Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Hate You!

I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.

I'm done.

I hope one day really soon I'll mean every word with every fiber of my being.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oh, My Weary Soul

God, this world is so messed up, and I’m broken in so many shattered pieces, there are just some days too heavy for me to bear. I’ve lived in this valley for a long time, actually I think I was born here, and I can’t seem to find my way out.

I’m so tired of saying ‘goodbye’. What the hell is good about bye? What the hell is so wrong with me that I’m never enough to fight for? I don’t think it’s that I’m not enough, but that I’m more than they deserve. Because I know I sure as hell deserve a lot better. I deserve something real, and the world is full of cowards too afraid to be real.

I have scars all over my body. I try to hide them, not because I’m ashamed, but because I also carry the inner scars that were created from them and don’t want to share them with just anyone. People are strange creatures. We’re controlled by our fears, and often can’t see a person beyond their skin. We lie to ourselves and convince ourselves that our faith, our beliefs, our values, or our philosophies guide and lead us in our decisions, but they don’t… our fear does.

I have a friend who says he fears nothing, but he’s lying to himself. He runs as I hard as I do, perhaps even harder, because he’s afraid. But I don’t have to tell him. In the silence, he knows the truth. However, knowing the truth doesn’t keep him from being an asshole. Even still, he’s beautiful and I love him, even though I also hate him for his vanity and cowardice.

I heard a quote this morning from Jim Carrey – “My soul is not contained within the limits of my body, my body is contained within the limitlessness of my soul.” The Journey of Purpose. I believe this. When I look at someone, I look beyond their flesh and try to see their soul. When I tell someone they’re beautiful, it isn’t their body I’m talking about, but their soul.

Who sees my soul? Who can see past the smile or beyond the scars? I believe no one. I’m just the girl who ______ (fill in the blank).

My soul is weary. My heart is crushed. My faith is weak. I’m tired of carrying this mangled scarred body around. I can’t run any more. I wasn’t meant to run, but to fly. I’m lost.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Elusive Dream

Elusive dream, why do you turn into vapor every time I dare to touch your essence? 

I watch you swirl around others, guided by the gentle wind. I can see the euphoric expressions on the faces of those you entice, hypnotize, and fill with your peace. 

But for me, you recoil. You tease me, taunt me, but most of all haunt me, showing me your beauty yet leaving me in the cold, dark shadows. 

Elusive dream, I’ve learned to hate you. Though I long for you, desire you, and love you deeply, I yearn for the sun to ignite and consume you into mist, evaporating my torture along with you. 

The sun refuses to shine and the moon fights for permanent dominance. Without the radiant light my branches wither, my leaves fall, and I slowly die. 

Elusive dream, release the night or else kill me. I can’t take anymore. Please.

~T.L. Gray

Monday, December 15, 2014

All I Want for Christmas ...

Well, it’s that time of year again. The last two holiday seasons haven’t been very ‘joyous’ to me because I’m having this internal struggle with what form I want to ‘celebrate’ the holidays. I suppose my struggle all along has been me fighting against tradition and expectation more than anything. I find myself once again pushing back on this huge, sometimes seemingly insurmountable, block of tradition trying to dictate to me what I should do and how I should feel. It reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting. I always felt out of place because I lived in a world that was nothing like his paintings, yet I wanted that world more than anything. I eventually created that world for me and my family – and enjoyed it for nearly 20 years, but felt like a fraud the whole time.

Everyone has their own experiences and interpretation. For some it’s in keeping the religious observance. But even for those who march to the crusade to keep “Christ” in Christmas against a PC world trying to destroy other people’s faith in their own bitterness, they too fight that same curse of tradition - like everyone else. What I find ‘funny’ (not really funny) is that Christ often rebelled against man’s traditions, explaining to them they lose the heart of their sacrifice in order to keep the observance, thereby invalidating their efforts. In the end, he was crucified because of tradition. It all goes back to Cain’s offering – it wasn’t the offering, but the heart in which the offering was given.

Don’t even get me started on the commercialism of the holiday. It’s really gotten to the ridiculous stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a giver. It’s in my nature to give. It’s something I desire to do for those I love, and even the occasional stranger. That will never stop. It’s just who I am. However, I detest being told to give, or being expected to give to people who don’t give a shit about me the other 364 days of the year because I happen to be related, in the same community group, belong to the same church, or work with them. It defeats the whole heart of the giving in the first place. But, with the sales that go on – it’s the best time to buy for those we love. The whole process has become so … hell, I can’t even think of a good enough word to describe it. It sucks the life and joy out of the act… and the pressure it puts on people - abysmal. I have a feeling the commercialism destroys more relationships than it ever helps.

The holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s) were the most fun when my kids were younger. Doing things to see their eyes light up on their faces, watching their joy and excitement as they dress up, pig out, and with sleepy eyes open their presents, and watch the fireworks explode in the night were the best times. It wasn’t about the stuff, or the tradition, it was about the connection.

All I want for Christmas this year is connections. This has been a tough couple of years – lots of changes, lots of adjustments, lots of fear. Walking away from all my security and everything ‘normal’ I’ve known, facing uncertainty every day, and then standing face to face with death - kind of changes a girl’s perspective. I want those simple beautiful moments that make this life worth living – a phone call from a friend to talk to me when I’m having trouble sleeping, a link to a song that touches my heart and reminds me of beautiful things, just hanging out while wrapped in pair of friendly arms so I don’t feel so alone, a friend showing up to spend the day with me killing aliens and talking about nothing important, a silly text from one of my kids, a Skype session with my bestie talking bullshit, or getting annihilated in a game of Words with Friends. These are the things I crave most. I don’t want the world or anything in it. I just want to love my friends and family, and be loved in return.

Someone recently told me they were sorry for not being able to give me what I wanted, to love me like I wanted, yet they never asked me what I wanted. They just assumed my expectations and made the decisions concerning our relationship for me. I had no say. I had no choice. I think they would have been surprised by my answer, but now they’ll never know. It turns out, it wasn’t the relationship they didn’t want that was lost – but the one they already had. It was something precious and beautiful, though I doubt they’ve noticed it’s gone. It’s not their fault – I’m simply unlovable. If I could give them a gift – it would be happiness. But I know I’m not the one who can give it to them.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds. I have no more faith to wish for a tomorrow. All I can see is today. Yesterday means nothing, it’s gone, it can’t be changed, it can’t be re-lived, nor can it be revived. Today is all I have. Today I want love… nothing more, nothing less. If there is no tomorrow for me, know I loved today the best I could.

For those who believe - Christ gave his life for us because he loved us. I know that includes me, but knowing something and knowing something is two different things – and I know nothing.

Till next time,

~Clueless at Christmas

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cowards and Fools

You know, I have fears just like everyone else. Contrary to popular belief, I’m a human being and have emotions. There’s a lot of evil in this world, and I’ve unfortunately faced a panacea of it, and the result is I carry a constant wariness. I’ve learned how to build walls, place distance, and shield myself by saying no and gathering the courage to walk away. Yet, despite my shaking hands, I face most of my fears. I’m not afraid to fuck up, nor am I a coward to own up to my mistakes. So, I find it quite vexing to be surrounded by cowards – people who talk tough, puff out their chests, and project an image of strength. Yet when it comes times to act they run and shoot their arrows from the shadows, negating any sense of responsibility.

Right now I’m fighting the biggest battle of my life and it literally rips my heart in two when I see great men run away in cowardice… over stupid little shit that means nothing. A great man isn’t the one that can hit the hardest or kill the most. It’s the one that can do all those things, yet with the simplest touch of tenderness earn the devotion of his men.

Case in point.

I recently had the honor and privilege of meeting a man who is strong by all outward appearances, even physically he looks like he could tear your head off with relative ease. What attracted me to this man was his sense of authority. When he spoke, those around him listened and followed. He was a natural leader. I got to witness this leadership, not by his words only – but by example. He jumped into the trenches, wasn’t afraid or too haughty to so the menial things in order to help build his team. Oh, he was tough, and spoke tough, and was hot-headed like you wouldn’t believe. I watched him verbally incinerate people like a pit bull. That’s what I compared him with – a pit bull whose growl made all the other tough-talking men sound like puppies in comparison. I was impressed by this, not because of his domination, but because I saw his aggression as passion. Passionate people love deeply and hate magnanimously, but they at least feel. I got to see that compassionate side too… when he stuck around to help a wounded friend. I was colored impressed.

This man’s compassion was also evident in the way he spoke of his friends and allies. The love, pride, and admiration that he espoused stirred up my longing to be a part of it, carrying a hope that one day he’d speak of me with like compassion. I followed this alpha dog around the yard, so proud to be part of the pack, enjoying all the rough-housing, the playful yard fights, just happy being there… until one day he turned around and bit me. At first I thought it was a small nip of correction, but it wasn’t. He got a taste of blood and the next thing I know he’s got me in a throat clamp.

Up until that point, I could understand. I was a new bitch in the yard. I needed to be tested before I could be fully accepted. My presence stirred some of the Betas to become courageous, and because one dared to deny the alpha, he was rejected from the pack. That principal in and of itself, I could understand. But what shocked me is the display of cowardice that followed.

After the big yard fight, and my submission, all became quiet and the Alpha took his spot on his throne and the rest of us all went to our little corners to lick our wounds. Assured by the Alpha and all the Betas privately that all would be well as the sun set, that all was forgiven, that tomorrow was a new day, I woke with the golden light of dawn to an empty yard. The liars moved on in the middle of the night, in the shadows, slinking away like cowards as I slept. Yet, they were far from unified. As they reached the edge of the wilderness, they all scattered like the wind. All but the Alpha circled back to me alone in the yard, promising me that I was part of their pack, and that all would be well when tempers cooled. If not, that I had a place in whatever new pack they formed.

This once beautiful pack that I loved, admired, and was often jealous of their bond wasn’t as it had seemed. For a while I thought I had caused the fissure between them, and the guilt ate at me. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. When taking care of myself was the most important thing in the world, I instead worked tirelessly to try and breach the gap – urging all of them to return to the Alpha without me and make things right – because what they had was worth fighting for, it was one of the few beautiful things in this gray-colored world. But the Alpha disappeared into the forest, leaving the pack scattered.

I know now that the cracks were not created by me or my presence. They were already there and I just happened to be a catalyst that brought those hidden things to the surface. I still believe that there can be reconciliation, but not from the shadows. I’ve moved on and joined another pack, yet determined to remain independent at the same time. My hope is that these young pups return to their Alpha. Life is too short to have stupid shit like this destroy something so beautiful. If they could see themselves the way I saw them, they’d see it’s something worth fighting for.

I’m forced to face the possibility of death as I fight for my life. In this perspective some fights are futile, yet some are worth the pain. There’s enough shit in this world, don’t let this be another piece of it. The beauty of this pack was never about the game, but the brotherhood. Scores don’t mean shit, skill means nothing, and tournaments don’t compare… to the friendship, the love, the support of knowing someone’s got your back, someone’s there when you need them, someone gives a shit whether you’re dead or alive. Trust me – those are the important things in life, they’re what make life worth living. Cowards get hung up on the bullshit, because they’re too afraid to let someone get close. Getting close, means exposing yourself to the possibility of getting hurt. So, instead of putting that possibility on the line – they hide in cowardice – kick out, unfriend, ignore, and run away because that’s the easy thing to do.

I’m such a fool. I know I’ll die a fool and I’m okay with that. In my foolishness, I’ll still love the unlovable, even when they will never love me back. I’ll still love my introverted friends who don’t need me or want me. I’d rather be a fool than a coward, though I’m often both.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The New Bachelorette: Dating After 40 - Get Back in the Game

After taking quite a bit of a hiatus, I believe it’s time I got back into the game… the game of dating in the twenty-first century after 40. This makes round three??? Hopefully it won’t be three strikes and I’m out, but to be honest …dating is exhausting.

I made some mistakes in the first two rounds that I’m hoping I’m more wise to avoid the same curve balls this time. I’m learning to weed out the players, and how to spot something genuine, something worth fighting for.

Why did I use the word fight? Because every relationship is going to have ups and downs, and if it’s worth anything, it’s going to require a fight to make it work. I can make pretty much any relationship work, and the differences doesn’t come down to the guys – but to me, at least that’s how I’m looking at it. How much will I have to change to make it work? How much of me do I have to sacrifice to make room for someone else in my life?

Before you roll your eyes at that last statement, let me explain.

I’ve been alone for a while now. I needed this time. Though it’s often hurt, and has been extremely lonely, it’s forced me to take care of myself, to put me first, to give me the time to experiment, analyze, experience, and determine who I am, what I want, what I like, and what makes me happy. I love the woman I’ve become. I love all the new experiences I’ve jumped into and the obstacles I’ve leaped over. I regret none of them. I’ve faced death and learned to live. I’ve faced rejection and continued to love. I’ve had my heart broken, but realized it still beats – even battered and bruised. I’ve felt the earth shift beneath my feet and know what lightning feels like. If I felt it once, I can feel it again.

I’ve also learned a few things from my two earlier strikes… I’ve learned not to hold back saying what I feel, no matter the consequences. I’m not ashamed of my feelings, it’s who I am, it’s how I feel. I’ve tried to play the games, but I’m just not a player. It’s backfired. Every time I held back what I felt, not wanting to risk disrupting the relationship, I’ve watched what I wanted slip through my fingers like trying to hold onto water. By the time I found the courage to speak my heart, it was too late and they’d moved on to someone else.

I’ve learned to go slow. I really enjoy those early moments, the messages, the butterflies, the excitement of seeing each other, the flirtations, the getting-to-know you long talks, because those are beautiful moments. I wish they could last forever. For me, those are my most cherished memories – the funny, playful, innocent moments. My fondest memory is watching someone play a video game.

I’ve learned to walk away. I will never again be where I’m not wanted. I lived too long that way and for me it’s a deal breaker, no matter how much it hurts to leave. I will never chase what doesn’t want to be found. I’m devoted in everything I do, and to those I care about. I love my friends and their lives, their problems, their joys, their loves, their wants, their hopes, their dreams … all of it is important to me. I try to be their cheerleader and let them know and feel how much I love them. To someone I enter into a relationship with, I’d be even more devoted, supportive, a cheerleader, an advocate, a coach, a lover, every aspect of their life would be important to me and I’d protect it, do what I could to enrich it, and love them with all the love I possess – in honesty and faithfulness. But, the moment I feel I’m not wanted (I’m not talking about being mad at me – because I guarantee I’ll make you mad.. probably on a daily basis because I’m passionate and have an opinion – but I love a good verbal sparring – it releases endorphins), no matter how much it hurts and rips my heart out, if I’m not wanted, I will walk away.

If I knew, without doubt, that someone I loved truly loved me – wanted me – desired me in their life – that’s going to be one lucky son-of-a-bitch. I don’t NEED anyone. I’ve learned to take care of myself, fulfill my own needs, and to love myself. The person I let into my life won’t be because I need them or need anything from them, but simply because I WANT them, that I choose them, and I’d let them know by word and deed every day how much they’re wanted, they’re loved, they’re desired.

Well, it’s time to get back into the game. I’ve got the bat in hand. Let the dating begin.

Till next time,

~Bachelorette on Deck

Monday, December 01, 2014

No Beauty in Indifference

I clearly remember the day when after years and years of running, I finally stopped, turned around, and faced the God I feared, the God I hated, the God I loved but was certain hated me. I was 24 years old and had already lived and survived three lifetimes, I knew hell, and hell knew me.

I remember the moment I put my nose to the carpet of a little country church, warm tears dripping from the tip, darkening the fibers as they fell. I sincerely prayed for the first time since I was a little girl. I didn’t ask for blessings, or prosperity, or health, or love, or proof of existence, or even a miracle. With every fiber of my being, I asked God to open my eyes and ears, so that I could see something different in humanity. All I could see was the ugliness. All I knew was how to survive monsters, to look for the danger in their words and actions, to assess my risk, to read the body language of liars, crooks, thieves, and predators. I needed to believe in goodness, gentleness, kindness, trust, and love. I needed to see the good potential in people, to be able to see God.

There wasn’t a flash of light or the sound of a trumpet call, but somehow over the years I began to see and hear differently. I still saw the ugliness, the risk, the danger, the lies… but I also saw the potential for goodness, the motive between the lines, love colored with hope and sewn with faith. I begin to love humanity even as we writhed in the midst of our ugliness.

What breaks my heart is how cruel we are to one another. Cruelty doesn’t always come from monsters. The greatest cruelty I’ve ever experienced didn’t come from the hand of a violent predator, but the gentle hand of indifference. To not care, to not feel, to not fear, to not love is a great cruelty. It’s just as cruel as being overbearing in narrow-minded views, excluding those who may think differently or outside their boxed ideas – this includes all religious, political or social mediums. The way humanity treats each other is both great and tragic. I see and hear the good and the bad, love and hate, and the cruelest of them all is indifference. There is no beauty in indifference.

Love me or hate me, but at least feel something. The cruelest act I’ve ever experienced is to simply be forgotten. I seem to be easily forgotten, dismissed, passed over as if I don’t exist. God tells us to love one another. That doesn’t mean overlook our ugliness and blindly cling to false truth and allowing the people we love to continually abuse us – but to see both our sins and our goodness, to see the truth and the lies, and then in the face of that truth choose to love, choose to hope, choose to see the potential for greatness. Forgive. Not forget… never forget, and sometimes walk away if needed, but forgive.

The thing I love most about my friends are not what they do, or what they have done, but what I know they’re capable of doing and becoming, and their capacity to love. We all have sins, failures, attitudes, hurts, triggers, scars, and walls. ALL of us. None are perfect or perfectly good. But with love – all things are possible. That is why I choose to love, to hope, to believe what my natural eyes can’t see or my ears can’t hear. It’s why I still hope when people push me away or put up their walls to block me out, and continue to love them even when they stop loving me. Yes, I walk away, but that doesn’t mean I stopped seeing them for the beautiful creatures, the beautiful, complex, deeply layered human beings that they are comprised.

My faith in God has been shaken, especially these last few years, and especially facing mortality. While I can’t always see and hear who, what, where, when and why… I am still that same young woman with her nose pressed in the carpet and opening her heart to her god, wanting something real, something more and bigger than what she was capable of doing on her own.

So, yes… I’m peculiar, strange, different. I’m a sinner like anyone else. God granted me my prayer. I can see and hear beyond the image, the masks of flesh we project and think protects us, covers our sins, hides our vulnerabilities, and colors our beauty. It was so much easier to hate humanity. Loving them is the hardest of all. Loving them when they don’t love me back is downright cruel. I wish I could close my eyes and cover my ears and go back into the darkness. Instead, Beautiful… these tears now fall for you. I wish you could see what I see and hear what I hear and know… what a beautiful soul you truly are. My last hope is that my god sees me in like manner.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray