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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » Briefly - the 1000th-plus post landmark

   
Author Topic: Briefly - the 1000th-plus post landmark
Shan
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Having been born to a woman that did not expect three days of arduous labor, nor an undersized, squalling, colicky baby, my welcome into the world was perhaps a little less warm than might have been expected.

My father celebrated in fine style, I am told, with a bag of grade A weed and Led Zepellin's newest album. This predilection for the finer points of a declining era led to my early months being spent in the Haight Ashbury. (Pity I can't recall those days.) Apparently, it also led to a quick divorce and my mother hauling a still sickly, squalling, needy infant back to her own mother's home. An infant that somehow was to blame for the wreck of a young woman's life, dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Ah, such are the things young love is made of.

My early memories consist of many inauspicious moments. Suffice to say that civility was not highly rated in my family, nor were children treated as human beings deserving of respect and care. Children were tiresome burdens - objects of derision and scorn at best, for taking out anger and lust on at worst. Within the four walls, life was fearsome - in public eminently respectable. A quieter elephant never walked the face of living rooms . . .

But enough misery.

What were the finer points? What were the life-giving elements that sustained me? Good question!

A love of reading. Books are a powerful drug. I read everything I could get my hands on. Tolkien's works held as much fascination for me as Louis L'Amour, the Brontes, or Richard Adams.

Music provided another escape. Listening. Singing. Learning to play the piano, the drums, the guitar, renaissance period instruments.

Art. Sketching and painting. Pencil, pastel, oils, watercolors.

Nature. Outdoors. Physical activity. When the inevitable urges to let go of life altogether grew overwhelming, I could escape outdoors and if lucky find some sort of solace.

What I find interesting is that as adulthood has gathered ever more tightly around me, I do less and less of those things that I clung to as a child. There simply isn't time to sit in a corner and ponder the exact words and phrase for my latest poem. And I don't know what to write about anymore, anyway. I come home from work and set to the demands of the second shift (mommy-tasks, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, arranging medical/dental/tutoring/car repairs . . . ) ignoring my piano, my guitar, my recorder. I haven't sketched a picture in years nor have I painted.

But perhaps these gifts have simply grown in a different direction? Being a mother takes great energy and creativity. There is no time for other things - and I have "no room of my own" anyhow. For some time, I cherished the volunteer activities I participated in - and discovered numerous gifts and talents for serving poeple in need. But this palls now, too.

I find that I am stuck in some sort of netherland, where I am not sure of how best to use the lessons learned in the past nor yet sure of how to move forward in my life. I suppose a hundred years ago, this would be called a mid-life crisis. But I am only 34. And I have many years to go. Theoretically.

Mostly anymore, I am just tired. I have lived a life that constantly rode the edge. I have a body that was primed to live in fight or flight mode from early on. It takes its' toll.

I have worked hard to learn to "relax", to "be calm", to "invite health and harmony" into my life - through therapy, drugs, meditation, physical activity/discipline, religion, and numerous other approaches. Nothing seems to particularly work so I inevitably circle back around to the "muddling through, day by day" that most humans seem to experience. Which is quite a lesson in and of itself - one that gives me no small amount of hope. Most humans struggle with these issues. I am not alone.

And perhaps that is the most that anyone can hope for - to have companionship during the journey.

Well, brevity is the soul of wit and in that I have failed. My apologies for such a lengthy post. Like other landmarks I have read, I have considered this for some time - whether to write one or not and if so what to say and how to say it . . . and this evening just seemed like the appropriate time to put some words and thoughts down for the people that have so freely shared with me for the last year or so. My gratitude to you all and to the Cards for providing a place to go when all other doors seem closed.

[ December 29, 2003, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: Shan ]

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Annie
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Thank you so much for sharing that, Shan! I really appreciated your thoughts.

And I appreciate your honesty on being a woman in this crazy life. It's always a challenge, isn't it? My mom once answered to an old art school friend who asked what media she'd been working in recently, "For the last few years I've been working in living flesh." [Smile] I admire mom-artists most of all.

*hugs* Thanks so much for sharing!

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mackillian
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[Smile] [Smile] [Smile]
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Dan_raven
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Thanks.

And you succeeded in brevity, quite well, summing up your entire life in a few too short paragraphs. I do feel that I know you a little better now, and that knowing you a little better is a good thing.

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JonnyNotSoBravo
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Wow Shan! This post certainly added more depth and character to the Shan SN I already know. Your landmark post was really interesting and I look forward to future ones that reveal a bit more of yourself each time!
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Narnia
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[Kiss] Thanks for being here dear. You serve to enrich all of our lives and I know that throughout the rest of your life, you will have more opportunities to use all of your many beautiful talents. I admire that you're a good mom and that you take that responsibility seriously. [Smile] We love you!!
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Shan
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quote:
"For the last few years I've been working in living flesh."
I love that, Annie!

Hugs to all of ya -

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rivka
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Thanks for sharing yourself with us, Shan. And thanks for being an important part of Hatrack.

Congrats on 1000+, and best wishes for 1000s more.

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ginette
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I recognized a lot in your post Shan, especially where you say that you have learned to calm down etc. There is indeed a difference between let's say having a headache and acting as if it doesn't bother you and not having a headache that bothers you.
Yes, living in constant flight or fight does take its toll.

'Stuck in some sort of netherland': I never saw or heard the word 'netherland' used in this way before. Made me laugh, being stuck in The Netherlands [Big Grin] .

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Bob_Scopatz
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Great post Shan. Thanks for giving us 1000+ of yourself.

[Hat]

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Shan
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Why, you're quite welcome, Bob!

(Where's the curtsey smiley?)

[Smile]

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BannaOj
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Ooooh I missed this since I wasn't online yesterday. Great landmark Shan!

Don't know if we can ever kill our elephants but at least coping with them gets easier at tims.

AJ

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Anna
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(((Shan)))
You're a wonderfull person. Congrats on 1000th !

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Shan
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How hard was doing a landmark for other folks? It actually felt agonizing trying to piece it together in a way that felt okay, but it also felt good to have it done. I mean, it felt very timely - not just "hashing" out of here is what the lifestory is, but useful in the sense of "here's what I am struggling with/pondering in my life right now." Which was good. For me, anyhow - what about others? How has this gone for you?
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Shan
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No volunteers of experience????? Hmmm. Oh well - I'm probably just nuts. [Big Grin]

Seriously, what has doing a landmark been like for others? Interestingly enough, my mind has continued to toy with some of the ideas I was able to write down and as I contemplated the "hollowness" in my life, and the fact that parenting just doesn't some to fill all the needs anymore, I had to really start looking at who I am and where I am going in my life. It's been good food for thought - I don't remember who statrted landmarks, but I think they can be a great tool of self-exploration, not just a self-introduction.

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Icarus
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Moose started the tradition as we know it.

-o-

Beautiful post. Thanks for bumping it so I didn't have to look too hard! [Smile]

You have a real way with words. In this post, you have a poetic style I hadn't noticed before. It felt like I was reading a work of art. Needless to say, I found it very moving.

I'm so glad you found Hatrack. I always enjoy reading your posts (even when we argue!), and I'm glad you decided to stay!

I don't agree with Annie that what you are describing is unique to being a woman. I can very much identify with coming home from my job to face a whole new set of domestic demands, and wishing for more time for the appreciation and creation of art that make me happiest. I don't have any real insight on that, except that we have to steal those moments where we can, and make the most of them.

(((Shan)))

As far as your last question. I was very scared, because my landmark was very personal and dark. I literally spent twenty minutes or so debating before hitting submit. My heart beat like mad while I wrote it and again while I waited to submit, and again while I waited for the initial response. Overall, the response was positive, though, and I was glad to have faced some fears in exposing my vulnerabilities. I felt like I grew because of it. I do think there were some people who felt that what I shared was more than they really wanted to know, and who became uncomfortable in interacting with me afterward. But the majority of the experience was very positive.

I posted after about a year on Hatrack, in which I immediately found a lot of kindred spirits and a kind of virtual home. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who posted around then have left or drastically cut down their posting, so while I have four thousand more posts now, I feel much more like a stranger now than I did then.

I'm feeling a different kind of stress now because I'm creeping ever closer to five-thousand, and I thought I would like to write a special landmark for that number. But it's different. There's no more vulnerability to fear; instead it's more of a pressure . . . what do I do now? Not necessarily to top it, but just to feel like a landmark. I know I don't want it to be as dark as my first landmark was.

I definitely agree that they're a great opportunity for self-exploration.

Anyway, congratulations, and hope you stick around for a long time . . . at least as long as I'm around! [Big Grin]

[ January 08, 2004, 11:55 PM: Message edited by: Icarus ]

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