#Me Too Movement and Boundaries

Boundaries.

The first time I really heard this word when defined to personal space was about 6 years ago from my trusted counselor. Boundaries were not something I talked about much until then, and now it’s a word that passes by my lips several times a week. I am fascinated by personal boundaries and how they are all so unique. Boundaries can expand and contract often and depending on who we are with they change drastically. This is what makes it confusing to know what your boundaries are, and what others believe in. As it can be a process to discover what your boundaries are, and that takes self-awareness and experience.

When it comes to sexual assault/rape/sexual misconduct it takes boundaries to another level where sharing body fluids, and DNA can literally change someone’s life, destroy their life, and or create a new life.

For the most part, I feel like most of us are intelligent, empathic people who realize the consequences of having sex with someone. But there are plenty of us that feel the consequences are not important and have little respect for their own bodies, and therefore have no respect for others.

It ultimately comes down to self-respect. You cannot give respect to anyone else if you don’t respect yourself. Pushing yourself onto someone else might become the new normal for some people, and perhaps the thrill is so intoxicating and their lack of respect for their own wellbeing is so low that it becomes something to seek out.

People often convince themselves that anything they are doing is needed or wanted and will do anything to make themselves look good. This is where rape culture and victim blaming comes into play.

Right now there is a lot of #MeToo stories, and people coming up talking about things that have recently happened to them or happened decades ago. It feels really good to see people speaking from their truth and standing up for their own boundaries. If we don’t say something, the boundaries will keep being crossed and it would appear that its okay to do so.

It can be challenging to verbally express your boundaries to people, but it absolutely needs to become commonplace. It’s so easy when it comes to taking off your shoes in someone’s house, it’s really easy for the host to ask the guests to take off their shoes before coming in. So when it comes to setting boundaries about personal space, it *should* be just as easy, but usually, it’s not.

The #MeToo movement is a symptom of nonverbal communication that is not working. It’s also a symptom of boundaries pushers who are used to dominating others on a regular basis. They will seek out those that appear unable to stand up for themselves, which could be someone intoxicated, someone overly emotional, someone by themselves late at night, or an obvious power difference in social status.

The only way to change this is for the powerless people to gain power by speaking out against their perpetrators. I feel that powerless people are just as dangerous as powerful people. However, asking someone to speak up against their perpetrators is a big jump into boundary setting. Its like asking someone to run a marathon who has can hardly run a mile. So it starts with setting boundaries and keeping to them on smaller levels. It needs to become a practice, and part of daily life so if something epic happens such as sexual assault, the victim has the confidence to stand up for themselves.

The little ways I have been working on setting boundaries with people are stating what is important to me. Some things that are important to be are that my inner circle of friends know its absolutely not okay to have a romantic relationship with one of my ex-boyfriends and I honor them in the same way. That is a boundary I will not cross as I see extremely negative consequences with my relationship with my friend. It’s not worth the risk to find out. Another boundary of mine is that I can’t allow people into my inner circle that do not have the ability to listen deeply and put their phone away while we are talking. I feel this is an obvious one, but it’s not always. I run a business, and I need to check my phone often, but not while I am in a conversation with someone. My time is valuable, and so is yours. We are all busy, so let’s make the most out of personal time together. If not, I would rather spend time with people that value me and what I have to say.

The point is that we all have needs/wants and we deserve to ask for those. Its good to value yourself, and state what is important to you. I have found you will attract people that have the similar boundaries as you and its a recipe for a wonderful relationship.

When it comes to your body and sex, I have found that talking about boundaries with your body are not common. There is a lot of unspoken assumptions that lead to unwanted advances and consequences.

When someone is in a dangerous situation such as sexual assault they usually respond to it in one of four ways: Fighting, Freezing, Flighting or Fawning (according to a book I read years ago called “Complex PTSD” by Pete Walker”). It seems that if a victim fights back or tries to leave (flighting) out of the situation that is a normal response to most. But if the victim freezes (dissociation and unable to move) or fawns (which is basically trying to admire the predator so they can prevent more harm) that the victim *must* have wanted it.

The best thing to do is to prevent your boundaries from being crossed in the first place, but if that is unsuccessful you need to state they were crossed or the perpetrator will continue to do it again to you, or to someone else.

I applaud everyone who is standing up for themselves. I appreciate that the world is shifting. We are intelligent. We know how to talk and think and process information. Yet emotional intelligence seems to be a new concept and it is just as important as book smarts.

I am glad I have invested in years of counseling. About 13 years. It prepares me for life and gives me the tools to know how to handle most situations. For anyone that is new to counseling, I strongly suggest you start doing it. Think of it as a brain scrub or personal training for your mind. It works! It can be a process to find your perfect counselor, but even the counselors I have gone to once have given me valuable information.

My dream is to live in a world where we stop adding new stories to the #metoo movement and start aggressive verbal boundary setting and stop passive-aggressive communication. I have a feeling we are on our way. I am a hopeful human, I see a lot of progress and this post is another drop in the bucket of hopefully adding to the progress.

 

 

 

 

 

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Selecting My Photography Teacher Wisely

Over the years, I have completed 65 college credits. Most of the credits go towards my general’s degree and some that are not accredited that went towards skills and certifications that I wanted to get. I am paying for college as I go, and this definitely slows down the process. I am extremely glad I have done this as my debt for school is rather low which adds to my overall wellbeing.

Every class I have taken has helped me. There is not one course that was just a piece of paper. In fact, when people say that education is just a piece of paper, I feel they have not realized how it *does* change your subconsciousness whether you are aware of it or not. It also changes the way you write, read, think, and helps you become a better learner. It also helps to keep you up on technology as most classes today are a hybrid of an in-person/online, and of course it keeps your brain and mind working a bit better.

I have learned that there are certain teachers that don’t work for me and I will only take from them if there is no other option. I have suffered through a few classes that made the learning experience dreadful. I could have, and should have found a different teacher instead of forcing myself to put up with it. But that takes experience and self-awareness and a little extra work to find a new class.

I will get to this point of this post now. This past week I signed up for a photography class. I am very excited to take this course and tried to sign up for it last semester but every class that was available was already filled up. Clearly, this class is very popular! So this term, I signed up early to make sure I got in.

This is the first semester I have taken only one class and I am taking a class that I consider fun. This semester should be really enjoyable, with minimal stress and it gives me a chance to explore the exciting world of photography without feeling rushed to get my homework done for other classes.

After much anticipation, I head to my first photography class where I was quickly disappointed in the teacher. He made his grand entrance as we were standing in the hallway 5 minutes after the class should have started. He could have and should have communicated with us that the classroom had changed. He had every opportunity to let us know what was going on. All of us stood outside of the classroom in confusion wondering what was going on.

He did not apologize for being late and quickly blames the classroom change on technology doing the bidding. Sigh. This is already starting off bad.

He then takes his time to unpack all of his gear, as we watch him waiting for him to lead the class. He starts an unneeded powerpoint and starts going over his photography career with a low monotone voice which was hard to hear even in a small room. The power point shows some of the highlights of his 30-year career, and this went on for 30 minutes with him making rambling comments how the college contacted him to teach 12 years ago but it did not pay enough for him at that time. But now he reluctantly decided to take the teaching job as in his own words “No one will hire him for photography work because he is not in the *in crowd* anymore”.

Awe I see! You don’t want to be here. You think you are above teaching. Yet no one will hire you for photography work because you are not *cool* enough? Wow. I am speechless.

I could feel my energy starting to disappear. I also noticed many of the students were on their cell phones, and I was oddly tempted to check my Instagram/facebook as well – which I rarely do in class. I was so drained and bored as we were not talking about anything stimulating.

Another 30 minutes goes by and we are still on page 3 of the powerpoint, and we are slowly going over the syllabus for the class as he keeps getting distracted, along with him making jokes that when we save money on downloading the book for class instead of buying the book, we can send the money we save directly to him instead. Cash preferred of course.

Not funny.

Not professional.

It felt like he was making hint after hint how he is not making enough to teach this class, and would rather not be doing it.

I decided to leave the class after we were given a 5-minute break. I drove home and immediately dropped the course. This came with feelings of frustration and defeat. My spirit had been crushed. How can someone make a stimulating subject like photography feel like the most dreadful thing on the planet? Why would a teacher take new photography students and derail them from enjoying taking photos? It became clear to me that this teacher was jaded, and I have learned that unless you absolutely have no choice to change teachers, I will run quickly away from jaded teachers. Their energy is contagious.

I was fortunate enough to find another photography class that would work with my schedule. Score! From the moment he started talking I was drawn in. He was exactly what I was expecting a photography teacher to be like. Full of energy, passion, and excited to teach new students the passion that he loves. We also learned a lot about cameras and camera settings on day 1 and he did not waste time talking about himself for an hour. I was so lite up after class that I had a hard time sleeping that night! This is what I wanted. This is what I wanted to pay for. I am thrilled and my spirit is ignited again!

I am sure most people think a photography class should be a fun course to take. But it all depends on the teacher. And I am grateful I knew this and took the steps to change the teacher I had.

It makes me wonder, how often we suffer from the choices we have made when we have options?

I honestly feel bad for the students taking this other teachers course. But what I have learned from being a student for a while, is you pay the teachers salary by staying in the class. You are voting to keep them as a teacher, and for a teacher that is jaded, it might be better if they stopped teaching for their own wellbeing and the students. Just an idea. I know we all need money, but I would rather take a class from someone that is doing it for the money and for the passion. I am paying for the information and the *motivation* to implement the new skills into my life. 

Our first photography assignment helped us figure out our cameras while in manual mode. All photos must be taken in the manual setting for this class which of course is what I need to learn to become a better photographer.  We had to take of still subjects, moving subjects, change the distance at which we took the photos while setting the Aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance to fit the scene. I took some rather unexciting photos of a pole outside (I am doing my best not to take photos of flowers) and a bit more exciting photos of the flag nearby. Although nothing too impressive yet, I feel accomplished as I am learning so much already. Excited to see where this goes in the next 16 weeks.

Another thing that really stood out to me about this teacher is that he does not use photoshop and if he spends more then a minute editing the photo he deletes it. He wants organic photos. I love this idea! What a wonderful concept in a world where people are editing their photos so much it really changes the quality of the photo. Sometimes people edit their photos so much it looks like a cartoon. It’s nice to know I don’t have to learn photoshop to be a great photographer. Although, I would enjoy learning photoshop and see its value. To each their own.

flag
This flag is beautiful and so were the clouds behind it. This is still a bit blurry and did not capture the colors I wanted. But hey it was my time shooting a moving object with more precision.

 

pole
Eat your heart out! I took about 30 photos of this pole. Here is my *favorite* hah!

 

 

My Block with Public Journaling

I started my blog with the hopes that I would become inspired by the attention of writing, and write more then I was before. But what has happened is I am writing more in private, and feeling block with the online journal. I feel that when I write knowing no one is reading, my flow is easy and my thoughts come out organically. I also do not judge myself for spelling errors or typos which makes the process easier.

Why have an online journal then?  Why write my thoughts out for all to see? I question this, especially as we live in the time of the narcissist when people do things mostly to be *seen* doing whatever they are doing. Do not get me wrong, I absolutely love technology, and am hooked up with the most popular social media hubs such as facebook, twitter, Instagram, Marco Polo, SnapChat and more. But I do question if I am doing things for attention, or because I want to do it anyway?

I can tell you, I love to write. I do it anyway. It has been my lifeforce, my anchoring tool, my ultimate confidant, and the only way I know how to give life to what is in my head and give it meaning and purpose.

My entire life I was worried about having people read my journals, so worried in fact, that I wrote a serious warning in one of my journals giving the reader permission to read one entry, but no more. If the reader decided to read more there would be hell to pay. I believe I was 8 when I wrote this warning in my super private journal. It makes me giggle at myself. How would I actually impose a punishment for someone reading my journals? How would I actually know if they did? I am curious what the punishment would be to an 8-year-old girl? What was hell in my mind? I will never know.

What I realized over my life, is that no one actually read my journals to my knowledge.  I found myself shocked and then disappointed by this initially. Then I found myself leaving my journals out in the open in the hopes that someone would be interested. I have no proof either way, but it appears I have been my own audience.

This was an interesting observation because I realized what I was writing in my journals was not for myself as I was actually writing for other people. I was editing my experience, just in case, someone read my thoughts. Once I realized that I did not have an audience, my journals actually became real and I wrote down my authentic thoughts and experiences, and this is when I really felt the power of writing.

Starting an online journal, or a place where I write my thoughts, I naturally have blocks given my experience with private writing for so long. It makes me curious when the magic of writing could expand or never begin; and ponder what makes a good writer, versus a great one. It seems that writers that write for the extrinsic value and attention of an audience are rarely great, and the writers that write from the heart as if they were dancing alone in the mirror, can be life-changing. Perhaps this is all nonsense I am making up in my head. But it appears that if you could completely unblock yourself and just be authentically you, then the creativity would naturally flow from the heart. But this idea still alludes me still, but I feel it is possible. It has to be a combination of doing it for the intrinsic purpose and the extrinsic purpose. I cannot see how you could separate them if you know you will have an audience.

My head is full of contradictory thoughts, and black and white observations of my self and others. I observe and slightly judge my own experience of choosing to create a blog, and be out in the open. But I admire those that are already doing it and I love that people are out there allowing other into their headspace, and bringing minds and hearts together.

One of my goals in this life is to connect more with people.  I have always had a strong desire to know what other people are thinking my entire life. I am constantly wondering, what is really going on in their mind?  I really want to know. One of the ways I have discovered is through personal journalism written from the heart.

When my mother and father passed away, I was hoping there were journals left behind or anything that would allow me access to their minds. I always wanted to understand my parents more, as they seemed like a mystery to me. But all I found were a few chicken scratches of thoughts and information that they left behind. I was devastated. I still am. I wish I could interview my mother and father and ask them who they were, and what they were thinking.  I am genuinely curious why they choose the life they choose, and not another.

Overall, I am fascinated by all the stories around me. Everyone has a story and its usually rather interesting to learn about others. I have yet to be bored by someone’s story. I think we are all rather interesting, creative and expansive. All of us are.

When I tell people I love to journal and write the response I usually get is that is awesome, followed by a response of admitting that is not something they do, but would like to have the motivation to do. So it appears since I have the motivation to do this, and it comes naturally to me, I get to really dive into this blog experience and see where it goes.

One more thing. Having an audience so far is a lot of fun and now I find it energizing. So here I am today, two years after starting this blog, and now I am finally ready to get over myself and just start blogging.

What is the saying, the only thing that is blocking you from your own path is you? Yeah that fits me well. So I am getting out of my own way, and moving forward. Clearly, I started this blog for a reason. Excited to see what that is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My good intentions have gone to hell. Or Maybe not just yet….

I started this blog thinking I would write all of the time, and so far I have dramatically failed to produce anything in almost two years. Seriously? How does that happen?

A few reasons/distractions:

Snapchat, Marco Polo, Fabletics, 13 Reasons Why binge-watching, new boyfriend, the new obsession with eyeshadow, fear, laziness, stuckness, and perhaps a dash of hesitation to have my thoughts posted online.

I also want to add, that anyone close to me knows that I dislike the word lazy. I prefer to use the word uninspired. It sounds so much better. So I should delete the laziness reason above and write uninspired. I really believe once inspiration hits, its impossible to stay stagnant.

I also run a massage business, just a one-woman show. Just me. And for some reason, I give myself anxiety over deciding if I should do a massage blog or combine massage with a personal blog. This has literally made my head spin. I am being dramatic now that I think of it. As if this decision is going to be set in stone, and can never be undone. It might be because when I read professional blogs they seem so structured and had a clear vision of what the blog was about from the very beginning. But in my case, I have so many random thoughts that run through my mind, and I am not sure where this blog will lead yet. When inspiration hits, I feel like writing and that is how I operate. There are so many things to be inspired to write about! I get that it makes sense to have a niche for marketing purposes. However, I write because I find it intrinsically rewarding without any grand end goal in mind – other than to connect with other bloggers/readers and ride the waves of inspiration that flood our minds and hopefully make more sense of this beautiful crazy world around us and inside us.

The idea of having two separate blogs makes sense. But it also doesn’t.  I am clearly over thinking this. I have also not written about massage at all yet. Massage is one of my favorite topics and I could go on and on about it. Yet, I have not. All because of the thought that combining this blog with massage posts would be so crazy for the reader. Hah! Overthinking things can prevent you from doing anything. Clearly.

So here I am. Finally feeling ready to release the hesitation and move forward with this blog adventure.

As this is my blog, I can write whatever I want! Wow. What a concept? I am going to run with this and see where it takes me. Whether that is massage, relationship tips, motivational stories, nutrition trends or even cat collars. Whatever feels like it needs to be shared, I am just going to write it out and hit publish. 

I was also inspired after reading Jennie Ketchum’s latest post on her blog. She sort of lite my spark seeing her post after a few years of her blog becoming a ghost town. Or in her words a mausoleum.

Jennie Ketchum is a pretty fascinating human in my eyes. Worth waiting for two years for her latest blog post. I never could have predicted I would be so interested in someone’s blog who rarely posts. I think that gave me the permission to just roll with Jenny’s Reflection, and not feel the need to delete this and start over. Because really, the few posts I have on here I enjoyed writing, and there is no need to trash something that just needs a little push.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Very True~

We as human beings had an inherent value. We deserve respect, love, support, forgiveness and second chances. We also deserve acknowledgement of our natural abilities. Second Chances After recently having back surgery, I knew my employment options were limited. But I found out about a company that offers an opportunity to work from home as […]

via Personal Value Vs. Corporate Value — BayArt

Being a Morning Person

I am a morning person. I just function better when I get up early. This last week I have been tracking my morning wake times with the goal of getting out of my warm cozy bed by 6 a.m on a regular schedule. I say get out of my bed because I am not referring to hitting the snooze button several times or laying in my bed day dreaming, I am referring to placing my feet on the ground, and taking my first step of the day by 6 a.m.

Being a morning person does not mean I wake up feeling 100%. I feel like I have just crawled out the womb again and it is painful. I have forgot how to walk, or talk, or even see as my eye lids seem to be super glued shut.  I feel like I will never be a normal person again and this day is probably going to be a nightmare. This lasts for a few minutes then all my senses quickly come back and I realize I can function. Awe…… I so get it.

I enjoy being a morning person as I am not one to rush out of the door and go to my first destination of the day. I prefer to have at least 2-3 hours of Jenny time before I give my attention to anyone else.

I was inspired by MANer’s article below (which made me giggle the whole time, its absolutely spot on) to include writing as a morning routine. I have daydreamed about doing this, just as I have day dreamed about meditating in the morning on a regular basis. I love the idea of setting my head straight and getting my thoughts out (even if its not shared with anyone) so I can move forward into the world with more grace and inspiration!

I am on my second week of early rising and it feels wonderful! As I head to my yoga class this morning, and also have a piece of writing under my belt, this will be the first official morning I have wrote before my day began. I already feel excited to practice this more!

 

I love my Grandma! Truly….Deeply

I had such an amazing night with my grandma last night! She just turned 80 recently and I wanted to take her out to dinner. I cannot tell you how much her and I can talk! It feels so good to have someone in my family that I can talk with as easily as I can with her. She feels like one of best friends more then a grandma. I tell her just about everything about me and she listens with an open heart! It is wonderful. She also makes me laugh. A LOT. She is one of the funniest females I know. I was laughing so much last night I had to catch my breath a few times! We ended up staying up rather late (almost 10:30 p.m) and I could have easily spent another couple of hours talking to her. The great thing is I also make her laugh. So it is not a one way street. I guess we just think we are so funny or something! We definitely encourage each other to expand comedic side which I appreciate. Laughter has been a wonderful medicine in my life, and you do need to stay on top of your funny skills or you lose them right? I knew my grandma and I would get along when we really started hanging out in 2011 when she suggested we go watch the movie Bridesmaids in the movie theater. It was her second time seeing it when we went! I was pretty impressed that she liked that movie and saw the humor in it. We laughed so much watching that film together. We still quote it to this day.

My grandma is also sassy, classy, honest and raw. I know how she feels and if she is not enjoying something she will say it. We once left a play in the middle of it because she was so over it!  I love that about her. I had a good laugh about that. But truly, if your not enjoying something, you have ever right to excuse yourself. Lessened learned.

I love how vulnerable she can be, yet how strong she is. But I can not get over how much FUN we have together! I crave to be around her. I always excited when we make plans. I never thought I would become so close to my grandma. I honestly feel like we have something special that does not occur often between a grandmother and granddaughter. I talk about my grandma a decent amount, and people are excited when they meet her. Like gasp! I finally get to meet Jenny’s grandma!?

I like being around my grandma for many reasons, and but one of the ones that stands out the most is that I feel really good when I am around her. I also feel like an equal to her (which always amazes me as I look up to her), she truly listens to me and really sees me. She GETS me. It is one of the best feelings in the world. And I GET her. I SEE her. I am curious about her entire life, what her childhood was like, how it feels to have children, how does it feel to have your husband die and be a widow. What is life like when your 80?  What makes her tick? What makes her upset? I Just want to know it all, and she wants to share it. I feel like I learn so much from her.

Overall, I realize that as we get older our life can still be a lot of fun and we can enjoy being alive. A lot of people fear getting older, as its a natural thing to fear, but being around her decreases that fear and shows me that people are people and life can still be ridiculously entertaining. I welcome the gift of living a long life with open arms. I want to experience life to its fullest, which is living a long one. Gaining perspective and expanding my awareness are my goals in this life. So hopefully I am granted that opportunity. It is a gift to live a long life. Not something to fear.

*Thank you to Kah Choon for the awesome photo and quote!

Kah Choon's Blog

Happy Grandma

Count your life by smiles, not tears.

Count your age by friends, not years.

~ John Lennon ~

~ Photo credit (modified): Stock snap / Pixabay / CC BY-NC

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