Fairy Tale

Hug Me, Love Me, Never Let Me Go

I crave to he held, extremely tight. I want to completely relax, lay down my armor, and let go of my sword under the strength of a pair of strong arms. I want to feel the excitement and ecstasy of a pair of rough hands caressing me, protecting me, touching me, exploring my body, and claiming it with every move.

hold me 1

I want to be held so tight that all my broken pieces are put back together.

broken pieces

When I go to pull away in fear, doubt, and uncertainty, I want those strong arms and hands to hold me securely and not let me go, reassuring me that I’m not alone, that a warrior stands at my side, guards my back, and stares down any approaching danger.

king and queen 2

I’ve rarely ever felt safe in this world. But those few times have ALWAYS involved a hug.

king and queen 1

I don’t let strangers hug me, but I desperately crave hugs from and for those I love.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Life, love, memes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Whimsical World of T.L.Gray – The Story, My Story, Cheerleading

The Story, My Story, Cheerleading

Casey’s Ridge in New Caney, Texas didn’t offer much in the way of success and progress, especially in education, recreation, and culture. It was a river town filled with bikers, junkies, squatters, and drug dealers. There were a few old people left from a time when the community was a thriving hub of trade along the San Jacinto River, but that had long since dried up from the Houston suburban sprawl knocking at its back doors with its golfing communities and state-of-the-art shopping malls. There were no local gymnastics classes, public pools, greenbelt trails, recreation fields for football or baseball, no track, no tennis courts, and no gyms for basket or volleyball like its neighbors in Kingwood. No, Casey’s Ridge had none of that on the north side of the river, lingering on the edge of the county line. The only recreation found was a civic center where the old people would play a mean game of Bingo on Friday nights and a little biker bar right off Hwy 1485.

I was no fool. At the age of ten, I was old enough that the golden sunny haze of imagination and fantasy began to give way to the dull, dark gray skies of truth. I hated what I witnessed. This was about the time I began to hate and mistrust men, well humanity in general. When I was eight, my third-grade teacher Mrs. Akers told me that I could be anything I wanted; I just had to first see the truth of things and then make a plan of escape. Those words still stick with me today. I made to vow to myself, and the invisible god that damned everything that I wasn’t going to become like my surroundings. I wasn’t going to be hooker, a drug addict, or dealer, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to abuse and neglect my children. No, I was going to get out of that life and fly away from the nightmare. I fell in love for the first time, with a man in a red cape. I wanted him to swoop down out of the sky and save me from the beatings, the gun violence, the drugs, and the late night visits.  Superman was my best hope at this time, but since he wasn’t a real character, I focused instead on school, martial arts, and cheerleading.

It’s not to say that I didn’t give God a chance during this time in my life. The Christians at school always seemed to be happy, have good, loving parents, got to dress up in pretty dresses and go to church on Sundays. There was a little blue school bus that drove through our neighborhood every Sunday picking up the Ridge Rabble, as we were called. So, I decided that maybe if I caught that little blue bus to the Porter Baptist Church, things would change, because then God would see what was happening and save me, like I kept hearing. So, I studied the times and routes of the blue bus for a couple of weeks before I finally dared to make my bold move for salvation. I got myself, and my four brothers, dressed in the best clothes we had. I was a tomboy and didn’t wear dresses, but I borrowed a sundress from my neighbor across the street, Stacy Stowe. She was a tomboy too, but her grandma made her wear a sundress on Sundays. Dressed in my Sunday best, I stood outside on the street, holding tightly to my brother’s hands and we caught the little blue church bus that morning.

Now, I had no idea where that bus was going to take me, or when or if it was ever going to bring me back. From my reconnaissance mission the weeks before, it always seemed to bring back the kids it picked up earlier, so I was confident we’d at least make it back home.  We travelled a good distance to the nearby town of Porter to a little Baptist church. It had a main building for the sanctuary and then a gym for the Sunday School. After listening to some loud gospel music where people often clapped and shouted, we were then separated from the adults and led out to the gym. At first I was really worried because they wanted to separate me from my brothers and put us in different classes by our ages. I didn’t like not being able to see them or keep an eye on them. They were often a rowdy bunch, and needed someone there to keep them in line. I couldn’t image the damage they’d do to that fine church out of sight, but I relented and went into my own classroom.

So far, I liked this church. They gave me a brand new bible and a paper bag full of goodies, such as candy, pencils, and a little hand held toy game. All I had to do was memorize a Bible passage and it was mine. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” In no time at all I was holding my brand new King James Bible and a brown sack of goodies. But, things didn’t stay fun for too long. Because then the weird psycho stories started. I remember shutting down and putting my psychological walls up when the teacher started talking about how we ‘owed’ Jesus our love and trust because he was beat and died for us. I remember my thoughts looking at that teacher and wondering if she’d ever been beat in her life, and how silly it was that she thought I was going to simply love and trust someone I never met who didn’t do any more for me than I did for my brothers on a regular basis. To protect them, I remember getting beat so bad by my dad one time with a hickory stick, ‘til it broke and he started using his fist, that I was out for almost four days. Hell, Jesus was only dead for three before he came back. But, I did appreciate the idea of him placing himself in danger for someone he was supposed to protect. I got that. I related to that. That is where the teacher should have stopped because she completely lost me when she started talking about having to be washed in the blood to be cleansed of my sin. I was ready to find my brothers and get the hell out of there, ‘cause nobody was going to be putting their blood anywhere on me or my brothers, no matter if we were dirty or not.

Of course, later in life I now understand what this teacher had been referring, but to a ten-year old abused waif of a child, I thought Christians were a secret alien race, much like the t.v. show “V”, where they had human faces, but were reptiles beneath, with all their talk of washing with and drinking blood, and eating flesh. I didn’t care too much for religion in my life. On one hand there were ignorant people who called me names, a thief, and a crook for one faith, while another one wanted to save, but not really save because I still had to live and go through all the shit I was going through, and then do some bathing in blood. Nope, I didn’t want anything to do with gods or religion. I just wanted to get out of Casey’s Ridge and get away from my family and become everything they were not. So, I turned to martial arts, gymnastics and cheerleading.

Texas football is serious business, and so is their competition cheerleading. There were trophies to win and scholarships to earn, and a social status to maintain with it. So, for the next few years while I survived hurricanes, tornadoes, gun fights, dog fights, and being an Anderson, the daughter of a drug dealer, I focused on cheerleading. I learned so much for being a part of a team, having pride in something, being good at something. All those things cheerleading taught me were never a part of what home taught me. To some it was simply a social status. For me, it was my salvation. It gave me the tools and courage I needed to rise above, the fight for something, to set and achieve goals. I will always cherish the little time I got to train in martial arts and gymnastics, and I will always treasure the time I spent as a cheerleader. It’s who I was, inside and out, and who I still am. I am still a cheerleader to myself and to those in my life. Casey’s Ridge is still in the same place, filled with a lot of the same people, but I’m not there anymore. I cheered myself out of that place, and developed a strength inside that gives me the power to cheer myself out of any situation.  I may not currently live in Casey’s Ridge, but still often face different forms of chaos. It’s fine. “Ready, Set, Okay!” is strong within me.

This is the story. This is my story. This is my life.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray ©2017

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

The Whimsical World of T.L. Gray – The Story – My Story – My Play Time

The Story, My Story, My Play Time

While my childhood is riddled with lots of darkness, it’s also filled with lots of adventure and play time.  My imagination may be the cause of my greatest pains, but it’s also the source of my greatest joys.  Despite the realities of my situation, when left alone, I was a happy kid.  My happiest memories are playing in the woods across the street from my house in New Caney, Texas.

I lived at the end of Idlewild Road on a half-acre lot in what started as a two room shack with no running water or indoor plumbing.  A man named Greg from Wisconsin lived next door and the Janosek’s lived on the other side, the Stowe’s lived across the street.  Greg was a novelty, having come from a place that made me think of stinky cheese and maple syrup.  Listening to him talk about how his family harvested the sap from maple trees shed a positive light to a name I had been given and would come to hate.  The Janosek’s were everything I wanted and hated because they had what I didn’t have – two parents that worked ‘real’ jobs and a little girl that played with Barbie dolls, wore pretty little dresses, and had birthday parties, a beautiful yard of green manicured grass, and a vegetable garden.  The Stowes had about dozen dirty little children with elderly parents that often ran wild and free. We had a dozen pit bulls and a yard full of broken-down cars, and a long list of Mexicans and Rednecks coming in and out on a regular basis as my dad started working his way up the ranks with the cartel.

Though I could see the reality of my situation, I also dreamed of escape.  That house of danger became my playground.  The top of the outhouse became my castle’s keep, the fence my city walls, the driveway my drawbridge. The ditch, filled with tadpoles and crawfish when it rained, became my moat teaming with monsters.  The roads were to the paths to other kingdoms, and the woods, oh, the woods became my refuge, a place I got lost for hours, where I could run among the animals, swing from the, and build  places of safety and solitude where I could escape, where I could hide.  In my woods I wasn’t Sap, the drug-dealer’s daughter. I was a warrior, a king.  I never played a princess, because I didn’t believe in being rescued.  I was Robin Hood, I was Lancelot, I was Elliot, I was Luke Skywalker, I was Wonder Woman, I was Evel Knievel, I was MacGyver, I was Magnum P.I., I was Remington Steele, I was  Three-Eyed Willie, and the Three Musketeer’s, and then I was all the characters I began to create.  I ventured to the Island of the Magic Apple Tree, Magic Island.  This is where Lemuria and Montes Lunae and my Necromancers – Gabriel, Azrael, and Sybil Claire were born.  These were the beginnings of my stories, and the expressions my imagination.

My play time was my freedom; freedom from chores, freedom from responsibilities, freedom from pain, from abuse, from smoke-filled back rooms and mid-night visits.  I fell in love with Superman, wanting more than anything for him to come out of the sky and fly me away.  No one could hurt him. No one could force him to do what he wanted. He had no parents. He had no siblings. He had amazing powers and strength.  I loved him and Jesus, because I needed to be saved.  Neither saved me; I learned how to save myself.

This is the story. This is my story.  This is my play time. This is my life.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray ©2017

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, Muses, Philosophy, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Messes We Make by the Choices We Choose

The Messes We Make

We all have our own story, our own epic tale, and our own journey of discovery. We have a beginning, several inciting scenes, character development, a plot line, plot twists, climaxes, and a resolution, and some of us even have a prologue. But, very few of us have an epilogue. That’s something I hope to gain. Just like the vast array of books in a library or bookstore, there are many, many, many stories, and they’re all original. While some may be similar to others, each is individual and unique in their character and plot. Some of us have short tales, while others have many chapters.

Who is the author of our tale? As a writer, I often feel that my characters write the story and I am merely a scribe. Other times, I feel I’m the architect and creator, set the scene, and construct the plot. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. That’s the same as with our lives.  While we make our choices, Fate, God, and Karma set their traps and move us across our chess boards. We decide what moves to make, which pieces to act, but they decide how those pieces work, their rules, what spaces are available, and the size of the board.

Oh, the messes we make by the choices we choose. Hey, that’d make a good meme. I think I’ll also make that the title of this blog post.

How much of my story is mine? How much of it is the by-product of another’s story? How much is the mess of my making? How much more do I have? How much more do I want?

Some days I’m tired of my story and want it to end. Other days, there’s not enough pages to hold the tales I want to create, the epic I want to write, or the adventure I want chronicled. Is it a romance, a tragedy, a comedy, a thriller, a horror, a flop, or a hero’s journey? Can I change my course or is my plot set? Will I be saved, or will I save myself? Am I the hero or the villain?

I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just a shitty writer. Oh, the messes I’ve made by the choices I’ve chosen.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Fairy Tale, family, friends, Hope, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Musing, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Budgeting… Our Goals

Budgeting

As with anything we do, we need to set some realistic and obtainable goals.  Not a comfortable goal. On the contrary, our goals and plans should always be a little more, a little harder, and a little higher than our present comfort level.  We should always strive to do ‘more’ than our current level or else we are just treading water and getting nowhere. That’s not a way to find success. That’s simply surviving.

One of the keys to success is to always be rising, gaining, and moving toward the end of our agenda. We have to set our eyes on the finish line, the pinnacle of what we want to achieve, and then be able to see, understand, and recognize the path to get to that line.  This is where we often mess up and stumble, leading to our failure in reaching the goals we set for ourselves.

In no way am I saying NOT to dream big. On the contrary… dream big; dream really big.  Write those dreams down, even the ones that everyone says are impossible.  Even the ones we think are impossible or not for us. We can’t run a race without knowing what kind of race we’re in, or where the finish line is, otherwise we’re just running wild with no direction. We have to know where we are going in order to know if we’re traveling in the right direction.

Once we’ve written our list of dreams, we now need to take a step back, remove the emotion from those dreams, and start setting realistic, obtainable goals.  We have to take the big dream and identify step A and step Z. Those are the two hardest steps to identify – A. What is it and where does it begin?  Z. What does it become and where does it end? We can’t set all the goals between A and Z without FIRST identifying those two components.  Those are the base to our equation for success. Equally, this same equation can be used for every area of our lives.

Who am I?   –  Who do I want to be?

What do I weigh?  – What do I want to weigh?

What can I do?  – What do I want to be able to do?

Where am I?  – Where do I want to be?

How much do I have? – How much do I want to have?

How do I feel? – How do I want to feel?

Where have I been? – Where do I want to go?

What position do I hold? – What position do I want to hold?

 

You see what I’m trying to convey?  We have to first identify the truth of our present state and then set the goal of the state we want to achieve. But, we can’t lie to ourselves or else the goals we set will unravel.  They won’t hold when the pressure comes, when temptation comes, when the truth reveals itself.  The number one failure to any goal we set for ourselves is self-deception and dishonesty. We lie to ourselves more than anyone else lies to us, or even the lies we tell to others.

One of the keys of success for making a change to any of our bad habits and behaviors, failures and weaknesses, including taking responsibility for who we are, is being able to recognize the truth about ourselves.  We have to accept that truth in order to make a decision to change it. In order to enter the race to achieve any particular goal in our life, we have to first understand where we are, who we are, and what state we are in – and then recognize the goal of where we want to go, what we want to do, and what we want to achieve.  It has to be done in honesty.

Goals are all about change; changing our present state, our present atmosphere, our present company, to a different state in order to achieve a different result. Change can’t happen without honesty. Change can’t happen without recognizing the truth. But once we face the truth, once we accept it, and we’ve recognized our A and Z components, NOW we are capable of setting our budget of goals.  As with any budget we can over budget or under budget.  If we over-budget, we set impossible and unrealistic goals, and are not going to be able to meet those goals and setting ourselves up to fail.  If we under-budget and set too easy of goals, then it won’t be a challenge and we’re not really changing anything; only running in a circle of what we already have. This is the cycle that many of us often fall into – and if you take an honest look at your past behaviors these are the type of goals that leads to those spherical habits – what’s often known as yo-yo diets or insanity – doing the same things over and over and over and yet expecting different results, so we keep making the same mistakes and we keep failing.  It’s why we can’t beat our addictions or overcome our weaknesses. It’s why we can’t change our lives or circumstances because we can’t change our environment, change who or what we hang out with, whom or what we allow in our lives, who or what we allow to influence us and speak into our lives.

I.e. – if we want to be successful and responsible, we have to stop hanging out with unsuccessful and irresponsible people, or making unsuccessful decisions. If we want to be healthy and fit, we can’t surround ourselves with lazy, unfit people or regularly visit the fast food restaurants, stock our fridges and pantry with junk food, or eat out all the time. If we want to be kind and generous, we can’t hang out with selfish and hateful people.  If we want to be happy and faithful, we have to stop hanging out with unhappy cheaters.  If we don’t want drama in our lives, we have to stop inviting it into our homes. We are what we do, what we eat, who we hang out with, and what we spend our time and money on.

Once we face our truth, and recognize our A and Z, we need to set our budget – break down all the steps between A and Z (B-Y) into progressive, obtainable mini-goals.  First break them in half (B-M), then break those sections in half (C-G), then those in half (D & E), doing the same for the other side, and so on and so forth until you have a clear path filled with plans and goals that will help you reach success. If we don’t like any part of who we are, where we are, or what state we are in, then change it. Recognize our A and Z, make our goals, and then set a realistic budget to meet all the internal steps until we find success.

Here’s an example:

Face the Truth: Always dreamed of writing a novel, but after starting a dozen stories, never seem to finish them. Life always gets in the way, and nothing ever gets completed.

Dream: Finish a 50,000 word novel.

A – Start Writing Novel – “Once Upon a Time”.  Z – Complete Writing Novel – “The End”

B-M – Break the novel down into increments and chapters so that M= 25,000 words (half our novel) (averaging 2000 words per chapter for 12 chapters) and then set our budget to achieve a chapter a day, or a chapter a week.  Outline those chapters of what we want to achieve by that part of the story, and set our goals for each chapter.  Then, do the same for the other half of the novel, so that we have a complete outline of mini-goals we want to achieve from A to Z.

Then COMMIT to those obtainable, reachable goals we have set, create an atmosphere to fulfill those goals, budget the equipment and material we need to achieve them, and make the time and room to get them done. Without commitment, we WILL fail. Kismet, Murphy, life, God, the supernatural, and everything and everyone will present obstacles and temptations to get us off our goals, detour us from our path, lead us astray, or get us to give up.  Nothing good comes easy or without effort. We MUST have commitment or we have already failed.  Budget our goals. They’re important. We are important. Our dreams are important.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Cinderella Getting Restless

I’m so discouraged.  I’m trying to stay positive, because those of you who know me, know that I’m always chasing rainbows and glass slippers despite the world constantly telling me I’m a fool for doing things the way I do them, or thinking the way I think.  This is also the same world that wants to teach me about love, show forgiveness, obtain success, and walk with integrity. Have you seen the world’s version of those things?  Have you seen their interpretation?  No way!  That’s not for me.

I’ve accepted the fact that I walk my own path, knock down boxes that people try to place me into, and swim against the current, walk the narrow path, shovel the ashes, and any other metaphor that will describe how odd and out of touch with what is known as common that I am. I am covered in cinder. (It’s no secret.  Some people try to be different, spend their whole lives in a movement (along with a billion-other people), trying to prove it.  I try to be common and normal, to fit in, to act the part, but I fail – according to the world. But…. BUT, I succeed at being me.

So, having said that, can you imagine how frustrating it is for me trying to date?

I’m going to pause there for a little while. I’ll try to continue this thought later. I’m sure as I try to sort this confusion and discouragement out, and try to get a grip on this thing called dating, I’m going to go through many stages. These stages are very like those that go through addiction and depression counseling. 

This is stage one – acceptance.  I accept who and what I am. I’m an odd duck.  Took a loooooooonnnnnnnnngggggg time to get there, but I’m there.  I’m a princess without a prince, a castle, a father’s love, or a mother’s touch. I’ve been abandoned in a selfish world. Now what? Where do I go from here? What does this mean for the relationships in my life? Will I always be the woman that most men find fascinating, amazing, love the way I think, appreciate the way I am, and value me for my character, my integrity, my creativity and talent, but fall in love with ‘common’ women?  I gotta think about this.  

Till next time,

~Lost Princess

 

24-Hours Later

Okay, I’ve thought about it. I’m sure there’s an odd duck out there like me who experiences the same difficulties I do, who dreams as I do, who dares to hope as I do, and refuses to give up no matter if the world calls them a fool.  I know there is a man out there that will love the way I love, who hopes the way I hope, who cares the way I care.  I don’t need a fairy godmother to give me a pretty dress and a pair of glass slippers to dance. But,  It doesn’t mean I’ll ever meet my Prince Charming and we fall in love with each other. There’s no guarantee in life. I’ve witnessed too many people die alone to believe that “other” fairy tale – that as long as I’m patient and show up to the dance that my ‘happily-ever-after’ will come along.  I not stupid.  I know damned well that I may never find my soul mate.  Actually, that’s not true. I’ve found my soul-mate twice already.  Once when I was a teenager, though a few years later he died.  The second time just recently, but he left.  I’m hoping the third time will be the charm… (pun intended).  But, I know free will, the ability to choose, determines much.  I can’t make someone love me, fall in love with me, want me, or choose me. I believe in magic, especially in the magic of love, but I don’t hold a magic wand. I refuse to manipulate and force a man to love or be with me in any way.  I don’t want someone because I need them or they need me, only because I want them and they want me.  I REFUSE to accept anything less.  That makes me odd.

I’ve had many opportunities to be in relationships, to not be alone, to have a companion, to have a lover, to have a convenience.  But, I believe I deserve so much more.  I want love. Real love. Deep love. When I love, I love with my whole heart, and so I want someone to love me with their whole heart.  I’m not their toy, their distraction, their fantasy, or their temporary place-holder.  I’ve been told so many times, and left behind for lesser women, that I’m loved, respected, admired, and valued, Bu……..t, they can’t choose me because I deserve better than they could give.

If I deserve anything, it’s simply to be loved. I don’t need anything to be given to me. I don’t need saved. I don’t need to be supported. I am not co-dependent, have low self-esteem, or incapable of doing anything for myself. I’m smart, I’m self-sufficient, independent, and driven.  I don’t need a man, a partner, a lover, or a friend.  I WANT one.  There’s a huge difference between need and want.  Someday… someday someone will ‘want’ ME, not my body, not my talent, or anything else I could give them, but want me, my heart, my mind, my love, and all my oddities. 

I’ve mentioned this before. I made a promise to myself, no a VOW, about 7-years ago, and it is still valid today. I have it posted on my refrigerator – “I will never again waste my time, love or energy into that which does not first invest those things into me”.

Oh, Prince Charming, come slide that glass slipper upon my foot and allow the magic to envelop us both, transforming us into something wonderful, and then let us disappear into the unknown to explore it together. I have my sword.  I’ve slayed a dragon or two in my time already.  I’ve got your back. 

Till next time,

~Cinderella getting restless

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Fairy Tale, Hope, Inspirational, love, Philosophy, Relationships | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Counting Stars

Counting Stars

By One Republic

I’ll get into the lyrics of this song in a minute.  I haven’t heard it in a couple years, but listening to it on my way home from work today brought me right back to a place in time when I was fighting for my life.  I can almost remember the very moment this song came alive to me.  I had heard it several times on the radio, and while I thought it had a catchy tune, it didn’t really mean anything. Yet, one afternoon I found myself sitting by the lake at my apartment on Alvin Street, watching the sun glisten on the water’s surface, ducks flying overhead, a cool breeze in the air, when a soft thought popped into my mind, whispering to me that nobody cared, that all the sacrifices I’d made in my life were for nothing, that all the love I gave was never returned, that I didn’t matter.  I’d just been invited to be part of an anthology with some of the writers I admired, had no one with which to celebrate my achievement. I thought I could easily slip into that cold, frigid lake and no one would even notice this selfish, rebellious, unlovable woman was gone.  I felt the pressure and judgment of the world on my shoulders.  All the voices of the people who told me I was making a mistake by getting a divorce, that I was disobeying and disappointing my god, that I was being rebellious and selfish because I wanted to be in love, that what I wanted was stupid, a fairy tale. I had the world.  I had a good career. I had a good marriage. I had a good family. I had a good inheritance. I had a good reputation. I had a picture-picture resume life.  My writing career was taking off, and I was beloved and respected by my community; a pillar they called me, a monument of strength of character.  I had everything a good Christian woman desired in her life. Someone told me once that I was selfish for not being content with the life I had, that my desire to want more, was an insult to the god I claimed I loved.  How could God love me for being so selfish? To want more was to distrust God.

I didn’t want riches. I didn’t want fame. I had opportunity to have both and walked away. I just wanted to be loved, to be wanted, to be desired… to be heard, to matter, to make a difference in this cold world, for humanity to love each other, not hate each other proving who was right. I wanted fathers not to hurt their little girls, and mothers not to be ashamed and hide behind pills, and brothers that didn’t steal and lie to each other, or sisters who supported each other and not be in competition, and kids who didn’t take the strength of their parents as a sign of not caring, and parents who remembered their kids were not their property but individual human beings with their own thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. I felt at odds with the universe.

I closed my eyes, felt the warm sun on my face, slipped my feet out of my shoes and edged by toes toward the cold water of the lake’s edge when this song suddenly came on my iPod and filled my ears, and the tears spilled down my face.  This was a song from me, to me, in that moment.  My inner-self called out to my spiritual-self, and the words never meant something more beautiful than what they did that cold, cold autumn afternoon.

 

Lately I been, I been losing sleep

Dreaming about the things that we could be

But baby I been, I been prayin’ hard

Said no more counting dollars

We’ll be counting stars

Yeah, we’ll be counting stars

 

Counting stars… wow! One of my favorite quotes in the world, something that gave me strength through the years was from A Knights Tale when a declaration was made to change a person’s stars, to change the destiny the world had given them, to be more than what society deemed as acceptable. Before that movie even came out, my best friend in the world – who became the love of my life, made a promise that we would rise above our stations in life and change our stars.   I fought my whole life to be more than what I was born into, more than what society dictated, and I worked hard my whole life to rise above my beginning, my inheritance, and my lot in life.  No one was going to tell me my limits.  I pushed them, and I soared well above them. When my drug-dealing father was arrested, I was deemed a miscreant, told by a bigshot D.A. at the age of sixteen I was going to grow up and be nothing more than one of my father’s whore drug runners, a high-school dropout, and in prison before twenty.   I changed my stars and proved them wrong, living a clean life, a vanilla life free of drugs, gangs, cartels, and miscreants.   When I lost a college scholarship because I became a teen mother, and chose to keep and raise my baby, I changed my stars by paying my own way through college, and working three jobs at the same time supporting myself. When the love of my life died in combat and left me alone in this world, I still remember the promises we made to change our stars. I never forgot. I will never forget.  I’m not counting one star… I’m counting on changing many, many, many, many, many more stars. I have, and I will change even more. I’m still counting them, baby.

 

I see this life

Like a swinging vine

Swing my heart across the line

In my faces flashing signs

Seek it out and ye shall find

 

Life isn’t about what comes at you or is presented to you.  You have to chase it down.  You have to go after what you want. You have to take a chance.  Yes, you can fall. Hell, you will probably fall a lot more than you’ll ever fly. Yes, you can grab hold of a weak vine and it causes you to crash to the ground, but that doesn’t mean you stop swinging.  It means you get back up and grab the next one and see where it takes you.

 

The old, but I’m not that old

Young, but I’m not that bold

And I don’t think the world is sold

I’m just doing what we’re told

 

Excuses.  The world if full of them, but we have to be willing to argue back with it, set our own limits, tell ourselves what we are going to do and how we’re going to do it.  We can’t be afraid.  We can’t think inside the box.  Don’t allow ourselves to be put in a box… too old, too young, too weak, too strong, too fat, too skinny, too uneducated, too educated, too smart, too dumb, too experienced, too inexperienced.  Tell the world to go fuck itself, and stop doing what it tells you.

 

I, feel something so right

Doing the wrong thing

I, feel something so wrong

But doing the right thing

I could lie, could lie, could lie

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

 

You can’t change or count your stars if you’re too busy living under everyone else’s judgements, ideas, and limits.  You determine what’s right and what’s wrong for YOU and tell everyone else to go fuck themselves.  Am I disappointing my god?  That’s between me and my god and nobody else’s business.  Live your own dream.  Find someone that supports that dream, and made damned sure that if you’re supporting someone else’s dream, that it’s their dream and not yours for them. You’ve got no right to dream for someone else.

