๐Ÿ”ฎ Word of Wordcraft ๐Ÿ“œ

Thinking about what my relationship with writing is, I would like to think I’m a wordsmith, more than a word collector.

My love for words started with my mother, we had a “imperfect” relationship, but one thing I remember well that was not horrible was her reading me the dictionary to lull me to sleep. Later I read it in detention, which I got for reading non-assigned books in science class (with a verbally abusive science teacher who said I would never do anything in life… Mr Smith I’m talking about you) he took it very personally that I read books since my work was done (Yay! public school – with undertone of sarcasm).

My mother was from California, my father from Hawaii, I grew up in Hawaii, but she hated it and ran away from my father using a funeral as an excuse to flee the state instead of just discussing a move like I imagine some adults would have done… So my mom took my sister, herself and myself back to her father’s home in California unexpectedly. To each of us, she told a different story, something she always did. To me she said it was because I wouldn’t get as good as an education in Hawaii as California, she hated the local dialect of English in Hawaii… then she home schooled me anyways, so? My mom was a bipolar drug addict, she lied nearly as much as she breathed. I don’t know if she had a grasp on reality and twisted it or if she was a prisoner of her own fantasies? I don’t think I’ll ever know that.

But as a child I loved and believed her, so when she said the whole family has to move out of state for your vocabulary to be decent, I took it very seriously. I hated California, it was cold, it was less inviting than Hawaii, I didn’t fit in as a mixed asian as well in Huntington Beach as I had in Hawaii. I lost a lot, I never realized how much until much later. I lost playing with my cousins, my main consistent support system (my grandmother), access to my Japanese culture, the foods I liked (mochi, gan, Japanese candies, simple but ever present white rice in the kitchen). I lost a father who felt whole. My father moved to follow the family and try to make a failing marriage at least appear functional… he retired recently and is a different person in Hawaii. He said “here I can be myself”, I wish he had thought that about California as well… but we can’t change other people’s beliefs, only our own beliefs and our actions and boundaries.

Anyways, so it happened that I read through a very abridged dictionary of English words about twice and dabbled with an unabridged one. Kind of a wordaholic… but strangely even though I love “artisan words” like zephyr, ambivalence, melancholy, wanderlust, schadenfreude, tranquility, ho’oponopono (Hawaiian), lokahi (Hawaiian), petang (Seminole), sielumaisema (Finnish), I actually prefer straight talk. Meaning I like complex words that have substance and really express something clearly, but actually I prefer simple words when they will work. I find beauty in the simplicity of simple language when it does capture the entire idea in my soul.

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Wordsmitheryin British English

The craft or skill of a wordsmith.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Definition of wordsmith

A person who works with words especiallya skillful writer.

I live in America, which has an anything goes word policy, as opposed to Spanish, French, and British English that have a royal board of standards. I didn’t grow up liking English, but it’s a bit mandatory here. Over time I grew to love being able to express what’s in my thoughts to others, that much I do enjoy about English, it’s a point A to point B car for me.

Recently my daughter and I started learning Navajo on Saturdays, I thought she was a bit crazy to pick Navajo, because where would we ever use it? Who speaks that? In what country… oh, this one, but they were semi-genocided to semi-extinction by the Americans who end genocide in any country that seems to also have a lot of oil… I don’t know that it’s older than Chinese or Japanese, but it feels older, I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but it feels like the past lives on in you as you speak the words, it seems like breathing the air of ancient ruins. But I guess for some people it’s actually still their current, everyday language as well…

I know I speak English, but English is actually absorbed into Japanese as well, so as I speak English I’m also speaking Japanese… even before the internet the languages have begun to mix the way I’m very genetically mixed. I have a mental global language in my mind, I transcended English, though I use it. I guess that’s the goal of most schools which teach foreign language, to teach you the world is more than you can say, label in any language or any words.

I intended to finish this last night, but I’ve been waking up since my son is getting his molars. My husband and my daughter nailed, they thought “tooth”. I didn’t, I thought separation anxiety and I was mad, then the next day I saw the tooth and felt dumb…

“Men are disturbed not by events but by their opinions about them.”

– Donald Robertson

That was so true for me at 3AM yesterday, then I saw the tooth and felt ashamed I was so frustrated with someone in “actual” pain. I would want to be someone who cares about someones “inner pain” as much as physical pain, but it’s just so right now.

So yesterday I fell asleep at about 9:15 PM and I still unsure of exactly what the direction I was heading with the post, want to wrap it up and publish it, so that I’ll be fresh for today.

One thing I noticed about myself is that if I don’t publish something, it sits there as a draft and most often I don’t want to go back to it, nor delete it, so it becomes an uncomfortable half finished and stale thought. If I publish it, it maybe half finished or irreverent, but like a tattoo it’s a permanent reminder of a temporary sentiment, complete in it’s tie to the present at least and it doesn’t get seem to get stale as fast as a draft does…

So, here’s to finishing old projects to be available for today, as imperfectly as it does get done.

I think Wednesday will be when I explore my internal writing process, motivation to write, fascination with words, it’s kind of an uncomfortable “mental barn” for me. I have guilt about not having finished, whispers of inadequacy, but I also think I’ll find myself more as a writer, what works for me, possibly what my passion and niche are, it’s kind of a dark closet to open, but I’ll plan it for Wednesday as of now. Ever since reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” where he describes a mental tool box, as a metaphorical tool, tool box, I’ve been tempted to construct an imaginary writer’s cabin in my mind. Also since reading “The Phantom Tollbooth” I’ve been wanting to take an imaginary vacation to Dictionopolis…

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It’s a messy post, from the depths of my messy soul. ๐Ÿงน

Anyone interested in checking in their writing goals, current projects or sharing writing charts of resources, these World of Wordcraft posts will hopefully be a good place for writing about writing and hopefully I’ll be consistent about posting them on Wednesdays.

๐Ÿ› Transformation ๐Ÿฆ‹

โ€œItโ€™s such hard work to try and act like something that youโ€™re not that you should really just be who you are,โ€ Shaun says. โ€œItโ€™s okay to be vulnerable, and itโ€™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.โ€

– Shaun Blokker

Be yourself, so easy to say, so hard for me to actually do.

As I peel away the layers of myself like an onion, I sometimes dislike what I find, but much more often it’s just hard to even be able to “see” what is there.

We don’t see with our eyes, we see with our brains.

Some blind people are able to recover sight and typically what they first get isn’t recognition of objects we all know, but overwhelming shapes and colors.

I have trouble “seeing” myself. Maybe because I’m inside me? I see a little of my nose, but none of my eyelashes, I have two tattoos, one on my neck I’ll never actually see directly, one on my shoulder I can halfway see… (I don’t regret either by the way). One reminds me of my temporary life, the ephemeral nature of it… the other of the moment I met my husband, sure a risky tattoo, but if I was willing to take the risk with my heart I was also to take it with my shoulder. I’m like that.

I listened to a book “T for Transformation” by Shaun Blokker around 2017, I was interesting, because it at once did and didn’t resonate with me at the same time. So much of it was helpful, but some of it felt so far away. Very much like Shaun T’s work outs. My exercise soul mate is T25, Shaun T’s 25 minute workout video. Even before I became a mom, I felt like “I don’t have enough time” to get in shape, and abs were my weak spot so I wanted an instructor that obviously knew about abs evidenced by having them, T25 was… the perfect fit for me in a world without a lot of perfect fits. I had tried P90X first, it was fine, a lot of kinds of push ups, kind of not enough lower body and core for me, not that it had too much upper body, just not enough lower body and core… Shaun’s work outs make 25 minutes seem like 2 hours to me. Really. He changed my perception of time. Einstein explains that time doesn’t only seem flexible and relative, it actually does bend, shift and warp… but T25 is visceral proof for me. That 25 minutes is not the same as browsing Youtube for 25 minutes…

I haven’t gone on Instagram in a long time, many years ago (10?) I had a good friend that wanted to keep in touch that way when we stopped working together. I’ve been logging in a few times a year for years, I follow only 5 people, Shaun T, my good friend, and three amazing photographers David Guttenfelder, Merlin Kafka, Michael Shainblum. I never browse, I don’t like seeing the girls glamour poses (not hating on them, but not into seeing them) and other than that I also don’t like the suggestions Instagram thinks I would like. But today when I went on Instagram I saw my good friend had reached out to me to visit whenever we can make it work with their jobs and new baby, my two kids and the pandemic. I also saw Shaun T, parenting his twins with so much joy, it makes me want to step up in the joyful parenting department. But at the same time I’ve never been more joyful than now that I’ve decided I can stop trying to be someone I’m not.

My daughter mentions everything, if there are any insects in the pool, she will make sure I know about it. I’ve been letting her swim (meaning I have to open the pool, put sun block on both kids, swim, take the baby swimming, close the pool cover – yuck) if she has less than 3 time outs at 3 PM. When I saw there was a bee yesterday I was dreading her mentioning it. It was already dead, no one could have saved it… because she tells me as if it’s interesting… and to me, it’s not at all interesting. I’ve been having a hard time feeling I need to fake interest in things I’m not at all interested in, I don’t want to be rude, I want her to know I hear her, so I say “I hear you,” or “got it,” but I don’t like the tone in my voice that “I don’t want to hear it,” even though I don’t want to hear it… ha…

I have the same problem with my husband, he tells me his work gossip in an excited way, wanting me to care, and I just don’t. I hate gossip, I didn’t even gossip about my work… I think it’s kind of asinine to do much gossip and I’ve told my husband, but it’s pretty much his “joie de vivre” and he is fine with it…

I read somewhere, whatever someone you loved said should matter to you, as much as that person matters, but wow that’s hard to actually do with family members. Whether they talk a little or a lot, I really struggle to care about repeated information. Lately I think I should stop trying to be an interested listener when I’m a disinterested listener, stop trying to be a cheerful parent when I’m a haggard parent… but I’m not sure.

When people say, “be yourself” do they really mean it? If so 50%, 80%, 100%? Is anyone 100% themselves “happily” married?

But who I am is not static.

I started a Nanny 911 discipline binge about 2 weeks ago and it’s changed our family life a lot for the better. Before I could start I was so haggard and tired and emotionally desperate I could only imagine changing our discipline 1 hour at a time… I mentally diced the day into 24 hour slices instead of just 2 (night/day) or 3 (morning/afternoon/night) sections. Somehow the mental hack of treating 8 AM like a separate realm of life, ext helped me have the courage to try to be the parent I should be since I planned on my kids. I wanted them, I anticipated them, I didn’t know how hard it would be, but it’s still my kuleana (personal responsibility/duty) to care for them with respect, though it is so often physically exhausting and emotionally defeating.

