Destiny

On Pause

On Pause

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

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

Who is in control of my pause button?

Until tomorrow,

~T.L. Gray

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Recovery and Hope

Recovery and Hope

Good morning, world. We are a different place today than we were just a few weeks ago. It’s a worrisome time, and not one death is unimportant. Not ONE.  All lives matter.   Life is precious.  Life is not guaranteed.  There is no rule that states that if we do this – or do that – our life is guaranteed.  There is no promise for a tomorrow. BUT – there is hope.

If we’ve learned anything from this COVID-19 virus is that’s we are all connected, we do not live on our own island and the world around us can’t or don’t affect us.  Yes, it does.  We are all part of the societal machine – we all effect the world around us in either in a negative or positive way, but we are all ‘essential’.

In my recovery from this nasty virus, I can’t help but worry about the world around me.  Yes, I’m stressed like everyone else. Yes, I’m worried about the financial, social, and environmental effect this nasty virus is having on me, my family, and my neighbors.  Yes, I’m worried about the ultimate cost – not just of the direct effects of this virus – all the needless deaths, but of the emotional damage.  Those numbers are not just numbers – those are our neighbors, friends, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons that are dying.  This virus isn’t racist or prejudiced and attacks everyone, so it will require everyone in order to combat and kill it.

I am in recovery. My body is strong and it was the only weapon I had against this virus.  There is no antiviral, there are no antibiotics, and there is no cure.  All I could do was treat symptoms and help my body fight as hard as it could from this horrible enemy inside me.  My body is winning and my amazing and miraculous machine is producing its own natural antibodies destroying the enemy within and building up a protective immunity that will help me stay strong as this nasty bug continues to circulate through our world.

My heart breaks for those who had family and loved ones who did not overcome their battle.  All of them were precious lives.  I’ve been in a very strict quarantine, not just to protect myself as I fight this virus, but to protect others around me. There is hope. We will recover …from this virus.  Now, I must have hope we as a society will recover from the grief and pain of our loss.

Let us all love each other, be considerate of each other, and remember that we are all essential in our roles as neighbors.

~T.L. Gray

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Move On

Move On

 

Anytime something happens in my life, usually something tragic or a loss of someone I love, or the dissolution of a relationship, people always tell me to move on.  Move on?  What does that really mean, because that could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people?  I was thinking about that this morning – moving on.

I suppose all of my life I’ve been moving …on – because I keep moving. I am always moving – either forward or backward. I’m growing or shrinking. I’m learning or wallowing in ignorance.  Well, if you really think it about it, I am always headed toward death.  If I stop and give up – I am digressing and dying. If I stop eating, I will die of hunger.  As I move forward and keep aging, I am slowly moving toward death – so I am essentially dying there too.  BUT, the difference is HOW I move toward my death, which is GOING to come.  Next week, if I make it that long (Scott’s workout is torture) I will have moved forty-eight years closer to my death. Pretty sobering, huh?

I’m not being somber here, just real, facing the facts.  Fact is …I am going to die. In my fantasies I’d like to go out in a blaze of glory, being with someone I love, filled with a sense of peace knowing I really lived and loved, and got to experience the best this life had to offer. Our definition of best will probably splinter at this point – but the best in life for me has NOTHING to do with stuff or accomplishments.  It has to do with love and the journey taken to achieve those accomplishments. I just want to be loved, I just want to love the people in my life, and I want to pursue something that fuels my passions. THAT’s it. I can do that in a mansion or a trailer, with a million or a penny.  Don’t make a difference to me – as long as love and purpose are present.

Life is a diamond and shaped with billions of angles.  It’s filled with pain and pleasure. Some of it I’d like to forget, but I can’t. What I can do is not wallow, not dwell, not stay stuck in that chaos – but move on.  Learn from it. I can’t forget the tragic shit.  I don’t want to forget it, because it was the fire that forged the steel that runs through my soul.  Moving on to me is being able to see things in an honest view – all the ugly and beauty of a thing, of a moment, of an experience, of a person, or of a lesson.  EVERYTHING has light and dark, good and bad. I can’t just look at part of a thing and truly understand it. I have to have balance and see all the facets to truly appreciate it.  That to me is moving on – seeing it (no matter the chaos) in its truth, accepting it in its truth, and then learning something about myself from it.

