Shedding a Little “Light”

Every now and then I’m struck by just how many different jobs are out there.  Jobs that many people probably don’t think about, because the product is just always there.  Some of my previous ponderings have been over the plastic ends on shoelaces (called aglets or aiglets), the handles on coffins, and even those cup holders at Starbucks.  All of these things are necessary and we’d be lost without them, but we usually end up taking them for granted, especially if we’re not the ones who work on these items.

Some of these odd jobs might now be automated, but at some point, someone, somewhere had to actually design the products, and someone else had to make them and/or attach them to whatever product they’re a part of.

There’s a great show called How It’s Made that shows things like this.  It airs on The Science Channel (sometimes several episodes back to back), talks about anything from potato chips to caviar to snowboards and even big construction machines.  There are some things that I don’t particularly find interesting, but by and large, I LOVE this show.

Anyway, lately I’ve been pondering automobile tail lights.  It’s a weird thing to be thinking about, I know, but when I’m in traffic at night, and they’re sitting there in front of me, it’s hard not to see the unique designs they’re coming up with now and wonder “Who thought of that design and why?”

I know that interesting car features have been a big thing for years.  Back in the 50s many cars had fins, others a porthole in the rear window, but I’d never really noticed the tail lights to see if they, too, were unique among automotive companies.

So come with me and take a look at the (oftentimes) interesting world of car tail lights . . .

First we’ll start off with the more “regular” looking tail lights.  These have been on 90% of the cars out there for several decades now.  There might be a few tweaks here and there, but mostly they’ve been sturdy, functional, and somewhat boring:

plain-tail-lights-group

Next, we’ve got a few cooler-looking ones.  These car manufacturer’s apparently decided to blend the tail lights into the new, sleeker lines of the car.  To make them a part of the car’s design, rather than an afterthought:

cooler-tail-lights

And then there are the REALLY cool, trippy kinds of tail lights that mesmerize you a little bit:

trippy-tail-lights

In fact, it’s the eyeball-looking lights (above) that caused me to want to write this blog.  Those things are so cool, but still freak me out a little bit . . . like the car is looking at me sideways (which I’m sure is what the manufacturers were going for).

Paying attention to the tail lights (while I’ve been working on this blog) has helped to curb my road rage a bit, because I can focus on the different designs in front of me, rather than the slow person in front of me.  But it’s not so distracting that my attention is diverted from what’s happening on the road.

How about you?  Have you ever wondered how they made that, or who came up with that idea?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.

An Unlikely Soldier

I’m just gonna come right out and say it . . . This election SUCKS!

Not only because our new dictator-in-chief is a reality show buffoon, whose petty, xenophobic, misogynist, and homophobic tweets have incited people to crawl out from under whatever rock they’ve been hiding and be just as vulgar.  Nor is it because it seems he’s trying to undo all the good, progressive growth our country has gone through over the last 50+ years, and turn us into a fascist oligarchy.

Those things are horrible, true.  But what bothers me more about this election is to learn just how many people in this country seem to WANT the fascist oligarchy, or hate on any group of people who aren’t Aryan straight men.

And what I hate even MORE than that is that I can’t seem to accept the “other side’s” point of view on this one.

I’ve tried most of my life to be someone who lives by the edict of “To each his/her own.”  I don’t expect all of us to see eye to eye on every issue, but I believe we each have the right to our respective opinions.  I truly used to think I was like that.  But I’m so incredibly scared of what might happen over the next 4-8 years (God, PLEASE let it only last for 4!), that I have no desire to even listen to what the “other side” has to say.

And I tried.  I really did.  There was an article I saw online where a female reporter decided to sit down and talk with a Trump supporter who lived in her neighborhood.  Apparently what I saw was her second conversation with the guy, and they were sitting down openly discussing their opposing views and also responding to various comments in his Twitter feed.

I totally applaud her ability to be able to sit down and have the discussion with him, because, yes, we DESPERATELY need to have open conversations with each other, to try to understand where the other is coming from (because, maybe the “other side” is only afraid of people, because they don’t understand them).  But, unfortunately I got maybe five minutes into the video, and then had to shut it off.  I am so adamantly against this incoming administration and everything they stand for, that I found myself unwilling to listen to this man’s side of things.  He seemed so angry and (in my opinion) ill-informed about what went down, that I had to shut the video off before I began screaming at the screen.

So I find myself in much the same position I’m accusing the “other side” of being in: angry, resentful and unyielding in my beliefs about what is “right.”  I’ve said for some time that the only thing I’m bigoted about is a bigot . . . and here it is, staring me in the face.

But thankfully, there are millions of people who aren’t on the “other side.”  I was SO happy and proud to see all the people out there who marched last weekend in protest of Trump and the crap he’s trying to do.  It’s heartening to see just how many people are out there in favor of the things I support.  It gives me hope that all might not yet be lost.

But there is still a fear inside of me that we might be headed toward another Hitler-like regime.  What with Trump already forbidding certain news agencies to his hearings, and changing the government websites, it feels like the dictatorship is gearing up.  Which makes me think that a revolution isn’t far behind.

And that comes to what scares me the most . . . if a revolution is imminent, then I feel that I must do my part to keep entire groups of people safe from such atrocities as were thrust upon Jewish people in Germany, or even Asian people here in America.  NOBODY should be put on some sort of “registry” just because they follow a non-Christian religion.  Nor should anyone be forced to “convert” to a “more acceptable” lifestyle.  Just the thought of either of those things coming to fruition pisses me the fuck off!  So I feel like I need to join the fight.

Deep down I’m terrified of being jailed or killed over this, but I also feel that I’d be an absolute coward to not stand up and fight for something I truly believe in.  I have too many gay/black/trans/Muslim/etc. friends whose livelihoods appear to be on tenterhooks as of January 20th to just sit idly by and not do something.  I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror ever again, if I sat on my hands.

I never wanted to be a fighter.  I even refused to go into the military (even though I needed the money for college) because I just don’t agree with using excessive force to get what you want.  I had always prided myself on letting people have their own opinions.  But this election has been divisive, and in my mind this new administration is very dangerous.  I have to stand up for what I believe in.  So if it means I need to go out and fight . . . then fight I will.

Vive la revolution!

New Year, New Me

As I’ve stated before, I’m not usually one for making New Year’s resolutions.  I generally feel that, if you’re not willing/ready to make the change at any time of the year, chances are you won’t succeed at it just because a new year has begun.  Maybe that’s just a defeatist attitude that I’ve used to keep me from attempting to make any large changes each year, but it’s not like I’m ever graded on my human-ness by whether or not I participate in this social activity, so I haven’t cared to look at it any deeper.

This coming year, however, I have decided to make some changes.  I don’t know that I’d call them “resolutions” per se, but these modifications are things I feel are necessary to my emotional and physical well-being, if I hope to enjoy a healthy long life.

The first is to be MUCH more diligent in changing my eating habits.  I’ve known I had Hashimoto’s for nearly two years now, but I’ve been pretty lax about making sure that I avoid gluten at ALL costs.  Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to cause too much of a fuss, but it’s mostly because I don’t pay that close attention to ingredients when I eat out, so I’m sure there are times when gluten still gets into my system.

Also, the more I speak to my functional medicine doctor, the more I learn that there are other foods I should be cutting down on, or cutting out of my diet entirely.  I’ve been fighting it like a five-year old throwing a tantrum and being mad at my body for being this sensitive, but I’ve finally started to accept that I need to put on my big-girl panties and stop letting my ID control me.  Mine isn’t a life-threatening disease (yet), but I know that I can feel better than I do right now . . . and I WANT that.

The next shift will likely happen as a result of eating better for my body . . . lose weight.  Both Craig and I need to lose quite a few pounds, but we’ve let our reasons and excuses keep us from doing just that.  Well, Craig’s been encountering more and more health problems due to his weight and our not-so-great eating habits, and neither of us wants him to have to be on medications for the rest of his life, so this is one change that we’re gonna work on together.  YAY!  The fact that I want to go to Hawaii for my 50th birthday is a HUGE incentive.  We both want to go hang gliding, walking on volcanoes, and even ziplining . . . And we’d probably have a better time doing those if we were down to healthier weights.  We’ve got until 2020 to get there.

