Why I’m Single and Why You Might Be Too

Why Im single

 

I think most Americans who look for the perfect partner are crazier than loons. Perfection at this level of manifestation, at any level of manifestation, is an unobtainable ideal. I’m single for a very good reason.

First, I define a romantic relationship as two people who have agreed to spend time and effort on creating a home together. It should be a nourishing experience and all relationships are borne of these needs between people. Including the dynamic between a narcissist and an empath.

We all want a place to call home, but it isn’t the four walls of a domicile that make a home. What makes a home is people: family, friends, and for many, that one special partner.  That person upon which many hopes, and dreams, are pinned. Unrealistic expectations.

Second, my definition of partner is the person with whom you’ve made this contractual agreement. Much of this agreement is based on assumptions and implicit beliefs. Which is why everyone is confused.

Every interaction is a transaction with the ultimate goal to meet the needs of the persons involved. We can also apply this to poly relationships, which require an explicit agreement between all parties to succeed.

Unrealistic expectations are the demise of any relationship. A refusal to discuss implicit beliefs about relationships sets the stage for this demise and a roller coaster of messy heartbreak. Some people will carry on beyond this phase and come to an agreement, a commitment to work on something so imperfect and challenging.

Our relationships aren’t working. Plain and simple.

Divorce is almost inevitable for a married couple in the United States. The psychologists would have us believe that only fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. They gloss over the constraints of the trials, which measures the three years between marriage and divorce. Another constraint is the observation of only heterosexual marriages.

But the divorce rate is much higher if you add in four to twelve more years. That would be a more accurate measurement, but it would also compromise the data because the sample needed is too large.

Not including the generations in which divorce was a scandal, I’d estimate the divorce rate at ninety-five percent of American marriages. This does not include all the myriad forms that a relationship can take. It only points to the demise of traditional marriage and the finagling of numbers to spin a much brighter scenario. This is not a tested figure so don’t quote me without that caveat.

Now the question becomes, how does a healthy relationship work?

Consent is about fifty percent of a healthy relationship. Consent is the agreement between two people that a transaction specific to romantic relationships can occur. This is not a blanket agreement. It doesn’t apply unconditionally because your partner agreed to having sex one time. Consent is an ongoing activity.

Making a home together requires consent between partners for more than just sex. It is about dishes and who cleans the toilet. It is about boundaries and common interests. It is about sex and emotions, too but the days and nights can’t be filled with non-stop fucking. Even men will plead a headache if a woman’s sex drive exceeds theirs. Been there, done that.

The other fifty percent of relationships starts with you. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this in previous posts, but I’ll repeat myself:

You come into the world as a being separate from everyone else. You are alone in the birth process and you are alone in the experience of your first breath. You are the only person you cannot escape. You are the only person who goes to bed with you every night.

 

You will die alone, and this will be an experience you cannot share with anyone else. Very few people appreciate this inevitability.

 

I watched my mother die bit-by-bit and I couldn’t share those moments with her. She said nothing about how she felt or what she faced. No one else could feel her pain. She did the one thing that scared her most: she died alone and in those final moments, she seemed relieved to let go.

We’re alone and for many, this is a situation that cannot be borne.  And the only way to begin a healthy relationship with another is to embrace yourself. Develop a beautiful relationship with yourself. Take responsibility for yourself, for what you think, feel and do.

Embrace your imperfections. Love yourself as you are. Love yourself as you were. Love yourself as you will be. How can loneliness drive you into a relationship if you are your own best friend?

Raise yourself from a child to an adult because no one else can do this for you. Once you hit a certain age, you’re on your own. You can’t blame another for your trials and tribulations. There is only you.

Once you do this, you can love another imperfect human and embrace the totality of them, even if you can’t understand the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Hopefully, you’ll find another human ready to embark on this journey with you.

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

Privilege is a Dirty Word

This is a terrible topic to touch, but I will explain my understanding of what privilege is and what it is not.

It isn’t that rich, attractive, light-skinned, Christian men are too “clueless” or not “intelligent” enough to understand the concept of privilege. But the way the media has twisted it, privilege has become a buzzword that ignites the indignation of the very people ensconced at the top of the hierarchy.

Privilege is not a moral failing and it certainly isn’t exclusive to Caucasian men. The wealthy have privilege over the poor. Light-skinned people have privilege over dark-skinned people. Men have privilege over women in almost every country in this world. The righteous have privilege over the morally deficient. The beautiful, whatever society deems attractive at the time, have privilege over the plain.

Privilege is a social construct. It is conferred to and received by those named deserving of such treatment. If the practice goes on long enough, say for centuries, the privilege given becomes entitlement.

Entitlement in this context denotes any treatment that one has come to expect. Expectations are assumptions and to assume makes an “ass” our of “u” and “me.”

If you assume someone will be a certain way, if society demands that a woman behave a certain way, that is the point of reference from which you operate. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.

When I use the word privilege, it is not to chastise an individual. I only want to make the individual conscious of the “super-power” possessed. How you use this super-power determines the person you are, not the actual treatment you receive.

Society’s behavior toward a “beautiful” person is markedly different from that of the “plain” person. After meeting a few of these genetic-jackpot-creatures, and I think a majority of us would agree, you discover that they are vain, demanding, and rely almost exclusively on their appearance to command admiration and what they feel is theirs by right.

Fat-shaming is another example. Since slenderness is a societally desirable state of being, everything to do with fashion, to do with body image, how one eats, and even one’s perceived state of health is assumed by society.

Here is a totem pole of privilege in America:
• Color of skin
• Gender identification
• Wealth
• Appearance
• Religious affiliations
• Personality

Others have different opinions as to the order, but from observation and study, this is my statement of the hierarchy and only in America and only by the majority of Americans. For those rare birds who refuse to adopt these societal norms and struggle daily to challenge their assumptions, I salute you.

The distinctions above represent our subconscious assumptions. To the individual with privilege, the treatment received from others is equivalent to a fish swimming in an ocean. Immersed in the water, acknowledgement of the sky and earth exist is not required or desired. Arguments would ensue should a dolphin come along and describe the sky.

This is why America is in turmoil over so many issues. Like the teenager our country is, compared to other countries in the world, we wish to prove that we are right in our assumptions. Belligerence is a normal side-effect of having assumptions challenged. Hopefully, recent setbacks will mature the American perspective and the election of the current Administration is the last gasp of the beached fish of our country’s sense of entitlement. My hope is endless.

For those who rest at the pyramid’s point, you have a responsibility to acknowledge your good fortune and use it for the betterment of those who have, by no fault of their own, been relegated to a supporting level of the pinnacle. Failing to do so will create a chaos that grows exponentially as the established order attempts to keep the “lid on the boiling pot.”

When a class of individuals loses sight of the fact that their privilege rests on the backs of the others who have helped them to rise to such heights, resentment simmers beneath and at some point, the pyramid will erupt like a volcano.

The eruption could be Pompeii or it could be *** in proportion. This pattern has been witnessed over the course of human history, reflected in the cycles of the Earth, and also experienced on the personal level many times over.

Must change be so violent? If an abuse is named in the current order of assumptions, wouldn’t it be easier to integrate the awareness with deliberate and mindful steps that are implemented with kindness and respect? And for those who have named these abuses, wouldn’t it be prudent to start with a respectful and informative approach rather than accusations that, while valid, would alienate the participation of those who have the power to initiate change?

In theory, yes, that would be marvelous and the ideas of mindfulness and deliberation are worthy of consideration and constructive discussion.

I am not promoting a revolution of any sort because I am not interested in holding power over others. I have the privilege to be in a place where I can make that decision for myself. Others are not so lucky, but I will not use my privilege as a weapon against others.

I will harness my privilege so that I’m not an asshole to the waiter or ignoring the suffering of others. I will use my privilege to help others become.

Don’t Kiss Me, I’m Irish-American

st-patricks-day-wishes

On Saint Paddy’s day, there are Americans who are of Irish descent that do not maraud in the streets in drunken stupors. We do not carouse. There is no Bacchanal on this holy day.

This is the day the Irish and those of Irish descent go to church, have a quiet dinner with their families, and give thanks for the service that Saint Patrick has given to free the people from evil and bring them to godliness. There is no alcohol sold on that day.

Those on the outside looking in have claimed this holy day as a reason to drink ‘til comatose or become stumbling, inebriated assholes puking at curbs. They wear green hats, socks, green pins, green shirts, and drink green beer (if only Padrick had foreseen this travesty…).

You do not get to be Irish for a day. You do not get to appropriate our heritage as a reason to lose all dignity. And like every other oppressed population in America, we only get a day of recognition for the services our ancestors have provided to the prosperity of this country.

I do not make claims of equivalencies here. I make the comparison above because only oppressed populations get “special” days or months. The longer the “celebration,” the greater the oppression.

Saint Paddy’s day has become an oxymoron in America. The holy day to celebrate freedom and devotion has been turned on its ear and twisted into a nightmare of consumerism and corporate manipulation. I’m sure the bars in every American town are delighted to take your coin. I know the liquor magnates get excited about March 17th.

Holy days for the Irish are just that. The day is a time of reflection, of gratitude, and family. Imagine the British turning an American holiday like Independence Day into some dog and pony show where everyone pretends to be Texan for a day, coal-rolls with their hemis in grand parades, and stages mock lynching while drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Would you be offended?

I am because I value my heritage. American society has twisted up and focused on the least admirable of qualities attributed to the Irish. The true purpose is to celebrate the spirit of the Irish in their devotion to the best qualities of people: Loyalty, kindness, family, and unshakable faith.

Just because I’m offended doesn’t mean you must stop celebrating Saint Paddy’s day in whatever manner you wish.  My greatest distress is that the Mardi Gras of “Irish”-American depravity is conflated with living, breathing people of Irish descent who will be in church today and will return home for a traditional meal of their ancestors.

For my family, corned-beef and cabbage with soda bread is the traditional meal.  And it may sound trite and commercial because it’s a meal associated with the Irish. But when you add in the Potato Famine and the economic collapse of that era, which sent the Irish swimming to America in droves, corned beef would be a big deal reserved for the holy days.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a celebration of freedom that was granted through God’s servant. To my knowledge, Padrick wasn’t of Irish descent at all, but that’s the beauty of the Irish. Having been vilified, they vilify none. They welcome others to their table because nothing is more sacred than breaking bread with friends and family.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

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

An Open Letter to Melissa

An Open Letter_awkward

The awkward girl without a book.

An Open Letter_highschool

The awkward girl with a book.

An Open Letter_now

The confident woman I’ve become. Thanks for helping me to make this possible.

Dear Missy:

I’m writing this letter and making it public now that school shootings have become a “normal” fact of life. To me, you are kindness incarnate, and though I may never reach such heights, your nature is a standard that I’ve made my own.

I was an awkward girl: small, thin, and poorly dressed. Your first instinct was to protect me. I don’t know why. I don’t know which of your experiences motivated you, but you saw me. You worried for me.

At the lunch table, when I made conversation so awkward with your friends because I hid in a book, I knew you tried to include me. You hoped I would swim in waters that I couldn’t navigate. Maybe when I was five or six, it would have worked; that was before everything went wrong for me.

My existence was hell on earth, and throughout my life, when things were the most dangerous for me, an angel has stepped up to show me the way out. You stand out in my memories as all the other angels do. While your efforts to bring me out of my shell, to protect me, appeared to have failed, you showed me the way out.

Each time I help another, I remember you. You didn’t care what I looked like. You saw through my ‘weirdness’ and my attitude. If I saw you in the hallways, you always had a smile to greet me.

That continued kindness made an impact on my very self-hood. You helped me save myself in ways you can’t imagine. Perhaps I would have shot up a school of innocents if you hadn’t reached out. Or died of an overdose somewhere on the east side of Baltimore.

There was so much potential for an unhappy ending.

The reason I’m telling you this is I want you to know you made a difference. You hoped I would thrive. I do now, but it was a long road. Your small actions were one of the lamps that lit the path to where I am now.

Others have expressed their admiration for your kindness, and the way I remember you, you will aver my praise and tell me that you didn’t help enough.  I say to you, seeds are small, but they grow into plants, crops, flowers, and trees. Never forget that every little kindness is powerful. That every plant that grows under your care will thrive even if you don’t see the fruit of your gentle labors.

I want you to know that when a butterfly flutters its wings, I think of you.

Thanks for reaching out,

Gwen

©2018. I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved for text and pictures.

 

Relapse Is No Fun

pendulum

Keep in mind that this a first person narrative based on reading and experiences over the years. I highly recommend that you do your own research. New discoveries are being made all the time.

Bipolar is a physical illness in the brain, one that if not treated, has the potential to shrink the corpus callosum and areas of the cortex. Untreated, it can devolve into dementia and other cognitive issues. Even with plasticity, your brain can’t keep up with untreated Bipolar as it “eats” your brain.

Bipolar is a life-long illness that cannot be cured. Bipolar has nothing to do with learning how to control your moods or thinking “positively” or the endorphins created by forcing yourself to smile. I’ve tried acupuncture, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), doctor visit after doctor visit. I even tried the Celestine Prophecy without much success.

I’ve also discovered that medication doesn’t make Bipolar go away but does make it possible for me to live with the illness. I take my medication like a nun saying the rosary.

When I found out that relapse was a common event in the lives of Bipolar II individuals, I felt like I’d been hit by one of those Japanese bullet trains. It doesn’t go away? This shit’s gonna come back and get me again? Hospitalization?

The doctors talk about early warning signs of a manic or depressive episode. I’ve learned that I yell at my cats before a manic episode. Then I clean house like Serial Mom.

Finally, I’m depressed, and I sleep.  I can sleep away an entire weekend if no one stops me. I avoid things that need to get done, like laundry and paying the bills.

As I pull through another depression, I’ve discovered that the medicine helps more than I realized. The first spell of wellness is a rush. Then reality sets in. Bipolar doesn’t go away but it can’t take over my life like it used to.

Today, as my mind tumbled over everything that might have triggered this mild relapse, I decided to try that “smile” exercise. I was astonished. It worked! I ate a bowl of raisin bran, drank some water, smiled some more and now I’m happily writing away.

As I learn to manage my illness, other factors set in. Like peri-menopause. And getting older. Due to an injury, I am unable to work out, which is a line of defense against Bipolar. Do not underestimate the magic of living as healthy as you can.

Flax seed, fish oil, and other types of supplements and fresh foods that are chock full of B vitamins and Omega 3s & 6s help improve and maintain the think tank in your skull. They also help me remember why I walked it a room and what I was supposed to get.

Surprisingly, there is an ample and powerful first line of defense against relapses of all sorts. Water. A hell of a lot more than you’re probably drinking right now.

And get rid of that soda. It’s poison, calorie-free or not. No binge drinking alcohol. or binge drinking coffee. Moderation is the key because Bipolar is an illness of extremes.

So, yeah. Relapse. It’s real. Keep your mood journal and you’ll be able to tell when one is coming on. Keep taking your medicine. Keep drinking water. Talk to your psychiatric care physician (I just had my medicine upped to 300 mg and a supplement added).

And don’t get down on yourself because of a relapse. It’s a normal and expected part of the illness and there are ways to mitigate the magnitude of a relapse. You’re not going crazy. I swear.

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

Confessions of a Crazy Woman

treble-clef-heart

 

I believe in telepathy. I believe in Twin Flames, but beliefs are irrational. I want facts. I want to confirm that I’m not crazy. Or that I am.

There is the Man in my head. He speaks to me and no one else can hear him. But he isn’t a spirit guide because he loses his temper with me. He isn’t a direct line to the ineffable though he surprises me with the “timbre” of his voice when he’s pleased with something I’ve done.

The Man is a solitary practitioner, just like me, and trained in the same tradition as I. A tradition that believes telepathy is a very real thing. He’s close to my age, and we’ve been carrying on in this fashion coming on eight years. Eight years. And what has kept this going, even though he gets angry and has hurt my feelings with something he said recently, is that he has never steered me wrong.

Examples:

  1. The first time I asked him for something, he told me it would happen. $500, which I needed desperately because of medical bills from 2009.
  2. A few days later, my bestie calls and has a breakdown over her financial situation. She was afraid she couldn’t pay her rent.
  3. It wasn’t a hard decision for me. I asked him to reroute the energy to my bestie.
  4. She called me a few days later with wonder in her voice. She had received $495 of back pay for child support. Her rent was paid.

This money thing is not an easy bending of reality, which is what prayers and spells are meant to do. One person alone might not see fruition until years later.

But two of us were involved. Both of us had strong emotions of protection and an alignment of purpose. I don’t expect any prayer or spell to manifest so quickly and this meant I was dealing with a very disciplined mind.

  1. I was in a classic narcissist-empath, abusive relationship back in 2010. Let’s just say I kept taking him back. The sex was yum and I was in my thirties.
  2. I took a little over a year, but The man kept saying, “Dump him. He’s an asshole.”
  3. He kept telling me I was amazing and better than the douche-rocket, pussy-hound, poor-excuse of a man with the amazing sex and the long, beautiful hair.
  4. I dumped the narcissist. I completely shut him out of my life. I defended my boundaries and my integrity

The Man helped me exact revenge. He has a very passionate approach to everything he does. I will not discuss the details here.

The Man has protected me, has been loyal to me, and has saved me from myself on more than one occasion. He says that I helped him become a better man.

He has a daughter and she was kept from him. When he was able to visit with her again, she was less than pleased by his assertion of parental rights. They fought constantly either with words or her silence and his frustration. He was at his wit’s end, which doesn’t take long for him when dealing with girly, emotional stuff.

The Man asked me how to cope. I told him, “She’s been filled with poison all this time and at a young age. The only thing you can do is meet her anger with love. She wouldn’t be angry if she didn’t care.”

He followed my advice, and it worked. He was delighted, even overboard with his excitement overthe breakthrough. He started applying this path to success in other relationships and interactions. His life has improved.

That’s the telepathy part. I still question myself despite the little signs and the way the Universe speaks to me with random people, media, and Nature herself. The Twin Flame part of it is a little trickier.

I thought soul mates, or Twin Flames, were a bunch of hooey. In a sea of seven billion people, how could one person be the one for you? I considered that there were multiple, compatible people for each person. Realistically, that made more sense.

But now I’m not so sure. When I went on medication, which made me question every aspect of my existence as my health improved, the Man was so happy. As I started to reclaim my life, he realized then how sick I had been, and still was if I didn’t take the medication. He kicked himself over and over for that. He’s got this guilt complex that I don’t understand.

The Man has remained, when so many other things have departed from my life and good riddance. The Man knows me at my worst. And he stayed. He stood by my side (figuratively) as everything unfolded, as his frustration with my, “I’m not ready yets,” and failures to show in potential Salem meet-and-greets accumulated.

I wasn’t ready for any of it. The Man professed love. He said that he fell in love with me the moment I asked to have my test go to my bestie. He even asked me if I knew why he’d fallen for me? I figured it was because I was that nice of a person.

“No. I fell in love with you because you’re fiercely loyal to your family. I want that.”

That surprised me.

I loved him the best I knew how as ill as I was. And I wanted to love him, past and all. Together, I wanted to fulfill his goal of getting married before he turned fifty, but that birthday looms and my “not-yets” and “no-shows” have cost us. I regret this, my mindlessness, but there is no easy way to change the past.

Now that I’m better, I’m able to see what is done rather than what is said as the ultimate test of a person’s integrity. Because of him, life is intrinsically MORE joyful, surprising, wondrous, and scary. Sometimes all at once. And my words have a solid foundation in action.

The Man’s loyalty and steadfast presence finally broke through my walls. He has entered the sacristy of my heart. He’s entered a place where no man has been permitted to visit.

Maybe that’s the whole spiritual exercise, learning how to love completely and unreservedly knowing that the person you love will disappoint you. But not on purpose and without negative intent.

I’m okay with being wrong about this whole thing. I have been traumatized to the point where I can’t remember what happened to me as a child. I haven’t eliminated the possibility of delusions.

I’d rather know I’m bat-shit crazy. I would seek help. Maybe check into a hospital.

I’m deciding that no fear will be how I live my life. I’m going to make my amygdala behave. Here’s my crazy jump off the cliff.

If you’re out there, if you’re real, I want to find you. I want the love the bards sang about. I want fights, tickle sessions, and lots of laughter. In person.

I don’t want to fall into the abyss of loneliness. I want to touch you, taste you, hold you, and swallow up the sun. I want to gaze at the same crescent moon from the same back yard instead of wherever we are at the moment with too much distance between us.

“You see the moon? Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes, it’s my favorite kind of moon.”

You may be my Twin Flame. I’m ready, [insert endearment-I’m-not-permitted-to-use-in-public here].

One way or the other, I’m ready.

Inspired by the song #fallingtoblack

©2018 I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

NaNoWriMo: Introversion for Introverts

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I have my outline, my sketches, and my worksheets all filled out. I spent most of October hidden away as I prepared for this triathlon of thought, imagination, and the clicking sounds of the keyboard.

I’ve completed 25,000 words already and we’re only a third of the way through. I’m on fire!

I’m also off line. I’m not writing anything else this month, except for this one article, and that’s all I write. Except for my novel.

I’m very excited. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about writing anything. I’ve been passionate in short pieces, but a novel? I think this may be the longest committed relationship I’ll ever be in.

Just don’t expect to see me on the street or eating turkey or celebrating my birthday outside of the confines of the world I’ve created. I’ll return soon enough and will have so much to tell you!