Wendy Says Things Ep. 2_1: Talking with Tonya (Audio Transcript Plus)

Episode 2 Part 1

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Wendy Kheiry

Tonya Floyd


Wendy: You know, I was thinking about how…how long I’ve known you.

Tonya: It’s been a while.

Wendy: Right because we went to High School together…

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: …yeah, but we didn’t really hang out.  I didn’t really hang out anyone in high school. I was working a lot. Then we reconnected, I want to say in, uhm, I think I was in Vermont, which would have been…

Tonya: You were in Vermont. You were in Vermont at time.

Wendy: Facebook was just starting.

Tonya: I think it was right around whenever I first got on Facebook.

Wendy: Yeah, Facebook started, kind of, getting some traction among us older folks, I think around that time so, 2011?

Tonya: Well, I remember I was dating Dusty at the time, so it had to be somewhere between 2007 and 2009.

Wendy: Yeah, OK, right 2000…

 Tonya: Because I remember you did some long-distance Reiki stuff.

Wendy: Yes, the long-distance energy stuff. I did, I burnt out in Vermont with a lot of the things that were going on. And I didn’t know that was a thing until after it happened to me, and I’m like, “What’s wrong here?” But I guess, I apparently, I over did it. And then after I got in the accident everything…my whole body was kind of messed up, and so I had to spend a lot of my time and effort into repairing all the broken things inside me, physically and energetically. Yeah, 2007 to 2009, that’s about right. I think we left there in 2011 and went to Ohio. Dusty.  You know, he’s the reason I didn’t get into honors English my freshman year…

Tonya: Oh my…

Wendy: …at high school because we took the test in 8th grade. We took the test in 8th grade, and he was sitting in front of me during the test, turning around and flirting with me the whole time.

Tonya: That sounds like Dusty.

 Wendy: And I was so distracted, like: “Aaah.”

Tonya: Yeah, yeah.

Wendy: I’m blushing really hard right now.

Tonya: Yes, he was always very funny, and very charming.

Wendy: Very funny and very charming. I remember I got to freshman English, you know, and I was just in the regular class, and the teacher was kind of like, “Why are you in this class?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.”

Tonya: It’s all Dusty’s fault, he threw me off my game.

Wendy: I know, like what am I going to say? Well, some guy was flirting with me during the test. And then the history teacher, I think, said the same thing. Anyway, they moved, between those two teachers, they moved me into the honors classes.

Tonya: Well, see it all works out in the end.

Wendy: I suppose. But you’ve been with Tim now for…

Tonya: Yeah, gosh we’re going on…this is our eighth year, I think.

Wendy: Yeah, I was so happy when you guys met. So happy for you.

Tonya: I…I really think that we met at the right time. We both agreed that we had other things we had a process in our lives before we were ready for the kind of relationship we have now.

Wendy: Yeah. Yeah, it’s hard…I mean I think some of us who, from our generation, who are doing this kind of work, you know, a great deal of the healing work, and the…the social work, and the community work, have…came in and had to…had just everything thrown at us, you know? I think it’s rare to find someone in our generation who’s doing this kind of work who’s like, “Oh yeah, you know, everything was great in my life and it just seemed natural that I care about everyone deeply.”

Tonya: Yes. No, I can’t think of the exact quote right now but there is something…there’s something that says basically the people who have become great healers have suffered from great wounds which led them to that process. It was much more eloquent, but you know.

Wendy: Yeah, that’s the kind of feeling that I’m getting.

Tonya: I remember the gist, but not the specific.

Wendy: That’s plenty, the gist is all we need. We need to just acknowledge the fact that, you know there’s a great…and we feel alone, I think, for a lot of it. I know that for me I felt like I was the only one who’s really suffered this greatly.

Tonya: Well, when you’re in the midst of suffering you feel that way. In fact, this is kind of an aside, but I was having a conversation: there was a friend that had posted something about she was trying to identify the motivation behind people who react so poorly too issues about racism and she was wondering, you know, are they afraid of their power being taken away? Are they afraid that their experiences in life will be less valid, or somehow invalidated by accepting it? And as we were having this conversation, I actually got a post…reply on one of my posts that kind of went with it. And it seemed to me is…it’s like they those people are so caught up in their own suffering, and own viewpoint of the world that, to them, it somehow demeans their own experience of suffering to acknowledge that others are suffering. And because the responses are always something along the lines of, “Oh well, I was poor and I, you know, had…was disadvantaged.” And, you know, they’re…they’re always talking about whatever their experience was and why…why should they care about racism because they also grew up disadvantaged and were poor. Not recognizing that racism and classism are both forms of prejudice and both are wrong.

Wendy: Right. Right.

Tonya: You have both. You can have one. You can have none. It is…it doesn’t invalidate your experience to acknowledge and empathize with another’s.

Wendy: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I think sometimes you can get blinded. You are looking at your own suffering…

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: And if you’re focused on your own suffering and what you suffered, and we touched…I touched on this just a little bit in the last episode where we were talking about if we can reframe our suffering…

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: If we can reframe our suffering as: What can I learn from this? How can I heal from this? How can I move forward from this? How can these experiences make me a better person? How can they make me more sensitive? How can I stay open in spite of it? I think that’s the really difficult thing is that when you’ve suffered you, and everyone suffers to a degree and in various ways. When you suffer a loss, if you suffer from health issues, if you suffer from poverty, if you suffer from disenfranchisement: How do you remain open? Because you don’t want to.

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: You want to be protective and defensive because you’re precious. Right? Because you’re protecting yourself…

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: At some point there are skills that I think we can adopt and learn that help us know when to close and protect, to discern when that’s necessary, because there’s never going to be a time that you can just, I mean I guess there is if you’re a Buddha…

Tonya: Yeah, right. I think discernment is a real key. I talk to people before, I think that’s…that discernment is something that many people lack they’re either all open or all closed.

Wendy: Right. Instead of learning to trust little by little. So, if I give you some trust, I give you information about myself, or I tell you a story about my childhood, and it’s met with, like, not kindness. Not that you would do that, but let’s say I told somebody, who was not kind, about something bad that happened to me and they were not kind about it, I’m not going to tell them more things.

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: Because that’s unsafe. They’re not a safe person to talk about that with, but I might be able to trust them to pick me up at the store if my car broke down.

Tonya: Yeah.  Yeah, there are different levels and layers.

Wendy: Yeah, and there are different types of trust, so some people you don’t talk about personal things with because it’s not safe, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely untrustworthy in every aspect of their lives. And for trauma survivors, especially, this all-opened-all-closed, and in some healing circles, and in some of the new age chakra things – we were talking about chakras a little bit ago before we got on air – this idea that your chakras should always be open but, “No.” Learning like pores of your skin close at times, sometimes it’s perfectly fine, and in fact a good idea, to pull your chakras in a little bit tighter. Make sure they have a little bit of a filter on them, especially if you’re going into a noisy or large crowded area with people’s emotions running high. So, like people who are protesting…

Tonya: Shielding. You have to shield yourself.

Wendy: Exactly, like you put your umbrella up.

Tonya: Shielding is different from being closed.

Wendy: Uhm, yes. Yes, I see what you’re saying. The way that I close mine, or the way that I shield them is to put a button on them.

Tonya: Mmhmm.

Wendy: So, to me it’s closed, it’s not like, not working. It’s just…

Tonya: Yeah. I guess, when I do it, I kind of shield my whole self, all chakras and whatnot. And I…I do it every day all the time. I’m an empath. If I didn’t shield, I couldn’t function in this world.

Wendy: Right. So, some of what we’re seeing as we were talking about before we got on here with the chakras, is that these ancestor chakras that we have…like, most people are fairly familiar with main 7 chakras… (these [headphones] are driving me crazy)

Tonya: But there’s a lot more.

Wendy: But there’s a lot more (I can’t do that [wear the headphones]) the ancestor chakras are the ones where, like they’re…they’re located at like hip level right, about halfway in from the center line of the body to the hips and that’s where you hold your…your parental energy. So, someone like myself who was adopted, I have two layers on each side.

Tonya: Mmmm, yes.

Wendy: So, I have to process out the energy imprint from my biological parents, and the energy imprint left from my adopted folks. And you know, ideally, you know if you get it get adopted into a really good family, very healthy, and loving, you know, any kind of genetic trauma that might come along might be, in part, negated by that. In my case that wasn’t so.

Tonya: Yeah.

Wendy: In that case you have an amplification of the problems that have to be solved. So yeah, so, the two lines on each side, and then up, you can see me of course, but…

Tonya: Yeah, at the shoulders…

Wendy: At the shoulders in…

Tonya: In where the pec muscles are…

Wendy: Right, right where the pec muscles are, about halfway in from the center line out to the shoulders is where your…all of your ancestors, like the whole lineage, all the way back to the start of time. And I have gone really far into those chakras.

Tonya: Well, and you know, it’s interesting that you say that. I had another gentleman who didn’t even believe in chakras he was a very, very hardcore Christian, but when he was working on me doing some chiropractic treatment, he came, and he laid his hands over my right shoulder and picked up one of my ancestral wounds which is in that area.

Wendy: Oh.

Tonya: And so, it just goes to show that it’s really something that transcends any one line of thought. It’s a spiritual fact. Whatever you want to call it.

Wendy: Right and so…and then those four chakras – a line comes out from them, and it meets out in front of you about three to four feet…

Tonya: Uh huh.

Wendy: …two to three feet in front of you[WK1] , just below where your heart chakra is, but above the solar plexus. And it meets there, and that is…that is what you are sending out to the world. And so, one of the problems that we have is we do all of the personal healing for our own personal self, but we’re still insulated from the world with this filter between us. So, if we don’t do the ancestor work, if we don’t do the ancestor work, we’re still going to have problems with our neighbors. We are still going to have problems in our interpersonal relationships…

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: …based on that. And so, I think a lot of what we see is when we go out there, is we don’t necessarily understand how we perceive other people.

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: And we talk about energy all the time. They say somebody gave me the cold shoulder. The room was cold. You know, she’s such a warm person. These are energy things. These are how people feel to us on an energy level. And so, without acknowledging this kind of…I want it…I always think of it as like an umbrella that’s popped out directly in front of you.

Tonya: Mmmhmm.

Wendy: And that umbrella of who you are, and who your ancestors were touches everybody before you even approach them. So, this explains, to some degree, why someone you may never have met before might just be like, “Ugh, I don’t like you.”

Tonya: Well, and I think it kind of ties into that. There’s been a lot of talk in psychology even about the generational trauma and Native Americans [WK2] especially have been starting to look at this concept and work on this concept of healing generational trauma.

Wendy: Yeah, a guy wrote a book[WK3]  called: “It Didn’t Start with You”, have you heard of it?

Tonya: Not that one. Again, most of the ones I’ve seen have been more geared specifically towards Natives and their thing, but I remember looking it up and finding that it was something being talked about in, you know, top psychology magazine and I believe it’s a real thing and it ties into what we’re talking about now. That we do, if we want to be truly whole, healing these generational wounds is an important part of that.

Wendy: It’s necessary to move forward. This is part of, I think, the problems that we’re having the issues in our society that are coming to the surface for everyone and into the awareness for people who, you know, perhaps had the luxury of not paying attention to it before.

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: To…to kind of get it out on the table to lance some of the wounds and let it and let us take stock of it as a community. And so, the…there’s kind of a collective healing that has to take place but there’s also the interpersonal. Like how…how does my generational trauma affect how I put myself out in the world and what can I do to, you know, kind of ease that and as you said there are resources or psychological resources, psychologists who are working with people on these issues, books that are out there that you can read. The one “It Didn’t Start with You talks about keywords. I’ve only read like the first four chapters, and then I got stuck on the on my thing, with my keyword is to ruin. I’m a ruiner, Tonya.

Tonya: Oh, ouch.

Wendy: Not only do I say this about myself, but this is said about me all the time when things are going bad. So…

Tonya: I may have to read that book, it sounds interesting.  

Wendy: It is very interesting. So, it’s painful to recount the times that people have said that I have ruined their fill-in-the-blank, you know?  I’ve ruined…

Tonya: As you were saying that I was thinking of like my daughter, who, you know, she gets into these periods where everything is my fault.

Wendy: Oh.

Tonya: Because when you were talking like ruining whatever, like, I…that…that has been a thing, uhm, it would be interesting to look at. I know in my life there’s been a couple of points that I had a hard time accepting. One was early on working with Caroline Myss’s book Sacred Contracts.