The other switch that I’m going to make is to stop playing so many video games.  I started using them as a little break/de-stressor from the daily grind, but it’s now become more than that.  They’ve come to take up a good hour or two of my days . . . which is time that I could put to MUCH better use with editing my current audiobook or auditioning for new voice over gigs.  Or even taking new photos or editing old ones.  I have two amazing careers that I really want to get off the ground, and playing video games is taking up too much of what little free time I currently have (since I have a day job as well).

These are three really good switches that I’m going to be making in my life.  So, why am I waiting until the new year to make them?  Probably the same reason so many other people don’t make the changes right away . . . I don’t wanna!  lol  While that’s meant to be funny, it’s also quite true.  My ID is definitely sensing the danger of not being in control for much longer.  It’s one of those consequences of not disciplining oneself enough as you’re growing up . . . you spend 40+ years doing/eating whatever you want, whenever you want to and not thinking of the possible repercussions (because you don’t notice any for the first 20+ years of your life).  That’s a LOT of years of bad habits to try to overcome.  So I guess I’m giving myself a couple more weeks of “freedom” before I make the necessary changes.

The funny thing is that deep down inside, I WANT to make these changes.  I know, inherently, that all of these changes will make for a MUCH happier, healthier Alyx.  And I so desperately want to be happier and healthier.

So, maybe these last couple weeks of 2016 are really a chance to let the deeper part of me work on convincing my ID that these changes are a GOOD thing.  Probably not, but I’ve only got two more weeks to make excuses.  ;o)

Giving Thanks 2016

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a Giving Thanks blog this year or not.  What with emotional landmines I’ve been uncovering, the charged political environment, and the fact that 2016 has been taking so many good entertainers from us, I didn’t know if I’d be able to come up with much.

But I saw a post recently that helped put things back into perspective.  It doesn’t matter which one it was–especially since I’ve seen several different ones over the last few weeks–but here are some to put you in the same state of mind:

happy-thankful

 

 

 

 

 

 

60033-being-thankful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

being-thankful

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as I sit down to write this blog, I’m looking at the things in my life that I have every reason to be thankful for:

  1.  My family – My husband, Craig, is SUCH a wonderful, supportive man.  I couldn’t ask for a better life companion, and I’m SO grateful that he’s in my life.  My step-daughter, Athena, is also an amazing young woman.  I love watching her grow into herself, and enjoy hearing her insight into a variety of topics.  And I simply adore our two cats, Jasmyn and Bot (short for Purrbot).  These wonderful bundles of fur make my heart swell with love nearly every day, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
  2. My job – Yes, I’m back at a day job, but once I got over my bruised ego at not being as successful as quickly as I’d hoped to be, I can see that this new role is much better suited to me.  Plus, it pays well and they’re willing to let me work part-time, so I can have more hours in the day to pursue my preferred interests.  It’s also close to home, so I’m thankful for the short commute.
  3. College – I’m thoroughly enjoying the classes I’ve been taking this Fall semester, and am looking forward to the new ones in the Spring.  Obtaining new skills and meeting new people in these classes will help prepare me better for my chosen careers.
  4. Entertainment – I’ve seen some amazing movies and TV shows this year (I’ve also seen some crap, but the good outweighs the bad in this case).  I’m thrilled to see new voices coming out with snappier writing and better interpersonal relationships.  It helps me to know we’re moving in a good direction.
  5. Sleep – For the few months that I stepped away from a day job, I napped nearly every day and it was AWESOME!  I’m sure I was one of those kids who didn’t like naps after a certain age, but I’ve definitely gotten over that.  Even at my day job now, I try to find a little nook somewhere at least once a week to nap during my lunch hour.  That kind of reset does wonders for my mood, as well as my mental clarity.

There are quite a few more things I could list here, but I’m guessing you, dear reader, will be thankful if I keep this post relatively short.  ;o)

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  May your holiday be filled with love, laughter, great memories and a wonderful nap.

America’s Reality-Show Election

I know this isn’t my normal day to post my blog, but with the election next week, I felt compelled to write a special one . . .

Four years ago I wrote about my decision to vote for the first time in my life (you can read parts 1 and 2 of that blog here and here).  This year it didn’t occur to me not to vote, but this might be the last year that I do so.

I was right in fearing the floodgates opening up once I started thinking more about politics.  The last several months have been exhausting to me.  With all the social media blurbs about this candidate or that one–not to mention the fact that The Daily Show (a satirical news show on Comedy Central) has talked of practically nothing else–the only way I can avoid hearing about the latest scandal or lawsuit is to put my nose in a book, or get outside (both of which I have done, with great pleasure).

And it wasn’t just the non-stop, in your face coverage that got to me; that happens every election year.  It was also the ridiculous reality-show vibe of the entire thing.

First off, there were . . . what . . . 17 Republican candidates originally (not counting another 5 who had filed the correct paperwork, but were never included on ballots or in debates)?  I’m fairly certain that’s unprecedented.  As the months wore on and the debates happened, they kept dropping like contestants on Survivor, and many of my friends who normally vote Republican said there wasn’t a good option in the bunch (I agreed with them, but I’m not Republican, so that’s not surprising).

Then, there were the issues with corruption in the Democratic National Committee.  I was a HUGE Bernie Sanders supporter, and actually looked forward to the election with the prospect of him in office.  So the voter suppression and other shenanigans that happened around the primaries were disheartening and angering to witness.  And I’d probably be happier about breaking the glass ceiling if our first female Presidential candidate was someone I trusted and liked more than Hillary Clinton . . . like Elizabeth Warren.

And then, looking at all the local and state-wide proposals in my vote-by-mail ballot became a daunting task.  When I saw the size of the booklet explaining the proposals for California, I about fell on the floor.  I wanted to make sure that I understood each issue before voting on it, so I read the unbiased summary and then each “For” and “Against” comment.  And those damned rebuttals!  The ones that weren’t full of fear-tactics were so childish, they boiled down to “Nuh-uh!  You’re the liars!”

The whole process of actually reading the proposals and filling out the ballot took me 3 three days.  Granted, I spent only an hour or so each day, but still, that went on WAY too long!

But the worst part of this year’s election, in my opinion, is how Donald Trump’s presence as the Republican nominee has brought out all the racists, misogynists, and the like who have been keeping their mouths shut because the wind was blowing in a different direction.  But now, with all the inflammatory things he says, these ignorant (not stupid, mind you, just ignorant) and closed-minded people feel free to openly slam, bully, or worse whatever race, religion, sexual orientation, or other category of people they feel threatened by.  We’re approximately 150 years out of slavery and about 60 years out of segregation, for goodness sake!  I realize those are relatively short periods of time in the history of the world, but I can’t bear the thought of us reverting back into those days!  Not to mention all of the other great stride’s we’ve made for equality recently.

As much as I don’t care for Hillary, I think she’s a FAR better candidate than Donald.  And, even if he did win (which I highly doubt), it’s not HIM I’m afraid of; it’s the hordes of people who agree with the crap that comes out of his mouth.  I personally believe he says that shit just to get a reaction out of people, but those who support him really do have that kind of mentality.  And they are the people we now have to deal with every single day, regardless of whether he takes the Presidency or not.

So yeah, this might be the last year that I vote.  I understand that thousands of women fought for my right to vote (many of whom died for it), and I’m eternally grateful that they did.  I will never fully understand the hardships they went through, or the sacrifices they made.  But they fought for my right to vote, not the obligation that I do so.  And I don’t feel that I owe it to anyone to be this overwhelmed, frustrated, and frankly disheartened by a process that goes on WAY too long.

And, if Mr. Trump does win this year, I might just be moving to another country.

Speak (Up) for Yourself

It’s time for me to rant again about something that I’ve found irksome for years, but has grown into a full-on annoyance for me lately . . . People not speaking up for themselves.

Let me set a scene for you . . .

I’m walking through the grocery store, and stop in the produce aisle looking to get some green beans (this kind of thing can happen in any aisle, but I’m trying to eat healthier, so there you go).  I get my bag and start sorting through the legumes to weed out any old ones, when I get this sensation that someone’s hovering nearby.  Using my peripheral vision I notice that, sure enough, there’s another shopper standing next to (or behind) me, apparently interested in the same veggies that I’m currently picking through.  Or maybe they want to pick up a yellow squash off of the display right above the green beans.  Doesn’t matter . . . they just want to be in the same general area that I’m in.

