Having walked into a new freedom

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I was recently rummaging through my desk drawers to get a long overdue start on my spring cleaning when I came across a letter I have saved.  It is not the typical style of prose I would choose to hang on to but rather a glaring reminder of how therapeutic it can be to exorcise a toxic friend from your life.

Toxic friendships start innocently.  The relationship begins to build on a foundation of trust and common interests, camaraderie is evident and the rules of the alliance seem to be clearly outlined and understood by both parties.  Each participant silently vows to put the other’s well-being ahead of the general population and to always have the other friend’s back.

But, somewhere during one particular friendship of mine, the rules changed.  My toxic friend began to show the obvious characteristics of being narcissistic and she no longer had a genuine investment in my feelings.  She began to pollute my reality with her selfishness and her uncanny ability to focus solely on herself.  Although the previous vows of our friendship still may have percolated in the back of her mind, she forged ahead only looking out for herself, completely negating any regard for my feelings.

Unfortunately, I have fallen victim to more than my fair share of toxic friends.  I have created excuses for their behavior, forgiven them on many occasions for the negative effect they have had on my life, and the lives of others, and defended their antics ad nauseam.  For the duration of those relationships, my toxic friends broke all the fundamental and universal laws of friendship and yet I found it difficult to break the bond of our kinship.

I keep this letter, still, as a reminder of the journey I took to find my worth.  This one solid shred of evidence is proof of the strength I possessed to finally walk away from a toxic friendship and put myself first.  It is a letter, penned by a third-party, written to attack my character and accuse me of misrepresenting myself as a friend.  Although this letter initially angered me because the author was completely ignorant regarding my history with this certain friend, I now look at those words and smile.

I was accused of being a bad friend and I was a bad friend – to myself.   I was accused of changing and I did change – for the better.   I was told I would regret ending this one-sided friendship and, yes, I did indeed have regret about ending this particular friendship – but only because I didn’t have had the balls to do it sooner.

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I made a monumental decision that day and one I will never regret making.  I finally gave myself permission to define how I let people treat me.  My friendships now are nurturing and reciprocal and the friends I have in my life treat me with the same respect I show them.  It was a bumpy road for a while but knowing when to let go was a lesson learned the hard way.  I may have a few cuts and bruises from having walked into a new freedom but I shall wear those scars with pride.

Where I find myself

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My head is here,

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lost in what looks like a painting.

Texture emulates emotion, freedom.

The horizon represents reality,

meeting effortlessly with creative indulgence.

There are no rules in the clouds.

My heart is here,

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 swelling with emotion,

nurtured by nature and blessed by light,

comforted by the embrace of the essence of life.

free to move in a path that is meant only for me.

An excellent “first date”

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I’ve watched them from birth to now.  I’ve seen them take a few of their halted first steps and utter the beginning of many words to come.  I did not birth them, but I love them just as much as if I had.

The time has gone by so quickly and my nephews are now 15 and 12.  They are unique characters and very different from each other which makes them all the more fascinating to a person who does not see them every day.  I get fragmented pieces of time to create memories and I have realized that time is quickly running out before they fly from their nest.

I had a date with my 12-year old nephew tonight.  It was more like an expeditious speed-date but it was an hour that I got to spend with just him.  We laughed, we talked in funny accents and we allowed ourselves the freedom to just be silly and enjoy each others company.  He and I are very similar creatures and it was nice for both of us to recognize that bond.  He reads as voraciously as I did as a child and shares my animosity towards running.

My 15-year old nephew is the opposite.  He most likely thinks he will burst into flames if he had to read a novel.  His hours of leisure, and work, are spent at a golf course.  He lives and breathes golf.  He has found his passion and it is something at which he excels.  He and I have yet to have our date but I will be asking him soon and I am  hoping to make these dates a recurring event before I blink and they are both in their twenties.

I want these moments.  I want to create this stronger bond before they have gone off to college and the miles are stretched between us.  I selfishly crave those snippets of time where I see signs of them becoming the men they will continue to be throughout their lives.  I want them to know how proud I am of the strengths they possess and encourage them to never let anyone try to change their ideals.

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These dates may seem like small things to them but the memories we create will reside in my heart, and hopefully their hearts, for many years to come.

Finding the beauty in exhaustion

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I absolutely love what I do for a living but the long hours and the physical demands of the job can take a toll on the state of my well-being.  I have just organized and worked a wedding and dynamic conference back-to-back.  If you asked me to spell my name right now I would have difficulty providing that information with any sort of accuracy but the reward I have reaped far outweighs the strenuousness I have endured.

At the end of my arduous days, I feel content in the fact that I have given 110% to, not only give great service to each of these functions but, help create a memory for each of my guests.

Where I feel I should lose energy in the many hours I work, I gain strength from the energy of those around me.   This strength does not come from knowing what I am capable of.  This strength comes from my perseverance to give my best effort and make sure I represent all of myself and not just part of myself, not only in work but in every aspect of my life.

That is the beauty of my exhaustion.  I can sit back and relax knowing that I have given everything I have.  I can take solace in the fact that I do my job well.  And I can absolutely appreciate when I receive praise for my efforts because I truly feel like I have earned it.

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Although my weariness does come at a price, the satisfaction I get from knowing that my efforts positively affected so many others makes that extreme fatigue all that much more bearable and makes me want to do it all over again.

 

Turn off the light on the vacancy sign

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Drawing-Room-Empty

The hotel in my brain had been open but every room, on every floor, seemed to be empty.  I got home from another 13-hour work day yesterday, opened the laptop and stared blankly at the screen.  The lobby in my hotel was lifeless, the elevator was stuck on the ground floor and there was no movement in the confines of my cranium.  The hotel in my head, for all intents and purposes, was closed for business.  The hamster on the wheel of creativity was dead.

After a much-needed ten hours of sleep, the elevator is faintly humming once again.  The front desk staff are present and smiling and the bellman is waiting patiently to assist me with my words.  The neon vacancy sign still hums but the ideas are slowly coming to check in and the hotel is back in business.  I’m hoping after a few coffee breaks the writing staff will be comfortably ensconced in their suites, ready to work, and the writing hotel will soon be sold out.

I have enjoyed the interaction with other people over the last five days but I will eagerly anticipate the required maintenance being finished at the hotel in my brain so I can hop on the elevator when I get home and reach the penthouse of idioms upon my return.

The vacancy sign of inspiration is flickering because the ideas have begun to occupy the rooms in the recesses of my brain.  I’m hoping by tonight the prolific hotel in my mind will be sold out.

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I’ll show you a full moon!

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Yesterday was an interesting day.  The energy in my work space was charged with an unknown element and the entire day felt like I was living in an alternate universe.  People were doing inane things, the simplest conversation turned into a painful thirty minute ordeal and the tension could have been cut by nothing less than a chainsaw.  My rhetorical question was to ask, “is it a full moon?” and the response was an embellished “yes”.

Although there is no direct correlation between the phases of the moon and human behavior, the full moon gives human beings a fantastic excuse for acting like idiots.  The blame is put solely on the celestial orb, taking the onus from the one acting completely out of character but, when the sky is dark, strange behavior is accepted as exactly that with no other plausible justification.

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Many of our references to luck, or the lack thereof, are written in the stars.  We wish on a falling star.  Our horoscopes are creatively tied to constellations in the sky.  And we blame a magical orb of light for any unfavorable happenings during the phase in which it finds its truest beauty.

On those days that society deems the moon to be the cause of all of its woes,  the child who still resides in my mind hopes that the fantasy man who inhabits that enchanting sphere is truly giving us the full moon.

Learning lessons the right way

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“I never lose….either I win or I learn.” ~ Spirit Science

I consider myself to be very fortunate because I have made many mistakes throughout my life’s journey.   My reward is not in the error itself but in the fact that I was able to take something positive from a negative experience and use it to gain knowledge.

I choose to be happy that I made egregious errors in judgement because those missteps in my life may have led me to the path I was meant to follow.  Those miscalculations made me better understand myself and realize that I have not lost anything.  I have merely chosen to take more from the situation, to comprehend life’s advice, rather than to walk away defeated and sad.lessons-in-learning-610x200

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I feel like a victor because I have been able to truly learn from the lapses in my reasoning.  I did not gain strength from anything other than lifting myself back up, dusting myself off and starting over again.

Choices are easy to make but consequences are hard to ignore.  Those who cannot see the bigger picture will simply feel like they have lost.  But those able to see beyond the initial reaction to their action will realize that they have won because they have learned more about themselves having done it the hard way than they would have by quietly admitted defeat.

I will never lose.  It is a bold statement but one I stand behind with absolute certainty.  I will take my lumps, learn my lessons and be much more prepared for the rest of the life that my future has in store for me.  Losing is not an option.