Friday, September 26, 2014

Trusting Again

"How do you trust someone when 
they have given you a reason not to trust them?"

That was the question posted on Twitter a few days ago (not by me), and it's been floating in my thoughts ever since.

So, what do you think? How do you? Or do you at all?

As a general rule, I guess I'm the kind of person who does. Even if you've given me a reason not to trust you, I'll try again.  But the result is unpredictable. Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes it's a disaster.

I once had a friend who'd hurt me pretty deeply. And then we had a chance to start again... but I thought about it for a long time first. Could I trust them with my heart? Was I going to be hurt again? In the end, I went with a weird sort of trust -- I'm not sure if you can even call it that. I made the choice to move forward. I made the choice to give them the power to hurt me twice...  but I did so, almost expecting it to happen.

Maybe that's why trusting again is so hard... You can choose to trust, but you always hold a little of yourself back, just in case -- an extra measure of self-protection. But hopefully, little by little, you can build trust back between you again... and over time, you can even let go of those bits that you hold onto for dear life.

So, to answer the question... How do you trust someone when they have given you a reason not to trust them?

I guess you have to choose whether the risk is worth it. What are you potentially losing by walking away? What could you gain by giving of yourself one more time? And can you heal again if the result is your broken heart?

I can't answer those for you... but I hope you find the answers you need.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bitches, Bemusement and Blossoming

So... apparently I was called a bitch last night.

There was a time that I would have let this really get to me. I'd chew on it, I'd be bothered by it. I'd lose sleep over it... I'd take it out weeks down the road and work over it again and again. But I'm not going to do that this time.

I've learned some things about people and about myself over the last few years...  some things that are easy to remember, and some things that I have to remind myself.

Not everyone is going to like you...  even the most perfect among us is going to find people who will pick them apart. So you can't let the people who abhor you define who you believe that you are. They see you through black-tinted glasses, and they're going to see what they want to see. They're going to interpret your words and actions in the way that supports what they think about you... and I'm not sure that there's really a lot that you can do about that.  The only person you can control is you.

But the part you can control is not letting their opinion about you matter. If they hate you that much, I'd be willing to bet that they aren't someone that you like a lot either. So why are you letting them matter? Why are you allowing yourself to lose sleep over someone whose opinion you needn't care about that much anyway?

Do you know whose opinion does matter?  Yours. Your friends. Your family.  The people who love you and who you love... the people who are important in your life.  Their opinions of you matter... but the people who hate you?  They honestly don't.  And if you're letting yourself get worked up over the opinions of people who don't figure into the value of your life at all...  you have to ask yourself Why? Why do they get to matter?

I once was trying to explain to my husband about a situation that had me upset, trying to communicate why I was bothered.  After I got done speaking, he said to me something that has stuck with me for a long time.  And what he said was this:

"I can understand why you're upset...  
but what I don't understand is why you would let the opinion of 
bitter unhappy people change the person that you are."

And he was right...

So what I want to say today is this...

To the person who hates me...  I'm honestly sorry that you do, and I hope that what you said last night made you feel better. I don't hate you, and I can afford to be forgiving. I just think that we have very different value systems and perhaps those don't mesh well together.

To the person hurt by someone who hates them... I'm so sorry for your hurt. Something I have learned is that oftentimes the way someone treats you is far more about who they are than who you are. Wrap yourself in the love of the people who love you and know that you have much to offer the world. Don't hide your candle because of an ill wind. The world needs your light. Please don't let them change who you are.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Your Life is a Reflection of Your Choices

"Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made."

Oh, we don't like that, do we?

It's much harder to be victims when we accept that we made choices that got us places -- and I think we rather like being able to be a victim. Isn't it easier that way?  If we're victims, then it isn't our fault. And we don't have to take responsibility for things that aren't our fault. We don't have to accept our own part. We can just go on in our self-pity and our self woe, and keep blaming outside of us.

