Surviving Narcissism & Why Karma Won’t Work

There has been an odd influx of articles about Narcissism posted by friends of mine on Facebook over the past couple months. It seems dealing with these mentally ill monstrosities that pass themselves off as “normal” human beings is a lot more common than I thought. It’s good to know I am not alone. I find it empowering to know I have friends I can talk to about this who will know exactly where I’m coming from on the subject. I was lucky enough to escape a seven year relationship with a narcissist about five years ago. It derailed my trust in others for a while, but I’m happy to report the train is back on its track and I’m returning to the person I was before this madness all happened.

Wikipedia defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as “a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others.”

At they state, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet. … People with narcissistic personality disorder often display snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes. For example, an individual with this disorder may complain about a clumsy waiter’s “rudeness” or “stupidity” or conclude a medical evaluation with a condescending evaluation of the physician.”

Those are great definitions, but they really don’t come close to describing what it’s really like to be involved in a relationship with someone who has NPD. Truth of the matter is, you’re likely not going to know until it’s too late. I had no idea there was such a thing as NPD until after I was out of the relationship. The first time I read about it I was stunned. Why had I never heard of this before? The stories and descriptions I read fit the man I’d been with all those years perfectly! It helped me finally get answers to the questions I’d been asking since it all came crumbling down, why? Why had this happened? Why had he done this? Were all the things he told me about how he felt and the things he did that appeared to be founded in love a lie? Did he ever really love me? How can someone be so cruel, heartless, and unfeeling? Had I done something wrong?

No, I had done absolutely nothing wrong. Yes, every word he said and every deed he performed to convince me he loved me was fake; a lie, to get what he wanted out of the relationship. He wanted the control. He wanted to be the one to decide what was what. When things didn’t go his way, it was everyone’s fault but his own. He was full of rage towards anyone that did not agree with his philosophy. He was right. Everyone else was wrong. The only time he was happy was when he could prove himself right or could use his intelligence to manipulate people into agreeing with him. Oh, yes, he is a very intelligent man. Make no mistake about it. Most narcissists are very smart people. They know exactly what they are doing – they just don’t care who it hurts in the process. They are incapable of empathy.

My anger and confusion has dwindled over the past five years, but I’d be lying to say I didn’t wish all sorts of nastiness to befall this man. I prayed Karma would kick his sorry ass to the curb more than I care to admit. I hoped he’d suffer the pain he’d dished out to me, my family, and Lord knows how many others. I know, we aren’t supposed to pray or wish for bad things like that, but damn it – I’m guilty as charged, but I doubt that Karma is going to do any such thing and here’s why.

Lady With A Truck recently posted an article on her blog about this very topic called, “Law Of Attraction and Why The Narcissist Seems Immune to Karma”. It makes a whole lot of sense to me. In a nutshell, Karma doesn’t work on a Narcissist because they have no sense of doing anything wrong. It’s believed that Karma and the Law of Attraction works based on some sort of ‘vibration’ level. The more positive the feeling, the higher the vibration and the more positive the Karma. Things like love, joy, peace and gratitude give off high vibes. Shame, guilt, fear, and anger give off low vibes. If that’s the case then how does that nasty, manipulative narcissist escape Karmic retribution when their whole life is devoted to hurting others for their own gain and that they don’t even feel love, joy, peace, or gratitude?

To quote from Lady With A Truck’s blog,”…the narcissist does not believe he is bad, he feels justified in the things he does, he does not fear anyone, nor is he ashamed, or feel guilty and even his anger he blames on someone else. The law of attraction doesn’t know if what it is attracted to is a lie or not, it responds to the vibrational level of the person. If that person is sick and has a distorted view of their value whether that distortion is good or bad, they will attract the vibration they send out to the world.”

What about love? Again, Lady With A Truck seems to have stumbled upon a theory that makes a whole lot of sense. She writes, “The narcissist’s brain is wired differently than a normal person so when he meets a new victim his brain releases the same chemicals our brains do when we meet someone who we think we could love, only he is excited because he sees a source of things he wants. He acts much like a person in love, but what he is drawn to is the prospect of being able to suck in another prey and bleed them dry. It is intoxicating to the narcissist much like love is intoxicating to a normal person.”

I really think she is on to something here, unless you go with the idea that Karma is set into action by a Higher Intelligent Being (aka God). Surely, a benevolent, All-Knowing God would be able to tell the difference between real love and false love, right? Maybe it’s a combination of the two. I don’t know. I’d still like to believe those who have NPD will be paid back somehow.

On the positive side, you can chose, as I did, to not be the victim once you realize what’s going on. During the period between this realization that I was with a very, very not-nice-at-all-person and the time he moved out, I treated him as if he were completely invisible. I did not speak to him or acknowledge his presence or existence unless absolutely necessary. It was a very uncomfortable few weeks. He got nothing from me. I put up the biggest, thickest emotional wall I could between the two of us. I admit, I smiled when I saw his pathetic post on Facebook during this time, “I think I know what if feels like to be a ghost.”

After he left, if he emailed me about things he’d left behind, he got the shortest possibly response. The freedom and joy I felt with his departure was intoxicating!! That is not to say I wasn’t emotionally hurt. My trust in others was shattered. It’s been almost five years now and I am happy to report that trust is coming back into my life slowly but surely. The wall is crumbling. I have a wonderful life filled with love, joy, and appreciation.

My hatred and rage has turned to pity. I feel sorry for that man. He’ll never know what REAL love and happiness feels like, ever. As for Karma and the Laws of Attraction, I have faith he will be rewarded in due time. When, by who or what or how it happens isn’t my concern. Enough of my time and negative energy was wasted on that man already. I have way too many positive, high vibes to share and enjoy with others and the universe. I intend to enjoy and appreciate every minute.

PS – I wrote this article five months ago. Recently I learned that Karma had indeed found him and struck with its mighty Karmic Hammer in the best way possible. So, maybe Lady With A Truck’s theory is wrong after all. I know I got my closure on the matter.

Digging Up The Uglies

I’ve been going through a “Digging through boxes and chucking out a lot of things” Phase the past month. Feels good to get rid of things that have no meaning to me anymore. One item was of particular interest and I am unable to discard it.

A good many years ago I got the notion to write a journal in 3rd person. It was an experiment to see just how long I could do it before slipping back into 1st. I managed to keep it going for 2 years, but that’s not the kicker.

The interesting, and repugnant, part of all this is how shallow and self-absorbed I apparently was at this point in my life. I was truly horrified when I read through this journal again after all this time. For the two years this one book covers, there is almost NO mention of my children, my husband, my friends or my family. Holidays and birthdays are almost totally ignored. At best, “It’s so-n-so’s birthday today” and that’s it, before diving back into Its All About My Wants & Needs & Misery. GAWD! I’d love to toss this book into a huge bonfire, but that would defeat the purpose of conveying who I was and how far I’ve come since then.

That journal is part of my journey through this thing we call life and as disgusting as I find it now to look at and read, I feel it would do a disservice to the other paths I’ve walked were I to destroy the record of those events. Clearly, I was not happy at that time. I was directionless. I was searching for something and didn’t really even know what that something was. I moved from one experience to the next hoping that maybe this new interest would hold my attention and make me happy. None of them did.

It’s interesting that I chose the 3rd person for those two years, too. In a way it detached me from what was going on. Those things weren’t happening to me, myself and I. They were happening to someone who just happened to have the same first name as me. She did this or that. She sat and cried. She was the frustrated and angry one. It wasn’t me. I didn’t want it to be me. I hope it’s never me again.

I also remember an old friend actually telling me how self-absorbed I sometimes came across. Thinking on it, I realize that this was during the same time period as when the 3rd Person Journal was being kept. I was shocked when he told me what he did. Me? Self-absorbed? WHAT?! I have never pictured myself like that, ever – – – until now, when I looked back at that journal and realize he was absolutely right.

Each time I’ve started a new journal, I’ve considered doing this exercise again. Now that I’ve gone back and read what I wrote during the first experiment, I’m not so sure I want to. Then again, it might prove beneficial to see what difference so many years can make. Would it come across like the old journal does or would it reflect more from the world and people around me? I’d like to think that latter!