All they need to do is say “Excuse me, can I squeeze in there for . . .” and I’d happily move aside to let them get the squash, or rifle through the beans with me.  But no.  More often than not, people will just stand there, as if they’re waiting for you to get some sort of hint and move aside for them on your own, so they don’t have to speak to a stranger.  (I’m sure it’s not nearly as obnoxious as I’m describing right now, but I did warn you it would be a rant.)

I’ve actually witnessed one woman get pissed off and yell at another shopper for not using the eyes in the back of said shopper’s head to realize there was a woman standing behind, wanting something that the shopper was blocking.  I can’t remember the exact words used, but she basically accused the other shopper of taking their “sweet ass” time with no regard for people around.  I finally piped up and said “Well, how was [the shopper] supposed to know you wanted something they’re blocking?”  The lady was, of course, belligerent and told me to “mind my own business,” but I’ve often found that people say things like that when they don’t like being called out on their own crappy behavior, so I ignored her and moved on.

But this behavior can happen anywhere . . . even just walking down the street.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped to take a picture of something and there are people who will try to squirm and squeeze their way around me, rather than say “Excuse me.” or “Can I get by you?”  Now, true, I shouldn’t be blocking the walkway (and I try not to, as that’s another HUGE pet-peeve of mine), but that doesn’t preclude someone stating that I’m in the way of something they need, or someplace they’re trying to be.

This is true in EVERY relationship you have, not just with strangers in the store or on the street.  Relationships are SO much easier when you say to your mate/sibling/co-worker “This is what I need from you,” rather than saying nothing, and then getting cheesed off when they don’t do what you never even told them you need!  Nobody but YOU is responsible for getting your needs/wants met.  Period.

It seems to me that this pervasive form of passive-aggressiveness has flooded our culture lately.  I don’t know if it’s because there are just so many of us now, that practically every place you go is crowded, or if people have become so afraid of strangers, or if we’re just so disconnected that we’ve forgotten how to talk to one another.  Or, maybe it’s some fear that the other person will get pissed off at you for . . . I don’t know . . . existing?

I know that children are often taught not to be in “the way”–whether it’s your parents, your teachers, or other adults–so maybe this is left over from that kind of mental abuse.  And I’m not exactly sure how to change it, but it definitely NEEDS to change, in my opinion.

It’s not only passive-aggressive, but it’s also an unfair expectation that someone else should know that they’re blocking your way.  I don’t expect ANYBODY to know anything about me, unless I tell them.  We’re all dealing with our own stuff, people.  From jobs, to families, to daily tasks, to emotional baggage . . .  It takes MUCH less energy for me to tell someone what I need/want from them than for them to put all of their stuff aside to try to guess what I need/want from them at any given moment.

And you don’t have to be rude about it.  Honestly, a simple “Excuse me, I need [blank]” takes all of 3 seconds, the other person will likely move aside quickly, and you can be on your merry way.

Unreal Expectations

I used to love romance novels when I was younger.  Fairy tales, too.  Really, anything with a big ol’ Hollywood “And they lived happily ever after” ending.  I just loved the idea of two people meeting and overcoming whatever personality conflicts they had to realize they loved each other.  But as I got older, I realized how potentially damaging those kinds of stories are.  In fact, I just finished reading one and found it so hokey and unrealistic, that it was very hard to finish.

First off, unlike what those kinds of stories would have you believe, very few lasting relationships derive from the hero saving the heroine from whatever catastrophe threw them together in the first place.  After the endorphin from that scenario wears off, most people realize they have nothing in common.  And secondly, making love is NOT the same as being in love.  I now truly despise any movie where the romantic duo have sex and then “realize” they’re in love with each other (I’m looking at you Failure to Launch!).  Real, loving relationships take time, perseverance, and a willingness to be vulnerable to the person you’re partnering with.  You can’t have REAL love unless you’re willing to get real yourself.

One of the other “lies” that heterosexual romance novels perpetuate is that the guy somehow knows exactly how to drive the woman crazy, sexually.  He knows just the right places to touch her in just the right ways; in many cases, even better than she knows how to herself.  And these sex fests always end in a mind-blowing orgasm for her, and oftentimes he climaxes at exactly the same moment she does.  You read too many of those kinds of stories and it can truly distort your expectations of what love and sex is, or should be.

Like with Craig . . . we have what I feel is a truly loving, honest relationship.  I know he loves me, and I think he knows how much I love him.  And our sex life is amazing . . . when we can actually get it in (no pun intended).  But I’ve still got a TON of emotional and sexual baggage that we’re sorting out, some of which was caused by my years of reading these books that are truly nothing more than fantasy.  While reading this recent romance novel, I actually found myself thinking that my marriage was somehow lacking because we weren’t having sex every time we saw each other (like in the book).  I quickly realized there was nothing wrong with Craig and I, and it was shortly thereafter that I started thinking the book hokey and unrealistic.

And it’s just as bad for the “fantasy” books and movies that cater to men.  Porn usually depicts completely unrealistic situations that–if viewed too often–can make someone believe that the hot pizza delivery guy will get laid by every sorority girl when he delivers their pizzas for the pillow fight in their baby doll nighties that ALL college girls have.  *insert eye roll here*  Or what about the girl who is a virgin, but magically likes to do every nasty little sexual thing some sweaty pudgy guy wants to do to her?  *second eye roll*  Then there’s the one about the lesbian lovers who are so turned on by some random guy that they want to have a menage a trois with him.  *violent eye roll that makes my eyes stick that way*

Anyway, these kinds of stories are fine and dandy when they’re treated as the mere fantasies that they are.  But I think there are too many impressionable young men and women who come to view these as real possibilities, which then causes extreme disappointment when they’re faced with the reality of life and love.  I’d like to see more movies and books that discuss a realistic and healthy outlook on love and sex, but sadly, I don’t think they would be as successful.

Maybe if we as a country were more willing to discuss things like that–had better sex education in schools and didn’t consider the topic of sex to be so taboo (as well as discuss emotional health)–we’d be able to raise a new generation of people who didn’t look to their significant other to solve all their problems.

I don’t know, I’m just spouting here.  But I can tell you one thing . . . I won’t be picking up any Harlequin Romances anytime soon.

First Two Months of Freedom

Well, it’s nearing the end of the second month since I quit my day job and began to focus on the careers that I want to do: Photography and Voice Over (VO).  Only, it hasn’t gone quite the way I’d thought it might (though, what does, really?).

The first two weeks found me vacillating back and forth between staying the course or going and finding another admin job.  There’s something definitely comforting about having a steady income, especially when you get paid weekly (which I did).  When you don’t see that money coming in and only see money leaving your bank account to pay for bills, rent, etc., there are definite moments of freaking out.

But aside from the financial freak outs, let’s call them, I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed my independence!  It’s been wonderful to spend my hours working on things that will further my career goals, rather than sitting at a desk plodding through daily work that doesn’t feed my soul.  I’ve always been a generally positive person, but I haven’t felt this energized or true to myself in years!  My functional medicine doctor even commented on how much healthier my adrenal glands are since leaving the daily grind.

Another “issue” (we’ll say, for lack of a better term) is that I never realized just how many of life’s things had been relegated to the weekends, or put on the back burner indefinitely.  I’ve heard newly retired people say that they’re busier than when they worked, but never fully understood that . . . until now.  What with grocery shopping, dishes, cooking my own meals, running this errand or that one, my days are jam-packed!  True, I feel FAR more productive than I did when working the day job, but if I thought I’d be able to spend 8 hours a day on VO and Photography, I was sorely mistaken.  I’d say I get to put in a good 5-6 hours a day on my careers.  Which is still great, as it’s a huge improvement over the 1-2 hours I was able to do every couple of days.

I’ve also decided to go to college full-time to get a degree in my chosen professions.  I’ve never been to college before, and I’m trying to find ways to not have to work at a desk job ever again.  My big hope is that I’ll be able to find grants or scholarships that will help pay for college and my bills, but I’d also be willing to do internships or work-study to help augment my finances, if need be.  That will again diminish the time I’m able to focus on auditioning for VO jobs, or edit photos, but it will hopefully help me in the long run.  But, this is the first week of my first semester, so there will be more updates on that as time goes along.

The biggest issue has probably been learning to structure my time properly (which is partly why this blog is a day late).  Another benefit of having a day job is that you’re more aware of time passing.  You know what day it is.  And for me I had systems in place at work that helped me organize my life.  I’ve never wanted to be attached to my mobile phone, but now I have to be, because that’s where I’ve begun to put all of my appointments.  If I don’t, I forget said appointments and then beat myself up for it.

But Craig was right . . . I have learned a LOT already.  I’ve taken a couple of VO webinars, which led to a free 2-week all-access pass to other online VO courses, which has been great.  I’ve submitted some images to some gallery contests, so we’ll see what happens there.  AND I’ve been able to work on projects that have been stagnant for 2 years, because I was just too busy or emotionally exhausted to focus on them.

So all in all, I’m VERY happy I decided to quit my day job!  It’s been emotionally freeing and empowering to realize that what I want IS important, and that I CAN achieve my dreams.

Let the Healing Begin

Since this will be my last blog on the topic on being a daughter of a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I thought I’d go back to the once a month blog, especially since it’s an uplifting ending to the series.

I’ve discussed several of the struggles from being a daughter of a narcissistic mother, but it’s time to focus on the healing process, which is something I’m currently going through myself.  And, I want to point out that these healing steps work not only if you have a parent with NPD, but they also work well when dealing with outside people, too.  Though–as my therapist told me–once you deal with the underlying issues that stemmed from your relationship with your parent(s), it will be easier to work through the issues you face with others.

Anyway . . . the first step in my opinion is realizing you were a child of a parent with NPD.  This one was the longest step for me, because my mom wasn’t/isn’t a horrible person.  I have some very fond memories of her from my childhood, and in many ways she was there for me.  But the more I read up on it, the more I realized that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all mask for people with NPD, which made it easier for me to see my mother in this light.

This article found on Goop (I think it’s by Dr. Robin Berman), says that one of the major steps is to:

“. . . grieve the loss of the parent you never had. Really grieve the fact that you didn’t get the parent you needed, the one who put you and your needs first.”

I had several cries over that knowledge and understanding, but with each one, I began to feel better, because I finally accepted it wasn’t my fault.  There was nothing I’d done wrong or could’ve done differently to make her put my needs first, like any child deserves.  That led to anger, which is another step in the healing process.  Several articles I found talk about allowing yourself that anger.  This article recommends that you:

“Release some of that anger. Smash some plates. Scream. Hit a pillow. Anything to let the anger of being an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parent out.”

The next big step is to realize that a person with NPD won’t change . . . no matter what you say or do.  I used to do mock conversations with my mother ALL  the time, to try to find the perfect way to say how I felt so that 1) she wouldn’t get hurt or offended by it; and 2) she would be able to understand my side of the story (why her actions hurt me).  But no matter how calmly I said it, or how many nice words I used, she usually took offense and turned it around so that she was still the victim.  The moment I stopped caring about how she would react to something I might say, the calmer things became in my head.

One of the other steps I found very useful was to cut off contact with her.  Several articles that I found on the subject suggested that either partial or full estrangement might help with the healing process . . . and it’s certainly helped me.  Yes, I felt guilty for doing so for the first couple of months, but the longer the separation went on, the clearer my mind became.  I was no longer feeling like I was going crazy because I was worrying whether or not I was talking with my mother enough, or if she was going to get upset at something I might say (or not say).  All of that crazy-making inner dialogue eventually dissipated, and it felt WONDERFUL!  I don’t know how long I’ll keep the separation, but any time I even think of talking with her again, I start to get angry, so it’s best for all involved to maintain the distance for now.

Another big step that is discussed in the article on Goop is to learn to set boundaries.  Until I started reading up about this disorder, I didn’t even realize that was a big part of my problem.  I’d been taught to be so available to my mother and her wants or needs, that it never occurred to me that setting boundaries was a necessary and healthy thing to do to maintain my own sanity.  So this one is HUGE for me.  I’m still working through it, but each time I set a boundary, I feel calmer inside of myself.  And I’ve begun to see the instances where I need to set boundaries quicker than I had before.  YAY!

