Keep Believing

Just wanted to share my good news. Dave got a new job in Georgia, so it looks like I’m moving! Be planning on a great blog to get you up to date once we get settled, but for now, please forgive my absence.

To all those who pull inspiration from this blog, just let me leave you with this. I have struggled the majority of my life, being loved and loving the wrong people. I have fallen, scraping my knees down to the bone at times, I have survived on near nothing, I have had my heart beaten, but every time, I managed to get back up and keep fighting, keep believing. Something in me told me he was out there; I couldn’t allow myself to give up. Now, even my dreams weren’t this good. I don’t know how we found each other or what I did to deserve someone I hold so special. I had no idea it would be like this when we first met. We battled our hurdles eariler on which made us even stronger. He makes me smile, he holds me when I cry and he listens when I need an ear. His touch is better than ice cream. 😉 The part that makes us special is, we just fit. He’s my boyfriend, my love, but best of all, he’s my best friend.

There is no recipe to finding love. There’s no quick fix to silencing the emptiness of being alone. I know it sucks, but we must learn to embrace it, even if we don’t like it. I had finally resolved to giving God the time to bring someone special in my life. When in a bad relationship, I quickly removed myself. I didn’t search for forever in every set of eyes. I gave it time and let God and time reveal things to me. And I saw them, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to believe. Don’t make something more than what it really is.

Put yourself first and eventually you will meet the right one. And if not, you will find something even better: YOURSELF. Everything you’ve ever wanted or needed is right there starring you in the mirror. If you do not agree, then what exactly do you plan to offer the one who loves you? Spent time finding that out myself. I’m just me and I love who I am, even if I’m not perfect. Give yourself credit especially for the small thing. Love yourself like you want to be love. Find out what makes you tick. Pamper yourself, even if it’s just a warm bubble bath. It doesn’t have to cost money. DO NOT allow yourself to believe hateful or negative thoughts, whether it’s someone else saying them, or it is yourself you battle. Don’t worry. That’s normal. I still fight with allowing myself to be happy, too. But don’t worry. We will get through it…together 🙂

Moral of this blog post: Love yourself. 🙂

And if I haven’t said it enough: Thank you Lord. Thank you for being here for me and for putting Dave in my life. Thank you for my children and for walking with them even if they don’t see it. Thank you for my family, our health, my renters, everything! Bless Dave and I as we continue our life together in a new state. Bless our finances and help me find a good job quickly. God, bless our relationship as you have continued to bless me. And thank you again, Lord. Amen

See you in a couple weeks!

Through a Mind of Myriad Memories

I wrote this a couple weeks ago. I could examine why i didn’t post it but i think it would be safe to summarize that i didn’t want to admit my weaknesses out loud. Yet, the whole purpose of this blog is to be transparent. So, without further adieu….

My heart is so heavy right now. The 45 minute drive to work was uneventful yet I enjoyed the time to clear my head. Ever feel like something isn’t right but you can’t put your finger on it? Yeah….it’s one of those days. Maybe it’s nothing, Maybe it’s everything…hell if I know.

I get to work and my boss isn’t here. Very unlike him. In the past couple years I’ve seen him come in 5 minutes late once. Within 15 minutes he sends an email to the team explaining that his father died last night. My heart goes out to him. I was pretty close to my mother and it’s been almost 10 years since she went to be with the Lord. The pain she carried 2 years prior was unbearable. My Dad was right there by her side – the hard working man I grew up knowing. He gave up his freedom to tend to her needs, just like their vows promised. I admire him for that, but I saw in the pain in her eyes; she missed his love. She didn’t just want a bath, she longed for his loving touch. A kind word said out of love, not anger. I saw how incredibly unhappy she was the majority of my life. Always yearning. Always sacrificing. Maybe I still carry that…maybe I still resent my Dad on her behalf. He is a pro at spitting words laced with poison. None of us children escaped his rath. We each endure our own scars.

I’ve always felt that those last 2 years was God’s way of helping us let her go. She was everything to me and I couldn’t bear seeing her in constant pain, restricted to that bed unable to move half her body. Her tears…they tore right through me. She spoke often of death…even before her stroke. For some reason, out of 8 kids I was the one she confided in regarding her suicidal thoughts and her feelings that she was going crazy. I remember her laying in her hospital bed in the livingroom asking what I wanted when she was gone. I hated talking about it, but I’m so glad we did. Those crowning memories just before Mom’s passing are mixed with sorrow and joy. Even if I missed that last opportunity to talk to her, in my mind, not talking to her was the permission she needed to escape her pain. Her baby was all grown up now.

So, why can I not quit crying? I feel there’s a message here. My mother had this 6th sense about me. She would call and just know. Maybe she couldn’t put her finger on it, but when something was wrong, she could sense it. It drove her nuts sometimes. I think I inherited that ability. Something isn’t right. Some may think it’s a gift but it can be a damn curse at times. I’ve ignored these feeling too many times and got hurt in the process, so the feelings can easily turn scary. I miss my Mom calling, I miss her conjecture. I miss those moments where she didn’t get me and it made me mad. Funny how perfect isn’t love, but love itself is perfect.

Why did God take my Mom when He did?? I was 33 but I felt like I was 5. Sometimes…I still do. I still need her. She was the buffer for my dad. She couldn’t fix me, but she listened and she wasn’t afraid to tell me ‘what do you want me to do about it?‘. I know she felt my pain, and felt helpless as well. Being a mom myself, I can relate to that now. She loved me unconditionally, and I knew it. I remember in my late 20s, how often I’d call her just to apologize for being the little shit I was when I was younger. I hurt her so bad. But there’s no escaping hurt in this life. And there’s no picking the ones who will hurt you. Sometimes that hurt severes ties, other times, it creates an atmosphere for a new level of growth.

So many things going through my head…some how the thoughts get polluted churning through a mind of myriad memories. The Bible says not to fear, well dammit, I do. What happened to just being happy?? What happened to the serenity and peace? Why the hell does everything have to be so fucking temporary?? I think hell is sometimes right here, on Earth.

So, where did the strong, confident Angie go? I’m right here, this is just me. If you are going to love me, you better love my flaws, too. I rarely ever show any signs of weakness on this blog…well…here it is. I bleed, I hurt and I cry just like the rest of the world. Usually behind closed doors, in private, but not today. Today I mourn. I mourn my mother. I mourn the little girl in me and her arduous memories. Maybe it’s nothing and I’m just letting it get the best of me. Maybe it’s so small that it doesn’t matter. Maybe I am just like my Mother…

Just Me….

Just Me

Some days I just want to cry.

Emotions explode, sometimes I know why.

Facing the day, I give it a try.

Smile at the world, head held high.

Inside, invisible, it’s all a lie.

And I’m just me. Just me.

 

If I could open my soul, would you take a look?

Read my thoughts, like an open book.

Would you stop reading or want to know more?

Fall to your knees and hit the floor.

Or maybe run out the door…

But I’m just me. Just me.

 

Fear has followed me throughout the years.

Often disguised beneath sweat and in tears.

My brain it churns like old rusted gears.

Heavy is a heart full of fears.

What a pure heart bears.

And that’s just me. Just me.

 

Letting go is not as easy as it seems,

even wrapped in the arms of the man of my dreams.

You cannot hear yet lest it screams,

Fearing the repetition of heart break schemes,

Or so it seems…

When you’re just me. Just me.

 

Petrified of accosting this wall of pain.

Those before have left their stain.

It’s not what has been lost, but what is to be gained.

And it no longer matters who is to blame.

No. This is not a game.

I’m just being me. Just me.

 

Of my three wishes, this wouldn’t be one.

Yet my experiences are the reasons for who I’ve become.

Fear claws at my confidence yet the fights not done.

Don’t dare count me out when I’ve just begun.

Just gonna be me until this battle is won.

 

I’m just gonna be me. Just gonna be me.

Because that’s all I know how to be…

Just me.

 

~Angela Nichols

8/7/12

Giving Life to Fear

I’ve been wanting to write for some time now, but something always holds me back. Not life, but me. Afraid of revealing what I’m really feeling. Not ready to confront it. I don’t know why – when I write I tend to answer my own questions and walk away feeling more confident…so, it’s time.

The past few weeks I’ve been extremely fearful. I won’t go into detail, so let’s just say I’m afraid of losing this happiness. Before I met Dave, I was happy. Alone, yes, but extremely happy with everything else in my life: my job, my kids, my finances, my home, my conflictions. Meeting Dave only added a level of contentment; a surreal level of contentment that I’ve honestly never felt before. I have finally found the one that assuredly fits me. How do I know? I just do. Love is not just liking the same foods or the same hobbies, it’s meshing on a higher level of compatibility that deals with morals, views and ideas. It’s communicating on a level beyond words. It’s feeling so deep there are no words. I’ve never met someone more like myself. So, maybe it is natural to fear losing him.

Like everyone else, life has been nothing but a series of ups and downs for me. Yet I ride the downs like an Olympic wave runner – never letting them change who I am in my core, rather, I’ve allowed my times of trial to strengthen me. I have recognized my weaknesses – admitted them and work on them. In the dust of defeat and triumph, I have realized my strengths and utlitize them to the fullest. Of course, opportunities have emerged as a result of not sticking my head in the sand…yet threats. Still working on dealing with the threats.

I pulled up some quotes on fear today and one stuck out:

“When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.” ~ Buddha

How unlikely of me to pick Buddha, yet I am not beyond believing that other religions hold merit. Matter of fact, I’m still struggling with my religious identity. Don’t get me wrong. I believe there is a God, just maybe not as main stream as some would like me to believe. That’s another blog….back on topic: this verse spoke to me. We have to understand that evil does lurk in more than just the corners of the world – evil lurks in the corners of our minds. Possibly the most scariest place. However, we can devert this fear by not allowing it to gain foothold. We can strive to find tranquility and peace in recognizing the good acts of others; and not just in others, but in ourselves – in our perceptions and in our attitudes. How we carry ourselves.

I’ve said it before and I’ll surely say it more, but things are exactly what we say they are; life is exactly what we claim it to be. If you think your life sucks – guess what?? IT DOES. If you think your job sucks – IT DOES. If you think your days suck – well, if it doesn’t, you can bank on it that it will before the day is over. What we speak, we breathe into existence. We ultimately give life to fear and fear in turn, takes on a whole life of its own. Now, I’m not saying it’s not okay to be scared – we would have no use for courage if there was not first something to fear – yet it is the sheer act of refusing to let that fear control us. “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” ~Mark Twain. We must speak positively, reminding ourselves of ‘good teachings’, hence, the good moments that keep us going. We must surround ourselves with positive people. We have to appreciate the wonder in where we stand today. Embrace it. In doing so, we release fear and become examples of good teachings for others. Tomorrow is too far away to give into fear. And tomorrow is coming; good or bad. Don’t hold onto the past so tightly that we choke out our present.

I guess what I’m trying to say – and what I’m trying to remind myself of is, don’t give fear a foothold. Giving life to fear creates a breeding ground from which no good crop can be harvested. Instead, embrace the opportunity to realize that the past is exactly that – the past. Take from it lessons that strengthen you or allow you to work on your weaknesses. Know yourself. Acknowledge the fear and then let it go. Be strong and courageous in who you are and everything else will naturally fall into place. As Confucius says, “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?

“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.” ~ Psalm 118:6

“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

Where You Are is Where You Are Meant To Be

May was an extremely busy month: my daughter and I both graduated, moved from the only house we’ve known for 18 years and my boyfriend and I prepped the old house and got it rented in just two weeks. Not to mention, I had a couple photo jobs sprinkled in the mix, too. I was quite happy to see May leave and I’m hoping June will include some much needed R&R.

Anyway, my surroundings are talking to me again. No. Not like that. I don’t have a burning bush in my back yard and inanimate objects don’t speak to me in a verbal voice. (For the record: if I ever met a ‘Mr. Ed’ in real life, I’d flip out.) I just feel a story behind events, whether big or small. Indian’s had this inate ability to ‘read’ the stars and the wind and the…anyway, I firmly believe that our surroundings speak to us; we just get so busy we write them off and don’t bother to analyze them. Sad actually….

I was given a shiffilera plant at work several years ago. Even then, I knew it needed to be transplanted. Stretched out, it towered at least 6 feet tall yet it’s home wasn’t much more than a mere gallon container. For years it thrived in my office and despite it’s small home, continued growing.

