Posts Tagged With: Friendship

Unforgivable

Unforgivable

 

Is there really anything that is unforgiveable? Something so bad that we just can’t accept or pardon?  For me – YES.  There are definitely things, acts, decisions, and actions in this world that I will never be able to forgive, not even for myself if I did them.  Before you start throwing your judgment darts at me – let me remind you that I’m not God.  I am a human being, filled with both the capability and capacity to do good AND evil, to love and hate, to judge and forgive.

However what does it really mean to forgive? What makes the things we do either good or evil? How are our actions and thoughts placed upon the morality scale?  Who made the scale? Is the scale the same for everybody else?

This is the cause of many wars, mankind’s idea of what is right, wrong, moral, and divine.  It’s a battle of ego – who’s right and wrong, whose god is the real god, whose god is the false god, and of what is truth and what is defined as opinion.  For me, and I can only speak for me, we don’t really need those ‘written’ laws, decrees, commandments to know the difference between right and wrong.  We know it the moment we think or commit an act if it’s wrong or evil, and that’s when we start looking for excuses and loopholes to try and feel better about our decisions. Getting caught or being sorry has nothing to do with forgiveness.

I have done evil. I have done thing in my life that when I did them, I knew it was wrong, not because someone told me, or a religion commanded and declared it so, but from this gut feeling, this sinking knowledge deep inside that let me know it was wrong.  I have acted in anger, jealousy, hurt, selfishness and pride – and cast my judgement on others for doing the same. There may have been reasons, but there is never any excuse.

Am I unforgivable?  I can’t speak for others or for God, only for myself. It has taken me years to forgive myself for some of the things I’ve said or done, there are some other things I’m still working on making right. Not by saying, “I’m sorry.” No, by studying my true intentions, my true motives, my true desires and trying to understand and learn, to see the consequences of my choices, and how those choices affected others and the world around me. Did I learn something from them? I can’t even begin forming the idea of forgiveness until I understand and face the dirty, ugly truth of my actions.

Forgiveness isn’t a word, it’s a state of being. I can’t just give it to myself, I must step into the truth of it, and I can’t do that unless I first face my offenses, face my actions, face my consequences in TRUTH. Then … when I look upon myself, my true self, I have another choice …to love myself anyway – as the dirty, sinful, hateful, pathetic and weak being that I am – love myself anyway.  I am NOT talking about making an excuse – but really seeing the truth of me. THEN – and only then will forgiveness become available. Some of us have done so much for so long our souls no longer cry out and we no longer feel any shame or pain.  In essence we have lost our souls and are dead inside. Forgiveness is for the soul, so it’s not going to be available for the soulless.

I’m sure we’ve all done things that we are not proud, that we are ashamed, that haunt our souls – for those of us who still have them. I’m sure we’ve all lost our minds sometime in moments of weakness, moments of pain, and moments of fear, leading us to do unspeakable things. Ignoring our truth doesn’t make them go away. Denying truth doesn’t make things in a state of have never happened.

Seek forgiveness and free your soul. All – not some of us, but ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.  The difference is who stays there and who rises. Don’t lose your soul. Don’t ignore your truth. Seek and find your forgiveness. Only YOU can do it.  Let stop worrying about what others have done – and look to ourselves.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing, Philosophy, Poetry, Quotes, Relationships, Review, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friendship

I had a conversation last night with a very good friend, where I made the statement that while I was very empty in romance, I was very rich in friendship. I am.  I am very lucky that I have such wonderful friends in my life.  The meaning of friendship has been on my mind a lot lately.  I’ve made some new friends because I’ve opened myself to allow new people into my life, and I’ve cut out some toxic because of the way they’ve treated me.

I have to fight very hard not to lose myself in someone else, not to allow their wants, needs, and desires to override my own. I’ve done that all my life, gave up the things I wanted to accommodate others, sacrificed my own needs to make sure those I love were never in need or without.  Oh, boy… I’ve made some HUGE strides in this area over the past few years.  I’ve learned to say “no”.

However, I still find myself at times putting up with the bullshit, keeping quiet when I’m disrespected, letting others place their needs, their issues, their wants, their devices, their additions, and their bullshit at a personal cost to myself. 

But that’s okay, because I’m back on my journey to self-love and self-respect.  The stronger I grow, the less I put up with the bullshit. No matter how much I love my friends, I WILL walk away from those who continuously abuse, neglect or take advantage of me.  I put up with a lot, because I know none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, we all have weaknesses and failures, and I’m no judge.  I hope for the best for those I love, and I’ll do anything for them to help them achieve their dreams, dig out of their problems, and fight for what they need. But I don’t have to put up with the disrespect and the abuse.

Ignore me, lie to me, use me, always come to me with your hand out, but NEVER bother to ask how my day may have went or if “I” needed anything, I’ll start to put my wall up.  Push me away when you’re going through something, and because I love you I’ll keep coming back. Keep pushing me away, one day I’ll eventually keep walking.  I’ve been there, where I’ve pushed everyone away in my life.  My real friends didn’t let me completely block them out, and I love them for not giving up on me.  But, there will come a time when I will give up, because I’ve made a vow to myself that I will never remain where I’m not wanted, where I’m not respected, where I’m neglected and abused.

