Friday, January 27, 2017


I had a conversation last night with a very good friend, where I made the statement that while I was very empty in romance, I was very rich in friendship. I am.  I am very lucky that I have such wonderful friends in my life.  The meaning of friendship has been on my mind a lot lately.  I’ve made some new friends because I’ve opened myself to allow new people into my life, and I’ve cut out some toxic because of the way they’ve treated me.

I have to fight very hard not to lose myself in someone else, not to allow their wants, needs, and desires to override my own. I’ve done that all my life, gave up the things I wanted to accommodate others, sacrificed my own needs to make sure those I love were never in need or without.  Oh, boy… I’ve made some HUGE strides in this area over the past few years.  I’ve learned to say “no”.

However, I still find myself at times putting up with the bullshit, keeping quiet when I’m disrespected, letting others place their needs, their issues, their wants, their devices, their additions, and their bullshit at a personal cost to myself. 

But that’s okay, because I’m back on my journey to self-love and self-respect.  The stronger I grow, the less I put up with the bullshit. No matter how much I love my friends, I WILL walk away from those who continuously abuse, neglect or take advantage of me.  I put up with a lot, because I know none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, we all have weaknesses and failures, and I’m no judge.  I hope for the best for those I love, and I’ll do anything for them to help them achieve their dreams, dig out of their problems, and fight for what they need. But I don’t have to put up with the disrespect and the abuse.

Ignore me, lie to me, use me, always come to me with your hand out, but NEVER bother to ask how my day may have went or if “I” needed anything, I’ll start to put my wall up.  Push me away when you’re going through something, and because I love you I’ll keep coming back. Keep pushing me away, one day I’ll eventually keep walking.  I’ve been there, where I’ve pushed everyone away in my life.  My real friends didn’t let me completely block them out, and I love them for not giving up on me.  But, there will come a time when I will give up, because I’ve made a vow to myself that I will never remain where I’m not wanted, where I’m not respected, where I’m neglected and abused.

My greatest hope is that one day I will be happy and deeply in love with my soul mate, my best friend, my greatest companion… and he will be just as much in love with me.  I will never doubt his love, I will experience the beauty of his respect, I will taste the fruit of his passion, and I will give him my everything because he will be my everything.  He will not abuse me or neglect me.  He will honor me, love me, cherish me, respect me, desire me, care about my hopes, dreams, fears, and passions.  He will sometimes piss me off and disappoint me, but he will make me confident in his love so I’ll be unafraid to just be myself. He will not make me feel small or a fool.  I will be his crown, his closest companion, his biggest cheerleader, and his greatest fan, his best friend.

At least that’s my hope and fantasy. I'm not yet ready to meet him or jump immediately into a serious situation.  I still can't breathe. I'm still a mangled mess. But I will be ready, someday, and I hope that day comes soon.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Monday, January 23, 2017

Goodbye, My Friend

What is a friend?  Friendship is love, about love, and requires love on some level to be experienced, to be shared, or to be real between two people.  There are different levels of friendship, just like there are different levels of love, and like love, we can get very hurt or disappointed when we set expectations and a level of devotion that isn’t met by our partner.  Also like love, we throw the word “friend” around so freely and misuse it on a grand scale. Someone always coming to you with their hands out, with dramatic problems for you to solve, or with an emptiness they’re trying to fill with drugs, drama, or sex but never give back, those are not friends… those are vampires who will never be there when/if you ever need them. Yet some of us give so much of ourselves to these vampires and often neglect our real friends as we get caught up in the drama.

I’ve been hurt recently by someone I considered a very close, intimate friend.  The pain I feel isn’t all their fault, it’s half mine. Their level of devotion wasn’t in the same place as mine, therefore I set expectations they could not meet, and I got hurt at the realization I wasn’t valued at the same level I valued them. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all been at that place where we’ve invested our hearts into someone, to discover they haven’t in turn invested their heart back into you.  The first thing we usually do is wonder what’s wrong with us that the love we gave wasn’t enough, or wasn’t returned, but that’s the wrong mindset to have and often leads to depression and issues of self-esteem. Half, 50% is not about you, or about them, but about both.  As with love, it takes TWO people to make a successful relationship or friendship work, or fail.

So, what do I do when the friend that I’ve loved so much, gave so much, invested so much, and tried so hard and no matter what I did, they just couldn’t love me back, didn’t give me the time of day, or doesn’t even care whether I’m dead or alive? Do I turn to the dramatic antics to get their attention? No, I just remember the beautiful qualities of the friend I fell in love with in the first place, and simply walk away.  And I don’t do that for them, but for me because of who I am as a person.  I can let my hurt turn into anger and try to hurt them back, and believe me there’s a part of me that wants to do exactly that, but the love I have for them is real and hurting them back is not an act of love. I remember the person I am, the person I look at in the mirror every day, the person I love most and am very proud of their growth and maturity.  I love that woman that looks back at me in the mirror, whether she’s looking at me with a huge smile on her face or with tears in her eyes. In all truth – THAT is my best friend.

This morning, with tears in my eyes, I look at that beautiful woman in the mirror and I tell her how much “I” love her, how proud of her “I” am, how much “I” appreciate her, how much “I” value her, how beautiful I think she is as a person.  Then, as any best friend would do when they see their friend in pain, I tell her, ‘Fuck that asshole! They’re the dumbest mother-fucker in the world if they can’t value you, because I know you, and I know you gave your best, and they won’t find anyone more devoted, more honest, or more giving than you. They don’t deserve you. You deserve to be treated better. They are the one that lost something beautiful today. You keep your head up, Chica, because you gave your whole heart.  You walk away with your integrity intact.  Wish them well, because you love them, but you keep walking because you love yourself too and you deserve friends that love you back, that value you, that care about you, and that deserve you.

And that is that.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

No, this isn’t a post about the famous George Harrison song, but I think I’m beginning to understand his meaning.  I wish I could take you on a journey into my mind, into my heart, and through my fingers with every pluck, strum, and chord change on my guitar.  I know I could record the sound, but just hearing it won’t guarantee you’ll go on the journey with me. You must have ears to hear to get there.  It seems this is a journey I must take alone, but man, oh, man, I wish I could take you with me.

For the last several years I’ve been working on one song, and sometimes I stay on the same chord progressions for months before adding something new or changing a rhythm in that progression. Yet, when I begin to play, sometimes all it takes is a few chords, a few strums, a few plucks to transport me somewhere else, somewhere deep, somewhere that feels like a river of so many emotions, so many feelings, so much that it’s often too much to even try and explain.

This morning while playing, I placed my ear on the top of the body of my acoustic guitar and started the familiar progression, first with a soft individual strum of each string, giving them their own moment, their own sound, in their own time.  From the initial vibration of the sixth E string, I felt my soul stir and it wept.   There was a sadness, a loneliness found in that single note. It moved with the fullness of the vibration as I just let it sit there.  It needed to be released.  I felt part of what’s been bottled inside me, move through my fingers, the ones on the Em chord, and then through my thumb as it started at the 6th E and moved slowly down over the next four stings.

Over and over I just slowly strummed each string, and with each new vibration I felt my soul moving with all five strings, making sure to never touch that first E string, because I knew, I felt something else waiting there.  Just the Em over and over and over and over.  The hair prickled on the back of my neck, and my stomach pitched, and a huge knot formed in my throat, but I kept playing, I kept pouring my soul into those strings over and over and over and over.  I begin to slowly rock as I play, because I can feel it coming, the release, the energy in the universe about to move through me and then back into me.

That’s the thing about playing music.  It’s not just about pouring out from me into the notes I play, but to open my soul and allow the music to pour back into me, through the vibration, through the sounds, through the waves, emitting their healing, their message, their love back into my soul. It’s like a filter, the way a body’s heart, kidneys and liver filters our systems.

After a while of just playing that Em, I finally move to this progression that only involves the top four strings… 6th through 3rd , with alterations of just using the top 2 and 3.  I don’t want to put the chords here, because this is an original song I’ve composed and don’t want someone else to steal it.  But, moving through this progression, the strums become a little harder with each repeat.  I feel something moving inside and it’s sad, and it’s dark, and it’s painful… and the more I play, the more it moves through me, bubbling to the surface.  This movement starts deep in the pit of my stomach, behind my belly button, and travels to my spine, up over my shoulders, and then down my arms and into my fingertips, all the while the other end of the tendrils are weaving deep into the chambers of my heart and into the hidden places of my mind.

Our voices are just another note, another vibration to mix with the sound of the strings being played on the guitar. I find myself humming and then open my mouth to release a high, yet sad note.  It’s a haunting sound, full of pain, full of heartache, full of feeling… and it’s soft, and it’s beautiful.  It complements the low sound of the guitar, and together it melts into a new melody, a new sound, evoking a new emotion.  I continue to play, I continue to sing.  My strums become harder and louder, as my song grows in intensity.

