Imposters Among Us

I have spent my life feeling different.  And not just a little different, but WAY OUT there different.

My recent catch phrase is “I see dead people, really.  But it’s no biggee.”

Really.

When someone wants to slap me high five I feel my arm stuck to the side of my body.  When everyone stands up for ovations at the end of a show I feel silly joining in unless I totally LOVED what I saw.  When watching a sporting event it would never occur to me to cheer or take a side, it seems ridiculous…and to wear a Jersey of a team?  I just really don’t understand that businesses?  What are you trying to say?

Alien

Alien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to think I was an alien, not the non-American in America kind, but from some other way better planet, and I’m just here as an experiment…but they forgot to let me know what I was supposed to be looking for, or doing, or becoming. They forgot to tell me how to get home. I also thought I was stupid…since everyone else was getting this “fit in” experience, and my total inclination has always been to go the other way.

Then I tried to blame it being Aquarian mixed with Jewish (read:  Dawn of the new age mixed with Chosen People).  But that was a lot of expectation and responsibility, and while I like both, that was overkill.

But I also believe in luck and right timing, and I just met a man who is teaching me about his experience with dyslexia.  And in speaking with him he told me that he always feels like an imposter.  And I leaned into that.  I had never heard those words out of another person’s mouth before.

And I felt hope dawn.

Could it really be as easy as that I have a different learning style?  That I’m not from a magical planet where everyone loves everyone, and there is no senseless violence or war and everything you need for your beautiful existence is available at all times?  (Yes, I’m talking about doughnuts that don’t make you fat!)

I questioned him…a lot…and I got to trace this belief pattern in myself all the way back to  the beginnings of my learning experience.

You know that game for young kids where you put the wooden square shape block into the square cut-out on on a wooden board?  I could never do it.  I never understood why the square went into that shape, because it didn’t look like that to me.  And then when my mom showed me the “right way” I could see it…and repeat it.  But I could never figure it out on my own.

And I have always been a strange but voracious reader.  When I read, I see the book in my head like a full-on over produced movie…But the parts of the book-movie I pay attention to were never what the teachers thought were the most important parts to pull out.

For instance, the way the light highlights someone or something is far more interesting to me than plot.  Or the way that someone was thinking or feeling is way more engrossing than anything else, frankly.

They sent me to a special after school reading class when I was a kid because it seemed that I didn’t get comprehension.  They taught me to pick out the parts that were “important”, and reading stopped being fun, but my test scores improved.

In Math class I looked at jumbled messes of numbers and constantly raised my hand wanting more explanation, but the class size was too large and everyone else was fine…so my teacher patted me on the head and told me I was so good at reading that I should just focus on that.

math!

math! (Photo credit: MStewartPhotography)

And I bought that.  I stopped trying because the message was I could just move towards what was easy for me…but what I remember is wanting to understand.  I remember loving the numbers, they just confused me. But I put that away and moved towards what I knew, because that’s where I got the most validation…and I think I’m still living my life that way…in many respects.

So back to real time, speaking with this man who has spent his whole life finding a learning style that works for him…and then he mentions that intuition is something many dyslexic’s are great at because they usually see things happening far faster than the average person.

And I said, “I’m really great with intuition.  In fact, it’s kinda the only way I can tolerate getting information any more because my brain is lazy.”

And I heard myself say that out loud.  And I felt shame.  I didn’t immediately understand why…but I definitely felt shame.

And I thought about that.  My whole life I have assumed I was less than, that I was stupid, that I was a poor learner.  That I was lazy in the brain cell work out department.

But perhaps there is another explanation.

When I think about how hard I had to work to tap into my intuition, to be an open vessel, to learn to trust the images and messages…it is anything but lazy.

There was a time in my life while I was growing this skill when I had a constant Migraine for over a year.  It was described to me later that I was opening my third eye…all I know is, it was unpleasant.

But there are fun parts too.  My partner is a wine distributor.  That’s not the fun part…well, that’s kinda fun.  But the point is, he will have me taste a wine, and within a few moments I can tell you the price the wine should be, and more importantly I can tell you the intentions of the wine maker.

This image shows a red wine glass.

This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know, rad huh?  I’m his party trick pony.

You wouldn’t believe how unpleasant some of the intentions are though.  I just spit that wine out.

But more than wine, my learning style is about understanding people.  About seeing where they are in life and where they want to go, and what’s in the way of that happening.  Sometimes the truth is hard to say because there is no tactful way…but I try the best I can.

