Inspiration, Uncategorized

Being Kind Should Be Easy

Today I told someone I am about as transparent as I can be. I thought I was!

I tell people about my life-my circumstances-my choices all the time. What was pointed out to me, was that it seemed, “unbelievable.”  The person to whom I was vocalizing my past in an almost chronological newsworthy kind of way, revealed that to them my words seemed shallow.  As I listened further, I learned that she felt I was lying due to the limited emotional attachment to some pretty heavy circumstances. I thought, You know what? She may be right?

I am a survivor. That is undeniable. I lived through a ton of crap, all to become this tough passionatly tenacious cookie everyone sees.  Whatever happened to the girl inside? What happened the young woman that actually felt all that pain? Had I learned so well to forgive, that I no longer have emotional attachment to the pain? Or have I just entered a PTSD scenario, where I push all my feeling inward? That’s my modus operandi, so when she informed me of her perceptions I had to pause. I asked myself one seriously mind-boggling question. Am I still able to feel after all this time? After all that’s happened? Can I allow myself to let the pain in?

My internal dialog seemed to continue without my permission in an almost audacious fashion. I wondered, Do I allow others to see me feel pain? When was the last time I could remember feeling emotions of empathy or sorrow? The outer shell that I strategically placed around my feelings all those years ago cracked, and for one moment insecurity swept through me, just as if I had full-body entered a cool-pool of water. My brain betrayed me.

I spent the afternoon postulating that I had opened some form of flood gate.  My emotions all over the place reeked havoc. I decided the only place I was safe from altering my perspective was solitude. I went home. Retreated. Left in a massive hurry to collect my thoughts. To do something to get my rejection compartmentalized, and then it hit me.  I am doing exactly what I feared. I suppressed the pain of rejection so that I can move forward. She was right. I had no feeling in my story when I spoke to her. It was if it happened to someone else the way I told it.  Who wouldn’t feel like I was lying?

Survivors deal with things in a whole different way than people who have never had darkness in their life.  People who have life challenges like separating parents, or divorce, or financial difficulties, have tough circumstances they have to go through. I don’t want to make light of that pain. What I have learned is it’s a whole different thing to be a victim of something you didn’t do, and couldn’t control. It changes everything. It’s altering, to some life shattering, and at best burdensome to endure. Add several life circumstances back to back and you should have one blazing nut job!  (I may seem a little nutty but I assure you I am sane.)

If I am as transparent as I tout, shouldn’t I be willing to put some humanness in my story? Shouldn’t that include a touch of sentiment? Inflection in my voice? Some sense of burden I carry? So that maybe when anyone should hear of my successes, they will comprehend the great courage that it took to get there? If you were listening would it matter to you?

I sit here this evening compartmentalizing all that I have felt today so that I can make sense of the things that I recall. I have to go through forgiveness drills so that I can wake in the morning with a new perspective to touch another with hope. I really pray that my message is heard. That message being that there is someone who was strong enough to overcome much of the same circumstances causing them pain. There is someone who believes that if you want to change who you are, to become who you think you should be, you can.  Life can be filled with joy!

If I can share this with you, I hope that when you see someone who seemingly has no emotion, who is just as rigid in stance or maybe composed as I was earlier, you will know that there is a flood of something going on down deep. There is a story there. Everyone has an untold story. Everyone is a real person with real feelings, who has triggers that will set them off.  Everyone has a sense of being uncomfortable in a very unforgiving world.  Show love. Show compassion.

I put my ego back in check. I chalked the experience up to a lesson learned. Each one of us is different in how we process our pain. I will inject some kind of personal emotion when I tell my stories now. I have to. I want to include others when I engage in conversation. I want people to know I am sincere when I type what has happened. I want to connect on a personal level.

The last thing I want someone to feel about me is that I am attempting to remain shallow. So while her rejection prompted a childlike reflex, and subsequent retraction from people, I am glad that she spoke to me with truth. I am not afraid of introspection. It’s part of my growth process, and I hope and pray that you too find it part of your growth too. We cannot change what we need to without knowing what it is that we need to change.

Inspiration

Cultivating Fabulous Friendships

When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones.  Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories.  The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when.  Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten.  If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you.  It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off.  It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be.  Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven.  To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.

What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become.  They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.

The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment.  Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple.  None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things.  It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.

Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies.  It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be.  Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.

It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad.  That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.

Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you.  Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you.  It comes full circle.

I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life.  I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be.  I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.

Inspiration

Feeling other’s pain

Did you ever just feel the pain with the total understanding that it’s not yours?  That’s where I am today. Just emerging myself in other’s pain and feeling the empathy that cuts through my heart like a jagged knife.

I’m constantly working on me, evaluating my behavior, improving who I believe God wants me to be.  It’s not easy. I find often that I do things not because I want to or don’t want to but because my sense of right and wrong tells me that I have absolutely no choice.  Living a life with the belief that I am on the path to my maturity and learning from my lessons is not easy. Self perspective is difficult especially when things hit so close to home that it shatters.  The point is when I expect others to be just, fair and decent I CANNOT do so without insisting this upon my own character.  This works well for me, until empathy creeps in and all is lost in the emotion of the pain.

I am struggling right now with several factors. 1.  My novel is not getting the attention I believe it deserves. 2.  My family “appears” to be distant and I miss them.  3.  I just learned my bio-dad is not the man I thought, (that’s not such a bad thing) except no one believes me and I cannot find him to prove it.  4.  I am watching people I love go through the worst horrific circumstances of their lives and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Today I cried. I sat and I sobbed because when it rains it pours. One friend doesn’t have faith in their abilities, another doesn’t have trust in others, and yet another doesn’t feel anyone hears them.  One friend is struggling with cancer, another still in the closet and yet again… one more cries alone believing their depression is without any understanding.  How do I deal when I feel as though there is nothing I can say? No words beyond “I love you.” No words.

There’s a line that is crossed when a burden is taken on that no one knows. That’s the weight of the world no one sees is piling up because although one person is going through their torture unfortunately they’re not the only people I know walking down the path of despair.  It’s unfortunate they don’t know of each other or their pain may increase, but where does that leave me? I am stuck in the middle trying to decipher where I can make any difference whatsoever with my lack of verbal content. I show up. I do but is that enough? To be the listener?

At what point I ask is the burden too much. My answer? Just as Jesus said to Paul, “Until you can stand no more.” Since I am a pretty tough cookie and I know God knows this of me, all I can do is cry. Because tomorrow I will make that call and I will listen. I will show up. I will wait until I can be needed. I will understand the anger, feed the hungry, organize the weak. I will be whatever it is they need if only for a moment because it is not enough. This is not my pain. It is theirs. I can cry all I want but there comes a time to wipe those tears and get back in the game. Same as I expect from them.

Inspiration

Unprofitable Anger?

Unprofitable Anger
“TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
04-20-2014
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9

“Every day of our lives we are placed in situations that engage us with other people, whether it is in the office, our homes, or in public places. Do you recall the last time someone cut you off in traffic, or you were forced to wait in line because someone up front got held up? Perhaps your employer did something that was downright unfair. Anger can result from many circumstances and most of it is unprofitable. When you feel anger, remember that your feelings are tied to your side of how you perceive the situation; which is always two sides to every conflict. If you want a peaceful existence it may be the time to confront and wait to hear. That way you feel like you’re accomplishing closure; thereby not stacking anger upon anger.””

I love to read the messages from this author. A few days ago I was wrapped in the same unprofitable anger I have felt many times in my life. When all was ceased, I reminded myself (wondering how come I cannot do this when I am lit) that I am judging the way that someone has judged me. Without discussion, without clarification, without reaching out to find out what the real issue is; and it hit me. I need to forgive. Sigh….

This message happens to me A LOT. Sometimes people frazzle me. Especially prickly people who are too serious where everything they hear is all about them and how wounded they can be from people. These people are stronger than everyone thinks but their pretense of vulnerability makes it so that they’re “taken care of” instead of having to be a grown up and deal with the problem. How do I know this? Because I was that person for many many years. When it comes to manipulating the person in front of me into thinking I am capable and vulnerable at the same time this chick has got that gift in spades. Doesn’t mean I use that now, but I can sure identify it. It makes me angry.

I find that what I see in others that really pushes an emotional trigger within me; is exactly what I do NOT like about my self. Yea. That’s the truth. I don’t like that I did that in my past. It disgusts me that action is part of the whole picture of what makes me truly who I am. I have to own it, face it, and try very hard to not only control my own behavior but not condemn someone else for theirs. Harder than it seems I assure you.

This type of anger is so unproductive and robs me of my precious joy I have fought so hard to captivate in my life. I own my own joy. I can allow someone to rob me of it or I can choose to let go of the pain those actions cause and do the very best I can with who I am. I cannot change someone else. I cannot fix a broken person but I can listen to what made them break. That’s my pledge. To be patient enough to listen; and if needed, be the truth.

Today when that person really gets to me I am going to ask myself one question? Who am I mostly mad at? My actions or the words they spoke that offended me and reminded me of my own insecurities? Remind myself that words are just words and people often use them incorrectly and/or communicate horribly. It’s not about what’s said sometimes, it’s about the meaning behind it. Find that out by starting that conversation, by solving the problem and I’ll have less issues with this type of unproductive anger. If I need to own bad behavior maybe I can come to terminate that too? Just do something!

That’s just me….

Inspiration, Opinion

A mother’s plea-leave mine alone!

There’s no kind of heartache that can match what happens when you see your child or someone you love about to hit head on into something that is going to end badly. Whether it’s drugs, or friends, or choices or mates; it hurts to watch them grow through some pretty painful human things that young people go through.

You want so badly to shout, “STOP” but they won’t. You want to define the hurt, to identify it for them and give them a path to either get through it, or avoid it altogether. That doesn’t work. The only thing you’re left with is an undeniable sense of powerlessness.

There’s no advice, no words, no wisdom, no mercy that will be accepted or even considered. They will undeniably come to education or experience all on their own without your incredibly unwanted help.

For all those people who would come into my life, I want to scream at you, “Knock it off!” Stop the drama, the conflict, the chaos, the manipulation, the games, the toil and the turmoil and just leave me and mine without you. Just go away. Just take whatever that makes you feel good when you do evil things and move on down the road. Just be done with us.

Some say that people (even I do) are both good and evil. That people are basically great and they do bad things, but what about those people who wake and think negative. They always have an angle, they’re always looking for someone to control, to overpower, to use, to manipulate for their bidding? What bout those broken people? Are they the ones you need to throw out of your life?

I have learned in my long life that people do change. They are capable and that I myself have been what I call a manipulating person. I certainly don’t even think I could do that today if I wanted to but I can recall a far away youth that presented those opportunities that sadly I took advantage of. I hear my hypocrisy on the issue, but to my credit; although admitted, decided one day to take a change… and switch. Deny what was and move into a more thankful being. Because I got the help I needed. I truly believe when they do too, the end result will be either loving and generosity or unforgiveness and bitterness. It will be there choice.

The thing with time is it takes time for this butterfly effect to happen. In the meantime, my children will be in harms way and potentially broken. As the doctor’s say, you cannot fix broken people by loving them more. They have to want to be fixed. They have to want that They have to want that. Yes, I am repeating myself. The people I’ve met don’t even think they have a problem. I find that so heartbreaking…

Revelations

The Art Surviving

A long time ago, I developed a mechanism to deal with pain. I would shut my eyes and tell myself to forget. Whatever it was that scared me or made me fearful or caused me great pain all I had to do was tell myself it didn’t happen. I got so good at this over the years that I could easily process through grief or anger or even abandonment much faster then people around me. What this did was shock every one I knew because they either felt like I didn’t care or they felt like I had the ability to forgive easier than they did. Neither was the case!

The reason that I process quicker is not because I have all the courage in the world. It’s because I am so afraid to feel the pain that I turn it off. I cannot allow myself the luxury of being sad for long periods of time, because to me that is the ultimate sign of weakness…

I know this to be a flawed hypothesis, because over the years I have been to extensive therapy and I have learned that when you suppress the bad memories and/or the pain you also suppress the good memories!

It’s not that I am not willing to go through the pain at my age. I think I have a evolved into a master of masking my feelings so much that I cannot identify how I feel let alone have the capacity to really focus on a healthier mental state of mind.

The worst part about self reflection is the moment when you realize that you may never be able to fundamentally change the brokenness, the victimization, the actions of another, whether evil or not. Or whether those actions were intentional from those who profess to love you and end up hurting you.

Sometimes it’s best to know that you can forgive, and move on. Some things cannot be fixed. Some actions can’t be taken back. People are just people. We are all have fears, doubts, and actions we wish we didn’t take!

Even though those actions hurt me deeply I cannot use that pain to try and understand my future any longer!

I am going to have to figure out a way to have grace and forgiveness in my heart all the time not just part time and to take that grace and forgiveness and look at somebody with merciful eyes and give every single person that I see a chance of newness, freshness and genuine sincerity. I think that’s just what I’m going to have to do…. because right now, that’s all I can do!