Posts Tagged With: Fear

Young and Beautiful

Young and Beautiful

The more time I spend alone, the pickier I become.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  How do we know what we really want in life, in a lover, in a partner, in a friend, or in any relationship we have? We think we know, but do we really? All relationships require a certain amount of sacrifice, involvement, investment, and time.  I sometimes think of all the time, energy, investment, and involvement I’ve wasted on some people and neglected to spend on others.  Most of us are not wasteful with our money, but we don’t realize we need to protect our love and attention even more.

Perhaps I’m just becoming arrogant as I grow more independent.  I’ve always been independent, but there was this one part of me that desired to be dependent on someone else, to let myself be consumed and lost in someone else, but I was never able to fully let go because I didn’t trust anyone, and now … well, now I find the idea troubling.

I was watching the first part of a mini-series about Marilyn Monroe yesterday, and while I don’t compare myself to Monroe, there were some things in that movie that struck a strong chord.  The message they were trying to convey was that she did a majority of the things she did because she had this deep need inside to be loved. Though she was young and beautiful, and the world claimed to love her, she didn’t see it or feel it, and ultimately took her own life still searching for it. I’m not debating the rightness or wrongness of her actions, I won’t judge, but I will say that there was an inner child within myself that watched from the shadows and would often nod her little head and whisper, “She’s just a little girl that nobody wanted.  She just wants somebody – the world – to love her, but you’re scared. You both run when you get scared. It’s comfortable being with those who only want to use you, because they can’t hurt you. But the ones that want to love you, scare you to death.” (Yes, I changed the ‘she’ to ‘you’ because that’s how it appeared in my imagination.)

Why are there so many Marilyns in the world?

This reminds me of the Lana Del Ray song Young and Beautiful – “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?  Will you still love me when I’ve got nothing but my aching soul?”

I don’t think you will, but that’s okay, because I will.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Oh, My Weary Soul

God, this world is so messed up, and I’m broken in so many shattered pieces, there are just some days too heavy for me to bear.  I’ve lived in this valley for a long time, actually I think I was born here, and I can’t seem to find my way out.

I’m so tired of saying ‘goodbye’.  What the hell is good about bye?  What the hell is so wrong with me that I’m never enough to fight for?  I don’t think it’s that I’m not enough, but that I’m more than they deserve.  Because I know I sure as hell deserve a lot better.  I deserve something real, and the world is full of cowards too afraid to be real.

I have scars all over my body.  I try to hide them, not because I’m ashamed, but because I also carry the inner scars that were created from them and don’t want to share them with just anyone.  People are strange creatures.  We’re controlled by our fears, and often can’t see a person beyond their skin.  We lie to ourselves and convince ourselves that our faith, our beliefs, our values, or our philosophies guide and lead us in our decisions, but they don’t… our fear does.

I have a friend who says he fears nothing, but he’s lying to himself.  He runs as I hard as I do, perhaps even harder, because he’s afraid.  But I don’t have to tell him. In the silence, he knows the truth.  However, knowing the truth doesn’t keep him from being an asshole.  Even still, he’s beautiful and I love him, even though I also hate him for his vanity and cowardice.

I heard a quote this morning from Jim Carrey – “My soul is not contained within the limits of my body, my body is contained within the limitlessness of my soul.” The Journey of Purpose.  I believe this.  When I look at someone, I look beyond their flesh and try to see their soul.  When I tell someone they’re beautiful, it isn’t their body I’m talking about, but their soul.

Who sees my soul?  Who can see past the smile or beyond the scars?  I believe no one.  I’m just the girl who ______ (fill in the blank).

My soul is weary. My heart is crushed.  My faith is weak.  I’m tired of carrying this mangled scarred body around.  I can’t run any more. I wasn’t meant to run, but to fly.  I’m lost.

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Adaptation

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Life is liquid.  It moves.  It’s constantly changing.  It has a starting point, a birth, yet constantly flows toward an end, a death.  Along the way there are lots of turns, twists and metamorphoses – sometimes lazily moving at a trickle, and other times it becomes a raging river.

Sometimes I welcome change.  Other times I hate it.  Most often I’m scared of it.  It has a way of bringing beautiful things and people into my life, but at the same time it also has the power to remove them.  No matter what I tell myself, I have no control to stop the movements of in and out.  The tighter I try to hold on, the more it hurts when it’s ripped from my hands.

I’ve done so many great things in my life.  I’ve accomplished so many great things.  I’ve also failed and lost just as many.  I’m just as scared as the next person.  Giving up is not an option.  What mask do I wear today? I’m learning, it’s whichever one I need most.

I’m learning so much from being immersed in my world of Destiny and among my clan, We Are Immortal Gods.  Maybe perhaps not learning, but being reminded.  For instance – I’m remembering essential things through the simple act of trying to upgrade my armor and weapons.  Having the right equipment, the right weapons, the right tools, makes a huge difference in my failure or success in a strike, a patrol, or a raid.  The more durable, the more powerful, and the more accurate my shot – the better my chance, the lesser my effort, the higher opportunity for success.  But, ill equipped, unknowledgeable, and inexperienced works against me and makes things so much harder.  However, I’m one of the most stubborn people I know.  I don’t give up – well, I don’t give up easily.

I’m running around with a bunch of pros.  It’s humbling, yet it’s frustrating at times.  It’s also what I need.  While I often feel really bad for being a nuisance and a handicap to my clan as they make their way through their challenges, my admiration grows for them greatly with every invite they send. My natural response when I feel a burden is to run.  That inner demon that tortures me – using the voices of the past to whisper in my ear of how I’m not wanted, I’m not needed, and I’m not welcomed is working overtime.  I have to fight against those voices and trust in the bond of my clan that they do want me.

I want my clan to be proud of me.  I want to become as skilled as them and a force to be feared and reckoned, not the butt of a cheesy joke.  I want to be able to stand beside them in battle with pride, not be hid in some corner to be protected.  The unfortunate truth, one that I’m forced to admit to myself, is that right now I need to be protected, both in the game and in real life.  The game is teaching me that though I may not currently be properly equipped or have the strength to stand on my own, or the skill to make a difference (though I will not give up and will continue to increase those skills) – if I open my heart and look around me, maybe I don’t have to go at it alone.  I can’t make it alone.  Life, just like this game, was meant to be lived, to be played, cooperatively.

In my stubbornness, in my pain, in my fear, I have pushed everyone away in my life.  I have run.  I have hid.  I have built my walls.  I have worn my masks.  But it’s time to stop running, to get up, put on my armor, and fight back.  It’s time to adapt.  Change is happening.  It always is.  I just hope I don’t have to face it alone.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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I Dance, I Ditch, I Die

I Dance I Ditch I Die

Feel the beat, beneath our feet as the music plays.

You take my hand, I feel the warmth of it as our fingers interlock. But I don’t see them, I’m too busy staring into your eyes, those captivating eyes.  They hold me prisoner in their gaze, hypnotized by their intensity. I’m spellbound.

You lead me to the dance floor.  I don’t see the other dancers, just you bathed in golden light.  Everything else is in shadow.  All I can see is your eyes, your smile.  We weave through the dancers with agility and grace.  You lead. I follow.

We stop in the middle of the dance floor.  You circle me, appraising me.  Though your eyes are locked on mine, I can tell they see all of me.  I’m your prey.  You’re the hunter.  I long to be devoured.

Your strong hand brushes across the small of my back.  I shiver.  Your other hand grabs the one hanging by my side.  Our fingers lace and you bring my hand to your beautiful lips, brushing their soft, plumpness against the back.  It’s like fire licking my skin and dancing upon the hair follicles.

You pull me close and we start to sway back and forth in time to the music.  You hold me so tight I can feel your heart beating in your chest. I feel so beautiful, so safe in your arms. Your aroma makes me dizzy.  Your warmth makes me melt.  Your intense gaze exposes my soul.  Your lips snare me, induce me, seduce me.

You dance with me.  It’s beautiful. I’m lost. I’m found.  I’m scared. I’m safe. I’m alive. I burn.  I worship you.

You kiss me, and I cease to exist. I’m yours. I’m lost in you, in your arms, in your love.

The clock strikes twelve.

I feel the façade fade. Fear consumes me.  I know you could never love the simple girl inside.  In fear, in doubt, and in confusion – I run.

Only in this fairy tale  – you don’t run after me.  I don’t lose a piece of me for you to find, because you’re not searching for me.

My heart now burns to cinder ash, and I’ve become numb.  Many ask me to dance, but I feel nothing – not the music, not the fire, not the passion.  The more I refuse, the more they want me, but I only want to dance with one.

Every day I am being transformed into the image of the princess I had once pretended to be – the one you wanted me to be – yet you can’t now see.  You dance with the other princesses, hypnotizing them with your intense gaze, seducing them with your cunning cleverness.  They don’t run.

My ashes cool and only a cold pile remains.  I hate it.  I smile, but I’m crying inside.  I want to live, but I also want to die.  I want the magic, but I have no wand.  I’m shriveling to nothing and soon will be nothing but ash floating in the wind.  My fairy tale has ended and my Prince is gone.  I’m trying to survive. I’m trying to move on. I can’t breathe.

I hate who I’m becoming.  She’s everything I despise.  I’m no longer Cinderella, but a big, bad witch in disguise.

Till next time,

~Wicked Witch of the World

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Complicated Simplicity

How much pain can a person truly handle before they break?  A person can break, I’ve seen it, experienced it, and am not convinced once broken we can ever be whole again.  But can we survive?

The hardest part of my faith for me is to trust that God will not allow more than I can handle.  That is His promise.  That is a promise I don’t understand.  It seems simple enough, but complexity and simplicity often happen at the same time.  Complicated Simplicity. What an oxymoron.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a person and saw fire – flames of life burning in them so bright they can’t help but make the world around them sparkle with hope, joy, laughter. It’s easy to believe in those moments in that promise.

I’ve also looked into a pair of eyes and witnessed such pain and depravation and literally watched the color of their irises dull and their whole countenance pale in despair. This is when we hope for that promise most of all.

I’ve also looked into a pair of eyes as their souls slipped away and death consumed them. It’s not something that can really be explained, nor is it something I would recommend.  Where is the promise here?

All these experiences leave behind scars… a tendril of essence that becomes recognizable when you see it operating in all the other sets of eyes in the world.  I truly do believe the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul.  I want to hold onto that promise, but I doubt, and I waiver, and I fear.

When my walls are up I avoid allowing people to look into my eyes.  When my walls are down I seek as much eye contact as possible. Our bodies can lie.  Our mouths can lie.  Our hands can lie.  Our thoughts can lie.  Our feelings are often the biggest liars of all.  But the eyes… the eyes can’t lie.  In this new technological world, it’s becoming easier to lie because we feel comfortable behind our screens.  Black font replaces our attempts to conceal our eyes, mostly from ourselves.  Again, another example of Complicated Simplicity.

 What complicated-simple truth would my eyes say today?  I’m reminded of a quote from my first published novel where Cain rolls over, away from the fire, away from the view of his new friend.  Tears spill out the corner of his eyes and he whispers, “No more.  I can bear no more.” Unlike my character Cain, I’m not immortal. I can break.

There was a moment when I opened my eyes this morning.  A brief moment – where time stood still and the universe turned toward me, and waited for an answer.  I had a choice.  Live or leave.  Fight or give up.  All thoughts left my mind.  All feeling left my body. Then I heard my spirit singing the soft echo of a song I haven’t heard in years from a group called Switchfoot …. http://youtu.be/jE-Krlqi4fk

Welcome to the planet.

Welcome to existence.

Everyone’s here.  Everyone’s here.

Everybody’s watching you now.

Everybody waits for you now.

What happens next?  What happens next?

 

I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

Like today never happened, today never happened before.

 

Welcome to the fall out.

Welcome to resistance.

The tension is here.  The tension is here.

Between who you are and who you could be.

Between how it is and how it should be.

 

I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

Like today never happened, today never happened before.

 

Maybe redemption has stories to tell.

Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell.

Where can you run to escape from yourself?

Where you gonna go?  Where you gonna go?

Salvation is here.

 

I moved.  I got up. I put my feet on the floor.  I breathed.   So complex, yet so simple. Today, I’m still broken but I’m alive.  So, yesterday was not more than I could handle. I’m not saying I handled it well, just that I survived.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Good Morning, World – 04/29/2014 – Whispering Wind

2014-04-29

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Fool

Fool

 

Today is April Fool’s day.  Why the first day of such a glorious month was chosen as a day to celebrate foolishness, I don’t know, and I really don’t want to know.  I enjoy a good laugh, a good prank, and seeing the creative mind being exercised.  Have fun, you little pranksters.

The bigger question for me today is: What is really foolishness and being a fool?

