Definitions You Know: Powerless

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Mental

As I mentioned in my last post, I have started therapy. One common thread in the sessions to date relates to my near constant feelings of guilt. I don’t know if it is how I was raised (Catholic, middle child/diplomat), the example set by my Mom (she could fix nearly any situation or problem, if you would just shut up and listen to her) or if it is just *me*, but I feel more guilt in a day than I can count. I actually did try to count one night last week, and had four rushes of guilt in an hour. And this was just light-hearted and fun conversation, not an argument or conflict in any way. There were just things that I wanted to do for loved ones, fix for them, surprise them with, things like that. And I felt guilty because I hadn’t or was unable to make these things happen for them.

When I mentioned this to my therapist yesterday, she assigned me homework that goes against everything I understand and know.  I have to remind myself throughout the day (and every time I feel guilt) that
“I am powerless in fixing things for other people. I can not fix any person, place or situation. I can be present for them to lend support, I can do acts of kindness, I can do fund-raising and any other efforts or attempts to help. But I can not fix it.”

It is completely logical and reasonable, yet it is a string of words that may as well be in a foreign language since I am unable to truly understand and accept it and make it a part of my inner monologue. I have it written on paper and have to constantly re-read it because I can’t memorize it. It is like memorizing a speech in an alien tongue, and will take time. And it doesn’t mean DON’T try to help people. It is simply meant to be a reminder that it is not in my control how much sadness or hardship others have in their life.

I currently have a lot of guilt in not being able to fix problems for a loved one that is weighing on me heavily. I have done a lot, and more than some have told me I should. And it’s entirely due to actions of said loved one, no victim of circumstance there. I am happy to say that I am making a huge difference in a tangential issue as a result of the person’s actions. And I take joy from the impact my husband and I are making on the life of this innocent victim. But… it’s not enough. I feel compelled to fix the whole thing and have been trapped for months in a pit of uselessness and guilt because of my inability to do so. I have literally done everything I can, and it is not enough. Not for me, and not for the person that got themself into this situation. In spite of it being all I can do, I am spiritually crushed under the weight of the guilt.

So I’m going back to the dictionary to re-learn this word. It seems to be at the core of my guilt, and if not, then it is at least a great place to start.

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pow·er·less

From dictionary.com

[pou-er-lis]

adjective

1. unable to produce an effect: a disease against which modern medicine is virtually powerless.
2. lacking power  to act; helpless: His legs crumpled, and he was powerless to rise.
Origin:
1545–55; power  + -less

Related forms
pow·er·less·ly, adverb
pow·er·less·ness, noun

Synonyms
1.  ineffective.
2.  feeble, impotent, prostrate, infirm.

Definitions You Know: Sycophant

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know

This is a word I’ve read several times during my life, but never bothered to look it up. The context certainly proved to be accurate against the actual definition. As for sycophants themselves, luckily they’re pretty easy to spot, if you think to look.

syc·o·phant

From dictionary.com

/ˈsɪkəfənt, -ˌfænt, ˈsaɪkə-/

–noun
a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.
From the World Dictionary:
a person who uses flattery to win favour from individuals wielding influence; toady.
1537 (in L. form sycophanta ), “informer, talebearer, slanderer,” from L. sycophanta,  from Gk. sykophantes,  originally “one who shows the fig,” from sykon  “fig” + phanein  “to show.” “Showing the fig” was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between two fingers, a display which vaguely resembles a fig, itself symbolic of a c**t (sykon  also meant “vulva”). The story goes that prominent politicians in ancient Greece held aloof from such inflammatory gestures, but privately urged their followers to taunt their opponents. The sense of “mean, servile flatterer” is first recorded in Eng. 1575.
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**Yes, the “c” word. I thought the story entertaining, but removed the word that so many find offensive.

Definitions You Know: Family

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Family, Firsts, No Whining, Soulful

My niece, her husband, her almost 3 year old son and 1 month old daughter are visiting from out of state. We’re hosting a celebration/baby shower for Baby M and a Welcome Home visit for the rest of them and another niece arriving today. None of these definitions exactly fit our relationship, as she and her sister are the daughters of my brother’s ex-wife. We have no blood or matrimonial bond, but try and tell me Baby M’s not family as I hold the sweet bundle in my arms and I’ll have to put a serious smack down on you.

As dear friend Heather Welliver says, “There’s the family you’re born into, and then there’s the family you create.” And we long ago accepted these girls into our hearts, where they remain regardless of the legal and blood-lines dictate.

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fam·i·ly

/ˈfæməli, ˈfæmli/

–noun 

  • a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family;
  • a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for: a single-parent family;
  • the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family;
  • the spouse and children of one person: We’re taking the family on vacation next week;
  • any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family;
  • all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor;
  • Chiefly British . approved lineage, especially noble, titled, famous, or wealthy ancestry: young men of family;
  • a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants;
  • the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family;
  • a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen family of elements;
  • a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes of the sixties regarded themselves as families;
  • a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or producer;
  • Biology . the usual major subdivision of an order or suborder in the classification of plants, animals, fungi, etc., usually consisting of several genera;
  • Slang . a unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local leader;
  • Linguistics . the largest category into which languages related by common origin can be classified with certainty: Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and Austronesian are the most widely spoken families of languages. Compare stock ( def. 12 ) , subfamily ( def. 2 );
  • Mathematics
    • a given class of solutions of the same basic equation, differing from one another only by the different values assigned to the constants in the equation.
    • a class of functions or the like defined by an expression containing a parameter.
    • a set.
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Definitions You Know: Patience

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, No Whining, Podcast, TV

I’ve always known that I’m an impatient gal. I hate waiting on people. I hate waiting on things. I even hate waiting to get somewhere and will leave extra early to make sure the drive doesn’t delay me from what I’m doing. And I get anxious from the anticipation and have to fight to keep my expectations from growing beyond possible reality. I’m even impatient for something I didn’t even want.

Game of Thrones, the first book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, was picked up by HBO for a new series. I was infuriated, even though I think that HBO does a fine job with their original programming. I railed against the idea that any could be so presumptuous as to try and bring what lived in the pages of his books and my imagination into some tangible experience. I knew it would fail to live up to even HALF what the series represents to me. Then I started seeing the casting, and I started to get excited. Over the months, my excitement has continued to grow to see if they can, in fact, pull it off.

In this and many other things going on in my life right now, I’m spending a lot of time learning patience. It’s about time, but is torturous nonetheless. Two weeks ago, HBO aired the first 15 minutes of the first episode as a special sneak preview and we watched it. I only have one more day to go, and my patience will be rewarded.

Who else will be happily watching the debut tomorrow night? HBO means no commercials and no need for a buffer to skip through them. Come back and tell me what you thought of it, if the mood strikes you.

pa·tience

[pey-shuhns]

–noun 

  1. the quality of being patient,  as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
  4. Cards (chiefly British ) . solitaire ( def. 1 ) .
  5. Also called patience dock . a European dock, Rumex patientia,  of the buckwheat family, whose leaves are often used as a vegetable.

Obsolete:  leave; permission; sufference.

Origin:

1175–1225; Middle English pacience  < Old French  < Latin patientia. See patient, -ence.
And if the mood strikes, check out the new podcast that my husband and I are on from SpecFicMedia, Beyond The Wall – A Game of Thrones Podcast.
I promise, the audio will be vastly improved on the next episode. And promise I’m not a cylon. Pinky swear.

Definitions You Know: Purify

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Health, Soulful

pu·ri·fy

/ˈpyʊərəˌfaɪ/

–verb (used with object) 

  • to make pure; free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates: to purify metals.
  • to free from foreign, extraneous, or objectionable elements: to purify a language.
  • to free from guilt or evil.
  • to clear or purge (usually followed by of  or from ).
  • to make clean for ceremonial or ritual use.

–verb (used without object)

  • to become pure.

I spent Tuesday through Thursday doing a lot of driving, starting with an acquisition for my fledgling business. I also saw friends along the way, and enjoyed my time with them immensely. But there were situations along the way that troubled me, because I hate seeing people I love struggle. It’s especially troubling when I am helpless and unable to take their troubles away.

Last night, a recent but very dear friend sensed this in me and cleared my energy with a sage smudging. While it made none of the problems go away, I felt relaxed, loved, lifted and able to continue on.

Now, before you crap on this post about how it’s malarkey and that a loving and spiritual woman waving burning sage around me doesn’t help anything, keep in mind it is my blog. And I felt a difference, which is all that matters to me.

Happy Weekend, may you enjoy it in good health!

Definitions You Know: Steampunk

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Sci Fi

If you haven’t heard this term, then you’ve not been online in any way, shape or form for several years. While the aesthetic has been around since long before, the surge of interest in recent years has made it impossible to miss.

Steam·punk

“a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power; also written steam-punk.”

I think this dictionary.com entry leaves a lot out of what is believed to be steampunk, but gets to its core. Another definition rounds out the genre/aesthetic as I understand it.

“An imaginary Victorian age, that features brass and copper clockwork and steampowered inventions that go far beyond 1800′s technology. Steam powered mechanical wonders, optimistic gear driven computers, dirigibles, clockwork firsts, and stuff like that. (But don’t forget the goggles.)

Well, something like that, anyway. Think Jules Verne.”
~From Monster Commute by Steam Cow

Brace yourselves, kittens. It looks like it’s here to stay.

And do be careful, because you can get nasty burns from steam.

 

Exquisite Photo by Kyle Cassidy of Liza James and Jared Axelrod in Steampunk Attire, featured in the Wikipedia article for "Steampunk". Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

I highly recommend you peruse Kyle Cassidy’s other fascinating works, so please visit his web site.

Definitions You Know: Hypocrisy

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

As I mentioned with the start of the  Rules of Etiquette series, there is a second series that I want to start posting. It will simply gives definitions for unusual words. The impetus was my WordFeud obsession (pre-Words with Friends for the Droid market, and still my favorite of the two). There will be plenty of those, but not all will be word game useful because I decided to also share definitions of words that are commonly misused or misunderstood.

Like the Rules of Etiquette posts, I may or may not detail beyond the definition, depending on my mood.

For the first in the series, I’m choosing a word that nearly everyone I know, including myself, has been guilty of at one point or another in their life.

Photo by Susan Z. Click on the photo to go to her Flickr stream.

hy·poc·ri·sy

  1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
  2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
  3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.

I think it’s possible that in this society, it’s necessary to build oneself up or conceal desires from others because many of us live our lives publicly, either in social media or in meat space interactions. And like most, I don’t always recognize when I’m doing it. When I do, I admit to myself and others when I discover I’m being hypocritical, and work hard to put an end to it.

At this point in my life, I’m struggling with putting aside others’ opinions of me and embracing who I am, so-called warts and all. I’m hoping to shed most, if not all hypocrisy in my life because it is such a waste of time and energy.

Anyone else willing to admit to an instance of their own hypocrisy? You don’t have to give details. Just admitting it is a huge step, in my book.