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/

Life and Love are Messy by Rachael Alaia

I work to give voice to the difficult questions that most people usually try to avoid.
I feel compelled to “disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.”
I am committed to disrupting the ways we exist that disregard life, denigrate the wellness of all beings, and desecrate that which is sacred and true. 
I write fire to stir the pot. A lot of what I write asks us to renegotiate our relationship to being human, as we’ve been taught or conditioned or believe ourselves to be. I write to imagine things differently.

I reject the notion that I have to deliver my message in a certain tone to be worthy of being received. I value truth, and compassion, and believe the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. 

This—on my mind and heart. The gift of when another person expresses what I cannot—I am always listening to and for voices of courage, fierce, gentle, strong, loving voices—seeking truth, not claiming 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/

Are You an Empath?

Empath Self Assessment by Judith Orloff

1. Have I’ve been labeled as “overly sensitive,” shy, or introverted?
2. Do I frequently get overwhelmed or anxious?
3. Do arguments or yelling make me ill?
4. Do I often feel like I don’t fit in?
5. Am I drained by crowds and need alone time to revive myself?
6. Am I over stimulated by noise, odors, or non-stop talkers?
7. Do I have chemical sensitivities or can’t tolerate scratchy clothes?
8. Do I prefer taking my own car places so I can leave early if I need to?
9. Do I overeat to cope with stress?
10. Am I afraid of becoming suffocated by intimate relationships?
11. Do I startle easily?
12. Do I react strongly to caffeine or medications?
13. Do I have a low pain threshold?
14. Do I tend to socially isolate?
15. Do I absorb other people’s stress, emotions, or symptoms?
16. Am I overwhelmed by multitasking and prefer doing one thing at a time?
17. Do I replenish myself in nature?
18. Do I need a long time to recuperate after being with difficult people or energy vampires?
19. Do I feel better in small cities or the country than large cities?
20. Do I prefer one-to-one interactions or small groups rather than large gatherings?

To calculate your results:

  • If you answered yes to one to five questions, you’re at least partially an empath.
  • Responding yes to six to ten questions means you have moderate empathic tendencies.
  • Responding yes to eleven to fifteen means you have strong empathic tendencies.
  • Answering yes to more than fifteen questions means that you are a full blown empath.

I am now learning more about being and raising an empath– seeking strategies on how to stay grounded and centered– with Dr Orloff’s book The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

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/