O.M.A. – Other Mother Always

My ex-husband’s mother, Margie, passed away last month and her birthday was yesterday. I am still coming to terms with what that means to me personally and to those who knew her and loved her. She told me once that when someone new comes into your life, you don’t kick anyone out, you just make more room in your heart for them. That was the essence of who she was; loving, all-inclusive, funny, fiercely protective of her loved ones and generous to a fault. She was my rock when I felt I like the riptide of mental instability was pulling me under; she reminded me I was more than a diagnosis and she never gave up on me. She is one of the first people to give me a mirror that wasn’t shattered, distorted or warped; I could see the beauty, the promise, the goodness and the strength that she saw. For this and for too many other reasons to mention, I will carry her with me in my heart, speak her words of love and compassion, make room in my heart for those who need a safe harbor and I will continue to talk to her, sing to her and if I ever do get married again, I know she will be wearing her dancing shoes and dancing up a storm, as promised. Until we meet again.

Fate’s Saving Grace

There are those who go through Life blindly trudging their way through each day, with no direction or purpose in their stride, just trying to make it through until they can escape into the refuge of the night and the fantasy of sleep, only to rise again in the morning and repeat the monotony of another day. They seem to believe that this is their destiny, to accept what is offered to them, no matter how incomplete they may feel, for this is all that they deserve. They like themselves, but do not truly love the person they are; they do what is expected of them and never question what they are told. They exist, but do not enjoy or love the life that is theirs.

If Fate looks kindly upon these people and if they can keep their eyes and hearts open, someone will enter their life who will help them to realize that they are indeed a very special person; that they can realize their hopes and make their dreams a reality. This someone will not tell them what to do, but offer them a way to accomplish what they desire; or maybe by speaking to them, listening to their words, can help them help themselves. By being a different kind of mirror for them to see themselves through, without all the insecurities and faults they see; with a clearer reflection of who they really are.

To encounter a person such as this is a very rare find indeed and should be treasured for their talents and dedication. In a world that is mostly negative and cold, it is exceptionally refreshing to find someone who is positive and warm, genuine and caring and truly desires to help those who do not know how to help themselves.

Such a person may sound like a dream or a character from a child’s book of fairy tales but I have found a person who is all of this and more; she has helped me to realize that I was one of those people stumbling blindly through my days and has given me the praise, encouragement and wisdom that has enabled me to love myself enough to demand more from Life than what is offered, to realize that dreams can become realities and to know that nothing is impossible so long as you believe. I do believe.

 

Crossroads Crossing

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I am at a crossroads in my life,

Turn left for a wild dream, an impossible possibility

Keep right to continue the course I’m on,

chained to my desk, in my cubicle, confined.

It’s not a cell if there are no bars, right?

Golden handcuffs encircle my wrists, keeping me from straying.

I have been here for two decades already and feel as if

I’m at the Hotel California, workday edition.

I can check out anytime I like, but I can never leave

(well, at least not until I’m 55)

It’s a place of topsy-turvy logic, where the rare and ever-elusive

common sense is supposed to roam, but I have yet to see it.

Where bad and mediocre are rewarded,

good is overworked, anonymous and taken for granted,

worked into the ground, ground into bits.

I ask myself – how much more can I take?

Of biting my tongue so much I have only a stump left

and words pile up likerocks in an empty well,

Feelings of frustration and stagnation rule the day.

Perhaps the crossroads really isn’t about choosing a direction or changing course;

maybe it’s more about attitude and acknowledgment.

Acknowledging the fact that with the soul-sucking atmosphere of any cubicle colony,

comes a steady income and the sense of security.

Keeping an attitude of gratitude and understanding that today’s hardships are

the lessons I’ll need tomorrow.

Understanding that wherever I go, I take myself with me.

Of having faith that there is a greater good and a reason for it all;

Knowing that this, too shall pass.

