Under the muumuu – A woman and her addictions exposed

walmart muumuu

“I’m lost.”

If these words are yours, own them. Wear them. Go to Walmart and buy the widest, ugliest muumuu you can find. Take it home and drape it over your naked body. Be brave. Look in the mirror and see your true reflection. This is reality. This is what your brain has done to your life. There is no shame here, only pattern and practice. This is habit, addiction, and insatiable desire…

“I’m so sorry,” says the woman trying to squeeze herself through the doorway of my Blank Canvas Living Creative Counselling office. She’s wearing what’s got to be the most horrifically unflattering muumuu ever created.

“Don’t apologize,” I tell her. “The only thing you have to be sorry for is, quite frankly, that awful muumuu. Why on earth would you do that to yourself?”

“I’m lost,” she says, and bursts into tears. She’s in the room now, but she can’t even sit down. There’s some unspeakable bulk, all sharp corners and clinking sounds, writhing under the synthetic pink and orange atrocity.

“You’re here now, and that’s huge. Not as big as that muumuu, mind you, but major non the less.”

She gives a weak smile at my even weaker joke and looks at me expectantly. This is how it always goes. There’s this idea that I’m going to make some diagnosis and write a prescription or trace some emotion back to its pattern of childhood origin. But that’s not the way creative counselling works. I’m not here to waste anybody’s time. My job is to strip the problem down to the story and brain habits that are causing it. And I know this woman’s not going to like what I’ve got to ask her to do.

“Take it off. For the love of gawd,” I beg her, “take off that hellish thing so we can see what we’re dealing with.”

“What?” She says, giving me a worried look. “Seriously? But I’m not wearing anything underneath.”

“Good, all the better. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to be perverted or anything. Just trust me on this.”

She fusses and fidgets, delays, protests, and delays some more, but I won’t let her off the hook. Finally, with infinite reluctance, she takes off the muumuu and drops it on the carpet between us.addiction woman illustration

Bottles of white wine, cases of diet coke, cigarettes, tabloid magazines, 12 boxes of Peek Frean cookies, television remotes, Facebook screens, automatic negative thoughts, phones waiting for calls from bad men… the baggage is a tonnage of habit and addiction. The woman’s body is creamy and lovely at the center of it all, but her face is red with shame. She won’t even look at me.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispers, “I never realized how bad things are, how much I’ve been carrying around. It’s ugly isn’t it?”

“Not near as ugly as covering it up with that gawd awful muumuu like you’ve given up on yourself. Look, if you’re brave enough to show me your body and brain like this, then you’re brave enough to change it. You don’t need all this shit. I can give you a new language and way of maximizing your humanity without needing to rely on external emotional regulation. I’m not talking about yoga rituals or 12 steps. I’m talking about a way of real-time dialoguing with your brain’s perception of reality. You just leave that muumuu with me and I’ll transform it into a tactile demonstration of what this process is all about. Sound like a plan?”

“This isn’t some new-age-y bullshit, is it?” She asks. I can’t blame her; I’d be suspicious too.

“No bullshit. It’s already saved lives, including mine.” I leave her curious as I go to find her another outfit to wear home.

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The Versatile Blogger Award goes Greek when a ‘good-girl-bad-girl’ reveals all!

good girl bad girlBefore Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, there were Anaximander’s opposites (hot/cold, good/evil, wet/dry), which where brought into unity by Heraclitus: “The road up and the road down are the same thing.” Being awarded The Versatile Blogger Award (many thanks to ToKillAHammingBird for the nomination!!) requires me to tell you 7 things about myself. versatileblogger111But there are so many versions of ‘self’ that 7 things can be strategically used to describe. Who do I want to be to you? But no, that’s too easy. I’ve always been a woman of extremes, no nebulous middle ground, and I’m going to allow you to know me at my most honest – and therefore by my opposites: Good Girl …versus… Bad Girl. The Greeks were fearless of ideas. This freedom has been their greatest gift to history. And when you are fearless in who you are, your own history begins to make a lot more sense.

1) Requisite ‘good girl’ volunteering, plus earned full scholarships and A++ ave in high school & university …versus… Dropped out to play (briefly) in the _ _ _  industry and to work (permanently) as a Thinker/Writer/Designer

2) Won fashion (and industrial) design awards, commissions, and designed and hand-stitched my wedding dress …versus… Last ten years could be defined as a tragic series of ugly hand-me-down pants

3) Have accessorized said pants with running shoes, baseball cap, and ponytail 23/7 …versus… Harley Davidson boots other 1/7, with all manner of debauchery above my thigh-high fishnets

4) Match all my man’s socks as soon as they come out of the drier …versus… Have resorted to buying paper plates and plastic cutlery after ignoring the dishes for weeks (ok… so once it was a whole month)

5) Work diligently 9 to 5 rolling paper (don’t ask) and doing academic research on ‘the evolution of ideas’ …versus… My infamous 3 am ‘field testing’

6) Have a deeply Christian faith (with new philosophical proof that would leave Aquinas shaking in his sandals) …versus… Once wrote an essay on cheese being the highest expression of human spirituality

7) If you break my heart you won’t shake my faith in love …versus… But I will have to kill you.

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The Versatile Blogger Award also asks that I nominate 15 other bloggers for the next round:
Shoeism ~ HitchhikingColorado ~ TheMusicType ~ LivingDilbert ~ AFireworkInProgress ~ BlueHouseRecords ~ MagicAndMarvels ~ AdventuresAspirations”Aha”Moments ~ Sewbon ~ TheBlondeAlarmist ~ Bun81Bridge ~ BareKnuckleWriter ~ TheStoryShack ~ BalconyViews ~AdventuresInWiferyAndOther…

Risking everything to get from Here to There

Once, on stage, I blanked out. I stood there stupidly, holding a silent, quivering flute, cantilevered out into nothingness.

Once, before a deadline, I blanked out. I sat there stupidly, hating my hands for shaking, this time over a keyboard, poised over an article that would never be written.

Now I sit here risking everything promised by our current paradigm, but my hands are steady. These words are my own. There is no fear beyond the slow, mild panic of a human engaging her humanity. There is no composer’s melody to forget, and no interviews to transcribe. There can be no ‘blanking’ out because this is Blank Canvas Living. This is a living dialogue. This is a brain exploring, within and without. This is freedom.

Who are you? Who do you want to be? Risk asking.

But more than that – risk knowing.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom – Anais Nin

To blossom in this world takes a sharp act of will, fierce and unwavering. There can be no permission. Blank Canvas Living’s  tips/techniques, personal style guide, creative living exercises, and experiments in engagement are designed to loosen our jumbled neural associations and give us the freedom to learn our brains, love them, and blossom according to our most primal coding. Backed by a five year dedicated study into the evolution of ideas (from prehistory through to today), and ongoing philosophical field testing, Blank Canvas Living is an interactive forum for passionate people who share a high need for cognition and sensory/sensual involvement.