Tag Archive | peace

Love and Obligation and Duty

Why did the Hero flush the toilet? …. Because it was his duty.


Blame my kids and Wreck it Ralph for that one. I can’t even think the word duty without an inappropriate smile any more. I was already immature. You would think having kids would help that. Nope. Made it worse.

I have been thinking seriously though about why I do what I do. Examining some tough thoughts, like what is love, is love real? Or is it only obligation? Do I need love?

So I think we lump many things under the love umbrella that are human needs.

I think love is actually acceptance, validation and respect. I don’t think it means feeling happy, feelings come and go. Except maybe peace. Does peace go with love? (probably more to it than this – but that’s what I am talking about today)

I think we do need acceptance – in some form. We need validation. We need acknowledgement of our existence and our journey. I struggle to give and receive that in real life, but the internet has provided many platforms that makes it possible. Love is not exactly involved with this. I care about the people I interact with but I am not sure love is the right word.

How do you know you love someone? And is it a different type of love defined by the different types of obligations?

This is probably confusing and not making much sense. I will try to give some examples. I loved my parents. I thought this was a love without end, a love that should exist, that had great meaning and defined me and them, bound us in loving obligation to each other. But –  they always had the right to withdraw love and I did not. I had to earn it. I constantly tried to prove myself worthy. I did not have acceptance or validation. And I know now, that love I was seeking, never existed at all, a fabricated universe concocted to control me. Love should not include control. Parents guide, not control.


So what about Hubby? Is this love? This dance of power, control, seduction, confusion, manipulation, irritation, fear, dissocation, isolation, secrecy, and lies? There has not been acceptance and validation here either – on either side.

Love also means respect.

And that has been missing here too.

I am not saying we don’t care about each other, help each other, try to do things right. We have a deep sense of obligation, honor, and duty. We are good people and care about and help many people. But it isn’t enough for a marriage. It isn’t right.

When I think about my kids, it is entirely different. I think that is love. I feel acceptance, validation, respect – in both directions. I hope that is what they feel. We listen and support each other. We encourage each other. We accept our faults and oddities and work our days around them – we are accommodating. I don’t feel like a frustrating freak with them. I feel like me.

I guess that is why this blog is so important to me. Yes I want to get my story  out there, talk things through, reach those who are silent. But I think this is me. This is my voice and I want it out there. I want it to exist.

Because generally I don’t ummm exist. I plod along in a vacuum, or alternate reality. Even when I am present, not dissociated, I often don’t feel fully here. A spacey surreal feeling that keeps me cut off from everyone, unable to feel love even if offered. And so I examine thoughts like this. Am I loved? Do I love? Is it a real thing anyway? Do I need it? Will I always feel like this? Do my kids feel loved? Is this my attachment disorder talking? Do others feel like this? Should I give up trying to fix this and accept this is how I am?

I am reaching acceptance of myself, that I am different. That I may slowly change, but that I don’t want to count on this change to happen. I would rather accept myself the way I am, and surround myself with people that accept me the way I am – or be alone.

The acceptance I receive online and from my children feels like enough. I don’t feel lonely, even though by most people’s standards, I suppose I am alone. I feel better alone, with emotional distance from the people in my life that do not accept me.


I took a three hour walk (yes 3 hours!! I can walk for 3 hours now! My back and leg are getting so strong!) in the forest last week, taking photos of the fall colors. I was alone on this walk, but I felt fuller and more alive than I have in weeks. Everything in the forest was so alive, I could feel the energy, hear the wind in the tree branches, hear the birds, the squirrels scurrying. I saw fungus and vines thriving on decay. I saw dead trees full of woodpecker holes. I saw and felt the life, the survival, of the creatures there.

Why do I feel more loved, safer, content – at peace – alone in a forest? Should I keep fighting this feeling or just go with it? Accept this, do what feels right, enjoy my peace without guilt, stop trying to make friends that I don’t want, stop trying to feel love I don’t feel. Just stop. And just be.



Mom’s memorial service

Mom’s memorial service was beautiful, but not in the way of music or flowers. I’ll try to explain and hopefully my words are not lacking in meaning because this post is important to me. I’ve waited to write it until I have a clear head and some rest and perspective.

I’m not done telling my surgery story, but this needs to be told next before moving on to the next day or it won’t make sense.

My mom passed away in March. My youngest brother scheduled her funeral during the week of my back surgery, in April, so I asked my oldest brother to arrange a memorial service I could attend prior to my surgery. The only day that could have all of my brothers attend with me, was the day before my surgery.

We got everyone up and dressed, loaded in the van at 6:30 am for the 2 hour drive to my moms church. My kids were all angels even at that early hour, I was surprised no one was too grumpy.

We arrive at the church just a bit early so they can have a snack before going in. As we are munching, my in laws arrive: mom in law, dad in law, sis in law, brother in law. I was so touched they drove out so far and so early to support me.

We enter the church and head for the restrooms. I am surprised to find them in the old part of the church, the gymnasium where mass used to be held when I attended as a child with my mom. I was prepared for flashbacks, but instead, I was filled with joy. My mom was there and it felt like a bright warm hug. That was our room and I felt so connected to her, even though it was an unused, dusty old gym now. The fancy new chapel was lovely, but meaningless to me.

I shared some memories with my kids and hubby, absorbing as much of that room as i could, then we headed to the small chapel where weekday morning mass is held.

I saw my oldest brother and sat near him. It has been many years since I’ve been in a Catholic Mass, but I found myself responding at times with the correct phrases. My kids were mesmerized and confused, and well behaved.

The priest mentioned my mom’s name as a lost soul and everyone prayed. The regulars all came over at the end to wish us well and comment on my beautiful family.

I looked for my other brothers and spotted them outside the door. I was afraid they hadn’t come. My youngest brother barely looked at me but gave me a hug. Middle brother asked me to come to his car, he had something for me. He had a photo album mom had put together for me in her last weeks of pictures of me and my brothers. He also gave me a vase I had given her as a gift, and some paintings I had painted for her.

I lost it. Uncontrollable sobs racked my body so hard I thought I might break right there in the parking lot. My brother looked so uncomfortable. He said he had to get going, he had an appointment soon. (He would be living on his own now, and had to see his caseworker daily)

When the others came out, we decided to go to breakfast at a nearby restaurant. We were seated when we noticed the man at the next table said hello with a smile – it was the priest that delivered our mass. He said our mother has been mentioned in mass every day that week. It felt extra special to dine with him, like mass was extended now.

We waited for youngest brother and realized he must not be coming. We tried texting but he did not respond. Oldest brother said this was typical behavior for him recently.

We all had a nice, warm, loving breakfast. My oldest brother was kind and gentle with me, showing understanding, and support. He shared some concerns about youngest brother, apparently attempting to swindle us out moms money. Not that she had much, but it seems he wanted it all left to him as the only good son, just like he managed with dads money. Wow, had he grown up to be a cold hearted manipulator? It looks that way. I don’t care about the money, a few thousand makes no difference, and I can’t believe he is willing to lie and deny to get it.

He says we had an idyllic childhood and are ungrateful and undeserving.

Oh….Idyllic must have a different meaning….

I am grateful my brothers were there to help my mom. But youngest brother prefers to think I’m a bad person, not that I was struggling and in need of help myself. I was not in a position to help anyone. But to believe that means believing my childhood was not idyllic…so he is stuck in denial where he is right, where he feels safe. It’s alright. I understand. I’ll be here if he ever feels safe enough to come out.

After much thought, I feel at peace about my mom. I feel connected in a good way, and like I was able to hold onto the good that she tried to do for us. I feel I see it clearly, the good and the bad. I accept the life we had. I’m happy she didn’t suffer long. I feel an immense relief now that both of my parents are gone. Like I can just live. Like I don’t have to expend so much energy protecting myself and my kids. I feel free.

Or more accurately, I feel I could be free now if I let myself. So I will continue with my therapy program to heal the roots of PTSD and I will see what happens.

Another way to View Mindfulness and Meditation

Another great post from Responsive Universe:


Visualizing mindfulness (366/194 July 12, 2012)

This could be a wonderful tool to get better at mindfulness, reduce stress, anxiety and worries. By focusing on each moment in the present, the past and future melt away from your consciousness and you are left feeling only what is happening now – and more peaceful all around. I have never been successful at sitting-eyes-closed meditation. My mind gets so busy and random and crowded like that. The times I am most at peace is when walking alone in nature, listening to the wind, the birds,  and the sound of my feet in leaves, gravel, dirt. Focusing on the uneven ground so I don’t lose my footing and fall, looking for wildflowers and toads, feeling my heart beat and breath deepen. I especially love walking right before sunset, to see the light glowing in the treetops as the sun’s angle changes. And I love the solitary, yet unified feeling in a forest. Being the only human, surrounded by majestic trees and life exploding out of every spot makes me happy to be a part of this magical world.