It all shall pass and all too quickly for the good times, the days of summer and

the wild nights that only youth in its arrogance can orchestrate.

In their place now are quiet nights of contemplation and relaxation,

Looking forward to a new chapter, a new direction and creating new memories,

Traveling and exploring, finding beauty in everyday life,

love in everyday interactions.

I am at a crossroads and I close my eyes, spin in a circle then open them,

walking forward, trusting my intuition to guide me.

With an open mind and my preconceived notions unpacked and left behind,

I move forward, always forward, away from the past, fully living in the present, heading

for a future that is unknown yet I’m certain full of promise.

Lead Me Not Into False Expectations

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” -Semisonic

It’s another New Year, another time for new beginnings, resolutions (if you’re into that sort of thing) and a blank page in a yet unwritten book. I am wary of making resolutions due to the fact they are usually slightly unrealistic. If I were to make a resolution that I wouldn’t go all Hulk-like in traffic, but I had done nothing to change my frame of mind or manage my emotions, then I’m fairly certain my effort would be met with failure, or at the very least an inability to magically transform my commute from December 31, 2016 to January 1, 2017. When you think about it, it’s really just a change from one calendar to another; from a Sunday to a Monday. If my resolution is to not drink but I have a full cupboard of alcohol that I see every time I reach for a glass, it will be more difficult to not grab that bottle and have “just one” drink. If I haven’t dug deep to find out the “why” behind the drinking then my resolution is dependent upon my mood; if my mood goes dark and dangerous and I haven’t developed any healthy coping skills, then guess what? Chug-a-lug. Another great reason for my resolutions to fail is that I make them based on what I think I should do, not what I really want to do. Making a resolution to lose weight, so that the hot guy I have a huge crush on will notice (and hopefully fall in love with) me. Making a resolution to start attending mass on a regular basis because my parents (God rest their souls) would be pleased, as they look down upon me from Heaven. Or even better, so that I can get in God’s good grace and therefore avoid the fiery alternative. These are all great resolutions, as great as resolutions can be, but they are doomed to be unsuccessful if I haven’t invested in them long before January 1st.

I prefer to set intentions rather than resolutions. They are much more forgiving, loosely defined and honestly, give me an out if things don’t go according to plan.

in·ten·tion
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/
noun
1.
a thing intended; an aim or plan.
“she was full of good intentions”
2.
MEDICINE
the healing process of a wound.

– Google Search

I love the second definition because the majority of my intentions do involve the healing and recovering from wounds, be it physical or emotional. My intention is to forgive those who have wounded me, but that may take not days, but years. My intention is to forgive myself for the wounds I have inflicted on others. My intention is to accept my faults and failures and love myself unconditionally, which will be my intention for every New Year until my Last Year.

I feel the danger in resolutions is that they lead us into false expectations; by changing my physical appearance, I will find love. By doing things for others, I will be accepted and loved. It’s not the resolution so much as it is the expected outcome. Realistically losing weight will not guarantee that the hot guy falls in love with me, especially if he’s gay, married or simply not interested. Not drinking alcohol is a great resolution, but there is much more involved than just not raising a glass to my lips. Forgiving others is a great idea, but that means letting go of old hurts and grudges. If they have been your constant companion for years and help you to feel righteous in your belief that they are in the wrong, then it will take much more effort than simply thinking you forgive them. One must take personally responsibility for their role in what happened and own up to it. My dad used to say, “It’s not the making of a mistake that should embarrass a person, so much as their failure to benefit from it.”

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Learning from mistakes so that we don’t make the same ones over and over is more helpful (in my experience) than making a resolution that is unrealistic.

So, Happy New Year to one and all! May this year bring you comfort when you’re distressed, company when you’re lonely, a hand to hold when you’re frightened and a safe harbor during Life’s many storms; the courage to face your fears, the strength to slay your dragons and the faith to believe that there is more to Life than just crossing days off the calendar and making unrealistic expectations. Peace and love to you all!

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Not So Happy Holidays

Well, we have made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas, now all eyes are looking toward the New Year and the promise of new beginnings. Some will look upon the end of the holiday season with a sadness, a realization that the magic of the season has left along with the clearance-priced ornaments, Christmas cards and the ever-present box of chocolates. Others will welcome an end to the forced cheerfulness, the endless demands of the holiday season, including but not limited to Black Friday shopping, the unspoken expectation that everything must be FESTIVE and everyone should be DELIRIOUS WITH HAPPINESS. You must get the perfect gift, sit alongside family members you haven’t spoken to all year and do your best imitation of a happy, loving family. I think more effort is spent each year acting like we are happy, not alone or lonely; pretending we are immersed in the joy of the season, when in reality, we are immersed in a sadness that colors all the holiday lights a brighter shade of grey because everything and everyone is grey. For those of us who feel this way during the holidays, there doesn’t seem to be a place where we can just be what we are, which ultimately is some degree of depressed. Maybe it’s the forced merriment, maybe it’s the manic pace of the season, the never-ending demands of shopping, decorating, attending parties, kisses under the mistletoe and boatloads of eggnog or the over abundance of alcohol and sugar-laden foods or maybe it’s just the fact that we can’t be with the one we want, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because the holidays always make us think of family members who are no longer with us, loved ones who maybe don’t love us like they used to, family that isn’t quite family any more. Maybe it’s because the real message of Christmas has been drowned out by the crass commercialism and unrealistic expectations set forth by some ad folks in some corporation somewhere. Whatever the reason, no matter how many, those of us who struggle through the holidays don’t stop struggling when the holiday season comes to a close. If anything, we may experience some tiny measure of relief when they pass, but depression is not a seasonal disorder; it is a year-round, take no holidays, 24/7 kind of condition.

My wish is for the spirit of Christmas (the real spirit) to burn brightly within my heart, be shown in my actions and be shared with all I encounter, this New Year and all throughout the years. Just because the calendar says January and the Christmas tree and decorations have been taken down, the Christmas music has (FINALLY) stopped playing in the stores doesn’t mean that goodwill towards your fellow man has to be put away, too. Keep those thoughts in the fore front of your mind, keep the love alive in your heart and above all else, love yourself, celebrate everything that makes you who you are, even if you’re not crazy about those traits. I personally am not overjoyed when my mood takes a trip on the Rocky Roller Coaster ride that only bipolar disorder could design but it’s a part of me; it’s not a curse nor is it a blessing, just a part of me as much as my curly hair and hazel eyes. It has taken me a long time to accept it, not rage against the unfairness of it all, wishing things could be different while doing nothing to change anything. For the best gift we can give is love; to oneself first and foremost and from that self-love, we can send it out to others.

If there is someone you haven’t connected with in a while and they’ve been on your mind, pick up the phone, give them a call and reach out. Chances are that they are thinking of you, too. We don’t know how many Christmases we will have, how many opportunities to say we love them, we are sorry or we just miss them. The smallest gesture can make the biggest difference to someone who is starved for kindness.

Thank you for your support, your encouragement and your love. You continue to make a difference in my life and I appreciate you tremendously.

Happy New Year to you, my friends.

Weddings Always Make Me Cry

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I was fortunate enough to be at the wedding of two truly amazing people yesterday. I have known the bride for years, as she is one of Devon’s core (Hard Core!) group of oldest, best friends. Her now-husband is an intelligent, quiet and thoughtful man who absolutely and whole heartedly loves her with every cell in his being. The feeling is mutual of course and though I know they have struggles, tough times, trying situations and all, I have every faith that they will grow old together, hold hands when they walk down the street, gaze into each other’s eyes like they are seeing them for the first time, every time. These two are hope for happiness, a shining example that True Love is alive and well, working its magic and giving glow to all those around them.

The wedding was a simple ceremony, but the collective love was so great, it created a wave that just flowed between each and every person there. It touched our hearts, tears of happiness and joy were shed, laughter rang out and strangers became friends; troubles forgotten for the time, just being in the world of these two wonderful people. This is the magic of love, that brings people together, wraps them in a powerful blanket stronger than steel, more valuable than gold. Like armor against a harsh world, their love is their power, their truth and their salvation. I know the challenges that Life can present are oftentimes enormous, but I believe that these two will meet whatever the encounter on the Road of Life with a strong faith in their love and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it through it. It makes my heart happy to see a gorgeous, confident woman looking absolutely radiant in her wedding dress and remember the young teenager that I first met so many years ago. I never gave birth to a daughter, but I have many daughters of my heart and she is the first.

So, I raise my cup of coffee and wish for you again for all the happiness your hearts can hold, all the sunrises your eyes can see and as much laughter as your body can bear.

Cheers!

 

 

Deja Vu/Vuja De

It was a year ago, around this time on the calendar when I finally admitted to myself and to my psychiatrist that everything was most definitely NOT fine and a change of venue was in order. My doctor, being the good doctor that he is, referred me for psych evaluation and an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) to deal with the immediate concerns and to eventually get my mood rightened and myself back to the land of brilliant Technicolor, instead of the shades of black in the world I was living in. Well, fast forward a little over a year and guess what? I’m back in the same place, with the same therapists and doctors, cafeteria style lunches and rooms with uncomfortable chairs, lots of Kleenex boxes and people with stories, like me and very much unlike me. My immediate thought upon having to tell my doctor YET AGAIN that I was losing my s**t was not one of “Atta Girl!” but more like, “Seriously? Didn’t we JUST do this?? WTF is wrong with you, loser??” because my first thoughts are always from a place of extreme judgment and an unrealistic goal of perfection, no matter the circumstance.

Now, I wouldn’t say that to my worst enemy anymore than I would say it to someone who was doing another round of chemo or radiation in an effort to destroy that which is trying to destroy them. Treatment is treatment; the disease may differ, the course of treatment may differ but the goal is the same, to provide relief of symptoms and improve the health of the individual, thus improving the quality of life. Mental health is really no different, although much less one size fits all. Mental illness and those who battle depression, mania and other disorders are as different and varied as any selection of human beings can be; one person’s burden is another’s blessing. There is no absolute 100% guaranteed course of treatment and whatever course is selected, the patient must be able and willing to follow subscribed course of treatment, which often if not always includes eliminating substance (pick a poison, alcohol included) abuse and implementing a medication program that includes a cocktail (pardon the pun) of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers and perhaps a little Antabuse thrown in for the hard core alcoholics. The patient must be willing to give up those self-medicating methods and switch to the psych meds, which usually come with a hefty side of side effects, weight gain being at the top of the list and covering all manner of ailments including, but not limited to: psychosis, permanent facial and/or body tics, blindness, headaches and possibly (of course) death by suicide, because some of these drugs have induced suicidal tendencies in certain groups, such as adolescents and the elderly. Go figure. Seems kind of counter-intuitive, but every rose has its thorn, as we learned from Guns ‘n Roses/Poison.

If you’re still reading and still awake, I commend you. 

Back to the present time – I am back in the land of black and bleh, trying to find my way to the light and a coherent, relatively calm mind so that I can make some decisions that will hopefully keep me from having to return again at this time next year. I have a great many decisions to make at some point in time and I want to choose wisely and make choices that are good for me and my health. It’s easy for me to say that (I’ve said it over and over again) but the execution is where I falter. I guess if I’m thinking about what I SHOULD do instead of what I NEED to do, that could lead me to an unwise choice.

For all of you who have sent happy thoughts, well wishes and in reached out to me in general, I want you to know I feel the love. Seriously. Those of you who are thinking about me but haven’t reached out, I assure you, I still feel the love. You are the difference between me giving up or carrying on; your belief in me is my sword of truth, fighting against the lies and untruths that hold my spirit hostage, trapped in a dark and dismal mind. Your love and support brings a light to the darkness, a trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow to come back to the land of the living and love. I have talked to many people who have no family, no friends and oftentimes it is because their mental illness/addiction issues have exhausted the supply of people willing to lend a hand or support that person. Some people have a limited time only offer of assistance and once that window is closed, there are no more. I understand the reasoning behind this; if you are trying to save a drowning person, but don’t know how to swim yourself, you will both most certainly drown. Dealing with mental illness is neither pretty, Facebook post-worthy or fun. It tests  your limits, your love and your own mental stability. It’s like a fire you can’t get too close to or you end up with some pretty serious burns. It’s a rollercoaster ride you don’t remember buying a ticket to ride, a storm that was born of sunny skies and fluffy clouds; sunny and bright one minute, dark and destructive the next. It can tear apart the closest family, take away your best friend and leave a wake of destruction miles wide and years long. Knowing this makes you and your continued support all the more precious and appreciated.

Shooting thoughts of love and gratitude to you. Wish we were there (Half Moon Bay)

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On Loss and Carrying On

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Today marks yet another anniversary of my dear friend JJ passing away and this year, the passing of other, more well-known people has added to the sense of loss. David Bowie, Prince and too many others to mention have left this earth and moved on but not without leaving an imprint on our hearts and in our souls. I will still hear songs by Bowie and Prince, just as I will replay conversations I’ve had with JJ. I still hear my father’s voice when I’m lost and seeking guidance and hear my mother’s voice when I’m doing something that I know would cause her concern and/or anxiety, so in that way, they live on because I will not forget. I will not let the sense of grief and loss keep me from living the life I know they all (well, maybe not specifically D.B. & Prince) would want me to. I believe strongly that we are all interconnected and the more I try to be solitary, aside from everyone else, the more I realize that’s not really possible. What my loved one goes through, I am emotionally right there by their side; when someone is angry and hurting, those feelings project out of them and I feel as though a barrage of emotionally-charged arrows are heading straight for me, like heat-seeking missiles. When I am with someone who is depressed, I cannot help but feel for them; I have been there, I know the way and I know how dark it becomes. I can tell myself it is their problem, their burden to bear and logically it is. But there is a voice that tells me that if I am able to help, I should. If I have a light to give this person to help them find their way through the darkness, how can I not offer it? If I bring happiness or even a temporary relief of a great burden or guilt, does that not benefit me as well?

Prince and David Bowie are part of the soundtrack of my life and they will call to mind the times I’ve had, good, bad and amazing with my friends, my family and you, my dear readers. I will do my best to cherish the good times and not let the loss overshadow the gifts that I’ve been given. When all else fails, I’ll put on their music and just dance.

That’s how I’ll get through this thing called life.

Dear Future Me

Dear Future Me,

By the time you read this, you may be really, really old. I hope you are and I hope you are taking good care of us. I am writing to remind you of a few things I hope you haven’t forgotten, but fear you may have. Remember when you promised to be grateful and not take things for granted? All of those aches and pains and moments of forgetfulness you may have been experiencing belong in your attitude of gratitude, your prayer of thanksgiving. For having grown old enough to have those aches and pains is a gift and must been seen as such. If you are to lament each and every time a petal of youth falls from the rose that we are, you will miss the beauty of the rose entirely, for your attention is on that single petal.

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The rose began as a bud, taking time to open fully; once that has happened, it is inevitable that it will slowly begin to die. For with each life there is a death, for each sunrise there is a sunset. Age is no different and therefore it is my hope that you are celebrating each and every morning that you wake up, see the beauty in the trees, the skies that create the masterpiece that is nature. That you hold the hand of the one you love and tell him so, a hundred times a day for a hundred lifetimes, should you be so lucky. That each ache and pain is testament to a life well lived, a milestone reached, challenges met and a host of obstacles overcome.

So, if you are wishing for a younger body or yearning for a day long past, please don’t. We have lived that part of our life and we are now entering yet another new phase, new chapter and new adventure. It will be unlike any we’ve experienced before (an ongoing mission to seek out life after A Certain Age) and just like a carton of ice cream, it’s the last few spoonfuls that are the tastiest because you know after that, it’s all gone. Live that life, love it without fear or agenda, just with pure love for the experience of being. Be the change you seek, continue searching, traveling and exploring. Be ever the student, asking questions and gaining understanding. Never say you’re too old, it’s too late; say yes and then take it on faith that things will work out. (Well, faith and a reasonable plan of action, of course). Let faith rule over fear and believe, truly believe, then go for it.

Just a gentle reminder in case we’ve forgotten or gotten distracted by The Ways of the World. Focus, grasshopper!! This is the best part!

Love,
Past Me

 

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.

Scotland -Part III

The day after Christmas 2015 found me at the airport, excited, tired and ready to be on my way back to Scotland. I had arrived at the airport at an unreasonably early hour (per my request) and had thoughts of my previous two visits and wondered what this visit would bring. I’d been there all alone, with eyes wide and full of wonderment for my birthday in December 2014, met someone in July that multiplied the happiness, the pleasure of traveling and exploring, not only Scotland, but our personalities, our experiences, hopes and dreams, fears and flights of fancy. I didn’t think I could be happier than I was on my first visit, but the second visit changed all that. What would the third visit bring? Would it be even better or would I have raised my expectations so high that they couldn’t help but fall short? These questions swirled around in my mind as I walked the airport, burning nervous energy and trying to fill my mind with something other than those unanswerable questions.

Well, it’s now almost the end of January and I’ve been back about 3 weeks and I have to say, this time was such an incredible experience. I couldn’t have scripted a better visit, traveling and exploring again, but this time, with hours in the car, talking about nothing and everything at once; taking photos like a mad tourist while speeding down the highways and two-lane roads. Sometimes the only car as far as the eye could see, with endless stretches of gorgeous landscapes, skies full of strange clouds I’d never seen back at home; sunsets and sunrises so beautiful, it takes my breath away each and every day. Being so far away from everything and everyone I know, I found myself. I found the calm I’d always prayed for, the serenity I didn’t think existed and the ability to live fully in the moment, not looking back in regret and not looking forward with fear and anxiety. This couldn’t have been possible without the company I was keeping; I have been a solitary creature by choice most of my life but this was comfortable, effortless and I had the feeling that all was right with the world.

That being said, returning to reality is rarely effortless or comfortable and this time was no exception; the higher you are, the harder you fall. The dizzying heights I had occupied while in Scotland gave way to the deepest depths and dark days (and nights) while my spirit tried to break free of the shackles of everyday life and return to the freedom and wide-open spaces I’d flown; now seemingly a dream I had dreamt. Remembering the calm and trying to get that thought to translate to feeling isn’t the easiest or most natural thing for me to do; I am more prone to go worst case scenario and lock the memory away, for the pain of being away from such bliss is too much to delve into. But this is a new year and the time for change is always, so I am embracing my pain, along with the pleasure the memory holds. Bittersweet is a flavor we’re all familiar with and while it’s not something I’d want to taste at every meal, it’s one of the flavors of life, so it will make an appearance from time to time. Every piece of pain contains a lesson, something learned or experienced that will last far longer than the original discomfort that bore it. It’s easy to say and hard to remember when it happens, but it is a choice. I choose to take the bitter with the sweet, the pain with the pleasure and the heart break with the bliss.

I choose to get up and try again. I choose to belief this, too shall pass. I choose to believe that I will return to Scotland, hopefully again and again, until I am an old lady tottering along with a cane, telling my grandchildren about my time in Scotland over and over again, until they can tell the stories themselves, word for word.

 

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