Category Archives: The Odd Bit

Have Courage, Little Duckling

Ducks appear to be effortlessly still.

Flawlessly gliding from one end of the pond to the other.

Behind the curtains, past what the common observer can see, beneath the water, those ducks’ feet are moving intensely fast. Webbed feet paddling quicker than would be expected compared to the relatively peaceful vision of the fluffy duck above water, floating on the water’s surface.

Beneath the surface, there is no calm. In order to keep moving forward, ducks are in constant motion, unbeknownst to the casual observer.

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Ducklings imprint on the first thing they see upon hatching. Their imprinting can also be modified by who they spend their childhood with.

And when I say anything, I mean it. They’ve been known to imprint of dogs, humans, and random objects.

First thing they see is fair game, human, animal, vegetable, mineral.

Okay, I have no idea if they actually imprint on vegetables or minerals, but it sounded good.

 

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Ducks look like they’re not expending any energy. As if they are just there, capable of being on top of the water without doing anything. Without action, work, without mess.

People are a lot like ducks. Little ducklings, in particular. Regardless of what age.

 

There is an unnumberable amount of character and identity to each person which we cannot see. 

We’re often counseled to treat people kindly because we don’t know what horrible things they’re dealing with in their lives.

I know it sounds trite or cliche. But if you think about it, a lot of the important things in life have become little more than a mockery of its original magnificence. 

You don’t know what’s going on in my life any more than I know what’s going on in your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to slit our chests open and allow everyone we pass on the street to peer into our everything.

But a little compassion goes a long way. We’d do best not to judge the bigot, the hateful person, the naive child brainwashed and clueless to it.

They all have their stories. They all have their hurts and trials and successes. If they aren’t given a chance to wake up and better themselves, they’ll grow further into blindness and solidify the walls keeping them hard and untouched by others outside their own skin.

 

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We don’t choose how we grow up. As a young child, we can’t choose our nature or nurture, our atmosphere or experiences.

And the parents who “messed us up”? Their parents messed them up. Pain is a family disease, passed on from generation to generation. Ducklings, blind following the blind. No clue that their eyes are duct taped shut.

The only thing we can choose (and this one goes for the young as well as the old) is how we deal with what comes our way. We can choose our temperament. To become open-minded. To listen to others instead of coming up with ways to counter and win over or prove wrong what they’re saying once they’re finished speaking. We can choose to be optimistic, empathetic, courageous, and to never give up. Regardless of what or who life throws at us.

Because believe you me, life is going to throw some nastiness your way, some rock walls slick with the blood of the dead and conquered, that you then have to scale with bare hands. Gun to your head. Do it or die.

Life doesn’t play fair. You can.

That’s what life basically boils down to. A series of small choices every day, feeding each other until they form who we are, who we’re choosing (whether consciously or unconsciously) to become.

 

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We cannot see anything but what’s above water in people’s lives. There is much more happening in the moments and hours and days and years we are not privy to.

If there is a person in your life with a bad attitude or an obvious shrowd of ignorance, keep in mind they’ve probably been raised by someone with similar beliefs. Children are little more than brainwashed at the start. Little ducklings imprinting on whoever they are around and absorbing their beliefs, without realizing they’re doing it.

It takes a while for our brains to fully develop. For nature and nurture, environment and disposition, to allow us to “wake up” and become aware that there are other ways of living, believing, etc.

And if we choose someone unhealthy to be our role model, it becomes even harder to wake up.

This doesn’t have an age limit. Sometimes it takes people well into their fifties to realize that they’ve been living in the same unhealthy cycle of behaviors, habits, conditioned beliefs, and ways of living, that they were brought up in. And often times hated, proclaiming they’d never become their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so on. Denial is a powerful thing. So is imprinting. 

As children, we want to emulate our parents. We cannot outgrow that urge for their acceptance unless we are aware of what we’re doing.

 

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I’m not saying that people cannot outgrow their childhood. We absolutely can. That’s the whole point! But when did we feel safest? When did we feel it was okay to peel back layers of dead skin from around our throat and examine our behaviors and beliefs, and how we got them?

When do we feel it’s safe to analyze our life?

When we feel accepted, either by ourselves or others.

If someone is throwing stones at a person, they’re in defense mode. They’ve got no time to examine themselves. They’re too busy finding fault with their “attacker”, finding ways to destroy said attackers so they’ll be safe.

If we want to create an environment where people can “wake up”, where people can learn to see a little differently, to feel a little more widely, to open their hearts and minds to a wider picture understanding – then we need to be kind.

No one is going to pause in the middle of the battlefield to check to see what their feet are doing beneath the water they don’t even know they’re swimming in. They’re simply going to get on with it the only ways they know how and move forward. For better or for worse.

 

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We can grow, adapt, change. But not if we are choking on hateful backlash. We need to remember our own mistakes. Remember that we’re all human and we all deserve a chance.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to give people a free pass to treat you like their own personal mean girl assistant or doormat.

Having courage is different from beating someone down and standing on their throat.

By all means, put the powerful arrogant and joyfully cruel in their place. Just remember their place isn’t in a coffin, nailed shut while they’re still breathing. They can’t hang themselves with the scales of justice if we do not hand them the rope to do so. Fully hoping they use it to create a ladder upward and out of the mass grave they’re choosing to throw others into before falling victim to themselves.

 

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We’re all ugly little ducklings. Only, we get to choose who we become.

 

Sources

https://poultrykeeper.com/blog/imprinting-ducks-geese/

https://pethelpful.com/birds/Keeping-Pet-Ducks-and-Geese

 

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4 Things I Know to be True

 

Take a vacation in depression. Don’t move in and live there.

 

Life doesn’t have a one size fits all path.

 

Adulting comes with instructions that don’t work.

 

Parenting is like putting together a puzzle with one piece missing.

 

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12 Kinds of Halloween Partakers in Shades of Eeyore

THE SUPERHERO

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE VILLIAN

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Daphne Shadows

 

THAT ONE FRIEND WHO IS ALWAYS COLD

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE MODEL

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THE COOL KID

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE CREEPY STALKER WHO KEEPS LOOKING AT YOU (and may possibly be possessed but is trying to play it cool)

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE TODDLER WHO DOESN’T WANT TO WALK

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE DRAMA KING/QUEEN (who takes loads of pictures)

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Daphne Shadows

 

THAT ONE FRIEND WHO’S HAD TOO MUCH SUGAR (and doesn’t want to go home, ever)

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE GOOFY ONES

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Daphne Shadows

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Daphne Shadows

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE TEACHERS 

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Daphne Shadows

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Daphne Shadows

 

THE KIDS WHO AREN’T ALLOWED TO TRICK OR TREAT (but really want to)

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Daphne Shadows

 

ME as EEYORE (from Winnie the Pooh)

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Daphne Shadows

I HOPE YOU GUYS AND GALS ENJOYED HALLOWEEN, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU DID!!! 

So, what did ya do?

What kinds of Halloween people did you see this year?

Who did you dress up as? 

Did you have fun?

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Happy Birthday to a Dead Man

I deleted an email once.

I regret it now.

Now that I think about it, there were two emails that I wish I would have saved.

One of them tied me to him, and both of us to family who came before. Funny how that never seemed important to me. I grew up in an abusive home. Love wasn’t something I associated with family. Consequently, family history was NOT something I understood.

An urge to connect with family before my family …. why was that a good idea? Simply leads to more souls born into families who broke and brainwashed them so that they could then go on to do the same to their children, and so on and so on.

But now I find I’m simply curious. I found a photo of his mother. And I wondered… Who was she? What was she like? Was she tough love or sweet, strict or a secret grinner? Did she like to ride horses? To sing? How did she treat him? What did he think of her?

I guess I won’t find out until I too, am dead and gone from this probationary life.

If I had kept that email…

He sent photos of relatives. People who tied him to people. So they tied to me too.

Curious now. I don’t really know exactly what I feel or what I think entirely. Simply curious.

 

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“Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.”

C. S. Lewis

 

The second email tied his compassion for me to my spine. Forever wrapping me in the certainty that what was important to me, was important to him.

It was a list.

One I wish I had now.

Nothing huge. But important to me.

You see, Papa was great at psychology. He sent me a list of all the best to read if I was interested in psychology. I was. But I didn’t have eyes to see or ears to hear. I had no heart to feel with, to live with. I was slowly shutting down. Done with living inside a porcelain suit.

Here I am now, regretting that deletion. I am interested in it again. Want to breathe life into the marrow I carry.

I’m left remembering a list in an email that I can never get back.

 

Grief is funny like that.

The things we remember.

I wanted to make an upside down pineapple cake. It was his favorite. Today is the first birthday of his where he is there and I am here. On two different sides of the veil. I don’t have the money though. Perhaps Christmas then. Or Thanksgiving. Yeah. I think that’s a better idea anyway. I’d prefer to eat it on a happier day. One where we can celebrate.

Not that his life isn’t worth celebrating. But it’s the first birthday where he isn’t here, you know? There’s too much grief still. It seems to creep over the good memories and tint them in something grey and

 

He was a great cook. Was a professional chef for a while.

He would have had the best recipe. Would’ve known to teach me the best way to cook it.

Why didn’t I ask him?

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Happy birthday Papa. 83 years today.

I will see you again. You’re in trouble then. Stuck teaching me all your cooking and psychology tips.

See you then.

 

“I think about her everyday. It does get better, Hotch. Losing someone is never easy… but one day, you’ll remember her and you won’t hurt.”

Jennifer Jareau from Criminal Minds

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How Genre Fiction Changes Lives For Real

Sometimes fantasy isn’t very far from the truth.

I’m a storyteller.
It’s what I do.
I’m a writer.

And, not get to get dramatic but stories change lives.
Because stories ARE lives.
Stories are how we as humans relate to other humans and human values, struggles, ideologies, victories, etc.

Anywho, this is a post I wrote a while ago but then forgot about. Nice to know it still 100% applies.

 


A blood prophet is a gal who is born with the ability to tell the future…. If her skin is cut and blood flows from the wound.
This brings great pain until she speaks the prophecy out loud, which she then cannot remember, as her brains switches off and she feels euphoria to compensate for the terrible things she sees.

But what really pinged for me is how she experienced life.
And how OVER STIMULATED she got, so easily.
And yet she still SAVED LIVES.
She matters, has purpose.
Even though she can’t handle more than a few more “images” a day.
When Meg, the main character who is a blood prophet that escaped slavery, began to live in the real world, (that is, outside of a white-walled room with nothing in it, literally), she became way too easily overstimulated by all the new stimuli and her brain sort of “turned off” and she was a zombie for a few minutes. Without even realizing it, she’d zone out, turn off, numb.
You see, Meg, like all blood prophets, was kept in a teeny little room and shown photos of things from the outside world. The only experience with the outside world she ever had.
When Meg has new images or places, situations, photos in a magazine, facial expressions, personal feelings, etc…. and she get’s too many new ones in one day… she’s done.

I realized, this is exactly what I do.
My brain turns off.
Without me realizing it.
I was abused as a child and as such, learned to “detach” or clinically put, “dissociate”.
Meaning, mentally, Daphne wasn’t home.
As I grew older I continued coping with unhealthy situations and relationships this way.
Without knowing it.
Once into therapy, we figured it out.

But I didn’t know it was so pervasive in my everyday life.
I thought it was one size fits all.
Instead, there’s versions of it. Levels.

To spare any lengthy dissertation of my life and experiences in the past four years, I’ll stick with the most jarring and recent realization.
Which came about ONLY once I’d read this book and realized it was an actual thing that happens to human beings.

I started college.
One class.
First semester.
A subject I LOVE.
I approach class every day with enthusiasm, interest, excitement, ready to learn more about what I love and apply it to my life.
And I HATE college.
Let me repeat…
HATE!
LOATH WITH A PASSION!!!

I couldn’t figure out why.
When it finally hit me, I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure it out. It was once I’d read three books in this series that I added the knowledge to my life and behaviors in the past months and the light bulb BURST into life above my head.
I am a slow learner.
No, really.
I need to soak in, absorb, directly apply information to my life, and repeatedly read stuff, take notes, dissect, etc. when it comes to learning.
When it comes to doing things in a job, I learn really fast.
When I have to read and learn something new in a book environment, I’m slower than molasses in midsummer.
And it threw me. I’d always considered myself a quick learner. When I had things to do – I excelled. Give me a pattern of activities to do and BOOM I have it down.
Not to mention I got through schooling with ‘A’s in every subject.
So HOW am I a slow learner?
I focused on getting good grades. Not on learning. School doesn’t reward learning; it rewards good grades, doing the work, being disciplined, etc.
I’m a hard worker, I’m disciplined.
I’m a slow learner.
I need to learn at a much slower pace than 3 chapters of twenty-five pages each and 3 assignments with their own set of research and information – in one week. Which is the definition of college.
NOT for me.
Lucky for a gal like me, life has options.

Reading Anne Bishop’s novels on Meg taught me something about life, about myself, about how I learn, and about how often I get overstimulated and zone out, without realizing it.
REAL LIFE wasn’t teaching me this.
NOTHING was teaching me this.
A work of fiction. A story. An urban fantasy. This is how I learned vital information about myself and how I operate within the world.
A work of fiction genre taught me truth no one else and nothing else ever had.
THAT is the power of genre fiction.
It is a lie with more truth in it than we can imagine.
Because no story, no matter how bizarre or unusual, is ever truly made up.


The series I am talking about in the post is Anne Bishop’s “The Others” Series. You can check her books out here. I have only read books #2, 3, and 4. I’m excited to read more.

What have works of fiction taught you?

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Because

So….

Hi!

*awkwardly shuffles onto your screen*

How are you doing?

Just wanted to stop by, let you know you’re awesome, and leave this here…

Put yourself first. You can’t be anything for anybody else unless you take care of yourself. -Unknown

(we can’t give if we’re empty)

(and remember that little tidbit about being in an airplane crash? how we’re supposed to put OUR oxygen mask on BEFORE the adorable, helpless infant? that’s because we will die before we can  help the infant – if we don’t help ourselves FIRST.)

and this…

We will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it. — Richard Bach

oh and this too…

“If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit.”

― Banksy

okay, bye for now! (also, here’s an awe-inspiring photo)

and this one too

and this one too – because isn’t it just freaking awesome?!

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3 Key Ingredients to Joy

We need not forget these three core ingredients to a life well lived.

 

1. Don’t take ourselves too seriously.

 

2. Laughter really IS medicine, both preventative and as great treatment. Trust me, I’ve done college research on it. And that makes me more qualified (haha).

 

3. We need to have fun.

Without enjoyment, life has no purpose.

 

Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.

-Gordon B. Hinckley

 

 

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