Salix's Shiny Things

A magpie blog.

Appreciated and admired. January 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 12:08 pm
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I’ve had a really wonderful week.  And the main reason is that I went out of my comfort zone and joined a writing group.  Yeah, that would be way, WAY out of my comfort zone, but I did it, and I am very glad I did.  The writing group main theme is “Healing through Writing”, and what made it work really well for me was the fact that all the comments on each other’s writing had to be positive – what did you like? What stuck with you? What was strong? This was a major departure from the kind of writing and responding to other’s writing that I had experienced in school.  Even with the “sandwich” method, where the idea is to surround the critique with positive comments, you are still as a listener required to pay attention to what was “bad” or “weak” in the piece.  By making the task of commenting just geared towards the positive, you are looking, and finding, the “good”, the “strong”.  Hearing the positive comments and being forced to find the “good” in other’s pieces made for an amazing experience.  It was so encouraging and wonderful to hear people respond in warm, caring ways towards my writing.  It definitely created a safe space to communicate my ideas, and I felt relieved of the burden of rewriting and reworking a piece in response to criticism.  I could simply enjoy the process of fitting words to images in pleasing patterns to tell a story of my own making.  My self confidence increased by orders of magnitude.  I felt, for the first time in a long time (I think since a friend and I would play poetry games in coffee shops right before I went to grad school) like I was really good at this, not just writing, but also in connecting with others in joyful, playful ways.  Like I really did have something positive to contribute to the world. 

But, I still have a ways to go towards healing my broken confidence and sense of self worth.  Which isn’t surprising, as years of being ignored, undervalued, dismissed, gaslighted, etc, don’t go away overnight.  But it was such a huge step in the right direction for me.  It was fun just to have fun doing something I really enjoy with other like-minded folks.  And it was a good reminder that not everyone (in fact, very few people, as it turns out) is an overly critical wet blanket like my ex.  As I continue to accrue these positive experiences with others, I continue to heal.

On Sunday, my son had choir practice.  They were starting a new piece, the Mozart Alelulia canon, which has three parts that are sung in a round.  It’s very pretty, and a little bit complicated.  Z happened to be the only one who could make it, so the director asked if I’d like to help sing the different parts.  And I did, and I didn’t do so badly, and I had fun harmonizing.  After we went through the piece once with all the parts, Z started going off about how I was really good and how I should write a book and other things, and I responded in my normal way when he says stuff like that.  I was very self depricated, I said thanks, but I don´t know if that’s really possible, I´m not really good enough, because you have to be really good… and so forth.  But this time, the choir director was there, and I noticed that she had this look on her face that said “Oh your son is so sweet, it´s breaking my heart!” And I realized that maybe I should just shut up and take the compliment already.  And it was a bit painful to realize that extreme self deprecation was not a good example to show to my son.  My attempts at humility went too far, and were presenting as a lack of joy in life, a lack of joy in my accomplishments, and an inability to connect in a positive way with my own son. 

I don’t want to be like that.  I don’t want my son to grow up like that.  I don’t want to be tiny and unnoticable anymore.  I am glad that I’m in a place where I can be myself, somewhat talented, silly, funny, engaging, and be loved for all of those things.  I am glad that I am in a place where I can be appreciated and admired.  I can flower here in ways that I couldn´t before, because I think that, at least in part, my talents and my enjoyment of life were threatening to my previous partners.  It’s not really that I think of myself as Super Cool Amazingly Talented Writer for the Ages, or anything (I know I’m not, and wouldn’t want to be anyways), but I do know that my instructors and friends have responded very positively to my writing and my ideas.  I think that my tendency towards being positive and caring in my writing and in my response to other’s writing was deeply threatening to my ex, which helps explain why she was so dismissive and rude.  Not that I every showed her much of my writing beyond texts and emails, as I knew that she would simply exploit my insecurities and vulnerability. 

So that’s me being all reasonable and rational about dealing with abusive b.s.  But I really want to use words like “talentless hack” and “sad, pathetic, immature asshat”, and “flaming ball of impotent rage” (which I stole from an Onion segment on the Republican loss in the 2012 election).

 

No mud, no lotus. April 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 3:40 pm
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Mud and Lotus ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.

 


I’ve been reading a fair amount of Thich Nhat Hanh’s works, of which the library has a decently large selection.  I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I had no idea who he was before I started reading “Miracle of Mindfulness” (1975) and “Peace is Every Breath” (2011).  He was an incredibly brave peace activist during the Vietnam war.  He had met with Dr Martin Luther King Jr. to urge him to denounce the war, and King later nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for a Nobel Peace Prize.  (wiki)

 

I have found his writings to be gentle and friendly and welcoming.  His style is concise and poetic, which I tend to gravitate towards, as each word tends to stand out like a jewel.

 

This week marks my first year away from the person who emotionally abused me.  Looking back, it’s been a year of highs and lows, some moments of beauty, some of stark depression.  It isn’t easy learning how to feel and express my emotions.  I had to be so guarded with them when I was with her.  Now I have a tendency to “fly off the handle”; my temper is too quick and flashes out like lightning.  Now that I’m free to have angry feelings and express them after 4 years of bottling them up,  the angry wants to jump out of me all the time, and I hate it.  I hate how it makes me like her.  She was always angry at something, her anger was righteous, terrible anger, road rage.  She would kick cars when she was angry at the owner, punch cars that annoyed her.  She threw keys through a wall once.

I don’t want to be like that.

But I am a human being, and I have feelings, and one of them is anger.  And it needs to be felt, and expressed, but in a non-damaging way.

 

No mud, no lotus.

 

I’ve had a lot of mud surrounding me.  I am working on growing up through the muck.

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pic credit:  http://www.hdwallpaperscool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/lotus-flower-high-definition-wallpapers-beautiful-desktop-background-photographs-widescreen.jpg

 

 

Serene Sunday. And hello! (again!) April 6, 2014

 

pointing-the-way-570x527

pic credit:  http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/you-yourself-must-strive-the-buddhas-only-point-the-way/

Hello again, world!  I’ve been inspired to blog more in the last few weeks over at zisforzener and then, out of the blue, this blog got some attention.  I’d been ignoring this one because it’s a bit more painful.  It was a useful way at the time to write about things to help me get through the emotional and mental abuse I was experiencing with my partner, but it also reminded me too much of that dark time in my life.  But it has been a year exactly since I left her, and I have been wanting to write more about my journey towards self acceptance and lovingkindness, and this is the perfect way to do so.  I want zisforzener  to remain primarily about parenting, of course, and so this blog will be my everything-else blog, my “magpie” blog.  Expect ramblings about buddhism, mindfulness, recovery from abuse, mental illness (depression and social anxiety, mainly), and an occasional poem or short fictional story.  Like I said, “magpie” – all the shiny things, collected here!