Sunday, January 17, 2016

We'll Figure It Out

The world is a mess. We are all mess. I’m a mess. You don’t know how many times I’ve found myself in situations I knew were coming, yet procrastinated until I was deep into the heat of battle. It’s during times like that I’ve often heard myself say, “I’ll figure it out.” Most struggles stem from a lack of preparation, yet spending my life planning for every situation often caused me to miss out on actually living in the moment. Battles come… always. They never stop. When one is won or lost, another rises in its wake, each leading us closer to the resolution of our war – life. This is our ultimate plot line.

I’m a planner, a dreamer, and survivor. I do try really hard to live in the moment, to focus on the here and now and not continue to be caught up reliving the past or fretting over the future. But, come on – it’s part of my DNA to have the whole story, to flesh out the minor plots, to notice the connections, the paths, the solutions, the threads, and the story on the whole. In the story of life, I’m not only the protagonist, antagonist, the hero, and the villain of my particular tale, but my story intermingles with so many other sub-characters, allies, enemies, and love interests. How can I not get caught up in trying to see where their plot lines cross with mine? We are all part of the same story.

I can’t express how many relationships I’ve run from because I’ve followed the plot lines and found they didn’t lead to where I wanted them to go, or where I needed them to go despite where I wanted. Yet, even the best plot lines, no matter how certain of their direction, were met with plot twists or inciting scenes that changed everything, mostly changing me and what character I thought I played. Some were wrought with red herrings and disturbing revelations, or deep mysteries, while others just simply had a lack of story they became lost amid my drama.

Here I am again with another plot twist. Here I face new plot lines, new characters, new scenes, and a new objective, yet filled with many familiar faces. Here I am once again swimming in a sea of uncertainty, hearing myself say, “I’ll figure it out.” But there is a particular part of me, one of the many characters that has played in the story of my life so many times before, that aches inside. I can hear her soft, broken voice whispering, “I’m tired of going it alone. My cape is worn. My boots are crusted in mud. My mask is fading and withering. No matter how tirelessly I fly from one disaster to the next, the world continues to spin and my job is never done. Who’s gonna save me?”

Though surrounded in this world by people that have come and gone in my life, I’ve always felt alone, an orphan among seven billion people. I’ve tried really hard to let people in my life, to only be met with pain, disappointment and heartache. My walls are too deep to tunnel beneath, or too high to fly above. My skin is made of steel, though it appears soft as flesh. My eyes see through the veils at what is hidden beneath, that it’s hard to see the shallow exteriors. Though I look like everyone else, I’m unique, one of a kind, and alien in strange world. Though strong and gifted, I’m afraid. Not of being destroyed by anything this world can throw at me, but that I’ll always fly alone. What will keep my feet on the ground, tether my cape, and hold me tight as I struggle to fly away?

The world will always need to be saved. Solutions will always need to be figured out. There is no day that will be free of struggle, be free of inciting scenes, plot devices, climaxes, or resolutions. But my greatest hope is that one day I will hear the flap of another cape and a soft whisper in my ear, “We’ll figure it out.”

Till next time,

~ Hopeful Heroine

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Faith, Hope and Love

Faith, hope and Love

Life has a funny way of sometimes jumping forward, pulling you back, or getting stuck in the present that you can’t move in either direction. That complexity is what makes it life. If everything worked the way we thought it should, or our thoughts always went in a forward momentum, or our hearts always moved in a particular direction, we wouldn’t be the complicated human beings we’ve turned out to be. We’d be happy plastic people. Isn’t that the way the song goes? We’d be strong in faith, solid in hope, and brimming with love, right?

Anyway, we are complicated, complexed, and often confused. We are taught morals and values that create walls and boxes, and when life doesn’t go according to plan, we often crumble inside those boxes, doubting ourselves and becoming weak in faith, void of hope, and empty in love.

I was thinking about God and family this morning. Well, how religion often portrays God, really. I thought about the scripture in Philippians 4, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication make your requests known to God… “, and I remembered being told more times than I can count not to worry about things, that God is watching out for me, He’s got me in his protection, and He’d make a way for me, to protect me; that my worry was detrimental and contrary to my faith. I’ve always wondered at those who would quote this scripture to me, if they’d ever suffered any real loss, any real tragedy, any real heartbreak, any real disappointment, any real set back or failure, because I had. For many years I felt weak in my faith because I still worried about the things that threatened my welfare, my children, my family, or the life I was trying to provide for them. Yet when I expressed those worries or fears, told with a smile NOT to worry, to have faith, to trust God would see me through it. Yeah, like all the things I already went through, that’s what I feared. Many of those things I worried about happened no matter my faith. Instead of feeling the strength I had often felt growing up in a severely abusive childhood, I felt like a failure, weak, and a disappointment to a god that was supposed to love and protect me. But it’s easy to talk warfare when you’ve never been in true battle. It’s easy to talk of a father’s love if you’ve never known a father’s love. But, what of us orphans who never knew love, never had a father to protect us, but a father from whom we needed protection? What of a soldier on the battlefield of life, one that’s seen the brutality of war, the ugliness of mankind? How can we ask them not to be afraid?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the past, not really the experiences I’ve had, but the woman I used to be. I was strong, but so lost. I was damaged, yet impenetrable. But what’s changing for me now is love. I’ve known love, but I didn’t quite know how to accept it. I’ve loved deeply, but I didn’t know how to express it. I’d like to say it’s because of the love that’s growing for my Dominican Marine that’s creating/inspiring this new outlook, and perhaps that’s part of it, but it’s more of the love I’m receiving from him, from my best friends Jenna and Kenny, from my kids, but mostly it’s from the love I’m receiving for and from myself.

I heard my ex-husband is getting remarried. I’m happy for him, because I’ve only ever wanted him to find and feel love. Everyone knew we married for convenience, to fulfill responsibility, and I could never be the woman he wanted, the woman he loved, and he often made sure I was reminded I was not wanted, or desired, or acceptable. I am not without blame, because I always knew I was never in love with him either, though I respected and was faithful to him, I couldn’t give him the love he needed. What hurt most in our divorce wasn’t our separation, because now we both had an opportunity to find the love we desired, but the loss and separation of family. His family was my family for two decades, and really the only real family I ever knew. His parents were the only parents I ever really had and I loved them dearly. Still do. I miss them. Now they’ll have a new daughter and I hope it’s one they can be proud to love. The bond I have with my natural brothers isn’t one of love, but one of survivorship, and while that bond brings us together and keeps us connected on some level, it’s also the foundation of the huge wall that keeps us separated, well… that and the lying, stealing, cheating, drugs, etc. My kids love me, but they don’t need me, and they’re getting on with their lives knowing they don’t have to worry about me. I loved them more than myself and only hope they understood and felt that love from me. I often fear I damaged them because of my own lack of being able to show what was inside beneath my thick armor.

I am a vagabond, a woman without a home, without a people, without a family, yet I am a very blessed woman because I am rich in love, in friendships, and in faith. While I worry about the cares of this world, I am not afraid. Not because I cling to a scripture, to a promise, or to a faith in a god to protect me, or a man to save me. I cling to a knowledge that shit happens, but I’m strong and I’ll overcome it, and I’m not alone, because LOVE is with me. God is love. God is with me. I love me. I love my kids. I love my friends. I love my Dominican. That love … that love is my strength. That love helps me heal from a past, gives me hope for my future, and surrounds me as I walk through my present… in all its complexity and simplicity. Faith is good. Hope is beautiful. But, love is the greatest of all these things.

Till next time,

~ Love’s Lover

Monday, January 11, 2016

Somewhere in the Middle

I tried to find a word to capture my current feeling, this overwhelming, yet underwhelming lack of expression for a place somewhere in the middle, but I can’t quite capture it. I even asked one of my highly intelligent friends for a word to express a median and they couldn’t come up with one either. It seems we are hard wired to think in extremes, always looking for that heightened or lack of feeling, but what we often experience on a day to day basis lies somewhere in the middle, and that’s normal. Yet, we think normal is depressing or non-essential. As a writer, one would think we always need to feel those polar extremes to write better, but that’s not true. What we should be able to capture is every level, every plane, every degree, every color on the spectrum.

So, why am I thinking of mediums this morning? Well, because my over-thinking, over-imaginative, over-complicated mind (get the idea?) is trying to evaluate, to be introspective about the current relationship I’m involved with my Dominican Marine. Some moments I have these bouts of clarity and think, Wow, I’ve met an incredibly wonderful man and I can feel the love and admiration, and I can see a life with him. Not a fantasy, but a real life, full of struggles and obstacles, but standing side by side with each other as we navigate. I suppose I found an adventure partner. And other times I think, Oh, shit… now what? Will I be able to stick this out or will I get scared and slip into my running shoes because I’ve worked too hard to find myself? I don’t want to be on either end of that stick, but I need those ends to keep me balanced. I don’t want to lose myself into someone else again, forget who I am as a woman, forget and forgo my own wants, needs, and dreams in order to fulfill theirs, and yet at the same time I don’t want to get so consumed in protecting the long list of personal goals and wants that I don’t make room for him and his. It’s about finding a balance somewhere in the middle, like a bubble finds the medium mark when it’s leveled.

So, here I find myself living between hope and fear, love and indifference, want and need. It’s okay to have them all, but it can get confusing if they’re experienced out of balance. One of my best friends is an 18-year old named Kenny who still yet has to discover life, love and heartbreak, and part of me envies his journey, but at the same time I am so glad I’ve already climbed those mountains. I also had a conversation with a 23-year old young man named Jordan at work yesterday, and hearing his doubts fight against his wants, his ideas against his morals, his hopes for a future against the reality of the present, made me smile because I realized I already know what I want when it comes to a relationship, I’ve already discovered for myself all the things he’s trying to discover now. My only fear at the moment is if what I want is compatible to what my Dominican Marine wants, and that answer is going to be found somewhere in the middle.

Yes, I’m still afraid and some days find it hard to breathe because love has a devastating way of being very elusive. At the same time, I’m finding myself beginning to dare to hope that maybe love has finally found me. In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy being right here in the middle of them both. Got any popcorn?

Till next time,

~The Bubble in the Middle