Letters to Strangers: Nice Ink

To the Guy Who says ‘Nice Ink’

niceink

I can see in my peripheral that your pace is slowing down as you get closer. I can feel your eyes thru the top of my lowered head straining to see as much of me as you can get a hold of. And I can hear you silently begging me to look up long enough to use that line you’ve been rehearsing in your head……”Nice Ink”. This is the part, in that same internal  rehearsal, where I offer a big smile and invite you to come and sit down so that I can hear all about the meanings behind the scriptures and the various symbols that mark your own skin. You will  pull up the sleeve of your striped polo to show me the portrait of your dead dog and I will say ‘awwww’ and ask you trivial questions about your life together. And then, somewhere in this short time frame, you will have impressed me so much with the ‘tats’ you designed yourself we will become best friends and maybe even lovers.

But  alas, that was just the rehearsal, because in reality I know this is what’s happening before you even make it all the way over and without even having to raise my eyes. So I do what I always do, and bury my face deeper into  my book and bring my hand up to push my head phones just a little further into my ears. My apologies if something about my sitting alone, completely engulfed in what I am doing gave you the impression I was interested in being friends, but it’s better this way. for both of us.

xo

emery ruth

No One is Immune to Self Pity

self pitysource

Did you know that the average person’s pity sack (located in the brain behind the self delusion gland) can hold up to a lifetime of festering grievances, excuses and regrets? And that once something enters inside this space it immediately begins to reproduce with itself and grow onto anything else that gets added, quickly morphing the contents into disformed adaptions of what it even began as. Gross isn’t it? What’s even worse is that as the sack fills and swells the more it consumes and pushes against what’s around it. This slowly begins limiting and retarding our ability to use the parts of our brains that determine real responsibility, problem solving and ultimately, self worth.

The long term effects of carrying a full sack of pity can be debilitating and the longer it is given to thrive the more Rx and time is required to purge it. In some cases, whole life spans can be lost to feeling completely helpless to ones circumstances and in really severe cases this helplessness gets paired with a sense of entitlement that demands to be treated as a wounded victim. These are the highest risk carriers, as wallowing becomes highly infectious via enabling. This is how it spreads through families, between friends and lovers and in the workplace.

How Do We Prevent Our Pity from Becoming Active ?

The likely hood that at some point in life we will all experience some level of Pity, either for ourselves or others is quite high. In fact there is a good chance that we will be faced with it, in varying degrees, over and over. That being said, it has been shown that in most cases of developed self-pity it’s simply been a result of not been properly diagnosed or directly named. One of the characteristics of this affliction is it’s ability to disguise it’s self as many other things and with the superficial effects always changing, it can be a complicated process to get to the root. This is why it’s such a slimy bastard, but still the best prevention Rx is identifying it directly and as soon as possible. Typically, it is most easily identified in others or by looking at ourselves in hindsight. But with the help of doing regular and focused work to improve ourselves and our situations in current time, we are given much greater odds of stopping it before it starts. The sooner we can call it out then the sooner we can get it out.

Contact with Someone Who Feels Sorry for Themselves

As mentioned before, the easiest way to identify self pity is by seeing it in someone else. Some obvious signs are

*Constant complaining without plan for resolve

*Never being at fault

*Turning down solutions or help when offered

*Being negative towards or passing judgement on others who are growing

*Always wishing they were anywhere other than where they are

*Operating below their proven potential

and so depending on how long they’ve been carrying it, simply and kindly sharing your observations with them can be the help they need to begin to heal. In situations that they’ve been holding onto their sorrows and wrongs for sometime it can be increasingly harder for them to accept what otherwise seems so clear to you. So tread lightly if it becomes obvious that they are attached to their woes, it can cause an adverse reaction if not handled carefully. But the most delicate situations are the ones where we allow our feelings for someone who is suffering, to turn from compassion and empathy into enabling and condoning.

Once we begin to pity another not only can this exacerbate the other persons experience, but it is also the way that it becomes contagious. For to believe that there is nothing someone can do to help themselves, we open the door to believing the same for ourselves.

In most cases the best way to handle someone who is wallowing is to give them a genuine ear for listening and an equally genuine  “well shit, that really sucks, but I believe in you”  All we can really do is plant the seed that they are capable to find the better way and then support them by staying consistent in that belief and being an example through our own reactions to life and circumstances.

Sometimes it will feel like we should really do more, but the way we live our own lives is the most effective tool we have to influence others. For the better or worse so stay awake.

I Think I Might Have It. What Do I Do?

If you have enough awareness to think that you maybe, might, could possibly have self pity brewing in you or that you’ve playing the victim card…. even just a little, than you probably are. Some ways that you can tell are

*Feeling like NOTHING EVER works out for you

*Being jealous and restful towards other people

*Finding yourself having the same conversation about the same problems over and over

*Loosing your willingness to even try to feel better

*Believing that there is no one that understands what you’ve been thru, have to do, or feel.

* Settling for less than what you really want

If any or all of these things are things you feel, try saying it and see how it makes you feel. Admit it in your head, say it out loud in the car or tell someone.

“I am feeling sorry for myself”  “I mean really really sorry for myself.”

No connection to reasons, no rating how bad it is and no judgement of yourself. Just keep it plan and simple. Just feel it. There should be a little wave of relief just to admit it and then maybe a surge of motivation to do something about it. But then get ready, the next part can be really tough because by slicing into that sack of self pity, all that has been kept in there comes oozing out and it can be pretty fucking rank. But considering that the alternative to getting rid of it is to keep it around thickening and spreading, seems far more unbearable. But really it’s up to each of us individually to decide how to get thru to the other side. The process is what makes it lasting. The experience is what makes it our own. Not to mention it  wouldn’t be very liberating to just be told how to solve the equation. But there are a couple of things to ask ourselves as each of these squirmy little parasites steps up to challenge us.

How is this serving me? Is is helping or hindering? Am I ready to let this go?

Eventually this series of questions (or your own variation of them) can become our default thought process when faced with a challenge or change. It will get easier and quicker to discern the sick thoughts every time we run thru these questions with ourselves and when we’re really paying attention, nothing should actually be allowed in to settle without passing through this first. This is a very effective practice but can take some time to master, so in the mean time we must just remember

The most important rule of survival is that self pity just doesn’t work.

What We Really Want

Why do we stay at jobs that drain us and not sustain us, pursue relationships that cause pain and breed dysfunction, down play our deepest passions and desires as silly daydreams? Why does it take being fed up with everything in order to ask, “what really matters?” Or a tragedy, to shine a light on true value. Why is loss the way we learn gratitude? Why must we wait until retirement to live our ‘golden years’? And why do we so often point our ambitions in the direction of escape, rather than discovery, living as victims of our external environments with spirits battered and bruised by our fears and insecurities? I mean REALLY. What is the deal? What ever it is, let’s get the fuck over it. Move beyond it, so we can move into what we really want.

 

 

 

 

Being a Bigger Person

Today I got more than irritated, I got fucking angry. The details of which seem irrelevant now compared to the insight I gained, but the quick version is that in my attempt to be flexible and understanding to someone else’s position I ended up getting shafted.

Now as you already know, I feel pretty strongly about maintaining the clarity of mind to gauge how big of a deal something is and respond accordingly. I also have personally done a lot of work to instinctively seek out a forward moving/positive outlook when the view is otherwise dismal and utilize my ability to adjust my perspectives in order to see a solution in challenging circumstances. To put it simply, most of the times that I find myself faced with a dilemma I don’t mind to bend a bit if it means everybody feels good in the end. This is different than being a push over when you genuinely don’t mind to adjust, but today when I was basically told in twice as many words ” thanks for understanding why you can’t, but they can. I know it sucks to always be the bigger person, but it’s just easier this way.” My initial response was to say okay and move on because arguing rarely seems worth it to me and being considered the bigger person should be a compliment, but as the day wore on I just couldn’t shake feeling taken advantage of. Then it occurred to me.

Being the bigger person does not mean you’ve got to take it in the ass.

This is a politically incorrect way of saying it, but it seems that being the bigger person is often confused with having to compromise yourself, settling for less, be treated unfairly and ultimately being left without a voice in the matter. What a grotesque misunderstanding of a phrase that should be used to describe someone with integrity, self awareness and leadership.

Now I am not gonna lie, when I realized that I was getting screwed all because I was voted less likely to cause a problem, cause a problem was all I wanted to do. I was ready to go back, teeth out and guns cocked, but knowing that the only relevant thing that I would have to say would be “you know, I got to thinking and it occurred to me that YOU SHOULD FUCK OFF” thus nullifying that stuff I said about clarity of mind and dignity, I instead took a moment to think about what being the bigger person actually meant to me, something I am not sure I’ve ever done, but what I concluded helped me to see that it’s less about being “the” bigger person and more about being “a” bigger person in general and gave me a good bit of motivation to keep these values alive in everything I do.

Being a Bigger Person

Being a bigger person means having enough self control to not react in haste. To maintain your dignity and live with integrity. Being a bigger person means having strong conviction but little need to argue about it. It’s less about making sacrifices and more about just not  taking more than you need. It means giving other people room to be themselves without sacrificing yourself, making decisions in loving kindness, seeking out solutions that are best for everyone involved, and understanding the balance of give and take.You don’t have to be an asshole in order to stand up for yourself and you should never have to feel devalued in order to make it “easier” for someone else.

I thought this over a few times and looked down at my hands. Those are the words I have tattooed on my knuckles. Give.Take.

I got them done a couple of years ago when I was facing the challenge of selflessness vs. selfishness and decided that both were important…..and the wisdom to know the difference.

So I did go back, minus the teeth, guns and “fuck off” part and calmly and clearly stated (also in twice as many words) that I did not agree with how the situation had been handled. This opened up the door for a discussion that led into an incredible conversation that left me feeling like I really was a bigger person and a better person for having taken the time to do it right.

So next time you feel like you should “be the bigger person” make sure you do so by staying true to yourself and not just giving in.

 

Use Your Words: The Shit Walker

This week I witnessed the power of using your words in two different scenarios. The first I will call

“The Shit Walker.”

We’ve all done it and probably know someone like this. You bitch and complain, but when directly addressed, play the neutral party. Or you bitch and complain, but when given a solution you decline. This is frustratingly selfish, cowardly and to me, is no different than shitting your pants and walking around in them. You’re unpleasant to be around and only making yourself more miserable. Typically this is really just a symptom to a bigger problem. Deep seated unhappiness/IBS. What ever the reason, get it under control. If you know this is something you do, own it. Find a way to hold yourself accountable to stopping. For me, I made an agreement with myself which is, I allow myself 3 negative comments/thoughts about something and then I have to take action. To either work through the problem or get over it. Three times, gives me room to just be “having a bad day” or having to get used to a change.  But beyond that I am just sitting in my own shit.

Tits of rage and a day of realizations

There is this thing that happens in a women’s body, I believe the technical term is ovulation. But due to it’s uselessness to me, as I do not desire children, I have come to refer to it as having, “tits of rage.”  Ladies, you know what I am talking about. You wake up, look in the mirror and  hot damn if you’ve never looked so good.  Your features are defined, your skin is firm, your breasts are full, your eyes are bright and on top of that you can feel your sexiness coursing through your veins, but you also have only one nerve and you will slay a mother fucker if they step on it, your clumsy, can’t remember where you put anything and did I mention everyone is annoying?

Well today is that day. But different than previous days like this, something just clicked, a realization if you will.

It’s taken me years of picking fights and feeling totally depressed. Taking it personal that I can’t get motivated and making up reasons why the world and it’s inhabitants are shit. It’s taken years of forgetting that I am getting a mega dose of the sexy time, hate juice called hormones to realize that,  just like these tits, just about everything I am feeling is a mirage, and NOT to be taken seriously. The fog will lift in a day or two. Realizations like these are bitter sweet, as it is cringe worthy to think of the carnage I have left in my wake, the unnecessary tears I have shed and the embarrassingly bitchy things I have said. But what a great thing to be able to understand the cryptic language our bodies speak, to “have the wisdom to know the difference” between our reality and this emotionally inebriated state. All to often we speak out of turn and act on an impulse that is purely driven by an imbalance in our emotions (this is true for guys too) So pay attention, learn the signals and don’t fall for the same trap over and over. So today I just kept to myself. Well after I bitched at Jones for our house being cluttered, to which he gently pointed out that all the shit is mine, I kept to myself. I loved on my clients and spent my break writing and reading in my room. Putting all my frustrations and doubts on paper, rather than giving them weight by speaking. I came home, ate some dinner and have spent the rest of the evening enjoying feeling sexy and somber.

So do yourself a favor when you start to feel the rage, the irritation or the sadness and it seems like it’s for no good reason, remind yourself that it just that. Without a reason. Go easy on those around you, don’t make rash decisions, relish your body and keep your mouth shut.

sexy assholes aren’t that cool

I used to think cynicism was really sexy. Worn like a pair of jeans torn up just right, or a swagger in your step. But in hindsight I think I just knew some really sexy assholes.  ‘Cause how long would this look win if all this guy ever did was complain about how bad everything sucked?

Truth is, sexy has it’s limits if you have a bad fucking attitude.

(list via thewhitehottruth)

discerning vs. cynical

discerning: raises her eyebrow…to let in more information and light.
cynical: squints.

discerning: seeks.
cynical: hunts.

discerning: loves the thrill of making up his own mind.
cynical: has already made up his mind.

discerning: delineates.
cynical: damns.

discerning: wants to know better so she can do better.
cynical: wants to feel better, even if it makes you feel worse.

discerning: leaves space for your thing, my thing, and their thing.
cynical: acts like you’re entitled to like your thing, but secretly feels that your thing is inferior to his thing.

discerning: takes a stand for what’s personally true.
cynical: defaults to mockery.

discerning: can opt for dignity, good manners, and cordiality, but will blow the roof off the muthah, if need be.
cynical: likes to break things for the sake of it.

discerning: accommodates possibilities, and sometimes, the benefit of the doubt. but does not bend over. are we clear?

cynical: gets boring, real fast.