A PERSPECTIVE ON THE MIND-BLOWING VICTORY

{Photo by Aia Fernandez}

Most of us are not turning over cars, damaging property, or advocating violence, and most of us would not be doing that regardless of the outcome. Yes, some people are doing it, just like some people threatened to overthrow the government in a bloody revolution if we had the opposite outcome.

But revolutions are not usually peaceful. They are ugly, and I have no doubt it would be just as ugly or worse if Hillary Clinton had won.

People pretend not to understand why protesters are so alarmed.

Here’s a short version.

White supremacists are celebrating! They believe this is a victory for their agenda. They feel validated in their narcissistic delusion that they are superior to other races. They can hardly wait to begin intimidating, bullying, and oppressing minorities. Others are happy as pigs in shit because they believe apathy has won, and they don’t even have to pretend to care about or acknowledge the rights of others. They can lay their head down on their pillows every night and take comfort in the belief that they will be safe and protected.

Many of our fellow citizens are not feeling safe and protected right now. Only a week ago, Trump supporters didn’t feel that way either. It’s why they voted for Trump, so though they pretend not to understand, they should.

Instead, they tell us to get over it.

How about this— we will get over bigotry about the same time people get over their need to discriminate, oppress, and devalue others. Does that sound fair?

Were they crybabies for the past eight years every time they spouted off about President Obama? People constantly made disgusting racist remarks about our president, his wife, and his children.

It amazes me that many who felt they’d been denied free speech simply because others responded unfavorably to things they’ve said are now telling us, just shut up. Yes, just shut up, even though they will never shut up about things that don’t meet their approval. No free speech now, unless it is for me. Me, me, me, that’s how it seems to work. Make America great for me and the hell with everyone else.

Those who abhor political correctness now want you to be politically correct in showing nothing but admiration and support for their candidate, even though President Obama could not get that throughout his two terms in office. It is the constant double standard.

You don’t get to tell people to unite and support the president-elect if you are mocking and shaming them for how they feel. Your attitude is not unifying. Nor is the president-elect’s choice of a white supremacist wife beater as his chief strategist. He needs to be a unifying voice, not someone crying on Twitter about the unfairness of the protests. We’re not going to allow him or anyone else to normalize bigotry. It’s not normal, and it’s not acceptable.

One commenter on a forum said the people have spoken, thus proving they don’t care about the rights of women and minorities. The truth is, the people have spoken, and Trump did not win the popular vote. His opponent was over a million votes ahead at the last count. So yes, a lot of people do share our concerns and, sadly, we still have a country divided on whether we should treat everyone with kindness and decency.

Generally speaking, do people even want to get along with those who don’t share their views, their race, their religion? If we look back throughout history, it’s always been a battle of egos or madness propelled by fear, men willing to risk everything for dominance in the world. I suppose this will continue until there is no more world left to conquer.

Think seriously, too, about whether you want to go back hundreds of years to when people were a thousand times more callous toward anyone with an affliction or anyone they considered beneath them. Ignorance was no excuse even then. No one is above anyone else. With ego and apathy run amok, we could devolve once again into a world of barbaric savagery.

So, yes, this is devastating. It’s heartbreaking. It sucks. Many of us felt we were moving to a higher level of consciousness, and we are stunned.

We have made so much progress in advocating awareness, in fighting to end the silence, stigma, and oppression, yet our leader will be someone who mocks the oppressed and the afflicted. One of his supporters told people concerned about rape culture to “grow up.” The president-elect has called soldiers with PTSD “weak.” Unfortunately, narcissists can’t see this as a problem, because they lack empathy. So, what are young people learning about how to treat women, minorities, and the disabled? I hope their parents will teach them what consent means since many are eager to point out that sexual assault is okay because Beyoncé dances around in skimpy clothes and women use foul language. I lost track of the excuses. These young males could be the future Brock Turners of the world who will one day shockingly discover the world does not revolve around them and their needs. Except they may not escape justice as easily.

My belief has always been; when fellow human beings share their excruciating pain about injustice, assault, or oppression, we need to listen. It’s not the time to talk about yourself or other things going on that you feel deserve attention. It’s not the time to get defensive or feel resentment. It’s not the time to talk about when it doesn’t happen or all the other wonderful things the culprits do. Simply put, there is injustice in the world, plenty of it, and when it’s there, we can’t ignore it.

As far as coping, we’ll put one foot in front of the other, and we’ll take it one day at a time. We won’t waste our time arguing with Internet trolls. Trolls don’t care about the points you concede on. They won’t appreciate your being fair-minded and open to debate. Trolls will not have compassion for your heartfelt statements or your disappointment. Simply put, they don’t care how you feel. They just want to torment anyone who does not fully support what they wish to believe.

Yes, we got thrown back, but we’ll move forward again. Let’s lead by example. Continue to love hard, love fiercely, and be kind. We are warriors, and the fight is never over.

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Interesting reading:

10 Signs The Global Elite Are Losing Control

 

“Love A Soft Person,” The Importance Of Having A Gentle Soul

 

© Copyright November 12, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

RECLAIM THE GIFT THAT MAKES YOUR SPIRIT SOAR

Photo Credit – Angela Marie Henriette

 

My nephew, Christopher, was about six when he gazed out the window in the backseat of the car and said, “I’m just afraid I will run out of things to draw.”

He began at an early age, sketching and drawing—leaving people in awe of his talent. You see the brilliance in his eyes when he talks to you, especially about art. When I ask him if he can do a certain thing, the answer is, “Of course, I can!” He is chock full of confidence.

It is not hard to believe in someone like him. We not only believe in him, but we also celebrate him. He touches our hearts and remains such a light in a dark world.

I feel the exact same way about my son who was educating strangers about Jupiter’s moons in the first grade. They are two people who came into the world with gifts and talents, and a clear sense of who they were from an early age. I can attest to this much: when you know, from childhood, what you are and what you love, you cannot imagine any other life. I feel strongly; people must allow you to be the person you are, not the vision of you and your future that they have in mind.

It is easy to recognize the apathy and pain of someone who never lived their dream; someone left to wonder what the outcome might have been had they followed their heart. You see glimpses of their fire, traces of the light gone from their eyes. They had their spirits crushed, their voices silenced, their true selves obliterated.

Children need to hold on to their natural confidence and infectious enthusiasm, along with the ability to trust their instincts. My heart tells me, we need to not only believe in them but also show them how much we do.

Perhaps this is one reason experiencing an incredible contribution to the arts– everything from singing and drawing to dancing—can move me to tears. I realize people make incredible achievements every single day, ones I don’t see. They may not have an audience or applause, but their achievements are no less important. But seeing people get out there, doing the thing they love most and nailing it speaks to the person inside many of us that might say, I want to do what I love as fearlessly as that. I want to celebrate that moment where I have the audacity to succeed and reach the hearts of others, all of us sharing the passion and joy. It is one of life’s beautiful and most cherished experiences.

For me, it is.

In these moments, I don’t think about the harrowing destruction of our world or of humanity. It is a brief lull because I don’t want to ignore that. It has affected me profoundly since childhood, and while I search my heart for solutions, I can only counteract with love and a message of oneness. I believe each of us can do that in some way, especially if we have a voice or means of communicating our passion and love to the world. It is one small contribution of many until we can do better.

Those of us who have made it thus far with our dreams intact are eternally grateful. Whatever the passion – no matter what happens in life, it is there, and it saves you. It just might save others, too.

© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

GOOD PEOPLE DROWNING IN FEAR AND TOXIC SHAME

I know what it’s like when your mind doesn’t stop – the thoughts, the ideas, the worries, the obsessions. Many people struggle, and I think it’s important to not only acknowledge that, but to share how we have been conquering one battle after another. It tells others they are not alone in their struggles; that things can and do get better.

The shame many of us live with often begins in childhood where we are not able to sort out what is ours to claim and what is not. Ultimately, the combination of what is ours and what we take on as ours can be difficult to bear.

Some people, in the throes of their hidden shame, are afraid to be seen authentically, and maybe even afraid to see others as they are and allow them to shine. The serpent that bedevils us is ego. It is an ongoing effort to keep that sucker reigned in and right-sized.

Shame traps people in a fear of failure/fear of success mindset, two sides of the same coin. The result is the same, more ridicule and shame. Many feel they don’t deserve success, and there are some who pacify themselves believing that others don’t deserve it either.

But we all are all capable of learning from our mistakes, growing, changing, and finding happiness. It depends on whether we heal or not. External validation is  a temporary fix until we resolve things internally. Past turmoil is a boulder we carry everywhere we go. Some hold it up forever while others chip it away, one piece at a time.

We heal when we come to believe we deserve better, and we do. For some, that healing takes a long time and some, sadly, never heal.

But if the process of healing has begun in another, patience is key, as beautifully expressed in this piece by Jeff Brown @ http://soulshaping.com/

“Emotional armor is not easy to shed, nor should it be. It has formed for a reason- as a requirement for certain responsibilities, as a conditioned response to real circumstances, as a defense against unbearable feelings. It has served an essential purpose. It has saved lives. Yet it can be softened over time. It can melt into the tender nest at its core. It can reveal the light at its source. But never rush it, never push up against it, never demand it to drop its guard before its time. Because it knows something you don’t. In a still frightening world, armor is no less valid than vulnerability. Let it shed at its own unique pace.”

We have no idea about anyone else’s pain. We don’t know how hard they’ve tried to bear it. Addiction and obsession will distort perspectives and impair judgment, and addiction and obsession are not simply about narcotics or alcohol. The world we live in and the circumstances of our lives heighten sensitivity, and it all begins when we are too small to comprehend it.

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Some Great Reads:

Toss Your Expectations Into The Ocean

18 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Is

© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Featured Photo by John Hain

LITTLE TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU CONQUER BACK PAIN

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People suffering from lower back pain often ask me how I manage scoliosis and lumbar spine disk disease, because I do manage it, despite having a disk determined to be “shot” rendering me a bad candidate for back surgery. One doctor told me I would end up in a wheelchair, but I haven’t had a back episode in years, and I do not take or need pain medication of any kind.

As an advocate of healing mind, body, and soul from all trauma, I hate to see people suffer, so I’m happy to pass along what has worked for me.

I am not a doctor or any authority on health. I’m just someone who has learned a lot through experience and from chiropractors who are willing to teach you what you need to know. These solutions won’t be enough for everyone dealing with pain, but most of it will help tremendously, and it will certainly help people who are in a situation similar to mine.

Let’s start with the mental stuff. I read somewhere that I needed to change my relationship with pain. If this sounds hokey, it’s not. I learned that while I could endure almost unbearable emotional pain, the biggest fears I had were things that could lead to physical pain. I was terrified of physical pain. I wanted to be comfortable all the time and couldn’t accept being uncomfortable ever. I feared it so much; it caused anxiety, and that only made things worse.

Changing my relationship with pain required getting to a place where I could accept when I was uncomfortable and hurting. I needed to remind myself that I wasn’t the only person on earth this was happening to, that aches and pains were normal, in fact, and people deal with it all the time. I also came to recognize that the physical pain I had was not solely a result of this inevitable thing inflicted upon me by some disorder I had no control over; it was my body telling me that something needed attention. Something I was doing or not doing needed to change. I hadn’t realized how reckless I’d been with my body throughout my life, never giving it the tender loving care it deserved. I needed to take care of it and take care of myself, and I needed to know I was worth that. This realization helped, as did the relaxed attitude of seeing myself as just another person on the planet dealing with something unpleasant and seeing myself as a more confident, take-charge person who could address and remedy situations. It means not only learning to love yourself but to trust and believe in yourself as well.

So let’s talk about treating the pain.

I don’t know about you, but I used to panic whenever I felt pain. It made me want to stop everything and get to a place where I could lie down and stay there. That’s a good time to stay away from coffee and sugar. These days, I don’t have to avoid coffee or sugar if I’m feeling a little off, because I understand how everything works, and I don’t panic. Until you get to that place, avoid those things when you’re feeling vulnerable.

Now, for me, ice treatments are everything. A chiropractor taught me to lay on my stomach with a small pillow rolled under my navel to elevate the lower half of my body and then put the ice pack right in the middle of my lower back (no matter where the pain is). Another way is to lie on your back with a pillow under your legs and the ice in the middle of your lower back, never less than twelve minutes, never more than twenty, and the ice pack should have a sheath. If you don’t have a wrap for it, you can put it over your thin T-shirt rather than under it, but it should never be directly on your skin. While in the worst pain where I could barely move, I did twenty minutes of ice every two hours. People who can’t stand ice can use heat, but it’s best to do ice at least for the first couple of days to reduce the inflammation. I rarely have to do an ice treatment now, but I try to do one at least once a week. It just feels good. 🙂

I do have an ice pack I can use at my desk, too, with a wraparound belt that has a pocket for the ice. I bought an extra one to take to the office with me when I worked for a law firm. I kept the ice in their refrigerator and the belt in my desk.

Years ago, I used back braces. They help but can also be a crutch, so it’s good if you use them as needed and wean yourself away as you can.

There are those who can’t function without pain medication, and I understand that. Back when I was struggling, I took Tylenol every four to five hours for days until I was better. That worked to reduce the inflammation, and there were occasions doctors had prescribed stronger medications. However, even Tylenol and Advil are getting a bad rap these days, so for people like me who don’t want to use these medications, I’m including a link below about natural alternatives.

A lot of time, too, our neck is out of whack, and it throws everything off. Take a small pillow or towel and roll it up tight, lie on your back and put that pillow behind your neck. Relax like that for twenty minutes or so whenever needed.

As for prevention, you may already know some or all of these things, but since I run into so many people who don’t know, I’ll cover it all.

First, having a solid abdominal core is essential. For some people, this means changing eating habits, making healthier choices, but others who may not necessarily be out of shape can still have weak cores. In my experience, I would always exercise but then stop for weeks when I felt any pain and slowly rebuild my strength. I was also causing injury by not doing the exercises correctly. While it’s true that you shouldn’t exercise while you are in pain or to the point of pain, sometimes the pain issue is resolved within a day. The trick is to get back on track when you can, even if you can only manage pelvic tilts. When your core is strong, your back is not so vulnerable. For people who can’t get to a gym, there are great exercise tapes on the market. You can do your workouts at home, and the instructors tell you how to do it right, so you aren’t injured. Ideally, you want to work all the muscles in your body, and you want to include strength training, yoga, Pilates, and aerobics in your routine. However, if you don’t have a lot of time to work out, you can at least do abdominal exercises five times a week for ten to fifteen minutes.

I mentioned that pain sometimes resolves itself within a day. I’m talking about food digestion. Very often, the pain people feel in their lower back comes from being bloated and unable to digest food. If this is going on for days, maybe you’re not drinking enough water. I try to drink eight to ten glasses daily. When people get older, they need to add more fiber to their diets.

