Say farewell to hate…please


Farewell to the past

Farewell to the present

Farewell to all those things

I don’t want in it.

The world can be ugly

and there is so much greed.

I want to disappear.

I want to go unseen.

I look for signs

of hope and fate.

But it’s hard to see through

the cruelty and hate.

Where is the world

of love and peace?

….

It could be in us all,

if we lay self-righteousness

at our feet.

Stand with our neighbors.

Stand with them all.

Because united we stand

and divided we fall.

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For Writer’s Quote Wednesday’s Challenge ~ Farewell.

A spur of the moment 6-minute post of feeling and a prayer for our world. I won’t give up hope yet. But somedays, it is hard to get through all the ugliness in the world to believe humans can fix their own issues.

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Laughing to avoid crying


Sometimes I laugh instead of cry. For one thing, it is more uplifting. For another, it energizes, rather than drains. However, sometimes it is really just inappropriate.

I am not alone though. Many of my Army friends have this coping mechanism. I also know quite a few nonmilitary people who do it too though.

I think it started when I was kid. I wanted to be the funny one. I liked when I made people laugh. I was silly. I was the high school class clown. I was labeled as goofy, silly and witty. That was cool with me as I could never compete with the rich, pretty, popular girls. So, I was quite happy being the nice funny girl who got along with all the clicks.

When I deployed, humor was just part of my personality by then. But it added something more in a war zone. It protected me. Not in the literal sense of course, but in a mental way. Comedy became a form of mental resiliency. Random rockets would hit my base in both my Iraq and Afghanistan deployments. Sometimes there were a few a day. Sometimes it was only a few a month. That was the thing though. You. Never. Knew. When. Or. If…. You also worked along side of local nationals at times. Don’t get me wrong, they were lovely people. However, there was always a story that some national on some base somewhere got violent. So you always had that ‘what if’ worry in the back of your head.

Combine that with intense work loads, little free time and lack of your normal daily life and world around you…that adds up to a lot of stress. (And then multiple that times 100 for those Soldiers who actually had much more intense and “outside-the-wire” jobs.) But for many of us, this pressure cooker situation was diffused with comedy.

One time in Afghanistan, some Monday mortars, aka rockets, landed on base and the sirens started wailing. In these situations, some Soldiers jump into action. Others Soldiers get out of the way. Not that we are hiding, but our place/mission is to go to the bunkers. It is essentially like civilian police and fire department workers. When they are needed, the rest of get out of their way. So when the sirens went off, I ran to the closet bunker. As I stood in the concrete bunker with about 15-20 other service members, we all start laughing at the randomness of our uniforms. It was around 4 a.m. after all and when rockets go off, you move. The last thing you are worried about is whether your boots are laced or your shirt is buttoned.

So here we were, a bunch of highly trained Soldiers, looking all unkempt. Hair was loose and messy and on our collars. Some wore a combination of their regular uniform and their fitness uniform. A few guys had no shirts. One service member, did have something very odd though. He had a coffee pot.

As he ran out of his bedroom ‘hut,’ he grabbed his morning joe along with his helmet and weapon. You never know how long an air raid will last, and he was going to be prepared! We all laughed at our appearances and sipped coffee from the pot as we took shelter and waited for the unknown with masked anxiety.

Years later and back in the states… when my mom died, my sisters and I were together for a few days. As we went through our mother’s things, we made jokes. Ok, well, I made a lot of jokes to make them laugh, but they threw in a few here or there too. We’d laugh at all the recipes our mother had printed…and never made that we knew of. We giggled over little memories of her being mad at each of us. We broke in bursts of laughter as we imitated her catch phrases until we had tears in our eyes.

Even at her funeral, I was laughing at things people said to. And sometimes, they were not even all that funny. I just wanted to laugh. I needed to laugh because frankly, I didn’t have the energy to cry. Everyone was stressed and sad and I somewhere became the “strong one.” I did not audition for the position, nor did I want it. Nonetheless, I had it. So there was no time for tears, and I knew that if I started to cry, I may not stop.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, 

comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

~ Erma Bombeck ~

I have often been accused of being cold and not taking things seriously because of my humor too. I can see how a joke in certain times can be perceived as inappropriate or insensitive. However, if people looked past that, they’d see someone just pushing back the tears and finding a way to cope.

Is that really that wrong? And how many of you do the same?

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For Writer’s Quote Wednesday’s Theme ~ Comedy.

Memories on my Cheeks


She stood alone on the deck, watching the waves roll and swell. The cold wind blew in gusts, but she remained still. The wind was not as cold as her heart, so she ignored it. The last time she saw the ocean, life was different, better, and warmer, and that was just last year.

She remembered him with a smile. Like the storm, he blew into her life suddenly. But she had welcomed the disruption. She couldn’t fight it, even if she had wanted to. He was charming, brave, and noble. He made her laugh. And oh, those eyes of his had made her weak in the knees. After their first blind date, she was hooked. He was her person, and even better, she was his.

The whirlwind romance took off quickly. Some said, maybe too quickly. Karen and Matt never thought that though. They were hungry for time together, each other. That became obvious to their friends and the “too fast-too soon” worries faded away. And after a couple of months, their friends couldn’t even remember Karen and Matt being single. They seemed to be made for each other, a perfect match.

Karen sighed as she recalled Matt, his touch, his laugh, his kiss. He had a way of calming her when no one else could. And he’d make her laugh till her stomach hurt. She ran her hand across her stomach and smiled. “Oh Matt, you’d be laughing now. I wish you were here,” she whispered to the wind.

He was supposed to be here, on this cruise with her. It was going to be their one-year dating anniversary celebration. Now, everything was different. The happy trajectory of her life had stopped immediately when a bullet ripped through Matt’s body while he was on patrol. Her worst nightmare had come true that day, and part of her died when she saw his fellow officers walk towards her with their somber faces. “Karen, we are so sorry….Matt was killed….in the line of duty…” It was a memory like no other, one that would not go away. The scene was burned into her head and froze her in place, like it did now.

“Are you OK sweetheart? Can I help get back inside? This storm looks like it’s getting nasty,” said a fellow cruise ship passenger.

Karen looked up to find an older woman with a kind face staring at her. “Um, no. I am fine.”

The lady smiled and nodded. “Well, do you need an ear? I couldn’t help but notice your crying my dear. Cruise ships are not normally a place for tears, so I thought I’d see if you needed something.”

Karen reached up and wiped the tears from her face. “I didn’t even notice I was crying. Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks I guess.”

“I understand. I’ve had those kind of tears myself. They never leave you, but they do get easier in time.”

Karen took a deep breath and tried to smile.

Then, the two women stood in silence for a few minutes, just staring at the storm as they held onto the deck railing.

Finally, the kind woman looked at Karen. “When are you due dear?”

Karen looked down at her barely bulging belly and caressed it. “In January. I’m about four months now, is it that obvious?”

“It is to a woman who knows that look. I work in a women’s clinic. But to others my dear, I am sure they haven’t even noticed since you look fabulous.”

Karen smiled weakly. “Thanks. But I guess it’s time I let my family know. I’ve just been waiting for a better time.”

“And when would that be?”

“I thought it was about two months ago, but that’s when my soulmate, Matt, was killed. He was a police officer, and someone ambushed him…now, he’s gone…and I’m here on our cruise…alone.” She looked down at her belly and laid her hand on it. “Well, sort of alone.”

“I see. That explains the memories streaking your face. I thought I had recognized that look too. You see, my Frank was stolen from me too. Not the same way, of course. He was in a car accident. Three years ago. I miss him every day, every second, and I thought I recognized that pain.”

Karen looked the woman in the eye. “Does it ever go away?

“I wish it did sweetie, but no. But, you can find a new normal, in time. And, what a blessing he left with you,” she gestured to her belly.

“Yes, indeed. I just wish…I had been able…to tell him…He died the day I was going to tell him…I waited too long,” Karen struggle to get out through breaths.

Just then, a big wind gust created a small shower of flower petals from a nearby plant and thrust open the double doors across the deck. The woman and Karen looked at each other and smiled.

“I’m thinking your Matt knows my dear, and just might want you to get out of this storm.”

Karen looked around, like she finally realized the storm’s presence.

“Oh. Yeah. I guess you’re right.”

The woman held out her hand. “Come. Let’s get a cup of coffee. You can tell me how you met Matt and I can tell you how I met Frank. It was really romantic too.”

“I can’t wait to hear it,” Karen said as she walked toward the kind stranger and out of the storm.

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For Writer’s Quote Wednesday’s Challenge ~ Memories.

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For the Discover Challenge ~ The Things We Leave Behind.

 

The Adventure into Love


I’ve wandered the streets of Hungry sightseeing alone. I’ve been part of a few combat patrols on deployments. I’ve bungee jumped over shallow water in a foreign country. Yet, my biggest adventure to date has been looking for love.

We all seek it. If someone says they don’t, they are a liar. It’s a basic human need to want to be appreciated, cared for, and touched. It’s in our DNA. Sure, some of us avoid love. But we typically only do that AFTER we have tried love and been hurt.

I can understand that. Heck, I have even done that. It makes sense…for a awhile. If you don’t take the risk, you cannot get hurt. So you don’t talk to people outside of your bubble. You don’t go anywhere without your friends. You don’t make eye contact with strangers. You just stay safe…and alone. I did all of this and more, and it was lonely. I avoided love like it was a shark. It was dangerous. It was scary. And frankly, it was downright, just not worth it cuz love just hurt.

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But something changed in me. I got tired of hiding. I got bored of waiting for life to happen. I got tired of being sad. So, I started going out. Not to night clubs or whatever. No. I was too old for that. Plus, I had a daughter attending college in town. How awkward would that be to be out and someone say, “Hey Alexis, isn’t that your mom over there?” That would have been a big MOM FAIL. So no, there were no nightclubs involved.

What I did do though was find life, and in the process, I learned to love me. I went out to movies. I read my book over cocktails before attending the symphony. I tried a paddle board yoga class. I signed up for a kayak trip. I discovered new restaurants. I attempted maneuvering through a mountain bike trail. I wandered into new cities to take pictures. Sure, some of it felt awkward as I sat there by myself while couples seemed to surround me, flaunting their love. Eventually though, I got used to it. At one point, I was comfortable enough to just relax and enjoy the moments. It was ME time. I was trying new things, having fun and discovering life.

Friends would ask me, “How can you do that by yourself?” My response was typically, “Well, if I sit around and wait for someone to invite me, it may never happen. So, I just go and do it.” They would always comment how brave I was. I didn’t feel brave though. I felt alive. I felt like I was awakening from a deep, dark sleep. It was like I had put my dreams and desires on hold. I had forgotten who I was, what I wanted and where I wanted to go. It was invigorating.

With all that said though, I still never stopped wanting love. I’d see a couple somewhere walking hand and hand and feel a touch of sadness. I’d see a man hand his lady a tissue at church and think, Why can’t someone hand me Kleenex? Even though I was having the time of my life and discovering myself, I still craved love. I still longed for someone special.

So I started to take risks. I made eye contact with people. I gave out my number occasionally. I made a Match.com profile. I flirted when someone expressed interest. I went on some dates. I entered into various uneasy levels of relationships: we-are-just-friends, not-really-dating, just-hanging-out, friends-with-benefits and boyfriend-girlfriend.

And you know what? It sucked. OH MY GOODNESS, IT SUCKED. Some of it was downright awful and heartbreaking. Just so you have some context, here are a few examples of my dating adventures (some may be the same person as I am a slow learner):

  • One Match.com date asked me, in the first hour of our only date (while we were sitting across from each other), “Can I touch your butt?” My response – “How does that work? I am sitting on it right now?”
  • One guy said he’d come over on some holiday…then never showed up.
  • One guy would get jealous of my time with my children.
  • One blast-from-the-past flirted with me for months and invited me to come visit him. So I did. Then he just stopped talking to me. When I asked why the sudden change of behavior, all I got was, “Well, I guess we talked a lot before because we were catching up.” I guess my purchase of a flight got us all caught up. No need to carry on. Silly me.
  • One guy told me he loved me and then stopped making an effort to see me with no explanation after several months of talking and visits.
  • One guy threatened to kill himself when we broke up.
  • One guy forgot the difference between the separated-and-divorce-pending status and the still-married-and-no-damn-paperwork-even-stated status.
  • One guy text me relentlessly and would get upset if I didn’t answer right away…even if I was at work or a movie with my kids.
  • One guy broke up with me via text while I was at my mother’s funeral weekend at home because he was “tired of begging for my attention.”

I think you get the point. It is a crazy damn place out there in the dating world. I saw a hilarious video recently that summed it quite well.

Bravo Miss Arbuor! You explained it perfectly, and with such humor. Consider me a fan and follower.

Now comes the weird part though, I still don’t regret it – any of it. Sure yeah, I wish I could have avoided crying on my bathroom floor like I was in an episode of a Hallmark movie where I was literally dying of a broken heart. And by all means, I certainly would not want to relive the conflicted emotions of whether I was talking an ex-boyfriend out of suicide or putting myself in the perfect place for a murder-suicide scene. Yeah, I would change those details if I could. But the fact is, I can’t. And even though some of those things sucked big time, there were other moments of fun, and lessons learned. I took something from each relationship, each experience. I became a better person. For example, through all this dating craziness, I —

  • Started blogging.
  • Got more involved in my photography.
  • Learned to say no.
  • Realized my worth.
  • Refused to be a victim.
  • Got the courage to try new things.
  • Developed more confidence.
  • Learned to trust my gut instincts.
  • Traveled to new places.

Overall, I learned to love me first. And frankly, I truly believe this: If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect others to? So I kept doing what I wanted and kept playing in the game of love when an opportunity popped up. And you know what? It eventually stuck, but that is another story, or should I say, a blind-date fairytale. Whatever you call it, it has almost been a year since I met the man of my dreams and I am glad I took the risk in the adventure of love.

 

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For the Daily Post’s Discover Challenge ~ Adventure

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Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge ~ Adventure

 

 

 

The Mystery of Life, Music and Love


As a person with a journalism degree and an inquisitive mind, I can ask questions to the point of annoying people. However, with age comes wisdom and the simple factor of not giving a shit.

Sometimes I wonder about something and then sit back and say, does it really matter? Many times, the answer is no. Just let it be. Don’t over analyze it. Don’t ‘what if’ it to death. Just exist and experience it. Unless it sucks of course, then learn to move out of the way and into a better experience.

I have found, enjoying the moment is so much better than picking something apart. I don’t need to know every detail on the who, what, where and why. I can let the mystery of something remain just that – a mystery. Unless I am writing an article, there is no reason for me to ruin the experience with a million questions. Nope. I can just cherish the time I have left on this earth.

Time. That is a mystery in itself. One of my music idols, Prince, died this week, which you probably heard unless you are living in a cave without WIFI. Well, and if you are, you are probably are not reading this post though. But if you are, then I wonder how long you travel to get to internet… Or if you have WIFI in your cave, how much does that cost? (See, there goes that wandering mind again.)

Anyway, I adored Prince for his insane talent, but also his mystery. He was elusive to the press generally, and that appealed to me. His quiet demeanor was attractive. And of course, as a young teen girl, he was just utterly sexy and glamorous, and I had the biggest crush on him.

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His music is the first I really remember and so many memories involve it. I would dance around my room to Little Red Corvette. I would attempt to roller skate gracefully to Raspberry Beret. I kissed a boy to Purple Rain. [Insert a dramatic sigh here.] Oh Prince, you WERE music to me, mysterious and sexy music. I think you may be why purple was and still is my favorite color.

I didn’t know every Prince song or a lot of details about his personal life, and that was ok. It didn’t mean I adored him any less. He just maintained a level of mystery to me. And now, dying at the age of 57, I guess he always will.

His death has made me think though…57 is not really old. Of course when I was a teen dancing to his music, I thought 57 was ancient. But now, not so much. Heck, I’m 44, so I am just around the corner, and who knows when my time will be up. Today, next week, 40 years from now? Perhaps it is best not to know that answer, but to live to our fullest each day.

Each day is a gift to experience, not solve, just like Frank Herbert said. So put aside your anger, regret and ‘what ifs’ and just BE, FEEL and EXPERIENCE life while you have it. There is no need to solve every mystery, but simply relish what it can offer you in the time you have left.

And with that, I will leave you with one of my favorite Prince songs, that says exactly how I felt about him as an artist: Nothing Compares to You. May you rest in peace.

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