the fear that binds us

Confessions in Silence

Has it nearly been an entire year since I’ve written to you? I’d say time flies, but as years go this one seemed longer than most.

*gentle chuckle*

In some ways, I feel as though I’ve been selfish. Primarily because most of what of what’s written here has been for me. All the things I needed to say to myself I’ve shared with you. Let’s be clear, I know very little about anything significant for the world in general, rather the knowledge I’ve gained only truly applies to my particular journey. I write this because it’s true, but also no one solution can solve every problem. In my arrogance, I attempted to relate the micro of one journey to the macro of everyone’s journeys. For that, I must ask your forgiveness.

Some of you have been so dear to me,  the best of humanity. Others have taught me amazing lessons about who I thought I was or wanted to be, and you deserve my thanks as well.

I’ve learned there’s a difference between helping someone and simply supporting them. My previous course was to do as much as possible to “lighten the load” for other people. In the process, I stole their journeys by not trusting them to manage situations on their own. It also exhausted me because I tried to control circumstances that weren’t mine to control. The result – I screwed a lot of things up and take total responsibility for my actions.

By the way, I’m still working on the jumping in to rescue part.

I’ve learned that it’s not my job to live up to anyone’s expectations, and it’s not anybody’s job to live up to mine. Whoa. Talk about a mind-blowing moment. It happened when someone close to me was making demands about what they thought I should be doing. I said, “It’s not my job to live up to your expectations,” and the line went silent for a moment, then everything changed in the conversation. You see, my expectations for myself are unreasonably high. So much so, that I’ve spent a lifetime beating myself into the ground for not meeting them. This, of course, bleeds out on occasion to other people, until reality slaps me a few times, and I back down. That didn’t stop me from imposing mine and everyone else’s demands on myself, then one day I couldn’t, just simply couldn’t keep going. Mentally exhausted, emotionally strung-out, and physically incapable, I stopped, which may actually be the very first wise thing I’ve ever done.

Of course, I’m still working on that part too.

I’ve learned that my compulsive obsessive need to prove that I’m valuable to people ends in unfulfilled promises and allowing people to take far more than I have to give. The blame for this behavior lies squarely on my shoulders. With no boundaries and far too many “sure, I can do that” conversations, I’m quite effective at painting myself into a tight corner, all because I can’t muster the word no. I ask for little to nothing in return, hoping they’ll see I’m worth giving back to, but not expecting I’m worthy enough to receive anything at all. This isn’t some deep rooted thing from childhood or something my parents did or anything the world has ever said to me. It’s a fault within myself that says if something is easy for me to do, and I can push everything aside to make the time (even when I can’t) I should do it, and maybe, just maybe someone will pat me on the head like a fluffy little puppy dog and tell me I’m a good girl. The sick thing – they do. I mean, like sometimes it’s embarrassing how much they do, but something inside says, “if you knew me like I do, you’d know you’re wrong, so please stop.”

That lesson made me withdraw from the world for a time, mainly out of embarrassment. Really, I couldn’t face what I didn’t complete and couldn’t stand up for myself when people accused me of things I hadn’t done because I felt guilty about everything else. Still, I’m completely responsible for every yes, every incomplete commitment, and every time I tried to “help” even when I couldn’t do it or shouldn’t have been involved. The compulsive obsessive need for validation can be an unrelenting bitch of a thing to conquer, but I’m working on it.

To end this post, I suppose I should say this is my confession. So often people, including perfect strangers, seem to confess everything to me. It’s almost crazy compulsive. I know things about people I shouldn’t, some of it I just try to forget because, these secrets about them, never need to be known. And maybe what I’ve  told you today didn’t need to be written, but then again I heard somewhere that confession is good for the soul.

*quiet laugh*

Or maybe I’m finally giving myself permission to be an imperfect, ordinary, everyday human being.


Categories: lettng go, the fear that binds us, the universes we create

Value – Are you a 10?

3d pixel scale of justice icon

Subtle and poetic may be beautiful but, after a phone call from my girlfriend’s childhood buddy, it’s not getting the message out. So, it’s time to be cuttingly direct.

Want to know how you actually feel about yourself? Then look at the people you allow in your life. Do they value your opinion? Are they primarily positive or negative? Do they build you up or tear you down?

