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Being a Parent …

Being a parent

 

What is being a parent? Donating sperm or giving birth doesn’t make you a parent.  Not donating sperm or giving birth, also doesn’t make you NOT a parent. Love, kindness, discipline, sacrifice, giving into the well-being of another human being – that’s what makes you a parent.

God has given me many gifts.  Most of all, he has given me the opportunity on several occasions to be a parent. I haven’t always been a good parent. I haven’t always made all the right decisions. I have made some really bad choices and made some really bad mistakes.  There’s no ‘but’ in that, either.  I’ve learned some things along the way, mostly from my mistakes.  I suffer still some of the consequences of those choices and mistakes.

I’ve come a long way.  I’ve come a very long way from being that scared young girl facing the decision of becoming a teen mother.  I was terrified.  I lived in hell and felt I had no one in this world I could trust.  I had no one to take care of me. Yet, there was this life growing inside of me – a defenseless child that I would be responsible to care for, to protect, and to provide simple everyday things. I couldn’t even provide those things for myself.  I had dreams. I had an escape plan to run off to the military that was going to take me away from the abuse I lived under and secure me a future – but if I chose her – I couldn’t escape – not yet.  There were days I hated the choices I had. There were times I wanted to give up, to die, especially when I was ridiculed and called names at school (Yes, I was that popular high-school slut wobbling down the halls everyone felt sorry for, or made fun of, or called names, or glared at with their disapproving eyes.) Yet, every time I felt my daughter move within my stomach, my hands would cradle my big belly and hope would grow – hope for a great life, a good future, a little bit of love in my dark gray world.  I would pay the price to make it happen – no matter what it cost me. I was young (16), scared, and didn’t know ANYTHING about being a parent. Hell, I didn’t even know how to be an adult. So, I made some mistakes.  But, everything I did – I did in love – love for her – love for the hope that she was going to one day bring into this world.  I don’t care how she was made – I’m the one that made the decision to bring her into this world.  EVERYONE I knew wanted me to give her up or abort her.  The religious didn’t want me to have an abortion, but they didn’t want me to raise her either.  The rest told me on a regular basis I was wasting my life, sacrificing my future, giving up my freedom when I had another choice.  I didn’t know much, but I already loved her and I wanted her – so I chose her.  It kills me that as an adult she doesn’t choose me, but I still have hope, and not for a millisecond regret my choice. She’s a beautiful, loving, kind woman and I am so proud of her.

I have two other children, who are also now adults, who make me smile every time I hear their voice, or see their texts, or video chat, or am able to wrap my arms around and hug them.  I also have the most beautiful grand-daughter. I love them with a love that is indescribable.  Not because I gave birth to them or genetically related to them.  Not because they’re good human beings.  But, for love.  The love I feel from them and for them. That love isn’t granted just because of genetics.  I never had that love for or from my parents.  Not ONCE, not EVER did they ever hug me – and if they had, I would have not felt that love.  My parents gave birth to me, but they were not parents – they were manipulative abusers that took a long time for me to escape.

I now have another child, another chance to be a mother to someone who needs a mother.  I look at this kid and see the manipulation and emotional abuse he’s been through and I remember that lost, scared, angry little girl I used to be – and I try to be the mother I needed, the friend I could have used, and the love that was desperately missing in my life.  Maybe he won’t have to face the same hard choices I had to face – and he will make better decisions, and his life will reach even greater opportunities.  Most of all – he is loved. Every day.  I am hard on him, I don’t let him get away with anything, and every day is a constant learning lesson – because I want him to be a good man. I want to teach him the things of this world that is going to make him a descent, caring, productive, and good man.  I find it ironic – He now has the opportunity to escape his abusers and run off to the military and secure himself a future.

Being a parent is hard.  It’s sacrifice. It’s constant love, constant worry, constant energy, constant demand, constant giving of your time, your focus, your life, your space, your money, your peace, and your choices. It’s about providing what is NEEDED, not wanted. It’s providing a place of understanding, communication, and learning – constantly.  I can’t give up.  I want to give up at least once a day – but he’s worth it.  He is worth every little inconsequential sacrifice. Just like my daughter was worth it. Just like my other two children were worth it. Just like my grandbaby was worth it.  Love is worth it. Hope is worth it.

Being a parent is a privilege, not a right.  There are some really shitty parents out there. I’ve been one at times, but I wouldn’t change one single solitary moment, not even the bad moments – because it was from those moments I learned most.  I didn’t give birth to Anthony, but I am his parent, I am his mother – because I love him and he’s worth everything I do for him. I get the best part of this relationship – his love in return. That is being a parent.  Those who pour love into him …are his mothers and fathers, not genetics. This young man is lucky – because he is now being surrounded by people pouring love, life lessons, instruction, and encouragement into him (thank you Scott).  When he gets into the Navy he is going to be surrounded by new brothers and a new family …and once again I am filled with hope.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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

Breaking Necks and Being Single

Being single today is hard, even if you’re considered “pretty”. Being single over 45 (I’m 48) is even harder. At this age I know more of what I don’t want than what I do. I know more of what I need than what I don’t. I know more of what I can tolerate than what I can’t or refuse to tolerate.

One of the biggest signs you’re getting older is when you catch yourself saying often, “What is happening to society today? What hapoened to …” then fill in the blank. Well, whatever happened to respect, kindness, decency, and ‘courting’? Yes, I said an old word …courting.

I’m not really old-fashioned, nor am I narrow-minded. But, when does being a cheap piece of shit become the norm? Do those methods really work? Are women so low-minded in today’s society they allow themselves to be treated as objects, cheap pieces of meat, bitches-n-ho’s, and flavor-of-the-week-bae’s?

I want to scream, “I’m not that easy. I’m not a piece of meat you can go to the grocery store and buy prepackaged. I’m wild, and I run really well, and my senses are sharp. Only the best tracker and skilled hunter will be able to even know I’m around, much less catch me. If you want simple and easy, you’re in the wrong place.”

I am currently not married, therefore I’m single. But, it appears that having the label ‘single’ is an invitation to every perverted, desperate-deginerate on the planet. I say planet because inappropriate messages, comments, and unsolicited pics and requests come from all over the world. So, its not just an American Asshole issue.

I’m a nice person. Any of you who have read my blog or posts for any length of time knows that I’m a very open, honest, and kind person. I fill my life with purpose, positive habits, and hobbies, and spend most of my time looking for the bright side, the hope side, and the victorious side of things. Most of all, I’m respectful. However, there seems to be another underlying cue to men that being nice, or saying a kind or encouraging word, or liking a meme or quote is a signal for flirting and open season on all the bullshit listed above.

I post a selfie every morning. That’s another story, a long battle, and something Ive blogged about before. My selfies are for ME. They are not an advertisement to solicit ‘other’ kind of pictures for a viewing audience. Yet, I get asked regularly. Does that really work? Is the porn industry so hard that men seek their porn for free. Do women not value themselves enough not to be some perverts’ flavor of the minute? You know damned well they are asking EVERY woman they message for their pics too …you’re just another set of titties. Before I get bombarded with comments …I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a couple to share pics with one another. I believe it’s a wonderful tool to keep things spicy in a beautiful relationship. But when a man doesn’t even know my name asks me for a ‘sexy pic’, I literally get disgusted. I have resting-bitch-face. You should see my expression when that happens. Believe me, no one will mistake my thoughts or feelings on the matter. Most often though, besides being disgusted, I’m disappointed. I’m saddened and now regard that man as having a mental handicap, regardless of his education or success.

I don’t want to be disappointed or ashamed of men. I love men. I know so many great men. I know real life gentlemen, true heroes, great fathers, wonderful brothers, and spectacular sons. I love and admire their capabilities, their strengths, and their physique. I want to be proud of every one of them, so it hurts to see some of them fall so low over something so fucking stupid.

…and the women. I cry! I cry almost daily when I see the state of women. I am a feminist and have fought for the rights and dignity of women my whole life, starting with my severely abused and handicapped mother. I am a survivor, not a victim. History has not been kind to women. Most of the world is still cruel to women. But the most abusive, demeaning, and detrimental species to women are other women. The most cruel, abusive, demeaning and detrimental species to men is women. Before you women spam me with hate mail, think about it, honestly, and you’ll see I’m right.

