Tag Archives: autobiography

Glad I shared a Smile that day…

Two people now have told me that this shared smile (during the 14 months I worked in Turkey) was indeed a contribution to society, even though no monetary exchange and no formal recognition was involved. Time to readjust my thinking on what makes a contribution to society, and my ability to contribute (more compassion for self and others allows greater contribution)…

Read, Write,Dream, Teach !      –ShiraDest
19th of August, 12016 HE

update: 27 June, 12017 HE -now even more glad I shared that nod of the head, and with a new resume focusing on Public Policy looking for ways to make the world a better place more than just one person at a time, to boot! JonesPolicyResumePublic

Media, Art, Lit. and Policy can foster Community Cooperation

Short story: glad I smiled at someone I did not know -who thanked me, and made me grateful to be alive, back in 2005. And also today.

Less short version of the story:
Ok, so after a useless day yesterday of only 1100 words written, and desperate fears of 8 more days zero, (I have another 10k words to write), I was reflecting on the use, or lack thereof, of my life.
moving morose meditation on beauty to bottom…

When I lived in Izmir, that summer I took long walks on Saturday afternoons. I had the habit of smiling, or at least nodding, to every person I saw because frankly, I hoped someone would smile or nod back at me. At least acknowledge me as a fellow human being, as I tried to do, even passing the homeless people lining the streets as you go into the Metro (DC).

So…

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Groups to join as Coping and Family-building measure

Personally, I have a high need for connection with others.  In order to avoid burning out my nearest and dearest, I’ve decided that finding groups that share my values may help diffuse some of that pressure on my supporters.  So, I personally want to find:

  1. A progressive chavurah, shul, temple or synagogue to join, and a Women’s Mosque as well, if there are any lady Imam or leaders around (there was one in Ankara back in 2005…)
  2.  A Quaker (Friends) Monthly Meeting to join and stand silent Peace Vigil with,
  3.   Greek or Balkan or other international folk dance,
  4.  a walk-run marathon group
  5.  a public library-based book or reading club
  6. A public library based writer’s critique group
  7. an NVC and also maybe Literacy Volunteering group (and give blood).

 Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
24 March, 12016 HE

AbuelaVida: project GrandmothersLives

 

por haber compartido mi idea de poner en cada biblioteca la historia de cada familia, sobre todo de cada BisAbuela y TatarAbuela, del lugar.
Many thanks to BI Cuadrado Alvarez for sharing my idea to put the history of every local family, especially of every Great Grandmother and GrGreat Grandmother, in every public library.

ShiraDest
7 enero, 12016 EH

Neville Longbottom and Harry as kids with PTSD?

It is interesting to see how different cultures hide the mistreatment of kids.  The Brits seem to be a bit more up front about it, but also more harsh than say, Turks, who adore children.

I am being lazy and re-reading HP2 to work on my Turkish reading, instead of continuing to slog through something by Orhan Pamuk, because I am just too tired (and I am starting to hit words like bequeath while watching my favorite family TV show of all time: My Magical Mother! (Sihirli Annem!) so it really is time to get back to some reading to keep up my Turkish.

But back to Nevile -I identified with him immediately: I was the one walking into walls in Middle School, forgetting everything, and being told to come down out of the clouds.  Now I know (and we see in later books with Neville) that these are symptoms of childhood PTSD, which presents differently than with adults.

So please, for the love of God, Humanity, Children and the Human Race, or at least for the love of the planet and the potential creativity of the human race, please look out for such signs in kids and try to understand and help them rather than yelling at them.  Don’t let them turn into Invisible Children, or worse.

 

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest
5th of December, 12015  HE

What I learned from NaNoWriMo about Writing and Depression

My second practice novel actually started on Wattpad , but much easier to track the deadline on the NaNoWriMo2015 website, has taught me several things about managing Depression (or PTSD -> anger->depression, sort of…).

First: Making a deadline feels good, even if it is Just/Only YOUR deadline. You DID it.
Second: Physical activity every day, like running  or dance, etc, is, at least for me, imperative (and also read, and have a sun lamp).
Third: Making a deadline a second time, better than you did the first time, proves you can repeat the feat, thus showing discipline and perseverance. This makes me feel like less of a waste of oxygen, provided I can find a way to use that to help other folks.
Fourth:
Writing 1.) When writing your first/second/fifth practice novel, be sure to have a physical workout routine, preferably involving boxing gloves, AND several people to talk to about all of the crap your writing will drag out of you.

(Remember NOT to use the gloves on the people…)

Writing 2.) For me, at least, plan the ending first…
Writing 3.) Plan setting, time and weather for each scene, not just the plot!!
Writing 4.) Outline by scene, not by # of words (I outlined by 300wds, which ended up driving me nuts toward the end…)
Writing 5.) Do not write a chapter per file, it is a formatting nightmare to insert 18 files (one for each chapter) into one ‘book’ file on an exhausted day 28!
Writing 6.) Lay out the chapter plan on one large calendar in the same notebook (if at all possible) as the planning notebook (and resist the temptation to plan each chapter on small scraps of paper!! You cannot believe the number of scraps I now have floating around…).
7.) Start on day one, and don’t punish yourself for not planning ahead. A planner is not a pantser, and you will feel annoyed if try to write stream-of-consciousness just because you have 2000 words to finish That Day.

Better to take the day to plan out the next two scenes and write them the next day, at least for me.

I found that when I knew the time of day and year and weather as well as what the MC was supposed to do in the next couple of scenes, I could just imagine the flow and zap, 2000 words came out of no where (I did NOT say 2000 Good Words, but that is for the next 3 or 4 re-writes!!!).

and the real

Writing 7.) Set a new notebook aside for the 30-Day 50k challenge, because it will turn into at least a year, and probably 80k words. Before it goes back down to 60k again.

🙂

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest
29 November 12015 HE

Shira

Remember Patty Hearst, anyone?

Sorry, not to defend them in any way shape or form, but terrorists are not all psychopaths.  This is a crucial distinction to make because most of those kids who blew themselves up recently were brainwashed, just like Patricia Hearst, just like the people in Waco, TX, and just like the 600 followers of Jim Jones.    They were all people who felt, maybe felt too much, even had compassion, and got that compassion used against them because they did not know how to ask questions and keep asking where the answers to those questions came from.  Just like when I was in a cult group.

First they love-bomb you, half a dozen bear hugs from people you do not know, and the leader and sub-leaders welcoming you with open arms into the family.  Kind of like the military, only generally fewer push-ups.  But just as much peer-bonding, belonging, and then starts the real pressure.  You help convert others to believing because you care about them, you want to save them from suffering, and in any case, a better life awaits them on the other side.  So almost no matter what you do TO the non-believer, you are actually doing FOR that person’s own good, whether they know/accept it or not.   This is USING a vulnerable believers Compassion against him/her, to obtain compliance and even active support when that person (who is neither a leader, sub-leader, nor even a psychopath) is made to feel guilty for not helpping the non-believers -help being defined as the leader defines it.  Pamphlets, tracts, harrasment, stalking, forced-conversions, exorcisms, even torture or killing are all justified by the leader as better-for-the-non-believers-and-you-as-a-True-Believer are A BAD Believer if you do not Help these unbelievers in The Way that the leader tells you to.  No Questions Asked.

And yes, I speak from experience.  Fortunately, I started having panic attacks when I could no longer swallow what my cult leader said, and left, but it still took my months to get out, and years to understand what had happened.  And that was with help!  These kids indoctrinated by DAESCH are being brainwashed in a similar way, and they also feel isolated, or they would not have been attracted to DAESCH/ISIS, which is essentially a very large, very well-organised and very sophisticated and yet still manipulative cult group.

So please, when The Canard enchaîné (p. 8 yesterday, 25.11.2015) says that Gerhard Roth in Brême is reporting a psyopath gene in an article on terrorism, please remember that the majority of terrorist foot soldiers are only dupes, manipulated to pull the trigger, and in need of help, not just tracking and certainly not torture.  It was the torture in Abu Garib and other American prisons that created this in the first place, remember (cannot find the show that re-aired on France television last week, but it showed all the top guys having met and ‘hardened’ in the big US prison in Iraq…).

Remember that Eisenhower ended segregation for similar reasons -to deprive Japan of potential progaganda against the US, which is what the terrorist leaders are now using to convert western kids into their pawns.

 

Bottom line, we need to walk our talk as a society and take care of the most vulnerable so that there is less to use against us.  We need to feed our hungry, clothe our naked, and comfort our sick.  Educating our folks for free would be even better, so they can ask the right questions, and create the cooperative jobs that will give us true democracy and equality.

Backk to trying to write 2200 words of climtic chapter, ughghhh…

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest

26 November 12015 HE

Thankful for… and A Little Help wThis IDentity Thing, pls?

The problem with thinking is that you start to ruminate, and that’s not good when a tractor comes by!   Today at least I got to finish my morning run before I started seriously ruminating.  (Kind of like the cows, but less smelly, I hope.)

But then I started, and Lo and Behold, my only good childhood memory came for a visit: Grandma Marie!

I must admit that I am thankful for my (adoptive) Great Grandmother, who taught me to fry chicken, to read, to write, and that “Cookin Lasts, Kissin Don’t.”

But the oddest part is that today I feel guilty for not dealing with my whole family of origin thing.  Not finishing my reading for the Latino Slaves research I started after looking up my 5xGr grandfather Miles Manzilla, for the WikiTree Slavery Project which, btw desperately needs someone to take it over, if anyone has time to volunteer (no, WikiTree is not perfect, but it is more open than others, and claims to want to build a Worldwide Family Tree).

And how do you figure out who you are, anyway?  My half-written climactic chapter  (which I need to finish by writing 3100 words Today -gack!!) is driving me crazy because the nutcase mixed-trying-to-escape-her-origins Protagonist  can’t decide between her origins and her husband’s culture.
Oh, and I haven’t eaten -probably explains that ‘burning from within’ in my stomach, and visions of cows becoming steak!! (sorry, cows, and Mr. Farmer neighbor…).
Ok, enough rumminating, sorry to have bored you guys, but I hope you all at least got a little laugh!

In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,
ShiraDest

26 November 12015 HE

Glad I shared a Smile that day…

Short story: glad I smiled at someone I did not know -who thanked me, and made me grateful to be alive, back in 2005. And also today.

Less short version of the story:
Ok, so after a useless day yesterday of only 1100 words written, and desperate fears of 8 more days zero, (I have another 10k words to write), I was reflecting on the use, or lack thereof, of my life.
moving morose meditation on beauty to bottom…

When I lived in Izmir, that summer I took long walks on Saturday afternoons. I had the habit of smiling, or at least nodding, to every person I saw because frankly, I hoped someone would smile or nod back at me. At least acknowledge me as a fellow human being, as I tried to do, even passing the homeless people lining the streets as you go into the Metro (DC).

So, I nodded at a lady in passing, never met her, just kept going because I was too tired to say Gunaydin (Good Morning/afternoon in Turkish), and my Turkish was only rudimentary any way.
Then I heard a call behind me. I turned to see that woman walking back toward me, and her eyes were glistening.
She put her hand on my chest, nothing scary, nothing sexual, just an ordinary safe contact, and said, in very simple Turkish that was clear and slow, that in five years in Izmir, no one had every greeted her. She thanked me, and I nodded in return, too moved to get out even one word of Turkish. We both turned and went our own ways. And now, over ten years later, I am glad that I smiled at a random person whom I had never met, and never saw again.
I hope that I can share that joy with …
Everyone.

On the uselessness of being beautiful:
I have always hated being called pretty, beautiful, fine, foxy, etc, and being thanked for existing by some guy who apparently thought I was the equivalent of a painting on the wall for him to admire. well, not so useful. But when YOU (any of you, dear readers!!) smile, you too are beautiful, no matter what you look like. You are beautiful, and USEFUL, when you smile at another human being just to acknowledge that he (or she) too, exists, and is worthy of recognition as a human being.
Smiles, (2000 more words to go, it is 3:30pm -aghh!!)
Shira
24 November, 12015 HE

19.2.12016 edit via old LJ post from 2008-11-28 00:19:00

“kalbin temizmis”

“Feeling very grateful recalling a friend telling me ‘my heart must be pure’ to have found her just when I needed her, to help another friend with a CV.

Feeling grateful for the lady in Izmir who expressed such appreciation for a simple greeting in the street, and the other lady in Izmir who told me that our half hour conversation on life (in Turkish) was worth more than any English lesson.
Grateful for those whom I have helped, and for those who help me, for my dostumlar, my truest and closest friends, who really are family for me.
May I always remember your love, and love you all in return."

(STILL grateful!!  :-)  Peace, ...)

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
19 February, 12016 HE

Why we should be doing Tai Chi (and training pigeons) in the Parks

First of all, it gives us something in common with our future conquerors, ok just kidding!!

First of all, it is a Free way to socialize in a non-superficial way.
Second, it is physically and mentally health-full (free) activity.
Third, it teaches part of the skills needed for physical self-defense.
and
Fourth, it teaches moving meditation, needed for emotional self-defense.

Did I mention that being together thing, next to other folks of all ages, especially those older folks, who know how to do it all best for having done it for years?
And did I mention the FREE thing, as in spend no money, just move slowly in the public park?

1. If the first point needs explaining, please let me know.

2. I think everyone knows the health benefits of Tai Chi.

3. Many people may not know that this Soft side complement of Chinese Kung Fu is required by many instructors, like my own Shi Fu, in addition to the so called hard side, the fast Kung Fu. The same blocks and attacks or counter-attacks are used, but as slowly as possible, forcing you to develop your balance and stong muscle coordination.
4. On emotional self-defense, of which I believe meditation is an important part, having the strength of sternum to straighten your back and say “I Refuse” to a big drunk guy can often come from your memory of many expensive Tai Chi lessons after those expensive Kung Fu lessons. Worked for me. Again, ask for details if interested, please.
Ok, time to make dinner, too bad the baby lima beans I remember as a kid no longer seem to be around. Oh well, just have to train those pigeons to go fetch some decent corn and beans. Oh, no more carrier pigeons either. What, did Tom poison them all?
Peace,
In Solidarity with All Kind People,
Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

ShiraDest

21 November, 12015 HE

Writing a novella feels like playing Frida Kahlo, frighteningly enough…

Now I know why I avoid writing. And Frida’s story.
People came up to me after every production of that play to tell me how amazed they were, how I looked like the splitting image of Frida, and was I Mexican or Mestisa. Well, yes, as an African American of light skin with Cherokee blood, yes, I am technically a mestisa. And the splitting was happening in my own head (maybe more afa my roommates were concerned).
It’s not just to be more practical, find paying work, mend the shirts and weave a few more belts to give as birthday and holiday gifts. Those are all ‘legitimate’ reasons to avoid my writing, but I know deep down why I avoid it. Just as much as why I am compelled to write, anyway. On chapter 9 of my 50k word story, I feel the same pain, but emotionally mostly, that I felt when I played Fridah Kahlo in a community theatre for a few months. And I didn’t even have a speaking part. I just danced with furniture and la-la-lahed a bit. Nevertheless, by the end of the 6 week run, I was having back aches and depressions that made my roommates ask if acting was not a bad idea, and whether I had multiple personality disorder (sorry, now they call it Dissociative Disorder, which actually is more acurate…). And I had to ask if they were right.
Writing this damneable novella makes me feel like I am right back there, stomach cramps and all, and it is liberating yet terrifying at the same time. Can I now face what I was not strong enough to face then, and do it in a way that is not too terrible for others to read, even others who have not lived through such things? Can I write a book that other folks will actually want to read, yet taht will move them so that they can understand the perspective of someone who grew up in various types of pain, and more importantly, so that they will be moved to want to learn more about how to help all of our society, by learning how to help all of us work through our individual and collective pain and help each human being reach his or her full creative potential? Can I overcome my own fear to even get to a place to really really want to do that, and then, can I do it?
Thanks for reading this, and even more thanks my friends, if you can add your pebble to building the new edifice that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr spoke of, when he said that the structure that produces poverty needs to be rebuilt.
Here’s to rebuilding, pebble by pebble,
let our mourning not be in vain,
Peace,
Shira
16.11.12015 HE