When Your Feelings Are No Longer Squelched

Note: I realize I am a privileged person who has nice things, food, shelter, and a good education. My family that speaks to me does their best to support me. And I am NOT blaming other people for my perception. That’s on me! As I repeatedly state in my personal blog here, I’m grateful for that. No need to point that out to me when I share that I’m struggling.

Feeling bad can distort your perception of reality just like a weird mirror on a trailer.

I feel like shit. I was feeling okay for a long time, and now I realize it is because, like so many people these days, I had used medication to numb my feelings and help me cope with reality. Reality, today, especially if you’re a woman in Texas, Yee-Haw USA, sucks.

Reality is hard on a personal level as well. One thing that medication did for me was enable me to sort of sit back dispassionately and watch how life goes on at the soap opera known as the Hermits Rest Ranch and not let it get to me. Things happen, people do things, I get stuck in the middle of situations I don’t understand. With medication, I just say, “Oh, that’s just so and so being who they are…no need to internalize the consequences.” So, I am able to deal with the kinds of treatment I normally would be devastated by pretty well. I’m able to forgive and just drop things, knowing that we’re all messed up and doing our best.

The best or worst thing about the medications (depending on how you look at it) is that I am able to resist the urge to stand up for myself or call out behavior, knowing that every time I’ve done so for the past few years, I’ve been gaslighted or been treated to that classic technique of being blamed for causing my own problems. Me standing up for myself tends to go horribly, horribly wrong. And it achieves nothing other than upsetting others. So, I’d rather not stir the pot, since I know I’m no better than anyone else, with my sarcasm and things I say when stuff leaks out that aren’t kind.

Now is my life horrible? No. There’s great stuff in my life and right here at the Hermits’ Rest. I was generalizing about difficult experiences that aren’t constant but that, if I’m being honest with myself, are hard on me. Of course, knowing what a hard person I am to be around, I know I’m very taxing on everyone who has to be around me! My only point is that the medication made it easier for me, and that I’m having trouble now that I am feeling things harder. I don’t want to subject the people around me to un-squelched Suna!

Would I like to be my authentic self in my own home? Yes. I could probably relax more. Is it a good idea? No. This is not a safe place to share feelings about the state of the world or my inner dysfunction. I crave peace and love. So, sometimes I have to sacrifice to get one or the other. Don’t we all? Perhaps.

I’d love to share some of the challenges I face here in my personal blog, because I think it’s good to present a balanced picture of life, which is imperfect and not always easy. But there is a long list of things I’ve been requested to not mention. That makes my sharing of my life sound often like I’m living in a paradise of privilege with no problems. But that’s not true. There are health issues with everyone in this family but me (and obviously I have a mental health issue). We have a business that is struggling, I think. Not really sure. I sometimes feel unsafe in my own home, since I’ve given up a lot of my firmly held beliefs so that others can do what makes them feel comfortable. And those vague generalities are as far as I can go. Holding things in can make them leak out in weird ways when you’re unmedicated, though.

For example, there are dreams. Oh my gosh, I have been having horrible dreams about people from my past berating me for all the mistakes I have ever made. That’s quite the parade, let me tell you. My estranged son, his father, numerous people I dated, my father (always my father, who is the reason I am so afraid of being yelled at), friends from high school (including the one I did not have a baby with when I was 17), ex bosses. Whew. I wake up and read bland news items about nature to get the dreams out of my head. They keep coming. I would like to re-squelch them.

It’s overwhelming. I am not coping well.

If you’re my friend in real life, reach out to me sometimes. I suck at reaching out. I hate to intrude. But I realize that vaguely saying I’m not feeling well isn’t too useful either. These are hard times. Many of us are struggling. I’m not alone in having a genuine meltdown and personal crisis. But I want to admit it and say that I’ll listen to YOU if you want to talk.

And I love every single imperfect person in my life. That’s why I’m still here rather than checking out, which is mighty tempting right now. Well, that and the horses. I can’t leave the horses, too. And dogs.

Next, here is what bugs me.

Things I Want to Say (some borrowed from my spouse)

Anyone who has managed to read through my mental health drivel now gets to read genuine opinions by uncensored me. If I piss you off, unsubscribe, block me, or stop speaking to me. You won’t be the first. But people like me keeping quiet, I think, has helped the world get to where it is.

It is every-so ironic that the woman-hating judge Clarence Thomas claims to be an “originalist” and that every word in the God-given US Constitution must be taken literally is not even a PERSON in the original constitution. He is a black guy! FFS!

It is every-so ironic that all the gun worshippers who also claim to worship the God-given US Constitution don’t realize that if we really went by it in its original and perfect state, as delivered by God from Mount Vernon (or wherever it came from) don’t seem to realize that if they are too poor to own the property on which their homes have been set, they would not get to vote. Only land-owners who are also genuine 100% man-humans got to vote in the version handed down by the Blessed Forefathers.

By the way, I read in a book (I know, I’m one of those doomed intellectuals who use those as sources of facts) that the MEN who wrote the US Constitution were, in fact, people, not deities. They drank, swore, cheated on their chattel…err…wives, owned slaves, and made numerous errors, like humans do. Not gods. Not perfect. Not able to predict the future.

And didn’t the God in the Bible used by most Christians say to not have any other gods before HIM? Wait a minute. Guns? Constitutions? Trump? Aren’t those not Jehovah?

DO NOT TELL ME TO VOTE. I VOTE IN EVERY PODUNK ELECTION IN THIS PLACE. I EVEN HELPED ONE PERSON WIN, ONCE. EVERY OTHER REASONABLE CANDIDATE, I DID NOT HELP.

Besides, the people or entities who are creating the society we live in today have nothing whatsoever to do with this illusion that we are voting for who represents us or that those people represent anything other than money and power.

We Sizzle in the Summer

Today, Sara and I headed back to the lovely Watts Way arena for our fourth Working Horse Central show. I’d hoped Drew and I had improved enough to get some significantly better scores, but, I’ll have to be satisfied with knowing we’ve improved regardless of our scores. I’ll just keep trying.

We did have fun!

The big highlight for me was watching Saragorn and their blossoming partnership. Now that Aragorn is feeling better in his feet, he’s just amazing to watch.

She also had fun. One of the auditors was kind enough to take these great photos for us.

They were beautiful during the dressage patterns, and would have been even better over the obstacles if it weren’t for “user error.” Many of the competitors had some lapses, so she wasn’t alone. It was still great to watch.

He’s in such good shape.

As for me, I remembered most of the patterns for dressage, but honestly, I’m just not good at running beside a horse, and have no idea how to do some of the requirements I was unaware of. So, bleh. I tried. And he turned right much better!

There are no photos of that, so here is Drew looking cute.

I did way, way better on the obstacle portion, getting lots of 8 out of 10. Drew trotted, too, though apparently broke gate (started walking) but I had a hard time noticing. I dropped my whip, but still did 3 barrels the harder way. I was proud. I even nicely changed from leading him on the left to the right.

Barreling. I’m behind him.

Unfortunately, I totally didn’t do one of the easiest obstacles. I even prepared for it! But people were asking Sara questions as she called the numbers, and skipped it. I got a 0. No one even told me!

We did well checking the mail.

I’m not upset about that, though, because stuff like this happens! I just know I’d have gotten a very good score if I’d done that right. As it was, I got a good one. Sigh.

We RAN when we were done. We were so happy. That’s before we realized the oopsie. I can’t believe I can run that much.

We got to meet some new people at the show, which was fun. We also got to see great improvements in some familiar faces. At least one horse was so calm and compliant and her rider so composed…it was hard to tell they are the same pair!

Hard work pays off!

Every single horse had such kind and caring human partners! Even when mistakes happened, the riders were patient and encouraging to the horses. I was very impressed.

Another beautiful horse with a great bond with his rider.

Now for the highlight of the show. The final part is where riders see how quickly they can go through a set of obstacles. There are many ways for this to go horribly wrong. But damn, Saragorn put on a real show. Sara didn’t play it safe, and Aragorn was up for the challenge. They NAILED it both in execution and speed.

I’m the old woman reading the obstacles Sara

There are no photos of this, because I was calling the order of obstacles, but when Sara finished, she urged Aragorn into a canter and took a victory lap, waving gleefully. It was great. Sara said it was a lifelong dream come true. I was so happy for her!

My happy friend.

I guess it’s time to dust off my self esteem, which is low for reasons not having to do with my poor horse and his need to learn more. It’s more than the return to the Dark Ages. I’m needing some encouragement and had hoped for some today. Eh. Humanity is hard. Look at these horse pictures.

We are so grateful to Tarrin and her family, the lovely scribe, and everyone else who helped with the small but mighty Summer Sizzler Show. It was hit, but the show started early and got through it!

Happy judge and scribe

I’ll treasure my happy moment when I thought Drew and I had done well!

Drew looking particularly bony at 5:30 am

Product Endorsements? Sort of

Yesterday I got some new items to add to my arsenal of products that protect my health. After all, I’m in really good shape for someone my age, according to my doctor. You see, I looked up what could be causing the disturbing symptoms I’d suddenly started having, where my knees hurt so badly I could hardly walk, and I kept getting leg and foot cramps. Since all signs pointed to not drinking enough water and taking in insufficient magnesium, I’d sought to fix that. I immediately upped my water intake even more (I keep forgetting to have a drink nearby when I’m out with the horses), but I knew I needed more.

I’m so cute that my horse keeps kissing me. Vlassic thinks it’s cute, too.

Some of my friends had been drinking little packets of powder that they put in water to help when they are outside in the heat. They were pretty good, but to me they seemed to generate a lot of trash. When I saw something similar that resembled old-fashioned Alka Seltzer tablets, I was intrigued. Reading the ingredients list pleased me a lot.

I found it on Amazon, of course

I got the Nuun stuff yesterday, and discovered I liked them just fine. They aren’t too salty and sweet like Gatorade products can be, and I appreciate that they are sweetened with Stevia (but not too much). And look at all those things that will help my body! Potassium! Magnesium! Other stuff!

This does not look bad for me, unlike Diet Coke.

So, I now have a package of it in the tack room and one in my knitting bag, so there will always be some nearby. I’ll probably stash some in the horse trailer or the car, too. I got plenty.

Getting this Nuun hydration helper reminded me to check what else I’m putting into myself. I only take two supplements, both of which have made a difference in my life. One is the Doterra turmeric capsules. These have both the essential oil and the powder in them. Yes, yes, there’s no black pepper in there (that is supposed to make turmeric work better, and I wanted to nip those comments in the bud). I eat enough of that as it is. I have been taking two of these per day for a couple of years now. I honestly think that is why I’ve been feeling so much better physically for quite a while: my body is less inflamed. I had lots of inflammation issues before. Now, nope, not a problem. I’ll just keep taking these. I order them from me, by the way, since the only thing I sell is essential oils (and I think I’ve sold two things to someone other than me: I’m not a sales person).

They are pretty, too.

The other supplement I take is a combination of probiotics and B vitamins. The probiotics are “live” I guess. Whatever they are, they have kept my notoriously sensitive stomach in better shape, and I don’t have to worry about being low on any of those vitally important B vitamins that I have a hard time getting in food some days. I get plenty of D and C in my food, which I prefer to multivitamins, since they stick with you better.

The probiotics and anti-inflammatories seem to have combined to make me feel physically the best I have in my whole life, and I think the ingredients in the fizzy drink tablets are the final thing I needed. I’m ready to go play with horses in the heat, I guess!

Other Things I Like

In the past year or so there’s been a shift in my self-perception, and I feel a great deal less “ashamed” of my appearance. I used to use colorful, baggy clothing to hide my body and a lot of makeup to hide my perceived flaws. Thanks to the pandemic and some soul searching I’ve stopped caring. I’m wearing clothing I find comfortable but allow my arm flab to be seen in public. Nothing bad has happened.

Arm flab! Giant ears! Wrinkles! Natural hair color!

I quit wearing makeup except when I want extra sunscreen. And I only wear mascara when I feel more girly than usual. And, as I admitted earlier this year, I quit shaving my legs AND wear shorts. I am even seen by others in a bathing suit. New Suna! I do still take care of my face, though. So here are my face product endorsements.

I do hate it when something I love changes. I am displeased more than I probably should be that the Rodan+Fields cleanser for sensitive skin went from a lovely cream I could wipe off to a weird gel that I can’t tell if it’s gone or not. It’s the New Coke of expensive cleanser. Sigh. I’ll talk to my friend who sells it, though, because wow, the rest of the line has made my face happy. It’s not red anymore, so I don’t need the Clinique foundation!

There, now you know how I got to where I feel comfortable in my skin and healthy. I’m proud. Oh, and all those glasses come from EyeBuy Direct. They do a good job.

Nope, I don’t get paid for endorsing things. I’m just sharing.

Mojo Sinking

Wondering if Jim Morrison was singing about mojo rising. Mine is sinking. But I had the energy to look up that song.

Mr Mojo Risin is an anagram (A word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another) for Jim Morris name. He believed or at least stated he was going to be reincarnated and come back as Mr. Mojo Risin. Nov 17, 2021

https://m100group.com/2021/11/17/who-in-the-world-is-mr-mojo-risin-what-does-even-mean/

Ok. Fine, Jim. Meanwhile, work is kicking my butt and the wind has given me a headache. I had to put all the plants in a safe place thanks to the weird wind and African dust in the air.

How I feel

I honestly love this job but I can only write so many things a day now that I’m older. But two people complimented my work today. That keeps me going, knowing I help people learn and that they aren’t bored.

Also how I feel

Tuesday is just hard. I was working by 6:30 am. Long day! But I swam and bonded with the animals once I was done, which helped. I even made dinner! Beef stir fry that everyone seemed to like.

Penney has a hint.

So, I’m gonna relax and work on this “snake” I am crocheting. I think it is a blanket from leftover baby blanket yarn.

Bag o’ yarn

So, no deep thoughts today. Just some photos from around here. Take care! I know my mental fog will clear soon. All these things would be great blog fodder. Too zonked. Minus mojo.

Tomorrow is another day. I “only” have nine meetings. Sounds like not a lot of writing will happen.

Information Rather Than Advice: Again

Another thing they used to say in La Leche League was that we preferred to give information rather than advice. I’ve talked about this before, but I have feelings about it. So here I am again.

When we were helping women with their babies, we’d let them know what we knew, what the current research says, and what our friends had experienced with their babies. Women would listen to all the information, then make up their own minds about what would work for their families. We had run into so many mother-baby pairs that we knew what is best for one might not be the best for another.

A mother-baby pair where the baby is the mother’s size

And you know, people seemed to like that approach. Lecturing and saying “you should” often makes people shut right down. People tend to dislike hearing that they are wrong, and often spend a lot of time justifying their own actions rather than taking in new ideas and considering them.

Goldie likes it when I read her a bedtime story

I’ve chosen to take that approach and apply it to potential “arguments” and conversations. Ooh, and I also apply it to exchanges on social media. I find my own self shutting down when I mention an issue I’m having only to find half the world telling me what I should do. It feels like people are ordering me around, even though I know perfectly well that, in their minds, they are giving suggestions! Thus, I try to answer anyone’s questions to make it clear that I’m just giving one data point, not my authoritative expert declaration.

See, now she’s all snoozy.

As I recently read, the older you get the more you realize you aren’t an expert at anything! You know you have more to learn. The more you know the more you realize you don’t know, or something like that.

After 4 years as a Master Naturalist, I know I don’t know much at all about the nature of Texas. But I’m happy.

I got to thinking about this when I was reading a book (Getting along with Horses: an Evolution in Understanding) by Crissy McDonald, the spouse of Mark Rashid. She talked about mentioning sharing a photo of a horse that was hobbled (a way to keep them from wandering off when you don’t have a fence). Now, she knew what she was doing, the horse had been trained to be comfortable with the hobbles, etc. But people on social media just started yelling at her that she was abusing animals…before asking her pertinent things like what the horse’s experience with this was, how was she using the technique, etc. There was no effort to be curious about what she shared.

Sigh. Been there myself! Seen it happen to others so many times. I know that there are people who increase their self esteem by putting others down to build themselves up. I know there are people who honestly believe they are experts on most things. There are folks who just love to argue/debate. There are people who just don’t know much social etiquette. Like Crissy, I do my best to send good thoughts to people like that and simply not engage. You’re not going to teach these “experts” anything. They don’t want YOUR lecture any more than you want theirs, right?

Buy the way, I’m done with cat butts for a while. I gave 8 of them to Dorothy tonight.

So, treasure those around you who are willing to pass out information and let you decide for yourself how to use that information in your unique situation.

Wait, one more cat butt! Meow!

Consider, after reading all my information, using the techniques of just offering up things you know, experiences you’ve had, or opinions, not getting all invested in whether your input is acted on. Perhaps the other person has something going on that makes your information inapplicable, and that’s no reflection on you (or me).

Well, I got that off my chest. Two rants in a row. Whew.

People before Things

I’ve been thinking about this saying we always used to bring up when my kids were little and I spent a lot of time with women who chose a pared-down lifestyle so they could stay home while their kids were young.

It was important for us to let our children know we valued them more than fancy homes, cars, clothing, etc. I still feel that way.

Altar for a person I care about

To me, my family and friends are my greatest treasures (along with my horse and dog children). I value them way more than my house, my swimming pool, my turquoise jewelry, or she sheds. I guess I thought most people were that way. But no, I’m finding out otherwise.

Dog I care about more than any things she might break with her tail!

A Personal Story of the Problem with Things

Here’s what’s been blowing my mind recently. Remember the book club I was in with my neighbors at the Bobcat house? To me, the books were secondary to the people in the group, who always treated each other kindly and accepted each other for who they were, as different as everyone was.

