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Pieces of me

Inspiration for those who warrior on


Friends,

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve been wrestling with my depression, and like so many of us sexual assault survivors, I’ve been struggling with those memories and stirred up emotions. I’ve written about it, but am not ready to share yet.

Today, however, is a good day, and I have something most exciting to share. I’ve just had an article published on one of my personal favorite sites, tinybuddha.com.

Here’s the link to the article: CLICK!

A brief background, though. In July, I made it my goal to submit some blog articles to other sites and get published outside of my little pieces-of-me blog. I did that. This is the third article that has been published on another site, now.

This one, however, had a rocky start. I submitted it to three other websites, which all turned it down. After each submission, I rewrote it, tweaked it, and thought about posting it here for my audience rather than put it out there to be rejected again.

The topic of beauty in brokenness just wouldn’t leave me alone, and I felt like it was the kind of topic to which a broader audience could connect. So, I stuck with it. After the third rejection and rewrite, I was convinced that it was good now. Like really good. I not only decided to submit it once more, but to an even bigger and broader-based blog site than the other three had been. Tinybuddha.com!

The process behind getting this article to light of day has itself been a story of brokenness to beauty.

I’d love to hear what you think of the final product.

 

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October 11, 2018

Here I am again being a writer who doesn’t write. Picking up the pen and then dropping it before its energy singes my fingers. Picking up the pen and tapping the unusable end on the paper, because that’s safe enough.

There are words in my head, mind you. Always so many words. Some even congregate enough to create full thoughts. They swirl around my brain like the laundry I decide should be done before putting them down on paper.

These swirling thoughts feel dangerous. One day it’s a release to let it out on paper, but not today. Not now, have you seen what’s going on out there?

I have, and I have these hot, searing thoughts about it all, because how can you not? But write it down? I don’t know. I don’t know if it will be healing. I don’t know if it will be helpful. I don’t know if these thoughts are safe out there.

But my writing is always me. It’s always the most me I can present to people. So, if these thoughts aren’t safe, perhaps it’s just once again the fear that it’s not safe to be me.

Still not safe. Some days I warrior forward, today, I hide and peak out wondering when.

Shut up little girl, no one wants to hear that. Let the other women warrior on, you’re not up to it. Let the other women test the waters, it’s not safe. It’s not safe out there yet.

Out there is still not ready. Or I’m not ready for out there.


September 24, 2018

Recovery is a dance between old habits and new intentions. Choose which leads wisely.


September 13, 2018

I just signed up for this free online “Self Discovery” workshop with Deepak Chopra and thought it might be something my readers would be interested in.

From their ad:

“Deepak’s going to be showing us how to:

Get rid of negative thought patterns and experiences
Really find ourselves and our life’s purpose
Attract abundance and new opportunities (hello dream life!)
Tune into our higher wisdom

Deepak will also be teaching us what “SynchroDestiny is and how we can tap into it.”

If you’re interested, here’s the link to register: https://chopra.com/self-discovery-deepak

Picture of Facebook icon

I found the following post on Facebook this weekend, and it got me thinking about burning bridges.

“Your Facebook activism probably won’t change the world or even anyone’s mind, but it very well might make or break a relationship. You might very well solidify your position as someone’s friend or someone’s enemy. So, before you share your outrage about whatever issue might come up today, you might want to ask yourself this question, am I building bridges or burning them?” – Wes McAdams, blogger at radicallyChristian.com

While we all hate seeing opposing political positions on social media, when I read this I was overcome with the question, what’s so wrong with burning bridges?

I agree that posting inflammatory, often false or at the least misleading memes doesn’t change anyone’s mind. That’s not what I’m talking about.

Stick with cute animals, funny quotes, or motivational memes! The world will thank you!

I mean sharing events and articles and info that I care about. It’s my Facebook page! Its purpose is for me to share the things I care about. If those things are so contradictory to a “friend’s” principles that the relationship cannot stand if it is out in the open, then perhaps that relationship should end.

Look, I don’t know Wes McAdams. I briefly looked at his blog, which seemed like typical Church of Christ preacher stuff. Have I ever mentioned I was a Church of Christ preacher’s kid? Yeah, well, before I get off on that tangent, let me be clear that I don’t have anything for or against Mr. McAdams.

Moreover, I’m not even knocking this quote. To the extent he is saying think about controversial content before you spouting off on social media, I agree that’s solid advice.

However, to the extent that one might be tempted to temper the content they share for the sake of not ruffling feathers, I have to say, some bridges should be burned. We women, especially, have been taught that we must act or look a certain way to be acceptable to others, and I say fuck that.

As a woman who is still trying to unlearn the lessons that said, be this so people like you, I want to stand up for burning bridges. If what sets my soul on fire is too much or too little or too liberal or too opinionated or too feminist for you to handle, here’s a match.

I don’t have to be your type of person, but for my peace and mental wellness, I do need to be me.   If something that’s important to me sours the relationship, that’s ok. We needn’t try to pretend we are something we aren’t in order to keep people happy.

Likewise, if what you are all about is unacceptable to me and not just something I can scroll past or hide, then we aren’t meant for each other’s lives. And that’s ok.

youre-not-everyones-cup-of-tea

Everyone is not your cup of tea, and you are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m passionate about this water crisis going on in my backyard (read about it here), if you can’t handle that, here’s the match.

Moreover, there’s the old adage, you can’t please every one all of the time. Someone is going to not like something you post even if you never share your political leanings or favorite sports team. You’re going to post too many selfies or not enough animal rescues or your kid will be at a party to which theirs wasn’t invited or you won’t share their blog post *cough* *hint* *hint*!

No matter how delicately you try to walk on the social media eggshells, you’re going to piss someone off at some point. Some of us are just a bit better at it than others.

food healthy yellow broken eggs

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One that I’ve been told pisses people off is my gym check-ins. Guess what, though? I love my gym, my trainers, and posting silly hashtags about my workouts. If you can’t take one more of my check-ins, here’s the match.

Recently, I’ve been gut struck by the story of a fellow alumnus from Harding University, Bothem Shem Jean, who was shot in his home by a police officer (read more here). I will continue to follow the story and post stories about what’s going on because too many people prefer to bury their heads in the sand. If you are incensed by the suggestion that not all cops are good or are good at their jobs, then here’s the match.

Look, if you want to light your shoes on fire because you can’t stand Colin Kaepernick, we can still have a relationship.  But if you think it’s ok for people to be treated differently by law enforcement because of the color of their skin, then we have no business being in any sort of relationship together.

We’re not meant to be in relationship with everyone. There are over 7 billion people in the world, I don’t need to water down who I am to be palatable to one person.

Some things are differences of opinions. Some things are differences in viewpoints or life experiences, and that’s the natural diversity that makes the world go around. That’s the stuff that makes us all unique and interesting and makes life a vibrant bouquet of personality shades.

Some things, however, tap into our core beliefs and are bridge burning worthy. Heck, what’s a deal breaker for me and what’s a deal breaker for you are likely different. And that’s ok!

What’s not ok is me asking you to modify yourself so that I never really know you and am never confronted with an idea contrary to my own. What’s not ok is you expecting me to pretend like I don’t see injustices and feel the sting of them intensely. Because I do, and that’s me. If I have to be milquetoast to be acceptable to you, then here’s the match.

Yes, I think some bridges should be burned. Not because the other person thinks differently or posts obnoxious political memes or, God forbid, likes Tom Brady, but because some relationships aren’t healthy.

Trying to make everyone happy is not healthy.

Being in a relationship with someone who expects you to quiet down who you are so that he doesn’t have to accept you as a unique being is not healthy.

Trying to live as malleable clay that reshapes itself based on the audience is not healthy.

Sure, think before you post. That’s great advice. Do some research before you share something you don’t know to be true is good advice too.

Can I get an amen?

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to be all that you are in real life and on social media. Don’t be afraid that someone’s going to see the real you and not like it. So, what? There are still over 7 billion other people with whom you might click.

Be you, and when people walk away because you are you, say thank you.

Be you, and when people ask that you be a little less you so that they don’t have to walk away, then you walk away.

Be you, and when a bridge is covered in warning signs and caution tape, break out the matches.

How to manage social media without burning bridges

Now, for the other side of the coin: when you’re the audience to someone’s “Facebook activism.” Personally, I try not to burn bridges.

That’s right, I just explained why burning bridges isn’t always bad, but that doesn’t mean I’m quick to ignite everyone who posts something obnoxious to me.

For starters, my FB friends list is composed of a wide variety of relationships. I suspect it’s the same for most of you.

I don’t need to vote the same as the FB friend who is a fellow PTA mom. We can follow each other and help wade through parenting together without sharing much else in common.

Most of us aren’t tight with everyone on our friends list, but rather have one common bond that makes a social media relationship advantageous.

For that reason, I don’t expect to agree with everything people post. It’s not a deal breaker for me, and I would encourage some patience before taking a match to every friend who shares disagreeable content.

I prefer to use the hide, snooze, and unfollow options on FB before the unfriend, which is I guess the FB version of burning a bridge. Just because one topic a person posts about boils my blood doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have a place on my list.

We all have our breaking point, though. We all have our lines in the sand, which require a good bon fire.

Ultimately, I go back to ‘this is my account.’ If content I see is bringing in more negativity than benefit, I need to take action to protect my serenity. Hiding or unfollowing people are my way of protecting myself and nurturing an atmosphere that builds me up rather than tears me down.

It may sound contradictory to say when it comes to content you share, don’t worry if it causes a burning bridge, but when you react to others’ content be slow to burn bridges. However, my underlying goal with both is to make my social media a soul satisfying space as opposed to a soul sucking one.

“You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people.” – Glennon Doyle

 

I scribbled down the following last night when I couldn’t sleep. I’d usually edit and polish before publishing, but there’s something so pure about this mess of thoughts and feelings, that I decided to publish as is. I will probably tinker with it at another time and find lovelier words than “ok” and add some variety and question having a Biblical quote in the middle. “Today,” however, it feels right to let this be raw and unpolished.

TODAY

Today, I accept my weakness.

I don’t try to run from it. Numb it. Hide it. Fight it back.

I’m human, damn it. I can’t always be strong and determined and motivated.

I’m not killing it. I’m roadkill.

But today, I say ok.

Today, I let it be what it is.

I surrender to my humanness. To the mess. The weakness.

The fight to  hide it is destroying me more than the weakness ever could.

Today, I need for it to be enough. I need for it to be ok that I’m on my knees again.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

I need rest. I need that to be ok. I need for the One who seeks out the broken to see me.

I surrender the broken.

Right now, that’s the only way forward.

Right now, I warrior on by throwing my hands up.

I warrior on by taking off the facade of strength. This armor doesn’t fit me. It’s caused more pain that it’s prevented.

Here I am, Lord, weary and burdened. Give me rest. Take this too.

I trade in my strength for rest. I’m wreaked.

Soldering on isn’t working.

My ideas aren’t working, so I’ll take Yours and rest.

Summer’s coming to an end, and I have a summer time story for you. It has a spiritual lesson in kindness, gratitude, and our interconnectivity, but there’s more to this story than that. I hope you will indulge me as I tackle a new topic today.
The story starts as just another fishing story from my son, Isaac. If you haven’t read about what a passionate fisherman he is, here are the links: Law of Attraction and Gratitude. However, it ends in my feeble attempt to garner more attention to an environment disaster currently occurring in our back yards in South Florida.

First, we fish

In June, my little fisherman had a week of marine science camp on one of the local beaches. After the first day, he started talking Dad and I into either getting him there early or staying late to fish. Seven hours of catching sea creatures during camp wasn’t enough for my extreme fisherman. I’m not exaggerating when I say this kid could fish all day!
One day, he’s convinced me to let him cast net near the pier after camp. His sister was staying with grandma, so I just brought a book and decided we could both enjoy something we loved. Everything was going swimmingly (pun intended) until Isaac got his cast net caught on a rock.
The water wasn’t too deep, so I told him to get his butt in the water and untangle it. Normally, he’s not squeamish about getting in the water with critters, but there were several big horseshoe crabs in the area. Thus, he was trying to figure out how to retrieve his net without getting his feet near their spiny tails.

