Friday, August 28, 2015

I Believe in Love―a Kind, Selfless, Unending Devotion.

I’m 40 years old and I'm single.  It's been that way for awhile.  It's a choice I made, not because I'm not attracted to the opposite sex or that I fear commitment, I do miss being involved in a relationship, but I don't want to lose myself in one.  If that makes sense.
I seem to be one of a few girls over the age of 35 who is NOT in a panic over her single status.
I was married in my twenties, to the guy I dated in high school, and divorced in my thirties.  I think I've earned the right to be single for awhile, after all marriage wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  I felt more confined and trapped than I did free and happy.  It's not that I didn't love the guy; I just always had that feeling he wasn't the right guy.
He provided for me, and he took care of me, but we wanted different things.  
He is now remarried, and has adopted her child.  He and I couldn't have children together because he is affected by a rare disease that causes tumors to randomly appear in his body.  The probability of a child surviving, if we had had one, would have been low because the child would have most probably inherited the disease.  He had a vasectomy at sixteen, and when I married him, I sacrificed any chance I had of giving birth to a child.  We could have adopted, but the process is a lot harder than you can imagine.  I learned to accept that I wouldn't have children of my own, world's greatest aunt, but I don't think he ever did.  Get married, start your careers, buy a house, have children... it's kind of the normal course when you get married.
Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't date someone who has children, or even get involved in a serious relationship, but I am at that point in my life where I don't want to give birth to them.  I'm also not looking to get remarried.  If you think a break up is tough, try getting a divorce.
I am blissfully single, and I know there are those who think that is strange, but when I get involved in relationships, they tend to be long term.  I'm not the one night stand, or the drunk mistake... I'm selective.  I'm not looking to get involved with anyone who is jumping from bed to bed.
I’m not afraid to be in a relationship.  There are no underlying issues that I have buried inside me that keeps me from finding the next 'Mister Right'.  I am not terrified at the prospect of falling in love.  I am not fearful that my heart is going to be smashed into a million little pieces.  I don't feel that I’m untouchable, but I may be a little guarded as a result of an unspoken trauma, although there is a slight amount of truth to this, it is not what holds me back.  I have inner demons, and I don't want to expose my vulnerability. There are some trust issues... unhealed emotional wounds...
But that is not why I am single.  I'm single because I am focused.  I'm working on a career.  I'm writing.  There is not a lot of time for anything else.  I'm fiercely protective of my independence.   
I would love to fall in love. There is no feeling more intense than that of falling in love.  I want the intimacy that comes from being in a relationship with a man who understands me.  Someone who gets my drive and passion.  Someone who understands my fears, and loves me unconditionally, regardless of my flaws.  I want to be a part of a loving, stable relationship.
It’s not love that I fear. It’s a life of mediocrity that terrifies me.  I'm not afraid of sharing my life; I'm afraid that my priorities will change, and what I am doing now to better my life will fall by the wayside because a relationship becomes my priority.  I fear losing sight of my ambitions because of a guy.  I want to be with the guy whose presence knocks the wind out of me.  The person who speaks to me, and I stop to listen just so I can hear his voice.  I want to be with the playful, flirtatious, charismatic guy who touches me to the point my body craves to be with him.  But if I'm focused on a relationship, what happens to my dreams? 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I Have Always Been Delighted at the Prospect of a New Day

Sunday is a really good day to catch up on real life responsibilities.  Today, I had planned to get some yard work done, but weather did not permit.  It was too windy, and that means it's too dangerous to burn.  The weather has been a frustration for me, lately.  These heavy rains are bringing weeds, and some of those weeds are full of stickers and thorns.  I need to do a controlled burn in order to burn off the stickers so that I can pull up the plant by the root without implanting splinters and thorns into my skins.  I don't own gardening tools (aside from gloves) because I'm not a gardener, and I don't enjoy the process of gardening.  I do however enjoy plants in bloom.  I love walking through gardens, and I appreciate nature and its resourcefulness.  I often joke about my inability to to grow plants in my yard.  The way it works in my yard is: if I plant something it dies, but if the plant plants itself it survives.  You can ask the two cactus that have pretty much blossomed into a front door threat because they have grown too large and wide, or the small tree in my backyard that I now have to figure out how to transplant (I don't want to kill it) because it decided to grow at the base of my house which threatens the foundation.  It's a sapling, but it's going to get bigger, and its roots are going to spread.  I need to move it before that happens.  Homeowner problems... and the reason I need to hire a good landscaper.

Beyond that, I have been thinking a lot about home renovation projects.  If I want to sell my house, I'm going to have to make it the best possible version of itself in order to bring in top dollar for its sell.  I bought my property near the bottom of the market which means it has already increased tremendously in value.  Even if I decide not to sell, and maybe just rent it out (passive income stream), I'd still need to do some renovations. I have put serious consideration into the things I want to do, the things I need to get done, and the time frame as to when it needs to be done so that I can move.  Desert life has been fun, but I would like to try something new.

I'm not much of a do it yourself girl, although there are things that I can do, I'd prefer to hire professionals to do the job.  That means I have to map out what I want before I do anything.  I have to commit to contractors, and I have to live in a mess until renovations are done.  I don't want to just pull up carpet and repaint.  I want to modernize the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Tile the floors, minor maybe, but it would still add value to what I already own.  Two story, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, loft - 2300 square feet - it's not a small house.  I need to build a new fence, paint the exterior, and of course landscape.  Houses are commitments.  There is always something to do, or something that needs repaired.  

While I understand the desire to own property, when you want to move, owning a home complicates things.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Beauty is a Radiance That Originates From Within

It is of my opinion that the surest sign of weakness in a person’s belief system is a person's need to force others to adopt that ideology.  There is not just one single right way to approach an issue, regardless of a person's insistence that there is. 

It’s scary to admit that we don’t have all the answers,  that we don't know how to fix the things that are broken, or that we don't know how to make the world a better place for everyone to live in.  We can theorize, but without practice, we can't know. 

We live among billions of people who have different viewpoints from our own.  There are some people who prefer to assume they know what’s best for everyone.  It’s easier to dig in your heels than re-evaluate your viewpoint of the world in the light of new information.

You can see this “head-in-the-sand” syndrome with religion, with politics, with economics, and with lifestyle choices.  There are reasons I don't talk about these issues.  There are people out there who are so passionate about their beliefs that they don't want to hear other people's opinions.

I’m here to say that this type of thinking is a load of crap.  There are as many views on life as there are people on this planet, philosophies as there are thoughts.  That is because each individual has a different perspective.  We all have our own unique experiences, and circumstances, that determine how we view the world.

Those who are incapable of understanding that every standpoint is as valid as the one they hold, who see the world as being just one way, black and white instead of in shades of gray, are fooling themselves into thinking that those who don’t think like them are wrong.  They are the ones who are wrong.  We all have the right to decide for ourselves how we think in terms of our life.  Every encounter, every person we talk to, every connection we make, every new piece of knowledge we gain, leads to growth and evolution.

Those who are comfortable in their own beliefs have no need to bludgeon others with their ideologies.  It's important to think, to examine, to educate, to decide, and to act for yourself.  You should feel passionate about your convictions, but you should never shut off your mind to, or belittle, other people's beliefs.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Memories Like These Make My Life Sacred

What it Means to be a Writer

It is often said that to be a writer one must read, write, read, and then write some more. Let's get realistic, in order to be a writer one must write. Reading is research. Reading helps inspire creativity. Reading teaches writing style. Reading gives you a sense of direction. But, in order for a person to be considered a writer, you have to write. End of story.
I'm in no way advocating that a person should not read. On the contrary, reading is essential to development. Reading is the teacher. Writing is the student. Reading is what I call on the job training. Reading opens you up to new possibilities. Reading directs you on the path to becoming a better writer, but writing hones that skill.
I am currently in this month of challenge in which I have taken on the responsibility of writing a page a day in hopes of creating content to be used at a later time, once it has been refined. You would think a page a day would be easy, but it is not when you've exhausted your mind. I find that reading stimulates my mind, refreshes my creativity, but depletes me of time. I feel like I've been juggling time lately.
I've been going through my rough drafts of stories I had intended to write, but put on hold when my job as bartender became more of a demand on my time. That was the primary reason I quit my night job. I wasn't making significant strides in developing a solid career path for myself, and now I am, but I work considerably harder than I did when I worked there.
At the time, when I first started working in the hospitality field, I was attending school in order to further my knowledge in business and fitness. I would bring my schoolwork to work and work on it during my lunch break. I would sit in the break room with a book and a notebook, and you could easily find me at a table reading the book or writing something. I was new, it was before I knew anyone. I wasn't being anti-social. I wanted to write. My creative writing teacher had really lit a fire inside of me. I was using every spare moment to get something written. I would get off work at midnight, make it home by one, and I still had to get homework done before school the next morning. It was exhausting. 
Eventually, I wasn't new anymore; I had people who wanted to sit and have lunch with me. There were those who would hang out at my bar just to chit chat. Honestly, I didn't mind the conversation, but I did have to stop writing on my lunch breaks. I was constantly interrupted while I was in a writing flow, or stopped while I was editing, and I'd get so distracted I'd lose my train of thought. I don't regret my time in the hospitality field because I learned how to be a great bartender. It's a useful skill. I can find a job anywhere if being a writer doesn't work out. I can open up my own party service, a catering service, but making drinks. It wasn't wasted time. I met really great people working there. I cherish those memories.
But I wasn't writing near as much during my eight years of service as I had in the years before, not that the writing bug ever left me, but I had to balance my time, and it wasn't always easy. Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that it can get chaotic, and sometimes at the end of a brutal shift all you want to do is go home and sleep.
As I sit here writing this, I'm smiling because I have eight years worth of notes written on micros paper sitting in front of me, sentences and dialogue, and I'm not sure what stories I had planned to put them in. Even in the middle of chaos, I would stop, and jot down notes as the ideas came to me. I'd put those notes in my pants pocket and try to remember to pull them out before I threw my work pants into the laundry. You can't stop a writer from writing.
When you are a writer, writing is like breathing air; it's what keeps your spirit alive, what makes your heart beat. Your mind is filled with words that have no meaning until you sit down and your soul bleeds them out through your heart. Writing is a way of life. A writer is drawn to writing, sometimes despite our best efforts to pull away from it.
You will find us scribbling endless thoughts on scrap paper, writing during our lunch breaks, talking to ourselves while pacing because we are trying to figure out how to plot a story, and sitting at our computers for hours at a time pounding out words on a keyboard hoping they make sense to the story we are writing. We write because we need to write. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Keep My Heart and My Soul and My Spirit Open to Miracles

