Dispatches from Occupied Territory – Awakening Alone While in a Relationship

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

This is the fourth in a series of fictional explorations into an individual’s awakening to the suddenly unfamiliar world around and within her while still engulfed by the day to day insanity. These short stories in letter form are intended for the more sensitive and inquisitive reader who wishes to look more deeply within and explore in depth their beliefs and perceptions as well as how to cope with a world gone frighteningly mad. It is the author’s hope to accomplish this by way of an intimate and revealing first person correspondence between two long time friends as they discuss her ongoing awakening. The first three chapters may be found here.

 

Dear Marie,

It saddens me deeply to find you so distressed. Your last letter detailing the deteriorating relationship with your husband was heartbreaking and so very familiar to me. You may remember my divorce several years back after seventeen years of marriage. While we maintained the public façade of an inmate and loving couple, beneath the surface great rifts had formed and eventually we decided to part ways. So I can identify with everything in your letter and more, having experienced it firsthand.

One of the first lessons I failed to learn in my ongoing awakening was there are multiple layers, blind corners and dark alleys to transit and I had only just begun the process. So the fact I thought I was pretty well versed in not only the external illusion, but the accompanying internal self deception, simply set me up for the next soul crushing fall into the abyss. Only later did I find out this was normal for an early awakening and something to watch for.

I often wonder if it is this reinjuring of the psyche so soon after the initial wounding that sends so many newly awakening into a self defeating spiral of cynicism, depression and isolation. If nothing else it most certainly is damaging, sometimes fatally so, to any personal (and professional) relationship we may presently be involved in. Sadly our culture is full of psychological and emotional instruction manuals for those descending into the social insanity and precious few for those attempting to break free.

In keeping with my theme of the need to gain a greater perspective before attempting to understand, it would help if we pull back and walk a few miles in your husband’s shoes. One of the dangers we experience during first light, that period of time when we initially recognize all is not as it appears, is the problem of self induced tunnel vision. Because we are trying to take in so much so quickly we fail to see anything with clarity, thus we develop a form of tunnel vision to cope with the onrush of new information. Maybe a better phrase to explain this might be selective vision.

Instead of broadening our perspective with this new perception and awareness, it is as if we don dark glasses and everything we perceive is run through this filter. While we might feel it justified, often we judge others’ actions based upon whether we feel they are ‘aware’ or not. Just because someone is still ‘asleep’ doesn’t necessarily invalidate their perspective. As well, just because we are awakening does not mean we see clearly and correctly. It is because of this flaw that we sometimes needlessly dismantle or even sabotage relationships. It is important to recognize our critical part in this unraveling if we are to properly deal with it.

During the period when we are courting or dating many unspoken mutual understandings and agreements are formed and cemented. We might call this psychological phenomenon ‘compatibility testing’ or ‘harmonizing’. While we might agree this is an important prerequisite to a long lasting and satisfying relationship, rarely do we actually examine what is going on under the surface.

Those who have little in common with their partner often run into severe difficulties at various points in the future, particularly during times of stress. A common refrain from those who are awakening is they suddenly find themselves living with someone they no longer ‘know’. Rarely do they understand their partner may actually feel the same way.

If the initial attraction between two people is sexually based, rather than similarities and commonalities, many differences are ignored or papered over as not important or immaterial to furthering the physical relationship. Later, after the initial rush of emotional attachment has subsided, these differences rise to the surface to disturb the peace. This doesn’t mean long term relationships are the epitome of compatibility and congruency. In practice the reality is often the opposite.

While courting, particularly long term courting, we are constantly assessing if our potential partner is a good fit. When a difference is recognized or confronted, an assessment, often unconsciously or semi-consciously, is made as to the importance of the incompatibility. “Can I live with this?” is one way it might be verbalized if we were bold enough to say so. Of course we do not speak this truth because our self interest dictates we not discuss potentially inflammatory subjects with a prospective mate.

What courting boils down to is a contract-for-services negotiation, some of which is verbalized with the potential partner and some unspoken with and within ourselves. As dry and unemotional an assessment as this is, when seen in the light of day and from a non emotional basis this is precisely what it is. When the contract is signed, either through the public spectacle of a religious/state sanctioned marriage or, as is increasingly more common these days by simply cohabiting together, essentially we are promising to commit to something we may not have fully examined or thoroughly thought out.

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Oftentimes we assume (and I use the term ‘assume’ even if this part of the contract negotiation is verbalized and formalized) either no unilateral changes will be made to the contract conditions agreed upon or they will be discussed and agreed upon before being implemented by one or the other of the partners. It is here where tensions exist and problems arise, particularly when the ‘honeymoon period’ has ended and reality presents, warts and all.

Please understand that sometimes the ‘other’ person has not actually changed or made any changes to the contract conditions. Rather, what is actually going on here is our own reassessment of conditions previously considered ‘livable’ or not important. How often are we surprised or even shocked to discover our partner holds this or that view or perspective? Maybe they chew with their mouth open, are messy and unkempt or they are spendthrifts and reckless with money. Unless outright deception was involved, this ‘new’ discovery is evidence of a failure on our part to see reality for what it is, a self awareness often hidden by our ego.

Obviously Marie this is an imperfect one-size-fits-all description that fits no one perfectly but applies to everyone generally. In practice the negotiation is ongoing even after the signing, and contract conditions are always morphing and ever changing. It is with this in mind that I ask you to reach for perspective, even if it is contrary to your perception of you being the victim and your husband the perpetrator.

From his point of view you are the moving party here, the one who has unilaterally violated the terms of the contract without prior discussion, negotiation or agreement. Considering the tectonic reverberations your awakening has caused you personally, imagine what it must be like to be your husband and suddenly witness huge changes in you, particularly if those changes are contrary to the consensus belief of the majority of the population and to those expressed by you prior to your awakening.

Taking into consideration the fact you have been married nearly two decades, thus both of you are experienced with the ebb and flow of any long term relationship, based upon your description he most likely initially viewed your changes as simply transitory and was waiting for ‘normalcy’ to return. When after a period of time you did not ‘return’ I suspect his internal alarm bells and sense of outrage over the one sided changes have led to the series of confrontations on his part you describe in your letter. He wants to know what the hell is going on and when you’re going to be done with ‘this silliness’.

You may recall in an earlier letter my description of your inner fear projecting into your conversations with those you are attempting either to warn or simply to explain what is, and has been, happening to you. No doubt your husband senses your fear which concerns him greatly and adds to his belief that something is deeply wrong with you. While at first he showed great patience when dealing with you out of love and affection, this has now morphed into his own fear of loss and sense of violation.

Since you still go to work, run the household and conduct yourself in so many other ways considered ‘normal’ in today’s world, at this point he is beginning to wonder if you may not be readying to leave him for someone else. This is why he is directly asking if you are cheating on him behind his back. In his mind, since what you are telling him about your awakening makes no sense what-so-ever, from his point of view the only other thing it could be is an affair or some other type of deception.

As well because he also senses the world taking a turn for the worse, yet there isn’t something quantifiable and widely accepted by the culture with which he can grasp upon as proof his own concerns are valid, your ‘illness’ (his words) is what he points towards as the problem with the marriage and his world. Denial tends to push the mind outward searching for scapegoats lest it linger too long looking within and chance the discovery of the true source of our inner distress. The more certain someone is about how the world works and the source of their problems, the less likely they will be to search within themselves for the root of their problems.

Keep in mind deep within our ‘self’ the truth is always known, even if only on a subconscious level. We pile layer upon layer of dirt, mulch, rocks and debris on top to prevent it from escaping into our conscious mind, though there are constant leaks which lead to cognitive dissonance. If these leaks were to become a flow, the condition would demand resolution requiring a complete reassessment of our worldview, precisely what you are presenting undergoing and which you recognize is extremely destabilizing and quite distasteful.

Knowing what you now know, are you surprised in the least we would go to nearly any length to remain in a state of self induced ignorant bliss? In so many ways, when asleep we are very similar to a drug addict seeking a fix and relief from the pain, though for us the drug of choice is denial and the high is the ignorant bliss of self deception.

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The secret to this psychological sauce is we are never fully and truly asleep. Rather we have constructed a carefully compiled worldview that takes into account many of the constantly changing variables the world presents on a daily basis. Now that our awakening is beginning to take hold we can clearly see the contradictions, illogic, deception and fraud that permeate the system and the people. To those of us who go through life asleep we only see what we wish to see and ignore or rationalize away the rest. While imperfect, it ‘works’ because we wish it to work.

It is as if we were previously tuned to a narrow radio frequency and missed ninety five percent of what was being broadcast on other channels. But now we have a wide band radio and receive nearly every channel, though we still lack the ability to fully discern and differentiate the different messages. Your husband still operates on a narrow band receiver and is baffled by your (in his mind) garbled recital of what you are hearing, seeing and thinking.

Please understand that most of his directed anger is actually carefully disguised fear, both of what it is you seem to know and what it is he appears to be missing in your eyes. He doesn’t know what is going on with you and despite his protestations otherwise does not want to know what is going on with you. He just wants the old Marie back and his life to return to ‘normal’. In many ways he thinks he is sleeping with the enemy in the same way you feel you are.

Most certainly neither of you ‘knows’ each other anymore, though in fact you never really did to begin with. At best you knew what each of you exposed to each other as part of the greater challenge of living within a world beset by (self) deception, fraud and The Big Lie. In an insane asylum exactly how well can anyone ‘know’ anyone else when they have not begun to know themselves? Not well I’m afraid.

So where does this leave you Marie? Well first off, not alone by any means since there are hundreds of thousands of individuals just like you who are also struggling to cope with relationships both personal and professional while also nurturing their own awakening. If I were to give any advice it would be this. To go forward from here you need to do two things.

1)   Determine what you need to do regarding changes in your life right now. As I have spoken about before, there is a world of difference between needs and wants. Because you are on high alert, regardless of how your husband may be reacting, you feel danger is present and in close proximity. In so many ways this changes your demeanor and aura and those who know you sense the change in you and are on the defensive.

Consider that in his eyes you are the moving party so his position is somewhat justified regardless of his state of awareness in relation to yours. Since you have made most of the unilateral changes to the mutual agreement by awakening, it behooves you to make the first gesture towards reconciliation if this is what you want to do. If not, you need to be just as upfront about your unwillingness to do so.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too Marie. You state the desire to cease self deception as soon as you become aware of it and I commend you for your efforts. But if you wish the relationship to remain in place you must make compromises you might find distasteful. If you are dishonest with yourself with regard to whether you can become comfortable with that type of decision you are only hurting yourself, your husband and your children.

This is why I speak of becoming centered and settled before any decisions are made about your future. Based upon our prior conversations I know you are making great strides in this direction, but you also know much work remains. This is a moment of truth for you and you know this to be true. There is no ‘right’ decision here, only a decision that is true to your ‘self’. Find that ‘self’, then make those decisions.

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2)   Sit down with your husband and, in a non threatening manner, carefully and calmly speak to him about your relationship past, present and future. Acknowledge the fact you have changed, but refrain from talking about collapsing currencies, government lies and so on for doing so just muddies the waters and charges the emotions. Once either you or your husband becomes emotionally charged all logic, reason and potential compromise goes out the window while hurt and anger takes its place.

You might need to do this over several sessions since judging from your letter so much has not been said for so long that much will be said by both before you are able to clear the table enough to get down to the substance that matters, your relationship. Do not expect him to ‘see’ or understand your point of view nor vice versa. The real question here is simple. Are both of you willing to make enough changes in yourself and accept enough of each other to mend the rift and find value and love once again in each other?

A critical mistake I continue to make is to see the world through black and white filters. As much as I claim to now see the artificial polarity foisted upon the world in order to divide and conquer the population, unfortunately I do the same thing and think it completely reasonable. Just because I now claim to see clearly does not mean my partner must do so as well in order for the relationship to work. Why am I demanding change in my partner when I would object if the demands were reversed?

One of the personal (one could rightly say intimate) needs filled by our partner is their affirmation and confirmation of our ‘self’. This is part and parcel of our need for some sort of compatibility, of a sameness or similarity we crave if we are to return the affirmation. This is a form of codependency that often expresses in a destructive manner when we require validation of our own state of denial. It was only after my divorce did I clearly see my unreasonable demands for validation of my awakening while refusing to validate her continuing slumber. Not only did I stop affirming my wife’s self image, but I demanded she acknowledge my changes and that she change her ‘self’.

Seen from this perspective, of course my marriage ended in acrimony and heartache, particularly since I made no effort to meet her halfway and instead demanded near total capitulation and unilateral change from her. While I made all the proper noises promising compromise and consideration on my part, in fact my demands needed to be met before I would fulfill my own promises. Worse, I felt justified since in my egoic self righteous point of view she refused to acknowledge I was right and she was wrong.

While I fully appreciate you are not as extreme as I was, surely you must see parallels between my mistakes and what is going on in your life. This is not to say you must make amends with your husband, only that you need to recognize the unfair conditions you have imposed upon the relationship. I understand your complaint that to continue to live with your husband means enabling his worldview and way of thinking, not because you wish to enable, but because he will expect you to at least tolerate his point of view which in a co-dependent relationship is the functional equivalent to enabling. And to be independent means you must shed co-dependent relationships whether personal or professional.

Ultimately you must decide if the benefits of maintaining your marriage outweigh the cost, which means you must examine what your marriage was previously based upon, what if anything is salvageable and whether you can still be fulfilled with less than you wish to receive. The key here is to see that the answer is not black and white, all or nothing unless you decide it needs to be. You can allow yourself some flexibility here while still being true to yourself so long as your intent is grounded and your actions are not self deceptive or co-dependent.

Just like you, early on I found the insanity I was just beginning to fully recognize was extremely seductive, inviting and alluring. As much as I wished to move towards sanity, now that I had begun to walk the path, similar to a clean and sober addict I often craved a return to the soothing bliss of ignorance, the fuzzy numbness derived from my unaware stupor washing away any feelings of fear or alarm. I so wanted the hard edges of the world to melt away, allowing me to drift in feigned indifference and disbelief that life’s facade really was fake and fraudulent.

So I fully understand your point of view when you say to remain with your husband is to dance with the devil, a seduction so strong you are presently uncertain you will be able to resist. This is precisely why I isolated after my divorce, to heal and grow before I once again ventured out to slay my inner dragons. But to this day I am uncertain if this was the proper path to follow. While I was able to heal some of my wounds I missed out on some badly needed on-the-job training of how to live among the insane while retaining my own growing sanity. It is all just an intellectual exercise until the first time we meet the monster face to face and attempt to co-exist.

Ultimately only you can be the judge of your needs and wants. Because one of your children is already off the college and the other only a year away, any decision you make here should not be clouded by the fear you will harm your children by leaving, or staying, in the marriage. Others in your situation are not so lucky, though I am not sure if ‘luck’ is the proper term to use here.

If I may add one more piece of advice; whatever decisions you make over the next few weeks or months are only as permanent as you wish them to be. One of the biggest lies of the Big Lie is insidious in its simplicity. We are conditioned to believe certainty is of the utmost importance and to exhibit indecision or to change our mind is a sign of moral weakness or immaturity. Among other things this mind meme is designed to trap us inside the insanity by limiting our choices and constricting social acceptance of nonconformity and independent thinking. Once we embody the antithesis of this mind virus we have truly begun to walk the path of our awakening.

Beside you always,

Jonathan

_______________

Cognitive Dissonance

09-05-2014

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22 thoughts on “Dispatches from Occupied Territory – Awakening Alone While in a Relationship”

  1. “Of course we do not speak this truth because our self interest dictates we not discuss potentially inflammatory subjects with a prospective mate.”

    This speaks inherently to the problem. Truth is most important in establishing any relationship. One would not buy a car no matter how perfect or enamored one is with it if the purchaser could not reach the pedals. Functionality trumps everything. So why would we sacrifice our needs for the attainment of another? This is not selfishness but, ultimately a kindness. It is far better to release a person than to harangue them for years about their inadequacy. It is also best to accept criticism from a partner to grow in understanding.

    A few weeks ago my husband and I were returning from a dinner his company gave in honor of the patent winners of which my husband received 2. He has dozens of these and they sit piled collecting dust in our basement. I made a comment how I was disappointed how he has made this company millions over 30 years and they reward him with only a few plaques and a dinner. He was silent for a moment and then said all his life he wanted to do something on his own. Start his own company and be his own boss. This was his dream. When he married me he tried to do this multiple times and each time I stopped him. I couldn’t stand the uncertainty. I wanted stability and safety. So he took a salaried position to satisfy me and make me happy because that was what I needed. I was stunned. Waves and waves of shear anger, guilt and sadness poured over me but I held my tongue. After days of thinking about what he said I came to the conclusion he was absolutely right. I saw myself doing this and, somehow, conveniently forgot the truth. I came to my husband and crossed my arms court style and knelt at his feet. ” what you say is true. I did exactly as you said and I am sorry. I have no excuse or reason just that I was young and lacked confidence. I was guilty of fear. Now, your part is that you allowed me to sway your vision. So we both played a role in this”

    He took my hands and we sat together. He said ” I have thought a lot about this. One one hand I wish I had followed my dream. On the other, maybe I would have been so absorbed in my work, I would have not paid attention to our marriage and we would have separated. My life with you now is so rich and wonderful I can’t imagine living any other way or with anyone else. May be you were the one who actually saved us. Knowing this possibility makes me satisfied with my choice. But I am very happy you can validate my regret. I am sad too I have failed you at times yet you stay with me and forgive my inadequacies. I am so blessed to have you in my life”

    Truth is painful at times. I think that is why so many avoid it. I ran from it so much of my life. Funny, it always followed me and no amount of noise or numbing quieted it’s persistent whispering in my ear. One day, I stopped, faced it and stepped into a larger world I never knew existed. I no longer badger myself to be something I’m not in hopes of pleasing another. I enjoy who I am and can accept my faults and strengths without the scathing voice of judgement. This truly is Freedom.

    Miffed

    1. Hello, Miffed:

      This is a very beautiful sharing. Thank you for posting it. Your last paragraph touched me deeply – it’s my story too and my response to all of the old conditioning that used to run my life. Now – self-acceptance, being real, and not judging myself or thinking I need to be someone else to please someone else matters more to me. What a relief, eh?

      I hope you’ll do more commenting on TIF – I’ve been watching for you to resurface here – for some reason I have felt a kind of connection with you from the very get-go. Dunno why an old Lion would be drawn to a pissed-off scientist, but I am. Would enjoy some conversation, if you ever have the inclination.

      Thanks for being here.

      And thank you, Cog, for another wonderfully deep and thought-provoking article.

      LionLady

      1. Dear LionLady,

        Thank you for the kind words. I have been lurking here a bit, wandering back and forth from ZH. My personal life has been a bit unsettling recently. I’ve had a health scare and though I am relieved my CT scan in negative, I’m still not with a diagnosis. As is, it is not life threatening but I am in constant pain, varying day to day. Compounding this, I have a dear friend, my kindred spirit if you will, has gone though some terrible times recently too. He has recently lost his business and had a series of failed relationships ( thought of him when I read this). His despondency has come through all of his emails to me and I was terribly worried he may do something unthinkable. I didn’t hear from him in a month when I got an email from him. He was in Europe and had walked 750km and was in the south of France. He had just got on a plane and went there with no phone or internet access. He just started walking and had been doing so for a month. Like a living Forrest Gump. His dilemma was his shoes had worn out and was asking if I could send him a specific brand he liked and couldn’t get there. He actually is going to continue and walk the Camino de Santiago another 900km! I sent them expedited mail yesterday.

        In his honor I watched The Way with Martin Sheen. I ended up crying through a good part of it. So much of me wishes I could be a peregrino and leave my world behind for a month. Just to walk in rolling hills, following a path of peace and quiet and achieving stillness of mind. Having the freedom to not live by a clock. I must admit I am a little envious. However, in reality, stillness can be found anywhere if one practices mindfulness and not allow ones surroundings dictate ones happiness. I vowed to myself to practice this here but be with him in spirit on his journey.

        I would love conversation with you anytime. I am going to try and participate more in the future and try to keep the clock at bay by whittling away anything extraneous. Sometimes I don’t realize what I say has any value to anyone. I think I am talking to myself! So you made me realize I am not alone and I thank you for it.

        Miffed

        1. Hello, Miffed:

          I’m very glad for your response and yes – let’s talk. Come on over to ‘Tea with Tigger’ in my Forum as a starting point since I’d like to keep Cog’s series here on-topic. Just drop in a line or two over there to get the ball rolling, OK? I would like very much to engage with you on several fronts re: how you’re doing right now, your friend’s journey, ‘The Way’ (which I have also seen and deeply enjoyed), ZH, successfully navigating the existing craziness, etc. You are most welcome to come on over, plop yourself down and stay a bit. The kettle is on, and the welcome mat is always out.

          :) LionLady

  2. Kudos for the essay, it seems to have a universal application and limited acknowledgement until after the fact in most instances, mine certainly, and also sadly.

    But the shinning lights of Miffed and Lion Lady’s responses above are like honey on parched lips and bring my heart back into song.

    Hugs to all,

    Glynn

  3. Yes, indeed. Loved all the parts – the essay (which was itself a response) and the additional contributions. It’s starting to feel like a community. Seems like to live in freedom takes courage.

    Blessings to all.

    1. Yes….a community. The real purpose behind Two Ice Floes.

      “Seems like to live in freedom takes courage.”

      It does. And the subject of a future essay. Ultimately true courage springs from within. Once we have thoroughly examined ourselves we become fearless for there is truly nothing left to fear.

      Cognitive Dissonance

      1. Thanks CD and all,

        I remember the first day with my counselor when I was determined to climb out of my abyss. She asked me what were my fears. I defiantly told her I had no fears. I was unable to experience fear and if she expected me to feel it, she had better throw me out of an airplane without a parachute as that would be the only way. She smiled at me. Everyone experiences fear. It is part of the human condition and you are not immune. You simply have hidden it under mountains of anger. I will show it to you. I laughed at her. Good luck with that. I AM NOT AFRAID. Her response? YOU WILL BE. And we both laughed at the reference.

        Yes, I found fear. I learned how to balance it and not let it become paranoia ( unbalance fear). I found out I could integrate my rational and emotional side and not live split between them. Profound wisdom sprang forth. I did not have to be the victim of their whims but experience my true self. And , you are right CD, in Truth, there was nothing to fear but it did take mountains of courage to walk the path.

        Miffed

        1. I am so tired of the popular definition of ‘courage’, often personified as physical in nature such as displayed by soldiers. Those who overcome fear of physical harm (maybe I should say push through) are not the only ones who display courage. Looking within, facing the inner demons, takes great courage.

          It is a different courage, but courage none-the-less and no less an effort is require that that displayed by soldiers or others facing physical harm. While the harm to self is often momentary, the inner demons stick around for a long time. I would argue the courage displayed by those who look within is longer lasting and more healing.

          Cognitive Dissonance

          1. Your reference is apt. Interesting when a soldier returns from the battlefield, victorious from the onslaught of physical attacks, he enters into a new realm of challenges. They are not as physical and of a nature he is usually not well equipped to fight. He enters the dark of the inward daemons and we then share some similarity.

            I have not had the chance to explore this with a soldier, but I am wondering if they would find this new realm of daemons more terrifyingly difficult to defeat.

            Miffed

            1. I suspect many soldiers come back damaged because they are not taught how to deal with “it’, but rather to force their way through ‘it’. They are conditioned to do it for those around them, their fellow soldiers, their brothers in arms. They are conditioned to fight as a ‘team’, a unit, a cohesive collective of parts.

              Essentially they are taught to sacrifice the self for the entirety of the unit. Doesn’t sound very healthy on an individual basis to me. But over the centuries the military has found this is the only way to compel people to kill other people in the most efficient and ruthless manner. Essentially to turn non killers into killers.

              We are a very sick species.

              Cognitive Dissonance

                1. The ‘it’ is ultimately their inner fear. They are conditioned to put it aside or push through it because there is business to take care of and a fight to be fought. Instead of ‘do it for the children’ it is ‘do it for your buddies fighting next to you‘.

                  They are never really taught how to actually deal with it because to do so requires them to become introspective. An introspective soldier soon discovers he/she doesn’t wish to kill.

                  Cognitive Dissonance

                  1. Sacrificing oneself for the lives of others is a noble trait. It can be construed as the ultimate act of love. I believe the military uses this, but twists it to its advantage. Outwardly it could be explained this gives the group the best chance of survival. However, upon closer examination, one can see who has the advantage. A young and impressionable man vs a very aware Machine that has an agenda and methods he cannot begin to fathom. It is easy to see who wields the most power.

                    I often cringe when I see parents pushing their young sons into team sports. Not that I have anything against them per se but the exaggerated worship of them does appear to be a militaristic stepping stone.

                    Or maybe this is just sour grapes on my part being terrible at team sports. I always gravitated to individual activities. Fencing, yoga, karate, trail running, horseback riding. I was always uncomfortable being responsible for the group’s failures or even victories. I felt phony and believed I was participating in something contrived.

                    Miffed

  4. CD, Your ability to put “Heavy Thoughts” into “Words on Paper” in our screwed up English language is simply amazing to me! I will not spend the 3 hours it would take me to compose 3 paragraphs about this article or the replies that follow. I just want to thank everybody that is involved with TIF, from creators to participants for being here and truly “Creating a Candle in a Dark Room”

    With warm thoughts,
    Your friendly neighborhood Dynosaur

    1. Way WAY back in high school I remember taking a ‘creative writing’ course taught by a button down straight laced teacher. She likened creative writing to cooking. First you find or make a recipe, which in writing was the outline. Then you begin fleshing out each part of the outline.

      This didn’t make any sense to me and I told her so. If it is creative writing how can you make an outline if you are creating the piece? I compared it to creative painting (not landscapes or portraits but just colors and forms) and asked her if I could just begin writing with an idea and see where it took me.

      She as aghast and horrified and forced me to comply to her method. Needless to say I did not do very well.

      It was only when I began writing ‘free form’ back in 2006 that I began to feel I was making progress. Granted it is often slow, tedious and messy because I have no idea where it will go or what I’m going to say because as I write I am working through the thought. So there are a few dead ends and blond alleys I must walk through as I work the issue.

      The results are often logically and intellectually consistent while retaining some style and flow. I often find when reading others that they are inconsistent and illogical. I suspect this is because they have a half formed thought they reduce to outline form, then fill in the blanks. Each blank may make sense. but the entirety is often nonsensical. Because it conforms to their original half formed thought and the outline it looks good to them.

      But……..BUT…….often I will start a piece and not finish it for a long time because I am not able to work through the issue in my head that makes any sense. It is common for me to leave something half finished for a year, two, even three only to pull it out and finish it. Dispatches three is a perfect example. I started that over three years ago. I was only able to finish it recently despite returning to it every few months.

      This ‘method’ doesn’t conform well to deadlines and schedules. This is why you will not see me posting on a daily basis. Each piece requires so much work, at least 20 or more hours for each piece from start to finish (and sometime 60 hours) that my posting schedule is reduced to weekly or bi-weekly missives.

      Thank you for your kind words. With that much effort invested in each piece I do hope others gain something of value from them.

      Cognitive Dissonance

    1. I often spend one or two hours looking for the images I place in my essays. Rarely do I know just what I want and instead will enter certain words in Google image search and then troll through hundreds and hundreds of images looking for one that ‘feels’ right and has a certain look and feel to it. I begin by looking for copyright free images at several different websites devoted to such.

      Often it is hit and miss and sometimes even frustrating. I have tried finding images before and gathering them together under the ‘theme’ of the piece, but when I actually begin the formatting process of posting the images inside the essay I rarely use what I have gather beforehand.

      The best method for me remains to format the piece, then make spaces in the piece for the images, then re-read the piece so when I come to an image space I have an idea in my head of the image needed. Then I go searching for it using certain terms.

      Bottom line it comes down to instinct and feel. Not very scientific but very time consuming. This is one of the reasons I can’t pump out a essay a day . Too much work goes into crafting the actual article, often many days of work, before I even get to the point of thinking about posting it with images. And I don’t wish to leave out images since they are very important to the ‘feel’ of the article.

      Sorry about the long answer to a short question.

      Cognitive Dissonance

      1. Thank you very much for the insight into your process {Makes me feel better:-)}
        I have tried to write a newsletter for my clients…letters to my kids…a journal…etc,
        Trust me, I truly appreciate the “Fruits of your Labors”.!

        Your friendly neighborhood
        “Never-Worked-Well-With-an-Outline”
        Dynosaur

  5. Dear Miffed:

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of a part of your life in your first comment on this post of CD. Your story really resonated with me because I’ve been on exactly the other side of the issue, a position similar to your husband, except I did not back down. It was so good to read that in your case you both have accepted and grown with the positions you each accepted. Creating a relationship and a life together is so very difficult.

    Take care and please get well and over all those nagging physical issues.

    OtB

    1. Thanks OtB,

      I think when I look back with the eyes of truth and not judgement is when I do the best in my life.

      We all have a book that we read over and over. As the years go on, it grows in thickness as the petty complaints, woefully supplications, angry outbursts, tearful regrets, sadness from missed opportunities are added. Soon we have no life but a tattered book that we cling to. We claim it is us but in reality, it is only a book created in our mind. I have tried to pull out my pages and burn them instead. I have found out I was a completely different person than the sum of the pages. And my relationship with my husband grew stronger and was happier. Really, it isn’t as difficult as before. ;-)

      Miffed

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