A Visible Kind of Love

Observing from afar, I wonder why; I wonder if there is something “wrong,” or maladaptive about me, as a person, wondering if there is something I could have done or said better, wondering if I displayed too much of myself too soon.. or conversely, not enough. Truth be told, as I’ve discovered and read about countless times before, not everyone we meet with, engage with and befriend is met to stay in our lives. Some come through as lessons and/or experiences and teach us more about ourselves and what we truly desire than we could have imagined. Knowing this, it is a still a challenge to watch from afar and it isn’t always that I envision what life would or could have been like if that one person had stayed, or continued beside me, but more so, I wonder if I’ll find that kind of interaction or feelings I’ve heard of from so many.

The other night, as I attempted sleep, I stumbled across a series of passages bringing me to tears, as each of them connected with the fractured parts of me I often try to nurse on my own. The tears came without reserve because of how true all the words I read were, how they verbalized all the painful points I experience fairly regularly. It was one of the few times I felt seen and maybe, in some strange way, comforted, knowing that because someone else wrote those very thoughts, that I am truly not alone in my sentiments and grieving. We all deserve to be seen. We all deserve to be heard and recognized. We all deserve the kind of love that makes us feel safe, the kind of love which brings us to our best selves, the kind which empowers and enriches our beings and lives in romantic, platonic and family relationships. With that being said, today is the first of those four passages I’ll share, because they are too true and too relatable to not publicly share, as I feel others may be able to relate, as well:

A Visible Love

Lessons in Living

Since childhood, I’ve been a voracious reader, devouring book after book, relishing in the lives of characters, interjecting my own ideas and thoughts, allowing it to distract me from my life, even if momentarily. Sometimes, in being the active reader I am, I can create unrealistic expectations for my own life, or life in general, believing it could or would unfold in the fictional life I indulge in while reading. When life, things or people turn out to be the opposite of what I expect or hope for, it can often result in disappointment and even me, berating myself for having out-of-reach expectations and ideas.

With that being said, I thought deeply about the passage I stumbled upon a couple days ago and finally felt a sense of comfort, or at least acknowledgment. It can be easy to suffer with a disappointing or disheartening outlook on life after we’re let down either by ourselves, others or life, generally speaking, but each of these experiences teaches us what we need to know, whether we’re aware of it at the time or not. This passage explains and outlines everything I always wanted to say, but wasn’t quite sure how to express:

Lessons in Living

A Watchful Pause

Maybe it was the stillness of the night that did it, the soupy, humid air pulsing through my house and the entire outdoor landscape. Maybe it was laying on the floor trying to comfort and settle myself from the fears of losing perishables and other essential items. Maybe it was seeing Daisy pacing and keeping a watchful eye. Maybe it was the graciousness of my neighbor who gladly opened her doors in the late hours of the evening, leaving me filled with flashlights, bottles of water and full reign of her refrigerator to place items from my own safely inside. Maybe it was her knocking with even more lighting to keep my home as safe as possible.

Wishing for sleep to come and the power to return after a turbulent storm yesterday and through the early hours of this morning, I lay there, contemplating, thinking about and trying to consider all there was to be grateful for. The situation was less than ideal, that was a given and even with the beads of sweat dripping from me, my eyes dried and worn and my body weathered, I was still grateful for the easy breaths I took, the calmness of the summer night and the promise of tomorrow. The hours were long, the heat and soupy air thick and uncomfortable, but I could push through it. In the grand scheme of things, the hours were short, but the lessons were long. Standing in my neighbors home in a mask, with my hair a mess and my clothes wrinkled and dampened with sweat, all I could think about was one word – grateful. We all may not have everything, but we all have something. Loneliness is painful, loss is painful, but nothing is more painful than losing the ability to be grateful; to take a step back, to pause and really think about what the current situation means and what it represents. Though I wasn’t particularly “glad” by any means to be without power yesterday through early this morning, I was glad to be away from other, more pervasive, frightening or even violent situations.