Sometimes it’s unwanted…like strangers on a bus…or even patients that just want their back pain to go away, but there is a message in there that wants to be heard…weather they are ready for it or not.

And sometimes it’s hard on relationships when one person just wants to sit in what they are going through and pretend it’s not there, and I can see it…and I want to talk it out…but they don’t want a therapist…they just want to try to have a good time.

It didn’t come with an instruction manual.  Being human or an intuitive.

And then I trace this back to the fitting in part.  More then reading, how I learn is hearing something and seeing if it’s a truth in my gut.  If I’m certain this is true.  Then I learn it.  So the more opinions I hear, the clearer I can get to a truth.  And it’s always shifting, never stable, which is totally irritating to some people.

It’s why I never fit in with the popular kids…being fake or doing things just because others are doing them didn’t and doesn’t feel good in my body.  It’s a perfectly tuned sensor to balance.  And for some reason that balance has always been in my body.

But I will tell you, I have really been giving some thought to the idea that I’m not smart enough.  Who gets to really decide how someone learns anyhow?  I don’t remember anyone trying to figure out with me another way to do Math.  It was this way, or just go read.

I know that history was taught awfully in school. I’m sure those teachers always drew the short stick. But I could never keep the dates or timing right because I have a hard time remembering numbers. It was always my worst subject, even worse than math.  But in college, I took a history class that was taught entirely in story.  The professor stood at the front and told about the time through the eyes of a family.  And I remembered EVERYTHING.

How many kids are falling through the cracks?  How many are forced to feel like imposters?  How many are having their true talents wasted while a failing system throws them into a box and says, “Conform.”

How many people are 40 years old before they get their first glimmer of realization of their worth, their place?

If I hadn’t been talking with this man I still wouldn’t be able to go back in my memory banks and soothe all the memories to have a different outcome.  I still would be under the impression that I’m not smart enough.  That I don’t understand things like others…instead of thinking this emerging thought that others don’t see things like me!

This man said to me…”there is no Learning Disability– it’s that they haven’t found their learning style.”  And I feel deeply saddened for all those out there still searching.  Might you know anyone who fits this bill?  Might you be their champion…to help them discover the way their beautiful mind works?

There is even more diversity of thought out there than Democrat, Republican, Stupid Conservative Republican (sorry…that can’t be erased) White, Black, Red, Brown, Yellow, Gray, Old, Young, Vegetable, Animal, Rich, Poor, Middle Class….

There is another dimension…a rich dimension where we may just find this world’s true super heroes.  Where we may just un-tap potential we couldn’t even dream up!

So, who is really the imposter?

Super Hero 3

Super Hero 3 (Photo credit: Alice Bartlett)

 

Please note…If there is an AD below this…it’s not from me or my choice….I recommend ignoring it….Again, my post stops here!  Thank you so much for reading….

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Emotional Climate Zones

I was just talking with someone about what it was like to grow up with Angry male role models.

For an empath like me, it was very difficult.

This probably has a lot to do with me falling for my ex-husband.  He was the first man to show me that Father’s could be kind.  Not just sometimes, but KIND…all the time.  I literally had no idea.  My favorite example is this one particular day, it was an important learning day for me near the beginning of our relationship.

On this day we were in the garage at this house with a new car.  It was the first time pulling in and it was a tight fit because it was a small garage. It was my ex’s first new car in 15 years.  His old car was a BMW that basically wheezed every time you turned it on and wished it could just die already.

So we unloading from some serious grocery shopping, and were standing at the back of the  car at the open trunk while unloading said groceries  and his daughter, like always, did her job and pressed the button at the other end of the garage to lower the garage door.

My ex leans over and yells “press it again press it again….” but it was too late, the garage door came down right on the trunk and gashed his brand new purchase.  I made it to the button and pressed it again to raise the heavy door–but the damage was done.

We immediately noticed that his daughter was crying and he dropped the groceries and ran over to her and started examining her and asking, “What’s wrong?  Where are you hurt?”  And she said, through tears and sobs, “I hurt the car.”

He sat back on his haunches and hugged her and pulled her away, and said, “It’s just a car.  Please don’t scare me like that.  It’s just a car.”

It was then I realized I was holding my breath, and that every muscle in my body was ready to get yelled at and perhaps hit.  He patted her on the but and said, “Get upstairs silly, the car will be fine.”

I could have passed out.

I knew right then I would marry him.

He walked back to the trunk, ran his finger across the gash in his no-longer-store-bought new baby, and shrugged his shoulders.  He didn’t notice I was white as a sheet.  And I never mentioned it.  It took me a few hours to process that a father could just see a mistake as a mistake and not blame anyone.  And over the years, as our relationship dwindled down to a friendship…I never ever forgot that gift.

Because my fathers were two different types of storms while I was growing up.  (I’m happy to report they are both very different men now.)

Satellite view of cyclone.

Satellite view of cyclone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My biological father was like a bad storm in Colorado.  It was deep, and mean, and cold…but you knew it was coming and the sun was still out.  The weather would drop and the forecast was clear, you knew it was coming. But it didn’t invade your soul, it just stung your cheeks, and your bum when you landed in it while skiing.

Now my step-father was more like a particularly bad winter on an Island in the Pacific North West. It was wet, and cold, and windy and it got into your pores and your skin and you couldn’t warm up from it without significant effort…and just when you thought you were warm, you would get smacked with the system all over again.  It was like walking on a tight-rope with no net, in high winds.

I bring this up, because I have other people in my life that feel like being on a tropical island.  And folks that feel like a perfect fall day in Vermont.  And I notice, as I sit here with my Jasmine tea this morning that I can quite easily put everyone I know into some  type of weather pattern…and that I actually have a very beautiful little diagram happening.

Have you ever thought about emotions that way?

I know, for instance, when I get low…I’m exactly like a gray rainy day.  Maybe for some parts of the experience it gets windy, maybe a little hail….and then back to more rain.   On the other hand, when I’m having a good day, it’s like the perfect 75 degrees and sunny with a light breeze and no clouds.

And then I wonder if it isn’t our emotionality that’s affecting weather patterns?  And not the other way around… (Yes, I think I’m a wizard, what of it?)

The High Priestess

The High Priestess (Photo credit: dayglotter_ivy)

So my next leap is…It’s important to have those rainy days every now and again, because it’s good for the earth.  And it’s good to have those windy days because it blows away the dust and pollen.  And it’s great to have those sunny days because we freaking love the giddy happiness of summer, obviously.

What are your emotional climate zones? And how can you ensure yours are feeding the planet…and by extension, yourself?  And, when we recognize our weather patterns, if we don’t like them…can we just pick up and move to some zone we like better?  I realize this would take an immense amount of visualization…but…isn’t the Earth worth it?

Just some sunny 72 degree thoughts for you this absolutely beautiful day.

Death and Pizza

This blog assumes a few things.

One- that you have seen, heard of or read about the transition from being in an earthly incarnation to suddenly not.

Two-that you can see the humor in the inappropriateness of the mixture of language and shock with a side helping of grief.

My childhood pet died after I had already moved to the West Coast.  One day he was alive and barking on the other end of the phone, and one day they had put him down.  I was sad, but let’s face it, I’m an Aquarian and my grief button doesn’t really get triggered until I see what others people’s emotions are doing.  It’s the strong Alien nature within me.

When I was twelve or so my Mother’s old boyfriend who I loved and cherished drowned.  My mom came into my room one Summer morning before my drama camp and put her arms around me and started crying.  She finally eeked out that Steve had died and if felt inappropriate for me to grieve since my Mom clearly needed someone to be strong.  I was a weirdly empathic child who has turned into an even weirder empathic adult.

When I was in my early twenties my Grandfather, a sweet gentle soul passed after numerous strokes.  My last memory of visiting him is vivid with my grandmother holding his hand and him spinning her wedding ring around her finger.  They were awful together–but underneath it until the end, they were for each other.

My Grandmother followed quickly thereafter and I was on the West Coast with a broken back and unable to fly to the funeral.  I sent a poem which they read aloud at the gathering.  A feeble attempt at being a part of the experience yet still keeping me away from the realness of other peoples immediate grief.

Yes, aunts and uncles died.  Friends of friends.

But somehow I remained unscathed.

I have helped numerous folks cross over, watching as their bodies dissolve into the light and their field is drenched in the warm loveliness of peace.  But that is nothing to grieve about. It’s beautiful beyond belief.

So here we are, in my 40th year that I am both loving and hating in equal amounts.  Loving because it’s freaking amazing and hating because the change required to keep up with all the shifting around me is enough to make a sweet soul like myself go mad.

But this brings us to my sweet cat friend, Chloe.  And her mom, my chosen sister.

chloe 1

I first met Chloe over ten years ago when she left her owner two doors down and started hanging out in Jess’s house.  She was an Orange Tabby and she was spunky and wonderful.  I was the only one she ever tolerated picking her up because I’m so tall and I would walk her around and show her life at 6 feet above.

Every time I went over she was there speaking to me upon arrival and letting me pet and hold her.

A few years ago her health started declining and Jess enlisted the help of a Shaman and pet communicator.  They would talk every three weeks or so and Chloe started teaching all these lessons we never get to hear from our pets.  Like how special she is from Chloe’s eyes.  And her urgings for Jess to open her heart and love others the way she loves Chloe.

Then last Thursday Chloe (through the Shaman) told Jess it was time for her to leave.  That she needed help.  That only Jess could make it fast and painless and that she was ready.

Jess was not ready.

Who is ever really ready to put their companion down?  Their friend?

Now I am Aquarian, and I don’t know what I would do in this situation, my attachment level to people and things is not very strong.  Except I have this one piece of pottery….

But Jess feels.  She feels for the planet and all beings, and this is a very different affair for her, even though she knew it was coming for over a year.

When I arrived on Friday Chloe started meowing at me from the door.  It was this insistant stay right there meow.  I did as instructed with all my crap in my arms and she slowly ambled around chicken wire and through the way overgrown front patch of garden space and stood in the front center.  She looked me in the eyes and gave this strong meow.  It had purpose.  It said, I want to be buried here.  Please inform the others.

“Chloe, are you showing me where you want to be buried,” I asked.

She just looked at me until it was clear that was in fact what she wanted, and then gingerly scampered off.

I informed Jess, and she fell apart.  Let the weekend begin.

I brought dark chocolate and red wine, like any chosen sister would.  We spent time being with Chloe.  We held her.  She didn’t like being carried anymore because of the pain in her hips but she let me.

I had long talks with her.  I told her when she got back up to her cat heaven to find the people heaven and find the royal “ME” and slap me and tell me to send better help.  She looked at me and walked away.

And then it was Monday morning and the Vet was two hours late.  Can you imagine what it’s like when you are doing something so hard for you and the vet doesn’t show up?   Can you imagine the head games you could play…see i’m not supposed to do this!  I should call it off!

But she didn’t.  She held firm and we sat in the front garden where Chloe had planted herself over her soon to be grave, basking in the sun.

When the vet arrived within a little while we got started….and I’m going to skip to the part I want to write about.

Chloe was sick, yes.  But she was alive.  She had life in her eyes.  Her heart was beating and her breathing was difficult so you could really see it in her lungs.  So after the first tranquilizer shot, when we had her laying on the deck in her favorite position, and Jess is losing herself in grief right next to her, and we are all petting her and tears flew like rivers, even from the sweet vet who wasn’t unmoved by the grief and more importantly the love we had for this sweet soul.

And then, when she lost her blink reflex, the euthanasia happened.  And within minutes, Chloe was gone.

And I mean Chloe was gone.  Her body was there, but Chloe was gone.  The life was gone from her eyes.  In seconds, it just left.

And yes, we were crying.  And yes, I was holding Jess and and rocking her and grounding into the Earth and offering strength just like I did for my Mom all those years ago.  And now I am old enough to feel as well as nurture which was nice to notice.

And we stayed that way for some time.

chloe 2

Finally we moved Chloe to the front window, her favorite spot.  Full Southern Sun.  I put flowers around her and she looked so peaceful.  I put my hands on her and felt only my energy.  I said a Hebrew prayer that always seems available to me and then I said some Hindi chants that resonate fully with my soul.

And then the doorbell rang and the Pizza we had ordered because we were famished arrived.  I walked to the door and opened it, still in my altered space and the Pizza guy says,

“That is one happy cat.”

I never thought that you could see through the window.  I never thought someone besides us would see her.  It felt like a private viewing because we were so wrapped up in ourselves.

“She’s dead,” I said.  “I mean, we just killed her.”

stammer stammer

“I mean…it was humane.  Shit.  yes, she is very happy.”

He just stared at me.  And I stared back, willing my mind to have something coherent to say.  But nothing came.

“Thanks,” I said.  Backing up with the Pizza.

And I thought, she does look very happy.

English: Dahlia 'White Star'. Real Jardín Botá...

English: Dahlia ‘White Star’. Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)