Now, I never lived there full time like Anita did, so I only saw a couple of minor judgmental things said about some of the women. I mostly heard stories of fun gatherings, music, and laughter. Anita was included and I was usually invited.

Then, a “thing” got in the way, combined with misunderstandings and lack of communication. That’s always a deadly combination. Apparently a lost item of clothing was more important than friendships. This hit me like a ton of bricks. People thought Anita had stolen a denim jacket and given it to me. When I wore it to the last book club I attended, someone tried to take it, and acted like they didn’t believe it was mine.

They sold these in many boutiques, apparently

I ended up feeling guilty, like I’d done something wrong, but had no idea what. When Anita and I were pointedly not invited to the next two book clubs, I realized my “friends” had put their need to blame Anita (and me, by association) for a lost object above their years of friendship. Wow. And no one would talk to us about it. I did ask for someone to tell me what was going on. Crickets.

Of course none of our actual friends wanted to get involved. Who could blame them? They have to live there. They need to be cordial! And they only hear one side of the story, about how important the jacket was and how awful we must be to take it and “rub it in their faces.” And I, myself, knew I’d only heard one side of the story (and little of that, since it wasn’t a topic of conversation in Cameron, where we were dealing with getting a house finished). I figured I’d never know what other issues there were, and just wrote it off.

But it was really bothering Anita. She is my friend. I place her before things. So, I went to the store where I bought my jacket and got the receipt. They keep a record of everything there! I wanted to be sure everyone knew I owned my jacket, since it was so important to the group in Austin. I didn’t tell only the people who seemed to be so angry, because I wouldn’t put it past them to not share the info in order to maintain their version of events. people do that to protect themselves.

Courtney came through.

I’m under no illusion that proving I paid for my own clothing made any difference. From the earful I got from someone I’d really valued as a friend before, it became clear that Anita and I were back to being the unpopular kids, just like back in high school. All sorts of things had been misinterpreted and negative motives assigned to words and actions. Heck, I’d hate us if I’d done all the things I found out Anita and I’d supposedly said or done.

In high school I’d have tried and tried to get back in with the cool girls. Today I am just sad to lose friendships over things. It reminds me of what Lee keeps telling me, which is I can get myself into emotional trouble when I assume people mean well and like me for who I am.

Still. I actually still care about my former friends and have fond memories of them. I can see their point of view given their perception. I empathize with the people from that group who remain my friends. I’m so sorry I put them in an awkward situation over an inexpensive piece of clothing. Their friendship is more important than any things. I like them, just as they are.

My hope is that there are people who can forgive me of my less than ideal jokes, accept my cluelessness about situations I’m not a part of, and can deal with my oddness. If you are one of them, I’ll return the grace to you.

Life is too short to waste on judgment. I’m surprised this stuff has festered in me for so long. Time to forgive, forget, and let go.

Ouch, More Than One Way

The day started with an ouch and ended with a painful long-term one.

These two are hanging out so I can quickly get them for a lesson tomorrow.

I was planning to go ride with Sara this morning and ran late, but I had Apache clean and saddled in time. We were walking to the mounting block, which is in the portable round pen. As we entered, the stirrup in the right somehow caught in a panel and started following us. That rightfully scared him and he jumped. Jump number 2 landed on my foot. Ouch.

The inner part here used to be next to the outer part.

He got free, though, and said “oof” then stood still. I got up and went over to him and hugged him. He was fine! I got on him and went over to Sara, apologizing for not making it to the gate so Aragorn wouldn’t have to walk near our horses.

The longer grass shows the former outline of the pen.

We regrouped and had a nice calm ride, since Aragorn is working on a hoof issue. I was really proud of my horse and me. In fact, my foot felt fine in my good shoes. It only started hurting when I took the shoe off.

I forgot to put a picture of Harvey on yesterday’s post. Here he is with his favorite pillow.

The other hurt is one I won’t go into detail on, but I found out I’d lost a friend through misunderstandings. For the second time in recent experience, someone got very angry with me due to associating me with someone else. Assumptions were made and even when it turned out they were wrong, I was guilty by association.

The good news is at least this time I know what happened, how it came about, and that there’s not a thing I can do but apologize for things that came across wrong. Sigh. I hate losing friends I really cared about.

On the other hand, I’m no longer in the middle of something I don’t understand and can move on. I’ll just hang out with people who know I’m me, not anyone I’m associated with.

I made my nails cheerful. So there.

These lessons are always painful, even when you’ve made progress on your desire to be liked by people who matter to you.

Ouch.

