Mental Wellness

Today Is the Deadline

I’m quaking in my boots. Monday, 22 February by the end of the day is the deadline my manuscript editor set for herself to finish writing comments on my memoir. I hired her to proof my work before I send it out to agents as I look for representation. She is the fourth person to read Supergringa in Spain: A Coming of Age Memoir. What parts will she like? What should I cut? Is there a story I kept repeating?

Supergringa is the story of how living in another country for four months when I was 20 was a watershed for me. What I learned there is the cornerstone of who I am today. My time in Spain tested my values, revealed my culture and spotlighted US history.

Three things I learned that stuck with me:

  • I can travel alone, which surprised me.
  • I can rely on myself. That was a great confidence-building lesson to learn.
  • I can recover from mistakes.

If you’d like to know more, please click on the links below to my Fake Flamenco website. Thanks!

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Mental Wellness

Of -15C and Other Excuses…

I haven’t gone for a walk outside yet today. Today in Madison we have a temperature of 5F. I like how cold temperatures sound even more dramatic in Celsius. Five doesn’t sound warm by any stretch of the imagination, but saying -15C makes me shiver.

My favorite is the point where the two scales merge, at -40 C and F are equal. How do I know this? When I grew up in Minnesota, a week of -40 temperatures happened Every January. From experience, I found it’s a question of layers; at least three. The exterior layer is a parka or snow pants and knee high boots.

In college, I’d wait for the bus in those -40F temperatures. Five degrees F is 45 degrees warmer, so theoretically I should have no trouble getting myself out the door to exercise….

But during Covid I’m a hermit. Did I mention how much I miss our gym this winter? –Rebecca

Wind at Lake’s Edge Photo: Rebecca Cuningham
Mental Wellness

Cross Country Skiing: The Joy of Snow

Our banks of snow were beginning to look drab and gray. Then, we had another two inches of snow last weekend. Time to cross country ski again!

A neighbor and I go once or twice a week. It is great exercise and the scenery is beautiful. The park where we ski is within walking distance. We lace up our boots and hoof it there carrying our gear. The first day of the season in December, latching the boots onto our skis was a challenge that took us a full 10 minutes and left us laughing. Each time we’re getting faster at putting them on and gliding over the snow. We’re not advanced skiers, but we have a lovely time.

We feel like the first people in the park, maybe even on earth, when we create our tracks in the snow. Walking home we chat about the snow, the birds, and life. Fun, while masked.

What is your favorite Covid-era exercise?

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Local Madison Park Winter Scene Photo: Rebecca Cuningham
Mental Wellness

Tardy Terribly Tacky Tuesday

Yesterday I was all aflutter with hope for the festivities in Washington DC today. Then, in the afternoon, I received a note from Linked In that my former spouse wanted to join my network. Yikes, I was not pleased to see his name. We have been divorced for 29 years with no contact during that time. Well, none except for five years ago when he tried to Friend me on Facebook, for whatever selfish reasons I cannot imagine. That was when I learned how to limit my account to Friends Only.

This morning I learned how to block someone on Linked In, him. Goodbye again. I have celebrated the fact that this man and I bore no children together all those years ago. At least his addictions touched no child’s life, or thankfully none of mine. Blissfully, I am free to never see him or hear from him forever. Darn the social media kibosh in that plan. So he’s interrupted my life, once more. I am here on social media to promote my writing, not settle old scores. My north wind will blow the cloud of his self-absorption back to whence it came. Talk to the block. I don’t want anything from you, not a single word or deed. Nothing.

So, my readers, if you are thinking you want to contact your former love, spouse, soul mate. Do yourself and them a favor. Focus on your current life. Please. Or, you might ruin a good day for them; simply repeating the selfish pattern that ended the relationship in the first place.

Thank you for your comments and readership! –Rebecca

Mental Wellness

The Flickering Lamp of Gaslighting

Do you doubt yourself sometimes? Do you think you might have remembered incorrectly? Although it is easy to forget once in a while, sometimes we have a little help to reach confusion. At times people would prefer we reach the wrong conclusion.

It’s the combo sandwich, the one two punch of bullying and lying called gaslighting.

A classic movie, Gaslight, is the source of the term. Summary: A man wanted to discredit his wife so she wouldn’t realize he planned to steal her deceased aunt’s jewels. He arranged it so every so often the lights would flicker in their home. She would get alarmed and he would tell her she was imagining it. Then he accused her of kleptomania, because he’d hide his and other people’s belongings in her handbag. This happened again and again and again. She felt as if she were losing her mind. Very suspenseful film; nightmarish to live through.

Gaslighting is subtle, insidious, and very damaging to our mental health.

What to look for:

  • Do you feel like you remember it differently?
  • Does it seem the other person is very persuasive or even pushy?
  • Is the other person indignant, saying phrases like, “I would Never say that!” or ” I Never said that!”?

If this happens to you, what I would suggest is to write down the plans, the thermostat settings, whatever it is that you agree on next time in order to have proof of it later. This kind of situation convinced me to end a serious relationship, with ample proof. For me it is a deal breaker.

I’d say to keep your eyes and ears open for repetitive situations where your memory is doubted when you know you’re no more forgetful than the next person. Gaslighting is a type of verbal and psychological abuse. If you’ve ever been told that gullible is not in the dictionary (it is) and doubted yourself, then you might be in danger of this harmful type of mind control.

What To Do Next
*Believe in yourself.
*Test your hypothesis.
*Act to protect yourself.

What are your experiences with gaslighting?

Happy Manic Monday! –Rebecca

Ceiling Lamp Photo: Rebecca Cuningham