Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Zine Fest Was Fun

In the 1990s, I collected and read zines and that hobby continued. I believe the only
real future for anything good to read lies within independent publishing. As everything grows more over-conformist and squelched via the corporations and their ilk, our only hope for new exciting ideas and writing is within the independent world.

 Big publishing has grown more formulaic with the years. Normal mainstream magazines bore the stuffing out of me, the only ones that seem to have any redeeming qualities are the local foodie ones, Smithsonian and Mental Floss. The best things to read in my opinion are things written by real people not corporate hacks.

 I'm surprised those boring women's magazines stay viable, since they write on the same looks-based stuff over and over. Anyhow seeing the endless array's of independent publishing was enjoyable. I plan to go again. It was tough with heat almost keeping me home--it's hard for me to travel any distance from home but a kind friend took us both.  Even turning this blog into a zine would be easy enough, printing out some of the best of articles--I could do fat based ones and an ACON based one. Anyhow zines are fun with a collection of self-written poetry, personal life stories, comics and photography. This was one of the most fun things I did all year.


Joy Division-Atmosphere

By Joy Division
Walk in silence,
Don't walk away, in silence.
See the danger,
Always danger,
Endless talking,
Life rebuilding,
Don't walk away.
Walk in silence,
Don't turn away, in silence.
Your confusion,
My illusion,
Worn like a mask of self-hate,
Confronts and then dies.
Don't walk away.
People like you find it easy,
Naked to see,
Walking on air.
Hunting by the rivers,
Through the streets,
Every corner abandoned too soon,
Set down with due care.
Don't walk away in silence,
Don't walk away

Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers

I've always loved garlic. It's good in Italian dishes, or even roasted in the oven within the bulb and squeezed onto things. This is a fun documentary by Lester Blank on Garlic, he has done other interesting documentaries on New Orleans too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When God Goes No Contact

This part resonated with me: "In my mind the unforgiveness I was harboring towards my abusers (remember I was angry with them) was a more serious issue with God than the actual abuse perpetrated on me." The world as we know defends the abusers well above any of their victims. The Christian world will give many false messages to ACONs, including telling us "our abusers didn't know any better." One thing I used to hear for years which makes me vomit now, is that they were "trying their best" and "went along with what they knew". All of us ACONs hear that don't we?

Smakintosh is correct that many of us wondered if only we were more charitable and nice maybe we wouldn't have been abused. I thought I was the problem for years as I wrote in my latest forgiveness article. Smakintosh is right these things were not based on anything scriptural. He is right about the modern churches being infected by the teachings of other religions. It's almost like we are to receive good karma from narcs by being "nice" to them. Well it doesn't work that way does it? Most churches fail to teach the truth about evil but God's Word is here for us to warn us about the wicked. God departs from the wicked in the same way we are commanded to depart from them too.

"Get Over It!"

"The narcissist will first hurt you (beat you up, say unforgivable things, cheat on you, scare you senseless, drive so recklessly that you think you and your children will die, steal your money, vanish for days/weeks and ….fill in the blanks) and if you don’t accept it after a superficial apology and a few days, they will be furious. They will then do a blame-shift and scream and yell at you for never letting go, for being unforgiving, it is YOUR fault they “had” to do it and they “can’t live like this”. The intensity in their anger along with their entitlement and indignation will through you completely off guard. They are so sure in their own rights, portraying YOU as a horrible and unforgiving person, that it is hard not to believe them.

You are not entitled the normal amount of time to heal your bruised soul, your shattered heart or your broken trust. They narcissist TELLS you how to feel and WHEN to feel it. If you contradict their story telling by feeling the opposite, they will tell you that you are WRONG, you are over dramatic, you are SHAMELESS, cold, unforgiving, always criticizing, never allowing them a new start and you are a …. NARCISSIST (!) that makes everything about YOU. You are BAD for being hurt when they hurt you. You should only smile and accept it, no matter what they did to you- get over it already."

Watch out for anyone who tells you how to feel including their enablers and flying monkeys too.

"You are Entitled To Your Feelings"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fat Acceptance in Australia

Some of this video is right about wanting fat people to be happier, but as you know I have posted my reservations about HAES and disagree with many aspects of it. I have read Fat Heffalump's blog before. Yoga is not something I am into.   They are correct about standing against the discrimination and negative "surveillance" of fat people but my beliefs about HAES remain the same.


Zines are very creative. In the 1990s, I collected zines, and even Fatso!? was among their number. Temp Slave was probably my most favorite. Fact Sheet Five would tell me about new zines I could order.

 Even writing this blog is kind of an outgrowth of my zine experiences where one takes personal life and writes articles about it. My favorite zines were always the personal life ones where people talk about things they had gone through.. Is there any wonder why my favorite comics was American Splendor written by Harvey Pekar?

At a store in a huge city specializing in alternative magazines and zines, I even recently purchased some health zines where people detailed living life with chronic illness.  I know blogging slowed down zines somewhat as the Internet took over but it's back in a big way. My husband had a zine--which specialized in music in the mid-1990s, I co-wrote at least one article in it. It lasted for a few years but was a very good one. Very soon, I'll attending a zine fest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

False Forgiveness is a Trap with Malignant Narcissists

                            [picture source]

Us ACONs are told to forgive.

Many of us already did and how can I say this? It failed.

Forgiving a Narc is just another way to get your heart broken and your face slammed down into the ground.

In 2002, I became a  born again Christian, and I remember thinking at the time, I need to make relationships "right" and I decided to "forgive" my mother.  After all the Bible says "Honor your mother and father." After all Jesus preached we are to forgive. Of course most of the pastors ignore the part about the wicked repenting to receive this forgiveness.

I found it interesting in one of the psycho comments, one line was "I don't forgive the unworthy". You can't really forgive someone who doesn't think they have done anything wrong.

At the time, I sought to understand my mother and thought to myself, she had a hard time growing up on the farm. She had a husband who yelled way too much. She had siblings who died. I also convinced myself of this line of thinking, maybe she is very reticient and hides her true emotions inside. In other words, manufactured depth of hidden emotions became my fantasy world about my mother.  The coldness I faced was too hard to even tell myself the truth about.

Sure for years I knew, "My mother hates me", but I blamed myself for that hate and sad to say even into my 30s at that time, I was still in that fog.

Even in my cartoon diaries and journals during those years I wrote things like, "I wasn't the best daughter, she couldn't deal with me" blaming myself for being fat, for being so different. By 2000, I found out about my Aspergers and told her.  I thought it would open the door for greater understanding. That she would realize what I was facing. Ironically that year my brother's son, was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism which is a notch below Aspergers on the spectrum but this changed NOTHING. There was no new understanding. There was no desire to even try to understand Aspergers but then the same applied to my medical health.