Wendy: Oh yeah, that was a tough one.

Tonya: And the four archetypes that everyone has. Like Inner Child, everybody knows they have an inner child. You can accept that.

Wendy: Right.

Tonya: Everyone has an inner victim. We have all experienced that. Like when we were talking about the suffering, we’re totally in that victim mindset.

Wendy: We are well connected to our inner victim.

Tonya: Yeah, and the Saboteur. We have all at some point sabotage our own well-being by our actions or words. I could get into that and then they had the prostitute, and I was like I am not a prostitute, darn it. And I started to think about it a little deeper you know I was stuck on the negative sexual connotation of the word. And…and, really if you think about it though, anytime you are quiet when something is going on that you think is wrong…

Wendy: You’re a sellout.

Tonya: …or when you sell out your own beliefs because you really need that job for money, even though you don’t agree with what they’re doing.

Wendy: Right.

Tonya: And that prostitution does not necessarily have to be anything sexual. It is more about when you degrade your own self-worth for some outside reason.

Wendy: Right for outside gain. Not just reason, but for gain.

Tonya: Yes. Yes, so then I was able to see it and understand it in a completely different concept it was just my own inner blockage with accepting that that word had a larger meaning than we currently prescribed to it.

Wendy: Right. That’s interesting. I never thought about that part.


Tonya:  Yeah, and another time when I was going through the enneagram are you familiar with that?

Wendy: Oh yes, very.

Tonya:  Yes, so I was going through the enneagram, and I’ve always been a strong 2-4 [2 with a 4 wing]

Wendy: OK.

Tonya: Depending on the stages of my life I go to different, slide back and forth but I think…I think the two was really where I was ending up. I just kind of used a lot of the artistic stuff. But I had a really hard time accepting that the 2’s weakness was pride, because I was like I am not a proud person. I’m the first to say it’s my fault, it’s my whatever. I don’t see myself as being a proud person in…but again I’m looking at these negative connotations of it, and then I started thinking, well, but when I really am emotionally invested or passionate about a subject, I can become very irate and even defensive, and feel attacked when people attack that issue.

Wendy: Right.

Tonya: And in its own way, that is pride. It’s…I can’t…I have to be able to maintain my calm accept these negative statements without allowing it to affect my inner being. And is it a type of pride within me that allows me to let that bother me?

Wendy: Mmmm, I see. Yeah, I’m a 6 with a 5 wing.

Tonya: Ah.

Wendy: I like talking about this stuff with people who get it.

Tonya: It does make it easier when you don’t have to explain the whole thing.

Wendy: So if you haven’t looked at enneagrams, I will, I’m sure, put some links to some resources on enneagrams, have really taken off recently, but back when I was really…there were not that many books on it. Maybe there were five good books at the library when I started delving into it. I started delving into because I…actually one of my therapists I was seeing brought it up. He brought up the enneagrams in one session and I went home and, I think, it was another week until I went and saw him again. And I had a dream, and I went in after the…to the second…the next session and then like, “I’m at 6.” And he’s like, “How do you know?” I’m like, “I had a dream that said I was a 6.” And it was like…

Tonya: And he’s like alright, take the test.

Wendy: Well, he gave me a couple of books to read and how it’s like there’s a big chunk of a book that was like the main book on enneagrams at the time. It was between…when I lived on E Taylor street in Kokomo, so that would have been 1995 or 1996.

Tonya: It was about the mid-90s I started really getting into it. It was ironic too, because it was actually a charismatic Catholic retreat that my mom and I went to. And they were completely working on enneagrams, and they had this beautiful labyrinth that you could walk. They were really very progressive.

Wendy: That’s super interesting. So, the thing, if you’re not familiar with the enneagrams, one of the things that was attractive about them, as opposed to other kind of personality analysis, is…for me is that it and perhaps for you too, is that it’s a sliding scale. So, the six is on the 639 triad. So, I’m a little triangle. And so, from six if I’m moving in a positive direction, six is going to go up to 9. And to complete the circle of enlightenment, I’m going to hit 3 and then back to six. And then…first…so the sliding scale that means that if you’re in a particularly tumultuous point of your life you can tell are you positive or negative by reading the positive and negatives for each number on the thing.

