Friday, February 12, 2021

You're Not Alone

During this time I've had less interest in listening to podcasts as I did when I was traveling/commuting into the city so I just got to the episode below that I knew I would need to be in a calm place to listen to. Tim Ferriss' podcast has many great guests and I always learn something from each of them, but this one was about Tim himself. 

If you don't know Tim, he is: an author, investor, business personality, probably most famous originally for the book The 4-Hour Workweek. I've followed him for years and find him to be a good guy ... more of a tech/money/body hack stuff kind than an outwardly touchy-feely emotional sort. 

Because he's been successful at a lot of different things, I was surprised a couple of years ago when he wrote a post about how he was suicidal at one point. I assumed it was a high strung, type-A perfectionist personality thing. But like most things in life, there was a deeper story.

In this episode, he reveals that he had been horribly abused by the son of a babysitter from the ages 2-4. He doesn't go into much detail of the events but you get the idea of the brutality of it.

He is joined in the episode by Debbie Millman who is a well known business/design/podcasting superstar. He asked her to lead the conversation because they are friends in the real world and she had helped him deal with this issue, as she too was abused as a child. 

The interchange between these two is touching and sweet and so loving. But the truth that made me tear up while listening is not that they had both been abused (which of course is horrific) but that these two lovely, talented, beautiful beings both felt alone because of what had happened to them. TO THEM!

Debbie asks at the end of the episode if there is any final thoughts Tim would like the listeners to know and he says that he wants people to know: 

You're not alone. It's never hopeless. There are tools. 
You're never alone.

I've had several friends/loved ones who have been abused, had mental health challenges, substance abuse struggles, etc. It's hard unless you're a trained professional to know how to help someone in deep despair and some folks are just not able or willing to witness someone else's pain. But that's not a reflection on the one looking for comfort. There is always someone who cares. It's just a journey to find people who make you feel safe, heard and able to help begin the healing process. Debbie who has been navigating her journey for decades describes how hard it's been but how worth it is as well.

So if you ever feeling alone in the world, I wanted to leave this little sign here to let you know you're not

Be gentle with yourself, get help from professionals when needed and know even in these crazy times there is hope and.. You're Not Alone. ๐Ÿ™


Trauma Resources from this episode can be found HERE.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

When I'm Right, I'm Right! Except... For When I'm Wrong.


One of my favorite things ever is being right about something. I mean I LOVE being right! I have lots of opinions and let's just say when I take a stand I'm right much of the time. 

Now part of the reason for this is because I like reading about an array of various topics and I've studied a good deal of self-help and had loads of therapy so I've honed my senses and understanding of human behavior. And because I also don't like to be wrong, I usually only spout off about things I feel like I know; otherwise I tend to be inquisitive of why someone is saying something or I look it up. That's the only way to play fair. If you like it when you're right (and don't deny it you like it too! ๐Ÿ˜‰) you have to admit when other people are right and when you are wrrrrong. 

So as I've been pacing myself and spending a good deal of sparkle time in the beginning of the year, I was hoping I was right again that Trump would finish his grift for money ($500M+) objecting to the election results and then reluctantly concede, take a bow on getting the vaccine out and would start his next bid for attention on some cable station. But I was WRONG!

Last week's insurrection was a disgusting display of mob behavior but even more upsetting was that every American, including our legislators and his advisors, didn't immediately get Trump to leave office. Nixon's acts were dishonorable but to foment violence against his own VP and elected officials and our very elections they were being certified is next level bullshit!

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)









Of course not every person who voted for Trump is a nut or should be lumped in with those terrorist that stormed the Capitol, not even all the MAGAs that attended the earlier rally. But anyone who is not currently speaking up against Trump's big lie is now responsible for anything else that comes in the days ahead.  

Listen, I know it is heartbreaking to have a person you looked up to come out from behind the curtain and not be who he sold the public he was. Myself, I was wrong about Charlie Rose- who I admired and watched for decades. I talked about him all the time and would have vowed he was a decent man. Another one that hurt was that I was wrong regarding my adoration for Louis CK... sure this one was a bit more obvious- my bad!  But nonetheless when it was clear I was wrong I said it. Not just to my friends but here where I touted my love in the first place. I tried to clean up my mess, mitigate my wrongness.  

The only way to halt this nationwide divide and destruction and protect our country in the next few days, weeks and years is to speak the truth and undo whatever damage we've done.

If you quietly, privately voted Trump I guess just do better next time researching your choice (his lies and damage were clearly visible) but for the rest--- anyone who publicly spouted off about Trump needs to with same volume, vigor and verve speak out on how: he is lying about the election being stolen; that he was wrong to rile up a crowd then send them after Congress/VP; and that he was derelict in duty to not get National Guard in to help them immediately. Then state he is now unfit for office. 

The ratio of regret needs to be equal to the denial and harm caused by those who stood by party over country; was OK with tax-cuts and judges while ignoring kids in cages and the lies and dishonor he brought to the office; and thought owning your annoying lib relatives and ex-friends was worth siding with racists, a pussy-grabber and the incompetents Trump surrounded himself with who would not speak truth to nor for him.   

When The Daily Show can summarize the buildup of this looming destruction in a few minutes it's hard to say no-one saw this coming ๐Ÿ˜’ 


Our fellow-citizens, the world and for goodness sake our children are watching this. Own what we've contributed to this mess and let's get America back to where we are arguing about the proper corporate tax rate and school funding not about tearing down our democracy. We are better than this! 

I am right about the United States of America ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ 
... for our Founder's, let alone our sake, don't prove me wrong ๐Ÿคจ

Friday, January 1, 2021

THEME 2021

                            

Both my sister and I have no biological children but our lives are filled with kids we adore which is how I came upon this year's theme. Years ago I was visiting her when she had some of her nieces/nephews over and when one started to throw a fit she in a very displeased manner (ala Tom Hanks': there's no crying in baseball) said: there is no whining at Auntie Julie's houseAnd this kid looked at her and stopped his tantrum immediately. 

Since I can't pull off her tone with the same matter-of-factness she can I had to come up with my own re-direct. And since I also believe it is healthy to let everyone express themselves no matter their feelings I like to say: 

You can be sad or in a bad mood but you can't fling it at others. So sweetie, why don't you go take a minute and get a few fresh breaths outside or read in your room or pet the dog and take some time to sparkle yourself up and then come back as your wonderful self. 


Sparkle Time is when we take time to rejuvenate ourselves when we are not at our best. It is the ME time to do whatever we need to make our interactions with others more productive and loving and true to who we are. 

Let's face it none of us were at our best in 2020. Even the super heroic nurses, doctors, teachers and essential workers -not to mention parents- were exhausted and numb and not giving off sparkly vibes at all times. 

So I am taking whatever portion of 2021 it will take to get back to myself and be ready to be in the world at my best. Besides, I anticipate 2022 is going to be roaring and I want to be ready. ๐Ÿ˜œ

Sleep, inspiring project work, nutrition, reading, movement to strengthen my body, mind and soul. Whatever it takes to get my spark back. 

Afterall, Sparking Joy is what we want in our lives ๐ŸŒŸ

Cheers to 2021 ๐Ÿธ ๐ŸŽŠ and whatever makes you *Sparkle* with JOY! ๐Ÿ˜Š


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Creating YOUR Year ... ๐ŸŽŠ ๐Ÿ–Œ️


2020 was a lot... ๐Ÿ˜ณ
so I hope starting fresh will be even more fantastic than ever. 

Wishing YOU a healthy, happy and fabulous 2021! 


Cheers to creating your most JOYfull Year Ever :)


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Gaslighter, Denier... Where's My Apology?

 

I'm not sure I had heard of the term gaslighting prior to the last four years- and if I did I probably only knew what was inferred by the context of the rest of the point of the conversation. 

For those unfamiliar, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where a "gaslighter" tries to lie and manipulate someone into questioning their thoughts, memories, and the reality of the events occurring around them. It came from an old 30's play and 40's movie where a husband tried to drive his wife crazy- or at least have others believe she was- by messing with the gas lights (and other items) in their home. In 2016, the term made the rounds after Lauren Duca's Vogue article about Trump and then hit its prime as runner up to word of the year in 2018.

Our president is trying to double-down before he leaves office by pretending he won an election he lost so he won't have to leave on 01.20.21. Amanda and Byrnn's tweets sum up what I feel on the topic but it got me thinking about all the other gaslighting I had experienced in life before I knew what it really meant even though many of us had felt it quite a bit in our lives. Bosses, exes, anyone who manipulated others for their own means.

And while I applaud the idea of bringing our country together and am a huge proponent of forgiveness and reconciliation these women point out two of the key elements before true healing can begin- truth & justice!

If someone has been an abuser they would like to skip this step and pretend that any battle was equal on both sides and so let's just call it even and move on. Nope! 

First comes cleaning up the mess they made and making amends before there is the possibility of forgiveness and steps forward. AA is based on this principle which requires making amends (steps 8 & 9) for prior harms caused along the path of recovery. Almost all religions also speak of some form of contrition and repentance when there has been wrongdoing done. 

If we want to move forward as a country let alone live a peaceful life ourselves I don't think it's healthy, let alone just, to let folks that have caused harm with blatant lying, racism, violence against others, or any dishonorable behavior get a free pass. Not only does it send a horrible message that our actions don't have consequences but it also makes healing for the people who experienced the harm more difficult. 

Imagine how hard it's going to be to get 74M Trump voters to see the truth when they have been told by him, the GOP and Fox News that he didn't really lose the election. Good luck trying to reason with the MAGAs they've radicalized! Those lying and attempting to gaslight our country should never be able to hold a place of leadership and trust until they have at a minimum come forward and spoken the truth.   

And even when there is truth finally admitted there needs to be the additional steps of amends and restitution to those harmed. Louis CK is a perfect example of a half-assed attempt to clean up his mess. Yes, his apology was a solid start but then he chickened out on cleaning up and doing the real work to redeem himself. So disappointing as a former fan.   

Recently I had an ex call to check in on how I was during the pandemic like our parting wasn't a nightmare. I was willing to hear them out because after previously ignoring three other attempts I thought who knows it's been a long enough time, maybe they had changed, maybe in this time of reflection they had done some work and were calling with remorse and an apology and we could be at peace. Alas they just wanted to pretend everything was bygones being bygones. Once a gaslighter, I guess always one- so not to mix my Chicks metaphors but I'm not ready to make nice ๐Ÿ˜

I say to my ex or anyone who has enabled Trump or anyone who has harmed someone else and have let things fester and get even uglier: 
Where's the apology? Where's the truth? Where's the justice?

If there's no real truth and justice, then look out... 
we see your lie-lie-lies and we're done with you and your gaslighting ๐Ÿ”ฅ  

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Pope that Saved the Planet


I, like most people, don’t like being upset all the time, my natural state is- 

wait for it...    Joy!


So as with many of us, the last 4 years have frayed my nerves to the point of crispy ๐Ÿ˜ฃ. What’s been most upsetting in 2020 is watching folks let our country divide itself instead of pulling together. I mean I get it everyone's passions are running high, patience running low... but it is so self-destructive.

                                         

Now normally when it comes election time I encourage my friends and family to vote and try to make it light and fun by talking about my love for voting stickers. They might infer my leanings but I rarely come out and say who I think folks should vote for because usually it's none of my business. 

This year of course was different and I felt for many reason that I needed to take a stand

Not long after, a close friend called me to get advice on how I was dealing with our mutual friends who are Conservatives. I confessed I had been avoiding them. She wasn't the first to raise this concern in our group of friends but I was at a loss. 


Couple days later I realized I was being a hypocrite and a coward by not sharing with these dear friends of over 30 years how I felt; not to change their vote per se, but to share what was going on with me and that many of us who they care about are upset over this president. It did not go well. 


Received a curt text back from one of the two ending our friendship declaring that pro-life was the main thing they vote on (although there was more said, it is unimportant here) and she and her neighborhood friends would be gladly voting for Trump. 

 

At first I was hurt and then mad and then I got a pit in my stomach that this is happening all over America, probably the world. People who are normally rational loving people are letting this one topic divide them because it is so polarizing. (Would this Catholic suburban mom really be voting for a thrice wife-cheating, vulgar, showman like Trump if not for the judges?) 



I could not let it go. I know, I know this is an issue for me- but hear me out because it might have ironically been a sign leading me to a solution to it all...


As an aside, this situation came along at the time of the year when the MacArthur Genius fellowship awards are announced. Each year for at least a decade my best pal Vickie and I always send each other the announcement with a:

Can't believe it wasn't our year.

We joke about the mystery behind how they are selected and how we really do need to do more to save the world. I mean shouldn't we all?!


So while stewing on the state of the world and contemplating how we are ever going to recover in the US from this chaos of such divided politics, 

I pondered and mapped out what would really make a difference: 

What could save the world? 

How could I help it along?


Well as often happens, the solution hit me in the middle of the night...


The #1 thing dividing US politics is the issue of abortion

The #1 global threat is climate change

The #1 cause of suffering in the world is poverty


What one thing could begin to solve these 3 major problems?



Well, I won't spoil it for you but I figured it out and this slidedoc outlines what I believe could make the biggest difference in solving our divide, easing poverty and saving the planet.

If after you read it you are nodding your head and thinking ~ 


By golly, Joy you are a genius! 


please do find a way to get word to the Pope and the MacArthur folks... 

because I would really like to be able to save the world ๐ŸŒŽand beat Vickie to it! ๐Ÿ˜œ 



[Timing note: I have been working on this project for weeks, Vickie helped me with final edits Monday, and I uploaded it Tuesday night. I had been waiting to finish this post when the I woke up Wednesday morning to an announcement on the Pope's view regarding gay civil unions. So for folks thinking this proposal seems preposterous- I say who knows we might be days away from it coming true- one can always hope! ๐Ÿ™ ]

Monday, August 3, 2020

What's Your Plan, Man?














