New Chapter

Wow. The end of an age.
I like to think I have it all together. You know, like I have all my emotions in check…

Well this week proved me humbly wrong.

I know in my heart that every ending is a new beginning, but that doesn’t make this ending any easier.

In this life we cross paths with people who leave a lasting impression on us forever. Some, more than others, but every one of them special in their own rite.

And today, I said good-bye to just such people.

My heart breaks, not because it is truly good-bye, but rather because I am so thankful to have grown so close to them.

Over my time on this earth, I have worked many places and several times those I worked with grew to be family, but no place helped me grow in the way that SP did.

When I started, I was a little insecure and a bit unsure of the life ahead of me.

I seemed to be fighting against myself, hindering my own potential to reach for what I really wanted in life.

But a very special person saw me, not for who I was, but for who I could be. She planted a seed and continued to water it year after year until it became the person I am today.

She believed in me from the very beginning, even when I questioned myself. I am a completely different person now because of her and everyone who stood beside me over all these years.

Everything is changing now, for all of us.  And, as cheesy as it sounds, we will always have the memories of the time we shared.  I think all of our lives are richer now having met, I know mine is.

And it wasn’t just my co-workers, who helped me grow. It was our customers and partners. They have shown me what it truly feels like to be appreciated, valued, trusted and respected.

Things I now understand to be the foundation for the road ahead. A road I could not have seen 4 years ago or even 4 months ago for that matter.

Several years ago, my friend, Will, taught me something very important. When he moved to SC, he asked me to do one thing for him…

Learn to take a compliment.

As he pointed out (and he was right), every time he complimented me on anything, I always found a way to thankfully dismiss it.

That is when I realized that because I was always taught to be humble, I, for some reason took that to mean you should never acknowledge your positive attributes for fear that you will come across as bragging or being over confident.

So instead, I thankfully dismissed any reassurance I was given and as a result, I kept myself from looking any further than what was right in front of me.

My time at SP changed all that.

For once, I felt like I held a key role in a progressive company that valued it’s employees. It was an environment like none other I had ever experienced. Fun and energetic, yet laid back at the same time…if that makes sense.

I loved going to work every day and that is something I think everyone would agree is rare.

Over the course of several years I built relationships that I am beyond thankful for.

And I will never forget the conference, when one of our partners gave me a shout out that was then followed by applause and everyone looking in my direction. I remember being so embarrassed, but when I look back on it now, all I feel is joy.

No one has ever honored me like that. I mean, there I was in a room with the CEO & VP’s on stage and our partners in the audience, all clapping for me.

Talk about a humbling experience.

It was all I could do not to cry, so instead, I turned bright red! Of’course!

It was one of those moments that take your breath away.

Sure I wasn’t saving lives, but in some way I had made an impact on their lives and their businesses.

It really meant something to me. And ultimately, it changed me.

A room full of people saw in me what I could not see in myself.

And after, there was a line to see me, not because they needed something, but because they genuinely wanted to meet me.

Now the me of yesterday wouldn’t have told you that piece, for fear of seeming like I am talking myself up.

But I am damn proud of that moment. Not just for the ego sake of it all, but rather because it is the moment I found my confidence.

And had it not been for that moment, I may have remained lost and buried under the heaviness of my own self doubt.

It’s funny how something can be taken away from you, causing you to feel great agony from it’s loss. Only to bring you the very thing you lost ten fold.

My mother may have left me long ago, but I have gained more love than she could ever possibly give. All because of the choices she made.

So perhaps that is the reason  I know that this is truly the beginning of something more, the time to finally take the leap and do what I once thought was unreachable.

After all, I’ll never know if I don’t try.

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Changes

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but it has been for good reason. It is amazing how much your life can change when you learn to let go and allow things to unfold naturally.

I went through a lot of heart break this year and if you would have told me 2 months ago that I would be where I am today, I would have never believed you. So much has happened, I am not sure exactly where to begin…

When I last wrote, I was in the middle of some turmoil with a few friendships and the prospect of losing my full time job as of the first of the year. I guess I’ll start there.

In regards to the hurt caused by some of my close friends, we have talked it through and in the end I feel like I have a better understanding of what our friendships look like moving forward. The truth is (as I have said before) that you will not always mean as much to others as they do to you and that’s okay. In fact, once you realize that, it allows you the freedom to move on to big and better things…or people, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

As far as the job goes, long story short, I have been working remotely for a company based in Denver that is changing their in office policy to require employees to be present 4/5 days per week. With the option to work remotely no longer being offered and the option to move back to Denver not in the cards, I am diving back into the job market as of Jan 1st.

It’s sad & scary, as many changes are. I have worked with these folks for years and many of them are like family to me. I feel extremely confident in my current position and that has always been a comfort to me. When everything around me was falling apart, I would immerse myself in my work, because it was the one thing I knew I could master.

That having been said, it can be very time consuming and stressful, especially during commissions week when I am working 10-14 hours a day. There hasn’t been much time for me to pursue my passion for more creative projects.

