Faith

Progress

Progress

 

Ever heard the old adage, “If it’s too easy, you’re not reading the fine print?”  Or yet a better one, “If it’s too good to be true, it often isn’t?” There’s always a catch when it comes to shortcuts, especially when it comes to dreams and big obstacles that come into our lives. We are a Burger King world where we want it our way and we want it now. But, life will remind us that it’s not always good to have things ‘our way’ and patience really is a virtue.

Right now I’m working on a couple goals, and healing from a huge obstacle that had been in my life.  I’m not making huge strides, but I am making positive progress, and that’s what matters most.  I’d love to have the speed of the rabbit, but I’m learning the steady pace of the turtle will win my race.

I write this blog, and post my posts on social media, and my smiling selfies, not so I can shout out to the world to look at me and see what I’m doing.  I write to me, and I post to me, as a way to remind myself where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going.  It’s so I can track my progress.  How do I know if I’m moving forward unless I have these little reminders that mark my journey?

Some think I’m being narcissistic or vain, but I really don’t give a shit what they think. The only people whose opinion truly matters know who they are in my life. They know where I’ve come from, where I want to go, and encourage me every step of the way forward toward progress.  One of the best things I’ve done for myself these past several months was to remove myself from the toxic, judgmental, self-righteous selfishness that beat me down every day. I have surrounded myself with beautiful, loving, kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous, smart, and driven people – because I needed it.  I was exhausted and broken – and even reached a low point where I just wanted to die so I wouldn’t feel pain and disappointment anymore.  I did my best, but I realized that nothing I ever did or would do was ever going to change anything. I was out of place, running the wrong race.  But, now I’m free and I am so thankful for the beautiful people that inspire me.  See, that’s the difference – I’m surround by people that motivate, encourage, and support me, human beings I’m proud to know who don’t ask anything of me, don’t use me, and don’t take advantage of me, but only ask for me to be me and to be happy.

I needed to be saved – from myself.  I needed to be free – so I could rescue myself. I had to start all over again – from the bottom, but I’m moving up – one small step, one small accomplishment, one small decision, one small action, and one small moment at a time.  I’m making progress.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Why Do We Do What We Do?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Dealing with Loss

Dealing with Loss

Life is constantly changing and in those changes sometimes things get lost, things that are essential to our hearts and souls, to our minds and well-being.  It would be great if we were able to accumulate and keep everything and everyone that came into our lives, especially the people who we love most and who have impacted us most in our lives, but we can’t. No matter how much we wish it, how much we want it, we came into this world alone and we will leave it alone, and along the way we will have to deal with loss.

The worst pain I ever felt in my life was losing someone I loved, especially because it was hard for me to love in the first place. It took me so long to open my heart and let that love in – and then to have it taken from me so quickly. I still find myself waiting – waiting for someone that is gone in my life to just walk around the corner and greet me again with that beautiful smile, to  speak words of encouragement to me when it seems like everything and everyone is against me, to tell me I can when I don’t believe it.  But, he never comes – and I keep waiting.  Even today, after twenty-six years, I feel this empty space he left behind.  But, I only have to close my eyes and I can picture him smiling at me, urging me forward in my life, daring me to take those chances, and trying to provoke me into giving love another shot.  I talk to him all the time, because I know what he would say to me.

Right now someone very special to me, someone I love deeply and care for greatly, is dealing with a loss and I don’t know how to help him. I know the pain he is in and I want to tell him it gets easier and eventually the pain goes away, but it doesn’t.  I want to tell him that she’s in a better place, watching over him, and he will see her again someday, but I really can’t make that promise either because I don’t know if it’s true or not. I have faith it is, but it’s not something I can promise. It’s not my call. I know the emptiness he is feeling inside. I know the questions, and the doubts, and the fears, and the anger, and the bargaining, and everything else that comes with grief.  I’m so scared he’s going to be weak like me and let that pain build a door and a wall that will push everyone else out – and go through the motions of life but not really live.  But, I can’t stop him.  It’s got to be his choice.

What comforts me when I think about my loss is remembering the smiles, the laughter, the conversations, and the dreams we built together.  When I’m hurting or doubting, I hear his words and his voice pushing me forward and encouraging me.  That’s what I want for Scott – I want him to think about what ‘she’ would want for him, what ‘she’ would tell him if she was sitting beside him, what ‘she’ would want him to do. He knows what she would say. He knows what she would want. And THAT is what I want him to push for, to strive for, and to make happen in his life.  He has a fighting motto – “Find something worth dying for – and then live for it.”  I pray he heeds his own motto.

Ecclesiastes 3 reads, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, and time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:12: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

That’s what I want for him – to be happy and to do good while he lives.  To live in the moment, to live in the day, and not just merely exist.  He is in a time of mourning, but he must look toward the new sun and not dwell on what is gone for more than a cycle of the moon (30 days) lest it become work of the enemy to steal his strength and joy.  I know the pain of holding on too long. But, what can I say or do?  I am helpless because this is his journey, his walk, and his burden to bear.  James whispers to me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and helpless to do anything to ease his pain – and reminds me that where there is much grief there is much love. All I can do is love and pray and wait.

Dealing with loss is not easy. It hurts. It hurts badly.  I can’t save the world from feeling loss, but perhaps just try to remind it that there is/was/will be love in the world too.  I know that James loved me and he always wanted what was best for me – and knowing that, I have tried to live my life pursing love, pursuing happiness, pursuing the dreams we built together.  I want him to be proud of me, as I have become proud of myself. For my children, when I am gone, I would want them to be happy, to be loved, to live each day as if it were their last, to take chances and risks, and to not be afraid to fail and get back up.  That’s what makes life valuable.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Life, love, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whatever It Takes

whatever-it-takes

 

How many of us say this, and convince ourselves we believe it, but don’t do it?  Will I really do ‘whatever’ it takes?  How about when it gets hard? When no one else believes and supports me? When there’s no reward? No accolades? When it hurts? When it costs? When it requires me to give up someone or something else I love? When it doesn’t match my dreams or imagination?

Right now I’ve been doing this new workout program my boyfriend created for me. I suffer. It hurts me. It pushes me. I have to fight the fifty excuses screaming at me every morning, telling me to go back to bed, taunting me that it isn’t working, I’m wasting my time.  Yes, knowing I’m about to go suffer, I get up, put on my gym clothes, tie my hair in a ponytail, and then drive to the gym.  EVERY exercise hurts, and then the last of each set where I have to take myself to muscle failure – makes me want to throw up. But, I do WHATEVER it takes. I quit focusing on the pain I’m feeling and KNOW I’m going to feel throughout the day and then what I’m going to feel through the night and tomorrow, and focus on the next success.

Do I love to suffer or feel pain? Hell NO!  But, what I do love more than the pain and suffering is being strong, healthy, and active.  I’m 48. My body is ready to start resting, slow down, take it easy – but I’m not.  I’ve got too many dreams, too many things I still have yet to do.

I got pissed off and frustrated the other day because I wasn’t strong enough to carry my kayak on my own.  I’m going to fix that problem, watch me. I’ll do whatever it takes. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m thinking about it. I love to kayak, I have a kayak, I have an SUV to carry my kayak, and I am not going to let being small and weak stop me from enjoying something I love to do. And I refuse to depend on someone else to do it.  Don’t get me wrong, if someone else is around, I’ll gladly and appreciatively use their help, but I’m not going to let the lack of help being available stop me.

I made a promise to myself a few years ago I wasn’t going to let the actions or inactions of others stop me anymore for doing what I want and love. I spent more than 20 years practically begging to go to the Grand Canyon. We had the means, time, and opportunity, but no one else wanted to go, so I allowed my dream to be put on the back burner with an empty promise of the next year – that never came.  So, I made a vow to myself to not let other’s stop me from doing what I want anymore. I still haven’t made it to the Grand Canyon, but believe me – It’s in the planning stage. As soon as I have vacation time – I’m going to see that big hole in the ground, even if I have to go alone. I’ll do WHATEVER IT TAKES. I’m going to find a way to load and unload my kayak ON MY OWN – whatever it takes.