There’s a great book by Dr. Karyl McBride (who wrote the survey Do You Have a Narcissistic Mother?, that I based this blog series on) called Will I Ever Be Good Enough? that I’ve been reading through, and it’s not only helped me identify other key pains I’d felt through my childhood, but there’s an entire section on healing these wounds (I’m currently working through that section now).

Here are some other articles on how to heal:

How to Survive With a Narcissistic Mother

Check out the “I’m the Adult Child of a Narcissistic Parent . . . What Now?” section of this article (about 3/4 of the way down the site)

This great site for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

This brief article from a site called The Narcissist in Your Life

And this good site by Bethany Webster about healing the mother wound (which I’m starting to look into)

So if you (or someone you know) was raised by a narcissist, or are/is currently in a relationship with a narcissist, I hope this series–and especially this particular blog–will help you to see that there is hope.  It’s a long and sometimes painful road, but on the other side of the journey is a much stronger sense of self-worth, and a much better relationship with yourself.

Jumping Off

I’m starting off today’s blog with an inspirational video from Steve Harvey:

Aside from the many references to God (which I don’t believe in), I think this is an amazing speech, full of promise and hope . . . and I have recently decided that it’s my time to jump.

I can’t give all the credit to Mr. Harvey, though.  For the last several years I’ve been taking classes to learn the art of voice overs (VO).  And last year, I got to produce my first audio book.  I’m currently in the final editing stages of the second audio book (a sequel to the first), and I’ve got another couple of audio books on the back burner, waiting for me to have time.

So now I’m taking that time.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been an admin for the last 20+ years, and have been wanting out for nearly as long.  To be fair, being an admin has given me a great lifestyle; I’ve been able to travel, to live a very comfortable lifestyle, and I’ve met some amazing people.  But it’s NEVER fed my soul.  Even so, the last couple of years at my current day-job, I’ve had to deal with a boss that can be described, at best, “difficult to work with,” and at worst, a “passive-aggressive bully,” and I finally got to a place where I’d had enough of it.

So, combine the stressful day-job, wanting to have more time to work on VO, and inspirational articles and videos like the one up there, and it just seemed to me that the Universe was saying “Go for it!”

Midlife - Universe

Yes, it’s true that I’m in the middle of my life (I just turned 46), so it’s possible that this could be called a “mid-life crisis,” but it’s also possible that it’s time for me to stop being afraid of what might happen and just take the leap and SEE what will happen.

I’ve therefore decided to cash out my 401k, and spend the next 4-5 months putting my full-time efforts into making a go of my dreams of being a professional VO actor and photographer.  Some might call that irresponsible; after all, I’m leaving a job that’s just four miles from my home, where I’m getting paid nearly six figures.  Some might also call it scary . . . and yes, to a certain extent, it is scary.  I’m basically packing away my safety net for a few months and gonna jump off that cliff Mr. Harvey alluded to and risk getting torn up on the jagged rocks below.

But here’s how I see it . . . I’ve been doing a job for 20+ years that I’ve never found fulfilling because I’ve been too afraid of those rocks and the damage they might cause, but instead, I’ve been damaging my soul (and lately my body) from putting up with the stress of staying in an unfulfilling job just because it’s safe.  I’d much rather get damaged from trying to succeed at my dream careers.

Besides, who knows what will happen next?  I might win the lottery.  I might book an amazing VO gig within the first month.  Or I might have to look for a day-job again, but–as my husband, Craig, put it–even if I have to find another Admin job in 4-5 months, I’ll have learned SO much from putting this much focus in my careers.  And, at the very least, I’ll have gotten out of a very toxic situation (for me).

So wish me well in this next chapter of my life.  I’ll keep you abreast of my journey, but you can also feel free to follow my VO career on my VO Facebook page, or find out what Craig and I are up to in our art business by following our art blog.  Either way, I’m jumping.

Previous Older Entries

Follow Me on Blog Catalog

Philosophy Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory