The Apology

There is a saying that one of the hardest things is to accept an apology that was never given by someone who was never sorry.  I won’t say that it is the hardest, but it is definitely up there. The reason that it is so hard is that you have no choice but to deal with things yourself, to work through what ever happened yourself. You do not have the benefit of a conversation, of closure, of setting things right, understanding and perspective.

And many times people do not apologize, which is a shame, because an apology can be one of the most healing things out there.  This is something I experienced first hand last night.

The man who has lived with me the longest, who was as close as a husband to me more than any other man, sent me a beautiful text. And it was shocking.  Out of the blue, he apologized for all the hurt, all the pain, all the doubt, all the frustration, all of the bad that he was responsible for in our relationship.

I left that relationship 12 years ago, and accepted the fact that no apology would ever be given on certain  things.  And I moved forward, worked through it and eventually forgave, on my own. He and he and I have had conversations since then. But this text was different. He did not make excuses, he did not place blame, instead he explained why certain things happened, how he felt and what he understood at that time.  It was incredibly enlightening and healing.

I called him and heard the sincerity in his voice and his words.  And I cried.  All these years, all this time, and even when I had worked through everything, there was so much healing.  He even said he was sorry that I had to figure out the healing on my own too.  That should have apologized a long time ago and that he was sorry it took him this long. Because even if we were not going to be able to work things out, I should not have had to carry the burden of the relationship and all the healing on my own.

It takes a lot of strength to apologize, maybe that is why some v=never do – because they are not strong enough to look at themselves objectively and admits their faults to another. an apology makes you very vulnerable, and yet it shows such courage. He also said that to him, this was truly the first sincere apology. He said you cannot truly apologize unless you understand not only what you are apologizing for, but what it did to the other person.

Who would have thought that two  little words could mean so much and show so much. He took  responsibility for his part in it, he understood why and he understood how what he did had affected me. And in apologizing, he validated me. And that is truly a gift for which I will be forever thankful.

Never underestimate the poser of apology. Never underestimate the healing it can do, the importance of it, the totality of it and the relief of it.

For years I carried the burden of that ending.  Now I can set it free.

Fall Fantasies

There is a time when you can feel the air change, and you know it is the change of seasons.  You can feel it, sense it, and taste it.  This is where I am not, figuratively and literally. The air is much cooler over the last few days and the freshness tastes delicious.  It is the flavor of all the new possibilities coming down the line.

The summer has been long and arduous.  But much growth has happened, which has taken me out of for the change that we need in life. But isn’t that the case in life?  Being outside of our comfort zone is often the precipice for change.  Whether we are placed there by circumstances outside of our control, or we walk outside on your own, everything we want is on the other side of fear.

And I am tired of the discomfort that has been present this summer.  It has been hard, and now that the air is cooler I know that change is coming. I have grown out of my skin so it is time to shed my old self and make a new life. I know that it is time to let go and breathe easy.  It is time to explore and see the world around me with new eyes. I have no one but myself, so I will make this the life that I want and have always dreamed.

And this is exciting.  I am free, I have a wonderful support system and love is everywhere around me. It is time for the move; it is time to make more memories, go to festivals, drink cider, pick apples, enjoy the changing of the leaves and the cool weather.  It is time to not be weighed down by the past and those in it.

It is time for…fun.  It is time for fall. Which for me is this magical, wonderful time after the activities of the summer and before the rush of the winter.  And make no mistake, it is fully my intention to enjoy every moment, every second, every bit of laughter and fun and sunshine and rain and day and night.

Celebrate

This is a bit of a strange week for me as it is packed with anniversaries and birthdays.

The biggest one is Labor Day as it was Dad’s birthday, September 2nd. The Four -Pack always celebrated by heading down to the family compound and sharing beer, food, laughter and gifts  – and socks. I always had to give him socks.  It‘s a tradition.

I have done the Mother’s Day thing. I celebrated Mom’s Birthday, both the first since she passed.  And I have celebrated Fathers  Day…but what do I do for my father’s 81st birthday? Celebrate in way that would make him happy.

This will be a wonderful holiday weekend of friends and family and love and laughter and new.  Of renewed heartbeats and faith and hope. And sunsets and sunrises and adventure.

August 29 was an anniversary of sorts too. It was six years ago that I was brutally strangled. It took yeas for the legal fight to be over and years to recover emotionally as well.  So why would I celebrate? Because I remember saying that one day I hope that I don’t even remember the date because my  life is so full that there is no room for that memory.  Indeed my life is that full.  I did not remember it until a friend reminded me.  And it dawned on me..I was so busy and happy and fulfilled that I didn’t even notice.

I was also going to get married on my Father’s birthday that year, in Barbados.  Not many people know that.  It was a beautiful area, with an arch on the cliffs right above the water.  I am also grateful for the wonderful, amazing people I met on that trip, who are still friends with me to this day.

And so it is, this holiday weekend of celebration.  Starting off with a  homemade dinner with family and friends – another dinner party.  I love when my house is full and memories are made. Then an out of town trip with more people dear to my heart, for hard work, hard play and maybe a ride in a hot air balloon.

And that is how I will honor and celebrate my father, myself and this life that has been given to me.

Positive Pink

We all have insecurities and vulnerabilities  That is part of being human, and going through the human Experience.  Every one of us have had “fat days”, bad hair days, bad make up days, or just days were we felt like we looked horrible. Men feel it too, seeing small fit guys on TV, or running around their office. Let’s face it, all of us know that none of us are perfect.

And yet there is almost a need to remind people of their flaws, hitting those insecurities and vulnerabilities right on the head. The worst is when it happens to kids.  But adults get it too.

I recently saw a speech that musician Pink made when she accepted the Vanguard award.  She talked about how her hdaughter said that she felt like the ugliest girl, because the kids said she looked like a boy with long hair…

Just another reason to love this artist.  I swear she is my spirit animal and one of my insorations. Truth be told people have made fun of me all of my life too. I was always the strange one, always to one who was writing, or had the big vocabulary no could could really understand.  But I refused to change.  Why should I change because of someone else’s opinion of me?  Who are they? And why should their opinion mean anything to me?

But more than anything that people love to say when finding fault and making fun of me, if the drama queen, over dramatic, brought it on yourself card.

There was victim blaming when I was attacked (6 years ago to the day today).  I deserved it, there was something wrong with me, I brought is on myself, I asked for it and I was being dramatic when  talked about how bad it was (never mind the pictures).

Fast forward to now, the most recent: My siblings telling me that I am just a drama queen causing trouble and bad things that have happened is life finally catching up to me. One telling me before Mom died that I was being overly dramatic and exaggerating – when I would beg them, someone, anyone to please, please, help me get Mom to a doctor because there was something wrong with her, she wasn’t eating and was becoming anorexic.  I begged and said that if someone doesn’t help her, she will slowly starve herself to death and die from malnutrition.

And indeed she did, it is even listed as the cause of death on her death certificate. For three long years I warned everyone, while others made fun of me. And I did not change.

And my most recent ex, accused me of being a drama queen when I was so upset that he cheated on me with prostitutes and strippers. Called me a drama queen when I said I had to go to the funeral home to see my father’s body and to please do not have my utilities turned off the day after Dad died. And I did not change.

So let me make this very clear to those of you who read this blog on a regular basis and all others who made fun of me – Do you see me changing to please you?  Do you see me not telling the truth?  Do you see me shying away from telling my thoughts or opinions? Do you see me not talk about the things and people in my life on this blog? Do you see me change the way I conduct my life? Do you see me change my writing style? No?

Do you see me living a happy life?  Do you see me smiling?  Do you see me following my dreams? Do you see me being a successful writer, who makes a great living (and who now has a book deal)?  Do you hear me sing because my soul is light and happy? Do you see me glowing and laughing and working on projects that I only want to work on? YES.

So I’ll cash my checks and place my bets
And hope I’ll always win
Even if I don’t I’m f*cked because
I live a life of sin
But it’s alright
I don’t give a damn
I don’t play your rules, I make my own
Tonight
I’ll do what I want
Cause I can- Pink – ‘cuz I Can Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Because, as Pink said, we, those who are made fun of, do not change. We become what inspires change in others. We, by standing strong and firm in the comfort of our own skin, our own mind, our own knowledge of ourselves, make the rest of the world see that they need to have more compassion and understanding.

And indeed, I get messages every week about those who have read my words and been inspired.  It is my honor and privily to inspire, to create, to make someone think or feel or discuss.

To those of you who tear others down to make yourselves feel better – Take a seat. Work on yourselves so that one day you too have peace and are comfortable within yourself. And then maybe you will see the many different kinds of beauty in others and in the world.

Here is a little secret, I don’t care what you say or think, because I am too busy living a great life, surrounded by amazing people who love me. So those who say bad and disparaging things about me, please continue.  You not only have my permission but my blessing as well.  If that is the most constructive thing you can find to do in this world, if I am the best thing you have to talk about…then that is sad.  And I do not change.

And to all those like me who have been made fun of, or picked on or had your vulnerabilities exposed and exploited so that they felt better about themselves…YOU are beautiful. YOU are perfect. YOU are enough. Don’t change for them.  They know nothing about you, your soul, your depth or your life.  So you go on being your bad ass self.  And one day, I promise you, you will find your tribe, your people who will love you just the way you are. In the meantime, dazzle the world…

You being you can change the world. Your drum, your thoughts, your beauty, your wonder, you, yourself, are so much more powerful and beautiful than you know.

 

 

 

 

Pray with the Moon, Dance with the Sun

There are times in life when we do not know how it will actually turn out, but we hope and pray for what we need.  We have to take a leap of faith and just believe that it will all work out OK. And it usually does.  But that does not change worry and anxiety on how to get there.

This is where I am.  There are a lot of wonderful things on the horizon, many opportunities and chances.  And I know what I hope, what I need and what I want.  And I am working toward those things every day.  But it is cutting it close to the line and that is far outside of my comfort zone.

And I pray in the moonlight, when it is dark and quiet.  When shadows are close and crickets are out.  Where the soul meets the mind to talk to the heart, this is where I pray, in the light of moon. And I pour my heart and soul into life, one breath at a time. I work hard, play hard, pray hard and believe hard.

And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling. – Shanti

But there have been so many changes in the past year or so, so many goodbyes, so much loss.  Life doesn’t look anything like it did a 12 or 18 months ago, and two years past seems like millions of miles behind me, and indeed it is.  I am not the same person, this is not the same life.  I have had to stand up, figure out and fight or defend in ways that I never thought I would. And in all of it, I have kept my ethics and dignity intact, my sanity is another story…

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

Life has a way of changing you, bending you, even if it does not break you.  The ground shifts and you must adapt. Thinking on your feet can be a challenge when the rug has been jerked out from under you.  So we may struggle to find our place, our part in the world. But what if when the dust settles we are where we are supposed to be all along? And all that worry and stress added nothing to the journey? In life, isn’t that usually how it turns out anyway? So just hold on for ride.

“When you are truly genuine there will invariably people who do not accept you. And is that case, you must be your own badass self, without apology.” – Katie Goodman

And what about those people who leave in the middle of your struggle or from whom you have to walk away?  Don’t worry about them.  Life is about a series of letting go, breathing in and moving forward.  If they want to return to your life they will have to catch up.  You can’t be bothered or concerned with them or their perception of you.  That has been a hard one for me to learn.  But if I tried to please everyone, I would lose myself, and that is never worth it.

There is a saying that worry steals all the joy out of the present moment.  This is true. So how do you stop worrying?  I am not exactly sure, but what has worked for me is a combination of prayer, meditation, faith and hard work.    And the belief, no the knowledge, that everything will work out, somehow.  You must make a decision to be happy as you reach your goals and make the life that you want.

Magic happens when you do not give up, even when you want to .  The universe always  falls in love with a stubborn heart.

What if a little bit of worry still seeps in sometimes, with the ever present list of what ifs Believe anyway.  Move forward anyway. Have faith anyway. Something will happen.  And when it does, you can step out, into the sunlight and dance knowing that magic still exists. You just have to believe and have faith.

Make Peace with the Pieces

One way or another, we all of to come to terms and make peace with the decisions we make in life, as well as the things that are out of our control.  That is part of the Serenity prayer.  At some point, all of us have to handle our inner demons, maybe even befriend them.  Because until we do, life will not be as good, as productive, as magnificent as it could be.

It is late and I think about the situation now, with my life and family.  There are always things that are out of our control, and then there are the choices that we make. It was no one’s choice for Dad to get cancer or for Mom to get so sick and depressed.  It  was out of our control any of that would happen  But it did, and sometimes there was anger, and maybe a little still.

No one can escape loss in life.   But there are enough things in this world that are out of our control that we should be at peace with the things that are.  To me it makes sense to be mad, at painful things that you cannot control, but I do not understand those who get angry and blame others for there own decisions, or having to face the consequences of those decisions.

For instance, I remember my ex telling me that he had lost everything – his home, our relationship, my Dad, me, his job at the time – and that he was angry and felt lost.  But he choose to walk away from all of that. He left me, he left our house, our relationship, and he had done things at work that caused him to loose his job – all his decisions.  He decided to go to prostitutes and strippers, he cancelled last minute and decided not or go to couples counseling, he walked out of the last conversation we had. So I understood him feeling lost, even remorseful, but not angry.   Doesn’t he get tired of being so angry all of the time?

The same with my 3 siblings.  The situation with my Dad, their mom and my Mom were out of their control – they were only children and I wasn’t even born yet. But they three of them chose to not have a relationships with any of us until very recently.  But I do not understand their anger at me, or them not acknowledging their decisions and the consequences.  Doesn’t it get exhausting being so angry all the time?  And isn’t it exhausting being suspicious and blaming others all the time?  It seems like that would be a terrible way to live life.

If I am honest, there is still  pain left to deal with after the last 18 months.  I still love and miss my parents,  I do not understand or quite grasp that the man who held me as I sobbed after Mom passed, is the same man that tried to get my utilities turned off the day after dad died.

And those are things that I cannot control, but I can control my reactions and whether or not these people with anger and issues are in my life.  And whatever I do and whatever decision I make, I must make peace.

How do you do that after a long and painful time?  I do not know.  Except to pray and have faith.  To believe that you have the right to be happy and that you deserve to not have people around who blame you and everyone else in life on for their decisions. The fact is that life is made up of may pieces, many people, many situations, many loves, many friends, many beliefs and many, many other things.

I have often said that that which gives you peace will give you happiness.  So if you are not happy, then take a look at the pieces in your life and see what you can do to let go of the angst.  Make piece with those peaces so you can move forward.  Peace of mind makes a very comfortable pillow.

The Dinner

Facebook memories, they have a way of getting to us. Making us remember things, places and people that maybe we had forgotten.  Sometimes they bring a smile, or a laugh, or even a tear.   Yesterday, this Picture showed up in my memories and the worked stopped  It was bittersweet to see.

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A family dinner back in 2013.  My sister and nephew we living with me, and Mom and Dad came up for a visit.  Actually, Dad came up for a chemo treatment.  But I remember this dinner in particular because it was so wonderful and filled with love.

It was before both Mom and Dad were so sick.  And I lived in this little town home not far from where I live now. It was small and not fancy, 3 bedrooms, all of which were neng used.  When Mom and Dad stayed, my sister and I would share my room, then my nephew stayed in his own room and Dad would sleep in my sister’s room.  Mom would sleep on the couch where it would bother her back the least.  It was crowded, but so full of love.

And I was blissful when they were all there.  My hone, my little humble place was the epicenter of family and love.  I cannot even express how happy I was at this dinner where my sister made her delicious home made chicken fettuccine Alfredo. There was laughter and jokes and smiles and more love than I thought possible.

Dad had to eat salad though, as he had been having health issues aside from the cancer, and we thought he had to be on a vegan diet.  Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of man and very used to southern cooking.  During this time we made all kinds of strange things to hep him adjust.  I bought vegan recipe books and we made him fried mushroom burgers, tofu rice, quinoa and  lots of fruits and veggies. Thank goodness he did not need to stay on that diet.

After dinner, when Mom said she ate too much, my nephew smiled ad said just fart and make room for more.” We all laughed. We would all stay up late and talk and wonder and just love each other.  Dad would go to bed early and remind us to “keep it down to a dull roar.”

How I miss those days.

And that is what this picture, this memory means to me. A time when we were all together, eating and enjoying each other;s company, knowing we were family.  Knowing we were loved and that we would always have each other. The memory of that dinner is one I hold every so dear.

And that is the things about life, it is bittersweet, magic, sad, beautiful, tragic, wonderful and sad all mixed into one.  So hold onto those good memories and color your life with them, so that the bitter may be sweeter and the heart will never forget.