Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010

It's been one hell of a roller coaster of a year. Some great memories and some awful situations. It's time to let go and start new. Goodbye...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 30

It's taken me way longer than 30 days, but I committed to this project and was hell-bent on seeing it through. Over the course of it, I've realized a lot about myself. Some of the prompts I found lack-luster. Others hit home. I'm ready to write my final day but I will carry aspects of "facing the truth" with me going forward...

Day 30  A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself. 

I've had a rough day today. An emotionally "present" day is probably a bit more descriptive. But I guess it's the perfect opening for this topic. In one of my early posts on this blog I came to the realization that I'm not very emotionally expressive. It's very hard for me to be vulnerable and express the tornado of emotions that is almost always circling inside me. I'm not comfortable with it at all. And yet, I know I need to be more honest about my emotions. Today I love that I'm embracing that challenge. For better or for worse I'm telling people how I feel. I'm expressing my love, my pain, my longing, my insecurity, and my pride. I'm laying it all on the line and facing the repercussions head on.

While I still have so many areas in which I hope to grow, I do love myself. Here are a few of the reasons...

I love that I'm willing to be self-searching and face my flaws. I love that I can accept that I'm not even close to perfect, but still strive to improve. I love that I feel alive both when I'm happy and when I'm hurting. I love that even when I drifted from it, I never let go of my faith. And I love that no matter how much time has past or how many wrong decisions I have made, I am finally reconnecting with my spiritual beliefs. I love that regardless of growing up to soon, I'm a big kid at heart. I love my wit. I love that I care deeply about others. I love that I'm still a hopeful romantic. I love that I'm comfortable enough with myself to take risks that I wouldn't have taken 5 years ago. I love that I have surrounded myself with people I love & respect who love & respect me as well. I love my sense of adventure. I love my desperate need to learn. I love that I believe in 2nd chances... and that I'm working on learning where to draw the line when enough chances have been given. I love that I embrace my silliness. I love my creativity. I love that I am a strong, capable woman. I love that I define family not by blood, but by the commitments people make to each other and adhere to. I love the way I am (and the way I  treat someone) when I'm in love. I love the sound of my giggle when I'm truly happy and being myself without any inhibitions. I love my intelligence and my willingness to admit when I don't know something. I love my loyalty & dedication to those I care about. I love my spontaneity. I love that I am a writer. I love that I not only say "trials make you stronger and build character" but that I live it in my approach to life. I love my I truly value myself. I love that I really believe I am a good person at heart. I love my determination. I love my motherly tendencies. I love that I try my best to accept myself and others. I love my willingness to try to understand other perspectives. I love that even though I'm not 100% happy with my physical appearance, I still know that I'm sexy. I love that I'm outgoing and willing to get to know others. I love that I will seize opportunities and not let chances pass me by. I love that I'm generous. I love that I'm learning how to rely on others. I love that most of the time, I'm patient. I love that children will always be incredibly important to me. I love that I'm not ashamed of who I am, where I've come from, or what mistakes I've made.

I love that I love myself.

Monday, October 4, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 28 & 29

So I'm bound and determined to finish out #30DaysOfTruth.

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant, what would you do?

I've said it here repeatedly. I want to be a mother. Now granted, I'd prefer not to be a single mother (which is why I haven't had a child yet), but if I were to become pregnant for whatever reason, I would have the child. I know that at this point in my life I am equipped to raise a child. And thankfully, I know I have a wonderful assortment of family and friends that would be an amazing support group and "village" to help me raise my little one.

I know it would be scary and stressful. And tough. And exhausting. And overwhelming. And I also know it would be beautiful and amazing. And warm and loving. And utterly fulfilling. And the culmination of so many things for which my soul has been longing.

I hope that when I have a child it is the result of a loving relationship. I hope that the pregnancy (whether planned or not) is a blessing for all those involved. However, I am willing to accept that if that isn't the case, I will embrace the child and the pregnancy whole-heartedly myself because no matter the situation, a child would be a blessing for me.

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

I need to waiver less after making a decision. I don't necessarily need to be more decisive (while I can be very indecisive about inconsequential decisions, I am very good at making the crucial ones). My problem comes after the decision is made. I'm the type of person who can almost always see things from both sides. I'm also incredibly logical and yet still very much intuitively & emotionally-driven. And I absolutely hate being unjust. So even though I know I've made the right decision based on the facts so far, if there is even a hint that something might change in the future to effect the decision, I start to waffle and waiver.

Mostly, this becomes a problem in my decisions that involve people. I know that for the most part, people follow patterns. Their actions one time will generally be their actions the next. And logically and emotionally, I can make a decision based on that. However, once some time passes doubt starts to slip in for me. "Can't people change?" "What if I wasn't seeing the whole picture?" "Would I want someone to make a decision about me without gathering even more info than they already have (no matter how much that is)?" 

I need to trust myself more and remember I made the choices & decisions for a reason. I need to embrace my instincts. I need to have faith in the balance of logic & emotion that I used to derive at my conclusions. I need to stand by them. I need to not let self-doubt undermine me. I need to realize that it's okay to make a decision based on my experiences. I need to accept that the best decision for me might not always consider all of the "what if"s. I need to come to terms with the fact that even if someone changes or a circumstance changes, that does not negate or eradicate the foundations on which I made my decision originally.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 27

I know I stalled out a bit on #30DaysOfTruth, but I am still committed to completing it. I originally planned to do it in 30 consecutive days, but also I've wanted to answer each question as authentically as possible. For me, it was impossible to do those simultaneously. Some of the questions I had to ponder on for awhile. Some, I just needed the extra time to emotionally prepare for. It's been more of a journey than I ever expected.

Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

I'm not even sure exactly what this question means. The best thing going for me? ...
It's taken me days to think about this question and try and figure out a "true" answer. It really had no clue where to go with the answer.

Two days ago, while sitting on the beach with an almost-suitor*, I figured out my answer.

Hope. I have hope. I never realized exactly how important that was.

The past few months have been well a bit crazy. Financially things have been a roller coaster ride. Emotionally, one minute they've been a tornado leaving a path of destruction and the next they've been like basking in the summer sun. Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning in circles so fast and am so disoriented that I don't know which way is up anymore.

On Sunday, I was feeling pretty "off". I was lonely and emotionally a bit vulnerable. The weekend had opened up some old wounds and I felt them. After a few strange turns I ended up sitting on the beach with a guy I'll name Y.A.D. I was there to comfort him, to sit and talk, and just "be". And for both of us, heading in to somewhere in nature (the coast, the mountains, a forest) helps. So we sat with the breeze and the sun. I listened. And in hearing him talk I realized he was lost. He was so sad that he couldn't see beyond it. He didn't have hope anymore. And then it hit me...

There are a lot of things in my life that are far from what I want them to be. I want love. I want to start my own little nuclear family** I want stability. I want excitement. I want spirituality. I want growth. But regardless of feeling like some of these things aren't where I wish they were, I have hope that I'll get there. I have faith that it will happen for me. That's the best thing going for me in my life. There are times where I'm sad because I feel like I'm still waiting... But I'm confident that I'm on the right path. I'm not lost. I have hope. 

*He may or may not come up in future posts. I'm not sure yet how relevant to my life he's going to be.
**I'll still always hold on to my other nuclear family as well, but I do have the desire to start a family. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 26

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

She sat on the end of her bed staring at the dirty caramel colored carpet. Her deep brown hair hid her face as one tear at a time wound a unique path down her chubby cheek and then fell silently to the floor. She didn't sob violently; even at twelve years old her actions were always more subtle than that.

Despite her tears, her breathing was steady, though deeper than it should have been. Her thoughts bounced around like a ping pong ball.

What will they do when they find me? Will this be the motivation they need to finally escape this hell as well? Because if Mom & J follow me, no one can hurt us anymore. Are they really willing to die too? God, I hope they are. I know this will hurt them for a minute but they won't live without me...they couldn't... We've talked about it. I hope it doesn't hurt. Sleep. I'll just go to sleep and then... What if J can't do it? She's so little...

Her hands clenched around the tattered comforter and a few of the pills rolled away from the others. There was a mish-mash pile of anything she could find beside her - aspirin, cold medicine, some old prescriptions, pills she didn't know the names of, and even some vitamins. She'd remembered her mom telling a story about her brother eating a whole bottle of Flintstone vitamins when he was little and having to get his stomach pumped. He'd almost died but they found him in time. So she'd added them to the mix. Hopefully it would get the job done.

A few weeks before, they (her, Mom, & J) had talked. They'd decided. It was all too much. They wanted to die...together. They could leave it all behind - the divorce, the drugs, the abandonment, the memories of abuse, rape, & being trapped. It could all just end and be replaced by Heaven if the died, after all they were "saved". They'd called him* to say their goodbyes. Then they'd picked up breakfast at McD and settled in to eat before... But the cops had arrived. She & J had been taken to foster care. Mom was taken to jail and then the mental hospital. After two days they were all released and life had gone on...

But for her it didn't really go on. She'd finally discovered a way to end the pain. She'd never thought it was a possibility before that. She'd always been unwilling to abandon them. She'd been scared for the welfare of her little sister, J. And Mom... well Mom could barely function as it was. But then they'd made the pact not to live without each other... So really, she wasn't abandoning them, she was going to motivate them. She was willing to be the first if it meant ending the pain for all of them.

The tears had stopped falling awhile before as she reached down and scooped up a palm full of pills.

The door to her bedroom swung open. It was Little Miss S.


I came very close to taking my life. I had convinced myself it was the only way to save the three of us. I didn't think my mom was strong enough anymore but I believed that if I took my life they would take theirs too. Neither one of them could live without me (just like I couldn't live without them). I really believed I'd found the answer.

Thankfully, my best friend was there. She talked to me, cried with me, pleaded with me.** She made me think about my 10 year old sister dying. She made me think about my mom & sister finding me dead. She made me realize the pain I would cause. She'd told me I was cheating God because he'd made us to do more and I was taking away that chance. She convinced me that I was strong enough to get through all the bad in my life. And that I was strong enough to make sure my mom & sister did too. She told me I'd never be alone.

She saved my life... and possibly the lives of my mom & sister. I'll always be grateful.

*My mom called my Dad and said we were killing ourselves. I guess it was her cry for help. I didn't know that then.
**I honestly don't remember all the details of that talk. It's cryptic in my memory. I think I was on emotional over-load. But these are the details I put together based on my memories & talks with her after.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 25

Day 25 → The reason you believe you're still alive today.

I'll be honest. I'm not really sure what to write. I know I'm here for a reason. I completely believe I have a purpose, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. I don't think anyone knows what role they play in greater scheme of things. I think each of our lives have multiple impacts.

Some of the reasons I think I'm still alive...

- for my mom & my sister : I believe I am serving a purpose in both of their lives, just as I believe they are in mine.

- to be a mother : I feel like I am meant to be a mother.

- to share experiences with my friends/family : I think the experiences we share with those around us help each of us grow & learn. Everyday I feel enriched from those around me and I hope that I can give back to them as well.

- to be the best example I can of a loving, understanding, accepting Christian : I am not pushy about my religious beliefs at all. However, I am open to discussing them with anyone who wants to know more. I know I'm flawed. I'm so far from perfect it's crazy. But I try my best to live my life with integrity. I try to be accepting of others and non-judgmental. I know fail at times. But I hope that generally, I can be the type person who people can see tries to be her best.

- to keep learning : I think the more I learn, the more experiences I have, the more I grow... the more I can give. I think that I haven't fully reached my potential as far as the impact I can have. I believe there are still lessons I need to learn. I believe there are still trials I need to face.

- to love and be loved : I have love to share. With friends. With family. With mankind. With my future children. With my significant other. And I realize I need to be open to love as well. Love is such an important part of life and why we live. I think it's part of the reason we are all here.

I don't know if this answer was complete. But it's the the most honest I have at the moment. I'm uncertain of what God's reason is for me still being alive. All I can do is try my best to do do the things I feel like I'm here for, and maybe stumble upon whatever other purpose He has for me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 24

Day 24  Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

This playlist is dedicated to My Little Devil. The songs are filled with so many memories, emotions, and some questions that time will answer...

Red Light Special - TLC
I had to start with this song because it goes back to our beginning. While this was never just "our" song, it was the backdrop to a few of our first goofy moments together. Way back in the day we used to sit in a private chat room and listen to music (and "slow dance"). We snuck moments alone together that way. It still makes me laugh.

Pony - Genuwine
Another one of the songs we'd listen to with the crew back in the day. I can't hear this song and not think of My Little Devil & our old y-crew. It harkens back to the very start of our flirtation and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Broken - Seether featuring Amy Lee
When this song first came out both of us were drawn to it. We both loved the vocals but there was something more. It captures how we feel about each other. We've always known that both of us are slightly broken. We are far from perfect. And yet our imperfections compliment each other. We are less broken together. It's not that we aren't whole or functional without each other, but we seem to help each other become stronger. "I don't feel right when you're gone away."

The Space Between - Dave Matthews Band
DMB is one of my favorite bands and you'll definitely see that in this playlist. Years ago we talked about how this song. We talked about "us" and the space between us both physically & metaphorically. I know that in all actuality there is no space between us. Because whatever space there is, we've filled with love. 

The Chair - George Strait
My Little Devil is a country boy at heart. I absolutely love this about him. His midwest values & charm stole my breath away early on. I wouldn't change it for the world. He's always sent me songs that spoke to "us" or that he thought I'd like. This was one of the first country songs we shared. I could picture us in a bar living out this song. He'd be shy but coy, I'd flirt. And somehow we'd find each other. "It reminds me of you and me, baby. Do you think there's a chance?"

Where Are You Going - Dave Matthews Band
Another DMB song he sent me and took my breath away. We've had some challenges in each of our lives, but we've always gone through them together. I know no matter how many miles are between us at any given point he's always with me. We've both considered relocating at different points. I know without a doubt that we will eventually end up in the same place. I'm not sure where that will be but it's so true... "Where you are is where I belong"

When She Loves You - Emerson Hart
When I love someone, I love them completely. I give all of my heart, all of my soul, all of my energy. I know that My Little Devil loves the same way when he really gives his heart. I truly believe that we have the potential to have the kind of love this song describes and I think he knows it.

Lips of an Angel - Hinder
There have been a few points over the years where both of us have dated other people, yet there's always been this connection between us that is deeper than just friends. There's always been the "But she/he is not you". This song reminds me of that connection. Every time we hear each other's voice I think it makes us both weak. 

I Miss You - Incubus
Every single time I talk to My Little Devil I tell him I miss him. Every time. I cannot have a conversation and not let him know how very much he is a part of my heart and how much I miss him in between. I could not live knowing that the last conversation we had didn't include it. I know he already knows it. I've been telling him constantly since I was 19. But this song says it so well. I am so grateful for him and knowing he feels the same is beyond incredible. I miss him every day regardless of how close or far we are from each other.

Knock Knock - Lenka
The very first time I heard this song, I knew it I had to send it to My Little Devil (and I did that same day). It's cute and silly, and soooooooo true. He is the thing I turn to always. He is my remedy. He's the one person I know will always make me feel okay. He'll always let in me when I knock. And it's absolutely amazing to have that. 

What Would Happen - Meredith Brooks
"What would happen if we kissed?" - That line sums it up. We've gone back and forth so many times about if we should cross the line and see what could be between us, but we both know there's no going back. There always been something so intense between us - at times even forbidden and yet undeniable. 

Saviour - Lights
This song is a recent addition to the songs that make me think of My Little Devil. He's always been the guy I turn to. I've never felt I needed a guy to "rescue" me because I believe I'm strong enough on my own, but if there were a man to save me, it would be My Little Devil. He's the one guy I feel safe relying on. I'm not afraid to be weak around him and that is an incredibly freeing feeling. 

