Most people and organizations stick to a strong privacy rule of shredding every last piece of paper that provides any personal or private details of their lives. You can’t seem to be too careful. With each day comes a new announcement of breaches of personal information by some person or company; hackers are attacking like fire ants in the hot east coast afternoon.

As we’ve seen the last trailing edge of paper disappear through the high priced cross cutting blades, we are satisfied that we have destroyed the item.

Have you ever belonged to something; a group, a community or an organization you felt so passionate about that you couldn’t imagine doing anything else? Most people have had that feeling before. But, what about when they exited that stage and surrendered their membership and no longer an active part of the machine; what did they feel then. I hope it was pleasant and were allowed to leave on terms that left the feeling of fulfillment, value and fond memories.

I have also belonged to something and felt that passion.  I like to think I was great, that I served a purpose and created a positive impact. It was my second child, next to the beautiful daughter I carried for nine months and gave birth to. I have many good memories. Those good memories are a bit dull and tarnished by the negative memories I sometimetimes feel; overwhelmed by leaving without well-wishes and promises to stay in touch; I wasnt even discarded.

I was shredded. Shredding wasn’t even enough. I was shredded and then burned; making sure that even the most skilled person would ever be able to re-assemble the remnants. My ashes still solder, after many rains, ice and snow. It burns. Some would argue I’ve gotten what I deserve and they may be right, who knows.

No Mas!

Some days I am good; and when I am good, I am great! I mean, like really great.  Other days, my brain feels clouded and like I am in a haze. These other days, I just can’t get anything done and spend the day chasing myself. These other days, I just want to crawl under the bed and hide from the boogie man. Don’t even bother turning on the television, it’s just all bad news of someone dying, persecuted or the world is on fire.

I need some sunshine on my face; enough to bring out my freckles. I love my freckles. They are like snow flakes that are unique and mapped out perfectly for my face. Sun in my hair and lighten it to MY real shade of blonde. Tan lines remind me that this body has been outdoors, usually sweating from a run or an afternoon on the boat.

I have pictures of the sunny me. I just haven’t seen her in person in a while. Care free and without a worry in the world.

Worry. I said it. That is the boogie man that scares me back into bed and under the covers I go.

The Train

Have you ever taken a passenger train to a destination, work or personal travel? Making your way across country, seated in comfortable roomy seat, electrical outlets, extended leg room along with leg rests, a formal dining car, concessions available for your purchase, large windows to view the countryside as you pass by, and a car labeled “observation” made of comfy individual or group seats that are surrounded by windows for a full view of your surroundings to come and go.

This train is somewhat symbolic of life when things are going well; even somewhat so when things are not as perfect as we would like. The common denominator is the speed at which we breeze along the still world outside. Those still features of towns, trees and fields are the moments we miss while traveling along.

We become so distracted with the accommodations, comforts and discomforts inside that we forget to slow down and take in our true surroundings. No longer amazed at the moments we will miss seeing the first words, steps, days of school, performances, activities and achievements of our children. We begin to neglect our loved ones and their needs. Once upon a time, we were consumed with tunnel vision of what truly matters and makes the heart happy.

How did I end up on this train? I don’t recall purchasing the ticket or boarding for a trip I’d gladly miss in exchange for what I am missing or for what I miss because I no longer have or can ever redo. Now I anxiously listen for the conductor to announce the next stop so I can step off and find the quickest way to return to my point of origin, Home.

Happily Ever After, No More

During our early stages in life we are told we will find ‘The One,’ that we will fall in love with, settle down and live happily ever after. A Fairly Tale.
At this point in my life, I’ve learned that fairy tales are just that… tales. The truth is there is no forever. Nothing lasts forever. Our dreams; goals, desires, wants, and needs change with the Midwest wind and are no longer forever. We find something new to chase, a new unobtainable; never satisfied with what we have or achieve.

A Mask and Sticks

When you walk past me, you will see a blonde haired, blue eyed woman. Make up applied and a determined yet friendly face. Sometimes a small look of pleasantry, not for anyone, but it’s part of the mask. Sometimes I wear a smile for someone I see who needs a smile, that is differenced by the expression of the eyes. It is for those who haven’t had anyone smile at them for as long as they have needed it. That smile is for them and a little for me. It is still part of a mask, but it is the compassionate and understanding mask.

I wear those masks most days, except when I am in the comfort of my own home where I can take them off and let the true expressions of her hurt, fear, disappointment, and anger which can be seen in my mirror. There are less than a handful I would ever remove those masks for.

If you are one of the very few that have walked this unpaved, single-person trail through the woods of pain and fear with me, without judging, or pushing too hard; but just walking beside me quietly, you may see me without it.

My masks have fooled many and made them believe it would all be okay. I would be okay. I had my life together and was ready to take on whatever was thrown down in my single-person trail.

I also live in a house of sticks. Carefully placed and camouflaged. From the outside it looks like a house of bricks and stones, held together with the strongest cement. There are no bricks and there is no cement. When the wind blows too hard I have to carefully replace those sticks so they don’t collapse and there is no longer even a house of sticks.

The ficaud of bricks and stones is meant to keep others away and deter them from peeking through the sticks, disassembling them to see what hides beneath…a girl with her masks.

Who am I?

Who am I?  I don’t mean in the literal sense, as if I cannot remember my name and other factual details assigned to my personal identity.   What I am referring to is, how in the world did I ever end up where I am today and what is my purpose?

I am creeping up on a decade of tough decisions and experiences.  Several recent situational  conclusions have left me wondering if I am truly made of the fiber I once believed, or if I have disillusioned myself with a skewed sense of self. I believe myself to be a very polar person in my beliefs and morals. There is always a right and a wrong, at least 99% of the time and I try to align myself with what I believe is right.

The problem is when so many rights (I have fundamentally believed in, to the point of falling on my sword) have ultimately resulted in an outside finding of wrong or incconclusive, it leaves me wondering if I truly know the difference. A difference being uninfluenced by bias or personal experience.  This is a challenging concept to consider or attempt to reconcile myself with, as I intentially try to extract the emotion from a logical and scientific approach.

I would never even subtly hint that I have not been or done something wrong. Many times, wrong is much easier and convenient than choosing the solemn road of right. In the end though, this option generally leaves a feeling similar to a punch in the gut and also leaves me restless.

I am now left with the personal delimna of defining or re-defining ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.  With age we learn from our pasts the experiences of ourselves and others.  Upon consideration and close examination of these options; I am still left, here wandering alone, asking “Who Am I?”

Step On a Crack

We all remember those childhood rhymes ‘step on a crack, break your mother’s back,’ right? However, at that point in our pleasant naitivity we never once thought about how those phrases and sayings would take hold on to us as we age. Age with beautiful, well-earned gray hairs, changes in the flesh that we speak of as if they were some terrible scar that we should hide; and my favorite facial wrinkles. Those wrinkles are well earned and tell a long story of the life I’ve lived, more accurate than my words can ever tell. Those lines by my eyes; they tell you that I have smiled a lot, worried greatly and had many thoughts of great consternation. Why should I or better, would I hide the lines that speak great volumes of the many chapters of this life.

These changes are well earned and should be worn with pride as a badge of honor that say ‘I Have Survived.’  I have lost ones that I love, seen friends succumb to their demons and fought lions. Yes, I have fought lions. Hungry, blood thirsty lions that run in a dirty pride and have attacked me at my weakest. Those lions though, cannot survive without the support of the rest of the pride.  Their numbers are lessened by the one whom dares to take them on or refuses to give ground.

But, who will step in to the center of the pride and challenge their reign?  Perhaps I will be that one little girl that dares greatly and fears not of stepping on a crack. She has seen every crack, bravely taken that step and broken their back, and in the end earned one more line that can only be seen if you get close enough, or can get close enough..her new favorite line, scar or imperfection.  No, that is her perfection!  Read More

Bullying or Criticism

Yesterday and today have been a bit challenging.  I must decide how I feel and will react to decisions that I feel are unjust and have no control over.  I may either roll with the tide as it ebbs and flows or stand firm in my beliefs and draw the line in the sand.  Many of us are faced with the decision of how we will react to similar situations each day.  My challenge is that my moral compass is so intense that I could not willingly ignore the morals, values and sense of right if I tried.  What does one do in this situation?  It is sink or swim.  Sink while trying to hold another above water, or swim in shark infested waters while bleeding from the gaping wound that was last inflicted?

This internal debate makes me weak.  Not in the sense of giving in (I can’t and I won’t), but weak mentally.  It feels like running a marathon each day, but for some reason I keeping running.

I have included a few short thoughts or statements that I have come up with and occasionally reflect on when I am in that marathon with another 6 miles to go.

  • It is not the criticism that I fear; it is how persuasive the critic can be in getting others to believe their opinions.
  • I can accept the criticism, if the critic can accept that in the end I was right.
  • Be careful to choose your own critics. Accept their critique with the value you place in the critic.
  • I don’t need you to point out my flaws. I am already aware of them.
  • When you find yourself fighting out of vengeance and spite, instead of your cause; it is time to get out.
  • What doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger.  It leaves scars.  Scars that remind you that you have survived, that the enemy got close enough to inflict the injury and the memories of the battle.