Luckily for him, a fellow fisherman saw his predicament and came over to lend a hand. This 20-something man who was doing some post-work fishing said he knew a trick that he used when he got his net caught.
He and my son strike up a conversation as the man tries his hand at untangling the net. Sure enough, his trick worked and the net was saved without Isaac getting wet.
Fast forward to that weekend, the marine science center and a local restaurant hosted a free kids fishing tournament. Isaac and his dad showed up to the tournament early to catch some live bait. The restaurant provided cut bait, but the kids could bring their own.
Isaac went on to win 3rd place for the longest fish caught. He won a trophy and a net, but mostly was just the proudest, happiest boy on the planet that afternoon. Let me tell you, no participation trophy can make a child feel as good as a trophy that he earned. And let me tell you, he was beaming at the fact that he had put the extra effort in to get up early and catch his own bait.
More surprisingly, though was when he stopped gushing about his hard work and had a light bulb moment about that kind fisherman from earlier in the week. He told me that at some point he had run out of the live bait that he caught that morning, but not before catching the winning fish, a Spanish mackerel. He declared, “Mom, if it hadn’t been for that guy saving my casting net, I would have never caught that live bait, and I wouldn’t have caught that Spanish mackerel. I owe this trophy to that guy.” In his moment of victory, he thought about the kindness shown to him.
It was a beautiful moment for him to see and realize the impact of a small act of kindness. We decided to go back and try to find that gentleman to thank him and tell him about the fishing victory that came because of his actions.
Here’s where my lovely story sours, and I wade into chartered waters. We haven’t been able to go to the beach for about a month. Our lovely beaches and gulf water are currently filled with toxic green algae and red tide.

Map of SW Florida showing concentrations of toxic green algae
If you’re like a friend and thought maybe all that hubbub on Facebook about sea life in South Florida dying was internet hysteria, I’m here living amongst it and telling you it’s true.
Moreover, it’s far worse that you are seeing on the national news. It’s far more nefarious an occurrence than you are seeing on the national news.
Red tide, as is being reported, is naturally occurring. However, this is not a natural disaster. This is manmade. See, we have this large lake in the middle of the state, Lake Okeechobee, which has been polluted with fertilizer run off from agriculture farms. (I’m trying to keep what is a very large, on-going, complex issue from boring you to death).

Dead manatee at Cape Coral Yacht Club due to red tide.

Isaac attended a summer camp at this location a few weeks before this manatee’s body washed ashore there. The children weren’t allowed in the water. It was too dangerous.

The short story is water from Lake O is directed to our beaches through the Caloosahatchee River. That flow of water is not a natural occurrence. Moreover, the fertilizers in the water feed the red tide and make it grow in a very unnatural way. I’ll stop with the technicalities at that, but have provided several links below for more detail.
I’ve wanted to write a blog about this gentleman’s act of kindness and my sweet boy’s gratitude ever since it happened. I had waited because I wanted an ending to the story. An ending where we meet up with that kind fisherman, and Isaac told him how his small good deed led to such an exciting accomplishment for him.
That ending has not come and is not going to come anytime soon. It’s simply not safe to be near the water.
I know this is not my usual post, and we are silver lining seekers, so we haven’t given up on our ending wherein Isaac is able to express his gratitude to that man.
However, there’s a time to look on the bright side, and there’s a time to recognize when you can’t gloss over a problem that requires action. Florida, and many other parts of the country, is in a time when we must act and say no more glossing over the actions of corporate polluters.

Dead endangered sea turtle due to red tide

Endangered sea turtle

More on the Florida water crisis:
https://captainsforcleanwater.org/water-quality-conservation/
http://www.evergladestrust.org/
https://www.bullsugar.org/red_tide_by_jerry_kustich
https://www.bullsugar.org/declaration?recruiter_id=465092
https://www.newsandguts.com/guest-post-erin-brockovich-care-ecological-disaster-florida/
https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/red-tide/dolphin-tracked-since-2006-found-dead-amid-red-tide-outbreak-total-now-up-to-11/67-583511174

Look in the mirror ... that's your competition. Meme

I’ve never been a competitive person. I never played a sport; so I never had a need to make others lose so I could win. Historically, I’ve preferred to only be in competition with myself.

I read a lot of self-help books and listen to a lot of motivational podcasts and videos. A phrase I’ve been hearing and thinking about a lot is “winning at life.” To my mind, this is competitive speak that doesn’t naturally resonate with me. So, every time the phrase comes up, my mind bounces it around like a shoe in the dryer.

What does it means to be winning at life?

Does it mean having lots of money? Then, I’m not winning. However, I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. For that, I am grateful and don’t see myself as losing at life because I have less than others.

Do I need fame to be winning? Then, only a small percentage ever have a hope (or desire) to win at life.

Leonardo DiCaprio Meme: And the winner is ...

I don’t understand when people talk to me in competitive language about winning and losing. I don’t see why I need to be beating anyone else. To me, that’s scarcity mindset, not growth mindset.

I’m intrigued, mind you, and sometimes wonder if being competitive would serve me. But I’m not sure that that’s my nature. Is this something that I should work to develop, or would that be trying to be someone I’m not? I don’t.

I just know that competing with myself has benefited me.

Lessons from law school

My first year in law school, I decided long before grades came out that I was not going to share my grades with any of my fellow students. Good, bad, or mediocre, they were for my eyes only.

I had heard story upon story about how competitive law school was. There were stories of books being hidden during exam time to disadvantage peers. Study partners being picked for the advantage they were to others. Students lying about their grades.

I wanted no part of it, but not because I was lazy or didn’t care to work hard and make killer grades. I decided that I would just be in competition with myself, meaning I would try for excellence as best I could. Thus, there was no purpose in sharing my grades.

When the first semester grades came in, I politely told my peers that asked that I was going to keep my grades to myself. This was generally met with sympathy as the other person assumed this meant I was too embarrassed to tell my grades.

I clearly wasn’t winning or I would be shouting it from the roof tops. But I didn’t need their sympathy. My grades were quite good.

Some friends were offended that I didn’t trust them with this information. I tried to tell several “friends” who were worried about my grades that my decision was not a reflection of my grades. Few seemed to buy it.

Occasionally, I was tempted to say, “hey, my grades were better than yours don’t worry about me!” I was most tempted when I overheard my roommate, who had already proven herself to be no friend of mine, feign concern that I might be failing out of school as she told others about her poor roommate whose grades were so bad, I couldn’t bear to tell anyone.

But as luck would have it, or as my hard work would have it, the truth came out. At the end of the year, I was outed. I was in the top 7% of my class, and as such invited to be on the law review. Law review is a student publication, an honor, and most importantly for this story, public knowledge.

There was a collective jaw drop when my name was a part of the group. I hadn’t been hiding bad grades all this time. Most classmates were still, if not more, confused that I hadn’t shared my grades.

Some people only check up on you to see if you failed yet. Naw I'm still winning.

While my plan hadn’t insulated me from the mean-spirited competitiveness, I felt I did what was right for me to protect my heart. I learned two peers had outright lied about their grade, and thus, I learned more about their character. Yes, I learned a lot about those who were seemingly so concerned about my grades, but that’s water under the bridge.

Most importantly, I learned the value of just competing with myself. Whether it’s grades or some other result of my efforts, they are mine. The work is mine; the outcome is mine. I own them both, and I judge them both.

Our values determine what counts as winning

I guess this is my first problem with being questioned by others if I’m winning at life: only I have the values that resonate with my soul to judge whether I’m winning. Only I know if I’m making myself proud. Only I know if the work and output is enough for me.

I was winning. Getting on law review was important to me, because that meant I would research, edit, write, and perhaps be published (I was). Then for so long, I dropped the ball on that truth that writing and creating were important to me.

Money, climbing the corporate ladder, and material things don’t equate to winning to me. Creating does. That doesn’t have to be meaningful to you, though. The point is only we can judge whether we are winning.

How to win at life meme from @businessmindset101

Drop ‘should’ from your vocabulary

The second issue I have with being concerned with having winners and losers at life is that this leads me to “shoulding” other people. What is “shoulding” other people? Looking at what others are doing and thinking about all the things that they should do.

This was one of my recovery lessons. One that I’m still working on! Drop should from my vocabulary. Telling myself what I should be doing is guilt producing.