Thoughts and Actions, Please

Today I’ve been feeling sick. I’m not a gun lover in the first place, and now I feel like we are all just waiting for our turns to be someone’s target. The cynic in me feels that the people who run the US care only about themselves, their families, babies (up to the moment of birth, at which point they are worthless), and guns.

[Some of you may want to stop reading now and go enjoy some Fox News.]


What has sucked the wind out of my sails the most is how I’ve seen regular folks reacting to the endless shootings of people who just happened to be living their lives in the wrong places.

I burned candles in their honor, but won’t stop there.

It’s not just the sincerely uttered “thoughts and prayers,” because I know that’s what people in a certain social group say when they just don’t have anything else to say. No, it’s people who say the ONLY thing you can do to help dead children, teachers, grocery shoppers, and such is to pray.

“My tradition teaches that prayer without action is just noise.”

Rabbi Jack Moline

As my friend Lynn pointed out to me, you don’t hear many ministers saying that. You hear them calling for change. At least the ministers I’ve heard. Rabbi Moline is one of them. Another quote from him:

There is no tradition that, at its core, would justify the massacre of children at school, grandparents at the grocery store, or congregants in a house of worship. And there should be no faith leader that sits idly by while the people we have dedicated our lives to ministering to are slaughtered. Prayer works only when it softens the hardened heart and opens it to the message of healing and justice that flows through every tradition’s scripture. Prayer works only if it leads to confession, contrition and repentance. Prayer works only if it is not an excuse for inaction.

NOTHING PREVENTS THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN A BULLET

Worse than this, I’ve seen people post that it’s not so bad all these people are dying, because that way they get to go meet Jesus and hang out with their deceased relatives sooner rather than later. I’m sorry, but WTF. It’s hard for me to imagine their pacifist god-figure wanting people do die early in a massacre just to hang out with him. Um, I hope they draw comfort from that.

Not a fan

I got so upset that I ran to my trusted sources for words of comfort, words to help me remember who I am, and words to steer ME via my beliefs. My Christian spiritual leader, Jim Rigby reminded me of these words by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”

MLK

And then Jim talked about having the courage to be gentle and find hope as I respond to the hurt I am feeling right now. He is right, of course:

Greek culture had a word for “gentleness” (praus) that actually could meant “power under control.” It was sometimes used for a powerful animal that had been tamed. Today “gentleness” might refer to finding the courage not to use violence to solve all of our problems. Before we can tackle the problem of gun violence we must first ask ourselves an important question: Does our nation have the courage to be gentle?

Guns are no replacement for the civic virtue of courage. This nation cannot be saved by military grade weapons in the hands of cowardly spirits. Human decency requires the bravery to steer by our hopes not our fears.

Jim Rigby, Facebook

While all that helped me spiritually, I still am faced with even more blatant 1984-style language and proclamations by civic leaders that my head literally hurts. Why are guns more important than children, I keep wondering? Why is “freedom” more important than protecting the mentally ill and dangerous from themselves and others? I’m not alone. From Richard Stone of Taylor, Texas:

I got in a row on one of the local community pages about arming teachers. Saw this over on Twitter a few minutes ago and now I can’t wrap my head around the cognitive dissonance.

Richard Stone, Facebook

He then quoted someone else who finally put into words what has been causing my hurt:

“I heard this point yesterday and can’t get it out of my mind – TX politicians don’t trust teachers to choose books, but they think arming teachers is a good idea.”

Bethany Albertson

I have a child who is a teacher. He just celebrated five years at Austin ISD and I am proud of him. He was raised in a gun-free household, as was I, and as I have been until things changed around here. I do not want to see him having to protect his students from killers. I want him to teach history and even hide some facts in among the state-mandated stuff. I want him free to care about his students, but also feel free to criticize or discipline appropriately, when necessary, without worrying that kid will come back and shoot him the moment they turn 18. Holy crap that is just plain dystopian. I’m nauseated.

And don’t tell me to move. I’m from here, too.

Anyway, I’m not a crazed snowflake who wants to snatch people’s possessions out of their hands. I’m a mother, a spouse, an aunt, a nature lover, and just a regular human who wants to feel free to have opinions, live in safety, and feel free to spread love, kindness, and even lovingkindness, around the land.

Breathe, Suna

But to also speak up. So many folks I know have been afraid to say we need to do something about the gun worship culture here. Why? Because of gun worshippers. Not hunters, not safety officers. People who literally LOVE the things and don’t give a shit how many people have to die because of it.

Some bunny loves us all. Me.

As so many people I know have been asking, how did we get here? Can we make things better. I want to help.

Freedom: A Loaded Word

You know what? I used to think I was free. I used to think more and more people where I live were becoming freer. I used to think the world was becoming a better place.

Lost

I can remember feeling especially happy to live in a place where people were free to worship or not worship any faith tradition, where people were free to love whoever they wanted to love, where people could have families or not, where people could live wherever they found beauty, where judges strove to put their personal beliefs aside and be neutral, and where people could have respectful debates over policies. Heck, people could even go to the grocery store and expect the worst thing that would happen would be a long line at checkout.

Interestingly, this was posted by someone with different views from me, but I think it’s true for all of our viewpoints.

I felt like “progress” toward equality for all was being made, right during my lifetime. The water fountain labeled “Coloreds Only” was gone from the Alachua County courthouse, in my lifetime. As a woman, I could play any sport I wanted and attend any school I wanted, in my lifetime (I gave up on being a veterinarian because women were not allowed in vet schools). My gay friends got married – legally – in my lifetime. Buildings were made accessible to people who could not climb stairs, in my lifetime. I could live 20 years next to a black family and nothing out-of-the-ordinary occur, in my lifetime. I could live around people who had come to my area from all over the world and it was fine. People could choose whatever identity they cared to present themselves as, even if I got confused…all in my lifetime…and it made me happy.

I could trust that people in politics felt it was their duty to tell the truth and apologized when they made mistakes. I could trust that law enforcement officers respected all citizens and did their best to keep all of us safe. People who joined the military were assigned duties they could be proud of and were respected for what they did.

I was once a Girl Scout.

I didn’t live in fear of my neighbors because I voted for a different Presidential candidate and don’t worship the one they prefer. I didn’t feel in danger because I’m a pacifist, because I don’t like organized religion, and I think no other human is any better or worse than me.

Fuck that. It’s all over. I was so happy when 1984 came and went and Big Brother hadn’t showed up. Oh, Suna. He was just a little late. Lies are now truth. Freedom is a word only for a small subset of the population. Rights are just for old white males. Women are back to being nothing but property for males to use as they please, then are punished for the consequences of what men do to them. Again.

When I’m wrong, I can be really, really wrong. I was wrong all along, too. None of those illusions of mine were real. I gotta go back to reading about how all culture is an illusion that’s just out there to help us feel like life has meaning. I have no clue right now, other than life is suffering. Thanks, Buddha.

I CAN Try New Things!

When I finally get a day off, I can cram a lot of fun into it, that’s for sure, and yesterday I even stepped outside my comfort zone successfully, more than once. I’m so proud.

Announcement! Suna is proud!

One thing I’m happy with myself for doing is finding my own fun by myself. As Lee has gotten more and more into the Hermit Life, I’ve found myself slipping into it as well (and COVID helped form the habit of being solo). Since I wake up ridiculously early here, I usually have five hours or so to kill before Lee is able to do anything. I sit on the balcony, read, or knit, but I’m so used to getting up and doing a bunch of chores that I’ve taken to just leaving and finding stuff to do outside.

Pretty kites, and look, way out there is a BOAT! You don’t see many boats here.

Admittedly, some of the stuff I do involves fruity drinks and beach chairs, but I wander around, take pictures, and talk to folks. I swear I’m turning into my dad with all this talking to folks stuff. Not very hermit-like.

I got to have the first pineapple slice of the day.

When Lee was awake, he suggested we go take advantage of the free putt-putt golf we get as part of our stay. I think the hotel chain bought this sorta run-down course, since it’s right across from one of the properties and counts as an amenity. Here’s an admission. I had NEVER played putt-putt before, or any other golf-like activity.

A Chapter for My Memoirs

Backstory: In my horrible only year at Plantation Middle School, some person without much forethought had the great idea of having a bunch of young girls, many from backgrounds that didn’t include elitist sports like golf (back then, well-to-do white people played golf), learn the sport in physical education. Golf includes golf balls and golf clubs, both things that needed to be treated with respect. There were rules, like only swinging your club behind a certain line, not swinging without checking your surroundings, and not driving the ball while people were out retrieving their shots. Good rules. Who can guess what happened?

Golf has rules for good reasons. Photo by @Thaninee via Twenty20

Yep. I had finally hit my ball far enough to get an extra point (a thing I needed because PE was my worst class) and was about to pick it up when WHAM, one of the little darlings in class swung her club onto my head. I was so focused on getting my extra point that I simply went back to the teacher to report my success. She asked me what was on my gym outfit. That would be blood. I had to go to the nurse’s office, which was hard to do when you had no idea where that was in the crazy building and you were dripping. I was so angry that I smeared blood on the exterior wall of the school, quite an act of rebellion for the rule-follower I was at the time.

I can’t believe I found a picture of the wall. The school is now the home of the Patriots and being renovated. Much different demographics, too.

The nurse washed me up and called my mom to come get me. Mom was in the middle of her nervous breakdown from having to move away from Gainesville, so she was not happy to have to drive down Sunrise Boulevard (she didn’t like four-lane roads) to come get me. She looked at the hole in my head and declared something like it was just a flesh wound and took me home with no doctor visit or anything. Mom was frugal and didn’t want to waste health care dollars on us kids when she needed so much (thus, we had no trips to the dentist until our teens, my brother’s lazy eye was not addressed until too late to fix it, etc.).

My nightmare: a child with a giant golf club. Image by @Moondrop via Twenty20

The results were that I had headaches for years and sharp pains if I moved a certain way. I have avoided golf entirely. I wasn’t the only one permanently damaged by middle school golf. Another classmate had a chunk of her chin removed by someone who didn’t check her surroundings, and as far as I know, still has a nasty scar. I believe that was the end of the golf program at Plantation Middle School.

Back to Put-Putt

Anyway, Lee likes golf and used to be really good at mini-golf, so I agreed to go. I’m so glad I did. It was great fun, and I was nowhere near as horrible at it as I feared I would be. In fact, I was even under par on one hole, and made par on a couple more. The first hole was pretty bad, since I had to figure out how hard to hit the ball to make it do what I wanted it to do, but after that, I found it most amusing to see where the ball would go and what it would do.

Not too fancy but does the job.

I declare that I would do it again, perhaps at a nicer course. But, we got a lot of laughs out of the outing and it was great to see Lee actually enjoying an activity on a trip.

Off to Calabash

We decided we wanted some good seafood, so we motored off to North Carolina (barely) to the beautiful little town of Calabash, where we’d had a great meal last year. Once again, I knitted a lot. I am trying to get that baby blanket finished before that baby is born. We tried the restaurant next door to the one where we ate last year, and were not disappointed.

We were at the far left corner. Isn’t it pretty?

I got a huge amount of food in my platter, unlike the small serving we had in Murrell’s Inlet a couple of days ago. And it was fried so beautifully that my grandmother would have approved (the great connoisseur of Florida seafood). The oysters were immense and the scallops delicate and tender. The shrimp were local (from right next door!) and the fish was glorious.

See, even grackles can be pretty.

While the service was a little slow, I could not complain, since there was quite a show among the local bird population for me to enjoy. Grackles were mating and building nests, so they were in great form (and loud, being grackles).

The seagulls were also in squabbling mode, so there was lots of action. Plus, there were pelicans zooming around and catching fish. They are so beautiful to me.

After the meal, I went for a walk on the little boardwalk and boat docks, where I got to enjoy pelicans having some kind of bird party next to a party boat, which cracked me up (easily amused).

Pelican Party Time

I also realized why all the birds are so dang happy right there in Calabash. The water was literally teeming with little fish. No shore bird could go hungry with all those fishies everywhere they looked!

While I was gone, Lee was paying the check, and since he was alone with our leftovers, the laughing gulls got bolder. He got a great shot of a laughing gull taking one of my shrimp.

Once we got home, I needed to burn off that fried food, so I walked on the boardwalk until I got all my steps in, then decided to enjoy an Old Fashioned and knit a table at the upstairs bar (I had been outside until a loud family arrived). A lady said I shouldn’t be sitting alone and invited me to the bar to sit with them. I ended up talking to them and another couple for a long time. Lee even came down for a while.

And in talking to the staff, I discovered that Kevin the bartender is also a history professor who specialized in my very own ancestors in Florida! His family is also from north Florida with deep roots there. Who would have guessed? This condo has the best staff, that’s for sure.

Beautiful ending to a fun day, even if I overindulged.

I ended up meeting another couple and stayed too long and had three drinks, so I was not at my best when I got home. Lee said I was cuddly, so I must have been out of my mind, ha ha. It was worth it, though. I truly enjoy hearing the stories of all the people I run into and finding our commonalities without ruining things by getting into politics or religion. Granted, anyone I meet here fits certain criteria or they wouldn’t be here. Hilton sure does check your credit scores and incomes. But I’ve met people from many places and backgrounds, and that’s what I like and have missed so much the past few years.

While I’m still primarily doing outdoor things (we’ve been eating on patios), at least I’m no longer scared to talk to people. I’m back to having a nice balance of being alone and in peace and interacting with others.

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