🎨 Fun Feelings Friday 🖼️

The History of Me and Feelings:

I had a particularly rough upbringing, when I saw a psychologist as an adult (looking for anger management) she noticed my mind was very similar to people with PTSD (she was a specialist in that). She told me anger wasn’t necessarily a problem to get rid of, it was like a wave that hits a high point then recedes as long as you acknowledge the message behind it. I believed her, but it was also a crazy thought because I had lived in fear of anger for all my life to think of it as a tool good for some situations and not others, a healthy feature of myself as a human, was quite a new idea, though it seemed true.

My mother was severely bipolar among other things, she with no outward trigger went into a rage and punched my face or choked me or threw me into a wall starting when I was five years old. For me anger was extremely dangerous, I wasn’t anywhere near with being comfortable accepting anger in myself after having it be such a horrible experience in my life with her. It was particularly horrible, because it wasn’t when I broke a rule, it wasn’t at night, it was completely unpredictable, so I was never safe emotionally. I didn’t have an interlude of peace until I no longer lived with my mother, and though homeless at 14, it was the deepest and most wonderful peace to be in less danger and be able to start acting like the master of my own destiny I always tried and failed to be when I lived with my mother.

It’s not that I’m ungrateful towards her, I am grateful for many little things, but not to the point I would allow her abusive presence back into my life. I’m not happy that is the way it is, but I’m at peace. I’m not a person with the skills that it would take to help her, I had wanted to constantly in the past and it drained me of being able to meet my goals or care for my health. In a way I don’t think she, as self centered as she is, would want me to want her in her life if she had the awareness of how much less healthy my life with her is than my life without her.

Anyways, it was so painful to feel, not feeling felt better and I made a habit of it. But that is like living half a life. So sometime in college, I decided to do self-work because I found I couldn’t “be there” for others that I loved. I had never “been there” for myself, so I didn’t know how for myself or others. I always “walked it off,” “made the best of it,” which I still think is great for some situations (the ones you can’t change), yet it’s disastrous for other situations I started running into and I really wanted to be a carpenter with more than one tool in my toolbox. Essentially I wanted to learn how to be nice, mindsight to notice how others were and skills to support them through it. I didn’t even have words for the skills I was seeking, mindfulness, mindsight, validation, acceptance, presence, empathy, compassion, coregulation…

Before changing anything, first it’s hard to even “see” what’s going on, so used to turning a blind eye to better ignore my feelings, it was hard to know how I or anyone felt unless they said so directly.

If you’ve ever been fishing you learn to see fish in the water, it’s almost like you can’t not see them… but for non-fishers they struggle to see them even if someone points at them. One trick is polarized glasses, that helps a lot to see fish. I was not opposed to finding tricks to get better at seeing feelings, but many of the tricks proved to be non-functional (like micro-expressions).

I just wanted to start by saying I was the worst with feelings, I was as crabby as any crabby person, but when I sought change it was possible, and my “trick” was using my “left” and “right” brain together. The right brain likes pictures, so simply organizing my feelings with bitmoji pictures allowed me to recruit that previously latent (somewhat cripple) part of my brain and like a bird flying with two wings, it worked remarkably better.

Bitmoji is a free app that has a ton of different cartoons of the avatar you make, but it’s also organized by feelings, a happy feeling, down feeling (angry and sad are mixed up), a friendly feeling, a loving feeling, and a meh feeling.

I take a very quick daily note of how I feel using bitmoji and sometimes make a calendar of the whole month strung together. I did it as an Emotional Diversity Project to see how I feel many different ways rather than always bad or tired or sick. Sometimes I may be tired or sick or frustrated and it feels like it will last forever, but seeing the monthly calendar was “evidence” that it wouldn’t. Which I needed. Over time my mindsight skills got better and better, it still takes a bit of searching to know how I feel though, which I’m guessing other people are able to be connected with in the moment. But it’s 100s of times better than before… so yesterday I hit a Eureka moment and got a gestalt picture of all my emotions somewhat as a whole and moved them onto 7 different sliding scales of well being. Below is just one of the 7 in no particular order:

This article was written this morning before the preface:

Exploring My Spectrum of Encouragement and Discouragement

Discouraging/Encouraging

Part of becoming older mature is parsing the difference between more and more subtle emotions.

I got married at the age of 30, but I realize now at 35 I was quite immature at that time. I didn’t understand the difference between a lack of boundaries and love, nor the difference between aggressiveness and assertiveness.

I had my daughter’s pregnancy immediately after getting married and I think that was the real growing up catalyst in my life. I think I could have gone on forever confused, entitled and self absorbed if I hadn’t have had children.

I don’t think my children “made me a better person” but they made me more aware of who I am and that allowed me to be a “different person”.

One thing I’ve noticed is it’s not possible to have more to give than what I have, that’s true financially, but also physically, emotionally and even mentally.

Rather than beating up myself for not being sweet after getting slapped in the face by my kids or having to clean up a pee accident or whatever it is, I now recognize that I have a certain amount of “sweetness” to give on a given day and it’s limited, so rather than want more than I have or hate myself, I’m trying to be smarter about how I use it.

One thing I’ve noticed is the tendency to associate with a temporary feeling holds me back from more easily shifting my frame of mind. If I think of myself as bitch rather than a person in a bitchy mood than I can be kinder to myself. In the first case, I would ruminate about why I’m that way, feel bad for my children and husband, but not do much to change it, I would remain a victim of my own mental prison. In the latter case, I’m not disputing that I get bitchy, I told my 4-year-old “stop fu*king lagging” the other day at breakfast… that’s not very nice. It’s not how I prefer to be remembered or the communication example I want to set. But rather than think I’m a horrible person and stay stuck there if I think “wow, I’m having a cranky morning,” I can examine myself for wounds and tend them, maybe a coffee could help save my day because I haven’t slept well in 2 years… or maybe I’m starving and need a snack to even attempt to be civil.

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I’m all of these things, I’ve noticed many of us are.

Rather than expect myself to be always validating my kids and husband, though I would like to at times, I’m facing the reality that as a human I’m going to run this entire continuum and receive this entire continuum from my loved ones as well.

Once my husband told me, “not everyday has to be perfect.”

I had never considered that before.

Because I know we are all dying I try really hard to make each day count, be grateful for it, squeeze the sunlight out of each dawn, but each day will be full of imperfection, human life is a quilt basted upon a background of imperfection, to ignore making peace with that is, in my opinion a mistake.

It doesn’t mean you can’t try for perfection or shoot for excellence, but it does mean don’t kill yourself why it isn’t perfect because that is how life is meant to be, or at least how it is over a long term period.

I remember being raised in a family with open hostility or stone walling: Remember kid’s “children are seen and not heard,” “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt” (-Abraham Lincoln)?

I saw movies or TV shows with encouraging parents and assumed it was fake like special effects in Star Wars (gun shots don’t make sound in space because there is no air for sound to travel – so no pew pew pew sounds).

But then in my mid-20s I dated a guy with an encouraging family and I was like:

Bitmoji Image
Clientmoji

It didn’t work out between “that gentleman” and myself (that’s an understatement) yet I never forgot his mom, who was lovely, and the way when each family member got home everyone was happy to see them and encouraging to one another. It felt so warm.

My house felt more like a warehouse. There was no hello, not even a head swivel sometimes, people knew you came home, they just didn’t have a habit of giving a head swivel because essentially they were too depressed to care. I have a small family, one sister, one dad, and I, three people. 2/3 have depression and anxiety… so there best was nothing more than getting out of bed from work or school and occasionally eating or showering. I tried a lot for many years, but eventually, you get tired of being rejected over and over and over and over, so we all essentially lived separate lives that happened to occur at the same address.

I also remember a scene from one of the Wyatt Earp movies where one jailed man trusts his significant other to bail them out of jail using his money, and the other one is surprised the first one trusts a women with all his money, the first said something like “if you can’t trust someone that close to you, you don’t have anything at all.”

I keep the two guiding stars of trust and warmth as lights to guide me towards the family life I want to help build. But the more I accept our imperfection, the faster I recover from slights and insults both those directed at me and from me. Because we are all short tempered in my family. Some more and some less, but we are all on that side of the divide, so the more we expect something rude will be directed to us or we will lapse and say something we regret, it puts us in a better frame of mind to repair the relationship with some conflict resolution, set boundaries if needed and recover emotionally if needed.

Words can hurt, sometimes they don’t matter, like a stream of bullets, some don’t hit home, but most often the worst wounds are friendly fire from our own loved ones.

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Where are you in this moment?

I’ve read a lot of books that helped me transition from level 0 and level 1 to level 3 and level 4. I still fail to reach level 5 as much as I would like to… but it’s a lot of progress from my family being at level 1 for hundreds of years, sinking into level 0 when my parents divorced and making it to a solid level 2 as a whole now. Yes, we lapse, but I can feel the overall watermark has shifted. If your life still has tides of good and bad, it doesn’t mean you are a failure, it means you are a normal human being.

Bitmoji Image
There’s a book for that!

To Learn Open Hostility: (Didn’t need any books for that, it’s a family business.)

To Learn Stone Walling: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k, Never Split the Difference, You do You, Never Get Angry Again, The Obstacle is the Way, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.

To Learn Encouragement: Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better and Loving More, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Four Tendencies, T is for Transformation, Boundaries with Kids, The Power of Habit.

To Learn Appreciation: The Pain of Challenges, The Confidence Gap, The Yellow World, Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

To Learn Acknowledgement: Live Love Now, Permission to Feel.

I can’t tell you about learning validation, I haven’t been able to get there consistently, but I’ve very sure that these roads are open to everyone. Just because you were grumpy in the past, it isn’t you, you can be any of these that you want to, it may be the most difficult way to change for the better.

For me it was easier loosing weight, easier learning martial arts, easier to do everything else in life, than it is simply to stop being a jerk to the people I love… but I think it may be the most important thing we do as humans for ourselves, for the people we love.

Side note, I think this is why articles have so few likes, in my experience I like many that I don’t click like on (which I think is fine) because I think to like something is (level 3) appreciation, but (level 4) to click like is active acknowledgement (level 4) which some people never get to, while those of us who are often there are not always there.

The button says like, but to me, I feel like people click it when the material was especially helpful, funny, or inspiring vs when I actually liked an article I don’t always click that I did. Like doesn’t mean like for me, and I’m guessing it doesn’t for many people as well.

But it’s a good small exercise in authenticity, to like what we like and define what that means for us as individuals, it’s also interesting to wonder what it is about us that we like so much more than we acknowledge we like, more importantly with our loved ones, and less importantly (but more visibly) with articles or mod downloads.

If you use something it doesn’t mean you like it, but then why are you using it? Why not find the right thing? If you read something, you don’t have to like it, but they why not find another use of your time, why just be on the internet to be on the internet?

Any thoughts of where your family lies on this scale and where you would want it too? Or your workplace? Or your normal state of mind?

🌧️☂️⛱️🏖️🌞

🦖 Tech Talk Thursday 💻 II

hey how you been
I sometimes wonder if my friends still care about me.

Waiting isn’t fatal, but it is a disappearing skill set…

Sometimes I feel bad because I see my friends on Facebook and know they didn’t get back to me yet…

Because it makes me wonder if we are still friends.

But today I got a message from my friend, it wasn’t the first time they got to Facebook that they responded, but when the response came it was beautiful and meaningful, just like the handwritten letter I have from them, just like I want to believe our in person friendship was as well.

petting mr. unicorn
“True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart.” – Helen Keller

Things for me to remember, just because they are on Facebook, doesn’t mean they are on Facebook, sometimes the system says they are because there is an extra window left open, sometimes they are on Facebook, but they are at work (saving lives – my friends work in the medical field) or having a fight with their significant other (probably, I’m imagining that).

Also I’m the guiltiest of not responding, I only check Facebook every few months, once a very good friend had disclosed they are having their first child and I didn’t respond for months since I wasn’t even on there, since I don’t find I can motivate myself to be that social. So I don’t know why as the one who looses phones, doesn’t respond to texts while struggling with my kids and goes on Facebook only every season I take it personally when people don’t get back to me.

It’s kind of hard because the social dictates didn’t exist when I was growing up, the technology didn’t exist… so we all do our best to live by the “normal standard” but we all want different things.

One thing I think we all want is not to have to respond in our hectic life ASAP, not to have one more thing to rush about.

Yet ironically, I think we all want to know if our friendships are real or imagined, if connection exists or is fantasy?

My own sister didn’t get back to me for years at a time when she was in college, she wasn’t mad at me, just busy with her life.

So why not trust my friends that they are really my friends, that they don’t hate me, that I’m not the worst person to talk to… instead of worrying if I’m being a fool to think I have friends.

Why not look at the evidence.

I have three male and two female good friends, all but one are parents or expectant parents, so it’s super easy to imagine all of them being too busy.

I washed my phone on accident, lost my number, lost many of my friend’s numbers again and again, but we always reconnected. I shouldn’t over look that. If any of them wanted to be rid of me, they could have ghosted me. The fact that they reply when they choose should let me stop wondering if they care.

They may be busy, but they do care or they wouldn’t ever get back to me, and the one who was the least responsive was me.

The one friend who doesn’t have kids was dealing with the loss of her mother, who we both loved, and getting engaged and married during the time we were out of touch.

Sometimes when your low, you don’t want to complain and you just don’t have anything else to say…

Sometimes when you are busy you can’t spare the mental energy to think of the right reply even if you have hours of time and a phone or computer.

Sometimes it’s not easy to say the right thing, sometimes you have no comment about the last thing that was said, it’s so much more often an innocent silence than a malicious one or a huge betrayal (I think).

Perhaps we just aren’t comfortable with silence?

My most religousy belief as an agnostic is that God (if there is one) gives you your friends. I got most of my friends when I was neither a good friend nor a particularly nice person. I’ve noticed mean and nice people both have friends, some people with no friends are quite interesting and nice and some people with the most friends are horrible behind closed doors… so that there is no rhyme or reason I’ve found to how people make friends at all.

I’m agnostic, but I have an atheist, christian, Buddhist, Daoist friends. I think if I lived near Catholics, polytheists or Islamic people I would have those friends too, but I just don’t run into them in my area much, in college I did and we were friends. My friends run the entire political spectrum with absolutely no repeats, I’m the dead center as an independent, we all know each other’s views and as individual have no problem tolerating each other and being civil, so it’s interesting that the nation doesn’t do so on a larger scale. I value my friends so very much, but find it impossible to know how we matched up, it wasn’t by similar gender, similar personality, similar back ground, similar religion, nor similar interests, nor similar politics.

What it was I can’t define, but I’m grateful to have friends.

Tech Use 2: I Use Technology to Keep Track of My Real Friends

I use Instagram for one friend who like to post there (a runner).

I use Facebook for three friends who are already there (I took forever to finally start using Facebook).

I use email for family since I hate phones.

I use Google Meeting for my writers meet up post covid.

I break down and use text messages for my last friend who as far as I know doesn’t use other means of communication.

I have Word Press and Coach.Me for meeting new people and sharing ideas.

I really wish everyone was on the same system, but since we aren’t it’s more important for me to chase those I care about than to have things be simple.

I have the most trouble with Facebook, it’s so cluttered to my mind, I just go in, direct message my friends and that’s it. It’s weird to me that I like publicly posting on Coach.Me or on WordPress or even Instagram (owned by Facebook) but I’ve never been so into Facebook. It’s hard to even check in every months or every few months, but since I have 60% of my friends in one place I do.

Only on Facebook do I face the issue of needing to make peace with seeing my friend there, but not yet ready to reply to me… I read a very in depth answer that helped me deal with it better ever before:

I have experienced an unnumbered of circumstance in life pertaining to communication: whether it’s a friend, relatives, colleagues or an impromptu conversation with a stranger, the vast knowledge of conversing develops and empowers me to transcend into a proficient communicator. As of present, there’s something I would like to share and I believe that the information imparted to you would be as of great assistance in becoming a better communicator!

1: Chat whenever it’s Necessary.
– First thing first, do not commence a conversation arbitrarily (As in being random without a specific narration) as the convo may end excessively quick since you failed to captivate (Capture) the person’s utmost attention. Having said that, the only thing you should do at this point in time would be to only converse when you had a specific narration in mind (It could be a discussion, a request, and etcetera). Nonetheless, the best way to start a casual conversation would be a greeting. A greeting allows you to form a startling yet warm relationship with the person as he/she knows that you’re deeply concerned with what they’re up to in life.

Therefore, after a series of greeting, you may then proceed forward to your very own theme gradually. In the event that the discussion is getting extremely awkward (Cumbersome), do not end it aggressively instead what you could do in this circumstance would be to fare a healthy Good-Bye and that it’s extremely pleasant in the recent catch-up. “Let’s have a fun and meaningful conversation again sometime or sooner rather than later, love you xoxo”.

2: Your friends are busy.
– On an eventful occasion, we’ve to be considerate as everyone’s else is living a life full of chores and activities. Nevertheless, it’s a consensus that your friends may possibly have had a huge amount of tasks/stuff to deal with in life. Be that as it may, it’s common for them to be not ready to answer your chat, and yet do allow some time for them to get back to you soon. Talk again after a day or two if you’re really interested in the conversation. If it’s a notice or a short note, leave it as intended and go on with your day without caring too much whether the message is seen or delivered. However, if it isn’t, prompt an apology for disturbing your friends and see if you could get a response from them.

3: You saw your friends actively engaging others but not YOU.
– Complementary to this, there are certain or you could say specific types of “friends/companions” that makes you feel less worthy. For some reason, I’m here to assure you that there’s no point stressing at this issue. In the event that you saw any of your friends doing this to you, for instance, conversing with others as opposed to answering your chats, know that it’s okay for them to do so because no one has an obligation to answer you 24/7.

Subsequently, do keep yourself reminded at all times about these mini tips here: Do not be frantic, worried, or to an extent admonish your friends. Yet, do not ask them about it too. Why? It’s very likely that your friends are not keen or a big fan of the ever-lasting conversation between you both, as there might possibly be other factors prior in which it could have influenced the relationship between you and him/her.

So, what to do next? Lay low and do nothing. If it stresses you to an extent where you need to reach out to your friend for an answer (Simply knowing that the conversation isn’t highly prioritized), you may proceed to delete the conversation and move forward. You don’t have to stare right at it, killing time sweating for a “well-mannered” response. To elaborate further, rather than causing another adversary by putting yourself in an inconvenient situation, be still, be quiet and be confident (Firm with your decisions) with your inner self.

4: Do the SAME to THEM.
– Few are uncommon and not many are rare. I’m not reinstating the fact that you should be ignoring your friends when they ignored you initially. I’m simply asking you to respect yourself. Knowing and coming to an understanding that your friends “SHOULD” be treating you as a true friend and not a “puppet in need”. Rather than helping them whenever a request “ding”, let them do it by themselves. For that reason, do not lay out a perfect blueprint or handing yourself out in exchange for “timely attention”. Respect yourself, know who you are to him/her, know what you must do and can’t do in certain situations. You’re not a PUPPET, you’re a FRIEND.

5: Seen Message/Ignored Texts.
– Prior to this, whether your message is seen or disregarded, bold yourselves and converse with them once more. Do not allow or empower your friends to slaughter you psychologically (Your confidence) as this is your life, not theirs to begin with. Many would question themselves off the chart with unrelated worries. However, I’ll like you to sit quietly and ask yourself deeply these sets of questions: (Are the messages seen/delivered worth your worries? Is the seen messages a huge/major concern? Are they “present” at times when you needed them the most? Are you behaving like a friend or selling yourself out as a puppet in exchange for attention? Who and what did you prioritize more, a message or a relationship?).

Now, after a series of light therapy. Talk to them again like there’s nothing occurred in the first place.

6: Do not make an enemy.
– Conventionally, some friends may overlook (Ignored) you for a couple of reasons. These kind of shrouded information are recognizable when someone (A mutual friend or an unknown third party) had it discussed and share it with you. IF your FRIENDS are constantly talking shit of you behind your back, and are not truthful with you at present, CUT TIES with them ASAP. Nonetheless, ensured that your pruning session goes lightly and not out of touch (Too hardcore – bringing in newsworthy rumor in a campus/office/workplace, cut them off by setting up an invisible barrier not known to this “friend of yours”. How? Create a distance between you and him/her invisibly. For instance, not texting – avoiding going out with them – and the most important of it all? >>> As opposed to making them a potential threat aka a new adversary, smile, act and move ON with life as if it doesn’t occur initially.<<<

Trust me, it helps so much. Instead of making an enemy, putting in the effort to fight back, channeling dramas. It’s the best for you to ignored or cut ties with them. They are attention-seeking acquaintance, and not a friend to begin with. Real friends, talk about your problems in front of you, and not behind your back by spreading inaccurate pieces of information that could defame your reputation in the long haul. Rumors are the worst I get it, but what’s worst? Pulling yourself low to “prove” that they “are wrong” which in turn??? Validates the ??? RUMORS. So, why bother ensnaring yourself in the prison cage they created? It kills you internally and externally (Psychologically & Mentally = Taxes you Emotionally). Remember, mental above emotions at all times.

7: Improved yourselves.
– Control the “Comments” you see. How? You have got a brain and when you started thinking, it leads to? Perception. When I was younger, my dad used to taught me how to “differentiate the good versus the bad”. So, do your own version. Don’t listen to the ?? Whiners, Naysayers, and Losers as their sole existence are to ??? Bring you down.

Nonetheless, do keep in mind that genuine friends are elusive these days as genuine friends don’t come around your circle too often. Knowing that “It’s okay” having a quality circle of friends than a quantity amount of unknown anonymous who would take you for granted.

However, if you are in need of a friend to talk to, I’m here to listen (Not hear).

Good Luck and Cheers to you!

– Xavier Tan (Reply from Quora)

I post that reply, though not mine, because it was so helpful to me to curb my e-codependance a bit and I thought it might be for others too.

I did it
I Stopped Worrying About Being Forgotten By My Friends! I Trust Them to Get Back to Me in Their Time (Why is This In All Caps?)

Especially step 4, do the same to them (but not in a bad spirit) was helpful for me. After reading that reply hearing my text messages beep didn’t make me stop what I was doing with my kids, I thought “I’ll get to it, in the right time for me” and I was in peace, no longer worrying about hurting their feelings by taking however long was the right amount for me to take.

Any thoughts? Are your friends scattered around like mine? Or is everyone else in the world on Facebook? Has it been a benefit or a curse in your life having social media replace the in person hang out that we used to know?

🔮 Word of Wordcraft 📜 II

Today I fail again to establish a clear writing goal, but continue to seek who I am and what my message to the world is:

Woke up before 5 AM today, full of energy. Slept on the floor a bit, moved to bed and my shoulder popped into where it should be and felt good when I woke up, part of the risk of sleeping on the floor is that I sometimes wake up with my neck sore and a headache or one shoulder all messed up, or even both shoulders… Anyways slept well, woke up well, here with my coffee at 4:59 AM.

I probably don’t need this coffee, I’m pretty energetic right now, in the dark, in the silence, with the crickets singing into the summer night. But it’s one of the very few things I like about my day.

Bitmoji Image

I just checked out what the hot dog is (on the top image), it’s just a funny hot dog, it became popular, because you can filter yourself as the hot dog and it’s just amusing. If it has any darker meanings, I’m not posting it as such, but it does refer to our modern augmented digital reality.

I just realized I’m a lifestyle blogger… I didn’t know what that was, but a year later, I wouldn’t prefer just one topic of my life and though I discus faucets of my life, I mostly discus my life (write what you know? right?), so that’s defined as a lifestyle blogger. Or maybe I don’t want to tie myself down, I’m a writer, who is enjoying lifestyle blog writing, but I feel like I could do other types of writing (especially comic writing or educational writing) and I wouldn’t stop being me… So, I’m a writer with a lifestyle blog, I am not a lifestyle blog writer.

Historically people who could write, did write, people wrote letters to keep in touch with loved ones, I had a pen pal in Russia growing up and my great aunt as well. That changed to phones, email, texting, video chat, snap chat (never tried it) but I didn’t have it in my to change that many times…

dear dairy
Writing has always been a balm for my weary, sensitive soul.

Once nearly all of humanity were astronomers, all farmers depended on planting with the seasons governed by the planets… later many people were farmers, hunters, fishers or warriors. I see many families stuck as farmers (gardening more than farming), hunting (for fun), fishing (our family is a fishing family – we all hold other jobs, but can’t permanently leave the fishing behind), or doing boxing or martial arts compulsively that doesn’t serve a purpose in today’s society, but does serve a purpose in our souls.

I’ve gotten stuck as a writer and a warrior.

My daughter woke up to use the bathroom, I would have been irrationally mad, except I was already up! Waa haa haa haa. Then my son wanted milk, again, I would have been irrationally mad, except I was already up! Waa haa haa haa. I guess I’m pretty irrationally mad often. Correction, I have angry feelings often, but I am not angry (I am more than just one emotion – I am a person). I am the chess board, not the white pawn or the black pawn, my feelings move across me (I don’t know if the hand is mine or Gods? but I know I am more than anger or love).

Realization I have an anger problem still… or anger “opportunity” if you will.

My writing topic today is writing, so I can explore anything, because to me writing is a truly free world (also art and music are).

My value of the day is encouragement. I think I placed it there because I often hit a low point on Wednesday. Even though I don’t currently “work”, meaning I’m a stay at home mother, so I “slave”.

Isn’t that what it’s called when you do free work? Or is it volunteering? Can you volunteer to watch your own kids?

I think so, because my mother and my husband’s father both gave up volunteering… when my husband was about 1 his father gave up and took off on his three kids and wife. My mother was more back and forth, giving up many times before taking off for good. Though they didn’t provide us much beyond DNA, they did provide me the truth that I don’t “have to” watch my kids. It’s a choice. A choice I choose. So I am a volunteer, I do a ton of unpaid volunteer work.

It feels tongue in cheek, but it’s pretty true. It also feels tongue in cheek to call it God’s work, but I would argue if there is a God (which I’ve never been sure) God would probably prefer you to raise your children since if he did create nature and mankind he created that parental drive also… however maybe God likes parents to abandon their kids? I’ve never been able to figure out if there is a God if they control all things or just run an autopilot. Are messed up things happening because God doesn’t handle everything, because God has a way different sense of what’s messed up, because there isn’t a God, or because God does have the same sense of messed up things we have, but likes a little drama in his/her novella?

I have no idea, that’s why I’m agnostic, meaning I know I don’t know if there is or isn’t a God or Gods. It’s not at all atheist.

I know our human brains make connections where there aren’t any (like the constellations, that are not even actually groups – they just appear as groups from our position… so as far as astrology I think you can guess my opinion about that (amused but skeptical, did you guess?). But our brains also make connections when they are there, like the seasons working for farming and being reoccurring.

I often notice synchronicity in my life, so I don’t know if it’s God or coincidence every time, as is the life of an agnostic.

Reading Riki-tiki-tavi by Richard Kipling was both inspiring and also daunting. I can see why he got the first Nobel in literature, his wordplay is so unforgettable it’s been living rent free in my mind for 30 years. I think I’ll forget my husband’s name before I forget Riki-tiki-tavi’s red eyes and bottle brushy tail. It was about 5800 words. A children’s story about a mongoose fighting off two snakes to save a boy for those who haven’t read it.

It’s daunting reading an author that good, but actually I’m fine being worse than Richard. One thing I’m better at is being alive in the year 2020. I’ve been using my aliveness to boost my confidence, it may be silly, but it’s surprisingly effective for me.

Know who could write a book this year? It’s not Shakespeare, it’s not Richard Kipling… it’s me, because I’m alive!

If you’ve been following I watched a documentary with Indian street orphans recently (thanks husband for picking that) Mother India: Life Through the Eyes of an Orphan, though for some reason it didn’t make me want to help as did Omo Child: The River and the Bush, the orphans never leave my mind. If you want to have a depressing movie night One Child Nation would make a good trilogy to show you how functional your country is (unless you live in India, Ethiopia, or China… which actually most people do… but for the rest of us).

Anyways, the orphans never left my mind.

I’ve already watched a documentary about Mexican homeless orphans, so what kept me a little bit less depressed was the “fun” compare and contrast aspect of having watched two documentaries about homeless orphans.

The Mexican orphans slept in the gutters, on sidewalks and in abandoned buildings, the Indian orphans looked like they had trouble finding abandoned buildings and slept in gutters, on sidewalks and in open areas. Mostly they all slept on the floor. This got to me, even though I’m Japanese and like a floor bed best, it’s still a bed. When I was younger I often slept on the floor by preference, but as I’m older I find it makes me sore…

The Indian kids are skinnier they say sleeping on the floor makes them hurt, the Mexican kids didn’t complain about it, they mentioned wanting more chicken to eat and disliking being bitten by rats at night as higher priorities than pain management.

I have no idea why, but I relate to the Indian orphans more. I see myself in them. With the Mexican orphans I feel pity for them and am not driven to help them, maybe because I have two half Mexican kids at home? I’m already taking care of one whole Mexican kid, isn’t that enough? (Kind of joking). But the Ethiopian babies getting killed for having top teeth first, really motivates me to help… maybe because they aren’t drug addicts?

I don’t hate drug addicts, it’s just very hard to help them and I don’t want to do something very hard right now. It’s kind of soul crushingly hard. I know because of mom… I don’t have the resources emotionally, intellectually, financially or in any kind of way to be able to help my mother, we also don’t have contact. Nor do I want to… to be honest nor do I want to.

Anyways the Indian orphans were offered a seemingly nice home in an orphanage and they declined because they are already drug addicts used to the life on the street, it’s what they are comfortable with. That was interesting.

When they first explained why they shoot up “drugs” (they don’t even know what drugs) to get rid of the pain (which is why they mostly all have aids, plus the rape of 50% of them… and occasional forced prostitution in locked brothels which children are not supposed to be in “sad opps”…) when they first explained they shoot up, I judged them as being “bad” kids.

But then I thought about it, if I was subjected to those conditions, would I want to stay clean or would I want to shoot up? I hate needles, so I think I would either stay clean or huff correction fluid, but I’m not so sure. If my friends were all shooting up, would it just become like having a cup of coffee with your friends to catch up? If it was the norm would I care to actively opt out? Would I want to be weird and not shoot up drug? I’m not certain.

I don’t like sleeping on the floor, but I think I would hate the rape more, if I was raped, which is a 50/50 chance. Even if your friends see you taken they don’t fight, because if they fight, everyone gets beaten and still raped, if you go to the police they either beat you or steal from you (supposedly).

I really think I would stay clean though, as much as I could, simply because I hate needles so much.

Another thing that gets to me is that feeling of never being safe they have, because I grew up with that. With a wandering drug addict mom, you often don’t feel safe and sometimes are not safe. If any of my mothers drug sponsor/boy friends had felt like abusing me they could have, I would have tried to fight them, tried to go to the police after, but I don’t know if I would have been as strong fighting a grown man as I imagined in my mind.

I’ve been homeless before, but I was 14, it was like Disneyland compared to these Indian orphans. We both had money which is interesting. I worked at a doughnut store. The orphans beg on the trains. We both had money for food and clothes. So in the end I don’t know which is worse between extreme poverty and homelessness, because I’ve only experienced the one.

One thing it changed for me to be homeless is I never judge homeless people as “bad people” anymore. I don’t always give them money, often I don’t. But I judge them all separately as people. It’s still hard for me to do that for drug addicts.

Which is ironic, most of my friends tried drugs in college, I gave them a complete pass, no problem here. But when it’s older people, there is no pass, it’s so easy to see them as undeserving of help or compassion.

I’m not going to help drug addicts, I prefer to take care of my family and possibly some Ethiopian orphans, but I could spare some compassion at least.

It’s been nice sitting with my thoughts in the quiet morning, hearing my family snore, sleeping on a bed part of the night, with a feeling of safety (possible an illusion, but helpful for sleeping well), waking up alive.

It feels so good to get some of these darker thoughts out of my head, writing about them helps so much, because when I see these things, they do get to me, I am sensitive, and they kind of sit there until I write about them. I don’t forget after, but it takes the edge off. I guess I could say it really stings my heart to hear about children suffering so much, writing about it is like removing the stinger, then the wound can heal, the bees are still there and will still be there, but I can move on.

Writing can do that for me, heal me. I’m pretty sure it can do that for you as well, if you want it to.

I was just thinking a bit about racism, I’ve experienced it a lot, I think it’s a mix of fear and ignorance. People are naturally diverse, difference breeds fear sometimes, fear breeds hate.

“Darkness can not drive out the darkness, only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King Jr

I can’t believe someone murdered that man who said that… If I had 3 “don’t murder that guy” passes, Martin Luther King Jr would have gotten 1. I think if he was alive, race relations in the U.S. would be in a better place.

He said, this isn’t about black or white, it’s about humanity, dignity of the human soul, judging one another by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin.

But the quite interesting life of James Earl Ray cut down Martin Luther King Jr’s and it seems like sadly people forgot the lessons he gave his life for…

If Martin Luther King Jr was alive it wouldn’t have been a “black lives matter” movement, he would have integrated much more cohesively the protests towards love and light and justice for all and between all races, which are integrated but with much misunderstanding and some bitterness.

I’m still on the side of the black lives matter movement, I wouldn’t ask anyone to sit still while being occasionally murdered, I understand it’s hard to follow the law when the law doesn’t also protect you… but it’s a bit like watching a toddler having an accident in public sometimes, you love them, you don’t shame them, but is it isn’t a particularly high water mark as opposed to “I have a dream.” I want success for civil rights, very much so, and I don’t think division will make it faster, I think it will make it slower.

More “happy news” Tulsa Oklahoma massacre mass graves are being excavated. May 31 and June 1, 1921, an estimated 150-300 black Americans were killed by white Americas due to a possible assault of 17 year old Sarah Page and besides the killing the whites rioted breaking stuff (estimated $32 million dollars of property damage)… so please don’t act like it’s only minorities that throw tantrum riots. These things are horrible, but they happen and will continue to happen. What can we do to be more mature human beings that this on all sides and break down the imaginary walls that divide us to begin with? In Rwanda in 1994 blacks killed blacks (100 days in 1994, some 800000 people were slaughtered) it’s much more about the imaginary walls we put between each other than it is about white or black. Whites genocide whites and blacks genocide blacks all too often. The solution would be tearing down the wall between us. And judging each individual by the content of their character, not “external factors”.

