Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

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Ready for 2023

Inspired by everyone else’s planners, here are mine for 2023;

The LILAC ring binder I bought last year, hoping to recreate my catch-all from the 80s… it did not work as I could not get my mitts on insets and refills etc. It now holds bucket lists, to read, films to watch, writing ideas, projects and brain-dumps.

Last year I ended up making my own diary (pic 2) because I couldn’t find one I liked at a reasonable price. Also, they didn’t start selling planners here until late December – what’s up with that?? When I eventually found one (in late January!!) I bought it as a backup, the GREY Miniso one. It has a section to track my final daily word count/done for the day; plans, and a “paid x bill y$”.

I’m normally big on journaling but 2022 was an abysmal year, and I wrote about 1/8 of what I usually write, so I’ll continue using the same one (WHITE with a blue flower, handmade by me)

The hologram Traveller’s is what I used last year because I love the cover and made a bunch of refills for it (see pic 2) coz fun! I will continue to use it to track inks, pens, recipe development, cost to produce etc. Odd thing to do for someone who doesn’t actually like to cook, but I seem to have a knack for it nonetheless.

When the pande hit I’d just bought a beautiful, turquoise A5 Orange Circle planner – but it never got to see any real action. Days flowed into a homogenous confused soup, so I started writing a few lines each every day just to keep track of where the time went when all days looked pretty much the same. I’ve kept that up ever since. While it is supposedly refillable, I’ve never found said refills.
I got the COFFEE/black journal in Mexico City years ago so I’ll be using that as my refill this year. Last year I made my own to fit after the Cats planner I’d preordered got cancelled. Premium Paper who produces them had a break-in at their depot and all the planners were stolen (can’t make this $h!t up). I’ve seen the 2023 ones for sale in Peru and Argentina, but not in Mexico. I think their distributor may have gone bust or given up. Sad, coz I really loved that one.

The orange one is a repurposed Terry Pratchett yearbook, which I use for collecting Buddhist quotes and teachings.

The blue Sakura notebook I bought on my birthday this year because it was love at first glance. Will use as a journal or if I conceive of a book idea that feels as special to me as TimeShift.

And lastly, the Daily Planner (also from Miniso) I’ve been using since November for to-do lists, track sprints, edits etc.

While I’m not one for planning much these days, life tends to laugh out loud at me whenever I do and make certain to throw a spanner at me, I love stationery, I love fountain pens, inks, and even fine brush-pens when I can find one. There is something very sensual about writing by hand with a smooth nib, on good-quality paper. Or think on paper as I call it. One of life’s little joys and pleasures. Never may it change.

I have a new Red Bubble shop! with notebooks, pet bowls, stickers, and fridge magnets! More coming next year. Check it out at

Free booklet

Just re-pubbed Cooking with Huazontle – How to make the most of Mexico’s Best Kept Secret at #smashwords You can download it for free here
#cooking mostly #vegetarian

If you don’t have huazontle you can use broccoli, kale, spinach, or any number of veg instead.

When someone comes out…

Events today brought my thoughts back to the most brilliant graduation speech this year, the one where high school student Mr Moricz uses the euphemism of being born with curly hair in the humid state of Florida for being gay. If you haven’t heard it, the whole speech in its glory can be found online if you search for Zander Moricz 2022.

No one chooses their sexual orientation or gender. No one “comes out” as a bid for attention when the stakes for rejection are so high and real. You do so for a variety of reasons, but mostly because you are tired of hiding an integral part of who you are. Because you are tired of YOUR LIFE feeling like charades; of living in a world where kids learn their survival depends on masking and hiding who they really are.

Living a lie and Pretending to be someone you’re not – hurts. It comes with self-hatred and disgust that keep on growing. Every day being reminded and feel lesser, defective. That who you are is not good enough and you don’t belong.  And ultimately, being YOU is not acceptable.

You come out because you want to belong. Because you are tired of feeling fake, and tired of living every day at the mercy of being found out. 

Coming out you hope will help others make sense of who you are, your friends and family, but also prospective employers. To feel safe in being who you are. No one should have to live in fear of being fired from a job if someone finds out who they love.

Love is love, a complicated being finding love in an unusual place.

Not being cis is not a crime – or at least it shouldn’t be. We are born this way.
Love is love no matter what form it takes, and in a world with so much hate and fear CELEBRATE LOVE IN WHATEVER FORM IT COMES! Treasure it. Because no one is guaranteed it, and no one knows how long it will last.

If someone comes out to you it’s because they trust you. They trust you to see them for who they really are, and that the only thing that has changed about them is who they choose to have a relationship with – or not.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. (Lao Tzu)

Why would you deny yourself or another that experience?

While I consider myself a safe person to come out to, just to clarify, I’m non-binary/agender and ace. But this is not about me, because I’m a fifty-something who is privileged enough that I can say I don’t give a shit if you reject me for not being cis. Either way, I’d rather be rejected for what I am than liked for what I’m not.

Will you hear it better when it’s said by Kurt Cobain? I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.

If you want to force others to keep hidden who they are because who they are makes you uncomfortable you’re the one with a problem. Find yourself a therapist and work on your fears instead of taking it out on someone who just trusted you by being them themselves. 

And if everything else fails, how about this: GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES SO WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN OTHER AN ABOMINATION?

The creator made us this way – are you saying g-d made a mistake?

I sincerely look forward to seeing what Zander Moricz will do next.
And to the young man who was kicked out of church and his home for coming out and sparked this post, I believe in you, you brave, beautiful, courageous being. I know it hurts right now, and I don’t know what else to say. I’m sure they’ll come around.
But later, for the church part – there are hundreds more who will welcome a good man like you with joy and open arms. Or as Louise Hay put it (and I’m paraphrasing from memory) “If your God tells you you are a miserable sinner – find another. There are plenty out there to choose from.” God never rejected you, just the human minions.
If belonging is conditional – it was never belonging in the first place.
Much love, Catpaw

Hanging Container Gardening

When the afternoons get too hot to work with the brain – I’ve been working on the HANGING GARDENS! A container gardening idea that works for small spaces like a balcony – or simply to place pot-plants in.

With a small courtyard that is mostly shaded (thank heavens) at my disposal, I’m having another go at growing herbs and veg. Pots on the floor attract all sorts of unpleasant competition, and the walls were already fitted with hooks. Hanging things up allow you to grow more in a limited space. (And let’s be honest: keeps it out of reach of inquisitive cats playing chase, and you know… (Another toilet, hooman you spoil us!)

My hanging garden taking shape; Random crocheted hanging containers, sorry about the unsightly rope, it belongs to the added sunshade, and I forgot move it out of the picture.

I started experimenting using reclaimed hammock yarn (use what you already got), and after about a dozen tries I’d figured out the stitch-counts and proportions. So what you see are for the most part the simple, functional, and economical design to work with my recycled containers. These are 2.5 litre mineral water bottles cut in a way to make its own drip tray. It collects all the water/nourishment drained out when watering too much, so you don’t leech out nutrients. (After the first storm I had to add drain holes to prevent drowning by nature’s excess, see below.)

The idea for the containers came from YouTube: if it’s good enough for one of Turkey’s top chefs to grow herbs and veg for her restaurant in, it’s good enough for me. Growing pots are pricey here and I like giving a second life to the water bottles. Yes, we recycle, but this is a lot more appealing.

2.5 litre water bottles, cut to give support, etc, holes punctured after a 3-day rainstorm drowned some young seedlings

The other structure I’ve used was free. I’m guessing the table top was fibreboard and rotted, but the aluminium part works well for this. I even suspended a basket in the middle where at some point I’m hoping to grow strawberries.

Making use of a discarded table frame to hang more containers, to make it more difficult for pests to get at young plants.

Crocheted hangers are MADE TO ORDER, and made from NEW material. I have access to White, Purple, Mediterranean Blue, Yellow, and Orange. This kind of hammock yarn is 100% nylon and while it eventually crisps in the sun, is the best option of what’s available and affordable, especially in this humid part of the world. 

Hangers can be made with a string to tie (how I attach to the other hangers) OR loops. They can also be made to the size of your plant pot. 

Close up of Leaf design.
Close up of Climber design
Close up of Baubles design

As always it’s difficult and expensive to send things overseas, but if you’re local pm me, and delivering to Merida could be possible too.

Abridged excerpt from Andino Andina

Abridged excerpt from Andino Andina, a fantasy/speculative fiction novel. Copyright Liz Rosales 2014 & 2021

The sun was low in the sky on this mild winter’s day and made the landscape glow invitingly in watercolours Turner would have begged for.

On the spur of the moment I wondered if I had enough time to walk up to the cave before dusk fell. I decided to risk it and increased my pace.

I hadn’t got far outside of town when instinct slowed me down.
Walking towards me was an extraordinarily graceful woman, her curly silvery hair in a loose bun at the nape of her neck. There was no mistaking her.

“You!” I breathed, causing a plume of steam rather than a real sound. “You!”
‘So you remember. That is good. Hello again!’
The words arrived in my head without passing through my ears, I noticed.
“How could I forget? You held out a tomb of a book to me and I couldn’t reach it, and you got the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen,” I blurted out. So I got my voice back, my inner critic remarked, but for once I ignored it completely.
“Who are you?”

The woman smiled. She is glowing, luminous like a Goddess… my inner observer registered. I’m seeing and talking to a Goddess… Really? I want to see if she is actually walking – rather than floating – towards me, but I can’t tear my eyes away from her face and those mesmerising eyes.
“Then that wasn’t just a dream then, was it?” I asked feebly.
The proposed Goddess smiled.
“Walk with me.” Her voice was rich and melodious, and pure as crystal, and that description was so inadequate I blushed at my habitual attempt to describe her in my mind for later reference.

“We are very pleased,” the woman continued. “You have done well. Outstanding.”
I said nothing. Part of me is searching for traces of sarcasm in her statement – Goddess or not – and perhaps for the other shoe to drop.
‘Benefit of the doubt,’ I hear the faintest ghost of a whisper. With a stern mental hand I sweep doubts and thoughts out of the way like crumbs off a picnic table, and bring myself to this moment. Just listen.

“We seeded this place half a millennia ago. It has done well developing on this planet where there has been so much darkness. Now the time has come for this knowledge and understanding to spread to the rest of the planet. See what ideas grow forth from it…

“Imagine a flower; first a seed, then roots. Then the leaves, buds and blooms. A seed-ball forms. When the wind blows it helps all those seeds – all with their own ‘parachutes’ – to take flight.”
She halted and swept her hand gracefully through the air where just such a seed-ball in electric blue sparkles appeared. She blew on it gently. All the individual seeds tumbled around like air sprites, delighting in their freedom and weightlessness on a journey to who knows where, carried on invisible thermals.

“The spreading of energetic intent is much the same. Your words will be the seeds of what was once our thoughts, cultivated by these people, on this timeline, over half a millennia as they made it their own.
“Delight in letting seeds take flight and let us all observe where they land. Rejoice in the ones that take root and marvel at how each one will come to be, depending on how or where it has been received, and decided to grow.
“This has been an incubated development, nourished but a little with gentle thoughts of support but with very little interference.
“The initial decision to forego the lust for war and cease to fight amongst themselves was all theirs. That observation peaked our interest for it was highly unusual. It was an interesting twist of events – especially in this part of the galaxy – and we decided to pay closer attention to how this unexpected peace affected the region. If it would allow this area to flourish. How.

“Maybe we assisted a little by distracting one or two who had the makings of a potential warlord by sending a loving maid, a supportive teacher, a validating mentor, a listening ear or a loving grandparent. By encouraging people to look for what else is possible, instead of opting for the old game of subjugation and reacting with violence. Something humanity has been prone to do throughout history.

“Either way, it is an alternative grown out of the people in this region, on this timeline, and as such native to all humans incarnate on this earth. Their understandings are in the collective consciousness and it is possible for anyone who wants to tap into, utilize, and make their own, in whatever way they wish. Humans have forgotten the process of doing that, and their inner technology has – for the most part – become dormant.”

I thought about this. “Let me recap to make sure I’m following. You are saying it is time to bring attention to this home-planet developed option, as a suggestion how to move forward? In the hope that this peaceful ideology catches on with the rest of the world on my timeline, and then sit back and watch what it makes of it?
“Is that what you do? You observe what happens, what worlds make of your seeds; if, where, and when, they develop into something more when fertilized by local minds, watered by natural progression?”
The Goddess nodded once and for a brief moment I felt like a star pupil in primary school.
“Don’t forget we also learn from you,” she smiled. A few remaining seeds drifting around above us brightened like minute supernovas as they continued to tumble through the air, buoyed perhaps in part by my warm breath. The Goddess did not cause any plumes of condensation I noticed.

I wanted to believe that even in our material world, something like this – at this point in time – could tantalize and enchant those with proverbial ‘eyes to see’ to join in and follow the blue sparkles. To dance with infinite possibilities as described by quantum physics. Infinite possibilities…

I noticed I was observing the thoughts of another collective. I could somehow see it all at the same time: the familiar gravel path crunching under my boots as we walked; with a visual overlay – mercurial gauze on a misty morning – as if screened by an invisible projector.
I had no idea my operating system was capable of handling and processing so much simultaneous input all at once, without chaos within the senses ensuing.

Had the time finally arrived to walk away from our old way of living and make way for a new way of being? A hint of excitement stirred somewhere – Would I actually get to see it – in my lifetime?
In reply to my unvoiced questions, in my mind’s eye I was already viewing something. Hundreds – then thousands – of men and a few women, on every side of conflicts, laying down their weapons and walking away instead of fighting for another man’s cause. No more state sanctioned mass murders.

I winced as confused and irate sleepers gunned down others for refusing to kill in the name of peace. Volunteers giving their lives so that others could wake up. Spirits welcoming and embracing each other as they passed over, watching and waiting for the tipping point to be reached.
The spell of lack of patriotism and threats of court-marshalling had lost their hold.
I witnessed a world wake up to the insanity of executing another for refusing to kill on command; an event known later as the Freedom Wave. Watched those previously in charge suddenly run to catch up with their former underlings. Now they were all just people returning home.

A peaceful tsunami swept over planet Earth. Like any tidal wave it claimed it’s share of sacrifice. Hundreds, then thousands of twinkling lights drifted upwards, one for each and everyone on all sides who relinquished their lives and bodies.
Though the siren was silent it was still heard. The war games had come to an end.

I felt the world tremble in horror over the barbaric ways humans over the centuries have sought to inflict pain on others and exterminate both each other and other living beings.
Everywhere, startled humans rubbed proverbial sleep out of their eyes. It was like the world was waking up from a bad dream; the emotional fog swirling as your conscious brain fumbles for bearings. The body stumbles to the bathroom or into the kitchen in search of coffee. All the while thinking ‘Gosh, did that really happen? That’s crazy! We must have been sleepwalking! I’m so grateful I’m awake now…’

A slow dawning of the realisation that we, as a species, have not questioned ourselves and our actions enough for a very long time. Especially when the eyes of the world looked the other way. Allowed ourselves to be hypnotized and herded mentally like pawns in someone else’s game.
To think of ourselves as disposable, when nothing could be further from the truth.
And in that moment of fundamental knowing of who we really are – divine eternal beings having an earthly adventure – we allowed the horrors of the past to be gently swept away by angelic helpers.
Love had prevailed, conquered all. Light had dispelled darkness with it’s presence and it was here to stay. There is no dark-switch…

The imagery faded and I was just me again, on a habitual lookout to not twist an ankle.

