labelleizzy: (Default)
Homework: write list of affirmation (I am, Liz is, Lizzie, you are)

Lara wants me to write lists of affirmations, and she said by using different ways to access the brain new things can come to light. so, first person, third person, second person.

I've done something similar before in exercises to access my subconscious mind. Feri calls that part of us, Fetch, also known as Child-self. Fetch is the part of ourselves that cannot be accessed by words or logic, it's nonverbal, responds to and communicates by way of sensory input and feelings: colors, smells, texture, I like, I don't like, crying, laughing.

anyway. that's kind of a digression, but not entirely so.

and welp, I don't really have any idea how to do affirmations. We were doing some short breathing meditations on Thursday and she was talking me through it and one thing she said was to "celebrate your successes" and my brain just... like a needle scratch across a 45 record. Like those words, they didn't parse.

1) Celebrate ME?
and
2) I don't even know what success IS. How can I grasp it long enough to celebrate it, and note 1).

*sour face*

I know that is entirely the wrong way to go about this assignment. I'm okay with being stuck for the moment.

Arbitrarily I'm picking TEN as how many genuine affirmations I have to come up with. I'm going to go look up the proper definition, and I'm going to promise myself to not be weasel worded with my list.

I want to be authentic, and to really give myself a frame.

I spend entirely too much time in my head, chewing over all the ways I'm certain I've fucked up, broken things, made irredeemable or unforgivable mistakes. I'm not even very good at faking that I think I'm all that.

The one thing I have going for me right now with regard to my mental health, is my vivid memories of how shitty the inside of my head used to be, before therapy, before beloved friends taught me about community and ritual, before I learned some new coping skills and strategies to get around my constant mental noise and chaos.

I do know that I'm LOTS better than I was 20 years ago.
that can be my first affirmation, because it's definitely true.

I am healthier stronger and I cope much better with my life and my stress than I did 20 years ago (@ age 27)
I am proud of myself for my commitment to my own physical fitness, health and well being. Go me!
I am in love with moving my body in beautiful and pleasurable ways.
I am looking forward to growing older in strength, passion, and my hopes to help fix the world.

Liz is learning to balance generosity with self care and not be a fucking martyr.
Liz is no longer in love with or clinging to her own pain.
Liz is worth someone wanting to get to know her and share dreams together.
Liz is getting over her fear of trying new things that she nonetheless WANTS (yay ukelele! yay dating!)

Lizzie, you are kind and generous and you're learning to be gentle.
Lizzie, you are welcome in the world, there is space for you to contribute and be useful and loved.
Lizzie, you are big hearted and creative, with a million ideas and possible solutions.
Lizzie, you are continuing to forge your own path and it's gonna be hard, but you can definitely do this thing.


I have a community. I have a safe home. I have ... security. And that's all still hard to believe sometimes, since I know there are old riverbeds in which it's easy to let the waters run... but I've chosen a new watercourse, and I'm using what I have to try to make a difference, instead of dwelling and staying stuck in my old crapola. I'm strong enough. I'm flexible enough. I'm determined enough, and I'm creative enough.

I wrote a poem on May 4.
it looks better in the handwriting but here it is:

SELF LOVE
is a
RADICAL ACT
of
REBELLION
against
THE POWERS THAT BE
who want you and us to
FEEL HELPLESS
TRAPPED
POWERLESS
LONELY, UNLOVED
WORTHLESS STUCK

LOVING YOURSELF
FEELS GOOD and is
GOOD FOR YOU and can
LET YOU HEAL all your WOUNDS
labelleizzy: (Default)
A bunch of us who grew up touch starved developed unhealthy coping mechanisms.

I would like to share, please, the healthiest coping mechanism I’ve found for wanting the kind and quality of touch that I need, when I can’t get enough of it. And all it needs time, hot water, soap, and like $5.00!
Trader Joe’s Lavender Salt Scrub costs like $3.99 in store. Amazon has it listed at $15.00!! Plus shipping! Duh, don’t buy it on Amazon then…

Pretty easy to make a salt scrub at home if you don’t have a TJ’s. Olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, or any kind of thick massage quality oil, with the same amount of non iodized salt and maybe a few drops of an essential oil. Lavender is good because it’s a natural antimicrobial, but you do you.

Exfoliating is pretty simple, it’s a bit rough on your skin till you get used to it but good grief does my skin feel amazing, soft & smooth right now, hands, arms, shoulders, legs, torso. And NOTHING ITCHES right now except for that spot I can’t reach in the middle of my back.

