Start A Revolution From My Bed

Love, soulfood, social awareness

I’ve had that damn Oasis song stuck in my head for at least 4 months. It used to just be the final line that goes, “Don’t look back in anger I heard her say”. That got me through a lot of heart break.

In the past few weeks though it’s just been, “Start a revolution from my bed”, and a visual image of John and Yoko in that iconic bed pic with the peace sign. It would just pop up a few times a day randomly. I brushed it off, strange. You see, I’ve been on a hedonistic binge of self-pity. For the last two weeks of my daughter being out of town I just laid on the couch a shell of my former self. Trying to find the motivation to do literally anything. I would just try to not think. And then I would try to override my self judgement with the notion that it’s good for me to really feel into this grief, sorrow and depression, it will make me a more empathetic counselor one day. I’m probably right.

Except that my depression dissolved the moment my daughter walked back through the door. I wish Merck could come up with a SSRI that could do that.

Maybe it’s that even though finding breathable air in the itty bitty bubble that is my existence has felt like a full time job most days, I still hold my vision for a better world. I’m not one of these head in the clouds, fantasy land hippies that genuinely believes that I can sprinkle fairy dust on this very animalistic world and turn it all to rainbows and sunshine. I’ve seen far too much reality for all of that. I just really think in my heart of hearts that we can all do better. That we can decide to invest less time in hatred and negativity and give love a chance.

Okay, so the first live theater that I ever saw as a child was Hair. My first concert was Three Dog Night and I listened to The White Album a few thousand times before I turned 16. I was not born into these things, I discovered them. Made them mine. Held them as sacred.

I buried my dreams for peace in my heart and built a little fence around it. I trained my mind to sound articulate car alarms when someone intruded. I’ve been fierce. I’ve been merciless. I’ve been distraught. But I’ve also been silent.

Relationship to yourself and your moral compass is simply fluid. It evolves, devolves, and shape shifts. That doesn’t make me or anyone else disingenuous, it just means that we’re human. Human. Can’t think of any thing more scary.

I intended to write this about how much I miss living with my best friend on days like today. Days where hate takes center stage and forces us to look around and see this American life for what it is, indescribably beautiful but pocked with greed in all of its most nasty manifestations. I miss following up a grim CNN read with an intellectual and culturally informed conversation with a wise black man. I miss being able to messily process my array of emotions, in all of their unrefined ways out loud in front of someone who knew me as more than part of the problem. I miss having the vulnerable space to exchange tears and what the fucks in the name of young black men, in the honor of strong black women, in the hope for the biracial children that we would only ever dream of.

I was going to say that at the end of the days heavy with the murder of Mike Brown, the murder of Sandra Bland, the murder of Terence Crutcher, the poisoning of Flint, the Cleveland riots, the election of a bigot, at the end of all of those days I tucked my head into the chest of a black man and felt a little like in our own tiny way that we were healing the mistrust inherent in his willingness to love a white woman. He was home and our love was important.

Today at the end of what will become Charlottesville or maybe just UVA, instead of seeking refuge in that man, I took my daughter on an extra long walk. We talked about everything. Her mixed emotions about J being gone. About the time that her family made fun of her this summer and she hid in the closet.

She said I really thought that one of them would have came up and apologized. But no one did. I said, well what did you do then. Well eventually I came out and went down stairs, they were all just talking like nothing happened. They didn’t even apologize she reiterated. I said, yeah, baby, some times people don’t respond in the way that we hope they do. It’s hard when our expectations don’t get met. But that’s life.

We spend a lot of time talking about managing disappointment. The necessity of resiliency. It’s the most important thing that a parent  can teach their child. There’s no shortage of learning opportunities that’s for sure.

This life thing man.

Take Good Care

save the whales, science says, social awareness, Uncategorized

Humans are funny aren’t we. If you think that you’re more than an ape with a really big head you’re wrong. That doesn’t deny the collective conscious, the magic of this big blue spinning rock growing life. But it does make it awfully inclusive, never forget that you are among your peers just in animal or plant form.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

 

On Being a Bitch

domestication, Love, social awareness, soulfood, therapy

Take a seat, let’s chat about this, it’s long over due.

One of my many muses Erin Brown posted a snippet from her most recent book about not being afraid to embody the word bitch because no one knows what it means any way.

I have had a very different experience with this word. The meaning is always contextual. And I’ve been called it a lot. It comes in two varieties, “You’re being a bitch” and, “You’re a bitch”.

Being a bitch typically comes from those around me who are more emotionally evolved. They distinguish being because they understand that I am a person with a myriad of ways of being, hats I wear, tasks I do, and conversations I have. What they unconsciously know is that being a bitch indicates a behavior or behavior pattern. We are not our behaviors, simple. Our behaviors are our personality, and our personalities are the vehicles for our souls. 

Please consider this next time that you think someone is bitchy or a bitch. Actually they are acting in “that” way. It’s the “that“, that’s subjective.

[Sorry to nitpick the semantics, but words have power.]

So, let’s talk about that.

First we have to understand that our ways of being are adaptive to our environment.  Personalities are the way that we have found that works for us to show up in the world and receive the feedback that we want and need. From this place we can unpack the bitchy behavior.

Yesterday, I was asked to conceptualize my family of origin as a square, and each person in it took up their own organic shape with their personalities (i.e., means to met needs) My shape (and your shape) is thus the negative space. Here’s a little drawing to help illustrate the point:

Today, I wanted to stretch this a little further. Imagine the box as our entire society. Now sprinkle in patriarchy, gender scripts, financial power, politics, our education system, opportunities, shame, sisterhood, joy, race, your neighborhood, your inner dialogue and every single interpersonal relationship that you’ve ever had. Dang that box is crowded.

And where are you? You’re (I’m) that squiggly blue bit trying to make sense of it all, integrating, wanting to be seen or not seen at all. We accommodate and respond to every single thing around us in a fraction of a second always!  You might be going with the flow, you may be making waves and you might be chillin’ under the surface of the water. Or if you’re a human you flex in and out of doing all three.

These are usually unconscious decisions. We’ve laid down these patterns in early childhood, solidified them through our teenage years and are carrying those shells everywhere with us as adults. Seeing that can be insightful, it can be painful, but it can also be liberating.

Here’s what I know to be my truth. Sometimes people perceive me to be a bitch. And that’s their assessment of me that I’m not concerned with changing. Because I know all of me. I know the expansiveness of my soul. I know all of the roles that I step into on a given day and I hold loving space for each of those. So, when the environment is just so and I feel the impulse to express myself in a way that is strong and firmly rooted in what I believe to be true I do so. I step into my power. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not afraid of what “you’ll/they’ll” think of me when I do. 

The goal in life is not to be liked by everyone. I have a laundry list of other goals that will always, always be vastly more important than this one. 

Here’s the second part. Yes, we all wish that our childhoods were more ideal. Wish that our past and current situations demanded less bitch power and more along for the ride. But, you can come to respect that those and this situation were not that.

Many members of my family worked doggedly to break me down. Strip me of my opinions. They were massively confrontational. I spent too many of those formative years at war, screaming, hitting, crying, fighting for my voice and space. Fighting to simply be in a way that aligned with my conscious.

In those early years  I didn’t just learn to fight, I also learned to choose my battles. To be impeccably informed. To spit facts like fire out of my mouth. They taught me to tap into a deep well of inner strength. I also learned a lot of coping strategies that I’m actively dismantling. Yet I respect them, because they got me to where I am now, in tact.

The girl who you may call bitch, know that she is so much more. She is a fortress and a butterfly. She is who she needs her to be. She is perfect. 

What’s really going on inside a Trump Supporters head:

social awareness

You think you’re better than me and I’m insecure.

