Quotes

Beautiful Complexity

Hello words.  It’s been a while.  I’ve missed you. It’s good to be back.  There’s so many things I could say with my mouth, but there’s so much more that I am able to say with my fingertips, which are extension of my thoughts… thoughts that are only buried deep in my heart and mind.  My mouth can’t often express them, and most of the time comes out wrong when I try.  But, my fingers… ah, my fingers weave magic.  They’re like a silver-tongue, able to coax words out of their darkness to dance upon the page in beautiful black font. My mouth often fails me, but not my words.

 

When I speak, my feelings, emotions, prejudices, and expressions get in the way of what I truly want to say. My vocal self is a mess.  Humanity is complex.  I wonder if the rest of life on this planet, or even in this universe, is as complex as the human mind.  There are so many parts – some strong, some fragile, some hidden, some obvious.  Our epidermis is only our shell.  How deep do our minds really go? What of the spirit? What of the heart? Simple; yet complex.

 

I’m forty-six years old, my temporary life on this planet is already half over and I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of understanding what living means.  I’ve been living, but my appreciation for it has been clouded.  My heart sinks at the thought of how much of my short life I’ve wasted. Yet, I can say I don’t have much regret.  I have many failures and lots of mistakes, but very little regret. 

 

Existential questions plague me.  Not because I’ve got to know answers. Don’t get me wrong, I have a curious mind and searching for answers will always be one of my greatest quests. However, it’s not in answers I seek most, but in purpose.  I hope my fingers can weave the question clearly for you, pull out the bits and pieces among the multitude to make my meaning clear.

 

I’ve been feeling really stressed and frustrated lately.  Not because I’ve quickly, almost overnight, have gone from a nearly lonely existence of spending ninety-five percent of my time in solitude to a full house where I have NO time alone.  I ate alone, always slept alone, and most often had my own thoughts to keep me company.  I tried dating, but found no connection with the strangers staring across the table at me, often spending my time defending myself from being pawed or molested.  My roommate/best friend and I had become distant and I found myself avoiding contact as often as possible in an effort to keep peace and preserve a sisterhood that I had dreamed about my whole life. I was taking adventures on my own, exploring the coastline for lighthouses, learning history, working out, doing anything and everything to keep my mind occupied, but I was empty; void of purpose. 

In my loneliness there was also a LOT of confusion; still today.  I am in love with a man with relationship issues and who has hurt my heart deeply. I’ve tried to pull away from him, walk away on many opportunities, but I could never just let him go, not completely.  My pride, my mind, and my will was able to put up walls, even able to convince myself I was over  him and ready to move forward, but my heart never listened.  I couldn’t stop loving him. I still can’t stop loving him. I know 

 

I will always love him. It’s a strange relationship we have. I’ve never known such depth of a connection in two souls, but on the surface, there are so many conflicts, so many differences.  We are so different from each other, have different views on so many different levels, different values, different personalities, different life patterns; we are an Oscar and Felix.  Yet, like that odd couple, we are connected in a very deep way.  Our love is a deep love and lives in such a depth, it’s almost an unspoken.  I don’t doubt his love, real love, spiritual love, deep love, but everything else (wants, desires, expectations, etc., they swim in doubts.  I never know from one minute to the next where we stand, what we are, what we’ve been, or even what the future holds for us. I can’t label our relationship.  Yet it’s enough to know that it occupies my life, it owns my heart, and I can’t give that life or heart to another. It belongs to him and him alone.  So, I’m stuck… in a confusing, beautiful, messy, uncharacteristic chaos.  Sometimes I wonder what kind of crazy test God is putting me through.  It feels unfair, unwinnable, yet beautiful and complex.  Just because I can’t identify a thing doesn’t mean that thing is any less valuable or meaningful than what I can identify. 

 

 I desperately love two teenagers that are just as precious to me as my own children.  I fell madly in love with them from the moment I met them. Actually, I think I started loving them before I met them by listening to their father speak about them.  He spoke of a lot of things, but when the topic turned to his boys, it wasn’t just his lips that moved.  His eyes lit up, his face changed, his posture changed, and the tone of his voice changed.  Love exuded from him.  His sons are his life, his pride and joy, his opus.  I could only imagine the depth of love this man possessed because of the way he spoke about his sons.  Surely if he possessed such love for them, he could provide love like that for me too.  I couldn’t wait to meet them.  When I did, I also saw the love they had for their father too.  Oh, don’t think they’re a perfect family, no family is perfect and without issues. There are issues, there are needs, and wants, and complications just like every other family, and some of theirs are big issues too.  But the love they have for one another… that’s real; that’s deep, and I connected to that love; I craved it. It felt like a centerpiece to a puzzle snapped in place, like I had been the missing link and they had been the missing pieces around me.  I fell deeply in love with all three of them, the father and sons. I loved so hard it scared me. Again, there are no perfect stories, no perfect plans, only perfected chaos.  As with everything else in life, there were issues, there are still issues, and those issues force me often to have to love them from a distance.  I was constantly reminded they were not mine; he was not mine.  I had three beautiful souls tethered to my heart, with no way to hold them or keep them. In fact, I was often pushed away.  It was tortuous to my soul.  I wanted desperately to just walk away from them so the pain in my heart would allow me to simply breathe, but I could never manage to let them go, none of them – father or sons. 