President Trump tweeted last week again how the election is going to be fraudulent and that he is even open to discuss delaying the date from November 3rd.
Just inquiring right?

Nope! He has been doing everything he can think of to try and suppress the vote, slow the mail and sow distrust in the election.

It's SO serious that I am now doing what I wouldn't have even thought of before... I will give up in-person voting for mail-in voting. I was originally planning to vote early which I have done a couple of times but there has been a stress on in person voting with less poll workers available and who knows if the virus might flare up again in Illinois.


So yes, Joy Meredith is sacrificing my love of the voting sticker and the buzz of in-person-same-day-voting so that I can make sure my vote is in before November 3rd.

I have a plan to get my signed ballot hand delivered to a drop box the week I receive it. And I will be encouraging my friends and family to do the same.

Voting is not something I take lightly. It was something our forefathers fought a revolution over and our soldiers defend our rights to participate in to this very day.

If you've never voted before now is the perfect time to get registered and make your voice heard. There are very few requirements to be a decent citizen, voting is one of them.

I try very hard to live and let live. And even though I'm opinionated on many subjects I mostly feel like it's none of my business what other people choose to do. But this is different! This year, this election is the difference between getting a pandemic under control and letting ten of thousands more folks in our country die. I won't even harp on the kids in cages and assault on decency. But Trump is clearly not up to the job of running our country so we need to relieve him of that burden.

So what's your plan?

No seriously... What's your plan, man?!


Update 09.21.20: Since I wrote this post I re-evaluated the importance of having the votes tallied the night of Nov 3rd and since there was enough time for me to change my option I will now be doing early in-person voting when that begins in IL. Anyway you do it please make sure you have a plan and get your voted counted this year. Stay safe and healthy ✌๐Ÿ“ฎ! 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Hair is Everything!

2020 has been one crazy year! Geez I mean 6 months ๐Ÿ˜ 

Heck, don't need to tell you- you know you've been living it too. I mean my goodness. So a couple of weeks ago when I decided I needed a change I went blonde. 

Been having a little bit of an identity crisis ever since. Every time I walk into the bathroom or pass a mirror I scare myself a little. Who is this stranger I'm living with? I know that sounds bizarre but being a brunette was part of my identity. My hair use to match my clothes, my jewelry, my makeup and my personalty. 

Of course I've been pacing myself so I was talking with my friend Vickie about how it feels strange and I might need to switch back after the summer because it so doesn't feel like me. And I made the mistake of off handedly saying luckily my hair grows fast and it's never freaked me out to try different looks-- who cares it's just hair. Ha! She immediately reminded me: Hair is everything! 


If you want to change your life, change your life.  
It's not going to happen in here.         

Ah, Anthony, true so true! Well kind of...

Because yes, hair can't change everything in your life, but it can change some of your life. It can change a few things. It can change how you see yourself and be the catalyst to jump start the other things you want to change.

That is afterall the reason why when they do a TV makeover the most drastic change is the hair which then matches the new outfit which is then accentuated by the new makeup which leads to the new swagger and sway of a self confident awakening in someone who had been blind to their awesomeness and beauty.

We all get used to ourselves. Numb to our fabulousness. Dull.

I refuse to let a pandemic and our country in upheaval ruin my year or my decade to come. Yes, we need to wear a mask, re-educate ourselves in our use of antiracist rhetoric and actions, and gear up for a life-changing election... but we also need to reinvest in ourselves. Take this pause as a sign we might be in need of a change.

Hair is simple (ok, yes it did take 5 steps) and a fixable chance to take to tweak your life. To try on a new YOU. To see if there is a fresher, more joyful way to be in the world. And now is the time to go for it. Some Clairol and some nerve and voila!

As I had guessed this pause is going to be a bumpy ride and no one knows when we'll be fully open and operating at normal again. We will surely need to not just re-imagine ourselves but the world we go back into. It is scary but also an exciting time to explore what might be possible.

It's not time to sell everything and move to Walden Pond just yet... but why not take a chance now so that when things are more normal you at least experimented with a different way of being. Don't go back to same old, same old. That is so last decade.

What can you try on to mark this time of transition for yourself? What kickstart do you need to feel your best? Because darling... if you look good, you'll feel good and when you feel good you can do anything you set your mind to.
Even change this crazy, dysfunctional world... and that my dear is
                                   EVERYTHING!!