Mess It Out

History isn’t the only thing which repeats itself. Why did I write that, that wasn’t at all what I was thinking about… or was it?

I was thinking about waves. Waves of consciousness. How awareness seems to flow.

Rushing forwards into conscious awareness, like a wave rushing onto a beach which makes us notice it…

Perhaps we notice it because we don’t want to get our shoes wet – why are we wearing shoes on a beach? Or why are we wearing shoes we’re afraid of getting wet?

Perhaps we don’t want to get our feet wet which is why we’re wearing shoes, but why don’t we want to get our feet wet? Will our feet melt if they’re touched by water?

Handstand Beach Waves by Joy ndr

Is the beach made of sand or pebbles?

Is it too hot to walk upon?

That reminds me of a beach I used to go to in Italy. The sun would turn the sand into lava. You’d see people trying to look cool while rushing across the sand… hot hot hot coals! I used to test my mettle and see how far I could go and how long I could stand it… it was something to do when I wasn’t attempting to swim as far away from the shore as possible while wondering if I’d get eaten by a shark or drown first.

People rushing on hot sand.

Waves rushing onto the beach.

Thoughts rushing in and getting our attention, splashing us with information, suddenly that’s all we can think about… but at some point it’ll recede. Will we forget about it almost as though we never knew about it?

That’s what I was thinking about – How the same information seems to repeat itself. Each time it does we treat it as a brand new thing, often giving it new words, terminology, because it’s new and therefore needs words to describe it, so we can talk about it with others.

Oh wow! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before!?! This is amazing! This changes everything!!!

It becomes very popular. The hot trending topic of the moment! Hashtag it, share it, spread the word! Get on the bandwagon and play that tune loudly, again and again on repeat, we’re never going to get bored of hearing this song and its message.

But then it recedes. The wave returns to the ocean. Taking the information with it, and we gradually forget about it.

Perhaps we picked up a shell which it brought with it, put it on a shelf and every now and then we notice that shell, but slowly we can’t recall where it came from, why we have it, it’s pretty though… until it isn’t and we’re having a clear out because the new In thing to do is clearing things out (Wow! What a new and great idea, why didn’t someone think of this before!?! This changes everything!!!) which don’t serve you, serve a purpose, which clutter your mind with their meaningless clutter.

It was a keepsake to remember… but of what was it supposed to remind us?

This train (it’s a water train…) of thought started when I read an article which discussed how mothers inadvertently affect and infect their daughters with body issues.

Consciously a mother may do her best to give her daughter a positive body image, such as tell her daughter not to worry about her weight because she doesn’t want her daughter worrying about her weight and getting caught up in a vicious cycle of weight watching, body measuring, calorie counting, dieting, of hating her body because it’s not the size and shape which is being advertised and idealised by society at the time…

But then the daughter witnesses her mother constantly checking what she’s eating, worrying about her weight, critising herself for not sticking with her diet and exercise program, getting upset that she’s not physically attractive enough, being concerned about what others will think and say about her…

What I found most intriguing about the article was when the author pointed out how a lot of these issues were created or at least promoted by companies which make loads of money off of people hating their bodies. The human body is a big business, and businesses get more from us when we’re body-shamed by ourselves and others into buying their products and systems.

Today I read another article which again touched upon how big business is invested in us having body issues, self-esteem issues, and other issues for which they can offer us a magic pill for money. They have the perfect solution for our problem, for a price they can make us better, be better, think better, feel better…

But do they actually want us to get better?

If their magic pill works properly and solves our problem, then we’d only buy it once – that’s not profitable, is it? That’s bad business, isn’t it? They need us to return over and over, keep buying their product, become addicted to it, reliant upon it, desperately seeking but never quite finding what will make everything better.

Here’s the link to the latter article – Psychology Today: When Self-Care Becomes a Weapon by Whitney Goodman

And here’s an excerpt from it for those who don’t want to click the link, and because it’s an excellent observation:

“Something has to be done, and the wellness industry is convinced they can solve the problem with new products and captivating marketing. Their version of self-care is expensive and doesn’t work very well, but wow, we are eating it up.

We want to feel good and we want to care for ourselves. But is self-care making us feel worse?

Self-care has become another item on our to-do list, something we have to do in order to feel loved, worthy, healthy, or respected. Sometimes this item doesn’t get checked off, and then the shame cycle begins. “I can’t believe I didn’t make it to the gym this week. I am such a failure. I never follow through on anything.”

I know. I’ve been this girl. The girl who picks an activity that is supposed to help me and then uses it as a reason to punish myself when I don’t follow through. I don’t think that’s how “self-care” is supposed to work.

Self-care is supposed to make us better in the long-term. It’s not supposed to be a quick fix or a punishment. Somewhere along the way, the term “self-care” sold its soul. Now we use self-care as a measuring stick for success. Maybe you compare yourself to the girl who does yoga six days a week or the vegan blogger whipping up gourmet meals.

We’ve been sold a lie that self-care comes in the tube of the latest lipgloss or is at the bottom of a glass of wine. It has become exclusive, elusive, and so expensive. Self-care is officially a commodity and women are buying it off the shelves in order to prove that they care about themselves.

– excerpt from Psychology Today: When Self-Care Becomes a Weapon by Whitney Goodman

Please note that the author doesn’t just point out what’s wrong with self-care and the self-care industry, and then abandon the reader to figure out what to do, she offers some great tips further along in the article for self-care and making it work for you.

As I was reading the above article, I kept being reminded of the Mother Daughter one (I don’t have a link to it to share as I read it about a week ago while browsing and I regularly delete my browser’s history, cookies, trackers, cache, etc as it seems to clear up certain glitches), and it struck me that the conscious wave coming in at the moment is one which is making us more aware of the role big business plays in our sense of well-being… and how much it is invested in our not feeling good about ourselves and keeping us in that state of being.

That awareness seems to come and go in waves. Suddenly people become very conscious of it, and then it gets forgotten again until the next time. Why? Why do we forget things which seem so important to us when they’re brought to our attention?

A couple of decades ago, before the internet, I recall it being discussed using the terminology of mass hypnotism – the mass hypnotism of the media, product placement, sponsorship, advertising, etc.

I remember that because it drew my attention to what or who influenced my desire to have something, do something, be a part of something.

There was this one incident which became a personal reference point.

I found myself seized by an intense and obsessive need and want to own a pair of Timberland work boots. My mind was a total brat about it, nagging me to get them. But I couldn’t figure out why I wanted them. I didn’t actually need them as I didn’t do anything which required that type of footwear. They were expensive. I also thought they were ugly. I didn’t want them and yet I wanted them, why?

At the time they were the very In, must have, popular, hot trending item. They were everywhere I looked, everyone was wearing them.

Usually I avoided anything which was that popular, even if I loved it and wanted it, because I’m very contrary, prone to nonconformity… if nonconformity became the In thing to be, I’d probably become a conformist (this bit was inspired by reading an article the other day about the 10 danger signs that you’re a conformist which was advocating nonconformity as the way to be and was written in such a way that it sounded like the author wanted to pressure people to conform to being nonconformists).

I eventually couldn’t take the nagging from my bratty mind anymore and bought a pair.

After wearing them a few times I regretted having given in to my must-have-ism. They hurt my feet – the top of the toe area pushed in and created what felt like a blunt toe-guillotine.

I continued to wear them – use it up, wear it out, make it do because you bought them and have to take responsibility for your action, live with its consequences. I wanted to punish myself for being an idiot… until I stopped doing that because it made me an even bigger idiot.

The stopping doing that happened when I wore them with shorts while walking the streets of NYC on a sweltering Summer day. My feet overheated, rubbed, screamed at the insanity… those were stupid shoes to wear on baking concrete and melting tarmac. A thunderstorm broke loose – rainwater poured down my legs into the boots, filling them with water, making them heavier than they already were when dry. I slosh slosh sloshed as I walked. My feet were thoroughly wet, but at least now they were cool.

The other day I noticed a few bloggers writing posts about pet peeves – they mostly seemed to be about what bothered them about others… others don’t bother me anywhere near as much as I bother myself, and the things which bother me about others are usually things which bother me about myself, so I try to take a shortcut and look directly at myself rather than take a detour through someone else to eventually get to myself unless I get lost along the way.

I make a lot of mistakes – it’s part of my skill-set. I use to be terrified of making mistakes (a side-effect of growing up with narcissists), and thus I’d try not to make them, which for a long while led to a psychological form of paralysis. It got to the point where I was afraid of saying or doing anything… and I saw everything I did or said as a mistake.

I would try very hard to only make a mistake once, learn from it, never do it again… but that only worked as long as I kept the mistake firmly in my conscious mind, stabbing myself with it.

If I didn’t do that and let the mistake wave recede, I’d forget the lesson learned, would make the same mistake again and have to learn the lesson all over again.

I got better at remembering the lessons learned once I stopped being so afraid of forgetting them and of making the same mistake over and over again… I became more at ease about making mistakes.

My motto for life, living, being atm is – Mess It Out.

I’m going to stop here for now…

8 comments

  1. I love you wave analogy for the “in” thing. Things do roll in and roll out. It makes me think of the movie Wall – E… “the new color is blue” everyone pushes the button to turn their clothes blue. I’m contrary also, if it’s popular I resist it. Just on general principles. I stayed away from Harry Potter books and movies until my younger daughter begged me to take her to see the fourth movie. Contrary can be a good thing but it can also be pure stupidity.

    I was very worried when my older daughter was about thirteen because she started putting on a lot of weight. Her maternal grandmother and her paternal grandfather both had weight issues, with grandfather going blind from diabetes. I didn’t want to give her body issues, so I didn’t say anything. I stopped buying as much junk food but that didn’t stop her from eating like she was starving everyday then passing out in a good coma. Her friend was on a competition cheer team so I asked daughter if she wanted to join, exercise would be good for her. It cost WAY too much money, she tweaked her knee and her body pretty much stayed the same. All my worrying made things if not worse, definitely not better. At least she doesn’t have body image issues.

    I’m currently battling myself over a cute too that keeps popping up while I’m surfing… I really want it, but I rarely leave the house and it’s white. White isn’t good for my gravity challenged self. I’d probably stain it taking it out of the wrapper.

    I’m gonna stop now too😂

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    • Thank you, Angie 🙂

      Ha! I have the same problem with white. It’s a magnet for indelible stains. But does it matter if it gets stained? Sometimes giving in to wants is a way of letting ourselves know that we love ourselves. It depends on the story within the want, that’s where the clues lie as to whether we should give in to the want or not. I’m still experimenting with it 😉

      I never went down the parenting route, unless you count being a surrogate mother to my mother who often behaved as though she was my child and I was her mother. I made one mistake after another in parenting her – the first mistake was accepting the role of surrogate mother to her.

      Imo being a parent is one of the toughest challenges in life, you learn how to do it as you do it, and there’s no such thing as the perfect way to do it regardless of all the perfect parent formulas which people are always inventing and touting.

      I think the most important element in a relationship is being there for the other person as they discover being themselves and the adventure known as living a life 🙂

      I also was contrary about Harry Potter, which made my Bro-in-law see it as a challenge to get me to read the books. He eventually tricked me by using my niece, I think she may have been in on the plot. Fun times! I did watch a couple of the films, but I can’t remember much about them other than it was a bit like spot your favourite Brit actor. I got sidetracked throughout the films discussing other roles the actors had played, such as Robbie Coltrane who played Hagrid, he was in this excellent TV series called Cracker, where he played an alcoholic gambler criminal psychologist working with the police – the episodes with Robert Carlyle are still stuck in my head because of the chant his psycho killer character used. I did take the – What Harry Potter house do you belong to – test, and
      my result was Ravenclaw.

      I can ramble on for what seems like hours when writing, going off on tangents, and the only way to stop myself is to just say stop and stop wherever 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always identified more with Ravenclaw but I took the quiz and got sorted into Slytherin😵. I like snakes but all the bad guys are Slytherin. Then I thought of Snape and his decades long self-sacrifice. Meh, it’s just a silly quiz.
        I love tangents! I’m always going off on one. Ideas lead one to another… I find it interesting to try and figure out what the connection is when someone goes on a tangent without explaining.

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        • Well you did say you were contrary, and Slytherin is the house of the contrary to Gryffindor 😀 Villains in fiction tend to have more fun too, they’re not so constrained by all the rules and regulations heroes have to deal with. Fictional heroes can be such a bore and killjoy 😉

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  2. I agree with King Ben’s Grandma about your wave analogy.

    Parenting is a very tough gig. I think now about all the mistakes I made while trying to do well and just cringe.

    I have been mistake-phobic for a large chunk of my life as well, and you are completely right – being worried about making them causes more to appear. It’s like they’re being fed and puff up like soaking porridge oats.

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    • Thank you, Lynette 🙂

      I actually make more mistakes now than I did before when I was terrified of making mistakes, because when I was afraid of making mistakes I tended not to do or say anything much out of fear of doing or saying anything. A mistake always felt like the end of the world, so I tried to stay still, stiff as a board… stiff and bored and boring.

      One of the things I’ve learned about making mistakes is that they can be liberating. It keeps the mind body soul flexible. It also makes you more accessible and relatable than being overly prudent, careful, and trying to appear like a mistake-less zone. I’ve met many wonderful people and discovered so many interestign and intriguing things through being a mistake-making mess 😀

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  3. I was just reading another blogger who talked about how we need to research and discern all information fed to us through all outlets. Most things are a ploy to “sell us” on something. A product, an ideology, a vote.

    I used the example that I once read an article about how in the 1950’s companies that sold eggs put out advertisements that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Eventually, it became that you were harming your body if you didn’t eat a hearty breakfast every morning. To this day, many people still believe that it’s unhealthy not to eat breakfast, all because of a 1950’s ad for eggs. The thing is, some people get stuck in false beliefs and cannot be convinced otherwise.

    BTW, before those egg ads, people usually just had tea and toast for breakfast. Truth told, we are not one-size-fits-all. Each of us needs to do what fits our body makeup and lifestyles.

    Good post.

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    • Thank you, Lori 🙂

      I love it when people trace back a popular “fact” to its origin point. So often, at least in modern times, it seems to stem from a marketing campaign. Not all marketing campaigns manage to make their way into the collective consciousness to become a popular fact and act. I wonder why some do and some don’t. I think it’s partly about hitting a sweet spot in the psyche of people, offering them something (a formula, a solution, an answer, etc) which they’re looking for at just the moment when their need for it is rising towards a peak.

      The Egg story reminds me of reading novels by authors like Nancy Mitford, or earlier novelists, who tended to write about the English upper class and how they used to have these food feasts for breakfast, kippers, scrambled eggs, sausages, and so on. But in 1950’s Britain they had rationing, so eggs were a luxury and that egg campaign wouldn’t have worked in the UK. There’s a wonderful film with Michael Palin and Maggie Smith – A Private Function (1984) – which humorously portrays post war rationing.

      I think perhaps the awareness of Fake News has prompted people to be more conscious of what they allow to enter into their conscious mind, and to investigate the source of what they’re being told. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

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