 

My own children didn’t seem to need or want me.  They never called or visited, not on holidays, birthdays or any time.  I would send them ‘good morning’ prayers/wishes, but never got a response.  My youngest would sometimes text me, to hit me up for money. My son would messenger me sometimes to see if I had watched something or heard about a new game. My oldest just never messaged at all.  I was estranged from all my family, all of them.  My parents were dead, and even when they were alive I had a failed relationship with them. My brothers didn’t even seem to remember I existed unless they were stealing from me. I had moved away from all my friends in Georgia, and they seemed to have forgotten about me. Needless to say I felt a huge failure as a parent.  I had failed as a wife. I had failed as a daughter. I had failed as a sister. I seemed to be failing as a friend. I failed as a girlfriend, and I felt as if I had failed these two boys and I had failed God and my faith.  Of all my successes in education, business, career, civic duties, physical achievements, beating cancer, getting published, receiving promotions, having a stellar resume, etc.; I seemed perfect on paper, but I felt like a failure as a human being.

 

I was lost.  I was a piece of dust blowing in the wind, searching for purpose.  I was lonely.  I would put a smile on my face every day, tell myself how much I loved myself, take selfies so I could convince myself that I was happy, but inside I was lost.  I controlled nothing.  Sometimes I would close my eyes hoping I wouldn’t open them again.  I felt rejected, unloved, unwanted, and unneeded. I desperately looked for purpose, tried to keep myself busy with adventure, and constantly sought direction.  I couldn’t understand why I was so unlovable when my heart ached because I loved so many, so deeply.  What was so wrong with me that no one wanted to love me back? That has been the question that has plagued me my whole life, starting as a child wondering how my parents could hurt me like they did, and my brothers, and God must have hated me too – he took away the only man that had ever showed he loved me on a battlefield in Somalia, to my husband who couldn’t even tell me he loved me  for the twenty years we were married, to my children running away from me or forgetting I even existed, now to man who my soul loves telling me loves me but has relationship issues,  to two teenagers boys who are mine in my heart but I have no right in their lives.

 

See, complicated mess. Simple; yet complex.  Well, that was a couple months ago.  Almost overnight I went from that lonely existence to never having five seconds to myself because that man and his sons have moved in with me (we’re together, but not together) and our relationship is still unidentifiable. I can’t even describe it.  I have my family with me, yes they are my family, and my heart couldn’t be happier.  I have them, but I don’t. They’re mine, but they’re not. They’re with me, but not with me. My youngest daughter has also come home, and she’s pregnant with my first grandbaby.  She’s here, but she’s not.  My roommate is unpredictable now, with health issues and mental issues.  She’s also here, but she’s not.  I can’t even begin to express the stresses of having 6.5 people and three dogs living in a two-bedroom apartment create.  Everyone is stressed. Everyone is doing their best to work together and keep the peace.  It’s chaos, but a beautiful chaos.

 

I’m watching that man sleep right now. He’s the most beautiful thing in the world to me, not because he’s a handsome man, and that he is, but because I see his soul – his heart, his spirit.  He’s a mess, and somedays I want to strangle him because he’s often an arrogant asshole, but he’s one of the most helpful, giving, smart, and compassionate person I’ve ever met.  So, this brings me back to my original query – that existential question – what is the meaning to all this chaos?  My frustration isn’t from the cooking, cleaning, no privacy, no time for myself, being busy working and taking care of my family, including the dogs.  No, I LOVE taking care of my family. Taking care of them gives me purpose. Taking care of them is a way to express my love and appreciation for them.  My frustration comes in not knowing what tomorrow holds. They could all leave tomorrow and I would be alone again.  I have no control over them. I can’t make them stay. I can’t make them love me or appreciate me, or even want me. My frustration comes from fear – a history of those I love leaving me.  I love my family. I love this man. I love his sons – my sons. I love my daughter. I already love my grandbaby. I love my best friend. I even love the damned dogs.  I don’t want to lose them. But, I have no power or right to keep them. I can only love them as much as I can while I have them, and continue to love them even if they leave me.

 

Love – this is the essential key to purpose and our short existence on this planet. While my life has been riddled with one chaotic event after the next, love is the one thing I never regret.  Even if I fail, even if love is never returned to me, I will never regret loving.  It’s really the only thing in the world that truly matters.  While I may not be able to identify my relationships right now, and I can’t’ put any of them in any known or familiar box (girlfriend, friend, step-mom, Gigi (that’s the name I hope my grandbaby calls me), bestie, roommate, lover, etc., there is love in and around all of it.  I love Jon. I love Anthony. I love Nathan. I love Kelly. I love Little K. I love Jenna. I love Nova. I love Bella. I love Gizmo. I love Johnathan. I love Meagan. 