I'm working hard. That's pretty much the course of my life lately.

60+ hours a week in front of the computer leaves just about enough time in the week to sleep, eat, and occasionally get some chores done. I don't clean as much as I'd like, though dishes, trash, and laundry are taken care of daily. My body aches from sitting for extended amounts of time. I long to own a piece of equipment where I can workout and work at the same time, just to keep my muscles loose. I do take exercise breaks, and that seems to keep the problem at bay. There are days when my eyes burn from constantly looking at the monitor for too many hours. I spend the majority of my day writing followed by programming. My bread and butter, it's how I earn an income.

I'm happy to do the work. Maybe "happy" isn't the right word, but I'm certainly not bitter or angry about the work I do. I'm in the middle of huge projects, and I feel like I'm contributing to something important.

I feel like I'm in the best position to catch the biggest wave of my life. I'm smack-dab in the middle of this huge freelance swell where people are just figuring out there are more ways to earn an income than just traditional corporate work. I am finding more and more places to submit articles for pay, and the rates are more than fair. If I continue working really hard, and keep my focus, then I might not have to work so hard later. A year from now, I'm hoping to be in a very secure position where I don't have to look as hard because clients will be finding me. The time to focus is now.

My social life is suffering. Currently, I am not dating anyone, but there are a couple of guys who would love to change that. They'd be competing with a ghost because I haven't had time to let go of a fragment of the past. I haven't wanted to either. I keep certain memories close. There is always that one person, and he's the measuring stick for every other guy. Right now, no other guy is measuring up, but I'm not looking either.

My refrigerator is in dire need of replenishing. I shop for groceries once a month, and it's that time again. My personal projects are on hold. My home projects are on hold as well. I don't have the time. My mentality is building a business now and worry about the other things later.

I keep telling myself that if I work hard enough, and I build a solid reputation, my freelance career will be a long, beautiful ride.

And if I don't succeed, at least I know I tried. I need to know I gave it my best, and that I committed myself to creating a better life for myself. The reason for not reaching my goals CANNOT be fear, laziness, or wanting to watch more Television. I can't accept that. The pain of that realization would be a hundred times worse than any frustration that any job could impose on me.

Still, sometimes, when I look at the clock and know my friends are gathered somewhere and laughing together, having a good time, I wish I could stop for a moment and just be there with them, enjoying life.

I suppose there'll be time for that later. It's the sacrifice I've made, and I am not unhappy with that decision.

I know someone who's answering machine message closes with, "Make it a great day!"

I LOVE this. "Have a great day" is passive. "Make" is active and puts me in control. The only one responsible for my happiness is me.

No more feeling sorry for myself, cursing the bad things that happened. I am not a passenger in my life. I'm the driver!

Make it a great day!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

All You Need is One Safe Anchor to Keep You Grounded

The biggest obstacle that stands between me and my writing is me. I schedule my writing time, but find I'm a better writer when I am writing in a flow versus in a time crunch. My thoughts are natural and free flowing when I don't force them. I understand that because I am paid to write, and deadlines loom, I need to maintain a schedule. For me, writing isn't a hobby or a pastime, it’s a necessity. It's a job. It’s how I survive.
When I am here on my blog, my thoughts should not be rushed, nor do they need to be written in perfect prose. There have been moments where I feel like I'm rushing to get something written, and I'm forcing myself, which then causes my mind to go blank. I know, for the most part, when people come here to read, they want to get to know me. It's not always comfortable to talk about myself. I tend to be a private person. I'm a firm believer in the good and the bad. I don't like anyone to get this picture perfect image of me because if they ever get the chance to meet me, they are going to see that I'm flawed.
Perfection is an illusion, and I don't pretend to be perfect.
I don't mind sharing the details of my recent vacation, or cute stories about my childhood. I don't mind talking about my dislikes, or even my imperfections, but right now I seem to be focused. That energy is directed towards writing.
I could tell you what I'm up to right now, but that might come off as boring because what I am doing right now is building up a business, and with that comes a massive amount of time spent at a keyboard, typing out words, and building portfolios.
I've made sacrifices. What that means for me is that I don't have random stories about how certain things in my day went wrong, or any rants because someone pissed me off. I don't have any work place drama; I work for myself, and I'm not big on drama. I won't be walking in a field, capturing the emotions I felt because I'd just witnessed the perfect sunset, even though I love sunsets. I probably won't be talking about what happened last night over cocktails because I haven't been out in awhile. Building a business is hard, and it takes commitment.
The writer needs to write, and sometimes that means I'm working fourteen hours in a day just writing, with a few breaks, because the words are writing themselves, and I don't want to disrupt that flow. And other days, I am working on getting the words to flow, not because I have writer's block, but because I haven't decided on how the story or article I'm writing will flow. I've noticed that once I start writing, the writing comes easily. I just have to get the first couple of sentences on the page and it turns into something like this.
August is short story month, and I've pledged to write at least a page every day. I don't necessarily write a chapter a day, or write a new page for the story I was working on yesterday. I write down what I am thinking, and I give that thought a foundation which I will later build on. At times those thoughts are skeletons that I will later fill in with descriptions and dialogue, and other days I am writing page after page of a story that is running through my head. Sometimes I have writing prompts sent to me and I chose to work on them.
My hope is that I will create enough content during this month that I'll be able to launch a website full of writing samples, as well as have stories written to submit to magazines, and possibly have a couple of articles to sell.
Writing is my soul. I love what I'm doing, but it's not easy work.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Love has its Own Instinct, Finding its Way to the Heart

I suffered a case of mild hypothermia awhile back, and while it's something my roommate teases me about now, it wasn't funny at the time.

I was cleaning my house. It was at a time when the restaurant I was working for was experiencing its seasonal closures and cutbacks on hours. I was spending more time at home than working. It was around the time I was learning the ropes of how to make a full-time income from home, but wasn't yet generating a solid income from sponsored sources, though I still had my article writing to provide me with a steady paycheck.

I had worked with words all day that day and I needed a break. My roommate had headed out with his friends, and was out for the evening. Trash day/recycle day happened to be the following day. I had my bins already positioned in the street. I couldn't write anymore, so I started to clean. I was sorting between stuff that I'd held onto for years, old magazines, articles, information that I had found useful at the time but was no longer relevant to what I was working on, new junk mail that needed to be recycled, and garbage that could not be recycled. I'd get handfuls of items together and then I'd walk to the street where the bins were and I'd throw the items out.

Since I was home alone, I'd lock the door every time I came back inside, and then unlock it when I went back out. I'd forgotten to unlock the door. I ended up locking myself out of the house. My keys were inside, and my cell phone was sitting on my desk. I wasn't exactly dressed for the winter evening. The temperatures had dropped to nine degrees and I was wearing a pair of jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and a pair of flip flops, not exactly cold weather appropriate attire. At least it wasn't snowing, but there was some light wind.

I was stuck outside for two hours. I had plenty of resources around. My neighbor across the street would have helped me. My neighbor next to me would have helped me. I have a good relationship with both of them. I could have taken an easy fifteen minute walk to the Walgreens, or to a friend's house, and called my roommate to tell him what had happened, but every time I would walk to the street, I would realize how dark it was and how much open space surrounded me. Fear of going any further held me back.

Fortunately for me, I had eaten, so my body was in a burning state. I had plenty of liquids in me. I was pacing. I never stopped shivering. My body never left a heating state, but I was still exposed to the cold for a long period of time. I'd like to think my survival instincts would have kicked in, that I would have just broken a window and let myself back inside, but they didn't.

When my roommate found me, I was cold, my body was numb, my feet were swollen, and he had to go into quick action to warm me back up. Blankets, hot liquids, heaters, and eventually a hot shower.

Once upon a time, I'd had the same fear issue standing in the parking lot at my workplace. We were having a Christmas party in the fine dining restaurant. It was one of the rare times when the entire staff could actually show up and celebrate together. When I arrived, the parking lot was completely dark and I realized I was surrounded by a lot of open space, and I froze. I could not get myself to move away from my car toward the building. I had to text Drew, a friend of mine who is like a brother to me, he found me (so did Otha) and they both walked me into the building. It was a complete moment of fear due to a horrifying experience I'd gone through.

I had become dependent on being walked out at night, for my own safety, that I felt like it reinforced the notion that I was in danger. After that incident, there came a point where I'd breeze right by security and walk myself out. I pride myself on my independence. And while I know that everyone had the best of intentions, and were doing what they felt was right, I just felt like they were making the fear worse. I'd driven myself to plenty of places, walked plenty of parking lots alone in the dark, and was never hurt. The detective that worked on my case told me that I didn't need to be afraid to go outside; I just needed to be aware of what was going on around me. In the case of the hypothermia, fear got the better of me and could have done far more serious damage than a bunch of stupid letters, with declarations of love, coming to me in the mail.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Will Love You With All My Heart

I am a picky eater. I always have been. It took me a long time to get over the issues I have with texture, my main reason for disliking food, taste is secondary. I don't hate food, nor do I have an unhealthy relationship with it, but there are certain foods I will not eat. Growing up, my father would make certain meals. There were certain things I would not eat, meat was one of them. It was not a moral choice. I was not a vegetarian. I couldn't get past the issues I had with texture. My father would make beef stew, one of my favorite things to eat, but in order to get me to eat it, he'd have to pick out all of the pieces of meat. I loved the vegetables, the barley, and the flavor the beef provided; the compromise was an easy one to make. It's not hard to pick out a few cubes of beef. It took me awhile, but I grew out of my dislike of eating meat. I still have issues with texture, but now it's a regular staple in my diet. I don't eat meat every day, but I do eat it.

I don't like strawberries because they have seeds on them. Weird quirk? Probably.

I'm highly allergic to melon, it sucks, because I crave it. We tend to crave the things we are most allergic to because they contain the enzymes and other vital nutrients your body needs. This is something my allergist warned me about. When I eat melon, I become gluttonous. I will eat it until I break out in hives. I will eat it until I have a hard time breathing. I will eat it until my lips swell to the size of Angelina Jolie's. It sucks because I love the taste of melon, but I have no self-control when I'm around it.

In life, I'm an easy going, laid back person. I'm quiet. I rarely talk about myself. I'm observant. I'm a good listener. I don't often get upset. In relationships I rarely fight, unless pushed. If I fight back (yelling or crying), you know you've screwed up. I've been called indifferent. It's not that I'm indifferent, some battles are not worth fighting.

I don't often talk about my mother. She and I never had a great relationship. There was never that mother daughter bonding moment that made me feel like we were best friends. I felt she was incredibly selfish. She constantly lied to me. She constantly broke promises. I'd asked her once how she could have left her children. She had no answer outside of “Don't you understand?”. How is a teenager supposed to understand? I wouldn't have asked the question if I understood.

I went through years of sporadically seeing her.

Fourth of July, my favorite holiday, and she wanted to spend the evening shooting off fireworks. I was apprehensive, but she assured me she wanted to spend the entire evening hanging out with her children. At this point, I had already graduated high school; I was going to college and working full-time. We were open on the 4th - I had just gotten off work. I just walked in the door. She gave me a hug, and then told me she was leaving. I'd had it. I let her have it. I yelled at her. I told her exactly how I felt about her. As she was leaving, I told her I hated her and never wanted to see her again. She died the next day. Car accident. She hit the median, flipped her car, the seatbelt broke her neck. Alcohol was present in her bloodstream.

I don't regret fighting with her, or telling her how I felt. She needed to hear how her actions were affecting me, but she was still my mother, and her death left me with these unresolved feelings.

I think it's admirable to acknowledge one’s own weaknesses, it shows confidence. I tend to own my strengths, and I often talk about being positive, but rarely do I share my weaknesses. It's not a judgment thing. I am not afraid of how others will perceive me. I think that most people would rather know the good parts about my character, but we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses.