Self-Actualization and What It Means

 

I have no idea what I’m doing. This is my mantra because I have the luxury of adopting it. Educated, privileged, and experienced enough to manage my well-being, I can self-actualize. But I’m not sure what that means. How do I accomplish this near enlightenment?

Our currency-based, materialistic society does not prepare us for what to do after we have reached a level of comfort that frees up time and resources. Many buy more “things” to fill the void while others work more and accumulate more money.

My question is, when the inevitability of death claims these people, what do they have to show for their efforts? Things? A money market? How is this a life well-lived?

Of course, these individuals may disagree with me, but I can’t help but think there are nagging doubts that follow them throughout their lives. Which leaves me with the obvious question of “what’s next?” I’m tasked with finding my way, and I have no fucking idea?

Right now, I’m part of an intentional community. I read Tarot cards for a fee. I offer life coaching services to help others find their ways. I’m very good at giving advice, of seeing what is best for my clients to reach their goals and aspirations.

I suck at doing this for myself, yet I only trust one person on the face of this earth to help me and I don’t know if he’s real. Everyone else, all the readers and psychics, don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Maybe I’m a snob. Maybe I’m too full of myself and my own talents to bend on this.

All I know is that I have guides, ones who have been tested, and they have never steered me wrong. Some are ancestors; some are from the star nations; and some are living, breathing humans with whom I communicate telepathically. They are wise, and they are very real to me. They look out for me.

Or maybe it’s me and I’m projecting. However, I do know that when I intentionally pursue those things that may be beyond my control, synchronicity happens. The needed event or the desired outcome occur without my intervention. When I pursue the frivolous, nothing happens at all.

For now, I drift along, ensconced in an inner tube of ego on the river of existence. I do go where the river takes me. I don’t question myself unless I discover a route that will capture me in stagnant waters. I do know I must keep moving.

Self-actualization is a waterfall. This is a strange analogy for most, but to self-actualize is to do the thing you fear the most: annihilate the ego. We define ourselves with labels of mother, husband, loser, or executive. We cling to these labels, terrified of the ambiguity this state of being.

My medication has allowed me to shake free of many of these labels, but it is taking a long time. I am shedding all the stuff that I have hidden behind, both internally and externally. Still, a year and a half later, I’m not where I want to be, where I feel I need to be to self-actualize.

I want to go over the waterfall edge some days and other days, I want to anchor my inner tube right at the edge and marvel at the height of the fall and the rough waters that wait below. One day, I will take the plunge, but today is not the day because honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing.

©2018 I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text. Image may be subject to copyright.

Narcissists: A Dime A Dozen

I was in a“relationship” for six or so years. He was temperamental, demanding, and unreasonable. It never occurred to me that I was reliving the original relationship with my mother, only with someone who could fuck like an animal.

Everyone on the outside would shake their heads and give me advice. To no avail, because there were lessons in the relationship from which I couldn’t be saved. But I was drowning, and the life-savers thrown would sink into the abyss of my own self-destruction.

I shudder when I think about the abuse I allowed. That’s right. I was a grown-assed woman and I allowed the unwarranted insults, the crazy accusations, the breakups, and the addictive reconciliations. I was on an emotional roller coaster that I had built for myself.

Everyone on the outside would shake their heads and give me advice.

Others saw it as my wasting six years of my life. My mother hated him with a virulence I’d never witnessed. She would withdraw from his presence in revulsion. She left a bar-b-que because he was there and blamed me. I discovered then that narcissists hate each other.

Let me explain what I know about narcissism based on my personal experience. They hate themselves. There is none of this “I love myself, and that’s why I only think of myself.” People who love do not engage in self-aggrandizing, self-serving behaviors.

Narcissists hate themselves. They never feel like they are enough. They tear down the people who embody what they want to be but don’t know how to achieve. They crave attention to validate their existences. And it’s never enough, because their methods and successes are hollow.

Narcissists hate themselves.

I almost learned the lesson in the first month of the relationship. He had “broken-up” with me, and I had walked away with no regrets. But he called. He wanted me back. He abased himself. I thought it was because he “loved” me.