Okay solved racism, next. (Sadly, joking…)

What’s next for today? Maybe a COVID joke…

Whether black or white, COVID 19 kills your elderly with pneumonia the same way. (I can say it since I lost my grandfather, my grandfather died for me to be able to publicly make that joke.)

Okay, talked about orphans, sex slavery (of the orphans), sexual assault, racism, genocide and COVID already… I’m kind of procrastinating defining a writing goal for myself though. (Totally wouldn’t judge you for unsubscribing reader, I’m becoming a bit of a dark roast coffee lately… though you are welcome to stay as long as you like too.)

After clearing my mental plate of everything that is going on that somehow sneaks into my mind even though I don’t watch the news, like unwanted rodents… I’m experiencing a soft of bliss, the clear mind I had as a child.

Writing can be a meditation of sorts, a way to sort what you can control and what you can’t or won’t take on, a boundary setting exercise.

Writing can be a way to make sense of this crazy world.

Writing can be so many things, I’ve loved writing since I was about 6 months old.

I wanted to put a picture of me and my notebook, so you would believe me, if I find it I will add it (even though I’m shy/ paranoid about internet stalking because I had a bad experience).

For me writing is like getting a massage for my soul. I was intrinsically in love with the process, but over time I began to fear allowing myself joy, for me the actual process of writing is the reward in and of itself, all I have to do is allow myself to accept that joy.

But it’s not that simple, because I have a belief that says I need to help other and I need to love it “at all times”, but my truth is that I don’t actually love helping others at all times. It sounds simple, but despite knowing about it, I haven’t been able to change it. I feel guilty for anything I enjoy doing “just for me”, no matter how much I help others it’s never enough to make me feel good, because it’s not who I am. I’m capable of helping others, I’m reasonably ethical, but for some reason I idolize the Ghandi’s the people who “enjoy” serving others and I’m a bit stuck there, wanting to fill my own cup, be who I am, accept that I don’t love service.

I guess I believe good people enjoy helping others and bad people don’t enjoy helping others. I acknowledge that I don’t enjoy it all the time, but I struggle to not hate myself or try to fix it. People try to make me feel better by saying “if you had more help” you could enjoy it, “if you had more rest” you could enjoy it, but it doesn’t help validate the part of me that just wouldn’t enjoy it still. I’m overall a good person, I believe that, but I’m not someone who gets off on the process of helping. Which is weird because I like to help, but I like to help because of the end result of making the world better, not because I like the process. I declutter to have a clean house, not because I enjoy decluttering, that’s a bad example because I kind of do enjoy decluttering. I delivered my children because I wanted them delivered, but I did not enjoy the process, but no one expected me to, not I and not others, so it was fine.

I’m struggling with my own expectations to enjoy parenting, that haven’t happened and also of other people’s expectations (like my husband and daughter) that I would love to service their every need at every second more than anything.

Both they and I are disappointed with who I am and it’s difficult for me to set boundaries with them before even finding peace with myself in that regard.

Every time someone writes or says “you are a good mom” it sends me into a cognitive disobedience, I think they are mistaken, because I would rather hear silence than kids crying, because I would rather write than fetch a lost water bottle, because I would rather be by myself than bandage my daughter’s bleeding face last night…

I don’t even know what a good mom would be like.

I get mad at my husband for idealizing what a mother should be, but perhaps I also idealize a mother.

I’m sure my own ideals and expectations are burdening me more than my husband’s and my daughters, but I wasn’t really aware of what was bothering me until I let go of all the “noise of the world”.

I feel pressured by society to form an opinion about all these “goings on”, my husband often starts conversations about these “normal topics” that I don’t want to deal with at all… I wonder if I’ll ever be able to let that noise come and go without feeling that I have to respond?

I think that’s another level of proactivity. I try to protect my home, not buying soda or too much junk food, so it won’t even be a problem. I try to protect my body, not putting too many chemicals in, glass Tupperware, special laundry soap. But I have never taken an active role in trying to protect my mind, my mental space, before. Perhaps I need to, as a writer, in a way it’s my workspace and my sanctuary.

Writing morning pages is very much like the post I just did, getting clutter out of your mental barn, tossing junk mail thoughts out of your mind mail box, getting to inbox zero of your own brain, the only difference would be that it would be private.

I do it publicly for a few reasons, one is to introduce others to different things to do with writing. Another is that it makes me feel connected to the world. Like standing naked in front of the world in a socially acceptable way. Another is that I’ve been helped by people’s honest writing about everyday life, it’s made me recognize that we are all similar at the core, that we go through many of the same frustrations and challenges and if I can continue that simple, but still uncommon truth chain forward – I will.

We don’t suffer alone, we are all here together, but we create that feeling we are alone. I don’t know about God, not saying yes, not saying no, but 7,800,000,000 people, 900 million dogs, and 600 million cats here on Earth, we aren’t alone and we don’t have to suffer alone.

We can suffer together!

Clientmoji
I often hate parenting! I’m starting to be okay with that, it’s difficult, but I’m starting to “be myself”…

I like things best that are simple, clean and uncomplicated, that doesn’t have an exception for things I’m related to… that may be a hard road ahead, but it’s harder to walk with my eyes closed than with my eyes open.

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Happy Wednesday World!

🐛 Transformation Week II 🙀

“It’s such hard work to try and act like something that you’re not that you should really just be who you are,” Shaun says. “It’s okay to be vulnerable, and it’s okay not to lie about who you are. Because the more you show of yourself, the more people are going to relate to you on a deeper level.”

– Shaun Blokker
The coffee stopped working today, is that possible?

Be yourself. Really?

I’ve been getting more done, but I don’t know if I’m biting off more than I can chew vs putting in hard work to make good habits worth making.

Bitmoji Image
Anyone remember the movie “Big”? I felt like that this morning…

It was a good week since the last transformation post, it was a good day, but at 7:22 PM I hit a wall of exhaustion. My daughter couldn’t find her water bottle, her brother scratched her and she was bleeding, and I couldn’t have cared any less. I referred her to her dad, since I had been with her from 7 AM – 7:30 PM, since she asked me for hundreds of things, answers, and acknowledgements already today, I couldn’t have cared any less at all. Maybe half an hour later I asked her father to get her water since I was feeding her brother, and he complained as he did it and asked about five questions before he would do it. I gave my daughter a bandage for below her nose where her brother had scratched and set a reminder to cut his nails tomorrow at 10 AM.

feel the burn
10 AM Don’t run from the burn, find the burn…
Day 1 of COVID T25

I wonder if I would have not gone outside if I would have been less tired, or if I would have not exercised.

Need coffee
7 PM 8 PM 9 PM I don’t even feel human right now.

What happened today?

7 Mightier 😺 I was fine.
8 Breakfast – Duo 😺 I felt really good.
9 School – Book 😺 I was fine. Didn’t enjoy the book choices…
10 Exercise or Kick Time 😺 I felt really good.
11 Lunch 😺 I was fine.
12 Play Inside Play Switched to Outside 😾 Did not like my daughter switching playtime to outside, it resulted in me missing my small break. She said she could watch her brother outside, I gave it a try to see out of curiosity, but missed my second sanity break.
1 Music 🙀 I was already kind of exhausted trying to power through it.
2 Mummy Time 🙀 Super exhausted, remarked about it to my daughter.
3 Swim Time 🙀 Remarkably exhausted, coffee couldn’t bring me up.
4 Dinner 😺 I was fine, got a second wind.
5 Aunt Time (ASL) 😾 Fell through with no head up, pretty irritating. Didn’t like the change, missed my third sanity break.
6 Mummy Time with Son 🙀 Didn’t go well, daughter got extra reading.
7 Dad Time 🙀 Didn’t go well, he was late and I was so exhausted. Missed half of my last break.

I still don’t know what to do to get enough breaks to really happen to feel really well, but definitely surviving and teaching a lot. So my life gets a C right now, I just know I can’t live everyday like today, but I’m still not sure what went wrong.

I dealt with two fits, not a lot compared to before… did four loads of laundry, vacuuming, extra exercise, school and swimming. It seems fair to be exhausted, but I just can’t put my finger on what was wrong with the day. Maybe that it wasn’t sustainable, maybe that I hated so much of it as I powered through, I really can’t say, but it definitely felt off.

It’s nice being at peace with my husband, other than the obvious benefits, it’s nice to rule him out at why the day bothered me so much.

I’ve come a long way as a writer, this year I’ve posted 60 posts, as much as all of last year. I’m both satisfied and lost with where I am, happy about what I’ve done (surprisingly since I’m a recovering perfectionist) and unsure where to head next. That feels good.

I thought I could write while my husband took the kids for an hour, but my son was with me when my daughter wasn’t, I usually do when my sister spends video call time with my daughter, but she didn’t answer today, so… perhaps the bad timing of just not being anything else than a servant all day.

It seems like everything has gotten better, the discipline issues, the school issues of adapting to dyslexia, yet as I’ve been more consistent with teaching and swimming I’ve robbed the unauthorized breaks that used to keep me sane without realizing it.

I like everything we are doing, but I’m exhausted, so hopefully it’s just a fluke, but if not… I don’t know what should go, maybe swimming with the kids, they are actually doing well enough I can life guard them without actually swimming (which I don’t like).

I think I do too many things I hate, I think reading books I hate to them drains me more than four loads of laundry… hmm.

I don’t know if I can reject my 1 and 4 year old wanting me to read books that are appropriate, but that I just hate? Of course I can, but should I?

I’m having problems with boundaries as a mother.

I compromise so much my soul gets smothered throughout the day and I hate spending time with other people…

When I was a kid I was an extrovert, I became an extreme introvert over time. Today two people text messaged me, and I though I like those people, hated the contact. I like reading emails in the morning on my time, if I want to, text messages seem too pressing, I feel pressured to answer or at least read them right away. I think I’ll actually turn the notification setting off tomorrow. Really I want to tell those people to email me, but it’s two people who don’t use email much…

Everything seems to be going well, except I’m grumpy, exhausted and hate many parts of the day, I guess it’s a lack of assertive boundary setting.

Sometimes I’m torn between knowing setting good habits will have a painful start up energy cost and knowing that my life balance isn’t good. I don’t know if I should push through or back off… no one would know except me, but I don’t even know.

It’s late and I’m writing, I’m not excited to meet a quota, I don’t make any money off writing, not sure I ever will or ever will want to, but I do gain sanity in being able to let my thoughts solidify a bit more than they can throughout the day.

It was a beautiful and productive day, yet I also feel so exhausted it makes me wonder if something isn’t still very wrong with my ability to prioritize breaks. Looking back a second time on the day, if I was a business operating in my state, the labor board would shut me down, for the way I overwork me. There are supposed to be micro breaks in my day at the end of each hour, from 45-00 minutes, I forgot about that! I’m also a little lost about what to do during my break time, but tomorrow hopefully more water, more breaks, watch the kids swim, but don’t swim.

Hopefully I’ll do some reading or research during those breaks I forgot to take tomorrow, I can’t do today again tomorrow.

dont forget
Breaks!

I read somewhere a completely functional parent is the best gift you can give your kids, not sure if it’s true, but I’ll go with it for now… That means more breaks tomorrow.

I also at 6 AM I made a list of all of the 100+ posts I’ve complied this past year on the newspaper in the main menu (here) and attempted to make the blog navigable again… the newest articles are on the Fresh Articles section under the newspaper (here).

Any tips for being accountable to yourself for break taking? I’m beginning to notice it’s a problem for me… 🍵

💝 Mindfulness Monday II 📖

Today is going really well and I was just reflecting on what I have now that I didn’t have a few weeks ago, when it wasn’t going well (when I felt hopelessly overwhelmed).

  1. Right now I have a working day schedule Monday – Friday:

8 Breakfast, 9 Teach School, 10 Exercise, 11 Lunch, 12 Freeplay/Writing, 1 Teach Music, 2 Mum and Me with Daughter, 3 Outside Play Mum and me with Son, 4 Dinner, 5 Video Call with my Sister to Tutor Daughter so I can do ASL with Son, 6 Kids play together I relax, 7 Kids play with dad.

It took a lot of tries to find what works for us, also I had to discipline my daughter to follow without a ton of drama, which was helped by 4 things, 1. Time Outs, 2. Having a repeating schedule to create habits, 3. Prizes from Dollar Tree is she has zero time outs plus a “Jedi Training” book that is a planner which gets blue, green, yellow, or pink happy face stickers depending on the amount of time outs and 4. Mightier biometric brain training for her and myself to deal with our anger problems, that costs $40/month but was worth it.

Imperfect looking, yet magically keeps us all on the same page of what’s happening.

The working schedule helps my daughter a ton and myself as well, my husband didn’t like the idea, but he’s actually barely even home during the time it affects us anyways, and after it worked he came around to the idea, now he is the strict one about keeping my daughter’s 8 PM settle down and 9 PM bedtime strict on the weekends.

see you in class
Actually like teaching the kids, when they behave, but it becomes impossible when they don’t, that was doubly frustrating.

2. I have a list of my daughter’s values of the day and my values of the day, mine for Monday is Minimalism and hers is kindness. Embarrassing to admit, I can’t remember without keeping a Google Keep note. I try to live my values everyday, but remembering what they are is a huge crutch for me… since they do change. I find as I grow I don’t need to focus on the same thing to be a better person, or sometimes I see I’ve been neglecting something really important and adjust, or sometimes I try out a value that sounds beautiful, but I find it isn’t me authentically to live by it. I also like to encourage my daughter to pick and live by her own heart (not mine) so she has her own list of 7 values, that she picks once a year and reorders into the days of the week however she wants to.

you forgot didnt you
Yes… I forgot my own value of the day today, again, but at least I have a Google Keep note to remind me!
Google Keep Notes are My Favorite App (Bitmoji for the Pictures)

3. I know my personal sh*t going on. A. I have a working school schedule (via Google Keep Notes) for everyday (math spelling), B. a different note for material that happens just Mondays (Astronomy and Japanese for us) that way I don’t have to remember what multiplication fact we covered yesterday (we only do 1 a day, by the time COVID is over we will probably be done – small win) C. I have all my writing ideas on a separate section with a note on the unpinned section of my keep notes telling me which day I plan to entertain which topics.

This is the pinned section (excuse my French I was excited my schedule was working).
All my writing ideas are in one place, I can archive what I’m not interested in (or throw it away), also I have a list of what to do on what day (I don’t have follow it, but I can fall back to it if I want to). This unpinned section is under the pinned section, for me writing is second priority to my family which is the top pinned section.

A quick overview of my system, purple is for school and values (my main point as a teacher is live your own values on a daily basis).

Blue are my writings, light blue my reflections on stoic writings of others, aqua my feelings and self checks, yellow my casual goals, green my shopping list (instead of impulse buying I put whatever I want on my list and my husband lets me know when I can do the purchase), pink is about encouraging myself and also being kind talking to my loved ones (my number one weakness is being really rude to those I care most about), and red for boundaries and schedules (one records time outs, when they happened and why so I can troubleshoot my daughter’s ODD and also check if my expectations are reasonable, surprisingly they often are, kids can actually be out of line despite what most parenting articles say, sometimes it’s not me, it’s you).

I really love Google Keep notes, maybe not everyone has no idea what is going on without them, but I sure do, this has replaced that little student planner they give you at school to remind you about days off and homework (finally!).

They have orange, grey and brown, if you don’t like pink and your life probably doesn’t need a list of time outs, but I highly recommend trying out Google Keep notes your own way to take the mental load off the old prefrontal cortex.

Bitmoji Image
Nothing is truly free, I had to let go of somethings to get what I have now…

To get this “bad as* life style” I had to let go of some things, blaming my husband for not helping and just doing what I need to (then he did start helping weirdly, after I didn’t care), blaming COVID for me not having a home schedule in my home, I had to let go of my identity as a scatter brain and embrace my new identity as someone who just writes things down a lot… I found the time to think and experiment, and take notes because I cook really really simple things (sometimes even microwaved food! Yup) and don’t clean much, you don’t have to sacrifice those things, but you will have to sacrifice something what will you let go of to make space for clarity and mindfulness in your life?

Clientmoji
To get help easily, make it very easy for others to help.

4. I have a counterweight, my son was learning about excavators, they have a heavy digging bucket that breaks concrete ext so they need a really heavy counterweight to not fall over, my counterweight is my husband, but yours could be God or excessive cats, whatever it is, the motivation in your life to even try or the person who helps you do laundry so you can have free time is perhaps hidden, but super indispensable, and if you don’t have that person, consider that you are not allowing space for someone or being assertive about asking for help. We all need help, if you don’t have it, take a look at you… Even if you are an army of 1, make sure at least you and you are on the same page, sometimes it’s not that way, we can get in the way of our own success.

dragon pose
I forgot to mention my secret power…

For me minimalism is what makes my life work, if the kids made a huge mess I would be bitter, tired and mad, but I don’t own enough mess materials for that to happen. We have toys, don’t get me wrong, but not enough to drive me insane, I won’t trust them to have that many and clean them until they show me they can… until they clean them, we won’t have them, and I won’t go crazy. Minimalism is the lynch pin for me, without it, my life falls apart. But it isn’t the only lynch pin, yours could be karaoke, running, “a healthy social life,” “a thriving marriage,” two dogs, a pair of silky soft leggings, a secret Lego miniature world in the basement…

Bitmoji Image
I love books so much, but that doesn’t mean I love every book…

I was supposed to go through my books today, so I will, but I don’t have many. So, I had hundreds nearing a thousand when I lived at home (dusting them once a year was a pain), I had a few hundred in my first apartment (then Kon Mari happened), then I had a few dozen renting our first house (then Kon Mari happened about three more times), then my husband and I watched “The Minimalist: A Documentary About Important Things” on Netflix and it went to under 10, today I had two. 1. 14,000 things to be happy about. – Barbara Ann Kipfer and 2. The RIE Manual For Parents and Professionals. Edited by Magda Gerber.

I just wrote a post about the first book starting a wonderful habit in me of noticing the little things in life and having more joy each and everyday in result, but the book came from a little free library (leave a book or take a book) an I am so excited for the book to complete the journey back to that little free library, hopefully touching someone else’s life as well.

The second book I have I’m waiting to summarize for my husband, it’s not available as an ebook that I’m aware of, so we still have a journey to go through together.

So that’s it, two books down to one, one is set to go back to the little free library it’s in the closet “outgoing space” instead of my workspace basket…

bookworm

I’m a book lover with only 1 book, because I’d like to read new books rather than old ones and even if I do read old ones, I’d rather someone else read the books while I’m not and I trust I can find them again if I need to…

I didn’t force myself down to 1 book, that’s just what I need right now. It’s enough. 📖

Clientmoji
Legally that kids stuff is mine, but for Kon Mari purposes it’s not.

Disclosure we have school books for the kids, the kids have kids books, my husband has two books, but they are not “mine” they are not “my books” they are teaching supplies. 📘

💐 Thanks for reading, it’s helped me be more accountable for my life posting publicly and just been much more fun in general having you along for the ride (sometimes it’s a very mundane ride, but thank you all the same)!

[⏱️ Time travel back to Mindfulness Monday I where I go through my clothes.]

[⏱️ Time travel forward to Mindfulness Monday III where I go through papers (not available until next Monday)]

Bitmoji Image
I think showing kids how to let go and really letting them own their own things is a wonderful gift, a little ritual goes a long way to make it make sense to them.

Tidying Books with a 4 Year Old

Helping my daughter (4) with her books: first we played a game with foam characters, mine was a book lover but liked to share books with others and let go of books when there were “too many”, a few hours later we watched Marie Kondo on Youtube:

Just Books

I put all my daughters books on the floor, my daughter asked if we were getting rid of books, I said “it’s not important if we get rid of any books, we are just checking their energy.” Then we knocked on them to wake them up and notice their energy, she said “this one has a lot of energy, this one has a little bit, this one has a medium amount.” She told me the ones she wanted to keep and the ones she wanted to let go of, I didn’t comment if she wanted to get rid of something nice or if she wanted to keep something I hated, it wasn’t about me or her books, it was about her process of letting go what no longer serves her and keeping what sparks joy for her. She kept 16 books and let go of 8, but I really think she made good choices for herself, she let go of a lot of Spanish learning books that she never cared for, and kept the ones that she enjoyed below, at and above her reading level. One book was awkward because we are kind of sharing it, it’s a children’s cleaning book that I’m referencing to rewrite and it’s her book to read as well, but she didn’t have to keep it if she didn’t want to… shared property tends to be the most awkward. When we were done I read to her from her favorite book “Dr. Dog” which I hate, I was hoping that one would be laid off today, but my two least favorite are still here… I’m okay with that at least all her favorites are still here. It’s cool that she knows herself, and her cousins (or others) will probably enjoy the books she let go. 📖

💣 Truth Bomb: I read more when I have less stagnant books around me, just having piles of books doesn’t make me want to read, my right amount of books to keep is just the ones I’m actively using. I love books, but they can go back into service to others rather than sitting inactive in my house (rent free). A lot of old books indicates a static world view to me more than a flexible and current mind.

🌠 See The Good Sunday 🦋

Near my low point during this confinement period I found a book 14,000 things to be happy about. – Barbara Ann Kipfer from 1990 (the year I started kindergarten) at a little free library in El Dorado Park (I long to start one, but don’t own a home… one day) the book lifted my spirits, I started a Coach.Me (accountability app and website) habit called “🌠 See The Good” it was a place to write about the three things I was actually grateful for in a given day, shamelessly of if I had fun while others were suffering, or if I appreciated the things that were PC, or if it was okay to be happy even though we lost my grandfather recently (at 101 years old, that seemed fair to me).

Barbara Ann Kipfer’s Adorable Website thingstobehappyabout.com
Coach.Me is a Free Community and Great Check List Accountability App

The book was so major in allowing me to feel good without being guilty about feeling good… it’s a great book, simple, but different than any I’ve ever read. It really stretched my mind to what a book can be and also came to me at just the right time in my life. I love the Little Library, you take books for free and leave books for others, my daughter loves it too. It restores my faith in humanity that there are still book lovers, still people thinking of others, wanting books to go read vs unread on a shelf… when I found the website I was amazed, it’s not 100% what I wanted to do, but it’s 90% the same as what I had wanted to build many years ago to post my drawings and writing. At this point I still haven’t got that far, because I want to code it myself and I didn’t code (but now at least I’ve started learning Java). Someday I want to have a website like that, I have a drawing of what I wanted before I saw hers, so it’s not plagiarism so much as synergy.