So mindfulness is a wonderful way to find peace. Unless you are actually currently in a stressful situation, then I guess you need a coping mechanism and not to be so mindful? This sounds funny, but I’m seriously trying to figure this out. Mindfulness is only peaceful if you are in a peaceful environment. If your boss or spouse is yelling at you, if a tiger is attacking you, then I’m thinking it won’t be so peaceful, but the mindfulness may help to save your life if you are present and not thinking of the last time or how it may turn out.

Enough rambling of lovely thoughts and ideas, I need to get back to my neverending spreadsheet hell that pays the bills. I will remain mindful and present though as I work, not worrying about the response I may get from my director about what isn’t done or good enough yet, or what the next task assigned to me will be. Or maybe I can be mindful and epaceful and focus on the pretty lines, colors and patterns in Excel to generate a sense of peace and order? (Yeah I don’t think so either. Some things just suck no matter what, that’s why they pay me to do it) I have to admit though, I actually do get very happy, way too happy, when I create super duper long formulas with crazy combinations of vlookups and countifs and they actually work. So there is that at least. 🙂

Excel Pivot table ONE criteria

Excel Pivot tables are loads of fun too! (Photo credit: DrJohnBullas)

Obituary of a Child Abuser

No, not anyone I know, just something I saw in the news, all over the news actually, that started up some interesting thoughts in my mangled mind.

One day my abusive father will die, and I assume someone will write an obit for him. I wonder what they will write? I wonder who will write it? Not me. Perhaps his sister will. His passing will mean nothing to me. Perhaps a bit of relief will come my way, knowing he can no longer hurt anyone and is finally out of my nephew’s home. But do abusers deserve a respectful obit and funeral, respectful that they were a living human and that life is now gone, or do the abused deserve the truth to be told again? Should the funeral be full of the good they did in life, or a reminder of all the pain? I do know I have no intention of attending my father’s funeral, if someone has one for him. But I also think I would not disrupt the services someone else planned. We all need closure in our own way. His siblings knew him before he was a child molester and may be entitled to grieve for the boy they grew up with. Just like a couple years ago, when my father’s sis-in-law tried to keep him away from his brother’s funeral. I thought he should be allowed to quietly attend and say good bye if he wished, though I do wonder if it was only to keep up appearances that he is in fact human and capable of loving his brother in the first place. I’m not so sure that is true.

I’m still not sure what I think about the following obit that abuse survivors wrote for their own mother’s passing. It is a powerful message. I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts about this.



“Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Aug. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.

On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviving children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.

Most of us have found peace in helping those who have been exposed to child abuse and hope this message of her final passing can revive our message that abusing children is unforgiveable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a “humane society”. Our greatest wish now, is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.”

I Think My Neurons Rhyme Now

When I started this daily poem challenge, I thought wow, this will be fun, and a good challenge for me to stick with something without getting bored and tossing it aside like most of my started, but abandoned, projects. I’m a day behind, but have completed 20/30, and some of them are actually not too bad I think.

Problem is, I think my neurons rhyme now.  Passing thoughts are forming phrases and couplets in most peculiar ways. Now this is not entirely new, as I tend to resort to Seuss mode when stressed, and often play the finish the rhyme improv game with the kids, but this is different. Having to pump out a semi-polished poem every single day is a huge job! Usually I would rough out a poem and play with it over days or weeks, making changes or tweaks. Stop it! See?

Maybe  a daily challenge is not good for a brain that tends towards addiction and obsession. Or maybe it is good. Time will tell.

Anyways, I am so happy today, because my dog seems to be fully recovered! Those truly were super kill-everything-except-the-dog meds. He’s back to running around and barking and generally being himself – which is a high energy guy. Got him on the treadmill to get some of that tension out – Thank you Cesar Milan for that tip, or I would have gone crazy long ago with my neurotic dog. He is a farm dog, a shepherd mix, and thinks he should be working and running in circles all day to herd, well, anything. And since I only have cats here, and we all know herding cats is a futile endeavor, I need to let him run. And with my bum leg not allowing anything close to actual running, the treadmill has done nicely.

I nicely avoided another batch of baited emails from my Mom. I figured out if my initial reaction is “So?” after reading, then I don’t reply to that one. I wait for an actual question or something that only a polar bear could remain icy.  I am so pleased my boundaries have stayed intact, and that she actually says she is proud of my progress. She has no idea that my smile is from the beautiful irony that my progress is in large part to avoiding her. Only my own thoughts in my head these days. It is so peaceful in there I can actually hear a Hawaiian guitar and the sound of ocean waves, in between the rhymes of course. But that’s because it is Sunday night. I am sure tomorrow will be a Monday morning like any other, full of blah blah and leave me alone. But really I’d worry if it were any other way.

Garfield really hates Mondays

Garfield really hates Mondays (Photo credit: thefuturistics)

Hah, found this pic looking for the typical ‘Garfield hates Mondays’, and I had to share it. I think the only way to for Monday to surprise would be if it was in Norwegian. That might open my eyes.

Leave Me Alone – The Cry of the Introvert

English: Palmer Bike Path underneath Rt. 33 Le...

One of my best spots as a child to read a book looked like this, underneath a bike bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though I grew up in a house with lots of brothers, most of my childhood memories are of me alone. Me alone in my back yard, practicing cartwheels, climbing trees, reading books in trees, hiding in briar patch forts, reading books in briar patch forts. Or me alone in my room, reading books in my room, writing stories and drawing pictures. Or me alone riding my bike all around town, on the bike path, to the library to get more books, or on the way to the nature center to walk and find a new place to read my latest book.

Are you sensing a theme here?

My best and safest memories include just me and a book and my imagination. I remember when the log I was sitting on would transform into a great ship and I would sail the ocean (without the motion sickness reality gives me) and when I arrived, the path I knew so well would become new, unknown, and need exploring.

I knew every cat in town, and would ride my bike to visit them, both the homebody cats and the wild ones, they would all come right up to my bike to get their chin scratched. I usually had some cheese in my pocket for the wild ones.

I knew where all the squirrel, bird, and raccoon nests were, and made sure they had enough leaves, twine, and stuffing to make a cozy home. I often left them the crusts of my peanut butter sandwiches that I had packed for my solo journey of the day.

When I was alone – I felt safe. I felt strong. I felt like my life would be ok. Some days I would stay out as dust swallowed the world, and get home just in time so no one noticed I was late. Dinner was clockwork and I might get grounded if even a minute late. Best to be good and not get noticed. When I followed every rule perfectly, I could take my spot at the table, eat, and slip away again. I don’t recall if my family talked during dinner, because my mind was still exploring those exotic distant lands I had traveled to that day.The reality of the horrors of my daily life were pushed into fantasy, and my fantasy had become my reality. My own inner world was so beautiful. I was strong and amazing in my world. No one hurt me there.

And so I am strongly an introvert, and need alone time to renew my strength and feel like me. My life is no longer horrible, and I don’t need to escape, and yet I get a strong urge to escape anyway. Now that I recognize this need, I have been building more and more alone time into my schedule. I used to get this time by staying up too late in the quiet of the night, once the kids are all sleeping. I will probably always do this a little, but I’m hoping that my carving out some time on Hubby’s days off, where he takes all the kids, that I will need less alone time and get in more sleep time.

I feel the need to explain that an introvert is not always quiet and shy. I am a performer, a dancer and a musician on stage, and can get quite loud and lively with my friends. I love performing on stage, and I love being the center of attention in groups – I am a natural leader too. But I find that although I enjoy these social activities, if too many days go by without a chance to be alone, truly alone with just my own thoughts, that I get down, drained, tired, cranky, feel trapped and generally dream of running away.

So now I have another tool in my box. I can take a book to the local quiet coffee shop, park, library, and escape for a few hours. Or sometimes he takes the kids away from home for a few hours, so I can escape right here while I dance around the house to my favorite music cranked up to high and no one see my inner Beyonce. Hubby understands this need now and is willing to help this happen on a regular basis. Life is still crazy and chaotic, and I can embrace the chaos now (mostly, well better anyway), knowing that when it gets to be too much, I will be able to slip away and recharge. Such a basic need, and it has not been met for most of my years as a mom.