A longing for situational tabula rasa…

Oh how I wish, after reading mind numbingly, willfully stupid comments posted online or after listening to politicians obsessively vomit purposely divisive rhetoric, I could hit the factory reset button on my mind and start anew. To have a “clean slate” mind in these troubled times would be beneficial but as it always is with wishful thinking…not very practical. That which has been seen or heard cannot be magically erased except by rather extreme measures. Head trauma inducing measures.


So, back to tabula rasa, a peculiar theory constructed by Aristotle as a ‘unscribed tablet’ or clean slate rebuttal (On the Soul, Book III, chapter 4), to his buddy Plato’s pronouncement that man was merely a ‘spirit with no corporeal manifestation.’ To say that I’m not really certain what either of these fine toga wearing fellows were yammering on about is a massive understatement so I will just stick with what I believe to be true: we came into being, we overheard the words of those around our maternal flesh-dome Airbnb and once pushed out into the world we hung onto some of those impressions. Once the bell has been rung the memory of its tone and timbre stay embedded in our memory so to say we pop out of the womb free and clear of any and all outside influences or DNA predispositions doesn’t hit the mark for me.

If you don’t clean your slate how can you have any pudding?


If it does for you then cool, I’m fine with that but what about the idea of reincarnation, the ultimate form of recycling? New body with a completely wiped hard drive? The claim that anything saved on a computer hard drive is never truly erased intrigues me…but then I think about the potential scenario where someone comes along and writes new code, implanting new memories over the preexisting ones effectively canceling out the old. What then? Can those old memories pop up in between the new ones when we least expect it doing a funky déjà vu cha-cha? A tricky virus of unknown origin that gums up the works and makes humans doubt how they got here, who made them and why?


I think about things like this often and attribute it to a bizarre need to peek into every imaginative room constructed within my mind. If you think about it this way, that we have many rooms in our heads just like the many boxes, bins and trash bags full of long forgotten stuff crammed in closets, attics, basements and garages then why would it be too hard to fathom the idea that pre-programmed ideas, beliefs or memories aren’t stored someplace we just haven’t accessed yet? It’s the ultimate treasure hunt! Doesn’t that sound more exciting than the theory that we blip into this world a blank-eyed dolt who knows nothing yet is expected to learn EVERYTHING in the time allotted them by a lazy creator too busy to be bothered with details. WELCOME TO EARTH GLOB OF FRESH CLAY! No roadmap, no guidebook, no direction other than, “See that vaginal slip-n-slide there? Go that way and good luck!”


Alrighty then, I’ve gotten way off topic here…where was I? Oh, right, I was talking about how I’d like a tool to drown out the negative noise the world is making currently. The anti-education, anti-anything that cues those not male and white into the fact that they are being subjected to constant gaslighting and purposeful oppression noise. Preferably a mode of mental relief that doesn’t involve driving off a cliff or jabbing an icepick into my ears to shut out the obnoxiously deluded or purposely misleading.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/why-do-republicans-suddenly-hate-colleges-so-much/533130/

It is my belief that there are people out there that wish harm on those who refuse to think or behave like them so if I had a temporary way to wipe their actions and words from my mind it would be the best No Harm, No Foul ever. It would be even better if my inability to hear, see or react to their negativity and need to control could effectively reprogram their way of viewing the world around them. “Just ignore them honey and they will go away”, that kind of thing except better…they literally evolve into a kinder and more considerate human being. Oh, how wonderful that would be!

http://www.stirjournal.com/2016/04/01/i-know-why-poor-whites-chant-trump-trump-trump/


Yes, how wonderful it would be if humans could get that being assholes to one another serves zero purpose other than scratching some perverse itch they have to make everyone as miserable as they are. Or, to make sure no one takes their spot in the line of privilege. I see you. I know what you are doing and you know what you are doing yet, here we are, stalemate with no possible checkmate in sight.

Please sir, may I have some more…nothing?

