“There are only three kinds of scenes: A fight, a seduction, or a negotiation.” – Mike Nichols
“There are only three kinds of scenes: A fight, a seduction, or a negotiation.” – Mike Nichols
Find me at the bottom of your drink when you raise
your cup and see me
across the room through
the round film of glass.
– Margherita Bassi
We all have dreamt of this special someone whose glance will meet ours across the room full of people and we will feel an immediate connection and we know in that instant that this person is the one. The one who will make us feel like nobody made us felt before. The one who will let us taste the passion and burning desire that will consume our whole being and will make us forget every other relationship we had in the past. The one who will make us cry buckets of tears and going to break our hearts in million tiny pieces. The one who will be unforgettable. The one who will get away.
Sounds nice but the truth is not once in my life I’ve felt this way nor I have ever dreamed of a similar situation with anyone in particular. In fact, when I’ve read the above quote what immediately came into my mind is two married people who are secretly having an affair and trying to hide it from everyone unsuccessfully. Believe you me, when two people got something going on between them, they can ignore each other in public and pretend but hide they cannot. There seems to be an invisible connection tying them together. Like some sort of energy, an electric something shimmering, rippling, across the room and you feel it. They don’t even have to talk or glance to each other for the connection to show. It’s just there, crackling, reaching, linking them, tying them, binding them to each other.
Did you ever experience the same thing? Or witness it? Am I right? Do tell.
Is this what I am doing???
You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.
You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking every day on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice.”
– Pablo Neruda
“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
Very dangerous Idea. Imagine omitting the “sometimes” from the above sentence and what you got is a powerful conviction (or excuse) to do something outrageous.
Having said that, There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when the reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind. I guess that is what happened to my sister, she has gone insane to escape the sick reality of our lives.
Later on, she will choose to live on the streets than to face her responsibilities, leaving her six children behind. I’ve tried countless times to change her mind, fostering her kids, sending them to school, but although she will play with them and stay for a while, whenever I brought up the topic of her settling down with her children again, she will get hysterics and tell me she doesn’t want headaches anymore and she will disappear again, back to her old habits of moving from one place to another.
It hurts me to think of the horror she had been subjected to being the way she is and living the life she has chosen for herself. Sometimes, she will have deep cuts on her arms or bruises on her bodies. Other times, her hair had been chopped off badly and she was bleeding. Rumor has it she had been gang-raped in the cemetery… It breaks my heart but I am powerless to do anything. You cannot help somebody that doesn’t want to be helped.
I’ve nightmares about it and like her, I avoid thinking about her situation too much for the fear of joining her in her never-ending quest for peace of mind.
Yann Martel said: All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.
Maybe that is what my sister is doing, saving herself in the only way she knows how. It might seem insane to onlookers but to her it makes sense. I hope someday she will find what she is looking for. I hope she will find someone who understands her and will take care of her and show her how it is to be loved. She needs it. Love is something she never experienced in her life. Certainly not from my mother who hated her from the moment she was born. Hate she passed on to anyone and everything that has something to do with my sister including her children. I don’t understand it. I will never understand how someone let alone a mother could differentiate her love between her children?
They say all parents do it, they love their children in different ways, seeing each child as an individual, each one with their own unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses and may find it easier to understand one child from another. That I could understand. But to hate and shun your own child calling her ugly among so many other derogatory terms is to me unacceptable.
Maybe my mother had her own twisted reasons for doing it. She never told me when she was alive and now that she’s dead, I will never know why. Perhaps that is the madness of my mother, favoring one child among her children.
Maybe we are all mad here in Wonderland.
Emilie Autumn said:
Some are born mad, some achieve madness, and some have madness thrust upon ’em.
I believe the last one is my sister.
Her mind is too weak to cope with our dysfunctional family situations. But she’s not alone. None of us siblings survived the ordeal of growing up without scars, visible or invisible. The traumas manifested in all sorts of bizarre behaviors which in turn have lead into more compromising circumstances breeding the next generations of the likes of us.
God knows where it will lead.
According to the experts___
When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.
I will keep this in mind.
When things become unbearable.
No matter what you do, someone won’t be pleased. Someone will think your choices are wrong. And someone will tell you what should do instead. No matter which path you take, someone will seem to be doing better. Someone will have more than you. And someone else’s life may look more impressive on paper. If you’re being true to yourself, none of that will matter because you’ll have something more satisfying than approval and the illusion of “success”: a life that feels right for you, based on your own wants, needs, values, and priorities.
What if your biggest and hardest critic is yourself and your own brain never leaves you alone telling you that you could have done better. What if you don’t know what you want exactly and those you need turned out to be not what you think they are the moment you have them? What if in spite of being true to yourself following your heart down the path your mind told you to take sorting out your priorities properly and you are doing impressively better and better but still nothing feels right? What then? What then? What then????????????
“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some truer (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”
“I no longer seek external validation so that I can feel liked or accepted. Worrying about what others think is a waste of time. Other people’s opinion of me is all about them and what they see in me, filtered through their lenses; it has zero to do with me.” ~Sara Fabian
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself. ― ~Thích Nhất Hạnh
This above quote made me think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which btw I failed miserably on all levels, no wonder I grew up to be the person I am today. On the other hand, I don’t exhibit most of the symptoms that I supposed to be having being deprived of almost all the basic needs that made up the whole pyramid. For example, I practice the above quote without knowing and I don’t crave attention, love or acceptance. I don’t form an attachment to anything or anyone But then again maybe I am what I am because I never pass the first hurdle which is the psychological needs. This means that if a human is struggling to meet their physiological needs, then they are unlikely to intrinsically pursue safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. That explains probably why. Perhaps my greatest issue is Self-actualization, which actually is not a surprise according to Maslow’s theory. Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs but master them. Though I believe and practice religiously what my father instilled into me which is to fulfill any task big or small with my utmost best, heart and soul or do not do it at all, I failed to utilize my talents and abilities pursuing my dreams (I prefer to call them that instead of goals) meaning success for me means translating one’s capabilities into monetary aspect. I wonder where that came from. It’s just so. And if my daughter is to be believed, my parenting proficiency is also next to nothing and let’s not talk about pursuing happiness because I miserably failed on that level too. So, what’s left? Me, a failure on all counts.
For me, it’s the restlessness. I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture. Or dig the whole garden and starts anew. Yesterday I killed five giant Choisya Ternata (Mexican orange blossom) for no reasons other than boredom and wanting something new. The other day I killed three Great Maple trees and planning to dig up two more when I came from vacation. They are in the wrong place for God’s sakes! I put them there because I wanted shadow for my Hydrangea Macrophilia but I’ve read somewhere that their roots are shallow depriving other plants around them of moisture and hydrangea is hydrangea for the obvious reason so they have to go. See? I have some pretty valid excuses. I will replace them with trees with purple leaves like Acer or Sambucus Nigra Black Lace or Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’ to break up all the homogenous green that seems to be dominating my garden. I will buy a few Azaleas also to replace the ones that died from drought last year. And a couple of Nepeta and Peonies. Oh, God, It’s so easy to break the bank when it comes to buying plants for the garden. I think I will dress up now for my appointment with the doctor at six. You see, I’m feeling quite queasy lately, especially when I lie down or turn my head left right up down. So much so that I gave over in bed first time in history. And I’m losing my vision ever so often. That or there are these zigzaggy flickering patterns floating around. Sometimes black dots or multi-colored blinking stripes dominating my view. I wonder if it’s normal. Okay, Have a wonderful weekend and see you next time.
What curious structures one encounters when one dares to venture further away from one’s cave.
D. my partner in crime ascending to nowhere in particular.
Ah, the big question. Personally, I think that if you haven’t asked this question, then you aren’t self-aware. So basically, if you have a soul, you’ve asked this question. And if you’ve asked this question, then I’m of the opinion that you do have a destiny.
But before you start imagining yourself waving to the joyful crowds on the day of your parade for saving the world from total annihilation, let’s pause for a second and think about what it really means to have a destiny and purpose in this life. Don’t roll your eyes. This is important. There are people in this world who have chosen to believe that it’s their destiny to blow up a train station or something. So, destiny and life purpose can be an unbelievably powerful thing to believe in.
Side note: please don’t blow anyone up. That’s not what life is really about.
Oooooo. Did you just get a shiver? Because I got a shiver. This is one of those words that carries so much meaning behind it, we don’t really know how to completely explain it. Those seven letters practically sing with purpose, importance, and a kind of unstoppable power that both whispers in your ear and shouts into the cosmos and back again.
But what is destiny?
Typically, when we imagine we have a destiny, we see ourselves accomplishing grand things. Saving princesses, slaying dragons, and quitting your miserable job to start a company that becomes so successful, your mean old boss begs to work for you. Fame and butt loads of money roll in, of course. What destiny would be complete without that? Oh, and while we’re at it, I’d like one of those replicating machines from Star Trek. We imagine conquering the impossible. We hope for superpowers. We picture victory, sweet victory.
Unfortunately, replicators don’t exist. 😦 And sadly, most of the above are, in fact, pure fantasy. Even if every person in the world had a destiny, surely there aren’t that many princesses. Or dragons. Or money, to be honest. So, if we believe that everyone has a destiny — and I do— then what kind of destiny should we be looking for?
The truth about destiny is that firstly, for most people, it’s not a singular grand task. Sure, saving a princess sounds very cut and dry. Difficult, but easy to grasp the concept of. Find the princess. Save said princess from evil _____. Tada! All done. But destiny, real destiny, isn’t like that. It’s entirely possible that a person might come across a situation in which it becomes clear that there is a task to complete and it is important. Life is a beautiful, and painful, variety of things. And things most certainly happen. However, in most cases, for most people, real true destiny is in the small moments. In the magnificence of every day.
Once you take off the fairy-tale goggles and gently set them aside. (Please don’t angrily rip them off, they get us through quite a lot of hard times, respect the dreamer in you and please don’t let it die. It’s a special part of your soul that allows you to imagine the impossible. Letting it die would be like ceasing to see several colors of life.) You can now have the ability to reshape the way you look at what having a destiny means, and also what your destiny might actually be. See, another reason why you keep dreaming about what your destiny is is because you haven’t found your personal destiny. Daydreaming is a kind of superpower, but it has it’s place. You can’t find your purpose if you’re looking in the wrong place.
Once you have truly embraced what destiny isn’t, you can now start looking at what you’re destiny, or purpose might be. See, destiny doesn’t need a parade to be grand, or a reward of vast riches to be important. Destiny is really, about being yourself. This is where fairy-tales aren’t wrong. A hero fulfills his/her destiny not by defeating the evil whatsitsface, but by learning to be true to themselves in that moment of decision. Look back at every story ever told. The good ones. The hero had some sort of personal problem to overcome or deal with, before being able to fight the big bad guy and save the day. More importantly, they wouldn’t have been able to defeat the baddie unless they dealt with the fight within themselves first. This is where destiny is found. Within, not in the external action. You can do the same thing, just minus the evil sorcerer.
So how do you figure out your destiny? Don’t ask the universe. Don’t ask your best friend, or your mom, or your coach. Ask yourself. If you don’t know, find out. It’s probably because you haven’t challenged yourself, or there’s something else going on, or you’re already in the middle of your big fight within yourself and either you don’t want to recognize it or you can’t see it. It’s difficult to recognize the scope of the storm when you’re just struggling to stand up in the winds, sometimes.
How do you get to know yourself, you ask? Put your phone down. Spend some time with yourself. Think, inside your own head without anything interrupting you for a designated period of time. Journal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to write. Getting started is the hardest part. Find a list of questions that you might ask someone to get to know them. Write that question down, and pretend someone asked you that question. What would your answer be? Write it down. No one gets to know a person in a day, give yourself some time. Be kind and patient with yourself. Your purpose isn’t going to arrive on a silver platter, served by a gloved and poised butler. You need to search for it.
It’s worth the wait, I promise.
Writer, dreamer, critic and believer. Freethinker, Skeptic/Realist, and Renaissance woman.
Maybe I’m really crazy. Like my sister. Maybe I have learned to hide my madness inside a seemingly calm, confident, strong package. Maybe I know from the start that there is no place in this world for someone like us, like me. Maybe behind this creative, free-spirited, mind, a raving lunatic with a taste for macabre is secretly lurking. Someone who doesn’t and will not fit in. Maybe I will succumb to the insanity which is in my blood and fulfill my destiny. Maybe there is no escaping my heritage no matter how hard I try and how far I run. Maybe I will come full circle in the end and repeat the errors and history of my tragic past. Maybe I am better dead than alive. Maybe I have to stop thinking too much and go quietly with the flow. Maybe I have to accept things as they are and quit analyzing every little detail. Maybe it will be better if I let things happen instead of expecting the worst. Maybe I have to sleep so I don’t entertain crazy thoughts.
What do you think?
“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that we know in our hearts is a lie.” ~Karen Moning
It’s painful and stressful to feel like you’re living a lie. Like you’re hiding how you really feel, saying what you think other people want to hear and doing things you don’t actually want to do—just because you think you’re supposed to.
But sometimes we don’t recognize we’re doing this. We just know we feel off, or something feels wrong, and we’re not sure how to change it.
It makes sense that a lot of us struggle with being true to ourselves.
From a young age, we’re taught to be good, fall in line, and avoid making any waves—to lower our voices, do as we’re told, and quit our crying (or they’ll give us something to cry about).
And most of us don’t get the opportunity to foster or follow our curiosity. Instead, we learn all the same things as our peers, at the exact same time; and we live a life consumed by the mastery of these things, our bodies restless from long hours of seated study and our minds overwhelmed with memorized facts that leave very little room for free thinking.
To make things even worse, we learn to compare our accomplishments and progress—often, at things we don’t even really care about—to those of everyone around us. So we learn it’s more important to appear successful in relation to others than to feel excited or fulfilled within ourselves.
This was my experience both growing up and in my twenties. A people-pleaser who was always looking to prove that I mattered, I was like a chameleon, and I constantly felt paralyzed about which choices to make because all I knew was that they needed to be impressive.
I never knew what I really thought or felt because I was too busy suffocating my mind with fears and numbing my emotions to develop even a modicum of self-awareness.
This meant I had no idea what I needed. I only knew I didn’t feel seen or heard. I felt like no one really knew me. But how could they when I didn’t even know myself?
I know I’ve made a lot of progress with this over the years, and I have a mile-long list of unconventional choices to back that up, as well as a number of authentic, fulfilling relationships. But I’ve recently recognized some areas where I’ve shape-shifted in an attempt to please others, and in some cases, without even realizing it.
I don’t want to be the kind of person who panders to popular opinion or lets other people dictate my choices. I don’t want to waste even one minute trying to be good enough for others instead of doing what feels good to me.
I want to make my own rules, live on my own terms, and be bold, wild, and free.
This means peeling away the layers of fear and conditioning and being true to what I believe is right. But it’s hard to do this because sometimes those layers are pretty heavy, or so transparent we don’t even realize they’re there.
With this in mind, I decided to create this reminder of what it looks and feels like to be true to myself so I can refer back to it if ever I think I’ve lost my way.
If you also value authenticity and freedom over conformity and approval, perhaps this will be useful to you too.
You know you’re being true to yourself if….
You understand that you have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with anyone else. This means you make space in your life to connect with yourself, perhaps through meditation, journaling, or time in nature.
This also means you face the harsh realities you may be tempted to avoid. You’re self-aware when faced with hard choices—like whether or not to leave a relationship that doesn’t feel right—so you can get to the root of your fear.
You might not always do this right away, or easily, but you’re willing to ask yourself the tough questions most of us spend our lives avoiding: Why am I doing this? What am I getting from this? And what would serve me better?
Even if you’re afraid of judgment or tempted to lie just to keep the peace, you push yourself to speak up when you have something that needs to be said.
And you refuse to stuff your feelings down just to make other people feel comfortable. You’re willing to risk feeling vulnerable and embarrassed because you know that your feelings are valid and that sharing them is the key to healing what’s hurting or fixing what isn’t working.
You know what you need to feel physical, mentally, and emotionally balanced, and you prioritize those things, even if this means saying no to other people.
Sure, you might sometimes make sacrifices, but you understand it’s not selfish to honor your needs and make them a priority.
You also know your needs don’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s irrelevant to you if someone else can function on four hours of sleep, work around the clock, or pack their schedule with social engagements. You do what’s right for you and take care good care of yourself because you recognize you’re the only one who can.
Though you may wish, at times, you could please everyone—because it feels a lot safer to receive validation than disapproval—you understand that being disliked by some is a natural byproduct of being genuine.
This doesn’t mean you justify being rude and disrespectful because hey, you’re just being yourself! It just means you know you’re not for everyone; you’d rather be disliked for who you are than liked for who you’re not, and you understand the only way to find “your tribe” is to weed out the ones who belong in someone else’s.
You understand that the people around you affect you, so you surround yourself with people who respect and support you, which motivates you to continue being true to yourself.
You may have people in your life who don’t do these things, but if you do, you understand their issues with you are just that—their issues. And you set boundaries with them so that they don’t get in your head and convince you there’s something wrong with you or your choices.
You’ve read the script for a socially acceptable life—climb the corporate ladder, have a lavish wedding, buy a big house, and make some babies—but you’ve seriously questioned whether this is right for you. Maybe it is, but if you go this route, it’s because this plan aligns with your own values, not because it’s what you’re supposed to do.
You know your values are your compass in life, and that they change over time. So you check in with yourself regularly to be sure you’re living a life that doesn’t just look good on paper but also feels good in your heart.
You not only hear the voice inside that says, “Nope, not right for you,” you trust it. Because you’ve spent a lot of time learning to distinguish between the voice of truth and fear, you recognize the difference between holding yourself back and waiting for what feels right.
You might not always make this distinction immediately, and you might sometimes be swayed by well-meaning people who want to protect you from the risks of thinking outside the box. But eventually, you tune out the noise and hone in on the only voice that truly knows what’s best for you.
Not only do you trust that you know what’s best for you, you do it. Even if it’s not a popular choice. Even if people question your judgment, vision, or sanity. You recognize that no one else is living your life, and no one else has to live with the consequences of your choices, so you make them for you and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to public perception.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have everything you want in life. It just means you hear the beat of your own drum, even if it’s silent as a dog whistle to everyone else, and you march to it—maybe slowly or awkwardly, but with your freak flag raised nice and high.
You may feel embarrassed to admit you’re changing directions, but you do it anyway because you’d rather risk being judged than accept a reality that just plain feels wrong for you.
Whether it’s a move that you realize you made for the wrong reasons, a job that isn’t what you expected, or a commitment you know you can’t honor in good conscience, you find the courage to say, “This isn’t right, so I’m going to make another change.”
This is probably the hardest one of all because it’s not just about being true to yourself; it’s also about letting go. It’s about recognizing when something has run its course and being brave enough to end the chapter, even if you don’t know yet what’s coming next. Even if the void feels dark and scary.
But you, you recognize that the void can also feel light and thrilling. That empty space isn’t always a bad thing because it’s the breeding ground for new possibilities—for fulfillment, excitement, passion, and joy. And you’re more interested in seeing who else you can be and what else you can do than languishing forever in a comfortable life that now feels like someone else’s.
As with all things in life, we each exist on a spectrum. Every last one of us lives in the grey area, so odds are you do some of these things, some of the time, and probably never perfectly. And you may go through periods when you do few or none of these things, without even realizing you’ve slipped.
That’s how it’s been for me. I’ve gone through phases when I’ve felt completely in alignment and other times when I’ve gotten lost. I’ve had times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed by conflicting wants, needs, and beliefs—my own and other people’s—that I’ve shut down and lost touch with myself.
It happens to all of us. And that’s okay. The important thing is that we keep coming home to ourselves and we eventually ask ourselves the hard questions that decide the kind of lives we lead: What am I hiding? What am I lying about? And what truth would set me free?
By Lori Deschene
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and is fundraising to get it made now.
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