I roll my eyes now, but then, his pleas were a huge stroke to my ego. I didn’t know that I would play a part in the dynamics of a text-book case of narcissism. I didn’t know that I would suffer an abuse that would destroy everything I believed about myself.

All the signs were there. He was sweet and desperate in the beginning, as if I was the only woman in the world. Then he would push me away.

I didn’t know that I would play a part in the dynamics of a text-book case of narcissism.

I’m one of the most faithful and loyal people I know. It sounds self-congratulatory, but this is my strength – and my weakness. I am an immovable foundation in my relationships. Loyalty, love, family and in that order.  It’s a principle that I adhere to because it’s something that I haven’t experienced even though I’ve always tried to embody these qualities.

I’m the kind of person to whom narcissists gravitate because I devote myself to making my partner happy. He turned this strength against me. His jealousy was unfathomable. A man would look at me and it was my fault. I was a lying whore because I had friendships with men. I thought these abominations were a sign of his “love,” because that was what he told me when he would “apologize.”

So, I took him back into my warm, loyal embrace. I would overlook his excuses, his absences, and his cowardice. I held onto the debris of every shipwreck thinking this “rescue” would be different. I tried to make this parody work. I lavished him with my love and affection always wondering why I wasn’t giving him enough to be happy.

I am an immovable foundation in my relationships. Loyalty, love, family and in that order.

I used to wear my heart on my sleeve. If you wanted to know what I was feeling, all you had to do was look at my face. I found it difficult to hide my thoughts. I felt deeply and still do, but in that “relationship” my feelings were used as a weapon to stab myself repeatedly.

I was susceptible because I was reliving my relationship with my mother in a never-ending cycle of self-loathing. As I look back on my own life, memories as early as the age of two reveal a pattern of push-and-pull. I had been “set-up” to despise myself as a lying, attention-seeking whore. By my own mother. As a toddler.

It’s true what the experts say. The narcissist will use every weapon to hold onto his victim. The phone calls, not only from him, but from his family, were incessant. I would arrive home to his truck at my curb; his cologne on envelopes contained three-page letters upon which he poured out his “pain” and “remorse.” He even wrote upon the concrete walk-way that led to my front door. In children’s sidewalk chalk.

I had been “set-up” to despise myself as a lying, attention-seeking whore.

When I left him, I felt hunted. I trembled for three months: mind, heart, and body. I changed my email addresses and my phone numbers. In the aftermath, I discovered that he had done things to hurt me that would only become evident weeks and months after the “break-up.” He wanted to make sure I’d feel his presence like a menacing shadow to the point of destroying my only haven.

I believe his addiction to me was genuine, but he is incapable of love. I should hate him, but I don’t. I know how to love, deeply. He couldn’t understand this depth if he wanted to and I pity him.

I believe people can be kind. Narcissists know how to be sweet and charismatic that first month or two, so I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But the moment I smell a whiff of manipulative behavior, I disengage. It’s almost comical to see his or her face right before I disappear.

I trembled for three months: mind, heart, and body.

Today, I cry for the child I had been. I cry for the child stuck in a body that “adulted” on automatic. I also amaze myself. I love, deeply, despite it all. Loyalty, love, and family allow me to rebuild my haven.

This foundation within me has always been unshakeable and if it seemed contrary to my behavior in the past, it was only because I had given away my power to another.

The lesson learned? No one can take power from you. Only you can give away who you are.

©2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text. Image may be subject to copyright.

Walk on Water

 

Walk on Water (1)

 

I was maybe ten or eleven. My feet, dressed in navy blue Keds, dangled over the water. I could see the soles and my dark knee-length socks reflected in the water. I sat on the edge of a pier and found that peaceful part inside myself. It was a part of me that I could only find when I was alone.

I know my family thought I was odd. Sitting on the end of a pier over the calm waters of the Magothy River, I could feel their eyes on my back. From the warm den with its picture window, they wondered about me. They worried about a girl who would choose to sit out in the chilly, overcast March day, Easter no less, than in the warmth with her family.

But I was content here. I was wrapped in my own little world of magic and probabilities. I’m not quite sure what I was dreaming at the time, but a voice interrupted.

I knew the voice wasn’t outside of me. I wasn’t sure if it was me or someone – something else, but I could hear its words very clearly.

“Walk on water.”

“What?”

“Walk on water.”

I hesitated. How was I supposed to walk on water? Like Jesus. Jesus was a miracle worker. I doubted I was.

“Go on. You can do it.”

The bottom of my feet tingled, right through the soles of my shoes, and my body felt weird. Lighter. The water beckoned, and I wondered if I had finally lost my mind.

I felt like two people in that space between two moments. The breeze froze. Sound halted. Even the gleaming ripples held their place as if caught in a photograph.

I was torn between faith and terror. I knew in a very deep part of myself that this walking-on-water thing was a possibility. I understood on a visceral level that I was able to bend space and time with my thoughts. But was it probable? And what would happen?

My mind raced over the potential fallout. I could fail miserably. I’d sink into the water, floundering and freezing, and end up in the hospital. First the ER and then the sanitarium because I had clearly tried to commit suicide. And I heard voices. Tsk, tsk.

I could succeed. My family would watch me walk to shore, unharmed, dry as a bone, and serene as a perfect, summer day. I would be canonized as a saint by the Pope no less. My grandmother would be so proud. “I made her come to church every Sunday.”

And no one would leave me alone. I would be pursued, hassled, and asked to perform the miracle again and again. Scientists would study me, even want to dissect me, and I would become a ward of the United States government. Perhaps to use as a weapon against Russia.

Either way, I would die inside. I thought of my brothers, alone with the monster that consumed our father and helpless beneath the indifference of our mother. I knew I was all that stood between them and the madness of our home life.

I didn’t want any of it. And as the voice continued to cajole me, I chose to do nothing. Well, I chose to argue with the voice, and this was something I did not do to an authority.

“No.”

I waited for punishment, for reprobation, and for rejection.

“Why?” was all the voice asked.

“I’m needed here. This is the path I chose.”

I could feel the voice’s silence in my head like a pressure.  Weight squeezed me into something small and insignificant. I struggled against the heaviness.

Perhaps I was a coward. Perhaps I had chosen the devil-I-know. I’m sure I did. Fear is a many-splendored prison. But I knew that any way I sliced this bread, all the pieces were stale.

The scrutiny, the concern, and the potential for imprisonment was too great if I chose to act on the voice’s demand. Though I was in a different prison, I knew that eventually, I could escape.

I also knew I had work to do. I had children to raise and words to write. I had dreams to pursue and a life to build. I had my humanity and I had plans to develop it to the highest heights I could reach.

The voice stopped cajoling as it watched the visions that unfolded in my head. I felt the pressure ease and let out a sigh of relief.

“Very well. You have made your choice.”

I blinked. The chilly breeze caressed my cheek. Sound flooded my ears with the lap of water against wood and the call of a hungry seagull. The waves threw muted flashes of light into the dark cavern beneath the pier.

I was alone again. I was sane again. Mostly.

I rose to my feet, dusted off my skirt, and shivered. I had never remembered an experience like that. I had other instances of insanity, but none had made me feel as small and frightened as this one.

I studied my grandparents’ house, which looked like one of the models that Pop Pop would place around his beloved Christmas train garden. On Easter, the garden was carefully stored away for the next Christmas.

I returned to the stifling warmth of family. I picked through the basket of candy I’d been given. I pulled Easter grass from my hair. I argued with my brothers (“Stop touching me!”) as we returned home.

I felt relief as my head hit the pillow. The status quo had been maintained for everyone but me. My brothers were as safe as I could keep them, wrapped in the bliss of ignorance.

Only I was changed forever and to this day, that moment on the pier haunts me.

© 2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text. Image may be subject to copyright.

Suicide, My Sweet Suicide

 

Suicide my sweet suicide

I wrote this post on August 21, 2018. I do not claim to have predicted this tragedy. I.O.

 

I know I’m a little late on the draw, and that my carefully considered opinion may not help in the aftermath, but when Jill Janus of Huntress took her life, it left me stunned. Not because it seemed unlikely. I’m too much of a realist to be shocked by suicide, especially when committed by someone battling mental illness.

Jill was very open about her mental illness. She struggled with it every day and somehow managed to put a good face on it. I didn’t know her personally, but her bravery and honesty encouraged me to do the same. I realize now that she is my hero out of all the people I could choose.

Today, as I suffer for going to a concert on a Sunday – just going to a concert, not performing like she did – sent a shiver through me. Will I be next? Will I end it just to escape a particularly bad spell out of a handful of bad spells?

Because I have them. I will repeat myself until not only the sufferers understand, but those blessed to not have any way of relating to their suffering loved ones. On an average of every two to three weeks, I’m reminded of why I take my medication every day.

Jill was very open about her mental illness.

I have bad times, almost 26 episodes in a year that may last anywhere from 1-5 days at a time. Very few people know this about me. Even my loved ones are shocked when I tell them.

But these episodes are mild in comparison to untreated bipolar. I’m grateful this is all that is happening instead of a full blown relapse. I have a significant degree of control over my wellness now.

I am currently suffering from a migraine, a syndrome that often goes hand in hand with Bipolar. I didn’t drink or do anything weird this past Sunday, but the act of going to a concert, of enjoying myself, has a price.

I travel for work. One to two-hour drives, one-way. I love what I do. I do a job that gives my life meaning and that helps others. But I can’t work back-to-back days like that. I can’t work week-long details in the heat of August like I used to.

…the act of going to a concert, of enjoying myself, has a price.

This isn’t getting old and decrepit. I know plenty of people older than me who are tired, yes, but not debilitated by such work. I would need an entire week to recover. I would need to lie in bed most of the day.

I plan rest around what I do, rather than the other way around. I slept for most of the next day after the Grand Canyon. I took naps in between every activity on my vacation because I HAD to. When I was awake, I was full of vim and vigor. But I had to recharge because each activity exacted not only a physical toll but an emotional toll.

All those people. Fucking everywhere. Some so rude my blood simmered. I can’t imagine how it must be to have everyone in your face because you are a well-known and respected musician like Jill. As much as I’d appreciate the people supporting my work, I’d snap at some point.

I have gotten to the place where I tell my friends, “I love you. I want to see you again, but right now, I cannot people anymore.” Because I want to be able to tell them the same thing twenty-five years from now.

I can’t imagine how it must be to have everyone in your face because you are a well-known and respected musician like Jill.

My comrades in arms, boundaries are a good thing. Being actively nice or in performance mode all the time doesn’t get you anything but exhausted. There is a point where giving and giving and giving becomes a psychotic nightmare.

Take care of yourselves. Rest. Acknowledge that rest is not a weakness but a way to build your strength. If someone can’t handle your need to rest, get rid of him. If someone refuses to respect your boundaries, send her packing. Sometimes, you’ll have to be firm, and that’s a shame, but kindness can be disguised in assertiveness.

I know it’s hard. Believe me, I know. I’ve been told I’m kind to a fault. But I want to live. I want to enjoy life. I do not want to slide into the darkness that Jill fought to keep at bay.

I want her to be proud of me. I want her words and deeds to carry forward. I want her to know that wherever she is now, imperfectly perfect as she was, she had an impact. She saved lives, mine included.

I do not want to slide into the darkness that Jill fought to keep at bay….She saved lives, mine included.

To Jill’s family, I convey my deepest sympathy. You understood well enough to support her through her nightmare the way she needed. Relinquish blame. You stood by her side through all of it and you are brave and noble people. I hope others learn from your resilience and compassion.

You will not be forgotten, Jill. Even by people who have never met you. There is no shame to what you did or didn’t do. To me, you are a fallen hero and I will carry the standard, wave the flag, shout to the skies that you were never weak. You, sweet Jill, were stronger than many. Rest in peace.

© 2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text. Image may be subject to copyright.

 

Fury + Fear = General Anxiety Disorder?

My Fury embodies the energy of Kali: Goddess of Rage and Resistance.

Fury is what I feel when I’m helpless. Plus fear is what I feel when my amygdala kicks in with the fight-or-flight reaction (FFR) and I can’t make it stop. Equals General Anxiety Disorder.

Looks pretty simple, but it isn’t. If I broke into rages instead of a panic attack, then my fury would be diagnosed and treated. The anxiety expressed in those rages would not be addressed. If I have panic attacks instead, because I’ve been victimized one too many times, only the anxiety would be treated.

Therapist: What are you afraid of?
Me: I don’t know. I’m safe, there is nothing to fear.
T: Then why do you think you have panic attacks?
M: Because that was the only way I could express my fury.

It leaked out of me 24/7. How do you treat that kind of fury? The helpless fury that must find an outlet or I’ll explode.

Most therapists are at a loss of how to treat fury-induced anxiety. They don’t consider the other emotions that are tightly woven into the panic response.

Especially for women. Women cry when they are frustrated and feel helpless. This feeds the angry fire.

I’ve learned to embrace my fury. I treat her like a long, lost child who has grown to a strong, even vicious woman. Anger is so destructive when it isn’t given a proper outlet.

For those of you with imagination, anthropomorphize the fury. What does the fury look like? What gender? What species? Build up this image in your mind.
When you know what your fury looks like, embrace it. Tell it you love it and that it is a part of the collective of you. You might have to do this a number of times before Fury trusts you enough to listen.

Once the Fury relaxes enough to have a conversation, you can hit these bullet points:
• I love you as a natural part of who I am as a person.
• I’ve neglected you and I’m sorry for that.
• I understand why you have sabotaged my efforts in the past.
• To show you how sorry I am, I’m asking you to turn your attention to what hinders us.
• Your destructive nature is necessary to sift the wheat from the chaff.
• Let us work together as a team to overcome any obstacles that come our way.

You may have to have this conversation with Fury a few times before it takes, but it will take. Fury will settle into your unconscious mind, where it has always resided, but now Fury has a new directive and will fulfill your request with a focus that is monumental in proportion.

After I did this, my whole life changed. The decisions I made when Fury was not acknowledged were cut and burned. Some of those decisions were salted as well. Fury doesn’t play.

Another role Fury can take is as a defender of the child you were, the child you must raise. This is anxiety. This is helplessness. Have Fury protect and care for this child. Fury was given to us for this purpose.

Many call Fury the Shadow, but this is only true if you deny its existence. Otherwise, it becomes a tool of the heart and mind. You’ll make better decisions. Toxic people will shed from your life. This will be true even if you have a mental illness. I think one of the reasons I survived so long with the illness was because I acknowledged all the icky parts of myself. Just know that Fury is the biggest “shadow” of them all and must be addressed first.

I am not a licensed therapist. I make no claims to having any experience other than my own. If the above practice resonates with you, you’ll have success. If it doesn’t I recommend that you not continue the matter and seek professional help.

Either way, if you are seeing a therapist, discuss the ramifications of a guided meditation. Remember that you are paying the therapist for their expertise and that you are the boss. You are the owner of all the feelings inside of you. If your therapist isn’t open to working with you on anger issues or just recommends prescriptions to the psychiatrist to deal with the anxiety, it’s time to find a new therapist.

Take charge of your journey to wellness. You are mighty, not helpless. Let your Fury become your guardian. Fury will tell you when something isn’t right. Fury will protect you.

©2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text only. Image may be subject to copyright.

That’s Not How Feminism Works, Sweetheart

I know you feel men and women should at least be equal, right? You’re very vocal about this, but I’ve seen you use your feminine charms to crush a besotted male. I’ve seen you order men around because you know they want to get between your thighs and that you have agency of yourself so he’s fair for a game of deceit and would be a monster if he complained.

You’re also very vocal about how feminist and vegan and superior you are to the “baser” humans. Such as men, people who eat meat, and those who haven’t had the same privilege as you.

You say you’re feminist but you don’t represent my aunt, my mother, or me. You have suffered but the reason you are able to make such an outcry over your suffering is because my aunt, my mother, and me have fought for your right to scream your indignation and be heard.

The kind of behavior I describe above is a result of immaturity and not having the experience to see beyond your adolescent world of pure ideals. You haven’t done the hard part of living yet.

Let’s take an example (or two):

You can’t be vegan if you eat dairy, fauna, or marine flesh of any sort because that’s not how plant-based diets work. You don’t get to wear the flashing badge if you “cheat” with some ice cream once in a while.

You can’t claim to be a feminist if you use sex as a weapon because that’s not how equality works. You don’t get to wear the flashing badge if you use biology in that manner.

This is not what feminism is about.

Feminism is built on a respect for all people. You can’t claim superiority because you don’t harm animals but you do manipulate people with the intention of harming their emotional being. People are animals too.

Does masculinity need an overhaul? Fuck yeah. The Y chromosome is still dizzy from the abrupt changes in our culture. They haven’t had time to adjust to their demotion from “kings” to mere humans. But most of them are trying their best.

It would be helpful if you didn’t go around calling people names. It would be prudent not to willfully provoke an already outraged demographic with name calling and hypocrisy. It would be in your best interest to not obnoxiously present yourself as an easy target to those who want to discredit the feminist platform.

I do not suggest remaining silent because that isn’t an authentic state of being. I do encourage you to not give your power away to others. I do hope you believe in your self. I want to see women work together instead of competing for the most alpha male. But it isn’t just for women that feminists marched.

We also marched against the toxic masculinity that continues to destroy the fabric of our society. Complex human beings have been reduced to caricatures on both sides of the line drawn in the sand.

We marched to protect our children from war and overwork in the factories. We marched so that men were allowed to feel and express emotion without being labeled. Unless the label was human.

We’ve all been poisoned by American mores about gender roles and the idea that skin color determines your worth. America has had its pass that is granted to adolescents as they explore the world around them. It’s time for America to grow up and end the hypocrisy.

Authenticity is found in honesty to yourself and others. It is found in discovering that we are all one and to hurt one person is to hurt yourself. Eventually, this compassion will extend itself to all the creatures of this world.

And you, in your ignorance, have weaponized the very thing that subjugated all other women in ages past and yet advertise yourself as superior to others.

That’s not how this works. That’s not how this works at all.

(C) 2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text. Image may be subject to copyright.

Toddlers: How Mine Survived

Toddlers

Raising children is a fine line between harnessing demons and treating them as humans. It’s a difficult job. I’m so glad I’m done.

See, I despise toddlers. I despised my own and I despise other people’s toddlers. Even when toddlers do the cutest things, more often than not, I’ve had to wrestle with them the way I wrestled with my own inner demons. Though I haven’t developed a taste for wine, I understand why Moms need the tonic.

Here is an interesting article that may throw Moms of Toddlers a lifeline.

I like infants. They can’t get away from me and they can’t say “no.” I love to hold them and soothe them and kiss their soft little faces. I miss that.

But I don’t miss the “Terrible Twos” or the “Fighting Fours.”  I don’t miss changing diapers or potty training. I don’t miss the biting, slapping, and kicking. I don’t miss the calls from the daycare teacher about how my child went “thug” for no particular reason. Or broke an arm in an attempt to fly from the top of a jungle gym. Or ate something, like trash. Or threw up everywhere.

I have lots of war stories. Lots.

I also don’t miss the sass. I trained that shit right out of my children, but it was a hard road. Corner time was a common event and the “Ritual of the Spoon” was applied, though sparingly. My oldest still loses his keys, but not to my house.

Each toddler was handed over to my now ex-husband. He loves toddlers. Unless they are doing something from the above two paragraphs. *sigh* I always played “bad cop.” But the child had to be completely out of hand.

My ex and I were pleased about the infant-toddler-adolescent arrangement.

Once they exit the toddler years, about ten or eleven. No, seriously, the baby doctors have this all wrong. About ten or eleven, then I like the child again. They’re funny and full of  strangely accurate observations. Everything is interesting to them.

At this time, I became the warrior mother. Navigating them through middle school and high school was very rewarding, even though both were dismal students.

I also taught them the art of critical thinking. My children read and absorb information even as adults. My heart swells when one of my sons argues with me about the validity of world events and societal practices. I love it when they have their own opinions based on their own experiences and research.

I don’t have my hand up their asses so they parrot what I or society says.

It takes a community to raise a child. I believe that because otherwise, both of my children would be scarred for life. I didn’t inflict myself on my toddlers, even as ill as I was, but I could also hand them over to those who had no children or had a child who needed new friends.

And now I reap the benefits. My “bad cop” turned into bad-ass-defender of my children’s autonomy and safety. Both report that they feel loved and liked by me, that they always have.

So yeah, I despised my toddlers and I despise yours. Though I loved and continue to love my children, toddlers are savages. But mine survived and most likely yours will too if they don’t dance in the middle of a busy street because you had to go the bathroom and he escaped his play pen and crawled backward down the stairs at 10 months.

I’m not sure I have recovered from the “Dancing In the Streets” saga. I have a heart arrhythmia now.

©2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text. Image may be subject to copyright.

 

 

 

Old Lady Badges

Old Lady Badges

As I get older, I realize that my mother was an old lady well before her body had caught up. I don’t know if it’s my medication or a strict code of courtesy that my mother had passed to me when she died, but I have begun to collect my Old Lady Badges.

What are Old Lady Badges? They are scenarios in which you no longer give a fuck and speak your mind. The Old Lady Badges I have collected so far are as follows:

  1. Chastising a young person in a public forum, a child who is not my own, for taking something for granted.
  2. Calling the manager to discuss the behavior of an employee while my head bobbles with fury.
  3. Sending back a dish of food, dammit, because I’m paying for a pleasant experience, not the chef’s incompetence.
  4. Spoiling a little dog to death.

I haven’t done number 3 or 4 yet, but I’m sure 3 will happen. Not so sure about 4 but if I could have a pit bull-corgi mix, that would send me over the moon. We’ll see.

I’m sure there are other badges that will surprise the hell out of me and might depress me:

  1. Talking to strangers because I’m lonely.
  2. Crying in the middle of the aisle in a store because I can’t remember what I want.
  3. Eating cat food because I have 17 of the furry bastards and can’t afford groceries.
  4. Going to a local soup-kitchen because cat food isn’t cutting it.
  5. Feeding pigeons in a park.
  6. Wearing clashing shades of purple and orthopedic Doc Martins.
  7. Saying out loud what everyone is thinking but won’t out of courtesy.
  8. Losing my mind—completely.
  9. Muttering about how kids these days don’t know the meaning of customer service.
  10. Taking public transportation because I forget my destination, or where I am, and panic.
  11. Talking about days gone by to my grandchildren.
  12. Reading the obituaries to see which of my high school and college acquaintances I’ve outlived.
  13. Buy a house that has everything I need on one floor. Everything.
  14. Having a doctor for each part of my body.
  15. Planning my life around doctor appointments.
  16. Playing pinochle at the senior center.

I’m also sure there are badges I don’t know about. I hope I don’t have to experience most of these. I may have earned number 6 already. I’m not known for discretion among my friends and family, but I think they love me for that quality.

Number 7 is a frightening badge to earn. For number 8, I don’t mutter. I speak very clearly and succinctly about that topic. Number 11 looks very interesting and I may do it just to earn the badge.

Though I write this with a dash of humor, it’s truly a morbid sense of what’s to come. I’ve learned about a few of these from my mother and father. I already need bifocals so that will be number 17.

These are very real scenarios that senior citizens experience. Overlook these inconveniences. The “elderly” are full of knowledge and experience. They also have wicked senses of humor. Listen to them. They are not invisible.

©2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text, Image may be subject to copyright.