Conversations with a Friend.

What a 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

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

Make Me Laugh


Make Me Laugh

Want to steal my heart? It’s not hard. It’s simple – make me laugh.  Be silly. Make funny faces. Do silly dances. Share silly memes.  Dress up in silly costumes. Stay clever shit.  Look at the bright side. Snort when you laugh. Pee on yourself if necessary, but laugh.

Life is hard. Every day is a struggle to fulfill our responsibilities to ourselves, our friends, our families, our communities, and our world. We grind and grind and grind and grind. It’s our curse. It’s our burden to bear.

Life is full of struggles and atrocities and sometimes pure evil. I feel all of it down to the very center of my being.  I grieve for the broken, the abused, the neglected, the tortured, the hungry, the homeless, the fatherless, the orphans, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the forgotten, the battered, the lost, the weak, the addict, the dying, the bullied and the rejected.  I feel the pain, I taste the earth’s salty tears. I’m not blind to them. No, I am very aware of them – and because I feel so deeply and love so passionately, I’m often overwhelmed with grief.

So, make me laugh.  Show a little kindness. Stand tough, stay firm, fight the good fight, and do what is necessary to protect, to guard, to save, and to defend – but don’t forget to live, to laugh and to love.  Power to love and to laugh in the midst of this cruel world is the greatest power.

Don’t be idealistic.  Don’t be unrealistic. Don’t be a bleeding heart and shut your eyes to the truth to embrace an ideological fairy tale with unrealistic expectations. Leave that shit for the fantasy books.  Make REAL observations. See the UGLY truth. Do the hard shit – so that there can be a REAL solution.

Rev. Daniel Patrick used to tell me, “Confirmation of new information, without consideration is ignorant and arrogant in the highest order.” Don’t be stupid, face the truth and then find something good among all the ugliness. Be a hero, make me laugh.

Laughing in the moment isn’t denying the pain – it’s facing it – it’s being balanced. The only true thing that can conquer hate is love, loneliness is being friendly, selfishness is by being selfless, being in need is by giving to others and addressing other’s needs, and being sad is by laughing.

Want to steal my heart? Make me laugh.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Muses, music, Musings, Philosophy, poem, 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



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

Self-Motivation vs. Luck


Self-Motivation. I can’t express how much this is essential to any source of success in my life. If I’m waiting on the world to motivate me to achieve or reach my goals, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. The world is essentially lazy and inherently selfish. It doesn’t give a shit about me or cares whether I reach my goals or not. I may be lucky and have a friend that will be there to cheer me on, but they’re not going to hold my hand or carry me to my finish line, and I shouldn’t be so damned co-dependent or lazy to expect them to do just that. But, alas, we live in a very, very, very lazy world, or else I’m just surrounded by a bunch of lazy enablers with an excuse and diagnosis for everything.

I understand depression. I have been suffering with it most of my life, yet as with anything and everything else, I don’t let it control me. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted anything in this world, I was just going to have to get it on my own. I suppose that’s the bright side to having parents that didn’t take care of or give a shit about me, it forced me to learn to take care of and give a shit about myself. To have no one to depend on, taught me to depend on myself. To have no one to trust, I’ve learned to trust myself. As for motivation, I’ve also learned to be my own cheerleader.

Someone made a comment to me this weekend, one that at first really, really pissed me off. I know they didn’t say what they said to hurt me, but I don’t they understood the gravity of what they said because they come from a different life, a different experience, and a different generation. What am I talking about, I’m still pissed.
I’ve enjoyed some great successes in my life, and I’m very proud of them. But, I want to make one thing very, very, very clear. NONE of it was handed to me, and NONE of it just fell in my lap by luck, birth, circumstances, etc. NONE of it.

The comment that set me off was, “You’ve had a very lucky life. What I wouldn’t do to have one-tenth of the opportunities you’ve had; you’ve received many of the things I only dream about. Some people have all the luck.” It was clear this person doesn’t know shit about me. YES, I’ve accomplished a lot of things, and some of those things are huge accomplishments, but not one of them just “fell in my lap”. I have fought like hell and sacrificed more than I can ever give account to receive each and every one of them.

My degree? My stomach pitches when I think of how many days I practically starved to death because the two jobs I worked paying for every book, every class, daycare for my kids, diapers, rent to the dumpy trailer I lived, gas and repairs to piece of shit car I had at the time, sleeping only 2-3 hours a day, splitting a box of macaroni with my babies because that’s all I could afford to eat often forgoing a bite for myself to make sure they had enough, juggling to pay either the rent, lights, water or gas for that month, crying myself to sleep feeling like the worst mother in the world because daycare or babysitters or terrible family members were raising my kids instead because I was so busy just trying to survive. But, yeah… that degree just fell in my lap because I’m a privileged white girl that just had the world handed to her. I didn’t have student loans or parents to fall back on. I had ME. Only ME.

My publications? No one saw the years of writing stories late in the night because it was an inconvenience for everyone else, it wasn’t practical, just years and years and years writing stories that no one ever read. No one saw the hours and hours and hours spent helping others with their work, editing, critiquing, encouraging, watching them one by one go off to gain success and then forget I ever existed. The years of ghost-writing for other people, never being able to take credit for the hard work I’ve done. The marketing, the networking, spending many, many, many late nights barely able to keep my eyes open going over my work, editing, editing, editing, writing, writing, writing, and busting my ass making sure that everyone I met, everywhere I went, everything I did would bring attention to my work. Submitting and submitting, receiving rejection after rejection. Getting one little writing job after the next, after the next, after the next. No one saw the shit ton of money I spent out of my own pocket on bookmarks, websites, entrance fees into festivals, marketing materials, ads, etc, etc. No, my success just fell in my lap because I’m lucky. I sure as fuck didn’t earn any of the nominations or awards.

My dedication? I once had these two authors I was trying to help become published and successful, because I believed in them and thought they were very talented. I believe both blame me today for their lack of success. For a very long time I spent so much of MY time, MY money, and MY effort trying to promote them, ignoring my own work, but I couldn’t get them to promote themselves. They had some fucking lame-brained idea that they were so talented that success was just going to fall in their lap without any effort on their part. They were too good to even make any personal appearances; they were gifted artists, after all, akin to the Cormac McCarthy’s and Charles Bukowski’s of the world. They obviously believed I didn’t work for my success either or else riding on my coat-tails would grant them the success the easy way. I fought for them until I found out I had cancer, and then I didn’t give a shit anymore. I don’t think either of them have done anything still to promote themselves, but I really don’t care. I can’t believe for them, and bottom line, they have to have their own self-motivation. I had this other writer that I spent more than a year helping her write her auto-biography, but when a better opportunity came along, none of the work I had done mattered.

Healthy Living? Beautiful Face? Oh, yeah… I’m lucky. The one-hundred and thirty pounds I’ve lost, and maintained for nearly 10 years, that was lucky too. It sure hell doesn’t require a regular workout routine, a regular diet of healthy living, having to say no to temptations, being disciplined, getting myself up at 5am every morning, pushing through the pain, or learning how to say no to the donuts. Nah, it’s my genetics. I just wake up this beautiful on my own because I’m lucky. My muscles don’t hurt, my back doesn’t ache, my joints don’t scream at me, and my eyes just automatically pop open on their own. Hell, my workout outfit dresses me every morning, not the other way around. There are lots of excuses I can use to stay in bed longer, to avoid the treadmill, and feed my pity, or pop a pill for every little ache and pain. For those mother-fuckers who think a surgery lost this weight and maintained the loss for me, you keep telling your fat-asses that. It shows your ignorance and your dependency on excuses. My surgery saved my life, but it had nothing to do with my weight loss or the maintenance of my health… which is all self-motivation and sheer determination. Surgery doesn’t make someone walk away from the doughnuts, no more than an insulin shot keeps someone from eating sugar. But, hey… we are an excuse generation. There’s a million and one reasons WHY we CAN’T do something.

So, here I am this morning. I still have 10-20 holiday pounds to shed, still got a blog to write, still got dreams to chase, still got a job to work, still got a life to live. Who’s going to open those doors for me? Nobody. But, that’s okay because you know what? I know how to open my own fucking doors. What a concept!!!!!!! You know what? I am lucky. I’m lucky that I have a mind of my own, a will of my own, and self-determination all of my own. I know so many depraved mother-fuckers out there that can’t even get their asses out of bed because they’re too busy feeling sorry for themselves, and they blame the world for their lack of success. God, I’m so lucky I’m not one of them.

Till next time,
~Lucky Mother-Fucker

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., family, Health & Fitness, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment



Ever read something, and the moment you read it, your universe moved? You’re not quite sure how, but there’s a definite paradigm shift deep in the center of your soul? I read a comment recently, that the moment my eyes processed the tiny font on my phone, my mind filled with a thousand strings of thoughts, flashed a thousand images, and like an electric current surging through my body, sparked a thousand feelings all at once. Goosebumps popped up on my arm. The hair on the back of my neck prickled.  Tears welled in my eyes. A knot didn’t just form, but augmented in my throat.

Someone messaged me, “I believe I’m an answer to something you’ve asked for.”

Seeing those words, something inside shifted.

Something I asked for?  I don’t remember asking for anything, not anything consciously. In fact, I’ve spent so much of my time, love, and energy on everyone and everything else around me, concerned about their needs and wants, I’ve had no time to think about what I want. Seeing those words, reminded me of my promise. They also reminded me of other words I’ve been given not too long ago, “I can’t give you what you want.”

Right before I asked for a divorce I made a vow, a promise to myself. I wrote it down on a magnetic memo and posted it to the refrigerator, to remind myself every day of that promise. I still have that memo posted in my bedroom right now.  It states, “I will never again waste my time, love, or energy into that which does not first invest those things into me.” I broke my promise.

So, I ask myself, what do I want? My soul whispers, Ask.

“I want to receive what I freely give.  I want someone to give a shit about me.  I want to be someone’s first thought in the morning. I want someone to care about the things that make ME happy.  I want someone to know about what I’m worried about, what I’m excited about, what I’m scared of, what I’m determined to do, how I feel, what I dream.  I want someone to think about me in the middle of the day. I want someone to want to talk to me, to want to share with me what’s going on their day, in their life. It makes me happy helping others, nurturing what other’s need, helping them realize and reach for their dreams, help pick them up and pull them out of their difficulties. I love and care about the people in my life, and I worry about them, and I do everything in my power to help, to encourage, to support.  I give so much of my heart loving and caring for them, and I just want someone to love and care about me. I want someone to give a damn about what had me curled in tight ball for nearly two days, or what had me so upset I couldn’t eat, or what excited me so much I couldn’t sleep.  I want someone who WANTS to talk to me, to spend time with me, to offer arms to hold me when I’m scared, to caress me when I’m feeling frisky, to ravish me when I’m excited, to encourage me when I’m doubting, to calm me when I’m frustrated.  To be there for me, not with their words and empty promises, but really be there for me. I want someone to love me.”

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, so why am I so afraid to speak?  Maybe the universe hears my heart instead of my words.

Categories: Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., Dreams, Faith, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Musing, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Falling in Love… Day 3


I had a completely different message I wanted to write this morning, but after receiving another phone call listening to the train wreck of a guy playing manipulative mind games with his ex-girlfriend, him reading me his texts filled with passive-aggressive bullshit, making a bad situation worse because he’s reacting during the height of emotion instead of sitting back and reacting with sense, reminds me more of the type of person I want to be, especially when it comes to my relationships.

I’m a passionate person.  I react with passion, in passion, and for passion.  I don’t always react at the right time, the right way, often resulting in the opposite of what I had hoped.  LOL!  But, I’ve matured a lot over the years.  Wow, I used to be so stubborn. I used to be so stupid. I used to be so selfish.  It was always about what I wanted, how I felt, and what I thought was right, and I wanted it in my time, when I didn’t really know shit.  But listening to this man making huge mistakes in his eagerness to save what he thinks is love, makes me smile.  Not at his distress, but at the knowledge that I know I’ve grown beyond the pettiness.  I’ve grown well beyond those shallow waters.  I’ll never have his problems, only because I know that I would never accept anything but the deepest of love.  Other side of that coin is that I may only find that kind of love within myself.

There was a piece of advice I gave this man that smacked me right in my own face.  Usually, just like with this blog and many of the things I write, most of the things I say and do are for ME more than anyone else.  I may have said them to him, and I doubt he even heard a word of what I was saying, but I heard it and it stung… ouch.  This is what I told him.  “We have to stop from responding to things in the height of our emotion, because it only makes things worse when we don’t receive the response we’ve already imagined we’d get in our minds.  People are individuals and they respond to things in their own way, not the way we think they should, or expect them to, or even according to what we think is the right answer.”

When someone responds to us in their own way, through their own filter of experiences and triggers, we are often stunned, surprised, and confused because it almost never turns out how we have already imagined.  Come on, admit it, how many times have you had an argument or discussion in your mind with someone about something that upset you, but… when you went to talk about it, it came out so much different? It’s called foot-mouth disease. I have a bad case of it.

Communication is the key to any relationship, friendship, soul-mates, co-workers, family, etc.  All relationships are built or torn down due to the level of effective communication.  Don’t get me wrong, communication alone can’t save a relationship, but it will help with understanding and being able to determine when to fight and when to walk away. It’s about integrity.  So, getting to the love letter to myself, I am very proud of the way I communicate with the people I love, but mostly with the way I communicate with myself.

So, for Jinx… I love the way she listens, and then tries her best to understand. Believe me, she doesn’t always understand, but she tries.  I love the way she gives the benefit of the doubt, and isn’t quick to jump to conclusions and always dwells on the worse. She truly encompasses the message in the Lady Gaga song, Million Reasons – “I bow down to pray, I try to make the worse seem better. Lord, show me the way, to break this worn-out leather. I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away, but Baby I just need one good one to stay.”  Her mind thinks a million thoughts about everything and it drives her crazy, is the foundation to much of her anxiety and stress, and the master of her fears. But, I love, love, love the fact that she is quick to apologize, quick to admit her mistakes, quick to make amends when she realizes her fallacy, and doesn’t give up until she makes it right.  She owns her weaknesses and that has become one of her greatest strengths, and I love her very much for it.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray




Categories: Blog Post, Conversations with a Friend., Faith, family, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Muses, Musing, Philosophy, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Falling in Love… Day 2


 I think about the type of man that I’d like to meet and have in my life. I’m not talking about that long laundry list of wants and requirements like having a job, aspirations, dreams, being kind-hearted, and having a heart that considers the soul and mind above body. No, I’m talking about the whole package, the man in all his complexities. But, before I meet him I think about the partner I’d want him to have. 

When you love someone, you don’t just think about what would be good for you, what would make you happy, what the relationship could and would benefit you.  Love is about thinking and considering your partner’s wants and needs, too.  As amazing as the man I want in my life, I also want be able to offer him an equally amazing woman. 

I was talking to a friend this morning, and he’s had one disastrous relationship after another. He made a statement that he’s so tired of garbage.  I told him if he doesn’t like garbage, he needs to stop digging through the dumpsters hoping to find a masterpiece, and to stop blaming all women for the bad decisions he’s made. I also told him to start being the man he thinks a ‘good’ woman deserves, get his shit together, so that when he does meet a good woman he would have something good to offer her… a good man.

He, of course, went off into a rant about how preposterous it was for women to expect men to take care of them, provide for them, and how women’s rights are the cause of our fucked up society.  It was a lost lesson by that point, but my comments struck a chord in myself.   

That’s the funny thing about me.  Most often my blogs, my musings, my thoughts, my articles, etc… they’re for me more than anyone. It’s a way I communicate with my soul. It’s a way to step outside me and see me in an abstract. 

I also had a conversation with another friend last night.  We talked for hours as he drove back to the Army base in North Carolina. I was just being my excited, rambunctious, over-talkative self.  It felt good. I haven’t really talked to anyone in a long while, not since I lost my best friend and soul mate.  I just bottled up all those millions of thoughts and ideas inside, really afraid to share them with anyone.  You see… all those crazy little thoughts and ideas, so matter wacky they are, are what I consider the BEST part of me. It’s the essence of who I truly am.  It’s more intimate than my body.  It’s more personal than my intellect.  It’s all those quirky weird ideas that makes up who I truly am… and that person I don’t share with just anyone.  THAT person is who is precious to me. Let me tell you a little about her… I’ll call her the nickname my best friend gave me… Jinx. Maybe you and I both will get to see some of the things I love most about her.  This is, after all, my love letter to her.

Jinx has this amazing wild imagination.  She thinks some of the oddest thoughts.  She questions EVERYTHING. I remember this one time she stayed up all night contemplating the idea of black holes and super novas, stars, universes, galaxies, time and space.  She couldn’t sleep.  Her mind just kept exploring existence deeper and deeper and deeper.  Just when the universe couldn’t get any bigger, she zeroed in on herself and saw how small she was in the midst of it all; so insignificant.  A huge knot formed in her throat and she couldn’t breathe.  Who was she? Why was she here? Does she even matter? In 20, 30, 50 years… will anyone even remember she existed? Suddenly, so many things she was so worried about didn’t matter anymore.  Bills, expectations, career, life stuff, none of it mattered.  ALL that mattered was this small, brief, minute moment in space and time, and what she had to offer in that small spec.  Nothing she’s accomplished or failed, nothing she’s gained or lost, nothing she had or wanted meant anything without love. Love is all that mattered.  Love she had for herself. Love she had for her children. Love she had for God. Love she had for humanity.  

Forty-five years… I’ve been in this universe for forty-five years, and what do I have to show for it? I have many achievements, many awards, many successes, yet the only things that really matter is my heart and my ability to love.  This world has been so cruel to me. I have been knocked down so many times, rejected by so many people, and the one thing that’s eluded me… is being loved.  Yet, in spite of it… I choose to love. I’m still that little girl crying in the corner being told she’s not good enough, she’s a mistake, and she’s not wanted. *sigh* I am also that little girl that stood to her feet, balled her little fists so tight, dried the wet tears streaming down her face with her arm, and declared, “NO! I am not a mistake. I am a good girl and I love me!”

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray




Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Faith, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Musing, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

True Devotion

Fifty Shades

*I am not defending or tearing down this book – only sharing a conversation with a friend.

I had another one of those deep, thought-provoking conversations with a good friend of mine this morning, this time it was on the subject of 50 Shades of Grey and the aspect of devotion.  This in-depth enlightenment spawned from a meme that said, “Fifty Shades of Grey is romantic only because the guy is a billionaire.  If he was living in a trailer park it would be a Criminal Minds episode.”

My response: “I agree… however, what I think most people miss about that whole story, because they’re fixated on the kinky sex (which I think is interesting), is the way Christian made Anastasia feel.  That’s what women desire and why they love this story … a man in control, yet completely devoted.  That’s desirable, no matter penthouse or trailer park.  Unfortunately, there’s not much complete devotion these days, except from perverts, pedophiles and predators.”

His response: “There is devotion. But the women have to make the man feel that way.  If you read the book, you will know there is a hint to this all across it that makes him devoted and madly in love with her. If you don’t have that connection right from the start, it is impossible for a man to show that kind of devotion.  It’s kinda like that ‘love at first sight’ thing with a twist.”

My response:  “I don’t think so, not at first.  I think it’s only possible when trust is established.  First sight is chemical and the birth of the fairy-tale dream, but devotion is developed along with trust. A woman’s devotion is given to a man she trust with her heart, mind and body.  Trust isn’t automatic, but developed.  That’s also very apparent in this book.  As Anastasia learned to trust Christian, mostly through the BDSM (which is based on trust), she began to trust him with everything else, including her heart.”

His response: “Then you have never loved at first sight.  I can tell you that within 5 minutes of meeting someone.  I’ve been that devoted.”

My response:  “Yes, I have.  I didn’t think ‘love at first sight’ existed until it happened to me.”

His response: “So, your statement is incorrect, based on your experience.”

My response: “No, because devotion never manifested in that relationship because of a lack of trust.  Not because of anything he did, but because of trust issues deep-seeded in myself, combined with the fact the love was unrequited. I understand devotion.  I spent 20 years of my life devoted to a man who didn’t love me out of principle.  So, I do believe in devotion, just not complete devotion without trust.”

His response: “Sorry for you. Hard life you had.”

My response: “Nah, it just hasn’t been my time yet.  I didn’t know my last love existed before I met him, so I have hope that my next love is out there somewhere and I’ll meet him someday, and I’ll be glad, even if I have him for only one night like the last man completely devoted to me. I’ve had my Christian Grey, that’s how I know such devotion exists when trust is developed.  I just lost him, that’s all.”

So what do you believe?  Do you believe a man can be completely devoted at first sight?  Or do you believe that while he may be attracted at first sight, the true devotion becomes stronger as the trust between the couple grows?  One thing I know, if you don’t trust someone, you won’t be totally devoted to them. You’ll hold back a part of yourself out of self-preservation.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Conversations with a Friend., Life, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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