Shame as a Shield; Pity as a Weapon

Neon sign: "Hurt Me" by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

Imagine a situation as devastating as killing someone that you love. I tend to live a very sheltered life. I also refrain from watching horror movies. Such thoughts like this are not common in my everyday experience. I found myself speechless amidst strangers as a young man told me his story. And it wasn’t just the story that made me tear up. It was the complete lack of emotion in his being as he rattled off the sequence of events as if he was reading a weather report. It was just three months ago that he got his parents (straight-laced, white-collar professionals) hooked on heroin.

Through Dan’s Eyes

Dan staring out into the ocean at Acadia national park.

Earlier in the year, my brother and sister-in-law made the bold but necessary decision to leave the hustle and bustle of Boston and seek a lifestyle that better matched their evolved values. This resulted in them putting in an offer on a house in Deer Isle, a place that I never heard of in an area of Maine that I had never visited. Truth be told I was excited for them but skeptical that it would be a place that I could call home.

My 3 Words for 2018

“Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” This phrase is overused both in airplanes safety videos and in self-help books. It’s a simple yet important reminder that we are of no use to others if we’re unable to help ourselves. Unfortunately, despite understanding and agreeing with this philosophy, 2017 was the year that many of my closest family members (myself included) almost drown trying to save others.

Leaky Life Raft

Life raft in turbulent ocean waters.

Toes all pointed away from me.
The footprints…
Their strides…
Were they sprinting?
Invisible lines connected the different sizes
(stamped into the wet, coarse, cold sand),
which lost definition and proximity
with distance away from the place
where the waves’ hand gently stroked the sand
as the tide began to rise.

Santa Claus Moments

Father Christmas confirms that he is real.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was almost 10 years old before I learned that Santa Claus wasn't real. Have you ever noticed that there are certain moments in life where your entire world view gets flipped upside down? Depending upon the intensity level of these situations and the meaning we attach to them, they can have a major impact on our mental and emotional states, which can be quite fragile during our childhood and adolescent years. In severe cases, it is not uncommon for our unconscious mind to do one of two things: either block the memory outright OR remember it vividly and replay it over and over again.