Instructional

Finding My Purpose

Finding My Purponse

Feeling lost is no picnic. I really think it is the leading cause of depression. It’s at least a feeling I have to deal with from time to time. I’m a pretty positive person, full of energy, jam-packed with ambition, and overflowing with drive …on most days. I’m almost always busy, almost always going, almost never sitting still, and almost never bored …almost. My brain NEVER rests. There are some days I feel lost, drained, lonely, and completely unfocused. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.  That’s our little secret.

But, why?  Why do I go through those emotions?  Is it chemical? Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it genetic? Is it psychosomatic? Is it part of my PTSD? Is it hormonal fluctuations as I age further into menopause? It could be one, all, or a combination. I don’t always know the root cause. But, and this is a big but (sort of like my backside), I notice most often those feelings of depression, being tired, drained and lonely surface most when I’m without a purpose, when I’m in the transition from one purpose or the other, when life shifts and my needs and wants change – because that’s when my purpose changes, when my goals change, when my priorities have to be rearranged, when my emotions fluctuate and when my daily stresses and requirements shift.

I am a blessed, healthy, smart, capable, gifted and well-loved woman. I ‘should’ be happy ALL THE TIME.  I’m passionate …about EVERYTHING, I’m an empath, an artist, and a philosophical thinker – so I feel deeply about EVERYTHING – good and bad.  My joy is amazing, yet my grief is brutal, my love is overwhelming, yet my mistrust is deep-rooted, my belief is strong, yet my faith is full of doubt, I’m a walking, breathing contradiction.  But, God have mercy when I find purpose – because when I do, my focus becomes laser-sharp, my ambition becomes great, my gifts kick into action, and there’s literally NOTHING I can’t do that I set my heart and mind to accomplish.  My mustard-seed faith becomes activated, my strength builds, my courage grows, and I become unstoppable.

I amaze myself sometimes when I think of the things I’ve accomplished, the things I’ve overcome, the things I’ve survived, and the experiences (both good and bad) that I’ve had, and how they have shaped the woman I am today.  I’m only 48, but I’ve already lived an amazingly horrific wonderful scary exciting life.  I want to live another 48 years filled with even more adventures, accomplishments, experiences, and love …most of all love. Yet, I’ve done most of it alone, even when I was married or in close relationships I chased my passions alone.

I have loved very deeply, and I want to be loved just as deeply. I want to find a purpose that fuels me, but for this half of my life I want to share that purpose, drive, and passion with someone who loves me, wants me, and wants share their passions with me.  I have had many purposes in my life – daughter, sister, protector, mother, fiancé, wife, friend, student, cheerleader, fighter, worker, manger, boss, entrepreneur, reporter, gamer, survivor, teacher, humanitarian, coordinator, leader, singer/song-writer/musician, author, speaker, coach, editor, agent, buyer, step-mother, and girlfriend.  What’s next? When I find my next purpose – watch out, because I will be unstoppable.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

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

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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

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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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

A Warrior Weeps

for Scott

 

In silence, I saw a long shadow cast upon the ground as a warrior stood proud and tall,

With one long look upon her breathless form, to his knees I saw this fierce fighter fall.

No longer stood the man so brave and tough, but a little boy took his place as he cried,

He fought through the grief and the pain that overwhelmed him, to say to her his final good-byes.

He held her hand, caressed her face, and through teary eyes looked upon her full of love and grace,

This was his first friend, his guiding light, and in the storms of his life she was his anchor,

This was his first ever love, his North Star

… this was his mother.

How was he to face another day without her, to breathe, or even speak out loud?

Did he do enough, did he say enough, could he be enough to really make her proud?

As he kissed her forehead, I saw a broken-hearted little boy down on his knees so small.

Yet, silence and noise, reality and dream, gave way as this warrior once again stood tall.

In Remembrance of Elizabeth A. Vanaria – who passed away Saturday at 1:00 am on July 6, 2019

Elizabeth A. Vanaria

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, family, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musing, poem, relationship, Relationships, 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

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