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

A motivating factor fear

Let’s talk about FEAR shall we?

Fear is a powerful emotion whether you are a three year old afraid of the boogeyman under the bed, or a 30 year old afraid of spiders. Ironically, fear is a driving force, which typically enabled us to choose the right path when we were children. The fear of receiving strong discipline from our parents if we did something naughty, was often enough to persuade us to make the right choice. If not, and we chose the wrong path, there was the other fear which occurred when the discipline arrived. This type of fear motivated us to STOP behavior – or perhaps, to never act on a childish impulse in the first place.

There are as many types of fear as there are people in this world, for we are all unique individuals and as such, our fears reflect our uniqueness. Fear of new places, new people and new guidelines may keep us from taking a particular job offer or even submitting our resume’ to begin with, for fear of receiving yet another letter of rejection. As someone who has been in search of an employment situation that works for me for the last two years, I can tell you personally – those rejection letters are ugly, nasty creatures that can build any insecurities already living in your mind.

Fear has the ability keep you stuck in place like quicksand. It could be the job you trudge through daily because you are afraid to take a chance and make a change or a toxic relationship that makes you second guess all you believe and how you feel about yourself and the world around you, but you are too afraid of the unknown to make a change. Fear of what others may think, fear of rejection and pain all serve to keep us stuck in place – never moving, never truly growing.

There is a flip side to fear though! I can tell you, for me personally, fear is a great motivating tool! When I was a teenager, looking through my teenage eyes at my surroundings and all of the people I saw who were STUCK in the same small town, doing the same job, in the same house for the same pay – year after year – I made a decision to move. In my late 20’s, after four beautiful boys and a failed marriage already, I felt stuck. I felt as though I was being sucked under and then trampled underfoot by the myriad of bad choices I had made. I was living through the painful consequences of those choices and found it to be unacceptable. I was AFRAID if I did not make a change, I’d grow old and die without having done anything – without having served a purpose. I believed then, as I do now, that we all have a purpose.

That fear propelled me forward into a new era of my life story when I signed my name on the dotted line to join the Armed Forces….It seems like ancient history now, though it’s only been 18 years, to the day almost, since I began basic training. Unfortunately, my time in the service was ultimately cut shorter than I anticipated it would be by a decision based, at least partly, on….FEAR. We can make the choice to let our fears make our choices for us or we can become aware of what is taking place and utilize it to our advantage.

One way I do this is by planning. I LOVE to plan activities, vacations and of course, my own training schedule. I have even helped others plan for various events! Rather than allow fear to decide, I make the conscious decisions necessary to be successful in whatever mission(s) I happen to be working on at the time. Is there fear of the unknown? Am I afraid of failing at whatever it is I happen to be working on? ABSOLUTELY! Am I “successful” at every single mission I set out to accomplish? NO! What drives me more than the fear of failure though is the fear of NOT trying. The fear of growing “old” and having done nothing in my life to affect change. The fear of hitting my 90th birthday and looking back with regret, not at all the mistakes made for that is a natural progression of life, but regret for all the things I “should have” done.

I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago and we were discussing getting older and my unhappiness with this prospect. They told me that there’s no use in trying to fight aging, it’s a fact of life and therefore unavoidable. I told them, of course we all age and eventually die, but I will go kicking and screaming the entire way. Like the poem by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night, 

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Until next time my friends……USE your fear rather than be used BY your fear

Peace~

(From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp.)

Yesterdays’s Disdain

As I am down on my hands and knees once more, cleaning the grout on our well traveled floor

I wonder, as I often do, what and who it is I am to all those who walk through my door.

What will be their memories, these three little girls I adore?

Will they remember the hugs and giggles as I tickle them under their cute little chins?

Or the nights when I snuggle them tight after a rough day of struggle and they cried to sleep

As I hold them oh so tight….and wonder as I struggle for sleep if I am doing it all right.

The, boys grown now, a part of my heart aches for pain and missed moments

Knowing in my mind that what’s done is done and these regrets I ought to shake.

When they look through their parental eyes at babies so precious, do their hearts quake?

Do they remember fondly the times we played and fell fast asleep together on the couch?

Or unimpressed with their behavior…days that often began and ended with, “ouch”?

Do they look back now hard pressed and think – my mom she did her best?

As I am down on my hands and knees once more, cleaning the grout on our well traveled floor

I think how ironic it is that here I am cleaning the mess we have all trod into the tiled decor

It resembles life, this cleaning and scrubbing on my hands and knees, thinking of all I have seen

Gathering the crumbs and shards of our messy lives, shoved into corners and ground down

Like the inner parts of my heart and mind, meandering like a lazy river to all that’s left behind

Unbidden, the thoughts flow like a river over jagged, encrusted rocks in my brain unrefined.

Flashes of memory, come and go like the interminable film on the movie screen

You can see what is taking place, though you cannot be heard nor be seen

You know in advance the joys and the pains, though nothing can be done to cease the disdain

I’m down on my hands and knees once more, cleaning the grout on our well traveled floor

How ironic I am down here kneeling alone, scrubbing and cleansing to no true avail

When those who can make a difference make their own choices to linger….on yesterdays trail.

