Is This The Day You Die?

On my way home from work yesterday this thought went through my mind. Driving along, looking up at the blue sky, watching the soft white clouds bounce on by.

“Is today going to be the day you leave this Earth?

Rarely do I allow myself to ruminate or stew in the past anymore. I have done the recovery work and am, daily, working to forgive for myself and release anger and pain. It’s been a long learning process but I think I have found multiple ways to distract or refocus myself to thoughts, projects and people more deserving of my attention. It has worked well the past 3-4 years and I have grown to rely on my new-found skill but today I added, “I hope you made peace with your maker and confessed the true ugliness committed at your hands.”

Let me get you up to speed here. I am, essentially, an orphan. I have no family to speak of even though there are at least, maybe, 30 people out there that share some DNA with me. That I know of anyway. I could be wrong about the exact count because my family of origin LIES a lot. I arrive at my number by counting parents, siblings, their kids, their kid’s children and the few cousins I know about. I have physical contact with none of these people and that isn’t because of the corona virus, it’s because of purposeful cruelty and generational dysfunction. I have limited verbal contact with just 3 of these people so, in my mind, that qualifies me as an unofficial orphan.

Cue the balloons and streamers!!! Now, where is my crown?

Back to the initial, depressing title of this already worn out tome. It really is tiresome when the past won’t stay where it belongs so when you find out a family member is currently in the hospital, a member who doesn’t deserve your kindness, all kinds of surprising conclusions are drawn. Do I still care? How should I feel about this information? How do I react when asked about this family member? Will anyone who isn’t related to me even ask about this family member anyway since this person isn’t well-liked in their community? Anyone who truly knows me is aware of why I feel the way I do about this family member. And, those who don’t? Well, let them ask and they too will learn the truth.

I have no desire to edit anything or soften the jagged perimeter of this family plot turned garbage dump so my truth will be imparted without hesitation. “Is this the day they died?” Honestly, it could happen this way. Someone unrelated to me could be the one to inform me of the passing of a person I came to terms with years ago. A person I reserve no conflicted feelings for and have no desire to pretend grieve once they pass from this world. I wish them a smooth passage, which is more than they would wish for me and, once that has been accomplished, I wish to think of them no more.

If this is the day that you die please know that I am still standing. I am not bowing to the wind of judgement because none is blowing my way. That storm is reserved for you so be ready. Make amends, if you can and if you can’t bring yourself to do this before your last breath then that’s okay. I’ve done my part and let you go a long time ago.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You Are Permitted to be Angry…

With a few caveats of course.

For all my years of touting cute catchphrases like, “Say what you mean and mean what you say,” or expressing my resolute determination to no longer remain silent, I forgot one thing. The power of commiseration.

I don’t need you to use your sympathy voice every time I share something that makes me angry. I want you to be angry with me!

I GET IT NOW!

There is great power in numbers, as the current protests around the country have shown. I know this to be true. I talk about it, A LOT, within my professional space yet skim right over it in my personal space. And, for that, I am so very sorry. In this, I realize that I am no better than all the assholes I rail about, the ones without even a minuscule amount of empathy in their bitter bones. I, a person who has too much empathy at times, still forgot the therapeutic efficacy of a good bitch-fest. The legitimate airing of grievances, but without having to observe Festivus.

I will be angry with you.

I will listen to what you have to say without doing the, “Awww” face.

I will join your venting session, not because I’m mad at the same person, place or thing, but because YOU ARE ANGRY and I want to support you.

It’s okay to be angry because anger is an energy that can cause change just as easily as it can cause destruction.

I support your right to FEEL all the feelings that go along with being human.

Now, having said all of that, and I meant all of it, I just know there are miserable shit-stirrers out there itching to rail against those who express the desire to FEEL. You know? The FUCK YOUR FEELINGS dickheads. The rest of this is directed at you. Everyone with historically documented reasons to feel angry, you can grab some popcorn and relax for a bit. You earned it…

Yes, fuck my feelings! That’s so mature, so human, so kind of you! And, it’s exactly what I would expect from people who don’t think anyone else is allowed to be angry but them. What exactly are YOU mad about? Didn’t your whiteness provide, abundantly, everything all those other white male politicians promised if you supported their agenda? I know what everyone else is mad about but, please, tell me what’s REALLY troubling you. And, can you do it without calling me names or threatening me with violence? It’s a novel idea but try it, you might like it. And, while you are trying that maybe stop and picture what it really means to be the “good Christian” that you keep calling yourself. Are ya, really??? Can’t be Christ-like when you’re calling me a loud-mouth liberal bitch that needs to know my place. All-seeing God my ass, you don’t know me at all! Let me introduce myself, I’m you’re worst nightmare because I can see who you really are and that’s what you really hate, not me, not them, but yourself.

photo by Andre Hunter

It’s the truth about ourselves, the stuff we demand stay hidden, that really pops up in times of anger and strife, whether we like it or not. It isn’t hidden anymore and if the truly oppressed in this country can put up with your racist, homophobic, misogamist bullshit for centuries then I guess the LEAST I can do is get my privileged white ass up in their support. I stand with them because standing with you is limiting, exhausting, debilitating and completely on the wrong side of history and humanity. I will not side with vile hatred so stop trying to sell me on the garbage you keep peddling.

Yes, I believe Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real, Love is Love and Kindness is EVERYTHING! On the flip-side, to those who do not believe in the things I just listed? You are the real problem and you are the one stoking the fire of hate in this country and around the world. Lying, cheating and stealing are really your areas of expertise, not ours but you jump at slapping those projected labels on us, which is laughable. Don’t like what I just imparted? Let me use some of your own medicine on that burn…uh, fuck your feelings! Ah, that felt refreshingly satisfying.

I can guarantee one thing for sure, in this current moment and moving forward, if ANYONE directs hateful vitriol and violence towards anyone I love, I will rain the entirety of my FEELINGS of anger, disgust and rage down on you! I was subjected to physical and mental abuse as a child and young adult and can only keep that raging beast of revenge down so long you know? Count on me coming for you because, hey, when you dismiss my feelings of empathy and kindness what’s left? Yeah, just the NASTY parts, the ones you identify with most and you can’t fuck ALL of my feelings. Who’s got that kind of time?

Illustration by Sefira Ross

Oh, you don’t like that I’m expressing a desire to treat you as miserably as you treat others? Huh, it doesn’t FEEL good does it? Are you afraid of my rage? My words that I can freely express without the need of a gun to back them up? Or, are you really terrified of my ability to size-up your obvious inner conflict and verbalize the issues that I see standing in your way of being a decent person? No one acts the way you do without channeling some fucked up dysfunction from childhood that leads to the near debilitating self esteem issues you clearly exhibit. Do I want to be right about you being a shit person? No. But, 9 times out of 10, I am right and it hurts because I know humanity can do better.

You see, I am willing to listen to your angry outbursts, just like I listen to those I love vent. The only difference is that I know one of those complaint sessions will lead to greater self-awareness and inner calm and the other will lead to personal ruin. Without a willingness to see the pain of others, to listen, learn and actively understand why they have a right to be angry nothing will change. You will stay miserable and stuck. You will never be happy. You will never be a healthy community/society member even though you have this warped impression that this land is YOUR land and not anyone else’s, especially those with darker hued skin. To hold onto those ideals is to hold onto quicksand…your made-up “identity” is being exposed as you slide down, down, down.

I’ll offer you a hand if you want it. Do you want it?

Or, does going down with the rat infested ship seem more palatable than letting a dirty liberal offer you kindness?

Sad.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Oh, Sister of Mine?

When people ask me about my family of origin I pause and take a deep breath. “How much time do you have?” I ask. It’s never a matter of rambling on about all the amazing memories I have (or had) with family, it’s a matter of, “How much do I tell?”

Do I talk about the feelings of despair, the urgent need to get as far away from my childhood home and town as possible or, do I simply compose a quick verbal synopsis? Even that would be a task destined for failure since there is zero possibility of a speedy deposition because anger, pain and darkness go too deep and have traveled too many generations to be given just a cursory glance. This is a disease that must be examined with the keen eye of a scientist or, at minimum, with the paranoid skepticism of a rabid conspiracy theorist.

“Show me your proof.”

“It’s all made up!”

“You have an agenda!”

Who doesn’t, pal?

I wish I had made up everything I felt compelled to share about my childhood and the people enlisted to birth me and then failed to raise me properly. I wish I had made up the interactions with my many siblings that drained the rose color from my preferred view of the world. The dream of a life I felt excited about as a five year-old was the same one ground to dust at eight by a brother who acted entitled to be doing so without explanation or recourse.

If only I could recall, rewind, rework and then reissue my life. But, I can’t and it must stand as a work unto itself with no revisions because truth is truth no matter how dirty and the lies of others, desperate to silence you, have no power anymore. That, right there, is what sparks the greatest fear in former oppressors, instigators and apologists. I will TELL. I will say it ALL. And, my truth will follow them to the depths of every self-imposed hellscape they find themselves in or into any carefully curated tale of a supposed “life well-lived” they may attempt to create.

It’s the price we all pay for pretending.

But, what happens when the pretenders stop and stand still within their game? What happens when the camera, the one meant to capture a staged joyous moment, starts documenting reality at every press of the button? Sure, we can smile for the camera but we have no control over the image projecting from our eyes. They are the real keepers of truth after all.

I entitled this “Oh, Sister of Mine?” for a specific reason and to document a specific hurt. I have two sisters, born from the same parents and both subjected to the same dysfunction (at varying degrees) I was yet each approaches their wounds very differently. One chose the stance of a pacifist or rather, a “compartmentalizer” and the other, further down the pedigree chart, chose to morph into a volatile cat o’ nine tails ready to inflict as much mental punishment as humanly possible on anyone she decides to level. Did I see that coming my way? No. Am I really surprised in hindsight? Again, no. Some people learn from their pain and some carry it with them like a weapon to be used whenever they need self-soothing. It was just a matter of time.

Now, here’s the rub. From time to time I see strategically posted vignettes of their “and a fun time was had by all” soap opera. It hurts, initially, that I have been purposely cut out of their lives but, in a way, I also see it as needed medicine. The depiction of how their lives easily go on without being invited to share in any joy or pain can feel scalding but, it is also the hurt I need to heal, if that makes sense? The more I see of these surface only interactions the better I feel about my decision to untangle from the diseased spiderweb. I can’t go back to pretending anymore. I won’t go back there yet, at the same time I am irritatingly human enough to still long for closeness and also feel bad for all of them.

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/people-are-revealing-truth-behind-their-happy-looking-social-media-posts-its-heartbreaking.html

And by ALL I mean ALL, even the parents and other siblings who worked so hard to grind my soul into the ground. I wish things were different but, they are not and they never will be. That wish is now released to the wind. It floats away, along with pieces of my regret and anger, to be replaced by a satisfying self-awareness I never even knew I could posses. By “self-awareness” I mean I own up to my faults, my lies, my rage now with zero shame or embarrassment.

It’s never embarrassing to be authentic.

The TRUE shame is in continuing to willfully live that lie.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Company You Keep: A Tale of Constant Disappointment

Over the past few years I have come to the resolute conclusion that there is a very good reason people who were once childhood friends, co-workers, waving neighbors or even fragile family members grow apart. The saying that we are known by the company we keep was very true during Aesop’s day just as it is today. Look to the left and then back to the right. Who do you call friend, family, acquaintance?

Aesop’s Fables: An Ass And His Purchaser

The tale of An Ass And His Purchaser goes a little like this:

A man wanted to purchase an Ass and took him home for a trial. The Ass befriended the most idle of those the man already owned and so… Bye, bye Ass.

A man is known by the company he keeps.

I see your posts on social media. The lazy re-posting of propaganda. Yeah, this looks good…CLICK. The refusal to fact-check, question or even comprehend that what you just shared was an example of racism, sexism, isolationism, homophobia or any other repugnant, exclusionary belief. The refusal to acknowledge that careless words can cause great harm is illuminated like a TIKI torch at a white nationalist rally. “Oh, I will totally OWN them with this scorching article from a hugely biased news source!”

I see the venom, the bile and the disdain posted about those you feel are not as “good” or as “smart” as you. I make note of how you feel those people are disrespectful, dishonorable, untrustworthy, un-this, un-that and then the final dismissive pronouncement that when those people use their long ignored voice this equals whining. Does this mean your point of view is the only one that matters? Or, does it mean your point of view should matter more? It’s one or the other. You can’t have it both ways after all.

What do you hear in the voices of protest that bothers you so much? I ask because I truly want to know why the sound of life-long pain, frustration and grief triggers such dismissal and/or anger? Are they not deserving of fair treatment, equal rights or the same protections afforded to you under the law? If your answer is NO…why? And, can you look those people in the eye and bravely explain why they shouldn’t be as FREE as you? And, can you do it without sneering, condescending vitriol? Thanks. That would be great!

Now, back to the part about being known, or judged, by the people you choose to associate with. If you are pals with people who make disparaging remarks about people of color, women, non-Christians, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, people with different political beliefs or anyone different at all for that matter and you LAUGH or LOOK THE OTHER WAY then that will be considered condoning or agreeing with their behavior. The key word here is CHOICE. You decided which side you were on without even saying a word. Silence was your choice. Like it or not. I don’t make the rules.

A riot is not quiet…

So, I see your condemning posts about those, whiny, lazy, ignorant and, weak liberal snowflakes and I always come back to the introduction, written with great authority by you. The original post may have come from someone else but you obviously agreed with it or why else would you share it? For shits and grins? To stir the pot? To purposely cause outrage? To mock? Oh, you may claim any one of these but I suspect it’s because you actually do agree with the sentiment embedded in that inflammatory meme, quote, shared article or video. It’s okay to admit it. I could even respect you, believe it or not, if you would just be honest for once.

I see it all and wonder how your definitions of GOOD, SUPERIOR, PURE, RIGHTEOUS and HOLY were formed along with the polar opposite of those five words. Did your views come from a highly edited history purposely designed to place you on top as the victor while everyone different is cast as defective, unbalanced or criminal? How did you come to the point in life where you currently stand? You appear angry. You also appear so certain to be right and also very certain I, and people both like and unlike me, deserve no audience to plead our case because our guilt was determined long before we were born.

Do you ever wonder if everything you were ever told about those not like you is a lie? I do.

https://theundefeated.com/features/being-black-in-a-world-where-white-lies-matter/

https://theestablishment.co/white-people-you-have-a-lying-problem-e991c3634493/index.html

https://milwaukeenns.org/2020/06/26/opinion-the-lies-white-people-tell-ourselves-and-how-they-haunt-milwaukee-today/

Currently, I am furious that a huge chunk of what was in my white grade school and high school history books was biased, unbalanced, revisionist propaganda written to purposely divide by race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or disability. I am certain that there are other agents of division I missed but you get the point…right? History is written by the winners no matter how they achieved that status. Be it by theft, coercion, excessive force or editing. It’s the real FAKE NEWS.

REAL…fake news. Take that in for a moment. It isn’t the moronic bullshit, the twisted, spun and manipulative gas-lighting vomit broadcast via Twitter or Fox News. It isn’t the bizarre, braying jackass sound bites from unprepared press conferences or the never ending ego trips masquerading as campaign rallies. You mean nothing to the talking orange head. Your life experiences, trials and tribulations and worries don’t even register a blip on that schizophrenic radar. You get that, right?

I simply cannot believe that people just wake up one day deciding to be arrogant, insolent, heartless assholes. Something happened along the way. Someone, or a group of someones, taught them how to behave as if their particular hue is the best hue, their particular worldview is the best, most perfect, most tremendous one of all time. It has the highest ratings, the largest following and they will DOMINATE the world.

But, here’s the thing about reaching the top of the heap…getting there isn’t the true goal, staying there is.

And, if you continually get to the top on the backs of those people, never allowing them to SHARE the space with you, then to what lengths will you go to stay on top?

You don’t fear those you stand on. You fear retribution for the transgressions you and your ancestors committed while on the continuous journey to the top. THAT is the legacy of this country. Simply admitting it isn’t culpability, it’s true freedom. Cutting loose the “company” that no longer reflects positively on you isn’t a huge sacrifice. Losing your very life because of deeply ingrained bias and racism is.

Learn the difference.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Farewell to friendship in the age of Trump

Goodbye spirited debate! So long teasing! Forget about it, polite conversation! Take a hike kindness. You’re done! Finished! Finito! Every attempt at online interaction now is fraught with misunderstanding, defensiveness and paranoia. What did you say about me? What did you mean by that?!? You are so naive, ignorant, liberal, conservative, arrogant, brainwashed, deplorable, gullible…on and on and on. You are either one of US or one of THEM!

Wait…what?

Now, to get to the heart of this blog confession; I was recently unfriended and blocked on social media by someone I have known since high school. While this isn’t the first former school chum to unfriend me this one certainly was the most surprising. Now, granted, we haven’t physically seen one another in over 20 years and every attempt I have made to connect, face-to-face, since 1997 has been rebuffed but, I’m confident when I say I tried! I called, texted and messaged, all out of genuine concern for a friend I wanted to keep in my life because I had fond memories of them from a time period when things weren’t as complicated.

We used to be really good friends…once…a long time ago.

Everything is complicated now! And mostly because people make it complicated for themselves.

It all began with a series of half satirical, half personal opinion posts about the Orange Scourge. Then, it involved replies on other friend’s posts and then my own response to said former friend who was clearly trying to either elicit an affirmation of his world view or a negative response to posting a blurb about how those still “fearful” of getting Covid-19 should just stay home while everyone “brave” and “patriotic” goes back to work. This is the same person who would regularly pop into comment feeds with harshly cold comments bereft of empathy and dripping with condescension and then when rebuffed would also try to disengage by saying, “Oh, I guess I don’t understand how social media works”, “I thought we could have a discussion but I guess I was wrong!” But, wait! You claim to be a sort-of Libertarian scholar so don’t you know it ALL? Tell us more Professor! Psst….THAT’S sarcasm by the way.

Yes, yes you do understand how dropping a shitty comment into the middle of friends bantering back and forth will be received. Yes, you do understand that the people you are crap-bombing are all outspoken women who are very adept at expressing their views and who don’t appreciate being talked down to. Yes, you knew this and yet chose to proceed because…you knew exactly what you were doing. The need for attention, whether it’s positive or negative is still with you even after all these years. Such is the way of the perpetual adolescent, demanding attention and then feigning dismay when things take a disturbing turn. Not my fault! Uh, huh…sure. If not yours then whose?

And, so I felt compelled to respond with a truthful statement that indeed, I shall stay home because I am lucky enough to have an employer that values my safety and one who can allow me to work from home. I acknowledge that I am very fortunate and appreciative of how my life has turned out. It seemed to be a benign enough proclamation until other comments involved telling the fearful, in this person’s view, to file for unemployment if they felt too scared to work. Not. That. Simple. For an all knowing Libertarian I’m shocked they don’t realize that if a stay at home order is lifted then the unemployment payments stop. If an employee decides to continue staying home they can either: 1) Burn up their sick and vacation time or: 2) Get fired for being insubordinate if they still refuse to come to work and risk getting or spreading Covid-19. If the second option occurs you can bet that the unemployment benefits process will start all over leaving the “fearful” without money coming in for a period of time combined with the indisputable knowledge that profits are more important than human lives. *Edit: The most likely scenario will be the reasonably concerned employee will balk at returning and the unsympathetic employer will consider that an, “I quit” which equals-no unemployment.

The former friend’s response? “Well, YOU just stay home and you’ll be safe…” Is there a sarcasm font? No? You’ll just have to read that in your best sarcastic and dismissive tone. You understand what sarcasm sounds like right? Some are confused as to what that is apparently (cough, cough…Trump) and after receiving a reply that a snotty, privileged Karen would give I read it to really mean, “And…all the rest of us patriots, unafraid of some silly virus and unwilling to give up our freedom (to infect) will move about the world touching and coughing on everything while you stay holed up in fear.”

The actual typed words may seem harmless on the surface but I know this game well. I recognize the short response, the clipped phrasing of impatience and defensive deflection, the bubbling irritation I have gotten so used to. I will pat you on the head with these dismissive words, words I don’t really mean but words I choose in order to belittle and embarrass you online. Words I would never try in person because I’m not good with face-to-face conflict. So brave, right?

Having dealt with many passive-aggressive individuals over the years I clearly recognize that when a rebuttal begins with WELL the resentment tends to run DEEP. I have no idea why this person would feel resentful towards me or toward any other friends so I won’t even hazard a guess. It doesn’t really matter. I simply don’t tolerate this type of childish drama in my life anymore so I’m not hurt by the severing of social media ties. Keeping self-absorbed online nasty comment bombers on my virtual “friend” list has lost it’s appeal and no matter what our history together was it’s now time to let go. I have grown up, they have not and that’s okay. I will not lose any sleep over our ridiculous falling out.

What does concern me, however, is the suspicion that all is not mentally well with my former friend despite denials when pressed via private message. There is something off here, something that doesn’t make sense and even though I have asked if I can be supportive and be of service my assistance is not welcome. I can respect that. Again, I tried so now all I can do is wish them well, hope they are okay and leave them in the past.

Farewell friend! I knew you once but now, I hardly know thee at all.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The place where loyalty and forgiveness lies…

At one time I placed a great amount of loyalty in the hands of people who constantly drove over me with their jealousy fueled anger bus and people who saw betrayal as a means to an end. An end that benefited them only and cut me to the quick, slicing deeper and deeper until I no longer recognized myself.

And, in failing to recognize who I truly was I also failed to see those who flipped on me, those who extracted a perverted measure of satisfaction from my pain, for who they truly were as well. The words, “They are all you have” echoed through the pain and still, I went back. Forgive and forget! Just move on! Are you STILL hanging on to this?

You bet! Not getting let off the hook that easy you psycho…

That place, the sovereign soil of heritage over honor and blood over truth remains contaminated, an inhospitable tenement with no safe harbor. Each trip I made to its doorstep ended in an unsettled feeling of impending tragedy, or, so as not to seem overly dramatic, a nagging sense that I absolutely did not belong there.

Why is it so hard to let go of things, places and people that no longer work in our lives? Letting go of those who hurt us over and over? Is it because we fear being wrong to stay angry or is it because we might be very right to not forgive and admitting this comes with a large dose of regret and embarrassment over not doing it sooner?

How did we come from that place? How did we come from those people? Where is our place in this world now?

And, what about forgiveness? Oh, yes, the ultimate selfish demand from those with every intention of never changing, never apologizing and every intention to do harm again. Who is forgiveness for again? You? Them? Or, is the saintly Mother Forgiveness and the warm glow of salvation she’s rumored to bring just a myth?

“Oh, you MUST forgive or you will live with anger and bitterness!”

Okay. Are you sure about that? I heard once that anger is an energy, a motivator, a teacher. I also heard that angry women are _________, choose whichever derogatory term, typically men, apply to women who refuse to bend, break and, refuse to…forgive. My refusal is no admission of guilt. No, it’s a firm foot being placed solidly on the ground that says, “No sir, my life will not be played out on your terms.” This is my life, my choice and I’m perfectly content knowing there are Forgiveness Soldiers out there that demonize me for being strong.

I owe you nothing.

The anger I felt inside moved me forward. The anger I felt inside pushed me to look at people closer. The anger I felt inside urged me to listen to my gut. I am not stuck, bitter, sad, tortured or any of those negative things promised by the pious. Its almost as if they want us to be unhappy…just so they can feel right. Go figure.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thoughts and Prayers for Christmas….

I tried.

Hard.

Now, I don’t have to anymore and I’m relieved!

For the past 2 years I swore that I would continue being thoughtful, dutifully sending cards and gifts to family that despised me because “I’m better than that.” I wrote about it in a declaratory tome announcing my status as a saint after all! Jesus, it was easy to fall for the guilt trip then because I desperately wanted to be the bigger person but now I accept the real, hideous bigger picture instead. Also, I don’t want to be like my mother and continue a tradition of sending Cards of Lies with words I knew weren’t true because her actions always said otherwise.

It was never about how they would view me at all. It was about how I viewed myself.

Ego led me to believe someday they would care and so, I sent cards, money and gifts not out of true love for them but out of fear that I would be seen as a shitty person, prone to pettiness and grudges. I see that now and give myself full permission to stop. The way they view me will never be swayed by cash or gift cards anyway so the time to cease and desist is now. It was long overdue and is hard to accept but accept it I will while also wishing them well, silently, on each momentous occasion.

Thoughts and prayers work for phony Christians when doing actual good isn’t desired so why not in this instance? The only difference is, I mean it when I say I wish them well. I do. It’s free and isn’t emotionally draining. To do anything else only shortchanges me and if this really is about how I view myself then I will continue the well wishes in private so my mind, heart and soul can remain at peace. To send or not to send a card will make no difference so I chose to spare a tree. It’s only right.

And, in the grand life-long scheme of things it doesn’t matter. None of it ever mattered because each puzzle piece never wanted to fit in their allotted spot. They only wanted to take chunks from the other pieces around them in order to fill the void and because learning how to be introspective was too hard. A word for everyone out there…it isn’t hard at all! Some people are just fucking lazy. Oh, and they are scared shit-less of the ugliness they’ve allowed to fester inside so they belittle others more successful, more kind and more loving than they are in an attempt to hide their ugly souls.

I shall pray for you…

Not really. I don’t do that. But even if I did it wouldn’t put a dent in the nasty so instead I will think of them often and imagine they are better people. People who actually care about more than themselves, people who aren’t so cowardly that they must hide behind cutting words and passive-aggressive memes. I mean, really! Who wants to be so phony that no one ever sees the real person, no one ever gets to connect with the honest heart inside and, instead, gets rebuffed by a hard, icy exterior devoid of a welcome sign?

I can ask that, and do a lot but I already know the answer. I’ve always known the answer.

© 2019-2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Learning to be thankful for the word NO!

During this season of self imposed stress I choose to say no.

And, when I say no…to all the things that serve no meaningful purpose in my life I am truly saying yes to peace, harmony and personal growth. It may seem harsh or unreasonable to some but for those who refuse to waste their lives accepting nastiness and manipulation it is a revelation.

https://peacecounseling.org/how-do-you-respond-to-the-word-no/

I no longer require the approval of others to live my life and pursue my goals because their approval is nothing more than soul-crushing judgment in disguise. I see it clearly and it serves no positive objective so it will no longer have a reserved parking spot around my neck.

I can breathe again.

The expectations of self-centered tyrants are set aside, to list and groan as they silently sink to the bottom of the pity well that birthed them. I will no longer invite them into my mind space as there is no more room at my table. I have filled it up with the self-preserving wisdom that comes when one wakes the hell up!

Instead, I fill my life with people and experiences that bring a calming center point to my world because to do anything else is the exact definition of insanity. Running in circles, chasing anger, resentment, and the fear of being found out as a fraud…none of these things have appeal so I say no to them all.

In looking back I see the time I wasted attempting to be something I was not for dishonest, broken people and I also see the time they wasted denying who they really are. Pretending to be loving will not make you loving just as pretending to be strong will not sustain you when your heart is breaking into a thousand pieces. Eventually everyone either becomes too tired to lie or they fall on their own sword of deception.

This will not be my life. This never was my plan.

I have decided to simplify because, after all, life is only hard when we make it so and the crazy-making mentality I was raised with is no longer SO in my world. I send it back to where it came from, wrapped in a pretty bow, packaged all elegant and shiny. You can’t miss it. It’s the box marked NO!

© 2019-2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In the company of wolves…

It’s no secret that I was raised by a narcissistic bully and a giggling passive-aggressive with a searing dislike for anyone “more fortunate” than herself. I have written about this numerous times and after each soul cleansing admission the only player in this dark, twisted tale to change is me. As it should be.

Each time I lay it all out there, stripped to the bone and raw for all to see, my personal suffering lessens and I relax just a little more. I forgive a little more while remembering to forget even less. Catalog it for future lessons I say! In getting it out I am freeing myself from anger and shame. I am freeing myself from them.

And by THEM I mean my entire family, not just the ones who refuse to talk to me, who refuse to acknowledge my presence on this earth. Or, refuse to understand that I stood with them when they needed me most while I stood here alone.

Little Red Riding Hood has nothing on me…

It’s okay. I have great balance and an affinity for going my own way, on my own time schedule and without the assistance of unwilling companions. It’s truly becoming easier. I’m not alone anymore.

But, just because something is easy it doesn’t mean that it’s preferable or kind or right. This experience is none of those things yet, in a way, it’s exactly all of those things in the same token. It’s what I expected, it’s what I received and now it’s what I will glean knowledge from to learn and continue growing.

The mysterious, all knowing THEY in life have said that strangers will treat you better than family ever will and I have found this to be remarkably true. Strangers typically have no idea what your net worth is or your nasty secrets when engaging in acts of kindness to someone they see as “in need” of a brief kind gesture. Holding open a door, smiling for no reason other than something in your glance triggered their reaction. It’s nice and I appreciate it so much more now.

While growing up I was taught that each interaction with family produced only two things; anger or indifference. You either made someone mad or you didn’t exist to them. Nothing in between. Oh, I can say that there were times when it appeared we mattered to one another but, in looking back, I see now that it was more of a theatrical show for others so the normal family facade could stay in place. It was not sustainable nor was is real.

When I describe my family as wolves, at first glance it may seem mean spirited. But, in taking many decades worth of steps back I now see it as the ultimate coping mechanism, passed down from one generation to another, infinity. It had to start someplace, we didn’t invent devouring our own or lashing out in fear each time authority (or sanity) is challenged. We may not have invented it but our generation is perfecting it.

