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.

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.

Winning at all costs!

This is an open letter to all the WINNERS out there.

How’s that going for you? Do you feel morally fortified and emotionally cleansed yet? Have the heavens opened up to embrace your fervent world view as THE ONLY ONE, the absolute correct one and does your ill-treatment of anyone considered “outside” that myopic gaze ring up as justified yet?

Are you EXONERATED in the eyes of the evil masses and proclaimed the supreme WINNER, the #1 with the ultimate authority to exact retribution on those who refused to believe? If so, it is crystal clear now that happy times are not here to stay because they never arrived to begin with.

Winning isn’t always a happy event…

When one person wins another loses. And, it is in that very act of choosing how to behave when victorious that honor, benevolence, humility…whatever word you want to assign here so as not to appear the crowing, insecure, vindictive asshole, that a true leader is formed. I see none of that on display of late from either those who call themselves LEADERS or from those who dare to say they, too, are our partners here in this thing called the human race. We are just like you! But, only if you cheat, steal and lie faster than THOSE PEOPLE!

Well, they are content being around THEIR kind…not the kind that welcomes minorities, uppity women, suspicious foreigners, the accursed educated, those weary of the lies told by the conveniently Christian. Anyone that questions the validity of a sketchy world view, is in fact, demonized with constant deflection while the TRUE BELIEVERS (cult of personality and prosperity followers) are hailed as heroes. Especially when their shared, and highly skewed world view is based on the Grab Everything For Yourself And Fuck Everyone Else philosophy.

Sound about right?

Now, winning is only good and pure and holy if you are of a certain hue. Beige, pink, pale, chalk, light tan, maybe sun-kissed tan, but not too tan. And now, curiously, any shade of cowardly orange. To stand victorious while being any other shade will garner outrage, scorn, cries of deception, wails of HOW DARE THEY! Don’t say that’s inaccurate or try to cover it with the cheap tablecloth of any flimsy whataboutism rebutal or offer examples of “a few that slipped through” the wall of white.

Yes, more people than just white people win, it’s just that everyone else has to run twice as far to get to the finish line and even when they cross their victory is always suspect, forever and ever, amen. It’s a hard truth to accept and an even harder one to voice since I am part of that race but, it is true and it won’t become less true until more of us acknowledge it. A problem cannot be solved until it is acknowledged and once it is knowledge becomes true power.

And, by power I don’t mean the same old, worn out, rich, male, white boots on the backs of everyone else kind. I mean the knowledge of deeply understanding and recognizing the pain caused to our fellow humans, the knowledge of how to help heal the hearts of those who hate, the knowledge that minds can be changed, opinions reshaped and fear can be escorted out the door for good.

Also, if we are still being honest here, isn’t it the fear that we will be usurped, replaced, upended, dislodged or seen as unequal ourselves that continues to push the merry-go-round of misery many of us live on or perpetuate? Be honest. If everyone is allowed to win then who’s top dog? Who’s king, queen, ruler, emperor…superior?

I know the answer. You know the answer too.

In a world of true equals no one needs to be on top, standing on the accomplishments, the hard work, sweat labor or forced compliance of anyone else. We won’t need to because we will be too busy creating, producing, contributing and living life right next to them. We will be satisfied with our place in the world because it won’t depend on the suffering of others to exist. You will do your thing that makes a positive difference in the world, I will do my thing that carves safe passage for everyone around me and so on and so forth. See?

If only that could be true! But, its not and won’t be until the milquetoast of the world stop averting their eyes from reality in order to receive monetary, mental and social compensation for their continued silence on all matters not white. If it isn’t for the betterment of those white, male and rich, pay it no mind. Stay silent, stay behind the scenes, stay unwilling to get involved because, yeah, that will sure make a good character case for you on judgement day won’t it? I don’t believe in this set Day of Judgment thing because some people are pretty good at being judge, jury and executioner right here and right now but here’s a cute dialogue that just popped into my head below.

God (or whatever you believe or don’t): Why did you just stand by and let all of these horrible things happen to your fellow humans?

Milquetoast: I was told it wasn’t my problem so I shouldn’t get involved.

God: Okay, but didn’t you know you had the ability to affect change and that the best way to create that change was to simply use your voice to call out injustice as you saw it happening?

Milquetoast: But, but…the others would have yelled at me! They would have threatened me and tried to hurt me!

God: By others you mean those the same skin tone as you correct?

Milquetoast: Of course!

God: So, they would have treated you the same way they treated everyone else different from them? You didn’t speak up because you feared retribution or a similar harm that those you chose to ignore received?

Milquetoast: Yes. I have a God-given right to protect myself!

God: Come again? I gave you what now? Nope, not me. I’m not here to GIVE you anything. You are here to give to one another so when you take from others you, ironically, take from yourself. So…because of that there’s nothing left of you that’s good, kind or pure.

Milquetoast: WHAT! But, I’m white! That’s gotta count for something!

God: What part of love one another did you not understand?

Get it together people! We are dying a slow, painful death from utter stupidity and willful complacency. All is not well and no one group wins all the time…just wait. History is littered with the tales of winners turning into utter losers, like losing by death type losers. Was the hollow victory worth it for them? Maybe, in the moment, but when Oprah (or Chaucer or Mutual of Omaha) jumped out with a sharp Aha Moment sword everything became clear.

Don’t get Aha’d like that. It’s going to hurt.

Oh, and Google the Oprah/Chaucer/Mutual of Omaha obscure reference. I’m too tired to explain.

© 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.

The story of how. The story of why. The story of me.

Typically, I live by the Never Say Never principle but…here are some very critical exceptions:

Never apologize for being who you are.

Never allow someone else to write the story of your life.

Never allow people who continually say hurtful things about you to remain in your orbit.

No one knows the how and why of you…but you. Oh, people may insinuate that they KNOW you and get where you are coming from but unless they inhabit your head-space (if they do then call an exorcist immediately) they have absolutely no fucking idea what they are talking about. You are YOU and they are THEY. Never the twain shall meet.

Unless, of course you want to meet in the middle of the world divide. To come together and talk it out, learning from one another, benefiting from each others wisdom of ages, or compiled mistakes as it were. Whatever gets the job done. Whatever bonds or irrevocably breaks. It’s truly a crap shoot anymore.

Meeting people where they currently mentally and emotionally reside is a tricky proposition. Each day begins with new YOU’RE EITHER ONE OF US OR ONE OF THEM blasts, so much so that I take a hard look at people I was once acquainted with and realize I have grown to dislike what they’ve become. I wonder how I missed the vindictive, paranoid, insecure traits but, then I remember that I knew them as a child or a teenager. My experience of them was merely surface knowledge; I only saw the picture but did not read the book.

Now, in turning each page I recoil. How did such hate grown within the souls of these former pals, buddies, co-workers, classmates, lovers and family members even? The virus of misinformation, the infection or Stockholming, if you will, of people you once were quite fond of creates great pause and a suspicion that the signs were always there, you just missed them. The romanticized dream of the past is finally dead. There will be no resurrection.

Moving on is never easy but, flipping through social media rants, propaganda posts and bile-filled diatribes designed to throw barbs at anyone not in-line with the “party view” removes any guilt when formerly hesitant fingers finally hit the UNFRIEND, BLOCK and BAN buttons. It’s not the same as releasing a guillotine though, sometimes the head keeps talking, posting, tweeting. In those instances the best advice is to walk away with the certainty that those souls are irrevocably lost, forever doomed to wander the land of gaslight and chem-trail fed conspiracies. Khodahafez. Bedrood. Paka Paka. Adios and goodbye! Sigh of relief and close the door.

How did we get here? Many ask this without admitting they, in fact, do not really care. In my estimation I see it as someone pretending to be concerned about the current state of affairs while wringing their hands in calculating glee behind their backs at the chaos brewing outside. Oh, no! How did this happen? Here, drink this poison. It will make you feel better…well, it will make ME feel better. You? Not so much. Do I really care? {Fingers entwine behind back}…sure, sure I care. No, no they don’t.

So, in the spirit of the Never Say Never ballad, yes, believe in it in theory but, in practice…watch your back. Daggers can and will be thrown from all directions. Never forget that.

© 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.