Anyways, another blogger Kiara McCabe, from Verity and Sage, has been inspiring me with great posts that cheer me up such as “Giant Teddy Bears Enforce Social Distancing On Parisian Streets” and as much my long time readers know I don’t shy away from the dark side of life at all, I also have hope in my heart and a lighter side I just felt like no one needed to hear about it… but in light of some of her words in “the Lighter Things of the World” post:

The world is a little scary at the moment. We’re forced to stay inside, we can’t visit our grandparents and there is no way we can consider the possibility of travelling to NYC any time soon.

Plans, dreams and goals all need to take a back seat.

But that doesn’t mean our happiness does. Tiny, joyous sparks of light are among us.

Here are some of the lighter things of the world for me.

– Kiara McCabe

I felt like maybe sharing the 🌠 See The Good habit which is derived from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s notebook she kept for 20 years starting in sixth grade with a tiny spiral notebook. In her book 14,000 things to be happy about, Barbara invites you to “conjure up your own images – to reminisce, wish and dream.”

I hope you will find, as I did, that happiness comes from noticing and enjoying the little things in life.

– Barbara Ann Kipfer’s

So the book came to me, but more than that, the habit came to me, and has helped me, and I’d like to share it with you, maybe not for everyone, but maybe you know someone who would benefit from a new source of joy?

My entries are just quick, simple, free to be less than perfect, but honest and good memory anchors to the days I’m sure I’ll want to go back to someday or perhaps my children will come to know who I was in my writing someday? It has really helped me fight hedonistic adaptation and recognize that I thought imperfect, actually do enough in a given week to not be ashamed of my productivity.

Monday July 20th

🌄 Early Bird: Woke up early, it feels nice. Makes me feel more together, I don’t know if it’s true or untrue, but waking up at 5 AM seems like I am more grounded and centered.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Our family is running smoother, we are starting to create a team vs a group of individuals, it’s not at all perfect, but it’s starting to be peaceful and fun. It seems like in order to enjoy life we had to get rid of free speech, that doesn’t sound nice, but neither is verbal abuse… but it’s a lot nicer to have less free speech than to be undermine by my spouse when I’m doing my best for the overall health of the kids ext. Free speech is a great thing, in the right place, but sometimes it will just degrade a relationship or situation, there is a dark side to free speech just as there is a dark side to censorship.

👒 Finding my place in the world as a writer and an educator. That’s where it has been, but I’m able to feel more like I belong, less of an amateur and impostor lately. I still want to know for sure what the right thing for me is, but at least I’m trying to allow myself to live without knowing instead of being paralyzed with indecision, I find myself here today, I’ll move on from here today the best I can. I’ll do what I can from where I am to make my world and the world better in my own small way.

Tuesday July 21st:

👳 Having fun wearing a large scarf as a mask. It took me a very long time to stop resenting wearing the masks in stores when I’m not coughing… but wearing it in a silly way helps me hate it less.

💞 My husband and I are spending more time talking now that both kids are asleep by 9 PM. We didn’t keep in touch while raising our two kids in the same house, it just wasn’t possible for us… so maybe we will like each other again if we aren’t always “on duty” with the kids, hopefully.

🐘 Learning my older child has a “special need” has really helped, because I always bore the weight of the issue, but before we knew I couldn’t make sense out of why it was so hard. Parenting is always hard as far as I know, but it was even more difficult to get any communication through. Now I’m more mindful that she needs more lead time from being told to hearing, that she needs discipline and clarity, that even though I want to give her a treat for not being in time out, she is going to be in time out, a part of her is feral, it needs limits that other kids her age don’t, but it’s our reality, and it’s to everyone’s benefits. I’m trying to stop seeing discipline as getting in the way of education and see it as important education in and of itself. I’m trying to discipline with love instead of impatience, knowing my daughter has a special need helps motivate me to have more patience. It’s been so helpful in me reducing my guilt, it’s not all about me, she doesn’t just mirror me or reflect me, she sometimes may, but often it’s not about me at all. I’m not the center of the universe, everything my kids do wrong is not a reflection of my failings (some of them sure are but not all of them). Everything is not “all” my fault. Just a challenging situation and I think I can handle it better by honestly addressing it as such, it may be “labeling” to some, but to me it’s the truth and recognition of the truth is the definition of “sanity”.

Wednesday July 22nd:

[No Entry – No Shame]

Thursday July 23rd:

🎉 I cooked something hard for me, my husband complained, I didn’t take it personally. If I can keep not taking it personally, I can be a lot happier. Just letting it roll off like water off wax. Did tell him I didn’t appreciate the complaint because I don’t complain when he burns meat, but nothing more than a casual “I don’t like that.” Good job me!

Friday July 24th:

🏆 I finished 100 articles in response to Mark Manson’s advice to write 100 articles before tying yourself down to a niche as a writer. It felt really good to finish a writing project because it’s the first time I’ve beaten procrastination and actually finished a creative project.

🦷 My son got a molar, I was upset he was fussing at night at 3 AM, I didn’t know why, I was very tired and lost my patience, but it was a good lesson that people fuss when they are in pain, whether I can understand their pain is different, but they are in pain. I really hope I remember that lesson. My son is such a joy in my life, I should have more patience when he needs me to be a joy in his life… but I know I won’t always be perfect or patient and that’s part of being human. When I saw his molar I was ashamed, my husband said he thought my son was in pain, but I thought he was just being needy. I guess both were true, he was feeling needy because he was in pain from the tooth.

🤖 I like coding, I’ve always felt like a tech dinosaur, but coding is starting to flip that identity for me, which in our digital world is probably vital or at least helpful.

Saturday July 25th:

💊 Ibuprofen, I had a unpleasant headache today, rode it out most of the day (for no reason) then took one ibuprofen and I’m back to normal. I think it was neck stiffness that caused the headache, also didn’t drink much water today… I did some coding just now that I wouldn’t have done without the ibuprofen. I also spent an hour beading with my daughter I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

📅 Our magnetic school calendar, it legitimizes my home school to me, that helps me stay on track day after day when almost no one cares if I were to be teaching my kids math or reading vs just binge watching movies all day.

🍔 Protein style burgers, we eat burgers for dinner in the summer, it almost makes life worth living all by its self. I eat semi-vegetarian spring, fall and winter, but summer I eat as much meat as I want and the combination has been able to keep my high cholesterol down, it’s always nice to know summer is coming, hate the heat, love the meat.

Sunday July 26th:

💞 Thomas, the happiness nerd, inspired me to try to get my license back to Fun Raise: I love the idea:
https://thehappinessnerd.wordpress.com/author/thehappinessnerd/

🏞️ Spent some time with the whole family at the park, sometimes life is so beautiful you know even in the moment you will look fondly back on the time passing by.

👒 I had writers meeting on Google Meetings, it was really great to socialize, I hate touching people so a virtual writers meeting is 100% fine with me. I don’t have to spend money at the cafe, nor commute. Not everything can be done online, but writers meeting sure can.

Not sure if I’ll continue next week, but this is just another way writing can be used to elevate the everyday life of the common man or common lady and I wanted to share it, hoping someone will try it and benefit from it as well! 📓

happy stroll in meadow
If your waiting for permission to be happy, you may wait a long time… there is enough bad in the world to suffer from without throwing away the joy that is served to your plate. That’s my opinion anyways. 🦋

🌳 Self Acceptance Leads to Serenity 🕊️

happy tree

Friday I wanted to do MORE than I did do, I also wanted to BE MORE than I was, I wanted to KNOW MORE of who I was… I wanted to be further along my journey of life. But of course the end of the journey is death.

Memento Mori…

Today I feel completely at peace with myself, with what I am, the little bit I am finding out about myself, with where I am in life, it’s a wonderful peace.

Right now I’m trying to reflect on the difference, what made the difference? One difference was today I woke up before dawn.

Lizards have a real third eye on their forehead, it lets in light that tells them the season, so they know when it’s summer (their mating season) among other things. They like to bask in the sunlight at dawn and get their calendar all sorted.

I’ve noticed I very much like that as well.

It wasn’t so much earlier, I didn’t do so much more, but it just gave me a “time space” to be me. Time and space seem to be two different things but they are not, they are inseparable physically like electricity and magnetism. Many people don’t understand electromagnetism, it’s the fourth or fifth college physics class that not everyone gets to, but many people have a car, your car has a magnet called an alternator, it spins and the spin puts electricity in wires surrounding it to charge your battery. The battery drains as it starts the car, as you drive the alternator recharges it for the next start. The gas powers the explosion that moves metal pistons which turn gears and shafts to drive the wheels forward, but the alternator powers the starting system.

Anyways…

I’ve always wondered how can I help the world? When I was about 4 I cut a shield and sword out of cardboard to practice for a career in fighting monsters. I was legitimately disappointing when I found out it’s not a thing. And even more disappointed when I learned sometimes we humans are the monsters. But perhaps writing is a good fit for me, for I can discus the monsters that plague us, the monsters within.

Serenity:

se·ren·i·ty/noun: serenity; noun: serenities

1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.”an oasis of serenity amidst the bustling city”

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French serenite, from Latin serenitas, from serenus ‘clear, fair’ (see serene).

Oxford Languages

One thing that I’ve found is “special” about me is my serenity, it’s wavering and imperfect, and it isn’t unique, but neither is it ubiquitous.

It’s a took I’ve learned to make and I think pretty much anyone could learn it as well.

I think it all begins with a love or at least acceptance for who you are in the moment.

One scene from “Kung Fu Panda” summed it up better than anything more serious I’ve ever come across:

MR. PING: Po, I think it’s time I told you something I should have told you a long time ago…

PO: [Looks up] Okay…[Mr Ping pauses dramatically…]

MR. PING: The secret ingredient of my secret ingredient soup![Po feigns excitement.]

PO: Oh.

MR. PING: C’mere! The secret ingredient is… nothing![Po is taken completely by surprise.]

PO: Huh?

MR. PING: You heard me. Nothing. There is no secret ingredient!

PO: Wait wait wait…it’s just plain old noodle soup? You don’t add some kind of special sauce or something?

MR. PING: Don’t have to. To make something special, you just have to believe it’s special.[Po looks at his father with dawning realization. He picks up the Scroll and looks down at the golden reflective surface. For a moment, Po stares at his reflection on the scroll, then his eyes widen. He gets it now.]

PO: There is no secret ingredient…

Kung Fu Panda Transcript

Maya Angelous, her words strike me as honey to my brain, but also they seem as hard and true as papapya seeds. I’ve saved her books to read for later, as if I’m not at the level to be able to read them, but whenever I read her quotes it seems to invigorate my soul, her words are not only supportive, but it feels like she offers me strength from across the veil of death.

If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.

You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.

Continue to be bold, courageous. Try to choose the wisest thing and once you’ve chosen the wisest thing go out and try to achieve it. Be it.

I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

– Maya Angelou

So update, as I started writing this post in the morning, took the afternoon off to go to the park where we search for lizards with my daughter, then came home and found a really great post by Thomas, The Happiness Nerd, about Fun Raising, it was great to me and ironic also. A few days ago I was worried about “doing more” yesterday and today I accepted that I needed to relax and do good, but at the speed that works for me, at a pace that is flexible to the needs of my family, and my well being as well. Exactly when I felt the least like I “needed to” do more to “fix the world” or “be enough” I found my path for being able to do something towards my personal nemesis cause.

