Motivation, Self-Help, Uncategorized

If You Look Back, You’ll Soon Be Going That Way

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I carry a fortune around with me in my wallet, one I got from a cookie at the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. It reads: If you look back, you’ll soon be going that way. Wise words. Living in the rear view mirror is not a good thing, something I often struggle with. It’s like I want to correct what was wrong, rework it, like your brain does when it dreams (or so I’ve heard). I often wondered when I’d dream, why all the characters in my dreams are figures from my past, none in the present. It’s because I want to change it. I want to do a redo, but, unfortunately, I have to accept what’s done is done. And, on top of that, maybe be happy that those negative experiences happened so they could bring me to a more positive future.

My brother sent me this quote today, which relates:

The broken thing you keep trying to put back together, can’t even compare to that beautiful thing that’s waiting to be built.

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I feel like I have made so many regrettable life choices! I want to shake my former self, yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??” Like, why would I choose to be an actress, of all things, as a career? Seriously. Like that’s the worst prospective career choice, ever. BUT, I can look at it this way now: had I not tried it, I’d be wondering, “I wonder if I could have made it…I’m talented…maybe!” Now I have a retort when someone says, “You’re so funny! You should be on TV!” I can say, “Oh, I tried that….” and here we are…I don’t regret that. I used to lament that those years I spent hitting the NYC pavement could have been better spent climbing the career ladder, but, hey, I’m just different. I never like to walk the straight-and-narrow.

I’m bent.

Oh, one of my favorite things to do is recycle old relationships that went awry, hoping to change history. Like, I’d recycle old boyfriends, seeing if it would end differently. Guess what? It never did! Or, I’d focus on friendships that just dissipated, wondering, “What did I do wrong?” And when I’d reconnect, I’d realize, oh, yes, this is why we are no good for one another. 

Recycling is for paper goods, not for people.

I realize now that when I wrote my novel, Honor Girl, I was trying to rework my past. I was trying to fix what was broken, writing what I had hoped had happened. This is contrary, of course, to what people think when they read it and assume it is my life and what happened. It is not. It is perhaps what I wished had happened… I was working things out in my head. Writing helps that way. Try it. That’s also why I blog: I’m working it out.

I am going to try to work on looking forward, living a dog’s life. That way, I can focus on what I’m building, not what’s broken.

 

 

 

#marriage, #relationships, Parenting, Self-Help, Uncategorized

Cherish What You Have

 

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I stood at the bus stop twirling my daughter’s braids this morning, wrapping them around my index fingers, when a friend me asked what my plans were for the weekend.

“Oh, I’m on the loose!” I exclaimed. “My kids are staying with their dad,” I smiled.

My children weren’t listening, so I felt it okay to share this with glee.

But as the words fell from my mouth, what was meant to be something very happy  turned darker and sad upon landing. “Well, I mean, I have plans with some friends tonight…but I’ll see them at soccer tomorrow.” (I added this last bit to make myself feel better, even though the mother could care less).

The weekend landscape lay vacuous before me. I would miss my children.

When I first got divorced, I would claim the upside (if there even is one) was that I finally had a moment to myself. I was able to read a book, go for a walk, hang out with friends…drive around. I could roam CVS for face cream, go to the Starbucks drive-thru without ordering Cake Pops, and watch my reality TV for hours without having to turn it off to play Barbies or color.

But, as time has elapsed, three years now, I don’t so much await those free moments anymore.

“What are you going to do this weekend?” I asked the mother back.

“Well, it’s his birthday, and we are going to take him to Lego Land and go to the race car track,” she responded. Her son gleamed. I could tell he was pleased.

It occurred to me she might be envious that I was going out with friends for the evening. But what I  wanted to tell her is: “Oh, honey, no. Cherish what you have. You have your whole family intact, going to Lego Land!”

“I would trade in a heartbeat to have that,” I’d say.

My children sometimes wish aloud that we all still lived together in the same house, so they wouldn’t have to “miss someone.” I’ve thought about it, how that would work, and it simply can’t, for obvious reasons.

“Oh, it’s fine,” I tell them. “You’re so lucky you get TWO houses, and get to spend time with both your mommy and your daddy! Not many kids can say that,” I reply.

I look forward to a break today, but my heart’s just a little bit heavy– even when the weekend sits before me like an open road.

I’d rather be playing Barbies and twirling my girl’s braids.

 

Motivation, Self-Help, Thoughts

When Stillness Stings

I was just reading that we should all find an hour in our day–find it, steal it,  covet it, and make the time for it–to disconnect in some way from our stress and hyper-connectivity. We should seek out a pond, go for a walk, read a book, meet a friend, or actually stop to smell the flowers, as trite as that sounds. In fact, just the other day, I stopped to smell a white hydrangea, and then I noticed that there was a wasp on it. And I thought, “Really? This is what happens when I stop to smell the flowers? I get stung by a wasp?”

And maybe that’s the point! Stay with me here…

Maybe we keep this maniacal pace, filling our days with 40 hour work weeks, kids’ activities and carpools, gym workouts, Facebook postings, and phone swiping just so that we don’t get STUNG by what lurks beneath: what happens when we are still.

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Photo by Suneo1999 on Pexels.com

When we are, emotions surface, thoughts pervade, lists unravel, daydreaming happens. Some of this can be quite positive and inspirational, like the dream of a family camping trip (well, no, scratch that–that sounds miserable and sticky; I’m already itching); or the dream of having a baby or finally mastering the guitar. Conversely, these emerging thoughts can be dark, even scary, such as unease with a friendship or relationship, a lurking sense you may not be living the life you want to live. And you’re stuck. So you keep moving; you connect.

What do we do when we see wasps? We run to avert the sting. We run from it before it gets us, waving our hands around and screaming, like we are on fire. We do this too in relationships, don’t we? We run from them or break up with people before they can break up with us. Or, we disparage ourselves and self-deprecate in front of others (okay, I do), so we can beat them to the punch. I hurt me before you hurt me.

Maybe we should stop and feel the burn, the pain.

I have a healing wasp sting on my wrist right now. It’s small in diameter, about two centimeters, and it’s pink from where I itched off the scab.

Sometimes a scab needs to be itched off to heal.

Doesn’t time heal all wounds? I’m waiting for an answer on that one. But I need to acknowledge these wounds first, in the stillness.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
#relationships, Motivation, Self-Help, Thoughts

Ten Things I Know So Far- Inspired by Anne Lamott

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Thanks to writer Anne Lamott, I’m inspired to write my own TEN THINGS I KNOW SO FAR:

1. No matter how tired, angry, drunk, crazy, loud, funny, sick, ragged and worn down you are, if you put on pearls, you always look just a little bit classier.

2. When a man wants to be with you, he will find you and contact you. There are no games. You’ll say, “I can’t believe how easy this was.” The ones who you cyber-stalk, who you tell your friends have “intimacy issues,” or ones who said they “will circle back” or fade out to the point you wonder if they got into an egregious accident and you need to check on them (um, yeah, true story) are not interested in you. Homework: read He’s Just Not That Into You.

3. Everything is better with bacon and grapefruit or coconut seltzer water. Not together, of course. Well, maybe. Must try.

4. Wherever you go, there you are; You can run, but you can’t hide; what’s the common denominator here? All those sayings are true. No matter how many times I’ve pulled a geographic, be it physical, as in moving from the city to the country, or leaving a relationship, or changing a job, I’m still me with the same old stuff. Sometimes, these moves can fix a circumstance, but they can’t fix me. I can only do that. My homework.

5. Uber is a beautiful thing. Except when it’s used as an adjective. Same thing with epic.

6. We are all a work in progress, and we will be for eternity. You can always be better—to yourself, your family, your friends, your community. There’s never been a day that I’ve said, “I’m all set. I’m good now.”

7. Circle the wagons when it comes to friendships. Too many can make you feel lost at sea. Have your core, your circle, and let them in, tell them all. If a circle is too big, it pops, and you’re left with a line. (Wait, that sounds kind of deep. I don’t think it is, but maybe).

8. You’re only as old as you feel…until you can’t fit into your jeans that you wore when you turned forty and had just had a baby. Then, you’re me. And you realize you’re not 28. #wishfuljeaning. This brings me to my next point: don’t buy all new clothes when you can’t fit into the old ones. Even if you’re still too large for them, just keep them in heaps folded on the top of your closet to serve as thin-spiration. Then, one day, you can lob them all into a bag, bring them to the goodwill or local service center, and go eat an Italian sub.

9. Guys and girls can’t be just friends, if either of them is single and/or attractive. Okay, this can be argued. However, I have found that lots of my “friends” seemed to disappear when I got married or in long term relationships. Usually, one crushes out on the other, even if the other is blind to it, or pretends not to see it. Harry was right.

10. There is only one you. (well, unless you’re me, and you get told you look like someone they went to camp with, work with, are related to, or saw driving earlier, on a daily basis).

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