Reflective presence

Sigmund Freud and I share a birthday – May 6. That’s today, by the way. The Hindenburg also blew up on this day in 1937, but I don’t think there is any connection.

Like Freud, I tend to psychoanalyze everything and want to blame it all on my mother.

That puzzles her, of course, because I did not turn out anything like she imagined I would. In fact, I didn’t turn out at all like I imagined I would.

Reflecting upon some of the escapades and near-misses in my life, I am amazed that I survived fairly intact. I spent my middle school, high school, and young adult years on the border of Texas and Mexico with drugs and alcohol freely available. I was smart enough to stay away from drugs but spent many weekend nights in a Juarez bar with my friends. My entourage included a number of people who probably would not have passed a drug or sobriety test at any time of the day. A couple of them actually completely disappeared without warning.

Today, you could not pay me enough money to cross that border.

My parents nearly let me die on a few occasions when I was a child, not because they were murderers at heart, but because they were totally inept. My mother takes insult over that word (she still envisions herself as the perfect mother), but what she doesn’t realize is that it lets her off my hook. I nearly died because no one knew any better.

I do now.

I know that I have always been the person I chose to be. Even if for a time I tried mightily to become who they believed I needed to be, it was still my choice. I look at my future from my present state of mind and being and decide if I want to continue on the path I am currently on. Sometimes, I have made U-turns and other times, I have gotten completely off the highway.

And it does not matter to me whether my path has been good or bad, right or wrong. My 20/20 hindsight always has a better plan. I take only whatever wisdom that hindsight can offer me in the present. Right now, reflecting upon my past behavior, this I know is true: I have whatever I need to continue to be.

©by Barbara L. Kass

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13 Responses to “Reflective presence”

  1. Snoopykg1 Says:

    Older…Wiser..You bet!

    Happy Birthday Greetings to You..!!!!

    I shutter to think where I would really be if I would not have moved to the suburbs when I was 13…it was 1976 and lots of freely shared alcohol and drugs were rampant!! There were others in my immediate family who were not as lucky and it affected me in other ways. Yes, continue to be yourself…(Smile)


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Kim — you and I are only a few years apart; while I graduated high school in 1975, I continued to hang out with the same element of people until I turned 25 and had my daughter. Having her pretty much straightened me out. She became more important than anything else.

  2. holessence Says:


    “I have whatever I need to continue to be.”

    Words of wisdom, dear friend. Thank you for sharing.

    Laurie Buchanan

  3. Kathy Smith Says:

    Happy Birthday… may the joy you give to us carry forward. You are beautiful.

    Now, when you have to explain all of your motives to somebody, you realize that you really shouldn’t bother. Because if your motives are not visible to them when you don’t intend to hide your motives, then an explanation of your motives are not very likely to do very much to them, because their level of awareness of you already doesn’t exist. Do you see?

    It almost comes down to it that a spiritual being could make a hard and fast rule, only he never should make hard and fast rules—but it’s a good one to observe, is never explain. Be as obvious as you please and be as plain as you please and as straightforward as you can be. And if the ordinary evidences which lie around then don’t justify your actions and so forth, there’s no sense in explaining it to the person who is challenging them, for the good reason that he wouldn’t be able to understand them anyway.

    Some parents (I call them ‘rents) treat us like “you deserved it”, or “it’s for your own good”… in getting even. I had that run on me & woke up to it to then just notice it and as painful as some things are we have to be over it to create in a new day and attract those that are meaningful in our own survival.

    Love to you for being the strength and helping so many through your writing.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Kathy — thanks so much for coming by to say “hi” on my birthday; always a present when others are present. I love the part about when you have to explain yourself to someone, you are wasting your time because if that person had any awareness of you at all, the explanation would be unnecessary. The “for your own good” scenario is written at length in Alice Miller’s book “For Your Own Good.” It was one of my first wake-up calls that all I was doing in pleasing others was dress rehearsal for insanity.

  4. creativepotager Says:

    Happy Birthday Barbara…. imaginary balloons sailing high in a blue sky and us smiling big smiles… maybe some singing and clapping.

    I graduated in 1976 and lucky for me had my first baby by the time I was 19… Like you Barbara that pretty much settle me down.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Terrill – nice balloons thank-you-very-much! I am just over a half-century old and still find life such an amazing mystery. I am not in any hurry to see it end either!

  5. sandiwhite Says:

    It rocked me back on my heels when I read that you used to party in Jaurez! Naturally I always thought that young women who crossed the border to party always ended up being abducted by white slavers out in the desert on the wrong side of the river with no clothes and shoes. Back in the days when I lived there, you couldn’t have floated and empty coke can down the river, much less a person, so they had to leave that part out. Well, yeah (!), I am very glad you survived your upbringing become the remarkable woman and friend that I cherish today. There are times in our lives when we can’t help but wonder about the things we have to endure and live through. Then we remember the term “formative years”, whether we are 7, 17, 27, we are always learning something that will become useful later, as you no doubt already know.
    My blessed Word! You partied in Jaurez and lived to tell about it! Cool.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Sandi — I actually floatedin the Rio Grande a couple of times, on a raft. It was a slow journey. And I am still somewhat amazed that I escaped being kidnapped or worse during those years in El Paso. Needless to say, once Bethany turned 12 and the border was a much more dangerous place, I started looking for a way out. Moved 2,000 miles away, as a matter of fact!

  6. jeffstroud Says:


    A Very Happy Birthday to you !!! (((Hugs))) I followed laurie’s lead here, and what a bunch of beautiful ladies to be in the midst of !!! What a honor.

    Thank you so much for you honesty, your journey has brought you to where you are… I did not have to go to Mexico to drink, i just joined the Air Force. In 1971.
    You have had a powerful journey, and I don’t know you all that well, yet if the company you keep is an indication of how wondrous you are, I once again am honored to be about to celebrate and read/comment on your blogs!

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — thanks for your vote of confidence! I am humbled by the presence of these wonderful people into my life (present company included) and the more wonderfuller (<=== may not be a real word) I feel, the more they seem to migrate here. By the way, I am still wondering if your TV has developed a case of cantturnonitis . . .

  7. Snoopykg1 Says:

    Well its 12:05 am here…1:05 am your time…
    Hope your Birthday was good….g’night

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