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Dear Introvert

writer. creative soul. black sheep.

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photography

heart shaped box.

mirage
mirage.

 

“It was all a mirage;
everything I saw,
it wasn’t really there.”
@riderek

My heart is a prison. I’m trapped inside this beating fortress of muscle and blood. I see things that aren’t really there. I believe things that aren’t really true. I turn reality into imaginary. Delusional. All is lost in a single beat. There’s a hole in the wall, a chamber malfunction. Bad blood mixes with good. Atrial Septal Defect. Ebstein’s Anomaly.

I swear it’s defected.

The doctor tell me it’s normal.

Well fuck you Dr. Know Nothing because my heart has caused more problems in my life than any other organ I have. Sure girl, consciously kill your liver (what has it ever done to you?!) and just let your heart go on shit storming your life up.

Give me a transplant please. I want a black heart, one that doesn’t feel. I want one with a faulty lock, with a crooked hinge, an uneven seal, whatever the damage might be that allows me to escape from it. I don’t want to be trapped inside the one I was born with anymore.

I used to watch The Vampire Diaries. Envious of the characters Damon and Stefan and their ability to turn their feelings off, shut them down, forget they ever had them at all. Emotionless vampires meandering through immortal life without a care in the world. The inability to feel anything on purpose and at will – – now that would be awesome, wouldn’t it? Running through a field of wild flowers, spinning in circles, in an obnoxious girly-girl dress screaming, “look at all the fucks I give!!!!” And there would be none. For real. I wouldn’t have to fake it, I could literally stop feeling. It would be glorious.

An obscene level of familial dysfunction – – as if it is seven of the most dramatic soap operas wrapped into one family… don’t care. A detached lover? Don’t care. Drowning in bills? Still don’t care. Ramen Noodles for lunch every day for the last three weeks when you’re closing in on 30 years old? So what? Chemical plastic shaped like pasta all day ‘errrrday bitch. Not a worry in the world that these noodles are causing a slow gastric death seeping toxic waste into my mucous membranes and the fact that every package could outlive a nuclear blast.

Emotions can’t touch me.

Just kidding.

I feel everything.

There is no emergency shut off valve.

But a girl can dream.

I bear the Zodiac sign of the crab. This makes me an internal emotional roller coaster. Crabs feel EVERYTHING. Even other people’s emotions. Many Cancers are unable to distinguish the difference between their feelings and those they sense in others. I know I can’t. It’s overwhelming sometimes. It can be energy zapping. As if your emotions and my emotions formed a giant octopus that attached itself to my face. Tentacles smothering, airways constricting, a strange slurping sound, sucker cups sucking – – the life right out of me.

They say we Cancers are tender at heart, family oriented, we consider our homes to be our retreat: we need order and calmness to reign there so we can recharge after a hectic day, we’re home bodies, kind, intuitive, dependable, action taking, persistent, artistic, creative and excellent workers and providers. But we’re also fearful of rejection, resentful, unforgiving, and angry.

It’s all true.

All this Zodiac mumbo-jumbo brings me to this ::

Recently, on 01/09/2015, Lindsay Holmes posted an article in The Huffington Post called 6 Toxic People Who May Be Sabotaging Your Happiness. Number five? The person/people who USE you.

Holmes writes, “We don’t have room in our lives for people who take advantage of us. Helping each other is one thing, but if the favors are always one-sided, it might be time to address the situation.”

If you’ve read the above, you could see how easily a crab might be used. I try to be kind. Always. There’s a difference between being nice and being kind. I’m not normally nice per say. I could be a bitch. But damn it, I am kind. I will offer a helping hand to those in need, strangers, co-workers, friends, practically anyone, doesn’t matter who.

I try to be dependable. I will come through for you if you need me. I never go back on my word unless some really crazy shit happens to derail my promise. Whether it’s love, work, help, advice or even money… though I usually end up regretting this one since I honestly don’t a pot to piss in, but still, I find myself giving away what I don’t have, because you need it, because you need me.

Action taker. Yes I am. I am always ready to spring into action. If I get a plan, idea, notion, anything in my head, I’m quick to dive right into it. And I’m persistent as fuck. I never give up. But sometimes, that’s not always a good thing. At least not in this case. I haven’t given up on all of you yet.

When it comes to my family, they’re repeat offenders, charged with using me time and time again. And every single time, there I am:: listening, offering, listening, giving, listening, driving, listening, donating, listening, believing. And with each time – the lies, the manipulation, the bullshit, the asking, the taking, the draining… it cuts a little deeper and soon the wounds won’t close anymore. When is the end? When will it stop? I’m giving so much of myself sometimes that I can’t get back to the me I was before.

I become bitter. Resentful. Angry.

The crab in me wants to sharpen my pincers and take off a toe or two, maybe some fingers, maybe more. You take my soul, I start taking your extremities.

Harboring anger and bitterness morphs you into a tea pot ready to blow, whistling your resentments and spraying your scalding water on the innocent. It contradicts all the good traits I have. And instead of making me upset, knowing this only makes me angrier.

You know I’d believe you if one more time you told me you loved me and were proud of me. Asking me “how I am doing” like you mean it. Feed me just enough bullshit to lay your trap. And I’ll walk right into it. Again and again. A leaf covered spear pit. It’s not in my nature to ignore you if need my help. It’s not in my nature to back down. It’s not in my nature to not always seek the good in people, the good in you.

But what if there isn’t any good?

Any good at all.

Not anywhere.

Not an ounce, not a sprinkle, not a pinch.

Psycho narcissistic sociopath.

You depend on my dependability.

You drink my kindness until you are drunk off of it.

You build the dollhouse exterior to conceal your house of horrors.

You invite me in.

I’m tangled in the web of your puppet strings.

I drank your fucking Koolaid.

Might as well pour me a double.

Cyanide.. antifreeze.. Draino, whatever.

Pick your poison.

Family is family. It’s hard to cut the ties that bind. Blood is thicker than water. Supposedly. I don’t know which time will be the time I say enough is enough, but I hope it comes soon.

But I hope there never comes the time when I learn to shut down my emotions, to stop my heart. To let the anger blacken it until it’s charred and merciless. Then my dedication, my action taking, my creativity and my persistence might mean something different entirely to you. I’ll have an inside that mirrors your own. But I guarantee it’ll be uglier.

Relentless.
UNFORGIVING.
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ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

former self.
former self.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
-turn and face the strain-
Ch-ch-changes
don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
-turn and face the strain-
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
– David Bowie

____________________

Change.

Rarely embraced, forever feared – – by most.

CHANGE – as defined by Webster : to become different

: to make (someone or something) different

: to become (someone or something) else

‘Tis the season of change. A brand new year, a chance to start over. The month of January – filled to the brim with resolutions that people throw around like they’re Santa Clause on a firetruck flinging popcorn balls to awaiting children on the streets. (I used to love that. Not Santa. The popcorn balls.)

“New year, new me!”

I smell bullshit.

At least in my case. Promises, promises. Promises to yourself, promises to other people, promises people make to you. I could drowned in promises not kept by others and by my self. I bet you could find them all wherever all those left socks end up when they’re missing from the dryer.

I don’t see why we feel the need to announce to everyone what our “resolutions,” are, if we make them at all. Air them out like dirty laundry on social media and to our friends and family. I keep mine secret just in case I end up resolving shit, which 99.9% of the time is what usually happens.

RESOLUTION, as defined by Webster

: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem

: the act of resolving something

: an answer or solution to something

Change is usually necessary in order to make complete a resolution. One would assume so. Change your eating habits, change your daily routine, change yourself. Do more of this, less of that. Seek happiness. Make improvements. Spend more time with your family, find what your passions are, and the “resolutions” go on and on in variations that are individual to every person. But it all comes down to one thing: CHANGE.

We are creatures of habit which makes change difficult.

Small changes that alter your life in little increments are easier to endure. No one wants to overdose, not even on change. Eat one to two more healthy meals a week, pick up a gym session, schedule “me” time in your planner, read more books, crochet a sweater, put more emphasis on a quality get together with your best friend, etc.

But I’m not talking about eating more vegetables here. Or picking up a new hobby. I’m talking about the great fear. Change(s) you have to make that you know might break your heart. Changes that could mean failure, disaster, and that ugly word: regret. So you hesitate. This hesitation lasts days, then weeks, then months, then years and suddenly you forget how much time has passed, that is, until you’re face to face with another new year where nothing at all has changed and you are left wanting, or angry, or just stupefied.

This January is just like any other for some people. But not me. This is the new year where I realize I’ve hesitated for far too long, waiting for something or someone else to change. But -it- or -they- have not. There will be no package left on my doorstep from UPS addressed to me, labeled “change” in which I can open to alter my life. A box that comes with step by step instructions on what to do and when, a “Making Changes for Dummies” manual. If only it were that easy. But it’s not. I can’t wait any longer. I’m being torn in two.

To truly resolve, one must find an answer or solution to a conflict or problem. What if my conflict is that I’m a walking contradiction? What it my problem is that it feels like my soul is dying? How do you resolve that? What if the answer to my solution means changing something I don’t want to? What if it means taking drastic measures because these are drastic times? What if I can’t? What if I won’t? Because it’s going to break my fucking heart doing it. I know it. But it could also save my life in the end. I know that too.

I say one thing, I’m doing another.

I believe this, but I’m doing that.

I trust in my gut, but I ignore the fuck out of it.

I won’t tolerate bullshit, but I allow bullshit to dictate my life.

I don’t make promises I can’t keep, but I allow people to break theirs to me.

I value strength and courage, yet I make decisions out of weakness.

This is my harsh reality. We’re too soft on ourselves if you ask me. We don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve when it comes to the courage that lives inside of us all.  I can hear you say, “Hey, give yourself some credit. You’re doing the best you can.” Am I? Am I really though? It’s easy to give in. It’s easy to give up. It’s SO DAMN EASY to settle. Easy to not try at all. But I want the fight. Where is it?

I’m looking in the mirror thinking, “Wake the fuck up. Don’t be a pussy. You see what you see, feel what you feel and you know what you know and yet you do NOTHING. What the hell is wrong with you?” Be the beast inside you or become the ghost behind you.

I’m living with an internal v.s external struggle. What I feel inside is not what I am doing. Not at all. Remember in the post before this one where I said listen to your conscience, your inner voice, your gut? Well, it’s blowing one of those emergency lost-in-the-woods whistles at me that’s bursting my eardrums. It has lit a blinding flare that never goes out and is so close to my face that the sparks burn my skin. It tugs at my brain, trying to pull it up and over the cliff it hangs off of but it can’t – – because my brain is holding onto my heart trying to save her life too, trying not to let her break into a million pieces. It’s too heavy to save both so my brain must decide.

Brain, you must let go of my heart, let it fall.
Let it bust and bleed.
Let it pump out what it has inside that’s holding me back.
Let it beat for the last time the things I need to release.
Let it die.
Let me die.

And hopefully the electric shock of voluntary change will bring it and me back to life.

Hopefully.

I need to find that inner peace. I’m in a state of unrest. And if I don’t do something now, then when? If it’s one one thing you take away from reading this post, it’s this ::: only you have the power to make positive or negative change in your life or you can simply stand still. The decision is always yours first and foremost. If you’re in this life together with someone else, they can come along for the ride, or you can take a trip with them, but ultimately it is YOU who decides your inner happiness and how you will find it. It has always been you. This person might be a small or immense part of that happiness but you hold its true worth internally, inside of you.

If you life your life for someone else, it’s not living, unless you both are in sync with one another.

If you wait for someone else to change, you are going to die waiting.

You can’t save other people. They have to save themselves.

If they won’t, they’ll take you down with them.

If you must settle for something less than your best life and your truest self, you are going to miss your calling, everything you were meant to be, everything you were meant to do.

Life gives you detours.

Life gives you rocky roads.

Life gives you traffic jams.

Hell, life might even throw out a spike strip or two out in the middle of the road and flatten your tires.

But life never puts out concrete barriers.

Only you are responsible for the imaginary road blocks you can’t drive through.

Remember that.

So whether it’s starting over, chasing after your dreams, going for the career chance of a lifetime, moving to a completely new town or even a new state, leaving a relationship, starting a new relationship, going on a vacation, quitting a $150,000/yr job for a $40,000/yr one because you’re home more and the job you’re doing finally makes you happy.. whatever it is, big change or small, do it. Because you can. Because you want to. Because you know what you need to do.

Don’t be afraid.
Live your best life.
Be your true self.
It’s never too late.
Never.
And yes, I resolve to follow my own advice. Really and truly.

life. in Disney quotes.

lies5

Wise words Mr. Cricket. And yes indeed, I have made a fool of myself. Not once, not twice, but many times. More times than I count on all of my fingers and all of my toes. People make mistakes. Lots of them. That’s human nature.You can’t dwell on the heavy of them all. Mistakes are meant to be made. Sometimes, it’s the only way we learn.

I try to stifle the feeling of regret when I think of my mistakes or any moments from my past where I have made a complete fool of myself. But I have a hard time forgiving and forgetting the mistakes I made when I recklessly ignored my conscience. My gut. You know, that tug you get in the pit of your stomach. The infamous internal warning system. It manifests itself for a reason.

I’ve ignored it only a select few times in my life. Every single one of those times my conscience was right and I was wrong. There was one time in particular where I ignored my inner voice – that decision almost cost me my life. My conscience was trying to tell me something. I ignored it. Fool. Doing so ended up stripping away years from my existence. Years I can never get back. But hey, I’m here and I’m okay so it’s neither here nor there. I’ll save the details for another blog post. But just the thought that if I only had listened, if only… maybe nothing would be different, maybe everything would. So I try not to think about it at all.

The best advice… words that may help you live without regret.. listen to your gut. It doesn’t lie. So when you feel it, stop what you’re about to do or not do, and really think before you act. If you can’t visualize your conscience, picture a cartoon cricket named Jiminey who is ready to poke out your eyeballs with his cricket-sized umbrella if you don’t listen to him. Do it. He obviously knows his shit.

 lies9   lies12

With that, I move on to Simba and Rafiki. Most of my past hurt. For years, I let it affect me in a negative way emotionally, physically, mentally. Though I didn’t run from it, I drowned in it. For me, it was the same thing. It took years to understand what this creepy Baboon with the acid trip voice gift wrapped us all in two short sentences. A movie I’ve literally seen over 100 times as a child and as an adult. Go figure.

I should of paid more attention to you Rafiki. But you were ugly and weird. I preferred young Simba over you. I’m sorry. So adult Simba reasons that you can’t go back in time and change the past. So stop worrying about it. It’s over. There’s nothing you can do except move forward and like Rafiki tells Simba, learn from it. Live in the present so that you truly live, not just exist in this life, right here, right now. Time stops for no one. You have a choice what you spend yours on.

Make it count.

The past can destroy you. It can eat you alive and then swallow your carcass whole as you idiotically volunteer to lay yourself out in the blistering sun to rot – – only to become a vulture’s next meal. Don’t be a carcass.

Be a lion.

But be the adult version of Simba after he has his heart to heart chat with Rafiki.

Hakuna Matata bitches.

As much as you can.

lies10

Timothy, you’re a genius. I can say that now. A few years ago, maybe not. Because sure, when you’re in the depths of hell, right smack in the middle of your misery being held down by those things, there may not be room for agreeing with tiny whisker-faced Timmy. At my worst, those “things” that were holding me down, had practically strapped and chained me within my own personal prison.

It was those “things” that made me want to punch Timothy in his tiny mouse dick, shove that positive attitude straight down his cheese hole until he choked on his sunshine words while I screamed “fuck you, you little rodent shit bag!”

But he’s right.

I know he’s right.

You know he’s right.

Whether we want to admit it or not.

Damn you tiny mouse counselor.

Case in point: I used to resent the way I felt I was “forced” to live my life because of life circumstances that were beyond my control. Poor because my parents divorced, poor because my mother didn’t care to have a daughter anymore, poor because my father had a job that left him broke and on the road the majority of the time, blah blah blah. I’m not going to have a bitch fest about my life. That isn’t the point. The point is that this all meant that I had to fend for myself financially with no parental cushion when times got tough, even when I was a teenager. It never got easier. I was never financially stable. Life always seemed to be a struggle. I worked more than I ever enjoyed life. It’s still that way.

But I got by.

I’m still getting by.

You will get by too.

These “things” that held up my life, that held me back, held me down, held me under, made me different, made life impossible at times, really did lift me up in the end.

These “things” I once resented taught me patience, humility, and strength. They taught me independence. Forgiveness. They taught me to look at adversity differently, to find my inner roar and build my strength from obstacles, from the challenges. I have so much life left to live and it’s up to me to do what I can to not let anything hold me down – – not finances, not relationships, not strangers, not anyone. Everything I have I appreciate because odds are, it meant my losing blood, sweat and tears to obtain it. If I want something badly enough, not having a trust fund isn’t going to stop me. A trust fund may make it easier, but that’s about it. It’s my birthright to obtain it if I work hard enough. And damn it, I will.

I don’t think about the people that have life easier than me anymore. I don’t think about them at all. They are them and I am me. That is their life and this is mine.

I am content as long as I am doing to best I can.

Even out of the most adverse conditions, the most beautiful flowers can grow.

Take your hardships and use them as fuel. Fuel to light the fire that heats the air underneath the balloon and the basket that will take you up and away from those “things,” lifting you, carrying you high above, redefining the angles and perspectives at which you view your life.

This all stemming from the wise words of a tiny mouse. An animal smaller than most, yet his words carry the strength of the heaviest of creatures that inhabit this Earth.

   lies13

You think things are going to be the end of the world when they happen. Like the loss of a job or a relationship ending or even something worse. They aren’t. Unless it’s death. That might be the end of the world for you or for someone else or both. But even then, unless you are the one who has died, you have the ability to continue on. Like Bambi’s mother said, even though it’s not what was there before or even who was there before, something new and wonderful can come into your life just the same. Maybe not right away, but it will. You never know what could happen. That’s the whole point.

Bambi’s mother reminds us that we are so much more than we think we can endure. That’s the beauty of the human spirit. We have such courage and strength living within us that makes us capable of conquering things that seem impossible.

Even if people tell you, even if the voice inside your head tells you “you’re worthless, you’re weak, YOU ARE NOTHING.” Or, “you can’t do this, you’ll never get over this, you won’t make it.” They are liars. All of them. Even your inner voice is a liar. You are a beautiful creature with the infinite ability to survive loss, grief and suffering. You are so much more than what you believe.

If something falls away in your life by your choice or by divine will, let it.

And then please, make room for something new to grow in its place.

Something wonderful.

lies11

 I repeat it Piglet.

I do.

Like a mantra.

Like a chant.

As often as I can.

I am not afraid.

I am not afraid.

I am not afraid.

You are not afraid.

the truth about lies.

If you’re a chronic liar, lying happens as easily as breathing.

No effort required.

the liar.
the liar. [self portrait]
I would know. I used to be one. I could bullshit my way out of anything. I could morph into anyone you wanted me to be other than myself. Along with the lies came cheating, deception, manipulation and multiple personalities on any given day.

I had lies upon lies, excuses upon excuses, built high like tidal waves – top them off with a frothy crest of fake apologies, then crash them into anyone and everyone around me. I was the choppy, rough ocean waters in a bullshit storm. Eventually all the lies caught up to me, crushing me under their weight,  a violent tsunami, sucking me into my own undercurrent of forgery and fictional existence.

Lie to be popular.
Lie to protect.
Lie to escape.
Lie to save your own ass.
Lie to hold someone else accountable.
Lie to numb the pain.
Lie to be someone else.

See, I come from a long line of liars. That’s why it came so natural to me, it’s all I knew. I learned from the best. Lying to others but mostly to themselves, living their days with a constant denial of reality because their truths were unapproachable, downright frightening. The truth was frightening for me too.

Being honest with yourself means looking in the mirror to see – REALLY SEE –  who you are and what kind of person you have become. Who wants to do that when you have become someone you hate or someone you swore you’d never be?

Like a liar. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. A cheater. A drug addict. An alcoholic. A horrible mother. An insecure scaredy cat. A passive man who lost his set of balls. An out of control spender. A vengeful psycho. A self-loathing asshole. A body ravaged by a debilitating physical or mental illness. An emotional wreck. A partner who stays in a toxic relationship. A friend among bad company or maybe you’re the bad company for your friends. A significant other who turns a blind eye to infidelity. A person who cuts others down to make themselves feel better. A fake. An abuser. A miserable fuck who spreads more misery. A weakling. An arrogant show off. A nobody. A freak. A nerd. A coward. A lazy load. A closet full of skeletons. A past riddled with ghosts. A human stain. A family dysfunction. Or simply… just.. you. NORMAL, everyday, YOU.

Secrets and lies. Lies and secrets.
Guilt. Denial. Regret.
What ifs? Who cares? So whats? But whys? Back whens.. Where now?
How did I get here?

liar liar.

Lies so we don’t see and they don’t see, so nobody sees… what’s underneath the facade. We see what we want to see. They see what they want to see. We let them see what we want them to see. The only thing that really ever matters though is the truth of it all. The truth you know is real. Your honest self. Your real life.

The truth means you have to take ownership. The truth means accepting things you think will destroy you, things you know might destroy others. Why face what you can avoid? It’s easier to sleep in a bed of lies than on an uncomfortable, lumpy couch with your truth. Sometimes, lies are easier to live with. Justify the intentional or unintentional things you do to hurt other people, make excuses for you selfishness or someone else’s, morph your tragedies into a reason to walk down a path of cold hearts and black souls where the bad luck never ends and you’re destined for a life less fortunate.

Lie once, lie twice, then lie some more. Each time, it only gets easier until it’s all you do, until it’s who you are. We lie because we’re afraid, because we fucked up, because we’re fuck ups, because we can, because we’re human. And each fib that survives makes the next one to come out of your mouth or into your mind that much easier until it’s second nature to spew bullshit like lava, hot and dangerous.

The truth is a hard pill to swallow.

WARNING: you could choke on your truth.

The truth about your life and the people in it, the truth about your actions, the truth about your feelings, your mistakes, your misfortunes, your dreams, your talents, your career, your blessings, your friends, your family, your lover, where you came from, where you’re going – – your past, your present, your future. EVERYTHING.

It’s better to start choking, right now, then rush to go give yourself the Heimlich maneuver by slamming your stomach into a table top, fall to the floor until you catch your breath again, dust that shit off, chug a big glass of ACCEPTANCE, get up, walk away and keep on keeping on.

Choke on the truth of it all and then revive yourself.

Lying is so easy. Lie to others and they won’t hate you, they won’t leave you, they won’t get hurt, they won’t think you’re weird, they won’t judge you… right? WRONG. Some people won’t like you. Some people will leave. Sometimes you’ll do the leaving. You can still hurt people. People will hurt you. You might just be weird – – but who fucking cares?

Lie to yourself and it’s easier to accept the things you don’t like about your life or the people in it, what you were born into, who and what your family is, what you did or didn’t do because of this or that. It’s E-X-H-A-U-S-T-I-N-G. Instead, get your hands dirty with your truth. Own it – – all of it. Change what you need to, what you want to, what you must. Or, grant yourself the capability to accept the things you cannot change and then endure them. Embrace them even.

Muddying the truth with lies, infinitesimal or catastrophic, only shelters you from the reality of all that is you and all that is your life. But lying won’t save you. It’s like a dead body that should have never washed ashore. The killer swore if he added enough weight, the body would sink to the bottom of the lake for all eternity. But you need a lot more weight than you think to bury something so heavy. And the lies can add up to something no amount of concrete mass could ever keep hidden. The truth always surfaces, one way or another.

lies

Then, what felt like a day, but was more like a span of several years, I stopped lying so much, especially to myself. I started to resent the fact that I could look at me and tell my reflection something completely different than my reality and believe it. Really and truly. I kept denying myself the possibility to own my truth and accept it.

For so long, I relied heavily on the fact that my words and thoughts had the power to bend the truth to make people believe what I wanted them to believe and see what I wanted them to see. What I wanted myself to believe and to see. Because in all seriousness, my actual truth, well, sucks (most of the time anyways). But the fact is, it’s MY truth. No one else’s. It only matters to me and to those who care about me. And if they care, they stick around, despite my truth. I made it a point to try to be as honest as I could with myself and with others. And it had awesome results.

I can and do create change in my life.

Change when I need it, when I want it, when I deserve it.

I have the ability to accept the things I cannot change.

Accept my past, accept my mistakes, accept people for who they are.

I can let go of toxic people.

I can be by myself and not feel lonely or afraid.

I do not need to pretend to be someone I’m not.

I can be myself.

And people still like me.

I like me.

In fact, I like me more.

And if you don’t like me, oh well, that’s okay too.

I can speak honestly without fear or hesitation.

Sometimes the truth that comes out hurts..

but one simple truth is appreciated and respected more than a mountain of lies.

I let go of my past.

I try to live in the present.

I hope for the future.

I AM ME AND I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK.

I accept who I am, who I was, and who I want to be.

I’m no longer bound by the lies that kept me a prisoner, chained to my guilt, regret, resentment, anger and a whole shitload of other shitty feelings. I am free to let go of it all if I choose. Change is hard. Acceptance is even harder. But it’s worth the fight.

So battle for your truth..

and win.

tourniquet.

I need something to stop the endless bleeding of thoughts that spew from my mind and flood my heart.

083

I have been waiting to see Wild, the movie adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best selling memoir. I have been waiting for months. I got to see it on Saturday. I knew it was going to be incredible. I still love the book more, but the movie portrayed every word, every feeling, every tragic and triumphant moment in Strayed’s life with accuracy and grace. Reese Witherspoon was brilliant.

But I walked out of the theater feeling something I didn’t see coming.

Sadness.

Because I’m still waiting for the ball to drop, every second of every minute of every hour of every day until weeks pass… then months… then years. I feel stranded on a island shaped like a plateau. I can’t go up and I can’t go down. I can’t go anywhere. I’m just stuck. I’m waiting for my AHA! moment, wishing it would whack me upside the head like a frying pan square to the face.

In the past, I thought slipping down into the rock bottom abyss was the worst it could get. Wrong. Not for me. It’s the standing still that kills. I know I don’t want to go back but I don’t know how to move forward. Watching Wild reminded me of the day I finished Strayed’s memoir for the first time. Back then, it gave me hope. Hope that I too could have a life altering experience that would propel me into the future, leaving all the dirt and the hate behind me.

I’m fucking pissed at myself and I have every right to be.

I’m not saying that I or anyone else needs to follow in Strayed’s footsteps and walk the PCT to find herself/himself and to find forgiveness. Not everyone has to spend months alone in the wilderness to come to terms with their life, their past, their mistakes, and their grief. But it is pretty bad ass isn’t it? Her story isn’t meant to make people feel small or incomparable. It’s meant to show what it took for her to heal in her own way. It was something she needed to do. And just the simple fact that it’s possible, provides hope for those still looking to get there.

I’m still looking to get there. I’m still trying to find my “Wild” experience.

But in order to do that, I have to let go.

So I’m on stranded this plateau. There are no valleys. There are no mountains. Okay. So what? Plateaus have edges. And it’s time to step to the edge, fling my arms out to my sides and dive off.

It’s the fear of flying without a security net. It’s the fear of substantial change. It’s the fear that the impossible can never be possible. That’s why so many people stay exactly where they are: in a job that they loathe, in relationships that lack love, support and communication, in a town that murders their soul, in miserable company of so-called friends, in a life that’s not really lived.

I’m sad because right now I am a coward.

I’m sad because I keep making excuses.

I’m sad because I identify with that girl who hiked her way back to life in 1995.

I was 10 years old then.

I’m sad because I know I have the strength in me.  We all do. The lingering question is what am I waiting for? The frying pan to the face? Time stops for no one unless you’re dead. I’m not dead, but I might as well be.

People have the ability to accomplish amazing things. I want to be one of those people. As long as it’s amazing to me, I honestly don’t give a fuck what other people think. It took Strayed hiking the PCT. Maybe for me it’s something as small as taking the time to write every single day because it’s what I love most. Maybe it’s honing in my photography skills. Maybe it’s morphing both from separate hobbies to a profession. Maybe it’s moving clear across the country. Maybe it’s quitting my job and spending a year traveling. Whatever it is, at least I’m doing SOMETHING. A baby step or a giant leap, at least I’d be moving forward.

My mind makes up for what my body fails to do. It’s racing miles a minute.

It gushes philosophical questions that make my brain swell. Universe shit.

Who am I? How do I do this? When and What? Fuck.

These questions drown my heart.

I better get myself a tourniquet.

Tie it right, tie it tight.

Stop the bleeding.

Start moving.

Heal.

on meeting life’s deadlines

image by dear_introvert
image by dear_introvert

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – William Shakespeare.

Are there deadlines that one must meet in life? You come of age at a certain time, you become a legal adult at a certain time, you ability to drink alcohol legally occurs at a certain time, and you are deemed a senior citizen at a certain time (even if you don’t feel like one).

But what about..

an education, a career, a marriage, a house, a baby, many babies?

It seems as though society “expects” certain things. Timelines. Deadlines. Acquisitions. Quotas. It puts a lot of pressure on you. Society doesn’t have to be the collective. It could be your parents, your friends, or your peers. It could be your significant other. Or it could just be that voice inside your head.

So by 30 years old, do you need all of the above to be considered “on track” with your life? I hope not. Otherwise, I’m one serious rebel. I deviate so far from the track that my life train has derailed full speed without a brake system.

Expecting things and making deadlines to reach in your life means you might set yourself up for failure. Leave the deadlines at your job. It is awesome to set goals for yourself, meet them, and sometimes exceed them. That’s great! I’m not saying live life like a free-spirited gypsy soul wandering aimlessly and living life with reckless abandon. No. Everyone needs to strive for what they want.

But it can really dampen your spirit if you happen to not meet certain life deadlines when you want to. Everyone you know is either engaged or married, has children, maybe five of them, at least lives together in an apartment or might even own their own home by now, has forged a successful career after completing their college education.. I could go on.

And here you are, attending graduate school with people that are still practically teenagers (thanks to those five year accelerated degree programs that didn’t exist when you were fresh out of high school), living in a dilapidated bungalow the size of a shanty with no insulation that’s propped up on cement block stilts, no wedding band, no babies (besides your fur kids), and no career to speak of. You still make under $25,000 a year.

Maybe it’s not kids or a house or marriage that you expect. Maybe it’s finishing that novel of yours and getting it published, maybe it’s a travel adventure you want to take, maybe it’s a cross country move, or even just the ability to live financially independent and secure. Whatever it is, just keep striving for it. The time and the date and those years are all merely numbers to give us structure to our days, not to inform us that we are too late for life.

If I held grand expectations for my life that fit into the perfect puzzle of time, I’d be diving into the great depression right about now wondering where I’ve gone wrong in life, drowning in a sea of failure. But I’m not.

I’ve decided to live expectation free.

I am not you. I am not them.

I will not compare my life to the lives of those around me. And neither should you. Even despite all they will say, can say, do say. In fact, it’s none of their business how you live your life. To be honest, if they’re not in your life to support you, you should shed the heavy weight they throw down on your shoulders with their judgments, opinions, and those damn expectations I’ve been talking about.

As one of my favorite quotes goes: “Everyone is fighting their own battles, try not to be a cunt.”

It’s the truth dammit.

There is nothing set in stone somewhere with the rules of life for all to follow. And for those who don’t succeed in meeting them means you have failed. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not where you thought would be today. What battles have you overcome? What ones are you still fighting? As long as you are moving forward, that is all that matters.

Just like Dory says in Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming.”

Love the person you are because you fought to become her or him.

Never rush things. All things worth having are worth waiting for.

Too much of our time can be wasted comparing ourselves to others. Sometimes we even wish we were someone else. Or had a life other than our own.

Please stop that. Um.. right now.

If you can accept who you are and who you aren’t, what you have and what you don’t, and that all great things reveal themselves as they should, it will simplify life. Time has a way of working things out. Don’t rush it. When you expect less, life gives you so much more.

One of my greatest freedoms is not caring what anyone else thinks. It’s hard to do, it took a long time to get here, but the struggle was worth it.

When I told you earlier that I have yet to meet those “life deadlines” I failed to mention it doesn’t bother me in the least. It used to, for quite some time before now. I won’t lie to you. But life and all it has brought me thus far, has given me the ability to let the expectations go – along with the opinions of my peers, the lives of my friends, and that nagging bitch of a voice inside my head.

I say – good for them. Whether they worked hard for all of it or had it handed to them on a sliver platter, or even just got lucky, it is theirs to have.

And what is mine, is mine. Therefore I embrace it all in the glory of everything that is opposite, different, out-of-the-box, and upside down from the “norm.”

True bliss is defined by the individual. That means you can create happiness out of anything or anyone – so live unguarded – don’t be left wanting. Some of the best days of your life haven’t happened yet.

Believe in yourself and the path you walk down no matter how off-beaten it might be.

That path is your own. Now run that shit like a marathon.

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