Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To Hit or Not to Hit? I'm thinking Not.

I have been following a Facebook page called  Nonviolent Parentingand I am loving what they have to say.  
I was hit occasionally as a child by people who were reacting in anger, and I recall being so confused as to why they hit me that I never really got the "message" they were trying to tell me. I could not connect what had happened to what was happening now, let alone understand and reason what I had done to cause them to hit me.  So any form of corporal punishment from what I have seen and experienced is offensive and disturbing to a child, but not informative. 
Take this video for example: 

It indicates that violent means of "correcting" a behavior rears the opposite of the desired result most (if not all) of the time. So, why do people hit their children? There are plenty of excuses, but if you really stop and think about it, non of them can be carried for very long in an argument. Unless you do what many severely blocked and conditioned people do, which is repeat exactly the same thing over and over until the other person walks away, but if you're to behave that way, learning a new way to function is probably not something you're very interested in. Take "I was hit as a kid, and I turned out just fine!" Well, do you think that you learned positive behavior from being hit? Did you understand why your parents, who you depend on for love, acceptance, sustenance, and safety, were striking your physical body? Did you enjoy being struck? Do you want to pass on those experiences to your child, who may eventually grow to be an adult, who may have an impact on the world and may raise their own children, having then to decide if they do or do not want to pass on the way you raised them to their child?

I know that the way my parents responded to me and the feeling I got from the way they behaved impacted how I interacted and still interact with other people.
I remember angering my friend, then, wanting to comfort her, I did what my parents would do for me when I was distressed, and I hugged her, which bothered her even more. In response to that, I hugged her again, which made things worse. I felt terrible because I could not comfort my friend in any way that I knew of because when I was upset, I knew that having a hug was the best thing anyone could do to make me feel better, and when that didn't work on her, I was at a loss.
When another child was behaving in a way I didn't like, I verbally insulted them; I tried to make them feel like they were not as good as me, and sometimes physically hurt them. That was the only way I knew how to deal with other people who were not doing something I liked. No one taught me how to talk through conflict in a positive, productive manner. My family when they got upset tended not to stop, walk away, and then come back later to calmly talk about things with minds clear of anger and frustration. Instead, they screamed and yelled and insulted each other right in the heat of anger. 

From what I remember, when I was four years old, I walked past my brother while humming a song, I believe it was "Hit me Baby" by Brittany S. He picked me up and threw me into an open-faced box fan. I am making an assumption that he didn't like the song and wanted me to stop, and that is why he hurt me, but time twists memories and he may not even remember this at all now.
I am by no means saying that anyone in my family really physically abused me, I don't remember even having bruises, but still I do not like the way they reacted to me or to others.
Whenever I felt like I did something wrong when I was little, and there was no one around to punish me, I would punish myself. If I accidentally hurt the cat, I would take the cat's paw and scratch myself with its claws. If I knocked something over and broke it, I would bite my arm and scratch myself as hard as I could with my nails or other objects until I felt as though justice was served.

Now, I am battling with urges to cut myself in reaction to stress. It sounds like to me that this current behavior links back to me being physically punished by myself or others as a child. Just a hunch. So, why take the risk? Why increase a child's likelihood of growing up bullying others, hurting themselves, beating their spouses, hitting their children, lowering their IQ and so fourth when there are other options out there like creating a healthy, calm place where when you are having a conflict you can stop, and let the tides of fierce emotion dissipate? It takes time to let anger, fear, sadness and all other emotion drain from your glands. Emotion hits the body and mind hard because it is not just spiritual and energetic, it IS physical! It is chemicals rushing through your brain and body. 

Then, when you come back it is easier to think about what you're going to say before you say it. Communicate YOUR feelings, don't tell the other person (children are people too) that they are doing things wrong and it's their fault. Tell them how, when they bite you, or don't wash the dishes, or run away when you call them, makes YOU feel. 

They will understand and learn from these positive behaviors that I have listed above much more easily than they would from being yelled at, accused, threatened, and/or hit.
This information is relevant to the way one could interact with infants, children, adolescents, young adults, adults, middle aged, and all the way up to seniors. And if you think that talking to an infant or child is preposterous, then I ask you: How can one learn, what one has never been taught? Talk to your kids, do what you can for them, help them work through conflicts, and they will learn to do the same for you and for others in life.

"Spanking is just hitting."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Just a tribute to fathers everywhere.

Goji berry cookies I am making for my father for Father’s Day!
Green Man mask inspiration for my Father’s Day gift.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Growing up, my family were nudists.
I too always ran around bare, which wasn't a problem because we lived out in the pine forests, so no neighbors to worry about. Except for when I went out on the park road and got picked up by strangers and taken back home screaming.
Whenever someone would visit, which was rare, I would run and hide. I knew that it wasn't right to be naked in front of strangers, so I would run somewhere I felt safe, either to the horses, or if I wanted to see who it was, I would hide in my "bower", which was made of a couple of yopan bushes that had grown tall and thin, with few low branches, covered in white honeysuckle right next to my father's house.
I used to collect quarts crystals and pretty pieces of flint to make alters on a big piece of sandstone in the safety of my bower. 
Snakes and spiders were abundant on our land, but never once did I see one in my precious bower.

I appreciate how free my childhood was; I was homeschooled, naked, and left to play all day.

Freedom can come with a price; the price I payed was my family leaving the land without telling me, being alone often, and eventually turning to the one person who gave me attention whenever I wanted it, however unconventional. Peter was his name, who I returned to because he made me feel good and valued my opinion. I didn't understand that he was raping me, I always thought rape was violent and painful, he never hurt me physically or said any harsh words to me the entire time he lived out on our land. I was used to adults being impatient and quick to scream at me, so his company was a relief at first. Eventually, it got to where I would lie to my parents to go see him, saying I was going to get a glass of water or whatever other lame excuse a toddler could come up with. On top of him giving me attention whenever I wanted, my mother loved him, which made it even harder to convince myself to tell her what was going on. He told me not to tell, of course. And I knew what I was doing wasn't right, I felt guilty, like I had some say in it, I felt that it was consensual even though I was just three years old.

It took me three more pedophiles, from when I was age six to nine, and one man trying to kiss me in a dark alley when I was twelve to really understand what was going on.

Peter lived on our land for two years. I never told any of my family about what happened.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Childhood Dreams Die Hard

When I was little, I was always pretending to be an animal.
Usually I'd pretend to be a horse or unicorn, but sometimes I would be a cat, or a fairy.

I used to play a computer game called Barbie's Riding Stable, where you play as Barbie and get to ride four different horses around the game in first person.
I loved that game, and when I was out pretending to be a horse or riding my horse I would pretend I was in the game and say things to myself like "Let's go to Rabbit Run!" or quote some other repetitive shpeal Barbie would say in the game.
Even now, while playing video games where you get to ride horses like in Red Dead Redemption and Mo' Creatures mod for Minecraft, I still am reminded of galloping about in that 1990's computer game.

When pretending to be a horse, I would whinny, and squeal, hardly ever breaking character, which certainly didn't make me any friends, especially when I grew up and no one wanted to pretend to be an animal with me anymore.
What I always wanted and wished for was to become a horse, and what I thought would be the closest thing to that was to run with a herd of people, all pretending to be horses. I would eat wild plants my father had told me were edible, snort, toss my head and do my best at bounding around like a horse would. 
If I am alone in nature, I still do all of these things whenever possible. And I dream of the day when I can run with a herd.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love and Marriage

It is important to me to make it very clear that I have no distaste for people who marry, or people who divorce. This thought is about a question I have asked myself and was not able to answer. 

I have thought a lot about marriage over the years. I thought I wanted to get married, and I admit that some part of it still appeals to me, but I can not answer 'Why?' 
Why do I want to get married? I have absolutely no answer.
I even looked at forums that people had posted on the internet answering the question "Why do people get married?" and most of the answers I got were based on dysfunction and assumptions.
'Why do people get married? Because a relationship without marriage is meaningless. Your partner could just leave you at any moment and this can cause insecurity to grow in a relationship.'
Another answer I read was along the lines of this: 'I got married because I wanted to have children and wanted a partner who would be a good parent'
I am paraphrasing multiple answers I read, so as not to infringe on anyone's intellectual property.
It's interesting to me how someone could pull out a statement like "I think you would be a good parent." Compared to what? 
What makes a "good parent"? Someone who doesn't beat their children? All that is is a judgement, another behavior I do my best to avoid, although I know that I certainly slip and jump to criticisms/judgments.
To me, if you are going to become insecure about whether your partner will leave you or not, you will do this always until you are able to use wiseminded techniques to catch your train of thought before it goes off the tracks. 
For example, I can choose to assume that my boyfriend is not answering his phone because he doesn't want to talk with me, or I could assume that he is just away from his phone right now. What I choose to do is make no assumptions at all, and accept that my phone call did not reach him and that I may not talk to him right now, instead of weaving an imaginary story about how he doesn't love me anymore or some other fantasy dialog that I can never really know.
I do not know exactly what someone is thinking, I never will. But it simply does not matter, and I find it far more relaxing to just be in the moment.