I don’t say this as some left wing, liberal space-cadet. I say this as a girl born in a rural Kansas town of less than 3,000. As a girl who spent most of her Thanksgiving dinners seated across from a racist. As a woman who has had to cut ties with the vast majority of her immediate family because they embody hate. Simply. And yes I’m sure that many of them are reading this. Hi fam, eat a dick- still.

Last night my troll of a biological father crawled out of the social media woodwork to accost me on  Facebook in a way that was entirely unprovoked and covert. It seems that despite all of the privacy measures in the world Zuckerburg can’t save you from those who are intent on exercising ill will. He commented about having sex with my mom on a post where nothing of the sort was solicited. This vague memory of why and how he contributed to my conception is something that he’s thought appropriate to make lewd remarks about since I was a child. So strange that, that’s trigging for me.

My knee jerk reaction was to tell him to take a flying fuck, because that’s what the 9, 12, 16, 21 year old me didn’t have the courage to say. But first I took a moment, weighed the pros and cons (including that any response is an open door for more disparaging remarks) and decided to go ahead with it. My response wasn’t kind. It didn’t represent my best self. Wasn’t even necessary if I’m being honest but it was important for me to be explicit in my own defense in that moment. It reinforced that boundary that I have firmly established and been called to defend over the years.

So, “Get the fuck off my wall Walt.” Spilled from my finger tips.

He responded with the following:

final-text

 

The first thing he brings up. I voted Trump, I did. 

Because he knows that, that’s a personal dig at me. The most hateful thing that he could think of to throw back in my face:
Hey look at me perpetuating malice, misogyny, racism, and backwards social policy!!! Loud and proud! Happy to rub it in a liberal’s face. Let’s also remind her while we’re at it that she’s, “Not as smart as she thinks she is”.

Because let’s be honest that’s the problem isn’t it. That I threaten you. Somehow even though I go to great lengths to have absolutely no contact with you, to engage with you in no way you are still threatened. Threatened by an educated, articulate, empowered, informed, vocal woman who doesn’t take a back seat to anyone’s shit including when it comes from those she should be able to trust and rely on the most intimately. She’s willing to have those hard conversations. To call a spade a fucking spade, even when the spade’s other name is Dad or Brother.

You’re hatred is not safe with me. I’ve been calling this sort of person out in person for the vast majority of my life. Imagine a 10 year old toe headed wide-eyed Reagon on a crusade to defend her friendships with Black kids over breakfast. Imagine a pregnant 20 year old girl standing up to the finger in her face from a Bill O’Riley watching Republican dream fiercely defending that her history books at the big university weren’t lying, this country was in fact founded on exploitation. Imagine being the odd man out at every family function for twenty plus years and not being able to bite your tongue.

In the past three years I have made agonizing decision after decision to no longer have relationships with those people because they are toxic. I’m not an evangelist. I’m not going to convert these people, I’ve tried that. What do I do now, that they’ve showed up in droves to the polls and put a giant hex on our country? I’m working on that plan.

I’ll tell you what’s not going to help though, saying nothing. Taking it. Passivity. It doesn’t work with them. As much as I want to get on the unity bandwagon, think that maybe everyone is just one documentary away from a personal revolution towards love and kindness I know that I’m kidding myself. These people have a 8 year jump on buying up all of the bullets (literally and metaphorically). This may be war. Are you ready?

May I always be a thorn in the side. If nothing else I will proudly wear the label of- bitch that thinks she’s so great. Damn fucking straight and I’m bringing friends. I will not retreat quietly into the night. Snuggle up to your insecurity, I’m not going away.

The Humpty-Dumpty Notion

social awareness, therapy

Disclaimer: I go to hippy school. Which is a choice that I have made, because I’m not interested in having mainstream indoctrinated methods of helping people shoved down my throat. So, in addition to reading the DSM 5 we also read all of ‘alternative’ philosophies about everything including that psychotherapy is a myth. Here’s the paper that I want to turn in but won’t.

Both chapters (required reading) were like riddles, tongue twisters, Fanny Dooleys. My favorite was this Humpty-Dumpty notion that Lakoff and Johnson refer to. Of which I may be completely misinterpreting. But interpretation is really just a cultural construct and after all there really isn’t such a thing of objectivism.

Here goes, Humpty-Dumpty walks into your office- yolk all over your couch, bits of shell everywhere, in short- he’s broken as fuck.  But doc, all of the kings horse and all of the kings men, even they could’t put me back together.

So, what do I say: Sorry Humpty, this psychotherapy business is all a myth. Wish I could help ya bud. Wanna chat? That’s all we’re doing any way. But, side note, that will still be 100.00 an hour, mama’s got bills to pay ya hear? Ohhh, no we don’t accept Medicare. Even though I’m quite sure that you would qualify for some kind of disability. Yeah, no I couldn’t help you fill out that paperwork, the federal government doesn’t actually recognize the validity of my licensure.

Listen, man, here’s what you need to understand: all of this, I mean ALL of this is a societal construct. We’re all prisoners, baby, we’re all prisoners. Then maybe we exchange recipes, he knows how to make a killer Denver Omelet. I wonder if that might be a suicidal ideation. But fuck a safety plan. Safety, that’s pretty objective.

So, what cha doin’ later Humpty? Got any love interests? Wanna watch youtube? That’ll cheer you up.

57 minuets later, end session. I’ll see you next week, take care sir!

Altruism

Love, social awareness, soulfood

This is the part of the year where I start posting revised class work on my blog, #sorrynotsorry. In a rather elementary yet still somehow tear jerking fashion I was asked to answer this question yesterday:

What is altruism? 

I am so far detached from myself right now- well recently- that I can barely define anything for myself. I’ve been lending my words, my expression, these things my essence to the that which I already know. The past lessons, long learned. These new experiences- my version of reality, yes as I perceive it- those are still zapping through my mind. Zapping like little sparks of static electricity when the night has fallen and the bed is made. The sheets tearing apart. Is it liveliness? Is it clinging? I don’t know. But I do see and feel a show of instantaneous sparks of fire. A fire that won’t catch. Doesn’t hurt. But you feel it still and you kind of wish it would happen again.

That’s the only conclusion that my writing has come to lately. I’m back at this place again. Again. Home. Inner-childhood. Deeply ingrained, damn it girl you weren’t careful enough. The undertow of the ocean that was my life for 26 years. Chaos. Pain. And now I have to loose my breath and be thrown back to sea. Again.

Focus Reg- what is altruism to you? Doing good.
What is doing good?

It’s like a little strip of rainbow in the clouds. Not rainy clouds but clear beautiful sky clouds. Despite the fact that you are going through the motions of life- stressful, mundane, thrilling- your eye keeps going back to that spot. Because you don’t want to loose it. It’s magic. And it must have been put just there in your path so that you can experience it or- it you.

Doing good is a default state for me. Sometimes I consciously go out of my way to do extra and that is rewarding. But altruism- externally- is who I am. Who I strive to be. Who I have to make more space for.

Internal altruism that wax and wanes. That is work. That is the first thing to get axed on the priority list. That’s the hole in my wellbeing at the moment. The hole that is leaking anxiety, grief, regret, mis-steps, miss-words, missed opportunities, into my life.

Altruism is both automatic and my never ending task for the day, moment, for forever. It can’t wait.

Hey Fatty Read This!

social awareness, soulfood, Uncategorized, your body

Yes I’m talking to you:

It has been brought to my attention over and over again since ummmm about puberty that this needs to be said. It needs to be screamed from a mountain top. So here goes.

If you’ve recently gained 10+ pounds read here: 

IT IS 1-0 MOTHER FUCKING POUNDS. I CAN GAIN TEN POUNDS IN ONE WEEK. STOP!!! Not to say that I haven’t been there 18000 times because I have. For some reason when you’re losing weight for any reason (adderall, exercise, stress, poverty) life is good. It’s like the one thing that is there in the clutch, at least I can tie my shoes in these jeans. Something good is at work.

But, when the tables are turned and everyday you notice more and more dimples on your ass and your fat clothes get rotated to the front of the closet (and suddenly nothing can be dried because “Damn it babe, you keep shrinking my clothes….”), there’s a cloud over your head. All of the justifications (I’m bloated, I’m stressed, the scale FUCKING lies!!) are perfectly fine. If they help, good, use them, blindly follow them. You do not need to spend one more second of your life feeling like crap because of __ amount of pounds you gained. It’s not helping.

In a prefect world  we would be able to look in the mirror and say I’m a human and this is what humans look like. But we’ve been conditioned to look in the mirror with various shades of horror. Put down Shape magazine right now.

Here’s a little story: No one ever said a dog was ugly or unworthy because she has a sweet tooth *cough Meena*. But I do look at her round behind waddle in front of me every day when I walk her and I take stock of how up or down the scale she is. Dang, Meena’s getting really fat, I should probably stop using her as the garbage disposal. Damn, Meena’s lost a lot of weight, probably because our house is COVERED IN URINE and she’s too disgusted to eat off the floor. (Wanna come visit???). But that’s it. I don’t think of her any more or any less, though I am still quite angry about the spite shit.

That beautiful parable was to say that yes you are going to notice when you gain weight and so is everyone else (see below). And that’s okay. If any one of those people (your/myself included) think less of you as a person because of it then they are an asshole. Remind yourself of that often. Hey *insert your name here* stop being such a fucking asshole to me. 

If you’ve recently lost any amount of weight, yes 3 pounds counts, read here: 

Let me tell you about a time that I lost a solid 25 pounds last year. I weighed 138 pounds at one point, which is basically Reagon as Kate Moss. A few random women commented. J said nothing. Literally nothing. Until Christmas after I’d gained at least 10 of it back. He says, “Have you lost weight or something?” Pretty sure a fuck you for never noticing, I’m getting fat again, pass the kringle blurted out of my mouth. And I meant it. I bared my belly in public and you didn’t even notice. And now I’m on the one way train to fatty-dom. WONDERFUL!

The meaning of that story boys and girls, is that life is unfair. No one ever threw anyone a parade for losing 10 pounds. BECAUSE IT’S JUST 10 POUNDS. Legit one of my ass cheeks weighs at least 25 pounds. And not in some sexy Kim Kardashian way… well actually, yes in a sexy Kim Kardashian way because fuck it. Celebrate what yo mama gave you girl. You may have noticed that we are getting old as fuck. I have an angry furrow wrinkle between my eyebrows, it’s only going to get worse. And I’m probably going to need to eat my emotions one of these days, on the first of the month to be exact…. fuck a monthly pay cycle p.s., and I will gain weight again. This is life. You’re rich and you’re poor. Your fat and your skinny. You’re in love and your lost. You’re navigating life. It’s not easy.

If you’re a human being read here: 

 

Don’t make life harder by launching a one man war on yourself. Please. There’s a good chance that I personally (hi Mom and my two best friends that read this religiously) love every single ounce of you. And if you don’t know me personally (shout out to that one dude in Amman that reads my blog) there is someone in your life that adores every single thing about you (even if it’s your mom). They/I always  will, regardless of the size pants you fit into this week. Meet us there won’t you.

Saying What You Really Feel

silly goose, social awareness

Me and an anonymous person that I know, were exchanging emails today. She’s always articulate and hilarious regardless of how dark or upturned her corner of the world happens to be that day.

Preamble: It’s always fucking Mercury isn’t it. Let’s just nuke it out of the solar system. I ‘aint got time for this ish.

Kimpossible shared that:
Mercury is in retrograde, I’m hallucinating little green men in the middle of the night and my skin has more in common with alligators than human beings. I’M FUCKING WONDERFUL THANKS FOR ASKING.

Regpopolis responded:
No flipping way. I legit just gave the same speech to myself on the drive to work today, it goes a little something like this:

Mercury is in retrograde, it was a Pieces full moon— what in the fuck does that mean, sounds tragic enough– my baby literally shit the bed yesterday, I’m a full time maid fighting the funk from hell, my boyfriend is dying, my dog spite shit on our brand new carpet, and everyday I cry at my job. Ohhhh and on Monday I start school again.

Okay, Reg, check yourself. Mantra: you will get a job offer from Starbucks today. You will get a job offer from Starbucks today.

This is my uncensored life right now.

And then on the way home from work after a surprisingly decent day (that was either because A) I am now taking anxiety meds 30 min before I arrive every day or B) I had a full blown life breakdown to the intern on Friday including crying and she probably told my boss that I’m a sensitive little bitch, which if fine because it meant less fire and brimstone today, so #winningfornow) any-who at this stop light on the way home I had to talk my self down:

Reagon, It could be worse: you could be a Syrian refugee, you could live in Baghdad, you have never actually been involuntarily starving. Your basic needs are met. You are okay. Your basic needs are met. You are okay. This could be much worse.

That’s the place. That’s the space that I have to live in right now because I’m in full blown panic. I told J this morning that right now is literally the most anxious and emotionally unwell that I have ever been in my life. And I’ve seen some shit (again, not bombs falling on my head shit, but you know white girl shit).

Here’s something that is keeping me going (and has been since I learned about it). Adjustment Disorder. It’s one of the most commonly used “diagnosis” in therapy because most therapists don’t want a stigmatizing diagnosis following their patients around. It takes on average 6 weeks to process an “adjustment”. So when your life gets all backwards and inside out and you CAN’T FUCKING DEAL, 6 weeks later (pending that there’s not an onslaught of other horrendous things going on) you will feel better. And you will have moved on to something else, hopefully that something else is much sunnier.  Six weeks. We can do six weeks.

* I feel it important to note that I have been shoving my fingers as far down my auditory canals as possible, and scrolling past all of the atrocities being committed (MURDERS, IT’S MURDER) against black men, women and children in the past (well forever) but specifically in the past few days, because I can’t deal with reality right now. However it is not lost on me that if I were born in a different body that I may very well be gunned down for absolutely no reason at all, even if I have my hands in the air and even if I am disabled. So, once more it is ALL RELATIVE*

a doer or a being?

social awareness, soulfood

As of late I have been trying my hardest to grant myself patience and appreciation in the process of finding and defining my career. It hasn’t been easy and for the past three months it has literally been a daily meditation – let it be – let go of expectations – trust the timing of your life.

Today I listened to an interview in a series with Krishna Das (the Keith Richards of hippy dippy- mantra chanting- cult following- Eastern informed pop-music). In it an audience member asked are you a doer or are you a being? Honestly, that question sends me into the same cognitive overdrive that, that one semester of astronomy did. So, my succinct answer is that I have been a doer. That my default state is to do. Yes, I do with precision, thought and compassion but I always do. Doing. Being.

One of my most beloved professors lived in Nigeria  for many years. She shared the commentary that in most of Africa people don’t ask, “What do you do?” but rather, “Who are you?”. This distinction corresponds directly with the rate of unemployment (a Western construct) in the area. “What do you do?” situates the opposing party into an evaluation of worth based on circumstances largely outside of their control. “Who are you?” evaluates a person on who they are as a person, their thoughts, their actions.

Full circle, this summer I went to an intensive women’s retreat where one of many soul bearing exercises was to ask as many women as we could over lunch, “Who are you?”. When they answered you were to continue to press, ask three additional times “Who are you?”.

I went into the gathering with my mental notes in order: Mother, Medical Administrator, Student, Writer, Getter of Groceries, Cleaner of Toilets, Information Consumer, Artist. BAM. Iron clad with retort, I pose the question to the unassuming middle aged, grayed, Teva wearing woman in font of me in the buffet line:

“Who are you?”
“I am the human expression of the divine”.

 

“Uhh”. Let me regroup.

“Who are you?”

______
This is about a year old. But still something that I’m trying to get a grasp on, how to be.
Photo Cred: Yuli Serfaty