The negative throng of the world buzz and hum, creating an insanely annoying racket, a calamity designed to distract, redirect and restack the cards formerly set in their favor. Unfair advantage taken, lost and now feverishly reclaimed despite the odious stink it admits, signaling all who know better that the fix is in. It’s always been “in” the only difference is that now the game is being brazenly played out in the open, shit-eating grin in full display and the “what are you going to do about it” gauntlet dropped like a greasy Big Mac on the Oval Office floor.


I have many ideas about what I would like to do. One that would be particularly satisfying: a thunderous kick to the shriveled nut-sack of any old asshole who has ever called me cupcake, sweetie, little girl, snowflake…anything other than my given name. You do realize that misogynistic, racist, sociopathic dick-bags refuse to call those they fear or hate by their legal names because your name holds power right? If they say your name they acknowledge your humanity, they acknowledge that every degrading, demoralizing, dehumanizing thing they have ever said is false and only said to lay flat those who stand to take a piece of the abundant pie they are too greedy to share. It’s complete and utter bullshit, all of it. And, yet, they are allowed to march on with little to no resistance. WAKE UP WORLD! You are on fire.


Things aren’t right, they haven’t been right since day 1 and it’s high time we ALL recognized that. Longing for some long gone era some wistfully call “the good old days” is both figurative and literal horse shit! For every advantaged person’s good old days there are many, many disadvantaged, oppressed and cruelly disregarded people that don’t remember certain days, decades or centuries quite as rosy as you do.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY? Probably not or we wouldn’t still be playing this perpetual game of It/Not It where one group consistently floats to the top after even the smallest set-back. It’s not that hard to figure out yet, old habits die hard and even older myths, lies, manipulations and purposeful control methods rise continually like a shit-covered specter clawing at and climbing over everyone to the side and in front of them even though it’s CLEARLY no longer their turn! Hello, old white dude! Take a seat, hand over the microphone and open your eyes and ears!


We are just getting started.


The slate has too much blood on it.


It will never be clear.


But, you knew that…right? Tap, tap, tap…is this thing on?

© 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.

A day for the good fathers out there…

Let me start by saying that my father is still alive. I can’t say if he is physically well because I have not seen or spoken to him in 3 years but I can definitely say that he isn’t mentally or morally well in the slightest.

It’s very hard for me to say that and to clarify, for those who will attempt to jump my train and use judgement to derail it, I do so with great pain but also with glaring honesty. If we aren’t honest with ourselves in this life then what hope do we have of being better incarnations in the next right?

From the first moment I can remember it was clear to me that my father did not like me. Again, this is just my perception but what other conclusion can one draw when in lieu of your name, “stupid” or “dummy” is used and the words “I love you” are never said until the gravity of mortality hits while sitting in front of your youngest son’s casket? And let’s not forget the hugs that were replaced with a fist to the back of the head or arm or shoulder or between the shoulder blades. That was his favorite kind of “hug.” I literally felt an all over body shock hearing those words for the first time at 23 but also suspect that they were said because of some sense of shock he felt himself and also because other people, non-family people were listening.

Did he mean it? Maybe, but even after the lightning bolt moment of having a son, someone he bullied and belittled relentlessly just like he had done to me, die such a tragic death as drowning…nothing really changed. The derogatory remarks still came even if he was getting too slow to punch and I was too old for him to intimidate anymore. The snide comments about my intelligence, my looks, my life aspirations…nothing changed at all except he had one less child to abuse. So, what would it hurt if he lost one more? After all, he didn’t seem to care and enjoyed lashing out at everyone around him.

I write this not out of anger or any sort of clumsy revenge. I write this because it is true and even though the well-meaning folks out there will say, “you only have one father and you’ll regret staying estranged from him,” I say no, I feel relieved to have had the courage to release myself from his ever negative orbit and today I honestly can thank him for bringing me into the world even though he didn’t raise me with love. I learned to love and be kind and be thoughtful in spite of him. That is a success!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/heathermorgan/2019/06/14/best-dads-raise-badass-daughters/#7f0b96505a69

I see all the posts on social media about wonderful dads, dads who contributed so much love and joy to their children’s lives and I am so happy that so many out there received what I did not. That is the truth! I am overjoyed for them because it lets me know that I am correct to have faith in this human race, to have hope that things will improve.

To all the great dads out there; we need you! I am so very thankful for you because without you I would never have had the opportunity to meet others who were raised in love and kindness who in turn could teach it to me. It’s the simple acts of kindness, the giving without only taking, the joy of being kind, being thoughtful without worrying what other men will think.

I salute you today and every day. Keep up the good work!

© 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.

If all you want to be is right then I guess I will choose to be happy instead.

I have been thinking about this topic for a long time. Right, wrong, in between and I don’t care are all positions people either fight over or simply walk on by without a single thought. I’d like to be in the latter category. To do anything else seems counterproductive and illogical.

There is a whole world of wonder outside of our own heads….

I will let you have your outrage, your vitriol, your angst and also…your misery. Many in that list are well earned so I would never want to take that away from the possessor; I prefer to err on the side of mental and physical well being now. You do what you think will get you by in life and I will do what allows me to climb mountains, sail seas and soar above the negativity. If I live by example, fully immersed in the current moment rather than frustrating ruminations then I won’t have time to worry about how others perceive me. That will no longer be my concern.

How Being Right Stops You From Being Happier

Okay, you enjoy that title! I’m just going to be over here enjoying life. Cheers!

Oh, please don’t think that I am stepping away from being passionate about causes and movements that matter a great deal, that won’t change. What I am setting aside is the reactionary response to little digs, picks, prods and manipulative lead-ins. Also, please don’t dish out the line, “Well, if you don’t speak out and stand up then you are just another sheep waiting to be led to slaughter!” Save your time and breath. When it matters I will speak up, no doubt there and when it’s an effort in futility and only feeding the ego of narcissism then I will have better things to do. Got it?

5 Ways to Handle People Who Always Think They’re Right

I don’t always have to be yelling to be heard and I don’t always have to react in rage to express my disagreement with arrogant and ignorant statements. Sometimes it’s not so much what you say as what you do that matters. I will be happy, despite ridicule over my point of view. I will enjoy my life and revelle in the wonder of new discoveries and new travel adventures and also the excitement over meeting new interesting people. All of those things involve both personal action and intent. There is no praying or hoping here. It’s all ME powered.

So, do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy? Or, neither? Take a moment and choose wisely.

© 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.

The Long Year of Silence: And Other Tales of Dysfunction…

February came and went. Silent to begin and silent still to end. To say that I’m entirely surprised would be a lie since I know how these family dustups go. I know that they linger like the annoying stench that clings to the bottom side of a trash can lid; hidden from sight but still funking up the air with the cloying scent of unresolved anger and delusion.

Last year, at this same time, I had a tremendous online, voicemail and text row with my younger sister over what? I’m still not sure what her intentions were when she publicly insulted me, my dear partner and my even dearer daughter online. “They aren’t welcome in our home,” became the flash point proclamation over a post about the senseless loss of children due to gun violence which she assumed was AIMED at her and her husband. It was not yet, here we are.

If you can’t find the energy to defend your actions then don’t expect to make it to the winner’s circle anytime soon…

Ah, assumption, the ultimate guess that certainly makes one look like an ass when one is incorrect. And incorrect they were but, the damage is done and a half-hearted apology will not cover this wound. I am still angry about the words my sister, brother-in-law and other unknowing siblings chose to assign to me, my daughter and my partner. Snowflake! College Educated Liberal! They Think They’re Better Than Us! I have a sinking suspicion that these words had been on their minds for a long time. Words that they didn’t and still don’t have the guts to say to our faces. Was it worth it?

The Psychology Behind Sibling Estrangement

The more I think about it now the more I see just how one-sided our relationship was to begin with. For years I tried to re-engage with both my sister and her family by visiting, emailing, sending cards or texting as much as possible. I sat and listened to her complain about our parents, our other sister, nieces, nephews and so on. In looking back I have no doubt that this scenario played out similarly on the flip side and I was the one that was being complained about but, that’s okay.

We were raised with an “every man for himself” attitude and the MAN that always bested us was our father. Or, rather, he contributed to our emotional destruction and continued destruction of one another. Why be loving and kind when you could be sneaky and manipulative? Did you hear what SHE did? No! Did you know that HE did/said this or that? It’s amazing that we were able to hold it together as long as we did given the monumental amount of shit we talked about one another.

How I would love to tell each party the things that were said about them while absent but, I won’t. What’s the point anyway? I most likely will never see them again so it would be a hollow victory and I don’t need that bile in my life anymore. Tired of the drama, tired of the hatred and tired of feeling guilty for wanting and finally achieving a happy life when so much wrong has gone on in their lives over the many years.

And, despite this, I still jumped in to defend those who were being abused by our parents still as adults only to be lumped in with the very people who created the damaged familial menagerie to begin with. Thank you but, no thanks! I jumped too far for too long and now I’m done. I have to be. What other choice do I have?

But, what will you do when your parents die or if something happens to the other family members you aren’t speaking to????????

What would YOU do? Would be bristle at being asked such a guilt laden question by someone who did not walk in your shoes like, EVER? Would you pretend to feel sorrow for the loss of those who literally wished out loud that you were never born? Would you mourn the loss of someone who punched you with full force between the shoulder blades on more than one occasion? The one who used a handful of your hair to pull you across the room to view a “mess” you didn’t make but were still being accused of? The one who used the bible to justify this physical abuse along with molestation?

No love lost. No sorrow to feel on the parental front for many other reasons but, I do feel sorrow now about the loss of contact with my younger sister, her family and my oldest niece. That loss was sudden and without warning so I am still experiencing the grief process over losing those relationships.

I was angry. I’m still angry and I WILL write about it despite how much this pisses off those who created the rift. Actions have consequences and all, you know? And so, I keep moving into this new year of continued silence. Will anything change? Not unless I make the move to do so because that’s how it’s “always been.” Courage is in short supply in this family while false bravado doth runneth over!

So, now do I continue moving forward in peace without them or take two steps back into a landmine? Sometimes choosing peace is the smartest move and hopefully that move will trigger growth, self-reflection and forgiveness on the other side. I hope…and that’s all I can do.

© 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.

Surviving in the land of learned helplessness

Have you have ever heard someone incredulously wonder, out loud or under their breath, “how have you survived on your own as long as you have?” Be honest. You have either thought it, said it or possibly had someone utter words similar about you even.

It’s easy to believe that this is a generational thing, only the young these days are helpless but, I have run into just as many individuals my age or older that can’t chew gum and walk at the same time.

Oh, they try to say their lack of progress in life is the fault of this person or that circumstance but I know it’s really because they like the attention they get, good or bad and/or they just don’t want to try harder. Some blame their parents, their boss, their teachers but once you hit a certain age that blame turns stale when nothing has been done to change the equation.

Why try when enablers abound and “help” can be extracted from even the most unwilling helpers simply because it’s easier to just fix other people’s screw-ups than to teach them how to be more detail oriented and self-sufficient. Even the best teachers can’t reach the willful woe-is-me crowd.

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-learned-helplessness-2795326

We live in times where adult children still live at home with their parents (nothing wrong with this IF they help out and pay rent). Or, they live on their own but still can’t function in the adult world without constant supervision and intervention. How has this happened? Is it because we want to just give up and blame depression, anxiety, lack of opportunity or personal resources?

The world is just against me!

No, it isn’t. It is YOU working against yourself, not the world. Also, please! You aren’t THAT special!

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/learned-helplessness-seligman-theory-depression-cure/

Life is frustrating for sure. I experienced the disappointment, embarrassment, and fear when I was younger and literally didn’t have a pot to piss in. Hear this…you aren’ t the only one that has had this happen to them. You aren’t the first nor the last and in each case, the sun still set and came up again the next day.

Reset. Restart. Resolve to do better than you did the day before because if what you have been doing thus far isn’t helping do something different.

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/how-to-overcome-your-feelings-of-hopelessness/all

You are not a robot. You are not programmed to only function a certain way. And, no one can do this for you. Enablers aren’t helpers, they are hurting and expecting people to clean up all of your messes is inconsiderate, lazy and self-limiting.

So, here’s the point: Choosing to be helpless when you are fully capable of doing all the same things every other responsible, overworked, stressed, depressed, anxious person in the world has completed for eons is on you. Own it and choose to do better.

The world owes you nothing but dammit, YOU owe yourself the opportunity to see how good it feels to be reliant on no one but yourself for success and happiness.

Go get yours!

© 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.

Say hello to a new day!

Let’s forgo the “new year, new me” bullshit shall we? Granted, it IS a new year but odds are the same old you is dragging ass into 2019 just like in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and so on. How about we acknowledge that people don’t change overnight, it takes hard work and with each new day the potential to screw up yet again exists.

Work on avoiding screw-ups on a day to day basis.

Dear Diary,

Today, I didn’t fuck anything up. I got up, I smiled at myself in the mirror, I attended to my responsibilities and even had time left over for fun! It was a good day. Here’s to hoping tomorrow is even better. But, if it isn’t and it’s only the same…that’s still a win. I’m alive.

Being grateful to continue breathing air and being allowed to walk amongst all the other world’s inhabitants is so simple, yet many overlook this as they plod about doing the things they think are important. Are those things truly important or are they just busy work done with the express purpose of distracting ourselves from what a life well lived is really all about?

How well do you live? Are you grateful for the supportive people around you? Do you tell them how much they mean to you and how much joy they create? Appreciation only pondered within the mind yet left unspoken is wasted energy and entirely unfair to the person that may need to hear those words.

WORDS…to think but not say…why even bother? To me, if energy is exerted in order to formulate thoughts that then flow into meaningful poetic emotion why, why, why let that creation park in your brain only? Take it for a ride. Drive those words to the intended recipient’s house, pull up in grand style and honk that horn of exaltation and admiration because it might be so vitally needed! You have no way of knowing otherwise so why chance it?

Life is a matter of choices. Some good, some bad and some left to rot in the closet never to be attempted, for fear of being what? Embarrassed? Rejected? WHAT? And, does it really matter if you are embarrassed or rejected? Next! Last I checked no one has ever died of embarrassment but they have died of neglect, depression spurred suicide and even a broken heart.

Yes, you can die of a broken heart! Look it up. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-08/heartbreak-syndrome-and-takotsubo-are-real-for-heart-disease/9523662

And so, here we are, a different year has begun and an opportunity to decide if we want to continue dragging around all the same baggage from previous years. The burden is getting heavy, isn’t it? Can you at least ask yourself if letting go of maybe a quarter of that might feel good? How about half now? Work your way up.

We have time…as long as you acknowledge each new day is an opportunity to change and actually take some small steps. Baby steps count too. You didn’t get in the dark well of despair you are currently in overnight so don’t worry about sprinting out of the blocks each new day.

Now wave at the sky, say hello to the sun, say thank you to the moon even, anything that remotely sounds like gratitude will help the cause. YOU are the cause. Get it? Charity starts at home. Be kind to yourself.

Peace, love, and understanding,

Reverie

Whose Grudge is it Anyway?

Have you ever gotten stuck in the middle of a drama trap and you had no idea how or why it started? You know I have! And, I am currently stuck in it for the entirety of the unforeseen future. It’s a soul-sucking loop of insanity that appears to have no end!

