Category Archives: Commentary

Random Acts of Kindness Award

Ursula from An Upturned Soul has gifted me with the Random Acts of Kindness Award!

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Thank you, Ursula! It was very surprising and very welcome. 🙂

Ursula is a truly gifted writer and thinker, and I’ve been very lucky to know her since very early in my blogging life – about six years now. She has become a friend, and over the years we have had many interesting conversations via comment-chats. Ursula’s parents were both narcissists, and when I was a beginning blogger and still sort of reeling from the experience of my ex-narcissist, she often opened my eyes, pointed to different interpretations, helped me to see that I had all the tools I needed to have, and very generally communicated that I was travelling a learning curve that just had to be travelled. Ursula is smart, funny, insightful, patient and caring (I’ve seen her really pour herself into helping a reader figure out narcissism or come to terms with it – including me), wonderful to know and I just love her. She lives her life kind of sideways, and I think that is what gives her her extraordinary ability to really see and know human beingness and to also work her way through the uber-demanding and extremely difficult set of crazy-making issues that growing up “in-narcissist” will produce.

From Ursula: This award was created by Mws R Writings, and you can check out the birth of this award and her vision for it in her post —> Random Acts of Kindness Award/RAKA – Mws R Writings.

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The rules are:

1.Tell who you nominate and why.

About a year and a half ago, I came across a very funny blog. I re-blogged one of  Brian’s posts because I couldn’t stop chortling and chuckling and I wanted anyone reading my blog to become acquainted with this great story-teller. Not only is Brian funny, but his humour is informed by a difficult childhood, a very kind heart, an acceptance of humanness in all its weirdness, and an insightful facility with life’s vagaries that not only makes me want to laugh, but also sometimes to cry. Brian is a blogging gem who shares peace, tranquility and insanity. 🙂

2. Copy and share the picture that shows the award.

Done.

3. Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else.

When I was in the middle of dealing with my ex-narcissist, when I thought I was losing my mind and heading for bankruptcy, a very good friend of mine held me together. She fed me (in more ways than one), opened her house to me and listened as I repeated my fears, blamed myself, kicked myself, and ranted and raved. She provided a haven, gave me books (about narcissism) to read, and through her kindness required me to start thinking again. She pointed me in the right direction and gently prompted me to stop wallowing. C, you are the best and I love you.

4. Nominate anyone or share to your own page if you choose to participate. Tag or pingback to the original person who gifted you, or the original post.

That’s it.

I’ve enjoyed blogging a lot. I have learned a lot, been challenged to change my thinking, and have “met” many interesting people. In the meantime, I have been able to sort myself out in lots of ways.

What a great thing.

 

 

 

 

An Airplane Story

As Monty Python used to say …

And now for something completely different.

Once upon a time, there was a pilot who had to fly an airplane very far, far north.

The pilot had done lots of flying before, but not very far, far north.

The pilot was looking forward to this trip.

On the morning of the flight, the pilot was up early in the dark darkness of the northern winter. It was very cold, but the airplane was in a warm hangar.

The pilot got the airplane ready as passengers gathered in the waiting room with their bags, boxes, a bunch of freight, two hamsters and one dog.

Now, this dog had to travel in the passenger cabin because … well, because there’s no freight compartment on this particular aircraft type.

This airplane is what’s called a combi – it carries a mix of passengers and freight, all on one level.

The pilot went inside to talk to the owner of this dog. It was a really big dog. A Great Dane. Its hair was really short and it was wearing a coat. It looked cold, miserable and scared.

It was shivering and shaking.

The pilot asked the owner to make sure that the dog had done its business before getting aboard.

It was a three hour flight; it’s not like there would a place to pull over and stop.

The owner assured the pilot that the dog had pooped, peed and burped.

Okay, thought the pilot. Let’s load and get this show on the road, so to speak.

40 minutes later, all was loaded and everyone was taxiing along just as the sun was coming up over a northern winter horizon.

The pilot applied power and started the take-off roll.

A satisfying back pressure as the aircraft lifted off …

Reaching altitude … settling in … And then, and then …

What is that God-awful stench?

If you took one of Lebron James’s basketball shoes after a number of heavy practises, stuck it in a vat of boiled cabbage, buried it under a chicken coop, and left it there for several weeks … then maybe you can imagine this malodorous vapour.

The pilot sent the co-pilot back to investigate.

