Monday, August 25, 2008

Reactions and Emotions

I was actually looking for puzzled in the moods box, but irritated is close enough.

I was in an "almost" car accident last night.  I'm okay and so is the car.  There's only a dirty spot on the bumper where the car and pick-up truck kind of gently slid together.

I'll explain.  I was following the truck into town, reducing speed to the posted 35 mph.  The truck put on his left turn signal and started to slow down and enter the turn lane.  Then suddenly he veered back into my lane and proceeded to turn to the right, into a side street and driveway for the drug store.  I hit the brakes and steered to the right to avoid him, but speed and distance being what they were, he cut me off and the front left bumper of my car kind of rubbed with the rear right panel of the truck.  I managed to stop and avoid a collision, he slid right on by and into the parking lot.  I sat there for a few seconds-one of the good things about small towns is the lack of traffic-then proceeded to pull around the corner and off to the side of the road to compose myself.  I was pretty shaken up. 

The guy that was driving the truck came over to the car, knocked on the window, adding to my already shaky condition, as I hadn't seen him.  He asked if I was alright and apologized profusely.  Several times.  Claimed he hadn't seen me in his rearview as I was in his blind spot.  Said he didn't think we'd made contact, glanced at my left front panel, and kept apologizing.  I just sat there.  I couldn't even talk to him.  Couldn't even look him in the eye.  No damage, no cops, no increase in insurance rates.  He finally left.

I sat there a couple minutes and proceeded down the side street to take the back way home.  Promptly made a pot of coffee and poured a shot of Southern Comfort into the first couple of cups.  And began to analyze my reactions to the whole situation. 

I was very Pissed.  The jerk was 'So' in the wrong.  But I was pissed at myself, too.  I had just sat there and held my anger, not expressed the way I felt, not given him a piece of my mind.  Why?  Why couldn't I even yell at someone who definitely deserved it? 

Fear.  Fear of being in the wrong, of losing my temper, of showing my true emotions to someone who didn't even matter in the grand scheme of my life.  Fear of confrontation. 

Logically, there wouldn't have been any point in exploding.  No one was hurt, no damage was done to either vehicle.  Other than him being an unobservant asshole, there just wasn't any point.  But I remember thinking to myself, while he stood there and apologized, just keep your cool, don't say anything you'll regret.  Just get him away from the car as quickly as possible.  Before you do say something. 

And now I'm ashamed to admit that I walk through life with so much fear of it.  Fear of rejection, of creating negative feelings, even from a total stranger.  I would rather just go through life as unobtrusively as possible,  just be an "extra" in the background.  I don't want attention focused on me, for any reason. Because of the fear of living life and expressing myself. 

I recently read an article in "Yoga Journal" about accepting responsibility for what you bring to each moment and the power of the truth.  I've got to go back and reread that article.  There's a message in there for me. 

I've also started reading "Wherever You Go There You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Mindfulness meditation in everyday life.  I own this book, picked it up at the thrift store for a quarter.  It may be the best quarter I've ever spent.

In this cyber existence, I feel that I can be more myself.  The anonymity of online communication is perfect for me, I can be here-yet hide.  I can express things that I would never have the courage to say to someones face.  

Fear.  There will be more entries about fear in the days to come.  It plays a major role in my personal make-up. 


After Marc's comment, I need to add that I did let him know that I was okay, just shaken up, and did accept his first apology.  But after that, I just wanted him to go away.  I seem to have a "me and my actions and reactions" complex right now.  And honestly, I wasn't concerned about whether he was okay or not.  Something else to think about here.  Thanks, Marc.             <3

Saturday, August 16, 2008

As Time Flies By

Holey Crap!  Yes, I know that it's spelled wrong, that was intentional.  And it seems to be one of my favorite sayings right now-I dunno why.  Anyway, it's in reference to time slipping through my fingers lately.  I haven't written much recently, even in my paper journals, like my day journal-what I did today, etc.

I have been spending all the time I can with books, haunting the local libraries, waiting for ILL(inter-library loan) books to arrive, going repeatedly to Amazon and a few other sites to see how much some of them(books) will cost, and reading voraciously.  Some of the books, I only read a few sections till I discover that they're not what I'm looking for, and there are some that I will have to renew, just to get all I can out of them until I can order them online.  Being small town and kinda broke right now-sucks!!  And being small town also means that there aren't alot of outlets available to me for inspiration and guidance, except for those books.  I can live with that, as it also means that I have to be more self-directed in what I'm doing and that is a lesson in and of itself.  Holy Crap!  I feel like I'm back in school! lol

A couple of the books are 'the only guide you'll ever need to conquer low self-esteem'(not), but do have some ideas that I've taken and reworked to suit my purposes.  One that I've been working on is to choose one word, like fear.  Set a timer for 10 minutes, and just begin writing whatever comes into your head regarding this word as it relates to your own life.  You don't really have the time to edit, pick and choose the just right words, so more of the honest emotions come through.  I've gotten some very interesting insights as a result of this exercise. 

There are the intellectual and logical ways to approach things and then there are my emotional thoughts that interfere or override those logical thoughts.  For example sending an e-mail or making a phone call to share a thought. 

Logical way of thinking:  Oh, I should e-mail so and so, or I'd like to call whoever.

Emotional self:  Well, I'm sure they're busy and I don't want to interrupt their day.  I don't want to bother them with something that really isn't that important.

As a result of listening to that little inner voice(emotional self) I've become very inept socially.  I sit in the background and just keep quiet and watch others.  I've become very withdrawn.  I don't know how to be in the middle of things and feel that I have anything to contribute.  I doubt myself, don't want to embarrass myself or others.

I know there are several things that factor into my problems and that it will take me quite awhile to work through all of it, but I feel like I'm on the right track.  I'm actually becoming involved in doing a few other things as well,  I'm learning to meditate-deep meditation, mindfulness meditation.  Yep, got a book for that. 

I'm reading about yoga, actually already have a mat, but never started to practice.  I'd like to take a couple classes-they do offer that at the community center-if I can fit it into my work schedule, or rearrange it for this fall, get a DVD or 2. 

I'm trying to make more time to exercise, walk, eat healthier.  I let myself go, because the inner voice says-"nobody's going to notice, so why bother?"  See, I know better, but it's(the emotional thoughts) been listened to for so long, that it has a very strong influence.  I have to learn to not listen, to rebel-to make the effort, if for no one but myself.  I think this may one of those uphill parts of the journey, simply because I have to convince myself of that self-worth, that doing things for "me" is OKAY.  As I bring myself to a better physical place, I'm hoping that the emotional voice will follow, once it sees that I'm not listening quite as intently, it'll cut me some slack.

Well, this entry is getting too long.  So, I'll close it for now, and will try to come back alittle more often so that I don't feel like writing a book length entry when I am here.  :)

                                                                        <3  Leigh 



Sunday, August 3, 2008

It Seems So Quiet...

::sigh::  Alerts are still down.  Bummer.  I'll have alot of catching up to do.  If you visit here and have posted, Please leave your link so I can stop by.  I haven't put any journal links in my sidebars, but I will now.  If you'd like my to add yours, just leave a comment. :)  Just so that I can get there from here when AOL is AWOL.  ;(~

   Being in this community has really become an integral part of my days.  It seems kind of odd to open only a few e-mails instead of 20 or so.  I miss you guys.  I've been visiting the blogs page and trying to open some tabs with partial journal addresses, so I'm not completely out of touch. 

   I'd like to thank everyone who has visited and commented.  I can't express how much it's meant to me-all the encouragement.  I was very nervous about starting this journal.  Thought maybe it was just TMI for a public forum(is that what you'd call journals?)  But then, I figured out that if I'm going to change my attitudes about who I am, build up a feeling that I can be part of the world as more than I have felt worthy of, I have to "confess" my feelings to others.  It has to be more than just writing on pages that noone else will ever read, more than hidden secrets.  It isn't going to mean much if I write to myself that I wish there were more people in the world that would look beyond the physicalities to the person inside.  I already know that, and it's just not as effective to say to myself that "I know" that I am worth so much more than my looks.  I let what I envision as my appearance to others color my self-worth.  And yes, I do know intellectually that I shouldn't do that, but telling my inner insecurities that, is a whole different story.

   An example:  I have silver hair.  In my family you either go premature gray or bald.  Thankfully, I got the gray.  I found my first gray hairs at the age of 16, spent the next 25 years depending on those little brown bottles of fantasy hair. 

   As my husband required more and more care, and I became more tired, and hopeless, I got more and more careless about my looks.  I couldn't see the point of going through the routine when noone else cared how I looked.  So why should I?  We hardly ever went out in public and when we did, the attention was all on Mike.  I just sat quietly in the background and waited for him to need something.

   But then, when I was about 50% silver, a clerk at the drivethru asked me where I got my hair frosted.  They thought I had paid to have this done to my hair on purpose-imagine that.  Shortly after that, I took my son for  his haircut, and the stylist commented on how lucky I was to have that shade, instead of the ugly battleship gray color.  She gave me some silver treatment shampoo to enhance the color even more.  So I did take care of it a little more than I had before. 

   Now, years later, I'm about 80% silver, and worried about it making me look older.  I still get occasional comments on how nice it looks, and have no intentions of going back to the bottles.  But, in a world obsessed with youth, it's just one more thing that labels me "less than".  I want the world to look at me as someone who can be authentic enough to show off my "true colors".  Silver hair, wrinkles from the sun and all!  There are other things that I'm self-conscious about, but I'll save them for another entry.  This one's long enough for now.

   Let's hope that alerts are back on soon.  I'm going through some withdrawals here. 

                                                               <3  Leigh


Friday, August 1, 2008

Some Simple Things

I watched the Solar Eclipse this morning, online.  What an amazing sight!  Something that doesn't happen very often, yet one of the most spectacular events of the natural world.

It all started me pondering on some simple things that I'd like to do.  None of them are very involved, or expensive, yet I don't think of trying to work them into my life.

One, is to go to the State Park early in the morning, walk, and just sit on the beach to watch the world wake up.  The beach doesn't actually open till 8am, but that's still early enough to experience the peace and quiet.  And I think there's a little park on the West side of the lake where I could go even earlier.  I'll have to check on that.  

I'd like to learn to kayak, and go on trips down the river-alone.  No hurry, the current flows about 4 miles an hour, and that's plenty fast enough to really enjoy the sights-the flora and fauna.  To just be one with nature, a quiet observer just passing through.  But first, I have to go downriver with someone else a few times.  The canoe livery won't rent a kayak to a beginner going alone.  I'll have to tag some of my tax refund next year for a used kayak.  For a fee, they'll pick you up with your own gear, if they're not too busy.

I'd like to take a drive, just explore some of the towns near here.  One, Gaylord, had grown alot since I lived there in the mid-70's.  Lots of little shops to explore downtown.

Spend the day at Hartwick Pines.  It's a State Park now, so there'd be no fee to get in(I have a year sticker).  They have bike and walking trails that you can spend the day on.  It's a beautiful area, and a favorite hangout for Bald Eagles.

I just have to get up the courage to do some of these things.  Courage you ask?  How much courage could it take to just get in the car and drive someplace to visit?  Well, more than I've had.  It's one of the things I'm trying to improve.  I have to screw up my courage to just walk into a little shop and look around.  I'm too conscious of what others think when they look at me.  I have this desire to be as invisible as possible.  Take up as little space as possible, in public.  Shy, timid, whatever you want to call it, I am. 

Yesterday, I did get up the courage to visit a new place in town.  It's a small art gallery that displays the artwork of some of our local artists.  I was actually looking for some handmade beads, for a necklace I'm making.  The woman that was working was so nice, giving my a tour and even showing me how to make earrings.  So, now, I will become a member when I drop off my yearly dues.  She even commented on the beaded necklace I had on and suggested that maybe I'd like to display and sell some of my work.  Okay-deep breath.  Wow!  I don't think of myself as an artist.  Just someone who does crafts.  I never expected some thing like that.  And yes, I will think about it.  I've done a few designs that I didn't see anything like in there so-maybe.  They also offer oil painting and water color classes.  They're on days, at times when I'm scheduled to work, but maybe I can schedule some days off to fit this schedule, this fall.  I'm excited about that possibility, too.  Again, I'll have to work on my courage.  Oh, and go bead shopping again!   

                                                              <3  Leigh