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.

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.

Alter Post: Choosing Different in Spite of Cultural Bias

Beware: THIS IS A RANT

Introduction

Chinese culture does not believe in or talk about emotional health or mental health problems.  People with emotional and mental issues are considered “lazy” and “stupid” or “weak” or “sick”.    In terms of physical appearance, a woman is supposed to look like a well-groomed woman with a delicate, petite, slender body, perfect makeup, and hair.  Anyone who does not meet the standard gets “helpful” criticism about diets, clothing choices, skin care, and exercise regimens from family members.  Also reminders and reprimands for shaming the family pride by not meeting the family standards and embarrassing the family in public with a not perfect physical image.  And other Asian or Chinese people who see a bald Chinese woman walking down the street will stare in fear and horror before walking across the street to avoid her, whisper about her ugliness and shameful behavior, and shun her for fear of being contaminated by her presence.

How do I know this?  Because I and the other alters in my system have experienced this first hand over and over by family members and community members and people in the street who are visitors to the United States.  In fact it happened a couple hours ago while I was walking back to work from getting lunch.  Two young women saw me stop next to them as I waited for the light to change and decided to step around and risk crossing the street instead of waiting next to me.  They were both between 18 and 30, Asian background, with long dark hair and perfect makeup, and backpacks that signaled their student status.  It hit hard today since I was already feeling anxious about some other negative encounters on the train and at a library that left me feeling frustrated and wondering when people will stop harassing me because of my past.

In essence, I get treated poorly because I am female, Chinese, a survivor of trauma and domestic violence with a “mental illness”, bald, and a well dressed nerd.  This comes from people of all ages, races, cultures, etc. because I am breaking taboos and ignoring biases.  Most of the time, I am okay with that.  I’ve learned to pick my battles and find like-minded people to spend time with instead of other types.  I don’t take it personally when people cross the street or don’t acknowledge me when they see me walking towards them (since I didn’t choose to avoid them) because a lot of times I do the same thing to people around me.  My walking time is part of my solitude regimen and a time for me to spend with my alters before having to engage with people.  The anxiety and triggers come when people’s body language signals that they are engaging or avoiding me for other reasons besides politeness or avoidance.

Choosing Different

My parents marked me as different and shamed me for being myself from the time I was born.  My mother’s family did the same.  I was compared to my cousins and sibling and found lacking.  My elementary school teachers, peers, and neighbors found me lacking and bullied me because my parents approved of it by not interfering or defending me.  So I decided to be different.  And embraced my differences.

But choosing different is not easy.

Sometimes the secret shame and sense of worthlessness comes back to haunt me.  It happens a lot in summer when everyone is wearing less and spending lots of time outside.  And it’s more than body image or low self-esteem.  It’s about a sense of self and the values that self is based on.  My sense of self was battered and broken and torn apart until the shreds gathered together and hid deep inside where only the non-verbal alters could reach.  Seven years of therapy and self-reflection brought those values back out and repaired the foundation of that core sense.

These days I am secure in my sense of self because all of us alternate personalities agree with the core values that we live by.  That sense of self makes itself known to others subconsciously in how we choose to treat ourselves and others around us.  It makes others nervous to be around us sometimes.  And other times it sparks other feelings too.  But that core sense of self has helped me help my alter partners and the system in general survive and become the woman we are today.

A lot of the time, it’s easy to remember that most people’s reactions are about them and their internal conflicts than about me or one of the alters or the system as represented by our body.  And it’s easy to ignore those people and move on.

Other times, like today, I wonder what it would be like if I wore a wig and dressed dowdy or slutty or ultra feminine and then passed them on the street.  Would they treat me differently?  Or would they treat me the same?  And how would I feel about it?  People used to treat me worse when I had hair than they do now.  But also, I was in a different situation then.  And surrounded by people who supported my abusers.

But then I think to myself, I like how I look bald.  I like talking about my coping strategies and my challenges – sharing information with others to help them get through rough times too.  And I like being me.

The Dilemma

How do I still be myself, stick to my values, achieve my goals and work with administrators and others with biases who have influence over my ability to get into school, pass classes, learn, and so on?

EXAMPLE: But if I want to work in traditional Chinese medicine field and go to graduate school, I will have to deal with people who are biased against my appearance, attitude, and mental health.  The administrators at a school  I tried to apply to earlier this year blocked my application and didn’t tell me until I reached out with an inquiry.  Then they told me it was a “miscommunication” and that I was all set to apply next year.

I followed up 3 days ago with another email addressing that “miscommunication” and some other hypothetical questions from earlier conversations.  I also pointed out my upset about how the miscommunication was handled and that the experience will influence how I interact with them and others at the school in the future.  Yes, it was aggressive, and they will probably take it to mean I am holding a grudge even though I said I am not.

To me holding a grudge means treating these people poorly and maintaining anger; lashing out at them and finding ways to make their lives harder if I do become a student there.  That is not what I mean.  Remembering what happened and being wary of trusting them again; being more diligent about clear communication and wary of trusting them at face value when we talk – that is what I mean.

Yes, picking battles is important.  Remembering that this has more to do with them and their internal monologues than me is important too.  But still, spending time with people who act like that goes against our core values.  So the conflict remains…

I am determined to succeed.

My path so far has taken me on many adventures and introduced me to wonderful people and experiences.  Something good will happen.  And this will work out, maybe not on the timetable I want, but it will happen.

thanks for reading my rant 🙂