Tag Archives: self-reflection

Find your fucking balls and reattach them

This is what I keep telling myself lately, find your old companion guts and get reacquainted damn you!

Where is the girl I used to know? The one who never stops at nothing to follow her heart. The one who didn’t let forces of nature detained her if she wants to gallivant. Now, a mere rain is enough to keep you inside? Pathetic!

You used to be fun, full of ideas and never have a qualm to put them in action. Remember the time you started hiking at four in the afternoon despite the thunder and lightning and the torrential downpour? You had to change clothes in the car because you were soaking wet. How about the time you went into the mountains to search for the missing head of a student who had been raped. You did it at one in the morning so nobody could see and stop you because an unauthorized person wasn’t allowed on the premises and they said it was dangerous. You armed yourself with a big bolo and head on. Where is that brave girl now?

Remember the cemetery? How about the collapsed subdivision where a lot of people had been buried alive. You sneaked in past the guard and spent the night there because you were convinced that where there are catastrophes and human casualties the odds of having contact from the other side are stronger and perhaps you’ll get lucky and could communicate with one of them.

And the time you rowed a boat for four hours to spend a night in an abandoned lighthouse in the middle of the ocean and got caught by a tropical storm and had to find your way to the nearest shore in the dark. How about that?

Others might say it is not bravery but foolishness and it may be so but that is not the point. The point is the fact that you changed beyond recognition. Not even the shadow of your former self which is preferable than totally disappearing altogether.

Where is the spontaneity, the passion, the drive the hunger? The hunger is there alright but you are trying to quench it with pseudo replacements. The doubt, the worry, the fear… where it is coming from?  Is it called getting old, like your daughter stated a long time ago which you refused to acknowledge? Your niece whom you adopted and brought up to keep from following the footsteps of her mother (and failed miserably) told you once upon a time when you first got together with your now second husband that you became boring as hell.  You didn’t acknowledge that too. Now, there is no choice left but to admit it.

What happened? What changed?

Okay, the situation is different so is the status and they go hand and hand with compromises but to forget who you are and become a totally different person is unacceptable. You can make loads of excuses but they will not justify what you have done to yourself. You are an embarrassment to all the free-spirited women out there. You call yourself a gypsy, a nomad? Once upon a time maybe but not anymore. Not for a long time. You become a hothouse flower, an invalid, a kept woman, boring and unimaginative the only adventures you are embarking are those that in your head. I despise you. I hate what you become. Where are your guts? Why you are existing (because I cannot call what you are doing living) against your principle and everything you believe in? For what? For security? For comfort? Bullshit! Nothing is secure in this world. You of all people should know that. And if I recall correctly, it was you who said you would rather live in the streets than be caged. Do you still think that way? Apparently not.

Your son said it is better to live and die than not to live at all. He told you that after you voiced out your fear for his safety backpacking two months in India and going on camping trips to war zones and being in the midst of a rally in Paris. That son of yours is a male version of you in every way. The once upon a time you. The wanderer adventurer fearless you. Look at you now.

Don’t cite age as an excuse. There is no such thing as too old for this and that. Age is just a number. And your condition? All the more reason to live right here and right now before you reach your expiration date. Live now that you can still walk and enjoy. Go out there and live without regret. That is what you supposed to be doing instead of being a prisoner in your own home.

You are not some caged exotic animal. You were born and brought up in the wild. That’s where you belong. Not in a fancy house with a fancy car full of fancy gadgets and designer items. Since you care about them anyway? Big houses and big cars and expensive things mean nothing. You can’t bring them where you’re eventually going. What matters is how you spend your borrowed time on this earth. I am telling you, find your fucking balls and reattach them before it’s too late.

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Lessons on Aging & the Juicy Stuff Beauty is Really Made Of.

“The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there—it’s within. I hate that, I resent that more than I can say. But, it’s true.” ~ Anne Lamott

I fired a part of me the other day that has been demanding I look a certain way, weigh a certain number, and be a certain size in order to be “enough.”

It happened in my closet as I was trying to put on yet another pair of tight pants and felt a twinge of embarrassment that they didn’t fit anymore.

I heard that voice say, “See, you’ve gained weight. How could you? Hurry up and cleanse so you can drop 10 pounds fast.” For the first time in my almost 49 years of life, I finally heard myself respond differently. “No more of this madness,” I said out loud as I grabbed a different pair of pants that were a size larger.