Then, like a climax, I feel myself reach the precipice and my song turns into a wail, and my fingers take over on their own and play the last few notes, and I feel all that pain, all that hurt, all that emotion release from me, release into the universe, release into the world and I stop singing, and then I stop playing. My heart is racing, my hands are shaking, and my mind is swimming as the last note fades into the ether.   I smile, and with wet lashes, I open my eyes. I look down at my guitar and just sit in awe and wonder at the power it possesses to soothe my soul.

I wish I could take you on that journey with me. I wish you could experience how music is capable to move soul as it does, but I can’t.  That was a great journey this morning. 

I think I’d like to try the ukulele, now.    

Till next time,

~Gently Weeping Guitar

Monday, January 16, 2017

Self-Motivation vs. Luck

Self-Motivation.  I can’t express how much this is essential to any source of success in my life.  If I’m waiting on the world to motivate me to achieve or reach my goals, I’m going to be sorely disappointed.  The world is essentially lazy and inherently selfish.  It doesn’t give a shit about me or cares whether I reach my goals or not.  I may be lucky and have a friend that will be there to cheer me on, but they’re not going to hold my hand or carry me to my finish line, and I shouldn’t be so damned co-dependent or lazy to expect them to do just that. But, alas, we live in a very, very, very lazy world, or else I’m just surrounded by a bunch of lazy enablers with an excuse and diagnosis for everything.

I understand depression. I have been suffering with it most of my life, yet as with anything and everything else, I don’t let it control me.  I learned a long time ago that if I wanted anything in this world, I was just going to have to get it on my own. I suppose that’s the bright side to having parents that didn’t take care of or give a shit about me, it forced me to learn to take care of and give a shit about myself.  To have no one to depend on, taught me to depend on myself.  To have no one to trust, I’ve learned to trust myself.  As for motivation, I’ve also learned to be my own cheerleader.

Someone made a comment to me this weekend, one that at first really, really pissed me off. I know they didn’t say what they said to hurt me, but I don’t they understood the gravity of what they said because they come from a different life, a different experience, and a different generation.  What am I talking about, I’m still pissed.

I’ve enjoyed some great successes in my life, and I’m very proud of them. But, I want to make one thing very, very, very clear. NONE of it was handed to me, and NONE of it just fell in my lap by luck, birth, circumstances, etc.  NONE of it. 

The comment that set me off was, “You’ve had a very lucky life. What I wouldn’t do to have one-tenth of the opportunities you’ve had; you’ve received many of the things I only dream about.  Some people have all the luck.”  It was clear this person doesn’t know shit about me.  YES, I’ve accomplished a lot of things, and some of those things are huge accomplishments, but not one of them just “fell in my lap”.  I have fought like hell and sacrificed more than I can ever give account to receive each and every one of them.

My degree?  My stomach pitches when I think of how many days I practically starved to death because the two jobs I worked paying for every book, every class, daycare for my kids, diapers, rent to the dumpy trailer I lived, gas and repairs to piece of shit car I had at the time, sleeping only 2-3 hours a day, splitting a box of macaroni with my babies because that’s all I could afford to eat often forgoing a bite for myself to make sure they had enough, juggling to pay either the rent, lights, water or gas for that month, crying myself to sleep feeling like the worst mother in the world because daycare or babysitters or terrible family members were raising my kids instead because I was so busy just trying to survive. But, yeah… that degree just fell in my lap because I’m a privileged white girl that just had the world handed to her. I didn’t have student loans or parents to fall back on.  I had ME. Only ME.

My publications?  No one saw the years of writing stories late in the night because it was an inconvenience for everyone else, it wasn’t practical, just years and years and years writing stories that no one ever read.  No one saw the hours and hours and hours spent helping others with their work, editing, critiquing, encouraging, watching them one by one go off to gain success and then forget I ever existed.  The years of ghost-writing for other people, never being able to take credit for the hard work I’ve done. The marketing, the networking, spending many, many, many late nights barely able to keep my eyes open going over my work, editing, editing, editing, writing, writing, writing, and busting my ass making sure that everyone I met, everywhere I went, everything I did would bring attention to my work.  Submitting and submitting, receiving rejection after rejection.  Getting one little writing job after the next, after the next, after the next.  No one saw the shit ton of money I spent out of my own pocket on bookmarks, websites, entrance fees into festivals, marketing materials, ads, etc, etc.  No, my success just fell in my lap because I’m lucky.  I sure as fuck didn’t earn any of the nominations or awards.

My dedication? I once had these two authors I was trying to help become published and successful, because I believed in them and thought they were very talented.  I believe both blame me today for their lack of success.  For a very long time I spent so much of MY time, MY money, and MY effort trying to promote them, ignoring my own work, but I couldn’t get them to promote themselves.  They had some fucking lame-brained idea that they were so talented that success was just going to fall in their lap without any effort on their part.  They were too good to even make any personal appearances; they were gifted artists, after all, akin to the Cormac McCarthy’s and Charles Bukowski’s of the world.  They obviously believed I didn’t work for my success either or else riding on my coat-tails would grant them the success the easy way.  I fought for them until I found out I had cancer, and then I didn’t give a shit anymore.  I don’t think either of them have done anything still to promote themselves, but I really don’t care. I can’t believe for them, and bottom line, they have to have their own self-motivation.  I had this other writer that I spent more than a year helping her write her auto-biography, but when a better opportunity came along, none of the work I had done mattered. 

Healthy Living? Beautiful Face? Oh, yeah… I’m lucky.  The one-hundred and thirty pounds I’ve lost, and maintained for nearly 10 years, that was lucky too.  It sure hell doesn’t require a regular workout routine, a regular diet of healthy living, having to say no to temptations, being disciplined, getting myself up at 5am every morning, pushing through the pain, or learning how to say no to the donuts.  Nah, it’s my genetics.  I just wake up this beautiful on my own because I’m lucky.  My muscles don’t hurt, my back doesn’t ache, my joints don’t scream at me, and my eyes just automatically pop open on their own.  Hell, my workout outfit dresses me every morning, not the other way around.  There are lots of excuses I can use to stay in bed longer, to avoid the treadmill, and feed my pity, or pop a pill for every little ache and pain.  For those mother-fuckers who think a surgery lost this weight and maintained the loss for me, you keep telling your fat-asses that.  It shows your ignorance and your dependency on excuses.  My surgery saved my life, but it had nothing to do with my weight loss or the maintenance of my health… which is all self-motivation and sheer determination.   Surgery doesn’t make someone walk away from the doughnuts, no more than an insulin shot keeps someone from eating sugar. But, hey… we are an excuse generation.  There’s a million and one reasons WHY we CAN’T do something. 

So, here I am this morning.  I still have 10-20 holiday pounds to shed, still got a blog to write, still got dreams to chase, still got a job to work, still got a life to live.  Who’s going to open those doors for me? Nobody. But, that’s okay because you know what? I know how to open my own fucking doors.  What a concept!!!!!!!  You know what? I am lucky.  I’m lucky that I have a mind of my own, a will of my own, and self-determination all of my own.  I know so many depraved mother-fuckers out there that can’t even get their asses out of bed because they’re too busy feeling sorry for themselves, and they blame the world for their lack of success.  God, I’m so lucky I’m not one of them.

Till next time,

~Lucky Mother-Fucker

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Counting Stars

Counting Stars

By One Republic

I’ll get into the lyrics of this song in a minute.  I haven’t heard it in a couple years, but listening to it on my way home from work today brought me right back to a place in time when I was fighting for my life.  I can almost remember the very moment this song came alive to me.  I had heard it several times on the radio, and while I thought it had a catchy tune, it didn’t really mean anything. Yet, one afternoon I found myself sitting by the lake at my apartment on Alvin Street, watching the sun glisten on the water’s surface, ducks flying overhead, a cool breeze in the air, when a soft thought popped into my mind, whispering to me that nobody cared, that all the sacrifices I’d made in my life were for nothing, that all the love I gave was never returned, that I didn’t matter.  I’d just been invited to be part of an anthology with some of the writers I admired, had no one with which to celebrate my achievement. I thought I could easily slip into that cold, frigid lake and no one would even notice this selfish, rebellious, unlovable woman was gone.  I felt the pressure and judgment of the world on my shoulders.  All the voices of the people who told me I was making a mistake by getting a divorce, that I was disobeying and disappointing my god, that I was being rebellious and selfish because I wanted to be in love, that what I wanted was stupid, a fairy tale. I had the world.  I had a good career. I had a good marriage. I had a good family. I had a good inheritance. I had a good reputation. I had a picture-picture resume life.  My writing career was taking off, and I was beloved and respected by my community; a pillar they called me, a monument of strength of character.  I had everything a good Christian woman desired in her life. Someone told me once that I was selfish for not being content with the life I had, that my desire to want more, was an insult to the god I claimed I loved.  How could God love me for being so selfish? To want more was to distrust God.

I didn’t want riches. I didn’t want fame. I had opportunity to have both and walked away. I just wanted to be loved, to be wanted, to be desired… to be heard, to matter, to make a difference in this cold world, for humanity to love each other, not hate each other proving who was right. I wanted fathers not to hurt their little girls, and mothers not to be ashamed and hide behind pills, and brothers that didn’t steal and lie to each other, or sisters who supported each other and not be in competition, and kids who didn’t take the strength of their parents as a sign of not caring, and parents who remembered their kids were not their property but individual human beings with their own thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. I felt at odds with the universe. 

I closed my eyes, felt the warm sun on my face, slipped my feet out of my shoes and edged by toes toward the cold water of the lake’s edge when this song suddenly came on my iPod and filled my ears, and the tears spilled down my face.  This was a song from me, to me, in that moment.  My inner-self called out to my spiritual-self, and the words never meant something more beautiful than what they did that cold, cold autumn afternoon.

Lately I been, I been losing sleep

Dreaming about the things that we could be

But baby I been, I been prayin' hard

Said no more counting dollars

We'll be counting stars

Yeah, we'll be counting stars

Counting stars… wow! One of my favorite quotes in the world, something that gave me strength through the years was from A Knights Tale when a declaration was made to change a person’s stars, to change the destiny the world had given them, to be more than what society deemed as acceptable. Before that movie even came out, my best friend in the world – who became the love of my life, made a promise that we would rise above our stations in life and change our stars.   I fought my whole life to be more than what I was born into, more than what society dictated, and I worked hard my whole life to rise above my beginning, my inheritance, and my lot in life.  No one was going to tell me my limits.  I pushed them, and I soared well above them. When my drug-dealing father was arrested, I was deemed a miscreant, told by a bigshot D.A. at the age of sixteen I was going to grow up and be nothing more than one of my father’s whore drug runners, a high-school dropout, and in prison before twenty.   I changed my stars and proved them wrong, living a clean life, a vanilla life free of drugs, gangs, cartels, and miscreants.   When I lost a college scholarship because I became a teen mother, and chose to keep and raise my baby, I changed my stars by paying my own way through college, and working three jobs at the same time supporting myself. When the love of my life died in combat and left me alone in this world, I still remember the promises we made to change our stars. I never forgot. I will never forget.  I’m not counting one star… I’m counting on changing many, many, many, many, many more stars. I have, and I will change even more. I’m still counting them, baby. 

I see this life

Like a swinging vine

Swing my heart across the line

In my faces flashing signs

Seek it out and ye shall find

Life isn’t about what comes at you or is presented to you.  You have to chase it down.  You have to go after what you want. You have to take a chance.  Yes, you can fall. Hell, you will probably fall a lot more than you’ll ever fly. Yes, you can grab hold of a weak vine and it causes you to crash to the ground, but that doesn’t mean you stop swinging.  It means you get back up and grab the next one and see where it takes you.

The old, but I'm not that old

Young, but I'm not that bold

And I don't think the world is sold

I'm just doing what we're told

Excuses.  The world if full of them, but we have to be willing to argue back with it, set our own limits, tell ourselves what we are going to do and how we’re going to do it.  We can’t be afraid.  We can’t think inside the box.  Don’t allow ourselves to be put in a box… too old, too young, too weak, too strong, too fat, too skinny, too uneducated, too educated, too smart, too dumb, too experienced, too inexperienced.  Tell the world to go fuck itself, and stop doing what it tells you. 

I, feel something so right

Doing the wrong thing

I, feel something so wrong

But doing the right thing

I could lie, could lie, could lie

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

You can’t change or count your stars if you’re too busy living under everyone else’s judgements, ideas, and limits.  You determine what’s right and what’s wrong for YOU and tell everyone else to go fuck themselves.  Am I disappointing my god?  That’s between me and my god and nobody else’s business.  Live your own dream.  Find someone that supports that dream, and made damned sure that if you’re supporting someone else’s dream, that it’s their dream and not yours for them. You’ve got no right to dream for someone else.

I feel the love

And I feel it burn

Down this river every turn

Hope is a four letter word

Make that money

Watch it burn

Looking for the world’s definition of love or success, it’ll never work, it’ll never satisfy, and it’ll always burn.  It’s fire, it’s poison, it’s shallow, and it stings.  Too many people fall in love with the idea, the dream, the image of what they believe is love, instead of falling in love with the real person right in front of them. When they get disappointment because the person doesn’t live up to the perfect image that was created in their minds, they blame the person instead of themselves for building impossible standards anyone could ever hope to reach. It’s not fair.  We have to come to a maturity in our lives so that when we look at someone we are not naïve to their flaws, but embrace them, and love them just as they are in spite of them, not only loving the truth of who they are, but for the potential of who they’re capable of being because they too hold the power to change their own stars. The first step to counting stars is seeing the truth, exactly as it is in all its ugliness. But when we can’t even see the truth of the stars in front of us, how can we expect to change anything?  We change nothing and then we live our lives chasing THINGS… things that will burn or turn to rust, things we cannot control, cannot contain, things that slip right through our fingers and burn in front of us. We exchange our stars for temporary things, for temporary love, for temporary people… ideals instead of reality, fantasies instead of truths, we lose out on real love for infatuation and lust.

I could lie, could lie, could lie

Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly

Take that money and watch it burn

Sink in the river the lessons I learned

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

Songwriters: RYAN TEDDER

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Can’t you feel it?  This song reminded me of the promise I made as a hopeful fourteen-year old girl, sitting with her back against her locker next to this dorky, long-legged awkward boy named James, dreaming with our young, naïve hearts of how we were going to change our stars. I felt that promise that day by the cold lake through this song, and it stirred something deep within me, and it’s stirring something else within me today.  I heard that familiar whisper during my flu delirium, reminding me that my love hasn’t found me, that though I’m loved, I’m never chosen, I’m never fought for, and that if I want anything in this world I’m going to have to fight for it on my own or provide it for myself. I understand now, I need a star counter, because I’m a star counter.  I could never be content with someone that can’t even recognize their own stars, much less who isn’t constantly counting new ones.  I won’t ever be silent. I won’t ever be content. I am bigger than this life, much more than the boxes offer.  I am at odds with the universe, because I too am expanding, seeking, and counting stars… and it’s time I got back to it.  

I too am a star.  My own sun, shining brightly, soaring in this universe, But I’m not one to be caught so easily. If you can’t even see me, the real me, then maybe I’m just a little too bright or a little too hot for you, or you just don’t belong in my universe. 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Friday, January 06, 2017


Ever read something, and the moment you read it, your universe moved? You’re not quite sure how, but there’s a definite paradigm shift deep in the center of your soul? I read a comment recently, that the moment my eyes processed the tiny font on my phone, my mind filled with a thousand strings of thoughts, flashed a thousand images, and like an electric current surging through my body, sparked a thousand feelings all at once. Goosebumps popped up on my arm. The hair on the back of my neck prickled.  Tears welled in my eyes. A knot didn’t just form, but augmented in my throat.

Someone messaged me, “I believe I’m an answer to something you’ve asked for.”

Seeing those words, something inside shifted.

Something I asked for?  I don’t remember asking for anything, not anything consciously. In fact, I’ve spent so much of my time, love, and energy on everyone and everything else around me, concerned about their needs and wants, I’ve had no time to think about what I want. Seeing those words, reminded me of my promise. They also reminded me of other words I’ve been given not too long ago, “I can’t give you what you want.”

Right before I asked for a divorce I made a vow, a promise to myself. I wrote it down on a magnetic memo and posted it to the refrigerator, to remind myself every day of that promise. I still have that memo posted in my bedroom right now.  It states, “I will never again waste my time, love, or energy into that which does not first invest those things into me.” I broke my promise.

So, I ask myself, what do I want? My soul whispers, Ask. 

“I want to receive what I freely give.  I want someone to give a shit about me.  I want to be someone’s first thought in the morning. I want someone to care about the things that make ME happy.  I want someone to know about what I’m worried about, what I’m excited about, what I’m scared of, what I’m determined to do, how I feel, what I dream.  I want someone to think about me in the middle of the day. I want someone to want to talk to me, to want to share with me what’s going on their day, in their life. It makes me happy helping others, nurturing what other’s need, helping them realize and reach for their dreams, help pick them up and pull them out of their difficulties. I love and care about the people in my life, and I worry about them, and I do everything in my power to help, to encourage, to support.  I give so much of my heart loving and caring for them, and I just want someone to love and care about me. I want someone to give a damn about what had me curled in tight ball for nearly two days, or what had me so upset I couldn’t eat, or what excited me so much I couldn’t sleep.  I want someone who WANTS to talk to me, to spend time with me, to offer arms to hold me when I’m scared, to caress me when I’m feeling frisky, to ravish me when I’m excited, to encourage me when I’m doubting, to calm me when I’m frustrated.  To be there for me, not with their words and empty promises, but really be there for me. I want someone to love me.”

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, so why am I so afraid to speak?  Maybe the universe hears my heart instead of my words.

Thursday, January 05, 2017


Yep.  I don’t know why it comes as a surprise for some people, but you really ONLY get ONE life.  Yeah, yeah, I know… some of you believe in reincarnation, life after death, transformation, transcendentalism, etc… all those other “possible” conclusions.  But, I’m not talking about those right now. I’m talking about the 50-100 meager years we get to walk on this planet.  Well, some of us crawl, some of us run, some of us spend it on our backs, while others spend it on our knees, but you know what I mean.  One life.

So, let me ask you… what are you doing with your life? Are you even living it, or are you just existing? Do you just go through the motions, or do take charge and move through the universe experiencing everything you can while you can?

People, we get one shot at it.  Just one. 

There have been some low times in my life where I wanted to end it, when the pain was too much to bear and I just wanted it all to stop. Abuse. Cancer. Death of a love. Divorce. Break up with a soul mate. Times I’ve felt so lonely, so lost, so unwanted, so unloved, so rejected, so unnecessary, that I just ached inside. Of course, my love for myself, for my family, for my friends, and for life itself always stayed my hand during those low points, but I’ve been there.

There have been some high times in my life where I never wanted to end, ones I wished to live over, and over, and over again.  A kiss that melted me from the inside out. A touch that still gives me butterflies today. A hug that felt like it held together all my broken pieces.  A moment of my hard work being recognized. The birth of my children, holding them for the first time. Laughing so hard I peed myself. Jumping from 2.5 miles in the air.  Racing down white rapids. Watching an ant meander through the grass and meeting God. Writing. Playing my guitar. Kicking alien ass on my Xbox.

Life. A series of moments.  Good moments. Bad moments. Loud moments. Quiet moments.  I’ve lived a lot of moments. I’m not guaranteed one more.  So, I want to make them count.  Love the people in my life.  Live my life being happy. Loving and being loved. Discovering and being adventurous.

I can’t imagine trying to numb my life with hate, drugs, alcohol, or behind a thick wall never letting anyone in, or with condescending judgment.  It’s not always going to be sunshine and roses, and there are still dark days and dark moments ahead, but there’s always good moments, and bright moments, and life and love. 

Be silly. Laugh. Take a chance. Jump. Kiss the girl (life).  Dance. Dream. Sing. Touch. Smell. Stop hiding. Stop running away. Throw your hands into the air and let it go.  It’s your choice. No one else to blame but yourself if you’re too coward to embrace life.  For fuck’s sake… SMILE!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Kiss the Girl!

Wake up! Get up! Move your fucking feet! Kiss the girl!

Look, Life knocks us down. I think the abusive bitch really enjoys it, because she knocks me out quite a lot.  It seems like every time I stand up on my feet, dust myself off, and start picking up my pace to make a little bit of forward motion, she’ll drop a damned 747 out of the sky to fall on my head. But, I’m indestructible, immortal, and a freaking superwoman, because I choose to be. What’s your excuse?

Listen, I have my moments where I want to lay there on the ground and just cry because of how unfair life can be, is, or will always be.  But, I’m not five-years old.  Add forty years to that, and a whole lot of responsibility never really having time to be a brat. I’m jealous of you spoiled mother-fuckers that always had someone else looking after you, cleaning up your messes, wiping your noses, and patting you on the head telling you what a good job you’ve done.  Take your participation trophies and wrap them up in your dirty diapers, and go suck on your binky. I don’t have time for your pity party.  Believe me, I’ve been trying to have one for the last few years, and it isn’t working!

Hey! Knock it off.  Suck it up, Buttercup.  It’s time to get up. It’s time to move, even if you don’t know which way to go, move anyway.  The sad part is not moving, being stuck in the moment, being mired in the muck of self-pity. Learn this lesson: Life is NEVER fair. NEVER! Fair has never existed, and it never will.  This is a stupid concept ingrained into our psyche as children and we carry it with us throughout our lives, beating ourselves up when LIFE throws us a monkey wrench.  We are taught that WE are in control of the bullshit that happens in our lives.  That if we are good, good will happen to us.  That if we are fair, fair will find us.  BULLSHIT!  You tell that to every abused child, cancer patient, soldier’s widow, the betrayed, the rejected, and the good-hearted discarded because keeping up is hard.  Life is not fair.  She never was. She never has been. She never will be.  So, get up!

Want to know what you control? Nothing, except HOW you respond.  That’s it.  That’s all the control you have.  You can’t control the universe, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control the ocean’s tide, you can’t control someone else’s response, you can’t control God, you can’t control the economy, you can’t control anything. You can bribe, manipulate, lie, and scheme, but you can’t control anything in life except how YOU respond to it.  That’s who you are.  Not who you say. Not who you think. Not what some piece of paper says, by degree or birth certificate.  You are how you respond to every little and every big decision you make.

Stop being a pussy. Stop being afraid of making a mistake.  Fucking make a mistake, because you’re at least living, doing, deciding.  Stop hiding. Stop wallowing. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop WAITING for the right time, the right person, the right circumstance.  Stop waiting to win the lottery. Stop WAITING and start fucking moving. Start making decisions. Start making choices. STOP making excuses.  I’m so fucking tired of hearing excuses.  I hear it at work, I hear it at home, I hear it in society all around me.  I hear it out of my own mouth.  The mantra is … “I can’t… because. I won’t… because. I don’t… because.  I hear that bullshit a whole lot more than I’d like to admit.  But, that’s the problem. Until we admit to ourselves, until we recognize our reactions, our inaction, and our whiny excuses… we can’t change them. So, as a society, we keep ourselves distracted with bullshit, nonsense, shit that don’t matter,  so we don’t have to hear our souls crying out to open our fucking eyes. Because to open our eyes to the truth is to be faced with the choices that define us.  We WANT to be fair.  We want life to be on Easy Street. We want someone to change our diapers for us, to take away all the shit we’ve produced, and give us a clean diaper so we can soil that too.  Feed us, because we don’t want to learn to feed ourselves.  Hold our hands, because we don’t want to face the struggle it takes to walk on our own. Coddle us, because our little feelings are hurt. Rock us, because we’re sleepy.  We bitch about putting on ten pounds, all the while stuffing our feelings.

Move.  Choose.  Kiss the girl - life!  She’s right in front of you.  See her.  Stop thinking about whether you’re making a mistake, or will there a better option tomorrow, or will she love you back because all the girl’s you’ve kissed before had hurt, abused, and used you?  Stop being a fucking coward and kiss the girl. It’s better to have kissed, than to have missed your opportunity, because guess what… life will continue without you.  All you’ve lost is the opportunity to really live. To live in the moment.  To get out of life ALL that you can in that moment… whether it ends up being a mistake.  Even from our mistakes, we live.  I have a life full of mistakes, but not ONE regret. 

I lived for nearly twenty years doing the ‘right’ thing, the practical, the responsible, the ‘good’ thing, and I don’t regret any of it, because it was to fulfill the dream of being able to provide a certain life for my kids.  That was my dream.  However, I didn’t do a whole lot of living in that era, nor the era before . I was too busy trying to be good, to be right, to make responsible choices and so afraid of disappointing everyone else around me, of disappointing God, and of making a mistake.  THAT was the true mistake.  Because all that did was steal life from me.   

I’ve got some heavy choices before me, and many of those choices paralyze me because I’m so afraid of making the wrong one.  I’ve spent so much time being afraid of the consequences of those choices, because I know life isn’t fair.  I’ve felt the pain and suffering of an unfair life.  Those burn scars still hurt today.  But, this is me this morning, puckering my lips… ‘cause you know what… I want to kiss!  I don’t want to just kiss, but I want to rip my clothes off and make beautiful, passionate love.  If it turns out to be a mistake, at least I had an orgasm, and my toes curled, and my stomach had butterflies.

Kiss! Kiss!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

I Love You

I love you, my love.

I love you just as much during storms as I do on sunny days.

I love you when you don’t want to be loved, or you feel I’m in your way.

I love you when you’re sad, and when you want to be alone.

I love you when you’re scared, and you want to stay at home. 

I love you when you’re worried, and even when you’re stressed. 

I love you when you’re angry and your world is such a mess.

I love you when you’re panicked, I love you when you’re confused.

No matter what state you’re in, our hearts are now infused.

Whether you ever return the love in which I give,

I will always love you, as long as I shall live.

~T.L. Gray