At times I see it as a positive thing, something admirable, full of strength and courage.  Other times I see it as being weak and stupid, something to be avoided at all costs.  There are times I love being a fool and chasing foolish pursuits because it brings me alive, it stirs my soul, and refreshes my heart.  Other times it tears me apart and makes me feel stupid, unworthy and unlovable.

One of the things I try to do is not judge a thing on its possible outcome, because what may seem impossible can turn into the possible, and none of us has the power to really control what happens in our lives.  We can do our best to reach certain goals, achieve certain outcomes, but only God knows the end.  Instead, I try to look at the results of a thing and judge it by those merits, because every decision we ever make leaves a mark, has an effect, creates a truth – a fact of what is or what has been.

Looking at things from that perspective, perhaps some of my foolish decisions haven’t been very smart ones. Things I took huge chances for haven’t happened.  Other things I’d hoped for haven’t become reality.  Even more things I dreamed for have remained out of my reach.  On the flip side of that, I’ve accomplished some really great things in my life I thought were impossible and have experienced some beautiful things that I will treasure for as long as I live.  I’m a walking contradiction… so happy with so many things, strong and healthy and doing amazingly, yet so empty, hurt and scared at the same time. I’m so proud of myself for the courage to do the things I’ve done, but also so ashamed of those things I’ve not been able to complete.  Never felt more love, yet unloved. Never felt more beautiful and desirable, yet unwanted. I once asked for my eyes to be open, now I wish more than anything they would close.

Am I a fool to continue to tightly grasp those hopes and dreams?  Or am I a fool for not letting them go? How does one let go of their soul?  How do they let go of their heart’s desire?  I know it’s possible, I’ve seen the emptiness behind the smiles.  I’ve seen the shells behind drunken stares and indifferent glances, tucked neatly behind middle-class banners, dangling from the end of a needle, or in the gooey center of a jelly donut.  I’ve wore its clothing and hid behind its smile.  It’s comfortable there, because it’s also dead.  I’m so afraid I’ll go back and give up. I’m terrified I’ll choose to be the wrong kind of fool.  I’m petrified I won’t go forward. The uncertainty kills me, yet the idea of the possibilities thrills me. I’m sick, I tell ya.  Sick. Is there a cure for this big fool? Or at least a cute little hat?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Failures or Cowards?

Failures or Cowards

What is a failure really?  Does not being able to complete a task that we dare to accomplish translate as a failure?  When a relationship breaks down and we separate is that also a failure?

I have my different definition for failure, or else I still have yet to find the correct correlating word. Failure to me is simply being too afraid to try. Allowing an opportunity to pass, that’s failure. Having tried something and it fall apart or tear to pieces isn’t failure – that’s understanding and discovering how something doesn’t work.

When it comes to relationships I watch so many people build emotional walls because they’re afraid of failure. Having had a relationship that didn’t work, they believe themselves proverbial failures. But they’re not. They’re simply cowards. I don’t want to be a coward.

I know this fear because I face it every day. I don’t want to build the same walls. I do want to protect myself from the pain that comes from a broken relationship, but not at the cost of isolation.  I want to run. I want to hide. I want to believe I’m better off not loving in the first place than taking the risk of loving again and getting hurt even more than I am now. That’s the easy thing. It’s not what winners do, it’s what failures do.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve never failed. I’ve had things fall apart, situations cost me everything, relationships tear me to pieces, but I’ve always tried – again and again and again and again until I discover what works. I face things that scare me. I risk everything for my dreams. I don’t just talk about doing things… I do them. I may complain and whine and cry and pitch a fit in the middle of my fear, but I still jump, I still leap, and I still take the gamble. I may not be showered in riches or exude what the world defines as success, but I’m a winner because I have the courage to try – again and again and again.

E.E. Cummings says, “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”

John Wooden says, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.”

Mark Twain says, “With courage, you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be passionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.”

Albert Einstein says, “You never fail until you stop trying.”

Cormac McCarthy says, “Long before the morning, I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I’d always known, that all courage was a thing of constancy. That it is always himself that the coward abandoned first. After this all other betrayals comes easy.”

This quote moves me most, because I’ve seen it in action too many times. We often think our betrayals are of the other person, but what we don’t often realize is that we’ve first betrayed ourselves. The secrets, the lies, the guilt, the shame, it all comes after we’ve betrayed ourselves.  This is what I fear most, that I will betray ME, that I will let ME down, that I will fail ME, that I will allow a coward to come into my life and drag me down into failure. It is for this purpose I continue to try and have become particular who I allow into my life – because I deserve the best, I deserve success, I deserve love, and I deserve happiness. I deserve to be with a winner. As long as I keep seeking these things and never stop, I’m not a failure. Finding or not finding isn’t the prize, the measure of success, or where living is done – but life, character, courage and success are found in the process.