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: Where you are on your circle. Have you moved forward.

Tonya: And you know, none of us…in the wings, too because it’s not like we’re all purely one thing or the other.

Wendy: Right. Wings are big.

Tonya: We had mentioned astrology, and how, you know, you can’t…the stuff in the newspapers is generic (W: Right), but if you get into the deeper stuff it’s like OK this is the cornerstone, but then you layer all these different things affecting your emotional, your mental, your whatnot. So, I think…I always like when whatever the format may be that it allows for the individualism that we each…we’re not just one thing we have many layers to us, and we do slide through different scales. And that’s why I always tell people it’s not always about being fixed but learning to recognize when you’re going towards the negative, when you’re going towards the positive, and how do you restore the negative and balance that within yourself.[WK4] 

Wendy: Right.  Because, like, 9…9 is the chameleon, and I can say, without a doubt, that the chameleon…that’s where I’ve been for a while now. I’m moving out from that now, got kicked into the next one. And the chameleon, but that’s important. It’s important because it’s OK. Looking back, I can say what have I been doing with my life. I have just been kind of keeping my head down and laying low and not drawing attention to myself. And that’s fine because that’s part of the journey for the 6-9-3 triad thing that I’m on.  So and I never look forward to going forward 3 because 3 is where you get all caught up in yourself. Right?

Tonya: Yeah.

Wendy: So, 3 is kind of a delicate balance.

Tonya: Well, you know, of course, that I’m the 248 and so I’m really comfortable with the 2s in the 4s, and ironically the daughter that I clash with sometimes is a hardcore 8. And I resist that, and I think a lot of it is because many of the 8s that I have known slide to more towards the negative where they become more aggressive and bossy, and I don’t want to come off that way. Does that make sense?

Wendy: Absolutely. So, there’s a Muslim…there’s an Islamic tale[WK5] . It’s a parable that I love, and it goes: There’s a guy and he’s shopping down at the souk, you know. And he looks up and he sees Death. And Death sees him and starts to head over to him, and the guy freaks out. He drops what he was going to buy. He runs off and he grabs a horse, and he rides the horse all day and all night until he arrives in this other town. And it gets to the town, puts the horse up, you know. He’s walking down the street like: “Oh my God, that was a close one.” He gets to the little market there and he’s buying some fruit, and he looks up and there’s Death. And Death was like, “Yeah, you know I saw you earlier at the other town, and I was confused because we had an appointment here tonight.”

Tonya: Oh, yeah.

Wendy: And, you know, in in many respects we try to run away from our fate, you know, if we keep our head down. Like, I’ll just move to Milwaukee and do some music, work my little corporate job, and I’ll be fine, right? And then life will be like, “Oh no, we’ve got an appointment for you.”

Tonya: Life is like Groundhog Day. It seems like we come to the lessons we are meant to until we learn them, and they contain different shapes and forms in different places with different people.

Wendy: Right? And Groundhog Day’s one of my favorite movies. I…I gave it away finally I gave it to somebody so they could watch it and never got it back so theirs now, but I used to watch it every year on Groundhog’s Day. I’m not really big on Holidays and tradition, but that was the one that I did many years because the meaning of it. It wasn’t just enough that he won the heart of the girl.

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: It wasn’t enough that…that he won her heart but that he give himself fully over to the community and (T: Yeah) to doing good, and finding out what each person needed, what they liked and to care…care, genuinely care, about all of the people in his life that he came across. And he just lived that same day over and over and over again until he cared about them. And he changed the tires for the old lady and learned to play the piano then…then time jumped forward again for him.  And I think you’re right, for COVID especially…for everybody’s lives kind of slowing down and taking a different kind of sameness to it. It’s really a struggle to do that.  I know that when I first became a stay-at-home mom because I worked when Alex was little[WK6] . I worked through most of my pregnancy, and I worked when he was a baby. One of the hardest things is just being at home all the time. Like all the time.

Tonya: You missed that adult conversation.

Wendy: I did, and it was just, you know I read a lot.

Tonya: Watch a move that’s not a cartoon.

Wendy: And we had moved…we had moved from Bloomington[WK7]  to Kokomo, I hadn’t met any people and I didn’t have a car, so it was very difficult to meet people. I finally managed to make some friends there but the sameness of it all. And especially as a trauma…as a complex trauma survivor, you know, that’s where everything kind of came up and said, “Hey, you’ve got to pay attention to us right now.” And…

Tonya: Yes.

