To the me I used to be

As many of you may know, yesterday was October 31st. Some cultures celebrate it as a sacred day, others don’t celebrate it at all. In my corner of the world it is celebrated as a fun, commercialized way of being in brief community with neighbors you don’t know, with children in costume knocking on doors and acceptably begging for candy, while caregivers observe from a short distance…aka Halloween. (It’s also a way for those same caregivers to get their own sugar rush when they tax the candy haul.)

Anyway, that only has passing connection to why I’m writing today.

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. For some of us who blog, this is Nano Poblano – “the World’s Least-Official November Blog Challenge”

I won’t be writing a post a day, as I have attempted in other challenges. Instead, I’m committing to 10 posts this month. I’ll also be linking to 10 other posts this month.

Welcome to my first post of the month. Now, back to what I was writing about.

Last night I shared the requisite costume pic of my youngest, who will be 11 in a little over a month.

She looks older, huh? Sooo not ready for that.

When I woke up this morning, there were many “👍” and a few “♥️.” The last “like” was from a guy who had attended the same high school as I did. Just about the only interactions we have are reading and occasionally clicking our reaction to each other’s posts. But, he posts nice pictures of nature and other things I find mildly interesting. We reconnected at our 30 year class reunion a couple of years ago.

He may or may not remember, but, we had previously connected on FB back in 2010 or 2011, when I first joined the ‘book. It ended after a contentious interaction when the world didn’t end according to the 2012 Mayan Calendar predictions.

Depression had its hold on me and I posted some joke about being disappointed that the predictions had been wrong. He took exception to that and expressed his disagreement and disapproval.

That triggered anxiety and activated my defensiveness. I felt attacked. I was shaky and feeling threatened for no apparent reason. That was about the time another h.s. acquaintance and I got in conflict over something else, entirely.

I reactively “purged” my FB account, hoping to deactivate my hypervigilant hypersensitivity of the moment. I remember that I still felt threatened in some vague, amorphous way.

Some of that stemmed from my desire and need to be understood and accepted. However, I equated being understood with being agreed with and being accepted meant being justified and approved of. Anything else felt like I was under attack and unsafe.

I still don’t really understand the root reasons I experience anxiety around feeling rejected and not acceptable. I guess that hearkens back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with a sense of belonging being a basic need.

All I know, is that my gut clenched, my breathing got shallow, and my heart hammered when I saw the guy at our class reunion. Our online disagreement had such an impact on me. I wanted to avoid him and hide, because I was certain he would remember our interaction and be judging me by it.

Chances are he doesn’t remember that interaction. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be connected today. If he does remember, it likely doesn’t matter to him one way or the other. Regardless, the fact is that a molehill had been amplified to seem like a mountain, and, I think it’s possible that interaction will stay with me for a long time.

Part of me looks back on that time and sees the degree and type of reactivity and judges past me harshly. However, there’s a bigger part of me that understands and accepts who I was back then.

So, here’s my message to the me I used to be:

I love you. You’re not ridiculous and never were. You were living with the results of trauma. You were living without knowledge or understanding of the mental illnesses in your brain. I’m proud of you. You knew your reactions were signs you needed help and you paid attention to those signs. You had the courage to ask for help. You put in the work to change, heal and grow. You had the strength of character to own the consequences of your actions and behaviors from then and before. I’m grateful to you. You made me, me. You’re amazing. Thank you.


Blogger interrupted

Day 4 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and I find myself struggling…

“What are you struggling with, Kina?,” you may ask.

“Have you run out of topic ideas, inspiration, or life situations to write about?”

“Oh, no, absolutely not!,” I declare, sighing heavily.

“What is the problem then?”

The problem is too much inspiration, an overflow ideas, and too many situations arising all at once!

I have a post that I began preparing yesterday for today’s submission, but due to all the rest of it, never finished it.  I finally had to close the laptop at 3 a.m. and get some sleep.  When I woke up two and a half hours later, I had every intention and planned to finish it before anything else, but you know what they say about good intentions, the road to hell and the best laid plans.

The primary thing that has redirected my attention and focus is a establishing a community within the WANATribe social network for those of us who express ourselves artistically, creatively, and inspirationally through blogging and not necessarily in an effort to market ourselves, our brand, our art, our products, or our business opportunities.  A place where those of us who secretly or not so secretly, aspire to bring insight, beauty, and thoughtfulness into the world in intentional ways can build community and share the joys, frustrations, triumphs, and downfalls of our blogging experiences, but don’t wish to wind up in a competitive game of one-upsmanship and self-promotion.

I started a Bloggers Unite! “tribe” at the WANATribe network three days ago. I had no thought or desire to be an expert blogger or a leader of the blogging movement. I simply wanted a place where I could genuinely meet and connect with people who have a passion for blogging.  A place where those who “just” blog as self-expression and primarily blog surf for their reading pleasure can feel welcome, accepted, and supported.  I did this because I haven’t found a place where that exists, yet.

In the search for community and connectedness I joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge on Facebook and have connected with and discovered some wonderful bloggers.  However, there is such an  extreme number of people participating in the challenge that I’m barely sampling and tasting what’s being offered.  I feel like I’m in the midst of a tapas smorgasbord (to mix cultural references to food), in a speed-dating forum.  There’s not enough opportunity to truly connect and savor what’s being offered.

Additionally, there are a very large number of participants who are about selling me something and I don’t have the money to buy.  Unlike many people, I do not enjoy window shopping.  If I see it and I want it and can’t afford it then certain negative qualities and symptoms get triggered.  I also am not a fan of the bait and switch or the let me hook you with a sample marketing techniques that seem to be inherent to blogs that are about selling me something.  Self-serving promotion has it’s place, it’s audience, and it’s forums…and I don’t fit in there. (Disclaimer ~ none of the blogs that I’ve actually had the pleasure of visiting through the UBC have exhibited these negative qualities.  Primarily because I have developed a bit of an instinctive radar for such things and have skimmed and avoided the ones that triggered my “bloggy sense.”)

So, here it is the 4th of July, my daughter is at home and I have some other important distractions, which I have notes on to blog about later, and I must go. I find myself without having completed the post I intended because of all the time and attention I have invested into Bloggers Unite! at WANATribe.  At the risk of pulling a bait and switch and shamelessly self-promoting, won’t you visit and join me on the journey to creating a true community for those of us who blog?



Finding myself at #MyWANA

Recently I posted about reconnecting to a part of myself that I thought I had lost.  One of the things that I had lost was my sense and ability, my sensability as it were, to really be involved in community with wonderfully witty, snarky, bright, and intelligent folk such as Le Clown from A Clown On Fire and Dotty Headbanger from Notes from a She-Hermit.  What happened next has been quite the roller coaster ride and through that one post, I have come to find many other wonderful and interesting bloggers from all over the world with varied interests and challenges.  The following contains just a few examples:

The Howler And Me

Running Naked With Scissors

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars

My Electronic Jukebox

Brother Jon

and so many, many others.  Look them up here, where Dear Dotty has created a space for us all to find and be found.

However, so much more has happened as a result of the overflowing cornucopia of likes and follows I received.  I found Kristen Lamb’s blog and found out about a new social networking site for creatives called WANATribe.  WANA stands for We Are Not Alone and is where I have already made some wonderful new friends and engaged in actual conversation via the main chat room and gotten a chance to read excerpts and synopses of pre-published works in progress by up and coming authors.  I’ve met a Nerdfighter and learned about the movement against world suck and witnessed beautiful and creative photography.

Here’s a sample list of my newest friends’ blogs:

Chad Carver

Davonne Burns

Athena Brady

I’ve found so many interesting blogs to read and follow I don’t think I’ll ever catch up.  More importantly, I’m rediscovering excitement and playfulness and the creativity that lives inside of me, that I thought life had killed a long time ago.  Turns out it was a banked and smoldering coal waiting to be uncovered and given oxygen and fuel to grow again.

Come catch the spark, you know you WANA!