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Prove Me Wrong

CJ Millar riding again prove me wrong life without a paddle

I would like nothing more. Actions speak our true character, words just romance us. My one friend put it succinctly when she said:

“How we face fear tells so much about our character, we are no more than the sum of our actions and the reliability of our word.”

I’ve said my whole life my word is my bond, and I’ve meant it. There are some things that are values that are a part of me. But truth be told, actions and words aligning are the most important part of who we are.

There have been people in my life this year who I have had to step back from because their words and actions didn’t align, or they just didn’t have the courage to follow through. It’s been easier than in prior years, which is saying something since this has happened with a few friends so far this year, though I hope we’re done with that. I just keep reminding myself that negativity will not leave you. You must leave it. If it is in your life, it is only because you allow it to be. Easier said than done sometimes. It gets easier over time with confidence and trust in yourself, and when you respect yourself enough to realize that while there is some good in having boundaries adjust and change, it’s never okay when it is to the detriment of your values.

My opinions are based on what people show me of themselves, not on what stories they tell. I’m a storyteller too, both in work and life. We all are. Life is a story, and we are our own authors. However it’s more than that. Words on a page can spark emotion, drive anger, inspire love, create passion, and so much more. But they’re still just words.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

– Maya Angelou

I don’t always. That’s a lesson I have a hard time with. I also believe people can change, but only if they truly want to and never for someone else. Change for someone rather than change that is self-initiated is never sustainable. At some point in the future, the choices made to enact that change for someone else result in resentment, a crumbling of trust, and eventually the floor falls out. I’ve seen it too many times in people around me and that’s not something I want to be a part of. I’ve spent a very very long time alone because I felt that I was worth investing in – and I still believe that today. I learned that going from one relationship to another just to fill that hole in my heart and to feel loved only resulted in the floor falling out eventually. And eventually I learned that hurt far more than learning how to look myself in the mirror every day and love the person looking back at me.

It was a long journey, and I’m finally home. I moved in this past September, but it just recently truly started feeling like home. Once the weather broke from winter, riding again was the last missing piece. The yard still needs work, and the ground hasn’t settled and as soon as I have more money, I need to lay the Lighthoof panels and order more gravel so we can drive along the barns behind them and drive to the shop if we need. Right now it’s a sopping wet muddy mess but that’s ok. We just put in the water lines in early December so it’s going to take some work. We have time. We live here now. It’s home.

I lost most of last year from riding because every free moment not working for one of my three agencies, I was commuting 2h away to my childhood home to clean it out and sell it after the death of my father. There was barely time to breathe, let alone ride. This year is different. I will have Duke and Cole both conditioned and ready for the first pace April 24th, right before I leave for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day event for one of the busiest weeks of my career. I am doing their marketing with my team and we’re going to rock it! But it’s long days, and even longer nights, usually up at 6, working by 7, home by 10 to do it all again the next day. And that’s not counting the other client work that needs to get done that is unrelated to the event. It’ll be exhausting but worth it.

When I’m back, it’s full swing on hunter pace season, and I can’t wait! We get one in before the trip. There’s a follow up trip for Florida planned for mid-May, and then beach to see friends, then Six Flags, and hopefully VA to see more friends and Busch Gardens, and camping to Lake Luzerne with the horses in between. Working this hard is absolutely worth it!

Maybe you’ll be here but I don’t believe so. Good thing I’m not a betting person, huh? Guess that’s why I only bet on horses – they’re a lot easier to understand than humans, that’s for damn sure. There’s a lot of stuff you’ve said that I don’t believe, but that doesn’t mean I want to be right. People assume I always have to be right but that’s not true at all. I just prefer not to ask questions that I don’t already know the answers to which is why I research things so much and learn as much as I can before I speak….well most of the time anyway haha! We all have our moments. Anyway. I really don’t want to be right, especially not about this. For now, though, I believe I am. There’s been nothing else to show me otherwise. It’s also why I’m not asking the questions. I have no way of knowing the answers other than to base it on what I’ve seen so far. I don’t have time for conjecture. Life is calling and I must go. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Prove me wrong CJ Millar life without. Paddle

Honestly, Honesty, and Lies

CJ Millar honestly honesty and lies life without a paddle

Recently I’ve been scrolling through some of my old blogs and writings, back from the days of MySpace and when Tumblr was actually a blog site and revisiting things I’ve written in the past. Sometimes it amazes me how much of what I’ve written still holds true today. The larger message in so many of my words is still very much the same, as I’ve worked to grow, learn, improve, and evolve. I also took one of those personality tests – partly out of curiosity, partly out of boredom, and partly because it’s wet and rainy out and I am procrastinating barn chores. But regardless, I took it and found I am an ENFJ-A which makes a lot of sense. As a protagonist, I have high ideals, even higher standards for myself, and a core foundation of trust, honesty, authenticity, truth, and justice. It resonates with me and was reassuring, as recently I’ve had my truth questioned by someone who I thought trusted me – but clearly does not.

Any time things get hard, or I am faced with a statement or observation from someone close to me that I didn’t see or realize or feel, I take a step back to evaluate. I go to a place of calm, take out my own emotion so that I can better understand someone else’s point of view. I always want to learn more about myself and how others see me, so that I can continue to grow and learn and improve. Most of the time, their insights are valuable. Actually all of the time, insight from others is valuable. What I’m learning is that there’s also a duality there that needs to be separated. There are people who share their thoughts and opinions and observations of you who are, doing so out of honesty and care. But that’s not always the case, and sometimes people are sharing based on their thoughts and opinions and observations of themselves that they are afraid to admit really is about them, and not you. That’s the duality that needs to be sorted through. Which is it?

I’m learning that if you take the former to heart, it’s a great way to learn and grow. I am also learning that if you take the latter to heart, when those statements come from a place of fear and are actually a projection of the observer’s own insecurities or even their own actions, it can cause incredible hurt and pain. Separating that duality and not lumping both types of observations into the same category – and learning not to take someone else’s projections of their own actions as a true assessment of your own can help you see their inner emotions and fears and realize that it never really was about you, after all.

Sometimes it still hurts. Sometimes it makes me sad for that person, but I’ve also learned not to take on that sadness as my own. And I’ve learned that my greatest fault always will be seeing the greatness in someone and loving their potential, even when they are too afraid to make the changes in their life around them to embrace the strength and beauty of their own soul.

Not every ugly duckling grows up to be a beautiful swan and not every caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. Sometimes, some people choose to live in a place of fear and insecurity and jealousy and untruths. When those things become a way of life – and they in turn project those emotions and behaviors onto you – that is when you have to step back and remember to breathe.

I am many things. A liar is not one of them. And anyone who knows me at all knows that to be true to the core of my being. Truth and Justice are tattooed in Latin across my back, and for good reason. They are words that define me, who I am, and how I live. I believe, above all else, in living your truth and always always having your actions match your words. Without honesty, the rest of who you are becomes entirely obsolete because what are people to believe anyway? If you can lie to some people, and you can lie to yourself, how I am to believe that you’re not lying to me?

I am not a liar. Sometimes, and for some people, that is especially hard to understand. Those are the people who live in the muddiness of their own lies. I do not want your misery. I only wanted to help you see the joy around you when you live your life with honesty, integrity, and truth. Only then can you be a champion for the justice that you say you believe in, or be the partner, parent, or best friend you claim you wish to be.

Find your truth and learn how to live it. I cannot do that for you. I can only – and always will – live mine.

Impossible Life

I am not afraid Joan of Arc Life Without A Paddle CJ Millar

I live an impossible life. In nearly every aspect of my life, I defy the odds. I move mountains. I make the impossible a reality almost every single day. It’s exhausting, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling. I know my strengths, and I am continually learning and working on improving my weaknesses. I am human, but that doesn’t mean the impossible is just that. I am anything but ordinary, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Forgive me for my honesty and my never-ending grit. Over the years as I’ve seen obstacles all around me, I used to be afraid. Frozen in fear, I’d only see the path right in front of me regardless of if it was even passable or not and in the wake of challenges I’d often give up.

Over time, I learned to not give up. That even when there are seemingly no other choices, there always are other choices. Sometimes you just have to change your perspective. As I grew up, I learned that when you can’t see anything but the path right in front of you, that doesn’t mean there is no other way. It simply means you may have to make your own path. And, at times, my sword from all my years as a warrior became instead a tool for clearing new roads, finding new ways, carving out new options and creating better choices for the life I wanted rather than the life I had.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Over time, you learn that if you lower your expectations of everyone around you, and choose to focus instead on the expectations you set on yourself, you’ll never be disappointed in anyone but yourself. And you can always improve and fix yourself. With love, time, and attention even the most stubborn and broken and battle-worn parts of your soul can heal. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to share that with. Actually, it always is. But it’s not a requirement. You learn to shoulder on, focus on the positive, carry the wins with you, and take the losses and turn them into tomorrow’s triumphs.