I’m not a coward; therefore I am not a failure.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Crossing the Ocean

Crossing the Ocean

 

One of the many adventures I’ve taken in my life was when I spent eight months aboard a commercial fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico working as a navigator and deckhand.  It was a unique experience and I believe when I had my first encounter with God.

Up until that point in my life I was an angry young woman, struggling to raise two babies on my own, practically a baby myself at just twenty-one years old. I was scared, but I didn’t have the luxury to be scared or lick my wounds, I had two lives dependent upon me.  I could no longer continue my education and found myself in a little fishing town with no decent prospects for sustainable employment, so I took a chance and turned to the water.

I’d been on a few recreational boats by this time, living in a Florida beach town, but I’d never been on one that went so far out that the shoreline would disappear.  I can’t explain the feeling that consumed me as I stood on the stern of that boat watching the Panacea shoreline dip in the horizon with the sunset.  I knew my life was going to change, again, but I had no idea what sort of adventure or hardships lay ahead for me. The only thing I knew was that in order for me to break away from the life I had, I had to sail into the unknown.

The unknown was much bigger than me, much bigger than anything I had planned, expected or imagined, much like the ocean.  We think we can understand the size and scope of it vastness, but that’s from the perspective of the shoreline.  Once you get out past where the land disappears, the ocean becomes bigger and you finally see yourself as the tiny drop of existence you truly are.  You also find out that you’re not in control of as much as you think.

It’s a scary thing to face mortality.  But, in order to cross the ocean, to venture into the unknown, to experience what you’ve never experienced, you have to have the courage to lose sight of the shore.  “Come what may.”  You don’t know how many times I’ve said those words and had the strength to stand in the face of the unknown and the uncertain, with my shoulders squared and the wind in my face.  Here I am once again, staring out and an ocean of uncertainty watching the storm clouds and the swelling waves, but I’m not so sure I have the courage to say it one more time.

Here I am twenty-one years later, once again scared and angry facing MORE uncertainty, and in desperate need for another encounter with God. I wonder where this hardship is going to take me and who I will be at the end of it.  Will this be the storm that finally capsizes me, or will my stabilizers keep me afloat one more time.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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I Matter …and That Makes Me a Little Less Afraid

I Matter

 

For some people, the idea of being alone is scary.  Not because they’re afraid for their safety or of what may lurk in the dark, because everyone (no matter how brave they may be) are somewhat scared of those things.  That’s only natural.  Bravery is facing those fears.  What’s scary is the idea of not mattering. Yet, we think our value is hid in the physical presence, but I’m learning it’s not.

I come from a large family, having grown up with five brothers,  yet within that crowd I was always alone.  I mattered in as much as I was a care-giver, I had a function, and fulfilled a need.  I helped cook, clean, nurture, protect and defend, but as an individual I had no value, I didn’t matter.  How do I know?   Because I left them behind, walked out of their lives, and my absence made no difference.  I’m still not a part of their lives though they all live in the same town, all within a fifty mile radius.

I was married for nearly twenty years, and while my husband was my best friend and I know he cared for me, even within that union I was alone and didn’t matter.  Again, I fulfilled the function as a mother, wife, care-giver, provider, and partner.  But when I walked out of that marriage, my absence made no difference, I didn’t matter.  His life continues as it had, perhaps even better now that he doesn’t have the responsibility of me. I’m no longer a part of his life.

To some extent my children no longer have a need for me.  They are now grown and off living their own lives.  They love me and I matter to them, and in that understanding, I find value.

When I first moved out on my own, I think the thing I feared most was truly discovering how little I did matter in this world.  I gave everything to it and the people in my life, and it really hurt to look around me and see their absence.  But, I also discovered I wasn’t as much alone as I thought… because there were a few beautiful people who helped dry my tears, reached out to give me a hand, embraced me in a genuine hug, and showed me – not with their words, but with their presence – that I mattered to them.  When in my pain I tried to push everyone out of my life, they refused to go.

Here I am in a new year, and though I’m physically alone most of the time, I’m never truly alone, because to these few beautiful people, and my children, I matter … and that makes me a little less afraid.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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