Looking Forward

It’s back to school next week for kids here in the south and birthdays and holidays will be here before you know it! Here are some of the things I’m excited about for the rest of 2015:

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Links of the Week – July 10, 2015

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What A Shot! 38 Amazing Sports Photos

* Breathtaking Ruins Of The Soviet Space Shuttle Program

* Ranking Women Somehow Not Issue in Miss USA Debacle

* Mango-Lemon-Buttermilk Icebox Pie

* Ending A Conversation With My Crush

* Aww! Watch This Rescue Kitten Grow Up With His Golden Retriever BFF

* LA Police Unit Intervenes To Get Mentally Ill Treatment, Not Jail Time

* The MLB Manager Tree – (“The following managerial ‘tree’ connects all 30 current major league managers back to either John McGraw, Connie Mack or Miller Huggins, Hall of Famers who played for Ned Hanlon, ‘The Father of Modern Baseball.'”)
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* PostSecret: Catnap

* PostSecret: Hold

* PostSecret: Waste – (It never matters…)

* Milk Chocolate Cookie and Cream Cookies
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* South Dakota Man, 101, Competes In National Senior Games – (Throwers gonna throw!)

* Gaslighting Is A Common Victim-Blaming Abuse Tactic – Here Are 4 Ways To Recognize It In Your Life

* What If We Treated All Consent Like Society Treats Sexual Consent

* 7 Reasons The Kindest People Are Actually The Strongest

* Star Trek Yeoman Martha Landon Kicks Much Vaalian Ass!

* Star Trek Voyager’s Seven of Nine On Dealing With Sexual Harassment
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* “What’s attractive about a man who isn’t excited as hell to be with you?…”

* Jimmy Carter: “I Believe Jesus Would Approve Gay Marriage”

* Blog Post Of The Week: You Saw Me

* 1972 Hartford Whalers Jersey – (So beautiful it makes my heart ache!)

* The Pirates Banded Together To Save The Grounds Crew From The Tarp Monster
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* Child Therapist Excited To Actually Be Seeing Patient With Psychological Issues

* This Bozo From The Audience Tried To Charge His Phone ONSTAGE In The Middle Of A Broadway Play

* Colorado Teen Pregnancy Drops 40% — How They Did It

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“‘He wasn’t evil, Miss Cora,’ I finally said, still choking back sobs. ‘He wasn’t. He wasn’t.’

‘I know, chile,’ she interrupted, kissing my forehead. ‘He was a sick man. Sickness took all reason from him. Same as with a lot of folks. I ‘speck there is very few evil folks. Just a whole lot of sick folks.'”

Drinking From A Bitter Cup, Angela Jackson-Brown

“I don’t believe in happily ever after, but I do believe in happy right now. And right now, I am happy. But more than my being happy, I am not frightened anymore.”

Drinking From A Bitter Cup, Angela Jackson-Brown

“Because Grace bats last.”

Anne Lamott

“If love is a casserole, which I believe it is, then an icebox pie is the first kiss…”

– Lisa Donovan, Southern Living – June 2015, p. 88

“I’d been put into a box long before, after all. Each of us has. Are you the ‘difficult’ child or the ‘histrionic’ lover, the ‘argumentative’ sibling or the ‘long-suffering’ spouse? Boxes make us easier to understand, but they also imprison us because people don’t see past them.”

Ghost Boy – Martin Pistorius

“Whatever else they talk about, though, I’ve come to know that there are three topics women will return to again and again in conversation: their husbands, who are often a disappointment; their children, who are usually wonderful; and their weight, which is always too high. Again and again, I hear them commiserate with each other about how difficult it is to make men more responsible and diets more effective. While I don’t understand their problems with their husbands, my heart always sinks when ever I hear them talk about calorie counting. Women seem to think they go on diets in order to feel happier, but I know from experience that this isn’t true. In fact, I can safely say that the less women eat, the grumpier they get.”

Ghost Boy – Martin Pistorius

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How Do I Love Myself?

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Contrary to popular belief, depressed people desperately want to feel better. I know this from my own experience. For me, the self-loathing and apathy were excruciating. I would pray and pray and pray that God would fix me, or would send me a man who would fix me. But neither of those things would ever happen no matter how often or how feverishly I hoped and prayed. Eventually I was so sad and hopeless I pondered jumping off my 20th floor balcony. I sat with a noose around my neck. I felt like I was being swallowed whole by my mere existence.

When I came out of that funk, I was terrified by where I’d been. I felt like I’d been balancing on a tightrope over the pit of hell. I never wanted to be swallowed up by that fear and emptiness and darkness ever again. I knew I had to take my life into my own hands and stop waiting on someone or something else to change me.