~TLT

Gilded Cage – Prose

A gilded cage so well supported

One must wonder what the matter is

With all that is purported

When she was younger, she begged for a better life

Than the one she had before

Now that she’s living the way she always desired

Her motivation for it has waned, she has lost her fire

What could possibly be wrong

With a man so young and strong

Directing your movements

Ensuring you stay where you belong

She begged for a better life

Than the one she had before

Now she’s living it, she wonders what for

She realizes her young desires were so wrong

He claims to have given her the world

She’s not so sure that this world is enough

When love is so painfully obscure

For all intents and purpose

She’s no better off than she was

When how the bills would be paid she was unsure

A cage was built so perfectly sublime

Now all you can do is stare about you

Eyes tear blind

Wondering where the time went and with it your fire

What kind of woman can you teach them to be

When out of your own way

You are too scared to creep

In the beginning….a story of sorts

I have been wanting to tell this story for a long time but the issue always arises of how to begin. How do you tell a story, replete with the adjectives, adverbs and many nouns that will not only adequately communicate the story you wish to tell but perhaps, maybe, move someone. I do not mean move in the sense that their bodies will move, rather their psyche will be forever changed by the story. How to begin a story that really begins in the same way every other story begins, at the beginning of the life of a character or two. The problem as I see it is that this story began long before the teller has any knowledge of the facts and behaviors of the characters. One could make up the back story. Does that make the real story any less real?

Let’s try and see how this process goes from moment to moment. You see, the story of the story teller really began long before she was even a thought in the mind of those who were destined to bring her into this world in a very ordinary way. Her arrival was really the last bit of ordinary though, at least for her, for almost thirty years….

Their family looked like any other family from the outside looking in, as the five boys and one girl were all born in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s to a most unassuming looking couple. The method and manner of their meeting is unknown, though I am sure it occurred in the most usual of ways. Perhaps it was an arranged marriage as was not uncommon during that era. Or perhaps they met at a sock hop at the local church. They were both small town kids from apparently traditional families.

Gary was a dark haired, dark eyed young man of average build who did not stand out in any particular way. Although he was of above average intelligence though, and a man who liked to start out with a cup of coffee on any given day. Mary was a very petite girl of 14 when she married Gary and this did not change much even while she carried each of their children in her womb. The babies all came pretty much one behind the other with birthdays happening about two years apart with the exception of the youngest boy Timothy. Timothy was not exactly planned but came along in the usual way to join the family.

This family was large by the standards of today but not during the decade in which they came to be. Every able body had a job to complete and you had better finish your chores without being told if you really wanted to eat. The relationship between Gary and Mary was strained and I’ve heard tell that it was odd at times as well. Their economic status was not all that wonderful and Gary had a roaming eye for the latest pretty thing walking by. There were stories told down at the local diner, where all the good gossips met, that Gary often brought home a guest to spend the night on a bet. Fact or fiction, the author does not know. Only that there were many stories told by the mongers who could give a listening ear the blow by blow.

An open arrangement is the term loosely used today but for the sake of this story, please understand, that it was not an ordinary household by any stretch of the imagination for children to be raised. It was said that when the older children had sleepovers, it was common to find them all in one bed and even in the bed of Gary and Mary. Timothy may have had life the easiest since by the time he came into this family it was about to be split apart. But, the elder children: Diana, Johnny, Jimmy, Joseph and Marshall were subjected to the odd personality quirks of their parents and their wandering hearts.

Prose…..on Running

Sunrise in August

WHAT ARE YOUR REASONS FOR RUNNING 10, 25 OR 100 MILES THEY OFTEN INQUIRE?
AND TO WHICH I OFTEN HAVE NO REPLY OTHER THAN TO STUTTER OUT…
I JUST DO IT, I DON’T EXACTLY KNOW THE WHY OF THIS INTERNAL FIRE

I RUN TO PUT ASIDE MY DEMONS FOR JUST A LITTLE WHILE
I RUN TO SEE HOW FAR I CAN PUSH MY BODY
TO SEE HOW FAR IT TAKES TO RUN BEFORE I BEGIN TO SMILE

I RUN TO PUT THE PAST BEHIND ME FOR JUST A BIT
OUT THERE ON THE TRAIL OR THE ROAD
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES TO HAUNT MY THOUGHTS
FOR THOSE PEACEFUL MOMENTS IN TIME I SHELVE THE HEAVY LOAD

I RUN TO CONVINCE MYSELF THAT I REALLY AM ABLE
DESPITE ALL THE DOUBT AND CRITICISM ENCOUNTERED
TO PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER AND KEEP PUSHING
BEYOND THE PHYSICAL PAIN INTO ANOTHER REALM ALTOGETHER

HOW CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR FAMILY AT HOME WHILE YOU TRAIN FOR HOURS?
YOU ARE SO VERY SELFISH! I OFTEN HEAR THEM EXCLAIM
I HAVE NO RATIONAL REPLY BUT MANAGE THROUGH MY ANGER TO STUTTER OUT
I JUST DO IT, I DO IT TO SWEETEN THE PERSON INSIDE THE WORLD ATTEMPTS TO SOUR

IF SELFISH I AM FOR PUTTING MYSELF FIRST FOR JUST A FEW HOURS A WEEK
THEN ASK MY CHILDREN ABOUT THE LOVE THEY RECEIVE
ASK THEM IF YOU DARE WHAT KIND OF A MOTHER I AIM TO BE
THEY WILL TELL YOU I AM SURE, I AM HARD AND FAIR AND LOVE THEM DEEPLY.

OUTSIDE OF ALL THE TITLES OF WHO I AM SUPPOSED TO BE
NO MATTER WHAT THE HOLD ON ME
RUNNING EVEN THE HARDEST 25 MILES LEAVES ME SATED
FEELING COMPLETE, AS IF THE ENTIRE WORLD IS ONE OF POSSIBILITY.

~TLT 10/24/14