The Hide Inside

“You can keep as quiet as you like, but one of these days somebody is going to find you.”
Haruki Murakami

I have wondered how it is to try to understand me when I sometimes do not understand myself. I have put up a barrier between me and the rest of the world. I can and do retreat into the small quiet place inside where no one can get to. I would hide there as a child whenever the world became too big, too bright, too loud. I would retreat there whenever my heart would break at the smallest of upsets, when I could not understand that there were things I just couldn’t understand. Whenever I realized no one understood me, I would go there. When I would do or say the wrong thing, this became my protection, my wall, my shell, my sanctuary. I have never let anyone in.

To be honest, there are times when I like it in there.

In my adult life, during the 17 years that I lived with an emotional abuser. I would go to that place inside myself. In my imagination I created a nice place in the sun on a sandy beach that I had frequented in real life as a teen. I would sit back and watch the river flow, listen to the birds and bury my toes in the warm sand.

This sustained me during the times I could not defend myself because I was not strong enough to even realize I was worthy of defense.

I seldom go there now; that protected place as my life has changed, I left the abuser and definitely I have grown stronger but that barrier remains, the bubble that protects, the facade that makes me seem just like everyone else.

It is only through words on this screen that I type to you through my keyboard that I am able to say this much. My brain is somehow connected better this way than verbally. The words flow right from the source, actually speaking words is not my best thing, but I try.

It has taken me forty odd years to find someone I feel a deep enough connection to not only want to share myself and my inner world with.It is a thirst long overdue sating.

I try to imagine the way I must come across to him. I don’t think he realizes how different I am with him than with other people. I know he knows that I can shut down, he has seen the blank look come across my face, he has watched me instantly withdraw, he has felt my body become limp. He has seen my at my worst, he has seen what I have been able to hide from others, he has seen the exhausted me that can’t speak, he has seen the burned out me that jumps at the slightest sound. He has never judged me or made me feel bad about who I am. He has held me tight and loved the pain away. He has loved me and has tried to understand more than anyone including my own Mother. I still can’t let him in fully and I still can’t tell him in words what I am writing here about I feel. This is a curse and a blessing to me.

It is said that Asperger’s is developmental and I do continue to develop everyday. I have worked on myself my entire life. Writing this blog has certainly helped me in an abundance of ways. I hope to inspire others in this way; you matter–you are loved –you are not alone–although you are special and unique there are others who feel like you–and you can change your life.

♥SBI

Fresh Quotes for Fresh Writing

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~ E. L. Doctorow
“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~ E. L. Doctorow
"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on" ~ Louis L'Amour
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on” ~ Louis L’Amour

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. Ernest Hemingway

 

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” ~ Ray Bradbury
 

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ― Franz Kafka

 

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” ~ Anais Nin

 

 

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth

 

There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick. -Robert A. Heinlein
“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

 

Ray Bradbury’s Greatest Writing Advice

The world between two pines

A mystical magical foray through the foggy forest

“The richness of a moment comes when it’s both full and empty at the same time. The truth is, we live simultaneously in time and timelessness.” ~ Ram Dass

Where does reality leave off and imagination take over? Does it matter?


All at once the light of overcast day turns to fog as we step between the two tall pines and descend into into darkening wood.

I proceed with an uncharacteristic reverence, my steps slow and deliberate.  

The air is damp. Tufts of fogginess elongate, curving and curling between the trees trunks like an asp lending an air of mystery to the atmosphere. Although I am inside a natural area that’s inside a large park, I could be anywhere. 

There is a sense of timeless here, of ancientness. I can smell it. The pine needles, the mud, the old leaves, the moss. Ancestral memories encoded in my DNA have been awakened. I feel oddly at home, every twist and turn takes me deeper and deeper in. 

My usual gleefulness is gone, replaced by a watchfulness. Where my causal romp through the woods has become more than causal. I notice my steady breaths and I notice the birds are quiet. It seems as everything is at a standstill, but me.

It’s as though I am walking through a dream. The haze grows murkier with every step, my footing has been lost in the fog. The path twists and turns and suddenly I find I have lost the path altogether. The mossy floor feels like soft clouds and I imagine I am high in the sky feeling the cool fresh air. I feel so relaxed and at ease , I am compelled to sleep…

Then I spy glossy black wings in the corner of my mind’s eye and hear the cawing of the crows…
…suddenly I’m back on the ground slipping in the mud, catching myself in dreamland and jolting myself awake. 
Better watch my step…haha.

 

~SBI
All photos taken by me on The Wildwood Trail in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. 

 

 

 

 

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Taking back my Mojo

 

Oh how I stumble and bumble, oh how clumsy I have become. Once I glided upon air like a bird in flight. Now I stagger across a concrete landscape like a glazed-over drunk in need a cup of strong coffee to wake me the hell up.
Once the thoughts flowed out like chocolate cake batter; smooth, concise, beautiful. Words would combine to make a confection of sorts, an image, an idea, a feeling that would be felt by the reader. It was a gift I possessed or at least I though I did once…

Being a loner who was good with words I felt at home with them and would be able to convey whatever I wanted, It was so natural, so easy. I took this for granted I knew no other way …now I struggle for the right words , the right combination of them. It is frustrating, there is much locked up behind me ,  behind the facade; the face(s) I show to the world. I ache to use words again how I used to, I ache to be able to walk along the beach and listen to the ocean, taking in everything in that moment and giving it back to the world…in words..in images…making art of life and inspiring others to do the same…

This is not what I do know and I don’t dare call myself a writer, writers write, I talk about writing. This makes me a talker.

So here I am writing my first post in a zillion years, Stumbling over every word. Pissed at myself for allowing the excuse of not having enough time to take away from myself one of the greatest pleasures I have ever known.

Although I have lost ground in skill and effectiveness and definitely in refinement I have gained  a courage I did not know before. I’m not only able to grow a beautiful garden I am tough enough to protect it with my shovel and I will.

I have learned that one can stay too much in the middle and that my fear of offending someones effected my writing. It effected my creativity and it effected my effectiveness. While I could say something very nicely it did not make what I was saying very important. In that I have changed because I believe there are things we should stand up for in this crazy world. I am finished being afraid. I will speak my truth , how I see it and to hell with anyone who wants to attack me for it.

And with that I will bid my adieu for now, I think I have broken through, thanks for listening.

Nancy

aka

Strawberryindigo.

Taking back my Mojo. #Strawberryindigo

 

Plague Everyone with Joy

I wasn’t always so sunny and happy. People were always telling me to smile. I have noticed that my face will typically give me away and that when I’m lost in thought, which is often, it looks like I am angry.  I’ve made it a point to watch this. I have also made it a point to watch my thoughts.
For much of my life insecurities and doubt have plagued me. I have hurt myself with negative messages that became my mantra that ran constantly inside my head. This made me miserable. My negative energy attracted even more negative energy from others. I struggled with not being understood but it never occurred to me at the time that I also needed to try to understand others.
I decided to be kind to myself and forgive myself for being so very imperfect. I thought I could change my inner dialog to something positive and I looked for the good in me and told myself good things about myself, even if I didn’t believe them.  More importantly I took this same love and understanding that I was finding for myself and turned it outward. I made it my “job” to reach out and say something kind or supportive to people especially those who seldom hear that sort of thing. I made sure my compliments were honest and true. I learned that I could find something encouraging and positive to say to almost everyone.
 Not that this is easy all the time for everyone. I am a naturally shy introvert. It has taken many baby steps to get to where I am today. I have tried to plant tiny seeds of sunshine wherever I go.
And more and more I find these seeds have sprouted.
By spreading the love it comes back, absolutely. 
 I don’t mean to sound trite or come off with some well worn out syrupy platitudes.  I have heard people complain about the unauthenticness of the idea that thinking happy thoughts and that an attitude of gratitude is a cure-all. It is perfectly normal;  healthy, in fact to have a wide range of emotions including sadness. Emotions are colors on a palate and life is art. We as artists can make our lives masterpieces when we use a full range of hues.
That being said:
I find touches dark blues,  patches of deep purples and deep black hues to be in beautiful contrast to the soft pastels and sunny oranges and yellows, it is in that contrast that I find beauty in, but a little of those darker shades goes a long way. Life provides us enough of those. If I can, it is the sunshine I will spread.  Makes me happier anyway.
I can make the conscious choice of letting the darkness that hits me in life stop at me. This is how I cope with the crap that hurts me; with my refusal pass it on.
I am so blessed.
So if I seem a little pollyannish or silly remember I didn’t start out that way and that really, no one can be blissfully happy all the time.   Happiness requires the decision to be happy. Just the simple act of smiling is powerful magic in itself.  Science has shown that the simple act of smiling can boost your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.
 I think to stay happy we need to spread that joy around like it’s the damn plague especially on those days when we do feel like crap.
So get out there and plague everyone you meet with joy.
Watch its boomerang effect come alive.

 

 
♥ Nancy

.

We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy.
― Swami Satchidananda
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Related and Unrelated Articles
 JOY to the World–Three Dog Night

 

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Garden of the Mind

 

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

~Claude Monet

 

We all engage in self talk. A running inner dialog that writes the script of our lives.

Seldom are we completely aware of just how influential we are on ourselves. We definitely live up to our own expectations. Positive or negative.  Problems arise when insecure feelings begin to dominate the conversation. And rarely do we share these dark thoughts with others. They are hidden behind a wall of bravado we put up between each other. This causes us to see only the exaggerations put together by our imaginations not the full scope of reality.

Insecurities are kept in a secret place locked inside ourselves in that dark closet of pessimism, where fear lives. It is fear that leads us to lie to ourselves in the first place. Much of the negative crap that our own insecurities whisper to us is not accurate or realistic at all, but these hidden feelings do have a profound effect on our behavior. Only when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect can we begin to rebuild and replace all that negative crap with good crap.

I liken a life to a garden. What grows in our garden is what has been planted.

 

 

The lives which we are living now are the result of our past actions and those past actions were the result of our past thoughts. The seeds we planted long ago are sprouting now.

We truly are what we have cultivated. We can thrive in a colorful vigorous and sunny garden or we can wallow in the dark. and it is that simple… of course surprises can spring up

Life is random and certainly not fair. We are subject to the whims of that randomness…

…and no matter what we do surprises can spring up…

Sometimes squirrels can dig up your tulip bulbs and plant them in your neighbors backyard…sometimes a spring hail shower can wreck havoc on your tender pansies. There have been times when a black cloud descended into my garden and left it cold and dark. There have been times when I thought that the sun would never shine again…

And then I found the sunshine within myself and lit up my garden with hope, faith and blind determination.

 

 

These are the times when we have to rely on that sort of sunshine to make our gardens grow.

…that’s why you need a good dose of it stored up in your pocket for a rainy day.

 

 

Determination: Yes. Work: Most certainly. Anything worth anything takes work and belief. That is your sunshine and nothing will shine without it.

Gratitude is like water. It nourishes life in our garden. It makes what grows grow. Without gratitude we will never find the happiness and contentment we seek.

Attitude. How we frame the picture we see.

What some may interpret as a raging storm can seem like a gentle shower watering a summer flower.

 

Seeds are the ideas we present to ourselves. We can plant what we want.

 

Being afraid; having social anxiety…the alien-ness I felt being on the autism spectrum…my alcoholism.. these were symptoms of a greater problem these were/are my challenges. I on instinct planted seeds to counteract the ones planted many years before which led me to feel so sad.

How do I do this? I change my inner dialogue. I forgave myself. I saw myself as a poor damaged thing that needed sympathy, love and understanding.  I began to treat myself more kindly; I began to lie to myself but in a good, encouraging way.

I told myself wonderful things about me; things I didn’t believe. But I kept planting and counting.

I counted reasons to be grateful. I thanked God or the spirits that be. I thanked the universe for my good fortune. I embraced mindfulness and tried to enjoy every passing moment for what what it is without expectation. I found worthiness in contentment and strength in humbleness.

 

I wrote words like”optimistic” ,”happy”and “Yes” in bright colors and tapped them around the house.

I found solace in the colors of music and the sound of the rain.

I refused to be daunted by a reluctant sun so I made my own.

 

What began as a tiny spark has grown larger and my garden is growing with colorful, green, growing wild things.

I continue to plant seeds whenever I can. My garden is a work in progress. Always planting something, digging, weeding, taking it all in.

Despite changes and setbacks I am here to encourage other gardeners who may be discouraged. Maybe to make myself feel a bit better too.

 

As Ram Dass once said: We’re all just walking each other home.”

And I say that it’s damn good to have a friend to walk through the rain with. 

 

~nlm

 

 

 

Related Articles

Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy

Mister Rogers Remixed | Garden of Your Mind

Words Can Change Your Brain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like a Rock

tranquil mountain strong

When I think of strength I think of my Dad. He wasn’t the bodybuilder or lumberjack type. He was a man with little education who came from another country and started a small business. He always provided for his family, he was there and he never wavered, even after he and my mom broke up when I was 11, even after my brother, sister and I had grown and moved out. He was the steady rock of our family. He never complained, he carried a mirthful attitude with him wherever he went. He had a smile and a kind word for everyone despite living with decades of chronic pain. I am ashamed to admit I never really noticed this until after he was gone…funny how that works…funny how my image of what it is to be strong changes as time goes by…

Big muscles don’t always equate with strength, there is also another kind of strong. The inner strong. A person’s will, resolve, resilience; that which endures and continues.  It is a quiet and powerful. It’s sublimely subtle, not flashy at all. It declares itself not. It just is.   It’s what enables us to hang on one second more, hold out hope one more time and this very thing can save us when all else fails. It is born of necessity and it grows in jagged stages marred by pain and shaped by experience.

 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” ~Ernest Hemingway
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”
~Ernest Hemingway

We grow stronger by allowing ourselves to be weak, to fail, to fall. We gain strength by getting up again and again…and again. Our eventual redemption is not only made of this, it depends on it. It is at the bottom of that dark abyss of hopelessness that we can find that very hope that can sustain us. Those who have been thrust into this abyss know full well there is a light in the dark; it is wondrous and strong, it is beautiful, it is divine and it is in each and every one of us.

We are stronger than we believe. We need to believe this. We need to be honest with ourselves and listen to our hearts–therein lies strength; it is in the almighty power of love.

Strength does not lie in oppressing others, or by putting them down. The illusion of superiority does not make anyone stronger or better or more deserving than anyone else. Good fortune and adversity alike mold us into what we are today. The “protection” of privilege cannot purchase anything of any true value. This must be earned by our experiences and our reactions to circumstance.  

To show compassion and kindness is strength. It is the strong that are big enough to see beyond themselves to the greater picture that includes us all.   It is by giving away that we gain. It is by being the steady rock for others to hold on to we can find the strength to hold on ourselves.   I am learning this slowly, like a rock.

 

~NLM

 

we can do it strong

 

“Be strong. Live honorably and with dignity. When you don’t think you can, hold on.” ~James Frey

 


 


Gallery of The Strong

 

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

 

Salt March led by Gandhi, India, 1930
Salt March led by Gandhi, India, 1930

 

"Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children.
“Migrant Mother” is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children.

 

Londoners shelter in a tube station during the Blitz.
Londoners shelter in a tube station during the Blitz.

 

Mother Teresa in her hospital. 1971. Credit Getty Images
Mother Teresa in her hospital. 1971. Credit Getty Images

 

 

My Dad, brother and sister and me on my 2nd birthday. :)
My Dad, brother and sister and me on my 2nd birthday.

Related Articles

 

9 acts of individual defiance that changed the world (One.org)

When Being Strong Is Weak (Goodmenproject.com)

Malala Yousafzai – Facts (Nobelprize.org)

Civilians on the frontline (Theguardian.com)

Brave – Sara Bareilles (Youtube)

Paul Simon – Loves Me Like a Rock