Monthly Archives: April 2013

I’m a Monkey

Missyspublicjunk

So, I heard something today that shouldn’t have any psychological significance.  I should have listened to it, saw it for the literal story that it was probably meant to be, and went on with my day.  But nope, not me.  Not Melissa.  I have to think and analyze everything until there’s nothing left.  So, here goes.

I keep wondering why I have let such a short (albeit intense) relationship get to me as bad as this last one did.  I always pout when a relationship doesn’t work out (which has happened PLENTY of times), but this one was different.  This one cut deep.  Not just because I miss my friend (which I do), but also because it has made me question who I am.  It has made me question my worthiness, my intuition, and most importantly – my inability to fully trust another person.  And I have no idea why this is happening.  But I heard…

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I am a Writer

“I firmly believe that doing what you love involves doing what you once loved as a kid. That thing you were good at. That thing you’d sneak away from your chores to do. Your history tells you everything you ever wanted to know about living your dream.
– Catherine Hughes

I have been wanting to do a blog about writing for a while.  (In other words, I’ve wanted to write about writing.) But I didn’t really know where to go with it.  I write about everything that matters to me – my kids, my boyfriend, my family, my running, my acting, etc. – but I’ve never known exactly how to write about writing.  Just seemed like an odd thing to write about.  A little redundant even.  But yet, it nagged at me.  Somehow, I needed to do it.

And then I read a blog by Catherine Hughes that contained the quote above.  (Here’s a link to the blog if you want to check it out.  It’s a good one!)

And finally, I realized where I wanted to go with this.

I am a writer.

Wow.  Just saying that sounds odd.  A writer.  Me?  Really?

Like the quote implies, maybe a small part of you knew who you were and who you were meant to be from the very beginning.  What did you sneak away to do as a kid?  Me?  I wrote.  Really.  I can remember this old trapper keeper (oh yeah, we’re taking it old school now) that I used to have that was filled to the brim with little poems and notes that I would write as a pre-teen.  They started getting pretty good when I got into my teenage years (even if I do say so myself).  Heck, even back as far as when I was pre-school age, I would make my dad and grandma “play school” with me, and my assignments to them (I was the teacher, of course) were always to write stories or essays.  My grandma still has some of these in storage and they are a hoot to read.  I was not a very gracious teacher.  I didn’t see an “A” in the bunch.  There went their dreams of being writers…

Now, granted, I don’t make money being a writer.  It’s not my profession, so to speak.  But does that mean I’m not one?  Nope.  Does that mean I’m not “living my dream” because my paycheck doesn’t come from what I love?  Of course not.

I am a writer.

Yes, I have a “regular” job.  I’m a real estate paralegal.  While real estate may not be my “dream” per se, I’m actually kind of good at it.  It’s what I know, and all I’ve done since college.  Am I ‘selling out’ because I’m not following my dreams to be a writer?  Of course not.  I’m doing what it takes to take care of myself and my kids.  To keep food in our mouths and a roof over our heads.  I’m being a responsible adult.  I’m not going to win any awards for that.  No nobel peace prize officials are going to be knocking on my door to alert me of my candidacy based on my excellent ability to close a loan refinance or cut the crusts off a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  But I don’t need that.  Watching my kids grow up in comfort and become wonderful young adults is all the award I need.

But in the down times, in the quiet times, I sneak off and become me.  I write.

And for the longest time, I kept that somewhat secret.  My childhood trapper keeper eventually turned to a folder, which then turned into a file on the computer, which then morphed into a private blog, and which now has become this public blog you’re reading now.  I’ve always been a writer.  I’m just finally admitting it, and taking that scary leap into exposing my writing for others to see.

writer

No, I’m not gaining fame and fortune with my writing.  But I am indeed living my dream.  And I thank each and every one of you who haven’t run away.

***

“The dream was always running ahead of me.  To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”
– Anais Nin

Authority

authority

This blog is kind of about politics.  And kind of not.

Mostly, it’s about respect.

I’ll start by admitting that I am not into politics.  I’m just not.  I may be the most “not into” politics of anyone you’ll ever know.  I know myself, and I know to stay out of it to avoid a full-on high-blood-pressure-induced heart attack.  So I steer clear of the subject.

Well, most of the time.

So, while it’s true that I’m not “into” politics, the thing that I am most definitely “into” is people.  Humanity.  Love for your fellow human.  You know, that whole “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” stuff.

Well, something ‘political’ that I saw yesterday just absolutely pissed me off.

I’m not going to lower myself to post it here for you to see.  It disgusts me and I’m not going to spread it any further than it has to go.  But basically, there’s a picture going around comparing the two Boston marathon bombing terrorist suspects to our president and vice-president.  Saying that both are taking our ‘rights’ away (it’s some BS about gun rights) and therefore implying that they should be grouped in the same category.

Did I mention that this pissed me off?

Again, I’m not political.  I don’t have a strong opinion about gun rights or any other topic that whoever created that picture was attempting to address.  But what I do have is this: respect for authority.

Let me tell you a story.

When my son Jeffrey was 3 years old, he despised his pre-school teacher.  And to be quite honest, I wasn’t too thrilled with her myself.  Well, Jeffrey, in his 3-year-old glory, decided that he would take action to show his teacher how much he disliked her.  He somehow discovered which car in the parking lot was hers (unfortunately for her, it was one that was parked closest to the fence at the playground), and then proceeded to do what a 3-year-old deemed an appropriate way to show contempt – he threw rocks at it.

Of course, his dad and I got called into the school.  And, of course, he got in trouble for it.  But during that incident, and in other incidents to come over the years, I tried to instill something into Jeffrey.  Whether or not you like someone or whether or not you agree with them, one thing has to exist at all times.  And that is respect.  Respect for each other, yes.  But especially a respect for authority.  They are there for a reason.  You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to like them.  But you have to respect them for the role that they play.

As Jeffrey gets older and more mature, I see this respect growing in leaps and bounds.  He still gets angry, as we all do, but he has learned to keep that anger in check and not blow up every time he feels the urge.  Basically, he has learned to ‘stop throwing rocks’ so to speak.

Now, if some adults could just learn that.

Can’t we just stop it?  Just stop it.  Agree with him, disagree with him, like him, hate him – I don’t care.  But remember that he is the president of our country.  This country that gives you the freedom to run your mouth?  Yeah, he runs it.  If you don’t like him, vote him out.  Isn’t it great that you have that option?  Until then, respect the man and allow him to do his job.  If you have issues you disagree on – great.  Voice your opinion.  About the issues.  Not the person.  There is a big difference between feeling strongly enough to voice your opinion about a subject and choosing to bash another human being.

Put your rocks down and grow up.

***

“Men are respectable only as they respect.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Brutal Beginnings

beginning

Isn’t that picture just so darn cute??  Look at the wittle chickies… I could just sit here and look at their cute little selves all day long.  Awwwww.  Here chickie chickie chickie…

Ok, sorry.  I’ll get to the point now.

So, I just finished the last long run of my half marathon training plan.  I’m 10 days away from the race, so it’s time to taper down and do shorter runs to give myself some rest in preparation for the big day.  I’m a little nervous since I missed a few weeks of training due to various life circumstances, but I think I’m ready.

There’s something I’ve learned in the past few weeks during these attempts at longer runs – if I can get past the first 3 miles, it’s all downhill from there.  Well, not literally downhill…but you know what I mean.  Because the beginning of a run?  Whew.  Let me tell ya.  I don’t care how long you’ve been running or how far you’re able to go – the beginning just flat-out sucks.  I’ve heard the saying a million times – the hardest step for a runner is the one out the front door.  That is so incredibly true.  (And those next few steps during the first couple of miles are no picnic either.)  Yes, the beginning is definitely the hardest.

And, think about it.  Isn’t it like that with most things?

For what was definitely not the first time, I began to think about the correlation between running and relationships.

Think about the beginning of a relationship.  Now, I’m not talking about the dating portion.  That part is usually awesome.  Everyone is putting on their best masks and presenting the finest portion of themselves.  So, of course, nothing can go wrong there.  There’s nothing not to like because all the negative is hidden under the costume.  So, no – it’s not dating I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about the beginning of the relationship.  The moment when you cross over into ‘potentially forever’ territory.

This is when it gets hard.

All of a sudden those things that were soooo cute before just aren’t so cute anymore.  His precious spontaneity turns into inability to make plans.  Her perfectly groomed makeup and hair turns into something that takes forever to achieve and makes you late for events.  His carefree attitude that was so fun before turns into him not being able to take anything serious.  Her loving adoration turns into suffocation.

Isn’t it funny how that happens?

The beginning is always the hardest. 

Now is when you have to make the decision to proceed.  Just the same as it is with running, you have to remember why you’re here and why you’re doing what you’re doing.  You’re taking a chance.  You’re putting effort into something that matters.  You know?  You wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a reason.  The things worth having usually don’t come easy.  But, as it is with running, you wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t something inside you that knows that you need to.  You wouldn’t be training for your first 5k/10k/half marathon/marathon, whatever, if it wasn’t something that you were drawn to.  Something that you know deep down inside that you are truly capable of and something that you need to do in order to fulfill some part of you that has an empty space just for that.

See the correlation?

Don’t give up.  Hang in there.  This is just the hard part.  Push through this part and prepare yourself for what you’ve earned on the other side.  Like Dolly Parton says – “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”  And a little rain is not gonna kill you.

That rainbow is going to be so worth it.

***

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
– Henry Ford

Unreachable

Someone mentioned this poem the other day and I decided to go back and look at it.  I wrote this a long time ago.  And I’ll be honest – there has always been something about it that hasn’t exactly sat well with me.  You know what I mean?  For goodness sakes, I wrote the darn thing.  So I should like it, right?  I should believe it.  But something about it just bothers me.  Can’t quite put my finger on it.  Maybe because it could be construed as ‘giving up’?  Maybe.  But sometimes giving up is a requirement, right?  It’s necessary.  There’s no other choice. 

Maybe it just bothers me because there’s such a thin line between ‘giving up’ and ‘moving on.’ 

I don’t know.

You be the judge.  What do you think?

unreachableblog

Unreachable

Have you ever tried to climb a tree with no branches?
Oh, it is the most frustrating thing!
You know that reaching the top would be wonderful –
So many awesome possibilities –
So much possible potential –
Such a beautiful view!
But how do you get up there when there are no branches –
No stepping-stones along the way –
No one to help you?
You begin to think . . . maybe this tree isn’t meant to be climbed.
Maybe I’m not ready just yet.
Maybe I should just admire the view from the ground for a while.
After all, who knows?
Maybe there is another tree just around the bend.
It may not be as majestic and beautiful…
But it probably has branches.
Maybe, just maybe
It will even bend down to help me up.
Maybe it’s time to move on.

Good-bye to old unattainable dreams.
Hello to new, realistic ones.

Uncomfortable

uncomfortable

I was at my boyfriend’s house over the weekend and his big, sweet cat came and plopped himself on me.  He was stretched at an obviously awkward angle with his little head burrowed into my chest.  Richard made some comment about how much “Mittens loves me” and I responded with, “No, I think Mittens just likes having a comfortable place to lay.”  Richard’s response: “No way.  Look at him.  That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.”

“That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.”

Such a seemingly innocent, yet ultimately profound statement.  I mean, think about it.  How many times does this end up being the case?   Love just really isn’t always all that comfortable.  Ya know?

Let me give you a few examples to explain where I’m headed with this.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I watched my cousin feeding my grandpa in the nursing home a few weeks ago.  I know she got tired of that.  She stood there for a very long time and I’m sure she got tired of all of that standing.  I’m sure her legs were sore.  I’m sure her arms got sore from the time it took to feed him.  I’m sure it was hard trying to understand what he was telling her and what he was asking for through his incoherent rambling.  I’m sure it was…well…uncomfortable.

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

I remember watching my daughter once serve as a capo for my boyfriend’s guitar.  No, really.  He was using a capo-less guitar that didn’t belong to him to play a requested song for my family at a holiday get-together.  My daughter jumped up and offered to hold it for him so it would sound right.  She stood there and pressed down on the strings as he played.  It was just so darn cute.  Here, I’ll show you.

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And afterwards?  Bless her heart, she had grooves in her little fingers from where she had to press so hard.  But she was so proud to have helped.

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

I watched my sister stand for hours beside the incubators of her newborn premature twin babies.  I know she got tired standing there.  I know it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to stand there and hold a syringe up above the babies so that their milk could flow down through their feeding tube.  I know that as a brand new mom it certainly wasn’t comfortable trying to work around all of the wires and monitors to change a teeny tiny little squirming baby’s diaper.  I know it’s not comfortable giving up hours and hours of her days traveling to and from the hospital that is close to 2 hours away while she continues to take care of them during the many weeks they remain in neonatal intensive care until they’re big enough to go home.  But she does it.

jenbaby

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

Another example.  I’m training for a half marathon.  And it is SO hard.  I get frustrated with myself at times.  My legs hurt.  I’m tired.  It’s difficult to squeeze in the time required to devote to the training.  But you know what?  I love running.  Why?  Because it’s making me a better person.  In more ways than I can count.  Running all those miles at one time?  No – definitely not comfortable.  But is it love?  Yes.  Love for the sport and love for the me that I’m becoming as I struggle through the discomfort. It’s not comfortable – it’s love.

These are just a few personal examples, but look around and you’ll see so many more.  Watch the coverage from the Boston marathon a week ago today.  I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of Carlos Arredondo.  He is the man who ran alongside a wheelchair holding an exposed leg artery closed for a complete stranger so that he wouldn’t bleed to death.  Comfortable?  No, of course not.  Love for a complete stranger?  Sure looks like that to me.

There are so many examples that surround us at any given time.  Love wears such a vast array of costumes.  And more often than we may realize – it’s disguised in discomfort.

We live in a society where love is portrayed in romance novels and movies to be all butterflies and rainbows.  The prince ends up with the princess.  They live in their castle and with the birds chirping and the sun shining for the rest of their lives.  Must be nice.  But out here in the real world?  Yeah, love is a different story out here.  Love takes work.  It takes sacrifice.  It takes eyes that see past the flaws and faith that believes beyond the impossible.

My boyfriend and I have been through some tough times.  We both have had issues to rise above and move past.  Sometimes we’ve given up temporarily, but we keep finding our way back.  We sometimes find ourselves surrounded by reminders that take us back to things we’re trying to forget.  We sometimes have outside influences that, knowingly or not, chip away at what we’re trying to build together.  And sometimes our own selfishness and insecurities do the chipping without any help.  No, love is definitely not always butterflies and rainbows.  Sometimes it’s just plain….uncomfortable.  It hurts, it’s hard, it takes work.  But yet, we stay.  Why do we do that?  Why are we still here?

Well.  You know.

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

***

“It ain’t pretty, but it’s beautiful
Our love ain’t perfect, but it’s wonderful
We’re still learning to be loveable
It ain’t pretty, but it’s beautiful.”

– Clay Walker (It Ain’t Pretty lyrics)

Problems?

“The huge problems we deal with every day are actually really small. We’re so focused on what bothers us
that we don’t even try to see our lives from a clearer perspective.”
– Susane Colasanti

problemsblog

I saw the above picture on Facebook yesterday.  The “someecards” are meant to be funny usually.  But every now and then, one pops up that is spot freakin’ on.

(I don’t mean to be snarky with this blog, but if the snark slips out, so be it.)

We humans sure are a bunch of complainers aren’t we?  Don’t believe me?  Go scroll through your Facebook for a minute or two.  Seriously.  Go right now and scroll.  I’ll bet you $100 and a Snickers that you’ll see someone complaining about something.  I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it myself at times.  I am.  But some people just seem to be pros.  For real.

“The people who live in a golden age usually go around complaining about how yellow everything looks.”
– Randall Jarrell

How much truth there is in that quote.  Sometimes I think we just forget to realize how incredibly blessed we are.  And this week is one of those weeks that should drive that point home for you.  And if it hasn’t yet, then maybe it should start now.  Ask yourself a few questions.  For instance – Are your limbs still intact?  Are your loved ones still around you?  Do you still have a place to work?  To live?  Have you gone through the week without being a firsthand eye-witness to a bloody, fiery trauma?

If your answer is yes to those questions, then I’d say you’re in pretty good shape.

Now, I’m not saying people are sick of hearing you complaining.  Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.  Hey, it’s your life – it’s your Facebook – it’s your soapbox.  Do what you will.  You’re allowed.  But, that’s not my point.

My point is that for you – for your own well-being and your own peace of mind – you should probably stop complaining about things that, in the grand scheme, are really not that big of a deal.  And you know they’re not.  It’s really hard to find peace within yourself if you’re constantly in turmoil.  And that’s what complaining is.  It’s turmoil.  Give yourself (and – ok, I’ll say it – everyone else) a break, why don’t ya?  Chill out.  Relax.  Be calm.  Recognize.

Look around you.  See what others have been through in our country in this one little week.  One week filled with so much devastation.  Fall down on your knees and be grateful and appreciative.  Go hug your kids.  Go kiss your spouse.  Go pet your dog.  Take a big, deep breath and exhale gratitude.

***

“Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful.  If you are blaming, you are not being grateful.  If you are complaining, you are not being grateful.”
– Rhonda Byrne