I like to get in the shower, wash my hair first, then turn off the water to scrub my skin. I do hands, then arms (underarms feels SO GOOD to scrub but please don’t try this just after shaving if you shave!), shoulders, boobs and torso, butt and hips, legs and feet, and face is last (and most gentle).

Then I get some soap on my scrubbie, get me and it gently wet, wipe off remaining salt and excess oil, before resoaping and washing as usual.

Many years ago, I left my ex husband, for a bunch of reasons but one of them was, that he refused to touch me in the ways I asked him to, the ways I needed. And I wrote myself a reminder:

“If nobody else is touching you in ways that you need, you need to do it for yourself.”

I forget this sometimes. It can be hard to get enough warm tight hugs, or enough neck kisses, or other things I wish I had more of and don’t seem to know how to ask for, how to get. But I can definitely treat myself on a Saturday afternoon, scrub my bod, cut my nails, do my hair.

I can do this for myself, and so can you, mostly. If this specific technique doesn’t work for you, or if you are differently-abled than I am (which is mostly able) then i encourage you to adapt.

You can still pamper yourself. You can still feed yourself in the non food ways, you can still treat yourself with kindness and gentleness (yes, for some of us it takes conscious practice, I know and realize).

Love yourself enough to care for your body, listen to what it needs, and do what you can to provide that.
I love all y'all. I finally love myself, too. (Mid forties fat cis woman.)

Take good care of each other and of yourselves, please.

#touch #deliberate touching #touch me #gentle touch #loving touch #self-care #touch starved #touch starvation #kindness #massage #exfoliating #exfoliate #exfoliante #exfoliantscrub #grooming #love yourself treatyoself
labelleizzy: (how to eat an elephant)
I'm writing today because this subject is Relevant To My Interests at the moment. My house is cluttered and I need to put stuff away, throw stuff away, fold stuff up... Yeah. STUFF.

I'm sure most of us have heard the acronym KISS: it usually stands for Keep It Simple, Sweetie (if we are being kind to ourselves, which is something I DO strive to do)...

This is a good starting point for clutter clearing and house clearing. Keeping It Simple will look different to each one of us. It might mean making our bed every morning so we have one flat clear surface in our house to sit on. It might mean remember to recycle your food scraps out to the compost bin, because you want to keep food out of the landfills when it makes perfectly good dirt, if left alone long enough. =) It might mean OMG I HAVE TO CLEAR OFF MY DESK BECAUSE I CAN'T FIND THE BILLS!

Keep It Simple, to me, means build between one and three good habits at one time, no more than that. And don't kill yourself with guilt if you make a mistake, forget, or otherwise fuck up. Seriously. More good habits go down the toilet because we (the collective We of Puritannically-Inspired America or Western Civilization generally) kick ourselves so violently, and even quit trying when we make a mistake or fail to keep up with a particular habit, or else we spend time in self-castigation or self-loathing at our "inability" to Do Whatever It Is, Perfectly...

Especially if the Habit is a Should. (and THAT is another post, it deserves a detailed examination)

How do we teach children new skills? we encourage them to make mistakes and try again (unless we've got our ego involved in our kids being PERFECT, which I feel "should" be another dirty word, tbh...) How did I practice cross-country-skiing this weekend? I tried, failed, fell down, had to get help getting back up because I couldn't figure it out for myself.

We need to be forgiving of ourselves when we try something new. Be kind, and allow for errors, inconsistencies, and mistakes.

In service of that, let me offer another meaning for the acronym KISS, one that I find very useful in building my clutter-clearing habits:
Keep it Small and Significant.

To explain: OK y'all, I'm Pagan. *waves hello* I find it easier to do household tasks if I assign value or meaning to them beyond the "this has to get done" rationale. What I choose to do is to think of those tasks as service to something larger than myself. I sometimes dedicate tasks to the marriage (i.e. washing the dirty sheets or clearing off the bedroom bureau, which is what I did yesterday) or to my Patron Deity, Hestia (i.e. that's almost the only way you'll get me to wash the floors without someone else helping in the task.)

Keep it Small and Significant. Yesterday I cleared unnecessary things off the bureau, and selected a fresh tablecloth in springtime colors (Hey, I can anticipate!). Today I plan to take *everything* off the bureau, wipe down the surfaces and clean the dust off the candle and candle-plate, and re-make the bedroom "altar". Though, it's not really an altar, it's more like a meditation space.

returning to comment on clutter clearing: Over the weekend I went to visit family, and picked up a big mirror that used to be my grandmother's, and also a bag of smaller items that used to be hers. I know that my spouse doesn't really approve of me bringing more STUFF into the house, but I did it anyway. I have emotional clutter around her, my mom's mom, Inez. I feel the need to spend some time meditating on her and her life, and what she meant to me and to my mom, and by incorporating some of her former possessions into the new iteration of the meditation space, I hope to facilitate that work. This is SIGNIFICANT To Me. Which means that even taking more Things into my house? I'm okay with that, since the Things have a definite purpose.

So. Small and Significant. When my bedroom surfaces (and floor) are clear, I think better. Hell, when ALL my surfaces are clear I think MUCH better. But today I'm only going to hold myself accountable for the bedroom. Anything else I get done is gravy. (though I am fairly strongly motivated to clear off at least the kitchen table) (and that's what SMALL looks like to me.)

Small to me, means doable in a single session, usually between 15 minutes and an hour.
Significant can mean any of a number of things:
It will make Jeff happy. It will make me happy. I will enjoy looking at it. I will use the space if it is a) cleared, b) cleaned, c) empty, etc. We have friends coming over, and I want to be proud of my living space. We're coming up on a festival celebration and I want the whole house clean in honor of the festival.

You get the picture! Just remember: both Small and Significant will look different in how they want to manifest in YOUR life (as opposed to in MY life).

So this is my advice to you: Keep it Simple, Sweetie, and Keep it Small And Significant.

Next Post will be about Not Shoulding All Over Yourself.

ciao!
labelleizzy: (green path)
Struck me rather suddenly today, that animal-taming might make a good metaphor for overcoming personal fears.

Bear with me a moment:

When you begin, the animal (the fearful part of self) is skittish, angry, violent, in pain, unpredictable (add your own adjective here). You don't know what motivates it, you aren't sure how to help at first.

So the first step is to gently build trust. You do gentle things, comforting things, calm, quiet, predictable things. Perhaps you find ways to nourish the fearful animal, as frequently they are hungry. You do this until the fearful animal calms down a little, and you begin to have positive interactions. Perhaps at this point you can start to explore what is causing the fear: is there an old or current injury? Is it a habit of thinking or behaving that can be changed? Perhaps it is something as basic as a self-reinforcing loneliness. (not that THAT is easy to cure necessarily but knowledge of the problem is half the battle to solve it.)

Trust is building, it's an ongoing process. Like Androcles and the Lion, trust itself is often its own reward. If the fear-animal is internal to self, learning to trust the part of yourself that does know better, that does know that fear is a chain that binds you to old ways of living and thinking which no longer serve you and which even hurt or harm you, well. Learning to trust the part of yourself that wants you to be stronger, happier, and more free, and is willing to work for the privilege... that leads you closer to wholeness. Closer to real health.

You have to be brave to work on your fears, work with your fears. You must be gentle in parenting the fearful child within, firm and reliable to train the fearful-animal to strength and reliability within itself. Think of animals that have been poorly trained and how they behave. Think of children that were parented unreliably or who were victims of neglect and abuse. Now, if you have fears that behave like bratty or desperate children, fears that mark their territory like feral cats or piss the floor like (you'll forgive me) my mother's dog, fears that cling to you and don't let you Get Stuff Done?

You may have to start from the beginning. And you may find that no matter how much Work you Do, there is still more to be Done. You may find that even once you are firm, reliable, gentle, loving, and consistent? There will still be days (weeks, months, years) when your inner feral cat or terrified toddler re-emerges and leaves messes all over the landscape.

Guess what?
*sigh*
We are the grown ups now. We are the ones who can choose to take charge, to put those gentle, loving, trust building routines into place. We are the ones who get to build our own internal strength and improve our personal discipline. and to keep ourselves fed so we can Do This Work.

But keep the end goal in mind. Remember the hunchbacked, starving, irritable, cringing, unpredictable, even vicious 'animal' you first knew?

Think of a beautiful, well fed horse running in green fields and coming to eat apple slices from your hand, snuffling warm grass-fed breath into your face. Think of an intelligent, clear eyed dog, attention focused on your face and your hand-commands, waiting eagerly to fetch the ball you just threw, knowing ear-scruffles and praise come after their expected success. Think of a child so funny and smart and upright and trustworthy that your heart aches when you see them achieving their real potential, when you watch them soar high above anything you have ever achieved previously.

That could be you. You can DO THIS.

Stand up straight. Take the first step.

No hobbled horse is joyous. No chained-up starving dog has perked up, laughing ears.

Take the chains off. Be the reliable, loving, gentle friend your inner child needs to grow strong and free.
Love them. Love YOU.

... and if you're already there? Lend a hand with someone else's animal taming.
I haven't met anyone who couldn't use the help.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle..."

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