My Blog Motto

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement"

~Rita Mae Brown

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Eerie Silence

A few years back I had been experiencing brief and unexplained periods of what I initially identified as "depression". I had been, no doubt, influenced by our society's misguided perception of emotional response, And I'm not just referring to the segment of society that is blindly parroting the medical "advice" doled out by prescription happy shrinks. There are some other experts", more benign and well intended, spiritual in their approach; the feel good, Law of Attraction, New agey folks. Not only influenced, but perhaps misdirected?
I won't bother myself, or my readers, to speculate upon their intentions and it's unrealistic to attempt to cloak an entire group of people with one definitive blanket even if I were to try. What I am able to speak to is my internal processes and reactions to the messages I hear again and again from both schools of thought.
The most clear, and harmful implication is fairly consistent- a full range of emotion is somehow undesirable.
Anxiety and Stress are probably two of the most often maligned emotions and yet they are as common as any other, especially in our society that forces us to live in systems that are generally at odds with Human rhythms and patterns of survival. Some of us, due to life circumstances, "poor" choices or other influences learned to function on a high level of stress at an early age. We become accustomed to stress and anxiety to the point that it becomes the driving force by which we get up each day and do the things we are expected to do. To a certain degree, this can be okay. some of us a wired for a little more high voltage than others. Some of us adapt our wiring to accommodate a chaotic childhood or a series of challenging life events. I am one of those people. But as I've grown older and a little wiser, I have come to understand the benefits of a more quiet mind and a peaceful existence. You would think this would be a fabulous breakthrough of enlightenment and joy, right? Wrong. Just like any unused muscle or tendon will rebel at physical therapy, crying out in pain as our brain tells us "this can't possibly be right. This quack has no idea what they are doing!" so it goes for our emotions. Unfamiliar movement is uncomfortable, even if it is what best for our all over health and well being.
So as I have found myself being able to relax, to be calm and content I also found myself in unfamiliar, and therefore uncomfortable, territory. Without stress or anxiety I felt unmotivated, directionless and even tired. I concluded that I must be depressed, after all it read like the checklist. Do you feel a sudden loss of interest in activities? A lack of sex drive? Oh dear! Depression!!!
Only on further introspection I realized I was missing a key component of depression, I was not unhappy, weepy or miserable, I was simply frozen, lost and uncertain of what to do with this incredibly boring sense of calm. I had found what I had been looking for now I just needed to figure out what to do with it. Which was at first basically nothing. I simply had to let it Be. By letting it Be and allowing myself to sit with it, it began to become more familiar and more comfortable. Even though busy bees of thought made several attempts to invade my new found place of peace, I reminded myself that if I didn't swat at them they wouldn't sting. They would become bored with my boring little life and fly away.
And so I've learned over the years to be okay with Calm, to resist the urge to call it something else, like depression, because doing that was giving it a name that would demonize it and would mean it needed to be eliminated from my psyche (oh our minds can be so tricky sometimes!) The sad thing is, if I had decided that I was indeed depressed, I would have been prescribed drugs that would have interfered with my own process of working through the stretching and mental exercise that brought me to this point of acceptance and understanding. Feelings are feelings and they are all okay. They all serve a purpose. When we have limited our selection of preferred feelings, it takes some practice to work with the new ones. We just need to try them on for size, see how they fit, walk around in them for a while and break them in like a new pair of shoes.

Note: As I was in the midst of writing this post, I was given a link to another post my my friend Kat. It was nothing less than Divine synchronicity that she shared her story at this time. Great Women's minds think alike!! Here is the link, read and enjoy!!!

© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Question of Commitment

Courtesy of the Graphics Fairy
In some not so recent years the pop culture discussion on the battle of the sexes and relationships was obsessed with the general unwillingness of the average male to commit.  Phrases like "the peter pan syndrome" were all part of this Urban Legend that in the world of dating and romance women were far more interested in finding a mate for life whereas men, it seemed, were primarily concerned with the excitement of the chase and proving their sexual prowess by bedding as many women as possible.
As old fashioned as these notions sound, it would seem they have persisted into the 21st century. Or at least it would seem so to anyone who relies on popular magazines, romantic comedies and pop psychology as a source of reliable information.
I'm not one of those people and frankly I don't even know many of those people well enough to discern whether or not they believe this rubbish. I am a bit curious though. Having grown up in the 60's I watched my Mother and her peers challenge the notion that a Woman attending college was not simply trying to gain the fabled "Mrs. degree", but was instead actually endeavoring to cultivate a career.
As a side note for those of you not familiar with the term "Mrs Degree", it implied that a woman could better herself by attending college, generally gaining a degree in Liberal Arts, with the end result of becoming cultured and well read enough to be considered proper marrying material for a man of intelligence and power. Being armed with a fair amount of interesting but generally useless knowledge would enable a woman to maintain reasonably intelligent conversation the the cocktail parties she would throw for her husband and his colleagues. She and other housewives of similar class and background could commiserate about 18th century literature as they prepared hors d'ourves and desserts and dutifully attended to their spouses whims and desires. Hell, maybe they could even form a book club and talk about their vaginas if they were really liberated. Ultimately however, the supreme goal was to land a husband who was able to provide a steady income, healthy children and a few nice material goods to enhance the suburban ranch house.
But anyway, back to the future or the present. I recently had one of those moments of self realization in which I discovered that I, myself, am commitment phobic. As this thunderbolt of insight struck I was prompted to mentally review my past relationships (the fact that there have been many should indicate that this so called epiphany was nothing more than neglected territory) This was not so much an"ah-ha" moment, as it was a "well duh" moment. I realized that with a few exceptions (mostly in my younger more idealistic years) I generally tended to go with the flow in my relationships as opposed to actually planning some sort of future. I did actually get married, once, and that was because I was pregnant and despite my initial instinct to hop a Greyhound and raise my child alone I felt the father had a right to know that his supposedly non-fertile sperm had indeed swum it's way home and into the heart of one of my more willing ova. I told him because I felt it was the Right Thing to Do. I also figured he'd be the one to bail on the situation and therefore save me the bus fare and trouble of relocating. My ability to predict my mates reaction, as usual, proved ineffective. He asked me to marry him and against my better judgement and after considerable internal debate and rationalization I agreed. The idea actually kind of grew on me and I sincerely did want a nice stable normal life for my child. Problem was daddy seed belonged to one of the most unstable and less than normal people I've ever met (which was, of course what attracted him to me in the first place)
My second most valiant attempt at a relationship with the possibility of some sort of future, possibly an entire lifetime together, was with the father of my younger two children. We actually planned our pregnancy and he had picked up the role of father to my first born where biological dad had pretty seriously fumbled the ball. In fact he fouled out of the entire game.
My relationship with Dad number two was for the most part the closest I ever came to a sustainable, healthy and long term relationship. We discussed the idea of marriage, again he was more into the idea than I was, and quickly dismissed it as unnecessary, too costly and too complicated as it would involve awkward meetings of blended alcoholic families on both sides.
It lasted about 7 years until I admittedly, sabotaged the whole thing.
To this day I can't explain, even to myself, why I was hell bent on destructing the life we had. Most of the time I was pretty happy. To this day I often recount those years as the best years of my life. The Earth Mother Years.
I don't know why I walked away. There are some things about my choice that I do regret in a way. My children certainly would have suffered less. I would most likely be far more economically stable. A lot of things would have turned out differently. But they didn't.
So here I am now, 53 years old, single and pretty happy with that status for the most part. I can't help but wonder if I will be this way forever. Is this it? If I do find that 'right person' will I finally decide to make a commitment, to stay?
I'm more mature, a little more wise and much less restless. Would that make a difference?
I'm not actively looking to have these questions answered. I don't believe that people find their perfect partner by actively looking for them. It happens or it doesn't.
 Either way I think I'll be okay, and I do have that MS degree to fall back on.

Image courtesy of the fabulous Graphics Fairy
© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Eternal Teenager Strikes Again

When I first started blogging a friend advised me to have plenty of "back up blogs" for the times I was too busy, or unmotivated to blog. Like most intelligent and sensible advice, I made a mental note, filed under "good ideas" and then forgot about it. And like many of the files in that category I look back and wonder why I didn't take the advice.
I'm not angry with myself over the reams of unfollowed tips for better living, but I am a bit mystified by my absolute refusal to learn from my own mistakes. My therapist has dubbed me the Eternal Teenager in reference to my unyeilding position of Individuation and Hard Headed Self Determination. While I naturally wear this title as a Badge of Honor there is another part of me, more Parental in nature, that sometimes shakes her head in wonder.
How can you be so f@#king stubborn...use your goddamn head
This is how my Dad and his family would talk to each other but don't be alarmed, it was all in good Humor and Love. And it was also with the full understanding that we all operate under the same adolescent modality of Doing it my Way.
Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time has seen me experiment with different strategies. Dedicating myself to specific post days, trying for quantity rather than quality by posting brief daily musings, trying to follow themes or regular pre-planned topics, stuff like that. If I were doing this professionally I'd be out of a job, or maybe I'd be more motivated to pick a format and stick with it, who knows.
What I do know is this-I started this blog because there are a lot of Women out there who, like me, are Eternal Teenagers who, in spite of our lack of commitment or ability to follow life's rules have a lot of Wisdom, Humor and some pretty good stories. Being a little off one's rocker creates great opportunities for picking up a little wit and wisdom along the way, we all know that. Most of us are comfortable with that. But every once in a while we wonder,
why can't I do things in a nice orderly fashion like everyone else which may lead us to wonder if we are alone on this crazy patchwork trail of adventure we call life.
Sometimes my best and brightest purpose can be to remind my Sisters who won't or can't follow the rules that we are not alone, we are not "bad" we are just Unique, Independent and Creative. In a world of sheep, it just might be the Black Sheep that stands out and dares to evade the Wolf.
You can't cage a Free Spirit.
Peace and Love,
Jenny Nanakoosa

© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard