Hope Served

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It has been an incredibly difficult several months filled with some ups and many downs. Yesterday I was in a dark place, feeling quite hopeless, as if I were in the middle of this murky lake just trying to keep my head above water, and my swimming skills are atrocious at best add to that life going on ashore with no regard for my struggle.  The weight of some understandings are difficult to bear; life does knock you around pretty hard sometimes.

While I am very insecure with my instability right now, I have some realities that are quite clear.  The most painful of those is that I have lost one of my best friends, someone who understood so very much, who added a unique perspective, and always shared my skewed sense of humor. I am afraid they are gone from my life forever and that adds a sadness that is beyond words. I am most afraid of being without my job, it is the same career I have had for over two decades and has become somewhat part of my identity, add to that the trigger of financial instability and I have been a bit of an emotional disaster. I think my disappointment in humanity, dealing with my own challenges, and the random acts of discord has pushed my faith beyond its limits; I have felt pretty isolated, somewhat cast aside.

Sometimes those reassurances arrive at the most opportune times, just when you need a smidgen of hope to restore your strength it comes served up on the best china. Last night I had an event at the studio which was very important to me, it was to highlight an organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse and I was saddened by the fact that no one was going to be there for support. It is funny the people who surprise you in those moments, I have a gratitude for them which I am unsure how to express. This morning a friend of many years texted she was running by to drop off something; to which she arrived with hugs, a wonderful dessert, and gift card all bundled beautifully with wonderful note including words of encouragement which although made me cry but gave me a bit more hope and strength to continue. Now as I am sitting here in the afternoon sun writing, my cross-eyed stray cat came wandering out of the woods. He has filtered around in my life for the past few years, at first quite skittish but has grown accustomed to the sound of my voice. Although he still lacks the trust to allow me close enough to pet him, maybe one day. The cat has grown to remind me of many things over the time he has loitered and the lesson was not lost today.  I am grateful for the hope that has been given to me the past day, so I shall focus my gratitude and enjoy the sun in my life today.

“Sometimes the strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fights battles that nobody knows about!”- D.C. quote in my card today

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Broken Bootstraps  

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Do you remember that first time you realized life doesn’t measure up to your expectations? Do you remember that crushing disappointment? What happens when that become a standard? A regular occurrence as if your life is the grand conspirator in the process? How many times are you supposed to pick yourself up and dust yourself off? What does life expect?

Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high.” ― William Goldman

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Dirty Laundry Stained with Blame

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So here I sit in that major conglomo coffee shop trying to do some research. This is the second time this week I have visited and it is becoming quite the adventure. Today I was lucky to position myself against the wall but am between two different groups of people, one a younger coed pair of friends where she clearly is interested in him but he is working through an “awful” end of a relationship and on the other side a pair of friends a bit older than me but also discussing relationship woes. One is clearly playing the blame game while the other seems to be the victim in that same game.

Clearly the lady is experiencing some difficulties in her long term relationship. She is trying to sift through her confusion and pain to find understanding. There are some petty frustrations intermingled with some pretty large problems. A few tears; my heart goes out to her pain, but she is facing her discomfort with dignity and as much rationality as possible.

The young man is attempting to explain why it would never work, creating irrational reason to displace his pain and any accountability to the ruins of his relationship. It is so difficult to stand in your pain, be accountable for your part while remaining respectful with the coconspirator. Don’t get me wrong there are times it is always appropriate to set your boundaries and maintain your self-respect but that is not the situation I am eavesdropping on. He has disengaged from the pain and like a petulant child is slinging accusations at a person who cannot defend herself. Having been on the receiving end of the blame game, I understand the pain belittling and devaluing can inflict.

I may never understand. I think when things go wrong, objective facts are the only appropriate items to share; I believe in discretion. There is a reason you let that person into your life, you cared with all of your heart at one point so why the disparagement now?  Why do people not have enough respect for themselves to maintain privacy of their intimate relationships? Why do they feel the need to air their dirty laundry? Why do we seek validation for their misdirected pain?

“You’ve got to learn although it’s very hard. The way of pocketing your pride, sometimes face humiliation while you were burning up inside. Facing reality is often hard to do when it seems happiness is gone”  – Nina Simone

 

The Pain of Realization

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Realizations can be magnificent, when you solve some great perplexing problem, when your research makes an impact, when you find some inner truth that guides your path yet they can also be quite a painful slap in the face. Over the past several weeks, I have been asked the same question in different forms, essentially how I view myself, something related to my self-esteem and worth to which I reply I really don’t know for I never look at myself in that manner. So therein lies a question that has been bouncing around in my thoughts. Why do I never look at myself? Why do I avoid considering my value, my beauty, my worthiness…..?

This has perplexed me off and on for some time. I never look at myself in a manner that others may see me. By saying that I am not implying I walk through the world self-centered saying to hell with you and all your opinions. I do consider how my interaction will impact others, try to analyze things from all sides to ensure my living with kindness and compassion has only a positive impact. It is more like I never consider the light others may see me in, for instance I do not consider if I am pretty enough, smart enough, caring enough, or attractive enough; I usually only consider if I am giving enough, loving enough, kind enough. While that may be considered liberating to some, after the recent questions I have arrived at the conclusion I do not consider this out of fear it would validate the word others have thrown at me, as if looking at my abilities and attributes may confirm the painful cruel things that have been said. I suppose not considering is a coping mechanism that I have carried through my entire life, this avoidance as a means to maintain since my childhood. Words hurt and the closer to your heart the person saying them is the more pain they inflict;

I have arrived at a realization which bears a herculean weight.  Trying to learn to consider myself, I now understand my worth it. I work so diligently to be supportive of those I care about, try so very hard to always be there, to be kind, loving, and generous. Since I was blessed with my life, my freedom to live as I want I have strived to give the people in my life things I have gone without for I know the pain of having no one when you need it the most, the struggle to face another hopeless day without care, to feel so lonely when you struggle to gain your footing after the world knocks you down. I cannot think of but a very few times I wished for a place to take respite, I do not need some knight in shining armor but having arms to give a supportive hug, a gentle voice to offer a few kind words, or even a hand to help me up would be the reassuring blessing I need. This week I fell into the muck of life and it is just too much to try and stand up, too difficult to move forward in that moment so I just stayed there. Crying myself to sleep last night I arrived at the realization whose weight crushed my soul.  I may not be worthy, not worth the effort for someone to care, not worth the time for someone to offer a hand up, not worth being loved because of all my sharp edges and missing pieces.  I suppose this is something I have known for most of my life, the reason I avoided looking.

 

 

 

“A person who truly loves you is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes in the smile on your face.” ~ Anonymous

 

This Is Where I Leave You

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I am tired, it feels as if I have fought for everything my entire life. I have fought to keep myself intact, to maintain my financial stability, to progress in my career… I am tired of it all. When I found my freedom to pursue a different life, my life I made myself some promises. I promised I would not make myself small again, that I would embrace myself, that I would ensure I was true to my convictions, to my needs. I found myself editing, not speaking for myself when I need something and I panicked. In that moment I wondered if I need to tell the world.  ‘this is where I leave you”, step back and find my center. How can I continue to navigate when I was not speaking my truth, not advocating for myself? Is this one of those times where I need to navigate the storm alone to define myself? I am tired of holding it all together, but is there another choice?

“She never stumbles, she’s got no place to fall.” –Bob Dylan

Unnoticed

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When the only choice you have is to be strong, is that real strength? If the only choice you have left is to move forward, is that really following your journey? I feel like I have arrived at a point where I must choose to walk away from it all, step back from the world or continue what feels like constantly fighting against the current. Can one sit down responsibilities that cannot be discarded? Can I leave my studies when I have fought so hard to get this far? Can I leave behind the world that seems to take much more than it gives?  When I go, will my imprint remain? Will my absence go unnoticed?

 

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.” -Kurt Vonnegut