This is your life…are you who you want to be?

What a weekend. Ups and downs, weird feelings, highs and lows…crying fits and bouts of laughter so hard I almost fell off the chair.

I dislike having such extremes. Friday was just WEIRD. Everyone at work was super social with me, and a girl that I was 98% positive hated me (we’ve had SERIOUS issues in the past) was confiding in me about her depression that she was starting to feel…and she hugged me for listening. Weird. Not bad weird, just completely unexpected.

Of course, I’ve also been in my head about things lately too…some of which I will talk about now, even though I feel really kind of stupid for feeling…

The last few days of last week, I really was starting to feel that I didn’t belong in my own life. DON’T PANIC. We’re not talking about the suicidal “I don’t belong here” type of stuff. I’ve just been feeling lately like…I just don’t quite fit anywhere in my social circle right now. That’s not to say that I don’t have amazing friends, because I do. I love each and every one of you with everything I have in me. But it seems like some people fit better into the group settings that I do. It really upset me a lot, especially Friday. Nothing specific happened, it was just an overwhelming feeling that I don’t belong.

That feeling helped play into the mindset I’ve had, of “I can’t do or say anything right.” So I was afraid to talk for fear of saying something wrong. Which I did. But all has been forgiven, so its not a big deal now.

I got to thinking Saturday, while I was out running my errands, and taking time to just be by myself and to enjoy my own company, that my life is really pretty damn sweet.

Sure, money’s tight. Sure I don’t have a car of my own right now. Sure, I’m not satisfied in my job. Sure I’m not exactly in a “romantic relationship.” Sure, my body has been confusing the HELL out of me by trying to convince me that I do want babies.

But…

I have enough money to pay my rent and bills, and still have a little left over (sometimes it is VERY little, but…) to have fun with. I have an amazing mom who is letting me borrow her car right now, and in a week, Morgan will have a new car…and he is, thankfully, an amazing friend to me and is willing to drive my ass around until I can figure out my own transportation. I HAVE a job. And I’m good at it. The relationships that I do have, while they may not be romantic in nature, are super fulfilling and satisfying…they build me up, strengthen and support me, cheer me on and comfort me. And a handful of them provide…other…comfort. 😉 And the baby thing….well, I don’t really have to worry about that one yet, because I’ve been able to snap myself back out of that mindset…and I’ve already told my body that if we’re going to change our mind and have babies, that we have to wait until we find someone to be in a stable relationship with. I think my body is ok with that.

I’ve been feeling like I don’t fit in in my own life. But then I started trying to find things that bring me joy and bliss…and they are EVERYWHERE!

I had SO much fun making the spaghetti this weekend…even when the onion made me cry so hard I had to walk away from it…I love to cook! I never really knew that before, because I always had someone else who was able to cook for me.

I had a really amazing visit with my family on Saturday too. I can’t really go into details yet, but within a couple weeks, I want to post a blog about how amazing my damn family is. I know that I do tend to complain about them sometimes, but deep down, I really do love and appreciate them. But we had a great visit, with laughter so hard, my Aunt was crying, I was tearing up and almost sliding off the couch. It was great. 🙂

I also got my hair cut on Saturday, and I JUST LOVE it!! Its funny how making a little change like that can change your outlook on things…I feel really kind of sexy with this new hair. You should see me this morning…I put make up on for work. I’m wearing a skirt and heels…I’m rockin it today! I feel SO good!

Saturday night, I got to chill with my friend, and let him try my creation of Spaghetti…and coming from this friend, who is a pretty damn amazing cook, when he said he couldn’t eat it fast enough…that made me feel really good. We got to chill and talk, and it was a REALLY good night.

Then yesterday, I dragged my ass out of bed for a couple ours OT at work, and then got to chill with my best friend on the planet. We had a really really REALLY great day. Chilled out and watched really horrible episodes of “Buffy” (he’s trying to convert me. I think its working.), had a little bit of food, and talked. I was able to get some things off my chest that I’d been wanting to say and talk about for a while, and it was really nice. He did too. Went to bed super super early and slept for almost 10 hours. THAT one was needed. I haven’t been sleeping well lately.

Its funny how the Universe does things like this. Just when I start feeling that I don’t belong, or that no one cares…I’m overwhelmed with support and love, and I’m able to look at things objectively.

I’ve rediscovered some of my passions this weekend too…well, one was a week ago: I’ve started reading like a maniac again. I picked up 4 new books from the library and one of them is ENORMOUS! I’m so excited to read it!

I’m also listening to Middle Eastern music again. I’d forgotten how much I love it. I’m still working on finding my passion for dance again…I love it too much to just stop, but…I just haven’t really been feeling it for a while now. Since before my surgery to be honest…But once I find it….look out world. I’m going to be a dancing machine that can’t be stopped!!!

I guess what this is all coming down to right this second is this:

This is MY life. No one fits into it better than I do. Everything that is happening right this second is how it is supposed to be. All things can work for good, and for self improvement. When I feel the way I felt earlier in the week, that means that something is a little bit out of alignment, and I should stop and take a look. Is it something I can control? Is it something that needs to be changed? Can I control the change? Do I want to change? The only person who can control these things is me. And I can only control what I can control. I can’t control other people: what they think of me, how they feel about me, how they act or react to me. But I CAN continue to strive to be the best damn me there is. The greatest part of this realization? Realizing that I really am trying to be the best me…FOR me. I’m not doing this for anyone else. If others benefit from it, that is amazing. But I’m trying to improve myself for my own sanity and happiness.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

…just a little smoother in your hand…

The air will always be too filled with something. Your body too sore or tired. Your father too drunk. Your wife too cold. You will always have some excuse not to live your life.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk.

Picture a tumbler used to polish rocks. A rolling drum filled with water and sand. Consider that your soul is dropped in as an ugly rock, some raw material or a natural resource, crude oil, mineral ore. And all conflict and pain is just the abrasive that rubs us, polishes our souls, refines us, teaches and finishes us over lifetime and lifetime. The consider that you’ve chosen to jump in again and again, knowing this suffering is your entire reason for coming to earth.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk.

Interesting image. I recall hearing one similar back when I was a good little Christian girl…that God/Jesus would “refine us in the fire” or that we were stones, and God/Jesus was the river, flowing past us, day after day, smoothing out our rough edges.

I’ve been devouring Chuck Palahniuk’s books over the last couple of days. I find them brilliant. His writing style is very easy to read, and his subject matter is compelling. He captures things, and makes me think, and I LOVE when writers are able to do that.

These quotes are from his book “Haunted.” Its the third book of his that I’ve started reading in a 24 hour period. They both sparked something in me when I read them that I thought was worth investigating.

So we know that if life was easy it would be boring. I’m a big fan of that theory…those who know me also know that recently, I’ve been saying “I’ll take boring! I’ll take boring! Just for a while! Give me boring!!”

But when I look at things that have been happening in my life recently, and over the years…honestly, first and foremost, it could ALWAYS be worse. And these events have helped to shape me into the person that I am right now. How I handle these situations, how I react…they shape me, over and over, lifetime after lifetime.

Over the last 2 days, I’ve hit a rough patch. The problem is…I’ve been beating myself up over my initial reaction to things, and THAT’S why things have been tense for me. That is a pattern that I am having a huge problem breaking.

For example: Let’s say, that a friend said that they would think about maybe going out with me tonight. No promise was made, no definite answer given. So when I wake up this morning, and see that this friend was out late last night, I become upset, and think “Well, I just don’t matter enough, because now you’ll be too tired to go out with me tonight.” Which is LUDICROUS for me to think. I know for a FACT that this person cares about me, and that I matter a lot more than most…just in the fact that this person has put up with me for so long. 😉 

So, practically immediately after this thought comes into my head, I tell myself “Now, you’re just being silly. Of course you matter. HELLO!! Something probably came up. No need to get upset.”

Good? Yes. Mature? Yes. Feel something, acknowledge it. In this case, correct yourself, because your thinking and reasoning is WAY off. Move on.

Ah, there’s the rub. The moving on. Rather than moving on with my morning, I proceed to beat myself up over my initial reaction. “You shouldn’t react that way. You know better. You know you matter. You’re so stupid. What the hell are you thinking? You have no right to get upset over that kind of thing.” Yes. This is a pretty close transcript of the conversation I had with myself this morning.

But why? Why do I beat myself up? Because I feel that I should be doing better by now. I feel that after years of proof that I do matter to people, that I wouldn’t have that knee jerk reaction of “You just don’t care.” I shouldn’t have that reaction. And it REALLY bothers me that I continue to struggle with this.

I know that it is all, of course, conditioning. I realize that the more I work on it, the easier it will be to stop that reaction. Hell, even this morning’s reaction was better than previously. Before, I would have sat and wallowed in the “I don’t matter” thought pattern, rather than doing what I did this morning.

What I really need to work on now is being more gentle with myself when I discover that I’ve had a thought/idea that is incorrect. I can’t continue to beat up and abuse myself over these things. I’m just human. Its going to happen. The best that I can do right now is to redirect my thoughts somewhere else. Focus on the positivity that came from the situation.

For example, for the rest of today, rather than continuing to berate myself for being upset initially, I’m going to congratulate myself for moving on with the thought process. And I’m not going to beat myself up for beating myself up. 😉

Its the self abuse that continues to hold me back…I have these wonderful breakthroughs, these inspired thoughts and realizations…and I don’t dwell on them enough. But I make ONE little mistake, and I can dwell on that for DAYS. Weeks even. That behavior needs to stop, and I know that the only way I’m going to stop it is to be gentle with myself. (See Terre? I listened!)

It all boils down to this: I want to live my life. I want to live in bliss: supreme happiness, utter joy or contentment. I want to be more than just mediocre about my life. I don’t want to waste any of the short amount of time I have left on this rock. Whether that short amount of time is 2 days or 100 more years…time is fleeting. Life is short.

I don’t want to waste a day beating myself up about being upset, when I could have spent that time content in the fact that people find me wise. That my words, my problems that I struggle with…these blogs, my facebook posts (well, not all of them, obviously, but the more poignant ones) speak to people about their own lives.

Few people know this about me, but wisdom is something that I’ve always desired. Its been a sought after “prize” of sorts for me. A few days ago, I wrote about my GrinGran. SHE was a wise woman. She had her shit together. She understood about life. I want to be like her, and have wanted to be like her since I was small.

It brings tears of joy to my eyes to know that I’m getting there. That I’ve attained even a granule of the wisdom that she had.

As a side note…this is not coming from my own opinion of myself. I actually had a friend tell me yesterday that I am “so wise.”

I’m done with excuses. Do I think that I’m going to be perfect? Of course not. No one is. But I am going to stop making excuses. There is no excuse for not living. Even as cynical as I’ve been recently, as jaded as I can be sometimes…wondering what is the point of our existence on this planet… wondering if this is all there is…all things considered…there is still no excuse for not living your life to the fullest. Especially once you’ve hit the “what’s the point” stage. I’ll admit, I’ve been there for some time now.

What’s the point?” Scary words. I hadn’t admitted this to anyone, because, being the way that I am, I didn’t want to worry anyone. I’m not so selfish that I would ever harm myself, or take my own life. I could never do that…permanent solution to a temporary problem….things are NEVER that bad, as bad as they can feel….they are NEVER that bad.

But jaded me has been wondering lately…what is the point? If there’s no god, no heaven, no hell….if there is a god and I’m damned, if there is a god and I’m not…I just don’t see what the point is.

Well, I understand the point. Perhaps its a moment of clarity…perhaps it will escape me once more, leaving me to find the point again and again, lifetime after lifetime.

At this moment, the point is this: Live. Live, and find your bliss. Live and love. Experience. Grow. Change. Find beauty in everything, and everyone. Stop making excuses. Above all, though, right now…Live.

I don’t want my life to be filled with excuses. I want it to be full of experiences: good and bad. Hard and easy. Exciting and boring. No more excuses. And maybe, just maybe, at the end of it all…100 years from now as I breathe my last breath…perhaps I will no longer be an ugly rock, but a beautiful, smooth stone…

The Great Divide…

“Just for a second, look into your heart as you stand and look across the great divide. Remember all the things that you will leave behind as you set out to cross the vast and great divide…You still pulled victory from shattered hope. Count your doubts with broken smiles, covered your hurt in your pride. No need for reasons, none to confide. Look back and bid farewell for one last time.” ~VNV Nation

Yes, I will admit…I’m posting VNV Nation lyrics because I am so unbelievably excited for the shows next week. 3 shows, 3 cities…I can’t wait. But I’m also posting these particular lyrics because they are speaking volumes to me, to my life recently.

I feel like I have grown so much in just a few short months. My outlook on things has become decidedly more positive. Yes, I have my days. Everyone does. Especially the last few days, with the migraine from hell wreaking havoc on my body, mind and emotions; the last few days have been a downward spiral of negativity for me. But, I’m feeling physically better today. I’m feeling emotionally pretty damn good today. I had a really good day yesterday. I got a lot of work accomplished that I’d been putting off all week, due to the migraine. I baked a “dark chocolate” and raspberry cheesecake. (Dark chocolate was in quotes because it didn’t quite turn out as well as I’d have liked.) I made spaghetti sauce from scratch. I cleaned the entire apartment…other than my office. I still need things for that room before I can clean. I cooked a really good, nice dinner for Morgan and I, and we vegged out and watched “Buffy” last night. It was a really good day. The best part was…I was by myself for most of it.

I’ve gotten a bit off topic here, sorry about that.

I believe its an important part of my growth, to show that I’m ok being alone. I still don’t prefer it. I’d rather have friends with me, and around me a lot of the time. But if I have to be alone, I’m ok. I have things that I love to do that I can do. Cooking all day yesterday made me feel wonderful! Granted, it wasn’t a masterpiece, but I took some advice about how to make it better, and will be working on it for the next time I make the sauce. Before I would have just cried. I didn’t even tear up!

I went to the library the other day and picked up a ton of books. I go through cycles where I forget just how much I LOVE to read. Reading is nurturing to my soul. Whether I’m reading a good novel, or self help books, or biographies…I LOVE to read. As an aspiring writer, it also helps to motivate me. I’m going to work on my short stories tonight, and then…well…I’ve been thinking about writing a novel. I’m still not sure, but its something that I desperately want to try…

I’m doing things for me these days. If other people happen to benefit, so be it. But I’ve gotten back on track with my new year’s resolution: to be #1 in my own life. I’m not putting up with drama, or drama causers, or bullshit anymore. I’m doing things that I enjoy, and that I think are fun. Yesterday was just one example. I LOVE to bake. I don’t do it enough. It just so happens, that I decided to try to bake a cheesecake…and Morgan benefited from it. (as will others, if I decide to share. It was pretty good. Not as good as the red velvet, but its a work in progress!)

The other thing I’m very proud of myself about is my will power this week. I decided after trying on my dress for my Black Belt Ceremony/birthday bash that I need to drop a few pounds. So…I stopped drinking coffee. I stopped drinking soda. All week last week, after Monday (or was it Tuesday?) I had water only. Yesterday I had a cup and a half of tea, and about a half a cup of Dr. Pepper. Today, I’m having a cup of Earl Grey while I sit at Starbucks and write. I have 2 bottles of water in my bag for the rest of the day. After cutting out JUST coffee and soda, and watching what and how much I eat (no fast food), I’m down 2.5 pounds in 1 week. Healthy, and happy. Now that this stupid migraine has gone away, I’m going to do some cardio and yoga this week as well. Partially to help me lose this weight, but partially because I feel better as a person when I work out. I have more energy, I’m happier…especially yoga. I love the mind/body connection.

I feel like I’m taking better care of myself, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’m spending more of my time talking with people who uplift and support me (thank you Morgan and Joy) and spending less time worrying about those who bring drama into my life. I’m watching what I do and say, to make sure that they align with how I truly feel, lest I bring drama into my OWN life. I’m continuing to be true to myself and my feelings. I feel less like a doormat.

“ Remember all the things that you will leave behind as you set out to cross the vast and great divide.” I’m remembering. And I’m bidding “farewell” to the doubts. The Negativity. The drama. The fear. The helplessness. The lack of self control. The craziness. The jealousy. The self-loathing, self-defeating…the self-hatred.

I’m stepping out across the great divide…and into a better, brighter, more healthy future for myself.

Remembering GrinGran

11 years ago, I lost one of my best friends, my closest confidant, and favorite teacher. My Grandmother. My “GrinGran.”

GrinGran was the most vibrant soul I’ve ever encountered in my short almost 32 trips around the sun. She was charming. She was full of life and energy.

She had the best outlook on life. She was always so cheerful, always so happy…even with all that she’d been through. An alcoholic husband who drank away all their money…forcing them to move in the middle of the night to avoid bill collectors…having to give up her dream of becoming a singer to take care of her family…being morbidly obese with a ton of health problems…even in the end, when her health was failing, she always had a smile on her face, and a song in her heart.

Today marks 11 years since she’s been gone. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. If there is one person I could model myself after, its her. She was never sad. She never let the little things get to her. She wasn’t afraid of anything. Well, ok, she was afraid of bugs. Like…DEATHLY afraid of bugs. Like…to the point of spraying the hell out of a leaf because she thought it was a spider.

I remember the first time (and only time) she forced me to listen to opera. I didn’t want to listen. But then I did…and I fell in love. Every time after that was not forced. It was a pleasure.

GrinGran is the reason that I started studying music. The reason I wanted to be an opera singer for so long.

I remember she used to take my sister and I to the library or to the book store…she always encouraged us to read, and to learn…my love of books is her fault.

I think of all the fun we had, all the games we used to play…all the movies we used to watch…

I miss her every day.

But, she’s taught me so much…even in the time that she’s been gone. She reminds me every day to live life, and to try to not be afraid.

I fail her sometimes. But I know if I keep trying, someday, I can be like her.

For now, I can remember that she is always with me. She is always in my heart, and always in my mind.

I miss you GrinGran.

And I love you. Every day.