Life has been hard, but then again it always is. It’s just a matter of choosing your hard. It’s hard to be stuck. It’s hard to be afraid. It’s hard to miss out on the life you want because you’re so busy heads down working to pull things together that you fool yourself into believing that if you just keep going and just keep pushing on, that things will get better. It’s also hard to forge a new path. It’s hard to change your way of thinking. It’s hard to see things from a different perspective – a lot of different perspectives. I’m still learning that, and asking questions and trying to see things better from others’ points of view. It’s even harder still to choose the way you want to go over the way you need to go over the way you thought you’d be going and trust yourself enough to know that whatever you choose, you have to always have faith in yourself. Life is hard. Choose the hard that leads you over those obstacles and pretty soon you’ll realize, it’s also beautiful.

Mountains can move. There’s a big difference between can’t, won’t, and choose not to. Use the right words when you tell yourself your story long before you tell your story to the world and you’ll find it will make all the difference.

Ethereal Calm

Life without a paddle CJ Millar ethereal calm

There’s a calm that comes over you in the wake of a storm where regardless of the outcome, somehow you have serene faith that everything is going to be okay. It doesn’t matter that the wind is howling at you, the storm is screaming, and even if the world around you seems to be splintering, if you are really strong, you can find this deep sense of faith that will see you through.

You see, I don’t care which God you believe in. Or Goddess. Spirit. Light. Buddha. Or any many other names. No, that doesn’t matter. What matters is who you are at your core, and where does your faith stand. Who do you trust? Yourself? Yeah, that’s a good place to start, but a hard one too. Sometimes trusting ourselves feels like an impossible challenge until one remembers that the word itself implies the possible by simply saying, “I’m possible.” There are answers there if only you look hard enough. There are answers if you have faith.

Regardless of anyone’s personal struggles, we all have our burdens to bear. Life is not easy, and for those who may have it easy, often behind closed doors the things that they live are less easy than they may have us believe. And, even so, regardless of that too, if we have faith we will see that that one person’s easy doesn’t make the next person’s life hard in return. We each have our own challenges, our own burdens, and our own battles. The beauty comes when we can see that none of these has to happen alone if we allow ourselves to be loved.

I used to believe I was unworthy of love. Most of my life, actually. I still struggle with it sometimes. I thought for a long time it was because of my weight, but then I got healthier and I didn’t feel all that different. I still had many of those same self-doubts nagging at the back of my head telling me it was easier to stand here on my mountain and let no one in. But you know what I learned? I was wrong. Being vulnerable is beautiful and if you learn to love yourself, no one can ever use you against you, even if they try.

I am worthy of love. Even more so, I am also worthy of giving love. And that can be reciprocal. It doesn’t always need to be unrequited or fatalistic or some be all end all suicide pact. That’s not love at all.

Love is caring for others, opening your home and your heart to people you care about, and in turn letting those people care about you, too. It’s about family circles on Life360 so that we all know that each other is safe at all times without ever having to question it. It’s peace of mind knowing that we all care enough about each other to check in. It’s having a home where none of us have keys because we don’t need them – we all have codes to the door because everyone is welcome here and we will always call this home for everyone we love. Even when people feel they don’t deserve it, or don’t belong, or haven’t had the chance yet to figure out if they do or they do not. Because it’s more than that.

It’s home. It’s that ethereal calm that reminds you that your fear is lying to you, that your insecurities are bullshit, and that your doubts are only temporary. It’s that same ethereal calm that helps you through when your body decides to have a panic attack days after your brain sorted through (or so you thought) the stressors in front of you such as work and time and money. It’s that same ethereal calm that washes over you like a wave of relief in a hot shower after a long day and an even longer night filled with laughter and good times even when sometimes there are questions, too. And again it’s that same ethereal calm that reminds you it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to not know what happens next. It’s okay to not know all the answers, or to sometimes feel like you know none of them and you have a million more questions every single second. It’s not knowing the outcome but loving anyway.

That’s what faith is. It’s trust, and hope, and love, and serenity, and a belief that if we live to our truest most authentic self, that we will always find our way home. Thank you for showing me that. I love you.

Light Across the Storm

Snow life without a paddle CJ millar

Sometimes in life you have to be strong to get through the stuff in front of you to get to the good stuff ahead. Even when that means it feels as if everything around you is burning to the ground and you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water, if at all. Treading water is exhausting. Trying not to drown while still trying to swim through everything life keeps throwing at you like some massive obstacle course or challenge that you know will make you stronger even when in the short term all it feels like is that you’re getting hit from all sides and barely have time to breathe.

Sometimes in life, you start to realize you don’t have to do it all alone. It’s okay to ask for help. To stay up late to be there for others. To call someone just to say, I needed to hear your voice right now. To work a little longer. Try a little harder. Breathe a little differently. Just to make things come together even when it feels like the universe keeps throwing storm after storm your way until the big one rolls in and everything comes to a head.

Because you know what? On the other side of that massive storm is daybreak. And better days ahead.

I fell asleep before midnight, collapsed in exhaustion after a long day on the heels of a long day, followed by another long day strung together like a series of life challenges coming after you wave after wave after wave crashing over you pulling you out to sea only to realize things will settle, and you will wash ashore.

I sat on the front porch in the late night cover of snow listening as the snowflakes changed over to ice pinging against the steps. The soft white velvet blanket took on a silvery sheen under the pale light shining from the garage across the empty driveway and I wondered what tomorrow would bring.

Tomorrow is almost here. And the tomorrow after that is close behind. Sometimes when everything is on fire, you realize that it all has to burn down before the snow can blanket the earth in its soft comforting magic to remind you that where you are now is not where you were meant to always be.

Life is about change. Growing to become better. Learn more. Evolve. Adapt. And, through it all continuously seeking your True North.

The street is blanketed in cottony white, untouched by plows or salt at this early morning hour and it looks as if this mountain will remain untouched – at least for now – offering solace from the world down below. I listened to the wind rolling up through the hills, swaying the trees as the gradual change from snow to ice resonated differently across the landscape making a soft almost musical pinging sound as if nature was singing its own song to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. I’m reminded of the story of The Piazza, the fairy cabin up on the mountain hidden in the woods under a blanket of snow and ice and sunlight that hasn’t yet come today.

Things will get better. That’s why we’re working so hard right now to get through this. Not just to survive, make ends meet, and go through the motions day after day, but to move forward to the magic that’s outside, the wonder that’s ahead, and all of the amazing things to come.

Life’s challenges make us better, stronger, and help us grow. Without storms to overcome, life would be flat and the flatness of surviving is a stark contrast to really living. Even when the night steals my sleep and I sit here listening to the snow fall outside mixed with ice against the windowpane, I know that eventually I will sleep and everything will be okay.

Here

here life without a paddle cj millar

In every sense of the word.

I am reminded of things every day.

Even when I am not wanted somewhere, I am still loved.

Even when I am not the best version of me, I am always giving 100% and more, and sometimes that’s too much, and sometimes that’s not enough, but the one thing it always is, without a doubt, is me.

I take responsibility for things, even when they are not mine, not because it is about making things or situations or emotions about ME, but because it’s about helping me learn, grow, and do and be better. For those who stand by me and love me. I want to be better for YOU.

I will never do anything to willingly hurt myself, ever. Not even on the bad days, the hard days, or the darkest times. There are always moments where I can smile. Wrestle with my kids. Joke with people I love. And remember there is always light in the darkness and there is always magic around you if you believe.

I believe.

I am here. I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. I learn. I grow. I evolve. I make mistakes. I say things thinking they will be seen one way to learn they are taken another. I am afraid of saying the wrong things and sometimes stumble over my words or say nothing at all and in my fear I fill that space with the wrong words at the wrong time and the wrong stories with the wrong endings.

I am still writing my story. This is just a chapter. And the beginning of a new part of my life.

I am not alone. Even when I feel it as such, I am never alone. I am loved. I am valuable. And even when I make mistakes, I hope that all those whom I love can see that I never ever do so with the intention to hurt. Even when my gut reaction is to burn it all down, or rebuild those walls. Or shut down and pretend everything is fine.

It

Is

Not

Fine

I am not okay. And that’s okay.

I will be. We will be. All of us will be.

I hear thoughts. I second guess myself. I am often afraid of what I hear, or how to be honest about what I see. I see more than I say, and I hear more than I am comfortable with but I am still sorting through the truth of what is real and what are my own fears, and what are imagined thoughts, self-doubts, or even my brain trying to convince me that the only way to deal with emotional pain is to make it a physical one. I know it’s lying. I haven’t been that person in decades. And there’s a reason why – aside from friends – I’ve been alone for decades.

Life has too much to offer to keep tearing myself down and building myself back up to have people keep walking away.

I’m not walking away.

I’m

Right

Here

here. I don’t have anywhere else to go. I don’t have anyone else to be. I only know how to be me. Even the bad parts. Especially the good parts. And I am so blessed to be surrounded by a tribe of people who pick me up and hold me every time that I feel like I am falling down, or drowning.

I love you. Thank you.

 

In/Authentic

tomorrow life without a paddle

Sometimes the words come tumbling out. Other times they get stuck somewhere between my head and my heart and my brain. Sometimes I’m having five conversations with myself in my head all at once and it takes such effort to quiet and focus it that I have to reset and step back and slow down. I can’t always control it, and, like the chaos theory, even the most random of things that seemingly come out of nowhere are actually quite clearly interlinked in my brain even when the outside world can’t see or understand how.

Deterministic chaos. Everything out of order still in its own order. A paradox because it connects two notions that are familiar and commonly regarded as incompatible.

Sitting on the tarmac after a long week away feeling a bit lost and disjointed, a little displeased with myself in some ways, a whole lot proud of myself in others, working through some hard stuff, fighting through some heavy stuff, figuring out what weight to carry all on my own, who’s weight I can help carry, who’s stuff I can help physically move (in, in this case), and what I can put down, pick up later, or simply leave behind.

Wow. That was a tumble of words that I can hear my English Lit professor in my head telling me is too long and rambling and then I point out James Joyce and how he writes even though I hate his writing.

Sometimes my brain does that. It’s just how I process. It’s just how I deal. I know that I am not wired the same. I’ve spent countless hours over since my father died explaining my (and his) brain to my sister and brother to help them understand. It just works differently. I revisited some of Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s book to remind myself of some of it, and how far since she wrote that back in 1995 our understanding of the brain, and treatments and everything have come. Reading some of the excerpts and summary on Wikipedia (because I am on a plane and I don’t have the book with me) I was reminded of something I’d almost entirely forgotten she wrote. The section on “This Medicine, Love.”

It’s something I’ve never truly experienced before in many ways, and certainly never in the way I have at the present time. I think that’s part of what makes it so scary – because when I look inside my own unquiet mind, for all its years of healing and change and growth, and all the work I’ve done on me, there’s a part of me that will always question myself. I still argue with myself over things such as being confident – and not. Being afraid, and completely content. Being sure of what’s coming next, and totally unsure of anything beyond tomorrow. It’s exhausting, thinking in circles like that sometimes, but like the chaos theory, eventually it all sorts itself out.

That’s the beautiful thing. None of our brains are truly linear. Mine just happens to be even less so than most. But it all sorts itself out and makes sense if I remember to stop and breathe along the way.

Funny thing is, leaving wasn’t hard. It was the going home that got me. It made me realize the difference and why. How a home so full with life could feel so empty at the same time, realizing it also isn’t empty at all but just filled with my own insecurities and self-doubts that I need to clean out of my heart and my home and my head for good. Even if they never really fully leave, I know I can make peace with them and move forward again. I am good at that, and when I let things bounce around and rattle about and ping-pong all over up there, eventually what settles is the good stuff. That’s what stands out and that’s what my brain holds on to and carries forward with me into tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

I can deal with the inauthenticity tomorrow and in the days ahead. I despise it, but I know the difference between the gaslighting and lying and rumors locally vs the reality that exists, or even the reasons for some of the shifting and why some things absolutely must happen behind the scenes because shouting our truths from the rooftops doesn’t help anyone when those truths cause hurt and anger and pain to people we love.

My patience often fails me. My math brain prefers logic, but my heart believes in magic and when I try to reconcile that, sometimes I run myself in circles. Sometimes I run the people I love in circles. It’s amazing that any of them can keep up, but they do. Even when they don’t understand how my brain works, or it is working in completely opposite ways than theirs do, they are still there. How blessed am I to have that in my life on any level? How selfish of me to ask for more, even though I want it.

I’m learning that what we want isn’t what really matters. What matters is how we spend our time, who we surround ourselves with in our lives, and learning the balance between integrity and authenticity and understanding that they are not the same thing.

Sometimes we need integrity to work through inauthenticity. Sometimes we need to allow and understand why things may be or need to feel a little inauthentic at times for the consideration of others, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is when it becomes the accepted, the norm, or filled with lies and gaslighting. I’m learning there’s a difference between lying and inauthenticity, too although often times they overlap in life.

I am so tired of building something great, or something that I believe to be great, or will be great, or may grow to be something great, to be wrong. And it would seem I am just SO tired of that, that for some reason my mathematical brain decided that if one thing is going to blow up, they all should. Keep it neat and orderly. The order of chaos. It’s why I like a clean house, lack of clutter, organization. Sure my dresser drawers are messy and filled with unfolded clothes, but that’s okay as long as they stay neatly tucked away from view. Organized chaos.

But life IS messy. Life IS hard. Life IS challenging. And it’s all that stuff that we work through together that builds us up for the good times ahead. For the smiles and laughter to come. For the changes in the road aren’t all hills to climb. There’s a time in the future where the road rises to meet us, and encourages us on, not forcing us uphill or tumbling us down the other side. That’s the opposite of what I’ve been doing – understanding that, accepting that, and accepting myself.

If one thing burns down, may as well burn it all down, why not? Clean slate. Set it all on fire and start over. But what if there is only one thing that needs to burn to get to the better stuff ahead? Is it really worth setting the world on fire in spite of myself, or to spite myself or those around that are inauthentic? Are they ALL really inauthentic or are only some of them guilty of gaslighting and rumors and trying to control the narrative to the detriment of others, while some perhaps, are actually trying to do all that for the good of those around them. Sometimes I have a hard time sorting through the difference and making sure my reactions and emotions are directed in the right places, and the right people, and most importantly at the right times.

So what’s next? Where do we go from here? Perhaps I should start with not borrowing trouble and pain from tomorrow. Today already has enough of its own. Perhaps I should forgive myself for my shortcomings, and stop looking at myself in the mirror feeling like it doesn’t entirely look like me, and not understanding how others see me. Perhaps I should be a little bit kinder and more patient with those around me. Perhaps I should be a little bit kinder and more patient with myself. Perhaps I should start changing my mind about the love I think I deserve, and accept the love that’s right in front of me, and start feeling a little more at home in my house and my mind and, perhaps, even my body.

We’ll get there. I know I am ready for what’s next, I just need to be patient until those around me are ready, too. And I need to remember to love myself along the way. I already love you. I’m the hard one to love, at least through my own eyes it seems. But that’s okay. I’m changing. And so is everything around me in its own chaotic perfection.

Anna Todd dark meets light chaos lifewithoutapaddle

 

 

A letter to my best friend. Both of you.

Life without a paddle letter to my best friend

It’s so funny how I come out here to think and type and write, and I’m sitting here on my front porch curled up in my papasan chair covered in a blanket listening to Stevie Nicks thinking of you and suddenly I have nothing to say. That’s not true, of course. I have lots to say. I almost always do, except for those moments when you leave me speechless like no one else can. Just. Wow. Change is hard. So hard.

I should be used to it by now – change. I’ve been through so much, and even if I hadn’t, I know that change is always constant. Change and time are the two things we can always count on in life. But there’s more than that, too. There’s something to be said for finding the magic in the ordinary. In seeing the truth and passion and wonder in the everyday. Beyond just looking for extraordinary – and believe me I want that, too – there’s magic in every little minutia you never even bothered to pay attention to. But you see, that’s what you’re missing.

I remember sitting on the roof of my old ‘88 K Blazer with you, looking up at the stars and talking for hours on end. It didn’t matter if our friends were drunk or stoned, or what other shenanigans were going on around the campfire. It was us. It was just what we did. Sat there in wonder, two kids looking at stars, believing that there was always something more out there for us, for all of us, even if most people never stopped long enough to catch a fleeting glimpse, forget about truly feeling it or letting it into their souls. But we did. We were different. And then you were gone.

I miss that truck. I miss those times. I remember doing that even after you died, still thinking of you. On clear starry nights, I’d pull over on the side of any random backroad and climb up to the roof of that old truck and just sit there and talk to you as if you never left. And in my heart you always reminded me, you’re right here. You still are, aren’t you? I hope so. You were so much of my past but even more so, so much of my future. Without you and your mother, I don’t know that I’d ever have become the person I am today. I owe her an email, or perhaps not owe, but I have things I want to share with her. She was such an important part of my life, too. Thank you.

