poem

On Pause

On Pause

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

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

Who is in control of my pause button?

Until tomorrow,

~T.L. Gray

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Directions

Directions

Ever had a destination, a goal, an objective, or something that needed to get done or somewhere you needed to be in life?  I can tell you won’t arrive by accident, it won’t happen on its own power, and I still haven’t figured out how to teleport like Harry Potter, so more than likely neither have you. No, the only way we can get to a particular goal/destination is directions.  We need directions. We need a roadmap to the destination of our goals.

I like to think of myself somewhat a gypsy, but that’s only wishful thinking.  I’m strategic, analytical, observant, scientific, and rational.  My free spirit I leave to my painting, but even in that – it’s still organized, planned, and executed.  Okay, I take it back. I’m NOTHING like a gypsy.

I have goals. If this damned pandemic doesn’t kill me, there’s still a lot of things left that I want to do, and the only way I know how to get them done, the only way that I’ve achieved the goals and destinations before this – was to make a plan and then carefully map out the directions to achieve the end goal.

So, I think it’s time I start making those plans again.  My problem isn’t that I don’t have any dreams, any plans, any wants, or any destinations, but that I have too many and need to make a decision and narrow them down.

It’s time.

One of those goals – is get back to this blog.

Here we go – step one – I blogged today.

Next direction in my goal for blogging – blog tomorrow.

Until tomorrow,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, Quotes, Relationships, respect, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good – Get After It

You’re probably going to see this a lot in the near future, because when I heard Jocko Willink give this little speech on his podcast on YouTube, it hit me – deep in my bones and it’s burning it’s way into the center of my soul.  I hear Jocko’s voice, but I feel God’s prodding.

Listen to it.

Listen to it again.

Listen to it every morning when you first wake up.

Listen to it with your heart and soul.

Listen to it with purpose.

Listen to it until you get it.

Then, when you get it …listen to it some more.

This speaks to the Warrior in me.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Hop, blogging, Dream, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Muses, music, Philosophy, poem, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, 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

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

 

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Find Something Worth Dying For …

 

Irish Gladiator

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Keeping it Balanced

 

Keeping it Balanced

Balance is the key to just about everything. As Einstein once wrote, “For every action there is an equal, but opposite, reaction.”  As human beings, we get off kilter, off center, off emotionally and off physically when we don’t have balance in every area of our life.  We need our Yin-Yang in balance and operate from a centered position.

If I don’t eat a balanced diet, I will become unhealthy. Each of our bodies are different and have different responses, metabolisms, and digestive systems.  It is my responsibility to understand my body, and become a good steward of it.  It is my temple. It is my duty to nurture and protect it, and treat it with respect and dignity. While it is perfectly okay to treat it with delicious delights that tantalize my tongue, I must balance it with the nutrition and dietary supplement it needs. I have a slow metabolism and vitamin deficiency.  It is MY responsibility to make sure I eat the right foods to give me energy and nutrition, and take the vitamins I need to keep me healthy.

If I don’t get a balanced workout when I exercise, I will either not see the results I need or see too much results in what I want or don’t want.  My body is a machine and needs constant maintenance, and that is my responsibility.  It’s no one else’s job to get me to workout.  I love encouragement and support, and having a workout partner helps keep me on track, but it comes down to making a choice and seeing it fulfilled.

I have to balance work and play.  If I work too much, that makes me a work-a-holic and neglectful of my body and soul.  If I play too much, I neglect responsibility and accountability.  I must balance the two.  It’s important to have a job or career that gives a sense of purpose and pride and sharpens the skills within me to help me provide for my wants and needs.  It’s also important to chase my dreams and passions. They are important too.  Having a sense of purpose is important. Having drive and passion are important, but I must keep them in balance or they will become the harbingers of destruction or addiction.  Nothing hurts worse than having no purpose.

And then there is love and friendship … and those too must remain in balance. There are extremes from neglectful to obsessive, from fantastical to practical, and from underwhelming to over-bearing. Balance is key.  Love and friendship are important.  Any good relationship must have reciprocal feelings – a balance of give and take.  When there is unbalance, it becomes painful and destructive to both sides.

Take time and look at life and see if things are in balance. If it’s too good to be true or just underwhelming – then it’s not in balance.  Seek balance in everything.  When someone tells you they are afraid to feel something, afraid to do something, or afraid to commit to something – run because there is no balance and there will be no peace.  They’re vampires – dead things seeking to such the life out of you until you are dead too.  Many people speak balance – but where there is no love, no passion, no drive, no responsibility, no faithfulness, no diligence, or no duty … there is no balance. Try driving on unbalanced tires – that’s how an unbalanced life feels.  I’m seeking balance.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

Categories: Blog Post, blogging, Faith, family, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, poem, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Make Me Laugh

 

Make Me Laugh

Want to steal my heart? It’s not hard. It’s simple – make me laugh.  Be silly. Make funny faces. Do silly dances. Share silly memes.  Dress up in silly costumes. Stay clever shit.  Look at the bright side. Snort when you laugh. Pee on yourself if necessary, but laugh.

Life is hard. Every day is a struggle to fulfill our responsibilities to ourselves, our friends, our families, our communities, and our world. We grind and grind and grind and grind. It’s our curse. It’s our burden to bear.

Life is full of struggles and atrocities and sometimes pure evil. I feel all of it down to the very center of my being.  I grieve for the broken, the abused, the neglected, the tortured, the hungry, the homeless, the fatherless, the orphans, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the forgotten, the battered, the lost, the weak, the addict, the dying, the bullied and the rejected.  I feel the pain, I taste the earth’s salty tears. I’m not blind to them. No, I am very aware of them – and because I feel so deeply and love so passionately, I’m often overwhelmed with grief.

So, make me laugh.  Show a little kindness. Stand tough, stay firm, fight the good fight, and do what is necessary to protect, to guard, to save, and to defend – but don’t forget to live, to laugh and to love.  Power to love and to laugh in the midst of this cruel world is the greatest power.

Don’t be idealistic.  Don’t be unrealistic. Don’t be a bleeding heart and shut your eyes to the truth to embrace an ideological fairy tale with unrealistic expectations. Leave that shit for the fantasy books.  Make REAL observations. See the UGLY truth. Do the hard shit – so that there can be a REAL solution.

Rev. Daniel Patrick used to tell me, “Confirmation of new information, without consideration is ignorant and arrogant in the highest order.” Don’t be stupid, face the truth and then find something good among all the ugliness. Be a hero, make me laugh.

Laughing in the moment isn’t denying the pain – it’s facing it – it’s being balanced. The only true thing that can conquer hate is love, loneliness is being friendly, selfishness is by being selfless, being in need is by giving to others and addressing other’s needs, and being sad is by laughing.

Want to steal my heart? Make me laugh.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Muses, music, Musings, Philosophy, poem, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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