Monday, January 22, 2018

That Retail Life Tho' Ain't Forever

For those of you who still appreciate reading, here is my take on working in the rat race as an ambivert with introvert tendencies, emotional sensitivity, energetic sensitivity, and having a central nervous system disease.

I can be extroverted, but I only really enjoy it when I'm feeling up to interacting with others. It is really difficult for me to have to perform socially daily. It's not that I am not good at it, heck I could put on my "customer service persona" at 16 and talk to anyone. I was shy at my first job in a Taco Bell franchise restaurant, and my perfect J.A.N.E. lipstick that I had gotten for my 16th birthday from my still best friend, made me confident enough to smile.

You see I have a crooked front tooth and teeth that need bleaching. I was super conscientious about my smile in my teens, and later into my 20's. The perfect shade of Mauve lipstick by J.A.N.E. cosmetics (Juniper Aloe Nettle Elderberry), then in a black tube with a clear top, was my go to. It got stolen at a big religious youth event in my purse with my was emotionally devastating to me. I was soooo upset because I had an emotional attachment to my possessions. My best friend was in Arizona, and I had moved in from Arizona to Colorado. Myperfume was a gift, and so was the purse. I had asked a friend to watch my purse, as I had watched hers many times before. She left it. Ugh.

So, there I was, at my first job, with my cosmetic confidence and I was shaking to my core. I was put on the drive-thru to take orders. I would get so flustered and distracted with people that I would literally forget to give them their change at my window. I repeatedly would have to skee-daddle up to the second window and give someone their change.
I learned that I felt more comfortable with strangers than with my circle of acquaintances through religious activities.

I really enjoyed working in call centers. At almost 17 I began working as a telemarketer, and I was good at it. Communication on the phone became a game to me, more addictive than video games have ever been. I do not game, and only one game that has StarTrek  Starfleet Captains has ever appealed to me as an adult. OK, so I did play Flight Simulator on a PC a few times, and that was fun.

Back to working with the public...or, more accurately being uncomfortable at the workplace. I joined the Air Force at 18. I got a gastrointestinal virus that manifested on day 2 of Basic Military Training. It was a nightmare being sick. I could not hold down my own saliva. Then to make matters worse, a female in my training flight lied to our Training Instructor and told him that she saw me putting my fingers down my throat. The TI then told me that I was malingering. I was taunted by some of the other females in my flight and called Gomer Pile. I felt awful and the social persecution made me suicidal.

I finally got to go to the infirmary and was seen. I waited forever in the triage area, in a wheelchair, too exhausted and dehydrated to hold my head up. I really have never been that sick before in my life. I remembering wanting to cry and no being able to because I had to maintain military bearing, as the check in person told me. Ugh. I remember just wanting to die. That was one mean virus!

I was in technical training school for my job, for 4 months as I waited for my Top Secret Special Compartmentalized Informational Security Clearance/TSSCI to go through. 
I was still struggling with proper socializing skills then.

After I got out of the military I worked as a server, until I was threatened by a co-worker. Then I worked at Motherhood Maternity at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs and had an awful boss. I then went to work at MCI in a call center and did well with that, until the company went under.

I then got to work at Wells Fargo Home Equity in Colorado Springs with one of two people who have been amazing managers, Matt Yeaton. I was in outbound home equity loan & line of credit sales, then moved to receiving inbound calls. I funded $1 million dollars in loan products in a day, first one on my team to do that.

I learned a lot about communication there and I grew as a person. I was assaulted and couch-ridden for 3 days unable to walk, and I lost that job because I was too ashamed to tell my boss what happened.

I also have had the pleasure of working under contract for Verizon Wireless. The first time I was traumatized by my manager and I had a nervous breakdown that led to my being voluntarily hospitalized for 3 days. 

In 2007 I gave birth alone (my then husband had run away), my closest friend from my senior year of high school at Mitchell, Julie Bankston committed suicide, I got divorced, I lost a job as a temp for yelling at my ex-husband on the phone, and then my boss at Verizon had been training me to be a supervisor, and she was very moody and flippant, and she cut me loose from being floor support supervisor because she felt like it...

I had passed up a Quality Assurance position that I had been offered based on my metrics, test scores, compliance, and call quality, because the manager had literally stood in front of the QA manager and told me, "If you stick with me I can get you to management and a much higher pay. QA can't offer you that and you love people..." I was really messed up over the situation.

After the conversation with the evil manager, I started twitching at my desk and thenmore symptoms presented and I went to the ER in an Ambulance.

No one knew what was wrong with me. I had fibromyalgia and I am very energetically sensitive. My central nervous system had become overloaded from repeated trauma over a course of a year and a half.