When the power was finally restored, I was quickly greeted by the quote/passage below detailing the importance of remembering and being grateful for the so many things, people and situations we often take for granted. A coincidence in seeing this after the storm of events I’d just encountered? Perhaps, or maybe, a taste of serendipity hard at work, teaching and reminding me of the most important lessons of life.

Remember and Pause

A Chaotic Treasure

The past couple months for so many of us have been characterized by chaos, vast changes, unexpected twists and turns and swift coordination and delineation of tasks and responsibilities. Without question, there have been tears and tumultuous times, but also, moments of happiness, unexpected surprises and moments we never anticipated having in both positive and negative ways. With that being said, I’ve noticed more and more how these changes through the past months have also led to unexpected realizations or maybe positive, encouraging reminders of the strength we always knew we had, but buried deep down. Or, the immense talents and abilities we ignored and locked away due to a busy and active lifestyle.

Stripping away all of the daily routines, travel, and other aspects of a prior life pre-pandemic, so many of us may have forgotten or maybe never knew how skilled in certain areas we actually were. In the midst of these past months, countless parents and caregivers shifted their roles and took on new responsibilities as teachers, perhaps in the midst of it all, realizing how skilled they actually are or how much they appreciate re-reading some of the books they read as a child. Maybe some of us reignited a past love and dalliance with cooking and baking, forgetting how soothing it could be to indulge in freshly-baked bread or cookies, or the smiles on their families’ faces at the sight of a home-cooked meal. Others may have discovered new talents; maybe an interest in painting or drawing was summoned, or poetry/prose. Maybe a musical talent was discovered or rekindled, whether it is through an instrument or a singing voice. Maybe others suddenly realized they could be a caretaker and rescued or fostered an animal, pouring all of their love and affection into a deserving animal in need.

In any case, there are often silver linings even during the most challenging, excruciating times, no matter how minuscule these silver linings may be. Sometimes, it is those silver linings that prove to carry us through, giving us a reason to keep going, to keep trying, and to keep moving our feet to the beat that is life. Yesterday, I stumbled upon the quote below and couldn’t seem to get myself to scroll past it without sharing it today. To me, it serves as a reminder that the hardest points in our lives often pave the way to a discovery of strengths and abilities we never knew we had, or that we suppressed. These times can cultivate connections to others, or maybe even insight in ourselves we always needed, but struggled to find. So many during these times, myself included, were forced to sit with emotions that were easily hidden, or filed away. However, we are making it through, step by step, even despite all the stumbles and though there may be more ahead, these times remind us that we are more capable than we think. Keep going, but remember it is okay and even wise to rest and be content with all you’ve accomplished, no matter how small it may seem.

Brillance Quote

An Autumn Almost

Last night, after watching TV for awhile, I made my way upstairs to my bedroom to settle in and read prior to sleeping. However, when I approached my bed, I suddenly felt motivated to write, so I grabbed my notebook and started composing. Below is my most recent foray into fiction writing. It’s been a bit of time since I last posted something of a fiction genre, so I figured I’d share what I came up with:

An Autumn Almost:

Another passing day and I hear nothing. Each day, I look at my phone, close my eyes and pray I’ll again see your number, but know I won’t. Numbers dancing in my mind, an illusion, a mirage; a code to you, I forever fail to decode. To you, I was nothing; just a person, an eccentric, loquacious female you met once, who you’d quickly file away into your vault of all the others. Is it wrong how I wanted it to be you? The person who would write me letters, the person who would dance with me in synchrony under a thousand stars in a moonlit sky. The person who would gently kiss my forehead and tease me with your infectious touch, threading your fingertips between mine.

Is it wrong how I wanted you to be the last? The one who would unlock the pieces of me once sealed away and chained into a torrent of pain, fear and trepidation? Is it wrong that I go back to that night, that moment under the harvest moon of the October sky?