I wrote an article December 31st, 2019 about Mingi, killing babies because they grew their top teeth before the bottom or other reasons. I found out from “Omo Child: The River and the Bush”. I unfortunately find causes that could use support left and right, but I don’t know why this one hit me in the gut as “the worst thing humanity is doing still”… for all the press black lives matter is getting (and I agree with it) I’m afraid people don’t know what to do to make it a reality instead of a complaint. There are black lives, ended by blacks, they are being saved literally by Lale Labuko, but he then needs to fund raising the children. I’ve done a light investigation of the foundation checking on their needs, their status. They are available via Amazon Smile if you shop on Amazon and click “Omo Hope” as your charity choice.

If everyone that has spoke out about black lives matter actually supported black lives via Omo Hope or African Rode or donating blood to Life Bank for women who give birth in Nigeria. “To date, LifeBank has moved over 22,000 units, served 400-plus hospitals, and saved more than 8,000 lives.”

I had no idea that donating blood once can save 3 lives, I don’t think there is any easier way to do that… When I had a both my babies at home I felt safe, I was 5 minutes away from a hospital, if I needed it, I’m type A, I live in the US, there was just no way I wouldn’t have blood if I needed it.

I just can’t believe that women are still dying from blood loss, that there isn’t blood for them if they want it (I know Jehovah’s Witnesses sometimes reject it, you do you) but to have it not be there… that’s crazy to me.

When I read about life bank I immediately wanted to donate blood to the Red Cross, but I’m A+ so there really isn’t a need in my area right now for my type.

I just ask you to imagine a world where instead of rioting everyone donated $10 to a cause, instead of blood shed, we donated blood to mothers who deserve to have it save their lives, where instead of fighting about who is to blame we looked towards people finding solutions like Lale Labuko. This world could be that world if we make it so.

I’m going to be Fun Raising towards Omo Hope as best as I can, it may not be much I can do, so far it’s been $143.97 from me doing absolutely nothing except shopping mindfully, but it just feels like you can only stand by and do nothing for so long.

When you don’t know something is wrong, you can let it go, when you don’t know what to do, you can let it go, but when you know something is wrong and you know you can do something about it, how can you not act?

I’m urging all of you to consider fun-raising in your area, not for my mission, but for yours.

Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”

– Frederick Buechner

Thomas, author of the Happiness Nerd, is just suggesting 1 hour per week of something you can do and like to do, it seems so achievable to perhaps not reach my end goal of ending Mingi, but to at least be a part of supporting the people who may do so within my life time.

Of course, we will see if I really do this after the initial excitement is over, but so far I’ve contacted my local licence board to get my massage therapy license back and if that doesn’t work I’m open to doing art or writing or even cleaning garages to help those kids, because black lives (and all human lives) do matter, they mattered before they hype, they will matter to me long after the news moves on as well, because those are our brothers. If we can’t care for our brothers, or won’t, who are we then?

I am at peace with myself if I’m only supporting myself and my family, but I found out I am in a position to do more, 1 hour more and I promise to try. Not sure how it will go, but I promise to try to help those babies with teeth on the top, who are going are going to be slaughtered for that or for other reasons, by those who don’t know better. I can’t do it all, I can’t save them all, but I also can’t not try to help some. 🌈

UNLESS someone like you. cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

– Dr. Seuss
It’s interesting a million causes exist, but often only one grabs your heart in an unshakable way.

📚 The First Rule of Book Fight Club 🥊

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.

– Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve been wanting to have a book fight club for a long time.

You know when you have time or money to buy “a” book and you browse Amazon or a bookstore and see “two” similar books, but can only read one?

No one is going to tell you which one is the good one… until now! Bam!

I’m going to compare similar books and dish out the truth about which one I think is better and why, so that you may be able to save time.

There are more books than we will ever be able to read. When I read all the children’s books at my small local library in Hawaii, then my mom took me to the next further library and I read those books, when I got to the next reading level we had moved to California with larger libraries and it hit me that it wouldn’t be a matter of time until I read all the books, it would be an unfinished task when I died…

Fast forward to now and there are more books, movies, shows, people than we will ever have time to engage with… exponentially. Many are free and many are affordable. It’s great, but also harrowing for me, someone who had hoped to read “all the books” before I die.

At some point you realize you have a limited time on Earth, and there are “too many” books to read them all, it was actually a horrifying and sad point for me, you probably are more mature than me… but it’s still hard for me to face the wall of emotional futility that I won’t get to do everything I want to do before I die.

I do kind of enjoy all books the way some people enjoy all cats or all beers. But knowing there is a limited time on Earth I wanted to do not just book reviews, but Book Fights for others who were on the fence about what to read in the moment. By all means you could read the looser first, or the winner and the looser simultaneously (some people do that… multiple books at a time, yeah I’ve done it, when I was younger), but the whole point is for me to discover what I found more helpful and therefore make the world very slightly better by saving a very small amount of people, who follow my writing or find it, want to read the books I feature, but can’t read both, and then read the better one (for them) based on my recommendation.

This Book Fight Club was something I wanted to do with some drawings, but perhaps that will wait and I’ll just go through the discovery and comparison process first.

For some reason I see this as taboo, but just a little, not like dog fighting, more like rooster fighting…

I was once worried I would offend the authors, but I really don’t think they will care and if they do, hopefully they will step up their book game for the rematch.

I was thinking I will score the matches in these catagories:

In a normal Book Fight:

  1. Reader Enjoyment
  2. Knowledge Delivery
  3. Life Change Catalyst Rate

In a Championship Book Fight:

  1. Reader Enjoyment
  2. Knowledge Delivery
  3. Life Change Catalyst Rate
  4. Stylistic Writing Quality
  5. Badassness

This won’t be a copy of what books teachers were forced to read and force you to read… this will be a no holds-bard free for all of free thought and wordcraft.

It will be biased and subjective, but I’ve noticed so are all other sports, boxing reserves the right for the judges to be right, their decision is defined as the correct decision, which makes it really tricky to follow and easy to fix the outcome via bribery. It’s right because “I said so” really? Actually yes, read the rules…

I’ve competed before in martial arts and refereed before in martial arts, so I’ve noticed from both sides that it’s impossible for the referee to be correct all the time, robberies happen and will continue to happen.

I plan to do this on Fridays… perhaps three match ups, a children’s book, a self help book and a fiction book? Ok, maybe four… got to show Non-Fiction some love too, “got to”.

Today I’ll be working on:

Fly Weight (Children’s): Richard Kipling’s Rickitiki Tavi VS Margret Rey and H. A. Rey’s Curious George

Bantam Weight (Fiction): Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth VS Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time

Welter Weight (Self Improvement): Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy VS Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k

Heavy Weight (Non-Fiction): Paul G Hewitt’s Conceptual Physics VS Raymond Serway’s Physics for Scientist & Engineers with Modern Physics.

Hopefully I will finish this from 7-8 PM, but not sure how the day will play out because it’s family game night (Sneaky Snaky Squirrel a game that encourages your children to steal from you, but also teaches the cruelty of fate, all with cute plastic acorns!).

Fighting Out of the Red Corner Hypothetically from Africa “Curious George”!
Fighting Out of the Blue Corner Hypothetically from India “Rikitikitavi”!

Stats:

George – Height: 142cm (4’8″) Weight: 54Kg (120 lbs) Age 2020-1941 = 79

Rikitikitavi – Height: 55cm (22″) Weight: 5Kg (11lbs) Age 2020-1894 = 126

Prefight:

Going to be an interesting match-up today, a large weight advantage to George, he’s been trained by the man with the Yellow Hat, he has a huge fan following, but that won’t help him in the ring today. One of his skills is curiousity, however, Rikitivitavi is also strong in that front. Rikitikitavi is the older fighter, but that’s not always a disadvantage, sometimes experience can be the turning point in a very evenly matched fight. If his eyes are red, that should mean he has his head in the game today.

Rikitikitavi is coming off a victory against the pair of cobras Nag and Nagaina, but don’t count George out before the fight starts. Hopefully he kept himself thin for this fight, a full mongoose is a slow mongoose and Rikitikitavi has struggled with conditioning in the past, he’s still training with Darzee the tailor bird.

It’s nice to see George out of jail, he’s such a nice monkey, but has had fights cancelled due to legal problems before, such a shame to see an athlete of that quality held back due to those issues. So many children look up to George, I really hope he stays out of prison moving forward.

This fight takes place in Dictionopolis, perhaps a slight advantage to Rikitikitavi.

This is a championship bought, it will be scored by:

  1. Reader Enjoyment
  2. Knowledge Delivery
  3. Life Change Catalyst Rate
  4. Stylistic Writing Quality
  5. Badassness

📕 100 Posts Later Mark Manson 🏆

dear dairy

Mark Manson’s Tips and Advice for Starting a Blog, May 26th, 2015

There are only two valid reasons to start a blog. Either a) you have some other business and blogging would be a nice way to help promote it. Or b) you just really, really, really enjoy blogging. Outside of those two reasons, there’s no legitimate reason to start one.

(Edit: a commenter pointed out that there is a legitimate third reason, and that is to build a platform to eventually get a book deal and/or to test ideas for a book. This is very true. But even so, you’re looking at a couple years of writing to build a platform large enough to get a publisher’s attention.)

– Mark Manson

I found that I do really, really, really enjoy blogging, which was unexpected and I wouldn’t mind building a platform to eventually get a book deal after years of writing to build a platform large enough to get a publisher’s attention. Yay!

When I started I wasn’t even sure I would be able to write articles. I had a book in my mind and didn’t want to practice with short stories or articles, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for a book. Not to say I would never write a book, but to me it was worthwhile to take this journey inward and explore the world of WordPress interactive readers and writers.

Going back to my childhood, sometime in sixth grade, in the winter:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

Bam. Shot in the heart… by words.

It really got to me, I was permanently bit by “road less takenitis”…

Until you’ve written hundreds of thousands of words, you have no clue what you will enjoy writing about or what other people will enjoy reading from you.

Successful blogs exist at the intersection between the passions of the writer and readers. The problem is that everyone, despite thinking they know where those two passions are, don’t actually know either until they’ve put their reps in.

Until you’ve written 100 pages about a topic, you really don’t know how much you enjoy writing about it. And until you’ve published 100 pages about a topic, you have no idea how much people will enjoy reading what you have to say about it.

It takes a lot of writing and experimentation for each person to find their own individual style and voice, what they care about, what others care about, and so on. This is a natural process. But it just so happens that when you blog, you need to go through this process in a very public way. Which is awkward. And kind of embarrassing.

But you need to be able to stomach this. Most people, when they want to start blogging don’t realize how much embarrassment and “I can’t believe I actually published that,” goes into it. So if you can’t handle public embarrassment (not to mention the occasional hate email), then, as the South Park ski instructor once said, “you’re going to have a bad time!”

It’s for the three reasons above that my go-to advice for aspiring bloggers is always, “Write 100 posts and then come back and ask me again.”

– Mark Manson

I took that to heart and wrote 100 posts, this being 100. It was exactly at 100 that I had the basic ideas of what topics I wanted to write about “even just to start”. So, either it’s a mind game, or Mark had me down exactly. It took me exactly 100 posts to have a basic idea of what I want to blog about.

How closely did I play by Mark’s rules?

1. “Study branding and basic marketing.

I completely ignored this. I wanted to live or die on honest interest of readers, no tricks, no gimmicks, no begging, no click bait.

2. “Writing first, design second.”

I did honor this, I really wanted to do something more reflective of my creative style artistically, but I also don’t know how and the technical skills causing me to struggle when I try to make design changes in the past resulted in no writing getting done at all.

3. “Read books, not other bloggers.”

