Taking the High Road

Taking the road less traveled is often a struggle unto itself. Not only because the path has not been blazed before you, but also because sometimes walking a different virtual path means biting your tongue and changing long-held behavior patterns. Most of us homo-sapiens are absolutely creatures of habit, and this applies to good habits and those that are not so great as well. Even the best of habits can become self destructive if we take them to the extreme, but these habits are not the ones I am speaking of today.

The topic today is about behaviors that are so ingrained in who we are that we may not even realize that they’re self-destructive in nature. Behaviors such as allowing other people to treat us a certain way, eating foods we know are no good for us despite how yummy they taste, and negative self-talk are three that come to mind for me without much effort. If you look on many of our social media sites there are memes about the fact that we accept the love we think we deserve. It’s not only romantic love that this applies to. It applies to any relationship where we permit someone to treat us in a manner that makes us feel badly about ourselves in some way.

Unfortunately, the actions of others are not always overt or intentionally harmful to us, rather they are behavior patterns of that person that tend to sneak up on us and make us wonder if we truly have lost our minds. Do you have a friend that only seems to call you when they need to vent? Do you have someone in your circle who makes little, perhaps underhanded, comments about the way you dress, your weight or (for my lady friends) the way you wear your makeup? How about this. Maybe you have a friend who is never available for you, but there’s an underlying expectation that you should be available for them? Guess what? These are toxic behaviors!

If you notice these things, you have a few choices of course. You can accept it for what it is, you can discuss the behavior that bothers you with your friend, or at the extreme end of the spectrum, for the sake of your sanity, you stop associating with that person as much as you used to. You take the high road and leave them to their own devices and patterns of behavior. Don’t mistake what I’m saying about taking the high road as thinking you are somehow better than that person. That’s not the case at all. What I am saying is that we have to take ownership of our own behaviors and reactions to the behaviors of others in our lives. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

It makes sense that we’d feel some kind of way about being treated badly, even if accidentally. Relationships are funny animals aren’t they? We have to be willing to compromise and bend, able to see how our behaviors affect those around us, and of course, in order to make it better we may need to communicate our ideas and beliefs to others in a productive manner.  If you find yourself compromising your belief system repeatedly and coming out the other end of it feeling like you are somehow LESS than or not enough then my friend, it’s truly time to take a walk.

We cannot change others and therefore we have to move out of their space in order to allow them the space they need to grow, perhaps without us. Honestly, this is a difficult thing for me. Although a bit of an introvert (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone!) I do love socializing with my small circle of friends. As a magnet for all that is broken and lost, I also have a tendency to want to fix everyone and everything. This is a huge problem! We can love people for who and where they are in their lives, but it is not our responsibility to make them better somehow. Maybe they like where and who they are!

Recently, I told a friend that their pattern of behavior left me feeling unwanted despite their repeated attempts with words to make me feel otherwise. It’s my problem to be sure! Unfortunately, they continue to make excuses and hold to their own belief systems and comfortable patterns of behavior as a creature of habit. Sadly, this means that I have to exclude them from my inner circle as much as it breaks my heart to do so. I chose to take the high road. It’s difficult for me to say the least because I wish to be in their presence, but I won’t do it at the expense of my own self-image.

Take the road less traveled and make your own map!

Until next time my friends!

Peace

~TlT

 

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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

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                                         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

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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

The Fire of a Heart Breaking…

Reach into the fire if you dare! Can you feel the pain? Or does your arm just grow still with the fear that is driving you insane? How many times do you reach out and how many times will you be broken before you decide enough is enough and stop the incessant choking?

Reach into that red hot fire. Can you feel the flame? Or does your body grow weary at the thought of trying once again to fight through the shame? How many times do you reach out? How many times will you be broken before you say you’ve had enough and stop the slow smolder?

I Dare you to reach into that glowing fire once again! Can you feel it burning yet? Or is your mind so numb from the walls around you that once again you forget? Forget the heartache that’s a permanent scar of promises made and promises broken and the winding road that’s taken you this far. How many times do you reach out? How many times will you be broken, before you decide life is wasting away and decide to be emboldened?

 

Prose….On Judgment

As you sit on the sidelines of my life blinded by what you perceive

And ignorant of all you do not know

You dare to pass your judgment, critical of the choices made

That have nothing to do with you.

 

When looking back on your life and decisions you have made

Can you sit there honestly, knowing all you know now

And say you never made mistakes?

 

As you sit on the sidelines of my life, blinded by the love you feel

And ignorant of all the critical errors, you dare add shame to the mix

As if it is suddenly your duty to lay waste with your verbal landmines

 

Look back at your own life, I dare you to peak

Take a look at all that was said and done, that caused such family strife

Would you like there to be fingers pointed

At a time when you felt your life was so bleak?

 

The lessons learned in this lifetime are earned by pain and joy as well

But please do not feign to sit there and judge my own personal hell

As if you know it or have seen firsthand

When all you have seen is the outer shell….

 

~TLT

Try your Best…Is a Farce (RANT)

Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a minute if you will. How many times have you been told to just, “try your best”, or any variation thereof? You are working your tail off to accomplish something, and someone decides that you need some motivation and informs you that all you need to do is give it all you have. As if putting every ounce of energy into this particular task will somehow, magically, make it work where it did not before.

You could spend days, weeks, months, or even years trying to accomplish this particular feat to no avail. All of your energy, time and focus has been in an attempt to make your life work better or run more smoothly, and yet you find yourself frustrated with the results. Did you ever play team sports in school? Let’s put it in terms of basketball. You stand on the free throw line day after day, practice after practice and no matter how you position your hands, no matter where or how far apart you place your feet and no matter how much coaching you receive – the ball will NOT enter the basket. Did you try your best? I bet you did! Yet, for whatever inane reason, the ball refused to make the sound you were struggling desperately to hear.

You tried hard, then you tried harder and you did the best you could with what you knew and with what you’d been taught but it simply was not enough. Sound familiar? There are some things in life that are just not meant to be or, on the flip side of that coin, there are some things in life that are inevitable. Telling ourselves and others that they only need to work a little harder though, is a farce. In my mind it’s right up there with participation medals. If you are not talented enough to place yourself or your team on the podium then why should you receive a medal? This is teaching our children especially that even if you did NOT try your best, you still get an award. Is that the way it is in the real world? Nope!

As I just pointed out, there are times when your best is not good enough. It happens to the majority of us, so why do we insist on putting ourselves through the misery of thinking that if we only try harder it’s going to change everything? It’s not. Get over it. Which leads me to my next point. You did the best you could with the tools that you were given is another bit that grates my nerves slightly because it’s almost like making an excuse for bad behavior in adults.

Last I checked, we all have this thing called FREE WILL. This means that we make choices and although they may not be all bad, we certainly make the choice between doing what is right or not and then, here’s the kicker – generally speaking there are consequences for our actions. Make your decisions and stick to your guns, but remember that there is nobody to blame but yourself for how it turns out. Part of being an adult means owning your own mess. Sure, we all make mistakes. Lord knows I have made PLENTY!

Mistakes are funny things though you see! If you have an accident because you turned down a wrong way street, it was a one time thing and therefore a mistake. The next time you drive by that street you will remember that you had an accident there and not repeat the behavior. Lesson learned. On the other hand, if once again you drive down the same one way street and have an accident, it’s no longer a mistake. This is an extreme example of course but you get the idea. We make errors in judgement that cause us pain usually and these are called MISTAKES. Acting out the same behavior over and over again, despite knowing that it’s going to lead to pain – this is no longer a mistake. It’s a behavior over which we have FREE WILL to either cease or continue. To say that you did the best you could with the tools you were given is an excuse.

*RANT OVER

Until next time friends…

~Peace

TLT

A Story of Regret

She rolled over to see the sun streaming in through the bedroom window as though through a crystal chandelier, creating dancing jewels of brilliance on the wall. She wondered to herself why the house was so silent and where her husband was off to already this beautiful spring morning. It would be nice to simply linger in the bed as though it were made of the softest clouds, but there were things that needed to be done. If only….she could remember what those things were.

They were right on the edge of her mind, but stubbornly refused to come back to the forefront. No loss, she thought to herself. If it were important I’d remember what it was. There were no clocks ticking and her music had shut off hours ago thanks to the automated system that shut it down if there was no interaction within 90 minutes. Silence. There was a time when the moments of blessed silence were few and far between. Now though, silence pressed on her like a freight train, again reminding her that there was something she was forgetting.

She drifted off into her mind while looking at the sun jewels shining brightly on the wall. The kids were on her mind a lot lately. Eight children out there somewhere in this dark world where nothing was truly predictable and she was here, lying on her bed trying to remember what it was she ought to be doing. She reached over to see if the bed where her husband would rest his head was still warm, but all she felt was the cold sheet along her fingers and another feeling drifted into her mind. The feeling of regret raised its ugly, scarred head like the demon it was. Telling her that she’d missed out.

What had she missed she mused? Hadn’t she done everything she was supposed to do? Hadn’t she raised her children to be compassionate members of society? Hadn’t she tried to live up to the expectations of those who mattered and worked at being a decent mother and grandmother? She had not been perfect as a mother or a wife but hell, she had tried to do the right thing her entire life, for what it was worth. So what was left now for her to do?

People told her that once you became a parent your life was no longer your own and what you wanted from life no longer really mattered. She and her husband fought for years about her selfish nature and desire to be more than simply a housewife until she finally acquiesced and stopped planning, stopped partaking in events that took her away from her family a few weekends every year and most importantly she stopped dreaming of what was to come. She’d worked at living right here in the present without making any plans at all for what was to happen in the future.

What was the point in dreaming about the possibility of more, if all it brought was heartache so profound it felt as though her heart would fracture from the pain? Why bother trying to balance a life full of adventure and miniature personal escapades with that of marriage and motherhood, if the only product was a peaceful mind within a chaotic life? She had always thrived on what she fondly called organized chaos. She had always performed at her best when, as her husband used to (not so fondly say) run around with her hair on fire from one event to the next. The goal was to feel ALIVE!! Why feel so alive if doing so meant the adrenaline rush was short-lived and often devolved into tears and fiery anger because these things she yearned for were not what she was supposed to do.

As she lay there on her bed of clouds, fighting the demon of regret and staring blankly at the sunshine jewels on the wall ,it came to her. There was nothing for her to do now! The kids were all grown and gone out of the house and the silence was due to the fact that there were no other heartbeats occupying the same space as her. She was alone here in her thoughts, alone in her regret and shame for not making more out of her life. Now, as she looked back through the last 40 years she wondered, what was the point?

The kids no longer called to tell her their stories. There were no grand-babies crawling around because she was unable to keep a long-distance relationship with them over the years since that too was frowned upon by the powers that be. Somebody she used to know once told her that she would grow old and lonely because she was too selfish to understand what it means to sacrifice her own needs for the sake of others. Hah! The joke was on them now wasn’t it? She gave it all up for the sake of everyone else, and yet here she is as she watches the sun play through the window – old and alone, living with the demon of regret….

 

 

 

What you See…Is what You Get

It’s been 24 days since the 100 mile run I showed up for ended prematurely at 40 miles due to an injury, and although I have my head wrapped around the necessity of dropping it’s been a rough few weeks. You all hear the words and see the catchy hashtag of “the struggle is real”. We pay lip service to the issue of depression and the resulting suicide rate amongst our service members. We make jokes and pass judgment.

I’m here to tell you as someone who has battled that demon most of their adult life and has loved ones who are doing the same, depression on any scale is no laughing matter. What does depression have to do with running you may ask. It has a LOT to do with it in my case and that of many others I know and am proud to call my tribe. You see, running is not simply a physical act of quickly moving one foot then the other in a forward motion. Although we are, obviously, performing physical exercise that’s not the whole story.

There’s more to the story of running, for most of us, than simply the physical act. It calms us with the release of various neuro-chemicals. It stimulates other hormones and body chemicals to help us better cope with stress. We feel better about life in general when we are able to run. The inability to run has the same effect on a runner as does not being able to drink coffee on a habitual coffee drinker. Neither of which are pleasant.

As most of my friends will attest, I’m not an overly bubbly person to begin with. I’m not one of those women who walks around with an ever present smile on their face. I am one of those people who, if I know you, tends to say whatever I think needs to be said (within reason), and this often means that I say the things nobody else will for fear of hurting feelings. It’s not my goal, of course, to hurt anyones feelings and I do think about what I say before I say it, but I’m not one for mincing words. All of that to say that I am pretty much an open book. What you see is definitely what you get.

Since I am an open book, not being able to run without pain means that in 24 days I’ve ran TWICE….and neither time without pain. Was it successful? Who knows!! The question is, did I feel better afterwards…..? Absofreakinlutely!! Unfortunately for me, and those who are forced to live with me, running is the only form of physical exercise I’ve found that releases all the tension, eases the inner monster and helps my ‘politically correct’ filter remain in place for one more day. It also eases the feelings of depression that seem to pop in for an uninvited visit for no good reason. The struggle to maintain mental equilibrium is very real friends.

My life is perfect: I have a long-term relationship with my husband, a home, healthy children, beautiful grandchildren, wonderful pets aka fur-babies, honest and challenging employment and my own health to name but the top of the list of all I am thankful for. This does not mean that depression has no reason to reside here, since it does not seem to NEED a reason. That’s the real point dear ones. It just IS…What you see…IS what you get.

Until next time friends…

Peace

~TLT