I picked up the journal where I had written my health and weight goals for the month. With fresh eyes, I read what I wrote. The goals sounded great on paper. However, I had been so busy trying to fix what’s on the outside that I was missing the entire point.

It’s an inside job.

Sometimes the longest road we can travel is the one we make from our head to our heart. Suddenly, what I had known in my head for years finally made a direct heart landing. My goals had become barriers rather than stepping stones toward what I truly desired from the inside out.

Our bodies are not problems to be solved.

Anne Lamott once said, “One of the blessings of age is you surrender to the truth of time and life that things droop and sag and it’s fine, and if you worry about it longer it starts to argue a wasted life. You can spend your life burnishing the surface, but in the meantime, you could be on the floor playing Legos with your kids and grandkid.”

I opened a blank page in my journal, took my pen to paper, and set out to write a vision regarding my health and weight aligned with my spirit. I prayed for a bit and meditated for a while, asking God to show me what I needed to know. My hope is that what landed will be of benefit in some way to others who grapple with accepting their bodies and this thing called aging.

The Juicy Beauty Manifesto

I am not the size of my pants or the number on a scale. I am not the comparisons I make or the body I had 20 years ago. I’m not my triceps or once-upon-a-time firm ass or the before-kids flat stomach.

I’m not how I look in my jeans or whether my stomach has a roll or if my hair is turning gray. This confining version of myself that determines whether I am pretty enough or strong enough or thin enough or sexy enough or busty enough…whatever the enough is for that day, is officially fired.

From now on…

I will sincerely apologize to myself any time I want to criticize how my body looks. I will stand still and wholeheartedly soak in the apology so I can continue to really see myself and love all of who I am. The truth is I do not have the body I had in my 30s because I am not 30 anymore. I’m almost 50. I will look at my curves and rounded edges with loving eyes rather than through a critical lens.

It is a privilege to age, one that I no longer want to take for granted.

And, when I look in the mirror at my naked body, I will stop focusing on what I see as lacking, and, instead, I will be grateful for this version of me. This older me, the one who is now filled with deeper wisdom and a more relaxed spirit. I have earned the lines under my eyes and around my smile. I have lived and loved. I have fallen and risen. As a result, I am softening, easing into a gentle way of living and allowing for more grace to move through me. It’s quieter here, simpler, and far more pleasurable.

I will embrace the beauty that is staring back at me and allow it to be enough. Whispering to myself, “There is nothing here that needs to be fixed. Nothing is broken.”

When I begin to find my mind wandering, I will ground it in appreciation for my health. I will give thanks that my legs can walk, my fingers can move, my mind is still sharp, my breath is deep, my eyes see, and my heart pumps. I will mindfully and lovingly nourish my body with foods that breathe life into it. I will choose to live from a place of health and wellness. Eating will be about nourishment, rather than trying to obtain some endgame result of a certain weight or size.

If I make food choices out of love rather than fear or deprivation, the results will organically happen. I will allow my body to find its natural place at this time in my life.

I will no longer scare myself with black-and-white food beliefs or messages.

I will stop telling myself:
“I will never eat that again.”
“Once I start, I can’t stop.”
“I can’t trust myself with food.”

I will replace those messages with:
“Relax, dear one, and enjoy. You can trust yourself.”

I will move my body in ways that bring me joy. I want to do the stuff that makes my heart beat faster and eyes grow wider. I want to do those things as often as I can, creating happy, pleasure-filled moments.

The illusion that if I reach this weight then I’ll be happy or stronger or prettier is just the lie I keep telling myself. As I get consumed with that message, I start to miss all the juicy stuff that beauty is really made of. That’s a price I’m no longer willing to pay. Are you?

Starting today, let’s:

Give away the pants that no longer fit and go on a date with ourselves to find clothes we love and that no longer pinch. Life is hard enough than to be wrestling with tight pants.

Put the scale away and start to focus on what we are feeling rather than what we weigh. It’s flat-out mean to be stepping on that thing day in and day out.

Shut down the critical voice in our heads and replace it with kindness, love, and praise, offering ourselves the same messages we would a child or a dear friend.

Stop dieting, cleansing, restricting, and beating ourselves over the head with a stick that we will never be enough unless we look a certain way. Diets don’t work anyway.

Uncover how to unapologetically love ourselves and celebrate growing older and embracing the perfectly imperfect bodies we all have a right to age in.

There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who recognizes her own worth from the inside out. From that place she is able to get out of her own way and focus on love and service, living a life from her highest self.

Now that’s juicy beauty.

Who’s in?

AUTHOR: ANNMARIE DEVLIN

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Dead Toad Scrolls

We tend to see ourselves through other people’s eyes. We respond to how other people actually treat us as well as to an imaginary audience of people who we presume are judging us. Even living in total isolation of other people, I would construct a sense of personal identity based upon how I thought other people would evaluate me if they could only see me now.

The road to self-improvement does not begin with the realization of other people’s scorn. Personal salvation commences with the determined excavation and displacement of a crusty layer of self-denial, which defense mechanism camouflaged my intensifying sense of self-repugnance for how I acted in this earthly life.

Enforced seclusion from society and personal introspection are not the product of brilliant intellectual insight or a calculated election. Escape was necessary when reality proved too harsh.

Self-examination requires time alone spent in thoughtful study. We naturally fear aloneness, which reluctance can stifle attaining self-knowledge. In her 1942 memoir titled ‘West with the Night,. Beryl Marham spoke eloquently why we must overcome our fear of aloneness and conduct a search for our inner authenticity. “You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch other people, but you never watch yourself because you strive against loneliness. If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all. If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make the alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents – each man to see what the other looked like.

We are conscious beings always experimenting with the mystery of becoming our ultimate manifestation.

If we cleaved ourselves in half to examine our daily mind chatter under a microscope, who amongst us would daringly display the sediment of their innermost thoughts for public consumption? A tattler’s tale reporting the silted musings resembling my tarnished soul is probably the most typical scorecard. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), an English novelist and poet declared, “If all hearts were open and all desires known – as they would be if people showed their souls – how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market place!” My unsavory report card is indistinguishable from the blemished masses. Etched into the end zone of my life playing field are the horrors of gluttony, greed, failure, and humiliation. Recognition of my sinful life led directly to a rash act of despondency. Commission of a ream of sins is a reflection of my weak character. Guilt from leading a sinful life, not a strong character, manufactured the overwhelming despair that caused me to seek absolution. The willingness to grade myself as less than a satisfactory human being might be my only hope of ever achieving spiritual salvation.

A self-concept is fluid; it is composed of numerous ongoing self-assessments forming an awareness of a person’s physical and mental attributes. Our perception of self comes from our interaction with all of nature and is especially dependent upon social interactions with parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other acquaintances. Self-identity includes an understanding of a person’s personality attributes, knowledge of their skills and abilities, taking stock of their values and religious affiliations, and tallying their choices for occupation and hobbies. Identity is a mixture of our resilience and our energy; it is the product of our aggressiveness and meekness. We forge an identity with the arms we bear to protect our territory and by the gentleness that we exhibit towards other people. Identity is weaved from sunshine and shadows. It derives from good and evil conduct; it encompasses a sense of love, wonder, and loss.

A person without a crystalline sense of self lives a mythless existence; they lack a definitive path to follow in life. Deprived of a solid sense of self, dispossessed of a connection to the past, destitute of a grounding sense in the present, a person leads a leaden and aimless existence.

None of us remains invulnerable to the demands of our physical survival or stands aloof and insusceptible to the shaping influences of society. We live in a social world and the prevailing cultural norms affect each of us.

Every step in life is a testing ground. Some active and perceptive people never stop blossoming regardless of what experience they encounter while other people seem to wilt with the slightest provocation.

The human mind is the artist of our mutable state of inwardness. External action signals to other people our inner composition. We control our present state of happiness. Each personal action taken or not undertaken subtlety or profoundly alters whom we were, influences whom we now are, and amends who we might become. Our shifting self-image controls our present state of personal happiness.

A strict self-image demonstrates a predisposition to maintain a rigid explanation and definition of a person. Our self-image becomes self-perpetuating because of the tendency of the mind to exhibit partiality regarding what we attend to and preference in what we are prepared to accept as true about the world and ourselves.

― Kilroy J. Oldster

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Fighting The Battle In Silence

“How can I put this? There’s a kind of gap between what I think is real and what’s really real. I get this feeling like some kind of little something-or-other is there, somewhere inside me… like a burglar is in the house, hiding in a wardrobe… and it comes out every once in a while and messes up whatever order or logic I’ve established for myself. The way a magnet can make a machine go crazy.” ― Haruki Murakami

Only those who are in the same boat (or those who made the journey) would understand what Haruki Murakami is talking about. Even immediate family close as they are could impossibly fathom out the full extent of how it truly is unless they walk in the shoes of someone who is suffering from mental illness.

Bystanders will never understand. How could they if you yourself cannot make sense of what’s happening to you. It’s difficult when you cannot explain because words seem woefully inadequate to describe what’s going on inside your head which prompts those unexplainable actions that society frowns upon and made you an outsider.

How can you tell them you feel like___

You are a warrior in a dark forest, with no compass and are unable to tell who the actual enemy is, So you never feel safe.

You are in constant fight or flight mode.

I compare it with what one specialist said to me about my condition: That my body is like that of someone who is running a marathon but 24/7. I wonder what he would say if he could take a glimpse of what’s going on inside my head. I’m sure he will send me home with an instruction never to come back again.

I always have known that I would be an interesting subject for head doctors. I imagine some kind of role reversal happening. Me asking questions instead of the other way around. That would be fun I guess.

Like in real life when people always assume that I’m an open book but the truth is, I let them talk and I listen. Just listen. Without disclosing anything personal/private about myself. But they always come away with the same conclusion: That I’m an open person and we created some bond by telling each other our utmost secrets. I never correct their wrong assumptions. It is better that way.

Because___

“The majority of people dismiss those things that lie beyond the bounds of their own understanding as absurd and not worth thinking about. I myself can only wish that my stories were, indeed, nothing but incredible fabrications. I have stayed alive all these years clinging to the frail hope that these memories of mine were nothing but a dream or a delusion. I have struggled to convince myself that they never happened. But each time I tried to push them into the dark, they came back stronger and more vivid than ever. Like cancer cells, these memories have taken root in my mind and eaten into my flesh.” ― Haruki Murakami

How could I tell them the truth? How can I share to them what’s really bothering me? How can I disclose my utmost secret without scaring the hell out of them?

That’s why I never reach out to anyone and always decline offers of close friendships.

The very reason why I didn’t accept the invitations for coffee by that woman who lives across the street. I know for sure she is a good person. I see it, I sense it, I feel it. Despite my refusals when she saw that my husband hang a tarpaulin outside in honor of my becoming golden, she sent me a beautiful card and she didn’t even know my name. She just wrote Madam on the top of her message inside the card. She never failed to hand-delivered Christmas cards either. I see to it that I answered her effort and that is the only form of communication we have and she lives just across the street from me. It is a very big busy street with a lot of traffic but just across just the same.

Am I bad?

I think not.

In my eyes/mind, I’m saving her from oncoming disappointments, when I can’t/won’t deliver what expected of me. You see, any form of relationship is a two-way traffic. A series of give and take have to exist in order for the association to work out. It cannot be always coming from one side alone it’s understandable. And that’s why I have to keep a distance. To protect them from possible disillusionment.

Sometimes I wonder what she makes of me. If she takes it as a personal offense my continuing refusal to be closer to her. Does she have even a tiny inclination of how I really am? She must be aware that I like to be left alone judging by the lack of visitors knocking on my door. But I can say the same about her. At least I go out and work in the garden. I never saw her leave her place. She only comes outside to clean the windows and that’s it. Her husband is the one tending their front yard. Perhaps she thinks we are a kindred spirit. Who knows?

The truth is you never know what people think because like with every kind of illness which doesn’t show on the outside look could be deceiving.

If you are like me___

“You always look so cool, like no matter what happens, it’s got nothing to do with you, but you’re not really like that. In your own way, you’re out there fighting as hard as you can, even if other people can’t tell by looking at you.” ― Haruki Murakami

How to explain?

And even if you can, would they understand? Would they be willing to understand? Could you really open up about what’s really happening to you without being judged and your virtue torn to shreds? I think not. Our visually oriented society may not take the time to look beyond appearances. People tend to believe what they see; and if it can’t be seen, it simply doesn’t exist. Right?

Make that double when it comes to me. I made no secret of what’s going on with me mentally and physically. But I’ve warned you already about the iceberg theory. What you see is only the tip. There is a lot more going on underneath.