My life has had some hard truth and it’s been hard to move on.  But, I had to accept it and see it, and learn from it, to honor it and what it means to me. James’ death, my childhood, my divorce, losing relationships are all hard truths. NO relationship in this world is ONLY beauty. EVERY relationship has its weaknesses, its flaws, its ugly – because we are human, we are mortal, we are complex beings filled with both dark and light.  To truly appreciate a relationship, I have to look at it in balance and truth. Fantasy, the idea of what we think a relationship should look like, is the biggest destroyer; false expectations. What we think a person should look like, how they should respond or be, how we should feel, etc.  We make our lists, we set our expectations and then our human counterparts don’t (can’t) live up the fantasy we created in our minds and we get disappointed.  If we looked at people and relationships in balance, see the good and bad, the light and dark, and accept people for who THEY truly are, not who we hope or want them to be, then we will have more successful relationships.

I’m not perfect (shhhh… don’t say that out loud). I don’t always do the right thing. I don’t look like a porn star or supermodel. I don’t have the world to offer on a silver platter.  I don’t have all the wisdom of knowing everything. But, if you strip away all those vain, stupid, unimportant, shallow issues, and look deep at my soul – I think I’m fucking amazing. I love with my whole heart. I give all of me to everything I do. I learn from my mistakes. I own my choices.  I am loyal. I am faithful to myself and the people I love. I am a fighter. I am a survivor. I’ve learned to learn. I’ve learned to move on – to move in life – to keep going forward, not forgetting, but keep moving. My tomorrow is not guaranteed.  I may not be here in the next minute, so I believe with my whole heart that I just have to live the best life I can live, and never take a day for granted, or a person for granted, or a passion for granted. Love me or don’t. I’m going to keep moving on till I have no more breath.

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Destiny, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Your Own Dirt

Get Your Own Dirt

 

If there’s one thing in my life that discombobulates my mind, it’s knowing something …and then really KNOWING something – receiving that revelation and understanding of something profound.

Though my brain is a supercomputer, my processor sometimes takes a little time in its internal Google search to find an answer, and that answer isn’t always the right one – it becomes the ‘understood’ one. The greatest thing I’ve ever learned in this life, and what I feel is the most important lesson and greatest revelation, is how to learn. As super as my brain is – I don’t know everything, I don’t always retain everything, and I don’t always understand everything in its fullness and entirety.  But, don’t tell anyone that – I’d have to kill you.

What surprises me though are those truths we know, that are right in front of us, but we don’t see them. We will stumble all over them, and yet remain blind to them. It’s like knowing Christmas falls on December 25th every year, yet we find ourselves scrambling at the last minute because it jumped up and surprised us and caught us unprepared. That’s a sneaky holiday!  Actually, we are just poor managers of our time.  It’s like the concept of death – we KNOW that we know, that we know, that we know it’s inevitable, but our brains just won’t process the reality of our mortality and we are ALWAYS caught off guard and unprepared when it affects our life.  In truth, we use an immeasurable amount of disbelief in our lives every day – YET, we feel we are masters of our universe and have judgements and opinions on everything. We boldly proclaim what we would do in certain scenarios of life – especially things we see other people going through and struggling with, but we are so full of shit. Often we are NOT who we think we are in our minds. The person in our minds is the person we WANT to be – but actually doing and being that person takes so much of a concerted effort.  And come on, let’s be honest, most of us are too lazy to give even a minimal effort, much less a concerted one.  BTW, for the illiterate, concerted effort means something that is coordinated by multiple people or requires a lot of effort – something hard.  I know, I’m being a smartass.  I’m in one of those kind of moods.

So, what is it I’m really trying to say this morning? I just want to remind myself I’m a human being, full of perfect imperfections.  I’m stupidly intelligent and naively cunning.  I know enough to know I don’t know much of anything at all, and if that’s the case for me, I really live in a sad, sad world, because I’m uncommon, even amongst uncommon people. It reminds me of a story I once heard that was so simple, yet so profound, it changed my life. There are a few variations to it, but the truth of it is the same in its telling.

Story:  A group of scientist petitioned God, because they had made a huge discovery and wanted to speak to Him. They approached him as a group, so proud of themselves and their accomplishments and said, “God, we’ve come to a consensus and we are here to tell you that we don’t need you anymore. We have learned how to even make man in our own image from the very dirt of the ground, like you, through cloning. We can grow anything through splicing of cells and seeds, and we can cure any king of disease and don’t need your divine healing any more. We have done all this through our knowledge of science.”

God nodded his head and replied, “Men, you have done well. I applaud you for your efforts and your diligence and am proud of you in all your accomplishments.  I only have one request.”

The scientist, with their chests poked out, feeling so grand in their accomplishments, replied, “Sure, what might that be, God?”

“Next time, fellas, get your own dirt.”

End of Story:

When I first heard that story, I didn’t get it.  I thought about it for a long time and then it hit me. The truth smacked me upside the head so hard it caught my breath.  We as human beings are highly intelligent and we know a lot of stuff – but there’s more stuff we haven’t even begun to understand. We are arrogant and egotistical.  For those of you who still haven’t got the ‘moral of the story’ it’s this: While we can do a lot of things in this world – and they are great accomplishments, we can ONLY manipulate what already exists.  We can clone a cell, split an atom, and replicate a seed – but we can’t give life to anything. We cannot create, which means to make something from nothing. Yes, we can harvest a sperm and an egg, but we can’t make it bond and create life. We are great manipulators.  While we can do amazing things with the dirt we have, we still have to have dirt in the first place. We can’t make the dirt. We can’t breathe life into anything or anyone.

In those times when I’m getting a little haughty and high-fallutin’… I remind myself that it’s not my dirt. When I’ve been blind to truths staring me in the face that I’ve been tripping all over, I remind myself I’m only human clay, made from dirt, and will return to dirt.  I love knowing things, but I love even more really KNOWING things. The key to that is a KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Destiny, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Life, love, memes, Musing., Philosophy, Quotes, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

Find Something Worth Dying For …

 

Irish Gladiator

A friend of mine has an Irish Gladiator banner hanging on his wall that says, “Find something worth dying for, and live for it.” I call this saying a Scottism. For several weeks now that phrase has been rolling around in the back of my mind, trying to find a tendril of understanding to latch onto, because in its simplicity it’s very profound.

Just the first part alone – the very first part – to “find.”  To find indicates an effort, a movement, the making of a decision that’s followed by action.  FIND – seek, explore, hunt, track down, identify, discover, uncover, etc. It doesn’t say wait for something … but FIND.  Get off your ass and hunt it down!

That’s where we fail as a society right out of the gate.  We’ve become a culture that doesn’t hunt, that doesn’t seek, and sure as hell doesn’t find. We want everything given to us without any effort of our own, and then lie to ourselves and tell ourselves we ‘deserve’ it.  I once heard another statement that said, “Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve and Mercy is Him holding back what we do deserve.” What the hell do any of us really deserve?  We often get what we seek to find. If we seek shit, we find shit. We seek destruction, we find destruction.  If we seek shallow plastic, we find shallow plastic – and then bitch about only having shallow plastic.  Oh, what a world in which we live. But, thank God not everyone is that way – just the majority of common people. I thank God that “I’m uncommon amongst uncommon people.” LOL (Shout out to David Goggins for that motto – it’s ingrained into my soul now.)

Back to the Scottism I’ve been working on – Find something worth dying for…” If you really think about that – what on this earth is worth dying for? For me, EVERY bit of it is intangible. I would never die for stuff, titles, money, opportunities, or luxury. Yet, I watch people daily sell their souls and step over humanity to obtain these things that will one day burn to ash. No, all the things I would die for are intangible – Love being the greatest of these. Freedom – and man it has a high cost.  Faith – I would die for faith – believing in something bigger than myself, and in someone I love. Family – I would die to protect my family. Hope – I would die to keep hope, because I know that without hope I would already be dead.  Purpose – I would die trying to live with a purpose. But, not much else.

I think before we put our lives on the line for the things we deem worthy to die for, we should really consider the true cost. It shouldn’t be a whim, but a truth we diligently had to search for, dig for, and then find.  But, once we got it – once we’ve given it the respect of discovering the truth of it – then and only then does the second part of that statement come to live – and hit home.  THEN … LIVE for it.

Dying for something is actually the easy part. True strength is coming from being able to LIVE for the things we would die for. God, if we would really take the time and think about all the stupid shit we waste our time chasing and started loving and appreciating the things in this world that were truly important – truly worth dying for – our lives would have so much more meaning and value. We chase after pretty faces, cold hearts, baseless and useless shit – and then bitch about it – because the truly valuable things are not easy, often not pretty, and on the surface doesn’t look spectacular. But, how blessed are we when we do get ahold of it? When we truly open our hearts and let the real shit in – the real pain – the real love – the real purpose?  Wow, just wow. Thank you, Scott for that inspiration. I don’t know where you got it – and it really doesn’t matter – because it’s latched onto my soul now.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Destiny, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musing, Musing., poem, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Review, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Be So Quick To Judge

New Post

If you know me, if you’ve met me, or if you’ve read any of my blog posts over the past several years, you would probably say that I’m able to easily express my emotions, that I’m an emotional person, or that I’m clearly in touch with my emotions.  You’d be wrong. Very wrong. It takes a hard, concerted effort, and one that I have to work on EVERY day to express my emotions, or to even acknowledge them.  I sometimes fail. I sometimes fall back into my safety net, and cower behind my wall of steel, stone and ice, to protect myself from feeling the full impact of the pain that’s in my life.

If you’re shaking your head, because you don’t believe it – let me explain.

I have PTSD, and a pretty bad case of it. For those of you who instantly just filled your mind with the idea that those who battle with PTSD are weak, you’re fucking wrong. Let me repeat: YOU ARE FUCKING WRONG!  THOSE who FAIL to face their truth and battle with their PTSD are the weak ones, not the other way around.  The strongest of souls fight battles every day most of us don’t even have an idea of their struggle, because they’re not weak-ass pansies throwing their problems on everyone else, looking for that pat on the back, or that bit of sympathy. They acknowledge their pain, face it, and deal with it head on no matter how hard, how much it hurts, how much it’s going turn their world upside down.  They are not quitters.

I hate pity and sympathy. It irritates the shit out of me when people feel sorry for me when they learn about some of the struggles I’ve been through. I hate it. It’s one of the reasons I had kept my mouth shut for so long, because I hated to see that look on their faces or hear that sound of pity in their voices – and then watch as they begin to treat me like a victim – with kid gloves, afraid to offend me, afraid to be themselves in order to not hurt me. If I broke so easily, I wouldn’t be who I am today.  I’m the strongest fucking person I know in this world and I hate being treated like a victim or a fragile flower. But that’s the kind of world in which we live, where people want sympathy and excuses for their failures instead of someone refusing to carry their lazy asses and tell them to pick themselves up off the floor and fight.  I hate fucking excuses and I literally hear them day in and day out.

I don’t pity others.  If you come to me with your sad story – you WILL tug at my heart strings. I’m a fucking bleeding heart – but then you’re going to stir the warrior inside and I’m not going to come to you and put my arms around and you pat you on the back.  I’m going to get in your face and ask you what the fuck you’ve done to pull yourself out of the situation, to protect yourself from it happening again, what you’ve learned, and what you’re doing to fight to protect yourself.  If I see you fighting – I’m going to jump in the lion’s den with you and do whatever is necessary to help you succeed.  But, if you’re cowering in the corner – and want me to do the fighting for you – THAT SHIT AIN’T HAPPENING. I’ve nearly killed myself saving fucking victims. I can’t do it.  I won’t do it.  If you’re a victim, if you are immobilized because you can’t get over your shit – I can’t help you. I have no sympathy for you.

I don’t want to know what you WANT to do. I want to know what you’re DOING. I respect someone flat on their ass because they’ve failed attempting to fulfill their dreams, or attempting to overcome something that’s holding them back, than some whiny-ass bitch with a bunch of dreams but doing NOTHING to make that dream come true. I admire people that don’t give up. I admire people that aren’t afraid to own their failures and mistakes. If your ass is broke because you half-ass everything you do, take short cuts, or have a bitter attitude that you’re struggle has ANYTHING to do with your culture, skin color, opportunities, sex, or breeding – I can’t even talk to you. FUCK YOU. I hope you lose everything you’ve got so that way maybe you’ll be forced to struggle to fight for everything and learn to respect yourself and learn your worth and stop making fucking excuses for your failure. YOU own your success or failure.  And we more than likely have a different definition of failures – because some failures are victories if there was something learned or gained.

THAT is an example of my PTSD.  I will help, protect, fight with, and be open with honest, straight-forward people. But, I don’t trust most people. I don’t even like people to touch me or get into my personal space.  If I hug you or allow you to touch me, it wasn’t nothing – it took a huge effort and a whole lot of trust. And being able to write my truth – that took a long, long, time to get to this level of freedom. My breakthrough came when I started writing to MYSELF. When I started to love the warrior inside, the woman that deserved to be acknowledged and appreciated.  It took me until I was almost 30 years old before I could even cry.  I never said the words “I Love You”.  Ask my first husband. All we ever got to was, “I like you a whole lot.”

So, the point I’m getting at is this – when you meet someone who has a hard time expressing their emotions – quit expecting them to respond to things and situations in the way YOU would respond. They are not you.  If you see them struggling to express, step back – you don’t know what they’re carrying. Now, don’t give place to victims. Don’t placate or enable victims’ excuses.  And don’t take disrespect from them either. No matter what they’re struggling with – love yourself enough to expect to be treated with respect. If you don’t get it, ask for it. If you still don’t get it – show them your back because they’re nothing but fucking vampires and they’ll suck the life out of you in an attempt to fill their own emptiness. Treat people with respect for who THEY are – take the opportunity and time to find out HOW to relate to them. That’s the ultimate expression of love and respect is actually observing and giving someone the focus and time to get to know THEM for who they are inside.  If you’re too busy, or too self-absorbed, you’re a shitty friend and just move on for their sake.

If I care about someone, I’m Nancy-Fucking-Drew. I’m always asking questions, observing how they respond to me, quick to apologize if I over step, and am honest – brutally and openly honest.  A lot of people can’t handle truth because we live in such a disconnected world, hidden behind our social media and self-help bullshit, quick to just ghost and hide from responsibility and then whine and complain that shit don’t work. We’re too quick to swipe left or right, and when things get hard (and ALL fucking life is hard at some points) we run back to level one where it’s easy. We get offended too easily. My best friend right now is someone I’m not afraid to get in her face, and she’s not afraid to get in mine, because we know we may get mad, but we will always be back the next day to work it out.

I actually had a guy tell me the other day he doesn’t like drama. He doesn’t respond to drama and only wants to hang out to have ‘fun’.  I’m sorry – but that’s not a FRIEND. That’s a fucking acquaintance, or what they call a ‘fair-weathered friend’.  I don’t need those in my life. I love my sunshine and I love to share my sunshine with my FRIENDS who’ve been through the storms with me. They deserve my sunshine. Fucking fair-weathered friends don’t deserve anything from me – especially my time. My time is valuable and precious. When I’m with my friends, they have my full focus. I need them at times, and I need to be there for them at times.  Yes, we shouldn’t surround ourselves with negative people. I will be the first to send someone stepping if all I hear out of their mouth is negative bullshit. But, there’s a huge difference between a negative person and someone going through something.  I am deep, and I’ve got deep wounds and no weak ass punk is going to be able to handle my truth. That’s probably why I love badass Rangers, mean ass Marines, and those warring Navy SEALS. They make street thugs look like fucking pussy cats. I’m the daughter of an International Cartel Drug Dealer – and I’ve seen some shit – but I don’t have anything to worry about when one of these guys have my six. NOT ONE FUCKING WORRY. They can handle it.  But, no matter how tough they are – emotions may not be something they easily handle. But that in no way makes them weak.  Those who don’t take the time to try and understand how to listen, how to relate – they are the weak ones. A warrior is deep, and only deep can hear the deep.  Leave all that shallow ass bullshit for those fair-weathered friends.  I’m not a frogman, but I swim in deep waters.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Heroes

Heroes

 

he·ro

[ˈhirō]

a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

“a war hero”

  • the chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.

synonyms:

  • (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semidivine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.

 

I’ve had the honor of meeting and knowing many heroes in my life. Not all of them served in the military. On the contrary, many of them were uncommon people trying to survive in a common world and realizing they had to be better.

I recently heard a phrase from former Navy Seal and now Motivational Speaker David Goggins that hit me right in my soul. “You have to be uncommon amongst uncommon people.”  Meaning – that it wasn’t good enough just to be uncommon, to strive to be stronger, better, faster, smarter or more determined than the average “common” man in order to truly succeed.  No, you have to be even more uncommon than just uncommon.  You have to constantly strive to be better than your best – knowing your best is already better than the ordinary and the common. Never stop striving, never settle.

What I took from what Goggins said was this – Once I succeeded at something – I kept going, kept striving, kept dreaming and kept moving to succeed at even more things in my life.  THAT’s the true mark of success.  It’s not the obtaining something that identifies success, but the process by which we reach our goals.  I’m not successful because I wrote a book and it hit a list. My true success was the journey, the dreaming, the writing, the editing, the submitting, the marketing, the path, the experiences, the failures, and the will to keep going after bad reviews and scores of rejections. It was believing in myself and not giving up.  It was …being uncommon amongst uncommon people.

I’ve recently started dating a man that inspires me because he’s got dreams, goals, aspirations, and a will of steel to make them happen.  He’s accomplished much in this world and in my eyes is a true hero. Not just because he served his country and put his life on the line for it for many years as a Navy Seal, but because he didn’t stop dreaming, didn’t stop struggling, didn’t stop training, didn’t stop striving for success in life. He’s got a dream and he’s working hard to fulfill that dream. He set his mind as a child to become a Frogman, and then he fought for that dream until he made it happen.  He didn’t let life come in and deter his path.  He’s a fighter, and he’s always training for the next fight – literally and figuratively.  He doesn’t let his age stop him. He doesn’t let diabetes stop him. He doesn’t let other people stop him.  He is uncommon amongst uncommon people. I’m sometimes overwhelmed at how much I admire him for those things.

But heroes come in all different packages.

  • A single-parent giving up their wants and desires in order to care and provide for their children is a hero in my eyes.
  • A man or woman with the courage to stand up to and walk away from an emotional or physical abusive partner is a hero in my eyes.
  • A teacher that continues to hope, to teach, to strive to open minds despite statistics, economics, politics, disobedient and disrespectful students, and sorry-ass lazy parents are heroes in my eyes.
  • Those who volunteer and give their time, love, energy, and gifts to making the world a better place, caring for our earth, our animals and humanity are heroes in my eyes.
  • Those who seek to protect our children, our elderly, our veterans, and our mentally challenged or physically handicapped are heroes in my eyes.

There are many heroes amongst us, there are uncommon people amongst uncommon people if we just look hard enough. Yes, there are more common people (sheep) than uncommon, there are more predators (wolves) creating more victims than heroes, but there are a few uncommon warriors (sheepdogs) among us that protect us, that risk their lives, their livihood, their safety, and their peace for the world around them. I appreciate them. I adore them. I admire them. I strive to be one of them. I could never settle for being common.  I could never settle for being uncommon.  I desire to be uncommon amongst uncommon people. To be called crazy for chasing my goals and dreams. To be misunderstood and outcast for following my own path. For being myself and true to myself.

So, thank you James, thank you Goggins, thank you Rothfuss and Lawrence, and thank you Scott for inspiring me. You’re all my heroes.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Destiny, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, poem, Quotes, relationship, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful Magic

Beautiful Magical

I love this picture.  I love all the beautiful colors in this butterflies.  I love butterflies. Even more than the picture, I love the message.  EVERY SINGLE WORD.

I think the most beautiful thing about a human being is how flawed we all are to our very core.  We try so hard to be perfect, to be smart, to be beautiful, to try and not make a mistake, yet we don’t realize that our perfection comes from our imperfect flaws. It comes in those things about us that show we are damaged, we are defective, we are weak, and we are vulnerable – yet we keep trying, we keep flapping our wings.  If we go around lying to ourselves that we don’t need anyone, or anything, or any connection in any way – THAT is what makes our flaws our faults.  We are human. We were created as social beings to connect on a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual level.  When we deny those connections, we deny our very purpose.  It’s a lie!  When we tell people we don’t want a relationship, we don’t want friendships, we don’t want a soul mate, a partner, a friend, or a lover – we are liars! We were made to connect to God, to the earth, and to each other. We were not born to be isolated, but joined together. Our pain and our fear is what deceives us and convinces us we don’t need anyone else or that we are not good enough, or perfect enough.  Celebrate your flaws – because our flaws show our true colors.  How we respond to failure, to pain, to heartache, to insult, to injury, to the fucking bullshit life throws at us is what truly defines us.  Our flaws make us strong or weak, moral or immoral, filled with love or hate.  We rise and fall because of our flaws.

Another thing that I find beautiful about the human condition is our quirky nature.  Stop being stiff, stop trying to conform and play a part.  YOU ARE NOT what you pretend to be.  No matter how much you try, you’re not who you pretend.  You are who you are when no one else is around and sees you – yet that is often the BEST of you.  It’s the You that dances freely and sings out loud to the music that moves your soul.  It’s the You that is playful and karate chops the imaginary bad guys.  It’s the You that is free, and imaginative, and fun, and quirky! Yet, because of fear of rejection and judgment we often hide our true quirky selves from the world.  Want to see someone really free?  Those are the people who are not afraid to be themselves no matter where they happen to stand or sit. They let their quirky shine because they’ve come to appreciate the things in life that make a person happy – being free.  Freedom isn’t being alone – it’s being uninhibited.  I see a lot of people all looking like each other, talking like each other, dressing like each other – they are clones of one another and bound tightly by their fear and insecurities.  A young punk – plays the part of a thug – but he just wants to be loved but too scared, too rejected to be himself, so he hides behind the outfits, the language, the rebellion and the disrespect.  But, take a step back and look at them again – this time seeing how desperately they cling to who makes them feel they belong.  The more they scream they don’t care – the more in the night they scream inside to be loved and to be wanted.  They’re bound – and can’t be their quirky self. My heart breaks for them. I wish I could open their hearts and pour that freedom right in – but that’s not how it works.  They have break their own chains of bondage.

That leads me into the next beautiful thing about the human condition – our uniqueness.  We may have a lot of similarities, we are all unique.  There is no one else like us.  We have our own DNA, our own personality, our own dreams.  We see only ONE life out our eyes.  While we may focus on others, everything in our life is from OUR POV.  I can’t experience someone else’s life. I can imagine, and try to put myself in someone else’s shoes, but I was born in this body, with this soul, and this mind and everything I see, feel, touch and experience is through HER point of view. Sure, I can get mad and think life isn’t fair I didn’t get to have someone else’s life, someone else’s parents, someone else’s family, someone else’s opportunities, etc.  NOPE… I was born Tonya – and only TONYA is who I can be.  There is no other ME.

I used to think I needed to save the world to save my own soul, to feel worthy of being a human being.  My life at times has been a living hell and I’ve endured things I would never wish on my worst enemy, but it’s the life I have and was given. I have responsibility to that woman – to love her, to protect her, to strengthen her, to keep her healthy, to guide her and to let her be who she was meant to be.  I can look at her as a victim – or I can focus on her potential.  I have a great destiny, a beautiful testimony.  I LOVE that woman in the mirror.  I LOVE her for all her unique beauty. I LOVE her soul, her will, her determination, her strength, her ability to pick herself back up after she’s been knocked down, rejected, unloved, and unwanted.  She’s amazingly unique.  I will never know another like her.

Beauty has nothing to do with having a pretty face, a nice body, or a hefty bank account, a degree, an award, status or rank.  Beauty is what’s inside.  Beauty is love, kindness, compassion, courage, determination, diligence, honesty, patience.  There are many pretty plastic people filled with ugly souls.  Beauty is how you treat others AND how you treat yourself.

Knowing all these things, and being unafraid to embrace them is the magic that binds them all together.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Destiny, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Muses, Musings, Philosophy, Poetry, relationship, Relationships, respect, T.L. Gray | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Importance of Setting Goals

The Importance Of

 

I just can’t do it. I can’t be the kind of person that lives by the seat my pants and plan to have a bat in my hand to take a swing at all the objects life wants to throw at me. YES, there will always come an unexpected obstacle, and we should ALWAYS be ready and willing to be spontaneous, but that doesn’t mean we don’t set goals for ourselves or design an outline to help control the direction we walk.

All life is chaos.  It’s fluid, it’s moving, it’s modifying, it’s ever-changing, and most of all it’s full of drama.  Not matter how much we protest, we can’t remove drama.  However, by the goals we set, by the structure we build around our lives, we sure as hell can have an effect on the kind of drama we attract and deal with on a daily basis. I touched fire.  I got burned. There’s a scar. I touched it again, and got burned again, and it left another scar. While I don’t completely remove fire from my life, I now know better than to touch it again. I won’t live my life without fire. But, I also don’t let fire trap me or burn me up anymore.  I am born of fire. It’s a part of my soul. I’m just learning how to control it better.  Can I get burned again? Absolutely, but it won’t be because I reached out for it.

I love goals. I love having aspirations and dreams.  The spirit woman that lives within me – she’s dances in the sand with her bare feet, she lifts her arms to worship the sun and moon, she bathes in their light and warmth, she closes her eyes and sees the beauty of all that God has done in, around, and through her, she breathes life, and to her NOTHING is impossible.  Freedom isn’t free. Peace isn’t given. Hope isn’t alive without first being planted and watered and harvested. Love – love has so many colors, so many valves, so many branches, and so many facets like a diamond. Health must be maintained. Prosperity isn’t guaranteed but must be pursued with passion.