The people and behavior we accept in our lives reflects how valuable we think we are.

Let’s do an experiment. Where do you fall on the scale below?



0 = A flea is worth more.                                    

5, 6, 7 = Safe Zone: More is arrogant,  less implies I don’t like myself.                    

10 = I deserve the best always because I’m worth it. 


Not so long ago, I’d have chosen a solid 7. In fact, a swift wave of nausea descended if I even considered anything higher, complete with dry heaving. Then began the second guessing. Oh lord, the lengths of internal damnation saw no end. Truly, every single thing I’d ever felt bad about, every obligation I couldn’t meet, every single person I let down rocketed through my head, then the number fell.

6… 5… But there was that one time I… No, that didn’t turn out well either… 4… Crappy test. Why am I reading this garbage anyway? 

This internal dialogue may or may not sound familiar. For people who struggle with the value of their time, effort, talent, or beliefs it is all too real. Negative self talk is learned from a young age. Abuse, dysfunctional family dynamics, bullying, and media create a lens through which we see ourselves and the world.

You won’t be any good to anyone else, and soon everyone will realize it.

You need to be prettier, thinner, more promiscuous to find love.

If you were smarter your opinion would matter.

You don’t deserve to have anything because you’re not worth anything to anyone.

You’re not going to find anyone else to love you because you’re a mess, so think about that before you leave.

You’re not good enough to make it on your own.

They’ll never hire you, so why bother wasting anyone’s time?

Each one forms a part of who we might become if our input doesn’t significantly change. Sadly, many people (even one person is too many) internalize conscious and subconscious versions of these messages, killing their confidence and spirit. As adults, we should know better, but we don’t. Instead, most people feed the beast by finding other people who also have a negative self-image, and thus reinforce our derogatory and detrimental thoughts from years of conditioning.

Over the past two years I’ve made a concerted effort to retain those people or things in my life that reflect some level of my personal value and cut out that which doesn’t.

Example #1: As hard as I tried to make the West Virginia house a sanctuary, it was anything but. Holes in the ceiling, broken windows, broken water pipes, an ungodly amount of mold in the basement, and deplorable heating. All of it contributed to my bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia as well as worsening other lupus issues.

The landlord? Well, none of the disrepair was his problem. It was my job to fix his house.

Now, on some level, I actually believed I deserved to live in those conditions, a kind of punishment for some wrong or other I’d done. Sick, I know. But rising power and medical bills combined with the inability to do the simplest task because every breath was an effort in itself has a way of bringing a person down to rock bottom. In one particular moment when I was debating whether to call an ambulance or just stop breathing, I looked around and realized how much I’d been beating myself up, and then devised a succinct plan to stop.

Example #2: I don’t deal well with perpetually negative people. If you see a monster behind every face or door, then I shouldn’t be top choice on your friend list. Even worse than dealing with people who indulge random bouts of paranoia are the ones who flatter publicly, but privately destroy. Now, this isn’t a simple venting about a social or business conflict, it’s a concerted and consistent personal attack behind someone’s back, then smiles and sugar to their face. These chaos vampires who destroy other people out of insecurity and fear frustrate the hell out of me.

And I must of had a fucking neon sign above my head because the past several years I’d been attracting them like flies on crap.

This too is a reflection of value. When we begin to value ourselves we then attract people with similar value systems. I began to take a hard look at the people I allowed into my life. Did they value my opinion? Did I value or respect theirs? Were they constantly in some emotional upheaval, always calling me to help sort it out, but never there when I seriously needed support? Did they live their lives poised for the next enemy? Could I be direct with them?

At the time, I didn’t value my own opinion or thoughts. In fact, every word and action showed the belief of my own worthlessness. Speaking up became cringeworthy; being direct, a deathblow. Because who was I to say something?

Snip, snip, snip. That’s the sound of me carefully crafting my life and cutting out unhealthy friendships and relationships. It took some time, but now I’m surrounded by pretty great people. We’re mutually invested in being straight up because blanket flattery is the worse kind of lie. Honestly, when someone spends an unusual amount of time telling me how great they think I am, I run. Seriously, a straight pick up my stuff and sprint because that type of admiration is false and never translates to actual respect.

So, back to the phone call, which turned out to be a woman living with abuse because she believed she didn’t deserve more. She literally listened to someone who said, “You always come back, so what’s the point in leaving? If you hadn’t left in the first place, then he would be nicer to you.”

A person who values you would never, ever, ever say something so unimaginable. Having said that, there are a few things I want to point out that a lot people may not want to hear.

Living in an unhealthy relationship or chaotic situation is a choice.

Valuing everyone else’s thoughts and opinions and not your own is a choice.

Allowing people in your life who don’t value you is a choice.

Settling for less is a choice.

Change may not be easy at first. Hell, just getting away from a bad situation could suck beyond all reason. But where has staying gotten you?

Just for a moment consider the possibility that when you choose to let go of the people and things contributing to your destruction or, at the very least, holding you back, you will then attract an immense world of others who cherish the fact you exist. They’re waiting for you to release everything that doesn’t serve your greatest good.

What are you waiting for?

Categories: conscious choices, the fear that binds us | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

10 things I Learned by Crossing an Ocean





I’ve seen this quote a lot, especially lately. Its purpose is to tell people not to invest energy into someone who’s not willing to give it back, or at least part of it. Why drain yourself when they don’t really care, right?



Wait, listen to my reasoning first. Here’s the thing, while they’re refusing to jump puddles, I’m having a hell of an adventure crossing that ocean. It’s not always about the time or energy you’re investing, but the things you get to experience in the process.

People refuse to cross oceans out of fear. They don’t think they’ll have the time or energy or anything worthy to give back. Even hopping a puddle is intimidating sometimes. You ever seen Poltergeist 3? That dude got sucked right down into a puddle in the middle of a parking garage. Seriously, those freaking things can be wells of darkness. And what if they turn into giant oceans and sweep us away? See, even crossing a puddle can be frightening.

My last two relationships took me places I’d never been. Whether actual states or emotional states, I expanded my universe by meeting new people and going places I might not have otherwise gone. In the process, I learned important things about life.


  1. Love is always worthy of a hundredth chance.
  2. Giving a hundred percent means I have no regrets whether or not something works out.
  3. People are bent on explaining their vision for their future and even if you listen to all of it… for hours on end, sometimes they won’t in return, but it doesn’t change what you’ll want for your future.
  4. We ALL see the world from one perspective, ours, and often won’t agree because we’re a summation of individual experiences. But sometimes we will. Cherish those meetings of the minds.
  5. People can be draining and impossible and selfish and a general pain in the ass, but they’re also loving and cuddly and giving and kind and worthy of every ounce of our time and energy.
  6. Leave nothing unsaid, unwritten, undone. Go all-in, whether or not they’re willing to, and do it without regret because you’ll regret not doing it more.
  7. Do it wrong, screw it up, get emotional and passionate, embrace every moment from beginning to end and live out loud.
  8. Waste time. Literally waste time on something you think will be nothing because you’ll find it was everything when it’s gone.
  9. Be afraid, be terrified, tell yourself a thousand times how none of it will work out, then get the hell off the sofa and do it anyway. Every success and every failure teaches us more about ourselves than any self help book. You only learn by doing it and, whether you have to cross the freaking ocean a gazillion times or just jump over a puddle, you can be proud you had the courage to stand up when everything else in life was telling you to sit down.
  10. And one final thought as you journey across those sometimes unforgiving waters of life…








At the end of life, when time slows and darkness descends, what do you want to remember? Sitting on the sofa, afraid to cross that ocean because people are draining and aren’t willing to go all-in, so why try anyway? Or that one summer when you journeyed somewhere new to meet someone incredible, knowing they only needed a temporary distraction, but which ended up being one of the most loving and connective moments of your life.

You get more than you think, and most of it isn’t tangible, but all of it worthy whether or not they’re willing to do anything in return. Sometimes the greatest gift we give is to those who can’t give back, those who will never see you walking the ocean because they’re still looking down trying to figure out how to jump over a puddle.

Categories: Choice, journeymen, patience, peace, relationships, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Illusion of Separation


00 holding hands



Illusions are easy to live in, especially for an optimist. And the world desperately conspires to give them breath with the idea we can all get along. Why not? We’re all the same… on the inside.

Well, that’s an illusion too, isn’t it?

Society is hell bent on creating separation. It gives people another illusion – that of power. Countries and social circles hunger for it, and will use any means, be it hate or love, to control a little speck of the universe. They force people to defend their rights, defend their very character, even in the face of those who love them.

Twelve years ago, the country found a new enemy, but they didn’t stop at the faceless “terror” living thousands of miles away. Much like the Japanese American interment camps during WWII, our own citizens became the demons we fought. Suspicion, targeting, blackballing; all it becoming the norm, forcing otherwise innocent people to prove they were actually innocent. Guised as protection, the powers that be used this fire to enact several laws and create agencies to further tight their hold on the country, thus expanding their power.

McCarthyism in the early to mid 1950’s is yet another example. Many writers, directors, and actors as well as everyday citizens lost entire careers, entire families ripped apart because of finger pointing and rumor. It pitted neighbor squarely against neighbor in  a quest to prove personal innocence. Again, suspicion and fear became the norm and tool by which “order” and conformity was maintained.

But we’re more evolved now, right?

If society wasn’t hell bent on creating separation, I might say yes. But power and control are mighty tempting things. The lust for them lives in the eyes of society, and it will find the one perceived threat to its sovereignty,  then ban together and point fingers to divert attention from its end goal.

The concept of separation and the lust for power is a heavy theme in my novel, Ring Binder – The Binding of Twelve, because I believe books should be entertaining but also incorporate themes that break illusion.

Allison grew up in a small town plagued by rumors about her family. The peculiar behavior of her grandmother Shanley created the perfect target for a town that thrived on drama and separation. Of course, Allison didn’t help the situation by choosing not to follow social norms for the sake of getting along. She isolated herself from ridicule and sideways glances, adding to the tension. But the grab for social rankings and the separatist attitude of the majority of town’s residence seemed petty and childish at best.

When Allison ventured into the world of her people this dynamic was magnified. The ruling council of the Mutaní lusted for power and control, maintaining both by encouraging suspicion and unease. Again, the rules of their society served one purpose – separation. By preying on people’s fear of the Iska, soul feeding demons who hunted them, the council effectively manipulated the will and minds of the many to accomplish their end goal, which created a cycle of death killing entire generations.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to governments. It trickles down to infect social circles and even families. When we buy into the illusion of us versus them, when we gossip and spread rumors to defame another simply to maintain power and control over the people in our universe, then we become the monsters of separation. And while I still believe everyone, despite the individual and internal battles we fight, can find a way to get along, it’s difficult to tolerate energy in my universe that thrives on making people choose sides or creates division for the sake of maintaining power.

So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure.

How can we put an end to the illusion that we need to separate into camps? Hell, if I know.

My best option at the moment is respect people from a distance until we find common ground; until everyone realizes we have this one life, this one planet we share, and none of us will ever have power or control over it. At least, not for too long.

I leave you with the opening quote in Ring Binder from Samuel Lonary, shifter and Binder trainer.

“Longevity has given me the ability to look past the common struggles of life. I’ve seen power rise with the dawn only to be reclaimed by darkness. In the reach for control, the one constant is the moon. Pulling the tide with each orbit, the moon reaches into the hearts of men to touch them with power and insanity. For centuries, the Mutaní drew upon its light for ascension. We sought connection to the objects on a spiritual plane, but in this quest, the power corrupts. As our focus turned from the preservation of life to the sole saviors of humanity, the Mutaní forgot the lessons of history. All power is borrowed, even ours. Eventually, it too will set as the moon rises.”



Categories: freedom, lettng go, life, questions, self reflection, spirituality, the fear that binds us, the universes we create, themes, what once was, writing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

How to Not Apologize for Being Me



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. 


For the first time in my life I said it.



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



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.


to my happiness.



to giving myself permission to follow my dreams.



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? 

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

YOU are the story. Write now.

The story goes that some U.S. Patent official resigned years ago because everything already exists. His alleged reasoning was since every idea has already been generated, no one needed a patent office.

Though this rumor still exists – and I giggle at the thought – it reminds me of something a college professor told me.

“Only eight story lines exist in the history of the world. No story is ever unique. Therefore, nothing new is ever created. We’re simply…

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Categories: belief, the fear that binds us, writing, Writing Process | Tags: , | Leave a comment

First Steps

“And  the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the  risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anais Nin

* * *


We suppress it. Look for any possible means to avoid it. Some people choose drugs and alcohol, others throw themselves into love, while still others are addicted to chasing after it as a completely different type of escape.

I did everything I could to avoid feeling the pain of losing that relationship—threw myself into writing, created the entire illusion of a life, including temporary relationships that would dull it for a time. Sure, they were all very nice, and the life I’ve created is less of an illusion now, but the truth is I needed to feel the full unbridled emotions of loss in order to move forward.

We all need to mourn. For many, they never get the chance to say goodbye. The long slow transition from lovers to friends hadn’t allowed me the closure I needed to let go of the first to fully embrace the second. I do blame him for part of that. My repeated attempts to say, “This is the end of the romance we had” were met with opposition because in some ways he was never ready to let go either. But, and this may sound harsh, his selfishness in not allowing that final moment, that final kiss prolonged what should have been a faster transition.

There would have been pain either way, but at least there would have been closure too.

After lying in a puddle on the kitchen floor, trembling and sobbing, the white-hot stabbing pain in my chest became a dull ache. It’s not over completely, one day of mourning isn’t likely to bring finality to anything, but it’s a start—one that was a long time coming to bear.

Happiness and bliss are wonderful, and I’d like to say that we grow more from love than anything else, but we’re human. So I’m not going to lie to you. Pain, loss, grief, anxiety, fear—they’re all a part of the cycle of growth and life. We must dig deep to find the tools to deal with them, instead of burying everything in an endless cavern for fear we won’t survive. We’re stronger than that, and built to withstand the successions of death and growth that face us. It’s a fact of our existence that everything eventually ends.

We are then confronted with another fact—The Next Step.

Where do we go after challenging our demons? Up?

Do we wake to another sunrise, drag out of bed, and then fall down into slumber to start again? Yes… and no.

Well, after a bout of compression (down cycle) we then move into expansion… or at least we’re supposed to. Some people get caught in a Bi-polaresque growth/death scenario because they have yet to fully deal with the pain. It’s rapid and destructive and tends to pull people back repeatedly. As long as we’re imprisoned there, we’ll never reach the expansion (up cycle) part of the journey.

Now, I’m not saying that up cycles are all giggles and laughs, but what’s important is the emotional and spiritual growth that happens because of the new tools we learn. Better ways to tackle anxiety, facing a loss instead of hiding from it, accepting failure as a part learning a better way to do something, creating long-lasting relationships built on a basis of love and trust, living in a daily state of happiness because you’ve seen the darkest days and know that the sun will eventually rise. All of these build a foundation. In them, we find that life can be as remarkable or ordinary as we choose to make it.

Ordinary is fine. However, most people choose it not because they desire a generally calm state of being, but because they’re afraid of facing pain, loss, grief, anxiety, and fear. Hiding ourselves from the world won’t stop any of those things from finding us, and can actually contribute to extended compression cycles in which no growth occurs.

Remarkable takes less work than most people think, but requires greater risk—risk of heartache, of loss, of failure, of everything not turning out in a precisely calculated way. But some of the best things, the greatest blessings in my life happened by sheer accident. I didn’t seek them out, but was open enough to let them in when they appeared.

That’s the way the universe works, it’s random and beautiful and calculated and spontaneous all at the same time. We may not know what lies in wait around the next corner, but after facing the darkness and coming out alive… what do really have to fear and what can we gain by risking it all?

Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, choosing faith, heart, hope, journey, lettng go, loss, love, moving forward, relationships, taking risks, the fear that binds us, the next step | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Just a little love


Sun or rain

it’s all the same

when you’ve chosen to live



Full head, clear heart

you’ll never start

down undiscovered roads

until the slate is clean


Realities we can’t find

and perfect lines

new stories

hidden behind safeguards


There’s no shame

when you work to tame

the misty hell of

cherry-stained fears


Begin chasing stars

but watch out for cars

you won’t disappear

when you give the secrets away


Should you choose to pass

down this way again

more than a mere friend


to welcome you home

* * *

“The greatest thing…”







All cool,


Categories: journeymen, roses, seasons, secrets, the fear that binds us, the universe | Tags: | 3 Comments

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