Thank You, Dr Ford

Thank you, Dr Ford, for giving me the courage to post my own Me Too experience.  I thought I had not let the experience affect me.  But then I witnessed your integrity, your bravery and knew I too, must speak.  I know you speak the truth but that you’ll become the focus of unfair attacks by those with less courage and more spite.

For any former Facebook friends who may read this, I also quit FB last week.   I enjoyed many of you but at my age I need to refocus my energies.

Is The Me Too Movement Over?

Is the Me Too Movement over?  Is it too late, or is there a place where I can sign on.  I recently entered his name on Google and learned he died six months ago.  No, he wasn’t the one who did it to me but he was the one who changed his mind and finished destroying my self-esteem.  His obituary said he was 86 years old and had a full life.  Well, bully for him.  Although I’m not quite 80 I’ve had a full life too.  I had no choice but to go on.  What else do you do?  You pick up the pieces scattered about, grin and bear it.  Roll with the punches.

We had met and he’d romanced me, making me feel so loved!  Treating me like a lady. But we double-dated one night with his friend.  His friend told him.  Later I noticed a change, asked what was wrong.  He told me.  The friend had recognized me.  He had arrived at an alumni party of fraternity brothers and their dates.  I was passed out and they were searching for my panties.

Humiliated?  You bet.  All I remembered was arriving with my date, having one drink and waking up the next morning, sleeping bodies scattered about.  I woke one and asked him to take me home.  What else could I do?  It never occurred to me something had been in that drink.  I’d never heard of such things.  I assumed I’d had too much to drink.  As usual I blamed myself.  I’d learned early in life that anything that happened to me was my own fault.

I’d like to blame him, even though he’s dead.  Kick him in the gut for assuming I was trash, not the “nice girl” he had believed me to be.  But instead I hope he had a miserable life, married a girl who was actually a hooker, found out on their wedding night (since she wouldn’t let him before) that she was not a virgin.  I wish all kinds of evils on him for the time I suffered, licking my wounds until, on the surface I healed yet went on to make a few more bad choices.

But you know what?  I wouldn’t change the results of those later choices.  Because I’m a survivor.  I learned to love that innocent, naïve girl that I was.  Welcomed her into my life.  Along with the one who at age fifteen successfully fought off an attempted rape. I hit him over the head with my shoe and threatened him with my brothers.  “By God,” the asshat said.  “I never thought I could get a virgin!” and begged me to marry him.  The answer of course was ‘Hell no.”

A Ghost Story

Have you noticed all those ghosts walking around? They used to be mothers, full of life, full of warm, nurturing love. Babies snuggled up in the curve of their necks, their soft sweet skin smelling of Johnson’s baby powder. The babies grew and grew and learned to walk and talk and make their mommas proud when they said her name. As they began to explore, they outgrew their infant needs, becoming self-propelled. They began to learn grownup things. Like who to love and who to hate and some even learnt who to blame when things go wrong. Be it their teachers, the government or their mothers.

They used to be ordinary people like you and me before the miracle of motherhood changed them into bright shooting stars that lit the heavens with happiness for an all-too-brief moment that continues to warm their memory as they grow old.

Have you noticed all those ghosts walking around? The ones with their failing eyesight and tender smiles who fade into the background, soft-spoken and undemanding? They had their moment in the Sun and are content to watch the seasons change and the years fly by.

I hate to say it but they are not me.

Oh, how I loved my time of shooting stars, yet I refuse to be a ghost.

Make Room for Joy

A positive attitude can improve the quality of our life, often leading us to heights of joy. However, in finding our way as human beings, we are also vulnerable to emotional pain; even on the road to joy we become derailed by times of sorrow. One day when I asked my elderly mother a question about the past, she said, “I don’t want to remember the past, honey. It hurts too much.”

Now that I’ve reached my own twilight years and more fully understand my mother’s pain, I’ve also discovered something else. The things that hurt the most to remember now are the pains I numbed myself to when they were fresh. Even though I had this terrible ache inside, I refused to grieve. I told myself that, like Scarlett, I would deal with it tomorrow.

Some hurts I even denied, burying them so deep I’m shocked when they release fresh arrows of pain from the past into my heart. Others I rationalized by telling myself how lucky I was, that the hurt could’ve been far worse. That I had no right to feel pain because other people had it so much worse than I did. Counting my blessings.

I do believe in counting my blessings. Not by denying or ignoring my pain but doing so while also acknowledging that I have a right to grieve for my loss even while I feel grateful for my blessings.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30:5
So, when your heart is heavy it is better to allow yourself to experience and express the grief until it has wrung itself out. The tears of grief are cleansing your soul, making it ready to once again receive joy.

BLACK SUITS AND RED TIES

I’m boiling over, so please excuse me while I vent.

I’ve been teetering off-kilter for awhile but am finally forced to face the truth; the positive crap I’ve projected onto my environment for most of my adult life is just that, pure unholy crap.

Blame it on all those self-help books I absorbed like nectar from the gods. Using them as bricks to build a stupid wall of right thinking Drowning out the negative! Ha! A word of warning. If you keep burying the negative, one day it will jump out and bite you, like it did me and every time you turn on your television you’ll start seeing men in black suits and red ties.

So, here’s a remedy. Find out what you hate, from that pile of crap I just mentioned. Grab a shovel and dig for your life. I mean literally, your life. No more pablum, nicey-nice bullshit. Jump up and down, scream, whatever you feel, just get it out. Make a list. Here’s mine:

I hate elitists, who think they know what’s best for the rest of us. They’re everywhere: in politics, in the media, in academia. Extolling their virtues and our ignorance (we who cling to our guns and religion).

I hate phonies (including elitists) who masquerade as authentic, caring human beings; my dog could teach them a few lessons on integrity.

Most of all I hate the mock gladiators, displaying their weapons of deception and lies, as they parade past me in their black suits and red ties.

Is Your Soul in Touch With You?

A few years ago a trusted astrologer described a long-term natal transit I was having by telling me “Your soul is trying to get in touch with you.”   Intriguing.   But what did it mean?  I’d assumed my soul was an integral part of me, not something that could get lost – or, wait a minute – am I the one who’s lost?   How is that possible?  I thought I and my soul were one, inseparable until we both leave the body when I die.   We both……

So, okay.   If my soul is trying to get in touch with me then I should try to get in touch with my soul.  Maybe the astrologer is talking about that voice in my head that tells me I should or should not do things.  Although I thought that voice was my conscience, and it’s still there.  I hear it plainly, even though I sometimes ignore what it has to say.   Especially when it puts me on a guilt trip for things I’m not responsible for.   In fact, we argue quite a bit.   I believe much of this inner battle is due to changes in my beliefs.   When one has begun questioning old beliefs because they’ve become outdated or one realizes they were never true— the old beliefs will persist on arguing with the new.   Because the old beliefs have become a matter of habit.

 And we know how hard habits are to break.  Take smoking, for instance.   When I began smoking cigarettes as a teenager it was considered the cool thing to do, and I became addicted.  For many years this voice in my head told me I had to quit and I did, about fifty times.  But while I was quit the voice would switch sides and encourage me to have a cigarette, telling me it was okay.   So, in this case, it was not my conscience talking but my habit.

Finally, almost four years ago I was able to stay quit (although I did sneak a cigarette from time to time for about three years) through the use of nicotine gum.   But what gave me the power to stay quit was the desire to see my youngest grandchildren grow up, and the realization that my smoking may not only cut my life short but could also make my last years so miserable that I couldn’t be a loving grandmother. 

But what, I wondered, does that have to do with my soul?   My search continued.   In the meantime I’d established a goal of living as healthy a life as I could.   I already had old age problems, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Due to the possible side effects of medication and my desire to seek natural cures, the only medicine I felt comfortable taking was for high blood pressure, as it was most likely responsible for an eye occlusion I had.  As I was determined to control my diabetes and cholesterol through diet and exercise, I researched online for the right foods, quantities, and supplements that would help in doing so.

Not only did I get my latest A1C reading (three-month glucose test) down to 5.8, and my fasting glucose most mornings below 100, I also got my cholesterol down, the LDL (bad) to more acceptable levels plus I raised the  HDL (good) to a high level.  Since, simplified, the LDL lines the arteries with placque and the HDL cleans them out, the doctor is pleased with these results.

I get my daily exercise by walking Winston, my little Pooh-Chon.  Many times I’m reading or writing and don’t want to stop, but a sad look in his big dark eyes keeps me active.   I know just a word from me will make him jump up with a smile.  “Walk?” I say, as I grab his leash and we’re off.   Luckily, we live less than two blocks from the entrance to a beautiful park with trails, a large pond, lovely flowers, trees and foliage.  As we walk in the park my heart soars and I thank God for my many Blessings. 

And I feel I have found my soul.  I believe it wants me to be more authentic, to be myself both inwardly and outwardly.  Which sounded simple until I examined myself.  For many years there was the outer me, yielding to circumstances , afraid to reveal thoughts and beliefs others might not agree with, might criticize.   The outer me that wanted to keep the peace at any price.   I had to gain the courage to be myself.

As Blessed Mother Teresa said “Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.  Give the world the best you have anyway.  Because in the final analysis, all of this is between you and God….It was never between you and them anyway.”   God Bless.

Financial Crisis and Cashmere Hats

“I don’t like to be in this position, asking for things and, you know, answering to the American taxpayer,” Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson informed the Senate banking committee yesterday.”  I Come to You, Cashmere Hat in Hand  Dana Milbank

Some of the blame for the financial crisis obviously lies with the cult of “positive thinking”  which encouraged people to buy houses they should’ve known they couldn’t afford.  The greedy lenders did know better, but didn’t care.

I’m a strong believer in the power of positive thinking, but it only works if we’re also in touch with reality. It’s okay to have my head in the sky as long as my feet are still in touch with the ground.

The word “cashmere” in the title of Milbank’s column in the Washington Post immediately brought to mind a recent experience of mine (I, thankfully, still have a home with my daughter and her family while awaiting repairs to my own house, caught in the recent flooding in Cedar Rapids). All of my winter coats were sequestered in the basement waiting for fall, and of course they are now in the city dump.

Last week I happened into Goodwill, which has become one of my favorite stores, and a few winter coats had come in. One fit me perfectly and was in a color I like, and was also a perfect fit. The label said “manmade cashmere” which obviously means fake. But that’s okay, since I’m not used to real cashmere anyway and the cost of the coat fit my budget.

I’m now ready for cold weather and the leaves have begun to change to gold and brown. I’m watching for the red leaves, my favorite, to begin highlighting the foliage, as I walk Winston.

And while I walk Winston I think about things. Like what in the world is this country coming to, and what is going to happen on November 4th, after all the mud-slinging is at an end, and we have to make a – Gasp! Choice!

I’m merely a retired woman with hopes and dreams for my grandchildren and their future. Thankfully, my own children have done well – on their own, I might add–and are great parents. They will handle whatever comes up in the future. My own time will be drawing to a close so I’m resting from my labors, and just trying to fit the pieces together.

My children were born in the Sixties, during the Uranus conjunct Pluto generation, and, like Palin and Obama, are in their forties. I’ve always been amazed by them, their independence and involvement in the larger world, and always enjoyed listening to them debate at the dinner table, sometimes heatedly, exchanging ideas.

But I’m getting away from my subject. The “cashmere hat in hand” to cover Paulson’s bald head, I presume, speaks eloquently to the current crisis created by greed. I have no gripe with anyone preferring and/or being able to afford a cashmere hat. I even enjoy shopping at Goodwill. But I’m glad to see a little humility expressed, at least in a small way, by one of the greedy.