 

I feel the love

And I feel it burn

Down this river every turn

Hope is a four letter word

Make that money

Watch it burn

 

Looking for the world’s definition of love or success, it’ll never work, it’ll never satisfy, and it’ll always burn.  It’s fire, it’s poison, it’s shallow, and it stings.  Too many people fall in love with the idea, the dream, the image of what they believe is love, instead of falling in love with the real person right in front of them. When they get disappointment because the person doesn’t live up to the perfect image that was created in their minds, they blame the person instead of themselves for building impossible standards anyone could ever hope to reach. It’s not fair.  We have to come to a maturity in our lives so that when we look at someone we are not naïve to their flaws, but embrace them, and love them just as they are in spite of them, not only loving the truth of who they are, but for the potential of who they’re capable of being because they too hold the power to change their own stars. The first step to changing stars is seeing the truth, exactly as it is in all its ugliness. But when we can’t even see the truth of the stars in front of us, how can we expect to change anything?  We change nothing and then we live our lives chasing THINGS… things that will burn or turn to rust, things we cannot control, cannot contain, things that slip right through our fingers and burn in front of us. We exchange our stars for temporary things, for temporary love, for temporary people… ideals instead of reality, fantasies instead of truths, we lose out on real love for infatuation and lust.

 

I could lie, could lie, could lie

Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly

Take that money and watch it burn

Sink in the river the lessons I learned

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

Songwriters: RYAN TEDDER

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Can’t you feel it?  This song reminded me of the promise I made as a hopeful fourteen-year old girl, sitting with her back against her locker next to this dorky, long-legged awkward boy named James, dreaming with our young, naïve hearts of how we were going to change our stars. I felt that promise that day by the cold lake through this song, and it stirred something deep within me, and it’s stirring something else within me today.  I heard that familiar whisper during my flu delirium, reminding me that my love hasn’t found me, that though I’m loved, I’m never chosen, I’m never fought for, and that if I want anything in this world I’m going to have to fight for it on my own or provide it for myself. I understand now, I need a star counter, because I’m a star counter.  I could never be content with someone that can’t even recognize their own stars, much less who isn’t constantly counting new ones.  I won’t ever be silent. I won’t ever be content. I am bigger than this life, much more than the boxes offer.  I am at odds with the universe, because I too am expanding, seeking, and counting stars… and it’s time I got back to it.

I too am a star.  My own sun, shining brightly, soaring in this universe, But I’m not one to be caught so easily. If you can’t even see me, the real me, then maybe I’m just a little too bright or a little too hot for you, or you just don’t belong in my universe.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

YOLO!

yolo

Yep.  I don’t know why it comes as a surprise for some people, but you really ONLY get ONE life.  Yeah, yeah, I know… some of you believe in reincarnation, life after death, transformation, transcendentalism, etc… all those other “possible” conclusions.  But, I’m not talking about those right now. I’m talking about the 50-100 meager years we get to walk on this planet.  Well, some of us crawl, some of us run, some of us spend it on our backs, while others spend it on our knees, but you know what I mean.  One life.

So, let me ask you… what are you doing with your life? Are you even living it, or are you just existing? Do you just go through the motions, or do take charge and move through the universe experiencing everything you can while you can?

People, we get one shot at it.  Just one. 

There have been some low times in my life where I wanted to end it, when the pain was too much to bear and I just wanted it all to stop. Abuse. Cancer. Death of a love. Divorce. Break up with a soul mate. Times I’ve felt so lonely, so lost, so unwanted, so unloved, so rejected, so unnecessary, that I just ached inside. Of course, my love for myself, for my family, for my friends, and for life itself always stayed my hand during those low points, but I’ve been there.

There have been some high times in my life where I never wanted to end, ones I wished to live over, and over, and over again.  A kiss that melted me from the inside out. A touch that still gives me butterflies today. A hug that felt like it held together all my broken pieces.  A moment of my hard work being recognized. The birth of my children, holding them for the first time. Laughing so hard I peed myself. Jumping from 2.5 miles in the air.  Racing down white rapids. Watching an ant meander through the grass and meeting God. Writing. Playing my guitar. Kicking alien ass on my Xbox.

Life. A series of moments.  Good moments. Bad moments. Loud moments. Quiet moments.  I’ve lived a lot of moments. I’m not guaranteed one more.  So, I want to make them count.  Love the people in my life.  Live my life being happy. Loving and being loved. Discovering and being adventurous.

I can’t imagine trying to numb my life with hate, drugs, alcohol, or behind a thick wall never letting anyone in, or with condescending judgment.  It’s not always going to be sunshine and roses, and there are still dark days and dark moments ahead, but there’s always good moments, and bright moments, and life and love. 

Be silly. Laugh. Take a chance. Jump. Kiss the girl (life).  Dance. Dream. Sing. Touch. Smell. Stop hiding. Stop running away. Throw your hands into the air and let it go.  It’s your choice. No one else to blame but yourself if you’re too coward to embrace life.  For fuck’s sake… SMILE!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Falling in Love… Day 7

falling-in-love-day-7

Sometimes, as men, women… humans, we can be terribly blind.  We are often so busy in life, looking ahead, looking behind, looking all around us to be in the present, and yet still be ignorant to what is standing right in front of us.  It’s not because we can’t see, it’s most often because we’ve created this ideal in our minds of what we’re supposed to see, that we miss the reality, or better yet, the potential. 

Hindsight is a bitch.  She’s that nasty, arrogant know-it-all that shouts, “I told you so.”  I despise her.  I work so hard every day to not let her get a leg up on me, but I often fail.  It seems the more I try to open my eyes, the more I miss.

Life is so fluid.  People come and go, some are only around for a small flash of time, while others who’ve gone before stop by, come right in without knocking, and kick their feet up.  We deceive ourselves into thinking we can control the flow, but that’s another lie we tell ourselves.  We even wrap those lies in commitments, promises, vows, and contracts, but all can and are often broken, because life isn’t something we can control.  We can’t promise tomorrow, because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and doesn’t belong to us. We can’t make people stay, love us, fight for us, or even remember the promises they’ve made to us… or the promises we’ve made to others.  We can only determine how we respond to the changes as they happen.

Today is a sad and happy day for me.  One friend is leaving today, and it breaks my heart something terrible. He was a source of comfort for me at work, yet life changes. I wish him a lot of luck in his adventures, and hope the best for him. I’m also happy today because a boat load of my crazy writer friends suddenly showed up out of the blue.  Though we haven’t really gathered together in a very, very long time, the chemistry is still there and it’s like we never left.  I’m so excited to have them back in my life again.  They were such an inspiration to me.   

I’m sure there’s a reason my Insomniac friends have popped up lately.  I’m learning there’s a time and season for everything.  I’ve been avoiding my greatest gift for the longest season, but I know it’s time to get back to it.  There are no coincidences.  It’s not an accident that the last couple of weeks, I’ve been contacted by different members of this group in various ways.  I’m not the same person I was. Life has changed me, but it didn’t change my gift.  I recently removed “author” from my profile because I felt like such a failure for neglecting my gift for so long.  I felt I let my fans down because I allowed the heartaches of my life to keep me from releasing my work.  I felt I let my friends down by running away. Yet, here they are… as if it were yesterday.

There is was right in front of me all along.  I didn’t realize I felt all this disappointment in myself. I thought my writing was suffering because of space.  True, lack of space hampers, but I used to write anywhere.  I was blind.  In my quest of falling in love with myself, I didn’t think I’d have to deal with this part of my life, but this is a very big part of who I am.  I am a writer. I am a scribe. I am silver-tongue. I am a record keeper. I am a steward of imagination and creativity.  I must forgive myself for my neglect.  My imagination and writing gift was, is, and will always be my first love.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds. I cannot control life, love, or time.  But, I can choose to decide to love myself, and love the gifts I have been given.  We are to value the things we love.  Just as we value the people we love in our lives, how we consider their needs and do what me must to meet those needs, so is the same for every part of us.  To love myself completely, I have to love all parts of me.  Believe me, there are many parts.  Many, many parts.  I may not be ‘hard to carry’ (btw – I misquoted my friend yesterday.  He didn’t say I was hard to carry (that’s what I heard), he said I was hard to keep up with, that someone with my level of ambition would be hard to keep up with unless my partner had a similar level of ambition for themselves.  That while that enthusiasm is attractive at the beginning to any many, unless they were my equal, they would struggle to keep up with me and I’d have to carry them.  In other words, I’m too much for the average guy- he’s going to have to be strong and something extraordinary – my superman), but I’m great at flying.   

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, friends, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, love, memes, Muses, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Dragon Point

dragon-point

Well, I’m writing a new story, and I’m really excited about it.

Here’s just a snippet to get you started.

“I saw a dragon today. It’s not every day a girl gets to see a dragon, but I’m not your typical girl and this isn’t your average dragon. Before I get into the details of the mysterious beast and the amazing story of what happened, I must take you back to a beginning. All adventures should have a good beginning, and this one has a most curious one.”

 It was a cold, windy day and not a single cloud appeared in the bright azure sky. Baby cobalt kissed the horizon, while deep cerulean ruled the atmosphere. The golden sun god sent its rays in fat, voluminous beams coaxing thousands of sapphires to sparkle upon the rippled water. Poseidon’s presence was felt as the Renascence cut through the dark waters disembarking from Waterline Marina, slowly meandering around Ballard Park, and then into the beautiful Indian River. 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Fairy Tale, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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