friends

Keep Moving

Keep Moving

While my imagination loves fairy tales, magic, and the miraculous, my mind understands reality, and the reality is that if I want something or I want something to happen in my life I have to do it, to make it happen, make the choices needed, and then act on them.  Money doesn’t just magically appear in my bank account – never, not once did I find any extra currency in there – though I swear often that there’s an invisible troll taking a toll every time I use it.  Fat doesn’t magically dissolve in my body, though I sometimes think it magically appears. We know that isn’t the truth either.  Relationship’s don’t just begin or end without effort and/or neglect.  That reminds me of a meme I saw one time about cheating where a guy trips and falls on top of a woman exclaiming, “It was an accident!”  No, the accident happened with the momentum of texting, talking, smiling, and flirting.  That’s when the cheating first began.  By the time he ‘tripped’, he was already deep into the betrayal. There’s no accident about it.

What I’m trying to convey here is that I have to make a plan and set goals, make preparations for those plans and goals, make the choices that will help me achieve those plans and goals, and then have the strength and discipline to fulfill them regardless of how I feel or of convenience.  Nothing just magically happens.  Check marks don’t just appear.  Yes, sometimes the universe will bring me a surprise, but for the most part there are laws that govern this world much the way our natural laws govern our science and nature.  Facts are facts. Those laws are that we reap what we’ve sown.  The key is …we have to sow. We have to plant. We have to water. We have to make sure we get the right amount of sunlight.  We have to protect our gardens.  We have to pull up our own weeds.  We have to make sure we put the right kind of shit in the ground. We can’t plant one thing, yet expect it to grow something else, though we do. Man, I can’t tell you how many times I see this on a daily basis – this belief in reverse magic, in magical harvests, in expecting and wanting what we didn’t plant, earn or deserve.  It’s crazy.  Our society is so franchised, so drive-through, so … I want it my way, and I want it now, but don’t ask me to plant, grow, etc. I want YOU to prepare it for me.  I just want to lay back in my perfect body, consume what I want, when I want, not face a consequence, not lift a finger, not work for it, and yet have the strength and blessings of the gods.  How arrogant we are.  Yet, we will tell ourselves that’s NOT what we expect.

Come on, be real. Isn’t it what we expect?

This world is a beautiful and ugly place at the same time.  Over the past few weeks I have seen many, many, many examples of love, compassion, charity, respect, and bravery from people – and I’ve seen selfishness, hate, fear, depravity and gluttonous greed. Life is complex and complicated in its simplicity.  But somewhere in the balance there is peace.

I have to keep moving. I have to keep working, and hoping, and praying, and expecting, and sowing, and reaping.  I have to keep making choices every day that are going to help me or hinder me, bring me life or frustration, to help me thrive or knock me off course. If I fall, I have to choose to get back up.  If I run, I have to learn to rest.  If I fear, I have to be brave.  If I’m empty, I have to fill myself. If I have the opportunity to love, I choose love. I have to keep dreaming, I have to keep planning, and I have to keep seeking my balance, my peace, and my happiness.  As much as I wish I could say a magic word and it be done, I know that’s not the reality of it – and I have to keep moving.  In this selfish world, my joy comes from choosing to love, to find purpose, to give, and to serve.  I have to choose it. I have to do it.  I decide to make my bed first thing in the morning, to love instead of run in fear, and then take the next step, and then the step after that, and so on.  I have to keep moving – THAT’s when I’m most happy.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, 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

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

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

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

Life is Hard – Face it Anyway

life_is_hard_logo

 

I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but life is hard. At least it is for me. NOTHING is easy. Even my workout this morning was hard, but that’s not the thing on which I have to stay focused. No, when I mention life is hard, that’s just stating a fact and a truth.  It is hard. Really hard.  Even the good stuff is often hard. Getting up in the morning, opening my eyes to face another day – that is fucking hard.  BUT – how I face it   – that’s up to me.

I’d love to say that every day I wake up feeling like Tony the Tiger and everything is …GRRRRREAT!  But, that would be a lie and I’m all about the truth. There are some days I wish I didn’t wake up at all. There are some days I wake up and I’m ready to conquer the whole world. There are other days I want to burn the whole damned world down and all the people in it, because most often people suck.  (Hang on  …there’s a good message here.)

Life is a compilation of a series of events, some good, some bad, some really, really good, and some just fucking nightmares.  Nothing makes you see life in its complex simplicity more than losing someone you love or failing at a dream you’ve spent the majority of your life pursuing. These tragic events causes us to face our mortality.  We don’t like to acknowledge our mortality.  We love the illusion that we are invincible, immortal, and immune. But, we are not.

I’m an observer, a scribe, someone who watches, learns, learns how to learn, perceives and records. What I’ve discovered is that humanity is really complex.  One observation I’ve seen is: MOST people (myself included) spend a whole lot of effort, time, and money trying to hide from the pain and disappointments of life.  But, pain is a part of life and something we should face so we can heal.  We get disappointed because we had expectations.  We get our hearts broken because we first filled them with opportunities of love.  We get frustrated at our failures because we dared to succeed.  YET, we also feel pride at a job well done.  We smile when we experience love. We laugh when we feel joy.  We appreciate beauty because we have seen the ugliness in this world. There’s a balance to everything.  As Einstein says, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Don’t get lost in despair, but also don’t try to rush it either. Feel the pain. Know the pain you feel is because of the love you once had – and then move on.  Don’t stay still. Don’t let your worry, sorrow and pain rob you of your faith, joy and happiness.  Give it it’s time – and no more. Don’t hide it, try to shove it down, or ignore it – that heals nothing. Feel it. Accept it. Face it!

I have a new fitness goal and I’m excited about it.  I’m also apprehensive because I know to reach my goal I’m going to have to go through a lot of pain. It’s going to hurt.  Damn, is it going to hurt!!! I’m almost in tears thinking about the pain that’s to come.  BUT, I’m excited about what is on the OTHER SIDE of that pain. I’m excited about the good things that are also with me WHILE I’m going through that pain.  I’m excited about the support, love and encouragement I’m getting as I go through my journey. THAT people – that right there is what makes it worth facing the pain. Life is hard and full of different kinds of pain – truth – fact!  But, I’m not afraid.  I’m more afraid NOT TO TRY. I’m not even afraid to fail – because I know failure is a possibility.  BUT, I’m afraid NOT TO TRY.

I’m in a new relationship.  I know this new courtship can also fail, but I can’t let my fear of getting hurt again stop me from putting my heart back out there. There’s no success without risk. There’s no reaction without action. Yes, I could get my heart broke. Yes, it’s possible he will never love me or choose me. But, it’s also possible he will. It’s possible I have found a partner to share all the ups and down in this life with me so I don’t have to keep walking it alone. It’s possible I’ve found happiness. It’s possible I’ve met someone as tough as I am, who will fight as hard as I do, who isn’t afraid to go through the darkness and dance in the light with me.  It’s possible.  But, it isn’t possible unless I face it, unless I jump in and take a chance, and unless I let my walls down.  I’m afraid NOT TO TRY.

Life is hard. On those days I don’t even want to open my eyes, I do it anyway. When my body hurts and doesn’t want to move, I get up anyway. When Fear whispers its lies in my ears and grips me hard to face another challenge, I face it anyway. When Doubt tells me I can’t, I do it anyway. When Anxiety tells me I will fail, I try anyway. When Despair tells me I’m going to get hurt, I take a chance anyway. When Pessimism tells me I’m wasting my time, I’m optimistically hopeful anyway. When Insecurity tells me I’m not worthy, I love and appreciate myself anyway. When Rejection reminds me not even my own parents wanted me – to not waste my time and just give up, I take a chance and love anyway. When Death takes away my loved ones and my light and inspiration are stolen from this world, I inspire and seek inspiration anyway.

Again – I’m not afraid to fail or get hurt. I’m afraid to never try. I’m afraid to be one of the cowards of this world that can’t get their heads out of their own asses, who can’t swim in the deep waters because they are too shallow, who put too much emphasis on shit that don’t matter.  It’s vanity.  It’s as Solomon wrote – a chasing of the wind. I see lives nearly destroyed every day because of vanity and fear.  I don’t want vanity in my life. I’m not shallow. I don’t understand the ignorance of shallow thinking.  I don’t understand cowardice. I am afraid but I face my fears ANYWAY.  I don’t understand how people allow their lives to be cheapened by the unimportant things – yet I see them sell out every day and it’s everywhere.  It’s the disease that kills us all. I’m no coward. Life is hard, but I’m harder and I face it anyway.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Faith, friends, Life, love, memes, Musing, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vain Words

i-fall-in-love-with-souls-not-faces-3185446

I heard a man tell a woman yesterday that she was very beautiful. I think it’s nice to hear a person compliment someone else.  I try to compliment the people I care about on a regular basis, to not only let them know how much I care about them, but that they are important me, and I think about them, and consider them valuable.  I want to encourage the good gifts I see in them. There’s not enough of that in this world. We are so quick to judge, condemn, and/or use compliments as a form of manipulation. We want to lay blame.

On the whole, as a society, we don’t value our words. We make promises we don’t keep. We profess affection we don’t actually feel. We placate, manipulate and eviscerate with our words to justify ourselves and our actions, or in retaliation of our own insecurities and pain – pushing others down because we believe it’s the only way to succeed.  We are politicians, pundits, and word panderers.  If we want a strong society, we need to educate in truth – even if the truth hurts, is ugly, or isn’t popular.  We need discover discipline and self-responsibilities. We need honest encouragement. Simplified – we need to do the hard shit regardless of how we feel or what we want – so we can feel fulfilled and satisfied with what we want and how we live.

The problem with the aforementioned man’s compliment was this:  I knew the woman he boldly proclaimed as beautiful. While she has a pretty face and thin body, she’s far from anything I would consider beautiful. She is cruel, manipulative, and has such low self-esteem and daddy issues her life is a complete mess. She’s a drama-filled, drug-addled train wreck. Not trying to be mean here, just telling the truth.  I’ve known her for years, have tried to help her, but she’s a walking sociopathic disaster and doesn’t care who she hurts.  I wouldn’t wish her on my worst enemy, yet I often hear her being told how beautiful she is by stupid shallow men. She has a skewed view of beauty just like the men who reinforce it.

I also saw the meme again that says, “I fall in love with souls, not faces.” I really wish that was true for most people, but it’s not. Often not even for the people who say they believe and agree with the concept.  I fell in love with my ex because of that phrase, mainly because I believed he did love souls and not faces, but he was a liar. He’s just as shallow as that man who complimented that ‘pretty’ vampire (I call this type soul-suckers – people who are empty and dead inside and with their selfish narcissism will suck the life out of someone else to try and fill the emptiness within themselves).  He had a beautiful soul that loved him, but it wasn’t enough. I’m not trying to lay blame, I’m just speaking truth. He wasn’t a man of his word, always made promises he didn’t keep, always had ‘good intentions’ but no action to follow. He was full of empty words, constant failure, and was undependable. I didn’t hate that he lied to me. I hated that I learned to not trust him.

I’m also not making these statements because I’m a bitter, lonely, plain Jane, jealous of the attention other women receive.  On the contrary, I am told quite often by men and women that I am beautiful.  Unfortunately, most of those compliments come from strangers who don’t know me and only see a pretty face.  But, that compliment that comes from those who do know me, who knows my character, and who can see my soul – those words mean the world to me and have power over me and I appreciate them.

So, be careful what you say and to whom to say them. Mean what you say. Let your words have power. Be a man or woman of your word. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be honest. Be truthful. Be generous and look for the positive in those in your circle. Be free with your compliments (as long as they’re true) and swim in the deep waters. Get away from the shallow vampires – there’s only death there.  Don’t tell ugly people they’re beautiful. Don’t tell beautiful souls they’re ugly. Don’t say the words, “I Promise” or “I Love You” unless you mean them. Our words have the power to heal or destroy, to build or tear down, to empower or to weaken. Don’t lie – even if the truth hurts – just don’t lie. Call a liar a liar, a vampire a vampire, an asshole an asshole – you might just save their soul. But if you don’t care about their soul, keep your mouth shut.  The world is full of politicians and liars, don’t add to their number.

Know this …if I compliment you, I mean it.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musing, Musing., Musings, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stories We Tell

 

 

Last week I listened to a podcast on #MikeDrop; Navy SEAL Mike Ritland’s show, a podcast I’ve grown to love to listen to while I’m working.  In this episode, Ritland interviewed a woman named Emily Joy “GunbunnyActual” Hill. This badass was an Army Apache helicopter pilot and is as tough and vulgar as any sailor I’ve ever heard. At first I was a little reluctant to listen to the podcast, especially when I saw it was 4 hours long.  Not because it was with a woman, but because it wasn’t about a SEAL.  I’m in SEAL mode at the moment, learning, studying, listening, and being amazed at this branch of our Armed Special Forces. However, the Army will always hold a special place in my heart, and I wanted to see the insights this woman had to offer. I wanted to know what this Navy SEAL found so interesting about her. I was not disappointed.

Ms. Joy, who I’ll refer to as Gunbunny, came out of the gate flying, tossing around f-bombs like beaded necklaces in a Mardi-Gras parade. It sounded like she was fighting a head cold, sniffling into a napkin or two, or three, but she was also full of confidence and blunt honesty.  That got my attention right away.  I hate fake politeness.  It didn’t take long before she dropped the first of many, many hard subjects and truths into our laps when she started talking about being sexually molested by a family member when she was a young adult.

I struggled with wanting to turn the podcast off, or continue to listen. I have a hard time with victims, because victims often don’t face their shit. They lay blame, make excuses, and break beneath shame and low self-esteem and become weak and needy. I suppose it’s understandable … just not by me. It’s actually one of my triggers and I get angry around victims. I want to scream at them to suck it up, shut the fuck up, pull up their big girl britches, and fight for themselves – don’t let the world tell them they’re a victim; become a survivor, which only makes me a bully to already weak people. So, I tune it out, turn it off, or walk away. But, Gunbunny sounded strong and confident, so I stuck it out a little longer and I’m glad I did.  She has a terrible, sad, amazing and strong story to tell.  Her nerves are still raw, her voice quivered a time or two, and she struggled between what she wanted to say and what she thought was appropriate to say, but said what was in her heart anyway. So, I give her props. I became more impressed with her as the podcast went on – and 4 hours passed quickly.

But, she wasn’t the only inspiration during that podcast, Mike Ritland did an amazing job being kind, thoughtful, and respectful during the broadcast.  He didn’t TREAT her as a victim, he didn’t placate to her sensibilities or feelings, and he didn’t avoid the hard topic with kid gloves.  He wasn’t an asshole. I could tell at moments from the tenor of his voice that he struggled with some of the things she was telling him. A listener could tell he was hearing them for the first time. I could only imagine that warrior protector inside of him wanting to burst out and slay the world, defend the girl, and make things right struggle like Hell inside him. Yet, he kept his cool, and tackled some hard issues like rape, abuse, adoption, chauvinistic assholes, military demands and failures, women’s roles in special forces, death, struggles with identity and finding purpose AFTER service, etc.

This isn’t a podcast for everyone, but it’s one I wish everyone could hear.  I admire Gunbunny for her courage to tell her story, and I hope she continues to tell it even more, as often as she can. I don’t personally know her. She could be an asshole, or she could be a saint.  She’s human like the rest of us and had to deal with some hard shit.  I don’t know how her tomorrow’s are going to be, but I’m hoping she finds that purpose she’s seeking and with it a little peace.

If you’ve got the guts, check out the podcast. If you do, get some tissues.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Hop, Blog Post, Faith, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Philosophy, relationship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Victories

small-victories

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Someday

Optimist Vs Pessimist

 

I love this meme with Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Chuck is just being real, laying it all out there and sharing with his best friend that he understands his reality. He’s having that existential moment and struggle with his mortality, like we all face at times.  We are all going to die. Oh man, that is so simple, yet so profound, and really sucks!  Though I’ve technically died twice, there is a final death waiting for us all. We only get (1) one life.  ONE. That’s it! Sure, there are faiths, beliefs, and theories that profess we come back again and again – but right now, as me (Tonya), that stubborn-ass girl born on a hot July back in the early 70’s – I get ONE trip on this big blue ball as the flesh and blood woman sitting here this morning typing this blog post. But how long do I have? Who knows?  It could be another half century, or just a few more minutes.  We have no control over that. When our time comes – Death will come and claim his soul.  But what kind of soul will that be?

For a Beagle, Snoopy is one profound puppy.  He has this silent strength about him.  If you notice, Snoopy doesn’t respond with his emotions, but with controlled wisdom.  He is often silent, yet profound. I’m the opposite. I’m very vocal, passionate, and extremely expressive on both sides of the optimist and pessimist coin.  I’m like Chuck, always questioning the universe. Always pondering the mysteries of life. Always seeking the answers to my issues, but there’s not always a Lucy with her $.05 stand to answer my questions.  I believe a Snoopy has recently come into my life that doesn’t speak much, but when he does – he speaks with a profound truth – a controlled truth, a truth often void of emotional strings. It’s refreshing, and helps tether my emotional balloons.  I really hope he knows how much I appreciate him.

Snoopy’s wisdom reminds me to look at what’s important in life. It really hit home with me this morning.  Truth – is so profound in and of itself.  Snoops doesn’t deny the truth in Chuck’s proclamation, but affirms it.  TRUE – we will all die someday, BUT … man, wow …but on ALL the OTHER DAYS we will NOT.  Boom! That’s it folks.  THAT is the fucking key to life.  We have to live – really fucking live on all those other days. We have to choose to live. We have to choose to look at the bright side – the optimistic side.  Don’t worry about that ONE day, be in the moment of all the other days.  Take the leap. Eat the cake.  Kiss the girl. Be grateful and thankful and appreciate the world around you and the people that make those days good and bearable. Love each other. Love yourself. Stop hiding behind fear and stress and anxiety and pessimistic outlooks.  Cut the bullshit out of your life. Stop clinging to the excuses.  So what if you fuck up and make a mistake? So what if you get hurt? So what if you fail? Failure is just an opportunity to try again or try something else.  Jump!

My friend wrote something the other day about all the pessimistic fears, lies, and worries the mind, the body, and the ego says to us on a constant basis– but the heart had the key – the heart had the single optimistic profound message that outweighed the mind, body and ego all together.  “Hooyah” says the heart. Hooyah, indeed. Maybe my friend will send me his quote and I can share it with the world.  It’ll hit the center of your soul with its profound message.

There’s a world out there – and we all have a life to live.  Live it.  Chase those dreams. Time is limited, so live life now. James and I made so many dreams together, but his day came swiftly.  Since then, I’ve been doing the best I can to live the best life I can to fulfill those dreams we made knowing there’s no promise for tomorrow. I won’t wait for tomorrow, because I know the truth – sometimes my tomorrow, my day, will come. But on all the other days – it will not and so today I say, “Hooyah!”

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.