pain

How to Not Apologize for Being Me

00 GIRL-BLOWING-BUBBLES

 

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:

“I won’t hide or change who I am to serve the whims of someone else. I won’t lie to hide someone else’s untruths, but I also won’t tell everyone everything just because they think they deserve to know. This is my life. I try to live it with kindness, directness, love, and wholly unapologetic. Though I’m not always good at it, I’m working hard to become better, the very best version of myself. And that’s good enough for me.”

Let’s break this bubble down.

 

Permission, perception, acceptance, extreme diplomacy, compromise to a fault, insecurity, fear, apologizing for who I am and what I want.

 

I’ve lived the better part of 40 years in a state of…

“Is it okay with you that I want to be happy? Does it make you uncomfortable when I do <insert dream, goal, passion>? Are you proud of me now? Do you still like me?”

Pathetic. Yeah, I’ll call like it is.

My point is I’ve lived my life hyper-anxiety ridden because I worried about everyone else’s happiness, lifting everyone else up, compromising my ideals and, sometimes, morals to be accepted and loved. I desperately wanted permission from other people to live my life. I wanted respect. I wanted some insane form of puppy dog approval from my masters as if that was the litmus by which I’d find ultimate happiness.

Where did it get me?

Twice divorced mother of four with few people I could count on and no money in the bank to pay for a pack of gum, not to mention important things like say rent… or power… or maybe food.

It also put me in the deepest, darkest bitch of a hole. One so deep I’d actually considered checking out. Dude, I was making plans. Like who would take care of my kid and how to divide up my crap plans. Like measuring how much damage it would do to my kids versus how much damage I was doing to them by being their mother plans.

We’re talking serious freaking abyss of nothingness with no foreseeable way out, save one, and me posed at the ready to take ticket to somewhere better than here. Because, in that moment, anywhere was better than here.

What stopped me? One word, the quietest sound I’d ever heard, not even a whisper. 

No.

For the first time in my life I said it.

No.

 

Then I said it again, a loud hush of hot breath following closely behind.

No.

 

And finally I yelled it out loud into the emptiness of that crushing black place until I heard it echoing back.

 

Next I said another word.

Yes…

to my happiness.

Yes…

 

to giving myself permission to follow my dreams.

Yes…

 

to saying no to all the people who have an opinion about how I should live my life.

 

Here’s the thing, everyone has an opinion about how to live, but that perspective only applies to their life, not anyone else’s. That’s their truth, and I respect the choices they make for their universe. Why? By definition it’s their world, and I don’t have to pay their bills, or raise their kids, or wear their shoes. So, how the hell can I possibly know what’s right or wrong for them? I can’t.

The flip-side.

They can’t possibly know what’s right or wrong for mine. More than that, they don’t have permission to because this is my life. And this is its new doctrine:

 

  1. Don’t ask permission to be happy, but don’t walk all over other people to live my happiness.
  2. Expect respect, but also give it. The caveat is not allowing people in my life who disrespect me via their words and actions.
  3. Be kind always.
  4. Have compassion for those struggling, but don’t take on their struggles as my own. This is a particularly difficult thing for me because I want to save the world *dons Super Woman cape*, but I now recognize I can’t do anything for anyone unless I’m doing it for myself first.
  5. Say no more than I say yes because I’m not every woman and it’s not all in me
  6. Give myself permission instead of asking everyone else.
  7. Opinion isn’t fact.
  8. Stop being afraid of what other people think and do it anyway. (See #1 and #3)
  9. Accept responsibility for allowing people to behave poorly and disrespect me, then move on and stop allowing it.
  10. Always strive to be the very best version of myself.

 

Short and sweet, a list of personal commandments to live my life. These are my truths, born from years of experience, birthed from the joy and pain of four decades. I have no answers moving forward. The outline for my future is a cartoon sketch, which is bound to hold just as much laughter as tears. None of this will be easy, but all of it will be worth it.

And therein lies my ultimate truth.

Only I can craft my happiness and purpose.

Be certain it will involve lots of bubble blowing. 🙂

The questions I leave for you: What does your happiness look like? Are you living it? 

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Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, heart, lettng go, life, love, mistakes, moving forward, pain, relationships, self reflection, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, what once was | Tags: | 7 Comments

Purpose

Some people search their whole lives for it. Few see a glimpse; fewer still, will find it.

Even as a child, I knew my soul purpose in life was transition. Whenever a friend was going through a life-changing event, somehow they always turned to me for advice and support. As I moved into adulthood, the trend continued. The more I fought it, the more pain I felt until, one day, I stopped fighting.

I would say it’s a gift, an honor to help people, but honestly it’s not something you ask for. Not only is it completely draining, with that unconditional love and support, loss usually follows. Even if you become lifelong friends, which typically doesn’t happen, you have to let go in order for them to spread their newfound wings.

It’s similar to letting a child go out into the great big world. You want to hold on because you invested so much energy into the relationship (and you love them), but you understand that they need to take the next step. Eventually, everyone must stand alone, strong and heart-ready to face the world.

This is where I typically falter.

When you create such strong connections and watched so many people take that step, you don’t want to lose them. Sometimes you fight, sometimes you cry, and yet other times you lock yourself away in a cabin for the weekend aware that you are better for having known them.

Eventually, you’ll regain balance, make peace with the loss, and find renewed passion for this blessing the universe handed you.

I’ve met some incredible people in my life: writers, poets, artists, musicians, racecar drivers, pilots, architects, engineers, politicians, professors, rocket scientists, and everyday hardworking people.

The one thing that will never change, no matter how much pain I experience, is that I’m thankful… no… honored that they were part of my life.

 

*   *   *

“…try and see my heart…”

Categories: choosing faith, contentment, heart, lettng go, pain, purpose, relationships, the next step, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

A Message of Love

*

It’s an illusion, the glimmered mirage reflected in watery eyes doesn’t dip past the surface, but the rocks you skip aren’t meant to sink. They skim in rippled jumps, each barely tapping the water as it reaches for the other shore. Exhausted from the journey, they eventually succumb to the pull and sink.

Before you watch them disappear beneath the waves, another rock is hand ready and held tight.

The breeze carries a message through a flowing curtain of willows. They weep for a world-weary heart hardened by time and a touch of life. Desperate to catch your eye, the branches wave frantically, whipping just above your head. When the rustle grows, you glance in annoyance cursing the disruption. The branches, drained from the effort, release the call to let it settle back along the wind.

But life is persistent; it turns to the nightingale, hoping that the sun-brushed melody melts past the iced prison walls surrounding your heart.

The nightingale sings, on the water’s edge, fighting past cellophane wings to catch your ear. His little heart beats a foreign rhythm of love. The song drifts past an unwilling soul wrapped comfortably in its loneliness. As he prepares to expend his final breath, you turn to throw another stone and stir the water with a splash. Off he flies in search of new ears to capture.

If you paused, the absence would be glaring, but the urge to continue skipping overwhelms the senses. So you throw another stone, hoping this one will make it to the other side. The frustration builds as each one falls faster beneath the deep indigo waters than the last.

Realization has yet to take hold, but life is persistent.

It compels the lazy clouds to gather. A flashing blanket of white extends across the sky. When it begins to cry, you feel the first drop roll across your cheek. You brush it away without a thought. The first drip safely in hand, you return to task. Scowling at the heavens, you warn them in brief sharp glances.

A deep voice rumbles across the hills. It grows to a deafening roar as you scream out for silence. Undeterred, the sky opens. In typed drips on the water’s surface, it faithfully sends the message of love. As it soaks through, you feel the warmth dip past the skin.

Your face turns skyward letting each one roll down rose touched cheeks.

It continues to flow as the stones drop down into the moss-covered soil below. Finally, the words pool right below the neck, through brittle walls, into that space emptied by loneliness.

…because life is persistent and all it needs is time.

Categories: answers, belief, choosing faith, heart, life, messages, pain, patience, purpose, scars, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

Stars and Scars

Drop racked,

pulled back and forth;

screw true north

and written in the stars.

These scars crumble

while she fumbles the standoff.

 

Ripped tides,

skyward cries in blues;

Who makes the rules

that no one seems to follow,

when torment swallows the soul

with rope-choked originality?

Forget the banality of structure,

that ruptures what it feeds.

The knowledge that you seek,

still reeks of self-absorption.

Categories: Drive by life, heart, life, love, messages, mistakes, pain, purpose, scars, stars, writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Flood

 

If there is light I cannot see it.

If there is hope I cannot find it.

If there is purpose I do not know it.

If there is faith I no longer have it.

And if this is life I no longer covet it.

 

~   ~

~   ~   ~

Categories: Drive by life, memories, messages, pain, purpose | 1 Comment

Day 2: Back to You

Today the wind was just strong enough to knock some dust off the cover. The title engraved on the front in filigree and gold made me step back. I felt my chest pull in jagged, staggered breaths as my fingertips traced the words. You’d think, given the size of the book, the title might be deep and descriptive; something to entice the mind enough to pick it up, but the imageless cover held three simple words.

It took me a moment to slow the gyrations long enough to let them sink in. You can find the most profound wisdom in simplicity. Something I used to know, but lost somewhere in the trees, in the river, in short days and long nights…in him. I guess love can make you lose a lot of things. It’s crafty and clever, wrapping you in comfort until you’re slowly drowning in it.

I sighed, brushing more dust off the edge of the cover. The dips and grooves on the front told a story of their own. Like the face of a full moon, you could see the pitted scars of all the impacts centuries old. Though I’m sure the book has only been around for a few decades, it bears the weight of struggles so ancient even time cannot remember. Still, I felt its pain with every breath.

My lips mouthed the words, though no sound came out. If I forced them out one at a time, maybe I could grab them from the air before the wind whisked the words away. A simple plan I admit, but remember the wisdom in simplicity? One letter dripped from my lips, followed by a second, then third and forth.

~

B-a-ck.

~

The first word released from its covered prison, I grabbed it to tuck gently in my heart. Now for the second, I whispered.

~

T-o.

~

The euphoria of my success, twice proven, made the third word pour out so fast I almost missed it. My fingers fumble to catch each letter before it hit the ground. I’m sure anyone passing by would think me insane, but they wouldn’t be the first. I took the three little letters tucking them into my heart next to the others.

~

Y-o-u.

~

You may not be able to see the stunning revelation in those three tiny words, but then this book holds a story meant for one. Out there, waiting patiently, covered in dust is another book. A story you’ll know well when you see it. Each pit and groove will be as familiar as the back of your hand. Printed on the front, in filigree and gold, will be a simple title with meaning only you’ll truly understand. My only advice, have the courage to read it when the wind knocks just enough dust off to clear the words.

~   ~

~   ~   ~

“I’m too old to go chasing you around…”

Categories: Drive by life, freedom, heart, love, memories, messages, moving forward, pain, purpose, relationships | Tags: | 1 Comment

String of Hope

They’re broken, I know,

the one thing that might make the special is gone.

So why have I held on so long?

 

They’re not symbols of faith, though I have it.

They don’t offer forgiveness, though you may disagree.

Prayers are not answered with them, though they may be heard.

Men have fought wars because of their meaning, though not over me.

 

My little string of rosewood and charms hangs by the window ledge.

They’re deep red, sun bleached, and torn on one edge.

Rose scents linger when the wind is just right.

And if you listen they’ll tap out a rhythm; a song of the heart if you like.

It’s melancholy and simple and sweet to the ear.

Some might find tolerance in the songs that they hear.

As for me, they are hope, strung by a chain;

the remembrance of life touched by violence, anger, and pain.

Though something is missing, I don’t feel its loss.

What’s left is everything

and nothing at all.

Categories: Drive by life, love, memories, messages, pain, patience, relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Chalk Outline

What freedom do find in form

that holds a master’s hand to scorn

in Armageddons sure dim light

where angels fall in wingless cries

Still bleeding from the wounds I’ll sigh

sun scorched on a chalk outline

begging for a noonday night

and tapping veins bruised to sight

One step closer to the sun

grabbing hands until there’s none

steadily I’ll reach the shore

and fabled sons will sing no more

Categories: Drive by life, love, messages, moving forward, pain, patience, tomorrow | Tags: | Leave a comment

Love Me Tomorrow

Love me tomorrow; when the wind shifts and the stench of past romances no longer follows us as we walk. They haunt in gusts, forcing the memories back; each smell, every touch assaulting the senses. Its grasp so tight I struggle to pull in breaths that sting with loss. The pain real to the taste, it sits bittered on my tongue, rooted so deep I’ve yet to remove them all.
So, love me tomorrow; let time lift the scars scratched across the soil by sharp careless words whispered by pained hearts. Though I step with care, they reach up to grab the hem. You’ll see the trip just ahead, but let me fall, because this is not tomorrow and I still fight the loss. The scratches and scrapes won’t linger. They heal as my heart starts to let go. Listen to these words and…
Please, love me tomorrow; but not today, oh no, don’t love me on this day. I still need time to catch my breath and I’m waiting for the wind to shift and spinning from the last fall. There’s still so much to do. The places I meant to visit are calling and I’m desperately reaching out to find them – and you. But love…
When you see me, smile and keep walking. When you wake to a new day, thinking tomorrow has come, read these words again and you’ll know – that it is today…
…and tomorrow still waits for love.
Categories: love, memories, moving forward, pain, patience, soul mates, tomorrow, waiting | 2 Comments

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