Now, in the middle of this battle, a fight that I didn’t start, comes the missive that I am STUBBORN. Yes, I know I can be but, in this case, I think I have a pretty good argument for why I should not concede. Does that make me the grudge holder or the grudge refuter? Not it!

Not my grudge, not my responsibility I say. But, does that mean that I won’t jump to help those who keep pulling me back into drama should they need it? I absolutely WILL help them and I have been trying desperately to make that clear. Got it? One has nothing to do with the other.

So, you may call me stubborn but am I stubborn because I refuse to let emotional bullies shit on me and my loved ones or is it because I refuse to roll over and accept responsibility for a conflict that I haven’t a clue about its true origins? Where does the desire to be THE BIGGER PERSON conflict with the need to protect ones immediate family from negative forces that have shown they cannot be trusted and most likely WILL do it again?

It conflicts right here I say.

And, even as I say that we can go back up two short paragraphs. Although I don’t trust the Grudge Family any further than I can throw them I would still save them from a burning building without hesitation. Because I’m not a dick and I do love my sisters and two of my misguided brothers. I can’t reserve a place in my heart for the brother that abused me or the parents that let him and then heaped their own shit-ton of abuse on me but…I do not wish any horrific tragedy on them. I just want them to stay in the past for good.

This is my line in the sand…don’t cross it!

God, what a confusing ball of contridictions family can be! Love them, hate them or hold them at arm’s length like you would a hissing cat. Do I apologize for another’s crimes in order to artificially piece back together the shame-filled family vase or stand my ground and maintain a steady footing in healthy reality? I love a good fictional tale but this one has an ending I can pretty much predict will not be enjoyable so I choose to not play and can only love from afar in hopes that reason finally breaks through.

https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/the-psychology-of-the-grudge

Why would any reasonable person accept responsibility for a one-sided, passive-aggressive argument fueled by assumption and paranoia anyway? When an irrational, hot-tempered blowtorch of, “Oh, you probably think I’m a bad parent!” is the first shot fired over a sinking boat’s bow a reasonable and RATIONAL person would tell that person to back up and try again. Nope, we don’t put words in anyone’s mouth here nor do we assume we know how anyone else thinks. Crazy making at its finest! No one wins when crazy is in charge.

The above passage may contain some of the words that launched this battle but, they aren’t the cause. That infection started many years before as just an annoying itch. And that itch fed on decades-long feelings of resentment, even abandonment maybe? I have no idea. We never had any REAL talks remember? Just scratching the surface; “How are you?” “I’m good.” “Let’s bitch about Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister.” Never once did I ever hear, “I really resent that you didn’t make an effort to hang out with me more when I was younger.” “You just left me here with THEM.”

https://chopra.com/articles/how-to-release-the-past-and-return-to-love

Is THAT what this is really about? I can only guess. The odds of getting a reasonable and honest answer are pretty slim so I won’t hold my breath. I would like to know though, it’s part of my curious nature, and I would also like to be part of helping work through that mess of feelings. I honestly would.

The main reason my life record is currently stuck and skipping over and over on this topic is that, maybe, I am using writing as a way to sort through my own emotions about this unpleasant chapter as well. Call that stubborn or call it emotional protection. Either way, if you, the creator of a grudge are reading this then maybe no one needs to apologize at all. Maybe we all just need to promise to do no further harm.

You may think that the vitriol you served up was justified but think about it from where I stand for a moment. Do you protect your immediate family? Yes? Without hesitation? Well, so do I. Simple as that. Now, it’s time to protect myself and as I am doing that I am also learning, growing and prioritizing my energies.

The amazing irony here is that it’s really hard to hear that it’s all on me to fix a problem that I never knew I had until a flurry of text temper tantrums and social media diarrhea proved otherwise. Cat’s out of the bag now, can’t hide that mangey disgusting thing anymore so either admit you own it like me or walk away.

The choice is yours.

© 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.