I decided to take it to the new house several weeks ago. There, it was given a new container at least 6x it’s previous size. It looked like an old person, bent and twisted; I carefully secured it’s twisted body to garden rods with garden twine to ensure it could handle outdoor living. Then, I patiently and not-so-faithfully watered and waited.

At first it looked like it wouldn’t make it. All but maybe two leaves fell off and it turned sickly green and yellow. It looked like an oddly large and winding stick someone stuck in some ground. I almost threw it away, but fortunately, laziness prevailed. I continued to include it in my periodic watering ritual.

Many weeks later, I noticed that it had freed itself from the twine. I thought maybe I just did a poor job tying it and that the wind had broken my poor excuse of a knot, but it literally busted free and was standing more erect. ‘Interesting’, I thought. And just yesterday, I saw new life, springs of new leaves, shooting out about every inch or so, from the base all the way to the very top. I think she’s gonna make it! And ultimately be more beautiful and lush than it ever was in my little office.

So, what’s the hidden story, you ask? Well, we go through changes like this, too. We are transplanted into new surroundings: a new job, a new baby, a new relationship or maybe no relationship at all. We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory and maybe our leaves wither as well. Maybe the change reveals things about ourselves that we did not really want to see or admit to. But that’s what the change is about: growth. We sometimes have to shed old leaves in order for new leaves to emerge. Often we don’t get exactly what we thought we wanted, but I assure you, we get exactly what we need once we accept and embrace the experience. Before we know it, we are growing stronger than ever before and we are better as a result.

Life is full of change and if we don’t learn to adapt, we only hurt ourselves. You are not alone, so don’t use that as an excuse. Whether you believe or not, God is right there with you. There is no remedy in blaming our surroundings or ourselves. We have to stop shuffling around the same mountain, complaining about this or that. Complacency is not an option. In doing so, we inhibit our own growth and for that, we can be our own worst enemy. We are only here for a moment. Don’t look back in regret. We are where we are for a reason; whether to be still, to move on or to learn more about ourselves. It is just another chapter of life. While good times don’t seem to last, neither do the bad. But we must have them both to complete the cycle. And sometimes, if you truly look back, the bad times weren’t really as bad as they seemed at the time.  There is a purpose.

So, the message is: make the most of your surroundings because where you are is where you are meant to be. Don’t fight change; embrace it. Before you know it, you’ll realize new growth, new breath and a new appreciation for your new surroundings.

Hard Knocks

This is short, and I LOVE IT! Big thanks to Jeremiah for allowing me to post on my blog.

 

Don’t let conflict stop you from reaching your destination. Hard Knocks.

In a World Where Everything Changes, Love Remains the Same

 Lately, I find myself getting sad for no reason. No. This isn’t a rare occurrence. I’ve experienced this momentary lag of reason many times over the course of my life. And as the analytical type that I am, I’m always trying to figure out the ‘why’. It is fact that our bodies let us know when it needs water or specific nutrients, (also known as cravings). So if you think about it, it’s not a far stretch to think that our bodies – or our minds – are in need of something when it responds in a way such as displaced sadness.

When I was very young, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I recall very vividly, my mother sitting with her head down on the kitchen table, crying uncontrollably. Scared and confused, I approached her and asked what was wrong. She looked up and me and sobbed, “I don’t know why. I’m just sad.” That moment was forever etched deep within me. It honestly terrified me. I didn’t understand. I remember thinking, how can you be sad without a reason?? Part of me thought she was nuts. As I grew older I realized that she did suffer from depression. I’m sure that was part of it, but having the experiences I’ve had in life, I have a hard time comprehending ‘depression’ as an illness. I think it is self-driven. Let me stop you there. Yes. I have suffered ‘depression’ in my years. But, do I think a pill will fix it? A big: HELL NO. I think getting to the core of the problem is where the remedy lives. Not all things can be fixed, but they have to be accepted. Sometimes we cannot get there alone. We need our closest friends or even a counselor. Until we succumb to doing whatever it takes to get to the root of the fear, we will continue dancing around the fire, and some will continue to fall further into a pit of despair, getting more and more depressed as they convince themselves they are nuts. They aren’t. We aren’t. We’re just human.

It’s human nature to be fearful of change, and change is a major facet of life; you cannot have one without the other. Change is probably the one true constant we can depend on. For some reason we get accustom to a certain way of life and when even the slightest thing changes, we freak out. Eventually, some things will change: jobs, children, relationships, friends, bills…. We busted our asses in school to get a good job just to lose it. We raise our children with the best of intentions just to witness them growing up, making decisions on their own, sometimes as we watch in horror. Experience has taught us the outcome already. We brace for what is to come just as if we were watching an accident getting ready to unfold. But they have to learn on their own. Of course we love them and we don’t want them to hurt, but they are on a new journey and unfortunately as parents, that part doesn’t include us holding their hand. Why do we react in shock as if things are supposed to remain constant? As if life is somehow supposed to be perfect all the time? THAT is living in a fantasy world.

Long ago, I resolved that this feeling of displaced sadness is normal. It kind of threw me off this time, because I couldn’t be happier right now. The last six months has been phenomenal…so, why am I so sad? What is it that my body fears? Then it hits me: unconditional love. I don’t think I’ve honestly ever felt it from someone of the opposite sex. I know I felt unconditional love from my mother, but my Dad is another story. There was always a string attached to things he did for me, and he didn’t hesitate to tell me I’d never amount to shit if I didn’t do things his way. Sad. But true. When I was younger, I walked on egg shells always fearing that if I disappointed those I love, they would leave or say mean things to me. If I didn’t do things right, I would lose it all. It really sucks to feel that your Dad only loves you based on your performance. Don’t worry. I don’t need a therapist. I have come to grips with how I feel about my Dad. I love him, and I know he loves me in the best way he knows how. He’s 82. It’s not going to change. I will never be Daddy’s girl. I’ll never have that precious moment where he dances with me and tells me how proud he is of me. This is just the way he is. He means no harm and he definitely doesn’t want it to make me cry. So I let it hurt for a moment, then I press on. THAT is how I avoid depression: I accept. I mourn. I do what I can, then I move on. I have way too many things to be thankful for. I cannot allow something I don’t have to define me.

Through it all, I see how I’ve harbored this emptiness with my relationships with men. Always struggling to feel accepted, to quiet the fear of being left, to quench the tears of a relationship I never had with my dad. In my past, I have mistaken love for many other things and I’ve allowed this blindness to permit myself to be used, abused and misled. Likewise, my past has taught me to see signs and separate myself from someone. Make a quick exit. Cut my losses. Keep my head about me and my priorities in order. I’ve always known deep down that someday, someone would come around and he would be it. Life is all about learning. And I’ve learned a lot about what love is and what love isn’t.

So what is it? What is my body telling me? Well, I think it has to do with change and with love. My youngest child graduates next month. A lengthy chapter in my life is coming to an end. I realize the fear of their well-being and safety won’t stop here, but my job as a full-time Mother is definitely changing. She’s moving out on her own and even though I’m scared, I’m so incredibly proud of her. And here I am getting ready to move out of the house I’ve lived in for over 20 years to move in with the man of my dreams. Sometimes it seems surreal. I’ve always felt that I would find love, but it is here. Right here. Right now. How do I know that? I can’t explain it. I just do. And here in lies the realization of my fear: maybe I was wrong. Maybe all things don’t change.

Unconditional love is truly the one thing that doesn’t change. It is always there. I have become so accustom to living on guard, walking on egg shells, defending my ground…and I don’t have to anymore. For once, I can breathe. The man who has my heart, truly has my heart. He has all of me. That in and of itself is scary. My body is not use to this and maybe it just needs time to adjust (lol).  I love him with all that I am. I can actually see myself in him. Sounds kinda corny but it’s true. And because of that, it isn’t hard to imagine that he loves me the same way, too…I know he has his own set of fears. Yet, I trust him. Yes. I said that. I fully and completely trust him.

So what do I need? I need to let go of the “what if’s”. I need to leave behind all my fears and the memories that have created them. I need to accept that not all love is like the love of my Dad. I need to forgive me Dad for my loving me how I want him, too and simply accept him for who he is. And I need to remind myself that I deserve to be happy, without the fear of acceptance, or floor of egg shells. I need to continue accepting, mourning, growing and moving forward. I am the author of my biography. Each chapter is better than the next. And in a world where everything changes, love remains.