So this is a list of some of the books I’m going to try to read this year. We shall see how I do, but this should get me most of the way to my goal of 36 for Goodreads.
I see you.
Last week while I was folding laundry my daughter came to me with tears in her eyes. Not fake tears that just wanted some attention. Real tears. True tears. The kind of tears you try to hide, but your emotions are more powerful than your composure. The tears only the strongest have cried. The tears that make your lip quiver, then your nose burns. You want to speak, but you know your voice will crack. You desperately need a hug; but you refuse to be touched, because what follows an embrace is uncontrollable sobs. So instead, you look away as if that will distract your vulnerability from manifesting—except it doesn’t, does it? It never does. Once your nose burns it’s an involuntary reflex to release the pressure brewing in your heart.
Her tears instantly broke my heart, “Mama, I keep trying so hard—but I don’t have any goals.”
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I was reading an article earlier by Caleb Kaiser about the limiting beliefs we have regarding writing. He noted that 80% of Americans believe they have a book in them, but we don’t share…in fact, “We question our own quality, the openness of the world around us, and the ‘worthwhileness’ of our stories. We convince ourselves that we aren’t capable, that our ideas aren’t good enough, that the world will mock us. The reality is this: writing is one of the most powerful ways to change ourselves and the world around us…”
We are surrounded, daily, by words, pictures, videos all trying to tell us a story, espouse a point of view, or change our minds. Words can be so powerful, particularly if they come from a place of truth. A place of reality. When we write we are opening ourselves up and making ourselves vulnerable to critique; that is hard enough. But in this age of ‘anonymity’ provided by the wall of the internet, that critique can be especially harsh and judgemental. All too often, reactions are given without taking into account the person behind the words; the soul that opened itself up.
If a person was sitting in front of you, saying the words that are written on the page you read, would you say the same things to their face as you write in the comments? Would you really? Could you look that person in the eye and rip them apart and see the pain in their eyes and steel your heart against their pain? Because if you could then maybe you need to take a long hard look at your soul.
We are called to care for this world we live in, from the smallest to the largest we should take nothing for granted. Least of all the gift of other beings, other souls. This world would be a dark and terrifying place if we had to face it all alone. We were not created to be solitary beings; we were not set adrift in this cosmos alone. We are to be caretakers and caregivers – to receive love and to give love – to write words and to share them…fearlessly.
I love this show, the characters, and the actors so much. But Lynn does a much better job of saying EXACTLY what I feel…she’s magic like that.
So the actor who plays my favorite fictional character of all time (that would be Dean Winchester) is having a birthday today, and it’s a “big” one. Jensen Ackles is turning forty, and on that momentous occasion, many fans are posting messages for him about why he’s special to them. I thought I’d chime in and try to put into words why I agree, and in the process wish Jensen a very happy 40th birthday.
It’s no secret that Supernatural has changed my life. I never would have thought about publishing a book, let alone seven. I never would have travelled all over the world – by myself sometimes – or met the fellow fans who are now some of my closest friends. I never would have found my voice and figured out that being me was okay. Loving a television show and joining its wild, crazy, supportive community…
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So my hubby says I broke him. Once upon a time, he thought animals were just that; no feelings, replaceable, disposable. But then I came along and changed all that. Growing up I’ve always had dogs; I honestly cannot imagine my life without a dog. They are the best example of unconditional love that exists on this planet. Dogs, animals in general really, count on humanity for so much; sadly, they often get let down. As humans, we tend to assume our superiority, but that is not what makes us better.
Empathy. Looking into another beings eyes and putting yourself in their position. It is one of the hardest things we can do because it makes us vulnerable to pain, to heartache; but, it is also what makes us stronger. It is what makes us better.
People joke all the time about the SPCA commercials that show the sad animals while Sarah McLachlan’s song plays in the background. I’m not going to lie, those commercials can make me cry every single time if I let myself watch them. So I think that when people make jokes it is a defense mechanism; it allows them to put some distance between their feelings and what they are seeing because we can’t open ourselves up entirely. But, neither should we close ourselves down. We need to find a middle ground that will allow us to care and be empathetic without walking through life as an open wound.
My husband says I broke him because I made him look at our dogs – at animals – as beings capable of feelings. And, by doing that, I made him care when he sees an animal in pain. He does not understand how people can hurt puppies, dogs, cats, animals that rely on us for care and protection. I can’t help him because I don’t understand either. I will never understand how a human being can look into the eyes of an animal that trusts you and causes them harm or neglect.
So, I admit it. I broke him. I made him recognize that pets are not disposable, but are family members who give us love and affection and to whom we have a responsibility when we invite them to share our lives. I broke my husband in the best way possible, and I’m ok with that.
So I finished radiation therapy for breast cancer three days ago and I feel so blessed. I received great care, a great prognosis, and I had wonderful support throughout the journey. So yes, I feel blessed. I also feel frustrated, sad, scared, and upset.
I feel frustrated because, while everyone’s diagnosis and treatment is unique (like DNA), we are often lumped together. “My sister/cousin/aunt/grandmom had breast cancer and they did XYZ and now she’s fine.” While I totally appreciate that it is really hard to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been diagnosed with cancer, I would like to suggest trying to just be in the moment. “I’m sorry,” is perfectly acceptable and enough.
I’m sad because my life is forever changed now. I have a scar, physically and mentally. I have to take medications for the next five years and I have the side effects of the radiation therapy that I’m still experiencing. I’m sad because, through this journey, I found out how many more men and women are affected by this horrible disease. I’m sad because now my husband and I share something that neither of us wanted the other to ever experience.
I’m scared because, while my prognosis is very positive, for the rest of my life I will have to be aware and vigilant. Cancer is something you think will never happen to you…until it does; and then, things will always be different. Whether it is you or someone you love, the fear remains.
I’m upset because well-meaning people tell me how great I look or “You don’t look sick at all.” I know they are trying to be supportive and thoughtful, but not all illness shows. I’m trying to feel better, but I’m honestly exhausted. And I’m trying to move forward, but it is hard when you don’t necessarily feel better physically or mentally. Please, do not misunderstand me – I deeply appreciate the sentiment behind the statement. Again, it is hard to know what to say. I guess what I’m suggesting is to meet the person where they are – it is not your “job” to fix things for me to cheer me up – just be where I am; wherever that is, and let me know you care. That’s all anyone can really ask, after all.
Cancer sucks! I never wanted my husband to experience it and he never wanted me to experience it; but here we are. I hope this journey makes me more mindful and more present. I know it has made me deeply grateful for the wonderful people in my life. So, now I’m back to blessed, deeply, truly and thankfully blessed.
Three days and counting.
Who defines you? Or perhaps the better question is: Who do you ALLOW to define you?
As children, we are defined by our families’ perception of who we are, and who we are to become. My mother was terribly afraid of being alone, and for that reason had a large family, and continued to adopt needy children long after she was able to continue bearing children naturally. I have often stated that she didn’t have a family as much as she had an ant colony. Because of my natural tendencies toward solitude, one of her continued admonishments was: You’re going to grow up to be the loneliest person in the world. She somehow managed to make it sound like a threat. I thought it sounded wonderful. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, I came to see that she had been projecting her own fear of being alone…
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