I'm not saying that things that have happened to us, been said to us, been done to us are necessarily our fault. Sometimes other people do make mean choices. They use us. They abuse us. They throw us away...  and those things are on them. But sometimes our choices do get mixed up in that, and we have to accept our part. Perhaps we put ourselves in situations where we would be vulnerable. We chose selfishly. We let what they said matter.

Those choices were ours.

I have to think that we're bigger than that. If we want different outcomes, we have the power to make different choices.

And so today, I'm thinking about what different choices I could make...

Not that I could have made. Those choices are over... but going forward.  What different choices can I make?

What different choices will you make?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CT Heritage: Testing the Crying Waters

I haven't watched a Celtic Thunder DVD since George died. I have avoided it, dreaded it. I was afraid to cry over one... but I think, just as much, I was afraid that I wouldn't. That somewhere in my private grieving, I would have put myself in a place where I couldn't grieve at all.

I finally decided on watching Heritage yesterday. I wanted to watch something... if nothing else, just to expose myself to it. I have a concert to go to in November. I don't want to fall apart in a live show. I really don't.

It's not like I watch the videos all the time anymore... In the beginning, I watched them a lot, of course. I was practically obsessed with Brothers in Arms and Caledonia! But my fervor has cooled over the years (and that's a healthy thing)... But I'll still put one on if I'm doing something where I am going to be stuck in one place for awhile -- matching socks or something. 

But once the spring happened... I just didn't.

I like Heritage though... it's a very sweet show and I love the duet component. 

And I was okay watching it... I choked up a little, but manageable. Until we got to Gold and Silver Days... and I was still okay! Teary, but okay. Until the end when Ryan claps George on the shoulder, and then I cried. I kept crying all through Neil's Noreen.

I managed to pull myself together for the rest of the show... and then Place in the Choir came on, and this got me worked up all over again-- but in a different way. I know... Who the heck cries over Place in the Choir??

Gold and Silver Days was grief... this was something different. This was the last show where everyone was together -- the original group. And this song, more than anything, looked like so much fun. Like the guys were having so much fun.

I don't know how much of that was real -- how much was a show for the crowd, and how much of it was authentic. How could I know that? But it LOOKED real. Like there was a camaraderie and a sense of family there. And more than anything, that left me feeling so nostalgic, and wistful for something that slips away.

And I stopped and cried for that loss.

A Belated Response to Shame and Weight Loss Success

I was asked to speak at my Weight Watchers meeting this morning.  This isn't one I was leading, just my "normal" meeting that I attend as a member.  But it was a day focused on success stories, and so my leader asked me to be one of the people sharing.

I did... and I shared some tangible things as well...  a Before and After picture of myself, plus I brought in a blouse that I had worn to a Celtic Thunder taping several years ago.  At the time, despite its pleats, it still gaped open across my chest.  But now... now I swim in it.  I don't keep "fat girl clothes" because I feel like keeping them gives me permission to backslide - and I'm not giving myself permission to do that.  But I keep this blouse in the back of my closet and occasionally slip into it just to prove to myself how far I've come.

After we spoke, our leader asked for responses from the group... what had we said that sparked a response in them?

One lady, a pretty new member, shared that seeing the "Before" items that we brought in made her feel embarrassed because they were the size that she wore now -- and that it made her feel ashamed. I felt badly about that... because making someone else feel embarrassed for where they are was the last thing that I wanted.

I thought about that on the way home...  and what I want to say is this:

It isn't the Before item that matters.  We bring them and we share them because we're proud of what we're accomplished. They represent the work and the self-control, and every time we made a choice that we didn't regret later.

The Before item doesn't say "This is what I wore when I sucked... so if you wear this too, then you suck." The Before item says, "This is what I wore when I didn't like myself and when I was unhappy with the image I presented. This is what I wore before I began this journey to both better physical health and healthier self-image..  I wasn't a bad person when I wore this, but I was unhappy.

You want to know a secret?  Despite all the success I've had thus far, sometimes I look at other people's After pictures -- and I know that I'm not that slender. So I minimize my success...  "Yeah, you made it this far.  But you could have done better."

The thing is... you can't be in this room and say that you suck -- even if you can wear the shirt that I now swim in.  You can't. Because just by being here, you've done something to win.  It's 9:30am on a Saturday morning -- and you're in this room.  You're not at home. You're not lying in bed. You got up and you got dressed and you went out the door... to show up in a room of people all supporting each other on a journey to better health, better self-image, better self-love and acceptance.  

We could all be sleeping.

And even if this is your first day -- perhaps especially if this is your first day -- you've already won. Walking in that door is one of the hardest things there is because it means admitting that you want to change. It means admitting that you can't do it on your own. 

But it is also one of the bravest things - and you did that today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Caught Between

It seemed hopeless.

Caught somewhere between who she was and who she wanted to be... It always seemed like who she wanted to be was always hovering, just out of reach.  But looking back and mocking at how far she yet had to go.

How could she ever get there?  There was so much to change, so much to grow through, so many mountains to climb.

She would make it halfway up one... and then stumble... tumbling back to the bottom.  And the peak would tower over her, just as high as it was before.

And then the discouragement would come. The hopelessness. The wanting to just stop trying.

But she never did.

Who she was wasn't where she wanted to stay... but sometimes, in the quiet, she understood that who she wanted to be wasn't necessarily the point. The point was the journey. The point was the trying. The point was the lessons she learned along the way.

Perhaps who she wanted to be... perhaps that wasn't who she was destined to be. Perhaps she was simply The Girl in Progress.

and that was a pretty okay girl to be.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beating the Dead Horse

Have you ever tried beating a dead horse?

Not a real dead horse. I HOPE not a real dead horse!

But I mean, just a situation where you butt up against a dead end... the proverbial dead horse... and you just keep ramming into it, hoping that if you ram enough times, then the dead end will change. The horse will get up and be undead.

But the thing about dead ends and horses is that... beating on them doesn't change anything. It just wears us out and makes us look a little crazy.

Sometimes you have to accept that your horse is gone and your road is ended. You have to accept that someone is like they are and you can't change them, or that the situation is unfixable. Accepting those things doesn't mean that you've lost. It means that you're finally being honest.

And when you accept that there are things you can't change, you have a couple of choices. You can accept that it is so, and you can decide that it doesn't have to affect who you are, and you can move on along the same path. Or you can also decide that what can't be changed isn't worthy of you, and that you need to find a whole different road to walk down.. and you move on.

But both ways?  They both begin with you having the courage to accept that there are things that you can't change... and they end with you moving on.

The horse has been beaten enough.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Can Remember Everything

If I want, I can remember everything.

I can remember the rain on the window, and the song that was playing on the radio.
I can remember the clothes I was wearing, and the smell in the air.
I can remember your words, the look in your eyes.

But there are days that I don't want to remember. Those things all crowd in like an unwelcome guest. And I want anything but to open the door to them.

And so I keep busy. There are always things to do... and if I just do enough of them, then I don't have the time to remember. I keep my To-Do list full so I don't think of you. And so I don't think of that day.

Because if I want... 

I can remember everything.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Letter to My Fashion Conscious Daughter

Dear Daughter With the Fashion Sense--

I feel like you didn't like my pants yesterday.

I don't know what it was... the grimace... the sigh... the "OMG Mom, no! You look like you're in a circus!!!"


So, here's the thing...

I'm experimenting. I have so many more clothes choices now than I did before.  Before, it was all boot cut jeans and black black black and the obligatory Hawaiian prints and anything that camouflaged what I was embarrassed about.

But... I'm not bound by that now. And there are so many choices and it's been so long since I've had them that I'm really not sure what I like yet.  And so I'm experimenting... I'm wearing things that I've never worn before. I'm trying trends that I might like and I might not. It's like I'm in my 20s and trying to find my style... except that I'm almost 40, with teenagers who are embarrassed by my mere existence.

Before... nothing fit that made me happy, and so I made due with what I could buy.

Now... everything fits, and I actually get to choose.

So... you're just going to have to put up with it... even if you think I look like I belong in the circus.

On the bright side... how much worse could it get? I already have blue hair!!

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