At Peace

Ever have those days where you’re worrying and stressing about every possible outcome? I’ve been having those a lot lately — work, home, family, love life, EVERYTHING.

But I had to let it go.

Honestly, at the end of the day, you’ve got to let go of the worry, anxiety, stress and fear. What is productive about feeding all of your energy into feelings that don’t solve anything?

Whatever happens, happens. I’ve prayed about it, and I’m at peace knowing that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. I’ll be just fine.

New Year, New Opportunity

Are you one of those people that puts everyone ahead of yourself? I am, but I’m finding that to be a blessing and a curse.

I’m one of those people that would give my last to make sure everyone I care about is taken care of, even if it’s to my detriment. I want the people I love to be happy, to have what they need, and to feel like they’re progressing. I always figured that I would take care of me when everyone else was covered.

Slowly, I’ve come to the realization that needs are constant. Everyone always needs SOMEthing. And that’s not a negative, per se. It’s truth. At some point, we have to prioritize these needs, and I had to admit (to myself) that I can’t help you if I’m not helping myself. I can’t provide for you and yours, and subsequently leave myself in a position where I’m not cared for.

More often than not, I’ve found that some of the outreached hands will take and just continue taking, but they never offer anything back. They never reach back to try to lift me up when I’m struggling, nor do they try to provide for me when I’m in need. And I’m not saying everyone is in the same position to give in the same way or to the same magnitude, but you can always give SOMEthing. When you can’t give financially or tangibly, give encouragement, give kindness, give acknowledgement. Give from your heart.

In a nutshell, give a shit about someone other than yourself and your interests.

This year, I’m moving forward with an understanding that I’m not anyone else’s priority, especially if I’m not my own. I need to make sure I’m taken care of BEFORE I try to help everyone else.

BEFORE I give my last, I need to make sure I have a contingency. I can’t save anything for future or for emergency if I give everything away. There’s no rainy day fund. There’s no savings, because I exhausted it trying to help.

I find a joy in cooking and feeding others, but cared little about doing that for myself. About carving out that “me time” or making sure that I was getting what I needed emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, or intellectually.

This year is my opportunity to begin righting some of those wrongs. And it’s not about regrets, life is about learning and progress.

How will your priorities change in 2014?

Temper Tantrums

A little kid flying business class with his parents threw the most epic tantrum I’ve ever seen. Never mind that it was 3 am and everyone was trying to sleep, he was jumping up and down so hard that the plane shook, clapping to wake people up, throwing his head phones because he wanted to watch Pokemon, jumping off the footrest so hard that he broke it, and screeching so loud that his dad finally dragged him into a lavatory just to buffer the sound. He literally shook a stranger until she woke up. His parents kept passing him back and forth because neither of them knew what to do.

Question: remember the fear? What happened?? I know I’m not the only one who could feel their mom’s eyes on us the second we started cutting up. She didn’t even have to be on the same side of the room; I could feel the threat of proximity if I took a wrong step. Shoot, I’m 31 years old, but I STILL know better than to act a fool in my mother’s presence. Never in my life has she had to say “please” or beg me to act right.

When did obedience become optional?

Truth be told, I felt bad for the parents. I could see how exasperated they were. And I think there’s only so much you can blame the parents. At some point, each child becomes their own individual person. They make choices and mistakes, just like the rest of us. This kid may have been spoiled coming up, may have never had a spanking, may never have even sat through a full time out. You can attribute some to the parents, maybe, but I just don’t think it’s all them. It’s hard to say what was done right or wrong from the outside, and I don’t think there’s just one way to parent effectively.

I hope those parents find something that gives them more confidence in their ability to parent and run their household. Otherwise, that kid is going to run all over them.

Taking Advantage

I’m no Mother Teresa, but I would say that I am generous with those that I care about.  I genuinely care for the well-being of those around me, and it matters to me that the people I love have what they need to get by.

That being said, I’m not stupid, nor am I a doormat.  My generosity and kindness should not be mistaken for weakness or vulnerability.  Attempts to take advantage or exploit are hardly going unnoticed.  But I think this is the point where people sometimes get a little lost.

Often, when people realize that someone is taking them for granted, they get down on themselves.  Maybe it cracks their confidence, or maybe it makes them feel like a prize idiot.  Damn that.  Don’t let someone make you feel bad for being who you are.  Remember that what you did came from a good place.  There’s no sense in feeling bad for doing something good.

People are taken for granted all the time.  Rather than let what happened defeat you or eat away at your will and drive, let it fuel you.  Use that experience as motivation, and most of all, learn from it.  At the end of the day, if you’re not making the most of your life, you’re giving in to the negative energy that came to steal away your livelihood.

I am a true believer that you get what you put out into the universe.  Call it Karma, call it an eye for an eye, Yin and Yang, call it comeuppance.  I don’t have to do or say anything, try to get even, yell, or even be angry.  I feel sorry for anyone that would take advantage, because it says something about where they are in their life — maybe they’re going through something.  And I forgive.  There’s no use in hanging onto negativity; it’s just a waste of energy that could be put to better use.