“Can I ask you something?” I said. “The part I never understood was why anyone would just blindly follow? They must have so many lives where their spirit was broken.”

“It has been easier to let others decide for you than to take responsibility for yourself, for your thoughts and actions. Knowing why you do the things you do will be imperative very soon.
“When large numbers of people fail to pay attention, the power dynamics become unbalanced. Allow that to remind you of your own power and to be present. And when you don’t, when individuals forget to hold themselves and others accountable, it gets out of hand in various ways. And beings in this universe really took it much further and to horrifying new depths” the Goddess said in a clear low voice that brought me back to the here and now.

“It never fails to amaze me how so many seem happy to give away their power. Would you say it’s likely to stem from subconscious memories where sticking your proverbial neck out resulted in a particularly traumatic death?”

“Perhaps. At this point in time humanity is waking up, and the truth you are approaching is that you do not wish to be ruled or controlled.
“In the new game of conscious living there will be no need to control in the old way. When humanity chooses to live with integrity and awareness of the consequences your words and actions have upon everything else, the game is over. The players go home for dinner…” She smiled at her own human style joke.

The air shimmered with pinpricks of light and my body surged as if filled with tiny bubbles where every cell in my body seemed to have it’s own pleasure experience independently. A tremble rippled through my legs making them feel momentarily weak.

Dazed I turned to look around me, 360 degrees, in what I can only describe as slow motion out of time. My body didn’t feel solid at all, more like a temporary cluster of molecules or particles held together by an invisible magnetic force I couldn’t name.
‘Or frogspawn among the reeds in a lake,’ came an amused voice I did not recognize. Did I hear that – or what?
There is one thing feeling expansive, quite another is feeling internally displaced…
Out of habit I shook my head hoping to clear whatever was slowing everything down. My physical eyes came back into focus and I looked around me.
She was gone.

“I… I didn’t catch your name…” I said, when I had pulled myself together.

Maybe Reesha would know. I started walking back. Then running.

Let us all intend peace☮️ in Ukraine, and everywhere else,
immediately, completely and permanently.


Some days I just feel like deleting my LinkedIn account. I check it once or twice a week by now. I haven’t deleted it because you never know where the next gig will come from, and you don’t want to cut off any streams of income, no matter how dried up.

It’s “recommended” jobs make no sense and are so off target it could be considered comical. Tragicomical. Irritating. Frustrating.

Then it’s the smugness of some of the “we who have got healthy careers”, and the ones looking and trying really hard any which way. Networking, interacting, writing quality content regularly – and still getting nowhere.
It’s like two worlds rubbing up against each other and the divide is painful to observe.

I wish I could pinpoint what it is but I can’t. I only feel it, and it feels off and makes me feel sick to my stomach.
I also wish I could just dismiss it as “just not for me” and move on.

So many of my friends are looking for work too. Sending out tons of applications. Hundreds of applicants for every position going; everyone of us looking for meaningful work that pays a living wage. We shouldn’t have to fight for it, that’s just not right.

Bringing your own ideas to the table in the absence of viable employment, there are so many things I COULD do… Locally and otherwise. What stands in the way is the bl**dy relentless marketing required to possibly gain traction.

It’s like when you vow to run a marathon or cut your hair off to raise money for charity.
I’m doing the damn training and running/lopping off my hair; on top of that I have to convince people to part with their money, AND chase them down after and sweet-talk them to actually pay up?

Clearly I haven’t got the necessary right connections to get a foothold. It’s NEVER what you know, but WHO. And above all, who knows you.

You could be one of the best violinist in the world and still struggle to make a living if your options were reduced to busking, as a social experiment organised by Washington Post back in 2007 showed, when Joshua Bell played incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, two days after filling every last seat in a theatre in Boston, where ticket prices averaged $100usd.
You can be outstanding at your art but without being able to reach the right audience, timing, and recognition, it’s darn hard to make money off your art.

“Gods don’t like people not doing much work. People who aren’t busy all the time might start to think.”
Quote from “Small Gods” by Sir Terry Pratchett.

“Gods don’t like people not doing much work. People who aren’t busy all the time might start to think.”

You could replace “Gods” with “politicians” or “people with a lot of questionably acquired money” for a thought experiment…

I wanted to add something else about observing one of my “superpowers” intensify recently, but I don’t know how to put it into words. Feeling energies and vibrations from…a lot. Airplanes passing overhead, documents (handwritten, available online), and so forth. I don’t know what to do with it or make use of it, but maybe that will come too? Is it a superpower if it has no clear use tho?

