The language you don’t speak


you stare at me with cold eyes

time freezes and time flies

looking through me like I were glass

I clench my fingers hoping time will pass

you don’t always speak, but your silence says all

your not impressed, perhaps even appalled.

yet, here I stand before your eyes

I do exist and you don’t know why

for I can never be who you think you are

but I don’t want to be you, I have my own bar.

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Not sure where these thoughts came from or really who they are directed to. Nonetheless, this is where my train of thought went when I saw the “language” prompt.

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Discover what you look for


My boyfriend teases me that when he gives me flowers, he will just wait until they are already dead. He says that since I seem to photograph several of his bouquets, even when they are past their blooms and drying.

I cannot decide if my interest in decaying flowers is more a focus on finding beauty in things that some may overlook or more from my philosophy on life: you will discover what you seek.

I say that with a grain of reality of course. I know people don’t seek to be abused, disabled or oppressed. With those extremes aside, I think people are capable of creating, discovering or changing their lives.

All of us are given a place in the world. Whether those places or circumstances are equal or fair can be debated. However, debating that is really pointless. For none of us can change the past. We don’t get to decide our parents, our race, our sex or anything at birth or in our childhood for that matter.

Once we are old enough to think for ourselves though, we can make changes (on most things anyway). We can decide how to act, what to do, when to change. We alone have the power over our emotions and voices. We can choose who we want to be. Sure, it may not be easy. If we decide to be an athlete, we need to train and eat right. If we decide to become a lawyer, we need to study and study more. If we decide to become a spiritual leader, we need to align our actions with our words. Heck, we can even change our sex these days with surgery, therapy and hormones.

None of that is easy though. Life is hard. Success is even harder. To be successful, we must work not only hard, but smart and efficiently. We need to gather the tools required for success in whatever field we have chosen. We can’t just expect the world to give us what we want, especially when we don’t deserve it or work for it. Yet, I see this all the time. People want fame, money and love yet they don’t want to put the effort required to have those things.

This entitled expectation reminds me of a Tom Krause quote.

~

“Flowers don’t bloom where no seeds have been planted.

If you want kindness, be kind.

If you want acceptance, be accepting.

If you want encouragement, be encouraging.

If you want forgiveness, be forgiving.

If you want love, be loving.

If you want respect, be respectful.

We should not expect from others what we fail to give to them.”

Tom Krause

~

Krause’s quote is profound to me. It makes sense. Essentially, it is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done onto you. And regardless of your religion, there seems to be a golden rule in them all.

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So if you can create a better world for yourself through dreams, goal setting and hard work, I figured you can create a worse world just as well. I’ve witnessed people worry, fight, and fret over every detail in their life. They have a negative outlook. They are always the victim. They are always defeated. The world is against them…or so it seems. As I have aged, I have wondered, what makes one person overcome a horrible situation while it defeats another? Or why does one person with all the elements of success at their fingertips still fail?

I am sure there are several factors as no two situations or people are alike. However, I feel like one factor is themselves. They chose to be defeated or motivated by their setbacks. They wallow in pity or pull themselves up. They retreat into a safe circle or they venture out into risk. Essentially, I think their actions, attitudes and behaviors can play a huge role in what happens to them in life. My own included.

For example, I dated a guy for a while who later told me he was walking on eggshells because he was afraid I would break up with him. He feared that he would do something wrong, and I would leave. He didn’t express this fear outright, but the relationship felt strained and difficult. His tension made me tense. His insecurity made me feel guilty…of nothing and everything. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem, but just felt like there was something missing. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t happy. So we ended it. In hindsight, I feel like his fears put certain actions into place that created a tension that lead exactly to what he feared – our relationship ending.

Another example is a friend of mine who has always had bad luck with men. I sympathized with her for I too had this same luck. We both seemed to always pick the bad guys. Yet, we were the one constant element in all the relationships. So naturally, we must be the problem then, right? Through my own growth and experience, I tried to help her. Maybe we were not necessarily the problem, but we were creating it in some ways. By thinking we were jaded, insignificant or broken, we were unintentionally attracting, or accepting, less than worthy men. And those men we chose, used our insecurities to their advantage. They would control all the situations and conversations. We let them have all the power. And on a rare occasion where we vied for the power or challenged theirs, problems occurred…or in some cases, violence would the result. Again, I am not saying my friend was at fault for her abuse. No, that fault lies with the abuser and the abuser alone. But, I think she plays a role into the situations she finds herself in. She would always say, I can never make a relationship work, I am meant to be alone, I always pick the wrong guys. I wondered, is this like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I also wondered this about my own experiences…

self-fulfilling prophecy – “Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person’s behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.”

With age and experience, came wisdom, painful yet good wisdom. I had to pull myself up from defeat. I had to look for the lessons in the bad. I had to lay out my dreams into goals and those goals into steps. I had to decide, do I want to feel sorry for myself or do I want change? I chose change and it has been empowering. I chose to find me again. It was not easy and is still not easy, but I see more beauty in the world than ever before. The world has not dramatically changed though. It was me who changed. But now, I don’t see ugly dead flowers. Now, I see transformation and beauty. I just needed to change my perspective and look for it.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Editing and Processing.

Photo note: The photo was taken with my Canon Camera actually. However, I did edit the photo on my iPhone in the LiveCollage app. It is the same picture edited in two different collage formats. I was trying to do a montage but could not figure out how to do that in the app.

 

There was a time


There were times in my life where I wanted to die. Funny thing was that these times didn’t come to me when I was deployed to foreign countries where stray mortars could have landed near me at any moment. No, they came when I was in the safety of my own country, surrounded by people I love……

 

To read more, please go to the post I wrote for the Seeker’s Dungeon.

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I turned off comments for this post as it was written especially for Sreejit Poole’s blog. Please visit his always inspiring blog. It is filled with countless thought provoking pieces.

 

 

 

 

Irrelevent Opinions, False Assumptions


The other day I was reading through social media comments on a current topic and found one that frankly pissed me off. After some thought though, I realized, the person was just clueless and I felt sorry for them and their ignorance. However, this ignorance was a perfect example of stereotyping and a small hint of what is wrong, and yet somewhat normal, with humanity.

First, let me explain the comment and why I torture myself with reading them. As an Army Reserve public affairs officer, I try to stay current on world events, particularly those that have a connection to my service. Then, to help me better anticipate any possible backlash/perception/opinion from the public on such topics, I read through the comments. For the most part, the world can be wonderfully supportive. However, there is always someone, somewhere hating.

For example, back when the new Miss USA was announced to be an Army Reservist, I was reading through posts on that. Personally, I was super excited that a fellow Army Reserve Soldier snagged the crown and thought, surely, there cannot be anything bad to be said here. Of course, I was wrong and naïve. There is ALWAYS someone unhappy/suspicious/stupid/etc. Those negative comments ranged from some sort of “government conspiracy” to “what does she do outside of one weekend a month” to “she doesn’t even look American.”

I merely shook my head at these comments and thought, “Wow. People really can find an issue with everything.” I will applaud one response to the “she doesn’t even look American” comment. It was poetic, perfect and literally made me laugh out loud. This perfect response was, “You know WHO looks American? Pocahontas. She looks American.” That was classic and I wish I had bothered to see who made that comment so I could have given them mad props.

Anyway, on to the most recent stupid comment.

So earlier this  week, I was reading about the horrible news in Dallas and how the accused shooter was a former Reserve Soldier. (I say accused as that is a journalist practice. It is always accused until some legal determination is finalized on guilt. So please don’t get upset with me.) First off, this broke my heart that someone who once wore the same uniform could do something so despicable and evil. Violence, hatred and any form of intolerance is NOT what the Army teaches. It goes against everything I ever learned while in boots.

As I read through the comments, I saw one person’s post, “Army Reserve…I don’t think that counts as military experience.” My knee-jerk reaction was, “Well heck. My 15 years of wearing this uniform, three deployments, and countless small missions across the globe sure have felt like experience to me!” But I paused and thought. I assume this person didn’t mean to discredit an entire force of Soldiers who have participated quite well in numerous operations for 108 years. I assume this person merely was trying to say that the Army Reserve did not teach this person the sniper skills needed to carry out such an act that would take specialized training. I assume this person just didn’t want such an ugly act to be associated with our uniform.  But more likely than not, this person was just clueless on how much the Army Reserve actually does and still thinks of us as “weekend warriors.”

This got me thinking about ignorance and stereotypes. Let’s face it. The world is full of them, and not just once concerning race.

For example, on one mission, I had a superior officer point out five negative stereotypes that I must fight. One, I was a female in the Army. I had to work harder to prove myself and to be taken seriously. Two, I was a public affairs Soldier, and for those of you outside military service, this group of Soldiers is generally looked down upon and not taken seriously. We are “picture takers” and “candy Soldiers” and “not tactically skilled.” Three, I was a lieutenant, which have the assumed perception of being dumb and navigationally challenged and that in turn, supports the endless “lost lieutenant” jokes. Four, I was a blonde, which is similar to being a lieutenant but just out in the free world for anyone who is not familiar with that image. Five, I was in the Army Reserve, which means we have no experience according to the comment above. So no shit, there I was on a mission as a blonde female Army Reserve public affairs lieutenant.

I never realized I was working against so many negative stereotypes and probably never would have thought about any of them until this officer pointed them out to me. I didn’t take offense to this observation though. Actually, I found it helpful. I WAS all those things (the labels, not necessarily the stereotypes of them) and it was important that I KNEW what people might assume about me. It was critical that I actively fought those stereotypes. It was pertinent that I proved myself to be MORE than someone’s limiting thoughts of me.

Of course, I failed at times. I was silly here and there. I didn’t always know my tactical skills by heart. I got lost a time or two. However, for the most part, I think I have succeeded in showing that I am a smart, hardworking Soldier of good ethics and strong character. I have even received compliments over the years that confirmed, I beat a stereotype or two: “I didn’t realize you were a Reservist.” (Told to me by an active duty Soldier while deployed.) “Thank God YOU didn’t get us lost like….” (Told to me by a leader on a training mission.) “I never knew public affairs Soldiers could do that.” (Told to me about a foreign athletic badge I earned.) Certainly, I will never say I am a super Soldier, and you won’t find the Rangers or the Special Forces calling me to fill an empty slot on their rosters. But that’s OK. The Army is made up of several talents and skill levels. And just like the rest of the world… we are also full of stereotypes to fight. I just need to make sure I do my part to prove them wrong. And since I have been promoted, I am down to four stereotypes (blonde, female, public affairs, Army Reserve) to fight, and I don’t plan on changing any of those until I retire…or get gray hair.

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For the Daily Post ~ False.

 

 

 

The Pleasure of Finding Me


You had me underrated

Your intentions, I over estimated

 

Your words were nothing but elaborate lies

and you left me standing, wondering why

 

I was blind and broke all my own rules

and fell into your web, like a fool

 

I hate that I melted to fit your needs

and somewhere in that, I lost the real me

 

But you’re now gone and I’ve learned to survive

In fact, I’m actually starting to really thrive

 

….Maybe it was you who held me down

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For the Daily Post’s Prompt ~ Pleasure