Monthly Archives: June 2012

Live life simply…learning from V!

Ah so today I have to ‘see’ my ‘family’ since my Goddaughter is performing in a dance recital.  While I love and adore my niece, I do not get a long too well with my sisters, etc.  But I am going to venture out, paste a fake smile on my face when I see all of them, and make the best of it and remind myself that I am not there for me, for them just my Goddaughter.  My BFF, V, is taking  and accompanying me – so he is my buffer.  I have known V for over 10 years – we worked together many moons ago and I basically bossed him around and somehow he smiled through the whole work experience.   I absolutely love him.  He is my real family.  Sometimes more often than not, family isn’t always blood.  They’re the people in your life who appreciate having you in theirs – the ones who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways, and who not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be.  These people – your real family – are the ones who truly matter.  So yes, he is the family that I really don’t have….even his real family, have opened their hearts to me.  I truly don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for V putting up with me the past few years especially.

I have rarely seen V angry, judgmental, or even negative.  He is a very happy, sincere, caring, simple person and I wish I could be more like him.  So I am going to try really hard to treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to me – not because they are nice, but because I am!  I am going to try to accept people just the way they are.  In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try.  So in order to save myself from needless stress, instead of trying to change them  or wait for them to wake up, I will just be understanding, try giving them my support, lead by example yet continue to stay away from the negativity and surround myself with good positive caring people.

Life sometimes doesn’t always introduce us to the people we want to meet.  Sometimes life puts us in touch with the people we need to meet – to help us, to leave us, to love us…and to slowly strengthen us into the person we are meant to become.  Sometimes we come across people who will say all the right words at the right times; but in the end, or when it really matters, their actions, not their words are all that matter.

I love these words by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:  “The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen”…so I am on that journey of being true to myself and becoming one of those beautiful people…

And if people want to think of me as stuck up, proud, conceited or whatever – let them.  Being classy is not about being stuck up – its more about having a simply unique style that will never be forgotten.  To be me is all about respect – respect for others, for my elders, and most of all respect for myself!  ♥

In a Whirlwind of Stupidity…Moments of Clarity…

So it’s almost the end of June and I just realized that I tend to start dating in months that start with the  letter “J”…January…15 dates….so far, June has only seen me on one date….what will July bring?

I do find myself giddier this time around – maybe it’s because I am finally, really putting myself first.  I can’t wait to do so many things this summer that I wasn’t able to do the past few summers – go to the beach, go to Atlantic City, dine al fresco, have adult sleepovers (a girl can dream), lose those pesky 15 lbs, wear a skimpy two-piece bikini, smile until my face hurts…

I am determined to be more social – maybe actually attend a friend’s BBQ…I need to learn how to lose some of my inhibitions and rid myself of this social anxiety.

This past year, I have come to appreciate the power of truly loving myself. Most of my life, being alone was one of my biggest fears.  The past ten years, I found myself in two relationships for the wrong reasons and ended up settling in ill-fitting ‘partnerships’. Ever since I found true appreciation for myself, the quality of all of my relationships has been better. I have discovered that the more I loved and understood myself, the less I feared being by myself, and the healthier relationships I was able to attract into my life.

I started doing what I called “Dates with myself“.   I really do like my alone time – now I kind of force myself to schedule time with just me, myself and I.  I literally take myself out on a date and spend that time totally focused on myself – pampering myself –pedi, mani, massage, read a book – uninterrupted T time.  It’s my time. We spend so much time and energy focused on others that we forget to recharge the source of that energy.  It is only when you are well that you can have the energy and internal resources to make a positive difference and help others. This is a simple, yet powerful concept that can dramatically improve your wellbeing, effectiveness and mental health.

This is me…“I’ve spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough they won’t leave, and fearing that it’s a matter of time before they figure me out and go.” ― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

This I am learning…“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning.  You have to love. You have to feel.  It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.  Wow – I wonder if this is what I have been holding out for??

The secret isn’t to find someone you love spending time with, I love spending time with few people. The secret isn’t to find someone that you find attractive. I find a lot of people attractive for many different reasons. The secret isn’t to find someone who is nice; there are tons of nice people in the world. The secret is to find someone who wants exactly what you want. Someone who is ready to give you all they’ve got, and in turn be ready to accept all the love you have to give. The world is filled with people in relationship teeter-totters of “loves you more” + “I have to act mean so they will like me back” or “I am just not ready.” Please do not waste any more of your precious time. We are all amazing people. You deserve to be loved until your insides melt.  I know I do!  Don’t give up on all the things you want.  I know I won’t anymore.  When you meet the right person you will have zero doubt in your mind. Zero.

“When you are attracted to people, it’s because of the details. Their kindness. Their eyes. The fact that they can get you to laugh when you need it the most.”  – Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home

I think you could fall in love with anyone if you saw the parts of them no one else gets to see. Like if you followed them around invisibly for a day and saw them crying in their bed at night or singing in the shower or humming quietly to themselves as they make a sandwich or even just walking along the street. And even if they were really weird and had no friends, I think, after seeing them at their most vulnerable, you wouldn’t be able to help falling in love with them…I hope someone can see me at my most raw and accept me and all my quirkiness.

“I mean I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen, or who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up. I figure life is a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you, to make each day count.” (Jack Dawson, Titanic).

Life is all about taking chances. It’s about doing something you initially thought you could never do. It’s about being a little crazy, following your heart, and not worrying about every detail of what everyone else thinks. And above all, it’s about learning to love who you are, what you have, and what you want.

Happiness is a choice. For every minute you are angry or irritated, you lose 60 seconds of happiness. Be happy. Be yourself. If others don’t like it, then let them be. Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.

If you have the courage to admit when you’re scared, the ability to laugh even as you cry, the nerve to speak up, even if your voice is shaking, the confidence to ask for help when you need it, and the wisdom to take it when it’s offered, then you have everything you need to get yourself to a happier state of mind.

So I am gearing up for the next month of July…the month starting with the letter “J” where it may rekindle a relationship dilemma as I try to balance my innate need for security and my attraction to individual freedom. And although I know I can be quite obstinate at times in my unwillingness to compromise, I have to keep telling myself I don’t want to be alone.  So I am going to choose my battles carefully, and I bet I won’t need to sacrifice what is ultimately most important to me….ME…♥

So as I continue to find myself  in moments of absolute whirlwinds of stupidity…I will also cling to the absolute moments of clarity…

Makes me think….

Life…everyday life provides a lesson…makes me think…mmt…

I have learned that life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never ending commitment to push forward even when times are tough…

I am not sure who said this first, but I firmly believe that sometimes you have to die a little on the inside first in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, smarter version of yourself….I know, because I feel that I am getting there myself.

My Mom was admitted to the hospital last night and trying to reach out to immediate family proves to be so disheartening – they are so non-responsive and so quick to judge.  I pray that they come around and actually care what happens to her, to me, to others.  Life is way too short – I am sad that so many in my own family have not grasped this yet.  They hold grudges; they ignore the goodness in others.

Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they need, or something they thought was meant to be. But it is these losses that make us stronger and eventually move us toward future opportunities for growth and happiness…if we pay attention.

Over the past years I have dealt with several hardships, including the sudden death of my only brother, the death of my father, the loss of my heart and a few best friends to terrorism on 9/11, betrayal from a close childhood friend, and an unexpected employment layoff.  These experiences were brutal. Each of them, naturally, knocked me down and off course for periods of time.  But when my time of mourning was over in each individual circumstance, I like to think I moved forward, evenutally, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life….and a respect for myself…I got lost somewhere back there, but no more.

Times like this only reinforce the lessons I have learned along the way…

I am NOT what happened to me in the past…No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate. I am not my past failures. I am not how others have at one time treated me.  I am only who I think I am right now in this moment. I am only what I do right now in this moment.

I try every day to focus on what I have, not on what I don’t have. The important thing is simply to find one POSITIVE thought that inspires and helps you move forward.  Hold on to it strongly, and focus on it. You may feel like you don’t have much or anything at all, but for me, I know I have my mind to inspire me and my writing. And I have realized that’s really all I needed to start moving forward again.

I have learned…

That struggling with problems is a natural part of growing up – part of living is experiencing unexpected troubles in life. People lose jobs, get sick, and sometimes die.

That it really is okay to fall apart for a while – no longer pretend to be strong all of the time, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. I no longer concern myself with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears and to pig out on chocolate.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again. And trust me, a smile doesn’t always mean I am happy; sometimes it simply means that I know I will get through the day, and that I am strong enough to face any problems.

That life is fragile, sudden, and shorter than it often seems.  Life and time are not promises.  There may not be a tomorrow – not for everyone.  Sad reality is that right now, somewhere, someone is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today. This is sad but true. So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it – even this oppressive heat and humidity today. Every moment we get is a gift. Don’t waste time by dwelling on unhappy things. Spend it on things that move you in the direction you want to go.  I  know I am.

That at times no matter how hard I try, I will fail sometimes.

That I have the capacity to create my own happiness; to reinvent my life.

That everything that happens is a life lesson.

That I should view every challenge as an educational assignment.

That feelings, people, things change, and time keeps rolling and the sun always rises the next day; The bad news: nothing is permanent. The good news: nothing is permanent.

That giving up and moving on are two very different things.

That distancing ourselves from negative people is essential.

That perfect relationships, people don’t exist.

That we all must love ourselves. – One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, missing them too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

That we shouldn’t allow others to make decisions for us.

That holding onto grudges, resentment only hurts us; forgive people and move on, even if they never ask for your forgiveness. Don’t do it for them – do it for youself. Grudges are a waste of happiness.

That you’re not alone. Everyone has problems.

That there is still so much to be thankful for. Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of brave people who are overcoming it. Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning. You hardly broke a sweat today. You didn’t spend a minute in fear. You have access to clean drinking water. You have access to medical care. You have access to the Internet. You can read. Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.

That honesty is still the best policy! It’s better to be hurt by the truth, than comforted by a lie. – You must see things how they are instead of how you hoped, wished, or expected them to be. It’s always better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.

That there will always be people who dislike you. – You can’t be everything to everyone. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently. So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right. What others think and say about you isn’t all that important. What is important is how you feel about yourself.

That you are better off without some people you thought you needed. – The sad truth is, there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave.

That you can’t control everything that happens to you – only how you react to things.

That you are not trapped; you just need to re-learn a few things and refocus.

That most things in life are two-sided. – There is good reason why we can’t expect to feel pleasure without ever feeling pain; joy without ever feeling sorrow; confident without ever feeling fear; calm without ever feeling restless; hope without ever feeling despair: There is no such
thing as a one-sided coin in life, with which one can buy a pain-free, trouble-free existence. If you find one, please send my way.

That you always have a choice; there are always at least two options. If you can’t physically change something, you can change the way you think about it.

That sometimes you really need to let others in when you’re in a dark place. That it is okay to admit you need someone, some help, sometimes.

That asking negative questions, usually only results in getting negative answers. There are no positive answers to, “Why me?” “Why didn’t I?” “What if?” etc. So stop and swap them for questions that push you in a positive direction. For instance, “What have I learned from this experience?” “What can I do right now to move forward?”

And the most important lesson I have learned is that life was never meant to be easy, it is however meant to be lived the best way possible…as my pal George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage — it can be delightful.” So let’s all live life to fullest, pray for those who haven’t learned and for those who no longer can…mm♥

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