Friday, April 21, 2017

Victim: Made or Chosen

Shit happens, and most of the time shit happens to us beyond our control. If you’re a human being and have meet another human being, then shit at one time or another has happened to you. You’re not special. You’re not unique in THIS aspect. We don’t always see what someone else has endured, but EVERYONE has had shit happen to them. No matter how cushioned or sheltered or privilege of a life they live, or how depraved, everyone has experienced pain, disappointment, abuse, neglect – shit. Everyone. Every – one. Understand that? I know some of you right now are thinking about someone who you think has had a perfect, sheltered, and uncomplicated life, but you’re wrong.

What makes us different is how we individually process the shit that’s happened to us, and how we allow it to affect us. Some of us have endured horrors unimaginable, yet are mentally and emotionally amazingly strong. The strongest are the ones that refuse to allow the shit that’s happened to them break them or repeat the cycle of abuse to those around them. When you can take a person that has been abused, neglected, and beat down, and they spend their life and make it their mission to encourage, help, and love a hateful world… that is a true hero, a beautiful soul. They are not victims, they are victors, survivors, over-comers. On the flip side of that is a weak person that has allowed their souls to be filled with all the shit that’s been piled onto them to consume them and transform them into the monsters that tormented them, and now torment others. They are the new monsters, predators, abusers. Then there are those that dwell somewhere in the middle – strong in some areas, and weak in others. This is where much of society lives. This is also where victims dwell. 

I believe with all my heart that victimization is a mindset, and one that is chosen. I can feel the excuses dwelling up inside your mind right now. There is ALWAYS an excuse, always a reason, always a diagnosis for the victimization. I’m not disputing that. SHIT happens. Things happen to us beyond our control, at the decision of someone else, and it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s painful, and it causes damage. I have endured unimaginable shit.  But HOW we respond to the shit that happens to us is OUR decision and completely in our control and up to us. How we allow this shit to affect us, to guide us, to destroy us, etc., is also up to us. We choose to become heroes, or monsters, or victims. We choose to fight with a will of steel or a pill, with a determination or an excuse.

Sometimes laziness is because we’re simply fucking lazy and have a weak will, not because we can’t face or handle the shit that was thrown at us or that covers us. Laziness is a CHOICE. Laziness is weakness, and a state victims choose because doing what needs to be done is hard. Cleaning up the shit in our lives is hard. But if we want to live a clean, victorious, strong life, then we must be willing to do the hard work to make it happen. All by ourselves! Because WE choose it. We don’t need a pill. We don’t need a diagnosis to tell us it’s okay. We don’t need someone else to tell us we can. We must face the facts of who we are, where we are, and then make a fucking choice. When WE don’t work on cleaning up the shit in our lives, because we choose to be victims, then what we are really doing is being lazy and leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. Guess what, victims… you’re becoming the shit-slingers now, throwing your shit around for someone else to clean up. You become the burden to those who love and care about you. YOU are creating more victims. Many of you reading this right now just shut that thought down because you don’t’ like to face the truth, you’d rather hide in your corner and wear your victim cape. You can’t make a change until you face the truth. Life isn’t fair. It never has been and never will be. Get over it.

What I’m talking about is changing a mindset. STOP thinking you’re a victim. No, changing your mind to become a victor, an over-comer doesn’t mean that the shit will stop flying and your life will become perfect. There is ALWAYS shit flying. ALWAYS. What changes is YOU and who YOU choose to be, and how YOU effect the world around you and the people you love and who loves you. You can’t save the world, but you can choose to save yourself. Victims whine and complain about how they were treated, and how unfair the world is to them, but do they think about how THEY treat the other people in their lives with their victimhood?

Changing your mindset will change how you respond to the world around you. It will change how you respond to everything in your life. Being healthy, be energetic, being successful, being focused, being compassionate, making a difference in your body, your mind, your heart, and your world. It will change how you love, how you forgive, what kind of person you are at home, at work, at play. You don’t be like everyone else around you. You will destroy all the boxes, be an outsider, not be understood, and most often unaccepted.  But you will be AMAZING, inspirational, and be something good in this shitty world.

The choice is yours. There are no made victims, only chosen ones. There are no made victors, only chosen ones. There are no made monsters, only chosen ones. Choose.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cinderella Getting Restless


I’m so discouraged.  I’m trying to stay positive, because those of you who know me, know that I’m always chasing rainbows and glass slippers despite the world constantly telling me I’m a fool for doing things the way I do them, or thinking the way I think.  This is also the same world that wants to teach me about love, show forgiveness, obtain success, and walk with integrity. Have you seen the world’s version of those things?  Have you seen their interpretation?  No way!  That’s not for me.

I’ve accepted the fact that I walk my own path, knock down boxes that people try to place me into, and swim against the current, walk the narrow path, shovel the ashes, and any other metaphor that will describe how odd and out of touch with what is known as common that I am. I am covered in cinder. (It’s no secret.  Some people try to be different, spend their whole lives in a movement (along with a billion-other people), trying to prove it.  I try to be common and normal, to fit in, to act the part, but I fail – according to the world. But…. BUT, I succeed at being me.

So, having said that, can you imagine how frustrating it is for me trying to date?

I’m going to pause there for a little while. I’ll try to continue this thought later. I’m sure as I try to sort this confusion and discouragement out, and try to get a grip on this thing called dating, I’m going to go through many stages. These stages are very like those that go through addiction and depression counseling. 

This is stage one – acceptance.  I accept who and what I am. I’m an odd duck.  Took a loooooooonnnnnnnnngggggg time to get there, but I’m there.  I’m a princess without a prince, a castle, a father’s love, or a mother’s touch. I’ve been abandoned in a selfish world. Now what? Where do I go from here? What does this mean for the relationships in my life? Will I always be the woman that most men find fascinating, amazing, love the way I think, appreciate the way I am, and value me for my character, my integrity, my creativity and talent, but fall in love with ‘common’ women?  I gotta think about this.  

Till next time,

~Lost Princess

24-Hours Later

Okay, I’ve thought about it. I’m sure there’s an odd duck out there like me who experiences the same difficulties I do, who dreams as I do, who dares to hope as I do, and refuses to give up no matter if the world calls them a fool.  I know there is a man out there that will love the way I love, who hopes the way I hope, who cares the way I care.  I don’t need a fairy godmother to give me a pretty dress and a pair of glass slippers to dance. But,  It doesn’t mean I’ll ever meet my Prince Charming and we fall in love with each other. There’s no guarantee in life. I’ve witnessed too many people die alone to believe that “other” fairy tale - that as long as I’m patient and show up to the dance that my ‘happily-ever-after’ will come along.  I not stupid.  I know damned well that I may never find my soul mate.  Actually, that’s not true. I’ve found my soul-mate twice already.  Once when I was a teenager, though a few years later he died.  The second time just recently, but he left.  I’m hoping the third time will be the charm… (pun intended).  But, I know free will, the ability to choose, determines much.  I can’t make someone love me, fall in love with me, want me, or choose me. I believe in magic, especially in the magic of love, but I don’t hold a magic wand. I refuse to manipulate and force a man to love or be with me in any way.  I don’t want someone because I need them or they need me, only because I want them and they want me.  I REFUSE to accept anything less.  That makes me odd.

I’ve had many opportunities to be in relationships, to not be alone, to have a companion, to have a lover, to have a convenience.  But, I believe I deserve so much more.  I want love. Real love. Deep love. When I love, I love with my whole heart, and so I want someone to love me with their whole heart.  I’m not their toy, their distraction, their fantasy, or their temporary place-holder.  I’ve been told so many times, and left behind for lesser women, that I’m loved, respected, admired, and valued, Bu….....t, they can’t choose me because I deserve better than they could give.

If I deserve anything, it’s simply to be loved. I don’t need anything to be given to me. I don’t need saved. I don’t need to be supported. I am not co-dependent, have low self-esteem, or incapable of doing anything for myself. I’m smart, I’m self-sufficient, independent, and driven.  I don’t need a man, a partner, a lover, or a friend.  I WANT one.  There’s a huge difference between need and want.  Someday… someday someone will ‘want’ ME, not my body, not my talent, or anything else I could give them, but want me, my heart, my mind, my love, and all my oddities. 

I’ve mentioned this before. I made a promise to myself, no a VOW, about 7-years ago, and it is still valid today. I have it posted on my refrigerator - “I will never again waste my time, love or energy into that which does not first invest those things into me”.

Oh, Prince Charming, come slide that glass slipper upon my foot and allow the magic to envelop us both, transforming us into something wonderful, and then let us disappear into the unknown to explore it together. I have my sword.  I’ve slayed a dragon or two in my time already.  I’ve got your back. 

Till next time,

~Cinderella getting restless

Monday, April 17, 2017

Valued Vs. Liked


I read a meme the other day that said, “There’s a difference between being liked by a man and valued by a man. A lot of guys like you. Not many value you. Be valued.”

On our moral compass, all human beings want to be valued. But, we also want to be liked. Why does it have to be one or the other? I’m just brazen enough that I want both.

But what does it mean to be valued? Per the dictionary it means, “Considered to be important, beneficial; cherished.” My inner 10-year now wants to go down that rabbit hole and ask, what does important mean, what about beneficial and cherished? See where I’m going… wanting to get to the deeper existential meaning?

I have this philosophy I try to live by, it’s one that was instilled in me as I began my journey to find the god of my heart and prayers. I didn’t want a religion, and still don’t, but I wanted to know the spirit I called out to in my darkest moments, in my highest moments, in my quiet moments. I lived in a world of tragedy and it had me question the very fabric of the universe, the very heart of man. What I witnessed was cruelty in its highest form and my small mind couldn’t understand it, but became determined to live a life contrary to it. I was raised among greed, selfishness, anger, violence, shown a world where I saw taking, but never giving, hating but never loving, anger but never peace. You hit first, or you’ll get knocked down. Take or it will be taken from you. Be a better liar, because you’re always being lied to. It wasn’t wrong, that was the world I witnessed, but it was a world I didn’t want to be a part. For a while I lived it and realized it was a never-ending cycle. The world was never going to change for me, but I also learned I had the power to change MY world. So, I made myself a promise to be better that what I had given. To be a blessing to those in our life, and not a burden. To always leave a place we’ve been better than when we left it. As a guest, be courteous and thankful. Give thanks, show appreciation, be understanding, and always be honest.

Yes, people will still take advantage, lie, and mistreat us, but our actions can’t be based on them, only on ourselves. We are not what happens to us or what others do to us; we can’t control the actions and decisions of others. Who we are is how we respond and what we decide to do. That’s our character. We can color it, paint it, disguise it, lie about it, make excuses, blame everyone else, pretend, present a false picture, but the truth of who we are will always eventually come out, because it is evidenced in not only the ‘big’ things we do, but mostly in the little ones…today, every day, after day, after day, after day.

Everyone can pretend for a little while, but time will always reveal the truth. We also leave a footprint of our true character… just look behind us and see the path we leave behind. Is it one filled with victories, accomplishments, and love… or chaos, heartache, and one disaster after another? We can all pretend to be anything we want, and even lie to ourselves about it, but if we want to know what kind of monster we really are? What footprint do we leave behind?

Being this way won’t always lead to us being liked by our fellow human beings. In our minds, we think it should, but it doesn’t. When we take the high road, we are often resented instead of liked, because we become a reflection and most people really don’t like about themselves.

I believed most of my life that my mother hated me because I was unlovable and unwanted, but I’m beginning to understand that my stubbornness, by courage, and my strength were the things she lacked within herself and she hated that reflection, not me.

While I may not be liked by many people, I am valued. Those that know me, or have known me, know my character, my soul, my heart. Those that don’t know me and don’t like me, more than likely don’t like themselves. I can’t help that. That’s their problem, not mine. I used to care, but I don’t have time for all that wasted energy. I’d rather pour that energy into the people I love and care about, into myself, into my job, into my goals and aspirations.

While I’d love to be both liked and valued, I’d rather be valued. Like my face, like my ass, like my smile or my eyes, like my stuff, like my accomplishments, none of that stuff is really important and I refuse to be a person who lives their life trying hard to get that approval from the world.  As for me… value me as a person.  The friends I have in my life – I don’t always like them, but I love and value them. Sometimes I like them, but let’s keep that to ourselves.

What about you, reader? Are you a person that would rather be valued or liked?

Till next time,

~The Valued T.L. Gray