I love women. No, I’m no homosexual or bisexual, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect those sexual choices. I just know what I like, and I’m attracted to warriors, often bearded badasses dripping with confidence. It’s just my preference. But, I love the beauty, the nurturing kindness, the inner strength, the fighter spirit, the ability to see potential in simplicity, and the healing nature of women. I believe women are the strongest beings on this planet. We can often survive what would break the toughest of warriors. But to see a woman debase herself to accept the behavior, advances, and demeaning treatment makes me sick. And when I see a woman do the same thing to others, makes me angry. There are so many I literally want to beat the stupid out of them. Women are the neck of society. We turn the head, we connect the head to the body. The state of things lay more at the feet of women more than anything, and I want to break a few necks everytime I get a rude, suggestive, or disrespectful message.

Bottom line – everyone is responsible for their own actions regardless of influence. I’m responsible to not allow that disrespect in my life. So, if you’re that way toward me and I delete, turn down, or block you – suck it up Butter Cup and try to be a better person.

It’s great being single, but it also sucks. Most of all, it’s most important being a good person, to have integrity, and be filled with respect for myself and others.

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Finding Purpose

 

Purpose

Life is hard.  Living is hard. That truth has never been in debate. It may appear harder or easier for some than others, but that’s really just appearance.  What may be difficult for me is easy to someone else, and vice versa.  But in my forty-seven times around the sun, I’ve learned that life is only hard when it’s outside a purpose or that purpose has not been defined. When I’m focused, and have a demarcated purpose, dream, goal, expectation or desire – no amount of effort or sacrifice is too much, too heavy, or too hard.

I sometimes suffer from anxiety. Never because I can’t do something. I honestly don’t believe there isn’t anything I couldn’t do, or figure out how to do. My anxiety comes from not being able to do something well, to the best of my ability, or failing those who depend on me. I don’t worry about tomorrow, what I’ll wear, how I’ll eat, where I’ll sleep, etc. I’m smart enough to figure those things out. What I fear is not having a purpose, not being missed, not being loved, not mattering, and being alone.

I have high standards, because they’re the standards I’ve set for myself. I don’t expect anyone to be me, respond like me, make choices like me, or work as hard as I do, to chase the goals I have for myself.  I don’t want to change anyone else either. I want the people in my life to be true to themselves and their own purposes, and not try to change me to suit their purpose.  Celebrate our differences. Share our experiences. Appreciate each other for those variances. BUT that is so hard to find.

I didn’t always value the purpose others set for themselves because I was selfish and it was about what I wanted and what I needed, not realizing that making room for someone in my life also mean making room for their purpose. It’s about finding a balance of what differences I can live with, and which ones I can’t.  It’s about finding someone to believe in me as a person, and be someone I can believe in, who I am proud to know, to understand, and to love.

Without purpose – life is chaos, a chasing of the wind.  Without love – life is empty, also a chasing of the wind. I desire both, yet fear them at the same time. What if I fail? But … what if I succeed?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Dream, Faith, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musings, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Short Story, Song List, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Want My Marble

The Whimsical World of T.L. Gray

Want My Marble

“I got you now, you evil beast!” Jude bent low, lined his favorite tiger-eye shooter with one of the dozen or so multi-colored ducks surrounding the inner hole. The knees of his jeans already sported patches from the amount of time he spent on the ground playing his favorite game in the world – marbles. “You thought you could hide from Jude Singleton, but …”

He poked the end of his tongue out the side of his mouth, closed his left eye so his right could get a better view, and with his thumb and steady hand, he flicked the large gold and black-swirled marble toward its target.

It shot across the dirt and gravel toward a small hole dug in the center of a large round ring, surrounded by several other smaller marbles. Jude held his breath and watched as his favorite shooter bounced, bobbled and weaved its way…

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Back at the Gym

I can’t express how much better I feel since starting back at the gym. I don’t think it’s just a result from physical activity. Working out has made me hurt in lots pain, waking up with Charlie’s almost daily. It hurts to breathe and hurts to move. No, the physical activity has reminded me almost every second I’m not so young anymore. But, I can handle the pain because I can feel I’m getting stronger, my body’s energy is increasing, I’m less winded, and once those torn muscles heal and adapt, they too will be fine.

No, I think the main reason I feel so much better is because I’m doing something for myself. I was drowning and getting lost in taking care of everyone else. I neglected the most important person in my life, the person I’ve spent the last five years falling in love with, healing, forgiving, and discovering, the one person I know without doubt loves me – me.

