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Look Up

I needed to reread this the other day and while it’s something I wrote, it’s been a while and so I actually went to Google and searched for it, and I found it. So here it is because sometimes it’s worth rereading. Or at least it is for me.

mercurial change

i took a hiatus from writing for a while, for no real reason other than i had a lot of work to do on myself and needed to focus there first.  but now despite mercury rx, things are moving forward again and – as always – i am smiling, and writing with all my heart and all my soul.

so much has changed.  every single day i find another reason for someone not in my life, when someone or something new comes into it and fills the space left behind by those i’ve let go with love and warmth and happiness that reminds me of that saying i said so many times as i moved through the beginnings of this change last year.

“i’ve learned you can’t force negativity to leave you. you must leave it. if it’s still there in your life, it’s only because you have let it be”

and so i have left negativity in so many people, places, and things behind.

i’ve also learned that leaving them doesn’t mean that i can’t still love them and wish the best for them – because i do.  especially for the ones whom i have had to let go of completely, because i know they are the ones that need to find happiness the most.  i remind myself that we all have our own lessons to learn, and it is up to each and every one of us to do what we need to move forward in our lives and find our own happiness.  in finding mine, i can better share with others, but not all will want to be happy here, now, or in the same ways.  and sometimes that means letting go.

I have no idea what year that is from. It’s on my old Tumblr blog that I haven’t used in ages and I couldn’t find the time / date stamp (though to be honest, I didn’t try that hard because it doesn’t really matter). The lesson was there again, and exactly what I needed to hear.

I’m manic. I just chose to drop the “depressive” part and use it to my advantage. That’s my superpower. What’s yours?

I got so much done today, that I am not even entirely sure how I pulled it off – or am still awake for that matter. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my friends, and I thank you guys so much. It’s like you magnify my superpowers tenfold!

And then there’s times when the universe is taking a shit on you left and right and every time you’re all like oh, okay we’re finally done. Cool, we can move forwar-WRONG!!!! Next thing you know you got kicked in the face again and neither vehicle is still running right (total first world problems, I know) and you’re supposed to go camping tomorrow and nothing is done and everything is fucked up and then you get pulled over by a state trooper. At. Your. Exit. UGH.

Meet Astrid. I need her napping abilities. Her game is strong!

You know what? That moment turned my entire day around. You see, the nice officer didn’t give me a ticket. He said he could see I was having a rough day and he recognized my vehicle and that I usually don’t speed, and liked that I lived there year round and wasn’t just a weekender. And he let me go. We both shared a laugh. And then things started to fall into place. Sure, that was nearly 530PM and I only just got everything done that I needed to at 1030 to finally sit down with my basic autumn harvest beer to watch the Pats Giants game (really Big Blue???? REALLY???), and laugh at the cats and unwind. Truth be told I am still unwinding after today – this week – this month – this whole year, really – that it’s probably the only reason why I am still awake. I need the adrenaline and survival mode to subside so I can truly relax. And tomorrow is vacation. Tomorrow. Is. VACATION!

Time to get away! Who wants to come?

I love autumn camping. Three days and two nights in the woods with my horse and a campfire and some great Bourbon Cream from Prohibition Distillery and some comfort food and some campfire food and mostly time to do nothing but wander the trails and relax by the fire. Best part is I get to bring this (mostly) cool (when we’re not getting on each other’s nerves) teenager I know that just happens to live with me (it’s a long story. No, not that long. Longer.) and his horse, too. And one of our best friends, this amazing woman who’s a vet but also happens to have the biggest heart of anyone you’ve ever met gets to come too. It’s going to be great. To be honest, with how things have been going, if it was just me by myself, it would still be equally as great because everything about camping in autumn is amazing.

So if lately I’ve been a little busy or distant or disconnected, I am sorry.  It’s not because you’re negative (or maybe it is, but really that’s got nothing to do with me). It’s because I’ve been focusing on how to juggle these new balls I’ve been thrown in life and trying to keep my balance and find even footing and figure out where I stand. It will all come back around. It always does and I will be back in touch soon. I promise, and you know I will stand by my word. But right now I need to spend some time lost in the woods with a horse or two and a few friends and a whole lot of nothing on my plate. And marvel at the wonders of how things come full circle and the Lost Soul’s Society may just be a thing again after all.

This is home.

Exactly Where I Need To Be

Sometimes when it feels like the world is coming crashing down around me, and everything is falling apart, I just have to stop for a moment and take a deep breath and look around and realize I am exactly where I need to be. Even when it feels like everything is wrong and the world has gone topsy turvy and right side up is upside down and inside out. I just need to remember that I am right here for a reason and I need to have patience. This too shall pass. Nothing in this life is permanent, not even life itself. Nor, for that matter, is death.

There’s a mountain of things piled in front of me to do tomorrow (now today), an ever growing list of bills that are piling up (it’s okay, I am keeping up mostly and what I need help with is  covered by my temporary use of credit that will be paid off before summer is out), an astounding stack of work that makes me feel like I am drowning (I am almost done and will have a few days off in the mountains and next week to work from home and then the beach). Life is fine (it’s actually rather quite good). Sometimes you just need to shift your perspective (it’s all right here) and realize the lesson in front of you, and the steps you need to take to move forward.

I am here now, because it is I where I need to be to get to where I am going. Each step cannot happen before the one before it, and the one before that, and the one before that one. To get to where I am going, I need to be here. And I will still get there. It’s not about WHERE I am getting to, but HOW I live along the way. And nothing is so priceless as taking the time to realize despite all your shortcomings, all your own self doubts, all of your massive imperfections, that you may be someone that someone – or even several someones – look up to. You may be someone’s inspiration. Someone’s hope. Someone’s dream. Or, perhaps you are just the rock they count on and you don’t even realize just how amazing that rock is. But whatever it is, never doubt you are right here because it is exactly where you are meant to be.

I am exactly where I need to be. And so are you.

@cjmillar82 life without a paddle

And every single step I took before right here mattered too. Even though my father was in so many ways, awful to me, he also was an inspiration. Not only because he was (is – we’re estranged though he’s still among the living) a brilliant though deeply troubled man, but also because even at his worst to me, those experiences shaped who I am today.

I could either choose to flounder and fail because of what I was told I was and what I was told I would ever become, or I could live to prove him wrong – and I did a million times over. At some point I need to stop proving him wrong and start living for me, and I think that point just happened recently. It stopped becoming about life goals and milestones (those things are still there) but instead became about being a role model and a good example, and living to set more than just a positive example but to also be a ray of light to those around me who may have become lost in their own storms. And as such I started living unapologetically but also unselfishly.

Unapologetic became easy with time. It’s not all that hard as we grow older to stand up and say, “this is me, take it or leave it, like it or not,’ and hold firm in what we believe. It’s the unselfish part that gets a bit tricky. It’s about staring down life changes and wondering – can I really do this? What if I’m not good enough? What if I take on too much and fail? What if I don’t save up enough money or find the right house or lay the groundwork for where I am supposed to be next? But then I stop and realize this IS the groundwork for what is next, and I am already on that path. Doing nothing is still failing but worse because it means I am not really learning anything. So why not try? Why not take a chance? Why not stare change in the face and say, okay – I got this. WE’VE got this.

We do, you know. Got this. All of us together. We’re a tribe. More than the Usual Suspects, some semblance of the remnants of the Lost Souls Society of my youth, and something else entirely. I don’t know what we’re called, but we’re that thing whatever it is, and it makes me happy to know that. Even if we haven’t yet found a name.

Just know that you belong. I belong. We all belong. And there will always be a place in life for all of us. It may not always be where we expect, but it will always be exactly where we need to be.

Welcome home.

@cjmillar82 welcome home

 

Suicide

Suicide is a slippery slope. It’s that thing we all think we talk about without ever really taking about all the while saying it’s not taboo while still being too afraid to talk about it to really make a difference. But the only difference that matters is with us. Those of us that are so afraid of living that we feel that death really may be a better option. Sometimes it feels like it’s the only option.

Even when we know better, even when we feel better. There’s moments like this coming off an amazing weekend with friends that we still don’t feel like enough. We feel like we’re never enough.

I hung up the phone with a good friend just now and screamed like I was gutted with a pain I haven’t felt since I can’t even remember when. But it was a pain that cut so deep that it hurt with a visceral feeling in my gut that I can’t even begin to comprehend, let alone explain or understand.

(Please note that nothing happened  per se and it had nothing directly to do with my friend – it was great catching up, it just made me realize how we can be really good about compartmentalizing the past and putting people and not just past issues aside. Reconnecting had me realize just that, and I am aiming to change that and let the issues of the past stay there while the people that matter become a part of a present and my future and a priority that I make time for. Sometimes, you hit a trigger and don’t even know what it is and a good screaming howling cry lets it all out so you can let it go, and move forward. I cried for my past, for friends I’ve lost, and friends I still have that I’ve lost time with because I didn’t make them a priority or make time to be there for them or let them be there for me. That changes today.)

But it’s a feeling none the less.

Even if it’s is one I’d care to forget. Forever.

But it’s here. And it’s mine, whether I choose to own it or not it’s how I feel right now and fuck, it hurts.

I suppose it’s a feeling of disappointing others, coupled with that feeling of never being good enough. A dash of lifelong self doubt, and a kiss of promised mediocrity to keep every sense of success at bay.

My father spent most of my life telling me I’d never be more than mediocre at best. And I’ve spent my entire life proving him wrong. At some point, I need to stop to heal myself and trust that who I am is far better than mediocore to someone. To anyone. And  most importantly to me,

Even in those moments, those days, when I matter to no one, I have to remember I matter to me. And there’s a few people I’ve learned / remembered I matter to, too.

You see, this is a life long struggle. You don’t just get better from this. Every day is a fight, a reminder that like Dead Poet’s Society, LSS is still a thing. We still matter. I still matter. We all still matter. Even when we’ve all gone our separate ways, and we all still have our own demons to fight. But this week is one step in merging the past and the present for a better future, that’s isn’t just saying I miss you and let’s make plans, til one of us dies.

This week is different.

Because we matter. And because this isn’t a fight I could ever win on my own. But it wasn’t one I ever had to, either.

Thank you.

Ashes of Eden and Yesterday

Sometimes when you’re so focused on helping someone close to you, you forget to stop for a minute and take it all in and realize just how much they are helping you too. And then, sometimes later – sometimes a few hours or a week, or sometimes a few years or almost a decade or even more – something small happens. Just something little. Like a song on a local bar jukebox radio. And it hits you. You realize there’s a handful of people in your life who thank you for saving them you realize – you owe them a thank you, because they saved you too.

Thank you.

Ashes of Eden by Breaking Benjamin came on tonight at the bar and it reminded me just how much I love Breaking Benjamin. It reminded me, too, of a few people who I’ve realized have looked to me as someone to talk to, who they could trust, and who would see them for their truth. Who they really are – the good and the bad – and always still see who they REALLY are, no strings attached.

And in listening to that song tonight I remembered a time where back in college I helped this kid out. I worked at his father’s store, and his father gave me – a messed up know-it-all college kid – a chance. His family was going through a rough divorce and a move. And his son (“that kid” I mentioned before) was going to be forced to move to a new school district in his senior year of high school and he was devastated and threatening to drop out.

So I did the obvious thing. I let him live with me.

I was barely an adult myself at that time, and only so legally. But I wanted to be a good influence, a role model perhaps even. And he let me be that, and I let him live in my college apartment. I set ground rules – no partying, always do your homework first, always be respectful. Don’t let my idiot friends get you drunk ever. And if I caught you drinking or smoking I’d kick your ass. Even if I was doing those things myself.

Somehow in that timeframe of my life where I was a disaster to myself and everyone around me, I held “this kid” to a higher standard. I wanted better for him than what I had let become of me. You see, even then on some level I knew it wasn’t really my family’s fault I was a mess. Sure, we had issues. Yeah, my dad is a raging alcoholic. But I wasn’t a kid anymore and even back then I had some sense of self-responsibility that whatever happened to me was my own doing. And in that, I wanted to start paying the karmic tab I, on some level, knew I was already racking up, by helping this lost kid find his way through high school and, in some way, I hoped, life.

But what I didn’t realize then and I don’t think he did either, was that he saved me too. When I felt like no one noticed where I was or wasn’t, when my day to day was totally and completely inconsequential, when it felt like the world wouldn’t miss me, I knew I had to get home and be a good example to someone. Anyone. No, not just anyone. Him.

So I did. I went home most nights. I started to stand up for myself (even if I would eventually move away and let that fall apart again, I would eventually remember this). I still partied. I remember my one friend getting him drunk on tequila one night as I, too was drunk and realizing my own double standard – but still wanting better for him. And it made me a better person. I still wasn’t good by any means, then. But I shudder to think how bad I would have been, had someone not been looking up to me.

It fell apart a bit after that. Into my 20s and 30s depression reared it’s ugly head, followed by mania, and back again, in a cycle that defined those two decades that I’ve mostly lost. But eventually I remembered.

And then I moved. To NY. Away from any of the remains of my 20s and 30s that had carried me down. I had always said that I didn’t want to be 40 living there, still, and if nothing else, I am true to my word and honest to a fault.

I was 41 when I moved. It was the first time I really started getting better. Or even good, for the first time ever.

You see, there’s this kid that looks up to me, and I’m flattered. Sometimes I wonder why. I’m a fuck up. I’ve always been. My own father told me I’d never be anything other than mediocre at best, and I’ve spent my entire life living to prove him wrong. And then I realized. He was wrong. He always was. I am anything but mediocre.

I am strong. I am fierce. I am independent. I am responsible – for myself and those around me. I am a dreamer. I believe in magic. And I understand that the ups and downs of life can be mania, but they can also be amazing, too.

I am a role model because two decades ago, the high school boy looked up to me and thought I was cool and a good influcnce. I am a good person because this past year a boy trusted me to put him on a horse he’d ridden one weekend ever to gallop over giant stone walls and not just be okay, but really LIVE. They both saw the good in me, and knew that I could help them and in believing in me, I started to believe in me too. Even when I believed in them, all along.

Sometimes, all that we see in others is a reminder of who we really are inside. We all help each other, if only we’re willing to listen and understand and realize that we’re all in this together.

 

Always Forward

Sometmes it seems I have so much to say, while other times I just can’t stop living long enough to write. And other times still, it feels like I am too busy making a living to stop and live my life. But sometimes things happen that make you stop. Not big things. No. Those things happen too, don’t get me wrong. But the little things that happen that when you’re too busy making a living to notice but finally slow down enough to really live, to make a life, that you realize.

Everything you’ve done has lead you here.

Right here. Right now. Always forward. And as long as you keep moving forward, even in those tough times when you realize you’ve grown beyond some friends, and despite wanting to slow your own life down to help them keep up, you realize you’ve been moving forward all along anyway to where you are today.

Always forward. To where you are now, which isn’t where you will be a week from now, a year from now, or even tomorrow. But along the way through life’s ups and downs, you realize that while maybe the hand life dealt you originally may have not been the best, you learned. You learned how to play that hand. How to move forward. And how along the way you’ve met people that are so much more than family. And even more than friends. Your tribe.

To quote The Bloggess, find your tribe. Love them hard.

That’s what matters. Not where you were born or what life you were born to. But rather what you make of all of this. Who you choose to be your journeymates, your warriors, and your confidants.

You see, life is about so much more than yesterday, or tomorrow, or even the here and now. It’s about what you DO. Who you ARE. And surrounding yourself with love, life (real life), and passion. Find something and believe in it. Find those people that believe in things too, even if it’s not the same things as you, but listen to them. Learn. And lift them up.

Together we are far greater than any one thing, any single intent, any individual goal.

Find your tribe and love them hard.

Every day I find new members of my tribe, scattered around this life – and world – in the most random nooks and crannies. Sometimes they’re far away, a chance meeting, a pen pal, a new friend across oceans. Other times they are right in your new old hometown, around the corner, or always just right here. But wherever they are, and wherever you are, find your roots. Lay down roots somewhere, and learn what home really is.

Mind you, roots don’t need to be a physical thing, and contrary to popular belief it doens’t mean owning land or buying into some plot or pipe dream. It means knowing who you are at your core, finding your own true authenticity, living your best life to your true self, and being able to recognize those roots of who you are to find others along the way to share this life with.

Life’s a funny little thing. So much we know while so much we don’t. Trust yourself.

Believe in magic.

And always, always, keep moving forward. 💕

Always forward

Those Random Things

Sometimes I wear kitty ears, just because. Sometimes I wear them in public because it makes people smile. Sometimes I pay for the stranger in front of me, sometimes it is because they need it. But other times it’s just because. Either way I always tell them to pay it forward.

Randomness that makes people smile is always worth while. The people that laugh or criticize are only jealous that they can’t feel the joy around them. And the ones that smile at your / my / anyone’s “crazy” random actions are the ones that can see magic in the world.

I see the magic. I hope you can too. I hope when I wear kitty ears in public, you smile. If you criticize, point fingers, or laugh, I still hope that later on you smile. That you can appreciate the joy in randomness. This is the same kind of joy that started Wolfenoot, an all new holiday that celebrates dogs and wolves everywhere with the tag #nohateonlysnootboops. It was made up by a kid in New Zealand and this world is so desperate for a tidbit of happy news, that it went viral.

Absorb that. A made up holiday is now a thing thanks to the imagination of a 7 year old on the other side of the world + the internet.

Thank you. I am now planning a Wolfenoot party – so much better than the materialistic day known as Black Friday.

This is why I randomly wear kitty ears. Or compliment strangers on the street. Or hold the door. Smile at others. Pay for the person at the drive through or supermarket line in front of me. Because we can all use something to smile about and the world is already a harsh enough place without us needing to be harsh to each other.

This doesn’t mean let others walk all over you. Or ignore your self-worth. Quite the contrary. This means you – and me – and all of us need to have the confidence and security to be ourselves and raise our children in a world where our differences are celebrated. A world where our quirkiness makes others smile, not scowl. And even for those of us who aren’t parents – I am not a parent – please know that the children are watching. Maybe you don’t have any of your own, but your friends’ kids are watching. Your nieces and nephews. Your cousin. And even just the child down the street or at the end of the Walmart aisle. They’re watching you, too. And they’re learning from everything they see. Be something positive.

Who we are is made up by how we are raised and all of the collective observances and experiences of our life up until this exact point. The children are watching (and not in a creepy Children of the Corn way – though uh, well it was just Halloween so you never know). Everyone is watching. The world is watching.

Be the best you you can be. And be YOU. Unapologetically unequivocally you.

pay it forward

Wear those ears, or whatever it is that makes you smile, and pay it forward!

The Dreamers and Fighters, Oh Westworld

So I am finally catching up on Westworld and first, I love it. It’s insane. Mind boggling and makes you think and wonder all at the same time. Fucking incredible. Also, the use of Fade To Black as an instrumental in almost Japanese format at the beginning of episode 5 (season 2) is crazy good and intense.

You know what really bothers me though? I love Dolores and how ruthless yet human she is at the same time. She’s the best and the worst in all of us – but fucking Teddy. Teddy. THAT’S who she gets as a man in this show? What a seriously spineless weak follower of a guy. I expected a character as strong as her would have an equal beside her, not a follower. True, he’s kinder than she is, and softer around the edges, but he lacks passion and strength. I understand the purpose of the juxtaposition of the two and while yes, she has a depth of cruelty to her that is almost uncompromising, she also has a softness and humanity to her that makes you understand the depths of her as a being.

But Teddy? Damn Teddy. He lacks passion at either end, instead opting for the safety in the middle. He’s always taking the easy road – the hard one only if he’s following Dolores. He’s the handsome picture of every man ever intimidated by a woman and I think the only reason he doesn’t run away is because in Westworld, if he ran, he’d be dead. He’s the poster child for mediocrity and while I do see the role he plays and why, and how he is supposed to soften her hardness and hatred, he doesn’t do it through strength. He does it through following her and in the end, she really never grows with him, just in front of him.

Oh, Teddy

It’s sad – tragic really. And such a parody of every relationship I’ve been in in one way or another. I was either Teddy – trying too hard to figure out who I am and how I fit in and hoping someone someday would love me enough to really see me for me. Or Dolores, a parody of me when I became stronger, rough around the edges and ruthless at times, even uncaring. Also me as a wiser person with a clearer vision of the world living unapologetically with no doubts as to who I am today, tired of standing next to – or rather in front of – some man that was so clearly intimated by me but I was just too busy seeing the dreamer in him to see he would never have the strength to fight for me or even stand by my side.

You see I’m a dreamer also. But I’m a fighter too, and loyal to a fault. If I believe in someone or something, I’ll fight for it at any cost and I see and respect that in Dolores and I see bits of my own father – the good and the truth of him anyway – in hers, Peter Abernathy.

Dear ol’ dad

There are glimpses of Teddy as a strong man, even as a supporter, but most of the time he’s a loyal stand behind and it saddens me that he’s rarely her equal. He’s her equal only in that he makes her feel, and helps her open up to someone else, something that I’ve only recently gotten better at doing to only find myself alone anyway. So while I’d like to believe that someone like Teddy is the soft spoken yet strong man that stands beside the heroine of this story, all I see is a mediocre man and wishing for something more. For Dolores. For myself.

Maeve and Hector, however, I do believe they’re quite okay…incredible actually.

Couples that drink together stay together

 

 

Aside – holy fuck I love this show. I mean sure, I love Game of Thrones too, but this shit is just fucking intellectual and mind boggling and outright fucking brilliant. Also I get that about halfway through this season shit goes REALLY off the rails and Dolores and Teddy are basically totally different than the idealized over-simplified way that I defined them above as they very clearly become even more (and usually opposite) extremes of good vs bad and of each other, but for the purpose of my random ramblings above, I’m sticking to what I said up there. Oh, and thank you HBO for making a world run by women! #girlpower

 

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Left

I didn’t think things would go this way. I’ve never trusted someone so quickly, or let someone ever convince me not to run – to only run away themselves. I thought we were better than that, or if nothing else, we were older than that. I mean at 41, what did you expect? Would you really have been happier if I needed you as opposed to being self sufficient? We’re not kids, anymore.

Let me make a few things clear. Yes, I make decent money. I’m not rich, but I’m not poor, and I am blessed enough to not have to stress (for the most part) about what I can and can’t afford. I still need to budget, and while there are times I can get lucky and a $$ new-to-me four wheeler comes easy, there’s plenty of times that things are tight and this, that, and the other thing needs to be repaired on the farm. It is what it is. But mostly, it’s a good thing that heading into the fourth decade on this earth, I can afford the lifestyle in which I like to live.

I manage my farm myself. I can buy my own toys, pay my own billls, and for the most part, live how I like. There were plenty of things you did better than me. Drive a tractor for one (and I don’t readily admit that!). And there were a lot of things you were really good at.

You were good to me, too. You taught me so much, even if you didn’t mean to. You see, because before I met you, I was afraid to date. I said it was because I was too independent, but a lot of it had to do with my own fears too. It had to do with my fear of failure. Of not being good enough. Again. Of not being enough, or being too much, or something mediocre in between. You taught me I was good enough, or perhaps, even too good. You told me I was beautiful – and I believed you. You told me I was amazing – and I believed you then, too. And you told me not to run – and I’m still right here.

But then you ran. You ghosted me, the same way you ghosted my best friend and told me it was because you were really into me and not her. Only you told me you loved me – and I believed you then, too. But you still left. You didn’t tell me why. You didn’t even answer. You went from telling me you loved me to disappearing in my busiest, hardest month of the whole year – which you knew from the day you met me – and you left anyway. I had a forest fire, bronchitis, wound up needing X-rays in the hospital. I traveled on two major business trips and worked through so much. And I still put effort into you.

But you ran anyway. But it’s okay. Because you know why? Because I did believe you and while I learned you couldn’t be trusted, I also learned that I would have never have known that if I didn’t take a chance. I learned that I am beautiful. I learned I am amazing. You told me so, but I am starting to see it too, thank you. I also learned that even if I was too much for you, there was probably someone out there somewhere that I am not, nor ever will I be, too much for. And I would have never believed that if I didn’t meet you.

Never before have I taken such a huge chance, such a big leap of faith that two months in and I would learn more than I had so far in a lifetime. But I did, and I learned, and somehow weeks later, I just can’t stop smiling.

Thank you for loving me enough to help me see how amazing things are when you are willing to share your life with someone. And thank you for running rather than staying and leaving after years more of me falling for you. And most of all, thank you for showing me that every chance is worth taking, and worth so much more than regret. While I wish/thought it was you I’d be sitting here with, listening to the peepers while watching the stars shift slowly across the horizon around the big pine tree is pretty damn perfect. You’re a good person; I just wish you were a better man.

Thank you, for showing me I am worth it. For reminding me I am beautiful and amazing. And teaching me that I do deserve to share my life with someone who loves me as much as I love them, even if I haven’t met them yet.

Kiss the Rain

I sat in my bedroom listening to the spring peepers chirping all around and really feeling at home for the first time in a long time. Home. Really home. In a place where I could finally lay down roots – my own roots. And just when I think I am finding my footing, I go ahead and meet someone and start trusting someone and then I remember why I came to this mountain all on my own anyway.

I don’t need you here. I never needed you here. My upbringing taught me nothing if it wasn’t how to live on my own. I’ve always been a bit of an outsider. A loner. The life of the party who knows everyone everywhere but who at the end of the day just wants to retreat to her own mountain all on my own. My safe space. My roots. Home.

For a while I believed this was all worth sharing – and I guess I believe that still. We joke about who’s “invited on the island” and certainly I do invite friends here. Some of my friends are more like family to me. And without them, life would be a lonely place. So of course I want to share this with them. I always will. But somehow whenever I stop for a moment to think about really sharing my life beyond on just my terms, I’ve rarely been able to find someone to truly be a partner in all that.

I’m a tough one, I know. I don’t want your help, but I appreciate it. I don’t need you here, but I want you here because I love you. I don’t even like saying that, but something this time was different. Or at least I thought so.

Even so, I don’t regret a second of it. I learned so much about life, about love, about you, and yes even about me. I remembered why it was worth it to try again. I remembered what it was like to have butterflies in your stomach at the thought of seeing someone you were looking forward to kissing again. I rememberer I didn’t really have to do this alone if I’d stop long enough to let someone in. So I stopped. And I started to let you in.

And then I was also I reminded that I can take care of me. After all, that’s what I’ve been doing all this time, isn’t it? I’m not a kid anymore, and even then to an extent I knew how to take care of myself. So while I don’t want to necessarily do this alone, I also don’t want to do this halfway. I’m me – and all of me – and I am passionate and I believe and I love completely. I won’t ever give up my life or my friends or who I am, but I will always make time for those who I love. Because even when I’m reminded that I can do this myself, all I need to do is look around at all the wonderful people around me and realize I never really was alone after all.

Thank you.

Courage #wevegotthis

Life has a way of showing you what you need exactly when you need it, even if it’s not what you want to see or believe.

And courage is what it takes to see yourself through to the other side.

I didn’t always see things that way. I’m loyal and honest – to a fault. I’m bold in more ways than one, and I’m not afraid to speak my mind or say how I feel. I say what I mean and I mean what I say, and that alone is intimidating. Most people expect me to “do that girl thing” where I say “all the right things” but secretly am mad or freaking out or plotting some passive aggressive reply while I seek my revenge in ways unknown. Even my female friends are taken aback more often than not when I say how I feel or look at things through a realist view rather than simply sighing and nodding and saying “oh yes, everything will be okay, screw him, it’s all his fault” (though there are times I will say that, or that I get it completely wrong) or whatever the situation at hand may be. Fuck that. That’s way too much effort to spend on something that will only hurt others and myself when I could instead choose to focus on the positive and on making life better for me and everyone around me. I choose that. And that also takes courage.

And conviction. I speak with conviction. I love completely. I believe from the ground up. And even when I am terrified, if I tell you I won’t run away, I won’t. I am not a liar, or a ghost. I just don’t have that in the fabric of my being. And integrity is core to who I am just like gills are a core part of a fish in order to be able to survive. Just like my flaws are a huge part of me – and I have a lot of them – my integrity is my grounding rod.

It took a long time to build myself this way. For many years I was a runner. I was afraid of being honest, and open. In some ways I still am. I work in marketing and my day job also makes me continue to be aware of public perception, persona, and polite niceties that I find frivolous and trivial. But I’ve learned to balance that out. I’ve learned how to be honest with honey rather than vinegar and I’ve learned that you can look at life through rose colored glasses and believe the best in people, even when they’ve shown you they’re not quite exactly what you wanted to believe. Sometimes I get things wrong. I get a lot of things wrong, actually. I’m over the top. I can be loud, dramatic, demanding, and confusing. I send mixed signals, and am a mix of positive and negative and everything in between. But I’m working on being better at all of it. At being me.

Life has a way of showing you what you need exactly when you need it, even if it’s not what you want to see or believe. There were a lot of things this April I didn’t want to see or believe. A lot of mistakes I made. A lot of things I thought but never said and should have. Feelings and concerns that I chose to ignore that grew into more, and that part’s my fault. But it’s not all my fault. There are a lot of things that didn’t turn out at all the way I expected. I put my faith and trust in places that – while I hope I am wrong – may indeed be misplaced (at least for now). And even so, I’ve learned that nothing in this life is final. So if I was wrong, so what? I can still learn from that. And I can still give second chances. I can still believe the best in someone is still there, even if something changed. Even if it was me who somehow caused someone to change (though at the end of the day the only one responsible for our own actions is ourselves). No one is perfect. I have more than my fair share of demons (just read any of my earlier blogs and you’ll see what I mean), and I work to overcome them and rise above, but it takes work. Someone once told me that this would be work, but that if you’ve got your sleeves rolled up, we got this. And you know what, they were right. #wevegotthis. And the best part is that “we” is so much more than just me. It’s life. It’s everyone around me that’s a part of my life, and how I am a part of theirs. Out of sight is not out of mind, at least not for me, and I try to take something great, something positive from everyone I meet.

But that too, takes courage. It means sometimes revisiting the past and seeing what went wrong, or finding what went right. It means wondering just where the rug got pulled out from under you when you weren’t looking. It also means taking a deep breath, and looking down and realizing that even without a magic carpet, maybe you really can fly.

It also means having the courage to speak up when running away is easier. It also means saying how you feel – the good stuff, the sad stuff, even the sappy stuff and the confused stuff – when staying quiet would be easier. It means saying I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions or thinking this was something it was, or wasn’t or whatever it was that went wrong.

And most of all, it means being willing to listen. To not get mad. Anger serves no purpose other than to cause pain. I have no use for anger in my life. Sure, I get mad for a few minutes but as my one friend says, I get mad for 5 minutes and then I’m over it and more interested in working together to find a way forward to make things better. I am getting better at all of this. Sure, it’s easier to ignore things and just hope things go away, but when something or someone means something to me, well, I don’t give up on people I love. But I also am not going to fight for something or someone to be in my life if they don’t want to be here. Life is all about choices. And I choose to have courage. To love completely. To live without regrets. And to always be able to stand on my own two feet and move forward regardless of who is or isn’t standing with me. I promise to listen. To see things from other’s points of view. To not push too hard or too far, but to always ask the questions that deserve answers. And I always promise to give honest answers in return – even to the hard questions, and the scary ones, and the ones that terrify me and make me wish I was anywhere but here. But I’m not. I’m right here.