 

God is love.  Where there is love, God is there also.

 

Till next time,

 

~T.L. Gray

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I Am the Biggest Fool

I Am the Biggest Fool

I am fool. I am a fool because I care and love those who are even bigger fools than myself. I’ve always heard a phrase that God watches over fools and idiots. He must have a league of angels watching over me.

I’m not unintelligent. I’m not naïve. I see what’s around me. The world is an ugly mess. People are an ugly mess. I try so hard to be something beautiful in this gray world, but sometimes I get tired of carrying that light.  Yet, I’m a strong person because I’ve been forced to shine that light for myself, find my way out, and put up my guards and shields all my life. Yet, poison still gets in. I open the door to danger. I invite in chaos. Why?  Because of love.

Not because of others loving me, or that I’ve fallen into that crazy, wild love and can’t see what’s around me, or that I’m refusing to see the truth. No, I see the truth and walk in it anyway. THAT’s why I’m a fool.  I’m in love with what can and will never be in love with me, who chooses the company of vampires and leeches over me.

But I deserve better than this.  What about me?

I remember another God moment, where I was on my face, nose in the carpet, pouring my heart out and praying for my kids, my ex-husband, my church, my friends, my job, etc.

When I was done unloading all that worry, I heard a whisper calmly ask me a simple question.  “If you knew one of your children were starving, hungry, and in pain, what would you do for them?”

I answered, “Anything, well, anything that would help them, even if it was hard for them, hard for me, or misunderstood.”

The whisper replied, “If they were in danger, would you risk your own life to save them?”

Without hesitation, I answered, “Yes. Always.”

There was a long silence. Whisper said to me, “You are my child, and you’ve neglected yourself trying to take care of everyone else.  You’ve ignored your needs, buried your wants, and your soul is starving for the love it needs.  You’ve abused my child long enough. I won’t tolerate it anymore.”

I felt so ashamed, because I had ignored myself. I’ve always done whatever to survive, to meet what everyone else needed, because I was in need. I knew what it felt like to be hungry, so I spent more than 17 years feeding the poor.  I knew what it felt like to be unloved as a child by your parents, so my heart reached out to any unloved kids that crossed my path – I still do. I knew what it was like to be pregnant and alone, so I opened my home to a pregnant stranger. I knew what it was like to not have a friend in the whole world, have someone to help me in a time of need, so I became the kind of friend I needed.  But, it doesn’t come without a cost.

A friend posted a meme on their Facebook wall the other day that said, “I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Damn, that’s mine!’ and just be proud to have me.”  I responded with a simple, “It’ll never happen.” A complete stranger sent me a message that had me crying in the middle of my shift at work. I hid the tears as much as I could, but I couldn’t help feel the pain, a pain that I’ve been stuffing down and trying to ignore.  This stranger messaged me, “…you’re a very attractive woman. So, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even this year, but you’ll find someone who’s proud to call you theirs.”

What this stranger doesn’t realize is that I have MANY people in my life who love me, even more that respect me, and I’m not in want for friends. Remember, I’ve spent my life being a good friend. But, no one has EVER claimed me as theirs – not my parents, not my family, not my ex-husband, not any of ex-boyfriend’s – who are still my friends because they love me as a person.  I’m great to love – as a friend, to depend on, to respect, to turn to, to be there when no one else will, but… to love me – the woman?  I’m turning 46 years old next week, and I’ve only ever felt truly loved once in my life… for just a very brief moment and then he died.  Loved …for ME.  In love …WITH me.  I’ve been in love 4 times, but only deeply, madly, crazy in love once. But, they didn’t want me.  They love me, but not how I love them. They choose their chaos over me.

I’ve been neglecting myself again, putting myself on the back burner to focus on others and their needs. There’s always a reason. There’s always a need.  All the reasons are good, but it doesn’t mean they’re not interfering. When do I matter? When does what I need and want matter? Life is shit. Life is chaos. There will ALWAYS be something – but WHEN do I put me first again?  I have needs too.  I’m such a fool. I’m not naïve. I know the reality of my situation. I know that I’m loved, but unloved.  I’m not blind. I see more than I let them know I see. I’m not stupid, either. Just because I don’t expose what I know is in the dark, doesn’t mean I’m unaware. I just choose to be a light, something positive, and spread a message of hope instead of judgment. I choose to focus on what’s important.  I love because I need love. I help because I need help.  I’m friendly because I’m lonely. I give, because I’m empty.  I go without so other won’t. I have to believe it’s not for nothing. I’m not stupid. I know I will not be chosen. I will be left behind for the vampire, for the leech, for the lotus flower, for the opportunity, for the drug, for the convenience, for the addiction, for the easy way, for the simpler path …. I always have been, especially by those who claim to love me most. It’s hard to love me. To love me is to stand in front of a mirror.

My whisper, my God, my love watches over me. They have to, because I’m the biggest fool.

