Life update

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It’s been a while since I posted here, so here’s a quick update on my life. I finished my BA degree in December (graduation’s in May!) and started my MA in January. Linguistics is so much fun to study – everything about it fascinates me! I know with every fiber of my being that linguistics is the right path for me, and I am so grateful to be able to study a subject I have so much passion for.

I haven’t been doing much writing lately that isn’t school-related, but I have been making things. I spent several months last year taking tons of soapmaking classes, perfecting my recipes, and becoming an Advanced Certified Soap Maker through the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild. I hope to get my website up and running soon, but that of course takes a backseat to school & work, so in the meantime I am selling my soap via direct contact – if you want some, contact me!

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I’ve started sewing again, too, after a several year hiatus. It is the only crafty hobby I have which doesn’t seem to aggravate the tendinitis in my wrists at all (as long as I use my ergonomic rotary cutter instead of scissors!). My most recent project has been the Mama Bridgette & Mama Victoria bundle from Made for Mermaids – I highly recommend these patterns for relatively quick and easy lingerie – comfortable, too! I’m not affiliated or anything; just sharing a great pattern!

Anyway, that’s a quick run down on me. What have you been up to?

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On Integrity

Integrity

This has been stirring around in my head for a few weeks now; ever since being on the receiving end of this question: “Which is more important: loyalty, or integrity?”

My choice was integrity. I can’t picture being blindly loyal to someone. I believe that if someone really deserves my loyalty, then they would respect the boundaries of my integrity and never expect me to cross those lines. If a person does not respect me enough to respect that my sense of integrity comes first and that it MUST remain intact, then it shows a lack of integrity on their part.

I grew up in circumstances where the people who were supposed to be trustworthy were not, and I am still cautious about trusting people. In response to those circumstances, integrity became my watchword. I absolutely refuse to become one of those untrustworthy people that surrounded me as I grew up. I believe that integrity is vital. It is not something that can be stripped away; it is part of me. It forms a such a large part of my identity that it is literally the first thing that comes to my mind when asked what my defining characteristic is. I am trying very hard to instill the value of integrity into my own child.

I was saddened tonight after a misunderstanding with a new-ish friend who thought I had an intention to breach my integrity. While the misunderstanding has been cleared up, it left me pondering about the state of integrity in our culture. I am not upset that I was thought to be in breach of integrity, because it was truly a misunderstanding and misunderstandings can be repaired. Instead, I am sad that my friend has lived a life where broken trust and dishonesty are both anticipated and expected.

Over and over again I come up against situations where I have had to have conversations with my child about the importance of maintaining integrity even though it is breached everywhere we turn. Over and over again I explain to him that trust is so much harder to repair that it is to maintain. We have conversations about the reason that some people don’t seem to think that integrity means anything. We have conversations about what it means to have integrity in the business and/or the workplace, so that people can trust that you’ll do your job to the best of your ability and that your word can be trusted. We have conversations about the importance of integrity in relationships with both friends and family. We have conversations about the things that might lead a person to lack integrity, and why ours should be maintained regardless.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post; I just needed to get it off my chest. I really hope that future generations will find the value in integrity that seems to be so diminished in our current society.

On Choosing Happiness

Last Monday night, as I was on my way home, I realized that I felt happy. Really happy. Full of joy and full of love – and I realized that it had been so long that I had forgotten what it felt like. I have walked through years of my life bogged down by worry and anxiety and shame, often about things that were not even my doing, but I am finally breaking through this plateau. There are growing pains, for sure, but now I know without a doubt that I will get to the other side.

My friend Arman did a periscope broadcast this morning about not letting anyone (including yourself) negate your happiness. Periscope broadcasts only remain available for 24 hours, so here’s a transcript of the pertinent part of his broadcast, quoted with permission: “Sometimes when you’re in a really good mood, either purposefully or not on purpose, whatever, people will try to crap on your mood and will try to make you upset to bring you down to their level, or to burst your bubble for whatever reason. What happens, whenever a person decides to say or do that thing, at that point you have a choice, and that choice is, do I let what they said get under my skin, or do I choose to be happy anyway? Do I choose to stay pleasant anyway? Do I choose to stay positive anyway? Sometimes it’s really difficult because the person who has this impact on us, the people who say these things to us, are the people who are closest to us and it’s very hard not to take the word of somebody that’s close to you to heart and actually not listen to what they’re saying about you. You have to choose, though. It’s a choice…you can choose whether or not to let this person influence your mood or your happiness.”


So here’s the deal. I have been in the position, relatively recently, where other people have said similar stuff to me and I have totally thought that it was oversimplified and kinda preachy. Even now, if the difficulty of that choice had not been acknowledged, I would likely have been somewhat offended if I didn’t know the speaker, because it is still a sore spot. And yes, it is overly simple for someone who has traumatic life events in their past.

It is extraordinarily difficult to put aside the baggage of childhood neglect and emotional abuse and to grow beyond that. Extraordinarily difficult to learn to see yourself with a new set of eyes, rather than to see yourself through the eyes of those who ground you down and made you believe that you have no value. Damaged people raise damaged people, and so you continue to see yourself in this light, believing with all your heart that it’s true. BUT THE WAY THEY SAW YOU WAS WRONG. They saw you with flawed vision. You are perfectly imperfect.

So when Arman goes on to say that sometimes that person who is pulling you down is you, and how you, as a human, are allowed to make mistakes and should not beat yourself up for it – that you should not be your own worst enemy, he is right.

The struggle to rid myself of those wrong-colored glasses has been so worth the fight. I know that being in that place today does not mean that I will never again slip into the old habits that feel like home, allowing those lenses to sit once again on the bridge of my nose. But next time it happens, I will be able to remember that I have taken those glasses off before, and that I can do it again.

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On Innate Value and Self-Worth

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A good friend of mine challenged me to make a list of reasons that I hold value as a person.

This is a struggle for me. I know that other people see value in me, but I am often unable to see value in myself. At some point in my childhood, I came to believe the idea that I hold no value as a person unless I am actively creating value for someone else. I don’t know where this belief came from, and I am relatively certain that no one purposely set out to indoctrinate me with that belief. Interestingly enough, I don’t believe that this holds true for other people, but I seem to hold myself to this unattainable standard all the same.

As for the list, I was able to come up with only one thing without trying: I have integrity. Integrity is extraordinarily important to me. I do not lie, I do not cheat, I do not steal, and I will not do anything that crosses my personal lines of ethical behavior, even if maintaining my ethical standards will cause trouble for me. No matter what. I was once asked how I would want people to think of me. This is my answer: I want to be thought of as a person of integrity.

Finishing the list that my friend challenged me to make is much more difficult, but here it goes.

  • I am a person of integrity.
  • I am compassionate.
  • I don’t hate anyone, not even those who were abusive to me during childhood.
  • When I love someone, I love them unconditionally.
  • I am open minded.
  • I love to learn new things.
  • I seek growth, even though it’s both terrifying and difficult.

Thank you for challenging me, Cat, and for calling me out on my need to work on this aspect of myself.

A poem of my own

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Shattered

Not merely broken;

SHATTERED.

Into so many pieces

I am not sure they can ever

Be whole again

Like Humpty Dumpty.

Rumi said

“The wound is the place

where the light enters you.”

I am so wounded that I should be

Made of light

But I am merely made of

Atoms

None of whom even know I exist.

© March 17, 2015, Jennifer Medina

The Ghost:

I can so relate to this poem…written by a friend of mine!

The Compassionate Narcissist

Dragon

The Ghost:

I am living to the fullest

I am thriving to the best of my ability

I am working to the highest of my integrity

I am being to the best of my understanding

Today my wings are broken

Today my heart is leaking

Today my thoughts are shattered

Today my smile is sad

My thoughts whisper to my heart

With all that sadness

With all of the past that needs to be remembered

All of that history that needs no reminder

Today, I am the groundskeeper

Today, my thoughts conquer the universe

Today, my love breaks all hatred

Today, my willingness to live beats every setback

Today, my integrity overcomes any desires

Today, I am the lion; king of my castle 

Today, at this time, I am the whisper of the millions of sorrows I shattered

I live for myself, I love all, I hate no one

Today…

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To blog, or not to blog; that is the question

I have had this blog for a number of years now, but I’ve never really posted with the exception of a few posts for a communication class I took once. The problem with blogging is that it is not private; do I really want to unpack my life in a public forum, for all to read? The answer is, well, kinda. So I’ve decided to give blogging a whirl, because one of my goals is to learn to be more open; not only to let others in, but also to let myself out.

I have some pretty fierce social anxiety along with difficulties expressing myself vocally, but I do write. I have always written, especially when I’m feeling introspective or something is bothering me. Blogging seems like a decent compromise between my private writing and my desire to become more open; an intermediate step of sorts. It will allow me to share of myself in a way that I can currently handle. Maybe, if I can bridge that gap, then I can begin to overcome my fear of self-expression and my fear of really, truly being seen. My real life near-invisibility is a comfortable place, a safe place…but it can be a lonely one at times, because somewhere along the way, I have mostly forgotten how to connect with people.

I have no illusions that anything I put on the internet can be kept totally separate from my real life, so I’m not even going to try. I am going to write about my experiences and perceptions from my perspective. I probably won’t post regularly, as blogging has to happen around my crazy-busy life.

Spoken Word Poetry – Denice Frohman – “Dear Straight People”

watch it.

Spoken Word Poetry – Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye – “An Origin Story”

On a lighter note…Everyone should have a friend like this.

spoken word poetry – Javon Johnson – “cuz he’s black”

powerful spoken word poetry about growing up as a black male in America

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