Alter Post: Body Acceptance Stories

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*

To be fair to all of you, this post is written by many of us off-the-cuff. You will see spelling errors, grammar errors, etc. as your read. If that is not something you want, please stop here.

Read More »

Anger: I wrote a post, forgot to save it, and lost it…

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*

I wrote a post about anger, triggers, racism, people-pleasing, and boundaries. But I forgot to save it as I wrote and lost all the content. No photos other than the main photo because this isn’t the type of post where I can find appropriate ones.

So instead of re-doing all that, I’m going to keep this as concise as possible.

My boundaries have been constantly violated this past few weeks by people who connected with me over social media to be “friends”. They pushed and pushed until I finally put my foot down and ended the “friendship”. And yes I have quotes around that word because their idea of friendship did not meet mine.

Each of these challenges had me constantly wondering what life lesson my spiritual guardians were teaching me. It kept me up a couple nights this week. It stressed me out so I have been off my diet lately – by diet I mean forgetting to eat or not feeling hungry and doing something about that. And it made me extremely aware of the changes in my body.

Positive changes, but still changes.

So then I realized this was a boundary challenge and a lesson about social interaction. I am not a social person. My interaction is mostly limited to my parents (daily), work (frequent, but not often), and other people once or twice a month. Email and text are the preferred communication tools, but phone calls and video happen too.

My interactions with these people felt overwhelming and frustrating. They texted multiple times a day every day for over a week using the social media messengers. At first, they agreed to friendship. But then they wrote comments that seemed outside of friendship and into the realm of intimate relationships. And they refused to give me personal space when I asked for it.

But I felt confused because my experience with this kind of social interaction and communication is almost zero. So I asked myself what is really bothering me about all these communications? Is it that I started an account with another social media app to chat with this person outside of LinkedIn safely? Is it that I felt let down that I gave in to peer pressure and shared outside contact info with two people who were strangers?

And was I letting myself down by ending potential friendships with these people when I was trying to “put myself out there more”?

That final question was the biggest and most challenging to answer.

But in the end, I valued my personal and emotional safety more than making and keeping friends. These people, with their constant need for communication, disrespect of my personal boundaries, and triggering comments/emojis made me feel exposed, triggered, and unsafe to the point where I had trouble sleeping and eating again.

Between them and the big racism issues popping up everywhere, I felt like I was falling down the rabbit hole again. Nightmares, dreams, you name it I experienced it all week long.

The lesson I learned?

I am enough as I am. I am putting myself out there and trying new things. Sometimes, the “new things” don’t work, so it’s okay to stop and move on.

Being solitary suits me so there is no need to try and form outside friendships or continue friendships that feel unsafe. Next time I start to feel this way, remember Theodore Geisel aka Dr. Seuss and his reclusive, yet successful and happy lifestyle choices.

So yes I am angry. I feel residual past anger and present anger. The challenge now is to climb out of the rabbit hole.

Thanks for reading.

Use Our Skills. Work Together. End Racism

Coping Challenges: Racism is a problem everyone experiences

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.

First, I am not black or African American and cannot imagine what you all are experiencing, feeling, or coping with right now. (please forgive me for using incorrect labels. I don’t pay attention and am not politically correct, but I also don’t want to offend anyone either).

Second, I am not going to pretend or ignore what happened, but I will be honest and say that I am not following the news or media closely and haven’t for over a decade. That is why I choose not to get political or share a specific opinion about recent events.

Third, the rioters and protesters marched by and partially surrounded my apartment building 2-3 nights in a row from Friday to Sunday. As I listened to the anger and the rioting, I hoped that the news and media would focus on the peaceful protesters and the important message instead of the violence.

Finally, I’d like to tell you all that racism affects everyone no matter their race, gender, religion, orientation, financial state, origin, intelligence level, or anything else that might be used to make a person feel less than human. And it’s up to all of us to use our skills and work together to end racism.

As I said in the beginning, I can’t imagine or know what the black/Afirican American community is experiencing. At the same time, I can and do offer compassion because I can relate having been a victim of racism and experiencing racism from authority figures – including the police in my past.

I can’t donate money or use my voice to speak up. But I can use my skills in other ways to work with you and other groups to end racism starting with this blog post. Your efforts are recognized, valued, supported, and encouraged here.

Thank you to the people risking their lives on the front lines as they speak up and speak out and put action behind their words.

Thank you to the people whose small, quiet acts of kindness and support to end racism may go unnoticed as the flashier actions get the attention. You are recognized, seen, and heard.

Thank you to all the people who help in their own way. What you do matters too.

And for anyone who is not sure what to do or how to support the end of racism, you can start by becoming aware of how pervasive racism is everywhere.

Finally, racism starts with fear and insecurity. With the need for one person or group to feel superior to or more powerful than another. Then take action to make those needs real. Racism flourishes when people look the other way, do not take action, or stay silent instead of speaking up against the people speaking or behaving in ways that promote racism.

I’m not going to ask you to do or say or be anything or anyone other than yourselves. Your opinions and values matter to me, and I accept you as you are. Please do the same for me and the opinions I shared here.

I am fighting against racism in my own way every chance I get. Maybe you will join me. Maybe you won’t. But if you do, thank you. And if you don’t, that is okay too.

Thanks for reading.

2 Maya Angelou Quotes

Quotes from Maya Angelou – and a mini rant

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

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.

REMINDER: These are my opinions and thoughts unless clearly attributed to another source. Feel free to stop at the graphic if you don’t want to read the rant 🙂

One of the best days of my high school life was when our literature teacher had us read Maya Angelou’s work, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Back then I didn’t understand why Ms. Angelou’s words resonated deep within me or how I could relate to the story. But I did.

And still do. Relate and resonate with her words, guidance, wisdom (your words here).

My alter personalities enjoy reading poetry and biographies once in a while. But often they read these books after a complete switch, leaving me and some others out of the loop. It’s okay because we all have different interests and want to keep some things only ours instead of shared.

But they wanted me to share these two quotes with you today because they feel relevant to all the changes happening in present time.

Ms. Angelou is like a rainbow peaking out of the clouds when I feel down. Maybe she can help you too.


Mini Rant

And now for the mini rant. I feel so frustrated and am not sure who to talk to or how to address this continuing problem in my life. It’s not like any part of me asked to be wired this way. But certain parts of my sense of self will take longer to heal than others.

Should I have listened to my instincts and cut the person off as soon as they started tingling? Or was continuing the conversation until the inevitable rejection a better option? I don’t really know. But I do care and wish relationships were not so messy or complicated.

If you’ve read past posts, you realize that social media is difficult for me on many levels. I have trust issues and “feeling safe” issues among others that relate to who is “friended” or “unfriended” becomes a “connection” or gets “disconnected” or “follows” and “is followed” on different accounts. Lots of mistakes in the past make me careful about what content I put up and where I go to interact on social media.

The other part that comes up here frequently is my choice to be single and celibate on purpose. Then explaining to people who connect with me on LinkedIn or other other social media places that I am not available without oversharing or overreacting to the trigger.

What is the trigger?

Male or female flirts with me/hits on me/shows signs of sexual attraction

My automatic/instinctive reaction?

Oh s*** he/she/they/it is dangerous and trying to attack/hurt me. Gotta protect myself. Time for the alters to come out and communicate with him/her/them/it.

Yeah, it never ends well for me (and sometimes the other too) once my instincts kick in.

So back to the social media – I am on LinkedIn for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that it’s supposed to be a professional network for people to connect and support each other’s business and work goals. Not for people to find partners or flirt or set up dates or other personal type connections.

And yet, twice in the past two years I’ve had men connect with me and then use the messaging tool to flirt with me. One time I asked customer support to intervene. The last time, I made a mistake and let it go on too far because of a miscommunication about the word “friendship”. That kept me up late last night and into this morning with all these thoughts:

Did I share too much? Or not enough?

Was I kind in my rejection? Or too blunt as I explained my reasons for not wanting his type of “friendship”?

Should I not have explained about the sexual and physical abuse in my past and how that translates to me being unable to feel or experience sexual attraction for others in the present?

*key point here: my body is healthy and normal (so the doctors, etc. say) and does react to physiological stimuli – my body reacts to attractive males – but the rest of me does not. Instead, everyone else notes the physiological reaction and reacts with “Oh s*** time to protect ourselves again”*

All my counselors agree that this is a defense mechanism developed when I was still a toddler to protect me from the abusers and pedophiles. And some day in the future, when I feel safe and learn to trust a male with those sensitive parts of myself, I will feel sexual attraction and romantic love and all that other stuff.

Key words being “some day”.

Not now. Not months from now. Not a year from now.

And so I still get frustrated with trying to make friends and be friendly without the “sex stuff” – as my child and teen alters call it – getting in the way.

Times like this, experiences like this, make me want to give up and go back to being a hermit who lives in her head. No worries about other people or other beings (my plants). No worries about being kind or considerate of others. No worries period. Just suffering and existing on a routine that keeps me breathing.

