i believe

“I refuse to be anti-gay.
I refuse to be anti-feminist.
I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.
I refuse to be anti-Democrat.
I refuse to be anti-secular humanism.
I refuse to be anti-science.”

-Anne Rice

I believe there is a Higher Power.
I believe this Higher Power is both feminine and masculine.
I believe in evolution.
I believe in female apostles during Jesus’ day and the possibility of goddesses.

I believe in feminism and I believe men can be feminists also.
I believe in simplicity, in homesteading, in loving your neighbor.
I believe in compassion as a religion.
I believe prayer works.

I believe there are many paths to God.  Many prophets have traveled this earth to meet with people where they are at.
I believe denominations divide us.
I believe the Church does not give God enough credit.

I believe in the power of Nature and our cyclical connection with it.
I believe in hugging trees.
I believe in treating animals with care and respect, whether you’re eating them or not.
I believe in looking people in the eyes, giving them the respect they deserve, and listening to their stories.

I believe there is good in every person.
I believe in books.

I believe in space ships, life on other planets, and that the human race will someday live somewhere else besides Earth.
I believe in ghosts.
I believe in time travel, if only because the exact idea of it is so phenomenal to me, I don’t want to believe it can’t happen.

I believe that global warming exists, that equality has not been reached, and that everyone has a little bit of unintentional hatred toward others inside of themselves – but when we acknowledge it, only then can we begin to erase it.
I believe that the government is inherently corrupt.
I believe in giving aid to other countries, but not in a religious sense.

I believe in man+man, woman+man, and woman+woman.
I believe divorce is the *only*  thing that is a threat to traditional marriage.
I believe in living together before marriage if it’s right for you.
I believe marriage isn’t the only way.
I believe in a healthy sexual relationship in or outside of marriage.
I believe that being pro-choice does not make you anti-life.
I believe that the American Dream is self-serving and ignorant.

I believe in adoption.
I believe one’s family extends beyond blood relations and instead is of one’s own choosing.

I believe in being an introvert.
I believe in standing up for myself, whether it offends someone else or not.
I believe in standing up for my loved ones, whether it offends someone else or not.
I believe in living my life according to me.

I believe in meditation.
I believe in yoga.
I believe in spending an afternoon sitting by a river, listening to the water flow and watching the birds.

I believe in growing my own food.
I believe in traveling the world and broadening my worldview as much as possible.
I believe in being bilingual.
I believe in respect for and understanding in other cultures.
I believe in peace.

I believe tattoos and piercings can enhance and make one more uniquely beautiful.
I believe everyone should have to work behind a counter for at least six months before graduating from high school.
I believe the most oddly-dressed people have the most fabulous life stories.
I believe riding the public transit system by yourself in a big city prepares you for anything and makes you fearless.

I believe owning and riding a bicycle can redefine the idea of freedom.
I believe in taking each person I meet at face value.

I believe guilt is a time-wasting tool of the devil.
I believe in deflecting negativity, but I only accomplish this every other day.
I believe that living vicariously through someone else is exhilarating and also time-wasting.
I believe that we all spend too much time attempting to be perfect.

However.

I believe and that’s what keeps me going.

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Copyright (c) 2008-2012 quieter notions

defining a part of myself with a word i am still defining: an opinion piece

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A couple of weeks ago, I learned a new word: codependent. And though the word brings to mind certain traits that it doesn’t entirely represent, I’m going to do my best to share my short, but ongoing relationship with it now and define it as it means to me.

I was a bookseller for almost 10 years. I came across Melody Beattie’s codependency books quite frequently and because of the awful ’90s designed covers, I dismissed them as quack psychology. My twentysomething year old self would be plenty amused that I now consider her book, Codependent No More, my bible.

What I found within her pages was relief, community, and answers. I discovered, yet again, I’m not the only person dealing with certain traits and kneejerk reactions that have stifled my personal growth for most, if not all, of my life. I underlined and dog-earred many of the sentences in the book as each one resonated with me more than the last.

 

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So, codependency: the best diagram I have found yet is linked above. Yes, codependency is often hand-in-hand with alcoholism and the 12 Steps but it’s much more than that too. And many codependents aren’t doing anything listed above maliciously or even consciously. When we are faced with the cycle we’ve made a habit-formed part of our life, it is easy to deny the cycle or respond in anger. Only when we’ve accepted the cycle, forgiven ourselves for it, and focused on moving beyond it will we find healing.

I know what I speak of; I am barely a month into relating this word to myself yet setting up a boundary that won’t allow me to wallow in it fully. Presumed victimhood is an outfit I’ve worn many times and it would be easy to declare, “I am codependent!” and allow that to be the tattoo on the forehead that people read first about me. But I am so much more than that (for example, I do my best to refer to the panic attacks, anxiety, and depression that I live with not as “mine” but as something separate from me that pops up at inconvenient times).

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If you are like me, you are a nurturer or you know someone who is. If you are like me, you have routinely placed others above and before yourself. You are drawn to caregiving, doing and giving to others to prove your love and devotion to them, sometimes going so far as to cast yourself in the role of their savior. A well-balanced scenario involving all of the above would also include you taking time for yourself, refilling your energy when you are drained or not allowing yourself to be drained in the first place. You give, but you receive graciously. You allow others to take care of you as you care for them.

Those of us who are codependent feel guilt in doing this though. We live so much for others that we neglect ourselves, we establish no boundaries for our own personal protection, and we give until we are run dry even when the person we’re giving to didn’t ask for or need what we are giving them. Then when they are not receptive or appreciative, we cast ourselves in the angry, put-upon victim who gives so much yet receives very little. We resent where there is little to no cause for resentment. It is not OUR fault; it is their fault.

When we realize how much we are hurting the other people with our assumed and incorrect assessment of them, we back off, apologize over and over, and dig ourselves further into guilt. And the cycle begins all over again.

We do this as much to ourselves as others may knowingly or unknowingly take advantage of it. Maybe they got used to us controlling the household, the bills, the driving, etc. They took it as the new norm or they realized it wasn’t right but they didn’t know what else to do. So their role is diminished and over time their self-confidence takes a hit. Maybe they too are codependent and your codependent tendencies clash with each other on a daily or weekly basis.

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The good news is we can move beyond those tendencies. We can have healthy relationships with healthy boundaries and healthy self-esteem between both individuals who have chosen to live a life together. As author Ralph Blum writes in his book, The Book of Runes, “In love relationships, in business matters, in partnering of every kind, you are put on notice not to collapse yourself into that union. For true partnership is achieved only by separate and whole beings who retain their separateness even as they unite. Remember to let the winds of Heaven dance between you.”

That quote from Blum resonates with me deeply. I have not approached any sort of partnership in my life from this perspective. I have always collapsed, I have always lost myself. To know that a partnership is stronger by both being strong on their own is such a simple yet life-changing realization. To know that personal boundaries and loving detachment is necessary in all relationships for the good of all parties involved (whether monogamous, polyamorous, etc.) is a protection we all need to embrace.

Yes, detachment. Beattie, again, defines this perfectly , really well (striking the p word from my vocabulary is an ongoing goal of mine):

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In a handful of sentences, Beattie is able to take a word that normally has a negative connotation and turn it into an empowering action that supports everyone. It absolves the guilt that we surround ourselves with when we dare to put ourselves first. It holds us tightly and tells us that we are not selfish and by detaching, we are still caring. No one needs their monkey mind taking over their lives and this gives explicit permission to keep that from happening. If we can help others and not hurt ourselves, we are already on the way to healing.

Beattie has a number of titles available that address codependency and beyond codependency. She has also published a few daily meditations that focus on this subject also. While her books do make a consistent partnership of alcoholism and codependency, as well as the 12 Steps and some religious references (mainly Christian and Buddhist), she makes a point of saying that not everyone who is codependent is also dealing with alcoholism and that the 12 Steps aren’t for everyone.

This is an ongoing journey, a path to healing, and being our genuine selves. I have written my experience and understanding of this so far and yet your experience may be completely different. Please feel free to share your journey in the comments below.

 

Notmother’s Day

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I could have been a mother.

I think about that a lot: I consider how old I am (36 now), do some quick math, realize I could realistically have a kid going into or already in high school, and then my face turns a pasty white and I have to remind myself to breathe.

I was certain I would be a mother all growing up and into my teens, even my early twenties. Life wasn’t set up to make that happen right away and by the time it was, I had the craziest notion I didn’t HAVE to have kids. I felt naughty even considering it. But it settled so well in my soul I let it resonate there for awhile.

And well over 10 years later, I have no regrets. I know I was lucky enough to have the freedom to choose and I chose what my heart and mind were telling me all along: I’ve never wanted to experience pregnancy, let alone childbirth, and I like my life the way it is without children.

It’s the strangest thing though. I see so many friends my age and younger with multiple children and I still think to myself, “We’re not old enough to have babies yet!”. But I’m the one who realized, instead of not being old enough, I WAS enough and I didn’t need or want anything more.

Watching the world through honey

Learning that you’ve overstayed your welcome and that you were already aware of it but did nothing to change.

Knowing people will form wrong opinions of you with no help from yourself and there is nothing you can do about it but hold your head high and continue forward.

When you ignore the nudge in your heart, the voice in your mind and the accumulating stress to force yourself down a path you were never meant to take.

You can no more cause a shift in other people’s self-awareness and how it affects you than you can move a mountain.

When you learn that sometimes walking away with your head held high is the best option.

And projecting helpless negativity while trying to change that which will not be changed is a waste of energy.

You are not on your soul’s journey.
It will not get easier.
It will keep disrupting until you adjust.

I’m adjusting now.

tinystories

Passively riding in a car down the highway, she realized for a cold second that she has no idea where she lives.






She machine-sewed the peach-colored fabric up the length of her arm before she realized it didn’t match her skin tone.






“I’m too tired to drive anymore,” she says to the guard rail and smashed glass now occupying her passenger seat instead of her date.






EMPTY: She exorcised her demons before inviting the angels in.

Transform / परिणाम / transformar

transform

[verb trans-fawrm; noun trans-fawrm]
verb (used with object)
1. to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.
2. to change in condition, nature, or character; convert.
3. to change into another substance; transmute.

“What do you need me to be?” she asks herself.
“A bird, so that I may fly with the frogs,” she replies.
Silly girl, frogs don’t fly.
“They do when you skim the water and float through the cattails,” she says haughtily.

“Where shall we go when you grow your wings?” she inquires.
“I want to fly where I can be alone and above, within and around, apart and everywhere.”
Silly girl, wherever will you find such a place?
“The frogs will show the way.”

“What will we call you, girl-transformed-into-a-bird?” she wonders incredulously.
“You have already called my name, though in the wrong language. I am change. I am motion. I am the flowing of water, the call of a bird already in flight with the wind,” she whispers as she takes flight to follow the frogs.
Wise Child, take me with you.
“You need to believe your wings first.” the moon replies as she lights the way.