How a Decision I’d Felt Fine About Suddenly Felt Wrong

WaLk the Goats

A lot of my childhood stuff was discarded over the years, but neither I nor mom ever discarded Sad Baby.  Plush in all parts except the face, she had a zippered-pouch in back cradling a music box.  The soft body, with lilting musical tones, was a comforting snuggle.

The plushie eventually made her way from the east coast to California, her cloth frayed and worn, the music box long dead and disposed of. I washed her face, aired her out and alternately displayed her on my bed or stuck her in the garage.

Years passed. Sad Baby had been in the garage a while when a desire to declutter arose. My decluttering urges loop around regularly. Each time, something that survived the last cycle, does not make the current cut.

One de-clutter tip I’d read was to take a picture of an object cared about but no longer wanted. It would keep the memory without having to store the thing.

I looked at Sad Baby. “It’s time,” I thought. “Time to let go of you.” Sad Baby had been mine for 55-years.

I took a picture, tucked her into my trick trash, and she was gone.

Sad Baby comfortably lived in my memory. I didn’t miss her. I was content with my decision.

Until…I wasn’t.

Continue reading “How a Decision I’d Felt Fine About Suddenly Felt Wrong”

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Saying No to Re-living Old Pain

Pixabay: Hans. Free for commercial use; no attribution required.I recently wrote about a friend’s suicide, an act that took place 21-years ago.  As I read a poem I’d written after his death, I sensed a character shuffling about the edges of my consciousness.  The character was carrying a cloak; a cloak of sadness, anger, guilt and despair, brought forward from those tumultuous days.

I realized this character wanted me to wear those emotions again.

It was as if this character believed there were proper responses to a suicide—no matter how long ago it had occurred—and knew the cloak carried within it acceptable ones.  Here, wear this, she said. In case of suicide, feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and despair are allowed. I was tempted.

The thing is, I didn’t want to feel those things. I looked outside my window and the sun was shining; flowers were blooming.

Donning the cloak-of-past-emotions would not change the past.

It would, however, overshadow a beautiful present with emotions completely unrelated to the now.

I didn’t want to relive those old emotions.

I had a choice. I said no to the character and her cloak.

 

Photo source: Hans on Pixabay

 


 

A Friend’s Suicide Remembered

126_SuicidePainPoemOn Memorial Day weekend in 1998, an ex-boyfriend committed suicide. We had lived together for three years and had broken up less than a year earlier. Three weeks after his death, churned by emotions, I struggled to find ways to express the turmoil I felt.  I came across a poem I wrote back then; an attempt to describe the indescribable.

Reading it, I have memories of those days, of multiple characters in my head navigating their conflicting feelings triggered by his suicide: sadness, anger, guilt, despair. They were all part of the chaos.  At the time, I fully submerged myself in those feelings; their presence defined me. I didn’t see my emotions as the response of characters, but as me. I was the pain. I was the anger. I was the guilt.  There felt like no me beyond the emotions.

And yet, there was.  There always is, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

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I Was Raised in a House of Heels

125_HighHeels

I was raised in a house of heels. And now I’m done with them.

High heels were a family thing. Dad bought them. Mom wore them. And I adored them. Many came from Frederick’s of Hollywood, a catalog company carrying sizes large enough to fit mom’s feet, with a selection not available at our local shops.

They were usually stiletto’s, tall and sparkly, with a heel strong enough to be used as a weapon. For me, they were real versions of Barbie’s peep-toe mule sandals. When mom and dad were going out for a night of dinner and dancing, these are the shoes mom would wear to finish her outfit.

I loved watching her get dressed up. I loved watching her glow as she slipped on the magical shoes to complete her outfit.

She’d come down the stairs and swirl before dad. Her full skirt would rise, revealing a bit more of her long legs, their curve enhanced by the heels. Dad, watching appreciatively, would emit a low whistle.  Mom beamed.

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Lessons in a Puzzle

Walk the Goats

1,000 pieces. That’s what the puzzle box said. I bought it. I’d try this puzzle thing.

Last time I was around a puzzle was 2-years ago. I was at a birthday party and the puzzle was 2/3rd complete. The remaining pieces were nicely laid out, face up. Several folks were standing over the puzzle, chatting, while scanning and trying to fit pieces in. I hit 3-clean picks in a row: snap, snap, snap. It was satisfying. “I’m a natural at this,” I thought.

I figured I’d buy a puzzle and try it at home. Lots of folks like puzzles. Maybe I’m one of them.

A thousand-piece puzzle is not a good place to start, if you aren’t sure you love puzzles.

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The Vein-ity of Giving Blood

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I donate blood regularly. I’d like to say I do it strictly for the do-gooder character in me, but, like so many things, multiple characters influence my blood-donating habits.

Mom volunteered for Red Cross Blood Drives when I was growing up, so when the blood drive came to our high school, she encouraged me to donate, reassuring me over my needle-queasiness and worries about having blood taken. The character who wants to please mom is definitely in play

I’ve varied between being an occasional—sometimes lapsed—donor, to being consistent, donating regularly at our local firehouse, which hosts a blood drive every 8-weeks. My lapses were often due to inconvenience—no local blood drive—or too busy.  With our local firehouse setup, it’s easy to give. My do-gooder character believes in the value of donating, so making it easy helps me stay aligned in this corner of my mind.

My every-8-week donation plan sometimes gets thrown off schedule when my iron count fails.

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I Have 340 Separate Account Log-Ons

Pixabay: Pixelkult. Free for commercial Use. No attribution required.

There’s a reason people use the same log-on name and password on every friggin’ site on the internet; they do it because every friggin’ site requires we establish an account in order to interact with them beyond looking at their offerings through the internet-window.

You want to come in and browse? Set up an account, create a user name and unique password, give us your personal data, and then—and only then—will we let you in to see our wares.

Imagine if that happened at retail stores? They would have collapsed sooner than their apparent, imminent collapse.

I have 340 web sites that required me to set up an account with them in order to engage.  Really? Did all 340 of them really need me to set up an account? I don’t even know if some of the accounts I have exist anymore. I’m pretty sure my MySpace account is defunct, but who knows, it could still be sitting there.

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Tilting at Windmills

VIVIANE6276 CC0 Creative Commons on Pixabay

I love moments when I see my perspective shift on something.  I tilt my psychological head and, bam! things are suddenly different.

I was driving to the hospital to see mom. The Vermont hills, peppered with farms and cows, rolled before me, small towns and communities rising up and fading away.  The green scenery swaddled me in its splendor; an occasional tree hinted at autumn.

I rounded a turn. There on the hill before me was a display of a half-dozen windmills.

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Shopping the Discount

71_Discount2The coupon was for 40% off a single item. A second coupon—same store—promised another $2 off on top. A character was aroused.


She gathered her purse. Told Bubba she was headed out.

“Where you going?” he asked.

“I’m off to shop,” she said.

“What are you buying?”

“I’m not buying, I’m shopping.”

He turned in his chair and eyed her. “What’s the difference?”

“Buying is when I need something specific, maybe toilet paper or toothpaste, and I go out and get it. Shopping is when I want something, but I don’t know what. I wander the aisles until something hooks me. Eventually, something will.  Shopping scratches an itch.”

“Oh,” he said, sounding confused.

“I have these coupons I need to use,” she said, as if that explained everything.  “How often does CVS send out 40% off coupons? With a $2 bonus on top? I gotta use ‘em today because they expire. I’ll walk around the store until I find something, maybe even something we need.  If I’m lucky, I’ll find something we need that’s more than we’d usually want to pay, and can apply the coupon to it; get maximum savings. What I get is less important than how much I can save.”

“So,” Bubba said, with sudden understanding, “what you’re really shopping for, is a bargain.”

Coffeebeanworks on Pixabay Creative Commons


Photo sources: MarcoRoesler on Pixabay; Coffeebeanworks on Pixabay

Dopamine-Induced Raw Begging

I’m responding to likes and kudos, comments and accolades. Like Pavlov’s dog, I’m salivating over feedback; getting hooked by WordPress’s announcement that I’ve surpassed my previous record of likes. New record: 27! It may be a puny record, but it’s my record. So…whoot!69_PavlovBegging_6-1-18Pavlov. Dogs. I’ve been writing about dogs. Ugly dogs. Fee for petting dogs. Dog House fiction.

Is this all an accident? Coincidence? I think not.

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Personas & Voices: Wit and Whimsy

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I love turning up lines or passages from other writers that capture the idea of different conversations taking place in their heads, conversations that reflect different facets of who they are.  J Blaide does that for me in her “Caffeine Crutch” post, excerpted below.

 

BLOG: Wit and Whimsy ~ “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

Post:  “My Caffeine Crutch”

“…being groggy MAKES ME HUNGRY! This combo turns off my logical thinking switch and seductively whispersoh how delicious that Dew will taste! Go on, just one won’t hurt. Just one soda today and then back to water like we promised each other. It’ll be so satisfying!” (For the record, in my head this dialogue is voiced by Him from Power Puff Girls).”


 

Bubba and the Broken Bottle

58_BrokenBottle1Bubba did the water-run today, bringing our three-gallon bottles and two-gallon water dispenser to the store to refill. Our tap water, while drinkable, leaves me feeling as if I’m coating my innards with scale.

