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 that...it 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.