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Mar 21st, 2018 at 5:46:34 pm

tcr! · 15 hours ago

When I was first married, my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow.
-Pema Chödrön

She’s my newest hero ❀️


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Not caring what other people think

tcr! · 2 days ago

This guy doesn't care


I think all that jive about “not caring what other people think” is mostly bullshit.

Exhibit A.

When I puff out my chest and chant the “I don’t care what they think“ mantra, it feels like I’m just giving myself a free pass to act like an asshole. And really I’m probably doing something I shouldn’t be doing or just did something I shouldn’t have done.

Like that time you all know and love when I went into Jewel at quarter to eight in the morning with bloodshot eyes, looking like I’d only slept for a few hours. Because I had. And then walked up to the checkout lady with 2 pints of beer in my basket, all standoffish. Temperamental and dramatic and inwardly screaming, “Judge me all you want. I don’t give a fuck!”

Yeah, that was just a cover up for the shame I felt for buying beer before the day had even started. It had nothing to do with legitimately not caring about what the lady in Jewel thought.

When the “I don’t give a fuck what they think” comes out of my mouth or I’m all emotionally rambunctious up in my head most likely I’m up to no good. In one way or another. Maybe I haven’t actually done anything yet. Maybe my motives aren’t in the right place or my emotions aren’t pure. Whatever it is something is off.

I’m not trying to sound preachy but whatever. I probably am.

Exhibit B.

I don’t care what the neighbors think about the pink Christmas lights hanging in my kitchen window year round. However, this example of “not caring” never crossed my mind until I started exploring this apathetic path. If you will. I never thought about what they think let alone bothered to care what they think. I honestly didn’t think about the pink lights because I honestly don’t care.

That’s when “not caring” is not bullshit: when I have zero thought and zero emotional investment.

Truly not worrying about what people think of me and the things I like, that all comes from a place of calm and confidence and not one of bolstered and shouting egos. Not one of loud arrogance.

I do what I want and so long as I’m not stepping on someone else’s toes then I don’t give a fuck. Don’t give a fuck enough to not even think about giving a fuck. If that makes sense.

Exhibit C.

I do care what people think about me. I care about my family and friends’ opinions because what they think is important. It counts. It matters.

If my friends think I’m being an asshole or if a stranger looks at me like I’m being a jerk, there’s something wrong with what I’m doing. Like if I say something in front of a server at a restaurant and an honest-to-god worried look comes across their face then I have wonder to myself, “Oh. I shouldn’t have said that. Maybe I shouldn’t say that again.”[1]

Being a jerk is something I’m never trying to do these days but I’m only human and sometimes I don’t realize I’m being an ass. This is why what other people think is important. I look for guidance from the people that I trust in my life when I’m uncertain.

I look to and count on my peers calling me out because I’m so wrapped up in me most of the time that I have a hard time seeing what’s going on. More importantly what’s going wrong.

If I have something in my teeth I know that somebody will tell me. Man, is hearing that rough, too. Saying it isn’t any fun either. Being either person in that situation can be uncomfortable. And then of course Maggie showed me how to handle all of that. A few weeks ago I told her that something was in her teeth after dinner. She said “thank you” and then went and got a toothpick.[2] That’s the end of the story. And also an excellent example of what “not caring” is really all about.

This might sound self-deprecating but I fucked up a good chunk of my life because I didn’t care what people close to me thought and I just did whatever I wanted. That didn’t work out so well. Hence two divorces.

In the here and now I pay close attention to what people near and dear to me say. When people give me their feedback I do my best to listen and take it seriously. If they say that I’m fucking up then I probably am. And then I do my best to course correct. Because I don’t want to fuck up my life anymore.

Also, and this is important: I look for the good in people and automatically assume that when they give me feedback it’s coming from a good place.[3] I don’t take what my friends say as an attack. Why the hell would my friends attack me? Friends don’t attack.