Maybe to me, it was the moment I’d merely remember, creating a fictitious love story of us; a mere impetus for words lining paper. Maybe you were always meant to be just another “almost,” in a sea of suitors.

Give Love

Floating to the Surface

When experiencing any kind of pain of trauma, albeit emotional, physical or a combination of both, it can often be “easier,” or customary to bury it deep within, stuffing it into a small spot inside of us that does not fade, but rather seeps through in a multitude of ways. It can be easy to think keeping it inside and concealing it will make it dissipate or lessen in some way, but often times, it emerges in ways we aren’t even aware of until months or years later, or sometimes, not at all. Perhaps it is a way of our minds protecting us, not wanting us to continue experiencing the remnants of those painful moments, occasions and periods, but from my own personal experience, letting those excruciating moments and periods stew inside of me only fuels the pain. Reading a book recently reminded me of the years I kept the pain brewing inside of me. The book noted the various occasions within a woman’s life that continued to emerge in different ways because she hadn’t addressed them. It forced me to reflect on my own past, noting of the many years I felt I lost because I tried so hard to anesthetize myself from reliving or thinking about past pains.

Brave Healing

It was only when I became acquainted with a confidante that I started to heal. She encouraged me to share, if not comfortable verbally, but through the written word, which I acquiesced. When I started writing, I couldn’t stop. It was as through the words began bleeding through on paper and never clotting. The words leaked through like a waterfall, the memories flooding through me. Within minutes, pages and pages were filled with the memories I tried so hard to distance myself from, not realizing all the ways in which they marked certain areas of my life, leaving me stranded in the past. Living my life as spectator is a recurrent theme, but I hadn’t connected those feelings to the many occasions of my past, specifically during my senior year of high school until this particular moment. That year, roughly three years ago was the moment when I finally decided to let those painful moments and memories rise to the surface.

The other day, I noticed this passage posted by below, shared by a company I follow on social media and it prompted this very post. Speaking one’s truth, sharing about a painful memory, past or even present can and often is daunting, scary and emotionally-heavy. However, I think it is imperative to note that revealing these thoughts does not need to be public or even verbally; it can be private, written in a journal, recorded in a video or voice recording that is solely for you and you, alone. What I’ve come to realize is that through writing or talking, whether it is publicly or privately, can be freeing. Releasing all the pain inside can be a means and chance for emotional and physical freedom. Seeing the words on paper, hearing them aloud, or however one chooses to release all that is inside is a sign of courage, bravery, growth and a pathway to insight and healing. Sometimes, I look back on the many pages filled with my painful memories, noting of the frayed edges of the pages and the scribbles from ferociously writing, once I got myself started and I realize the pursuit of healing can be a tumultuous path, but an achievable one. Truth to be told, the painful memories of the early days of senior year of high school may never completely fade, but the most important part is setting them free, albeit through the written word. Those memories may be painful, but they also brought me insight, reflection and means to connect to others who may have experienced something equally as painful and traumatic. For that, I am hopeful that others will make a choice to free themselves of the pain, whether publicly, privately and/or through the written/spoken word; in whatever way works for them.

Brave Words

We all deserve to heal and to achieve freedom from a painful past, present or memory. Take a chance on yourself; grab that pen, the voice or video recording on a phone, computer, tablet or a listening ear; there is someone or something listening on the end and a healing that is possible.

Healing Pain

Wisdom in the Past

When I look back on many points throughout my 32-years of life, I can easily note and fixate on all the struggles, mistakes and disappointments. All the many missteps, poor decisions and impulsive or delayed actions manifesting into a torrent of regret, sadness and a melancholy state of mind. Sometimes when I become surrounded by memories of my past, I wallow in these recollections. The preceding days were filled with such times, but then I spotted this wise, relatable reminder:

Wisdom in the Past

When I read it, I realized I often fail to recognize the positives in my past mistakes and misgivings, focusing on the negatives aspects of it, instead of the many positives that are deeply rooted within, if one only shifts perspective. It takes a lot of effort, motivation and perspective change to forgive oneself for all the mistakes and decisions made for when we didn’t know what we know now. Mistakes and poor choices indeed bring me much sadness and regret, but they also bring wisdom, awareness and the ability to share my story with others who may be able to use my experiences as a way to avoid their own heartbreaks.

If there is anything I am hopeful of doing in this tumultuous life, it is learning to be OK and accepting with all I’ve done and lost, because the past is solely meant to be part of my history and not a punishment.

The Wednesday Women

Prior to committing to writing this post, but having already thought of and settled on a title, I hadn’t even realized that today is actually Wednesday. After realizing it is in fact a Wednesday, I took it as a sign that I SHOULD BE writing this post.

This morning, just moments ago, I became aware of something I hadn’t realized; there was really no way I could have known until it was actually revealed to me. Many years ago, beginning from the Fall of 6th grade, as an 11-year-old, my mom returned to the workforce as a part-time preschool teacher. Having taught numerous years in the past, she left for several years to raise my older sister, Hope and I. Re-entering the workforce was a new venture for her, but one she was excited and hopeful for. Upon arriving at the private preschool, she was introduced to the group of teachers who would become much more than solely her coworkers. They became her friends, her confidantes, her team; the ones who she would confide in, laugh with and sometimes, even cry with. Each of them came from their own unique backgrounds with something different to offer, each of them talented and intelligent in their own right. There was my mom and H (keeping her name to this for privacy reasons) both quiet, reserved, intelligent and poised and wise beyond their years. Then there was C, equally as intelligent and confident and with a unique sense of humor. There was K, the youngest of the group, both kindhearted and spunky. Of course, there was Ro (revealing her name for a reason to be detailed as I continue), the matriarch of the group, the one with a creative tact and ability beyond what I can even place into words; the type of a woman who could take shreds of paper and turn it into a masterpiece. She, who altered my sister’s prom dress, she who provided advice and comfort to those around her, she who would do for anyone, no matter what she, herself had or didn’t have.

The beginning of my senior year was the start of a tumultuous foray into early adulthood, one where I was frequently alone and ill. What truly got me through that year, were the days I would work alongside my mom and her team within the preschool. Being there, helping and teaching the children was the treatment proven most effective for me. Whether it was conducting circle time, dancing and laughing with the children, or helping them stir the batter for the corn muffins we baked, for the several hours I worked, it was as though my problems and worries dissipated and were a distant memory. After graduating high school, I commuted to college and at one point, had Wednesday afternoons completely free. Realizing my abundance of free time, I started to drive directly from my last Wednesday morning class to the preschool, arriving just in time for the afternoon naps to begin and the Wednesday afternoon gathering at the long, brown table in the largest classroom within the school. A school-wide two-hour nap time proved to also be the time when all the teachers would gather together at that long table. On Wednesday afternoons, I became one of them, welcomed in to their table, as one of the “Wednesday Women,” the name I thought of as I sat among them. It didn’t matter of the years that separated us, or my condition or who I was; I always felt accepted. We even took our comradeship outside the classroom on one occasion as we attended karaoke at a local restaurant. Sitting among them, I wasn’t that “damaged,” worried and self-conscious teen, but a woman beginning her college education, poised and ready to take on the world.

Friendship 2

Being among the Wednesday Women taught me much more than a classroom ever could. It taught me acceptance, patience, joy, and the importance of maintaining a sense of humor during times that could have broken anyone. Sometimes, it is better to laugh than to waste time worrying about what could or should have been. With this being said, my morning took a dramatic downward turn as I perused social media. Suddenly, I stumbled upon a Facebook post from Ro’s daughter, a woman who I also previously worked with at the school and came to be quite fond of, as we shared my interests and similar sentiments. It was a post detailing Ro’s current battle with Stage 3 Colon Cancer. My heart dropped as I read and took in the words, how she no longer could work, afford to pay her daily bills and treatments. Just a couple months ago, having not seen Ro for many years, my mom and I ran into her in a local home improvement store where she worked for the past several years ago. Seeing her again and hearing her talk felt like a return to the comfort of that table housing the Wednesday Women. Now as she battles for her health, I am at a loss, reading of her struggles and desperately wishing I could help. Unable to help in the financial way she needs, I’m writing this post today, as my form of help, attempting to use my words to summon the care and support she so desperately needs during this time.

Reaching out for help, especially of the financial kind is a very difficult feat for me, one that is a tough pill to swallow, fearing of how it will be received. Though, today I am putting that aside to help another, to help someone who helped me, to help someone who has given so much to her family, friends, and all the children and neighbors she taught and inspired. If you can or if you know someone or an organization who can, please, I encourage you to offer what you can or want to. Please reach out to me directly, if you’d like to contribute or know if someone who would like to.

Friendship

 

No Longer Hidden

To speak up, to reveal deeply-buried or repressed thoughts, to be honest and forthcoming, and to perhaps reveal words, thoughts and ideas that go against the status quo can be frightening. The prospect of speaking up and revealing one’s truth can be daunting, capable of producing such fears that it can silence someone for years to come, or sadly, forever. However, numerous years ago, I stumbled across a quote and stream of ideas, detailing how when we reveal our own truth, our own struggles or even our opinions in general, we can help another and maybe even help ourselves.

Repressing thoughts and emotions and stuffing them down deep inside, can cause them to emerge in unhealthy, uncomfortable ways, forcing someone to live with the weight of unsaid words, or cause resentment. With so many in today’s society now standing up and owning their pasts, detailing their struggles and pains or hidden sentiments and bravely stating their truths, there has never been a better time to allow the thoughts and words holding us back to emerge. To share thoughts publicly takes bravery and courage, but it is an act that can lead to peace, happiness and even rapport with others we never imagined we’d forge connections with. It is painful to feel like silence is the only answer or key to life and so when I stumbled upon the passage below yesterday, I felt it was something I needed to share in hopes that those who may feel they need to be silent, will feel encouraged and inspired and even motivated to step forward:

Speak Truth

Know that your thoughts matter. Know that your experiences, past and pain are valid. Know that there is someone listening, even if you don’t know, hear or see them. Know that there is something to be gained by letting your words fill the air and screen. Know that it is okay to be frightened, but to not allow fear stop your life from moving forward.

Know that your words matter.

A Silent Impact

It can be easy to forget how much power our words can uphold; whether it is internally, externally, verbally, or through the written word. It can be easy to assume what we say or think has little, if any meaning or impact on another, but in reality, it could mean everything and more. It could potentially change the direction of one’s life, finally offering them the insight they’d been searching for, or perhaps it brings them the solace and comfort they need during turbulent times.

Our words, whether we know it or not, whether we’re told, whether we see it, whether it is ever acknowledged, are powerful. It is highly likely that many of us will never know if our words echo in others’ minds, or if they even recall certain words they said. Words can heal, but they can also hurt, words can anesthetize pain or promote it.  For me, personally,  I can think back to countless times from all the years of my life – childhood through adulthood, where certain words and statements others’ made towards me or in general, still resound in my mind. Sometimes, certain words and thoughts can sit with someone for days, weeks, or even years. They persist; they can serve as welcome reminders, or painful memories, and so in saying this, it’s important to think about the power and influence behind them. While sometimes the things we say, to us may seem insignificant and meaningless, to others it can be received and interpreted in a vastly different manner – albeit positive or negative.

We may never know the impact of our words, but one thing is for sure, they can and do have meaning, no matter what they are or how they are said and/or delivered, both verbally and non-verbally.

Words We Say