Building A Better Me

The beauty of Grace Kelly with

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the compassion and grace of Audrey Hepburn

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shining through those Bette Davis eyes.

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The humor of Gilda Radner,

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the faith of Joan of Arc powered by

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the bravery of Rosa Parks

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along with the beautiful mystery of Ingrid Bergman.

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The confidence of Katharine Hepburn

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blended with the chameleon-like talent of Meryl Streep.

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The natural elegance of Helen Mirren

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alongside the patience (long lost many times) of my mother.

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I’ll keep my curls,

my unique brain and unquiet mind along with

those other qualities I’ve learned to appreciate

throughout the years.

In building a better me, I can be

whomever I wish to be.

 

 

 

My Kind of Day

This morning I woke up to the sound of pouring rain…isn’t there an old Skid Row song that starts that way??

At any rate, I woke up and heard the driving wind, the falling rain and could just picture the grey skies and heavy, rain-bearing clouds in the sky. What to do with this kind of day? For most, it would be snuggle down under a comforter, with a furry friend or otherwise or maybe both if you’re really lucky and it all from the dry and warm comfort of your bed. I am compelled to put on boots, grab a rain jacket and head out for a long walk or until I am soaked to the bone and/or my toes are numb. I love the wind – it rushes through my ears, blowing out all the stagnant thoughts and wakes up my mind, stimulating it with the movement of the trees, the leaves flying about the empty streets, people less due to the storm and the change in time. For those of you participating, you know this morning (at or around 2 a.m.) we did “spring forward” in time with Daylight Saving Time or Dumb Stupid Timechange, if you’re not a fan and are open to the creation of new words not yet recognized by the dictionary.

We need the rain, the drought goes on and will continue in various stages for as long as California still is California and the Earth keeps spinning, so today I’m going to entertain my Inner Child and jump through some puddles, walk in the rain, get my hair wet (Mom – I seriously will not catch cold by getting my hair wet, I swear!) and enjoy the storm, soak up the clouds and coolness for the dry, unrelenting days of summer days that I know will come at some point.

I think of good times, good people and times I feel strong and whole in the same manner; I store them up, knowing there will be days where I feel as if I have no power, no strength and I feel all alone. I will remember those friends who held my me up when I faltered, believed in me when I lost faith in myself. I’ve said it before and will continue to say it until the day I can say nothing at all; the person I am today is due in great part to the contributions and lessons imparted to me by those I’ve met as I’ve made this journey so far. You all have contributed to my growth, my acceptance of who I’ve been, who I believe I am and who I want to ultimately become. So, this puddle jumping, Inner Child running wild day is for you, too.

  

The Invisible Line

I have told you before about one of my brothers who has been facing some challenges and I have done what I thought was in his best interest while trying to help him, but I have encountered an invisible line time and time again, the line between truly helping him and enabling him in a co-dependent manner (teaching a man to fish versus just giving him a fish) and I have to tell you, it is the most difficult, truly undefinable line that you really don’t even see it. Just like those trip wires that you can’t see as you look ahead and end up blowing you and everything within a pretty significant distance to either Heaven, Hell or just tiny pieces of biological matter. You can only look back and second guess yourself or see the end result of the codependency when unhealthy behaviors and crisis status is the current status each and every day. At what point does one admit that the task at hand is so far beyond their abilities that self-sacrifice will appease the gods that are so angry with my brother? Or do I just put myself, my mental health first and let the chips fall where they may, even if that means I lose a brother or maybe even two? Who am I to think that I have the right to cut the string of destiny to spare my brother pain that perhaps is his lesson, his karma? Where does my responsibility as a sister begin, where does it end? Where does my responsibility as human being with the ability to help begin and end or is that even a real thing?

The best that I can do is go with my gut, as Agent Gibbs on NCIS would say (thank you Netflix binge therapy!!) and do what I think is right at the time, with the resources available and with what I believe to be in his best interest.

There is always a kernel of a Life Lesson in each painful event of growth, so there is no win or lose, only try, but then I think of Yoda…

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So I keep putting my best foot forward, keep my mind focused and keep a sharp eye out for that invisible line.

Love Me Tender

 

Wedding Table

A while ago, I attended a wedding as a guest of a good friend and while it may not have been a wedding that I knew a great deal about the bride and groom, I could tell a great deal about their relationship from the vows they wrote themselves, the looks that passed between them, the people who love them and do know their journey and the smiles from everyone celebrating the occasion.

Sometimes I think that marriage is out of style, a throwback to the ancient rites of old, no longer relevant in today’s modern world. Well, sometimes I am wrong. Oftentimes I am wrong and on the count of marriage because it is relevant and it is still part of the rites of old, just as chopping down a tree, dragging it into your home and decorating it for a celebration (Christmas) that is older than time. Perhaps in our disposable society, marriage is too concrete, too clearly defined and too binding. Now, I know many people who believe that a piece of paper makes no difference in whether a relationship is successful or not. While that may be true for that particular person, I wonder why, if the piece of paper is of no consequence, then why the hesitation to follow through? But I digress.

I see marriage as a partnership; the ceremony and that piece of paper are the contract that lays out the terms and conditions of said partnership. For those of faith, it is a contract drafted by God, agreed to and witnessed by friends, family and the representative of God and of that faith. I guess faith is what it really comes down to; do you have faith in your beloved? Do you have faith that you have the strength to deal with the difficult times, the times where you seem to have lost your way? Do you have faith that you were brought together for a reason and have a shared destiny to fulfill? Or are you more comfortable having a back up plan, an escape plan and keeping one foot out the door, in case things get uncomfortable? Whatever your personal beliefs or fears, relationships will always have tough times, bad things will happen to good people and loved ones will disagree; people will try to come between you, society will tell you you’re better off alone, an individual and thereby free to live how you choose. I say there is a grain of truth in most anything said, but do you focus on that grain of truth and make it larger to suit your belief or do you focus on the big picture; the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the disappointments with the victories? It’s all about choices; choices we make, as well as choosing to do nothing, which is in fact a choice. Do we let our past heartbreaks prevent us from seeking or accepting love? It’s your choice, your decision and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

I always seem to have a really good time when I attend a wedding. Even sober, I have a great time. I always love to dance, even if it’s just doing the Electric Slide with everyone from the little flower girl to great-aunt Thelma, it’s all good. The rooms are filled with so much love from so many people. The love is not only for the happy couple, but I think it brings back memories of their own wedding day and reminds them of how much in love they were, they are and they always will be. For me, it’s an opportunity to show the shaded part of myself that hope lives, love does truly conquer all and there are stories in life that at some point contain the phrase happily ever after.

Feelings, Forgiveness and Friends

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The other day I had the opportunity to meet up with someone who was very near and dear to my heart for a long, long time a long, long time ago. For too many reasons to list, we were estranged for many years. I was fairly heartbroken and missed this person terribly, but there seemed to be no other way and so I accepted, tried to forget and move on.

Which brings me to that day; a chance to meet up, catch up on things, see each other and pick up the threads of friendship that had been cut so long ago. Sounds like a wish come true, right? Well, not so much. All these feelings of anger, loss, guilt and too many others to identify and/or name came rushing to the surface with all the force of a alcoholic at last call. No one person is ever to blame for anything and I worked hard for a long time to be able to accept my shortcomings, my failures and my poor choices that played their part in the said estrangement, but I never thought I would be so upset and the hurt felt so new and fresh, even so many years later that I could not bring myself to even see this person. Unresolved issues much? I don’t know if this behavior is some sort of defense mechanism, stemming from a sense of unworthiness or just being plain scared to open wounds that I (had thought) were healed. But whatever the reason or rhyme, I chickened out and let that opportunity go by. Will I regret it someday? Possibly. Will I ever see that person? Maybe. Do I know what the Hell I’m doing 90% of the time? Not in the slightest. But the show must go on and so must I. I guess what it really comes down to is I am willing to wipe the slate clean and begin anew or let the old hurts and scars keep me living in the past and in that pain?

I know being estranged wasn’t easy for them either and as always, everyone has their story. I don’t know they were going through or whether they missed me or not, but I do know that we all do the best we can with what we have to work with at that particular place in time. I do know that this person was very important to me, believed in me, supported me and never gave up on me and I miss that. We shared a lot of laughs, celebrated victories and mourned losses together and not only loved each other, but had a great respect and a bond that I believed to be unbreakable. There are few things in this world that are bulletproof and/or unbreakable, but sadly, human relationships don’t usually fall into those categories. There are exceptions to the rule, as with most things in life not black or white and things tend to not make sense or follow logical lines of thought and/or action.

I have written before about people that I cut from my life, divorced myself from that particular brand of insanity and how much better I was for having done it; however, this is not one of those circumstances. I do have a lot of questions that I (think) would like to know the answers to, if there are any answers at all. But at the end of the day, would they make any difference? Do I stop loving someone because my feelings were hurt? Nope.

As the old saying goes – nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I want to gain happiness, forgiveness and love, I must forgive myself for my shortcomings, gain happiness from the good company of others and open myself to love; treasure it and remember without it, there’s not a lot of hope, happiness or light.