Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beyond the Tempest Gate

Enter here for your chance to win a free autographed copy the new release of Beyond the Tempest Gate by Jeff Suwak - hosted by William Wall of 

Beyond the Tempest Gate

Beauty for Ashes

As I greet the morning, sipping on a warm cup of coffee, body relaxing after a great workout, I walk to the lake behind my house to enjoy a beautiful scene.  I think about those I love, those I miss, and catch a small vaporous thought of those who have faded from my life.  My focus narrows and I center on the new phase.  I think I’m learning to view and experience the world around me with a different set of eyes.  Well, that’s not true.  I don’t have a different set of eyes, only a different way of seeing.  Well, how I use those eyes are not new either, only that I’m starting to understand the difference between seeing and truly seeing.
All my life I’ve viewed the world in such a way, I’d sometimes wonder if maybe I’d been given a different set of eyes than those around me.  I find beauty in mundane things that most people don’t even give a second thought, and most often what is praised by the masses leaves me scratching my head.  I can see a tree in the middle of a forest and weep at its vibrancy in the face of insignificance.  My heart grows heavy at the sight of a rusty tricycle, long forgotten and neglected, shining in the sun, casting a brilliance that is almost blinding.  It brings back glimpses of happy childhood memories, those often clouded by darker moments. I see the vibrant colors of flowers, leaves, grass, water, sky and earth.  I notice the things out of place more often than the things spotlighted.  I can spend several minutes wrapped in the peace of nature watching an ant climb the limb of a tree, or listening to the wind rustle the leaves, or smelling the scent of a beautiful flower, or running my fingers over the dew-kissed grass, and feel so connected, yet so lost at the same time.
I view people differently too.  No matter the outside appearance, whether wrapped in attractive skin or gross deformity, it is the soul of a person that radiates their beauty or ugliness.  In my youth, appearance was important to me and I spent a lot of time focused on what I found visually appealing.  Though these beautiful people got to share part of me, claim to be my friend, claimed a few stolen kiss, and shared in many of my gifts and talents, there were always one or two friends who shared my heart – but only on very, very, very rare occasions.  I was an expert and hiding my heart.
Today, after a life of heartbreak and love, I find I’m attracted to aspects of beauty that can’t often be seen with the naked eye.  It’s sometimes found in a kind word, a moment of appreciation, a stirring of hope, reaching for a dream, or a spot of comfort, or a word of rebuke.  Sometimes it’s in a kiss, a pair of hazel eyes, a touch, a glance, or a simple word of affection. 
We can choose to see the beauty or the ugliness in everything… in our situations, in our dreams, in our daily lifestyles, in our jobs, in our friends and families, in our neighbors, in our government, in our gods … in everything.  I still see ugliness, but I will admit I’m beginning to see more and more beauty all the time.
What do you see?
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How Many Times?

How many times do we have to be told something before the true message starts to become clear?  How many times do we have to be pushed away before we realize we’re not wanted?  How many times to we have to be left standing alone to realize that we’re alone?  As many times as it needs until we see nothing but the truth. 
Now if you asked, “Why does it take so many times?”  That’s a different question, and the answer is as unique as we are individual.  But I think the sum of the answer lay somewhere in the hopes we’ve personally built within ourselves, even if they’re lies. 
Simply put.  We can lie to ourselves; believe things, situations, and emotions are what we hope.  But, until we dash those false hopes, and there’s not a strand or minute evidence they still exist, we will desperately cling to them and to the fantasy they provide.  Then everything we see, hear, feel, or understand is filtered through that lie and it causes us to become confused… become fools.
Discovering the truth can be very painful.  Not only because we realize we built a false ideal in our minds, but that we’ve acted on it, supported it, and gave the best parts of ourselves to it… all for naught.  The biggest part of the pain is because we realize we were fools. 
When we reach that part, we are left with the decision of now what to do with the message we so clearly didn’t see before; unfiltered; unmasked; without false hope.   How can we ever be sure ANY part of what is left isn’t also false?  How can we possibly trust our decision-making process when it clearly failed us before? 

I don’t know the answer.  I wish I did.  I just know me – and when I know I’ve been a fool I get hurt.  But soon hurt turns to anger, anger turns to bitterness, and bitterness turns to indifference… unless I discover how to forgive - me for being a fool.   
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wake up, I'm calling you.

Sometimes I look around at my new life and suddenly feel all alone - a desert rose, a grain of sand on a planet of nearly seven billion people.  I look out my office window and see the beauty of nature, the wind rustling the leaves, the morning dew watering the grass, the ducks sending ripples across the lake, and the clouds dotting the sky.  I know I’m part of that whole cycle of being, yet I feel disconnected behind these window panes.  I’m shadow; invisible. It would be easy to fade from this world, become a ghostly image of me, hiding from any and everybody until I’m forgotten, like a gravestone that has faded, broken, overgrown and unreadable.  I’ve faded and been forgotten before, left behind too many times not to fear its sting, so I close my eyes, and let the pain trickle out with every tear.   
My soul inside shakes hard against my heart and cries out, “Wake up, I’m calling you.”  The song by Eye Alaska fills my heart and my mind.  I can hear it clearly; my body gently sways to its melodic beat. I can feel the passion and desperation in the words; words my soul cries.  “Get up, they’re mocking you.  I thought that you were the one who would make it all on their own.  No?  I tried so hard, you’re asking.  Wake up! I’m only asking the obvious.  I tried you once, but you won’t wake up.  I’m only asking what could have been. I knew back then you’d never …fly.” Just as the words fade, I hear my soul whisper, Don’t give up.
Why do I hide?  What am I searching or waiting for?  Sometimes I’m so numb I feel like a block of ice; hard, cold, emotionless. Other times so passionate I’m about to melt from the fire; one that without a vent of release turns inside and consumes me.  In those moments there are no arms to warm me, or no lips to receive mine.
I could fill my life with warm bodies, my bed with human flesh, but my soul yearns for something more.  I’m not sure who is the greater fool, because more may never come.  “We all are almost certain we’ll never find why we live and we die. It’s a question with answers.”  Is my soul right in its fear that I’ll never fly?  It is what I’m born to do, and I’ve removed the lid from my crystal cage, yet I still find myself hovering inside this glass jar still looking out at the world, petrified to be free.  What if the wind won’t carry me?  What if my wings are not strong enough?  What if I get lost and don’t know where to go? What if I die?
To my soul I cry, “I’m waking up, please help me.” My wings are delicate.  To barely touch them would destroy them; to not use them would destroy me. Don’t let me fade.  Don’t let me die.  Don’t let me sink back into the dream. I may not have the strength to stir next time.
Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Release/Review - Beyond the Tempest Gate by Jeff Suwak

How many of us as children dreamed of being something greater than our circumstances?  How many dreamed, though insignificant and often unloved, of making a difference in this big world; leaving a mark that will inspire many generations to come?  I’d like to say many of us have had that dream, but that’s just not true.  There are only a few.  Because to dream like that is to be willing to dedicate a life in fulfilling that mandate, and to be quite honest, not many people have the dedication and fortitude to see such visions to the end.  But in Beyond the Tempest Gate by Jeff Suwak, that’s exactly what Gabriel Aterias accomplishes.
Born to a poor and neglectful pig farmer, Gabriel has no prospects of a glorious future, not even a comfortable one, but that doesn’t stop him from believing the story of a prophesied Holy Knight from the Church of Dunrabian who will rise up and defeat the evil demon, Elezear. Gabriel does more than believe, he pursues this calling with pure dedication and doesn’t allow anything to stop him, not even a protective elemental barrier guarding the demon and the island it habitats, called the Tempest Gate.
This story touched my heart, pulled on the hope I once had as child, but then caused me to peer into a mirror and question whether the quests I’ve ventured have been my true calling or had I deceived myself into believing a lie.  Not many stories touch my soul. Not many writers would I call a true word weaver.  Beyond the Tempest Gate and author Jeff Suwak encompasses them both. The language and illustrations in this must read are beautiful and poetic. 
Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Book Description

 August 26, 2013
From the time he was a young boy, Gabriel Aterias knew he was destined to rise from the peasantry and become the Holy Knight of the Church of Dunrabian. By the time he was twenty four years old, he had already led the Church’s armies to greater victories than any other man in history. Yet, his greatest feat still lay ahead of him.
Beyond the elemental barrier of the Tempest Gate lurks the demon Elezear. An evil older than the world itself, it nearly eradicated the human race once before. For five hundred years, the people of the Five Kingdoms have slept uneasily, praying that the creature would not escape the walls of storm that confined it.
Gabriel vows to destroy the demon. His quest will take him far beyond the borders of civilization, across the ocean, and into unimaginable darkness. What he will soon discover is that the greatest danger in his quest to save the world may very well be the loss of his own soul.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tag, You're It! Part II of the Adventures of Jude and Tammy

Tammy hung upside down from the domed monkey bars.  She loved the way her arms hung free below her head, with the tips of her long auburn hair almost bushing across the ground as she swayed gently back and forth.   She thought the world looked funny from that angle.  People weren’t as big and scary, and she could never see the angry expressions most grown-ups carried on their faces.  Upside down frowns looked like smiles to her. Her world just felt better from this point of view.
Reaching up, Tammy pulled her favorite object out of her pocket.  It was a beautiful tiger-eyed marble her new friend Jude had given her. It was one of the big ones, too.  Not one of those little marbles nobody really cared about they called ducks. She often felt like one of those forgotten, insignificant marbles; just one of the same among a dozen. But Jude didn’t give her one of those, he gave her the best one he had, the one she admired most.  She loved the way the inside swirls of gold and black sparkled in the sunlight, a lot like the way Jude’s eyes had the day before.
“You’re going to get your hair all dirty hanging like that.”
Tammy moved her focus from the sparkling marble to the upside down form of a little boy.  He had his hands shoved into the pockets of his patch-worn jeans.  “So, dirt don’t hurt.  It’ll wash off.”
“Your mama won’t get mad at you?”  He kicked a stone with his foot.  “My mama gets mad at everything. ‘Specially when I tear holes in my jeans.”
Tammy pulled herself upright and then jumped down from the monkey bars, landing in the sand right in front of Jude.  He stepped back, but kept his hands in his pockets. She closed her little fist around the shooter, and put her hands behind her back so Jude wouldn’t see it and take it away from her.  “What ‘cha doin’?”
Jude arched one of his eyebrows as if Tammy had asked the dumbest question in the world.  “I’m standing here talking to you. What else would I be doing?”
“Wanna play tag?” Tammy brushed a strand of hair out of her face. 
With a shrug, Jude answered.  “Okay, but I do the chasing.  I don’t like girls chasing me.”
“Why not?”
“’Cause they don’t do it right.  That ain’t the way it’s ‘sposed to be.”
“Says who?”
Jude scrunched his brows and crossed his arms over his chest.  “Says me.  Now you gonna run or not?  I ain’t got all day.”
Tammy lightly punched him on the arm and shouted, “Tag, you’re it!”  She took off running, zig-zagging through the playground equipment and then onto the nature trails that webbed through the park.  She loved the trails. She loved the woods.  She loved the thrill of the chase.  She didn’t have to look back to know he was there, she could feel him behind her, keeping pace with her almost step by step, but he didn’t tag her. 
Soon Tammy forgot she was playing tag and stopped at an old fallen log covered with moss.  A fat, black beetle skittered across the top.  She knelt down next to the tree and watched it busily make its way across the moss.  Jude plopped down next to her and watched the beetle too.  They both sat mesmerized at the beauty and wonder of nature.
“Where do you suppose he’s going?” Tammy whispered.
“Probably back home to his mama,” Jude answered and then looked back over his shoulder the way they had come.  “My mama’s gonna be mad when she can’t find me.”
Tammy nodded her head.  “Yeah, mine too.”
“You taking care of my marble?”
Tammy smiled at him.  “You mean my marble?”
With a shrug, Jude answered, “Whatever.”
“Yeah, I got it right here. I take it with me everywhere.” Tammy tapped the outside of her pocket.

Jude stood up tapped Tammy hard on the shoulder and then took off running, yelling back over his shoulder, “Tag, you’re it!”

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Want My Marble - Part I of the Adventures of Jude and Tammy

*Here's a piece of Flash Fiction inspired by a conversation I had this morning with my best friend.  I hope you enjoy it.

“I got you now, you evil beast!” Jude bent low, lined his favorite tiger-eye shooter with one of the dozen or so multi-colored ducks surrounding the inner hole.  The knees of his jeans already sported patches from the amount of time he spent on the ground playing his favorite game in the world - marbles.  “You thought you could hide from Jude Singleton, but …” 
He poked the end of his tongue out the side of his mouth, closed his left eye so his right could get a better view, and with his thumb and steady hand, he flicked the large gold and black-swirled marble toward its target.  It shot across the dirt and gravel toward a small hole dug in the center of a large round ring, surrounded by several other smaller marbles.  Jude held his breath and watched as his favorite shooter bounced, bobbled and weaved its way toward the center, knocking the nearest duck closer to the hole.  He opened his closed eye and sat up as the red-swirly edged closer to the rim and slowed to an agonizing crawl. 
Moving more sluggish than a snail, the marble seemed to have almost stopped.  Jude raised his dirty hands, partially covered his face, but through the finger-slats kept his eyes peeled on the marble as it drew to a stop.  His jaw dropped and Jude was about to let out a long line of exasperated expletives when the sparkling-red glass ball moved another micro-millimeter and teetered on the rim of the hole before finally dropping in.  Jude jumped to his feet, arms and fists pumping the air in victory, as he continued his earlier phrase, “…no one gets away from the Marble Mutilator!”
“The Marble Mutilator, what’s that?”
Jude froze. Every muscle in his six-year old body tensed.  He cut his eyes at the source of the voice that invaded his fantasy, and then his head followed.  “That’s me.  Who’re you?”  His voice exuded a crass, irritated tone, but it didn’t match the feelings flooding his little body, or the strange thoughts coursing through his little mind.  He little hands went to his hips and he turned to stand in front of this strange angelic creature he quickly identified as …a girl.
“I’m Tammy Greenleaf.” She smiled at him, revealing a small gap between her two front teeth. She looked past Jude at the small collection of colorful marbles still sitting in the dirt.  “I like all your pretty marbles.”
Jude huffed.  “Marbles ain’t pretty, and neither are girls!” He crossed his arms over his chest.
Tammy ignored his outburst, and though she wore a yellow-flowered sun dress, she dropped to her knees and surveyed the position of the marbles on the ground.  She pointed to the gold and black-striped shooter Jude had just recently used.  “That one’s the prettiest of them all.  It reminds me of my cat, Leo.”
Jude plopped down next to her and quickly snatched up his favorite shooter.  “I said marbles ain’t pretty.  They don’t look like cats either!”
Cocking her head to the side and smiling at Jude, the sun light caught the green, gold and brown specks in her hazel eyes and reminded Jude of some of the beautiful colors he admired while studying his marbles. “Well, I think they’re pretty, and so are you.”
Eyes bulging, Jude blinked several times but found he couldn’t move.  Without thinking, or even under his direct command or control, he held out his favorite tiger-striped shooter to Tammy.  “Want my marble?”
Tammy looked at the marble, then back up at Jude before she leaned in and placed a soft, wet kiss on his cheek.  He stopped breathing.  He sat petrified as she reached out and took the offered gem.  “Thank you,” she whispered.
A few seconds later, but what felt like an eternity to Jude, feeling returned to his body and his mind started to once again turn.  He looked down at his empty hand and immediately felt despair.  “Girls!” he grumbled under his breath through gritted teeth.  “They should all be shipped to Mars.”

Jude shoved his hand in his pocket and pulled out another shooter.  This time it was a solid white one he called Snowball.  He bent down once more in the dirt and lined his shooter with his next target, but not before he cast a quick glance at the swing set to notice Tammy sitting there, her beautiful hair blowing in the wind, holding the tiger-eye up to the sun in admiration.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writing with Emotion

If any of my friends from school or even those I worked with in the corporate world read any of my writings or blogs today, they’d think they’d stumbled upon an impostor,  someone with the same face and name but perhaps the victim of an alien body snatcher. I not only live differently, from quiet and reserved to open and honest, but I write with a different method. I write with emotion; I bleed part of my soul onto the page.
I’ve had other writer friends ask me why I do this.  They personally feel like it’s an invasion of their privacy.  Some see it as a weakness, a weapon to be used by the public to discredit their hard work and talent.  I suppose that could be true, but I see things a little differently. I believe in giving my best – and my best is of myself.
While I care what my readers, fans and followers think, feel and how they respond to my work, or even to me as a person, but to be quite honest - I don’t live or write for them – I live and write for me.  I invite them to journey with me AS I journey, but I don’t put on a show.  These words I write are who I am; the real picture, the real me. All these emotions, experiences, and thoughts are raw. I do not apologize for them, nor am I ashamed. 
If I could convey anything to those who read these blogs, it’s I hope they can serve as an example of humanity.  I write fictional characters.  I know how to create an image, a character and a personality - and I know many bloggers who write in such fashion. I’m currently setting up a fictional blog for one of my characters in a new book I’m writing, and it will be written from the character’s POV.  But the Whimsical World of T.L. Gray is just that… MY whimsical world.  For those who read it – thank you for allowing me to share.
Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slaying Giants

