ADMIN: Social Media, site updates and other stuff FAQ

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Social Media Presence

Scared, but determined to play

That owl hiding in the bush? That’s me when it comes to social media. I usually get scared and turn away, hide, or freeze once the bullying and harassment start. Then I delete all my accounts for a while. Maybe I will sign up again under a different name, but maybe not.

But life changes as we all do. And right now feels like a good time to explore and experiment with social media again.

Lost Connections & New Connections

And to answer some people about reactions to my posts here, at Scent Reflections, and on LinkedIn about racism:

Yes I did lose about 10 connections on LinkedIn and some followers here too. Not sure who they are or how many for this blog, but I accept that this place is not for everyone. And not everyone on a professional site like LinkedIn will want to associate with someone as public with their life challenges as I am there too.

One Price of Being Authentically Me

It’s one price I pay to be authentically me. And if you wonder about pronouns, I use a variety of them depending on who I talk to:

Family, friends, & day job: she/her Because I am predominantly a she/her. And I was born female. I like and appreciate being female even though I accept and value my masculine and non-binary parts too. But being a she/her is a lot easier for my family and long-term people to understand and accept.

Here, Scent Reflections, and medical/mental health: they/them, she/her, and he/him Because some of my alters identify as “she”, others identify as “he”, and the rest prefer “they”. It’s not something I ever really considered until I reflected on everything going on right now. But it makes sense.

Hiding in Plain Sight? Not anymore (:

As I shared over the past few months, Untangled Connections is now part of my business Scent Reflections LLC. There are links in the menu bar that will bring you to Scent Reflections if you want to connect with me by email or make a donation to help support Untangled Connections.

However, you can also use the new social menu at the top of every page to connect with me. I have links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on there.

Facebook: This page gets automatic posts every time I post new content from the Untangled Connections and Scent Reflections blogs. Sometimes I also share photos and news from other sources.

Regular photos and updates will start (I hope) next month once the social calendar gets completed and I have interesting photos and graphics to share. Graphics being quotes and affirmations from different authors and myself.

Find me using @ScentReflectionsLLC

Instagram: Does not get automatic posts from the blog and currently does not have any content yet. Still working on graphics and photos to share here. Plus a regular posting schedule.

Photos are difficult for me to create and share. Whether they are photos I took with a camera or graphics made using design tools, they take time, money and energy. Most of my photos are taken for the business, so if you want to see garden photos, food/cooking photos, and aromatherapy/blending and creation photos, check this out.

Find me using @scentreflections

Twitter: I shared a post last week about Twitter. You can follow or not, but now all posts published here and on the Scent Reflections blog will appear on Twitter too. You might or might not also find Instagram photos on there, but not sure yet. This social media venue was requested by guest comments and will be removed if no one decides to follow the channel.

For now, I am willing to try and make it work. But I also recognize and accept that many guests who write in asking about Twitter and how to donate to this site could be spam bots instead of actual people. So I am giving all of them and myself the benefit of the doubt with this social experiment.

Find me using @untangledconne1

Pinterest: you can find links to my Pinterest page in the resources section of this website. I haven’t moved everything over to the business page yet so those links still work. Like with the rest of social media, this is an experiment. The channels with the most follows/likes, etc. will stay. The others will slowly fade away after a year or so.

Site Updates

Please review the blog rules. As much as I want to reply to every comment, I can’t do that anymore. It takes way too much time.

Premium Content Features

I’ve decided to add Premium Content features to some posts beginning October 2020. Not sure which posts will get this tag, but if you can’t access it for free, that’s because the post requests a small purchase fee to view. As much as I’d like to keep all the content here free (as in no cost and no copyright penalties), I can’t justify doing that anymore.

Hopefully, the 2 month’s advance notice will help you ease into this new idea.

RSS Feed & Subscriptions

I tried to get a subscription email going through Survey Monkey, but it didn’t work. For now, please use the subscribe options on the sidebar.

If you decide to subscribe by email, your information is safe and confidential. I will not sell your information or use it for marketing purposes without your written permission.

Final Update: I will still be posting once a week, but that day may change due to scheduling changes in my personal and other work calendar. But don’t worry. My alters and I (pronouns used: I/we and she/they and her/theirs) enjoy posting here too much to stop all together.

Other Stuff

Spelling & Grammar Complaints

I feel strange sharing this, but it feels like a blogging milestone. I laughed when the guest comments started telling me that my spelling and grammar need improvement because the errors distract them from reading my posts.

Why laugh? Because I never thought the writing on this blog and website would reach the level of popularity where guests felt comfortable to comment on structure, grammar, syntax, spelling, etc. Then tell me that they will continue to read posts even though the errors annoy them.

And the laughter? It’s not at my guests’ comments. It’s at me and my reaction to their comments – flattered and happy instead of upset and hurt.

Cyber Bullies & Spam? Or genuine comments?

Odd maybe, but the only times I’ve ever seen comments like that are in the comments section of popular writers and authors. They each have their own way of dealing with such comments, but I prefer to acknowledge these guests and show acceptance of different points of view.

Maybe these guests are spammers and cyber bullies. Maybe they are genuine people expressing their opinions. I can’t tell because all comments go to the spam folder. Then I spend hours reading through the comments and publishing the ones that read like they are from real people.

No Response & Comment Not Published

And if I ignore your comment or don’t publish it the first time, it’s probably because many other people asked that question and I considered it spam. Please check the FAQ posts for answers to many of those questions.

Technical Difficulties

I am not tech savvy and depend on WordPress’s customer support to help with technical issues. Thank you all for commenting on them and sharing info with me, but I probably will not be acknowledging any of them for a while.

Why? Because I get the same comments from different guest names even after I put up a post with answers and updates a few days later.

Contact Forms & Communication

Same thing goes for connecting and communicating with guests outside of this blog. If you comment on a post, I will try to respond. If you comment here, I will try to respond. But if you ask me to write back to you personally or share a website, etc. I cannot do that through the WordPress comments. Your identities and mine are protected.

If you really want to reach me, you can use the comment form (connect with me by email) or any of the social media outlets posted above.

Thanks for reading.

Shame: When You/I/We always fear “when will the other shoe drop?”

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

*Trigger Warning: This post may contain triggers; read at your own pace*

The one constant in life is change. Some of us flow with change. Maybe work with change. Or embrace change.

Others fear change. Reject or ignore or resist change. Maybe fight change.

Still more people try to control change. Or influence and manipulate it for their benefit.

No matter what though, change happens.

And how you or I or we or he or she or it copes with the change – the choices we all make – decides whether or not the change helps us or hurts us.

For most of my life, anything good always precedes something bad. Positive paves the way for something negative to happen to me, around me, through me as an instrument to hurt others. And so I spent most of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. Always fearing positive successful situations and experiences because they never lasted or were remembered. The achievements were overshadowed by my mistakes and failures – all gleefully pointed out in the most shaming and humiliating ways in public and in private.

Not until I went to college did I realize the truth: good things were NOT always followed by something negative.

It was a lesson I learned and believed in for others, but not myself. In my mind and the mind of relatives, friends, etc. nothing good would ever happen to me because I didn’t deserve it. But I was intrigued by the concept that people did not have to live in fear of something bad happening all the time. Curious too. And so I observed these people who always seemed positive that good things will happen, do happen, in spite of their negative experiences.

Therapy and counseling in college was my first taste of supportive people. They saw something in me and encouraged me to continue making appointments no matter how much I resisted. And I did resist. Until something happened in my senior year that made me choose to get help.

I don’t remember much about what was discussed in those sessions. Not even sure I remember going to all of them. But some part of me went. And other parts of me chatted with different college counselors in the mental health department of the student center. It’s when I realized that most people around me were interested in being around me because they pitied and/or felt superior to me. These people could say “Oh I am so glad not to be her. I am much better than she is” and get a confidence boost without having to confront their own insecurities.

That pattern continued for a while even after college. sometime in my mid-twenties, that changed because I changed on the inside. And the people who used to invite me to go places stopped. Instead, they were more open in their rudeness and gossip and insults. They made others who I was genuinely friendly with choose between me and them.

I made the choice easy by walking away from it all. Depression is never fun. but coming out of a depressive mode tends to put a lot in perspective. Especially when you have a supportive counselor on your side willing to challenge your perceptions, thoughts, and behaviors through careful, thoughtful, and respectful conflict (i.e. conversations and questions).

