The fork in the road

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Everyone is given choices.  For the naysayers that exude denial and say they didn’t have a choice…..they are lying.  Everyone has a choice and sometimes choosing not to make a choice is their choice.

Although choices should be made carefully and given ample thought, they are available for everyone to make.  Many factors should be balanced before you make a choice but ultimately the decision-making comes down to a rational mind with an understanding of the potential conclusions.

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The fork in the road is put there for a specific purpose.  It is a deciding moment that you are able to pause and weigh your options.  Each fork will bring an alternate result and it is that pause that you are given that will help you make the choice that is best for you.  Choices should not be made on a whim because the trickle down effect could cause more people to be affected by your decision.  Take that gift seriously.   If the choice you are making could be detrimental to you or to someone else it is worth putting in a solid effort to weigh the pros and cons before you give your final answer.

Inevitably we will all make some bad choices along the way, but there is always that promise of redemption by making a better choice the next time.  And ultimately choosing to make the better choice is afforded to us by making a choice in the first place.

Put faith in your ability to make that choice wisely and choose to live with its consequences.  At least you will have the benefit of knowing you made the effort and if it wasn’t the right choice, you will get the chance to re-think your next path at that next fork in the road.

May I please go to the bathroom?

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When I was a child, doing dishes was the worst form of torture I could ever imagine.  We didn’t have a dishwasher so dishes were all done by hand and we all took turns washing and drying to make the arduous chore seem more fair.  But it was my least favorite thing to do.  I would have much preferred vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, dry-walling, rotating and balancing tires or removing my own spleen….anything but washing those bloody dishes.

I don’t recall if the genius idea came to me in a dream or if I had a sudden flash of brilliance after one particular dinner but, once the meal had been consumed, I asked if I could go to go to the bathroom.  No parent can effectually deny a child the right to heed the call of nature, so off I went.

Once that bathroom door had closed and I had engaged the lock, I became a teenage version of a forensic pathologist.  I carefully opened each cupboard and slowly examined and took stock of its contents.   In essence, I took so much time doing absolutely nothing that by the time I unlocked the door and went back to the kitchen, the dishes were done and nobody had seemed to notice the length of my absence.  The plan was brilliant….until eventually my brother caught on to my shrewd strategy.

After his realization of my great scheme, my trips to the bathroom after dinner were much less regular (pun intended).  The guy that I looked up to, that I thought would battle to the death for me, had thrown me under the bus.  I could only try to tune out the sound of his laughter as he closed the bathroom door before I even got close to that portal of escape that would separate me from the dishes.  Perhaps I should have changed my strategy and just gone to the bathroom right in my chair.  That surely would have resulted in a swift and heady dismissal from the dinner table and a one-way ticket straight to my room!

As fate would have it, I don’t hate doing the dishes anymore.  I learned a very valuable lesson about cleaning as I cook so the pile of dishes at the end of the process is not larger than the house itself.  It is a rare day you will find dirty dishes in a pile in or near my sink but rest assured, they don’t stay there for long.

If I say I’m fine….I’m lying

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Many memes and many jokes (mostly at men’s expense) have skirted around the fact that if a woman says, “I’m fine”, there is an emotional undertone that means something far beyond being fine.  My experience with the phrase ‘I’m fine’ has completely surpassed that, to the point that nobody in my immediate family uses those two words to describe their current state of being.

Both of my parents were alcoholics and suffered through a myriad number of complications through their later years.  It is an ugly disease with ugly consequences.  The worst part of watching the effects of alcoholism deteriorate a human body is having that person tell you that, while they are suffering numerous symptoms and contrary to every doctor’s diagnosis, they are fine.  Fine is no longer a word I use to describe how I feel and for very good reason – it’s bullshit.

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I sent a text to a friend yesterday to ask about their well-being and was given the response “I’m okay”.   Although it was not the tried and hated response of “I’m fine”, it ranked right up there and it made my Spidey senses tingle.  I knew there was more going on but I also knew not to push.

When you get a text message from someone you know on a very personal level, the inflection in their voice is heard loud and clear above the silence of a text message.  The only thing I can do is be here when they need to vent, to be present when they realize that I know they are not “fine” or “okay” and just be ready to listen.

 

Perspective

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“We don’t see things as they are.  We see things as we are.” ~ Anais Nin

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Perspective is an interesting concept.  In an artistic sense, perspective can give a two-dimensional object the look of being three-dimensional.  It gives it depth and it tricks our brain into thinking we are seeing more than the simple lines on that piece of paper or canvas.  In effect, we are seeing a different reality.

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When it comes to the human condition, perspective takes on a whole new role.  Our individual perspective is swayed by our thoughts and beliefs and sometimes those thoughts and beliefs can cloud our judgement.  In a very different way, we are seeing a different reality.

It makes me think, if something seems to good to be true, should you ask yourself, “am I seeing it the way it is….or am I seeing it the way I want to see it?”

I just called…..to say…….I love you

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I was sent a message by a friend who, like me, has been struggling to find a reason for all the recent losses that our small town has endured.  In a community like ours, you either know everyone or you know them by six degrees of separation, so when someone passes away the ripple effect of that loss reaches everyone.

It is times like these that I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support shown to the families of those who have passed.  And it is times like these that remind me to hold my loved ones that much closer.

My dad was a very emotional man who never shied away from saying ‘I love you’.   He was very demonstrative about his feelings and nobody was ever left guessing about his affection for them.  My mother didn’t start out that way, but she eventually found comfort in sharing her feelings as well.  It wasn’t until after my parents had passed that my brother and I drew much of our strength from sharing that same three-word phrase with each other.

It saddens me that some people feel uncomfortable saying ‘I love you’.  Even though they have the feelings, they are unable to comfortably share those sentiments when, ultimately, that is how they feel.

I don’t want to regret anything in the brief time that I have in this lifetime.  I don’t want people to not know how I feel about them.  Everyone one of you, whether we are family, friends or we have met through this blog, has had a tremendous impact on my life and I love all of you.  Each of you has taken time to comment on or like the thing that I am most proud of, my writing, and I am grateful for that and each and every day.  You all hold a very special place in my heart.

So, if I say I love you and it takes you off guard, just know that I am not trying to make you uncomfortable nor am I expecting you to tell me how you feel.  I just want to know that I took the opportunity to tell you before it was too late.

Sometimes you can’t go back

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Not so long ago, I ran into a person who used to be a friend of mine.  We parted ways after I grasped who this person truly was and I realized that their definition of a relationship was far from how I defined my friendships.  It was an awkward reunion, to say the least, and after the uncomfortable hug was over I left thinking about the many things that had occurred during our friendship that helped me to redefine my idea of a relationship.

I have grown up knowing that a true relationship is born of empathy and that a relationship, in its purest form, receives as much as it gives.  Thus was not the case in this instance.

It is difficult to put a relationship under a microscope and analyze the small parts that make up the sum of those parts.  In the initial stages of that friendship, the sum seemed to make complete sense, but upon further scrutiny, those parts did not add up at all.  It was easy for me to dismiss the signs that our friendship did not compute, but I was unwilling to see the failure in the equation, for whatever reason.  Seeing this person again made me realize that I was right to stand behind my feelings and although there is always the urge to keep a hold on what is familiar, sometimes you can’t go back.

I can’t forgive many of the things that happened in our past and I certainly can’t overlook that this person could never see beyond themselves to put me first, in any situation.  I can’t disregard the fact that my needs never came ahead of theirs, and I can’t ignore the numerous times that I put my needs aside to get them through their next crisis.  I wanted to move forward and so many of the parameters of our relationship needed to be redefined in order for me to do that.

I  will never be sad that I gave so much of myself in that relationship because that is who I am.  I will never regret the time I spent trying to help.  But at some point, I realized that my needs were just as important and, even though there had been many good times in our relationship, the need to move forward was more important that the urge to go back.

 

 

 

I’m not afraid to cry

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“There is a sacredness in tears – they are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and of unspeakable love.” ~ Washington Irving

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Having shed my fair share of tears throughout my life, this quote struck a chord deep within my emotional register.   It has always been easy for me to soak my cheeks with salty tears and I come by it honestly.  My dad wore his heart on his sleeve and many times that same sleeve was used to wipe his tears as he watched movies, TV shows and even commercials.   When my apple fell from the family tree it landed right at his feet and I’m sure that made him cry as well.

My mom was very private about her crying, although she didn’t cry frequently.  She would gracefully leave the room and gently close her bedroom door.  There were never heavy sobs heard from the other side of that door but her swollen, red eyes the next morning are what Crime Scene Investigators refer to as evidence.

Sometimes being able to cry so easily is a gift, a genuine release of emotion that feels much like a cleansing.  But the burden of  not being able to control the moments that those tears appear can also be slightly detrimental and result in swollen red eyes and a need to excuse my appearance after an unexpected cry.

 

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But, I will never take for granted this ability to show my emotion nor do I wish to change this part of myself.  I love that I can feel so deeply that life, whether it be my life or somebody else’s life, can have such an intense impact on me.  And I can take solace in knowing that the people who understand this about me, the people with whom I choose to share my emotional moments, and my tears, know that this is not a weakness but one of my greatest strengths.