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.

The Chiaroscuro in Us All

There resides within us all an inherent darkness and light. Good and evil, whichever shading you choose to assign each of our halves, waiting to be revealed. The wish to do no harm while destroying everything within reach simultaneously. It truly is quite the dilemma is it not?

With every passing year, every forgone lesson, every opportunity to elevate ourselves to a higher standard of existing we continually turn away from that desired space between dark and light. We attempt to call our inaction Grey, or Gray as some conclude it must be named and state that this moniker explains it all away. No need to step forward, no need to step back, we just stay in the middle and watch the world burn.

Chiaroscuro in art is simply the ability to document on paper, wood or canvas powerful contrasts between the world’s light and dark elements producing a bold creation for all to marvel and proclaim profound and realistic. Artists engage in this technique in order to achieve the visual presence of volume in three-dimensional objects and human representation and similar effects are found in cinematography and photography.

Life imitates art certainly and, it can also be said that art rightfully masquerades as humanity with its sharp edges, dark curves and unforgiving lighting. It illuminates the very soul of everyone within its grasp, sometimes favorably and other times harshly. It is truth just as we are truth standing in the gap between our own dark and light sides. Not one soul is either all good or all bad, they just allow one side of their human equation to win more than the other.

So, what if we choose to wipe away that vague grey void? What if we utilize both sides that make up the whole being? To combine the dark and the light to make one bold statement of who we really are once and for all? Is THAT not truth? Is that not the definition of reality after all?

We are neither good nor bad, we just ARE. The very realization of the fact that we are here without any concrete proof of beginning, despite what those who wish to deny their dark side say should be grounds for celebration! We are and will continue to be so until our light is extinguished into darkness making us once again…equal.

Yet, we fear, we smash down debate, we drown those who refuse to carry the mantle of shame in condemnation and judgment. How does denying the very essence of your humanity make any of us undeniably holy? Is there even such a thing as holy, pious and pure when the actions of those who work so hard to silence others beg to differ? We can’t all be one and not the other, especially when actively working to discredit, demoralize and dismantle the spirits of those who see both sides and embrace the chiaroscuro within. And, in doing so doesn’t this make us dark while, at the same time, pretending to be light? Such a manipulative, convoluted, dishonest quandary!

https://www.calmdownmind.com/dark-nature-and-light-nature-in-humans/

The point of this is not to enflame the religiously indoctrinated, that position is a personal choice just as it is a choice to enact an alternative stance. Art, much like life is a mixture of varying elements used to create a visual representation of feeling and being. We look at the sky and can see different shapes of clouds,the subtle shade gradients throughout our limited line of sight. We believe what we see and assign it a value yet, at the same time are told to also refrain from believing that which is presented to us as fact or science only because the presenter has a differing belief system and not because what they are saying isn’t actually true. How can this be so? Are we also not asked to believe in a higher power we cannot see or hear? If this is true for some then why not imagine for ALL the possibility that WE not HE or SHE are that higher power when we work together in harmony?

If we are asked to believe in ourselves at every turn in life, whether it be in school, at work or in our relationships with one another then why do we suddenly become weak, indecisive and in need of divine guidance whenever life gets hard? Wouldn’t it be lazy to just throw all of our problems onto an unseen caretaker in the sky and expect them to deal with our self-made burdens? Arrogant AND lazy in my estimation but still, it happens daily without regard to presentation.

We are the light and the dark within our own lives. We create our own chaos, our own worries, our own anger and jealousy. No one else does this for us and again, if that is so then shouldn’t we be the ones holding the paintbrush, feverously working to soften the edges of our darkness and highlighting the lightness so others may see the positive artwork we are making for and of ourselves? To recognize the power within is not blasphemy either, it is relief and it is freedom!

With all the words I have consciously streamed above I have no way of knowing for sure if any of it makes sense or if it just enrages those dedicated to being eternally offended. Either is fine. And, so it goes with the way of life; we make our choices, we paint them in either strong dramatic colors or faint wisps of hesitation. Both make a mark and both are okay. The artist has the power to change their creation at any point in time after all.

I simply choose to look at life from all angles rather than just from one side because in doing so I can truthfully wish to protect all while also doing no harm to any. I see your light, I see your dark and both share a place in this world. Recognition mixed with acceptance creates a different color all together and that color isn’t remotely grey.

© 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.

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

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

Don’t get all worried! I have no plans to go anywhere but…and this is a huge BUT…given all the familial drama of late, I have been thinking about things in terms of legacy.

What will my legacy be? What will my parent’s legacy be? What will my sibling’s legacy be?

Will they?

I got on a genealogy kick a few years back and took it up again a few months ago because, and I am being honest here, I wanted to find ANY good relatives. Anyone that shared decent, noble, even altruistic traits so I could hold them up as a model. I needed a searchlight, a way out of the darkness I found myself in and if I found redemption hiding in my family tree then even better!

For the past two days, I have been devouring episodes of the PBS show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and have been riveted by the stories of the families that were close and loving and, completely empathetic towards the subjects that had less than wonderful family histories. The whole experience, both internally and externally from watching this show makes me wonder daily if I really know anything at all about my family of origin. Who are my DNA cell mates?

My older sister has always been the Keeper of the Tree in our family and I have looked to her for guidance, hints, names, dates and so on so that I may conduct my own investigation. My goal is to find the kind side of this sniping, hatchet sharpening crew and I want to do this for both my own peace of mind and as a way to show my daughter that, no, we aren’t all bad!

Dutifully, I have kept every picture, email, and handwritten lineage chart given to me and have added information I gathered myself, things found from pursuing Newspapers.com. Previously, I wrote about my paternal grandfather’s rise and fall within his chosen field of law enforcement and my own brother’s stint in jail but now, I am really concerned about patterns.

Are there any other criminals in the family? Those caught as well as those still hiding? After detailing the physical and mental abuse inflicted upon me by my father and sexual abuse by a brother the answer to that question is an absolute YES, but, are there more?

https://www.familytreemagazine.com/premium/25-best-genealogy-websites-for-beginners/

God, I hope not! Let this shitty legacy die here! And so, I will begin a journey to not only find the path my ancestors traveled but will also seek to discover how I differ from or favor them.

Please, please, please let some writers, actors, or artists fall out the family tree because I’m getting tired of feeling like I’m the oddball. Surely we have more dreamers to counter the proven assholes and in the same token, hopefully, there is evidence that those who strayed from the high road found their way back.

Fingers crossed!!!

© 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.