Tag Archives: change

Changes

Changes. Nothing moves forward without them. No one gets uncomfortable without them. Everything stays the same without them. We are human. We are not equipped to stay the same, but we’re also ill-equipped when it comes to instigating our own changes.

A new pair of shoes has to be ‘worked in’ before they can ever become anything close to resembling those favorite comfortable shoes. When we move, we are faced with working out a whole new routine; the best route to the grocery store, how to avoid school zones, the nearest gas station, the nearest church, new neighbors, new schools, new teachers, new postman.

It feels like starting over. WE are now the strangers, the freshman, the low man on the totem pole. When we change careers, the same thing happens again. We are now the one in training instead of being the trainer. We have to follow others until we work ourselves into a new routine. We, who once lead, now are shadows, learning our way but leaning on everyone around us. There is a sense of vulnerability, of humility, that kicks in & takes over our thinking.

But while some change is forced on us by loved ones or circumstances (i.e. getting laid off, divorced, a death in the family), lots of change is pre-meditated and intended, even initiated by the changer. Those changes are fun. We don’t tend to change careers unless we are unhappy, and we don’t tend to ask for a divorce if we are content and happy with our current spouse. If we liked where we were, we wouldn’t choose to leave.

For many of us, those conditions have to decline to the level of deplorable before we even flinch. Why? Because change takes more energy than we have to muster when we’re so miserable where we are. One of my favorite things about being human and having free will? Having the opportunity and the freedom to wait for the right time to make changes.

You hear people say that there is really ‘no right time’ for anything, be it getting married, having babies, changing careers, deciding to live a healthier lifestyle, whatever. I disagree. The right time is exactly at that moment of your day, your week, your month, in the middle of the night, where it hits you and you know that you truly are FED up with that area of your life. In THAT moment it really doesn’t matter that you don’t have enough savings yet, or that you may hurt someone else’s feelings in the process. When it’s time, you will know, and in that moment, you will relish in the freedom of free will and know that, because it’s time, everything will work out in the end. And whether you end up where you want or not, you can at least say that you did your part. You took the path with your full heart. There can be no regrets.

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Apples and Purples

I think I’m pretty strong. Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m just pretty foolish, like when I start comparing my life to the lives of those around me. I know better. First of all, there are plenty of people out there who dream of having my life. I have two healthy boys, an incredible boyfriend, lots of very loyal and loving friends and family members. I’m in good health, have lots of hair, and even have achieved white girl Michelle Obama arms. I live in a free country, can workout any time I want, go grocery shopping when I’m out of toilet paper, sing Karaoke if I choose, and travel down any road without feeling the threat of passing soldiers or overhead bombings. Instead of paying attention to any of that however, whenever I spend too long in my own skull, I begin digressing into that old-school pity party where I used to live in high school.That place where no one understood the troubles I’ve seen. No one can see my sorrows.

That’s a shade of grey I wish would stay away. It’s so controlling and abusive. I never signed up for it, but the moment I let my guard down…

Conversations that have taken place over the last few days start replaying in my head. For instance, I hear Doug and his mom discussing how much they all need each other and how good they are for each other. That’s absolute truth! But now, in my lowly mood, what I hear is ‘you have no one, Heather’, ‘You’re an orphan, Heather’. When I think of the differences between Doug and I, I wonder if I am worthy – just like I used to – or if, in reality, I simply have too much baggage & I’m just too pitiful for him & threaten to bring his world down. Has he ever said this? Um. No. It’s all in my ridiculous thoughts.

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s 2015 and I really really really want to be his wife someday, but know that it will be at least a couple more years because I cannot get married next year. And maybe it’s because every time I hop onto Facebook, someone else is signing off for the night to curl up with their husband to watch a movie before bed, and I don’t remember what it’s like to take that for granted.

My life is what it is. God has a plan and I believe that with everything I am. I just wish that it was a plan I liked this time around, and I’m scared to death that it isn’t turning out to be all that.