But that’s not for public viewing.

I’m honest about the skeletons in the closet and like I said I occasionally let them out to dance but I’m afraid you will never see them all at once having a ball. Not in this lifetime.

So what do I do with my self-imposed isolation?

Dream and fantasize.

I am a kind of expert in that. I’ve learned it early on when I want to escape the horror that is called home-where everything bad happens- done by the ones you trust and supposed to be having your back-family.

You see___

“The better you were able to imagine what you wanted to imagine, the farther you could flee from reality.” 
― Haruki Murakami

I don’t stay in my dream world. I’m too sober for that. I visited certain places in my head and talk to some people there only when necessary. Contrary to popular belief that those who are suffering from a mental disorder turn inwards because they don’t want to be cured- I do it to stay sane. To keep my sanity I have to go back to my core and get acquainted with who I really am so I can continue the pretense of being normal for the outside world so they don’t bother me too much.

And sleep.

Sleep is my cure for everything. I don’t get much that’s why maybe it becomes a sort of a treat. Everything is possible after I sleep.

But it seldom comes naturally. Most of the time if I’m lucky___

“I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But it was not until much later that I was able to get any real sleep. In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.” 
― Haruki Murakami

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Low Maintenance

My father once told me that I need to marry a rich man.

When he said this, I didn’t quite grasp what he meant or what he was trying to imply. It took me five decades to understand where he was coming from but it doesn’t mean I agree with his implication.

True, when I was young they had to coat me with baby oil before I could walk the six kilometers wasteland between our house and the only primary school in the neighborhood. I was or rather my skin was and still is allergic to grasses of any kind among so many other things. Even to these days, my naked skin cannot have direct contact with any surfaces that meant for public use like park benches, restaurants tables and chairs, buses seats and so on. I get itchy bubbles on my skin the very minute I come in contact with I think full of germs surfaces even though at first glance they look spotless. I bruise easily as well.

Oh…yeah
My skin is like a map, where my heart has been
And I can’t hide the marks, but it’s not a negative thing
So I lay down my guard, drop my defenses, down by my clothes
I’m learning to fall, with no safety net, to cushion the blow
I bruise easily, so be gentle when you handle me
There’s a mark you leave, like a love heart carved on a tree
I bruise easily, can’t scratch the surface without moving me
Underneath I bruise easily.
No, just kidding.

Prolonged contact with hard surfaces always resulted in bruises that never fade but turn into leathery skin like an elephant hide.

And I don’t know why.

I could not help our mother to wash our clothes either for I was allergic to any laundry detergent, liquid or powder. They made my hands look like raw meat. Which reminds me of the time I was on a cruise and tried Yves Saint Laurent products from the ship’s cosmetic sections. That was a big mistake. My eyes looked like someone had punched me and my lips will pass for a Botox treatment that had gone horribly wrong.

Another thing is I cannot sleep with someone next to me. Not then, not now. I always get the only bedroom in the house when we were growing up. That or I stayed awake whole night fiddling with the priceless possession of my father, the radio. Two husbands and I never managed to share a bed/room with any of them. I can’t stand the smell of another person on the pillows and bedsheets. I can’t stand them breathing next to me. I can’t stand their presence in the room. In short, I want to sleep alone.

Someone once remarked that I remind her of the story about the Princess and the Pea because I can feel every single tiny grain of whatever on the bed whether it is particles of dust or one single crumb.

How much I love working in the garden I could not do it without surgical gloves under ordinary garden mittens. I can’t stand the feel of soil between my fingers but not as much as I hate dust under my feet. Anywhere but not under my feet and between my toes.

Again, I don’t know why.

You might say my father is right. I have to marry a wealthy man, but let me tell you the other side of the story.

I am low maintenance.

Lower you cannot get.

First of all, I don’t like bling-bling or branded items. Don’t get me wrong I have them for sure but I hardly or don’t use them at all. They are given to me as gifts, from people who thought like most women, I wanted to own few if not all. I don’t go to the hair salon. I cut my own hair using ordinary household scissors that meant to be for papers. I do it in just three moves. I bend down, cut my hair straight, then trim both sides to frame my face. That’s all. I don’t wear make-up and just discovered lipstick when I was forty-eight. I don’t polish my nails, either. Heck, I don’t even shave my legs.

