Sunday, April 1, 2018

Reasons, excuses and other BS

Sometimes you need somebody to point out your own crap. We all see the world through our own eyes, which means everybody's view is different. They say that all that matters is how you see yourself, which is true to a certain point. But sometimes you need somebody else's perspective to point out those things that you have censored about yourself through your own eyes.

I have been guilty in the past of being a little overly judgmental of people who get in the way of their own success. People use excuses for why they fail. It took somebody very close to me to point out that I am doing the exact same thing. 

I never viewed these things as excuses, they are reasons. I'd tell myself, well I'm not making excuses, I have reasons why this didn't happen or that didn't work out. 

I've wanted to be a novelist for as long as I can remember. When I was around 11 or 12 I started writing. I had spiral notebooks everywhere. Poems, short stories, you name it. I wrote constantly, all through high school. My goal when I was young was to be a best-selling novelist. It's all I've ever wanted to be. 

Then I became an adult, and real life hit. I had a child when I was very young, I've had college, work, I became a single mom. I had some health issues along the way. I was tired. I was stressed. I found that I was telling myself, "I don't have time for this. Other things take priority right now."

How many novels have I published? Zero. 

I am now 42 years old and no closer to my goal that I was when I was 18. I've spent the past two decades working jobs just to pay the bills, and most of the time I had no passion for what I was doing. 

It's so easy to disguise excuses as reasons. 

I'm insecure in relationships because of bad choices I made in the past. Those insecurities will ruin a relationship. You can't predict the future, but a guarantee to failure is to bring all that baggage and place it as a burden on someone new. 

I worry when I start a new job because I've failed in the past. Not all jobs are a good fit, but you will never find the right one if you go into every job with that fear of repeating past mistakes. 

I worry sometimes that friends don't really like me, because I've had "friends" betray me. But you can never develop true friendships without letting go of that fear, because you can't assume that nobody can be trusted. That's a path to a lonely life.

I've faced a lot of rejection in many areas of my life, but instead of learning and growing from the experiences, I've let them stunt me, hold me back, and fill me with fear and insecurity. 

With writing, that is a very crippling fear. What if I'm not as good at writing as I think I am? What if that great idea I had isn't as great as I thought? What if I put all my heart and soul into a piece just to have somebody tell me it's terrible? 

It's important to look at every situation, especially the bad ones, and say, what can I learn from this? Take the lessons and experience, and let the rest go. 

Excuses come from two sources. Fear and laziness. I'm not lazy. I am fearful. Sometimes you let that fear build up inside you so much, you look at every way a situation can go wrong, and you paralyze your mind against even putting out the effort. You expect failure.

I've had a lot of bad luck in my life, a lot of struggle. But everybody struggles. Everybody has things go wrong. 

It's time to turn those "reasons" from excuses to motivation. 

You can say, I can't do this because of that. Or you can say, what will I gain from trying this? What is the reason I want to do this? How much does it matter to me?

It's time to lead a fearless life. Set those goals and find the path to reach them. Rejection is a fact of life, and excuses are everywhere. But you can't let that stop you from your dreams. Life is a road, and you have to keep going, because if you stand still, you will get run over. I think of how much I could have accomplished in the past 20 years, but I was held back by fear. I don't want to look back 10 years from now and still feel like I've wasted all that time. It's time to live. 

I am thankful to have somebody special in my life to point out my own bullshit to me. Sometimes you need that honest reflection from someone else. And if that person believes in your potential, well that's pretty awesome. But in the end, you have to be your own motivator and your own cheerleader.

Now, I'm off to work on that novel!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The road

Some days I feel like I'm walking a long dirt road in the desert.  Ahead of me I see nothing but vast emptiness.  My feet are achy and the sun bears a heavy weight,  as I'm stumbling on the rocks and brush.  Bruising me and leaving scratches and scars. I keep thinking I see my goal,  just to have the mirage disappear right after the relief sets in.  So I begrudgingly keep going.  The only other option is to stop where I am,  just to rot and decay.
I get so parched that some days I'll do anything to quench my thirst,  even if that means drinking poison.
It's a lonely road.  Sometimes I see people in the distance, but I can't reach them.  Sometimes they come close to the road and stay for a while.  But usually not for long,  because after all,  this is a road,  and we are all traveling somewhere.
I should have taken a different road in the past,  one that was easier,  but that's not my destiny. I look for another road sometimes,  but sometimes it feels safer on the road you know.  That other road might be worse.  It could be better,  but that means opening yourself to the possibility that there might be conditions you weren't prepared for.
Changes are risky,  because  you can't possibly be prepared for every possible scenario. But sometimes you hit a detour and you have no choice but to switch gears and find another way. 
There are no maps on this road of life,  so you do what you have to do,  and just hope for the best.  Sometimes you just have to have a change of scenery.  Sometimes by choice but occasionally you're forced onto a different road. 
Keep looking ahead and know that those rough roads won't last forever. You never know what might be coming up around the bend.  You might just find what you've been looking for. Or something better than you could have ever imagined.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Drifting thoughts on love

I was raised in a healthy marriage where I was taught that a loving relationship was a safe harbor...only to find out as an adult that relationships are more like the chaos of a treacherous sea, full of predators and elusive beauty, and if your ship isn't strong enough you will drown.

In reality, relationships are often like mermaids and sirens. You're either chasing an illusion that doesn't exist or something that presents itself as beautiful and magical, which in the end will trap you, destroy you, make you it's slave,  and eat you alive. Even worse, sometimes you find what you think is a true, bona fide mermaid, only to look more closely and see that it is a completely different animal that you never expected, because you only saw what you wanted to see.

We live in a world where feelings are to be feared. I grew up thinking the key to a healthy relationship was communication.  Discussing your worries and fears and solving the problems together.

But in reality people are afraid of feelings because that might mean commitment and attachment. And that means the potential to get hurt.   And a lot of people are just waiting for something better to come along so they avoid the expectations they think will come along with those feelings and thoughts and fears. 

Real love is unselfish and without strings attached.  But along with feeling that love you have to know it's opening you up to get hurt.  Because in life nothing is guaranteed.  Promises are broken.  People will lie to you or be vague with you. Or refuse to promise anything.  The lack of a promise can be almost as painful as a promise broken.  But you can't make someone love you or commit to you or be loyal to you.  Even if they do, that could still change at any moment.

I will continue to love,  because that is in my nature. I will continue to get hurt,  because I refuse to play that game of who can act like they care the least.  That's why so many people are so lonely.  To shield themselves from pain,  they play the game.  It's easier to not get hurt if you are hurting others.

I know there are people who've found that real love,  that mutual love that makes you stronger together,  so you can be happy together.  But I've also learned that's very rare to find. I used to think that kind of love was out there for everyone.  Now I'm not so sure.

I will learn to love without worry,  because worrying hurts you even when nothing bad has happened. I will learn to love without fear,  because fear will destroy you.  And even with the sadness and pain that can come with love, I still believe that love is the most powerful element in the universe.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


When my younger brother was in preschool, his teacher used to tell the kids all the time, “You always have choices.” This was an excellent mantra for teaching young children self-control and responsibility, and, for the most part, this is excellent advice on life – but if used in the right context.

What I’ve learned as an adult – and parent – is that we don’t always have choices in certain situations. We don’t have a choice as to who loves us, who wants to spend time with us, or other, unpredictable things life might throw our way. We also cannot protect our children from being hurt by others as they navigate childhood, adolescence, and on into adulthood.
Where the real choice lies is in how you respond to such situations.

Sometimes in life we do things that cause pain to other people. Sometimes people do things that cause pain to us. Despite some evidence to the contrary, I tend to believe that most people are good at heart. Most people try to make the right decisions and to treat others the right way. I like to think that most people would not try to hurt someone else on purpose.
We often get caught up in our own wants, needs, and pain and cannot seem to see beyond ourselves and how we feel.  These are the moments when we can inadvertently cause pain for others, or place expectations on others that they are not ready, or willing, or able to fulfill.

Often, we don’t realize the pain we cause to others by our actions, or we minimize, in our minds, the level of pain that another may be feeling. There is no way to measure how someone else feels, even if they express those feelings. We can try to be empathetic to others’ feelings but we can never truly know how they feel. They may hide behind a mask of being okay, or use anger and resentment to deflect their inner pain. They may lash out at others, causing a ripple of pain in the process.
We can never control another person, and that means that, no matter how much you may love or care about someone, you cannot force them to feel the same way or to want to be a part of your life.

Everyone heals from pain differently. Even if you realize and feel sorrow for actions that have caused pain to another, the best we can do is apologize, attempt to make amends, and move on. Not all apologies are accepted. Forgiveness from others is not guaranteed. Not all relationships can be repaired. And sometimes, it takes much longer for a wound to heal in order for a relationship to rebuild. And sometimes, a relationship is not able to be salvaged.  
We cannot control who comes into our life, who chooses to stay, and who chooses to leave.  All we can do is apologize when we are wrong, try to forgive when we are wronged, and understand that everyone has their own reasons for feeling the way they do.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Forgiveness means letting go of the past and hurts caused by it, but it doesn’t mean that things can always go back to how they were.
But there are choices that we always have. We can decide that the pain from the past no longer has power over us. We can decide that someone else’s actions will not affect our own happiness. And often, that means setting boundaries. Above all else, you must protect your own heart. And if that means walking away from the past, in order to maintain our own mental wellbeing, well then that is what has to be done. We can choose to accept apologies without choosing to let someone back into our lives who has hurt us. We can apologize when we are wrong. And we can – we must – accept the things that we cannot change. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the wisest decision is to let go.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This kind of guy

My dad and I, probably around 1980
My dad is the sort of guy who never gives up.

My parents married young and had me young. I remember when I was really little, they were pretty broke, but they always made sure I had what I needed and wanted.

We used to take day trips to the beach, or San Francisco, or to the lake. They always found a way to do something fun for very little money.

My dad is a hard working man. There are times when he's worked seven days a week to provide for his family, to give us a better life. He's always put his family first, before his own needs.  Even if he was having a bad day, or going through a rough time, my dad has always stepped up and taken care of business.

My dad also knows how to have fun. Thanks to my dad, my brother and I have always known that when all else fails, humor can go a long way to improving your day. Loud music can solve any problem. You're never too old to be silly.

My dad has always given silly nicknames to us and to those close to us.  My brother and I always knew that when our friends or significant other got a nickname from Pop, they were accepted into the family.

My dad has a logical brain with a creative side. He believes every problem has a solution, and, although it's taken me many years, I'm finally learning from him that it's better to look for solutions to a problem than to cry about it.

There were times when I felt like my dad didn't understand me, but now I see that he just wanted me to learn to be stronger and use some common sense - not always easy for someone who tends to be led by their heart and their emotions.

My dad is an amazing grandpa. The sort of grandpa who might feed you ice cream for breakfast or take you on a spontaneous Harley ride. I am so thankful that my children have had such a great male influence in their lives.

My dad is a man of his word. It seems to be more rare these days, to find people who are reliable and follow through. My dad has always been this man. If he commits to it, he will not only do it, but he will exceed your expectations.

My dad has taught me a lot, and some of the things he's taught me took years and years to sink in, but he is probably the wisest person I know.

My dad has taught me that there's no reason to act old just because of your age. My dad has taught me that you keep fighting for what you want in life. My dad taught me that hard work pays off and if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right. My dad taught me that you stand by your family and take care of each other, even if that means inconveniencing yourself. My dad has taught me that doing the right thing is more important than getting credit for it. My dad has also taught me that what you think of yourself is far more important than what others think of you.

I don't get to see my dad today, on Father's Day, but I am so very thankful that I do get to see him on a regular basis. I realize how blessed I am to have such an amazing man for a father.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

This is why I'm single

Dating when you are a single parent is a challenge, especially when you're (ahem) in your late 30s.  I've been single for three years, for the most part. It's not for lack of effort or lack of desire. It's from lack of options.

As the sole provider for my children, I spend most of my days going to work, where I see the same people every day, and running errands. I am currently without a car, so options are limited as far as clubs, recreation classes, and the like.

None of my friends (nor their husbands/boyfriends) seem to know anybody single and dateable.

So I recently (again) attempted online dating.

Oh the joys of online dating. 

Where you get such classy messages as this one:

Sadly, this is not the first (nor the last, I'm sure) message of this type I have received.

Men, this does not make you look good as a species.

Do guys not realize there's a whole section on Craigslist for this sort of thing? 

What happened to the men who want to date, get to know someone first?

They apparently aren't dating online.

It would seem, in my experience, that most guys my age are unavailable. They are either in a relationship, or they are single for a reason - commitment issues, immaturity, addiction issues, over-grown players, etc. 

I don't ask for much, but I know what I'm looking for. I don't need a man to support me or help raise my kids. I have been doing that on my own just fine. I don't want a man who will take me to expensive dinners (although I wouldn't protest!) and I don't need a man to buy me fancy things.

I just want a man who knows how to take care of himself. A man who wants a woman in his life, but doesn't need one - I've dated needy men before, and believe me, that is not pretty.

I want someone who can make me laugh, yet have a deep conversation at times. Someone who enjoys my company. Someone who can appreciate my goofy and sometimes twisted sense of humor. And someone who likes a gory, cheesy scary movie now and then.

Attraction and physical compatibility is, of course, important too. But it takes more than that. And mentioning sex from the get go is a sure fire way to not get it from me.

I know that person is out there somewhere. Will I find him online? I'm guessing probably not. But one thing I do know for certain - I am not going to settle. I'm looking for Mr. Right, not Mr. You'll do for now. I've settled in the past and I have grown past that. I know what I want and I know I will find it eventually.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Trust the process

Anxiety. Jumping to the worst possible conclusion. Worrying about possible scenarios. These are exhausting and tedious, and old habits that have taken up way too much of my time and energy.

Over the past few years I've improved my relationship with anxiety a lot. I've learned how to think more logically - problems are easier to solve when you are able to think about them rationally without inventing a fictional, awful possible outcome and throw up your hands in despair.

A few years back my anxiety had taken a serious toll on my health. My stress level was high. 

I got a tattoo on my wrist four years ago. The Japanese symbol for faith. It was at the end of a seven year relationship. At the time, I had battled with several months of depression, a fibromyalgia flare up, and other health issues. I was overweight - the heaviest I had ever been. 

I was given the opportunity to get a new tattoo and I chose to get the faith symbol. 

I wanted to get the faith tattoo because at that point I needed faith more than ever. Faith in the universe and faith in myself. I was in a very bad situation at the time. I felt really stuck. 

I got out of that situation. I got my girls out. We've moved on to a better place. I've been single for four years. I've lost 40 pounds. My health problems have hugely improved.

Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed and stressed again. I've felt stuck. Stagnant. Things need to change. They need to improve. 

I have been having much anxiety lately over how I want things to turn out. Trying the Law of Attraction by focusing on what I really want. Narrowing down my goals. Trying to come up with a plan. 

This is where I get stuck. Because when things don't go according to my plan, it's easy to believe that things are all falling apart. 

Sometimes they are falling into place. Sometimes the things we really think we want don't come to fruition because that is not what is meant for us. 

I've found that most of my disappointment - which has led to anxiety and depression - has stemmed from me focusing on the wrong things. The more the universe resists my plan, the more I fixate on how I want things to be, putting stubborn vibes out there, causing more resistance.

We have desires and hopes and dreams for a reason. Just because things don't go the way we expect them to go doesn't mean we won't get the end result we desire. Or a better one. 

That's not to say that we shouldn't make plans to achieve our goals. That means that our plans are a roadmap - and sometimes we see signs for a site along the way, which may lead us to a detour. That's where you find the unique places, the unexpected, the undiscovered. That doesn't mean that we won't find our way to the same destination. That doesn't mean that we don't go back to the same path. It just means that you were meant to see something else along the way. Who knows, maybe that detour might lead you to change your destination altogether. Life really is meant to be an adventure and a learning experience. When we lose that, we lose everything. . 

I got this tattoo on my wrist, thinking at the time that having it on my wrist, which I see and look at every day, would constantly remind me to have faith. But it hasn't. It's become an invisible part of me that I've seen so much that I no longer even notice it. 

I looked at it on the bus the other day when I was feeling pretty down, and I remembered the reason I had gotten it in the first place.

I've come a long way since this ink was done. I don't need to go back down that path of worry. My time there is done, I've learned what I needed to learn. Time to stop reliving those old patterns. 

It's time to live. 

It's time to trust my intuition. Have faith in myself and have faith in the universe. Trust the process. 

Everything falls into place the way it is meant to, whether I worry about it or not. Instead of wasting time worrying about how I think things should be, I may as well be happy and trust the adventure. 

Reasons, excuses and other BS

Sometimes you need somebody to point out your own crap. We all see the world through our own eyes, which means everybody's view is diffe...