I won’t change who I am or how I treat people.  I won’t stop caring, because that’s now how I operate.  But I will keep my distance.

I’ll Call You

This three word phrase is almost as dreadful as the four word phrase “we need to talk.”  Why do people even utter the words?  We all know what it really means, having decoded the line the first time it was used:

They’re not really going to call.

I guess I always wonder what the point is in lying?  Please don’t worry about sparing my feelings — I’d rather you be up front with me.  If you’re not interested, want to pursue other prospects, the timing is wrong, whatever the case may be… just say it.

And when did this whole “let me spare your feelings” thing start?  When did people stop being straight with each other?  Were people EVER straight with each other?  If you’re not really going to call, and you’re never going to see her again, what is the point in trying to let her down easy?  Why try to gently sever the ties, only to risk her calling you anyway to figure out what happened, why you haven’t called?

In all honesty, I think that you earn so much more respect when you can be up front.  No one’s asking you to be lovey dovey here; all I’m saying is don’t say you’re going to do something if you really aren’t going to.  There’s no good that can come from creating an expectation that you have no intention of meeting.  Just let her know what it is and walk.  She won’t break into a million pieces — women are stronger than you think.

Seriously, I would say it to you…

Grow a pair.

On Becoming a Writer

I’m a fan of Emily Giffin’s writing, and reading some of her answers to questions she is frequently asked increased my appreciation for her.  I can relate to this in several ways:  I went to law school, though I always wanted to be a writer.  I felt I had to have a “real job” first.  I was afraid (read: guilted by my mother) to take the leap into writing full time due to the possibility of rejection and/or failure.

My questions to you readers:  did you always want to be a writer?  What’s stopping you now?  What obstacles are you facing?

Hope you enjoy the interview!  I found it motivating.

 

Emily Giffin – On Becoming a Writer

“Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 

Yes. For as long as I can remember. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve reading books and writing my own stories. Perhaps because we moved around a lot, characters in books became my constant companions, and keeping a journal provided me comfort. In high school, I was a member of the creative writing club and editor-in-chief of our school newspaper—and although my interests became much more diverse, I was always the happiest when reading and writing.

Then what made you go to law school? 

I’m not sure exactly what happened during college, as I never lost my desire to become a writer. But looking back, I think I had the sense that I had to get a “real” job first—that I couldn’t graduate and promptly sit down to write a novel. I took a lot of history and political science classes—so law school became a logical next stop. If I’m completely honest, I also think I went to school because it felt safer—a more certain path to measurable success. I think it always feels riskier and scarier to go after something you really love and want because the rejection and failure hurts more.

Do you regret going to law school and becoming an attorney? 

Never. For one, I don’t think you can ever regret an education—even one that comes with a heavy loan burden. I learned so much—skills and knowledge that I still apply today in a very practical sense. I also feel that I gained real world experience. I learned about office politics and was forced to develop a thick skin while working at a large law firm. Most important, I’m not sure I would have moved to New York City without the safety of my law degree and job offer—and living there was certainly one of the most enriching experiences of my life. And finally, I made so many close friends at law school and my firm, relationships I wouldn’t trade for anything.

What made you decide to quit and go for your dream of writing?

Although I enjoyed law school, I loathed the actual practice of law—at least the big firm culture. And I discovered that misery can be quite motivating. So very early on, I devised a plan to pay off my law school loans and then write full-time. Meanwhile, I began writing a young adult novel in my free time (and sometimes while at work!). Four years later, my loans were paid off and my book was completed. I was able to land an agent, but over the next several months, I received a dozen rejection letters from publishers. I seriously contemplated giving up and keeping my nose to the legal grindstone, but instead, I quit my job, moved to London and decided to try again. It was then and there that I began writing Something Borrowed.”

(Q&A from http://www.emilygiffin.com/faq_onbecomingwriter.php)

Boxing Butterflies

I still have butterflies when I see him.  I can’t help how I feel; my heart just hasn’t been able to catch up with my mind.  I know at this point that it’s best for me to let go and walk away, but when I see him I just can’t.  Who he is, how he is, what he is… I’m still in love with him.  In spite of obvious flaws, shortcomings, and his own demons.  Truly unconditional — something he wasn’t ready to return or face.  How I feel isn’t logical, productive, or even right anymore.  But it IS.

And, in all honesty, I just can’t stop.  I want to, to save myself some hurt, but I can’t.  In my mind, I know I have to let it go, I know that I’m enough and that I can survive without him.  I just want him.  And when he walks into the room, everything I feel comes rushing back like waves, pulling me with the tide.  How he ended things wasn’t right; I deserved better treatment, no doubt.  But I can’t deny what we had, or how quickly I react when he’s in my presence.  I haven’t accepted the entire picture yet, because bringing everything into complete focus means having to address the mistreatment and the immaturity.

But being around him for over a week on a tropical island like Barbados?  Complete torture.  Seeing his ex constantly in his face, obviously still harboring her own feelings?  Killing me slowly, like the death of 1,000 cuts.  Wondering whether he would succumb to her advances because she’s right there in front of him, and we all knew he could get it if he wanted to?  Hell.  Beautiful, tropical island hell with a big cup of rum punch to fuel the flames.

We were civil.  Most days I felt like he was avoiding me, which I understood.  Guilt can do a number on you, and it has certainly been doing a number on him.  We had a heart to heart one day in an attempt to clear the air, and honestly I think that he expects me to make advances to get him back.  He thinks that I will ask him to come back to me, beg him for a reason, or let him into my bed just for a fleeting moment of reminiscence.  Thankfully, though my heart hasn’t caught up with my head, I can salvage enough reason and self-respect to know that I can’t (and won’t) ask him back or open myself up to more hurt.  I may not be ready to completely let go, but I’m not going to beg someone to be with me.  I don’t want to be with anyone who doesn’t want me.  That’s been my saving grace.

It’s sad, but I wish he would give me a reason to hate him.  Maybe he has, and I overlooked because I feel the way I do.  But hating him would make things so much easier, because I wouldn’t struggle against letting go — I just would.

I have everything I need for closure.  I’m almost there.  It’s akin to packing for a move.  I have the box and the tape all set.  But my heart has to let go of these feelings so that I can pack them away.  I’ll always have some feeling for him, but this box needs to go in the garage and stop cluttering up my house.

Time for a little spring cleaning.

Drawing a Line

Sometimes I think you hope that there will be more, even when you know it’s over.  Maybe because it wasn’t your decision to end things, maybe because you don’t want to start all over again.  There’s always a reason.

I think one of my biggest hangups has always been that I’m completely honest, and I expect the same in return.  I want to be able to tell you what it is, and I want you to do the same.  I don’t see the point in flowering words to save feelings, someone else’s or my own, because then we’re not really at the heart of the matter.  We’re skating around it.  I always come back to two words: be real.  In my last romance, I honestly don’t know what happened to cause our demise.  I just know it’s over.

I started blogging just over 9 years ago.  My first start was on Xanga, and then Blogger, and now WP.  Over 12 blogs in all, multiples are still in use.  I was grieving over the loss of someone very close to me — someone I’d known her entire life — my sister.  That same year, I lost 4 more people close to me, and I felt like my world was closing in around me.  Honestly, I’m still grieving.  Writing has always been my outlet; I always knew how to describe and myself through written word.  It wasn’t until I’d dealt with some demons through writing that I realized that I had a need to express myself verbally.  If I love someone, I need to say it.  I can’t hold back anymore.  I’ve lost too many opportunities with people I grew up loving to continue to hold back.  The cycle would just repeat itself, and I don’t think that I could bear it.

The one that gave me butterflies… There’s no question, I love him.  Even now.  He knows that.  And maybe he didn’t love me back, or he wasn’t ready.  Maybe I just wasn’t the right one for him.  I may never know, and I’ve accepted that.  Maybe we can never be friends or be close the way that we were.  He’s drawn a line.  At the end of the day, though, I just hope he remembers.  I won’t forget how I felt, or how I loved him, or what I’d hoped for.

Maybe there’s something better out there and I just can’t see it yet.  Maybe.

“Just Being a Guy”

Wow, from four followers to 59.  Amazing!  I definitely feel motivated to write.

I know I’ve really been on a relationship sort of theme lately, but seriously, why do guys do some of the things that they do?  I don’t understand the rationale sometimes, and I know women like to attribute certain actions to a guy “just being a guy,” but really?  I’d like to believe that men aren’t really that simple or predictable.

I don’t know if I just get too hopeful when I meet someone, or maybe I’m just not yet jaded, but it’s not like I create high expectations that no one can meet.  If we’re both feeling it, we’re talking and texting multiple times a day, and you start sending me messages telling me that you’re thinking about me, that I’m so whatever you think I am, et cetera, is it really that surprising that a subsequent silence would make me confused?

Yes, yes, you’re so great, blah blah blah blah, I can’t stop thinking about you, yadda yadda, I can’t wait to see you again, woh woh… silence…  really?  It’s like you’re putting in the leg work to seal the deal and then you forgot to actually cash in on the deal.

What is that?  Is that L.A.?  Is that one of those “wait for it” kind of moments?  I don’t get it, and I don’t think that I really have time to figure out the Rubix cube that is this reasoning.  I’m not one of those girls that will wait by the phone.  If I stop hearing from you, I’ll assume you lost interest and moved on, and I’ll do the same.  Why then does the guy get confused because I’ve moved on?  Am I expected to pine over someone who no longer sees a reason to contact me?  If nothing else, I’m a creature of consistency.

Some gals might think I’m giving guys too much credit, by thinking that interaction can be more than just a game, but I just know that SOMEone out there has to understand what I’m saying.  You worked hard for the deal… why are you walking away?

*Brief aside:  Yes, I’m a writer.  And, yes, I am currently working on a book that chronicles some extremely amusing dating adventures experienced by myself and by others I know, because sometimes it’s just too funny not to share.  Names and circumstances will be altered to save the dignity of all of those involved.