Sometimes The Solution Sucks

The other night, my older son was distraught by a situation at school and was spiraling into despair by obsessing on the unfairness and the reason/ question of WHY? Only because I have some recovery, was I able to say to him, that demanding to understand why and mentally sustaining the argument with ourselves of how it isn’t fair, only makes us feel worse. We must continuously and intentionally choose the the very next right(spiritually right) thing over our reaction. In our conversation, he realized there was only one constructive response to his dilemma. Brilliantly and calmly he asked: “What about when you hate the solution?”.

I hugged him so hard and laughed and cried all over him, explaining that often, the solution just stinks. But when we focus on what needs to be done to elevate the situation and not ourselves, we get through it and come out the other side. He totally heard me and just did the next right and necessary thing.

Me to me: Cool another opportunity to bring up recent experiences, in which my only healthy options– sucked badly.

  • Taking our Sweet Angel Pie Cooper to the vet for a one-way trip.
  • Not wishing my niece a happy birthday because it is unfair to her but is the right thing to do in response to the arrangement by my sister in which she snatches access to my young sons while collaborating with my ex and destroying our possibility of peaceful co-parenting and alienating everyone but herself. I so want to tell my niece I am thinking of her. I do not. I believe she knows. I feel good about my ability to respect my sister’s grown children enough, to leave them out of it. And it still sucks.
  • Not telling my sister and my ex about themselves—because that helps nobody, though it would give me an immediate and delicious high. Again, only one solution here– acceptance of the facts. Our family was intentionally divided and there is nothing I can do to change that. I can choose to accept it and learn from it and to teach my children to recognize healthy and wholesome acts of love along with acceptance for the fact that some types of love are neither healthy nor wholesome. Love chooses healing. Here, for me, healing/moving forward means not fixating on perceived wrongness or unfairness. Even while I can not forget, I am better and more willing to do the next right thing rather than waiting for people or circumstances to become different, honest, kind and “fair”.

Sometimes the solutions are purely frightful– Saying Good Bye to a beloved family pet. People having cancer, dying, and not inviting you to their funeral. Going no-contact. Filing for divorce. Being lied to and about. Being banished and being treated unkindly. Having your children used and forced into conflict. Moving to a more affordable area. Having your ex, to whom you were married for a brief eternity of 4 seconds and who never even knew your family, listed as one of the survivors of your mother. Biting your tongue. Acceptance is always the solution.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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On Mother’s Day

If one of my legs became afflicted with progressive, fatal, and incurable disease, diminishing my overall health and quality of life –and I could have the leg removed and adapt, as a healthier person or host the disease and constant pain, but get to keep both legs—with hopes of appearing more normal– I like to think , if necessary, I would cut that shit off myself, with a dull butter knife.  

I never wish to have only a single leg, but– if I could stop pain and disease from compromising all parts of my body, life, and infecting my children– THAT is a no brainer.

Having two legs, like having a relationship with my mother is something I had viewed as evidence of being normalacceptable, and healthy.  This is flawed thinking and believing, rooted in concern for how things look from the outside.  I care more about how things and people actually are– than appearances—no matter who is looking.  I prioritize goodness over looking good. (Good, as in wholesome—not, as in pleasing or correct).  I choose to save my ass over my face.  Seems, there are times in life, in which we are called to choose.

When recovery not only taught me to, but insisted, that if I want to be well and whole, I must acknowledge my feelings and limits and honestly express them. In doing so, the sickness within our family was illuminated.  It showcased the fact that we did not want the same type of relationship—in which each person mattered— no more and no less.  My mother hinged having a relationship with me to my accepting/tolerating/ignoring/denying poor treatment and unkind words from my sister. We each made our choices. I chose mental health and wellness.

These are my thoughts today, as my first mother’s day without a living mother.  

In recovery, we learn that pain is a part of life BUT that suffering is optional.  As always, the special days are complicated for those of us who struggled with unhealthy family systems that led to unhealthy sense of everything.  

I will end on a funny-ish note. While on vacation a few weeks ago, at a gift store we saw a cute “Get well soon” card and one of my sons asked if we can send to my sister. I use the word sickness to explain the painful and confusing things which are said and done. This has been the only succinct and blanket statement I can think of– to help them process unkindness and dishonesty. I just say, that is what unwell people do. And then we talk about healthier behaviors. We want to be well. We are learning together how to do that.

Also, I am certain my relatives would insist I am the cancery leg BECAUSE I chose to be so. Whatevs.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

“Happy” Easter

Ugh! My life has never been better. Ever. But this does not change the reality of my depression and anxiety. In fact, they are made worse by the expectations that I feel or be different because of what the calendar suggests about the day. Clinical Depression and Anxiety, whether a result of trauma or just basic brain chemistry are not circumstantial. They are not moods.

I am preparing for my first vacation ever with my boys. It is Easter and there are Easter baskets and hidden eggs. Sweet Greg is out seizing the trails on his bike while I prepare for Easter lunch at Favorite’s with #framily. All is well. All is actually great. And yet–I am still burdened by depression and anxiety, an urge to fast forward through vacation and Easter so that I be free from historically imposed guilt and shame for my wiring. I am neither sour nor ungrateful, just struggling in these ways, particularly on special days as THESE were the ones in which I was persecuted more overtly for being so selfishly sensitive. Shamed and banished for not knowing how to do a better job of denying a pain I could not articulate or relieve by myself.

As I have continued to organize and purge these last weeks, I found more than a couple of notes from my mother asking, insisting to know what had changed, why things were fine for so long, as indicated by emails and letters sent by me.

I was ineffective at helping her understand that– absolutely nothing had changed– except for my willingness to pretend. When I sent reports of being happy and fine with chit chat, which I loathe, I was accepted. When I decided that pretending, dining, gifting, and chitchatting with those who judge me– was no longer something I was willing to do, shit hit the fan. I spoke truth. I said NO. I shared displeasure. All without shame, profanity, or volume. That is what changed. When I refused to fight or pretend, all conversations stopped. I learned to say No. That is what changed. I learned to take care of myself—and I got the silent treatment and did not beg my way back for more of the same.

This week, I began learning to bullet journal–so pleased by another simple, therapeutic and creative outlet to enjoy and soothe myself. The truth is– nobody ever taught me how to relax or enjoy. I was demanded to do those things, I did not manage success under those conditions. The Bullet Journal Image at the top is one I am working on copying…the concept.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

I Feel You—literally

Yesterday at the vet for routine procedures, there was a man, with his very old and loved, black cocker spaniel neatly bundled in a blanket with only a grayed  muzzle and one yummy little paw poking out. He seemed serene, almost smiling.  Hopefully and foolishly and unhelpfully–I asked, “Will he be ok?” and he shook his head No. Without skipping a beat, I crumbled.  My tears streamed without consent and I apologized. (With my relatives, I learned to apologize for sensitivity, difficult feelings, empathy, and compassion, for failure to mask genuine pain or struggle is a trouble-making failure. Acknowledging pain and struggle was equally offensive under certain circumstances–because those things are weak and or not real).

Anyway, I could not help but recall when my dog was 14 and suffering- the grief of THE knowing– it was time, time to help him, to do right by him, to ease his journey over the rainbow, to say good-bye.  I can liken that experience of holding him, in our last precious moments, only, to holding my sons in their first moments and months.  The gravity of their vulnerability and the gift of their faith in me as provider and protector, made it difficult to breathe.  

The man(with the bundled pup) was with his wife and their other dog– they all entered THE ROOM together.  From where I was sitting, I saw through the window of the door that the other dog sat faithfully on the table beside his buddy.  They were all there, in the final moments. It may take me a few days to fully recover from this. You see, I did much more than just observe this. I experienced it, at a cellular level, the way I do all things-which are deep and true.  

I have always been this way. When I see pain or suffering of others, I feel it as intensely as if it were my own.  Homeless people or animals, starving children on tv, movies in which people are cruelly persecuted and violated.  I am equally affected by tension and anger whether directly expressed or poorly contained. It gets on me and it takes a while to break free from it. 

I am equally affected by sensory stimulus and recently read that for HSPs and people with sensory dysregulation, it is as if we hear with 100 ears and what may not register for an insensitive or neurotypical person and will overwhelm us in just seconds…all of the senses, for me are hyper tuned in–with no dimmer switch.

My older son is sensitive in these ways also.  He recently explained how it seems difficult, for only him, when his brother fights with his father(or me), saying: “they each walk away and are fine and I am the one left with all of the feelings, and it wasn’t even about me”. I remember being yelled at “it is not about you”  as if I were in violation of someone by feeling so much.  

This way of being, is not a choice.  It feels like a curse much of the time.  I am learning to seek serenity, to shelter myself and my son from too much stimulus, and to remove myself/US, entirely from people of the opinion that growing thicker skin is all that is needed, and who assert that it is as simple as making the intellectual commitment to do so. And for the record, the opposite of sensitivity is NOT strength, but insensitivity. I think some may be confused about this.

I have felt unable to write since my declaration that I would no longer write about “them”. Anyone intimately familiar with trauma, grief, and healing will understand that forgetting is not possible.  I am reminded of the “family commandment” to forgive and forget, and the collective judgment that comes for not doing so.  And here is what I know today: Kind people seek but do not demand forgiveness.  Time changes nothing. People change things or they do not.

I would like to forgive my sister and my ex for the Nagasaki bomb they dropped on my sons’ little family with their arrangement.  But it is both unforgivable and unforgettable.   Not because I lack the ability to forgive, but because it is harmful to my children— for the rest of their lives—my young sons have lost the hope and peace of having two parents who work together for them, for us.  We had managed to do that before the arrangement. I may write less about it, so as to not deep dive into the despair. But I do not get to forget.  I am willing to lessen the proverbial grip on their throats, let go of the unforgiveness, because that is a healthier choice.

While I write for myself, I often wonder if people who knew me back when, read these posts, if they would think that my claim to sensitivity is also a intended as a claim to angelic behavior. It is certainly not. I can say that my behavior for the last 10 years has been spiritually driven, rather than guided by very sick and destructive programming of my first 40 years. Wholesome and Badass–These are my strivings– to recover the best parts of my self, not a suggestion or claim of my status. I was a terrified human with no resilience and no healthy coping skills. I am a work in progress, always and gladly.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

An Inconvenient Child

I was an inconvenient child. There was no tolerance or support for this, only resentment. I learned resentment at an early age.

Unlearning is taking time. As mother to a highly sensitive child, I am grateful that I can love him through the overwhelming thing of life instead of resenting him for not making my life easier.  He makes me, life, and the world better just by being in it, exactly as he is.  But he sure does not feel that way and my heart is breaking.

He is terrified by his discomfort and the price he will pay, if not effectively masked for his father and family for this upcoming trip to CA, where he will be called upon to pose as shiny and happy and uncomplicated.  Over the past week, I have sent the following group texts to him, his brother, and their father and we continue to discuss.

1–“Lighten Up” Please do not ever say these words to someone who is struggling.  That is a bullying tactic—what is really being said is “Shut up”.  For people who have not yet learned to cope with feelings, they will try to act all strong, by saying this— and try to make a person feel weak and ashamed for struggling.  Never in the history of time has a person lightened up because they were told to do so.  A kind and compassionate person who genuinely cares about how you feel will ask what you need or what they can do when you are struggling.  Please beware of people saying these words.  They are not safe.  Please protect each other and show up for each other.  Even if you fight at home, in public, you choose loyalty.  Make it clear that bullies can not divide you.  Only bullies divide and shame people.  We will talk more about this.  We are breaking the cycle of bullying and addiction. They go together.

2–Boys, with your upcoming trip to CA, I want to check in with you today but also want your dad to be aware of what I am asking of you.  Both sides of your family have siblings and parents not speaking.  If you notice, it is the ones who say and feel more that get punished and cast out.  This is a sick cycle.  We will break it.  S2, you were blessed with a more resilient composition, you easily experience joy and connection because you are not burdened with being particularly sensitive to all of the stimulus.  The sickest people will show you favor –for this– while doing the opposite for your brother.  Healthy people will not make either of you feel preferred or better or chosen over the other.  KIND and Healthy people do not divide people.

3—S2, I am asking that if you observe any situations in which you are clearly receiving favor over your brother, please consider going to him, being his person, his brother, his loyal protector.  Anyone who judges that is bad for you both.  You are brothers.  You are not here to do anything but love and protect each other.  You may not be best friends or always understand each other, but you can be fiercely and undeniably loyal—so people know they cannot mess with you, if they get one, they get you both.

4–I hope you will both choose that.  Please do not allow any person or group of people to convince you otherwise.  We will talk more about this. There is nothing more noble and badass than loyalty. Brotherly loyalty.  S1, it is ok to be sensitive.  Anyone telling you that you are too sensitive is an asshole.  You don’t ever need to say that but you need to know it.  Kind people don’t even suggest or offer anything other than support.  Assholes who do not know how to be sensitive and compassionate say THAT– so they can blame you for their weakness.

5–Remember this: Anyone who judges, mocks, or criticizes or abandons a person for having difficult feelings— needs help.  Go away from them and REMEMBER—it is not you—it is their disease and sickness that makes them behave that way.  

And if you see this happening to a person, show up for that person who may not have the courage to speak for himself or herself.  That is what kindness and love look like.  Showing up.  Offering comfort.  Being a safe place.  Love is not lavish or expensive or even exciting, it is just kind. Be love. Notice love. Recognize non-love for what it is. Be there for each other.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Bye Mom

A little more than a month has passed and I have not cried for the absence of my mother. When she was alive, because of the fracture which seemed permanent, deliberate, and guaranteed by the collaboration of my ex and my sister, I could not stop myself from crying–deranged crying over my unacknowledged efforts to heal– together. My sibling (the word sister will not do) and my ex worked decisively toward this exact ending. I found this picture today while cleaning, taken from my mother’s home, on one of our last good visits, nearly 3 years ago. I perceived a subtle but palpable souring, that our days together were numbered, due to something more threatening than her age and physical ailments. I felt, in my bones, that the sickness which would do US the most damage, was not the cancer in her body.

Upon holding this picture, I was able to experience a feeling of something non-angry, maybe fondness or compassion– and then a shit-ton of grief –of not having had a mother who chose healing and me. I may never fully understand or accept the way in which this family functions. I do embrace that I am different, in ways which now make me proud and hopeful. I accepted all of the risk and exposure of moving here and connecting my ex to THEM. I knew better, but hoped foolishly for the improbable. Their desire was never at all, similar to my own.

Acceptance of this is hard AF and my grief is messy…as most of my feelings tend to be. I am not emotionally tidy or buttoned up.

I was planning to post about Greg’s birthday dinner and gifts and how much we have enjoyed each other this week. But– this is where I am, for now. Bye mom. Thank you. I know you did your best with what you had and what you knew. So did I. I love you. I am sorry we were not able to connect in this life time. I never stopped trying. Ever.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

A Litany for Survival

A Litany for Survival BY AUDRE LORDE

(…) For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.

Finding a voice somewhere between screaming and silence allows me to speak my truth and to be heard by those who are for me, and for those who need to hear. It will be offensive or irrelevant to those not for me. It is an effective way to sort…..For me OR not for me. I don’t get to choose, just to accept.
I am hopeful that my boys will learn to live lives rooted in self worth and courage. We are finding our way, together, learning to share our truths, and find our people– one day at a time. Allowing people to sort themselves for us.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Making Amends

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Each of the 12-Step Programs follows these two steps to recovery, verbatim. Only in my program of recovery(Al-Anon), was I taught when and how to appropriately amend. Also, apologizing with words is not the same as amending our behaviors and working to restore trust. To amend, means to intentionally change/stop hurtful behavior. Sometimes a relationship is damaged beyond repair. Still, we can continue to heal ourselves by changing our behaviors, (even with those with whom we no longer speak) regardless of how it is received or acknowledged on the other end. Spiritual striving calls us to improve upon ourselves for ourselves. Better action leads to better living.

In my family experience and then my marriage, there is a perverse practice of dramatic and profuse apologizing for circumstantial things like running out of wine, over cooked meat, having only one kind of salad dressing, “the messy house”, street construction, a delayed flight, getting stuck in traffic, misplacing a thing….but not for acts and behaviors which are chosen.

And then there are the apologies that begin with “I am sorry that you feel….”

And, of course, the most soothing of all: “Ok, I am sorry, now can we just move on, already?” (aka: STFU)

But apologies like: “I am sorry that I spoke in in a hurtful tone, said or did a hurtful thing. I won’t do that again. You don’t deserve that. I can do better.” These messages were never communicated, in any form, like not even on the radar. Is this because people are impeccable with their behavior? Or is it because I am unworthy? Or perhaps, because some people have not learned healthy accountability and responsibility? Recovery teaches me that amending originates from a place of humility and a genuine and deep desire to repair or heal, the damage caused by our choices. When you are not able to acknowledge or admit to the existence of damage or conflict, it would be impossible to own, heal, or even contemplate reparation efforts.

I longed for the opportunity to heal with my mother. The initiatives by my sister and ex, which sustained my alienation, guaranteed the impossibility of that. It is difficult to live with. While my mother did not break the cycle in her lifetime. I believe that if she were able to understand what I seek for my children, she would approve. I see how healing is too disruptive for a family deeply entrenched, encamped in rightness, maintaining the status quo. Easier to collectively agree that only one person is broken and without that broken part of the family, everything is fine. One of the gifts of recovery, is that I now live in peace with my choices and my behaviors. I make choices that reflect my values not my feelings. I can feel like shit and still act right (morally and spiritually right).

I will continue to report my journey, so that my boys might one day read and be reminded of how my words here, consistently match my actions and my life– in support of what I believe to be true and good about love, loyalty, kindness, connection, faith, family.

For the record, wholesome=pure of heart(maybe broken and, still pure) badass=never giving up on making things better than they have been and could be without rigorous and intentional contrary action. I make no claim to being this way already, only to my daily commitment to becoming so. I am a work in progress.


Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Things Which Once Caused Me Shame

Buh-Bye Toxic Shame!

Recovery for me has included unburdening of generations of the toxic shame imposed on me. I now have the tools to identify what is mine to amend and for what exactly what I am responsible. I can not and will no longer be sorry for: existing, feeling and thinking differently and deeply, speaking my truth, attempting to meet my own most basic needs or taking up space.

As a girl and young adult, I was truly sorry, all of the time, for all of the things. My constant thoughts and words, attempts to seek forgiveness: “I am sorry I felt that way. I am sorry I reacted that way. I am sorry I made you feel that way. I am sorry I made you act that way. I am sorry for my skin color, my birth name, my skinniness, my height, foot size, my voracious appetite, limiting food preferences, my screaming angry family, the shape of my nose, my anxiety, my insecurity, my despair, the clothes I wear, my family’s religions and ethnicity, the weird foods served in our house, my mother’s appearance and personality, my father’s accent and Egyptianness.” I am done being sorry. I was ashamed of my shame. I felt good about one thing, my cat. I am definitely sorry for pain or trouble caused by me. When we know better, we do better. While I do affect how others feel about me, I repeat, as many times as I need to, I do not make another person lie, sneak, steal, gossip, cheat, do drugs, abuse, deceive. I am just not that powerful. 

You know what I am now sorry for, what I apologize for, what I am willing and able to amend? Those moments when I could have done better. I am sorry for things I have said and done that have caused harm(not upset or displeasure), but legitimate harm, knowingly or otherwise. I am sorry and work daily to be intentional with my words, attitudes and behaviors. This requires a lot of unlearning- dumping of learned behaviors and faulty beliefs, adopting a better way.

I learned to exist in shame and that the burden of shame was the price to be paid to and extracted by those “claiming to be right—living in a state of rightness”. Sadly, I took up the practice of shaming and punishing others for disappointing or frustrating me. I think in the world of therapy, behaving this way, is referred to as offloading shame. Unhealed shame does not go away without intention and commitment to doing the work to heal. Shame is healed or passed on and perpetuated, manifesting in— Recklessness or over-controlling of people, food, drugs, sex, exercise, cleaning, shopping, people pleasing, striving for perfection, strained hot/cold relationships, bad marriages, unresolved conflict, egg shells forever…

Striving for perfection is the opposite of healthy striving– rooted in shame, not self-love or self-esteem.

To be armed with shame resilience, a healthy sense of self, knowing where you stop and others begin, with the appropriate sense of accountability, this is an advantage I can offer my children. They get to make mistakes, amend, and move on. They need not be perfect or sorry. And fuck anyone insisting otherwise. They will not be manipulated and diminished in these ways, without knowing what is happening. For now, they are small and being placed in conflict, just trynuh survive. But they, at least, know what IT is, that uneasy feeling in their guts telling them something is not right….and that something is NOT them and not their imagination. THIS is the fight of my life, to spare my children from the legacies of shame, addiction, and very sick entanglements.

Oh and you know what else I am sorry for–for participating in my own abuse and neglect, for submitting myself to others who thought it ok. I will spend the rest of my days taking better care of me and walking TF away from anyone suggesting that I(or others) earn or deserve pain and fear, which they will righteously impose. Even as I stumble, on my way out the door, my head is high and my shoulders square. When you hit my boys or me with your shame issues and vibes, we are Returning To Sender.

“I decided that the single most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do, was to show up for my own life and not be ashamed.” ~Anne Lamott

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Goddammit Magda

Friday after school, we had an unusually peaceful few hours before going to pick up dinner from our favorite BBQ place. Often, the time between after school and dinner can be trying. Both boys returned from school, busied themselves with chores, books, and playing without incident or a tantrum by me (begging to be allowed to focus and finish my work).

So, I placed our dinner, a hefty bag of BBQ, Brunswick Stew, and MacnCheese on the counter, while I washed up. The bag toppled as my younger son reached for it. It seriously exploded as it hit the floor, shattering the containers sending the macncheese and stew in all directions. My son, immediately distraught–flopped into the dog’s bed and put his hands over his face. First, my heart broke for how bad he was feeling.

BUT THEN I felt something so magical, which defies articulation, the miracle of being able to hug him and tell him: It is ok. It was an accident. If he had been agitating his brother or me or horsing around, I would have lost my shit and surely defaulted to shaming and guilting him. Old habits die hard. He was bummed that the stew, which was my dinner, was completely lost. I assured him: “It is fiiiiine, I am disappointed by my lack of stew and the reason I am not mad is because it was an accident. Accidents happen and I can eat some BBQ with you. There is plenty. I will have stew next time.”

Inappropriately, of course, I added, while scooping up the mess with a spatula into a trash bag, “Save your guilt for when you are being an asshole to your brother or me. That is something to feel bad about.” I continued by sharing that guilt is for those moments when we have knowingly made choices that cause trouble. Shame and guilt are not for– accidents, circumstances out of our hands, or things we do not yet know.

Fuck shame, shaming, and shamers. That is what I say. I used to feel so terribly ashamed for things that were said to me or about me by others. I used to feel ashamed for the unkindness which I was taught that I earned. But recovery teaches me to reserve shame guilt for only my own poor choices. AND No matter how bad my choices, I am not even a tiny bit responsible for someone else’s behavior. EVER. It is not possible to effectively impose shame on a person who has been inoculated with shame resilience. I think repeating and continuing deceptive and hurtful behavior is shameful and shameworthy.

I am working with my sons to illuminate the difference between shame and guilt. To be willing to be taught but not controlled by them. Shame says “I am a bad person and deserve bad things.” Guilt says “I did a bad thing and can do better.” Either way, amending is the best way to get through to the other side. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out how to amend. It always takes courage and humility and those can take time too. Shaming and blaming will lead to nothing good or wholesome. We are learning to recognize those who try to gain advantage in those ways. They are not safe.

My older son lightened the moment by saying “Goddammit Magda, this is why everyone hates you.” We laugh endlessly over family experiences that once brought me shame. My boys know and get me and love me and all the awkward painful stories which I share with them. Whenever something is fucked up and we don’t know why, one of them will always say “Magda did it”. Poor lil Magda.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Together, We Belong

My boys are still young enough that they are more interested in what feels good and right than what hurts and upsets. I love that they are always asking about our next plans with Favorite and Sweet Greg. Even when we have just said good bye to them, my sons are asking when we will see them next.

The sense of belonging they experience with them, is priceless. I suspect my boys recognize, but cannot yet grasp how they are so deeply loved and welcomed without condition– free from weird, dirty, secret emotional contracts.

My boys know, without doubt, they can call and go to F and SG for anything– always, no matter what. The emotional safety and security is greater there, I am guessing, than anywhere else in their little lives. Those bonds are not only squeaky clean, but also free from the rigors of parent/child conflict and stress. Favorite and Sweet Greg are always interested, available, and fully effing (mind blowingly so) present for all of the words and feelings– and the fun too.

Thank you Favorite and Sweet Greg for being sources of genuine and undeniable togetherness. Your lack of malice and ill-will for their father, in spite of what you hear and witness, is brilliant and healing. What a gift to US. Your loyalty to me does not require you to hate him, and I think that serves us all, quite well. The burden lavished upon my children by their father and “his people” is heart-breaking—but manageable, because of you. Thank you for being consistent and plentiful wellsprings of emotional safety.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Exact Right Words

When you are raised having your words and feelings ignored, dismissed, challenged and twisted to be used against you, you may, as I did, dedicate much time to seeking the exact right words (once realizing volume and profanity do not work in your favor, ever) to express a thing so that you may be heard. Not realizing that the people to whom you are speaking have no intention of hearing you, and need, at a cellular level, to not hear you. Because knowing a thing, means (for most of us) having responsibility to take informed action.

There is a very consistent pattern and dynamic in households where generations of those affected by addiction are in control: A difficult or uncomfortable thing gets said but not acknowledged, and if you say it again, you are accused of nagging(not moving on) and then questioned: Why are you still saying that? If the thing is expressed with emotion, your tone gets policed while the content is discounted. That situation made me a lunatic, first with the people to whom I am related— and then in a marriage to a man who is wired identically to my relatives.

Relatives is the word I have now connected with, to identify those to whom I am linked genetically. It felt awkward calling them “my family” because of the clear lack of connection and regard I experienced with them. Saying “family” felt like a lie, a pretense. Also the word love felt similarly. “I love you” was routinely said before bed and for goodbye. But by my definition of love, which says that– love sees you, hears you and protects you, unconditionally- we did not love each other. That is not a type of love I experienced with my relatives and ex-husband. Ever. And it made perfect sense when I said “I love you” in my troubled relationships before recovery because I used the phrase according to how I had learned to love and be loved. I 100% loved my husband the same way I loved my relatives. And he loved me as they did—it was painful for all of the days in which I refused or was unable to pretend…most of the days. We all agreed if I could just be different, we could be fine and happy and together. Like a family.

I infrequently tell Sweet Greg that I love him (Because of my 40 years of shitty broken “love” with chemically dependent and emotionally stunted people(no resentment there. ha!)) What Greg and I have and do is different, deserving of a another word. Also, I refuse to call Greg my boyfriend. Not only because that word got ruined, but because I am old AF, not 12, and he is much more than a BF. I don’t say partner, because that feels awkward and to me, implies that we live together or that we are gay. He is just My Sweet Greg. And calling him my companion sounds as if he is paid or like we are in our 70s. There are no right words!

Even the word “boyfriend” was uncomfortable in referring to men whom, for years, I tethered myself. Because I noted other women enjoying thoughtful, kind love, joy, gifts and fun from dedicated boyfriends. I would label the man in my life my boyfriendy-type-person (BTP), which would at least make me laugh. I had come to believe that if I were verrrrrrry lucky, I miiiiight be able to find one man who would tolerate, ignore me, sleep, and share meals with me, forevvvver. I hoped to be so lucky.

I recall my last conversation with my mother, in which she demanded I get over the betrayal(which she insisted did not happen(ironically while it was still happening)) and just come to dinner like a member of the family. I responded to her by saying: “There was a time when I would share beds and meals with people who treat me as if I am unworthy and naughty. That time has passed. I have changed and that will not work. ” I got up to leave and she said; “I wish you well, Maggie”. I let myself out and she locked the door behind me and those were our final words, as I knew they would be. She and my sister continued to circumvent our issues at the expense of my children’s peace by meeting as a family(by their definition) with my ex and our children therefore knowingly dividing us as co-parents, probably forever. Hate is a very strong word…but in this case feels the closest I can get, to naming the feeling I have for what they do to my boys’ parents in order to meet their own needs. They are winning the war of their design and choosing, while my boys lose.

We are related, only by the co-incidence of my birth. Whatever is felt for me, is nothing that has ever been healthy for me. The behaviors and choices of my mother and her family are about them, reflective of their values, beliefs, and way of being in the world, AND not a reflection of my worth or lovability. They are her family, my relatives. And it is plain to see how they would appreciate an emotional similar-ness to my ex-husband and his divided scapegoated family.

Al-Anon has introduced me to new language and experiences of: myself, others, faith, wholesome love, kindness, family, belonging, boundaries, connection, self-esteem, service, detachment, and serenity. I have experienced each of these, for the first time, in this program of recovery, and never with my relatives. Repair or repeat. For nearly 10 of my 50 years, I have been working slowly to repair what I hope to not repeat.

Love is not easy or without pain and struggle but it, I believe, to be benevolent, a promise, and a commitment.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

On Being Psycho

Happy Valentines Day, y’all ♥️

My favorite part of my relationships is the laughing endlessly, together, over exactly how unreasonable we can be, at times, complete lunatics, incapable of acting or thinking right. 

Sometimes being reasonable is not possible and that is ok, because we can acknowledge that, learn from it and laugh like crazy while being merciful with ourselves and each other, as we call out our own disturbing behaviors and thinking. It is not possible to move on and to heal from things without first acknowledging them. Having a loving witness is key.

If we were to pretend we were perfect, we would miss out on getting to know and grow ourselves. 

Honesty is the height of intimacy— the only real perfection and the truest form of strength and kindness. Strength is not in denying or hiding pain and struggle, but being with them, willing to be taught by them, while being able to laugh at ourselves, our imperfections.

For the record, I do not consider myself a psycho but do admit to behaving like a deranged person—on many occasions. I think actual psychos are the ones who cannot consider that they have moments of behaving from a place of being unhinged and terrified ….because they do not even recognize it as problematic and are unable to contemplate having behaved badly.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Things We are Learning

“My family upbringing lacked courtesy, respect, calm responses, and forgiveness. It has taken me years to learn how to pause, reflect and choose a more loving response. For years I allowed an (unwell person) alcoholic to use their weapons of anger and anxiety to provoke me. I didn’t understand the dance or merry go round.” (from my sponsor in today’s meeting…I adore her)

To have the opportunity to mature emotionally and spiritually, and to heal, to unlearn, to create a better experience, is nothing short of a miracle. Learning to be gentle and to remember my intent, is hard as hell. I lack desire to win or silence another. I want to connect, serve, heal, and grow together with my people. But often, when I am overwhelmed, particularly in parenting, my natural reactive instinct is to attempt to win/dominate, in order to get a handle on things. I am not fixed, but I am so much better because of the shitty marriage which led me to the rooms of Al-Anon. Without it, I shudder to imagine the type of mother I might have been.

There is a word for IT, a name for the cycle and legacy of twisted perceptions and troubled relationships. There are places to go (meetings) and people who want to hear, share, heal from the family disease of addiction. It affects everyone, even the pets.

It is shameful and heart breaking to recall how I went from building my life around my angel of a dog “King Simon”, to, after marriage, wanting to have him put to sleep, when his needs (which had not changed) seemed too much for me. It required everything I had to manage life with a man, who was icy cold for days, sometimes weeks at a time, returning to warm and friendly without explanation. It was as if I were expected to respond like a faithful dog–eagerly awaiting, unquestioningly at the door, to be allowed to return, for touching, playing, and closeness. I gag to recall.

I am not wired that way. I am a deep feeler, feeling it all, unable to limit myself to feel only the things he wanted me to feel. My inability to remain vulnerable under those conditions has been collectively labelled as “holding a grudge”. It is actually just being too confused by and scared of a person, to feel closeness. I recall regularly trying to explain that I can not be terrified, angry, ashamed and horny all at once. For me, those things do not happen together. This dynamic mimics my experience in my family–not the horny part, though there was unwanted touching and closeness. Gagging again.

I had been groomed to believe that OUR only problems were my thin skin and my inability to just move on. My reaction of being hurt was the issue, not the harmful words, silences, behaviors. Recovery taught me that I was responding to pain and fear by feeling frightened and hurt.

It is not my job to feel less and to pretend as if things are ok. For as long as I am willing to pretend things are ok, they will never be ok. Healing has divided me permanently from those who refuse change. Healthy boundaries have rendered it impossible for us to be together. Yes, it runs in the family, generations of unhealed pain. And it stops here. I will heal, so that I may not hand IT directly to my children.

I see both in my ex’s family and my own, the ones who feel more and speak more get picked off. Those who feel less or learn to numb the pain and ignore, become favored and develop a sense of righteous entitlement. While the feelers, the canaries in the coal mines, are cast out.

Of my two sons, I have a deep feeler, one who feels all of the things and one who appears to be affected only, by not getting his way. He is readily able to ignore, pretend, and move on as if a thing has never happened or mattered. I worry for them…coming from parents who have siblings who differ in these ways and who remain terminally estranged. We learn what we live. It is time to learn and live differently.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Say Yikes and Move On!

“I set boundaries today, in good faith, with anyone who disregards my thoughts or feelings. Disregarding and disrespecting are different from disagreeing.” (wise words of my sponsor, in today’s meeting)

People pleaser, Pollyanna, Martyr (PPM) types behave as if openly and honestly disagreeing, is disrespectful and they tend to respond with entitled, but passive aggressive retalliation toward those whom they perceive as challenging or confronting. PPMs have not yet learned to accept differing needs and experiences. With them, honest communication is not possible. They simply do not know how. They tend to opt for a full on war (in which there are no rules) over an open dialog which requires fairness and honestly speaking and listening to challenging differences. For optional relationships, I have been advised to just say YIKES, and move on.

For non-optional relationships, setting firm boundaries around my right and responsibility to be treated(and to behave) with dignity and kindness, has been an edifying experience, allowing the bully to cook their own goose(while sparing me from the intense and habitual desire to tell them about themselves, in ways which make me feel bad about myself). Hostile reactions to healthy boundaries, reveal their true nature, but only to those courageous enough to look closely. Have courage. Look closely.

Choose genuine kindness and authenticity. Always. This is what I am learning and trying to model for my sons. One day at a time. Kindness, boundaries, healthy conflict resolution, detachment. All new and unfamiliar ways of being.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Educated by Tara Westover

I am on my second go-round of this riveting and relatable memoir, as it is generously providing words for thoughts which previously, I felt unable to put together for myself. To say that Tara Westover’s life was brutal, unbearable, would be an understatement. And still, I feel something not unlike coveting, for her. In addition to the abuse and dysfunction, the Westovers share a rich rural culture, deep religious conviction and practices, and the work of a family business– the family is bound by much more than coincidence of birth, a shared roof, and mental illness. Tara and two of her brothers experience trusting, protective, and lifelong closeness.

Additionally, she is able to discover a joy and talent for singing, learning, reading, and writing, which allow her life to become defined by more than what happened within the family. I often feel as if my rejection and abuse define me, because I really do not recall much more– like it is all I know of myself and my family. Recovery teaches me that I am not what happened to me. I am what I am willing to learn from it. Below are a few, not necessarily, fluid or cohesive thoughts, motivated by the words of Tara Westover, some of which incorporate chunks of words taken directly from her.

I came to see that the truth is this: It was not that I had done something wrong(although I have done many wrong things), so much as that I existed in the wrong way. There was something impure in the fact of my being. There is something different about me and that something, those differences are very bad, unforgivable–wrong at a cellular level. I am a bad daughter, a traitor, and my silence and compliance are the least I should offer– and I will do, not even that.

Not knowing for certain what was true and real, still, I refused to give way to those whom claimed certainty, and presented themselves as the gatekeepers of truth and history. I often thought that shame and alienation were results or byproducts of the conflict, and now I see how those served as both the purpose and motivation. Cruel things said and done were aimed at exactly those outcomes and delivered fortification and pleasure to those whose camaraderie rested on the shared need to reduce me, to gain submission OR to make me pay.

It was of comfort to believe that the defectiveness was exclusively mine, because this allowed me to hope that it was under my power to make US be healed. I wanted to believe that. The family system needed also for me to believe this. When I stopped believing and trying to do the impossible, when they could gain no traction from my reactions, it was OVER, in first my family and then my marriage.

When my own mother consistently refused to listen to or hear me, it made me stop listening to and believing myself. This is surely a contributor to the feckless belligerence, the profanity and the volume, my desperate and reactive attempts to be acknowledged, listened to. Sadly, we know too well that this insane behavior is readily dismissed and steals the show. Leaving witnesses fixated on only the unfortunate reaction to the thing which everyone refuses to speak of.

It both pains and liberates me to recognize that what a person knows and believes of a person, place, or thing, without first-hand experience, is limited exclusively to what they are told by others.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Unity v. Division

The messages of non-love which are cruelly and generously heaped upon my boys, by older members of their genetic families, require daily dispelling. The demystification is endless and I am grateful it is possible to speak openly with them about their having been made foot soldiers in a conflict, they are not yet old enough to comprehend. Fuck, I am 50 and still cannot get my head around it.

Our daily reminders illuminate:

-how partial truths and changing truths can make a person feel crazy and anxious. People attempting to dictate and manipulate our realities, make us doubt ourselves rather than those claiming a monopoly on the truth, which is subject to change based on their own moods and personal desires.

-how in healthy families, healing the family is winning. Avoiding getting picked off, or being on the more favorable side of the cross hairs, is the exact opposite of a win for a healthy family. Hustling for favor, is a game common, to families riddled with addiction and mental illness. The sick system relies on fear, shame, guilt, winners, losers, scapegoating.

In our home, we do not wish to beat or be beaten by each other. We value and prioritize unity. Triangulation and alienation leave parents and children painfully divided and siblings the same. Entire sections of family divided. Who wants that?

Here is who… Spiritually and mentally unwell people, extracting reverence and victory, at all costs, in order to feel ok about themselves. They are the ones who want insist on this. Because, in our home, we are blessed with recovery, we are learning and practicing a better way. A third way… I will not sit back and watch as my children are taught that pitting themselves against each other, me, or another is a good way to be in the world. That is poison. (Winning is for games and wars.) That mentality stems from generations of addiction and perpetuates addictions of all sorts. We will not abide.

My children have grandparents on all sides who will go/have gone to their graves while not speaking to their children and having their children not speaking to each other. I can think of little, that is more horrifying. I would prefer my boys align together against me, than ever, against each other. They belong to each other, not to US, their parents. They have been entrusted to us.

I continue reminding them. “I see your pain and it is big. I also see your courage and it is bigger. Together, we can do hard things.” (from Glennon Doyle Melton)  Just because a thing is hard, does not mean it is wrong.

With trusted others, we do not fear loss of favor or connection. Ever. We are for each other. This is how we identify people as safe. Do we need to act a certain way to be treated well and to be safe and welcomed…if so, they are not safe. Those are not our people. Though, we may be forced to engage, at times (until we are old enough to make our own choices).

The feeling of belonging, shared values, and a deep sense of empathy, will lead to unity and trust. The world has enough hate and division. We will not knowingly add to that. We will be intentional in our daily efforts to be more “for each other”, than against each other. We continue to work on ourselves and to accept those relationships which will grow with us or die.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Learning to Belong

As far back as I remember, I did not belong. Anywhere. I was different from the people to whom I am genetically linked, and treated by them, in ways which I found to be unacceptable. I failed to enter the world and that family knowing how to graciously or effectively accept or reject their treatment of me. Belonging to or with them seemed to imply that I had to be like them or to tolerate their reaction to my differences.

I wanted to be like them as little as I wanted to be with them, and being without them did not appear as a viable option. Often, I believe, the one thing we shared, besides blood, was how little we thought of me. I did frequently hope for divorce of my parents, though the idea of going with my mother was only slightly more terrifying than going with my father. I frequently wished (out loud) myself and them dead, only as a means as an exit to this thing called our family. In this environment, I learned some very unhealthy ways of being “together” with people. I was terrified and ashamed, every single day. I learned to react harshly and judgmentally to those who differed, struggled, or inconvenienced me, in any way. I learned that if you keep someone else in the crosshairs, you may feel safe for a while. You could always find or select a common enemy, someone to gossip about, exclude, or persecute. I learned what I lived. I am unlearning as quickly as I am able. Definitely a work in progress.

From one of my Al-Anon sponsors, I heard a story about belonging ,which changed my view of myself, as it had been shaped in relation to my mother and her family. I will attempt to do the story justice:

There was once a mother squirrel with a baby, who differed from the others. It was similar, with fur and four legs, but it looked and behaved in ways which were unfamiliar. Mama Squirrel was troubled by the differences. She surveyed other squirrels from her pack, who agreed, her baby was either a naughty or defective squirrel. As it turned out, the baby was not a squirrel, it was a baby bunny, wanting and needing bunny things. Just as the mother squirrel was squirrel by no choice of her own, baby bunny was 100% bunny, by birth. In a dynamic of acceptance, neither were right, wrong, or bad, just different.

Efforts to squash the differences were damaging.

While bunnies and squirrels have similarities, they are not 100% compatible in their needs and preferences. And that is ok. A bunny from a non-accepting squirrel family, may need to go elsewhere in order to learn all of the skills to live its best bunny life. Being labeled broken or naughty and collectively diminished and shunned, did not allow for a sense of belonging, purpose, or healthy connection–in my experience as a bunny in a squirrel family. I am 100% not like them, besides in the ways that I learned.

Ok, I totally muffed up the story. Without intentional acceptance and understanding of the differences, genuine connection and belonging were not sustainable and this bunny did not learn to thrive. I recall my mother insisting she treated my older sister and me, exactly the same, so what is MY problem?? We were not the same at all. As a mother, I learned early on that my boys have needs which differ from my own and from each other and it is my privilege and duty to explore how to get their needs met and to teach them that their needs are real and could and would be met.

Recovery taught me what I had always needed to know about belonging. While it can be faked and forged, it cannot be forced. Belonging does not mean being the same, it means being exactly how you are and still being connected in a way that is meaningful and good. Just as the parts of a puzzle or a piece of furniture requiring assembly, belong together, the individual pieces are not identical. They fit and rely on the differences for their strength.

In meetings, I love hearing how our Steps protect me from me. Our Traditions protect the group from me, and our Principles protect the world from me. By practicing the steps, traditions, and principles in all areas of our lives, we find healthy belonging–it becomes clear when there is unity of purpose and shared values and also when those things are not present. Recovery encourages us to identify healthy beliefs and behaviors and to participate in ways which are mindful of our group, as well as our individual members. Everyone has a voice, everyone matters, belonging is a natural consequence of sharing purpose and principles or NOT. Our fellowship is guided by the principles not by individuals(moods and personalities). Belonging is optional. There are no requirements for membership and you can not be kicked out. Though you may find that if you prefer to be “right” and in charge, to genuine unity and shared purpose, that healthy recovery groups may not be for you.

Desperate Willingness was my first step into recovery. Willingness to admit that the way in which I have lived and believed, did not work for me. It could not continue. For me, I got to stop hating myself for not being a squirrel and to stop bucking against the squirrels for not accepting me as I was and to accept that I was not one of them.

I was not broken(well, by this time, I was very effing broken, but I was not a broken squirrel) or worthy of unkindness. Unsurprisingly, I chose marriage to a very similar squirrel. I think he and I were in agreement on only one thing: I was broken and once fixed into a cooperative squirrel, who preferred and thought identical squirrel things, we would be fine. I fled one set of squirrels, only to submit myself to another. Because I had not yet healed from the damage, I repeated the dynamic–sought another source for harsh and demanding rejection and disapproval.

Once we became parents, I had no energy or will to continue in this way. Program taught me about my responsibility to Live and let live. Much easier said than done. BTW! I had never learned to live or to let live. I had moved through life like a pinball. Without any source of Good Orderly Direction.

In the rooms of Al-Anon, I began learning about healthy connection and belonging and I began to prefer it. Learning to belong, included learning to acknowledge people and places that were not a good fit for me. Poor fit is not a problem to be solved but maybe just an unpleasant fact. Any person or place inhibiting my self care and self love, is not a good fit for me. Neither I, nor it/them need to change. We are just not meant to be together. Everybody gets to be exactly as they are, just not at the expense of others. Acceptance allows for people and places to be as they naturally are without forcing, denying, pretending, and punishing. Whoa! Right? I know.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Quality of My Thoughts

When the people you are tethered to in childhood or marriage are the same ones who kick your feet out from under you, it fucks up your belief that things can ever be ok, or better. You doubt that people are who they say they are. It becomes difficult to make plans and choices and to envision a future of peace or emotional security.

When the feet kicking is sneaky and the reaction to IT, is more observable than the attack, it is damaging beyond words. This is how you make a person crazy. You undermine and sabotage their peace and then pretend you didn’t or you blame them.

After another night of disrupted and poor sleep, the quality of my thoughts is spectacularly bad. My worries for my sons over the stress imposed by the very intentional divide of our little family is immeasurable. My sons associate my sister and family of origin with being divided and separate. Their resentment for their father is growing, while their trust in him is shrinking. My older son’s inability to hide the pain, separates him from his innocence, as well as from his brother and father, who are quick to silence and judge his struggle. What a nightmare.

I feel hopeful that with a night of sleep and mental separation from the thinking of the thoughts, this will feel less heavy, or at least more manageable. Just for today. I can do hard things, one day at a time, together, with you.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Formatting Errors v. Compatibility Issues

Labelling the Formatting Issues as errors is part of an ongoing joke between Sweet Greg and me. As I said, we really do not get angry with each other and the times in which we have, we attribute to what we now recognize as “formatting errors”. For us, this means, that possibly, the person who is angry is rightfully so, because the other person said whatever they said the “wrong” way.   And if they would have communicated correctly, there would be no problem.

Greg and I are blessed with compatible operating systems. We prefer for life to be quiet and slow, not too peopley, and with minimal plans and schedules on our weekends. We enjoy down time together, separately and simultaneously while in the same place. I tend to need more space than him, maybe from damage and recovery or maybe because I was born this way. Either way, it is a fact, not a defect or a problem. Greg is not offended or challenging of my reality and the needs which make me uniquely me. He loves me unconditionally in all of my most Maggie-est of ways, not in spite of my Maggie-ness but 100% because of it, even the prickly parts. God bless that man.

The one time, in which I recall being genuinely (and irrationally, of course) angry with Greg, I mistook a compatibility issue for what was, in fact, a formatting ERROR. We were both happy and relieved to identify this thing, which for so many people, tears them apart, because they have not learned to recognize “it”.

Greg and I spend our kid-free weekends at my house. (We do not spend nights or share beds(unless on a trip)) in the presence of our children. He brings his sweet Golden Retriever, Sydney, who is always welcome. AND– like all Golden Retrievers, she shits and sheds. Greg would see me vacuuming or poo picking and ask if I wanted “help”. I would say, “No, I got it” and be resentful AF. I allowed this to continue for months until I wanted to end it with him.

See, I did not consider it “help”, for him to clean up after his own dog. I considered it his job. It was not a gracious favor, because if not for Sydney, I would not have the tufts of hair and additional poops to manage. But because he called it help, I would not allow it. Conditioned to “favors” and help, bound by fat strings and a secret price, to be extracted later, I could not accept. Insane. Truly. When I confronted him and attempted to shame him and label him irresponsible and selfish, which he is not, at all–it became clear what was happening. I was accustomed to dirty, indirect communications with weird secret emotional contracts to which I unknowingly entered, first, with my family, then in my marriage, I had no understanding of what it was like to deal with an emotionally present, generous, and direct communicator.

Sweet Greg and I enjoy high level compatibility and still experience formatting issues, which turn to laughter instead of divisive arguments. We each loathe talking by phone, needless complexity, indirect communication, we laugh at ourselves and each other, own our mistakes, apologize, and care deeply for the other’s peace and comfort. Finding food is generally our biggest challenge. There is never anything to eat…anywhere. Ever.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

No Means No

This morning, over breakfast, my older son(S1) asked if Greg and I ever get mad at each other. Of course, I did not offer a short response to this. I asked if he has ever seen us disagree and he said: “yes but you guys never get mad. ” What an excellent opportunity to explain that it is possible to disagree (with trusted others) without becoming angry, being, mean or disrespectful, which is something I only learned in recovery.

This reminds me: When we were living in CA, and the boys were 4 and 5, we had a neighbor friend named Ethan. Ethan was zen, reasonable and kind, this gentle Vietnamese little Buddha of a guy. I would always offer Ethan food and more food and he would politely decline. When I kept asking, he would say so wisely: “Maggie, No means no.” And I would just love it(without knowing why). and I would repeat it and still chide him to eat more than he wanted, just so I could hear him say it again.

But see, when you grow up surrounded by people who do not listen when you say no….who pretend you did not say it or attack you for saying it, you do not learn about the boundary of NO. So, tiny little Ethan was my first model of healthy boundaries via the direct statement of “NO”. No is a complete sentence and it is not mean, or a crime.

Give it a try. You are welcome. Now, I am your life coach.

So, I reminded S1 of our friend Ethan and then went on to tell him of the only time I recall Greg ever getting angry with me, and still not being mean. We were in our first year of dating, and in the car. I thought something was funny and reached over to grab and squeeze his knee as I was laughing (something I do—grab you when I am laughing). He said calmly “Please do not squeeze my knee”. Because, this was unfamiliar behavior, I did what I knew, I reached over and squeezed it again, asking; “you mean like this?”(so assholey, but this is what I knew). And he was like; “Seriously, I do not like that. Please do not do it again, ever.” Mind blown. I kid you not, that I said these words to him: “Oh my gawd, where did you learn that? Did you fucken invent that?” I had not ever observed a person to honestly and directly say No in this way. Without heat, volume, profanity and totally serious about it. Greg is amazing at saying No to me and I am getting better at saying No appropriately and honoring it when it is said directly, to me. Directness is essential. Passive aggressive no is more damaging than aggressive aggressive no because it creates unspeakable conflict and confusion…but looks better on the surface.

I can think of little which makes me feel more loved and safe than knowing that No means No. We are each allowed to say it and mean it without being mean or being hurt. Here is an example I did not share with S1, but hope to remember and so, will share here. In our first months of getting to know each other, Greg and I were kissing and he did something with his finger along the edge of my ear.(This was before he taught me the magic of NO). I pulled away with his face between my hands and said “do not ever fucken do that tickly bullshit again, please”. He processed it with grace, zero resistance. Later, I asked him “That was a little harsh, huh?” Without judgment, he replied: “Yeh you prolly could have been a lil more gentle about it.” I asked for an example. Boundaries 101. He said: “Maybe, like, hey I do not like that.” How could it be that I could say I did not like something and a person would stop???? Is this for real? The exact opposite of my family and marriage experiences. Boundaries, Gentle Truth Speaking, Consideration, Intimacy……These are the miracles of recovery. Without the work I am doing, I would never have appreciated someone as healthy as Greg. I love when he says No to me. I love learning how to say No better and that people who are healthy will respect it, even if they do not like it. People really show you who they are when you say No to them.

Favorite and I get big kicks out of saying No, cleverly to each other. I look forward to a time when saying no to my children will be more effective. And when No really will mean no. I am a work in progress. The second part to this lesson of No, is learning to discriminate between when a person has displeased us and when a person has genuinely done harm.. Having a clear and direct boundary and Saying No are healthy— not harmful….but definitely won’t win any prizes for people pleasing. And if people require me to please them, they are not my people. That is neither my job nor intent.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Never say Never

With active substance abuse and addiction, running in all directions of our family tree, we get to have many discussions on this matter. Both my boys insist they will never try alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, because those things are gross and make no sense.

I explained that it is likely that they will be offered those things and may try them, BUT- if they like it, it may be more difficult for them to stop, than for someone without addiction and abuse in their families, and that I will be here for them. They can always come to me.

They roared as I sheepishly admitted details of my friends and I using cigarettes, pot, and alcohol. I was explicit in conveying that my hope for them is not that “they never try it”, but that if they do try it, they do so, only with people whom they trust.

There are those whom might offer them something that is not what they say it is, and that could be dangerous, even fatal. And also, trying drugs with a trusted other because you are curious might be fun, while trying something you do not want because you are afraid of what a person might say to or about you will leave you feeling bad, period.

More than anything, I want to teach them to trust their guts, trust truth, trust kindness, trust in people who have proven to be trustworthy, kind, benevolent, fierce truth tellers.

These conversations led us directly into–how it is possible and common for people to lie and mis-represent by telling only partial truths, deliberately not sharing all information necessary for accurate context. We clarified what it means to lie. It can be done by omission. Lying is deception and intentional mis-representation, not just speaking of words lacking factual accuracy. Truth speaking requires courage and faith and full disclosure, transparency.

Lying is what people resort to, when they want something not meant for them or when they are avoiding consequences that would naturally be theirs. Lying is for trying to manipulate what others think. For them to get used to or confused by the omissions, partial truths, and words that are out of line with actions– will otherwise, make them doubt themselves, rather than the people in positions of authority who are misrepresenting and creating confusion- DIS-EASE. This, I cannot have.

Our bittersweet journey through demystification continues. The ongoing loss of innocence is at least brought into balance by our illuminating conversations, offering us shared language to discuss matters which would otherwise defy articulation. I do not need for them to get straight A’s, be popular, cool, or athletic all-stars. I need for them to believe in truth, to find comfort in truth, to speak truth–for themselves and for those who cannot. My measure of parental success is weighted by their dedication to being good citizens, protectors, helpers, witnesses.

The one thing in which I hope my boys will strive to NEVER– is denying their feelings and truths or even denying the feelings and truths of others. I firmly believe in a strong link, between denial of feelings and the need to self soothe in ways which prohibit healing and growth. Grow and heal sweet boys. Please. Be healers and growers.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

You Can’t Make Me and Neither Can I

You can’t make me and neither can I.” I am almost finished with Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies and this line really stayed with me. 🎯🤣😬Hard truth.  Discipline over my thinking is a daily struggle.  I think as a result of having my reality challenged, debated, and dismissed for most of my life. I became obsessed with trying to prove my truths and adamantly resistant to those who insisted on trying to dictate my reality– and ultimately also gave up on self-discipline. The only things in charge of me were the fear, shame and guilt for feeling how I felt in the company of those who disapproved mightily and collectively.

Help with my thinking is the only thing for which I pray.  Praying, for me, just means alone time dedicated to articulating my awareness of my need for help, from a power greater than myself.  My will or the will of another human is not enough to get me to do, feel, believe a thing. My program offers me the tools to navigate and to allow my thinking and instincts to become changed, one day at a time.  I will not be bullied by another person or group, or even myself, into living my best life.  Flow not force!

The grief of my mother’s passing and the family to which I was born, wreaked havoc on my body this week, leaving me with debilitating sciatica.  On the way to the accupuncturist, I passed the Cancer Treatment Center where I sat thru many treatments and drs visits with my late mother.  I also drove past the hospital where she underwent some scary surgeries and recoveries.  At the time, I was terrified, not that she would die, but of the proximity to my mother, my sister and her hubz.  And that my mother and I would resume our historical dynamic, once she was well, as we had not done the work of healing.  While she was ill, housebound, helpless, and lonely, she appreciated me, my presence. And once well enough, it seemed my only role was to submit to words and plans that openly diminished me. 

Relocating my family, to be of service, in this critical time was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done (besides knowingly marrying someone identical to those I fled).  Nobody could have forced me to or stopped me from our move, because it was the right thing to do.  I am grateful that I did.  And– it has been only slightly more painful than anything I would have dared to imagine.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Trust in Kindness

It is painful to witness my boys being expected to suffer silently or get comfortable in the presence of unkindness. Their father and I have very different principles and versions reality. Obviously. The ways in which we differ are the exact ways in which he relates to my mother and sister.

Just as I cannot discern who is telling the truth when my boys come to me in conflict with accusations, they cannot be expected to discern the “truth” between their parents . They want and deserve to believe in us both. This possibility has been snatched from them, not by divorce but by an unwholesome and damaging triangulation of my ex, my sister, and my mother.

The most I can hope and model for our sons, is to recognize genuine kindness– To learn to discriminate between friendly(social) and kind. A person can be friendly and social with one person and harsh and mean to another. Kindness is not conditional, like friendliness. It is not dependent on liking a person. Kind people just are. Some of the most well known sociopaths and criminals are reported to be friendly and charming. Both of my boys have first hand experience with charming bullies.

If a person behaves in ways that are cruel and diminishing to any other human, animal, or even the earth, they are not kind. Kind is not subjective. Kindness is unrelated to friendliness or how well you enjoy a person or situation. Kindness is a value and a practice.

Kind is not scary and does not judge or gossip. It does not require you to pretend to like, want ,or be ok with things which are not ok.

Kindness can be trusted. Because kindness, by definition, would exclude dishonesty. It is not possible to change the people to whom my sons are related and exposed. But I will break this freaking cycle of dysfunction, even if I just knock a chip of it off, that is progress. Overturning one sick myth and ritual at a time. Information is power. Faith is power. Higher power is power.

For the models of unyielding kindness and honesty in our lives, I am grateful. #blessed Because when you are not frequently exposed to kindness and gentleness, it is unfamiliar. While my children know they cannot count on me to feel happy or calm(sad truth), they can count on me to truth tell and own and work on my bullshit. 100%!! And to expose them only to Trusted Others—people who, as a rule, are kind and truthful, benevolent. In their entire lives, I have not lied to them or misrepresented in the slightest. Nor have I offered them up to any kind of non-love. They trust that they can say, do, and feel anything in my presence and it does not diminish my love for and commitment to them. Both of them. Differently but equally.

For today, I am giving up my need to be right or believed, because that is unwholesome and unreasonable and always leaves me sad. Instead, I will call out acts of kindness, courage, and truth telling. Attempting to manage people’s perceptions of the past is an insane and manipulative waste of time. Yuck. Letting that go. I miss out on the abundance of kindness in my world while I am tangled up trying to understand or prove unkindness of the past.

Reclaiming my emotional sobriety, so I will gladly accept that Day 1 chip. Thank you very much. 🥇

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Day 15 I Can Not Be Counted On

I Can Not Be Counted On:

  • To be perfect
  • To be manipulated by fear, favoritism, or gifts
  • To agree or even feign agreement
  • To pretend that things are different from how they are
  • To act as if I like or want what I do not
  • To tolerate diminishing situations of any sort
  • To retaliate or engage in dishonest dynamics(which are non-optional)
  • To participate in gossip, flattery, or people pleasing

I Can Be Counted On:

  • To continue putting one foot in front of the other
  • To practice radical self-love and self-care
  • To make better mistakes today, than yesterday
  • To participate in difficult conversations
  • To work toward resolution
  • To speak truth and practice courageous honesty
  • To practice humility and forgiveness
  • To have courage and faith in a power greater than myself
  • To make amends when possible
  • To prioritize Kindness and Service
  • To excuse myself from things not meant for me
  • To support anything which strengthens and nourishes my children’s spirits and to object to anything which imposes on their serenity and sense of overall wellness and security
  • To break the cycle of abuse in my family
  • To be honest with my children about mental health and wellness, addiction, recovery, kindness, honesty, loyalty, and integrity
  • To laugh too loud
  • To say inappropriate things and to overshare
  • To feel deeply and to love hard
  • To listen with empathy and hold space, even when I do not understand. I may not relate to a person’s exact experience, but I will always openly relate to difficult feelings, struggle and fear. This is one of my more wholesome badass super powers.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Day 14 Character Analysis

Nearing the end of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, I am taking note of the qualities in the characters that I find admirable and deplorable. Initially I could not understand why, Ellsworth Toohey, Peter Keating, and his awful mother made me sick. Their behaviors are so common and familiar that I almost mistook them for normal. Maybe they are normal, typical–but they are unwholesome posing as wholesome and good–each people pleasing, heavily reliant on sneaky, underhanded diminishing of and climbing on the backs of others. I also did not fully comprehend my immediate awe over Howard Roark, whose disinterest in conformity could be considered freakish. His fierce, unyielding truth speaking is breath-taking. A million ways he could sell out for the benefits of social and professional “success”. But his truth matters most to him and he gladly pays the price. Not for a moment, pitying himself or resenting others. He is free, as a result of his purity of intention, which is transparent and unwavering. AND that level of integrity and respect for himself and others, is what I seek for myself.

Roark’s words, actions, and beliefs remain in alignment. That badass integrity- that way of being in the world, has been defined, in spirituality, as genuine happiness. In the non-spiritual world, this is considered subversive, and just cause for abuse. His ease with himself and others seems a natural by-product of his deep knowing of what is real and important. He chooses to honestly work for what he wants, without gunning for those who oppose or obstruct him. Roark wastes no effort trying to control or to please others.

Howard Roark’s manner of living, reminds me of the Doctors’ Oath to DO NO HARM. His void of drive to please or punish others exceeds my original ideas of wholesome badassery. In these ways, I find him to be spiritually excellent and very sane. …reasonable.

I am reveling this book, as it relates to my recovery and parenting, which to be honest, are the only things I have going these days.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Day 13 Second-Handers

Every spare moment has been dedicated to slowly devouring The Fountainhead or binge-watching Schitt’s Creek. Regarding Fountainhead, it is a loooooong read but the depth of the characters is beyond captivating. And the concepts and language around society thinking and culture is like scripture to me. I did finally get to the love/rape scene between Dominique and Roark and feel conflict about my take on it. She definitely wanted him but never said yes and seems, based on the explicit and intense nature of their connection, responded to him with resistance, because it is what she thought he wanted and also what she wanted. She also never said yes or fully surrendered to it. Wow. A lot to consider about sex, love, passion which can each be part of a rape. When it comes to this encounter, I dunno. I definitely do not agree that Ayn Rand has endorsed rape.

Wanting to understand more deeply this concept of second handers, I found this quote worthy of posting and contemplation. It relates strongly to my recovery and parenting and all that I am working against in raising wholesome, good hearted boys.

Second-Handers

Isn’t that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he’s honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he’s great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison . . . . They’re second-handers . . . .

They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They’re concerned only with people. They don’t ask: “Is this true?” They ask: “Is this what others think is true?” Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egoists. You don’t think through another’s brain and you don’t work through another’s hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation—anchored to nothing. That’s the emptiness I couldn’t understand in people. That’s what stopped me whenever I faced a committee. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It’s everywhere and nowhere and you can’t reason with him. He’s not open to reason.

Back to the book. Only a few hundred more pages…before I set off to re-read. Hopefully, before finishing the book, I will be able to discern the reason for the title. Fountainhead????

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Day 8 Reflection

Ok, not writing at all, about IT is unreasonable and unhealthy. I am tweaking my resolution to add an allowance for myself, to contemplate and write once a week on the things from which I am recovering. To deny that, is unreasonable. It is not all or nothing…that is the sick thinking I was raised on. It is not THIS or THAT.

Healthy, expansive thinking is a matter of BOTH AND. So, while I will intentionally dedicate more thought and energy in other directions, I will also allow myself the outlet for the ongoing effects of my broken family and the brokenness that is being forced on my sons. I am offered daily reminders of that sickness, with each interaction with my ex. I watch helplessly, as my sons have their most basic need for strong unshakable sense of connection & belonging with each of their parents, systematically and righteously undermined. THAT behavior will never be ok, but I am beginning to make sense of IT, and this allows me to recognize healthy options. What is happening, is not OK or normal. BUT, I have tools to help me respond to what I cannot change.

What remains disorienting, when dealing with a disordered personality- Things go their way, and they may randomly behave with kindness and generosity. Things don’t go their way and they swiftly become shaming, cruel, and punitive. You can never know. who or what you are getting.

When you are small and being shaped by this dynamic, it is natural to assume that you cause the changes in behavior/mood. In fact, you are told that you are. In some moments, you will be regarded as drastically more favorable, yet have no clue as to why. You will lose sleep and many hours of your life, trying to discern how to be only the person who dodges cruelty and earns kindness. I am keenly aware of what continues to remain the same. The only things changing—-are the ever-changing moods and– my responses to those. One day at a time. ⏳

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Atypical Day 6

Netflix’s Atypical, our first family binge-watching opportunity. Sam, Zahid, and Paige are each so damn relatable and hysterical, and it was consensus that we could not and should not stop after a single episode, or even two. Sweet Greg insists that there is too much adult content for the boys. I do not completely disagree and wish there were less of that. But, I think the gravity of Sam’s story and the depth of the characters, by far out-weigh the “sexy content”. Friendship, loyalty, connection, truth speaking, and celebrated quirkiness, to me, are worth the exposure to the sex-stuff, which my boys are already assaulted by, daily, at school. I dunno.

My older son and I, like Sam, are each quickly and easily overstimulated by most sensory stimulus. As a result we become tired(not in sleepy way), worn down and less resilient to emotional stress. We are thrilled by Sam’s unapologetic truth speaking and relate to his meltdowns and need for space and correctly prepared foods(haha). We are hoping for more seasons, since, like psychos, we burned through the first two, in 3 days. Pacing is something my children may have to learn elsewhere.

Today is Day 6 of intentionally doing, talking, posting, and meme-ing about life, instead of my FOO–very effing un-natural. Definitely, a one day at a time thing… I choose to focus on things that elevate and expand our lives. I suspect that this is not unlike how Sam felt when Paige suggested insisted he practice speaking of things other than penguins and the Antarctic.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 4 Schitt’s Creek

David Rose #Funny GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Having declared on 12/31 that I am moving on and redirecting my attention, I am on day 4 of posting about anything at all that I discover, observe, contemplate, enjoy….

For today, my crush on David Rose is developing into fixation. Like, I want to study him. In David, the polar opposite of Howard Roark from The Fountainhead, I have found another hero and role model. If you enjoy laughing until your stomach hurts and binge-watching Netflix, Schitt’s Creek is a must: only 21 minutes per episode and a teeny 20 second window in between to decide whether or not to continue. The characters and dynamic of David and Alexis are intoxicating. Truly.

I recently saw a brilliant meme: What if Netflix doubled as a dating service like “Here are 7 other singles that watched Grey’s Anatomy for 8 hours–straight”? Similar lifestyle and TV preferences are key. I could not be more pleased that Sweet Greg enjoys binge-watching. Actually, I believe he introduced me to it, with Breaking Bad, Hell on Wheels, and Boardwalk Empire. I think we completed each of the seasons for all of those, within our first 6 months. We have not since found many binge-worthy shows–that we agree on.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Day 3 The Fountainhead

As with most things, I am reading The Fountainhead 📖 in true 💉💉💉addict fashion. The clash between Peter Keating and Howard Roark is beyond compelling, as well as the growing heat between Dominique and Howard Roark which lead to the love sexy rape scene, of which I have yet to read.

While Roark and Dominique at some point become lovers, the forced, but still “erotic” sex referenced, is, in fact, rape. It is preposterous to defend that RAPE is limited to vaginal penetration, sexual attacks by strangers, or with females only as victims, and always males as perpetrators. If a person is in any way unable or unwilling to say yes, the answer is NO. How is it ok, ever, to advance on someone, without consent, which can never be assumed…even within romance and marriage? Why do we have only one law regulating sexual engagement, by age but not willingness? Is it more acceptable for one adult to force themselves on another than for frisky teens to mutually engage in sex? It is astonishing to me, that even victims are quick to dismiss their own violations (and therefore, those of others), by accepting that they have somehow brought it on themselves, or that it was “not that bad”, or they are “lucky” it was not worse.

Most people very much do not wish to consider or discuss this matter. I, however, very much do. If my boys have sex before the legal age, I am more accepting of that, than them, as adults, touching others in ways which are unwelcome and unwholesome. Examining and challenging the rape culture disrupts the status quo and entitlement of one population in particular.

Ha! That is it. I love Howard Roark for being a disruptor, transparent AF, not mean, dishonest, or violent not for a moment(not yet-just now at Chapter 15). Sneaky, Posing, Well groomed, Social Climbing Peter Keating and his pathetic mother make me ill. Peter’s image and appearance on paper are his only assets- and this leaves him constantly terrified and insecure that he might lose it all in a second. He despises and feels threatened by Roark’s void of motivation by money and popularity. That makes him unshakable which drives in Peter, his private desire to destroy him. Such a juicy dynamic. I am hooked.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

2019 Day 1

Best Friends Forevvuh. 42 years of sisterhood. Total traveling pants. Bringing in the New Year with Favorite and her family was a win.  Tastiest foods, 🥮🧀🍤🥝🥘 from as soon as you are hungry all the way until you pop or surrender. Games and /or space for all.  Laughing together at nothing and everything and nobody and everyone.  The belonging-ness is pure magic. 💫How does this happen?  I never feel as if I am a guest or extra.  Nobody does. I cannot help but marvel.  This is how we are meant to live and love.  2019, here I come. Looking forward to tonight, with Sweet Greg and our boys.

I have been reading a ton lately, in addition to my Recovery Literature. Today’s meeting reflected my 2019 intentions. From Paths to Recovery pps14-15 “Even though I was completely convinced that I hadn’t caused his inappropriate behavior, I still had an overwhelming desire to control or cure what was happening.  Once again, I had to sit and feel the discomfort of letting go.”  Letting go, is a less familiar type of discomfort, than my standard white knuckle, claw marking, hanging on. I will have to choose to let go one million times per day. Life gets better when I do and less better when I do not. “Let go or be dragged. ” Right?

I have enjoyed some lighter reads which have brought as much laughter and joy as they have direction, to my life: -The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben -By Jen Hatmaker: -For the Love and -Of Mess and Moxie (listening to her on Audible is a great time. Like spending time with a friend). I cannot recommend each of these strongly enough. Also, By Bob Goff -Everybody Always and -Love Does How is it possible for these deeply religious, Jesus loving people, to whom I cannot fully relate, touch me so deeply and allow me to believe in something far better than I have ever known. I am definitely a lover of Jesus Lovers(the good humble ones–not the arrogant psychos)(obvi).

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo provided much needed language for processing a lifelong dynamic, which I have experienced as unmanageable. There are some serious fragility (ego and entitlement) issues involved. Both humbled and empowered by having glimpsed a more informed examination of the practices of exclusion. Becoming informed and gaining the language necessary to discuss, are essential to my healing and moving on. So, while I will not fixate on IT/them, I will be referencing them.

Becoming by Michelle Obama left me nearly intoxicated–her unyielding grit and grace, two admirable qualities which strive to know and practice– here(WBA), I refer to those traits as badass (not giving up on truth and goodness, while learning when to walk away because there is none to be had) and wholesome (purity of purpose).

Not that Bad by Roxane Gay , clarifies how ” NOT THAT BAD ” is NO WHERE NEAR good enough.  Being maltreated, silenced, diminished– is 100% unacceptable for any single individual or group of people.  Suggestion and insistence otherwise, offering ease to bullying, rape, molestation, physical and verbal abuse.  The definitions for rape, bullying, and abuse are so ridiculously narrow which makes it easy and expected for people to give it a blind eye and a shut mouth. One of the dispatches details an erotic rape scene (as if those words should ever go together), which led me to The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand- The novel champions the individualism of a young architect, Howard Roarke, who unflinchingly defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. His struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above truth, independence, and creativity, spoke straight to my heart. I have not yet reached the love rape scene, and am curious to see how it is possible and true that many stories and movies can disqualify some sex from being rape, because of a sexyness or hotness about it. Any touching that is not wanted, is rape. Anyone who engages or allows it, is a participant, condoning and perpetuating rape culture. I intend to raise two informed and mindful sexual citizens who learn to hear and say NO, with grace. Or even without, but still recognizing, that if it is not a YES, it is a NO, with regards to touching.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

No, But This Time I Mean It

I intend to end this year of insanity, by allowing my mother’s recent passing to mark the end of my active attachment to a system which has collectively rejected me from my earliest days.  The ways in which I differ, they cannot understand, respect, OR control.  I officially accept my rejection.  Being excluded from the details of my mother’s death and the memorial service, is perhaps what I needed to be 100% certain. I accept my powerlessness over the fact of their impeccably consistent behavior.  I accept my powerlessness over the fact of their impeccably consistent behaviors and statements. What a pathetic waste of time, working so hard to reject their rejection.

I must waste no more time trying to understand or be understood.  The time to move on is RFN! 

Praying for the willingness to be guided by love and God and not my feeeeeeelings about the tragedy of this and the effects of THEM on my young sons.  My own recovery is the only thing of value I may offer my children. -Step One- I am incapable of service to my children, for as long as I remain mentally entangled. Please feel free to drop me a shiny gold ⭐️ for each day in which I post nothing of them or this.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

I am sorry, I won't be spoken to that way. We can work to resolve this whenever you are ready and then maybe gather as a "family".

Clear Boundaries are not Grudges

Omg. I woke up thinking about exactly this. How holding a clear and healthy boundary, within my family of origin(and marriage) gets labelled “holding a grudge”. Hellooo ??? It’s not at all, magnanimous to be willing to move on from abuse by your own mouth or hand without willingness to acknowledge and amend.  I can honestly say that in my entire family and marriage experience, not one conflict was ever openly engaged in a way that was mutually aimed at genuine peace, connection, resolution.  The only explanation I find anywhere for a person to punish a plea for resolution is the narcissist personality disorder-which prohibits any sort of rigorous self reflection.  The ego is so large and fragile and will crack if forced to consider any wrongness or fallibility and so they lash out–to punish and reduce those who challenge their sense of rightness. I continue to try to understand my part in this and I recognize beyond doubt, that I do not cause others to say or do bad things.  I am just not that powerful.  

At my mother’s service, it was said a few times how “she never held a grudge”. She was quite good at pretending that hurtful things had not been said or done. It was the expectation that I do the same.  That ability/value was not passed to me genetically, as it was my sister. We differ in this way.  And my need to work together to heal and reconcile is labelled and judged as grudge holding. By refusing to gather with a person(or people) who feels free and right to verbally assault me publicly, privately, passively, and repeatedly is not a grudge. It is a fair and sane boundary.

I presented my self a million ways to Tuesday, for healing and reconciliation. Requests denied. Repeatedly screwing someone over, while insisting you are free from bad feelings and would gladly welcome/allow them “back” into the fold (for more of the same) may not be a “grudge”, but, it is something foul.

Is shunning grudge holding? Is triangulation grudge holding? I think that malevolent behaviors are in fact proof of grudge holding(just without the courage of transparency). Knowingly imposing harm, no matter how smiley while doing it, is egregious non-benevolence.🤷🏽‍♀️  

Yes, I cry, get angry, hurt and need to resolve conflict to reconcile, even and especially when I have a hand in it.  This, this is maturity and mental wellness,  according sources I trust.  Ugh,  Grief is messy. My boys asked how they could be so loved that destroying their mother and father co-parenting was called for, yet mentioning them by name at the service was not.  The mixed messages continue, even from the grave.  They also asked why only my sister was mentioned as caring for her in illness, we relocated cross country and showed up day after day and week after week to serve and love on her–until… Feels like shit, to share with my boys that the lack of mention could be for one of two reasons:  Either, they were not thought of at all…or they were, and then were intentionally excluded.  And much of the service was written/scripted by her, in advance. If she had wanted, she could have said one healing thing. In true Ghoneim fashion, she offered a passive middle finger which, I could only have imagined or earned. This brand of love is as unsafe as it is unwholesome.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Are You My Mother?

To state that my feelings about and reasons for attending yesterday’s service for my mother are messy and confusing, is an understatement.  At this moment, this is what I am able to discern. 

  • I did not want my children paraded by and fawned over by people (who wish to claim them as family while shunning their mother) . 
  • The manners in which I was notified of both the death and the service, speak volumes to the collective statement of my “place”.  I would not miss or avoid the service out of fear or shame.  As, I feel neither.
  • The heavily orchestrated gathering illuminated, beyond doubt, that I was not a part of, that I am not even a little included, welcome, or connected.  No belonging.  No business.  The collective has spoken.  I am grateful to have fully witnessed this, together, alongside my children, Favorite, and Sweet Greg.  I have missed much of my life waiting and trying to be heard, understood, welcome, connected. In addition to losing decades to the grief and confusion which defined and consumed me, what hurts more; how that despair, longing, and obsession robbed/robs my boys of my full presence.

As my sister spoke of Judith, I looked at Greg and said “Who is she even talking about?”  He calmly and without delay squeezed my hand and whispered, “She is describing the mother she had”.  That was IT. To hear that sentence is what I have always needed.  Our realities differed, and mine has been regarded as wrong, punishable, invalid.

I am grateful that my sons were able to more clearly witness the dedicated arrangement in which they are being required to force themselves to feel as if they belong and “fit”.  Their father sat neither with us nor with the “family”.  I wonder how he feels about his participation and contribution.  They are definitely more his people than they are mine.  He is easily charmed by shiny people and things. I am certain he glowed with pride over his affiliation with such an accomplished group of people.  I am less easily impressed by things.  

My relationship with my ex, because of our children, is something that may mentally tether me to this.  The boys and I will get counseling to manage the effects of parental alienation.  I cannot spare them, but I can help them become informed and armed with the language to identify the things that, without help, would emotionally wound, and defy the articulation of young boys.

NOTE:  If we do not heal and fix what hurts us, we will seek, date, marry it.  Hopefully, my ex is my final lesson on this.  Abusers, enablers, and less enlightened people may pose the question “Well who is the common variable here, and therefore the problem?”  Abuse is a cycle, a legacy.  

NOTE:  If we grow up being treated as if we are worthy of and the cause for cruelty and banishment, we will seek relationships that affirm that.  If we are raised to feel valued and connected, we will seek relationships that affirm that.  Those become core guiding (beliefs) myths about connection and our “selves”.

My sister and I lived two different experiences.  My mother’s approval and endorsement of her, as clear evidence of fine mothering, connected my sister to the rest of the family.  My mother’s experience with me was used to divide me from them. One of us got a bridge and one got a stonewall.  On my less difficult days, I was sometimes treated kind of like the sick mangey dogs roaming the streets in South East Asia. I recall badly wanting to hold them tightly and whisper “it will be ok”.  But I was afraid and that was a lie(it would never be ok), so I would pet them with a smooth stick or a piece of trash and offer them scraps of food.  It made me feel both sad and like an asshole because I recognized that more was needed and deserved.  

A wise friend shared with me that “Difficult children are here to wake their parents.  But your mother was not interested”.  It is true, she showed reflexive aversion to or dismissal of anything/anyone which/whom was not emotionally simple and intellectually stimulating.  I have been anything but those.

Regarding the memorial service for my sister’s mother, I fared well, until reaching the parking lot where I was met with love and compassion by someone who could see.  I crumbled.  I am not sad for the loss of the mother who discarded me, repeatedly and then departed the world.  I am grateful for her heroic financial rescue during my divorce.  I thanked her for that in all of the ways possible, but never in the form of submission to people who righteously, and with her blessing, diminished me.  Yesterday, that family at the service said good bye to my sister’s mother.  They never even knew mine.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Our Mother Who Art in Heaven

Dear Mother,

You must be pleased that I married someone emotionally and morally similar to you and to my sister?  And equally contented that YOUR family shows unyielding loyalty to your will and way in the form of continued stonewalling.  Rest in peace.  Someone should.  

What was my crime again…Oh, I learned to say No to bullshit without screaming and swearing and I refused to actively engage in a war that you all insisted on and have the nerve to ask directly, repeatedly, and without shame why you all so readily hurt me?  I know the answer now, because that is the best you can do.  While you may have banished me, and that hurts like hell, probably forever…the truth is I do not belong with people capable of this.  I am definitely not one of you.

I am breaking the cycle, mourning the footing of the bill, by my children–for the continued and imposed spiritual and emotional sickness. Oh how I do miss the gorgeous 2500 miles between here and California but am eternally grateful that your physical illness and Randy’s desire to buy a home, brought us here. Even with the grief of your triangulation with the boys’ father, the pain you all bring, means little compared to the healing love of my sweet Greg and Favorite. I could not live without them. In a way, you and R are responsible for that also. So thanks!

Always,

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Social Media for Abuse Awareness

People say don’t use social media to post your personal problems. I use social media to post about abuse because it is a social problem.  I am taking all necessary measures to protect and to heal myself from decades of abuse.  Being shamed and silenced is secondary trauma, which typically yields more damage than the initial or continued abuse. There are two parts to every trauma, the initial trauma (what did or did not happen) and the secondary trauma of how that gets handled(or not handled). Each person who has known me, pre-recovery, has certainly, in some way been impacted by me, probably in ways that were disturbing or damaging. Hurt people hurt people. I learned what I lived and it was awful. I can see that.

We each are in daily contact with someone who is suffering from some form of abuse, past or present. Just consider being a loving witness. Not to fix or gloss over, but to listen and be present.  Hold space for healing. So many of you have done that for me this week. Thank you. Very Grateful.

Just as rape is not always a bloody take down, in an alley by a man against a woman, and drug abuse and addiction don’t always look like track marks in an arm, a lost job, DUI, or a car wrapped around a tree, abuse of people does not always present with marks of observable physical violence.

It is very disturbing that in our culture, it is more acceptable to impose abuse than it is to speak of it. I object to that. Speaking up is considered more of a transgression, a sign of non-forgiveness or mental instability–therefore making all claims inadmissible and unworthy of action or attention. I will continue posting, sharing, recovering and connecting with others who have the courage to do the work and to grow beyond.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Pills That are Hard to Swallow

Trying to surrender my current prayer of “Make it fucken stop” for “PLEASE 🙏🏼 Help me become willing to accept the things I cannot change and to just love the hell out of my sons and my people”. Digging deep to accept the things I dislike and over which I have no power. Recovery teaches me that if it is a problem, there will be a solution. If there is no solution, it is not a problem, but an unpleasant fact—to be accepted. Not, the feeling of “It is ok” but the practice of acceptance—doing nothing to try and make it be different from how it IS. I am so very distraught over my boys being used in a game of egos. My sons will lose, no matter what. Anything that requires dissociation is toxic. My pain stems from my lack of acceptance that my sister and ex actively submit my children to things from which they will need to numb or recover. These are the pills which I am gagging down—as many times as it takes. My reaction to the bullshit is neither wholesome nor badass.  AND, I cannot even contemplate grief over the death of my mother- becuase I am too tangled up with my despair over the damage which is righteously heaped uponon my children.  Trauma and dysfunction are messy. Grief is messy.  Healing is messy.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

BUT WHY THO—Dear Mom

I have never, not ever, not once in 50 years had a moment of resolution with my mother or sister in which each of the people own their contributions to the situation.  All initiatives by me are handled one of three ways:  1-No response.  2- A response that does not acknowledge what I have said but offers me the standing invitation to come pretend everything is ok–to put it all behind us.  Because the only real transgressions are open expressions of feeling or conflict.  It is more acceptable to be openly hurtful than to openly express being hurt.  And finally, my favorite of all(especially when many are copied) 3-Character assassination.  I am certain they agree that if I were less shitty, they wouldn’t HAVE to do that.  I cannot take responsibility for the words and actions of others.  Program teaches me what is and is not mine.

It will be interesting to see if this attempt will be any different.  My older son is so distraught by escalated tension between his father and me, by the triangulation of him with my family–and the reality that for as long as it remains like this, my children can not count on a healed family holiday, seated at a table with both of their parents.  I feel I must try something.  Also, we did not trek our entire lives cross country so that my mother could go to her grave with this bullshit hanging between us.

Here it is↓:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From:  <>
To:  <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 12:27 PM
Subject: Holiday Healing
Hi Mom,
Will there come a day when we will each willingly reflect on our own behaviors and commit to something better?
Healing is amazing.  Why not?? Right?  The clock is ticking.  Loudly.
The current arrangement is damaging my boys for obvious reasons– adding divisive tension between their father and me.  Perhaps you had not considered that.
I have spent most of my life suffering our dynamic.  But, now it is too painful to witness its affects on our children when we, their parents, cannot collaborate effectively or in peace, because of this added and un-necessary divisiveness.  R cannot do better.  But…
I must believe a mother and sister can do better than a scorned ex-husband.

Best,

Maggie

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Rest In Peace

Yesterday, overly tired from waking at 4am, unable to return to sleep. I ruined myself from 4-8am, with recycled, if not hysterical thoughts of my older son and the cloud hung over his birthdayS, by his father and my sister.  Lack of sleep will make a person tired.  And, for someone like me, I am crushed, in the sleepless hours, by obsession with upsetting things over which I am powerless.  When mentally fatigued from nights like this, I am unreasonable, insensitive to others, even the Little’s who deserve and count on a more wholesome steady source for guidance and support.

Thank Gawd for last night’s peaceful and undisrupted rest.  It  has restored me, for today, leaving me capable of honest self reflection.

Unlearning. Re-parenting myself one day at a time.

So,  for Sunday night dinner with S1 last night, to my tired mind, S1 seemed unreasonably difficult and disagreeable.  My home-training says to “punish that shit–nip it in the bud! Hard!”.  Recovery suggests PAUSE- practice patience and look to see what is really going on, with him, with myself.  But see, I was beat and could hear mostly my own historical messages, suggesting harshness as a swift means to gain control.  GROSS.  Thank Gawd, Sweet Greg casually noted:  “Wow, he seems tired.”  SG shared this without agenda, a wise observation of an escalating struggle to get teeth cleaned and clothes put away.

Because of Greg’s sanity and love(the wholesome yummy kind), I was able to re-direct myself and ask S1:  Do you want to go lie down in your bed and have alone time before returning to your dad’s?  Or would you like for us all to go in my room and hang out together?  He chose and raced to my room,  to get in my bed, on my side, under my weighted blanket.  His whole vibe elevated.  He needed our proximity, without engagement, not to be alone, but to be allowed to mentally unhook, not enmeshed, abandoned or banished.  I totally relate to  that:  the need to feel organic closeness without entanglement.  THIS is exactly how I felt and what I needed, on the day that Greg agreed to our silent hike(when I tricked him into loving me), 3 years ago.  Oh Sweet Greg,  I am so grateful for his way.  Though, I do make certain to, repeatedly, remind him that he cannot take full credit for his good spirit and cheerful attitude as he was born and raised that way.  We laugh, he really is (mostly)divine.  Who cares why?  I take no credit for having not been born easy breezy or into a nurturing environment.  I do take credit for all of the practices of love, which I am learning, in adulthood,  diametrically opposed to what I experienced, observed, and believed abut love, parenting, control, connection, family, and God.  I claim credit, only for the changes I am willing to make.  Self reflection and correction are wholesome and badass.  They are not for everyone, though.

I took on useless toxic coping and living skills(habits, more than skills) and will dutifully spend my life unlearning– and practicing better ways.  I choose to break habits and cycles. I am a work in progress.  #blessed

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Fake Peace

I am grateful (though broken hearted) that I was able to tell my older son (S1) and his father, in no

My Autobiography

uncertain terms, that I would not participate a shared birthday celebration together with dad, as things currently are–that things may still change and how sorry I am for the pain which this causes.  His father and I are at a place where I have asked him to do pick ups from outside our home until he chooses to communicate responsibly and fairly with me regarding logistics for shared responsibilities.(You may not enter my home and place of rest if you cannot be counted on for the most basic consideration and integrity.)Needless complexity is unwelcome.  It is not a lot to ask.  “If you are going to be late, early, or deviate from the plan in a way that affects us, please let me know.”  But, nope.  This is literally identical to the fall out with my sister.  Her response to this was to circumvent me to gain access to my children and bond with my ex who is similarly vexed.  Consideration is reserved strictly for those who are useful to them. Continue reading “Fake Peace” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

This Is Not My Kingdom

Today’s service centered around Pilate and Jesus:  Kingdoms in Conflict.  John 18:33 – 18:37(quite possibly incorrectly notated-whatev)

I begin by declaring that: I, in no way, assert any likeness, of my own, to Jesus.  I am learning for the first time, how it is, he came to be crucified.  I always thought the Christians did it.  Seriously, though. (Spoiler alert–It was the Romans)  I was gripped by the topic of Kingdoms in Conflict and immediately related my experience with what I would consider to be persecution by an unholy alliance–for treason.

For individuals like my sister (haha-what?) Pilate, unwilling to negotiate or tolerate irreverence and non-compliance, the iron fist rules–“justice” for perceived defiance will be exacted by any means necessary.  Pilate was unable grasp that Jesus was not actively challenging the “local law of the land”, though when asked;  “Are you King?”  Jesus stated consistently:   “My Kingdom is not here”.

Insecure in his own sense of power, Pilate was intolerant of his failure to beat Jesus into submission or admission of trynuh be King— AND SO, he sought collaboration with Herod and Cesar.  United in their need to be rid of Jesus, they REacted sinfully, with their collective will, oppression, hatred, and tyranny.

Jesus’ admission of his reverence to God was labelled treasonous to the empire–just cause for death by crucifixion. (In my case, my crucifixion alone would be fine, if not for the imposing of deep and lasting worries on my children, that they, and I can do nothing about.  Their mandated involvement is damaging and as a helpless observer, it feels worse than death.  Death happens once and then it is over.)

I, no doubt, am missing large parts of the story, new to the teachings of Jesus and far more spiritually directed than religious.  Learning and observing how the barbaric politics of the First Century differ little from those of today, is as fascinating as it is repulsive.

I am deeply moved to know and practice more of  Jesus’ brand of love: courageous, humble, difficult, gritty, earthy, and transformative.  I have still so much to learn about holy love.  Fortunately, I now have great teachers and models of wholesome badass love.  Thank you, Favorite and Sweet Greg for teaching me and my children.  I am a work in progress.  I love you, the best I can.Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Walls or Bridges

While I am enjoying the peace and slow pace of an undemanding Thanksgiving Break for myself, my heart is so fucking heavy from what family occasions do for my older son.  Especially sensitive(always deeply concerned that someone is angry with him), he struggles daily with wanting to “please”  both his father and me.  I do not need for him to hustle or to please me.  To be kind, honest(not just speaking words factually related to truth but intentionally matching actions to words, no matter who is present), and courageous is what I preach.  Three out of the four of these are in direct conflict with the expectations of his father and extended family.  The tension between (us) his mom and dad (escalated by my own “family’s” presence and agenda) affects him daily and deeply.   Continue reading “Walls or Bridges” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Gentle Thanksgiving

I am deeply grateful for Considerate Birthdays, Mellow Halloweens, Compassionate Christmases, and today–a Tender Thanksgiving.  I cannot know for sure, but suspect that if I would have experienced some of these in my first 40, perhaps I may have been less distressed and disturbed.   “Happy family” occasions caused more stress, illness, and trouble for me, than any exam, interview, legal proceeding, financial fear, or medical procedure. 

I am not super into the word “happy” and all of the days, in which the calendar police dedicate to enforcement of appearances of joyfulness or imposing of dismissal for those struggling and judged angry, selfish, and ungrateful.  Recovery has invited me to surrender efforts to portray gratitude in the form of becoming someone different from myself.  I believe that(my) depression is unrelated to lack of gratitude and is neither a choice nor a rebellious act of sabotage aimed at burdening or shaming those who insist on happy appearances of each person in their presence, for their own sense pride and success.  You want people to relax around you?? Allow and invite them to genuinely relax, not demand it.  Right? Seems intuitive.  If I am afraid to be tense around you, I will not ever relax with you.  And for today, pretending serves no cause that matters to me.

Today is a day for gentleness and tenderness, either with those with whom it is possible or by ourselves.  If you are struggling, I see you and hear you.  You are not alone, wierd, negative or selfish for feeling non-happy.  Especially on this day, let us offer generous space to anyone suggesting otherwise.

Thank God Sweet Greg goes gladly to his family Thanksgiving without me and without shame or resentment about that.  There are too many words up in there and his family does not need to know, try to understand, or navigate my low threshold for stimulus of all kinds.  I love that with Favorite and with Sweet Greg, I feel both tightly held and completely free, all I have ever wanted to feel.  They are my people, my trusted others, my best friends, my family.  They show up and I show up and together we are a WE and an US–connection that for me, is greater than shared proximity or blood.  The tenderness and nurturing that I receive, learn, and practice with them makes me a better person and parent.  That is the best and only kind of love for which I am available:  kind, nurturing, and fortifying.  Unconditional.

We are safe and welcome to express sentiments like:  “What do you  need?  What can I do?  I am sorry I did that, it was unfair, unkind, even hurtful.”  We freely share simple truths like “Ouch, Stop, No, Here is what I need, This is how I feel,Tell me more, I want to understand, Thank you for sharing that, Oops,I messed up, I can do better”.   I may not be a “happy” person but I am thankful and grateful for all kindness and goodness.  I am a work in progress.  I LOVE to show up and be together with my people.  Tonight, with Favorite and Family and tomorrow & the weekend with Sweet Greg.

PS–I don’t even particularly like holiday food items and will never complain that they are reserved only for a specific 2-3 days per year.  So, in addition to causing pain-in-the-ass, with my non-joy, I was criticized regularly for being too finicky an eater(liking different things), with an unreasonable appetite.  I just prefer my everyday people and foods, which are always fortifying, cozy, unthreatening.  See, if I wanted to eat 27 chicken nuggets or a giant salad only on thanksgiving, that is what my people would support and even provide.  Being hungry and tense and scared about being hungry and tense is no longer an option, I can consider.  Comfort and pleasing food gladly served up for each and all.  That is how we love, celebrate, and mourn. Together.

My first choice would be to have peace and or the potential of healing and holidays with my mother and HER family. But being loved and connected with good people, biologically unrelated to me is not a shabby Option B, at all.  #blessed
Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Being Human Means Making Mistakes

Even at age 40, pre-recovery, I had not learned/internalized any absolute morals, by which I could hold myself accountable. I thought I did, but honestly, I was stunted, terribly immature in this way— self-propelled and self-seeking.  I would do literally anything to guard or retaliate against perceived threat.  I learned early on, the brutal principle of “any means necessary”.   I forgive myself for not knowing what I could not know.  We learn what we live. Right? ??‍♀️My only consistent guides were fear, guilt, and shame, the gods of our family.  Those sentiments could be counted on but not trusted, always present and never true.

Today, I feel immense compassion for the terrified little girl I once was.  When we know better, we do better.  Recovery offers me tools-a design for living, to replace my constant and lesser companions of guilt, shame, and fear. THIS new way of living has further and permanently divided me from those who rely on me to feel those ways.  It apparently, is not so difficult to manipulate a person steeped in those feelings.  I used to be fearful and distrusting of others because I had not learned to trust in myself or a higher power.  Now, I am afraid of no-one.  My God is immense.  I may not trust a person or group, but I have faith that I can handle MYSELF, by following the direction of my program. I cannot be charmed, flattered, or bullied into doing or accepting things that conflict with recovery principles.  To some, this is perceived as an act of hostility, willfulness, war…like “If you cannot control me, then I must be trying to control you”.  But that is sick and childish thinking.  I am only controlling only myself—neither a crime nor an attack—the exact opposite.

In recovery, we learn to “Live and Let Live”. That is what I aim to do. My life is built around being the best mother, friend, girlfriend, neighbor, employee that I can be. These are my causes, not my roles. I serve each as faithfully as I can, one day at a time. Some days are better than others. My motivation finally is tethered to service in something much greater than my own will. In this way, I feel I am now living right, not perfectly, but well. I am a work in progress.

I still do wrong(unfortunate and unwholesome) things and I do things wrong(incorrectly), because I am human.  Sometimes I do wrong because I do not know better.  Other times, because I am angry or have failed to practice good self care.  Sometimes I do a most rightest right thing, but I do it in a wrong way.  With the wisdom of my program, I am able to own and quickly amend and to restore trust and connection, where possible.  Sometimes, trust and connection are non-existent, but I amend anyhow, for my own peace of mind and spiritual hygiene.  And I am blessed with trusted others, with whom I can share, as well as my space, here.   I believe it to be true that we are only as sick has our secrets.  I do not want to be sick anymore.

Amends may include an apology or just a correction of my behavior or tone.  Saying the words “I’m sorry” is neither amends nor a magic eraser.  When I say I am sorry, what I am genuinely expressing is that I regret that I have hurt you or I am sorry that my choice affected you negatively.  I may not be sorry for my choice, but I am always sorry for causing pain.  And if I am sorry for my choice, that means it is my intent and commitment is to not do IT again.  I have so very much to learn about what to be sorry for and how to forgive myself and to forgive others, especially those who knowingly do harm, repeatedly.  I am much better at forgiving once the damage has ended.

In my family, the apologies frequently go something like: “I am sorry that you feel that way”.  Thanks, but apologizing to me for my own feelings feels like bullshit.  And then there is the classic edgy “I’m sorry, okay…now can we just put it behind us?” which means I am only sorry if I have to deal with the consequences of my choices and genuine self reflection and correction.  Neither of these fauxpologies restore trust or lead to reconciliation.  Methods, motives, and means require examination if we are to learn, grow, and heal.  Right?  What I continue to marvel over are the many harmful things that are done in politically and socially acceptable fashion.  My family culture and the political climate are so similar in this manner, justified diminishing of another.  I can’t even…. Continue reading “Being Human Means Making Mistakes” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Boundaries and Being Non-Dead

With Greg, boundaries are a non issue, we have compatible operating systems and shared values- prioritizing each other’s peace, comfort and pleasure.  Goes without saying, but Sweet Greg is much better at seeing to my needs than I am to his.  It is not for lack of awareness on my part, but grief, depression, and recovery take the bulk of my energy.  Nothing about recovery life is natural for me.  It requires, of me, constant contrary action, and that has been tiring.  Unlearning takes time and energy.

A large part  of my program focuses on conscious contact with God (Before recovery, each of those words would make my nose and upper lip curl) God speaks to me through others.  And during my era of wound-licking, I have needed much solitude and to some extent this left me partially blocked from God.  Now, attending church with regularity, a monthly neighborhood girls’ game night, author/speaker events and spending more time with Favorite, is elevating the quality of life–more good people = more God and goodness.  It was not enough to distance myself from given sources of unnecessary pain, those vacancies

-and when they are unable, they will resort to triangulation to circumvent boundaries

must intentionally be filled with people, activities, and places that add purpose and Good Orderly Direction to my life.  Transitioning from survival to recovery feels slower than a snail’s pace.  I did stop the bleed, cleaned out the infection-these are miracles.  AND– there is apparently much more to living, then tending to old wounds.  My spirit before program was figuratively in a diaper and on a feeding tube.  I was non-dead, but now, I am alive-ish.

As one who is promptly flattened by sensory and emotional stimulus overload, I am, at last, learning to practice appropriate self care–intentionally creating time and space for recharging as well as limiting/avoiding proximity to given sources of overwhelm. I shut down completely, as a result of  over exposure.  As a mother, faithful hostage to our dogs, partner, employee, and head of household, there is limited time to effectively retreat.  Prioritizing good care for the person whom my people and animals count on-ME, is sanity and responsibility—gifts of recovery.  For some, resilience is innate, and coping comes with less effort and need.  I was not blessed in this way.  Those who love me, respect my limits as uniquely my own and non-negotiable.  How cool is that?  No pretending nor debating how I feel with my people!  I love you!

Recovery taught me the hows, whats, and whys of healthy boundaries…boundaries are like spiritual skins(that differentiate us from others-where I stop and you begin–this is essential info). Boundaries are the rules which I uphold for myself, acknowledging my needs, limits, and responsibilities-all with the assumption that people, places and things will continue to be and do as they will.  If a person, place, or thing is damaging to me, my boundary offers us each space and permission to be exactly as we are.  You do that over there and I will be me, over here, nobody is forced to change or pretend.  In recovery, we call this practicing acceptance(accepting the facts of reality–an action not a feeling).  Boundaries allow us all to  live lives which are more flow than force.

Boundaries are self-care and self love.  My boundaries are strictly about and for me.  Good personal boundary (as taught in recovery):  Since your event is well past our dinner and bedtimes, we will have to take a raincheck.  Bad boundary:  You cannot host things so late and expect us to come.  Good personal boundary:  If you are going to say or do things that make us feel bad, we will step back until it feels safe.  Bad boundary:  You cannot speak to or treat us that way.  Good personal boundary:  I will provide foods for my children, according to their preferences and needs.  Bad Boundary:  You must provide food items, quantities, and serve at times which consider my children and our family.  Good boundaries not only make it clear/easy to know when it is a yes or a no— but are large part of mental wellness and maturity.  They have come to me late in life.  Let’s be well and grow up together.  Clear boundaries are wholesome and badass–and they are too much for some.

Boundaries kick ass!  They support love, life, connection.  Let’s live, love, connect.  Together, one day at a time.

 

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

How I Tricked Him Into Loving Me

A little more than 3 years ago, Greg and I began getting to know each other.  A hectic time for me, newly relocated from the West Coast, adjusting to constant proximity to my FOO(family of origin) and my ex-husband, working full time, mid-home-buying and moving from our rental of only 3 months, caring for my mother and navigating the very dynamics I fled 25 years earlier.  Getting my young sons, needy dogs, and myself acclimated to our new lives, along with the constant drain of single handedly carrying the family elephant in the room, left me mentally wiped and edgy AF.

Between our first meeting and our second, I notified Sweet Greg two times, declaring myself unfit for getting to know and care for another person.  Distraught by the turmoil of frequent proximity to my FOO and my ex husband, both of whom I had elected divorce/space, I felt there was nothing left to offer but my despair.  I wanted to know Greg AND was agitated by phone-talking.  The phone gets hot and greasy and it is necessary to hold the device just so and to stand in the exact right spot to hear and be heard. Also, with a phone, sustained talking and listening are called for.  Cuz, that is how phone-talking is.  I wanted to be together and just BE, not necessarily be talking.   My routine existence required too much participation(taking turns speaking) more than engagement.  It was oppressive..impossible to just effing BE.  Speaking my truth was not welcome and being untalkative was labelled as sullen or angry.  The script makes me ill.  Within the confines of the script, there is no peace, only an unconvincing performance of togetherness–no possibility of just being.  No sustainable positive connection….far too much proximity and pretending-both of which were disheartening.

On New Year’s Day 2016, after weeks of no communication, I audaciously texted Greg asking if he was kid-free.  He promptly responded that he was.  Then I asked if he was available for a hike.  He promptly responded that he was.  Then, I asked if he was willing to drive to me.  He promptly responded that he was.  Then…I asked if he would bring earbuds or headphones for a silent hike with me, no talking, no eye contact, and def no touching.  Just hiking–  together: “Sure”, he said.  So we trekked the greenway with earbuds and sunglasses.  I was so over talking and listening and trying to be heard and trying to understand and I wanted to just be, not be alone, but also not tangled up in politeness or complexity.  My requests to Greg, to this day make US laugh, because, to most, they seem unreasonable, outrageous–not only to openly feel this way, but to actually articulate it, out loud, with words!!  But guess what, if you start out settling and pretending in a relationship, you get to keep on doin that in order to sustain it.  I was transparent and direct AF and Greg knew from the start, what he was “dealing with”.  He was able to make informed decisions, for himself, about getting to know and be with me.  Anyway, we hiked, shared the occasional quick smile, sat on a bench, I think our knees may have touched.  Because he was so perfectly present, open and not forcing or denying anything, I felt unready to part ways when it grew dark– but I also still needed his consent for continued NO TALKING, neither shallow nor deep.  Months of the family dynamic had provided, in large supply, an unfortunate  combination of overwhelming shallowness and depth(f0r me).

So, I offered:  “Hey, want to come over and assemble my grill with me, and promise to speak only of the grill and as necessary?”  He was happy to do so.  Whu?  We worked closely and well as partners in the task.  Fun, focused and so very respectful, present, engaged and I could not help but feel some kind of love for and from him.  His clean scent and vibe were intoxicating.  And I deliberately touched him a few times, which he allowed but did not pursue.  At the end of our visit, we made a plan to grill steaks on Tuesday at my home.  He offered to bring steaks and I said “ok, please be sure that mine is at least the size of MY hand.”  I do enjoy my steak– and my large hands are bigger than his normal hands.  Together, we prepared and enjoyed dinner.  And, Greg not only showed up with the correct size steaks but also a pair of tongs (meat grabbers-which made me laugh with delight) for meal prep.  His shared aversion to direct contact with raw meat fortified my appreciation for him.  With his normal sized hands & THE meat grabbers– and without prompting, he exercised surgical precision in removal of the  fucked-up icky parts.  He gets IT.  He gets me.  He does not fully understand or relate(who could?) and yet he loves and accepts me.  Without church or a spiritual program, this MAN is able to know, do, be, and love in ways that are not of this world.

At the end of our dinner date, I realized I might want a hug and or kiss, I panicked.  Because, here is how I roll–  I am all in or not at all, when it comes to relationships, friends or romance.  I am intense,  never causal.  I do not “grab” coffee or lunch with people whom I am not deeply interested.  I prefer to be alone.  I also do not hold hands, hug, or kiss people, with whom I do not experience mutual closeness, except in the circumstances of my marriage and birth family(or back in the day when alcohol allowed me to more readily partake in things I did not want or like).   If I there is no mutual and natural connection, I do not choose to spend time or energy on or with you, in a “relationship”.  You either energize me or you drain me.  Small talk depletes me in under 5 minutes.  That is a NO.  Hard pass, every time.  Wholesome connection, as I experience it, consumes as much mental and spiritual energy as it delivers.  Recovery teaches me that connection is both a commitment and a choice, and cannot be forced but is often faked.  Recovery also teaches me that the best relationships are expansive and not only welcome authenticity, but solicit and require it.  Greg and I share this value–the principle of being unwilling to pretend to be, want, like, or feel as we do not.  We are free, safe, and required to be exactly who we are.  Together, in this way, we expand.

After a few more dates, we did kiss and then I launched even more unrestrained truth at him.  I explained to him– if I am willing to kiss as we do, it also means I am interested in much more than just kissing.  I had a planned trip back to California in the upcoming weeks, with a scheduled date with a man for whom I cared deeply. I went on to say that if Sweet Greg and I were entering into something as special as what I perceived, I would cancel those plans while in CA.  In a nutshell, I expressed, that if Ima kiss you, Ima do #allofthestuff with you, and if I do #allofthestuff with you, you are my boyfriend and we belong only to each other.  So, whuddayawannado?  Sweet Greg thought for longer than I liked(maybe like a minute and a half) before saying “Yeh, I prefer you not see him.”  And THIS– is how I tricked Greg into loving me…by telling the truth, saying what I wanted and needed,  laughing freely and a lot, crying when sad, showing him all of who I am and can be.

For the record–while Greg prefers to say yes to me, he is a boss at saying NO to me.  Nothing makes him more irresistible to me than when he says no.  He does so promptly, directly, and kindly.  He does not yell it or hint at it or enter into cold silence.  Greg: “Please don’t do that.  I don’t like that. Please stop it.  Or just plain old No.”  I am not ever left wondering what is happening with us, what have I done wrong, if he hates me, is he angry, are we in a fight, what might I do to make IT better?  Not ever.  He is one wholesome badass mofo, who knows with stunning clarity how, why, and when to say yes and no.  I love my sweet Greg.  Poor guy…I never tell him so because the words “I love you” were ruined for me in marriage and FOO.  The brand of love I first knew is purely painful and scary.  The acts committed by adults who have claimed to love me, even on the best days, are difficult to accept and nothing like THIS thing which I experience with my Sweet Greg.Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Healing After and During Betrayal

Expressed anger, no matter how true, right, or fairly it is communicated, in my family of origin,  causes a person to be rendered crazy, mean, or unstable–THE information is strictly inadmissible,  while the recipient of a message containing hard feelings, may uphold the posture of being unaffected, garners sympathy for being victimized and praise for appearing ladylike, gentlemanly, innocent.

People who speak openly of angry feelings are shamed, exiled, dismissed. The programming is intended to convey that jokey, superficial, pleasantries is how it is supposed to be in good families.  Everybody, be good.  Always on, mostly  jovial, completely at ease.  Anything less is shameful and reflective only of a broken individual who has lost control of themselves.  Those who strive to look unfailingly polite gain immense  traction by comparison to one who mentions conflict or emotional discomfort.

It is possible I have finally tired of or am in  near acceptance of the futility of trynuh find ways to correctly or effectively communicate about or to those boasting emotional strength and correctness.   They thrive by comparison to the impolite lunatics speaking with the reckless audacity to discuss concern or angst, directly and with transparency.  By expressing displeasure underhandedly, passively, indirectly, in the form of gossip, or not at all, but mostly the other ways, is how it is to be done.  All with a smile, of course, and sometimes under the guise of concern or fake pity.  These are the silent kill shots for which their has been no accountability.

Today, I am committing in writing, here, to changing tack-surrendering the need to find and try all of the ways to be “heard”, less misunderstood, valuable, worthy of consideration.  This is a waste of my life.  Letting go of that feels scary though, it makes letting go of family permanent. I still, sometimes, cling to the myth that entanglement equals authentic connection.  It is a type of connection, but not one that serves peace or mental health.

Halloween triggered, in me, the memory of being here, 11 years ago, nearly 3 months pregnant, with my 10 month old son.  I visited so that we could attend family counseling.  It was a nightmare.  I was nearly broken in two, from the hopelessness of the exchanges.  I miscarried on that Halloween Day.  And with the debacle of our session and a miscarriage, I opted for a peaceful night with my friend rather than a Halloween Parade with my sister and her family.  This was regarded as spiteful, as if I was not attending just to punish THEM.  I was trying to keep it together.  A few months later I received this letter which I ceremoniously burned last year.  The irony of her rules is not lost on me, at all.  The grief keeps coming.

Catherine Ghoneim Whitney Classic Rules/Style- this type written document was delivered with in a birthday, xmas gift for my 1 year old son.

But, I hereby pledge that for one week, I will write on other matters in my current life.  There is more to me than THIS…There must be.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Communicating Truth

Actions and patterns communicate the truth of our character and our hearts.

I prioritize the closeness and connection of my chosen relationships, holding zero regard for an illusion or status of having said “relationship”.  Life is both too long and too short to pretend.

I have many swirling thoughts in need of sifting, from the last weeks of church and today’s meeting.  For now I have time and energy only to share a reading from my program of recovery, which is front and foremost on my mind.

A brief study of some intangibles: 
Our attitudes are usually conveyed to other people by what we say and do — and how. If the attitudes really reflect what we feel. Gentle actions and soft, courteous words may only counterfeit our true feelings. We may even think we have overcome resentments, self-righteousness and self-pity, but if they are still there inside us, they will in some mysterious way emanate from us and deny what we try to convey by our play-acting. 
“How can he tell?” asks a confused wife. “I never raise my voice, never argue, try to do what he expects, and yet he’s always challenging me!” 
Today’s Reminder 
Merely to change my behavior, and what I say and do, does not prove a change of inward attitude. I am deceiving myself if I imagine I can completely disguise my real feelings. They will somehow come through, and prolong the hostility in my family. I must root out entirely the troublesome emotions I’ve been trying to hide. 

It is not that I do no care what others think. It is that I am not driven by it. At all. Ever.

The white knuckled, tight jaw, grin and bear it vibe— I cannot live in that way that or near that energy.  It feels toxic to me, debilitating.   If our truths divide us, that means we are not to be together, NOT that we are enemies but that we are unable to support each other in living as our best, fullest, truest selves.  It makes no sense for me to place energy in pretending to be or feel a certain way, so that I may remain in “relationship” with a person or group.  My experience is that people deeply committed to appearances and rightness and who boast willingness/commitment to enduring their own pretending for the “sake of the relationship”, become deeply enraged at the audacity of authenticity.  In them, there appears to be a constitutional desire, to punish the truth speakers(those called to be transparent about their own unique and personal truths), and this shared anger can serve as a basis for connection.  In the world of therapy, this is referred to as trauma bonding and triangulation.

While behaving in ways that are unkind and harmful, both my sister and ex would assert that their alliance and antics are harmless and that they are free from anger– that subjecting my children to the unwholesome gatherings is nothing more than trying to create a sense of family and connection(while attempting to alienate their mother). They are free from bad feelings– I am the only one broken enough to have or express pain or anger.  I will never not feel angry about what this does to our children–the incongruous messages, the deception and the forced closeness with people they observe being harmful- while insisting on displays physical affection, forced proximity and and feigned connection.  So YUCKy.

 

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Aha!

I am now recognizing how, after moving here, if we would have continued as a blended, healing, fixed family with my FOO, my ex, my kids and myself, that would have kept me in some sort of center position, like I would have been at the hub, not in the driver’s seat, but the common link.  I see how unsettling this would be to my sister, who works hard to reside IN the center.  And it is undeniable that for my sister and my ex, the desire to punish me runs deep.  For each of their decades of attempts to control me leave them feeling less powerful and important than their egos can bear. Continue reading “Aha!” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Happy Birthday ?

Thank Good Gawd Almighty for the most marvelous friend —who loves family, God, selfies, presents, fun, joy, travel, celebrating, and even me— to the end of the earth and back, she loves me.  Crying as I type that, because it is so damn special, the friendship that we enjoy.  Truly BFFs!  Yesterday was my 50th.  For my special day, I planned to run a time consuming and far away errand (the result of a 80 mile round trip drive to get a birthday gift for my ex, from our boys) and then go to lunch with my best girl in the world.  Awake at 5 am, I remained pinned under my weighted blanket, listening to Option B on Audible until 11am, knowing I was missing my window of opportunity to make the errand or lunch happen. I was runnin’ down the clock.  I texted the Bestie (friends of more than 40 years, I will call her “Favorite”) informing her that I was too

For my birthday, I purchased a ticket to see Glennon speak at one of her upcoming events!!!  Yaaaay

sad to do any of the things.  Favorite rallied, invited me to meet her at work and drove the 40 miles to the errand. She was present, loving, fun, and comforting, not probing or trying to fix or cheer, just WITH me, like a fucken boss of a friend.  She declared, before my arrival, that it was ok that I feel however I did as long as we were together– and went to lunch.  I even panicked at her plan to take me anywhere I like for lunch,  because I could think of nothing I wanted.  We figured it out, though!  The whole day together and birthday dinner too.  Possibly, my best birthday yet.  Favorite and her parents, my sons, dinner of my choice, with cake and gifts and even a photo–with my boys.  If I can do exactly and only this, every year for all of my birthdays, I would be blessed.  God, it was so sweet and wholesome– each of us just being exactly who and how we are.  LOVE.

I recognize that it is normal and healthy to want to celebrate, and I wished that I did.  In general, I require space and solitude, more so in times of heightened struggle.  My experience with depression is that I stop liking and wanting even the people and things which, when I am feeling healthier, I like and want.  I cannot make that be different, not even for my boys whom I would do anything for.  It is possible that I could exercise & get outside more, and make healthier food choices–those things would not hurt.  But, apathy is at the wheel more of the time than I care to admit.  The anguish over certain things/people seems to be in endless supply, and the grief and shame over the anguish are oppressive.  Recovery has taught me to now offer generous space to anyone finding it necessary to make a person look or feel bad for feeling bad.

Having the calendar create expectations that all people should feel/act/perform happy is a freaking nightmare.  When I reflect on all special occasions, I can recall only, my overwhelming panic and shame of not feeling(and therefore behaving) the way in which I was supposed to.  I can feel the stinging disdain and remarks directed at me for being so selfish, just heaps of shame.  Oh jubilant ones, I am so sorry that I cannot be happy for and with you as a result of my brain chemistry and family experience, which have left me with sometimes crippling anxiety and depression.  (The best– is that they would debate this.) My anxiety, surprisingly is not lessened by the consequences imposed for being this particular brand of selfish menace.  Oh, and why won’t I just  lighten up and stop being so defensive, they wonder?   Because when you are depressed, you may actually just be a bad person, making a selfish choice to be miserable, at the expense of all the joyful good people, who will rightfully school, shun, and gossip about you for that sort of bullshit.  And best of all, they will insist you return for the next “celebration” and punish you when you do not, or even when you do.  Good Times.  Shaking my head.  So glad THE day has passed…and so grateful for Sweet Greg and Favorite just loving me through it.

Here is what I know to be my truth.  I can now(since recovery)be counted on, to: tell the truth, do as I say I will, apologize when I blow it, help you and be there for you in hard times.  You can count on empathy, encouragement, and inappropriate jokes.  But please, DO not count on me to be happy because you need for me to be.  That is unfair and insane.

Brilliant quote from C.S. Lewis ➡️ “Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”

My first choice would be to have peace and or the potential of healing with my mother and HER family. However, being loved and connected to and surrounded by the finest people, unrelated to me, is not a shabby Option B, at all.
Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

How Do I Handle This?

The one thing I have most needed to know how to handle, is myself.  I am finally learning to do this– with love and compassion.  Only in recovery, have I been encouraged and taught to navigate and cope with difficult feelings and people.  With the fixed mindset that I was responsible for all bad behavior and words spoken to, about, or near me, I was always on the verge of, or mid- panic/mental breakdown.  I could be counted on to behave like a complete lunatic when faced with stress:  dishonesty, an unkind word, betrayal, dismissal, and most any situation in which caused me to feel threatened, ashamed and powerless.  With my volatile vibe and explosive responses, nearly anyone could get away with treating me poorly or unfairly, since my insanity insured  a stealing of the spotlight, taking a person promptly off the hook for foul play.  My unfortunate reactions made it not only possible, but likely and easy for people to righteously demean me. ?? When I stopped reacting, those ☠️relationships, which relied on my sick engagement, ceased.  Old habits and relationships die ⚰️hard.  I let them die—so I can live.

As I write this, as when I do most things, I hear voices of those who neeeeed for me to BE wrong and sick in order that they feel right, good, and well.  As if their only source of traction relies on a contrast to ME.  Those voices are all:  “Oh yeh, poor Magda, as if she is/was some sort of angel snowflake, sooo precious.”  Anyone who genuinely knows me, also knows that I absolutely do not intend to convey a life of absolute innocence.   I neither deny nor make excuses for the less than stellar ways which I have been.  As a result of feeling intensely emotionally charged 24/7, negatively charged, I said and did unreasonable, unkind, and dishonest things.  Fuck, it is all I knew.  I had not witnessed mercifulness or grace (the spiritual kind, not a poised and carefully curated appearance).  When we know better, we do better.  I am learning, a work in progress. Continue reading “How Do I Handle This?” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Why Lie

Alone in the car with my younger son, today, I pretended to take credit for saying something fantastic, a quote which actually came directly from him.  He was like:  “Mawm,  I said that, not you.”  In all seriousness,straight-faced, I replied; “Nah-aaaaah, I am totally the one who said it.”  He was rightly disturbed- I admitted to playing and went on to share about about gas-lighting–how it can make a person feel crazy when someone repeatedly insists that things are different from how they know them to be.  I explained how gas-lighting is a real thing that some people do- and that it is a form of abuse.  He recalled how his bully did that to him in 4th grade(which he then began doing  relentlessly to his brother(we have nearly fully recovered over the course of a year))  I explained how it is especially troublesome when a person who is older or in a position of authority, whom is believed to be trustworthy, does this to a person who must depend on them.  The person being gaslit will begin to doubt everything, lose trust first in themselves, and then in others.   And that is an impossibly scary way to be in the world.  Depression and anxiety often result and can sometimes be healed.  I stopped with that.

We have a deal, my sons and I– If they ever catch me in a lie, of any sort, I will pay them $500 each, on the spot. I do not have $500!!   We have clarified what makes a lie a lie, is when person intentionally conveys a message which they know to be untrue or inaccurate.  Anytime they doubt me, which is rare, I just say “Why would I lie? I have no reason to lie.  To anyone.  I am not afraid or trying to get anything.”   Plus, I now have faith and courage.  Yay,me, finally. Continue reading “Why Lie” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Some Letters

Angry letters I would write and send if not for recovery.  I have anger, but it is not the boss of me.  I let it teach me and then I get to practice taming it.

Dear Dad,

I experience little conscious memory of you, only of the raging in our house and you bringing home gifts of perfume or Brach’s Sour Ball Candies from your canteen at work. And that I resented you for making me different from others, in ways that couldn’t be masked-my name, my brown-ness, our weird food, my nose, our lack of traditional celebrations and trendy clothing.  I recall with haunting clarity, the smell of your greasy pillow and that you rode a 10 speed and slaughtered Cornish hens in our home, ate lamb, rabbit, tongue, veal and calve’s kidney and liver—knowing it all broke my heart.   Oh, and you enjoyed the beach.  Aside from that, just fighting.  Lots of fighting–but you were different from mom and sister.  You always felt despair over screaming and being unreasonable or hurtful.  You would often apologize.  We are alike that way, the screaming and the apologizing.  I am better about screaming and have learned what to and not to apologize for.

Sometimes months go by and I have not thought of you at all, because whatever there was between us that made us tear at each other, is too painful to recall.

Dear Mom,

Your contempt for me, from as far back as I can remember was terrifying.  I wished I could have felt some sense of safety, nurturing, or confidence in your care.  Between you, your punitive and judgmental mother, and my sister, there was little chance of me, ever getting to know or love myself.  What did you expect to become of me?  Did you think you could shame and banish me out of being someone so terribly inconvenient and with needs to which you could not relate?  If so, you deserve an award for your efforts.  Too bad, it did not work out well for anyone, except Jilan.  She scored much positive attention and traction, from just not being ME.  

Dear Female Sibling,

The way you have touched and spoken to me is vile.  Except for when you were being other Jilan, offering gifts and compliments, but even that was icky.  Often you would ask what was wrong–but it was not in a compassionate way, it was in a scared probing way to see if I knew and understood what had been said or done.  The thought of you touching my children makes me physically ill.  The collective will of you and your mother, violates me as a daughter, sister, and mother of my children.  The way you subtly smear and systematically alienate/pick off women (who dare to displease you–remember, you have bragged about this to me) in your life and work is repulsive.  The arrangement you have with Randy makes my young sons feel conflict, angst, caught in the middle of things which they could have been spared.  Shame on you. Yes you.  For all of the stuff.   You gossip and judge and shame others as if it is your calling.  If it is, bravo.  You are killing it, at those things.  There is no zipcode, white suit, title, last name, or club that can fully conceal the truth of  what you do and have done. Even having beautiful children is not proof of some level of goodness in you which nullifies the damage by your hand.  Your Sisters in law,your cousins, Alison at your work, your aunt…. just to name a few.  Patterns do not lie.

Dear EX-H,

When we first met, I loved the part of you that was confused and pained by the things done to you by your sisters that paralleled my own experience.  I thought together we would make something better.  Do you recall  how your father cautioned you about the affect your sisters would have on us? Do you recall how you were always having to choose between your sisters and me…except for the two years in which we were close with Kendall and therefore banished by the other two? Do you recall how your sisters ignored us and baby Will at Christmas entirely and when you called them out, they said, “what he is only a baby, like he will even remember”  It was sad and really unsurprising when after years of promising to want something better for our family you said to me “I will never change. There is nothing wrong the the way my family or I do things.”  I can see that when I was crying about the dynamic with my sister and mother, you related more to them than to me.  No truer words were ever spoken than when you said you would never change.  May be the only promise to have never been broken—never changing.  Sad.   What I find most challenging are the moods that parallel my sister’s.  The days or weeks of non-malevolence followed by underhanded and disruptive antics for no reason at all.  These times are marked by zero eye contact or acknowledgment when I have spoken, as you did in marriage.  And, because you are my children’s father, I will never fully detail or address the specifics of your choices which put your ego and will ahead of our magnificent children.

There are some very relevant things that you should know, as co-parent.  I am unable to share, because you consistently offer reminders, that you are not safe, unwilling to prioritize OUR family over yourself. You and I are raising beautiful boys and we both know full well that addiction is a real and present danger, for them.  I do not understand how you knowingly, continually place them in situations that require them to disassociate or pretend.  Oh wait, actually, I do understand–and it makes perfect sense.  

If I thought they would make a difference, I might write letters which instead, say for the zillionth time how willing I am to work toward something better and to heal. But healing is for the broken and you cannot possibly be broken so no need for fixing.  And pain is for the weak while anger is for the right.  There is no where to go with this.  

Fuck it
Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Pain We Do Not Heal

Recovery has been a wildly unpopular choice—quite agitating to those threatened by the idea that there is something wrong—other than only my existence.  My healing has been labelled a lie, a show, an attack, a war, a story to get attention. I hear this frequently from others in recovery-“Recovery is a deal-breaker and a relationship ender for those with a need for us to stay sick, sad, broken, afraid, and ashamed.” Those are deals worth breaking. The relationships will either heal along with us or they will die natural (but painful) deaths. Are you ready to feel and heal? Nothing like the gift of desperation—the lightning bolt moment in which it becomes unbearably clear that IT cannnot continue. For me, becoming a mother and experiencing the full gravity of two little ones learning about love and family by observing and experiencing US, as we were-that was my invitation to heal. I will not carry on the lies and legacies of dynamics which rely on shaming, shunning, and contracting to cull the herd.  I will not pass that on.

I believe in a better story for my children.  I choose to learn and do better.

“Pain travels through family lines until someone is ready to heal it in themselves.  By going through the agony of healing, you no longer pass the poison chalice onto the generations that follow.  It is incredibly important and sacred work”

It stops here. I realize that I regularly share about my loveless family and marriage experiences. But today, I recognize how they are Godless more than loveless. I think that making this distinction could alleviate some of the pain. The brand of love and family which I was raised on and then went on to marry, conflicts with all of my basic needs and core truths. Requirements to be revered(as one might a god or ruler), in control, and at the center, made no allowances for personal differences & preferences,healthy curiosity, open communication, intimate/safe/healthy and sustainable connection.  It was killing to my soul and spirit.

Has anyone ever attempted to be your god, not as a source of protection, hope, and comfort—but as THE ONE in charge of punishment and rewards based on how you please them and accommodate their moods and preferences?  —entirely self propelled by pride, ego, agenda. ☠️ Spiritual Recovery teaches me all of the ways in which I need a God-centered life more than I need “that”. It is the choice, I have been left to make. Repeatedly. Get on board or pay the price— after you fuck off. I have not been allowed to fuck off in peace. I have tried. There is no peace with people like this. Capitulation or Reprisal. That manner of engagement is not for me nor my children. We will not abide. Love is the boss of us. We are less afraid of the disapproving and wrathful than we are of losing ourselves. Here is a fun saying I heard recently—“God is god and I am not”  (and neither are you!!) Continue reading “The Pain We Do Not Heal” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Part Where You Fucked Up

For the record, my favorite part of every story, is the part where I fucked up and showed up anyway, ready to do better.

The tribal tension in our country right now is a perfect parallel to the dynamic of my family of origin-  overflowing of remarkable efforts toward rightness and to victory, rather than goodness/kindness.  Right in this context, referring to triumph and domination.  As if winning and dominating are evidence of truth and goodness. In my journey of recovery guided by daily commitment to spiritual striving, I seek only to practice living and doing with a glad and pure heart.   I can be fairly good at that AND do not deny the angry part of my heart that wants to punish, shame, and illuminate the non-goodness which I perceive as being forced upon my sons.  I own the reality of that anger and contempt.  I hold myself accountable, spiritually– not just to speaking with factual accuracy but for intentionally examining motives for myself, my children and others.  This blog is not just to assert my own goodness and virtue in stark contrast to someone else’s badness but to chronicle my journey towards living a more wholesome life– not more wholesome than them-  but more wholesome than what I have experienced, witnessed, and done in the past.  I am a work in progress.

I am staying close only to those, who, through action, model and teach loving kindness; not to be confused with favoritism or flattery.  Kindness is not selective.  Kindness just is…anything less—Refer to the meme.  It is never to late to amend.

With two young sons to shape and guide, I feel continually assaulted by the horsehsit models of love and goodness coming from the other side.  Goodness is rooted in humility.  And what I observe and resent, is arrogance and betrayal, dressed up in parties, smiles, well set tables, awkward flattery and favoritism, inappropriate hugs, and the denial.  Behaving as if this is what “family” and “love” do.  Family does not equal love–kindness does.

By my definition, love and family are honest, they own the harm they do, have hard discussions and share the work of healing and mending.  My boys gathered with my ex and his girlfriend, around a table with my sister and mother who have fouled me with lies to me and about me, insults, hardships which they righteously impose–while acting as if all is well –requiring children to dissociate from their mother and themselves is wrong and harmful.  Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, they are harming children.  My ex loves this arrangement, because he feels chosen, special, and preferred(flattery and favoritism totally work for him–the main currency).  Like even after all the bullshit he brought down on our little family, my sick family’s enveloping of him is proof of my badness.  Their collective sickness is unbearable to me.  My wise friend Anna is like, why do you care if they spend time together, it makes perfect sense—yay—the assholes chose each other, of course they did, and do so at your expense.  But it is at the expense of my children.  The disregard for them is beyond reproach.  Their performance as family, having the numbers– to them is a win and proof of rightness.  This may confuse small children. I will object for all of my days.  Hopefully, with less laser focused dedication, at some point.

What this text meme reminds me of, is the fake humility which for so long defied articulation.  In my family and marriage, they will go over the top, apologizing for traffic, burnt meat, forgetting to shut the door or running out of wine.  But NEVER acknowledging or admitting to an error in judgment- words spoken or actions taken in haste or anger.  NEVER.  They literally have never in my experience acknowledged their contributions to tension or havoc resulting from their CHOICES.  Either justified or oblivious. #wtf

I have always been the apologizer. The sorry one.  In both my family and marriage.  Sorry that I experienced bad feelings or behavior and sorry I for causing bad behavior and feelings in others.  What bullshit…participating in the sickness like that.  I am sorry for other people’s harsh feelings and behaviors, but not cuz I am fucking responsible.  Just because they are unfortunate and you cannot help but feel something like sorry, if you have a conscience or a soul.  If we learn and grow primarily from mistakes, what does that mean for people who do not recognize themselves as people who make mistakes?  Traffic, meat burning, and leaving the tooth paste lid off or toilet seat up are not bad choices—no apologies are necessary or helpful here.  How about— I am sorry I said that.  I am sorry I said or did that ???

Ranting time of month.  Sorrrrrrrrrry.  But I simply cannot say or hear it enough:  Kindness is not conditional or preferential or exclusive.  Masking non kindness in gatherings, gifts, or compliments intended to elevate one while diminishing another is both sick and sickening.Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Smiling Poop Emoji

A pile of poop with a smile, is still poop.  Sunday’s sermon began with the smiling poop emoji on both of the teleprompter screens.  The visual presentations were prefaced with, “If I could find a way to best describe this past year, it would be this (the emoji).  I lost my father suddenly to cancer and miss him terribly, our son is struggling with anxiety and depression and my sister in law has moved in with us, heartbroken and confused by a troubled marriage.  And day after day, I paste on a smile and assure anyone who asks, that all is well, that my family and I are doing wonderfully.”

Shane went on- “I realize that I can no longer pretend the mess is not there AND at the same time, work to grow and heal from it.  And I can not do this alone.  I have stuff in my life that is not going well, which is causing me despair–in whom do I trust to share?”  For him, it was God, and also a friend.  The sharing is the first step to coming out of denial.  For a moment, the poop emoji left the screens and was replaced by these words:  “Acknowledge the mess.  Do your best.  Let God do the rest.”  I love this!♥

Shane continues: “I know that I am at my best when I rely on god to help me with the mess.  Working and growing through the messes is the way to our best lives.”  When effort is directed at putting a smiley on the poop, we teach others that it is not safe to share with us, because we are not fit to acknowledge or deal with poop without judgment.  Having the courage and faith to heal, is not only the way to our best lives, it is the way to genuine connection—being able to share the poop, handle the poop, cry and collectively pray over the poop is what people who are intimately connected and spiritually growing, get to do, TOGETHER.

I shared my understanding of the sermon with my sons, explaining to them, that in my experience with my family, we were not able to ever connect in this way, the handling of the poopier parts of life.  My unyielding need to do so, was an offense to their merciless need to NOT.  I cannot put a smile on the poop and pretend it is not there, not stinky and not troublesome.  I just cannot.  This is the key to functioning in both their father’s family and my own.  Everyone wears smiles and moves on as if…  They consider this  moving on, as evidence of strength and positivity.  Anything other–gets labelled as negative, weak, and ungrateful- shaming any soul, unfortunate enough to openly struggle or suffer.  They have a clever way of discussing people with unmasked feelings, they do it as though they are expressing pity, which is not as wholesome it is intended to appear.  What they are doing, commonly referred to, as priming the pump, initiating a campaign to create doubt and discomfort with those afflicted in this way.

The service left me feeling deeply the goodness and love of the people in my life and also reminding me of the stark contrast to those to whom I am related. My sister’s nagging and tenacious pursuit for connection TO my ex-husband and OUR children still affects us deeply as two divorced people who are meant to co-parent and work for the best of our children.  The versions of love and strength(poop with a smile) they model for my children is literally soul-sickening.  The forced betrayal and hugging is awful.  I tell my boys it is ok to say NO and they insist it is not, because that will anger their father.  Ugh.

I dont care if you’re family or friend, old or young, if my kid does not want to hug or kiss you, then that is that’s that.  I won’t be encouraging or bribing them.  Their body, their choice.

This led us right into more intensity and heavy sighing by my boys, as I forced them to endure my mini-rant about the difference between peacemaking and peace-keeping.  I do intend to raise peacemakers who will be driven by wholesome values like courage and kindness, more than the opinions of others.

Another reason I felt called to think of female sibling.  I try hard not to:

We have all seen and used and laughed about this poop emoji.  #allofus

In our home, we shake our heads  at a recurring performance by my sister regarding the swirly poop, recognized by those aging from 2-99, for what IT is.  My sister who wears only angelic white loves to report how she is mortified to have mistaken IT a Hershey Kiss and was sending it to people.  I relayed this to my friend Trish, who exclaimed “Oh Okay, you are almost fucken 60, backdooring your sister, and still so pure and innocent you don’t think poopy thoughts when you see a poo emoji…and you are so terribly embarrassed by THIS– that you share that story at every opportunity”. My sons have reported now, twice in 6 months, being subjected to the “Ohmygaw y’all-  I am so embarrassed because I had mistaken that poop emoji as a Hershey Kiss”-story.

Yesterday, my older son text me from the school bus that he had to go poo and we just laughed at the foolishness.   He is wise to that shit.
Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Grandma’s Favorite—awww so sweet, y’all

This post is taken directly from how.i.rebuilt.myself.   The “me too ” which I feel when I read her posts is priceless-helping survivors heal, one post at a time.

Fake chivalry of the covert man. He’s the neighbourhood favourite – will jump start your car, run an errand for your sick wife while you’re on a business trip and hold doors open for old ladies. He’ll leap to his feet if a woman is moving a chair or a multipack of soft drinks at a bake sale or barbecue. As you’re getting to know him, you’ll see all this and think he’s a treasure. So will your family and friends. But later, behind closed doors, you’re the one carrying the burdens to the point it’s affecting your health (and finances), while yearning for the attention and affection which is now a distant memory. Every now and then he’ll put on a show but something is ‘wrong’ (cooks you a ‘nice’ meal but leaves you with extensive clearing up while he watches TV, spends Saturday fixing something that doesn’t need fixing when you said you wanted time together) but how can you complain? If you mention you feel lonely and overburdened he’ll shut down – you’ve hurt his feelings, you terrible person! – and the guilt will consume you. Or he’ll offer wonderful words that aren’t followed by any changes – or gaslight you about your mental state under the guise of caring/concern. Play along and you might never know what you’re dealing with, though your insomnia and panic attacks are a clue – but try to leave or stop giving him free benefits and you’ll soon find out that grandma’s favourite is a very different type of beast. [Note covert women/femmes also have the pattern of using gender paragon behaviour – so sweet and warm and giving! – to hide their true selves. It’s one reason I’m passionate about gender freedom. Perfect, paper-doll embodiments of this or that gender don’t exist and to my mind are usually hiding something (abuse victims sometimes appear in this form too if conditioned into a role out of fear) whereas virtues of kindness, honesty and courage are genderless and go beyond window display.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Thank Good Gods

The words below are cherry picked straight from Jen Hatmaker’s post on IG today.  They speak directly to my heart and make clear for me the difference between those I am genetically linked to and those with whom I am spiritually linked.  I see, that with the models of love and loyalty which I was provided, why I could be so edgy, vicious, righteous, and menacing.  I am beyond remorseful and will spend all of my days amending the things I can.

I WAS a beast, learning what I lived and living what I learned.  I cannot help but shake my head in horror and disbelief at what continues.   Thank all of the good gods for unlearning.  It is never too late.   I am breaking the cycle.  Click anywhere on the quote below to read Jen’s entire post.

Anything other than a radically inclusive faith that honors the dignity of every person makes no sense to me.  I cannot find any other road through my faith than one that condemns abuse, neglect, exclusion, and dominance.  Nothing else makes sense.

This post prompted by my ex and his new girlfriend hosting my mother and female sibling for dinner.  Wrong for so many reasons.  And for my boys getting reprimanded one more time for resisting hugs from women who do this to their mother.  They have no choice about showing up for this…but really, telling young boys that forced and unwanted touching is not only ok but required.  No means NO.  

My boys reported feeling disturbed by the usual all white suit(so angelic and pure), the house warming gift to their dad from her and her over the top fawning, apparently worse when her husband is not present. Ugh. Please stop. So awkward– forcing yourself on small boys and grown ones. Nobody likes it. At all. It is yucky.   And Good News:  It is never too late to stop.  Ever.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Undeserving

What an interesting concept.  “DESERVE”.  I cannot help but cringe each time I hear this word thrown about.  Maybe as a person who grew up feeling confused about being both entitled and unworthy, I remain disturbed by this language.  Now, after nearly a decade of spiritual recovery and soul work–this is what I think I know:

All people deserve kindness, love, truth, connection.  Today’s sermon focused on grace, gratitude, and service.  I noticed myself physically reacting each time I heard the word “deserve”.  It has been my consistent experience that those who believe in their own deserving also believe similarly in their right to punish and judge.  This way of believing removes all possibility of Grace.  Reflecting on the damage of the hurricane and hardships of people offered pointed reminders that good fortune no more is a symptom of personal goodness than misfortune is badness.  I descend from long lines of people who are unapologetically  vocal with their beliefs of what they and others do and do not deserve.  To  me, this thinking seems void of God and Higher Power, very selfY.  It feels scary.

As I acknowledge the undeniable love of my friends, children, and Sweet Greg, I am deeply aware that they do not love me because I have earned or deserved it.  They love me because loving is what they do.  I feel the love of them wanting what is good and best for me, celebrating my triumphs and mourning my losses with me.  Believing in why and how they love me, frees me from the myth that I(or others) earn abuse, betrayal, cruelty, or lies.  People do what they do, say what they say, are how and who they are, independently of me.

The teachings of discipleship are something we will learn in church.  An opportunity to be re-parented with opportunities to practice serving God and others– because.  Just because, this is the life we are meant for.  We are graced by this place, of like hearted people who choose to live and practice love in this way.  Discipleship.  Deeply entrenched in our unchurchedness, we may never fully internalize certain parts of the “Stories” of Christianity… we can still learn from the life of Jesus and witness in awe, the badassery of his fierce dedication to loving, loving the marginalized, outcast and needy, full of courage and grace, and an example worth following, better than any human ever could be.

This song is part of the weekly service and it literally grips my heart and I can barely breathe as I listen and read the words.  All I ever wanted from my mother and family, and so completely the opposite of my teachings and beliefs about my place on this earth and within my family.  This is truth and love.  I believe.  I am loved.  I belong.  Big space to anyone suggesting otherwise.  I continue practicing forgiving, from over here.  I deserve the peace that comes with letting go and forgiving and keeping myself safe from unwholesome and unkind words and deeds.   I lack the resilience required to let those things roll from my back and pretend as if they are not real or hurtful.  Plus, I deserve better.  100%.

 

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Supporting Gay Tweens- Even when they are not “yours”

Last week my older son was initiated by a new neighbor boy, whom we do not know—even a little.  This neighbor decided to “come out” via text message, to my son, who is age 11.  When my son was kind and texted “Ok, but be careful who you tell because people might be mean to you or beat you up for that.  I understand people are born this way and it is ok”, the neighbor, whom I will call Frederick, took that as a green light to pursue my son.  He continued texting him–but only about “gayness”.  Laser focused on this singular topic.

When my son did not tell him to bug off or keep it to himself, he took it a step further and began detailing his crush on a boy in their science class and then proceeded to ask my son “Are you gay?  Do you like me? You have to be honest and tell me” .  Now, my son and this child have never spent time together aside from one week of waiting at the bus stop, never discussed any common interests or normal getting to know you convos.  And yet, Frederick prefaced his sharing with, “I want to tell you something because we are good enough friends and I need you to promise not to tell anyone.”

I count my lucky stars that my sweet son came to me directly and promptly. I explained that telling me was the right thing to do but telling anyone else would be harmful.  We do not keep secrets in this family– but we can be trusted with things shared in confidence.  My son is mature enough to grasp and value  this. He expressed that “this” made him feel icky and anguished.  Boy, am I blessed to have recovery to help me support his walk through this– without encouraging retaliating or retreating…because WE(my lil family) have learned a third way.  The spiritual way.  We can express and hold healthy boundaries.  He asked (via text) Frederick to not bring up gayness anymore then decided to take it a step further and said “Please do not talk to me anymore”.  My son is concerned that IT will persist and he has also expressed confusion about the fact that he feels fearful/ kind of obsessed.  I was able to share with him that it felt bad and heavy because he was violated.  His gut is informing him:  danger danger beware.  And the gut message is  one to be listened to.  Frederick is not dangerous for his gayness, but for his lack of knowing how to navigate safely and with respect for others.  That is not his fault, but it is still unsafe for another child whom also does not know and is not ready.

If my son and Frederick had an existing friendship and Frederick shared that he was gay, that would be different.  If they were 16 and Frederick shared or initiated, that would be different.  Their age and their affiliation is not appropriate for this interaction—and now there is no current possibility for  friendship, because Frederick, young, desperate, not knowing, took it too far.  I have advised my son to be polite only.  Say good morning at the bust stop and then get into a book or his phone…There is a way to be not friends and also non-enemies.  My family did not get or teach me this.  My ex husband’s family also does not see life this way.  Zero-sum all the way.

But WE, we get this and Frederick is one lucky soul that he pulled this with my son who will do no harm and cast no shame or shadow on him.  That a person like me, with a family like my own, can guide my son this way is nothing short of a miracle.  I hope Frederick finds the support he needs as much as I hope he leaves my son alone.  I am so grateful my son trusted and shared with me completely– and that we were able to do this together. Rather than trying to remind him constantly to trust himself and do right, I will use the message board to say what I think needs to be said and remembered.  I do not care if my son is gay or not but I do care that he discuss these things with only trusted others, when it feels right and safe for him.  And even if he is or might be–Being gay is not reason enough to be friends.  I was also able to remind him that he does not ever need to feel as if he must disclose to anyone what or whom he likes.

I am certain I have not done this perfectly.  and I am also certain that for now I have done right by my son and this child, in spite of having lived life that would have directed me otherwise.  Comments and advice are welcome—Just click the picture to my IG page and get in touch there.Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

It is Not that I Don’t Care..

People have expressed to me, their sense, that I do not care what others think.  This is UNtrue.  I make no efforts to control what others think or how they feel about me.  That is not my job.  If a person does not care for me, that is not a problem (until they decide to punish me), it just means we are not for each other.  I would surely prefer if everyone applauded my decisions and methods, but that is unrealistic and counter to my striving to live authentically, with honest and transparent boundaries(for myself)– which support self care, personal growth and my own well-being.  

This truth and freedom are offered to me by my program of recovery. Many people do not yet understand that recovery is not only for those with obvious and overt addictions to substances, sex, shopping, gambling, food…. Mine, is a program of recovery, for those struggling to recover from abusive relationships, typically with the mentally unwell or addicted person.  For the sake of my blog and journey, abuse is: behavior of others which harms, betrays, diminishes, or disrespects another.  Sustained entanglement in an abusive dynamic can result in trauma and depression(mental unwellness, sometimes temporarily relieved by addictive behaviors)- which require recovery OR denial (offloading or numbing pain instead of healing it).  I choose recovery.  For people who choose power, rightness, and denial, I am definitely not their cup of tea and they are not mine.  It is not a war, just a fact…until attacks begin- typically underhanded–the silent kill shots are the worst, the highly visible ones, to which nobody objects, are equally deadly. Continue reading “It is Not that I Don’t Care..” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

For the Love

I never get tired of seeing or sharing this image.

As the beginning of another school year– at new schools, rapidly approaches, I imagine and worry dream for my sons– the possibilities that lay ahead.  Of course, I want them to thrive academically and even socially, but more than this, I want them to feel deeply connected to something bigger than themselves, their peers, and especially even their parents(and families of origin).  My hope is that they are more spiritually striving than socially.  (It will offer a more honest and comforting existence.  Oh please.)  We (parents and blood relations) are small and broken examples of how to be in the world, in ways that are too often, far from wholesome and nurturing.  How I wished we had church in our lives.  As I read the wisdom and hopes of Jen Hatmaker, Bob Goff, Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown, I am taking copious notes-no guarantee that they will manifest into immediate and sustainable action.  But still.

Notes for myself and my children:

Hurt kids make easy targets. And cowards, both bully and look the other way. Please let us stand between the abusers and the abused.  Let us refuse to silently watch one person break another down.  Say “no”. Say “leave them alone”.  Do not look away.  The tiniest scrap of hope is enough to save a hurt and lonely person from drowning.

Let us be safe and kind and gentle to all others–to be tender and empathetic.  I pray for your kindness more than your success.  How we love all people is the highest measure of our character.  Well behaved and kind are not the same.  And often bravery and kindness do not take the form of well behaved.  Be brave.  Above all else be kind and loving—unconditionally.  Let’s do this!

Develop eyes for pain.   See hurt people.  Offer them kindness with your eyes, words, or actions.   Please, let’s learn and commit to this as a way of being.  Kindness is the height of bravery.  It is difficult and awkward and feels risky–asking someone struggling, and on the outside,  “What’s up” or if they want to sit with you or what book they are reading.  We can do this.  We can do hard things.  I love you so much, but not always so well.  I am learning too!

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Because Obviously

A program friend recently asked me if I out my sister  to punish her, and cautioned me against it—because that(punishing) would be bad for my recovery (not out of regard for her).  I share what happens because finally, I can and I must.  Fortunately, what I have to share is observable, undeniable action/behavior, witnessed by my sons and nieces and even my sister herself, not relative, at all.   I do not imagine or cause the overt acts of betrayal and disloyalty.   And– as my boys get older and may one day want clarity about what was going on with me/us, it will be here– where I share my experience of it.  It is a privilege and a duty to exercise rigorous honesty and– my recovery is hinged to sharing—all of the stuff.

Since public appearances are prized by her, and this is unfavorable behavior; I leverage that.  If knowledge of her choices and values causes discomfort, it is not the sharing part, that needs changing.  I am certain she will offer a million justifications for why she must and can and should.  Right things do not ever need justification.  This, all because I unapologetically expressed an honest and clear boundary.

Disrupting our co-parenting and family, and robbing our sons of innocence is a sin against them.   Requiring children to dissociate is not the choice of a kind and happy person.  Her dark and demanding presence, insistence on hugs, the pretending required by my boys…all of it is vile.  This is where I get to state my objection.

My ex-husband laughed heartily, literally roared, when I asked him to step back until we (my mother and sister) worked it out.  My ex declared, with something not unlike maniacal pleasure, how my mother and sister had zero intent of making things right between us.  In foolish disbelief, I went directly to my mother…who confirmed for me the truth of what he said.  Ouch!

I can only imagine the exchanges between them, that led him to his insight.  My sons exposure to the unwholesomeness of this alliance is tragic.  My powerlessness to protect my little guys makes me angry AF.

Apparently my sister (hate to use that word) hosted another dinner for my ex, his father, and my sons this weekend…spent the evening fawning over him, over his basic lettuce, tomato, carrot salad…so amaaaaazing (as disclosed with horror, by my sons). And she is reported to have suggested  more than a few times, how they MUST get together next time– at his house. STOP.  Barf!

The most disturbing thing about this, is that I can fully envision myself, before recovery, being exactly this spiteful and vindictive and feeling completely entitled, victorious, and intoxicated by my indisputable rightness.  It is true.

I am a work in progress.  I am powerless over this.  It is difficult to witness my boys being used and confused—by family, in the name of love.  Especially by someone always wearing only white, always smiling, laughing awkwardly, tryunuh hug up on my boys and ex while claiming love.  Lord, help us all.  Because, obviously….

Then I wonder…am I defending my sharing?  Nah,  I don’t think so.  This blog is more like an ongoing fourth step, where I examine all of my own ickyness.

But it is a party and we are family.  C’mon.  It is love!

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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On Forgiving

Daily, I feel tormented by the notion that if I were JUST  less sensitive and more forgiving we could be a happy healthy family.  But this, THIS is the lie-the myth of the scapegoat and the messaging of abusers.  Intense sensitivity is something, that as an adult, I have learned to understand, accept, and to accommodate without shame.  My mental wellness requires that I offer space to anyfuckenbody who judges sensitivity and uses it as an excuse to be unkind–shaming.  I do regret that I had nobody to teach me this sooner.  Self acceptance, preservation, kindness to myself and to others—these things, they were first introduced to me as a 40 something woman, in recovery.  And I forgive myself for not knowing what I didn’t know, before I knew it and I forgive myself for not accepting poor treatment as the price of membership for a club to which I clearly do not belong.  And I forgive myself for not being able to forgive before I am able. Continue reading “On Forgiving” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Like-hearted

As only a witness to perfectionism, it seems that trying to be perceived as perfect is the exact opposite of this. I dunno. Just saaayin. Naaahm saayin?

Over the past decade, I have become very clear on my lack of desire to surround myself with likeminded people, so much as I do those whom are like-hearted.  In fact, it would be terrifying to be surrounded by like-minded others. YIKES  In recovery, we call our like-heartedness, unity of purpose, which makes it possible to genuinely want to help and support each other.   What I mean– is that quality of life for me, is elevated by those who believe and practice the same static life principles as I do.   Greg and I are such an unlikely match by all of my old measures.  But we do share a unique like-heartedness.

Greg is naturally more gentle, patient, and willing than I am. (In truth, this could be said of even of the most mature toddler.)  Still, Greg and I have highly compatible operating instructions.  Nothing about the ways in which either of us operate, emotionally, socially, or morally, are troublesome to the other.  We do not pretend, defend, or deny anything–and our greatest sources of laughter, connection, made up words and nick-names, stem from our own foibles, our shared humanity, our desire to learn and expand together(not identically but compatibly).  We call ourselves out, so that we can collectively laugh and learn–again, together.  We each guard and police only our own behaviors.  Okay, sometimes we do monitor and supervise each other, but we do so openly and with apology and laughter.   THIS is my first relationship in which defense is not part of the norm…because we each value being connected, more than being right or better than.  Most of our jokes are about being right and blaming others for our own misconduct.

Those who value or demand perfection more than they do growth and connection, are toxic to me.  I can do better each day, in fact that is my life’s purpose.  But– perfection seems undeniably tethered to shame, fear, guilt, power, and often dishonesty.  To me, perfection focuses more on appearance of how things are rather than how they actually are(Perfection is not, at all, the same as healthy striving).  And the perfection vibe drives, in me, intense spiritual  and physical unwellness. Continue reading “Like-hearted” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Are We Good?

I cannot figure out how to rotate this and make it stay. But he is just as cute sideways.

I love that he has his own little house retreat. He is so talented to be able to lay sideways in it.

Nearly every night between 1 and 4 a.m. , this guy wakes me up to let me know that he needs to go potty.  But, if I get up to let him out, I will not fall back  to sleep.  Instead, I will lay awake agonizing over things which upset me and I will be wrecked for the next day.  So naturally, he takes care of business  and returns to bed.  Then, in the morning when I do get up, he either slinks directly to his kennel or walks down slowly and crouching looking at me asking with his sweet Baby Seal eyes “Are we good?”.  I cannot be angry or punitive with him.  I mean I could, but if he tells me he needs to go and I don’t do my part, what am I to expect?  I realize there are effective training tactics or adjusting food and water schedule & access, which might help.  And until I am ready to initiate those with consistency, it is unfair to punish him.  Anxious and ashamed people and animals do not exercise their finest behaviors.

I am permissive with our dogs, possibly because I relate to having inconvenient needs of my own.  But our pets do not belong to me–  They, like my children, have been entrusted to me– and no matter what, we belong to each other and together.  I catch myself becoming irrationally irritated over dog or age appropriate behaviors of those for whom I am responsible.  The truth is I feel bothered only because, in the moment, the needs or demands seem inconvenient or disruptive to my own self-obsessed thinking.

I admit that I have been guilty of attempting to shame my dogs and children out of behaviors that vex me.  Shaming is such a damaging and bullshit move.   I can do better for them.  One day at a time.  I am a work in progress.

We are good, little guys.  We belong to each other.  No matter what.  Always.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Stand Your Ground

In recovery, I am reminded consistently that we are never  victims.  This does not mean that people do not intentionally victimize and persecute others, but that we do have choices about how we respond.  All choices may be highly undesirable, none the less, they are choices.  Like going to a crummy restaurant where you hate evereeeeything on the menu.  Every single thing. Continue reading “Stand Your Ground” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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It Might Just Suck

I do not suck, sometimes my behavior does–but THIS- this alllllwaaaaays sucks.  Today is a hard day.  I wake up every single day, so painfully aware and deeply affected by the state of my family.  I recognize that I do not cause or imagine the dysfunction- and that I alone, cannot repair it.  Intellectually and spiritually, I accept this– it is what it is.  However, acceptance of circumstances does not block me from the emotional pain of having been treated poorly, openly diminished and then discarded.  Repeatedly and consistently.  I intend to never get used to it.  Hopefully, I will continue to get better at not placing myself in this familiar dynamic.  We learn what we live and do what we know.  Unlearning–as fast as I am able and dead center in the middle of another lesson.

My boys asked me if I thought my mother would leave me anything when she dies.  All I can respond with is :  “I don’t know”.  I suspect she may leave me in the state of pain that she sees as my due.   Of course, it would be nice if her final statement to me and about me to the world, could be one of kindness.  Every day– all of the days, slowly-this kills me.

Young hurt lil Magda, still needing a mama, believes this is proof of her unworthiness.  Adult me, in recovery, knows it is evidence only of the sickness in our family.  I can learn, grow, and know all I want– and still not one damn thing will ever make this not hurt.  I may never get my head around the idea of choosing not speaking to one of my children.  Or aligning with one of them, or aligning with any person at all, against one of my sons.

I will never stop longing.  The heart wants what the heart wants.  My sweet sons continue to foot the bill for my struggle to make peace with this-to move on-get it behind me.  The best I can do, is to remind them frequently and explicitly of how wanted and loved they are, AND that they do not cause or imagine any of this.  It is a painful mess.  I suffer from depression and anxiety, not from them.

SadnessMuch Love,
Magda Gee

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On Bullying

Oh-  this post!!!!  What an immense comfort and timely topic.  Bullying, oppression, exclusion- behaviors and attitudes:  not as narrowly defined as we tend to think.  Below is a snippet of what Glennon shared at Momastery, regarding bullying-related suicides.

And people are sensitive. People are heart-breakingly sensitive. If enough people tell someone over and over that he is not okay, he will believe it. And one way or another, he will die.

Each time one of these stories is reported, the tag line is: “kids can be so cruel.” This is something we tend to say. Kids these days, they can be so cruel. But I think this is just a phrase we toss around to excuse ourselves from facing the truth. Because I don’t think kids are any crueler than adults. I just think kids aren’t quite as adept yet at disguising their cruelty.  Children are not cruel. Children are mirrors. They want to be “grown-up.” So they act how grown-ups act when we think they’re not looking. They do not act how we tell them to act at school assemblies. They act how we really act. They believe what we believe. They say what we say.

It’s trickle-down cruelty.

If I want my world to be less vicious, then I must become more gentle. If I want my children to embrace other children for who they are, to treat other children with the dignity and respect every child of God deserves, then I had better treat other adults the same way. And I better make sure that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God’s and their father’s and my eyes, they are okay. They are fine. They are loved as they are. Without a single unless.  Because the kids who bully are those who are afraid that a secret part of themselves is not okay.

 It is odd, how striving for this brand of kindness and acceptance seems kinda subversive.  Elitist, excluding & exclusive seem to be nearly the norm, common.  Why is it uncommon to want the best for everyone?  Why do so many feel the need to oppress and exclude?!  More importantly, how  do we break the cycle and innoculate our children from messages that any one is more or less worthy of the most basic human dignities and rights?  

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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First, Your Spirit

Lately, I spend every moment possible reading and listening for comfort, from those who have openly navigated troublesome experiences, who possess the inner strength and courage to share–messages of hope alongside their deeply personal and  messy details.  I, personally, need to hear the mess.  The message without the mess can leave me feeling separated and alone.   And without the message, I find only a sick commiserative and temporary comfort.  I need both, together.  The mess and the message:  the shit before the shiFt.  Daily doses of Bob Goff and Glennon Doyle seem a perfect prescription for now.

I am both losing and finding myself in the teachings of those who who humbly share their hardships, missteps, mistakes, confusion and lessons.  It is through them, that God speaks to me and is guiding me—helping me to recover my spirit.

I seek their wisdom with the hope and intent to become a better guardian of the spirits of my sons.  They are intelligent, courageous, strong, able, and kind humans.  These things just are.  What they also are, is deeply faithful– and this, I know has something to do with my recovery and parenting.  In all of the many ways I fail and struggle, I am deeply comforted, if not proud of the ways in which I practice protecting and developing their spirits:  their senses of connection, belonging and their deep gut knowing of goodness and kindness.  Below, I share with you my daily dose of healing from Glennon.

The thing is that I’m not worried about my little man’s brain. I’m worried about his heart.

When I was in elementary school, all of these little teeny things happened to me that made me embarrassed, or confused, or sad. Like when I had to stand against the huge cafeteria wall with my nose pressed against the big purple painted grapes, or when all the girls teased me at my lunch table because my hair was greasy, you could start a car with all that grease, they said. Or when the boys never chased me at recess. Or when a classmate brought a Playboy to school, or when my friend Jennifer called me a gay wad. What’s a gay wad? But these things didn’t seem big enough to talk about, and I didn’t want my parents to know that all wasn’t perfect . . . so for whatever reason, I kept all these little sad and confusing things secrets. And keeping secrets became second nature to me. Which didn’t turn out so well for me for a couple decades.

So when it comes to how my kids are doing at school, I don’t worry about academics. I worry about social things. I worry about their time at lunch, at recess, on the bus. Mostly, children learn to read and add and sit still eventually. But not everybody learns that he deserves to be treated with respect and so do others. And not everybody learns that he is OKAY and loved and precious and that it’s all right to feel hurt and all right to hurt others, as long as he cleans up his messes. And not everybody learns that different is beautiful. And not everybody learns to stand up for himself, even when it’s scary. So I worry about that. Seven is young to navigate a big social sea all by oneself. I feel like thirty four is too young sometimes.

Last week, I snuggled in bed with Chase and told him all about the embarrassing, sad, scary little things that happened to me in elementary school. I told him that I never gave Bubba and Tisha a chance to help me, because I kept my worries in my heart. So my worries became problems. I told him that this was a shame. Because the beautiful things about being a kid, is that you don’t really have any problems. You might have worries, but if you share those worries with your parents, they don’t have to become problems. I told him that his daddy and I are his team. That his worries are really our worries. And that the most important thing in the world to us is his heart.

 

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

On Gossip

Unable to articulate all that is on my mind, I have decided to share another magical and medicinal post from Momastery.com 

I would like to pre-empt this by saying that this post, for me, relates to people with whom I have intimate and meaningful affiliations.   It is likely that I will continue to dabble in gossip about celebrities and other remote people.  If I have meaningful information or opinions, I will share them with the person whom they are relevant.  This is a tough habit and norm to breech.  It is a wildly unpopular way of being in the world.

Even if the gossip is given under the guise of “concern.” Because if a concern is big enough to talk about, then it is big enough to be addressed directly to the concern-ee. And if a concern is not big enough to be addressed directly to the concern-ee, then it’s not big enough to talk about.

I want to live in a world where women trust each other. Where people know where they stand with each other. Where women give each other the benefit of the doubt simply because they believe down deep that other people are doing the best they can. Where self control is valued. Where women don’t delight in evil. And so I am going to create that type of world for myself. Because we all create the world in which we live. That’s the secret. If you want the world to be different, then go ahead and make a different world for yourself.

Gossip is tricky. Not gossiping is even trickier. Because here’s the thing. There is something inside me that loves gossip so incredibly much. When someone shares something with me about someone else . . . a juicy little morsel, it makes me feel so IN. It just makes me feel so special and accepted and like if she’s talking to ME about HER than she must like ME more than HER and it just feels cozy and like we are in this little circle of trust.

But as my dear friend Adrianne says, (Earmuffs, Jesus) “That. Is Some Bullshit.”

When someone shares a secret or complaint or judgment of another with me, all it proves it that she’ll do the same thing to me. It offers a false sense of security, this gossiping. No time for false things during this beautiful short life. We’re looking for the Truth.

It’s going to be hard. This new Love Experiment is likely to put a damper on some friendships. It might make certain get-togethers a little less fun and I might be left out of some juicy conversations. I probably won’t be as funny or exciting. I might be a bit of a wet blanket. That’s okay. Because I want to be a woman who can be trusted. More than I want to be funny or envied or admired or IN, I want to be trusted. I want to be a safe place for friends to land. I want to be honorable.

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter”  

Bob Goff

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Tightrope

You struggle to keep your balance- to not jump- but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  You are walking a tight rope held by those you are bound to.  They plan to let go,  you know it in your gut, and you keep going.  What else to do?  People watch, helplessly, silently–some judging.  You put one foot in front of the other.

Cuz-faith.  Faith that it will be what it is and you will be ok.  You have been down this rope before.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Get Well Soon

My recovery is a wildly unpopular choice, extremely agitating to those who need to be feel in control, play God, the judge, the jury, the punisher, the rewarder.  I am also reminded daily that recovery is the ONLY way– and it divides me further and permanently from those feeling displeased(harmed) by it.    They are not yet ready and will literally do anything to get in the way of recovery life.  Annneeething!  I carry on with fervor, not ease, but fervor.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice what we want now, which is war, to get what we ultimately want, which is peace.  And not everyone defines peace the same way.  For some people can only find peace in winning, which requires a war and a loser.  Well people do not make sick people well, but unwell people can make well people sick.  I seek wellness, illumination, peace.  Progress not perfection.  One Day at a time.

There is always a right way to say what we need to say and a wrong way to say it. There is a way that will invite more light and reconciliation and a way that will invite more darkness and polarization. The latter is often the result of mental unwellness and cycles and dynamics of addiction plaguing a community or family system, usually through generations.  Break the cycle, I say!  

And, sometimes doing what we really want to do, if it’s going to add more anger, isn’t the right thing to do. Even if it feels good at the time.  Recovery has offered me the tool of pausing and acting rather than reacting.  I am emotionally triggered in under a nano-second, this I cannot help.  Recovery taught me to pause long enough to decide what I can do to acknowledge the feeling and then to practice self care and self preservation without harming another.  In sick systems, there is no distinction between being displeasing or making a mistake AND being harmful.  Recovery teaches me that –it is not my job to please and it is not mean or a crime to displease or make mistakes.  I do not choose any systems that have reliance on people pleasing OR paying the price.

a little bit soap box and ranty–oh well–Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Emergencies and Celebrations

Looking back, I see that the only times my mother and sister had anything to do with me, were for emergencies and celebrations/scheduled gatherings.  I guess those times made them feel, maybe, benevolent, by showing up as rescuers, hosts, or gift givers.  But I think life, for me, is what happens in between the events.

Relationships, as I experience them, are strengthened and clarified by day to day showing up and connecting, for no reason at all.   I stopped accepting gifts and help from anyone who can easily live without me.  That is not love.  It feels icky and confusing.

I suspect that if they could honestly express their sentiments with words, they might say “Who the fuck do you think you are, going off script?”.  My marriage was similar.  Big efforts toward planned gatherings and crisis, little attention in between.  It died a natural death once it became clear that only sustained connection would lead to physical intimacy.  Again, off script.  Why am I not more grateful and indebted and willing to throw myself away, feigning closeness?  I will not accept any more opportunities to show gratitude in the from of submission.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

The Opposite of Love

Because of intense and atypical sensitivity to both physical and emotional stimulus, I have felt humiliated, not only for being wired differently but for having been shamed and shunned for it– never taught to manage the frequent and difficult emotions.  Naturally, I came to envy those  unaffected, composed— indifferent to others.  I think it is boasted as thick skinned.  As if that is strength.  But I realize today, that I would not prefer to be that way.  Feeling deeply is difficult and a gift, and requires inner strength.  Yesterday, on our way to camp, a homeless woman approached our car for money, Having just gone to the ATM, and having no singles, I was pleased to have no choice but to offer her more than I typically would.  What I also did, was make and hold intentional eye contact as I told her to take care.  And then I wept as we drove away,  explaining to my sons–that if the suffering and need of a woman whom I do not know causes me pain, imagine what I feel  when a person behaves with unkindness to me.

It is true that I cry in the presence of a new baby person or animal, children singing, weddings, homeless or hurt people or animals.  I am powerless to change this, though life would be more manageable and less painful if I could.  This is the same me that cannot just move on and let go as my family has for decades done with me–the ability to individually and collectively go on as if my existence does not matter in the least.  I do not wish to be that way.  Ever. My sons have plenty of models of indifference in their lives and I am grateful to have something different to offer and model for them.

I will say it again.  The opposite of sensitivity is not strength, but insensitivity.  I married the person I did because he was so good at composure and indifference and I had been taught that was the measure of strength, maturity, and rightness hoping that I might learn from him or receive validation by proxy and association with such valor.  Emotional stoicism/vacancy are things I would no longer wish for myself or my children.  I am slowly learning to manage my feelings.  They are deep and many, but they are not crimes or defects.  I offer generous space to anyone suggesting otherwise.  Compassion and empathy are the most wholesome badass ways of being.  All of the people whom I respect most, are leading in this way.  Leading people to understand and connect rather than shame, judge, distance, and  punish for differences of skin, orientation, or opinion.

Feeling less pain would be nice but I am blessed to feel what is meant to be felt.  My program and spiritual striving suggest nowhere, that indifference and thick skin will help me to become my best self.  For appearances only, I would like to be less affected.  But my heart is big and open and for that I am learning boundaries and healthy coping.  I am a work in progress– a love warrior.  I unapologetically feel it all–openly pained by diminishing or dehumanizing words and behaviors.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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A Letter for Children

Today, my sweet boys embark on their first week ever, of sleep away camp- away from mom, dad, and each other.  What I feel even more acutely than my anxiety, is pride (for lack of better word) for how kind, courageous, compassionate, and faithful these guys are.  AND–I, as their mother and primary care giver,  have something to do with that!  When I shared with Sweet Greg this overwhelming feeling of how fragile everything is, he gently reminded me that my boys are very self reliant.  True– and comforting with regards to physical safety…however my concern is their spiritual and emotional wellness and growth.  Physical stuff is easy to observe,manage, and address.  The camp is a faith based center for spiritual development, recommended by a mother whom I trust. At an intellectual level, I know, and even believe it will be great. I am longing for another mother/person to come with me, like a mother or sister of my own who would understand and faithfully support these values and concerns.

Before bed last night, we read this letter from Glennon Doyle to her son.  THIS speaks my heart’s truth, better than any words of my own.  I could tell, as they listened, that it spoke to their hearts.  So beautiful that we get to have this shared language and example of “Adam”–compassion and courage.

Hey Baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.

Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

Love,
Mama

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Independence Day

Surprisingly, it was a very good day.   I forced myself to go sweat it out in the yard, pruning, mowing, weeding.  I always feel better when I do something that elevates the overall quality of life.  The daily and repetitive tasks offer no satisfaction, only the threat of greater stress if not addressed.  My yard now looks more respectable and I respect myself more, for having managed to do something I didn’t feeeeel like doing.  The truth is, I do not feeeeel like doing most things, this is part of depression, avoiding life.

Then, Sweet Greg arrived and together we he hung a picture, but only after he made an unforgivably large hole in my bedroom wall, which disturbed him greatly, and made him lose his shit a little.  He is adorable this way.  I thought it was funny and I love working together with him, feeling how much it matters to him, that he do things nicely for me.  He swears the GIANT hole is my fault, for making him hang the picture.  But that piece of shit art has been sitting on my floor waiting to be hung since December and see, I needed to pack the boys for camp and felt that I could not begin– until that thing got hung.  Make sense?  To him, it did not make sense at all, but he went along.  And we made a fun memory, not just a hole large enough to plug with your finger.  But whaev, the picture covers it.  And now we get to enjoy the project of patching and painting another day.  And camp packing is 81% complete..so there.

This reminded me how much I crave and respect genuine unity, a mutually shared cause or purpose.  For me, it is at the root of connection.  I realized that I cannot recall the last time my boys and I worked together for a common purpose and that we would benefit from some unification.  Cuz–connection.  It also reminds me of– that as long as I was showing up to care for and support my mother, we were able to sustain connection….and as soon as she was well and my service was no longer needed, we fell apart.   I will always have the memory and pleasure of knowing I showed up 100% and served with a glad heart.

So, back to the beautiful day.  After giant hole making and partial packing, Greg and I agreed that we were too tired to socialize and celebrate.  And then we decided that showing up to great people who love and want us, is a beautiful and important thing to do.  We enjoyed an evening with my best friend and all of her peeps.  It was a sweet night of yummy food in abundance and easy connection.  Nobody was forcing or trying too hard, people were just together as themselves, for as long as they liked.  Depression and apathy could have easily robbed me of this night.  We not only made a great memory, but this reminded me of so many other laughs and memories with MA and her family, who are always there for us and with us-never treating us as extra.

It was a beautiful 4th of July.  Very grateful for wholesome badass people in my life teaching my boys and I the TRUTH about love, belonging, connection.Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Low Blood Sugar and Anxiety

In the past year, I have noted consistently how my low blood sugar either triggers or mimics anxiety for me.  I feel ill much of the time, the way I did for all nine months of my pregnancies, and most of my childhood.  Most mornings begin with me feeling simultaneously revolted by the idea of eating and desperate for calories.  It is impossibly stressful–food and drink gagging and disabling me-the lacking nourishment and the blood sugar crushing me.  I recall feeling this way as a child, maybe this is what helped me to get labelled impossible pain in the ass.  I cannot help but contemplate how much I stressed my mother by not only this combination of dueling needs but also by my sensory driven preferences of the 7 non-overstimulating foods which I found to be manageable.  Also, my mother has difficulty accepting anything which she personally cannot relate to.  She managed rheumatic fever, polio, scoliosis, cancer with more resilience than I can muster on a regular morning after a decent night’s rest.

My struggles were neither accepted as unpleasant facts nor treated with a solution driven attitude.  Seems as if everyone may have naturally agreed upon a  “Fuck her” mentality.  I was just a young girl and as I grew older, so did my discomfort and my reaction to years of dismissed,judged,unmet needs, manifesting in ways less easy to ignore & dismiss, and twice as easy to judge.  Judgment and banishing never really helped with anything but a strengthened bond by those disturbed by me.

I am grateful to abandon the tradition of banishment and shunning to discipline and teach my children that they must hustle for acceptance and weep when they have failed to gain it.  My natural inability to effectively process sugar (and what felt to me like abuse) made me different.  My anxiety made me different.  My sensitivities made me different.  My brown skin, weird nose and name and non-Christian family made me different.  My height and weight made me different.  My lame and ill -fitting clothes and shoes made me different.

I was reminded both in and out of my home that I was not the same and did not belong.  I wanted sameness and belonging badly and confused them for being the same.  Recovery teaches me that genuine belonging has nothing to do with being the same.  My reaction to being cast an outsider was unfortunate.  I cannot help but wonder if I would have found a talent or a passion/hobby with which to busy myself, things might have turned out better.  My obsession with trying to understand my pain and to impersonate a worthy unpained person robbed me of ever genuinely knowing who I actually was(am).  Was there ever even was a passion or hobby inside of me?  I never fantasized or longed for much of anything other than “not this” and “make it stop RFN” PLEASE

Today, I practice managing my blood sugar and my anxiety through eating smarter and sticking close to those who practice love, the promise, no less so when I am difficult/struggling.  Changing the things I can one day at a time.  Accepting and detaching, when possible from those I cannot.  All of those things that made me different were not crimes or defects.  Struggling is not a defect.  But non-compassion is 100% defective.  I am learning to practice compassion, one day at a time..and have not yet found a way to feel compassion for anyone still convinced that diminishing me, is a thing to be accepted.  
Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Be the Nice Kid

How I wished I would have been a nice kid.  Kindness and humility were neither natural nor modeled for me.  I was scared shitless, constantly–with no healthy coping skills.  I was terrified, literally out of my mind from a lack of knowing how to get along in the family and world.  The lessons I took from my formative years about connection and belonging are tragic, at best.  They taught me to be fearful as much of myself, as of others, all others, particularly those related to me, and whom I counted on.  I devolved into one very sad, angry, punitive, controlling, scarY AF individual.  It was not until becoming a mother, turning 40, filing for divorce, entering a program, that I began learning to examine and recover from my experience in my family of origin.

I cringe as I look back and reflect on how poorly I managed, 100% failure to cope and to thrive.  Every single person and situation caused me anxiety(a way of being which seemed to enflame the family).  I never, ever, felt safe or relaxed.  Since entering into a program of recovery, dignity, self-esteem, courage, and sometimes serenity and faith replace fear, humiliation, guilt.  Remaining in a state of that kind of fearfulness, drove behaviors that caused me difficulty and shame.  How did  I manage to never learn how to cope with difficult experiences and feelings—aka—all of my experiences and feelings?  What I adopted as truth about myself and others was distorted beyond words.  And now– the unlearning.

Since moving cross country, 3 years ago, a return to those who count on me to be too afraid and ashamed to live and express my personal truth and values, I have elected to minimize contact with most ALL others, while I lick my wounds, new and old.  I thought they would be pounding me on the back for no longer reacting the way I always had.  But it became clear, quickly, that my easily judgeable  raging and decomposing, were preferred to the calmer, direct inquiries and statement of clear boundaries.  I did amaze myself that an onslaught of abusive accusations, name calling, and shunning intended to reduce me, did not call me to tell them about themselves or to beg for better treatment.  They presented two options, denial of/submission to unkindness or cold war.  I chose a third way- offering repeatedly(too many times) to explore and mend the fractures and my willingness to wait in safety for their readiness and willingness.  The reactions to those initiatives were jarring, the fact that much of it is in writing has been illuminating.  Since my decomposition seems rooted in a myth that I caused or imagined unkindness and non-love, paving the way for my own abusive behaviors.  My old thinking:  It is acceptable diminish those that displease you and then blame and shame them for it.  If you make them feel small enough, they may keep trying to please you and earn your good graces…not kindness, but an occasional respite from the non-kindness.

I cannot unlearn THIS fast enough.  What I want for my children, more than anything is for them to assume wholesomeness, of themselves and others.  To be able to experience non-goodness without internalizing it, judging it, or adopting it as a way to control and manage.  For my sons to believe in their own virtue, no matter what others say, do, and feel—how can I teach them this before I, myself, fully know it?  Thank god for the model of Sweet Greg, in our lives who unceasingly and naturally practices kindness, always.  He is totally the nice kid.  So wholesome.

For the past few years, I have relied heavily on Momastery to help me parent my children in the ways of kindness and courage, because these ways of being are still too new for me to model with any sort of consistency.  Below is a letter I will read to my sons, before sending them to sleep away camp, next week.  Connection and inclusion are values I hope they will choose to exercise rather than be in charge of.  Praying:  Please be connectors and includers… please.

Hey Baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.

Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

Love,
Mama

 ***Each year people ask my permission to substitute their child’s name for Chase’s and read this letter together the night before school begins. YES. Others ask if they might change the word God to their family’s name for love and read it that way. OF COURSE. This letter belongs to all of us. I’d be honored if you took it and made it work for your family. Heck, tell ’em you wrote it. I’m always picking up pre-made grocery buffet food, throwing it into a casserole dish, placing it triumphantly on the table and then stepping back and smiling as humbly as possible in the wake of such triumph. Same/Same. Love, G

 

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Indirect Communication

I don’t really get it.  How is it ever better for relationships and trust, to rely on indirect communication for genuine understanding of needs, wants, desires, feelings?  I seriously hate that shit… It is only acceptable to me, when done with someone whom I trust and we get to call it out and laugh about it-TOGETHER.  That is the whole point of relationships, right–the together part?  Connection?

When something feels unpleasant, unfair, or upsetting, what is wrong with: “Hey, I don’t like that or that makes me uncomfortable”?  Is it too vulnerable, maybe presenting the other person a chance to honestly show you what matters more, your comfort or them getting to do the thing they are doing?  Or is it some statement of imperfection or defectiveness to have a need or to feel uncomfortable?  And so what if it is?  I may never get this.

Here are some fun examples of playfully indirect communication with Greg, as we mutually value and rely on direct communication.  With sensory issues through the roof, I experience the sound quality of iPhone speaker, even on low volume, to be stressful.  So, when he elects to listen to a video or podcast using speaker,  I laugh and say “Hey, want to borrow my earbuds?”  He laughs back and says “Nah, I’m good”.  Then he grabs his earbuds and we laugh and smooch.  Intentionally indirect communication would be me throwing a face, sighing deeply, expecting him to KNOW and revere my discomfort, or to ask me what is wrong.  So I could be all: “nothing”, resenting him for not being a mind reader who knows and loves me as completely as I deserve…. and then becoming cold and withdrawn for an incalculable amount of time, while escalating tension by denying any issue at all. Continue reading “Indirect Communication” Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Problem or Unpleasant Fact–How to Know

Because we have recovery in our home, we get to practice clarifying, for ourselves and each other, the difference between unpleasant facts and problems.  Before recovery, I believed if something was unpleasant, it was a problem and I must work on it–to change it and make it be different or at the very least punish and demonstrate my discontent.  So, that was fun, living that way.  Now, with a program to reparent me, I have learned that  actual problems have solutions.  Unpleasant facts do not—people, places, things, circumstances not to my own design and specifications  are to be handled with only acceptance because they are what they are.  Acceptance, for me, is the practice of allowing things to be, not a feeling that I like or condone it, but that I may be disturbed and still choose to act right, anyway.  I accept the reality of ITs existence and my powerlessness to make it be different from how it is.

Problems have solutions.  No solution–no problem.   Sometimes it is clear which actions are called for. But, until it is clear, I get to be still mentally (keep my mind and mitts off!) and once there is recognizable prudent action, toward solution or resolution, only then may I act.  When my heart is racing, that is not the time to do or decide anything.  That is the time to stop doing and saying all of the things I naturally say and do. Racing heart tells me that I am in fear and I am being reactive. Now I understand that I must do nothing out of fear, shame, or guilt…previously, my only motivators.  They are not good guides.

Lately, in our home, we have been discussing bullying…trying to clarify the distinction between things which we must accept and those for which more than acceptance is required of us.  See, for example jerks are people who just don’t give AF about anyone but themselves.  They may not necessarily be jerks AT us— and being a jerk is not a crime or a problem, just upsetting…so we must accept.  A bully, however, is concerned with what certain others think and feel.  Bullies thrive on doing things to make others feel impressed(awkwardly trying to elevate the already elevated) or diminishing those already diminished–a need to PUT PEOPLE IN THEIR PLACE.  They are intentional in what they say and do and have a desired affect in mind, where the jerk just does NOT effing care.  Bullies are a problem to be dealt with.  Currently, we are in the stages of defining what is and is not bullying and harassing.  We will neither do it nor stand for it.  The word bullying seems to have gotten pigeon-holed into easily observable behaviors, but it is much more subtle than physically or verbally going after someone directly.  There are many indirect ways to attack, dehumanize & do damage and then be all:  “what???, i didn’t touch him or I didn’t say anything to him”.  We are onto that!  We see YOU.  We object!

We had a family meeting this week, all of us, Dad, boys, and me.  That is a amaaaaazing.  We agreed that kindness and loyalty are our family rule.  Violation will have consequences.  We do not get to choose our feelings.  But we can always choose our behavior and our intentions.  Our intentions are to look out for each other, first.  Always.  Period.  The irony of this convo involving their father is not lost on any of us.  Let’s see if we can each practice what we preach.  The boys were first nervous about this family meeting and then clearly felt good about having mom and dad working as a team for them.  Just for today, we are working together.  Another miracle for which to be grateful.

And– this time of unity feels tricky, because I tend to fall into the thinking of –this is the new forever—either when he is being harmful to me or decent to me.  I honestly never know why things get better or worse, I just see that  they do and that it is not ever my job to tell him about himself or to try too hard to make things be different.  We are divorced—irreconcilable differences 100%.  Hard times happen…when I see my part, I make it right.  When it is not about me, I have to let it be…and that is difficult.  I am easily obsessed with things that frighten, confuse, or sadden me.

All this to say that–All unpleasant things fall into one of two categories, problem Or unpleasant fact.  I find this to be helpful and wanted to share.  Because also, I used to think when IT(life) is difficult, it is a result and proof of of being wrong or doing it wrong…but life is just fucken hard.  Right?  And it is easier to live life when we are not trying to change things we can not.  I think it is called minding our own business–not in the hostile and unwholesome directive to “mind your own beeswax” way-but simply tending(trying to manage and control) ONLY to what is ours, and leaving the rest be.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

But Why Though

6:45 a.m.-  It doesn’t even mater why…

I woke to crushing anxiety this morning, as I do most, overwhelming, free-floating anxiety tied to nothing in particular and everything all at once.  Nauseous and on the verge of tears, before getting out of bed- I feel immense guilt for how my anxiety robs my sons and Sweet Greg of a more present and emotionally generous me. Weary from white knuckling through every minute, trying to keep from snapping or crying.

I recognize that I have always been this way and how much it cost me, to not have been born and wake daily, all easy breezy and anew like a Golden Retriever ready to seize the day, catch the ball, run and enjoy.  I too, would have preferred that.  But all these little things kept happening in life which filled little me with big shame and fear of unworthiness–utter inability to experience a sustained sense of well-being and peace.  There was no recognizable person, seeking to  understand why I suffered, many insisting that I stop– or learn to manage my dis-EASE in less vexing ways.  Little things consistently said and done OR not said and done wracked me with great worry and shame-which in turn, caused trouble.  Maybe another day, I will share some of the things that I wished I could have shared and felt heard and still loved by just one person.

All of the little things,when un-shared and not honored, turn to soul killing, life robbing, hole in our hearts/ myths–that make us need to hide and numb ourselves.

Honestly, all of the things are fine in the big picture. I am hardwired for panic, which causes me to miss out on so much and holds my children hostage to a mother who is perpetually edgy and brittle and often reacting to 50years worth of pain rather than only what is happening in the moment.  Oh for fuck’s sake, the despair over being sad is too much.  Secondary feelings kick my ass every single time, if I allow them.

I will be gentle with myself today.  Some days are less difficult than others.

Maybe tomorrow will be more thrivey than survivey.

6:45 p.m. – I did manage to focus on only my work today after writing,eating, exercising (none of which I do with regularity).  My anxiety definitely is linked to low blood sugar and metabolic issues– mornings and late afternoons are the same for me.  My blood sugar drops and I rapidly unravel.

My younger son has become aggressive since the bully incident(possibly, but not necessarily related) and keeps his older brother in his crosshairs 24/7.   I have insisted that they(he) demonstrate brotherly loyalty by not taking each other out of team games until it is necessary.  JUST go for anyone else first, before going after and taking your own brother down. But nope.  It happened again at camp today.  And, I reacted poorly.  My tone and face have expressed things that cannot be taken back.  Possibly, punctuated with a swear word.

The effect of little brother’s  persisting efforts to humiliate and alienate big brother may be almost as damaging, as my reaction to the familiar dynamic.   Oh my god, history repeating itself.   The cycle!!!  Please make it stop.  Praying for willingness to handle myself differently. HaaaaalpMuch Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

You Got What You Deserved

I heard it expressed frequently by my family of origin– which led to my own false belief that we may each enforce our truths and wills on those who disturb us.  Thank good gawd almighty that I was able to unlearn this in time to raise children- and to break the cycle of unwholesome thinking and behavior.  Unless it is being said to/of someone for achievement recognition, a promotion, or a high score well earned, it is bullshit.  Nobody deserves harm.  NOBODY.

Cruelty is not a natural consequence nor is it corrective or constructive.  When a person is cruel, it is because they are broken, not because something or someone has earned it.  Cruelty is a choice.

Another person’s vulnerability, fragility, ignorance, even meanness is not an invitation or free pass to do them harm.  There is a difference between being corrective and being hateful.  Defense from legitimate danger  differs vastly from attacking.  Malevolence is the work of the mentally unwell.  There is help for that.  Good news, vigilantes:  It is never too late to seek help and to change.

I had to unlearn the sick thinking so I could practice behaving like the person I am meant to be.  This requires rigorous resisting of my natural urges and reactions to stress and threat.  Much of the wreckage of my life stems from the myth that cruelty and abuse are well earned and justifiable reactions, rightfully directed at those “askin for it”.  Before understanding the practices of  kindness and compassion, my only known tools were shaming, blaming, judging, retaliating.  If you got in the way of the way of how I believed things should be, you would fucken pay.  Shaking my head at having thought this way well into my 30s.  When we know better we do better. Kindness, previously, was a reward for having pleased me or met my needs.  Ach!  We do learn what we live.

All beings deserve comfort and kindness.  Anyone believing otherwise is scary AF.  TRUTH:  Those requiring less of us are easier to love in that conditional ego-centric sort of way.  Many years ago, as a rookie teacher, still deep in a state of un-knowing,  I (possibly in some ways) preferred students arriving to class on time, smelling Downy fresh, well behaved, able to listen and learn (do as I say).  They would be fine no matter what kind of person or teacher I was.  They made my job easy while making me look good, right?  Ugh.  With experience, came my recognition of the strugglers as my people, and my love for them drove me to try harder to become what they needed and deserved.  I was not always fair and kind to them(or anyone) because I had not yet been introduced to principles illuminating what is and is not ok to say and to do.  I believed that you get what you deserve and that I was fit to decide and impose that.  If you challenge me too much and I have the authority and the means, I will diminish you.  I wish I could reach out to my students from my first days of teaching so I could say to them, “I did not know how to do better, but you ALL always always deserved better.  Please forgive me for anything I said and did that indicated otherwise.  It was only ever my defectiveness that made me act badly.”

Short skirts •crossing the border •being sexually confused or different •smelling bad • having a different or no religious/political affiliation • showing sensitivity • objecting to a thing that feels wrong • standing up for something that feels right:   People feeling called to diminish or attack for things like this, probably won’t get what they deserve.  And yet, it remains true, that their diminishing behavior speaks ONLY to their brokenness and darkness, not to the worthiness of their targets.  Vilifying others is their choice, not a natural consequence.

As Harold Kushner says, not all punished people are bad, not all bad people are punished.  Bad things happen to good people and good things happen for bad people.  Some shit just happens.  Proof of God is in the showing up of the helpers.  I am so grateful to finally know how to be in this world in a kinder, gentler way.  I am a work in progress.Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Six Things

  1. Frankly, little mattered to me before motherhood.
  2. Life has has never, NOT felt incredibly difficult and unnatural for me.  Having sensory issues is difficult. Even the smell and feel of foods I enjoy, can nauseate me.  An avocado smear on a plate or worse, on my hand, gags me…and I really like avocados, provided I do not have to touch them outside of my mouth.  I am not wired and regulated like a typical person.  I can enjoy the taste of a food and be unnerved by the sight, smell, and feel of it.  AND how I feel about a food is changing constantly, depending on how much rest, space, and exercise I get.  I cannot bear the sensation of most anything on my hands.  The feel and smell of the kitchen sponge or a wet dish towel stress me.  I do not mean I dislike them because washing dishes is not fun, but my adrenaline surges when I handle things with my hands that feel bad to me or that have a smell that I dislike.   The sensations stay with me even after the experience is over.  I experience all things at a cellular level.   Music with saxophone or a classical vibe make my heart race and adrenaline pump, fight or flight in full swing and don’t even get me started on opera.  Repetitive or erratic sounds are also deeply troubling to me and I do not possess that dimmer switch in my brain, which would regulate how affected I am—-unable to tune anything out.  I am sooooo overly tuned in, and being in the world with people and all of the stimulus can be too much.   And I require time which is free from all stimulus to recover.   Sleeping with a 17 pound weighted blanket in addition to my covers is immense comfort and relief, even when it is hot.  The pressure and weight regulate and calm me.  My bed is my favorite most safest place.   I am sensory defensive.  It is not a choice.  I will leave the matter of my emotional intensity for another day, but let’s just say that is a whole other balla wax and it is a tough combination…but guess what….none of this makes me an asshole or a defect.  I struggle to remain calm near given sources of sensory and emotional intensity. So, now I avoid them.   Learning to parent a child with sensory integration issues, diagnosed at 18 months, along with my program of recovery taught me not only the value of, but the wisdom for how to seek serenity and to teach my son to do so without apology or shame.  Less sensitive and more controlling people might call all of this pickiness or-just being a pain in the ass.  To them, we offer space. We wear soft clothes with no tags, enjoy sitting beneath weighted blankets with no overhead lighting, minimal sounds, and smells.  Limiting ourselves to small groups of trusted others is also a choice we practice making.
  3. We have two sweet rescue dogs, each of whom teach us daily about unconditional love, loyalty, and patience.  It is a little hostagey at times and it is not completely clear who the hostages are in our home, us or the dogs,when I say us, I mostly mean me.
  4. One of the things that brings me joy, a sense of belonging and infinite connection is- inside jokes and situational nicknames that are wholesome and infinitely funny, like they will not ever get old.  This insideyness did not exist for me with my family of origin or in my failed marriage, I was never inside.  What I see now, is that if I am not free to cry and find comfort with you, I will never relax or relate enough to laugh deeply with you.  Laughter is the balm!  Good wholesome, silly and often sophisticated jokes tend to evolve, usually in moments in which somebody is expressing an objection.  In chosen relationships, we all get to object and say no without it being a secret or a fight.  I believe— this is what is referred to as genuine intimacy.  Boundaries and laughter…YES!!
  5. I stopped drinking when I met my husband, because I wanted to love him.  I wanted us to love each other, but it was hopeless and loveless, and when I drink I am more likely to speak truths that are otherwise too hard to say.  I hated the way I felt with him, but it was familiar, the same feeling/love I experienced in my family.  It was not the right kind of love for me.  Maybe it wasn’t loveless, just not a love I wanted to keep trying to master or survive.
  6. I just returned from a work trip in which I fucked up and said something insensitive.  I offended someone, innocent, but not harmless.  I owned it and apologized but still feel sick from it and hope to not lose another night of sleep to it.   I am still learning about how to be in the world.  I am a work in progress.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

I have been finding healing and comfort in re-reading and listening to When Bad Things Happen to Good People( a book I first borrowed from my mother, after my father’s passing ) on Audible by Rabbi Harold Kushner.  Because the concepts of God, love, and forgiveness had been distorted, I am now getting to do what seems to be a lifetime’s worth of rigorous unlearning.  I am an unchurched person, raised in a volatile home, in which religious people were mocked and judged, in which I was regularly shamed and humiliated in response to not knowing how to properly express my pain- by those whom I counted on for comfort and nurturing. Having been vested as the “sorry one”, each of those concepts became twisted, for me.  Love was diminishing,conditional, and scary.  God was for the ignorant.  To forgive meant to pretend as if IT never happened or was a thing which only I sought, from those who expressed near constant disturbance by the actual being of me.  If I were sorry or grateful enough, wouldn’t I just transform into someone entirely different? If I were good enough, God and my mother would favor me, but since I was not, pain and suffering were my due.

When I claim to have been “vested as the sorry one”, my only sliver of hope was- to apologize and be deeply sorry for having and expressing difficult feelings as well as for causing all difficult feelings and behaviors of others.  If done correctly, I might, for brief moments, be forgiven for being a total fuck-up at a cellular level.  I would literally apologize for anything just to be exonerated for sucking so badly.  I did not know how to stop sucking but I sure knew how to be sorry.  Meanwhile, the only apologies I ever received began with the words “I am sorry that you feel______”  or just “I am sorry that you______”.  What recovery teaches me is that to be genuinely repentant is to own and amend behaviors that are harmful.  See, I was apologizing for wrong things, for wrong reasons– all of the time.  If part of an amends needs to be an apology, it should begin with the words  “I am sorry that I____ and I will do better or I will not do that again.  What can I do to make things better?”  That is how compromised connections may be restored.  But when there is no connection…scapegoat image and quote

As the scapegoat and black sheep, I later learned to practice bullshit crafty apologies to gain advantage in certain situations, intended to subtly diminish another person while taking myself off the hook…Someone had to be wrong and sorry while someone else got to be right and victorious.  All relations were strained and volatile in this zero-sum game.  I do not want a winner and a loser in my relationships.  If I win, I don’t feel good about you and if I lose I don’t feel good about you and there is no WE or US, just me vs. you.   That dynamic literally makes me ill.  I am out.  I decline.  I choose connection with those who share the value.  You need to win???  Ok, I forfeit.  Bye.  You want to pose as gracious/martyr and allow me to have my way…fuck that also….same situation.  No, thank you.  Not playing.  You want to have a vulnerable conversation where we look at our own contributions, listen and ask what is needed?  I am in 100%.  In my healing journey, I have learned that all pain will be felt, the pain, we refuse to feel, we knowingly or unknowingly offload that onto our children, families, service providers.  Pain demands to be felt.  

Anyway,  Rabbi Kushner illuminates examples of how not all good people are rewarded and not all bad people are punished, or maybe that there are not bad people at all, just bad things.  AND Not all rewarded people have been blessed and favored by God while broken and needy people are suffering God’s choice for them.  God is not doling our punishments and rewards based on merit or need.  What kind of God would that be?  Glennon said it well last week, when she said “some of us are born on third base believing we hit a triple,  while others stand outside the ballpark starving”.  We are all children of God and we belong to each other.  These are beliefs I find to be promising, wholesome, comforting.  There are no such things as “other people’s children”.  How could we possibly want so many good things for ourselves and our children and not want them for everyone?  What makes people think that everyone is getting what they deserve?  I think it is those people, very much who should thank their lucky stars that they have not gotten what they deserve.

Very bad shit happens.  People do and say bad things.  Natural disasters happen.  Those are not works of God.  Miracles also happen–also not God’s work.  People don’t get cancer because it is part of God’s plan, just as some do not heal or die from the cancer because God has elected that they do so.  Proof of God is in the people who show up for us and with us to show solidarity, compassion, empathy, joy– the constant and intentnional message:  You are not alone, punished, invisible.  Our pains are real and undeserved.  We are together and wanting the best possible outcome for each other.

The gods of my first forty; were fear, rage, shame,guilt.  I was full with those, counted on and driven by those, believing only in those things: in abundance and perpetuity.

For some reason, I appear to be the only one in my family of origin for whom this culture did not work.  I thought that was because I was an asshole troublemaker.  Right?  And later, I sure did behave in assholey troubling ways….just doin what I knew, being sorry, punitive, ashamed, angry—the differentiator was that it all made me very sad and I was not taught and did not intuitively know how to cope.

I once had a sponsor who shared the story of a perfect little mama squirrel, who gave birth to a perfect little baby bunny. Mama Squirrel offered Baby Bunny squirrel food while trying to teach it squirrel things.  But Baby Bunny did not respond well to the squirrel way of life.  Frustrated and perplexed, even humiliated–Mama Squirrel labelled Bunny- a defective squirrel.  But see, both creatures were exactly as they were meant to be.  There were similarities but they were mostly incompatible.  Neither was wrong.

While in a state of NO Contact with both my mother and sister, after hearing of my mother’s illness, I relayed this story- not nearly as well as my sponsor had, with them, in hopes of creating a safer environment for us to connect-where nobody had to be wrong or sorry for who and how they were. Almost in unison, they responded:  “What does that have to do with anything?  What are you talking about?”   Apparently this is a parable more well suited for bunnies, as my recovery buddies all understood immediately.

I was a bunny (just trynuh get my bunny needs met), not an asshole.  They are squirrels who treat me as if I am a  naughty, defective squirrel.  I was 100% broken from having bought into that thinking, but I am not defective or naughty(anymore).  I did not EVER earn or deserve mistreatment.  Until we can all agree on this one fact- there is nothing to do but to stay close to the warren and sanctuary of other bunnies and more compatible species.  This is self-preservation, not an imposed sanction or punishment. Now that I know how to care for my bunny self and my bunny children, I do these things, as if our lives depend on it, because they kinda totally do.

I offer this gift to myself and my children…and anyone else clearly invested in being in OUR lives.

All people are worthy of having their needs met, feeling safe, connected, love, and a sense of belonging.  Not one of us is more important or worthy than another.  Not in our warren.  We go where the love is, where it is safe, where we belong, where we feel nourished and protected.  Nothing less will do.  In chosen relationships, this is the standard.  Obviously in the workplace, school, and world at large, we have less control over to what and whom we expose ourselves.

Bunnies and squirrels kick ass, just maybe not together.  Right?

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Check Your Self- Sometimes You Are the Toxic Person

I love knowing that if I am willing to see where I have failed, hurt, or harmed, I get to learn from and transcend that.  I knew I had to file for divorce as my husband and I were arguing and he said to me, actually declared: “There is nothing wrong with me or the way I do things, I will never change.”  Certain that these were the truest most honest words he had ever spoken to me, I shuddered; wow–if I had to stay the same forever, I would kill myself, right now. Like plants, we are either growing or dying…but maybe for some, growing has more to do with size and power. I am here to learn, grow and change.  What else could be the point? I attributed that to me being effed up and him-not at all.  His emotional vacancy/composure had always confused me for emotional stoicism and maturity.  Either way, our marriage  was officially no longer a promising or safe space for either of us.  Me desperate for change and him committing  to NEVER.

If it is ever safe and prudent, I would love to share with him all of the ways I now see how I was unfair or unreasonable, even unkind.  But I was arrogant and broken mostly believing I too, needed to be right.  More than anything, I needed to be connected and have at least one shared truth between us, besides that “I was the problem and if I found the right tactics, level of horniness, reverence for him and his sisters, therapy, that we would be ok.”  With two little guys watching and learning about life and love from us, I could not abide.  Devastated, I filed for divorce the following day.  I could list countless unfair and damaging things he has said and done to me.  But it will get me no-where.  As I was raised, if you shared those things enough times with enough people, you could get people on your side and be right.  Oh yay.  and then….

In recovery, I learned to look at myself, my patterns, my beliefs, my reactions.  I learned to take responsibility for those things and to no longer assume or accept responsibility for the behaviors of others.  Recovery definitely results in sick relationships dying natural deaths.  When you check yourself and keep your side of the street clean and own your shit, there is nothing to fight about.  And when there is nothing to try to be right about, in these relationships,  it goes silent.  And that is hard AF.  Because unhealthy engagement, for so long, posed as connection.  But it was really entanglement and no longer would be counted for anything but a source of hopeless pain.  I have learned to surrender that entanglement, one day at a time, applying the tools and principles of my program.

Recovery connects me with others on a spiritual path, but also divides me from those too uncomfortable with with the constant and rigorous emotional honestly that is an essential term of engagement.  Emotional honesty: doing wholesome things for wholesome reasons with wholesome attitudes(or maybe even a knowingly unwholesome attitude before you are feeling it but doing it anyway since we can no longer let our feelings lead us).  Emotional honesty is transparency of purpose, full disclosure.  Not everybody is ready for that.  I became ready, only after I watched my marriage to a man, who was nearly identical morally and emotionally to my mother and sister, crumble.  The end became clear as I no longer was willing to fight,pretend, or soldier through sex.  Without those dynamics, there was nothing but resentment and division of labor between us.  This is not how my boys would learn about love, partnership, and marriage.

During our marriage, my husband’s sister’s were in and out of our lives.  This was difficult for him.  Because he submitted to them and I would beg him to stand up for himself or our family and then they would fall out after he expressed a boundary or discontent OR we would fight because he expected me to submit to them.  He has one sister they all pretend does not exist (when they are not discussing all the ways she got herself on the outside of their group).  With 3 aunts taking turns being in and out of their lives, there seemed no good reason to mention to our sons that they had another one here in NC.  Wanting to preserve their innocence and keep them from the reality of conditional love, was doable before divorce and our move East.  Now our sons have 2 conditionally loving aunts on dad’s side and one on mine.  And the one with the soul, whom we were close to while their father and been banished by the two others, is an unmentionable.  It is heartbreaking.  I hope our sons will know her again one day.  She and their dad were very close, growing up, but ultimately, she had less to give him in later years and so aligning with sisters who had more $$ to offer is what he chose.  He could never seem to have his two sisters and me close at the same time.  AND Never the other sister and the two sisters at the same time.  Triangulation is part of his tradition and programming.  I worry how our sons may unknowingly adopt triangulation as a way of managing.   I believe their father is the more evolved of them all.  But change is hard and he feels punished and inferior when he is not being overtly praised and rewarded by those vested with the powers to reward and punish.  I sense, he is at times, for moments, changing for our sons, probably not intentionally, but still.  He needs to be perceived as right, perfect, and in charge or favored.  That opposes every spiritual teaching and all that I value in my core.  I believe in equals and connection, maybe not possible in the world at large or in a  work place, but in chosen relationships, this is a core value.  Authenticity, expansion, unity–Spirit over ego.

Feed the spirit, not the ego.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Mental Health–We all have mental health.

It is exhausting to observe people pretending as if we all come into this world with the same chances.  We do not.  Our wiring, brain chemistry, genetics, upbringing, community, talents, strengths, lack of identifiable talent or strength, connection, disconnection.  How can so many people insist that all people should be able to bootstrap their way out of depression? Boot strap your way out of cancer, ok?   To suggest this, is offensive, ignorant, harsh, and perpetuates the shame and stigma.  It is more natural for people to judge and to shame/blame than it is to have compassion and to ask “but what is needed, what can I do?”  If you blame and shame, there is nothing left to do–you are off the hook.

If a woman as educated, talented, happily married, and successful as Kate Spade can not find peace, comfort, hope or reason to hold on for another day, it is worth considering what might be like for those without any of those trappings– shackled and maybe even defined only by mental health issues that are too shameful to  mention and too costly to address.

I believe Kate Spade’s suicide is fueling the much needed dialog around mental health awareness, as much as her talents impacted the world of fashion and style. It is my hunch that millions of women seeking refuge in the illusion of perfection that the impeccable Kate Spade style and brand offer, these are women who may be likely to judge themselves as harshly as they do others.   But, maybe now will come a willingness to consider looking through a new lens; of intentional interest and compassion at those who struggle.

Today at my older son’s  elementary school graduation, I began weeping at the onset of the ceremony, melting as the Special Ed Students received their certifications. The gravity of my compassion and (I admit) gratitude for the fact that our children are functional, felt crushing.  God bless those teachers, parents, and children.  Life is difficult AF—even when you are Sensational Kate Fucken Spade.

I cried at how my innocent lil guy is and how hard he tries at all that he does, so lovable and and, funny, and hardworking.  I cried as he stared directly into his dad’s eyes as he was singing the tribute song.  It was one intensely beautiful moment after another.  I wept and am now spent and I cannot help but wonder how the fuck I made it out of a family who would judge and sneer at my persisting emotional intensity.  Asking me and each other if maybe there may be “something” I can take for THIS.  I feel it all, all of the time.
Being judged, banished, and gossiped about for feeling the wrong things at the wrong times for the wrong reasons really fucked me up.  THEY they claim I am a historical revisionist refusing to remember the good.  But maybe it wasn’t that fucken good for me.  Maybe my experience and wiring are different and not wrong.  I could not experience and enjoy anything because I was terrified about when I might have my next wrong feeling.  For that, I was directed to lighten up, quit being such a sourpuss and frequently asked “Why must you ruin all things?”.
Clearly, I do not relate to any part of Kate Spade’s existence– except for this one very big thing, the daily battle to feel ok and to show up even when I do not.  Sometimes life is too painful and difficult and feels utterly hopeless.  I pray, that as I enter into my 50s, I do not experience the added bonus of hormone intensified anxiety and depression.  I will say this unapologetically, anytime to anyone:  “If there is a pill, therapy, or program that helps to strengthen and support my thrive, count me in.  If there is a person, place or thing that threatens that, count me out.”  I love you Kate spade.  I am sorry for your pain and your struggle and grateful that you have fanned the fires of this conversation.  More people will be willing to look and listen differently now.  NOW–as we acknowledge the loss of another mighty warrior to mental health issues.  Be free.    You dont have to suffer anymore.  You are still helping people and making the world a better place. The world is better because you were here.

All she wanted was to feel pink and sparkly and joyful.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

A Letter to My Sons

To My Darling Sons,

Love is a promise, not an emotionIt hurts knowing how I burden you daily with my deep seeded angst from having come from the family, which I do.  And yet, I cannot unhook from it enough to do otherwise.  I fled here/them half my life ago committed to not returning to this and them.  I rarely spoke of my mother and never of my sister because I wanted to spare you the knowledge of the dysfunction from which you come.  But since our relocation to this side of the country and proximity to them, you have not been spared.  You recognized at the onset they were not safe and I am not proud to have bribed and begged you to hug and be physically close to them-hoping pathetically, that if they could fully feeeeel the magic of you…maybe it would soften them.  And that was, in a way, using you.  I never threatened, shamed, or guilted you for not wanting to touch and be touched to but I did encourage something I very much disagree with, unwanted touching.  It is never acceptable or necessary.  EVER.

Choose peace. Work for Peace and Connection.

I was sad and angry in ways that defy articulation, for most of my life, and had been raised to judge that, rather than to examine and heal from it.  With your father’s sisters in and out of his and each other’s lives for years at a time, I did not want you to add anyone to your world who might re-enforce the idea that people will love you and leave you when you displease them.   It is why I waited more than a year to share you with Sweet Greg.  I know beyond doubt, that he will only love you and me, and he will do so unconditionally.  With him, I am 100% certain.  He is safe, wholesome, kind, benevolent beyond words, abnormally so.

While I cannot give you a happier mother and I cannot provide you a different family experience, I hope you will always remember the relationships and loving people I intentionally brought into our lives. I have surrounded you with only deeply trusted others, who would do anything for you and for us as a family. I am so sorry I cannot heal fast enough to spare you my depression and anxiety of more than 40 years.  I am sorry I have leaked on to you the depth of my pain, along with the frequently spoken commitment to make certain I tell you again and again that IT IS NOT YOU.  It is me, my brokenness–and it is THEM.   You did not cause or imagine it and you can not fix it, no matter how  wonderful you are.

Over exposure to people who don’t mind hurting you will break a person.  Please continue believing your gut.  You know what feels good, right, kind, and true.  Your bodies and your spirits know.  Because of life-long debilitating sadness, I have had to learn many things late in life about how to care for myself so I can live a better life and share with you a better way than the one in which I was raised.  To do this, I must have space from those who not only make me sad, but then judge and persecute me for my grieving process.  I am sorry for the loss of your

I believe I began as a very kind and sensitive child. I remained sensitive but learned some very cruel ways of being. So grateful to be unlearning. Breaking the cycle and raising lil love warriors and citizens of humanity.  Stay kind and true, sweet boys.

innocence and the conflict you must face each time THEY choose to gather as if it is normal and loving.  I know it hurts you to participate in the divisive and unwholesome arrangement.  Sadly, your only choices afterwards, are: to keep it from me –which would separate us and weaken our bond or to share it and helplessly witness my reaction of pain.  I have to believe the lessons here are valuable to each of us, at least to those of us open to learning(each of you and me)  I love you so much.  If I could change one thing, it would be my inability to stop myself from suffering, not because I can’t take it but because it costs you when mommy is too tangled up in despair to make room for joy.  How can I lead you into joyful lives when I, myself, cannot model one for you?

I am a work in progress. I love you.  I will make better mistakes today than yesterday.  Tons of them.  I will always be willing to change and do better, and never blame you for who I am or how I handle myself. I am sorry that your families create this conflict and confusion for you.  I am powerless to change that.   I will never give up on changing the things I can.

I treasure how much we laugh together, how much of me you do get to know, our countless and always funny inside jokes, as well as our talks through things that are more difficult than funny.  I hope I don’t ruin that with my despair—since apparently that is how I forfeitted my family of origin.

I do believe that you know whom you can count on and go to with your most precious tender thoughts and fears.  You know who OUR people are.  They are the ones who support us as a family and would do nothing to further divide us. Wholesome benevolent love is much greater than blood.  So sad that your grandmother and two aunts have positioned them selves as walls and not bridges for our little family.  It is all that they know and the best they can do.  It is very hurtful and I wished I could protect you from it.  Because they are entrenched in a culture where there are the excluders and the excluded.  I wish to be neither, just as I wish for you to choose neither.  I understand why your dad works to remain in the good graces of the collective.  I feel bad for him too.  Of them all, he seems the only one with hope to rise above.

I love you.  I will continue, for all of my days changing the things I can and trying to accept the unacceptable and the unchangeable.

Love you,

MommyMuch Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram by clicking the pic- Wholesomebadass. https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Abuse is Abuse

Sound Familiar? These are Big Red Flag StatementsSound familiar? So, this is my modified version of the Narcissists Prayer. I have re-evaluated my need to label others as addicts or narcissists.  In my attempt to recover, I found myself needing to know “but whyyyyy???”  And the singular answer of “because I suck” is no longer acceptable to me.  My upbringing taught me over decades of collective attitudes and actions, that any harsh treatment of me was either →imagined →fabricated, or →well earned.  And that is 100% deranged and untrue.  AND–It stands to reason that if I am willing to believe I can earn abuse or cause someone else to mistreat me, you know what else I believe…that another person may earn abuse or cause me to mistreat them.  

Continue reading “Abuse is Abuse” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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A Letter From My Sons

Dear Aunt Catherine,

Spending time with you makes us feel bad; bad about you, bad about our mom, our grandmother, your daughters, and bad about our dad.  Being in the middle stinks.  Upending our family in this way makes you enemy#1–we would have preferred  a different experience of you. Required participation in something that causes our mother pain–  Being made repeatedly to hug and to sit close, while sternly encouraged by our dad to  smile on command also feels awful.  We believe that hugs are reserved for people of trust.  How can we trust someone who does this to our mother, OUR family?  We are just children.  Why would you bring us into this?  Do you have any idea how much pain you bring to everyone but you and our dad?

Also, we find your behavior towards him embarrassing.  We get it.   You like him and want him to like you back.  He probably enjoys spending time with you because you have expensive things and guns  AND it mostly, it feels like another win for him in divorce.  He still enjoys winning, over our mom.  We don’t want him to win or make her lose…we want them to work together as our parents.  We deserve cohesive co-parents.  Right?  Your behavior suggests to us that we do not.

A letter from you to our mother, when after her miscarriage while visiting in 2007, she declined the invite to your trick or treat parade– and you responded with this. Quit dividing people.  Try being kind.  Please.

Your relationship with our dad adds tension between our mother and father and escalates their difficulty to co-parent us as a team.  They are divorced. It is hard enough!  You didn’t even know our dad before our parents awful divorce and our move here.  Developing a relationship with him while not speaking to our mom makes no good sense. It can be explained as nothing wholesome at all.  Purely divisive and hostile, very damaging to our parents as a unit.

Betrayal. He likes to spend time with you, because he does not know anyone here in Charlotte and you are the only woman consistently fawning over him.  Maybe if you left him alone, he would meet someone.  With your

daughters, we can not feel close to them because our energy goes entirely into pretending that we are behaving as normal and loving.  And why must we, talk to you– but your daughters not to our mom?   It all seems very intentionally mean-spirited- spiteful.  Bullyish.  We are reprimanded when we don’t smile and act happy FOR you, so we do our best to please our dad which means performing for you…then we go home feeling crummy about it– to a mother who tries and mostly fails to accept what is happening.  All she would like is to be able to parent us with our dad without added stress.

Your mom is yours.  You belong to each other.  We get it.  Go Be family.  Enjoy.

You possibly think you are creating closeness for us with you and our grandmother.  Maybe you honestly cannot see how it is not possible for us– to feel love and connection with people who divide our tiny family further and whom don’t mind alienating and wrecking our mom.  Her greatest fear is that we will grow up believing that it is ok for brothers/siblings/family to do things of this nature—to anyone.

Make things right with our mother or let US be.  Any connection to our dad’s family is totally inappropriate.  Our mother deserves peace.  Anyone thinking otherwise, is not genuinely interested in loving US.  Please.  Just stop.  Just because you can do a thing, does not mean you should do it.

You can do better.  We cannot.  We don’t get a choice.  You are hurting us.  Respect us enough to STOP.

FROM: Our mother’s sonsMuch Love,
Magda Gee

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Courage to Change

The Classic Fauxpology—CAUTION RED FLAG–Turn and walk away.

I get that my mother did the best she could…and STILL–what happened to me is not right or acceptable.  I know we differ in many ways, she and I,  one of the more pronounced ways, is that if and when I am struggling to understand and be present for either of my children, I count on friends, whom I call family, to stand in that gap, not to align with me against my sons.  My mother’s need to be right outweighed her need for connection with and protection of me.  She invited others to align with her, to shame or frighten me into something other…and I sure did become something other than what I was born to be in this world. Ashamed.  Angry.  Disconnected. Broken AF. Continue reading “Courage to Change” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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happy mothers’ day

Is it unreasonable to wish for a mother who would not contribute to or support initiatives that are guaranteed to escalate tension between her grandsons’ parents?  IS IT?  I knew my ex and sister had been communicating last week and awaited the fallout.  And it unfolded, as predicted.  He did something shitty that cost me money and time and then pretended to be mad at me?  He cannot in good conscience align with her and then also act right with me.  She— has no conscience and I expect nothing more or less from her.  Sadly, I still cling to some fantasy that she might make an effort toward family closeness she claims to desire.  Total horse-shit, they don’t want closeness, they want compliance and reverence.  Healing takes work, while dominance and entitlement are par for the course.

I would like to enjoy Mothers Day with my sons and chances are good, like all other “special days”, I will struggle more than usual.  A shame for them to be raised a mother in despair.  Loving, often present, compassionate and always empathetic and willing to listen, while mostly joyless.  I think the joy-center in my brain was crushed at birth.  I do laugh and enjoy, but, honestly, there may never come a day where I do not feel mentally whipped from so many years of betrayal.  The unnecessary addition of hostility/ tension in co-parenting as a result of their triangulation with him just sucks.  You know how when you are bout to screw some one over, you behave as if you are mad at them.  Cuz, how else do you justify?  It is that –constantly.  I am so done with people screwer overERs.  There is no justification.  I don’t even care if you are legit mad.  Screwing people over is something I no longer can tolerate by those over the age of 14 or not heavily addicted to drugs or mentally ill.  Technically, those are the only people who only do regular mental fuckery and enjoy it and then deny it or find a way to shift blame for their own hurtful choices.    Grrr

Narcissist's Prayer

Mothers Day Schmothers DayMuch Love,
Magda Gee

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The Zero-Sum Game–Everyone Loses

I cannot help but marvel at how “they” manufacture chaos and trouble so they can dole out punishment, while denying their anger.  A part of my mind says don’t speak or write about it, they will like that—making them feel all important and impactful.  The other part of me says “fuck them, I want the world to know what twisted assholes they can be”. And the recovery part of me says “Write about it if it helps you to sift and heal.  Share it to help others on a similar journey”. Continue reading “The Zero-Sum Game–Everyone Loses” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Every Time I Judge

I used to have immense shame over how I struggled and how I felt, like I was embarrassed for my feelings.  WTF? Difficult feelings were for judging not having or coping with.  And I fruitlessly sought approval from the most emotionally vacant and disapproving. And, I too learned to become disapproving of myself and others, particularly those in struggle, having needs or ideas different from my own, so basically everybody.

We judge when we are afraid.  It is easier to look, point and judge than to look inward and ask, why does that make me so uncomfortable?  By judging and disliking someone, is that proof of their badness and unlikability?  No, it is evidence of an inability to be compassionate and loving.  Behaviors can be bad.  Choices can be bad.  But people are not bad.  Even assholes are just people who cannot yet see the changes they are being called to make.  Is using the word asshole, a sign of judgment?  Probably so.  I am a work in progress.

I do believe that some people are inherently broken and dark hearted and knowingly do harmful things in order to get ahead or to be right and lacking in the ability or will to self reflect and elevate their spiritual presence.  I don’t judge them.  I just give them a lot of space and send them light and love from over here, when I am feeling humble and generous. hahaha.  Again, a work in progress.  The struggle is real.  Assholes are real.  Feelings are real.  Recovery is real—#odaatMuch Love,
Magda Gee

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Recovery Celebrations

I was alllwaaaays melting down-losing my shit. I had not learned healthy coping skills. For my first 40 years, secondary feelings about my feelings kicked my ass.  In our home feelings were for losers, and for judging. —I felt shitty because life was painful and experiencing pain, duress, and discontent was treated harshly-
generally shamed, punished, gossiped about, and banished.  I was sad about feeling sad and scared I might get scared and tense about getting tense and fully ashamed of it all.  Being name-called and demanded to lighten up OR snap out of it never seemed to do the trick.  Now, I allow myself to have feelings without worrying about having them, and the difficult ones are shorter in duration.

Recovery helps me to unlearn the myths of shame and unworthiness and fear of feelings, and the price for having them–disconnection (from those whom I was never authentically connected, anyway).  Now I am mostly only afraid of being placed in proximity to those who righteously attempt to punish, judge, and challenge my emotional experiences.  When given the choice, I only #gowherethelove is.  Life feels more manageable and even enjoyable this way.  Byeeeeee!Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Best Days of Our Lives

Last night, Bryan Adams’ song “Best Days of Our Lives” played on the radio.  For a moment I felt nostalgic, reminded of senior year, summer in particular where we were very actively drinking and chasing boys and good feelings.  Then, I remembered, that I was fucken terrified and miserable and always in one of three ways:

  • about to lose my shit for reasons, of which, even I was not certain
  • losing my shit, for reasons, of which, even I was not certain
  • hiding humiliated, because I had lost my shit, for reasons, of which, even I was not certain

I recognize now that I suffer severe anxiety which was not well tolerated in my family and which made me an easy target for the intolerant rage that pulsed through our “home”. Being targeted rather than comforted caused me despair/depression in addition to heightening my troublesome anxiety.  I was depressed about being anxious and anxious about being depressed and never unaware of the price I would pay when I could not be bullied or shamed out of it.

The best days of my life- I must believe are ahead of me.  If no, shoot me now–a request to which my family would eagerly respond(but only cuz I asked).  But seriously, I think the best days of my life were 3 years ago, when my boys and I moved cross country to be present and to serve my ailing mother, moving here while we were still not speaking- totally willing to show TF up and do as needed.  Being of service to her felt right.  When my ex-husband followed a few months later and we began working together as strongly dedicated CO-parents, a fixed family, more than a broken family, I was thrilled.  From having an alarm installed to keep him out, to offering him keys to use my condo as needed, was an immense step for us.  Our marriage was troubled from the start.  Our divorce was hell —and here we were. Miracles.  Sharing responsibilities, expenses, and even meals.  Those were the best days of my life.  My boys were over the moon with the new collaborative forces.

Relocating cross country: 1) to support my mother and 2) so that my ex could afford to purchase a home was the most wholesome badass move of my life.  Spiritually driven choices. Having the courage to plan a move cross country(to the land I fled and swore to never return) with my ex, to be near the two women(with whom I was not on speaking terms) who terrified me more than any other humans, is nothing short of God’s grace.  My sister set into action a plan which desecrated that.  Initially, this caused me to feel unlovable, unworthy, and disgraced, one more time.  I totally lost my shit–again.  But then, I knew.  And I realized, that her behaviors cannot disgrace me.  Her behaviors, in no way, speak to the quality of my character.  They certainly affect me and have hurt my children.  I fully can acknowledge that but will not take responsibility for what she DID and SAID repeatedly.

(Seemingly random non-sequitur paragraph) My aunt emailed recently, three times in one day asking to know how I am doing.  I feel stronger and more sane, less like losing my shit from that free floating anxiety I feel anytime I engage “them”.  But it felt wrong to not respond.  I thanked her for thinking of me and told her all the ways we were thriving as a family, including and especially, the currently restored collaborative efforts in coparenting with the boys’ father.  Then, crickets, not a peep since.  That shit right there, makes me feel crazy AF.  Similarly, in January, she asked to meet for brunch and said she wanted to see me and when I apologized for being unable, I did not hear again from her until this most recent email.  Against the advice of trusted others, I responded and am guilty of expectation of something different.  Is that hope or foolishness or just the broken wanting parts of me that have not fully accepted what it has always meant for me trying to live, as a part of this “family”?(This paragraph seems random but it is not, to me)

Lat night, I was reflecting how one of my sister’s favorite things to say when she is angry at me, is “It is not always about you”.  To hear this makes me feel foolish and shameful.  Of course it is not always about me. But when you suddenly stop responding to me as if I have not spoken or that I do not exist.  I take that shit personally..  But you know what, you are right—that is not about me.  That is about her way of dealing with whatever it is she has going on in her head. Now, as I reflect back, I see how I was blamed for the unfortunate feelings and behaviors of those around me.  So other people’s emotional unavailability and harshness is about me, but my unique needs for food, space, or sleep, my birthday and Christmas gifts and food offerings appear to have little to do with me.  I still cannot make sense of this.  I cannot accept it–in that I choose now to NOT submit myself for it.  I cannot change it– so– all that is left to do is to give my self the necessary space from it.  Grieving is where I am currently, in my state of recovery.  Grieving for the little Magda Gee that tried to cope in an unmanageable and sick system.  Confused and with no healthy coping skills or solid ground to stand on.  Grieving that the best days of my life came in my late 40s and were righteously snatched.

Placing my ex husband in a situation to choose between my estranged family and me is fucked up.  He is broken and lonely and will always have residual anger for me.  Placing our small boys in the center of this divisive and diminishing scheme feels impossible to forget or forgive.  I am accepting the pain–but not the disgrace.  Even through all of this, recovery allowed me to resist telling my ex or my sister about themselves.  I pray that we may work it out in a more wholesome way or leave each other to our families.  Have your family.  And I will have mine.  Please.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Shame on Who(or whom)?

You know, as I reflect back on my first 30 years, I no longer feel overtaken by shame.  Shame for immense & unspeakable pain and my inability to manage myself with it and to get a hold of it, to address it, end or resolve it, or at the very least hide it.  I do not feel shame for any of that.  I feel tremendous sadness for the little girl and young woman who felt disconnected, unworthy and alone from her earliest moments.  I am sorry to the people who were harmed by her inability to see the world and herself differently from how she was raised to see.  We are taught by the adults in our lives, how to perceive & define the world and ourselves. …  I failed to identify a how to engage peaceful,secure, and trusting existence.  Panic and shame were my constant companions.  That is tragic for me, not shameful.  Even the shitty coping that lasted into my 30s—Black-out drinking, drugs, food, men, shopping, sleeping—looking back, I feel only grief and compassion.  When I knew better, I did better.

Shame comes when I have used a damaging word or behavior, before amends can be made.  I can honestly say that in my last 15 years, I have done nothing for which I feel continued shame. I am divorced, estranged from my family, and at times am harsh, angry, uncooperative, and sharp tongued.  So, and?  I repeatedly fail to please some and that is A-Okay. I will say this forever:  “My job is not to please others.”  Other people’s approval does not dictate my worthiness of love or dignity.

Or at the very least don’t try to convince me that the darkness is imagined or caused by me. Kay?

My mother choosing my sister over me hurts like hell, but why would I feel shame for another person’s choice? I do not.  Today, separate and away from them, I live a life with faith, direction, connection, and intention.  I change the things I can, accept the things I must, and walk TF away from that and those which diminish me. I work hard, take good care of my children, am a (sometimes great) partner to sweet Greg while living my truth with integrity. My words and actions now line up—always— no matter with whom I am speaking and who may hear or see.  Transparency.  Alignment of my words, values, and actions.  These things build in me, the opposite of shame; self worth and self esteem.  One day at a time, I am unlearning #allofthestuff !

What I now know beyond certainty, is that I might die from shame if it were I who had behaved, spoken, and written as my sister has done. The damage she unleashed is as horrifying as undeniable.  Her involvement of our children and my ex is a disaster.  And- she is a woman of nearly 60.  I was assholing deep into my 30s.  Then, I became a mom, found a program to reparent myself:  learning to take my own inventory (and not other people’s-uh oh).  Oh well, I am recovering not recoverED and I do possibly enjoy taking her juicy inventory….but seriously. Thank gawd that I understand her mess is not mine.

scapegoat image and quoteFor now, my most unfortunate behavior is old, dusty, and amended where possible.  I am a work in progress.  Without recovery, I would be owning all of the shame for these circumstances and conditions–I would be telling myself that I have either caused or imagined and definitely deserve the pain and shame of another person’s choices.  That is one of the greatest lies a