Blog Post

On Pause

On Pause

I constantly feel like I’m on pause.  My life plans, my goals, my dreams, and even my privacy and space is always sacrificed for someone or something else. The sad part, I’m the one in control. I’m the one that keeps giving up my time, my space, my heart, my dreams and my goals – for others.

How do I fight for me? How do I take back my life? How do I protect it from being hijacked again?

Who is in control of my pause button?

Until tomorrow,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Destiny, Dream, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Flash Fiction, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, music, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Song Review, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Directions

Directions

Ever had a destination, a goal, an objective, or something that needed to get done or somewhere you needed to be in life?  I can tell you won’t arrive by accident, it won’t happen on its own power, and I still haven’t figured out how to teleport like Harry Potter, so more than likely neither have you. No, the only way we can get to a particular goal/destination is directions.  We need directions. We need a roadmap to the destination of our goals.

I like to think of myself somewhat a gypsy, but that’s only wishful thinking.  I’m strategic, analytical, observant, scientific, and rational.  My free spirit I leave to my painting, but even in that – it’s still organized, planned, and executed.  Okay, I take it back. I’m NOTHING like a gypsy.

I have goals. If this damned pandemic doesn’t kill me, there’s still a lot of things left that I want to do, and the only way I know how to get them done, the only way that I’ve achieved the goals and destinations before this – was to make a plan and then carefully map out the directions to achieve the end goal.

So, I think it’s time I start making those plans again.  My problem isn’t that I don’t have any dreams, any plans, any wants, or any destinations, but that I have too many and need to make a decision and narrow them down.

It’s time.

One of those goals – is get back to this blog.

Here we go – step one – I blogged today.

Next direction in my goal for blogging – blog tomorrow.

Until tomorrow,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, Quotes, Relationships, respect, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What a Conundrum

Conundrum

 

What do I really want?  I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. I have an idea of what I want, but I know more of what I don’t want than what I do.  So, I guess that begs to differ and I must ask myself, “What do I need?” I don’t think I know the answer to that question either.  What I think I need, may be a combination of what I want, but only after a situation or a relationship ends to I realize if it supplied me with what I needed. Most often failure occurs because I didn’t get what I needed.

So, what does anyone need?  Our bodies need food, exercise, and healthy activity to be active and strong. Our minds need stimulation. Our soul needs purpose. Our hearts … need love. But, how do we get it? How do we find out what is enough, what is right, what is beneficial?  What a conundrum.

I seem to learn this by trial and error, and frankly I’m sick of the errors.  I tired of getting hurt. I’m tired of never being enough, or being too much, or falling off of tall pedestals. I’m tired of being rejected, cheated on, used, lied to, or ignored. Most of all … I’m tired of sacrificing my wants and needs to try and love someone else and fulfill their wants and needs.

So, what do I want?  I simply want to be loved, to be respected, and to be wanted. I’d give the world to any man who could truly give those things to me.  But he can’t be a mess. I am not going to give him a mess. I’m going to give him my best. I know this – because I always do, it’s who I am.  My man gets my heart, my hopes, my dreams, my time, my focus, my support, as well as my body, my smile, and the best part of everything I have.  So, I want no less in return.  If a man doesn’t have his shit in order, his house in order, his emotions in order, his heart in order – please don’t come knocking on my door.  The BEST give anyone can give to another person is the best of themselves.

I’m not saying this to say they have to be rich and/or successful. I am not materialistic in the least.  I’m really simple. But there are a few things they should be.

They should be free of other emotional attachments. Men should not be in a relationship with someone else and hitting me up.  If you haven’t been on your own, severed the ties with your exes, and your heart is open to be devoted to me – leave me the hell alone. I will not be your backup plan, your second choice, your distraction, your rebound, or you side chick.  Nope. Hell No.  Uh-Uh! I’m a lady. I am open, honest and I have thick ass walls because I’ve been lied to and cheated on with men who still clung to an ex, or had some other woman on the side feeding their ego, or being that back up support.  I am not into polyamorous relationships. There are women out there that are, go hit them up, but lose my number and don’t bother.

They should be able to support themselves.  I’m ALL for chasing dreams, but you better have made provisions for yourself to chase those dreams.  I don’t care what size house you live in, what kind of car you drive, etc.  I honestly, really don’t care.  But, be able to support yourself.  Be responsible enough that you have a roof over your head and food to eat, and have reliable transportation to get from point A to point B.  I’m not your Sugar Momma – nor will I be. I take care of myself and pay my own bills.  I will NOT take care of a man.  Have a steady job. Have a steady income.  If you can’t support yourself or keep a job, you’ve got no business being in a relationship. Help yourself FIRST before you bring someone else down.

They should have a dream of their own and be supportive of mine. I don’t care how big or how small, but have something to love, something you’re passionate about and working toward.  Have a purpose, a goal, a desire for something that drives you.  It could be your job, your hobby, or you playtime.  But, if you’re depressed and lost and spend most of your time on a couch binge-watching Netflix, going through the motions and avoiding life – please don’t even look my direction.  I have a lot of passion, drive, energy and desires, and that’s often attractive to people who don’t.  But what happens in those types of unbalanced relationships is I get drained – because these types of men don’t pour back the same energy into me. Want to get to know me – let’s go do something, get outside, explore something together, go kayaking, go hunt down a historical site, go search for seashells on the beach, etc.  I love to cuddle. I love to snuggle and watch a movie together – but not every single time.  It happens time and time again – and my dreams get put on hold, or ignored, or unfulfilled. No lie. EVERY dream I have achieved – I’ve had to do it alone. EVERY DAMNED ONE OF THEM.  I have helped many people reach for their dreams, but I’ve never had even the slightest support for mine.  Yeah, they SAY … good luck, go for it, you’re good at that, Babe … but when I win an award, get a contract, speak at a conference, do an interview, go to a signing, go kayaking, jump from a plane, raft down a river, climb a mountain … I am alone.

So, I don’t need anyone. I’ve been able to navigate this world on my own. I motivate myself. I am disciplined and determined. I have loved deeply and not loved in returned. I have given my best, but have not received it in return.  I have trusted and been betrayed. Here I am again – being told almost on a daily basis that I’m so beautiful, so inspirational, so desirable, yet I’m intimidating, out of their league, and deserving of someone so much better – or I don’t fit their mold.  They want a party girl, or arm candy, or a care giver.  So, what hope do I have? What I have is walls – high, thick, walls. I’m scared to even talk to anyone about anything deep or important, because who can carry this heaviness with me?  I carry it alone. I’m great at conversation, but it must stay in the shallow waters.

Someone recently told me they think I really want to be alone …and they may be right. Not because I don’t WANT someone in my life, but because I don’t trust I won’t get hurt.  Again, they may be right. To reach me will take time, patience, and a lot of love – and honestly – I haven’t seen that in this fast-paced, gotta have it my way right now society.  It’s too easy to just leap to the next easy thing when things get complicated with a simple swipe to the right.

Yet – I still have hope there is someone out there that will be my balance, which will be strong enough and brave enough to handle all of me.  Do I have faith? No. But, I have hope. God help them, but I do believe my warrior is out there somewhere. I just pray my eyes will be able to see him, and my heart will be able to recognize him when I meet him.  When I do find him, I have so much love to give – a love that is deep, and faithful, and true, and honest, and wild, and passionate.  God help him.

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Complicated frustrations, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Musing, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

New Year Resolutions

New Year goals or resolutions

 

It’s that time of year again.  For those who don’t make resolutions this post may be just what you need to read. For those who do make them, maybe this will help you. In Forrest Gump fashion, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

Resolutions for me are promises I make to myself and no one else.  Many, many, many changes have happened in my life due to the resolutions/promises I’ve made in the past – so for ME, they work. I think they work for me, because I take promises and vows very seriously, and these are promises to me, to my heart, and to my soul, and they deserve my best.

So, what are my resolutions this year?

