“I thought of all the others who had tried to tie her to the ground and failed. So I resisted showing her the songs and poems I had written, knowing that too much truth can ruin a thing. And if that meant she wasn’t entirely mine, what of it? I would be the one she could always return to without fear of recrimination or question. So I did not try to win her and contented myself with playing a beautiful game. But there was always a part of me that hoped for more, and so there was a part of me that was always a fool.”
The above quote reminds of Glen and George whom I’ve met on two separate occasions with years in between. The first when I was a teenager (with decades of experience being forced to grow up fast) and the latter during my wild episodes. George said he didn’t want to start something with me because I was just passing and he had no intention of nursing a broken heart when I’m gone. The night before I left while we were walking around the neighborhood, he confessed that he regretted his decision and called himself a fool for not taking advantage of the time he could spend with me creating memories he could hold onto when everything is over. Glen, I wrote his story here. Some of it anyway.
Guys are funny. With their notions and expectations. Why not just enjoy the ride and make most of the experience while it lasts.
Sadly, there are people who will tell the world that you leave them, and they will say the reason behind the desertion, but they will not admit what they have done to make you decide to walk away from their lives. As they speak the truth that only themselves know about, they are also cleansing their names to wash off the wrongdoings they once made to you that really forced you to abandon the love and friendship you once shared with them.
How often do you question if the life you are currently living is the life that feels most authentic to you?
One of the biggest questions I’ve mulled over the last eight months is, “What kind of life do I really want?”
As I pick through the versions of the lives I’ve lived over the last 15 years, what I keep coming back to is a life founded on simplicity. The life that resonates the most with me was a time I lived on a 50-acre vineyard and farm. My days felt like molasses—a slow, steady, and sweet flow.
It was a life of less in many ways but full of so much more richness because I was away from the busyness of life that is easy to get caught up in. I had time to experience the slow beauty of what was around me, the warm, summer breeze weaving between the apple trees, the distance cries from my flock of sheep, and green grass as it tickled my feet when I walked in it.
Back in January of 2019, I started hearing a quiet voice in the back of my head, “simplify Amanda,” but this idea was counterintuitive to everything buzzing around me. Aren’t we supposed to want it all? Aren’t we supposed to “hustle” and “work hard to play harder?”
After a series of meltdowns brought me to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, I knew that I had to make some changes because the alternative wasn’t something I could afford. My health had come to mean something so different to me after I went through cancer two years prior.
Everything inside of me knew I was living an inauthentic life. One that was out of alignment with who I truly was.
So, against what felt like the responsible thing to do, I had a long conversation with my employer and cut back my hours, as the role was causing me a lot of unnecessary stress that I just didn’t have the bandwidth or mental clarity to handle. We also realized that the role I was in wasn’t one that allowed me to flourish. As he put it, “You’re an artist, Amanda, not a Project Manager.” So, in the interim, as I was “figuring out what’s next” I created a list of tasks that I would be able to focus on as I worked on healing my body and mind and explored some of my own dreams.
My ego-mind told me a lot of stories to feed my constant worry, but my heart and my soul felt a new sense of empowerment as I leveled up my self-worth and leaned into who I really was.
I know this isn’t always possible in every work situation. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work from home for employers who value well-being; however, at some point, every one of us has to prioritize our mental and physical health. I tend to believe that if there is a will, there is a way, and sometimes you have to ask for what you truly want and deserve.
I removed email and Facebook from my phone. Yup, you read that right. I no longer get emails or Facebook on my phone, and I periodically delete Instagram.
At some point along the road of technological advancements, we decided that being available 24-7 was okay and healthy. I’m here to tell you it absolutely is not. You are allowed to have boundaries. You do not have to be connected all the time. I stand by this through and through, and I’ve felt healthier, happier, and more in alignment ever since.
I’ve also decluttered my closets and house about 10 times, getting rid of any and everything that doesn’t feel like me and my most authentic being. If I wear the same 10 articles of clothing every week, well, so be it. Nobody really cares anyway.
I had to get really present with my goals as a small business owner, as a creative, and an artist. It’s easy to be led to believe that we should want a life full of achievements, including stuff, but what kept coming back to me over and over was this idea of a simple life with just enough to keep me feeling like myself.
So, what if all I want is a simple life? What does that really mean anyway?
I had to let go of the story I created that I had to be some big-time #bosslady or build my empire. What I realized was I don’t actually want to run an empire. I want a life doing work that feeds my soul while paying all my bills and saving for a rainy day.
I want a life that allows me to create my art and write really well.
Something that supports me in paying off my debts.
A life that allows me to live in a way that feels like me, and provide me with the means to help others too.
But mostly, what I truly want is to walk barefoot in the grass with the ones I love, free from the constant pressure to be anything other than me. This involved simplifying my current life significantly.
The greatest change in my life, however, has been my recent decision to leave the Southern California beach town where I’ve lived for the past four and a half years and move to Northern California to live in a yurt on a goat farm.
During that time, I kept hearing the quiet whispers from my soul—it had been leading me the whole time. I feel most like myself on a farm and on land surrounded by tall trees and changing seasons, and I can’t afford to not live in a way that feels most like me any longer.
You see, I don’t think many of us were actually made for the hustle, “work hard to play harder” way of life as is evident with the rise of mental and physical illness in the more recent years. Despite being overly connected to a plethora of resources that are supposed to help us stay healthy, stay skinny, stay sane, and stay happy—all with the click of one of the five thousand apps on our phones—I think we’ve overcomplicated our lives and grown incredibly disconnected.
Simplifying my own life over the last eight months has made me more present to the fact that so many others are feeling called back to this way as well.
So, I’m here to give you permission. It’s okay to not want to build an empire. It’s okay to not want all the things we are told to want in order to be happy. And it’s definitely okay to be content just wanting a simple and slow way of life.
AUTHOR: AMANDA WHITWORTH
By Julie Balsiger
“How is it possible that we landed on the moon before we figured out the anatomy of the clitoris?”
It’s not surprising that most men haven’t a clue about the female sexual organ—the clitoris…most women don’t either. Today the word vagina is used for that general region of our lady bits, but as Sophia Wallace states,
“‘Vagina’—the single-most misused word in the English language. This is one of the laws of Cliteracy. It’s intentionally hyperbolic. ‘Vagina’ is a Latin word. It means ‘sword holder’. Vagina, medically, technically, only includes the opening. This term is used almost universally in doctor’s offices. It’s also used in feminism to sort of advocate. But it’s a term that ignores the clitoris, which is the female sexual organ.”
I don’t remember having “the talk” growing up, other than the often-heard, “don’t get pregnant!” shame-filled accusation thrown at me before every school dance. In school, we had a few vague conversations about periods, but mostly these talks centered around what not to do on your period. The female body was only discussed when we talked about where babies come from and never about female pleasure. I babysat for a young couple who had an interesting library of books and that’s where I first read The Joy of Sex, and then that other classic, Our Bodies, Ourselves. This book introduced me to all sorts of new worlds and I still have my vintage copy.
What we’re taught about our bodies extends to equality in the world.
“In sex education, it is taught that boys are both sexual and reproductive, boys have erections, boys have wet dreams, boys ejaculate, and then the semen fertilizes the egg. Girls, we’re taught, have reproductive organs, they menstruate, menstruation is painful. Girls should not get pregnant if they don’t mean to. Girls should not get sexually transmitted diseases. We never learn about the clitoris. We never learn that girls have a desire, that this is natural, that girls have sexual dreams, that girls have fantasies.”
Clearly, some better sex education is needed for teens but also for everyone. There’s no real excuse to not know more about our bodies. Like…about the clitoris, did you know that inside that “iceberg” it is actually shaped almost like a penis? That only what we see on the outside is the “tip of that iceberg.” I didn’t, but so much makes sense now.
Check out this image, it’s basically a hidden droopy penis with balls (not the actual medical term):
Mind. Blown. Life makes a bit more sense, no? I’ve known so many powerful women “with balls” and now it’s true. Science! And maybe if we start to know more about our powerful bodies, we’ll stop using female anatomy references as a way to put down men? We should be rising up, erect and powerful, and showing the world that we are not just “empty voids” for male pleasure.
Sexual organs, of women at least, are still steeped in mystery. Case in point, I live as an expat in Turkey and the first nine years here, I was living in a rather small village where patriarchy was (and still is) the way of the land. It is not uncommon in rural areas to have men and women completely separated in daily life. After being annoyed one day about needing to move my seat on the bus because an older man didn’t want me (a woman not his wife, daughter, or sister) in the aisle seat across from him…yes there was an aisle separating us…one good, a local friend of mine (male, university educated, mid-30s) explained the logic like this, “Women have special powers downstairs. Men are unable to resist these powers and so the woman needs to move otherwise the man cannot be blamed for his actions.” Yeah…some Deuteronomy-style rape logic but it made a lot of sense of how things were arranged as a society. After he said that (and basically agreed with that way of thinking), a good friend of mine (also an expat) and I would make jokes about our special “hooha laser beams” that shoot out as we make “pew, pew” noises with hands shaped like pistols whenever a guy annoyed us. I might just need to send that illustration to a few guys there now, or at least to their wives.
“All bodies are entitled to experience the pleasure that they are capable of. This is a core pillar of cliteracy. In making this work, I had to say that the clitoris, first, as an organ, has a right to being and that this right is not just about not being cut off. Sadly, to this day, over 140 million women have had their external clitorises cut off. This doesn’t make it into the news very often, and this doesn’t come up in foreign policy discussion. So number one, the clitoris has a right to exist, free of harm, like any other organ.”
I get it. I get the feelings of emptiness, the feeling of pointlessness, even the hell of having given it your all and failed.
I get the unhappiness, the self-recrimination, the fear, the frustration, the confusion, and the sick irony that you know you would be amazing if the world made even just a little sense.
Because it’s not that you don’t have ambitions, goals, and dreams; those dreams just haven’t fit into the slots and boxes of old systems and preconceived notions.
You don’t even consider yourself a maverick in any kind of way. What kind of narcissistic fool actively thinks of themselves as a maverick? But, well, the world attaches a lot of silly stuff to ambitions, goals, and dreams.
You’re supposed to be type-A go-getter material! On the job, on the climb, networking, branching and leaning in and synergizing and earning plaudits before eventually winding up on the lecture circuit telling others in your field how they, too, can follow your path.
You’re supposed to reach for the moon, grab it, sell condos on it, then off to Venus for the next round of real estate.
But what if your ambition is simply to live? And by live, I mean experience each moment by being inside each moment, not with an eye for future benefits.
My guess is you’ve heard a variation of the “If he’d only apply himself, he could be a star” speech of concern from family and friends, which assumes that money and stature are your goals.
And because you’re not seeking those out, you’re circling the slow drain of impending failure, yes?
Listen to me now and hear me later: if you’re able to live without being a financial or emotional burden on others, you’re already doing something right. Hell, that counts as a huge win in a world which seems intent on grinding 99% of us into usable dust.
On the outside, it might look like you’ve given up, but on the inside, there’s a full-on war. Your mental forces would put Legolas at the battle of Helms Deep to shame.
And don’t act like you haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Samwise’s speech to the battered and exhausted Frodo has kept you going many a night:
It’s like in the great stories of Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
What looks like no ambition, goals, or dreams to the outside world is a battle to assert and hold on to your place in it.
So don’t give up.
Please don’t give up.
Ambition. Ambition has to come from inside you. It’s not poured into you, it’s not taught by a wise elder. It’s the answer to the question: What are you doing with life itself today?
Only Y-O-U make the effort to bridge the answer to that question outward. If you’ve momentarily forgotten that effort, let me ask this: What do you enjoy? Not just what do you enjoy doing, what do you enjoy, period?
Because whatever that is, it means you want to see more of that in the world. You want people to enjoy it just as much as you.
Somehow, what is inside you has to connect with that increase to make it out into the world.
The cliché is “sharing is caring,” but you do, you freaking care. You want to give people the moon, not for condos, but for the best walk of their lives.
The best ambition in the world is to somehow want to present the world to others in better shape than most find it.
Do you see now that your ambitions are about as awesome as awesome can get? Ennui is temporary; passion, that deep, soul passion, is not.
Some part of you wants to bring about that shared awesomeness. How do we do this? Surefire way: fuse that feeling that you’re gonna burst to an adaptive and flowing plan of action.
That synthesis becomes Goals.
Goals are attainable. Don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t. Don’t buy into the noise of hardship, disappointment, and failure.
The noise is hypnotic; it mires you to stopping points and unfocuses your eyes. The noise is an active deterrent; hardship, disappointment, and failure, however, are not.
There is no way to escape hardship, disappointment, and failure. No running from them. Not for anyone. No matter how well you’ve stretched, how tightly you’ve tied your shoelaces, and how well you know the landscape, you’ll trip.
So how about another cliché? Do you get up?
And after you get up, do you keep going or do you shuffle off to the side so that other runners can get by?
Do you feel foolish for ever having thought you could run?
Doubts. We all have a few. A lot. Guess what? I’m doubting myself right now. I don’t know that I have the tools, know-how, or depth of compassion to reach you… but I won’t stop trying. I haven’t given up on trying.
I suspect neither, have you. People looking at you might think you’ve given up, but they don’t see the wheels turning a thousand miles a minute in your head, trying to figure a way out of a maze of external expectations.
Maybe they’ve forgotten how much it hurts to fall while running, and forgotten that healing takes some time. Maybe they need a reminder that nothing’s over till it’s over. Maybe they need a hundred different comfortable clichés to use as elbow and knee pads next time out.
Maybe you do too.
Or maybe you want to think about who you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. It’s not impossible to do either one of those. You think about it every night. It’s called dreaming. When they say “We have a dream,” it’s just projecting our lives onto a bigger screen.
Basically: Who you gonna be, where you gonna be, and out of all those chances you’ve had to turn back, are you gonna hold on to one and say, “This is now me”?
A Hobbit sitting on the side of the road?
I think not.
That’s not you.
Not when you know there’s magic inside you.
Not when you know you’re a warrior.
Not when you know you have the potential to quest for things barely dreamed of.
Not when you know that if you’re smart enough to rest, you can run any distance ever thought of and that if you’re honest enough to know that you’re hurting, you take the necessary actions to heal.
Samwise didn’t give that speech to Frodo because he had some keen interest in danger and long, arduous journeys. His eyes were on the goal after the danger: home.
“Home” is wherever your sense of possibility and creation waits for you to settle down and dream.
So the question you have to ask yourself is, where do you live?
~Borrowed article from Conscious ReThink
No. I’m only joking.
I mean shock.
Shock that the person I thought was a role model and a loving dedicated mother could say on the national TV things I would never expect to hear from her. And to think that I used to copy her style back in the 90s. She was fashion-forward, quite unique, creative and out of the box. Now, this…
She is one of the three hosts of a noontime program that centered around family life. No, I don’t follow it. Nor watch. I just know. From time to time a segment would pass through my feed and sometimes I click on it just to see what’s current from the other side of the world and the other day it’s about choices, priorities. Who is more important, a husband or children? That’s the topic. I thought it was old news. Everyone knows that children first and if push comes to shove and a mother has to choose, no second thought: children it is. A partner you can replace. Easily. But your own kids… c’mon, they are part of you, your own flesh and blood. You’ve carried each of them for nine months, take care of them till they are old enough to attend to themselves and even then, your task as a parent will never finish till you are dead and buried. How could you prioritize your partner over your children? It’s for me unthinkable.
I know there is an exception in every rule. Like if despite all your effort your child becomes so toxic to your existence that there is no other choice but to cut the umbilical cord. But that isn’t the same as choosing between your partner and your offspring. You are choosing for yourself and what is best for your well-being.
Apparently, not everyone thinks the same. At least, not that female host. Her co-hosts are on my side but she is adamant that she has to put her husband first before her children. Like I said I was shocked! And what surprised me, even more, was the fact that their guest expert on the topic was with her 100%.
It’s like saying if your partner and child are drowning or trapped in a burning building you are going to save your husband first instead of the other way around?
I can’t wrap my mind around that ridiculous idea. In my book, if someone thinks this way she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.
How about you?
What do you think?
Probably you will argue:
Always remember that once kids grow up they will leave you and you will have only each other.
Are you sure?
How would you know that he will be there forever?
On the other hand, even when worse comes to worst your children will always be your children no matter what.
I am not saying neglect thy husband. Just don’t make him your priority especially when the children are young and needed you most. And when the time comes to choose. Never choose him above your children. Never. No matter what.
The legendary tumbleweed is really a nurse crop that protects the growth of prairie grasses under its shade, and then sacrifices itself and blows away.
Almost everyone I know has something of an ancestral house. Somewhere they can always go back to from wherever fate decided to move them across the globe. A place where they could reunite with their families and friends and talk about childhood memories. Somewhere they feel safe and truly belonged. Most people have hometowns, alma maters, reunions, people they grew up with and neighbors who know them from babyhood. I know people who married their childhood sweethearts, the next-door neighbor or a sibling of their best friend. Their children know each other and go out together forming the next generation of youngsters who will follow the footsteps of their parents. Most people have a family and a home where their roots are firmly planted in a solid foundation, where their history lies and written. I don’t have those.
I don’t even come back to the place where I was born since we left before I was even a year old. Alma mater, what is that? I changed school like I change underwear. Same with hometowns. If I would like to visit where I grew up I have to go to hundreds of different places and meet thousands of different people who may not remember me at all since we leave before everything gets too familiar. Roots? What’s that? I was a tumbleweed rolling where the wind blows, no destination, without purpose.
Family is something alien to me. Not only I don’t have a place to go back to, but I have also no one to come back to. Don’t ask. It’s just the way it is. Likewise, with friends, I don’t have them either. What I had were familiar strangers whom I shared a one time experience with before I move to another chapter of my existence. Go back (even for a visit) I can’t. Somehow I always managed to burn bridges one way or the other. If I don’t someone will do it for me. It’s just the way it is.
Family, friends, hometowns, alma mater, childhood sweethearts, ancestral house, roots, If you have them, I envy you.
You’re growing so fast Sunshine
Your clothes are getting smaller
Your face changing
You are getting bigger
Not in a conventional sense
But you are growing alright
Growing into Oona size
Compact slight petite
Tiny slight pint-sized
All elfin features perfect
A miniature person
Small beautiful Unique
I love the way your toes curl when I kiss them. I love how you look at people with your scrutinizing gaze as if you are studying them weighing knowing understanding. I love the sound of your voice when you are trying to convey your feelings in your own way, without words. I love how you smile when you hear your favorite song and how you listen attentively when your mother read you stories. I love the way your big eyes light up when you are happy and the way your eyelashes touch your cheeks when you’re asleep.
I want you to be happy and healthy Sunshine. I want you to be safe. I hope they are taking care of you properly. You will always be in my heart. I will always be here when you need me. I love you my Oona. My ThumbelOona.
“I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!”
When I cannot sleep or too agitated to rest, I fantasize. Conjuring up scenarios in my head to cheer me up and calm me down. But most of the time I ruined my own fantasy by wanting everything to be perfect. Every move, every word has to be precise, even the lighting has to be perfect or otherwise, I cannot move from one scene to another. The keyword is feeling. If a certain setting doesn’t evoke the emotion I want to achieve, it will not do for me. When a person in my fantasy look at me across the room, I want to feel something, when someone holds my hand, whisper in my ear, sing a song, tells a joke, I want to feel it inside, I want the gesture to move me, or otherwise I will repeat the scene over and over in my head till I get it right.
I know it’s craziness but I can’t help it. If I want to escape reality, the fantasy must be damn good, or otherwise, what’s the use?
Don’t judge me for escaping the stresses and cruelty of the world