A person can only be pushed so far.
I really do not know how people do it. How do people continue on peacefully when the world around them is crumbling?
Last week a young mother was shot dead in the middle of the afternoon. From what I understand there was a fight going on between two groups of girls. Someone pulled out a gun, shots were fired, and people ran away. This young mother was running away, to save her life. It didn’t work.
This was in a neighborhood of housing. People live there, sleep there, laugh there, feed their children and sing lullabies. Yet outside at any given moment someone can be shot dead in the middle of the afternoon.
I am so touched by this story, and so entirely confused as to why this violence is allowed to continue. Is it because these people are poor? Is it our cities failing to make security and safety a priority? Is it the crumbling school system, or the rarely existence family support? Is it caused by the onset of the gun culture? Or is it really because the rest of the city and surrounding suburbs just don’t give a sh*t?
We need to take a moment and wake the f*ck up.
Since writing this many months ago, a terrible shooting happened in a small quaint town of about 5000 named Chardon, not too far from Cleveland. One morning before classes started, three students were shot dead. A 4th student is recovering in the hospital and the fifth shooting victim is recovering at home. Three young people shot dead in cold blood by a 17 year old student.
I have pondered the effects of the school shooting and nothing I come up with makes any sense except that we the people have to start caring about each other. We need to teach kindness, and tolerance. We need to teach the basics of right from wrong in our homes. We need to be reminded that people can be cruel and bitter, but usually because they are in a painful place, and they need help. We need to do all we can to build bridges in stead of walls.
We need schools that are safe. And if that means we need police there, then put police there. If it means we need metal detectors then place the detectors are the door ways. We need to take bullying seriously, and we need to listen to our children, especially if they are saying something that sounds off-base or unusual.
We need to wake up to the fact that there are drugs in every school. It’s a fact kids drink and drive, and they have parties and drink their parents booze. Students cheat on test and make trades for homework, and just like always they have unprotected sex.
Parents need to get their heads out of the sand. School administrators need to be fair and consistent when enforcing the school codes. No more hiding the dirty little secrets.
We need to recognize that all students are not the same, some are gay and some students are homophobic. Students are every race and racism is alive and well in America. These are issues that continuously harm our society as a whole. And if we want it to change, each one of us has to personally stand up and say enough is enough.
Regardless of differences each child deserves an education in an environment that is safe physically and emotionally no matter what it takes. And they are not going to get it unless we demand it. They need us now, not later.
Start a conversation, let your voices be heard.
I am seriously finding my focus, after surviving the last horrid holiday season of my life. Spent Christmas eve in the emergency room, my Mother broke her arm in two places and she goes tomorrow to find out if it will need surgery.
We learned that no pharmacies anywhere close to hospitals are open on holidays at 12 midnight, and we met Johnny, the lone pharmacist. He was a double for the assistant on 30 Rock.
Once again, I am reminded that no one else will even consider helping with the care giving. It’s me and my family or nothing. Haven’t seen the siblings since Christmas day.
I am on a mission for change. I mean it. I know its going to be hard because it was hard before… but determination has a key role here.
I’ll catch up soon. Happy New Year – or else!
Nothing accomplished. December has become another month to just make it through. To handle all the crises that came our way and try to do it without total self destruction. Look at me, it’s only the 2oth and I am already writing the month off.
I am in New York, and last night hearing my son tell me he is never ever moving back to Ohio makes me wonder than why the heck am I staying here? My daughter would like us to move some where near the east coast, so she could visit more easily when she wanted. My youngest son just wants to have his own room again. Heavy sigh. (he just informed me, So Cal.)
I don’t know how to handle a situation I can not control. We are not in a position to move anywhere, except maybe locally. Do you know how scarey it is to have to sell your house, and it doesn’t sell? Fourteen months on the market, not one offer. I never want to be there again. I also am not hip on getting a house that requires a bunch of repairs, but we are limited by our budget.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know how other people do it. How do they just start over? That’s one of our issues, we can’t start completely over, because we have commitments and constraints. We hold certain cards, and without picking up a pair of aces I think we are working with a measurable handicap.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t change, it’s just means we have to plan around everything.
For about a week, for maybe 5 days, we thought we had an answer. We believed we made a choice. But now, I am no longer interested in that. Too far and too close at the same time…why bother?
Just got our yearly Christmas news letter from some relatives. I mean seriously, I had to read it twice to make sure my sour mood wasn’t clouding my judgement. Nope, it wasn’t, still as pretentious as ever. Most years I don’t even read it.
Why did I choose to read it today? Because I am an idiot, who feels bad, and wanted to feel worse? No. I think I was honestly hoping for a twinkle light of inspiration. Not to be.
Have I mentioned how stressful the holidays are for me? I swear, the biggest luxury for me would be to avoid the entire Thanksgiving to New Years Day season.
I want to move beyond my dissatisfaction, but it’s inside me tightly holding hands with my lack of clarity.
I can’t tell myself what to do anymore. I can read my own advice and that helps in certain areas, but not this “where to live topic, how to get there, is it the right choice” dilemma. So so complicated.
I am flailing. Holding myself together, with avoidance, denial, and distractions. My own personal brand of ADD. A mental cocktail of sorts. I highly recommended it for anyone, in a messed up situation.
About to go out to dinner…..it’ will be great, I will be in full ADD mode. Cheers!
Hopefully you are in a place where an abundance of joy and love are thriving. Maybe you are visiting your new grandchild for the first time. Maybe you are sleeping in or making an early morning trip to buy bagels for everyone, before a day of cooking commences. Maybe you are hosting and cooking a turkey for the first time ever.
I am having dinner at a restaurant with three siblings who have shown me nothing for as long as I can remember. But the part that really hurts is that during my last very rough year and a half, not a word. Not one single communication. Not a single mention of empathy or kindness. Not one offer of help. Zero compassion. Zero anything.
I don’t expect anything from them and I never will. So for me to write about me being thankful for them, is like person lying about being married. It’s untruthful and I don’t care to live like that. I am am thankless for them.
(sounds harsh to even me, but it’s true)
Obviously, I have a different definition of what “family” means than they do. I carry my idea of family to my family, my husband and my three children and our pets. I even extend that level of caring to my friends and co-workers, even most strangers; ( believe it or not ) that is without breaking normal boundaries.
I’m going to this dinner solely for my 84 year old mother. She asked us to join them and I first said,” No thank you.” She said ,”Well they’re coming over here anyway, whether you come or not.” (we are temporarily living in my mother’s house until we buy our own) I said, “Okay we’ll go.”
What I learn from this is that I am not alone. Many people have families full of dysfunction. This holiday, there will be families who dis-own their own children and grand children solely because of sexual preference. There will be racists remarks made to bi-racial couples who are nothing but deeply in love. Political differences will spark arguments. And I know this is morbid, but there will be Thanksgiving killings today. Some families should just stay away from each other no matter what man-made holiday tells them they need to be together.
So to those of you out there who will suffer through this holiday, acknowledge you don’t have to be thankful for the toxic people in your life, even if you are breaking bread with them or if you are related by blood. Remember you are not alone. Family wounds run deep and never truly go away, this I know. At the table, I will say a silent prayer of support for you and your struggle.
Take this day and be thankful that you can create your own life to be the way you want it to be. Be thankful that holidays only occupy a small segment in the timeline of your life. Be thankful for the lessons learned of how not to be. Be thankful for the people, or person, in your life who is kind. Be thankful for your dog or cat, or whatever little soul you consider part of your family. Be thankful that you have the power to spread kindness to others. Be thankful to know compassion. Be thankful you can express gratitude. Be thankful just to be.
Cheers to you!
Tip: Concentrate on these tips to get through the day.
Inspiration: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie
One-day one-thing: Keep your sense of humor today, as this too shall pass. :)
Wow, can it be happening? Is giving up the same as surrendering?
I wish I knew. Because I am trying , really trying hard to figure this all out.
I don’t think it is, but it’s awfully close.
Look at the note under my photo to the right. I adjusted our goals. I left the old “goals” there so I don’t lose sight of them. Am I changing because we can’t get the other, am I finally learning that there are some things that can’t be left behind.
We all have commitments. And the commitments that we can not or do not want to give up are what holds us back. You can have all the open mind you want but you have to be realistic. Yuck! I hate being realistic. It’s no fun.
On the flip side, once you look at the circumstances realistically, it may be easier to focus. Which is another one of my weakest skills. Focus. Blah.
I don’t like the idea of giving up. I don’t like not getting what I want, in others words, “failing.” And I hate to feel limited. No one like those things. To top that off, once again, I find I am quickly re-learning lessons of compromise and patience. (more of my weaknesses)
Sure, I can change my perspective. Easy peasy. Change your mind change your world. (I do believe in this) But to do this at the same time I am redefining our goals, well, it seems a bit disingenuous.
So am I giving up? Maybe. But not without getting something out of this. I have a plan to do something new, to try something, it’s a small independent business not like our other business at all. It would be mine and have absolutely nothing to do with servers and corporate events.
I think I can manage to make this all work together. And that idea right now is what is rumbling inside my brain and holding me together. Keep thinking. Cheers!
Tip: Realize that life is full of unpredictable events, attempt to be flexible.
Inspiration: ” Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ~ Albert Einstein
One-day one thing: On strike until the children go back to school. :)
Well, a few weeks ago, we placed a bid on a house. And that stopped me dead in my tracks on my journey to living better with less. I thought I better not get rid of anything until we find out if we got the house. Well we didn’t get the house. I wont go into how perfect is was for us, because then I start to cry. I am not depressed, I swear. But I get really sad when I think about that house, because I knew we should have offered more. I didn’t follow my instinct.
Trust your gut feelings always; no exceptions
So like a wounded wild animal I am ready to lash out at all this crap in my life. Look at the mess inside this garage. It’s embarrassing. I didn’t even take photo of all my lawn furniture that’s in the driveway and patio. Winter’s coming. Snow flakes fell today. I am going to be ruthless. I swear. Watch out sh*t, you are going to hit the fan.
Bird feed, I am giving you all to the birds on the same day, today. Eat like kings little birdies. A bunch of old liquor, I think I will dump it down the drain. Garden hand tools: keep the best sell the rest. I have to sort my framed photos one more time and move the “keepers” inside, because they will just get ruined in this damp garage.
I am never going to get over losing the house.
It’s funny what a “house” does to you. It changes everything. I am not sure that is a good thing. Because I stopped. I stopped doing what I really wanted to do. I stop dreaming of new places. I put my goals on hold. I think I even stopped breathing. I was holding my breath waiting to hear. I fell back into old habits of placing importance on “things.”
I am so torn between what I know, what I’ve learned and an unknown future. I really thought we were close to a solution which in turn would become our decision. Now we’ve returned to the unknown.
To top off my disaster-week, I had to tell my husband I agreed to go out to Thanksgiving dinner with my mother and my three brothers who don’t even acknowledge our family exists. Why would I would I agree to such a dumb-ass thing? Well because until we find/buy a house, we are living in my 84 year old mother’s house. (I like to think of it as my Dad’s house, but he’s no longer living. ) She asked and she let me know that the “boys” were coming over here for cocktails before dinner regardless of whether we joined them or not. How lovely. So I said yes.
Post Script: I will make sure Thanksgiving a nice day for my husband and my children and our dogs. That will be easy. I like the idea of no dishes, and no cooking, so this will be okay. And two or three hours of dysfunctional-family-torture won’t kill us. We will be counting our blessings, that’s for sure! Because no matter what,through thick and thin, I have my Husband, my children and our animals. That’s all I need.
Tip: Never search for “tummy” or “gut” on Google.
Inspiration: “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~ Oscar Wilde
One-day one-thing: Make plans for Thanksgiving weekend, it’s a fun weekend don’t let it slip away.
I, like many other people find themselves always seeing a digital clock that says 11:11. It’s uncanny for me. It can happen when a clock isn’t even set to the proper time. Sh*t happens in my life and then I look at the clock and say, “Guess what time it is? 11:11 again.” This doesn’t happen to anyone else in my immediate family, just me.
Today is the grand day 11:11:11, and I was told to go buy 11 lottery tickets or something to that effect. I don’t know, the way my luck has gone recently I am not sure I even want to do that.
This is what I know for sure. My greatest luck steams from my greatest love, my Husband. When we got married, we didn’t know if we would ever be able to have children. I vividly remember stopping for a margarita, and tears welling up in my eyes telling my husband, “I’m never going to get pregnant.” I shouldn’t have been drinking because I was already pregnant. We had no idea that the next two would arrive on their own. Which was pretty much immediately after our first was born. They are called Irish triplets, three babies born in less that three years.
When I was twelve or thirteen I was in a huge car accident. Last thing I remember as the orange Chevy Nova with black stripes rolled over was the interior dome light, it was white with a flower pattern, I can still see it clearly. I have been in
five six car accidents total, three fender benders and three very major. When I was about twenty I completely totaled a car. The cop that drove me 15 miles to the hospital stayed in the waiting room. He asked if I was sure I was okay, and then asked me out. I was too stupid and self absorbed to even consider how incredibly caring and kind he was. I was young and naive, I thought everyone in the world was thoughtful, nice and kind. He said it was a miracle I was still alive. I had no clue until days later when I actually saw the car.
I’ve got a million of these stories. They all live in my past. Some aren’t so happy and some hurt a lot. I struggle with my past like everyone else, yet I also know how blessed I am. How do I balance this? I have hurts that I can recognize for what they are. I know that I can’t change them, but the hurt lingers deep down in at my core. I don’t dwell on these hurts anymore, thank God I am past that stage. But to be quite honest I thought that if I didn’t think about them, or dwell on them, they would vanish. That’s not how it works, folks.
They are part of me. All the scars, physical and emotional, all the lines in my face and everything else you can’t see is what make me; me. The same goes for you. You are a total of your thoughts and all your experiences, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful up until this very point in time.
The cynical side of me says, I guess this just means; that which doesn’t kill you make you “not-dead.” The better side of me says, I am so fortunate and so grateful and everything that has happened brought me to who I am now.
Moving forward should be a cake walk. It seems obvious to me that we should concentrate on making every experience as positive as humanly possible. This would build more of the beautiful and good inside and less of the bad and ugly. Makes perfect sense. Right? Right.
BUT – I got hurt yesterday emotionally. Words were said that hurt me at my core. I let those words in. I couldn’t brush it off. Even when I was angry inside, I was aware. I told myself , this isn’t good for me let it go. I rattled off unkind words (f-bombs uncut) when driving alone in my car, and kept telling myself to stop. I felt out of control. I was so hurt, in tears, in shock and really angry.
Truth is I am not powerless and either are you. I handled the situation incorrectly. I should know by now, that this person will take any opportunity to hurt me rather than help me. I should be alerted by a warning signal when this person opens their mouth. ( Is there an app for that? )
What I should have done was laugh out loud and say something like, ” Now, you’re just talking crazy talk” or “You’ve got to be joking” and left it at that. Or better yet, I should have ignore it all together and walked away. I really should have walked away without speaking.
But I couldn’t leave it alone, I asked “What did you say?! what did you say?! I’d like you to say that to my children!” I slammed the door as I left. I was train wreck.
I hope this time is the last time I have to learn this same old lesson. Big heavy sigh.
Anyway that was yesterday. Today is Friday. The best Friday ever 11-11-11 and I am about to win 11 million dollars. Cheers!
Tip: When someone kicks you when you are down do not respond, just walk away.
Inspiration: “You are what you think … geez, that’s frightening.” ~ Lily Tomlin
One-day one-thing: Splurge. Do something for yourself.
This is a tough one. Once we decide we don’t like doing something, or maybe we decide we don’t like our boss or our job, we subconsciously sabotage ourselves. Especially if we are in a position where we still need to do the work, or be around the people we disdain.
All the time you [I] spend disliking something, is time we never get back. Plus all that negative energy is what we are feeding our own souls. You would never feed platefuls of negativity to your dog. Would you? No way. That would make for a very wounded pet and it’s just plain cruel.
Negative thoughts and the energy contained within those thoughts cause stress. This is something we all know. And stress sucks on so many levels, it’s even been tied to disease.
(When my children were little they weren’t allowed to use the word- “sucks” – now it’s commonplace….lol at myself)
Anyway, think of your emotions and attitudes as food and carefully choose what you want to eat for the day. I would classify hatred and hostility as poison and anger as saturated animal fat. On the flip side, happiness and love would an awesome organic salad with a tall glass of fresh homemade lemonade on a beautiful summer day.
You don’t have to change your desire to upgrade your situation. Not at all. But while you are stuck find the good, concentrate on that and keeping looking for other options.
I once heard this saying, and I have no idea where, but I suggest you try it today. If you find yourself facing a challenge do this: Pretend that everything is easy.
One time my Daughter and I used this phrase, and we found ourselves laughing through the pain, because it wasn’t at all “easy.” On that difficult day pretending made all the difference in the world. Cheers!
Tip: Your emotions are a bigger part of you than your physical body. In other words, you are what you think.
Inspiration: “It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacityfor love and happiness, the light has been turned on.”~ Sharon Salzberg
One-day one-thing: Sort a box of “important” papers, the box you ignore because it’s so important.
Magically, some how I was able to paint, raise children, work, clean, list paintings to sell, walk the dogs and go shopping, carpool kids, plan vacations, watch sporting events, join friends for lectures, belong to book clubs and enjoy social events, all at same time. I was super woman.
What the h*ll happened to me?
Devastation and deep depression. Only the devastation was far less to be worried about, now looking backwards. The depression, which I definitely categorize as pure sadness was so real. Our business was struggling, my Mother became ill, my children were all leaving the house for college at the same time, a lifetime friend betrayed me, my other good friend died, and we couldn’t sell our house which had become to expensive for us. And don’t even get me started regarding the IRS. Dealing with all these issues was difficult at best.
So this is what I did. I started a blog just for me. I called it my sad blog. I wrote how I felt. If nothing more it provided an outlet. Every morning I would sit down get coffee and listen to two songs and I would write as they played. Sometimes I replayed them over and over again.
I played this one first: the house that built me
Then I would play this one: you haven’t seen the last of me.
These songs brought me comfort and put a voice and words to my feelings. However they also made me cry. You see I could barely speak during this time. Most times I would try to talk, tears would start flowing, all on their own. Sad slow tears would well-up and peacefully roll down my cheeks. I was a mess. I wore sunglasses to work, closed my office door, fell behind on everything I needed to do. I stared out the windows or at the screen. There was no relief. None.
During this dark period there were moments when everything was going to be fixed. Once we were close to working a deal with the bank, or the time we almost merged with a company in Connecticut. We were in final stages in both instances. Hopes were high, everything was making perfect sense, everything look good, then boom. Neither deal closed. Up and down, hope and disappointment. Repeatedly.
I was broken.
I continued to do what I could, which wasn’t much. Here is one entry from my personal blog:
Sad but True
The best part of my day is knowing it will end.
Right now I can say I am better. Much better. I have listed some of the things and people who helped me to pull myself up and out of my sea of despair. (btw- I am allergic to all antidepressants, so they ended up not being an option)
1.) I joined Cross-fit. (thanks Libby ) That helped me with my energy level, attitude and it boosted my self confidence. Plus I got stronger. Even though it was really expensive it was well worth the investment.
2.) I started to get rid of all the useless stuff in my life. Thus the birth of the “Unpack the Rat.” I was doing the work anyway and I thought I may as well write about it, so I could recognize my wins and grow though the process.
3.) I started to embrace ideas which I always admired but I never truly believed they could ever fit into my life. I made room for new ideas. In other words, I believe in possibilities once again.
5.) I stopped trying to prove myself to anyone. I am what I am, either like me or not.
6.) I let go of any shame. The financial disaster didn’t just hit our business it was global. Our business was categorized as “small enough to fail.” (my choice words for the “selected” bails-outs sound like this @#$% ^%$@#%)
7.) I stopped pretending everything was okay. Then I identified what I could change and what I couldn’t change.
8.) I learned who had my back. It wasn’t my siblings or in-laws. I acknowledge that those family members are never going to change. I stopped wishing for, hoping for and expecting something that never did, and never will exist.
9.) I looked to my husband. I realized without him I am nothing. He is the love of my life. And he is my rock. He has my back – forever and always.
10.) My children are among my greatest loves. They are my are super heroes, helping, never complaining, and always offering up the bright side of life. I can’t even list how many ways they have supported and inspired me during my life. I am so very proud of each of them.
The list could go on and on, so many other people deserve my gratitude. Some of these people I know well. Others, I don’t even know their names.
Anyway, time eventually ran out and I had to tell my kids we were losing their childhood home. I felt we let them down. I was ashamed to tell them we sold our house to the bank. (We were lucky to do that, we avoided foreclosure.)
My one son said to me, ” It doesn’t matter Mom. Home is where ever my family is.” I was stunned by his comment. I will never forget his kind and wise words.
Perspectives from those I love and those who love me helped pull me through. I take it one step at a time, and I still have a long way to go. But I have faith we will get there some day. And that “there” will be a place that we all will call “home.”
(I would like to add, this took me well over a year. Maybe as long as 18 months, and still to this day sadness creeps in. At least now I know I can somehow, some way, make it not hurt as much.)
Tip: Know who is your real family, and always keep the door open for new members related or not.
Inspiration: One of my daughter’s message of encouragement.
One-day one-thing: Getting back to de-cluttering: Sort your cosmetics, first-aid inventory and general bathroom supplies. These items expire, forget how much you paid for them, they are useless clutter.
PostScript: Just moments after writing this I was slammed with yet one more enormous disappointment. I know why people turn to drugs, prescriptions or not. I know. I am growing so very tired of the fight, but I can’t give up, I’ve work too hard to get here. I’m grabbing a beer. And maybe I’ll read my own posts, how to stay up, and faith in not knowing and then again maybe I won’t.
Cheers with a smile. :)
I am forcing myself to get back on track and I am mentally trying to re-charge my journey to living better with less.
What I didn’t expect were the results of continually being in the sorting mode. While in that mindset, you have time to repeatedly concentrate on what’s important. What is a keeper and what isn’t. It goes for all parts of your life. It even effects how you chose to spend your time. It effects how you view people in your life and of course at the material level, what stuff stays with you.
I don’t care much about the material stuff. I really don’t even want to sort it any longer. I’d rather make a list and pick out the very basics I want to keep and chuck the rest. It would be so easy to start with an empty house and hand pick exactly what I need from my stored inventory. We are so far away from that fantasy.
It’s a lot of work to sort the contents of three story house with an attic, a basement and a two car garage. Especially since I spent the better part of twelve years filling it with “stuff.”
I am guessing I am in the middle of my journey. I still struggle with decisions and with changing habits. I struggle with my new ideas clashing with society and expectations. I struggle with sorting people.
The key here, for those reading. Stop buying stuff you don’t need. The tried and true method of want vs. need is the golden rule of consumerism. Don’t buy into the theory propagated by the mass marketing campaigns. None of it is true. The only thing that matters to corporations is money. Personally, I don’t buy much at all anymore. How could I? I don’t even know what I have. I opened this box (shown below) the other day to my surprise – viola! I didn’t even know this existed.
Also remember do not own other people’s issues. It is nice to be concerned, but you can’t take their issues on as your own. Do your best but keep yourself uncluttered from other people’s drama. If you don’t, it will eat you alive. I believe experts refer to this as reasonable boundaries.
I starting think about minimalism, and now I’m in to psycho babble. So be it. I’m not certain where this will lead, but a refuse to stop now.
Tip: Make a wish list of one of more items that you really want but can’t afford. Look at this list to curb your impulse spending.
Inspiration: “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again. ” ~Flavia Weedn
One-day one-thing: List name brand jeans that no longer fit on Ebay.