|My altar to personal empowerment featuring |
glittery stiletto Muses Mardi Gras shoe throw,
black purple flowers, dark purple succulent
and little Audrey Hepburn puzzle box
Using My Creativity for Personal Empowerment to Combat Energy VampiresI don't usually talk about the current manuscript(s) I'm working on, because I have historically been very guarded about my work. This is a learned behavior. This isn't my nature. But I have been wounded by sharing new work and new ideas with people who were all too eager to swat them down. No fun.
I'm starting to do things a little differently nowadays, so here is a post that talks a little bit about the creative writing I'm working on right now.
What I'm working to create this time around is a book that's a hybrid of journal entires and poetry. A lot of my beloved John Wiener's books are like this, though this isn't where my desire to do this comes from. I had the idea a while ago, while in graduate school. I didn't really have any support for this venture from the faculty I worked with, though. (I have a complicated relationship with my MFA. It's best compared to the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when it was good, it was very very good, but when it was bad, it was horrid.)
How It Started
This book I'm working on started last February on a Saturday in which I had no plans. I dressed up in sexy pinup style outfit. I grabbed a pad of paper--one of those long, refrigerator "To Do List" style ones that had fallen off its magnet but I didn't want to throw it away--and a pen, threw them in my bag, and I went down to my favorite local bakery. I wrote in the pad of paper for a few hours. I filled it up with new poems. And just like that, I had started a manuscript.
Incidentally, one of my favorite "prompts" for writing is doing something like that--taking a differently shaped bunch of papers and a good pen and letting the form be dictated by the space. I usually write my poems in longhand first. For me, that is part of the "artistic process" of creating. I have really nice, distinctive handwriting. Seeing the poem in my hand helps me connect with the words better. I need the kinetic, haptic exercise to help me generate initially, for the most part. I have sometimes started out typing. But I am a big fan of the pen and paper method.
Creativity to Combat Energy Vampires
The work that was begun that day in that pad of paper were poems I wrote to help me cope with, to put it in broad terms, dealing with an Energy Vampire. I've blogged about this term previously. An Energy Vampire is a person who probably could be diagnosed with of the DSM-5's "Cluster B" personality disorders: narcissist, histrionic, borderline personality, and antisocial personality. Something like 20% of the population could be diagnosed as such, so they're ubiquitous.
Indeed, the more I have worked on this book, the more I have explored those in my life who could fall under such a category. The most succinct way I've heard Dr Northtrup, author of the book titled "Energy Vampires" describe them is that once you're done dealing with them for the moment, the first thing you feel and think is "ugh." They suck the energy out of you. Hence the term.
In my life, I've encountered many. Most of us have. If one is an empath--you keenly feel the feelings of others--you tend to be susceptible to the energy sucking of an Energy Vampire. The sensitive people of the world have a harder time letting things roll off their back. That is so me: stereotypical Cancer. The only way I'm different from most empaths, Cancers, and writers is I'm also an extrovert. Empaths are usually less into crowds, because there's too many emotions of others that are invading your enery. I don't know how I manage both internally? I guess because times like right now, where I'm sitting at my computer and writing--this is my introvert time. Please do not disturb, outside world.
As I've continued working on this creative work, it has also helped me figure out what I need to cope, and more than survive but thrive, during this time that I've been coming to terms with the Energy Vampires in my current circumstances and in my history. The key, I've found, is concentrating on personal empowerment.
My Altar to Personal Empowerment, a Visual Reminder
Friday night I made a little altar to personal empowerment. That's the photo at the top of this post. I put out a glittery silver and black spiked heel that I got as a throw from a Muses Parade during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.--If you don't know NOLA Mardi Gras "culture" so to speak, getting a Muses Shoe is a big deal. The Muses is Thursday before Mardi Gras. It was started less than 20 years ago, and was an all-woman parade--a breakthrough since so many of the Mardi Gras parades were all men--and their signature, most coveted throw (thing they give out to the masses that attend their parade) is a decorated shoe. I don't know why I got one from the person who tossed it out to me, but I did. And lordy do you feel awesome when you show that baby off.
I decided, as the great Marie Kondo teaches us, that I needed to bring my coveted shoe down from the back of the shelf and display it more prominently, since it is an object that fills me with such joy. I also put together a very cool little bouquet of almost black, dark purple flowers and a dark purple vase, plus a cute little puzzle box of Audrey Hepburn, and a dark purple decorative succulent. I arranged them on a shelf near my bedroom door. So it's the first thing I see when I come in and last when I leave.
No sooner had I arranged this little altar to Feminine Personal Empowerment, I got word of new trouble from an Energy Vampire. Having just put this altar together, I didn't even miss a beat. I took a picture of it, posted it to social media and spread the same message to the friends who were going through the same concern as I was. This is the post I wrote:
My latest homage to the intention of personal empowerment. It's really important to focus on such a thing, in times like these.
A malignant narcissistic Energy Vampire will say and spin anything to gain the Empath's sympathy and attention. Empaths by nature want to believe people can change for the better. Some people can. A malignant narcissist can't—and won't ever really try. They will only find ways to frame themselves in a better light in order to have more people to prey upon. That's their nature. Like when Frumpy came out of his terrible shutdown so defeated, so in his speech he pointed to that sweet, unfortunately sick child and proclaimed, "I'm going to cure cancer! Clap for me!" It's just all lies & deception to try to win people over. A narcissist is very good at winning over others. For everyone's safety, don't believe him. It may sound cynical, but it's not. It's merely practical and honest. If I've learned anything during this time, it's that you can't trust such people and their proclamations. You can only avoid them and focus your energy on combatting the bad they do in the world by empowering yourself to do good in the world.
This is my altar to Personal Empowerment and General Badass-ery
Personal Empowerment and General Badassery in New Orleans
I'm about to go on vacation for a week, so no new posts until the end of the month. I will be in New Orleans, enjoying weather in the 60s and 70s (there's a raging snowstorm outside as I type this in Providence today!) and recharging my badass batteries. I Love NOLA! You should go there if you've never visited. In the meantime, I hope you find ways to keep yourself personally empowered and certainly badass.