I am so blessed because I can reach unimaginable heights of peace, love, success, health, and imagination and I don’t need drugs, alcohol, sex, or another person’s attention or money in order to reach them. I’ve never been a drug or people user.  My drug is love – life. I’m not blind to the evil of this world, I’ve often been its victim, but I don’t strive to escape the pain or dull my senses so I don’t have to feel, or separate myself to try and protect myself from getting hurt again. I’m not a coward. I’m sorry, but I believe with my whole heart people who use drugs, money, sex or people are COWARDS.  No – I fight like hell to rise above it, to heal from it, and to learn. The heartbreak I’m going through right now, I choose to face ALL the pain, so I can heal.  I face all the uncertainty of every day. I have no security but myself.  So, I understand the importance of setting goals. I have dreams that I want to make a reality. I have responsibilities that I need to fulfill.  I’m a grown ass woman and I face my own problems and I take care of my own responsibilities and bills. I’ve got my shit together.

I was angry and greatly hurt from the neglect I received from my last relationship, but the person I was angry at most was myself – because I neglected ME.  I set my dreams and needs aside, ignored my goals and wants, and drowned in the despair that followed allowing the toxic darkness to consume me. Love wasn’t enough.  I got lost.  I misplaced that girl with her all-consuming fire.  But, I’ve found her again – and together we dance under the moonlight, and in the sun, and in the rain, and the spirit wind moves all around us.  My biggest goal is to never lose her again.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Destiny, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, music, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Today

Not Today

I have this insatiable bad habit of noticing the broken and seeing the damaged, and then immediately my mind and heart begins racing and my brain begins looking for solutions, remedies to heal, to help, and to pull all those broken pieces back together. I’ve always been this way, probably because that’s what I’ve needed most in this world.  But, I’m really working on retraining my heart and my brain to say, “Not today.”

There are many little quips and memes that I pull from the card catalogue in my brain to help.  One of my recent favorites, probably because I just visited the zoo, is to remind myself, “Not my monkey; not my zoo.”

Why this change of heart?  Because I allowed myself to get lost, becoming stuck in that frame of mind and trying to save everyone around me.  I’m the one that drowned.  I’m the one that ran out of air.  There was no one there to save me. I lost sight of all MY goals being so concerned with everyone else.

Please don’t get me wrong. I STILL care. I STILL worry. I STILL desire to see those I love healed, healthy and happy.  I just came to the realization it’s not in MY power to give that to them.  I can’t save them.  They have to want to save themselves, heal themselves, and be happy with themselves.  JUST LIKE I DO.

That’s what I’m doing.  I’m healing myself. I’m working on getting my body, mind and soul back to a healthy medium.  I am working on MY happiness. I’m not there yet, I’m just beginning, but I am walking in the right direction. Some days I take giant leaps, and other days I curl up in a tight ball and hold myself so tight just to feel arms wrapped around me.  It hurts.  God it hurts. Dealing with failure always hurts.  Being unloved and unwanted by those you loved most ALWAYS hurts. Recovery always includes a mixture of pleasure and pain.

My good moments now outnumber my bad moments.  I smile more often than I cry. My body is changing, getting stronger, slimmer, and more tanned and toned.  My soul is mending one tiny rip at a time.  I’m being surrounded by light instead of fighting alone in the darkness. My tribe is coming together and lending me strength and courage.  My daughter is my biggest light and inspiration. My friends are beautiful to me. My new friends are water to my soul.

We’ve got ONE life, people, just ONE.  I can’t afford to keep wasting what precious little time I have left in this world on stupid, shallow, vain, and selfish things or people.  I value MY life too much to allow that bullshit to drag me down. I want my life to have value, to have meaning, to not be a waste of space.  I am fiercely guarding my life from the stupid shit and people that don’t give a shit about their own lives and want to drag me down. I am learning to let people solve their own problems. You want to waste your life chasing after a drug instead of love – go for it.  You want to be angry and spend all your time being destructive and blaming the world for your problems, being a manipulative asshole instead of becoming a decent human being – go for it. You want to be a shallow person and tick off your notches by fucking whoever whenever instead of investing in a real relationship – go for it.  You want to hide from the world because it’s too uncomfortable, too inconvenient, or too scary to get out there, to face rejection, to face your fears in order to succeed in life – go for it. Don’t look to me for help anymore, because the only thing I’m going to say is, “Physician, heal thyself,” walk away and then shout to the heavens, “Not today!”

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

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