Silence

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Here’s a pretty harsh truth of recent revelation to me. I think everyone has certain people in their lives, the people constantly expect you to be continually tuned into their every waking emotion. From Facebook status updates to the third level of implied emotion which must be intuited from text messages, the life of a hyper-empath such as myself is an overwhelming inundation of the emotions of others.

What strikes me though is that few of these folks ever really gives a shit about how I’m feeling. On the rare occasion that someone actually bothers to inquire, it’s only a conversational place holder, designed to give the illusion of concern. But really, the question serves to give appropriate pause before diving into whatever it is that person wants to say. The only way to truly be the center of attention is to direct it at all times, momentarily onto another, but then solely refocusing on the star.

I wish I could say that I’m used to it by now, and most of the time, that’s probably true. It happens so frequently, I barely notice. But on days like today, when nothing wants to work out in my favor, when I’m emotionally wrecked, and feeling like I have no ally, the silence is more than I can bear.

The light within

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Good people are like candles; they burn themselves up to give others light. – Turkish Proverb

My initial reading of this quote was to nod along emphatically, because I feel like I’ve spent my whole life burning up myself to light the way for others. If you know my “origin story,” you’ll understand that I was brought into this world to serve my mother, and then my father, and taught to sacrifice myself for anyone who would so easily claim my time.

There’s nothing wrong with serving others, if the end cause is just and worthy. But for my circumstances, the cause was to ease their lives into one where they have a servant to wait on them hand and foot. It’s taught me to subvert myself for their own benefit, a thing which I have been working hard to unlearn in my years of estrangement.

When I re-read the quote now, I see it in a slightly different way. I see it is in order to give our light to others, we must light within ourselves. Find our true happy self, accept ourselves as we truly are. Be the dynamic change, light ourselves to our full potential, and be happy. In doing this, we create a light that not only inspires and leads others, but lights and guides us as well.

Musical Interlude: Neunundneunzig Luftballons (99 Red Balloons)

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Have you ever really listened to 99 Luftballoons? The entire city laid to waste over some red balloons?

Here’s a link to the lyrics in English

Essentially, the song’s about a misunderstanding about someone releasing a bunch of balloons, which turned into a military attack. This hooky German song is remarkably pointed even today, with the increased paranoia about terror attacks. How something so innocent and banal could be trigger aggression when the emotional climate in which we live is so taut with tension.

There’s a great cover of this song by Goldfinger, which I really enjoy. It comes up on my Pandora station often, and usually at the end of the day. And, while I liken my departure from work to be not unlike being released like so many red balloons, I’m hoping that my departure doesn’t result in being shot down by extreme military force.

 

Why I don’t.

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So, I feel like I should address something that you might be wondering if you’re a new reader to the Saurus. I talk a lot about my family and post pictures, but none of myself or my family. And while, in this electronic age of constant visual access to people’s lives, of Facebook, Instagram and what have you, I don’t post so much as a thumbnail of the doings transpiring. Why?

As some of you may be aware, I am estranged from my family and images publicly available on the Internet would find their way into their hands. So, we live our lives on a sort of privacy lockdown. That’s not to say that it’s impossible to find images because they exist, but my privacy is important. To protect my family is to shield my son of some painful experiences, even if it’s only witnessing what it does to me.

Lemony Snickets series of unfortunate events says (regarding the loss of a loved one) “If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.”  And I think that’s also true of this. If you’re family is good and healthy, you can’t possibly imagine what a damaged home feels like. But those who have been there know and truly understand.

Family portrait: results

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The family photos were delivered on the longer side of the promised estimate. However the promised disk never did arrive. I was able to view the images online first, with watermark to prevent downloads. I was surprised at some, and happy with others. For example, he included some lovely candids, which were truly beautiful and no less than two of my son crying.

I think that a good children’s photographer should be more engaged with the children, rather than relying on the adults who are also posing, to produce the desired outcome. I am pleased with the shoot overall, but may hesitate before dropping that kind of money in lieu of a portrait studio.

I will still use them for the holiday photos. There’s some really sweet moments. I forget how exhausting events like this can be. It does make me anxious to try out the camera again.

Upward

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For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, it’s not exactly a secret that I struggle with depression. So much of my life is affected by it, in spite of my continued efforts to be well, cope and recover. I think I feel it most heavily in the fall months, as the daylight fades sooner, the weather turns colder and the impending holiday season presses heavier on my already taxed heart.

I wish I could say it gets easier with time, but it doesn’t. Like parenting, as some of the wiser people I’ve talked to say, it just gets different. My coping skills aren’t the best, I fixate on things that I can’t change, trying to will certain things into existence that just simply won’t be. I lament my inability to change the things I want to, languishing in the angst beyond the point where it’s healthy. But I am becoming more aware of this pattern of behavior, and in acknowledging it, it is easier to loosen the grip and let it go.

In addictions counseling, the theory goes that people must hit “rock bottom” in order to truly begin to recover. I’ve bottomed out a few times in my life, and I will say that recovering from mental illness is never as simple as that. Each day is a struggle. Some days are good, some are walking on fire. The problem I encounter is that I must recover alone, because no one can get into my head to fix it for me, nor would I want to wish that nightmare on anyone.

Part of working through one’s issues is the constant need for self-examination, reflection and understanding. I lean heavily on the Buddhist philosophy of the four immeasurables: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Appreciative Joy, and Equanimity. It is through these principles that I work to extinguish my sense of self, the root of my suffering, and to simply be present in the moment, to practice love, compassion and acknowledgement of all things around me, and in doing so, find enlightenment and oneness with the universe.

The struggle is constant, awareness is dire, and the biting sadness and emptiness is ever-present. The point of my recovery that I’m working hard to understand is whether I feel worthy of mental well-being, love, and friendship. Most of my life, I’ve spent feeling unworthy, subhuman, and alone. The small beginnings of worth that manifested in the past have always been reliant on the way others regarded me. The trick I must learn is to value myself for myself, for in doing so, I hope to no longer rely on the opinions of others for my worth.

Photo Friday – Spain

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Happy Foto Friday, Everyone! Today we begin a new series of photos taken while my husband and I were on a cruise of the Mediterranean. These were photos taken during our day trip to Valencia, which was the last leg of our tour before returning to Barcelona, the airport and then home. Enjoy!

Early morning, there’s practically no one around. Very peaceful.

 

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