Moreover, thinking what others “should do” takes my eyes off of what I’m doing and how well I’m doing it, and leads to judgments and expectations. Expecting others to behave the way I see fit sets myself up for disappointment.

I recently thought to myself (in very over dramatic, oh-poor-me fashion), “will I ever learn that these other people I look up to are people too?” I, for one, need to stop being shocked when other humans are human.

Confession time! I am compulsive at shoulding. I should do this and that and the other. He should not be reacting like that….and when I say he, all of my readers who are wives probably know I’m talking about my husband. Oh gracious, I can should that man till the cows come home. But, I’m getting off on a tangent. The point is, “shoulding” (which is now a verb, I’ve made it such) is a waste of time. We not only don’t know what’s best for other, we have zero control over how they behave.

You can win life by all means, if you simply avoid two things in life. Comparing with others, and expecting from others.

In sum, I’m not condemning the competitive. I’m just acknowledging that winning and losing don’t resonate with me, personally. Perhaps, it’s just semantics.

For me, there are no winners and losers on my playing field. There’s just me “competing” with who I was yesterday. Moreover, if I’m working toward things that bring value to my life, that’s winning.

“The principle is competition against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young

 

 

starting line on a race track

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?” the boy asked, completely surprised.

“It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.” – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Life certainly can feel like it’s all just happening to us, though, can’t it? The washing machine breaks the night before your in-laws visit. You receive a diagnosis for yourself or a loved one. Your husband asks for a divorce. The baby has colic.

Living an intentional life and trying to be your best self doesn’t mean life won’t happen to us. It means we refuse to throw in the towel to the whims of fate.

I haven’t written much lately. For one, I had one of those “life happened” moments last week, when my computer took a crap. This left me to fight for precious time on my son’s laptop to complete deadlines for my editing job. Alright, he didn’t really fight me. Huff loudly, sure, but it is a new (to him) laptop that he bought with money he earned through his summer job.

Moreover, I haven’t felt particularly inspired. It’s the end of summer. I’m trying to keep my children from scratching each other’s eyes out. I’ve backslid on my fitness goals due to thinking “I don’t have to get up early; how about another glass of wine and some popcorn?”

The adult Becca has gone on summer vacation, and left me in charge. Bwah ha ha ha ha!

Hand pouring a glass of red wine

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Apparently, I’m ready for the schedule and forced routine of the school year as much as the children. There’s something about the beginning of a new school or calendar year that feels like someone has hit the reset button.

While there’s no barrier to starting a project on Thursday, it feels better to start on Monday. “First of the _____” feels like the time to make changes. There’s even some science to back this up.

According to research published in Psychology Science, people were more motivated to begin a new goal on a “temporal landmark.” Such events help the brain to distinguish between past actions and new intentions.

Makes sense, right? The researchers dubbed it the “fresh start effect.”

None of that may be news to you. Even if you didn’t know there was research out there, you likely knew that you start new things on Mondays or New Year’s Day.

Here’s the exciting part.

In one study, some participants were told to begin their goal on “the first day of spring,” March 20th. The other group was told simply to start on Thursday, March 20th. Framing the same start date as the first day of something, in this case a season, had a significant impact.

This is great news for those of us who choose to live purposefully, rejecting the lie that happenstances divest us of control over our lives. We don’t have to wait till Jan. 1st to start over and do better.

There are new beginnings all around us if we frame them as such. For me, I have the new school year on the horizon to get out of my summer-time slump.

There are fiscal quarters and moon cycles. Every week has a Monday.

Every day has a day break!

agriculture bloom blossom clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What separates us from those who believe the “greatest lie” is not that we are immune to hardships, frustrations, or set backs. It’s that we know that whether we face a life altering blow or a daily inconvenience, there will be another fresh start.

As surely as the tides rise and fall, day will break, revealing a “first day of.” For every inhale, there is an exhale. For every end, there is a beginning.

At day break, we who warrior on get up and put one foot in front of the other. If we falter when the starting pistol fires, we find another starting line.

What may appear to be fate taking control can be a new beginning if you make it thus. Keep finding fresh starts and the world’s greatest lie will be another’s to believe.

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