My greatest hope is that one day I will be happy and deeply in love with my soul mate, my best friend, my greatest companion… and he will be just as much in love with me.  I will never doubt his love, I will experience the beauty of his respect, I will taste the fruit of his passion, and I will give him my everything because he will be my everything.  He will not abuse me or neglect me.  He will honor me, love me, cherish me, respect me, desire me, care about my hopes, dreams, fears, and passions.  He will sometimes piss me off and disappoint me, but he will make me confident in his love so I’ll be unafraid to just be myself. He will not make me feel small or a fool.  I will be his crown, his closest companion, his biggest cheerleader, and his greatest fan, his best friend.

At least that’s my hope and fantasy. I’m not yet ready to meet him or jump immediately into a serious situation.  I still can’t breathe. I’m still a mangled mess. But I will be ready, someday, and I hope that day comes soon.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, family, friends, Hope, Inspirational, Life, love, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, T.L. Gray | Tags: , | Leave a comment

With My Whole Heart… Now

With My Whole Heart Now

I sometimes wonder how I make it through the day.  I don’t wonder as I’m going through the day, but in those quiet moments of reflection usually at the end of one or in the early mornings of a new one.  I try not to look too far ahead, because while some of those thoughts bring me great anticipation and excitement, others bring me moments of panic, worry and overwhelming anxiety.  I’ve been through too much to not fear the struggles that may lay ahead, because of the struggles I’ve already waded through, but I’ve also experienced some great adventures and anticipate with wonder.  The joy, the peace, or the real struggle is to try to stay as much in the present moment as possible.  This moment is more manageable. It is this moment where your decisions matter most. It’s in these moments that keep you on track of your goals and aspirations, or provide the detours that sends you on a different path.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

What’s in my present moment? What’s going on in my life and what can I do about it?

I’m currently working on a health & fitness program that includes a great workout regimen, a light diet plan, and building a lifestyle of active adventure.  So far, so good.  It’s a decision I have to make on a daily and weekly basis.  I can’t think or plan too far ahead, nor can I dwell on the past successes or mistakes.  I know what works for me, for my body, and for my mind.  My past success and failures help me make my current choices and also leads as a guide in my near-future decisions.  I give it my whole heart… now.

I’m currently in a romantic relationship that constantly makes me smile, makes me excited to get up in the morning, makes me feel at peace for my present, makes me feel loved, wanted and desired as I love, want and desire my man.  I don’t dwell on the relationships of the past. While those relationships sometimes pop up to remind me of both good and bad times, I don’t allow the memories to stay very long.  I also don’t try to plan and anticipate too far in the future.  Anticipation is the root to most of our disappointment. I’ve learned I can guarantee nothing. How can I make a promise that I have no power to actually fulfill? It doesn’t mean I don’t have a desire to see a life full of great moments, great love, and even greater adventure, because I do.  It’s one of my biggest hopes. However, I don’t PLAN it. I just appreciate what I have in this current block of time.  I reflect on how I feel and how the relationship affects me now.  I give it my whole heart… now.

I’m currently surrounded by a few great friends, and have recently made a few new friends.  I’m seeing the beauty of the human heart through some of the people that has come into my life the last few years.  For so long I saw the ugliness, judgement, and depravity of humanity, and many times my heart hurt and my mind fought to have hope.  There are beautiful, selfless, caring people in the world. I’ve had the pleasure to meet a few of them.  While I miss some of the friendships in the past, I’m learning to appreciate the friends in my present and open my heart to new friends.  I give it my whole heart… now.

 I’m writing again.  I have so many manuscripts I could work on, but I’m taking it one day at a time.  If I think of all that needs to be done, all that I’ve left behind, all that I’ve let slip away, or all that I want to do, then I will get too overwhelmed and run back into hiding. I don’t have the luxury to write full-time at this time in my life, and have to make time in my daily schedule for what I could do now.  It has to be a priority.  I have a wonderful job that I really enjoy that allows me to take care of my basic necessities, supports my independence.  It’s a job that ends at a certain time of day so that I am free to pursue those other goals in my life in the other 16 hours. I give it my whole heart… now.

So between my goals of health, fitness and living an adventurous lifestyle, enjoying a beautiful romance, surrounded by awesome friends, working at a good job, and fulfilling a great dream, my day is pretty full.  I don’t have the energy or the time to waste dwelling on a past I can’t change or worrying about a future I can’t control.  Today… I’m happy, I’m living in the moment, I’m in love, I am loved, and I’m excited. I give it my whole heart… now.

Till next time,

Princess of the Present

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faith, Hope and Love

Faith, Hope and Love

 

Faith, hope and Love

Life has a funny way of sometimes jumping forward, pulling you back, or getting stuck in the present that you can’t move in either direction.  That complexity is what makes it life.  If everything worked the way we thought it should, or our thoughts always went in a forward momentum, or our hearts always moved in a particular direction, we wouldn’t be the complicated human beings we’ve turned out to be.  We’d be happy plastic people.  Isn’t that the way the song goes? We’d be strong in faith, solid in hope, and brimming with love, right?

Anyway, we are complicated, complexed, and often confused.  We are taught morals and values that create walls and boxes, and when life doesn’t go according to plan, we often crumble inside those boxes, doubting ourselves and becoming weak in faith, void of hope, and empty in love.

I was thinking about God and family this morning.  Well, how religion often portrays God, really.  I thought about the scripture in Philippians 4, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication make your requests known to God… “, and I remembered being told more times than I can count not to worry about things, that God is watching out for me, He’s got me in his protection, and He’d make a way for me, to protect me; that my worry was detrimental and contrary to my faith.  I’ve always wondered at those who would quote this scripture to me, if they’d ever suffered any real loss, any real tragedy, any real heartbreak, any real disappointment, any real set back or failure, because I had.  For many years I felt weak in my faith because I still worried about the things that threatened my welfare, my children, my family, or the life I was trying to provide for them.  Yet when I expressed those worries or fears, told with a smile NOT to worry, to have faith, to trust God would see me through it. Yeah, like all the things I already went through, that’s what I feared.  Many of those things I worried about happened no matter my faith.  Instead of feeling the strength I had often felt growing up in a severely abusive childhood, I felt like a failure, weak, and a disappointment to a god that was supposed to love and protect me.  But it’s easy to talk warfare when you’ve never been in true battle. It’s easy to talk of a father’s love if you’ve never known a father’s love.  But, what of us orphans who never knew love, never had a father to protect us, but a father from whom we needed protection? What of a soldier on the battlefield of life, one that’s seen the brutality of war, the ugliness of mankind? How can we ask them not to be afraid?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the past, not really the experiences I’ve had, but the woman I used to be.  I was strong, but so lost.  I was damaged, yet impenetrable.  But what’s changing for me now is love.  I’ve known love, but I didn’t quite know how to accept it.  I’ve loved deeply, but I didn’t know how to express it.  I’d like to say it’s because of the love that’s growing for my Dominican Marine that’s creating/inspiring this new outlook, and perhaps that’s part of it, but it’s more of the love I’m receiving from him, from my best friends Jenna and Kenny, from my kids, but mostly it’s from the love I’m receiving for and from myself.

I heard my ex-husband is getting remarried.  I’m happy for him, because I’ve only ever wanted him to find and feel love.  Everyone knew we married for convenience, to fulfill responsibility, and I could never be the woman he wanted, the woman he loved, and he often made sure I was reminded I was not wanted, or desired, or acceptable.  I am not without blame, because I always knew I was never in love with him either, though I respected and was faithful to him, I couldn’t give him the love he needed. What hurt most in our divorce wasn’t our separation, because now we both had an opportunity to find the love we desired, but the loss and separation of family.  His family was my family for two decades, and really the only real family I ever knew.  His parents were the only parents I ever really had and I loved them dearly. Still do. I miss them. Now they’ll have a new daughter and I hope it’s one they can be proud to love.  The bond I have with my natural brothers isn’t one of love, but one of survivorship, and while that bond brings us together and keeps us connected on some level, it’s also the foundation of the huge wall that keeps us separated, well… that and the lying, stealing, cheating, drugs, etc. My kids love me, but they don’t need me, and they’re getting on with their lives knowing they don’t have to worry about me. I loved them more than myself and only hope they understood and felt that love from me. I often fear I damaged them because of my own lack of being able to show what was inside beneath my thick armor.

I am a vagabond, a woman without a home, without a people, without a family, yet I am a very blessed woman because I am rich in love, in friendships, and in faith.  While I worry about the cares of this world, I am not afraid. Not because I cling to a scripture, to a promise, or to a faith in a god to protect me, or a man to save me.  I cling to a knowledge that shit happens, but I’m strong and I’ll overcome it, and I’m not alone, because LOVE is with me.  God is love.  God is with me. I love me. I love my kids. I love my friends. I love my Dominican. That love … that love is my strength.  That love helps me heal from a past, gives me hope for my future, and surrounds me as I walk through my present… in all its complexity and simplicity.  Faith is good. Hope is beautiful.  But, love is the greatest of all these things.

Till next time,

~ Love’s Lover

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somewhere in the Middle

Somewhere in the Middle

I tried to find a word to capture my current feeling, this overwhelming, yet underwhelming lack of expression for a place somewhere in the middle, but I can’t quite capture it.  I even asked one of my highly intelligent friends for a word to express a median and they couldn’t come up with one either.  It seems we are hard wired to think in extremes, always looking for that heightened or lack of feeling, but what we often experience on a day to day basis lies somewhere in the middle, and that’s normal.  Yet, we think normal is depressing or non-essential.  As a writer, one would think we always need to feel those polar extremes to write better, but that’s not true.  What we should be able to capture is every level, every plane, every degree, every color on the spectrum.

So, why am I thinking of mediums this morning?  Well, because my over-thinking, over-imaginative, over-complicated mind (get the idea?) is trying to evaluate, to be introspective about the current relationship I’m involved with my Dominican Marine.  Some moments I have these bouts of clarity and think, Wow, I’ve met an incredibly wonderful man and I can feel the love and admiration, and I can see a life with him.  Not a fantasy, but a real life, full of struggles and obstacles, but standing side by side with each other as we navigate.  I suppose I found an adventure partner.  And other times I think, Oh, shit… now what?  Will I be able to stick this out or will I get scared and slip into my running shoes because I’ve worked too hard to find myself?  I don’t want to be on either end of that stick, but I need those ends to keep me balanced. I don’t want to lose myself into someone else again, forget who I am as a woman, forget and forgo my own wants, needs, and dreams in order to fulfill theirs, and yet at the same time I don’t want to get so consumed in protecting the long list of personal goals and wants that I don’t make room for him and his.  It’s about finding a balance somewhere in the middle, like a bubble finds the medium mark when it’s leveled.