But I still like apples and purples over oranges. I still have my own two feet firmly planted on the ground, holding up this abusive little mind that still loves mornings and decaf and hates night time mindful meanderings that lead to nightmares and loneliness. And if I could only find a way to fast forward through that part of my day that happens just after my kids’ bed time, and just before my alarm goes off the next day, I would be a very happy only indeed.

Because beginnings are full of hope, and endings are full of sorry.

Wandering Minds Want to Grow

Stress. It has its appeal. We get all worked up over work, over disgruntled employees, dissatisfied customers, the overflowing inbox, flaky technology, unpaid bills, and all the what-ifs that come with day-to-day possibilities. Stress is always there. Sometimes we’re just too darn busy to recognize its grasp. Until one day we aren’t too busy. That’s when stress tries to crawl in bed with us, wrap us up in its misery, and suffocate us with our own dark thoughts. That’s when we notice it, when it should be gone, because we thought we weeded it out of our overcrowded gardens.

That’s how it begins. We recognize what we look like, all draped in stress, and start undressing. First we shed ourselves of the things we believe are slowly killing us. Maybe we end a relationship, or quit a stressful job. Maybe we begin taking better care of ourselves, get ourselves on the healing track. We start feeling better, losing the weight of burden & worry. Life starts looking better. We start looking better. We become leaner, more confident versions of ourselves. We bring on peace, and filter out stress until we almost don’t recognize ourselves. Life is good. We feel amazing.

For a while, we forget that we were ever stressed – maybe for a day, or a week. We are grateful to ourselves for taking action, for leaving that stress in a pile in the corner of our minds. But it gets too quiet. And like parents of a toddler, we begin to question the silence. What trouble is lurking in there? It’s too quiet! We don’t voluntarily go there, but the second our guards go down, our minds wander off into that forbidden corner.

Staying positive, keeping stress at bay, and keeping up our sunny dispositions…these are not easy tasks. Everything in life will not always be sunshine and roses ALL the time, even without so much stress. Like anything else wonderful in our ives – friendships, marriage, relationships – it takes diligence and determination, but maybe even more importantly, it takes having a plan. Sometimes staying positive even takes the support of friends and loved ones. Maybe especially for those of us who think we can do it all by ourselves. That’s okay. That’s more than okay. That’s called being human.

So go ahead. Undress the stress. Find that peace beneath. Then….fight like crazy to keep it. Peace looks beautiful on you.

Reflection on the mirror

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a reflection worth? For most of my life, I would’ve answered ‘about five cents’. I never gave much credit to my own reflection. She was too short, too stout, with chunky cone-shaped legs, a muffin top, and sagging breasts. In fact, this dialogue had gone on so long inside of my own head that I had grown quite comfortable with the discomfort of myself within my own skin. Apparently, and to my surprise, many of those around me have had the same struggle. It was always easy to accept the inside of me, to even ‘love’ myself internally without ever ‘accepting’ myself externally. When we are self-aware, we become pros at this dynamic – loving one part, and rejecting the other. 

The problem is that if we do not accept and embrace our complete selves, then can we really ever ‘love’ ourselves? When we fall in love with someone, we generally love them completely, or at least – that’s how we should love. 

We all have a choice in this. If we do not love some part of ourselves, we have an opportunity each and every day to change that part for the better, and if we focus on what we want to become – I truly believe that is what we will become. But we cannot settle for our own excuses, and that my friends, is difficult. 

As for my own story, I have been putting in the work for a few years now, the fix what was broken inside of me that caused me to linger on the negatives I saw in my reflection. That work began on the inside, the spirtitual, the psychological, the emotional, and eventually transcended to the outside once I felt stable enough to add that work. I have always worked out in some way – yoga, pilates, kickboxing, running – but I never could achieve that ‘number’ – size, weight, measurements, that I so desparately wanted….until now. I had to get to that place in my mind where the voice pushed me farther when I wanted to quit. I had to delve deep down into my ‘hunger’, into my relationship with food, to understand why my choices were sabatoging my journey. 

In our society, food is largely accepted as its own reward. We socialize around food, comfort with food, and reward with food. But food isn’t really the problem here, anymore than a gun without an operator kills. We need to fully understand our thought process, question our own ‘hunger’, and most of all, we need to stop telling ourselves that eating healthy means we are depriving ourselves of the very happiness that others around us have the joy of receiving. When we make choices, they only effect our own bodies.

I am not perfect, by any means. And as my boyfriend would tell you, I still have slight mood swings when I eat foods that are unhealthy because I still battle the guilt of those choices. But for the most part, I make good choices now because I am motivated by this new feeling of acceptance that I have for – not just the inside of me – but for the outside as well. It has taken me almost 38 years, but for the first time in my life, I believe that a reflection is worth a gazillion words, and not just pretty words, but words of strength and self-awareness. I have a deep-seeded need to help others get here, not for reasons of vanity but for reasons of acceptance and self-love, because in all reality, if we stop battling ourselves, we also stop battling everyone around us who love us. We cannot change our reality by excusing ourselves. We can only change our reality by accepting ourselves. Acceptance and self-love ripples from us and into our relationships by transforming self-doubt into self-love, which also just happens to make happinesss a little more contagious.

Anticipation Proclamation

It’s been 26 years since the passing of my dad from his terrible suffering here on Earth, to the warm comforting arms of Heaven. It’s been 25 dreaded Father’s Days for me, his only child. Yet, for the first time since his passing, I am actually looking forward to this Father’s Day, and I had forgotten what it was like to anticipate, even become giddy at the thought of celebrating the life of a father. I am meeting the parents of my boyfriend for the first time this Sunday, and I could not be more honored. As an only himself, Doug’s relationship with his parents is incredibly strong. How could I not love these parents that created and raised such an amazing son?

As my mind has played around with this notion for the past week, I’ve experienced everything from shyness and hesitation to excitement and anticipation. Meanwhile, Doug has assured me that they will absolutely ‘love me’ every step of the way. That’s how he rolls, after all. As I step back, four days out, I’ve come to realize some things. Fatherhood is every bit as important as motherhood. Being raised (after the age of 11) by a single mom, and being one myself, I tend to take for granted the roles that fathers play in the lives of their children. Whereas moms are typically the ‘easy’, father’s take on the more difficult role as the ‘heavy’. I’ve seen this with my own 13 year old’s father, but it’s only now that I’m truly understanding the difficulty in assuming that role.

No matter how much you love your child, as a father, you are expected to always be the parent, the disciplinarian, the ruler. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen fathers that would sooner shoot themselves in the foot than take on that role. But in the case of Doug, that simply was not the case. When it was time for the business of parenting, the tough-love to come into play, Jim was the man for the job just as my dad had been. That sort of ‘no-nonsense’ parenting has fallen off the wayside with many in my generation. Yet I know, for a fact, that it’s effective. Tough love can mean the difference between raising a self-sustaining adult and an adult who still possesses entitlement issues, expecting everyone and anyone to come to their rescue. I’m not saying that mother’s cannot also demonstrate this style of parenting, of course. My mom, due to circumstances, had no choice but to parent this way. But by and large, for most two-parent families, this is the norm, and fathers tend to get sadly overlooked.

So this Father’s Day, if you have a dad, give him a big hug and say ‘thank you’. I’ve had a stepfather for the past 16 years, and he took that role on in the most loving and selfless way, even though I was already an adult when he officially stepped in. Even after my mom’s passing, he continues to succeed in his role, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Dads are strong, protective, and wise. Let’s give them their due. Without them, we would be in a much darker place.

‘The only time it’s a good idea to repeat pattern is when we’re trying to learn a new concept. And I repeat. The only time it’s a good idea to repeat a pattern is when we’re trying to learn a new concept.’ -me

We all know this, because most of us have lived it in at least one area of our lives. We’ve heard that ‘the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results’. We’ve heard it more times than we should have to hear it, and that in and of itself is ironic. Obviously, if we need to keep hearing it, there must be an underlying white elephant wearing rose-colored glasses within these four walls that can’t talk because there are no flies on the wall. Cliches are like patterns, because patterns become so routine that they disappear, and this is bad. Very bad. If we can no longer see them, we are doomed to continue such patterns…of patterns.

How many times have you gone to the grocery store hungry? You know better. You’re going to overspend. This is a universal truth, maybe even a universal pattern. Still, if you’re not mindfully avoiding that pattern, it’s bound to happen again. I’m hungry. I have no food at home. I should replenish food at home. I shall go buy food. I want everything I see. I’m hungry. Notice the whole ending-up-where-we-began thing that just happened there? It happens in every aspect of life.

This ‘repetition rule’ is especially true in relationships. For instance, a woman who has been abused as a child will either be the first person to walk out of an abusive relationship (because she recognizes the pattern and refuses to repeat it), or she will actually seek out abusive partners because she believes she can change her pattern or because she has missed the pattern altogether. Men are just as likely to repeat patterns. If a man has grown up with an enabling mom, he tends to seek out an enabler in his relationships. Similarly, if a man has been raised with a more dominant mother, he will seek out a dominate woman. He understands his roles in either of these situations. If he chooses to live within his comfort zone, he also chooses to repeat his patterns.That’s really not so much comfortable as it is ignorant.

These examples are cliche. They are the subject of countless talk shows, soap operas, sitcoms, Hollywood movies, and reality TV shows. They show up within our families, within our own lives, within the lives of our children, friends, neighbors, pastors – really anyone and everyone. Whether or not we choose to repeat patterns depends primarily on one thing; our willingness to change – change our thinking, change our self-images, and change our roles in relationships. Like all concepts, until someone recognizes the pattern, ‘gets it’, and understands that they are only self-destructing by repeating such patterns, nothing will change.

Try eating before you go grocery shopping. Your spending will decrease. If you’ve survived a string of failed relationships, try dating someone completely different. Your appetite for filling your heart up with wrongs will dissipate. What will replace the ‘wrongs’ may surprise you, because you’ve never before experienced a winning relationship. The trick is to make a change. As strange and uncomfortable as that may seem, it’s certainly more rewarding than remaining where you were – disappointed, abandoned, and hopeless. Change is never easy, but for the sake of sanity, it’s worth trying. And hey, at worst, you will have at least learned a new concept in trying something new.

So step out of the box. Look back inside of your own patterns. If you thought you were happy in there, but ended up realizing you were really just stuck inside of your own patterns, constantly complaining about playing the same unhappy roles, make a change. Any change will be for the better. Promise.

Take it or leave it

My greatest strength and lowest weakness are the same. I am loyal. As I said in last night’s post, I will give all of me until I’m at negative 100% and failing. I had no idea that my ex would be reading that the next day (today). I had no clue that a simple little blog post would create so much turmoil, but also so much dialogue. But one always needs to cut through the brush to reach his destination, and so it goes. No hold’s bared. No stone left unturned. No rock can remain buried.

I re-read my post through his eyes, and was shocked by his shock, hurt by his unknowing, and sickened by his lack of awareness, so much so that I am posting yet again.

I fell in love because of his words. He learned why I left because of my words, uninhibited. We’re both writers. We both create. We both dramatize. We both need attention, and we both need to be loved. In truth, I never planned on falling in love again for a long, long, ridiculously long time. I wanted to be at least 50 when that happened. By that point, both kids would be grown and I would have a far stronger grasp on who I was and where I was going. And I wouldn’t need to parent a third child.

But I did. I fell in love. My soul attached itself to his in it’s all-inclusive way. So much so that I had no say in the timing of it all. He is easy to love, but also easy to anger. For a person, like myself, who fears anger, that is threatening. But I can’t let go. Yet again, I cannot walk away. Because I still have love, and love…. breeds hope. Take it or leave it. It just does. Especially when his words are exactly what I need, and when his heart is as true and pure and vulnerable as I need it to be.

If you’re heart is broken, and the one who broke it is standing there with the superglue, it’s hard to walk away, no matter how much your brain tries to convince you. So, take it or leave it. That is the question. That is the dilemma.

And so with my stand, and with my permeable heart, I question everything. My mind disagrees with my heart which also disagrees with my gut. I only wish they could all, just for once, come to one single agreement.

I need a billboard. I need Faith and resolution. This time, I need certainty.