Sunday, March 22, 2015

The kettle is singing

"You can do all I couldn't now its up to you.  For both of us, now it's up to you."

When I first I referenced this song here, I didn't really think much of the prologue phrases, it seemed a bit grand or presumptuous. Five months later and perhaps a little growth, a little healing, and I hear something more. I still very much believe my sister was there in spirit with me, singing with me, reconciling and speaking a blessing over me, and the sweet, unasked for generosity of the LORD in granting such a grace causes the tears to roll down my face even now. Sometimes I put the song on especially when I'm working in the kitchen first thing in the morning. That's what I was doing at the time and it's something of a memory that she and I now share together, no matter how far apart our present circumstances. What is more now is that I feel a bit of prodding that "you can do all I couldn't do, now it's up to you."

Let me show you a couple of people from Humans of New York, a photographer who has an amazing gift to get people he's only just met in New York, most often out in public places, to open up a little window into the most vulnerable areas of their lives and then share just a flash of it on his site and on Facebook.

One fellow had this to say: "I have a very clear memory from just a few weeks after I was born. I was lying in a basket and people were making funny faces at me—like they do to children. And I remember thinking in my head: ‘What stupid creatures.’ Only I didn’t know how to express those thoughts until I got older.” 

Another lady related this account: "When I was six years old, I had a vision where I saw everything that was going to happen in my life. Jesus showed me that my life was going to be very tough, but if I stuck with him, and prayed, and cried when I needed to, and ate lots of chocolate, I'd be OK."
"Where were you when you had this vision?"
"At the feet of my foster mother. She was kicking me in the stomach."

 I have this little memory here: "I've always remembered that incident, even tho the photograph did not reappear for about 15 years. I remember it from the inside looking out of my eyes, thinking my thoughts, working my little ice cream plan. I remember being irritated that Mother was interrupting my plan by calling attention to it, I was trying to keep it on the down low, just let that ice cream cruise right over into my mouth. I remember her going to get the camera and returning with it, giggling about how cute I was to Dad. I remember thinking, "I'm going to be burdened with her until she dies."

 As I said before, the thought turned out to be true, and perhaps my concern about that thought kept me fighting to be as kind and generous as I could find to be, lest the thought turn into an unbearable resentment and I betray my Friend's trust.

But now...

So much can change in those two words, can't it?

But now, I'm free to do all or anything neither my sister or I could do when we were bound in the chains wrapped around us as children. Obviously, as this whiny little blog often points out, the progress out of old habits goes slow, but this morning I heard my sister's challenge to courage and responsibility. She never could break free, but I've managed to outlive the terror and now I can do so many things she never had the chance to do, if  I will step up and do it for the both of us.

"It's a winding road when you're in the lost and found."

 Zac Brown's Colder Weather doesn't only describe the typical co-dependent's experience or ideal of love, it describes our experience with so much of our lives. We want, we are afraid we can't have, we get tough and run away, then we come back endlessly around again because after all the emotions play out we know there are relationships and experiences in life that make the rest of it worth living, that make us who we really are underneath everything else our circumstances demand us to be.

He said I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then."

"When I close my eyes I see you
No matter where I am
I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
I'm with your ghost again
It's a shame about the weather
I know soon we'll be together
And I can't wait 'til then
I can't wait 'til then."


Always winter but never Christmas, always waiting for the good times that never come, frozen with indecision before the effort is ever truly made. It isn't my mother who is the witch in Narnia, it's shame and fear. But I've come a very long way, in time and knowledge and experience, and I see signs that Aslan is on the move in me. It's one thing to see Him moving for other people, or even on the evening news, but it is a frightening thing indeed to watch Him move me, almost like a chess piece on a board, move after move, in a strategy that I don't grasp. He is both patient and implacable. He waits, He does not move, then I am moved.

I think I forget that both the children who received the dagger and arrows and a sword of war from Father Christmas were the same children the night before who had never heard of Aslan or their place in the story being told. We think we are who we used to be and forget we are who we've become, and can't comprehend at all that we have nowhere to go but the battle ahead. Enchanted sleeping is useless now, better to wake up and deal with it all in the relentless daylight.  It isn't safe at all, but it is good.

I wish I were more like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Perhaps they should be my patron saints, that I might become more practical, earnest, and relentless in living.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I hate dealing with this shame crap. You have to keep going back to it and uncovering more shit and then you feel like crap but the only way out is to go thru it all and then you have to deal with things about yourself that are true but you just never did because really no one ever wants to deal with some bits but because you are all so special in your codependency/C-PTSD stuff that you get to face up with things and be all honest with yourself and shit damn fuck shitdamnfuck SHIT DAMN FUUUUUUUCCCKKKKK!

That is all. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shame, money, art, journaling

Just this minute found this article on how shame triggers impulse spending and debt, and the ways she is dealing with both.  I swing ever between don't buy anything and small impulse purchases that have added up to quite a bit. The kitchen renovation was the buy I made to bring my mother into my home, there HAD to be a plus side somewhere in the bargain, but that always sets off a whole house spruce up. 


There. Public safety first, you know.

As I was saying, my way of running up debt is to make small, on really good sale, purchases on my credit card, then pay for it later.


You know.

So I found this woman's article not only helpful to bring out the shame element at play, but her lead photograph above is from her journal, which she apparently does in an art journal mix. I've always admired art journals, but being such a wordy girl I haven't really understood an approach to bring art into it. The only ones I've seen before are by super talented real artists who could draw - and I'll never walk thru that room - or perhaps super organised scrapbooker types, but I haven't the OCD for that either. The closest I ever came was a couple of journals that I decorated the covers with stickers as I progressed thru the pages

This picture above I could do. Sometimes I map out words and understandings and revelations in like manner on super sized post-its that can be hung on the wall. I like to have it up at eye level, I can add to it as I pace or pray, and it helps my vision to be able stand afar off and look the whole thing over. Perhaps I could transfer those word maps into simple drawings like this one. It would elicit forms and colours out of me, and in the way the word maps often uncover connections I hadn't known were there, perhaps adding simple visual contexts for the words to inhabit will reveal what I haven't seen before. 

You know, the hardest thing about ADD and C-PTSD is I am constantly moving in response to impulses inside of me that I can't feel or have forgotten. I'm constantly churning in complete surprise to things I can't see, yet those things keep popping up!  

My brain behaves like it is its own secret garden. There are mazes of little gates that I've locked behind me to keep the fears and losses contained, yet the weeds keep blooming. I keep sneezing and fighting off the sinus infections, and the little weed seeds keep jumping the walls to ruin every precious new planting with their trash. Maybe drawing out the lay of the land as I discover it will help me open it up to the Great Architect's eye so He can do something with it. I so want flowers and bowers and fruit trees and maybe even candlelight suppers that I can hardly stand it.

 Because flowers:

Happy St. Patrick's Day. 
May God open the gates and drive all the serpents from our gardens.

p.s., you really should click on "suppers" above. Hyacinth is a real hoot! :D

Friday, March 6, 2015

Drops in the pudding

While I spend way too much time on Facebook, it does yield up treasure that I might not have found otherwise, to wit, Brené Brown.  I didn't find her thru her FB page, but thru this little video someone shared about empathy:

I thought it was beautiful and went looking for more, and after about ten more videos thought her work was something I needed to contemplate awhile. And after about two more days thought I needed to order some of her books, which I did after a couple more days.

Why mention the gaps? You see, in between all the video watching and contemplating, if the material is on target for me and is effecting some change in my soul, it makes me feel ill. I get thick headed, a wee bit nauseous in some back corner of my frame that isn't quite my gut or even my heart, just somewhere behind me in that place I can never see with my own eyes. It reminds me of that Dr. Who episode where Donna Noble has that alien thing attached to her back that she can't see, but others sometimes do.

I'm sure therapists have some name for the process, but all I know is I just have to hold steady and not move from where I am for a bit, may be hours, may be days, just until I've got a new equilibrium and the truth is settled into me and the old lie disabled and resigned to the process of extraction. Some old lies I've clung to for a very long time indeed, since I was a little girl for a few of them. I noticed one the other day that if I give it up, I'll end up changing all sorts of habitual behaviors - if I remain conscious of it and persist in removing it. I can see why people defend a belief based on a falsehood, I'm really going to miss the grief that leads to mac n'cheese with chocolate chasers night. The pain is real, but the balm that makes it bearable is really, Really tasty!

At the core of Brené Brown's work and research is shame and vulnerability. The good news is that exploring the nature of shame and learning how to handle vulnerability leads to creativity and Much better friends and friendships. I've heard more than a few explanations of shame, but they were chiefly definitional and no speaker ever wanted to explore or accept the nature of the beast. Most people, like me, just want to pass the multiple choice questions about shame at the end of the lecture and bounce right on to the good stuff about life without shame. Of course, anyone who is afraid of shame is still living in it, probably covering it up with a lot of pompous chatter, and quite possibly trying to transfer their own to anyone vulnerable enough to take it off them. (h/t Pia Mellody)

To my surprise, the way Brené Brown is explaining shame is making the subject tangible and plainly visible to me for the first time. It's ugly, but I'd like to go on and get a grasp on it and do something about it. She promises we only have to walk around the edges of the shame "swamp," not wallow in it, so with a good torch by night and the promise of a much brighter day at the finish, I'm going in. 

These two videos touch on the key points in her work that I would recommend to others. 

Key spot for me in this one was the difference between "fitting in" and "belonging," especially in our family of origin, located at 5:05 to 9:10 mark.

The second is a short video of her speaking to a group, entitled "Shame is a Self-Worth Injury." I had never, ever considered shame an "injury" before, especially since I first learned about shame from sermons. I had tried to learn about it theologically, but it isn't a religious concept, it's a psychological/medical trauma - and if you understand that, then Jesus our Healer starts to make actual sense. Don't worry, Brené doesn't talk about religious cures at all, she's a therapist, let her do her therapy thing, it's good:

About the blog post title? I'll explain it later, gotta run now.