Product of Consumerism – Freeverse Poem

Poetry
 
I’m just a product 
In a department store. 
Waiting on a shelf 
To be used like a whore. 

And when they are done they 
Turn their backs 
On the shelf once again.  

They consume me 'til they’re done. 
'Til they have no use for me anymore. 

It never matters that I cared. 
It never matters how long I was there. 
It never matters the time we spent. 
It only matters what they spent. 

They want a return. 
They want a refund. 

They want the newest model, the next best thing. 

Except, now -
I’m vintage. 

They don’t make ‘em like me anymore. 

The new models are not as efficient. 

They say the new models are cheaply made - 
or that they’re all the same. 

They break down easily and they don’t work. 
They’d never have a warranty. 

Maybe the consumers should have thought of that before. 
Maybe the consumers should have recognized my value. 

I’m a product with nothing left to prove. 

They made their choice, they are the 
Ones who choose. 

I don’t have an option and really -
I never did. 

Donate me NOW to some “less fortunate” person - 
Maybe they will bid! 

Maybe they will cherish me, 
And keep me safe. 

They’ll look at me and say: 

“This one’s a keeper.” 

“A real collector’s item - she’s rare - she’s got old school features.”

Unique - I’d be. 
Complete - I’d be. 

Finally - I’d be 

Loved.  

© KIMBERLY ANNE INC. 2022

The Mist of Skógar

Experiences, Poetry, Travel
I can taste the mist and sense the air beneath my skin.
Shadowed by the spirits who kiss me in the wind. 
When the cold air blows; I hear their stories told.

They tell me to close my eyes, and in the darkness I’ll see. 
Unseen cyphers and traditions they teach are boundless and bold. 
In exchange I left them my heart and they keep it for infinity; in the mist of Skógar.
Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by KimberlyAnneInc.
Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by KimberlyAnneInc.
For the Landvættir and my Best
Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by KimberlyAnneInc.

Siphon: A Poem

Poetry
Reciprocate. 
Reciprocal. 
Reciprocity. 

These don’t exist for me. 
Wearied of investing time. 
How can it even be measured? 
Going above and beyond. 
Sublime. 
Transcendence. 

It’s all a lie. 
There is not a second to waste. 
Waste. 
No purpose. 
Carelessly giving time away. 
Every day. 

Have you learned anything? 
Probably not. 
Ego says.
I thought I did. 
Who can I kid? 
No one. 
Just myself. 

Credulous. 
Once again. 
Down the rabbit hole. 
I spin, and I spin. 
Into this cycle. 
Whirling into another world. 

Where I give and I give. 
Nothing is returned. 
Not that I expect it. 
I’ve learned long ago that nothing should be. 
Expected. 

But here I twirl. 
Dizzier than ever. 
The mind is clouded. 
It makes me sick. 

Tit for tat. 
Nope. Never that. 
I don’t get it. 
Reciprocate. 
Do the same. 
Retaliate. 
Interchange. 


Soul swindlers. 
Empathy embezzlers. 
Purloining pretenders.
Spirit siphoners. 

Greedily draining.
Until nothing is left. 

Tragedies As A Catapult

Experiences, Psychology, Thoughts

Endings almost always lead to beginnings. In my experience, it seems that way. There’s been a few times in my life where something ending has put me on a completely different path, leading me to brand new and often exciting experiences. Whether these endings came in the form of relationships, jobs, or even the deaths of loved ones, they transformed me as an individual in their own different ways. Each experience contributed to the web that is my life.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors. Each color and each fiber represent a different aspect of life. Life has this way about it that can leave us confused, questioning everything, or really trying to find our purpose. Ironically, its counterpart, Death, leaves us wondering many of the same things.

Part of our purpose, I believe, is to learn and grow while we are here on earth. We cannot grasp new ideas and flourish if we do the same routine things every day of our life. That must be why we suffer tragedies and have pain and sorrow. It must be why, right? Without these tragedies would we truly be ourselves? Who would be? We become stronger and more resilient with each new beginning that is presented to us by a tragedy. 

In my last post, I discussed grief and people who I’ve lost that have impacted my life tremendously. When thinking of them, there is someone who I lost that comes to mind specifically, and losing this person really was a catapult for me to enter into a new beginning. After experiencing such a devastating loss, I was transformed.

In a way, I entirely reshaped my existence and what I’ve done with my time. The tragedy was my catapult to start endless amounts of creation in the form of art and writing, and just simply living my life the exact and precise way that I wanted to; with absolutely nothing holding me back.

There is another time when a friend and I were on separate paths in life for about seven or eight years. We did not speak for the entire duration of those years. Something magical happened that suddenly brought us together, and from that tragedy (separation), we were able to start a new beginning. The fibers of our webs once again became intertwined, thus causing a new bond. New beginnings are quite possibly one of my favorite things. I even have a tattoo dedicated to such meaning. Similar to the balance of darkness and light, fortune and misfortune are opposite yet closely related. There is an awakening that happens with new beginnings, like the break of dawn after a long dark night. You cannot have one without the other. Maintaining balance is important. 

There have been plenty of times where I’ve had a fresh start. One of the most recent situations I can recall where I’ve had to “start over” was after getting married in a rush, and then getting divorced. When I think of it now, it seems so ridiculous. The choice I made could be considered a mistake. However, if I did not choose to get married, and then go through a divorce, I would certainly not be where I am now. So like those little colorful fibers are woven into the web of my life, how could this be a mistake? The divorce led me to another new beginning and I’m now at a point in my life where I know exactly who I am mentally and spiritually, and exactly where I’m going. Gratitude for the entirety of the situation is a complete understatement of my feelings. Whereas, before, I was just kind of going through the motions of life and not exactly sure about anything. I was still learning how to be me. This tragedy that I suffered through, and the fact that I went through my own depression was absolutely worth it. I wouldn’t wish the pain on anyone, or the confusion, or just downright nastiness of what I’d experienced, but everything that has happened has made me such a better person than I was before. 

Breathe. It will all work out in the end. 

In my experience, when things don’t work out it is a sign that things are actually working out. It may sound kind of crazy or silly, but I promise it is true. Some doors are just meant to be closed, and that is okay. In one of my favorite books, by Icelandic author Gunnar Andri, something he said in the book has stood out in my mind for several years now. “When one door closes, another opens. And sometimes many of them open at the same time.” Correct! I do agree with him on this statement, as well as much of the wisdom inside of his book. (5/5 stars, I definitely recommend)  

And when those doors do open, taking the opportunity to walk through them can seem frightening or challenging. The thing is, with a new start, you must not be afraid. Of course, being scared of change or doing something new is a natural human emotion. Humans don’t like change. It’s been proven. Sometimes though, change is exactly what we need. A new path is given to us at the worst time, which in reality often can be the best time. There have been so many positive things that have happened to me since my divorce or other designated tragedies, and I recall the feeling of starting new friendships and relationships with other people after these terrible situations happened. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I truly do believe that if the tragedies didn’t happen, I really wouldn’t be on the path I am now. It’s an amazing feeling.

If you’re ever feeling like you are living in total despair, or you just simply can’t move on from a situation or a certain someone, I’m here to tell you that you certainly can. It’s absolutely possible. When your tragedy hits, surely there will be flowers that will bloom shortly after. 

Things to Remember: 

  1. Don’t be scared to end something 
  2. Don’t be nervous about experiencing your own tragedy (It will make you stronger)
  3. Don’t be intimidated about trying something new 
  4. Do try to meet new people, learn from them
  5. Change is a good thing sometimes 
  6. Take every opportunity presented to you (It’s there for a reason)
  7. Find your balance between dark and light 
  8. Remember that everything will work out in the end 
  9. Tragedies and new beginnings are interwoven; everything is connected

New beginnings can be hard, and learning something new that you’ve never done before certainly can be a challenge. In the garden of your life, just make sure to tend to the flowers that bloom after the storm; not the weeds.

 

Inspiration and Contributions

Experiences, Thoughts

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

Maya ANGELOU

I am a bit behind on my writings this week! Normally, I post by Wednesday or Thursday, but this week it has been so busy for me. Finally, I’m at ease and am able to get my words down on this “paper”. 

This week I’ve been thinking about kindness, inspiration, and the good and the bad of life. Each day I have to log on to my browser on my desktop for work, school, and everything else. Whenever I log on, the browser is filled will all kinds of terrifying and depressing stories filled with misery and shock. It makes me crazy if I look too long, so sometimes I head over to this website and look at GOOD NEWS Stories because I despise looking at only bad ones. In fact, watching the news is not allowed in my house! (Before you call me a warden, realize it’s just me, my kid, and the cats.) Most of the news on mainstream news channels is all trash anyway and is weakening the minds of all of us. Never do I ever recall in my life hearing a “good news” story on the 5:00pm news. Do you? In a book I read once, the author broke down how much time we waste by watching the news, and how much more of that time could be used to be productive. Considering I gave up on the news when I was 17 years old, I felt proud to know that my viewpoints aligned with the author in that respect. (And much else of what he said, to be fair.)

As an example let’s do some quick math similar to what the author wrote in the book.

30 minutes of news per day x 5 days a week = 150 minutes of watching news

150 minutes per week x 4 weeks = 600 minutes of watching news per month

600 minutes = 10 hours per month

10 hours per month x 12 months = 120 hours per year

Now if you add in watching both the morning and evening news, you are going to double your numbers in the above equations. Imagine wasting 240 hours per year watching the news.

Photo by Danya Gutan on Pexels.com

Crazy to think about, isn’t it? I feel bad for those that do! If you do, and you are shocked reading the numbers, congratulations this will be the beginning of your new life and a new routine. What can we do with 120-240 hours per year instead of watching the news? We can work on ourselves, our community, our passions, our family dynamics, and hobbies. So back to my main topic – good news and bad news. Positivity vs. negativity. Inspiration and contributions!

Positivity seems to be a recurrent theme on social media these days. Often we post pictures or quotes that have to do with being positive or inspirational. I too am guilty of posting this kind of content. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all – because there really isn’t. Whether we practice what we preach is up to us entirely as individuals. But as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” Right? When we post these quotes or images on social media, is it just for likes, or is it because we actually want to inspire others? Chances are, it’s the latter. Something I’ve posted recently was an inspirational quote by Bruce Lee, and with the quote, I attached an image that also had a quote by Maya Angelou. The two quotes posted were: 

“Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee 

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou 

These two quotes are not only true but also legendary considering who said them. Reposting these quotes is a contribution of sorts and gives a little spark of hope to those who read them. Isn’t that the end goal of sharing these things on social media? It’s like when you read them, you feel a passion or some wonderful sentiment that was not there just seconds before. You feel the emotion behind it. You feel the spark and want to share that spark with other people. Misery loves company or so they say, but I think inspiration does also. 

Through my writing and freelance work, I definitely feel like I help people much more and that I’m making positive contributions to the world. Some of my side gigs also give me that same feeling. I’m no stranger to getting paid to pick up groceries for the elderly or give people a ride when they need it in exchange for cash. Time is money of course, but I also feel good when I’m helping people who actually need help – and getting paid for it. The same thing goes for when I help companies write or edit articles and blog posts, or when I help my clients with their website needs. I love to do it, and I enjoy helping them while I can also have some sort of creative freedom. These are all contributions I make to my life, and my community through my work. Inspiration is one of the driving factors behind such actions.

One time several winters ago, I stopped at a local grocery store near my friend’s house to make a run for some alcohol and munchies. It was the month of January and the temperatures were below freezing. Seeing a homeless woman outside of the store asking for food broke my heart. I’ve never talked about this until now, but I bought a bunch of extra food, including a warm pre-made meal, and gave it to her. Could this also be considered an act of inspiration? I believe so. Random acts of kindness, positivity, and inspiration are just good for us and our mental and physical health. 

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Thinking of situations that are on the giving spectrum, I’ve donated several times to archeological foundations and nature/wildlife foundations. The feelings that prompted me to do so were because these are things that I strongly care about. These are things that trigger my emotion, want, and need to help contribute to my community and earth.

When it comes to contributing to my family, or friends, often I’m putting them before myself. My kid and my fur babies always come first, and for my true friends, I try to be there for them at the drop of a dime. Spending time teaching my son new things, expanding his education by getting him new books, or showing him a new hiking trail is something I consider to be a good contribution to his life. With friends, you might see me trying to make plans with them, or help them through their problems. 

I’m not perfect in any way, and I do not try to be. Even as an adult I’m still trying to practice acts of kindness, gratitude, and contributions of inspiration to myself, my family, and of course my friends. In many ways, I don’t think I’m someone to be setting examples for others, but if I’m in the spotlight to do so my main focus would be practicing to be more understanding and patient with myself and the people who are around me. I believe I do a good job, but there is always room for improvement with anything and everything!

When it comes to inspiration – what inspires you? What inspires you deeply and what inspires you to contribute to the world around you? Always remember – there is good news in the world. Sometimes it is up to us to be that good news.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Elements of Eros

Experiences, Mythology, Psychology, Thoughts

Elements of Eros 

Isn’t it fascinating that in many pantheons of mythology, there are gods and goddesses strictly for LOVE? Personifications of human feelings and emotions via deities are nothing new to discuss. We have all heard of them before. Freyja, Aphrodite, Cupid, Juno, Parvati, and Eros just to name a few. Eros was the son of Chaos (in some variations). Interesting how love and turmoil have been intertwined since ancient times, isn’t it?

Eros was a Greek god of love. He was the embodiment of passion and desire. Some may recognize him better as the Roman Cupid. Without warning, he selects his prey, the innocent and the lonely. He targets the unexpected. With great force and might he strikes their hearts and they are left feeling fluttery and confused. As quoted by Hesiod, he ‘loosens the limbs and weakens the mind’ (Theogony, 120)

Photo by: Kimberly Anne – St.Louis, MO 2021 (Eros Bendato, a massive sculpture by artist Igor Mitoraj)

As quoted by Hesiod, he ‘loosens the limbs and weakens the mind’ (Theogony, 120)

Hesiod, theogony

If you have fallen in love, you know exactly the feeling that is described. 

I certainly know the feeling very well. When thinking of love, I think of also my own solitude as of the last few years. I’ve been so accustomed to life without that significant other now that sometimes I believe it all to be a myth. A real partner surely does not exist in my world. The only people who exist in my world in that respect are people who do not want to stay around. (Please hear: “People Disappear Here” by Halsey) I’ve often found that I am good enough for a little while, but not for anything long-term. But whose fault is that?

Download Halsey - People Disappear Here Mp3 Download - GoodLuckExpo
Photo credit: Halsey

That’s how it feels, it seems. Sometimes. The same ones who crave me for just a little while, are the ones who will not give me monogamy when I ask; but they always return. They always come back. Every single one of my “exes” has always come back at some point or another. Considering I’m “alone” it’s like they think I will just be there for them forever – just for them – even though they do not offer me the same in return. It’s a vicious cycle. Satisfying, but rather annoying as well. It’s one of the most contradictory things I think a woman can experience. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

To have one solid person who can just go through life with me and only me would be a dream. I wish I had someone to build with. We’d probably be a great team. I imagine it often! Other than that I do not think anything else is missing from my life. Just a true love. Not lovers. Lovers are easy to find. A true love is not. A consistent love. One that I can make sacrifices for, and one that will do it in return for me. One love that does not hold things over my head. One that does not want to fight, but one that wants to build and go through this very short life together. 

If there is something that I wish I still had that was from my past it would probably be my high school sweetheart, but he is long gone now. That’s a pretty morbid statement considering I am just in the earliest portion of my 30’s. We had our ups and downs, but I miss him all of the time. He was a love that I could write a whole book on, I think. 

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

Sometimes it does feel like I’m destined to not have certain things. For example, once I had my son – the only thing I really craved was normalcy. I wanted a “normal life”, which I don’t know if I even knew what that meant. I don’t know if I even know what that consists of. All I knew is that I wanted life to be different than what I witnessed in my childhood. At one point, someone told me, “You can’t have a normal life. You’d be bored with it.” 

Sometimes, I think that is true. But as life’s circumstances have caught up with me and I’ve finally realized the extent of my anxiety – I now disagree heavily, even more than before with that particular quoted statement. All I want now is simplicity. That is really it. The belief that I’m not destined to have certain things probably stems from my experiences. Failed relationships are to blame for the belief, but I am personally to blame for failed relationships. I’ve purposely chosen (in the past) people who were not good for me. Trying to solve childhood trauma via adult relationships will never end well. That is something I’ve learned. I have also learned it is okay to be alone, and it’s okay to be quiet. My solitude now is my joy. 

After three major long-term relationships, all of which so far have not worked out completely for a variety of reasons, I guess I thought at some point that having “the one” just is not possible for me. I did think that before, but I do not think that now. Thoughts change over time of course. If I was in pain and mourning the death of a relationship or marriage, of course, the “woe is me” mentality would be in effect. It’s easy to be bitter when you are hurt! It’s natural to feel that way. But feelings are a temporary state. Love is a choice.

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com

 

Thinking of people around me, there is one couple that stands out in my mind. I will not name names, for obvious reasons. But they have been married for many years now and are actually happy. They have a sense of teamwork in their household. There is no misery or hostility. They celebrate their love quietly. They don’t blast all of the social media with their love. They keep it within the home. They get mad at each other of course, but it’s not something publicized. They have balance! I am now thinking about another couple I know just like the first I mentioned. The two couples each have something in common. They are not from the United States! Is this a coincidence? It could be. I’m also partially biased now because I’ve been reading more and more about the differences in mentality of Americans vs. Non-Americans. The differences in thought processes, relationships, and methods of raising children are ASTONISHING. I love this country, but many of the things we have learned are very questionable and should always be questioned! 

Personally, I think my “true love” is missing because I have not been able to experience, or meet that person yet (at this phase in my life). I believe I have had “true loves”, before. I’m also questioning, like mentioned before if “true love” is even a concept that exists or makes sense. What is even a true love? Is it possible to have several over a lifetime? Of course. Is a true love something you feel from another person, is it another person themselves? Or could it be the actions taken by someone who can prove in a sense, that this “true love” thing is not just a fallacy? Is it all of what is mentioned, combined? I’m sure I could put more effort into “finding” this “true love”, and recently I believe I have put more effort. The only one who really knows the answer as to whether or not my effort will work is time. Time knows all things. I like to imagine that, at least. 

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

As humans, it is in our DNA and very existence to crave love and desire and the want and need to be connected to people around us. In many ways, I feel connected to people “around” me. That is mostly due to social media. If social media is taken out of the equation, then will I be as connected? Certainly not. There seems to be a drought in my life and country (it feels to me at least) that there is a giant lack of community and family (outside) of social media. In the future, if time allows, I would love to start an organization of my own that can help people establish a sense of family and community – without social media being involved. 

In the last 15-20 years, technology has been both a blessing and a curse to us all. However, before technology, meaning apps like Facebook, IG, and TikTok took over our lives, things were so different. I just remember not knowing where my friends were. I remember not having cell phones. I remember going outside to find them. I remember randomly running into them at random bus stops, parks, or at the train stations in Chicago. That is what I remember. We felt more connected back then, and we actually met up and made plans. Not everyone was easily accessible via social media. We were more connected back then than we are now in a sense. Things were more personal. They were face to face. It’s such a strange time we are living in now. We are connected, yet so disconnected. 

Photo by Darrel Und on Pexels.com

In a world full of disconnection, it can be a struggle to exhibit values. Values correlate to community, family, and love. When thinking of values, I think many of my own values that I learned in my childhood and teen years still resonate with me today despite the many changes in our world. The values that I believe in, are ones that I’m also still trying to perfect. Lately, I am trying to practice kindness, empathy within my parenting, and as always – being courageous. Not that I lack any major values (I don’t think), but it’s my personal belief that as humans we must constantly strive to improve ourselves in every single area. Nobody is perfect, and this I know, but room for improvement will never hurt anyone. Unless you of course pull a muscle at the gym! Shit happens. When I catch myself having a negative thought or a serious case of road rage, I try to stop myself and redirect my thoughts. It is the least I can do, for my own mental well-being. 

Focusing on well-being, I feel is a good decision and does make me feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Mental health and well-being are important factors for any individual and also for the success of relationships. When things around us go haywire, sometimes the best thing we can do is look within, instead of outward. Look within, right within your heart – right where Eros strikes. 

Photo by Mario Wallner on Pexels.com

Psychology & Literature

Psychology, Thoughts

The older I become, the more aware I become. I think this is a sign that I may actually be a normal human; if there is such a thing. When I speak of becoming aware, I mean seeing things, realizing things, or understanding things differently than I did when I was a younger person, for example. I’m 31 years old right now. Looking back, it’s easy to see how my thought process was so much different 15 years ago, compared to today. What pains me though, is that my young brain and self were loaded up with circumstances that should be considered unbearable for a child or young person to have to endure. I’m able to look back and see that now. I knew then that many things were wrong with certain aspects of my life. 

As a child, you use your peers or childhood friends and playmates as a comparison. I’d often look at the other kids I knew, and view their families through a very observant lens. Comparing, and contrasting, and even as far as discussing the differences between families. We’d talk and say things like, “Do your parents smoke too?”. Basic and simple observances were made to figure out ourselves and our own community. The difference now though, is when you make certain comparisons as an adult – you are able to find more reasoning behind why certain situations happen. Instead of, “Do your parents smoke too?”, it becomes – Why? (A very in depth “why”, if you think on a critical level).

As children, and humans, we are able to observe and see. We are able to absorb. But we don’t question the depths of what we are seeing. In my adult life, I’m able to dig deep. I’m able to fully analyze and comprehend things in my day-to-day life, and things about my childhood too. The fact that my knowledge and experience have increased over the years has helped me tremendously to process events that many consider painful. Of course, not everything in life is so gloomy or down. Don’t be fooled completely by my words. But the topic I want to discuss is in fact, not so bright – but may lead people to a better understanding of what is happening in their own lives, or around them; which in return can create a figurative or metaphorical brightness. 

Over the last several years, I’ve been really trying to find myself more so than ever before. There’s been many things I’ve done to try and better myself and my life. I feel like, considering my earlier years, I owe it to myself and to my child to be the best version of me that I possibly can. I enrolled back in school, and I studied Psychology/Social psychology initially but changed my major to Creative Writing and English instead. The change came this year after some tough thinking, but it was a decision that I felt was best for me and the lifestyle I’m trying to create for myself. I was unsure what it would be like trying to obtain a Creative Writing and English degree, but now I’m finally experiencing it. “Words are magic”, is a belief that I will always hold true and near to my heart and my life! Of course, they are! How can they not be? 

This term I am currently taking a World Mythology class, and a Critical Approach to Lit class – which is basically a class about different types of Literary Theories. Literary Theory is a term that I’d like to think is a title that we use to describe different ways of analyzing literature. Some have written books on “Literary Theory”, itself, stating that it can be a number of things. I can’t give you a book on the subject at this time, so I’ve only provided a short definition written in a simple way that makes it easy to understand. At first, I really disliked this class. It shocked me to dislike this class. I thought to myself, maybe something is wrong with me? I’m obsessed with books, and stories, and fairy tales, mythology, and legends of all kinds; but this Critical Lit class was boring me more than anything. That is until we started talking about the Psychoanalytical approach of criticizing and viewing literature. I did not care about Structuralism, Marxist theory, Formalism, or New Criticism. I’m not downplaying their importance, they just were not something I was immensely interested in. The Psychoanalytical approach, however, piqued my interest instantly. I’ve studied the works of Freud before, and of course Jung. I studied them before I was even in school again and I admire their thoughts as well as their contributions to humanity. Studying this psychoanalytical approach and how it can be applied to literature was eye-opening for me. Not just due to the way this approach can be used in literature, but because of how this psychoanalytical approach could be applied to life and many of those situations that just leave us thinking: “What the hell just happened?” 

You know, those situations, don’t you? The ones where you are experiencing a moment with a person and although it’s a memorable moment, it’s not necessarily a good one. If you have seen some of my poems on my blog, you will realize that the majority have a certain theme. The theme is not something that I have entire control over. Most of it stems from my unconscious as I’m just simply writing experiences that I’ve witnessed in some form or another that have tremendously impacted my life in a significant way. 

Applying the Psychoanalytic approach was genius to me. I’ve always wondered why people do the things that they do. People, or characters! I feel like every action we take, or every single thing we do is caused by a deeper thought or feeling inside of us that we may not consciously even be aware of. Freud was able to prove this theory, and I think this is why I fell in love with his ideas. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only halfway read through, “The Interpretation of Dreams”, by Sigmund Freud. Someday I hope I can finish the book all the way through, in between my studies. I can only hope to read all of the books on my to-read list, in this lifetime! Freud, the creator of the psychoanalytic approach, left us with some amazing and valuable information. So much that I can only fit a tiny bit into this blog post. 

From him, my own viewpoints have been confirmed and reassured. He believed that our minds had a way of pushing unconscious feelings to the surface through a variety of actions or circumstances. This goes back to the “Why?”, that I mentioned earlier. When thinking of Literature in general, and analyzing characters or stories, we ask the same question – “Why?” Why is a character doing or saying ______? Literature is full of stories that are left to our own interpretation and this is where critical literary theories come from. Freud taught us that, “the conscious mind often performed significant transformations on unconscious material”, (Michael, 2017) I want to dig a little deeper into what this actually means. Our conscious behavior is highly influenced by thoughts, feelings, or emotions within us that we simply cannot even grasp because they are stuck in a realm of our unconscious. So even if we do not realize something is affecting us, it certainly can be. 

The Freud family gifted us with the concept of defense mechanisms. Finally, as an adult, I have learned what to call these mechanisms that I’ve witnessed for so many years from a multitude of situations and human experiences in my life. The defense mechanisms that we are all too familiar with are actions that come from thoughts that have been repressed within us. It shook me to learn that these behaviors are actually named. These behaviors, many of us have witnessed, and some of us of course have even acted out. It is human nature, and none of us are perfect. If the behaviors are witnessed by a child, you have to realize that those experiences are locked away within the child and may influence behaviors as an adult. Making this connection of literature, psychology, childhood and adulthood, is kind of like the same feeling you get when you walk into your own surprise birthday party, or unwrap a special present that was unexpected. It was a wow moment! I will now discuss in a bit more detail, intellectualization, projection, reaction formation, regression, suppression, sublimation, and rationalization. These are the defense mechanisms that humans use in a variety of situations. If you are unfamiliar with these, you may experience that surprise birthday party feeling I was mentioning. Now let’s unwrap this gift. 

What is projection? – Projection is a defense mechanism in which an individual will reflect their own thoughts or actions onto someone else. An example of what this could look like would be an extremely jealous partner who is a cheater, but accuses their spouse of cheating. The cheater is projecting what he dislikes about himself, and what he/she knows is wrong onto their significant other. Another example of projection could be a person who is overweight, but is constantly ridiculing how other people look, or the eating habits of other people. Projection comes in many forms and can be found in romantic relationships, friendships, and even family dynamics. Projection takes place most often when a person has a serious dislike about something within themselves, but tries to put a spotlight on another in order to deflect their own thoughts, behaviors, and actions. 

What is reaction formation? – Reaction formation is when a person wishes to hide their true thoughts or feelings on a subject; and instead, they display opposite thoughts and feelings in response to what they truly think. An example of this would be a person who is homosexual in secrecy, but on a surface level, they preach to everyone they know about how they despise gay and homosexual people. Have you ever heard the term, “Kill them with kindness”? This is another example of reaction formation. Instead of literally killing a person you don’t like, we use this term to cover up true feelings and insist that we are nice to them; so nice to them in fact that it may make them sick! That is reaction formation. 

What is regression? – Regress means to return to a previous or lower state. When regression is at hand, it means we are reversing into a backward or more immature mind state or thought process. When this occurs, a person may display behaviors that seem juvenile in comparison to their actual age. An example of this would be an adult who has a major meltdown over something that is not so major. A parent has just got home from a hard day at work, they are tired, angry and unhappy with their day – and maybe even part of their life; their child accidentally breaks something or spills something. The parent reacts in a big way, when in reality the problem is quite small and can be fixed or cleaned up. This is regression. We return to a thought process that has us respond quickly, often angrily, or temper tantrum like – without thinking. What kind of people have temper tantrums? Toddlers. The answer is toddlers. We are all guilty of this in some way or another perhaps. 

What is rationalization? – Rationalizing involves trying to make sense of a situation. Rationalization as a defense mechanism is when an individual tries to explain or justify their behaviors in a logical way. Think of this: Person A. slaps Person B.. Person B. then says, “Why did you do that?”, to which Person A. responds with, “YOU MADE me mad, so that is why I slapped you. It’s your fault.” Person A. is trying to rationalize their abuse by blaming Person B. the one who actually received the abuse. Person B. does not control Person A, and has zero control over the thoughts or actions of Person A. Person B. is not responsible for this behavior, no matter what Person A. says. Rationalization can include blame shifting, and Person A. will try to make sense of their behavior by reassuring themselves that they have a good reason for acting as such, even if the reason is incorrect. This is, according to Freud, an attempt to make the action acceptable according to the ego. 

There are more defense mechanisms that we, as human beings use whether we realize it or not. Intellectualization and suppression are also on the list. Suppression obviously includes suppressing thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. When you suppress something it is bound to come out at some point or another. This can lead a person to “bottle up” and then “explode”. The worst part of this, is since we are all different, there is no telling exactly how or when a person will “explode” and what their actions will consist of. Intellectualization is a more logical defense mechanism, and leads us back to that question: “Why?”  When you use intellectualization as a defense mechanism, you try to think of a logical and accurate reason as to why something has happened. When you intellectualize a situation, you will be better off because you will be using logic to find an answer, instead of reacting in such a way that leads you to something else, like, regression, for example. 

If you are still reading, thank you so much. Now that we have covered these, I hope you are able to see how the psychoanalytic theory can not only be applied to literature but of course, also to life itself. Literature is a big part of our lives and every time we read a good work of literature, we are using our mind to piece together the story, and make sense of it in our world. Just like we are doing with our day-to-day situations. Most of our actions, or the actions of others have a tendency to come from our unconscious mind. To tie this back in with literature, Macbeth, by Shakespeare shows us exactly what Freud is talking about when it comes to the unconscious mind playing a part in our conscious thoughts and behaviors. In Macbeth, handwashing is a symbol of trying to cleanse what subconsciously cannot be cleansed. I won’t go into much more detail than that, but if you know the story, you will know what I mean. The handwashing soliloquy has also become a meme, thanks to coronavirus. 

If you learned something new, or enjoyed reading this – give me a like and a follow. My goal is to help other people, so we can all learn and grow together. 

References: 

‘Out damned spot’: the hand-washing scene that became a Coronavirus meme (penguin.co.uk)

Ryan, Michael. Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction. Available from: MBS Direct, (3rd Edition). Wiley Global Research (STMS), 2017.

Paper and Pen

Poetry
The paper doesn't yell. 
It doesn't tell me I'm wrong. 
The pen leads the way. 
It listens to what I have to say.
The pen encourages me to sing my song. 

The paper doesn't judge me. 
It knows all of my issues. 
The paper carries my weight. 

It calls out to me saying, 
I miss you. 
Come back. 

I have PTSD from my past. 
Sometimes it creeps up to haunt me. 
Like waiting for the suspense in a story 
To turn into a climax. 

Except unlike a story, 
I have no conclusion. 
There is no resolution. 
Only confusion. 

Sometimes I think I'm doing well. 
Other times I am compelled 
To stay inside all day. 
I don't want to play. 

Conversations happen. 
And that is it. 
They happen. 
When arguments exist,
I shut down. 
I'd rather walk away. 

Despite my exterior,
I hate confrontation. 
I don't WANT to hurt other people. 
Although I know I am MORE than capable. 
Being called names, or judged 
Just for simply 
Speaking my opinion. 

Stuff like this is the reason;
Why I let the seasons pass. 
I'm not meant to be human. 
What am I? 

Smart and kind and loving. 
Successful. 
That is what they say. 
But on the inside 
I hide. 

Everything. 
The anxiety. The guilt. 
The fire and the rage. 
Sometimes it all goes so fast 
I can't even remember the day. 
I don't know my own name. 

Hiding my true form, nobody understands. 
I don't want to touch you, please don't hold my hand. 

Without some sense of intelligence - 
I'm not into it. 
Without some emotional expression 
and connection 
It's irrelevant.

Just go away. 
I Tell them and myself everyday. 
My intention isn't to hurt. 
I'm just fully misunderstood. 

By the everyday happenings, 
That I never thought would. 

You can't get what you want from me now, 
So you treat me like a b*tch. 
Tired of this world, 
I've got more than a 7 year itch. 

Paper and pen. 
My only friends. 
They don't get mad. 
They let me in. 

Paper and pen, accept me for who I am. 
What do I need humans for, ever again?  

Celtic Mythology – Is There a Celtic Pantheon?

History and Mystery, Mythology

In different kinds of mythology, there are gods of war, the gods of the sea, gods and goddesses of fertility, and so on. Many mystical deities rule and are in charge of various elements of the earth and the cosmos. 

There are also names for different pantheons of gods and goddesses. For example, the Greeks have the Olympians; the Norse have the Aesir & Vanir. Both of these are pretty well known – but what about the Celts? To be clear Celtic myths are not limited strictly to the people of Ireland. Celtic is a term that many people assume relates solely to Ireland. Celtic describes people and ancient tribes across Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Isle of Man. In Celtic mythology, you have the Tuatha De Danann (pronounced Thoo-a day Du-non). The Tuatha De Danann are the most well-known pantheon in Celtic mythology despite not being as popular across the world as Norse or Greek mythology.

The title Tuatha de Danann means: People/Tribe of Danu. 

Danu was one of the most notable Goddesses of Celtic Mythology. She is often known as a divine creator goddess or a mother goddess. However, the issue with Celtic mythology is that much of the legends and stories were lost over time. There is not one single creation or cosmogony myth that is widely accepted in Celtic mythology. 

9 - DANU - MAXINE MILLER STUDIOS
Art by Maxine Miller Studios

Some of the legends say that the Tuatha De Danann were not the first people to inhabit Ireland. Some say that there were several generations before the magical Tuatha De Danann fully occupied Ireland. From what folklore tells us, the Tuatha De Danann almost had a war with a group of entities called the Fomorians. Like the Tuatha De Danann, the Fomorians were also a supernatural race of people in Irish mythology. Fomorians were usually hideous, monstrous, and sometimes even giant-like. 

After avoiding and escaping wars with the Fomorians, the Celts migrated farther north of Ireland to some empty islands and populated four mythical cities – each city had druids who were knowledgeable in different types of magic and lore. The druids taught the Tuatha De Danann the secrets they knew of magic and tradition. Once the Tuatha De Danann had learned everything the druids offered to teach them concerning the art of sorcery and magic, they returned to Ireland.

Art by John Duncan

When the Tuatha De’ Danann returned to Ireland, they did not go home empty-handed. They brought treasures back with them from those mystical cities that included:  The Sword of Light (once drawn from its sheath, no one can escape this sword),  The Spear of Lugh( a powerful weapon of the sun god which offered the ability of protection during battles, and whoever carried this spear would remain undefeated),  The Stone of Destiny also referred to as the Coronation Stone (the stone would scream out a joyous cry whenever the rightful King of Ireland would step upon it. AND, the stone can be found at the Inauguration Mound on the Hill of Tara in County Meath, Ireland today), and last – but not least, there was the Cauldron of the Dagda, which was able to provide the Tuatha de Danann an endless amount of nourishment.

When the Tuatha de Danann arrived on the shores of Ireland, they intended to stay put this time and not leave. They burned all of their ships as a way to remove any chance of leaving; led by their King whose name was King Nuada. King Nuada was a righteous and honorable first King of the Tuatha de Danann. The only problem they faced when returning to Ireland was that the Firbolg inhabited the land. The Firbolg were another race of mystical and supernatural beings. The Tuatha de Danann told the Firbolg to give up at least half of Ireland – if not, there would be a war.

The Firbolg did not take lightly this threat, and there ended up being a battle between the two. After four days of bloodshed, the Tuatha de Danann won and took back their Ireland. The Firbolg were eventually offered a single region or province after the wars. During that great battle, King Nuada lost his right hand as it was mercilessly cut off by one of the Firbolg. This resulted in King Nuada losing his throne and being replaced by Bres. King Nuada had a new hand made of silver, which then gave him the name King Nuada of the Silver Hand.

King Bres was half Fomorian, so it was only natural for him to side more with monstrous beings than that of Tuatha De’Danann. Fomorians can be compared as similar to Jotuns (Giants) of Norse Mythology. Once Bres became the King he turned the Tuatha de Danann into his slaves. Bres ruled over the Tuatha de Danann for seven long years, and eventually, King Nuada reclaimed his throne. Bres was very displeased with being usurped from his reign and he asked Balor – King of the Fomorians for assistance in fighting against the Tuathade’Danann as retaliation. Balor agreed to help Bres and offered a large army as help. Unfortunately, King Nuada, the first King of the Tuatha de Danann; was killed during the battle by Balor.

It is said in the folklore that his death would be avenged by the mighty sun god Lugh. Lugh also came across Bres during this battle and offered to spare his life only on the condition that Bres would share his knowledge about agriculture with the Tuatha de Danann. Lugh became the new King, and the Fomorians were forced to go back to the undersea civilizations. As with many stories of mythology, it seems that some battles are never-ending. The Tuatha de Danann faced another challenge by battling against a group called the Milesians. 

The Milesians tried to invade Ireland and a battle broke out between the two groups. This resulted in the Tuatha De’Danann making a peace treaty with the Milesians. It was agreed that the Milesians would rule the land above, and the Tuatha De’Danann would rule the land below – which was the spirit world also known in Celtic mythology as the Otherworld. This is another huge reason why the Tuatha De’Danann as a pantheon is associated with magic and spiritual beings and entities. Throughout history, the Milesians would later become known as the Irish, and the Tuatha de Danann were referred to as Sìth or aos sí (pronounced “she”) which means people of the mounds.

The aos sí is the ancestors of spirits of nature, gods, and goddesses. Some believe that they still walk the earth among us. The Otherworld was often described as a place of everlasting youth and was the main home of the gods & goddesses. In many tales of Celtic mythology and folklore, some heroes have visited the Otherworld and have been lucky enough to do so and it is said to have changed their lives forever. The Otherworld was and is a very important and magical place in Celtic lore. Although most of the information of Celtic & Irish mythology has been lost due to the spread of Christianity and the Roman Empire,

Many efforts have been made throughout history to preserve this information. As with other parts of European mythologies, most of it was written by Christians years after the ancient stories and myths originated.

Celtic & Irish folklore are rich in different tales of heroes, villains, and creatures alike. Many famous stories include tales of Finn MacCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill), Leprechauns, Faeries, Banshees, Dagda’s Harp, Changelings, The Pooka, The Hound of Culann, Blodeuwedd, and more!

References:

https://www.libraryireland.com/Druids/The-Lia-Fail-or-the-Stone-of-Destiny.php

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tuatha-De-Danann

https://www.ireland-information.com/irish-mythology/tuatha-de-danann-irish-legend.html

Broken Stained Glass

Poetry
Someone set me free.
I just want to read. 
Stacks of books that sit by me, 
They tease. 

Someone set me free. 
I just want to paint. 
The need to create, 
The grip is so tight I feel I might faint. 

Someone set me free. 
It's getting hard to breathe. 
The purpose of this life 
Has to be more than modern-day slavery. 

I need to be free. 
Believe. 
I believe I will be free. 
Someday maybe on this earth, 
I will give birth - 

To my own free self. 
The only one who can free me is me. 
Simply because I can't rely on the health 
Or wealth 

Of other people who come and go. 
The ones that stick around just for show. 
None of its real. 
But how deeply I feel. 

The need to never kneel to anyone,
Only myself. 
It's me vs. Me.
I don't have the luxury 
Of family. 

I've never had a real one - whatever that means.  
They're all scattered about 
Like pieces 
of a broken stained glass window. 

Once it was pretty and well put together, 
Maybe. 
I pity them all now 
Those broken pieces I've missed. 
Tried to put them back together. 

Well, they have missed me too. 
But only in ways that they will never 
Understand. 

Because I'm me 
I just need to be free. 
Released from the chains of the work 
Someone, please set me free. 

I'm calling out now. 
To a spirit, 
Or to my own self. 

I have to rely on solely
Soul-y 
Me 

Yes, Soul-y 
Just set me free 
Someone set me free 
I just want to read