Raw expectations and perspective


We all have expectations of some degree or another.

Many of us want/wish things would go smoothly and according to plans. If you have been on the planet any length of time you learn that is not the way that it is.

I know that money can buy many things, even make you happy for a time… did you know you can hire someone to hold your umbrella, your place in line and even carry a child for you?

What it can’t buy is true feelings of happiness deep down in your soul.

So many times we place far too much value on material items. We place expectations of our happiness on material things or things that are so far out of our reach but we are taught to reach for the stars. We forget about the lesson of what happens when we do not get what we want.

I often see people going through the motions of happiness but they are not truly happy. Maybe they are happy in some ways but not fully at peace with who they are. They feel they need more “stuff”. Maybe it isn’t the “stuff” that they need but the intangible peace that can only come from within.

I know sometimes if I get too comfortable in my own skin it becomes uncomfortable and I search for ways to stretch my creativity and my mind. I need more, but it isn’t always about material gain. If that is a by-product of the changes I choose then I consider that a bonus. I obviously have to maintain a certain criteria in order to take care of myself and the boy.

I know that there are so many times I feel that I fail to meet the expectations of others. As well as the expectations I set for myself. I feel like I can be too stubborn, too strict, too hard, too blunt, too much of all the things I should ease up on. Then I argue with myself on if not me, who will? It can become a quiet hell in my mind. On the outside, I actually appear sane and having it together. Inside it is like Armageddon and the end of the world as I know it.

The need to do good and what is right is never in question. It’s the road to getting there that can get narrow and long. It’s going about it my way when others have their perceptions of how I should be doing it. Not that there is always something wrong with their way or that I can’t see the benefits and may even incorporate all or some of their suggestions. It is when I chose what I feel is best for me and mine and I am chastised like a child or someone tries to put me down because “they know what’s best”. Maybe they do know what’s best, but I can guarantee that that don’t know what is best for me.

One of my favorite lines is “finding my way lost.” I heard the term and wrote on the line into my poems over 20 years ago. It still resonates within me all these many years later. When I first wrote on it I was in my early 20’s. I had certain perceptions of how life “should” be and how I could make it into how I thought I wanted it to work. I was so far off the mark as to how things should be and what paths I needed to take to get there. However, in taking that detour in my life, it broadened my perspective of not only me, but the wider world.

Sometimes life moves so very fast, it’s like it goes in slow motion for a short while and it is back on the train to crazy town. Your dreams either happen, change forms, or are tweaked to reflect your inner changes. Sometimes you aren’t able to achieve certain dreams. You can let that define how you go forward by wallowing in your own self-pity (been there). Try moving forward in a new direction. I’m not necessarily sure it’s the direction you need to be going but it needs to feel right. I recommend this one over the self-pity. Not that self-pity doesn’t have its moments but that is all, for me, that it needs to be is moments. I can’t get caught up repeating the same thing over and over for years and not getting anywhere close to where I want to be.

I dreamed of a family. Not only the family I was born into, but a larger, happier, crazier family mixed with both the biological and those who chose to join me on this journey. I dreamed of children, a partner to share it with, and always, those I deem famriends – friends that are family.

My famriend family is amazing. I have those I have a DNA link to as well as the other amazing humans that I have met on this incredible journey of life. People I will have in my life in some form or another until the end of this life’s journey.

I was blessed with one amazing miracle that chose me to be his mama. I was also blessed with several “nieces and nephews” prior to the boy’s arrival to help prepare me for when the time was right.

Not every part of my dream was like I expected it to be. Sometimes it was more than I could take and pain, despair, depression and misery took over. They occasionally make their appearance but I now know how to deal with them.

The best part is that I am still here, writing my story with every breath I take. I am responsible for loving and showing another human being how to start their own journey. I hope to be with him for many years but I know that whatever time I have with him, he will always know what love is and he knows how to find happiness. I pray I have the time to teach him how to nurture that and help him grow into the young man he will hopefully become.

We never know what tomorrow brings, so try and share yourself with those you love while you have the change.

Look at life from a different perspective. Step out of your comfort zone, if only a little bit. Take a chance and live! Share the joy, compassion and love with the world. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all just made the effort to try to be kinder, more patient and understanding every day?!

These are the raw thoughts that have been on my mind. These are the things that keep me going. These things and of course, the amazing people that I share my life with.

Keep Hope Alive!

 

Reflections of my daddy’s life on the anniversary of his passing


I remember my mama waking me up gently. The boy was sleeping with me and I didn’t want him to wake up yet. I went downstairs to help daddy get ready for the day. It was Sunday so I knew he would get visitors. Here he was at the end of his life and still he had people coming to visit daily.

Everyone loved my daddy. You couldn’t help it as he was so easy to talk to. Even in business, he was respected and did a job he loved for over 40 years.

He was a man’s man and a gentleman. He played sports and seemed to be good at everyone he played. He started playing golf when he was young and we called him the “Yoda” of golf as he was the most serene golfer I have ever seen. We played tennis as a family and tons of games. We learned to be competitive and how to lose with grace. He grew up hunting and fishing. I was in about the 2nd grade before I realized not everyone ate venison and fish as staples like we did.

He was known as the negotiator and for his peace making skills. He was quite calm often in a sea of chaos.

When I was a young teenage girl dating, he was quite intimidating to any guy who wanted to go out with me. He used to interrogate anyone I planned to ride with. He would clean his gun, clean a deer or practice his bow and arrow (he was a great shot) all while questioning the young man’s intentions with his daughter. I knew how much my daddy loved me by everything he did.

