referring time…

I have referred, more than once, to posts written by Wic, at Letters To Pogue.

It’s not just because sometimes I find them amusing (and he shares some good music every now and then), or because they are well written (and for the large part, well researched) but also because most of the time I find them to be incredibly thought provoking. And I guess I am a girl who likes to think – especially if it sometimes means being able to avoid doing the dishes 😛

Now… I have to say… unfortunately there are times where doing the dishes becomes a ‘priority’. And usually it’s because I open the cupboard and there isn’t a single plate to use – only to discover, after washing and packing away, that half the dishes are still missing… and can usually be found in my teenage daughters bedroom! FORK! No, I am not swearing… just reiterating that I also usually find where all my forks have gone too! 😛
Anyway…
So dishes become a ‘priority’ – but not one by choice, more out of necessity. Which I guess turns them into a commitment/responsibility?
Please stay with me here… the point is coming – like the full fork drawer 😛

Wic offers up a ‘Monday Musing’ post which is always worth checking out 😉 Yesterday’s post was definitely worth ME reading. (Might be helpful to the rest of the world out there too.)

I am pretty sure it was a personal dig at me 😛 😛 😛 Have you ever done that? Identified so much with something that you stop and go, ”hey, should I be offended? I’m sure they mean me!” I am laughing here, because it’s ridiculous! But is it? Here’s the thing – sometimes we identify with something so much because it was exactly what we needed to ‘hear’… and perhaps there are changes we need to make. And some are more drastic than others – and not so pleasant. In this case (and maybe I missed the point – or maybe it is just different for me – or maybe my mind is still processing and avoiding dishes 😛 ) it was very much an ‘adjust your thought pattern and watch what you say and how you say it’ moment.

I am not particularly fond of the word ‘priority’. It’s defined as ‘the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important than others’. It’s no wonder so many people get offended by it!

And it’s no wonder we are often made to feel guilty and ashamed of what we have ‘chosen’ to do with our time.

By the same token, perhaps we also need to practice a little more understanding and compassion with others regarding theirs?

Not everyone who says to us, ”Sorry, I can’t, I just don’t have time”, is trying to tell us that we have no importance in their lives.
Personally? I would prefer that they keep their job, or give their attention to their children/husband, or spend some time refilling their soul.
It doesn’t mean that I am not important to them, or that I have ‘less value’ in their life. It just means that they have other commitments and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

Time is also the one thing we can never get back once it has gone. And I was reminded that I personally need to remember to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ when someone shares a piece of theirs with me. So a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my own ‘personal musings’- sorry, Wic 😉

So those are just my thoughts on that… and in closing, I found this, which was very appropriate 😛

And in case you are wondering… I have TWO dogs 😛

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. 😛

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight 😛 )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it 😛

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! ❤

Because some days…

These last couple of weeks, I have had many challenges thrown my way. Life is not handing me lemons, its not even throwing them at me. I am sure it has switched to brightly coloured yellow cricket balls instead! 😛 The challenges have come by way of every aspect of my life – family, health, friends, financial. The truly difficult part for me is that although I keep having them thrown at me, every single one is at the point of a ‘stale mate’.

There are decisions to be made (some that are VERY important) and I can’t make them.
Because I am waiting.
I am waiting on other people to provide me with concrete answers so that the decisions in some of the situations can be informed ones. In other situations, I am waiting for other people to make choices that will affect the decisions that I then need to make – my heart is with them, no matter what they decide, always… but I can only ‘be of service’ if they are willing and open to it.

In all of this, every moment of the day, I have just felt drained. (The endless hours of back and forth phone calls where no one can give me a straight answer is possibly a big part of that!)

I cannot control any of it. And I can’t help but smile. Because the small challenges along the way in the past year have actually prepared me for THIS time now… where things are coming at me from all angles.
The past year, as I slowly accepted the learning and growing process, I came to a point where I was finally able to say : I will not allow the things I can’t control to afford me unnecessary stress. I need to truly accept that I can’t control them, and find a way to ‘let it go’. I need to focus on what I CAN control, and take it from there.

And no… it’s not as easy, or as simple, as we often make it sound. It’s hard work. And I am willing to do it and keep striving for the ‘unexplainable peace and ability to still have joy’ that exists within me despite all these circumstances surrounding me.

