Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I’ve written maybe a dozen blog posts in the last week but haven’t posted them and never will because they’re just too painful. This time of year is really hard for me, especially lately as I’ve had a brush with mortality. I can’t lie, there are days I miss some of the things I enjoyed in my old life, the holidays are one of them. The holidays are about family.


What does that mean? Come on, what does it really mean? I learned a long time ago that being related to someone doesn’t make them family. I’m related to a lot of people, mostly people that have hurt me, lied to me, stole from me, abused me and used me – all in the name of family, as if that word gave them carte blanche to do what they wanted. I look around me today and laugh, because it hurts too much to even cry about. I’m done. I’m truly done.

I have no mother or father. I have no brothers or sisters. I have no husband, no in-laws, no aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces, and no nephews. I have no church family. All these people told me (or never told me, but were supposed to) they loved me. They lied. Empty words mean nothing. Words lie, but actions speak the truth.

Yes, I’m the one that ran. I’m the one who opened the door and walked away. I’m the one who closed the door behind me and invited no one to come along. I’m the one who finally decided to love herself and realize I didn’t have to take their shit and listen to their lies anymore.

Not one tried to stop me. NOT ONE.

But I am not without family. I actually have a beautiful family of my own choosing and its getting bigger every day.

I have my children, Meagan, Johnathan and Kelly. I love them more than life. I have no doubt they love me. I don’t get to see them much because they’re adults now and living their lives and making their way in this world and I’m not about to try and control them. I’m here for them if they ever need me. But I won’t let them use me, nor will I ever use them. I’ve enough bitter taste in my mouth from my own family to ever subject my children to such selfishness. I would give them the world, but I know they’d only appreciate it if they gained it by their own strength. It’s hard sometimes to back away, let them fall, let them make their mistakes, let them run headfirst into disaster. A mother wants to make their children’s lives easier, to spare them hardships, to protect them from the vultures. But, it’s the only way they’ll truly learn to stand on their own. The best thing I can do for them is to let them know that I love them, mistakes and all. They could never do anything to make me stop loving them. I know the pain of being unloved. I also know the strength in being loved. I may not support everything they do, but I will always support the persons they are… and show them I love them no matter what by being honest with them. I miss them. I mostly miss the sound of their laughter, seeing their faces light up on Christmas. The parts that really tear me up – I miss playing card and board games with them, showing them how to play in the rain, how to slip and slide on the kitchen floor, the clean-up game, the poker matches, the morning cuddles before school, the book debates (Snape is still the hero Johnathan), riding around looking at ‘kismas-ights’, laughing till you can’t breathe at all the Ozzies going ‘moo’, the swimming pool, and all the long talks about everything.

They are my family and I regret nothing I’ve sacrificed for them.

I have other family that have been with me these last couple of years. One is a crazy-ass writer in Washington who frustrates the hell out of me, but who I admire so much. No matter what I do, how much I try to run, how much we argue (and we argue all the time), Jeff also makes me laugh like no one in the world, makes me feel safe, and is always there to encourage me in my lowest moments. He tears me down too and has hurt me more times than I can count, because he’s not perfect and overly opinionated, but he’s real. I don’t doubt his love for me, nor my love for him. He is my best friend. I never see him and may never lay eyes on him (except when we Skype), but he is my family and always will be. He showed me what a true friend is like.

Another is a crazy-ass woman in Florida who lives with her crazy-ass cute dog. Jenna understands me more than anyone in this world. She knows when to push and when to back away and loves me in the middle of my craziness. I love her and all her craziness. She’s my conscious. I share everything with her because I can trust her with the most delicate part of me – my heart. I don’t share my heart with anyone, because I don’t trust them, but I can trust her. She knows all my sins, all my faults, all my fears, all my failures… and yet she seems to love me anyway. I’ve never seen her (except on Skype), but she’s my sister in every way a sister should. She’s family.

There’s a valiant soldier who has the thickest walls around his heart I’ve ever seen, (maybe even thicker than mine) but for some reason he let me into his circle. We’re not close, yet very close at the same time. Emilio touches my soul and I’ve seen a peek at his, and it’s beautiful. He’s a muse for me. He’s a hero to me. I respect him, love him, and want to see him happy. He’s young with an old soul. He’s wise well beyond his years. He’s smart – oh, man, is he smart. Most see no further than his beautiful smile, but I’ve seen his beautiful mind. He makes me think and see life differently. He’s family, and so is his little brother, Michael. I love them both, deeply.

I’ve added a few new members to my family lately. Though they’re recent adds, they’ve already stolen a huge part of my heart – they’re my clan ‘We Are Immortal Gods’. They pick on me, haze me, and tease me more than a pack of angry dogs, but they also surround me, include me, and make me feel wanted and a part of the team. This is MY family, one of my own choosing, not one chosen for me. Though I’ve felt abandoned by God lately, I believe He sent them to me, because our coming together makes no sense, yet it feels right. This is a tight group and they don’t let just anyone in, yet they invited me without hesitation. I’m sure I’ve left them often scratching their heads, making them wonder what they’ve done. They make me think of a pack of wolves – there’s an alpha who leads them, but they move as one, hunt (play) as one, fight with each other on a daily basis, yet defend one another in the blink of an eye. They look out for one another. I already think of them as family and they’re mine… my Flop, my Crimm, my Haze, my Phoenix, and my Furrrball. I’ll fight with them, but I’d also defend them, and will always be there for them however I can. My door will always be open to them.

I have lots of other friends that I consider extended family, cousins perhaps, and I love them too.

I may be alone during the holidays, but I’m not without family. I will toast to them on Thanksgiving because I’m thankful they’re in my life, whether through writing, skype, or video game. My Christmas wish is for their dreams to come true. My New Year’s Resolution is that they find happiness. My Prayer is that they each know they’re much loved.

Happy Holidays,

~T.L. Gray

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