I hate pablum and cliches. So I am often too cynical and sardonic to “lower myself” to follow simple, common advice from friends and family. But at this point I was willing to try anything, even things other people had suggested. (How gauche! :rolleyes:)

I had to get off the couch, stop isolating and get back into the world. I started going to AA meetings again. I let myself enjoy food that was fattening. I volunteered to work with FurKids, an agency that works to rescue and find homes for homeless cats and dogs. I continued to be active in my church.

Yes. All the things that people had been telling me to do for years.

Even though it was sometimes tiring, and I was socially engaged more often than I really liked, I quickly realized that I was feeling better. Part of it was being with people. Part of it was spending three hours a week playing with kittens. Part of it was the serenity I found in other women’s stories in AA. Part of it was Ben & Jerry. And frankly, lots of times it was just being too busy to worry about all the things and people in the past and the future that I’d been obsessing and worrying about.

Man, it was an incredible relief! I was starting to feel like myself again. The weight was lifting off my shoulders. I actually looked forward to things a couple of times! I felt like everything was finally coming back together.

But one piece of advice that I’d been told over and over still kept nagging at me. “You have to love yourself.”

Well how the hell do you do that?!? I can’t just will myself to fall in love with the next guy I meet. How can I do that with myself. Love is one of those things you either feel or you don’t.

So, with no answers, I just went on and kept trying to open myself up to people and stay active and be less critical of myself and others. I said the Serenity Prayer out loud a lot. I felt so much more in control of my life. But there was still that unscratched itch at the thought of how to love myself.

And then one day, out of the blue, it occurred to me. DERP!  I’ve always thought about love as a feeling. But turns out, love is a verb!

It’s the way we act, and the way we treat and care for ourselves and others! You are kind to yourself. You do nice things for yourself. You forgive yourself. You treat yourself as you’d treat your neighbor. THAT is how you love yourself. Turns out love isn’t a feeling; it’s an action.

It had been that simple all along and I was just too smart to see it.

❤ ❤ ❤

 

Links of the Week – June 12, 2015

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* Planets Of TOS – (The background paintings were the best!)

* Mom Dresses Cat In Daughter’s Crop Top To Prove How Small It Is

* Week-Long Camp Teaches Intellectually Challenged To Ride Bikes

* 17 Times The World Wasn’t All That Bad

* NASA Marks 50 Years Of Mission Control, Plans Apollo Room Restoration

* Learning To Leave The Past Behind In 5 Steps

* What Self-Love Means: 20 Ways To Be Good To Yourself

* NASA Aiming For Multiple Missions To Jupiter Moon Europa

* Winged Greek Leather Sandals – (Woot!!!)

* Lionel Richie T-Shirt – (Brilliant! 😀 )

* If You Love The Duggars But Not Caitlyn Jenner, What Credit Is That To You? – (Post of the week. All Christians in particular should read.)

* This Dad Took Some Incredible Color Photos Of His Hipster Daughter…In 1913

* There’s A Drive-Thru Waffle House In Stone Mountain!

* Saltine Ice Cream Sandwiches

* No, Your Favorite Food Is Not Like Crack – (Take note…)

* South African Veterinarians Intervene To Save Hope The Rhino

* 7 Habits I’m Breaking Now That I’m In ACOA Recovery – (Me too! I’m not ACOA, but I’m lots of other acronyms!)

* 53 Of The Best Opening Sentences In Literature

* The WNBA Finally Recognizes Its Lesbian Fans
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* Peach Cobbler Cupcakes – (!!!!)

* Man Treats Mother To Detail About His Personal Life

* Ghosts of DC: Walter Johnson Hosts Event For Hunting Dogs On His Germantown Farm – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

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“A good question to ask myself frequently is: What am I looking for – advice or approval?”

– Anonymous

“We must challenge all who assume that feminine vulnerability is a sign of weakness. For when we do open ourselves up, whether it be by honestly communicating our thoughts and feelings or expressing our emotions, it is a daring act, one that takes more courage and inner strength than the alpha male facade of silence and stoicism.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

“If we truly want to be taken seriously in our identified sex, then we must not only refuse to indulge cissexual people’s compulsion to pigeon hole us in our assigned sex, but call them out on the way that they continuously objectify our bodies while refusing to take our minds, our persons, and our identities seriously.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

“Unlike gender dissonance, which is only experienced by trans people, gender entitlement can affect anyone. It is best described as the arrogant conviction that one’s own beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions regarding gender and sexuality are more valid than those of other people. Gender entitlement often leads to gender anxiety, the act of becoming irrationally upset by or being made uncomfortable by the existence of those people who challenge or bring into question one’s gender entitlement.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

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Links of the Week – May 29, 2015

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* Star Trek Garden Gnomes

* The One Way You Should Be Making Pancakes

* Zack Hunt: The Treasonous Love Of Jesus

* Addiction Is As American As Apple Pie

* 5 Obscure Looney Tunes Cartoons

* PostSecret: Children At The Beach

* PostSecret: Bother Losing Weight – (Yep.)

* Cannes Reportedly Turned Away Women For Not Wearing Heels
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* The Media’s Sickening Sanders Double Standard: How The Socialist Brings Out Their True Colors – (Fascinating stats tax rates through the years in the US)

* Funfetti Monkey Bread Muffins

* The Pioneer Woman: Peach Salsa

* Healthy Personal Boundaries And How To Establish Them

* Five Crucial Truths About Love Addiction – (Oh look. Someone wrote an article about me. #shame)
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* Backstage At The Fox 1929: Projection – (I shit you not, we were using some of this same equipment at Emory in 1995.)

* California Mother Appeals For Support For Transgender Teens After Losing Son To Suicide

* When My Mom Says It’s Dinner Time – (Cute dog alert!)

* Bob’s Burgers Meets Star Trek TNG

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“According to most of these groups [Gnostics], the material world we live in was not the creation of the one true God. It came about as a result of a disaster in the realm, in which one of the (many) divine beings was for some mysterious reason excluded from the heavenly places; as a result of her fall from divinity the material world came to be created by a lesser deity, who captured her and imprisoned her in human bodies here on earth.”

“The pagan critic Celsus particularly mocked Christians on this point, tying the claim that Jesus was a “woodworker” into the fact that he was crucified (on a stake of wood) and the Christian belief in the “tree” of life.

And everywhere they speak in their writings of the tree of life….I imagine because their master was nailed to a cross and was a carpenter by trade. So that if he happened to be thrown off a cliff or pushed into a pit or suffocated by strangling, or if he had been a cobbler or stonemason or blacksmith, there would have been a cliff of life above the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a rope of immortality, or a blessed stone, or an iron of love, or a holy hide of leather. Would not an old woman who sings a story to lull a little child to sleep have been ashamed to whisper tales such as these? (Against Celsus 6, 34)”

Misquoting Jesus, Bart D. Ehrman

“Having Louisa [an au pair] to help me, and being the undisputed head of the household, coming home from work to find dinner on the table and my children excited to see me, their homework done, is a far greater source of freedom and pleasure to me than I ever dared dream of when Dennis lived here. I can depend on Louisa to do what I need her to do without any fuss, whereas having him around was like having a third, half-grown child who demanded sex as well as every other form of attention.”

The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

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Links of the Week – May 15, 2015

byefeliciaGangsta Cat Seeks Homey 4 Life

* My Conflicted Relationship With Female Beauty

* Pranksters Plant Tree On Baseball Field

* Why Do Some Trans Women Conform To Societal Stereotypes Of Femininity?

* People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt

* Zombie Wordplay

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* My Paralyzing Perfectionism

* The 35 Best Things That Ever Happened In A Yearbook

* Adventure Time Bracelet – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

* When Couples Are Out Of Sync About Sex

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* Millennials Leaving Church In Droves, Study Finds

* Wingnuts Have Weaponized Jesus: How The Religious Right Hijacked Christianity

* I’m Christian And Happy That Atheism Is On The Rise: America’s Right-Wing Theocracy Needs To Chill

* Zack Hunt: A Faith Worth Believing And A Church Worth Belonging To – (He got every bit of this right!)

* Scribbles & Crumbs: 7 Ways To Support Others During Tough Times

* Fox News Host Doesn’t See Great Need For Title IX Protections Because “Girls Are Better At Fundraising”
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* 23 Pictures That Are Way Too Real For Every Girl

* 12 Things Sigmund Freud Got Right

* The Forgiveness Myth – (THIS!)
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* Quarterback Fulfills 4th Grade Promise, Asks Childhood Friend With Down Syndrome To The Prom

* Biloxi Shuckers Cap – (Best cap of the year!)

* The Homeless Shuckers

* Baltimore ‘Looting’ Tweets Show The Importance Of Quick And Easy Image Checks

* Department Of Sidesplitting Signs

* The Curious World Of Baseball Re-Enactors

* You Think You Attract The Wrong Men, But You Don’t

* How To Find A Man: Relationships With Broken Men

* 7 Things You Can Never Change About Someone

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“A great sorrow, and one I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are….

How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: ‘Be yourself.’ ‘Follow your heart.’

Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?”

– Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

“She considered her clothes with the same weighing of possible external dangers as she had the new day which had entered through her closed windows and doors.
Believing in the danger which sprang from objects as well as people, which dress, which shoes, which coat demanded less of her panicked heart and body? For a costume was a challenge too, a discipline, a trap which once adopted could influence the actor….

She selected her cape which seemed more protective, more enveloping.
Also the cape held within its folds something of what she imagined was a quality possessed exclusively by man: some dash, some audacity, some swagger of freedom denied to woman.”

– Anais Nin, A Spy In The House Of Love

“The beauty of your arm is exactly like that of your body. If I didn’t know your body I would want it, just from seeing the shape of your arm.”

– Anais Nin, A Spy In The House Of Love

“People cry at weddings for the same reason they cry at happy endings: because they so desperately want to believe in something they know is not credible.”

– Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“The enemy of love is never outside, it’s not a man or woman, it’s what we lack in ourselves.”

– Anais Nin, A Spy In the House Of Love

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You Broke My Brain!

allaboutyouMy mother was a school counselor, so I was raised with a good understanding of emotions. When I was feeling something, I could generally identify what the emotion was and why I was feeling it.

So I was shocked two years ago when I fell into depression for the first time and didn’t feel any emotions at all. Even when the depression began to wane, it took a while for my feelings to come back. And when they did, even though I knew I was feeling SOMETHING, I wasn’t always sure what it was or why.

I actually never put it together until right now, but that was about the exact same time I went out with Boo for the first time. I had known him for about a year and had actually avoided him for a while because I thought he was kind of weird, but after we spent a long time talking one night setting up an event, we kind of clicked.

He sent me a brilliant Facebook message later that night that said, “You have a beautiful smile. But I think you’d smile even more if you went out with me.” I mean!

We had an amazing first date. He picked me up on his motorcycle and we drove past Christmas lights as we went to Loca Luna for dinner and a salsa dance class. (I was embarrassingly terrible – and sweaty.) Then we rode around nighttime Atlanta on the bike and I wrapped my arms tightly around his waist. We stopped at Fourth Ward Park and walked arm in arm, and he stopped and picked me a flower. We went out something like five times in the next seven days. I was really starting to fall for him and felt like we were moving towards a relationship. And then he disappeared. I think he lost his nerve.

For the next three years he was the greatest desire of my heart. We went out again a few times. We often went to breakfast together. We texted about things and had conversations that would lead you to think we were growing closer. But every time it seemed like we were moving towards each other, suddenly he would disappear.

I was so confused and infatuated and disappointed and determined and sad. He became about the only thing I thought about. I was absolutely certain I could fix all his sad, hurting, broken places, and then he’d see how amazing I am and he would love me forever and in return, fix everything that was broken in me.

After another bout of depression which almost led to suicide, I finally realized that nobody or nothing was magically going to fix me. I always believed that magical moment or person would come along and make me OK. But I finally realized that only I can make me OK. No magic.

That realization, along with finding ways to get out of the house and be more social, volunteering, therapy and meds have begun to make me a more rational person. I’m learning to listen more to my brain and much less to my heart. My brain is smart. My heart is stupid.

I guess it’s because of the gamut of emotions I’ve run through and the intense concentration and energy and time I’ve spent on them in my relationship with Boo over the past several years; but as I start to examine my experience of feelings right now in my life, I’m starting to see that they’re ALL misassigned to Boo.

I feel anxious? I think it’s because of Boo. I feel angry? I think it’s because of Boo. I feel happy? I think it’s because of Boo. I feel sad? I think it’s because of Boo. I guess it’s because I’ve felt those things so often in relation to him, assigning those all those feelings to him in any situation has become a conditioned habit. My brain is broken and I’m going to have to rewire it!

I can at least identify that anomaly now because I’m finally starting to see that as much as I care about Boo, he is not worth the pain, obsession and disappointment. I love him but he has so many things going on that would make him terrible in a relationship right now.

I can see how he would do nothing but continue to hurt me and neglect me and disappoint me, whether by omission or comission. I can’t keep letting him do that to me. And I can also see that so much of my pursuit of him is simply about the conquest, not in the sexual sense as much as just the “I can win you over” sense.

So I’m untangling some of my feelings about him. And I’m starting to realize that most of the things I feel are not really about him.

I felt happy this morning and I immediately felt in love with Boo. And then I realized, the happiness I was feeling didn’t have anything to do with him. It was about me in that particular moment in time, having quiet time with God in the car on the way to work, enjoying the weather and feeling grateful.

As I begin to recognize these moments of emotional confusion, I’m starting to untangle the patterns of thoughts and feelings that I’ve trained myself to feel over the past several years.

I CAN have emotions that aren’t about Boo, and that realization has gradually begun to diminish the amount of time I spend thinking about him. I can finally recognize him for who he is, good and bad, and not just unrealistically as a man who can save me.

And most importantly, I’m finally beginning to see that I can be happy MYSELF without needing anyone else to fix me.

(Earlier posts on the Boo saga here)

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