But (such is life) I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times where negative emotions DO make their appearance.

The other day, after an extremely emotionally driven phone call where MY calmness was very much required, I eventually got to hang up the phone… and I just burst into tears.
This would have been fine if I was at home… it was rather embarrassing that it happened while I was sitting in my car, outside of the studio my daughter dances at. Even worse, another mom pulled up and hopped out of her car to come and say ‘hi’.
We chatted very briefly, and she completely understood what I meant when I said, ”If I could tell you, I would. But I just can’t seem to find my words right now to even begin to explain.”
She squeezed my hand encouragingly, and we both chuckled as I whipped out my sanitiser and sprayed both our hands. And then her phone rang, and she needed to rush off again…. but she said to me, ”There is a message you sent me a few months ago. I still have it. I am going to find it and send it to you. Hang in there, girl, you’ve got this!”
And off she went.

I spent the next forty five minutes fighting off tears and sobs, trying to distract myself from my earlier phone call. I felt like I was losing a battle I hadn’t had time to prepare for. And then her message appeared on my phone. A screenshot of my message to her :

”I know you’re feeling sad, so I won’t tell you to try and be happy. I am not going to tell you to ‘go and do things that make you happy’. I am not going to ask you to be a warrior woman of strength and faith (even though I know you are). What I AM going to tell you to do… ask you to do… for now, in this moment of sadness : please eat something, please take a hot shower or bath, please put on some nice comfy clothes. Do the physical stuff that will keep you alive. I don’t know how or when it will get better… but I do know that it will. In the meantime, please just keep trying to stay alive. The rest will follow eventually. I am here, if you need me.”

Dear readers, bloggers, friends… what we put out in this world DEFINITELY comes back to us, and most times the good things come when we need them the most. So keep putting the good stuff out there, and my hope for you is that you will ALWAYS experience the returns on that when YOU need them the most! ❤

butterflies

Nope. I am not experiencing the flutter of excitement that comes with a new love interest.
Sorry. Not sorry 😛

But I learned something new today, and you’re probably going to laugh when I tell you what I have learned because it’s quite possible that you already know. It fascinated me though, and added to my perspective on butterflies and humans 😉

First though, I want to share some of my favourite butterfly quotes :

There are two ‘things’ that I absolutely love. Butterflies… and the colour purple. My friends often comment how easy it is to pick out a gift for me – if they can’t find anything with a butterfly on it, then they just buy something purple. Anything purple! 😛 My dad gave me the best thing I have in my kitchen – a clingfilm hard plastic holder…. IT’S PURPLE 😛
If I ever got to immigrate, it would be packed in my suitcase! 😉

When it comes to butterflies, and likening them to humans, I usually say this :

A caterpillar gets one chance. There is one process of change. And then it goes from being what some consider ‘ugly’ to a creature of great beauty. In that process of change, the caterpillar thinks its life is over, and yet its life is just beginning again… giving it wings to soar.
And I have told more than one person how grateful I am that we get those processes and opportunities to change and become more beautiful MORE THAN ONCE in our lifetimes! That sometimes to us, when we are in a bad place or feeling down and depressed and anxious? Well, let’s admit it, we have actually all been there at some stage or another and the burden is heavy and we feel that life has no purpose, that this moment will never end, that there is no point and that true beauty will elude us forever. BUT THEN? Something blows on that tiny flame of hope within us that is still flickering, and it suddenly flickers a little stronger and we are able to carry on. How wonderful is that? We find ‘new wings’ and are able to soar once again.

What I learned this morning just added to what I have told more than one person!

I did not know that during the caterpillar’s process of becoming a butterfly, in the Chrysalis, the caterpillar ‘melts’ almost completely! :O It releases enzymes that literally digest nearly ALL of its OWN BODY!
So basically, it dissolves into a disgusting pile of gooey substance before it can transform into a beautiful butterfly!

My new addition (and takeaway from the process above) will be this :
So you think you’re having a meltdown? It’s okay! Let yourself FEEL it! Pull the covers over your head and hide if you need to. Take a little time.
Just don’t stay there too long! Remember to emerge!
You may still feel ‘sticky’.
Keep going!
But what if I fail?
Well, what if you fly? 😉

Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads 😛

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet 😛

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them 😛 )

Little Big

Photo credit : smallthingsmatter.org
Photo credit : Facebook

I love the little things in life. The simple things. And I love small random acts of kindness.
These are things you will sort of be aware of if you are a regular reader of my posts.
I want to do BIG things though…
Not quite like Pinky and the Brain
I don’t want to take over the world 😛 But I’d like to help change it for the better.

The pandemic has taught me how much of a desire in my heart this actually is. I didn’t think the ‘love’ side of me could grow much more (love = kindness, compassion, sacrifice) …. I didn’t think it was possible for it to almost consume me.
But it has. And at times it has been overwhelming. Especially when I am not feeling up to doing much….
My mind is still ‘up to much’, ha ha!

I bumped into acquaintance – a lady who doesn’t know much about me at all. What was strange was that we ended up having a rather meaningful, deep conversation, centering around purpose and goals and personal growth. I expressed my frustration to her because I want to do BIG things, and at the end of our little ‘meeting’, she left me with this :

”Just an observation, Meg. You notice the little things – the things that other people don’t. You’re the same with people – you notice, while others just continue on with their day and their tasks. You did something the other day for someone, and I heard about it from that person. It was a random kindness and something small, but let me tell you that at the particular moment you made a BIG difference in that person’s life. Don’t underestimate YOUR small things – they’re achieving the BIG stuff.”

And my heart soared, and I decided there and then to keep doing the little things!

I had a big thing happen yesterday. And I can’t help but wonder if it is partly the little things I do that led to it. (But it’s mostly a person with an incredible heart who did a HUGE good deed for me 😉 )
The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and many are suffering financially.
And let’s be honest, I have had more than my ‘unfair share’ 😛 of troubles these last six months.
Without going in to too much detail, let me say this : thanks to someone with a kind and generous, very beautiful spirit, in this Summer heat I will be able to replace my fridge and fill it.
A BIG thing that made a HUGE difference.
A small thing that made a huge difference to me just this morning? A lady standing in the queue next to me said, ”I can tell you have a lovely smile, even though you’re wearing a mask – it shows in your eyes.”

BIG things. SMALL things. They ALL have value and make a difference! Please keep looking for opportunities to spread love! ❤

What if…

I saw this meme on Facebook, and it made me smile. It reminded me of a happy time as a little girl, sitting with my dad, and being allowed to watch Star Trek….

And ever since the pandemic hit, it appears that a world that had already seemed to have gone insanely crazy in a bad way has just added a whole new level to its craziness. That old saying springs to mind… ”Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse”….

It got me to thinking though….

What if we add another different level of craziness? One that could quite possibly boggle many an educated brain? What if, despite everything that is happening around us, we …..

What if we smile at strangers? Or buy a stranger a cup of coffee? Or share our food with the tramp on the corner? Or pick some flowers for the old lady down the road? Or compliment someone randomly?

I know I have said these things before… but it’s really on my heart to say it again.

I shared this on my Facebook yesterday and it is so very true…..

Let’s work on being the change we want to see in this world, one small random act of kindness at a time 😉

Stay safe, fellow bloggers! And please don’t forget to smile 😉

Photo credits : Facebook and arisesociety.com

Can you change it?

I have never viewed myself as a control freak. In actual fact, my history with narcissism has meant that I have always been the one who has been controlled. And sadly that took me into adulthood, and created a form of ‘inability to make decisions on my own’. Which in itself was terribly destructive – some people will help you make choices that are beneficial to only them, and not you.

There were so many issues that were borne of my childhood, and resulting adulthood, that I certainly kept my therapist busy. 😛  But eventually, because I was willing, small steps became giant leaps and I grew into a ‘newer, better’ version of ME. I also worked really hard on accepting the responsibility of being in control OF ME, and ended up even having to take a course in decision making – something that comes so naturally in others, and yet something that I simply couldn’t grasp on my own. And I haven’t stopped growing, because life keeps teaching me and I am very willing to learn, even though it sometimes hurts.

I do know that there are many things that I cannot control – and I think that the past 80+ days have caused far more frustration than what they should have. As mentioned in a previous post, have continuously reminded myself that I can only control MY reactions and emotions to what is going on around me. But for some reason, I remain frustrated.

I was called on recently to ‘assist’ a couple who had decided to part ways. Except that I am friendly with them both, and so while I am always honest and will offer my opinions when asked, I don’t like to get involved at times like these. But they both asked. Under our current restrictions, I am still not able to ‘work’, or help others, as I would like to – I prefer personal interaction, one on one. But (once again, thanks to the beauty of world wide web inventions) I was able to do the next best thing. I did a video call with each of them, individually. The end result, sadly, is that they will not be getting back together. Because, they both agree, that the love is gone. Add to that a multitude of other things (including that they both want completely different things for their lives) and we all realised that it was never going to work.

But I was reminded of something of great importance to me personally.

THIS MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE TO YOU – this is all my personal experiences and journey, and perhaps food for thought for you.

I hopped on here, to write this blog post, and decided to pop in and check on a blogging friend. I was surprised to find the same sort of theme. And it made me want to share this even more.

daron2

The words in this picture used to be me.

Up until about five years ago, I complained, a lot! Kid whining, instead of adult wining 😛 😉 

There were times where my complaints were valid though – like the time my entire town was without water for five whole days. By the third day, I was having to buy expensive bottled water, and use it to flush the toilet – and our municipalities and water workers were giving us no indication of how much longer things would be that way. Yes, my household adjusted – we took bucket showers, and used the basin spillage for the loos, wherever possible. I put buckets outside, just in case it rained. I didn’t let it devastate us completely – but I complained about the expense, and the lack of response from those who were in control. Something in me says though that I really shouldn’t have complained at all because it was out of my control and so complaining was futile.
But there ARE times where just being able to voice our complaint about certain circumstances bring a form of release.
And, sorry guys, I AM human, after all 😛

The problem came in where I complained about a lot of things that I ACTUALLY could have changed. Things I did have a semblance of control over. Now let me tell you, THAT is futile! 

I spent an entire year, at one stage, complaining about someone I had viewed as a close friend, and yet had not bothered to reach out to me – I complained about her neglect, and her lack of caring about how I was. I pretty much complained every time someone mentioned her name, or I saw something that reminded me of her. I was hurt and angry. And I made sure to voice it. But I never voiced it to her. I never told her how I felt. I DIDN’T REACH OUT! I just complained, and gleaned sympathy from others, which sort of became a driving force for more complaining.
Two years later, I actually sent her a message and organised a coffee date, and spent the first twenty minutes of that coffee date, apologising.

Because in my learning, and in my growing, it hit me that I hadn’t bothered to try and change things. I hadn’t bothered to reach out to her either. Complaints may have carried a small amount of weight and validity IF I had reached out more than once, and she had just blatantly ignored me. But I was so caught up in me, myself and I, that I had not once considered sending the first message.

I am no longer that way. I learned from the experience. I worked on ME and effected CHANGES IN ME, and so now I am different. 

It’s very easy to place blame on other peoples shoulders. It’s very easy to knit pick their actions. It’s very easy to see the weaknesses in others. It’s VERY DIFFICULT to do the same with ourselves. But oh so necessary if we want to grow into the next, and better, version of ourselves.

There will always be hope, so long as you are willing to try. And willing to see that perhaps there is something within you that needs work.

I was asked the other day, ”What’s with this being ‘the next best version of yourself?’ Aren’t you happy with who you are?”

I smiled.

I am happy with me. Sometimes, I may still do or say things that cause me to be a little bit disappointed in me, but I have the tools to effect change, and I work through those moments, and do better.
What I have discovered for me PERSONALLY, on MY journey that I am on?
Every little bit of growth and new realisation in an area of personal development? It unlocks something new in me. Each one seems to unlock a new gift/reward. It not only benefits me as a person, but takes me to a new level, and opens up a new window for me. I used to just stare at the closed door – I personally wasted far too much time doing that. The open windows are bringing freshness and newness and light.
So yes, I am happy with me.
But there is so much more potential to unlock. And who doesn’t like a gift/reward? 

inside the box

As I have been making my way through the book a second time, noting down things that are important for my journey, I was reminded of something that I would like to share.

I thought of the ‘me’ I was twenty years ago, and how she would have reacted had she read this book back then. That ‘me’ was inclined to still be quite naive, and opinionated in a sense that what I believed was the only way and if you didn’t agree, you were wrong.
Oh my! How I missed out on so many valuable things along the way!

It had a lot to do with the belief systems that were taught to me from a young age – passed down to me. (I wrote a post about belief systems here last year – pardon the language.) The thing is that I was never encouraged to form and build on my own belief system. There was no freedom to think out of the box – it was a scenario relatively close to ‘’it’s my way, or the highway’’. And if I didn’t live inside that box, then I was a failure, and unworthy. And I BELIEVED I was!

But you see….

That particular belief system probably originated from the generation prior. Because we build and live according to what we know. And some of us are not fortunate enough to ever ‘broaden our horizons’. I’ve had a lot of life experience in a lot of areas – sometimes I feel like I’ve already done life three times over. 😛

There are studies that have shown that as a child, the more we get exposed to, the more our immune system builds. It gets strengthened by the yucky stuff. I often joke that part of the reason my immune system is so strong can be accredited to gravel (a selection of small stones all together).  When I was 5, our school had gravel beneath the swings. In hindsight, it wasn’t such a wonderful thing because if you jumped off the swing and lost your balance, it hurt! I would sit in that swing and gently rock myself back and forth, sucking stones that I had picked out from the gravel. Ewwww! I know! I also played in the dirt a lot, even in my white dress with red polka dots, much to my mother’s horror. (I ruined that dress on my 6th birthday at my party when I fell out of a tree 😛 )
But I also wasn’t very sick as a child, so perhaps that’s why?

Here’s how I think this relates to my own belief system (which is continuously growing, just by the way) :

I was brought up inside the box. To the extreme. And from a little girl, I fought with that lid.
I have had more than my fair share of bad experiences – some where I carry the responsibility, and some that were circumstantial and out of my control. I have also had some good experiences, and although they have left me with positive emotions and a lot to laugh about, none of them have ‘changed’ me.
The bad experiences have allowed me to grow, and become stronger. The lid has flown right off that box, and I am no longer bound by the way I was taught that things ‘should be’.

I don’t fully agree with everything written in the book I am now ‘studying’. Does that make the author a bad person, a failure in some areas, not worth listening to? NO! Because there is a LOT that I do agree with, and needed to hear. And the things I don’t agree with? I have ‘listened to’ anyway, because it has given me another view of something in me that was ‘concrete’ (no, I didn’t swallow any of the gravel 😛 ). And quite honestly, I need to think about what she has said.

It comes down to a firm belief that everyone is different, and that just because I believe or think the way I do, you don’t have to! And it doesn’t mean that you are worth less as a person, or that you cannot impact my life, or that we can’t be friends.

My perspectives and my beliefs and values? They’re mine. I can share them with you, I can hope that my experiences will help you or just impact you positively. But I can’t fight with you and be angry with you just because you aren’t in complete agreement with me.
Besides, you may have much to teach me if we don’t think alike, and I might miss out of the beauties of friendship and life in general if I build myself back into a box.
(I do have to add this though: I can’t put myself in harm’s way, and so sadly there are some interactions that I am forced to avoid. But these are definitely few and far between.)

We need to embrace what makes us different – celebrate your quirks, and even the things that you can’t do. And then pause for a moment and accept that someone else is probably in the same boat as you : different… trying to embrace themselves.

I’ll end with this : Someone told me the other day (in agreement with me saying that I am a very open person who doesn’t leave much to the imagination) that ‘mystery is not my superpower’.
I loved that! And had a good laugh! Of course I’d like to NOT always be so open, because I love a good mystery and so do many other people out there, but it’s the way I am and it makes me ‘me’. And I have learned to embrace it and celebrate it.

Besides, I have other superpowers 😉 *stands and swoops her cape dramatically and clicks ‘publish’*

 

More than this

We’re all on a journey – and sometimes it feels like the ‘road to nowhere’. But all roads lead somewhere.

It’s not about the destination itself though, it’s about the journey.

And sometimes the best memories, the most growth, and the most beautiful things can result from dirt roads.

When I go somewhere for the first time, and realise that I have made a wrong turn, I either do a U-turn and go back the way I came, or I seek an alternative route. But I DO stop. I pretty much apply the same to life. But on some of those roads, I seem to have got a flat tyre, and am stuck in one place a bit too long.
(Because although my dad was very responsible and arranged a visit to a mechanic for me when I got my first car, to teach me how to change the tyre, I’ve never done it since, and I don’t know now if I would be able to! 😛 )

There is a blog I visit regularly, which is extremely thought provoking and more often than not, there is something that inspires me. Some days it even serves as a ‘kick in the butt’ for me. (And that kick is not always enjoyable, but it’s what I need.)

There is one person in this world who truly knows everything about me – she could probably even tell you exactly how I will react to most things. I think the fact that we are in two different countries and only had communication to aid our growing friendship has made us that much closer. Especially since we are both really good at communicating 😉 And I guess the fact that we are both totally honest about what we perceive as failures and negatives is of even greater service to our ‘sistership’.
She is my ‘sister’, L. I mentioned her in a blog post here.

She knows my fears… and my fantasies. One day when we meet in person there will be huge, lasting hugs and many tears… and then she’ll probably give me an ass whooping!

Human nature is funny sometimes. Here’s this woman who I KNOW knows me better than anyone…. and yet when she tells me to do something, I hesitate.
Last year, she read a book. And she instantly let me know that the book was me! (Most of it was.) She told me I HAD to get it. I said I’d check it out… but I didn’t ever buy it.

I spend a lot of time on self-motivation and self-improvement and trying to grow in good ways. Accountability is key though – someone to not only check if you’re maintaining, but give you a push in the right direction and encourage you along the way. And there are days where I actually need someone to TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
It makes me a little bit sad that since I am usually the person mentioned above, I don’t actually have a physical person here who does that for me.
But I have L, and two other people overseas, who fulfill that role, I’ve discovered. (As strange as that sounds!)

Admittedly, the pressure on me is a little more, because there’s no one to see if I am actually listening!

Like, did I actually buy that book?

Then on Saturday I read this letter.

There are many areas in my life where I have managed to conquer the pain and fear of the past that would otherwise be holding me back, and no one is more thankful for that than me, because if I hadn’t I’d be a truly horrible person right now. But there are also still parts, and moments, where the lies (which elicited the pain and fear) somehow seem to shadow my heart and my brain – and hold me back, robbing me of confidence.

One of the things I have discovered about myself along the journey of the past few years is that I am a walking contradiction at times, ha ha ha ha!

I read the letter above. Then I read it again, commented, and read it a third time.
And that afternoon I went to buy the book ‘L’ said I should.

I read it, and kicked my own butt the whole way through. I am now going to read it again. In fact, I need to read it as many times as it takes to absorb it in my heart. For the heart of the problem IS the problem of the heart, in this case.
It’s all stuff I already know – it’s in my head. My brain says it repeatedly, and imparts it on others, ultimately helping them to break free from their chains.
My heart really needs to know it though. Once and for all. I don’t know how it will, but I am going to give it my best shot.
It’s going to be a real struggle – the lies I have believed so long? They began when I was 10. And they came from my mother. Year after year they have been reinforced by her. And added to. It was no shock when I was 12 and she started telling me that ‘she never wanted me’. Somehow she has always kept me in her life – probably because I was the only one she could control…and I let her, for fear of not allowing it and the repercussions thereof.
It’s taken many years to reach the place I am at with her – where I can be dedicated to her well-being and do things for her, despite the way she feels about me – and the constant reminders of who she says I am.

There are many books out there to help me on the way… and to help you. I think the fact that I truly identify with this one though has made it all that more special to me. It’s directed mostly to women – but I could still see some men appreciating some of what is said.

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Girl, wash your face

So if you have ever been told that you are not good enough? This book is for you.
Been told that you’re not thin enough, that you’re unlovable, that you’re a bad mom, that you deserve to be treated badly, that you will always be a failure at whatever you do, that you’ll never amount to anything, that your life is meaningless because it doesn’t look like your siblings/cousins/friends?
This book is for you.

Feel free to recommend other books to me. I’ll check them out, and when I can, I will do my best to buy them and read them 😉

Off to start reading my new book again, because…

there must be more than this!