Just get in the car and drive….

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Today is my first day of two days off in a row!  Sadly, I think the last time this phenomenon occurred was during the Christmas holidays when I had a horrible case of Pneumonia and couldn’t get off the couch.  Not even the sun shining through my bedroom window this morning could pull me from under the cover of my duvet.  I did rise at 7:30 to tend to my four-legged roommate but, after returning to bed, the clock read 10:39 a.m. when I finally emerged from my cocoon.

It’s amazing how quickly you can lose your grip on reality.  Work happens day in and day out and, if you let it, work can consume your life.  I awoke this morning almost struggling to come up with something fun to do since my day off usually consists of laundry, house cleaning and other mundane tasks.

I did mow the lawn and weed around my mom’s tree to feel some sense of accomplishment today but the day rapidly evolved into a day of carefree abandon which I have not been able to enjoy in a while.  My travelling companion and I hopped in the car and headed out onto the open road.  The sun was shining, the sky was a remarkable shade of blue and the roads were all but abandoned.

country road

I finally felt a true escape today that I have not felt in a while.  I didn’t think of what would happen at work tomorrow because my tomorrow work-day was extended for another 24 hour period.  I didn’t care that I hadn’t vacuumed my house because I still have tomorrow to vacuum.  It was a memorable day of reckless abandon and not having to share the open road because all the tourists are happily ensconced in their city homes.  It was just me, my dog and an endless stretch of sun-streaked pavement.

It’s amazing what you take for granted.  Those seemingly meaningless pleasures suddenly become treasured moments when you realize that you are unable to enjoy them as often as you would like.  Driving along winding country roads with not another car to be seen was my perfect moment today.  It gave me time to breathe.  It gave me time to reflect.  And it gave me time to just be myself.

When was the last time you had a perfect moment?

 

 

 

One part water, one part rabbit, one part nuts

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In the 1987 movie “Fatal Attraction” Glenn Close convincingly plays an intelligent, articulate career woman with a penchant for revenge when her love is unrequited.  This was a very politically correct way of describing the insane nature of her character.  Near the pinnacle of her breakdown, Alex, played by Close, breaks into the house belonging to the object of her obsession and basically makes a soup stock out of the family pet.  My friends and I would use the phrase “bunny boiler” for many years to come after seeing this film.

Alarmingly, they do truly exist.  I’ve met some of them.  Perhaps they were not pressured to the point of bringing a pot of water to a scalding boil and stewing the family pet but they seem to wreak havoc in their own mind-boggling ways.  Obsessive behavior runs rampant and the clear and decisive nature of a normal human brain becomes more of a chapter in a research book than anything remotely resembling their reality.

Instinctively, most men can spot these women a mile away.  When the behavior pattern of a woman deviates from her usual likes and dislikes to mirror his – he becomes moderately suspicious.  When she begins randomly showing up in places that he frequents or becomes obsessed with the hobbies or sports he is into – alarm bells begin going off at top decibel.

I have always felt an inkling of sorrow watching these situations unfold.  Being able to remain rational during the beginning stages of a relationship while maintaining your sense of self is difficult.  Maintaining that rationale at the conclusion of that relationship is overwhelming, but it can be done.  Sure you may have wanted, with every fibre of your being, to be a perfect fit for the object of your affection but it doesn’t always work that way.  Relationships are about learning more about yourself and being able to blend your strengths with another person.  Giving up your interests to absorb theirs will only make you lose yourself in the process.

If relationships were easy, we would learn nothing about ourselves and what truly makes us happy.  It is the bumps in the road and those unexpected detours that make us truly think about our ultimate happiness and how much of ourselves we are willing to lose on that journey to self-discovery.   The failure only comes when you are not true to your heart and true to your beliefs.  Becoming something other than your genuine self will only negate the process of discovering that true happiness.

I do believe that I have gained enough wisdom at my age to know when the subject of my attention has a vested interest in the qualities that I possess.  I have learned to be grateful for my wit and intelligence and I have faith that they are qualities that someone will appreciate as they are – not a warped version of them to blend into the color palette of their life instead of my own.  I have finally learned the value of being myself.  It took a while to get here, but the pilgrimage was worth the sacrifices along the way.

With that knowledge in hand, I can go forth into my next relationship knowing that I put my self-worth first and, more importantly, that their pets will be safe from harm.

Fragments of myself

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I have been reflecting a lot lately – looking back at the phases of my life where I defined myself in terms of my relationships with other people.  I even introduced myself with those titles.  I was always a daughter, a sister, a step-mom, a wife (now ex-wife) and it has only been recently that I have begun to describe myself in terms of who I really am – me.

All of those monikers are still a big part of who I am, or was, but they are only pieces of my bigger puzzle.  I have found new ways to describe myself that truly incorporate the essence of me and not just how my being relates to other people.  After years of missing the most integral part of who I am, I have found the proper words to define myself.

puzzle-pieces

(image credit: loridennis.com)

In the past, I had deconstructed myself and put smaller pieces of me into everyone else’s puzzle.  I was happy to be the daughter or the sister.  I didn’t feel lost nor did I feel any sense of being an incomplete person.  I merely slipped into the shadows of the lives around me.  I became an extension of them and the fault of that circumstance was all mine.

After many months of contemplative thought I have become aware of a new sense of self – a confidence to simply extend my hand and introduce myself with only my name.  There is no longer a follow-up delineation of how I relate to anyone other than myself.  I am, in the simplest of definitions, me.

Those fragments of myself constitute a big part of my life but they are no longer words I use to acquaint myself with anyone new in my life.  Eventually those pieces of my puzzle will fall into their rightful place but that place is not the definition of who I am.

I’m not here to impress you

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I am me.  I have simple likes and dislikes (except for the occasional expensive bottle of wine). I live an honest life and I embrace the sense of humor, common sense, moderate intelligence and gift for the vernacular that was bestowed upon me.  I do not, nor will I ever use any of my personality traits to impress you.  But at the end of my journey through this life I hope that, with those traits, I will leave an impression upon you.

So often people spend so much of their time trying to impress the multitudes by being something they are not, nor will they ever be.  The downside to pretending that you are something so far removed from your reality is that eventually people see through the facade and directly into the real you.  Having the self-confidence to believe that you are truly unique is half the battle.  Having the fortitude to stand behind what you represent is the remaining half.

It takes little to no effort to be the person that you truly are and it takes a moderate resolution to negate any ill will towards people who do not embrace the qualities you possess. It takes even broader shoulders to not care.  If you have ever been told that you are one in a million, that is a gross understatement. There is no singular being on this grand planet that can ever take your place.

By living to impress others you do yourself an egregious injustice.  Trying to live up to the standards of others simply means you are ignoring your standards and your life is no longer about you.

Leave the impression on this world that you want to leave – not the impression you think others want you to leave.  Don’t lose yourself striving for their definition of perfection.  As you continue to embark on your personal journey you may find that your idea of perfection is much better.  The sense of accomplishment you achieve doing it your way will be that much more rewarding.

Learning from Calvin and Hobbes

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I had posted this earlier in my blogging days…..but I felt it worthy of putting out there again.  I hope you agree.

For as much as I voraciously ingest the written word in novels and short stories, the true expression of human (and stuffed tiger) nature is emphatically represented in the cartoon series of Calvin and Hobbes.  A precocious 5-year old child with the sharp wit and mental fortitude of an adult can sum up in well constructed lines of  illustration, what I strive to achieve in five or more pages of sheer pontificating.

It’s okay to share your feelings.

It’s okay to have an opinion and stand behind it.

It’s okay to dance like nobody is watching.

It’s okay to stretch the boundaries of creativity and individuality and be your authentic self.

And most importantly, it is imperative that you take the time to enjoy your life.

The true mark of who we are as a person, is that we put faith in everything that makes us who we are.  Not everyone will understand every nuance of our being, but the precious few that take the time to realize what makes us special, carve that deep place into the recesses of our hearts and solidify their presence in our existence.

We spend so much time worrying about what other people think and waste those precious hours and minutes being concerned about other people’s opinions instead relying on our own opinion.   With a few shaded lines and some more than realistic dialogue,  the rich imagination of Bill Watterson has seeped into the hearts and minds of many fans, leaving with them the curiosity and keen sense of imagination that Calvin represents.

Inside us all still lurks the wonder of our inner child, the honest feelings we are afraid to show and the sincere desire to be exactly who we are without putting up a false front.  Perhaps we need to create a new story line for ourselves.   Cartoons have the innate ability to be re-drawn until they portray the feeling of the illustrator.   What we fail to recognize is that we are our own illustrator.  We can edit our sketch to truly reflect what we want to convey.

Be your own Calvin.  Don’t let your imagination be diminished by other’s reality.  Be true to yourself, stand by your opinions, and embrace the relationships that you find important, even if others think that they are frivolous.  You only have one life to live and nobody else can live it for you.  Enjoy every moment!

(All images courtesy of Bill Watterson via Google)

What word defines you?

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Tenacious is a word that I have come to love.  It sums up so much of my personality and my desire to succeed.   It gives me an excuse to fall back on when I seem like that proverbial bull in a china shop.  But when you know what you want, why should you not use everything in your arsenal to get it?

Words continue to fuel my fire and the roaring blaze is only intensified by my yearning.  I want to write.  I want more than anything to support my lifestyle by putting my thoughts and images into words, and I want people to get lost in the spectral portraits that I create with language. That tenacity is what keeps me going.  My stubborn refusal to accept my current station in life is evident by the passion I seek to create in the many fables I wish to share.

words

There are many adjectives to choose from when someone asks you to define yourself.   Honest, trustworthy and loyal are among the top words that people will use to exemplify the traits they find most honorable in themselves.  I embody all of those things, but my tenacity is what sets me apart from those benign words.  My ferrous belief that my writing will allow me to have a career by incessantly tapping at this keyboard is the light that beckons me through these dark nights.  It dangles that rabbit that I continue to chase in circles around that unending track.  It gives me hope that my dreams may come to fruition.

Some say words are only words. But words are unique.  Each word that is chosen in a story is selected because of the way it truly reflects the emotion and meaning of the sentence in which it is written.  And just perhaps, those words will lead me through the current reality of my days and into a world I had only once dreamed of – a world in which I was not just a fairy tale character, but the writer of that story.

Tenacious = determined, obstinate, persistent.  Tenacious is the word that defines me.

If you had to choose only one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

Every moment is important

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I was reading the new posts on Freshly Pressed and came across this post from grieftastic about Watching a Friend Die on Facebook.  It was heart wrenching and, in reading all of the moments so poignantly described, it really made me realize that every moment is important.  Every smile, every laugh and every argument combine to define a relationship.   And if we take any of those moments for granted, we are missing the true meaning of that relationship.

I posted yesterday about my best friend who was tragically taken from us far too soon.  She didn’t have a debilitating disease, we didn’t get to mentally prepare for her passing – she was just gone in an instant, and we didn’t get to say goodbye.  But every moment I had with her was precious, every moment is now a treasured memory and every moment was time I will never get back.

I was in the hospital when my dad took his last breath, but that is not the moment I remember.  The moments I cherish, much to my surprise, were the 6:00 am wake up calls on Christmas day.  For the years he was alive, I dreaded the thought of the phone ringing at that ungodly hour, but now, those are the moments with him that I miss the most.

Life is unpredictable and life is callous.  Often the things that we think will last forever can be taken in a second and the things we think should be easy are the biggest challenges.  I have a sadness for people who will never admit to making mistakes.  It is through my mistakes that I have learned more about myself and realized how truly important those moments were.  They helped to shape the person I have become and they will forever be a reminder of the person I could have been and not the person I am now.  They were important moments that gave me time to choose which person I wanted to be.

Every moment in our lives gives us a choice, but that moment will never again present itself in the same way.  It is a singular time in our lives – no two moments will be exactly the same.  You may watch the sun rise every morning for a week, but there will something unique in each moment of each day that will define that sunrise.

Sunrise

Every moment is important.  Knowing that, and truly embracing that, will help us take the time to ingest those precious seconds.  The things that you say cannot be taken back.  The things that you do will leave lasting memories.  And the things you experience will be a part of your history.  Choose wisely in your actions, for they will be the things that people will remember when you’re gone.