I know it sounds arrogant, but I can’t express enough to anyone and everyone how important it is to love yourself – first and foremost. It’s that self love inside that heals the wounds inflicted, both internal and external. You CAN’T love anyone else, not truly, without first being filled with love yourself. If we have no love inside, with what are we giving and loving to others? We’re not. Being in a relationship (friends, family, lovers) with anyone when we have no love for ourselves makes us vampires, because we’re not giving anything, only taking or feeding off the life and love of what others are giving to us. But it’ll never be enough. It’ll feel good at first because we’re empty and hollow, and their affection will be like a soothing drug, but in time it can’t fill the emptiness, the hole within our souls that can only be filled by us.

I’ve also learned the hard way that I can’t depend on others to love me. People, humanity in general, fail. But I’m thankful for that failure because it’s taught me to be strong, to survive, to learn to turn to myself, to be independent, and strong, and self-motivated, self-assured, and self-dependent. Nothing is more dangerous or weak than a co-dependent soul.

We are human beings and capable of failure, mistakes, and bad choices. Just look around. But within us all is the potential to learn from those failures, mistakes, and bad choices and discover success, integrity, and how to make good choices. Humanity is both ugly and beautiful, hateful and merciful, selfish and selfless.

So, here I am making a good choice, emotionally, physically, and spiritually for myself, because there’s an ugly world out there that needs a little bit of light, a little bit of love, a little bit of encouragement, a little bit of mercy, and a little bit of hope and inspiration. If my example can just inspire ONE person to begin to love and do something good for themselves, then I call that success. Just one, even if that one is just me.

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Hug Me, Love Me, Never Let Me Go

I crave to he held, extremely tight. I want to completely relax, lay down my armor, and let go of my sword under the strength of a pair of strong arms. I want to feel the excitement and ecstasy of a pair of rough hands caressing me, protecting me, touching me, exploring my body, and claiming it with every move.

hold me 1

I want to be held so tight that all my broken pieces are put back together.

broken pieces

When I go to pull away in fear, doubt, and uncertainty, I want those strong arms and hands to hold me securely and not let me go, reassuring me that I’m not alone, that a warrior stands at my side, guards my back, and stares down any approaching danger.

king and queen 2

I’ve rarely ever felt safe in this world. But those few times have ALWAYS involved a hug.

king and queen 1

I don’t let strangers hug me, but I desperately crave hugs from and for those I love.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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The Whimsical World of T.L. Gray – The Story – My Story – My Music

 

The Story, My Story, My Music

The Story – My Story – My Music

Just as Forest Gump asked his mama about his destiny, I’ve often whispered into the wind asking what destiny has been laid out for me. It’s hard to imagine what’s ahead because there are too many possibilities, and most often we can’t even fathom our true purpose in hindsight.  But if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we might just be able to see some hint of an idea. I envy people who are confident about their purpose and tackle it with all they are, all they have, and with their strength. For me, the things I’ve mostly done in my life were things I had to do, things that were necessary to survive. This has made me strong.  I can look back and see a pattern, a foundation that has led me to the person I have become.  Many times on that path I could have ventured into a different direction and ended at a different destination, but I am here.  I want to be able to bring you here, to see what I see, hear what hear, understand the perspective from my point of view.  So, let’s go back, way back to a different time, a different world, a different era.

Some people can’t remember much about their childhood. I’m one of them.  My life is comprised of bits and pieces of splintered memories, glued together with facts and timelines.  I often wonder how much is memory, how much is imagination, and how much is real.  Regardless, the pain is real, the joy is real, the love is real, and the hate is real.  So, does it matter? This is MY truth, and it is this truth that has made me who I am. So, as I filter through amber dreams, riding the waves of what was, my first stop will be a time of discovery.

I’ve always had a love for music, all kinds of music.  There’s just something about it that moves me, touches my soul in a way that most people can’t.  It’s always been a part of my life. I can hear a familiar song and am instantly teleported to a different time in my amber vault.  I’m not always sure what was about that particular memory that attached to that particular song, but I just let it do what it’s supposed to do.  MOST of the memories connected to music are good ones, but there are also nightmares and pain that make some songs hard to hear.

One such memory is back-dropped by Rod Stewarts, “If You Think I’m Sexy”. It was released in 1978, which would have made me seven years old.  I can remember sitting in my parents’ dark red Malibu outside a laundry in New Caney, Texas.  The summer sun colored everything in golden amber, shimmering mirages snaked across Highway 1485, and it must have rained the night before because a mud pooled just outside the back door.  I sat in the front seat of the car, my small feet up hanging out the window, sweat trickling down my face as I pressed the 8-track into the player.  The swilling of the notes of the song’s beginning instantly put me in chill mood.  In one hand I had a sweating Sunkist soda, and in the other a half-eaten Chic-o-stick, as my feet moved to the beat.  “If you want my body, and you think I’m sexy, come on Sugar let me know.”  I had no idea what the song was about, but I knew I liked it. I liked his voice, I liked the beat, and I liked the way the song allowed me to escape the Texas humidity.  Even at a young age I had a knack for song lyrics, for being able to pick out each instrument and follow its progression within a song.  Rod Stewart’s raspy voice comforted me.  I’m not sure why I needed comfort in that moment, I just know that after the song played for a few moments I reached up and wiped the tears that had snaked down my cheeks, because now I was lost in the song.

The rest of the memory is just bits of broken pieces, the sound of children playing, two little blonde babies running around in saggy diapers, another chubby kid with copper-red chair using a stick to dig for worms near the mud hole outside the back door and another skinny little boy begging me, “Sap, come play jacks with me.”

Sap. That was my name, or at least that’s what everyone called me. I’ll get to that story soon, as well as the moment I heard my real name for the first time on my first day of Kindergarten.  There’s something about a name. There’s power to the names we are called, or by which we are known, just as there’s power in familiar songs.  To this day I am still teleported to that memory outside that laundry mat every time I hear that song or Rod Stewart’s familiar voice. It seems to be a safe memory for me. Knowing the facts of where I was, what was going on at that age, I believe it’s good I have this memory.

Other songs that teleport me are Queen’s “We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and Another One Bites the dust.”  These songs were recorded in 1977, so it’s still around the same time that I first heard them, although the memory of me hearing them didn’t take place in New Caney, but in a trailer park in Huffman, Texas, so this was before the memory above. There was this drainage ditch outside the trailer park that served as a border of where I was allowed to roam, but I never stuck to borders. Inside, the trailer had lime green carpet and orange countertops.  I can remember lying on a linoleum floor, listening to Queen from a record player.  It was one of those big stereos where the player was hidden inside a cabinet top.  The sound of the needle when it made contact with the vinyl is so pronounced, and then the songs… the songs instantly took me away.  The room grew black as my imagination opened and I entered into a fantasy realm filled with flying horses, talking bears, and a single apple tree on a little island.  Island of the Magic Apple Tree was one of the first stories I ever imagined and ever wrote.  For some reason Queen’s rock anthems took me to this place.  Yet, for this one memory there’s also a dark side.  As the song ended, the arm of the record player automatically lifted from the vinyl and returned to its dock.  I looked around the trailer and saw ashtrays full of cigarettes and roach buds attached with feathered clippers, bodies lying around everywhere, some in bikinis, and some in cut-off shorts, empty liquor and beer bottles, and crying babies in a crib. I pulled a chair up to the gas stove, pushed away the bent spoons and empty needles to put a pot of water on the burner.  While the water heated, I mixed powdered milk and placed the bottles into the water.  That memory flashes every time I hear those songs, but so also the story.

There are many other songs that have both good and bad memories attached to them.  Music is strong. Music is important.  It affects me deeply. I listen to it, I play it, it moves my soul.

Well, that’s enough for today.  But, I’m not done with the topic of music, and I’ve only just begun with telling the story of how I got my second name, Sap.  Stay tuned.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray ©2017

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Body, Mind and Soul… Day Three

Body, Mind and Soul - Day Three

Good morning and welcome back. Yesterday I promised to speak about the soul. 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 reach those pinnacles.  I need to protect my body, mind and soul from people or things that will steal, detour, or destroy the plans I have made.  Not everyone in my life is good for me, some will not only destroy the plans I make by sabotaging my progress in my physical goals, messing with my mind and peace, but they will also seek to destroy my soul.

