Oct 022013
 

So I know my blog has been dormant for a long time and it’s inception was supposed to provide a place for me to house what is my typical sense of humor to life and the things it throws at me only it hasn’t worked the way it was intended. So hardly after it got started, the blog has pretty much withered and died and quite honestly, that’s pretty sad. I’m not different from anyone else.. life can throw some pretty crappy things at us and while most of the time we take those things in stride, deal with them, find ways to cope and then move on, i’ve been stuck in a black hole and unable to get out.  For some folks, they can’t seem to understand this.  For others, they can relate in ways that can’t possibly be described.  For me, I don’t have the energy to try.  Maybe later? In the meantime, just know that while my heart is hurting, my Buddha wears a cross.

 

 

Mar 282012
 

Recently I have had a lot of changes in my life and while i’m no stranger to changes, I really dislike the sort of changes that upset the foundation of my world as I see it.  I have always identified my adult self first and foremost a mother, then a wife, a daughter, a sister and after that a friend.  So as you can easily see, my identity is mostly defined by the relationships i’ve forged and the roles i’ve assumed over my lifetime.   Lately though, changes have come about that have upset my apple cart and forced me to redefine some of the ways I see those roles and the part I play in them.

Many of the changes i’ve dealt with have been things beyond my control and so with those changes, i’ve had no choice but to sort of roll with the punches.  My youngest son has moved to Tennessee and while this isn’t the first time he’s left home, it’s the first time in which he was headed toward something with intent.  It feels promising and i’m happy for him even though i’ll miss him.  Both my sons are strong willed, independent thinkers and can be very clear about how they see the world.  I suppose in that respect, they are somewhat like me.  I guess that even though we don’t always see things the same, they have learned to view the world through their own eyes.  That can be challenging to a mother that has always been the “fixer” of all issues but ultimately i’m very proud that they can form their own opinions, feel strongly enough about them to act on them and will stand up for their beliefs.  It means they were not only listening to the lessons I tried to teach them, they are living them.  I’m transitioning to being a long distance mom and while that isn’t the easiest thing i’ve ever done, I have to believe that they know that Mom is only a phone call away if they need to talk.  So while it’s not really goodbye, it’s goodbye to the role as a full time mother.

These changes though have forced me to re-evaluate the areas of my life in which I did have some control and while it may not have been the best time to make more changes, it gave me the courage to stand my ground in areas I felt i’d been compromising a little too much.  After all, if my children were grown enough to stand on their own two feet, why couldn’t I do the same?  So I did.

I took a stand and tried to talk to a friend of mine about some issues that were bothering me in how we were interacting and in our relationship.  I will admit that it was my fault for letting things that had affected me go too far and not saying something before I did.  I had hoped that when I did approach them, our friendship would be strong enough for me to be honest, be heard and even respected for trusting in them enough to share my true feelings.. even if those feelings made both of us a bit uncomfortable to discuss.  In my minds eye I thought we would have a discussion, fix the issues and move forward.  Only that didn’t happen.

I suppose I should go back and lay a bit of groundwork.  Our friendship developed and grew deeper in part because of my need to “fix” things.  I saw someone else hurting on many levels and I wanted to help.  I thought that perhaps I could extend a hand of friendship, even a hand up for someone going through a hard time and that as a result, we might find mutual things in common and become closer.  Perhaps that was a bit simplistic and idyllic on my part but I sincerely believed that there was a real chance to finally make friends with someone local.  Someone that I could become buddies with in a place i’d found so different than what I knew growing up in Louisiana.  South Florida is a very transitional area and there aren’t a lot of people here that truly understand my southern heart.  I have some amazing friends that have been with me through thick and thin over the years and even though our friendships are still strong, we live in different states and I don’t get to see them nearly as often as i’d like.  Simply put, I was lonely for friendship.  So I felt this new person might be the right one to bond over chocolate, coffee and chat and help to fill in a missing piece of my life since moving to Florida so many years ago.  And it was that way.. for a time.

I admit, there were some things I didn’t understand about their approach to the world but I didn’t feel as though that had to interfere with us being friends.  I accepted the quirks as being a part of their personality and while I had no desire to change my friend, I didn’t want to have to change myself in order to make our friendship work either.  I recognize now that I should have said something when those quirks started to encroach in areas of my life that made me feel uncomfortable.  I own that and I can’t expect the other person to be a mind reader.  But the real problems came when I did try to set a very clearly stated boundary and it was basically ignored.  So I went to my friend.. tried to explain how it bothered me only that explanation didn’t go over quite like I had hoped.  I dunno.. perhaps they felt I expected too much of them by placing a boundary?  They did tell me that they had no expectations of me but I find that hard to conceptualize.  To me, it’s impossible to have any sort of meaningful relationship in which there aren’t levels of expected behaviors.  Perhaps too many expectations can lead to disappointments but the flip side of that is that if you have no expectations,  how can mutual respect develop?  Respect is formed from knowing where compromise lies.

So after approaching my friend with my concerns, I think we were both left with a lot of frustrations.  It was stressful to feel as though my need for boundaries had to be continually defended instead of just being recognized and accepted.  I asked if we could just drop it for a while..  let things cool off, give us both time to step away and come back to revisit the issues with a healthy sense of respect toward each other and a desire to move forward.  I admit I was disappointed when that simple request could not be honored.. and I was yet again met with another round of why I should be changing my mind to suit their needs. I did not like that it had come to that point.  I tried telling myself “do not engage” but by this time, I felt completely disregarded as a human being.  It was a HORRIBLE feeling and one that I would have never imagined I would be in with this person.

 

There were too many misunderstandings, too many hurt feelings on both sides and in the end I was left feeling used, unheard and disrespected.   I searched inside myself for answers, consulted with my therapist and even came across an article on the web that felt eerily familiar in places and while I saw the writing on the wall , it was a tough place to be.    Deep down, I knew I couldn’t continue in a relationship in which I no longer trusted their ability to recognize and respect my boundaries.  I told them that I was ending the friendship but I do admit it has been very difficult for me.  I want to honor what the friendship meant to me for it’s duration but there is a part of me that is deeply saddened by having to let it go.  I find myself missing what once was and while I am at peace with the decision, it was really hard to say goodbye.

Jan 212012
 

Have you ever felt so down and depressed about the directions your life has been going and then stumble across a strange thing that renews your spirit?  Gives you a glimmer of hope?  Makes you believe that somehow you will survive a huge disappointment and give you promise for the future?

I realize I am a somewhat strange bird but I guess I look for a “sign” all around me that indicates things will somehow be okay.  Perhaps it’s just my interpretation.. even if it’s skewed or just falsely optimistic but whatever it is, it helps me get from what feels at times like one crisis to another.  I call it my method of self preservation.

I tend to feel things in technicolor.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing.  I feel highs really high.. and lows really drag me to a level that is sometimes very difficult to overcome.  I’ve not been in a good place lately but I haven’t wanted to feel down, I don’t particularly relish in feeling crappy.  I’d much rather feel optimistic about the future and happy in the present but it’s been a struggle.  I look for things to be happy about.. search for humor so I can smile and feel a moment’s joy.  It’s disappointing when that doesn’t last.

But there are times when a light bulb can just “go on” and a realization will hit and you can find a sense of promise in something that most people might overlook.  I am optimistic that today brings a bottle of hope that I can drink fully from it.  I have a glass ready and an eager attitude.  ♥

Jan 072012
 

The post below is a rambling post and may not make a lot of sense to others but this particular post is about me spilling out my mind’s reflections and rationalizing it’s decision making process in the written form. Sometimes it’s easier for me to go back and read my thoughts for a particular time frame without getting things confused. It also gives me an opportunity to look back and see if i’ve grown in my thought processes or remained stagnant. So you can read along if you’re so inclined but please keep your judgment to yourself. I have enough criticism in my life (some from others, some from myself) without another heaping helping pile, okay? The flip side of that is to also say I am not looking for blind support. If you can relate, great. If not, I don’t need someone blowing smoke up my ass. I do need validation sometimes but not at the expense of insincerity. So having said that.. here we go. Verbal diarrhea and plodding through the mud in my brain are about to commence.

I’ve read this quote a million times and sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t. I wonder.. is a person’s life truly defined by “moments” or do we need to lump all those moments together and try to see the overall picture? That “moment that takes your breath away” can be a really good thing or a really bad thing and we don’t always get to choose. So should we allow “moments” in our lives to define us? Do we allow our emotions to pave our paths when it’s been proven time and time again that emotions are a horrible guide? Emotion isn’t rational. It isn’t predictable. It generally isn’t safe. But it does make us more humane and less robotic. Relationships are generally founded in emotion and also come to a close surrounded by emotion as well — “live by the sword, die by the sword” comes to mind here. Do we trust our emotions or seek a greater sense of peace through rationality?

What about mistakes? What happens when those unintentional moments result in great pain to ourselves or to others? Do we allow those moments to define us as a human or can we learn from those mistakes and move forward? What about when those “moments” have the greatest impact on others? What choice do others have in deciding if their lives will be defined by that “moment” of your action. We are not isolated in this world.. our paths collide, we interact with others, our behaviors affect those that we are surrounded by. But we do not have to be defined by moments of indiscretion or cruelty just as we do not have to be defined by moments of love and kindness. It is a choice. Just as forgiveness is a choice.

There is no set timeline for forgiveness though. It will come when the healing begins inside the self. Granted, forgiveness is much “easier” to give if there is true repentance and atonement. After all, what is an apology without an act of contrition? Words. Words that cease to have depth of meaning if they aren’t followed by actions of remorse. When a person asks for forgiveness yet shows no real ownership for the originating offense, how much faith can be placed in those words? Redemption lies in the actions that directly contridict the offense that caused the pain. Otherwise, there is no awareness.. no growth.  Which causes us to repeat those offenses.

But none of that is required for the act of forgiveness because forgiveness is a selfish act. Yes, I said a selfish act. An act to let go of the pain that someone else caused. It does not mean you must allow them to continue subjecting you to their actions. It does not mean you continue to accept wrongful behaviors as being okay. It just means that you are not going to let their bad behavior control your life.

If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.  –Mother Teresa

In order for me to have peace, I know I have to forgive.  Unforgiveness can lead to depression, bitterness and negativity as well as physical, spiritual and emotional sickness.  It also leads to loneliness.  The benefits to forgiving is that it gives you the freedom to move forward and heal, no longer allowing a situation to have power over you.  Forgiveness is not a feeling though, it is an action.  It does not diminish the grievance against you, does not condone the other person’s behavior and it does not mean that trust is instantaneously granted back to that person.  It does not mean you forget.  Yet the purpose of forgiving is not to make someone else feel better, it is to make me feel better and not have my life defined by a “moment”.

I want to forgive.. I want to have a sense of peace in my life. I want to take that step.. and then the next step.. and then the next. But I must decide if there is true atonement and change in actions so as not to repeat the offenses. I don’t have the answers to those questions yet but I am open to the possibilities. Forgiveness can be life changing and is a decision that is very personal and comes in it’s own time.  That’s all I have to offer right now. After all, i’m human too.

Jan 032012
 

Isn’t it odd how I can be so forthcoming about the good things in my life yet so private about the things that aren’t as pretty?  Or is it as odd as it feels?  Maybe not.  After all, not everybody likes to splay out there emotions when they’re ugly.  So I won’t go into specifics deeply but I will admit that my attitude of late has SUCKED and it’s all been related to this past “holiday season”.  Christmas this year was the lousiest one i’ve ever had.  In fact, any joy I had in looking forward to it was ripped away and I ended up spending the day completely alone and miserable.  It even makes me seriously consider not ever wanting to celebrate it again or at the very least, doing in a completely non-traditional way.  Perhaps I might should just find myself in a hotel room somewhere next Christmas eating hummus and watching football.  Now if you know much about me, you probably know just how much I detest football and that i’m not a fan of hummus either.  This chick don’t like them sort of peas.  Period.

Christmastime has always been a time of year that I look forward to.. I decorate my home wildly, I enjoy giving to others, I love having my family around me and I even enjoy cooking (although it’s a LOT of work).  It represents family and if you know ANYTHING about me, you know that is the thing I put foremost in my life.  It also is the time of year that makes most people more open to others and just plain NICER to be around.  That was not the case this year.  I did try to decorate and if it hadn’t been for my friend Teresa, nothing would have gotten done.  My husband nor my son wanted any part of helping.  So much for it being a family tradition.  I did get the family tree up with her help and it was beautiful with it’s white lights, an amazing crystal star at the top and displays all of the ornaments that i’ve collected over the years.  But it’s not just about buying ornaments, each of them have symbolic meaning in some way. They all represent my family or friends.. perhaps a memory of somewhere i’ve been.  It’s like taking a piece of every person I love and placing it all in one spot and then allowing the light of their spirit to glow in the room.  It always felt magical.  Until this year.

The complete disinterest from my family really hurt me.  The feelings that are typically represented to me in putting up that tree were just disregarded and thrown off as insignificant.  Perhaps it was petty on my part but I needed for them to participate.. to help me build that tree, to make new memories and to come together as a family.  It was already tough enough for my oldest son to be so far away and unable to be here with us.  It was on my mind that for yet another year, I was going to miss having Christmas with my family back in Louisiana.  I just NEEDED the family I have here to step up and share this time that represented joy, love and unity.  It didn’t happen.  All that happened was fighting.  I cried.  I got angry.  Then I just stepped back, into a shell and wanted nothing to do with anyone.  I sat in the living room away from everyone else and just surfed the internet.  I was miserable and felt more alone than I had ever felt in my life.  I now hated Christmas because it represented the complete opposite of everything I had always believed it to be.  The only magic there was in Christmas was a dark magic.  I had finally recognized that it wasn’t worth fighting to feel good about the holidays any more if I had to do it alone.  There wasn’t much good about that for sure.

I finally came out of the living room after sitting in there for days alone.  I still didn’t feel like doing anything and I continued to sulk.  I haven’t even had the gumption to take down the trees in my house or the rest of the decorations.  I know my attitude stunk but truthfully, I didn’t give a damn.  Christmas Day had come and gone.  No time with family, no exchanging of presents, no Christmas dinner.  I had thawed out a turkey that was bought at Thanksgiving and Bob cooked it in the oven and with the leftover Red Velvet Cake that I had made a couple days before, that was it.  I ate a turkey sandwich that day and for the next several days after.  No worries about gaining any extra weight from a sandwich but trust me when I tell you.. I ate my feelings by way of  everything else.  I wasn’t hungry at first but when I started feeding my disappointment, I couldn’t eat enough.  Cake, fudge, peanut butter balls, biscotti, gallons of iced white mocha lattes.  I ate myself right into feeling even more sorry for myself because I knew it was just going to make me gain weight.  Yeah.. I know.  That part is on me and I own it.  Nobody else forced me to eat.

I’ve slowly begun to talk to the manticles and the kidlet but I still haven’t really forgiven either one of them for being so horrid during Christmas.  They both KNEW how much it meant to me and it didn’t matter enough to do anything about it.  Now you might ask why would I care?  Why wouldn’t I just go on and do my own thing and be merry anyway?  WELL.. that is hard when you feel like the very things that are GOOD about you (love for family, wanting to do right by them, the desire to spend time with them) are the things that aren’t appreciated.  If I can’t be appreciated for the things that are good about me, what else is there?  YEP.. I was feeling defeated.  And quite alone.

Over a week has passed now and yesterday I was online, surfing and reading Facebook.  Not much unusual about that except that I was participating in a thread about after Christmas clearance sales with a group of crafters from a Facebook page I belong to.  Many were talking about how awesome their after Christmas sales were at Wal Mart and while I did go look at my local store the other day, I didn’t buy anything Christmas related.  So while I was reading their posts about clearance sales, someone mentioned a store i’d never heard of and even placed a link on it to the store’s Facebook page.  The store is called Dirt Cheap.  Now even in a funk, I can get a small twinkle in my eye when I think about getting a bargain but I knew i’d never heard of the store.  I was curious if there were any in the South Florida region where I live.  NOPE.  No such luck.

But I did find something.  A bigger streak of luck and a better bargain than I could have imagined.  Yanno, sometimes the things we need more than luck can come to us in a totally bizarre form.. this was one of those times.  I happened to read a comment from one of the people that found a good buy at their store.  The comment led me to her blog that she had linked.  I read the story about how she had been blessed enough to get an artificial tree from a local thrift store and some other decorations from their store at 50% off BEFORE Christmas Day actually came and went.  It was exciting to her because it was the only thing her son had asked for at Christmas was to have a tree.  Talk about a kick in the gut.

Yes.. I had a right to be angry and upset and even hurt by my family’s behavior toward Christmas but I am a grown woman and to have a CHILD to show more graciousness and humility than I had was just eye opening.  Tears rolled down my face as I saw the pictures she posted of her children and her husband putting up that tree and the awe in their eyes, joy on their faces and I felt as though I could almost feel the spirit of Christmas coming from her words and pictures.  THERE it was.. the very thing I had wanted.  Yes, a part of me is insanely jealous of their family unity but the better part of me was insanely grateful that those children had a better Christmas than they had expected.  I might have had to wait for my Christmas a little longer and I may have had to see it in someone else’s faces but it certainly did remind me of where the Christmas spirit lives.. it lives inside of those that are willing to receive it.  I may still have to escape next year and watch football and eat hummus to enjoy it but I refuse to let someone else take it from me ever again.

Dec 252011
 

I am terribly saddened for today I lost a friend.  I can’t imagine how i’m going to do without her and I just can’t believe i’ll never see her again!   We had one of those relationships that is irreplaceable.  We go way back.. in fact, I first met her prior to marrying my first husband.  She was an easy friend to have.. never demanded anything, always there exactly when I needed her and sometimes she gave me the sweetest gifts!

Her name was Mrs. Robeson.  Even with all the years of knowing her, I had always called her Mrs. Robeson out of respect, although I would playfully call her “Sparky” on occasion.  She visited every holiday but occasionally she would drop in unexpectedly before dinner during the rest of the year.  She never stayed long and was always willing to pitch in and help with the cooking.  She was most at home in the kitchen.  She was always a welcome help and while I appreciated her, I know I selfishly took her for granted.

She was gone in an instant and it was in the middle of helping me prepare something special for Christmas when it happened.  All the way to the end, Mrs. Robeson was doing such sweet things for me.  Thank you seems so insignificant but I hope she knew how much I really did appreciate all her help.  You just can’t beat those kind of friends.  RIP, Sparky.. I am grateful for your loyalty, your dedication and your help over the years.

 

The last (and sweetest) thing Mrs. Robeson ever did for me was be a part of our Christmas festivities.  We all thank you for that!

 

Dec 222011
 

All of us are quite familiar with the act of giving presents during the holiday season.. it seems to be a “must do” for most people.  Many times it can be stressful to pick out just the right thing for someone because you want them to like it.  I can tell you what “gifts” I enjoy the most and it doesn’t cost a thing.  Time.  Compassion.  Friendship.  Love.

The gift of time is irreplaceable.  The gift of compassion is always appreciated.  The gift of friendship is sacred.  The gift of love is the most important one of all.  If we can find it in our hearts and minds to give these gifts.. the ones that cost us nothing to purchase but have a value that is priceless, we will be whole spiritually and rich beyond measure.  Give your gifts to others, they only get better when you share.

 


HOWEVER.. if these gifts fail (and I can’t think of why they would), coffee is the next best thing.  🙂

Dec 212011
 

Christmas time is here.  Very little time left to make all those baked goods or to purchase that last minute gift.  By now, most people’s holiday cheer is already starting to wane.  The frantic pace has us racing to get things done while most are still working.  Traffic is snarled.. the markets and department stores are chaotic.  It’s easy to forget what the season represents.

For some, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ while others commemorate different walks of faith in their own custom.  Even those that don’t have a belief in a higher power seem to find a bit more spring in their step and find good will toward others during this time of year.  While none of us are exempt from feeling the stress of the added monetary expense that seems to go along with holiday spending, there still seems to be a magical feel at times.  It’s easier to remind ourselves to coexist during this time but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were more of a way of life rather than a short lived season?  Yeah.. I know.  Too Pollyanna of me, huh?

To me, Christmas is about spending time with those you love.  In that respect, I have Christmas nearly every day of the year.  I don’t get to spend enough time with my son or my Mom though and I worry that although her health is good, she isn’t getting any younger and I don’t know how many more years I will be able to have her with me.  The holidays seem to make the pains of missing those that I love that are no longer with me a little sharper.. this worries me that at some point I will likely know that feeling again.  I simply MUST find a way to to go see my mother and my son.. SOON.

Before later becomes too late.. hug those that you love and never let them doubt that you feel the way you do.  Merry Christmas, Y’all!

 

 

Dec 092011
 

My Mama always told me.. “If you ain’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  So now you know why my blog has been dead for a while.  Hopefully things will start turning around and i’ll be able to say something nice later.

Until then, i’m gonna go try to stir up some artificial cheer.. and putting on new clothes for the blog page.