Back from the store, Bubba carried the dispenser and one of the three-gallon bottles into the house. He left his truck parked curbside. The last bottle, filled, sat on the passenger-side floor, the truck door open.  Bubba had thought about closing the door as he made his first trip to the house, but he figured no one would steal the water bottle and, besides, he would be back in a flash.

Stepping back outside onto the front stoop, Bubba looked toward the truck and saw, in disbelief, that the water bottle was tipping over the door edge and out the truck. Too far away to save it, it crashed to the curb, shattering the bottle.

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Personas & Voices: Creative PTSD Gal

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I love turning up lines or passages from other writers that reflect the idea of “voices” in our head, those characters who push back on us, find us wrong, plug the negative, and basically get in the way of us finding peace; peace with ourselves.

 

BLOG: A Creative PTSD Gal ~ “A Place Where I can be Creative and Understand Me”

Post:  “Another Challenge…Punishment?””

“I have a lot to learn. I could be better but that’s why I’m not listening to the permanent negative voice in my head. Not this time.”


 

Personas & Voices: Blank Paper

Header-HomeAn interesting way to write about “self.” I find it fascinating to read a description by this blogger that separates mind from body, as if two distinctly different things.  Given the sometimes contradictory ways my own inner personas can respond to something, I totally get this.

 

 

BLOG: Blank Paper ~ “Conversations with Myself”

Post:  “What Does it Mean to Love Others”

“I didn’t love myself, too busy being desperate to be loved. My mind and body did not care for each other we just so happened to be roommates. Roommates who never appreciated each other or saw each other as equals.” 


 

He Said / She Said

31_LightSwitch2_4-6-18I poured myself out of bed this morning and trundled to the living room; Bubba, sitting on the couch with his coffee, was reading the news.

Still groggy, I scuffled around the couch to the front door and flipped off the outside light.  After pouring coffee in the kitchen, I settled in opposite Bubba.

“Did you just turn the outside light on?” he asked.

“Huh? No. I turned it off.”

“But it’s on,” he said.

I leaned forward so I could see.  Dang. The switch was in the up position; on for sure.

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Personas & Voices: Of Other Bloggers

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I love when I read other blogs and see language that captures the various ways we talk about ourselves, often using words that indicate different personas or characters. Here are three separate excerpts from three different bloggers that do just that.

 

 

BLOG: Confessions of an Irish Procrastinator  ~ “The musings of an Irish hopeful”

Post:  “Old Friends”

“Late last night, me and the Voice who lives in my head were just settling down for the night and who should rap the door but my good old pal Insomnia?!”

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Multiple Personalities. Who. Me?

30_SybilThe first friend I described my “character” concept to looked at me side-eyed and referenced the book Sybil.

After starting this blog—where I share tales of thoughts conflicting in my mind, or appearing without any conscious intent on my part—someone asked me if I might…possibly?…have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Multiple personalities? Who. Me?

I mentioned this to another friend, whose immediate response was, “don’t we all?”

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Blogging Awards ~ Two Minds ~ Updated

27_Blogging AwardsWhen I started blogging a month ago, I saw other bloggers announce blogging awards they’d been nominated for. “Awards!” I thought. Golden rings I hoped to win.

The awards provide recognition and potential exposure for bloggers, and typically involve various Q&A’s along with a requirement to pass-it-forward by nominating others. Often a generous list of “others.”

“Cool,” I thought. “I can do that.” I was getting myself ready for the day my brilliance was recognized and the nominations poured in.

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Personas & Voices: The Average Aspirant

Header-HomeThis post is from The Average Aspirant, by a blogger who chose blogging to express, motivate and inspire herself and others. Or, as her tagline reads, it’s a blog about the “average life of an average person with aspirational goals.”

In this post she shares her thoughts about Blogging Awards such as the versatile blogger, mystery blogger and sunshine blogger awards.

There was one short sentence that illustrated, to me, how we often use language to recognize different thoughts or personas that we may not want or like.  Our language often creates distance from a thought, or reflects an awareness that we really can be of two minds about something.

“I wish I didn’t think like this, but I can’t help it.” ~The Average Aspirant


 

Personas & Voices: Self Love Living

Header-HomeThis blog post is from the Self Love Living blog, by a woman who hopes to inspire others to love themselves.

Her post, titled Rebirth-Repost is heavy, dealing with doubt and depression and darkness. If you link through, be prepared for that.

She captures the idea of characters and voices in our heads in the paragraph below. The language reflects an idea of separation, separation that’s part of an idea from meditation that we aren’t our thoughts and our feelings. I find it helps to realize how often we use this language, without fully realizing how powerful it can be to help us know those thoughts don’t make up our entire being.

“There’s this girl in my head that I’ve learned to tame over the couple of years since this incident, this bitch. I’d like to call her, she hurts me, belittles me, makes me feel lonely; to sum it all up: she makes me feel like shit…”

~Self Love Living