Sunday, May 14, 2017

'Bring On Tomorrow - I've Got Today'/ Memory Lack and Importance of Photographs/ And Inspirational Landscapes of Home



The temperature was perfect, not too hot nor too cold. There was a warm breeze that moved the clouds quickly across the cerulean sky. The white fluffy puffs looked like they were steaming off wisps of milky white sugar to spin into another formation. If I looked long enough, it felt like an ocean in the air, with the bloated billows becoming waves of motion. The endless prairie sky contrasted with a few grey clouds on the horizon, became a stunning 3D picture. My husband replied at my musings with a laugh that it was because 'real life IS 3D' but I am used to comparing real life with movies. Artistic films often capture the romanticism of what I see in my mind, compared to what most people view from their eyes, in real time.



I felt lost in the beauty. For a few hours I just became part of the landscape. It was one of those moments in life where everything was in absolute harmony. The light cast a hazy glow of sunshine with a soft blush of romance. The scents of dandelion blooming, fresh cut grass, cedar wood shakes from our fence, and someone's BBQ off in the distance, mixed into the sumptuous sensory moment of perfection. My husband's power tools switched between the buzz of the circular saw, the bite of a screw finding it's home in the wood fence, and the 'shick shick' of the compressed nail gun placing the cedar shakes firmly in place.





The sounds of my husband's trade brought feelings of possibility, beauty, growth, stability and the awareness that he was with me building our dreams. When his tools became an aura of background noise, I became conscious of the birds singing to one another from the tops of our blooming trees. My daughter's colouring added satisfying scratches and scrawling etches of colour creating design on sun dappled white. Our music blasted, because music deserves to be blasted when one feels the moment, and the newest Brad Paisley song, "Today "captured the moment in lyrics:

🎶 "I don't know about tomorrow, but right now the whole world feels right, and the memory like a day like today, can get you through the rest of your life...🎶 I know it won't always be like this, life can change as quick as a kiss, it's not over yet but I already miss today .🎶" - Brad Paisley  "And as the seasons change and time goes by and your hair is grey and so is mine - I know for sure, that you’re gonna be just as beautiful, as you are to me, today. Bring on tomorrow I've got today🎶" "... When I’m sitting in traffic some afternoon, or bored to death in some waiting room, I’m gonna close my eyes and picture you... Today."- Brad Paisley



Some of my favourite moments are the hour long drives our family takes every month, and the continual changes of the seasons that are evident in the surrounding landscapes of my life. Just a few weeks ago the scenery painted muted browns and soft greys into it's palette of a late Spring. Now the greens are becoming the main event. The same excursion is always diverse with our weather. A few weeks ago the land was covered in white snow and the new buds hovered under the cold waiting for their time. This I understand. This landscape always seems to echo my state of mind, or more aptly, I echo the landscape. The harmony of myself integrated with nature is something crucially important to my inner mind. Sometimes I beg for blue skies and sunshine and other times I hope that moody clouds and rough winds blow a bit of violence into the atmosphere. I'm both devoted and enchanted by wide open spaces of sprawling prairies and tree lined rolling hills. I feel a cherished tenderness and devoted delight to the fertile ground of my home.



When we are on drives, we will listen to podcasts or blast our music or simply talk or sit in silence, but I ALWAYS am savouring the view from my window. There's a road that has witnessed all the milestones of my life. It has been a place of love, lust, innocence, depth, communication, understanding, awe, birth, death, growth and vision. There isn't another place on earth like it for me. There is no peace of mind that I have anywhere else other than my home. Because of this, I will alternate between snapping pictures and simply gazing and becoming what I witness.


I will often quickly grab my iphone to snap a picture because my memory borderlines on dementia. My camera is often handy for the simple moments. I will make sure I savour the BEING in real time before I capture the moment on film, but a few pictures are important to me because of this disability in my life. With mono, I actually can not even remember song lyrics. I tend to know most of the lyrics to every song on the radio (whatever station is played.) That is my super power but in all else my recollection fails. Since Mono in February I can't even recapture most song lyrics. This is frustrating, thus I take captive the feeling through a photograph. In this digital age, many argue that there are too many photos or too many moments we spend behind our phones, and while I agree for the most part, and make sure I temper my use with raw eyed moments, for me, there is a balance to be struck.



It's that moment when my husband goes in for a kiss to my daughter and I hastily reach for the phone, swipe to my camera App and click. Or I make him re do it so I can experience it twice. Both times are beautiful. One I get to savour without worry and the next one I get to capture for remembrance. Because a memory like that does get me through tough moments. I am a visual person and a photograph will stick inside my brain more then a memory, especially if the pictures are put to music, which is why I have a vast collection of an average of about four Imovies a year set to song... of my life. I pull these out in medical waiting rooms or when I am depressed, and I watch them over and over again and feel deep, abiding gratitude. Because they capture the feeling of the everyday.



The heightened beauty I often experience from simple moments and ordinary love are suddenly evident. Northern skies bring rich beauty that run through my soul. "Free as a breeze, not to mention the trees, that whistle tunes that you know and love so."- Glen Campbell. Melodies and soundtracks that run through my head synchronizing, depending on the experience, with a specific tune, are pulled out of the abstract of myself and into the concrete of a tangible definite. I can open my eyes and picture them, the loves of my life, sensory BEING, and bliss scenery, at times when I am in crisis. Because I HAD that moment, I can get through the next. Bring on tomorrow, because I had today.

"Your trails would be downhill, a soft breeze at your back. A sky full of diamonds and your nights would not be black. Yes, you would really love it. And if your ever down, I'd give you rows of roses and gold all over the ground. I'd pick you up and carry you cross every stream I see, and I'd bundle you in kindness until you cling to me. We'd sit beneath strong branches, my arms would twine around, I'd turn your green to emerald and give you gold all over the ground."- Brad Paisley




Don't those lyrics paint a picture you wish to be in? The words lift my soul and remind me of many lucky moments I have had. 'Bundle you in kindness' particularly tugs at my heartstrings and the images of life flash by of the youthful beauty I experienced, and the moments of maturity I am growing into. May your trails be downhill with a soft breeze at your back, and when the winds rise, may you have a few today's to deal with tomorrow's pain.


Song Choices (HIGHLY recommend to complete the feeling of this post): Today- Brad Paisley  and Gold All Over the Ground- Brad Paisley

Friday, May 5, 2017

Personality and Apologies/ Forgiveness, Getting Over the Debt Reconciliation of Religious "Forgiveness" and The Four Parts of Reconnecting (From Personality Hacker)

This blog post is heavily quoted from the Personality Hacker Podcast 'Apologies and Forgiveness' by Antonia Dodge and Joel Mark Witt. Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to embed this one so open this link in another window: http://www.personalityhacker.com/podcast-episode-0170-apologies-forgiveness/

I am going to quote from the episode with my thoughts below. I HIGHLY recommend listening to the entire podcast as it is an excellent conversation with great depth and is a key tool to enhance all relationships. The dialogue between Joel and Antonia is also not captured in the snippets below, thus it is important to listen to the actual podcast. It is a great use of time while working on chores, yard work or driving.

I am skipping the introduction, as I usually do when I quote podcasts, as hopeful incentive for my readers to actually listen to the podcast. I also jump right into their quotes without context because again, I want you to LISTEN to the podcast. Yea, I am annoying like that:) Any places that there are dot dot dots =  sentences in original podcast that I did not take the time to write out- so maybe go back and listen:) I will highlight their quotes to distinguish from my personal thoughts/writing:

Establishing Trust/ Forgiveness as Reconnection and Not Debt Owed
16- 16:13 "If any part of the relationship is eroded through the behaviour, the apology is the first step in building the relationship back up. That is the third reason we apologize is to re establish that trust and relationship." 

16:38- 18:00 "Really it's not about resource or about about being in debt. It's about a broken connection point in a relationship, it's a broken communication, a broken intimacy and a broken relationship. What you are doing is not really getting out of debt but reconciling, and reconnecting a connection point with the other person...It's weird that we apologize and ask for forgiveness in the first place. What we should say is, "Hey I messed up here. This is the behaviour I did in which I thought was inappropriate, are we cool? Can we reconcile that re- connection point we have as humans? Are we back in simpatico?" ... Will you forgive me is an old, religious way of trying to do that, instead of just asking for the connection back it goes into this _ debt structure that you are now owed something by the person that wronged you and until they apologize and ask for forgiveness, you now have money in the bank that you hold against them. It's weird and I don't know why we do it as humans when it really is about the reconnection point."  

18:18- 19:30  "Or even if they are healthy but two people that shouldn't be in relationship with each other that 'I'll accept your acknowledgement but maybe we should not be in relationship with each other. And that's ok.' It doesn't necessarily make it wrong, we just may not be healthy for each other at the time. I think if you are at levels of health you can see it that way, but if you are NOT at a healthy place then everything is about a power grab. Because the less healthy you are, the more you are looking for leverage points in life to make up for the point that you are not healthy...ways to make yourself feel better. When you are unhealthy you know that you are...even if you have massive amounts of cognitive dissonance around it, there is something inside you that goes, "Maybe I am the person that is making me unhappy and not the rest of the world." And there is a desire to distract yourself from your own responsibility in life by not forgiving others...it's more like a projection of your inability to forgive yourself for being unhealthy."

20:22 "One of the reasons we accept apologies is because we want to incentivize the other person to take responsibility for cavalier behaviour. We reward them for their humility and yea I would like to be in a relationship with the kind of people who take responsibility and acknowledge their wrongs or things they may have done that harmed me. Those are the people I want to surround myself with and to be in relationship with. Those people are constantly trying to do their best..."

From time 21:00 onward, Joel uses the most extreme example to talk about forgiveness, and in the end Antonia also points out that they do not want to negate the raw feelings of anyone who has gone through something similar and it is all hypothetical to ask the tough questions and not meaning to be callous. I STRONGLY recommend listening to the entire podcast to get context and hear resolution.

Systems Thinking
26:41- 28:41 "You have to have a pretty sophisticated concept of systems thinking in order to hold the concept that you just mentioned. Systems thinking being that there is no direct cause or effect. There are emergents or there are resulting experiences from an entire system running, with all these different nodes in the system and all these different components at the same time. And some of those nodes are bigger than others...There is a small node in there called 'you got in the car with them.' Another bigger node was 'another person got in the car and chose to get in the car because they were drunk'.... That is the emergent of another system running that at some point during their drinking they were sober enough to make decisions... like handing the keys to someone else...a node in that system. That there is a moment of choice for them...so the responsibility ultimately lays on the biggest nodes..."

I love Systems Thinking. It changed my life forever. I started Systems Thinking when we stepped out of religion and I saw the Systems for what they were... then in therapy Systems Thinking came up again and in my Sociology courses. Finally Personality studies, Unschooling and educational mindsets, and Psych also taught me varied other Systems within the world...and these all made it easier in life to see the connections, the messy humanness, and the simple ways things just happen, and life was way easier to have perspective about. I was not as stressed anymore. I did not immediately feel sick over tragedies or other's problems. Of course they affected me and if I could help, I would help. But seeing all the nodes and the components changed EVERYTHING. It is why I will often say that perspective is everything...because it truly is.

28:55- 29:32"But let's go back to whether or not it is your job to forgive that person or if they should even be asking for forgiveness. Is there a debt there that is owed in some way? And the debt piece was the second piece of the three that we first mentioned. The first piece of the apology is that at first the apologizer recognizes their cavalier behaviour that resulted in the impact ....destroyed something..."

32 (THIS IS when that example basically is done) "...Ask those hard questions. It is a complicated topic...and I understand that is a very intense example for forgiveness possible because it is a very difficult position to be in... Let's move into a more day to day experience for a moment."

34:32- 35: "On these much more day to day examples, start to see that you are a node in these situations too...It's not meant to be thoroughly insensitive but to ask these very difficult questions of how systems work...not how we have been programmed to a knee jerk response..."

Policing Words/ Expression of Self/ Weaponizing Words
39: 46- 41:17 "We all hurt each other all the time and we all do basic mundane things all the time and it is our choice whether or not to get hurt by them. I know that concept of what we say does have power in the world and I recognize that and think it is accurate and true. It's kind of balancing that the things that we say are powerful and that we want to speak into the world the kind of reality we want to see. By the same token I also feel like people weaponize that understanding of words. As in, we have started to police words and we have started to remove other people's ability to express themselves in authentic ways because we don't like what their words say. We have gotten very policey about how people express themselves. There is a tension there between how offended we are gonna get because somebody said something we don't like and how we should be careful... The responsibility is on us to make sure we are representing ourselves in a way that is both authentic so part of the authenticity is to build the scale of kindness and compassion and that is the goal... "

This is a tricky part. As a personal example, I know that autistics are trying to "reclaim" the word Autism so that is not just an insult or dirty word. I am definitely on board with this obviously. But the fact is, that words can be used as weapons or healing at any given time. Shit can be the word for chicken refuse on a farm or it can be used to describe a person. One is accurate while the other is not. Words are just words until we use them as a vessel to damage or aid. Lately, there have been attempts to remove words from use, and while I disagree with this method, I do agree that we should watch how we use our words towards each other. The biggest example is the R word. For this example I am going to actually write it out....If someone uses a phrase like,"that was so retarded" I have to chose how I see what they are saying. Are they simply ingrained in nineties lingo and not meaning to direct harm to anyone and I am taking it too personally? (It is entirely another matter if they use the r word towards someone else.) I personally prefer not to use the word because of it's vast ableist history but I also have to remember that other people may not be educated in the ableist foundation it stems from. I also have had it slip out of habit and I understand that for myself, it was simply a linguistic mistake and not with an intent to harm on any level so I move on without guilt or self punishment. Most people are using words they grew up on without thought. Yes, we need to change the conversation but banning words isn't often the best way to find compassion. Conversation and education along with freedom and acceptance are. Using a word like 'fluffy' or something sweet in a sarcastic tone can be just as harmful as "bad" words used in a benign way. There are no "bad" words but there are mean, cruel ways of using them and there ARE better alternatives or reclaiming of words to pay attention to. Because compassion and kindness are the goal of using words in this way.

Religion and Debt Structure and Reconciliation in Forgiveness Methods
42:08- 43:38 "This idea of debt structure though, I think I am wired fundamentally, like that is my default setting, and I have had to work really hard not to feel like when I have done something that I don't like about myself that now I am indebted to the person that I "quote unquote" wronged or behaved badly toward... See I was wired from a young age, through my religious paradigm to see everything in social debt structures. My ultimate debt to God above me that I had to reconcile against and he holds the mortgage of my life basically and I have to pay him back from either repentance or through acceptance from him. I was raised to say that there was no way I could work to get that reconciliation but I have to get it freely from him and basically repent and humble myself in all these ways... and this trickled down to all my social reactions ... "

Oh wow, could I relate to this. For many years I would cry on Good Friday and be so thankful for the sin that I was unable to work off but was freely taken away. I interpreted this as a gift because that is what everyone around me said it was. But it was damaging...more on this below...

43:50- 44:33 "The way we show up each moment is evidence of where we are at at our growth. So in order to keep that tension and show up as my most ethical self, and when I have harmed those around me in a cavalier nature or even an intent to harm, in order to keep that balance and tension that keeps me most ethical than I will acknowledge it. I will go tell the person that my intent is behaviour change but I don't have a lot of debt structure in there. Because that is what I want to show up as an individual. When at the receiving end, I want to be the kind of person that freely forgives..."

This part was also important and again, I highly recommend listening to the FULL podcast and getting the dialogue between Antonia and Joel. It is a lot more fulfilling in context.

48:21- 51:50 "I'm constantly referencing my relationship with my parents because it is the biggie in my life. It is one of the things I really have to figure out, transcend and heal from. It really is a behemoth in my life. And if I look at my parents behaviour in my life, and really study the system- they are in a catch 22. They are in their seventies now and have been involved in a religion their entire lives, and I don't mean that just went to church on Sunday, but on a daily level they spent hours and hours dedicating their time and their minds to this religious paradigm, and their money and resources. They just gave so much to this thing. Because in part the religion gave them hope for my mom's dead mother (she died very young) ... and the religion was part of what soothed her during her grieving process and the death of my sister. So my mom is dealing with the death of her mom and the death of her daughter. Two major, MAJOR, pain points in a person's life. And her religion is what got her through with the belief and the hope that she will see her mother and daughter again. These are huge things and have given her comfort for literally decades. And the religion that she has handed so much over to demands when the son and daughter leave the religion and turns their back on it, according to their vernacular, that she not have a relationship with them anymore. Now she is stuck and in order to keep the hope that she has rested into for decades, and the comfort around the death of her mother and daughter, in order to maintain that ballast of comfort, she has to sever a relationship with her other living children. That is a horrible position to be in. What is she supposed to do at the age of 70? Re evaluate everything and go "oh I guess I was wrong the whole time" and re establish a relationship with her kids or is she supposed to be mad at her kids? and go, "Why are you doing this to me? I taught you this religion and this is your hope for everything and I taught you well and why are you turning your back and why are you being so rebellious? " At 70 she is supposed to reconcile this and go, "oh I guess I was wrong about the other stuff that I gave everything to and I'm going to re establish my relationship with my living kids." But I think, as far as I'm concerned, she chose a shitty religion to be a part of but it was the choice she made and it made sense to her at the time. So when I look at the whole system and the emergent behaviour that she refuses to have a relationship with me-  when I think about forgiving her for that and forgiving my father who also has his own story in there- I don't feel that there is any thing to forgive because I recognize the system so well and realize that they are painted into a corner. That my form of forgiveness is that there is nothing to forgive and there is nothing else they can be doing right now. I've noticed that whenever I have been "quote unquote" truly wronged and I go back and look at the whole system, most of the time when I get to a level of true, profound forgiveness - I realize there was nothing to forgive in the first place. There was nothing else that could have happened. It was the inevitable emergent. It was based on some choices and it was based on things that also were not choices."

THIS, above, is similar to my husband's story and in a way, my own. We have had to forgo many relationships because of this uneven playing field. Often it felt that apologies were leveraged power grabs. It wasn't about reconnection as much as it was about getting us to "see the light or error of our ways and repent." We understand them, because we have been there, but they have not stepped out of the faith the way we have, so thus they do not understand us. It really is a catch 22. We understand that it is all Systems Thinking and we also understand how ingrained it is...we barely got out of it in tact, and it took us years of searching, reading, becoming, and finding other people to speak into our lives, to finally find a few of our own personal answers and balance. We realize too that there is nothing to forgive in that sense because they technically just chose what works for them like we have chosen what works for us. See more below.

Forgiveness and INTENT
53:22 - 54 "Forgiveness comes with a true understanding of how things work. Not just a "I got hurt and something terrible happened to me and therefore it was the only thing that is important. " When you go back and review entire systems, most of the time you realize there really is nothing you could have done." 

At this part Joel and Antonia discuss intent and at what point does responsibility equal intent?

55:39 "We have a tendency to confuse acknowledging something to condoning it...Just because we understand something doesn't mean we are saying it is acceptable behaviour..."

58:26- 59:12
"Complete understanding to me is not the same as condoning by any stretch of the imagination. If people behave in truly destructible ways, just by understanding how they got there and recognizing there may not be any need to forgive in the way I was talking about, because you have full understanding of the system, does not mean the behaviours should be allowed to be continued. I mean I don't have a relationship with my parents in part because of how they treat me too. I understand. I don't think there is any reason to forgive them because I understand them but I don't particularly want to be around them. So I am not going to condone the behaviour even if I understand it... So I think that is the other piece of it. If you are in a situation where there is an apology required or perceived to be required either the apology comes to you or from you regardless just recognize that the behaviour itself does not get a free pass and that's why a piece of that is behaviour change."

Here is the part where boundaries come into play. A boundary can entail love and forgiveness but it does not necessarily mean the person gets full access into your life again. We don't have a relationship anymore with some of these people because of the way we were treated. Because even with an attempt, the reconnection aspect of the relationship was severed over and over in small and big ways. Because the acceptance of us at basic human levels was negated in the name of a future heaven. The expectation for us to be good people was equated only with being godly people in their definition of what that was. Behaviour change never happened. We were talked over and prayed over without permission. At events our needs and values were not held with respect, even when we asked for it, and were overridden with a preachy tone but to them that is love. We wish them well- sincerely. We hope for the best for them and feel happiness when we hear about their children finding joy. We understand but can not stay where we are not truly accepted. We also know that if they were in our home, they would feel uncomfortable with all of our books, beliefs and rules if we got down to a deeper level- it just would not work. However, with those we do still have a relationship with, we also make room for differences and we have seen and done some behaviour change as effort. They know where we stand but an example would be that we make room for  them to quietly pray at their meal even though we do not pray over ours. We will also, at their homes, wait respectfully while they pray because that is simply respecting autonomy. With the relationships that were sustained, there was a reconnection of both parties for behaviour change, in a way BOTH could be understood and respected.

Apology And Personality Types- The Expectations of Each Type
59:55 - 1:05 "Several INTJs and ENTJs were expressing frustration about people who come to them and apologize and it is now this social expression they need to figure out. INTJ's said," you don't need to apologize to me but just start doing the right thing - just change your behavior!" No, it wasn't that they didn't want to be apologized to but they were frustrated that the person made it about their emotional experience. "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." While they felt the apology was appropriate- they hated that the person brought it to an emotional place because they were like,"My feelings aren't hurt - just change your behaviour." Now it was like putting an emotional burden on the person to now reconcile emotion or get into emotional messiness but it's like, "It's not about emotion just say your sorry, change the behaviour and move on."

"I've noticed with different personality types we want apologies done a certain way because we don't want them to be awkward...when it is not awkward in the least but something that needs to happen to establish the relationship. I think you can transcend that. There is a reason why apologizing is weird and when you have done a lot of work around self forgiveness, as in apologizing to yourself and recognizing your own limits you recognize that its just has to happen it doesn't have to be awkward..."


"However, I have noticed that certain personality types want to be apologized in certain ways. Because they don't want the apology to throw them into a situation that makes them feel like they are being required to manage some one's emotions. (THAT is for thinkers.)  But for feelers it's different....
Personalities in general do not want to be thrown into something that takes them out of their skill set. So like an NTJ  for example, may hate an apology that goes, "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." Because that apology pulls them out of their thinking and intuitive process and pulls them into that feeling space which is their tertiary process and now they are like, "Ok great. Thanks for apologizing and putting me in a place where I feel like emotions have to be managed...just go change the behavior and we are good- just evidence that and we are gonna be fine." All personality types do that... when we are taken out of our skill set... Us feelers just want you thinkers to apologize really- just joking... but seriously there are feelers that get frustrated that thinkers assume everything... I think feelers really get this at a fundamental level. I think there is a thinker/ feeler split here. I think feelers do transact in the way of emotional reconciliation...There is a lot of emotional reconciliations. The connection point we were talking about before- Feelers really do get this at a fundamental level- there are levels of it and it's happening all the time. 
There is the high level apology I need to ask forgiveness / debt structure type apology but I think that a lot of little apologies that happen for feelers, especially FJs because they want to be in connection and harmony all the time so they are always looking to align the social connections all the time. It's not really a serious (apology) but it's not disingenuous but it's not high level "It's gonna be really bad if we don't (apologize)" ... It's a low level connections apology trying to stay in simpatico, trying to stay in harmony all the time. It's the ethos surround that...especially for extroverted feelers."

I am an FJ so thus I prefer to be in harmony most of the time. Boundaries practically kill me, which is why I talk about them, and pin them on my Pinterest board, ALL. THE. TIME. Often I need to be reminded that health also entails a strong sense of self love. Distance can mean health. Peace can come with less people but with the people I love, I do wish to stay in simpatico, and as an INFJ I will be unable to stay in a close relationship with anyone where there is a fair amount of tension...even if it is healthy- my personality is not able to tolerate high levels of stressful dialogue. One of my relatives is an ENTP male who loves to debate for debating sake...he also does not have much self awareness, thus my personality can only handle so much, even if I love him. I can not be in a room for long if it's all about debate and there is little focus on harmony and other's feelings. My best friend is an INTJ. She prefers the focus to be less on feelings and more on change. This appeals to the growth side of my persona. It also appeals to the 'T' ish ways INFJ's can sometimes come across...We value harmony but we will often balance out a room. Too much emotion and we will become less, not enough emotion and we will bring the emotion. Thus we work well together because she has learned to allow me to talk a bit more about my feelings and I have learned to talk less about them in a re-connection attempt geared towards her and more about what I am going to do in the future.

1:05:33- 1:05:54 "...Keep a balance between the subject and the object. If you are apologizing all the time you are not making it enough about yourself. You are important too. Your boundaries probably need to be worked on. Your subjective experience is not always beholden to others experience. You get to show up too. I think I was thinking about the contrast where the thinker maybe doesn't want the subject to apologize and bring all the emotional stuff in because it pulls them out of their sandbox. I can see a feeler not liking a kind of apology or a situation where the thinker says, "I did this wrong and I'm sorry and I will do better next time" and they end the conversation... They want to see an expression of remorse and an emotional plea to re engage that relationship...We are all looking for a different apology..."

1:06:57 "Most of the time it is not based on intent but sloppy thinking. Not thinking the thought through to it's conclusion and not having a clear picture of what was going on...
keep the relationship going to enter the dialogue or space where we are talking about our feelings..."

After this point, Antonia and Joel break down that most often TP's often prefer the statement, "I wasn't thinking- I'll think better next time."
TJ's often prefer, "I'll make it work better next time... I will do behaviour change to make sure the whole system is different next time."
For FP 's it is "the intent behind it all. That I'll recalibrate my intent towards you."
FJ's it's about maintaining the relationship. That "I recognize that when I do something to you I interrupt our simpatico."

I feel this is fairly accurate with the different types in my world and I have learned in general, if I care for them, in conflict to approach them in communication in these specific ways. How I wish I would have known this years ago. It would have been nice to avoid all the pain I could have avoided with the people I cared about. And with the people I did not care about but still wanted to have some form of discussion with, it would have been way more effective to have these basic understandings of persona. It's not possible to be friends with everyone or even at peace all the time. There is a time for temper and sometimes we learn the most from events that came from our enemies. I accept these forms too but I wish that everyone could have a basic understanding of personalities because it opens up the world to a lot more understanding and compassion.

1:08:34 "It is important to recognize that we, as personality types, give and receive apology and reconciliation in a way we want it done to us. As an ENFP if I feel like I had bad intent I am very likely to apologize about that but if someone says I did the wrong action but I know I didn't have ill intent I am less likely to be concerned..."

My husband is an ENFP and he is all about intent. If someone apologizes to him or says they want a relationship but then makes no attempt to reconcile on a basic level, he views it as a lie. He only apologizes if he realizes he had bad intent towards someone, but otherwise he isn't too concerned because he is all about authenticity. He wants to KNOW the intent behind a reconnection and see follow through that matches the words being said. If it is not there, he does not feel there is anything to reconnect with, and he moves onward to people who can connect with him on a level he can respect and understand. This is for close relations of course and he applies a lesser level to lesser relationships. It truly is based on context.

Acknowledgement/ Systems Thinking
1:09:50 - 1:10:37 "Acknowledging what you have done, taking responsibility for it... They are a node in that system, there is really nothing you can do to control them, all you can every do is influence in them. If you did something that caused harm, you have to recognize the node in the system that you are and even if you change your self as that the node, the emergent will change...even if the other person themselves have a responsibility in that way, it is not your job to point that out, especially if you are taking responsibility for your part."

The rest of the podcast focuses on all four parts of an apology. I HIGHLY recommend the listen. It also focuses on receiving and calling it good, or re assessing the status of a relationship in a peaceful way. It's important that you are YOU, in an authentic honest way moving towards either re- establishing trust or perhaps accepting the apology but realizing that maybe you need to spend some time apart. Joel and Antonia also speak about the fact that you don't know what the other person will do on their end. "They could refuse to reconcile with you. Maybe they will reconnect the relationship or they might really relish in your ego hit. It can go either way but the work on your end, and it takes skills to be able to take whatever does come back to you when you humble and become the best version of yourself", is worth the time.

I have taken this form of reconnection (formerly known as forgiveness and apology) since I have understood personalities years ago. I pretty much forced all friends, loved ones, and people I could not figure out to take the test or I accurately guessed their personality based on my intuitive observational skills. Then, when it came to conflict, I studied their way of conversing and tried my best to speak in the language they understood when it mattered most. It's truly about soul dialogues. Personality is the key to the inner 'soul words' needed for understanding and peace. Most of my relationships are peaceful and in harmony. They have their slight moments of conflicts but most are resolved quite fast due to the quick understanding both parties have built. With my christian friends I use christian lingo a bit more, but I am also not untrue to whom I am...I just know they respond better and understand me more when I speak within their use of words. Which is why it is a relief to have a few safe people who understand me even when I do not do this, because it is an effort. In the end, I find I have to walk the tension of being true to me, but honouring the truths of others. It's always a line. It's different in each circumstance. Each context demands a different pattern of thinking. Yet, this attention often will equal a greater amount of love and reconnection...and when it does not...it is ok to walk on a different path.






Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To All the Male Friends and Peers In My Life Before- Thank You ( A letter from a previously Undiagnosed Autistic Woman to her Former Male Friends)


In my adult life I have a focus on women's issues, women's friendships and women's beauty. But as a teen and young adult, the male race provided me with most of my support, friendship and acceptance. I did have a gal who was considered my best friend and a core group of girlfriends that I still carry on with today whom are lovely ladies I have written about in the past, but some of my main friendships were guys from Elementary to High School.

At the one job I managed to last more than six months at, my main support were the stock/ grocer/bag boys who enabled my many disabilities (of which I knew nothing about at the time but just felt) to be overlooked. Of course, a couple of cashier girls also supported me, but I would not have made it through without these guys. Being Autistic, on the spectrum, without knowing it, but still dealing with ALL of the vulnerable issues that come with that, was not an easy feat. At the time, a cashier's job was to memorize all the codes for the produce. More than 60 codes over four digits. My memory has never worked well with numbers, plus I did not know that I had Dyscalculia, a condition in which I see numbers switched all the time (so 65 looks like 56 ect.)

My cashier line would be held up if I couldn't find the code in the handy code book my dad made me. I begged every night to quit that job for over six months before I settled in. I cried because I felt so incapable. I didn't realize that often I was internalizing the social interactions I had because I did not understand them. I could not often tell if someone was angry at me or just in a rush. I definitely couldn't tell when older men were flirting with me unless one of the other cashiers pointed it out and then I felt foolish because my naive friendliness was probably misunderstood as flirting back. There were about 7 stock/bag boys at the time, most from the other school in town, that became my friends.

I realize looking back that most of how I made it through school life and navigated the social system was through sheer luck, friendship and using my semi ok looks. I wasn't ugly but wasn't a beauty either but it was used to my advantage. My perceived "sweetness" or "shyness" was also sometimes a boon to get the support I needed. I was lucky because it was a small town with a lot of protection built in to it, with my family's name, the school system, and the community at the time.

The guys who worked with me liked me in general. Probably because I was known for being sweet (which still baffles me) and because I was a little bit cute. Thus, I had their attention and built upon that. I worked hard to be friends with each of them on some level, so that when I needed help, one of them would always be there and not resent me too much. As soon as my voice came on the intercom to ask for help one of them would show up...or two...and they all memorized my codes FOR me. Yup, each of them knew the codes and would whisper them to me when the manager wasn't around while they bagged groceries. That is how I literally made it through two years at that job. They also would talk to the costumers for me with light chit chat or include me in it. When I looked shy (I was actually more confused or baffled, and private then shy) they would step in and take over. Some women may think that is patriarchal, or ironic considering I am against all patriarchy, but to me this was friendship. The fact that they were male DID make it easier on some level, but it wasn't that they thought I was the "little woman." They respected me most of the time, thought I was funny, and treated me equally...even if they did help me out. I helped them out by constantly listening to their girl woes and giving INFJ insightful advice, that more often than not, worked for them.

I related to men more in general. I found guys easier to talk to. I also found them less likely to play games which held great appeal to me. If a guy liked me, he generally told me and I would generally ask to be friends, and somehow we always ended up being friends without too many resentments. I am thankful to each one of them. Most of them were willing to listen to my blunt statements and still be my friend. I had one guy who would edit all my writing and encourage me with all my essays and I edited his drafts. I loved our friendship because of that writing/editing value and even though we shared inner soul thoughts it never went beyond friendship. My husband and I bumped into him a few times in a nearby city and found out he writes for a living. I loved hearing that and was excited for him upon hearing his job choice and that he had a child on the way. I had another guy friend with whom I started out our friendship by telling him that I didn't like him because he was "a self righteous, pompous person who used God as leverage to heighten himself above others." I can still see his face when I said that so sweetly and I barely knew him. He was so shocked at that statement but to his credit, he asked how he could come across better. He tried to win me over with little anonymous encouragement notes until I found out it was him and we became friends. I am an INFJ which means I can be both cruel and sweet depending on the situation, and since this is a rare personality combined with my autism diagnosis- I was not an easy person to figure out. Click HERE for more. (There are obviously moments that went terribly wrong and a few male friends whom I know will forever dislike me if I ever come up in memory.)

I wasn't into all the sexualized drama of teenage hood. I was trying to survive. I often felt like I was drowning. Looking back I realize that generally, the Autistic brain can relate more to the unemotional, logical aspect of the male brain. Not in all cases, but there is a camaraderie between the logic of an Aspie/ Asperger's woman/ Autistic and the logic of a male. Women are logical too of course, but autistic women are less inclined to be into any social games, gossip chains, or competition modes. Autistics are actually very empathetic in general, but we don't come across as such because we lack the facial expression most expect and communication that culture demands. It's a myth that we are logical robots but we do respect logic while at the same time deeply feeling what is around us. I also was an INFJ (click)which meant I liked to counsel people about whatever my interests were at the time...which basically came down to the christian god, romance and friendships.

I also attribute my sexual protection (Autistic teenagers can often be taken advantage of due to their different perceptions of a situation) to one crush I had that lasted for YEARS. One of my best guy friend's was brothers to this boy who was a year younger then us. Looking back I think I took interest in this guy because he was non threatening. He wasn't my typical type. The moment my crush ended was the moment I stopped thinking about him unless someone brought him up. Which shows how very fluffy it was, but at the time I thought it was love, and I was obsessed. Being an Autistic, we can get obsessed by people, and this guy reminded me of Paul Brandt...a country artist I was also obsessed with. So, I chased and made a fool of myself but it was comfortable.

My crushes' brother and I became close and exchanged letters all the time. To this day I think of his brother but rarely, unless I run into him, do I think of the guy I actually had a crush on. Unless, it is with gratitude. I think of him sometimes when I think of my daughter's first crushes. I hope she gets someone like him. Because he would tease me a bit and we would hang out, his brother, himself and I, but he never used me or even mocked me (at least to my face.) Those two wild brothers taught me how to drive in country fields, ride horses, crazily drive down country roads with music blasting and generally taught me how to let loose a little because I liked to be in control (because being autistic in the world means one is often NOT in control of the sensory data.) We had fun. But the one I crushed on, always made it very clear that he wasn't interested in me. In fact, once he even told me that if he was a lesser guy and on looks alone, he would go for me, but our personalities didn't suit. He had wisdom I did not at the time. He was definitely right. We were not at all alike or even the type to be attracted to each other. I basically objectified him... poor guy, but he was a trooper. I needed someone to talk about when all the other girls talked about their boyfriends and experiences...unrequited love was the perfect escape. I think I chose him subconsciously because of that. I used him a bit (unknowingly at the time) to get through the higher years of high school while still being accepted by my peers. My whole school knew I had a crush on him from grade nine to twelve and that he was my friend but uninterested in me. I was very convinced I was in love which convinced the school that I was off the market which saved me from a lot of uncomfortable experiences. And when a guy was brave enough to approach me, I used my crush as an excuse to let him down easily. This was perfect for an autistic person in school, navigating the confusing, fragile system.

He was safe. He was in another school, he wasn't interested, he respected me as a friend, and his brother was a close confidante. I will be FOREVER grateful to him for this. Looking back, I could have had a lot of experiences that many autistics unfortunately have....naively getting taken advantage of, having unwanted physical experiences, or just a lot of pain navigating the teen dating world. For that reason alone, I still breathe a sigh of relief and send thankful vibes to him and his family. But I didn't love him. I loved his brother in a forever way, in which I still will often think of him and wonder how he is, if he is thriving, and hope that his life always goes well. (I know I could look him up if I had Facebook but I don't want to. I am of the mentality and INFJ way which believes that when something is done- it is done until it flows back naturally into life. I don't believe in looking up people I miss unless I am concerned about them or have a warning dream about their lives. I don't believe in prolonging relationships out of curiosity or just to add more followers to social media. However, I do hope I can send genuine thank you vibes:) In the end, it was his brother who was the background support for most of those years of my life. He let me make a fool of myself and confess things I probably shouldn't have confessed. He accepted me. He was a true friend.

And I had many more lucky interactions like that. My first "boyfriend" was in grade seven/eight. He left a rose in my grocery cart when I was shopping with my mom. I didn't know what do do so I yelled out, "Hey you dropped this!" He winked and said, "I know." I use the term "boyfriend" loosely because all we did was become friends, hang out and eventually we held hands or he put his arm around me for the many movies I had him sit through...and that is as far as it went. He didn't push and we became phone friends, and talked for hours monthly, after he moved away in grade ten until the end of grade twelve. We had our arguments, but again, I was lucky to have people who seemed to sense my naïveté and instead of exploiting it, they protected it. Him and another guy became two of my closest friends in my two toughest years of Junior High. I call grade 7 and 8 my 'Ugly Years...' (metaphorically, on a depressive mental level and physically) and those two guy friends who hung out with two other gals and I, are the only happy moments I can remember from those years.

My mother was called by a few teachers to be told that I was hanging out "with the druggies and rough crowd" and that she should "save me or discipline me to make better connections." Luckily, my parents trusted my judgment. While I was naive I was also very insightful. I have always been a paradox. I generally could tell who had the pure soul despite actions and who was full of crap despite a shiny exterior. My mother told the teachers off and let them know that I knew what I was about. Once I was offered stuff, I said it wasn't for me, and that is as far as it ever went. I guess there was a fair amount of respect for my decisions or I was just blissfully unaware. I rarely felt peer pressure.

Even though I was a strong christian at the time, with a huge moral compass, I actually thought that these "wayward" souls were the kindest and worthiest people in the school. They didn't play as many games. They said shit and told it like it was. I responded well to honesty and vulnerability. Almost all of my better conversations happened with my male friends. I was just better at getting them to talk for hours and I think most of them needed a trusted outlet. My dad would call our phone 'K's counselling service'.  There were quite a few guys I spent many hours on the phone to talking about their crushes. Unfortunately, I was naive and a few times it backfired to the point that they started crushing on another girl but switched to me because of all of our soul talks. I never saw this coming and felt awful about it each time because I DID think I was in love with the other country boy and I was quite loyal to what I thought was ME. It was ironic because I understood others with accurate perception most of the time but not when it came to anything connected to myself. Which now with therapy and diagnosis I generally know myself accurately, but it took years to get to this point and sometimes I still have to verbalize. In fact, my best kindred talks with me an average of three or more hours a week about life, and then I also have my husband and therapy. These are the reasons I am balanced more now and I am very thankful they all think I am intriguing, funny and smart despite all my interesting verbal quirks and weird sayings. But back in school I did not know ANY of this. I knew I was a pain sometimes but in general my guy friends and I got along well. Looking back, I sigh with relief. A number of things could have gone wrong in those situations but always, always, always, someone was there for me.

I also had a best male friend from grade nine onward, who became to me, like an ingrained forever family member. We both felt alienated in the school for different reasons. He came out in adulthood as gay and I came out as autistic. We both had a kinship probably because of our minority status we did not fully understand at the time. I loved him more than most because of the ample time we spent together. We usually walked or drove to school together, spent lunches together, went home together, spent the evening together, and sometimes the weekends. It was a lot of time invested so naturally, a lot of love and concern and complications went with that. But overall, he was my partner for those years to get through.

In Elementary school, my neighbours growing up were a family of four boys, who moved out to a farm but my family kept in touch. So I watched them roughhouse, shoot mice and gophers and talk about snakes, but they also played dress up and sat through my renditions of the Sound of Music. I had differing friendships with each one of them as I got older and appreciate, looking back, the valuable support and acceptance their entire family gave me. The eldest one helped pitch my tent for me, at each stop we made, the month that we spent on a youth trip in the Yukon. I didn't know I had Dyspraxia and I was soooo clumsy and unable to do practical things like pitch a tent. In those circumstances, it was translated into "K is too girly to do these type of things" which I let slide because I would rather be considered "too prissy" then incapable. I used a lot of myths and labels to my advantage because I needed to get through. Often undiagnosed Neurodiverse people in the school system become collectors of unflattering labels. In adulthood I would rather it be known that I am Autistic then have the labels like, "Nerdy," "Clumsy," "Shy," Socially Inappropriate," "Snobby, "Flirty," "Awkward," or any other narrow descriptions. I have received statements like,"You are too high functioning to be an Autistic!" Which is supposed to be a compliment but really it feels like more of an insult. (See THIS post for more and the autism label.) Often Neurodiverse conditions will come with other learning disabilities or differing brain conditions. I didn't know I had learning disabilities (now I know that I have Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia) but I knew my brain could not make the connections when it came to some things and to hide this fact, I leaned into the many labels placed on me and made them work. Thus, I was often "prissy" and my guy friends would want to help out...thankfully. Girls were more catty about the attention I would sometimes receive, not realizing it was my survival mode and also friendships that went back to early Grades school.

In Junior High my guy friends would put up with me constantly picking up cheesy romantic comedies for movie night. I think I made a couple of them sit through "That Thing You Do" or "Only You" at least seven times. I had no idea of how I sometimes came across. I just enjoyed the movies and was obsessed with them, so we watched them again and again. The guys were probably high and I had no idea, but still, it was fun for me. I also did not understand social rules of privacy, so I shared details of monthly cycles and they each knew generally when I had that time. Ha, I think I stretched many of them with my verbal openness. Honestly, I think I didn't know how to deal with it because I was anemic and in pain. When I didn't/don't know how to deal with something, I verbalize until I can figure it out. Also, I don't find most normal functions of the body something to hide or be embarrassed about - it's normal to half the human race, so while having dignity is important, why can't one talk about normal functions? My best friend says I have stretched her immensely in this area of speech but now she is more comfortable conversing on most topics. Thus, there are some memories when I think within a quirky context, "What was I saying??"  but most were overlooked, some were teased and I'm sure others were talked about behind my back but I didn't care much about that. I'm still considered "too open" with details in writing or verbally at times, but to me, these details are not the inner core of who I am, thus it is easy to give the details away and not think I am giving much of anything, when most people view that as a lot of information. I have to go back and edit words that make most people feel uncomfortable but I think nothing of. This actually makes no sense to me because most people experience the same bodily functions.Yes, privacy matters, but why can't things be talked about? At their core, social and cultural rules I will adhere to simply to make peace but most I don't apply to my own life. When it comes to personal depth, I am a very layered individual and I only reveal certain layers to certain people. To me, there is a deeper core that isn't shown and as long as I protect my inner soul, I like having the freedom to express whatever I wish. When I am verbalizing to someone it usually isn't for advice because I figure that out on my own while I am talking. I am thankful that when I did monologue (something those on the spectrum are prone to do) that each of my male friends allowed me to use them as a trusted sounding board.

I loved each of them deeply. Some more than others, but I think of each of them, in my INFJ way. Which means, in my heart/mind I carry a piece of each of them, with me forever, and there is a little space in my soul dedicated to each of them specifically. It's not in a sexual or romantic love way. It's in a deep growth, friendship, brotherhood/sisterhood, teaching/learning, love way.

I married young, and did everything that I felt I needed to do to protect my very vulnerable marriage, which meant cutting off all ties with guys. I burned every photo with a guy in it. Yup. It is not something I would do now, but for some reason I felt I needed to do it at the time. I sometimes wish I had those fun pictures to show my children as they compromised most of my friendships. I don't have many pictures at all because it was the pre digital age. Every male who was my friend was invited to the wedding but wasn't talked to much after. I felt awful about it and I went through a mini crisis at the time but my Aspie brain could not understand the difference between loyalty to my husband and friendships with other men. It was probably good, in hindsight, that I did this, because I am a very loyal person in my soul, and I would have probably confused those loyalties when I was young, innocent and undiagnosed. Thus, not one of my male friendships, a few of which were my main supports growing up, and a few I had known since Kindergarten and Grade Four, lasted beyond twenty.

However, they STILL looked out for me. We were extremely poor the first few years of our marriage and also had kids to support. We went to the local restaurant on a special occasion with our kids. We only had enough in our bank account to eat the meal but we wanted to do something special for once. When the bill came the waitress said, "Oh it's paid. Rusty covered it." I didn't know my guy friend by that nickname so I was baffled and said thanks...and realized years later it was a school chum I was friends with. That happened a few times. We also had anonymous groceries dropped at our door and I found out later it was some of my school guy friends. We had gifts given and moments of protection that we didn't know came from them. And those brothers I mentioned before? They came to our home and played with our toddlers after church once. Because we kept asking families to join us for dinner and no one ever accepted. We were very lonely in those years because we were still kids that wanted to have fun but we also had kids. We didn't fit in with the older family set but we no longer fit in with our teenage, early twenty something, single friends. These brothers witnessed us asking people over and my former friend walked over to me and said, "Hey Kiss, if you want, we would love to come over." And I cried later when I was alone. I cried. Because I had burned all of his pictures (not that he knew that- I burned everyone's pictures) and hadn't talked to him much, other than a polite 'Hi' in church, for a couple years. And he brought his brother over and they played with my kids and chatted with us. And for a moment we felt our age. Of course it didn't happen much. We all had our own lives and eventually they both got married and my husband and I finally grew into our own roles of happiness and life. We quit church which made everything better for us in general, and we became the unit we are today. But those moments mattered.


My husband is now my best support. I have poured everything I gave to others into him. Most people are in awe at our relationship. Some say it is weird. He is baffled when at men's groups the guys share things they never tell their wives and he says they are shocked when he mentions that he feels comfortable communicating all things to me. Mostly we are best friends. The bathroom door is always open, and we don't tend to hide any sort of thought or human activity. He protects me in the ways that I need, and I protect him. It's why our marriage works well on most days. Because we are honest and communicate thoroughly...and we laugh a lot. He is my soul and I am his. (See marriage label for more.) It was worth cutting all ties for him so I was less confused and concentrated on our unique and young start, but I now wish that all the men I loved before him, would know how eternally grateful I am. I know they helped shape me into who I am and enabled a quality of life I would not have otherwise had as a differently neurodiverse person on this earth. Probably most of them wouldn't be shocked to find out I am autistic once they understood what that means without all of the myths surrounding it. Most would probably go, "ahhhhh now it all makes sense." But I think most of them would also be kind about it. Generally, they were all kind, intelligent and fun individuals. I still tend to talk more with the men, if we have families over, than the women. I have to consciously make an effort to appear like I am not flirting or that I am not overly taking interest in the opposite gender. But if my husband is there, and the other gal is fine with it, sometimes the husband and I will talk for hours while my husband talks with the wife. I enjoy soul connections, deep conversations that skip the boring social protocol of chit chat, and vocal, healthy council...more often then not, it is the men who seek out my conversation in this way. Generally, we just don't have couples over anymore as we like our space and time. But I have fond memories of brief conversations, like the last high school reunion, chatting it up with a guy friend I knew (and always loved to chat with) from grade five onward and speaking about relationships for a couple hours while my husband chatted with everyone else...

As my daughter gets older, I have been giving this more thought. She is now at the age where I started having crushes, "boyfriends" and soul friends whom were the opposite sex. And where I had no memories before, I am now being triggered and remembering events I have not thought about in years. I can honestly say, that looking back, I am so relieved. I can not even begin to explain my gratitude to all my friends, male and female, who accepted me for whom I was or enabled me to seem less disabled during times I needed to be so. I sometimes wish I could thank each one of them, but I know that would be weird and considered socially inappropriate.

That is the difference between me now and me then. I'm still an alien to most of our culture. I am odd, I am a mystery, naive yet aware, I am complex and never socially appropriate in my most natural state, but I now KNOW what is generally thought of as socially inappropriate. In important situations, I now call on all the information I have learned on the net and in therapy about people, contexts, cultural expectations and etiquette. I don't always follow it nor wish to, but if I need to know it- I generally do. There are a few times I am caught off guard and have no idea until later how different I was to others....but mostly I understand what I didn't before. So since it would be socially inappropriate or "freaky" to contact them all and thank them, I am writing this post out into the void, which is unlikely to get to the specified audience but cathartic nonetheless.

Funny enough, when I write about myself, I most often picture a male audience even though my core group is women. I also write on topics geared more towards women in general and do tend to speak to a larger women audience for most posts, but if it's a post about me, I picture mostly men reading. Which now finally makes sense to me because I wondered why I did that...it's because they were the main group who listened to me growing up and gave me more time. I viewed my friends as my family and I literally got by with a little help from my friends. I felt growth and acceptance (mostly) which is what I often hope is communicated in my writing.

To all the men I loved before...Thank you.



this version is also fun...oh boys...:):