Keep The Change…

When I open up to people and tell them the things I’ve been through, they’re often surprised. “You don’t carry yourself the way someone who’s been through the things that you have normally would,” is what I hear most, whatever that actually means.

Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to carry themselves when it comes to shitty life circumstances, but I think we all have had to deal with them and we do the best we can with what we’ve been given, and all while trying continuously to improve the things around and within us, if we’re actually paying attention.

I mean, I’ve definitely had my moments, don’t get me wrong.

At times I still do.

There are moments that I get lost in and that I think I will never get past…

…but I do.

Every time, I do.

How? is the most frequently asked question. And, for that, I don’t really have an answer. For me, it’s always been just something that you do when there’s no other option. There’s no reversing time. There’s no standing still. Clearly, the only option is forward. So, forward it is. You break, you pick up the pieces, and you keep moving.

But I think what baffles people the most is when I say that I would not change a single thing about my past.

And ”Why?” is a much easier question to answer: changing any aspect of my past alters who I am now.

Because I am a firm believer that everything that happens was and is meant to happen, to either help us grow or to teach us something, or both. There are no accidents…

I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. I’m sometimes depressed, almost always anxious, and I have a tendency to let both of those things run away with my mind on any given day (and horribly so on an off day).

I procrastinate to a fault, am almost always late for everything (even if by just 5-10 minutes), and am inherently needy (yet sometimes off-putting and distant – defense mechanisms, anyone?) when it comes to the people I love.

My entire physical (and sometimes mental) existence is cluttered and unorganized, and I argue with myself about the parts of it that I could actually fix on a daily basis.

I’m impatient, at times forgetful, angry at people on occasions when it’s easier than being angry at myself again.

Even with all of that, I still would not change a single moment of my life in order to be something other than what I am, right now, in this moment.

Most people would expect someone’s next sentence to begin with “Despite all of…,” but mine doesn’t; I view myself as a “Because of” person.

Because of what I’ve been through, I have learned how to listen to others and actually hear them.

I am compassionate and empathetic (sometimes to a “fault”).

I love with everything that I am, even beyond what I’ve imagined myself capable of, because I really don’t know another way to love; for me, it’s either all or nothing.

I’m creative in a lot of different ways and my mind is almost always filled with either strings of nonsense or oceans of depth (again, all or nothing); I breathe in colors and I sleep wrapped in the brilliant (and sometimes blatantly horrifying) ribbons of self-created dreamscapes.

But most importantly, I am a warrior. Regardless of anything that has been taken from me, that is something that cannot be taken away. I fight for what I believe is right. I fight for those who have been wronged. I fight for them because nobody fought for me when it was most important and most needed, and I know how absolutely lonely and heart-wrenching and heavy that feeling is to carry.

This heart, this soul, and the life that built me, were all given to me without my having a choice in the matter… and I’m glad that they were. Because if I had to choose, I would still choose to be the woman it has made me today.

She’s pretty fierce… and her heart? Even at its most vulnerable, it’s still capable of loving beyond measure, beyond boundaries, and beyond expectations… and that, to me, is what matters the most.

“You don’t carry yourself the way someone who’s been through the things that you have normally would.”

Maybe sometimes I do… and maybe most times I don’t. But, overall, I’m happy with the way I’ve carried myself.

I am most definitely what’s been referred to as a contagious soul, and that is something I would never change.

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There’s Hope Here Somewhere…

What if everything we’ve taught ourselves about love and relationships is wrong?

From each relationship we have been in that has ultimately failed, we have garnered and gathered information. Some good, some bad.

We have struggled to figure out where things went wrong or maybe even what we could have done differently that would have made it better, or easier, or less painful to go through.

We have put pieces of the puzzle together before, during, and after, and our behaviors and outlooks have changed because of it. And then we carry those changes with us into the next relationship… up to and including any and all of the baggage (doubts, insecurities, knee-jerk reactions, etc) that we have packed and brought from the past.

Sure, we carry some positives in that crowded suitcase with us. We bring the things we learned that have improved us. We bring with us a need to love and be loved, not just temporarily, but unconditionally. But most importantly, tucked carefully into the bottom of that bag, we carry hope for a better outcome than any of the times before.

It’s what we’ve packed on top of all of the good things, subconsciously or otherwise, that is where we run into problems. More often than not, the scars we bring are what we keep closest to the surface and within easy reach. Scar tissue is harder to get through, after all, and our first thoughts are of self-preservation should this fail, too.

So our hope is tucked neatly under the intricate layers of wounds and we’re almost always just a little too careful not to let it surface for any extended period of time lest it get us carried away. We don’t want to be hurt again. We don’t want to hurt someone else again. So we protect it, keep it wrapped up carefully under the folds of the damages that came before so it won’t get scratched or dented any further.

Because hope is a delicate thing, even though it was there long before the scars of life and love came into play. It yearns to be free to roam about as it will, but we try to hide it away, thinking that we know better. We know what this world is capable of. We fool ourselves into believing that if it can’t be reached, it can’t be damaged, and that’s where we’re wrong… because, ultimately, the bottom of the bag is where the fragile items can get crushed the hardest.

What if, instead, we packed all of the wounds first and, rather than using them to shield our hope, we used them as a place for it to rest, at the top of our bag, easiest to reach…?

What if we aren’t supposed to be constantly trying to make a better future under the illusion of “learning from our mistakes” with only the negatives as our primary teachers and reminders?

What if, when we connect with someone, we treat it like it’s the first time? Without the baggage, without the insecurities, without the projections of past into present?

I think it’s worth some serious effort, because how amazing would it feel to reach into that bag, knowing how it was previously arranged, and have the first thing your fingers touch be hope?

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But, Oh, That Inner Dialogue…

Whose voice are you listening to when you start to get that feeling that you are not good enough?

Who programmed you so effortlessly to drag yourself down? To so willingly put your sense of self in places you would never have even dreamed of once upon a time? When do you finally take back the power you’ve given away to others so freely?

What….?

Your power. Your confidence. When do you take it back?

Um… ?

How about now?

Not yet. There may be some valid points in here still. Things I need to work on. If I’m too confident in myself, it’ll probably be perceived as arrogance, anyways… right?

You’re allowed to think positive things about yourself.

It seems too… cocky. And, anyways, there are a million people out there better at anything I might briefly see myself as adept at.

But, see, you’re not getting it… there are a million people out there that you’ve always been told were better by folks who probably shouldn’t have even been allowed to have contact with other human beings. Comparison and contrast isn’t how existence should work. Not being the same doesn’t make them better. Not being the same doesn’t make you worse. It makes you different from one another; that’s all.

Ok…

Don’t let the ghosts of voices past dictate whether you are good enough or smart enough to do the things you want to accomplish. You walked away from them because they were beating you down, and now you’re taking over their work? I mean, seriously.. don’t you think it’s about time to move forward and leave that nonsense behind?

Maybe. I guess that sounds legitimate.

Ok… so how about now?

…. maybe just a few more minutes.

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Just Breathe

Inhale:

Absorb your chaos
Your perfect imperfection
Let it rush through your veins
And as the circles and swirls
Of revelation
Begin to slow
Grasp them
In both hands
Straighten them out
Expose their hidden curves
Trace each one
With the intimacy
Of your knowledge

Exhale:

Release the burden
Of simply existing
And open. your. eyes.
The beauty is hidden
In the curves;
Waiting to be found
If you’d only
Just breathe

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The Broken Ones

Do not give me the ones
who will never be “human;”
the ones who paint their masks on
so tight that you can’t tell
where it ends and they begin;
the ones who cast
handfuls of glitter
on top of despair and say
it’s beautiful because it sparkles;
who try to convince the world
that nothing has ever touched them
with cold, cruel hands
(and if it has
it meant nothing).

I do not want those ones.

I want the ones
who have suffered;
who wear their scars
for all to see.
The ones that follow their
voices and their hearts
and are not afraid
to dance or scream
with tears streaming
down their cheeks
in a summer rain
simply because they are struck
by the moment.

Give me the broken ones
who have pieced
themselves back together
into something
majestic
and moving
and timeless;
who prove that strength
lies within weakness.

They are the ones
who grip my soul.

They are my people.

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New Direction

For about a year and a half, this blog was dedicated to posts about my children, the daily chaos of my life, and writing prompts from a group I’ve unfortunately discovered is no longer intact 6 years later.

In wanting to continue with and reacquaint myself with my writing, I’m taking it on a “different” road now – a more “real” road. I think that back then I thought if I could shade my life with bright words and an overly healthy tendency towards sarcastic humor that, even despite my most brutally open and honest posts – the ones that brushed against my core like steel wool to write – it would appear that I had myself mostly together.

