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.

As much as we’d like…there’s just no blocking out those who try our sanity forever.

Unfollow. Unfriend. Report. Block.

All of the above are temporary actions that fail to access deep into the core of what is truly wrong within any relationship, whether that be online or real time.

Last night I had a dream that I saw my sister sitting at a bar looking at me from across the room. She looked sad and was beckoning me to come and sit by her. My SO moved past me in the dream to talk to her and after a few moments came back and said, “You made the right decision.”

What does that mean? That I was correct in placing her outside my life for a while, like a time-out for unruly toddlers or that I was right to stop letting our angry interactions of the past impact my here and now? There are days and weeks that go by now where I don’t give her or any of my other ousted family members a thought. That once bothered me a lot. It doesn’t anymore.

My sister and I haven’t spoken in almost two years so to have that dream was both a little alarming but also, telling. The telling part is that this was an obvious signal pointing to a tale of misguided jealousy and misinformation spun out of control, nudging my subconscious to either defrag and reboot the experience or delete it all together.

By delete I mean forgive, let it go, move on or any other trite word people use to describe an action they should do and want to do but can’t because they are cowards deep down inside. I don’t consider myself a coward. Stubborn and opinionated? Yes, but when you get down to the brass tax I will weigh in and fight to the death in defense of what I hold to be true. Count on it.

All of this time has gone by and the things I formerly did as a kindness and duty no longer hold the same amount of meaning. You buy a birthday card, sit down and think of just the right words to say that might touch the person receiving it. You try to find out exactly what they might like, love or laugh at and you get it, cost is no concern. Except now, a lot of those steps are taken out of the equation because you know that the receiver doesn’t actually care and just seeing a package or envelope with your name on it will instantly make their eyes roll in derision.

It’s really the ultimate kindness to stop pushing your name or likeness in front of them I suppose. To stop forcing them to think of you when they don’t really want to. Or, is it? Sometimes I think that I could just forget about acknowledging certain milestones because my milestones of late have all gone unacknowledged. But, then I remember I am an Aquarius! We love a solid grudge but we also fight for justice and to fail to extend a thoughtful gesture, even to those who have wronged us, is blasphemy!

Back to this dream. What was it all about? Was it a sign that I should reach out or was it a sign that I’ve done enough and have earned the right to move on down the road, free of bitter entanglements and resentment? I think I might be there, standing at a fork in the road, one sign pointing back to the darkness I came from and the other directing me to go forward without looking back.

https://blog.rescuetime.com/burnout-syndrome-recovery/

I’m just fucking tired and caring takes time, energy and effort. I don’t have it in me anymore. The well filled with this sad saga is finally dry. So, which way would you go? Back to attend to the wounded or forward to protect your hard earned sanity and serenity? Personally, I prefer the light that clarity and release provides because the heavy darkness of strife and drama is unbearable anymore.

And now, to commemorate this epiphany I have unblocked the door to my social observation deck, as it were. Run free upon my fertile fields of pithy prose! I will try to rake up as many offensive thorns as possible but cannot make any guarantees. Tread carefully though, it has always been my experience that offense is only taken if the insult, joke, meme, fault and so on applies to the one taking it personally.

© 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.

To Agree or Not To Agree: What’s Your Position?

Quick! Everyone pick a side.

What?

Isn’t this how the world works now?

If you’re tired of being attacked for having an opposing view from family, friends, co-workers or random strangers online raise your hand. If you’ve unfriended, blocked or reported someone in any of the categories above, raise your hand again.

This reactionary, isolationist, gather-the-troops ideology seems to have increased over the past few years and while there may be MANY blame points people can point to for causation I’d like to focus on the initial “relationship” if I may.

Who are these people/groups that have fallen out of favor with you and why? If it’s merely an online group or someone you befriended via social media without the benefit of meeting face to face lower your hand. You have the right to disengage from virtual contacts anytime you like and for no expressed reason. Cool? Good.

Now, let’s talk about the people you have axed, banned, banished or otherwise forbidden to speak to you, either in real-time or virtually. Did you like them at one time in your life? Do you have a DNA or emotional connection to them? Did they make you laugh once? Did you talk about things you have in common and express joy over having them in your life? If the answer is YES…walk back 2 steps and ask yourself what is different now.

Did they not vote for your candidate? Did they express views that personally hurt your heart? Did they post sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic memes, articles or personal opinions online or espouse these sentiments verbally to you? If so, on the last sentiment, did you voice your thoughts on this either online or in person? How did that work out?

I know in my own case it “worked” out to where I no longer speak to my brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, parents and a few former high school friends. Some, because of rigid views posted online and a sadistic need to try to argue every point with me and others because of personal pain long ignored. Do I regret how things imploded? Yes. Could I have avoided all of it? Probably not because I have no control over the actions, ill-advised or not, of others.

Deleted phone numbers, returned mail, rejected friend requests, reported posts and profiles are all part of how we, as a society, relate to one another now. Tweet it, post it, meme it up every time someone insults, disagrees with or ignores us. YOU WILL HEAR MY POINT OF VIEW!!! I WILL ASSERT MY DOMINANCE BY PISSING ALL OVER YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE I AM RIGHT!!!

Nah, you’re just coming off as kinda nuts…

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/24/unfriend-unfollow-political-views-digital-dilemmas

Of course, these same people would never say the same things they post online to your face and most likely you also would not confront them in person but, fuming about it for days, weeks, months and years is somehow acceptable. Amazing huh?

Why is this a thing now? Why?

I recall a time when I liked people I met just because they took the time to talk to me. I liked them because they laughed at some of the same things I did, liked some of the same movies, books, food and we didn’t have time to compare politics, religion or socio-economic status. The only labels that mattered were FRIEND and FAMILY. I didn’t spend time worrying about those different from me because they were off living their own lives, laughing with their own friends and family like me and it was…OKAY!

Yes, I get that not everyone, different from me, had it all good at any particular point in history and I am not trying to be nostalgically “privileged.” I’m talking more generally here about what I knew because I cannot speak for anyone else. Spouting opinions just to create outrage was not something I considered nor something I actively sought to engage in.

Oh, how times have changed!

YOU are wrong! How could you believe that way? Why are you so ignorant, deluded, naive or any other assumption used to express displeasure with the knowledge that not everyone believes EXACTLY the way you do? Sounds ridiculous written out, doesn’t it?

It IS ridiculous. No one person is just like another person and to demand such is the grand height of arrogance. Get off your high horse, the poor thing needs a break! I don’t know how to fix this horrendous tear in the social fabric but I will try to change how I react to things I see posted online that I consider to be stupid, shortsighted, uneducated and reactionary. I will pause before I hit HIDE, BLOCK, REPORT.

This doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to be cool with racists, sexists, abusers, homophobes, xenophobes or other deliberate dividers. Odds are I will still boot you motherfuckers but as for everyone else? I will focus on the things I like/liked about you and will refuse to engage in purposeful fuckery designed to break my composer.

That’s a promise. Cross my heart. Please consider doing the same because the world needs a reset.

© 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.