I’m going to sit here and listen to the rain for a while and wonder when you’ll tell me I’m too much. Or not enough. Or maybe not anything at all. Though I know it’s all in my head. I know that I’m waiting for you to tell me that my bad life decisions are too much, that I need to stop. That I need to change. But you haven’t. You just keep accepting me for me and I think I’ll stop now. I’m done making bad choices like smoking a cigarette on the front porch because I can’t sleep knowing I don’t even like cigarettes, telling myself it’s an old habit that I do when I am stressed, only I’m not stressed. I think it’s still just my way of trying to push you away and have you tell me it’s not good and it’s not smart and it’s not healthy and all those things I already know. I’m good at self-destructing, but you keep accepting me, and I keep realizing that I am only doing this to myself and perhaps it’s time I stop and go back to embracing all of this. All of us. Even the messy stuff. Because I know better, and I want to do better, and I can and am every day. Even when I take moments to backslide and let myself try to prove to myself that I wasn’t ever worth it in the first place. This is different. We’re different. And I’m done with the things that I do to keep making it easier for me to walk away because I don’t want that, not even for a moment. Even when my brain tells me I am stupid for believing in magic. I am an adult, after all, aren’t I?

I am. But I still believe in magic. I still move mountains. I still wish on stars and look up at the sky and wonder at the rain and remember that I breathe differently with you. Without you. And with you in my life. That’s pretty fucking amazing and it’s about time my brain stops trying to sabotage my heart and my soul and everything I truly feel. It’s time to let go of the past and remember who I really am and who I’ve been becoming all these years because of you, and now because of you. I believe in us.

I think I’m finally done comparing everyone I’ve ever met to you. It was unfair, but to be honest, you set the bar pretty high. Even for a completely platonic relationship – we always were like siblings – it didn’t matter. You were the first person to truly see me for me and help me believe that life was worth living. I wish you were here to meet him. There’s so much ahead, and while change is hard, so very hard, and I know that this won’t be easy, I do know that all of it is worth it because you taught me that ages ago and I still believe you today. The difference is that I believe me now, too. And I believe in me. And us.  This new us. Whatever it is and is becoming. I’ll tell you more under the stars but it’s raining now.  I think I’ll just sit here and listen to the sound of the rain and let it settle in and soothe my soul.

Roller Coaster & Magic Snow

I really look forward to when life isn’t as hard for all of us. But for now I’ll take the hours long phone calls and the magic of snow dusting my face under a clouded moonlit sky and take all the laughter in between ❤️.

Today was a good day. I feel like me again. It’s amazing how a dash of nostalgia and some trauma conditioning can throw you into a tailspin over nothing or close to nothing, but it can. And how with people who care about you, and good conversations and great laughter, you can move from that place where the pendulum swings with force over to a place of balance and comfort and confidence.

I know I don’t see myself the way many other people do, and I know I am likely worth more than I think I am. I also know I am learning. We are always learning. And I am ever so grateful for the people around me who are always there for me to make me smile and laugh, and lift me up to a better place and remind me that there’s so much more to life than just stress and worry.

Sometimes – actually more often than not – life doesn’t go according to plan. Quite frequently it gets sidetracked with the messy stuff, the hard stuff, and the things that either make us or break us. Even the little things that maybe not on their own could break or make us have a huge impact when viewed cumulatively.

That’s just it though. It’s the messy stuff that matters. How you deal with the hard stuff. How you come together as a family – even a family of friends. Roller coasters aren’t any good if they only go up. You need the downs, too, to really make it incredible. Sure the drops and whizzes and turns can make your stomach drop out from your chest and catch your breath in your throat. They can be thrilling and scary and exciting and exhilarating. They also wouldn’t exist without the long climb up. And the long climb up would never be worth it if all you could do is get to the top and stand there stagnant and look around.

No way, baby. Let’s RIDE!

I am pretty sure that I can fix my knee by next weekend. Forgot the joint supplements for a few days and felt the difference. Took them today and felt the difference again for the better. New knee brace is here to keep me from over extending it. Weather looks good for next Sunday. And I’ll take my healing body for a test run hike through the snow to my favorite place in the woods tomorrow morning again, and get back into my groove that I love so much that helps make sense of this crazy roller coaster called life.

I love this life. Even the hard stuff. Especially the hard stuff. It reminds me that there’s still so much more to learn, and so much more healing to do. And the best part is that it reminds me I never ever have to do it alone – even when I come home to an empty house and feel a little melancholy at the hollow feeling in my chest. That’s okay. I’m human too. The other thing that matters is that I feel. I feel so deeply and so truly that it’s easy for me to get caught up in the moment and forget the road ahead. This time I remembered. It took work, and help from my friends. And some fighting of my own skeletons and demons to remember why I am here. I am here to help. I am here to love. I am here to be loved. And I am here as a part of this incredible amazing family of friends that make this house home, and make me realize what life really could look like when you let go of some of the struggles and let life unfold around you and envelop you and make you whole again.

I am so happy today. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I am looking forward to so many amazing things ahead. I am looking forward to challenges and changes, great roller coaster rides, theme park and oceanside summers, camping in Luzerne, riding the horses, and of course, sharing these great times and smiles and laughter with all of these amazing people I love.

I stood outside tonight and talked to my best friend as I lifted my head and looked up at the moonless cloudy sky. The tiniest of snowflakes dusted my face with magic, and I sneezed that sneeze you sneeze when something as soft as a feather or as light as a snowflake tickles your nose. There’s magic in the world everywhere you look. You just have to stop looking for the extraordinary and realize that it’s the ordinary where the magic lives. You just have to really be alive to see and feel it, and let it change your life and everything ahead.

I’m right here. It’s pretty amazing, actually, to spend a week in a pendulum push trying to stop myself from overthinking and over-explaining while doing exactly that which I hate – overthinking and over-explaining. To come back to center and realize I’m already home. I have faith in you, and in me, and in us, and in all of us, and in a higher power – God / Goddess / Spirit or whatever name you choose, and everything that comes before and after us all comes together to guide us along the way. I have faith that letting things go, and remembering to breathe is the best thing I can do to be there for those I love. I love life. I love us. Tomorrow is another day headed towards true north.

 

 

 

skeletons in the closet & stories of the past

Skeletons in the closet life without a paddle

I’ll keep throwing the skeletons in my closet at you, any chance you’ll let me and even those you won’t. There’s a lot of them. Lately I’ve been ending sentences with phrases like so… or you know, right? Or but anyway…and trailing off like I’m saying something you probably aren’t going to listen to anyway. You won’t, will you?

But then you did. And you questioned me on it. Made me figure out me a little bit more. Realize that sometimes throwing my skeletons out in the street isn’t necessarily the best way to handle them. Perhaps I need to dance with them. Ask them their secrets. Find out why they are staying here. And then send them away for good. Perhaps that’s better, but what would I know? I’ve been dancing with the devil for years, what’s so different now?

Everything. Everything is different.

I am learning.

Even when I think I am better, I realize there are parts of me that are not. Just so you know there may always be a little part of me that is afraid that I am not good enough for you. It’s the one thing I’ve heard in my whole life. My father’s only been dead a year.

In some ways it feels like forever. In others, it feels like yesterday. In both cases, I wish to put that part of my past as firmly in the past as I can. But I am learning that in order to do so, I might have to stop and take a breath and stop justifying and proving my every move to people who already care about me. I’m not used to that. I don’t think of myself as someone to get jealous over or pay attention to. I’m the life of the party because I’m the funny one, and the fun one. I’ve never been the one everyone looked at because she was anything but the entertainment, or always the entertainer. I guess I am learning that, too.

 

Me and a bunch of old friends got together today for the first time in a long time. We’ve all moved. New houses, new locations, new significant others. Renovations. Life changes. But we shared drinks and laughs. We laughed more than I almost remembered was possible. We joked again. We watched football. We talked about old times, and making new memories. We talked about getting the band back together, and started planning it. We missed friends we lost. And toasted to them, too.

Funny thing is, you can see life for whatever it is right in front of you and you can talk about the past, but sometimes it takes someone else to call you out to keep you from repeating it. I was saying to my friend tonight that even though I lost all this weight, and I know that I did, I look down and my legs look the same and while I was not anorexic or anything, I could understand how someone could be. Because looking down at me, I saw the same legs I always saw, regardless of how much I weighed and I scared myself a little in that moment.

I spent the rest of the night between laughing those deep hard belly laughs that refill your soul, with questioning myself and if I’d ever be good enough. Was I now? I never felt like I was before. What changed? And what if, more likely than not, I am wrong and I am not good enough? I never feel like I am either good enough or not too much. Somehow I feel like I am the worst parts of both at the same time and that terrifies me. I know that people look up to me, and I want to be better for them but sometimes these self-doubts creep in and cast shadows on my thoughts that tell the skeletons in my closet it’s okay to come out and dance. Perhaps with your help, and thanks to you for showing me, I can simply ask them, “what keeps you here?” And finally close the door.