Reality Shootings


It’s not surprising (to me anyway), that our society is crumbling under an opioid crisis, people suffering from mental illness or comfort eating and heart disease, plus all the many other myriad diseases and problems afflicting us nationally.

One answer seems obvious to me, part of it anyway. Many of us are suffering from PTSD and survivor guilt.

With all the horrible events that have been going on now for years, and I repeat, years—our brains are inundated from the media and our devices by the trauma of seeing the scenes of these events. Many years ago, we rarely would experience the raw horror that we do now–first hand (sometimes from a phone of someone right there): the noise, the blood, the screams, the carnage. And not just once, but over and over. How much can the brain  handle, day after day, year after year, without going over the edge? Mine is certainly on overload.

What is PTSD? It is caused by the triggering of traumatic events: disasters, abuse or any kind of trauma. It can happen when someone you love has been harmed also. Normally we don’t experience it ourselves unless we have been through the event, but what about now? Do you think it’s possible seeing footage from the phone of someone who was actually there during a shooting, would this do the same thing to us? How do these ‘pictures’ stay in our minds: people falling from buildings, human blood everywhere, kids running from a school or actually watching someone being shot…

Let’s face it people, if you are at all caring about your fellow human being, this can’t be good. We are pretty much experiencing these things as though we are there. It’s like reality shootings. Maybe they’ll make a new TV series. They might as well for as much as they play the stuff–and we watch.

What does all this watching do to us anyway?  How does it make you feel when you go out somewhere (or maybe you don’t even want to)? Do you check where the exits are now? Does your heart rate go up if you hear something weird? Are you simply numb to this stuff now? Are you mistrustful of others? Do you feel sad a lot?  Can you sleep at night or have your dreams changed? I know I have been greatly effected by the heinous crimes crushing our country.

Even if we weren’t at these places, we can’t help but feel: why these people? As we pour through their stories, it makes our story feel somewhat meaningless. When it’s a kid… there’s a collective: why so young and what if was my child? It’s so chilling.

And the roulette guilt of: I’m here, they’re not. I’m enjoying my life, those poor people aren’t anymore. My feelings of gratitude just get ruined by the extreme senselessness of it all. It’s just hard to hold those two feelings in the same space.

It’s all this nation wide secondary guilt because nothing is being done about it. We all just sit around waiting for the next one to happen, because we know it will, while law-makers tell us now isn’t the time to talk about any changes in the laws. It’s all so frustrating! So we just wait…holding our breath and wonder where will be next. What venue? How many? What city? Is there a person out there now contemplating it…?

How’s that for your health, while we think: will it be me next time or my kid? That makes my heart thump. This is why I don’t sleep. What about you?

So I ask: do we really need to see this stuff so much? Is it only me that thinks the perpetrators may sometimes do these things because they understand they will be glorified by the media? And all of us watching and watching and watching… Their sick moment of fame.

I’ve made a promise to myself: I will watch no more (or listen or read). What if none of us did? What if we heard about these awful things and said prayers for those dead (and their families), but didn’t pick up our phones, or look on our computers, or shut off our TV and radios? What if we refused? Could we demand from our media sources to stop flooding our minds with such gruesome images and sounds? Instead just report the facts and move on.

Sadly, I can’t seem to create change to laws by my vote, but I can do this one thing instead. It’s something that I do have control over: to reduce the bombardment of the grisly media show to my brain. And by doing this, allowing more space in there for good energy.

It’s ultimately up to us. I’m not saying we can stop people from killing, but maybe we can stop ourselves from becoming a more ill society than we already are, and if we do, maybe this in turn will help in the long run.

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The Real Deal


I feel I’ve always been pretty good at telling what’s the real deal. Of course this can refer to many things in life: food, merchandise (like diamonds–Marilyn would especially want to note), maybe love even (admittedly I’ve not been good at this). But in this case I’m talking about people. Are the people we meet, either at work, in social situations, on the street simply real?


You might wonder what I mean by this I suppose. Like, get real dude. It just seems the older I get, the more superficial people seem to me. Or at least, the less they are interested in things that involve anything that may mean thinking too hard, caring in a big way or really, really standing up for what you believe in.

It’s just easier to go to work, talk about your nails or hair, pretend that you’re friends with the person standing next to you, casually mention the horrors of the world, then hop in the fancy car and go home like nothing is happening. Like nothing is real. Like the horrors are really happening. Or your friends may not be really suffering, or maybe someone who isn’t your friend, just a co-worker, might need something from you more than a passing smirk.


No, it’s all about our own little microcosm. Our little floating bubbles that encase us and keep us separate but make it appear as though we’re able to see each other. But it’s just an illusion.

And in many ways I’m just as guilty. Oh I cry when I hear the news, but I don’t do anything about it. I just drive back and forth to work wishing I could do more. But I don’t. Not yet anyway. Swearing I will someday…when I can. At least I care I say to myself…it’s more than some. Does that make me more real?


When I’m with people, near people in real pain though, I do react. That much I can say. I can never sit by and just ignore it. And things like fingernails and doing my hair are not important to me anymore (well, they never were). It’s OK that they are to some, but there has to be more. Our worlds have to connect with people who have nothing.

So who is the real deal these days? Let’s get real here. Open our eyes to the real world. The war, the famine, the terror, the rape, the killing, the fires, the homeless, the poor, the racial disparity… And even the people close to us in true pain.

Let’s not pretend. Even while we live our comfortable lives, keep a piece of discomfort in our hearts to keep us real.

Once Again…


Once again I’ve made a big decision (and I’m probably driving you fellow bloggers nuts), but I’m giving my notice to resign on Monday. Many of you following me know that I have been unhappy in my current position and actually tried to quit once already. My manager convinced me to try to stay on–which I have for two more months. But, in the end, the place is simply too toxic for me.

That toxicity is carrying over into the rest of my life and I’m having a hard time seeing anything as positive these days. The bullying and negativity that goes on is monumental in this place and is simply dragging me down mentally and physically. It was probably the first time in my long working life where I almost just walked out last night. Man, I was so close….

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My own personal sense of responsibility, and a bit of guilt thrown in, has kept me there this long. And the fact that jobs just seem so hard to come by. But there just comes a point where there is no turning back–there will be no convincing me this time! I’m done. Even though there are some good folks there, and some OK days–the anxiety days overshadow them and they obnoxious people are just too loud.

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I don’t quite feel like a burden is removed yet. It’s always nerve wracking for me making these decisions, and somewhere deep inside is this voice telling me that somehow it’s my fault it didn’t work. That no job ever seems to work for me and I’ve got some sort of issue. I’m trying hard to combat this little voice in my head–but it’s there lurking.

I’ve already put out bunches of applications and made a inquiries to people I know. And I may consider some sort of nanny work. Anything as long as I don’t have to go back to a place where I am belittled or listen to people complain all day. Ugh. So done with that.

Each day will get easier to cope, and as the clouds dissipate, then hopefully I will see everything with renewed clarity and hope.

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Resignation


Well, today was the last straw at work. Someone that I thought was a nice person and sort of a friend (I don’t know anyone really well enough to call them a true friend), did something pretty yucky to me today. So now, after being pushed and soul searching, I’ve decided to resign tomorrow. And what better day than April Fool’s day.

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I’m no fool!

After hearing about those two sad young men yesterday and their tragic stories, and listening to myself complain for three months, I decided enough is enough. Life really is just too short. While there are some very nice people there, the bulk of the energy is negative. I’ve learned (and accepted) enough about myself, that I am really an emotional sponge. One can’t simply say to me: Oh don’t let it bother you. No, it’s not possible. I take in all that is around me: the yelling, the gossiping, the mean talk, the shaming, the crabbiness, the rudeness and the direct negativity pointed at me.

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I went into this job with high hopes and a good attitude and now I can’t sleep, have anxiety chest pain and feel exhausted every night when I go home. It’s simply time to walk away. This is a hard decision because I feel very guilty about leaving after only 3 months and letting the nice people down, not fulfilling obligations etc., but it’s not worth it in the end.

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On to greener pastures…..

I’m toying with the idea of becoming a home health aide. Yes…yet a new career and more training at almost 60! But I love senior citizens, it’s a short class and there is a huge call for it down here. The pay is low, but I think the rewards might be great. I’d be back to actually helping people and maybe not being treated like a second class citizen. For me it’s about giving back. Feel free to put your two cents in….??

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I seriously think you are doing the right thing Mommy!

On a good note: I got this wonderful ‘post card’ from one of my best blogging buddies today. He sent it like four weeks ago from England…he’s originally from there, but lives in NZ now. He’s on a 5 week trip all over the place. It took forever to get to me, but it couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed it today. It’s called a ‘Timbergram’ and is made out of wood! I’ve never seen anything like it. 🙂 Thanks…(you know who you are!!)

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Guilt and Freedom


As I grow older I realize my sense of guilt seems to be leaving me. Many of us may carry around this sense of guilt for a variety of reasons–maybe it was because of the way we raised, maybe it’s our inherit personality type to ‘do the right thing’–but whatever it may be, for me as a younger person–this lurking sense often seemed to be there around the corner.

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The dark window of guilt

For me it was usually intertwined with a sense of responsibility–toward a relationship of some sort, a job or maybe a project. If I had made a committment, then it couldn’t be broken, even if it was killing me in the meantime. So I would stay in a job I hated because I had bills to pay, kids to take care of–and yes, I even felt guilty because of the people there (some of whom I didn’t even like that much) would be put in a bad position if I left! It was nutty.

My stomach would grind, headaches would be daily occurences and life would just feel miserable. Maybe many of you understand how this goes? We just stay put within a marriage, partnership, friendship, career or whatever because this deep sense of guilt or whatever you want to call it–nags at us to do so.

When I would talk to my Mother, she would say: chase the guilt fairy away! Funny coming from a Jewish mother who is suppose to be constantly handing out the guilt. But she was usually reasonable and helpful. Nope, it was me, doing it to myself. Usually (not always mind you) we do these things to ourselves! Because if you think about it: is anyone really holding a gun to our heads making us stay? (Yes, sometimes in an abusive situation someone is–but that’s not what I’m taking about here).

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I’m not guilty at all!!

But there comes a time–at least for me–when it seems we realize: hey, wait a minute, I don’t have to feel bad about this stuff anymore! And just like that a deep sense of peace washes over you and ahead you see: freedom! When we let go of the guilt, there’s freedom of choice and decision making to do whatever we need or want to do with our own lives. Because ulimately, this is the only person we owe anything to: ourselves! I’m not suggesting we should forget all our responsibilites, but we can make decisions about doing what’s best for ourselves at the same time!

Today I heard a term: Radiant Sovereign Self, I believe Margaret Fuller coined it. It’s so lovely and what I want to be. One can’t be this carrying around the burden of guilt. Another beautiful gift I got today was to hear a poem by Mary Oliver.

To me it was about freedom. I share it with you all.

The Journey.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.

cold day 7

 

Guilt Fairy


It has been very rainy and foggy here lately. With bouts of thunderstorms. I’d imagine it’s the crazy weather system that brought the awful tornadoes that killed so many and caused such havoc in the mid-west. This weather tends to make people edgy after a while I’ve found. They start becoming cranky and irritable. When the sun doesn’t shine for long periods of time, sunny dispositions disappear.

I’ve been having some pretty grave struggles with my ex. For many years now, I’ve put on a brave face and gone along like a good soldier and done my best to get along. I truly wanted no trouble and felt badly that I had left, so only wanted happiness for him and productive co-parenting. I’ve even tried hard with his new wife. I suppose I’m naive and figure that eventually people will move on and forgive once their lives become whole again. And that most people might try to see the best in others. But maybe this just can’t be so…or maybe it’s just the rain.

So I have finally gotten to a point where I will no longer tolerate disrespect or bullying–even if it is disguised with smiles and other tactics that mask someone who pretending to be mature. In actuality the behavior is often wavering between passive aggressive to downright mean. And so many conversations slip back to the past instead of sticking to whatever issue is at hand and the seething anger comes boiling to the top. All I feel is: get over it! It’s been years. I mean seriously.

I simply cannot fathom how someone can continue to be so blind to the things they do and say to someone and refuse to apologize. How everything is always justified when they do it, but terrible awful when you do something they perceive is bad.  “Blamers”–a term my friend coined. Very apt to this kind of person. And I will no longer fall as bait. I blamed myself for too long as I heard the voices in my head say I was bad for what I did. His voice was certainly in there. But no longer! The past is over and nothing can change it. I’ve tried to explain to him that we can only make today right, but apparently he doesn’t get it.

Even the sunshine doesn’t seem to help this situation. But I can’t hold this on my shoulders any longer. It’s been too great a burden. It had weighed me down and kept me from loving. Loving myself and being at peace. All we really have is today. The past is gone and we have no idea what tomorrow may bring. Cliche, but true. So no more wallowing in what I did or didn’t do and no-one can make me re-visit it anymore. My Mother used to say: chase the guilt fairy away. And so I have!

Bring on the sun!