So, what is it about marriage that is appealing?
I do not desire children, I do not worry about whether or not my partner will waltz out the door at any moment, I do not participate in a religeon that condones the necessity of marriage, I do not need to prove to family and friends that I am in love with my partner...What else is there?

Love, I have, but I don't think that marriage is necessary to "prove" my love. That goes back to being insecure about the relationship.
Financial security is not a reason I feel good about for myself.

My parents were married, and spoke highly of their wedding, though neither could manage to speak a word of praise about the other.
They never divorced, but they hadn't lived in the same house my whole life and didn't live on the same property from 1999 when my mother and I moved to Austin T.X., to 2008 when my mother died. They rarely spoke with each other, and fought when they did. In spite of their unhappy experience, I do not feel anger towards marriage in general.

If you feel inspired to answer the question "Why do people marry?" or "Why did you get married?" then please, feel free to answer, but I shan't tolerate hateful or judgemental attacks. 
If this post has offended you, please, ask yourself  "What story have I told myself about this?" if you can answer, then ask again "Is that really true? Would I bet my life that that is true?" For example, I have used this to curb the thought "I am mad because she's a bitch and does all she can to hurt me!" However, when I asked myself if it was absolutely, undeniably true that she was a bitch and doing all she could to hurt me, I could not answer yes. I answered no because there was simply no way I could know what her intentions were. This is a technique a very excellent therapist of mine taught me, and it has been a wonderful levee of reality for me. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Growing up H.P.

                                             (Image above: Photographer unknown.)

I would say that J.K. Rowling's books had a profound effect on a good chunk of my childhood. My parents and siblings loved the books, especially my father. 
He and I used to stay up at Barnes and Noble for their midnight sale to buy a copy of the latest Harry Potter book every time one was released.
I used to sit in the cafe, eating "chocolate frogs" and "Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans" pretending I was in Diagon alley until they called our names, usually around 4 AM.

My father even made his own version of Butter Beer and Pumpkin juice, neither of which were quite as splendid as I had imagined them to be.

I grew up listening to Harry Potter either on tape or by my parents reading it aloud.
We started listening to it in the car on our long road trips every year from Texas to Wisconsin.
When we were home, I used to make forts out of two chairs facing away from each other, with blankets draped across the top making a narrow space I would hide in and make a bed out of sleeping bags and blankets, with a boombox beside me playing chapter after chapter of J.K. Rowling's lovely books to lull me to sleep. 

My parents were both witches, but in a pagan sense, nothing like the characters in Harry Potter books. Women and Men were both considered witches, wizards and warlocks were something completely different, and no one could really explain to me what a real equivalent to a wizard or warlock was. No one made candles float in mid-air, or cast spells with a wand. However, the fact that "witch" has been used in so many different ways, from green Wizard of Oz witches, to my parents, to anyone magical and female in the Potter books, made things confusing to me. Especially when I heard about the Potter protesters who were against promoting "witchcraft" to children when I knew from my parents that, other than the word witch, there was absolutely no connection to what my parents were and what the characters in the book were.

From age eight to eleven my mother helped me pretend Harry Potter was real.
She would do something called "Tree Mail". What this was, was me writing a letter to Hogwarts, tying the paper to a tree, then the next day it would be gone and in a few days I would get a reply. She would tell me that an owl had come to pick it up and drop it off.
It was always really exciting for me to find a scroll in a tree, but really anything in the mail was terribly wonderful to me. 
Some of the replies were lessons, English, math, botany, science, and sometimes fictional things like reading Hagrid's monster manual and then writing essays on the creatures.

My mom would always print the letters from Hagrid on a decorated paper that was supposed to look like it had coffee stains on it, despite the stains being slightly purple or pinkish because our printer was low on black ink.

I always knew it was her, just like Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, but when I was Eleven I wrote her the letter shown above which reads: "Dear Dumbledore, I wanted to ask when will I be accepted to Hogwarts. I am 11; I thought 11 was the right age? Please respond. I have a eMail: 
Please respond either by Tree Mail or eMail.
Thank you!
P.S. If I am accepted to Hogwarts, I have no money. What am I supposed to do?

Rowan. H."

Dumbledore never replied, and even though I knew it was not real, a little part of me still hoped I would get whisked away to a fantasy land of wizards and witches. Alas, the day still hasn't come.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Dream and A Book Review

I have a reoccurring dream that all of civilization resides on various platforms atop seemingly endless pillars in the sky. The way to get from one platform to another is always very difficult and dangerous.
One of the ways to get from place to place was roller coaster-like contraptions that would swing up, changing every few seconds.  They would switch entrances to intice you with, from a flashy McDonald's sign sporting a large, frankly creepy Ronald McDonald clown, to a simple portal leading to the grocery store.
The way to board one of these swirling, precarious tubes was to jump from your platform into it.
Sounds easy enough, until you take into account the empty space beneath you leading to fluffy, white, unsupportive clouds.
I've always had a bit of a fear of heights, and my usual way of getting past my fear in the real world is to estimate how high up I am, calculate how high I have been in the past (say, while riding in an airplane) and tell myself "I've been higher than this before."
This method, while effective in my usual physical surroundings, has no use in dream world; I am up above thick clouds where I have no idea how high I am, for I cannot see the earth, or whatever planet I am perched above, and thin atmosphere is not an issue, so I don't even have whether or not I can breath to give me a point of reference.

I am usually a small child in these dreams, with some sort of mother figure with me whom I cling to.
It is so windy on these minuscule islands that I feel as if I could blow off of at any moment, so I hold onto whatever I can, be it the aforementioned parent or a seemingly sturdy piece of architecture. 

A book I've been trying to finish for the past four months finally, mercifully, ended (more accurately, I skipped to the end because I could not bare the author's anthropomorphic comments about her horses anymore, among other idiotic behavior she boldly displayed) without much character growth and no change to the plot other than a horse the author was trying to nurse back to health had to be put down because of a fatal tumor.

I half-enjoyed reading the book when she was actually talking about the animals, which the title indicated it was written about, until she displayed how LITTLE she knew about horses.
She wrote affectionately about how her lead mare would push her around, bite her, and step on her feet if she didn't give the horse a treat, or it's feed right away, or if she happened to give one horse more attention then the lead mare.
She would also pretend she knew what the horses were thinking, and wrote things like 'one group looked like it was gossiping about the other horses.' It was irritating to me, reading about how she would project her own insecurities and criticisms onto other humans and onto her horses.

This was not a fictional character. The author was writing about herself.
She also claimed that she had a degree in English, and that she used to teach it to highschool students, when her writing and ability to make a pleasant to read paragraph was no better than my ability to do so, and I am a unschooled young adult, not a middle aged English teacher.

Really, I would never have found this unhappy piece of literature if it wasn't for suggesting it to me based on my interest in a far superior book, that was more of a informational novel on how the author became a equine facilitated therapist, not an autobiography about a dysfunctional nitwit.

Anyway, people irritate me, and I wish more people were actually exceptional at what they do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dreams are Fickle Things

Recently, I had a very realistic dream that a friend of mine was standing in my room with no pants on while screeching like a bird. The fact that it seemed realistic is the interesting part to me.

When I was 15, I dreamt that insects were eating people's faces.
Like most of my dreams, the plot shifted many times; the flesh-eating affliction became a disease, a chemical burn, rats were at one point the culprit, and so fourth.

The only thing that remained consistent was the rotten hole in my ankle between my ankle bone and my Achilles tendon on my left foot.
The wound looked much like what other people were experiencing: black, rotten flesh that covered a good deal of my foot and,  from the side, you could see a hole,  the diameter of a quarter, running right through my foot at the aforementioned spot between the ankle and Achilles tendon.

Most of this dream was spent hobbling around on my damaged appendage.

Many of my dreams for the past six years have revolved around vivid and violent imagery.
Why, just a few nights ago I had a dream about a man and a woman sitting in a white room. They were both very pale, with lips blood red. Their hair was jet black, and their eyes were just as dark. 
The man began to shave off the woman's long hair, until only a few stringy patches were left.
He then cut off her left arm with a long silver knife, which upset him as he realized she could no longer hold him.
Desperate for her affection, he placed her right hand on his cheek, and began sewing it in place.

The only colors were red, black, and white.

As he ties off the last stitch, the scene fades away and I drift on to another dream.

Falling off of Horses

I love horses. 
I have loved them for my whole life. 
My first experience with a horse when I was an infant, my family took me out to the pasture and placed me on a horse's back.
From then on I loved riding. When I got older (4-5) I would spend most of my time with the horses.
My horse, whom I have had since I was two years old, died this past year.
His tendons dropped (they stretched so much that he had a hard time moving) and he was in constant pain. We had him on heavy pain medication, but one day he just lay down and died.
Our horses were trained in the Pat Parelli natural horsemanship method, which is all about your relationship with your horse. 

I never liked the strict horse training disciplines such as dressage, showing, jumping, etc.
My favorite way to ride was with no tack; when I was 10-12 I would go out with no bridal, no saddle, and sometimes no clothes.
It was wonderful, just me and my horse, Ellaruso.
Although no-tack was my preferred method, I would sometimes ride with a bridal and saddle, especially when I wanted to go down the park road for a long trail ride.

One day, when I was six, I was riding Ell alone in the pasture. We were doing great, I was relaxed and comfortable, secure in my new black western kid's saddle.

My father came into the pasture to check on me, he watched me for a while, then left through the big, metal gate.
A few minutes later our horse, Avalon, bolted out the gate my father had accidentally left open. 
Ell quickly thundered after Avalon with me unwillingly clinging to his back
I can remember bouncing up and down saying "Woah" and trying to hold onto the saddle horn to keep from flying off.
Ell had completely forgotten that I existed, and about half way through their run (they only ran up and down a long strip that was cut for power lines), Ellaruso stumbled and I tumbled off into the wild Yaupon bushes.

Luckily, the horses were fine and I only walked away with scratches, bruises, and a tetanus shot.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

On the Rocky Road to Dublin 12345.

We're starting to eat a raw food diet again, yummy, but my belly still hurts.

I was four years old. A small group of adults were nearby; my Mom, Dad, Uncle, and Peter, my sister's boyfriend at the time.
I splashed into the water in my blue one-piece swim suit.
The current was strong in spots, and the rocks slippery, but the water was only 12 to 24 inches deep where I started. It became deeper (3-5 feet) farther down the river.
As I happily jumped from rock to rock pretending to be a wild horse crossing a treacherous river, I slipped and fell into the water.
I wasn't initially alarmed, thinking I could grab a hold of a nearby rock to keep myself from washing down the river, but the slime and moss on the half-submerged stones made me unable to grasp anything that may have stopped me from floating away.
By this time I was panicking. I screamed and tried to dig my feet into the mud or swim against the current, but I made no headway. 

Everyone heard me cry out, and the one that jumped into the water to get me was Peter. I found this ironic, later on in life.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Unicorns and a Fear of the Dark

When I was five I had a dream that I was playing in a field of cartoon flowers with a unicorn. The unicorn let me ride on it's back.

Around the same age (four or five) I lived in a small cabin with my mom.
My mother would spend some time during the evening with me, then when night fell she'd leave and tell me she'd be right back.
She would never come back. I used to stay and wait for her, sometimes I'd cry hoping she'd hear me.
Usually I wouldn't be able to stand it. I would run through the dark up the dirt path, through the machine shop and into the incense factory where my Dad lived.
This was where the kitchen, refrigerator, and general food stock was. There was also a television, which seemed to be the thing that held my mother against her word.
When I went up to the factory, I would always run.
I was terrified of the dark, and a flashlight just made more shadows for my imagination to alter into gremlins and ghouls.
So I ran, as fast as I could to get to the next safe place.

Once I arrived, my mother would always give me a look of confusion, as if to ask why I was scared and out of breath.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Earliest Memory

I was born in a cabin in the woods.
I can recall everything of that old building; the bare particle board walls, the beautiful Rain Dragon a friend of ours painted that I was born under, the hole in the floor my mother burned from our old wood fire heater, the piles and piles of things my parents hoarded that I would climb across to get to the bed.
We never put up insulation, we never built the cinder block extension on the back like my sister had always planned, we never really finished any of the buildings we started.
It was in this unfinished house that most of my earliest memories and dreams occurred.  

I am laying on my back, looking up at my tiny, wrinkled hands.
A feeling of anger overtakes me, because my hands look like those of an ape.
Hating the way my hands looked, I would keep my fingers straight as often as possible.

Like so many other events, I can no longer recall if this was a true memory or a vivid dream.

All through my early childhood, I would have bouts of self-judgement such as this.