In my writing – I do whatever it takes. Writing is hard, it takes devotion, time, patience, bleeding your soul onto the page …and if I want publication – more hard work, being “on” in order to market, promote, engage, sitting at hot festivals, sitting on panels with a bunch of snobbish people, wearing thick skin from the opinionated bad reviews or advice from everyone in or outside the business who thinks they can write your stuff better than you.  Dealing with people …sigh.  BUT, I LOVE writing, it’s as much a part of me as breathing so when I set my mind to a project – I’ll do whatever it takes to see it fly onto the page and then out into the universe. I’m not going to let those things or people stop me.

In work, in relationships, paying my bills, providing for myself, life in general … I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ve only got me. I have people in my life who care about me, but I, ALONE, am responsible for myself.  I’m an independent single woman. I don’t have a husband to share the burdens of this life. My kids are grown and they have themselves to care for, and it’s not their job to take care of me. I have no parents. So, I must do whatever it takes. So, watch me do just that.

Till next time

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

Unforgivable

Unforgivable

 

Is there really anything that is unforgiveable? Something so bad that we just can’t accept or pardon?  For me – YES.  There are definitely things, acts, decisions, and actions in this world that I will never be able to forgive, not even for myself if I did them.  Before you start throwing your judgment darts at me – let me remind you that I’m not God.  I am a human being, filled with both the capability and capacity to do good AND evil, to love and hate, to judge and forgive.

However what does it really mean to forgive? What makes the things we do either good or evil? How are our actions and thoughts placed upon the morality scale?  Who made the scale? Is the scale the same for everybody else?

This is the cause of many wars, mankind’s idea of what is right, wrong, moral, and divine.  It’s a battle of ego – who’s right and wrong, whose god is the real god, whose god is the false god, and of what is truth and what is defined as opinion.  For me, and I can only speak for me, we don’t really need those ‘written’ laws, decrees, commandments to know the difference between right and wrong.  We know it the moment we think or commit an act if it’s wrong or evil, and that’s when we start looking for excuses and loopholes to try and feel better about our decisions. Getting caught or being sorry has nothing to do with forgiveness.

I have done evil. I have done thing in my life that when I did them, I knew it was wrong, not because someone told me, or a religion commanded and declared it so, but from this gut feeling, this sinking knowledge deep inside that let me know it was wrong.  I have acted in anger, jealousy, hurt, selfishness and pride – and cast my judgement on others for doing the same. There may have been reasons, but there is never any excuse.

Am I unforgivable?  I can’t speak for others or for God, only for myself. It has taken me years to forgive myself for some of the things I’ve said or done, there are some other things I’m still working on making right. Not by saying, “I’m sorry.” No, by studying my true intentions, my true motives, my true desires and trying to understand and learn, to see the consequences of my choices, and how those choices affected others and the world around me. Did I learn something from them? I can’t even begin forming the idea of forgiveness until I understand and face the dirty, ugly truth of my actions.

Forgiveness isn’t a word, it’s a state of being. I can’t just give it to myself, I must step into the truth of it, and I can’t do that unless I first face my offenses, face my actions, face my consequences in TRUTH. Then … when I look upon myself, my true self, I have another choice …to love myself anyway – as the dirty, sinful, hateful, pathetic and weak being that I am – love myself anyway.  I am NOT talking about making an excuse – but really seeing the truth of me. THEN – and only then will forgiveness become available. Some of us have done so much for so long our souls no longer cry out and we no longer feel any shame or pain.  In essence we have lost our souls and are dead inside. Forgiveness is for the soul, so it’s not going to be available for the soulless.

I’m sure we’ve all done things that we are not proud, that we are ashamed, that haunt our souls – for those of us who still have them. I’m sure we’ve all lost our minds sometime in moments of weakness, moments of pain, and moments of fear, leading us to do unspeakable things. Ignoring our truth doesn’t make them go away. Denying truth doesn’t make things in a state of have never happened.

Seek forgiveness and free your soul. All – not some of us, but ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.  The difference is who stays there and who rises. Don’t lose your soul. Don’t ignore your truth. Seek and find your forgiveness. Only YOU can do it.  Let stop worrying about what others have done – and look to ourselves.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing, Philosophy, Poetry, Quotes, Relationships, Review, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy of Writing

The Joy of Writing

I’ve read many of stories or books that start the title “The Joy of Writing,” but never really consigned myself to the concept.  Writing was anything but a joy. It was exciting, thrilling, frustrating, stressful, mind-blowing, and confusing and every other emotion on the spectrum from one extreme to the other. But, joy?

Do we categorize breathing as a joy? Or how about urination or yawning, or sleeping?  Well, I can see where sleeping might sometimes be a joy.  But how can we categorize natural occurrences, something that so much a part of you and instinctual be considered a joy?    Writing is part of who I am. Constructing a story is a part of my every day, every moment existence. I see the world as one long epic tale, and each major event it’s chapters, and each segment a paragraph, a sentence, or a word. Those moments are what makes up life and as a writer I am a recorder, a scribe, and an observer of life.

I don’t just write for fun, or therapy, or clarity, or need. I write because it’s who I am.  It’s like being a mother. While there are all the books out there in the world that tell us how to be a mother, I found out that being a mother is a natural thing, a instinctual thing.  My choice comes into play by deciding what type of mother to be – nurturing or neglectful, etc.  I am a writer and the only choice I have within this vocation is what kind of writer to be – and if you’ve followed me for any length of time you will find that I am a multiple-faceted writer – a writing diamond. I’ve dabbled in journaling, blogging, novels, novellas, epics,  punditry, op-eds, technical, business professional, auto-biographical, legal, free verse, poetry, screenplays, reviews, editorials, memes, short stories, flash fiction,  and songwriting lyrics. If I think about it, I’m sure I could add a few more in there – but I think you get the picture. Writing is just something I do. It’s natural.

Yet, writing isn’t without its own rules, standards and styles.  So, I have to learn them. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are just basic skills needed to be a writer, because after that comes tense, perspective, pacing, style, structure, threads, inciting scenes, prologues, forwards, and on and on and on.  These are skills developed over time and experience.

So, how is writing a joy?  I suppose the joy of writing is the ability to do it, and love doing it in the first place. I do love writing. It’s a part of me that comes alive and thrives within me. I am a collector of stories, a re-teller of tales, a silver-tongue, a scribe, a keeper of legends. How can one not find joy in that? When we leave this world, all we leave behind is our story.  Who will read it or hear it unless it has been written? I don’t need a Sorcerer’s Stone to make me immortal – I just need to write. While my body will leave this place one day and turn to dust, my stories will remain until it is no longer retold or pages are lost.

That’s one thing that makes me sad – the forgotten of those that were here before.  I sometimes walk graveyards and whisper to the headstones, “Hey, I see your name. You existed. You once were here and you once lived.” I know it’s probably crazy, but I don’t want to be forgotten. I don’t others to be forgotten. I don’t our history to be forgotten. I am an orphan and often feel forgotten in the world, so I write. Oh, the joy of writing.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

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On a New Road

On a New Road

I honestly never thought I’d be here – on this road that I’ve found myself meandering. I doubt often, keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, keep waiting for someone to tell me that I’m dreaming and none of this is for real that I’ve somehow made it all up in my head.  But that bad news never comes and I keep moving down this road.

Is it love? Yes, love is involved, but it’s so much more than that, so much deeper than that concept. I can love, have loved the unlovable, have had unrequited love, have lost love, and I’ve had some pretty fucked up kind of love when it comes to family.  No, love isn’t the issue.  I have no question that I’m in love – I just question the kind of love I’m feeling – because it’s all of them.

Honestly, for the second time in my life I don’t love ‘in spite of’ something, or for some circumstance. I don’t love out of obligation or passion or loneliness. Yes, we have passion, but we’re free. No, this love is deeper than passion because it instills peace and hope.  I don’t want to change anything about him or about us, yet being with him instills change in us both.  He doesn’t make me feel like I am not good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or not badass enough, or from the wrong side of the tracks, or too good, too smart, too awkward – yet at the same time when I’m with him I feel beautiful, and smart, and badass, and more than enough, and silly, and safe.  It’s not in the words he says to me, because he doesn’t tell me senseless words – or colorful words to try and make me feel better. He doesn’t stroke my ego.  He often just tells me like it is, even if it’s something I don’t want to hear. Most of all, when I’m with him I feel safe, relaxed, and free to be me – all of me, the woman that doesn’t have to try so hard to always be perfect. I can be my silly self.  I talk his freakin’ ears off because I don’t feel inhibited in any way when I’m talking to him, or when I’m around him, nor do I feel judged.

He knows my darkest secrets, my greatest fears, my worst flaws …and yet he stays and looks at me the same way he did when he had only heard the great things about me. He doesn’t try to change the way I feel, the way I believe, the way I look at the world. He doesn’t tell me I’m wrong or stupid when he disagrees with me. Oh, he’s not perfect – I see him too – and all his flaws and I still think he’s beautiful. I love looking in his eyes, because I see a deep soul – with lots of wounds, lots of scars, lots of wear and tear, a lot of character, and many dark stories – but beautiful nonetheless. I see a caring heart, a nurturing soul, a warrior. I believe he would die or kill to protect me, to keep me from harm without a second of hesitation or concern for himself.  Honestly, I’ve never felt that before. I’ve always felt I had to protect myself or do the protecting.

How has that happened? Where did he come from? I wasn’t ready to meet him but I’m really glad I did. So, yeah – I’m in love and it scares the hell out of me. But if you know me – I face the things that scare me – and I’ll face this too.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Musing, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never Quit Never Surrender

Never Surrender

 

I’d love to say that I’ve never quit anything, succeeded at everything I’ve set my mind to accomplish, but that would be a lie. I have quit. I have ran away. I’ve turned my back on a dream, on people, and even on life at times. I know how to quit. But, I also know the cost of quitting and it’s a lot more than what have cost me to dig in and keep going. I’m not just talking about the good things I’ve quit, but the bad as well.  I’ve quit smoking, I’ve quit bad relationships, and I’ve quit bad eating and exercising habits. Those choices may have been for my good, but they are under the category of quit.

So, to say “Never Quit” is to set a false expectation, a false reality, because there are times I will need to quit, there are things I will need to quit in order to succeed, in order to move forward, in order to protect and thrive. But what do I replace it with, because the sentiment is the same for those things I do want to achieve, I do want to succeed, and I want to conquer, because in order to do so I have to have this ‘never quit’ attitude or else I fail when it gets hard. Anything of value is going to get hard, guaranteed. What is the true war cry, what is the true sentiment, what truth can I grab hold of with both hands to be my strength and my shield as I go through my challenge?

Perhaps, “Never Surrender” is the better sentiment.  To surrender, means to concede, yield, capitulate, give in or give up, to relinquish control, to cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.

I have goals, dreams, and objectives to complete in this life – and they’re hard. My workout this morning is hard. My job is hard. Survival is hard. Trying to maintain a healthy balance of everything is hard.  Each of those goals and objectives has an opponent, an adversary, an enemy, and I must maintain control of my objective despite those difficulties. I cannot surrender or else I will lose everything I’ve worked for so far.

I made a meme this morning that hit my soul – that gave me that little extra boost to stay faithful and strong to my dreams. It says, “If you quit now …you’ll end up right back where you first began. And when you first began, you were desperate to be right where you are now.  See how far you’ve come? Keep going. Don’t Stop. Don’t Surrender. It’s in this moment, with this decision, that will determine if you fail or succeed …until the next moment when you must face the decision all over again.”

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dream, Dreams, Faith, family, Health & Fitness, Hope, love, Musing., Quotes, relationship, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Roadblocks, Detours & Reactions

Roadblocks

I’m a planner. It’s that simple. EVERYTHING great I’ve ever achieved in my life came from envisioning what I wanted, making up my mind that I was going to have it, counting the costs to get it, and then constructing a plan of execution.  EVERYTHING.

But, like all of life – things don’t always go as planned. We find ourselves headed toward our destination only to come across roadblocks and detours. They are always unwanted, but are they really unexpected?  They usually are, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. We should always have a plan B, or C, or D, before we ever take a step with plan A.

I don’t like roadblocks and detours. My destination is clear, and I want my path to be clear. It never is. Roadblocks and detours are one of my triggers. Not because I can’t handle the change in the plan. Quite the opposite, I thrive in change, in uncertainty, and in chaos. It’s how I’ve lived my whole life. I’m OCD and organizing chaos is one of my gifts. But, it doesn’t mean I don’t react negatively when chaos comes and disorganizes what I’ve already put in place. It’s like spending a lot of time setting up dominos to fall just right and have something come in before the setup is complete and knocks them all down. I don’t like it and it causes me to grieve the work I’ve already invested, the dream I already dared to dream, and disappointment at the expectations I’ve already developed. It triggers my anxiety.  Not because of fear, but from the residual pain of 48 years of disappointments.  In the same measure my anticipation for residual joy is just as great, my hope for a deep love is real, because I’ve had it and have experienced it before.

I learned a long time ago that I can’t control everything around me (believe me – I try), or always what happens to me, or what happens in the world around me. The world has Murphy, Free Will, and Intent (whether good or evil), Natural Law, Cause & Effect, Good and Bad, and Chaos. All those things have the power to cause good or bad things to come into my life, cross my path, or affect me whether directly or indirectly – completely out of my control. I can always speculate why something happens to one of us, and not another, etc. That only drives me to frustration trying to figure it out.  I accepted a long time ago that sometimes bad shit happens to good people, and good shit happens to bad people, and bad shit happens to bad people, and good shit happens to good people. Good and bad shit happens, period.

But, what I do have control is how I respond to the shit that happens to and around me, to the roadblocks and detours that come along my road to the goals I want to achieve. I don’t like them. I don’t want them. I try to avoid them. BUT, I don’t let them stop me.  I just find another way, take a less traveled path, a harder path, one that requires more skill or sacrifice, but I keep moving toward my goal, never taking my eyes off my destination.

I had a major roadblock pop yesterday and it triggered me, and there were a few moments where the anxiety overwhelmed me and I found myself in a panic.  Not because I couldn’t handle the situation – because the situation has been handled. I have taken care of myself my whole life. I have faced every adversity or problem on my own. I always have, it’s actually one of my greatest strengths, but it’s also one of my greatest weaknesses. While it has sharpened my survival skills (something I think a majority of our millennials sorely lack), it’s also built a wall of self-reliance that keeps people on the outside. My anxiety doesn’t come from having a problem to face. A problem is just an opportunity to discover a solution, to use my mind, skill and creativity to achieve something. No, the problem wasn’t the problem, the true problem was that I felt completely alone. That isn’t the truth, but it’s what I felt and it’s what triggered my anxiety.

I don’t fear failure. I don’t fear adversity. I don’t fear struggle. I don’t fear pain. I fear – shutting down emotionally, hiding behind my walls, being so fucking stubborn and independent to not let anyone in, to not trust that someone would be there for me. I fear it because I’ve been there behind that wall, in that numb state of shutting down my emotions so I don’t feel, for a very, very, very long time.  It protected me at different times in my life – and I’m grateful I was able to disconnect – to survive. But, I don’t want that anymore. I’m so scared to not feel, to not trust, to not love, because that’s not the life I want. I want to feel EVERYTHING. My Anxiety and Fear practically screamed at me that nobody cared and nobody would be there for me, making me realize I’m still that defensive little girl that won’t let anyone touch her.

I don’t NEED anyone. I handle my own shit – always have – always will. I WANT someone. I want to be able to turn around and somebody be right there beside me AS I face my roadblocks and detours, not for them to remove them for me – but be there beside me as I remove them.  But, in that moment – I felt completely alone and that familiar wall slammed hard against me. I cried sitting in my car for a good ten minutes.  My true roadblock wasn’t my car troubles, but my trust troubles. But, I face what I fear.  My hands literally trembled so hard it took me a few times to dial the number and call the people that are important to me, the people who I would stand with and support in their times of need, trouble, or pain, people who I love and would fight to the ends of the world to protect, to help, and sacrifice everything I have to make sure they get what they need. I just don’t expect it in return – ever – from anyone. That’s a bitter pill to swallow.

When I contacted those important people, I passed on some of those frustrations– but not on the truth – I masked them behind the car situation.  Will I ever trust anyone? I want to, I really do, more than anything in this world.  I want to know for sure that someone out there in this universe really loves and cares for me. Is there any hope? I keep saying I don’t need anyone to save me – and I don’t in a physical, financial, or intellectual way.  But, emotionally – I need a fucking hero.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

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