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Category Archives: Philosophical

Is it good enough YET? Am I on target? Whose target are we talking about, anyway?


Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: ♥Je m'appelle Laura♥)

Drained self esteem, in a can

Drained self esteem, in a can (Photo credit: mary hodder)

self-esteem, groups and hate

self-esteem, groups and hate (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Apparently, in someone’s life, for example, mine, sometimes there are folks who feel the need to set standards for others.  I understand this is important in certain contexts: academic, career/job-related requirements, expectations with regards to personal relationships, maybe also the expectations of authority figures that we may feel are important enough to place value in such a way that they may shape our very self-worth.  Is this true?  I think so, at least in my case.

I tried to craft an e-mail to my former teaching credential adviser.  I started to ramble.  Also, the nature of the information I found myself sharing was utterly personal, never mind the fact that I did not know how to even face my own feelings in this regard and how they may or may not have impacted my feelings about myself.

Is it only in Westernized industrial culture that we place our self worth so heavily upon expectations of others, particularly in the employment/career-related tracks of life?

The only other framework worth mentioning in this context is that of intimate relationships.  In my own experience and I’ll wager in others’, it seems very likely to place some kind of self-judgment in response to events that occur to include the response of our partner and the overall success of the relationship as a whole.

Why?  Why do we, I or why does anyone else, for that matter, why does anyone regard another’s opinion as a measurement of our own self worth?

The definition of self esteem as I’ve come to learn through personal strife as well as academic circles has to do with internalized self worth that is not dependent on another’s judgment.  In fact, the root of the assumption that one has what would be considered supposedly “good self esteem” is that in having this self esteem we are somehow as if made of rubber.  The negative opinions of others do not invade our sense of entitlement to respect and ultimately our worth as individuals.

Perhaps I am pondering this in a broad sense as an overall construct, but I’m also breaking it down for myself.  I’m questioning, why is it such a barrier?  Why do I feel like others’ opinions of me can in any way define my quality as a person and my effectiveness as an individual?  I know they cannot.

I practice affirmations at times, yet sometimes I have trouble writing some of them.  Affirmations are generally speaking positive statements about oneself that someone might say out loud every day or read to themselves or use in some other way to engender feelings of self esteem.

A simple one is this:  My self worth is inherent.  I define myself in my own terms, and I am unique.  Nobody else has the power to judge me or to change my ability to take care of myself.  I am powerful beyond measure if I allow, or I am quiet to the point if whisper if I choose.  It is my choice, and I live my life in the best way I know, by my own standards, and I live by my own conscience.  I don’t have to be perfect by others’ standards to be everything I need to be.

Amazement!


Wordpress, Technorati, GBC stickers

Wordpress, Technorati, GBC stickers (Photo credit: Titanas)

I always wonder what other people think of WordPress statistics like the ones I’ve posted below.  It’s amazing to think someone from Macedonia might see my random ramblings about my personal life struggles.  In a way, I hope some of what I write here can be universally relevant.  We all have families in some respect, whether we are merely the product of our own (probably dysfunctional but lovable) ones or trying to be managers of our own little special, beautiful messes.

I hope you all can relate to what’s being said, anyone who is reading this.  I always wonder what people feel in regards to my stories, how much it resonates, how much it makes you think about your own life or experience someone else’s through vicarious satisfaction.

I would invite anyone to share bits about their own kids, but I know that’s a sensitive subject.  I’d love to learn others’ experience.

Anyway, these stats about countries…. interesting, no?  I wonder what a person from Lithuania or India or the Czech Republic thinks about my life?  I just wonder, that’s all.  I wonder how much they can relate or does it matter what country you’re from?  Just curious is all I am; curious.

Top Views by Country for all days ending 2012-03-26 (Summarized)

All Time

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 222
Canada FlagCanada 13
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 8
Czech Republic FlagCzech Republic 6
Israel FlagIsrael 4
Italy FlagItaly 4
Lithuania FlagLithuania 4
Mexico FlagMexico 3
Brazil FlagBrazil 3
Guatemala FlagGuatemala 3
Singapore FlagSingapore 2
Austria FlagAustria 2
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 2
Thailand FlagThailand 2
Australia FlagAustralia 2
Moldova, Republic of FlagMoldova 1
India FlagIndia 1
Sweden FlagSweden 1
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of FlagMacedonia 1
Poland FlagPoland 1
Norway FlagNorway 1
Argentina FlagArgentina 1

Today is a Day for Art


Often I feel words on a page have life.  I used to walk around my university as a freshman and sophomore with poetry running through my mind describing my inner philosophies and illustrating my current life through verses that I never remembered but which kept me entertained on my long walks around the largeUniversityofCaliforniacampus inSanta Cruz.  I enjoyed all the walking, and I enjoyed all the thinking.  I enjoyed them probably too much because I did not notice that my life and my consciousness were disintegrating without my awareness, as is the nature of a shift of this sort.

Since I lived in words and thoughts, when I stopped being able to express myself lucidly due to a lack of cognitive ability or clarity, my depression started, and my world seemed to dramatically shut down.  My mood became dark, and my motivation screeched shut.

I didn’t care about anything, not even enough to brush my hair.  I was paranoid about food content.  I was vegan in those days, but I was paranoid that not only were things I might be eating possibly non-vegan, but that this non-vegan-ness, this contamination, well – it might make things poisonous.  In response, my housemates, made a very involved vegan dish of lasagna that I always made myself normally, a gesture they made in an effort to encourage me to eat.  I would not eat because of my paranoia, and the girls grew increasingly concerned.

A few days passed, and the girls took me to the hospital.  I became violent, acted out, and screamed for my rights in the unit, the whole nine yards.  I was hysterical.  They gave me some kind of medication, probably a sedative or maybe a mood stabilizer.  I could not tell you what because it was so long ago and I didn’t care what it was then, anyway.  I didn’t want to take medication.  I felt they were toxic, poisonous, and I just wanted to get better on my own, get back to school and continue on my work with my part time job and my ambitions in life.

Life doesn’t always go as planned.  In fact, in my experience, it rarely does.  Whatever you feel is the path maker in life, it’s not usually governed only by you, I or anyone who makes plans in life.  Sure, we can decide to make changes in our lives, and we can make decisions to improve our lives.  We can succeed at these things, definitely we can.  Still, there are always events, fortunes that present themselves as hurdles.  Life hands you lemons, you can add some sugar or you can find some limes and make it more interesting.

As I went along in my early and mid-twenties, I always had one step forward and two steps back.  I felt I had overcome my hurdles and there would be no more.  I would get to the highest level of wellness I had felt in a while, try new things that I felt I was able to do as a reward and a challenge, telling myself that since I was healthy I could handle more now.  I just sometimes forgot to be cautious.  Sometimes I forgot that I need to be safe with myself and love myself enough to know my limits.  This was not a sign of weakness but a measure of strength to know myself enough that I would not let anything in life make me crumble again.

Time and time I made the same mistake, trying new goals, falling backwards, falling further down than I had been the previous time.  This is related also to the most recent episode with my son, in which I had tried to handle my separation with my husband, new responsibilities as a single mother, my own mental illness challenges, my grief about my father’s death still lingering, and my goals about getting an advanced degree in my field.  I tried too much all at once, and suddenly the inevitable happened.  I broke.  I didn’t break to the point of being unable to be fixed.  I just broke temporarily.  I got back into my groove again later, but I lost a part of my life that time.  I lost a part of my life that I had always wanted even before I had it.  I lost a piece of my connection with my son.

I had always wanted to be a parent.  When I was a young child, I used to take care of other young children.  When I was in fifth grade, my parents wouldn’t let me go to science camp because my father was overprotective.  I helped out in two classrooms with the younger children instead – preschool and third grade.  I have always loved people younger than me.  I love people older than me, too.  I just love people.  They are frustrating and tiresome, but I love them anyway.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

There is an art and a science to being a parent that I wish I had mastered earlier on in my relationship with my son.  I never understood until I was away from him for a little while. I had a lot of input from various sources, including professionals of all types, government officials, a few family members, church members, friends, medical individuals and more. Sometimes too much input is just too much, though.  There is an art and a science just like (and I hate to say it because it sounds crude) there is an art and science to cooking or painting or doing anything that requires precise measurement and ingredients and skill but is still up to the individual to a great degree.

Parenthood is the ultimate version of this, and it is more important than any of the others because it not only affects the parent and the child but it affects the whole world.  That is because this little person who had entered the world through the vehicle of parental attachment will someday contribute to the world in ways that no one will ever envision.  The world will change that child, and that child will change the world.  We know this of course, but I’m not sure I thought of it so much, and I don’t think I gave it precise awareness all the time.  It could be a daunting undertaking if you got too scared about it for all these reasons . . . and so I did, I became scared . . . and I fumbled.

My mothers’ friend who helps her with driving told her that “fear is wishing for things we don’t want.”  Maybe that’s like that converse of the power of positive thinking.  Maybe it is the opposite of that movie/book phenomenon they called “The Secret”.  I’m sure I do not know enough about that to comment, but what I can say I do know is . . . I did not want to lose custody of my son, and I was afraid that this would happen.  This fear made me anxious, and this anxiety made me scared to do almost anything at all.  Fear can paralyze, and I believe it did in my case.

There is a long connection between my experiences with illness, my son, and the introduction of my story about words on a page and their life upon that page.  The connection lies somewhere in the meaning of my own words, my own experiences, what is possible for myself and/or others to learn from them, how I can use what I have to be of benefit, and how can I as an individual, a writer, a mother, and any other person with a role in life – how can I understand these events in relation to myself?  It’s about a relationship with me and a relationship to my life.

I once wrote a final paper in college about a hypothesis I had concerning how the spaces, the nuances, the shapes of words that take form by the author may reflect feelings, even cultural beliefs or reactions pertaining to physical realities about space.

My main thesis in this paper had to do with First Peoples (in particular from North, Central and South America) who had a traditionally oral language (not normally written down on paper) but which still had been converted to a transcribed form when the European inhabitants exchanged elements of language and cultural practices.  I postulated that there were some psychological elements of cultural and linguistic productions that show up in the physical placement of words, sentence structure and overall layout as well as composition as they are presented.  Perhaps, I thought, people from different cultures might show (for example) more open space if they experienced more openness in their physical lives or in their physical space, particular their living environment.

I am sure one could do research about this idea. Perhaps a survey could be gathered between different cultural groups, including subcultures, even communities within a certain culture that differ in living arrangements, perhaps even include institutional communities.  If a correlation were found between physical placement of words on a page or in some other document, perhaps this could be connected to psychological characteristics such as happiness or health of some kind.  Who knows, right?

Maybe people are already doing this?  Who am I to say?  I haven’t read a psychology or other academic paper since sometime the first half of 2010.  That was for an online class that I attempted at the University of theRockies, which is a university inColorado, primarily for different types of psychology but offers some other coursework as well.  I am always so unsure what I want to do in life.  I waiver and hesitate and think I will choose something, then choose it momentarily, but something holds me back.  Sometimes I want to start back into graduate school, but I am unsure what I want to do.  I am afraid if I start on an option, I will start but not like it but want to finish anyway because I have already started.

I already nearly finished a teaching credential program – Special Education with a specialization in Mild/Moderate disabilities, but I was considering getting a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from the same university.  I was studying locally atCaliforniaStateUniversity,MontereyBay– a university with a lot of support from Leon Panetta, who is a local of my area and now I believe is the head of the CIA.  I am not bragging at all.  This is just the facts, ma’am.

Today I engaged in some creative processes:

(1) I talked with a grandfather who was with his grandson, a boy younger than my son.  The boy had long hair and sometimes people thought he was a girl.  He was beautiful, not in a girly way.  Beautiful does not have to have a gender.  Maybe it never does.  The man gave his grandson some chewing gum.  I listened to the man talk about how he is taking custody of this child for his daughter.  I wondered to myself why I can’t take care of my own son.  I realized there is no use wondering this.  Either I take action or I don’t, and if I don’t, I have still taken an action in making a choice and sticking to that decision.  Either way, the decision is made

(2) I attended Breakthrough H’art, an art collective through Interim Incorporated, the mental health agency with which I have been connected for a few years.  I also volunteer with them in two different places.  I started to work with watercolor pencils for the first time but it ended up just being a pencil drawing.  There is a professional artist who helps with the collective, and he made a number of suggestions as I was working on my picture (featuring a tree, hearts, orange Ohm symbol, a variety of colors) as well as saying how I liked it very much.  Others agreed that I had talent.  I felt good.  He said if he had a child he would not send them to art school because he feels once you are trained, you start thinking too much.

3) I was up into the wee hours looking into a way to sell art online through FineArtAmerica, a page which I will make available in time through this blog.  I may post a link on my art section.  Currently, I have only figured out how to make a few pictures available as greeting cards.  Hopefully, there will be more in the future.

4) I agreed to work on a mosaic for a housing community with Interim called Sunflower House.  This is going to be on Wednesdays.  I have to get in touch with the woman in charge again.  I will ask on Friday when I go back to do more art at Breakthrough H’art.

There may be more that I have not though of including as creative such as making dinner and writing.  These are givens, and I do not need to list them.

To me, life is all an art and a science.  It is a balance, and the balance doesn’t have a correct formula so much as one which works best for a given person at a given time and in a given way.

Breaking the Confines


If you want to ask me tonight, “Are you okay?” my first answer would be a pause.  I would have to think.

The next would be a move to answer with something noncommittal — “Sure”, “Yeah, “Uh huh”.  I could not give you a “Yes” or even a “Maybe.”  I certainly couldn’t say “For sure.”  These are the answers of someone who has accepted tacitly something that they feel they should not have to accept.  Maybe I feel the cards are stacked against me, but who shuffled the deck?  What am I jabbering about now, right now at  3:32 pm PST?

Dear Reader, I’m talking about my son.  I love him dearly, and in less than two days the decision to remove my rights as a parent are supposed to be nullified in an actual court of law.  I am boggled that this act can be achieved.  Aren’t these rights sacred?  Since when did you need a license to give birth?  Might as well hand out tags to pin to one’s bellybutton, save all those girls the trouble of getting them pierced.  Maybe I should have been initiated?  Maybe I didn’t read the manual properly?  Maybe I haven’t done everything I should to prove that I love my child?  What is it?  I’d really like to know.

I know I have a mental illness.  I’ve learned about that nonstop for the last ten years, the same ten years since my father left me and the same ten years when I started having every major life event be tainted by the mystique of “You’re not good enough because you have a lifelong psychiatric disorder.”  I’m probably supposed to be ashamed to even write this blog.  I’m probably supposed to hide my identity, dress in weird or dirty clothing, talk about conspiracies every waking minute, and not give a darn about anything but the inner world and the workings of my internal melodrama.

I don’t know if there’s anything “legally” I can do.  I don’t know if it will get me anywhere, but I know for myself personally, I cannot live with myself as a mother and a person unless I at least know what’s possible.  I know I have little more than one day, but you know, I can at least have time to make a call or two to the right people.

Should I be punished because I had a bad day, a moment of grief?  Maybe it’s my fault for letting that run my life for so long?  Probably. Maybe it’s my fault for not being responsible while my dear child was in my care?  Probably.  Maybe I am scared both ways:  Scared to give up my son but scared to do what it takes to keep him?  There, I said it.  I’m scared to screw up, because there’s the safest way and there’s the best way.  Deciding if the two converge, that’s the part that is left up to interpretation.  That’s what the courts want to do.   Maybe they need help? Probably.

Philosophy of the Face


 

My Face

My face is a picture I show to the world, but it’s not a photograph.  If you believe in God, it might be the work of a deity.  If you believe in science, it might be the work of the genetic coil.  Maybe you believe in a combination, then it could be both.  My face is my portal to see the world, and it is my visual leader.  It tells the world what I am thinking without words.  It helps convey messages through my mouth and facial expressions with the eyes. It channels thoughts into my own brain.  It is a threshold to the world, and it is part of the world because I am a part of the world even as I am a grain of sand.

Does the sand blow in the wind?  Or am I more of an automaton with my movements programmed by another, like the one in Hugo, the film?  Do I control myself?  Do I decide my fate?  Is my fate determined by my face, the expression I give to others, which leaves an impression, first and second and foremost?

Are the eyes really so full of impact?  Are they really windows?  Could they be mirrors?  Movie screens?  Maybe they are individual faces attached to a larger face.  Why do the images come into the retina upside down?  Are they eyes the projector?  Is the projector outside myself or in me?  What is the subject of the play of life that I behold?  Maybe my eyes are just tools.  Maybe they just allow me to trace a path.  Do they create envy based on allowing me to see others’ possessions?  Are they worthy of vengeance should someone inflict violence upon one (an eye for an eye, does it leave the whole world blind?).  What is the reasoning in the creator or the DNA or evolution or whatever architect you envision for making the pupils vary in color?  Why are some people blind?  Would it really be so bad?

The nose, is it my reason for being fat?  I hear most of my appreciation for foods comes from the nose.  Why is it shaped the way it is?  If it points upward am I destined for Heaven?  Or am I a snob?  Can it bring me more serenity?   I could be more aware of my surroundings with my nose, practice mindfulness with my nose, notice scents or just breathe the air.  Is a stuffy nose a way to challenge my mindfulness?  Is it a test?  Do people with bigger noses have a better sense of smell?  Do things smell better or worse to them or the same?  How do I know if something I smell smells the same to someone else?  How do you define smell?  The nose could be a safety device to let us know of a gas leak.  Maybe the nose is a police officer or a firefighter?

Symmetry.  Beauty is often defined by you.  Why?  What is so good about being symmetrical?  Does it come from structural ideas or just aesthetics?  Contours.  Maybe the contours are like the sides of a mountain and at the top of your forehead is the wise man, pre-frontal lobe.

Individuality.  Unless you are identical to your sibling, no one else looks exactly like you.  Is a face like a very big thumbprint?  It identifies and tells the world, “I’ve arrived.”  Your name is most associated with your face.  One of the most basic things for children and adults to recognize is a face picture even if it is not supposed to be there.  We automatically look for faces.  Are we looking for friends or just noticing?

 

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
William Shakespeare

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