I know a handful of times that I made him so mad he wanted to throttle me. We talked about it often. I had so much respect for him because as a teenager, I had a temper and he taught me how to control it. Not that I didn’t get in trouble as a result of my temper and actions, but I knew he loved me no matter what.

He told me he used to have a bad temper when he was younger and all it did was get him in trouble. He learned how to control it and channel it. He learned to read people and anticipate their reactions. He learned how to be kind to others when they all but spit in his face. He learned control.

He also learned kindness and compassion as well as good business practices. A person’s handshake meant their word of honor and you did not break that. He taught me about respect.

He taught me the love of the outdoors and the beautiful of the world.

He taught me to look beyond the outside of a person and see who they truly are. There are many wonderful people and may people who would do you harm. He taught me everyone is equal.

He fought for the equality through his business as this was the south and southerners can be hard to change their ways.

I was the firstborn. A daughter. My brother followed 3 ½ years later. We talked of how the world was more open to men. He saw the differences in how anyone who was considered a minority was treated and he worked to change and made a difference. No small feat here in Alabama where nearly all men of his stature in that time were expected to be a bit more narrow minded, see only one color, one gender and class was everything. He didn’t. He saw the human being where others saw the poor, females and those of a different color or class. Like his mama, my GrandMaMa, before him, he taught me so many things you can’t learn in a book. You have to open yourself and see things as they really are. Then you have to focus on the good and what is right.

We tend to almost saint those who have passed away. I am not doing that, I am honestly sharing how amazing this man truly was.

I haven’t always been the “ideal” daughter. I tended to push the boundaries and tried my parents on so many occasions it’s amazing they didn’t ship me off. I felt I had “failed” at so of life’s big moments. My daddy helped me see that I didn’t fail. Sometimes I had to learn the hard way or maybe in a way that wasn’t the easiest, but he would never see me as a failure. He saw me for who I was and accepted me for who I was. Flaws and all.

That morning I went downstairs with my mom, I saw my daddy. I knew that it was only a matter of time before he left this plane and the pain of the disease that took over his body. The pain and disease that could claim his body but could not lay claim to his heart, mind and soul.

It is clear to me, 2 years later on this very day, every detail about that morning. I remember my last conversation with him. He was so very weak. He was saving all of his energy I realize now, so he could tell his family how much he loved them. He told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. He asked me to be strong, as he knew I would be.

When I left his room I knew this was the day. I got the boy dressed and talked to my family as we were all there.

I had gone to the store earlier for his medications and was running back again when my sister-in-law called me to tell me to come home then. I am sure I broke several laws but all I could think was “Please hang on daddy, I’m coming.” I knew he heard me. I pulled into the garage and turned the car off and jumped out as my sister-in-law opened the door. “Go, I have this. I love you.” As I ran to the bedroom I passed my aunt and son.

My mother, brother and uncle were all around my daddy. I felt like I just slid into base. More like into place. We surrounded him with love as he left this life. Peacefully and just like that he stopped breathing. I know I felt his love surround us. I remember looking at my mother, brother and my uncle. We were all crying. My uncle prayed a beautiful prayer.

To this day it gets to me. I feel my breath stop because that’s what it feels like. Your breath just stops and you wonder if it will ever start again. My heart hurts. 2 years and my heart and my soul can still feel like they are being ripped apart with grief. Knowing I can’t call, I can hear you voice and feel your arms around me undoes me at times. I miss you so much daddy. Your little girl still needs you. I know you have made me a better human being, but sometimes it’s so hard.

Yet I push on just like I did 2 years ago today.

The anniversary is hard. It can be numbing, emotional and static like all at once.

The greatest man I ever loved passed from this earth on February 9, 2014.

At his funeral I sang his favorite song, Amazing Grace. Afterwards, someone asked me how I could do it. That’s easy, I love him and that was the least I could do for him after all he had done for me.

Go tell those you love how you feel. No matter their reaction, just let them know. We never know how much time we have here.

Keep Hope Alive.

 

Amazing grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I’m found.

Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Then when we first begun.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I’m found.

Was blind, but now I see

 

thoughts from my mind…


Staring into space I forget what I’m doing

Goals to accomplish, life’s going on, it’s time for me to get moving

My brain will stop and fade out and in

Conversing can be hard, I’m so thankful for my friends

The ones, along with some family, who understand my oddities

And who accept the quirks of me

It’s not to say I don’t come with irritations

Life, we understand, comes with certain limitations

Sometimes we push too much, we try to go too far

Forget we need to stop and rest, like fuel needed in a car

I go and go and run and run and keep going ‘til I can’t

Then I stop and breathe, take a rest and I listen to the rants

I laugh; I cry and sometimes try to reason

I forget that in this journey of life, everything has a season

I wonder if in finding mine I will lose more than I’ll gain

The words that creep into my mind is “there is no joy without the pain”

It fills me with awe, these words from me, that fall right from my mind

Straight to my finger tips to share my thoughts in kind

Those meant to share will walk with me this journey all the way

Others will walk a while with me then find their place to stay

My gypsy soul, my warped, sweet mind guides me on my path

The karma, love and things I see, protect me from the wrath

Of those who lives who set a course in life to hurt and harm others

For me I see us all as one family, with many sisters and brothers

Of course, there’s mothers and fathers too along with friends and lovers

We all are one big family, this interwoven cover

To live, to love and show compassion

To keep hope alive and take action

To stand for those who cannot stand and follow through

To bare my soul for all to see and to do what I say I will do