Each day, week, month and year that goes by connection is cut further and further and the string holding our family tree together is stretched beyond its limited capacity. It’s still tethered but the longer we go without contact the easier it will be to ignore, reject and justify what we do.

We do nothing. And, that is exactly the point. Nothing comes from nothing but doing nothing when something is required is the ultimate cruelty committed by a species that requires connection to survive. To know how to connect but to refuse to engage in it is madness, a self-fulfilling prophesy for failure.

And, yet, here we are, welcoming the wolves of jealousy, resentment, anger and pettiness around our doorsteps. They sit and dare anyone to attempt reconciliation. Come! They invite you to stand at my door to see what type of greeting you will receive.

Now, here’s the thing about wolves, they don’t always get it right nor do they recognize the evolution of people tired of traditional dysfunction. People so tired of grudges, so tired of secrets, so tired of lies that they stop doing all the expected things and replace the usual reactions with healthy ones instead. Becoming enlightened throws off the wolves scent for blood, and our becoming immune to the aggression and mind-numbing psychosis confuses them.

This is why I write everything down. It’s documented and it’s expressed in a way that leaves no room for alternate interpretation. I said it, I meant it, it’s done. Let the universe receive it for processing so I can go about my life. Let the universe determine the outcome so I can be free to live. No guilt, no worries and no looking back.

Yes, the invitation still stands and is sincere. Come to my door, it’s not barricaded against you. Just remember to leave your wolves at home.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Happiness grows when you let go…

Today I thought about my mother. I haven’t spoken to her in over 2 years and the details as to why have already been addressed so there is no need to rehash that pain.

For those who require a refresher, here you go: The back story for newbies

I thought about how wonderful it would be to share a laugh, a kind smile, anything loving at all with the woman who brought me into the world. Just to pick up the phone and talk about how our collective days are going.

That never was and can never be.

To long for something so simple yet so incredibly impossible to obtain crumbles the soul from the inside out. It’s the kind of gut wrenching agony possibly felt by those who have lost a loved one to illness, old age or even a tragic accident.

I say possibly because I don’t know how those in that situation truly feel, I can only guess so I suppose the better descriptive word would be EMPTY. I feel empty when I think about the loss of something I never even truly had.

The unconditional love of a mother.

I never had that. Conditions always applied. I was required to be quiet, obedient, loyal to my abusers, willing to lie and pretend all was well behind the door of the various run-down houses we lived in. A scarred front row guest with exclusive access to view my very own horror story. It was easy to hide in a small town, a place where airing private dirty laundry in public was strongly frowned upon and obvious abuse was routinely ignored. Your kids, your property!

At one time the knowledge that everything about “us” was wrong hurt me deeply. Seeing others with genuine, loving relationships with their mothers and fathers, laughing together, reminiscing about joyful memories and funny stories. I had a tiny bit of that; the “funny” stories we told, the “editing” of the past to make it seem as if we were normal and not horribly broken. In looking back, the tales we told acted as the smeared, greasy make-up clowns wear to hide the utter despair they feel inside.

Over the years I cataloged all of the pain, all of the dirt, all the grime. I held it in my hands and turned it over and over, composing speeches I should have made, declarations of outrage to those guilty of harm. Disdain and growling anger boiled from within to spill out first in writing and then verbally all over the floor of my therapist’s office. It was pronounced, organized, claimed and then bagged up and disposed of.

Letting go has been a long process, one that has taken decades for me to quantify, qualify and then release the rage. It involved being honest about how dark my childhood was, devoid of normalcy and how I no longer owe my family any loyalty. It also involved no longer tolerating the gas-lighting, purposeful “crazy-making” of both parents and siblings invested in continuing the fucked-up family tradition.

The sun will come up tomorrow and I will rise, giving thanks for the life I have. I will express gratitude for those I love and for those who love me. The positive influences I allow within my orbit will be raised up and tearfully proclaimed to be deeply appreciated. I have all of this because I chose to let the negative go.

The happiness I feel in this moment continues to grow and will only increase as I release each bad memory, each hurt, each lie, each nasty letter, email and text out into the universe to float away. My achievements are mine. I earned them and will be proud of how far I have come.

Peace be with you. I release you from my life.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.