I ask myself this question a lot. The other day I drew the Ace of Cups Rx and The Empress Rx and they seemed to be addressing this issue for me. I’m one of those people who have loads of advice for everyone – ways to improve their lives, their health, whatever. Unfortunately, I am notorious for not applying such advice to my own life. I can be stubborn and hard-headed, or as my mother likes to call it – thick. I am a relatively intelligent person – or I at least have book smarts and know the answers to a number of Jeopardy questions. Common sense, however, does not appear to be on of my innate skills. Of course, life loves to throw us curve balls and I was finally thrown one that forced me to face a few issues that I’ve been trying to avoid.

I have Type II diabetes and until a few years ago I had it fairly well controlled. Once things got more challenging dealing with my mother-in-law, caring for myself was one of the things that fell by the wayside. Short-sighted and stressed, I chose to live in denial that this behavior would come back to bite me in the ass. Fast forward to July of this year (the day after my 51st birthday, in fact) and my chickens had come home to roost. I visited my doctor and got a call from his office the next day informing me that he wanted to up my medications adding an additional pill for diabetes, Lipitor and a prescription Omega 3 supplement. Now I hate taking more pills than is absolutely necessary but I also don’t want to suffer from complications due to diabetes later in my life. So I bitched and moaned and bitched some more. Then I talked with my hubby and we came up with a plan. I would give myself a specific time period to change my behaviors – eat healthier and exercise more. If there was no improvement at the end of this time then I’d have to start taking the additional pills.

It was difficult at first and I became discouraged and almost gave up a few times but I knew that if I began taking these additional pills I’d be psychologically giving up and I didn’t want to do that. So I hung in there. I’m finally seeing an improvement in my glucose levels and am definitely making healthier food choices. So I’m making progress but this made me wonder why I did this to myself? Why do so many of this do this to ourselves?

We bend over backward to care for others but ignore our own needs. We put off our own needs and try to ignore or avoid the potentially negative repercussions of these choices. Is this something we’re acculturated to accept? Are we programmed to think that our needs come last? I can’t claim to have all the answers but I will say that in my case it was simply a matter of not making myself a priority. I was programmed early on in life to do what was expected of me – to be the good student, the good daughter, the good employee. I craved the positive reinforcement and external validation. It was exhausting.

It took a long time but I think I’m finally reaching a place where my needs count too. They’re not necessarily more important than the needs of loved ones but they are as important. If I don’t take care of myself then I can’t care for them either. It’s a pretty simple concept but one that I traveled a long, winding road to reach. I’m sure I’ll still have days when I backslide but I feel more positive that I’m moving in the right direction.

 

Like a lot of folks my age, I remember the media frenzy that was the Menendez brothers’ trial. I remember how the media swarmed when it was revealed that police suspected the brothers killed their parents motivated by greed and selfishness. I remember how I snickered along with most reporters, pundits, and comedians when the brothers’ claims of abuse were revealed. I remember watching as the Menendez brothers’ tears and breakdowns on the witness stand were mocked and mimicked *ad nauseum*. It became impossible to separate out the facts of the case from the media circus and mockery that surrounded it. Few people had any sympathy for these two privileged, rich boys who slaughtered their parents because they wanted money and freedom. The brothers were convicted. The media would periodically revisit the case near an anniversary and if there was a slow news day but that was it. Another media circus would pull into town to draw their attention and feed our relentless need for distraction and amusement.

The Menendez murders recently came back into mainstream attention due to the ABC documentary *”Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers”*. While re-watching the media footage of Lyle Menendez on the stand as he broke down while admitting that not only had he been molested by their father but that he had molested his brother, my opinion about this case changed. Along with most people at the time, I refused to even consider that the brothers had been molested. I viewed it as an attempt to justify their actions and garner sympathy. I was unaware there was corroborating evidence supporting their claims of sexual abuse by their father. Even if I had been aware of it at the time, the odds are the I would have ignored it. With the passage of time and maturity on my part, I was more open to hearing facts of the case I’d previously ignored. In September, NBC will run a program entitled Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders. I have no idea what its focus will be but based on the ads, the trial will feature prominently.

Watching the documentary made me reconsider my beliefs about the Menendez brothers’ motivation for murdering their parents. The reality is that in most of the cases with which I’m familiar, abuse played a starring role for the child’s actions. I’m not taking a stance on whether such actions are justifiable, simply interested in trying to gain some insight into what pushed these brothers over the edge and led to the murders.

Using the Dark Days Tarot, I drew three cards to acquire some insight into this situation and pulled the 3 of Cups (tilted left – which subtle impacts the cards meaning in this deck), 2 of Swords and 4 of Cups. I studied these cards for a while because I am not familiar with this deck and began to realize that despite the celebrating that appears to be going on in the 3 of Cups, its leftward tilt makes me feel that things were not as they seemed. There was no celebration and joy inside this family, it was an act put on for observers. I don’t know any more about Joe and Kitty Menendez than was revealed on the ABC documentary. It certainly made the father out to be a driven, successful, Type A personality who had a history of infidelity. The mother, Kitty, is portrayed as either complicit in her husband’s abuse of the boys or deliberately obtuse. I’ve often thought this might explain why the brothers killed their mother as well as their father. If the father abused the brothers and the mother did nothing to protect them, their rage towards her must have been just as consuming.

While I make no claims to having gained much additional insight into the Menendez brothers decision, this reading does seem to at least reinforce my belief in their claims there was sexual and emotional abuse in this family. While it might not excuse murdering their parents, it does make more sense than simple greed. I realize greed is a major motivation for many murders but killing one’s parents takes things up a notch. Even the most abused child will often cling to the abusive parent. For the Menendez brothers to be driven to take such dramatic action, I have to believe more than greed was involved. Of course, your mileage may vary and others may draw very different interpretations from these cards but this is my interpretation and I’m sticking with it.

Now that I’ve completed the Comparative Tarot essays for the Major Arcana, I’ve decided to try some different Tarot focused blog posts before attacking the Minors (if I decided to do that). I’ve been inspired by James Ricklef’s wonderful KnightHawk readings that focused on 3 card readings for fictional characters. I hope I can do this technique justice.

Three card reading for Mary Winchester of Supernatural

Dear Tarot Hunter,

I have recently reconnected with my two grown sons after a 30 + year absence. I have no idea how to communicate with them; how to interact with them. They don’t need me they way they did the last time I saw them. What would be my best way to repair this broken bond?

Mary, thank you so much for entrusting me to do a reading for you on such a sensitive topic. I cannot provide any insight into your sons’ thoughts or feelings but perhaps we can look at the current state of this relationship and see if it can be healed. I will pull three cards and see what the universe has to say.

The current state of this relationship? Page of Cup Rx – Your sons are still those broken-hearted boys devastated by the loss of their mother. You are a mother devastated at what you missed in your sons’ lives. All three of you are relative neophytes when it comes to expressing and dealing with your emotions. I get the sense that none of you are especially comfortable with introspection and examining your motivations.  This reluctance for addressing emotional issues underpins this relationship even if you never acknowledge it.

Issues that fester or harm this relationship? 10 of Wands – There are a lot of burdens still being carried by members of this family. Considering that you mention not having seen your sons in over 30 years, I’ll guess that guilt is part of this burden – you missed their childhoods. How did they cope? Perhaps there are things in their past that haunt and weigh them down too. 30 years is a lot of history – both good and bad.

How can this relationship start to heal? 7 of Pentacles Rx – Upon seeing this card the first thing that popped into my head is you all need to stop revisiting the past, harvesting that guilt, and instead work to build a new future together. Although the past will always impact your lives, if that’s all you focus on then it will taint your future together. I’m not saying to ignore the past, perhaps discussing it will bring some closure, but don’t allow it to linger between you. It could create a toxic environment that will prevent anything new and healthy from growing.

The overall message from this reading seems to be that you can repair this relationship but it will be a slow process and will require understanding and honesty. You will need to look within yourself and be honest about the emotions this situation brings up for you as well as trying to understand what it brings up for your sons. You’re almost strangers to each other but a willingness to stick it out may go a long way towards repair this fractured relationship.

As fans of Supernatural know, Mary Winchester not only disappeared from the boys lives 34 years ago, she died. Her death became the catalyst for the story arc for the first five years of the show. The boy’s father, John, devastated by the death of his beloved wife, becomes a hunter to discover what killed Mary and cursed their youngest son, Sam. John Winchester trains and raises his sons to be hunters, sometimes acting more as a drill sergeant than a father.

Mary Winchester is brought back from the dead at the end of season 11 by Amara, God’s sister, as a gift for Dean Winchester. Over the course of season 12, we watch as Mary, unsure how to deal with her rebirth and her adult sons, distances herself from the boys, but this reading takes place early in the season before any of those conflicts have arisen. It’s interesting to interpret this reading knowing both the backstory and its ultimate resolution.

If you’d like to learn more about the show visit the Supernatural Wiki

You can also watch all 12 seasons of the show on Netflix.  

Sheila O’Malley also offers some amazing recaps on episodes from the first three seasons (well she’s working on Season 3).  I highly recommend reading them!!.

 

Misjudging Relationships

Have you ever observed relationships of people and initially perceived them one way but then had your eyes opened and realized you were totally off base?  I have.  It’s been quite an interesting experience too and one that has reinforced the concept of not judging books by their covers.

It usually happens when I come across what I would describe as a solar/lunar (or almost stereotypical male-dominated relationship).  You know the type I mean – the male/yang/alpha partner appears to be the dominant one while the female/yin/beta partner seems to cater, kowtow and reflect the alpha partner’s glory.  Now, I also have to admit that my life experiences have primed me to recognize these types of relationships because they’re the ones with which I’m most familiar.  They were the type most common in the blue collar neighborhood in which I grew up.  Unfortunately, they were also the ones I saw become abusive (although let me be clear, I’m not saying all of these types of relationships become abusive).  It is the kind of relationship I was determined to avoid,

Of course, one’s perceptions as a child and those as an adult are quite different.  Watching these types of relationships now I have come to realize that the power dynamic is not as imbalanced as I once believed.  I have learned that a more yin/beta partner can be just as controlling and domineering as a yang/alpha partner. They just use different techniques to ensure their goals are met. For example, I’ve watched the “passive” partner use subtle and sometimes not so subtle behaviors to influence their partners. The most frequent one I’ve noticed is almost a temper tantrum. The more passive partner will become upset because something is not to their liking (for example their food is not prepared correctly). Instead of addressing it with the wait staff, the beta partner will complain to the alpha partner. This will cause the more assertive partner to take up the banner and charge into the fray to ensure things are corrected to the beta partner’s liking. Or the passive/beta partner will push buttons that will result in the outcomes they desire but allow them to look blameless. Things turned out this way because of the alpha/assertive partner’s insistence. It can be fascinating to watch.

It’s an interesting dynamic and requires a subtly of which I’m not capable. I can admire it and acknowledge its effectiveness while accepting that it’s beyond my capabilities. The major realization I’ve taken away from these observations is that I’ve misread these relationships. Due to my own blinders and prejudices, I didn’t realize that just because the passive/beta partner is assertively challenging situations or fighting whenever their partner did something insulting, domineering or just not to their liking, that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it. They simply use a less confrontational (and possibly more effective) approach.

 

Handling a 7 of Wands relationship style

Several years ago I attended a workshop in NYC lead by Rachel Pollack (quite frankly if I had the ability I’d attend any workshop Rachel facilitates). The focus of the class was how we approach relationships. My card was the 7 of Wands. Looking at the image on the card I realized that it pretty much does describe my approach to relationships in general, not just romantic ones. I fiercely defend my perimeter and only let in those who have proven to be worthy.

When I first met my hubby, I was a prickly defensive, cranky bitch (oh who am I kidding, I still am all those things). I only had a small circle of friends because I didn’t trust many people. In fact I was more than willing to cut friends and even family off if they violated one of my “rules” or offended me in some way. Usually it wasn’t something petty (or at least I didn’t think so at the time) but what I considered betrayal or disloyalty. Of course in retrospect some of those issues do seem petty. The point is that I learned to shore up my defenses because I had enough experiences that supported my belief that it was essential.

I love seeing thins in mythic terms so I often describe myself as a Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty) type. Not because of the fairy godmothers or sleeping thing but because she was surrounded by a thick hedge of sharp, twisted thorns. For someone to get through that hedge he or she had to be focused, determined and a fighter. Perhaps this is the same reason I’ve always felt a connection to the myth of Brunhilde the valkyrie. I understand and sympathize with her fury at learning she was betrayed by Sigurd. I would have sought vengeance too. For that matter I understand Betty Broderick’s actions too. These are women who are forced into violent responses because they have been betrayed by the men in their lives. They are defending their home, their family, their heart, their integrity. I’m not necessarily defending their responses, but I do understand them.

I have learned to lower my defenses occasionally. I realized that I can always raise those defenses later on if it became necessarily. It was not easy and involved me fighting against a lot of instinctive and unconscious behaviors. The first step was literally training myself to look at incidences when my defenses flared up and explore what triggered them. I also considered what might have happened had I been more open. In some cases I’m convinced my instincts were right. In others I believe they caused me to miss out on an experience, event or friendship that might have enriched my life. I think that was the final impetus to change my stance. It’s one thing to be protective of one’s boundaries but when they become isolationist and start preventing one from enjoying new experiences and friendships then changes are probably in order. Lots of introspective Tarot readings helped me work through this (although to be honest I got a lot of repeat answers – the Tarot’s way of telling me I wasn’t paying attention).

As a result of this work I am not quite so isolated and unapproachable. I like to believe I can still rise to my own defense if the occasion calls for it. I feel safe and secure in my life, my body and in my ability to protect and defend my boundaries. That was not the case in my childhood and it caused me to developed very well established and fiercely guarded personal boundaries. Maybe I’m finally moving from the 7 of Wands approach to relationships to the 9 of Wands. I know I can rest, lay down my weapons and allow others to draw close. What a relief!

Vision Tarot - 7 of Wands

Have you ever done a burlesque act? You know what I mean, done a song and dance number to hide the truth about yourself from someone else? It’s probably a defense mechanism you’ve developed to protect yourself after feeling hurt of victimized at various points in your life. I do it all the time. I joke about the pain and difficult experiences I’ve gone through to deflect questions I’m uncomfortable answering. I don my “tough broad” armor to repel any attempts to breach my defenses and get to the heart of me.

I realize this can be counter-productive simply because it’s creates situations in which I’m isolated and feel abandoned but that’s my own doing. I create self-fulfilling prophecies in which I don’t let people in because I’m afraid to trust them but then when I need them no one is there because I pushed them away. In my script, however, I’ve been “abandoned”. It’s screwy and I own it but I’m also taking steps to change this pattern. Quite frankly I didn’t even realize how often I do this until I was reading several blog posts by Sheila O’Malley about this tendency in the Dean Winchester character on Supernatural. As I was reading her analysis something clicked in my brain and I realized how often I do exactly the same thing. I think Dean and I might both be like Charles Durning’s character in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – dancing my little side step.

Druidcraft 7 of Wands

This can be diverting and a very useful survival tool for brief periods of time. Over the long haul it can eventually create more problems than it solves. As I mentioned, when you are constantly burlesquing people don’t know when to take you seriously. They aren’t sure what is a true issue versus a humorous skit. I’ve done this myself, I make my pain into a comedy routine so people are never sure how serious the pain is. Hell, sometimes neither am I. Don’t misunderstand, I’ll never completely give up the burlesque act because it also serves as a filter – people who are repelled by the burlesque act probably aren’t folks I want to incorporate into my life anyway. Those that are willing to stick around will eventually see the more serious me. In fact they may quickly grow to regret that. Either way the point is that there isn’t anything wrong with putting on a burlesque act. I think it can be healthy and a powerful survival tool. It only becomes problematic when you can’t stop the act; you can’t allow anyone beyond those defenses. It might seem safer but I imagine it’s a lot lonelier too.

Dealing with The Dreads

Have you ever had a feeling of dread creep over you – non-specific and unfocused but powerful dread? For the last two weeks or so I’ve had this feeling. As the day goes on I feel it coalescing into a knot in my stomach. It just sits there throbbing and I have no idea why. I also had one of my zombie dreams the other night. I haven’t had one of them in a few years. The dreams are similar (I’m one of a group of zombie apocalypse survivors) with different scenarios. Usually what changes are the locales. What is the same is that we get overwhelmed by a horde of zombies and I’m the only one left. I am eventually buried under a pile of zombies and just then I wake up in a panic. I have no idea if I survive or die. It seems to be irrelevant. The terror leaves me breathless and shaky.

I pulled a few Tarot cards to get some insight into this feeling of dread. So I asked what was causing these feelings and drew (from the Gilded Tarot Royale} The Magician reversed.

Gilded Magician

I continued on asking how I can deal with them and drew the 8 of Cups and 4 of Pentacles.

Gilded 8 of CupsGilded 4 of Pentacles

Then I drew Death, The Tower reversed and 4 of Cups reversed.

Gilded DeathGilded TowerGilded 4 of Cups

The overall sense I got from these cards is that the dread comes from a feeling of powerlessness, lack of control and the fact that I can’t walk away. I’m stuck in this situation until something dramatic, earth-shaking and transformative finally happens. I don’t know if this is a personal upheaval or a more global one. I guess time will tell. In the meantime I need to figure out how to deal with these feelings.

I can feel my imagination running away with me. I keep thinking it’s a health issue. I’m convinced I have tumors or something but then my more logical, realistic side calms me down. Having a very practical friend who asked simple questions about certain things also clarified that (say it with me in an Ahnold voice now) “It’s not a tumor!” My same practical, Virgo to the nth degree friend then pointed out that I am of Irish descent and we do sometimes like to over-dramatize things. Immediately the pains subsided a bit.

So the only thing I can conclude is that perhaps it is some type of prophetic warning but it’s more likely stress related. It’s the holiday season – which even when I’m trying to be on my best behavior can be stress inducing, added to the responsibilities I’m handling making me anxious. That’s probably all it is. However, if something major & earth-shaking does go down, now I’ve documented my prophecy! (Kidding, just kidding).

Why did I share this? Not because I felt some need to unburden myself to the handful of folks who read this blog. It’s because there might be others out there who are stressed, anxious and feeling as though giant boulders have nested in their stomachs. Once you’ve eliminated any potential physical causes, consider that all you have to do to change these sensations is look at them objectively. Don’t let your fears overwhelm you. Talk to friends and loved ones or if they’re not available or helpful, try finding an online support network. I always find it fascinating when I realize that my mind can sometimes be my own worst enemy. I can easily allow my inner demons and fears and stresses to amp up into gigantic proportions and all it takes to cut them down to size is some practical words of encouragement and support. Don’t let whatever bats may reside in your belfry shift their base of operations to your stomach and nerves. It helps nothing and makes you miserable.

You always hate the one you love

I have been watching (well okay, binge watching) the Brit TV show Midsomer Murders and I’ve noticed a pattern that made me wonder about relationships. In each show there seems to be at least one couple in which one partner is continually putting the other down; the wife who scorns the husband’s lack of ambition or the husband show scorns the wife lack of sophistication. I have seen this in real life relationships as well. It seems as if the very traits that attract us to a mate in the first place begin to grate on our nerves over time. This is not always the case but it is common enough that it made me wonder why we sometimes start to hate the ones we love. What goes on in our minds that changes what were once endearing and attractive qualities into ones we despite and loathe.

Vampire Lovers

I am far from a relationship counselor but I do occasionally find myself struck by insights into human nature. For example I find it sadly amusing when couples who spend an inordinate amount of time planning a wedding end the marriage within a year. It’s as if they were (well, let’s be honest here, it’s usually the bride) so wrapped up in the ceremony they gave little thought to the actual relationship. Taking that theory to the next level, how often do partners in a relationship see their significant other as clay to be molded rather than as a fully formed independent human being? Based on the number of divorces out there, I’d have to say quite a few.

DruidCraft 6 of Cups

I’ve often heard the comment “he’ll change once the children come” or “once you’re married she’ll settle down”. I wonder what these folks are thinking. Why would the arrival of children change someone’s true self? It might change their behaviors but I’ve found that this often leads to resentment. For example, I know a man who held a part-time job he loved making okay money. He was not the primary bread winner in his relationship and he was okay with that. His job left him with free time to do what he enjoyed. Then his partner announced she was pregnant. They got married, he changed jobs to one with a better salary but that he hated. He stuck with it as the second, third and fourth child arrived. Then one day he left the wife and kids and began having an affair with an old girlfriend. He did return to the wife and kids but the story made me wonder why his wife thought having children would eventually grow on him, despite his protests that he wasn’t ready to be a father at that time. In forcing the issue did she create a pattern that inevitably lead to that outcome? I’m not sure but I doubt it helped the situation.

DruidCraft 3 of Cups

I’ve seen a number of people (usually women) marry partners who enjoy hanging out and partying with their friends (indulging or even over-indulging in alcohol among other things). They seem to believe the partner will stop indulging once their married and will settle into quiet domesticity once the children are born. Why? Clearly that is often an erroneous belief that often results in embittered divorced people. Could it have been avoided if the partners took each other at fact value and accepted the statements each made about themselves?

For that matter why do people not believe you when you state you do not want children? And why don’t more potential spouses discuss this with each other? I’ve come across quite a few wives who cannot believe it when they learn their husband does not want children or vice versa. When asked for details it is often revealed that they never discussed the issue before they were married because she assumed he wanted children or they did and she assumed he’d change his mind. When I was younger and told people I didn’t want children (never have, never will), I often got a patronizing ‘oh you’ll change your mind once you’re a mother” type responses. Thank the gods I met a man who felt the same way about the issue that I did and we discussed it once we realized our relationship would be long term. I don’t understand this assumption that everyone should want children and having them will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact I can thing of few things more guaranteed to kill a troubled relationship than parenthood.

Once again, I have few answers and lots of questions. I can only believe that clear communication (and accepting what your partner tells you) can help matters but I doubt it’s a perfect solution. I suppose the reality is that sometimes one partner changes and the other doesn’t. Sometimes we delude ourselves about who our partner is and what personality traits he/she possesses. We lie to ourselves and we lie to the people in our lives. It may not always be intentional but it can definitely harm our relationships.

DruidCraft 4 of Cups

Okay, first things first. I may have hinted at or even mentioned it before but my childhood was messy. I suffered from physical, psychological/emotional and sexual abuse at the hand of a family member. I’m not going into details because the reality is they’re not important. They’re not necessary for the point I’m trying to make. Suffice it to say that my family put the fun in dysfunctional.

Dark Carnival Strength

I have often made light and joked about these experiences in an effort to make them less important. I refuse to be defined by them and when I was growing up it was much too easy to be labeled “the girls who was raped” or “the girl from that white trash family”. As it was my family was a bit notorious because my parents were very young (Mom was 16 and Dad had just turned 17) when I was born. As a result many of the neighborhood busybodies watched me for years waiting for the demon horns they just knew existed to sprout from my forehead. Rather than becoming a statistic I married a man I love and not because I was pregnant. I managed to complete two master degrees in different majors and for many years was a successful career woman. I showed them! ;D

Norse Tarot 3 of Cups

One day while joking about some of my family dysfunction with some newly acquired friends, one of them suggested that it wasn’t healthy to joke about the pain I experienced. At the time I felt shamed and embarrassed, as though I wasn’t handling it correctly. Now my response would be a more colorful variation of “Screw you”. Joking was the healthy way for me to handle it – then and now. I recently realized that J.K. Rowling even offered a spell for just this type of situation in the Harry Potter series – Riddikulus!

Baubo Siren of Earth Dark Goddess Tarot

By joking about the abuse and demons that tormented my childhood I was making light of them; making them ridiculous and less dangerous. Sometimes when you can’t face and defeat the monsters attacking you then the only option is to make fun of them and drain off their power. Laughter is powerful magic. In fact in ancient Ireland the mockery of a bard was seen as damaging and harmful, especially if one is a king who has been mocked. It could reveal your unworthiness to the world.  Laughing at what scares us can help release some of the paralysis that chains us in place. It can help us get moving again; to find our way to a better, safer place. Thank all the gods for laughter!  It can help cleanse the most tormented soul.

I find it interesting when I’ve come across folks in life who seem to have no sense of humor. They see themselves as sober, “God-fearing”, practical folks. In reality I think they are the sickest among us. They have no ability to access the magical healing power of laughter. In the movie Dogma, Salma Hayek, playing a Muse, states that Catholics don’t celebrate their faith they mourn it.  It’s an interesting point. People who seem to have no sense of humor about their faith suck all the joy out of it. Who wouldn’t want to have joy and laughter in their spiritual celebrations.  Some of the most powerful rituals in which I’ve ever participated had moments of silliness, laughter and a touch of chaos.

45

So from personal experience let me offer this one piece of advice – no matter how dark and desperate things may seem, find a way to laugh. If you can’t find a way to joke about your own experiences then at least find a comedian or movie that makes you laugh and watch it. Laugh until you cry; until you are purged of those poisons and toxins that are building up in your system. Believe me, I can take life much too seriously but I was blessed to find a man who taught me how to laugh at myself. He gifted me with the healing magic of laughter and for that I will always be grateful.

I have a well-known propensity for laughing hysterically at farts and/or fart-jokes.  In fact my mother purchased me a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “You’re never to old to laugh at fart jokes”.  For a long time I felt guilty about this habit – as though it revealed a tacky, low-class side to my personality.  Now I embrace it because I realize that if I can laugh at one of nature’s smelliest, most embarrassing and humiliating moments, then I can laugh at anything life throws my way. My wish for anyone reading this is that you are learn to laugh at farts; that you are able to laugh at whatever craziness life throw your way.  That you learn to tap into the powerful magic of laughter for yourself.

Changeling syndrome

My mother doesn’t understand me. In fact most of my family doesn’t either. Don’t misunderstand – they love me. I have no doubt of that at all, but they often seemed bemused by me. It’s as though I’m a changeling dropped into their lap and they’re not sure what to make of me. I’m more introverted and less social than my siblings. I’ve never felt having a large circle of friends and acquaintances was important while my sister and brother seem to befriend almost everyone they meet. I also don’t’ believe I’m alone in this sensation. I’m sure lots of folks out there have felt their family did not understand them. In fact I have no doubt that at various points in time my siblings have been positive that I don’t understand them either; and they’d be right.

So why am I bringing this up? It’s just been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I recently had an experience where I shared what I considered to be an interesting insight with my mother and she snorted at me! Yes, she snorted at me! At that moment I realized that while my mother loves me and remembers who I was as a child but she rarely understood my motivations or thoughts and beliefs. To her credit, I’m sure she tried but I was not the most forthcoming child. Add to this three more children, a demanding and needy husband and a job that required a lot of overtime and my mother didn’t have a lot of time on her hands to dedicate to getting me to open up. It was easier to just let me alone as long as I didn’t get in trouble, and I was rarely in that kind of trouble.

Over the years I have come to believe that I make my mother uncomfortable. Over the years we’ve had conversations during which she revealed that for many years I intimidated her. She felt I judged her and found her wanting. She’s right – I was judgmental because I could not understand why my mother tolerated the abuse she received from my father. I suppose it speaks volumes for my mother that although she did not understand me, she did manage to raise me to be strong enough not to put up with that kind of abuse myself. She also loved me enough to tolerate my intolerable arrogance and judgmental attitude. We have managed to forge a very good, solid, supportive relationship over the last few years. Once I realized that many of the issues that troubled our relationship were as much mine as hers. This was another minor epiphany for me.

I am offering this to others out there who have had troubled relationships with family members; those who often felt misunderstood and alienated from them. Remember that sometimes our memories are faulty and that we tend to view such situations from our own, self-serving perspectives. Instead of clinging to our conviction that we were right and our relatives are don’t love us because they didn’t understand us, try looking at things differently. Be a bit more open-minded and honest with yourself; accept that some of this might be on you too. Of course I’m not talking about abusive family relationships – those are often broken beyond repair. I’m talking about more typical family dysfunction that can be overcome by some honestly, open-mindedness and love on both sides. Maybe you’re not quite the changeling you’ve believed yourself to be.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: