31 Days of Writing

Are You Who You Want To Be?

Several years ago I often heard a song on the radio and the lyrics went like this, “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?” Honestly, I do not remember much more of the song than that. And yet, those words have stuck with me and run through my mind (in perfect tune) on a semi regular basis. It is almost like my subconscious is checking in with me to see if I am in fact who I want to be. Or maybe it was gently nudging me on this journey that I am finally embarking on to discover who I am.

It seems every time I think those lyrics and take a few moments to contemplate my answer the answer is always that for the most part I am. I’m not unhappy with who I am. I don’t dread getting up each day and doing the things that I need to do that day. I remember a time in my past when that was actually the case. Unlike most people I dreaded Friday with a vengeance and couldn’t wait for Monday to get here. Friday meant that my husband (not the man I am currently married to) would be home for approximately 60 hours straight. And every single one of those hours I would spend tip toeing lightly through the mine field we called home. I would expend pain staking effort to think and re think every comment or question I was about to speak in order to play out in my mind what his anticipated response might be in order to avoid setting off an explosion if at all possible. I would navigate through each hour checking the clock repeatedly trying to determine when he might be getting hungry or thirsty, bored or ready for a sweet treat. Anything to keep him on the upswing and avoid the down swing that would lead to him turning on me with a verbal rage that would put most drill sergeants and interrogators to shame. Each night I would crawl into bed and will myself to sleep. My hope would be that the hours throughout the night would somehow defy time and slow down. I would pray that morning would not come too soon. I have wondered if I had asked myself back then if I was who I wanted to be if my answer would still have been yes, only wishing the me I was were living a different life.

Today as I contemplate the question I find myself thinking of the character qualities I see in myself. I could simplify the question or separate it into categories if you will. Am I the wife I want to be. For the most part yes, I think. However, there are some heart issues and character qualities that I definitely need to work on. I am learning that I do not always fight fairly. Not that my husband and I fight often, but we do tend to disagree or not see eye to eye on how some things should be handled whether that be with the children, finances or the rental properties that we own and manage. It is in those moments when I am pleading my case as to what I think should be happening that I tend to throw a low blow in now and then. No sooner have I struck the man I love with some unexpected verbal assault that inwardly I feel horrible. Why am I hurting the one person that I love more than any other in the whole entire world? The one person that I run to at any given moment if I am in need. The one that if my heart is breaking I want him to comfort me, even when he is the one who has broken my heart. The one that I enjoying walking hand in hand with at any give moment of every single day even if we just did it yesterday. And so, if I am an honest, no I am not the wife that I want to be. I want to be the wife whose joy runneth over and sustains her in times of weakness such as a disagreement with her husband. The wife who respects her husband and shows him that she does in the way she speaks to him in good times and bad times.

Am I the Mother that I want to be? Hmmm…. in so many ways yes. In fact this year I have made it an even greater priority to be present in our son’s life. I already was that parent who advocated for our son’s education at school, volunteered in the classroom, drove him to soccer or baseball practice unless Tom could and walked him to and from school. I enjoy watching our son in all that he does. There have been times in the past when work appointments would come up and cause me to choose between helping a client or going to one of Michael’s soccer matches or baseball games. This year I laid all work aside after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January. I can see the day so clearly. On January 11th, 2016 Tom and I entered the nurses office where we were to hear my results. I had a gut feeling the results would say I did in fact have cancer. Still standing, I heard the nurse say that my results were positive for breast cancer. As I put my hands on either arm of the chair that I was about to sit in I asked her which breast as they had tested both. My next thought was that I would not be working for the rest of the year but that I would take the time I needed to fight cancer and be present in my families lives. After the appointment Tom and I went to lunch and that is what I shared with him. Sticking with that commitment to myself hasn’t been easy. Work has tried to squeeze its way back in and I relented and began to give of myself to clients. It wasn’t long before the effects of the stress began to manifest in a physical way as my body, mind and emotions became overwhelmed. The time that I have spent with Michael has been priceless. Not perfect, but priceless. I have had my moments where I have become inpatient with him when he was not doing as he was told or when he was acting out. In some of those times I have become angry and hollered at him only to regret it as soon as the words left my mouth. I have been impatient with him. And other times I have given in to his requests for more electronics time solely to give myself some peace and quiet. I know, some of you are sitting there reading this and thinking, who is she kidding? We have all done that! I know, I know. And yet, if I am honest with myself these are the things I want to be better at. Patient in stressful times. Loving and kind yet firm in our standards of how our kids should behave at home and in public. I want to be that mom that not only advocates for my son’s needs but also stands firm on healthy boundaries around TV time, electronics time, content of YouTube videos, etc to help mold and shape the person that our son becomes. All in all my answer to this one would be yes, as long as I continue to work hard to tweak and fine tune the parts of being a mother that I feel I could do better in.

More questions I would ask myself are:

Am I the woman of God that I want to be?

Am I the friend that I want to be?

I will have to resume this in Day 3 of the 31 Days of Writing as I am out of time for today.

31 Days of Writing

31 Day Challenge

A friend of mine posted that she has accepted a 31 Day Challenge. It’s a writing challenge actually. Apparently it’s not new. In fact this is the 8th year this particular site has had this challenge. The challenge starts on October 1st and runs through October 31st. When you accept the challenge you agree to write every day for 31 days on a specific topic you have chosen. Not a different topic every day, but instead something in regards to the same topic every day. I guess in some ways that makes it easy and in some ways it makes it difficult. On the one hand you might think you would run out of things to say about the same topic day after day over the course of 31 days. On the other hand sticking to the same topic means you do not waste time each day determining the basis of your writing. It can also help you go more in depth rather than just touching the surface of a particular topic. I was intrigued by this challenge for many reasons. The most obvious being that I love to write and am always saying that I need to get back to writing. I complain (let’s be honest here, it is complaining) that I do not have or make time each day to write and I wish I could/would. I have promised myself repeatedly that I would make it a priority only to fail time and time again. It always seems there is something else that requires my attention that I deem more important. Another reason I am intrigued is that it gives me a reason to write every day. I mean, who doesn’t love a challenge? If I am challenged to do it then I have to do it! I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it to fulfill the challenge! The fact that the challenge website gave category and topic suggestions made it all the more easy for me. I perused the ideas and past year bloggers and immediately felt inspired. In a matter of what felt like seconds I knew my topic would be, Discovering Me in 31 Days. The topic is focused enough being about myself and yet broad enough because, who am I anyway? Maybe each day I will ask myself a question and write out the response. Or maybe I will share experiences from the past that have molded and shaped who I am today. Or maybe I will contemplate what hasn’t been, what could be if only and what I would do or be if only there were no limits. The options are endless and only limited by me, my imagination, the time, effort and thought I am willing to put into it. I contemplated joining the challenge through the website as my friend is doing. In order to do so you needed to sign up, create a linky thing that is a button people (other writers) can click on that directs them directly to your 31 days of blogs, and then link up on October 1 and begin writing. Each day that you write you copy and paste the latest days writing to the linky thing so people can read just those posts on your blog. I headed down the road to create the linky thing and determined that part wasn’t for me. Instead I will just write on here for 31  days in the same spirit of sticking to one topic and doing it daily. The hope is not only to discover me but to also begin a habit of daily writing that will lead to a book or two that I have always wanted to write. So, let the journey begin a day or two early as I embark upon Discovering Me in the next 31 (or 35 days).

Christianity and People, Family and Pets, Writing Exercises

Once Upon A Time……

There was a time not that long ago that the story I would have written would have been about a person who had been victimized seemingly her entire life only recently finding happiness. And although happy, pain and hurt would continue to be the underlining theme throughout the rest of the story providing a bitter sweet ending. Thankfully the ending has yet to be reached. And even more wonderful is the healing that has begun to take place and my story of pain, neglect, abuse and misery is evolving.

My past is still my past. I cannot change what happened to me and around me. I can however see more than the abuse and the pain. I can see the moments of happiness. I can see  who I was and how and when I began to change. I can see the choices I made that contributed to the paths that I took in life. I am beginning to see the people who abused me in a different light. I can see the circumstances they grew up in. What may have caused them to make some of the choices they made. Not excuses for them and their actions, but explanations of who they were and insight into what I am seeing as their limitations. This new pespective is sheding a whole new light on my past, who I was and who I have become.

Life is but a story. One that doesn’t end until we die. Some would say it doesn’t even end there as our life can still have an effect on others long after we are gone. I hope mine does. I hope when I am gone that things I have done, things I have said may leave a lasting impression on the people I have had contact with. I hope my story continues long after I am gone. I hope it inspires the people I have touched to do good things, to think about others before themselves, to long to make a difference near and far, to also leave a lasting impression when they too are gone. One can hope, right?

I think as I continue this journey of forgiveness my story is going to evolve even more. How I see my childhood and early adult life is going to change drastically. I believe rather than seeing myself as the victim I am beginning to see myself as an overcomer. Rather than holding onto anger, resentment and judgement for those who abused and neglected me I am going to have compassion, empathy and sympathy for them. I believe this change in how I view my past is going to continue to change how I see myself now and who I become. The change has begun and I am encouraged by what is happening.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to be loved…………

Family and Pets, Writing Exercises

In the Beginning of Me

In the beginning (of me) there was me. A strong confident red headed, some might say hot headed, little girl ready to take on the world. I think that’s how my mom would have put it. I was brave, strong, persistant, curious, full of laughter and enjoyed life. My hair was wild and at times untamable a little like my personality. And then as time moved forward I evolved to fit the environment around me. The me that I was turned into the me that I am not.

I would say my therapist described it best in our meeting last week. She said, “You were a fish in the wrong pond. You know like there is this pond full of bright orange fish and there you are in the midst of it a solid white fish. You just didn’t belong.” I have spent so many years trying to be like all the other fish in the pond I grew up in. I even found and dated a man that was a lot like the fish that I had called daddy. He looked the same and in many ways acted the same. And yet, he was a little different too. I was drawn in some ways to his likeness and in other ways to his difference. Neither of which were a good thing for me.

One day I left the pond. Clean jumped ship as they say. I packed up my stuff, took all that was of importance to me and hightailed it out of the pond I had called home for 28 years. For a time I was in between ponds. A fish flailing about on dry land in desperate need of water, but not just any water. I wanted to find the right fit. A pond that I could be free to be me in addition to being guided, encouraged and influenced by other fish to explore, grow and become the best me I could be. I was looking for a group of fish that didn’t just take no for an answer. Ones that didn’t believe ‘this is as good as it gets’. What I have learned is I was also looking for fish that didn’t let their past or present circumstances define who they are. A completely different pond with very different fish.

It was only a matter of time when I found my new pond. It wasn’t too difficult to re-enter the water as I had been longing for it. Initaily the water quenched my thirst and fulfilled my need to get my gills wet so to speak. I relaxed a little and got comfortable in my new digs. I begin to flow with the day to day life. A little me, the one I used to be, began to surface. It was then that I would hear people say, “I can’t believe (you ever lived in that kiind of a pond) it! You don’t seem anything like that.” It was then that I would share my story and paint the picture of my former pond. My life as a victim if you will and all that went with it. And just how that pond had ruined the me that I once was. And when they tried to deny it, tried to tell me that I was still me, I would quickly tell them that I was not. I had been tainted by the pond I grew up in and I would never be the same.

After several years in my new pond and telling the story of my past over and over again I begin to realize that although I had left the old pond and moved into this new space in my life, the old pond was consuming me more than it ever had before. The ugliness had settled into the core of who I was. I spent a great deal of time thinking about it, reliving it, wishing it were not so. Inevitably my thoughts would turn to anger and I would be filled with resentment, bitterness and contempt for the ones who had caused me pain. They deserved to be punished and to never forget what they did to me, how they had changed the me that I was. And yet, they were not here anymore. The anger and bitterness was effecting the new people around me. The ones that I love and cherish. The ones that make me happy. Not the ones that had caused me so much pain. My new pond was getting infected by the me I was becoming.

I like my new pond. I like that a little of the me from the beginning was finding a way to be. In fact I think the me that I am supposed to be has been inside waiting for the chance to come out. Over the years I have pushed it down further beneath the pain, anger and bitterness, stifling me to my core. Thankfully it was strong enough to resist and to hold on. Recently I recognized what was happening to my new pond and that I in fact am responsible for it. I have also realized that while I am not to blame for the abuse I endured I am to blame for letting it consume me and for holding onto the pain, hurt, anger, bitterness and desire to punish the perpretrators for all eternity. In letting that go, I am seeing an even better me emerge. The murkiness of my pond is clearing and I like what I see.

Now there is me, a strong seemingly confident red headed, working on not being too hot headed, woman who is excited to continue to evolve in my new pond. I am ready to take on my past. I look forward to once again taking on the world around me as I grow, learn and explore life around me.

I still have a long way to go. There is healing to be done. There are lessons to be learned. I am moving towards but not yet at the place of forgiveness. One thing is very clear. The me that was in the beginning is still here and I am now ready to let her be. I have had a desire over the past few years to begin writing. Some of you read my other blog which is a real estate and family blog. At times I have been hesitant to write on it due to what I wanted to write. I found that I have been holding myself back so as to not offend others. It was brought to my attention that it might be a good idea to have a separate blog to write whatever I want. So this is my little disclaimer that will be reiterated on the blog officially.

This blog is to be a place where I can share whatever comes to my mind to write. I chose the title: Live Think Write, because it encompasses how I feel. I am simply living life and at times I want to write about what is happening in my life and the lives of those around me. I am a thinker. At times I just want to write what I am thinking. Some will agree and others will not. I like to think outloud and process situations. And then there is the strong desire to write. I want to write. Blog posts, poems, children’s books, a book about healing and forgiveness, maybe one about mothers and daughters or about freeing yourself from an abusive cycle or other self help books. And so it is here in this new blog that I will continue to live, think and write.