Thursday, October 26, 2017

And The Brilliance Continues...

Lately I have come to realize the best things in life truly are free and it really is the simple things that matter the most. As I walked to my car between classes in the cool October breeze, it struck me that I was shivering but remained un-phased. I love this time of year. I closed my eyes and let the crisp air hit my face and I smiled. When I opened my eyes I noticed the brilliance of the trees as their leaves had changed from shades of greens to burning colors of oranges, browns and reds. It's so beautiful. God sure knows how to use His paintbrush. The world just amazes me and I am becoming more and more aware of its beauty. A multicolored leaf falls in front of me as it has fulfilled its purpose over the last year and left new buds to take their turn. It made me think how similar that is to our lives. We are born and bud slowly into a life filled with change. We are brilliantly cast into the world and become rooted deeply into things that give us meaning, purpose and hold us up...just like a tree thrust deeply into the earth does for leaves. We sometimes hang on precariously as winds and storms strive to make us let go and fall. Yet we remain attached, though shaken. Our purpose isn't complete. As we grow, we change and our true colors become more apparent and blend together like the harvest colors of an autumn leaf and people begin to notice our beauty. Once blending in to our surroundings and being just another "olive colored leaf" among millions, we begin to stand out from the alike and take on our shades that make us who we are. Just like the trees, we don't all change at once, but one by one until we are once again making something amazing and beautiful. Then, when our purpose and colors have come full circle, it will finally be time to let go and take our plunge into eternity, leaving behind new "buds" and life to continue the cycle. Life to forever bring happiness and color to the world because we showed it how.

*I wrote this back in college years ago when I lived in Tennessee. That is one thing I definitely miss...the incredible beauty of the changing leaves in the Fall.*

Monday, October 23, 2017


You place the mask over your face and walk down the elaborate staircase into a room full of other covered faces. You walk amongst them, not fully knowing who they are and they not knowing who you fully are. You nod at each person as you pass making sure your mask is still precariously placed where you want it to be. You walk across the floor, stopping ever so often to partake in a dance to a piece of music that enchants your ear. You meet someone and begin a conversation. As you do, you slowly start to feel comfortable and want to know more about the person on the other side of the decorated mask. You both slowly start to remove the facade that you have each been hiding behind the entire time. For the first time, you are looking someone in the eye with your truth. Revealing who you are. You are vulnerable and unhidden. You are out in the open and exposed. But it is fine. You feel accepted because slowly one by one, other people start to put down their mask and their guard. Those who know me know that I am a proud gay woman. I own who I am and love myself completely. This, however, was not always the it is not for others as well. For 31 years I hid behind a mask. I put on a show pretending to be invisible for fear of being noticed. I played the part. I would partake in the facade. On the outside, I was just another decorated mask. Behind the decoration, I was crying. I was not happy. It wasn't until I met people who loved me and accepted me for who I was that I slowly started to lower my mask and reveal who I was. Who I truly was. You see, with the mask I could be anyone. No one knew who was living behind the costume. No one except for me. Though I made it work at every single masquerade I attended, when I got home, I had to stand in the mirror and take the mask off. Night after night, over and over. Behind the beautifully ornate mask was a tear streaked face and a quivering lip. The mascara lined my cheeks to a point it was almost impossible to cover it up daily with the foundation and powder. Eventually, I couldn't do it anymore. The masquerades were becoming exhausting and I was running out of masks and lies. Don't you see? This isn't just me. This isn't just LGBTQs. This is everyone who feels they can't be who they are. Everyone who feels safer and more accepted behind a mask. Why is it this way? Who says we can't come to the masquerade in full face as ourselves? Somewhere along the way we found sanctuary behind a mask of stained glass and a facade of "I'm fines" and "This is who I have to be's" Our masks became words of untruth and fear. I want you to know that you don't have to hide. You don't have to be "that". You don't have to act like everything is okay. But you do have to be happy. You do have to rip the mask off and be everything you are meant to be. Behind the mask is a purpose. A reason. A human. A heart. A you. And you are more gorgeous without the decoration. Love yourself. Love the person in the mirror despite what others tell that person they need to be. The only thing you need to who you are. And for those days you see the mask laying there and are wanting to pick it up, look beside it. There is a sword. Pick that up, go into the world and slay every dragon that attempts to burn down the good inside you. Dragons can be beaten. So adorn a helmet, not a mask and cross the dance floor, full face...and absolutely decorated in you. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Life Is An Improv

For those of you who feel like you should know exactly what you are suppose to be doing. For those who think that there should be a script you follow daily as to what needs to be done. FYI, that is never going to be a thing. I am sure nearly all of you have heard the line from Shakespeare, "All the world is a stage and the people merely players". This quote describes life pretty perfectly. And ole Willy wasn't wrong. Life can totally be compared to theatre. Think about it...we wake up every day to go out into the world to play a part as a mother, father, child, friend, co-worker, citizen etc. The world becomes our stage as we move about it day in and day out interacting with the other cast of characters we encounter. The only difference is, this isn't a scripted show. There is no hand held instruction book of what to say or do next. No stage directions. No one to be there when you are confused and yell, "LINE!!". There is no tech week only show days. Nope. Life is an improv. You make it up as you go along. Every conversation. Every move. Every thing you do that day is completely in the moment. Your lines come from what the other people's lines are. Your stage directions are where you decided to end up going. Each part you play will either be a comedy or a tragedy and how your character handles each situation thrown at them. You will have an audience daily. Some will be critics. Some will give you standing ovations. Some will want to just see how you portray your part. Everyone holds a ticket to a sold out show every single day. You can watch from the wings, view from the audience, or stand in the spotlight. The choice is really up to you. However, you aren't offered the roles this time. There is no casting call or cast sheet that is put up in the middle of the town. You decide what you want to be the moment you get out of bed. Then, you own that role. You can do and be anything you want to be. You can change the ending of your play at any moment. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty cool concept. Every building you walk into is your set. Each song you hear is your pit. And damn right you can turn your play into a musical! Each time your character breaks into song....BAM musical improvisational theatre. The world IS your stage. Each role is the most important role because there is no other character like yours and there never will be. You perform your own stunts, lines and original script. We are all directors, producers, stage managers, designers, musicians and actors. You are a one stop theatre shop. Yes, life is an improv. Then at the end of each day, walk downstage, take your bow, accept the applause and prepare for your encore matinee show tomorrow. Break all the legs! Scene. Curtain. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Peter Pan Syndrome

Close your eyes. Think a happy thought. Fly. The idea of never growing up becomes more and more appealing as we, ironically, grow up. We find that the pirates we have to fight are real, we start to see ourselves as "lost boys" trying to survive and we use our imagination to make situations seem better than they are. The truth is, growing up is a state of mind. Of course we physically have to grow up. There is no amount of pixie dust that will keep us young forever. (Although I swear to you I am 25 and that will be the story until I die). Though, if you believe hard enough, you can find your own Peter Pan within yourself. Think about it. As kids, we can't wait to get older. Everything seems so exciting and adventure is in all that we encounter. But as we get older and leave home, we realize...the adventure is a little scarier than we imagined as children. Yet, we set off to new destinations. Second star to the right and straight on till morning! We find Captain Hook exists within the struggles we encounter every day. So we pick up our swords and prepare for battle. Along the way, we find "lost boys", others who have no idea what they want to do with their lives, who don't want to grow up. We find them and we become friends with them because they understand what it is to have to fight every single day. And still somewhere deep inside of us, is that small glimmer of pixie dust letting us know that just because we are in the real world, it doesn't mean we can't still have fun. We get so caught up in our jobs and in our stressful situations and in bills that we forget, it is okay to still play and be carefree sometimes. Honestly, if I didn't have a little Serina still frolicking around somewhere in me, I would go completely insane. Just because you follow Tinkerbell around, doesn't mean you aren't grown up. It just means, you know life is too short to fully let go of child like innocence. Children are the best. I use to work with kids when I taught music. And even though I was the teacher, I learned more from them than they did from me, I'm sure of it. While I would go into class stressed and uptight about things out of my control, they were laughing and running around and making the most of life. I had a child in one of my classes named Cole who is the reason I started thinking up this topic. I was having a bad day and knew payments were coming up and I needed to get gas and adult adult adult. He saw this and asked me if I was okay. I told him that Miss Serina (that's what my students called me) was just really stressed about stuff I had to do later. Cole looked at me and said, "That's later. This is now. Have fun now!" It made me think...I don't have enough fun in the moment. I don't use my imagination and my moments as wisely as I should. Cole became my pixie dust. He took me out of myself and made me realize that anything was possible if I just lived now. And you know what? I didn't think about "gross grown up stuff" the rest of the day. Yes, the grown up stuff will still be there. Externally. But internally, we need to learn to not grow up. Not completely anyway. I hope I never lose the need for adventure, and that I can use my imagination to land on clock towers or fight pirates or be whoever I want to be. I hope I can still be carefree and live in the moment. I may have to become an adult, but I don't have to adhere to the rules of what it should be like. I have Peter Pan syndrome. I hope I never grow up. And I want to fly and never ever land. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Cliffhanger

Have you ever seen a movie where someone is walking or running through a certain landscape and come upon a cliff. The music becomes more dramatic and the ground beneath them starts to crumble. They lose their footing and start to plummet down below toward certain death. However, they are able to grab onto a branch and end up saving themselves momentarily, even though the situation is still precarious.Then all of a sudden, someone appears at above reaching down their hand yelling from them to grab on. They try to reach up but won't let go of the branch completely because they don't trust they won't still fall. The thing is, yes...the situation is scary and can go one of two ways. But the opportunity to be pulled to safety is right there if only they let go of the branch. A lot of people find themselves in situations where they feel they are barely hanging on to a branch. They feel their grip slipping and immediately begin thinking the worst and sometimes focus so much on that, they don't take the time to look up and realize there is someone standing there with their hand outstretched screaming, "Grab on! I've got you!" They just can't let go of what they are hanging on to. In order for the situation to change, you have to let go of the branch. You have to let go to grab on to something better. If one hand is still grasping the branch and the other is holding on to what can pull you up and out, you have a choice to make. Don't give up. Letting go of things is hard, especially when you are uncertain of what will happen once you do. Will the hand be strong enough to hold you? Will you lose your grip and fall? That is where faith comes in. For things to get better, you have to believe that they can. Trust the strength in yourself and in the force pulling you up. Release what you are holding on to. Pull yourself up. And then stand on the edge, triumphant in your defeat of the cliff. Look around at the beauty. Things look a lot more stunning from the top of the cliff than they do when you're too focused on the branch. Your story can be whatever you want it to be. But you have to fight for it, you have to continuously reach for what will pull you to the top. You are living a story, don't let it be a cliffhanger. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Discounts, Doughnuts and Doormats

Hey you. Yeah you. Why you laying there? Did you know that you are worth so much more? Something that absolutely kills me is seeing people being walked all over repeatedly. Letting someone take advantage of their kindness and good nature and heart. But, tough love real talk, there comes a time when you have to stand up and stop taking it. That isn't just your decision, it is your responsibility. I get it. You love them and they will change and they don't mean it and excuse after excuse after excuse. I am not saying never give someone a second chance. By all means, if you believe they can be better, give them a second chance. I am all for them. However, if they hurt you and you take them back...the first time is a mistake. The second time it's a choice. Being a good hearted person is never a bad thing, in fact in the world we are living in, it is a very welcomed change. But sadly, some people look at it as an opportunity to use you for all they can. Help people. Be there for people. Love people. Always do these things, but also know when it is turning into a bad and exhausting cycle of hurt for you. You are worth so much more. Your value is higher than that. You have a high price tag so get off the clearance rack! Don't let anyone undermine you as a person and never let them underestimate what you have to offer. I've been there. I have given so much to people who only continued to drain me. Not just monetarily, but emotionally, physically and mentally. When people know that you will take them back and will always be there no matter what they do to you, then you lose control and slowly your self respect as well. Never let anyone take those things from you. Some people will keep leaving your heart hanging because they know that you will be there when they feel like it is convenient for them to come back. You are not a store. This is not a convenience thing. You don't come with doughnut and soda. By all means, let them go find what they are looking for, but it is not your obligation to hang around while they figure it out. Know your self worth. Seriously. Say it with me, "I am worth more than their actions" And that is the thing, love is an action, not a word. Love is a verb, not a noun. Love is not convenience, it is comfort. Quit laying down and letting people wipe their dirty feet all over you and expect you to just take it. Doormats are for shoes my dear. So get the hell off the floor. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

160 Feet

Picture it, Sicily. 1932. Oh wait, sorry...I'm a Golden Girls fan. Let me start over. *ahem* Picture it. A highway at night. You are driving with your headlights on. At any given moment you can only see 160 to 200 feet in front of you if conditions aren't super bad. When you are driving in the darkness, as long as you can see those 160 feet, you can keep going just fine. You drive by faith. You trust that the next 160 feet will be in front of you. If you stop, you will be stuck in the darkness, staring at the same spot on the road. You will never get to your destination until you trust the next 160 feet. Granted, there will be times the weather takes a turn and you have to slow down or actually pull over for a short amount of time until things start to clear up and you can begin to see the road you are on better. But what do you do then? You get back on the road, headlights on, and continue driving. You can't stay on the side of the road forever. At some point, despite what just happened, you have to merge back into the lane and continue on your journey. You survived the worst and you can now see where you are going again. In life, there will be times that we are driving down the highway and can only see 160 feet in front of us at any given moment. In those times, we have to just trust that the next 160 feet will be there if we are to keep moving. There will be storms and bad weather. You may hydroplane and feel out of control, but don't overcorrect or over-react. Don't panic. Trust the car you are driving will straighten itself out and that you know how to regain control or you can hit a wall. Sometimes you may have to pull over until you can see things clearly again. But as long as you merge back on the road once it has passed and keep going, you will make it to where you want to go. You can't just give up and sit on the side of the road. A lot of people hit bad road conditions in life and are too scared to get back on the highway. "What if it gets bad again? What if the road disappears and I can't find my way?" It will and it may. But in order to get to where you want to be, you have to continue forward. Pull over when you have to. Wait for the storm to pass. But keep watching the road. It will tell you when it is clear continue. Never take your eyes off the road. Whether you are driving on cruise control or pulled off to the side for a little bit, never take your eyes off the road. Focus on where you are going. Prepare for road conditions. And no matter what, always trust the next 160 feet. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

It All Hinges On This

Throughout life, you will find there are doors. Everywhere you turn, there is another one waiting to be tried. Sometimes it is locked, so you continue your search for one that will slowly swing open when you turn the knob or pull the handle. Other times, the doors are meant to be opened by others, bringing them into your life at a moment you least expect it. While you are looking longingly at the door that didn't open itself for you, someone walks in it. And you realize that you were meant to be on this side of the door, because it wasn't yours to open. Have you ever really sat and assessed the purpose of a door? I mean like, really observed it? That one door can keep things in or out just by the position of where it is in relation to the frame. It can easily let people in or easily keep people out with just the turn of a lock. And the hinges make it all happen. If you truly think about it, we are each our own door. We let things in and out of our lives every day. We shut people and opportunities out. We welcome people and opportunities in. Our life is the frame and our heart is the hinge. With every decision we make, we determine if we are going to swing the door open or slam the door shut. We are in charge of what our door does. There will be times that people try to force themselves in and times that people will bust the door down to get out. But we have the power to change the locks at any time to allow only into our lives what is good for us. Make sure you never hinge your dreams on someone else's door. By doing this, your life will only go in the direction their door swings leaving you with not many options. Build your own door. Build it with pieces of the past and lessons you've learned. Build it with your hopes and dreams and goals. Make your door yours and make it strong. Our door will get battered and worn with time. Our door will start to have squeaks and creaks over the course of the years. However, if you look at it this way, that is a good thing. It means we loved and we welcomed people in. Some may have not stayed, but we can always be grateful for them stopping by. Be your own door. Control what comes in and out of your life. Be in charge of who and what stays and let out what doesn't belong and what doesn't bring you happiness. And remember, it is okay to try the doors of other people. Knock on every single one you can. You may just be invited in to stay awhile. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Beginning...

The beginning. Where all new journeys begin. So, I suppose this is one of mine. I have always been one to speak in metaphors. When giving advice, or just talking in general, I find myself more times than not lapsing into verse or metaphor to get my point across. I guess some things are easier explained in such terms. By knowing this, I decided I wanted to use my own specific "language" if you will and put it into writing. I have always been able to explain myself more clearly and eloquently through written word. I don't know if it is because I can visually see what I am saying or if I can take more time to think out what I am going to say as opposed to being in the moment and having to speak candidly. Therefore, here I am, at the beginning of a new blog venture. The reason I am doing this is because I have had things end recently, which as we all know is where new beginnings take place. I have never been one to sit and wallow in the "what could have beens" or "what should have beens". If that was all a person did, they would never really go anywhere. You have to keep going in order to get to where you want to be. Even when you are on a road trip, once you reach your destination, life doesn't just stop there. It just means that leg of your trip is over. You start a new one, in a new place, with new adventures. The past few years I have been trying to find where I belong. Thirty four years old and I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Which, in its own way, has been a journey unto itself. I have worked at a theme park, taught music to kids and became a realtor all in the course of a little over a year. I regret none of the decisions because I have learned a lot about different aspects of life that I never would have otherwise. Each one has been its own experience and I have grown as a person because of them all. I suppose that is what the journey is all about. Learning. Growing. Looking back over my life, I have had many things end. School. Relationships. Jobs. Friendships. Lives of people close to me. Bad habits. Good habits. My way of thinking. But with each, literally every single time I had no idea what the next step would be or how I would go on, I did. I found myself ending at the start of a new beginning. I knew from there I had two choices, as we most often always do; stay where I was or continue moving forward. I would not be where I am today had I stayed put. If I had given up on the hope of a second chance. Everything has a beginning. Your life was the ultimate beginning, from there, it was just a series of starting lines. If you think about it, your race is never really over while you remain alive on this earth. And even after that, you begin a whole new adventure afterward, depending on what you believe. Think of your life as a race. You line up at the starting line, life says "GO!", and you take off running. As fast and as hard as you can. Take new paths. Try new trails. Explore. You may trip along the way, but as long as you get up and keep going, you can still cross the finish line. You may get lost, but that is where you find yourself. People may pass you because they are faster, that doesn't mean you aren't as good, it just means they run the race differently than you do. Never compare yourself to the person in the lane next to you, remember, they are doing the same thing you are doing, trying to make it to their goal. It doesn't matter if you finish first or dead last, what matters is you finish. Just with anything in life. Keep going. Get up. Finish the race. Every day, put on your running shoes and go. Have your goal in mind and run hard and fast toward it. If you fall, pick yourself up. If you are slower one day than others, it's okay. It is at your own pace. You are setting YOUR personal best. Not someone else's. Believe in what you are doing and know your reason. Then get in the race. The beginning is a beautiful place to be because nothing has been determined. It is just starting. You have a whole race ahead of you where anything can happen. If you stay still, nothing will happen. This is your chance. Wake up. Line up. Chin up. On your mark. Get set. GO!

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...