A.L.O.E.

aloe-offshootsA. Little. Of. Everything.                                                                                                                             That is what I am here to offer. This is a new adventure for me, and maybe for you, my readers.  Even if there is only 1 of you, I hope that here – among these words, in-between the lines, you will find a connection or some sort of relief from loneliness, pain, or discontent.

I can’t give you a disclaimer, because there is no map for where I am going. It is uncharted territory. We may experience many things, but I hope and pray that above all – we find a common ground, where we can laugh, cry, and face our demons together; most of all that we gain healing from battling whatever has broken us.  **The Aloe plant has many healing uses, mostly we keep it around for cuts and burns to our skin. I thought it to be the perfect symbol for this place. ( I choose not to refer to it as a blog for now, because to me a blog is a cold and boring website –  I want for us to feel as if we are in my home, or your home, or a coffee shop,  a place of warmth and welcoming comfort. A place for us to find courage to tackle that next goal, whether its the closet, the basement, or emotional spaces that discourage and defeat us to the point where we give up, and are stuck in that rut, not really living- only existing.)

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When you’ve lost, that loving feeling?

Love. They say it makes the world go round. I was taught it is the gravitational pull of the Sun..and I was told that it was the love of The Son. Whatever it is or isn’t, life isn’t quite right without love. 

You start off in life screaming, covered in various bodily fluids and in one way or another you become part of a family.  You are here because for a moment in time, two people responded to the emotions and hormones they allowed themselves to experience and follow through with. Even if you were born from the ugliest offense of rape- someone chose to keep you, they saw your innocence and knew it wasn’t fair, because two wrongs don’t make a right. 

 The specifics vary, but the basics are similar. Who you become largely depends on your earliest relationships, bonds are formed, trust is secured in those whom care for you. Memories make or break you as you grow, your parents and siblings, your grandparents and extended family, your first friends and eventually your first crush.  The ups and downs of liking something about someone, then getting to know them better, you sort of evolve into accepting their faults – because you know you’re not perfect, and because maybe if you befriend them and help them – their faults will be corrected or fade away.  Which leaves you with the parts you like. I guess it’s selfish to put it like that, but if we’re honest – part of us –  is always trying to fix other people.  Either because we see something worth saving, and want to help people be the best version of themselves or because we know if we don’t try to help, we have to adapt and learn to love them as they are, knowing the quirks will at times annoy us and lead to arguments.  

These are just my views and experiences, I may be completely off base due to my personal history. I’ve reflected for years on how I’ve come to be, as I make up my mind about how I feel and why I choose to keep going. At best I can say- I no longer lie to myself or punish myself for what I feel. I got really tired of judging myself based on what others would say about how I feel. I used to torment myself trying to be someone I’m not, thinking my every thought and memory were being projected above me on a screen for the whole world to see. I felt vulnerable all the time, and that’s all fine and well – except I was ashamed of myself for not being more, or for being real? Blaming myself for making others witness the dark web of my humanity. 

I’m so incomplete and jaded, but with every word I write I’m emptying my arsenal of weapons and by exposing my heart I am healing. Trying to make my outside match my inside, exchanging the liberation like currency for inner peace and quiet.   I accept that what I say is my truth, people may or may not like it, but I won’t hold it against myself because I’m being real. 

People search their whole life, trying to fill the void.  They use drugs, sex, alcohol, religion, politics, power, money, materialism, and my personal favorite – art, specifically music and writing.  All of those are only temporary fixes. Momentary highs. None are truly sustainable. If it doesn’t come from within, there are no guarantees. Sex sells because – people easily confuse physical connection with spiritual and emotional connections. It’s the closest we get to mimicking the elation of love, yet we all still fumble over that obstacle. Does is baffle you that prostitution is still around, though its widely believed to be the world’s oldest “profession”. (Is prostitution really the world’s oldest profession? It depends how you define it. Humans have exchanged money and goods for sex for thousands of years, and indeed it seems that any society that begins to develop material wealth soon develops some form of prostitution. The Bible depicts many Israelites as having large numbers of concubines, who could be viewed either as prostitutes or as wives of a lesser status.)

I once had a favorite movie, SHAG, and in it one of the guys say that marriage is just a legal form of prostitution. The girls argument was also valid, stating an opposing view – in not so many words, just “free love”.  That scene will ever be burned into my memory, and unfortunately my heart.

Love in any form, is not free. It is the single most expensive part of life.  Dating, marriage, babies, death…and every step in between will cost you.  You will pay with your blood, sweat, tears, time, thoughts,  and inevitably money.  

You never really regret it – until you come face to face with the return of your investment, and instead of gaining- you’ve lost everything – except the lesson and memories. So did you really lose it all? It depends on what you value most. 

There is so much more to this topic , but it’s not concise and needs to be continued at a later time. 