So, here I find myself living between hope and fear, love and indifference, want and need.  It’s okay to have them all, but it can get confusing if they’re experienced out of balance. One of my best friends is an 18-year old named Kenny who still yet has to discover life, love and heartbreak, and part of me envies his journey, but at the same time I am so glad I’ve already climbed those mountains.  I also had a conversation with a 23-year old young man named Jordan at work yesterday, and hearing his doubts fight against his wants, his ideas against his morals, his hopes for a future against the reality of the present, made me smile because I realized I already know what I want when it comes to a relationship, I’ve already discovered for myself all the things he’s trying to discover now.  My only fear at the moment is if what I want is compatible to what my Dominican Marine wants, and that answer is going to be found somewhere in the middle.

Yes, I’m still afraid and some days find it hard to breathe because love has a devastating way of being very elusive.  At the same time, I’m finding myself beginning to dare to hope that maybe love has finally found me.  In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy being right here in the middle of them both. Got any popcorn?

Till next time,

~The Bubble in the Middle

Categories: Blog Post, blogging, friends, Hope, Inspirational, Life, love, Philosophy, Relationships, Romantic, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hypnotic – Zella Day

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Yep, I’ve got another one… another great song has been added to my playlist.  I want to thank my very special friend who understands my passion for music, for stories, for a beat and a melody that moves my heart and touches my soul.  He’s got a very special gift for knowing what I’ll respond to, and I appreciate that more than he’ll ever know.

Switching tempos… it’s time to get down to the marrow of this particular song – Hypnotic by Zella Day.  I’ve been listening to it now for a couple of weeks, along with the rest of her album “Kicker”.  I’m a fan – for life.  I just love her style and can really feel a connection to a lot of her stuff.  Her music speaks more to that sexy, sensual, sultry part of me.  It’s taken me a long time to get in touch with that particular part of myself, and so I really appreciate how her music appeals and inspires me.

While this song makes me move (I mean, I literally can’t sit still, my hips automatically start swaying, my shoulders start moving, even my fingertips want to get into the dance.), it also speaks to something deeper, something bigger, something more than just the erotic sensationalism.

Have you ever met someone that by all practical common sense, you know-that you know-that you know is someone that will be difficult to mesh with because you’re so different, yet when you’re with them – NONE of that other stuff, none of those differences, none of those fears, doubts, or compromises mean anything?  Hell, I can’t even think straight when I’m around him. I literally get dizzy, stumble over my words, forget all my ideas and plans, and just BE in the moment.  Man… it’s terrible and great at the same time. That feeling of connection, that bigger-than-you-can-comprehend, magnetic euphoria makes everything seem so right, so perfect, so … hell, I can’t even find the word.  It’s just something hypnotic.

This one feeling (it could be like a million feelings all compounded into one) has stripped away so many of my core beliefs,  ideals, morals, and practical sense, and I’d do just about anything to feel it again.  It pulls me out of the person I think I am, that mask I represent most of the time, and transforms me into someone else, strips me naked and bare for just a little while.  Just like the song says, “I don’t want to come back down, I don’t want to touch the ground. Pacific Ocean dug so deep, hypnotic taking over me.”

Does any of that other shallow stuff really matter? Isn’t the things we find in the deepest part of us, the hidden parts, the parts so cavernous that no light can touch, and the pressure is so hard it crushes us, the parts that reveal who we really are? I’ve walked away from a lot of potential relationships for very many shallow reasons.  Perhaps I’m just trying to protect myself because I’m afraid of what waits beneath the surface, in a place where my feet can’t touch the ground, where I can’t see clearly, where I find certain attributes I don’t particularly like,  and I move on.  Am I looking for Mr. Perfect?  I know perfect doesn’t exist. Yet, I’ve experienced something with one of these opposites that I can’t shake.  In the deepest part of my heart I WANT to always do what is right, what is just, what is fair, what is wise, and what is noble. I think I have one of the biggest hearts in the world. I have all these intentions.  I have sacrificed so many times in my life to walk a certain path.  I used to have solid, defined opinions about what I’d do, what I wouldn’t do, what I thought I needed, what I thought I didn’t need.  Yet, I forget all those things… every fucking single one of them… with a single hypnotic glance. I’m entranced.

Thank you, Zella Day, for your lovely song… and thank you readers for riding this wave with me.  Now, sit back (well, get ready to move) and enjoy the latest addiction to my music collection.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

“Hypnotic”
(Ahh ahh)

I wanna be on the front line
Knotted up suit ties
Talkin’ like a headstrong mama
Gotta picture in your wallet
Makin’ me a habit
Wearin’ your vintage t-shirt
Tie ribbons on ya top hat
Tellin’ me I’m all that
Just like the girls from ya home town
Sweet blooded and I’m stranded
See if I can stand it
Drinkin’ in the shallow water

Magnetic everything about you
You really got me now

You do it to me so well
Hypnotic takin’ over me
Make me feel like someone else
You got me talkin’ in my sleep
I don’t wanna come back down
I don’t wanna touch the ground
Pacific ocean dug so deep
Hypnotic takin’ over me

(Ahh ahh)

White threads on my laces
Stuck on the hinges
Swingin’ the door to the to the back yard
Got splinters walkin’ tight ropes
Spun like a bandage
Touch on the outer surface
Bright eyes of the solstice
Wherever your mind is headed for a freight train city
Locked up till your moon lit
Brushin’ my hair back
Feelin’ ya lips on my cold neck

Magnetic everything about you
You really got me now

You do it to me so well
Hypnotic takin’ over me
Make me feel like someone else
You got me talkin’ in my sleep
I don’t wanna come back down
I don’t wanna touch the ground
Pacific ocean dug so deep
Hypnotic takin’ over me

(Ahh)

Hypnotic takin’ over me

You do it to me so well
Hypnotic takin’ over me
Make me feel like someone else
You got me talkin’ in my sleep
I don’t wanna come back down
I don’t wanna touch the ground
Pacific ocean dug so deep
Hypnotic takin’ over me

(Ahh)

Hypnotic takin’ over me

(Ahh)

Hypnotic takin’ over me

(Ahh ahh)

Categories: Musing, Play List, Song List, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Safety Mechanism

Safety Mechanism

The more I learn and the more I comprehend, the less I know and the less I understand. ~T.L. Gray

As you all know, I have some of the most thought-provoking friends in the world.  I suppose that’s how they become my friends in the first place, they provoke me to think outside the box, to delve into the depths of understanding and enlightenment. My soul burns with conflagration.  Do I ever reach the pinnacle of wisdom and complete understanding? I make no such claims.  The more I learn and the more I comprehend, the less I know and the less I understand. But it doesn’t stop me from trying.  On the contrary, it fuels me and stirs my passions.

The subject this morning is ‘safety mechanisms’ we put in place to protect ourselves from allowing our imaginations to create a relationship with someone else more in our minds than what it is in reality, and therefore getting hurt when that relationship dissolves, or turns out to not be what we imagined.  Because, in essence, it was the dream we created that we loved or desired more than the person.  It’s a sticky subject, I know.  Most people don’t want to admit the fantasies they create, and tend to blame the other person for their failure to live up to those fantasies, but that’s another post for another day.  I’m getting off topic.

If two human beings are honest with each other (first we have to be honest with ourselves), then we can attempt to apply the correct boundaries, put up the correct walls, set the correct parameters for the type of relationship we will allow with another person.  But when the fuck do we ever do what is correct?   Anyway, back to this ‘mechanism’ –  what is it really?  My response this morning was: “It’s a safety net so no one gets hurt and it tames the imagination.  I’ve discovered when most relationships don’t work out, most of the pain comes from the dream of what could have been more than what really was.  I’m a dreamer. I have an exceptional imagination and I have to be careful what I allow myself to dream.  I’m also an artist, which means I feel deeply.  I’m learning to protect myself and use these ‘mechanisms’.  So far, they’re working.  I think.”

My wise friend responded, “I totally get that.  I have to control my dreaming these days too.  I’ve allowed myself to make bad decisions based on hopes and dreams, and it’s just not smart or fair to the other person.”

He’s so right.  It’s not fair.  We get hurt when the other person doesn’t live up to our dreams and expectations,  and it’s not fair that they had to try in the first place.  When we put people on pedestals, it puts a pressure and responsibility onto them that they neither deserved, nor asked for.  I understand the pressure to live up to another’s expectations and ideals, and it crushed me when I failed.  It hurt.  It still hurts.  It wasn’t equally fair to set such high dreams for them to fail to meet in my life, either.

I truly am learning to love people and appreciate the beauty of who they are, just as they are, because their lives have been an incredible journey to get where they are.  They’re human beings with souls and feelings. We’re all fuck-ups. I quit trying to change them, or change myself, to meet my, their, or our expectations. It’s futile.  As Ecclesiastes states, “it’s meaningless… a chasing after the wind.” I tried my damnedest to be what they wanted, what they needed, and only ended up hating and losing myself in the process.

Our conversation continued and I responded, “I have learned, but not necessarily good things.  I’ve learned how to run, how to hide, how to make beautiful deflecting masks.  I’ve become strategic, defensive, prepared, my guns always ready and loaded, and my armor securely in place.  Yet, a kiss could unravel my defenses.  But what hope will I be kissed on the battlefield, beneath my cover, and on the alert? Yet, I still believe in miracles.”

My friend replied, “Ohhh, I try my damnedest to learn from my mistakes and pain.  I know there are those that try to hide it as well though.  Which is the majority?  Just looking at today’s society, I’d guess most people hide from it. That is, until they become more self-actualized.”

When has hiding ever solved anything? Hiding delays. Hiding blocks. Yes, it provides a sense of safety, but it’s a false sense. What are we really saving ourselves from? Living? Loving? Learning? Can we truly hide from pain?  If so, I haven’t discovered that secret yet.   It’s only when we take a risk to do something that we make a connection.  We can’t connect within the shadows. We were not made for the shadows, but to dance in the light, to fly, to soar to great heights.  As an unknown wise man once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, do something you’ve never done.”

I want a great love affair.  Just like that Hunter Hayes song, “I want Crazy.”  I want that whole damned song. I’m so tired of being safe, practical, careful, or responsible.   I’ll post the lyrics and a YouTube link below. So, if I want Crazy, then I suppose I need to be Crazy and hold onto the dream and hope that someday somebody will come along that can appreciate my kind of crazy, and not change for those who can’t.  I’ve got to learn when to fight and when to lay my weapons and armor down.  I usually fuck that up.  It’s a good thing I still in believe in miracles.

The conversation with my wise friend this morning ended with, “Knowing the truth and acting on it are two separate worlds.  That’s why we keep getting into trouble.  We ignore what we know and follow how we feel. We try like hell not to feel, yet that hurts us most of all.”

“So true,” he answered.