From the time we are born we are told how important family and friends are, often to the point that we ‘put  up’ with toxic people in our lives because we happen to be related to them or grew up around and with them. We essentially are taught to be tolerant and acceptable of abuse if we had the misfortune of being born within an abusive family or on a particular side of the tracks. As a child, we have no choice.  As a young adult, we are often tortured during those transitional years of dependency to independence, and some of us have to navigate that journey into adulthood with an already damaged soul.

Our souls are the most precious part of who we are.  Our exterior, our body, our skin, our faces, our strengths, our genetics, our culture… those are not the great and important aspects that truly define us as human being; those are the shallow parts.  The depth of who we are as a person is the part known as our soul. This is the part of us that defines the difference between right and wrong, compassion or apathy, love or hate, our integrity, and our self-esteem, etc. This is truly what defines our beauty.  But the world is shallow and most often can’t see beyond the exterior, physical, shallow aspects until we’ve entered into a relationship with someone, and thereby endangering our souls from the choices we made.

Come on, we’ve all done it. We’ve all at one time become infatuated with a beautiful smile, a set of dimples, strong muscles, or long, beautiful legs. We’ve fantasized about who we wanted that person of our infatuation to be, and it was good… while the fantasy lasted. But then we got to know the person behind the dimples, behind the muscles, behind the smile, behind the crocodile tears, behind the legs or the boobs, and that picture wasn’t as pretty as the one we had first imagined. Soon, those things we first found attractive was no longer eye-catching, because the soul became more and more evident. This has happened to everyone.  My question is this: How much damage did we allow to happen to our souls during this time of infatuation?  How much damage do we then cause to the next soul that comes into our lives because of the state of our now-damaged souls? Can you see the cycle?

We have to protect ourselves – our bodies, our minds, and especially our souls. We have to forget all that fucking nonsense that was drilled into us as children that we have to ‘put up’ with toxic people because they’re relatives or from the ‘hood.  We don’t HAVE to do anything or allow anyone into our lives that we don’t choose. If they’re toxic, selfish, detrimental to your own well-being, vampires that use, abuse, or take us for granted, disguised as friends but add no value to our lives, only there with their hands out when they need something – CHOOSE to protect and love yourself enough to walk away.  Choose to protect your soul. Choose to fight for yourself. Don’t allow them to infect your own soul and bring you down.

Here is a truth that I hope will change your life. It changed mine.  So, listen, and listen carefully.  IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO SAVE THE WORLD. It’s not.  We don’t possess the power to save anyone from anything.  People have to want to save themselves. This is what I’m trying to tell you today.  YOU have to want to save YOURSELF.  It’s God’s job to save other people’s souls, not yours.  If the world would concentrate on saving themselves, focus on being a good person with a beautiful soul, and then they will have a beauty that the rest of the world can see.  They will possess goodness, kindness, and compassion the world needs.

Protect your soul.  Stop allowing people to use you, to take from you when you have nothing for yourself.  Surround yourself with people who sow INTO you, who encourage you, who lift you up; not take from you, drain you, and takes advantage of you and what you have. Until you are strong enough to be an example, to be a light, you’re sacrificing your own light, your own soul.  How can you be a light when you’re filled with darkness, and pain, and your soul is so damaged from the abuse of those who claim to love you most?  It’s not selfish to cut these toxic relationships out of your life. Separate yourself – no matter if it’s a parent, a sibling, a gown child, an ex, a childhood friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker – it doesn’t matter who they are.  If they’re toxic and they have an ugly soul, or your soul is too damaged to deal with their drama – protect yourself.  This is YOUR life.  You only get ONE. You don’t get a do-over.

Protecting yourself, your body, mind and soul, is not going to be easy.  It will require dedication, determination, and devotion.  Love your body enough to do what is necessary to be healthy, to be fit to enjoy the things that make this life adventurous.  Love your mind enough to do what is necessary to be brilliant, open, and inquisitive, seeking out those dreams and ideas that will fulfill your life and give it purpose.  Love your soul enough to be a good person, a light in a dark world, deep love in a shallow society.  This is YOUR choice.  This is MY choice.

I’ve been a lot of dates that remind me constantly of how much the world is so focused on the shallow outside, how much there is a lack of vision, drive, and determination in the pursuit of happiness, and how many dark souls are out there just waiting to use and abuse me.  It hurts my heart. I’m so disappointed in what I’m finding.  I had to quit dating before I fully lost faith in men and in society in general.  I’m an odd duck.  I actually care about the world around me and the people in it.  But I keep dreaming, I keep praying, and I keep working on MYSELF to become the best person I can, hoping that I may be a light for someone.  I can’t save the world. It’s not my job. I am responsible for everything I do and say, but I’m not responsible for what the world hears or how they respond.  I hope I am a light on a hill, and that is why I work so hard to make sure I protect and focus my love on my body, my mind, and my soul.

Until next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Philosophy, relationship, Spiritual, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victim: Made or Chosen

 

Victim

Shit happens, and most of the time shit happens to us beyond our control. If you’re a human being and have meet another human being, then shit at one time or another has happened to you. You’re not special. You’re not unique in THIS aspect. We don’t always see what someone else has endured, but EVERYONE has had shit happen to them. No matter how cushioned or sheltered or privilege of a life they live, or how depraved, everyone has experienced pain, disappointment, abuse, neglect – shit. Everyone. Every – one. Understand that? I know some of you right now are thinking about someone who you think has had a perfect, sheltered, and uncomplicated life, but you’re wrong.

What makes us different is how we individually process the shit that’s happened to us, and how we allow it to affect us. Some of us have endured horrors unimaginable, yet are mentally and emotionally amazingly strong. The strongest are the ones that refuse to allow the shit that’s happened to them break them or repeat the cycle of abuse to those around them. When you can take a person that has been abused, neglected, and beat down, and they spend their life and make it their mission to encourage, help, and love a hateful world… that is a true hero, a beautiful soul. They are not victims, they are victors, survivors, over-comers. On the flip side of that is a weak person that has allowed their souls to be filled with all the shit that’s been piled onto them to consume them and transform them into the monsters that tormented them, and now torment others. They are the new monsters, predators, abusers. Then there are those that dwell somewhere in the middle – strong in some areas, and weak in others. This is where much of society lives. This is also where victims dwell. 

I believe with all my heart that victimization is a mindset, and one that is chosen. I can feel the excuses dwelling up inside your mind right now. There is ALWAYS an excuse, always a reason, always a diagnosis for the victimization. I’m not disputing that. SHIT happens. Things happen to us beyond our control, at the decision of someone else, and it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s painful, and it causes damage. I have endured unimaginable shit.  But HOW we respond to the shit that happens to us is OUR decision and completely in our control and up to us. How we allow this shit to affect us, to guide us, to destroy us, etc., is also up to us. We choose to become heroes, or monsters, or victims. We choose to fight with a will of steel or a pill, with a determination or an excuse.

Sometimes laziness is because we’re simply fucking lazy and have a weak will, not because we can’t face or handle the shit that was thrown at us or that covers us. Laziness is a CHOICE. Laziness is weakness, and a state victims choose because doing what needs to be done is hard. Cleaning up the shit in our lives is hard. But if we want to live a clean, victorious, strong life, then we must be willing to do the hard work to make it happen. All by ourselves! Because WE choose it. We don’t need a pill. We don’t need a diagnosis to tell us it’s okay. We don’t need someone else to tell us we can. We must face the facts of who we are, where we are, and then make a fucking choice. When WE don’t work on cleaning up the shit in our lives, because we choose to be victims, then what we are really doing is being lazy and leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. Guess what, victims… you’re becoming the shit-slingers now, throwing your shit around for someone else to clean up. You become the burden to those who love and care about you. YOU are creating more victims. Many of you reading this right now just shut that thought down because you don’t’ like to face the truth, you’d rather hide in your corner and wear your victim cape. You can’t make a change until you face the truth. Life isn’t fair. It never has been and never will be. Get over it.

What I’m talking about is changing a mindset. STOP thinking you’re a victim. No, changing your mind to become a victor, an over-comer doesn’t mean that the shit will stop flying and your life will become perfect. There is ALWAYS shit flying. ALWAYS. What changes is YOU and who YOU choose to be, and how YOU effect the world around you and the people you love and who loves you. You can’t save the world, but you can choose to save yourself. Victims whine and complain about how they were treated, and how unfair the world is to them, but do they think about how THEY treat the other people in their lives with their victimhood?

Changing your mindset will change how you respond to the world around you. It will change how you respond to everything in your life. Being healthy, be energetic, being successful, being focused, being compassionate, making a difference in your body, your mind, your heart, and your world. It will change how you love, how you forgive, what kind of person you are at home, at work, at play. You don’t be like everyone else around you. You will destroy all the boxes, be an outsider, not be understood, and most often unaccepted.  But you will be AMAZING, inspirational, and be something good in this shitty world.

The choice is yours. There are no made victims, only chosen ones. There are no made victors, only chosen ones. There are no made monsters, only chosen ones. Choose.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

Categories: Blog Post, Faith, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Life, love, Musing, Philosophy, relationship, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Valued Vs. Liked

Valued vs Liked

VALUED VS. LIKED

 

I read a meme the other day that said, “There’s a difference between being liked by a man and valued by a man. A lot of guys like you. Not many value you. Be valued.”

On our moral compass, all human beings want to be valued. But, we also want to be liked. Why does it have to be one or the other? I’m just brazen enough that I want both.

But what does it mean to be valued? Per the dictionary it means, “Considered to be important, beneficial; cherished.” My inner 10-year now wants to go down that rabbit hole and ask, what does important mean, what about beneficial and cherished? See where I’m going… wanting to get to the deeper existential meaning?

I have this philosophy I try to live by, it’s one that was instilled in me as I began my journey to find the god of my heart and prayers. I didn’t want a religion, and still don’t, but I wanted to know the spirit I called out to in my darkest moments, in my highest moments, in my quiet moments. I lived in a world of tragedy and it had me question the very fabric of the universe, the very heart of man. What I witnessed was cruelty in its highest form and my small mind couldn’t understand it, but became determined to live a life contrary to it. I was raised among greed, selfishness, anger, violence, shown a world where I saw taking, but never giving, hating but never loving, anger but never peace. You hit first, or you’ll get knocked down. Take or it will be taken from you. Be a better liar, because you’re always being lied to. It wasn’t wrong, that was the world I witnessed, but it was a world I didn’t want to be a part. For a while I lived it and realized it was a never-ending cycle. The world was never going to change for me, but I also learned I had the power to change MY world. So, I made myself a promise to be better that what I had given. To be a blessing to those in our life, and not a burden. To always leave a place we’ve been better than when we left it. As a guest, be courteous and thankful. Give thanks, show appreciation, be understanding, and always be honest.

Yes, people will still take advantage, lie, and mistreat us, but our actions can’t be based on them, only on ourselves. We are not what happens to us or what others do to us; we can’t control the actions and decisions of others. Who we are is how we respond and what we decide to do. That’s our character. We can color it, paint it, disguise it, lie about it, make excuses, blame everyone else, pretend, present a false picture, but the truth of who we are will always eventually come out, because it is evidenced in not only the ‘big’ things we do, but mostly in the little ones…today, every day, after day, after day, after day.

Everyone can pretend for a little while, but time will always reveal the truth. We also leave a footprint of our true character… just look behind us and see the path we leave behind. Is it one filled with victories, accomplishments, and love… or chaos, heartache, and one disaster after another? We can all pretend to be anything we want, and even lie to ourselves about it, but if we want to know what kind of monster we really are? What footprint do we leave behind?

Being this way won’t always lead to us being liked by our fellow human beings. In our minds, we think it should, but it doesn’t. When we take the high road, we are often resented instead of liked, because we become a reflection and most people really don’t like about themselves.

I believed most of my life that my mother hated me because I was unlovable and unwanted, but I’m beginning to understand that my stubbornness, by courage, and my strength were the things she lacked within herself and she hated that reflection, not me.

While I may not be liked by many people, I am valued. Those that know me, or have known me, know my character, my soul, my heart. Those that don’t know me and don’t like me, more than likely don’t like themselves. I can’t help that. That’s their problem, not mine. I used to care, but I don’t have time for all that wasted energy. I’d rather pour that energy into the people I love and care about, into myself, into my job, into my goals and aspirations.

While I’d love to be both liked and valued, I’d rather be valued. Like my face, like my ass, like my smile or my eyes, like my stuff, like my accomplishments, none of that stuff is really important and I refuse to be a person who lives their life trying hard to get that approval from the world.  As for me… value me as a person.  The friends I have in my life – I don’t always like them, but I love and value them. Sometimes I like them, but let’s keep that to ourselves.

What about you, reader? Are you a person that would rather be valued or liked?

Till next time,

~The Valued T.L. Gray

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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