Running With Love


It has taken me most of my life to learn this lesson sadly. Countless times I thought if I just did this or that, someone would like me. If I could just be more…they would love me. I could never do enough though, and I always felt it was my defect that caused it.

With age and wisdom, I have realized, it wasn’t always my fault when a relationship didn’t blossom, whether intimate or friend. Sometimes, it just didn’t work. Plain and simple. They didn’t do anything and I didn’t do anything. It just didn’t click. Or, sometimes, I just tried too hard to please. I gave too much, too fast and the person surely got overwhelmed.

That’s the thing though. I am an all or nothing kind of girl. I either like you or don’t. I am your friend or not. I never thought I was wasting my time on people. I was giving them my all. I wanted to be their friend. I desired to be their girlfriend. If I felt a connection, I ran with it. The problem, in hind sight, was that they were not running in the same direction or speed. It was those moments when I looked around and found myself alone and hurt-wondering what I did.

Years and tears later, my more confident self is assured, it has all worked out for the best. I have had experiences that have made me smile deep into my heart and others that have made me cry out my soul. It is the roller coaster of life and I am happy to ride it. I just refuse to ride it with anyone not going in the same direction anymore.

“You cannot convince people to love you.

This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love

because you want him or her to give it.

Real love moves freely in both directions.

Don’t waste your time on anything else.”

~ Cheryl Strayed~

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Frogs and Turtles Teach us Life and Love


Many little girls grew up hearing the fairytale where the frog turns into a prince. From a young age, we are taught to believe in that magic. But as we grow up, real life starts and our fairytale dreams start to fade. We get our hearts broken so bad we think, we can never love again. We take it so personal we think, there is something defective with us. So we start to hide and shield ourselves from the risk.

Hiding does protect us, but it is cold and damp in that shell. People are made to connect. God designed us to love. Love does not come easy though. I learned that over the years while I searched for my prince. Just like Laura Prepon said, I was like every other girl. “Every girl on TV, in real life, sure you want to meet that soul mate and fall in love and have the big thing, but until that happens, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs.”

Kiss frogs I did. Maybe even a few toads. However, I thought they were cute and adorable. I believed they could be a prince. I saw their potential. So, I tried. I took risks. And according to James Bryant Conant, that is just what we should do-act like turtles. “Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”


Unfortunately though, it didn’t work. I tried and tried. Yet, each time I failed. And with each time, I found fault in myself. My confidence sunk. I retreated into my shell. Sure some of my suitors were jerks. No amount of kisses by any girl would ever turn them into a prince. However, some I genuinely think were great guys. I was just not the right girl with the right kiss for them. So a frog they remained. What I discovered though, was I was a frog myself. I sat and waited for love to find me. I watched the world around me and thought, where is my prince? Eventually, I learned my prince could not be found until I found myself. How could I expect anyone to love me, when I could not love myself?

So I worked on me. I found happiness in myself. I realized I was OK. No, I was not perfect, and never will be for that matter. But each day is a new chance to be good, so be happy, to spread joy. Each day I have a chance to live and make a difference. Once I found myself, my world started to change. I walked with more pride, smiled with true happiness and lived with a passion. I was blooming into who I should be like Bill Copeland said. “Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell.”  And once I was, I could stick my neck out to try again. The difference now though, is that I no longer settle for toads. Nope. This little frog girl jumped out of that pond to get another view. Once I thought more of myself, I could expect more from the world like Mao Tse-Tung explained.  “We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.”

I am out of the well now. And let me tell you, the view is spectacular…and my prince is even more than I ever dreamed of.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Nature.

 

Memories of Ponies, Superpowers


When I was a girl, I wanted a pony, thought I was a writer and believed I had telekinesis. As an adult, my reality is really not that far off my childhood fantasies.

I don’t own a pony exactly, but I do have a short stocky horse that I call my pretty little pony. Honestly, as I child I thought a pony was really just a baby horse. It made perfect sense to me then. Apparently, that is not the correct technical meaning though. Huh. Good to know. Regardless, I will still call my old, 14-hand, sorrel quarter horse mare, my pony.

Since I didn’t own a horse back then, I would use my dreams of ponies to inspire some of my writing. I would write stories and poems about horses. My story horses were majestic beasts. They had a connection to their owner, who was always someone who resembled myself or someone I wanted to be. These horses were smart, helping their owner accomplish noble deeds. They carried themselves with such grace. Some, even flew. I wrote about other things of course, but horses were my go-to animal. I connected with horses…and I feel like I still do.

In one stories, my flying horse helped a brilliant, confident girl who had telekinesis. She would move things around for the good of other people. Sure she would make mind movements for the sake of laughter or ease. She was a kid after all. However, she never used this power to hurt people.

I think about this young girl with super powers and I realize, I am still her basically. No, I don’t really have telekinesis. (So there is no need to notify the government for them to come test me and try to harvest my powers. In reality, they are already using my skills for that matter anyway since I am a government employee and Army Reserve Soldier.) I do have the ability move things without physical force though. I can move things with my example, my words, my silence. It is not necessarily the form of telekinesis that I dreamt of, but I suppose it draws less concern among the public (and less medical probing). Over the years, I found that I have the ability to affect people. It has taken me years to realize this unfortunately. For years, I thought I was powerless, a victim at times. Other people did things to me. Other people manipulated me. Other people controlled the situation. This has not always been the case though. Of course, I cannot control the careless hurtful words of others. Nor can I demand they treat me with respect and love. But, I can control myself and my reactions. And through my own reactions, behaviors, words…or even silence, I can affect them. With my actions, I can escalate anger or love. I can inspire confusion or understanding. I can cause tears or laughter.

Overall, I can either accept how I am treated by others, or shut it down and walk away. I have the power to set expectations on how I want to be treated. If I carry myself with pride and confidence, people tend to treat me with more respect, more esteem. If I am down on myself and insecure, people seem to doubt me and walk on my opinions and feelings.

Of course carrying myself nobly is not always easy. Like most folks in the world, I doubt myself. Do I know enough about this topic to speak on it intelligently? Have I gained too much weight? Do these people even want to hear what I have to say? Did I do that task well enough to present? It is hard not to doubt ourselves, and there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. This line tends to move each day too. Some days I can find it and walk it. Other days, not so much.

What I am discovering though, is that that little girl long ago was not afraid of who she was. She stood tall with her pony at her side. She wrote down her stories. And she moved things in the world to help others. That girl is still me. She may be older and bit less elegant, and her horse is shorter and a bit more frumpy. Nonetheless, she still rides with happiness and joy in her heart. She still writes her thoughts, her feelings, her stories. And, she still tries to move things in the world without force and the goal of making it better. After years of struggle, I thought that little girl was gone. She didn’t disappear. No, she is still there. She just got a little lost.

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For the Daily Post ~ Great Pretender.

Because my pretend life showed me who I wanted to be. 🙂

Also fits the Daily Post ~Ballerina Fireman Astronaut Movie Star.

 

Weird or Unique?


Individuality can be a beautiful. Unfortunately, it is not always embraced in society though.

As children, being unique can cause problems. We quickly learn to fit into groups, clicks and norms to avoid standing out or being “weird.” We learn how to behave and perform in “normal” ways. To some extent, this learning is a good thing of course. We learn how to function in society with morals, order and discipline. We learn to share, contribute and work.

The problem comes in though if some of these lessons hold us back. Maybe our culture or norms say boys cannot be dancers. Girls cannot be scientists. Artists with blue hair must clearly be on drugs. People that are too nice are fake. It is those teachings or beliefs that could shape our perceptions on others and what is “acceptable” for us to do.

Some people may want to do something, but hold back due to fear. They think it may be weird, odd or silly. They dampen their excitement or actions so that others will not look upon them harshly or awkwardly. This is when the problem arrives.

This is when society is missing out. For when a person holds back from their passion, they limit their potential. They do not reach the inner most parts of their soul and their purpose in life. They are merely a shell existing in the world.

