Once Upon a Time

Journal page number…

Just my opinion…

So much noise

So much activism

So much pointing of fingers

So little love

At the end of this chapter

How will the story read

I believe that nobody will win

And there will be no happy ending

0625181714

If an act is done out of love, but requires an act of hate or violence to accomplish it, how does that work out?

I believe we call it war.

And we are fighting ourselves.

Letting Go

It’s been so long since I wrote that I had to log back into WordPress

which means I had to find my login information

which meant rummaging through my desk

which is a huge, neglected mess.

I’ve spent the better part of late November and December sitting in my chair and ignoring most of my life.

I did the essential stuff (some of it).

Thanks to my family we decorated for and celebrated the holidays with success.  I’ve just felt rather distant and disconnected.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life, but as my wise husband pointed out, “You can’t spend so much time thinking about life that you forget to live it.”

Truth.

It has become evident during the last few months that this depression and accompanying anger is bigger than I am.  I’ve made the decision to start up therapy again and attempt to deal with the emotions that I work so hard to ignore and deny.  They are a part of who I am and many of the manifestations that  I have been working so hard to deal with and overcome are residuals of my childhood.  I can’t continue to just deal with the physical clutter without dealing with the emotional clutter also.  And I can’t do it alone.

I’ve visited a church a couple of times in the past weeks.  During the first visit the message could have been written directly for me.  I both hate and love when that happens.  Entitled the “Unexpected Christmas” it dealt with letting go of things and allowing time for grief and coping with the unexpected.

I guess that’s what I’ve been doing these past weeks…grieving the losses and the unexpected and the memories of the past.

It’s both the forgiveness  and the letting go that I’m struggling with…both for others and myself.

A continual theme of any decluttering show or feature is that the hoarding and clutter started with a loss and the person got stuck.  I now see that this is true for me also.

I’m a pretty insightful and resourceful person, and I’ve made progress.

And I hate to admit that I’m not strong enough or just plain “enough” to get through this.

But I’m going to ask for help and start seeking answers to the “real” problems and not just the side effects.

Every year I develop a saying that I use during the New Year to focus on my journey.  This year will be the year of “Being Grateful and Letting Go”.

I plan on writing more about that tomorrow.

I plan on writing tomorrow.

 

Sunday Lunch

Disclaimer:  I am not trying to be provocative, argumentative, divisive or dismissive.

Oh, and for my non-U.S.A. readers, my apologies.  I don’t mean to drag our mess onto your doorsteps, but this blog is about my life and this post is about my personal experience during Sunday lunch with some family and friends.  Also included is a personal observation which relates to it.  You may even be able to relate to some of it.  Please bear with me.

First, the observation.  In reading the news and social media posts over the past few days, one would start to believe that these United States of America are in total chaos and turmoil.  I am not saying that people aren’t emotional or hurt, or afraid, or that things are business as usual.  These are troubling times.  The melting pot has definitely been stirred. Lots and lots is going on.  I’m aware of it.  I recognize it.  I acknowledge it.

The thing I’ve noticed is that the news is a big part of the problem.   “News” is a business and there is big money in it.  Their goal is quite simply to attract our attention with whatever works.  The powers that be in the news industry aren’t interested in making this a better country or in improving our lives.  They are a business.

I know that there are acts of violence and harassment taking place right now, as I am typing this.  I know that discrimination and intimidation exists.  There are assholes of all colors, sizes, genders, and whatever else, committing heinous acts right this second…and last month and last year.  Maybe the acts are increasing.  I don’t know.  The news isn’t really sharing that information.

The news is just working overtime to report every single bad thing that is happening. They are busy throwing fuel on the fire of our fears.

It’s in their best interest.

Violence sells,  Atrocities sell.  Protest sells.  I don’t put a lot of faith in the major news sources.

I do, however know what happened during our lunch on Sunday.

We went to eat Chinese food.  We went to a Chinese buffet.  It was new to me, but my kiddos have eaten there before so we went.  It was crowded.  We waited in line for 10 minutes to pay and over 20 minutes to eat.  There was probably a good 200 people there. It’s a big, big place.

As we were waiting, I was looking around and doing what I normally do – people watching. After a bit, I noticed that there were 6 white folks there. Yep, we were definitely in the minority.

The minority as far as color went, that is.  The main thing I noticed is that we were just a bunch of people, families mainly, that were there to eat some Chinese food (and chicken tenders of course, because you can’t have a Chinese buffet without chicken tenders.  Oh, and donuts)

Nobody looked frightened or sad or fearful for their very life.  Nobody was crying or angry, or waving a sign.  Honestly, there was a bit of high emotion whenever the shrimp ran out, but they brought out some more so it all worked out just fine.

“We” said hello and thank you and excuse me and “they” said hello and thank you and excuse me right back.  It was just fine.

It was more than fine.  It was Sunday and we all sat at our tables and shared a meal.  It was  as fine a Communion meal as I’ve ever shared.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

There’s good stuff happening too.

I’m not saying that there isn’t work to be done and that everything is just fine because I had a nice lunch.

I’m not saying that there aren’t horrible things going on and that there is nothing to worry about.

I am trying to say that it might be better to quit relying on the news industry for all our information about what is going on in America.  Maybe we should be spending more time getting out there and venturing outside of our comfort zone.  Maybe it would be a good idea to actually talk to someone face to face who has a different viewpoint or opinion than we do.  Even better, maybe just listen to them.

 

 

Thoughts on a Sleepless Night

I struggled with going to sleep last night.  Finally just got up and started jotting down the random stuff floating around in my brain.  Tired and underenthused about dealing with life today…

“Welcome to the innerworkings of my mind”…for what it’s worth here’s a sampling of my thoughts:

  • Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they are wrong (or right) – it just means you don’t agree with them.
  • “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
  • How much money is it going to cost to try and remove Robert E. Lee’s name and image from schools’ and everywhere else?  Maybe we could find a better use for that money?
  • Not all racists are violent.  Not all Muslims are terrorists.  Not all “whites” are entitled.  Not all of Mexican heritage are illegal.  I could go on and on.  Maybe we should just start treating people like people.
  • Maybe some people just need to get over themselves.  Your childhood sucked.  I’m sorry.  That was then.  This is now.  When are you going to make it your life and start living it?  Sitting in the past and feeling sorry for yourself is stupid.  This applies to everyone including myself.  Get a life, literally.
  • Sometimes people can do great things in their life and bad things.  The bad doesn’t always cancel out the good.  That’s a good thing ’cause I can’t think of a single perfect person I know.  We can try to tear down our heroes by pointing out their flaws all day long.  All that does is leave us with nothing.  Maybe we could just acknowledge that a human can do something great and heroic and then screw up.
  • Speaking of heroes…let’s bad mouth Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Martin Luther King Jr., the police officer next door, and anyone else you can think of who actually tried or is trying to make the world a better place (whether you agree with them or not) and let’s exalt “celebrities” who are actually doing jack-shit except having a big butt or getting drunk or doing nothing whatsoever that is productive.
  • I like my chickens.  I could watch them for hours.  They have a very interesting social order.  They get along beautifully.  They may not be very smart, but they learn from their mistakes.  If you acquire two groups of chickens at different times (they weren’t grouped together as very young chicks), they will never really socialize together well.  They may hang out together and fight over the same grasshopper, but in the end, they prefer their own grouping.
  • Having the right of free speech doesn’t mean you need to exercise it all the time.  It’s also good to know when to keep your mouth shut.  There’s a difference between standing up for you believe in and just “stirring the pot” to get a response from people. While some folks are making a lot of noise, others are quietly actually doing something about the problem.
  • No matter how bad you think your life is here in These United States of America, you are still probably better off than a lot of others living somewhere else.
  • There is always going to be someone who is “better off than you”.  There is no such thing as having it all.  Anyone who is ridiculously wealthy or powerful  sacrificed something in order to get where they are.  They may be looking at your life and wanting something you have.
  • Why do some things ignite a passionate outcry among people – and other things just fade away in the news.  Thousands of garment workers die in Bangledesh factories and yet we keep buying cheap T-shirts.  Good men and women working as police officers die doing their job and we only make a big deal of their “victims”.  Soldiers die serving their country and we never hear their names.  Thousands of people die around the world because they are trying to worship as they believe, but nine seem to outnumber them.
  • We spend more time and resources arguing over terminology and semantics than we do really trying to solve the problem at hand.  Hate crime?  Terrorism?  Isn’t the taking of a life hateful and terrifying enough?  Do we have to define it further?  Murder is wrong.  No matter who does it.  Or why.  Wrong.

There you have it.  When it’s all in writing, I can see why I was having trouble going to sleep.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that lots of good stuff happened in the world today.

Packaging

  • I’ve struggled with whether to write this post or not.  With how to word it so as not to offend anyone.  Considering all the possibilities of what might go wrong, whether it needs to be said or not, does it matter…

But, the thoughts just keep swirling in my head, refusing to be quieted.  It’s my blog, my little space in the world, and nobody has to read it or like it, but maybe I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Here goes…

What I’d like to say is please don’t package me.  Don’t look at me and make assumptions about who I am and stick me in a box and put a label on me.

I’m a complex person – because I’m a human being.  It just goes with the territory.  I make decisions, I change my mind, I make mistakes, I try to learn from them and I dream of a better world, but live in this one.

I am not a Democrat or a Republican or any other “party” for that matter.  I make my own decisions and prefer not to follow the crowd.  I don’t even know for sure what those party labels mean anymore.  So many issues and so many decisions – how can it all fit under one umbrella.

I guess I’m not a liberal or a conservative either.  I’m uncomfortable choosing one or the other.  Once again, it depends on the issue, the facts, my belief system and how it all fits into the very real world we live in.

I am a follower of Christ although I am not actively involved in a worship community.  I’ve become uncomfortable with the “Christian” label for much the same reason as any other.  So many extremes within the “Christian” community and a lot of directions and movements that don’t appeal to me.  I’ve chosen to go back to the Bible and my understanding of Jesus’ teachings and make my own way from there.

Here’s the tricky one – skin color.  White, black, brown, yellow, red, or whatever.  I’m an artist.  Two of those aren’t even a color and they are all wildly inaccurate depictions anyway.  Millions of people in each group and one label to identify them all?  What the hell?  That’s a pretty simplistic view of the world isn’t it?  White culture.  What does that even mean?  Black culture?  Same issue.  Who made up those categories and made it the standard by which we identify each other?

I suppose that it would make life easier if we could categorize everyone so easily and know what someone believes, thinks and how they will act based on appearance.  I’ve never found it to be true though.

I live in a manufactured home community out in the country in Texas…the South.  I’m a stay-at-home Mom and homeschool.  What assumptions are often made about me?  I’m an uneducated redneck because I live in a “trailer”.  I’m a religious, right-wing zealot because I homeschool.  I’m a back-to-earth, hippy, granola mom because I stay at home with my kids.  Or, my personal favorite, a gun-toting, survivalist, racist because I live in the country, in Texas.  These have all happened, for real.

Maybe it would make more sense to get to know me rather than stick a label on me and call it done.  Let me help you out…

  • I live where I live because it worked out economically and fits in with the lifestyle choices we make.  In short, we’ve got a big-ass house that we can make the payments on.
  • I stay at home because I love my kids, and my husband and I felt that it was the right choice for our family.  No judgment from me if you work outside the home.  Your life, your choices…we all need to make decisions that work for us.
  •  I homeschool for a number or personal reasons…it works for my kids’ learning styles, our family, and fits in with the lifestyle choices we’ve made.
  • I’ve got two Bachelor’s degrees and started on my Master’s.  I’d probably still be in college if I could.
  • I’ve got a garden and we eat a reasonably healthy diet. Nothing extreme though.  I’m not a good enough gardener that we could ever live off the land.  And I’m not sure that I could ever give up Cheetos or Oreos forever.

I could go on, but maybe I’ve made my point.  Let me sum it up for you…

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by for dinner.  I don’t care what “color” you are, where or who you worship (or if you worship at all), where you come from, what you wear (I prefer some garb of some kind please) your occupation, your life-style choices, your economic level, your political affiliations, your mental health diagnosis, your heritage, your decorating scheme, your gun-carrying status (or lack thereof), or your dietary restrictions (just let me know ahead of time).  If I’ve left anything out, let me know.

I do expect two things:  Respect and kindness for me and everyone else around the table, and lively discussion that does not degenerate into labeling, name-calling, belittling or generalizations.

I don’t hate anybody.  I also don’t love everybody (I know I’m supposed to, but I haven’t gotten there yet).  And honestly, there’s some people I don’t like very much.  I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything someone else has done, but I will empathize with your hurt.  I will try to apologize when I screw up if I realize I did so.  If not, please tell me what’s wrong so we can work it out.

That’s the best place to start…me and you.  One on one.  One discussion and one friendship at a time.  I can’t fix the whole world.  Nobody can.  But we can each work together.  Just don’t stick me in a box and put a label on me…and I’ll try to treat you with the same courtesy.

Is it Me?

…is it my belief?  Have I consciously and intentionally thought it through and adopted an ideal.

Or…am I thoughtlessly perpetuating the belief system that I was raised with or adopted from a group of individuals that I associate with or have associated with in the past?

What do I believe?

These questions could (and do) apply to just about every aspect of my life.

Let’s just pick a simple (and non-controversial) topic.

A controversial topic got me started on this rabbit trail, but I’m not going “there” today.  In brief, I read something on facebook in a group I follow, and was moved to comment and take a stand.  I don’t normally do so, as computer-land can be a dangerous place for serious discussion.  I find that folks will quite often “say” things on the computer that they would never say in a face-to-face discussion.  Quite simply, with the human factor removed, they just get down-right rude and ugly.  That’s not conducive to intelligent discourse.

Anyway, back to simple.

I’ve quit looking at decorating magazines.  You know, those “Better Homes and Gardens” type periodicals.

I love them…at first.  Then, I start looking around at my little environment and dissatisfaction starts to set in.  If I had the sofa that’s in that photo…and that rug…maybe just some fresh paint?

I conveniently forget that it took a team of 15 creative consultants to stage that photo.  And that everything that made it a real life lived-in home is just out of view of the camera.  Nobody lives there.

I don’t live there.

I can’t have all that stuff laying around.  I don’t have a crew of 15 people decorating, organizing and dusting. I don’t have the financial resources to remodel, redecorate and accumulate.

What I do have is a home…an imperfect, sheltering home that I’m grateful for.

I’ve had to figure out what works for me and not try to live in someone’s else’s life.  I must constantly be aware of outside influences and stay true to myself.

I have to choose my own style and live in a way that fits with my belief system.  I have to define a set of “rules” that I live by.

Like I said –  my house is just an example.  Perhaps a metaphor.

This discussion could just as well be about politics, or religion, or life-style choices.

But that’s for you to decide .