Stolen Away on 55th & 3rd - Dave Matthews Band
I listened to this song on repeat the entire plane ride to Vegas. I went to there to spend the weekend with My Little Devil and his dad & brother. Originally it was going to be a guys poker trip, but then somehow I became a chance for us to spend time together. He even offered to drive from MO to CA to pick me up and then back to Vegas just so I wouldn't have to fly. He's amazing. This song reminds me of reminds me of how even when there's time or space between us, he pulls me right back. Every time I see him, he takes me right back again...

Wonderwall - Oasis
I remember when this song came out. I felt like it was speaking to "us". So many of the lines just "fit", like we've always just "fit".
"I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now"

"There are many things that I would like to say to you but I don't know how"

"Maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me..."

Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
I love this song. For me it completely captures the feeling of wanting to spend time with someone no matter what you're doing. It's the epitome of romance, friendship, love, comfort. All you want to do is be together. I can completely picture "pretending" with him. :)

The Story - Brandi Carlile
The most recent addition to "our songs". Just about a month ago he sent me a version of this song (sung by a guy). It's our story in so many ways. I know he was made for me. He is my best friend. He is the soul's twin. I know him. He knows me. He was made to be in my life. I can't imagine one day without him. And it means so much to me that he feels the same.  

The One - Limp Bizkit
This is "our song". Over 10 years ago we chose it. It speaks to "us" in so many ways. I think we both know that we could be so happy together. There's always been so much potential there. And yet we've always had that slight hesitation that is captured in this song. I know I've been tentative. But there's still certainty in it. I don't know how to describe it. He could definitely, without a doubt be "the one".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

R & R

Sorry I know I've been M.I.A. for the past few days. I took an extended weekend getaway. Tomorrow it's back to our scheduled programming and back to #30DaysOfTruth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 23

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life

I wish I'd been more open about my feelings in the past. There have been many times in my life where I've held back my emotions. I always felt like I had to be the strong one, so I've been afraid (or maybe just not willing) to be vulnerable. I haven't let people in. I haven't confronted issues. I haven't told people how much they mean to me. I know this has created a lot of issues for me in my relationships. In some cases, I feel like I've missed out on opportunities and potential relationships because of it.

For the past two years I've aggressively tried to be more open with my feelings in relationships. It's been incredibly difficult for me. I've laid my heart out on the line. It has resulted in some absolutely breath-taking moments and some truly horrendous ones. It's been worth it. I wish I'd learned that lesson earlier in life. I wish I'd been willing to really put it all out there and risk getting hurt. It makes me sad to realize how many people I've kept at arms length. I know I may have ended up crushed, but I know I would have had more incredible moments as well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 22

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn't done in your life

There are many things in life that I've done that of which I'm not proud. Yet I don't regret them or wish I hadn't done them.* My mistakes have all taught me lessons. I think I'm a better person as a result of even my worst offenses. That may sound odd. However, I think those "bad" things I've done are part of what has lead me to where I am now. I've tried to make sure that if there's something in my life I could have regrets about, that I dig deep to figure out what lead me to making the choice, what the results of it were, and integrate that into my future decisions. I think my mistakes have made me more understanding and accepting of others. They've made me less judgmental (I know I'm far from perfect!). They've made me more self-critical. They've made me more loving....

But honestly, I know there are also some negative things that have come out of my mistakes that I'm still working on. I'm going to admit them here so I can continue to work on them. My mistakes have made me more guarded. I have to consciously work on lowering my walls. They've made me aware of my stubbornness. I have to try and not let my determination turn into bullheadedness. They've made me realize I forgive too easily. I need to learn to be willing to forgive, but also look for signs of change before giving it.

I know I'll continue to make mistakes. I hope I never regret them. I hope I constantly learn from them and work to overcome my flaws and vanquish my shortcomings.

*I realized after posting this that I wanted to comment on this line. While I don't regret doing them or with I hadn't done them, there are still things I need to forgive myself for doing. I wouldn't necessarily take them back because I believe they happened for a reason, yet I do still feel responsible for the consequences of my actions. I need to forgive myself for the ways my actions have effected myself and others.

30 Days of Truth - Day 21

So since the questions became less thought-provoking for me, I have slipped a little on this project as far as my blog is concerned. However, in my everyday life, I have remained dedicated to 30 Days of Truth and engrossed myself in being completely honest & authentic for this month. I have had some very real (truthful & uncomfortable) conversations with the people in my life.

Some of these have included - 

- Talking with JD about "timing" (with regards to our relationship, confessions of our emotions, and baby-making), being "right" or "not right" for each other, etc.
- Engaging with one of my friends in mutual support & sharing of the emotional rawness & vulnerability that comes with participating in the project. 
- Talking with Mr. Biz about intentions, forgiveness/respect, and why he lied to me
- Trying to work though some issues, miscommunications, misunderstandings, & differing perspectives in one of my friendships.
- Having one of the most intense dates of my life (where truth & authenticity was present in a way I have never encountered).

Day 21's post is supposed to be "(scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got in a fight n hour before. What do you do?" Personally, I find this to be a ridiculous question. I would never not be there for someone in my life who needed me. I've even been there for the people who have hurt me the most deeply if I feel like they need me or I can in some way help. So once again I'm going to substitute a question...

Day 21  What's the difference between 'living' and 'existing'?

So I was searching the web for potential questions and this one jumped out at me. It just fits. One of my mottos has always been "Why should you exist if you're not going to live?". It's up on my self-description on my poetry website and has been for 13 years. It's on my profile description on the social networking sites. It's just the way I approach life. Yet I haven't ever taken the time to actually define what that means to me. Now is my opportunity.

I feel like too many people simply exist. They go through the motions in life, but don't take the time to really engage in it.

For me, living is truly being present in your life. Being aware of every moment. Consciously thinking about your choices and how they effect you and others. Seizing opportunities - but more than that - Creating opportunities. Building genuine relationships by getting to know others, engaging with them, and participating in each other's lives. Being willing to experience all of the emotions that a part of life authentically - love, sadness, regret, anger, joy. Living to me requires both action and inaction. It is not being afraid to do, participate, take risks. But it also requires thinking, reflecting, questioning, self-searching. I strive every day to really live. To be thankful for every moment, whether good or bad, because I know that they are a part of living. Each of those moments shape me and guide my path. I try each day to be aware of my actions, my relationships, my feelings, etc. Part of why I took on #30DaysOfTruth was because I feel like doing projects like this is exactly what changes my life from existing into living. I'm not just letting life pass me by, I'm taking the time to actively be a part of it.

30 Days of Truth - Day 20

I'm behind again so here's Day 20's prompt...

Day 20 → Your views on Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs & Alcohol have had a huge impact on my life. As I've discussed in previous posts, my mom is a recovering addict alcoholic who now has 20 years clean & sober. I've seen how drugs and alcohol were a part of her (and others in my life) decent into the lowest of lows. Yet contrary to what you may believe, I do not blame the drugs or alcohol specifically. While they had a hand in her decent, they were only a part of the problem. I believe that the combination of underlying problems (which she had not dealt with), her biological/sociological propensity for addiction, and the substances potentially addictive qualities together were what lead my mom down that destructive path. For my mom to live a healthy life, she needed to not only stop feeding her addiction, but also deal with the issues in her life which she was using the drugs and alcohol to medicate. I do not feel that the removal of drugs and alcohol alone would have made her healthy again.

I believe that drugs and alcohol in and of themselves are not always a problem. In my opinion, they do inherently have the potential to be addictive (some more so than others). Yet I also believe that many people who do not have the biological/sociological propensity for addiction can use them on occasion (and with limitations) without experiencing these addictive qualities. I think there is a spectrum of how drugs and alcohol can impact your life that isn't dependent on level of use. I feel that each person's place on this spectrum is specific to them - their biology, their current level of use, their experiences/history, etc.

Some confessions - 

- The first time I did drugs I was 12 years old. I don't remember the first time I had alcohol but I know by 12 I was sneaking drinks on occasion with friends. 

- I have lived with two different drug dealers at separate points in my life. Both times I was aware of it.

- During a few years of my life I took both drugs and alcohol to extreme excess. I have taken drugs and not even known what they were. I have overdosed twice.

- I was unable to attend my mom's 10 year sobriety celebration because I was laying in a bathtub, unconscious from having taken "the wrong pill" from a stranger we had met and partied with the night before.

- I have made incredibly bad choices with regards to both drugs and alcohol of which I am ashamed.

- I stopped using drugs about 9 years ago. At that time, I changed how I relate to drugs and alcohol in my own life. While I was never and addict or alcoholic, I am very conscious now of my decisions regarding both.

- Someone very close to me uses drugs daily and I struggle with how I feel about it. I debate with myself on how much/little I think it really impacts his/her life.

- As a result of my experiences, I will always be as supportive of those suffering from drugs/alcohol (go to meetings with them, lend an ear, etc.). I will also always be honest with someone when I feel there's a problem. While I realize I can't change things for him/her, I could not live with myself if I didn't say something, offer options, etc. Nevertheless, I know there be times when someone isn't willing to get help/make changes that I need to remove myself from the situation because I cannot stand by and watch someone hurt themselves again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 19

I just finished the last post so now it's time to move on to something that for me is more relevant to the soul searching that inspired me to take on this challenge...

I found it rather odd that this challenge asked you about a hero that had let you down, but did not focus on one who had inspired you. Instead it asked you to write about a band that had helped you through hard times. Really? Well instead of either of those, I'd like to focus on a person who has inspired me, who has helped me through rough times, and who has set an example of the type of qualities I hope I can emulate. I find that far more honest than discussing a band I've probably never met or truly engaged with...

Day 19 → A hero who has inspired you. 

Again, I don't believe in heroes (because all people are flawed and cannot begin to live up to hero status), however, I do believe people have qualities & characteristics that are heroic or inspiring. 

My mother has inspired me. 

As I've touched on in other posts, my mother is far from perfect. F-A-R from perfect. Yet it is some of my mom's flaws that have enabled her to inspire me.

I almost did an individual post regarding her the other day that was not a part of #30DaysOfTruth. Instead I decided to wait and do it here. Two days ago my mom reached a milestone in her life. She has now officially been clean and sober for 20 years. 20 years. I'm in awe. At one point in my life, my mom was one of the most broken, dysfunctional, people I've ever met. She was angry, bitter, resentful. She was depressed, manipulative, and hurtful. She was the complete opposite of what she is today. 

Today, my mom is one of the most dedicated and determined people I've ever met. She fought her way back to sanity, to emotional stability, to being a loving, respectful, kind person. My mom doesn't deny the person she was - she owns every bit of the awful human being used to be. She takes responsibility for her actions and holds herself accountable for the damage she did to herself and others. She has forgiven herself for her flaws yet is determined to be a better person today who won't make those same mistakes.

My mom still isn't perfect. She still has a ton of shortcomings that she's working on, but she is an example to me of what you can do when you set your mind to something. I admire her strength. I am awestruck by the kindness she exudes and the true love in her heart. My mom's still scatterbrained. She still isn't good at managing money. She sometimes still makes spontaneous decisions without thinking through all the steps. But despite her quirks, despite the rough path she lead us down, there is no other person I look up to more. I know other people only see the rough around the edges. They see the tatters, scars, and bruises of a woman who has made bad decisions. What I see is the sparkle in her eyes that glows brighter because she has survived those scars and bruises. I see the kindness, patience, and love that outlasted the pain.

Mom - I love you and am so incredibly proud of you. You are an inspiration to me everyday. Thank you for being willing to do the work to give me back my mother.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 18

So once again I'm going to slightly deviate from the #30DaysOfTruth meme. Day 18 was supposed to be "Your views on gay marriage" and Day 19 was supposed to be "What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?". While I think each person need to do self searching on each of those topics and be honest with themselves about them, I have deeply explored those topics for myself previously. I have no problem openly expressing my opinions on them, but I don't feel like they are what will push me forward in my truth mission. Really quickly I'll address them and call it one day. 

Day 18 - Your thoughts/beliefs on Politics, Religion, & Human Rights/Equality
- I am a Christian and proud of it. While I don't go to church regularly, I have no doubts what my beliefs are. I believe each person's relationship (or lack of relationship) with God is individual. Only he knows what is truly in your heart. 
- Regardless of your race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. etc. etc. I believe everyone is equal. I believe everyone should have equal rights to express themselves, to love, to pursue their beliefs, to be a unique individual and to do so without judgement. I do not believe it is my place (or any other persons place) to judge others. It is my place to accept everyone with a loving heart. I believe our laws should be there to promote equality and ensure all humans their rights.  
- I consider myself both liberal and conservative depending on the topic. There are areas where I am considerably more "republican" and others where I am staunchly "democrat". I make my political choices based on each individual issue and candidate. I'll never "vote party lines". I believe it is my duty to be a part of the system if I want to live in a society I can someday respect. I have to be a part of the change even if I am only one voice. 
- Sadly, I feel both religion and politics have deteriorated from the ideals that they were founded on. Those we have entrusted have not lived up to their duties. In both areas I feel that we as individuals each need to make a difference ourselves and hopefully if people do, it will impact on a larger scale.
Hopefully that adequately covers the questions on this meme. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 17

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

I almost avoided this topic in the meme because I didn't think it would push me to some inner truth. I'm still not sure if it will, but I guess I'll attempt it. I was English major. I've read hundreds, probably thousands, of books in my lifetime. There have been tons of books that have shifted my mindset. Each one I read opens me to another world, it changes my perspective, it expands my emotions.

I can't name one book in particular that made some overwhelming shift in my views. I believe it's been more of a constant re-evaluation with each work I encounter. However, I do believe that there is a genre as a whole that has impacted me most deeply. Poetry.

There is something so incredibly real about poetry. I think it captures emotions more accurately than any other form of writing. Its filled with seductive rhythms, or titillating pauses, or the undulations and movement that is so physical in its nature. Poetry can be so intensely structured or break every rule. It's simply magnificent. In reading poetry, even at an incredibly young age, I was immediately stuck by the idea that I could express myself in this way. I began writing my first poems as soon as I could form the letters.*

First and foremost at my core, I am a poet. I am a writer. There is something so completely natural that happens for me when I begin to put words to page. I have no delusions of grandeur. I don't believe I'm the best writer to ever pick up a pen or anything as narcissistic as that. Yet there is something inside me that feels whole, alive, and unrestrained when I'm writing. With poetry in particular, I feel like a part of my soul is flowing onto the page. The words are a part of me. The truth is, it was through reading that I was able to realize my love of writing. There is no particular book or even a specific author that I can say changed my world. However I can say, it was through reading that I was able to change my views on myself. I was able to discover an essential part of my being. I was able to discover and cultivate my love of the written word.

*I've kept almost every poem I've ever written (as well as the ideas scribbled out or jotted down). The oldest one I have dates back to 8 years old.

30 Days of Truth - Day 16

Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

I could live without a relationship. I can live without a relationship.

Don't get me wrong, I want a relationship. Okay, I desperately want a relationship. I hope to be married and have a relationship that lasts for eternity. I, however, am not one of those girls who needs to be in a relationship.

I will never be in a relationship simply because I'm lonely. I will never be in a relationship with a man I know is wrong for me. I will never accept companionship in the place of love. I am secure enough in myself to be alone. I am strong enough of a woman to believe I am complete on my own. Nevertheless, I do believe that two complete people can come together in love to become something even more than what they are alone. When it comes to that kind of relationship, I'm in. All in. But I refuse to be continue missing out on something real and right just to have someone beside me.

30 Days of Truth - Day 15

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

There is a man in my life that I can rely on like no other. He "gets" me completely and without question. He is the one and only person that I know I can be 100% myself with - no walls, no facades, completely vulnerable and full of flaws - and he will always accept me without judgment.  I can't live without him.

I've known My Little Devil since I was 19 years old. From the moment I met him, I knew something had changed. There was an intense connection* between us that we couldn't deny (and that was blatantly obvious to everyone around us - including our significant others, Oops!**). He is the one man that makes me feel completely safe.

I'll readily admit, our relationship is both incredibly complicated and immensely simple at the same time. His is my best friend, but he is so much more than that. He is the guy to which I compare all others. He is the guy to which I confess my greatest fears. He is the person I turn to when I'm weak, scared, happy, tired, overwhelmed.*** He is the man that proves to me there are still good men out there. He is the one man I respect completely despite knowing his deepest darkest secrets. He knows when I need him before I even ask. We are connected at the soul. I'm not sure exactly what that means for us, but I know that now that I have him in my life, I could not survive without him. There have been times where we've taken some space, but we never lose connection. I lived for 19 years without him, and I've tried living without him since - there's just no way I will ever let that happen again.

There is no doubt in my mind that I love him. That used to be scary to admit. It was also terrifying to admit that I'm not sure if we should be "together" or not. We've considered it at different points but the timing has never been right. He is without a doubt, my soul mate. He intuitively understands me and knows me inside out. We can literally feel when we need each other. But I believe that some soul mates are meant to be romantically connected while others serve other roles in each others' lives. I'm honestly not sure what we are supposed to be to each other yet. What I do know is he owns a part of me that no other person can touch.

* Our connection is almost cosmic...perhaps is cosmic. We are both Gemini's - twins if you will. Our birthdays are a day apart.
** When we met he was married (now divorced) and I very soon after I started dating my future ex-fiance, Tennessee.
*** He is a core member of my team of therapists.

30 Days of Truth - Day 14

So for the past few days I've seriously struggled with this challenge. Each day I did think on the prompt and wrote down a few thoughts from a place of truth, but I wasn't able to really get to the place where I was ready to post them. Because of that, I'm going to post them all now in a series with today's date. I am doing it that way because although many of these posts were conceptualized on the actual "assigned" day, it is today that I've actually been able to try and make them coherent to anyone but myself. 

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

I don't believe in heroes. I don't believe you should idolize any person so much as to make them a hero. I think you can look up to certain people for certain traits, but I believe that giving someone hero status will always cause them to let you down because they are human. That being said, I think there are people in our lives who we do look up to or feel we should look up to. I'm going to use that as my starting place for this post. I think it is in our very nature to feel like our parents should be someone we can look up to. Unfortunately for many of us, that isn't always the case. My father has let me down.

Dear Dad - 

This letter has been a long time coming. For about 5 years I've had said that I need to express to you why we do not have a relationship, but I have been unable to put my reasoning into words because I knew the pain, anger, and disappointment I'd have to allow myself feel in order to get this letter out. I still don't know if I'm ready to tap into all of it, but it's time to do my best. 

A father should be someone you look up to, someone you respect. He's supposed to protect his daughter, care for her, love her, guide her, and inspire her. Sadly, you have done none of those things. When I was little (up to age 6?) I got a brief glimpse of what a father could be. I experienced moments of you being loving and us being a family, but that was long before I was an individual and long before anything went wrong. 

When life got hard, you didn't want to face it. It was easier to blame others and look away rather than fight. Instead of protecting your family, you escaped to protect yourself. How am I supposed to respect a man who cared more about himself than the welfare of his family? How am I supposed to accept that you didn't love us enough and weren't willing to protect us? How can you look me in the eyes and ask me to accept your love now knowing that you were willing to abandon your children and leave your wife prey to a maniac? Do you have no shame? How can you not show remorse at all? It baffles me that you somehow think you're entitled to respect simply because we are biologically related.  

Despite my instincts, (and at the constant insistence of my mother), I tried to give you another chance in my teenage/early adult years. I knew I had anger and disappointment in you, but I realized it could have been skewed by having been a child and not seeing everything clearly. So I tried...

Dad, nothing's ever changed with you. You can't see beyond yourself. You only see your own perspective. Your way is the only way. And you use the Bible as a tool for manipulation instead of one of love. It sickens me to know that you believe you have a right to know me and that you think *I* am the one disappointing God by my actions. You are the worst example of Christianity because what you show the world is selfishness, self-righteousness, bigotry, hatred, and judgment. I can see I'm missing so much by having you in my life, right?

In all the years you have put on the show of "trying" to reconnect with me (and J), it is clear that you are more concerned with "how it looks" to others that your daughter(s) don't speak to you than with actually having a relationship. A real father would take the time to get to know me. Yet you have never once attempted to. In all of your "reaching out", you have only ever told me what's going on in your life, shared pictures of "your other family", and sent quotes on HOW I should be living and what I am doing WRONG. Yet you don't even know me to make these judgments. -- I challenge you to name just one of the best friends I've had over the course of my life. Name one person who has broken my heart or whose heart I've broken. Tell someone why I decided to get my teaching credential. Do I want kids? If so, why haven't I had them? And if not, what's the reasoning behind it? You see Dad, any normal parent would know these things about their child if they actually wanted a relationship with them. They would have asked me...or at the very least sought out the information from the other members of our family that do speak to both of us.

I have no respect for a man who insists he should have honor and respect simply "because the Bible says so" instead of taking the time to earn it. I have no desire to have a relationship with a man who has put in no effort to get to know his daughters. I am not willing to share my life with a person who consistently disrespects others. You've not only let me down, you've done this to yourself by the choices you've made. You don't deserve the right to be my father. You don't deserve the happiness that goes with sharing the moments of my life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 13*

So I didn't get to post yesterday but I'm going to do two today to catch back up. As I said before, when a prompt doesn't really apply to me, I'm going to change it up so that this 30 days challenge actually forces me to push through some issues. Today's prompt is supposed to be: "A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)" I love music. It's a part of my every day life (and well, even a part of my job). I frequently see bands live and have easily been to over a 100 concerts. So many musicians have impacted my life. Yet I don't turn to one band in particular to get me though. I don't feel that writing to one will reveal truth or push me to discover more about myself. So I'm going to substitute and write about something else. 

Day 13 → Something you are insecure about.

A few days ago I had a conversation with one of my best friends (and another member of my team of therapists) regarding this challenge. I knew this was a topic I needed to discuss, because it is one of the recurring issues in my life and my relationships.

One of my biggest fears and insecurities is not being "enough".

I'm definitely not a pushy girl. In friendships, in relationships, and even in my job, I want someone to choose me because they see the value in me. I need them to want me and be willing to go out of their way to have me in their lives/company, just like I would for them. I give my all to those in my life and I expect the same in return.Yet I won't ask for it (and I sure as hell won't demand it). I'm really not good at giving ultimatums. I don't want a person to treat me a certain way because I asked them too, I want (no, I need) it to be genuine.
So now here's the insecurity. I'm scared of not being "enough" to justify those actions. I'm afraid that I won't be "enough" for someone to be willing to make changes in their life to be with me. I'm scared that I'm not "enough" reason to compromise or sacrifice. I'm terrified that they won't love me "enough" to choose me. I know I'm not good at being vulnerable. It's sometimes hard for me to show my emotions because I'm so used to handling things myself and not leaning on someone else. I get so scared that the guy I should be with will misread this and think I don't need them "enough" or that I don't express "enough" or that somehow I don't love them "enough". For so long I've been a strong, independent woman by necessity. I haven't been able to trust or rely on someone else so I know I have defenses up. I know I can need and love and be open, but it takes me time (a lot of time). My biggest insecurity is that this someone won't see past that and realize that I'm so much more than "enough" if you give me the time to show you. I know I'm worth it... but will he?  

*This post has been sitting in my drafts for days because I haven't been ready to post it. It's dated it to when it was written.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 11 & 12

So last night I didn't get a chance to post, for #30DaysOfTruth. Tonight I'm going to knock out both days. I don't find these topics as deep or soul searching. I might have to go off path from the questions during the last part of this challenge. If one of the prompts aren't really making me search for truth and than I'll substitute it with a topic or question that digs a little deeper. With that in mind, I'll try and answer these questions as best I can.

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

Patience. I'm choosing patience because it is one of the characteristics I get complimented on in all facets of my life. From my relationships, to my work, it seems to be a quality people notice.

In many areas of my life I can seem to have unending patience. For the most part, this is a good characteristic in my life. However, I do recognize it's downside. With those closest to me, it has been both a blessing and a curse. If someone I care about chooses to use my patience against me, it can be my downfall. While I'll hold on to this trait until my dying day, I'm trying to learn balance with it.

Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on (but you should).*

While people frequently notice my work ethic, my patience, my ability to stay calm, and how personable I can be, I think they frequently overlook my determination. I think people believe things come easier to me than they really do. While I'll acknowledge I do pick some things up more quickly than other people, I think the reason for that is my determination. From a very young age I decided that if I wanted to do/learn/accomplish something, I would find a way to do it. There are many things I'm not naturally good at, but it appears to most people that I am good at these things because I will work on them until it looks easy. It would be nice if people realized how much effort I put in, instead of assuming that it just takes me less work.  

*I added the parentheses because I think it makes more sense and digs deeper.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 10

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

So this one is fitting for me today.* For a long time The Big O (one of my closest guy friends and part of my team of therapists**) has been telling me I need to cut all the men from the past out of my life. Let's be honest, I'm not very good at cutting ties and keeping them cut. Down the line, most of the guys I've been involved with pop back up in my life. Sometimes we try the "friend" route, other times we start dating all over again. Whatever the case, I seem to end up with way too much drama from recycled guys.

About 6 months ago I had a conversation with The Big O regarding the men in my life. I know he cares about my happiness, so he didn't pull any punches. He said that as long as I keep ties to these old guys, there's no room for a new one. He's right. For so long I've held on so tightly to the guys from my past that I've never really made room in my heart, or in my life, for someone new. That needs to end.

I need to let go of the guys who I've dated, who I've loved, who have hurt me. I need to let go of the belief that there was something between us that's salvageable or destined. I need to let go of the idea that somehow it's romantic for something to have failed but then triumph over all the obstacles. Even if they haven't set me free, I need to let go of the past and make room for something new.

*One of the guys I recently cut out of my life has been consistently trying to contact me for the past few weeks - most recently, yesterday.
**My team of therapists are a collection of my closest friends that I frequently consult for advice, support, and to smack me upside the head when I need it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'll Never Be Your Option

"Don't let someone become a priority in your life when you are just an option in theirs."

So I saw this quoted today and it felt like someone had thrown a Shuriken (ninja throwing star) at me. And it stuck. I can actually still feel the mark where it lodged in. Yeah, it sucks.

I'm guilty of this one BIG TIME. So... it's time to blog.

I suck at dating. I'll admit that readily. I'm a wonderful friend and an amazing girlfriend. I'm witty, charming, and downright adorable sometimes... but friends & boyfriends...well they know me. And to know me is to love me. But then comes the problem for me... how do you get there?

I'm an incredibly outgoing person. I'll talk to anyone. I'll be sassy and playful and intriguing. But I'll only let you in so far. You see, I'm also incredibly guarded. I'll keep a million people on the surface of my life, but for you to actually get in. Now that's a challenge. But once you're in... you're in deep. My gut's telling me that's this has something to do with why that quote jabbed me.

I've seen this pattern with the last few guys in my life. They show interest, I hold them at bay for a bit because well I have some really big walls. Even if I feel it, I struggle really hard with showing my interest in someone (aka being vulnerable) until I'm 100% sure they're into me. Now comes the problem. This causes some guys (maybe the good ones?) to assume I'm disinterested. They bolt. Then there's those are willing to wait and stick around. They lay low, keep it casual, give me time. But my experience lately is that those who do stick around and wait might just have some other options on the side. Unfortunately, I didn't really notice this until recently.

Instead, for some reason, I assumed that if they stuck around and waited, they must really be care about me and want to get to know me better. (Yeah, not so much.) Logically, I know people date around until they find that right person and something clicks. For me, it takes awhile to click so the pattern is, they stick around, I let down my guard, and I begin to care. And once I care, they become a priority. But since I didn't really show my interest or push for exclusivity early, we're now in a pattern of casual yet somehow I got attached. Next thing I know, I'm wondering how I became an option. Didn't they use the time to figure out they wanted me too? Oh no, see they took the time to figure out that they didn't have to choose... CRAP!

I know realistically, you're not going to meet someone and just instantly know they're "the one" you want to be with. That happens occasionally in dating, but generally it takes awhile to get to know someone and figure it out. So how do you know when to transition from option to priority? It seems no matter what a guy says when I first meet him, once we get down the line there is a line of excuses from "I don't have time for a full relationship but when I do..." to "I need time to figure out what's best for us." I'm so not the girl who likes to push. I don't want to force a guy into a relationship with me and I'm damn sure not going to give a guy an ultimatum to make him choose me. If he isn't going to choose me of his own accord, I'll move on first. And I have...time and time again. But sadly, it's only after I've realized that somehow I let them become my priority and while I somehow slipped into being an option.

I'm not quite sure how to balance it. I don't know quite how to navigate when we should have made the transition to priority vs. when I need to cut and run. But I do know I'm not willing to be anyone's option. I'm not ever going to be okay with being someones "B" or "C". If that's the case, I'll remove myself from his list. Period. I need to be with someone who chooses me and stops the list there.

30 Days of Truth - Day 9

I've been thinking about this post for the past couple days. I lived a very transient lifestyle for the first half of my life (if my count is right, I went to 10 schools before I'd reached high school) so I've lost touch with many people who I've cared for deeply. Whether it was distance, timing, or we'd just served our purpose for each other, I'm not sure. When it came to this post, I was sure who I was going to write it about (and believe me she's worth it)*, but when today came a different person was laid on my heart. A person who I hadn't thought of in a little while, but who I miss dearly.

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

Little Miss S came in to my life when my world was in chaos. I met her in the 6th grade. I was young and lost and broken. Looking back at it, she was too. Yet at the time she appeared so strong to me. She had deep brown unruly hair, a crooked nose, and a smile that was infectious...if you got to see it. Not many people did.

She was my partner in crime before I knew what real crime was. I had other friends...the "good girls", but Little Miss S let me be wild and crazy even if we were only 11. With her, I didn't have to hide the insanity that my life was. We smoked, drank (slipped peppermint schnapps into iced tea), and climbed out of the window at night to sit on rooftops and talk for hours. We never did anything terribly bad, but I didn't have to pretend things were perfect with her. She just was there. She accepted me for me regardless of any of the issues in my life. I did the same for her. We were just able to be two scared, flawed little girls who thought they could conquer the world but were terrified and exhilarated at where it might take them. She literally and metaphorically held my hand when I needed a friend more than anything in the world.

On one very dark day in my life (which will come up in another #30DaysOfTruth post), I considered taking my own life. I didn't think I had anything left to lose. Little Miss S stopped me. At 13 years old she sat with me and told me what an incredible person I was, she told me that I had more to live for, she let me know how much I meant to her, and she convinced me that I would somehow impact the world if I just gave it a chance. She let me know that I'd never have to be alone.

Just a few months after that night, we moved away. My mom took us to Nor Cal so she could rebuild our life. Before I left, Little Miss S and I had a conversation. We swore that despite the distance and even if somehow we lost touch, we'd always be there in spirit for each other. For a few years after I moved, we did our best to stay in touch. We sent each other letters and I even got to visit once. But somehow in my high school years we lost touch. I moved so often back then, and she did too...and somehow our letters just didn't get to each other anymore. I don't where she is. I've tried looking on social networking sites, I've Googled...but so far I've yet to find her. I'll keep trying forever.

But regardless of if I ever find her again, Little Miss S will always be one of my dearest, one of my best friends. She is in my heart and I feel her with me when times get tough. I lean on her and the strength that she gave me in my weakest of moments. I hope she feels the same.

*I did drift & lose touch with a very close friend, but we have since found our way back into each others lives. We discussed what caused us to lose touch. We've shared our loss of the years we missed. And we've worked at building a friendship that I think can and will be even stronger than what we had before.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 8

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

So I'm really struggling with the prompt tonight. Don't get me wrong, it's not that my life has been all rosy or anything, but I have a few serious problems with this prompt.

1) I don't believe my life has been hell.
2) I have a hard time believing that anyone can make your life hell unless you give them the power to do so.

Now to clarify... I do believe people can make moments in your life hell. There are times in which others actions cause us extreme discomfort, pain, sadness, anger, etc. But that pain can only last if you don't let it go. It's up to you to work through it, to move past it, and to continue to live. I'm not trying to downplay any of the horrible things that can happen in life. I know that there are people and pains that can cause scars that last a lifetime. However, I also believe that you can't let these define you.

Honestly, I don't believe I have a person in my life that this prompt applies to so I'm going to approach it slightly differently. There are people in my life who's actions have caused me anger, pain, disappointment, and self-doubt. Even though I feel like I've grown from each of these situations (they've shaped the woman I've become), I still need to acknowledge that they have not treated me well:

Kentucky Devil: For bringing darkness to my family; for ending my childhood; for showing me the worst side of humanity

Mr. Biz: For being dishonest about your intentions; for using my trust against me; for endangering my health; for your betrayal

JD: For being selfish & using me to fulfill your needs without regard for mine; for not hesitating to hurt me again

Dad: For never taking the opportunity to get to know me or my sister; for caring about yourself more than your children; for demonstrating people's worst assumptions of Christianity

Saturday, August 28, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 7

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

There are 3 things that I live for... The things that make it worth living...
- my family (I do not define family by blood, I define it as those who are an interval part of my life blood or not)
- my God
- myself

I am so thankful for the people in my life. Without my friends and family, I really don't know how I'd make it through. They are my strength, my support system, and my motivation. They are definitely worth living for.

While I'm not an overly religious person, and rarely go to church, I do have incredibly strong beliefs. I believe that God has a purpose for me. I put my faith in that and am willing to follow my path wherever it takes me. I believe that is worth living for.

Life to me is an adventure. It's a series of experiences. It is opportunities to learn, grow, share, love, feel, persevere. Seizing those for myself is important. I am worth living for.

Friday, August 27, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 6

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

There's not much back story to this post, it's simple, honest, and pretty straightforward. I know most people have said they hope to never have to outlive their child. I agree wholeheartedly. I can't even begin to fathom the pain a parent must endure when losing a child. It is beyond my scope of comprehension. I do, however, have a point of reference...and that's where I'll go with my post.

I've said in some of my previous #30daysoftruth posts that my sister and I have a relationship that is much more mother-daughter than most sisters encounter. Part of the reason for that is that my sister has a medical condition that severely impacts her health. For the past 15 years, she's been in and out of the hospital regularly. When she gets sick, she needs constant 24-hour a day care (which has typically been split between my mother and myself). Despite our care, my sister typically ends up hospitalized a few times a year for 3-10 days at a time. A few years ago my mom moved to another state and I took on the task of taking care of my sister alone.* The years of prolonged illness have taken a toll on my sister physically, mentally, & emotionally. The pain and suffering she endures shakes me to the core each time I witness it. Her body cannot take much more of it. I've had to face the fact that unless they can find something to stop the cycle of her illness, I might lose her way too soon. So right now, at this point in my life, my greatest fear is that I might lose my baby sister. She's only 31 years old and I can't wrap my mind around a life without her. She is my best friend, my most precious confidant, the person I would sacrifice for above all others. I would gladly take her place if I could.

So for the purposes of this post I must say that the thing I hope I never have to do is to lose my sister. I pray will all my heart that God will protect her, heal her, spare her and that the doctors will find some way to stop the pain and illness she faces.

* I have an amazing support group of friends and love ones who are there to help me as I help her. I would be lost without them. They are truly a blessing to me for which I can't even begin to express my gratitude.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bucket List

Some of the things I want to accomplish in my lifetime:

- Pet a cow (accomplished)
- Graduate from college, B.A. (accomplished)
- Take a trip to Europe (accomplished)
- Get married to my soul mate
- Be a mother
- Learn to play guitar... so I can play for my children
- Hike Half Dome
- Spend a month abroad
- Write a novel
- Sit on the banks of Lake Lucerne again and write
- Own a home
- Skydive
- Visit Italy, Greece and Egypt
- Teach a child to read
- Hike once a week (spring and summer) for a year
- Start my own catering business
- Spend a week completely by myself (alone with my thoughts)
- Read Les Misérables (I've seen the musical 3 times but never read the book)
- Speak Italian with an old married couple
- Write a collection of stories for my children to read to their children
- Pay for someone (besides myself) to go to college
I know there's a bunch more I will add to this, but I wanted to at least get a few things up and posted.

30 Days of Truth - Day 5

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

For me, there are quite possibly a zillion answers to this question. I love life. I love experiencing life. So if I'm not constantly out trying something, doing something new, and wondering, "How the heck did I get here?" well, then something is seriously wrong. Awhile back I started a post that was going to be my virtual "Bucket List" here on this blog (sadly it's still sitting in my drafts but now I'm motivated again). I planned to post it so I can always have a place to come to add stuff, and well, to check stuff off. I can promise you, it'll end up being a LONG list.

However, for the purposes of this post. I'm just going to focus on one - the one that means the most to me. I hope to be the best mother I can possibly be. I honestly don't feel like my life would be complete, if I don't get the opportunity to raise a child - my child (biologically or adopted).

Although I'm not technically a mother, I have had a major hand in raising my sister. We have a relationship that is about 50% sisterly and 50% mother-daughter. It's been both a strange blend and a huge blessing for me. The moment that meant the most to me in my life so far, concerns her. About a year ago, she was sick and I was taking care of her. She turned to me and said, "You are a great mom." She didn't say, "You will be a great mom," or "Your kids will have a great mom". She said "You are a great mom." She brought tears to my eyes. The thing is, as motherly as I've been to her, I can't take anything away from our actual mother. My mom is the one who set the example for me of love, acceptance, sacrifice, compassion...and so much more. While I'm not her mother, my sister was right. I know deep down that I'm already a mother. It's a part of my personality. It's a part of my actions. It's a part of my soul. Yet my biggest hope is that I have the opportunity to express that part of myself in raising my children. I hope (and pray) that I get to foster their uniqueness individually, accept them unconditionally, teach them patiently, guide them with integrity, and love them eternally.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 4

Breathe. Just Breathe.

Why are these prompts so hard? I spent quite a bit of time today with my head running in circles about what I'd choose for tonight's post. At first I felt I knew what I was going to write about (my Dad). I know if it were up to him, he'd be the subject of this post. But for some reason even though I know I eventually need to write about him, the forgiveness aspect just didn't fit. As I was sprawled out on my couch trying to survive the heat, it hit me.

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

I need to forgive my brothers. I'm not quite sure how to do it, but I do.

Like all families, mine had it's problems. There was a few years of my childhood that were like one of those Lifetime movies - abuse, alcoholism/drugs, and a man so obsessed with my mother he would have gladly hurt anyone in his path to get to her. You know the deal, right? Those movies didn't come from nowhere. Each family has it's own dark spots that you could make a movie about.

Yet it's not those years I'm writing about. When we came out of those darkest of dark years, my family was broken. You see, the the first 6 years of my life were almost like a storybook...or at least a show on ABC Family (happily married parents with 4 blissful children living in a Christian home). Then there was 4 years of pure hell on earth. When we got to the other side of it, my mom was a shell of the woman she once was. She was clinically depressed, addicted to drugs & alcohol, and completely unable to function. My dad, he'd already bailed. He couldn't handle it. So we were left with 4 kids struggling to survive. My brothers were 17 and 16. I was 10. My little sister was 8.

For a year or so we did our best to get by, to try and salvage our family but it was a mess. When my oldest brother got close to 18, he left. He didn't even stick around until his 18th birthday...he just left. And as soon as the younger of the two turned 18, he split too. And for a few years, they didn't look back. I was left at 12 years old trying to hold together a family that was in shambles. My mom was not only addicted to drugs, she'd become a dealer. Despite doing so in an unorthodox way, she did her best to provide for and protect my little sister & me. She'd set up systems with people to meet our needs. A pizza man would come by to bring us food in exchange for drugs. A cab driver took us to school so he could get his stash free. A guy delivered us sandwiches a few times a week for a free sack of weed. Everything else, I handled. At 12, I tried my best to be the parent I knew she couldn't be, but that both my sister and I desperately needed.

I'm sure you're probably wondering why this isn't about my mom, but I've long since forgiven her. A year later, we moved from So Cal to Nor Cal so we could try and start fresh. My mom got into AA & NA and tried to get herself clean. The next few years were still really rough while she learned to function again (stay clean, get a job, pay rent on time). We were frequently homeless - we lived on couches of other recovering addicts or stayed in seedy motels for 3 weeks a month (because that's as long as we could afford) and then spent the last week of the month living in our car until mom would get paid again. We showered at friend's houses or cleaned up in the bathrooms of the places she'd go to AA meetings. Through it all my mom fought to keep improving and try and rebuild our life. I've forgiven her because despite all the craziness she put us through, she fought her way back. In September she will have been clean and sober for 20 years and she spends every day trying to make her amends for the wrongs she's done.

Back to my brothers. I resent my brothers for leaving. Despite knowing their little sisters were alone in this situation, they took off. Brothers who had I'd always thought would be there to protect me. Starting at 12 years old I had the strength to stand up and try and help my little sister and my mom navigate the craziness that was our lives. I made sure my little sister went to school, that my mom ate, that we were all kept as safe as possible even though we were surrounded by shady characters. Yet my brothers were both technically adults when they left. For years I've struggled to understand how an "adult" could just leave two children (and little girls at that) in such a dangerous situation. We were their little sisters and they didn't even look back. They didn't check on us to see if we were okay. Nothing.

I need to forgive them. It's taken me a long time, but I know they were broken too and doing the best they could to survive. I know they left to protect themselves because they didn't know how to handle the situation. I know they didn't have the same maternal instinct that I had. However, I still resent them for leaving because I wouldn't have done the same even if I had the option. I resent knowing that as adults now, if their children were in the situation my sister and I were in, they'd do anything they could to protect them yet they didn't protect us. I know they love us but it hurts. I'm trying to let go of the pain and abandonment I felt. I'm trying to accept that although they were 18, they were children too.

I'm beginning to forgive...but I'm not fully there yet. I know that someday I'll be able to really forgive them and truly let go of resentment. I pray that day comes soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 3

So it's about to get hard. This post has been on my mind since I found out about this challenge. I knew there would be a few prompts that would be hard for me. I have a feeling, this will be one of them.

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

I've made mistakes. I've made many mistakes. For the most part, I've accepted my flaws but tried to work on them. I think I've been fairly forgiving with myself overall. Yet there's one situation where I'm afraid I might struggle with forgiveness for the rest of my life.

I fell in love with a married man.

To understand the gravity of this for me, you need to know I value marriage and it's commitment almost more than anything in the world. I think the only thing I place above it would be motherhood. I want both so badly that I can feel the aching in my body every single day...yet that longing isn't just for marriage, it is for marriage with the right person.*  I long to build a life and a family together.
But back to the confession at hand...

Since I value marriage so highly, I don't know how to forgive myself for having feelings for someone who is committed to someone else. I fell in love with him before he was married. And once he got married I tried to forget him, to move on. [At first I typed "I tried my hardest to forget him" but I had to erase it because this is 30 Days of Truth and that's simply not the truth. I did try and forget him, but part of my heart never let go and part of it didn't want to. I'm ashamed of that.] But I didn't really move on. I dated other people, I went through the motions, but he was there in the background of my heart. Eventually I let him back into my life as an acquaintance, and before I knew it, it was more than that.
While I never acted on those emotions physically (not so much as a kiss), I was emotionally involved with him. I know it's not right.

I can't forgive myself for this yet, because my emotions for him (although now even more mixed with anger, confusion, disappointment, etc.) are still there. I hate that there is a part of me who hurts that he didn't choose me - before he got married... and honestly, even after.

Someday I will need to forgive myself for having loved a married man. I'll need to forgive myself for having been involved in and impacted someone's marriage. Even without being physically involved, I have to accept that my relationship with him had to have hurt her. I need to acknowledge that my actions in some ways damaged their marriage. (I am not by any means negating his actions, nor am I naive enough to think that if it weren't me, it wouldn't have been someone else. I am simply trying to focus on and own my part in the situation). While I swore I'd never "get involved"** with him while he was still with her, I have to face that my mere presence and interaction with him had me more involved than I should have been. I am no longer involved with him. For now that's all I can do. Someday, I'll forgive myself...

*I've been tempted with the prospect of marriage before. I've even gotten engaged. But I couldn't do it because in my soul I knew it wasn't right.
** Date him or be involved in any form of physical relationship

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 2

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

Hmmm... Where to begin? I think I'm very fortunate that all my life my mother has instilled in me a love that is indescribable. Regardless of her faults (and yes, there are many), she never let me doubt my value and always taught me to cherish my individuality and love myself despite my flaws (there are many of those too!). There are a million little things that I've learned to love about myself - My sense of compassion. My intellect. My love of nature. My motherly instinct even though I have no children of my own yet. My freckles (that I used to detest). My ability to help others understand things that seem hard to them at first. The way my eyes squint when I laugh or smile. My desire to seize each moment in life. My fascination with words and writing. My endless need to learn. My tiny hands. My quick wit. That when I open my heart and love someone, I love him/her completely and without judgment.

But if I were to choose one thing about myself to focus on for this task it would be my resiliency. Like most, I've had my share of hardships and disappointments. Life has never been easy. But I've never seen that as a burden. I've always viewed it as a part of the adventure. I don't understand people who feel life is out to get them; that somehow they deserve an easy path. They miss the beauty in the challenges. They deny the opportunity to grow. They don't embrace the feeling of exhilaration that is a part of overcoming something difficult. For me each challenge offers the moment of knowing I'm stronger than anything that comes my way - That even if it breaks me down to my knees for awhile and leaves me writhing in pain, I will stand up again. Perhaps it's that I'm stubborn or that I have an over developed sense of determination, but I don't think I'd be happy on a path that was flat and simple. I love that I know that God has instilled in me a resiliency that will get me through whatever trials I'm handed in life so long as I hold on to my faith, determination, and those I love.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

30 Days of Truth - Day 1

So I recently saw a post on Twitter regarding #30daysoftruth. It's a meme that challenges you to answer some questions with complete honesty.* It intrigued me and I've been dying to start my first post. It's taken me a few days because of some hiccups in life, but I am committed to doing it.

I'll also admit that before I started the challenge I was determined to finish a few posts that I started a long time ago and that needed to just be done and posted for me to move on and write honestly from where I am in life now. I've almost completed them (and will as soon as I finish this post), but I wanted to get this one done today.**

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.

I try very hard not to hate myself at all. I've spent way too many years being overly critical of myself. I hold myself to standards that are impossible to meet and I'm aware of this. I can be my own worst judge. I'm trying to be more accepting of myself so this question is very difficult for me but I'm going to be honest throughout this process so that I can grow.

If I had to say something I honestly hate about myself it would be that I don't take enough care of myself. I pride myself on taking care of others, being aware of their needs, and doing my best to always be a good friend, partner, sister, daughter, etc. Unfortunately, I don't always treat myself with the same care and respect I give to others. I deny my own needs. I'm not sure exactly why I do this, but I do. Perhaps I feel like acknowledging my own needs makes me weak? I'm not quite sure. I don't feel other people are weak for having needs, but I feel vulnerable having my own. I'm consciously trying to work on this.

The interesting thing about the whole thing is that it isn't that I don't value myself. I have a good sense of self-confidence. I know I am valuable and that I deserve to be treated well, respected, acknowledged, loved, etc. I don't allow other people to treat me with disrespect. I just tend to get so caught up in taking care of others, that I put myself last on the list. I don't make time for doing things to care for myself. I know I need to become more aware of my own needs and make them a priority in my life. If I'm not willing to acknowledge and value my needs, it makes it harder for other people to value my needs. I'm hoping that in diving into the truth over the next 30 days that I can unearth some of the things I need to address in my life to make myself a stronger, healthier woman.

* Here's the link to the full 30 Days of Truth instructions
**That being said, you may discover a few posts showing up with dates in the past in the next day or so because I'm finally posting a few that have been sitting in my drafts.