Opening myself up to criticism, taking that with as much grace and humility as I can muster, and then appreciating the growing bond with that other person is a big part of the meaning of life to me. Friendships will absolutely flourish when I allow myself to be a whole human being in front of my friends. And even more, when my friends see that I took their suggestions, they’ll know that they count to me. They’ll get to be somebody, too. Our friendship will be balanced. Equal parts them and equal parts me.

I don’t know about you guys but I admire and respect the hell out of my friends and family. I care deeply about them and their opinions. I legitimately do care what they think about me.

Exhibit D.

And the last thing I want to say about this whole “not caring what people think” bullshit is that most people don’t think about me. At all. Because I’m not that important. If I’m out in public chances are other people don’t even see me. And that’s not because I’m a ninja.

One more thing. I’ve never written an “abstract” before.

#advancedsoul #zerofucksgiven

  1. Well my first reaction is “what the fuck are you looking at?“ because I’m me.

  2. Life doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. I’ll never understand why we as adults make life so hard.

  3. Sara clued me in to that. “Coming from a good place” are her words, not mine.

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“by what we oppose and what we hate”

tcr! · 2 days ago

The Resistance: Fighting What We Hate, Saving What We Love

The Resistance: Fighting What We Hate, Saving What We Love


“We’re going to win this war, not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”

It is a poignant moment in the film, and a beautiful sounding sentiment—but I’m not sure I totally agree with it.

The words remind me of the scoldings I’ve received from people about my forcefulness and anger in recent days, about my volume and my ferocity in opposing things happening here in America. It reminds me of the reprimands of people uncomfortable with other’s methodology, who always seem to imagine a quieter, more passive, more benign activism than what they are seeing.

Rose’s words seem to quietly echo the popular admonishment: “I know what you’re against, not what you’re for.”

I disagree that such a one-sided declaration is ever possible.
I think it’s really clear who and what we love, by what we oppose and what we hate.
I contest the assertion that you can either be loving—or you can be angry.
I don’t believe that there is some clear, undisputed line dividing the acceptable ground for loving people to tread from that which is off-limits for them.
I resist the idea that matters of the heart are confined to the palatable and the pleasant.

No real reason for me to chime in here other than to say that I’m overly eager and at times borderline preachy with the things I care most about.


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Why are these people standing so close to me?

tcr! · Mar 13, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Stay Puft are you terrified

For much of my life I’ve been internally combustible and physically uncomfortable. I felt ill and under and unequipped just being human. Even trying to be human. Too much shit gurgling in my stomach. Never ending mallet beating my heart. Intestines put on backwards and inside out. My thoughts whirling and jerking back and forth by some restless, mechanical bull.

I’m melodramatic, I know.

But when I found drugs and alcohol as a teenager that fixed me, that calmed the bomb and made life tolerable, comfortable. The whole reason why I drank as much and as hard as I did was because drinking brought me relief. And not only that but it took me to a place of adventure, a place I was fond of, A place without restraints. A feeling inside and out that nothing mattered, nothing could touch me, and I just didn’t give a fuck. If it was sunny outside then that was perfect and if it were raining then that was fucking awesome, too.

Of course being alcoholic there always comes a point where the watered down solution becomes a problem in itself. Becomes more of a problem than the anxiety I was trying to do away with.

And then when I did stop drinking the pressures of everyday life were back, More painful than ever. I didn’t have many skills to deal with them and oh boy, did the mechanical bull launch full throttle again. The first year and two I was sober I felt the craziest that I ever had my whole life. Like every nerve in my body was exposed, every sight a cause for alarm.

Am I going to be able to drive all the way home? I can’t even fucking think straight.

And every sound twice as loud.

Why is everyone talking through a megaphone?

In related news, it feels like there’s been ringing in my ears since I was nine.

Freshly sober my anxiety would have me up at 4:30 in the morning, pounding down the coffees. Other times I’d be up well past midnight, smoking cigarette[1] after cigarette. Day and night making my combustion worse by not sleeping and pumping more toxins into my system.

In the here-and-now, even well into sobriety, when I’m uncomfortable my go-to reaction is to fix how I feel. Reach for cigarettes that aren’t there. Look for something outside of me to soothe the unrest within. Something, anything to take away the worry, the doubt, the paranoia. Unplug the melodramatic bull.

After I got back into 12-step recovery one of the most valuable tools that I learned was the cosmic pause. To take an interlude. To stop. For a moment. To breathe.

And also to learn how to feel my feelings, especially the uncomfortable ones. I’m sure I’ve quoted Tony before when he said, “those that make it are the ones who learn how to be uncomfortable.”

My last divorce was certainly uncomfortable and plenty difficult for everybody involved. Every time I would get a text message from my ex-wife my heart would race and I felt like I was holding a bomb. My hands would shake as I was pummeled with nervous, dizzy emotion. And it would all happen in an instant. Maybe kinda like a panic attack. :)

Then of course I would immediately read/react/reply, and the text messages would explode with overflowing wells of anger. Puke and shit everywhere. It was the same story with my first ex-wife except we’d actually be calling each other all frenzy-like since cell phones weren’t an everyday thing.

And then somewhere along the way the cosmos gave me some insight.

I didn’t have to respond to someone’s messages[2] right away. I didn’t even have to read them right when my phone popped up an alert. Hell, I didn’t have to read them at all if I didn’t want to. Fucking spiritual revelation.

When I get in those kind of tense situations where I’m feeling nervous or unsure I do my best to simply pause. Accept that whatever I’m feeling is how I’m supposed to be feeling at that very moment. And then say a little prayer, sometimes a big one, and ask the cosmos for direction. I breathe out and imagine I’m exhaling the anxiety. Blow it out like the smoke that used to give me so much comfort.

On a side note, imagine taking a drag off a cigarette and then never blowing out the smoke. That choking feeling, that suffocation is how I feel when I only hold on to my emotions and don’t process them.

Anyways, absolutely not doing anything when I’m in a mess is almost always the right thing to do. I’m not good at reacting under pressure. Even more so when there’s barbed history. I usually make the situation worse if I act on that first impulse. I can easily freak out and go some place emotionally I don’t like being. So I pause and ride my emotional, mechanical bull until it powers down. Afterward the feelings subside, if not pass altogether, and then I’m able to make sound decisions with a clear mind.

My solution is always divine. No amount of material things will ever fix me.[3] I need to reconnect with the cosmic spirit if I want peace. By letting the cosmos care for and guide me I don’t have to take on the burden of trying to fix myself, trying to manage my anxiety. Control whatever situation I’m in or even control how I’m feeling. I can just let go and know that the answers will come so long as I allow myself to be a complete human being. With uncomfortable feelings and all.

And back to that “holding a bomb” feeling.

The funny thing is I know now most of that was pretty much all about me. My gears grinding and circuits working overtime. My heart would beat so fast and there I was the one holding the mallet.

Mechanical bull up in my head, glaring eyes of red, snorting steam they said.

I can’t speak for my ex-wives or anybody else but it wouldn’t surprise me if both felt just as nervous as I did when they reached out to me. My behaviors and responses were unpredictable. At best. And divorces are messy, too. Emotions high. Feelings hurt. That in itself is reason enough for anybody to slow way the fuck down.

Most of my messages in the here-and-now are light and nonchalant. I’m overall calm. I don’t feel the mechanical bull winding up and bashing me around when certain people message me. I do my best to stay consistently plugged into the cosmos and walk that spiritual path. When I am and when I do, I’m not as eager to race ahead and react to fear, perceived or not.[4] If I stay ahead of the anxiety game I’m less likely to lose when it’s time to play.

When I’m plugged in nothing can touch me either. I’m on that spiritual journey and get a text message bomb, then it doesn’t matter. I don’t care. Other people can behave badly and I don’t give a fuck. And that feeling of being okay is what I was after the whole time I was drinking. I was trying to get okay. I just made the mistake of using man-made fixes.

Physically uncomfortable and internally combustible. Life doesn’t have to be that way. More importantly, life’s not supposed to be like that.

I needed a better way to live. My solution has been always divine but there were things that I could certainly do.

So when I stopped chugging coffees after 8 pm was when I started closing my eyes and falling sleep come bedtime. When I stopped taking things so damn personal, when I stopped seeing people as threats was when I finally was able to relax and life wasn’t so loud anymore.

When I stopped analyzing and scrutinizing every detail and started trusting in the greater good of my fellow humans was when l started building meaningful, long term relationships.

When I stopped worrying about getting hurt was when I was finally able to love you guys.

When I stopped using quick fixes for the major problems was when I started to heal.

And then when I realized that most of what I thought was important in life was irrelevant, when I finally let everything go was when I was finally set free.

#anxiety #alcoholism #advancedsoul

  1. “I never knew I had anxiety. I just knew I needed another cigarette.” I don’t know who said that on NPR but I was all like “YES” when I heard it.

  2. Text-based conversation is possibly one of the worst things that has happened to modern communication. It lets people write things that they would never get away with saying to another person face-to-face.

  3. Just to throw this out there, some people need medication. I’m not saying that everybody can get by on a spiritual solution alone. But for me much of my anxiety was driven by how I lived my life.

  4. “…we are our very worst selves in fear. We are the most dangerous to ourselves and to each other.” -Brené Brown

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Scowling at the clock

tcr! · Mar 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

Pearl under the dining room table

My cat was glaring at me as I was putting on my shoes this morning. I was like “what the fuck are you looking at?“

Yeah, it was early.

And then as I’m walking into the other room I looked back at her and she was still scowling, scowling at something off in the distance.

And then I remembered that life’s not all about me.

When I was telling Maggie my struggles she said, “She was probably scowling at the clock. Nobody likes the clock this early.”

It’s important for me to share these life lessons with Maggie because these are the kinds of things I’ve struggled with my whole life. At her age she’s far ahead of where I was then and I’d like to keep that positive trend going.

Be humble. Share your spiritual revelations with your kids. You’ll probably never get a “thank you” but you’ll see them make the right choices when the time comes, when it counts.

#photos #cats #protip #advancedsoul

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When others are behaving badly

tcr! · Mar 6, 2018 at 7:51 pm

It’s easy to be of the mindset that how people behave is their business and I shouldn’t let it affect me. But that’s a level of spiritual enlightenment most likely I’ll never reach. Setting such a high bar for myself always makes me feel like I’m coming up short. I shouldn’t go around expecting myself to be more than I actually am, do more than I actually can.

When I try and stop things from bugging me I tend to act/react twice as bad. The situation tends to ratchet up because I’m suppressing natural emotion. Not allowing myself to feel all of god’s given emotions is the never the right thing to do.

Not long ago I was pretty agitated with somebody and I’m sure it showed. But I don’t give a fuck. People throw tantrums and I’ll scoff in their general direction.

I think the real goal in situations like this, when others are behaving badly is to strive for simply not acting badly myself. Morons will always get on my nerves. I’m not immune to another’s stupidity but if I mind my proverbial Ps and Qs all will be right in the cosmos.

And when all is said and done I a- get to experience all my emotions, good or bad and b- don’t have any fences to mend. Then I get on with my life.

In related news… acting tough, walking around with your chest puffed out just makes you look like an asshole.

#advancedsoul #protip #relationships

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Moments of belligerence

tcr! · Mar 6, 2018 at 9:06 am

Friends. Family. Total strangers. I don’t consider himself an arrogant person.

One evening, however, when was running “who do I have to blow” late, I was pulled over. You may have heard this policeman story before. It was many years ago so don’t get too excited.

Anyways, when the officer walked up to my driver’s side window, I flicked my cigarette down toward his lazily shined shoes. I didn’t consciously do this, had no intention of being jerky, no intention of premeditated arrogance. It just happened.

I got a ticket for “disposing of flammable materials from a vehicle” that day. I never paid it.

We all have moments of belligerence I suppose.

And then there was that one time in high school when I was walking home by myself. A guy I was friends with drove past in his little red VW. I gave him the bird as he went by. Again, I don’t know why I did. It just happened.

When I saw him the next day at school he asked me why I had flipped him off. Feeling somewhat on the spot and held accountable for what I’d done, I told him it was because I was walking and he was not.

He then said to me, “you should’ve asked me for a ride” in a gentle, veritable kinda way. Instead of ratcheting the conversation up with more arrogance, he extended his hand in friendship.

Bill was a legitimately good guy. A better person than I was at the time for sure. We weren’t close friends but I still considered him my friend. And knowing Bill made me want to be somebody like him. Helped me realize that it’s okay to not only ask for what I need but also for what I want, what I’d like. Because friends do things for each other. Just because they’re friends.

Being a jerk by default never did me any favors. Granted in high school I didn’t really know how to do any better but in the here-and-now I’m grateful for those little interactions that helped me learn.

In that brief conversation before class started, Bill taught me that conflicts can be short circuited with friendly compassion.

I regret not getting to know more people in high school. I was too wrapped up in me and my chaos to make that happen. But looking back now as I drive to work, I’m sure there was a whole lot more Breakfast Club there that I didn’t even know about.

I’m in the math club, uh, the Latin, and the physics club… physics club.

#confessional #trafficnews #advancedsoul

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When you are near or with them

tcr! · Feb 28, 2018 at 5:55 pm

When you are near or with them

I hate the word “basically” but this time I’ll allow itπŸ…


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Cosmos: here’s what you should do

tcr! · Feb 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

Last night Waterline Writers was hosting their Feb 18th reading event. My plan was to go and do the Open Mic thing after listening to the main authors do their thing. I picked out a couple of pieces to read and as I was reviewing, practicing, preparing my sermon it didn’t feel right.

It’s not that I didn’t feel confident in my material or anything but what I’d picked out were better reading pieces and not speaking pieces. And then I knew I’d be nervous, too. I still get nervous before I speak at 12-step meetings and I know all of them people. Plus, I can yap all day long about recovery once I get started.

As I laid in bed with my printouts I knew I could power through an Open Mic, though. It’d be awkward and not my best performance but whatever. I don’t want to eat the same caterpillar leaves I always have. It’s important to put myself out there. Out in the real world and not just out on Facebook or the other online social clubs.

But still, some little part of me wasn’t “all in” like I am or can be in life. Sometimes I just “know” what I’m supposed to do and then other times I don’t. I run back and forth between opposing sides of the teeter totter because I’m not sold on which seat I’ve currently settled on.

Sometimes I’ll struggle with the a- is this just not a good idea or b- is my anxiety standing in the way.

And then the cosmos pointed out which teeter was the better totter.

Conversation with Sara Re Waterline Writers

I used to go to three meetings a week. And then it went down to two for sure. And then I started to loose track.

Before last night I couldn’t remember the last meeting I went to. That’s never a good sign.

So to wrap this up: I’ll never go wrong doing for others when me myself am not sure what to do.


keamoose keamoose · Feb 19, 2018 at 9:54 am

“Sometimes I’ll struggle with the a- is this just not a good idea or b- is my anxiety standing in the way.” 100% understand this. And then there’s the times where it’s b, and there’s the second part of the question, “is it really necessary/important/helpful to push past it, or can I let this one go?”

tcr! tcr! · Feb 19, 2018 at 11:14 am

Yep, there’s sometimes another set of teeter-totters when I get to the end of the first totter. If that makes sense.

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Feb 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm

I went to the first open mic I’ve been to in years yesterday afternoon. I didn’t read, but I had the best time I’ve had in years. I will definitely read at the next one. I’ve got some favorite pieces of mine but I really need to start bleating again.
Doggies of goodness!

tcr! tcr! · Feb 19, 2018 at 1:25 pm

What kind of open mic was it?

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Ye old anti-climatic climax

tcr! · Feb 17, 2018 at 8:00 am

Blue Goose of St. Charles, Illinois

There’s an Italian mobster that lives up the street from me. He looks Italian but maybe he’s Greek. I’ve never talked to him but we’ve exchanged waves at the communal mailbox. I have a theory that he’s in the witness protection program although I don’t have proof to back that up. After seeing him mow his lawn I suspect he doesn’t like egg noodles and ketchup.

His daughter is Egyptian. Well, one year for Halloween she was dressed up as a pharaoh so I doesn’t I don’t know if that actually qualifies her as being a true Egyptian.

Anyway, this morning we both left for work at roughly the same time. He followed me out of our neighborhood, down Division Street, up along the Fox River, across the Prairie Street bridge, and then… He turned north on 1st Street toward Blue Goose[1] and I continued west on Prairie.

During our minor caravan I thought for sure he was tailing me. He probably was. Maybe there’s a hit out on me, I don’t know. Maybe he wanted to wait until we were side-by-side and then give me a manila envelope with crop forecasts for orange juice.

But he didn’t.

And that avid readers, is the end of the story.

Ye old anti-climatic climax.

But wait, the real story is that sometimes we can be going down a certain path, have a good feeling that something extraordinary is about to happen. And then the story ends. That lottery ticket ends up in the trash with all the others. We don’t get a leg up on the frozen OJ market and live out our lives on a tropical beach.

Okay fine, I can get sucked into the “what I have is not enough” and more[2] as much as the next Clarence Beeks or that there’s something missing and only if I could get the right hair cut then I’ll be truly blessed.

However, to be truly and fundamentally happy in this very moment, we’ll never go wrong with simply appreciating what we have. Plus, we can always take action to make things happen rather than plodding along waiting for the universe to hand us our next winning lottery ticket.

When I do win the cosmic lottery it feels unlike anything else, the clouds have parted and the heavens rain magic down upon me. Flashy, life changing miracles only make me want more of them. They promote the good feeling that there’s something more to life than just “this.” But really, enjoying the simple miracle of what’s right in front of me pays overall higher dividends. It’s sustainable, too, something I can do every day regardless if I’m driving to work or tying my shoes. Granted, driving the same route to work can get more than mundane and maybe that’s why I tend to day dream.

But my point is that it’s not very often our cosmic path takes a life changing turn. Life just continues on as it always has and we’re only left with what we’ve always had. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes our courses don’t need corrected. What we have now is enough.[3]

In related news, on my way to work the only parking lot I see that’s consistently plowed is the liquor store on the corner of Prairie and 14th Street. Your call if that’s fortuity.

#advancedsoul #missedconnections #bluegoose

  1. Somehow Blue Goose generally works its way into my local stories. I don’t know why. It’s not on purpose as I don’t have a paid shoutout gig with the neighborhood grocery store. Maybe it’s simply because it’s the friendliest store in town.

  2. As an example: Doing more, more, more

  3. Or is it? Who doesn’t want a fairy tale?

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Feb 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I don’t get the Clarence Beeks reference. I googled him and remember the character but I don’t understand his significance.

tcr! tcr! · Feb 19, 2018 at 1:28 pm

In Trading Places, Clarence was the guy giving the orange crop forecast to Winthorpe and Valentine in the dark parking garage. It was a covert operation of course. His character was also always in it for himself.

tcr! tcr! · Feb 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Okay, referencing Beeks was a bit of a stretch. 😊

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