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.

 

Bent, Not Broken


Life is full of hardships and disappointments, fear and mistrust, and even a good share of pain and horror. Sometimes it can down right suck. In those moments, you want to quit. You want to throw things. You want to lay in a puddle of tears and eat a pint of ice cream covered in chocolate. You can even fall so low that question your purpose, your path, your life.  However, those low points are when you can find your strength and true spirit, and ultimately make you into the person you see in the mirror. The question is, do you like the reflection?

That can be a tough question to ask. I know I haven’t always liked my reflection or myself at times in life. I have’t always liked my life either. Countless people have lied to, stolen from and gossiped about me. I have felt neglected, abused and unloved at times. I’ve cried for hours. I’ve thrown my hands in the air. I’ve drowned my sorrows in a bottle of wine. I could go on and on about the past, but it solves nothing. I know people who are so wrapped up in the past that they are bitter. I don’t want to be bitter. No. Nobody has time for that. Well, this girl doesn’t. I want to live. I want to seize the day, have passion and feel joy down in my toes.

Over the past few years of my life, I’ve been transforming. Transforming into who I should have been from the start. But life got in the way and I got sidetracked, like I think most people do in life. You try new relationships. You try new jobs. You try that fad diet. Sometimes those things work. Sometimes they don’t. If you are lucky, you find out fairly quickly. Other times, you spend years on deciding if XX fits your life. Or maybe XX fit for a time, but now that season is over.

This is where the hard part comes. When things fall apart or change, you have to decide what to do, how to handle it. You can waste time going over and over things, or you can move on. I chose to move on. You may ask, why do I write about my past then? I have a few reasons.

One, is that I simply like to write. I have stories in my head and heart and feel like I should share them. More often than not, I have at least one person who connects with something I have written. It makes them smile, laugh, cry or reflect. And that is the biggest compliment any writer/blogger/poet could ask for. Two, is that when I tell my stories, if you really read them, they are about my experience and my growth and discovery as a person. Sure there may be another player in the story, but the main event is how I processed and reacted to the event. The purpose for most of my writing is to show empowerment and express feelings. Three, through writing and reflecting on my past, I find peace. By processing a situation and writing about it, I release my feelings. I reflect on my role in the event. And, I forgive and move on. Keep in mind that forgiving and getting back in line for the same pain is different. No, with age comes wisdom. You can completely forgive someone, understand their perspective, and realize your role was bigger than you wanted to believe (or not), but that doesn’t mean you want to go back. No, you just let go of any anger or resentment.

Through this, I free my heart and mind for new things. I open myself up for life…and possibly new pain. But that is the thing, if we never try, we will never know. So we get up after we are bent, and broken and tattered, and we keep going. We dig deep and find strength to move forward. We keep living.

For example, look at these butterfly pictures below (which were taken with the macro feature in the camera phone app Camera+). They are not in good shape. Their wings are ripped and torn. Some of them were not fluttering around as fast as before. But, they kept on. They didn’t quit when things got hard. They didn’t give up when they didn’t look perfect anymore. They just kept trying.

And you know what? They are still beautiful. They still have grace and purpose. They still gave others joy and pollinated flowers. It reminded me of one of my favorite videos by Pink. In her video Try, she’s in a relationship. There are struggles and pain and tears, but she gets up and tries. If you really listen to the lyrics, it is quite moving and simple good advice.

No matter what we do in life, there will be ups and downs. There are going to be risks and bad memories. But here is the selling point. If we don’t try, we will miss the good stuff. Sure, we can avoid pain, but we also ruin any chance for the good things life can offer us too, like passion, love and joy. Like Pink sings, “Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned. But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.”

I’ve got burned. Maybe even a few times more than I would like to remember or because of my own stupidity. But that is life. People make mistakes. We can either learn from those mistakes and move forward or we can let our past control our future.

I chose to live and take risks. Some days I may get tossed around and bruised. But that’s ok. I can take a breather, regroup and try again. My second, third or fourth attempts may make me move a little slower, wiser or more calculated, but I’ll be moving nonetheless. My wings may be tattered or ripped, but I will spread my wings wide, hold my head high and embrace all that I can enjoy around me. To my knowledge, I only get this one life. So I better get up and try. And while I am at it, I may as well enjoy all that I can.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Macro.