      I stand in the midst of an army, made up of my fellow brothers, sisters, friends and family all surrounding me, fully aware of the war that commences in the battlefield ahead.  Yet they just go about their assigned tasks  ... and wait.  They stand around and strategize, philosophize and plan, but do nothing in terms of action.  Swords are drawn, but not used.  Armor is polished but not scarred.  Everyone has a plan, but no one moves into action. Everyone talks of what ‘they’d’ do, yet I see no one marching into the battlefield and putting those plans into action.  They live in the false security of their camp’s safety, deceiving even them self.   

The enemy stands on the other side of the battlefield, and from hidden places tease, taunt and laugh at the circumstances.  They know they are bigger, stronger, and more courageous.  They know they have strength, history and numbers on their side.  They understand the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

I cannot continue to do nothing.  I may not be the strongest, the smartest, the best trained, the wisest or the ideal warrior, but I have courage in the face of fear.  Whether I win or lose, live or die, fail or succeed … I choose to fight.

I don’t know what will happen.  Will I find ten smooth stones in a riverbed?  Will I have the knowledge and strength to wind my sling?  Do I have the precision to strike at the most vulnerable spot on the giants I face?  I cannot answer these questions, because I do not know how my fight is destined to be fought.  All I know is I can’t just stand here.   Do I possess the same kind of faith a shepherd boy once had?  Was he as scared as I am?  

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mistakes or Learning Experiences

If you ask me, I’ll tell you I’ve made a lot of mistakes, right along with a lot of bad decisions.  Who hasn’t?  Some of us just seem a bit more talented at it than others, or so it seems. But if I really look back over my life, over my choices, over my failures, mistakes, misunderstandings, mischievous and devious behaviors, there’s none of them I really regret.  I regret consequences, I regret a lot of the circumstances or decisions that led to some of my choices and actions, but I don’t regret my participation.  Why?  Because I know all the choices I’ve made have been my own, and they were made honestly; whether good or bad, that’s not what I’m talking about – only that they’re mine.
Don’t get me wrong.  There have been a LOT of things happen in my life I was neither responsible, nor held any control, and I wish had never happened.  I’m still trying to work through the effects of some, and will always bear the scars of others, but I carry no regrets. I have anger, sadness, disappointment, hurt, pain, and also forgiveness and mercy, but not regrets. I am only responsible for my own choices.  I cannot control what anyone else chooses or the consequences of those choices – even if it is to my own destruction, pain and detriment.  I only have the power to choose how I respond.
I have made a lot of mistakes in this life.  I’m sure to make a lot more.  I look at those moments, not with regret, but as valuable learning experiences.  I’m not perfect, and can guarantee many more mistakes to come.  I promise I will make them honestly, and without regret.   How you respond …is up to you.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, August 16, 2013

Someday - The Next Big Thing

I can’t but help move around in my desk chair to the beat of the song by the Rags cast, featuring Max Schneider, called “Someday”.   I really want to get up and dance, but more than the need to move to the groove with my hips, shoulders and feet, it’s the message of the song that really stirs something inside my heart.  This is the song my soul cries out … and I’m listening.  
Are you?

I follow my dreams
You'd think they were nightmares the way they scream
I'll make them believe (whoa)
Someday, someday I'm gonna be the next big thing

I never doubt my dreams always live em out
Ima tell the world
They gotta hear me out
Just give me one mic
So I can scream it loud
And I just need someone that I can make proud
Cause I can't wait for that someday
And that someday it is coming
I wanna share my life with someone who loves me just for me

Hey Hey

I wanna wish up to the stars i can
I wanna see the lights in the crowd in the stands
See myself there like a dream in the past
And everything I want Ima get it at last Okay
And I know that there's no limit
We're pursuing all our dreams and
We gon' make it
And tell the world that the best is yet to come
Can you hear me? Oh

I follow my dreams
You'd think they were nightmares the way they scream
I'll make them believe (whoa)
Someday, someday I'm gonna be the next big thing

Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday, someday I'm gonna be the next big thing

Now that I'm older I think about it
I was really having fun, too cool about it
I guess mom was predicting the future
She knew that one day I was gonna move ya Okay, Okay
But now I see everything a little different
The world looks bigger and the sky is the limit
I'm always looking out for myself and family
They gonna be surprised shoutin' out ooo-eee

I got it everything my mama wanted from me
I got it anybody come and take it from me
I got it cause it's all us
I'm so close I can dream about it
I can feel I got it (music) I'm all about it
I'm here to make a change Ima be about it
I didn't come this far to stop now
And I can't rest until I get my dreams out the clouds

I follow my dreams
You'd think they were nightmares the way they scream
I'll make them believe (whoa)
Someday, someday I'm gonna be the next big thing

Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)
Someday, someday I'm gonna be the next big thing

One day I'm gonna be king of the palace
When I reign there'll be no imbalance
(everything will be okay)
Every single day, all day
You can follow me,
If you wanna go,
Ima take the lead
I got the star roll,
Twinkle in the night
Like the star goes
When you see us you know the next big thing!

Someday I'll be the next big thing (the next big thing)

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Take a Chance

Photo by T.L. Gray

Over the past several months, I have made a LOT of changes in my life.  I’ve separated from my husband, moved into a new apartment, and am starting a new company.  These changes haven’t occurred become some disaster has swept in and disrupted my life.  It’s because I’ve changed, and when my heart and my mind has changed, the outer circumstances of my life naturally follow. 

For a while, I felt all alone in this metamorphosis.  Old friends, who were part of the old mindset and lifestyle faded into the murky, misty background, and new faces popped up here and there.  Yet, though I walked out of one life and into another, I’m surrounded by unfamiliarity.  Let me tell you, that’s a scary place.  I’ve been there before, on many occasions, but after following such a long period of not being alone, loneliness felt very empty.

Today, however, I smile, because I’m not alone.  Everything isn’t just black or white, wrong or right, good or bad.  Yeah, there are a lot of new and strange things surrounding me, but there’s also a lot of real love.  That love fuels me, energizes me, comforts me and helps me breathe.  I am unfamiliar with my surroundings, but there’s a peace that fills me and a confidence that burns within me, because I’m loved. 

I wouldn’t have found this love had I not took a chance and allowed it to come into my life, first from myself and then from my friends.  Nothing scares me more than love.  Nothing has hurt me more or evaded me more in my life.  I have always had a lot of love, and it’s what has fueled me for all these years, but I can’t express how much more powerful it is when it’s shared. 

Come on, take a chance.  Love yourself, let yourself be loved, and then love others.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

True Accolades

Photo by T.L. Gray - 08/12/2013

For many years I’ve had people tell me they believed in me, but to me those were only meaningless words whispered in moments of fake accolades.  Most people don’t mean what they say.  They learn a few key phrases and repeat them like mantras, as if saying them alone makes them true.  All you need is to look into their eyes or watch their actions for only a short period of time to know whether they’re true or not.

For many years I smiled at these people as they attempted to soothe me with their honeyed words.  Yet, I’ve come to realize my smile was just as false as their claims.  I don’t do it anymore.  I just don’t allow these people into my life at all.  I’ve learned to walk away.  Having been abandoned and rejected by my own family, those who were supposed to believe in me most, I’ve spent four decades trying to grasp even the thinnest thread of acceptance and support.  But it wasn’t someone else’s approval I needed, only my own.

For many years I blamed myself for their lack of support, telling myself I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, or brave enough to deserve their love and support – I convinced myself I was broken.  But, I’ve come to learn I am good, strong, pretty, healthy, smart and braver than most people I know, and I deserve to be loved, to be wanted, and to be desired.

I no longer seek approval from others.  They support me, stand next to me, love me, and believe in me, or they don’t.  I know my true friends and I love them with all my heart.  I just hope they know that I love, support, want and desire them in return, that when I tell them I believe in them, they know I mean it. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray