Category Archives: selfishness

My Friends

are people I admire, not surprisingly. That said, it occurred to me tonight that my friends, as diverse as they are: sf writers, bibliophiles, computer geeks, teachers, artists, antique/vintage retailers — all have at least one thing in common.

They all feel strongly about what they believe. Whether I agree with them, or not. Whether I share the perspective/history which got them there, or not, we share that. We’re passionate about our beliefs.

I’m not only talking about religion, although that’s included, but also issues related to the flow of history, societies, mankind’s future, etc. I think to be my friend requires the commitment to your own beliefs as well as the manners to help me find our common ground, if we disagree.

When the conversation starts “I’m right; you’re wrong.” It’s a pretty short trip to good bye for me.

That statement echoes abuse, right? Abusers all start with the notion that THEY are right.

I don’t require agreement, but tolerance — acceptance of differing opinions as having value, even when not shared. I don’t need you to agree with me, but I do need real manners: not couching your “acceptance” in such a way that is really isn’t. That’s what most of the people of my old life do — say the right words, in the wrong ways. The intellectuals sneer; the monied hold themselves superior. Me? I walk away.

Not surprisingly, I have no tolerance or patience for the underlying attitude which creates abuse in my life now. Yes, that makes me just as bad. I know it; I admit it. And no, I won’t change it. No matter who it might be, they aren’t worth the trip through hell that being around an abusive person, again, would bring.

There are relationships I mourn since I walked away. I’m sure there will be more still. I have this gut belief that all people are valuable, if you just know how to look. All people have a worthwhile story. All people.

Some people I can’t get away from my damnable past when they’re in my life, so I’ve removed them. It doesn’t mean I don’t love or care for them; it means I love me more, as I should.


I wrote this originally 4/4/2018, and I have no idea why I didn’t publish it? Should have!

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Worked on Storage, Yesterday

Intend to do more, today. And yet more, tomorrow. I may have to rent a tiny unit to take the furniture. I’m not sure if the antique store has a place for furniture in its new location. If not, then pieces need to be hauled to auction, sold otherwise, or given away. (Purged books from the house today instead.)

We are getting a new back roof this year and maybe some storage space along with it. However, it will NOT be filled with boxes of books. If I bring the stuff home and it just sits here, I have only gained the price of the storage. And the price of the addition has to be considered in there too. The difference of course is that an additional utility area adds to the value of our home, not just a landlord’s bottom line. But as we’re talking about it right now, it will be a much bigger undertaking than we’d originally planned.

I still have WAY too much stuff. My ultimate goal this year is to have NO storage unit by 12/31 and be able to sanely (no box stacks, except perhaps in the attic) store what we keep. There’s a huge amount of stuff to shed between us and that goal, but I’m really tired of hauling things back and forth, trying to sell them or determine what happens to them. I don’t need the camouflage anymore and I’m tired of drowning in stuff!

stuff stacks

I have no idea how well we can manage this. All I can do is try!

J

Took a box to the dump’s swap shop today. Also wrote notes to booksellers, collectors, etc. who are friends. Were they still interested in x or y or z type of book? If so, exactly what did they want? Got answers, Am getting a list together.  More stuff gone. Also, will have a way to sell the best of the stuff it looks like. Hurrah!

New Rules

  1. Handle things as little as possible.
  2. When items are for sale, if they don’t sell at some previously set time frame, try to remove at least 75% of the items from inventory.
  3. If it’s in the house, you don’t use it, haven’t used it, and you have no idea when or if you’ll use it, get rid of it or reuse the components.
  4. Ask for help when you need it.
  5. Take advantage of good weather.
  6. Talk to the people you do business with. If you’re personable and reasonable, it can save you money. Maybe not a lot, but some. We drove the rental van about 8 miles yesterday. Because we were personable with the folks we rented from and the person before us had put in a little more gas than they had to, the guy told us if the gas hadn’t gone down below x level, to not worry about it. It hadn’t, and so we didn’t buy gas.
  7. Make use of the resources and tools you already have. This one actually cost us money. We forgot our hand truck yesterday and so had to rent one, sigh. We didn’t use it much, but we still paid for the one we rented. Today I’ll throw the one we own in the car.

full hand truck

Self-Care

One of the hardest things for me to understand when life was at its worst was: I deserve to not be miserable. After decades of fighting myself, the PTSD, my old “programming,” etc. I got militant about not backsliding and pursuing what made me “not miserable.” To that end, I have quit being a moderator on a self-help site.

I realized that the slogging work of removing spammers, daily, had become a substitution for the slogging house work. It’s certainly easier to sit at my computer and remove spammers than it is to go through the remaining piles of stuff. After the daily purge of 20+ spammers I had no inclination to tackle my own “spam.” So I quit.

There were other reasons, but the biggest one was that I’d used the unpaid position as an excuse to avoid my life. Self-care doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes it’s downright painful. Walking away from my family hurts, but overall I’m much happier without them in my life — which speaks for itself.

Sometimes self-care is a joyful explosion of self-expression, imagination and creativity, invoking ecstatic childhood. But sometimes, it’s the somber, painful necessary  work of an adult.

 

Decorating: Looking for Versatile, Cheap, Minimalist, and Easy to Clean

Don’t want much, do I?

I’m looking for things I can change that aren’t too fussy,  I can get cheaply (or already have), and are fairly easy to clean. In the past I acquired boxes of decorative stuff. To be fair, some of it was store decoration, but honestly, some of it wasn’t. So I have too much and I’m trying to be sane about culling things.

(Along this line, I removed the unsold Christmas items from the booth. Some of it was donated last week. I have a small bag to try to wholesale. If that works, great. If not, those pieces get donated.)

My “rules” so far:

  • Pottery: crackle glazes don’t look dirty as fast as clear glazes. For that matter, mottled, mixed colors don’t show up dirt/grime as quickly as solids or geometrics. (But personally, I prefer solid colors to most pottery patterns.) Also, “muddy” colors show dust and dirt less than “clear” ones (jade rather than forest green, for example).
  • Clear glass isn’t popular, so it’s easy to find nice pieces, really cheap. You can find interestingly shaped vases, bowls, etc. at thrift shops etc. Buy plain, bigger pieces for their shape.
  • Metalware: Silverplate platters with minimal detailing also look great and can be found cheaply. (I have 2. I think I paid $3 for one, the other was $1.50 because no one had polished it in Gawd knows how long!)
  • Don’t buy ephemeral decorations: fresh flowers, live wreaths, etc. Use silk, dried, metal or whatever otherwise, buy it once and use it continually. Less cost, less storage, less to remember, less waste. If it’s got to be “real,” use citrus, pomegranates or winter squashes which can be eaten when you’re through or as required.
  • Limit decorative space. Right now, I have 3 and the door: the middle of the dining room table, the hall console, the strap table, and the front door. (My goal is to have 3 and that’s it.)

Fairly plain containers of clear glass, china or silverplate can be instantly decorated with nearly anything colorful and look fresh. Add a ribbon or two, beads, or tissue, or fabric or . . . and you can make an attractive, nearly unlimited display, year round.

I have smaller pieces I love which are swapped in and out. If I decorated for each holiday, I’d have iridescent beads as filler in one or more vase right now. I don’t decorate that way; I decorate seasonally.  The only holiday I decorate for is Christmas.

My winter decorating needs to be bright, cheery and colorful. It’s a deliberate contrast to the gloom, bare trees, snow and slush outside.

My plan today is to redo my decorating, so I don’t have to do it again, until March or so. If I get “cabin fever” and just need a change or something green, well, I’ll do something else.

Here are the pieces:

  • wide clear bowl, type flowers are floated in
  • 2 round silverplate platters
  • various vases, bowls, and plates, mostly either crackle glazed or with a “muddy” glaze.
  • large clear glass vases
  • clear bonbon dish
  • candlesticks: clear glass, and otherwise

I have beads, fabric, paper, candles and other stuff. Not sure what I’ll use yet, where.

I pulled glassware and pottery from the display atop the kitchen cabinets. Some of it instantly became merchandise — it’s going away. A vase was put in the living room. Other pieces are part of the list above. I need to get the rest of that display down. If the “stuff” up there gets forgotten, I probably don’t need it and should get rid of it

We’ll see!


The idea is: fewer areas to decorate (4 now, goal is 3. There are 3 now, 4/2017), fewer decorations or decorative stuff stored (in process), fewer changes of the decorations (seasonally & Christmas = 5 turns a year).

General Purging: I’ve lotted one lot of yarn, another of my sea glass “filler” and marbles for the antique store. <-Last of this sold 4/2017. (I kept a sandwich bag of marbles, that’s it, the rest  are going!) I pulled 2 yellow pitchers from the top of the kitchen cabinets, they’re going too. Sold 4/2017.

The idea is that I need to empty/remove the stacked crates on the kitchen counter. There’s not much decorative stuff up there any more (it was entirely that at one point) but it’s where my mixing bowls, etc. are stored. Working on paring down the kitchen tools and china and so that I can make the space I have work.

More to change: the herb rack will come down. The grid wall needs to be replaced by the other ladder. I may combine the herb rack and new ladder, as the ladder is short. That detail hasn’t been determined, yet.


Marked thru changes in the last 2 paragraphs were made in Jan, 2017. Other marked out changes were made in 4/2017.

 

PURSUE Happiness

This is what I used as a reminder and still do, when appropriate:

Put Up, Remember, Shut Up, & Endure

When things got really bad, I’d use the “pursuit of happiness” idea, with this as an acronym, to get myself through. I’d remind myself to be greedy and/or fiercely vigilante, that I deserved happiness, it was something I’d wanted and worked for, for decades.

This is for dealing with others’ actions. Sometimes I had to grit my teeth, shut up, and deal. (Often my being able to “deal” wasn’t being able to deal with whatever was going on currently, but a focus on the future, the possibility that things would change at some undefined future point.) I expect this to be true for the rest of my life.

When people have called me “brave” or “strong” I’ve always said that’s not true.

It isn’t true — I am STUBBORN. I use PURSUE to remind myself that stubbornness, an unwillingness to accept that the world is F’d up beyond hope is my “superpower.” It’s my form of being passive aggressive. I put up, shut up and endured, while dreaming not of hurting the person harming me, not of a world where whatever wasn’t happening, but of a world where what was happening here/now was a distant and unimportant piece of long ago.

I encourage you to be stubborn, in appropriate ways. The world doesn’t owe you anything, others don’t owe you anything. But you owe yourself to try and make your future the best and brightest you can. That means not hurting others, not lashing out, not blaming, but getting on with your life with joy — when you can.

It’s what George Herbert said: “Living well is the best revenge.”

Not Feeling Brave

Or in fact like doing anything at all, except hiding.

Yesterday I went to storytelling. Fine. Talked about stigma, my idea for how to talk about it. My overall impression is that the circle is bored with what I have to say. I came up with an alternative way to approach my problem.

My problem is just this: I’m not afraid of public speaking, in general. I’m terrified to talk about myself and my past issues. Same reason I’m stalling on the memoir. Makes me cringe when people say things like you’re strong, because you know? I’m not.

Stubborn enough to keep fighting myself is one thing. Talking about that in a semi-closed loop (like the ‘net or my friends) is also okay. Talking to people in general isn’t.

I was programmed to believe that people in general would reject me. Yes, I know I’m not the “flawed” human I was brainwashed into thinking I was. However, I WAS brainwashed. And unlike someone who gets PTSD and their brain changed as an adult or young adult, I have no memory to use as a bulwark against the mantra that was woven into my DNA. Of course, I also don’t have the “WTF is wrong with you?” that folks who get PTSD as an adult have as I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have it.

Ironically, I want to talk about the stigma related to mental illness, and the stigma stuffed into my brain is stopping me, cold.

I don’t know if I really want to push through it. I “should.” Yes, I know. But another thing about being 60+ and having fought this damned stuff for 55 or so years is that I’m tired. It’s not an adventure. I’m not determined. It’s just the next, obvious step. It feels like this and the memoir are what I was “meant” to do — but despite all the decades of feistiness, I just don’t seem to give a damn.

I’m not merely tired, or weary, I’m drained.

That is mighty weird since I have fought for the life I wanted, literally since my first breath.