What Color Am I? A True Story About Race Identity and Racism.

I love this post about racism by my friend Linda Lee, and want more people to read it. I was surprised by what she found out about herself, but I think it’s so cool!

Please leave comments under the original post.

 

A Blog About Healing From PTSD

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I have never been able to understand racism. Not even when I lived in an all-white town and believed that I, too, was 100% white.

If racists were a tiny minority group, then I might understand it. I would believe they were mentally ill. Their thinking is screwed up because their brain isn’t working right. (Yes, I know how ironic this is, considering that I have a diagnosis of PTSD!) But so many otherwise “normal” people are rabidly racist — WHY? It makes no sense to me.

I grew up in a small town in southwestern Missouri. One day when I was five years old, my mother took me to see the doctor. Ahead of us, in the waiting room, sat a beautiful dark skinned family: a mother, a father, and two small children. They were sitting near the receptionist’s desk, in the area where everyone usually sat.

I went…

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It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

We need a wise and compassionate patriot today, like Martin Luther King, Jr. was five decades ago.   We need someone with integrity and maturity who believes in equality and justice for all Americans, especially the most vulnerable.

King may be gone, but his words have staying power, and his life and wisdom will not be forgotten, even in the darkest times.    We need his words of wisdom and inspiration in these dark times more than ever before.

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Guest Post (by Anonymous): Thoughts About Suicide and Selfishness.

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The following is a guest post from another blogger who kindly asked me if I would post this.  She is hesitant to link to her blog here, since her blog tends to focus on much lighter content, but still wanted to share her thoughts about this dark subject that’s a real issue for so many people who feel like all hope has been lost, as well as the people who love and care for them.     This blogger is not suicidal, but has been in the past.  I think most of us have considered it as an option at some point in our lives.   We need to stop judging them for it!   It isn’t helpful.

Thoughts about Suicide and Selfishness.

By Anonymous.

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The word itself can be quite triggering to some people… It is taboo and disturbing. What better proof of that, than the fact that I didn’t find the courage to speak out loud in my own blog?

Suicide is something that makes people uncomfortable. One shouldn’t even think about it. It scares, especially if you’ve had depressive episodes in the past. Doesn’t thinking about taking your own life mean you might be thinking about actually doing it?

I don’t think so. I don’t think you have to be a professional, working on serious research to give it a thought or two. I know a lot of people think about it, but just don’t share their thoughts. I am willing to open that door today. But I don’t encourage you to keep reading if you are not comfortable with the subject.

I’d like to point out that I am no professional about the matter. I am not a doctor, or a psychiatrist. I’m just a woman, who went through severe depression at some point in her life, and who had to deal with the idea of ending her days. I’m just the close friend of a good man who did take that step while he was living “The Life.”  But I think my view is worth being shared all the same. The following are just opinions, that you might agree with, or not.

From my experience, most people seem to see suicide as a cowardly act. You’ll often hear the classic “He chose an irreversible solution to a temporary problem”. But when you talk to someone who has just lost a loved one to suicide, the first thought resembles more “How could he do this to me?”

As a society, we tend to blame people who commit suicide of robbing us from someone we cherish. How dare that person be so selfish, that they would choose to leave their family and friends mourning them behind?

When I look back those dark days when I struggled between staying one more day or putting an end to my misery, I see things quite differently. I remember how much I thought about all the people that love me. Going through depression doesn’t mean forgetting your surroundings. If anything, those people were the only reason I hesitated. Had I been truly alone, I would have jumped in a second.

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But I didn’t want my mother, my father and my brother to have to mourn me. Even if I seriously thought living without me would be a good thing in the long run. I knew no letter, no matter how long or how well penned would get them to understand I was right. No matter what I’d leave behind, they would end up suffering. And I could not stomach that.

I lived so they wouldn’t suffer. As simple as that. I ached and fought my demons, day by day, night by night, just so they wouldn’t have to wonder why I chose to rest, at last. Even to this day, I sometimes wish there were words that could explain the pain that rips my very soul when depression hits.

Mental distress is as painful if not worse than physical pain. People who haven’t felt it can’t imagine how real the hurt is. It is not “just” a matter of dark thoughts you can chase away or wait to see go away. And although some people can go through therapy or use medication to make the pain lessen, I believe some others will suffer all their lives.

In some countries, laws give the possibility to people suffering from chronic physical diseases that leave them with no quality of life to choose to end their life with doctors’ help. It is even considered an honorable way to leave this world. I agree that people shouldn’t be forced to live, when the suffering is too much to take. We put down our pets so they won’t have to go through unbearable pain, why should we force people to put up with agony?

I am not encouraging suicide. I think it is a terrible way to die. To hurt so much that you’d rather face mankind’s worst fear is horrible. But I don’t understand why we still tend to blame those who get to that point. No one would blame a cancer patient for losing their fight against that illness. Why do we do so, with mentally ill people?

“They should have asked for help!” you might think…. Which doesn’t make sense to me either. Would you blame your mom for dying from an undiagnosed heart failure?

Some people struggling with mental pain do seek help. But from my experience, a lot of doctors don’t measure the depth of the problem. They can’t see it on a scan, a physical exam, or on an X ray. It is not really their fault, but treatment is often lacking, even if people reach out for help.

I think my point here is just that maybe we should consider suicide a loss like that of any other disease. Families and friends shouldn’t have to deal with shame, and shouldn’t have to play the blaming game. The deceased should be able to rest in peace…

Just rest in peace.

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The Stack.

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My Stack.

A few weeks ago, I got a catalogue from The Vermont Country Store.  I’ve ordered a few things from their catalogues (I adore their super-comfy and attractive Mumu-style tops, and keep ordering more — I have 4 of them now) so they keep sending them to me.   Catalogues make great bathroom reading, and TVCS’s is one of the most fun to look at because it has just about everything you could ever want to have in it.    The candy page is always the page that automatically flips open because I’m constantly looking at it and drooling (although I have only ordered candy from them twice).  There’s candy there you just can’t find in regular stores — marzipan snow balls, maple-sugar leaves, chocolate covered sponge candy, and commercial candy that I remember from my childhood but is no longer available in any store.

On the inside front cover of their catalogue, there’s always a  quaint, old-timey, slightly corny write up about life in Vermont.  It’s always an idyllic little slice of Vermont life,  written by one of the owners.  Sometimes I read them and sometimes I don’t, but I happened to read the one that was in the latest catalogue.    The write up was called “A Nice, Quiet Winter Afternoon–and ‘The Stack’ Is Waiting.”  It was about something I can relate to — that tall stack of books that sits next to your favorite chair, usually on the floor (of course, in Vermont country, The Chair is always a cushy easy chair, perched next to a large picture window overlooking gently rolling fields of snow and farmland, and a large mug of hot cocoa is waiting there next to the stack — or on top of it!)

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I have a Stack.  It’s not on the floor, and it’s not next to a comfy easy chair, and there is no bay window behind it overlooking gently rolling fields of snow and farmland.  My stack is located on a dirty old orange steamer trunk next to my bed.  The window just to its right overlooks the parking lot of the apartment complex next door, and being that this is North Carolina, there is usually no snow on the ground.

But it’s still a stack of books just begging to be read, or referred to, or making me feel guilty because I haven’t read them yet — and maybe never will.   I look forward to the day I actually have the time to read (or give away) all these books (and de-clutter my bedroom in the process).    Since I’m home today, I may spend time reading (in fact, I definitely will), but before I do that, in this post I’m going to take inventory of these books and describe them, since even I can’t even recall what all of them are.

One Second After by William R. Fortschen.   A political/technology thriller written by one of my customers, who gave this book to me (I forgot to get it autographed though).    It was a New York Times bestseller a few years ago.  I know this man to be a political conservative (Lordy, I hope he isn’t a Trump supporter!),  but I started reading it a few days ago, and it’s damn hard to put down.   Since Fortschen also lives in my city, I am familiar with most of the places he describes in the book, which makes it seem even more real.  The man is a phenomenal writer, so I think I’ll be finishing this book first (although “Fire and Fury” is giving it competition).

Twin Flame by William Fortschen with Nora D’Ecclesis.  Fortschen’s first romance novel. He gave this to me along with the above book.   It’s a very short book and I read it in two days.  I haven’t removed it from the Stack yet.   It was both a fascinating and uncomfortable read for me, since this “novel” is obviously a factual account about him and his new wife (who he is now separated from), who I also know slightly.   The only things that have been changed from real life are their first names, but everything else is autobiographical.   Reading it, I got the slightly uncomfortable feeling of eavesdropping into the very personal life of someone I don’t know that well (but know well enough to know this is not a novel!).   The guy is a hopeless romantic, emotional, and very spiritual person and also an amazing writer.  And yes, I wish I could find someone like him in spite of the fact he is pushing 70 years old (though not him, obviously!)   And no, there is no sex in the book (thank goodness!)  It’s a very clean read.    Unlike Fortschen, however, I don’t believe we have “soul mates.”  I’m far too cynical for that.   The fact he does believe that each person has a “twin flame” at the age of almost 70 years old gives me hope for humanity.

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty by Daniel Schulman.   This is a library book that is due back in a week.  I read about half of it, but I decided to stop reading because after awhile the book started to bore me (and make me feel sick).   I’ve already read so much about the Koch Brothers, their vast empire, and their diabolical plans to make America into their own image that I’m burned out on this sort of stuff and don’t want to read about them anymore.    I was curious about their early lives, and that’s the real reason I checked out this book.   I wanted to find out if they were ever human beings, and yes, apparently they were.  They were cute as children.   Charles Koch actually seemed like a sweet kid but it was clear he was his family’s golden child, even though he wasn’t the first born.    The eldest, Frederick, was the family scapegoat because he never fit in with the rest of the family, may be gay, and was partially disinherited.  He’s a patron of the arts, New York gadfly, and eccentric, and that embarrasses the rest of the Koch family.   Apparently, Freddy’s  not all that conservative (and may even be liberal).    David (one of the twins which included Bill) always looked up to Charles and became his partner in crime.  David was the cutup of the family, always in trouble as a kid but was Mr. Popularity at school.   Bill had a terrible temper, was unpopular with other kids, always threw tantrums as a kid, and wasn’t favored by the family.  He was never really part of the family business, except in a peripheral way.   I found out everything I needed to know.  Now make them go away, please.   I’ve had enough of the Kochs.

Exoplanets by Michael Summers and James Trefil.  This is also a library book due back in a week.   I haven’t read it, but I skimmed through it, and I looked at the beautiful color photos and paintings of earth like planets that may exist in the Milky Way Galaxy.   I may renew it, or not.   I probably won’t have time to read it even if I renew it though, so I probably won’t.

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult.   I picked up this hardback novel by one of my favorite writers at Dollar General for three bucks.   I want to read it, and eventually will, but it will probably be awhile since between blogging, work, and my Internet activities, I don’t find a lot of time for novel reading anymore, and that’s a shame.

The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz.  I actually bought this paperback for the full list price at Food Lion.   Like the above book, I want to read it (because Dean Koontz has always been a favorite writer of mine), but wonder when I’ll get around to doing so.

Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green.   This was a bestseller a few months ago, and I did read a few chapters of it, but there are so many other books about this presidency that have come out since then that are more timely (since current events are moving at near-light speed) that I probably won’t ever finish this book.   It seems kind of dated now, but I keep it in my stack just in case I change my mind or have nothing else to read (not likely).

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, editor Bandy Lee, M.D.    A must read for all conscientious Americans.   Although I finished this some time ago, it’s one of those books I will keep referring to again and again.  So it stays in the Stack.

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.   This was a one dollar Goodwill find, otherwise I would not have it in my Stack or even in my house.  I will probably never read it, but on that day at Goodwill, I was momentarily curious about the far right Christian evangelical mindset about the End Times, and since I’d heard so much about these books, curiosity got the best of me.  I’ll probably take it back to Goodwill at some point.    I don’t like Tim LaHaye or his politics so I don’t want to read any of his books.

Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace.   This attractive looking trade paperback was sent to me anonymously, possibly by a reader of this blog who happens to have my address (thank you, whoever you are!) but so far the three people who I know have my address have denied sending it to me.  The book came in the mail at a time I was having doubts about my faith, so perhaps this is a message from God — very mysterious!    It looks interesting and fun to read, and evidently God wants me to read it, so in my stack it sits.  But I really have no idea when I’ll get around to it.   I will try!

My Fucking Coloring Book (with a box of Crayola crayons and package of colored markers which have probably dried up).  This adult coloring book was a gag gift from my daughter last Christmas (2016), but I’ve only found the time to color in one and a half of the intricate panels.   I wrote about receiving this book here.

Three books that are not in my Stack but should be:

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy by William Strauss and Neil Howe.   My copy of this 1997 future history is dogeared and battered from constant reference.  I won’t describe the book in this post because it would take too long.  Never mind that Steve Bannon is a huge fan of the theory.  It’s not the insane conspiracy theory everyone thinks it is.  I wrote about it here and here.

