Toxic friends

Toxic friends
burn like stomach acid
when you’ve thrown up.
Even with them out of your system,
a rancid taste lingers in your mouth.

Your stomach is empty and hungry,
begging to be filled.
But while it may be quick and easy
to fill it with chips and cookies,
only a nourishing meal
will truly satiate it.

So you wash and peel and chop the vegetables,
grease the frying pan,
throw down some garlic and spices,
listen for that sensuous sizzle before
adding zucchini, red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes,
while in the other pot you have rice cooking,
and in another pan a fat fillet of salmon
needing to be turned over,
lemon juice squeezed,
black pepper ground.

Time and effort pay off
and deliver you a meal that satisfies all your senses.

Time and effort make you forget
that rancid meat
that looked so appetizing on the surface,
so delectable to chew,
but once inside you,
poisoned you.

Time and effort bring friends into your life
who are nourishing,
and nontoxic.

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Rumination

Rumination is an intoxicating drink
that makes you want to think and think and think
because maybe if I think enough I can solve this,
he will love me,
she will forgive me,
they will give me another chance.

Rumination, empty sensation,
a tangled knot that won’t unravel
no matter how much you tug on the string.

Rumination, hurricane of worry
with an Eye so calm the air is paralyzed,
while self-indulgent chaos destroys genuine action,
thoughts spiraling out and out
breaking connections.

Rumination, where obsession becomes your possession,
cherished and played with all day
while life is gradually swept away.

Let go of the spinning top
and let the momentum settle,
there is only so much you can do,
the rest is up to Them.

 

via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Doubt as a positive force

When I started looking up quotes on doubt to inspire me in writing this post, I found most were negative about doubt itself as a concept, or saw doubting as a negative, even harmful action. And to an extent these sayings are valid. The saying “Distance doesn’t ruin a relationship, doubts do” is true in that physical distance itself isn’t enough to destroy a relationship, there have to be strong thoughts/feelings which lead people to decide to dissolve their union, and these thoughts/feelings can indeed be doubts about the person or the relationship itself. And of course, in some cases it may be personal insecurity or jealousy that births these doubts, but sometimes doubt forms from just taking a honest look at a relationship and realizing you just aren’t compatible with the other person, that you each have different needs and goals that the other person can’t fulfill because of who they are as people. So definitely, doubt can be harmful if it comes from a place of insecurity, but it can also be helpful if it comes from a place of wanting honesty and clarity.

I believe that doubt can be a really beneficial tool when used in the right way. I believe that it is especially healthy to practice a degree of doubt when you examine your own beliefs and ideas about the world. To scrutinize your religious, social, political, cultural beliefs and ask yourself “Why do I believe this? Where did I get the information for these beliefs? How do I know that the source(s) is trustworthy and valid? What evidence have I seen that contradicts my beliefs? What are some of the different opinions about (x) topic? How much of what I believe was taught to me from birth and echoed around those in my family/community, whether explicitly or implicitly?”

Doubt can help us better ourselves as human beings by realizing which beliefs we hold are harmful, which beliefs are false, and which beliefs need to be changed if we want to live in reality. By trimming away these harmful or false ideas from our consciousness, we help ourselves flourish as more positive individuals and become fuller, more complex-thinking human beings. 

 

via Daily Prompt: Doubt

Finding my center

Finding my center of balance
I wiggle
wobble
and fall
face down onto the floor
Face pancake
Face red, face stinging, face making mountains of wrinkles,
Face broken into tears.

“It’s okay. It’s okay to fall. You don’t have to be perfect,
Try again.” My yoga teacher says,
her soothing voice sashaying
through my center,
finding my center.

I stand,
Tree position,
left foot against my right thigh,
palms together at my heart,
feeling my center.

My center is rooted,
steady,
and stretches like branches
through my head and legs.

via Daily Prompt: Center

Lessons from Animal Farm

Reading Animal Farm was definitely one of the best choices I made last year. For those that do not know, Animal Farm is a famous novel by English writer George Orwell which through its allegorical storytelling shows the techniques that dictators and those in power use to keep the masses submissive and from revolting, even as living conditions get worse and worse.

One of the techniques those in power use is controlling the narrative. That is, to say what is true and what is not, what happened and what didn’t, who is good and who is bad. This is shown very clearly in the book when Napoleon (the leader of the animals on the farm) has his second-in-command Squealer periodically tell the lower animals things about his rival Snowball which at first makes the animals see Snowball’s ideas in a negative light, then Snowball himself is made to seem detrimental to the animals’ plight, then the problems that happen on the farm are blamed on Snowball, then finally Snowball is made out to be a traitor and enemy, with a death sentence on his head.

Napoleon also gains control of the narrative in Animal Farm by slowly  (and without any announcement) changing the actual rules that all the animals originally agreed upon. Thus, “No animal shall kill any other animal” turns into “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” Of course, when Napoleon decides to change things he has Squealer eloquently rationalize and justify the changes to the lower animals. If any animal raises objections, Squealer is quick to remind the animals how “lucky” they are to have what they have and how well Napoleon and the others in charge take care of them (as of course, this veneration of those in power has also been subtly woven into the narrative), and if all else fails, he uses the animals’ fear of “the enemy” to silence them into submission. And so even as life grows more and more unfair and cruel to lower animals on the farm, they do not realize it, and still consider themselves lucky to live on Animal Farm.

This very clearly shows the danger of oversight, the danger of missing out on what is going on right under your noses. This is what those in power rely on, your ignorance. Those in power – dictators, presidents, senators, etc. – rely on your unawareness, your oversight, to pass the laws which benefit them and the corporations/wealthy people that have given money so those specific puppet politicians could have that office.

Do not give them that power.

Pay attention to news stories, and more importantly, pay attention to trends. Pay attention to the narrative that is being told to you, both overtly and subtly.

Do not let your rights and the rights of others be taken away due to oversight.

 

via Daily Prompt: Oversight

Don’t be afraid to expose the truth

One of the definitions of the word “exposure” is: “the revelation of an identity or fact, especially one that is concealed or likely to arouse disapproval.” I believe that this word, and this definition, are absolutely vital to our lives right now.

Right now, as America is about to be led by a man with no experience, no qualifications, someone who has consistently and continuously lied about the things he’s said and done, someone who has started the process of cutting the Affordable Care Act,  science programs/research on climate change, renewable energy, and clean energy, programs that help women who have been victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, right now, more than ever, it is absolutely vital to use our freedom of speech (while we still have it!) to expose his and his administration’s hypocrisy, destructive actions, and the flaws in the narrative that they use to keep their supporters blind to what they are doing.

Of course, exposure should not just be limited to the president and the government. Exposure should illuminate the other injustices happening across the country and across the world, from the continuing violence against protesters at Standing Rock (the Dakota Access Pipeline issue is still not over), to the continuing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, to the appalling dystopia that is North Korea, to the horrific and disgusting sexual enslavement of Yazidi women by Isis.

These events should be known by all people, because if we are unaware that a problem even exists, how can we ever confront it and solve it?  If we keep silent about things that matter, they will keep happening over and over and over again. By speaking up, by thinking critically, and by exposing the truth, we can begin the process of doing some good in this world.

via Daily Prompt: Exposure

Moving

It’s 11:30am, I haven’t slept yet, and my best friend just told me she found an apartment in Toronto and will be leaving our town in Michigan to move there in the next few days.

I feel…I’m not even sure what frankly. More of a quiet sadness than anything. I know I should be happy for her, I know I will be happy for her as with this she’ll be leaving an abusive family environment and will be able to freely be herself finally, I know that, but right now I just feel sad that my best friend will be living 4+ hours away from me.  She’s also the last best friend of mine to leave my town and now I feel like I’ll have no one. I mean sure, I have friends, but they are ones I see less frequently, they are not the kind of friends I feel comfortable just randomly dropping by their place, or calling them in the middle of the night to go on an adventure.

All of my close friends are now in places nowhere close to me.

 

I know, ultimately, that this is something that will help me grow. For a while now, in the back of my mind I’ve kind of had the thought that one of the reasons I haven’t been pushing forward in my own goals, is because I’ve been too comfortable. It’s easy to forget the realities and problems of your own life when you are happily spending time with a friend and devoting a lot of energy into helping them with their life. I know this. I’m the sort of person who likes to distract themselves when faced with problems, and I am very good at doing this. Too good. Using distraction to justify inaction.

Now I realize it, more fully than ever, that I have to take action. That my friends’ lives are moving forward and I’m getting left behind. It’s scary.

But, but, the possibilities are out there! There are so many things I can accomplish if I just set my mind to it!

 

Somehow, whenever I start writing with a pessimistic outlook, it ends up turning optimistic in the end…it’s not even on purpose…somehow, when I write it all down, I begin seeing that there are so, so many positive actions I can take, if I am just a bit creative and put in some hard work. That’s what I want this year to be about.

Now first I just have to conquer my insomnia and bring myself back to a normal sleep schedule… 🙂