  1. Let the past go, live in the moment, and start focusing more on the future.

I realized I had been holding tightly to some past hurts and deep rooted pain.  This was pain I thought I had dealt with, but had only managed to bury.  I needed to see it. I needed to feel it.  It came out while having one of those very rare, deep, open conversations with someone – where you talk about shit you didn’t even know you needed to talk about; that heavy shit. It was so heavy, it cost me a relationship, and I’m so sad about that, but I’m not sad it happened.  It needed it to happen. I needed to see it. I needed to face it.  It was a godsend that it happened when it did.

  1. Let my feet be quick to walk away and my mouth be swift to say, “No.” – it’s not my job to save the world.

I have patterns and I need to start paying close attention to those patterns. One of those patterns is always being there to lend a helping hand, always being someone that sees the needs in others and forgets that I have needs as well, because I will compromise to meet their wants and needs.  I’m not God. I’m not Jesus. I may be Supergirl, but my cape is ripped, my boots are torn, and there’s Kryptonite in the marrow of my bones.  It’s not my job to save the world anymore, and there’s no one to save me.

I love people, especially the people in my inner circle.  But, I tend to gravitate toward the lonely, the broken, the damaged, the hurting, and the forgotten – because that’s how I feel.  I love people the way I want to be loved. I invest in people the way I want to be invested into, and I see people the way I would want to be seen.  BUT – it doesn’t happen that way.  They don’t love me, they don’t invest into me, and they don’t see me   – they don’t even see themselves – and I know that, but I have had this foolish notion that my love would be all they need and it would show them the way.

So, my resolution this year, No – a vow to myself, is to invest in ME, love ME, and see ME.  My heart wants to help others– but my mind is ready to fight this round this year. I’ve put on my running shoes, picked up my shield, and in order to protect myself I have readied my feet to be quick to walk away from these certain types of people and let my mouth be swift to say, “No.”  I have to put me first. I’ve been broken and my soul has been crushed, and I won’t be one damned bit of good to someone else until I’ve healed. This isn’t going to be easy for me, but I know it’s what I need to do. For those I walk away from – you’re just going to have to forgive me. If you can’t – I’m sorry.

  1. Dust off my Adventure List and start ticking off some more of those boxes.

If you’ve known me for any certain of time, then you have heard about my Adventure List – a list of Adventures that I want to do or experience before my time expires on this earth, or I get to old or feeble to complete them.  To some, they call it their ‘bucket list’, but I believe life should be one series of adventures after the next.  I started my Adventure List – and then I put others’ needs before my own and my List has been collecting dust. THAT is the only thing I am ashamed of these past few years. I had made a promise to myself, and looking back over the past 4 years, I’ve realized I have neglected that promise. If someone comes into my life – they MUST care about me enough to help me fulfill my dream, not ask me to choose between them. THIS is part of that anger I’m feeling.  I’ve never come first – it seems …not even from myself.  I have a lump in my throat right now because this is one of those bitter truths I’ve had to face – I never come first, MY wants and needs have never been put first.

I’m dusting off and going to update my list over the next few months – you’ll probably see a bunch of blog posts  about it as I start to tick off those boxes, and I’m shifting my focus – have already shifted my focus – to fulfilling my adventures.  Getting Anthony shipped off to the Navy is at the top.

  1. Live ALONE.

My door is no longer open to ANYONE.  I’m sorry – but I can’t do it anymore. I’ve literally given up my privacy, my space, my life, my room, my time, my goals  – to provide and take care of the needs of others.  My children are grown and capable of taking care of themselves. I’m in no committed relationship with anyone. My door is not open. My sign reads: “No Vacancy”.  The next time I live with someone will be because I have made a vow to share my life with someone, and I don’t see that ever happening. If I have a friend in need, I will work hard finding them somewhere ELSE to go, but it will not be with me.  I’m done taking care of the world. My dog Bella is the only being that will live with me. I don’t want a roommate. I want peace. I want space. I want my fortress of solitude.

  1. Write More
  2. Play More Music
  3. Read More
  4. Paint More
  5. Explore More
  6. Laugh More

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being a Parent …

Being a parent

 

What is being a parent? Donating sperm or giving birth doesn’t make you a parent.  Not donating sperm or giving birth, also doesn’t make you NOT a parent. Love, kindness, discipline, sacrifice, giving into the well-being of another human being – that’s what makes you a parent.

God has given me many gifts.  Most of all, he has given me the opportunity on several occasions to be a parent. I haven’t always been a good parent. I haven’t always made all the right decisions. I have made some really bad choices and made some really bad mistakes.  There’s no ‘but’ in that, either.  I’ve learned some things along the way, mostly from my mistakes.  I suffer still some of the consequences of those choices and mistakes.

I’ve come a long way.  I’ve come a very long way from being that scared young girl facing the decision of becoming a teen mother.  I was terrified.  I lived in hell and felt I had no one in this world I could trust.  I had no one to take care of me. Yet, there was this life growing inside of me – a defenseless child that I would be responsible to care for, to protect, and to provide simple everyday things. I couldn’t even provide those things for myself.  I had dreams. I had an escape plan to run off to the military that was going to take me away from the abuse I lived under and secure me a future – but if I chose her – I couldn’t escape – not yet.  There were days I hated the choices I had. There were times I wanted to give up, to die, especially when I was ridiculed and called names at school (Yes, I was that popular high-school slut wobbling down the halls everyone felt sorry for, or made fun of, or called names, or glared at with their disapproving eyes.) Yet, every time I felt my daughter move within my stomach, my hands would cradle my big belly and hope would grow – hope for a great life, a good future, a little bit of love in my dark gray world.  I would pay the price to make it happen – no matter what it cost me. I was young (16), scared, and didn’t know ANYTHING about being a parent. Hell, I didn’t even know how to be an adult. So, I made some mistakes.  But, everything I did – I did in love – love for her – love for the hope that she was going to one day bring into this world.  I don’t care how she was made – I’m the one that made the decision to bring her into this world.  EVERYONE I knew wanted me to give her up or abort her.  The religious didn’t want me to have an abortion, but they didn’t want me to raise her either.  The rest told me on a regular basis I was wasting my life, sacrificing my future, giving up my freedom when I had another choice.  I didn’t know much, but I already loved her and I wanted her – so I chose her.  It kills me that as an adult she doesn’t choose me, but I still have hope, and not for a millisecond regret my choice. She’s a beautiful, loving, kind woman and I am so proud of her.

I have two other children, who are also now adults, who make me smile every time I hear their voice, or see their texts, or video chat, or am able to wrap my arms around and hug them.  I also have the most beautiful grand-daughter. I love them with a love that is indescribable.  Not because I gave birth to them or genetically related to them.  Not because they’re good human beings.  But, for love.  The love I feel from them and for them. That love isn’t granted just because of genetics.  I never had that love for or from my parents.  Not ONCE, not EVER did they ever hug me – and if they had, I would have not felt that love.  My parents gave birth to me, but they were not parents – they were manipulative abusers that took a long time for me to escape.

I now have another child, another chance to be a mother to someone who needs a mother.  I look at this kid and see the manipulation and emotional abuse he’s been through and I remember that lost, scared, angry little girl I used to be – and I try to be the mother I needed, the friend I could have used, and the love that was desperately missing in my life.  Maybe he won’t have to face the same hard choices I had to face – and he will make better decisions, and his life will reach even greater opportunities.  Most of all – he is loved. Every day.  I am hard on him, I don’t let him get away with anything, and every day is a constant learning lesson – because I want him to be a good man. I want to teach him the things of this world that is going to make him a descent, caring, productive, and good man.  I find it ironic – He now has the opportunity to escape his abusers and run off to the military and secure himself a future.

Being a parent is hard.  It’s sacrifice. It’s constant love, constant worry, constant energy, constant demand, constant giving of your time, your focus, your life, your space, your money, your peace, and your choices. It’s about providing what is NEEDED, not wanted. It’s providing a place of understanding, communication, and learning – constantly.  I can’t give up.  I want to give up at least once a day – but he’s worth it.  He is worth every little inconsequential sacrifice. Just like my daughter was worth it. Just like my other two children were worth it. Just like my grandbaby was worth it.  Love is worth it. Hope is worth it.

Being a parent is a privilege, not a right.  There are some really shitty parents out there. I’ve been one at times, but I wouldn’t change one single solitary moment, not even the bad moments – because it was from those moments I learned most.  I didn’t give birth to Anthony, but I am his parent, I am his mother – because I love him and he’s worth everything I do for him. I get the best part of this relationship – his love in return. That is being a parent.  Those who pour love into him …are his mothers and fathers, not genetics. This young man is lucky – because he is now being surrounded by people pouring love, life lessons, instruction, and encouragement into him (thank you Scott).  When he gets into the Navy he is going to be surrounded by new brothers and a new family …and once again I am filled with hope.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Whos Afraid

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Me.

I had a dream a few nights ago about Red knowing the wolf for he was, yet she still feigned ignorance.  He called her on it, yet she still denied the truth of his character, his intent, his danger up until the moment he attacked.  In my dream version, the Wolf devours Red. I understand the fairy tale has a happy ending with the Huntsman showing up and destroying the wolf and saving Red, but we all know that’s not how it plays out in reality.  There’s never a Huntsman to save us from our own ignorance.

I don’t blame, Red. I fear of being like her. I fear being just as naïve, just as stupid, just as blind, or be just as deceived. Wolves are cunning and they seem to be getting better and better at stalking their prey.

I hate wolves.  Not the four-legged beautiful amazing creatures that live in the wild, but the predators who live next door – I’m talking about the deceivers, agents of deception, liars, cheaters, users, and vampires.  I’m talking about the cold-hearted, callus, selfish predators who destroy the souls of other human beings with their games.  The world is full of male and she-wolves, but God I pray not to be a Red, yet fear there’s more of her in me than I want to admit.

I don’t have a problem seeing wolves. I see them. I smell them. I recognize when they’re tracking, hunting, and stalking me.  I get their deceptive messages, I smell their scent of betrayal, yet I still walk through the dangerous forest alone, I still tell strangers my destination, I still trollop through the tulips with my basket of bread, with not much regard for my safety.  Being safe is being guarded, being suspect, being armored, and being cold and hard as steel.  I’ve been there. I’ve done that – and it didn’t protect me. A wolf disguised himself as another warrior and got me to lay my armor down before he decided to chew me up and leave me for dead.  So, even protected I was not safe.  Being aware, being awake, seeing the truth, and learning how to walk away, to change direction, to evade and avoid …is all I can really hope to do.  My weapons is now truth – by living in the light, not lurking in the shadows.  Wolves don’t like the light and they can’t play hide and seek or stalk prey sufficiently in the open.  So, I don’t hide. If a wolf comes at me, he will have to come at me in the light – and he will be met with a survivor who knows how to fight back, not a victim.

I hate the wolves of this world – both men and women.  Liars, deceivers, con-artists, players, users and manipulators destroy the souls of men and women more than anything else in this world.

“Grandma, what big eyes you have – do you see me, because I see you.”

“Grandma, what big ears you have – can you hear me? You will hear me roar.”

“Grandma, what big teeth you have – mine are sharper. You will feel my bite!”

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? I am – not that it could or would hurt me – I only fear being naïve to not recognize him before it’s too late.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

To Thine Own Self Be True

To Thine Own Self

 

Shakespeare may have penned the phrase, but it’s a truth that’s existed before he wrote Hamlet, and one that has taken me a long time to comprehend.  I haven’t yet mastered it, but I’m working on it.

I’m finding the only way finding and being true to myself is possible …is by being completely honest with myself.  I am more than capable of lying to myself. I was a master at it.  If I were to bet or guess, I would say that a majority of us lie to ourselves quite often, rarely identifying and accepting the truth, because truth hurts.  Truth is hard to take sometimes. Truth is hard to face.  But, as the Good Book says, Truth will set you free. It really will.  It won’t make your problems magically disappear, but it will set you free so that you can begin the journey of living an honest life.

How can we live a true and honest life if we won’t face the truths in our lives? We want and demand truth from others, but how hypocritical of us if we don’t FIRST find, accept, and acknowledge truth within ourselves?  We are living in such an enabled society, where we even lie to ourselves because the truth is harsh and a hard pill to swallow.  It’s not OUR fault we are fat, lazy, and unhealthy and out of shape.  It’s society’s fault for making it too hard to eat healthy, by making poor meal choices more affordable and convenient.  It’s the Fast Food and marketing industries’ fault for my lack of self-control and discipline.  It is my cultural and socio-economical circumstances’ fault that I can’t afford personal trainers, gym memberships, and beautiful parks and recreation centers to work out. It’s our genetics’ fault that I have to work twice as hard as my skinny counterpart.  It’s time’s fault I have poor time management because I put other things in a higher priority  – like watching tv, sitting in restaurants, playing video games, chatting online or scrolling through social media outlets.   I have kids and don’t have the time and energy and money and opportunity.

We all have excuses.  We all cling to them when we want to justify our behavior, and then we moan and complain when we have to face the consequences of those decisions.  That’s the truth of the matter.

We all have the same 24 hours a day.  We all have obstacles in the path of what we need or desire in our lives. It may seem unfair when we try to compare ourselves to others and their opportunities.  Most often we tell the biggest lie to ourselves – “if I had the same opportunity as them …then I would.”  LIAR.  You don’t do it now – you won’t do then – you won’t do it even if you had EVERY advantage because you are NOT true to yourself FIRST.

When we truly have a passion for something, we make it a priority.  When we make something a priority, we have to take a truthful evaluation of where we were, where we are, and where we want to be – and THEN make some REALISTIC, honest, truthful goals – and then do them.  DO THEM.  One day at a time. One step at a time. One victory at a time.  One choice after the next, after then next, after the next – and NEVER GIVE UP. Don’t focus on the big goal, put all your focus on just making it to the next goal.  Be faithful in the little things …and you will be the master of many things.  But be unfaithful in the little things, you will also be unfaithful in the big things, and master nothing.

Success isn’t that you’ve gained something.  True success is when something has cost you – something you had to sacrifice a piece of yourself to obtain – and being true to yourself along the journey.  THAT’s the true success of anything.

Life sucks sometimes.  I mean it really, painfully, soul-crushing, can’t breathe, pushes you to the edge sucks sometimes.  I’ve had my share – and I know there’s more to come later.  But the best things I’ve ever accomplished in this life is learning to love myself, learning to see myself for who I really am, and then learning to be proud of the woman I am.  It isn’t my MBA, or my writing awards, or my publications, or my public praise, or anything I’ve accomplished that makes me proud of myself.  No, that confidence and pride comes from knowing what it took to get there – knowing the truths I’ve had to face – and being true to ME.

You want to get in shape – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want a better job – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want a better relationship – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want to be happy – face your truth and stop making excuses.

You want to succeed – face your truth and stop making excuses.

 

To thine own self be true!

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, Musing., Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Moving

Keep Moving

While my imagination loves fairy tales, magic, and the miraculous, my mind understands reality, and the reality is that if I want something or I want something to happen in my life I have to do it, to make it happen, make the choices needed, and then act on them.  Money doesn’t just magically appear in my bank account – never, not once did I find any extra currency in there – though I swear often that there’s an invisible troll taking a toll every time I use it.  Fat doesn’t magically dissolve in my body, though I sometimes think it magically appears. We know that isn’t the truth either.  Relationship’s don’t just begin or end without effort and/or neglect.  That reminds me of a meme I saw one time about cheating where a guy trips and falls on top of a woman exclaiming, “It was an accident!”  No, the accident happened with the momentum of texting, talking, smiling, and flirting.  That’s when the cheating first began.  By the time he ‘tripped’, he was already deep into the betrayal. There’s no accident about it.

What I’m trying to convey here is that I have to make a plan and set goals, make preparations for those plans and goals, make the choices that will help me achieve those plans and goals, and then have the strength and discipline to fulfill them regardless of how I feel or of convenience.  Nothing just magically happens.  Check marks don’t just appear.  Yes, sometimes the universe will bring me a surprise, but for the most part there are laws that govern this world much the way our natural laws govern our science and nature.  Facts are facts. Those laws are that we reap what we’ve sown.  The key is …we have to sow. We have to plant. We have to water. We have to make sure we get the right amount of sunlight.  We have to protect our gardens.  We have to pull up our own weeds.  We have to make sure we put the right kind of shit in the ground. We can’t plant one thing, yet expect it to grow something else, though we do. Man, I can’t tell you how many times I see this on a daily basis – this belief in reverse magic, in magical harvests, in expecting and wanting what we didn’t plant, earn or deserve.  It’s crazy.  Our society is so franchised, so drive-through, so … I want it my way, and I want it now, but don’t ask me to plant, grow, etc. I want YOU to prepare it for me.  I just want to lay back in my perfect body, consume what I want, when I want, not face a consequence, not lift a finger, not work for it, and yet have the strength and blessings of the gods.  How arrogant we are.  Yet, we will tell ourselves that’s NOT what we expect.

Come on, be real. Isn’t it what we expect?

This world is a beautiful and ugly place at the same time.  Over the past few weeks I have seen many, many, many examples of love, compassion, charity, respect, and bravery from people – and I’ve seen selfishness, hate, fear, depravity and gluttonous greed. Life is complex and complicated in its simplicity.  But somewhere in the balance there is peace.

I have to keep moving. I have to keep working, and hoping, and praying, and expecting, and sowing, and reaping.  I have to keep making choices every day that are going to help me or hinder me, bring me life or frustration, to help me thrive or knock me off course. If I fall, I have to choose to get back up.  If I run, I have to learn to rest.  If I fear, I have to be brave.  If I’m empty, I have to fill myself. If I have the opportunity to love, I choose love. I have to keep dreaming, I have to keep planning, and I have to keep seeking my balance, my peace, and my happiness.  As much as I wish I could say a magic word and it be done, I know that’s not the reality of it – and I have to keep moving.  In this selfish world, my joy comes from choosing to love, to find purpose, to give, and to serve.  I have to choose it. I have to do it.  I decide to make my bed first thing in the morning, to love instead of run in fear, and then take the next step, and then the step after that, and so on.  I have to keep moving – THAT’s when I’m most happy.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do We Do What We Do?

 

Why-we-do-what-we-do-invitation1

Sometimes there’s a part of us deep inside that reacts and does things that we never meant or intended to do. I’m an over-thinker and analyzer, and there are many times I’ve had to question my behavior.  I used to look at the behavior itself and then judge because of the behavior, but I’m learning now to not just “see” what is being done, but try to understand the why behind it.  I believe with all my heart that our actions are not the true representative of the good or evil within us – but the WHY behind them.

Why do we smoke? Why do we cheat? Why do we lie? Why do we feel the need to rescue? Why do we care? Why do we sacrifice? Why do we hurt others? Why do we protect? Why do we risk our lives? Why do hide in fear?

The things we do reveal our true selves more than anything we say, feel, or think.  I’ve discovered on many occasions I am not always as I think or believe I am. Sometimes I am stronger and better. Sometimes I’m weaker and worse.  But, I can only see that truth when I question the ‘why’ behind my actions.

I’ve been cheated on, and of course the first question I want to know the answer to is ‘why’ and then immediately feel or think it’s some sort of deficiency on my part.  How could he do that or hurt me that way? Didn’t he love me enough? Was I not what he wanted? How could he want someone else when I gave him everything? Was I not pretty enough, smart enough, independent enough, or dependent enough? Am I too smart, too short, too fat, too demanding, too …anything?  See how the cycle goes?  But those are not the questions we should be asking.  It’s more about the ‘why’ behind his actions – what was going on inside him that he felt the need or want to go outside the relationship?  What need wasn’t being filled or met within the relationship? Where was the communication breakdown that didn’t address the problem?

We are all responsible for our own actions.  The man that cheated on me (no, this hasn’t been recently, just in my past) was the person responsible for checking himself and his motives before acting on his impulses.  The only responsibility I had in the situation is to make sure open communication was present to help identify the problems.  In that, I failed.  I let assumptions, fears, doubts, and suspicions guide me.  They may have been true, but that’s no excuse for not communicating before things got too far.  I’m not responsible for him or his actions – only my own.  But what I do know is that relationships are HARD.  They take TWO people who are willing to fight.  Sometimes one needs to fight harder than the other for a period of time if they’re going through something, but eventually both need to come back in balance and be there for each other, and keep those lines of communications open.

I have lost relationships due to pride, shutting down when the pain came, and judging my partner because of their actions and not trying to understand their motives. Understanding a motive doesn’t excuse a behavior, but it may help us understand how frail, complex, and weak we are as human beings.  “Judge not, lest we be judged.”  Before we act, let’s put ourselves in their situation and see if we can understand the problem, we might just find a solution. Cheating isn’t the sin – the betrayal of intimacy and trust and not communicating is the real sin.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Dreams, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Terminal List by Jack Carr – Part 2

Jack Carr The Terminal List

Okay, I’m a few days late, but here is the second part to my review of The Terminal List by Jack Carr.

I want to get into the conspiracy theories promoted in this story.  To tell you the truth, I started getting pissed.  First from the prologue, wanting to know who the hell sent this SEAL team to die, to murder them while they are doing what they’ve been trained to do, while they believed they were serving their country.  I can only imagine thoughts like that have to be in the back of the mind for those out there putting their lives on the line.  What a betrayal! These guys risk their life for the mission, for their country, because they believe in their country. They are trained to trust their teams, and the people in authority over them. These teams are made up mostly of fathers, sons, husbands, and brothers with a deep sense of duty and honor.  It’s a hard job and they can get lost at times, lose sight of the mission, lose themselves beneath stress and pressure, but at their heart they’re our heroes.  To have someone betray that trust, and then use that betrayal to cover their own selfish agenda is deplorable.

I’m not naïve. I know the world is full of greedy bastards that kill, manipulate and plunder for their own material gains.  There’s a lot more than I’d like to admit, but that’s the way of the world. In this story, this betrayal comes from the leaders that our protagonist, Lieutenant Commander James Reece, trusted and obeyed, not only who tried to kill him, but killed his brothers-in-arms. So, I was asking, ‘What the hell was this level of betrayal for?’ thinking money was the root. Yes, ultimately, money was the root to this evil, but author Jack Carr doesn’t just give us that simplistic single reason – no, we get slapped with another double whammy with an even bigger betrayal – the Team guys were murdered because they were evidence, they were guinea pigs for experimental drugs.  Before they were terminated by enemy bombs, they were first terminal victims of a biological weapon.

Man, oh man.  Fear is a bitch, and I can imagine that again these types of fears of betrayal are on our Team guys’ mind at times. I found myself getting angry the more I read this story. I know its fiction, but its plausible issues that our SEALs could face and it just makes me irate that it probably has happened in some fashion, or probably will happen at some point.  What a messy business.  Rescuing and killing. I can’t imagine how hard that can be on a soul.

The Terminal List by Jack Carr definitely stirs the mind and pushes my buttons. I do recommend it, it’s very well-written, it’s a great read, but it’s not for the faint-hearted or the weak-minded.  An ostrich can’t read it, a sheep couldn’t understand it, a wolf would be offended, and a shepherd would be ashamed.

I planned on a third part of this review to talk about all the guns and weapons described in this book, but I really don’t understand them. I love that a glossary was added, but while I can’t appreciate the beauty of the weapon (but I’m sure a weapons guy would love those parts best) I got the gist the story. They served their purpose, but I’ll leave those details to those who know what they’re talking about; I’ll stick to the writing, the pacing, and dialogue, the moral of the story, the emotion, and the writer’s voice.

Jack Carr is a natural story-teller, a silver-tongue, and I love listening to his interviews and podcasts.  He writes a really well story, with great pacing, and good structure.  I look forward to reading True Believer.

If you haven’t read Terminal List by Jack Carr – go read it now!  You won’t regret it.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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