Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Where Are You Going, Young Warrior?


Where Are You Going, Young Warrior?

You, with the world on your shoulder and bitterness on your lips, where are you going in such a hurry? You wear your flashy robes and wave banners of disrespect and disobedience high above you with arrogant pride and blind ignorance.

You say you don’t care where the road leads, only that your feet itch to be upon the pavement and impatience fills the air. You’re too busy to stop, to care, or to get your bearings. It’s too hard, too much work, requires too much time, and the disease of integrity. Do you even know your destination?

Listen to my heart, hear my words. I’ve been that way, walked that road, and know all its turns and edges. I can tell you every tree, every rock, every hole, and ever hiding place along the path. I’ve seen where it leads, carried the heavy load, and have felt all its infliction.  Yes, I survived, but barely.

I once believed I too was invincible, that the monsters lurking in shadows would not harm me. Not me!  They only exist to scare children or weaklings, but I’m was a warrior, a bad ass, and took no shit. Come closer, young warrior, and look at my scars and see the toll Road Demons have taken. Don’t only look at the visible scars upon my flesh, but gaze deeper and set your attention upon the inner wounds of my soul where the true nightmares live. That’s where Fear remains, writing his words on the back of my eyelids, on the inner-side of my lips, on the bottom of my tongue, on the back of my hands, and on the soles of my feet.

Young warrior, that I would save you the dark journey is my fondest wish.  Let me feed you. Let me give you a place of safety to rest this night, and with the dawn of acuity, set your fervent feet on a diverse path that will lead to greener pastures, smoother hills, greener woods, and beautiful beaches.  That particular way, the dangerous way you’re headed, is only filled with dead things – lost things – dark things.  You think you’re strong enough to defeat what lurks in the shadows, but you’re not.  You’re just a man, not a god.  

If you can’t heed my words, heed my scars. If you can’t see my scars, close your eyes, young warrior, and listen to the pain that fills the earth.  Listen to the weeping and gnashing of teeth at the cries of injustice, the pain of abandonment, the bondage of addiction, and the cruelty of indifference waft like a low mist. The world of that path grieves because it’s filled with sorrowful songs.

© T.L. Gray 2018

We


We

We speak from pain, words of pain, in cries of pain, we sing.
We speak from love, acts of love, in songs of love, we dance.
We speak from truth, move in truth, in steps of truth, we feel.
We speak from touch, inflict in touch, in response of touch, we reveal.

© T.L. Gray 2018



Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Days of the Gentleman ...Over?




Where have all the gentlemen gone? Can the world even recognize a gentleman anymore? What is the definition of a gentleman?

According to Webster, a gentleman means:

gent·le·man
ˈjen(t)lmən/
noun
  1. 1.
    a chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man.

    "he behaved like a perfect gentleman"
    • 2.
      a polite or formal way of referring to a man.

      "opposite her an old gentleman sat reading"

    Again it seems we've come across some words that have lost its definition in today's society. Where are the examples of chivalry, or courtesy, or even honor today? When everything from our music, to our movies, to the leaders that are before us gives us the complete opposite example. What of the future generation? What would they know of traits of chivalry, and courtesy, and honor? Has the gentleman gone the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct? I can say within my circle it has become something of a rarity.

    Being a gentleman isn't being a b**** or commonly referred to as a pussy whipped man. Being a gentleman isn't about the behavior that the man displays FOR the women in their life, it is a reflection of the behavior of who they are as a person. If you do something kind for someone else, that does not make you a kind person. Any a****** could have a kind moment. Being kind to someone else because you are kind, and choose to be kind, determines the state of your being. Being a gentleman doesn't mean you are submissive to a woman. Being a gentleman means you choose to be a kind, chivalrous, and respectful, because you are a gentleman.

    Do the women of today deserve the treatment of the gentleman? That is also another debate. That is another conversation about being a lady. Spider-Man choosing to be a gentleman has nothing to do with the state of the woman. It has everything to do with who he chooses to be as himself.

    So what does it mean to be a gentleman, what are some of the examples? Well let's start with being kind and courteous. How do we speak to the people in our lives especially a man to a woman? Does he speak down to her, or as a partner? It's about respect. The way we speak to people denotes the type of respect we have for them, but much more the type of respect we have for ourselves. When we choose not to listen to our partners, thats reflects our own character, not our ability to listen. We listen to what we want to hear. When we refuse, it's because we don't value or respect what's being said, or who is trying to speak to us. That's not a bad thing within itself, because sometimes we need to shut some people out of our lives to preserve our own dignity or safety. But when it comes to people we have a relationship with, choosing not to listen when they're trying to communicate is a form of the highest disrespect. That doesnt reflect on the person being ignored, but the one doing the ignoring. Its wrapped in pride and ego.

    Where you were born, how you were raised, and what everyone else is doing isn't an excuse. They may be reasons and contributing factors, but they do not excuse the choices and actions we take.

    I was watching a movie yesterday where this hood-rat rapper, who made it big in the music industry, got lots of money and women told his girlfriend it was a sign of respect him claiming her as his Bitch. His side-bitches were just whores and meant nothing, but she held the place of honor, his Queen, and his boys respected his Bitch. Her response - she smiled. My stomach hurt. Is that today's equivolent to "You're my Lady?"

    I envy her ignorance, for it truly is bliss. It's amazing we've fallen so far and what we now accept as right, and honor, as respect. I'm no saint. Far from it. I'm dissappointed because I know there's a better way in humanity, I listen to that voice in the pit of my gut. I long for a real gentleman, yet relegated to being a bitch.

    Heres a good read: http://nextluxury.com/mens-lifestyle-advice/rules-of-a-gentleman/

    Till next time,
    ~T.L. Gray






    Monday, June 11, 2018

    Somethin' for Nothin'



    We live in an age where we want something for nothing. Where is the sacrifice? Where is the sweat and tears? Where is the fear of failure? Where is the desire to try?

    We want love, devotion, faithfulness, loyalty, and respect, but we don't want to give those things first. We want to enjoy the fruits of our labor but only give a half-assed effort for those fruits. If we fail there are always those to enable us and bail us out of our responsibilities. We want to be loved, but only love with the smallest part of our hearts in fear of gettimg hurt.

    We are asshole, to ourselves, to the people in our lives, our family, our friends, our coworkers, and society in general. We then pass that asshole-disease onto the next generation.

    Where is truth. Where is real compassion. Where is real love, real devotion, real passion, real sacrifice, real spirit of excellence?

    I will not wait to receive these things to give them. I don't trust the world or anyone in it to step up. I've been disappointed too many times to hope. I do believe there are those out there that do give their best, that do live with a spirit of excellence and with honor. If I'm capable, so are others. I know I may never meet them. I do it for me. I do it to be proud of thr woman I am; the woman I choose to be. I treat the world and the people in my life the way I would want to be treated.

    Choosing to live this way will win no popularity contests, in fact, I often lose family, lovers, and 'friends' that feel intimidated or can't handle the truth, or get butt-hurt when they're called on their shit or they want enabled or receive lame excuses. I won't do that. I can live with mistakes, bad decisions, and poor choices ...but I won't just remain silent as they're being made. As a friend, out of,reapect, I'll speak truth, just as I would want to be given the truth.  If it hurts, deal with it, face it, and be responsible to correct it. If you need help ...I'll give my best to help. Want to hate me and be an asshole because you're butt-hurt ..,I don't want family, lovers, or friends like that and will walk away without blinking. This is my life and I've had enough vampires suck the life out of me too many times.

    If you're an asshole vampire, you will remain an asshole vampire until you can grow up and face the truth. If you're still holding onto anger and unforgiveness, and its affecting your life ...get the fuck over it. Its only hurting you.  If thats the excuse for your asshole behavior, you're just an asshole.

    Listen to how you would want to be listened to ...
    Forgive the way you would want to be forgiven ...
    Speak the way you would want to spoken to ...
    Love the way you would want to be loved ....

    Be kind, be honest, be diligent, be faithful, be loyal, be courteous, be thoughtful, be giving, and hold your head high in the midst of persecution. You will not have to defend your actions, because your character - the actions taken over time - will reveal your true characters. When the vampires rise and try to attack that character, they will fail ... But only if its real and not a half-assed laziness, or an attitude of something for nothing.

    It's up to us who we are ... Not our parentage, not our childhood, not our experiences, not all the horrible things that have happened to us, not our financial status, not our educational level, not our titles,  or accomplishments. Not ANYTHING that has happened TO us by others, but in how,we respond and what we do on a daily basis from the smallest thing to the biggest.  We are either men and women of character or assholes. I do me. You don't have to like me. I've learned to love the woman I have become and like me enough.

    Till next time,
    ~T.L. Gray

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    No Aplology

    I'm a hopeless romantic. While logically I know there is no such thing as happily ever after, there is also very little true repentence, Prince Charming doesn't exist, and people don't often have existential moments where they apologize for being the assholes they are, and there are no best friends forever. Not in the real world. But that doesn't stop me from hoping, believing and wanting that Hallmark, Disney and Lifetime ending. I make no apology for that hope. I make no apology for believing humanity can be kind and love one another the way God says is possible. I know its true, because I exist and I have chosen that kind of love.

    This world is so beautiful, so amazing. I can just watch the fish swim around my boyfriends saltwater tank and be overcome by its simplicity and complexity at the same time. Just trying to understand all the elements that have to come together in order to be the beautiful display is overwhelming. Jon has to work so much, so precise, and with such care to get it to that beautiful state. It takes lots of time, devotion, money, and care. Only in nature can the world produce such beauty, yet he's recreated it in a small tank.

    But that beauty didn't happen overnight and with no effort. Its not magic. It takes dedication and sacrifice, it requires attention and priority.  Jon can stand back and be proud of his effort because he puts in what it takes to be successful.

    The same kind of effort has to be put into raising our children. They don't wake up being lazy, disrespectful assholes. Those traits are developed over time, and it will take even more time to retrain their brains IF we want them to be kind, thoughtful and reaponsible adults. Isn't that ultimately our job as a parent?  Life isn't magical and people dont just wake up and decide to change who they are. It usually takes a tragedy or great loss to move people to change. Lazy parents expect adulthood will change their disrespectful children. It doesn't. It just produces lazy, disrespectful and neglectful adults. Lazy parents are abusive parents.

    I've experienced true physical, mental and emotional abuse since before I was born. My drug addict mother was shot in a bad drug deal when she was 6 mos pregnant with me, and since being born I've died twice, been beat, raped, neglected, and abandoned by those who claimed to love me most. My soldier love and hero died and left me alone. I have fought cancer, obesity, and Southern religious condemnation. I was married for 20 years with love, but no passion, feeling unwanted every day of my life. I've had my children run away from me and lived in torture every day scared not knowing if they were safe, hurt, dead or alive, feeling hated and rejected, praying everyday for mercy and protection. I have to fight thoughts of giving up and killing myself on a regular basis. But I'm a fighter and survivor, and I love myself, and I love my family whether they love me back or not. I understand abuse. In my experience - the most damaging abuse isnt physical,
     ... its neglect, apathy and indifference.

    In spite of all that I've endured, I'm a passionate person. I care. I love. Because I care and love ...I will scream, shout, cry, pitch a fit, apologize, talk it out, say the hard things, and then do the hard things again and again and again, even if it costs me everything. My relationships are like that fish tank. It takes a lot of work to gain the right balance, the right salinity, the right buoyancy, the right light, the right temperature, the right filtration, and the right maintenance to be something beautiful, or become a pool of ugliness and decay. I won't aplogize for that, even if it means I end up alone.

    Want to abuse me - its easy, just ignore me, be indifferent, neglect me, be a coward, make excuses, push me out, unfriend me, put your fingers in your ears and act like a 5-year old spoiled brat, neglect or not provide for your children, see me hurting and not comfort me, take advantage of me, use me to pick up your responsibility, don't hug me, make me feel unwanted, ignore my needs and then break your neck helping others that use and abuse you, don't respect me, my time, or my space.

    No, life isn't a Hallmark, Disney or Lifetime Movie. Meghan may have married a prince, but there is no happily ever after. There's pain and tears and lots of heartache, but ...I have hope that someday someone will care enough about me to help me create my beautiful aquarium. I dont apologize for having that hope. In fact, it breaks my heart because I know its possible, even in the middle of all the shit.

    So, be an asshole all you want. I'm not going to apologize for caring and loving, even when I'm not loved back, and I lose friends or everything for it. I can stand in front of my mirror and know that I give and have given my best. Fuck everyone that can't or won't appreciate that about me. Just as other friends in my life ...keep abusing, neglecting, or ignoring me and I will walk away. If you dont care about that, then I've lost nothing.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    Integrity

    It's hard to do the right thing, and then choose to do it on a daily basis over and over and over again. It's even harder to choose to do it after we make a mistake.

    I'm not perfect. I'm human - full of mistakes, bad decisions, and pride. I'm no better than my fellow human. I get angry, hurt, jealous, and lazy. I have excuses and reasons for everything and every decision. What I also have is responsibility for those decisions - their actions AND their consequences.

    I sometimes feel like Jonah, sitting on that hill looking down at a city, holding a warning in my heart of a coming judgement, and wanting to run and hide. Most don't have ears to hear and hate the harbingers of truth, especially in a society of victims full of excuses.

    Sometimes I feel like Elijah beneath the shade of the tree and asking God how much longer will He remain silent as the world continues to create chaos with no regard for their part or the pain they cause others. We live in an entitled society that wants everything given, but doesn't want to do what is necessary to succeed. I watch parents bend over backwards to appease their spoiled children instead of doing the hard job of being a parent, therby equipping them with the tools necessary for success - tools like honesty, respect, responsibility, and drive. These blind parents believe their spoiled children will auto-magically become responsible, moral and GOOD adults. The result is a society of spoiled, lazy, disrespectful, neglectful, entitled brats as adults.

    I sometimes feel like Jeremiah and Daniel, and Paul - hated, despised, feared, rejected, misunderstood, resented, unpopular, alienated, and often persecuted. I witness good parents doing the hard things, hated by their children and judged by their 'enlightened' fellow parents who say they're too hard and too demanding. Children believing their abused because they're made to be reaponsible. Yet, the world is also full of children neglected, abused, forgotten, hungry and not provided for by irresponsible parents - addicts, perverts, drunks, or selfish workaholics chasing pipe dreams, titles, or status who have no time for their children. In my opinion, the worse parent is one who puts their WANTS before their child's NEED, be it addicrikn, or co-dependency, or fear of discipline.

    Fathers blame mothers. Children blame parents. Mothers blame daughters. Sons blame fathers. Everyone blames each other. All blame God. None blame themselves - look in the mirror and see the truth. Without truth, there is no repentance. Without repentence, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no transformation, just a continuous cycle of insanity.

    How much longer, Oh, Lord?

    "Mercy comes with the morning. I leave you with these three things - faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. Love your God, then love your neighbor as you love YOURSELF ...as I have loved you. I have NOT come to bring peace, but a sword."

    My heart breaks for those parents who do the hard parts, especially during those teenaged years.  It's not easy for anyone. But don't give up, don't give in. Respect is earned, not easily given. Love is doing the hard parts. Cowards run and hide from the responsibility behind excuses or vices. Cowards blame everyone else for their failures. Even if you are hated or forgotten, do the hard parts because of love. That is being a parent. God is our Father.

    Monday, April 16, 2018

    Breaking Point

    We all have a breaking point and sometimes I wonder if I don't teeter on the edge of that point all the time. I'm starting to fear my decisions the last couple years have been a form of underlying self-destruction - instead of cutting to see if I bleed, I make life choices that leave me constantly bleeding.

    Though I'm surrounded by people who claim to love me, I am lonely. I don't feel loved. I feel neglected, unwanted, abused, used, and preyed upon. So, why are they here? Because they need me. Once their need is met, I know deep in my heart they will leave me - just as they have before and will again .This I am assured.

    So, why don't I just walk away? Because, It's not for them, but for that little girl inside that was neglected, forgotten, abused and needing someone to care, someone to hear me silently screaming behind a friendly smile, praying and begging for someone to save me. No one saved me. I had to save myself. I never want anyone else to ever feel like no one cares and no one will help where and when it's needed. It's why I have given so much of my life taking care of other people, feeding the hungry, helping the sick, giving what I can. I don't want to be the pious priest blinded to the wounded. I want to be the Samaritan who stops.

    But being the Samaritan isn't easy and I find quite painful. The moral stories always have a good ending, much like a Hallmark, Disney or Lifetime movie. But real life isn't like that. There is rarely a good outcome for the sacrifices we make for others. It cuts. It hurts. It is unappreciated. It is lonely, very, very lonely.

    It's like lying next to the man you're madly in love with, your soul mate, your balance, your heart, and have them not want or love you back, not want to touch you, not want to hold you, not want to lift you up, encourage you, or let you know they want, respect, love and desire you. That's cruelty to the deepest cut. Who needs real blades when emotional ones are amply available?

     I'm a fool. I believe in fairy-tale love. I give the kind of love and devotion I want to receive. I give respect like I want to be respected. I hope for the best. I see with eyes of good potential, but judged for the smallest of weaknesses and failures.

    I'm sick. Im hurting and I don't really think anyone cares. That little girl deep inside is screaming again. I hear her, but I don't know how to save her because I'm the one hurting her. I think I'm past my breaking point and I'm free-falling. It's no one else's fault, but mine.

    I don't want to learn this lesson. I've prayed for help, but I feel those prayers are silenced. The cost is my heart. I feel it growing harder and colder every day and I keep waiting for the warrior in me to rise up and defend her, but I don't.  I'm too broken to fight back. I've gone too long stressed out. I'm so sick of crying. I'm tired of trying. My hope is all used. My faith is exhausted. So I lay next to my love and slowly die inside.

    --.T. L. Gray





    Friday, January 19, 2018

    Back at the Gym

    I can't express how much better I feel since starting back at the gym. I don't think it's just a result from physical activity. Working out has made me hurt in lots pain, waking up with Charlie's almost daily. It hurts to breathe and hurts to move. No, the physical activity has reminded me almost every second I'm not so young anymore. But, I can handle the pain because I can feel I'm getting stronger, my body's energy is increasing, I'm less winded, and once those torn muscles heal and adapt, they too will be fine.

    No, I think the main reason I feel so much better is because I'm doing something for myself. I was drowning and getting lost in taking care of everyone else. I neglected the most important person in my life, the person I've spent the last five years falling in love with, healing, forgiving, and discovering, the one person I know without doubt loves me - me.

    I know it sounds arrogant, but I can't express enough to anyone and everyone how important it is to love yourself - first and foremost. It's that self love inside that heals the wounds inflicted, both internal and external. You CAN'T love anyone else, not truly, without first being filled with love yourself. If we have no love inside, with what are we giving and loving to others? We're not. Being in a relationship (friends, family, lovers) with anyone when we have no love for ourselves makes us vampires, because we're not giving anything, only taking or feeding off the life and love of what others are giving to us. But it'll never be enough. It'll feel good at first because we're empty and hollow, and their affection will be like a soothing drug, but in time it can't fill the emptiness, the hole within our souls that can only be filled by us.

    I've also learned the hard way that I can't depend on others to love me. People, humanity in general, fail. But I'm thankful for that failure because it's taught me to be strong, to survive, to learn to turn to myself, to be independent, and strong, and self-motivated, self-assured, and self-dependent. Nothing is more dangerous or weak than a co-dependent soul.

    We are human beings and capable of failure, mistakes, and bad choices. Just look around. But within us all is the potential to learn from those failures, mistakes, and bad choices and discover success, integrity, and how to make good choices. Humanity is both ugly and beautiful, hateful and merciful, selfish and selfless.

    So, here I am making a good choice, emotionally, physically, and spiritually for myself, because there's an ugly world out there that needs a little bit of light, a little bit of love, a little bit of encouragement, a little bit of mercy, and a little bit of hope and inspiration. If my example can just inspire ONE person to begin to love and do something good for themselves, then I call that success. Just one, even if that one is just me.