The very cool artwork on this banner is by Jonathon Earl Bowser and can be found here.
June 5, 2001
All is quiet expect my little MP3 song list, playing away solely for my
entertainment. The little boys are
sleeping, hardwired into that cosmic little boy consciousness from which their
precious little brains are downloading information on new and improved ways to
send me to the nuthouse before that all important 40th birthday in
September. WHAT a week and here it’s only Tuesday. I’m so tired my eyes feel like they are bleeding, but I am
determined to get a decent journal entry done while I can.
Didn’t get my walk in tonight because Eric had to work late and by the
time dinner was over, it was dark. I
did get to see Dr Phil on Oprah today, so I got my common sense fix for the day.
One thing that has always amazed me is that we can listen to someone else
talk about their problems and issues and the answers always seem so clear.
I have been a spiritual counselor for many years, about um, 15 now, I
guess. I don’t do it often because I don’t want to burn out and
I don’t often have much to give to others any more with the little ones taking
so much of my time and energy, but for all those years, I have found
consistently that I can listen to what someone tells me and usually have a
pretty clear path of what they should do come to me.
I know it’s like that for a lot of people.
It’s easy to turn that microscope on someone else and see what we think
should be painfully obvious to them, but turn it on ourselves and suddenly we
are blind as a bat.
On Oprah, Phil was hard-casing
a few people who were brave enough to write to him and ask what to do about this
and that. Some of them amazed me.
One lady was absolutely furious that her husband (a really decent looking
man) had gained 30 pounds since they married six years before.
They were in this huge power struggle where she constantly belittled him
and pressured him to lose this weight. He
lost 11 of the pounds and was scared to death to slip up on his diet for fear
that she’d leave him. She was a slim, attractive, rich-looking sort with a
tight little mouth, smooth haircut that dipped under just so at her shoulders.
She looked at him with such disgust, it was really pretty sad.
Phil ripped her a new one and I thought (hoped) he was going to get her
to cry. No
such luck. He told her that she was going to keep nagging and
pretty soon, she wasn’t going to have that extra 30 pounds around any more to
criticize because he’d be gone. This
guy was totally emasculated and demoralized.
He was a successful doctor, an intern actually, and this *one thing* was
breaking him apart and giving her total control over his life.
I thought of all the lonely women out there who would give anything for a
nice looking, cuddly, thirty-ish doctor to keep them company, who would put him
on a pedestal and show him what it was like to be truly loved and accepted by
someone. She snapped at Phil about
how she was no longer attracted to her husband because he now had a bit of a
gut. When she saw that Phil was not
buying what she was selling, you could see the shutters and doors slam shut on
her head and it was obvious that nothing was going to change for them.
He’d go on being whipped and she’d go on with her love, acceptance
and approval all hinging on the numbers on a scale or the number of notches he
had in his belt.
Another man went on and
on about how much he adored his wife. He’d
been gifted with a beautiful, exciting, magnificent wife and he was angry that
they no longer had sex THREE TIMES A DAY like they did when they first
got married. His wife was heavy,
probably about 180 and quite pretty. She
teared up quite a bit while she was talking about the situation.
She said that if she ever said no, he got “forceful” and
“wouldn’t take no for an answer.” He
seemed very proud of this fact and when Phil pointed out the contradiction in
his statement that he loved his wife so much versus his actions of not caring
how she felt about his sexual demands, he glazed over and obviously ignored
anything that Phil was saying. Again,
I had the feeling that this was a situation where nothing would change.
A woman called in and
said that she had been dating a married man FOR TWENTY YEARS and wanted
to know if Phil thought there was a chance the guy would leave his wife for her.
This man was her ‘soul mate’ and had ‘captured her heart’ when
she was in her 20’s. So here she is in her 40’s, still playing second fiddle to
the family he goes home to. Phil
gave her what for and told her she needed to end the relationship immediately
and go get someone who would put her first.
One more time, you could here the doors closing.
Now, here is my question
and, unfortunately, I know the answer. When,
WHEN are people going to stop asking questions when they don’t really want to
know the answers? (as I just did, I
suppose) When someone says, “I
have this problem and it’s really corrupting my life in X, Y and Z way and I
need to fix it. What do I do?”
what they are really saying is, “Please tell me that what I’m doing is OK
and if you don’t, I’m going to blow you off.”
I agree with Phil’s immediate retort, “How’s that workin’ for
you?” I think when evaluating a
behavior or relationship, it is the foremost concern that we assess if and how
it’s working for us. Obviously,
we have our doubts or we wouldn’t be holding it up to scrutiny.
Beyond the initial evaluation, most people will just shut down and not be
open to any change unless it involves SOMEONE ELSE changing in some way.
The first woman wanted her husband to lose the weight.
She didn’t really want to talk about her control issues or her need for
absolute perfection, she wanted her way, period.
The sex maniac man wanted to fill some void in his life with sex (I’m
sorry, there’s no one alive who needs sex three times a day to the point that
they get “forceful and won’t take no for an answer” when they don’t get
it) and wanted to control his wife by having her bow to his demands whenever he'd
spring one. He didn’t want to
look at whatever is creating the emptiness inside of him that is causing him to
need to act out like this. The
woman on the phone didn’t want a new life with a person who would treat her
with respect and give her a real companion with hope for a future.
She wanted Phil to tell her that she’s an adult and if this makes her
happy that sure, she should wait it out for him to outlive his wife and marry
It really pains me to
see my really dear friends making the same destructive decisions over and over.
I can’t tell you how many useless Tarot card readings I’ve done for
people and endless counseling sessions in which the person had already made up
their mind what they would and would not do.
They just wanted me to pat them on the head and feel sorry for them and
have a comfort party. I don’t
mind that if the person is indeed working things out for themselves and don’t
feel they need any input. Hey, pass
the chocolate syrup and let’s do it! But
when a person comes to me, like they did Phil, and they say, “My life sucks.
I’m not happy. What should
I do?” and I tell them and they blow it off and come back with the same exact
complaint three months and six months and nine months later, it really is
hurtful. Why even bother any more?
I have a friend in another state who has been involved in a relationship
of several years in which the man is often emotionally and sometimes physically
abusive to her. We talk by phone every 2-3 months and she tells me the latest
in the saga of what he has done, then tells me how much she loves him and says,
“Kathy [she is one of about 3 people who still call me 'Kathy'], you can’t
pick who you love.” The absolute
hell you can’t!! If you can’t,
you can sure pick who smacks you around and leaves you deserted in another
state! What scares me is she asks
me to vision for her and I did for a long time and I’ve told her things that
will happen and then have happened. I
told her daughter, “If you sleep with your jack-off, low-life ex-boyfriend ONE
MORE TIME, you are going to get SO knocked up, so be sure and keep your legs
CLAMPED SHUT.” She did.
Clamped around his waist and now they have a daughter who is 5-6 and her
life is coming apart. I told her (the mom) that her no account abusive boyfriend
was going to lose his inheritance because he was going to get in a fight with
his father and not reconcile before his father died. That happened too. It
doesn’t matter how many times I tell her something that is going to happen
that ultimately does. It doesn’t
matter that she “ooh’s” and “ahhh’s” over the accuracy of the things
I tell her when she asks me to vision for her.
She still totally ignores the one thing I’ve told her that is the most
important: this asshole that she
loves so dearly is going to kill her some day and her body is not going to be
found for a long time. People will
not look at what they do not want to see and it breaks my heart to talk to her,
having that feeling and 'knowing' wash over me again like a sick pall and hear
her going on about how she’d leave him if she didn’t love him so much. I can do nothing more that just cover her with love and
protection and hope for the best.
Another of my friends
FINALLY got out of a really awful marriage.
Her husband had been unemployed for almost their entire marriage of 12
years. She is a successful middle
school teacher making about $65,000 a year.
Not too bad. She owned a
beautiful home and had raised the 6 children by her first marriage and all but
one had left home. Her husband was
a retired Air Force master sergeant. He
had a pension of about $1000 a month. He
never contributed a penny to the upkeep of the family.
That money was HIS. He
spent his days sleeping and his nights at the bars, blowing his pension money
the week it arrived and then asking her for more, which she always gave him.
He floated checks between payday advance joints, several at a time.
He was abusive to her children, who, of course, despised him.
He was also a 4th degree double black belt in TKD.
She caught him cheating on her many times.
When she came home from a teacher’s conference, there were used condoms
in her bed, another woman’s panties in her drawer and foreign pubes in the
bathroom. He gave her numerous
sexually transmitted diseases. They
split up 4-5 times that I know of and the last one seems to have taken.
It’s been almost a year since they lived together.
He still hits on her all the time for money and to her knowledge, lives
in his car. She feels sad and sorry
for him. She has grown in leaps and
bounds in the past year and has worked very hard to get used to the silence that
is created both in your home and your heart when you’re partner is not there
any more. I know that silence well
and it can make you do some strange things.
It can make you feel white hot hate for people who have someone to hold
hands with and exchange meaningful glances.
It can make you want to take back the wrong person.
It can make you absolutely desperate to find someone else to go into that
empty space. It makes my friend
meet men on the internet and invite them to her home for the weekend where she
lives with her 17-year-old daughter. It
makes her go out to the bars and pick up men and bring them back home to talk
and have a drink. I am scared to
death for her. Unlike my first
friend, this one knows this bothers me and doesn’t mention it any more.
I can feel it happening, but it hurts and scares me too much to actually
know about it.
When I was talking about
that microscope, man, I can say that it’s true for me as well.
I can look at these people and note the obvious:
you shouldn’t be with someone who abuses you.
You shouldn’t be with a user like my friend’s ex.
You shouldn’t pick up strange men, internet buds or not, and bring them
to your home when you have not spent time with them in person.
All of these things are dangerous. My
life is fairly innocuous right now. I’m
a stay at home mom with a handsome husband who makes good money, nice house,
nice car, batshit kids (but sweet as the dickens), a hokey little internet site
and very few contacts in the real, noninternet world.
There’s not a lot to throw stones at except my weight, my age versus my
husband’s age, my plethora of kids and my judgmental attitude.
Believe me, this piousness was hard won.
I come from a life that would make a lot of people duck and cover. I have done a lot of really, really, really stupid things and
ignored a lot of really wise advice in my time. As it seems to happen, I had to learn the lessons the hard
way that I could have learned more easily had my mind and ears been a little
more open and my heart and mind more willing to entertain the idea of change.
I wish I had learned earlier in life to stop cold the behaviors and
situations that were just not working for me and to have started taking care of
myself first sooner. I thought I
was being a good, nice person by putting the needs of other people first.
I thought that if I had faith in others, they would change into good
people because I believed in them. Instead,
I had to learn to put faith in myself to distinguish the good people from the
bad people and pick better company. I
had to decide that I was worth more than the way these people were treating me,
others and themselves.
One of the things that
Phil pushes is that we teach people how to treat us by rewarding certain
behaviors with a payoff or by allowing them to continue.
I know this to be absolutely, 100% true.
Often, a man or woman treats their spouse or partner in ways that they
would never dream of treating their boss at work (for instance) SIMPLY
BECAUSE THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT. We
often treat complete strangers with more dignity and respect than we do the
person we intend to spend the rest of our lives with.
I’m a big proponent of self-accountability and owning our own part of
any circumstance. I won’t ever
carry anyone else’s responsibility again.
I did that and made excuses to me and the world for 20 years and then I
was done with that. I do not ever
intend to hesitate again in owning my own responsibility, however.
Part of that
responsibility is knowing where to invest the (limited) energy I have. My
family takes up a lot of my time, as does the website (which I really cherish).
That doesn’t leave me much time to give to friends and nonfamily loved
ones, so I have learned that this is a time in my life where I have to be very
selective about the company I keep. I
have net friends, which works well for me because I can work e-mail
correspondence around just about any schedule (like now, writing letters at
11pm). I only have a couple of
friends in real local life, but the one thing I have noticed that has changed
about them versus friends I have had in the past is that they are all movers and
shakers. They are damaged folk,
like me, who are working very hard for self-betterment on a number of different
levels. They are utterly unwilling
to sit in the mud puddle, cry about being messy and expect that I will plop down
in the mud with them, have a beer and cry right along.
When they have a problem, they talk to me about it and say, “OK, what
do you think.” I tell them and I
can see the gears clicking away in their head and I can tell that they are
really hearing what I’m saying and giving it consideration.
It’s OK if they choose another path than what I’ve suggested, because
I know mine was one of many smart alternatives they are considering.
The point is that they are taking action and refusing to allow themselves
to just sit and be miserable. Sometimes
they say, “I don’t need help. I
can fix this on my own, but dammit, I need to rant!”
Then we bitch and gripe together and a week or so afterward, I say,
“Hey, what’d you ever do about that?” and they’ll tell me and that’s
that. One of my friends has been
trying for years to lose what she calls her “fat suit” and is absolutely
busting her ass to do it now. I
look at her exercise journals and can’t believe it’s really her doing all
this stuff. She’s always been
very alive and vibrant and vivacious of spirit and now her body is catching up.
I am immensely proud of her because failure absolutely is not an option
for her. Another of my friends is
determined to find a way to work around a LOT of pain from fibromyalgia that
meds don’t even start to cut and get the life she wants.
She has just started down a path of learning to set boundaries and stand
up for what she wants and she’s working hard to be true to herself and find
out what that’s all about. I’m
very, very proud of her as well.
It is always so
rewarding when you see a person stand up, say, “What the hell was I doing in
that mud puddle?” and start crawling out.
You can see in their eyes that they’ve just had enough mud and are
ready to start walking again, maybe even for the first time in their lives.
Another thing that Phil instructs is, “There are some people who get it
and some who don’t; be one of the ones who gets it.”
When they are coming up out of that mud puddle, you can see in their eyes
that they suddenly “get it.” It
all starts to make sense, the pieces fall into place and they see that as long
as they are sitting in that mud, they aren’t moving.
paralysis” is another Philism and I fall victim to that sometimes.
I am the queen of overanalyzing and used to need to understand every
nuance of WHY something happened HOW someone could do that to me and on and on.
It took a long time to figure out that the how’s and why’s are less
important than the IS. Regardless
of how or why, regardless of whether it’s fair, if the situation IS, then we
have to deal with it, whatever it IS. Deal
with it first, then figure it out later. I
also had to accept (*gulp*) that sometimes, I just never will know the WHY and
HOW. That was the hardest part
because no matter what it was, I felt I deserved to know.
I’ve had to put a lid on my analysis and learn to move first and think
later. Cure the disease, then sit
and figure out how you may have contracted it.
As I said, I have
wallowed in my share of mud puddles while people tried to coax me out.
I have lived in a constant state of crisis for years on end, to the point
that I couldn’t see my way out and couldn’t imagine any other way of living.
The thing is, and this is really sad, but anyone who has experienced it
can vouch for it, that once you “get it” and break the code about mud
puddles, you can’t NOT see it again. You
might slip for an hour or two, but then your going to get so fed up with your
own whininess and complaining that you will be forced to take action. You will never again be able to wallow for years.
The problem is that the same piousness that you direct toward yourself in
those mud puddle moments that you allow yourself is often transferred out into
the world as well. I try to be generous of nature, but I have a hard time
standing around other people’s mud puddles any more.
I’ll throw a rope, offer a hand up, chat for a while, but beyond that,
they’re on their own. If I stop
to hang around and wait for the moment that the scales fall from their eyes and
they finally get it, who knows how long I’ll be immobilized myself?
Nope, if you’re going to walk with me, you’ve got to walk.
Sure, we can sit for a while and if you fall into a big whopper of a
puddle, you can believe, I’ll be there with ready advice and cross my arms and
tap my foot for a while until you cipher your way out of it.
I’ll help if I can, but don’t expect me to pull up a chair and stay a
while. I gots places to go!
I expect the same in return from my traveling companions.
It may seem heartless,
but life is too short to hinge your happiness on waiting for people to change
and to “get it.” I can
guarantee you that the lady with the tight little lips and the fluffy doctor
husband doesn’t get that. Neither
does the sex addict guy who loves his wife into basically raping her and neither
does the ‘other woman’ of 20 years. All
we can control is our own direction, our own reactions and that is where our joy
lies. If we empower other people to
be the ones to give us joy and happiness, we can never relax, never be secure in
our joy, because they are equally empowered to take it away. Then we are back to joyless and unhappy.
We can’t have our happiness pending an action from someone other than
ourselves. True joy had to come
from inside US because that is all we can really control.
Once we take the burden of making us happy off of other people and
empower ourselves to do that, there is no limits to the joy we can experience
and the security we can feel in that joy. This
allows other to just “be.” We
can appreciate their presence so much more in our lives when we aren’t
saddling them with our own responsibility for making us happy.
Once we disengage from that weird struggle, we are often able to see the
people for individuals again, rather than an extension of ourselves.
The empowerment that come from accepting responsibility for our own
happiness and our own life is heady and immediately takes away the victim aspect
of almost anything. Once a person becomes responsible for themselves, no one else
can ever let them down again.
In the instance of my
friends, that leave ME responsible for deciding where I will put my energy and
how much it does or doesn’t hurt me to see them continually putting their
safety at risk. I can distance
myself as much as I need to in order to find a comfort zone in the relationship
and accept that they are free to make their own choices, whether I think they
are dumb or not. The idea of
self-empowerment and responsibility sounds so scary and complicated, but it
really makes things very, very simple. That’s
part of ‘getting it.’
June 5, 2001
They might hear you.
I haven’t journaled in a
long time and there’s a really good reason for it.
I miss it. I really do.
There is so much therapy to be found in purging one’s thoughts into
cyberspace and it really helps me to sort out that junkpile of a brain of mine
to write them out. In fact,
sometimes I can feel the greedy tentacles of madness snaking out of the closet
to get me when I’m not able to have a good writing purge (like now).
The reason I haven’t is that my sons have lost their minds. The little sons, I mean. The older ones are doing OK, as far as I can tell. The little two are absolutely batshit. For example, this morning, in the span of a half hour, Nathan threw a dozen eggs and a 10 pound bag of potatoes on the floor, one at a time. I had the misfortune of going to the bathroom. While I was cleaning up the eggs, he went into the bedroom, stripped all the linens off my bed and snagged a full tube of Crest blue gel toothpaste and rubbed it in his hair, on my mattress, in the carpet and in Dylan’s eyes. Poor Dylan is just an accomplice most of the time and sometimes even the victim. I put the boys in the bathtub and tried to clean up the mess on the carpet, but because toothpaste is basically sticky soap, it just foamed and foamed and foamed and pretty much stayed blue. I hear screams from the tub, went in and found that the boys had experienced the same results with the toothpaste and their tub was aslime with soapy, yucky stuff. Got them hosed down and Nathan’s head under the faucet for many minutes and his hair is STILL minty fresh. He slept for a very short hour and that gave me time to use the carpet cleaner and the last of the carpet soap stuff (as if it needed more soap, I should have used Bissel Carpet Acid or something). My whole day is going from one thing to the next to the next any more. I feel for poor Dylan who gets pulled along with Nathan's destructo mission. In Idaho, I helped run a preschool that had 96 3-4-year-olds enrolled. I've never seen anything like this.
Nathan is now standing at the child gate to my office, taking off his clothes and screaming like a banshee. I took them off of all refined sugar and dairy products days ago, hoping that would mellow them out some. They aren’t on any kind of medication (unfortunately, although I’m considering spiking their juice with valerian). Oh God. He just broke through the child gate.
Click to enlarge
Thank God. He found the bird and is screaming it's feathers off. A moment of peace. *sigh*
I must. get. off. this. planet. Natives. are. hostile. Send help. Must have. . .liquor.
I'll try to find a quiet moment to write
tonight after they fall in their tracks to reset for tomorrow's attack.
June 1, 2001
What a day I had
I took my son to visit his girlfriend in a town about a half hour north of here. I drive a 69 VW hippie bus that normally does OK, but has had some minor gear linkage problems lately.
Click to enlarge
we were getting onto the freeway from the town where I had to drop Josh, I lost
all but 4th gear. I was
able to get the bus up to cruising speed (in the emergency lane) until I could
join traffic. I knew I’d be OK
until I got to the offramp I needed to get to our street.
It’s uphill and I’d have to wait and hope I could get the bus to take
off uphill in 4th gear. I
prayed the light would be green when I got to it and I prayed no one would be
behind me. My connection must have
been off, because the light was a solid red and a line of traffic formed behind
me. That was the longest light
I’ve ever had to wait. The bus
has no AC and the boys were already warm from the102 degree weather, but there
were open windows all along the side of the bus, so while we were moving, it was
very pleasant, but once we stopped, it heated up quickly.
When the light turned green, there were no gears, not even 4th.
The stick shift refused to go into any gear.
Trying to find one, the bus stalled.
It did that about 4-5 times, then it stopped even trying to start up and
the key was like it was turning in a stick of butter.
Horns were blaring, the light changed about 10 times, the kids were
getting hotter and hotter. Finally,
I realized it just was not going to move, so I assessed the situation.
People were still pissed that this behemoth bus was parked in the left
turning lane like it was waiting for the light, but wasn’t moving. To the
left, I had a drop off into the eastbound Interstate 80 traffic. To the right,
three lanes of busy (honking) traffic. The
bus was on an incline and there was no where to push it to if I even could with
a 20 month old and a three year old. I
took anything valuable out of the bus (that amounted to the two Pokemon videos
I’d rented for Dyl and the paperwork for Josh’s recruiter), scooped up the
boys and abandoned ship. I left
notes all over the bus for the cops and started walking.
We made it to a movie theater that is past the freeway and about half way
to our house. Inside, we grabbed
some air conditioning and gave Eric a call and he called a tow truck.
We were on our way back home, walking again, when Dylan said, “Stop,
stop!” I was eager to get home,
so I asked him, “What?” on the move and he asked, “Our bus broke?”
I told him it had and he didn’t say anything for a minute, then said,
“I need a hug.” Until then, it hadn’t occurred to me that he might have
been frightened, leaving our bus behind like that.
I gave him big cuddles and then he said he wanted to go home.
By then, we had made it to the edge of the theater parking lot and he
found a penny on the ground. I told
him to pick it up, because we sure needed some luck!
Just around the corner, parked in the shade, I found a mint condition
Albertson’s (west coast grocery store) shopping cart (!!).
Thankfully to my aching arms, I unloaded Nathan into it, jumped Dylan
into the basket part and we sailed home in half the time.
Poor Dylan was wearing sandals and he feet were killing him from the
walking. We made it home an hour
after the bus died. I put the boys to bed with water bottles and videos.
Eric called and said
that the tow truck would have the bus there within a half hour.
An hour later, he called to say that the tow truck had called him and
said the bus wasn’t there. He called the Highway Patrol and they said it hadn’t been
towed and wasn’t there. They
filled out a stolen vehicle report on it. *sigh*
I figured someone with a wench had pulled it (I knew it could not be
driven without the key because the steering column locks) either to their house
(stolen) or to a nearby parking lot out of harm’s way (good Samaritan).
Then, the Highway Patrol called Eric back and said, “Are you SURE it
was the Eastbound Highway 80 cause we have MAD traffic backing up on Westbound
80 at the Elkhorn off ramp.” Yep,
he’d told them Westbound. So the
bus had never left and the tow truck got there just as the nice city cop was
writing up the impound ticket. The
cop tore up the ticket, the towman dragged the bus to my house and lightened my
checkbook by $60 and the drama was ended three hours after it began.
It could have gone MUCH worse. The
shopping cart might not have been there. The
temperature could have been 110 degrees instead of 102 degrees.
The tow truck could have arrived 5 minutes and mucho impound fees later.
It could have died MUCH further from my house instead of maybe 1.5-2
miles away. Nathan could have taken
a dump on the way home. There are a jillion ways this could have been more
screwed up than it was.
There was a time when
something like this would have jacked my whole day, but it was only one
challenging part of my day. I had
been walking with Dr Phil the night before and he had been talking about
perception and how events are just that, events, and the critical issue is the
power that we give the event over our lives, our day or our mood.
If I am running a baseline of joy, then this was just an unfortunate,
frustrating thing that happened as one of those life glitches.
None of us can live a totally unruffled life, so when things happen, we
have to recognize the incredible control we have to not slip into the victim
mentality. This is one of my first
times to let something like this just wash away and not feel persecuted because
of it. A situation occurred, I
evaluated it carefully and did what I could do.
It doesn’t have the power to take my joy away or even ruin my day.
There were 21 other wonderful hours in the day (well, let’s go with 19
because there were some other pretty rotten things that happened, but that was
OK too) and that still means that the majority of life is good.
I am determined to keep it that way or better.
Also, if you see a lady stranded along the road with two little kids and a piece of shit VW bus, it really is OK to stop and help instead of honking, looking pissed and driving off.
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