Complicated frustrations

Small Victories

small-victories

 

I am having a great morning and I look forward to having a great day at work, and an even better evening. I’m actually really excited about a date I have planned tonight with my boyfriend Scott, and would love to spend this time gushing about it, but that’s not how these blogs work.  I made a deal with myself years ago that I would write as my heart leads – as openly and honestly as I can manage. It took me a while to learn to listen to that still small voice inside, and she’s become clear and pronounced.  So, no boyfriend-gushing and onto the message of the day – Small Victories.

Lisa and I have been working hard over the past several months, staying faithful to our workouts and the workout goals we’ve set for ourselves.  These are not earth-shattering choices, but they’re important to the two of us; important to the choices we’ve made for our lives, and the goals we want to achieve in them. Yes, we are those crazy people that get up at 4am in the morning and then freely choose to abuse our bodies long before we start our work day.  I take it a little extra step and abuse my mind too – in writing these blog posts every morning.  But, is it really abuse? No – they are small victories.

Here’s the thing about small victories – they are the steps necessary to reach the big ones, and they are the things that give our lives their true value. I don’t know about you, but I don’t just wake up in the morning, grab my magic wand, and wave it around and all the things I want to achieve in this life and they just magically appear. Thank God for that.  Thank God that I have to work hard for the things I want, to provide for myself, to earn a living in order to reward myself with a vacation.  Thank God I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth or have had everything I ever needed given to me. Thank God I don’t have perfect genetics and a perfect body and have to work at it to keep it beautiful and functioning properly. Thank God I have weaknesses, and fears, and struggles.

I know some of you right now are thinking I’ve gone off the deep end, because NOBODY in their right mind is thankful for those struggles and pains, but I am – because chasing those dreams, achieving those small victories, working on those faults and insecurities, and pushing past the pain …those are the things that make me who I am and makes my life worth living.  It’s what creates in me a true appreciation for who I am, what I have, and pride for what I achieve.  It’s the “PURSUIT” of happiness that gives life meaning. It rising up from the ground after a failure that gives life purpose. It’s learning to breathe again after getting the air knocked out of our lungs that creates a gratitude in the soul. It’s learning to push through the adversity and finding the strength inside of ourselves to push a little farther, to push a little harder, to push beyond the pain and find our truth strength.  It’s learning to love again after getting your heart crushed. It’s all those life lessons that make us better people. We have an increasingly ungrateful society because we are not allowing our children to ‘work’ and ‘struggle’ for what they want and need.

Small and large victories are either won or lost at the moment of conception by our mindsets. No matter how strong we are, we are failures if we quit. We will quit if we have not already made up our minds that quitting isn’t an option.  I heard a phrase yesterday from author and Navy SEAL Jack Carr promoting his new book on Jocko’s podcast that struck a chord.  He talked about these tough, built, strong athletes that quit early into BUD/S training. He called them ‘fitter quitters.” These guys who trained for years to be in the best physical shape possible, thought they could succeed on strength alone, but they didn’t develop their no-quit mindset and that’s where they failed. They quit. They rang the bell.

We can’t develop a strong mindset without experience and training.  We are not born with a mindset that overcomes adversity. No matter how strong, beautiful, talented, or privileged we are, if we are weak-minded we will fail. My boyfriend told me last night to laugh at my pain and I’ll overcome it, because he understands the true struggle isn’t the physical pain but the state of the mindset when facing pain – that the mind controls my victory or failure.

So, my small victory this week is that I stayed faithful to my workout goals and I pushed through the pain, slayed all the available excuses, suffered through the struggle – keeping my eyes on the prize, knowing that my tribulations were temporary because I made up my mind before I began that I was going to succeed.  I wanted more of what was on the other side of my victory than what my body, mind, and senses whispered to me in the moment. It was a battle of will vs want.  It was a successful week – and I’m so proud of my small victory.

Ps. I’m also excited about my date tonight with my amazing boyfriend. LOL!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Who Can Bear Such Weight?

Atlas

 

The Hollies have a song that I’ve heard most of my life “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” However, I have always felt heavy.

 

That song has meant many things to me over the years. When I first heard it as a child, I thought about my real brothers. I didn’t have that great American childhood, instead I lived a nightmare. Yet, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for my brothers to protect them, to feed them, or to keep them safe. I never felt they were a burden to me because they were my brother’s, and they were mine to carry. I lied, I stole, and I fought for them. Many years I suffered abuses by keeping my mouth shut so I wouldn’t lose them or have them taken away from me. But, I did eventually lose them as we became adults and drifted our separate ways. They didn’t need me anymore.

Then, I had children of my own – and they were not heavy either.  Life was hard, there were difficult decisions and sacrifices to make, along with many mistakes. But, they were never heavy.  I did what needed to be done. There wasn’t a choice, not in my heart or in my mind.  But they too grew up, and didn’t need me anymore.

I’ve been married once, engaged a couple times, and had a few relationships since then – and all of them were heavy, but not too heavy to carry – not for me. I gave everything, gave all of who I was and what I had to give.  But one by one they left me and didn’t need me anymore.

None, in my eyes, were ever too heavy for me.  None with anything I couldn’t bear or any sacrifice I wouldn’t make, and I made many. But, I have ALWAYS felt too heavy for anyone else to carry. I refuse to be carried. I refuse to be a burden. I refuse to be dependent on anyone else because I don’t trust that anyone could carry me. The weight I carry is too heavy, and the things I hold are too deep.  Perhaps it started long ago with parents who blamed their problems on my existence, or brothers who claimed opportunities were lost because I abandoned them, or children who ran away from me because I was too hard and expected too much, or lovers – one after another walk out the doors opened for them and never fought for me.

I am a Lady. I will always hold open the door. I will never capture, or trap, or manipulate someone to stay in my life. Only the really strong and the really deep will ever be able to stay, because I’m not dainty, and I’m sure as Hell not easy.  Like Atlas, I carry the world on my shoulders. Who is my equal? Who can bear such weight? My burden is not light. My truth is not easy. My scars run deep.  I think that’s why I’m fascinated with heroes, warriors, fighters, gods and giants – a hope one of them will be strong enough. But, it’s a faint hope. I’ve seen too many backs of great, strong men, who thought they could carry my weight. I’m just too heavy.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Life after Heartbreak

Life after Heartbreak

In the moment I can’t breathe and my sun has disappeared behind endless clouds and acid rain, tumultuous thunder, and incessant wind.  I hold tightly to myself, clasping my heart with all my strength to hold together all the shattered pieces.  I’m lost.  The storm has destroyed everything around me and I recognize nothing anymore. All I have left are pictures and memories, and even some of them are destroyed. There are no arms to hold me. There are no heroes to help me.  There are no words to comfort me. Only pain.

But the storm doesn’t last forever.

The wind calms, the lighting ceases, and thunder’s rumble wanes in the distance. I lift my face toward the gray skies.  The gentle rain washes away my tears and I open my mouth letting the refreshing drops land on my parched tongue.  I loosen my fists and unwrap my arms, stand to my feet, and lift my hands. I close my eyes and scream into the heavens until my throat is hoarse and I can scream no more.

Then I breathe.

I breathe again.

I listen to my heartbeat.

I breathe again.

I listen to the last of the rain drops fall onto the earth.

I breathe again.

I listen to the warm wind and feel it rush over me, drying tears from my face.

I breathe again.

I feel the warmth and see the red behind my closed eyelids as the sun parts the clouds and washes over me.

I breathe again.

I hear birdsong.

I breathe again.

I hear waves crashing against the shore.

I breathe again.

I open my eyes and see a sailboat in the distance.

I breathe again, this time faster.

I step into the water, it’s calling me deeper.

I breathe again.

I dive beneath the break and its commanding waves to surface on the other side. The sailboat is closer.

I breathe again as I swim.

I approach the boat, but see no way to climb aboard, until a hand reaches down towards me.  I look back towards the shore and see the remnants of the storm behind it and a hard lump forms in my throat. But, I turn away and grab the hand and exhale as I’m pulled aboard.

I smile.

I don’t know where I’m going, or what journey I am on, I just know I can never go back to where I was before.

There is life after heartbreak, and living to be done, and I breathe.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

**Painting by T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Complicated frustrations, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Faith, family, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Musings, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Slavery Debate

White-Trade

 

Let me start this article with stating a fact, one that is going to change the perception of many of you who dare to read this article.  I am a white woman.  What do I know about slavery?

When the word ‘slavery’ is mumbled within our society today, it is almost ALWAYS associated with the African slave trade by the white Europeans of early America.  But that’s only ONE faction, one truth, one piece of slavery, and it’s not even the whole picture. Yet this one particular faction has rooted a segregated hate that is very prevalent in our current society, and continues to spread its anger and hate like a cancer through our youth with the access to social media – a place where that bias and hate is spread like a incurable disease.  However, I wish our  youth would use this amazing access via the internet to hunt for the truth and search history on their own.  But, most don’t. It’s too much work, requires too much time, and in this ADHD society, it costs too much focus.  It’s easier to just listen to the lessons of more hate, more anger, and more division in our movies, music, videos, art, pop cultural, and political incorrect insensitivity.  It’s easier to let others think for us and tell us what we feel, what we know, and what we should do about it. In ignorance, the issue of slavery has been relegated to racism, which in essence slavery has nothing to do with race.  YES, there was a race of slaves that were enslaved because of their race, but that doesn’t make all slavery about race.  In truth, even THAT particular slavery was more about economics than race, yet the hate that was bred, nurtured, and spread came down to race – on both sides of the hate – and continues today in a generation that has never known slavery, only racism.  Lest we forget the millions of Native Americans that were marched out of their homes, across a harsh land in harsh conditions, dying daily along the Trail of Tears was a form of slavery too.

Slavery isn’t a black or white issue.  Racism isn’t really a black or white issue.  Hate isn’t a black or white issue.  Hate is hate. To hate someone, belittle them, think them inferior or less human because of the color of someone’s skin, because of their culture, because of their sex, because of their education, because of their status in society –  is simple ignorance. Ignorance breeds hate and fear, intolerance and indifference. Slavery is pure evil.  To own, to trade, or treat another human being as an object, as inhumane, as property, is wrong on EVERY level. To also turn a blind eye to it, is just as evil. Yet, we turn a blind to slavery everyday, often because we are too busy arguing with each other about our prejudice, intolerance, and privilege, or lack thereof.  While we are arguing about how ‘unfair’ life is –  there are child slaves working 15-20 hours a day in sweatshops and workhouses, there are young girls and boys being kidnapped from their homes and sold to the highest bidder to perverts, there are young girls being married off as young as five and six years old to old bastards, traded like pieces of property, and then raped and beat and expected to accept it as okay behavior, there are millions of women who are not allowed to speak, to be educated, to even be seen, raped and then stoned to death for being raped, and it is culturally accepted.  Yet, I don’t see pop stars, rappers, actors, civil-rights activists, or political pundits out here fighting against this slavery. We think it’s a problem ‘over there’. Young Africans being kidnapped by their own people and sold to the highest bidding white European was at one time a problem ‘over there’. Millions of Jewish people led to the gas chambers, stripped of all their dignity and humanity was a problem ‘over there’.  A whole village of white Moldovian girls being kidnapped, drugged, beat, and sold to the highest pervert is a problem ‘over there’.  A young woman being ganged-raped by a group of men being stoned to death in the streets for being raped is a problem ‘over there’. Mexicans trying to escape to a better world and using their last peso to purchase their own enslavement from mules is a problem ‘over there’.  Or is it?

American’s don’t often realize how much goes on right here in their back yards.  Human trafficking is a big business, and our society would be shocked if they realized how many humans – black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, European, child and adult, are transferred through our safe American streets on a daily basis. We’re too busy hating each other over an atrocity that happened a hundred years ago.  Yes, African slavery happened.  Yes, it was wrong.  But, what Black America seems to forget is that freedom came at a cost.  There was a high price paid for that freedom and that price was paid by people who believed what was happening was wrong  – and that included a LOT of white people.  Slavery isn’t a race issue, it’s a bondage issue.  Ignorant racists don’t hate black people because they were slaves.  Ignorant racists hate black people because they’re ignorant and believe they are superior by their white genetics.  Ignorant black people don’t hate white people because their ancestors were enslaved, they hate white people because of the racists acts that have been inflicted upon them and by them.  My Jewish ancestors were slaves many times, but I choose not to hate Egyptians, Germans, Americans, or even Africans because of it.  I hate slavery, period. I hate intolerance, period.  I hate hate, period.

I hate when I hear white racists try to justify their hate.  I hate when I hear black racists try to justify their hate. I hate when either of them try to placate their hate in a joke.  I hate when they spew their bullshit in public and want a pat on the back for their stand – but what are they standing for? Civil rights activists that marched across those bridges were not ONLY black. Civil Rights isn’t only a black issue, yet I am literally told almost on a daily basis how I don’t belong or don’t understand, or that I too am a racist because I’m white. No, it’s because I call them on their bullshit. Suck it up whiny babies.  If you want to do something to change the hate, then get off your lazy whiny asses and start doing something.  There are programs and organizations out there in the world that are currently fighting against slavery.  BTW – our welfare system is another form of modern slavery.  It promises aide, but it comes with a cost. There are programs that are helping free and rescue victims of human trafficking going on TODAY. There are organizations out there fighting for women’s rights around the world, not just here in the United States.  There are people of all color, sexes, and cultures DOING something about slavery besides spreading hate. If you’re doing NOTHING about it, then shut up. Shut your hateful spoiled mouth. I don’t want to hear your stupid angry songs about how ‘unfair’ life has been.  I’m angry about it NOW. I’m angry about what happened in the past, what’s happening now, and what’s going to happen in the future.  I have had nightmares hearing victims tell of their plights, learning how children are suffering today, knowing that when I put my head on my comfortable pillow at night they are in pain, alone, scared, and living in conditions I can’t even imagine. I have looked into the eyes of a young girl that has been rescued from human trafficking and THAT is worth fighting for. I didn’t care what color skin she had, only that she had been freed. I understand bondage more than you’d expect. I have lived in bondage, been beat, abused, raped, held captive and forced to do things I knew were wrong and didn’t want to do, and I’m a white girl living in America. So, excuse me when I don’t think your racist song or joke is funny, or when I get upset when I hear someone who had an opportunity to bring people together instead want to cause more division, more separation because they are ‘angry’ about unfairness.

Life is NOT fair, but ALL life matters.  Not white lives, black lives, blue lives, brown lives, yellow lives, animal lives, or sea life that matters.  ALL life matters. Slavery is wrong.  Hate is wrong. I don’t need a religion or a law to tell me that it’s wrong.   It’s WRONG, period.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Complicated frustrations, Conversations with a Friend., Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Philosophy, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Am the Biggest Fool

I Am the Biggest Fool

I am fool. I am a fool because I care and love those who are even bigger fools than myself. I’ve always heard a phrase that God watches over fools and idiots. He must have a league of angels watching over me.

I’m not unintelligent. I’m not naïve. I see what’s around me. The world is an ugly mess. People are an ugly mess. I try so hard to be something beautiful in this gray world, but sometimes I get tired of carrying that light.  Yet, I’m a strong person because I’ve been forced to shine that light for myself, find my way out, and put up my guards and shields all my life. Yet, poison still gets in. I open the door to danger. I invite in chaos. Why?  Because of love.

Not because of others loving me, or that I’ve fallen into that crazy, wild love and can’t see what’s around me, or that I’m refusing to see the truth. No, I see the truth and walk in it anyway. THAT’s why I’m a fool.  I’m in love with what can and will never be in love with me, who chooses the company of vampires and leeches over me.

But I deserve better than this.  What about me?

I remember another God moment, where I was on my face, nose in the carpet, pouring my heart out and praying for my kids, my ex-husband, my church, my friends, my job, etc.

When I was done unloading all that worry, I heard a whisper calmly ask me a simple question.  “If you knew one of your children were starving, hungry, and in pain, what would you do for them?”

I answered, “Anything, well, anything that would help them, even if it was hard for them, hard for me, or misunderstood.”

The whisper replied, “If they were in danger, would you risk your own life to save them?”

Without hesitation, I answered, “Yes. Always.”

There was a long silence. Whisper said to me, “You are my child, and you’ve neglected yourself trying to take care of everyone else.  You’ve ignored your needs, buried your wants, and your soul is starving for the love it needs.  You’ve abused my child long enough. I won’t tolerate it anymore.”

I felt so ashamed, because I had ignored myself. I’ve always done whatever to survive, to meet what everyone else needed, because I was in need. I knew what it felt like to be hungry, so I spent more than 17 years feeding the poor.  I knew what it felt like to be unloved as a child by your parents, so my heart reached out to any unloved kids that crossed my path – I still do. I knew what it was like to be pregnant and alone, so I opened my home to a pregnant stranger. I knew what it was like to not have a friend in the whole world, have someone to help me in a time of need, so I became the kind of friend I needed.  But, it doesn’t come without a cost.

A friend posted a meme on their Facebook wall the other day that said, “I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Damn, that’s mine!’ and just be proud to have me.”  I responded with a simple, “It’ll never happen.” A complete stranger sent me a message that had me crying in the middle of my shift at work. I hid the tears as much as I could, but I couldn’t help feel the pain, a pain that I’ve been stuffing down and trying to ignore.  This stranger messaged me, “…you’re a very attractive woman. So, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even this year, but you’ll find someone who’s proud to call you theirs.”

What this stranger doesn’t realize is that I have MANY people in my life who love me, even more that respect me, and I’m not in want for friends. Remember, I’ve spent my life being a good friend. But, no one has EVER claimed me as theirs – not my parents, not my family, not my ex-husband, not any of ex-boyfriend’s – who are still my friends because they love me as a person.  I’m great to love – as a friend, to depend on, to respect, to turn to, to be there when no one else will, but… to love me – the woman?  I’m turning 46 years old next week, and I’ve only ever felt truly loved once in my life… for just a very brief moment and then he died.  Loved …for ME.  In love …WITH me.  I’ve been in love 4 times, but only deeply, madly, crazy in love once. But, they didn’t want me.  They love me, but not how I love them. They choose their chaos over me.

I’ve been neglecting myself again, putting myself on the back burner to focus on others and their needs. There’s always a reason. There’s always a need.  All the reasons are good, but it doesn’t mean they’re not interfering. When do I matter? When does what I need and want matter? Life is shit. Life is chaos. There will ALWAYS be something – but WHEN do I put me first again?  I have needs too.  I’m such a fool. I’m not naïve. I know the reality of my situation. I know that I’m loved, but unloved.  I’m not blind. I see more than I let them know I see. I’m not stupid, either. Just because I don’t expose what I know is in the dark, doesn’t mean I’m unaware. I just choose to be a light, something positive, and spread a message of hope instead of judgment. I choose to focus on what’s important.  I love because I need love. I help because I need help.  I’m friendly because I’m lonely. I give, because I’m empty.  I go without so other won’t. I have to believe it’s not for nothing. I’m not stupid. I know I will not be chosen. I will be left behind for the vampire, for the leech, for the lotus flower, for the opportunity, for the drug, for the convenience, for the addiction, for the easy way, for the simpler path …. I always have been, especially by those who claim to love me most. It’s hard to love me. To love me is to stand in front of a mirror.

My whisper, my God, my love watches over me. They have to, because I’m the biggest fool.

“Someday when my crying’s done, I’m gonna wear a smile and walk in the sun. I may be a fool, but darlin’ you’ll never see me complain, ‘cause I’ll do my cryin’ in the rain.” ~Jaime Ellis

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Complicated frustrations, Dream, Faith, family, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, music, Musing, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, respect, song, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the Busyness of Being Happy

 

Back to the Busyness of Being Happy

Life is complicated.  It’s filled with difficulties. No matter how ‘together’ we get ourselves, tragedy finds its way into our lives, upsetting our plans, providing roadblocks to the best of our intentions.  If we are ‘waiting’ to live in any capacity, or for our lives to be less complicated before we open our hearts to love or happiness, then we are lying to ourselves and robbing ourselves of any love or happiness we could experience today. We need to get busy, NOW. We need to start living in the moment, right in the middle of our chaos.  We need to get into the busyness of being happy.

Waiting never brought anything.  Life doesn’t present itself out of the blue, we must go out and grab it, live it, and choose to fight for the success we want to enjoy.  If we think things will be better LATER, when our priorities and problems are lighter, we are telling ourselves the biggest lie. It’s a lie that robs us of the love and happiness we could be enjoying now.  If we can’t choose happiness now, or accept happiness in our lives now, we never will.  There will always be reasons and excuses.  We must choose happiness in the middle of our chaos if we ever want to experience it at all.

Are we waiting to love after …our kids are grown, our bills are paid, we lose weight, we have a better job, we have a bigger house, we have a better car, we have gained success, or we are healthier?  Are we waiting to be happy to be happy?  That’s stupid. It doesn’t work that way. If we think so, we are lying to ourselves and robbing ourselves of the happiness and love we could be enjoying now.  Not only enjoying it, but allowing it to fuel, encourage, and inspire us – giving us the strength we need to obtain all those other things we want for ourselves and the ones we love.  Do we want our children to be happy?  How are we teaching them to be happy when our example is the opposite?  Do we want to be an example of hope, determination, and success?  Do we think we can teach something that we are not leading by example?

Love and happiness are our strength.  It is the force in this universe that gives us the forte to properly deal with all the chaos the world throws at us. We are weak without it.  God is love.  Love is where we find forgiveness.  It’s where we find hope.  It’s where life truly happens. It’s where we learn to truly love those in our lives.  Outside it, we only find pain and heartbreak, loneliness and fear.  I speak of love, not lust, not obsession, not passion, but true love. Love that puts others’ needs before our own; love that reaches for us in the fullness of our failure, at our weakest, at our most low and desperate moments. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we should be alone. Choosing to be alone isn’t about trying to find ourselves, it’s about being afraid.  Our fears keep us alone.  Our fears make the self-destructive choices that only bring more chaos, more oppression, and bad decisions into our lives.  Fear is our weakness. The only way to confront fear is to get back to the busyness of being happy.

1 John 4:7-8Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” ~Euripides

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”  ~Hubert Humphries

“We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Orson Welles

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

Goodbye, My Friend

goodbye-my-friend

What is a friend?  Friendship is love, about love, and requires love on some level to be experienced, to be shared, or to be real between two people.  There are different levels of friendship, just like there are different levels of love, and like love, we can get very hurt or disappointed when we set expectations and a level of devotion that isn’t met by our partner.  Also like love, we throw the word “friend” around so freely and misuse it on a grand scale. Someone always coming to you with their hands out, with dramatic problems for you to solve, or with an emptiness they’re trying to fill with drugs, drama, or sex but never give back, those are not friends… those are vampires who will never be there when/if you ever need them. Yet some of us give so much of ourselves to these vampires and often neglect our real friends as we get caught up in the drama.

I’ve been hurt recently by someone I considered a very close, intimate friend.  The pain I feel isn’t all their fault, it’s half mine. Their level of devotion wasn’t in the same place as mine, therefore I set expectations they could not meet, and I got hurt at the realization I wasn’t valued at the same level I valued them. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all been at that place where we’ve invested our hearts into someone, to discover they haven’t in turn invested their heart back into you.  The first thing we usually do is wonder what’s wrong with us that the love we gave wasn’t enough, or wasn’t returned, but that’s the wrong mindset to have and often leads to depression and issues of self-esteem. Half, 50% is not about you, or about them, but about both.  As with love, it takes TWO people to make a successful relationship or friendship work, or fail.

So, what do I do when the friend that I’ve loved so much, gave so much, invested so much, and tried so hard and no matter what I did, they just couldn’t love me back, didn’t give me the time of day, or doesn’t even care whether I’m dead or alive? Do I turn to the dramatic antics to get their attention? No, I just remember the beautiful qualities of the friend I fell in love with in the first place, and simply walk away.  And I don’t do that for them, but for me because of who I am as a person.  I can let my hurt turn into anger and try to hurt them back, and believe me there’s a part of me that wants to do exactly that, but the love I have for them is real and hurting them back is not an act of love. I remember the person I am, the person I look at in the mirror every day, the person I love most and am very proud of their growth and maturity.  I love that woman that looks back at me in the mirror, whether she’s looking at me with a huge smile on her face or with tears in her eyes. In all truth – THAT is my best friend.

This morning, with tears in my eyes, I look at that beautiful woman in the mirror and I tell her how much “I” love her, how proud of her “I” am, how much “I” appreciate her, how much “I” value her, how beautiful I think she is as a person.  Then, as any best friend would do when they see their friend in pain, I tell her, ‘Fuck that asshole! They’re the dumbest mother-fucker in the world if they can’t value you, because I know you, and I know you gave your best, and they won’t find anyone more devoted, more honest, or more giving than you. They don’t deserve you. You deserve to be treated better. They are the one that lost something beautiful today. You keep your head up, Chica, because you gave your whole heart.  You walk away with your integrity intact.  Wish them well, because you love them, but you keep walking because you love yourself too and you deserve friends that love you back, that value you, that care about you, and that deserve you.

And that is that.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Complicated frustrations, friends, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musing, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Kiss the Girl!

kiss-the-girl

Wake up! Get up! Move your fucking feet! Kiss the girl!

Look, Life knocks us down. I think the abusive bitch really enjoys it, because she knocks me out quite a lot.  It seems like every time I stand up on my feet, dust myself off, and start picking up my pace to make a little bit of forward motion, she’ll drop a damned 747 out of the sky to fall on my head. But, I’m indestructible, immortal, and a freaking superwoman, because I choose to be. What’s your excuse?

Listen, I have my moments where I want to lay there on the ground and just cry because of how unfair life can be, is, or will always be.  But, I’m not five-years old.  Add forty years to that, and a whole lot of responsibility never really having time to be a brat. I’m jealous of you spoiled mother-fuckers that always had someone else looking after you, cleaning up your messes, wiping your noses, and patting you on the head telling you what a good job you’ve done.  Take your participation trophies and wrap them up in your dirty diapers, and go suck on your binky. I don’t have time for your pity party.  Believe me, I’ve been trying to have one for the last few years, and it isn’t working!

Hey! Knock it off.  Suck it up, Buttercup.  It’s time to get up. It’s time to move, even if you don’t know which way to go, move anyway.  The sad part is not moving, being stuck in the moment, being mired in the muck of self-pity. Learn this lesson: Life is NEVER fair. NEVER! Fair has never existed, and it never will.  This is a stupid concept ingrained into our psyche as children and we carry it with us throughout our lives, beating ourselves up when LIFE throws us a monkey wrench.  We are taught that WE are in control of the bullshit that happens in our lives.  That if we are good, good will happen to us.  That if we are fair, fair will find us.  BULLSHIT!  You tell that to every abused child, cancer patient, soldier’s widow, the betrayed, the rejected, and the good-hearted discarded because keeping up is hard.  Life is not fair.  She never was. She never has been. She never will be.  So, get up!

Want to know what you control? Nothing, except HOW you respond.  That’s it.  That’s all the control you have.  You can’t control the universe, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control the ocean’s tide, you can’t control someone else’s response, you can’t control God, you can’t control the economy, you can’t control anything. You can bribe, manipulate, lie, and scheme, but you can’t control anything in life except how YOU respond to it.  That’s who you are.  Not who you say. Not who you think. Not what some piece of paper says, by degree or birth certificate.  You are how you respond to every little and every big decision you make.

Stop being a pussy. Stop being afraid of making a mistake.  Fucking make a mistake, because you’re at least living, doing, deciding.  Stop hiding. Stop wallowing. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop WAITING for the right time, the right person, the right circumstance.  Stop waiting to win the lottery. Stop WAITING and start fucking moving. Start making decisions. Start making choices. STOP making excuses.  I’m so fucking tired of hearing excuses.  I hear it at work, I hear it at home, I hear it in society all around me.  I hear it out of my own mouth.  The mantra is … “I can’t… because. I won’t… because. I don’t… because.  I hear that bullshit a whole lot more than I’d like to admit.  But, that’s the problem. Until we admit to ourselves, until we recognize our reactions, our inaction, and our whiny excuses… we can’t change them. So, as a society, we keep ourselves distracted with bullshit, nonsense, shit that don’t matter, so we don’t have to hear our souls crying out to open our fucking eyes. Because to open our eyes to the truth is to be faced with the choices that define us.  We WANT to be fair.  We want life to be on Easy Street. We want someone to change our diapers for us, to take away all the shit we’ve produced, and give us a clean diaper so we can soil that too.  Feed us, because we don’t want to learn to feed ourselves.  Hold our hands, because we don’t want to face the struggle it takes to walk on our own. Coddle us, because our little feelings are hurt. Rock us, because we’re sleepy.  We bitch about putting on ten pounds, all the while stuffing our feelings.

Move.  Choose.  Kiss the girl – life!  She’s right in front of you.  See her.  Stop thinking about whether you’re making a mistake, or will there a better option tomorrow, or will she love you back because all the girl’s you’ve kissed before had hurt, abused, and used you?  Stop being a fucking coward and kiss the girl. It’s better to have kissed, than to have missed your opportunity, because guess what… life will continue without you.  All you’ve lost is the opportunity to really live. To live in the moment.  To get out of life ALL that you can in that moment… whether it ends up being a mistake.  Even from our mistakes, we live.  I have a life full of mistakes, but not ONE regret.

I lived for nearly twenty years doing the ‘right’ thing, the practical, the responsible, the ‘good’ thing, and I don’t regret any of it, because it was to fulfill the dream of being able to provide a certain life for my kids.  That was my dream.  However, I didn’t do a whole lot of living in that era, nor the era before . I was too busy trying to be good, to be right, to make responsible choices and so afraid of disappointing everyone else around me, of disappointing God, and of making a mistake.  THAT was the true mistake.  Because all that did was steal life from me.

I’ve got some heavy choices before me, and many of those choices paralyze me because I’m so afraid of making the wrong one.  I’ve spent so much time being afraid of the consequences of those choices, because I know life isn’t fair.  I’ve felt the pain and suffering of an unfair life.  Those burn scars still hurt today.  But, this is me this morning, puckering my lips… ‘cause you know what… I want to kiss!  I don’t want to just kiss, but I want to rip my clothes off and make beautiful, passionate love.  If it turns out to be a mistake, at least I had an orgasm, and my toes curled, and my stomach had butterflies.

Kiss! Kiss!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

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

Mansion – NF (feat. Fleurie)

 

Mansion by NF

Someone very dear to me (thank you Jonathan Smith) sent me this song a couple weeks ago, and it’s not one that was easy for me to listen, more than that… it’s hard to hear. The first line caught my attention and then slammed me right into the middle of my own room in my own mansion.  I’ve actually tried NOT to listen to it.  It touches something inside me that I don’t like to give a moment, a second, or even part of a second.  However, there’s another effect this song is having on me too.  It’s sort of a release.  There’s still an anger, a hurt, a part of me that’s still deep inside fighting Fear and still scribbling on my blank walls.  It’s banging to be heard, to be felt, to be acknowledged because it really effects every part of me; every broken part of me. Dealing with this kind of pain isn’t something healed in a single ‘moment’ and then all’s good.  No, this is a life long journey.

“Insidious is blind inception
What’s reality with all these questions?
Feels like I missed my alarm and slept in (slept in)
Broken legs but I chase perfection
These walls are my blank expression
My mind is a home I’m trapped in
And it’s lonely inside this mansion”

Wow.  I could just play that intro over and over and over and over, and find I’ve only just begun.  And the following words NF releases throughout this song is like he pulled them right out of my own basement, right out of the darkest part of my soul, the part that still bleeds. Let me be clear, I’m not coming from a place of anger, but a place of pain. Not as a victim, but as a survivor.  It’s not about blame, it’s about healing.

“Yo my mind is a house with walls covered in lyrics
They’re all over the place, there’s songs in the mirrors
Written all over the floors, all over the chairs
And you get the uncut version of life when I go downstairs
That’s where I write when I’m in a bad place and need to release
And let out the version of NF you don’t want to see
I put holes in the walls with both of my fists ’til they bleed
You might get a glimpse of how I cope with all this anger in me”

I’m a wordsmith, but I can’t even begin to express the imagery that clicked with this first verse. It’s like NF just kicked open a locked door, white light spilling into a dark room, exposing a small, broken little girl huddled into a dark corner, scribbling more dark lines on a dark room already covered floor to ceiling with words… words of pain, words of hope, words of fear, words of love, words scribbled over and over and over.

Physically abused, now that’s the room that I don’t want to be in
That picture ain’t blurry at all, I just don’t want to see it
And these walls ain’t blank, I just think I don’t want to see ’em
But why not? I’m in here, so I might as well read ’em
I gotta thank you for this anger that I carry around
Wish I could take a match and burn this whole room to the ground
Matter of fact I think Ima burn this room right now
So now this memory for some reason just won’t come down”

Shit!  I thought burning the house down would stop the nightmares, but it didn’t.  Flames might have burned a physical building and given me a peace when I smell the scent of burning wood, but it didn’t clear the room in my mind. I don’t despise this room.  It is a place where my gift flows, where my pain goes, and where my soul grows.  This song says so much, I don’t need to say more myself.

Yo my mind is a house with walls covered in pain
See my problem is I don’t fix things
I just try to repaint, cover em up, like it never happen
Say I wish I could change. Are you confused?
Come upstairs and I’ll show you what I mean
This room’s full of regrets, just keeps getting fuller it seems
The moment I walk in to it is the same moment that I wanna leave
I get sick to my stomach every time I look at these things
But it’s hard to look past when this is the room where I sleep”

“But I should just stop now, we ain’t got enough room in this song
And I regret the fact that I struggled trying to find who I am
And I lie to myself and say I do the best that I can
Shrug it off like it ain’t nothing like it’s out of my hands
Then get ticked off whenever I see it affecting my plans
And I regret watching these trust issues eat me alive
And at the rate I’m going they’ll probably still be there when I die
Congratulations, you’ll always have a room in my mind
The question is, will I ever clean the walls off in time?”

“So this part of my house, no one’s been in it for years
I built the safe room and I don’t let no one in there
‘Cause if I do, there’s a chance
That they might disappear and not come back
And I admit I am emotionally scared to let anyone inside
So I just leave my doors locked
You might get other doors to open up but this doors not
‘Cause I don’t want you to have the opportunity to hurt me
And I’ll be the only person that I can blame when you desert me
I’m barricaded inside
So stop watching
I’m not coming to the door
So stop knocking, stop knocking
I’m trapped here
God keep saying I’m not locked in
I chose this
I am lost in my own conscience
I know that shutting the wall down ain’t solving the problem
But I didn’t build this house because I thought it would solve ´em
I built it because I thought that it would be safer in there
But it’s not, I’m not the only thing that’s living in here
Fear came to my house years ago I let ’em in
Maybe that’s the problem
‘Cause I’ve been dealing with this ever since
I thought that he would leave, but it’s obvious he never did
He must have picked the room and got comfortable and settled in
Now I’m in the position it’s either sit here and let him win
Or put him back outside where he came from, but I never can
‘Cause in order to do that I’d have to open the doors
Is that me or the fear talking?
I don’t know anymore”

I’m here and I’m still writing, but Fear doesn’t keep me trapped inside anymore. He still haunts me, still taunts me, still exposes my own scribbled lines, and he’s still slamming doors, but he doesn’t control me anymore.  I’m no longer afraid to read my own lines. I can read my walls, see the pictures I don’t like to see, because there’s a bright light within me that illuminates them all. I can run my fingers over them, for all these lines have made me who I am.  What I see now is a beam of refracted light, filled with all the colors of my imagination, shining over those thick black lines. Making them come alive, making them sing a new verse. I no longer huddle in a corner, but I dance all around like a beautiful ballerina, ‘cause my legs ain’t broke anymore.

“Insidious is blind inception
What’s reality with all these questions?
Feels like I missed my alarm and slept in (slept in)
Broken legs but I chase perfection
These walls are my blank expression
My mind is a home I’m *not* trapped in
And it’s *no longer* lonely inside this mansion”

I thank NF for writing this song, for being brave enough to allow us a small glimpse inside his mansion, his mind, his heart.  I’m sure this song will always have a special room inside my mind. I thank Jon for introducing me to this song and I hope he finds his own courage to face his own room. I hope we all do.

Till next time,

~Angel of Light

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Complicated frustrations, family, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Life, love, music, Musings, Philosophy, Quotes, Relationships, song, Song Review, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encourage Yourself

Encourage Yourself

I started writing another heart-wrenching blog post this morning, because in truth, my heart is aching something bad right now.  But, after I wrote all those words, tears streaming down my face, a huge lump in my throat, I wiped my face and took a deep breath, and deleted the whole post.  It doesn’t matter. Those words don’t matter.  Those thoughts don’t matter.  They don’t change anything.

But, what WILL change things, what does matter is filling my heart, my mind, and my soul with positive thoughts. Remembering my dreams and the things I want to do in my life, those things will fuel me. They won’t take the pain away, but they’ll help dry the tears and push me forward. 

What we put into our minds, what we listen to, what thoughts we entertain, form our thoughts and effect the things we do, the choices we make, the fears we let consume us.  I’m a rebel. I often act against those fears, in spite of them, face those things that scare me most.  I just wish the rest of the world did the same. I don’t allow the world to tell me how to feel, what to do, what is the right way to go.  The world has been wrong. It’s always wrong.  Listening to the thoughts of the world has hurt me more than I’ll ever be able to express. Cowards. The world is full of cowards.

Today is a new day. Yesterday is gone.  The sun has risen once again and I choose to live. I start a new phase at work today, and it seems a new phase in life. Even though my heart hurts something terrible, I choose to smile, I choose to focus on the positive, I choose to tell the world to go fuck itself and take its doubt, depression and double-minded desires with it. I don’t need its bullshit.  Instead I will fill it with beautiful words of encouragement.

“Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Live in the present moment, make it beautiful.”

“There are two ways of spreading light, be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

“So, take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.”

“A beautiful life begins with a beautiful mind.”

“Ships in the harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”

We tell ourselves that we must do this, we must do that, we must love this way or think that way. It’s all bullshit.  EVERY moment of every day we have a choice, and in that moment NONE of the world’s bullshit matters.  Regardless of the shit I’ve had to deal with in the past, regardless of the shape my heart is in, regardless of how shattered I am… IN THE MOMENT… this moment is all that matters. The choices I make right now… to love, to not love, to hate, to forgive, to doubt, etc.  THAT is who I am. 

I choose ME.  For no one else will.

“What we are today is the result of our own past actions; whatever we wish to be in the future depends on our present actions; decide how you have to act now. We are responsible for what we are, whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves.”

We choose to believe. We choose not to believe. We choose to fight. We choose to run. We choose to love. We choose to hate. We choose to forgive.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to fight. Fight for what’s right. Fight for what you believe in, what’s important to you. But most importantly, fight for the ones you love, and never forget to tell anyone how much they mean to you while they’re still alive.”

Someday, someone will believe I’m worth fighting for, too. That day’s not today, but someday.

“I want to be your favorite hello and your hardest goodbye.”

“If you think positively, sound becomes music, movement becomes dance, smile becomes laughter, mind becomes meditation, and life becomes a celebration.”

In the midst of pain, in the darkest moment of despair, hope still lives and love still remains. I’ll never apologize for loving. I’ll never regret taking the chance.  I’ll never look back on my life and say, ‘only if’. I have fallen. I have tasted rejection. I have hurt to the deepest part of my soul, but I have no regrets. I am a lot of things, but I’m not a coward. I’m a fool.

“Three simple rules in life.  1. If you do not go after what you want; you’ll never have it. 2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be No.  3.  If you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.”

Waiting for something to happen. Waiting to heal. Waiting to love. Waiting to explore. Waiting to have an adventure. Waiting for success. Waiting for forgiveness. Waiting for dreams. Waiting for happiness.  Leaves only one thing… you waiting.  None of those things just finds you… you have to fight for each one of them. You have to choose them. You have to want them. You have to face your fears and take them.

Till next time,

Black-Eyed Beauty

 

 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Complicated frustrations, Faith, Hope, Hurt, Life, memes, Philosophy, relationship, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

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