Many people don’t like conflict. Believe it’s negative “a dirty word” and problematic. But conflict is like change. Neutral until applied a certain way based on choices. Then conflict becomes positive or negative; good or bad or evil; constructive or destructive. You get the idea.

Personally, I’ve alternately avoided and run face first into conflict. It’s not in my nature to stand passively and let life happen around me. But I’ve learned to be sneaky about how and when I challenge people, organizations, systems, groups, etc. Not subtle or discreet or controlling or manipulative. Sneaky.

The only times I avoided conflict were when my anxiety and triggers got in the way. Then fear took over, survival instincts kicked in, and I walked away to stay safe. From the outside looking in, many people took that survival mode skill as being passive and easy to manipulate; afraid and lacking courage; and unable to handle conflict or stand up for herself.

I used to believe that too until my parts (alter personalities) shared the truth with me. They shared memories and emotions and experiences from their perspective. Because of that and their commitment to not ever go to jail, we avoided a lot of fistfights and verbal augments that could have turned violent and/or lost me my job in many situations.

Still, there is always a price for winning a challenge, being successful, or achieving a goal. Some people will call that price a REWARD. Others will call it PUNISHMENT. Me/We personally call it “Consequences of Choice” – neutral until someone puts a subjective value on the results.

To me, the consequences of my choices – be they winning, losing, or something else – are “the other shoe falling”. Many parts of me still struggle with the idea that these consequences can be positive and useful, even supportive and constructive in some ways, instead of dangerous, evil, negative, etc.

And so, every time any part of me embarks on something new, then completes the challenge or makes the choice or finishes the project, we all wait together for the other shoe to drop. Anxiety and fear turn our mind to mush, and time becomes fluid. Sometimes I/we can get ourselves out of that space without help. More often, though, one or some or all of us require outside assistance to move back into the timeline.

Not the present or the past or the future per se. Because all of us are grounded and aware of being present in the “now”. But mindfulness works best when time follow a clock and moves in one direction – forward. When time becomes fluid, it moves any direct it feels like. And so while most or all of us alters are in the present moment, we feel like we are also in the past and the future and some other place at the same time.

That’s how I lose time and memories.

Maybe you’ve experienced that too. Maybe not. There are ways to cope with that – Mindfulness being one of the best options – but many of the most effective coping strategies and techniques are best learned under the supervision of a trained professional who can help you cope with unexpected memories or feelings that may appear as you practice.

I tried learning some without supervision and ended up down the hole again in relapse mode for a while. The lapses were less troublesome and harmful when I worked on the techniques and strategies with supervision – the people I trusted were my safety net so to speak and helped me cope with the aftermath of learning, failure, mistakes, trying again, and (eventually) success.

So what are those other strategies and techniques you ask?

  • Grounding Techniques
    • Sensory
    • Intellectual/cognitive
    • Perception challenges
    • Remembering facts (birth date, day of the week, time of day, etc.)
    • Mindfulness & Deep Breathing
  • Meditation
    • Visualization
    • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    • Body/Spirit/Energy awareness
    • Reflection
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Spiritual Practice and Rituals
  • Group Therapy – many varieties
  • Support Groups & sponsors
  • EMDR
  • Action Commitment Therapy
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Self Care
  • Self Soothing

I’ve discussed many (or all?) of these in different posts on the blog – so many that I can’t actually share links here. For more info, please use the search tool and category menus to find other posts.

So what do I do now when I feel like the other shoe is dropping? Depends because every situation is different. Last night I used grounding strategies, a diffuser, and a call to the hotline. This morning I used meditation and body awareness breathing techniques while in bed and a diffuser while writing this post.

How you help yourself and cope with the fear is your choice. I can’t and won’t (don’t want to) tell you what to do or promise something will work.

The choice is yours, and I/we are here to support you and your choices.

Thanks for reading.

Sensory Movement Challenge Day 5: An Energy Healing Circle and Jars

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Energy Healing Circles

As an empath and a sensitive person in general, I tend to get overwhelmed with energy and emotions coming from others. It’s not something easy for me to discuss or open up about outside my circle of people who also experience and work with energy on different levels.

Yeah, I still get made fun of and harassed for being like that. But the truth is energy work is a foundational part of my life and recovery journey. So when I find mentors and healers who can teach me how to cope with the influx of energy coming towards me (and often gets stuck inside me) more effectively, I do that.

And when said instructors offer community healing circles and sessions via live stream at an affordable price, I join in and participate. It’s my way of being part of a community of people without having to physically share space or interact with people. We interact on an energetic level with the mentor/host acting as a conduit and connection for us all to share energy and healing and support as a mini community for the time we meditate together.

During the 1 hour healing session, we worked on 2 healing meditations to receive energy and messages from the Source (what our mentor calls God/Goddess, etc.). I cried during the meditation. And also felt a weight lifting off of me as I let go of energy that didn’t belong in my body.

Breathing in and out, I followed the air as it traveled down my lungs, into my sides and back, down through my abdomen and hips, finally back up and out my nose and mouth. Along the path, I felt buzzing inside my body and heard motorcycles driving by outside. It felt like the motorcycles left a trail for the energy that didn’t belong to follow as it left me.

As we moved into the next part of the meditation, I got messages from my dead baby. If you want to know more about that, you will have to search through past posts on Untangled Connections. It’s not something I can write about here and still share on Scent Reflections. But the gist of it is that one of my rapists got me pregnant when I was 15 years old. Three months later said rapist and colleagues aborted the baby. Details about that part of my life are locked away in a trauma amnesia vault.

I didn’t even remember being pregnant or having an abortion until 2014/2015 and have been through the shame and guilt of not remembering before then + flashbacks, etc. ever since. Hearing my baby talk to me was one of many messages that came during the session. Even now, as I write this, other messages are coming to my consciousness.

Is this too “out there” for you? If it is, feel free to ignore anything about energy work and move on to the next section.

Exercise 2: Opening Jars

Have you ever considered what muscle groups are required to open jars? Or how much a person can move when opening and closing jars? Especially when those jar lids don’t want to open?

Well, I mentioned yesterday or the day before about “breaking out the herbs and honey” to make tea. All my herbs and honeys are in jars with twist lids. Mason jars, glass jars reused and re-purposed after the original contents were used up. And original jars the honey came in.

The mason jars are relatively easy to open dry. But add hot water over herbs, and things get tricky. Use jars or thermoses with silicone rings to minimize spills, and suction or air-tight closures make opening the lids a challenge too. But the dried honey in a twist cap jar + air-tight seal is most difficult to open.

I am mostly left handed and use my right hand/arm to hold jars steady while the left one twists. But not always. Sometimes, the right hand grip works better, so the left side holds jars steady. You’d think I only use hand and arm, but that’s not true. Being a short person, I use all the leverage I can get to open jars. That includes shoulders and torso to twist and open the lids. Often with help from a jar opener. But even the jar opener is manual and requires me to grip and twist to open the lids.

The sensory grounding part?

  1. Sound of me cussing as I listen to the lid scraping against the jar, but not moving or opening. Sound of jar opener scraping against the lid.
  2. Sound of hot water being poured into a bowl and splashes as I put the honey jar in the water to warm it up.
  3. Texture of the metal lid, plastic/silicone jar opener, glass and paper label in my hands.
  4. Texture of the oven mitts and towels I used to get a better grip on the jar
  5. Sound and feel of my palm hitting the bottom of the jar to pop the lid’s seal
  6. Smell of ginger infused honey when I finally get the jar open

And yes, I practice hard to be and stay present while opening jars because sometimes, rarely, but often enough opening a jar triggers flashbacks.

So would you consider the process of opening, closing, and moving jars a worthy exercise for the movement challenge?

Reflection

This morning’s healing circle helped me understand the purpose of this challenge and the purpose of being vulnerable and putting myself out there for the Facebook live session on Sunday.

I am open about not being a “people” person. And that’s true to an extent. I have many difficulties physically being around people. That makes helping and supporting people difficult too. So I created my business and my volunteer work around helping people through indirect interactions like blog posts and images.

But new responsibilities at work have helped me feel more comfortable interacting with others over the phone and via video streaming. So, while I am often abrupt and honest to the point of rudeness, I am willing to make time to offer healing and support to my guests at both websites via Facebook live.

You don’t have to respond early. You can just show up if you want to do so.

I admit to being terrible at social media and how to get likes and follows, etc. I admit to not knowing how to get people to comment on posts either. In my mind, any and all of that is completely voluntary and an extremely personal and private choice. I am more of a lurker than a commenter and very rarely comment on my favorite author and website blogs either. So I will not pressure others to do something that I refuse to do on a regular basis.

Plus that’s never been my goal. The fact that you like my blog and visit here means more than you can imagine. And sure, it’s bad business to not promote my blog and try to get lots of “likes” and “follows”, etc. Same with not joining affiliate programs and letting others advertise on my sites. And also with commenting on and following other bloggers and websites, etc.

But that’s not why I joined Facebook or started any of those things. I’m just trying to figure out low cost solutions to communication issues. If people want to write to me safely, I want them to be able to do that. Then I want to be able to respond to them too. Not 1 week later. Not 1 month or more later because their comments got caught in the spam filter. But within 1-3 days.

FACEBOOK LIVE – Sensory Grounding and Healing meditation in my garden

And so I am listening to the messages from Source and trying to find ways to follow them.

One message is offer more support to my guests. Offer them healing meditations and videos.

Give them a chance to ask questions and comment.

Let them feel connected to a community and open it to more than just a blog post or website.

Self Care is more than making sure the practical parts of basic needs are met during this scary time. It’s about staying connected, feeling hope, experiencing laughter and joy, moving even when we feel stuck, and remembering that we are resilient people.

In Sunday’s Facebook live, I will be sitting in my indoor garden with a piece of chocolate, some crystals in a bowl, and other fruit as I talk you through some of the sensory grounding meditations that I’ve written about here on Untangled Connections. Maybe on Scent Reflections too. You don’t need to bring anything except yourself and a grounding object.

You are welcome to join me during the live 1 hour presentation or watch it on your own time later.

Thanks for reading.

Family: Connecting Safely

This weekend I’m flying back to visit family

It’s an unexpected trip, and one I am not too excited about.  With everything that’s happened, I really need some down time.  But I also need to be mindful of the work vacation/sick day policy.  This year, my goal is to stay within the acceptable limits of time off instead of going over by accident or necessity – aka big move or panic attacks or triggers or unexpected family stuff.

Family trees
This was taken back in grad school; branches and leaves remind me of my family connections

My grandma had bad accident late in January, and I couldn’t visit then because of the moving situation.  She is not getting any younger and doing well with recovery/rehab, but I still feel like visiting sooner instead of later is important.  More important than taking a vacation or personal down time to recover from recent experiences.

At the same time, I also need to take care of myself.

My internal family system - sort of
How I see myself…still alive and thriving as I connect my inside and outside worlds

Hence the hotel.  And spending a few days working and connecting with positive people in my network.  I hope it balances out visiting people on my mother’s side of the family too.  And potentially running into my father, brother, mother, etc.

My Self Care Kit goes a little like this:

For flying

  • Warm comfortable outfit
  • Aromatherapy inhalers my friend made me
  • Wireless noise-cancelling headphones + charger/cord
  • E-books/music saved on my phone + phone charger/cord
  • External Battery for electronic devices (fully charged) + charger/cord
  • 1 carry on suitcase + 1 personal bag/backpack
  • Empty water bottle; chocolate/snacks
  • Crystals for grounding, serenity, protection, and mental clarity

For Family

  • Crystals for grounding, protection, courage, and mental clarity
  • Warm, comfortable clothes and accessories in my favorite colors
  • Personal computer with cord for distractions or grounding
  • Chocolate and other grounding stuff
  • Extra warm layers in my backpack in case the house is cold

For Being Where I Grew Up

  • Restaurants with reasonably priced comfort food
  • Room service for times I don’t want to leave the hotel
  • A plan for getting around town – aka public transit card, GPS, and rideshare apps
  • A plan for getting to and from hotel, airport, and work with minimal anxiety
  • Soothing kit that fits in my purse for environmental triggers
  • Fully charged phone with hotline and support phone numbers in case of emergency

And an ESCAPE Plan for everything else.

Things for ME to remember:

  • CBT will help me stay grounded in the present
  • DBT is my best, most effective communication tool
  • No matter what, I am an adult now and can leave ANY time I want
  • Safety first always
  • Travel light, but stay warm
  • Connecting flights are scary, but doable without checked luggage
  • Cramped, middle airplane seats are scarier, but necessary for my budget (sigh)

Hope
A wish that my family will be repaired someday…like the branches of these trees

Wish me luck!  Next post will be coming from a hotel and/or a family member’s house.

Thanks for reading!