Posted by Lizzie on Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Things I forgot to mention:

Sometimes you backslide.

Sometimes you feel great one day then really shitty the next.

Sometimes your feigned happiness can't override the process of sadness turning into anger.

But hang in there, because if you keep at it, you'll return to normalcy and eventually gain everything back x10. Or at least feel like it because you appreciate everything you have 10x more. And the lessons you learn are immeasurable in value.


One Test Is Worth A Thousand Expert Opinions

Posted by Lizzie on Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

It's hard to lose almost absolutely everything at once and still have people who need you.

You have to deal with your own shit, make sure you're still functioning enough to take care of your primary obligations, and be happy enough to share the happy with the people who are unhappy.

Fake it 'til you make it.

That's some of the best advice I've ever gotten from anybody.

There's this kid I know. I don't see him much and when I do, it's always random. But he always leaves me with something that I end up carrying around with me for the rest of my life.

The previous advice is an example.

All tangents aside, my formula for situations such as these revolves around just that.

Psychologists call it repression, I call it forcing the happiness.

In my opinion, life is too short to dwell on the things that you cannot change or to focus on the fact that you've failed in some capacity or someone else has failed you.

I mean, obviously dwell on things enough to gather some kind of lesson from them, but don't let it beat you down.

And sometimes it's hard to be the brave little toaster that you want to be so you just gotta pretend that you are until you become what you want to be.

And ideally, you would have other people to help you out so you didn't have to try so hard to fake it, but sometimes you just don't. Sometimes you have no one else so you have to go it alone and that is a reality that everyone comes to terms with at one point or another.

And it's difficult. And we all fail at this. We all have to feel on some level. And feeling is not bad in and of itself. It's good to feel. You NEED to feel. But it's how much negativity you let yourself feel as a result of that initial (pure, if you will) feeling that's the problem.

On Thursday/Friday, my life fell to shit with all 4 present areas of sadness peaking in severity within those 24 hours.

And despite my best efforts, I absolutely could not force the happy. And I cried for three days straight. But I woke up today with the resolve that I'd done my crying, I'd dealt with all aspects of all the issues, and I'm ready to rise to the challenge of being brave and facing life and feigning happiness until I achieve it.

And so far, it hasn't been that bad.

Acceptance is sometimes the most comforting state you could ever hope to be in.

And there is no way to force the happy until you're able to appreciate the happiness that actually exists. Like football with friends and a late night roadtrip to Sonic with a car full of boys.

So, my basic comprehensive point is that you gotta pull yourself out of the teary phase and pick yourself up because once you acquire the resolve to do it, you'll have the opportunity to experience the happiness that still does exist and the act of being happy will be less demanding. You'll reach the happy state once again with ease.

The happiness you experience reinforces the happiness you're trying to fake until they're one in the same.

Appreciate each moment.

And sometimes the fact that other people need you to pull yourself out of it can be the most motivating reason of all.

Finally, (and you're probably sick of reading this kind of thing because I think I bring it up in almost all blogs at some point or another, BUT) if you see someone else who's failing and can't make it out of the teary phase, help them pick themselves up. Because sometimes things are so bad that you just absolutely can't do it alone no matter how badly you want to. Be there for each other. Think about how badly it sucks to feel like they do and go above and beyond to ensure that no one has to feel that way ever.


Yes, There's Love If You Want It

Posted by Lizzie on Saturday, June 13, 2009
When I was finished, she put a wrinkled ten-dollar bill on the counter by my plate.
It was the kind of "here" your mother or your big sister or your great-aunt or your grandmother would have said. It was the kind of "here" that let you know this was hard-earned money but, also, that you needed it more than she did, and the kind of "here" that said she wished you had it and didn't have to borrow it from her, but since you did not have it, and she did, then "here" it was, with a kind of love.

- A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest Gaines


The Ladder, The Abyss and Girls

Posted by Ryan R. on Thursday, June 11, 2009
I recently came across an interesting article on wikipedia, The Ladder Theory. This theory tries to explain how women perceive men based on first impressions. I am not going to evaluate the Wiki article anymore because it has been broken down pretty well already. This theory does not apply to all women, but the guys reading this right now can relate. Enjoy the interesting read and leave your comments if you want. If you don't want to read it, I can sum it for you.

Women are Crazy!

March on my toy soldiers! See ya next time!


Je T'Aimerais Toujours

Posted by Lizzie on Wednesday, June 10, 2009
There are next to no resources on the internet related to learning Khmer. WTF? The internet is supposed to have everything.

I guess I have to learn French instead.

It intrigues me more than it used to.

Always pursue the things that you're the worst at. They're more rewarding, I think.

Did you ever let your lover see
The stranger in yourself?


We're Talking One Hit. That Left No Mark.

Posted by Lizzie on Thursday, June 04, 2009
I've known way too many people who have been abused in the past. And you'd think that, based on statistical chance, I'd have met my quota for the amount of people I know who have suffered some kind of domestic abuse. But the cases just keep coming, so at this point, who knows.

Because of this exposure, my initial reaction is that hitting is never ok in any circumstance and should a person ever hit you, the best plan of action is to terminate that relationship at all costs. But my actions contradict my beliefs.

The two most significant times I've been hit by someone else (which is absolutely nothing compared to a lot of people, so don't think that I'm playing pity party here by using these as examples. That's not my intention. They're merely a way to initiate gray area thinking and serve as reference points for my conclusion):
- My mom smacked me pretty hard in the face when we were fighting about something when I was around 15 or so. My face wasn't visibly damaged aside from redness. And she said she'd never do it again. My mom's not that great of a person, but she held true to her promise.
- My friend, who was nasty fucked up on drugs at the time, slammed me against a chair and bruised my back enough that I had to fake sick and miss four days of school. We were talking about his drug problem. I was 16, he was 17. He felt horrible and never did it again. I survived, he left a few months later for other reasons. His dad was not a good guy and his mom was killed by a drunk driver a year or two earlier. So he had a history of being abused and his mom was dead. And that's why he did drugs. And nobody really cared enough to help him not do drugs. And the few of us who did were powerless to do anything.

In short, I forgave both of them.

Sometimes situations arise that fall into gray areas and I don't know what's ok and what's not ok.

So, here is the question that I presented to a group of people with diverse backgrounds and life perspectives, the common factor being that I greatly respect each of their opinions. Some have been abused, some probably don't even explicitly know of anyone that's been abused. But most have probably been hit by a person at one time or another. I imagine that we've all been hit by a person at one time or another.


Do you think it's possible for a person to hit a spouse/significant other/son/daughter and not really mean it and never do it again?


"No. No one should be hitting anyone. Ever. Maybe a spank for a child but that's it."

"No way. It would definitely happen again. It would be in the person's nature."

"Yes, if they are remoreseful enough."

"My dad never went all the way to beat the shit out of my mom or anything but every time he hit her, he always said he'd never do it again. So, no."

"Once isn't really a telling precedent for possible future hits. But twice is."

"Most often when someone hits another person they mean it at some level. People hit others out of anger or frustration, it is typically a physical expression of an intensely emotional response. They may not "mean" to do it in that is was spontaneous rather than premeditated. Like many other responses, hitting is often a learned response (from a behavioral perspective) in that there is usually a negative reinforcement paradigm attached (e.g. I hit you, you get out of my face, and my frustration temporarily goes away). Sometimes, there can also be a positive reinforcement paradigm attached as well (e.g. bullying you increases my sense of power).

On the other hand, people can learn more constructive, less violent, responses to frustration and anger. A good beginning is to learn behavior replacement strategies where a person learns to respond to anger and frustration by replacing hitting with behaviors that are non-violent and "incompatible" with hitting (e.g. you can't hit and walk away at the same time).

In addition, this behavior replacement strategy can be aided by cognitive reframing, where a person learns to "rethink" the cause of their anger and frustration, and thus reduces the emotional intensity of their emotional response, which in turn acts as a mediating variable that enhances the probability that the replacement behavior will be chosen rather than the "hitting" behavior.

Cognitive reframing may provide a neurological advantage as well. The initial sympathetic nervous system response to frustration and anger is quick but less intense that the "full" emotional response that occurs with the hormone release (e.g. adrenaline) that supports the intensity of the "fight or flight" response. There is a brief delay between the sympathetic and hormonal responses. Cognitive reframing (e.g. the type used in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)) may assist in reducing (or perhaps even eliminating) the hormonal support of the emotional response which in turn reduces the prolonged (and sometimes increased) intensity of the behavioral reaction."

(My dad's a school psych professor. Always so scientific. You can imagine why I felt like I had to go it alone when it came to figuring things out as as kid. As informative as that was, it's almost 100% useless to me in my quest. But I proceeded to ask more questions to try and get an answer that fit my needs. The following conversation is the continuation.)

Liz: So, I don't get what that means in terms of whether they're likely to hit a person again. Without the whole cognitive reframing business. Like if they just did it as a quick response to something that wasn't really entirely emotion and it's not something they're prone to doing. Is it likely that they'd start hitting the person regularly?
Dad: If it was an uncharacteristic hitting response, it is less likely that it will occur again. In this situation the "habit strength" of the response is weak and as such it is more likely that the person will not hit in a similar situation. However, I would be curious to know what the elements were in the situation that led to hitting, and to help that person understand what led to this uncharacteristic response. This would help make sure that person can recognize a situation where they might be vulnerable to hitting, and take steps to avoid the potential to hit.
Liz: Well, I'm not sure what the exact details were, but is it possible for a situation to exist when someone hits you and and you don't cut them out of your life? Like is hitting always that big of a deal? I mean, it's a pretty big deal even if it was only one hit, but is it possible for the person to actually not hit again if they say they won't? Or should you always distrust them because they said they didn't think they'd ever hit someone in the first place but they ended up hitting you anyway? I mean, Mom definitely smacked me hard in the face once and we still associate with one another. Like I'm still her kid and she's still my mom and for the most part, I forget about it to the point that it's a non-issue. So maybe that's an example of when hitting isn't bad, but I'm not sure if there are others or where you draw the line. So I pretty much have no idea what to say to anyone that this happens to.
Dad: A single hit is generally not the end of the world; is often impulsive; and doesn't mean a relationship has to end. In my clinic days I worked with women and children who were physically abused. Abuse is a serious thing, however, a hit is not abuse. The problem arises when the hits occur frequently and with serious violence.

An emotional response is more black and white because it's that person reacting inappropriately for the purpose of expressing what they're feeling. And since this is how they've chosen to express emotion, it's more likely that they'll use this method to express emotion in the future. What I'm trying to say is that it's less likely to be a one-time deal because they're not entirely removed from the decision-making in choosing to hit someone.

But my personal history of being hit involves two cases which were emotional responses, and I forgave both of the people involved with no long-term psychological damage and no future physical damage.

So, if it's possible to forgive a person's emotional response and suffer no future consequences, then in an entirely non-emotional response situation, is one hit ok to ignore?

I wish I had a better answer for anyone who's ever been hit by someone else. But I have nothing. Only more questions. More hypotheticals. The gray area exists ceaselessly.


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