44,572 words.This is, according to my “insights” how many words i have written in this blog since it’s onset in July. 77 posts so far and still keeping up with my commitment to post daily. 940 views and 16 followers. But seriously, Folks, as much as i would love to be a “popular” world famous blogger, i do this for me, and no one else.I would write every day, even if no one ever saw one word.
Since November, i have been recreating my life.Quietly and steadily. I quit alcohol completely in January, all of my daily meds except one in April, quit “relationships” in May, and quit social media in July. That is a sh*t ton of major changes for a person. I have also bought a house for the first time in almost a decade , gotten involved in several local art events that i previously did not, and continued to run our own little monthly open mic and art venue ( along with my roomie).As of yesterday, we will be partnering with another organization to continue the monthly events while keeping them separate from our personal space.
Many changes in a short amount of time like that puts a person in a completely different frame of mind. For me- the things i let go of were “crutches” that covered up and blocked out issues that i never dealt with .It’s difficult to describe how i feel NOW without sounding glib.But i assure you that the words i write here have been written with pure and hopeful intent , and serve as a reminder for me.
I appreciate every comment , like, and view that i receive. It’s been good for me to know someone is looking from time to time. But mainly, it’s been my own therapy tool.
The next phase of my process will involve dealing with my past.Having a more conscious and clear focus these days has brought me to the realization that it is something i must pursue if i am to change my life moving forward. I hope you will join me on the journey . Thanks so much for reading.
I like most of my imperfections. Not all of them mind you, but most. I have a lazy eyelid. I have more than a few scars. I have a rebellious nature that I cannot seem to quell. My sense of humor tends toward sarcasm. I am short, I have curves, I have wrinkles and dark circles. I was not the perfect mother, daughter or sister. I am not the perfect nurse. I have never been the perfect partner . I cannot cook like Julia Child or sing like Pavarotti. I don’t work out like Arnold Schwartzenegger or keep house like Martha Stewart. I cannot paint like Michelangelo or act like Julia Roberts,. I do not write poetry like Byron and my blog posts aren’t quite edited properly.
But imperfections do not always equal flaws. Each of us is unique and we are not meant to replicate exact measurements. Too many times , we place ourselves on some impossible pedestal in our heads and impede our own growth in the very areas we seek improvement. And while striving for improvement is a good thing, striving to be like someone else is NOT.
Personal example: I would love to be able to paint like..i don’t know.. about 100 famous painters. I can’t pick which is my absolute favorite. They all have different styles and mediums.
I would love to have a body and face like a 100 other famous women. Also each unique-in ethnicity, height, weight, and structure. I would like to live the life of ( or be like) about 100 other famous people- some wealthy, some poor, some dynamic, some serene and peaceful, some intelligent and some wise. And I cannot imagine if I only had one in each category to choose from!
I like to read about these people- their lives, their values and beliefs, their happiness and sorrows. I learn over & over from their experiences . Many times, it’s their imperfections that have created who they are. They often express feeling awkward and ugly , feeling stupid and unwanted, “missing something” in their lives, feeling injustice and experiencing cruelty. It is what pushed them FORWARD. If none of that was the case- my guess is- we would never have heard of them at all.
I am not preaching self-acceptance here. There are some things we absolutely need to work on , fix or see in a different perspective. Many things are in our control and too much “acceptance” keeps us in stagnation. But there are some things we tend to focus on that don’t NEED to be changed. They are just part of what makes us who we are. Including our experiences, physical flaws, “natural” talents or lack there-of, and numerous other qualities that just “exist”.
Attempting to be like someone else is never the goal. It is an exercise in futility. I will never get rid of my scars and my basic body structure is what it is. I cannot change the genes or DNA I was born with. My experiences are history and cannot be rewritten. I cannot change my ethnicity or where I was born or who my biological parents are. These are what makes me , what has formed who I am today, and have to a degree , determined the choices I’ve made. What I can change is my perspective about those things and my future choices. I can improve my skills with practice or enhance my appearance with some effort. I can learn from experiences and seek to correct mistakes. Take some time to address “changing the things you can” and “accepting the things you cannot”.. it’s the difference between eternal frustration and “the wisdom to know the difference
Whenever I feel the heavy cloud of isolation settling around me, I refer to it to consider what I have or have not been doing that has contributed to my feelings.
I could not have given any one out there better advice than what I have found in the above article, and it focuses on loneliness as a whole. Other than a brief mention of a “rocky event”, however, it doesn’t really address the basic reasons we feel the loneliness in the first place. Before we can seriously use any of this great advice, it’s a necessary step- understanding the “why” of it all.
First, there is the argument that, generally , humans are social creatures form the onset. While this is true, it doesn’t mean we don’t also need time alone. Second ,there is environment- For most of our lives we are socialized – by our parents and family, then by our educational system, then finally by our work life. And, for sure- we absolutely need to connect with other humans, lest we become too isolated and under socialized. But while each individual has a unique experience, most of it just entails variables of the aforementioned pattern. Thinking back as far as you can remember, ask yourself a few things:
As a child, or teen- did my parents encourage me to spend time completely alone?
When I was attending school, was alone time encouraged?
Does my workplace encourage it?
Most of the time the honest answer is “no” or “not really”. Sure, there are parents who work so much they just aren’t around. These children are forced to find their own alternatives and they aren’t usually very good ones. And there are some frustrated parents will say “just go outside and play” but not usually because they want a healthy experience for YOU-lol.. But there is a rare parent indeed who insists their child “learn how to be bored” for the purposes of healthy mental /emotional growth. There should be more of them. As a parent and grandparent , as well as a pediatric nurse, I can always tell the child who has been indulged with socialization most of their lives. They are easily bored ,agitated, hyper, and prone to temper tantrums. They use any behavior they can to get noticed and can strain the nerves of even the most patient caregiver- not to mention others in public. They have been over indulged and expect constant entertainment and attention.
On the other hand, the children who have been encouraged to manage alone time and contend with boredom are polite and appreciative of other people’s time . They do not constantly interrupt adult conversations or bounce around pulling at pant legs, or getting into things they know they shouldn’t. Many will happily look at or read a book, do puzzles or find something interesting in whatever environment they are in to entertain themselves until appropriate moments or real emergencies.
When in school, other than nap time in kindergarten, almost everything is geared towards group think and group participation . The child or teen who has a tendency to be a loner is often ridiculed or singled out for negative attention. It’s easy to see why, by the time middle school starts, fitting in and peer pressure become so intense. Many turn to negative forms of self-indulgence( computers, TV, drugs, alcohol, etc.) if they were not taught how to manage on their own. Promiscuous behavior as well as cutting is more prevalent in females. Aggressiveness, criminal activity, wreckless driving, and excess partying is more prevalent in males. The only real solution to this is private or home schooling, and if that isn’t an option, quality parenting that includes teaching tools to gain knowledge about ones inner self. Some of these can include meditation, yoga, walks in nature, and reading time- alone. P.s.- homework and study time do NOT count and sports, while they have merit, does not address individual internal needs.
As we get into our careers or work life, most of us ( though not all) will be forced into environments where there are many people around us all the time. Much of the stress we hear about is a direct result of having to deal with “other people”, and very little stress about the actual job itself. This is not to say ( as with my own situation) there isn’t an opposite extreme where some jobs are very isolating. The real problem is a matter of balance.
All of the above contributes to the “why” , in this day and age, we have become so accustomed to NOT being alone, that when faced with it we turn to social media, gaming , and poor lifestyle choices, even as adults.. And “why” when we abstain by choice (like I have) or are forced to, we have great difficulty in processing how to deal with it. But as adults, we still have many of the same options if we put forth an effort -without needing or seeking out constant companionship, or turning to a quick fix or convenient, but purposeless or destructive activity. We have a choice. We can undo old habits and the conformity of our lives. I have made progress. But only after assessing and understanding the reasons was I able to seek positive solutions. I have come up with a few and expect to find more as I go.
There is a difference between loneliness and being alone, as they say, and the balance is out there if you commit to finding it…
If anyone has ever even watched a movie about recovery or AA , you know that one of the things that it includes is “Coins” ( also called chips) that commemorate a set amount of time one has maintained sobriety. Generally, it starts with a 24 hr coin , then 30 days, 60, 90,120, and so on. There are also special ones in various colors and alloys designating various milestones. There are no coins for this type of anniversary( 60 days off social media)..lol. But what I do have are the following discoveries:
I notice other people on their phones a lot more than i ever did.I also find it more annoying.
i have WAYYY more time than i thought. I actually have multiple evenings throughout the week when i can happily enjoy an extra hour or 2 of sleeping in OR get a lot more errands ran- that extra 20-30 hours a week when i used to scroll.
i don’t really know, or even care really about news. The world will go on without me regardless. Nowadays , when someone says “did you hear…..?” i can say NO( with pleasure) 99% of the time. I don’t feel like i am “missing” anything in that respect.
i have a LOT less negativity in my life. No more gossip, trends, topics of the week, controversy , or bids for validation.It’s weird at first, but i’m finally settling into it.
I’ve discovered ways to nurture myself and re evaluate what is important to me without being swayed by anyone.
hate to say it, but in many ways have discovered who my “real” friends/family are. In no way am i spiteful about that, it’s just made me more appreciative of the ones who do reach out:)
i sleep much better- no more drama filling my head
My thinking is more clear and focused..not 100% of the time but way more than it has been in over a decade.
i am able to entertain myself much more easily. I appreciate life more. I make better choices and decisions .
I am still not where i want to be. I have a LOT to learn and struggle in certain areas ( like isolation and self doubt). But i say with absolute certainty that it feels 200% better than before.
i now choose my purchases without the perversion of advertising.
i am less confrontational since i am no longer exposed to billions of opinions, “trolls”, and controversial topics.
in my research, i’ve noted hundreds articles addressing the abstinence topic, and it seems that most are afraid to stay without tap dancing or backpedaling that it’s ok to completely abstain (or even better for you)- which , naturally tells me that there’s something rotten in Denmark.
noticed that many people who have gotten “off of Facebook” have just swapped it out with other forms of social media.
there are still those who make fun of or attempt to humiliate those of us who chose not to use social media.
i truly don’t care who does or doesn’t use it. If you can say your life is better for it, far be it from me to deny you your pleasures…just as long as it doesn’t interfere with mine ( hint: look up once in awhile and especially stop looking down while driving)
And now -onward and awaiting more enlightenment …Namaste!
I raised my children with one philosophy. …”Be the Wolf”. A few years back my daughter made me realize she had always thought it meant “don’t be a sheep”( i.e. following the crowd ) and i had to explain that wasn’t it…. entirely.
The phrase encompasses many things but basically i describe it as follows:
First of all, don’t be one of the sheep. Just because all your friends are doing, saying, wearing or buying something- it doesn’t mean it’s right for you, or the best thing. By not choosing the same things , it doesn’t make you weird or abnormal. It makes you an independent thinker and someone with your own mind. You don’t need someone else to tell you how to think or behave. That’s why God gave you a separate brain and body. We had no Tv most of the time, did not read the newspaper or listen to the news, we did not go to neighborhood (or even very many family parties) or belong to any “clubs”. We did things without the influence of the Zombie like world around us.
Second, Don’t try to be the shepherd. Leaders are often put in the position of having to please the crowd. They take on the heavy responsibility of wearing that crown and often become corrupted in the process. Becoming popular is a heady experience ..but with all that power , it’s tempting to become egotistical and self-serving. Make choices in your own life, and help others when they need it. But don’t become a slave to position.
Third-Be the wolf. Life is about survival. As in most things, once you have obtained your basic needs it’s time to get out . You don’t need to hang out waiting for something bigger or better to come along. Leave something for others. Because it’s not always about your own needs- sometimes you have to feed the pack too. There’s a time for both. Develop a strong sense of choosing which is best option.Sometimes, it’s get in, get want you need, and get out.And live life on your OWN terms.
Overall, my children have turned out to be wonderful, caring and discerning humans. They have chosen friends wisely and not fallen into group think. They are unselfish in ways I rarely see in their generation as a whole. They have made it to adulthood without addictions, criminal records or other destructive life choices. They have excellent careers, remain close as a family and still show an amazing amount of compassion and concern for others. I am one proud Mamma.
Best of all, they have both told me i was a good mom. Not perfect , but good. We are loners as well as a pack, we have survived and we remain close. And that’s just about all a Lone Wolf can want in life:)
By the time we reach age 4 or 5 we start training to become a master of excuse forming.
My stepfather said something to me every time I made up excuses to get out of something I didn’t want to do or had no legitimate reason why I couldn’t do them ( like a book report or a hated household chore). He also used it frequently when I complained often about something I WAS still doing , even though I obviously continued to do it (Like eating too many cookies or staying up too late).
“Excuses are like ____, everybody has one.”( insert your own word here, mine wasn’t very P.C.)
The phrase stuck with me over time, and I heard it often in the back of my mind when I KNEW I was making excuses, procrastinating or in denial. It was like this for me for approximately 2 years before I decided to deactivate from Facebook, and got worse as time went on.
Some of the excuses I used were:
It helps promote my art/business/etc.
It’s how I connect with friends I haven’t seen in years or decades
It’s how i find out about local events, and even deaths & illnesses
It doesn’t affect me the way it affects some
I can walk away anytime I want
I don’t use it THAT much
I know how to avoid it becoming a problem
I just won’t scroll anymore
I’ll limit myself to __ minutes a day
It’s part of life, almost everyone does it
And so on. Ironically, those last 6 excuses and rationales can be and are used for just about any addiction or bad behavior. It’s about avoidance and complete denial that we can actually control things- our drinking, our smoking, our substance use- or that it doesn’t matter. But it also applies to such “innocent” things as scrolling and excessive time online doing very little of importance.
I posted before about the lies we tell ourselves. And how deeply they become embedded in our psyche. We will reason, manipulate, justify, defend and do or say just about ANYTHING to continue a bad habit. Or perpetuate an unnecessary one.
If you have said any of the above about taking a break from Facebook here is my challenge. Try it for a week..2 weeks or 30 days. No need to commit to 6 months- because I can tell you, it is NOT easy. The first 30 days felt like 6 months!!! But, you won’t ever know how much of a “crutch” you truly have , if you don’t test it out. Worst case scenario, you miss someone’s explanation of the bad cold they had all month.
On the positive side, along the way and in spite of my occasional lament, I have found alternative ways to cope. Healthier, more productive ways. Constructive and self-empowering ways. Meaningful and growth oriented ways. If you haven’t truly asked yourself “why do I need it?” and come up with a legitimate , verifiable answer, then perhaps the answer is in the question. You don’t. You are choosing it. And choosing everything that comes with it no matter how destructive or negative that may be. Namaste!
1.In 2007 I weighed 107 lbs. I have gained 15-20 lbs. since then. In the past few years I have tried various diets and been off & on with my gym routine. I’ve been both disgusted and angry with myself alternating with giving up at times.
2.I quit smoking after 25 years in 2001. I re started in 2011. I have tried many different options for quitting over the past few years, to no avail.
3.As I explained once before in a previous post, I have suffered with neck & back pain from an injury in my early 20’s that has become chronic progressive arthritis. There is no “cure” just a zillion things to help with the symptoms. I have tried almost every single one of them over the past few decades
4.I love playing pool. I always have. The thing is, I suck at it. Once, a 5 year old beat me who had never played before – and he could barely see over the table. I have tried videos, special balls, reading strategy books and even taken lessons. I’ve owned my own pool table ( twice) and a variety of special pool sticks. AND I used to WORK in a pool hall.
5.This past year I started going through menopause. It has been a night mare. I’ve been doing mega research and trying everything under the sun to deal with it. I cannot take estrogen and am allergic to CBD. There are days when I just want to crawl under a rock and hide.
Now, what do all these things have in common ?
They are things that I never gave up on just because I haven’t I have found perfect solutions. All of them are issues that may :
Never be resolved
Are unlikely to be resolved
Can be resolved with a LOT of effort and discipline
WILL resolve eventually
Have been mostly resolved
May be resolved but may come back
May resolve but not without consequences
Now can you match the first list up with the second?
“Wait, you say, is this a trick?” Nope.
Just because I listed 5 issues and there are 6 answers doesn’t mean I messed up doing the math. Here’s the deal.
I have a plan for the weight gain. The reason I do is because I know my body. I know why I have gained the weight and not ALL of it is my fault( some is normal aging, some is menopause ). But, the majority of it is. And, I know myself. I have the discipline to fix it. So #3 is the answer.
I truly hate what smoking does to my body and how it makes me feel. That isn’t enough for me to stop. What will likely happen is I will keep trying various methods until at some point , the pain and discomfort and possibly hospitalizations will force me to quit. Or I will die. Sad, but true. So, #7
I worked on this for many decades. I have discovered that 99% of my pain is resolved by consistently sleeping on the floor. It took years of trying every suggestion, wasted time, money and disappointment, not to mention exposure to medications before I found the solution. This does not mean it wont come back, because , well, “progressive” So, #5 & #6
I still like to play pool. I have accepted that I cannot play well and I still do not know why. That doesn’t mean I will never play. I’ll just enjoy it for what it is. So, #2
Menopause sucks for sure. I will continue to try anything reasonable to alleviate the symptoms. It is also not forever, so # 4
Now, boys & girls which # didn’t I use? That’s right, #1. It’s never an option.
And there is no “Perfect Solution”. Except the solution to keep trying. If there was only one option for anything we would all be looking, doing, saying and believing exactly the same. I just keep going. I test new things. If I fall off the cart, I get back on. Think about these examples-If gastric surgery were the only option for weight loss, if nicotine patches were the only way to quit smoking, if AA was the only way to quit drinking we would all be cured or not cured based on only the choice to do or not do ONE thing. Ridiculous! This applies almost every problem we can have in life. So, don’t give up.. keep trying… as long as you are breathing, every minute is another chance. And the possibilities are endless! Namaste!
IF you have dared (or thought about daring) to follow along with my process and feel ready to move on ( see “Let’s Start with Labels”-step 1 and “The Next step-What is Truth?”-step 2) This is my next step. I will assert one last time- these are MY steps and suggestions. If you prefer to follow a professional there are plenty of online sites to choose from and it’ surely not going to hurt my feelings. In fact, over the years I have used multiple online strategies to gain perspective on my life and how to improve it. Consider this the culmination with some added personal experience.
Ok- we have our self-imposed labels and personal truths established ( for the time being). We have started the process of understanding where we got such things along the way ( people in our lives, articles we’ve read, experiences, etc.)
The next thing I write down were all of the things I felt were “problems” I had to deal with:
My weight gain
Lack of being in shape/health issues
Being social outside of the computer
Lack of contentment with current living circumstances
Apathy and sometimes frustration about my job
Complaining all the time
Changing views about commitments: community, art, family, friends
Changing views on intimate relationships
Average to poor eating habits
Needing other options for stress relief
Time management/organization needing overhauled.
Some of these overlapped. Some I had been working on but not with focus or determination. Some of you will have more, some less. This list certainly isn’t all inclusive. And some have subcategories like caffeine management, produce consumption, water intake, etc. ( #14). I didn’t tackle everything all at once even though many would see it that way. I started with the most important one though (#13)- because this carried over into all the rest. Pick your priority. It’s usually the one that affects everything else. And put that one on a separate page. Because the next step will be brainstorming possible specific solutions. It may seem overwhelming .Eventually all of the listed items will get addressed, some, surprisingly, with the resolution of others. But you won’t know if you don’t start with that first one.
P.s. I forgot to mention that it’s helpful to keep all of your work in one place- a notebook, in a computer file, etc. But somewhere they can be accesses when you have time to write and evaluate. That’s it for today and hope it is of some help. Hugs!
This post is very personal to me. And it may not apply to everyone . So, in sharing here, understand that I am bearing my soul, while embracing the very private pain I sometimes feel.
Since I began my journey to become a better, more fulfilled and peaceful person I have gone through numerous emotional processes. Many I had no way of anticipating. just from quitting alcohol, for instance- I assumed my life would suddenly get miraculously better. I would lose weight, have energy, and be positive, brilliant, and wonderful all the time. Not so. Anyone who quits alcohol has a unique story to tell, and it was certainly no different when I (additionally) decided to quit social media.
For me, there has been a tremendous amount of mood swings( between the 2 processes plus going through menopause) including anxiety and depression. I have felt isolated, awkward, and hopeless. I have felt completely alone and misunderstood. I have felt ignored and rejected. I have had highs and lows and everything in between. Sometimes I even think I am truly insane. I’ve wanted to isolate myself, run away, and yes, even start another bad habit or 2 to dull this paralyzing and bizarre roller coaster ride. I never expected that .Let me explain ( and you can laugh at some if you want because some days I swear I’m related to Woody Allen.. lol)
Sometimes I don’t want to go to things I am invited to or know about , even if i really want to because I am afraid of so many things. These things can include ( and I kid you not) the fear that there will not be a close by bathroom or enough toilet paper, that I won’t be able to find parking or have to go into a parking garage, or that I will get lost.
Sometimes, I avoid talking to someone, even if I can see they are very friendly and open, because I fear that I will say the wrong things, say too much or too little , or that they will see right through the thin veil of confidence I try to exude.
Sometimes, I dress/undress several times before going anywhere because I feel too old, too fat and too unattractive. I try to avoid going out at times when this is really bothering me.
I fear that everyone can see recovery written all over me, and I will be avoided because it makes others feel weird.
I fear that I won’t be able to handle a social situation for uncountable reasons- like- I’ve had too much coffee, not enough coffee, or because will get bored( or any combination of the above #’s 1-4) .
I fear water sports, I fear going upstairs in front of or directly behind someone. I fear not being able to see ALL the exits in a building or restaurant and choose my seat accordingly. I will NOT sit in the back part of a booth. I fear a spider crawling in my ear when I sleep. I fear touching a boat load of things out there because of germs- hands, railings, door knobs, etc. The list is endless.
Sometimes I sit staring at walls for hours just because I have no idea what to do with myself because my brain is playing chicken with me…daring me to do stupid things , then laughing at what might happen if I do. I figure at those times that I should probably just not move…out of fear. Safer to sit and stare into space.
Most of the time, though, I fear that I fear these things.
the # of fears that have suddenly surfaced during this time frame have made me question my very sanity. It’s like , without warning, I now have a ton of neurosis to deal with. And I have to do it raw, unedited, and without a script. I can’t numb them out or ignore them. It’s like waking up to a new scab every day and having it ripped off as soon as it starts to heal.
Scary. Because I have always thought of myself as “fearless”. After all, I have been a competitive rock climber, sky dived, went spelunking, obtained over 5 different degrees, and lived a life of extremes. I have tempted fate so many times I’ve lost count. But without anything to help me through it all ( meds, alcohol, or other bad habits) it’s been very frightening. You know what the craziest part of all of it is? I’ve had all of these fears, all of my life. I just didn’t know it. They aren’t new. I’ve just covered them up and blocked them out in every way I could manage. It’s called Phobophobia. It’s a reciprocal nightmare. It’s rare. And it’s deeply embarrassing and personal. It was even fearful for me to post it. Because now it’s out there. ANNNND my compensatory choice is adrenaline seeking! Talk about crazy….lmao.
If this is you, and you are going through the same, I salute you. If you are doing any kind of recovery or major life change without meds, alcohol, marijuana, or other substance, not even a little, you will know exactly what I mean and I salute you even more.
But fear is a gift. It makes us face the very base human parts of ourselves. And we have a choice to grow and learn from them or ignore them and try to muddle through.
list of 10 types of social media and what they’re used for( from an online source):
Social networks—Connect with people
Media sharing networks—Share photos, videos, and other media
Discussion forums—Share news and ideas
Bookmarking and content curation networks—Discover, save, and share new content
Consumer review networks—Find and review businesses
Blogging and publishing networks—Publish content online
Interest-based networks—Share interests and hobbies
Social shopping networks—Shop online
Sharing economy networks—Trade goods and services
Anonymous social networks—Communicate anonymously
I came across this list while researching “social media marketing”. Reading them aloud to my roommate was the moment when I realized how crazy complicated things have become out there. I never knew so many formats existed to coerce us into buying , believing or selling things and ideas.And in spite of the list including what it’s “used for”, every one of them has been corrupted for the purposes of making money or forwarding an agenda. It’s exhausting , and scary.
Notice the use of this popular meme(above) for an article encouraging “entrepreneurs” and businesses.No longer are these cute and sometimes funny ‘photos with quotes’ just for providing laughs.
I wonder how many out there have, up until now, realized how often we are being subliminally controlled by some of the very things we use for entertainment, news, socializing or information in general. And this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
Yes, advertising has been around for millennia in one way shape or form. The big difference is that it wasn’t in our faces 24 hours a day. It wasn’t snuck into innocent platforms and trusted news sources in such a way that no one knew it was happening. Truly, I am running into more reasons to write this blog than I expected. That’s all for today -and isn’t this enough???