For the most part, I believe that I did (and do), partly because, as it turned out, those brutally open and honest posts were the ones that forced me to do the most soul-searching. It also helped both myself and others feel like we had a voice and that we weren’t “alone” in the grand scheme of things.

My plan with this blog now (in between whatever other ideas I come up with) is to take it more regularly to that deeper level. To analyze, ask bigger questions of myself, to learn, to grow, and to do even more healing in the process.

(Edit: I would also like to get back to more creative writing. Not only because I miss it, but because I think the routine of it helps in making me more receptive to being able to focus on broader thought processes for longer periods. ADD can be brutal to creative endeavors.)

I’m hoping that, with me asking those bigger questions, it will prompt others to do the same.

May we all keep open and accepting minds and hearts in the year to come, and may we all learn, grow, and heal from ourselves and from one another. ❤️

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Why I Don’t Owe Anyone My Forgiveness (And Neither Do You)

Forgiveness is a wonderful gift to be able to give, for the recipient as well as the giver. But it isn’t always in the best interests of the one giving it, especially if it means they are opening themselves up to the same betrayals time and time again.

Take, for example, a cheating spouse. To forgive once – and attempt reconciliation – is understandable. There’s a history, or a family to salvage. Whatever the reasons, it isn’t a foreign concept for an indiscretion to be “overlooked” for the greater good of salvaging something that was previously deemed worth having forever, right?

However, if you attempt to forgive and reconcile while said spouse is still being unfaithful, then what are you working towards saving? More importantly, what are they working towards saving? A lifetime of you sticking bandaids over wounds that will never quite heal? Of wondering why you’re not good enough to warrant an actual attempt at doing what’s right or decent?

The same concept applies to just about any other scenario one can come up with when it comes to the people with whom we are closest (or were at one point in time), yet who decide hurting us is better than the alternative.

Not everyone deserves my (or your) forgiveness, and here’s why:

1. The Lifetime of Bandaids

You can patch yourself up only so many times before you run out of proverbial skin to stick a bandage to. If whatever it is being done or whoever is hurting you is continuing the same behaviors and they are aware of how it affects you, then they lack enough respect for you to not hurt you. Assuming that your requests are reasonable (and that you are not asking for a pet llama for each third Tuesday of the month or requesting that someone redefine their entire self in order to satisfy a superficial need), someone who cares for you and respects you will be careful not to intentionally overstep your boundaries in order to avoid causing you pain. Which brings me to this:

2. Their Apologies (or Lack Thereof)

We all hurt people we care about at one time or another. It’s a fact of life. But someone who has that aforementioned care and respect thing going on will have a genuine apology for how their words or actions affected you, whether it was intentional or not. If they don’t, or if they continuously supplement apologies with “if you hadn’t done [insert excuse here], then I wouldn’t have said/done that,” they are incapable of owning their own actions or reactions and they are essentially blaming you for causing them. A true apology doesn’t assign blame to anyone else other than to the person apologizing. Remember that.

3. There Are Things That Some People Can’t Forgive

To forgive is divine. Or, at least, that’s the saying. It’s also said that God is the only one who can judge any of us, that we were made in His image, and that we should act as such. But if God is the only one that can judge, then, as Kesha sang with so much strength and vulnerability, “some things, only God can forgive.” Don’t be guilted or manipulated into forgiveness that isn’t earned or deserved if it doesn’t bring you peace.

4. You Are Allowed to Feel Your Feelings

You are entitled to be angry or hurt when someone betrays you. Allow yourself to feel that without guilt. Embrace it and learn from it what you need to, then release it. Like a bird, it may return from time to time, but only when it has something new to teach you. When you feel that it is finished with each lesson, let it take flight again. Harboring the anger or sadness will only hurt you more, which is essentially why you are always being told to forgive. It is absolutely possible to both set aside the act of forgiveness and to process your emotions in a positive way. Don’t ever think that you have to do one in order to have the other.

5. There Doesn’t Need to be a Reason

It’s really as simple as that. You don’t owe someone who has hurt you repeatedly (or even once) anything at all. You only owe yourself a chance to find peace of mind and happiness.

There doesn’t need to be a reason.

You either forgive them or you don’t.

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