I Used My Intuition, Your Honour

Instinct photo

There is no way in hell anyone is going to worship you forever like you’re the only flawless, amazing, insightful and intelligent being ever. Forget all those Hollywood, Disneyland, comic book love stories, and all those earnest love songs too. Ain’t gonna happen. Not for long, not even sustainable as a nefarious ploy, and definitely not if you’re a member of the regular ol’ human race.

It took learning that with a shocked home-group coalition plus some world-wide reach out and touch me, to grow to that new level of human reality honesty.

There were two parts to my blindsided experience for review. Why didn’t I act when I sensed things were off? The clues were there, but there was also the very real intoxication of being treated like I was that amazing.

I’m not sure that’s the whole case, but I do know that when I did feel something was amiss, I decidedly dishonoured myself in favour of enjoying the worship and in honouring the effort to see the best in someone. We can’t go around being – too judgmental. God forbid, right? Wrong. I got that part wrong too.

Look, if any hint of overt darkness advances, I’m all set to say, cheers and goodbye. I don’t even need to feel the slightest brush of a demon feather across my aura to sense that. However, what if the dark approaches in the form of the absolutely, nicest person you’ve ever met, whose been treated unjustly, and needs a little support? Did your spidey senses just light up? Mine didn’t.

They did spark up from time to time a little further into the relatively short journey until, one day, for reasons I still don’t know, something deep within me rose to the surface and offered the friendship test of a lifetime. When that last red flag raised, I didn’t allow myself to ignore it and I blew out a full blast of WTH(?) dynamite.

That’s all it took. The façade of perfection was instantly erased; a whole new personality emerged from my understanding-beyond-human-capacity-adoring buddy. In the next 3 exchanges, I was slammed for ‘breaking his heart’ and dazed and demoted to lowest wretch at, “Sarah Palin on crack” level! Um, wow-for real? Which was immediately followed with all kinds of insane demands to maintain the friendship. I was honed enough by then to say, buh bye, but not enough to understand what the hell had happened during a literal overnight event.

After desperate work of trying to understand and reach peace, I’d reached out to some other friends who said, yeah, you’re not the first and you should talk with people who’ve already had direct experience with the same. That’s where the other countries came in; 2 Aussies, the American and the other Canadian. Amazing how far these weasels can reach. In short order they helped me see where I’d slipped, what I’d really been dealing with & how to get on in a solid upward positive march.  I’d been soundly introduced to the topic of a Cluster B personality who adores triangulation. This issue is so valuably covered in great and helpful detail with an internet search so I won’t go into all of that now. I will pray you avoid that hot mess.

I really want to emphasize my own slip here. I did have those red flags and I acknowledged them enough to have made my friend work even harder to talk me into some things. The thing is, I never did get entirely comfortable regardless. The point is, it doesn’t matter how it comes at you – if your soul, spirit, or gut, is saying this doesn’t feel right – then it’s not right. End of discussion. Real care or love may be a little messy and even a lot frustrating, but it doesn’t make you unsafe or feel unease or revulsion. Coercion is coercion in its belittling or heady adoration or needling begging form. Rejecting that is not being judgy.

Our instinct tells us many things, take a chance or step back, but what it never does is lie. Any situation where raised red flags need to be talked away, especially regularly, is a lousy one. In the face of fear or temptation, our instinct may be our only sound and safe judgment. Trust it.

RL

For the interested, here’s a quick review of the process these personalities engage in: Why Narcissists Disappear (Hint: It’s not just the silent treatment)

What Did You #%&*@* Say?

So, I was reminded not too long ago that my predilection for profanity was especially evident lately. Lately? Where hath these innocents been?

Yes, OK, I have a mouth and it’s pretty potty at times, but I believe I’ve earned it honestly. I’m sorry, but I cannot apologize for it.  According to even more recent studies than the ones that said swearing helps with pain, they now say my kind of swearing indicates genius level intelligence too.  I wouldn’t lie about that…. I’d swear to it….