So perhaps this is the best thing that could have happened. Sure, it’s scary not knowing where the money will come from next or the uncertainty of where my path may lead, but in the end I have great faith that it will all work out. After all, I’ve been in much more difficult situations than this and I’ve always been able to find a way to stand on my own two feet.

Enough about that though. Let’s get to the exciting news!

After 8 years of being single…drum roll please…

I am officially off the market!

As you know, I had basically resigned myself to the fact that perhaps I was simply meant to be a loner. I figured my refusal to settle for almost or just enough, meant that I was destined to be alone. I grew so tired of the disappointment of dating that I made the decision to stop doing it all together. Anyone I gave my heart to or felt comfortable enough to open up to, either disregarded my feelings or me all together. I was done and I was okay with it.

And from out of nowhere, came this man, who changed everything.

He was a friend from years back that I had lost touch with for more than 10 years. When he reached out to me, I  had no idea reconnecting would be the beginning of something more.

He not only checks every box on the list, but more importantly, he fell in love with the real me. You know, the girl I keep hidden behind the mask, the one I always thought just might be unlovable. And for the first time in a very long time, I am not afraid to love him back.

And so, I am thankfully embracing these changes.

These sweet, scary, beautiful changes.

 

Grieving The Living

A few years ago, I went to see a counselor about some deeply painful abandonment issues I was dealing with and he told me that we should treat the loss of a friendship or relationship as we do that of those who pass away. In many cases, as in death, we are not given the closure we so desperately crave and if we do not find a way to work through that on our own, it leaves a hole in our lives that we continually try to fill.

Sometimes the closure we need is not available and therefore it is up to us to find a way to move on without it. Easier said that done of course, but such is life.

Everyone experiences loss in different ways and for me being left behind or disregarded was something I experienced at a very early age, which is perhaps why it has become my kryptonite.

And I am not referring to the distance that can sometimes grow between two people. I have many friends that I don’t talk to on a regular basis, but it doesn’t mean I care for them any less or visa versa. We all get busy and caught up in life, but if one of us were to reach out, the other would always be there no matter how much time has passed. I value those people more than they will ever know. Their love is what gets me through in the darkest of hours, even if their presence is not always there.

What I am referring to are those that lack the common decency to clarify their reasoning before simply throwing away a long time friendship. Especially, when you are not able to find a reason for them doing so. The ones you thought you meant something to. Those you talk to on a regular basis, confide in and who never gave you a reason to doubt their loyalty until one day, they just walk away with no explanation.

Those are the ones that make it hard to open up again to anyone. They are the people that remind me why I have always found it so hard to trust people when they say they care.

Over and over, I am finding that breaking down the walls seem to only leave me in pain.

I have a tendency to internalize the cruel actions of another as a reflection of myself or  as a the result of something I have done, but in almost all cases that is simply not true. Rationally, I know that, but the damage to my heart and loss of faith in humanity seems to be irreversible.

It would be wonderful if everyone treated others with the amount of respect they deserve, but that is simply not how the world operates.

Perhaps the reason I could never treat people the way they treat me is because I have been on the other end of it so many times that it has almost broke me. I could never live with myself if I knew I was responsible for inflicting that much pain on another person.

We don’t know what others are experiencing at any given time and our callousness could be what sends them over the edge. And besides, is it really that hard to be kind.

I would never ask anyone to stay in my life if they did not wish to do so, but it is simply inhuman to toss someone aside like they mean nothing and with no explanation.

If you are experiencing this in your life, I urge you to review the five stages of grief as listed below (more detail here).

Denial – The survival mechanism. The focus becomes trying to get through the day despite feeling overwhelmed and in many cases numb. You don’t want to believe that this person would treat you like this. You don’t want to believe you were once again fooled. It is dehumanizing and heartbreaking to think that someone you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable with has no regard for your feelings. Especially when it is so hard to open up to people in the first place. I remember thinking, I thought I was safe with you, we tell each other everything, how could I mean nothing after all these years?!

Anger – Self explanatory and extremely necessary. It is okay to feel angry with the person that hurt you, disregarded you and made you feel like you were meaningless. We must embrace this stage wholeheartedly if we are to move forward. After all, it is impossible to forgive someone when you still have anger in your heart. And forgiveness (even if they are not deserving of it) is the end goal. Not for them, but in order for you to move on.

This is always a short stage for me, because I am not one to get angry usually. Maybe with myself, but I always try to give others the benefit of the doubt before I fly off the handle. I was angry at myself for allowing him to take my joy away and ashamed that I didn’t see it coming, but how could I? There was no warning.

And so I did get angry, so angry. Angrier than I have been in a very long time. So much so that I busted my knuckle on a punching bag and I haven’t wanted to punch someone in years. And it felt good. To get all that aggression out and to know that what I was feeling was valid and necessary. He has known me close to 20 years, so he knows what hurts me the most and he did exactly that. It hurt like hell.

 

Bargaining – In this stage we are desperately seeking clarification. We wonder what we could have done to prevent this person from leaving. If only I would have been more present, more willing to compromise or in cases of relationships, maybe we wonder if we were simply not pretty enough, skinny enough, etc. It is our minds way of trying to find a way to change it or to make them come back, to care for us in the way we care for them. We are no longer angry at them for leaving, but rather in a state of confusion about what we could have done differently. And sadly, in most cases there is nothing we could have done, which leads to the next stage.

Looking back, I can’t find one reason for him ghosting me, except for maybe being honest. I respected where he was in his life, gave him space when he needed it and was there for him every time he asked. Maybe that was what I did wrong, I cared and I wasn’t afraid to tell him so.

Depression – Emptiness. We come to the realization that there is nothing we could have done or can do to change what is. The truth of the matter rears its ugly head. As David Kessler explains, “We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone? Why go on at all?”

For me this is the longest stage, perhaps because I already battle with it and have for years, but in the end of it, I always feel like I am able to shine a bit brighter after the darkness fades.

Acceptance – The final stage and the last step in forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you are okay with what happened, but rather you have accepted it and the understanding that this new reality is a permanence you simply have to deal with. We become ready to pick up the pieces and move on with our life without that person in it. This does not mean all the hurt goes away, for some of us, it will always be there. There will be days when we remember and still find it hard to get through, but that is okay as long as we have worked through the other stages in the grief process.

What stage am I in?

Acceptance. I spent the weekend working on forgiveness and finding a way to move forward without this person in my life. I would be lying if I said it didn’t still hurt, but I know there is nothing that I did or can do to change this.

The simply truth (as I have said numerous times before) is that not everyone you care for will care for you in the same way and that is not your fault. The right people will find their way to you and maybe losing someone you love is a way to make room for those that will truly value you. Not just use you to stroke their ego whenever they need it.

I forgive him for being incapable of appreciating my presence in his life, because I know that in the end it is his loss. A part of me is saddened for him, because I know that one would only behave in this barbaric way if they too were struggling in some way. When we are content with our lives, there is no need to be cruel to others in this way. And therefore  I can only hope he finds happiness and peace in his life as I have in mine.

To the friends that chose to leave without rhyme nor reason from my life: I still don’t know what I did wrong, but I choose to forgive you. Abandonment is the cruelest way you can choose to leave a person and I have found it in my heart to forgive you, not for you, but for myself. I hope that wherever you are, you are happy. And I hope no one ever leaves you wondering, the way you left me wondering what I did wrong. Because no one deserves that. Not even someone who practices or chooses that themselves.” – excerpt from: What Nobody Tells You About Losing a Friend. 

May you all find happiness and peace – T

People Change. 

What is it that you really want? What patterns in your life is it time to break?

These are the two questions that have been the focus of my 2018. I am tired of constantly being let down by others and I have realized that part of the reason it keeps happening is because of patterns in my own behavior that it is time to change.

Perhaps, I give people too much credit, to think the words they utter hold meaning and truth. Or maybe it is that their truth changes to fit their mood.

Either way, it is time that I stop being so naive.

I think I want so badly to see the good intentions in others that I end up overlooking the writing on the wall. Life doesn’t always have to be so complicated and it is time to stand up tall and start holding others and myself to a much higher standard.

I mean, is struggle really always necessary? Maybe, struggle and uncertainty are the first warning signs that you are traveling down the wrong road with the wrong person.

I have no desire to be with someone who has doubts about whether they want to be with me or someone who finds it easy to blow me off without thinking twice about my feelings.

And I sure as hell don’t want to be with someone who can’t communicate. Communication is everything in any relationship/friendship. Without it, you can’t have trust and without trust, you have nothing.

I’m too old to tip toe around shit. My time is just as precious as everyone’s and it’s time I remember that.

I am going to tell it like it is and I expect the same from those around me. If it’s too much for you to handle to be called out on your shit and call me out on mine, then let’s not waste one another’s time.

People change.

Someone you once never questioned as a person you could lean on can easily become the one who brings you to your knees.

The person whose arms once held you tight and made everything feel right again, can turn cold and distant; leaving you to wonder if they ever really cared at all.

The truth is that if someone truly cares for you (friend or lover), they make time for you. Not out of obligation, but because they genuinely care and want to spend time with you.

Distance doesn’t matter to a willing heart and if you are hanging on to someone who is not willing to go that distance, than I am sorry to tell you, but it’s time to move on.

You deserve better.

Silence

The silence thickens as the echoes of laughter slowly fade

I do not remember the quiet tasting quite this bitter

And it’s heavy now 

This feeling in my chest

Yet it is not like before 

Nothing is 

So I close my eyes and drift away to a place I never thought existed.

A place where I am no longer the fool

And there is nothing to be done.

Where the distance between happiness and loneliness grows closer 

Until I am all consumed by the sweet release of sleep.