Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Settling is Sinking. You Were Born to Rise.

When someone thinks of something "settling", one of the first things that comes to mind is a house. I remember growing up, every time I would hear creaks in the house that scared me, my parents would say, "It's okay. It's just the house settling." It wasn't until I was older and began watching HGTV (and after becoming a real estate agent myself for like....six months) that I learned the more in depth meaning of what it was when a house settled. Settling is sinking. The house itself is slowing sinking into the ground. The soil around the foundation has changed and can no longer safely accommodate the structure of the house. Settling eventually causes foundation problems. The safety and reliability of the once strong and certain foundations begin to falter and slowly sink into the earth. There are ways to prevent this from happening; such as proper drainage systems and clear gutters, but once the house is has just accepted where it is and refuses to be back on solid ground. It is comfortable. That is where it has been for years and the ground just kind of accepted it. But the truth is, settling is sinking, no matter how you look at it.

Now, lets use this example as a reference for our lives as humans. It is very easy to settle. Especially if the foundation around us is weakening and it just seems easier to stay where we are. We are tired. We are just...comfortable. Regardless of how badly we want something better or know that there is more solid ground elsewhere, we cannot convince ourselves to move because, well, we have been in this place for a long time and I mean, we are doing okay I guess. Right? We settle into jobs, relationships, friendships and thoughts. We settle into our ways and our past. We get so comfortable in what is happening around us because, that's what we have always done. That is how our life has been for 1, 5, 10, 50 years. We compromise happiness for comfortability, for that sure thing and for the normal. Here is a secret; nothing life changing happens inside comfort.

To experience those life changing moments, those new adventures, the pathways to happiness and to a new normal; we have to get outside of the comfort zone boxes we have put ourselves in. We have to climb out of the soggy soil and back onto solid ground. That is where your foundation is strengthened. That is where your willpower and courage is put to the test. How badly do you want those things that get you excited? How much do you want to change your life for the better? How hard do you want to work for those goals that can only come to fruition outside the settlement? Why do you think those people who settled here build settlements? Because, it was familiar. They were called settlements because they chose to settle there, within the walls and land of a certain area. And what happened when someone chose to venture outside the confines of the settlement walls? People thought they were crazy! They said it was dangerous and uncertain. Exactly. Outside of the walls they built to keep life out was exactly where life happened. Every discovery and every new connection was made out there. But they had to take the chance and want something more than they wanted the comfort.

Here's the deal; sometimes doing what is better for you means moving on from what you originally thought was best. Settling is sinking. You were born to rise. You were meant for so much more than you have accepted for yourself. By settling into that job that you stay at even though you have a passion for something else, you lose your passion for life. By settling into that relationship that you have been in for years so may as well stay in it even though you are miserable and things aren't going so well, you are missing the opportunity to meet someone that makes you genuinely happy and will change your life. By settling into that friendship because you have known them since Kindergarten and they know everything about you but they treat you unfairly and hurt you repeatedly, you are settling for less than you deserve and passing up people who truly love and care about you. By settling into those thoughts you have always have you will get the results you have always gotten.

Settling is a pattern. It is a series of choices that lead you right back to the same place you are now. To break patterns what do you have to do? You have to steer away from the normal motions or behaviors. By doing so, you create an entirely new pattern that can be anything you want it to be. And if later on you don't like that pattern? Well, you do the same thing. There are no rules. There are not set patterns you can create. Stop settling. Stop sinking into a life that you are not fully living. Rebuild your life. Re-establish your soil. Strengthen your foundation. Rise.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Safe Travels. Enjoy the Journey.

While scrolling through my social media today, I saw a photo a friend posted of him in an airport, heading off to start a new adventure. Throughout the comments there were well wishes and sad emojis at the thought of him flying off across the sea. But in addition, there were quite a few comments of the same saying; "Safe Travels. Enjoy the Journey."

This stuck out to me in such a way that I began thinking on it quite excessively. It also came at a time when I am dealing with my own prospects of having to move on and begin again. When we are put in the position to let go of or move on from something, it can be easy to let the emotions overtake us; whether they be feelings of happiness, excitement, fear, sadness, anger or bitterness. The same comes with the timing of having to watch someone else leave from our lives; whether to pursue new ventures, new people or just because it is time to let them go from their part in our story. In those situations, it can be very easy to become overwhelmed with what is happening. But the truth is, no matter the reason, we should always wish them safe travels and tell them to enjoy the journey.

The journey in itself can be quite daunting. Life, in all its beauty and intimidation, can be hard. Will be hard. Sometimes...most of the time....we won't understand why things are happening the way they are. Especially in those extreme moments of confusion, loneliness and heartache. Here's the thing; you don't have to understand the journey. You just have to trust the destination. The understanding will come with the arrival. Easier said than done, yes?

Maybe this will bring you some comfort; every single human on this earth experiences the exact same fears as you do. They may hide it or carry it differently, but they do. Knowing this precise fact is the reason we must always wish people safe travels and to enjoy the journey. It can get precarious out there. The world is filled with the unknown, the uncertain and the sad reality of people that don't have the same heart as you. But at the same time, the journey also brings growth, learning, strength, love, bravery, indescribable beauty, connections and soul changing moments.

Letting go is never easy. I would be lying if I said it is. But if you sincerely care about someone, sometimes that is the best thing you can do for them; and for yourself. Letting go doesn't have to be negative. Throughout this life thing we are always and forever changing. Yet we are always consistently seeking stability. Regardless of how desperately we try and hang on to certain aspects, they aren't meant to stay. Every day we are learning and growing into the humans we are destined to be. Life must change as we do. It must add and remove as needed like a puzzle searching for the pieces to complete the full picture. We are the puzzle, and forcing pieces to fit only damages the puzzle itself.

Allow life to happen. Allow it to arrange and rearrange the pieces meant to form your end result. It won't be easy, but nothing worthwhile is. Let go. Breathe in happiness and exhale everything that could bring you down. Pick up your bags. Help others pack theirs. Wish each other well on this inevitable path to where we are meant to end up. And do it by offering the most appropriate send off you could provide; "Safe Travels. Enjoy the Journey."

Sunday, January 27, 2019


If you had looked into the blue eyes of a little red headed kid thirty years ago and told her that her life would not end up the way she was imagining it in her head, I doubt she would have believed you. That kid was a dreamer. Dead set on a life that she envisioned because, after all, there were no other alternatives in her childlike mind. She wanted to be a veterinarian or a marine biologist so she could “fix the sick dolphins”. Images of a bride in a white dress gliding down the aisle toward a man dressed in a tuxedo and her future flickered like a candle against a white wall in her head. Thoughts and anticipation about the day the baby doll she rocked to sleep in her arms was a real-life baby sparked an emotion in her that, even at five years old, was quite overwhelming. Yes, if anyone had tried to place doubt in her mind that these things were not going to come to fruition, she still would not have second guessed her life.

               Enter me. The thirty-five year old version of the smaller one from the opening paragraph. Perhaps others could not persuade tiny me that these things would not be the path, but I guarantee you if I could go back in time and tell her a story to come, maybe, she would understand the happenings better along the way. I would kneel in front of her and take her small hand in mine and take a deep breath. I would try my best to explain that life as she expects it to be, will not be accurate. I will tell her that no matter what anyone says to her, she is not a freak or a failure or too stupid. I would caution her to watch who she considers a friend and to focus on school more than she thinks she needs to. With every ounce in me, I would do what I could to prepare her for the weird feelings she would start getting for other girls, and tell her that unfortunately, they will only get worse and more often and will break her heart. I wish to God I could shelter her from the noise of bullying and the silence of family when she finally has the courage to be who she is. But I will tell her over and over how damn proud I am of her. I will make sure she knows that those girls she will fall in love with, won’t return her love…can’t return her love; and that’s okay. It isn’t their fault. Just as you can’t control how you feel, they can’t control how they don’t. Never blame another for not being in the position to love you. Always love yourself more, regardless. I would then tell her to understand that she may not get married. All those wants and moments in her head may never be a realization, and she has to learn to be okay with that. It doesn’t mean your life was a waste. You will know the love of amazing family and friends, and that will be more than enough just in case.

               Then, I would sit down on the ground in front of her and take her in my lap. Holding her like the baby she desires more than anything, I will explain that she will not be able to have children. It just wasn’t in the cards for her. She will cry and get angry and be very confused as to why. It will be that moment when I just hold her and tell her how sorry I am. Yet, with what poise I can gather, I will draw out a plan that involves possible adoption and surrounding herself with the children she teaches music to and the children of her friends. They may not be hers in biological means, but they will be in heart. And they will bring her so much joy. Following, I will tell her to be kind to her parents. I will make certain she knows the importance of spending time with them and telling them how much she appreciates them and loves them because, even though now they seem invincible and forever, they will one day be gone, whether in body or in mind. Neither are easy. But regret is worse. She will know that just because her life takes her a different way than college at one point, that doesn’t mean she is dumb. She will thrive and be rich in experiences and memories. And one day, she will go back, so don’t give up on yourself. You will do great things, just believe that and trust the paths as they change and wind in and out of obstacles and blind spots. You will figure it out and become anything you want to. Because, once again little one, no matter what people try to tell you, there is nothing wrong with you. You are exactly who you are meant to be and where you are meant to be. It will be hard. It will be hard as hell. You will experience heartbreak and anger like you can’t imagine at your age; far more serious than missing recess or dropping your apple juice. But you will grow through them and learn more about yourself and the world around you. The strength you gain will be immense and the knowledge far more valuable than you are aware of.

               I guess what I am trying to say is, you will be okay. I promise. Every single time you think you can’t go on and you can’t make it, you will. Every time your heart shatters and your mind is filled with bad thoughts and voices, just know it is only a small fraction of the amazing life you have. Never, ever, let the bad things win. You have a lot to live for and your life is worth more than you think in those moments of darkness - when you are only seeing the world through tears. Thirty years from now, you will have survived every situation you never thought you would. I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. You will be fine, kid. Trust me. I know.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Revolving Doors.

With a new year upon us, I find myself deep in reflection as I usually do. This year, my focus has been on the people that come in and out of our lives throughout the year. There is a quote that rings true as it states, "Look around. Nothing will be the same in a year" and that is so incredibly true. I tend to notice things more intricately than others. Not that I intentionally go looking for it (though in the past that has been the case) but I find out things I was unaware of. One thing I notice is when people unfollow me on social media or delete/block me entirely. I am offered the opportunity to add a friend I may know that I thought I already was friends with and have a "Hmm. Well how about that?" moment. I used to be offended by this and get very defensive and angry at those persons. How dare you delete ME? How dare you unfollow ME? BLOCK ME WILL YOU?? The thing is, I was being very hypocritical in this way of thinking. It wasn't a fair way of approaching the newfound knowledge, considering, I have done the same thing. I have unfollowed, deleted and blocked people myself because they weren't good for me or my inner peace. I didn't like their negativity or the way they handled situations. Because of this, I would close the tab on their page and not look back. In real life, I would close the door on relationships that just weren't providing what I needed anymore while still getting butthurt over others doing the same to me. It was like, I was allowed to control who came in my door and who I allowed out, but no one could do that to me. Horrible, I know. It is something I have come to terms with about myself over the years. It has only been in the past year or so that I realized, everyone has their own set of revolving doors. People come in and out every single day. And each person has every right who they let in and who they see out. Just as I felt others weren't good for me any more, I had to accept the fact that maybe, I wasn't good for others. Ouch. That is something we don't like thinking about ourselves. But, if we are being completely honest, there will be times we are that negative influence or a person someone just doesn't jive with anymore. It happens. That is life. If we continually surrounded ourselves with the people we have known our whole lives, ignoring the mental and emotional damage they are doing to us, we would not only have a pretty crappy life, but we would never meet those people that turned it all around. Granted, every person that walks in your door comes invited. You welcome them into your life and ask them to stay awhile. You learn about them and they about you. Sometimes they unpack for a lengthy stay, while other times they only take out the essentials and keep the rest packed up, you know, just in case they need to leave quickly. It isn't always easy when they decide they have overstayed their welcome and make the decision to leave early, but it is theirs to make. And no one should stay where they don't feel they can grow or be happy. And you don't get to make the decision on that. But if you pay attention, when those persons leave, others walk in. The revolving door keeps a stead influx of people moving through it. Sometimes people leave through that door so the option to come back is still there, sometimes they leave through the big wooden door that makes the whole house shake when they slam it behind them. If they chose that door, let them leave in peace without taking yours. Our entire life is a series of doors. Each one presenting different options, new people and well wishes. Remember though, doors work both ways. You can make the decision to open them or close them. But too, other people can make that decision as well. Never block a door that is meant to be left through. You can't force relationships. If you have to force it, it isn't real. Just because someone goes along with your forced demands doesn't mean it is what is right. It usually isn't. And it is definitely not fair to either person. Allow people to come and go. Everyone has the right to do what they feel is best for their life. So keep the door available for any entrances and exits. And remember, locking it not only keeps the right people out, but the wrong people in. We all deserve the right to leave when we feel we need to. Let people go when they need to. It's okay. That's what doors are made for. When they leave, always be gracious and thank them for stopping by. I guarantee they taught you something with their stay.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Like, Retweet and Upvote this Blog.

You hold your phone up at the perfect angle to make sure the double chins don't show, that the light reflects in your eyes to produce just the right color blue, you use a filter that smooths your skin and tools that erase that blemish that no one would notice but you do so it must go. What would people think if they saw your imperfections? You post the best of the 31 takes you have captured and put something like, "Ugh. I don't look good today!" or "Feeling myself! Happy Friday!" Then you sit back and wait for the "likes" and compliments to start rolling in. With each small blue thumbs up or red heart or comment notification, you feel validated and important. They like me! They really like me! But what if they don't? You check your photo, obsessively refreshing the page to see if the 1 like has multiplied to 5 or even just 2. But it hasn't. You feel ugly and as though no one cares. Why are they not telling you that you look pretty? Or that your eyes are perfection? The photo has been up for 30 minutes! Why is no one responding? Disheartened and deflated, you delete the photo. They just confirmed what you felt, you are not worth "liking". Welcome to self worth in 2018. It seems, to many, their worth and esteem lies within how many "likes" they get or retweets that are shared or the upvotes they receive. I can say this because I have done it myself. There have been times I have posted a photo I thought I looked super adorable in and it got 3 likes within an hour. 3 likes?? Only 3 people like me?? WELL SCREW Y'ALL I AM DELETING IT BECAUSE YOU DON'T DESERVE TO STARE AT MY ADORABLENESS IF YOU AIN'T GOING TO APPRECIATE IT!!! That is not an exaggeration. That is social media reality. It is affecting our mental health whether we see it, deny it or acknowledge it. We spend so much time picking the right filter and strategically making the photo look flawless, then when it is not recognized by our peers, we feel ignored and unattractive. Why do our lives revolve around how many likes we get on a social media platform? Why is our popularity and status determined by the numbers rising on a typed post surrounded by cats, memes and "fake news"? Think about it. Self-worth is no longer acquired by how well we do in school or how hard we work or dressing up and looking hot for ourselves. We have to share everything. We could feel super proud of ourselves and sexy AF in that new dress, but until the world knows about it and people on the other side of a screen approve of it, it means nothing. We put on a facade to the world and attend an online masquerade party every single day. I know. I do it too. But I am here to tell you that your happiness, worth, achievements and beauty/handsomeness do not fall upon a little thumb on a piece of technology. It is okay to not be perfect. And here is a hard to swallow pill, you never will be perfect. I hate to tell you that, but you won't. But who wants to be perfect anyway? If you are perfect you stop learning and growing and then what? By playing perfect, who exactly are you trying to impress? Who are you trying to prove yourself to? Or are you trying to prove something to yourself? Remember, there was a time when Facebook, Instagram and Twitter didn't exist, but did you stop existing? Did you stop being an amazing human being just because it wasn't on the Internet? No. You are an amazing human being because you are an amazing human being. We need to stop staring into a screen to gain approval and start staring into a mirror. That is where you get your approval. That is where you get your worth. That is where you get your acceptance. "Like" yourself. "Share" your love. "Tweet" yourself with respect. It is a hell of a lot more fulfilling.
#truth #iamalsotalkingtomyself

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Latte Truth For Your Cup

Imagine you are standing in line at Starbucks. In front of you, someone is ordering a latte. You get angry at this fact because you only like macchiatos. And even though you are not the one drinking it and their drink choice doesn't affect you directly, you can't help but let it get inside your head and drive you to the point of sheer annoyance and outrage. It doesn't matter that their choice makes them happy and feel good, you refuse to let them enjoy their $5 latte in peace because you absolutely cannot believe that someone would order something other than a macchiato. How dare they!

Sounds ridiculous, eh? Well, unfortunately this happens a lot more often than people like to realize or admit. Not necessarily in the realm of Starbucks lines, but in situational life happenings. Every time someone does something we don't agree with, we find ourselves so upset and overtaken with strong emotions. Whether it is who they love, what they choose to eat, what religion they are, what language they speak, what clothing they wear, what career they choose....get my point? Why do we care so much about other people in that aspect? If it makes them happy, if it is who they are meant to be, if they believe strongly in what they are doing, why does it matter to us? Literally, it doesn't affect us at all. Until we let it. And even so, we are usually making up ridiculous reasons in our head because we absolutely will not allow someone else to have a life we don't agree with. Yet that in itself is a cop out. It isn't that we don't agree with it, it is that we refuse to take the time to understand it. Nod your head yes, you know I am right. Just because it is something I myself do not decide to do for myself, doesn't mean other people are not allowed to. No one is asking your permission to be who they are. Hard to swallow pill, but your permission is not needed for someone else to order a latte, or marry someone of the same gender, or to worship God, or not worship God, eat meat, only eat vegetables, or wear all black, or wear a head covering, or speak English or Spanish or French or sign language or Klingon or whatever they want to speak. Just because it doesn't fit your palate doesn't mean it doesn't taste good to them.

So instead of worrying about about what is in the cup of other people, focus on what is in your own cup. If you stay concerned with all those ordering a latte, you will never enjoy your grande macchiato. The menu is vast. There is plenty to order. Hundreds of combinations. Each one tastes good to someone. Each choice is a favorite to someone else. Allow people to pick their personal preference in beverage and beyond. Them drinking a latte doesn't make your macchiato taste worse. I promise.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Place Among the Trees

Oh, hey there! Wow. It seems as though it has been 10 months since I last posted. This is probably because it in fact has been that long. Much has happened since we last caught up. The biggest change being that I decided to go back to school after 10 years and finish the degree I originally started when I was but a young lass. Starting over at the age of 35 has had its challenges, without a doubt. Being back in a classroom with all these young whipper snappers has made me feel ancient. I tell them I graduated in 2001 and they reply, "Seriously? I was just born at that time!" Thanks for that, kiddo. In addition to taking full class loads this summer and 19 hours this semester (who needs sleep or no stress?) I am still helping take care of my father with dementia. Life definitely led me down a path I wasn't expecting to be back on. Or on in general. But, I suppose the Universe lines things up for us and places us where we need to be right when we need to be there. The Universe had a plan, I just had to catch up to it. This being said, I graduate with my Associates in Journalism in December and then move onto ETSU where I will be getting my Bachelors in two years, with a minor in Creative Writing. I have never been more excited about the future. It feels like I finally have a purpose, a goal and hope. Right at this moment, however, I am also thankful to be back in the mountains of Tennessee for a full Fall season for the first time in 6 years. In Florida, we only knew the changing seasons by the different featured drinks at Starbucks. I definitely took the beauty of the scenery here for granted growing up. I find myself going on more drives and paying closer attention to the vibrant colors encompassing me. 360 degree explosions of reds, oranges and yellows produce a surround sound of color and brilliance. One fact I have found is that I relate to these trees this time of year. Especially now with where I am on my journey. The leaves turn from their original greens into something so splendid and beautiful. From small buds grow incredible displays of trees that look to have been set aflame against the clear October sky. They stand out boldly and proudly against their background, unashamed of how they have changed from what they once were. Don't get me wrong. When they were decked out in their greens they were just as worth looking at, because during that season of their life, they were exactly where they needed to be. However, as time went on, they began to slowly change and transform into what they needed to be for this particular season of their life. And the change was subtle. Over time, we began to see the greens fade into darker colors and begin to appear in a different light among the other leaves. This happened slowly until they were presented in their full glory of change. This is much like we change and grow over time. We start out as buds growing toward being something of significance and worth noticing. Over time, we turn into emerald colors as we reach the stage of new life in our story. Our roots grow stronger, we grow taller and we begin to enter new seasons where we continue to change and unfold into our splendor and splashes of cascading glory. People begin to pay attention to what we have become. "How beautiful! I love how the changes make them stand out more so than before!" they will exclaim as they stand in awe of the powerful colors no longer hidden by the greens that all appeared to be the same in color and hue. I like that. I like feeling like a beautiful leaf. A palette of burning embers placed within the contents of nature. Bursting forth with such intensity and determination, shouting, "Look at me! Look how far I have come! I have made it through another season and am still hanging on to the branches, though they sway and try to knock me off at times, I am holding steadfast in my brilliance!" Yes, there will be a time to let go and fulfill a different destiny. But Fall shows us how magnificent letting go can be. And when you do, you will once again become one with the Earth and yourself. You will let yourself go and give yourself the freedom to be so unbelievably fantastic. And from there you will grow and rise once again, on to new horizons and mountain tops. Letting yourself become. Leaving behind the old, while leaving behind new buds to take your place and learn from what you left before them. And they will thrust forth in newness and wonder, finding their place among the trees, because you first taught them how.

Settling is Sinking. You Were Born to Rise.

When someone thinks of something "settling", one of the first things that comes to mind is a house. I remember growing up, every t...