Would *love* feedback and dialogue if anyone is so inclined. 

The best version of yourself

Trying to figure out who you are will take time.

I’m not sure how, when, who, or what ever convinced me that I had to know who I wanted to be, before I knew who I was – am?  That’s not a grammatical error. There is no final definition of me. I am ever evolving, learning, engaging and withdrawing from this life.  What I thought yesterday, may change today, and again tomorrow. Experience has proven that the moment you make up your mind about something, life throws a curve ball and changes the playbook, just to keep you on your toes.  I thought the best thing about getting older was the years of trial and error, occasionally success, behind you and getting credit for having learned the lesson anyway. Ha  ! Boy was that a joke. I still laugh at myself daily, even as I write this, because even though its a common? thought, anyone who has had the epiphany – understands what a truly ridiculous assumption that is.  You are your own lesson, and inasmuch as the material changes daily, if not at times- by the moment.  One moment can change your life forever.

I used to get so mad because everyone thought I was so young, and hadn’t really lived or experienced enough to have any opinion on anything. People made it sound so great to be older and wise, although I can look back and see how naive and prone to thinking that I knew more than I did. But just the same – I’m now on the other side of my version of the hill.  (So what ? I’m not 40, years aren’t the only thing that puts you over or under the hill .) Having 5 kids in the last 18 years, losing 2 sisters and both parents, 2 marriages and 1 divorce – have all put me in a different category than other 36 year olds.  I surely don’t need anyone’s opinion or approval, because unless you’ve been through it…you can’t possibly understand, and I wouldn’t want you to.  There are days I don’t know how I survived, or what purpose I am to this world… so broken, discouraged, and my innocence turned into anxiety.

Yet, here I am.

My purpose undiscovered? or just unrealized. It may have been revealed to me, and I haven’t accepted it in all it’s camouflaged disguise.  I carry on day by day, physically and when I can’t avoid it, mentally.  Thinking to myself, I feel like I’m dying, my appetites gone but I feel weak, I recognize my red flags of depression. Shallow breathing, body aches from poor posture, numbness from lack of oxygen, when I do eat – I don’t care about what I consume, so it may be junk which causes malnutrition. I’m torn between literally starving to death, or eating to silence the grumbling of my empty stomach. Every noise heightened, causing more throbbing in my temples, forehead, behind and between my eyes. Lack of proper hydration causes my urine ( sorry TMI ) to be more concentrated, risking UTI, and you don’t really care about personal hygiene becomes less of a priority.   My hair is so oily but also tangled, my skin is dull, my face is a reflection of every emotion I’ve ever felt – all the beauty and pain of life, stretched across the facial bones of my skull. You just stop caring, and nobody notices because nobody wants to be around you.  This is dark, but its raw and as true as the cursor blinks with every beat of my heart. Each finger muscle responding too the nerves and neural pathway’s memory, finding the letters on the keyboard as if they were keys on a piano.  No instruments creating vibrations or sound waves, just the tapping and words flowing onto the screen in front of me, now here before you.

This is not the best version of me.  Though I must accept it nonetheless, because it’s part of me, ugly and exposed, like a broken pipe leaking emotional sewage. Who I become despite all the crap life throws my way, is a direct result of how I respond to the joy, pain, and each choice I make.

The best version of me is choosing to move forward, ignoring the pain and fear, then taking a deep breath. Nothing has killed me yet, I must be getting stronger or I must have adjusted and prepared somehow in my subconscious.

Alter Ego – Here comes the sun 🙂

I open my eyes, allowing my senses and surroundings to embrace the fresh chance at a new day. The sun peeks in through the edge of the blackout curtain. Nothing has yet been written in the hours ahead of me. Anything is possible. The fine line between past, present, and future – blinking and breathing as they transition, seconds flash and fade all around me.  Stepping out of the shower; clean, relaxed, and energized. Brush your hair and teeth, pamper yourself with some lotion and perfume. You try on a new smile, put on some makeup to help boost your confidence and walk a little taller. Feeling beautiful, you don’t stare at your shoes praying people don’t stare or scream in horror at the creature before them. The sparkle in your eye, the crooked smirk that appears when someone notices the subtle difference a little “paint on the barn” can make.  As you greet a stranger, you speak with sincerity and wish them a good day – making them wonder what put the spark in her powder keg?              Whatever you do…you give it all you got, tired but determined. Optimism is your drug today, looking for the smallest opportunity to change someone’s frown, helping them through a tough day -because soon enough you’ll be there again, and know that even a glimmer of hope is better than reality. It helps to be able to count on the light in others. We share the light out of selflessness, and it returns in our lowest selfish moments. The higher we get, the longer we float in that weightless existence. The weight of the world lifted, and life is beautiful again.  Thanking God for the bad days, because the good days mean that much more.  It borderlines on being morbid and slightly masochistic.