When my back problems began, one of the first things my doctor told me was to stop lifting my toddler and bending at the waist to pick up his toys and all that. You should always bend at the knees anyway.

If you have back issues, it won’t help you to stay in any one position for too long. That sucks, I know—especially if you have to sit all day at work. Get up and stretch when you can. It’s the same with standing and walking. If you have to stand a long time, walk around a little or sit when you can. A mile-long walk is usually fine but can backfire if you’re hurting. Lying in bed for days isn’t good either. When you are injured, you can’t help that, but as soon as you can, get up every so often and walk a little farther and for a little longer each time.

Everyone knows it’s important to stretch after exercising, but when you have lower back issues, you can take time to stretch even when you’re not beginning or ending a workout.I have a big purple Pilates ball that I can use for stretching at home. You don’t need one to do stretches, but they’re awesome, and they usually come with instruction on how to use them.

Your doctor may have already told you that you need a good mattress and to get a restful sleep every night.

Your back should always be flat against the chair you’re sitting in, no space between your back and the chair. You’ll probably find chairs with arms and high backs to be more comfortable and supportive. I also use a lower back pillow when I’m working at my desk.

All this may sound like a lot of upkeep, but it’s a lifestyle change and becomes second nature to you once you get used to it, so please don’t be discouraged, or give up. Believe me; I know how debilitating this can be, so I don’t want you to suffer for years as I did.

Hope you feel better!

Suggested Reading:

Changing Your Relationship with Pain

Doing Yoga Changes the Way Your Brain Handles Pain

Can Natural Supplements Help with Pain?

7 Stretches In 7 Minutes For Complete Lower Back Pain Relief

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© Copyright October 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Dodinsky photo with quote by BK

WHEN YOU RECLAIM YOUR FAITH, HEART, AND SPIRIT

In Catholic elementary school, one priest admitted to our eighth-grade class that none of the Bible stories we’d learned in the lower grades were meant to be taken literally, that they were just “examples” to give us an idea. I had to ask. An idea of what? What the church wanted? What God wanted? What men who were writing this book thousands of years ago wanted? He wouldn’t say, and though I went on to Catholic high school, there continued to be mixed messages from adults regarding religion.

At first, I took what was worth keeping and dismissed the rest. I read that in a quote somewhere, and it sounded like a good idea. 🙂

Someone later told me if I didn’t believe and support 100% of what the Bible said, I was a “cherry picker.” It ruffled my feathers at the time; I was young, but, in truth, most of the people I knew were cherry picking right alongside me.  They wanted to believe in a higher power, in eternal life. They wanted to feel safe and protected, be loved unconditionally and always forgiven, and to know they could always count on prayer. We wanted to be loyal to our faith while having empathy for others, realizing it isn’t all or nothing, one extreme or the other. We knew that fear-based worship had nothing to do with love.

Since then, I’ve watched many of the most faithful people suffer— not just from financial difficulties and health problems but feeling lost, feeling down, fearing they’d never get what they wanted, what they needed. Despite their praying and continuous efforts, their unmet expectations continued to disappoint them. They often repeated the adage that if you don’t suffer here on earth, you suffer in the hereafter (something like that). Well, we all suffer, but I don’t believe there is a loving father of all creation who wants his children to suffer continually and mercilessly.

Granted, a lot of the time, too, we cause our suffering, thinking everything is about us. Because we can be such masochists, we don’t want to confront certain things to find out that what we’re torturing ourselves with has no basis in truth or that, much of the time, whatever it is doesn’t matter. Some people, too, while vulnerable and suffering, want others to suffer with them. They want to punish and destroy, harm where they might have helped, and I don’t believe that is part of any divine plan. We have the capacity to cause ourselves and others so much pain. 😦

Stopping negative thoughts, for so many of us, is often easier said than done. Even a simple concept like staying in the moment so that we won’t worry needlessly about our past or the future often eludes us. We need a constant reminder to do that! We have our distractions, our obsessions, things that may impair our judgment and distort our reality, and all the time we spend living in false realities, people can take advantage of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and keep us in bondage. But that’s something we have to fix. No one can fix it for us. No one can even help us fix it if we’re not willing to do all the work. And it’s hard work. 😉

This aside, there were many reasons I questioned what I’d been taught as a child. My indoctrination had sorted me into a belief system that worshiped a patriarchal god whose texts subjugated women, enabling a patriarchal society where that subjugation could continue to varying degrees across the globe.

And the funny thing is, for the longest time, I still wanted to believe much of what I’d been taught in my younger years. I was so desperate to believe that, at one point, I sought out devout Christian friends who had what I saw as unshakable foundations. I thought they could say something that would convince me I was wrong. Those people shut me down or shut me out as if I could corrupt their thinking.

You know, it was okay at one time (even cool) for people to go on their little spiritual journey, and the outcome mattered only to the individual. Mine went all the way from Siddhartha and The Prophet to Way of the Peaceful Warrior and beyond. I read about Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Pantheism and more recently the beautiful Bahá’í faith. Everything I learn fascinates me. Back in the 90s, I befriended an Egyptian family who passed along much of what was good about Islam and talked about some of the things they struggled with, not unlike many Christians with the harsher truths of the Bible. These days, however, people seem to get upset when you don’t believe what they believe. Even the word journey seems trite.

Exploring is important, though—especially having that freedom to explore. When you do it extensively, the outcome, whatever that may be, brings you to a much higher level of authenticity. You can embrace whatever you choose to believe with less concern about whether someone is going to try to prove you wrong, mock you, or corrupt you.

Still, when you dare to conclude that you don’t believe what your parents and teachers taught you, you find yourself struggling to figure out where you do fit in and what you do believe. You tough it out without your happy place in moments of distress, without feeling safe or protected, and you listen to people make harsh judgments about people like you—that you edged God out, that you don’t have a moral compass, that you are egocentric.

And yet, in my own moment of truth, I became a better person than I ever was, an increasingly more authentic and less narcissistic person, because I wasn’t trying to believe something that didn’t  make sense to me or fit in where I didn’t belong. I wasn’t pretending to be something I wasn’t, without realizing, and I had stopped building the false self I continually needed to expand on with the accumulation of more shame and feelings of inadequacy. I’m not saying this is true for everyone. It was true for me because I lived in a false reality about everything, including who I was.

While I never believed there was anything about me—ethnicity, religion, color, socioeconomic status, that set me apart from anyone else or made me better than anyone else, I did start out in life believing I was on some mission empowered by God. And without realizing, I had disconnected myself from others.

Of all I had learned, one of the things that stuck with me above everything was the whole love one another thing. Yes, I really liked that part. Isn’t it a basic theme in all religions? But it wasn’t the non-believers I’d see hating and punishing one another without conscience.

And there was that perfect love hath no fear business in a society that seems overrun by fear. It began to seem as if allegiance to a god was some way of feeling righteous and superior enough to justify atrocious behavior toward one another—all fear-based and with this tunnel vision about getting to this perfect place called Heaven where we never have to die. Of course, we are human, and as humans, we often fail, but at some point, we have to look at the bigger picture, realize what’s happening and start looking for answers. Because we want to do better, don’t we?

One of the biggest problems in this world is that people don’t get along, don’t respect each other, and often don’t regard one another as fellow human beings. They can’t understand one another because they don’t listen to each other. They don’t put themselves in someone else’s place and say, “That could be me.” Instead, they look for reasons why that wouldn’t happen to them because they always behave the right way, or they are the “right” sort of person their god wants them to be. It enables them to detach. It’s always this idea that people reap what they sow until tragedy hits home. And it’s easier for some to believe what they want to believe without further exploration because they can be like the child who has to hide and protect his or her cherished toys so that nobody can take them away.

I would never want to shut down people who don’t believe what the holy books say or the people who don’t know what to believe. I don’t want to dismiss the cherry pickers trying to find a safe middle ground or silence the faithful. They are all entitled to their beliefs, as long as they are not committing or condoning crimes against humanity.

I believe, too, those who bring hate into the universe, using it as a weapon, and a divisive tool, these people are significant only at the moment because their time is over. People advocating hate, violence, and oppression serve no divine purpose in doing that. Our higher power is not a means to bury others, to condemn them. That power would connect us not divide us and bring us all together in the end. No loving deity would send some hateful bully to fix what is wrong in our world, and no one who carries that much hatred will go very far, because hate cripples and ultimately destroys. We have defeated that before, and we will defeat it again.

We can fight with a warrior’s resilience and never fight alone.

Our job is to keep resolving things internally, so that we continue to evolve as humans, deepening our understanding, our empathy, and our compassion. Suffering can be a beautiful thing when we are constantly evolving, but not if we’re stuck in the same place emotionally without learning from everything we endure. Every one of us can enlighten as we evolve, heal, learn, grow, and transform.

I truly believe the continuous goal is healing—not simply individual healing but collective healing. We each have our gifts and our tools for contributing to the greater good, and it’s one big, collaborative effort, during which time we need to remain connected as part of a larger entity.

If we must keep influencing ourselves with thoughts, let those thoughts be reminders that we are divine, created by the divine, and divinity surrounds us, and in that way, we have much more power than we know.

We have that power for a reason.

We don’t see everything just yet, and we don’t know everything, but we are creating the future, the world we want to live in, and the world we will leave our children. I’m also going to dare to believe we can keep evolving toward a much higher consciousness and create the idyllic world we envision.

 

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Photo credit: The Goddess of Every Sweet Dream by June Yarham

© Copyright August 2, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

TERROR WILL MAKE YOU TERRORIZE—THE INSIDIOUS ALLIANCE FAIL

It’s easy to get pulled into a state of terror these days. There is deliberate fear mongering and propaganda, so it’s often hard for people to know what to believe.

They want accountability and honesty from their leaders, and they deserve that. It is understandable that people are tired of oppression by corrupt and manipulative bullies who don’t care about the people they serve (and yet many turn to other deceitful and manipulative bullies to fix it.) But I don’t blame hardworking people for saying they’ve had enough of their tax dollars spent on benefits for others that they don’t even get for themselves. I’ve worked in law firms, too, where attorneys boast about getting disability benefits for clients who are not disabled. So yes, many of the systems we have in place do not work, and we need leaders who will reassess them—whether it be border control, gun rights, our welfare system, or disability eligibility.

What I can’t relate to, however, is all the tribalism, elitism, and hate. None of that is necessary or important in achieving our goals, and it’s just devastating. This behavior has sickened me to my core since childhood.

People say things like, well how can you not get defensive when you hear that there is white privilege, or “they” accuse white people of doing things you don’t do and never did? They also argue that white people also find themselves in difficult circumstances.

Okay, well, here is why I don’t get defensive.

1. It is obvious that I don’t do those things.

2. I have seen other people do this stuff, and it breaks my heart. The injustice is my primary concern in addressing the matter, not my defense. So I feel that speaking out against it is the very least I can do and, believe me, it’s not much and not enough.

3. As a person perceived as white, I have experienced white privilege. It’s something we take for granted, and it’s not simply about socioeconomic status, but about justice and human dignity denied. As only one example, people see me and assume they are safe, whether it’s a cab driver, an employer, a coworker, and so on. Overall, they treat me better, and I can make the comparison because I have always had relationships and friendships with black people. If we look at it as women, we should be able to understand it on some level, since women are often not treated the same way men are in the workplace, walking down the street, or in social situations.

The white privilege defensiveness is similar to men’s defensiveness when women talk about rape culture. Many men know that they are not guilty and feel no need to defend themselves but feel compelled instead to stand up for the people who do have to deal with the trauma, the abuse, and the injustice.

I do get defensive when I’m talking about rape culture, and someone has to point out something like women can be mean and aggressive, too. Um? It’s not that I don’t know that, but what does it have to do with anything? Don’t take attention away from the issue at hand. It would never justify anything anyway.

With white privilege defensiveness, the rationale seems to be that we keep people as victims by validating them, empathizing with them, and fighting alongside them for equality and the dignity they deserve. I don’t think people are kept down by that. I believe what keeps people down is the constant dismissal of their pain, the degradation, the humiliation, the fear of injustice, and the continuous crushing of their will, their faith, and their hope. This type of oppression kills the self-esteem people need to empower themselves, and it’s flat-out terrorism.

And please don’t tell me that those of us who want to help in this ongoing crisis support laziness and everyone getting free stuff. As someone who worked in the corporate environment for nearly a quarter of a century, almost half of that time with chronic illness and disabilities, I can attest to the fact that so many out there are doing their utmost to cope. We don’t know their stories, their circumstances, or what challenges they face, and it’s not always the narrative we hear over and over.

Enough with the stereotypes already. Just like all the gun violence—a white man is evidently the good guy with a gun, while the black man with any type of weapon is a threat. Honestly, I don’t mind any mentally stable, rational person owning a gun. The problem is everyone thinks they are stable and responsible until they’re not, and so many apparently are not. How do we even address that?

But for so many, it is all or nothing.

I see a lot of middle ground, which is an impossible place to be in these days. You cannot form alliances like that, and yes, people want allies. We are the same color. We have the same ethnicity. We agree about who God is and what he wants from everyone. We have the same political view. We hate the same person, so we know who the enemy is.

Here is my question, though, all or nothing people, where is the balance? Because life has taught me, it is always about balance, and the truth is often somewhere in the middle. Extremes are inflexible and maybe even a little insane.

And it’s the apathy that kills me.

Even today, as the nation mourns the deaths of brave police officers and two more young African-American males, we have people out there trying to divide and spread hatred—blaming Obama, Hillary, liberals, etc. I may be a little more of a Centrist, but I highly identify with liberals and their concerns, especially these concerns, so if you are blaming liberals, you are blaming me, and I am not okay with that.

Hey, I’m sorry that some people who are feeling terrorized now think “Kumbaya” is for hippies on drugs, and that it’s not popular anymore to ask that we love one another. Fear has everyone in a panic.

I guess somebody turned the tables when we weren’t looking. Those of us advocating compassion, kindness, and acceptance are the enemies. We have a far religious right believing there is an eternal reward for elitists who lack empathy because it’s part of their “religion” to do so and because they want all the power and control.

“The devil made me do it” defense applies only to priests.

And I don’t care what they say. When people shame and scorn you for speaking out against pedophile priests, that’s part of the problem. When the Hollywood community conveniently ignores the child abuse, sexist culture to avoid discrimination, that’s part of the problem. Anytime we close our eyes to horrific things happening because it interferes with our agenda or someone else’s agenda, that’s part of the problem.

Some people go so far as to say that empathy is Satan’s new agenda.

Well if that’s true, Satan has an army of candy-ass peace seekers who feel the pain of humanity and speak out for dignity and justice for all. Kind of like Superman. Except we are no more superior than the next guy. We just care about other people, and when they suffer, we suffer, too.

So let me tell you; Satan’s bad-ass, powerful army includes honest, law-abiding citizens who cry for this world—not the proud, greedy, gluttonous, and covetous bunch of bullies, or those merely in bondage to cognitive ease.

And I’m just going to say this one more time. Love and acceptance are what feels healthy and right to me. I want that for everyone, along with plenty of peace, happiness, and success to go around. Is that too much to ask? If so, what is the point of this life really?

“The world is getting too small for both an Us and a Them. Us and Them have become codependent, intertwined, fixed to one another. We have no separate fates, but are bound together in one. And our fear of one another is the only thing capable of our undoing.” ― Sam Killermann

Here is something else I’d like to share.

The police officer in this video talks about much needed change, and it’s worth watching.

Why Police Are So Violent Toward Black Men – In the words of a Baltimore ex–cop.

© Copyright July 1, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

SURVIVAL OF THE COUSCOUS INVASION, POINTLESS PANIC, AND MORE!

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It began as a typical Friday afternoon, working at home on my books, breaking every so often for a workout, a stretch, some cleaning, or a meal. I finished lunch but the TV was still on, and when I happened to glance at it, notice of a tornado warning trailed at the bottom of the screen—in effect until ten p.m.

I always get nervous about these things. We’ve had them, but they are so rare here in New York that I still associate tornadoes with Kansas and Oz and okay maybe Texas.

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My son, Jesse, would be on his way over soon, so I went on a detail-seeking mission, like what time exactly might this event occur and the exact percentage of its likelihood.  The internet said it was a watch, not a warning. Still, I wanted to know how fast it could change from watch to warning.  I was obsessed.

Once Jesse arrived, things just about returned to normal. I was making a  honey mustard/barbecue chicken stir fry  (always so delicious over couscous.) The place was lamp-lit with the a/c on, nice and cozy, and I was listening to the rain. Then, in my still “kind of nervous” rushing around, I managed to drop half a box of the couscous all over the kitchen floor.

I had another box—good thing. (I’m so prepared.)tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-024

But we have this thing about bugs. Jesse always had a slight phobia when it came to insects or rodents. As for me, well I just don’t want to see them crawling or watch them die. My place has been a pest-free zone. Seriously, I have not seen a bug since I moved in here two years ago. Jesse had always been appalled at the notion that they could casually stroll in like a guest, and I’d be all like oh, damn, the thing has to suffer a horrible death now. I can’t have that.

So I had to get every single morsel of that couscous off the floor because bugs. I thought it would be a quick vacuum, and that would do the trick, but it managed to get under the oven, so we had to move that. Still not a huge deal, but my son has this way of catastrophizing that is right on par with my anxiety. Every time I thought I had finished, he’d be like, no there’s a truckload more under there or a ton more under that thing. I was arguing there wasn’t even a truckload or a ton in the box to begin with! A lot of it did manage to get wedged under the cabinet on both sides, though, so I had to lay down and reach under with utensils and paper towels until every trace of it was gone. Meanwhile, Jesse managed to get a paper towel sucked up into the vacuum and had to take the whole thing apart to get it out. We laughed, and I cautioned him about getting the fork sucked up and confiscated it so that couldn’t happen.

This unanticipated ordeal took about an hour, but it got done, and soon after, dinner was on the table, which looked a lot like this:

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Despite everything, it came out great, and after that, we sat down to binge watch “How I Met Your Mother.” I bought that whole series along with “Big Bang Theory,” because I love funny stuff, and laughter is everything.

So with the disk loading up now, my son turns to me with this really serious look on his face and says, “So now a tornado is coming to finish us off?”

I laughed for ten minutes.

Yes, now that we survived the zombie apocalypse, Armageddon and all—

And there was no tornado, but clearly, panicking and catastrophizing never really does any good.

 

© Copyright July 1, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Wizard of Oz 1939 photo by Insomnia Cured Here

Chicken photo by jeffreyw

And here is his recipe

This is the recipe I used except I add jalapenos.

 

ANNOUNCING SPOTLIGHT OPPORTUNITIES YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT!

Are you interested in reaching a new audience?

I’m looking for blogs, poems, photos, artwork, short stories, even a web series that would appeal to my readers.

The submissions should not be promotional links for your books/work/sites, and I’m not looking for anything that is too graphic. I prefer posts that enlighten, help, and inspire with focus on recovery, coping, healing, and evolving. Pure entertainment is wonderful, too! Humor is much needed and appreciated, as are joyous wonders of the world in art form. Work published on another site is fine as long as it’s your original work, and you have properly edited any text.

Contact me first to discuss whether your contributions would be a good fit. I am particularly interested in people who would like guest posters for their own site, so we can exchange. It’s not necessary, but that’s something I’m definitely willing to do.

If you become a regular contributor, you will get your own tab under the guest post menu, so that readers can find all your posts in one place. A little further down the road, I’ll have a contributor tab where regular contributors can have a more detailed profile, and that’s where their promotional and social media links would appear. They will also be eligible for ‘spotlight features’ where they can do an interview (audio, text, or video), read an excerpt, or something along those lines. A link to that feature would be on their contributor page.

If we determine that we can work together, this is how it would go.

When you create a blog you think I’d like to share, send me a link. If you want to share photos or poetry, just get them up on WordPress, Blogger, or your website.

I would need a bio and photo of you. If you prefer not to have an image of you, it can be a trademark or something else associated with you or your work. You won’t have to submit the bio or photo for subsequent posts unless you want to update it.

A feature photo to accompany the work is highly recommended either included on the blog or sent as a separate attachment. You must also provide the source for your feature photo so that we can give proper credit to the artist or photographer. If you are the artist or photographer, indicate that. If you are not sure where to find photos you can use legally with proper attribution, I can recommend a couple of sites.

If you have preferred hashtags for sharing, please provide them, or I will tag accordingly.

The posts will go up on my website under the ‘guest post’ tab. I would copy any text and then link back to the original blog in the copyright notice, which will be in your name, appearing before your photo and bio. I’ll send you the link to your post, and you’d have a chance to request any changes or even change your mind. Once you give your seal of approval, I’ll share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and possibly LinkedIn or Pinterest.

There may be a cutoff period for this offer, depending on the level of interest and my availability, but the posts would likely remain unless you request their removal.

Lastly, I would like to mention that I have created a private community for interesting discussions, exchanging ideas, and supporting others. It would fit in with the community/collaboration environment and could be a lot of fun. If you are interested in that, let me know. I’m thinking about adding a portal to that site on my website for easy access. It’s all about community!

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Photo by BK, original photo credit Jonathan Combe

© Copyright June 26, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

THAT DEVOTED GIRL SHATTERED BY YOUR TRUTH IS FREE

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I had a dream about you last night and woke up crying. I couldn’t sleep after that.

In the dream, you were angry with me—full of anger, full of hate. You had shut the door on me and left me out in the cold. I kept calling to you with a child’s unbearable anguish. You didn’t hear.

At some point, I cried, “Help me, daddy,” and finally, you came. I thought you were going to hit me or hurt me with your scarred and violent soul, but you didn’t. You hugged me. Well, you didn’t just hug me. You gave me the kind of hug I’d wanted from you since childhood, the comfort I always needed, and I didn’t want to let go.

I miss your smile and your jokes, Dad, your handsome face, and all of your wisdom, but I have to ask. Does a father realize he is the first man a girl gives her heart to completely? The first man she trusts blindly and devotedly? Did you realize?

I used to think I was hard to love.

Whatever people said—men especially—I wanted to believe them. Deep down, I didn’t. Not a word. And every time a man took something from me that I didn’t want him to have, every time a man tried to silence me, belittle me, or make me doubt myself, I punished him, pummeling him with words and crushing him with goodbye. I could be angry with them but not you.

What if things had been different between us, though? Would I had been less vulnerable or had the confidence to be my authentic self, knowing I was worthy and lovable? Would I have chosen more wisely? Would I have stopped running and hiding, oblivious to my weaknesses and my desperate needs? Would I have respected myself more? Might I have found someone I could love, for real? Someone who could have loved me back? Because I didn’t let them … I made sure they couldn’t.

Well, no matter, that’s all changed now. I picked up the shattered pieces of my heart and began to love myself.

It’s hard not to feel that twinge of emotion when I hear father tributes of the heroes who boosted confidence and taught children to believe in themselves. I honestly wish everyone could beam with that pride, feeling safe, content, and protected in that eternal bond.

It’s easy to defeat someone when you have all the power, when you are on a pedestal from the start, and you make all the rules. You can create vulnerability and punish the very same, though you don’t mean it. You can erase one’s humanity because of your denial, your self-loathing, and your shame, though you’re not aware. You can damage a person almost beyond repair. And, after the wrecking ball, cleanup of that wreckage rests solely on those tiny shoulders. Yeah, those shoulders get bigger, but somehow it all gets harder and more complicated.

I cleaned up that mess, though. The void lasts forever, and many people can attest to that, but I got those things I needed. It just takes ongoing effort to hold on to them.

And by the time I had a child of my own, I knew all too well what a child needs. I was able to give him that, but I couldn’t give him YOU. Oh, he’s brilliant and kind and funny, and so very loyal. Like you, he’s hard and strong but with such a tender heart. He needed you, and he still needs you, though he’d never admit it now. He’d been shattered right along with me, but we rose to the challenge, and he loves with his whole heart like I do. I’m proud of him, and I’d like to think you’d be proud of him, too, but it doesn’t matter now.

Look, maybe you didn’t give me what I needed, but you gave what you had. I saw a brave and modest man, generous with assistance and advice—a hero to many, and I know why they love you. I know why I loved you. Sure, it’s easy to love someone when you think they are perfect; when you hold them up on a pedestal and pretend they are everything you need and always wanted. You fell off that pedestal when I was twelve, Dad, but I loved you so much, flaws and all, and I still do. That’s unconditional love, and though you couldn’t give that to me, you still get it. Because guess what? You deserved that, too, from the people who didn’t give it to you.

Yeah, I knew why you were the way you were, though you accepted no excuses from me when I fell short. You could never understand me, but I understood you. Though you couldn’t hear me, yours was the loudest voice I’d heard in my entire life—a voice that continued to bellow in my ear for a lifetime. It kept me from standing up. It kept me from fighting, and it kept me from winning until I did all those things because I couldn’t lose any more. I climbed in spite of you, because of you and for you, because you couldn’t do it yourself, and I understand that.

When you were angry, devastated, and tortured, I tried to tell you it would be okay, that I was sorry for you, and that I loved you, but it seemed too much for you to bear at the time. Then, in the end, I forgave you, and you forgave me. It took a lifetime, but we got there.

Sigh. There are many things we never got to do, Dad, and it’s too late now. You’re gone. But I do have some fond memories of you that I will cherish always.

And here’s what I wish.

I wish I could go back in time with you—to those boyhood days when you were punished severely for no good reason—when you were invalidated, shamed, ridiculed, and ignored, just to tell you how awesome you were, and all you could be and do with your life. I’d say I believe in you, and that you have everything you need to succeed. I would say over and over that I love you to the moon and back, so you would know how worthy you are of that love. And maybe you would have grown up to be what you wanted, and have felt no shame. Then when it was your turn, you could have done the same. You would have known I was not an extension of you and didn’t have to represent you or your ideals. Perhaps you would not have expected such a conformist “go with the flow” type of kid who didn’t make waves but sang to a song you couldn’t possibly hear. You would not have lost empathy. You wouldn’t have cared how others saw me or what they would think. You’d have simply treasured me for the person I am. Imagine that!

The aching in my heart is that I want that for everyone. I wish all men and women who didn’t get what they needed as children would give that and get it back in abundance however they can. And I’m infinitely grateful to every hardworking mom and dad who gets up every day ready and willing to get it all right, including you.

Rest easy, Dad, and know you will always be in my heart.

“Children are the most fearless souls on earth.”― Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

Further Reading:

10 Ways Strong Women Move Past Their ‘Daddy Issues’

Why Dads Matter — Especially to Girls

*****

Featured photo at beginning of blog by Fritz Zuber-Buhler

© Copyright May 31, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

BEFORE YOU FORGET AGAIN: YOU ARE AN AMAZING TRIUMPH!

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The robin in your tender heart
Hungers for the red berry
That titillates your tongue.
She carols as the snow falls—
And not with the chorus of the dawn
In radiant spring.
What might have been?
Your voice silenced,
The spirit of you
Destroyed,
I see glimpses of your fire
From the light that has vanished
From your eyes.

Your wings soar,
Only not to follow
Your heart.
And your heart is that of
A child,
Deeply vulnerable,
Precious,
So sensitive,
And sweet.
You inspire me
To change my perspective
With your unique vision
Of the world.
You shine with your brilliance,
And you don’t know.
Your bursts of laughter
Make me smile.
As always, you are the light
In my darkness;
Your spirit is the fire I feel
In the sun’s warmth.
You were the dawn of my awakening,
And the splendor of my dreams.

And I have cried
For your heart
More than I have ever cried
For my own.
I am torn apart by
The intensity of your pain.
It is profound sadness
I feel,
When I think I’ve reached you
And then hit another wall…
Hard.

I fear losing you forever
To your grief,
As I grieve, too,
For the subtleties
And cues
You don’t understand.
Avoiding the eyes of others …
Your intense frustration
In trying to get it right,
And thinking you have it all wrong.

You have it right,
So right—
Always did,
Always will.
I only wish you could know
The joy
Of being free.

The tentative smiles,
The looks of uncertainty,
Prompt me to tell you,
You got this.
You’ll be fine.
Whatever the passion,
Let it burn.
It will save you.

Retrieve every shattered fragment
Of your soul.

Accept it,
Embrace it,
Bless it with your peace.
Give it mighty and glorious wings,
And let it fly where it leads
Without fear,
Into the twilight of an infinite sky.

Be happy,
Shine,
Glow.
Love,
Dance,
Sing.
Celebrate yourself
And don’t stop singing
Your life’s song.
The song is your vision,
Your passion;
It belongs to you.
Without it,
You wither and die.

Don’t you, for one moment,
Let anyone crush your beautiful spirit.

Know, too, those who have crushed you
Have been crushed.
Those who pain you have been pained.
Still, you can rise again,
Become completely alive again
And shine on,
Just as you did before all the hurt began.

You are not defective,
My dear one,
Not a burden,
Nor do you struggle alone.
I’m here with you.
I will always be with you.
You are
In every way
Beautiful.
Though you don’t see that,
And you never have.
I just love you.

Feature photo by Amy Treasure

© Copyright October 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

DISTORTED PERCEPTIONS OF ILLNESS & ADDICTION IN A FEARFUL WORLD

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Obviously, there is a stigma when it comes to narcotic addiction. So when a drug addict gets sick or overdoses, it’s easy for some to distance themselves or conclude that it happens to specific groups comprised of losers. I’ve often heard the line that it’s a lifestyle choice, or God punishes the “bad” people. Those who believe that tell an entirely different story when they are the victims of some tragic fate.

What a holier-than-thou world it’s become.

As far as I’m concerned, the only bad people are those who deliberately and repeatedly harm and destroy others.

Seriously, I wish people without any addictions and those who claim “other” addictions would stop acting so smug and being so callous. How about gratitude when we’re not afflicted with something or another?

Everyone has weaknesses.

Some who readily toss others in the “loser” category tend to forget the long list of known addictions. They may be familiar with the most obvious ones—alcohol, over the counter medications, gambling, work, food, smoking, caffeine, internet, etc. I remember the sanctimonious politicians who never thought much about their sex, fetishes, and porn addictions until caught with their pants down. Many people readily accept codependency and its’ related addictions to ego, attention, approval, people pleasing, perfection, and drama. Then there are the adrenaline junkies, the exercise fanatics. People become obsessed with plastic surgery, crime, sugar, television, video games, greed, lying, even isolation. The list goes on and on, which means most of us are addicted to something or another at some point in time. It is all about the obsessions that cause dysfunction in our lives because obsessions impair judgment and distort perception.

One might say, well I don’t hurt anyone doing what I do, and drug addicts hurt “innocent” people. First, you may not even realize that your addiction has hurt others. And yes, there are drug addicts who endanger lives. There are also non-drug addicts who do that, and there are drug addicts who don’t intentionally seek to harm anyone.

For the most part, people with addictions are innocent, too.

Why look down on anyone who is suffering?

And, yes, they are suffering. Those of us who have fought to save a loved one or have lost a loved one know this heartrending struggle too well. Whether it is physical or emotional, they are in pain—quite often agonizing pain.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” Many people still reject this theory while others see it as more of a personality disease. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is not only a complex disease but also a mental illness.

I believe it is all of these things.

But even if someone can dismiss the facts and theories, there is one thing that’s difficult to dispute if you’ve had any involvement with addicts or addiction. They have a common denominator. They’re often trauma survivors.

I’m sure the whole mental illness aspect makes some people uncomfortable, too, even though it is a broad spectrum with different degrees of functioning levels. It’s easy to shun and deny, and that only creates more problems.

The Kim Foundation cites that “an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.”

I’ve heard someone say, God’s perfect love casts out fear and almost in the next breath go on to condemn another person out of fear.

Well, I say this. Whatever is behind addiction, people die intentionally, accidentally, and from related diseases, and they are often denied in death the acceptance, understanding, and unconditional love they may have also been denied in life.

Among that group of individuals, we’ve lost some of the kindest people who ever lived. I know I have.

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Links:

DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

The Disease Model of Addiction

Is Drug Abuse a Mental Illness?

Psychology Today: A Brain’s Eye View of Addiction as a Disease

Featured image by Roya Ann Miller

© Copyright May 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

WHEN IT HURTS—SURVIVING PEOPLE, LIFE AND MADNESS

 

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There are a few reasons I often choose to write about the difficult things I needed to learn the hard way in life. One reason is to create awareness and to advocate for people in similar circumstances. If I’m able to achieve that, I feel fortunate, and it’s one of the rewards of so many missed opportunities or hours spent in isolation. Then there is the “writer” perspective that every experience in our lives is good copy. Nothing should go to waste in this effort—no pain, no joy, and no humiliation. If it can’t be insightful, it just might be entertaining. 🙂

Now and then, someone will read what I’ve written and think, oh, that’s about me. The truth is, it’s probably about a lot of people. In certain life predicaments, you’re bound to encounter individuals with the same issues. You attract them and may even cling to them for a while because it’s familiar.

Personally, I’ve had to take inventory of my behavior over the years in order to heal, grow, and evolve so that I could do better. I’ve had quite a bit of healing to do. Even with a ton of work, there’s always much more to do. And I know why people get stuck where they are. I understand that it’s never hard to go back there in a moment of weakness. I realize, too, that the culprits of our frustration come at us from a place of pain and fear, and that they’re suffering, too. 😦

As trite as it may seem, the main reason for writing what I write is to help myself and others heal and triumph in the process. It’s become a passion since I believe we can’t possibly have enough willing contributors to global and collective healing.

Sometimes, however, we don’t know how much more we can take. We’re already dealing with the world’s latest and ongoing horrors. We’re trying to achieve our goals, live our dreams, and at times face overwhelming disappointment. Meanwhile, the relationships we have with people, through all of these circumstances, often determine whether we have the strength to continue or not.

Conflict resolution is important. To save myself a lot of time and energy, not to mention a whole lot of anguish and pain, I’ve had to learn the telltale signs that there is no hope for resolution. And you can bet it’s a lost cause when you’re dealing with emotional manipulators who will exploit your vulnerabilities.

It happened to me about eight years ago in a recovery group. Not surprising, since people in recovery are learning to reign in ego and recognize character defects so they can become better people. It’s more often about helping one another do that rather than tear each other down, but it doesn’t always work that way. I’m still, on occasion, dealing with the repercussions of that. But it’s one example. Emotional manipulation goes on between people in many different scenarios—work, home, social media, yeah, just about everywhere and all the time.

These people won’t tell you the truth no way no how because they don’t trust you (and that’s because they know you can’t trust them) or because they have too much invested in the opposing perspective. They don’t want to understand you or make allowances or hear explanations. They make assumptions rather than ever ask what the deal is, and they won’t disclose those assumptions. That would make it too easy for you to correct their misinformation. They would rather not argue than admit they could be wrong and deny you the privilege of ever confronting them about anything. You don’t have the right to see them as anything other than the generous martyrs they perceive themselves to be. They’re doing you a favor by being in your life, and everything they do is out of the goodness of their hearts (because they are so nice and so much better than you). And they don’t even realize this is what they are saying in so many ways.

They might even align themselves with people who want you to fail and withhold support for your efforts. Why? Because the naysayers, well, that’s usually the bigger group. That’s the group they want to belong to, and fit in, reaping the attention, admiration, and approval they so desperately need. In light of that, you are expendable. Not that they would see it that way. It’s a heartbreaking thing to come to terms with if you have an ounce of empathy. It brings more guilt and shame no one needs.

You can try asking outright if you’ve done something wrong, but they’ll say no and then continue to demonstrate that they have little regard for you.  The ones who are conscious of what they’re doing will use aggressive behavior if  that’s what intimidates you—become a combative bully or enlist one to do their dirty work. Whatever they learn about you, they will later use it against you.  Get ready for the smear campaign with people playing both sides. You don’t need the drama, mama. Run.

Now, while I may want to extend the same compassion for them that I extended to myself in making peace with the past, it’s hard sometimes. Nothing stings more than being part of someone’s self-serving charade. They value their image and their pride more than they value you, and I believe we should be with people who do more than tolerate us but celebrate and cherish us as we do them.

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There is no good reason for allowing anyone to shatter our self-esteem, undermine us at every turn, and shake whatever faith we’ve managed to muster in ourselves. It’s futile, it’s painful, and it destroys us. We don’t owe anyone that. It’s an absurd self-sacrifice. It’s codependent, and they wouldn’t likely do it for us. Who can afford the constant message these people impart to us, that we are not worth it? Many of us have spent decades fighting to get rid of that message, and we don’t want it back.

So we have to let it all go with love. Walk away with our dignity and self-respect, and protect ourselves from further harm. Because to resolve anything, we need two people who care enough about each other to listen, both willing to own their part in whatever happened.

Bottom line—we have to take care of ourselves. And those times when we feel like giving up are the times to be especially nurturing to ourselves.

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We tend to think, in moments of distress, so many people have it worse, far worse, and we’re lucky. We have so many reasons to be grateful. Yes, that’s true. It’s relative. Perhaps the guilt alone, thinking of what people around the world have to endure while we’re merely battling egos, makes us feel selfish in complaining.

We’re not, though. It is tiring. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating and at times, devastating. Those feelings don’t simply go away because we feel we’re not entitled to them.

I can say, what’s helped me most, through everything, is seeing life as a challenge. Whatever I had thrown at me, I wanted to rise to meet the challenge and thrive. Sometimes I didn’t want that immediately, but give me a little time, and I’m stepping up. That works incredibly well. If I didn’t know when to shut down, when to preserve, protect, back the hell off and breathe in some self-love, I could assure you; I wouldn’t be here.

At the same time, I don’t blame people who feel they’ve had enough and want to give up entirely. I hate when people call them selfish. I’ve said for years, especially if you bring a child into this world; you just stick around. You have no business bringing a child here and then giving up. I clung to that in the worst possible times, and it was a no-brainer. I wasn’t going anywhere. It remained the number one reason I never quit my dreams or my life or gave up the hope that things can and do get better.

Still, if that doesn’t work for another person, my first thought is, I’m not in his or her shoes. I don’t know how hard they tried. I didn’t feel their pain, especially not the way they felt it. I don’t know their threshold. I don’t know how frightening it was to be inside their heads. I do know it can be terrifying to think you are losing it and can’t hold on. Sometimes it’s selfish to expect people to go on while they’re in so much pain so that we can still have them in our lives.

And I wholeheartedly want everyone to go on. I want everyone to heal, to succeed, to live their dreams, and to find their happily ever after. No one asks to come here. No one who sat giggling and gurgling on the rug, playing with their fun little toys, had any idea what the future held.

I do believe, though, there’s enough success to go around, but I’m not always sure about love. Many things get in the way of love—unrealistic expectations, rivalry, ego, and I tend to think if everyone gets enough love from the start, we wouldn’t have all these problems, especially with each other. Maybe fewer people would go wrong in life. I don’t know. But I think, we’d be less inclined to give up on people, because they’d be less inclined to give up on us.

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Louise Hay – Affirmations and Power Thoughts

Eckhart Tolle – Free Your Mind and Learn to Let Go

Jim Carrey’s Secret of Life – Inspiring Message

© Copyright May 4, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

LIL’ KIM BACKLASH—THE CRITICISM, BEING WORTHY & LOVE

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With all the social media fuss about Lil’ Kim’s newest look, my first reaction was sadness for her and wanting to send love, tons of love. Then, as is so often the case with social media, there were many different reactions to the reactions, all of which required deeper reflection.

I guess whatever response we had depended on who we were while reading this story. Did we read it as a white person, a black person, a woman, a man, a feminist, an activist or someone who knows what it’s like to be broken, feel shame, and believe you are unworthy?

Some people saw the backlash as a double standard. White women go to the beach or use a fake tanning product to make their skin darker, and it’s normal. A black woman makes her skin lighter, and everyone goes nuts. Okay, I’m not big on the tanning thing myself (though I never mind it), but maybe a lot of us don’t expect that anyone would genuinely want to be paler.

So we get the impression that a black woman making her skin lighter is a result of this perception that being lighter is somehow better. We see it as a sad outcome of racism that amounts to people feeling not good enough, and we hate that people are made to feel this way.

And this, on top of everything else, is very much a woman thing.

People have argued that all women strive to look more beautiful, and Lil’ Kim is no different. But using cosmetics or dying your hair to enhance your beauty is not quite the same as having plastic surgery that makes you suddenly unrecognizable. We see it a lot, especially with the Hollywood crowd, and we sometimes blame and shame the wrong people. We ridicule the women who keep turning themselves inside out trying to achieve a perfection that doesn’t exist or trying to impress a society with impossible and often ridiculous standards. And that questionable society continues to profit from women feeling unworthy.

I suppose there is a difference, too, between changing something because you want to, and changing everything because you think it’s the only way to gain acceptance or the only way you’ll be loved.

What I read about Lil’ Kim is that people often told her she wasn’t pretty, and that her father played a part in her feeling unworthy. I can see from her old photos that she was beautiful from the start. That gave me the impression that this was yet another person feeling broken, another person who couldn’t love herself and maybe, just maybe, she developed a disorder and had a completely distorted perception of her self-image.

So, here it is. I’ve got nothing but love for Lil’ Kim and all the people out there who feel they need to fight for acceptance. Once upon a time, I felt that way, too. I hope, above all, that one day they will be able to love themselves because that’s when the game changes. And we need to change that game.

© Copyright April 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Featured Photo by Jordan Sanchez

AN EMPATHETIC BEING IN A STRANGELY APATHETIC WORLD?

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Photo by Julia Caesar

I know there is an established difference between empaths and highly empathetic people, but I prefer to discuss this topic without suggesting where I or anyone else might be on that spectrum.

To be honest, I remain skeptical about the paranormal. I question the metaphysical aspect of having the high level of empathy that makes you difficult to be around at times. Please bear in mind, when you have been that way since childhood, it feels like the most natural response one could have, even when it’s uncomfortable. It’s instinctive and, in my estimation, shouldn’t be at all peculiar, except that we live in such an apathetic world.

Some people have even linked a high level of empathy with codependence.

As far as I’m concerned, codependency is not about empathy. It’s about obsession. In the relationship between a drug addict or alcoholic and a generally sober enabler, both people are suffering from addictions. Both have their agenda, and what contributes to the endless cycle of repeat behavior is due partly to the codependent’s lack of empathy, however justifiable in many instances. The pressing needs of a codependent will consistently override any desire or need he or she may have to be authentic. They may believe what they do is simply out of love or out of concern, but it’s always about their dysfunction. Dysfunction gets in the way of any healthy response.

Very empathetic people can become codependent, but anyone can. Does being very empathetic put you at greater risk? I’d say so. And I think people who have suffered trauma and abuse are more likely to be very empathetic or codependent. But codependence is at odds with empathy, in my opinion, and can ultimately destroy it. I say this as a recovering codependent, and I will say, too, that as people learn to manage and overcome codependency, empathy returns like a long-lost son and in glorious triumph.

As for the whole empath/empathy deal, I can’t speak for all, but I can relay my experience and that of two other people I know.

We get angry at people who display a horrific lack of empathy, because we’ve experienced this on some level, whether it was a lack of empathy for us or others, and we continue to experience it happening to us and others. Every incident, regardless of who suffers has an unshakable impact that stays with us for a lifetime. So, yeah, don’t look for a sweet little halo-sporting cherub. Think dragon.

We never feel we can do enough, and yes sometimes the overwhelming realization may shut us down for a moment or a lifetime. I have seen people completely shut down, and it’s very hard to reach them, to break through the wall.

Waves of energy we feel in crowds and group settings make us want to bolt. We notice everything with people—every nuance, every change of tone, the body language. Certain situations can be excruciatingly painful. We can’t shake the feeling of distress after the person is gone or after we’ve gone, and can become physically or emotionally ill for hours, days, sometimes weeks.

We learn that we may need to avoid some people and we often feel sorry for those people, and we feel guilty, even if it’s a situation they created and continued to perpetuate. Setting the boundaries we need to set hurts them—the last thing we want to do. So, quite often, we feel like horrible people. We feel selfish.

By the way, codependents would remain in those situations, thinking they are doing the right thing. They’ll be the martyrs but for all the wrong reasons, and they’ll fully expect their rewards.

Anyway, back to the empaths or the empathetic, our acquaintances (and sometimes our loved ones) get sick of us feeling genuinely sorry for everyone. They get frustrated with our childlike wish that everyone can be happy and healed. They might find it laughable that we could never take pleasure in ‘karma’ even if we know someone deserves punishment. They can’t believe that we shudder to think of what might happen to these people, that we couldn’t witness it if someone offered us a front row seat.

Is it more human to be this way or less human? I don’t know, but I realize some people have had their humanity stripped from them, thanks to the abuse of others. While they may make me angry and in certain circumstances, hate them, there’s no real desire for revenge. I just hope the problem gets resolved so that they can’t hurt anyone again.

As for me, I feel fortunate to have been able to hang on to this empathy thing throughout all the madness of life, I wouldn’t trade it. And I don’t know if it’s admirable or absurd, but we are the lucky ones. Our empathy won in the end—the empathy that makes us believe we need to keep getting better as people. We continuously seek to heal and to evolve. We forever try to learn about others, and ourselves, and we share our discoveries. What’s wrong with that? It has saved many others and me.

VOLTE FACE

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Further reading:

Empath Test
Being Empathetic vs. Being an Empath
5 Steps to Protecting Yourself as an Empath
7 Phases of Becoming a Skilled Empath
On Being an Empath, Some Thoughts, Some Tools

 

 

© Copyright April 1, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

WANT TO BE MY BETA READER? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

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When I put out a call for beta readers a couple of weeks ago, many of you had questions.

First, you asked what a beta reader does. Beta readers work with authors before a book’s release. They read the book, and their role is to provide feedback to the author. They don’t have to be writers, but it helps if they are avid readers. As such, their feedback is an integral part of the process.

Most writers want feedback on story content, grammar, spelling, typos, etc. As for me, I ask that my beta readers focus solely on story content. I and another professional will edit the work several times before its release. I want to know how the readers feel about everything and everyone in the book. I want to know if they get confused at any point, if they spot inconsistencies. I want to know if something didn’t make sense to them, what they liked, what they didn’t like. Of course, if a reader happens to discover an error, I would ask that they note it for me.

Another question I’ve gotten is whether beta readers get paid for their services. Generally, no, but I’m happy to reward my beta readers with a signed copy of the book or a Kindle/Nook book if that’s what they prefer. They will receive, along with the book, one unit of any merchandise I order for the book, i.e., bookmarks, T-shirts. I would also include them in the book’s acknowledgments.

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Now, the book they would be reading is the second installment in my Deadly Veils series, where the focus moves away from teen drama and gets quite intense.

So far, the beta readers who have signed up to read Deadly Veils Book Two have read the first book of the series. While I am interested in someone who hasn’t read the first book, I would still consider someone who has.

People have asked about other criteria. Well, I need someone who has the time and motivation. The outline for the second book is complete, and I’ve already begun the first chapter. I would like to get this in the hands of my editor no later than July 1st, which means I would need time to do any revisions based on feedback from my beta readers.

As for how it works. I would send chapters at a time or the entire book when it’s finished. Readers may want to send comments as they think of them, or they may want to send all their comments at the end of each chapter, or even at the end of the book. I’d go with whatever system works best for that individual reader.

If you’re interested or think anyone you know may be interested, please e-mail or message me. I would be happy to answer any other questions you or they may have.

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© Copyright March 30, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Featured Photo by Padurariu Alexandru

COME ON PEOPLE NOW—THIS IS JUST MADNESS

 

 

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These candidates running for President make me want to embrace anarchy. I am a peace-loving gun control advocate who won’t harm a fly, but all the shenanigans have me wondering if I need to arm myself, train for battle and join a revolution.

I’m tired of these oppressors who crap their pants over the possibility that they may have to share power with another race or the other gender. I’m tired of tribalism—the complete and utter bigotry that leaves no room for other cultures and orientations. I’m tired of the mass cultural hallucination that says my god is bigger than your god, and you will do as my god says or suffer the consequences. I’m tired of the media hype that adds horse manure to both sides of the fence, facilitating the fearmongering and causing the fear and hatred to escalate with a pathetic lack of understanding.

I am always hearing that people who advocate for the world’s minorities are Anti-American. What’s Anti-American to me is xenophobia, rallying against the separation of church and state and trying to deny freedom, dignity and justice for all.

Yes, there are certain ideologies and behaviors we can’t embrace, but for the most part, I don’t mind sorting through information with people who see it from a different perspective. I have learned so much from people I respect who fall into that category. What does it say if I like and welcome only people that look like me, people who share my culture, my ethnicity, my religion? People who agree with me and think as I do? How narcissistic have people become really?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to secure our borders, nothing wrong with wanting to improve our immigration policies. Why must this go hand in hand with racism, misogyny and every kind of phobia that exists? This medieval logic would make America the enemy to the rest of the world, and rightfully so.

Arguments have surfaced that we should care for the homeless vets first. While it’s not an “either or” situation and doesn’t have to be, the reason for homeless veterans must be considered.

Our vets face complicated issues like PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and addiction. They need help. Yes, let’s get them help. We have a failing mental health system, absurd drug policies, crazy laws, and a judicial system that needs an overhaul. But helping everyone always seems to interfere with someone’s greedy agenda.

What I want to know is this. Why are political platforms one extreme or the other? What’s happened to balance and compromise? Why is it so difficult for people to work together?

It’s not black and white to me. There’s a lot of gray.

It’s hard for me to understand the childish mentality that says I will not help you because of what you represent, because you are the enemy, because my need to be right and in charge is more important than what’s good for the people we serve, for the greater good.

These politicians seem to have forgotten that they serve the people not themselves, not their personal or religious agendas.

They are talking about hair, fingers, and penises, for fuck’s sake. Yes, they are children. And they want to lead us.

I’m sure the latest tragic terrorist attack in Brussels reinforces to some, that we should have Trump in power, though he has not been able to do anything but escalate all this fear and hatred. Ask him, please, what do the black people have to do with this, since he needs the support of racists? What do women have to do with it, since he needs them objectified and disrespected? And gay people? Why do anti-gay people need to be consulted for supreme court justice nominations? Because he’s determined to oppress all of these people, too. That’s why.

But for that matter, what do innocent Muslims even have to do with those attacks? The same thing white Christians have to do with mass school and movie theater shootings, I suppose, but they are in no danger of being banned anytime soon.

It’s easier for candidates to scare people into thinking Muslims will destroy us all, even though there are over a billion Muslims in the world who would have banded together to destroy us already if they had been so inclined. Since they don’t seem to be, I suppose the fear-mongers are going to make those people feel unwelcome enough and oppressed enough to consider it.

It’s become all about the immigrants, when plenty of ISIS members have Western passports or can easily acquire them. It’s become all about the immigrants when our very own citizens commit plenty of horrific crimes on their own.

Conservatives insist that political correctness is destroying our country. Because not being able to insult women and minorities and discriminate against them is somehow a threat to their very survival.

And when these people say they are just expressing how all of us feel, they seem oblivious to the fact that at least half of us (and hopefully most of us) don’t feel that way. Perhaps they believe that because of the company they keep, but political correctness is not destroying our country. Hate is, and I’m sure selfish, narcissistic greed is right there alongside it.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”―Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”―Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” ― John Steinbeck

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”―Isaac Asimov

“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”― John F. Kennedy

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”―Karl Marx

“I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.”―George Carlin

© Copyright March 16, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

SHE STOOD ALONE ON THE EDGE OF DARKNESS

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Through forests of emerald-green bliss,
She pranced,
Embracing the colors of endless play—
The rainbows of summer.
She was a child of the earth.

Her tiny voice sang,
And she danced!
No danger lurked in her twinkling eyes.
Everything in her fearless laughter
Was colored with mirth.

She built castles on the shore
By a peaceful and provident sea
That was never foreboding.
She skipped beneath the golden clouds
Like the world belonged to her,
As if there were no cares
And all who loved her
Would keep her safe.

“Do not lose her,” I said.
“Do not lose that child.
She needs you so desperately.”

And then she had this grave fear of the sea,
This somber foreboding.
It seemed so vast and so deep
From the shore,
A leviathan-green, hellish monstrosity
Full of strange creatures that devoured things.
It was all that lay between her
And some faraway place
On the other side of the globe.

Somehow, it was not so frightening now.
Neither was the past,
The present,
Or all the future obscurities—
Not even those people she once had cherished.

The peace of the waters subdued her now,
As she listened to the thrash of the waves.
She was just playing with a stick in the sand.

There was a noted ambiguity
Whenever she spoke of this place.
Certain moments when she embraced the glorious light
And gazed intently into the darkness.
There were moments, too,
When she felt it creep and crawl around her,
When she ached and trembled,
Longing to free herself from its grip.

While seething within,
She wore the mask of kindness,
Harmless and alluring,
With resentment like hemlock,
Beautiful yet wilting,
Glowing yet tarnished,
Beckoning,
Flourishing,
Standing tall,
And unyielding…
Toxic to all
In her flowering beauty.

The sun was setting,
Salmon clouds under a sky of dodger blue,
Flocks of geese
On a sprawling lawn.
A waxing gibbous moon
Beckoned
Like she needed a guide,
A divine light.

“Come forth,” it said.
“Come home.”
And some of the fear waned
As she went forth,
But nothing really changed.

She stood alone on the edge,
In darkness,
A faint silhouette
Gazing at the night sky.
Rain fell,
A sprinkler to the trees
Thrashing in the wind.

She would flee,
Abandoning places,
Suddenly unrecognizable faces.
The glowing sun of Helios
Was a beacon
For eternal bliss,
Yet deceiving.

The caves beckoned.
Every corner,
Every crevice,
Held its own mystery,
Its truth.

Still the perilous journey
Was madness—
Pretty colors and then
Darkness.
It seemed to have no end.

She heard a child crying,
A child from long ago,
A prisoner of her soul.

Stone walls around her,
Hissing sounds,
Deep, treacherous waters—
Her mind was a fractured maze.
No one could see.
No one could hear.
No safe place to run,
She had to find the way
Out…
Home…

Every stone that healed
Brought her closer to
The truth,
The light.

The climb was steep,
But she held on,
Clawing her way
In blindness,
Accepting,
Facing,
Grieving.

Raindrops glistened on the rocks.
Flower petals littered
The wet grass.
She saw vibrant orchids
In the fading light of the moon,
And, alas,
Tranquil waters glistened
Aqua blue.

Like the ancient alchemical goddess,
She was crowned—
A newborn only beginning
To awaken,
Beginning to see,
Her soul bursting
With bliss.

The beauty within
Became the beauty
Eyes could see,
Not perfection—
Courage, perhaps…
Determination,
Defiance,
And love.

She was free.
No jewel could sparkle with
More radiance,
And the years could not tarnish its shine.

From Remnants of Severed Chains © Copyright October 17, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

WINNING THE SELF-SABOTAGE BATTLE WITH SELF-LOVE

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We all become conscious, at some point in our lives, of ways we can sabotage our physical well-beings.

When it comes to sabotaging our emotional well-beings, and even our financial security and stability, things seem to become more complicated.

Brilliant individuals are sometimes incapable of motivating themselves enough to change their lives or gravitate toward the ideal. They tend to become problem-oriented rather than solution oriented, boxing themselves in with an almost unwillingness to compromise. They may set impossible goals instead of practical ones.

Maybe someone convinced them they didn’t deserve success, or they convinced themselves based on how someone made them feel about their competency or their judgment. Either way, these old tapes keep playing in their heads, telling them they’re not worth much if they’re worth anything at all, that they can’t accomplish, can’t succeed, can’t win, and there’s not enough to go around. In this predicament, we fear success as much as we fear failure, because they are two sides of the same coin. We keep that coin as a reminder that we don’t trust ourselves with the dreams we cherish or the plans we’ve made.

We tell ourselves we don’t deserve success any more than we deserve money. Perhaps once we get our hands on the latter, we don’t manage it well. I’ve been there. I can attest to the fact that when you finally realize you do deserve these things, you’ll likely find yourself working your tail off, accomplishing one goal after another, building good credit along with a nice little nest egg. We have to be rid of whatever that little voice is in our head that says we can’t do it, and we’re not good enough, and that all this is impossible. We can, we are, and it’s not.

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We get into this pattern of self-pitying victimhood. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that we’ve been a victim of something or someone, or expressing anger about it, and shedding tears. We have a right to our grieving process. But sometimes we get use to the payoff—attention, pity, praise, the temporary ego fix. So instead of becoming solution oriented, we become more and more problem oriented, more and more likely to want an audience of sympathizers. And we get stuck there because solving problems would take that attention away and whatever else we get from being constantly burdened. It’s not that we don’t deserve to be comforted. It’s that we don’t move forward. We don’t get better.

This pattern normally goes hand in hand with excessive worry about people and things. Social media is a perfect example, because it mirrors life. I have seen people in a pattern of deactivating accounts only to resurface in a matter of days. Sometimes it may be that they legitimately need a break, but very often it’s because expectations are not being met. People are not responding to them in a way they could perceive as favorable. They’ve made assumptions about what people think or what someone meant, and after a considerable amount of time wasted on obsessive worrying, they take a drastic action to disengage. When they come back, it’s because they need to try it all again. They have too much riding on acceptance. It’s all self-defeating because we create unrealistic expectations, and we tend to assume wrong. Comparing and assuming tends to cause more mental anguish than is warranted or bearable. All we can do is be who we are, our ever-improving version of that.

Many stress about their looks, their bodies. Perfect is boring, and there is beauty beyond someone else’s chosen ideal. Beauty does, indeed, come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and people will have all sorts of opinions on what looks good.  In fact, I realized at one point, that I never cared if someone didn’t like the hair color I chose. I knew how I wanted to look. I would never consult anyone about it, not even my significant other. So if we are trying to satisfy ourselves rather than appeal to every single person on the planet, we should set the standards for ourselves not appease clothing designers, the model industry, or the men who rate women on AskMen.com. Because when we’re finally okay with how we look, imperfections and all, we exude the confidence we need to get oh just about anything. And if that’s not enough, we get to focus more on being the best human we can be. When we finally love who we are, we learn to respect ourselves and treat ourselves better.

While it’s normal to want attention and approval, it’s the excessive, almost desperate need for it that can destroy us if we let it. People take unnecessary risks for the fix without realizing. They may trust the wrong people, throw caution to the wind, make excuses for bad behavior, cling to people who have repeatedly demonstrated the harm they’re capable of inflicting upon others. We don’t even realize that the payoff is attention we craved, validation we needed, admiration we couldn’t resist. Because it comes at just the right time, and creates such a bondage that we continue to crave it from a dangerous source.

Sometimes it’s less extreme. We try to be generous with people regarding our time, our attention, our praise, but we do this with relationships we don’t honestly want to nurture because we want to be nice. I find that when people want to be nice or perceived as nice, they immediately have expectations and create obligations. Then, on top of the resentment about doing something they don’t want to do, and the expectations or obligation that likely won’t be met, they go from ‘nice’ person to fire-breathing dragon in a matter of seconds. So what happens next is far from what they initially intended. People get hurt.

Well, it’s okay not to want to be friends with everyone. It’s okay to feel emotionally exhausted and want to have only genuine relationships. It’s okay to walk away when you’re not feeling it, not trusting it. It’s okay to save that overflowing generosity of spirit for those who matter to you. You can still do nice things for others along the way if you want. Quite simply, it doesn’t have to be like wearing a thorny crown while carrying a cross over your back.

I’ll say this. The more I become aware of how people think (thanks to social media), I tend not to want to meet any more people or reconnect with people from the past. I’m happy to avoid everyone outside my window… even while loving to hear them all out there—the comforting humdrum. Isolating can be a peaceful, healing thing, but it can also be another way of self-sabotaging if we don’t check it. I’ll admit, I have to push myself to get out there and deal with the world as it is, on its terms. Whether I like it or not, it’s necessary. I’ve had to accept that I’m not always going to be comfortable, and I’m not always going to be safe.

Still, we do have to take our time getting to know people, especially when we are very empathetic. Because while we can recognize serious issues people have, our compassion for what they’re dealing with can override any need to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, we have to because these people can hurt you and will do so again and again. We need to pay attention. We need to be careful. We have to stop tolerating disrespect under the guise of being noble and humble. That only creates a perception of some superior self that is false. Yeah, we want to be the nice guy, but if we are real with others, we become something better than ‘nice’. We are kind.

I’ve come to believe that one of the best things we can do in life is heal the vulnerabilities that make us susceptible to all this self-sabotage. Once we find the courage to seek answers, then acknowledge, accept, feel, cry and release anger, we heal, we learn, and then we grow and evolve. It’s an ongoing thing that just keeps getting better. We deserve that.

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Of course, life would be so much easier if we could make a habit of staying in the moment and being fully present in that moment. We wouldn’t be worrying about what happened yesterday or an hour ago, or what’s going to happen tomorrow. I have to remind myself constantly, but it works particularly well in moments of crisis and panic. A wise friend taught me to stay in the solution. Think about what you can do at that moment, not what you can’t do. Control what you can. Amazing how that helps.

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“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

Healing Shame by Robert D. Caldwell, M.Div.

 

Feature photo by Bùi Linh Ngân

© Copyright March 4, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

GRIEF: THE DEVASTATING TRUTHS BEHIND THE TEARS

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Sometimes we lose someone who may not have been that close to us, yet we think they should have been. Those ties were supposed to bind but didn’t. Instead, they turned out to be so weak, they broke a little more at every difference of opinion, every instance where we stood up for ourselves, every time people looked at us and didn’t see themselves. Maybe it was some argument, someone else’s stupid meddling, someone’s denial. Maybe it was all because of lies and fragile egos, people trying to turn one against the other, smear campaigns, and the rush to judgment.

So there was a death that day, but we didn’t lose the person then. We lost this person long ago, and it broke our hearts a thousand times already. Is this someone we really had or truly knew? We lost that chance. We lost to the dysfunction. Not even the obligatory love and commitment could save it. It got to a point where suiting up and showing up simply hurt too much.

Somewhere along the line, we’ll see some display of genuine family love and laughter, and we want that, all the while wondering why we didn’t get it, and so we grieve that.

Yes, we mourn what we couldn’t have, and death is not only a reminder; it is the finale. We say goodbye with so much weight, with a burden too hard to hold. There are holes that will never be filled, stories that will never be heard, never told, and scars that won’t heal. There is grief in isolation. It’s more than sorrow. It’s devastation.

You miss what you wanted that to be, but you don’t want it back, not any of it.

Quite honestly, it becomes clearer to me every day, how complicated grief is with all of its added dimensions.

People celebrate certain individuals and shun others. Maybe the shunning was because of addiction or disease, or maybe it was the wrong sexual preference. I don’t know. But one mother and child may have the world to grieve with her, and so she should. In the other case, a parent and child can go through hell with no one comprehending the loss or caring. Others simply deemed the person mourned unworthy for something beyond his or her control, while others are worthy regardless of their choices, because their choices were ones people could relate to, things people didn’t fear for lack of understanding.

I think about these things… and all of life’s unfairness. Life is not fair, nor will it ever be. Accepting that helps but doesn’t heal. There are moments we can’t handle anymore, not just then, no, and we shut down. We have to. And we ask, what’s wrong with me that I feel this way? What’s wrong with me that I see these things others don’t see, that I can’t accept what they accept? What’s wrong with me that I couldn’t fix it, couldn’t explain it, couldn’t stop it, didn’t protest, cried alone? You say, what if they had heard my heart? What if we had resolved all of this? But they wouldn’t have heard, and it wouldn’t have gotten resolved, and we know it. We have to deal instead with feelings of unworthiness, our inadequacies and our excuses, our humanity, and our pain… so much pain.

The burdens we share should inspire universal love and compassion. It does for me, and yet all I see is ever-increasing hate in the world. Another reason to grieve. It’s no wonder I would rather write and live in my own little world than continually bear witness to the imbalance, the insanity.

Oh, I know grief has its profound beauty. We can experience joy, happiness, sadness, hurt, and none are permanent states. They are moments that come to us, moments to awaken us, moments to experience with all of our hearts. In that sense, we must embrace every one of them. And I do.

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.” ― Mark Twain

The Most Beautiful Piece On Loss and Grief

Coping with Grief: Guided Spoken Meditation for Healing After Loss of a Loved One
 

 

© Copyright February 5, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

VALENTINE’S DAY — A BEAUTIFUL TRIUMPH FOR LOVE

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I always made jokes about Valentine’s Day. Aside from getting heart-shaped boxes of chocolate in scarlet red, what could you do on Valentine’s Day that you couldn’t do any other day?

Then again, it sort of celebrates love, and while you can celebrate love every day, and I do, what’s wrong with another excuse to get all mushy and sweet? Besides, life becomes more and more precious, along with every good thing in it, so bring it on.

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Let’s start with music. I put together my first YouTube playlist (took forever), and these are some of my picks for the most beautiful, most romantic songs of all time. It was a labor of love for me. If I couldn’t get paid to write all day, I’d love to get paid for listening to music.

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Click the menu (those three little lines in the upper left corner) to see the list. I could have added more songs, but I know you don’t have all day. Or do you? 😉

Please feel free to make suggestions, too, in the comment box here or on Facebook where the post appears.

And, of course, words without music can be beautiful, too.

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I’ll include some poetry at the end, but what about books or movies that are perfect for the occasion? Here’s my list but, again, please feel free to make suggestions.

Wuthering Heights
Casablanca
Gone with the Wind
Sleepless in Seattle
Pride and Prejudice
Dirty Dancing
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Love Story
Ghost
His Girl Friday
An Affair to Remember
Singing in the Rain
Last Tango in Paris
Mahogany
Love & Basketball
Bonnie and Clyde
Cyrano de Bergerac
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Anna Karenina
A Tale of Two Cities
Rebecca
The Count of Monte Cristo

 

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“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”―Khalil Gibran

“Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire.”―François VI de la Rochefoucault

“How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.”―Victor Hugo

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“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you … I could walk through my garden forever.”― Alfred Tennyson

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” ― Anaïs Nin

“The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.”― Jane Austen, Love and Friendship

“Thus with a kiss I die.”―William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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Yummly Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas
Romantic Dinners for Two
Date Night Dinner Recipes
Incredible Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Happy Home Fairy’s Fun Games to Play for Valentine’s Day
Kids Cooking Valentine’s Day Recipes

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© Copyright February 12, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

BATTLE FOR SANITY – THE LIES THAT SAVE YOU

 

Anxiety was a tiny flower that grew in the deep shade of my childhood’s fairy tale garden. As it curled open, its petals were an exploding snap of OCD, situational panic disorder, and slight claustrophobia/agoraphobia. I also exhibited signs of Asperger’s and, by my late teens, had developed BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) which peaked in the decade that followed.

I’ve read that people with BDD see themselves as ugly and obsess over perceived defects. As far as I’m concerned, that’s too broad. Since BDD is an obsession, it is an addiction, which means your perception concerning this issue remains distorted, and your judgment is impaired. It’s an ongoing narcissistic conflict of hating/loving oneself and disguising inferiority with superiority. You do convince yourself you are beautiful sometimes. Other times, you believe you are hideous, and it is all a distorted mess. Almost everywhere you turn, you come face to face with twisted, seemingly demonic mirrors that have no mercy.

Well-meaning compliments from others are great, but they don’t stick. I mean, people would tell me I should be a model. The funny thing about people is, they will admire something about you and say you should be this or do that. Then when you become that thing, it’s like, who do you think you are, and why do you think you’re good enough to do that? It becomes another source of rejection and shame.

Anyway, the preoccupation I had with body image led to excessive grooming. I wouldn’t even answer the door if I wasn’t wearing make-up. Without realizing, I had set an impossible standard for myself that didn’t apply to others— as though I were somehow superior. It was an inferiority complex turned inside out—two sides of the same coin. Then, after all the effort exerted in trying to look perfect, I didn’t necessarily have fun. I worried about how I looked. I made several trips to the restroom to check myself in the mirror.

Of course, I gave a lot of thought to how all this developed. Sure, in my life, there was trauma and emotional conflict, plenty of that. There seemed to be an unusual amount of criticism directed at me, including the plain silliness of other kids taunting, laughing. It would make sense that I’d want, at least, the delusion of control over everything. But it went deeper than that. I had a few narcissistic abusers that were a constant presence in my life. Narcissism develops over time in response to narcissistic abuse. You learn to hate yourself until you can create the ‘false’ self that you believe is more acceptable. Sometimes you create strategies that help you cope and enable you to survive until you no longer need them.

Awareness and acceptance helps. For me, it’s always been, oh, I didn’t realize that was an issue, but since it is, I’ll fix it. It takes time and requires ongoing maintenance, but I do feel, in the general sense, we are bigger than the obstacles that derail us, and we have much more power than we realize. I’m not talking about chemical imbalances or illnesses beyond anyone’s control. I’m talking about things that were only beyond my control when I didn’t understand them.

Hey, I grew up with people saying, oh you’re a Scorpio, you hold grudges. You can’t forgive. At first, I thought this was a free pass to punish everyone with mad vindictiveness. Then it occurred to me, I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t have to be anything I didn’t want to be. And today, I am ridiculously forgiving. People close to me find it mind-boggling. It’s nothing heroic. As long as we have empathy for others, we can rise above what weighs us down. Once you get to that point where you can no longer feel empathy, there is little hope for change.

Today, the constant need I had for reassurance and validation has dissipated along with uncontrollable urges to solicit compliments from others. I can go to lunch or dinner with someone and never leave the table. If I do, it’s strictly business. I may glance in the mirror while washing my hands, but I’m back at the table within five minutes. I’m able to stay in the moment, present for every precious exchange. I love, too, that I can run all over town without makeup. People seem just as attracted and accepting, but the important thing is, it doesn’t matter if they like it or not. I’ve managed to become authentic, and that’s everything to me! People who have always been authentic may sneer at that. Honestly, some people don’t want to understand, and that’s their problem. As an aside, I do still hate posting photos of myself. Praise triggers an uncomfortable reminder of needing validation in the past, being in bondage. It feels awkward. There is still the part of me, too, that hates any representation of me, so I haven’t been able to disconnect entirely from that obsession, but I’m working on it.

You know, most people dealing with this won’t talk about it, at least not publicly. Why would they? It’s another shameful thing. People all over the world are in far worse circumstances, and we seem preoccupied with the most ridiculous of the ridiculous. In part, that may be true, but the underlying fear is that you will never be loved for who are, which equates to you will never be loved, period. That seems to be one of the things people fear most in life, almost a fate worse than death, and many young people out there are killing themselves for that. So while I may be alright, there are many out there who have no idea how they’ll make it through another day. Whatever we can do to help them toward the light in the darkness can mean the difference between giving up and holding on.

 

Dr. Phil’s Ten Life Laws
Understanding Anxiety-Related Illnesses
Body Dysmorphic Foundation
Body Dysmorphic Self-Test

 

 

© Copyright January 24, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

NO LOVE FOR A NAUGHTY CHEATING HEART

There’s this guy I’ve run into on several occasions. We’ve had conversations in passing. He knows I write books. Last time we crossed paths, he said I should write his life story. Because there are those who think writers sit around waiting for someone to offer up a life story or provide ideas. Right now, I have so many ideas lined up that I’m good until 2025—if I live that long. (I’m going to try.) 😉

Back to the guy. He said he had a bad life, so I encouraged him to write the book himself, pointing out that it would be cathartic and could help others. (I did have to explain cathartic.)

“But I lead a double life,” he said.

My first thought was, the guy is a serial killer.

He cleared that up. “But I have not committed any crimes or broken the law. It’s about relationships.”

You knew he was going to tell me the whole story, right, no matter how long it took? He had a live-in love and a girlfriend on the side who was herself married. Somewhere along the line, he also had an affair with a co-worker. It occurred to me then, he had asked me out in the past, and I said no. I had totally forgotten about that.

As an awareness advocate, I told him to be careful. He ignored that and kept talking which, sadly, is all too common. People who take unnecessary risks for attention, admiration, adoration, etc., are in total denial about how the possible consequences could affect their significant others.

In fact, he seemed all caught up in the drama of it all. He laughed and told me I could call this book, The Cheater. He thought this was an amazing idea! It crossed my mind that he could be on the Jerry Springer show (though I do realize all that is staged). But this would never occur to him, you see, because he thinks his story is unique.

The reality is, there are too many people like him running around on the planet. I’m sure it’s not only men who do it, though the ones who try it with me are (usually). 😉 They think it’s fun or amusing, but they play a very dangerous game—one that has nothing to do with me or their other targets of lust. It is all about them—the cheaters, the predators. While I do understand the origin of their delusions, I have been avoiding these people since I was twelve.

And predictably, before the end of our conversation, this guy asked me if I had any plans for lunch. Did he think I was an idiot?

Oh, I don’t doubt that there are those rare instances where two people happen to fall in love, maybe realizing they married the wrong people. More than likely, though, it’s a game where somebody needs their ego stroked. They are junkies in need of a temporary fix, and the cost of denial is too much—way too much.

“The worst of all deceptions is self-deception.”—Plato

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Related Links:

The Infidelity Epidemic
Dangerous Myths About Infidelity
HIV Transmission from Infidelity Higher Than Previously Thought

Be safe. Be informed!

© Copyright January 16, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

ON SALE NOW! DEADLY VEILS BOOK ONE PROVENANCE OF BONDAGE

 

EXCERPTS

An impulsive glance at the sky halted me in my tracks, or had I sensed it? The omnipotent gold of the sun rose against a backdrop an artist might have painted—ominous charcoal gray, flames of orange, nuances of blue, and an invigorating, most passionate purple. In that exquisite hour when hope reigned with the promise of a new day, I saw her— as if a divine force had illuminated her. She was on the roof in that virginal white gown, her dark hair blowing behind her, like a child lost. My heart pounded. I made a dash for the stairs with Robbie close behind me.

We raced up three flights to the gloomy old attic door with its dark rustic stain and antiquated handle. It was slightly ajar, and I could feel the draft now. The first streak of sunlight in that murky chamber came from the small window and the open roof hatch. We hurried along the creaking floors, beneath the angled ceiling, through the room dusty with cobwebs. A scissor stairway led to the horizontally placed roof hatch.

She had her back to us, but she heard us and turned. I thought she could hear the beating of my heart that thumped so violently.   

***

I knew something was wrong. Her skin was pale. When I reached for her hand, it was trembling. I could tell she was reluctant to walk away.My father took her arm.

“Please, Mommy, Daddy, no!” I screamed, tears clouding my vision. “Don’t leave me here. Please don’t leave me!”

My mother turned, and I saw she also had tears.  My father steered her onward. I cannot imagine the agony they endured, as they continued to disappear from my view. They turned back only one time to wave goodbye to me. 

***

What had those vile creatures unleashed in me? What beast had they awakened? I think I vowed to kill the beast and bury it so deep in the abyss it would never again rear its ugly head. Part of me did make this promise. The other part embraced an unfolding of life’s inextinguishable flames and the mind’s unspoken bondage.

As far as reinforcing the strength of my mind’s resolve, I supposed my body was a useless entity. Rather, it was this fancy thing I lived in—a mausoleum that beckoned the living, promising gratification, refuge, solace, peace, even immortality. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t mine. I realized then, it had never belonged to me. I could control what happened to it only if people were merciful. Watching Valentin was not merciful. It was a torturous joy.

***

He pulled into the parking lot of Manchester Memorial, took the key from the ignition, and spoke with his eyes on the wheel. “I am the one who is sorry, okay? You have nothing to be sorry about.” I never heard him speak in such a shaky, fractured voice.

“I love you, Daddy,” I assured him.

An awkward silence ensued.

“I feel like you don’t love me anymore.”      

“Danielle, it has nothing to do with whether I love you or don’t love you. You’re my daughter, okay? What happened should never have happened. You didn’t deserve that.”

***  

It was an unsettling time of strange and constant shifting between the uncorrupted purity of youth and the reckless foray into a demoralizing coming of age. A choice seemed to continually surface, bittersweet reality or sweet imagination, child or grownup, right or wrong. I kept searching for the in-between, but I couldn’t find it. I felt a rebellious joy as well as a distant sadness.

***

The crushing of one’s will didn’t cease with the conquest. Poison oozed from the wound like some fairy tale curse that corrupted your spirit, making it so vile that you couldn’t know or understand your desires.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Sixteen-year-old Danielle DeCorso watches in fear for two men in a dusty black sedan who keep circling the house and harassing her with phone calls.

The old house in Glastonbury was an eerie place to grow up. Danielle would lie in her bed at night, listening to the sounds of darkness. But those predators in the black sedan—they had drugged her, along with her cousin, Angie, and held them captive in their home for hours.

Angie will not share her truth of that horrendous day, and Danielle’s credibility is in question. Danielle remains guarded, obsessed, and withdrawn in her now tumultuous world. She finds herself in a position of needing to sort out her confusion while dealing with her troubled family. She craves normalcy in an ongoing fight for her sanity. Grief and guilt spiral her to an even darker place until startling revelations awaken her newfound spirit, inspiring a once naive girl to grow into a woman of defiance and courage.

READ THE BOOK’S PREFACE

BUY ON AMAZON

BUY AT BARNES AND NOBLE

BUY ON SMASHWORDS

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Thank you for your interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover design by Jah Kaine via jerboa design studio.com

© Copyright January 1, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

THE THORNY PATH OF EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION IS NEVER BLISSFUL

 

Nothing sounds more appealing to me than the idea of being gentle and loving with everyone and everything. I have always believed compassion might be the only thing that could save us. But even taking out of the equation all the obvious monsters who consciously seek to harm others, there are the covert narcissists and emotional manipulators who make life a treacherous, thorn-filled path.

They might be friends, lovers, relatives, people on social media. They often manage to collect a legion of devoted followers in life, and those devotees feel sorry for them whenever they are slighted in any way. In the meantime, it may take you a long time to recover from your experience with them. It’s called narcissistic abuse, and he or she is not worth it.

Have you ever dealt with an online troll? It’s the same thing on a larger scale because these people mean something to you. And they are trolls. They bait others to get a rise out of them. They personalize everything, and when pushed to the extreme, resort to shameless displays of self-pity and ultimately lash out in their uncontrolled narcissistic rage. Much of what they do is to offend or hurt you, and it’s always about them getting to feel better about themselves.

So what is the best advice on dealing with trolls? Don’t deal with them! Don’t deal with them at all. Because if you think they are ever going to feel empathy for you, be accountable, or change, they are not. It’s scary how much they don’t feel for the people they target—like they don’t have any conscience at all.

These narcissists may boast that they are kind, even humble, and they believe everyone should notice and acknowledge their kindness. They are not kind. They are “nice” with an agenda. There’s a difference. I have seen them shame people for not responding the way they wanted which further proves it was never about those people or their concern for those people. It was about others perceiving them the way they wanted others to perceive them. And you ruined that because it’s your job to reinforce the nice image they have created for themselves. They say they were thinking about you, or they wanted to include you out of the goodness of their hearts, but they are desperate and helplessly addicted to approval, attention, admiration, and constant validation that they are superior to everyone else on the planet—flawless and special in every regard.

They make assumptions about others and then base their behavior on these assumptions. They want to believe the worst about you. In the past, when people like this began acting weird with me, I would ask them what was wrong. The answer was always the same. Nothing happened. Nothing is wrong. They deny whatever you experienced.

I ultimately decided, if someone seems to have a problem, and I know I’ve done nothing wrong, it is that person’s responsibility to bring the issue to me. If they don’t care enough about me to do that, then I don’t care why they’re mad. It is a waste of time and energy and often a dangerous game. You can’t trust them to be honest and treat you fairly, and you will never know where you stand with them.

They know how to turn the tables on you, how to take advantage, how to play one person against another, how to get you to feel guilty, feel sorry for them, want to help them, etc. They know how to trash you to others when they don’t get what they want from you and how to get others to believe them. They will smear your name or participate in smear campaigns against you, gladly throw you under the bus, and attempt to destroy you. At the very least, they will stand by while others do it, and say nothing, do nothing. Being popular is more important to the narcissist than you are.

If you have high aspirations and influence, they do not want you to succeed and won’t support you. They don’t even want to see others support you. They can support what they perceive to be mediocre, average, struggling, stressed-out people whose lives are a mess and only because they comfort themselves with the knowledge that those people are not better than they are. It would be wonderful if they truly were kind, empathetic people who genuinely care that people are in pain. However, everything they do is a show to keep up the ‘image.’ And if any of those stressed out, struggling people begin to get too much attention, say because of some horrific tragedy, the narcissist might become resentful. How dare anyone steal his or her thunder!

Narcissists and emotional manipulators don’t necessarily know they are manipulating people or what their problem is. Yes, many of them do, but some are not even consciously aware that they consistently disrespect you. It’s because they are agenda-driven. They are virtual slaves to their emotions. They see themselves as the victims. People are not behaving the way they want. People are not agreeing with them, whether it’s religion, politics, or whatever. And they will forgive the unforgivable before they ever forgive you for not helping them to maintain this image in their heads of themselves as perfect and right and good all the time. With healthy people, you can discuss things and accept most differences in opinion, and you can still love each other. That does not work with narcissists. They need allies and constant validation.

I get that they are unhappy. I do. I know too well how these people got to where they are. When I was at my lowest low, I was oblivious as far as my shortcomings and the many masks I wore. I had to accept my flaws, every one of them and vow to keep working on them. So, I can sympathize. Of course, I wish everyone could be happy, so they could all be kind to each other, but too many broken people out there will never figure out what their problem is, and they will never heal. And the bottom line is, it’s not good for a person’s self-esteem to keep tolerating behavior like that. Some bridges need to be burned for our safety and sanity. I’ve become a great believer in love from afar. Yes, keep sending love—from far, far away. Anonymously. Maybe they’ll get it one day. Until then, you need to protect yourself.

Here are some excellent articles on the subject:

The Narcissist Hates You

The Narcissist’s Enablers Are Also Guilty

8 Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulators and Free Ourselves

Examples of Passive Aggressive Behavior

Collapsed Narcissists

Here is a great video on people pleasing, another form of emotional manipulation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright November 10, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

SPOTLIGHT: PAUL J. HOFFMAN

Paul Joseph Hoffman is a journalist and author who was born in Madison, Wisconsin.

He was raised in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. He is a 1981 graduate of Wauwatosa East High School and attended both the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, graduating from Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications (Radio/TV sequence) and a minor in English.

He is a career journalist, working as a sports writer at the Milwaukee Sentinel; assistant sports editor at Pioneer Press, a chain of weekly newspapers in suburban Chicago; sports editor and news editor at The Shelbyville News in Shelbyville, Indiana; news editor at The Republic in Columbus, Indiana; and his current position, special publications editor at the Daily Journal in Franklin, Indiana, since 2001.

His first book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” was published by The History Press in 2012. It is the true story of the disappearance of an 8-year-old boy in 1925.

He lives in Columbus, Indiana with his wife, Kimberly, and has a son, three daughters, two stepdaughters, and one granddaughter.

Book Summary (provided by Paul J. Hoffman)

August 2015 marked the 90th anniversary of one of the few unsolved murders committed in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the killing of 8-year-old Arthur “Buddy” Schumacher Jr., son of a pharmaceutical supply salesman and grandson of one of the city’s key leaders in the early 20th century.

He was reportedly last seen by three friends after they hopped off a freight they’d hopped on to get a ride to a nearby swimming hole.

For seven weeks, the community and state searched desperately to find the boy before his body was found just a mile from his house with his clothing torn and a handkerchief shoved down his throat. It wasn’t long before police had what they thought was a sure case against a man who was living in a hobo camp near where the boy went missing. However, they were forced to let him go after witnesses changed their minds about key pieces of evidence against him.

A man who was serving a life sentence in Minnesota for the killing of a young boy there, later confessed to killing Buddy Schumacher. But police wavered in whether to believe him or not.

Nobody has ever stood trial for killing Buddy Schumacher.

My book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” that was published by The History Press in June 2012, discusses the reasons nobody was ever charged with the crime, as well as going into the background of main suspects, the Schumacher family and other key people involved in the investigation.

But it is much more than just a book about a murder. The book also hits subjects that touched this story, such as the state of mental health care during that time, homelessness, Prohibition and the forensic tools investigators had available to them. The book also shines a light on the good that came out of this tragedy and also raises several questions that have never been answered.

My Interview with Paul J. Hoffman

KYRIAN: Paul, why should people read this book?

PAUL: The themes presented in this book transcend time and place. The book discusses how a family attempts to deal with tragedy; how a small community is affected by the socio-economic trends that surround it; how to keep young children safe; what to do with the mentally challenged; and how some bit of good can eventually come from such a
horrendous act.

KYRIAN: What are you working on at the moment?

PAUL: I am in the beginning stages of writing a screenplay based on “Murder in Wauwatosa.” Progress has slowed due to things that have come up in life. I hadn’t really considered writing more true crime books; I wrote this one because I had to … the incident had been bouncing around in the back of my brain for 35 years or so, and it had to come out. But I’ve recently been asked if I would write a book about true crimes in the area where I live, so I may take that offer. I would also like to publish a book of poetry since I started writing some of that again recently.

KYRIAN: What actor/actresses would you like to star in a movie based on the book?

PAUL: I always envisioned John Cusack playing the role of the father whose boy was murdered. He seems to have the type of personality that would carry over to that character and I have always admired his work. I hadn’t really thought too much about the rest of the cast. I also have the highest regard for Shawn Franklin, an actor I’ve seen in many local plays. He has the right skill set to play Art Schumacher, too.

KYRIAN: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

PAUL: I take this career a step at a time since it’s my secondary career for now. I make plans, but sometimes those plans get sidetracked, so I make new plans. Who knows what will eventually happen. I’ve been working as a journalist for the past 30 years, the past 15 as the editor of several specialty magazines, and I am not ready to give up the steady income.

KYRIAN: Which writers inspire you?

PAUL: Most of the writers who inspire me are those I personally know. Understanding their backgrounds and some of their daily struggles and triumphs makes their work even more special to me. Some of them are journalists, some authors, some poets. Among them are Dale Hofmann, Michael John Sullivan, Bobby Tanzilo, Ron Collins, Wendy Stenzel Oleston, and Matthew D. Jackson.

I enjoy reading various genres, and I pick up whatever interests me at a particular moment. So, there are not a lot of authors whose works I have really studied a lot. I also read the Dilbert comic strip every day. I must experience humor at least once every 24 hours.

KYRIAN: What is your biggest regret and why?

PAUL: I suppose there are many things I wished I had done differently in life. But if I really go back and study those poor decisions, I recall the circumstances that led up to them and the lessons I learned from them. Doing that gives me a better understanding of how I can help people going through similar circumstances make better choices than I did. Sometimes, even when you make the best decision possible, people can get hurt; that can’t be helped. It’s when you make a poor decision, and someone gets hurt because of it, that really stings.

KYRIAN: What is your greatest fear?

PAUL: That I haven’t made it clear enough to my children what I stand for. I’ve tried to let actions speak louder than words. But sometimes, you don’t run into situations where your children will see you model what is in your heart. There are times we need to tell them what we believe in, how we feel about certain things. They will at some point make up their own minds about all that surrounds them, but I think they need to know where their parents stand on a lot of issues, especially as they get older.

KYRIAN: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

PAUL: Of all the places I have never been that I want to see, Hawaii tops the list. I love visiting my home state of Wisconsin, and anywhere my wife is works, too.

KYRIAN: Who are your heroes in life?

PAUL: My father, Ray Hoffman, has been someone whose unstated goal seems to have been “be a better person today than you were yesterday.” I can’t think of a better compliment to pay anyone than this. A former boss of mine, Bill Windler, taught me a lot about respecting everyone around me as well as several other life lessons. I also respect those who give of themselves and expect nothing in return.

KYRIAN: Tell me about your proudest achievement and why it was so gratifying?

PAUL: I am never prouder than when my children make good choices, put their all into accomplishing something worthwhile and are honest about their mistakes. I like to think I have had at least a little to do with them demonstrating those qualities, for the most part (nobody is perfect). A lot of people have told me that I’ve been a good father, although I’m fairly hard on myself and see a lot of instances where I could have done better. To have people tell you how kind, respectful and well-behaved your children are … there is no better“achievement” in the world.

Click here to read  Paul’s personal story of abuse and recovery.

Connect with Paul on social media:

Paul J. Hoffman Author website

Paul J. Hoffman Facebook page

Paul J. Hoffman on Twitter

Email: phof63@sbcglobal.net

 

REMNANTS OF SEVERED CHAINS WORLDWIDE RELEASE

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I am excited to announce the release of my second book, Remnants of Severed Chains, a Kindle ebook bestseller in Women’s Poetry on Amazon.

As previously revealed in the cover launch, here is the book’s official description:

Remnants of Severed Chains is a collection of over forty new poems by Kyrian Lyndon, author of A Dark Rose Blooms. This book continues with the same intensity as A Dark Rose, running the gamut of complex emotions that resonate with many. The author explains in the book’s preface that Remnants is about the process of healing and recovery, the willingness to learn and evolve. Thus, she embraces life’s astounding and most personal revelations—afflictions, addictions and relationships, the good and the bad, capturing life’s most devastating moments along with its celebratory moments of beauty and joy. Kyrian’s exceptional handling of language to create vivid images has won her high praise. Rest assured, Remnants of Severed Chains is a uniquely moving experience that readers will enjoy.

In case you missed it, the mesmerizing cover design is by Jah Kaine via jerboa Design Studio.com.

I’ll include the links to buy the book here, and then I’ll tell you how you can win a free copy and other prizes.

Purchase on Amazon.com

Purchase on Amazon.uk

Purchase on Smashwords.com

Purchase at Barnes and Noble

To enter my prize giveaway, leave a comment on this blog. If you’re not able to leave a comment here for whatever reason, leave it on the Facebook author page post about this release.

To increase your chance of winning, you can do any or all of the following:

Subscribe to my newsletter using the form on this page
Subscribe to my blog (scroll down the home page on this site for form)
Like my Facebook author page.
Follow me on Twitter. (I will follow back.)
If you like a particular poem of mine , let me know.
Tell me one thing about YOU, i.e., your favorite book or poet, your favorite show or movie, what you love more than anything, what you’re ultimate goal or biggest dream is…

Please let me know in the comment you post, what you subscribed to/liked even if you did that before reading this blog.

I provided all the links to help you above, but if you have questions/problems subscribing, etc., message me, and I’ll help.

Prizes include:

Print and Kindle versions of Remnants of Severed Chains, t-shirts, bookmarks, gift cards, and books by other authors including:

Paul J. Hoffman’s true crime novel Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher and

The Sockkids Help Ben Franklin by Michael John Sullivan.

I just got word, too, that author Laurie Kozlowski would be happy to send these titles to any winners of the giveaway:

The Broken Collection (2 books) by Rachel Thompson
Dying Dreams by Katharine Sadler
Tennessee Waltz (3 book series) by Bella Street
Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski

Those are some great books, and I am honored to include them all. Thank you Mike, Laurie, and Paul!

If you’re an author, and you’d like to be part of the giveaway, let me know, and I will add you to the list. You can donate your book after we announce the winners.

Thanks for participating. Have fun!

© Copyright October 17, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

REMNANTS OF SEVERED CHAINS COVER REVEAL

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I am thrilled to unveil the cover of my  latest poetry book, Remnants of Severed Chains, which is due out in less than two weeks.

The amazing cover design is by Jah Kaine via jerboa Design Studio.com.

Here is the book’s official description:

Remnants of Severed Chains is a collection of over forty new poems by Kyrian Lyndon, author of A Dark Rose Blooms. This book continues with the same intensity as A Dark Rose, running the gamut of complex emotions that resonate with many. The author explains in the book’s preface that Remnants is about the process of healing and recovery, the willingness to learn and evolve. Thus, she embraces life’s astounding and most personal revelations—afflictions, addictions and relationships, the good and the bad, capturing life’s most devastating moments along with its celebratory moments of beauty and joy.

In the poem “What Might Have Been”, she writes:

The robin in your tender heart
Hungers for the red berry
That titillates your tongue.
She carols as the snow falls—
And not with the chorus of the dawn
In radiant spring.
What might have been?
Your voice silenced,
The spirit of you
Destroyed,
I see glimpses of your fire
From the light that has vanished
From your eyes.
Your wings soar,
Only not to follow
Your heart.
Whatever the passion,
Let it burn.
It will save you.

Kyrian’s exceptional handling of language to create vivid images has won her high praise. Rest assured, Remnants of Severed Chains is a uniquely moving experience that readers will enjoy.

Cover design by Jah Kaine via jerboa Design Studio.com

© Copyright October 12, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission

SPOTLIGHT: LAURIE KOZLOWSKI

 

Interview with Laurie Kozlowski

KYRIAN: Tell us your latest news!

LAURIE: My first book–a contemporary romance novella–Serendipity Summer, will be released by Booktrope Publishing in late October. It has been amazing to see what had started out as a popular blogging series a year ago, develop into a book. I’m excited to share Jake and Anna’s sweet, funny, and sensual story with readers soon.

KYRIAN: What were the challenges in bringing Serendipity Summer to life?

LAURIE: I’ve felt a strong connection to the characters since the beginning of the series. After taking notes on what I could do to improve during revisions and implementing many changes, I recognized the value in taking extra time to develop the characters. Even in a novella like Serendipity Summer, it’s easy to let things go that you normally wouldn’t with a full-length novel. With my editor’s help and several hours and weeks in edits, I am thrilled with how far this book has come.

KYRIAN: Do you write an outline before every book you write?

LAURIE: Yes. I start with a synopsis of the entire work as a general working outline. The synopsis changes and is updated as the work evolves. I keep it at no longer than a page. I also have a logline for each scene that consists of no more than two sentences summing up the objective of the scene at hand. Loglines are used in screenwriting to describe shows and films. I’ve noticed it’s helpful in fiction writing, also. The final outline I keep is a block outline on a huge sheet of paper to keep track of scenes. Blocks consist of numbered scenes that help me know where I’ve left off, and it comes in handy when I consider moving scenes around, so I can track them. Scene blocks consist of what character’s point of view the scene is in, the setting, the time/holiday/special event, plot points, notes, and anything else relevant to move the story forward.

I used the synopsis method for Serendipity Summer, my first novella, but am implementing loglines and block outline this time around for the second book. I admit, I can be pretty stubborn when it comes to outlining. I enjoy pantsing (as us writers like to call making it all up as we go along and doing the organization later.) Pantsing is an effective way to let the creativity flow to get to the end of a first draft. However, the downside to pantsing is the story could become chapters and chapters of a tangled mess. This isn’t always the case, particularly in shorter stories, but I notice as I build onto novella-length or larger books, it is vital for me to organize as I go. Outlines keep me close to the story and better aware of what is developing with characters, setting, and plots as I go. I have the relief of knowing if I take a few days away the outline is there as a checkpoint so I can pick up where I left off.

Each writer has their process, but I don’t know of one person who has regretted having an outline. I encourage writers to try different types of outlines until they find what fits for their story. It will prevent headaches as they revise, and it sets up the editing process to go smoother, overall.

KYRIAN: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

LAURIE: It would be fun to have Gerard Butler play the part of Jake and Julianne Moore as the lead actress if Serendipity Summer is optioned as a film.

KYRIAN: What are some of the ways you cope with stress or panic on a day-to-day basis?

LAURIE: I wake up, often as early as 3 am, to hear the quiet of the day before I go on with family and work duties. The silence that comes from beginning the day so early helps to focus on all the possibilities for the day. It is an opportunity for the blessings in life to wash over my thoughts before the noise intrudes. Since I live in the countryside, I often hear crickets or frogs, or in the fall and winter, the chilly wind blowing or a steady rainfall on the nearby patio. This kind of ‘noise’ is the kind my soul responds to with an expressive and warm love. It’s my favorite part of the day and does wonders to fend off the brunt of anxiety on a regular basis.

KYRIAN: How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

LAURIE: I submitted my first short story at the age of nine, and I have been writing as long as I could hold a pencil. I think the early start of writing, reading, and my mother encouraging perfection in spelling and penmanship has altered my respect for the written word in a very positive way. A few helpful lessons I carry with me even as I write now is: have an eraser handy for mistakes because the process will humble and strengthen you all at once. Don’t give up; finish what you start; and even when the words seem perfect at the time, nothing is final.

Click here to read Heartstrings Attached, an inspiring personal story by Laurie for Spotlight Evolve.

Laurie Kozlowski resides in Northeast Georgia with her daughter and husband. Having small town roots, she’s intrigued with the charm, drama, and humor of the south, often weaving those themes into the fiction she writes. She enjoys incorporating family-centered themes and stories including friendship, hope, and healing.

When not writing, Laurie loves to make music and jewelry, picnic near the river, or catch the latest comedy or drama flick at a local cinema. She hangs out mostly on Twitter @LaurieKozlowski when she isn’t caring for her daughter, writing, or driving her husband crazy.

Connect with Laurie:

Laurie Books
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Author Website
Blog

RAPE CULTURE: WHY WE ALL NEED TO BE ON THE SAME SIDE

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Chrissie Hynde, singer/songwriter of The Pretenders, recently blamed herself for the sexual assault she experienced when she was 21. She recounted her temerarious behavior in a memoir, subsequently stating that she got what she’d been asking for in an attempt to rebel or escape her dull upbringing in Akron. One of her comments was, “That’s what those motorcycle gangs do.” She was talking about rape, and she believes it was her fault.

When I read her words, I felt more sadness than anger. Sophie Heawood of the The Guardian expressed much of what I was feeling in this piece:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/05/sophie-heawood-in-defence-of-chrissie-hynde-sexual-assault

As she eloquently stated, “You can’t start blaming Hynde for blaming herself, or the whole cycle of non-empathy continues.”

I will say, taking responsibility for our part in what happens to us is an essential part of maturing. For me, that means examining what occurred, learning, healing, and deciding what you might have done differently . It doesn’t mean that the crime was not 100% the criminal’s fault, or that it can be justified.

Hasty generalizations are problematic as well. Rape is not what motorcycle gangs do. It’s what that particular group of bikers did. Similarly, rape is not what men do. Nor is it a typical response. Men are not barbaric Neanderthals who are unable to control themselves. Disturbed individuals, who, among other things, use aggression to deal with their anger, hurt, and shame, commit rape. A man who wants to persuade a woman to go further is not going to rape her unless he has those anger, control, and power issues.

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Of course, being careful and taking precautions to avoid disaster is a good idea. Who said it isn’t? That doesn’t mean because you weren’t or you didn’t; rape is an appropriate consequence.

Then we have this crap about clothes or how women present themselves in situations where everyone is drinking and ready for fun. I’ll go out on a limb here and say, many people have made unfortunate choices in clothing, attention-seeking and drinking. It’s happened at some point, maybe more than once, especially in those young naive years. More people than we’d expect suffer from a lack of self-worth, too, and don’t have any idea why they have this compelling need to seek attention, admiration, and approval. It doesn’t mean they want someone to rape them. Have whatever impression you want and judge away about a woman’s transparent bid for attention if that’s your thing, but the outcome shouldn’t be violence, ever, or slipping someone drugs. I don’t care if you think that woman is stupid and drunk and making a complete fool out of herself. I’ve lost count of the people I’ve seen acting drunk and stupid. Get her help if you care so much, because that’s what she needs.

Most of us humans don’t want to hurt anyone, and most of us don’t know how easy it is for those who can. We don’t know that until it happens because we can’t imagine violating a person that way.

Rape statistics are mind-boggling, and yet, a recent campaign to create awareness #YesAllWomen resulted in a backlash from rape apologists and detractors of both genders.

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Rape is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances.

By the way, anyone who thinks the ‘God’ they worship sends gifts of babies through rape is seriously brainwashed. That is horrific. Was he sending that gift to the ten-year-old girl in Paraguay—raped and impregnated by her stepfather? I don’t see how a person in a right state of mind could believe that. Besides, a child is not a gift or a toy or this thing you bend to your will at all costs. A gift is something you can do whatever you want with when you receive it because it belongs to you. A child is a human being you choose to bring into the world because you’ve committed to loving, nurturing, and protecting him or her in every way you know how. That child belongs to himself or herself.

Those who peddle this hogwash are more concerned about controlling women than they are about babies.

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Much wrath is directed at the “angry feminists” who have a right, as we all do, to be concerned and angry. And yes, I’m a feminist as long as equality is an issue because that’s why feminism exists. I am also a humanist.

A while back in New York City, I attended an annual walk against rape with my then boyfriend. He came to show his support and didn’t feel welcome since there was an anti-men sentiment. It was true of that event, and it may be the case with some women. It’s not the agenda of all feminists or every attempt at creating awareness.

One of the chants that day was, “Women unite, take back the night.” I thought it should be all of us uniting—men and women. That’s the only way it will work. The majority of men are on our side, and guess what? Rape happens to them, too.

We have to trust people in life. Perhaps instead of taking advantage of that trust and the vulnerability of others, we could care for and about each other. That matters above everything, how we treat one other. Wouldn’t you agree?

Fact Sheet on Sexual Assault
Sexual Violence Statistics  

 

 

© Copyright September 2, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

SPOTLIGHT: EVOLVE – YOU MAY BE THE ONE I WANT TO FEATURE!

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A while back, I decided to host a radio show for the opportunity of sharing a platform with others.

As it turns out, I have less time to invest these days, but I know these inspiring stories give people hope and incentive to triumph. For this reason, I have decided on an alternative that requires a lesser time commitment.

I plan to feature guests on my blog in posts that will include an interview and much more.

You qualify if:

• You have overcome difficulties, recovered from trauma, addiction, illness, etc. (It can also be that you dealt with the above as a parent or spouse.)
• You manage an ongoing disability or psychological disorder, or you cope daily with a loved one’s disability/disorder.
• You are an awareness advocate/activist helping others.
• Your story is inspiring.
• You have a talent that is unique and inspiring.

If you meet these requirements, this is what I need from you:

1. One or more current photos of you
2. A bio if it seems relevant to the post
3. Your story or a work sample, possibly both
4. Links you would like to share in order of preference
5. Your e-mail address

Send this to kyrianlyndon@kyrianlyndon.com.

When I receive your submission, I will send interview questions to the e-mail address you provided. You can type the answers or record them on audio or video. Once I receive the second submission, you are next in line for a guest spot.

Please note the following:

Send your initial submission as soon as possible. This project has a limited run with only twelve spots per year.

Be sure to include everything to avoid delay.

Be fully clothed in photos and videos you submit. That goes for males and females—no bare chests, etc.tiny-smileys-yesemoticons-015

You can be candid and creative, as long as your content is appropriate.

I will notify you before your post goes up, and I’ll give you the link to post. I will also share it with thousands on my social media sites. It will remain on my site under the Spotlight: Evolve tab.

So by all means, get started! It will be fun and could result in some new fans or friends for you. 

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© Copyright August 25, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission