I’m going to link products I refer to that are in my change and survivor toolkit with my Amazon Associate link. My tag? MikoMart.
In Mikoopolis* these are little super convenience shops (MikoMarts) that have just what you might need on your journey. On Earth, they’re Amazon Associate links for now. (*my imaginary vision board)
For example: Orgain’s organic protein is one of my latest favorites. Created by a survivor, it is all plant based and has a billion probiotics too. I drink with water early mornings, as a pre or post workout drink, or as a last “meal” before bed.
I had just been reading Best American Essays 2004, the first two essays. America, Look At Your Shame! By James Agee; an older piece, the part that stood out to me most at first happened on a bus I began to say (it was a memorable scene to me) – but truthfully the part that stood out to me was the introspective nature of the writing. James was so aware of his own emotions, his own shame, and disgust, as well as that of others he watched in a photograph, in the news, after some riots. I found the honesty refreshing, admirable.
Brene Brown, known to me for years now as the “Shame Researcher” is one of my modern day heroes; I have spent a lot of time processing my own feelings of shame and guilt, understanding those dark feelings better, becoming less beholden to their damn grip on my psyche.
So shame. That feeling toxic to inspiration, that feeling that blows a not unnoticed deadly smoke that chokes the creativity out of a moment. Brene Brown, I remember hopefully correctly, said shame is toxic to humans. I agree. It is insidious and deadly and it can take its time to put you down or blow your heart to bits in an instant.
James Agee examined these things in himself as he observed others in his essay America, Look At Your Shame! He examined the discomfort, acknowledged the discomfort. And then shared it again. I think that’s how we understand things.
Then there was Envy. Envy was the next essay. But first, funny story about this. Weeks ago I did a tarot card pull for myself (a pull, to me, is one card, maybe more – a spread is a spread). I asked for insight, what could I change or improve.
Envy was the card I pulled. Immediately I felt that I was not envious. And then just as instantly I noticed my own defensiveness. I softened. How am I envious?
A flood of thoughts answered me. Everyone who had managed so far to build their lives in such a way that they were not as dependent as I have felt, not so desperately at the mercy of others, not so brazen as I have been, perhaps not so difficult to love.
Back to Envy, the essay. Author, Kathryn Chetkovich. She writes about the envy found between two writers. Herself and a man she came to love. He had his struggles to be sure, but there was something to be envied in the way he went about his craft while she, to her evaluation, floundered.
Lately I have been reorganizing my life and mind into some form of After Cancer that is some kind of beautiful (because I find power in that aspiration that compels me) – not only beautiful but also practical (sustainable!). There is something in my nature that will not allow me to take a step that does not feel right. Maybe it’s a shyness from old hurts, maybe it’s caution learned from more recent challenges, maybe it is a dogged loyalty to my own intuition that has been a very keen guide through extreme challenges; this is not only an intellectual challenge but that’s my biggest concern; I take some new step literally or figuratively, I feel overjoyed, I express this joy, I become exhausted, I struggle in a temporary role as prisoner of my exhaustion, wordlessly cursing my inadequacies, while also standing on the other side of them comforting me.
Then I think to myself, this is where cognitive dissonance goes to die.
For those who have not spent as much time examining things to do with the psyche, cognitive dissonance is holding two (or more?) opposing beliefs at the same time. I think this makes the soul crack. And without a good handle on our own soul, I think that our nature becomes vulnerable to the whims of passing currents, a slave to circumstance, never quite feeling “all there” but wanting, willing, desperately to feel that “all there” ness. Meanwhile, I think it’s possible as I have done it, to sit back inside oneself and watch the self do this and do that, say this and say that, sometimes believing the very opposite but those beliefs never quite reaching the face or the fingers.
I am not saved by resolution; I am saved by my poker face. It is much easier to bear. Plus it doubles as a kind of organic “botox” for my forehead, which perhaps is a clue to how much I care about those things. Lines in the right places. Lines that tell the story I want to tell. A smile line is no big deal. As long as it is a smile line. Sometimes they have threatened to turn into frown lines, the weight of my own concern pulling the corners of my mouth downward. I could always turn myself upside down and that would be some kind of strange smile if the direction of the corners of our mouth is all that counts in a smile.
Whether what I just wrote is true or not to another way of thinking concerns me but only for a minute; while I wrote it it was true to me. And isn’t it in that state of “nowness” that we find our power?
So if beliefs and ideas change with the stronger challenges of doubt or overwhelm, are they still real? Are they still authentic? Am I still being me?
Am I me when I am envious and admit it? Am I me when I ignore things like that to be present with something else, like what to eat and how pleased I am to find, in spite of my raw ways, kindness after kindness, dressed in many different clothes and weather? Am I me when I keep looking for more, more in me, more in the world around me that feels authentic, that feels me?
Is it authentic to embody something that I see as coming from outside of me, and blend it with me to make it my own? Is it authentic to be silent when words would cut? Is it authentic to craft responses to hurts repeated rehearsing them silently (maybe people don’t know)? Is it authentic to write from the head without passing it first by the heart? Is it authentic to think less because the world says through some of its spokespeople that is what one should do? But then what about doing less? Is it authentic to be instead of do? And then what will we do, about being?
There was something else I saw about authenticity the day I saw this prompt. Some call now the Age of Authenticity, where we can choose the shadows we confront; more specifically between the shadow of pretense and the shadow of authenticity. I think truth always surfaces, because it has the power of nature at its back, and nature is very efficient; being untruthful is not efficient in the long term because it requires extra bookkeeping, less time accepting the moment and building a strong foundation for a new moment. This split to me makes pretense far less robust than it makes itself out to be. Or am I oversimplifying things?
Perhaps when we split our energy into compartments we gain some fluidity, but what makes this an authentic decision?
A definition of authenticity which one can easily research for themselves today is that it is distinctly unique in origin. Wouldn’t that mean then that work done to discover ones originality (whether the one is a person or another entity such as a business) is work that goes the farthest towards stated goals? Put another way, quirky is currency.
Perhaps I have just jumped the shark, as some might say. But I don’t think so. We can play with idioms and challenge the devil in the details, but I believe authenticity comes from within and how do we know anything besides examining it, testing it, experiencing it from as many sides as we are capable of? And before all that, choosing to, intending to, with all the authenticity of our being to find clarity, to unclip the wings of our stated purpose and fly in alignment with our stated goals, celebrating the new direction with unparalleled dignity and strength.
Authenticity is not learned with words. Words might be a part of the experiencing and refining, the challenging of the intellect to its neighbors to examine more deeply, to shift from rightness to prudence, but only to me because something in those words was accompanied by a feeling – a feeling that, if monitored and acknowledged, adds to a bank of data, information, that can be used to make even more nuanced decisions based on a large body of data that taps into a deeper knowing, that knowledge found before the centers of language are engaged, the centers of language that are vulnerable to deception. Authenticity. It adds to that bank but it also takes from that bank, an honest feedback loop of information and responsiveness from a place of the senses.
So then, as a writer by identity, one who has been more of a ghost than an established author, what role does authenticity play for me now? With feelings so fresh and raw, where do I belong? Is that a question an authentic person would ask? I can determine from my knowledge, but in some kind of usual way of thinking, my mind seeks vacation (I think all survivors could use this time and comfort to become better!); ask the heart, ask the knowing. What is the issue? Perhaps there is no issue, and the question of belonging is my own residual doubt, the vacation waiting for me as I leave my old way of being and embrace a new one.
My own answer to the belonging question is, I belong here. I belong in the present. Whatever stories have been burned into my cells, they are part of the library of data that is me; an ever-expanding, growing, changing, me. I see stories as a vehicle for intentional change. I refine my stories always to help me be more present, more conscious, more honest, authentic, genuine. If it’s pretense then let me call that a game and let me play it with heart.
If change is the only certainty and the only value, then perhaps clues to authenticity can be found more in how and why we change. Because we know it is the most meaningful? Because it will be the soundest financial decision? For no special reason?
Is it a stretch to say that authenticity is an ownership of beliefs and behaviors? Give me authenticity over pretense most days. Except for the ones where pretense tells me what might be on the other side of it. Except for one where the pretense is a charade, a freedom from the details of our mundane stories to explore universal ideas through storytelling.
For that matter give me pretense with authenticity. Put it all in a hat and let me close my eyes and pull out whatever my fingers find. Add it to my own cup of now. Let me drink in the pretense with authenticity, I will make all of it mine.
I decided to go with a small D / full C – like I was before, well except the times I was a B or DD or when nursing, F!
Especially in case I have radiation – which I’m hoping not – and because I’m a complete responder for chemo (negative path report!) I get to have that conversation. Fortunate!
But I feel like I’m being stretched out and also my arms not used to boobs being there so they keep bumping.
In any case, the politicals have been entertaining and I’m way outside of my comfort zone – something I enjoy tremendously if smiles are indicators.
Actually it’s just more energy efficient to be chipper and feels better, lol.
Anyway, the following is a little something I wrote up yesterday – part of my stream of consciousness writing, which was on my bucket list I realized after becoming fascinated with it when I read aboot Janes Joyce’ Ulysses. I never did get through it but the whole idea was brilliant to me.
On the topic of copywriting but I’m gonna start with copy cats. Love cats.
So … I’m sure we will talk more about this later but
Tata for now,
Memo to me: The Best Copy Cats
My Copy Cats Copywriting Concept
I really want to have something named copy cats but in a good way – because cats are amazing – and copywriting is a big thing – and I think a nice spin on copying is….
Original copy – short for the words that are written to inspire someone to take action, otherwise known as copywriting.
And where you must have an writer, you must have an editor.
So copywriting includes copyediting – preferably by another set of eyes.
Sometimes you can sleep on your writing and have something like another set of eyes. Especially not anything like the eyes on another human body.
Ideally this person is an expert in the language that best communicates the information that helps the reader achieve success in enjoyment or fulfillment of some task that the information helps them with.
I’m going to drill down on expert.
Right now expert is something anyone can really say because technically no one is better at being you than you even when you are at your “worst”.
So you’re an expert at something regardless.
But again with the external focus, we look to the outside world to validate our expert status in a way that sustains our breath,
And there we give a little powers way.
Oh but we don’t freely talk aboot the smaller shifts in power because they’re not important.
And we are so far from ourselves sometimes that we gravitate towards anything that soothes our souls,
Never minding that we keep the balances by poisoning ourselves just enough as a reward so that our mental health suffers and we cannot even tell except that suddenly our world looks scary …
Especially the things that are close up.
When mental health suffers, a part of you dies a little. But remember, we shed skin, hair, words, water, poop.
Parts of us die in tiny ways all the time. The more we suffer about it, the more we die.
The more we allow ourselves to find in death a connection to the infinite, and there see things a little better, a little more clearly.
Because whenever one of us dies they take with them our pain and grief and poison.
But we can refuse to let it go and we can also recreate the sorrow.
Or we can let our souls taste the divinity of eternity even as a concept.
If your faith can’t bring you to believe in the concept of an afterlife, I don’t blame you.
I’ve not been wowed by the journey or the example or even the idea of heaven as presented to me.
So vague. So far. So distant.
There are believers who believe – and there are people who cling to the semantics that hold together beliefs that no longer work – it’s a very convoluted energy.
So when a big part of my life was praying with people who were perfectly happy Buddhists in my opinion, getting them to ask Jesus in their hearts, I cringed.
I didn’t think Jesus minded them being the way they were.
And I thot it was silly to count souls that I knew where people praying with me because I was little and cute.
That felt wrong.
I understand about seeds being planted etc.
But surely we could have a classier way of going aboot this like wealthy with a cause instead of me asking people to donate food.
Other times I didn’t care at all.
But anytime I felt unjustly treated, and mistreated sometimes too, all those thoughts came running back. The feelings too.
I’m pretty sure I was never very normal. Sometimes I forgot aboot it, but if I wasn’t busy my mind was always looking for engagement.
Once I went to another house. It was called The Combo.
Huge place, lots of kids. Exciting.
I think I was 8 by now because I was happy to go play with the other kids instead of babysitting.
The kids were playing daddy and mommy.
Oh come on. Lol.
So I found some other kids watching cartoons.
Maybe it was Fox & the Hound.
To be continued …
Oh what the heck…
I think 345cc on top & 450 at bottom of pic.
300ccs plus 450ccs = too big for me