Who Even Does That?

I am feeling agitated over how our new before and after school arrangement is no good for my sons.  It is the consequence of my decision to no longer inconvenience my self, in service to their father, who knowingly and repeatedly diminishes the peace of our family—simply because he can.  As if free-will is an achievement or a super power.  

The boys’ father (BF) likes to assert how it is his right to spend time with whomever he chooses.  I accept this as both true and fine.  Somehow, BF denies the toxicity of his relationship with my sister; conceived in a divisive scheme which hurts our entire family.  That affiliation is vile and unforgivably damaging to our children.  This alliance, between two individuals who have knowingly and repeatedly distressed my children and me, is unwholesome in all ways.  

My sons witness their father and his father(their grandpa) do exactly as my sister and my mother do/did.  I hope that their examples will serve as cautionary tales, more than models for how and why to relate, bond, and betray.  

I would rather go to my grave with my boys mutually and collectively hating on me– than them not speaking to one another.  They belong to each other…but they come from families who are committed to THIS.  Triangulation and smear campaigns— cheering for downfalls and struggles of any person daring to directly confront them with boundaries.

Who even does that? We are breaking that cycle.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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

Bold and Sensitive

This past Sunday, rather than attending the regular service, I sat in on the Middle School Group of girls at a new church, with a larger Youth Program than the church which we’ve been attending. The girls were precious: wholesome, courageous, and vulnerable, as they shared about belonging, and not belonging. Their innocence was grand and it literally made me weep. I cried for myself and for my boys and for all people whose innocence was neither protected nor prioritized –and whose faith in goodness was therefore compromised. I can not get back my innocence, but with spiritual recovery, I now live in faith and the by product of that is courage. Is it even possible to be courageous without faith?

I worry for my boys’ spiritual development. They receive heavy praise and incentives for looking good, receiving good grades and for athletic participation. The lies of perfectionism loom large – insisting that appearances are what matter most. I cannot be the only one in their worlds wanting them to value and choose honesty, kindness, and courage over the easier things.

I was deeply touched when my older son recently received something from somebody and he expressed, privately to me, that he did not want it. I told him that they were being generous, to which he responded, I don’t care about his generosity. I’d rather him to be kind to me, more than generous– and he did not want that thing-at all. While I treasure his depth of character, I recognize that evolving in this way, is risky, as my sons come from long lines of people who judge emotional sensitivity and vulnerability as weak and defective. Denial of Compensation for un-lovingness is managed through incongruously generous gestures. It is a total mindfuck to receive gifts or gestures from people whom you experience as uncaring and unkind.

Interestingly, my younger son DGAF if someone is unkind or hurtful, he will literally accept invitations to play and offerings from someone who has just betrayed and physically assaulted him. No joke. He would play basketball with his bully at school in fourth grade—because he likes b-ball. I cannot relate. What is also true about him is his inability to acknowledge difficult feelings, his or anyone else’s. He is enraged if asked what is wrong and will insist that it is nothing and that the question itself is what upset him. This is also true of my sister and his father. They act as if they believe that speaking of an issue, speaks it into existence.

I had warned my boys years ago to never ask their father or my sister unless they genuinely wished to cause problems. My younger son used to be sensitive and mindful of how others felt. I can not know if this shift came with age and coincided with my family drama or if it was the result.

I suspect that my older son’s spiritual development will separate him from those who are not ready and awake. But, I believe he is strong and it is worth it, to raise bold and sensitive humans. The right people are already ready and waiting. With much untreated mental unwellnes and addiction on both sides of their families, it seems that faith is a fine alternative. Grim determination and willfulness are dark and lonely ways of moving through the world. These are the cycles I may not break, but will gladly disrupt.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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

First Class

So odd to return to a campus in which I attended undergrad. Literally, it felt mostly unfamiliar, possibly because I am now in a different program of study and building.  OR perhaps because I was never fully mentally present while there, 30 years ago: lost, in a constant state of emotional confusion and pain, without any real sense of connection, purpose, or direction.  100% survival mode.  Boy am I grateful that there was not social media during that era.  I will count that as a miracle, fusho.  Yikes.  

I experienced the campus as much quieter than I recall:   with students either staring at screens or hooked up to ear buds.  AND– at the start of our lecture, we were asked to share our names and our pronouns.  Crazy.  The individual next to me responded:  “Everett, he,she,they, them, it doesn’t really matter”.  Wow. 

Another difference was my arriving in time to find parking, check the map, all by myself, and independently and fearlessly determine my route to class— with time to spare.  Whoa, who dat?

Class was fantastic. In a conference room, we were seated around a long table with comfy chairs. Seems as though everyone had degrees in philosophy already, so the language and content were a little foreign to me. After nearly three hours, I left with a bazillion questions, excited to learn, read, study, share, inquire, and present. My intent is to be on time and do my best and to see where this goes. Learning and expanding are my only goals. I had no idea the depth and vastness of the matter of ethicality. As soon as I sense even a basic level of understanding or an informed opinion, I will share.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” -C.S. Lewis

Raising a Modern-Day Knight

I left our last wrestling match feeling discouraged by my boys’ attitudes and conduct, recognizing OUR need for guidance on how to be solid citizens, teammates, and contributors. I am not disturbed that they do not know what they could not know– but that their father and I have diverging values and desires for them.

I would like to raise humans who strive for humility and grace. I experience their father as preferring poise, grim determination, and force, which, to me, feels opposed.

So, inspired by my friend’s God-centered life, I reached out to acknowledge the grace and humility I observe in her son as he moves on and off the mat, unchanged by whether he loses or wins the match. I texted my praise and and need for counsel. Her Ben possesses a gentleness and strength that is common to those whom I experience as great humans.

OUR TEXTS:

Me: My boys attitudes about winning and losing are difficult for me to address.   I do not know how to help them. Your Ben is such a humble lil man.  Any wisdom?

S: Thank you Maggie!!! Danny tells our boys that men take ownership for themselves, where as boys blame others. Character is more important than winning and our reputations are very important. Proverbs 22:1 is a great Bible verse to talk about. Also, Danny shares from Robert Lewis’s Book Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood .

Me: Oh. The father’s Role seems key. My boys’ father does not share the value of seeking, believing in or leaning on a God or power greater than himself.  I make no claims to having God, only to needing and seeking. This feels impossible with our differing values.

S: It’s ok you can still talk to them and have other men weigh in too.

I ordered the book last night (Why isn’t it here, yet?) and am reading as much as I can about Proverbs 22:1 so that I may learn and share its wisdom on character development. I have so much learning to do myself, and I cannot possibly learn(and unlearn) quickly enough to parent my children in these wholesome and often still unfamiliar ways. Also, I feel my efforts are strongly opposed and undermined by their father’s demand for reverence to him, as if he wants to be their God. Fortunately, Sweet Greg and Favorite’s husband are two consistent models of strong and gentle men, with whom they experience consistent positive connection.

I am stumbling all over this bible verse, trying to find a way to make it digestible (relevant) for my sons. I can do hard things, but not alone. Thank God, we have caring people whom we can count on for their wholesome support of our family and presence in our boys’ daily lives.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
One of the hardest skills to master is saying no to yourself so that you can rise up and unfold into a greater you: No to the patterns/ways of being that only lead back into the past No to distractions or lack of consistency No to only doing what is easy No to doubt and fear Yung Pueblo

Learning to Say No to Yourself

Natural consequences are outcomes that happen as a result of behavior, which are not planned or controlled. For example, if a student cuts in front of another student in line, the natural consequence may be that the other child won’t play with the “cutter” at recess.

If the student who was cut in line, decides to harm the cutter- to get revenge: That is not a natural consequence, that is retaliation. I know this seems basic— but there are literally grown ass adults who seem to not understand this. Before recovery, I definitely practiced righteous retaliation because that is what I had witnessed and learned and then what I married(Karma??). I am unlearning.

Logical consequences are different from punishment in some important ways: Logical consequences may be planned in advance by a parent, teacher, or law enforcement. They are not reactive or angry responses. One example might be if a child breaks curfew, they may lose the privilege of going out the following night. Logical consequences offer something more valuable than the tyrannical message of “You will pay”.

My younger son(age 11), so bright and agile in all ways, seems literally unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between blackmailing and natural consequences.  After being mean and mocking to his older brother (age 13), refusing to stop when asked.  Big Brother elected to not share his highly treasured RC charger with him for a while.  Natural, right?? When you are diminishing to me, I will need to protect myself and my belongings from you until trust is restored. I will want space from you. Little Brother remained mad about his loss of access to the charger, taking no ownership for his part..feeling only victimized and punished but not sorry for being cruel.

When my sons walk the dog, Big holds the leash and Little picks the poo.  Little was agitated that his brother wanted to wear ear buds and listen to his pod cast and insisted he would only pick the poo, after Big Brother turned off the podcast.  WTF?? (A recent but not great example of what it is like)

Later that day, Big Brother loaned Little his RC battery and when he went to use it himself, it was no longer working.  Little brother was like “I did not do anything to it.  He said I could use it.” Since I encourage sharing, I offered to replace the battery, thinking Little would offer to help pay after hearing that when a person or their belongings are compromised by something we do, we have a moral responsibility to make it right.  He did not offer.  

I think Little Brother may be afraid to accept that certain ways of being are harmful and wrong– because it would be too painful for him to admit that his father consistently behaves in ways which have observably negative consequences for our little family.  Behaviors are wrong though, not people.  Our behavior is our choice.  (THIS is exactly why I am excited to begin my study of Ethics.  I must discuss and understand this matter deeply.)

I continue to marvel and stress over my inability to get more buy in from him, for healthy boundaries and accountability. He has too many well dressed models doing only as they like and claiming to be victimized by natural consequences. Models who feel vested with the right to impose punishment on those who displease them.  My son is literally being groomed by and for narcissism and addiction.  I am terrified. Screwing people over and taking what is not yours, is not a natural consequence. There is only one reason to behave that way…lack of mental and spiritual development and wellness.

When my ex did the knowingly harmful Christmas thing, mentioned in previous post, I elected to no longer inconvenience myself in the name of service to him.  That is not a punishment or revenge, but a sane effort to distance myself from a person who is decidedly harmful.  

There also seems to be a lack of discernment for harmful v. displeasing.  Hellllp!  I may not be able to break this cycle of dysfunction–but I will certainly disrupt it. What I hope for my boys: They will choose kindness and honesty (and health and happiness too, but healthy and happy are results and consequences, while kind and honest are daily choices)

I will close by saying that if you are unhappy or hurt about something someone did, there are moral and responsible choices. Confront them directly if you wish to restore trust and to heal, or move TF on. Gossip, reprisal, and retaliation are dark, immature, and sick. Be better than that. I am learning one day at a time what it means to make wholesome choices – to say No to things that pull hard at my desire to retaliate or to choose the thing which is easy and familiar. I cannot take revenge without diminishing myself and I refuse to do that, anymore. The urge is sure there, though. Boy, is it. I am a work in progress. I can do hard things.

Natural consequences are outcomes that happen as a result of behavior that are not planned or controlled. For example, if a student cuts in front of another student in line, the natural consequence may be that the other child won’t play with the “cutter” at recess.

If the student who was cut in line, decides to harm the cutter- to get revenge: That is not a natural consequence, that is retaliation. I know this seems basic— but there are literally grown ass adults who seem to not understand this. Before recovery, I definitely practiced righteous retaliation because that is what I had witnessed and learned and then what I married(Karma??). I am unlearning.

Logical consequences are different from punishment in some important ways: Logical consequences may be planned in advance by a parent, teacher, or law enforcement. They are not reactive or angry responses. One example might be if a child breaks curfew, they may lose the privilege of going out the following night. Logical consequences impose something more valuable than dominance and external control.

My younger son(age 11), so bright and agile in all ways, seems literally unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between blackmailing and natural consequences.  After being mean and mocking to his older brother (age 13), refusing to stop when asked.  Big Brother elected to not share his highly treasured RC charger with him for a while.  Natural, right?? When you are diminishing to me, I will need to protect myself and my belongings from you until trust is restored. I will want space from you. Little Brother remained mad about his loss of access to the charger, taking no ownership for his part..feeling only victimized and punished but not sorry for being cruel.

When my sons walk the dog, Big holds the leash and Little picks the poo.  Little was agitated that his brother wanted to wear ear buds and listen to his pod cast and insisted he would only pick the poo, after Big Brother turned off the podcast.  WTF?? (A recent but not great example of what it is like)

Later that day, Big Brother loaned Little his RC battery and when he went to use it himself, it was no longer working.  Little brother was like “I did not do anything to it.  He said I could use it.” Since I encourage sharing, I offered to replace the battery, thinking Little would offer to help pay after hearing that when a person or their belongings are compromised by something we do, we have a moral responsibility to make it right.  He did not offer.  

I think Little Brother may be afraid to accept that certain ways of being are harmful and wrong– because it would be too painful for him to admit that his father consistently behaves in ways which have observably negative consequences for our little family.  Behaviors are wrong though, not people.  Our behavior is our choice.  (THIS is exactly why I am excited to begin my study of Ethics, this week.  I must discuss and understand this matter deeply.)

I continue to marvel and stress over my inability to get more buy in from him, for healthy boundaries and accountability. He has too many well dressed models doing only as they like and claiming to be victimized by natural consequences. Models who feel vested with the right to impose punishment on those who displease them.  My son is literally being groomed for narcissism and addiction.  I am terrified. Screwing people over and taking what is not yours, is not a natural consequence. There is only one reason to behave that way…lack of mental and spiritual development and wellness.

When my ex did the knowingly harmful Christmas thing, mentioned in previous post, I elected to no longer inconvenience myself in the name of service to him.  That is not a punishment or revenge, but a sane effort to distance myself from a person who is decidedly harmful.  

There also seems to be a lack of discernment for harmful v. displeasing.  Hellllp!  I may not be able to break this cycle of dysfunction–but I will certainly disrupt it. What I hope for my boys: They will choose kindness and honesty (and health and happiness too, but healthy and happy are results and consequences, while kind and honest are daily choices)

I will close by saying that if you are unhappy or hurt about something someone did, there are moral and responsible choices. Confront them directly if you wish to restore trust and to heal, or move TF on. Gossip, reprisal, and retaliation are dark, immature, and sick. Be better than that. I am learning one day at a time what it means to make wholesome choices – to say No to things that pull hard at my desire to retaliate or to choose the thing which is easy and familiar. I cannot take revenge without diminishing myself and I refuse to do that, anymore. The urge is sure there, though. Boy, is it. I am a work in progress. I can do hard things.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
Brene Brown Quote Stay awkward, kind, and brave.

What Sort of Person Behaves Like That?

I am devouring (binge-watching of course) The Morning Show on Apple TV.  What a trip to watch Jennifer Aniston killing it, as the beastly narcissistic Alex Levy- an interesting deviation from her usual, kind and highly lovable on and off screen personas.  

Reese Witherspoon’s character, Bradley Jackson, is Alex’s on-air partner and ongoing source of vexation. She is absolute badass and wholesome, pure of heart.  Bold, rough around the edges, living out loud-  unapologetically transparent and challenging.  Unafraid of conflict, resolution, compromise, and direct communication. She is passionate, ethical, and comfortably imperfect.

As I reviewed my 2019 miniseries binge history,  I made a list of my heroes: those whose lives courageously bump hard against a type of righteous and ruthless narcissism, which seems to have been nearly normalized.

Peggy Olson – Mad Men

Zoe Barnes – House of Cards

Jesse Pinkman (I know, he is a meth dealer and murderer) – Breaking Bad

OfFred – Handmaid’s Tale

Cullen Bohannon – Hell On Wheels

Reyna James – Nashville

Coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami – Friday Night Lights

Each reminds me of who I was born and in recovery, am now striving to be:  wholesome, humble, courageous truth seeking and speaking – willing to ask difficult questions and make unpopular statements, typically at great cost to themselves—Willing to be awkward and incorrect–choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than others- all without claiming credit or victimhood.  

AND having their asses kicked repeatedly, does not motivate even the slightest consideration to compromise principles and morals.

Who are your on(or off)-stage heroes and why? I am now beginning a list of writers and activists whom I appreciate also for similar reasons. I hope to post soon. Anne Lamott way at the top, fusho. My favorite humans are merciful, kind, willing and able to admit when they have messed up. They possess the fortitude and good will to do the work of repairing. My heroes are compassionate, sensitive, reflective, benevolent—and messy.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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