I love the Internets

There’s a lot of stuff I share on the Internet every day. Here’s a weekly round up of the things I most enjoyed last week by category. 


  •  Changing the creepy guy narrative. “And I’m not exactly a hundred percent sure why I didn’t call it a day at that point, but…..maybe I just love turning the screw to see what happens.   I gave him the bedroomy-est eyes I could muster.  ‘What’s your name?'”
  • Wealth inequality in America. Great video I watched this morning. I wish I knew what do do with this information besides share it. 
  • The Oatmeal: Running Only Matthew Inman can write a comic that makes me laugh to the brink of pants-peeing, then on the next frame fill my eyes with tears. Matt, you’re rocketing up my list to near the status of national treasure. 




I heart Brene Brown, volume 1.

  • Shame resilience is the ability to say, “This hurts. This is disappointing, maybe even devastating. But success and recognition and approval are not the values that drive me. My value is courage and I was just courageous. You can move along, shame.”
  • Empathy is a strange and powerful thing. There is no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, witholding judgement, emotionally connecting and communicating the incredibly healing message of “You’re not alone.”
  • If we want freedom from perfectionism, we have to make the long journey from “What will people think?” to “I am enough.”
  • We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.
  • Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. Trust isn’t a grand gesture–it’s a growing marble collection.
  • Feeling disconnected can be a normal part of life and relationships, but when coupled with the shame of believing that we’re disconnected because we’re not worthy of connection, it creates pain we want to numb.
  • We all want to be brave. We want to dare greatly. We’re tired of the national conversation centering on “What should we fear?” and “Who should we blame?”

Nearly a year ago I started seeing the name Brene Brown float around the blogosphere. I ignored it, of course, because lots of books and authors and reccommendations float around the blogosphere and I am only one little person with two little eyes. But I continued seeing her name and this book. Then ignoring. Then seeing. Then ignoring. 

I paused a moment when I saw her mentioned on Mighty Girl, because I am an enormous fangirl of that site, but then dismissed it because Maggie talks about lots of books. What makes this one special?

Then, one day, I saw Ree talk about it. Ree doesn’t talk much about books….but she was talking about this one. On a visit to her ranch around that time we were small talking about how we are busy people (yes, this is all relative) but I remember her mentioning the book and that she was changing things in her work life. Finishing her commitments, but then changing what she said yes to in the future. That is a powerful thing to see happen with someone who is on the rise. I must have noted all this somewhere in my brain. A couple of weeks later on vacation, while I was wandering around the cold, drizzly, filthy Haight-Ashbury district, I popped into a wonderful bookstore and piddled around until I found this:


I never, ever buy books (libraries have free books), so convinced myself that this was “a souvenir.” I may have read a few pages while still in San Francisco, but dug in deep on the plane ride home. I finished it shortly after and took it back on a plane when I went to Camp Mighty, while notating it during a re-read. This book was preparing me.

It was preparing me for things I could have never dreamed I was about to experience, beautiful and tragic. 

I came back from Camp Mighty changed. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something had shifted. Those who are present in their bodies would refer to this as intuition. This is something I’m learning to hear and respect. I can remember it being late November and my partner remarking, “Are you ok? You seem far away.” The memory of those words never more poignant and ironic than they were in at the beginning of this year when within a few weeks he checked out and subsequently left. I hadn’t gone anywhere, though. I was just getting reconciled on some discoveries that had emerged while reading this book about living life bravely. 

It comes to no great shock to anyone that I am externally validated. Since reading Daring Greatly, I am less so, but this will be a lifetime of undoing. Shame has a hold on me just as much as it does anyone else. I live in constant comparison, both to people I admire and to people I do not respect. “Gosh, so-and-so really has it together. When am I going to get it together? But holy lord, at least I’m not what’s-his-name.” Negative or positive, it doesn’t matter. Comparison is the thief of joy. I also live in scarcity and fear, which for me manifests as “If I could just get a ____, then I’d feel good about _____.” or the running shame tapes of never ____ enough: smart, thin, pretty, clever, understanding, funny, supportive, accomplished, etc… If I were a perfectionist I’d be exhausted from trying to keep up with those fears. Instead, I run from those feelings and numb with whatever I’ve got at my disposal at the time: food, friends, sex, shopping, researching, internet, or whatever else will keep me busy and distracted from the feelings of Not Enough. Like many (or all) of us, I am a mess inside my head. I only say this so that you feel less alone. We are so very not alone in these feelings. (The only people who don’t experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. You know… sociopaths.) We are socially conditioned from the beginning to have these habits that make us miserable.

I could go deeper into my shit, but I think you get the idea. Finding this book was a breath of fresh air because it named things I have always felt. I’m now able to be more specific in my feelings. I can speak. I can better ask for help. 

Perhaps the most exciting piece in this book, for me, is I now have a goal for what I want to be. It is called Wholehearted. And she’s written guideposts on Wholehearted Living, based on more than a decade of work as a qualitative researcher.

Ten Guideposts of Wholehearted Living

1) Cultivate Authenticity: Letting go of what people think

2) Cultivate Self-Compassion: Letting go of perfectionism

3) Cultivate a Resilient Spirit: Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

4) Cultivate Gratitude and Joy: Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark

5) Cultivate Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting go of the need for certainity

6) Cultivate Creativity: Letting go of comparison

7) Cultivate Play and Rest: Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and ‘productivity as self-worth’

8) Cultivate Calm and Stillness: Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle

9) Cultivate Meaningful Work: Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”

10) Cultivate Laughter, Song and Dance: Letting go of being cool and “always in control.”

I certainly think that’s enough for one post. Chew on it. Go buy the book. No really. Buy it, then as you’re checking out toss in a highlighter or post-it flags — you’ll need them.

Patrick Swayze is beautiful, and I am in so much trouble.

Oh, that was interesting. 

A week or so ago a pang to watch long-time favorite movie, Dirty Dancing, came across me. I probably haven’t watched it in a decade, but that doesn’t change my feelings. It is one of the movies burned in my soul. Other soul-brandings include Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally and White Christmas. I’m sure there are others. I’m getting off track.

I never make time for frivolities such as movies. TV shows… occasionally. But never whole movies. So I added it to my to-do list. Literally. “Watch Dirty Dancing… with Gabi.” I amended it with that last little bit to give it virtue. When the opportunity presented itself, I made sure to drop an Instagram to mark the occasion.

Showing this to Gabi for the first time.

No fewer than 20 women liked the post. Not counting Facebook and Twitter shares. It is a film very near and dear to our hearts. 

I am so glad I watched it with Gabi. We laughed together. We talked together. I paused it so we could have a very basic conversation about abortion. I paused it another time to explain the intricacies of human sleezeballs. My friend Susan saw online that we were watching it and sent this link that I read once the movie was over. 

Dirty Dancing is a subversive masterpiece and here are four reasons why

 GAH. Yes! She makes a lot of points that I was discovering as I watched the movie. She also wrote it a whole lot better than I’m going to be able to. Just go read it and then understand I agree with every single word. ::I’ll wait::

Done? Good. This is helpful.

Sunday night we’re watching this movie while hoping that it will leave an impact on my daughter like it did me. I clearly remember watching it 6 times in a row one day at my dad’s house. Like….play, rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play, rewind, play. (Gimme a break, there was no cable or game systems.) I looooooooved it. But seeing it on Sunday, as a fully-grown adult, I saw some other things, too. I saw landmarks in the movie that shaped who I am. Crazy!

I’m reasonably certain that my liberal roots can be traced back to Dirty Dancing. I am a first generation liberal, y’all. I never remembered where I got it from. I can’t say I got it all from this movie, but holy shit….I didn’t get it from my parents or grandparents (…maybe by Grandma Gladys, though). Or aunts or uncles or neighbors. Or teachers or clergy or grocery store clerks. Where I grew up, at least in my narrow experience, the liberals were non-existent (either through silence or true non-existence). But there Baby was, talking about social justice. Teaching compassion. Standing up for what was right, or at least what seems right to me. I guess on some level, I needed to be Baby when I grew up. This was a good thing.

I’m reasonably certain that my bias towards certain kinds of men/relationships came from this movie, too. For the good**, for the bad. But to be watching the shy and awkward Baby set her sights on the unavailable man and draw him nearer to her, well, that was illuminating. Maybe we all do that? But I have a pattern of seeking emotionally unavailable men. Not all of them have been, but most have. It’s part of why I’ve been on dating hiatus for the last 6 months. Chasing the impossible is a pattern which needs to stop — my heart can’t take it anymore. Oooooh, and Johnny is the slightly broken guy who doesn’t believe in himself. She rescues him and makes him want to be a better man. I’ve been there more than once, too. 

Dirty Dancing taught me to be codependant! 

Not really, but it was a interesting tour of my psyche. At the end of the day, though, I have power over my decisions and my life. I’m not really upset about my past mistakes anymore. It is more like that it’s interesting to take out the pieces and examine all the cracks and imperfections, then place them back into the box and slide the package back onto the shelf. I’m learning more every day and making better decisions. Like a wise man recently told me, “Once you know better, do better.”

In the meantime, my daughter walked into the kitchen Monday morning and said, “Hey mom. I carried a watermelon.” 

** The ‘good’ is that I recognized that Patrick Swayze is the genesis of a certain kind of hunky type I’m repeatedly attracted to. But I’m attracted to all sorts of types, so this didn’t really need a whole paragraph. It was just funny to me. 

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