“Someday when my crying’s done, I’m gonna wear a smile and walk in the sun. I may be a fool, but darlin’ you’ll never see me complain, ‘cause I’ll do my cryin’ in the rain.” ~Jaime Ellis

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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What is a Picture of Beauty?

What is a Picture of Beauty

I post a lot of pictures of me on my Facebook, most of them of me smiling or just enjoying life.  I’ve been told that I’m narcissistic, that I’m just obsessed with myself.  For those who think or comment in that manner shows me they know nothing about me. If you scroll through my blog or my Facebook, you’ll not find a picture more than five or six years old.  I personally only have less than a dozen.  Why? I never took pictures of myself because I didn’t feel I mattered.  Others didn’t take and post pictures of me either; they still don’t, because I don’t matter to them, not even my friends today. If I’m on their pages, it’s because I’ve tagged myself in a picture that I took, not one that they took of me.

I started taking ‘selfies’ when I read an meme that stated, “If you want to see what or who someone values or fears losing, look at who and what they take pictures of.” That hit me right in the heart and deep in my soul.  It was like God whispered in my ear to pay attention.  It had me scrolling through my pictures of beautiful outdoor scenery and activities, my pets, my family, my food, art, simple things I found beautiful, and it was clear to see all the things I loved, because they were right there in front of me in brilliant color, picture, after picture, after picture.  But it didn’t take long before I noticed what was missing in all those pictures – me.  Well, I made a quick excuse, “I’m taking the pictures, so it only makes sense I’m behind the camera, not in front of it.  So, I went to my family and friend’s pages, scrolled through their pictures, and again I could clearly see all the things they loved and valued, but not one picture of me. Not one.  It broke my heart. It still hurts. This was about five years ago.

Before I go any further, the biggest culprit was me.  My family just followed the example I set for them. Because I have problem letting people touch me, my children never hug me, and they tell me it feels awkward when they do.  Who the hell feels awkward hugging their mother and telling her that you love her?  I’ve hugged and kissed my children since the day they were born, and told them I loved them as often as I could. I still do every chance I get.  But, they forget I even exist.  So, how does that happen?

I stopped waiting for someone else to love and value me and started to love and value myself.  I see women posting pictures every day, mostly of themselves in sexually suggestive positions, and it makes me sad.  It’s literally about 95% of the pictures I see. That’s their idea of beauty.  They are complimented my men and women alike and told how beautiful they are, so why should they believe any different?  Why should they act any different? That’s narcissism, posing to get attention, even if the attention is low, perverted, and disgraceful.  These women don’t understand that they’re not displaying their beauty, but their ignorance, allowing themselves to be demeaned as a woman, and viewed only as an object of perversion.  The admiration they receive now will fade once they get a little older; their bodies no longer have the same sexual draw, and then what? What will they have to offer their admirers since their admirers are only interested in their flesh.  But, a woman who smiles, laughs, is pictured living life, appreciating life, loving herself and the world around her are truly visions of beauty.  A woman caught in a moment of compassion, in a nurturing embrace, being a helpmate and friend, those are images of beauty.  Beauty is not her cup size, not in the shape of her boobs, lips, legs or ass, or in suggestive positions so perverted assholes can fantasize fucking her.  She then becomes only an object of their perversion and no longer a woman of beauty. Believe me; while the men appreciate the pictures, they have no respect for her as a woman.

When I meet a man and start talking to him, if he asks me about my body, or asks me to send him pictures of myself in a bikini etc., then I instantly lose interest in them because it tells me they are not interested in my true beauty.  There are enough women with low self-esteem out there eager to please their narcissistic need for approval by ignorant assholes, but I’m not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong – when I’m in a relationship with ‘MY’ man, I love to be sexual, playful, flirty, etc., because I can share that part of myself with that man because he already recognized my true beauty.  But if I’m not in a relationship, don’t ask me for pictures of my body you fucking assholes! No, definitely ask me, so that way I know who you truly are and can write you off as anyone valuable in my life.

I post pictures of me smiling quite often because I love and value myself.  Those smiles are for me, to remind me that I matter.  This world can’t do that for me. Someone else can’t do that for me. I have to do it for myself.  I post pictures of the people and things that I love and value.  Someday someone else will post a picture of me, and it will truly be a picture of beauty.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Body, Mind and Soul… Day Two

Body, Mind and Soul - Day Two

Okay, this is now day 2, and I promised I’d get to the mind and soul part of this blog. I’m conflicted on which to write first.  During meditation this morning I was really focused on the soul part, but then had electronic issues that pissed me off, so now I’m on the mind. Let’s just see where my fingers take me.

I suppose this part is both mind and soul.  There’s a rule in life that I’ve learned over the years. It’s one that’s help me realize many goals and dreams.  I’ve accomplish most of what I’ve set my mind on accomplishing. The rule is this, which is actually from the Word: Don’t start what you don’t plan to finish, and count the true cost before you make the first move. Then commit to it. Then jump. When I make a decision, I then make a plan, visualize the steps I need to reach the end result (write my vision upon the walls), and then settle it in my heart and mind to do what is required and necessary to achieve those goals (they will test resolve and require sacrifice), and then act.

Listen, this is important: Having a good idea never got anyone anywhere.  Action and dedication are required. But, that’s not all.  Action only gets the plan moving.  Do you know how many great plans have failed because when the planner took the first few steps, things got tough and they gave up or changed course?  I bet if you looked back you can see a long trail of unfinished plans and dreams.  Those didn’t fail on accident. They failed by choice. It may have been an easy or hard choice, but it was still a choice. You chose to quit, you chose to give up, and you chose to let it go.  There may have been good excuses, great reasons, or magnanimous consequences, but it was still a choice.  The ONLY way to make a plan succeed is by making the choice to fulfill it.

One of our biggest problems when we make a plan is that we make plans where we don’t possess the tools, determination, understanding, or skills in order to fulfill them.  This is a little complicated.  On one hand, we should always strive to reach beyond ourselves, outside our capabilities, and above our limitations, but at the same time we have to be reasonable and practical.  Dream. Oh, God, dream big! But then break that dream down into obtainable, sensible, practical steps.  If you can’t see the path to the dream, you’ll get lost, detoured, distracted, and discouraged.  Don’t be afraid to take risks, but be practical and honest about the true cost of those risks. Don’t lie to yourself. Be willing to pay those costs, or get off the pot and go back to half-ass your way through life. NOTHING good has ever been without sacrifice. NOTHING.

I once made a vow, just like King David, that I would not give to my God, or myself, that which costs me nothing.  I would not be like Cain and give the least of what I had to fulfill a requirement, but to always give my best and with my whole heart – at work, at play, at love, and at life. That promise is not for anyone but me, for the sole purpose of being able to stand in front of the mirror and face that woman who has been through hell and back, and know that I’ve done my best. Whether I succeed or fail, fly or fall on my face. SHE deserves my best. I value my dreams and goals, and THEY deserve my best.

So for the sole purpose of reaching my life goals and dreams, I have to set my mind on what I want to achieve. I have to focus, fill my thoughts with the things that will help me succeed.  I need to protect my mind and soul from people or things that will steal, detour, or destroy the plans I make.  Not everyone in our lives is good for us, some will not only destroy the plans we make by messing with our minds, but they will also seek to destroy our souls.  That’s what I’d like to blog about tomorrow – our souls.

Until next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Back to the Busyness of Being Happy

 

Back to the Busyness of Being Happy

Life is complicated.  It’s filled with difficulties. No matter how ‘together’ we get ourselves, tragedy finds its way into our lives, upsetting our plans, providing roadblocks to the best of our intentions.  If we are ‘waiting’ to live in any capacity, or for our lives to be less complicated before we open our hearts to love or happiness, then we are lying to ourselves and robbing ourselves of any love or happiness we could experience today. We need to get busy, NOW. We need to start living in the moment, right in the middle of our chaos.  We need to get into the busyness of being happy.

Waiting never brought anything.  Life doesn’t present itself out of the blue, we must go out and grab it, live it, and choose to fight for the success we want to enjoy.  If we think things will be better LATER, when our priorities and problems are lighter, we are telling ourselves the biggest lie. It’s a lie that robs us of the love and happiness we could be enjoying now.  If we can’t choose happiness now, or accept happiness in our lives now, we never will.  There will always be reasons and excuses.  We must choose happiness in the middle of our chaos if we ever want to experience it at all.

Are we waiting to love after …our kids are grown, our bills are paid, we lose weight, we have a better job, we have a bigger house, we have a better car, we have gained success, or we are healthier?  Are we waiting to be happy to be happy?  That’s stupid. It doesn’t work that way. If we think so, we are lying to ourselves and robbing ourselves of the happiness and love we could be enjoying now.  Not only enjoying it, but allowing it to fuel, encourage, and inspire us – giving us the strength we need to obtain all those other things we want for ourselves and the ones we love.  Do we want our children to be happy?  How are we teaching them to be happy when our example is the opposite?  Do we want to be an example of hope, determination, and success?  Do we think we can teach something that we are not leading by example?

Love and happiness are our strength.  It is the force in this universe that gives us the forte to properly deal with all the chaos the world throws at us. We are weak without it.  God is love.  Love is where we find forgiveness.  It’s where we find hope.  It’s where life truly happens. It’s where we learn to truly love those in our lives.  Outside it, we only find pain and heartbreak, loneliness and fear.  I speak of love, not lust, not obsession, not passion, but true love. Love that puts others’ needs before our own; love that reaches for us in the fullness of our failure, at our weakest, at our most low and desperate moments. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we should be alone. Choosing to be alone isn’t about trying to find ourselves, it’s about being afraid.  Our fears keep us alone.  Our fears make the self-destructive choices that only bring more chaos, more oppression, and bad decisions into our lives.  Fear is our weakness. The only way to confront fear is to get back to the busyness of being happy.

1 John 4:7-8Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” ~Euripides

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.”  ~Hubert Humphries

“We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Orson Welles

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

The Business of Being Happy

 

The Business of Being Happy

There’s only one person that can truly make us happy, and that’s our self. While others can influence us, inspire us, encourage us, or detour us, we are ultimately in control of how we allow others to affect us.

I have had some happy moments because of my interaction with others. My children have made me happy. My loves have made me happy. My soul mate has made me happy. My friends have made me happy. Well… they’ve created moments that have led to me accepting that happiness. At the same time, they have also led to moments of great pain. But my happiness and my pain have all been in my control, by what I’ve allowed to affect me. I’ve recently went through a period of great happiness, followed by a period of great pain and stress. I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of being stressed. I’ve decided to get back to the business of being happy.

I wish I could tell you it was a simple as that… to just decide and then *poof* it’s done. But, making the decision in only the first step. As I blogged yesterday, part of the path to happiness is changing my atmosphere. Change what music I listen, what foods I eat, what activities I participate, what is the state of my health and fitness, and what company I keep. All these things contribute to the business of being happy. I can’t reach that state of happiness working in or on just one of these areas.

Happiness is about balance, an equilibrium within my heart, mind, body, and soul.  When one is injured, damaged, abused, or neglected, it affects them all. Life is too short to allow my heartaches and disappointments to keep me from reaching or fulfilling my potential. I’ve got too many things to do, too many dreams to chase, too much life to live to allow these pains to steal all my joy. The Word says there is a time for everything under the sun… a time to mourn, a time to grieve, a time let the pain out… but there’s also time to pick myself back up and get back to the business of being happy. I was created for a purpose, I have a dream, a plan, a vision, and that is to live my life to its fullest, and its time I got back to it.

I really don’t understand laziness.  I understand taking time to just relax and let your body, mind and soul rest.  While most of the time I can’t sit still for more than an hour, I can at times spend all day in bed binge watching or reading. What I don’t understand is laziness in the form of a lack of drive, of not having a goal, a plan, a vision, or a dream.  I don’t understand the concept of procrastination and just drifting by and surviving the day, letting the world and circumstances dictate what happens in our lives.  Why on earth would we give that kind of control to chance? 

I also really don’t understand the concept of being reactive compared to being proactive.  I can’t grasp the mindset of spending all my time and effort chasing the chaos. I’ve been on this earth long enough, and intimately acquainted with Murphy, to know that SHIT HAPPENS.  If we drift through life always reacting, believe me – life will continuously keep throwing shit at us, spiraling our lives out of control, sending us into places, circumstances, and situations we never wanted to be a part.  But when we don’t take control and plan, and then do the hard things necessary to move those plans into action, then we cannot be proactive and are constantly moving from one disaster to another.

Getting back to the business of being happy, there’s no room for laziness or a reactive mind set.  Being happy has a lot to do with having purpose and then doing what is needed to fulfill that purpose.  Work isn’t work when you’re working with purpose or for a purpose.  It only brings us down when the effort we are expelling is only to meet a need.  If we work just to pay the bills, to survive from one paycheck to another, yet not LIVING in the moment, then we will despise what we do and hate every moment.  But, when we work because we have a goal, a vision, a dream, or a purpose, then what we do isn’t draining.  We don’t wake up in the morning groaning and despising having to get dressed and go. If that’s our mornings, we need to remind ourselves it’s not our jobs we hate or that makes us unhappy, it’s our state of mind, happiness, and purpose.  I don’t particularly love my job, but I like the opportunities it provides.  

I’m happy, because I’m happy with myself.  I can look at my image in the mirror and smile, because I love the woman I am and have become.  I am proud of myself. I’ve been through hell and back, been knocked down so many times, but I keep getting back up.  I’ve been rejected, unloved, and unwanted, yet I continue to hope, to love, and to dream.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes, done shameful things, but I’ve worked hard making amends, facing my demons, and repenting for my sins. I’ve learned from my mistakes.  I’m my own hero. If no one else on this planet thinks I’m amazing or worthy of their love, their time, or their attention, well… that’s their loss, because I think I’m pretty damned amazing.  It’s time I got back to it, too.  Call me arrogant, but not too many people are going to be able to keep up with me in these coming days, because I’m back to the business of being happy, of chasing dreams, and of living life out loud.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Ask

ask

Ever read something, and the moment you read it, your universe moved? You’re not quite sure how, but there’s a definite paradigm shift deep in the center of your soul? I read a comment recently, that the moment my eyes processed the tiny font on my phone, my mind filled with a thousand strings of thoughts, flashed a thousand images, and like an electric current surging through my body, sparked a thousand feelings all at once. Goosebumps popped up on my arm. The hair on the back of my neck prickled.  Tears welled in my eyes. A knot didn’t just form, but augmented in my throat.

Someone messaged me, “I believe I’m an answer to something you’ve asked for.”

Seeing those words, something inside shifted.

Something I asked for?  I don’t remember asking for anything, not anything consciously. In fact, I’ve spent so much of my time, love, and energy on everyone and everything else around me, concerned about their needs and wants, I’ve had no time to think about what I want. Seeing those words, reminded me of my promise. They also reminded me of other words I’ve been given not too long ago, “I can’t give you what you want.”

Right before I asked for a divorce I made a vow, a promise to myself. I wrote it down on a magnetic memo and posted it to the refrigerator, to remind myself every day of that promise. I still have that memo posted in my bedroom right now.  It states, “I will never again waste my time, love, or energy into that which does not first invest those things into me.” I broke my promise.

So, I ask myself, what do I want? My soul whispers, Ask.

“I want to receive what I freely give.  I want someone to give a shit about me.  I want to be someone’s first thought in the morning. I want someone to care about the things that make ME happy.  I want someone to know about what I’m worried about, what I’m excited about, what I’m scared of, what I’m determined to do, how I feel, what I dream.  I want someone to think about me in the middle of the day. I want someone to want to talk to me, to want to share with me what’s going on their day, in their life. It makes me happy helping others, nurturing what other’s need, helping them realize and reach for their dreams, help pick them up and pull them out of their difficulties. I love and care about the people in my life, and I worry about them, and I do everything in my power to help, to encourage, to support.  I give so much of my heart loving and caring for them, and I just want someone to love and care about me. I want someone to give a damn about what had me curled in tight ball for nearly two days, or what had me so upset I couldn’t eat, or what excited me so much I couldn’t sleep.  I want someone who WANTS to talk to me, to spend time with me, to offer arms to hold me when I’m scared, to caress me when I’m feeling frisky, to ravish me when I’m excited, to encourage me when I’m doubting, to calm me when I’m frustrated.  To be there for me, not with their words and empty promises, but really be there for me. I want someone to love me.”

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, so why am I so afraid to speak?  Maybe the universe hears my heart instead of my words.

Categories: Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., Dreams, Faith, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Musing, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Falling in Love… Day 7

falling-in-love-day-7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Falling in Love… Day 2

falling-in-love-day-2

 I think about the type of man that I’d like to meet and have in my life. I’m not talking about that long laundry list of wants and requirements like having a job, aspirations, dreams, being kind-hearted, and having a heart that considers the soul and mind above body. No, I’m talking about the whole package, the man in all his complexities. But, before I meet him I think about the partner I’d want him to have. 

When you love someone, you don’t just think about what would be good for you, what would make you happy, what the relationship could and would benefit you.  Love is about thinking and considering your partner’s wants and needs, too.  As amazing as the man I want in my life, I also want be able to offer him an equally amazing woman. 

I was talking to a friend this morning, and he’s had one disastrous relationship after another. He made a statement that he’s so tired of garbage.  I told him if he doesn’t like garbage, he needs to stop digging through the dumpsters hoping to find a masterpiece, and to stop blaming all women for the bad decisions he’s made. I also told him to start being the man he thinks a ‘good’ woman deserves, get his shit together, so that when he does meet a good woman he would have something good to offer her… a good man.

He, of course, went off into a rant about how preposterous it was for women to expect men to take care of them, provide for them, and how women’s rights are the cause of our fucked up society.  It was a lost lesson by that point, but my comments struck a chord in myself.   

That’s the funny thing about me.  Most often my blogs, my musings, my thoughts, my articles, etc… they’re for me more than anyone. It’s a way I communicate with my soul. It’s a way to step outside me and see me in an abstract. 

I also had a conversation with another friend last night.  We talked for hours as he drove back to the Army base in North Carolina. I was just being my excited, rambunctious, over-talkative self.  It felt good. I haven’t really talked to anyone in a long while, not since I lost my best friend and soul mate.  I just bottled up all those millions of thoughts and ideas inside, really afraid to share them with anyone.  You see… all those crazy little thoughts and ideas, so matter wacky they are, are what I consider the BEST part of me. It’s the essence of who I truly am.  It’s more intimate than my body.  It’s more personal than my intellect.  It’s all those quirky weird ideas that makes up who I truly am… and that person I don’t share with just anyone.  THAT person is who is precious to me. Let me tell you a little about her… I’ll call her the nickname my best friend gave me… Jinx. Maybe you and I both will get to see some of the things I love most about her.  This is, after all, my love letter to her.

Jinx has this amazing wild imagination.  She thinks some of the oddest thoughts.  She questions EVERYTHING. I remember this one time she stayed up all night contemplating the idea of black holes and super novas, stars, universes, galaxies, time and space.  She couldn’t sleep.  Her mind just kept exploring existence deeper and deeper and deeper.  Just when the universe couldn’t get any bigger, she zeroed in on herself and saw how small she was in the midst of it all; so insignificant.  A huge knot formed in her throat and she couldn’t breathe.  Who was she? Why was she here? Does she even matter? In 20, 30, 50 years… will anyone even remember she existed? Suddenly, so many things she was so worried about didn’t matter anymore.  Bills, expectations, career, life stuff, none of it mattered.  ALL that mattered was this small, brief, minute moment in space and time, and what she had to offer in that small spec.  Nothing she’s accomplished or failed, nothing she’s gained or lost, nothing she had or wanted meant anything without love. Love is all that mattered.  Love she had for herself. Love she had for her children. Love she had for God. Love she had for humanity.  

Forty-five years… I’ve been in this universe for forty-five years, and what do I have to show for it? I have many achievements, many awards, many successes, yet the only things that really matter is my heart and my ability to love.  This world has been so cruel to me. I have been knocked down so many times, rejected by so many people, and the one thing that’s eluded me… is being loved.  Yet, in spite of it… I choose to love. I’m still that little girl crying in the corner being told she’s not good enough, she’s a mistake, and she’s not wanted. *sigh* I am also that little girl that stood to her feet, balled her little fists so tight, dried the wet tears streaming down her face with her arm, and declared, “NO! I am not a mistake. I am a good girl and I love me!”

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

 

 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Faith, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Musing, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Do It Anyway

do-it-anyway

They say that wisdom comes with age. I’m not so sure that it’s only an age thing, but a combination of that and experience.  Life’s lessons aren’t just lessons learned as Father Time ticks away the years, because I’ve met many older people who’ve led very sheltered and narrow-minded lives, and never learned a damned thing. However, experience alone doesn’t grant us this wisdom either, because I’ve also seen some people who have experienced some tragic and great things, yet still never learned anything, either.

So, what is the key to wisdom?  I think it might have something to do with learning from the experiences we’ve had throughout time.  Not that we can learn everything, because no matter how much we try, we are fallible humans.  Everything we do learn, or are exposed to, is filtered through our level of understanding.  For some that level is higher, more open, and allows more to filter through, while others have smaller holes, and very little gets through.  Our filters are made up of our preconceived ideas, theologies, cultural influences, regional inspirations, religious teachings, parental guidance or lack thereof. Our filters come from the pain we’ve experienced, and the joys of pleasure.  My filter has some very small holes, as well as some very large ones.  But, have I learned anything?

Love is an enigma.  It’s the one thing I’ve pursued harder than anything in my life. It’s also the one thing I’ve ran from faster, and has eluded me more times than I could count.  It seems just when I find it, it’s taken away from me.  It’s like the biggest cosmic joke.  I’m so afraid to be happy, because just when I find happiness, it’s taken from me – first by death, then by cancer, and recently by … well, I’m still not sure what happened. It’s the most confusing of all.

So, what can I do?  Though I’m scared. Though I’m confused. Though my filters are all messed up. Though my faith is weak.  Though my heart is one big fucking mangled mess… I do it anyway.

I dare to hope, when I see no hope.

I dare to dream, even when my dreams are filled with nightmares.

I dare to smile, even when I feel like dying inside.

I dare to sing, even when my voice is cracked or hindered by the big knot in it.

I dare to love, even when I’m not loved in return.

This is the thing I’ve learned.  I could choose to hate, and be angry, and feel sorry for myself.  That’s easy.  I could hold grudges, return pain for pain, be vindictive, and be selfish.  That too is easy. These are the actions of the weak-minded, selfish, shallow, and deplorable.  They only breed onto themselves and cause more of what hurt them in the first place.  These become the ugly monsters in the universe, spreading their disease like a zombie. Once infected, they spread their hate to everyone else that dares to love or get close to them. I choose to be different.  I’d carry pain to keep from causing pain. I’d give everything I had to prevent someone else’s suffering.  I choose to give the very things I need most in my life. Because I know, that I know, that I know – because I’ve learned – the only hope I have is to give love if I ever hope to receive it. Real love. Not this imitation bullshit called passion, chemistry and infatuation.  Those are nice, but only temporary and vain.  Though most of the world accepts that vanity, and never moves beyond it, confusing it for love, I can’t. I’ve felt the real thing, so I can’t accept the imitation. If I have to sit across the table from a thousand men, or ten thousand men, I hope to someday look into a pair of eyes and see the love I’ve been waiting for, that I’ve been sending out into the universe, hoping and praying it makes its way back to me.  And if not… then I leave this world having sown love, hope, joy, goodness and kindness… so that maybe someone else doesn’t only meet made monsters.

This song sums it up perfectly.

Do It Anyway – Martina McBride

You could spend your whole life building something from nothing, and a storm could come and blow it all away… build it anyway.

You could chase a dream that seems so out of reach, and you know it might not ever come your way… dream it anyway.

God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good. And when I pray, it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should… but I do it anyway. I do it anyway.

This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today… believe it anyway.

You could love someone with all your heart for all the right reasons, and a moment they could choose to walk away… love ‘em anyway.

God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good. And when I pray, it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should… but I do it anyway. I do it anyway.

You could pour your soul out singing a song you believe in, but tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang… sing it anyway.  Sing it anyway.

I sing, I dream, I love ….anyway.

Categories: blogging, Dream, Dreams, Faith, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Life, love, memes, Muses, music, Musing., Philosophy, poem, Quotes, Relationships, song, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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