He came scurrying back, turned green and promptly threw up all over the radios.

Chunks started to befoul the throttle levers as they slowly slid down the panel.

The pilot, floating by now on the ghastliest sea of odiferous gases, directed the co-pilot to do what he could to clean up himself and the cockpit.

With the autopilot on, the pilot went back to take a look, and … almost threw up too.

For there in the first row, the very large Great Dane had pooped a mutant-sized mound of poo. And was sort of standing in it. A baby elephant would have been proud.

The owner sat there, unreactive as the entire cabin starting collapsing into various stages of tummy trouble. He pretended not to notice.

Retching slightly, the pilot told the owner to clean up the mess.

“With what?” he snarled, “My bare hands?”

“If you have to, yes! Don’t you have any poo bags?” the pilot snarled back. “My co-pilot is sitting up there with a major case of the heaves. Now start cleaning this up!”

“I don’t have anything to put it in. I don’t have anything to pick it up with. What am I supposed to do?”

But a chorus, a groundswell, began from the back of the plane. Items starting finding their way to the front. Bags, hand sanitizers, towels and even a plastic spoon.

Sometimes, on your journey through life, you encounter twits with giant mounds of poo. But often, there are ordinary people who will help out with whatever they have, and will give you the hand sanitizer out of their pockets.

(And everyone lived to happily disembark the poo plane.)

You? What poo plane have you had in your life?

Are You a Dreamer?

I went through a dreamer phase when I was a child. I used to think about all kinds of heroic things, with of course, myself in the role of hero. Much of the time, I was basing my heroic roles on tv shows or movies I had seen or books I had read. I was Huck Finn for a while. I was a poor young guy who rubbed a magic lamp, I was a WW I pilot (Billy Bishop), I was several of King Arthur’s knights. As time went on, I made up variations on these heroes. I put a spin on them, if you will. They started to become quite different from their original incarnations.

These heroes were all male; while I dreamed, I inhabited a male persona. Eventually and as I aged, they became female, and then there was a short romantic period where I became the one who needed to be rescued, instead of doing the rescuing.

By the time I was about 11 or 12, these dreams vanished altogether. They were being replaced by reality, and I had to start thinking about how I was going to get on. Dreamers were nothing but dreamers.

One thing that I knew was that I didn’t want to be where I was, in that house with my troubled and narcissistic mother who tried to control every living thought and breath. There were some good moments with her, but they were few and far between.

My dreams became plans. How to get out and get away. There were money considerations, and how I was going to do what I wanted to do.

I knew that I needed to do as well academically as I could, and after that, it would be a question of funds. Where would that come from?

Eventually, I figured that out too.

In a way, dreaming saved me. Without it, I wouldn’t have been inspired to try to do something that wasn’t typical. The spirit of those knights and adventurers were behind me, exhorting me to keep trying, to not give up.

They taught me how to not need rescuing.

So for me, it wasn’t a childhood passage, it was a connection to a necessity.

What about you?

Are you a dreamer?

Why Do You Blog?

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The idea for this post came from https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com who asked this question after being prompted by a blog that she follows: https://aguycalledbloke.blog.

It’s a good question.

Why DO I blog?

Well, for the most part, it started out with wanting to hang a warning sign on the Narcissistic Personality Disordered people among us who go crashing through the lives of the unsuspecting, causing all kinds of damage and mayhem; in some cases even murder.

But along the way, many things changed. In interacting with other blogs and reading the comments, I came to realise a few things.

The first is that I had a lot more to learn about narcissism than I could impart. Intellectually, I knew that before I started, and knew that I could only write what I had experienced. But I also didn’t know it. The “ordinary”experiences and thoughts of others provided a depth and challenge that I wasn’t able to achieve on my own or through just reading the work of professionals on the topic.

Ordinary experiences, as in, “yup, I experienced a narcissist in my office and here’s what learned. I’m not a psychologist and I didn’t have one living in my house. But here’s a piece of the puzzle,” became central to how I thought about narcissism and to how I thought about people.

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So, my idea to write about narcissism from a position of experience quickly became writing about narcissism to help me think through it in a more cogent, spherical way.

It also became a way to think about my responsibility in it. Again, I had recognised that I bore some responsibility, but I needed to explore that. And writing about it, reading others’ writing about it, and considering how they saw it, helped me to place myself, including finally being able to admit that I had been raised by a narcissistic mother. I really began to see how I had contributed to my own issues.

My thoughts about narcissism, how I had been affected by it, and my part in it, were chaotic and driven. Writing about it was therapeutic.

I don’t consider myself to be a writer. I’m never going to write a great novel or even a really good blog post. I dabble in writing because the mental exercise of it has been good for me. And, it’s given me the opportunity to read some really good stuff by other bloggers who are far more talented than I am.

Reading blogs about narcissism lead me to other blogs that weren’t about narcissism, and now I follow and randomly read lots of blogs that have nothing to do with it. I have branched out in my own posts. Sometimes I still write about narcissism, and I definitely still read about it, but it’s not the main theme any more.

For me, blogging has become, for the most part, about exploring others’ ideas, humour, travel, photos, musings, reflections and food, just to name a few. I love that I can read a blog about exploring Dorset (https://thedorsetrambler.com) – whose author/photographer writes about his explorations in the most gentle and lyrical way – and then switch over to see what’s going on in someone’s kitchen (https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog).

In a nutshell, it has become the journey to otherness, the exploration of what’s not-me.

Why do you blog?

My Valentine

My M is my Valentine. And no, he’s not James Bond’s boss. (Thanks Ralph. 🙂 You can visit Ralph and his funny comments at https://bluefishway.com/ )

Almost eight years ago, I was introduced to a tall, loquacious, humorous, principled man. At first sight, we each were sure we would get on.

We did. A lot.

Enough that two years later, we got married, in spite of divorces and in my case, a dodgy childhood.

Our first date was in an Italian restaurant, and since that time we have not only loved each other, but we have loved to feed each other.

With food and wine.

With humour and tolerance.

With empathy and solicitude.

With patience and an open mind.

Have we had fights and disagreements?

Oh yes.

But we have worked through them.

I love you, M. Happy Valentine’s Day. Every day.

The Big Chilly

Right now I am living deep inside a real big chilly. It’s something like -42 C or whatever. When it’s that cold, does it matter any more? I don’t even check. It’s -40, yada yada.

Up until recently, it’s been fairly easy to live with.

But … there’s always something.

First, my truck wouldn’t start. It was plugged in, but despite heat shots and trickle chargers and a couple of boosts, it protested and said no, I’m not starting. Now leave me alone or put me in a warm garage!

There I was, my whatis sticking up in the wind chill factor while I fussed over an exposed engine, checking oil and fumbling around trying to determine if the the block heater was still working as I invented a totally new dialect composed entirely of vulgarities.

Then my bathtub drain froze.

Yup. My bathtub drain.

I was standing in the tub shower, soaping up and enjoying the warmth when I realised that the water was up to my ankles. It wasn’t a clog, because the day before, the water was draining normally.

But now? There’s no movement at all, not even a trickle.

I have a bathtub full of used water and an open drain. It just sits there, staring stupidly at me while I think about flamethrowers and other incendiary devices.

Then my house door wouldn’t lock. It was too cold for the tumblers to engage. I almost got down on my knees and begged. Really? You aren’t going to lock? Just hang on a sec, I have to go throw a minor tantrum. Waaahh! 🤣

And let’s not forget the head cold. Its onset blended seamlessly with the arrival of several days of major meetings that I had to attend, a tissue box under one arm and a Vicks inhaler lodged, unnoticed, in a nostril.

Of course, all of this happened while my M is away. (Is there a message in that?)

But, an update.

It got warmer. Right now, it’s about -12 C.

I got my truck towed. It got its wish and is in warm garage awaiting a new block heater.

I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of my bathtub draining. It turns out that all I had to do was wait. Scared the crap out of me though – there I was, creeping into the bathroom with my phone in one hand and a fly swatter in the other. If it had been an intruder, what was I going to do with the fly swatter??? (Oh look, there’s a mutant mosquito in the bathroom – hand me the swatter please.)

I got my hair dryer, pointed it at my door lock and warmed up all the parts.

That worked.

My cold is almost gone. So is a lot of the other cold.

Things are looking up, especially the temperature. (Okay, I’ll stop with the cheesy comments.)

So how has this “polar vortex” (doesn’t that sound like the name of a disaster movie? Polar Vortex, starring Jennifer Aniston and Tom Cruise. Watch if you dare. Because you may never go outside again. 《Sound of loud chattering teeth.》) been treating you??? Among other places, it has hit the west coast of the continent pretty hard.