Die Hard, Old Habits!!

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In the time that I have been away from my blog, I have come to the realization that the only time I feel I must post something is usually when it evokes a strong feeling, be it pleasant or otherwise. I have been feeling a great deal of strong feelings, not all of them unpleasant but definitely outside of my circle of comfort. I have been single for so long that I had forgotten about the give and take of a relationship; of sometimes putting aside my own wish/desire/opinion in order to support that of my friend/partner/love and light of my life. I believe it falls into the category of “The Greater Good” when it truly doesn’t matter one way or the other what happens (in the grand scheme of things) and one person will defer to the other’s wishes in an effort to keep the peace, avoid confrontation or just because they can realize how insignificant their wish/desire/opinion is when compared to losing that love, that peace and harmony. Sometimes it is not an insignificant thing, though. If a friend told me that they were going to bath in gasoline then have a cigarette, I would strongly encourage them to reconsider. But in the end, it is their life, their choice and they will be the one who will be most effected by the outcome. I know this logically but I can’t seem to make the jump from logical understanding to emotional understanding.

I have come to believe it’s something other than concern for my fellow man; it’s about control, plain and simple. Control has been the one reason why I’ve shied away from relationships, romantic or otherwise because I am deathly afraid of losing it.  Control, that is. I have lost it to another, I’ve given it away, I’ve lost it again when I (temporarily) lost my sanity and I’ve taken it back and lost it more times than I care to count. I guess this is just one of those things that we all must deal with in life. It’s not supposed to be easy, it’s not supposed to be without obstacles and tests (or events) that will test a person’s strength, both mentally and physically. Life also has a way of bringing into question truths that had previously seemed to be carved in granite. Those old sayings “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and “A leopard cannot change its spots” tell us that people don’t change and the older we get the more true that becomes. I disagree. People change all the time; the changes may not be made by a conscious decision, but more by necessity and a will to survival.

The real question is am I changing to conform to someone else’s ideal of who I should be or am I changing because I can see the old ways no longer serve me and may in fact work against me? This is the crux of the matter, in my eyes. I don’t want to become so fixed in my ways that I avoid the opportunity for growth, but I also recognize that old habits die hard and if I decide change is necessary, I can’t keep the old habits that provided comfort and safety for me; being a loner because I was afraid of rejection; staying away from dating because I was afraid of losing myself in another person. Staying drunk because then I wouldn’t have to feel anything, period. Keeping myself out of situations where I may not fit in because I didn’t want people to realize how out of my element I would be. I would break up with someone in anticipation of them growing weary of me or finding out who I really was. You get the idea. So, I’ve stopped staying drunk to avoid feeling but I haven’t stopped trying to control the entire freaking free world, either. Baby steps, right??

In the meantime, I will continue to put one foot in front of the other in an effort to keep moving forward. I may not know exactly what will happen next, but I guess that’s why we have faith.

Mississippi Kinfolk

Saturday my sister and I arrived in Meridian, Mississippi for a quick visit for me and a stop off before heading out on a trip with our cousin. I’ll go home on Tuesday and they’ll take off that same day. I haven’t been here since I lived in Biloxi in the late 90’s and I tell you what, I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to come back because meeting my cousins, their families and seeing the places I’d heard my dad talk about when I was little and hearing bits and pieces of family folklore has been wonderful. Family is very important to me and to spend time with these wonderful people I happen to be related to is a gift that is truly priceless. I felt the love like I felt the heat and humidity – intensely. Love is love, but family is more than just love; it’s a part of who I am, a connection to my past and something greater that I cannot name, something deep in my soul. It’s like I came home to a home I never knew I had and found a sense of belonging that I’ve wanted all my life. Home really is where the heart is and the more I travel, the more homes I find. So, to my Mississippi kin, I’d like to say thank you for the warm welcome and your prayers for a wild and crazy relation from California have been answered!! I love you all!