Wendy: …with this COVID, what we’re seeing are the results of that. You have to do something with that. Something’s got to give. So, it’s a pressure cooker. Either you’re going to sit down and do the work, or you’re going to lose your temper, or you’re going to be out of control in some other way, because these issues are coming to the surface. They are demanding a healing and an accounting.

Tonya: Yes, and you know, as you’re saying that I was just thinking on a lot of the MMIW[WK8]  sites you’ve seen a lot of things warning people about increases in domestic violence during COVID.

Wendy: What does that acronym stand for?

Tonya: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. But I thought, you know, that may be part of why the domestic violence is escalating issues that before you could take off and drive, or go to the bar, or go to a friend’s, or wherever they sought their refuge. You can’t go do that, so you’re stuck dealing with it.

Wendy: Right. You can’t access your coping mechanisms so find another way to cope or you have to deal with it. You have to at some point sit and be like, “OK, this is garbage.”

Tonya: And unfortunately, not everybody wants to sit down and do that deep psychological work.

Wendy: No. And it’s a pandemic, so it’s stressful. So, you know it’s kind of like saying, “OK you’re in a really stressful situation, so now you have to move this Boulder. (T: Yeah.) You have a hammer. Go!” It’s like you have this one little tool, a giant boulder, and, you know, a great big hill.

Tonya: But you know that reminded me of the movie with Tim Robbins, Shawshank Redemption, I think it was, where he has the tiny rock hammer, and it takes him years, but he eventually he does get out of the prison by that single rock hammer. It just took him several years to get (W: Right!) through all the walls. So, you know, it seems distressing, but you know a hammer will eventually remove a boulder, it just takes a lot more work.

Wendy: Yes exactly. So, it seems daunting, but for all you know you get up there, you strike the boulder once, it already had a crack, maybe it got hit with by lightning or something, and the whole thing shatters. And then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Oh, this is easy. It’s in pieces. I’ll just move it.”

Tonya: Exactly.

Wendy: So the daunting, like we buildup…it’s kind of like the project that you have, like, “OK, I have this project and it’s going to take me all this time, and I don’t want to do it.” And it was actually going to take maybe 15-20 minutes. But it just seems so big, and you can’t get to it. You won’t get to it, and you don’t get to it. And then when you do it…

Tonya: Well, you feel overwhelmed, and the procrastination kicks in.

Wendy: Right and then when you do it, when you finally do it, it like took 5 minutes. But I have a theory about that. Because my theory is sometimes something like this. It started when I would forget something. I’d forget to go someplace, or I’d forget to do something, or forget to take something with me. And I’d be like, “How could I forget that?” Rookie mistake, or whatever. And then because of the thing that was missing, or the timing was off, or because I forgot to take a step or whatever, something unique or interesting would always happen. Well, like maybe I’d go into a place like, “Oh my gosh I forgot this thing.” then the person standing behind me in line would give me a really great piece of adjacent information. And I would be like, “Oh my gosh, if I had remembered the thing, I would never have got that in information because I wouldn’t have just said the thing to the stranger.

Tonya: Yeah.

Wendy: Right. I started seeing this kind of procrastinating. One of the studies I saw about procrastination says that the problem is not procrastination. The problem is that you…you are intelligent, and you know how long that project is going to take you and when you have to have it done by. What you do is you, falsely, tell yourself that you need three weeks to do the paper that’s going to take you 3 hours to, and that you should have it done three weeks ahead of time. But you know it’s only going to take you three hours, so the very logical part of your brain, and the, maybe the more, what’s the word, more primitive, you know you only put your energy toward the things that are going to keep you alive, is going to be like, “You don’t need to do that right now.” You just don’t. So, we’re not going to put our energy and resources for that we’re going to do something that…that we can do something about right now, and that needs to happen that actually has priority. And that you actually get better results if you give yourself a more realistic goal. If you know the paper is going to take you 3 hours, set, like the day before it’s due, 3 hours to do it. So, you give yourself a little bit of wiggle room and if you know that the research to write the 3-hour paper is going to take you, you know, four days, you only need to start really five days before the thing. So, you’re trying to start it three weeks ahead of time when you don’t need to. You only actually need 5 days to get this paper done. But…but now you’ve made it this big war inside your brain. By telling yourself you should have already started it, now you have guilt and now you have problems. You won’t start it on the day five days before…

Tonya: It’s one of those, “Quit should-ing on yourselves,” things.

Wendy: Right. Quit. Just, like really assess what you how much time you actually need to, and then make it date to do it on that, you know, on a specific day that is a reasonable, gives you enough time to, like, if you have to go back and do something, and it gives you a little bit of wiggle room. And stop worrying that you didn’t proactively do it three weeks ahead of time. You just didn’t need to. You didn’t need to do it then, so you didn’t do it because it didn’t make sense. Right? I think there’s this idea, who’s the person who’s actually doing the paper three weeks ahead of time? There’s like maybe two people who do that. I’m not one of them.

Tonya: No, I’m not either.

Wendy: Stress about procrastination got to me so bad in college I couldn’t…I got to the point where I couldn’t start a paper until the minute it was due.

Tonya: Yeah, I…I’m similar, I mean not that I have papers due anymore, but like packing for trips. I always pack the night before now. I don’t even bother. I mean I might bring some list of what I need but there’s no point in trying to pack early because I’m going to need those things, or there’s just always something. So, I make a list and then just do it all the night before.

Wendy: Sure. That’s all the time that you need to.

Tonya: Mmhmm.

Wendy: So, procrastination when it’s a problem is when you actually are late with this thing, not because you gave yourself just exactly the amount of time that you needed to get it done. You do it, you know, that just makes sense. So yeah, I think you’re right, if we took off some of this idea that we should be proactive about these things that really…why? You know, this kind of goes…

Tonya: Mmmhmmm. Prioritizing.

Wendy: Right? With saying no. I spent a whole year practicing saying no to things. It was really hard. I was really, really bad at it and it came out awful when I would tell people things. You know?

Tonya: Well, and I think that’s something that a lot of helpers have trouble with is saying no to people. We have to recognize that we need to keep ourselves whole and you can’t say yes to everyone because then you deplete your energy. And you are less capable in all of those situations, then.

Wendy: Right.


Tonya: You have to fill the well.

Wendy: Right. Fill the well, and you can’t do it if you’re trying to do everything for everybody else. I was so bad at it when I started to set these boundaries, but I made it kind of vow to myself that I would only say yes to things I thought I could do, that I wanted to do, and then if I said yes, I couldn’t pull out. I had to make myself do.

Tonya: Consistency. Follow through.

Wendy: Right, the follow through. And so, it ended up that when I would turn things down, and I was so abrupt about it in the beginning because I was so bad at it. I didn’t know the words to use.

Tonya: You just had to be like, “No. No. Nope, you’re not going to talk me into it.”  

Wendy: Yeah, yeah. I would say things. And they’d be like, “Can you do this?” And I would be like, “No, that’s not going to happen. No, I’m not doing that.” And then people would get really upset by this, you know, they’d be like, “I wish I could say that.” And then I’m like, “Well, you can.”

Tonya: Yeah.

Wendy: “Oh no, I can’t.” So, I did. I drew boundaries, you know. I…I did my best. Eventually I got more gracious about it, you know. The graciousness came later, but in the beginning it was like it’s better to do the thing and learn the skill as you’re doing it. And some people are going to be like miffed, but if you go around never doing the thing you need to do because it might upset someone, you will never get the things done that need to happen.

Tonya: Yes

Wendy: And we have a lot, collectively, that needs it needs to happen. It needs to get done, you know, we need to reevaluate our society.

Tonya: Absolutely. I think that a lot of the key issues that keep coming up, you know, like we said before, you know, the child abuse/human trafficking issue. You know lot of racial issues have been coming up. And a lot of these things are sort of systemic.

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 [WK5]I have taken liberties with this tale.

 [WK6]I was a single parent until my ex-husband and I married, when my son was about 15 months old. I stopped working a month or so prior to the wedding, and our subsequent move to a new town. My ex-husband adopted Alex when Alex was about 3 years old.

 [WK7]I left a large, lovely circle of friends in Bloomington.

 [WK8]Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.