Day 123: Being Ahsoka FAQs

it is Day 123 of my Becoming Ahsoka Project.
I actually was able to put this character together and get her approved much faster than I had anticipated, because of a last-minute find, someone selling their full Ashoka set including Lekku.
Otherwise, I would still not have my headdress. The man who makes them is slammed, so my official Lekku still have not arrived.
I have strung beads and attached them to this headdress with earth magnets; I have sourced a Padawan “braid” (Ashoka’s is beaded) from a wonderful Ahsoka cosplayer in Italy; I have strung yet more beads, and repainted this headpiece 3-4 times… suffice it to say, I am very fond of it now.
When my official one comes, I will repaint this one to permanently be “Darkside” Ahsoka. (She can be seen in the “Mortis” episode of Clone wars. She only makes one appearance.) I have been approved for the 501st now with her. (yay!) I am going to hold off trooping with the 501st until I can permanently paint my Lekku. It is time-consuming to dress it for Mortis, then re-paint again to be Ahsoka.

So. All that having been said: if you’re a cosplayer looking to build Ashoka, get approved with the Rebel Legion or the 501st, and begin trooping, the chances are slim that it will only take you 123 days.
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I was reeeeally fortunate. Also: I think the force was in play here, as this has kicked me right into a new life, and helped me keep my head above water.

I got TOO busy, though, and have been ill off and on since Nov. 1. I think a bit of rest might be in order, now that the dust has settled.

So here are some FAQs that mostly policemen, paramedics and firemen (oh hiiiiii, adorables) have asked me during my troops.

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1) Are you a Star Wars fanatic?

– No. Really, no. I am a Lord of the Rings fan, a Gail Carriger/ steampunk fanatic, and I’m utterly mad about manymany books. Star Wars is something I grew up on, and was reintroduced to by my ex. We shared it, and it has a new place in my heart as a result. I discovered Ahsoka with him. In her I found out WHY I have always loved Star Wars primarily in all sci fi.  (see #2)

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2) Star Trek, or Star Wars? 

I never could quite define why, but Star Wars. All the way. When I discovered Ahsoka Tano, she solidified it for me. The women of Star Wars are simply extraordinary. They are full human beings with ambitions and fierceness, who don’t shrink into “yes sir/no sir,” pleasing-to-men, mini-skirted little servants. Which…yes…is the message a very young me got from Star Trek. The women were not role models to me. I focused on Spock…but it was still all about men. That is my experience acting in the Star Trek world, as well. I have ZERO space for the women-are-pretty-little-inferiors conversation, even if it’s subtle. nope. next. Then there was Leia, firing blasters, rescuing herself, asking for help when she needed to, sassing back, kissing whomever she wanted to kiss, (even if it was a mistake. nooo leia, that’s your bro.), defeating baddies even when she was humiliated in a bikini and only had the chain around her neck to work with. Leia. unforgettable, unstoppable, and always my hero. Star Wars, all the way, and every time. (and, of course, add John Williams, and there really is just no question. what was the question?)
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2 1/2) What are you? 
I am a Togruta, from the planet Shili. I was discovered by Jedi Master Plo Koon when I was three years old. (Yes, a fireman grilled me about my planet. First person who has ever asked me that. Thank Goodness I am a researcher.) 

3) How long does this take you? 

I give it three hours. I’ve gotten quicker with the prep process, but there are a lot of little bits to remember. I cover my eyebrows first, and I want to have plenty of extra time in case that doesn’t go smoothly. It needs to be done well. Then, I apply sticky stencils to my face. Then, I cover my body with makeup. Body first, so it can dry. Then, I take my time painting my face – i use a few different shades. Then I remove the stencils and do the white markings. Then, I do regular “glam” makeup.
The costume has a lot of little pieces. I’ve had to go back home once, when I forgot the necklace or the contact lenses.
Sometimes I save the lenses for right before a troop, and other times, I put them in at home.

3 1/2) What is that on your head?

The kitty-cat ears are called Montrals, and the three long pieces are called Lekku. The Lekku are like my antennae; they are very sensitive. Yes, you can touch them if you ask first.

4) Can you see?

Yes. I can see perfectly well in the blue lenses, and they are very comfortable. I can’t see as well in the sith ones, so I will be applying those before a troop, at the location.
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5) Can you hear?

What?

…No. I can’t hear much. If I smile and nod, and the question or statement wasn’t a smile-and-nod kind of question, chances are I didn’t hear you, but am growing self-conscious about leaning my lekku next to your mouth, or saying “ehhh?”

6) Are you single?

No.
I am not single, in the sense that I am absolutely not looking for partnership at this time. Thank you. I also probably wouldn’t date someone who first met me when I’m wearing nothing as Ahsoka. No matter how handsome and kind you seem, (yes, I’m looking at you, firemen of the world), you don’t know me. When it’s right, I’ll probably wind up getting together with a true friend. I am uninterested in partnership for the sake of partnership.  I’ve had enough romantic love. I’m kinda done, for a while. I’ll let you know if that changes. In the meantime, there is no such thing as “Friendzone,” I think friendship is valuable. But I’m going to be clear and reiterate that, if you push for more in the guise of friendship. thanks!
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7) Do you work out?

Yes. That was the point of Project Ahsoka. I didn’t want just a numbers goal (not to knock those. they are difficult. but they didn’t motivate me) or a goal like “I will run a marathon.”  I wanted something that would fire me up. This was it. I do crossfit, although I haven’t really been there for two months (see paragraph 1), I do pushups, jump rope, situps, squats and work with weights at home, and I do solo sessions on the heavy bags at a gym right down the street from me. Exercise is therapy to me.

8) Why are you here? Did Disney hire you?

No, I do not work for Disney. We are volunteers. the 501st and Rebel Legion are strictly volunteer organizations, unless hired under our agreement with Lucasfilms (that was added with the Mandalorian, I believe.) I do this because when I *did* work for Disney, working with the Make-a-wish program was my favorite aspect of it. Also the charity shows and meals we did for those in need. I learned that giving love to others who needed some brightness makes me feel happy, and feel like my life has a little more purpose to it. I am here (at any given troop) because it has saved my life to focus on embodying a character I love and admire, who has heroic and brave, confident qualities I wish to develop in myself – and bringing the joy of the story world she lives in to others and to causes that need support.  Woo-hoo, run-on sentence, go you!
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9) Will you come to my house? 

No. I would not feel safe. But you can bring your household to a troop 🙂
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10) I saw you on youtube/ at the Disney opening of Galaxy’s Edge!

Hmmm… you saw Ahsoka? Well, that is wonderful. I am sure I was there. ❤ 😉
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11) How can I help the Resistance?

Keep hope alive. Also: If someone says “Ignite the Spark,” to you, your response is “Light the Fire!”
Just pay it forward. Tell people about charity troops, find a way to get involved, support, or just be extra kind to people even if they’re acting like Vader. They’ve got an Anakin somewhere inside, and maybe a little kindness will remind them. Or maybe not, and that’s when you can be extra kind to yourself, too, and remember that no one else’s unkindness belongs to you- even if it is directed at you at the time. It’s not yours to carry. Walk away from something that makes you uncomfortable, be clear in your boundaries, respect yourself and be respectful to others. Be like Ahsoka – ask questions when you need to, and do your best. Believe, be strong, and keep the hope alive that humans can keep learning to be better to each other. We are a team! May the force be with you…always.

Box Full of Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”

“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”

― Mary Oliver

What do you do with your anger?
I am making friends with it, as I think it has been shamed enough, and has something it has been trying to tell me all my life.

Codependent people see boundaries as abandonment.

Setting and keeping boundaries can feel “mean,”
if we have been taught from a young age that our life purpose is to please other people.

But you and I are not slaves. So let’s toss out that bullshit and consider anger for a second.

Anger is my fence – it tells me when I have violated my own well-being by allowing, accepting, that which I do not actually like.

Anger is extremely painful for me to sit with. I’d rather do just about anything else. I would rather distract myself, dance, put on a show, build costumes, paint, or people-please into the wee hours of the morning,
and if Anger comes in my sleep to try to knock on the gates of my heart,
I’d rather not sleep.

There was a man named Quentin who passed away in April, a few months before my own homeworld imploded. I had a complicated relationship with Quentin. I loved him. Anger was somewhere he lived. I wanted to rescue Quentin from his own despair, from his bitter stories about how unloved he was. I wanted to love him into knowing he was worthy, into seeing his own goodness. This is a lifelong practice of mine. I seem to find the most unhappy man in the room, the one who is usually standing alone, and go love him. Try to love him into healing. (Yeah, working on changing that practice. It’s exhausting, and people build their own shadowy islands, and don’t necessarily want to be welcomed on a boat back to the sunlit lands.)

The Quentin I remember

Yesterday, Quentin came to me in my sleep. I had been contemplating a new relationship; I had been wavering on the edge of – I know I am not ready, but I wish to believe what someone is saying to me, and I wish to be held. I am so, so weary, and I wish, above all things, to rest. I wish peace – I wish to love and be loved, and really, what I really actually want is a good, heart-connected, solid, hug. 🙂

And so Quentin came to me. In my dream, we were playing a game. I had taken a sort of mystical chip-thing (probably Mandalorian-influenced, cause whatever, I’m addicted to the props and costumes of that show) from him, dared him to catch me. This was the sort of game Quentin and I played all the time I knew him. Dare and double-dare, hide and seek; he was the Loki in my life – he was not healthy for me and he intrigued and drew me. Quentin was a dangerous dark fire I did not understand.
So in my dream, he finally caught me- I laughed,
and he held me.
He held me a long, long time. Just held, like the best and longest hug from a friend or family member you are completely safe with, like the most important kind of heart to heart cuddle.

And I realized when I woke up (too soon) that I would not harm another with my unreadiness. I will keep my boundaries solid, though I do long to love and be loved-

I won’t be bringing my toxic minefield with me into someone else’s life and heart- until I clear and heal this energy, I have to reinforce certain walls.

Healthy people do not dance with unhealthy people – water seeks its own level- so what happened in relationship with me was something I co-created. Toxicity, misunderstanding, distrust, abandonment – these were the ghosts that haunted something that could have been healthy and beautiful.

No more. No. More.

I am evolving toward the primary relationship I envision; I can feel what it will be, to be healthy and in good communication, mutual autonomy, support, individual freedom, trust, respectful choices, honoring each other, and also – affection generously shared. Shared adventures and work, joys and yes, sorrows and lessons. Abundance, not lack.

I’m not made to walk in this life alone. I love people too much, and I have too much love and care to give.

But until it is as darkness-free as it can be, I will not be passing on this gift to another.

So I sit with the box of darkness. I accept it. I invite it to teach me what it has to give.

I am so weary – so very tired of learning and growing – and I’m trying to shift this into an adventure of sorts, because I need to love my life;
but sometimes Strider is just fucking sick of sleeping rough, and being on the lone path, and remaining silent while the Jolly Old Inkeepers whisper stories about her, and insist that she is dangerous. Sometimes she just wants to pull her tattered cloak aside, and say “I am the lost king, you stupid, silly, reactive, gossiping peasants,”
but she can’t.
She’s got to wait for the Gandalf who will write the note that says “all that is gold does not glitter;
not all those who wander are lost…”
(unsurprisingly, I was obsessed with Strider as a child. I loved him beyond reason. The man alone? Check. The misunderstood one? Check. The gold that only the wise would see? Oh, I thought *I* was that wise rescuer, to see the good in Strider – I’ve been looking for him all my life, and little did I know, I actually AM Strider.)

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sometimes writing a blog can get dramatic

To stretch a metaphor until it squeaks like an irritated Hobbit: Strider has to bide her time and do her work, and pray that she’ll live long enough to stand beside her Arwen and lift her face to the sun at last.

(but you know what? What if we were each our very own Arwen? She refuses to leave Aragorn. She gives up immortality in order to stand by his side. I think being as loyal as that to ourselves would have us be able to create boundaries with a little more ease, and enforce them with steady grace, and fierceness if it became necessary.)

Patience.
Dreams. (thank you, Quentin)
Persistence.
and, of course, the stories, that somehow make it all a little more bearable.

Day 95

I began this experiment simply in order to give myself a goal to focus on, so I could get moving and heal, rather than sit in grief.

Looking back from day 95 to the beginning, what has changed: everything!

My relationship with food has completely changed from day 1 to now.

I don’t really get hungry, for one thing- so I have to remember to eat, which is a new challenge.

I’ve been away from the monthly challenges with my trainer for a few weeks, and I think for now I’d better stick with them – having the structure and accountability of recording what I eat and drink has the effect, for me, of making me eat and drink.

And life is better overall when one consumes food and drinks water.

I am steadily losing weight, but I can tell you for sure now: the weight we lose when we’re eating consistently and drinking water is much more strong and healthy- looking (and feeling!) than the weight we lose by not eating. If you’re a person who is going for aesthetics, eat food. Just measure and document it , keep it clean and enjoy it, that’s all! Treat your body with loving kindness, and it will reward you.

When we binge or have a “cheat day,” what that does (I’ve found out through trial and error) is it sends the blood sugar out of whack- the body is scrambling to figure out what the heck to do with this new stuff (and maybe a bigger amount than usual,) and then I find I’m overly hungry for a few days afterward.

This can lead to a cycle of giving the body more food than it really needs.

How to heal from a “cheat day”: focus on drinking water. That reset me pretty quickly. My body was like “oh. Oh… I’m not really hungry after all.” 😆

What has changed emotionally in 95 days of a shift in focus: well, I’m still figuring that out. I have really bad days, and really good ones. There’s a certain kind of freedom in heartbreak – there’s a feeling that nothing can hurt me now, so I am free to live more courageously, I suppose. I’ve discovered anger, and sat in the burn of it – highly unpleasant – and I’ve found that on the other side of that is a deeper clarity, release, and peace. As long as I clung to “love” and “friendship” and steadfastly refused to acknowledge anger, I wasn’t able to completely put my past where it belongs: in the past. It is over and gone now, and one day its colors will fade and mellow into something with softer edges, with warmth and a gift to give. For now, it is a story that feels like it happened to someone else- and I guess that’s where it needs to live for a while, like a bottle of port set away in a cellar to mature. If I shook it up, or exposed it to light too soon, it would simply become vinegar. (I’m not sure if that happens to port. But you get the metaphor, yeah?)

My social world has expanded and grown shockingly fast.

My first troop, at Angel’s stadium Alzheimer’s 5k

Project Ahsoka began as a life raft in the middle of a really hopeless-looking shipwreck. It felt like a ridiculous spar I was clinging to, half ashamed to be “doing this at my age.”

Well. First of all, never say that crap to yourself. “At my age” is a dumb gate to build in your life.

I met people who are causeplaying characters they love, who are older than I am. They are cheerful and happy, confident and lovely in their freedom.

This is energy, regardless of age- it is contagious goodness.

Once I was accepted (which felt incredible, to get that email!) I plunged into a world that is faaaaar bigger than I had imagined it would be.

And now I’m making more costumes, because it brings me joy, and these people are kindred spirits in many ways.

Stock Jedi in the works ❤️

So that’s day 95. I’ve had a few weeks of setback due to illness (writing convention crud!) but a pause isn’t a stop – I kept doing push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and walking/ running even while ill. I know that may sound nuts, but keeping your body moving even if it’s at a much slower pace, is giving your muscles love and getting the oxygen/ blood flowing to them in a way that they seem to need. I don’t know: I’m no physical trainer, but that’s what it felt like.

TL:DR: If you’re going through it, keep going.

A pause is not a stop.

Yes, listen to your body, but also know that your body is like a toddler, and sometimes you need to have good boundaries with it, and give it water when it insists it’s hungry. 🙂

Do things you enjoy, that are fun. That’s a great way to meet people you enjoy, who like what you like. At any age.

If you are depressed and having trouble getting moving, set one small goal. Or set a big, funny one, like “become Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars.” You just never know what will grow out of being in action toward that goal.

And a teeny tiny goal like “write for 15 minutes, focusing only on that for 15 minutes,” can 1) have you feel great, because you complete it, and 2) have you surprised at how much you actually accomplish with that teeny, tiny goal.

Whatever you are trying to do, be, and build, you’ve got this. We’re in it together.

Meeting fears can be fun- when you find out they’re not so scary after all 😉

Hogwarts House

I don’t really know what my Hogwarts house is.

I thought it was Ravenclaw, because I like to read above, basically, everything else in life.

Then I thought it was Gryffindor, because I have no fear of speaking up when others can’t say what really needs to be said. In fact, I am compelled to speak for those who have no voice. I have a strong and extremely fierce defender instinct- just not so much for myself. (Working on that.)

Then, I thought it was Slytherin, but I always knew it wasn’t – I was deeply hurt and angry, and *wishing,* above all things, to be Sith and Slytherin, and not care for someone who didn’t have a moment of thought for me. I wanted to burn the heart right out of my chest, and feel indifference bordering on contempt for someone who chewed me up, spat me out, and just didn’t even consider me at all. (I still feel this way. But I am not Slytherin.)

But I adore Alan Rickman, who gave Snape strength.

A friend told me I was so clearly Hufflepuff. I freaked right the fuck out. “No! Hufflepuffs are Hobbits, damn it, and I am adventurous.”

I still have to look at that. I’m loyal, but my loyalty is to the point of damage. I’m that dog following someone who kicks me. Nope. Not interested in living into, or perpetuating the damage of my childhood.

I’m introverted, and want to completely disappear when the damage is having its way – and when I’m healthy, I love people and am actually on the extroverted side (though I will never love noise and crowds and meaningless conversations make me want to run and hide in a book.)

So. I guess there’s our “damaged-self” house, our house we wish we could embody some traits from, and then our “healthy” house.

I’m still not sure what that is, yet. I just know it isn’t Slytherin. As much as I truly, madly, deeply hate to admit that.

I wish, above all things, to become heartless. I can’t. I’ll continue to be hurt, I suppose.

Perhaps that makes me Gryffindor- because it takes courage to say “this is who I am. I loved and considered your well-being. I still do. That I was not even a thought on your radar, while you worshipped and longed for the ones who were devious and cruel, well, that’s who you are.”

What is yours?

– what’s your healthy house?

-what’s the house of your patterning (that isn’t necessarily you?)

-what’s your friends’-perception-of-you house?

-what’s your house you wish you could embody some traits from?

Yours Nerdily,

A Gryffin-claw-puff dragon

Believe Them The First Time

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou

This is not easy to do. Especially for those of us who grow up learning to make excuses for others’ behavior. Codependency is marked by a laundry list of things, none of which I’ll go into here, except this one: caretaking, and neglecting our own needs for the sake of pleasing others.

It comes from low self-worth. It comes from something we learned in childhood. Whatever it is. I learned that I was always “messing up,” and wasn’t “enough” for the early males in my life, most notably, my brother. I worshipped the ground he walked on. He was my “hero,” and he consistently criticized, mocked, belittled, and attacked me.

I learned that I was responsible for his emotions. I learned that I was responsible for keeping him happy and pleased. I learned that if he did something cruel, I was to blame.
I learned to fear his sulks. I learned that if he was unhappy, I had somewhere, somehow, done something wrong. I learned to  just keep trying to do better, and one day, big brother would turn around and protect and care for me.

This is the birth of codependency.

When someone behaves in a way that is a deal-breaker in my world, I used to (and still fall into: this is a work in progress) “rewrite” the story, and come up with reasons to understand why they did it, and forgive, thereby allowing something that is absolutely a NO in my world.

News flash to myself: when you allow this behavior, the person isn’t going to look at (or care) how understanding and loving and forgiving you were. They’re not going to be grateful that someone supported and believed in them in spite of their assy, weak behavior.
Instead, they’re just going to blithely continue the behavior.

It might, then, be compounded by their utter lack of respect for you.

Congratulations! You allowed yourself to be treated like a low-value human being. They now see you as a low-value, low-priority human being… and guess what they’re going to feel toward you?

Not gratitude – they won’t see you as loyal or loving. Oh, no. They’ll feel contempt, or complete indifference.

You may not even be seen by them any more, as they focus on those who snub them (this is really a thing.) because those who snub them and treat them with disrespect and disdain are superior and must be “won.” It’s all a stupid, shallow game, played by foolish, vain, damaged people, and you truly must love yourself enough to walk away from it.

People often try to justify their shitty behavior, because ultimately, we have to find a way to like ourselves… so isn’t it just that much more comfortable when someone *allows* and even *excuses* that behavior? Then they can blame that person.

Easy way to offload the responsibility.

For me, to be specific, the complete deal-breaker behavior is: lack of communication, hiding things, and dishonesty.
How to earn my contempt in two easy steps: 1) Don’t communicate truthfully, 2) spinelessly slide around thinking I won’t learn the truth, and/or 3) fail to keep your word/ follow through on agreements.

Yes, this is my personal absolute deal-breaker.

If someone “forgets” an agreement made with me, that sends me a message of my insignificance to them and in their world.
If someone takes an action (or breaks their word) and then expresses no remorse to me, but instead feels sorry for themselves, and seeks to make themselves a victim, that’s a QUICK release now out of my life. I will no longer tolerate this. I have been burned badly.

I am taking note of it.  I have no more trust. I have been burned so badly, in fact, I doubt I will ever trust a man’s word again.

There was no remorse expressed to me, you see – privately or publicly. No expression of care for my well-being.
This person has taken a good, trusting, loving, loyal woman, and *ensured* that I will look with suspicion at every “man” from here on out. I wish some other man had come into my life. I wish a truly good man had had the benefits of my heart, while it was still able to love.

I seek to be around those who have the courage to speak, or attempt to speak, their truth, no matter how shakily or messily it comes out.

I seek to be around those who have the courage to be honest about who they are, and what they want and don’t want.

I seek to be around those who keep their word.

I seek to be around those to whom I matter.

A mask is utterly wasting my time. Someone who is so afraid of conflict or upset, *which only exists in their own mind* they will lie, I have zero tolerance for.

I do not wish to spend this life living anything that *is not life*; living is so dear. (to paraphrase Thoreau..)

I have absolutely no reason for the shock and surprise I experience every time someone lets me down in this arena. People are showing us who they are ALL THE TIME.

It’s just hard to believe them, isn’t it? Especially when we’ve decided to believe IN them, and trust them, and believe their words… when they say they want to be clear, want to be kind, want to be good to us, it would be so much easier to feel the good feelings, the happy feelings, the gratitude feelings that someone cared enough to want to be good to us-

and ignore the actions.

Well.  Don’t do it.

As much as it may hurt – sis – you’ve got to see someone’s actions.

Are they a reflection of how this person sees you? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll wager that if you look closely, you’ll see they likely behave like this often, and not just with you. Usually, it’s not about you. But if it is? Good fucking riddance to bad rubbish. I’ll tell you this: if you spent time excusing, forgiving, trying to be understanding about, behavior that hurt you, this person *does not deserve your love and care.* You are the one who deserves your love and care,
and it begins by seeing clearly. And it continues with SHUTTING THE DOOR AND WALKING THE FUCK AWAY.

Don’t waste another second of your precious life burning good energy trying to help, love, believe in, and connect with someone who cannot be bothered to treat you with  basic human respect which means: honest communication.

and maybe notice- does this person express ANY remorse or concern for what you might be going through, after their actions hurt you?
Have they taken ANY responsibility, or are they trying to somehow make themselves out to be a victim, when *they are the one who took the action*, lied, broke their word, said hurtful things, behaved in a cruel manner, etc…
Pay. Attention.

I don’t know everyone personally who will read this, but I can tell you right now: you are worth more than that.

What is Love to You? (I really want to know-)

(This is just a response piece – and a question. Please feel free to answer in the comments. . What is love to you? (Because I am not sure- I think I might be wrong. I think I have created it to be more about work than perhaps it should.)

“Love doesn’t look like this,” the ex of my ex said in an article.

And I want to say “How do you know? Did you stay, learn, and do the work, or did you leave and chase the next bright, shining, happy feeling?”

What does love look like to you?

To me, it looks like choosing.

It looks like choosing again, when times are a little tougher. It looks like looking at that person – your person – and remembering the good things you love in their heart, when they’re acting like a seven year old. It looks like working to understand. It looks like tenderness when it’s difficult to soften. It looks like reaching for someone’s hand and remembering to connect when we’d rather be in ego and anger.

I’ve decided this is love. And I’ve decided that I’ve loved.

Love never was a “feeling” for me.

But one thing I’m learning in therapy as I do the work of choosing to love myself is :

Someone else’s experience is not mine to worry about.

If someone else decides that “these ten things will support you in the idea that it’s good to stop, drop, and roll,” is a really smart thing,

Then it’s a smart thing for them.

I’d be interested to hear what love looks like to you.

I do know I need to learn to let go a little more quickly. For sure. Some of those “20 truths” (whose truths? My inner gremlin snickers) May be very important for me…

A Time To Retract

There is an adendum to the previous post about radical love.

Love and forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing behavior that violates your boundaries and needs.
If you make your needs clear, and someone consistently violates that trust,

that’s when it’s time to consider that cutting them off. Leaving the past behind, leaving anything connected to that, blocking all concerned, might be a better choice, if people disrespect your heart, boundaries, and needs.

It is wise if it isn’t a choice made in anger. But if it must be, that’s okay too. Anger is a signal. It’s a signal of boundaries violated, and it’s a signal that we need more self care.
Listen.

Things look prettier by gaslight, don’t they?
It would be peaceful to believe – it is tempting, sometimes – that you are the problem.
I chose that. If I am the problem, then I know there’s something here I can fix. It’s within my control. It gives me a sense of safety, and I don’t have to listen to my gut which is telling me the room is swimming in gaslight.
But ultimately, it will make your life a misery. If a healthy and reasonable expression of a boundary is somehow painted as “overreacting,” and, if they blow it up to others as such, the manipulator is showing you who they are. Pay attention.
Even if their behavior is somehow unintentional, it’s there.
It will show itself repeatedly.

Center, breathe, and watch.

How do you know it’s gaslighting, and how do you get out of it?

You can’t just “not react” when someone pulls strings, because they will run around to others telling whatever story of your “reaction” they want to tell, and they’ll act like they’re doing “damage control,” when in fact, they are the one who set the fire themselves. There are many people in this world addicted to strife, upset, and drama.
You can’t bring peace to this. You’ll just get caught up in their drama tangle.

What you can do is ignore.
Express your needs again, and make sure you are heard.
Don’t react if they try to twist things that you are somehow “irrational,” “Overly sensitive” or “crazy.”  Just state your needs.

Then if your needs are not respected,
Walk away.

I don’t care what it costs you, or you think it will cost you. The cost of your own identity is far greater than anything you could possibly gain by sticking around remaining loyal to anyone engaging in this kind of manipulation. And if your friends or family believe that person?
That is their lesson to learn.

Walk away.

Let your life become completely empty, if that’s the way it has to be.
Keep being your incredible self, hold your head high, stay on the high road, and walk away only for the preservation of your own heart.
By doing so, you show yourself that your heart is worth fighting for. That you don’t have to stick around and take behind-the-back behaviors of unkindness. That isn’t for you; it’s not yours. If people engage in it, that’s their karma, and theirs alone to carry.

Leave them with it.

Walk in love.  chewieahsoka.jpg
Ultimately, those you spend your life with need to earn it by behaving as respectfully to you as you do to them.

No regrets. Stay on the warrior’s path, and let your heart of integrity and honor lead the way.

The rest is noise.

Story therapy

I am quite overdue on an update.

It’s been such a busy time of transformation.

I used to wonder what it was that had people be “fans” of things. I didn’t have it in me. I couldn’t get excited about celebrities or shows; the closest I came was a deep desire to completely live in the worlds of books I read. As a little girl, I asked Ray Bradbury to autograph “Halloween tree” for me (my favorite book at the time) and he was grumbly and grouchy, and it scared me to death. I was cured of fandom in that moment, I thought.

I loved costume and theatre, and I wished to create rather than be-a-fan-of-things.

Then I had some fans of my own through Star Trek, and I saw that, while they all had different things that drew them and different things they needed, the ones who wrote to me shared a common longing. They didn’t seem to feel whole, and fandom gave them fulfillment. I was honored by their love of my work and also with their trust; they wrote to me sharing the most vulnerable deep and scary truths, and asking for my support. I am glad they landed on me, rather than someone who may not have had time to honor their trust.

Through them, I learned a little more about this “fan gene” that I thought I lacked.

I don’t lack it. I’ve discovered the “fan gene” in myself; all I needed was a little more hardship, and a little less emotional resource to create my own characters and work.

With someone I loved, I discovered characters and stories that kept me going. They inspired me. Loki embodied courage to me; the courage to be himself, even though what he was, his fundamental nature, was disapproved of, even reviled. (I still think Loki would have been a great king. He had the necessary political mind, and he had peace as a goal.)

From there, it was Star Wars. I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a little girl, playing with my action figures and ships in an empty lot near my house, but I didn’t have the “fan” feeling.

I didn’t leap fully off the diving board into the deep end of fandom until something happened that razed the foundations of my world entirely.

Masks can embody things we find it hard to access.

The future I had envisioned was gone, and I had absolutely nothing to stand on, except some friends I delight in, who don’t judge me, family who love me, and a good therapist.

That’s when I went utterly mad, in a way.

Everything my therapist told me I had inside me, every character strength I was working to focus on, every shattered place I was striving to shore up and rebuild,

I found it all in a character someone else wrote: Ahsoka. All of a sudden, I understood “cosplay,” something that had previously puzzled me.

Money that was to have been spent on a wedding was spent building this character with careful accuracy, with the goal of eventually volunteering for events and children’s hospitals. I wanted to do something good while giving my heart a little bit of a shield.

When I put on this armor, I feel happy. I feel I’m putting on her strength, and slowly, each time I paint my face and improve at the makeup, I feel her courage becoming my courage. I don’t need it in the same way I did when I started, but I still feel this way. Capable, joyful, strong.

Creating this character has given me the motivation to exercise every day, and stay extremely consistent with following my gym’s October challenge.

My waist feels like a column of steel now. My body is getting stronger every day.

When we are broken enough, it’s okay to use whatever tools we need to shore ourselves up until we are stronger.

Ahsoka has been my teacher.

Pretty soon, Genevieve Lefoux will be another.

It’s not taking on another identity – it’s finding an outward embodiment of a character that has qualities I need to learn to be proud of, not afraid of.

I had become so afraid to be too big, too strong, too much myself.

I’m seeing now what creates the need for stories. They give us a reminder that we can be better. They give us a handhold on the cliff. They give us a reminder that we can still find joy in the most unlikely of places, and that we can love ourselves.

Underneath it all, if we can love and accept a character who has some of our own qualities and flaws, we can learn to love ourselves. We can learn to see ourselves with a bit more compassion.

And of course, the stories give us play and connection,

and when they have noble qualities we wish to develop, they give us a reminder that we can.

I’m getting stronger now, and while I don’t need Ahsoka in the same way I desperately needed her while I was gathering her costume together, I still feel great strength and joy in getting better at portraying her. I love the idea of crafting all her incarnations as she gets older, so I can someday be the mad old lady who dresses up as elder Ahsoka Tano.

I also have a coat coming that inspired the character of Genevieve Lefoux. It will be a talisman of sorts; now that I feel I’m moving on and moving forward from heartbreak, I can wear the coat of a character who loved, and loved fiercely, was betrayed, and was not broken.

She never lost anything, in my eyes – she is altogether admirable, and the one who betrayed her was a shallow fool who utterly lacked the ability to see what they were throwing away.

She got back to her work, and her work was sheer genius.

It’s time for me to get back into my work intensely. Time’s a-wasting. Wearing a coat and accessories from one of my favorite authors on the planet will help me, now that I’ve learned the power of a piece of armor.

Don’t underestimate talismans, heroes, stories, shields.

What inspires you? What do you wish to embody? Giving yourself a daily reminder of that, whether it’s something to wear or a quote on the wall, can help ignite and re-ignite inspiration daily.

Onward –

(Once again, I’m not editing this. 😬 here is my story, flaws and all!)

October challenge

Just a quick example of diet and fitness:

It’s not about Herculean efforts each time- it’s about persistence and consistency.

October’s challenge is:

1: to take photos of each meal & document all that I eat, evaluating at the end of the day how well I kept on track with dietary changes –

2: exercise for 30 minutes or more each day

3: drink half my body weight in ounces of water daily

4: added challenges. Today was 100 sit-ups (I did these first thing in the morning, and actually found them a great way to ease into moving and waking up. And running up to two miles, which I’ll complete this evening.

Tomorrow is push-ups.

Just completed a workout which consisted of : 10 minutes max rounds of 2,4,6,8 calorie row & wall balls,

10 minutes max rounds: burpees and weighted (20lbs) toe-touches

10 minutes max rounds: thrusters and kettlebell swings,

Then max rounds of 20 bicycle crunches and 10 weighted sit-ups.

I’ve found that if I don’t think too much and just show up, the workout handles itself.

The main thing I’m learning is that it doesn’t matter if I stumble. Yesterday, I fell flat on my face. I had a terrible day of no-coping. I had a night of agony and depression. Today, I’m back at it.

We will never be perfect – we just need to keep aiming. If I take joy in the reaching itself, and take a moment to feel proud of myself, not for achievements, but for resilience,

I think I’ll learn to love my life much more consistently. At least, that is the goal.

Ahsoka Lives ✨❤️