Posted in Life in general, Living Life As I See Fit

Ending 2017 With Strength and Grace


This is the time of the year my editors are asking for holiday and New Year’s articles.  While it may be early for you and me to think about these things, these companies are doing what they are supposed to do, which is plan.  As I start writing my articles and start to close out yet another year of my life, I start to look back on how much growth I have accomplished in the last year, two years, five years and even ten years.

Chronic illness has changed my life more than I ever could have imagined. Some of that has been hard and some life altering, but I have managed to weather each and every storm with strength and humility – and that has taken a lot of work on my part.   I have evolved into a different person, especially compared to the one I was before chronic illness came into my life.

Flash back ten years ago when my health didn’t suck.  I was married with a nine-year-old and a newborn.  I wasn’t happy in that marriage and I eventually walked away.  Months prior to walking away, I had lost my younger brother to cancer and the pain of his loss lingered for years after.  My mom had a stroke months after my brother’s death and her health spiraled downward until we lost her last year. From the time of her stroke and onward while her health was deteriorating, I did everything in my power to take care of her with every setback.  Eventually, all her health issues and my brother’s death took their toll and we lost her two summers ago.   Her death was the biggest wakeup call of my life.

I had already been transforming as a person with chronic illness, as a single mother and single woman, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister and aunt and someone’s friend.  I had spent a lot of the past 15 years of my life taking care of others and after my mother’s death, I came to realize that all of it had taken its toll on me.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It was my pleasure to take care of my mother and everyone else who needed me. But I forgot to take care of myself in the process. I stopped putting my needs first and asking for help when I needed it. I allowed people to take advantage of me and it was my own doing, I wanted acceptance and I thought putting everyone’s needs ahead of my own was the answer.

My mother’s death stopped me in my tracks.  My mother was gone, and I had put distance between myself and some family members – not because I was angry at them or because of something they had done.  I put that distance between us because my mother was the reason I allowed myself to put up with so much. I made choices because of my love for her and because I believed these were the things she wanted and expected of me.  Granted, I don’t know what my mother wanted or expected.  I did what I thought was expected of me and her loss sent every thought and expectation into a brick wall.  I was alone without her.  And I had to learn to live a life without her and without the influence of my family because I was so unhappy.   And it was NOT just grief.

I was the strong one in the family – that is what everyone told me for so long.  Because I was the “strong one,” I believed I had to bear all my burdens alone. And I did and guess what? No expected me to ask for help and they were used to me not asking.  But they all asked me for help and I helped – always.  I probably never will ask for help because well, I am supposed to be the strong one. But I did seek outside help after losing Mom and I found out that I don’t have to be the person every expects me to be and that I can be happy even if it means doing my own thing, living up to my own expectations and being the person I have always wanted to be.

I have always faced by life with strength and grace, never backing down and never letting anyone see my hurt and pain.  When I finally let my wall down, I realized that letting it down meant letting people in I could rely on, who would allow me to be the person I was destined to be, who would accept me as I truly am, and who would love me despite all the flaws I see in myself.   And I face the New Year, I am facing it without fear of judgment, or losing, or making the same mistakes as before.

I am finally living my life on my terms.  And if I keep my distance, it is not because I am angry at anyone, it is because my choices and life aren’t open for debate. The person I am today stopped trusting somewhere along the line and has simply chosen to find better ways to make sense of her life and cherish the important people in her life.   I love the people who have always been a part of my life, but if the last year has shown me anything, it is that I can be happier finding my own place in this world and looking to a life that continues to get better and brighter.

 

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Posted in Life in general, Motherhood

I Am Amazed, Proud and Sad – All At The Same Time


It crept up on us, but here we are. My older son is now a senior in high school. He took senior pictures a couple weeks ago and that is when the reality sank in.  Then, there was his new car.  He leaves every morning on his own and returns home on his own. He no longer needs me to take him from point A to B.  The finish line is almost here. And, then there is college and one of these days, he will have his own place and I won’t be picking up after him. He barely needs me now and soon, he won’t need me at all.  And that is a good thing. It means I did well.  So, I am amazed, proud and sad all at the same time.

My son who I have raised all on my own since he was 3 months old is almost an adult and writing those words brings tears to my eyes.  They are happy and sad tears all at the same time.  Sad that the time flew by so fast, but happy and proud of the amazing young man he has become.

My amazing son was raised by his single mother- ME.  For almost 18 years, I did this all on my own.  Family will say they helped, but their help was very little, judgmental and/or not helpful at all. And that is what most families tend to do. My parenting was constantly judged and pulled under a microscope. But despite the criticisms I received, he turned out to be respectful, polite, honest, kind, generous, and this absolutely, amazing human being. He is also stubborn with a heart of gold and this is one my most favorite things about him.  I pat myself on the back every day because I did a damn good job.

There has been many years of trials and errors and highs and lows – so many times when I thought I was failing miserably.  I loved that amazing young man even when he hated me.  He has never had a father in his life, but you ask him, he says he never missed out and I gave him more love than both a mother and father could.   He reminds me daily I am the only parent he has ever needed and hearing those words especially helps on the days when I feel inadequate in both my parenting and as a person.

Here he is almost an adult (he will be 18 in a few months). The saddest and hardest part – for me at least – is I wish his grandmother – my mother – were here to see what a wonderful young man he is becoming. It has been over a year since we lost her and missing her hasn’t gotten easier.  Graduation is just around the corner and this is a milestone, I wish Mom was here to see.  But I know she is up there smiling and proud – not just of him, but of me as well.

What Mom may not have known when she was alive is that I learned to be a strong single mother by watching her.  She was 43 when Dad died leaving her with a 4-year-old and 4 teenagers and she did the best she could with what was handed to her.  She is reason I am able to raise my kids alone. When I lost her, I was afraid I couldn’t do it without her- any of it – but I have and I continue to because of the lessons she taught me.

Here we are, nearly at the finish line – my almost adult son and me.  I look at that young man who towers a foot over me and I feel immense pride.  I never expected – or wanted – this time to get here so fast but it did.  As a small child, he was always one step ahead of me, always running in front of me, instead holding my hand and walking next to me.

I will never forget the day when he was seven and said he was too old to call me “Mommy” and it was “Mom” from that point forward. Or when he was nine and told me that big boys don’t cry and he’s rarely shed a tear in my presence since. Or every single time he didn’t understand why I wasn’t ready to send him out on his own. He thought it was a lack of trust, rather than worry and fear. He has always trying to grow up so fast, trying to be older, wiser and more mature. And for all the times, he gave me better advice than most of the adults in my life, I should have known then how grown up he already was, but I wanted him to be my baby forever.  As much as I tried to keep him younger, he persisted and here we are.

This morning, as he got in his own car, waved goodbye, and headed off to school, I tried to hold the tears back.  I smiled and whispered to myself, “You did good …. No, you did better than good – you excelled.”

Posted in Life in general

Missing Mom


The is no relationship in the world like the one you have with your mother.  Sometimes, she is your best friend, sometimes your enemy but usually somewhere in between.

My mom was the person who was there for me at my worst and she was the person I celebrated with me at my best. My mother was everything to me.

I miss her and losing her was the absolute worst thing to ever happen to me.  And that is saying a lot, because I have been through a whole lot.  Nothing in the world could compare to the day I realized I could no longer lie in her arms and that is one I will never forget.

With every single day that passes, I miss her more than the day before. With every new beginning and ending, every milestone for my children and me, I desperately crave for her love, encouragement and her support.  There is no one that can ever replace her.

And with each day, I try to pick up the pieces of my life without her. For once, my life is where it is should be.  I am happier than I have ever been.  I am doing well in both my writing and legal careers. My kids are doing great and they are happy and healthy.  And I have let go of people who made my happiness harder.

But some days, I feel alone without my mother and that feeling is the most devastating in the world.  I know that there are so many others who live with this same pain and so many more who will.

I know my mother lives inside me. After all, she raised me to be the woman I am today. And while sometimes, I wish I wasn’t walking alone, I know that I am doing fine and she is looking down on me with pride. She may not agree with all my choices, but she knows I am strong, resilient, and smart and that I will always do the right thing.

And even though she is not here to support me and cheer me, she is still my biggest fan.  She still has a front row to my accomplishments.  She is further away but she is still with me.

I am lucky to have my mother for as long as I did.  And missing her is hard and sometimes, it takes all I have when things get to tough to move forward without her.  But I do it every single day and despite how much I miss her and how much I ache inside for her presence.

If you are lucky enough to have your mom still around, don’t take it for granted.  Call her, visit her, pick up the phone when she calls, listen to her, and remind her how important she is too you.  You won’t know how truly blessed you are to have her around until she is gone. Don’t take her for granted today because tomorrow might be too late.

 

Posted in Life in general, Life is too short, Living Life As I See Fit

Realize Your Worth and Potential and Don’t Look Back


I am always amazed at the strength of women who walk away from situations that aren’t good for them or make them unhappy.  Like so many, I have been there.

But there are women who stay. We cannot force them to leave.  We can only hope and pray they can see the infinite potential they have to find their own happiness.

I don’t stay. I walk away because I know my potential and self-worth.

The moment you realize your self-worth, it is amazing and priceless.

Anytime I have questioned my circumstances, I knew something had to change. Whether it is a job, a city, or people, even if it’s family.  I can’t stay in situations that hold me back or that are unfulfilling.

I have tried to wait for situations to get better. I have pretended to be happy. I have questioned whether I could leave.  But all these things were indicators that I should leave certain situations and relationships.

I was tired and defeated and resentful.  I had given my power to others and I was unhappy.   I sought help from professionals and friends on dealing with specific situations that caused me anxiety and the reasons and people for them.

I was tired of giving more than I had to give in to many of my relationships and feeling like I didn’t get enough back.

I wanted to smile and laugh again. I was tired of being sad all the time. The stress was overwhelming and the hurt was too much.

One day, the universe forced my hand.  It was time to move on and I found my strength.  I was the only one holding me back. I had to believe I was enough.  And yes, I was afraid of the aftermath. I still am, but I refuse to give control of my life and happiness to others.

I am no longer angry or resentful. I picked myself and found the courage to believe in myself.  I am strong and I will survive on my own terms and with the people I want in my life.

The person I was before was weak. She let others determine her happiness and self-worth.  She didn’t feel enough for herself, for God, for love and at most relationships in her life.

I wanted to live my life without fear and without the expectations of others. I wanted to feel joy and passion and for the first in my life, I am feeling just that. And it took leaving people behind that were holding me back.

Happiness found me because I choose be unconditionally happy and not allow people back in my life who expected me to live my life on their terms.

For all the amazing ladies out there, I hope you find the strength and the courage to live your life joyfully. I hope you can feel worthy and breathe freely and I hope you never look back. I hope you feel enough and loved.

Because happiness and freedom from others’ expectations is the best feeling the world and I have no intention of ever feeling differently again.

Posted in Life in general

Things Change, Life Changes Us


Life is a persistent (sometimes mean) teacher so I have learned this year.  We are getting close to the end of another year and it has been a difficult one.  My life has been shaken up this year, and over the past couple of years, there have been events that have surprised and changed me, and hit me when I least expected.

 We lost Mom this past August.  I thought losing my brother was hard but losing Mom came so unexpected it shook me to my core and made me question everything and everyone in my life. After her funeral, I didn’t cry for a month. The tears wouldn’t come and I was numb. But once they did, they brought back my old friend depression with them.

I struggled for months to accept Mom being gone; I was shell-shocked. The tears have finally started to dry and the depression has lessened.  I miss her and it likes a lot of effort to not be able to pick up the phone and call her, and just show up at her place. My boys miss her too, and they, too, have struggled with losing her. While we have all struggled to accept this loss, we were trying to embrace the impermanency of life and the changes that come along the way.

My mother and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but she was my mother and I loved her and would have done anything for her. I get my strength, determination, and willpower from her, and losing her brought with it fear, loneliness, anxiety and much sadness.  For almost 41 years, my mother was the one constant in my life. She was always there for me. Friends have come and gone, two divorces, my health issues, and so many life changes. But she was always there! She was my rock, my strength and the person who held me up when I didn’t think I could go on. But I also held her up. I would have done anything for her. I am strong because of her. I am strong because I watched her strength all my life. I know I can still be strong without her. I just wish I didn’t have to be.

I don’t know who I am now that Mom is gone.  I still am her daughter, but her not being around changes what that feels like.  It feels that all I am now is my children’s mother and I feel so lost in that role without Mom.  She was my rock when life threw hurdles at me, and my rock is now gone.  Granted, I always took care of myself and my kids without any help, but I did that because she was here. I knew that no matter went wrong, I would have her.  Now, I struggle with the idea that it is really “me and my kids against the world.”  But we are okay.  We have been and we always will be. It is just a matter of my accepting that while I miss Mom, I will be okay and so will my kids.

I turn 41 this year, and the older I get, the more I continue to realize my happiness is more important than living up to others’ expectations or their acceptance. The older I get and the more distance I keep, this gets easier.  Like the next person, I just want to be happy and I want that happiness on my own terms.

My teenager turns 17 in a month. Where did the time go? And as much as he drives me crazy and as much as I can’t wait for him to grow up and mature, I am struggling with what that means.

In 2016, life changed me and my ideals drastically. It broke my heart and made my soul ache.  I couldn’t fight or resist the change. I just had to learn to accept it and let things go.  Sometimes, all this change and loss brought me to my knees, but it also reminded me that I am still here.  I am still here to be the parent my children need and deserve, to be happy, to be loved, to love, and to live life on my terms.

Things change and life changes us. We also change. I know I have.  I also know we cannot do a single thing to stop change or slow it down, as I learned this year. We just have to accept life and change as they come and hope for the best.

Posted in Life in general, Motherhood

Five Things I Hope My Teen Son Understands


A co-worker of mine recently said goodbye to her 18 year old son for six months, as he went off to National Guard boot camp. While I know she is proud of him, I know it cannot be easy having your child leave home for the first time. My teenage son is only two years younger and while I don’t think he will be leaving home at 18, as his plans are to go to school and live at home, I still wonder what the world has in store for him. Less than two years, he will be an adult and I wonder if I taught him enough that he can survive the current cruel world we live in.

Times have changed. College is expensive. Jobs are hard to get.  Young adults graduate with debt. There is more evil and hate in the world than ever before.  And he really isn’t an all American kid. I raised an American Muslim child who sees the world more innocently than I do or ever did.  I raised him to be tolerant in an environment that isn’t necessarily tolerant of differences. I raised him to be strong even though I was and continue to be a hovering mother. I taught him the importance of independence and I tell him every day never to rely on anyone while making sure his needs are met. Despite my examples, it scares me the type of world he is becoming an adult in, one where people associate faith with evil.

And I have learned a lot of from him as well.  He reminds me to be kind even when there is cruelty. He tells me to forgive even when I have been terribly hurt. He is a big old teddy bear, hovering over me by at least six inches and he is getting taller. I have to look up to talk to him, and I don’t always see a child in front of me. I think being raised by a single mother makes a young man softer, kinder, smarter, and more accepting of the world.  I pray that he has picked up on my strength, my willpower and determination.  I know that he sees how hard I work to keep a roof over his and his brother’s heads, but I don’t know if he is prepared the real world – the one that is unfair, unkind, and sometimes intolerant.

What I do I want him to know as he ventures out there in the world? How do I prepare him? Do I just pray that the values I instilled in him help him to be the person he needs and wants to be? And how in the heck do I prepare him for the cruel world out there?

There are so many things I really hope he understands as he makes his way in adulthood. Maybe he already does or he doesn’t but I am trying my best to make sure he survives out there.  Because from a mother’s perspective, the world sometimes seems like a zombie apocalypse.

Here are five things I hope he understands as he makes his way into the real world.

I Hope He Understands That There is Unfairness

This generation of children has been told that there are no losers and that we are all winners. The sad reality is that in real life there are losers and not everyone is a winner.  And there is plenty of unfairness. People get their way in life because of who they are and what they are have, and sometimes, no matter how hard you work, it might not matter. It is just the way life is. Everyone experiences unfairness at some point. And bad things happen to all of us – things that make us feel that life is harsh and very unfair – death, divorce, breakups, illness, job loss, etc. Unfairness has no prejudice, as no one is spared.  And it doesn’t mean you should give up trying.  You grieve, grin and bear it and move forward.

I Hope He Understands That There is Evil in World

I read this line in an article somewhere: “Being Middle Eastern is the new being black.”  It seems like it has been the case since the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country.  A bunch of crazies professing they are Muslims (i.e. ISIS or Al-Qaeda or whomever) have decided they speak for all of Islam.  And every time there is some act committed by a crazy Muslim, the entire faith has to apologize. Christianity doesn’t apologize for the KKK or crazies like Timothy McVeigh so why should all Muslims have to apologize for ISIS and the attack on an Orlando nightclub by some lunatic professing his allegiance to ISIS and some other radical group.  Yea, there is evil out there and I have to have to explain to my children that these people are not Muslims. They are killing innocent people, including Muslims. I have to tell my teenage son to be careful out there anytime one of these so-called crazy Muslims commits some horrific act and that people will judge and be hateful and that scares me as a mother. It scares me that it will get worse before it gets better.  And he is oblivious to all this right now and that scares me even more.

I Hope He Understands That There are Good People Out There Too

There are good and kind people in this world. They preach kindness and not hate. They won’t judge him because of his faith or because of his background.  I want him to be one of those good people. I want to accept everyone despite their differences. I want him to help others less fortunate and stand with goodness and against cruelty. I want him to never look down at anyone unless he is helping them up.

I Hope He Understands that Not Everyone Will Like Him

The older I get the more I realize how important it is not to care what people think, even family. It took me 40 years and a lot of heartache to figure this one out and I hope he figures it out much quicker than I did. I hope he learns that it is okay to be different and that others don’t like him or his choices.  He shouldn’t get worked up or feel hurt or try to change for anyone.  He should be himself and do what makes him happy and that those that truly love him will accept him no matter what. I know I will.  

I Hope He Understands That No One Owes Him Anything

Teenagers generally struggle with the idea that their parents and the world owe them. I guess it is a teenage thing and the sooner they outgrow this idea, the better. Although, some people never outgrow this. You have to work for what you want because no one will ever hand you anything on a silver platter. He has watched me work two jobs for at the last seven years trying to give him and his brother a good life. I don’t believe anyone owes me anything and I pray that my teenager learns from my example. And failure can also come with hard work and I hope that he understands that success does too.  We just have to keep trying, be brave, take risks and put ourselves out there if we expect to get anything out of life.

As I said before, when it comes to my children, I often see the world as a zombie apocalypse.  I can only protect them for so long before it is time for them to do that for themselves. I have pray that I am teaching them all the things and giving them all the tools to make it out there in the world. Because they will venture out whether I am ready or not.

Posted in Chronic illnesses, Life in general, Living Life As I See Fit

I am Not Superwoman But I Got This!


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Nope.  I am not.  I have no superpowers. No super speed or strength and I sure I can’t fly. I am not superhuman.

I am not Superwoman but yet, I am determined to be her.

I sometimes forget that I am only human and not capable of doing it all.  Maybe, once I did, but not anymore. I can’t spend a long day at work, come home to cook dinner, and then clean.  I can’t spend a Saturday shopping, cleaning, doing laundry and everything else in between.  Once upon a time, I could but I no longer can.

Why do I keep trying to convince myself I can? Why do I keep doing it? Why do I think I can?

Because I did. I used to.

And those feelings nag at and stay with me. I used to be able to carry 3 or 4 heavy cloth shopping bags and not even think about how heavy they were. Now, I am lucky I can carry one. But I used to carry 3 or 4! And if I could do it before, why can’t I anymore?

Because that was before chronic illness and pain dominated my life.

READ MORE AT http://themighty.com/2016/05/doing-it-all-while-having-chronic-disease-and-being-sick/.

Posted in Life in general

Another New Year Is Upon Us


In a couple hours, it will be a New Year.  With that said, most have started to think about what we are leaving behind and setting resolutions for the upcoming year.  I definitely have pondered what I am leaving behind and what I am looking forward to.

2015 was a major year of growth for me. I struggled to remove a lot of toxicity from my life.  I felt the urge to reboot, to start over, and stop putting up with crap and living life on my own terms.  It didn’t come easy and I had obstacles and people in my way. But I was tired of what people put me through and what was expected of me.  I started to see myself without insecurity and the burdens that had been for many years placed on me.

I finally decided that I had to see myself as the person that God sees me as – pure, simple, and good.  I choose to forgive and I did.  I didn’t ask for or want forgiveness.  The Universe forced my hand and I had to decide whether I would continue to suffer and struggle or to find my own way.  It was God that I reached to in my darkest hour.  I saw my advantage.  The Almighty had never given up on me. He was there when I was on my knees praying and even when I was wasn’t.

For once, I choose to be the woman God wants me to be. I also choose to be grateful and focused on what was important.  And I struggled, and I had set backs but I kept going even when there were obstacles.  In 2015, I also elected to be less self-sacrificing and a little selfless.

I may not be where I want to be or where I expect to be but I am where I need to be. I am Mom to two amazing boys and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I am doing well in my career and I have had published well over 125 chronic illness articles and five guides about living with illness. I am still working on that work of fiction but paying bills takes precedent.

I am keeping an open mind about love and I am working on being the best version of me. And I am going to continue to do just that.

I took a leap a faith today.  I don’t know what is going to happen but it was out of my character.  I am glad I did it and regardless of the result, I won’t have regrets.

I don’t know what 2016 has in store for me but I am going to continue to focus on my life and my children’s lives.  I am going to continue to keep toxic people out of our lives and to keep living life on my terms.  I am tired of trying to make everyone happy. I deserve to be happy and I am focused on that from this point forward.

Happy New Year and hopefully 2016 is filled with much happiness, good health and kind people, for all of you.

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Posted in Acceptance, Life in general, Motherhood, Tough Choices

That was 21 years ago, and 2 husbands ago…


As I sit here on this rainy, cold, fall Saturday morning, I am thinking about where my life is now. And I realize something very important.  I am not the scared girl I was 21 years ago. I always had a rebellious side. I always wanted to be someone that I was told I couldn’t be but when it came down to it all, I did what was expected.  Do I regret doing what my family wanted? For a long time, I thought I did but for all the wrong turns my life, I am still right where I need to be.  See, if not for those obstacles, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today – strong, successful, determined, capable, and flexible but as stubborn as ever.

I have spent a lot of my life struggling to do what is expected of me especially when that is not what I wanted for my life. In hindsight, I never expected the lessons that came with life.  August would have been 21 years since I married my first husband. I sometimes I feel like the men I married took away 21 years of my life I can’t get back because neither marriage was good for me – especially for my emotional health. But then I remember what I got out of those marriages. I got my kids, and then, I realize that all my regrets don’t really matter.

At the time I was thinking about leaving my second husband, I was struggling with my chronic illness diagnoses, my brother’s illness, and then his death. Shortly after, my mother had a stroke and I was taking care of her. Then one day, I woke up and I realized how severely depressed I was. Depression was far worse than anything I had ever endured. It was lonely and scary, but somehow, though the grace of God, I made my way out of the darkest hole I had ever found myself in.  With therapy and medication, I find a part of me that for so long missing. The strong me – the “me” that hated defeat, that didn’t need acceptance, and the one that felt enough for herself and for God, and didn’t need to be for anyone else.

Sometimes, I would love to go back to a time when it was just me, young and not stuck in my life but seriously, that was 21 years ago and 2 husbands ago. I will never be that girl again and while looking back is bittersweet, I wouldn’t trade that girl for the woman am I today (although I wish I had her health).  I recently spoke to a former teacher of mine who was not the least bit surprised how much I have overcome.  He said that he always knew that I had it in me to rise above and make the best of difficult situations.  He reminded me that in the end I am still me, just all grown up and upgraded.

The truth is, I just took the long road to get to where I am today. I have struggled to get here and I have questioned myself, God, and my faith many times.  I still struggle, have setbacks where I second guess myself, and I still struggle with my God and my faith.  The only difference is I don’t struggle for as long. I don’t second guess myself as often, and I don’t let people get into my head. And while sometimes, I wonder where God is I still lean towards Him especially during hard times.  The reason that I have changed is because I have learned to know who I am, what I stand for, and mostly that I am enough.  I will never be the girl I was 21 years ago and 2 husbands ago and I accept that.

And for all the times I have wondered where God was when I struggled and fell, he was right there by my side lifting me up. How else would I have gotten up?  I don’t know what God sees in me but He sees something, and He has made me believe that everything is possible, especially when I believe in Him and myself.

I spent a lot of my life trying to be accepted by others. I have taken blame for things I didn’t do by simply not responding or defending myself.  I have forgiven even when I have been hurt so badly. I have learned that I have to forgive if I expect to be forgiven.  I have given people help that turned around and stabbed me in the back, or that forgot my constant kindness no matter how many times they hurt me.  In those moments, I question my choices and then I remember that the reason that I bounce back from setbacks is because of the person I am, and that is what God sees.  He sees me hurting, struggling, stumbling but trying even when I have nothing left to give.  But He also sees something in me that I don’t see. I don’t know what that is, but who am I to question the Almighty?

I am not the girl I was 21 years ago, or the woman I was 5 years ago.  Both were weak, self-sacrificing in the name of acceptance and thought that people cared about their tears. But I was sadly mistaken. The girl I once was grew up and while she is still willing to help others, she is cautious and no longer lets anyone in. She kept secrets for others, even though they didn’t keep hers.  The people she thought she could trust with her secrets reminded her that no one can be trusted, and that her secrets should be kept to herself.  She now bares little no resemblance to the girl from 21 years ago and 2 husbands ago.  She is gone and you know what, the woman she became, she is done looking behind her, and she is focusing on looking forward.  The past is the past for a reason, right?

Posted in Life in general

Who are any of us any way?


In grand scheme of life, who are any of us? We can only be the people that God intended us to be.  Even if that person is constantly trying to do right only to feel that that right is in vain.  People could stoop to the level of others or they can just walk away and sometimes, it is best to walk way. Because no matter what you have done right doesn’t compare to what is expected of you or what others perceive you as doing wrong.

I have always tried to compensate for not feeling adequate.  I have always tried to help others to the point of self-sacrifice only to my own detriment. I only can give what I can and then, when I have nothing left to give, I don’t know what people expect from me. I have risen to the challenge when others needed help and when no one else stepped up but somehow, those same people haven’t been there for me.  I have been wronged just like the next person. Unfortunately, how we view things or perceive them is our own downfall.  To be human is to expect so much more of others but it costs us.

I have gone through every possible scenario and in end, I realize that I don’t have to keep self-sacrificing if the result is always the same. No one else in my life has given as much as I have. They know this and I know this. I can only move forward and rely on God for the direction he takes me.

Who is anyone to judge someone else when they have not walked a mile in their shoes? I tried to understand another’s perspective and somehow, I fell short. In the end, all I can do is head in the direction that the Almighty intended me to.

I have learned that relationships are a two way street and that just because I am willing to forgive doesn’t mean others are as willing.  Just because I am trying not to burn bridges doesn’t mean anyone cares. I try so hard to just mind my business but ultimately, people every one of us has a choice.  We can accept people as they are or we can judge them harshly without realizing there is an even bigger judge out there.

On several occasions in my life, I have helped others and I have never asked for anything in return.  But at some point, I feel like I am deserving of the same support and good will.  I am not saying that I don’t make mistakes.  Who doesn’t? But I feel like every time I have made a mistake, I have been alienated for it but I don’t do the same. I quickly move forward from what has happened. And even I am honest and pure hearted, the same people don’t recognize that.  And what I have come to realize is that if you are different from others, standing by them when they desperately need support, is the only time they will recognize your worth.  The rest of the time you are not good enough.

There was a lady I worked with years ago.  Her name is Cheri, wonderful, sweet and kind lady who was terribly hurt by her family.  I didn’t understand why she allowed herself to be distant from them.  But what I understand now is that when the people who are closest to you continually let you down, you just give up expecting a different result.  I don’t expect a different result any more.  I expect more of the same.

I don’t expect anyone to be there for me, simply because I’d be there for them or because out of some kind of obligation.  I don’t any more. I just find peace knowing that no matter what I do acceptance will never happen and I am tired of trying.  Actually, I am okay with it.  The only person I can change is me. And if that doesn’t work for others, there is not a lot I can do.  I can only lean on the ones who accept me as I truly am, who don’t want to change me, or who don’t think they are better than me.   I just don’t care anymore and that is who I am, who I have become, and who I will continue to be. I can’t apologize for that and I can’t apologize for things I didn’t do in the name of acceptance.

Who are any of us any way? Let us not judge others when we have not walked in their shoes.  And as for me, in the words of Shakespeare:  “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

Posted in Acceptance, Experince, Life in general

Stop Being Selfless and Self-Sacrificing


Months ago, I was told I needed to be selfish and less selfless and self-sacrificing.  I took that advice to heart (although I was criticized by the same person for finally taking that perspective).  It took me a while but one day, I realized that it felt good to be selfish and put myself first once in a while.  I stopped caring about who my actions or feelings upset because I was not causing hurt to anyone.  I became happier because I wasn’t sacrificing myself in the process.  At first, putting myself first felt weird and it carried some guilt with it but with time, I realized that if I didn’t do it, people would continue to step all over me.

Now, my stress levels are down and well, people are unhappy.  But the fact is that they were unhappy before.  I thought that my catering to others, I was making them happy but all I got was hurt.  I catered to the point of my own unhappiness.

I thought by self-sacrificing meant being a good person and someone who helped others.  I sought acceptance of others, rather than self-acceptance, and that was hurting me more than anything.  I was tolerant of others and their faults, was afraid to be harsh because I hated that for myself and I stuck with others even when they weren’t there for me.  Moreover, I always suffered alone and shouldered my own burdens alone.  I never asked for help and I hated being fussed over.  I endured. I was patient.  I tolerated.  I was considerate, ethical, and honest. I was generous and was willing to give the shirt of my back and never waited to be asked. All for what reason? For acceptance? I self-sacrificed for acceptance?  Does that make any sense? Why did I do that? I don’t know anymore.

All of our lives, we have been told to give.  We are told to share since childhood. Our religions tell us to give others and we are told God loves us the more we give.  Every charity makes us feel so bad we feel we have to give.  Some of us have taken one message out of this – give until hurts and then some. Of course, giving isn’t wrong but if you are always giving and never receiving, then you are giving others permission to expect permanent things from you.  If you are always the one who continually forgives and always bending over backwards for others, you are sacrificing your own happiness in the process. After all, you are entitled to receive and put yourself first sometimes.

I am not saying to stop giving or helping or apologizing. I am saying stop being taken advantage of.  Stop being so selfless and self-sacrificing.  Step letting others step all over you until you have nothing left to give.  I am talking from experience – a whole lot of it!

We train people to take advantage of us and it has taken me most of my adult life and a whole lot of therapy to understand that.  If you are over-giving and people are not grateful, appreciative happy and caring towards you and expect more, then you have done all you can do and then some.  I have learned to the secret to knowing when you should and shouldn’t give is by listening to your heart, your body, your mind and your soul. If you are giving to manipulate, then that is not healthy and if you are giving for acceptance or second chances, that is just as bad. Your heart, mind, body and soul will speak for you when something doesn’t feel right so listen carefully.

When you feel overwhelmed about giving or you feel you have done all you can do, take a step back and observe the imbalance.  If you don’t like what you are seeing or feeling, get your courage on and change the situation.  You are responsible for your own life. Every adult is responsible for their own life and it is not your job to be selfless and self-sacrificing to fix or accommodate other adults.  For me, that understanding is a major breakthrough that actually feels really good.

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Posted in Life in general

Being Left Alone Isn’t Too Much to Ask  


There comes a point in all of our lives when we just need to be left alone, to think, to love and breathe without the opinions of others dictating our paths. And being alone isn’t a bad thing. It gives us peace of mind from all the distractions and obstacles that hold us back. Mostly, the people that hold us back. We try to convince ourselves that we are trying to be the people we want to be but at some point, we realize that we are really living for is expected of us. And that realization, while known subconsciously, takes a different perspective when we actually acknowledge that we are bound by the expectations of others.

Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted 11 experiments on how well people tolerate a few minutes of alone time.  The research found that while most of us want quiet tine, we have a hard time tolerating too much time without people vying for our attention.  I am at a point in my life where I have to disagree with that. I feel like it depends on the nature of the relationships in your life. I cannot live a life that involves people vying at my attention when I don’t have it to give. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule but it is really more about me getting older.

Grown children, siblings, elderly parents, so-called friends, employers – how much can a person be sandwiched trying to please everyone?  Benjamin Franklin said that death and taxes were the only two things certain in this life.  I disagree – he forgot the crap in between. He didn’t realize that a modernized society would complicate our lives. He didn’t know single moms would be a dominant feature in the 21st century.  He didn’t realize that over 50% of the workforce would be women who were not only breadwinners but also bread makers.

Mr. Franklin, like many, couldn’t have imagined a world that involved single mothers trying so hard to live to every expectation of society.  I couldn’t when I was a little girl.  I thought one day I’d find my Prince Charming and we would live happily ever after in our beautiful home with our white picket fence and our well-behaved and smart children.  I didn’t get any of that right.  I got three children (almost grown) living overseas with their father always vying for my attention, not realizing what kind of life I have here.  I have two children here who need me to be both mom and dad. I work two jobs and I live with two chronic illnesses. My life has other priorities. I have to be more than anyone else in my life has to be and I have to do it alone.

Prince Charming isn’t anywhere in sight.  He sure isn’t here painting walls, repairing things, and planning a move.  He is not even anywhere in my imagination.  He is not here helping me to feel better when it feels like I am alone because the people who are supposed to be here keep letting me down.  He is not here when it feels like it is my kids and me against the world.  And, in some respects, I am glad he is not here. Because so far, he has only been Mr. Wrong. What is the point of Price Charming if I have to change for him? Or that he would have to change for me? Because that has been my only experience thus far.

Change or being someone that I am not has been my theme for too long in hopes of pleasing others. And it has gotten me nowhere. I have decided if people cannot accept me as I am, they can keep their distance. I know I am a handful. I know I am strong, independent and I am opinionated.  And I am human and I make mistakes just the like the next person.

But I don’t need to be reminded of my flaws and I have been reminded way too much. I have a big heart and I know it but sometimes, that big heart gets is stepped all over. I have had people’s backs and when push came to shove, they turned their backs on me.  They treated me badly even simply because I wouldn’t allow them to get me down. I have been let down, put down and judged harshly for too much of my life but I finally decided I am too old for this crap. And if people can’t see that I just want to be left alone rather than living up to impossible expectations, it is their loss. I don’t think being left alone is too much to ask.