Monday, July 6, 2015

Trickle-Down: What a Joke!

The Poems of Mary Oliver

                                                   [picture by me]

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice--

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.

--Mary Oliver

One of my commenters recommend I go read a Mary Oliver poem.

Now Mary Oliver is an interesting one. I have to admit parts of her poems I like and other parts I don't like. In this interview, she admits coming from a very dysfunctional family. This does not surprise me as her poems resonate with escape themes. Escape into nature!

Many of us ACONs did exactly that. I never have written about my time in the woods as a child but when I was young from the ages of 7-13 we lived very near what I estimate to be around a 50 acre park, part of it was grassland, a pavilion and a ball field, but the rest was all closely dense woods. I would spend hours exploring these woods among the trees, collecting rocks and leaves. Back in the day, children often were not as closely supervised as they are today but I remember my time in the woods being one of healing. I still have this connection with nature today.

 In this way Mary Oliver may be a very alike soul in her desire to escape into nature. One sees this common theme of animals, the power of nature and more. In this poem one imagines the wild night, the escape with just the light of the stars above to guide a person.

The part of the poem where people shout "Mend my Life" sounds like the experience that those with engulfing narcissists have. I often forget that unlike the always "winning" and ignoring narcissists I dealt with,  some deal with the parasitic kind that latch onto their ankles and never let go until they are shaken off. We should help people as much as we can, but some will tell people to "mend their lives". Often they are the engulfing narcissists who latch onto their children to solve all their problems or to even keep them company for their entire lives. People like this will stand in the way of their children growing and flying on their own.

Spiritually I don't agree with many concepts in Mary Oliver poems. While seeking to take care of yourself to a point is important, I remember warnings in scripture as well.

Luke 17: 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
The poem is very self-determinist. While I believe people should make their own way the best way they can that is to be done with some balance. I believe every ACON who breaks away, is definitely showing a strength in leaving the clawing hands of those who want to hang on to either say "Mend my Life" or "Be my slave".

In my pre-Christian days, I was in the UU church and had a Unitarian Universalist pastor who loved Mary Oliver poems and read them at every service. Some of the poems resonated with me them, the idea of escape holding firm. The seeking after nature. One thing about Mary Oliver is she is very popular in UU circles. She has spoken at UU meetings. Her foundation seems to be a Walden-like Transcendentalism where one finds one self in nature and walks alone. According to the ethos of Transcendentalism which Unitarian Universalism was essentially founded on.  One is to be self-reliant. One is to be self determined.  These themes run in American culture.

This is one aspect of American culture that is really strong, the lone hero or heroine making their way in the world and never failing or faltering, making good with a stand alone ethos. A man and woman forming their own island of resiliency and success just like Transcendentalist Thoreau lived alone at Walden Woods. It is an American doctrine rarely questioned. It has only grown stronger in our society the religious underpinnings aside. And it is not just something more liberal UUs subscribe too but it is actually a strong theme even in the mainstream and conservative evangelical church world via the Republican party--with the praise of individual bootstraps for all.

It is a worldview that I don't really subscribe to. Years of disability tends to have a person understand they do need other people from time to time.  When I was young, I remember the appeal it had to me but this is one reason why libertarianism didn't work as a political home for me, This self determinism that is supposed to overcome all problems. I don't mind independence but I think every-man or woman as his or her own island isn't working. This is a very socially disconnected society and it's rooted in some of these themes. The myth kind of failed for me when it came to reality.

It does not surprise me a commenter outraged with impoverished Tiffany and me, told me to read a Mary Oliver poem.  Her poems were very popular in my very affluent UU churches where I didn't fit the demographic especially among middle aged women.  The themes of nature, and that flavor of spirituality to be found within nature, as well as the assumed confidence for those who the world has truly been an oyster comingled together.

The Tiffany Sedaris post debates told me something about life in America. The haves will call the have-nots losers, immature, burdens, mooches. The have-nots will defend their position and ask for some compassion, but will have never-ending shame foisted on them for not having "succeeded". Those who have not attained a certain status will be told to "grow up!" Some have trounced me for assuming things but I admitted in the article I was taking the words of the essay at face value.  The self-deterministic theme in American culture is one that is often used as a hammer sadly enough.
Let's look at another Mary Oliver poem. This one I spiritually differ from as well....

You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

I believe younger me read this poem and loved it, because of the nature sentiments--one can almost visualize time passing and flying over the woods into the sky and the idea of feeling called to greater things but the me of today worries at the sentiment "You do not have to be good"? That is a rather strange sentiment. I don't like someone telling people they do not have to be good. Of course I believe one cannot earn their way to heaven, true Christian salvation does not mean working your way to heaven but via grace. The statement "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." seems to be a call for doing whatever you want without parameters, often bad advice in this world.  The world feels like home to Mary Oliver, but spiritually I know it doesn't to me.

Aspies in Love: The Rosie Project

I just read this book, and enjoyed it. It was a nice read. The hero is more of a scientific "aspie". Remember there are different types of Aspies, somehow the science and math skills bypassed me but I related to a lot of his character, the social mistakes, the not understanding social nuances. He is a high functioning Aspie who has become a genetics professor and researcher.  In the book, the main character is on the look for a wife, and calls it "The Rosie Project". When I dated I actually wrote lists and did a very specific single ad, so I guess I had my own "husband project" just not as formalized. Many Aspies never date but there are those who fall in love and do marry like myself. I would say the majority are late-bloomers when it comes to love. We aren't the ones being chased by dozens of would be suitors in high school.

Sometimes I wish not every Aspie in fiction was presented as good at math, and very neat, those qualities do not apply to all of us. The book was a sweet, uplifting novel. The two characters share many good times together and some of the conversations they get in, reminded me of ones I had with my husband as we were dating.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Why Do We Have Wars?


Bukowski definitely was on to something here. I still like the weekends the most even not having a job, the phone is more quiet, there is less business to conduct. I had to bear a crowd to listen to some great 60s music the other day with my husband but time left in peace and quiet is always good.

The Willful Narcissist

Another excellent video from Mr. and Mrs. Smakintosh, defining willfulness, the subtlety of evil and how it operates inside dark hearts. The wicked elevate their own will above every moral law or law of God.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Brené Brown: Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count

A lot of art or writing brings vulnerability. We are putting ourselves out there. This can bring in the critics and nay-sayers. One way to know you are being of some affect out there, is when they come crawling out of the woodwork to shout against you. This blog is a vulnerable blog in that I am sharing personal things that have happened to me. This includes both the "fat world" posts and the "ACON" "adult children of narcissist" posts. Both are highly stigmatized areas. I take risks doing this blog as it's traffic increases.  There is vulnerability in doing this work. I have shared personal stories of childhood abuse and scary rare medical scenarios.

 I think about a certain blog that suddenly popped up where there was love-bombing at the start and now continues with a smear campaign and irresponsible writing about pyschopaths. When I protested about it the second time,  I thought of young ACONs finding a blog that told people to seek out goodness in psychopaths. This troubled me deeply.

Some narcissists may think it is a bad thing to "fight the demons", but I've been an activist all my life in things that matter to me. Some people choose to live their lives for other purposes, but I have the right to dedicate aspects of my life to what I want.

There has been a smear campaign against me on that other blog that continued even after I left the first time in peace. Her intense desire to label me and to seek to silence my words in the face of others was obvious. She slams those who have faced abuse with every word and trashes boundaries. No one else has the right to tell another person what to feel and that is a line she crosses over and over.

One thing about living as a "real" person in this society is you will bring hatred even for things that you love. My family did not want me to be an artist or an art teacher when I was young. I loved these things but paid a price for them. I do not regret it. Art kept me alive when I was young.

Even when I had an art show, relatives of mine scoffed at it. It was a do-it-yourself affair. I have read poems while others loved them, some people have been massively offended. You will offend someone doing any kind of art or project. It is a nature of the business. Artists and writers are called "crazy" and mocked for their work all the time.  I once sold a painting that someone else told me they hated. One person loved it who bought it, and the other couldn't stand it. These things happen in the world of art. They also happen in the world of writing, blogging, comics and zines.

One thing to note is when people go for trash-a-thons, it usually means you are hitting a nerve or asking questions they'd rather not answer. I believe there is definitely those out there, who do not want truthful exposes or discussions of narcissism. In talking about narcissism, we are talking about the halls of power and the manipulations that many of the wicked don't want exposed. They don't want people knowing and understanding how psychopaths and narcissists work. Can you imagine how this would change the modern day office even? There are many people out there who do not want this conversation uncontrolled. Isn't discussing narcissism the ultimate vulnerable position to be in? The Narcissists and some Cluster Bs will stop at nothing to seek to shame and silence those who want the truth out there. 

Brene' Brown is a researcher who has always fascinated me. I'm reading a book of hers now on shame and how it is used to silence and control women. "I Thought It was Just Me {But It isn't}". This book examines how shaming is used to silence people. Many women especially fall under it's brunt, making sure to craft false personas for the world that are more acceptable. In our narcissistic world, many will shame women, for being "victims" or not attaining certain statuses.

Many narcissists and Cluster Bs shame people over their vulnerabilities. In fact it is what they go they focus on. If someone faces the challenges of depression, they will use that. They use shame and blame while always elevating themselves to say "We are better then you and have better lives, or have more then you do". [The comparison game that Brene' Brown points out below.] To be honest if someone spends so much time trashing someone else, how really happy can they be? In their world where psychopaths are just "poor misunderstood" folks, where is there any real happiness? To narcissists and Cluster Bs, the world is not a place to dedicate one's energies to help others, but a contest to win.

 Shaming is often done to silence people. Every ACON out there, we were shamed.  Our abusers and family teamed up to shame us, and then later we often received shame for being abused in the first place. I believe any blogger that shames ACONs is serving a flying monkey role for narcissists. For the ACONs out there talking about what happened to us, this takes a certain degree of bravery because we are risking vulnerability especially in a narcissistic culture that more often and not that sides with our abusers. Some will even shame others for not being happy enough or for having emotions they are personally offended at. They enable narcissism continuing with these shame-games.

Brene' Brown is right when she says "If you are going to show up and be seen, you are going to get your ass kicked". This is a controversial blog, even for the fat topics alone. I am questioning some mainstream opinions and trying to get some new ways of thought out there about obesity. The way things are done now are failing and we need new answers. I almost died and know others are in the same boat. It drives me to seek to change things and get some truth out there.

With the ACON stuff, I am talking about severe devastating emotional abuse, now that is vulnerability and going out on a limb. Every ACON blogger with normal emotions and a conscience, I am sure feels that feeling of "What am I doing?" but ACON bloggers and writers helped me to figure out what was going on. They served an important purpose in standing up against these disordered personalities bringing pain to so many and to me personally.  I hope I have been of the same help on this blog to others.

Like Brene' Brown, I don't mind constructive feedback. Everyone has their faults including me. I know being Aspie, I have to be even more cautious in my communication.  However I'm old enough to know when someone just wants to trash someone or silence their ideas because they consider their ideas too threatening or want to serve someone more powerful who has played "defend" the narcissists and psychopaths for years.  With the obesity things, I'm already quite practiced at dealing with critics. Not very many people know what it feels like to go online and admit, "I once weighed nearly 700lbs and I almost died."

I thought about these obesity issues for years. I left the mainstream fat plantation to even stay alive. The people who will change obesity will not be those who stick to the old failed answers but researchers and others who stand for the dignity of fat people and believe them. The same goes for ACONs too. If someone does not respect ACONs or mocks or denigrates their pain or seeks to shame them, then they are wasting their time. They are a critic that does not count. The only thing to do now is stay away and not even let curiosity or a warning lead me back to see the put-downs.

Brene' Brown says "Without Vulnerability, You cannot create". This is true. She is also right about the three seats the critics take of Shame, Scarcity and Comparison. I plan to write more on her book on shame, but she is right, that the critics say things like, "Who Do you Think you Are?". I loved her line, "I see you, I hear you but I am going to show up and do this anyway!". Her discussion of courage too is also important. I agree that we are often our own biggest critics too.

Also her bringing up looking for the stranger in the mall, made me laugh. So many people get stuck in that place of worrying about those strangers instead of those who love us. I appreciate the others who have been vulnerable too and who have put themselves out there. My fellow ACON bloggers and writers who have taken the same risks, in putting themselves out there with honesty and courage.