But then I get the proverbial kick in the ass from somewhere and realize I’m too selfish to give up the life I have now. I like/love/accept all parts of myself and who I am becoming. I enjoy having people, plants, and wildlife around.

I even find humor in the challenging people sent my way to teach me life lessons.

And this means prejudice, bullies, emotional blackmail, poverty, accidents, deprivation, rejection, or whatever else comes my way. My new neighbors teach me about change every moment of the day and evening. Like Maya’s quote above – I can’t change the people or the situation, but I can change my perspective and attitude about the people and the situation.

2 Maya Angelou Quotes

Plus, living, thriving with joy and prosperity as I roll with the challenges is the best kind of revenge against people trying to tear me down.

Maybe it’s the best kind for you too? Or maybe not…

Either way, I fall into a shame spiral. Fall over the side and drop for a bit. Then pick myself up and make the climb back to the top. But not the same place I fell.

The journey back up always takes me along a different path, but always gets me where I need to be in the end.

How do you handle communication and relationship challenges? If you want to share, please write in the comments. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties

Writing & Blogging: Writer’s Block, Affirmations, & Reader Comments

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.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. I appreciate your kind words and suggestions. I read all of them just now and tried to at least “like” all of them even if I didn’t reply. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say…

Funny how sharing fear makes it less scary

After I wrote the last post and shared my fears, some of the block disappeared. Still have not written anything yet, but I did find 5 useful articles on PubMed and some interesting references in an aromatherapy chemistry book. Next step, read the articles and start the note taking.

Thanks all of you for reading my post and sharing your stories in the comments. I feel less alone and more connected to a community who can relate to my fears and struggles. That always helps me cope with the fear the crops up whenever I try something different.

Maybe (I hope) it helps you cope with some of your fears too?

Sharing some Affirmations – 2019 reader comments

Back in 2019, I finished a 365 days of Affirmations challenge but didn’t write about it much here. The challenge was a personal one to help me change my perspective about, well, everything going on between 2018 and 2019 when I felt stuck in negativity and trapped. I think maybe 4 posts were dedicated to this challenge and sharing about the “About Page” too, but many guests commented about wanting more posts.

I promised to write more, but not in 2019. The reason? My family of origin came back into my life, and finding balance with them took up most of my available time. Their stories were not something I could share here without permission, and everything I normally would write about was colored by our interactions together.

To make up for that, I’m going to share 5 affirmations from 2018 here. They are yours to borrow and use if you want. Definitely to share too. And, if you’re interested, you can use them as writing prompts.

Writing prompts? Sure. If you want to challenge your skills and your thoughts a lá Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you can use the affirmations as inspiration for journal entries, short essays, stories, poems, your own affirmations, etc.

Perseverance: I open myself up to the universal healing energy that surrounds us.

AlterXpressions

Rainy days give life to plants while making beautiful music.  I welcome all of nature’s symphony into my world.

AlterXpressions

I open my heart to universal unconditional love and compassion.

AlterXpressions

Cooking is an expression of self care and joy.  The combined aroma of cooking food grounds me in the present.  I immerse myself in the sensual pleasure of cooking.

AlterXpressions

I do my best to live within my values no matter what kind of stress fills my inner self.  Self compassion and kindness help me over come my mistakes with people.

AlterXpressions

Guest Comments

Many guests this week asked about my web site theme and Internet browser operating errors. They also asked for some tips about writing and blogging. Since I don’t know what platform you use as a web host, here are some general suggestions:

  1. Check your account’s help sections and resource pages for information. They often have useful articles about how to check for errors on your web site or blog and then fix the errors.
  2. Contact customer service. Sometimes the errors have to do with the platform and not your account. That happened to me a few times in the past.
  3. Review and update your themes at least 1x every other year. More often if you are still working on your design. There are many free themes with customization options to help you create something that fits you.
  4. When choosing themes, look for ones that include mobile browsing options. Both of my sites have the capability to convert their user view to fit a desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices. Not every theme (free and paid) offers this flexibility, so you have to include it in your search criteria.
  5. For Optimization and speed, learn the limits of your account and work within them. Adjust your settings and test them out – by visiting the site yourself or asking others to visit and test the pages/posts for you – and make adjustments. Once you find settings that keep your site/blog safe and allow for optimized loading speeds, etc. you can start pushing those limits.

Honestly, I contact WordPress customer support at least 2x a month with questions when I make changes to either site. In between that, I take the free classes and read the articles to try and figure things out myself first. But I know my limits and the chaos that ensues when I try to fix certain things myself. Lesson learned: know when to ask for help and ask before you make things worse.

If you have suggestions or affirmations you want to share, please write them in the comments.

Thanks for reading.