The Best of Intentions

actions vs intention

This has been a repeated topic of conversation lately, and it is one that’s important to have at least once with those who are important in your life. Intention is the idea or the plan to complete a task or to behave in a particular manner. As human beings we have many intentions usually. We intend to behave a certain way. We intend to obtain our driver’s license when we turn 16. We intend to complete some version of a college degree by a particular age, etc., etc..

Here’s the issue though. The intent to do something is not the same as actually DOING that same thing. For instance, when I had the intent to complete an ultra-marathon distance running event, it was an idea that I wanted to run a specific distance at that event but, without a plan that intent means virtually nothing. What good is an idea without the follow through? If you intend to be a decent human being then your actions reflect that same intent and you ARE a decent human being most of the time. (None of us are perfect as humans, therefore we cannot assume that we’re always decent human beings since we have a tendency toward selfishness.)

Recently, a friend of mine told me that no matter what I said or did that they would never simply allow me to voluntarily walk out of their lives. Hmmm… Okay, but what would or could they actually do to prevent me from exiting their life? Do they actually have that much control over my intent and actions? How about their own intentions…Do they have enough control over their own lives at the moment so as to have the ability to prevent my exit? Could they put action behind their words so their intention matched action?

Now, this particular friend, maybe you have one similar to this, is someone who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. One of those smooth talking individuals who has probably talked their way into and out of many different types of situations, and therefore is accustomed to people being persuaded by just their words. Unfortunately for them, though kind hearted at my core, I am not a sucker for words alone. If you talk the talk then you’d better be ready and willing to walk the walk as well.

Back in early November of last year, I entertained the idea of competing in a figure competition. It was my INTENT tocompete this summer. What did I do as a result? I completed some research, found people to emulate, talked to women who have competed and then created a plan that would get me closer to achieving that goal. There were actions that followed in the wake of my words. Unlike my previously mentioned friend, there wasn’t just talk but there was also the walk because I am a realist.

We can spout off words galore about the goals we have in life, but until and unless we put our money where our mouth is, we will not get any closer to achieving those goals without action. Some have told me that I am a pessimist or that I’m jaded and cold. Honestly, I don’t see myself that way at all. I have a huge heart that opens readily for those who demonstrate their willingness to reciprocate (shhhh don’t tell anyone!) Generally speaking, I believe peoplehave the best of intentions and have the same needs, wishes and desires as I do. However, it’s also common knowledge that we, as humans, are also often absolutely awful to each other. My goal is to allow people the freedom to show me what they’re capable of.

Show me. Don’t just use your words to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Intention without action is worthless as were the words my friend said to me about allowing me to walk out of their life. The door into my life was closed firmly, and the only way for them to enter once again into my life is by taking definitive action to do so. I’m sad though because as I said, I expect the best from people and when they don’t live up to that expectation I’m left wondering what happened. Wasn’t I good enough to work for? Perhaps I need to lower my expectations? Or maybe, just maybe, the issue is theirs and I need to continue on my merry way owning the closed door and the boundaries they represent between action and intention.

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Bad At Love….prose

As so often is the case, it’s easier for me to express emotion via writing than in the spoken word. I’ve been contemplating ways to express these feelings that have been sitting down deep in my gut for quite a while, so it’s not new feelings that are presented for your consumption.

They’re more like ongoing, continuous and ever-present feelings and a belief that I’ll be hard pressed to find a partner in this life who “gets” me and is willing and able to grow alongside me. This is not to say that I’m actively looking for that person though. I’d rather be by myself and happy with that situation than to ever again be in a relationship where feeling inadequate, lonely and hopeless were my daily companions. There’s something to be said for spending time solo.

Without further ado, here are three short pieces written in the last 24 hours or so. Let me know what you think! Also, I’m debating on providing you, my lovely and faithful readers, with snapshots from the YA fiction novel I’m currently writing. We shall see!

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                                       Silence is golden like autumn leaves. True love is a lie, a story you can’t make me believe. They’re fairytales told for the deaf, dumb and blind. To believe in them, I’m under no obligation. Call me cynical and jaded if you will, but even though I’m standing alone, I’m no longer standing still. ~T

                                          ******************************************************

                                         You said you wouldn’t let me just walk away, but here I am with my back turned and I haven’t heard from you in several days. You told me you loved me, we both know now that was a lie you deluded yourself into thinking was true, so you you could say it with conviction while looking into my eyes.  I never really believed you. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now it has fallen like the tear drops I refuse. If I don’t allow them to fall, they’re not impossible to stop.  ~T

                                      *********************************************************

People use words to say they love you, but I’m saddened upon thinking those words hold very little meaning when their actions don’t hold true.

Feeling let down and yet no longer surprised when the sadness wells up behind these hazel eyes. 

Once more it is best to count on self, place feelings high up on an unseen shelf. Expect nothing so you won’t be deceived. It no longer matters what you want to believe.

Words hold no meaning at all, actions of the heart tell the real story. Love is a verb not simply a noun. Find me someday, if you dare, when you figure it out. 

~T                 

Bat at love image

San Diego 100 Race Report — Texas Trail Running Adventures by John (Reblogging for my AMAZING friend!)

Now, before we get into the race report, I cannot possibly start without sharing our experience at the Melting Pot in Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. Before the race, we spent 3-days in Gaslamp Quarter resting, shopping, and site seeing. One late night I decided that I wanted dessert (yes everyone, this was MY idea!!) […]

via San Diego 100 Race Report — Texas Trail Running Adventures by John

Labels of Conformity

Recently, I had a conversation with my bonus daughter who also happens to be double degreed in social work. Per the norm, the topics discussed were those we are both passionate about, but the topic that has stuck in my mind due in part to recent social media posts, is about labels and conformity. Not labels like on the food we buy, rather labels that are placed on people, their behaviors and identities.

Labels serve a purpose otherwise we wouldn’t use them, but of what use are they to us in our daily lives? On food labels we are provided the identified food substance, it’s supposed percentage of this nutrient and that mineral, fat content and the like. The labels we give ourselves and others are not quite as useful as food labels. Should we walk around with labels on our person that signify whether we are white, black, brown, yellow or purple? No, it’s unnecessary and our color is truly irrelevant – at least in my mind.

Should we place labels on our person that tell others in our vicinity that we are married, single, divorced, separated, monogamous, polygamous or some variation of those specific terms? How about our income level, IQ, education, mental health status or employment status; should we post that information for all to see? Again, I argue that it’s not required information for the general public to know. Would we be judged based on that information should it be made readily available? Absolutely we would be judged! Humanity has preconceived ideas about what specific segments of society should look and behave like, and therefore if those labels stated above, to name a few, were readily available to any and all who wished to see, judgment would occur.

Okay, let’s get to the heart of the matter and the labels that are bothersome for a vast majority right now: lesbian, bisexual, queer, homosexual, gay, transexual, pansexual, asexual, non-binary…. This morning, I saw pieces of a video where a person with medical experience refuted the idea that one could be born gender female but have a male gender identity. She said something to the effect that it represents a mental illness that should be treated in the same way as psychiatric illnesses.

Here’s my problem, we do not yet know all there is to know about the way in which the human brain functions, and we’re finding out more and more information about those functions that were not known previously. It used to be thought that if the corpus callosum (the membrane that separates the left side of our brain from the right) was severed, one would no longer have access to those traits generally attributed to the non-dominant side of our brain. This was found to be false, in fact. Another interesting facet of the brain is that when forced to do so it will literally rewire itself in order to circumvent an injured portion. What does this have to do with the subject of the aforementioned labels? Great question, thanks for asking!

It has a lot to do with the labels we are currently finding necessary to prejudge, segment and segregate our population with. Yes, I said it. We are segregating, subjugating and creating more of a mess than is necessary simply because we find it necessary to not only shun what we don’t understand (the human brain), but also to label everything for the purpose of creating clarity within our society. Labels, as my beautiful bonus daughter pointed out, are necessary right now because it affords those groups protection from the ignorant (hopefully) and grants access to programs that would otherwise be unavailable to them by virtue of their specific label. Ugh! It’s a circle my friends!

Why do we insist on making others feel badly about who they are in order to make ourselves feel better? Does it matter to your life if your neighbor believes themselves to be female though their body looks male? Why do you care? Aren’t they first and foremost simply a human being? They bleed the same color as you. Feel the same pain as you. Why does it matter if you agree with them or not? Is it necessary for us all to agree with this concept of being transgender? I think not. Who am I to tell someone that they do not believe, do not feel, do not think or should not believe, feel or think they are the gender they present to the public? Who are you to decide?

I say, live and let live. If their way of life is not to your choosing that’s cool. Nobody is asking you to live the way they do. Nobody is asking for permission to feel a certain way. Do you honestly believe in your heart of hearts that the majority of the people with these labels would CHOOSE to be ostracized, criticized and possibly threatened on a daily basis if there was a choice? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to simply conform to what society wishes of them? I’m going to answer my own question for you. Absolutely it would be easier to conform!

Ah, but why did the original colonies flee Europe so long ago? They fled so that they could be free and would not have to conform! I feel compelled to also say to those of you who want to throw the concepts of Western religion into the mix that until you personally speak to God and he tells you his opinion of all this, it is not our place as fallible human beings to judge.

Finally, allow me to throw a statistic into this topic for you. 41% of transgender identified people try to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared with 4.6% of the general public. The numbers come from a study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute. I won’t even start on the suicide statistics for any of the other labels we insist on giving other human beings. The data is all there on the wonderful world wide web.

Are we all meant to conform to one ideal? I surely hope not!

Until next time my friends

Peace

~TlT

Choosing Your Battles

Anyone with children can certainly relate to this issue. The trash is obviously happily overflowing, there are dishes in the sink waiting to be placed with loving care into the empty dishwasher, there’s fluff from the most recent dog toy laying like little pieces of an impossible jigsaw all over the floor and empty pop tart, chip, and cereal containers of various shapes and sizes wherever they were deserted by some absent minded soul. Towels invade the bathroom floor, clothes on the bedroom floors look as dejected as the ugly pet store puppy nobody wants and please don’t get me started on the tablespoon of milk remaining in the bottom of the one gallon jug of milk.

Yet, there are three perfect and able bodied young people living here who must be completely blind and deaf too. They must be blind to the glare they’ve received every single day when the crumpled bits of refuse are thrown in the trash by the hand of another. They must be deaf to the sound of a mysterious voice reminding them daily that there is not a maid or a butler available to be at their beck and call and clean up after them. Mom does start with the same letter as maid, however, that is where the similarities end, or at least that is what they’re told. I’m beginning to wonder though if this a true statement.

Equally true though, is the fact that none of the aforementioned trio have been in any serious trouble at school unlike many of their peers. Their grades, though not living up to the potential believed of them, have been above mediocre and in some cases even occasionally outstanding. Their manner of dress is not outlandish nor is the makeup worn by the eldest, despite parental protestations, garish or otherwise inappropriate for her age group. Generally speaking, this trio is mindful of their manners, treat others with compassion and respect, and they are well behaved, inside our home and even more importantly when they’re not within my earshot.

Will I continue to fuss at them about their rooms looking like natural disasters and the towels that persist in hanging out on the floor despite the empty hooks on the wall? Yes, I shall. However, the key point here is that there is a choice to be made by me as their parent as well as them as thinking children. You see, they’ve been taught well and are familiar with the concept of cause and effect. Each of them have experienced the the laws, if you will, of action and reaction.  I can make the choice to ride their backs constantly about every little detail that is not done to my expectation. A choice can be made to make them feel inadequate or wrong somehow about their particular choice in clothing and accessories, makeup and even the manner in which they style their hair.

On the other hand, the choice can be consciously made to fight the important battles that are necessary for their safety and well-being. Respect is a two way street even with our children, and if we expect silent compliance we’re not raising children but automatons who will eventually rebel like there’s no tomorrow because they’ve not lived through the consequence of poor choices previously. Our children are not miniature representations of us, rather they are portrayals of how we treat others. They are reflections of every bit of us, the good and the bad both. Personally, I’d rather make the choice to battle over the importance of an education and respecting the viewpoints of others than whether or not the overflowing trashcan is ignored.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk to our children about the importance of a clean home, but to ask ourselves the question: what’s more important in this moment – to be right with a spotless house? Or, is it more important to have a mutual conversation about whatever may be weighing on their over-stimulated minds and leave the dishes waiting in the sink for another 30 minutes?

Choose wisely my friends..Until next time

Peace

~TlT

 

What are you willing to give?

In the course of the last six months while building my body to compete in the physique division, there have been so many moments when I doubted myself and my ability to perform at the level required in order to walk across the stage in July. There were days when, after getting up at 4:00 am, working all day followed by tutoring for another hour and making it home to referee three pubescent girls as they sorted out their latest drama, the very last thing I felt like doing was going to the gym. What I wanted to do was crawl back into my bed and go to sleep or at the very least, curl up on the couch and forget the world existed.

Instead, I’d complete my referee duties with haste, provide guidance to the trio about what the dinner plans were, change into gym clothes and promptly get my derriere out the door before I could change my mind. This wasn’t an everyday feeling though because the gym or some other form of physical exertion has been my go-to stress reliever for the last 10 years. On those bad days though, I forced myself to stick to the plan, follow the schedule and move through the motions because the idea of the payoff kept me motivated for the most part.

Very often, there was an internal dialogue taking place amidst all the rest of the chaos outside of my own head. Thoughts zoomed here and there, bouncing off one another and often creating more thoughts, ideas and questions directed at my self. The one question that has kept me moving forward is, how bad do you want it and the second is, what are you willing to do in order to get there. Many of us state with words that we want a particular object or desire to complete a given task that’s on our list of things we WANT to do, but often we don’t ask the more important question of why. Why do you want that new widget? Why do you want to fly to the moon, mars or Venice?

Your why is probably the single most important idea to have as concrete in your mind as possible when setting out on some new adventure. When I think back to the last five miles of my personal hell during Brazos Bend 100 four years ago, I remember my good friend Douglas telling me to remember my why. Although this journey to walk across the stage is about as far removed from those moments in the woods as physically possible, it really isn’t all that different in its longevity and the ability to persevere through some of the most difficult moments I’ve experienced. I still have to remember my why. I still have to ask the question, what am I willing to give in order to get there.

It all sounds so very cliche’, but I assure you that without identifying the answers to those questions any goal you have that’s going to take some fortitude to achieve may appear even more impossible unless and until you reflect on the answers.

As I reflect back on the last two years, there have been so many changes it’s almost impossible to remember who I used to be before. But, I can tell you this, I am happy with the changes. I’m mostly at peace with who I’ve become and am still becoming. On any given day when it’s hard to get out the door because it would be sooooo much easier to stay in bed rather than complete the necessary work, I ask myself…

What are you willing to give (up) in order to get what you want?

Until next time my friends

Peace

~TlT

Irony or Serendipity?

Ironically, tomorrow it will be one year since my last blog post though this is not for lack of my trying. For one reason or another I was unable to post anything to my blog for at least the last six months! At some point, I just kind of gave up and figured it would work itself out after I’d contacted WordPress and asked them about it, only to be told that I’d not been locked out of my account and they could not detect any malfunctions.

Humph! I was stumped, but one of the lessons I’ve been repeatedly presented with is that I cannot control every single thing in my life and those things which I cannot control must be let go of. This doesn’t mean it is not important or that I can’t revisit the idea, rather it means I must not drive myself crazy with attempting to remedy the situation at every turn. Let it go. Sounds like a song….oh wait! It IS a song!

There’s no way for me to catch you up with all that has happened in my crazy life in the last year in just one blog post, so I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, my marriage was finally, officially dissolved and life has taken on new and exciting possibilities. Of course, there are many responsibilities, such as parenthood and employment, that have continued on, but somehow it’s all a little different when one is doing it without a partner.

There are three big events happening in my life right now and if you’ve been following my journey for a while you are already in the know. However, for those of you who do not know me personally or not well the three events are: I’m competing in my first “figure” competition in six weeks, I’m writing an autobiography of sorts that has been in the background of my mind for several years and finally, I’m writing a novel with my soon to be 14 year old daughter! All of these are risky for me personally, however, I firmly believe with my entire being that they are also necessary for personal growth. We will not grow from a stagnant pond (life). There must be movement and with movement comes risk because we can’t know the outcome of our endeavors until such time as we complete the task we attempted.

The title of today’s blog, irony or serendipity is apt because I’d been wanting to post but couldn’t, and now I really NEED to make sure I have an audience willing to buy in to what I have to say. It’s a bit hard to drum up interest for a book without an audience wouldn’t you say? Smile! Bear with me as we explore this portion of our journey without a map to guide our path. It will be entertaining to be sure!

Peace

~TlT