So true.  Thank you, my friend, for the stimulating conversation this morning.  Such friends are as a precious jewel to me.  I appreciate you.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Hunter Hayes

“I Want Crazy”
Mmmmm…

I’m booking myself a one-way flight
I gotta see the color in your eyes
Yeah tellin’ myself I’m gonna be alright
Without you baby is a waste of time

Yeah, our first date, girl, the seasons changed
It got washed away in a summer rain
You can’t undo a fall like this
‘Cause love don’t know what distance is
Yeah, I know it’s crazy

But I don’t want “good” and I don’t want “good enough”
I want “can’t sleep, can’t breathe without your love”
Front porch and one more kiss, it doesn’t make sense to anybody else
Who cares if you’re all I think about,
I’ve searched the world and I know now,
It ain’t right if you ain’t lost your mind
Yeah, I don’t want easy, I want crazy
Are you with me baby? Let’s be crazy

Yeah

I wanna be scared, don’t wanna know why
Wanna feel good, don’t have to be right
The world makes all kinds of rules for love
I say you gotta let it do what it does

I don’t want just another hug and a kiss goodnight
Catchin’ up calls and a date sometimes
I love that we’re rebels, and we still believe
We’re the kind of crazy people wish that they could be, yeah

Oh, and I know we’re crazy, yeah

But I don’t want “good” and I don’t want “good enough”
I want “can’t sleep, can’t breathe without your love”
Front porch and one more kiss, it doesn’t make sense to anybody else
Who cares if you’re all I think about,
I’ve searched the world and I know now,
It ain’t right if you ain’t lost your mind
Yeah, I don’t want easy, I want crazy
You with me baby? Let’s be crazy

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na

No, I don’t want “good” and I don’t want “good enough”
I want “can’t sleep, can’t breathe without your love”
Front porch and one more kiss, it doesn’t make sense to anybody else
Who cares if you’re all I think about,
I’ve searched the world and I know now,
It ain’t right if you ain’t lost your mind
Yeah, I don’t want easy, I want crazy

Yeah, look at us baby, tonight the midnight rules are breaking
There’s no such thing as wild enough,
And maybe we just think too much
Who needs to play it safe in love?
Let’s be crazy!

Na na na na oh na na na na oh

Who cares if we’re crazy? We gotta be crazy!
I know that we’re crazy, so let’s be crazy!
Yeah-ah-ah…

*Cover photo by digital-art-gallery.com

Categories: Musing, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jump, Damn It!

Jump, Damn It!

I had a very thought-provoking conversation with a dear friend of mine this weekend.  I don’t feel I had anything wise to say to him during the conversation, well, not anything beneficial, but the heart of the matter has continually been rolling around in my mind since he spoke.  He’s at a crossroads in his life and having an existential moment, questioning the decisions he’s made, is making, or will make in the future.  He’s full of anxiety, some regret, some fear, yet there’s some hope too.

“I realize I’m living every day of my life for retirement but not for today, and I’m miserable,” he said.

My heart broke for him because I know what that moment feels like. I’ve been going through it these last few years ago.  I quickly felt overwhelmed, filled with anxiety, because I wanted to tell him to be careful. Uprooting your life and throwing everything you’ve worked hard for away as you step to change it, will take a certain amount of courage.  And the cost … well, the cost is the true risk, and the risk is sometimes very high.  But is it worth it?  It was for me. But, that’s me, and he’s not me.

There was a moment we were talking and I don’t think I expressed clearly something that I recently discovered in my own life-uprooting journey, and that concerns taking a risk and who’s willing to actually do it.  I hope I can explain it better here than I could then.

How much risk is a risk if you’re jumping with a safety net?  How much bravery is required to jump with safety lines connected to you and you know that though the experience  will be thrilling, it’ll also be safe and you’ll live?  Imagine jumping from a cliff with no safety line, no assurance, no insurance, and no back-up plan.  You MUST defy gravity and the laws of physics and fly.  And if you don’t fly –  you die?

I’ve watched many people in my life NOT take a risk, not make a change in their lives because they were too afraid to lose all they’ve worked for up to that point.  Because … to make this kind of change is to risk everything.  I understand the hesitation, but then again, I don’t.  I don’t understand why people who can afford to fail because they have a back-up plan, a source of protection, or a support system to help them if they should crash, remain rooted at the edge of a dead field, yet choose to remain on the cliff, or wait to be pushed before they leap. I’ve also watch these same people being tortured with regret and haunted by the proverbial “what if” when they don’t jump. Most make excuses for their practical decisions, but they can’t lie to themselves all the time. The truth has a way of bursting free at odd times, especially right in the middle of the night when you’re just about to reach the best sleep of your life.

This isn’t a motivational message to encourage anyone to jump into a risky situation.  It’s a warning… that if you’re thinking about jumping there are real risks involved.  You can fail.  You can crash.  You can lose everything.  I have lost security, money, position, reputation, possessions, things, stuff, respect, admiration, dreams… but most of all… I’ve lost love.  I’ve jumped.  I’ve crashed. I’ve burned.  Yet like a phoenix, I’ve risen from the ashes.

Listening to my friend pour out his heart, which I appreciate very much that he loves me enough to share this difficult time with me, I can’t help but learn something else about myself.  We should always strive to learn from those around us, letting their experiences be a teaching tool for us, or at least a measuring rod or mirror to help us see ourselves better.   Hearing the pain and anxiety in his voice, reminded me of my own fears and anxieties.  Without a doubt if I were in his shoes, I’d have no problem walking away from the life he’s built for himself, because I’ve done it already in my own life and KNOW, not suspect but know, that cutting ‘stuff’ out of my life didn’t mean anything.  The world didn’t stop, though I wished it would have, the other people in my life didn’t suffer because of my decisions, though I wished some of them had, and I’m still alive, though many times I thought the pain of my heartbreak was going to surely suffocate me.  I don’t think I was able to properly breathe for almost two years.

I jumped from that cliff with my arms wide open, and I crashed hard. Then, when I was on the ground, darkness, heartache, and death surrounded me and tortured me daily.  Several times I wanted to die. Many times I thought of killing myself because the pain was just too much.  I was so lost.  I was so scared.  I was so alone.  I didn’t know who I was anymore, because I lost the labels and the identity that the world gave me, that others had put on me, especially the ones I had put on myself. I lost everything.  I lost everyone, and it hurt like hell.  But, as that identity was stripped from me, as the mask I had worn before the world was removed, there was nothing else left to face but the real me.  She was a dirty, ragged, starved, naked, unwanted little thing.  But she wasn’t that way because of what the world had done to her.  No.  Her condition was because of what I had done to her, how I had neglected her, how I had forced her year after year after year to deny herself to fulfill responsibilities and expectations. I took all the credit for the things she’d accomplished.  I wasn’t the fighter, the survivor, the lover, the forgiver, or the wise.  She was.  She was that small voice of reason that could be heard when all my yelling would stop.  I hated her.  I was ashamed of her.  I despised her because I thought she was weak.  But, she wasn’t the weak part of me.  That outer mask that I worked so hard to create, in a vain effort to protect myself from the world and it’s judgment, was the weak part.  That part of me depended on her own strength, ability, knowledge, and effort to get through this life.  She convinced herself that she could work hard enough to earn love and respect… and that she could do it all by herself.  That part of me was wrong.  My college degree, my salary, my status, my church membership, my family name, my talents, my acumen, and even my pretty face all failed to grant me those things in life I thought I deserved.  I didn’t live or have time for the things that did matter…precious things only found when you live in the moment, when you live in the day, when you live for what your heart desires and not for the practicality of what the world expects from you.  Things like faith (not religion), hope (not a wish list) and love (not sex).

Wrapping my arms around my friend, I wanted more than anything to pour those little tendrils of love I’ve recently received in my life. Because I knew if he ever felt it, if he could just touch the edges of that miracle it would strengthen him.  Every day I seek those moments, those beautiful moments when the world just shifts in the right paradigm.  I still have to fight the old me for those moments, casting down the loud strong voices of opposition, of rational thought.  I still seek that deep, true love, that fire, that passion, …that naked truth.  I’ve tasted it. I’ve had a moment of looking into another pair of eyes and seeing and feeling something real, something beautiful, so I know beyond doubt it exists.  It’s out of my reach at the moment and it tortures my soul that I can’t have it, and I struggle to understand why I’m denied it.  But knowing it simply exists gives me hope I’ll find it again.  Maybe not today, maybe not in the same pair of eyes or behind the same mask, but it’s out there.  That love that I felt, oh my god, it shook me to my very core.  And that inner woman inside of me… she sang the most beautiful song.  I can still hear her song. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the music of that love.  When I remember… I can still taste it, and it was good.

So, if I could convey to my friend only one thing… it would be:

“Don’t worry about tomorrow’ for tomorrow will take care of itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own. Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” ~ Jesus Christ.

My friend, don’t be like the rich man in Luke 12 who tore down his barns and built bigger ones and said that his life was good because of all the possessions he had gained.  God called him a fool because that very night his life was required of him and he had no one to leave all his treasure, no one to morn his passing, no one to miss him. His life meant nothing because it was spent chasing down what he could collect, not what he could spend or use while he was here, or for love he could share. Treasure is meant to be displayed, used, worn, and given, not stuffed in a barn and buried somewhere.  He didn’t live for the day, but for the ‘morrow … for his retirement. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, neither is retirement.  Success is not guaranteed, neither is failure. Satisfaction is not guaranteed, neither is want. What I do know is that regret is preventable and love is possible. So jump, damn it.  I hope you fly.  I hope you soar to the greatest heights.  But if you fall, if you crash and burn, I’ll be there to hold your hand.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Faith, Hope, love, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Elusive Dream

Elusive Dream

Elusive dream, why do you turn into vapor every time I dare to touch your essence?
I watch you swirl around others, guided by the gentle wind.  I can see the euphoric expressions on the faces of those you entice, hypnotize, and fill with your peace.
But for me, you recoil.  You tease me, taunt me, but most of all haunt me, showing me your beauty yet leaving me in the cold, dark shadows.
Elusive dream, I’ve learned to hate you. Though I long for you, desire you, and love you deeply, I yearn for the sun to ignite and consume you into mist, evaporating my torture along with you.
The sun refuses to shine and the moon fights for permanent dominance.  Without radiant light my branches wither, my leaves fall, and I slowly die.
Elusive dream, release the night or else kill me. I can’t take anymore. Please.

~T.L. Gray

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Family

Family

I’ve written maybe a dozen blog posts in the last week but haven’t posted them and never will because they’re just too painful.  This time of year is really hard for me, especially lately as I’ve had a brush with mortality.  I can’t lie, there are days I miss some of the things I enjoyed in my old life, the holidays are one of them.  The holidays are about family.

Family

What does that mean? Come on, what does it really mean? I learned a long time ago that being related to someone doesn’t make them family.  I’m related to a lot of people, mostly people that have hurt me, lied to me, stole from me, abused me and used me – all in the name of family, as if that word gave them carte blanche to do what they wanted.  I look around me today and laugh, because it hurts too much to even cry about.  I’m done. I’m truly done.

I have no mother or father.  I have no brothers or sisters.  I have no husband, no in-laws,  no aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces, and no nephews.  I have no church family.  All these people told me (or never told me, but were supposed to) they loved me.  They lied.  Empty words mean nothing.  Words lie, but actions speak the truth.

Yes, I’m the one that ran.  I’m the one who opened the door and walked away.  I’m the one who closed the door behind me and invited no one to come along.  I’m the one who finally decided to love herself and realize I didn’t have to take their shit and listen to their lies anymore.

Not one tried to stop me. NOT ONE.

But I am not without family.  I actually have a beautiful family of my own choosing and its getting bigger every day.

I have my children, Meagan, Johnathan and Kelly.  I love them more than life. I have no doubt they love me.  I don’t get to see them much because they’re adults now and living their lives and making their way in this world and I’m not about to try and control them.  I’m here for them if they ever need me. But I won’t let them use me, nor will I ever use them.  I’ve enough bitter taste in my mouth from my own family to ever subject my children to such selfishness.  I would give them the world, but I know they’d only appreciate it if they gained it by their own strength.  It’s hard sometimes to back away, let them fall, let them make their mistakes, let them run headfirst into disaster.  A mother wants to make their children’s lives easier, to spare them hardships, to protect them from the vultures.  But, it’s the only way they’ll truly learn to stand on their own.  The best thing I can do for them is to let them know that I love them, mistakes and all.   They could never do anything to make me stop loving them.  I know the pain of being unloved.  I also know the strength in being loved.  I may not support everything they do, but I will always support the persons they are… and show them I love them no matter what by being honest with them.  I miss them.  I mostly miss the sound of their laughter, seeing their faces light up on Christmas.  The parts that really tear me up – I miss playing card and board games with them, showing them how to play in the rain, how to slip and slide on the kitchen floor, the clean-up game, the poker matches, the morning cuddles before school, the book debates (Snape is still the hero Johnathan), riding around looking at ‘kismas-ights’, laughing till you can’t breathe at all the Ozzies going ‘moo’, the swimming pool, and all the long talks about everything.

They are my family and I regret nothing I’ve sacrificed for them.

I have other family that have been with me these last couple of years.  One is a crazy-ass writer in Washington who frustrates the hell out of me, but who I admire so much.  No matter what I do, how much I try to run, how much we argue (and we argue all the time), Jeff also makes me laugh like no one in the world, makes me feel safe, and is always there to encourage me in my lowest moments.  He tears me down too and has hurt me more times than I can count, because he’s not perfect and overly opinionated,  but he’s real.  I don’t doubt his love for me, nor my love for him. He is my best friend. I never see him and may never lay eyes on him (except when we Skype), but he is my family and always will be. He showed me what a true friend is like.

Another is a crazy-ass woman in Florida who lives with her crazy-ass cute dog.  Jenna understands me more than anyone in this world.  She knows when to push and when to back away and loves me in the middle of my craziness.  I love her and all her craziness.  She’s my conscious.  I share everything with her because I can trust her with the most delicate part of me – my heart. I don’t share my heart with anyone, because I don’t trust them, but I can trust her.  She knows all my sins, all my faults, all my fears, all my failures… and yet she seems to love me anyway.    I’ve never seen her (except on Skype), but she’s my sister in every way a sister should.  She’s family.

There’s a valiant soldier who has the thickest walls around his heart I’ve ever seen, (maybe even thicker than mine) but for some reason he let me into his circle.  We’re not close, yet very close at the same time.  Emilio touches my soul and I’ve seen a peek at his, and it’s beautiful.  He’s a muse for me.  He’s a hero to me.  I respect him, love him, and want to see him happy.  He’s young with an old soul.  He’s wise well beyond his years.  He’s smart – oh, man, is he smart.  Most see no further than his beautiful smile, but I’ve seen his beautiful mind. He makes me think and see life differently.  He’s family, and so is his little brother, Michael.  I love them both, deeply.

I’ve added a few new members to my family lately.  Though they’re recent adds, they’ve already stolen a huge part of my heart – they’re my clan ‘We Are Immortal Gods’.  They pick on me, haze me, and tease me more than a pack of angry dogs, but they also surround me, include me, and make me feel wanted and a part of the team.  This is MY family, one of my own choosing, not one chosen for me.  Though I’ve felt abandoned by God lately, I believe He sent them to me, because our coming together makes no sense, yet it feels right.  This is a tight group and they don’t let just anyone in, yet they invited me without hesitation. I’m sure I’ve left them often scratching their heads, making them wonder what they’ve done.  They make me think of a pack of wolves – there’s an alpha who leads them, but they move as one, hunt (play) as one, fight with each other on a daily basis, yet defend one another in the blink of an eye.  They look out for one another.  I already think of them as family and they’re mine… my Flop, my Crimm, my Haze, my Phoenix, and my Furrrball.  I’ll fight with them, but I’d also defend them, and will always be there for them however I can.  My door will always be open to them.

I have lots of other friends that I consider extended family, cousins perhaps, and I love them too.

I may be alone during the holidays, but I’m not without family.  I will toast to them on Thanksgiving because I’m thankful they’re in my life, whether through writing, skype, or video game.  My Christmas wish is for their dreams to come true.  My New Year’s Resolution is that they find happiness.  My Prayer is that they each know they’re much loved.

Happy Holidays,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Musing, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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