Where you end up, there you are. You can deny it or accept it, but you’re still you – exactly where you are.

 

About that whole… Living thing..? 

So. First…. My apologies. Life happens. I blinked and 2017 is already halfway over? What on earth!  Someone lay off the gas pedal.  The last 4 months vanished before my eyes.

A little back story for this particular post… Work has been horrendous.  I mean, housekeeping itself in a retirement community does not really change per say, but just the same I will enlighten you as to what inspired my break in silence.  Outsourcing management of any department is risky, outsourcing a vital part of environmental operations can be ugly and painful. Has been.. And doesn’t seem to be improving much.  The person they brought in? Hasn’t worked any job in 8 months.    I can’t believe they thought that this is the best solution for our current predicament. I’d have better luck dressing an alligator for prom!   Pretty boring and full of pointless drama for most… So I’ll just say that things must change.

I previously took coursework towards earning an Associates Degree in Nursing. I’m missing the last portion of Anatomy and Physiology, as well as my certification in CNA, first aid, and my clinical /nursing classes. I basically have my liberal arts/humanities /remedial /psychology classes covered. I earned mainly A’s and a few B’s.  The problem is now that I no longer care to enter this particular field. I wanted to work in NICU. But not sure I can handle the emotional side of it, or the physical demands required of nursing in general.  So… I’ve been cleaning, making beds, and grunt laboring as a housekeeper since early  2015. It’s taking a toll on my body, and mind.

I’m not challenged, or gaining knowledge anymore. Bored. My job doesn’t require a lot of thinking. It’s service, which means put your heart into your work, because you have pride… But don’t leave it out there, because people will use and abuse it. That’s just life in general I suppose.

So the place where I work, posted a corporate secretary position.. And it wasn’t thorough in listing the educational requirements, so I looked like a complete idiot walking in to HR wanting to fill out an interview request form.  They only posted it because it’s policy to give anyone qualified from within a chance.  I guess they realized their mistake and included more info, because the next day a new post was up.

I started having kids at a young age, so my biological clock never made much noise. The nursing school attempt was me trying to figure out what I missed out on after high school, seeing if I could make the grades and achievements so many told me I could. I truly loved learning, the human body fascinates me… But I couldn’t escape reality, or personal life, and so I answered the call of my responsibilities. My family. My Husband lost his job and it was too great a sacrifice for me to continue, it had already caused other problems to creep in..

So.. Here I am. Exploring the possibility of finding a new job, no.. A career. I am willing to put in the time and education, but where and for what?  Finding your purpose is harder than growing a human inside you and birthing it.  You can pick what you want to do with your life, but if you don’t have the tenacity and passion for it.. Why waste your time?  If you are called with a purpose to define your life’s work.. How do you know? Intuition? Research? Trial and error? Some generic career test?   It’s seriously almost as scary as dying.. Or the equivalent of not living. Because death itself does not strike fear in my heart, as it once did.  Getting the opportunity to live, then getting to the end and having regrets for not living…takes my breath away, sending a sharp pain through my core.

How do I live. How do I discover my purpose. My only true limit is myself.. And the process of elimination, which really does not even have to be a factor.. Because you don’t know what you like, if you’ve never tried it. But then again I have tried a few things, so I suppose it is still relevant to the process.  So many possibilities, so many questions.. My brain is screaming “shut down, self destruction pending”.

Days are passing like those scenes in cartoons, where the calendar pages fall dramatically quick, I used to think that it was just an exaggeration.. I’m finding that is not always the case. Somedays creep by, and others I wonder what I did that day.. Because I could have killed someone and not known it. I’m always present and in my right mind, but the more I see how fast it goes… It haunts me. Maybe that’s why the career mode kicked in. Panic has ensued, and my brain says,” oh by the way, you’re closing in on 40, what career do you want?” meanwhile I’m waking up to the fact that, duhhh?, you didn’t think your were just going to be a mom until you’re a grandma, and grandma is only part time.. Soooo women have fought to have the option of being anything a man can be, and you’re doing almost the oldest *respectable* job known to women.  Not that I have a problem with housekeeping, but I’m in pain everyday. I’m bored. The money isn’t realistically enough to support myself or home, should something happen to my husband. So there’s that pressure.  I love where I work, aside from the current drama, and just no longer love what I do.

I’ve applied to be a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the city I live in.  It’s about 8-10k more per year, with 12 hour shifts. The answer will be yes or no. If it’s no, I’ll be content. If it’s yes, I’ll know it’s time to move forward. Maybe I’ll figure out a career through the process of accepting or being rejected. Maybe I just need to wait and be patient? Guess we’ll see.

Sometimes the journey takes you back..

I know nobody is actually reading these posts yet.  Except maybe one person,  after 3 months I found someone I trusted enough to be open with.  She is a God-send.  I have been blessed enough to have found a true soul sister,  and have now found another.  A light in the darkness,  a hand that my heart believes won’t let me fall.  That is a huge deal.

It’s not that I don’t have amazing people in my life that I can turn to for help,  my family and sisters are one of a kind, I love them and know that they love me.

However,  I don’t know if I can open up and feel safe from judgment about my heart and goals.  They do what they know,  and are following their journey on their own path.  I don’t think I know better than them,  or assume I’m right about anything.  I just know that I need and want more from what life currently offers,  but even so..  I think life has more to offer than what we experience day-to-day in our thoughts and monotonous routines.  We just have to believe in our dreams enough to take that step of faith.  The risk of failure is daunting,  but the potential for success is more than worth the chance.

Settling,  accepting that *it* is good enough for now, then getting to the end of life and having a list of regrets for not even trying.  It’s sad, and it’s a weight not easily carried.  It brings bitterness and resentment.  It takes the spark out of marriage,  and allows doubt to creep in.

What legacy am I leaving for my children?  How will I motivate and inspire them,  without attempting and achieving my own goals.

Seriously.

Positive thoughts and hopes for everyone to go after what makes this life worth living.  Including me.

Nobody but you can stop your journey,  but a journey sometimes must take you back,  because we take a wrong turn,  get lost,  miss the exit,  or run into a detour. Sometimes we need to retrace our steps, so we can process and deal with the obstacles that caused our journey to be altered.

I don’t have an end destination in mind.  I used to think it was like the American dream,  with a house and a garden away from the busy city.  That is still part of my dream,  but it may be further away than I had first conceived.  I don’t *need* things to be happy,  and had fallen into that false drive…the one with a checklist,  materialized and cookie cutter,  copy and pasted life.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with gaining insight and inspiration from others,  but be careful about your individual identity,  you don’t need to chase other people’s dreams… You have dreams of your own. Make sure you realize the difference, because you’ll wake up one day overcome by the painful truth and wondering who you are and wear YOUR life has gone.

Peace,  love,  and A. L. O. E

 

 

The theory of authenticity . . . 

This was to be the name of my blog to begin with.  After a week of attempting to name this brain child,  I thought it needs to be more,  but it still felt relative to what I hope to convey .  So here it is ,  the first real entry . . .  My thoughts and hypothesis on what it means to be authentic,  to be real and transparent,  as well as accept it.

Growing up there were so many contradicting words of encouragement spoken to my generation.  I think the fundamentals are still expressed today ,  and there is nothing wrong with either – except that the main idea is confusing in application. What I’m saying is that all those people surrounding us with influence and wisdom ,  would say “be yourself”  but then they were always pushing us to fit in certain standards,  in academics,  athletics,  socioeconomic groups of the insiders and outsiders,  and even religion .

To this day I don’t fit in,  and I’m not sure if it’s my personality ,  or that I never was accepted by any single group completely based on the labels I attained involuntarily .  Maybe I took the “be myself” advice too seriously ?  Because I still have trouble discerning when people are being literal .

I do get lonely,  and don’t really have friends ,  or maybe I do and my expectations are unrealistic , because I don’t have a lot to compare it to .  So I fall to my default social world , yes that blue and white website that most of the time I only go to when I’m bored or curious .  Curios to observe how others think, live,  and adjust to our real world.  I don’t post a lot of pictures,  because I fear more rejection -which is absurd , because I can’t have less friends than none,  unless you count enemies . . And even then,  I don’t think most people even think about me. I don’t have a life outside of work, home,  church,  and a service organization.  So I really can’t have enemies , because I don’t have time to make anyone’s life bad for a minute,  much less a longer length of time that requires strategy and ill intent.  My teenagers swear that my sole existence is to ruin their lives.

I’m not sure really how I’m connecting this to being authentic ,  maybe because I’m exposing my vulnerability . . .  I don’t know if anyone besides me battles with this stuff,  but I have adjusted .  I’m not necessarily happy,  but I’m ok with not having to play pretend and keep my emotions bottled up,  questioning if I can trust “so and so” to actually care enough to pay attention and genuinely just hear me rant or vent to let off pressure.

Most days I’d rather forget about my problems and just find an escape.  I love to laugh.  I’m not trendy,  and I rarely go out to eat or shop.

So there I am.  Mother of 5, who wonders how I ever met anyone to actually like being around me long enough to procreate . I think  at least 2 of my kids like me for now,  and my dogs most days.  Haha.  I don’t really blame anyone,  because I’m around me all the time and I don’t like me. .  But maybe thats because I lack variety.  It gets boring thinking and hearing myself all the time.  It’s like a radio station that only plays the same 5 songs .  . for years,  and you can’t turn it off. . . except to sleep.