: have some decency and modesty)

Generally speaking, scratching your nether regions, picking your nose, breaking wind, popping acne pimples, etc. in public is a bad idea.  Also, know what is considered appropriate dress and behavior.  Many people aren’t terribly interested in buttcrack, man cleavage, or T-shirts with stupidly crude messages.

Please don’t be like this guy.

…or this guy, for that matter.

7. You Are the Handy Man
Well, Laura, actually, Cimmorene will fight me to fix lots of things.

Finished cabinet drawer repair (with Cimmy)

She fixed this drawer…

Table repairs finished

…helped me fix a table

All done

…built a new step to the front porch

fence section backyard side

…built most of this fence section herself

Replacing the switches

…but electrical work is my job.

Cimmorene jokingly calls me “The Foreman” much of the time, because with my sciatica and chronic back pain, I can’t effectively do some jobs and I just engineer and direct projects now and then.  But seriously, we both do the work– it just tends to be an arbitrary decision of who does what, and it’s not divided by she does the stuff inside, I do the work outside.

8. You Are Not a Robot

I don’t think I have to worry about this too much with my son… he is rough-and-tumble, but very sensitive.  I was teased mercilessly for crying as a boy, so I am still trying to figure out the balance.

There is a time and a place to show emotion, that preserves dignity and composure, yet punctuates thoughts and sentiments perfectly.

Here’s a wonderful example Aussa Lorens shared with me:

I think Kevin Durant shows the appropriate amount of tears here– he expresses love and respect for his friends, and especially his mother, giving her credit for her part in his success.

9. One day… (about sex, love, and relationships for the long haul)

To sum up and add to what Laura said, I want my children to know the reality of sex and sexuality.  My daughter is learning that quite nicely, especially thanks to Cimmy’s part.  My son is still too young to grasp such notions– we’re mostly working on #6.

But she is absolutely SPOT ON in pointing out that children will learn what romantic relationships are about by observing their parents.  I am grateful that my daughter is still willing to hug and kiss me on the cheek before bed, although she is 12 now.  I want my son to know that how I treat her and their mother is a template on how he should behave for women.

and adding one more item–

10. Take the Hero’s Journey, my son.

I know that my posts about the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey are deep, esoteric, and sometimes very hard to understand.  But I think there’s a reason why this cycle is told over and over again (and it’s not just for men– it applies to everyone).  It tells of how societies regarded the transformations of boys into men, as well as girls into women.  They speak of rites of passage, of overcoming obstacles, outer and personal struggles, to find a place in society.  They are not just about superheroes becoming gods… they are about grasping responsibility, maturity, and happiness.

Heroesjourney follow-the-journey

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Canary in the Abyss

Challenges, Temptations, & the Abyss

Challenges, Temptations, & the Abyss

It’s been a hard road.

My father is still contemplating death and we still compare notes on pain almost everyday.

He’s told me someone that “knows me” is “uncomfortable” with Cimmy’s blogging.  I won’t link to my long ramblings about my family dysfunction and denial just now– they are scattered over many, many posts.

Then there’s been some dissatisfaction with how the blogosphere has been turning.

Twitter

I once said that I didn’t get Twitter.  Ironically, I also have a post called Would a canary in the blogosphere go “tweet”? (about the Posterous team jumping ship for Twitter).

I think I get it now.  I found quite a number of my favorite WordPress bloggers were using Twitter… and they were favoriting and retweeting my comment tweets there like crazy.

Surprised Smiley

Surprised Smiley is surprised (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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English: It's an awesome smiley face!

Epic awesome face! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you so much, guys, for getting me out of a funk. Hopefully, y’all know who you are, but I can find ways to get your attention. Muahahaha.  (Yes, that might mean shoutouts will be edited in later.)


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Journey Into the Light: May is Mental Illness Awareness Month

I should have realized this– my blog feed is blowin’ up with posts from bloggers that care about this issue.

Aussa Lorens shared one blog post via Twitter.  (She works for a psych ward, and she tells it like it IS at her own blog!  So why shouldn’t she share a post from another blog about an awesome cause?)

Alyson Herzig wrote in

Laughter is the Best Medicine, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor – The Shitastrophy:

In honor of May being Mental Illness Awareness month Jessica Azar and myself have launched a call for support and submissions for our Anthology: Laughter is the Best Medicine, Surviving Mental Illness through Humor.

Kenneth “The Culture Monk” Justice is on his “Drinking In The Culture” coffee house tour, and is spending time talking to people, a few who are bloggers and regular readers of his blog at WordPress.  His last two posts have been on the theme of mental health, specifically speaking about frustrations about how medicated Western society has become of late:

Bi-polar disorder & defying doctors orders…REALLY???

Mental Health and Damn Idealism…REALLY???

 

It’s actually a topic that bubbled up from previous posts and previous comments, so I’m not surprised Kenneth decided to write about it specifically.

Why is this an important cause to me?  Because, dear readers, I have a mental illness called bipolar mood disorder type II, and I manage it– it doesn’t manage me.  Now, it’s gotten tough again as chronic pain affects my mood, too, but after 25 years or so of struggling, I finally got the treatment that works for me.

I think an integrated approach is helpful for mental health– humor, humanity, and a holistic approach to overall health generally.  I am indeed worried with the Big Pharma approach that is almost Apple iDevice like (in promoting apps): “Got a problem?  There’s a pill for that!”

We can do better– but I don’t think we’ll get it from the top down.  In my experience, it was to fight for the treatment I felt was appropriate, and to stay that course despite the obstacles.

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I wish this blog post was fabulous

Chronic illness is draining.

We had freezing rain yesterday and whoooooooooooooa baby did that suck energy out of my nerves and ramped up the pain.

I used to keep track of the weather… but I stopped.  I learned long ago that anything deviating from “balmy” + high humidity = me rolling on the floor in pain.

Cimmy said– either it was yesterday, or today, that the humidity was like 98-99%.  And of course the snarky part of me was thinking, “Well, no sheeeet.”  But I just simply told her what I just said above.  If I’m in pain, oh, I generally know why.

We live in a semi-arid climate, thanks to a rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains.  Agriculture does fairly well due to lots of circular irrigation.  Heat here is dry.  I used to hate it, as it seemed I was always dried out and thirsty.  But I don’t tolerate humidity well now.  Doesn’t matter where it’s hot and sticky, or freezing and damp.  I’m sensitive enough to hurt year ’round.

I was reading 16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People the other day.  It’s an interesting article.  Although Amanda Chan calls them “habits”, I’d prefer to say “observations”.

  1. They feel more deeply.
  2. They’re more emotionally reactive.
  3. They’re probably used to hearing, “Don’t take things so personally” and “Why are you so sensitive?”
  4. They prefer to exercise solo.
  5. It takes longer for them to make decisions.
  6. And on that note, they are more upset if they make a “bad” or “wrong” decision.
  7. They’re extremely detail-oriented.
  8. Not all highly sensitive people are introverts.
  9. They work well in team environments.
  10. They’re more prone to anxiety or depression (but only if they’ve had a lot of past negative experiences).
  11. That annoying sound is probably significantly more annoying to a highly sensitive person.
  12. Violent movies are the worst.
  13. They cry more easily.
  14. They have above-average manners.
  15. The effects of criticism are especially amplified in highly sensitive people.
  16. Cubicles = good. Open-office plans = bad.

Honest, I kept thinking “ugh, ugh, yep, yep, oh ugh, yep, heard that a dozen times without exaggeration”, etc.

I can’t find it anymore, but before I left The Icarus Project website and forums in shame and disgust (as some participants were TOXIC), I saved some text of a post called “Compassion for the sensitive.”  I wish I could find it, although she tended to ramble.  The general idea was good– it is difficult to be highly sensitive when many people just don’t understand that.

It’s very frustrating to be sensitive in today’s modern Western society, I think.  I am introverted– although it’s only been recently that people have begun to explain that introversion and extroversion simply refers to whether you recharge your energy being alone (which I do) or being around people.  I was painfully shy growing up, though.  But Western definitions of shy and such are so restrictive.  You’ve got to be a shrinking violet to be shy.  Put out protective thorns and people just deem you an asshole.  Fine, I say, to all those who think that.  Next time they say, “Don’t take it so personally,” I’m going to say, “Hey, how’s that mouthwash enema workin’ out for ya?  Not too well, I’d say, because your shit still STINKS!”

Pardon, dear readers.  I wasn’t too happy about being told that the last time… by a WordPress blogger, no less.  You win some, you lose some, I suppose.  I am glad that for the most part, people here are pretty supportive.

Oh-ho-ho-ho, whattya know, Zemanta is telling me lots and lots of WordPress bloggers have referenced this article.  Yeah, I’ll link up to a lot of them.

Once last thing– it was a real treat to be followed by Chris Donner the other day, because checking out her blog, 61 Musings, was a pleasant surprise. The “Club Introvert” page really caught my eye.  Why yes, introverted bloggers need a space, too… seriously, trying to keep up with some of you more extroverted bloggers is positively exhausting!  No, I don’t want 85-500+ comments, but, well… sigh sometimes I get the impression so few really care at all what I have to say.  10 years of 4-5 comments at best… I’m totally serious.

Well, that was a sucky note to end on.  Hence the title, though.  I wish this blog post was fabulous.

 

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Looking to the Journey Ahead, part 3

Mother Nature is once again exacting her toll on me, dear readers.  I am generally grateful for rain, especially as there has been a concern about a possible drought in our area, but humidity generally is just painful.  (It’s painful whether it’s cold or hot outside.)

Anyways, it has made blogging difficult.  I can never seem to schedule things enough ahead.

A Zero to Hero's JourneyThe next thing I wanted to talk about was continuing to build on Zero to Hero.  You may recall that the event challenge is over, and I figured I had done most of the challenges– even if I only had entries for about half of them.  I was still considering using an editorial calendar (Day 29), to give you all an idea of what to look forward to.

When I looked back to the Zero to Hero page, I found this addition at the beginning:

This page will be temporarily removed as of March 1 while we revamp the course. If you’re working your way through the tasks, feel free to paste the content into a file on your computer for ongoing reference after March 1.

Interesting.  I wonder how WordPress will revamp things.  I haven’t decided yet if I’ll try to meet the Day 29 challenge, to use an editorial calendar.  It’s tempting to just wait and see how they develop “the course” further.

 

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