I lived as a shell for years. Don’t get me wrong, I was a productive member of society, but I was not passionate. I was not the ultimate me. I completed my degree. I worked a full time job. I had kids. I was in debt on all the great American things: home, car, and credit cards. I had the “perfect” life when viewed by others. But, I was miserable.

I married young and my high school sweet heart and I just grew apart. We wanted different things in life, but we stayed together. We stayed because of the commitment of marriage-you should not divorce. We stayed together out of spite-people never thought we’d make it anyway. We stayed out of respect for that youthful person we both fell in love with-this is who we chose and needed to stick with it. We stayed because it was all we knew-it was a scary thought to start a new relationship. It only made us both unhappy though. We were not a team but we were not embracing our own individuality either. It was just simple, unhappy existence.

With time and wisdom, we both realized it was time to move on. We both realized we needed to find ourselves again, or who we should have been all along.

After divorcing, I have traveled a path of self-discovery. I have stopped caring what society says I should do. I have stopped being afraid of rejection. I have stopped wondering what if. If I want to try it, I do. If I want to see it, I go. If I want to taste it, I eat. I am not saying that I am out of control and wild and running amuck naked through the streets. No, that is not on my wish list of desires at the moment. Maybe later though.

What I am doing though is living, and doing it with passion. No longer do I worry that people will say I am too over the top, too excited, too silly. What do I care if they think that? I don’t. The funny thing is that my closest and dearest loved ones are happy for me. They see me evolving and taking risks. They see me becoming who they always thought I was anyway. The only difference now, is that I am seeing it now too. I am learning my uniqueness is my strength. My individuality, my passion. My spirit, my power. The more I embrace what is truly me, the happier I become.

James F. Cooper summed up the importance of individuality quite well.  “All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.

I had mediocrity. Been there. Done that. Now, I want greatness. However, my “greatness” is not fame nor fortune. No. Not at all. My greatness is fairly simple and defines me.

These days, my greatness is defined as just experiencing joy in my life, and becoming more and more who I am supposed to be. I always dreamt of having a horse, so now I have one. My horse is not an elegant jumping thoroughbred and I am not a gifted rider with designer equestrian clothes. But, we trod through the woods in utter appreciation of God’s world before us. (I know this about my mare since she seems quite happy to eat the different types of grass as we walk along.) Since I was a kid, I wanted to write…and now I finally do. Sure yeah, it is just on this blog so far, but you know what, that is perfect for me. I am writing from my soul and freeing my thoughts. That is more than I have done in years and I will enjoy it. A few years ago, I had my dream job in photography, but due to financial obligations (and the collapse of the market a few years back), I had to change to something a little more stable-government technical editing. It may not be my perfect job, but it is certainly helping my writing skills. And, I have started a photography blog and do random shoots here and there to fulfill my photography need. All the things I wanted to do (paddle board yoga, painting, kayaking, etc.) but never made time to do before or was too scared to try, I am now doing-even when I have to do them alone.

Overall, there are just so many things that are wonderful in my life. I am not bragging though because to some, they are just boring average accomplishments. I am not discovering a cure for cancer. I am not winning any awards. However, for me, I could not ask for more.

Like this cute, goofy bug, I am happy to sit in my own space and be happy. While on a military base recently, I was running along some barely traveled range roads. There, I found this simple side-of-the-road day lily. I’d bet that it is probably not noticed among the weeds by many, but I stopped. And when I did, I couldn’t help but see this wonderful little bug. I was drawn to his big goofy eyes (or so they looked to be when shooting with my macro app on my iPhone). There he sat, as happy as a bug could look. He let me take some pictures and I went on my way.

This seemingly insignificant moment made me think. This bug didn’t need much. He didn’t need an elaborate garden. He seemed just as content here as anywhere else. He was doing his thing and from all I could see, doing it his way. And that is exactly how I want to be. Wherever I am at in life, I want to be happy. And to do that, I must be the true me regardless of what others think. So for now, I will embrace my individuality of being a silly, passionate person who can take 20 photos of a bug on a flower…and then write about it.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge.