Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Object

The bravery of men and women throughout history should be a lesson to us all. They were not more brave because they had more courage than anyone else. They were brave because they had convictions. Beliefs some were willing to to give their lives for. Something also worth living for. They were human and I;m sure those that died did not necessarily want to die, but believed that what they stood for was worth putting their lives on the line would bring attention to their cause.
Even simply saying yes when others say no. The idealism that some had I admire, maybe not for what everyone stood for, but their willingness to give all for it and carry forward their message.
There is another type of bravery that is often overlooked. The courage to get up every day and live our lives the best we know how. It is not always easy to open your eyes and face the world when you feel like crap or your have some sort of guilt. Acknowledging that and moving on making reparations for wrongs committed is HARD, but I applaud all of us who simply do it. Yoda said it best I think, "Try not. Do or do not." One other quote I'd like to insert in here though I do not know who said it, "Behold the little turtle who only makes progress when it sticks it's neck out."
Do I think myself brave? Not always. I know I have been in the past though at the time or rather times for whatever reason I stood up I was usually terrified, but deep inside I knew it was simply the right thing to do and right for my heart. Sometimes hesitatingly, other times boldly running head-on regardless of the consequences.
I've seen friends and family do amazing things simply because it must be done by someone and no one else stood up to do it. Again I applaud you all! I applaud you for waking up, for procreating, for teaching, for not procreating, for being both good and bad examples, for saving lives, for ensuring our freedoms, for being honest, for taking charge, for letting go, for living proudly and openly, for dying bravely, for leaving a legacy, for laughing, for crying, for being yourself no matter what, for admitting your mistakes and making them right, for loving and for being able to let go of love that was not yours. I tip my Guinness hat and I offer you my hand in admiration. For every person willing to be who they are and not hiding behind a false face I congratulate you. Keep up the good work.
If you are blessed enough to know what you mean to others while you are alive, that is amazing. And if you do not know, but wonder, remember this...someone somewhere is carrying on a message you have shared with them on to others and whether or not you know about it that makes them brave too. They are taking a stand based on your example. That should be a sobering thought.
Remember that everywhere, everyday someone is paying attention to you. Will you be brave enough to be who you truly are without equivocation? Will you wear your true face out into the world. Will you take a stand for what you believe in? Will you be the example someone would be wise to follow? I try to be. When I mess up I admit it. Before I even open my my life up to others I tell them who I really am. That is something I am both willing to die for, but mostly I want to live for.
Our convictions are what set us apart from the animal world. shouldn't we be grateful enough for that to be worthy of it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baby bird

I've been learning a lot lately. Some of it is remembering old lessons I have learned, but forgot for a time. Others completely new to me. How we grow as people and what trials we must face in turn. Somehow it always comes back to nature for me. Nature is so complex and yet so simple when compared to us human beings.

A baby bird is born inside a shell. Protected from the outside world so it can grow and develop, get all it's claws, it's beak and feathers. Mom sits on this egg and keeps it warm. Turning it over every so often to make sure it is warm all over. Low an behold after a certain amount of time a baby cracks the shell and fights it's way outside. Instincts take over and it 'peep's for food. For a time Mom does all the work. She 'cooks', cleans and teaches her babies the basics. She protects them fiercely from other predators and dangers. She nurtures them and helps them as much as she possibly can till 'The Time' comes and her babies must succeed or fail on their own.

A bird cannot 'teach' another bird to fly. It can only fly as an example. The baby that is now ready to leave the nest will do one of two things. It will take off on it's first flight (a little wobbly, but stronger the further away from the nest it flies) or it will fall to the ground and die. Mom cannot carry this baby on her back. This baby must fly on it's own. Mom gives her babies all she can and it is up to them what they do with her lessons. We are not so much different.

We are knit together as a miracle inside our mothers womb. When we emerge into the world our instincts take over and we cry for what we need. Over time our parents do even more for us than a Momma bird does for her babies. We are taught to speak, to dress ourselves, we are educated and given freedoms to choose from. Mom and Dad protect us and fill us with their knowledge for a time and when that time is over we are let go into the world to make our way. This is not an essay on parenting. This is an essay on growing up.

Whether it be family, friends, mentors, clergy, teachers or anyone else that has been privileged with our instruction there comes a moment when they must let go. Let go and let God take over our watch care. We have been handed the tools. We have been given a road map to the universe, if you will. How we experience our lives isn't based on just nature or just nurture, but both. If we hold on too tightly to those we care about we can stifle their growth. It is not intentional, for the most, it is simply separation anxiety. We that are the ones leaving out into the world must learn how to stand on our own two feet. It's a big scary, exciting world out there. So much for the senses to experience. Mistakes will be made. They must. How else are we to learn for ourselves?

I can't burn my hand and tell you it hurts and you know for sure unless you have also burned your own hand in a like manner. Like our parents before us we will tell our children or those we mentor what we did, how we did it and what happened after. They can either choose to be wise and take our word for it or they can go out, do the same thing with the same results. Some things I learned by trial and error. Other things I trusted the judgment of my elders. This is part of the human experience.

I know there are many people that love me and i love them. I know that there are those out there that would hope I never have to walk through the fire again and they cling tight, trying to keep me from making a mistake. I really am not talking about anyone specific. We all do it to each other in different ways under different circumstances for different reasons, but in this small view of everything I like to make it general.

Loving someone means letting someone BE the person you love. I hope that makes sense. We don't want anyone we love to hurt, but sometimes the hurt we experience brings the sweetest joy after it is resolved and this is the point I am trying to make. The more you let go of someone and allow them their freedom, the faster and more often they return to you if that love is true. They may be a bit bruised and dirty, but eyes bright and full of wonder. Think Prodigal Son. Love lets go, it does not cling.

I'm getting ready to enter into a testing period. I can feel it all through my bones. Like a Padawan learner I am ready for the trials. Like the baby bird I need my space so I can set my wings to catch the updraft and fly. And I will fly. I promise you that. I finally have faith in myself if you can believe that. I'm ready for the worst. I've been through the depths of hell and emerged victorious. Now it's time to separate my own wheat from my own chaff. A thorough threshing. I will call out when I need help. I will be quiet when it must be so. I've lived this long and come this far. I think my track record speaks for itself. Both the Win column and the Loss column.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Revision of Me

Abused, used, mistrusted and burned.
Regret, loss, pain. My gut wrenching, churns.
Trying to heal I get it all wrong.
Hope springs eternal, though not very long.
Is it my future to feel this inside?
Or will I grow and let it subside?
I cry and I laugh, I hurt and I smile,
But truth be told, I died for a while.
I watched everyone change right before my eyes.
I ached and struggled to show them my insides.
I looked down at the world from this place in my dreams.
I wondered every day just what it all means.
To be here is a privilege, of that I am sure,
But does this honor have to bring so much pain, so much gore?
My Grams once told me that it was just my fate,
To have a hard life, to carry this weight.
I didn't think it fair. I didn't think it right,
But who am I to judge when I couldn't open my eyes?
My writing it seems at times to be dark.
I get tired, afraid and think I'll lose heart.
Another day comes and I wake up again.
Depression has just seemed to be my best friend.
But something happened last night to change things once and for all.
I quit banging my head against that brick wall.
I opened my heart and let the sun in,
And found once more the iron will to win.
My light now burns bright and though it may pass,
I know who I am when I look in the glass.
I'll fight with all fury, I'll push through to the end
And with my God's help, my hearts' on the mend.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hans said it best...

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." Hans Christian Anderson

That little flower can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day sometimes. Ever wonder why we give flowers at funerals, holidays and at the birth of a child? The language and meaning of flowers has changed over the years, but it still a poignant gesture that no matter the occasion is fraught with meaning.

Drawing daisies in my notebooks at school, receiving one as a token of affection, seeing them grow wild by the side of the road have always brightened my day. Even through tears of pain and loss I looked at flowers with a small smile. It's is something alive. Something growing all on it's own. It needs a little water, a place to grow, some sun and time and from a plain tiny seed evolves this thing of beauty. Sometimes magnificence. We are not much different. A good foundation, some SON, time, a place to grow and we become a thing of beauty. A thing of magnificence ourselves.

Tiny flowers dot the side of the highway, a playground, the cracks in the sidewalk. Huge flowers grow in the jungles where the wild things are and survive to see the light of day and provide shade to the smaller entities the live nearby. Flowers grow in pots on porches, in homes hanging from the ceiling and botanical gardens where people pay to see them. Even if you don't really like flowers or are allergic to them you cannot in good conscience ignore them. They are everywhere and their purpose? To bring us beauty and to show us that left alone to do what they must,  they will become exactly what they were intended to be.

God has given us so much more than he gives the flowers of the earth. A mind, heart and soul. All these things must be nourished, fed and cared for just like a flower and we will blossom. Ever pick up a dandelion and pull the petals from it asking that all important question, "Do they love me or do they love me not?" We decorate our world with flowers and the world outside of us is decorated with people. For every species of flora around us there a hundred people more beautiful than each petal.

I struggle each and every day to remind myself that I deserve to be here, that I deserve a chance to live and flourish. Like a Lotus I have risen from the muck and grime. I'm ready to be plucked up and appreciated. Not by anyone in particular, but just because I exist. I have my good days. I have my bad days, but I always have a will to keep going. Every time I pass a flower I am reminded of this. I stop to smell the roses. I pick a few for a bouquet and give them away. In my own way I am a special flower and I give myself as a gift to my friends if they will have me. Like Hans said in order to live I need sunshine, freedom and a little flower.

My siblings...

I wake up at the beginning of the week and I'm always confused as to what I'm suppose to do. I have chores to finish, letters to write, presents to create and lots and lots of mini projects to sort through and complete. I post to facebook. I answer e-mail. Check the snail mail and wander around basically in a fog. I play with my dog. I read all sorts of stuff. I usually have a movie playing or some show on tv I like as background noise. I text a million people, sing a few songs, write a little music on my guitar or computer, write some poetry and all in all it seems like I never get anything accomplished. Then I get bored. Cause ALL of that takes me about 3 hours and then i have the rest of each day to figure out what to do next.

If I had had my choice my life would have turned out quite differently, but before I was old enough to make those decisions for myself, some were made for me. I grew a thick skin as a result and maybe that is why God allowed such things to occur. I mean who asks to have your dreams handed to you. Along with a set of regulations you have to follow just to get out of bed. A little background if you will permit me to go on a bit...

I wanted to be a swimmer. I was always very active in sports and excelled in all of them. I wanted to be in the Olympics and I was on my way by being on the adult swim team at the Y, till my Brother and Sister were adopted. Who knew at the time what all that would entail. Had my parents not adopted them i'm sure they would have been dead in a year or two. They were nearly 2 years old and almost dead then. Together they didn't weigh 20 pounds soaking wet. Undernourished, riddled with issues and who knows what the people who had them before us did to them because they were WILD. They did some crazy things like trying to eat scalding hot food and would scream and cry if you tried to make them wait even just enough to cool it down with your breath. (I don't think my Mom knows I remember all this). So tiny and fragile they looked, but tough as an old piece of leather. They did some crazy crazy things and scared the crap out of me. I ended up living with my Grams for a year just so my parents could figure out how to manage them. None of this was their fault. I shall give you some history.

They were born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Underweight and premature the doctors didn't even know their mother was pregnant with twins and almost missed my sister. If I remember correctly Rikki was about 4 lbs and my sister around 2 and a half. As they got a bit older it was discovered that they were both ADHD and slow learners, but they were gifted in other ways and figured out how to get around that. My brother has Tourettes and my sister, well she's my sister. My brother is an addict. My sister doesn't know how to live alone. I don't feel sorry for either of them though because they always manage. Of that I'm proud of them. I should probably tell them both that more often, but I don't and that's my problem. Not theirs.

I resented them both for years and years and years. I felt they stole away some of my chances and to an extent my parents. What money had gone into my sports and academia was now split with them and doctors visits, medications and a whole host of other things I won't even get into because it's not important. What is important is what happened this last year.

My sister and I had a bit of a falling out. It lasted oh, maybe a month or so. Then she said something to me that changed everything. She said she was sorry they stole my life from me. In the few seconds after she said that to me my entire view of all of it changed. They didn't steal a damn thing from me. And I was selfish to blame them. Sure things changed forever, but what if my parents had not adopted them? They asked me if I was okay with it and I said I was. I helped make that decision and the day my parents went to court to find out if they could or not I waited patiently at school that day. Excited. Scared. Thrilled. Terrified. Conflicted. Hopeful. In my mind I wouldn't be alone anymore. I was only about 8 and I had no clue what was coming. I knew I loved them. I didn't know later I would hate them.

Yeah, I said it. I hated them. My entire life turned upside down. Little did I know this was God's plan all along. I had had it so easy. Born healthy. Adopted by a loving, strong and close knit family. We weren't rich, but I wanted for nothing. My family stood behind me. Taught me morals and ethics, right from wrong, taught me a faith that has endured through my darkest moments. How could I see all that back then though? I was just a kid. What I had to do then was create my own world and succeed on my own. My parents had their hands full and I know for a fact that my Mom nearly lost her mind with everything that went on through those developmental years. Sure other bad things happened to me, but that stuff is not the purpose of this writing. I blamed my siblings. That was wrong and I know that now.

I'm closer to both of them now than I have ever been in my life. I don't always agree with their actions now, but they don't always agree with mine. They have ALWAYS loved me though. That should have been enough when I was a kid, but I was dumb and selfish. I'm not anymore. Between the two of them I have 5 of the most beautiful nieces in the world. My brother is still very hard to handle, but I love him and he doesn't bother me. My sister, well she's her own person and though I cannot be supportive in everything she DOES. I can support her in who she IS.

I wish I could go back sometimes and change some of my behaviors towards them when we were kids, but it's an empty wish. I believe it is the realizations I have now that change the future. Were it not for them I wouldn't have tried out so many different things to find my niche in life. I still haven't figured everything out and I hope I never do. The future has so many more possibilities if I don't close any doors. SO I leave a few open and I stay confused, but I have so much I can do. What I'm learning now is how to manage my time wisely to accomplish the most that I can and though i fail or fall or quit some things I look at my siblings and at what people thought were disadvantages and I see how they have overcome to the best of their abilities. Yes, my siblings have taught me more than I ever thought they could. I love them. I appreciate them and I miss them.