Latest Entries »

Old, Fat and Ugly

I have spent most of my life feeling old, fat and ugly. Even as a child, I was fat before kids were fat. In truth I’m not really fat right now more on the order of pleasingly plump(or more accurately chubby), but I woke up in my bed last night with the words old, fat and ugly ringing in my ears. I’ve been doing some soul work the last few months which has taken a toll on my psyche and my emotions and trying to do some affirmations. But affirmations work on the here and now they don’t necessarily work on the reason you believe you don’t deserve the best in life and the reason you give yourself for not achieving the life you wish to have.

When I was 5 years old my entire life became one of complete upheaval, my brother died, my father had a serious accident that left him in the hospital for a year, my mother had a breakdown, my pets died, my house was filthy, I went to school without breakfast and I got stuck on an icy hill too afraid of my own shadow and my own mortality to walk down it by myself. Everyone has a year in their life that shakes them to the core and mine was when I was 5. Too young to know who I was and what I was so I became at 5 an old woman afraid to take chances in life, just like now.
I thought I was too ugly, too fat, too talkative, too Debbie to deserve to be happy like a “normal” 5 year old. I thought I was being punished for something and sometimes I look at my life and I still feel that way. Most days I look at my life and still feel that way. I see all around me friends who are going through my 5 year old life at 50 something and I know how they feel when they get the devastating news that someone they love is dying. I know how they feel when they put on a couple of extra pounds that weren’t there years ago (mine always were). And I know how they feel when they feel they are not pretty like they used to be, I never quite thought I was pretty enough. I was cute yes, pretty no. I’ve had so many life experiences good and bad that I can relate and empathize with anyone.

I know this post sounds like a sob story and perhaps it is. We all have problems. But I’m writing it anyway because if it makes one kid who wonders why they feel so fat and ugly and old even when they are young and vibrant I have done my job. When terrible things happen to us as a child it stays with us the rest of our lives. It may not come out to see the light of day but it comes out at night to haunt us and comes out in behaviors that seem to be a cry for help. We are all ashamed of something. Sometimes it’s not our fault, sometimes it is but every bad behavior is usually just a wounded child somewhere inside that doesn’t know how to get down the icy hill.
I’m also writing this for the adults with self-worth issues, I haven’t reached the bottom of my icy hill quite yet and hopefully can say that I am moving upwards to a new life sooner rather than later but I will say that dealing with the childhood drama does leave space for today. I haven’t figured out today quite yet, I’ve been hearing the mantra live in the moment in peace for months and still haven’t quite figured out how to live in the moment in peace but I’m going to keep trying. Ridding yourself of the traumas and understanding what makes you tick(I’m writing a journal) does make it easier when others don’t understand you or feel their coping mechanisms are better. They are trying to help but in the end we are all responsible for ourselves and it does make it easier to understand why you do the things you do.

So for now I am going to try once again to get my behind in gear and at least get some creative work done(I try everyday but the 5 year old living in my brain is easily distracted too). Do some soul work, make some space and keep on stitching. P.S. Love yourself even if you are old, fat and ugly because if you don’t love you nobody else will either.

Advertisements

154 Shots

154 Rounds
In this world we live in we face many dangers, we face many hardships; we try to make the best of bad situations. A school shooting that leaves 20 six year olds dead is certainly one of the most horrible stories I have heard in my lifetime, especially when it comes to the death of innocence but the story on Yahoo at the moment that tells us of the 154 rounds taken by Mr. Lanza in five minutes tells us an even more chilling story. It could have been even worse had his aim been better. How in the world is it possible that in a country as great as the United States, we are allowing weaponry like this in the hands of anyone never mind a mentally unbalanced young man?
I don’t expect to change the world; I sort of understand the principle of thinking positive peaceful thoughts and creating a positive peaceful world. But when does positive thinking over-rule the reality that a madman shot 154 rounds of ammunition in a school filled with elementary school children? When do the rights of gun owners allow this kind of carnage? When do they feel shame for wanting their guns so badly that they would fight taking this kind of weapon out of circulation? Judge not you be judged is the saying, it’s all over the bible but when the bible was written there was no such thing as a gun that could kill 20(luckily not more) children in 5 minutes. Is that God’s way? Is that is what we are supposed to believe?
I believe in a loving and giving universe and a loving God, IMO this was not his intention, it was the intention of a very misguided person allowed to be misguided by the selfish needs of other misguided people. It’s time to put the guns down or at least find a way to ban something so deadly before the next shooter is a better shot. I don’t know if anybody reads this but I had to vent anyway.

I have recently started feeding a man I can see from my apartment window. His name is Michael, he is not homeless but suffering from PTSD from Vietnam. In the richest country in the world how is it possible that someone who served our country who came back with issues cannot have a warm meal to eat. I don’t know if I am helping him or not, perhaps he would be better served by the VA or some local charity but i simply cannot ignore him. To see a person eat probably their first meal of the day in the middle of a cold snowy day is just heartbreaking. I can’t seem to leave him standing there.

I’ve also signed up to volunteer at the pantry and was overwhelmed when I heard of the needs of the community. Our community is a nice picturesque New Englandish town and to hear of the plight of the children and families is quite an eye opener. Maybe it is a sign of the times that pantries and people in general are in need of help. Another sign that Main Street needs some of the help that corporate America enjoys.

All I can say is that if there is a need I will try to help because for the grace of God I could very well be Michael standing out on a street corner in the cold needing a nice hot cup of soup. I would hope if I ever end up there someone will see me from a window and feed me.

A Kindler Gentler Nation

In honor of the new gun control laws in New York I would like to ask Hollywood to clean up their act. Many of the artists singing songs and making movies are among the leaders in asking our government to limit assault weapons and their availability at the same time they are accepting a paycheck for creating “entertainment” which glorifies death and exploits it in more violent, gruesome ways.
The same celebrity who goes on twitter and bemoans the latest school shooting and than collects a paycheck for making a movie where numerous people are blown up, shot down and shown in all their dead glory should look in the mirror and ask themselves what is my responsibility? If I really want to end gun violence perhaps I should take a stand in stopping to glorify it.
I’m not saying ban that sort of entertainment, which would be silly. But perhaps just take a stand with the graphicness of those moments which makes it easier for the fragile mind to go to places where it just doesn’t belong. Don’t make it so easy to imagine a dead body, I may be of a time long gone but I don’t think Dragnet actually showed how a real dead body looked numbing us to the reality of a real dead body.
So if we are going to look at the horrible gun violence and figure out a solution to it, it has to involve all of society not just gun owners. There have to be more mental health initiatives, gun control and yes Hollywood has to take responsibility for itself. It would be nice if there was at least one Little House on The Prairie(no I’m not saying bring that one back) for every Revenge. Don’t glorify the death and destruction. We really don’t need to see how to build bombs and plan crimes and how dead bodies really look. It only makes us harder individuals when the real thing happens.

Screw You America

That is what our government says every single day. Screw you. Want gun control after watching the funerals of twenty 6 and 7 year olds? Screw you. It was only 20 of them and the gun lobby is so much more important than the lives of those twenty children. We must have our guns so we can protect our homesteads and uphold the second amendment and the right to bear arms. Maybe we can post cops in every school so that the next time one of these unstable people gets a gun we can shoot them dead after 10 instead of allowing them the opportunity to kill 20 6 year olds. But even that will only work until an unruly 16 year old does something stupid in a school hallway that will add to the death toll of students just going to school. It is now harder to get a driver’s license than it is to get a gun.

While speaking of driving why don’t we ask about the fiscal cliff we are driving over? Screw you America. Why should we pay taxes or get tax cuts when millionaires who drive all our jobs overseas can put their money everywhere but here and end up paying fewer taxes than your average secretary percentage wise. Yes sending jobs to China adds so much to the American economy and bailing out Wall Street speculators makes so much sense. Meanwhile look at any block in small town America and see what the explosion of Wal-Marts has done for the United States. It’s not to say that people in other countries don’t deserve a better standard of living but small businesses in the United States deserve to thrive and be able to compete also.

Artists and cabinet makers and hardware store owners deserve our help too. They deserve to be bailed out every once in a while, but what happens to them? The Congress can’t do their freaking jobs and can’t compromise on anything and millions of American’s taxes will go up and then we have Fox to convince us that taxes are a bad thing and we mustn’t pay them? Although if you merge the first two paragraphs you will find that if we raised taxes we could afford those cops in every school couldn’t we?

When will we hold Congress’s and the president’s feet to the fire and make them do their freaking jobs? Yes it’s the holidays which is the only reason that the day before the end of 2012, they are getting away with frolicking in their districts with their families happy to have their health care and the perks of the jobs we send them to do while not actually doing those jobs

They can’t do anything about 20 dead six year olds, they can’t do anything for the millions of Americans who’s taxes will go up but yet they can get on television and tell us what is wrong with the other side. Politicians are very good at spin. They are good at pretending they are doing their jobs while they are doing nothing. It’s the holidays and they can always go on Fox and MSNBC and say whatever will assuage either the conservative or liberal mind but they will go home and do nothing. Nothing that helps Americans, nothing that helps the poor, nothing that helps a classroom of defenseless 6 years old.

Happy New Year and Screw You as I’m sure when it comes to Congress and the Senate nothing will change in 2013 except more stories like Newtown and more people in dire straits. The so called public servants can always go blow off steam in the gym that we pay for and we can watch them spend the money that the NRA and huge donors give them to keep them in the lifestyle they are accustomed to and that really is their job isn’t it? It certainly isn’t to help ordinary Americans trying to put food on our tables or keep our kids in safe in school. But that’s the point isn’t it? If they actually made life better for ordinary Americans what kind of wedge could they use to get elected in four years? What have we done for you lately is so much less effective than are you better off now than you were the last four years, It’s our own stupidity that allows them to get away with this because now they don’t even wait until a new congress takes over before they ignore the will of the American people.

Happy New Year and a solemn wish that I am wrong about our public servants and 2013 but I won’t hold my breath.

Find Room For God

The Pope said during his Christmas mass that we should find room for God in our busy lives. I agree with him. I agree with his message of inclusion and the small voice that urges us to care for the poor and the suffering. We need the voice of God to make us look at our fellow man a little more closely. Who knows why churches are closing and people don’t believe in God anymore, but it probably has to do more with the people who are running the churches instead of God at the top.

I believe in God, but I have a hard time finding a church to believe in. I believe in the work they do such as feeding the poor, supplying Christmas gifts for children who would otherwise not receive anything, and feeding the poor a free holiday dinner. I disagree with a church that would advocate war in other countries in favor of Christianity and the intolerance that says that homosexuals are less than other people. Those are rules of people not God.

Jesus fed the hungry; he healed the lepers and converted the prostitutes. Think of how he would feel these days to see his words used as vehicles of exclusion and division. God created the world; he created Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Abraham, Sarah and Hagar are where the divisions of the church started. Jew, Christian and Muslim all started with those three people. Yes they were divine people but they were still people.

Every holy book was written by people. You cannot find two versions of the Sermon on the Mount that are exactly the same, nor can you find two versions of bibles that are the same. Each bible is interpreted by different people; each religion is interpreted by different people. Some feel you will not go to heaven unless you are Christian and some feel that Allah is a reason to fly planes into building. In the end it is the people who have made God unreachable, not God himself.

We can blame God for all the horrible things that happen in the world, but once again they are the acts of people. Our planet is failing and there are horrible occurrences all over the world such as drought, earthquakes and floods. These are called acts of God, but then again these are not acts of God they are acts of people, directly related to the mess we have made of our planet of our inability to keep the coastline and air surrounding us clean. We can start to live God’s love for us by planting a tree instead of cutting one down and buying a smaller more gas efficient car.

We can start to live God’s love for us by feeding the poor whether we do it through a church or buy a cup of soup for a homeless person on our way to work. Homeless people are people too. They deserve dignity and our help. God does not forsake us, we forsake him. He does not make us divorce our husbands but reading the bible will make us feel bad for doing it, that is not the word of God, that is the word of people; judgmental, intolerant people. God is divine love, for him so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. I’m sure right now he is wishing he had kept his son safe by his side and let the rest of us kill ourselves because looking at the world right now all the horrible things that are done in God’s name must be giving him a terrible headache.

Jesus was the prince of peace. So today on this Christmas remember that and treat yourself and your loved ones with peace and love. Find God or whatever you believe in and ask him to help us fix ourselves so that the people who are leading us into wars and allowing guns to be bought to kill children will find charity and love within themselves and take responsibility for themselves and stop blaming God. If every person finds love and peace within themselves maybe the churches can become gathering places for everybody and tackle some of the issues our government seems unable to tackle.

This was just my own perspective on the words of the Pope. I liked his message as a person listening to another person. Merry Christmas or Happy Tuesday!

Six Years Old

This latest school shooting really got to me. If the littlest angels don’t make us do something about gun control in this country nothing will. If it doesn’t shake down to the core of selfishness that says it’s my right to bear arms and nothing should stop me from doing so we are not the country and the people I think we are. Before I write any further, I believe in the constitution and the right to bear arms, I also believe in the right of a six year old to grow up and flourish and get to be a seven year old. There has to be some sort of way for those two things to not be mutually exclusive.

The real reason for this blog post is to beg the parents of the Sandy Hook children to make sure their children have all of the mental health benefits and aid that is surrounding them at the moment. My particular favorite path to mental health is art therapy but whatever works take advantage of it.

When I was 6 years old my brother died on the operating table while being operated on for having a hole in the heart, a few months later my father had a car accident which left him in the hospital for several months and my mother had a mental breakdown. I am very fuzzy on the details but my childhood was spent with the specter of death, despair and decay all around me. Back then there was a stigma that surrounded mental health and I was never treated by a therapist or any mental health practitioner.

I learned to smile, when I would go to school hungry in dirty clothes I would smile, when the kids would make fun of me and bully me I would smile, when I was around adults I would make them smile. I was a child of trauma and it changed my entire life in a way I was unaware of until late last year when I decided to end my marriage of 25 years. Don’t let the smile on the face of your children make you believe that they are ok and don’t need therapy, they still do. They will never forget that day in their psyche, they may appear to forget it in their everyday lives but they will hold on to the grief forever inside their fragile little minds if they do not get it out today.

Children go through a lot every day even if they don’t have trauma in their lives, they lose pets, they lose friends, their parents fight and they worry about whether their classmates will like them. The children of Sandy Hook will have the extra burden of fear, sadness, grief and horror mixed in with the everyday traumas of being a six year old. All we really have to do is look at the teenagers who were 6 on 9/11 to see that these kinds of traumas have an impact on kids whether they are close to the trauma or not. They were either inspired by those events or they are lost.
I’m not a psychiatrist nor a therapist nor anybody who can actually help these children; I am a hand embroidery artist. Hand embroidery helped to save my life and keep me alive. It’s a slow, meditative art which speaks to and from my soul. Earlier this year when I stopped embroidering for a while I had a nervous breakdown from which I am just now recovering. I am living all my losses at once and making peace with the 6 year old that lost so much. It’s very hard, in fact it is hell but I get stronger every day and am trying to deal with the depression and pain of that six year old without medication and that is very difficult too. I was blessed with incredible people of strength during my childhood and a wonderful extended family that took care of me. I did not however get mental health treatment and those losses lived with me every day of the last 40 something years. Don’t let them live inside your children. Get them the help they need. Let them feel the pain and move on from it. Suppressing it only makes it a burden you carry onward every day with a sparkling smile.

May God Bless all the children of Sandy Hook, may they live long and loving lives and may they find the help they need when they need it so they can truly leave that horrible day behind them. May God Bless all the traumatized 6 year olds everywhere no ma

More gun sadness

A seven year old boy was shot and killed in a gun store today.  Why was a seven year old boy in a gun store in the first place?  Why are seven year olds around guns anywhere?  We would not let a child in a car with a drunk driver yet we leave them alone with guns and in the vicinity of guns much too often. 

 

Every time I read a story of gun violence or a young child dying of gunshot wounds I think somehow this was not what our forefathers had in mind when they made the second ammendment.  Every child should have the right to bear life, to live and grow and prosper.  Guns in the wrong hands, in the wrong place take away that right.

Nothing else to say except I yearn for the day when I don’t have to read stories about guns and children anymore. 

We often find God in the moments in our lives when we question his existence.  In our darkest moments when we feel we have lost everything and in our greatest moments when we surely know he is out there somewhere.  We find him in the baby when it is born and we find it in the homeless person holding out his hand for a piece of bread.  Give it to him. 

 

We find God when we awaken in the morning to a new day.  We find God in the darkness of the unending night.  We find God when we meet an angel in our pathway or when we get everything we always wanted and we have no one to share it with.  We find God in the smile of a child or the censure of a grumpy old man.

 

We find God in community and loneliness.  We find God in church or in the silence of our own home when we cannot get the image of some terrible occurrence out of our head.  We find him in our parents even when they are critical and our children even when they are naïve.  We find him at tragedies like the World Trade Center and celebrations like the moon walk.  We find God or our source everywhere we look for him. 

 

He is the voice that makes us believe the impossible or imagine a life that is wonderfully waiting for us.  He is the voice that tells us everything will be ok when it doesn’t really feel that way.  The voice that reminds us this too shall pass and if we just believe and wake up breathing things will be better tomorrow.

 

I’m not sure what my version of God is at the moment but I do know that I believe he exists and he is always there watching all of us.  I’m not sure I believe in the judgmental God of the Old Testament or the Revelatory nature of the New.  I’m not sure I believe in the Allah who would have people fly planes into buildings or the Jesus who would inspire people to drop bombs on innocent people.  But I believe in God and I believe in Jesus, I just choose to believe in the version that feeds the hungry and gives solace to the depressed.  I believe in the version of Jesus that allows everyone entry into the gates of heaven whether they believe in Jesus Christ or Allah or anything in between or nothing. 

 

I believe in the God who lives deep within all our souls and shows us love and companionship when there is no one else.  I believe in a loving and giving universe and I believe in a people who working together to fix this mess we have all gotten into believing in nothing while saying we believe or believing in something  and doing nothing. 

 

God Bless You.  We find God and peace in ourselves and we have to share that peace and radiate outward to the universe.  The universe needs it and we need it. 

Surrender

What does it mean to surrender?  Does it mean to wave a white flag and retreat with our tails between our legs or does it mean to just let go and work into the process?   A lot of life is out of our control today.   My own life is a freight train just rolling down a track with the destination unknown along with a lot of other things.  I started this journey as a simple hand embroidery artist who wrote a blog and I’ve ended up either a clearly crazy person or someone so in touch with her soul that she has convinced herself that she is intimately involved in the universe and connected by strings(hence the hand embroidery) to a world she neither understands or comprehends.

 

I really don’t have much of a choice but to surrender to the latter and hopefully enjoy the ride.  Hopefully enjoying the ride isn’t much fun when you put a theory out into the universe as you are bombarded all day by synchronicities and lessons which allow you to learn the theory intimately.  A theme of trust is met by an entire day of overcoming the lack of trust.  At the end of the day you have to trust that you have learned the right lesson and you will be ok.  You have to trust both the process and the people along the way who have been your examples of trust.  You have to surrender.

 

In surrender you have to admit that you don’t have all of the answers and you might only have a few of them or perhaps none at all.  You have to let go and let either God or the universe do all the heavy lifting and hope that the plan they have in mind for you is the one you would have chosen.  I think I have finally reached that moment where I assume that their plan for me is better than the limited one my brain can come up with.  The belief that everything happens for a reason and that somehow putting your soul out into the universe is a good and wonderful thing.

 

Every day lately I meet angels who make my day better and demons that will bring up aspects of myself I think I need to work on.  It is a day filled with mirror images of my good qualities and the not so good ones.  It literally feels like I have those cute little people dressed in red and white on my shoulder and it is my job to discern which of them I should listen to.   I’ve decided to surrender to both of them and try in each moment to pick the right option for all of us.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is time to make peace with the shadow that lives inside of me, the parts of me which I wish didn’t exist but they do.  Make better choices with the moment I’ve given and let the darkness and angst go.  Surrender them to the little people on my shoulder and live from my heart.  I am still trying to decide which path to take for the rest of my life, but surrendering to a higher power that lives in my heart and yours seems like a good place to start.  I also must surrender to the idea that sometimes the answer is the wrong one and you have to forgive yourself and move on.  I guess that’s the best I can do and if I live in the moment and do it consistently I will be given the answers I need.   A bit philosophical today but if I want to be a writer I have to start somewhere in the moment.