I used to make plans. I would think about these things that I needed to get done and I would do them. There would be no hesitation. I would just do them. And if I didn't know how to do something, I would figure it out. I guess I learned pretty early on that the only person I could depend on really was myself. It didn't take away from the people in my life that cared for me and wanted to help me but somehow I could never completely trust that either. I was never scared of asking for help. Hell, that was the easy part. What kept me from asking for help was the inadequacies I would then feel because you helped me. Sure, it was a very chaotic thought process for me because it did not make any sense. We are humans and often times cannot do this life completely on our own. Rationally I have understood that but realistically I couldn't accept that for a long time. I'm a Taurus. I am in every way one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet. I have no shame about it. In fact, it's one of the things that I do like about myself. Because while I am a pushover about many things, the core of me can not and will not be moved. So me admitting that I need help is a big deal and I don't take it lightly. There have been times in my life when I've had to ask. There have been times when I feel like it has been OK to ask. And there have been times when I have been made to feel like I couldn't manage on my own because of it. It has always been easier to figure it out on my own. The only person I can then blame is myself. The beauty of that? I have complete control over fixing myself, too.
I was pretty mad at myself earlier this week. It's been a struggle bus lately. I've felt like so much is out of my control. I gave up a job making decent money for a job that hasn't turned out to be what I thought it would be. I can't seem to catch up on my bills. My car needs work that I've had to help to get taken care of. I feel like my kid is struggling and I don't know if I'm any better off to help her. I feel like I am literally screaming at a world that just doesn't hear me but this feeling is not foreign to me. There's always been a part of me that no one hears. The older I get, I try to figure out if it is because I am the one muting myself or is that no one really hears me? I don't know. And honestly I don't think it's important either way. I have this new found drive to write beautiful words, to draw emotionally inspired pieces of art but I feel so overwhelmed by everything else I get lost even in my lines. Sometimes I don't always say what is bothering me especially with my husband. He is facing the same struggles because we're in this life together. He gets angry at me though, wanting me to tell him when I'm frustrated or sad or whatever I've rarely been able to do that. He wants to help and I love him for it but some battles are just for me. I am a stubborn woman who will figure this out in my own way and, after ten years, he still wants to shake me out of myself. I agree. I would love to shake me out, too, sometimes. I know how quickly I retreat.
I will sit in this struggle for a minute but eventually I will get annoyed and do something about it. I don't wallow necessarily but I do take my time to digest. For as much as I love chaos, there is a part of me that needs a clear direction. I need to sit down and plan out my way out of something I am facing. I am not making enough money right now so what do I do about that? I suck it up and try to start selling my art work. And while that boat is taking off, I get a second job and bank money. I get frustrated about my career? Well, then I look for options that are more like what I am looking for. I feel like sometimes I get stuck. I find comfort in the dark, understand this blindness but I need to be inspired, too. There is something so motivating about solving a problem. I want my art to sell? Well, I have to find the courage to put it out there and know my own value. I have spent so much of my life being so unsure, dipping my toe in the water, fearing it was going to swallow me up anyway. I've taken my time and thought about how to live my life the right way but I want to be honest here. I would love to just jump off that cliff and trust that I won't break myself in the process. It's never been just me though. My entire adult life has been as someone's mother. Every move I've made, I've had to think about before doing. I have this momentum within me right now. I feel it but I feel like I'm back to that point in my life where I've got nothing figured out.
So what does a girl do? I suck it up and figure it out. I often quote Stewart Smiley in the mornings before I leave for work. I say to myself, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And gosh darn it people like me." It's not because I doubt that I am any of those things really. It's because I know I need to push myself a little bit each day. The facts are I live a pretty boring life for a woman who has so much fire inside. So I often feel like exploding all over the place, knowing that I can't and I won't. The practical side of me gets the fact that I am a grown woman with responsibilities, obligations, and an empty wallet. But that confirmation that I am going to be just fine no matter what is something I need to tell myself. No matter what, I am always OK. My anxiety can bring me to my knees but I get back up. My battle with depression sometimes makes me cry in the shower some mornings but I dry off and push forward. My nervous nature will sometimes stop me from doing the things I really want to do but I hold tight to those dreams. And I drive my husband crazy with all of these things I struggle with but he knows the amount of strength I carry with me every day. My rose colored glasses shattered a long time ago and I see life for what it is. Sometimes I want to tell it to go suck an egg. And other times I can't get enough of it. There are times when it just wants to fight and I'm down for the war. Other times it wins and I don't get out bed all day. I figure it out. This moment won't last forever. I got plans to make, bills to pay, and a few cliffs to leap.
There is so much of our lives that are just, to put it simply, confusing. My birthday is coming in April. It's a pretty significant one. I think about my current life state and wonder if this is my mid life crisis? I feel bored, frustrated, completely over the monotony of what is happening but I lived so long being unstable this is OK. I didn't know my schedule from week to week. My income depended solely on people's moods. I worked late hours and drank afterwards for two more. I've lived that midlife crisis life honestly way before I came even close to this age. Still, I look behind me and I see all these years that now line my pages, understanding that the number of blank ones in front of me are a question mark. And what a morbid thought to write, right? But understand that I do not fear what comes after this life. Whatever it is, I gave my best while I was here and that's all we can do. And still I look for a deeper purpose every day. There has to be more than this haunts me some times. I look at this life, this beautiful mess of a life I live, and I can't help to wonder how much harder I can work, how much more I can push myself, how many more steps can I take to finally feel like I can breathe. I don't care that I'm turning 40 this year. It's a number. It's this thing we create to mark our success. I'm not where I want to be but who is? There is some solace in knowing that so many of us are clueless.
I saw this silly meme the other day. Those things are brain eaters let's be honest but they are entertaining. Sometimes you just need a little nonsense to get through the day. It was saying something about if she had her life together, she wouldn't be sleeping next to unfolded laundry. Usually I read those things, give a small chuckle, and then move on with my life. They are not meant for too much deep thought. For whatever reason, that one kind of stuck in my head all day. We measure our lives by the things we've accomplished even the most minuscule of tasks. That laundry next to her somehow represented every failure in her life. How ridiculous (1) that I put that much thought into it and (2) that is how we judge what of people we are. If someone walked into my house right now, they would see a floor that needs to be swept, bookshelves that need to be dusted, two baskets of laundry that needs to be done, and a very stinky litter box that needs to be changed. I understand we are judged by what people see on the outside but let's be honest. What we are on the outside is nothing but a show, an illusion of what we want people to see. My house is a little messy and I understand that if you walked in, you would probably have thoughts just like I would if I walked into yours. It's human nature. I am by no means throwing shade. My point (however I seem to get there) is that we are so much more than dirty laundry or folded and put away clothes. There is a beautiful middle, a lovely simple middle.
When we are young, we are told that by a certain age we should be a certain way. We should be married with children and a career, a beautiful house with a well manicured lawn and a dog running around the backyard. Our lives should be well synchronized, well orchestrated. We grow our children and then we happily age into retirement. No fuss. No muss. And then we grow up and we realize that all that is a cereal box image that doesn't really exist for most of us. What we find is that we have to work two, three jobs just to provide the basics sometimes. What we find is that dating is really miserable and not fun. What we understand is that whatever our lives are going to be, they are not going to be easy. You learn to do what you have to do to get things done even if you have to sacrifice the things you love to get there. I am turning 40 this year, this age that I should have my shit together. I should be a well oiled machine at this point. And, in some ways, I am. I know who I am, what I am made of, the potential more than I ever have in my life. I have a husband who I adore and who adores me. I've got this almost adult kid who despite the recent battles is amazing. I have my talent, this ability to write these words and create pictures that touch people, that I just started to explore and allow to bloom. In so many more ways then I ever thought I would, I feel the poetry in this skin.
At almost 40, I know looking at my life maybe leaves people wondering, asking what is this lady doing? I work a job that is not a career. Honestly anybody who knows how to talk to people could do my job. I am not being challenged (just tried if I'm being honest). I get up in the morning, go to work, come home, go to sleep. This mundane, routine life that drives me stir crazy. I don't own a washer or dryer. I still rent an apartment. I live beyond my means, struggling to make ends meet. Retirement is just a funny joke to me at this point though it's something that I do legit have to start thinking about. I can't help my kid with her future because the right now struggle is hard enough to work through. I will forever be sleeping next to that pile of unfolded laundry it seems. And then I take a step back. I give myself a good kick in the ass and remind myself of what all these almost 40 years have taught me. There have been very few steps in my life that have been light and airy. Most of them feel like I have a ton in my shoe. Just one more step, kid, just one more step. It was about the next step and the constant worry of 20 steps from now. My chest has been heavy my entire life but I don't stop. When I can't walk, I crawl. And if I can't crawl, I roll. Whatever I have to do, just one more step. Maybe one day I'll be where I am supposed to be at the appropriate age but it doesn't matter. I could never fold my laundry and have my shit together. We can be a little of both, a perfectly put together mess. What is important is that I feel I have my insides together. What other people see is not really all that important if we have every confidence in ourselves.. Our lives have a tendency to work themselves out. Just keep moving, kid. Keep growing.
Sometimes there are things that happen in my life that I have to sit with for awhile. I have to mull them over and really get a clear idea of how to move forward. I have learned that the greatest lesson time gives you is perspective. What we think is so horrible in the moment turns out isn't so bad when we look back at it. We don't see the lessons that present themselves until they have been taught. I would like to say that I have learned all those lessons but I know I have not. I was once very hard on myself, thinking that I was on my own. I felt as if this delicate balance of life was kept by my shaking hands alone. So I made a lot of hard choices. I took a lot of hard roads. I ate a lot of dirt along the way. And I learned the power of my words, how to use them and when to hold them back. I've said things in my life that there is no excuse for and time has taught me words spewed in heat only burn, just burn. No resolution is ever really made by them. I've had a bit of a rough time lately, not knowing if the decisions I have made or was making were necessarily the right ones. I've been questioned by someone I thought better of and I took a big hit by some words were spoken. I've had to step back, think things over, and come to terms that maybe the great balance I thought I had was but a farce. And you know what? That is OK because I think for once I understand I'm content with shutting my mouth and listening to what the world is trying to teach me right now. I started to take note of how I once handled myself in the past, trying so hard to take care of everyone in my life while letting my own ambitions fall to the side. I guess the older I get, the more experiences I have backlogged, the more moments I have to take from. I see how hurtful I was there so I can adjust that behavior. I understand how dire something felt years ago but when I really look at it? It wasn't so bad.
You know when I was a kid I really thought I had it rough. I saw all the toys, gadgets, trips that my friends took. I walked into their giant houses with their 4 cars and bonus rooms and newest electronic devices. I compared all of that to my own humble house, my hand me down jeans, my used toys. I thought we were poor. I remember being in second grade and this little boy told me that Santa Claus wasn't real. I got so infuriated by him that I punched him. I honestly don't know why it made me as angry as it did but I sure was mad. I remember telling him that there was no way Santa was fake because my parents were poor and there is no way they could afford the gifts that me and my siblings got every year. And when I look back at those moments now? What I really see are two incredibly hard working people that loved their children enough to sacrifice their own dreams, goals, sometimes well being so that we had presents to open Christmas morning. What I remember are the home cooked meals my mother made 6 of us every night after working a full time job. What I see are the cookies that she stayed up all night making for our bake sales, the holes in our pants that spent sewing, her face sitting in that front row being our biggest fans. Perspective. It's such a funny thing. I don't know why we are so blind in the moment, why it takes us years to realize how much someone else suffered for our happiness. I look at my mother now in a completely different light and I hold my father's memory that much closer. Whatever faults they had as parents don't really matter because every single one of their decisions were made out of love. I get that now.
So I take all of those thoughts, the struggling thoughts I had with my parents growing up, and I try to give my own daughter the benefit of the doubt. Every time she goes on the attack, I try to say she doesn't have enough moments yet. She doesn't understand yet. She isn't old enough to appreciate the sacrifices that my husband and I have made to show us any compassion. Some words were said this week. Some really hurtful words. She talked about how horrible her childhood was and it stung. Sure, it wasn't all peaches and cream but looking back? I was a single mother doing the best I could. And if I compare it to other single parents' plights? Our road really wasn't that rough. I won't discount how difficult it was for me to keep all my ducks in a row but she never suffered any of that. We had a roof over our head. We had food in our bellies. She had a room full of toys that I couldn't afford. I put her first every time, every time. But, as teenagers do, this beautiful child of mine says words that she doesn't understand the meaning. And, if I am being honest, there was a lot of damage done. So, I'm trying to step back, mull it over, put the hurt aside and be her mother because no matter what I am her mother. And there is a lesson in here that one day I will look back and understand.
I never truly realized how difficult being a parent was going to be. Before I got pregnant, I saw fun walks in the park with my cute baby and naps on the couch and big baby laughs. I didn't think that years later she would be so mad at me for having her in the first place but that is where we are. I remember her being small, the joy that little girl brought me, how I couldn't wait to feel her tiny arms wrapped around my neck. It was the greatest feeling getting off work and picking her up from daycare where she would run to me and jump into my arms. I still hear her silly little songs that she would sing from her car seat. I still feel the way she looked at me like I was this strong, amazing champion who could do anything. I look back at that time in our lives and I don't see my struggle. I don't see the bills that piled up or the frozen chicken dinners or the nights crying on the kitchen floor with my only companion my sweet puppy Sherra. All I see is the young kid that I was making it with a baby on her hip and it wasn't so bad. But I look at the now. I see the way she flares, the way she accuses, the way she looks at me. I hear these words of how selfish I was to have her, how blind I was, how I have never sacrificed anything for her, how I am a failure because my life hasn't quite fused together completely. Words. Words that can't be taken back. Words that are now out there and I have to take a step back. I have to find a strength to turn my cheek once more because I know she doesn't see, doesn't understand. She doesn't have enough moments yet to look back at and grasp the gravity of her own actions.
Are any of these words true? I failed at times. I cannot deny that. What I can honestly say is that whatever decisions I made, I made out of love. And looking back, I know that was what life was trying to teach me. Love. So, I will take a second and catch my breath. I will let these new wounds turn to scars. And, as always, I will move forward with love. I am her mother. That will never change. She has always made me a better person even at her worst. I have always found this strength inside of me because of her. These teenage years have taught me certainly that much. I may have to approach things differently for a little while. I may not be so quick to kiss her scrapes and make it all better. Her scrapes are her own now. If these words speak anything now it is that there has to be a line between being her friend and being her mother, a line that has always been gray with us. I don't regret that though. We've had some truly sincere, beautiful conversations. If it did any damage, I guess I'll take the consequences. I was the adult. I was still learning how to be that. Yesterday wasn't perfect but it was a lovely experience, moments that I now have in my pocket to learn from. So, that's what I'll do. Learn. And maybe along the way, she'll pick a lesson or two as well.
All my life I have never been afraid to try something because of failure. It is more the fear of success. I have talents, true. I have plenty of dreams, yes. And I have so many excuses to not allow them to bloom. The thing is I understand disappointment. I get the sadness of it, the loneliness of it but I've always gotten back up to try again. I know my potential. I always have but the reality of me reaching it has been far more terrifying to me than anything else. Where does a dream go once you've caught it? It becomes something tangible, something real, and then there are no more butterflies to catch. So what pushes me forward? But if I am being very honest it has nothing to do with any of that. What I get scared of is that when they become real I now have even higher expectations to live up to. And even further into that, they become that much more real to fall apart. I understand how quickly things in this life go away. There have been so many wonderful moments that crumbled in my hands. As long as they are just a dream, they can't be destroyed. This journey has taught me all sorts of things but the greatest thing it has unfortunately taught me is how fickle the good can be. I don't know if I believe in destiny. I don't think we all have one path that we aren't to go in or one destination we are supposed to land at. I just know that each of the steps I have taken keep bringing me closer to achieving the dreams I have always wanted. It scares me.
We all self sabotage. We get so close to that light like bugs to a bulb and then so quickly we decide to fly right into that light because somehow it's easier to explode ourselves. As I get older, I become more dissatisfied with all these things that I never allowed myself to feel, to experience because what if they worked? The negative is far easier to cling to than the positive. I lived there for a long time but I'm starting to understand the vitality of my own life. I get that one day all these chances I let go by because I was so terrified that I could were wasted. I don't know what to do when someone gives me a compliment. I don't know what to say when someone says they like my work. I have no idea how to handle an opportunity when it presents itself to me other than to run from it. Why? Not because I might fail but because I may succeed and then where do I go? I know how much harder I will then have to push myself to go further then where I stand. I know how much harder I will have to fight not to prove to you that I can be better than the last line I drew but because I will have to prove it to myself. I am my own worst critic, my biggest nightmare, the cause of the majority of my own anxieties. I know what struggle feels like and I have become so comfortable in this state that it becomes toxic. I know it. Still, I hold back when I know my heart just wants to set itself free. I bite my tongue when I feel every word that these hands want to write, know each line this mind still has yet to create... but what happens when if I fall empty? The reality is I convince myself that if I give the world what I can truly offer, eventually the world will turn away. I will have been a success but how soon will it crumble?
This week I got a wonderful opportunity to share my art. It will be the first time my art will be more than a digital image on your computer screen. It will be something real, printed and hung on actual canvas for the world to see. The feeling I had when my work was accepted I cannot explain. It was the most excited I have been in a long time. It felt like a break, a real break. Someone looked at my art and liked it enough to hang it on the walls. I honestly lost my breath. I felt dizzy and elated and hopeful and overwhelmed all at the same time. This will be first time I showcase my work and I am sincerely so very excited about it. I'm that bug right now so close to that light and I am terrified that I am going to fly right into it, to sabotage myself. I don't know how to handle something wonderful. I don't know how to hold it in these hands and not crush it by accident. I am holding this beautiful bloom, me on the cusp of something that I don't understand and scared to death that I will somehow wilt away. Then I think about this journey, how hard I try and how many times I have gotten back up even if I know I will go straight back into that light. I think about the last ten years of this life, all the minutes that led up to this day. I look at my husband, this man that I never thought I would allow myself then and here he still sits. We have not crumbled. I think about my daughter and how scared I was holding her in my arms when she was so tiny. She has not crumbled. These two people in my life that, at times, I failed still did not turn into dust. I see clearly where I sit and understand how I don't have to fear this wonderful. I can enjoy this right now. I can allow myself this. Sometimes I don't have to hurt to know I am still real.
That's the thing. I think we sometimes choose pain over happiness because it is easier to digest. If someone takes away our pain, that's OK. If someone makes you smile when you are sad, that's good. It is good to lose that sadness but happiness is so much more precious. We work so hard for it and lose sight of it so quickly. Once we have it, how we cling. True happiness becomes those things of fairy tales. We know the story. We understand the concept but somehow we convince ourselves it's just a dream, an idea. It becomes something unreal. We convince ourselves that happiness only comes from other people, from our jobs, from friends, from our families when the reality is it will always come from within. The older I get, the more I understand that. And that part of our journey is the hardest one to take. Because when we start on that path, what do we see? We see all the things that came before standing in between us. We see all these things that we failed at and think why try at all? We hear the all the zaps, the doubts, the whispers of what we will never be. And we convince ourselves that those things are right. So, we intentionally make ourselves worse to hide our best. I was once 110 lbs soaking wet. I was a beautiful young lady with a smile that shined so very bright. I was once so excited about this world and then someone turned the lights out on me, hurt me in ways that have left scars. Instead of standing fearless in spite of that, I hid away. I gained over a hundred pounds so that the world wouldn't see my shine anymore. I did that to myself because I was terrified that if I became the great I knew I could be, it would all be torn away from me again and I've been doing that since.... until now. I can no longer hide in the dark. It's time to be my own light. Maybe this good thing will crumble but I'm tired of being afraid that it won't. Crumbs don't scare me. And this fear that I have of being seen is no longer useful, not when I've got dreams to catch.
I once thought that friendship meant something different. When I was younger, it was more about what someone could do for me. It was about them being there for me the moment they were needed regardless of what they had going on their lives. It was about the take more so than the give. I had my feelings, as much as I'd allow to share, and that was it. I demanded so much out of people without the understanding that people are people. Being human is this beautiful, vulnerable thing that takes a lot of understanding to truly appreciate. I guess that's how I raised my kid, too. I grew up with parents. They were amazing parents but there was a very clear line that they would not cross. I didn't become friends with my parents until I was an adult. I guess when I had my kid I wanted her to feel like she could talk to me in a way that I never thought I could talk to my own. So, there was a blurry line as she was growing up whether I was her mother or her friend. And I have felt the downfalls of that choice as she has gotten older but I have also formed this relationship with her that they choice created something beautiful, too. She can talk to me in a way I could not when I was younger. Have I saved her from the hardships I went through? No, absolutely not. Growing up still sucks. It is still one of the hardest things we go through but at least she didn't feel as alone as I did in a way. Looking back at the relationships I had when I was younger, I do realize these expectations I had bordered on the unreasonable side. It's not because that these people that were in my life could not meet them. It was because I would not allow them. I didn't understand that the frustration I was feeling was more about my inadequacies then their own. The older I get, the more refreshing it feels to correct my own self.
We learn history in school because it is important to know where we come from. It is important to know how we got to this point, to this moment in time, to truly appreciate the hardships others faced so that I could sit here and write these words. We take their mistakes and we learn from them so we do not repeat the same atrocities that the people before us had to face. I look at my life the same way. We are all these different versions of ourselves, always improving from the one before. Being as introverted as I am means that I think about the breaths I took before to see if there was a flaw in my execution. I reflect and dissect and decide if my actions caused any harm, inspired any brilliance, ignited any spark and then correct my path. I sat here today and had coffee with one of my most favorite people in the entire world. We talked about life, our loved ones, our past together, our present on our own journeys, and moving forward. We hadn't seen each other in a while. It hasn't been because we haven't tried. It's just as adults friendships work differently. Time becomes more taxing, more precious, more fleeting. Today we sat and it was nice talking to this person who I respect so much. Because it is in my nature, I started thinking about how friendships once were when I was younger, how I needed validation that they liked me. I needed words and actions and, most importantly, proof that this person was all in for me even if I couldn't give that same amount of effort back.
So, as I often do, I looked at my previous behaviors. I dissected my previous relationships. Sitting across from this beautiful soul, I understood how relationships should truly work. I can say in all honesty that I was a mean person back in my hay day. I can admit and own that I wanted, needed so much for that person to give to me before I would even think about giving even a sigh to them. It wasn't because they were shady people. It was because I was so unbelievably insecure in my own skin I just did not know how to trust anything around me. Sure, I had my issues with abandonment but I was so quick to throw someone else's sins on whoever happened to be standing in front of me. When I look back at it, there is a certain amount of guilt that I carry. I couldn't see then how many relationships I had sabotaged because of this weird self preservation I held onto so tightly. I thought in my own way I was protecting myself but from who? And in this ability to look back and dissect and decide, I realize that I was protecting myself from me. I was so terrified to let someone see me exactly how I was. At the end of the day, it would be my own fault I allowed that hurt if you disappointed me but I always made sure people disappointed me. Then I guaranteed I could wash my hands of them. It is a strange place to sit when you look back in that mirror, when you see all the things you do to yourself in order to protect yourself. It is a sort of relief once you realize how much of a hazard you create, too. I don't want my life to be in vain. I want to live each moment, breathe each breath with this complete understanding of why these fingers form these words, of why each line I draw curves in a direction. Sitting here today with my long time friend I understand as much as I tried to cut off the world around me through the years, it's been the relationships that helped inspire each version of me I become.
There was a time when I thought the number of friends we had meant that we made it in this world. This game of popularity was one that we should all strive to win. I thought that having the most amount of Facebook friends or the most likes on Instagram or the best liked Tweets meant that I was somebody but the reality of this life is these clicks all mean nothing. True, I know a lot of people. I have a full friends list and people like what I do but sometimes when I want to go grab a cup of coffee, my list isn't all that long. I look at the history of my relationships and I once formed friends just so I wouldn't have to be alone. I wanted to be able to call someone, anyone and have someone sit with me over a cup of Joe. That was a validation that I needed. And if people didn't answer my call? Screw them. Clearly they weren't my friends... but life tends to teach you lessons you don't realize you are learning. As time goes by and the pages of my history book grow longer, the more I realize what the word friendship truly means. It isn't a contest of who does how much for who or who buys the coffee or who texts who first. It's not about who can drop more to be there better. It's not a contest of who can give more, who can take more, who is there more. As I sat here today with this lovely lady, knowing I hadn't seen her in months, I realized how much more I value her friendship and the other friendships like this that I have. I don't go out very often. I don't see a lot of my friends even on a weekly basis, sometimes a monthly basis. I have more faith in the people I surround myself now than I ever did before. Life has taught me that there is more value in quality than quantity. We become adults and the long afternoons of free time fly away. We become adults and friendships become these beautiful moments of sighs, of relief, of reminders that we're all just trying to be better together. We are lessons for each other, lessons we don't know we're teaching the other. It's not about the number of chairs that are filled at your table. It's about who is filling those chairs that matter, the love and respect that fills the space between even if the time flies by more swiftly than it did before.
I often write from what my life is currently experiencing. I go through my week and I make my observations. I take my notes and figure out my conclusions. At the end of the week, I sit down here and I take all the thoughts I've had over the last week to write them out. I can't say 2018 has been a great year. There has been a lot of change. I feel like we're just now feeling the after shocks from all of it. I've watched my kid struggle and fail and do her best to figure it out. I've watched my husband finally find a place where he fits well. And me? Well, on a personal level, I feel like I've done a lot of growth but career wise still kind of flopping like a fish out of water. My kid turned eighteen and now it's this new journey on where do we go from here? She made some poor choices this year. And maybe, as parents, we didn't do such a great job helping her navigate. With both of those things and all these changes, we have found ourselves in a bit of a crossroads where I am sandwiched right in the middle with no real answers to give. I'd like to think that I know how to fix things. I'd like to think if you present me with a problem, that I will know how make 1 + 1 = 2. I also understand that life is a lot of grey. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes, no magic prayer that it going to put everything right. We have to take the bumps and bruises to see feel the reward of how good it feels when we heal. This week I've watched the people I love so much fight each other, hurt each other out of this silly thing we call pride. They just keep bruising each other and me along with them. I'm left trying to figure a middle road.
When my husband came into our lives, my daughter was seven years old. I didn't have any real relationships before him because I wanted to be sure she felt like she was the most important thing in the world to me. She was. She still is. But I sacrificed that part of my life because I just didn't know how to balance this incredibly love and dedication I had for her and split it with the person I would find to be my one. It just seemed like a lot of drama. I just never liked the drama. It never seems to have a point and I just end up crying in a ball on my bathroom floor. So, when this gentle man came into my life, I was hesitant. I didn't know how to balance the two of them but I made it clear that she had to be the first priority. He came in with such open arms, with this beautiful unconditional love for her. How could I turn away from this man who I felt genuinely wanted to be a part of our story? It all seemed so seamless. There were a few power struggles but not what I expected. They seemed to sincerely love and accept each other. I waited and held my breath and thought that at any moment something terrible was going to happen, that I would have to choose between this beautiful little girl I brought into the world and the man I knew I was going to grow old with.... but that moment never came. Sure, I've felt over the years that I was kind of stuck in the middle but the moments were fleeting. We managed to work through those times because we were able to put aside our pride and understand that the love for each other was far stronger. Love and pride. These two amazing qualities to have, that make the other shine brighter, that destroy the other in a wink.
This week there's been a lot of anger in my house. There has been a lot of prideful declarations and stubborn statements. It started over the most trivial things. It was something that should have never been inspired such strife from anyone yet here I am, writing a blog about this family of mine that just can't seem to figure out how to put their pride aside and move forward. She turned eighteen this week and I look at her, not sure of all these years I have succeeded with raising this human being or failing horribly. And I get how that sounds. I'm not looking for pity or reassurance. Whatever I did wrong, I did wrong. I take that accountability. I am an adult who can honestly own the fact that I am imperfect, that I don't always make the right decisions, that there are a million things wrong with my parenting choices at times... but these children that we invest so much time become adults. They become adults with traits and qualities and flaws all their own. I've said this before. I was a much better mother to a little kid. These teenage years? I've pretty much been a fish out of water. And just like when she was a kid, I'm learning as I go. The problem is it takes more than a kiss on the knee and a Barbie band-aid to help her scare away the monster in the closet. The root of all of this is pride. I see it in his face, feel it in her glare. Every word spoken is just more egg shells on my floor that I have to avoid breaking. These arguments, this anger, this strange jealousy are the ones we should have had years ago. These are the arguments that held my breath when she was younger. It's so odd to be sitting here while she is on the brink of being on her own still questioning how this family works. By this point, it should be cake. We should be getting her ready for college. We should excitedly helping her get ready for a world that I know now is going to tear this one apart. And that's a terrifying statement for me to make. I know how it sounds but I worry. She likes the drama. He likes to play by the rules. And I worry. I sit here and look at these two people that carry my heart with them and I want to scream at them both but I know that pride has deafened them both.
I've never been a super prideful person. I want to be humble and grateful for the things that I have in my life. Have I always been that way? No, it took a lot of life kicking my ass to really understand that pride, if not kept in check, is a pretty ugly trait. I was a lot tougher with her when she was little because I had to be. I was unfortunately healing from some pretty hard times. My head was full of anger and my heart swelled with hurt. Maybe I shouldn't have shown such a hard exterior to the world back then. She was, after all, watching every single thing I was doing. I guess I thought I was making the right decision being so rough around the edges. This kid was going to grow up and nobody was going to mess with her. My soft side only came out with her and then with John because I just felt as if the world outside wanted to eat my spirit whole. I was proud, too proud and so broken at the same time. But then I met this gentle man and I started to change. I didn't have to be the only man on the front lines anymore. I didn't have to take the blunt of every stone thrown my way and there were plenty. Being a single, unwed mother isn't the rosiest path to go down. I could for the first time duck and cover, knowing that he would be there to take some of this weight off my shoulders. And for the first time in her life, she had to share me. Ten years ago, it was fine. We were fine, all of us. Now, ten years later, breathing easy I have to start holding my breath all over again, fearing that one of them is going to say choose. And I can't choose between this child that lived inside of me even if she causes me so much hurt right now and this man that I know in my soul is the one I was meant to grow old with. It's a lot of what about me's going on right now but really what about me? And, at the end of the day, it is their feelings I am more concerned about. I've watched this week play out. I've heard the complaints, the quarrels, the hurt and the anger. And honestly? It's not even a matter of pride. Someone said something to me this week that made a lot of sense. Anger is about someone not meeting your expectations. She is mad because he is not being who she wants him to be. And he's upset because she is behaving in a way that feels hurtful. What we expect out of each other is love and respect. Both of those things have been lost in the shuffle. It's not about pride. It's about remembering love. It's about understanding that love is unconditional, expectations or no expectations. It is about the love we give each other and remembering there are no strings attached. I changed over the years and I am proud of that change. It has made me a better person for her, for him, most importantly for me. I do not regret the sacrifices, the pride I had to swallow to get to this point today. I just understand more clearly that pride has to be balanced with love for you, for her, for him, and for me, too. It's not about being proud. It's about love and how we choose to share it.
I realize that Monday is Christmas but if I'm being honest? This year it has not felt like Christmas. Maybe it's the new job. Maybe I just haven't felt much like that Christmas spirit. I watch all these Hallmark movies, these Netflix Originals and they just make me all that much more skeptical. I guess I'm a bit of a Scrooge this year but it's been one hell of a year for me. I think one that I'm not all that sad to move beyond. You know usually when this time of year comes along, I become retrospective. I think about all those things that I experienced, all these things that made me smile. It's not that things didn't make me smile this year. It's just that there's been a lot of confusion for me, so much uncertainty that I am OK leaving behind. I always want to make the things around me better for my family, for my friends. Hell, for perfect strangers, too. I want to know how to look at something and know at least the direction to take to make it as painless as possible for all of us. I don't like conflict but I drown myself in everyone's worst case scenarios. I was having coffee with my almost grown daughter today. She will be turning eighteen on Thursday. I think back to those years when it was just the two of us. I remember the struggle of supporting us by myself. I can't tell you how I did it. I don't know. I just did. But I look back at those moments now? I feel like somehow I had it more together then which I know I was just as big of a mess.
We make these decisions in our lives, never knowing really if they are right, but we make them with fingers crossed. Truth is none of know what we're doing. There is no real way to be sure that this direction, that turn will bring us to a better place until we get there. So, we put our heads down. We do the work. We land where we land. These last few weeks have been pretty hard on me. I'm so used to putting my head down, to doing the work, to trying to control where I land, that it has just become this part of me. I'll be the work horse that gets this shit done because I understand my plight in this life... but sometimes I feel like I've been fooled. Promises we throw at each other with so little meaning but we believe. We believe because I can't look at you and not at least give you the benefit of my doubt. I guess I get aggravated with myself because I just want to know how to live this life without feeling this boulder on my back. I wish I knew what the right decisions were, that this fear that hangs around my neck didn't mock the way it does. I made decisions this last year that I thought were going to make things better for myself, for my family. I thought that it was going to allow me to breathe easier, to not have to work so hard, to get a flipping break for once. I was tired of working fifteen hours a day, serving people who thought I was worthless because of the job I happen to work. I was tired of every bone in my body feeling like it was going to shatter with one bump into the couch. I was so very tired of feeling like the entire world was on my shoulders for a place that just took advantage of how much I was willing to carry. So, I left. I made the decision to leave, to better myself, to find a place that would help me finally shine the way I knew I could... but I was fooled. It was a means to get out of where I was but it didn't mean that the grass was greener. It was just different and, strangely, somehow the same.
I think that is the biggest illusion when we're young, this idea that the world will be a better place when we become adults. We just don't realize that it won't really be better because it will have these new trials and tribulations that we didn't see through our young, rose colored glasses. It will just be different. Instead of deciding which cartoon to watch. It's do I buy gas or dinner. Somehow the world becomes that much smaller and that much heavier, that much more difficult to maneuver. I see my girl, my beautiful and bright and amazing girl, on this brick of her life and I want to tell her to just live right now. I want to tell her to just enjoy these moments of uncertainty and freedom. The older we get, the less of it we have. I understand so much more now than I did when I was a eighteen year old kid. I kind of miss that ignorance but I would never go back to it. As much as trying to figure out how to adult, it's that uncertainty that terrified someone like me, too. She's brave, far braver than I ever was, and I honestly couldn't be more proud of the fearlessness she embodies in these moments of her life. I know she looks up to me. She always has. I've been so aware of that her entire life. I've always tried to show her how to have compassion for the world even at the world's worst but I won't lie. It has not been easy. What she sees is the courage that I seem to fake well but the reality of me is that everything scares the shit out of me. But, then, I remember who I am. I remember my plight. Keep my head down. Do the work. Just shut up and do it because who else will? I haven't conquered being an adult but I was never really great at being a kid either.
Tuesday is Christmas and it doesn't feel like that time of year at all. There is no tree in my house. My cat tore down all my lights. Presents aren't a thing we can afford for this year. There will be no Christmas parties for us or Eggnog toasts. I feel pretty down, kind of defeated, and literally just want to sleep my way through the rest of 2018. Will I? No, I won't because it's not part of my DNA. It's not in me to roll over and say whatever. I understand the demons in my head that I fight. I know that just because another year is coming that these things that weigh on me won't just disappear. I can sit here and say next year I will do this. I promise to do that. I will definitely be her. If I had to take one lesson from this last year, it would be that the color of the grass is relative. It sounds so dire, that no matter which direction I choose it will not be what I imagine but I don't see it that way. What I see is this beautiful understanding of what life really is, a matter of choice. I did not land in greener fields this year even though I tried. I landed in grass that just may need more work than I thought. Sometimes you just have to move to get where you're going because standing where you are thinking about it won't move you anywhere. I don't have the usual sentimental feelings that I usually get during the holidays. I feel more apathetic to it than anything. I guess I understand that holiday magic doesn't really exist but hope does. I have hope that this next year will be better but I own the fact that I am the one who has to make those choices to make it better. It's a number, just a number, but it's our lives that make those numbers mean anything. I won't sleep my way through the last of 2018. No, I will begin to let it go. I will start to let it all go, the choices that I thought I was making to better this life and the reality that I failed along the way. It's not a failure when you try. And, if nothing else, I will always try.
It seems like this year has moved so quickly by. When I sit back and look at it, I start to realize how many changes that happened. It all goes by so fast, so swiftly that you forget to really digest the changes as they are happening. And then you sit down, you take a breath, and you reflect for a moment from where you were a year ago to where you are now. I switched jobs. I've watched my teenage daughter figure out her path. I see my husband make these great strides to better his life and ours together. And then I look at myself, this new and wonderful and scary stage I've found myself. I sit at this table, writing these words, and understand that this year has been a discovery of myself, this struggle to figure out who I am on my own two feet. I look at that beautiful child I created and I understand that most of my life has been about her, about doing my best to keep her alive, about making up for all those things I failed her at. I feel almost stunted because from the moment I was a true adult, I was someone's mother. I kept my head down and did what I had to do to keep our heads above water. I sacrificed parts of myself willingly to give her what I have always had a hard time giving myself. I sit at this table with my coffee like I so often do when I write these words and feel both relieved and burdened by these new moments, these new discoveries, this new direction of my ever struggling journey to find this peace within myself that eludes me. You know when I really think about it, when I really brutally and honestly take a look at myself, there's still so much I don't know about myself even though I've sat in this skin for almost forty years now.
It's felt like a lot of struggle lately. I feel like no matter what I do or how hard I try or how much of me I give up, I still can't quite feel like I am moving forward. I got out of an industry that demanded so much of my physically because I no longer felt the reward of that hard work. I entered a field where I know it is right but I'm starting at the very bottom. I know it was the right decision. Every part of me knows it was the right decision but sometimes I just look at my life and wonder why I have to work so hard for the basics of happiness over and over again. I am a grown adult and I still live paycheck to paycheck. I have to think carefully before I buy myself that cup of coffee that I don't need... but I do. I do because I happily will buy nothing else for myself in order for my family to be happy. It's a battle though, this how much I do for everyone and what I do for myself. I've never really been a selfish person but if I'm being honest? Sometimes I want to scream what about me!? And then even the thought of that makes me feel incredibly guilty. Maybe it's because I became someone's mother so early in life. Maybe it's because I've always been so sensitive to other people's feelings. I had this thought the other day. I don't really care what people think about me but I do care very much about how I make other people feel. I don't know how to make sense out of that. Even if you looked at me and hated every part of me, I would still feel bad if I did you wrong. It's such a conflicting place to be. Sometimes it's pretty annoying.
Someone looked at me last night and asked me for the first time in awhile how I was doing. With all these changes and all these emotions that I don't quite know how make sense of, I don't know if I have asked myself that question. I'm a stubborn, stubborn girl. I don't really like people knowing how much of a struggle bus I am at times. This is really annoying, too. It's not because I am ashamed of being a human being but I don't want to bother other people with these anxieties that I carry so heavy. Why put that on anyone else but me? So how am I? The thing about me is I will always be OK. I can be down in a ditch, feeling like the world is suffocating me over and over again, like I am alone in this world with these dark moments that I can't explain to anyone... but I will always be OK. When she asked me that question last night though, I started to tear up. I did not mean to. I did not want to. I just couldn't help it. Sometimes I forget that I need someone to check in, to say hey friend. In this new stage of my mid life, I think I am learning how to relate to people in a different way. My early life was so shut off from the world. I did not know how to really relate to the people around me. Not because I didn't want to but because people were terrifying. Sure, I loved being that person that took care of everyone. Being someone's mother puts that in your DNA. Every face you see is the face of your child and all you want is for that face to be happy, to feel loved, to know they are not alone. Again I've had this strange struggle between keeping everyone at bay and allowing them in. The older I get, the more my journey changes, the more I understand my own faults have both held me back and somehow pushed me forward. The more I know I will always be OK even if I feel a little lost right now.
My husband and I were talking about where we are right now. I understand there are two different journeys happening in my life. There is the journey of us, in this life together, figuring out how to make ends meet, hoping that this coming year it will be about more than that. And then there is this journey of me, who am I beyond her mother, who I am as an artist and a writer and a poet, as a person. I want so much to wake up and feel at peace with this skin. I want so much to look in the mirror and see what I know I am instead of this doubt that mocks me. I want to get up and love every minute of my day. More than that I want to know that all of this struggle will be worth it, all of it. Rationally I understand it. I get it. I know when she smiles at me that those years of just the two of us were worth that smile she gave me today. I know when he holds my hand that all those years of loneliness were worth his gentle touch. And sometimes I see a reflection in that mirror that says, "Hey, you did it." I understand it is my plight in life to work for the things that I want. I've never expected a free ride. I've never wanted anything just given to me. I may clench my fists. I may want to scream and fall to my knees and demand to know why every day has to be so hard but I understand, I accept this is my journey. Every hill I've climbed, every mountain I have fallen off of, every cliff I didn't jump are just part of my journey. This new stage, this new time of discovery is a time of reflection, of giving myself permission to be a little selfish, to say, "Hey, you did all that. You can find yourself, too."
I realized this week that when I switched jobs, I didn't necessarily go from one type of job to different type. I pretty much am doing the same thing minus being face to face with customers. Now I get to listen to their gripes over a phone and without serving them a beer. I admit. It's a nice to change to not have to hide my facial expressions when someone is being ridiculous to me. I mean I don't know how great I was at holding back my look of annoyance at a customer who was asking for 12 ramekins of ranch but whatever. At least now when they are yelling about at things I can't control I can roll my eyes freely. With the holiday season upon us and watching at least 4 Netflix originals this week, I started thinking about how much more horrible people can be during the holiday season. I know. You are thinking I am just being rude now but am I? I know people who have never worked a day in a restaurant or in a customer service based job think I'm just being, well, an asshole but hear me out. We all get so wrapped up in getting the perfect presents for our loved ones, in placing the best decorations in our neighborhoods, in baking the best fruit cake that we forget that the whole reason for the season is supposed to be celebrating each other. We get so angry at the hostess because she hasn't sat (our party of 15 that just walked in the door without a heads up) immediately. We get so angry at the person at the other side of that counter because they didn't give us a discount we didn't deserve (but feel entitled to it anyway). Guys, he doesn't have any control over it in the first place. We are so snappy to the person on the other side of the phone who is trying to help us (but think it's OK to yell at them for five minutes about a box UPS smashed). Guys, it's the holiday season, not open season to be nasty.
A word like holiday is a scary word for service industry people to hear. While most get a couple of paid days off to spend with their family, people who work in this industry? Yeah, that means they work a few extra days so that the family that you're enjoying get to come and sit at their table while missing time with their own. It means that while you are making your last minute trip to the grocery store a person is standing behind that register for you. It means that the person you call for customer service is sitting at a desk on a phone and not enjoying time sitting at a dinner table with their own. And I know it is the nature of the beast. I get it. I've worked in this industry in whatever form I found myself in for over two decades. I understand (like everybody who works in customer service gets) that we choose to be in this field... but it can be so much more unrewarding during the holidays. For every wonderful person who walks through those doors or every five people on the end of that line, there are the people who make you want to pull out your hair. Sure, they are always there but it is as if the holidays seem to amplify the nasty rather then mute it. I was at work the other day and a gentleman was on the other line. He spent five minutes literally telling me that it was my fault his product came the way it came, that it looked like it was packaged from K-Mart, that I should do something about the quality I personally was putting out there. Which made me have a flashback to standing behind that bar and listening to the woman scream at me that it was my fault her food was taking more than an hour and a half. I think when we get swept away in this "holiday spirit" we start to forget that the people standing in front of us really have very little control of your grievance. It is not my fault that UPS damaged a package or that some guy in production put the wrong sticker on your plastic. It is not my fault that the kitchen got backed up or that the place is so full that it's turned to a big ball of uncontrollable chaos. And honestly at the end of the day I want your dinner or your canvas or your grocery list to be perfect. I want your holiday to be the best holiday it can possibly be. If for nothing else, for people to not treat each other so harshly.
I wish I honestly didn't want to write this blog today. I wish we would just remember that we're all human, fighting our own battles, trying to figure our way through our own journeys. I wish I didn't have to remind people to treat each other with kindness especially during the holidays. And I wish people would understand that when a server or a cashier or customer service person on a phone get irritated that you are probably the millionth person that told them they sucked that day. It's not that we don't like people but it becomes a harder to pill to swallow every time we get the brunt of anger that really has nothing to do with us. There were times when I would be behind that bar and my hands would clench into fists under the counter because someone was angry at a price of a beer I didn't make and then demand that it was free. Why? Because it is so much easier to be cruel to the person in front of you whose job is deemed less important. I always find some comfort in that though. For the people who complain and turn nasty, the reality is they would never be able to do what you do, not one. I can take solace in my ability to tolerate, to rise above someone else's cruelty... but that doesn't mean it is justified. The point of the holidays is to honestly enjoy each other. It is to give someone else something as simple as a smile, to say thank you for being a part of this world, all of us. I understand you want the most perfect everything but is that perfection worth someone's tears? Just remember one thing this holiday season. One thing. The people who are helping you are people, too. Every one of them whether it be the server hustling to bring you drinks, the gentleman behind that register, that woman on the phone answering your question. Every one of them, all of us.
The hardest thing for me to learn sometimes is how to communicate with people. I can sit down at this computer or in front of a piece of paper. I can take a pen out and feel safe stating how I feel without hesitation about the message that I am about to put out there in the world. I can take my time like I do when I write a blog or a poem. Or I can just allow myself to move freely when I the mood hits me to do one of my doodles. I can see clearly in my head what I want to say, what I want to portray, what I want to give to the world. It's just not so easy for me to sit down in front of a person and truly get my point across. I have a tendency to think too much about what that person in front of me is going to think. Is what I am about to say going to hurt their feelings? What is their reaction to me going to be once I've released these words into the ether? As an adult, I understand that my feelings, my views, my actions (or reactions) are just as much of a factor as the person sitting in front of me. I write two different ways, draw in two different ways. I am more sensitive when I know that I'm putting a blog up or when I put a doodle out there for people to dissect. And then I am brutally honest if I know that these words, those lines will never go beyond these hands. Sometimes I don't always find the balance. Sometimes I write an entire blog and erase the whole thing because when I go back to read it, it feels too real for me to allow beyond this screen. And other times it is the only way I know how to tell someone how I feel. Honestly communication face to face is not my strong suit. I can own that.
For as practical as I am and as standoffish as I can be, I am an emotional person. This week has been trying because of, well, life. There have been choices I've had to make and some reactions I've had to keep in check because what was presented to me. I figure out a lot of stuff as I go but I always want to have an idea of what I am dealing with. I want to know the problems that might occur because this happened. I want to be able to sit down and talk about it but I'm not always the greatest at talking about something in the moment. I need time, time to digest what words just fell into my ears. I need time to truly understand how I feel about something before I can tell you. I react with emotion be it anger or sadness or joy. And there are times that those reactions make my head spin because they become so loud. They become so loud I can't hear in my head how it is I truly feel about something. That's why I've always kept a journal or found solace in some form of art. It has been a way to clear out the loudness and get down to why something made me feel so angry, so sad. I can't tell you in that moment why I am angry. I just am and I need to figure out a way of release on my own before I give it to you to understand yourself. I shut down when something becomes too much. It's not because I am afraid of exploding but because I know what happens if I allow myself to explode. I've never liked that part of myself, this rage that boils at times. I've worked so very hard on myself to be able to reel it in. I understand that those explosions solve nothing except more hurt feelings. I hold back because when I look at that person in front of me, whether I like them or not, what I see is myself in their shoes. I am truly an empathetic person. It drives me crazy sometimes which is why I shut down, why I pull away. Sometimes I don't know how to separate my feelings from theirs.
We have these expectations that hang around our necks given to us by so much around us. We live our lives always trying to live up to them because we are taught that is what we're supposed to do. I expect so many great things out of myself. The idea of me failing makes me react so emotionally. When my feelings are hurt, I don't know how to communicate that because I expect myself to brush it off quickly and move on. I expect myself to be stronger than something wicked someone said to me even though I know I should tell that person the hurt they caused. At the end of that conversation, I will end up apologizing and it's insane. As I've gotten older, I have gotten better but there is so much more in my journey. I understand more every day how my own insecurities manifest in the faces that look back at me. My husband and I don't really fight. There are a lot of different reasons for that. I don't like confrontation. I don't know how to do it without either seeing full on red or caving entirely. There is no in between. Most of the time we see eye to eye. He doesn't like a lot of fuss. I prefer to keep it nice and calm. We don't always agree. Our minds work differently. He can sit down with anyone and speak his peace when he has an issue. And me? I have to think about it for a minute. This week was one of those weeks that this difference was apparent. I have suffered with anxiety most of my life which makes some situations hard to deal with in a normal way. That's not the correct terminology but for this purpose I will go with it. When something happens, I think of worst case scenarios. I have to go through every bad thing that will probably never happen for me to come to the conclusion I am just overthinking it. And when I try to explain this mindset to this beautiful man whose mind functions in a different manor? I don't always explain it right. It's just the way this brain works out what I see around me, good or bad. I understand that the amount of pressure I put on myself to say the right words is, at times, debilitating.
This is how I figure it out, sitting down and allowing my fingers to fly across this keyboard. While I hold some thoughts back, all of these words come from this place within me that are able to shush the loudness that life causes. I wish I could just tell you simply how it is I feel but that has never been a thing for me. I can't sit down with someone over a cup of coffee and be completely honest because I know what is expected out of me. I am the one who listens and who takes care and offers a shoulder for the world to cry on. I am the one who thinks about the back stories and the options and the effects that every action is going to cause. I have always felt that my feelings, my wants, my desires have been something that I should deal with on my own. If I am scared of something, it is for me to find the courage on my own. If I am happy, I am terrified to talk about it because it may quickly be taken away. If I am angry, so many times in my life I have been scolded for feeling that way in the first place. So, I learned my greatest companion were words written on a piece of paper, lines drawn together that would not judge me for just being me whatever version that was at the time. Today I sit down and write these words not because I am trying to tell you anything. If I am being honest, writing a blog has been a challenge because I know the point is for people to read my work but I don't want to be like other writers and feed anyone who is reading this bullshit. What I write is honest and vulnerable. I never want it to become something diluted just to gain something undeserved. Life to me has always been this strange struggle of what I keep to myself and what I give to the world. Most the time this is the only place I can truly give the world anything. It's not because I don't feel it when I sit across from someone but because I feel too much of that someone when they sit across from me. Words fill my lines. I just don't always know how to say them. Sometimes it is that simple.