If it were not for the hard lessons I learned during those years, I’d be completely ashamed of all that was expressed during those two years. The fact that I’m horrified at the whole things says a lot. It has made me much more aware of what I share in my personal writings. I want to be remembered with honesty, as being 100% truthful about my life, its events and ALL the people in it that have made me a better, less selfish individual.

You have to see the ugly in order to appreciate beauty. I have certainly seen the ugliness that I was. I hope that from those days forward the beauty I strive to be on the inside becomes more and more visible with each passing year.

5 Ways To Survive Seasonal Widowhood

I’m the last person I’d expect to be writing about this particular topic, but there I was, typing away, checking my facts, looking up certain terminology of which I am otherwise ignorant.  Not ten feet away the television droned. The images, voices and sounds mostly ignored. When I’m into what I’m writing the rest of the world melts away.

And now it’s time to share it here; my December article for The Good Men Project.

Nanu, Mr. Williams. Nanu.

Johnathon Winters is quoted as saying, “You’ve got to be an observer. And you’ve got to take time to listen to people, talk, to watch what they do.” As a kid, I really liked Mr. Winters. My parents had this old vinyl album called “The Very Best of Johnathon Winters” that I listened to countless times. In fact, that record is still in my collection. I loved his stories and the way he did all the voices for his characters. In retrospect, I wonder if that is why I always did that for my kids whenever I read to them. It seems the most natural thing to do, doesn’t it? I think so anyway. Winters made me laugh, a lot.

Though I certainly played with Barbie’s and baby dolls, my most favorite playthings were puppets. My best friend Sherry and I had a vast collection of puppets. Pink rabbits, purple frogs, a hippy, a white cat and an old hound dog that, ironically, our black lab, Amos, dragged home one day, just to name a few. No, we didn’t put on too many puppet shows. We were more sophisticated than that. My Barbie Townhouse became an apartment building along with a small bookshelf tucked behind my dad’s recliner. Sherry created 312 Seymour Drive in the corner of her dad’s home office. Our puppets met, fell in love, married, had children and we even had a funeral for one of them. Every puppet had its own voice. Those are some of my favorite memories of childhood.

In 1978 a new television show came on the air called “Mork and Mindy”. By then I was nearly thirteen years old and have left the puppets behind me, but by no means the myriad of character voices. I could recite the “Wizard of Oz” nearly by heart, voices, songs and all. I was a goofy kid or so I was labeled by my Aunt Brenda. You’ll get no argument from me. A goofy kid is a happy kid and there are only a scant few unhappy moments I can recall from my childhood. I was, am, truly blessed. With the arrival of “Mork and Mindy” in my life, it made it alright for me to be goofy. My outburst of randomness and over dramatized voices were so much like Robin Williams’s character of Mork, it helped me to settle more into my own skin and be who I really was. You can but imagine how enraptured I was when Johnathon Winters appeared on “Mork and Mindy”! Two of my favorites! Winters and Williams were made for each other and I sucked it up like the sponge I was. All the voices that lived in their heads were tossed out there for all the world to see and hear.

Partially through them and because of my love of storytelling, I began to observe people and their characters. I started looking at people and wondering how I could recreate them into a workable persona for a story. I am perfectly content to sit and people watch. For all the enjoyment I got, and still get, out of bursting into random voices, I am in general a very quiet person. I’ve been known to sit and take notes on people I watch. Bits and pieces of conversations I’ve eavesdropped on have been incorporated into story dialog.

There are very few celebrities out there that I care enough about to take note of their deaths. I may think, “Oh, gee, that’s too bad,” one minute and be going on with my life without a second thought of it the next. I can name the ones I’ve cried over on one hand; John Denver, Roddy McDowall, Johnathon Winters and now, most recently, Robin Williams. Roddy McDowall was probably the hardest. You might say John Denver taught me to sing as I have a very clear memory of singing “Country Roads” to a group of my grandmother’s church lady friends when I was about seven years old. I thought Roddy McDowall was the cutest guy in the world and would watch anything and everything he was in. He’s also the only celebrity I ever wrote to asking for an autograph. He graciously obliged and that signed picture is one of my prized possessions to this day. Winters and Williams showed me it was alright to be goofy.

Some people have heroes. I don’t know as I’d call any of those guys heroes, but I did admire them all on deeply personal levels at some point in my life. Part of them became part of me over the years even if I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I admit I have cried over the death of Robin Williams mostly because of my memories and how I could so easily relate to Mork; an alien, someone from the outside looking in, someone trying to be like everyone else, to fit in and at the same time, helpless against their inner nature that every now and then BURSTS out into the open.

Mork was an observer. Mork was sent to listen to people, talk to them, watch what they did and report it back to Orson at the end of each show. We will likely never know the thoughts that were running through Robin’s head in those final minutes, as we did when he spoke to Orson. I don’t really want to. It’s bad enough I now have this all too graphic image in my head of his death. I hope he found peace. I hope he’s found a place where his laughter no longer masks the pain. And I hope we, his fans, can remember the way he lived and the laughter he brought to billions, instead of the tragic ending he brought to his own brilliant, loving and tender mind.

I think Mork himself said it best at the end of one episode of “Mork and Mindy.”

Orson: What did you do this week, Mork?

Mork: Well, sir, this week a made a friend.

Orson: If you made a friend, why are you so sad?

Mork: Well, you see, sir, I lost him.

Orson: Can’t you make another?

Mork: No, sir. Well, I could but I haven’t got the heart for it.

Orson: What do you mean?

Mork: Well, sir, you know when you create someone and you nurture them, they grow. Well, there comes a time when they have to live their own life, or die their own death.

Orson: And now your friend is gone forever?

Mork: Oh, no, sir, no. I’ll always keep him right here. *touches his heart* Until next week, sir. Nanu.


Nanu, Mr. Williams. Nanu.

She’s Not The Nanny, She’s My Sister.

I had no idea I had something so unique in common with Fran Drescher. Or, maybe, in this day and age it’s not so unique as I once thought it was.

I was watching ‘Oprah, Where Are They Now?’ a little while ago and Fran was her guest. I was shocked when I learned that Fran had once been married to a man who came out first, as bi-sexual, and then as gay a short time later. Not only that, but when Oprah asked her about their current relationship compared to their married life, Fran pretty much echoed what I had thought and continue to think to this day.

Fran stated she and her husband had a very active and satisfying sex life. I can relate to that. My ex and I had great sex and were very happily married. We have two wonderful kids. I must have been doing something right, huh? I can’t pinpoint any precise moment or event and I can’t say, because I don’t know, what inspired my ex to step out of the closet. I just know that one day all was right with the world and the next, everything had changed – sort of.

There was one thing that has not changed though we’ve been apart for ten years and divorced for three. We still love, respect and emotionally support each other enormously! I must confess that there was a period of time that I felt very hurt and lied to. How could he NOT tell me? I was very angry for much longer than I cared to admit to anyone, even myself. It wasn’t like we’d never talked about our previous relationships. He had simply omitted a few key details. But, I loved him then as I do now. I wanted a life with him and our kids. Considering the nature of the world and its less than accepting qualities for people who are bi, gay or transgendered, what he did made perfect sense. He wanted a wife and children. He wanted to be ‘normal’. He wanted to be loved and accepted by his own family.

As the years went by and we worked together to keep our marriage and family intact, with some slight variations on things, it slowly became clear it simply was not working as we hoped. We still loved each other, but it took a lot for us to admit to each other and ourselves, that neither of us was really happy with the current arrangement. We had been sleeping in separate bedrooms for a while by then, making up once excuse or another to family and friends, including the kids. Living together and living this lie day in and day out, had become exhausting. As much as it hurt, we knew continuing this lifestyle was doing more harm than good to the friendship we still both desperately wanted to keep.

Eventually it came to pass that he moved out and got a house about ten miles away. As he was just outside the school system the kids attended, they lived with me and went to visit him as often as they liked. The rest is pretty much your standard story of separation. I still had bouts of anger. I still felt cheated of the fairy tale life I thought I was getting on our wedding day. I still cried into my beer and over spilt milk. And though every shadow of hope that I’d once had that we could make it work had been obliterated by the bright light of truth, I still loved him. And, I knew he still loved me.

We still faced life together. If there was a problem with the kids, we dealt with it as a couple. We went to school functions as a family. We spent Christmas mornings together as his place, as a family. When our son went off to college, we all went together to see him off. It was never a burden to work or be together because despite our differences, we had vowed to each other to be there for our kids and to both be parents to those kids. No one was to ever feel like a single parent, ever! We owed our kids that. And, in some odd way we have maintained our marriage vows to always continue to love and honor each other as people, to be there for each other, for better for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. It took living apart to grow together as friends. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a lot more important than staying married for the sake of appearances.

My ex-husband is truly one of my dearest and best friends in the whole world. I feel like one of the most blessed people in the world and one of the luckiest, too. We may not have beat the divorced statistics, but I believe we have beat the odds in another way that is far more important. We entered the marriage with love. We left the marriage with love. Because of that, we’ve both been able to continue our lives in ways that have brought us greater happiness and a truer, deeper understanding of what it means to love someone unconditionally.

It was a very hard life lesson. I’ve since left the hurt and anger behind me. In doing so, I’ve been able to embrace completely the new and wonderful life (and man) I now have and to accept people much more easily for who they are. If your heart is full of love and acceptance, there just isn’t any room for hatred and bigotry.

As for Fran Drescher, she’s no longer The Nanny. She’s now become a kindred spirit and an emotional sister. How cool is that?

Surviving A Panic Attack

Very few people know this about me but during a particularly stressful period in my life I was prone to panic attacks. They always happened late at night. Sometimes I would wake up with one. Sometimes I’d be trying to get to sleep and would be stricken. If you’ve never had one, you can’t really imagine the full body dread that comes with an attack.

In my case the first sign would be the feeling of ice cold water being poured over my head. Imagine you’re taking a nice, hot pleasant shower when someone decides to run some hot water in the kitchen. It’s that moment when the cold water hits the top of your head and drains down through your hair and covers your helpless, naked body. You can’t move. You can’t breathe. Your heart skips a beat.

Except during the panic attack, you simply can’t go back to breathing. The water doesn’t warm back up once your housemate shuts the water off again. No, sir.  No breath seems deep enough. As for that skipping heart, it just keeps on racing and no matter what you do you can’t convince yourself you are not about to keel over dead that very second.

Then the pacing starts, the nervous restless leg type movements. I remember one night walking back and forth from the living room to the kitchen over and over and over again. You ARE going to die, of course. It’s just a matter of minutes. Your brain is going to explode from an aneurism or your heart that’s beating so fast right now is just going to stop or you’re going to suffocate. Take a deep breath. Take two. Try three. Pace, pace, pace.  Where minutes ago you were freezing and unable to breath, now you’re sweating and hyperventilating. Should I call 9-1-1? Should I wake someone else in the house?  And these are only the physical symptoms!

Absolute, terrifying dread and feeling like you aren’t even really there anymore. This has got to be a dream. It’s not real. I’m not having a mental breakdown. Am I? I think I am. I’m going to die. I have to get out of here, run, run, run. Escape.  These rooms are so small, I can’t breathe in here. Stop, just stop. Relax. Take a deep breath. Maybe if I went outside. Focus. Stop pacing. Try and make your hands stop shaking.  And so it goes on and on for what seems like hours when it’s really only been ten or fifteen minutes since you first felt that icy wash of fear.

Slowly, oh so agonizingly slowly, the deep breath you take actually feels deep enough. Your heart rate eases. Your head stops swimming. The panic is subsiding. Maybe you aren’t going to bite the big one tonight. You stop pacing and sweating and shuddering and rocking. The shower warms up again and you can relax. Yawn. Go back to bed. Sleep. Unfortunately, once you’ve been subjected to one of these lovely episodes, somewhere in your brain you always fear another one coming.