So, in that vein, I (re)present an updated story I published a few years ago about passing the gift down…

For about a millennium now it’s been said that kids say the damnedest darnedest things. I know this truth first-hand and I’ve kept a journal to capture a good number of eyebrow raising, head scratching and -are you for real- statements that my son has spouted since he started spouting.

I always encouraged free and open speech with him and I’ve always adored hearing what comes out of that new and unfettered brain.  The only thing I’ve forbidden is swearing.  It’s not that I’ve pretended that swearing doesn’t happen; we’re all aware of its worldwide domination, thus he’s heard such a word or two in the homeland.

He had attempted to copy those words, but only once, (that I know of), OK, technically twice, but the second time was just a noun change.  It happened when he was two and a half.  We were on holiday and his dad was desperately searching our vehicle for the camera before the beautiful tall ships we were watching passed by.  While he was frantically throwing items left and right, he yelped, “Where’s my f*#kin’ camera”?

A couple of hours later, on our way home, I noticed my son frantically looking left and right.  I asked him what was wrong and he asked, “Where’s my f*#kin’ camera”? To be fair, his toy camera did, in fact, appear to be a missing casualty of his father’s earlier desperation.

About two weeks later we were playing tea party and he came out of his room with most of his supplies except one.  With hand on hip and grave consternation, he spoke. “Where’s my f*#kin’ teapot”?  We had a little chat and I have to say he’s been pretty good at finding alternative adverbs and adjectives ever since.

Actually, he would eventually become a little too efficiently aware; he grew into the Soup Nazi of potty-mouth alternatives. Our self-proclaimed lord of language decency worked his moral indignance to a level that drove me to drinkHe deployed a ‘swear jar’, a wretched vessel of confiscated loonies for every swear word he caught, thereby generously cutting into my own happy hour funding. Which also had me questioning my study-confirmed intelligence for having agreed to this insanity.

So, yes,  I can swear like a truck driver.  Actually, I feel that analogy is an insult; I’m certain my stupendous ability could teach a truck driver a thing or two.  Lest you accuse me of hypocrisy, I look at it like being an artist of abstract art who had to first prove that she can paint a real-life landscape before delving into free-flow style. My swearing is not a replacement for regular speaking skill, just occasional, as required, colorful enhancement.  Certainly some days need more color than others.

Also, as a public service announcement, there have been recent studies that state hollering four letter words helps to alleviate pain. Think about that the next time you hammer your finger.  No really, look it up.

swearing hammer guy

OK, back to my son.  What I’ve always told him is profanity is adult language; he’s free to swear when he is 18 or paying the bills, whichever comes first, (not gonna lie – secretly hoping it’s paying the bills).

No, I don’t really believe he will never swear again before he turns 18, but I’m pretty sure he’ll have learned to speak ‘real-life’ English first. After that, if he wants to add a little color now and then, fine, but more importantly, maybe then I can earn some #*@kin’ coins back.

RL

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With a Little Help From My Friends; Karen Kelt, “In Pursuit Of Normal & Stirrup Pants”

While I’m off restoring my inner warrior, some friends have stepped up to bat to help me out by sharing some pretty amazing stories of growing triumphs of their own. 

This guest story is from a dear friend of mine who has been, and continues to be, on a remarkable and sometimes unrecognizable, journey of  transformation …

I went on my first diet in grade 5, at about 10 yrs old.  I wasn’t huge; I just needed to lose 10 lbs or so – ‘to be normal’.  My mom bribed me with a pair of the then popular stirrup pants because, “you can’t wear those if you’re heavy”.  Of course I did it.  Starved myself and lost the weight, but it only creeped back over the next few months plus another 10 lbs.

Karenpic 1 BeforeI only ever wanted to be normal.  It’s been my goal for as long as I can remember.  I didn’t need to be thin or beautiful, just normal.  What I wanted now was for people not to stare at me as I walked through the mall.  To avoid having children at the grocery store or hair salon ask their mothers, “Why is that lady so fat?”   To be able to go on a bike ride or run around on the soccer field with my kids.  Things that “normal” people do.

Of course, that was then and my idea of ‘normal’ has changed drastically since I started this journey…

There was never any reason for it, the constant weight gain.  I came from an amazing, loving family who had high expectations of me, but nothing crazy.  The truth is, I just love food and hate exercise.  Always have, always will.  Unfortunately, I eat when I’m happy, sad, or stressed.

quotation mark 1When I’d go on a diet , it wasn’t just my stomach aching for food, but my heart tooquotation mark 2.

I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds and had asked for help so many times, it was embarrassing.  The answer was always, “Why don’t you try weight watchers and cut out the fried food.”  Um, thanks for that…why didn’t I think of that?  In fact, I was always an extremely healthy eater.  I just ate too much, too often.

After 28 years of yo-yo dieting, using every program, supplement, clinic and cabbage soup recipe, someone gave me the courage to do something different.  My two sisters-in-law, to whom I will always be grateful, finally stopped tiptoeing around the problem by stating outright that I needed medical help.  I’d already known this, but I was always just too scared of what people would think to make the call.

From the time I finally did make that call, I spent over 18 months on a wait list before I was contacted again for an orientation about my options. It took another 6 months of several follow-up appointments, journaling, exercise, counselling and more before I was approved for the surgery I’d chosen.

On February 5th 2015, I had gastric sleeve surgery.  I weighed 280 lbs after already losing 20 lbs by then.  They cut out most of my stomach and left a pouch about the size of a banana.  Yes, it was painful, but I had a goal and normal finally felt like it was within my reach.

quotation mark 1One of the most interesting things I found after surgery was that I learned I had never truly felt full before.  The feeling in my chest, even after swallowing only small amounts of liquids now, was a completely unknown sensation.  I’d honestly never felt full in all my 39 yearsquotation mark 2

The results since have been amazing physically, emotionally and in general growth.  From my orientation of August 2014 to September 2015, I lost a total of 135 lbs, most since February 5th.

The transformation was apparently equally startling. I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t recognize me and the looks of shock on their faces was comical.  Quite a few people literally did not recognize me; they thought I was my own sister.

Karenpic 2

From August 2014 to September 2015, I lost a total of 135 lbs

Shock aside, I’ve seen something beautiful happen too.  When I show my before and after pictures to the people who really know me and love me, they are always surprised that I was ever that big.  The one thing I’ve learned is that those people never saw the outward person that I was always embarrassed about.  They just saw me.

The extended pluses:  I can now do any exercise I want.  My debilitating back pain is gone.  I don’t need an afternoon nap.  I walk in public and don’t constantly wonder what all those staring people are thinking of me.  I really don’t care anymore, which is weird for me.  I’ve always cared.  Always worried about what everyone else thinks.  I’m also more comfortable around my husband in our more intimate situations.  That’s a huge step for me.  I even gained the courage to apply for and get a new job.

Reality check – it’s not about perfection…

Karenpic 1 AfterYou’d think with all this joyous news I‘d be happy, complete, & unconcerned about the future.  Well, the reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Despite the overall success, I have one unusual drawback. I am still constantly bombarded with hunger and cravings – gnawing, painful hunger.  Like my stomach is trying to eat itself, and while I am now more able, exercise is a daily mental struggle.  I wish I was one of those people who started loving it, but I’m not.

Worse than all of that, is the fear.  I am terrified of gaining the weight back and having everyone know I failed.  After all the amazing people who helped and supported me, is it possible that I could allow my brain to derail me?

But, in a way, isn’t this what normal is?  Aren’t we all afraid of failing…no matter what our goal or accomplishment? If only we could learn and truly believe success isn’t about a number on the scale, the level of education we’ve achieved, or the amount of money we have in the bank.

And so, this is the next goal for me.  Learning to be happy with Karen, regardless of how much I weigh, or more importantly, what other people think of me.  This is what should be ‘normal’.

-Karen Kelt

With a Little Help From My Friends; Paul Curran “The Invisibles” Part 1

While I’m off batting away demons, some friends have come to bat for me by sharing some pretty amazing survival triumphs of their own. I am so happy and grateful to share them.

Think you’ve heard of some tough years? Read on for a chronicle of unbelievable, stunning setbacks and lifesaving ennui.

This is a two-part tale of an incredible trip to save one’s sanity along with body by the beloved blog-o-sphere cheering and writing champion, Paul Curran.  

paulcurran2015.-2As I lay restlessly in the hospital bed, a plan began to form. I was here for internal bleeding, one of many, many complications that had cropped up from my cancer treatment.

It was under control but I knew what it meant – I had lost my right kidney, which we all knew was happening and came as no surprise. An ultrasound had confirmed that there was but slim remnants of that organ.

This had been a rare side effect of the radiation treatment – a treatment that was really a pact with the devil. In my case it was exceedingly effective and had destroyed the cancer, but it also created a list of horrendous side effects from the destruction of my kidneys to temporary impotence and many others in-between. I was now officially a dialysis patient and would remain so forever, barring a transplant. That was hard to accept.

This was the final straw, and the worst was that I KNEW it was not the end of the side effects – which the literature says can continue to appear up to 25 years after treatment.

quotation mark 1At 45, I would pretty much be at the end of my life before I’d be done with the potential lifespan of side effectsquotation mark 2.

In the preceding year I’d spent all my savings on a degree that I finished just in time for an economic downturn; got laid off from my job because with the new degree I was overqualified; ended a 12 year relationship which meant giving up my house; was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent radiation, chemotherapy and three operations.

I’d also suffered major treatment side effects including a colostomy, temporary impotence, a fistula between my bladder and rectum and then endured the many, many issues that crop up with dialysis such as multiple operations, scopes, colonoscopies, endoscopes, too many more to list.

Along with all of that, the engine of my car blew up. I was unable to work and with no funds left, I finally had to draw welfare.  The final topper, I had to move from where I was boarding because my landlady (not much older than me) died of a blood clot in her sleep.

I started drinking too much and clearly recognized that I was suffering from severe depression – certainly a state of mind that was natural given the few years of my life.

I had seriously contemplated suicide but didn’t have sufficient desire to follow through – sigh, a failure even at that. Ha! I needed help, of this I was sure and while lying in that hospital bed I decided it was time to get some help.

As difficult as my health issues had been over the previous few years, I had gotten excellent care and anything I desired treatment-wise was readily available. For instance when I came out of the last operation and recovered, I realized that they had cut through my belly button.

This meant nothing to me, but when my surgeon presented himself and asked if all was OK, I responded with: “My belly button is gone”! I was being funny, obviously having survived the cancer and surgery, my belly button was immaterial, but he took me seriously. “I apologize”, he said, “I can arrange for a plastic surgeon to rebuild your belly button and it will be covered under OHIP [the government health plan which normally did not cover non-life threatening plastic surgery].”

Invisible Beginnings…

Expecting mental health care to be as carefully and meticulously addressed as physical health care, I requested a psych evaluation – my intention was to eventually get sessions set up so I could talk my way through the depression and get a hand up back to normal.

In physical health care the doctors were so thorough that I sometimes had to turn down tests or watch for duplication. I had never requested help that I did not enthusiastically receive.

My requests for a psych evaluation went unanswered. I knew that the hospital had a whole psychiatry floor filled with patients and psychiatrists, but try as I may, I could not get one to come to my room.

After a week of asking daily, two interns showed up – doctors in training – who were not psychiatrists or even psychiatry students, but rather were doing a rotation in their training for a few weeks in psychiatry.

These students were typically kept busy doing case histories and such. I thought perhaps this was the route to a real psychiatrist, so I was cheerful with them and we chatted for an hour or so while they took careful notes. (They were humorous at times in their naivety and when I complained about the impotence, they asked how I knew.  Of course, I pointed out that I was sequestered here in the hospital so obviously it was an inability to masturbate – at which they turned all red, stuttered and moved to another topic).

And then nothing happened…

-Paul Curran

————— You can find Part 2 here ————–

The Love You Make is Equal To…Frickin’ Awesome If You Can Match the Joy This Inspires

Steven tyler 2

When life knocks you onto your buttocks and it feels like you may never catch your breath or a break again, sometimes something really, really wonderful shows up.

Maybe it’s not the lotto win or the love of your life, but it gives you at least a few minutes of awesome respite. Real awe.  Awe, as in the original intention of the term, reverential respect, astonishment, extra special wonder…

I know inspirations can be anything for anyone, but for me, a little gem I came across  a couple of years ago was positively heavenly in its level of power and I have returned to bow at it’s rainbow-hued unicorn hooves as much as needed since.

It is the  2010 Kennedy Center’s honoring of Sir Paul McCartney. It is a masterpiece of musical powerhouses, but within that group of exceptional talent, Steven Tyler, heartbeat of Aerosmith, brought me to my feet especially.

Steven’s initial magnificent mix is in this first link:  Steven Tyler 2010 Kennedy Center Honoring Paul McCartney

But…

But…

If you really, really want to treat yourself to a show that brought the President of the United States, the First Lady, Oprah,  the Sir Paul McCartney and even Sir Stoic, Colin Powell to their feet in joyous glee, watch the whole portion of that tribute: 13 Minutes and 50 Seconds of Sublime 

If this doesn’t have you up in mind, body or spirit, somebody better call the coroner. You have to be dead.

RL

On another note: My 2016 posts were mostly written weeks ago and pre-scheduled for publishing while I’ve been taking care of some things. (see Weird Normal – February 19). I’d hoped by now I’d be back in the saddle fully, but that hasn’t quite worked out. So until I get there, maybe you’ll bear with me & some sporadic posts, maybe you’ll scan some of my older stuff and enjoy the occasional guest post from fabulous people. 
 Cheers for now.   ❤

Cupid’s Fraudballs – Deep Love Times 1,001

So, not every love story resembles the Harlequin Romance model or the Dr. Phil / Oprah recommendations of ‘healthy’, nor are they as far off the chain as the trailer park trashy gymnastics  of the Jerry Springer couplings either.

Sometimes they’re the stuff of mythical proportions. Heady. Messy. Legendary – Taylor and Burton, Bacall and Bogart, Hepburn and Tracy – all grown from impossible drama seeds planted within the largest of human persona.

They’re the masters of the double black diamond slopes of emotional mountain ranges – INTENSE and tender, RAGING and nurturing, DANGEROUS and comforting …. Mythical Gods come to life, breathtaking to behold, and dizzily staggering to live with.

Not all are destined for fame or the full theatre; some of these lesser-sized immortals are merely just around the cul-de-sac circles, seemingly average neighbours, but just as fiery, and we knew two of them…


K&P Style
He will say she was unforgiving,
She will say he was unbearably untrustworthy.
He will say she is relentless wariness,
And she will say he mercilessly pushes her over limits.
He will say she is insanely focused on rules,
She will say his demands are cruel humiliations.
He will say she refuses to understand him,
She will say, seeking true empathy from him is like talking to the dead.
He will say she is every appalling name in the book,
And she will say, she loathes that he is only either angel or demon.
He seeks her adoring maternal nurturing,
She begs him to stand tall as a real & loyal hero.
She will say he burned down their home,
He will say she lit the match.
He will admit how awful he is,
She will concede that she aches for his good days.
He will say, he despises needing her this much,
She will say, she hates that she will never love another as deeply.
He will trim his beard for her,
She will grow her hair long for him.
He will kiss her neck,
She will take his hand in hers.
He will hold her face,
She will lean her head on his back.
He can be calmed only by living with the ordinary, the banal,
She can be safe only within strength without edges.
Their light has been, will be, entwined for eternity,
They will say goodbye,  1,001 times… or more.

…………………………………………………………………

Marianne Williamson said: “Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.”

I’d add forgiveness does not mean having to keep anyone in your life. It means getting to your own genuine peace after exiting the dark.

Happy Love Day, to all.  Here’s to the  ups and downs and twists in life, regardless of the degrees, that steer us to our strengths, and hopefully, to our best love.

RL  

No Surrender

I am very honored to have this post featured on The Poetry Daily, February 15, 2016