I’m so much different today than just a few weeks ago, my whole family is. It’s not always like that, but it just happens to be the time we are all growing up a bit. My baby is 16 months old, walking, eating at a table, not much of a baby in general, starting to talk, to count to three, to rebel. My toddler is 4, but starting to let go of being dependent and rebellious and beginning to understand it behooves her to comply so she can do the activities she likes such as swimming. My husband is moving, in my opinion, from teen level maturity to at least young adult level maturity… he asked me why I didn’t throw away his empty deodorant containers… I said I would be glad to help out but maybe he could also help out with that too… I’m admittedly still just transitioning into feeling like an adult as well. We were a very childish couple when we got married about 6 years ago, having kids has given me a chance to either grow up or feel guilty…

I’ve also started learning computer coding with Grasshopper, a free app, it’s so very easy to learn, really anyone could do it with Grasshopper, 100% approachable I think.

I don’t know where computer coding will take me, but as my daughter does her language learning for 5-10 minutes a day I would like to be learning a new language as well and that’s a quite interesting one. Very much like puzzles or riddles, more fun than I thought it would be. Or at least it suits me.

So, I don’t know how much I can be myself, but I’m starting to at least uncover myself to myself, that still feels amazing.

I will admit I have always struggled with perfectionism, procrastination, and starting projects without finishing them, but knowing that, it no longer seems like I have to continue being that person.

I’ve changed so much in my family in the past two weeks, it gives me hope for my internal life being able to change as well.

My husband and I are parenting as a team, I didn’t think that was possible, I gave him special time from 6-7 PM and he is doing great, I never thought he would do that, he hates schedules. He didn’t volunteer, he did resent it, but he did try it and it’s so amazing for our children. They love it, it means they don’t have to fight to be noticed or wonder if they will be. If it was about me getting a break, I don’t think it would have happened, but it stopped being about me and about him and started being about “the family” well-being, which didn’t exist cohesively before.

Many modern parenting articles say moms and dads will have different styles and you don’t need to parent the same way, but I found that to be a trap. It caused a lot of confusion in the kids, boundary testing, resentment between us parents, wasted energy coming up with the game plan every single moment, miscommunication not knowing what would happen.

Like much of modern parenting advice I think it sounds nice to say mom and dad can have different styles, but since we took the time to create one mold for our kids the pressure has dissipated so much from our day. Because when our family was undefined, everyone was to blame for us not being perfect, but now we have a scapegoat of the “family unit” which is not necessarily me nor my husband…. also the kids have consistency, which I’m sure is major for lowering their anxiety to a more tolerable level.

Can I really be myself? My hair is very gray, I like it, but I kind of feel pushed to dye it, even though my husband doesn’t mind it. So who would I be dying it for then? I guess the women who think looking “better” is mentally uplifting for every one? Because it’s defiantly to be eye candy to men since I’m married. I don’t really know why I feel pressured in that way, no one has ever had the audacity to tell me, you look old, dye your hair. I don’t mind looking old, I feel old often after accidentally falling asleep on the floor I’m a bit achy, and I have always like to look how I feel.

Can I really be myself? I don’t like to encourage my kids interests, I like them to encourage themselves and seek affirmation from within, yet it helps them so much to hear that “good job” when they are trying hard. Why can’t “the trying hard” be the “good job”? I think it is. My daughter wanted me to tell her I liked her ballet dancing, but I couldn’t, because I didn’t. I just don’t like ballet, but when I told her, it felt somehow wrong. It also felt wrong to lie. Often with my loved ones, both the answers I can think of feel wrong…

A few weeks ago my daughter couldn’t swim, now since there was nothing much else to do I’ve taken her mostly everyday to the backyard pool and she is swimming so well. But it wasn’t me being who I am, it was me forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone…

Growth comes from getting outside of yourself, not being your old self, so it’s more nuanced to be yourself with a transformation mindset than “follow your bliss” when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly the inside organs loose their anchors in a liquid and are rearranged.

So perhaps “be yourself” exists in quanta rather than as a all or nothing statement. Perhaps level 1 is not knowing yourself at all, total blindness, level 2 is knowing but not being comfortable, level 3 is holding back sometimes and letting go sometimes, level 4 is demanding (or attempting to) others cater to you being able to be yourself, and level 5 is hurting your own loved ones at the cost of being totally yourself.

I’m still between level 1 and 2 though, still finding myself as a writer, as a person, still to scared to say somethings out loud (either in private or in public writing).

One thing I find strange is I’m not braver in private, nor in public, what I can say here to you, is the same truth I can say to myself in the mirror. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that is one reason this blog is so important to my health and growth as an individual.

It’s a journey of self-discovery as much as it is anything else it may be, as simple as that sounds, it’s very welcome in my life and healing to find some pieces of my soul I thought had been lost or left behind forever.

I was looking through my 2020 planner, wondering if I would keep it or throw it away and I decided the teaching notes and personal notes from this year would actually help me be less scatter brained next year, would be a cool throw back to amuse me by seeing what the day help the year before…

This year is defiantly not wasted, unless you waste it. It may be really weird or hard, but it defiantly doesn’t have to be wasted. Even if there is only one day left, what a difference a day can make, it can be the day you fell in love – with yourself, the day you felt like you are enough, the day you get what you are here to do – or stop obsessing about not knowing what you are here to do – everyday has the potential to be a turning point, the day you open your wings, and even if it isn’t, everyday is part of the bridge that spans your life and death, a normal day is a brush stroke in your larger life, it seems so mundane in the moment sometimes, yet so wonderful or nostalgic or silly or horrible from different points in time.

I think I’ve always been in love with the wonder of the potential of “every day” and I think I never speak about it, because I don’t want other people calling me silly for that, but that’s a major source of my happiness and I don’t need to diminish my joy to avoid thinking people will find me silly, they will find me worse things than that no matter what I do. Some people will hate me, some love me, and most ignore me, no matter what I do, so why diminish my joy and why dye my hair? I think I won’t dye my hair and I will use it to remind me to let myself be myself (but if I want to later on, perhaps I will – I reserve the right to change my mind).

Last summer I wanted to know what I was going to write about everyday, if I should write everyday, if I would ever make writing a job, if my blogging would be most of my writing.

It took almost 100 posts of experience to get the answers I wanted to have then. It was only in action, without knowing what would happen, that I found out.

I am going to write about minimalism or mindfulness Monday, transformation or habit formation Tuesday… the other days I’m not yet sure, of course things can change, but as of now, it feels right to me.

Last year I was more of someone who lived life based on what I thought made sense, now I go a bit more based on what feels right, and things have been going better for me, within my family, within my own mind, within my writing, within progress of covering educational material ext. Basically across the board, the marriage of feeling to thinking has worked better than thinking did alone…

I think after having wrote everyday for two weeks that it isn’t for me, I value the flexibility to let go and go on a walk in the woods without cramming the words into the early morning, or go to a BBQ with friends when I’m not yet done, more than knowing my Google Analytics score would be higher if I did post daily. I think that score isn’t the important part of writing to me. As much as I do love reader feedback, I really do, the primary value is me getting to know me and everything else is at this point secondary.

I think I’m still seeking self awareness, I wouldn’t be opposed to finding a true, significant, overwhelmingly clear mission in life today, but I think I also may never find it, or maybe I will find it after I uncover more of myself to myself.

I’m excited to be joining a writers meet up via computer Saturday at 9 AM, going to let my daughter watch a movie and have my husband deal with the kids… but I have no idea where my writing is going, if I’ll start a book, if I’ll make something for my kids, if I’ll get more “serious” about blogging… if I’ll write a course and if so on what… the unknowing feels okay tonight, perhaps I’ve made peace with the flavor of the unknown finally.

Next Tuesday I plan to continue the Transformation theme, maybe look up notes from Shaun T’s book, maybe check my old Life Improvement Articles and make a new version, maybe work on the Google website twin of this WordPress site… That’s one thing I love about blogging, it feels quite unlimited in potential, scale, theme, like a canvas that is undefined in size. ๐ŸŽ‹

๐Ÿ’ Minimalism Monday ๐Ÿ‘’

Konmari Monday! Woo!

I’m a fanatic of the Konmari method, but it didn’t work for me “by the book,” I had to go off script.

I found another good organization book called the QUICK method that helped a lot, as well as a “5 things challenge” to discard 5 things a day.

I think the main reason I’m such a minimalist is that I live in a small space, but I also enjoy having a less negative environmental effect and spending less time cleaning to spend more time reading, playing music, teaching martial arts and getting along better with my family. I find we all get grumpy with clutter, maybe not everyone does, but we all do, so why not get rid of clutter?

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I got rid of the vacuum! I just use the small hand vacuum, that’s the one I actually used for months before I decided to just let the large one go.

But I think, it’s not realistically something that ends, it’s like clearing criminals off the street, it’s ongoing.

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Decluttering has become a mental game instead of a mental chore.

Items you dislike, but keep are kind of like criminals. Items you don’t hate, but don’t want and can’t get rid of are kind of like homeless people. Items that you don’t mind but become a nuisance are kind of like stray feral cats. Somethings like junk mail are like the religious zealots that hand out clearly unwanted newsletters and yell at passerby’s on a megaphone rather than having a rational discussion with interested people or possibly junk mail can also be scam artists or simply sad college students making a living handing out advertisement cards that no one wants. Items you are unsure of are paroles, maybe they deserve their chance, but it’s too soon to tell.

So, metaphorically, your home is your city, you have a limited population capacity, and you (somewhat) get to chose what the population looks like.

Our family began another round of the Konmari method this Saturday, which begins by envisioning a reason to clean ie the kind of life style we want (simply a clean and easy to keep clean one right now) and then letting go of clothes that are unwanted.

I have two returns that need to ship out, but I’m lacking a box, so that’s like prisoners waiting to be extradited. I’m going to move them to my super small closet above the shoes until a box comes in… I’ll mentally convert that to a prison.

My daughter had a really stained jacket that wouldn’t come clean as well as some very worn socks, which she let go of, but the key was that she addressed her items, thought about it and was okay at letting go (we thank the items that are let go with a hug or kiss and a “thank you”).

My husband found two shirts he didn’t really want anymore, that was major to me, because it was the first time he discarded with a positive attitude rather than avoiding it or being very angry.

My son is 1, so I talked to him as I went through his clothes, looking to see if he cared about any of the clothes, he didn’t, so I looked to see if there was anything “keep-sake-able” this time there wasn’t, I got rid of about half of his clothes that we never chose to use. This time I made a bag for donations because the clothes were in good condition, but I don’t always.

Actually maybe I’ll just donate my returns to avoid the hassle? I think it would feel good.

What I always worry about for donations is whether the clothes are good enough. I watched a Nanny 911 episode with two trash bins, one with a happy face (to make someone else happy with old but good toys) and a sad face (for broken toys) I think that general idea has helped me make choices about the clothes.

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Never completely sure between trash and treasure… but I can make my best guess…

I also worry if I bag donations will I actually follow through or just have bagged clutter in my home making me feel unsuccessful and unorganized instead of just unorganized.

If my donations are not donated within a week I can trash them out of realism…

However there are three clothes donation boxes very close to our home, so that really helps because I can take the kids on a walk, drop off the donations and then get us a little treat from Target and explain that letting go makes more room for new things in life…

We save my daughter’s very nice dresses for her younger cousin, but not every garment really warrants storing for that long or gifting. Is it a used, but pretty gift or is it a hand me down?

I went through what we wanted Saturday, but now it’s Monday and actually for me actually getting rid of things is harder than the decision of what to keep. Deciding is like a board meeting of deciding who to lay off and actually taking the things to the trash or donation is like telling the employees to pack their desk.

In the QUICK method there is a quiz to see what kind of hoarder/cleaner you are, I am both a tosser (I like to let go of as much as I can) and sentimental. It’s a seemingly unexpected combination, but it’s my truth. I’m so sentimental I store bitterness and other zeitgeists into my items mentally, it’s not easy to let go of items, but it’s addictive and uplifting so I go through the process again and again. I’m able to clean my soul by discarding clutter. I’m not sure how common or uncommon that is, but I’ve come to understand that, that is the way I am.

A truth for me is that discarding is a continuous process, the Konmari method did make my life better, but it never “ended.”

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I like to invent hypothetical “quanta” for things, I would put minimalism and hoarding on the same sliding scale of consumerism. So level 1 would be hoarding, level 2 would be “collecting” that is semi-hording and semi-normal, level 3 would be the imaginary normal life with a box in the attic, but clear rooms, level 4 would be minimalism, and level 5 would be the Konmari “Mythical Legendary Master Status.” So, I would put myself on a 4. Getting rid of my wedding dress really made me feel like “a legit” minimalist. So even though I have half a table of school clutter and two kind of messy closets, and a disorganize kitchen, I feel pretty solidly minimalist still. And it feels good, for me, it feels mentally liberating, it feels like being a cowboy under an open plane.

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

The next category will be books. My daughter just refused to share a book with my son and I hate that so much, I can’t wait to get rid of as many books as possible this coming Saturday. I absolutely hate having so many books in the house that I hate reading to my daughter, it wouldn’t be impossible to get books we both like until she learns to read for herself.

I want to mention that I appreciate my clothes a lot more now that I have less of them, I resent doing laundry less, I actually dress better because I didn’t keep anything ugly, I’m comfortable because everything I kept was comfortable. I like my life better now with a lot less clothing and I don’t look worse at all.

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The clothes I do have are all “good” friends now.

Konmari is about what you keep, not what you discard, my favorite clothing item is my hat, I got it from Dollar Tree, it fits my medium sized head better than any other hat I’ve found, it reminds me of summer and I really like it. ๐Ÿ‘’

๐Ÿ”ฅ Self Leadership Can Take 5 Minutes ๐Ÿš’

true story
Today I Unexpectedly Found My Own Writing Helpful

I’m a big fan of making complicated things easier or nuanced things clearer, I’ve become a big fan of metathinking or thinking about the character and range of my average thoughts. I think we all have an innate sense of if we have been overly negative or angry in our average thoughts, it’s a term that sounds more complicated than I believe it needs to be. Actually everything we answer “how have you been lately?” I would say we respond by giving the answer of how our thinking has been (by metathinking) as we are largely our thoughts.

For a few years I did morning pages as suggested by the author of “The Artist’s Way” Julian Cameron. I enjoyed her book, but didn’t like it as well. She suggested being very rigid about somethings that I don’t think should be rigid. It was a really good book, a class on allowing your inner artist to thrive, yet it didn’t completely suit my process. A very good starting point, but not a complete journey for me. Tons of metathinking though, thinking about what makes us believe we can’t be an artist or do other things. A lot of examination of the prisons we create for ourselves with our own thoughts.

I think it was two years (or was it four?) I wrote morning pages everyday and it helped me deal with all the emotional turmoil of a modern life more than anything has. I have a lot of good things to say about it, but I don’t want to begin something long while I’m attempting to finish another thought…

Someone on the Coach.me community (a free habit making group) marked my comment from five years ago as helpful today and I thought I would share it:

Question: What do you write in your morning pages?

Answer: I write a check in with my seven chakras ie my bodies health (getting sick, eating well, sleeping enough?), my enjoyment of life (am I relaxing and letting myself have fun?), my fiscal health (my physical appearance, career goals, budget…), my heart health (my loved ones relationships with me), my personal voice health (am I standing up for myself without being a bully?), my gut instinct health (do I know what my dreams mean and what my guardian angels tell me is right for me in life) and my spiritual health (for me being a martial arts teacher and improving all aspects of my life). Ex: FIRST ๐Ÿ‘ Lost some belly fat. That actually takes a lot off my mind and I come up with cool ideas. I let myself stop writing to implement short ideas like pay phone bill online, or to make a google keep note of something I know I want to reference later that day. I use 750words.com so I can pull up my writing via search it helps me use morning pages to write book segments or just write what I need to do that day or what I feel… Sometimes I write emotions like: Anger Then try to search my heart for any anger. Anger: LA Fitness being hard to cancel online or phone. Then I can look for a deeper meaning… I am really angry about change and wondering if I can afford higher gym costs somewhere else… Then I can make an assertiveness plan, at least try once to get a lower membership price, if it doesn’t work find savings by buying less coffee so the overall budget is still okay. I write any book I want to in my notes too, I just use al caps for the title:


A strange noise woke me up, which is unusual…

Then I can find the bits and piece them together later. I also vent as much negatively as possible, it doesn’t hurt the pages to hear my anger and when I do voice issues to real people the emotions are already diffused. I do a lot of other stuff as well. Everything that can be done via writing. I think it will help my BLOG be less scatter brained, because not everything I think and feel will be on my BLOG now… I can pick out the things that are more relevant.

– Myself 5 Years in the Past

Fast forward to 2020 I don’t write morning pages anymore, now I just write articles. It’s not like “I’m too professional”, it’s just that since I have two kids now and they both want time with me individually, plus the typical household duties, my free time is thus that there is only one hour for writing and I would rather write articles that collaborate, investigate, inspire and are inspired by other current writers than I would write something intended to remain private. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I prefer public writing to private writing now…

I had completely forgotten about that check in I used to do, and it began to feel overly difficult to introspect. The category of introspecting became too infinitely full of possibilities as I became overwhelmed with trying to adapt to my daughter being older, which meant hundreds of questions a day instead of no questions and my second child, which was a plate spinning in the air that I didn’t expect would be difficult to juggle (why didn’t I see that coming?). So today when I noticed someone marked my response as helpful on Coach.me I read it again and it was ironically helpful to me again. I never expected that I would be a casual recipient of my own writing vs a beneficiary due to skill building ext. It was amusing and wonderful in a hard to describe way.

So I did the check in I had developed as a morning page prompt, it was in a way the culmination of my Complementary and Alternative Medicine degree a modern view of the chakra system of less exotic and more everyday, a homage to the book “Chakra Care” by Nancy Hausauer.

This was today’s check in, just as an example of one way to do a quick check in, it doesn’t have to be fancy to open the doors of communication between you and you:

Body Health: (getting sick, eating well, sleeping enough?)
A bit sore from the hike, not too much, feels kind of good. Energy is coming back. Slightly stuffy nose.

Enjoyment of life: (am I relaxing and letting myself have fun?)
Kind of rushing when I don’t need to be rushing, pressured to do laundry when I don’t need to be pressured.

Fiscal health (my physical appearance, career goals, budget…)
Still upset I let two more accounts close for non-use since it lowers my credit score, I think things are good, yet I really haven’t kept track of it.

Heart health (my loved ones relationships with me, boundaries working?)
Feel grateful my sister is spending more time with my kids, grateful my husband is helping me form more of a team environment, happy I found Nanny 911, a bit more forgiving of myself, a bit more proud of myself that I can discipline, less guilty I have more time with my son. For some reason drained at the thought of my extended family though, perhaps not comfortable thinking they expect me to entertain them.

Personal voice health (am I standing up for myself without being a bully?)
I still rush a bit in the way I talk to people, it wouldn’t hurt to take the time to make eye contact more, to listen and verify.

Inspiration/Motivation (do I know my dreams and what is right for me?)
I feel like I’m not taking enough breaks yet, I really want to model that so somehow I should find a life hack to make it really work on a normal day at least.

Values/Spiritual health (what’s my role in the larger universe?).
Whether or not being a parent is all I am, I need to get my family life a little bit more under control before biting off anything new.

I’m a huge fan of “Google Keep Notes” the app, it lets you make post it notes digitally that will be available on the computer, tablet, phone and can sync between just you or you and a friend ext.

One of the things I love is something that seems complicated or too hard, will seem so much easier in a Google Keep Note.

The picture is made with Bitmoji free image app, it’s a part of snap chat (I’ve never used snap chat), yet it also stand’s alone. To set up the avatar mobile works better than desktop, but after that it’s very desktop compatible. I’ll probably do another post about bitmoji, I’ve really liked it.

The Google Keep note can be copied, so I can fill one out, date it, and have the original as “a blank worksheet”.

It’s mindfulness, introspection, emotional intelligence, holistic health, metathinking all in a format that can take less than five minutes and there is an option to set a reminder if you were going to form a daily habit of checking in with yourself.

As an introvert, I like to vent to myself more than to my loved ones, so this is a good place to be honest about frustrations and then I know if I need some “Emotional First Aid” from Guy Winch’s “Emotion First Aid” book or some help from Google, you guys (my beloved compatriots of thoughts and wordsmithing), or my family. There is no mental health category, because everything is mental health, mental health is a gestalt sum of the other categories, mind and body don’t divide neatly, nor do relationships with others and the self (neuroscience evidence in “How Emotions Are Made” Lisa Feldman Barrett).

I wish I could convince myself my degree taught me a lot about health, but really the data wasn’t in on neuroscience and well being when I got my degree, it spawned an interest that happened to coincide with the new neuroscience and psychology data being research being made available in an interesting way. I feel like my degree was in a way a promise to begin to understand and today I fulfilled that promise as health came together in my mind.

I’m not saying that I have any new ideas or any revolutionary ideas that no one else has, rather I think I have a grasp of some very simple and old ideas that I was defiantly lacking before.

A child has many more neural connections than an adult, as we age it’s not about “more” it’s about “less”. Like trimming a tree into a topiary of ourselves… it wasn’t that I hadn’t heard about how to stay mentally and physically healthy before, but I had heard too much misinformation, a few intentional lies and some true but wrong for me information.

In this digital age, we need to develop our own filters for the quality of media we uptake, because there is no worthy board of regulation with our interest in mind, there isn’t much at all, but what there is isn’t at a level to really know what is going to empower and inform us as an individual. It would be great if AI can help me find the right material to empower me as a struggling parent, but not shame me, or overwhelm me someday, but as of now it’s on me. As of now it’s on me to unfollow my good friends silly political banter that bothers me even though I love that person dearly still. It’s up to me to protect myself from the dark side of the force of the internet as best I can.

Even though the example in this post is a quick self check in, a written meditation if you will, having the time to explore more about one’s thoughts, emotional health, values, goals ext is a wonderful gift to yourself. Whether it be time to check in with your faith if you have one, your business mission if you have one, your writing projects, your knitting projects, whatever fills your inner cup, it’s something so invaluable, yet so seldom done.

I used to do that in the morning, have a “self leadership” hour from 4-5 AM or 5-6 AM, but now that the kids go to sleep at 9 PM and settle down at 7 or 8 PM there isn’t any reason I can’t do self leadership at night.

It would be great if I did it in the morning making a plan to live by my values, and at night checking what worked and what didn’t (like Elon Musk does). But that’s a bit above my level right now… kind of getting back on the horse right now.

One more thing I would say is self leadership sounds hard and formal, but it’s something that really should belong to every human being. Stephen Covey described it as before rushing to put out a fire, make sure the fire fighter’s ladder is up against the right building. Or before hacking away into the jungle, make sure you are headed the right direction.

There were so many times in my life I felt like I was headed the wrong way, but I ignored that gut feeling by working harder and faster at all the wrong goals… years would go by without anyone questioning where my life was headed (including me).

It can be painful to face the truth, but it’s more painful to have an infected splinter than to remove it and heal. Words can be a road to healing, for a writer, and for a non-writer.

Words turn the invisible world of feelings into tangible form, though subtle and shifty the digital world is tangible, real data stored on a super computer as a code of 0s and 1s somewhere, somewhere a real sequence of electricity on or off, the thoughts take a small, yet physical form, the mental becomes physical, the invisible becomes visible, it’s a large miracle of our species and our world that is also mundane to us now (most of us).

I don’t want to be a broken record, but it’s still beautiful to me that for free, I can write this on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the summer of 2020 and people can read it across the world and across time. My grandchildren could read it if they chose to and know who I was on a personal level, people I will never know can take away the essence of my entire field of study in about 10 minutes and do that from a great many experts and minds greater than mine. Our consciousness has such capacity to expand with the freedom and ease of information that it’s greatest enemy is perhaps also the amount of information available, it’s wonderful the poorest student with the internet has almost equal access to the world’s knowledge, but we are flooded more than irrigated with information and the information and misinformation are mixed in a slurry without much separation if any.

Going to a science exhibit, Body World, the warning I was surprised to see is that greater than 6 choices causes you physical damage to your health. More than one choice makes you happier, to a point, typically more than 6 choices causes stress to the body, the internet has more than 6 choices of pretty much everything so… as well as being a potential equalizer of knowledge, it is also a Trojan Horse of stress into our lives.

Like with everything, the dose makes the poison. Water can save a thirsty man or drown him, food can sustain you, or kill you, it’s all about the dose, except possibly with love, I can’t remember being too loved, though perhaps it happened to someone else.

you are essential

Kind of a joke, but honestly, you readers have been completely essential to my journey as a writer. It feels 100% different to write to “the world” vs myself. It has helped me “open my heart” cheesy as that sounds. It’s been amazing to have men and women, older, middle aged, younger, Christian, Muslim, non-religious, American, African, European, Asian, India Ext people take the time to read my words, often offering a lot of encouragement and helpful ideas. I wish I could be as motivated without the help, but it’s not the case, you guys have motivated me to be almost at the end of my 100 post challenge. It’s been constantly empowering to know someone takes their time to read my words when they could be reading or doing so many other things. I find it really significant that there is free thought exchange, though not every post is life changing, so many other ones have been helpful to me and the opportunity to do that for myself and others is just really cool to me, something that I never imagined I would be doing as a child (because it didn’t exist) and it gives me hope I’ll find my place in the world someday and it may be doing something that doesn’t exist right now, but that still suits me and actually lets me be myself as well.

Writers cease to exist without readers, whether themselves or others, it is in the reading that writing exists as physical thought, a thought with just a bit more mass.

E=mc^2 ; Zeitgeist Quanta = (Sum Human Thoughts x The Speed of the Communication) % Misinformation

It’s nice to be sharing a summer’s/fall’s evening with you world. ๐ŸŒŽ

โฒ๏ธ It’s About Time ๐Ÿ™Œ

It’s amazing that yesterday I thought I wouldn’t be able to face today, and today I nailed today.

My son got a mosquito bite last night, I had no idea, he woke up many times, especially 4AM, didn’t quiet when I walked him, eventually I turned on the light and noticed him scratching a huge welt. I actually have a decent spray for that, eventually found it and put it on him. The point being I didn’t sleep well.

I had no reason to succeed today, I had less sleep, a bad attitude, some cramps, yet today went really well.

I want to remember today whenever I fear the next day, because this time, there was no reason for the fear.

7 Wake (Missed That)
8 Eat (Caught Up)
9 Music Class (Did Just a Little – Better than Nothing)
10 Son’s School | Daughter’s Free Play (Went Well)

The day started late, but we kept the same steps, coffee for me, neuro-training with Mightier for my 4-year-old, then breakfast.

My husband said to my daughter “are you hungry” and I almost flipped out, because it seemed like he was shaming me for starting breakfast 40 minutes late rather than offering to cook for her… she didn’t answer him, I had a coffee and a quick shower (as I always do), then I made the breakfast we eat everyday (oatmeal – coconut milk – blueberries) and even though it was late everything was fine. My daughter didn’t even complain, she did some free playing with blocks and toys. So usually breakfast is right at 8AM, but today it happened at 8:40, nothing exploded (not even me). My daughter did her 5 minute Duo Lingo Language lesson so earned 10 minutes of phone time she uses for reading or math apps, it went really well today.

I had our intended schedule on a clipboard so I could look at it, it was supposed to be 3 hours of learning at 9AM, 10AM, 11AM, after doing a short music time where my daughter asked for guitar, then after I tuned it tried to give the guitar back without practicing. I could have gotten really angry, but I didn’t, I did make her learn a really short slack key guitar song, because slack key is open G there are a lot of good sounding open strings, it took about 3 minutes to learn and practice it 3 times after me taking 5-10 to do the tuning, which required restringing the 6th string… The tuning is DG-DG-BD for some reason it’s hard for me to remember maybe “Dogs go, dogs go, beautiful dogs,” will help me remember?

When 10 AM started I knew my daughter was loosing her mind, she had wanted to do 3 hours of learning together, but I knew it would be hard for her not to have play time in between. So instead of letting it melt down I talked to her respectfully, “you need some play time, but we didn’t leave any in the morning, do you want to switch something?” She wanted to switch dinner I said no, we switched an hour of afternoon play time for school time, shifting school time to 3PM for the first time. I didn’t think it would go well, but was willing to try it. The 10 AM play time went really well, she played very well by herself while I gave her brother school. We did Japanese, but in a bilingual way so he learned some English too. It was nice doing that early because I usually end the day hating myself that my son didn’t get any educational time other than just overhearing his sister’s lessons.

11 Exercise Class (Went Well)

Next it was exercise time, which I was dreading, but it wasn’t too bad. We did alphabet exercise, my daughter wanted me to do it with her like I used to do, I did some of the stretches, but I backed off a lot, being the instructor rather than doing everything, encouraging a lot. She really soaked up the encouragement, it helped her adjust to doing our routine in a new way this time. I used to lift her up, but it wasn’t an option for my back today, and she took it well lifting a flower pillow up herself rather than being lifted. Exercise time was much better than I expected my son took my daughter’s old place and she took mine and I took a leadership role for perhaps the first time.

12 Lunch (Went Well)

Lunch went well, I made mash potatoes, my son’s favorite, my daughter wanted some too, she finished that and ate cottage cheese, I gave her some rainbow jelly treats since she had cleaned up without complaining after her 10-11 AM play.

1 Swim (Good Enough)

There was an accident at swim time, but since I hate taking the kids swimming any ways, it didn’t really get me down. I feel like my kids loving the pool and having access to a pool and so little else makes it worth it to do something I hate. I feel like in order to try to do what I can to make this year my best year ever, teaching the kids to swim could be a piece of that puzzle. I love my new red men’s swim shorts, I feel better doing all the kid wrangling in not a women’s bikini, actually I don’t think I ever want to go back to a bikini they don’t feel empowering even though I’m pretty athletic, I’m too modest in my personality to enjoy that much of my legs showing no matter if society gives me the green light or not.

2 Outside (Went Well)

Usually we play outside, today we took a walk, my husband actually knocked my one year old son down trying to rush him to walk faster… that guy. I think it was a great time for my son overall though, because they were repaving our street about a dozen large trucks were there and he appeared to have the time of his life watching the large trucks moving asphalt around. My husband was happy to see a female working, I have to admit it was cool to me too.

3 Daughter’s School | Son’s Free Play (So So)

It didn’t go well, I could sense my daughter didn’t have a good mental focus going into school time, I decided tomorrow school can’t be at 3 PM. I talked to her about “schema” meaning I explained the larger picture for the first time, I meant to do that a lot sooner. We talked about math, about four kinds of math she already did, counting, arithmetic, logic and geometry, applications for all of them (money, money, computers, and building). I let her watch an addition review that was far beneath her level, she noticed it too as we did the tests, I told her there was another level of the same kind (Preschool Prep Videos Free on Youtube) and she was happy, I think she wanted to do more preschool prep, yet didn’t know it continued forward. In general she had been acting like a baby this year, but today she showed signs of being ready to grow up into what she actually is. Like she is holding onto a baby teething ring, but has had all her teeth for years and doesn’t even chew it… Today she moved her dining table seat to help me without complaining, it was as if she became a new person to me in that moment. So school didn’t go well, but since I thought it wouldn’t go well at 3 I took it well that it didn’t.

4 Dinner (Good Enough)

My son threw food, my husband didn’t join us because he hates eating with us, but it was good enough. My kids ate well-ish. My daughter shared some food with my son out of kindness, she tried some of his, she cooked a little, it was nice for the kids

5 Video Called Aunt (Really Good)

It wasn’t perfect, but surprisingly well, some origami, some books, a short spelling lesson.

6 Mom (Went Well)

A game that has some reading and math, then computer programing.

7 Dad (Ended Badly)

They came home in a screaming fit over her wanting a new toy lizard “right now” while her brother was sleeping. Her pet lizards just died last week, so I get that she was upset, though we don’t allow her to scream or tell us to buy things “right now”.

8 Settle Down (Went Well)

I put her in the shower a bit rudely while she was still throwing a fit, she showered and fussed and calmed down well, she came out calmer, we set up her multiplication video (tablet in night mode), I told her I knew she missed her lizards and that was probably why she wanted a new lizard toy, she agreed, I told her I loved her 13,000.5, after a few minutes her dad talked to her about that he would get her lizard when he was ready to, not when she ordered him to, after I took a shower I asked her to switched to her bed, she did, I thanked her for being pretty good today, she was happy I thought she was good overall.

I did some writing when my daughter and husband were together at 7PM after my son fell asleep at 6:30ish. Fed my son a bit more at 8:30PM, hoping to stop feeding him milk tonight. My husband said he doesn’t want 7-8PM again tomorrow, he said “I can’t do this again” I know how that feels. He said he could try 6-7PM tomorrow. I said, “that’s why we try things.” It’s not quite movie dialogue material, but I think we communicated more respectfully today than ever before and I think it made the day go better. I tried to be nice in the way I ask for help with my daughter, my husband, my sister and they all stepped up a little to help me. Even though I am picky about what I want done, if I am clear about what I want and nice about inevitable changes I can get some more help from the people already in my life. That was really nice to find out. I was afraid to ask before, afraid to push through the resistance to trying together with people.

My daughter said she couldn’t do origami, then she tried, and did fine and had fun. My sister said she couldn’t distance teach, then she tried, and did fine and felt successful and empowered. My husband had a horrible day at home with us watching me do 90% of the work and he noticed how hard it was, that was great in it’s own way, he can barely even stand to be around the magnitude of work that goes into raising our kids, he used to belittle the amount of work he thought I did on a daily basis. It’s great for him to know how hard our particular family is to juggle.

I particularly like today, because I was completely honest about my negativity yesterday and today was wonderful in it’s own way. So I don’t have to “think positive” for the future to have beautiful things in store, that I don’t have to spend time “attracting” what I want.

It’s an affirmation of a deep belief I have that the universe is much more magical than all my imaginings. That I don’t know what the future will bring. There is a beauty and mystery in that.

Though I’m sick of many things, I don’t know that they won’t be over tomorrow, I have no way to know what technology will solve when I know what it does now was completely unpredictable in the past. Or maybe human kindness will solve some of our problems? There can be solutions that I don’t know waiting just around the corner, I don’t have to prove them to haters or come up with them, there are many more people than me working towards a better world, I think it would be doubtful that we can’t get there.

It’s interesting that I don’t know what tomorrow holds for us, but also that I’m so clueless about what tomorrow holds even for just me.

I didn’t know a small amount of exercise would make me feel more alive. I didn’t know hating parenting would make me feel more patience towards my husband. I didn’t know multiplication would bring me closer to my daughter. There is a beauty about how much I don’t know, because so many wonderful things could lie within a sea of that great an expanse.

It may be too early to call it, but after a week of Nanny 911ing myself, I feel like I’ve hit the turning point in the war and I’m winning it. I feel like it’s Gettysburg, because it’s the first stage in freeing the slave within.

I find it weird that time outs worked when so many people say they don’t work, maybe there is only a small window of ages where they can work and 4 years old is the right one? Or maybe because my daughter picked them herself? Or maybe because I said I didn’t want them to work because I don’t like them? For whatever reason, something finally clicked into place in our family life today, that’s how I feel anyways, I’m very grateful for that.

Bitmoji Image
I kept thinking of the quote “Darkness can not drive out the darkness, only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that,” this week to me it became the metaphor for my children. My son is my love, my daughter my light. I read it to my family together, I feel like it resonated for all of us and somehow gave me the final key to fix something broken within our team ethos.

๐Ÿ‘จ Gathering Strength for Next Week ๐Ÿ

โ€œMisfortune nobly born is good fortune.โ€

– Marcus Aurelius

This year I planned to go through a 50 stoic quotes list one a week, this was supposed to be this week, I didn’t look at it until today. But at least I looked at it today… I’ve become so disorganized, I really hate it. I know I did my best, so I don’t regret it, but in the present I hate it. So I’m trying to mentally crawl back onto a schedule. This week has been a phase A if you will, I got onto a schedule successfully, it had 1-4 hours of outside time, I was surprised I could handle it.

It sounds dark, but when I realized it was okay to hate parenting, it became easier. I hate taking the kids swimming, some people advise not to do what you hate… I wouldn’t cook any meals then. So, that wouldn’t be great for my 1 and 4 year old…

I’m not going to like it, I’m not going to lie about liking it, but I will do my best.

Other moms have “reached out” lately to try to find how they can get me back to not voicing that I don’t enjoy free labor to my own offspring, but that only made it more painfully clear. A nice survey done in Texas actually shows it’s more common to not enjoy childcare than to enjoy it, so I feel so VALIDATED by the actual data that it’s almost like a massage for my soul.

I thought my kids wanted more free time to play, but they actually hate the days the way they ask for and enjoy doing more activities. I felt like I couldn’t survive the days when we didn’t have activities and I didn’t know how I could survive the extra work of more activities, but when we added some back I actually had an easier time and feel a bit better – though not great. I was surprised being outside in the heat didn’t make me feel any worse than being inside in the head as long as I had my hat.

Next week looks ridiculous to me in this moment, because it adds an hour of exercise I don’t really want to do and an hour of play time with my daughter that I just tried today and I already hate.

We played blocks, it was so so, we played dinosaurs, I hated it (though I like dinosaurs) she kept giving me herbivores and attacking me with carnivores it’s so droll and predictable for me. Maybe we can do something else tomorrow… I remember how much I wanted my parents to play with me, very much, yet it still doesn’t make playing with my daughter fun. I’d rather “vroom” cars with my son, because he smiles so big, it makes it worth it. I’m almost scared to do something I like with her, that I won’t like it anymore…

Schedule for Next Week:

7 Wake Up – Mightier Brain Training

8 Breakfast – Duolingo Language Lesson

9 Teach Music

10 Exercise – Martial Arts

11 Teach School – Math + General

12 Lunch

1 Swim

2 Outside with Son

3 Inside with Son

4 Dinner + Brush

5 Family Video Call

6 Daughter Inside Play

7 Kids with Dad (Write)

8 Settle Down Kids

9 Bedtime

I’m mostly looking forward to a cup of coffee at 7AM and going inside at 3PM. Perhaps we will go on an off scheduled hike because my husband is home tomorrow. But also we will call the dentist and see if they have any openings, it’s depressing to me that the kids missed their dentist since it shut for a few months, my son has never been able to go, it seems kind of medieval.

My son just started eating oatmeal, I’m so happy I can make one breakfast instead of two. Making two, feeding one kids, eating, cleaning up, just crushed my soul before 9AM everyday. I hate cooking so much, I don’t know if I would like it if I wasn’t watching the kids, I don’t know if it matters to know since I will continue to have them. If I could choose between someone to cook or someone to clean, I would defiantly rather not cook.

I want to be open minded that maybe I’ll like the new schedule, a weird thing I’ve noticed is I’m not able to accurately predict how I’ll enjoy something before trying it.

Next week’s stoic quote:

โ€œUntil we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.โ€

– Seneca

I almost feel like the opposite resonates with me right now, that having gone without so many things this year I find myself worse off without – access to green space, room to play, slides at the park for the kids, seeing our friends on Sundays in person, traveling to see my father in the summer without the flights being canceled. They are not essential things, but I find my life worse without them regardless of trying to mentally re-frame it or looking at the bright side of staying inside, over and over and over and over. Usually I think about decluttering when I read this quote, but now I think about the freedoms I miss so much, it has driven me about 25% insane to quarantine as much as we have.

My son moved into his own bed this week, it’s very… sentimental. I see him a bit more of a tiny tiny 1-year-old man and less of a baby now. When I see him sleeping, he sleeps now like my husband does, in the same posture, throwing the blankets off every night no matter how many times I try to replace them.

It hasn’t been what feels like a “good” week for me, but it was an “amazing” week, I amazed myself that I was able to discipline my daughter in a way she likes and accepts (time outs) her defiance was the main problem in our family teamwork (or lack of it) and this is major, but I’m not well enough to appreciate it at all. It’s just been so hard won, I have trouble feeling grateful for something I feel like I paid for with a pound of flesh.

Things are changing, my kids are really loving life, that would be enough for many mothers, it isn’t for me though.

I want to feel my mind is clear again, I want to have a bit more respect for myself, I want to be a bit more comfortable with that person in the mirror, I want more of the strength and resilience I had ten years ago (is that something possible?), two fingers on my right hand have been going numb lately, I don’t know if that is “real nephropathy” or just what it’s like to get older, or from being exhausted…

My daughter quit ballet this week, she was looking at me to validate her and I didn’t. I don’t know if that’s something good or bad. I never liked ballet, she did it because she like it, I never pushed her, she was getting better and lost interest, she looked to me to encourage her and I stayed neutral. I’m not sure what the right thing to say would have been, but it’s uncomfortable to me that she is changing. I know she will change, but it doesn’t have to be comfortable for me… Perhaps since she is really interested in swimming something had to die. It’s just a little abrupt the way it was a burning passion one day and yesterday’s zip drive the next.

I think we are living our “new normal now” I think masks at stores will be with us for much longer than the original estimates. The first phase was everyone really tense, waiting to see if supplies would be interrupted, the second phase was being told we would be locked down for just a little bit, the third phase is semi-life as normal, half of places shut down, half of people wearing masks, half the thing we do are available, it’s half our old life, it’s half way enjoyable, it’s half way nice, it’s half as* freedom.

I wanted to have a peaceful summer in response to not being able to control anything, but my family doesn’t really do peaceful, so it’s been exhausted redirecting them or exhausted doing activities and I guess I’d rather do activities and be unhappy then try to relax and hate my kids for not resonating with that idea.

You shatter peace, I’m going to teach you multiplication then. Grr.

I guess I’m still struggling to make coronovirus-aid out of these lemons.

I’m noticing that I’m very hostile, very disappointed that I expected a one or two month interruption, which had proven to be part of what may be a permanent change in my world. It may be that I raise my children in a world where we are held responsible for and society adapts to our microbes. Rather than being forced to go to school sick every time I didn’t have a fever, it maybe that you don’t have a school or job to go to sick. But it’s been a Swiss cheese distribution that affects somethings not at all and others extremely.

I don’t hate this year, I don’t hate myself, I don’t hate my kids, I don’t even hate public health.

I just lost the things that made life work for me, I lost my martial art’s class, I lost my muse (nature) and all the things I’ve tried to substitute have been paltry and insufficient. I won’t be okay until I find something to refill my soul with that works for me.

I’ll get by, I’ve gotten by, but I’ve always been greedy for more than that.

I hunger for victory over myself, knowing I’ve come close to whatever the limits of my own personal potential is and I feel like I’ve never been further away from those things.

I’ve lost something essential and nameless, I’ve gained many things that I thought would make my life better, and it has only gotten worse. I don’t know if it’s motivation, inspiration, I don’t know what it is, but it’s like life has no color and food has no flavor. It doesn’t feel like depression or apathy, but I don’t have any word for what it does feel like.

Many writers are saying this is a good opportunity, there is a lesson, yet it’s like I can’t get the answer, I want to look at the back of the book, but it’s an even problem with no answer to check… I would describe it as a difficult transition, since I have no idea what I am transitioning onto… I have little idea of the future that awaits me, which is always true.

Maybe what I lost was the illusion of a future that is knowable, but maybe that’s a really essential part of robust sanity, which I seem to have lost somewhere along the way. I still have a modicum of sanity, perhaps average sanity, but it’s not where it was when I could take a walk in the woods (which are closed on the weekends). Hopefully tomorrow we will go to the forest and I will come back feeling silly that I ever felt as bothered by the oppression of the urban world as I feel tonight.

Bitmoji Image
I Miss the Way it Was Much More than I Like Having Available Meditation Time

Ifย you’re going through hell, keep going.

– Winston Churchillย 

This was potty training ethos, but it was never my “overall” parenting ethos before… it really is now. Enjoy every moment is dead and buried, replaced by enjoy whatever real enjoyment comes your way and get through the next two hours.

๐ŸฅšTen Steps to a Better Me๐Ÿฃ

Step #1 Letโ€™s Start with Labels: Lovie’s Post

Who am I right now?
I am a human.
I am a sometimes kind family member.
I am a somewhat organized teacher.
I am a long lost friend.
I am a semi-consistent writer.

Step #2 What is Truth? Lovie’s Post

What would I change?
Speak respectfully with my loved ones, less excuses.
Speak up before I blow up.
More boundaries with the kids, less rules.
Organize my teaching more.
Talk to my friends more, don’t worry about bothering them.
Write a bit more consistently, but without being militant about it.

Step #3 Prioritize the Problems Lovie’s Post
What matters most now to me?
A. More boundaries with the kids, less rules.
B. Speak up before I blow up.
C. Speak respectfully with my loved ones, less excuses.
D. Write a bit more consistently, but without being militant about it.
E. Organize my teaching more.
F. Talk to my friends more, don’t worry about bothering them.

Step #4 Eating the Elephant Lovie’s Post

1. Setting the goal.
A: Make some family rules like on Nanny 911, without making ones we don’t need.
3. Creating the plan.
A: I’ll make a list of the ones from the show and we can vote as a family at the family meeting, shooting for 3 rules. But I should also make a list of my personal boundaries as I discover them.
4. The overall and specific decision process.
A: Looking online for a list of rules from the show I found out there is a book for that “Nanny 911: Expert Advice for All Your Parenting Emergencies” SWE (Smiling with Excitement).
5. Set concrete commitments and followthrough with action. Just purchased the book for $1.99, will read it on Fridays and discuss it with my family on Sunday. Will make a Keep Note so I don’t forget.
6. Wrapping up all the loose ends required to complete the goal.
A. I need accountability, I’ll publish a blog post with this list, it always helps me be accountable with myself (it’s been like magic).

Step #5 Monetary Goals Lovie’s Post
I realize I want to pay my husband back for the book so I need some kind of small yet paying side job in writing or computers… I know it’s a small amount, but I miss that feeling of paying my own way for the things I want that are personal.

Step #6 Finding Your Bliss Lovie’s Post
What makes me feel happy? The forest, dark chocolate, moss.
A person who reminds me of that? My mom (since we lived together), a clerk at Trader Joes who encouraged me to eat as much chocolate as I wanted to (first person to ever do that – thank you), Zack (a coworker who moved to Oregon).
The location that reminds me of that? Seattle, Belgium, New Zeland.
Smells that remind me of that? Pine, cedar, water, soil, asylum, honeysuckle, leaves; chocolate smell, paper wrapper smell; moisture, soil.
Sounds that remind me of that? Birdsong, wind in the leaves, the sound of dewdrops drying in the sun a tiny hiss, the sound of the wind, the sound of a campfire; a bag hitting the kitchen counter, the paper wrapper being undone, the crunch of my teeth on the bar; silence, maybe a windchime in the distance.
Colors that remind me of that? Emerald green like a fern in the sunlight, brown like black coffee, emerald green, but bluer than the ferns.
Textures that remind me of that? Pine needles on bare feet, granite under my fingertips, river pebbles under my legs, moss under my feet; smooth, oily Trader Joe’s chocolate bars, the soft chocolate from the December advent calendar we had in our first apartment; velvet with a spongy bounce back.

Seattle, โญ
New Zeland.
pine, โญ
honeysuckle, โญ
chocolate smell,
paper wrapper smell,
wind in the leaves, โญ
the sound of dewdrops drying in the sun a tiny hiss,
the sound of the wind, โญ
the sound of a campfire, โญ
a bag hitting the kitchen counter,
the paper wrapper being undone,
the crunch of my teeth on the bar,
silence, โญ
maybe a windchime in the distance,
emerald green like a fern in the sunlight,
brown like black coffee,
emerald green, but bluer than the ferns,
pine needles on bare feet,
granite under my fingertips,
river pebbles under my legs,
moss under my feet,
smooth, oily Trader Joe’s chocolate bars,
the soft chocolate from the December advent calendar we had in our first apartment, velvet with a spongy bounce back.

Pick 7 that stand out: Seattle, pine, honey suckle, sound of wind in leaves, sound of strong wind, sound of a campfire, sound of silence.

“This is the place I need my mind to be to experience bliss. The type of bliss that gets me through those tough times. I donโ€™t need to actually BE anywhere else. I just need my mind to be there… Because bliss is about how you want to spend your days and time, who you want to spend it with, what you want to be surrounded with, what smells, sights, sounds , and textures you want to experience every day.”

-Lovie Price

Step #7 Unmasking the Faces of Change Lovie’s Post
Anticipating tricky issues: for me just actually remembering to stay accountable and check on myself, it’s so easy to forget my intention and just survive each day taking care of my two kids, forgetting how I said I wanted to spend my new 1 hour of free time from 9PM-10PM… going to make a note right now on Google Keep.

Step #8 The Trifecta- Dealing with Labels, Truths, & Problems Lovie’s Post “When you review your previous list of labels, think long & hard about why you have assigned them to yourself- which emotion created it? Was it a positive one? If not- DITCH it.”
I am a human. โœ”๏ธ
I am a sometimes kind family member. ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ
(I realize I can’t really grow into an authentically kind person if I’ll am forcing myself to fake it like fake apologizing is not the same as really sorry).
I am a somewhat organized teacher. ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ
(I have kids and live in a bad school district, I choose to teach them, but it’s not “who I am” it doesn’t define me, just something I’m doing).
I am a long lost friend. ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ
(I have guilt about not talking to my friends much, but they love me and I’ve always been that way).
I am a semi-consistent writer. ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ
(I’m a born writer and even though I’m not “successful” I don’t need to have as much fear about claiming to be good at something I am good at as I do).

So in the end, mostly I’m human. Doing the best I can, believing in a brighter tomorrow, trying to make things better in my own small ways, trying to clear my head in any way, writing or reading, discussion or thinking, trying to make sense of what to me is a huge world.

What the problems were for me: wanting to be able to please my loved ones all the time masked as wanting to be kinder than I am/wanting them to never suffer, wanting to want to teach more than I do, wanting to feel like I have a normal social life when my real one doesn’t look like a TV show at all, wanting to feel like I’m good enough at something whether it is writing or anything.

Step #9 Making Peace with your Demons Lovie’s Post

“So, what do I mean by making peace? I am talking about acceptance, kind of like a piece of DNA. Your demons, whatever they may be, are in fact a part of you. And wherever you go, there will be there. So understanding that is an absolute necessity. This does not mean, however, giving them any control whatsoever… It means acknowledging that yes, they DO exist, and always will, but that they are like the boss you canโ€™t stand, the sibling who acts like a โ€œknow-it-allโ€, the neighbor who seems to keep finding ways to annoy you, that whiney co- worker or your monthly bills. They arenโ€™t going away, and ignoring them isnโ€™t always an option so you have to find a way to deal with them.”

– Lovie Price

I’m not so in touch with my own demons, I know I have anger, but it really seems reasonable, I think maybe a lack of consistency and organization is my worst demon, maybe also my tendency to get overwhelmed and put off finding a way to distress, maybe the way I stick my head in the sand and ignore problems until I’m taking an ibuprofen for kidney pain instead of drinking enough water… so 1. Anger, 2. Poor Boundaries, 3. Forgetfullness, 4. Disorganization, 5. Lack of Prioritization Skills, 6. Lack of Being Able to Triage Life, and 7. Denial I Need to Take Care of Myself More. Well, that was surprisingly easy to do… I thought it would be harder.

Step #10 Your Perfect Self Lovie’s Post

“Never give up. Do great things. You can do it and ONLY you.
Life is good if you allow it to be. So..”

– Lovie Price

I’m still working on this, I think I have been too uncompromising in the past, hated myself too much for any little failing that would have to be part of growth. So, here’s to trying to “do great things” and allow myself to enjoy the journey as much as I can.

It took a few years to finish this series even in a preliminary way. It’s a small victory for me.

I love the Glass Diva’s blog because it isn’t simply I write something, you read it, thank you we are done here, it’s almost like Alice in Wonderland, you won’t know what to expect, it can be very down to Earth or very metaphysical, it can be very uplifting or ask you to dig deeper into your inner darkness.

I’ve been working on my own challenge, trying to publish 100 posts, Mark Manson’s challenge to potential bloggers to write 100 post before feeling obligated to commit to a writing niche or topic. I’m very close, and I’m starting to feel some pressure to decide if I should decide or keep writing without any self imposed limitation. A wild garden or a veggie garden metaphoracally?

Anyone have any thoughts about that?

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Well Almost Finally… 92/100 ๐ŸŽ‰

๐Ÿž๏ธ A Poem About America ๐Ÿœ๏ธ


America the Beautiful?
Jesus or Money?
Music or Movies?
Sports or Nature?
People or Things?
Children or Cats?
Hobbies or Desperation?
Of Course Dogs.

It’s kind of a joking poem about some of the commonly held passions in the country I live in. Of course, most people watch movies, but it really varies from the people who are really into movies (would watch a making-of movie about a movie), the people who sometimes watch a movie and the people who almost never do.

I think people’s interests exist in a kind of “quanta” or level with gaps, like there is 0%, 30%, 60%, 90% or 100%, rather than 31%… Many people have 0 cats, a few have 1, many have 2, then a few have more than 2 but not a crazy amount and the final tier is the “cat people”.

I’ll Take:

I’m not so into money (not seriously implying people can’t love Jesus and money either, just a reflection on the founding of the countries nocolonization having been done at the same time in the name of tabaco and capitalism and also in the name of the gossipil in two different locations), but I can’t deny it’s important to us, with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old there is a higher pressure to hold down the basics than I expected. I’ve made peace with not having our own home, we are renting a wonderful home, I’ve made peace with no being able to buy them “everything” I wouldn’t want to clean up “everything” for them at all… but I didn’t expect the level of pressure to have enough to keep up our modest status quo. I wasn’t blissfully unaware of money before kids, but it feels like I was compared to the pressure of providing them at least the basics – no interruptions – no excuses. I don’t want to think if I would kill someone to feed my kids, but I probably at least might… I doubt it’s ever going to come to that, but it’s definitely surprised me how much my concern for being financially responsible has quadrupled so abruptly. I don’t know how to feel about it, I probably not completely at peace with how much it isn’t part of my chosen identity, yet is part of my actual reality and behavior now.

In Jurassic Park Dr. Alan Grant says “The world has changed so fast we are all running to catch up,” that was the 90s, that was the feeling of the internet and computers changing everything faster than it felt like had happened before. Then genetics hit, the human genome, cell phones, exoplanets, stem cell medicine. It’s like I’m living in the future, but I’m not a person from the future. I often feel like a caveman.

I was born in 1985, young to some, old to others, but at the time of the tech transitions. I totally used a record player for the most part in my childhood, went through the 8 track tape, moved on to the walkman, the CD (always scratched mine right away – poor fit for me), floppy drives, zip drives, USB, finally Google Play Music. I didn’t enjoy it, I was the one in my family who was nostalgic about the older tech and had trouble using the newer ones, I learned just in time to switch again.

I was educated in the US, but found the history to be mostly propaganda and rhetoric. This year was really the first time I learned history that was honest, but not designed to be shame-inducing. I watched “America the Story of US” produced by the History Channel on the 4th of July with my daughter. I found it a really good mix of honesty of hope and horrors.

Today we were learning just a tiny bit about the Harlem Renaissance, and I found it so interesting, they (crash course on Youtube) used the term “duality” to mean the “horrible black experience” and the normal human black experience. I know it can be used to mean a mental and a physical world in philosophy and also the ability to kill and desire to live in peace from “Full Metal Jacket.”

It’s such an intense duality, you can be treated with complete equality for all of your life or you can be sold for $75 (still on the human trafficking market, slaves are not yet free). The police can be trained to be extra polite to your differences or they can… murder you in hot or cold blood. That’s really difficult…

Sometimes I don’t know if my husband is going to hit my daughter or appropriately discipline her and it’s terrifying, I’ve kicked him out of her room, which wasn’t terrifying when I thought she wasn’t safe, yet when I don’t know if I should do anything – that’s when it’s the most stressful when I doubt myself when I am truly on the fence of knowing what to do…

I tell my daughter most police are helpers, most police are good people, most people are good people, but sometimes a few of them are bad and they do kill people.

I have a friend who’s son was killed, he was white, he was shot unarmed, unnecessarily trying to open his own car because he didn’t put his hand on his head fast enough…

I also have a friend who is a police officer, sweet guy, a teacher in his spare time, nothing like you would expect from a police officer.

The unfortunate truth is there will always be bad seeds in every race, every profession, even within your own mind, there is that toxic self-talk and bad habits, I don’t like that cops kill innocent people, but I would rather my four-year-old know that sometimes cops kill innocent people than lie to her.

If I shelter her to live in an imaginary world, how can I send her to that world to live in when she turns 18?

It was sad, because before my daughter wanted to be a K-9 officer, but she decided that she didn’t want to be an officer anymore because even though those bad cops are the minority, she doesn’t want to have to work with them. Now she wants to be a vet.

I rarely allow the news, the news doesn’t give me time to think of how I can best explain horrible things. It often puts things in the stupidest, least insightful manner (in my opinion). But it comes through here and there, as we pass from the dining room to the schoolroom, just a glimpse and it always seems to be the worse glimpse.

Why do I hate the news so much? Because it crushes dreams and spirits and well being. I could have explained the truth over time when I was ready if she hadn’t accidentally watched the news.

We recently watched a documentary about orphans in India, it was horrible, but if we pause it and say that’s enough for right now, not everyone is bringing it up again and again, so it’s a bit different than the news. Also, there is an explanation, about why? The orphans mostly had HIV, 50% of the children were raped, and the ones who weren’t rapes, injected “drugs” that they didn’t know what they were or even have a nickname for what they were… sharing the same needles.

In my mind, I wonder how can a child be forced to live a life that isn’t appropriate for another child to hear about? What about that child? Why is there not a common agreement of decency? How can one person’s reality be completely unacceptable to even hear about for another?

Some of the good things about watching it, my daughter doesn’t want to take drugs. My daughter is grateful to not be an orphan.

They took the orphans to an orphanage who showered them, gave them new clothes and food, but all but the two toddlers went immediately back to the street.

They wouldn’t give up the freedom to do drugs to live in safety (what I hope was safety).

My daughter knows that people abuse children and that is the reason we don’t want her wandering away by herself now, before it was just something we said, like if you don’t brush you may get a cavity. The documentary wasn’t so explicit, but it made it reasonably clear that it isn’t a fun life as a homeless Indian child.

Years ago I had watched a documentary about Mexican orphans, they also sniff gas and glue, but I must say the live quality seems higher in Mexico. In Mexico, you may get raped, in India kids get rapped left and right.

When I was about 12 I had a hard time imagining 1/3 families molested children in the US, which has changed to 1/6 since I grew up, which is great (that it’s better). I don’t think I was grateful for that until I heard the estimate of 1/2 children in India.

Perhaps I didn’t give America enough credit my whole life, definitely not perfect, yet perhaps I don’t know enough of the past to objectively take in the improvements.

India can make new corneas for eyeballs in 2 weeks. So with complete respect to India, that is the “duality” of India, a new customized living eye only takes 2 weeks, yet 1/2 children are still raped… That’s just amazing the difference between the dark and light side of the same place, the pinnacle, and the seedy underbelly. It’s like a two-pack of wonderful and horrible that only comes as a two-pack…

For me the high point of America is Half Dome in Yosemite, it’s my favorite place in the world. I criticize my home country at times, but somehow it holds my favorite place as well. Its high point is my favorite, yet its low point is almost unbearable to witness. A country of extremities.

I’m supposed to explain this world to my kids, I’m still struggling to catch up myself. Some kids are trafficked, but if mine aren’t I can’t tell them? Or I have to? Or should I? But someone did… So what do I say? 95% of the news is beyond what I want to interpret and explain, but then they have to live there. How much should you knowingly not know about where you live? I don’t have all these answers, but the questions are coming “now”.

๐Ÿฆ‹ Always Compare Yourself to Others ๐ŸŒ€

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King Jr

I lost this post once, I was thinking about how greatly I’ve been inspired by the writers who keep writing during this time.

I was derailed of my normal routine by a tsunami of small changes, I wasn’t ready to get myself together immediately. It’s been one day at a time for some time, but I must say every time I compared myself to my writing friends it made inspired and hopeful for the future.

I felt like their bravery shattered the illusion that I couldn’t get out of the hole I was stuck inside of…

It wasn’t immediate, I guess it’s been months, but my difficulty being hopeful that I could get back to a good place was always lightened by comparing myself to others.

It may not be for everyone, but actually it helps me a lot. I guess it matters quite a bit in the way it’s done, but I’m surprised I didn’t allow myself to do something that works for me, just because I told “not to”.

I’m starting to find the key to “nailing life” rather than “barely making it” is being unapologetic about using things that work for you rather than doing things in a prescription that doesn’t fit.

Some people use a “positive attitude” and it helps in a lot of ways quite a bit, I haven’t found that to be the case for me, but it took so many years to objectively take a look and notice the return I got wasn’t worth the input energy.

Some solutions just sound great, and they don’t work great. Or they work for someone else, but not me. I don’t know why it took me so long to give myself permission to stop trying other people’s solutions that have consistently failed to work for me.

Open minded is great, but it becomes pig-headed after long enough. Persistence is excellent, but at point it turns to stubborn resistance and it’s difficult for me to know exactly when throwing in the towel is less stupid than continuing to beat my head into a wall.

Maybe I’m afraid of being a “flake” of giving up to easy, but the opposite extreme is just as unhelpful, if more glorified.

I’ve been like a printer with paper jam lately, I can’t do what I want and it really froze my mind to doing the best I can instead.

I’ve been watching Nanny 911 for the past three days starting at season 4. It’s been really fun watching it with my two kids, not sure if it’s because there are kids in the show or not, but we all like watching it.

I think I’m hoping to find a mom just like me or a family just like us and find an easy fix, so far there isn’t an exact fit but I’m still using the tips from the nannies.

Initially my schedule was ruined by the realities of life, then I thought it would be nice for the kids to have a free summer like I used to enjoy, but having the time unscheduled became droll without a punctuation of weekend outings.

Life is so much the same now, yet it’s as if the peaks have been cut off the mountains. The very best parts of life are temporarily gone, I didn’t know why it saddened me so much at first, but cutting off the peak of a mountain removes part of the ascetic inspiration towards the awe of nature or God, cutting off the head of a statue turns it from personal to impersonal, cutting off just a little bit of a quilt makes it a broken item, cutting a corner off an ID makes it unusable, most of my life stayed the same, yet what changed was hugely significant to me.

The two things I loved about where I live were teaching martial arts Sunday and going to the science center with my kids, those are gone and nothing has filled the hole. Both those things gave me identity, satisfaction, meaning, significance.

In “How to Win Friends and Influence People” the author, Dale Carnegie, remarked that how someone gets a sense of significance is the key of knowing how to interest or engage with someone. For me, wanting to know myself more deeply, I should have allowed myself to discover what made me feel significant as a tool of self awareness. I always had trouble swallowing my truths, I have trouble owning the truth that being a mother doesn’t make me feel significant, everyone has a mother, if that is significant, everyone is pretty much significant and the same? I find it many things, but not personally significant. It totally could be and is for others, but not for me. Because it doesn’t reflect my skills and being in any way I’m aware of… it has taught me a lot about myself, life, made me more humble, yet martial arts has given me hundreds of times more significance to myself. Significance as a internal satisfaction and contentment with my achievement on this journey of life. I like nature walks, I like science museums, I like martial arts, those things remind me there is a world bigger than my house. I dislike parenting, dishes, cooking, laundry, cleaning, tutoring, diaper changing, breast feeding, though I do my best day after day after day I don’t enjoy those things, can’t honestly even imagine myself enjoying them no matter how much someone else may. To me it’s unpaid work for a good cause, it’s not magical, it’s not a candidate of something I could enjoy with a perspective shift short of a lobotomy.

This has been the best year of my life, but not the easiest. I’ve enjoyed it the most, because I’ve never had more love and inspiration. My son was born last year, this year he had been with me all year and that was life changing because I have an ikagai, a reason to jump out of bed in the morning.

I’ve always found a reason to live, a reason to get out of bed, but I can’t remember ever having a reason to jump out of bed. There is a difference.

I’ve wanted to find an ikagai since reading about it in “The Blue Zone Project,” I never realized I was missing anything in my life as a student when all of life seemed to be about registering for classes that were overly full, trying to get a higher GPA than I was able to, saving money, working, and fantasizing about earning enough money to pay my student debt and buy a house before having kids (didn’t happen for me yet). I thought the dream job would be my reason to live and my kids would be the cherry on the ice cream, but it didn’t work that way.

I love both my children, but my younger one fills a huge hole in my soul in a way that’s almost inexplicable. It’s not just a preference for the younger one, but he adds to our family in a way that makes it harmonious, he really “completes me”… it isn’t that he is “like me” but he honestly eases the pain of being alive. He does it for everyone around him, family, family friends, it’s not just me, he has the same effect on his dad. It’s a really difficult thing to express without making it seem like my eldest is “less”, she isn’t less in any way, but she is different. My son makes me feel like no matter what I can go on, my daughter makes me feel like it’s impossible for me to fulfill her and it’s okay to get and accept as much help as I can. Those are two very different feelings. It’s not simple favoritism between children, but it’s favoritism among people, I’ve never found a human being I like nearly as much as my son. It’s very hard to define it in a way that tells my deep truth to myself and isn’t said in a way that would hurt my eldest. I feel like I can’t even think it sometimes, as if she would hear me somehow… I know my grandmother felt the same way about my father and only him, I suspect my husband’s mother felt that way about him, I think it’s something that happens all over the world commonly. I wonder how to live honestly with my daughter if I have to be lying or how to be honest with her without hurting her? I prefer a path of honesty, but maybe someday I will find a way to frame it that it doesn’t come off as more horrible than it really is…

So about three days ago the truth that I would live better with a schedule became impossible to keep ignoring. Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before, I just wrote down my actual schedule in it’s horror of imperfection and didn’t change it. It was late by the time I did that, I didn’t want to give up on making a schedule for today, yet didn’t have time left to invent a new day, so writing the actual chaotic, unwanted day that nonetheless kept happening again and again was a way forward. Today I lived on a loose schedule and it was so much better. I had a 10 AM “failed discipline” scheduled, which I forgot about, after having 4 time outs and a horrible 9 AM hour I took a deep breath, checked my google keep note schedule and noticed that I was actually ahead of schedule. Usually my daughter and I fight at 10 AM until I boarder-line verbally abuse her at 11 AM. Today I got the ineffective discipline done at 9:30 and felt strangely “on top of things” silly as that is, I also had a good laugh, the first in too long. At 11 instead of verbally abusing her I started a ballet lesson she really likes (Daniella Ballerina on Youtube) I don’t enjoy it at all, but actually my son and daughter both do, so at least they were both happy, exercising, and living their best lives for at least an hour. The day wasn’t perfect, we had 8 time outs, I got hit twice, my daughter threatened to hit my son once, my son played in the toilet which I hate, yet today was much better than yesterday.

One thing I did was to break my day up into “two” hour periods: Early Morning 6,7,8 Morning 9, 10, Day 11, 12, Afternoon 1, 2, Late Afternoon 3, 4, Evening 5, 6, 7, Night 8, 9. In the early morning we often sleep through the 6 O Clock Hour and in the evening my husband comes home so I escape parenting for an hour somewhere in those three hours… I wish it was more, but he wants to “shower” and “eat dinner” so… I guess I can’t argue either of those things any way I know of… Lately I don’t feel like I can get through the “whole day,” kind of sad, yet true. So knowing I have my time diced up I just mentally try to get through the “morning” or “late afternoon” or whatever I’m currently in. Also I try to let go of anger at my daughter in each time change, it seems to work surprisingly, today she was only well behaved for the early morning, but I did give her a reward and some positive recognition after that time was over and it felt nice to feel that she had achieved some “goodness” even if she was fairly horrible throughout the day. I took notes on myself and all her time outs as the day went on, I really hate to get into it, but knowing I am likely to expect a bit too much I really believe 90% of parents would be with me in not wanting to allow violence ext, I at least upon calming down and re-reading why my daughter in time out find it completely valid why she was in time out. I don’t know if time out will work, but it was actually my daughter’s request of how I discipline her and I’m trying it out of respect, I want her to help me troubleshoot our family issues and work as a team member (subordinate yet still a team member) and I feel like trying her way for a week will help her try mine next week if it comes to that.

So, I’m psychologically surviving on a two hour basis right now as a parent, yet I hope to switch that to thriving soon.

It’s been invaluable comparing myself to others, really made me feel like I’m not AS horrible as I feel, parenting in my exact family is just THAT hard. I don’t think any of the moms on Nanny 911 were really bad people, I haven’t found my exact match yet, but I so deeply relate to the pain of being in a position where you want to respect and honor your child deeply, but they are forming a bad habit that doesn’t merit respect nor encouragement. It’s so hard to get it through that you love them if they hit you, but you don’t want to be hit, at least my kids see it as such a rejection of them if you don’t love everything they do. As far as I know I’ve been consistent with discipline, yet it has failed so much, either I have a blind spot for myself or my daughter is just a very very tough cookie. Which could be, one of the other interesting parts of the show is seeing how some kids are quick to turn good with the Nanny and others test the Nanny with 22 years of experience basically to the limit. In the same family, same parents, same rules some “nuts” are much harder to crack. It reminds me of the dog who bit Cesar Milan, he usually shows up and says that dog is actually not aggressive, it’s anxious, easy fix… but one dog was actually just kind of a dangerous, unstable pit bull…

The title of this article is a joke, of course I don’t mean “always” compare yourself to others, but sometimes it can be uplifting. The key I guess is to compare yourself to someone normal or someone doing worse, not Elon Musk. When I am tempted to compare myself to someone famously productive I can usually feel smug because they are divorced and I am married, I tell myself (for better or worse) if it wasn’t for the effort of being supportive to my spouse it would probably be possible for me to achieve that highly in my career/sport/domain as well. And I think it really would be “possible”. That’s not to say it would be easy or a sure thing… I have very seldom found someone who had a continuous marriage, kids happy with their parenting and a superstar sports or business career, I’m sure someone is out there. It seems more often that the cost of being a super star in one field is being a failure or scumbag in another (that’s specifically my opinion about Tiger Woods, he took a human failing far past decency as far as I’m concerned). Essentially it’s good to “compare up” constructively. And it can be fine to compare against a superior person in the right light as well, not I have to be as good as them, but how can I add a little bit of that into my situation… like Martin Luther King found just the right words to reflect feelings in a simple way, how can I find the courage to let myself try that.

I wish I had a Martin Luther King sitting on my shoulder and a Ghandi, to say the most eloquent things to my children at just the right moments, but I don’t. However tomorrow I’ll read:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King Jr

Another quirky thing I do comparing myself with greats without feeling bad is think of something I have that they don’t, usually “I’m more alive” works. It works with Martin Luther King Jr, Jesus, Gandhi, and many others. It’s kind of juvenile, but it allows me to treasure the gift of life quite a bit. It’s a morbid tool that works for me.

Another person I like to compare myself to is the fictional X-man wolverine, because sometimes I lack tact. But imagining how he would have handled my same situation is really enjoyable, it’s fun imagining the carnage and also makes me proud I was a bit more reasonable than slashing people to death with retractable metal claws.

I guess the key to comparing yourself in an uplifting way is making the contest one where you win, which is always possible when it’s your own mental contest.

One of the crazy things about our life was that night time was stressful in a very similar way to Nanny 911, and after 1 day of doing the Nanny 911 bedtime routine both kids were in bed before 9:15 0 drama. One child is bathed in the day and one at night (like the show), we brush right after dinner not before bed (unlike the show), we give a night filtered multiplication review video instead of a book at bedtime because we do books in the morning (unlike the show), yet telling our daughter 8PM is settle down time and 9PM is bed time worked in a crazy way, no more negotiating for more and more videos at night. We would just put on nature documentaries, but it’s still nicer having the kids actually asleep. I moved my son, 1 years old, to his own tiny bed a day ago (like the show’s – everyone sleeps in their own bed rule) I woke up 7 times to feed him and accidentally fell asleep on the floor yesterday night, yet I have a feeling of pride at following the Nanny 911 rules.

My daughter loves all the Nanny’s, her favorite is Stella, my favorite is Deb, yet we are only five episodes into the fourth season, so I almost don’t want to commit. I really like that my daughter has a sense of wanting to have all of us thrive as a family more, be fun and supportive for her to an extent, but also bring down the fighting so it stops taking an unfair toll on my physical health and mental stamina.

I think this article is the first one I’ve written scheduled for night time, I was supposed to write from 9-10PM. Yet I went out to buy a swim suit to teach the kids to swim so my husband didn’t have them in bed on time, they went to bed at 9:15 and 9:20 instead of 8 and 9, yet that’s not so horrible. It’s better to have a mark and miss it that have no idea.

I always thought I would hate writing at night, but I don’t. It’s crazy to me how much I don’t know what I will hate until it happens. I had two motorcycles in my life, one I didn’t want at all and it was amazing for me and my life, the other my dream one, was actually not as comfortable or even better in handling, speed, or gas mileage. On the surface it looked cool, yet under the surface it was inferior in every other way. I just would never have predicted having my dream bike wouldn’t be the one I preferred.

So here I am trying to “live my best life” again, after a really ugly phase that is mostly my fault. My inability to let go of the illusion of control, desire to look for certainty in an ever changing world with no certainty or permanence and my mental inflexibility were a poor fit with the circumstances of this year, though my gratitude always provided a ray of light and my eternal optimism kept me out of any lasting depression.

Tomorrow I think I will be swimming in a swim suit, I’ve been swimming in a dress and it’s been a bit weird, much less of a problem than I imagined, yet it will feel more “legit” with a swimsuit. If I were to sum up the whole Coronovirus zeitgeist for me personally I would say it’s like swimming in street clothes, it’s awkwardly a large paradigm shift from seemingly small changes or perhaps more honestly a huge paradigm shift from seemingly large changes? I just feel like I can’t stop trying to down play my discomfort, even privately. I know others are suffering more, though some not at all, it has an uncomfortable vibe like I’m eating a cupcake in front of others who don’t have lunch… I’ll eat it, but I’ll downplay my enjoyment?

I’ve been wanting to balance the part of the day I don’t hate with my son doing what he likes, with my daughter doing what she likes for a year and a half, so hopefully this chaos and lack of a schedule turning to turmoil can be the canvas of that change which felt like such an impossible dream until I started “semi-binge watching” Nanny 911 (two episodes a day is just semi-binge watching to me).

I need to get my health straight a bit more, get my head straight a ton more, get my schedule straight somewhat more and enjoy whatever I can access instead of just hating that I can’t have what I usually love.

Sometimes “my best life” isn’t the life I want or even a happy life.

My daughter threw 7 fits today, I felt defeated by 10AM, yet I found humor in life at about 10:15 and made it through the day decently well. I replaced clearly failed discipline with possibly failing discipline, I replaced verbal abuse with an hour of ballet, I replaced disorganized school time with slightly better school time (we did thunderstorms and weather around the world, it was kind of cool actually). Life today was much better than life yesterday, it’s very easy to want more for tomorrow, yet I think it is essential to celebrate today.

Thank you so much for reading this, writing at night feels like I’m “drunk texting” I’m hoping it is as coherent as “day writing”… by reading this and not calling me a monster I take it as a sign that you are kind of on my side of the struggle to do good in the world in our ways. I never put words to that, but I kind of do, I feel we are in this life together a little bit, we are connected in a small, but real way now, our thoughts are ripples in the same pond interacting just a bit, whether it be a resonance, amplification or reduction, we are affecting one another in a subtle, complicated, yet real way. Thank you, I find you a comfort and support, I am honored by you taking your time to read this string of words in a world with so many. You are lights in the darkness that drive me to write, hope, improve and go on in the best way I can. ๐Ÿ’ž

I Nanny 911-ed Myself and It’s Working Well So Far…

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง It’s Fourth of July 2020 ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Just made this comic on Pixton.com, I really liked the ease of use, but not sure if a similar free option is out there. I’ve been wanting to do comics “sense forever,” but drawing freehand and scanning is prohibitive at this time in which my younger child dissembles and eats pens…

The gentleman to the left shows my American patriotism level, while intending respecting towards all my fellow American’s great variety of viewpoints, we are definitely diverse in opinion about a great many things.

I’m pretty anti-holidays, much more than I am an anti-american. What a fun person, right? Haa…

Bitmoji Image
My ancestors lost control of this continent, but at least we have french fries and hamburgers for lunch sometimes, that’s something, I drink the coffee too. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