Quick hi…

This is just a note to let you know why I’ve been so quiet and why my silence may persist a bit further …

Since I last wrote we’ve been away a few times, our house has been broken into and my grandmother (the matriarch of our family) took a sudden turn for the worse.

Break-inOh, and we’re moving so I’m trying to single-handedly pack up our house.

Packing

Add this to life in general and you’ve got one busy lady.

We move into our rental in Hout Bay on 1 May but our moving truck arrives on 22 April (long story), so hopefully I’ll be back on line sometime soon after that.

I’ve had another session with my psychologist and she progressed me to building my Idiopath… say what ?!? I hear you; but it makes perfect sense once explained and has proved to be a fascinating and important step in the right direction.  I’ll get round to all of that in early May but right now I must get back to boxes, boxes and more boxes…

 

 

Posted in Between the Lines · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Anger Management 101

Just over a month later and here I am.

I didn’t make the phone call to book my psych appointment immediately as promised.  I can’t for the life of me think why but between my two children there was bound to be a good reason.

Life has since been derailed by our decision to move to Hout Bay and I’ve been swamped by estate agents on both sides of the deal.  I won’t bore you with details but wanted to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to.

 

Art classes have continued each Monday and every session is an exploration and expression of self through a new medium. We’ve done life circles (although mine turned out like a lollipop with feathers), creating through layers, body mapping and this Monday’s ink-on-coffee-on-tea creations.  I’m not going to go into each lesson here, suffice to say that each time I discover something new about myself, be it just a vague sense or a range of feelings.

What I want to tell you about in this post rather is my first session with my new psychologist.  She doesn’t replace Jodi de Lijster, Lorna just fulfills a different roll.

I couldn’t recount exactly what was said over the two-hour period and I don’t think you’d want me to. But I’d like to give you the summary if you will, because I have no doubt that this journey with Lorna is going to bring about some major changes in my life.

I started off by explaining why I was there (the fight I had had, and another blow up on my part) and that it was time for me to deal with what I could now clearly label as ‘anger issues’. Because it was my first session, I back-tracked to the beginning of my life and walked her through my whole journey. From my childhood through to today.

She listened and asked a few questions as I went along and then did something amazing.  She focused in not so much on what I had said, but the words I chose and how I used them.

This woman is amazing.  Seriously.  By asking me to elaborate on things I had said she started uncovering, piecing together and clarifying things I’ve been dealing with for more than a decade. She cast a new light and came from a different angle.

We highlighted the two major weaknesses in my psyche: self image and anger.  (Even you know that right.) But then she discovered a common factor that ties them together.

Want to know it is?

Seeing myself and being seen.

In my struggle with anger she found that my trigger – the point at which I loose control is this: At the height of a heated argument, where we’re going no-where slowly except into more volatile emotions, the sledge hammer of not being seen cracks open some inner reserve and I erupt with a fury from somewhere deep inside. But here’s the question: how can my husband hope to see me if I don’t properly see myself.

Which leads me on to the next point…

In terms of my broken self image she highlighted that (as I’ve said) I don’t see myself. I draw from sources outside myself and try and live according to the kaleidoscope I’ve created while experiencing a completely different internal reality. I kind of know that but she’s coming from a new angle here.

A bit confused? That’s ok, things will no doubt get clearer as our sessions progress.

“This is what I’m going to do for you,” she said at the end “I’m going to help you see yourself.”

Beautifully simple words and yet they carried such a weight. What she said bypassed my brain and resonated somewhere deep inside.  I left knowing that she’s offering to help me find a major piece of the puzzle and I can tell you that I’m more than ready to take her hand.

“Before you go, what’s the essence that you’ve taken from today?”

Pause …

“My sense of self was broken as a young child and now I’m living with the fragments – playing to each of them individually and not quite knowing how to put them back together.”

We smiled at each other and the deal was sealed.  I’ll be seeing her for an hour session +- every week for the next while. I’m excited to see where this takes me and have no doubt that it will be to higher places and greener pastures.

I’m glad you’re still with me and for those of you who have joined the journey recently … welcome.  This is going to be one hellava great ride!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Thursday 13 Feb 2014 ~ Free Flow and Anger Management

So I’ve just employed an hour of my precious time looking for the free-writing I did in art class on Monday. I stopped about ten mins after I found myself looking in places it simply can’t be and got that unpleasant ‘I’m wasting time’ feeling in my stomach.

I can share what I want to without the example though – so happy days :-)

This week we had to start again with free-writing. Randomly choose 8 words that jumped out at us and then make a short phrase from them.  After that we all took a magazine and tore out the first picture that caught our attention.  This we placed under a large piece of white paper on our desk and then moved to the next person’s place.  Here we sat down, read their 8 word phrase and then tore a picture out from a magazine that caught our attention for them. We repeated this process until we got back to our stations and could take out the 8 magazine pictures that were placed under our paper.

Then we chose the first one of those 8 that jumped out at us and tore the image out – isolating just the picture on the page that caught our eyes and leaving it with nice jaggered edges.  Then we chose a few more and did the same.

The next step was to piece them together and start creating a collage of sorts that flowed from where we were at.

What fun! We used pastels initially and then moved onto clothing dye, jik, glitter etc.

Here’s my piece:

Art 10 Feb 2014

You won’t be able to see the actual collage behind all the layers, but starting at the left there are 3 tea-cups pouring gold liquid onto the tip of a flow of images that run up to the right along (amongst other things) a strip of beach, into a purple flower that then blooms into a yellow rose.

It was amazing to see how my free-writing and where I was that morning translated itself onto the page.

The point in sharing this with you?

Well, it seems as if I’m very definitely going down a path of learning to free-flow in life. The saying in our art class is this:

“It is what it is and I am what I am” We just flow from the inside out into our art and don’t question the process, judge ourselves or apologize for anything.

For someone like me who fears failure and rejection that’s a huge one to live out. I’m learning to let go of the need for perfection. I’m reacting better when I make mistakes etc.

My mind used to buzz constantly with self-awareness, self-criticism and the processing of life in general to make sure I didn’t end up being rejected along the way.  After just a few weeks of my writing and art courses, I’ve turned the volume down considerably.

That’s not to say that I’ve disengaged my brain, it’s just that I’m learning to let go of control and ease off on the unrealistic expectations I put on myself.  I still maintain my faith in God, nurture my family, have fun with my friends, fail, succeed, have good days and bad … I’m just learning to do it all with a more open hand.

And yes, this has translated into a happier me. Still full of sh&t but smiling.

I’ve had a few bad-body days since I last wrote, but “It is what it is, and I am what I am” has risen up from somewhere inside and eventually drowned out the monster’s voice. Am I saying that this may be the greatest part of attaining my freedom? Possibly – we’ll have to see where it goes.  I’ve still got a long road ahead and I’ve got a feeling that there are many more challenges and revelations around the corner.

And besides, there’s been a twist in my tale…

Now that some of my other issues have lessened their grip, a new monster has shown its hand … ANGER.

I lost it the other evening. The argument had started off as rather trivial (as it usually does) and the emotional amplitude rose gradually (as can sometimes happen). Unfortunately my emotions got heated to such a point that they accessed what I’ve come to realise is a volcano of un-dealt-with anger inside of me.

Suddenly I snapped and lost emotional perspective. Ever heard of ‘screaming like a banshee’? … Well that was me.  It’s happened quite a few times over the years and you just need to look at the knuckle marks on the fridge if you want some proof.

In the quiet after the storm, while I lay in my bed feeling such shame at snapping again, I realised that I officially have ‘anger issues’ and need to deal with them. Straight after posting this to my blog I’m going to get hold of my pschologist and make an appointment … watch this space.

I must say, I find it quite fascinating how that psyche deals with things.  Now that the fear of failure and rejection have become more manageable, it’s brought into focus the underlying emotions that were never allowed to be expressed when those issues were being forged all those years ago in my litte-girl soul.

What can I say, I’m a work in progress.

Gotta go and make a phone-call …

Ciao

 

 

Posted in General · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Back again!

I wrote this last night (Saturday 1 February 2014 resuming the blog, as promised, at the beginning of February).  However, I had no access to the internet last night and could only post now.  Forgive me? :-)

 

So much has happened and changed since the end of last year. I could write pages about it all, but for your sake and mine I’ll keep it short.

 

After some heart-to-hearts with people close to me a clear message came up that confirmed thoughts I’ve been having.

 

Starting Between the Lines with my study of Brene Brown’s book ‘I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)’ was great and it really got me focussed and thinking clearly about the issues that lie in between the lines of my seemingly put-together life.

 

I feel strongly now though that I need to change focus from ‘dealing with my stuff’ to ‘being the me I know I truly am’.  It’s quite a big shift because instead of blogging mainly about what’s going on in my head and heart and relating that to books/resources on the subject, I’m going to be actively trying to live the full and free life I know I should be living and through the process grasp hold of freedom, overcome fears, strengthen weaknesses and kick some ISSUE ass!

 

How? Basically by living my dreams.  I’ve always wanted to write novels and have known that ‘one day’ I will. Well, ‘one day’ is now and I’ve recently started an amazing creative writing course, which has already made me feel more ‘me’ than any other attempt at freedom.

ALL ABOUT WRITING

 

Alongside that I’m doing a free-flow art course where participants are encouraged to let go of inhibitions and the things that hold them back and express themselves through the flow of art.  My wonderful friend Karin participated last year and found that it did exactly that, so I’m joining her this semester.  We start on Monday and depending on how I go I may well post pics of the art I do J

 

On a slightly different note, we got 3 kittens.  I’ve always wanted to have cats again and with the kiddies going to ‘big school’ my husband agreed to get them each a kitten.  Well, when I collected them I added an extra one to the basket because after all I WANT ONE TOO.  And they are such a delight.  Their carefree play and just plain cuddle-ability is awesome to be around.

 

With my kiddies at big school now I have a bit more time every morning which I’m trying to be very good at setting aside for my writing. But beyond that, my most incredible husband has committed to sending me away one weekend out of every month just to write and rejuvenate.  I had my first weekend last week and went to Garikou Lodge close to Swellendam. I wrote, rested and came alive … it was amazing…

Gaikou Lodge

 

So, how has this new focus worked so far?  Brilliantly.  I’m finding that actively stepping away from the things that usually hold me down and trip me up has diminished their power. 

 

Are they gone?  Most certainly not, but I honestly believe that living out my ‘true self’ instead of dwelling on my ‘broken self’ is going to get me to inner wholeness faster than any other method. I’ll be applying the things I’ve learnt from Brene Brown too – a powerful combination!

 

What will I be blogging on?  Me. This is still a blog about dealing with the dark truths that kowbosh our inner freedom, the vehicle has just shifted from books/resources on the subject to my daily life.  Given the shift I imagine that what I write about is going to be much more colourful, more directly applicable to you and very very real.

 

This is going to be more ‘real life’ writing, and amongst the laughs, tears, successes and failures I KNOW there are going to be incredible breakthroughs on my body-image and other issues. Which is the point, because this blog is certainly not going to become narcissistic drivel!

 

I’ll leave it here for now and end off with some pics of what I’ve been up to since we last spoke.

 

So nice to be back … looking forward to continuing the journey with

you…

(We spent a month on the Wild Coast over Christmas time – it was one of the best holidays I’ve had there.)

 

Grace and I

(This year there were other holiday homes filled with old friends long last seen, which added a whole other dimension of fun to the festive season)

Old Friends

(Here Pete and Jeanne are holding little Eliana on our lawn – another member of the family joins the legacy that it Kei Mouth!)

Pete, Eliana and Jeanne

(We welcomed 2014 with lanterns – and got to bed at sunrise. It’s already been a life-changing year!)

Lanterns

(2014′s cuddliest additions are Shadow, Mittens and Bella – a constant delight)

Kittens

Posted in General, Update · Read full story · Comments { 3 }

Last post for 2013 … amazing stuff this

Check out this awesome clip by Pro Infirmis by clicking on their logo below …

 

Pro Infirmis

Posted in Between the Lines · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Between the Lines (Brene Brown 14)

Between the Lines (Brene Brown 14)

 

 

 

So this is my last official post on Brene Brown’s book ‘I thought it was just me (but it isn’t)’.  In truth I’ll only be half way through her book by ending here, but I feel strongly that this is where I need to stop in terms of ‘studying’.  From now on I want to APPLY what I’ve learned.  It really doesn’t help gaining head knowledge and leaving it there … it’s got to drop down to the heart and revolutionize the soul.

 

 

 

Last time I looked at ‘Normalizing vs Pathologizing’ in understanding developing our Critical Awareness around shame.  The final factor in developing Critical Awareness is Demystifying vs Reinforcing…

 


Demystifying is simply taking the mystery out of something.  Most of us know what it’s like to be on the outside of an ‘inner circle’.  We’ve all laughed uproariously at a joke a group are sharing – too embarrassed to admit we haven’t a clue what they’re on about but too scared to be excluded.  Expand that vision out to our pet villain, the beauty industry and ‘bam!’ there we are trying to fit in and look the part but never quite getting it right. They do that on purpose you know.  As Brene says: “When individuals, groups or institutions want to exclude people or raise their status, they have a tendency to shroud themselves, their products or their ideas in mystery.”

 

 

 

Oh what a wonderful world if everyone were more like Brene who believes strongly that “if we have ‘mysterious powers’ – if we know how something sacred works – we are obligated to share what we know. Knowledge is power, and power is never diminished by sharing it – it is only increased.”  Unfortunately the beauty industry, Hollywood etc will never reveal their secrets or – more accurately – confess the truth so we’ll have to come at them from a different angle: Fight against reinforcing their deceptive messages.

 

 

 

We reinforce the lies we’re fed in order to feel secure.  I strive to be as perfect as possible – hoping to make the ‘universal beauty grade’ – thereby ‘ensuring’ my acceptance by others.

 

 

 

I’m a dog chasing my own tail. The secret club whispered about by magazine covers is as fictitious as the airbrushing employed, as dark as the greed behind it and as flimsy and the paper its printed on.  All the time the people I love and most desire to be loved by are besotted with me simply because of who I am – warts and all. 

 

 

 

I need a good fat slap!!!

 

 

 

Brene applies this chapter more to knowledge about things and the fear of asking questions, but for the purposes of this blog I’ll leave it here.

 

 

 

As I said above, this is my last post on Brene’s book.  I’ll be going back and reading through all 14 sessions so that I can start applying what I’ve learned – that should make for some very colorful posts next year!  I suggest you do the same if you’re anything like me :-)

I’ll also be reading the rest of this book which still covers the following:

 

 

 

~ Reaching Out

 

~ Speaking Shame

 

~ Practicing Courage in a Culture of Fear

 

~ Practicing Compassion in a Culture of Blame

 

~ Practicing Connection in a Culture of Disconnection

 

~ Creating a Culture of Connection

 

 

 

I can’t end without expressing my thanks to Brene Brown whose commitment to studying something so important will not only serve to speed up my journey to inner freedom, but the journeys of countless others too.  Brene, it’s nice to know that I share your struggles with shame, your hope for freedom and your faith in God too.

 

Posted in Between the Lines, Brene Brown - expert in vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Long time no see

I have no excuses for my long silence.  Just a truthful explanation: From my Mother coming down for the first anniversary of my Father’s death through to now; life got busy. By the time two weeks had passed after my last blog post, I got to that strange place where I feel guilty for not blogging enough and all tied up about whether or not I’m making a difference.  Throw in two pre-schoolers and the end-of-year mayhem and you have my long silence.

Sorry.

 

I’m here now though wanting to say I’m still around.  Although I’ll be heading to the Wild Coast in a few days time and won’t be able to blog from there, I’ve given myself a good talking too and have unearthed my sense of purpose from under the pile of emotional crap it’s been hiding in.  We’ll be away until mid-Jan and then straight into settling the kiddies into ‘big school’.  To be realistic I’ll probably start blogging again at the beginning of February.

Before I go though I want to tie up my work on Brene Brown’s incredible book “I thought it was just me (but it isn’t).  Which I’ll do in my next post.

Until then, here are a few pics of what’s been happening in my life since we last spoke …

Time with my amazing children…

A LOT of baking…

Shopping for a new Cozzie: One of quite a few bad-body-image triggers…

Many amazing meals…

And finally, many hours spent with my niece Eliana…

Posted in Between the Lines, Update · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Upworthy you Beaut – Shed that light!

This clip posted on Upworthy serves to illustrate what I’ve been writing about in my last few Brene Brown posts.  This is the standard set by billion dollar commercial entities, an impossible target to reach – literally.

Surely it’s unethical? Surely it’s unlawful?  It’s false advertising. It’s blatant lying.

And not only has it played a HUGE part in forming my opinion of myself, but with the power it holds I’m going to have to work pretty bloody hard to keep my little girl from being tainted by it too …

Click here to see what I’m ranting about:

UPWORTHY

Posted in Between the Lines · Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Between the Lines (Brene Brown 13)

Between the Lines (Brene Brown 13)

 

Right, so I worked through Contextualizing vs Individualizing.  Not let’s look at Normalizing vs Pathologizing.

 

I think the words we most need to here (and Brene says it in her book) is “You’re not alone” and that is what this blog is all about.  That’s at the heart of normalizing. It’s saying ‘your soft bits drive you crazy? Don’t worry, me too and about a billion other women out there.’

 

The opposite of normalizing is pathologizing. This is where we feel like we’re the only one or at least the only one we know who feels the way we feel and falls short of the expectations we come up against.  Instead of feeling normal, we then feel abnormal. And that feeling of being different is fertile soil for shame to grow.

 

In order to develop shame resilience we need to work at seeing the bigger picture and reaslising that we are very much NOT alone and that what we feel and think are pretty normal (most of the time!) We really do need to look at our cultural, social, economic and even religious environments in order to get this bigger picture.  If I were a Latina woman I’m sure my soft bits would be my best parts and I would have grown up swaying them down the street with pride.  Instead I fall under the UK/USA banner where Twiggy still rules and skeletal is the norm.

 

That’s all for this segment – I’ve got one more heading of Brene’s to work through and then I’ll start applying it all to my struggling psyche!

Posted in Between the Lines, Brene Brown - expert in vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame · Read full story · Comments { 1 }

Between the Lines (Brene Brown 12)

Right, so in my last post I ask and answered questions that developed my critical awareness, I now need to practice it by linking my experiences with the questions and answers I worked through.  I’ll be doing that moving forward, but let’s keep with Brene’s book and take on the next section for now: using out critical awareness to build shame resilience.

 

This is done by learning how to:

Contextualize (see the big picture)

Normalize (knowing I’m not the only one)

Demystify (Sharing what I know with others)

 

Right, so today I’ll look at Contextualizing.

Contextualizing is a biggie because when we’re in shame our world shrinks and we see only ourselves and our struggle.  By contextualizing we pull back from the situation completely to see the bigger picture at work.  Unfortunately understanding how corporates and individuals benefit from my feeling shame doesn’t take the shame away, but it does help build resilience. As Brene says “If we feel shame because, despite out best efforts, we can’t look like the model on the cover of a magazine, it helps to know that the model probably doesn’t look like that either.  Her blemishes are airbrushed, her legs are stretched using a computer, her smile is whitened and her clothes are borrowed.”

Preach it sister!

If however we fall prey to the web of deceit woven by magazines, cosmetic companies and clothing labels and don’t fight to put their lies into context, we’ll sink in shame as we fail over and over again to attain their impossible standards.

More dangerous than that though is viewing how we feel as a personal problem and not the universal struggle it is.  As Brene explains, shame is a social construct in that it’s how we feel when we see ourselves through someone else’s eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Between the Lines, Brene Brown - expert in vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame · Read full story · Comments { 0 }