I don’t even need sex.

I don’t go out, rarely drink alcohol, I hate restaurants and dislike parties. I don’t even have to tan my hide, literally. I know… I know… I am already tanned by nature, so…

I don’t gamble or smoke, no expensive hobbies because my hobbies are reading, walking, writing and gardening. The last one is probably the only thing I splurge money on. When it comes to plants… I will gladly skip dinner.

So, how can my father say I have to marry a millionaire? I refuse to believe that was the (only) reason why he sold me to the highest bidder. That bidder once told me that simple things make me happy, and that is the most difficult thing to achieve because simple things are hard to come by. For him at least. When another bidder who outbid him confirmed this, I begin to consider the possibility that probably there is some truth in that claim. I am not convinced so far.

And I don’t know what to write anymore because it is a full moon and I can’t sleep and my thoughts are muddled and I want to take a bath but it’s midnight and my hair will not dry properly and I’m against using a hair dryer because it dries my hair and if I lie down with semi-wet hair I will wake up with semi-dry flat hair that is so brittle I have to take a bath again.

That’s all for now and till the next full moon.

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I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul

“I picked up each fragmented piece of me and studied it. Where did it belong? Did I need it anymore?”

If I start doing that, I may end up with nothing but the core.

Which is not bad I guess because that’s all we need to build and rebuild ourselves.

When I was younger, I never let obstacles bother me to the point of giving up. In fact, I never entertained the notion of throwing the towel in. Something inherent in me never allows those kinds of thoughts to even cross my mind.

Fell down?

No worries.

Get up, dust myself and walk on. Forward. Always forward and never look back if you don’t want to go that way again. I never question. I never blame.

I thought: It’s okay if I lose everything. As long as I have myself, I can start all over again.

Only when I reached a certain age I started thinking about things. Wondering about the hows and whys the ins and outs and doubts began to creep in.

I’m not anymore shoulder on charge it to experience and forget about it.

Suddenly I want explanations, justifications, and answers.

Never get it though.

I started to be scared too. Fear of the future and what it may bring.

I guess if you have nothing, you are not afraid of losing.

On the other hand, if you build and become used to a certain way of life, then you have everything to be afraid of.

You see, there is a limit. An expiration date to all you could do and tolerate before. You realized that your energy, your vigor, your optimism, and enthusiasm are not bottomless. Your ability and strength to bounce back are not that superelastic anymore. Not only the time (your time) is running out, but also your patience and perseverance. You will wake up one morning to find out that you are tired of running and want to rest, declutter your life in every way and embrace minimalism.

You are ready to settle and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

But what if life is not done with you yet?

What if it decided to test you all over again, toss you around to see if you are still as resilient as before?

Then, my friend, you got a problem.

What to do about it?

Nothing.

There is nothing you can do if fate wants to play.

Either you sign in or___

You sign out.

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getting Through The Cracks

I grew up where, when a door closed, a window didn’t open. The only thing I had was cracks. I’d do everything to get through those cracks – scratch, claw, bite, push, bleed. ~Dwayne Johnson

Only I didn’t do all those things. I was not aware of the cracks. I thought they were doors. I didn’t want to escape, I was happy where I was. I guess if you don’t know any better… I knew there were people who were dissimilar from us but to me, they were just people. I never envy them nor aspire to be like them. Though they behaved differently towards me and my family, their attitude never made me feel inferior or less fortunate. It should have been. Perhaps if it was the case I would try harder getting through the cracks instead of___ what are the right words to describe what I was thinking/doing back then___ going through life one day at a time, more or less happy (in my own way) making the most of how little there was.

I don’t believe in destiny like I don’t believe in supernatural even though I had enough experience to write a dozen books about both. Things happen and that’s all there is to it. I got through the cracks somehow and stay out. No amount of coincidences, conspiracies and risky endeavors catapult me back where I came from. If I believe in luck I would say I am probably lucky.

Lucky that even though I follow my heart most of the time and pride is my greatest sin and I seem to be fond of illogical thinking, I’m still alive and in one piece and far from destitute. Hmmm… maybe the last one is debatable since I am not rich in my own right. Sometimes it is good to be a woman.

There are people who want nothing in their life than to get through the cracks but if offered a lifeline they use it to strangle themselves. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. Watched it happening from the ringside often enough to know that those cases are classified as lost causes. No one can help them unless one is willing to commit suicide. Try to teach them to fish and they will hate you for not just giving them the bounty on a silver platter spoon and all. They want to eat fish but they don’t want to go fishing. They expect you to feed them through the cracks. Day by day, year by year. All their lives.

I guess it could have gone wrong for me also if I didn’t make certain choices. I tried it for size and those few times are the only decisions I ever regret making. No harm done. No course altering or life-changing events but still… those deliberate error of judgment is not to be repeated. Shameful they are.

Chances that could stir my life towards the one I had dreamed of never happened. Not for the lack of trying. It just didn’t happen. Everything I had envisioned for myself never materialized. It reminds me of the saying about God gives us not what we want but what we need. Who needs decades of nightmares I wonder.

If I could choose my own destiny I would choose to be a successful career woman ( what I mean by this is I work as a bestselling author/painter, Broadway/actress, an FBI agent ala Mulder and Scully, food/restaurant critic, travel photographer/journalist, a psychologist or even a pirate) unmarried, childless and enjoying one night stands in every city. Like a man.

Too much to ask?

Or

Maybe I just have to be content that I got through the cracks in one piece.

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Hypocrisy And Self-Awareness

The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions. I am a siren, a mermaid; I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean’s waves and I know that I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea. You are a white witch, a wizard; your spells are manipulations and your cauldron from hell yet you wrap yourself in white and wear a silver wig.

― C. JoyBell C.

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I Am Me

“I have never tried to be a good person or to appear to be a good person. What I do and what I have done is merely a side effect of my desire to become me. I have only wanted to be me; if people think I’m good, then so be it. If people think I’m bad, then so be it. But if anything, my greatest struggle is to not come across as so good. I always find myself asking, “Why do I keep on giving off this immense impression of goodness?” Can I ask the world, am I not simply allowed to be me; without needing to be classified as either good or bad? Being known as good has its own prison just as much as being bad has its jail bars. I am so tired of the need to classify people. I am me.”

― C. JoyBell C.

Photography by Nigel Tomm

Fixation Problem

My ex-husband said I have a fixation problem.

To him, it means not being able to forgive and forget his deliberate mistakes and failing to turn a blind eye to his shortcomings and not shutting up about it.

In another context I would agree with him, I do have a temporary obsessive interest in something sometimes, like scarves, bags, shoes, succulents, porcelain dolls, silk flowers, and food. Luckily like happiness and the first intoxication of morphine, it doesn’t last very long. I could easily forget the obsession and move on to the next thing. 

But while I am in that obsessive state, nothing can stop me. I must and will acquire whatever the object of my desire at that moment. Which reminds me of someone accusing me of exactly the same thing but talking about people.

Anyway, the other day while watching Strictly Come Dancing I noticed that everyone wore a Remembrance Poppy brooch and I was right away interested. I saw paper versions of the same pin but these ones were different, they were proper jewelry, beautiful and shining. Looking closely, I saw that there were few varying designs, some were larger, some smaller, others had only one stem and no leaves and one was with diamonds. After scrutinizing each, I decided that I want only three and was so elated I was practically dancing around on the front of the T.V. 

Then, like a cold November shower, I suddenly came to the realization that there is no way I could have them; not those exact designs, and before I knew it I was in tears. I was so sad if my heart could break it certainly would at that moment. And I don’t even like jewelry and seldom wear any. But those pins were so cute I wanted to put them next to each other and admire them. I like to have anything that can put a smile on my face. There are not so many of those. The list is short: certain puppies, certain dolls, certain babies, birds and anything unusual.

Before the night was over, I have forgotten about the poppies already but for one short moment, they were so important to me, enough to make me cry, and I didn’t even bat an eyelash when I’d lost 2,000 dollars on a bus while on holiday and certainly didn’t shed a single tear during or after my divorce or when my parents died. 

Do I have a fixation problem? 

I don’t know.

What do you think? 

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Paradoxically Yours

I’m a paradox. I want to be happy, but I think of things that make me sad. I’m lazy, yet I’m ambitious. I don’t like myself, but I also love who I am. I say I don’t care, but I really do. I crave attention but reject it when it comes my way. I’m a conflicted contradiction. If I can’t figure myself out, there’s no way anyone else has.

― Imjust-a-girl

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