I’m happy to say I’ve been panic attack free for at least three years now, probably closer to five.  After the first one when I was clueless as to what was really going on, I was able to rein the whole thing in by using meditation techniques I’d learned years before. It didn’t make the onsets any easier or less sudden but it did help to make the episodes less intense and of a shorter duration. Deep breathing exercises and finding an inner focus did wonders.  Instead of an hour of panic, it would only last fifteen minutes. If I was already awake when it started, chances were good I could squash the whole thing before the cold water shower even made it past my waist. And, thankfully, the stress in my life is running a lot let violently and deeply. That, more than any of my coping mechanisms, is what I believe has removed the panic attacks into a distant, horrible memory instead of a constant waking fear of when the next one will strike.

My Favorite Techniques:

Rip It To Shreds: Keep some scraps of cheap, thin fabric nearby, like cotton hankies, an old pillow case or bed sheet cut down to 2 foot X 2 foot squares, handy. With scissors, snip like cuts into the edges to get the fabric ready and easy to tear. Paper works too and would do in a pinch, but for me was not as effective. The long, pulling sound of a fabric took my hands and arms away from their urge to shake while still letting my muscles flex and release like they wanted to. The difference being, YOU are in control of it, not your panic-stricken body.

5-7-8 Breathing:  This was/is my first step at getting back in control. Breath in (I know – at first it won’t feel like you can, but do the best you can in the moment) as deep as you can for a count of five. Hold the breath for the seven count. Exhale completely to the count of eight. This will help to slow your rapid heartbeat and get more oxygen to your panic-stricken brain.

Focus and Visualize:  Even if you’re pacing a rut in the floor, try and visualize not where you are but where you’d like most to be. Maybe it’s a place. Maybe it’s in the arms of someone you love. Whatever it is, go there in your mind. Picture it as detailed as you can and breathe, 5-7-8. 5-7-8.

I don’t know why I’ve chosen now to share this with the world. Maybe there is someone out there who needs to hear these words from me, someone whose life if stuffed to the gills with doubt, fears, hopelessness and self-hate. Maybe you are the sort of person that stresses more than average over the encroaching holidays. Whatever the reason remember, you will get through it! Don’t Panic! (LOL).  Don’t be ashamed to see a doctor. The symptoms of a panic attack are VERY much like a heart attack. Better to be safe than sorry.

Pass The Toilet Paper, Please.

They say the secret to living a happy life is surrounding yourself with the people and things that bring you joy. That’s not always as easy as it sounds and along the way you’re likely to lose a lot of people you once called ‘friend’.  We all know it only feels good when you are the one doing the dumping. Being the Dumper is so much more liberating than being the Dumpee.

As Dumper, I’ve known the reasons behind me decisions to rid someone or something from my life. If the Dump involved a person, I’ve tried to have the courtesy to explain to that person why. They may not have understood or agreed with my reasons but I have a clear conscience that I did my best to give them answers. As Dumpee I’ve not been so fortunate. There are a lot of unanswered questions in my mind about the reasons things went the way they did in some of my relationships. Learning to live with those questions hasn’t always been easy and in at least one case, I am still very confused about the whys. 

Maybe those involved feel that knowing the truth would hurt a whole lot more than having so many questions hanging in the air. Maybe they are ashamed of their reasons for dumping me. Maybe they simply don’t care. That’s what hurts the most, that and having it all happen so quickly and out of the blue.  You’re best buds for years and years then suddenly BAM! they won’t even speak to you or answer an email. They are just gone. If there had been the tiniest of red flags that things were in jeopardy, maybe there could be some sort of understanding but there wasn’t. It simply ended.

I’ve done some scrying in my day, read a few Tarot cards and rune stones but I’ll be damned if I’m a mind reader and I’m trying very hard not to assume what other people think because chances are pretty high I’d be wrong.  Yeah, being the Dumpee really sucks.

On the other hand, I try to imagine their reasons and see it as them letting go of something that no longer brought them any joy. I hate to think I have brought someone such misery as they’d quit speaking to me but maybe I have.  I want my friends to be happy even if in a couple of cases I’m not convinced these people have a clue what that means.  

All this hasn’t prevented me from being happy. These past couple years have been some of the happiest ones of my life. If not being able to share that happiness with a person or two is the price I have to pay, then it’s worth it. I am surrounding myself with the people and things that bring me joy and I will continue to do so even if it means I am the Dumper or the Dumpee.  I can’t be part of everyone’s life no matter how much of a shared history we may have. I do miss those people and the idea of growing old with them in some capacity. But, life is too short to dwell on what was and has been lost. I sincerely hope that those that have dumped me are doing the same thing – following and finding their bliss.  

In the end, the best thing to do for yourselves is use that little extra bit of TP you have, give your hands a good hard scrubbing and leave the bathroom and the waste behind. If you really needed that poo in your life it wouldn’t have left you, would it?

The Secret To Life Is…

There’s a hash-tag thingy over on Twitter: #TheSecretToLifeIs I added my two cents to which I will tell you my contribution to at the end of this post.

My good friend Lily came over this past Saturday. I don’t get to see her and her husband Pete as much as I’d like. They are one of my most favorite couples. Of all the people I’ve known for more than twenty years, Lily is the one friend that I actually see the most. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t have Facebook. We can’t stay caught up on each other that way. It’s truly a blessing in disguise. We get REAL face time, sitting at the kitchen table noshing on homemade salsa & guacamole with chips and hot tea. It’s always ALWAYS a pleasure to spend time with her. Pity it only happens a few times a year.

We talk about a lot of things, Lily and I – pets, politics, religion, hobbies, work, family and etc. The topic of belief came up this time around. We share a very common belief system, it seems. That’s cool. I don’t find a lot of people that seem to get “God” along the same lines as I do. I’ve truly run the gammut when it comes to religion. I’ve been a Born Again Christian & a Satanist. I’ve been a Pagan & Agnostic. Today I classify myself as Gnostic which would take reams to explain so I will  merely suggest you take a gander over on that link to save me a whole lot of typing time & space.

When I was Christian – boy howdy was I ever Christian – I spent a lot of time wearing crosses and praying in churches and reading the Bible and singing worship songs. When I think back on those times I find it really hard to remember actually BELIEVING in what I was doing. I suppose I must have but somewhere in there I never had that JOY I’d heard so much about. I think deep inside though I simply felt those things: the crosses, the prayer, the Scripture – were just that… things. Maybe I was too young & inexperienced in life to grasp it all.

Let’s make it clear that the Satanic portion of my spiritual journey was very short lived. It was damn scary. You really don’t want t go there kids. ‘Nuff said.

I entered my Pagan path after that. I’d always been fascinated by witches and the like. I did my High School term paper on the different theories behind what had happened at Salem. I’m even a descendant of Rebecca Nurse. She’s like my 7th great grand aunt or some such thing. Yeah, the blood is thin but hey, it’s still fun to be related! I looked into Wicca and other variations of Paganism. None of them truly fit me so I ended up making my own version. It felt right at the time – sorta. But as with the Christian thing and the Satanic thing – this square peg never fit into that round hole. I couldn’t believe in the “power of crystals’ or any of that other stuff. To me the crystal was just a crystal. It didn’t contain any of its own powers but MAYBE it could be used as a focal point for a person’s own energies – much like the Crucifix I used to wear. Like in so many vampire movies, ya know? You have to BELIEVE in the cross for it to work against the Prince of Darkness.

I resigned myself to being a hermit as far as religion was concerned. Little did I know that even that was leading me somewhere else. I may not be seeing it by its technical origins but the word “Hermit” makes me think of “Hermetic” and/or “Hermes.” A few years ago a friend of mine asked if I’d heard of Hermes Trismegistus. I had to admit ignorance. He’d not really say a whole lot about it just told me to few books I might find interesting to look at. Being the research junkie I am and a big fan of the cross referencing of world theologies, I dove right in. And my keen interest in Gnosticism was born.

In as small a nutshell as I can explain we must go back to the beginning of my post and the Secret of Life. Remember the movie ‘Dumbo’ where he had that little feather held so tightly in his trunk? He believed that only while he held that feather, he’d be able to fly. Turned out that wasn’t the case. You don’t need the Feather. You don’t need that Cross, candle or statue. You don’t need that crystal or pentacle. They are just things of the material world. All you need to find and be with God is right there inside you. That is what Gnosticism has taught me.

And so… The Secret To Life Is You Don’t Need That Feather To Fly.

Head Space For Rent

Been wracking my brain all day about what to put into this weeks Blargh. As I was skimming through Facebook I saw a post by Danielle Colby (from American Pickers) and one of the bits of wisdom she had to offer struck me as noteworthy.

She wrote:  “Be careful who you decide to rent space in your head to, that’s prime real estate! Important beautiful things could be dwelling in that space where you are allowing darkness and hate to squat.”

In the past few years I have kicked out a few of my head space rentals as in people I thought were my friends, people I thought cared about me as much as I did them, people I deeply and truly trusted with a part of my Self. Finding out how little I meant to them after so many years has left a very deep and lasting scar on my soul. When I love, I don’t love half way. I don’t make half promises. I don’t lie about my feelings. Foolish, I suppose, for me to believe everyone else does the same thing for clearly they don’t.

Sadly, this has made me very gun shy about making new friends and getting involved in new relationships of any kind – be those romantic or platonic. I have accepted that in all the previous cases of relationships gone bad, I will never understand why these people did and do what they do. I am still working on letting that all go, still working on getting the ghosts of these things out of that rental space in my head and filling those rooms with new and positive people, experiences, ideas and dreams. There are moments when I have sudden and overwhelming feelings of insecurity about myself and my worth to others. When you have been used and abused (on both a mental and sexual level) it makes you look at everyone and everything in a way that someone who has not survived that situation will never understand.

Logically, I know I am worthy and lovable and a good person. I know I probably tolerate the inconsiderate behavior of others more than I should simply because I don’t want to be rejected. Feeling unwanted and unappreciated still take up way too big of an apartment in my head. The tiniest gestures of kindness and love go a long way with me, maybe they go too far. I don’t know. Maybe my wants and needs are too simple.

Back to those I have kicked out – more or less – a couple of them might still have a bit of closet head space rented – in all cases it was a complete, out of the blue shock! Years and years of lies. Years and years of being told one thing while the opposite was true. Even gifts were all only given to benefit them, not because they cared in any way. The thought behind the gift was more along the lines of “What will I get in return’ instead of ‘I hope she really likes this because I care about her and want her to enjoy it’. They say that it’s the thought that counts when gift-giving. Guess I got a whole lot of nothing from these people. Of course, this all only leads to making my self-doubt seed deeper. Why didn’t I see any of this? Am I really that blind? You’d think that in the nearly 10 years I was with my last ‘beau’ that fact that he told me twice, MAYBE three times that I looked nice would have been some sort of clue!

It’s hard work keeping those ghost of the past out of my head. I’ve been writing a lot more which is a great help. I’ve been in what I still call a new relationship even though we’ve been together almost a year and a half now. So far he’s not shown any signs of being just one more ‘abuser’ in the long line that has preceded him. Do I look for those signs? I’d be a liar if I said no. Of course I do. I can’t help it. I’ve been programmed to not trust as easy as I used to. He is making it easier though day by day and night by night.

But, as Danielle so wisely reminded me today, if I continue to let darkness and hate, bitterness and doubt dwell in that prime real estate in my head, I am preventing important beautiful things from dwelling there instead. I have already witnessed how getting rid of the negative makes room for the positive. Each time I have taken an important step in letting go of some one or some thing that makes me sad or makes me just feel bad or uncomfortable, something new and wonderful has stepped in to take its place. That is what I need to continue to remind myself. Remember what good came of something instead of all the bad that came before it. But then, without the bad, I could never really appreciate all the good that I have now – like the man who so easily stepped into my heart the last time I refused to be taken advantage of.

Spring is in Full Bloom. Warm winds are blowing through the house, taking away the cobwebs and stagnation of rooms left closed for too long. The doors are left wide open to let the fresh air in, the scent of flowers and rain. That’s what I want. Even the closet doors need to be opened, everything hauled out, sorted and without a doubt, at least half of what’s in there can be gotten rid of. It’s time to perform a couple of exorcisms because those former friends have made it clear they don’t want any part of who I am so why the hell should I hold onto any part of them anymore? If anyone is unworthy it’s them, not me.

Squatters, be gone!