Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beauty

Beauty

I shed tears tonight for the first time in a while.

Not for anything recent, but for the self-revelation of these last eight months or more; the deep, abasing knowledge that I gave so much of myself to someone who debilitated my heart over the course of many harsh words, criticisms, and pain, like acid, dripping on a ruby red stone.

When I left, I was still in a daze. For about a month I rode the high of freedom and the conceptual reality that I could spread my wings. Shortly after, I realized I was still chained to the ground, emotionally and mentally and in some ways physically; a prisoner of the past and of enabled allowances for degradation of self.

I began to realize that I had allowed my integrity to myself to be swallowed up in the all-consuming desire to make someone else happy; to conform to their reality, their opinion, their ever-changing versions of temporal happiness and pleasure. I lost myself, in being someone else, for someone I never asked to change for me.

The damages of this extend through to today. I am growing in confidence, there is a smile in my eyes. There is a person – and actually many persons – in my life who show me what it means to be seen, trusted, respected, acknowledged, affirmed, valued, and I am daily more aware of the deep worth I bring to the world, and to others.

Yet amidst this there is a conflict of self-analysis: a fear of acknowledging beauty or desirability, a constant, nagging thought that nothing good will last, that I deserve nothing so good as what is being given to me: that joy is only transient. There is a deep war between wisdom, learned from pain and struggle, and fear, also learned from the same.

Daily, I attempt to sacrifice fear on the alter of hope. Sometimes I win, sometimes I do not.

One very screwed-up way that fear manifests itself in my mind right now is an unwillingness to admit to any physical beauty – I think because I gave myself so completely to someone who informed me that I was no longer desirable or noticeable to them, I downgraded my self-perspective so that I could make sense of that type of pain.

People may tell me all they like, but I go in and out of seeing what others seem to see so clearly. This is no attempt to fish for compliments, because they are regularly given, but until I acknowledge it myself, accept it myself, understand it myself, remember myself that I am beautiful, it will not truly resonate.

I often wonder how to get there.

Grief is a journey, and a journey you cannot rush. I grieve the loss of my innocence, of my integrity for several years, of my stability in some ways emotional and mental. I am determined to reacquire all I had, and beyond, but fear sidelines courage on a regular basis.

I have learned to surrender to the ebb and tide of emotion. These days, it is far less violent and the waters of my tempestuous thoughts are regularly more still as glass. Slowly, surely, daily, the chaos of my life is unmatched on a mental level: I find myself retreating from the insanity into the peace and self-awareness I find in my own heart, rather than fleeing to the busy chaos of my world to escape the upheaval of my mind.

Much progress has been made, but much more is to come.

Say what you may, time is the truest healer. There is no band aid for what has been done to me, for what I accepted and endured. No quick fix, no easy button. Time will heal my wounds if I simply keep pressing on. Time will help me to learn, believe, and accept that I am beautiful, inside and out. Time will show me value beyond what I even knew I had before all of this pain.

I don’t believe in regrets, because we choose to learn from our experiences. There is much value in my life I would not recognize were it not for the pain I went through. However, if I could speak one thing to my younger self, or to anyone in a jealous, controlling, fear-dominated, volatile relationship where they are conforming to someone else’s desires for them, someone else’s picture of what they should be, it would be this:

let go. Now. Don’t do it. Stop. Run, flee, turn, escape. Never, ever, ever, change who you know yourself to be; never sacrifice your integrity on the alter of false emotion, great sex, a desire for companionship, fear of being alone. Never, ever, ever back down from your sense of who you are to make someone happy. Stand your ground, or pay the price. Compromise of character is a surrender of everything that will truly sustain you in the long run.

Do you know who you are? Find it. Acknowledge it. Refine it. Accept it.

Do not change it.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Time

Toss a pebble of sorrow

Into an ocean of memories

Salty with tears

Ripples of unfulfilled promise

Waves of emotion
Crashing on the shores

Of bitter sand; grains of beautiful shells

Once homes to cherished jewels
Laughter, friendship, and hope.

Gaze on the shoreline
A mellow moment of history’s introspection
Reflection of shimmering sun’s rays of joy
Darkened by clouds of shattered dreams
Tempests of self destruction
Helpless at the helm.

Listen to the wind whisper stories past
Vivid imprints of the footprints of a soul
Ghostly shadows of haunted dreams
Frustrations brightened by threads of past beauty
Clipped, snipped, broken, a tapestry undone
A landscape unpainted
A story, with no final chapter
A neverending storm with an eerie final calm.
 
Sink into sands of time
Memories slipping through fingers
Coarse, real, tangible, present
Shifting, falling, moving, passing
Eroded dunes of opportunity
Withheld but barely by thin roots of seagrass
Clinging desperately to a past heavy with companionship.
 
Hear the albatross cry hope
Over the siren’s song of the past
Horizons bright with promise
After blood red setting sun
Captain’s pride
Destiny’s wake
Strong oars
Weathered hands
Bright sails
Steady wind

Tomorrow’s promise.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Redemption

Life has been a wild ride

Of broken, faltering merry go round
Horses, wooden

Up and down;
Splinters of bygone pain,

Blistering skin,
Callouses, rainy

Storms and tempests wearing thin

Faith in the real

Truest forms of friendship:

The relationships which seal

Longevity with integrity and slip

A thread of hope

Through walls constructed for safety

Guarding hearts; rope
And steel, woven thick

From time and hurt

To keep out tricks,
Lies, false promises, the worst

Betrayals of love and truth.

That tendril curl, a vine
Twisting green, alive, promising
Thriving, growing, twining
From roots deep, shining
Sun’s rays from souls
Tenacious, unfaltering, beautiful
Made stronger with time and full
Knowledge of self;
Of value, of needs, of the world.

Dreams once shelved,
Dusted, cracked open, unfurling
Promises; tomes of wisdom,
Beauty, amidst unforgotten pain,
The surest confidence of future to come
Bright with honest gain,
Seen largely from contrast:

Diamonds of present company

More brilliant against mistakes of the past.

 

 

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Classic Cop-out: “Everything Happens for a Reason”

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with someone who is not only intelligent and funny, but also takes the time to think deeply on things and to challenge me (another way of saying “call me on my bull shit”). I was quite surprised to find myself challenged by this person the other day on a phrase I regularly toss around: “Everything Happens for a Reason”.

In my arrogance, I’ve always considered this altruistic phrase to be a by-product of my character development from circumstances I’ve been through. To me, it was a way of saying that good can come from the worst situations; it’s all about how you use it, what you take from it.

However, just because that is the nuance I cling to does not mean that it carries that weight and inference with others. As my friend pointed out, it’s really a dumbass saying: “Everything Happens for a Reason” is honestly stating the obvious.

No shit, Sherlock. Everything happens for a reason… even science alone tells us that. Chain reaction theory, causal events…

like, duh.

This was one of those slapped-in-the-face-with-a-wet-noodle-step-back-catch-your-breath moments for me. (You’ve never had those?)

I use this phrase with EVERYONE and didn’t realize how condescending and stupid it sounded until I was called on it.

Here’s how this phrase effectively holds ZERO water, and since I like a full, honest, deep life vs. fluff and bull shit, it’s worth looking into:

1. “Everything Happens for a Reason” implies a lack of control over our actions, choices, words, and thoughts.

“It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll;

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my   soul.”

-William Ernest Henley

No matter your view on God or fate (I believe in free will), there has to be some acknowledgement of the weight of influence over your own future by the choices you make today. The truth is, we have the ability to choose, always. It is perhaps the most powerful thing about humankind: our ability to reason, and to choose. I tell this to clients all the time: today is all about choices. Every day is about choices. Who will you be today? What will you do? In the end, it’s not me that will motivate someone to get in shape or to take ownership over their eating habits: they are 100% in control. They. Choose.

In the same way, the choices you make every day influence your character, your future, and what you take from your past. Even your thoughts are choices. When we abdicate control over our thoughts, we may find ourselves shipwrecked on the rocks of the demons of our past.

2. “Everything Happens for a Reason” robs our future of its joys.

If you adopt a fatalistic stance toward your choices and the power you actually possess to make something of yourself, your relationships, and the world around you, you rob your future of joy. You drift through life as a byproduct of fatalistic and inconsequential reality, another puppet on the stage of a broken drama. In this instance, the concept of “Everything Happens for a Reason” becomes a cage. You are trapped by your inability to influence your present and your future.

As we just saw in the previous point, this is not so. Therefore, rather than abdicate responsibility over our choices and the influence we have in a very powerful way, we must consciously both accept and acknowledge and act upon the power we possess over our future.

Doing this brings a heavy weight of responsibility, yes, but it also brings a carefree confidence if our character is sound. We acknowledge the power we have, we choose to use it to make sound choices, and we reap the consequences of doing so. We can CHOOSE happiness, joy, faith, beauty, nature, holistic thought patterns, and we benefit from doing so.

(Note: one of the most powerful ways to choose joy in the present is to remove the influence of others who bring only negativity and pain to your life. THIS IS NOT SELFISH. This is wise, and it’s something I’ve learned to do.)

3. “Everything Happens for a Reason” is an asshole thing to say to anyone.

Yea, I went pretty informal on that one^^. But it’s true! I feel absolutely terrible for every time I said that to someone. In every instance, someone had hopes, dreams, beliefs, something that was totally destroyed in some way. I hate preachy people, and by saying that, I became one of them. Was it my intent? No. But I said it, and I sounded like a jerk for doing so. Essentially, you’re saying “Well, there it is. It happened. Too bad.”

What I MEANT was that not only do you have power over your choices, you have power over the negative things that happen to you that are out of your control because you can choose to take from them what you will. You can choose bitterness and anger toward someone who has wronged you, or you can choose to learn a lesson and to move forward and leave the past behind. They only have as much power as you choose to give them.

While all of this was my intent, it’s not what comes across. If I liked a guy and he broke up with me and said that to me, I would want to slap him… and yet I’ve said this to dudes when I wasn’t interested. Ouch. My bad. Public apology extended.

One way I deny my ex power over my present is to avoid taking the low road with him. Do I speak honestly about what happened? Yes. Do I share his name, trash his character in an intimate way, talk to his friends (most of whom I chose to have no contact with for this reason after I left), steal from him, chew him out, lash out at him, etc.? No. Those actions degrade ME. They show weakness of character in ME, and they give him power over my PRESENT and FUTURE by allowing past situations with him to continue to effect me. I will not give that to him, and I choose to take control over my present and take the high road by not doing so. Anyone who gets off on the pain they inflict on another human being, even if “deserved” has no integrity of character. Don’t do it. Move forward.

4. “Everything Happens for a Reason” is an inadequate way to wrestle with pain.

If you say this or hear this and leave it there, you haven’t dealt with whatever hurt you that you’re trying to justify.

Personally, I don’t just say this; I’ve wrestled, wrestled, wrestled with things that have happened to me. Many, many, many painful things in the last 8 years. But not everyone does this, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes, there is no justifiable reason for the pain that was inflicted on me, and I can’t understand that. I can’t cope with it. So I stonewall my emotion by throwing this up as a safeguard, when in fact it is a cop-out. Grief is a process. If you run, it will find you… and a fatalistic saying in an altruistic disguise is a terrible way of coping.

 

I could go on, but this post is getting long. Essentially, it’s a fucked up phrase. I won’t be using it anymore. It’s become a part of my vocabulary, and now if I start to say it, it carries a shock value because it’s stupid, empty, worthless, selfish, and unhelpful.

No more cop-out for me.

Today I acknowledge that I am powerful.

That I have value.

That I deserve good, and beautiful things.

That I can make something of myself, of my relationships.

That I can choose, today

to be

do

think

desire

and demand

the best of things, a beautiful inheritance, a depth of character and insight, a passionate concern for the wellbeing of others, a love for all things beautiful and real, integrity to myself; who I am, what I want, and all I am capable of.

Let us say instead Everything I Choose to Be, I Will Become.

Acknowledge your own power with confidence today, and lay both hands on the helm.

Image

xoxoxo

-sportyspice

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,