Unfolding Intimately Into Illusions

So many times I was offered illusions,
of love, such empty promises they turned out to be
I unfolded myself to slip into
the dreams woven in deception
unknowing, both me, and the deceiver

Some people cannot live in daylight,
truth finds them there so not knowing stealth
becomes their wont.
Promises made in intimate darkness
don’t endure the light of day

Published in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself


Self Efficacy Matters More Than Self-Esteem

In life, we hear a lot about having a good sense of self esteem. Indeed, positive self esteem is of great value. But on what is it built?

Self efficacy builds self confidence. So the more skills in life we have, the more confidence there is.

Efficacy is simply being efficient. If we are brought up learning age appropriate tasks, we have self efficacy. Being able to do most everything around running a home by the time we are moving away from home, we will have the confidence to do it.

This is how I raised my daughter. She learned age appropriate skills as she grew up, including how to cookShe found success in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards as she had the skills she needed do well and lead others as they hiked for miles carrying everything they needed on their backs. She was probably not the targeted candidate, but these long weekends certainly increased her self-confidence.

When we aim at self-esteem, validation is needed. Where validation is required, there are going to be quite a few times when good self-esteem is missing, as we are all human and make mistakes. We can all feel foolish sometimes.

Feeling foolish is handled better by someone with self confidence, whereas another person feels the need for validation again.

People who have self efficacy have self confidence, and that produces good self esteem. We can’t raise a child successfully unless we follow that route. If we concentrate on self esteem only, that adult child will constantly need reassurance. Making a mistake will devastate them, rather than being a point of learning.

We see then that self confidence is far more resilient than self esteem. Confidence can weather the mistakes in life, without needing a posse of validation.

Published in Know Thyself, Heal Theyself


Have You Met Your True Self?

Most of us have a fairly good idea of what others perceive when they are around us. Well mannered, dressed a certain way, kind or otherwise, easy to laugh with or not.

Some folk notice somethings we don’t. A nervous laugh, twisting a ring, that we kiss the air, that we frown a lot.

A mirror does not show our true image either. To see that, we must hold two mirrors at 45 degrees and look at the join. This is what we really look like.

In order for us to know our true selves, we must lose our inhibition. Loss from a brain injury does not count. Brain damage causes all sorts of problems, and can include loss of hibitions, but does not reveal the true self.

Chemicals of a certain nature do show ourselves for who we are. Some people are terrified of using them.

The two best chemicals are alcohol and morphine. If you have ever had surgery, you probably had morphine included in the cocktail that anaesthetised you, or it was administered just before you awakened to prevent post-op pain.

After I had an operation, I found that I felt love toward the nurses in the recovery room. Later I learned l told two nurses that I told two nurses I loved them. This made me feel a bit embarrassed, but not overly so.

I do drink alcohol on occasion. My man likes to get me slightly tipsy. I become more readily to laugh and I am more complimentary. This is the true me. Veneer has dropped, society’s demand for proper behaviour vanishes.

Someone I knew, when drunk, climbed into an ambulance and drove it away. Another person assaulted another drinker in a bar. I have seen drunken women brawl like angry cats.

Of course, there are many others who become loving and laughing like me. Quite a lot cry, or become needy.

The dreadful thing is that some people commit domestic violence when disinhibited. Mostly men but some women too.

Since alcohol is not prohibited, how do we prevent the negative results? I believe that anyone convicted of a crime while drunk should go through detox and made to get support for the future. A future of sobriety.

Nothing else will stop negative disinhibition.

Published in KnowThySelf, Heal Thyself


How Can I Resent That Which Matured Me?

When I look at a road map of my life, I see a pattern. It is not a pattern like on a rug, which is repeated. It is a pattern of seemingly random decisions. But the thread between is learning.

I was born into a bilingual family, of two countries. My Dad was in the SAS, an elite group of soldiers. I am the second child, and was fortunate that we moved in with my grandparents in Germany soon after my birth.

I was unaware for a long time that my sister had already been destroyed by my narcissistic mother. My Oma and Opa were my primary carers so I thrived, emotionally and physically.

When I was five we went to England with Dad’s posting. I pined for my Oma and Opa and struggled to adjust to my mother.

I did well at school. I was bright. I was athletic. I was pretty. Boys were sweet on me.

I realised after some time that an injury was not recovering. That I was limping. Nothing was found to be wrong. My limp persisted and I began to write with my right hand. I was referred to a psychiatrist.

Two years later I underwent four experimental brain surgeries.. Conscious. I was left with akinetic mutism.

Six years it took me to learn to speak clearly. My vocal chords have never recovered.

My mother refused to support me through college. She did for my sister, who became a nurse.

I took a well paid job and went to college one day a week. That is to say I completed a full college course by attending once a week.

Two years later, I attended a uni which had a very positive ethos. I gained confidence, a sense of identity, some goal in life that was not yet defined. On hearing a certain lecture, I knew my path lay there.

I knew my path lay there

So I moved to Southern California to do my Ph.D. What I learned there is priceless.

Do I resent my mother? Oh yes, I did. But no longer, because I had to detach from her at age 15.

I cannot allow resentment to steal my power. To poison my love. To contaminate my relationships.

I cannot be a good mother if I have resentment.

As for my illness, I resent that people have no idea of the trauma I have gone through. resent that no one knows that I cannot control the volume of my speech; an irritation can at times make my voice rise, depending on other factors. No doctor I meet has ever heard of the disease. I am, as far as I can tell, the only person in the world with this disease and the intervention of brain surgery.

I resent it because I am now suffocating to death. Slowly. But surely. My lungs are impaired. I resent leaving my daughter. I resent not having ensured I have someone to love me until I die.

Unless people read this, they won’t know this. I live outwardly, even though I prefer to introvert. I introvert while planting in and tending my garden. Or while preparing a meal. I read, I watch rugby passionately, I photograph birds, flowers, animals.

My home and garden are my sanctuary, tastefully decorated. I have my loved friends. My Dad died in my arms, my sister too, of sepsis.

Anger, resentments that reside within? No room here.

Published in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself


We Cannot Hide Ourselves

f we live our lives on purpose, we cannot hide ourselves. We may believe that we can, but in truth we can only hide facts.

People who know me know me as well as they want. I was saddened recently when a friend of thirty years crashed my boundaries repeatedly, despite my request after the first time. In all those years, she had never asked how my rare disease affects me. I don’t offer this freely, as in a loving relationship it is observed.

I am incapable of having an image. What should it look like? How do I maintain it?

Strangers, of course, will have various views of me. If there is a loud piecing noise, a stranger will see me cringing and stressed, whilst on a peaceful sunny day, they see a smiling, warm, generous woman.

In my professional life I am known as hard working, but also expectant of high standards. I don’t like a colleague not grasping my knowledge until they look it up on the internet. I expect that my knowledge will be embraced.

Who I am is very diverse. I am a consummate gardener, a lover of travel and new experiences. I love lipstick, I like to wear clothes that suit me, albeit they are all second hand.

What is hidden about me is the fact that I experienced severe trauma and experimental surgery. This accounts for my stress with loud noises: the last remnant of PTSD. If the smoke alarm goes off, I end up in a heap on the floor. This occurred three times when my daughter was a teenager.

My close friends know that I am caring, generous, kind, laughing, but also capable of tears. Tears of compassion for others, and tears of despair about my health.

People who think they can be someone different at different occasions lie to themselves. Even reading here on Medium, I can tell a lot about people. It runs through their writing

Published in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself