With Intention

I didn’t choose any particular word that I wanted to set the tone for this year, but one seems to have chosen me.

Intentional… being mindful with my words, my energy and my actions… doing things with intention… not just because it’s the socially or culturally accepted thing to do… not because it will make someone else happy… and not avoiding things out of fear.

I have spent 40 years on a kind of auto-pilot, with so much of what I do borne of thought patterns and ways of being that were cultivated in an environment of uncertainty, conditional love, chaos and narcissism. Because my being is rooted in this tainted soil, living with intention is a lot harder than one might expect.

I’m not discouraged, not yet anyway.

This pull to do things with intention, to get off the co-narcissism hamster wheel, to live and breathe and think and speak in alignment with who I am, has far more to do with the upcoming culmination of my 40th trip around the sun than it has to do with the imaginary beginning of a new calendar year.

It’s been building, especially these past few months.  I find I have so fewer fucks to give – and the fucks I do have to give are genuine and deep and, well, intentional.

My ability to see the truth in the blinding bullshitstorm of this culture is improving.  So much of our media and healthcare system and political system is circus run by people who operate solely from a place of fear and narcissism.  No change will ever happen as long as the people in power, regardless of their moral compass, perceive they have something to lose.  That ‘something’ being money.  It’s astounding really.

Essentially I’ve decided I’m not going be a team player anymore; at least not in the culturally accepted ideology of “team”.  I’m going to do the best I can to be real, REALLY real.  To be honest about my struggles and my joys, but not be defined by either.  To honor, REALLY honor, who I am.  To be, just be, without excusing or apologizing for my imperfectness.

We are all imperfect.  All of us.  Every person on this planet is inherently fallable.  That is our humanity.  That is what makes us beautiful multifaceted prisms of light.  If we stay hidden in the darkness of fear, the fear of imperfection, we never get a chance to reflect the vibrant richness of our souls onto the world. We never get a chance to sparkle.

My intention is to stop apologizing for my humanity, to live fully, to accept and occupy this body completely, to own my thoughts and feelings, and to stop waiting for permission and looking for approval.

It’s time for me to sparkle.

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“So don’t be afraid to let them show, your true colors,
true colors, are beautiful like a rainbow.” 

~ Bill Steinburg and Tom Kelly, sung by Cyndi Lauper

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Le Fin

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Today has sucked I’m too many ways to count. I’m tempted to analyze this sucktastic day and these 30 days of blogging, but I just ain’t got it in me, y’all.

I did this for one reason and that was simply to get in the habit of writing again. Mission accomplished. Now if I can keep it up that will be even better.

Thanks for being along for the ride.

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photo credir via photopin cc

Recipe : Dairy-Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

One word: delicious.

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Dairy-Free Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

gluten-free. dairy-free, nut-free

Ingredients

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1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 package Daiya Cream Cheese Spread, plain

1 8 oz package Daiya Mozzarella Style Cheese Shreds

1 can artichoke hearts, I used Trader Joe’s

1-3 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (or a mix)

1/2 medium onion chopped

2 med cloves garlic

Sauté onion and garlic until onion is clear.

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While that’s cooking, put cream cheese in a non-reactive bowl. Add lemon juice/acv, 1 tsp at a time, mix until smooth and tart to your liking. Although the Daiya Cream Cheese contains no sugar, it has a sweetness to it and the lemon juice/acv help counter balance that.

Add onion/garlic mixture.

Drain artichokes, chop. Add artichokes, spinach and cheese shreds to the cream cheese mixture. Fold in until combined well.

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Scrape into pie plate. Bake in oven 350 degrees for 25 minutes. When it comes out, take a fork and gently stir to combine the melted cheese shreds.

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Serve with rice crackers, gluten-free toast, or fresh vegetables.

If there are leftovers, they are amazing in an omelet with leftover ham.

You’re welcome.

Unwound

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I’m not well. In so many ways and for the past few days. It seems I have not yet learned how critical it is to put my needs at the top of the very long list.

When my body is screaming at me to stop and be still and take care, I need to listen very very closely. Today, I did not. Today devolved fast and hard and I had an epic unraveling the likes I haven’t subjected my family to in a long time.

It was ugly. Very very ugly.

I hate that this happens. With all the work I’ve been doing, especially lately, I thought I was in a good place. And I was. But I expect that good place to keep me there, to protect me from falling again.

It’s sort of like a relapse in a lot of ways; out of control, painful, and dripping with shame. Just without the dopamine euphoria of addiction.

I’m not addicted to melting down, though. When it happens I feel trapped, I feel powerless, I’m on the defensive and I feel stuck in this caustic, irrational mindset I can’t get out of. I feel like I’m circling the drain. I feel very much out of control. There is zero secondary gain.

I hate it so much.

I hate apologizing. I hate how it brings shame like bile up the back of my throat. I hate struggling so hard to keep myself together only to shatter into a million pieces throwing words like shrapnel.

I feel like I’m never going to be free, no matter how smooth the water seems, it can happen. So when, again, and how to I shield the people around me? How do I shield myself?

I know there are factors (germs, hormones, unrealistic expectations) that were dry brush and made this fire burn fast and hot. I know I deserve grace, too, but all I can seem to lay my hands on is more shame.

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Thankful

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for the beautiful, but destructive, snowfall overnight

for my mothers foresight to cook a majority of the food yesterday so the lack of power today didn’t prevent us from eating a warm, fully cooked meal

oh, and for generators that have the power to run crock pots and microwaves

for my sister and her relationship with my kids; however poorly she’s chosen to treat me, she loves them and they love her 

for the awkward of having to be in the same space with someone who hates me turning out to be not that awkward at all

for the people who have come into my life via the internet and/or who I’ve come to know better via social media; my handful of readers, my little NaBloPoMo group, my partner and a few special friends

for making it 27 days in a row on writing on this little blog; 3 more to go

for Paul Gilmartin and The Mental Illness Happy Hour; for so many reasons

for finding the strength to do the deep, meaningful work I’ve been doing especially this year and

for having a therapist who holds space for me and helps me navigate when I get stuck

for my partner and everything he puts up with (primarily, me); you have no idea

for Hopper and her joy

for Pip and his quick, complex, creative brain 

for Mack and his unbridled enthusiasm for the outdoors – you do not, in fact, need snow pants to roll around in snow, just the promise of a dry pair of pants when your dad finally drags you inside

for my step-father; he is a good soul on a difficult journey through cancer treatment that he is handling with such grace and openness 

for my roof, my walls, the clothing on my body, the food in my cupboards and the pillow on my bed, which I am going to get intimately acquainted with right now

I hope your day was beautiful, your travels safe and your hearts and bellies full

Let Me Fall

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The work thing is still unresolved.  One supervisor called (the one who does the schedule) to get clarity on what my decision was and talk about what hours I want and am able to work.  The supervisor I was talking to Friday then e-mailed me to tell me to call the scheduling supervisor, which I had already done, so they could announce the decision.  I wanted to e-mail back and say “you guys need to talk to each other, you share an office ferchrisakes”.  But I didn’t.

When I talked to the scheduling supervisor, I stumbled a bit, tripping in my co-narcissism shoes.  My brain was itching as I spoke to her; I was trying to balance being accommodating while advocating for myself and I was doing a terrible job.  I couldn’t bring myself to say what I really wanted for fear of being seen as ungrateful for them giving me not only a set schedule as a per diem, but giving me a say in those hours.  Both of those are exceedingly rare.

I noticed that I get confused when I’m grateful – I have convinced myself that if I am grateful to another person for doing something for me, that negates my right to stand up for myself. I’ve gotten the message, somewhere, that if I am assertive and if I put my needs first, then I am actually being UNgrateful. That’s some screwed up math right there.

So after our call, I e-mailed her and told her two of the days she was thinking about giving me wouldn’t really work.  I could do one, or the other, but not both. I told her which days I preferred to work. She e-mailed me back and what she had to offer really didn’t work well either.  So I told her so.

Do you know how huge that was for me?

The Man did not.  When I told him about it, he started to get indignant – he’s already a bit miffed that I didn’t stand my ground about the position I wanted.  He said a lot of “you should” at the beginning of his sentences.  At this point in my healing from the effects of a narcissistic parent, being told what to do is a GIANT trigger.  I had to end our phone call because I was about to lose it.

I am acutely aware of what I “should” be doing.  All. The. Time.

I don’t need other people to tell me what I “should” be doing.  Not. Your. Job.

I don’t need any coaches yelling at me from the sidelines of my life.  My. Life.

I don’t need anyone to teach me how to stand up for myself.  I. Need. To. Learn.

It’s through these experiences I learn.  It’s through the discomfort of knowing when I’m not standing up for what I want, for my values, for my beliefs – that discomfort tells me to pay attention, that discomfort shows me where I can make better choices.

You can’t teach a person how to ride a bike by riding it for them or screaming at them from the side of the road.  They have to get on the bike, learn how to put just the right amount of pressure on the pedals to move forward, learn to keep that front wheel from wobbling, and learn how to come to a stop without skidding.

I’m on the bike.  I’m pedaling.  I’m still pretty wobbly.  I’m hitting potholes and soft stand.  I’m getting skinned knees.  But I’m learning.  Help me up.  Help me clean and bandage my wounds.  But don’t point out the pot holes, I know I hit them.  I know I fell down.  I know I have gravel mixed in with the torn tissue on my knee caps and the heels of my hands; I don’t need you to point out all the ways I could have prevented that from happening.

I know. This is how I learn. Let me do it.

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