The Bible.  I really need to get a modern English (preferably a Catholic version, which includes the extra chapters), since the two translations I have (Old Scofield Study version and KJV) I find so difficult to read.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff.   I did not want to wait for this book, or fight people in line at Barnes and Noble to get the last copy.  I don’t like reading books on a computer, but I just had to have it right away, so I went ahead and ordered a Kindle version off Amazon.  I’m reading it now, and believe me, it is a page turner.  It reads like a soap opera, but it isn’t trashy, because with this dumpster fire reality show of a presidency, that’s actually the way this White House operates.

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To everything there is a season…

I forgot about this old article I wrote in June 2015, but I’d like to put these thoughts out there again for others to think about.

Lucky Otters Haven

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There seem to be three different kinds of people in the world. Those who are fake-positive, always wearing a plastered on smile and never admitting to failure or to their true emotions; those who walk around wearing their misery like a badge of honor; and everyone else.

Before I became active in the narcissistic abuse community, I really only met the first type of person and the third. I’m all too well acquainted with “positive thinking nazis” — you know, fake and shallow people who don’t want to acknowledge your pain and tell you to “get over it” or “you bring your misery on yourself with your negativity.” These people are often–but not always–narcissists (but even when they aren’t, they are all neurotypicals.) They are good at social skills and making a good impression at all times, and that means they are always smiling. They cannot and will not understand…

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Early morning musings about where we are now…and where we are going.

 

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I’ve been so active in the Twitter resistance community, that I’ve neglected blogging.

The resistance community on Twitter has become my lifeline and I’m completely addicted. Today, I’d like to share an early morning thread I posted. Having written this in a semi-awake state (pre-covfefe!), this was written from my heart more than from my brain, which hasn’t fully kicked in yet (still waiting for the covfefe to do its magic).

1. Sometimes I want to live long enough to see my country become a shining light on the hill again, sadly I don’t see that happening for a very long time, much longer than the 25-30 or so years I probably have left (if I’m lucky). But, 90 (the same age my dad died) seems like a good time to bow out.

2. I just don’t want to leave this world with my country in such disarray and possibly a totalitarian regime. I would worry about my kids and possible future grandkids. It would make me very sad to pass on without seeing a big change for the better.

3. That’s why it’s so important to me we turn around Congress/Senate back to the Democrats. Even if Trump is still president (god forbid), he will be able to do little damage if the GOP is out. All I want is to see my country back to what it was (or better!) so I can die happy and be assured the future for my descendants is a hopeful or even bright one.

4. I’m old enough to remember when fairness and compassion mattered. I want to see a return to that. Reaganism pretty much ruined all that. We are now finally paying the piper for 40 years of craven selfishness, runaway societal narcissism, and greed. At least people are finally waking up to the damage Reaganism ultimately caused.

5. That said, I do see signs that the tide is beginning to turn. But make no mistake, we have the fight of our life in front of us. Things always get worse before they improve. I do think in the end, justice and goodness will prevail, but the road is going to get bumpy for all of us. Strap in and hang on tight! Have courage! Don’t cave, for that’s what our enemies (and they are enemies!) are counting on.

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6. My biggest take away from all this is that I’ve come to realize I care deeply about my country and am willing to die for it, if necessary. That’s a big improvement from the apathy and cynicism I used to feel. I see this all over and it’s very encouraging! I’m also learning more about history than I ever did in all my years of schooling. What an education this has been!

7. Finally, as dysfunctional and scary as our country has become, we are watching history unfold and we are all part of it, whether we want to be or not. We are living in interesting times. That can be either a curse or a blessing, depending on how you frame it and whether you choose to get involved or succumb.

8. I won’t lie though. I’d give anything for my news to be boring again. With Godspeed, maybe one day soon it will be again.

9. A hot cup of Covfefe and a banana nut muffin helps.

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Throwback Thursday: My Inner Narcissist.

Originally posted on January 8, 2015

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The beautiful paintings in this article are by Marta Dahlig at Deviantart.

Narcissism isn’t limited to narcissists.

Most people have some narcissistic traits and that’s why it’s dangerous to try to diagnose someone you don’t know pretty well or have lived with. Mislabeling happens a lot, and ACONS and victims of abuse tend to be quick to label anyone who shows any narcissistic traits as a narcissist, because we’re so hypervigilant about everything and trust no one.

I hate my narcissistic traits, but I do have a few. Now’s the time I “come out” of the closet about them.

We also can’t forget a little narcissism is actually healthy and protects us to some extent from victimization. No one can be completely unselfish. It’s just not realistic or good for survival.

My two most deadly narcissistic sins are:

1. Envy. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I used to be pathologically envious of those who had more than I did, were more attractive, came from loving homes, had a better job or made more money (practically everybody!) I don’t think this is uncommon in people who were raised and/or married narcissists, and we are not incorrect about having been cheated in life. We have a right to feel like it’s unfair. It’s still an ugly, soul-destroying emotion though, because it makes us hate ourselves even more when we think we fall short of others.

I think what sets my envy apart from true narcissistic envy is that I have never had any desire to ruin or take away someone’s else’s good fortune. I might feel bitter and brood about it, but I never felt it was my right to interfere. Sometimes the people I envied could inspire me too. I also didn’t necessarily hate the people I envied, even when I wanted to. Or maybe it just sets me apart from the MALIGNANT narcissists, because those are the dangerous ones who really want to hurt you.

I’ve been getting a lot better–but another deadly sin that is envy’s polar opposite is slowly taking its place…

2. Pride (vanity). I haven’t experienced too much of this until recently. I think some pride is normal and healthy. If you have no pride you feel like you deserve nothing. But I have noticed a tendency to brag about this blog when it’s doing well or my stats are high. Maybe that’s a normal thing for bloggers (I think we tend to be competitive) but I bet it’s also made a few people think I’m a narcissist playing the victim. I hope not, but I still worry about it. I’m always tempted to delete those stats posts after they go up, but then again, why not share good news when you have some to share? Because until recently, I hardly ever had any good news to share. So I’m like a little kid on Christmas Day or something.

I still have to watch this though, because you can drive people away with too much bragging, and pride, as pleasant an emotion as it can be, can turn you into a narcissist eventually. It’s a slippery slope to selfishness and evil. I can’t ever forget that my primary focus with this blog is to get better, and maybe help others get better too through my writing. Not to have X number of views or Y levels of visibility. It’s not about me anyway, it’s about what God wants for me and how he wants me to be of service.

Acquired narcissism due to good fortune is probably why there are so many narcissists in Hollywood and the music industry (not all celebrities are narcissists of course). Their success has probably changed them. Or it drives them crazy. I think only the most mentally sound and insightful celebrities are able to escape from the clutches of acquired narcissism (or serious mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, drug addiction, and even psychosis). It can’t be easy being famous and sought after by millions of strangers and having to be “on” for the media all the time.

Then there’s the other kind of pride–the kind that keeps people from admitting when they’ve been wrong or showing humility when it would benefit them and others to do so. Fortunately, I don’t think I’m guilty of that kind of pride very much. I can admit when I’ve been wrong and am not “too proud” to do so. I think narcissists pretty much have a monopoly on that type of pride.

My last “deadly sin” is sloth. I can be the laziest person you ever met. I’m a world class procrastinator. But I don’t think that’s a narcissist trait.

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What are yours?

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3,000 year old pants.

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I found this photo today on Museum Archive and it fascinates me.    It’s a picture of a pair of 3,000 year old trousers.  I don’t know where they’re from, but the patterns look rather Egyptian, so maybe they’re from Egypt.

They look well made to me, especially since they’ve held up this long.   I also like the details and the little patterns on them.   I would wear these!

They definitely have the fashionable “distressed” look, don’t you think?

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Education vs. indoctrination.

I spent today watching videos (because who really does anything productive on New Years Day, and besides, it was way too cold to go outside).

This video made my heart hurt.     In the first section, the late Carl Sagan is shown teaching a 6th grade class science.    You can tell how much Sagan loves what he is teaching and also how much he enjoys helping these kids open their minds, nurturing their curiosity about the world.

The second part is a jarring contrast.   It’s a scene from the documentary “Jesus Camp,” a Pentecostal Christian children’s camp.  The kids, rather than being encouraged to think and wonder and dream, are being indoctrinated in hatred and specifically, hatred toward the government and public education.

These kids are literally being trained as “warriors for Jesus.”   It reminds me so much of al-Quaeda training.

It makes me so sad that so many people in this country would rather have children getting the second type of “education” than the first.

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Happy(er) 2018!

2018

Just a quick New Year’s Eve post.

For me personally, 2017 was a better than average year. But politically, it really, really sucked.

My take away from this is that I realized how much I care about my country and saving democracy. I learned more than I ever did in all my years of schooling about our political system and history.   2017 was definitely an education.

Here’s hoping that 2018 is a starting point for something new and much better, and the beginning of the end of this dark time in our history.

Happy New Year!

 

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