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.

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A New Reason to Smile

Like I said the other day, I think we forget sometimes, just how much power we have in creating the life we desire. Sure, there are a million things we can’t control, but the one thing we can control is how we think and therefore how we feel. I know it doesn’t always seem like that. Especially for anyone who battles with depression, anxiety or any other mentally challenging disorders. And I’m not saying it’s easy either, it’s not, but if we ever want to truly be content in this life, we must find a way to change the way we think.

That is the only way to change the way we feel and the negative belief system that has been ruling our lives. After all, a belief is just something you keep thinking over and over again; that doesn’t make it true.

You might be thinking, “Sure, that’s easy for you to say, your life is great!”

And I would reply, “Then, I must be doing a pretty good job of convincing myself it is!”

Hicks always says, “Fake it until you make it!” and that is literally what you have to do, almost every day.

Do you think I wake up every day happy and excited?

Well, I can tell you that is very rare.

For me, depression is like an evil villain lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on my good mood at any given moment. I never know when it will hit me or what the trigger will be. The only thing I do know for sure is that its visit is inevitable.

Every day before I open my eyes, I take the first thought that comes to mind and should it be a negative one, I take a deep breath and say to myself, “Not today” and then I reach for the closest positive thought I can find. And I continue to do that until I have moved my train of thought over to something or someone that makes me smile.

If that doesn’t work (and sometimes it doesn’t), I may surrender to the moment, but as soon as I have a chance to release those emotions, I take it.

Whether that be writing, painting or simply taking a moment to blubber about it, we all need an outlet. I have a friend who whenever they get upset, they go running and I have another friend who whenever they get upset, they go for a drive.

The point is, we are all human and part of being human means that we are emotional beings. There is nothing we can do to change that.

And emotions are meant to be expressed. It is when they are not that we find ourselves spinning out of control.

Which is why having a support system or at least one person who knows you as well as (if not more than) you know yourself, is detrimental in winning the fight.

We all need that one person who is understanding and supportive, but also not afraid to call us out on our shit!

Something I think we all need every once in a while 🙂

The minute you turn from the ones who care for you, you surrender completely to whatever it is that is causing you to feel that way.

Whether it is a person, a problem or an illness, when you turn away from the world and crawl inside yourself, you are giving up your power to change your circumstance.

You become, the title of one of my favorite Perfect Circle songs – Weak and Powerless.

Maybe this will only last a few months, but there is always a chance of permanence.

Darkness in a world full of color.

The longer you spend in the dark, the harder it becomes to find the light.

Why?

Because every thought you think, results in an emotion and every emotion another thought that leads to another emotion…you get the point.

“when you are feeling insecure you start to think the way you are feeling. Then, you begin to feel the way you think and feeling becomes the means of thinking. When this occurs, the mind becomes immersed in the body and you begin thinking as a body and not as a mind; it becomes your state of being.” – Dr. Joe Dispenza

So when we wallow and believe me, I can be the queen of wallowing sometimes, we begin to validate the negativity we are experiencing.

The story we tell ourselves is incredibly important. It forms the way we see the world and ourselves. As well as determines what we attract into our current reality.

This was a huge revelation I had back in 2016 and it has been my savior over the past few years when it comes to pulling myself back from the downward spiral of emotions that can pull me away from my path.  I wrote a post about it that you can find here, What is Your Story?

Obviously, I have not yet mastered the art and perhaps I never will, but at least I’m trying.

And some part of it must be working, because I am seeing evidence of it more and more as time goes on.

Take for instance that last few months or even all of last year for that matter. It has been an emotional roller coaster for me.

My heart has been broken, friends have let me down and in many cases, I have let myself down, but despite the disappointments of the past, I am still going strong!

I have learned that although it is natural to feel defeated at times or get caught up in someone or some event in our lives, if we dwell in this place for too long, we may let something amazing walk right on by.

Life has a funny way of working itself out and it is way too short to hold on to the people who do not value you or cling to the mistakes of the past. This life is about moving forward, not backward.

Sometimes what we want and what we need are completely opposed to one another and that is just all there is to it.

How do we know the difference?

That is a tough question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot based on my own experiences.

First of all, you should never have to beg for love and/or attention from someone who truly cares for you, because to those who truly care it is something you will never have to question. Words are merely words and leave the lips of the deceitful just the same as they do from those with good intentions.

The difference is that those with good intentions validate those words with actions. We all make mistakes and behave in ways we are not proud of, so I am not saying you should dismiss anyone who doesn’t put you on a pedestal – that’s a bit extreme!

It is okay to give someone a chance to make amends, but be careful about letting them off too easy. The word sorry is over used and over appreciated in my opinion and it is again just a word. True amends are made by going the extra mile, not just apologizing for what you did wrong.

The day you embrace this knowledge you will find that you hold not only yourself, but everyone-else in your life to a higher standard.

And I assure you, when you least expect it, you will cross paths with someone you may have never seen coming, had you been too busy chasing after someone else.

And the same advice is relevant with circumstances too.

Just like people, opportunities will come and go in your life, you just have to try your best to ensure you are going after the right ones and not spending too much time trying to make the wrong ones into something they are not.

We are all in this together… some of us just weren’t meant to walk next to one another.

Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Relevant Reflection

Exciting news! I am just about finished putting together the timeline for the Insane Roots book series! So far it is looking like there will be at least four additional books. I am down to the last two journals!!

Sadly, I stopped consistently keeping a journal around 2008, so hopefully my memory doesn’t fail me filling in the gaps between then and starting my blog 🙂

Anyway! I found this little gem in one of my journals from 2002 and I thought I’d give you a little teaser…

Without giving too much away (hopefully), I wrote this when I was living in West Seattle and dating a man I almost married. There is a huge crazy story there, but you’ll have to wait for book #3!! Teehee.

It was untitled, but the first thought that came to my mind was that it was a relevant reflection, so I changed it!

A Relevant Reflection

February 9, 2002

Mr. Serious Man,

Why so sad?

Your eyes are turning that lighter shade of blue.

These are the times I fear for you.

Are you pondering a million questions?

Lost to the answers.

Perhaps… you think too much,

Or should not think alone.

Clarity comes from the ability to clear your mind.

Do the answers really matter?

The day is at hand!

If you waste it by thinking of tomorrow,

You’ll never enjoy today.

And as time goes on,

You’ll never know the true joy,

In this crazy beautiful life.

 

This Could Get Controversial…

As I write to  you now there is a chainsaw raging just outside my window.

And it has been for the last few hours.

I was so looking forward to sleeping in today, but as the sun awoke this morning, so began another day of construction and the slow destruction of what used to be the neighborhood I grew up in.

What was once a few small houses hidden from the street is slowly losing the war against one’s desire to expand an already massive parking lot. A fight we have all been fighting for many years.

To give you some background, every family occupying this neighborhood has been here since the tiny village of Roscoe began. In most cases, all of these houses have been passed down from generation to generation. To us, maintaining that close nit small town feeling is not just important, but it is tradition.

For example, my house was originally the home of my great grandmother. She raised her six children here.

When she passed, my grandparents purchased the house and made it their own. My grandfather expanded the main house, put up a two car detached garage and built a customized woodworking shop out back.

As most of you know, my grandparents raised me through my high school years, when my mother disappeared yet again. Up until that point, I had never lived in one place more than a year or two at most.

This was the first time in my life where I  truly felt secure in knowing it wasn’t just temporary . I was finally able to take a breath, relax and settle in.

When most people step through the door, it is just another house, but to me it is so much more.

Every corner is a memory and every memory a reminder of the unwavering love my grandparents not only shared with one another, but for me as well.

Every morning when I walk down those same steps I did as a teenager, I can almost see the two of them still sitting at the kitchen table. A view I never thought I would miss as much as I do.

For me, this house is what helps to keep their memory alive. And not just the house, but the whole property. From the lilacs my great grandmother planted in the front yard to the lingering smell of saw dust in my grandfather’s shop, it is a familiarity that in times of  distress it is all that gets me through.

And that is just my story. Each neighboring house is filled with its own set of memories and traditions. All of which, we as their residents will fight to preserve at all costs.

It is a way for us to feel close to those we have lost and in our own way to make them proud by carrying on in their absence.

Over the last few years, an entity that I will not name just yet has been on a mission to take over our neighborhood and expand what is already an over excessive amount of occupied space.

As time passes and generations end, they have tried their best to scoop up any house that goes on the market. First it was the house just across from mine, which happened when my grandfather was still living.

What was once a cute little red house surrounded by trees became pavement and the ability to see our house from the main road an impending reality.

When my grandfather passed the house along to me, my neighbor came over to fill me in on what he knew of this entity’s future plans. He told me that when the elderly woman down the street had passed, they tried to purchase the property at half the asking price with the plans of burning it down and you guessed it…adding more pavement. Seeing as this would basically put both of our houses in the middle of a parking lot, he purchased the house before they were able to make a deal with the family.

We agreed that neither of us would ever sell and if for any reason we came to a place where we had to, that we would let one another know first to keep them from having the option to scoop it up. I assured him there was no way I was going to be selling this house as I had made a promise to my grandfather the year before he passed that I never would.

Not to mention how hard I had to fight for it, but that is a story for another day.

We sat together at the kitchen table as he begged me with tears in his eyes to keep this house. He said he wanted me to find someone to share it with as they did. To carry on the tradition as they had. It was a moment that will forever be etched in my mind.

Seeing the strongest man I knew that vulnerable absolutely broke my heart. He loved my grandmother so much, the kind of love I think we all long for. And they had it.

This house wasn’t just special to him because it was her family home. It was where he felt he was finally able to give her all that she deserved. Every corner in the kitchen was customized to her liking. Except that the counters are a little lower than she wanted, something she always joked with him about.

It was the place where he was able to make her visions a reality. “Handcrafted with love”, he would say.

Not only that, but this was also the place where they grew old together.

And it was at that very kitchen table where she told him, she didn’t want to fight for her life anymore.

At that end of my grandmother’s life, she was taking so much medication that she couldn’t keep anything down except bread and milk. She had very little energy and was dizzy most of the time which prevented her from doing much of anything.

So, a few days before my 21st birthday, after her talk with grandpa, she decided to stop taking her medication and let nature take it’s course.

Could you imagine, the person you have spent the last 60+ years with coming to you and basically telling you they have made the choice to end their life? It must have been so hard for him to support her in doing that, but he did.  Even in the end, he put his needs behind hers.

That kind of love doesn’t come around every day.

I was living in Seattle at the time, but was planning to fly back two days after my birthday to see them.

The call came just several days shy of my original departure date, which was now the day of her funeral.

I walked through the door that day to a broken man. And the days that followed were even more painful, but we powered through it. Here, in this house, together.

So now you can understand why selling this house, at least for me, is not an option and I know I am not alone. As I mentioned before, it is a feeling that echoes the neighborhood.

Which is why most of us were not concerned when one of our neighbors decided to sell. This entity originally offered her something insulting like $25,000 for a property that is worth well over $100,000 and she of ‘course said no. They then tried pressuring her, as they have done with many other properties they have consumed, by stating that she would be doing a good service to her community by selling.

The house sat empty for a few months after they moved out their final items, but a sign never popped up.

Then it began…

Just to give you an idea…My house is located directly behind this entity’s parking lot. This property stretches the full length from our street (we share a dead end) all the way to the main road. My neighbor’s lot was filled with trees, some over 100 years old. The yard dips down from the street and the house is set towards the back of the property, so that it is 10-20 feet from the property line we share.

Over the last few months, they have stripped the house down to its bare bones in preparation for a controlled burn. All the trees from the house to the main street have almost been cleared, giving a clear view of my house from the main road. And now they are working to level the land in order to…Yup! Expand their parking lot!!

And here is where it gets a bit controversial, although it need not be. You see this has nothing to do with religion, which is why I saved this until the end.

I wanted you to hear the story without your opinion being swayed by the knowledge of said culprit.

The entity in question is a church. Does that change your opinion?

It shouldn’t.

The First of Many

In working on phase II in the Insane Roots memoir series, I have gone back and revisited some of the most devastating moments in my life. Some of which, were so damaging that I had almost completely blocked them out of my mind.

Breaking down the walls has been challenging to say the least, but it has also brought back a great deal of beautiful memories as well and reminded me of the many milestones that have had an extensive impact on who I am today.

As you can imagine, my journals as a teenager were centered mostly around boys & the fact that no one understood me. It’s hard not to laugh at myself, but it’s all about perspective and back then I had very little experience with life.

And for that reason, I don’t think I had a very good idea of what love really was back then either. Mostly because I realize now that I didn’t love myself and until that happens I am not sure you are really able to love someone else fully. It takes a lot to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the possibility that the object of your affection may not return the gaze. 

My past relationships were no cake walk, let me tell you!! With the exception of a very small handful of the men I have dated, the majority of them treated me like dirt.

They claimed to love me, but if they did, there would be no way in the world they would have behaved the way they did.

It wasn’t until well after high school that I can honestly say I felt real love and it was reciprocated at that! It was clear then that all those who had come before were merely practice for the real thing. And although that relationship didn’t work out as planned, it worked out the way it was supposed to. 

I was shattered for a while when we broke up, but I think anyone would be after having been with someone for as long as we were together. 

Eventually, I put myself back out into the dating pool again and well….Ya it didn’t pan out the best. So…almost 3 years ago, I  took myself back off the market (“closed for remodeling” as I called it). 

I knew there was something in me that I needed to repair before I was ready to get back out there again. I was clearly attracting the wrong type of men and allowing them to treat me like the ones in the past did.

Again, it was my own self worth standing in my way. I didn’t believe I deserved a different kind of relationship; one where the love goes both ways.

I also think that deep down, I am still battling with the feeling that perhaps I just don’t believe that anyone could actually love me. I mean all of me…right down to the crazy! 

I know that it’s silly, but even now there is a lump in my throat as I think about it. And it causes me to overthink everything…this constant state of worry that breeds unhealthy habits. 

Habits of self defeating behavior, the need for reassurance & fear. 

Sometimes I really am my worst enemy! 

I’m stopping that! 

From here on out, I am going to focus on the fact that I have someone with whom I love spending time with & perhaps it will grow into something more & perhaps it won’t. 

Maybe he’ll feel the same or maybe he won’t, but either way when I am with him I’m happy and for now that is enough. 

Overthinking where it’s going just leads to unnecessary pressure and a ton of needless worry! 

I’d rather be thankful than fearful, so that is just what I’m going to do!!