Kind of… I read all sorts of books, because I’m a bibliophile, yet I read bloggers as much as I wanted too. Truly enjoying and respecting the articles of bloggers is one of the inspirations I have for even blogging to begin with, I think articles are the books of the future. Short for seems to be replacing long form.

4. “You want quality traffic first, quantity second.”

Totally honored this, but it was easier because I had no traffic goals. One person reading would have been enough, potentially even zero, today I’m over 100 and I don’t even check that, because I don’t want to be read by 1 person more than who wants to read me, whatever that number is 0 or 100 or 1000. Life is short, I don’t want to force people to spend theirs reading what I’ve written, it’s an honor if they chose to read my thoughts, it’s a disservice if they would do so from guilt or coercion (to us both).

5. “At first, the only people who will care about your blog will be your friends and family.”

Actually none of my friends follow and my family knows about my blog, but very very rarely reads it… But I’m okay with that due to the above mentioned belief that I want people to read who want to read – to me that’s pretty much the whole point. I don’t want to be like the TV show that used to come on before the good one, and people just watched because they didn’t want to miss “the good one”…

6. “Set a word goal each week and then attempt to keep it for a year. When I started, I promised myself at least 3 posts of 1000 words each week. I kept that up for almost three years. Sure, a lot of those posts were crap, but man, did it pay off. I improved a lot. I got much closer to finding my voice. And I discovered a lot about what people did/didn’t want to read from me.

I kept very close to the 1000 word minimum, often going over, rarely going under, I don’t think I was ever consistent about 3 post a week though, it was very often many more, or less, or even none, when life got busy. When I started I felt like 99% an imposer of a writer, and now I really truly feel that I have always been a writer, but that I’m a sensitive soul, easily blown off track by criticism. This Saturday at 9 AM, I have a writers group meeting with “real writers” for the first time, and I’m a bit unsure if I will be able to handle that environment emotionally, sometimes other writers or artists are the worst critics… hopefully not, but even if they are, I feel somewhere in my soul it won’t change my resolve to express my soul in the way that has always worked best for me (writing). Whether I’m a good writer, or a bad writer, after 100 posts I am at least sure that I am a writer.

7. “Proofread.”

Totally didn’t proofread much at all, only a handful of articles even got one proofreading, I felt emotionally I needed the momentum of continuous writing, I plan to go back and work on editing when I feel like it. There isn’t anything wrong with off the cuff blogging, it’s one thing I’ve learned from reading other’s blogs and though proofreading has a place, I don’t regret the way I didn’t proofread my articles, since they had a casual theme. I don’t think I could have made it this far without allowing myself to make the writing process less painful as much as I could. One way I did that was not being notified if people unfollowed, they had my blessing to come or go, but I didn’t want that news in my day throwing me off kilter.

8. “Have fun. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy writing/blogging, otherwise this is just going to be a vanity project that you’ll scrap in a month. Blogging is a very lonely profession in many ways. It can also be stressful in weird ways. Like anything else, you really have to have a natural passion for the work if you’re going to make it. You have to be in it for the right reasons. So try it out for a few months or a year, and if you still aren’t excited to be posting, then perhaps chalk it up as a nice attempt and then go try something else.”

I didn’t know at the beginning how true all of these points would be for me, sometimes I was very lonely, but most the time I felt my faith in humanity restored and my spirit uplifted by some very special friends who I felt like were flying in a “v” with me the whole time, even though we are thousands of miles apart. I felt so much kindness from readers comments, one interesting thing about comments, they can be only a few words, but it really feels to me like the sentiment goes through as intended. I’ve sent heartfelt thanks to people and they commented back that they really appreciated the gratitude, so many people have kept lighting my way through the darkness. It was really beautiful to have young and old, male and female, local and international people inspiring me, motivating me and cheering me onward. It’s getting to be cliche, but the good people you meet along the way are the best treasure from the experience of living. One thing you can never have enough of is good company… or maybe you can, but I haven’t. The stress was crazy, the stress of fighting my own perfectionism. Of not over analyzing how ever millimetre of the page looked, if my free account adds were going to look to trashy, of a million small details that seem to matter when you start and then don’t in the end. I actually am not sure about what I want to name my blog, I’ve been going with an idea “bubblegum monkey” but without having really settled on anything. Still after 100 posts a clever name like Hands Free Mama or A Girl and Her Blog, hasn’t come to me. But I did learn to have fun, learning to have fun blogging has helped me learned to have fun in life, which has also allowed me to live a better life.

One thing I’ve found is I don’t allow myself to enjoy life as much as I should, the more I take care of myself the more I have energy for my loved ones. Self care is the easiest thing to say and hardest to do for me.

I don’t talk about Mark Manson a lot, because he has 350,000 subscribers and I have about 100… so it seems like mathematically it just doesn’t need doing. Also because I’m a stoic and he’s a little Epicurean sometimes…

But here on my 100th post in responce to his challenge, I must say that I really enjoyed his books “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” and “Everything is F*cked A Book About Hope” as well as his Free Ebook and Monday news letter.

The first time he wrote back to me about his book for my book club, it had a big impact on me as an inspiring writer. Like in the children’s book “Dr. Mr. Henshaw” by Beverly Cleary…

Also Rachel Macy Stafford, Jerry Jenkins, Jeffrey A. Carver, Owen Williams, Michael Sheridan, Arleen Lorrance, Diane Kennedy Pike, Steven Turikunkiko, Nomzamo Madide, Lovie Price, Jessica Dimas and Abby Lawson have all had the kindness to reach out to me in one way or another and each time I talk to another writer I feel 1% more confident as if by proxy and that really helps me because that’s about 13% of my confidence borrowed from other writers (maybe I’ll return it someday)!

Bitmoji Image
I feel a bit better about not graduating from medical school now that I’ve completed something in my adult life.

I think some of us in life, spend a lot of our life waiting for other people to give us permission to be ourselves and to start living. I don’t want to think of it as wasted time, I prefer to think of it like a squirrel stocking up for the winter, or a butterfly taking time to grow wings, I prefer to imagine that this time spent seeking who I am as a writer was not only acceptable, but essential to finding both “my unique voice” and also to “uncover the fun” in the process of being publicly imperfect.

I’m proud to be “done” with the 100 post challenge, but I’ve actually only just begun. It took me 100 “irreverent posts” to even begin to write about a variety of topics I find interesting:

M Mindful Minimalist Monday
T Transformation Tuesday
W World of Wordcraft Wednesday
R Tech Talk Thursday
F Fight Club Friday
S Stoic Saturday
U See the Good Sunday

So Ironically after finishing the challenge, I’m only just begging the challenge (like the first Zelda game, when you beat the game – the reward was, playing a harder version of the same game).

Because until you’ve written 100 posts, you generally have no clue what you enjoy writing about or what people enjoy reading from you, you have not developed anything close to decent writing chops, and you have no chance at ever monetizing.

Because until you find that unique voice, and until you get your writing chops up to speed, there’s not much that can be said other than, “Keep writing. Keep experimenting. Keep testing out new ideas and seeing who responds.” Hell, start three blogs. Write a post a week for each one. Write a fan fiction. A tech manual. A sci-fi fantasy novel starring Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. The more creative, the better. Eventually you’ll find something that sticks.

– Mark Manson

So the end is actually the beginning of the next phase. Like Kung Fu Panda, I didn’t start at level 1, I stared at level 0, and tomorrow I start level 1.

It’s a big deal for me personally, I may not be a butterfly, but I’m a pupa instead of an egg…

I’m surprised that I’m not scared, I’m surprised that I feel a sense of peace, it’s like a warm feeling in my heart, that I think this is what I’m meant to do, but not a clear vision that I would wish for… more like quiet stirrings, subtle suspicion.

Anyways, I’ve stayed up very late… 1:34 AM my time, because I’m so excited, I’m not sure if I’ll stay up all night and watch the complete sun rise.

I perhaps shouldn’t have considered myself a failure after the change of plans not to attend medical school, but being honest I did, this achievement, small as it may seem to some, is perhaps a greater achievement towards becoming who I was meant to be, though less glamours and less high earning, it seems to resonate much more profoundly with my soul. I think that was a road to empty, external acknowledgement (at least for me) and this is the road home that will lead me back to my own lost soul someday.

cheers with champagne
With apple juice!

Here’s to you and to the approaching dawn of a new day. Thank you for joining me on this journey. 💐

🦖 Tech Talk Thursday 💻

This week I’ve been learning coding for 5-10 minutes a day, it’s been surprisingly fun.

Welcome to “Tech Talk Thursday” (Woo!).

I’ve been using the free Grasshopper App to learn Java, I’m not a computer major, not a “computer person” but it’s very accessible.

I find myself relying on a lot of math knowledge and some extremely amateur Rimworld coding experience, I wonder if I can make it even easier for anyone else interested in trying?

So far I’ve covered the first three sections:

  1. Drawing Shapes

2. Variables

3. Arrays

Part 1: Drawing shapes, the point was drawBox(blue); makes a blue square. The squares move in order from left to right across a line until newLine(); is typed. Command 1 = drawBox(color);, Command 2 = newLine(); In the fictional world of Flat Land you could make an army of workers.

Exercise 1
Exercise 1 – Off Script

If the stripe is the same on top the code is different because it doesn’t need to change lines after each square. It’s still the box code drawBox(color) but it can be drawBox(‘ggg yyy bbb’); the ” matter, the spaces matter, the () matter, they are important to the computer, the spaces indicate new lines (like hitting enter on a keyboard), the ” are saying the inside is the inside, like a cell membrane separates the blood from the cell contents, the ; is closing that command, giving closure to what the command started.

Exercise 2
Exercise 2 Off Script

Command 3 = drawBox(pickRandom(color)); this is a little fun, the computer will pick a color for you…

Part 2: Instead of painting the color directly another way is to set a variable as a color and then use it. Like var LivesThatMatter = Black, would attach that color when you type “Lives that Matter” so drawbox(LivesThatMatter) would give you a black box.

Exercise 3 Off Script

Command 4 = print. It displays text that is defined with your variable.

Exercise 4 Off Script
Exercise 5 Off Script

Without typing print, the information stored is there, but won’t show. The title of the variables can not have spaces so capitals are used to make reading easier, ItHelpsSeperateTheWordsVisually.

3. Arrays, the new term “array” means choices that will show up for a random choice.

Ex: var answer = pickRandom([  ‘choice 1’,  ‘choice 2’,  ‘choice 3’,  ]);

Exercise 6
Exercise 7 Off Script

I laughed and laughed at baking a hypothetical cake with a penis… not that I would ever do that. But I did go to my husband’s friend’s birthday party, who had a cake decorated with a penis cake topper, the guys started throwing it around after cutting the cake and then I got hit with it. So… it’s just fond memories perhaps, not necessarily pro-cannibalism or extreme feminism by the way.

Not sure if I’ll cover coding next week vs another app or program, but I really wanted to expose people who hadn’t tried the app to what it would be like. I had no idea before hand how easy it would be to start learning, and I think most likely many people wouldn’t have known either.

So, there’s a fun game, a job skill, or a brain exerciser that you can do for free from home, maybe it’s not your jam, but perhaps now you know you could probably learn to handle that if you cared to learn.

I find it an ironic topic to post about, because I’m a recovering technophobe, I’m the last one in my family to get the newest form of technology and I only reluctantly learn how to use it once I get it… but just like math, society uses technology and if you don’t know about it, it’s just to your own detriment… so slowly getting on board with being more open minded and building skill to improve my blog, or my job skills, or my world with more tech skills.

fun
I had a lot of fun learning coding so far, it’s been a few weeks, just 5-20 minutes when I find the time.