As I moved through life, and got job after job, I began to develop a sense of fear and mistrust towards management. 

I completed training at T-Mobile, also in Colorado Springs. I was one of 6 people in a class of 13 to graduate. I got the first high score of '4' in call service. I walked with the other 5 people around the entire building while all of the employees there cheered us on. Then I got fired because my score had dropped to 2.98, and it had been above that. The team I was on to shadow, didn't have a manager. And when I asked the terrible trainer to please give me some feedback on what I did right, she said that I should know...literally. No help.

So, I am at my new desk, signing into the 18 computer programs that I had been trained on and was proficient in using in tandem. Sarah, the trainer walks up to me, and says that she needs me to come with her. Mind you, that is ALL she said. So, I leave my purse and my coat at my desk. That wench takes me through the cafeteria and then makes me leave through the back entrance and tells me not to re-enter the building.

This happened in the middle of a freaking snow storm! I walked around the building in the wind and snow, into the lobby and ask for someone to retrieve my belongings. The ladies at the front seemed shocked when I told them what happened.

Suffice to say, I have had some really awful experiences working for other people. I made an attempt a couple of times to do direct sales through online marketing, and that flopped.

I currently have been working in retail, and I have the BEST boss/general manager ever. She replaced the alternator in my vehicle! And drove me to work and home as I needed it until the alternator replacement was complete. She has been very understanding of my having fibromyalgia, and a back injury from falling down stairs at Checks Unlimited in Colorado Springs, at 32 weeks pregnant. 

They did not have a wet floor sign on the stairs leading down to the landing that also was missing a sign. There was insufficient grit tape on the stone stairs and I slipped on melted snow in December 2006. They didn't hire me back after my workmen's compensation claim had been paid, and I liked it there! My supervisor was super chill and just let me do my job, and go pee a lot.

It has become increasingly difficult for me to make it through a regular work week. I have split days off, and that is a good thing. It requires a lot of self-discipline for me to get out of bed when I am still groggy from meds, or stiff and achy, to get ready to go to work. Then I am interacting with people, so many people. And oh, the standing. Hours of standing.

Then there are days when fibro fog is my adversary and thinking is not my strong suit. On days like that I want to just crochet. It is so rough to feel like there is this barrier between me and the rest of the world, due to physiology.

Typing/writing, is my preferred method of communication. That's why I am doing my best to get started with a company doing transcribing of recorded audio, for the deaf, for entertainment, and for people to have a written record of what has been said. I am excited and I hope that I can also do some proofreading. There are two companies that pay the best, one wants $15 for a background check, and the other wants $15 for an application fee. I'm sitting here thinking, I'm going to do some other gigs with other companies to get that $30.

There is hope for those of us who are just drained from having to life, and do the social interacting thing, and the caffeinating to push to get through the work week, or workday. (Remember to drink water coffee/energy drinkers!)
Not everyone gets how difficult it can be to live with symptoms; chronic fatigue, tender/sore joints, stiffness, and pain, and still have to adult. There are things I just can't do because I cannot stand for an extended period of time after having been on my feet all day. My lower back seizes up and I have to use Tiger Balm and a heating pad to get any relief.

Maybe you can find your way out of the rat race yourself. It just takes internet, a computer, and earbuds to get started. I happened to have purchased a transcription pedal with USB cord on e-bay, and Express Scribe is free to download from their site. I just Googled "express scribe free" and it was first on the page. 

With transcribing,it is important to have more than one source of work to choose from, and have tasks available that meet your skill set. If you want to look into transcribing, I recommend checking out these two blog posts and

I dipped my toe into the unknown waters of "legit work at home jobs" on, but I did not see any transcribing job posts at all. It wasn't until I saw a facebook ad by The Penny Hoarder, that I saw this post, and saw #36 was transcribing. Then I used Google to search for more transcribing jobs and that led me to the above site with a bevvy of transcribing companies.

So, there's hope for us introverted,or partially introverted people, and for those of us who have disabilities, and chronic diseases, who cannot work outside of their home due to physical, or psychological limitations. It took me 4 years to find legit at home work. Hopefully you can benefit from my experience.

All the best,

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How I Moved Beyond My Childhood Trauma

"You don't have to love, or forgive anyone."

No one has the right to shame or convince you into doing something that you cannot do. I cannot love my own biological mother, and I am unable to have any positive feelings towards her, or excuse her behavior. 
These are facts. I don't hold feelings of resentment, but I do not wish to have any contact with her because she introduces only destructive behaviors when she is a part of my life.

I grew up under the Judeo christian belief system that if I did not forgive, my soul(not considered consciousness) would be forever separated from God and suffer in hell. This being contrary to another, mind you Greek scripture that says nothing can separate us from the love of the character's Jesus's "Heavenly Father".

I remember being told at 6 that I had to forgive everyone or go to hell. My mother, who suffered from mental illness, gave us to a family while she took a break from parenting to "work on her". The father in the family was a deacon in the church we attended, and the mother had been babysitting my younger sister while I was at school. 

I was sexually assaulted at the age of 6 by a 12 year old. I did not understand what that meant until I was 10 and watching a commercial about calling a help line if you had been raped, and the narrator explained what the word "rape" meant. I told my parents, who did nothing-no sitting down to talk with me about what I had experienced, and no therapy.

I was counselled to forgive those who sinned against me...
Pushing for someone to forgive something that they cannot forget, and they have actual symptoms that have to be treated to me, is psychological torture. It is contrary to the support of someone's healing/coping experience, to tell them to "give it to god and let him help you to forgive", or "Pray for your enemy". 

I feel that this mentality invalidates a person's trauma by telling them that their feelings don't matter. Many victims of trauma are treated like their feelings, emotional and psychological state will improve through practicing forgiveness. All too often methods for coping and progressing in personal growth are not cited and people live in a place of emotional stagnation, and often self-hatred for not being able to just "move on".

You see trauma causes a new neural pathway to be formed in the brain and this condition is known as post traumatic stress disorder. Massage helps with this and on Fort Carson, Colorado there is a PTSD massage protocol for treatment.

In my personal journey I have discovered the benefit of dialectical behavior therapy in a group setting. I learned more than just to accept my circumstances, I learned what it means to be assertive, and I experienced validation for the first time in my life. I literally did not have the term validation in my lexicon. I was taught to use tools that helped my mentality of my experienced trauma and how to move through my adult life.

For years I was subject to being triggered by certain phrases. I felt out of control. I had been living with a lifetime of traumas that had caused complex PTSD. I was given medication to assist in the process of retraining my brain, not giving attention to the neural pathways that are developed to respond to triggering stimuli.
It has been proven that when the dendrites in a neural pathway do not receive any electrical impulses, they die.

I now no longer live with the symptoms of PTSD. I did not think that it would ever be possible. I had crippling panic attacks, I would get overwhelmed by stressful circumstances and I would attract controlling/abusive partners. Essentially I was sending out the wrong kind of energy and not believing that I was worth standing up for. 

I lived with a LOT of self-doubt, second guessing every decision that I made. It was very frustrating to go through the paradigm shifts that I have experienced, without any outside support, or having any relevant advice to rely on. That's where having a therapist became a great asset. I gained a sounding board for my thoughts, a good resource for practical life advice, and personal validation.

The most profound concept that I have been able to put into practice is mindfulness.

Mindfulness;“The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

This practice has augmented my ability to have confidence in my responses to circumstances, so that I no longer blindly react based on my personal feelings. I began to make a habit of taking a deep breath before I allow myself to respond. I am in control of my response and how people perceive my behavior.

If you are struggling with overcoming your childhood I highly recommend looking into dialectical behavioral therapy. You can get the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises For Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & Distress Tolerance. There is also a workbook for anxiety! Googling the title and choosing "shopping" will give you buying options.

Best of luck and Namaste'

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Consequences and gods

There came a time in my life when the filter through which I realized that I had been using as my spiritual value system, failed to serve me for my answers.

When I started having symptoms from having a tumor, I was exhausted. I had gotten my life insurance license and just could not get traction on acquiring new business to make an income. I should have applied at established insurance company offices, but that notion was not presented to me until after I was healthy again.

From a spiritual, or metaphysical perspective I see my light body, or soul, being drawn to a location of higher frequency for healing. Like a migration home, I felt more alive in the Pacific Northwest than I had living anywhere else in the US. 
My mind felt quieted and at peace. The ocean gazing, feeling of the sand sucking at my feet as I walked onto the beach, the sound of the waves like the pulse of the planet being felt with each iteration of the sea touching land.

My inner voice got louder. I found myself feeling more what I did and did not resonate with every day. I began having cognitive dissonance with negative concepts that religion had weighted upon my psyche.

The recurring theme throughout any sermon message is that we are nothing without  relationship with a god, and that we are only going to have goodness in our life if we are in complete submission of our will to the will that the christian bible creates is a male, genocidal, sexual supremacist, anal-retentive, self-contradictory characters in all of literature and then overlays a very edited life of a celibate Jewish man's life of miracles. Be like Jesus...I prefer Disney's Pocahontas.

One, I am not a man and I will not behave as Bronze Age men wrote down that I should, period. I will not feel false guilt over behaviors that make me happy, but contradict ancient Hebrew law, handed down through communication with 2 different higher density beings, one was just bent on world domination; Canaanites, all people who weren't Noah's family, people of different religions to the Israelites.

I am descended from two main people groups, the first being Scottish and some English, my mother and her people are red heads. From that side of my genetics I have a high intellect, and a need to wear sunblock.
The second being the once proud indigenous american nation of the healers, and matriarchally led, Shawnee, now reduced to be known as the Eastern Shawnee of Oklahoma.
From this side of my genetics I have high cheekbones, a prominent nose, too much empathy, and my connection with nature.

Only after leaving the big city in a desert valley, and after settling into an apartment, did I start to hear an inner voice of knowing truths that assisted me into cognitive harmony.

The first was that if something is true then it happens whether you believe it or not. I did not want to believe in the ever contradicting, modified, version of mid-evil understanding of a narrative anymore.
I did not want to be influenced into thinking that I was never going to be enough to ever feel self-fulfillment in any are of my life. If I did well, then it was Yahwe's will, if I did bady, then it was a lesson for me to puzzle together and to discern some profound reason for suffering...and then to be responsible for my well being, because it would reflect my prayer life and over all happiness in this lifetime.

I was just done giving my energy to a thought process that was not serving me. And I had compared multiple versions of the christian bible to one another. It went from King James and very sexist, to the New King James again sexist, to New Standard again sexist, to New International Version gender neutral, to The Message which is universal and inclusive.
Mind you I was given a King James version by a well meaning acquaintance at the end of a bible study where I had read my NIV/The Message bible. Apparently any newer version is seen as altering the bible, which any type translation does, and that version is heresy. So it is a sin to read any version but that which a dead, less evolved foreign ruler's approved version of a translated document from Hebrew and Greek...yeah, idiotic in the extreme.

I came to understand the extremeness of the religious belief that followers of the christian religion hold when one woman told me that I should try praying and asking her god to take away my fibromyalgia and front of my son.
In the same car trip she threatened my son to leave him on the side of the road because of his behavior after having seen someone be insensitive towards his ill mother. Real gem there.

There is this whole line of thinking that is religious based that makes natural consequences the "fingerprints of god", and the unnatural terrible occurrences in our lives the works of some nefarious entity bent on our demise, rather than just products of the chaotic world that we live in, and the people we have to live with in our neighborhoods.

I have lived through some of the darkest experiences that can damage the processing capability of the brain from external input, also known as trauma. I went through a series of horrifyingly unfortunate events, and I came through them, but not thanks to the brainwashed thinking of appealing to a deity, a spiritual entity outside of myself.

I began to attribute my small successes my actual, innate, and instinctive abilities, and I also applied essential oils and got some crystals and stones in order to raise the frequency of my body. 

There is a phenomenon of a very low frequency field on our planet that is created from the electricity dispersal system that Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan bastardized from Nikola Tesla's electricity system. The result is frequencies of electrical current that vibrate in dissonance with the frequency of organic life, which is the Schumann resonance field of 7.8c hertz.

So, it makes sense that near the ocean and around a low population of power users, a person would start to have a better energetic alignment altogether. 
I wore a 3 inch rose quartz pendant down the center of my neck that rested near the tumor and it turned from pink to white as that part of the tumor disappeared. 
This was a positive, reality based experience that was not dependent upon constant prayer and scripture recital. 

When I have been faced with negative people, I no longer internalize the experience because I am supposed to live as a sacrifice and love everyone without judgement, some people are just terrible creatures that are not meant to be in our lives, and it is OK to separate yourself from them.
It doesn't matter who it is, no one has the right to threaten your wellbeing, and that includes emotional wellbeing.

No one deserves poor treatment, and poor treatment is abuse. As a person who grew up abused, then having family indoctrinated with religion, I received many spiritual books that were written by people whose proof of a supernatural entity were a string of consequences, happenstance, and self-dellusion. 
Why are we so quick to attribute our amazing imaginative ability to indoctrinating our selves with a limiting narrative, that our abilities are due to the fact that we are evolved and capable beings, without giving credit to a made up entity.

"The fear of god is the beginning of wisdom."

My first response inside my head as a kid was that this made no sense.

My step-dad would explain the reason for spanking was so that we feared the punishment more than the desire to break a rule. My step-dad and mother had terrible tempers and neither were equipped to handle adult scenarios where taking responsibility was what the loser did.
My younger sisters became manipulative in their own ways, mirroring the strongest characteristics of their parents. One became pagan, made up her own answers for spirituality and reality, and the other does daily devotionals and is an indoctrinated religious practitioner.

While I may have a lot less in the way of lifetime accomplishments and being out of a loving partner relationship for the majority of my adult life, I feel like I am living a life of authenticity and that in itself is a success.
I am free of repetition, open to learning new things, and I have my entire Sunday to myself. 
You see I have Thursday and Sunday off. I sleep in to the best of my ability on both days. 
Podcasts, or youtube sermons you say? No. 
TEDtalks are my thing.

I determined that my needs outweigh social pressure from the religious community. If my socially determined mental health and perceived morality are based on attributing part of my accomplishments to acknowledging another entity, no thanks. 

I came this far by myself, and carried on the backs of my ancestors. I am evolved and present.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Why I Joined The U.S. Air Force

I was 18 and it was determined necessary for me to go back for a semester at the end of the school year in 2000. So, in the fall of 2000 I was introduced to a recruiter who had set up a table in the lunchroom. He answered my questions, and then my then dad, Charlie's questions and we pathed a career goal of my becoming a pilot on the military's dime.

Why did I want to become a pilot? Because growing up I was exposed to such science fiction as Battlestar Gallactica (1978 TV series) StarTrek with the Enterprise-D, StarTrek: The Next Generation with the Enterprise-E, StarTrek: Deep Space Nine, StarTrek: Voyager, StarWars 4,5,6,1, and various movies. It is quite an interesting thing considering that my parents were religious.

a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:
the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion. 

I held the belief that by the time I was old enough to become a pilot, that technology would be advanced enough that we would have advanced aerospace craft. And I wanted to go to space. 

As an adolescent I believed in the deepest part of myself that there were indeed other intelligent species in our universe, and even in our galaxy, maybe our solar system. I was intrigued with the potential for "StarTrek-like" medical, propulsion, transportation, and replicating technologies. 

I loved science. I wanted to go to MIT. But I had a rather difficult childhood, and I wish now that there was more exposure to the option of military school for youth that need to live somewhere other than home.

I had a plan for my military career. I would go enlisted then after serving my 6 years I would join the Air Force Academy and become a pilot. 

Basic training was insane. As I was preparing to attend basic, I had a gastrointestinal virus incubating. I had received a round of innoculations and then a blood draw. I was throwing up my own saliva it was so bad. I was told that I was malingering, which means faking my symptoms. 
I had an X-ray and the doctor showed me my backed up intestines. Then he made sure that I got Maalox and phenergan. He should have given me Milk of Magnesia...

Then after I took the phenergan I was told I could rest, but not sleep. Insane orders. I have equally insane mental discipline. I felt better and then got a cold. Stil passed my timed 2 mile run.

I was at my speciality code's job training technical school. I was 19 when 9/11/2001 happened. I had worked 2,8 hour shifts and was woken up by my roommate after too few hours of sleep. I legit had to write down what the airman was saying so that I could process the words. I read them aloud off the page, written in pink by a mechanical pencil on a yellow legal pad.

"Real world, real world, this is not an exercise. We are under attack. There has been a terrorist attack on New York. A plane flew into the Twin Towers."

I pulled on my BDU pants, socks, boots, and blouse and went down to the CQ, command quarters, to watch the footage of the towers being attacked. We were told that as the Intelligence Training base that we could be next. I remember being told to update my living will, determine who my beneficiaries was, and to call home. 

My family and friends were all back in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a place that I knew had NORAD, Schriever AFB, Peterson AFB and Buckley AFB. I came to the tactical conclusion that Colorado would be a strategic target in an all out attack. 

After that I began smoking and experiencing panic attacks.
I had trouble sleeping. I would listen to various Enya albums to be able to go to sleep at night.
It was determined that I had asthma and I was medically separated with an Honorable Discharge.

I had some adjustment issues going from military life that was structured, to civilian life that was less so. I partied on Peterson AFB with firefighters that I had met on Goodfellow AFB, for weeks. 

It was determined that I had severe, complex PTSD. Thankfully that can be overcome with the right therapy, like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, group therapy, and one on one therapy.

At times I miss the structure of the military, and when we were not at war and did not have to deal with domestic terrorists. I didn't have to face the reality of being one paycheck away from being homeless, while fighting a chronic illness. 

So now I have a new career goal, to become the executive director of my non-profit organization, and to see people flourish, in a safe environment, rent free, and with home grown foods and homespun goods. A self-sustainable community, that uses reclaimed items and clean energy. It might be a longshot, but I believe in the dream that we can house the homeless, and create supportive, healthy communities as well.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Former Airman 1st Class, Amy Jo Smith

Friday, September 29, 2017

September And Something

I have been a very busy woman since my last post at the end of May. I was working nights at a treatment center and I was completely content there, even though it was an hour away from my home. Then a client went and shot his mouth off, after I had told him that staff could not have casual contact with a client until 1 year after they completed treatment and could not be in a relationship with a client until 2 years after they were out of treatment. I was put on suspension for a week without pay, and had to live with the humiliation of my superiors believing that I was interested in a client because of his statements.

It was the most frustrating circumstance, I felt completely helpless and infuriated at the male client. Then the new executive director made some staffing schedule changes and I was put on days. With fibromyalgia the physical demands of working the day shift were too much, so towards the end of June I decided to work closer to Seaside.

I began cleaning vacation rentals to pay my bills. I then got finger printed, got my Oregon Food Handler's card, and went through a background check, and went through training to be a caregiver at a long term care facility near me. When I started the night shift, I came to learn that my body would not transition back to working nights. When I advised the executive director of the facility that due to my health conditions I was unable to work nights, but I was happy to work any other shift. She wasn't having that and she terminated my position over the phone.

I found a cheaper apartment and moved. Then in August I was offered a customer service and sales position with 40 hours a week. It has been nice to not be afraid of losing my job. I also enjoy the interaction with people.

I was given a laptop, and my internet bill is very affordable...I have just had writer's block. I have been doing a lot of emotional processing lately. I no longer presented the symptoms that I was being prescribed pharmaceuticals for, so I weaned off of them, and I now enjoy living without side effects.

I discovered that I have food allergies, so I have had to adjust my diet accordingly. I have been focused on healing my gut, since that is where serotonin is made, and disfunction causes depression and anxiety. I am doing really well. I am taking a full spectrum probiotic, cleansing my digestive system and introducing micronutrients into my body.

I have been visiting my son nearly every Thursday, as I am at the mercy of the guardians' schedule and lifestyle. It has been very defeating to watch my son living in emotional torment, to see his feelings of defeat, and to listen to him tell me that he is miserable, that he doesn't feel like anyone listens to him and is patient with him like I am. 

My heart is breaking every day and there is nothing and no one in this world that can make the emotional and psychological pain go away, or anything to soothe the ache in my chest. 

My attorney gave me the hope that if I could show stability for a year that maybe the guardians would consider my son coming home. So, for better or for worse, I am sticking with my job for one year, and I am staying in my apartment for as long as I can. I am successfully paying my bills and meeting my responsibilities. September of 2018 will be one year that everything major in my life will stay the same.

I feel alone often, but I happen to run into positive people just when my soul needs the light from another to feel connected to others. Today I got much needed advice, encouragement, and I got the courage to write. 

I have come to realize a few things of late. 
Just because I am grief stricken daily over my separation from my son, does not mean that I am clinically depressed.
Just because I get overwhelmed at times, does not mean that I suffer from anxiety.
Just because my heart palpates in my chest at random, I have military training to notice details in human behavior and I pay attention to my surroundings, does not mean that I have PTSD.

I wish that I had a partner to comfort and care for me, but I am doing my best to function alone. It is really hard, though. I get feedback that I am perceived as a strong, capable, intelligent, well spoken, great smelling, beautiful woman, but I don't feel like I am. I feel like a wounded failure. I let my son down. I got a really painful tumor that messed with my hormones and I couldn't parent. It was awful. I cried so much.
And I was alone. No parents, siblings, friends, partner, nobody. 

And I was court ordered to talk about my horror filled life for a year and a half. False hope, late direction when I could have used input earlier in the weeks before therapy, and the mawing thought that I didn't need to check and balance my thoughts and feelings all of the time with someone else.
I don't want to be told how to live my life. It sucks. 

I had to do what others told me when I was going through the fruitless process of working with the state department of human services. I had to do what I was told in the medical facility that I stayed in, and at the respite center I was at for 3 months. 

Freedom is doing what you want when you want, with the exception of employment, unless you are self-employed. 
Freedom is being able to live with your children and love them without limitations or conditions.
Freedom is loving without constraints.

I don't feel free, and my son doesn't either. May the case manager who gave false testimony get her karma. I hate the way I feel every day, like my life is futile effort. Every time I visit my son I hurt because I have to leave him there. It is awful. I don't get how anyone can live with the naive expectation that a parent is supposed to just go on with their lives as if nothing is wrong, when everything that ever mattered to them is gone.

I feel like my heart is ripped over and over and over again. Children have such intense emotions, and depression is the hardest for me to see all over my son's countenance. He has given up showering because he hates living where he is. He has no joy in his voice, no light in his eyes. I haven't heard his laugh in so long, or even seen him smile, and I cannot do a thing about it. This is what utter powerlessness feels like. 

And I am expected to behave as if nothing is wrong, or else I should be on an anti-depressant. I am just learning to live in abject torment daily, as the slow march of life plods onward.
Will I my son come home to me in a year? Will he not?
Will getting my non-profit started be of any aid for my case for Caspian to come home?
Will I ever feel the love and support of another adult again?
Will I always be alone?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Overcoming Emotional Atrophy

"What if you just spent this year loving yourself?"

I saw that phrase in a meme in January and it really resonated with me. I was 34 1/2 and I had left yet another toxic relationship. I had just started a new job and I was living apart from the individual that I had aligned myself with. I was feeling better about myself, but from self-assessment I came to the realization that I was not in the right headspace to be involving anyone else in my world.

Something was missing, in me, like regular human emotions and a healthier perspective of myself. I battle thoughts of self-loathing, guilt, shame, and insecurity. Mostly though, I came to the conclusion that I was dealing with emotional atrophy as a result of being in survival mode for so long.

I have to confess that emotional numbness was my default. Battling anxiety and depression had left me just finding an emotional equilibrium. I would experience fleeting moments of feeling positive emotions and then they would fade away leaving me to just feel empty inside. Granted, I would not be experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms, but I would only have a fleeting feeling love when I visited my son.

I read The Four Agreements with the intention of benefiting from a psychological approach and I came away with much more than just tenants for grounding myself in good mental input.

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don't need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

After evaluating the choices that led me to get involved in my

previous relationship, I realized that I did not have a center and that it had been a long time since I had felt positive emotions. I had got used to shutting out negative, because loving people had become too painful.  
I decided to consciously cultivate inner peace. I chose to focus on the positive affirmations that streamed through my Instagram feed and come into agreement with them.

Energy & Inner Peace

What is my recipe for inner peace?
I give myself a fighting chance my taking my prescriptions for my mental health issues. Emotions are energy, so I also employ holistic wellness methods such as crystals, oils, meditation and supplements.

I decided that emptiness was not something that I enjoyed, so I went to my local Apothecary, A Gypsy's Whimsy in Astoria, Oregon and asked Vicki about what I should do. I got a GABA-calm supplement for anxiety attacks,  a flower essence tincture, lavender oil and some crystals/stones.

Lavender oil is my go to for dealing with anxiety. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive and sedative effects.  Lavender oil resonates at a frequency of 118 megahertz. The human body has a frequency range of between 62-68 megahertz. 

In my crocheted medicine pouch I put the following crystals and stones.

Amethyst: has healing powers to help with physical ailments, emotional issues, crystal therapies are primarily associated with physical ailments of the nervous system, the curing of nightmares and insomnia, and balancing the crown chakra.

Blue Kyanite: helps ground spiritual energy, develop intuition, creates an energetic shield around the aura, restores energy balance in all chakras, and assists in self-healing.

Tiger Eye: encourages proper function of the endocrine system, great for centering, grounding and balancing, boosts self-confidence, brings clear thinking and insight.

Black Tourmaline transmutes negative energy into positive energy, helps to release one of negativity and self-doubts, Balances right and left hemispheres of the brain, and Promotes clear rational thoughts. 

(Crystalpedia is the reference I used for crystal and stone properties and is a great resource.)

I also take a tincture of flower essence called Self-Heal (Prunella Vulgaris), it moves your body into resonance with the Earth’s electromagnetic fields, lowers blood pressure, and supports aligning of the chakras.

Here is a chakra and crystal chart

I have felt a marked improvement in my energy. I am able to feel more positive feelings and alternately I am more energetically grounded. The thing with stimulating feelings in the energy centers of the body, is that every feeling becomes more tangible, the good and the bad. For me this meant crying for the first time in months.
Actually dealing with feelings of pain within myself, allowing the pain to wash over me instead of ignoring it, has become a new healthy practice for me.

Meditation & Visualization

Quieting my mind to be able to focus is something that I struggled with. I like life hacks, so I found a guided meditation that has helped me to achieve my goal of balancing my energy. All I have to do is shut down my thinking and listen and visualize what the speaker is saying.

This chakra activating and balancing guided meditation helps me to visualize the energy flowing through my body. As a person who would be categorized as an intuitive empath, I came to the conclusion that I needed to have my internal energy balanced in order to be able to handle the energies of the world around me.

As a positive side effect to acquiring and implementing energy balancing methods, I have found myself taking more walks. I have found that I do my best thinking, formulating, and problem solving when I am walking. My home is just a couple of blocks from the beach, so I also get the benefits of negative ions from the ocean when I walk along the shore.

Keeping A Log

I bought myself a journal, my old one I trashed because it just had bad memories, relationship fails, and reminders of my previously very scattered self. I decided that I would approach my new journal as a log book focused on my positive accomplishments. I write the date, Wednesday, June 1st 2017, and time, 11:03am and then what is on my mind. I write down definitions of words, desires, accomplishments, frustrations, and my feelings.

It is good to have a private outlet for my perspective on things. It is also healthy psychologically to process your thoughts by writing them down. I find it a helpful practice.

What do you do to handle your emotions in a healthy manner?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Social Sustainability

Social sustainability is the premise of the grassroots movement. A grassroots movement is one driven by the community. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers give their time to support environmentally sound, counter culture minded, socially economical solutions.

Nobody is going to clean up our mess but us, no the EPA, not commissions or councils, not state conservation agencies, individuals.
no one can prevent further pollution but us as well.
Here are a few issues that are affecting our society here in America and proposed solutions.

Reclamation Versus Consumerism

In a society that has consumerism as the basis for our global economy; buy, use, discard is the cycle that we have become benignly accustomed to, but from the very ecologically embarassing presence of landfills, we know that this mentality has an unsustainable outcome-pollution.

Different organizations exist with the mission to bring awareness about the need for recycling, but the ad campaigns for consumer products far outweight the publicity for affirmative ecological action. 

The ads we see in media are for brand new clothes, which are an ecological travesty. The textile industry is a huge polluter, but what other options do we have?

How about a clothing company that makes new and usable clothing items from out of season and discarded clothing items? Outer wear, to be more precise For used shoes, spray some athletes foot disinfectant and you are good to go. Underwear is something that should be purchased in sealed packages.

Reclamation can be the new fashion, where creativity and cleverness are celebrated. We see houses in third world countries where the walls are made out of glass soda bottles.

Shelter for the Homeless

The homeless don't vote. Approximately 2,000,000 people that don't matter to our politicians, therefore they don't matter to the media, and therefore they don't matter to the American public.

The mentality of most capitalists is that, "God helps those who help themselves."

So why does the man with the most resources and influence turn a blind eye to 2 million people, or about 0.6% of the U.S. population?

We the people voted a television personality and businessman into office. We have a capitalist in office right now, and businessmen focus on the bottom line rather than tedious philanthropic work with a demographic that cannot help themselves to become profitable for global business.

"People are homeless because they chose that lifestyle, and we should not give in to their pan handling to promote their parasitic existence in our society."

If you truly think this way, then you don't understand what happens to make people homeless, and I am sure that you have no clue how to help 2 million people anyway.

If our president will do nothing to help then we the people need to, the old fashioned way, by getting our hands dirty, volunteering our time, and giving of ourselves.

If I can come up with a cheap and sustainable solution for the homeless, you can read here about my proposed plans for self-sustaining eco-villages, where food is grown and more.

I don't understand why any government related agency has not constructed a working solution, but a single mom who has been homeless several times figures out a way where others have not.

All that is needed is land, donations and volunteers...

Accessible food for the poor and disabled

I am not talking about creating more food banks, or having more grocery stores give their past due date food items to food banks, although that would be a great move in the right direction.

Why? Because seeds are cheap, sunlight is free and water is available. If you look around for a recycling center, you may be able to come up with inexpensive topsoil.
You can get seeds with TANF, or "food stamps".

I am talking about urban gardening and urban gardens.
Gardening requires volunteers, people to share their yards and property. This would foster communication and relationships.

Urban gardens utilize unconventional means, often recycled/upcycled items to provide maximum growth from the space available. Recycled items include using old milk jugs, suspended by a rod through the handled and then anchored by wooden sides. Regardless of the items used, urban gardening encourages creativity and imbues a sense of pride in one's creation. Pinterest and Instagram are great resources to find ideas.

There are several videos on you tube about urban gardening, from stories of successful gardeners to how-to instructions. They are great for ideas.

Bringing Back Bartering

Bartering is a means of the exchange of goods and services through trade as opposed to the exchange of currency.
With the value of an item or service determined it easy to then work out a fair exchange that benefits all parties involved.

The person who can do physical work can trade their time and energy for eggs from someone who has chickens, chopped wood for homemade biscuits, handmade clothing items for cleaning services, etc;

Yes, that could be considered socialistic ideology and is not in the best interests of the current capitalist regime, but it would meet the needs of those who cannot meet their own. 

Do you have any ideas that could help your community?
Please share in the comments.

Amy Jo Smith