#Staying Afloat

#Making a living

#Launching new ideas in a conservative society

#F’kin exhausted already

That’s true, all well and good, but in this world we all need money too, to eat, to keep a roof over our heads, blah blah blah. You know. Later.
Over and out,

Inky disbelief

I love my fountain pens, writing with them is such a sensual experience. In more practical terms using one avoids getting cramp in my hand during long writing sessions, and having a pen you refill rather than dispose of is environmentally friendly.
I’m an INK hoarder: I make sure I use every drop of ink.

Ink in Mexico (besides Parker Quink) is hard to come by, and very very expensive. I have in my “collection” black and blue Quink. That’s it.
Even the Lamy Mx shop only sells blue, black, and red.

Sometimes I see a couple bottles of inks in more exclusive stores in beat up packaging and it makes me wonder… did it come off the back of a lorry…? To that I’d say…likely.  You see, sending ink to Mexico is prohibited. Yes, you read that right. SENDING INKS HERE IS ILLEGAL. I only just found out👿

If you order fountain pen ink, or if your gift wrapped pen comes with a cartridge or two, it gets confiscated. You’re never told, allowed to appeal, or informed about this. Imagine that. Fountain pen ink as contraband. 

So how did I find out? The manager of the courier company asked if I wanted to pay “arrange to have it picked up by another courier in the USA at your own cost (to deliver within the USA incl return to the seller), or we can destroy the package without extra cost to you.” I angry begged them not to destroy my beautiful pen, to open the package, remove the ‘offending’ two ink cartridges (same as you can buy in any office depot), and send me MY pen to my delivery address (as I had paid for). He agreed to put the idea to his boss. Apparently no one had ever asked that before. Probably because we’re never informed, given the option, and our parcel just vanishes, traceable or not. 

Over the years I’ve ordered pens and ink (from UK, USA, and AliExpress) and several of those parcels have gone “missing”, and in hindsight I realize, those that did all had ink in them😭

I’m glad I know now, and gutted at the same time. I won’t be losing any more orders (and money) confiscated without a word, but WTF?

(The same goes for yarn for knitting and crochet. The yarn and everything else in the package is confiscated (read stolen) by border control. Random, I know. Probably some outdated law from around the time of the Mexican Revolution.)

So I’m asking you, anonymous reader, if you know someone who is coming to Cancun this holiday season; if you have inks you don’t use and no longer want; do you want to bring and donate them? I can pick them up at your hotel, and if you really want to play with this, in a brown paper bag and wear a zorro mask!
As I mentioned, I have basic black and blue. Sometimes you see red ink for sale, but it is all insanely expensive (think a week’s earnings for a small bottle.)
I personally love turquoises, shimmers, and oranges (Apache sunset) and I’ll make sure they all go to good homes.

The pens in the photo are my favorites; Pimio Picasso Malaga 916.

Rootless nomad life

We’re driving around, me and dad. Places I have never seen – not that I’d remember.
Dad tells me there are a lot of artists – and by that he mostly means painters, visual, multi media perhaps – living in this coastal area… He lets the information hang in the air as I say uh-huh or something equally eloquent to signal I’ve heard.

I wonder how they can afford to, with new looking cars parked out front, house and all.

I also wonder where I went wrong.

It is a pretty area, and it doesn’t call to me. at. all. There is no pull. Places look perfectly fine – but I feel nothing.

I wonder if I could live there. I scan the energy and nothing blips. I feel transparent like a ghost. People look cheerful, content even, going about their lives, and I feel no kinship to anything. Secretly I had hoped I would. At last. After all, some of my ancestors lived in the area.

For I don’t care for what gives their life meaning to them. What makes life worth living, or at times enduring. I don’t understand that which makes them tick; family life and after school activities, sports-day, and routines.
And I feel intensely envious and like a giant failure at life. It’s like that part of my software was never installed, not even a factory version. I feel defective or deficient in what they take for granted, the relatability to family life and bringing up children, the natural order of things.

I want so badly to find somewhere I want to stay. I tear at myself, at my mind and my heart, in search of a key that will unlock something, to let me understand. Allow some imagined escrow to wash over me like an avalanche of love and belonging, friendship and help.

I seriously doubt I’d find kindred spirits here, they weren’t there before, and I don’t think they have moved in during my absence. Just salt of the earth people living their family lives, each in their own way.

And because people buy artists, or charisma, rather than art, I guess my lovingly crafted creations would continue to go unsold.

For extreme outsiders who aren’t “cool” or relatable don’t waltz into the kind of employment needed to allow you to live comfortably here. And don’t tell me about doing what you love and what you make will fly of the proverbial shelves. It’s a myth. Monetizing hobbies will suck the joy out of what you used to love. It will slowly turn it into work. Unpaid work. No. Made with love does not work for freaky. “Be yourself” is not enough, it never has been. Wanting more than what’s beyond the scope of the village and the nearest towns does not sit well. UNLESS you return a success, triumphant. A person who has “made it” and want to go back.

If I go back, does that mean that it’s over, the beginning of the end of everything I wanted and dreamed of? My chance and opportunities at making a life my way somewhere else expires?

Finally the escapee has been caught and brought back. Chastened and told to be thankful; ‘so many people what to live here now’. Except me. As soon as I could, I set out in search of my tribe and what I had spent my life up until that point longing for; somewhere I wanted to stay, fulfilling work, and I’m still searching.

Will I ever find the strength and funds to leave and start over somewhere else again?

I recall as a teen landing back in the big city after visiting parents for a weekend, the high of being back, the persistent glow of hope that something I want might come my way here, and at the same time something tore inside me. Gratitude to be back, mingled with an undefined feeling of guilt like oil and water in the pit of my gut.

I recall countless bus and train journeys, watching through the window the passing land or cityscape, occasionally feeling such profound spontaneous gratitude that I did not have to step off, that that was not my destination. That I didn’t have to make my way home anywhere around there. It all felt so…wrong. Energetically.

Sometimes places looked quite pleasant, only to have that gut-wrenching deep despair hit me. In me, not the area. Energetic mismatch.

Wiser or more jaded?

When you move a lot, your safe space becomes something else but your home, something you can bring with you, your music collection perhaps. Pieces of music and the emotions they invoke supply that feeling of connection, familiarity, a virtual hug. When you let go of almost everything you own what you do have becomes precious.

One evening, out of curiosity, I compared what I listened to when I first moved here, and it was startling. It didn’t feel like bliss, but hope. Faith that life would continue to improve now I was in the right place.

I expected to find my feet and my stride, friends, and meaningful work. My happily ever after, travels with my love. I was ready and gladly gave it my all.
I did not anticipate loneliness, extreme isolation, and the impossibility to learn the language proficiently.

I wouldn’t say I made a mistake, I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on, but I feel done. Cooked.

Now I want to experience the counterpart, what I thought I was heading into; connection, in person friendships, joy.

How do you look forward, when there’s nothing to look forward to?

How do you get your life back on track? When you hardly have enough spoons to get you through the bare minimum of the day as it is?

Moving just three blocks in June meant leaving behind the opossums I’d become so fond of, and made me cry. I want to hug my cats and never ever let go… Leaving them behind is absolutely out of the question.

Can one write oneself out of the hole you find yourself in? Does the pointless tears ever stop coming? So many questions, so few answers.

I wrestle sometimes with crippling separation anxiety. So much so, I hardly know who I’d be without it. I struggle to appreciate beauty in the moment because the thought of it’s fleetingness is agonizing.
I am aware enough to know this stems from trauma, in my case from an other lifetime, watching the first earth blow up; losing almost everyone dear; and never able to go back. Nothing so far has managed to shift this.

I even feel angst when I read friends who are travelling and meet others for an evening and no contact details are exchanged. I hand mine out at random instead of asking people for theirs.

At times my world seem filled with “what if I never —–again?”
What if I never get to see and spend some time with this or that friend again, – or these days – never get the chance to meet at all?

Not being able to separate myself from the anticipation of having it ripped away again robs the moment of joy.
Torn apart, over and over, and no amount of tapping I’ve done has managed to shift it. It’s like a bottomless well. And to complicate matters further this happens over possible future events too…

That and lack of visual memory. I can read my words describing to myself the gorgeous bright stars flying at night high above the clouds; the Himalayas painted gold in all their glory, passing over Ireland at dawn showing exactly why it’s nicknamed the emerald isle, etc. I can’t picture it, and on either occasion not having a camera to hand to capture a pale impression of it for posterity, breaks my heart.

When you love people in many places you end up like me, Fractured. Pieces I can never reclaim.

My apparent inability to ‘be in the moment’, ‘live in the now’. Even as a young person I was always living in or for the future. Learning anything that could be of future use, for when I can leave school and this place behind, go in search of MY life.

And now, having failed to find home, and for the most part also tribe, I feel lost.

Where the summer is short it is precious.

The woman I read on IG wrote about the end of summer, how her kids go back to school soon, and this was the last weekend away from the city and the humdrum of everyday life. She started her micro-blog when the pandemic first hit. I found it a lot later.

It reminded me of the unbearable end of summer holidays as a kid who hated school, (or at least the bullying and demand to ‘conform or else you will not be allowed to play later, as an adult’).

It’s hard to wrap my head around; at the time I read it we were still in the midst of summer here, with months of hot humid heat to endure. The steady stream of drops of sweat making their way down my spine at regular intervals confirmed this, the burning sensation on my face whenever I strayed out of reach of the fan.

I miss enjoying the summer, or perhaps the shared experience of it. I enjoy the winters here so perhaps I ought to look for new friends in New Zealand or something.

The hurricane season was very active, I can hardly believe we’re in the middle of November; this year has been one long exhausting fug from the get go. For the first time ever I didn’t even look forward to the autumn, my favourite time of year, it’s just been TOO uncertain and a feeling of constant brazing for (and trying to outsmart) what may be served, even for me who can’t abide routines. I feel drained and exhausted, and unprepared for everything.

I look again at her photo, the lit candles on the windowsill against the deepening blue, the last colours of dusky twilight, the sea view. I cry.

No doubt she has worked hard for many years to build her life and get to where she is today, but so have I and countless others. And I have nothing to show for it. No successes, no shoals of friends to celebrate my birthday or other milestones with, no treasure island.

The last days of summer, the end of things. I don’t know why it always hurt so much? The tears I never cried, my stomach in knots. Time being something you never get back. Anxieties galore.

“LIVE LIFE! This isn’t a dress rehearsal” I once had a key-ring proclaim. Thank goodness for that, I couldn’t deal with having to do this all over again.

When the longer evenings and the cosiness of autumn returns
I greet it the same way my mother used to greet spring.
A kind of return of life, rather than light
A time of rebooting; evening classes commence, new projects, enthusiasm at work.

Everyone knows daylight is important to your health, and as someone who’s experienced the long dark winter months where you only see the sun for an hour of two on your day off work – if it’s not raining or cloudy that is – I get it.

S.a.d. is a very real for a lot of people.

But we forget darkness is important too
unless you are terrified of it I suppose.

In the dark resides the opportunity for reset. It is so much more than sleep.

In an other part of the world…

Friday evening. Snapshots flashing by.
Not pictures, but
Memories. Moments. Feels.

After the boundless joy of being together once more
the moment we hugged at the arrivals at the airport
I can’t help but anticipate the pain of being ripped apart again

Time so precious it felt like I didn’t even have the time to enjoy it in the moment it took place
Too fleeting, it comes with built in sadness
Just store it away to be able to live on later.

Us in the car with your dog, going to the Redwoods
Driving along the coast, I’ve never seen vineyards like that before

Smoke from fires in the distance creating a haze and other worldly feel in the valleys
like a heat mirage it played tricks on the eye and mind.
A small holding or a ranch, and a visceral, gut-wrenching recognition
I swear I’ve been here before but it wasn’t in this incarnation…

The Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded in mist,
so unexpectedly icy cold on the hill by the monument.
Up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco! So unreal.
Walking along the seafront after the sun had set
listening to the breaking waves
connecting to something much larger than us, through space and time
with long gone people who have experienced the same breathtaking display by Gaia.
Listening to LeVar Burton tell stories, and better still, muse about life.

Farmers Market, Sushi, Thai, and Burmese food
so much Brie! and heirloom tomatoes tasting of California sunshine
all the things I can’t get where I live.

Talking for hours seated among the plants on the balcony at night.
Everything we wanted to share and say
So much – – – and never enough.

Now it feels as far away as the international space station
our chats condensed to snippets over messenger or email.
Why is over a decade of solid friendship not enough in the eyes of the law?
Why does other kinds of love that does not involve sex or lust not count?
Why must borders and politics keep friends apart?
Why can’t people live where they want?
Not when we’re just people, not wealthy or “special”.
I live in a different economy and a world away
I couldn’t buy the condo opposite yours even though it is for sale.

What would I not give to be back on that balcony right now
but I’d only pour out the pain of these last few years
and no matter how sympathetic a listener
it is something I don’t wish on anyone, coz it feels endless,
a bottomless pit of tears, hurt, and grief.

So I’ll have to make do with the memories of a few precious days spent together with my bff.

Inner child work

Not click-baity but descriptive. Diving right in here. The book I’m re-reading speaks about finding your kryptonite, which you can have in more than one flavor. This is early childhood needs that were not only not met, but made wrong, bad, unacceptable, or shameful, and that the young self then internalized so deep down it takes some real excavating to uncover. And identify it is a must if you want to heal and set yourself free.

One need many – or most – toddlers have is to feel that they are Special just for being, so I chose that to pick apart this Sunday.

I have not studied psychology and I am no authority; these are simply my observations that I’m sharing in case they help someone or make you curious.

What is special, anyway? If “everyone is special” “in their own way”, perhaps we need to redefine it, but not here, not today, not by me. These are adult semantics.
If we are all inherently special – what happened? When did it stop? When does worth become dependent on usefulness, achievements, talents, or amassed skills? Is it socialized out of us? When does being cease to be enough to give us worth?

When being is no longer enough to be seen as valuable, and those who at a tender age have not had their inner fill of feeling special by their caregivers, can get lost. For Somewhere, around here, it morphs into Special FOR something, and we start chasing Achievements, while at the same time feeling little or at least not what we had hoped for, and feel invisible, unvalidated.

You really can tell when someone had this need satisfied – they have no velcro when someone tells them they are being a special snowflake. They are confident and sure of their innate worth no matter what.

A young child has simple needs. When those are unmet by the caregivers in such a way that the child feels rejected and that they themselves are bad for wanting it, it gets stuffed down.
This could be anything from “the look” to verbal abuse or a physical thrashing.
The need becomes equated to “I am unacceptable”, and internalized with shame.
To ask no longer feel safe.
Your kryptonite has a special twist (which you will need to read the book to fully grasp.)
Shockingly early it becomes our humiliating secret, a secret so shameful we even hide it from ourselves. It becomes what I termed The unspeakable.

We then grow up feeling empty and hollow, subconsciously hoping to encounter a sip of something undefined, or at least something that numbs the inner ache or craving for a while. We constantly look for anything we believe could passify that emptiness, that grawing hunger we can’t seem to satiate no matter what.

As an adult the person (subconsciously dying to feel seen as Special) would never ask even if it is what they want the most. The reaction is not to seek attention but one of resignation. The unspeakable has become the unthinkable, the “I.Would.Never”. All while secretly hoping to be recognized and receive the validation they crave.

And because the wound is hidden so deep, should the person dare to ask it either goes unheard, or more likely receive a response that matches their imprint; and triggers the same emotional response the child self felt when they asked all those years ago.

So now that we’re adults, how can you fill that need for yourself?

Why do we need to deal with this early wound we have a hard time even defining? We can’t receive until we recognize and heal.

It’s impossible to meet a need you do not know you have, so first you need to identify your spin on this, your Kryptonite. And these ones are stealthy because by now they are at the bottom in the back of the shed that is your subconscious, your op-sys.

To do this you need to connect with your true needs and heal the early pain, the pain that taught you not to feel your need/s because doing so was not safe or too painful. (Tapping or breath-work can help with this.)
A need is an extreme want.
In this case, I want, and I will never ask for.
Something that even unspoken makes you want to run away screaming rather than utter out loud. Anything to not have to relive the pain and humiliation.

I’ll use myself as an example. I can think of many quirks, but nothing, not even put together, makes me qualify as Special. Not in That sense. Not Unique. Worthy of more.
Every time I recognize something unusual or have an insight into myself, there will be someone ready to smack me down like a game of whack-a-mole. Ready to belittle, mock and make fun of (and this is not even my main one).
“Oh no, they’re being Special again.” Unique qualities become next to shameful, least it make for another opportunity to poke fun at me for. I feel embarrassed. Doubt creeps in.

Maybe the observation is nothing.
Maybe the knack is worthless.
Maybe it’s nothing, and not even there anymore. Absorbed somehow.
Maybe I imagined it in the first place.
Maybe between now and When – it evaporated
and I can’t even remember…
what it was, what made me think it was unique, what made it exciting…
Imposter syndrome strikes again, Jante hot on it’s heels. Don’t think you are in any way special…

And yet, if I contemplate if I could meet others I consider special, who I look up to, like The Dalai Lama for example, it stirs up a primal yearning so intense it gives me virtigo; long lost hope gets reignited and a part deep down cries See me! Notice me! See me as a soul, not as a body or a set of skills, ideas, words. Just recognize me as a shining soul that has endured so much. See me! See who I am underneath the sticky fingerprints aquired over the years as incarnated. Recognize me – the true me – in a sea of souls.

I am hardly alone to feel I’m being lost in the sea of humans, where a few are trying to use everyone else as a stepping stones to “get ahead” to the next level. A kind of elbowing your way to the front of a running crowd where it is not so packed. Where you can breathe a bit easier, and jog or run without stumbling on and bumping into other runners trampling on your heels at every step.
Only these days our unsatisfied need takes the shape of chasing likes and followers on social media.

Everyone knows – at least in theory – that we are all unique expressions of the divine, but mental knowing doesn’t cut it when our inner child feel abandoned and hurt, and thirsts for what they never received.

The world is full of people needy for what they did not receive as children. It can be hard to give what you wanted but never got. I do try, but most of the time it feels like giving from an empty tank.
You are prepared to gift that last fuel in your tank just to be appreciated and thanked, because you desperately want someone to fill yours.
You wait for your chance for years, decades, only to be told to step aside and make way for others now…

Gaslighting can harden and toughen you up – or make you trust no one. I can no longer tell if it is a genuine compliment or a dig, I anticipate the knife to twist or evaporate. If an invitation is to share, or to be the joke. The freak to be the entertainment. I find I almost expect to be poked fun at or laughed at.

I don’t deal well with being poked, put down, and made fun of. It’s not simply that I “take myself sooo seriously”; I don’t know how to be any other way. It’s the way my needs were (not) met.

So I’ve burned myself out being hyper-vigilant for decades; wonder which one of me to send to open the door or deal with a situation. Which stance to take, what level of importance to assume, which voice and pitch. Sometimes this is a conscious decision, but it is always an emotional calculation based on a balancing act involving fear and safety. Because kids soon figured out who is in any way unusual or vulnerable, and pounce.

The question that remains is How [quickly] can I release myself from these limitations?
How can we once and for all banish the mocking voices that pipe up uninvited with their contemptuous questions along the lines of
What makes you think…
What makes you so damn special?
Why do you think you deserve special treatment?
Why do you think you’re so special you could…

What makes you think you could…
Why should You get …?
Why would something like that happen to you?

To that I can only say, I have no idea. But I am working on it.

The book that sparked this off is called Unblocked by Margaret Lynch Raniere and David Raniere.

As a tapping practitioner myself for over a decade, and someone who has also gone through The Personal Peace Process without feeling I made sufficient progress, this book makes sense to me, it was my crucial missing puzzle-piece, and I warmly recommend reading it. It helps if you have knowledge of Tapping or EFT.

I also recommend reading Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett.

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