How many of us are told we are wicked for having anger towards our abusers? Even in the world of forgiveness most will take up for the estranged parents of no contact. They will tell the ACON they are "unforgiving" and that we "hold grudges". Remember my first no contact? I was guilted into coming back and told I needed to reconcile and to be a "nice" person. To be sure, after my two years of NC now, they are saying I am the one who is cold. No one will hold her responsible. The majority sadly will defend the narcissists.

Forgiveness is often a hammer used upon the head of ACONS. "Why haven't you forgiven your parents?" "Why do you hold grudges?" "Why are you so unforgiving?". No one will ask the narcissists, "Why don't you apologize?", "Why are you so mean?", "Why are you so cold?"  So at that time I gave in and decided to "forgive". I decided to be nice and kind to my mother. I made her a glass painting of flowers. I would come and visit. I tried to ignore as much meanness as possible even being disinvited from some family events. I had the false belief that my husband would move up in his newspaper career and some stability would return and she would be more accepting and no longer embarrassed over us being poor and would treat us better.

 I still believed that I may even be diagnosed with something they could cure and regain my life at that time. 2002, I had lost over 200lbs from 1999-2001 from near 700lbs all the way down to 450lbs. [I was 480 two years ago and 508 last week--I have fought the same 100lbs over and over since that time] The family didn't like that I was still so fat but obviously knew I was losing weight. I had hope back then that maybe one day my mother would love me. How sad.

This is one reason, the events of 8 years ago, where we sunk back into poverty hit me so hard. Back then I had escaped the ghetto and saw hope for my future even if my health was very poor still.

One weird day on the way home from visiting I even gave her a hug that was not returned, her bony shoulders remaining rigid, to my attempts of kindness. She never had given me a hug in her entire life. I stepped back. It was an uncomfortable moment that remains with me that brought with a nervous laugh and getting away as fast as possible. Do people who don't even want our love even deserve our forgiveness too? Think about that one.

What did the "forgiveness" of that time mean? It meant nothing. It was like "forgiving" a brick wall. She had no concern for my feelings. In 2001, one of her best friends told me that my weight disgusted her. Trust me if you are still fat you can drop hundreds of pounds and it doesn't matter. Times back then were only better then that instead of being left to die in the ghetto, I did get a bit of help with used cars and car repairs but no one ever paid our monthly bills but us.  Of course I would find out later this was resented. Even then I would have inklings, she just didn't want to see me on her doorstep as the world stayed her financial oyster and the world seem to conspire to shove me and my husband under the highway underpass. There was no real change or remorse or her even reaching out to me in an emotional or other way.

Spiritually I am in a different place then I was back then. I was trying to be what I thought was a "good" Christian, and doing what I thought I was supposed to. However I had been given false information. I did not know enough of the Bible to know the verses about departing from evil or what "seared" even meant yet.

I was very sincere then in my seeking forgiveness but the me today would ask "Why lie to God?" I'm in the place now where if I did a whole "forgiveness" act, God would know I was a liar. It would also be saying how I was treated was okay. It was not. It was evil and needs stood against. I would be a hypocrite to condone the behavior and ongoing machinations since I have gone NC.

 I also changed my mind theologically, I believe one reason evil is so rampant is no one stands against it, they want it enabled and immediately forgiven even if there is no repentance. We live in the days where churches and others say "Forgive the wicked!", but no one calls for the wicked to repent. Ever see a flying monkey or one of those enablers or silent bystanders do it? I sure haven't!

That's a huge problem.

Today we have many famous people who use the currency of false forgiveness to continue with evil deeds.  Forgiveness given to a person who isn't sorry really is meaningless, its like vapor in the wind, a fart in the hall. It dissipates into nothing. What did my "forgiveness" mean? It meant nothing. Even for those who may theorize that my forgiveness was for my own good, it did not accomplish good for me but just opened me up for more evil. It put me in a vulnerable place. It allowed me to be squashed even more.

I believe false forgiveness actually can give more power to narcissists to hurt and commit more evils.

Some years ago, I discovered this article, and it blew my mind. It also woke me up.

Forgiveness-Not Necessarily What You Think

"In Luke 17:3, Jesus tells us very clearly that we are to forgive someone who sins against us IF he repents.   God does not want us to continue to be abused, in fact, we are told to shun evildoers ( Some examples are Psalm 37:9, Psalm 119:115, Matthew 18:17, Titus 3:10-11, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.  See the article "No Forgiveness For The Unrepentant" under this heading on the left menu for more).  But if there is true repentance (see Helpful Definitions), the Lord does want us to forgive."

That was the part of the equation missing.

Both have to exist for true forgiveness to be there. Spiritually I have to obey God not to avenge myself. We are to hand the narcissists over to Him to deal with but false forgiveness? I would be just fooling myself.  I had forgiven before and it had failed. Now I know why. We cannot control what other people do. We are not spiritually responsible for them or their decisions. We can only control ourselves.  I understand those who warn of harboring hate in one's heart and who warn of it eating someone up inside but false forgiveness and playing pretend isn't going to work either. Too many people are told to forgive abusers who have no interest in ever repenting. The course of action then is to depart from evil and have nothing to do with it. We don't owe our abusers anything, certainly no more of us kneeling before them and offering them gifts they will shred to pieces in front of our eyes.

Maybe some will define forgiveness as letting go of the pain and making sure not to let one's self get eaten alive so I understand it from that perspective but even there, this is a process that each person will have to do in their own timing. Too many judge people who are hurting who are begging to God to free them from the hurt in their heart. I have prayed to God to allow me make the right steps here. It's not easy and is very complex. I hope for more peace one day but I also know what I have been dealing with.

Smakintosh made some good videos dealing with this issue too.

Is Forgiveness Unconditional?

The Two Levels of Forgiveness-Forgiving the Narcissist

False Forgiveness can play into the narcissist's hands too as they exploit and manipulate those with consciences to offer them their forgiveness as shown in this video:

This is the trap I fell into.

Make Good Art

Neil Gaiman’s Graduation Speech Turned Into A Comic

When life is hard, make good art, see the rest of the comic at the link above. :)

Dieting Fails

Dieting Fails, so why don't they look for other solutions? The definition of insanity is continuing to do what does not work. Notice the severe obesity numbers.

Low Chance of Obese People Recovering Normal Body Weight

"The chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity, according to a study of UK health records led by King's College London. The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, suggest that current weight management programmes focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at population level." See too: Americans Aren't Dieting Anymore

Saudi Arabia's Burger Boom... and Obesity Epidemic

Isn't it weird how American food always fattens people up? Saudia Arabia is not a poor country, they always had plenty of food in the last 50 years. So why when food comes from here, it fattens people up? Growth hormones in the meat?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rebel Without A Cause

Jim's new friend Plato says this:

"What's he like?

I don't know.

You have to get to know him.

He doesn't say much.

But when he does, you know he means it.

He's sincere.

Well, that's the main thing. "

and Jim's new girlfriend says this later in the film:

"I'm sorry that I treated you mean today.

Don't believe what I say when I'm with the rest of the kids.

Nobody acts sincere. "

Believe it or not I had never seen "Rebel Without a Cause" before, so I watched it today for the first time. It was a good movie and I can see why it is a classic. In the past two years, I have been watching every old movie I missed.

These two bits of dialogue stand out to me.  You can tell the character Jim despite his faults and fights is seeking after integrity and some sincerity in life. Those around him don't like the sincerity and I found myself thinking about the character and his history of fights and bullying and how that plays out today where people who refuse to "save face" and are sincere and mean what they say, often get in more trouble in society. In other words the "fake" people rule, and get angry at those who want to be real or sincere.  I found the character Plato fascinating too, as he was very troubled from being abandoned by both parents.

The movie definitely seems to portray an emasculated father who is an enabler to a narcissistic mother but at least stands up for his son in the end. The earlier scene where Jim begs his father to stand up for him is especially poignant. I had confrontations like that with my father. "Why won't you ever stand up for me?" I remember even once telling my father in my mid teens, "My mother does not love me at all!" and getting in a huge argument with him over it . He repeated "Oh your mother loves you" over and over as if he had to convince himself.  He didn't want to admit the truth.

Yes I consider my mother worse then my father which some may be shocked by here. He had the rage but she had the cunning. Unlike my mother, my father would show a human side every once in a while. Often times it confused me, I may write about this soon.  I often wonder who he would have been without the influence of my mother or what our relationship would have been.  Definitely this is one scene where a young man is begging his father to stand up for him for once.

"When you can't face yourself you blame me!

That is not true!

You say it's because of me or the neighborhood!

You use every other phony excuse!

Mom, I just... Once, I want to do something right!

And I don't want you to run away from me again!

- This is all going too fast. - You better give me something.

You better give me something fast.

Jimmy, you're very young.

A foolish decision now could wreck your whole life!

- In ten years you won't know it happened. - Dad, answer her.

Tell her.

Ten years.

Dad, let me hear you answer her.

Dad, stand up for me.

Stand up!"

Here is the script to "Rebel Without A Cause"

Housework: Favorite Tool of Abusers and Narcs

This is a meme that a narcissist might post. Some of them complain more then they do anything. The noisiest one in the room is usually the one getting out of work.

 Hey right now I see 30 things that need done. I took a shower, used my nebulizer, wrapped my leg, did my insulin, took my pills, swept the living room, hung up 5 dresses that had been washed--we air-dry these, made tacos which I chopped veggies for lunch, watched some movies, drew a comic panel, threw away more papers, and collected some trash. As much as people tell me I don't do...I wonder what they'd say if I did nothing.

New Life rule: If someone comes over to my house and complains to me how messy it is in here, without helping out or offering to help out, then it is red flag time and time to be shown the door. I'm too tired now. The days of house-work fascists putting me down are over.

I have showed pictures of my apartment to two different close online friends who told me, your things are older and more "simple" but you are not a hoarder nor is it messy, it seems to be more a problem of things being "old".  One college friend who visits never complains. Yes the carpet needs to be ripped up and replaced, the walls need painting, these things were admitted to the Housekeeper Ratchets.

Sometimes I wonder how much classism I faced, when the white-glovers came out with their snooty noses in the air. One good friend gave me a revelation where I asked in my own mind, "Why were these neat freaks torturing a severely overweight and disabled woman over housework?" It kind of tore the veil of some of the people I was choosing to be friends with.  One part of recovery is changing your relationships and noticing what doesn't work. Today the me of today, knows I won't take it anymore. I had the revelation, that it really wasn't about the cleaning or them disgusted by it, or afraid of germs, it was just another chosen avenue of abuse, and they treated me just like my mother. This stops now. I need to avoid personalities like this.

 Anyone just looking at me knows I have breathing and other problems that make cleaning very hard. Not one ever lifted a finger to help even when I was very ill. There is no money to "GET THINGS DONE" that need done.  I have the running list in my head where the green stuff simply isn't there. Every poor person sees the stripping that needs replaced on their floor or the fraying couch cushions. We don't need reminded of it and to have these things shoved in our face by condemning people.

 One thing I have noticed among narcissists and others is how much these people use housework to abuse. Growing up my mother's favorite word for me was "slob".  It ran head to head with her protestations that I smelled. Actually back then I dusted, cleaned, vacuumed and cooked constantly. I was abused for years with housework as the vehicle. Cinderella would have been bawling her eyes out. The neat freak standards were extreme. You could eat off my mother and sister's floor. My sister has a housekeeper who comes in and cleans but guess who got judged years ago?

Everything could shine in my house growing up, with straight vacuum lines in the carpet, the sink and floors scrubbed down and my mother would find one dish in the sink or one crooked picture and start screaming about you lazy blankety-blank who does everything "half-assed". Hours of cleaning would be trashed by her own rendition of Joan Crawford and those horrible wire hangers.  Today I realize now matter how much I cleaned it never would have been good enough. If I won the Lotto tomorrow, and gutted this apartment and had it redone or bought a rancher with smooth floors and granite counters, a narcissist would find something to criticize.

To be honest, it horrifies me that I let mini-versions of my mother in my life. Was some deep psychological thing at work? Was this what I was used to? This is something to now be mindful of and prevent from happening again.

I will admit there was a time I didn't want to clean anymore. It's still true but to stay healthy, I have to clean. One bit of rotting trash or spot of mildew and my lungs would let me know.  Living in apartments if you do become a hoarder or if your trash smells, neighbors complain. You wouldn't last long and they would shred your lease.  I've never gotten that bad, but I know my lack of money and housework skills means my apartment doesn't look like all other people's. People with smooth wooden floors, new furniture and 2500 square feet with a basement, shed and garage have far less challenges storing things instead of attempting it in 800 square feet.

Since NC is changing my relationships, I think about the abuse taken from people over being a bad housekeeper. It wasn't just this ex-friend but some others, who reminded me of my mother.  Today I have woken up to the deep classism and abuse I took from some women who were narcissistic and judged me on my household. I know my upbringing opened me up to this. Anyone who wants to pick on a disabled woman for bad housekeeping is cracked in the head.

Today being NC for two years, I realized I took abuses from people, most would have refused, that includes people who decided to abuse me over housework. One now ex-friend seriously said to me, "It disturbs me to come over here, and see the mess and old things." At the time I stood up for myself but really it was for naught. This was one time the crack in her façade showed where I should have paid attention to the inherent disrespect.

It has occurred to me, just like my mother she called others hoarders and said people were messy. When she attacked people it usually was over their lack of cleaning ability. What is scary is I would run around scurrying around to make sure the kitchen counters were wiped off and the floors were swept before she came in. Now I ask, "What was I thinking?"? Now I know better to read those signs ahead of time.

 Even if you admit to people, "Yes I am a very bad housekeeper, and I seem unable to get a handle on things." That cuts you no breaks too. The mean people still complain about bad housekeeping and use it as a weapon against you.  They consider cleanliness next to godliness and if your everything doesn't look shiny, then to them,  you are Satan's daughter and lazy to boot. And they don't just do it to you, they bring others into that fold too. Here is another life lesson, housework fascists are a nightmare and they make the rest of us always feel bad. Housework is a weapon used especially against women. Many women especially who are ACONS, have been shamed, blamed and abused over housework way too much.

I wanted a home cleaning aide, but if you have a spouse they are far, far harder to get.  The people with no help are understandably a higher priority. A nurse called on this for me around two years ago and I was turned down. They know he helps me with laundry and other things.

Thank God my husband never nags me about housework, that is one reason my marriage has survived. Also I am praying to God,  Please send me some messy local friends who hate housework too!

Are You Fat Because You Don't Do Enough Housework?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Adult Coloring Books

Adult Coloring Books are the latest fad. Years ago, I made a coloring book once for my niece and nephew using an altered form of my cartoon character. I wish I had taken pictures of it. The other day I bought a coloring book where one is to color in famous art works, but never got around to it, more busy with my own art projects. That mid-century art one looks cool.

This is the one on my counter, ready to go.

"Color Your Own Modern Masterpieces"

Shrink4men who I saw the first video on his website, doesn't like the idea. I consider coloring a relaxing form of art therapy.

Take a Personality Test

 Here were my results [INFP] on the 16 Personalities Meyers Briggs test. I take this stuff with a grain of salt but always find it interesting. I guess "P" means you are not very organized. Supposedly this is one of the rarest personalities along with INFJ.

"INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for a hint of good even in the worse of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved or even shy, INFPS have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. "

  Take the Personality Test.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Positive Attitude BS

“Positive Attitude” Bullshit: On the dangers of “radical self-love”
I found this article the other day and while I have to offer a language warning on it, it agrees with a lot of things I've posted on regarding the "Think Positive" stuff that is used to abuse so many of us.

Positive thinking tyranny quote

"You're Not Positive Enough!" My Failure to be a Jolly Droid

Be Positive or Else!

Definitely you can see this is a topic I have written on before.

The above author has many good things to say but you'll notice in the comments some pod people get into the fray who will tell us things if we "think the right thoughts" we will all have great jobs and wonderful lives.

Chloe Anne King writes:

"There is an endless supply of people who are ready and willing to inform us about what we are doing wrong, and how we can alter our behaviour so we can get ahead and inject magic and happiness into our lives. Between modern day guru Gala Darling who believes “positive thoughts generate positive realities,” and you can “manifest” your own destiny, to capitalist public thinkers such as Oprah Winfrey telling us positive thinking can help us obtain “the sweet life,” it is easy to get misled into a muddle of mistruths.
A recent blog by Gala is entitled “Happiness is simple: why too many choices make us miserable and 5 ways to improve your life!” Yeah? Nah. Too many choices are not the issue for a huge majority of the political underclass; a lack of choice is exactly the problem. Whether it be lack of choice when it comes to quality of education, or lack of access to higher education because you were not born into wealth and privilege, or lack of choice when it comes to nutritious food or warm dry housing because wages are often too low in this country, too often, too much choice is not an issue for the growing majority of the 99 percent; restricted choice is."
She is right to point out how these positive thinking gurus always unload the lie about everyone having "choices". Lack of the green stuff--MONEY limits many choices. You don't get things done when there is no money, you are busy spending it on things like rent. In a consumerist society they try to claim we all have choices about what to do, but the amount of money really determines the practical everyday working out of this. I sit and look around and think it would be great to join a gym and get a trainer to help me with some low impact weights, or to get this carpet ripped out and removed, and get some new decent furniture to replace a bed and couch that is broken down or to take a vacation to Vermont, or to hold another art show with actual frames and advertisement, or to go see an online friend but with no money or low money, I don't have a choice in any of this. Millions of other women do not have those choices either. She continues

"Gala and magazines such as Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, tell us:
If you just change your attitude and think more positively over time, your life will get easier. Over time, you will land a job that affords you a contract guaranteeing you some security and a pay-check which does not leave you in poverty. You simply have to manifest what you want. Drink a couple of litres of soda pop, add diamantes to your manicure, wear a fake moustache all day long (as Gala really has suggested as a remedy for the blues), put on a nice pink dress and smile a bit more then BOOM! That suicidal depression over the stresses of life such as being unable to buy food because you are on minimum wage, working depressing precarious jobs, and/or the debilitating anxiety over whether your welfare will be cut this week will suddenly melt away.
Middle or upper class young white women seem to be the demographic of the radical self-love movement. It is all well and good to tell them to “smash that class-ceiling” and just work hard to achieve your dreams and the bling and designer shoes will follow, but as Laurie Penny points out in her book Unspeakable Things, there are a lot of women drowning in the basement. In particular women of colour, trans, and queer women who disproportionality suffer from poverty, depression, feelings of alienation, and are discriminated against in the work-place:"
She is right about the women drowning in the basement. There's many young and old woman who were given false promises and told the world would be their oyster only to find someone ready to discriminate against them behind a desk. Many of us were told if we "worked hard" we could "be come somebody" only to be shocked and dismayed the work world was run like the Lotto and that our punishment wasn't just the loss of status but out and out poverty and disrespect. 

That even those who worked hard were cast aside as easily as yesterday's trash. It's not just young upper class and middle class counterparts who think these things, but wealthier middle aged people as well. I face women of those beliefs everywhere. What do they hold in common? They had money, choices and options. This doesn't apply to all people with more money, some aren't caught in this trap, but sadly those who did see my "failures" as self-chosen including the failed health. Of course even the more monied people suffer from this "think positive" trash as life can bring them hardships they are told they are "responsible" for too, like aging, health problems and other losses. Oprah's disciples for all the talk of happiness, even the ones with "choices" and money, many are simply worn out.

 Many have told me that my life went "badly" because I didn't work hard enough and that I wasn't positive enough, and this is why I didn't get a good teaching job, or a stable middle class life. Sadly many others suffer under their judgments too. More people I believe are facing this, and slinking into the background, because the "throwaway" people aren't just getting cast aside they are being stigmatized at the same time as well, considered "unworthy" and "undeserving".

She is correct about Oprah, Oprah helped a lot with the brainwashing sessions that convinced two generations of women, they could "think" their way into wonderful lives. Oprah basically is a New Age guru, who has taught the "be positive" gospel and the same false teachings of the book "The Secret".

Oprah is a high functioning narcissist who has taught millions of women to follow the detached and selfish code of extreme self-love and aspiration. She announces to the world, "I shall be like the Most High" [Isaiah 14:13] and tells women to follow in her footsteps. 

One reason they want to beat on the hyper-self responsibility drum is because the elites feed off the power of all the plebes to get them to think they are all personally responsible for their poverty, failures, ill-health and dissatisfaction. This allows the powerful and 1 percent to steal and exploit even more freely. 

Oprah is the priestess of the lie that one's life and it's circumstances are all CHOSEN. She basically is a flying monkey for narcissistic and sociopathic elites who want normal ordinary people to blame themselves and not look at the injustices and structures of society that work against them. They want ordinary people to be separated and disenfranchised from each other.

Both left and right beat on the drum too, telling us everything is self determined. The right wing gives the same message that everything is self directed and the left does too. I've seen many Tea Party people post the same messages as the neo-liberal Oprah followers. They believe just like Oprah but in a different way everything is "choices" too. This is one popular meme you will see many conservatives post on Facebook. 

 The same self-determinism I wrote about regarding Mary Oliver and Transcendentalism infuses through American culture. You are the captain of your own ship and every action and choice you make determines your destiny. If things go wrong and you get sick, or you are broke, it is your fault, no one else's. So King is absolutely correct when she writes this:

"What Nicole suggests in her piece is that Oprah just reinforces the focus on the “individual,” which hides the role of political, economic, and socio-economic structures in our lives,"
"Changing your attitude is not going to change or help to dismantle structural injustice and a failed and unstainable economic model which serves only the elite rich of this world, and exploits the rest of us, particularly the working class and those living in poverty. As far as I am concerned positive thinking will fucking ruin your life.
“Just think positive” is a precursor to “it gets better,” and the hard reality is it is only going to get much, much worse for our most vulnerable. With social bonds being introduced into our public welfare state, life for those who have a disability or mental health diagnosis who need support from the state is only going to get more grinding and unmanageable."
The "think positive" garbage has hurt me immensely. Everyone who is disabled in American culture feels the oppressive feel of being told in different ways that we are responsible for our misfortunes despite the natural and random aspect of chronic diseases.

 In a world where everything is a choice, even ill health is seen as one. We know they are working on crushing the poor even more so, their greed has no end and I warned myself about the threats to cut social security by 20 percent here in America.

  Positive thinking ruined my life, because it allowed people to abuse me for things I did not choose. It is abusing millions right now, bringing them severe angst and depression inside as they look at their lives and think "I have failed and it is all my fault" and absolutely despair inside. It denies the true hardships of life such as the realities of aging and lost and sets people up for false expectations and more sadness.

If you wonder why America is the most depressed nation in the world, there you have it in a nutshell. Who can be resilient or even feel supported when everything is a contest and a competition and the winners are few in number and the losers shunted aside.

There is a reason that you will never see a poor or working class woman in any woman's magazines anymore. They have "disappeared" us because it is a threat to their bubble fantasy world that we even exist.

 They feed us these lies, about the "ideal life" and that it is the "good and worthy" who obtain it and that everyone else is unworthy. These New Age and other lies are so vast, many are even rejected and thrown away by their own families because they did not obtain a certain degree of success.

 King is correct in how the "think positive" nonsense is abused in the over-saturated work-place where jobs are few in number to numbers of people and how it is used to abuse people and tell them it is the fault of negative thinking because the bean counter behind the desk did not hire them. This serves the needs of those who wish to oppress workers and fire them at the drop of a hat.  Yes these false messages bring immense feelings of insecurity and isolation.

The "be positive" nonsense has led to a break-down in social connection in our society as everyone is trying to "save face" and never talk about any problems or failures. It keeps everyone silent and not asking any questions about the discrepancies in the system. When everyone thinks they are at fault and everything is an "individual choice", they are locked alone in their own little bubble of self-doubt and angst. Neo-liberalism does suck.

I want to meet people who have broken out of the lies out there, so far I have met online friends but hope to meet some even locally who understand how we have all been taken for a ride. It's bad enough that we live in a system that is so unjust but should we accept how this system with people like Oprah rip us to shreds inside and as people taking away our dignity for not measuring up? While I am dubious about a restructuring of the system being a solution knowing the history of revolutions, at the very least, we should seek freeing our spirits and souls from this oppression. God sees these things different and knows the "think positive" gurus are the wicked filling their own pockets at the expense of the poor. 

"The disenfranchised, poor, and working class need to collectively band together to restructure the systems, and to expose the neoliberal policies and thinking which has helped create feelings of disconnection and discontent in the first place. Adherence and adaptation will further exasperate the situation, endorsing solutions built on neoliberalism to solve the very problems it has helped to create—which is exactly the thinking that people like Oprah and Gala promote—is truly next level insanity. It doesn’t even make sense!
 Radical self-love and positive attitude advocates such as Oprah and Gala are more about adapting to a world “gone mad” and systems that do not serve you, than really improving your life."
The is exactly the purpose they serve, voice pieces for a wicked system, where to keep the plebes controlled, they tell us our entire life is a manifestation of our own thoughts and choices. The Bible of course says different. 
"It is a fairy tale which tells you:
If you change your attitude and enough of yourself maybe someone might love you. If you work hard enough and want it badly enough maybe you will land some dream job which pays you enough to afford both rent and food and a bit of financial security. If you just play by the “rules” and adapt to a brutal capitalist system while changing what colour lipstick you wear and your “negative” thought patterns, your life will become easier and better."
She has that right, it's fairy tale and a lie!

Friday, July 10, 2015

"You've Got a Friend"--James Taylor

Many believe this song means Jesus, and I have had that thought too but it is a song celebrating friendship and love too with truths like "People are cold". James Taylor was My Aunt Who Loved Me's favorite singer. His voice is one of the best out there too.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Shame: The Deep Struggle of Scapegoats and Others

Shame is an emotion I have been struggling with. I think about how shame has been used to hurt me all my life. False shame is something I am seeking to overcome. Silencing the voice that says, "I am not enough and a failure", is something I am working on steadily. The days where this voice is silenced are the happier days, the days where I falter in silencing it, are the sadder days. Not all guilt or shame are bad things, but I am focusing on the false shame unloaded on so many of us to carry as a burden.

Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Scapegoats especially have come from a legacy of shame, where they were told over and over they were not good enough. When I looked back at old pictures of myself, I was actually a pretty girl but at the time you would have thought I was a monster by how my parents talked to me. Criticism was never ending. Every minute there was a put down. While they boasted of their perfectionism, it was just another vehicle for control and to hammer everyone down that did not meet their demands.

The other day I found this book at a thrift store, and knew I had to read it:

"I Thought It Was Just Me [But it isn't] Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I am Enough" 

Brene' Brown in this book defines shame thusly:

"Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging" [page 5]

Think about how the focus today in our culture are our flaws. They sell clothes, make up, plastic surgeries and many other things to people saying, "You must measure up!", You must keep up!". These are billion dollar industries that work from the center of shame. This is a society now where there are so many things they expect of people. They demand that you must be thin, middle class, employed with a good job and with certain looks to be deemed "acceptable".  The majority of humans probably do not meet the more impossible standards.

If I was to define my biggest source of angst, shame would be one of those emotions.  One considers the life-long effects of being told one is a failure and "not enough" by an entire family net-work and it is painful. Many ACONS are told they are not acceptable and that they do not belong. These messages bring life-long shame to far too many until they break away.

One thing I reminded myself is my standing among the family was just as low when I graduated from college and then was an art teacher. I struggle with the feeling of not belonging anywhere. This may be the worse inheritance a narcissistic parent has to offer. Home is not a safe place. Home is the place where they remind you of your many flaws. Even the comments I suspect my mother of making on this blog, was more of the same. "You are not enough, you are flawed" was inherent in her statements. That was just more of the same I heard all my life. "You have nothing to show for your life!" said over and over to me.

I struggle with false shame. Some definitely have already read aspects of it.
Let me give you some examples. 

1. At the church I left, the women in the church as a whole was invited to a wedding shower. I thought about going to "meet" people since social and fellowship events there were very limited. I could not afford a gift or even think of what to buy. I didn't have 10 dollars on me even for a thrift store gift. This brought me shame..."Why do I have to be so poor?' I didn't go. I was too embarrassed to show up without a gift, after the service I left quickly.

2. One kind lady who I am in a book club with, talked about coming to visit me with her just as nice mother. I don't know if these were real plans, or not but I thought, "They are middle class, they can't see my apartment with it's broken down old thrift furniture, and ripping apart and dirty rug." I nodded and smiled knowing they were very busy sorts who may not get around to it. Inside I had deep dread and more shame.

3. That one ex-friend shamed me constantly especially near the end. She told me I was "too messy" while never offering any real help, and that I was a "slave" to the social security system [my doctors fully and absolutely support me being on disability] and that I didn't do enough charity work even thought I spent several hours a week if not more making cards for a charity project for at least 3 years. Sadly I felt shame over being a bad housekeeper and sometimes after she went home, would start yelling about the housework.

Of course as the friendship broke up, she decided to shame me for my weight. The me of today now asks "Why did I put up with it?". I was lonely and wanted a local friend. This taught me a lesson that no real friendship can exist with someone who constantly shames you.

4. I live in a very affluent community, there is benefits to that in that the resources are far greater, but a deep sense of shame came with that too especially this is the place we moved to where my husband's career imploded. I wouldn't mind being surrounded by wealthy people. I have friends far richer then me, but the stigma of being poor quadrupled when we moved here. We were poor even for our old rural community but there, many people were poorer or in an equal boat. There is a lot of 'saving face' here. Most of the lives with suburban houses, vacations, and new furniture are so beyond my experiences, I don't even know what to say or talk about

There are definitely vast cultural differences between the working class and poor and the wealthier upper middle class. These are cultural differences I seem unable to overcome. One cultural difference that is hard for me to adjust to is conversation was more open among poorer people, while it is more closed off among the upper class.

It wouldn't matter except some seem to have no qualms in reminding me of my lower status as much as possible.  Many do have Tea Party and Republican beliefs that the poor are failed and should be shamed and do not work hard enough. Disabilities are just an "excuse". Being middle-aged among the aspiration class when your aspirations failed [beyond long shot creative ones you still work on] is a nightmare of shame. Mid-life crisis doesn't even begin to cut that one. The worse part of poverty in America at least isn't the "going without" but the stigma. People of lower classes in American society are now dished out endless shame. Even working class and blue collars are told they "failed".

5. Often I have felt shamed for the way I feel. We know narcissists make a hobby of this. People with actual feelings are cannon fodder for them. While some may lack empathy for those who do not have a happy go-lucky attitude towards life, us melancholic sorts do know how being "depressed" or not "hopeful" towards life appears. We already telling ourselves we need to be more happy and less self-pitying. Here some will shout "Victim"! and give you a huge slap on the face. Thousands of depressed people are shamed for their emotions. I believe this has worsened depression challenges for many.

I have good days, like this afternoon when I had good conversation and went out to eat some tasty but cheap chicken tacos with my husband and walked outside to get a cool breeze but I also have bad days too. I am not sad all the time but then I work for the happiness I do get.

What is horrible if someone feels sad or struggles with depression, one can receive a ton of shame and be told they are a "bad person", or that their life has gone badly and it is all their fault. Every depressed person feels in the interior of their gut, this worry that everyone will leave them and or hate them simply for being sad. This is one that narcs use. Narcs due to their lack of empathy, I believe never feel sadness the same way a normal person can. Sadness is a vulnerability where they can get stab someone in the back hard. They shame people for sadness which well, only makes them sadder!

6. For Aspies especially higher functioning ones, the sympathy is low and your real learning disabilities and deficient are not apparent to others so the expectations they have for us match normal neurotypical people. They often get angry and them shame the Aspie for being who they are. This is one aspect of Aspergers that is very difficult. While the world says "Be you and the world will love you for it!" this isn't always true for the Aspie except in the case of fellow understanding Aspies and friends.

 7. I have discussed the extreme SHAME foisted on fat people as an entire population and the shame I received for being in stratosphere weighs. Here fat people are told they are at fault and shamed. I was deeply shamed over being overweight and actually it almost cost me my life as I have illustrated on this blog. Even women with extra 30lbs are shamed in our sick society. I am very fortunate to have understanding doctors who know what Lipedema is today. Shame for obese people is now sadly the norm.

In this book Brown shares many stories of shame that others have shared. Many match my list above and also include weight problems, severe financial ones, substance abuse, depression, mental illness, and health problems and it helped me in reading these to know others too suffer the same way feeling like they are never enough. One considers the giant well of human pain out there, when it comes to shame and the problems in life. In the old days, trouble was an accepted part of life. Trouble was enough trouble without the shame now foisted on people for having trouble in the first place.

One thing I used to always say to my husband referring to my family experiences, "Shaming doesn't teach any resiliency!" In other words, I believe too many people are being raised being told they "will have it all" and not prepared or any mistakes, hardships or "set-backs" which is the normal course of life. If anything I believe because of the pressures of the media and a culture that worships wealthy and the powerful over the ordinary honest person, false shame has grown as an even stronger control mechanism.

Shame is often used as a control mechanism where people basically announce to the shamed person, "You are a lesser, and I am a better" and "you are unworthy!" Narcissists and sociopaths run with it, knowing that in people with feelings they can elicit strong and powerful feelings of shame. They remain shameless while dishing it out. It is one reason in society most people are busy hiding their problems and presenting a false social face. They don't want to be shamed and deemed unworthy. Some "hide-out" to avoid being scapegoated by narcissistic family members and bosses. They fear the many predatory personalities out there ready to take a bite. False shame is destroying our society from within:

"Like the growing epidemic of violence, for many, shame has strangely become both a form of self protection and a popular source of entertainment. Name calling and character assassinations have replaced national discussions about religion, politics and culture. We use shame as a tool to parent, teach and discipline our children. Television shows promising cutthroat alliances, backstabbing, hostile confrontations, exclusion and public humiliation consistently grab the top ratings. And at the same time we use shame to defend and entertain ourselves, we struggle to understand why the world feels so scary, why politics has turned into a blood sport, why children are suffering higher levels of stress and anxiety, why popular culture appears to be sinking to all time lows and why a growing number of us feels alone and disconnected."

Let's be frank false shame is the tool many narcissists use to keep people down. Some of our shame may come from other sources and among well meaning people but certain all this shame serves the wicked in our society. The demands for perfection are not according to God's rules, but even there God knows we are not perfect and offers us grace via Jesus. According to the perfectionists and according to the corporate masters who want the slaves fighting each other and playing a Hunger Games in every personal interaction, no one is ever perfect enough.

Brene' Brown describes shame as a web women get trapped of expectations about "who we should be", "what we should be" and "how we should be". Expectations we do not meet sums this up My family wanted a thin person who made 6 figures and had several children and who had a pedestrian personality. I am not that person, so why eat the shame for not being what they wanted? Go ahead and ask yourself the same question.

One thing I ponder is how depressed many many people are in our society because there is this never ending feeling of NOT BEING ENOUGH. Our consumerist society runs on selling people things to make them "better" people. It demands we measure up to certain expectations. I believe this is one reason our culture is declining and mental illness and stress is rising in American society. Instead of just "being", everything is about competition and running a race mandated from hell itself. False shame is the control mechanism. This book does lead people to question these cultural demands. Movies have stand-ins, magazines have air-brushing, so the perfection presented is often pretend and impossible.

Brene' Brown does go into how shame disconnects us from others. Even in my examples above, I was led to insulate myself fearing judgment from others. I was hiding myself away in at least three examples above. Sadly this is what happens when one is shamed. People already hide themselves away for health problems, poverty and other things that make them feel like they don't fit in. I am housebound often from real breathing problems, but many severely overweight women, who still have a level of stamina and breathing, often start not leaving the house, because of the stigma of obesity.

She talks about how shame insulates people where they feel they must even go into hiding. This is where the disconnection comes in. Our society is becoming disconnected because of the false judgement and shame. People are isolating themselves and becoming less and less social. If every person in your community is "competition" to compare yourself with, when are you going to be able to have a real relationship? To be frank, this is becoming worse in families. If everything is about how much money this one made and that one didn't and one has to be "successful" to be loved by your family, what is the use of having a family at all?

You have to hide your problems in a society like this where so many are ready to use shame and criticism to shrink you down, and or stab you in the back with your problems. She discusses how vulnerability is how true intimacy and friendship happens and how compassion happens away from the shame and blame. There are reminders to be careful of who you put this trust in, but for women especially social connection comes with vulnerability and sharing one's personal self inside.

She sums this point up: "The culture of shame is driven by fear, blame and disconnection, and is often a powerful incubator for issues like perfectionism, stereotyping, gossiping and addiction."

She goes into solutions to beat all this shame and how it shreds people apart. These ideas include reaching out to others, who have been shoved into the "other" and shame category, practicing courage, and developing shame resiliency which means letting go of perfectionism, realizing shame triggers and practicing critical awareness and practicing compassion. This often means questioning societies false message and taking risks in reaching out. She also goes into how stereotypes and assumptions are made about certain groups. Definitely I am more familiar with those unloaded against the poor. I have already practiced a few of these in my life, finding friends who saw through the shame and blame matrix, but she definitely gave me more ideas in coping with shame in day to day life.

One interesting thing she goes into in this book, is the "culture of blame". All the blame means this society's narcissists desire to pick a scapegoat to carry the blame.  Brene' Brown writes:

"The culture of blame permeates our lives. We are constantly blaming and shaming ourselves and others."

I enjoyed this book immensely and loved how she pointed out how more authenticity would bring less shame and more connection with other people. All the shame and blame in this narcissistic society is leading people to shut down. She is right when she says the opposite of experiencing shame is experiencing empathy.  I don't want a life enslaved to the shame of narcissists and sociopaths and their enablers. I question a society where everything is about blaming and shaming, instead of human growth and connection. Empathy brings far more joy to life then false shame.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Box Turtles

When I was a kid, I had several box turtles as pets, usually they were temporary pets as we returned them to the wild [well the woods in the park down the street from my house]. Do people see box turtles anymore? I do think they are diminishing in numbers. I have an interest in box turtles and if I did not live in an apartment and had a yard, I would get a box turtle garden though I would have to find out how they winter them. For now, my interests are in conservation groups regarding them and seeing the ones at the local nature center.

Your Narcissistic Mother's Birthday

"The inside reads: But there weren't any for loony narcissistic martyrs."
Would You Dare Buy This Birthday Card for Your Narcissistic Mother?

Brutally Honest Birthday Cards.

This week is my mother's birthday--the third one, I've skipped. I'm two years NC but her birthday is just a week after the original cut off date. I find birthdays triggering. Maybe some years in the future I won't have those horrible feelings inside about "skipping" my mother's birthday. Perhaps most ACONs who have gone NC have those weird feelings during those so called "special days". You know things shouldn't be this way.

  Pigs will fly before my mother ever admits she is wrong about anything. One thing this card brought something to light for me how I used to sweat and strain over buying my mother cards. They never had quite the right sentiments. Doing the lovey-dovey thing seemed way too fake and overwrought and other cards assumed a loving and close relationship. We all wanted it but it was not the reality. What was a little scapegoat to do, sweating and straining while in Hallmark?

Then I got the hobby of card making. One year I made my mother a nice card, I snipped out individual flowers and crafted them petal by petal making them appear 3-D for her birthday. I never heard one thing about that card which I considered a work of art when I was through.

This card would be rated G but many of the others are too salty in the language for me, but I wonder if anyone does send them? Being an artist I've imagined the cards I would make or send if I was "honest", but the one of those would have been used as fodder to tell the world how crazy I was.  NC of course means no birthday cards.

Fat Shaming at Old Navy

"Rachel Taylor is taking a personal stand against fat-shaming. The brunette woman is making headlines today after her recent Facebook post went viral, in which she recounts her experience while shopping at Old Navy and shares a disappointing conversation she overheard between a mother and daughter, in which they made fun of a tank top for being large enough to fit multiple people. While the comment was not directed towards Taylor, she admitted, "I couldn't help it; I started crying," adding, "I guess the girl and her mom walked away." "I ended up buying that tank top because, it turns out, I look fierce in it!" Taylor wrote, sharing a dressing room selfie. She later edited her post to include a shout-out to Old Navy, thanking the store for carrying a wide variety of clothing."

Sadly this happens to too many fat women while shopping, fat shaming insults and cracks about larger clothes. She only looks like around a size 18, so those must have been two extremely thin fat phobic women making smart aleck comments about the plus sized clothes. All of us fat women have heard comments about "tents". "muu-muus" and how much fabric plus sized clothes use. It gets old. One hears fat-phobic comments all the time in public even if not personally directed. I'm sure I've heard the same conversation dozens of times during my mid-sized days. Of course us super-duper fat people are never in clothes stores or around anyone thin buying clothes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Trickle-Down: What a Joke!

The Poems of Mary Oliver

                                                   [picture by me]

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.

--Mary Oliver

One of my commenters recommend I go read a Mary Oliver poem.

Now Mary Oliver is an interesting one. I have to admit parts of her poems I like and other parts I don't like. In this interview, she admits coming from a very dysfunctional family. This does not surprise me as her poems resonate with escape themes. Escape into nature!

Many of us ACONs did exactly that. I never have written about my time in the woods as a child but when I was young from the ages of 7-13 we lived very near what I estimate to be around a 50 acre park, part of it was grassland, a pavilion and a ball field, but the rest was all closely dense woods. I would spend hours exploring these woods among the trees, collecting rocks and leaves. Back in the day, children often were not as closely supervised as they are today but I remember my time in the woods being one of healing. I still have this connection with nature today.

 In this way Mary Oliver may be a very alike soul in her desire to escape into nature. One sees this common theme of animals, the power of nature and more. In this poem one imagines the wild night, the escape with just the light of the stars above to guide a person.

The part of the poem where people shout "Mend my Life" sounds like the experience that those with engulfing narcissists have. I often forget that unlike the always "winning" and ignoring narcissists I dealt with,  some deal with the parasitic kind that latch onto their ankles and never let go until they are shaken off. We should help people as much as we can, but some will tell people to "mend their lives". Often they are the engulfing narcissists who latch onto their children to solve all their problems or to even keep them company for their entire lives. People like this will stand in the way of their children growing and flying on their own.

Spiritually I don't agree with many concepts in Mary Oliver poems. While seeking to take care of yourself to a point is important, I remember warnings in scripture as well.

Luke 17: 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
The poem is very self-determinist. While I believe people should make their own way the best way they can that is to be done with some balance. I believe every ACON who breaks away, is definitely showing a strength in leaving the clawing hands of those who want to hang on to either say "Mend my Life" or "Be my slave".

In my pre-Christian days, I was in the UU church and had a Unitarian Universalist pastor who loved Mary Oliver poems and read them at every service. Some of the poems resonated with me them, the idea of escape holding firm. The seeking after nature. One thing about Mary Oliver is she is very popular in UU circles. She has spoken at UU meetings. Her foundation seems to be a Walden-like Transcendentalism where one finds one self in nature and walks alone. According to the ethos of Transcendentalism which Unitarian Universalism was essentially founded on.  One is to be self-reliant. One is to be self determined.  These themes run in American culture.

This is one aspect of American culture that is really strong, the lone hero or heroine making their way in the world and never failing or faltering, making good with a stand alone ethos. A man and woman forming their own island of resiliency and success just like Transcendentalist Thoreau lived alone at Walden Woods. It is an American doctrine rarely questioned. It has only grown stronger in our society the religious underpinnings aside. And it is not just something more liberal UUs subscribe too but it is actually a strong theme even in the mainstream and conservative evangelical church world via the Republican party--with the praise of individual bootstraps for all.

It is a worldview that I don't really subscribe to. Years of disability tends to have a person understand they do need other people from time to time.  When I was young, I remember the appeal it had to me but this is one reason why libertarianism didn't work as a political home for me, This self determinism that is supposed to overcome all problems. I don't mind independence but I think every-man or woman as his or her own island isn't working. This is a very socially disconnected society and it's rooted in some of these themes. The myth kind of failed for me when it came to reality.

It does not surprise me a commenter outraged with impoverished Tiffany and me, told me to read a Mary Oliver poem.  Her poems were very popular in my very affluent UU churches where I didn't fit the demographic especially among middle aged women.  The themes of nature, and that flavor of spirituality to be found within nature, as well as the assumed confidence for those who the world has truly been an oyster comingled together.

The Tiffany Sedaris post debates told me something about life in America. The haves will call the have-nots losers, immature, burdens, mooches. The have-nots will defend their position and ask for some compassion, but will have never-ending shame foisted on them for not having "succeeded". Those who have not attained a certain status will be told to "grow up!" Some have trounced me for assuming things but I admitted in the article I was taking the words of the essay at face value.  The self-deterministic theme in American culture is one that is often used as a hammer sadly enough.
Let's look at another Mary Oliver poem. This one I spiritually differ from as well....

You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

I believe younger me read this poem and loved it, because of the nature sentiments--one can almost visualize time passing and flying over the woods into the sky and the idea of feeling called to greater things but the me of today worries at the sentiment "You do not have to be good"? That is a rather strange sentiment. I don't like someone telling people they do not have to be good. Of course I believe one cannot earn their way to heaven, true Christian salvation does not mean working your way to heaven but via grace. The statement "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." seems to be a call for doing whatever you want without parameters, often bad advice in this world.  The world feels like home to Mary Oliver, but spiritually I know it doesn't to me.