Let’s Just Talk…

When was the last time you had an open and honest conversation with someone? How did they react? Did you have a difference in opinion? Do you felt like they heard you when you spoke? Were they upset when you felt differently than them? Did they accuse you of judging them or tell you to never speak to them again? Halfway through the conversation, did they tell you that all you’re doing is arguing when you weren’t even aware that you were having an argument? Did you feel anything was accomplished or were you left feeling defeated and emotionally drained?

I’ve always felt that the best way to solve differences is to leave the line of communication opened but also be honest with your feelings without taking offense to how the other person is feeling. If I have a disagreement with someone, I want to be able to talk it out and I want to feel comfortable expressing to the other person exactly how I’m feeling without fear that they will think I’m judging them or being difficult – simply because I have a different opinion. Likeless, I won’t take offense to what the other person’s opinion is. Do you have a different opinion than me? Cool! That’s part of life and we are free to have as many opinions as we want. 

The problem comes when the other person doesn’t understand how to communicate and takes offense to everything that is said. You’re often left feeling like you’re walking on eggshells. You try to understand the other person, you ask what you can do to help, you try to understand the situation. If you give an opinion that is different, obviously you are judging the other person and that is a reason to be cut out of their life. 

I don’t do well with threats of any kind. I’ve cut people out of my life before and I couldn’t care less if someone cuts me out of theirs. I very firmly believes that God is in control and He lets people enter and exit our lives as needed. If someone feels the need to cut me out of their life, I see it as God’s Way of removing that person from my life. Why? I’m not always sure, but since I have faith in God, I trust Him. Perhaps that’s why that threat has always bothered me – either talk to me or don’t – I believe that God is ultimately in control. 

But what about if I have a different opinion than you? Is that judgment? Should I lie to you when I feel differently simply to avoid hurting your feelings? You should never hurt someone’s feelings on purpose – that’s mean. But having a difference in opinion is normal, healthy even. It allows people to grow and understand. The problem arises when someone views a difference in opinion as a judgment and takes offense to it. Perhaps that is a battle we will always be fighting – figuring out how to communicate with people who view words spoke as an attack against them when you’re only stating your opinion. 

However, there’s another part of communication. Sometimes, you need to be blunt. If I believe someone is being a brat, and then they are complaining to me, I will tell them how I feel – they are being a brat and need to knock it off because adults don’t act like that. It’s the same way my friends and family call me out when I’m acting like a brat – they give me their honest opinion of my actions and how I’m being perceived. What I do with that information is up to me. But the point is that someone cares enough to be blunt with me about the way I’m acting, the same way I care enough about other people to be blunt with them. 

Perhaps communication is difficult for all people. Most arguments and disagreements could be solved if people were open to honest communication. The problem is, a lot of the time, people don’t want to communicate. They want people to be on their side and if they aren’t, they take offense. What happened to being able to communicate without fear that someone would take it the wrong way? What happened to have a healthy conversation and working out problems? What  happened to communication?

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Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

She couldn’t sleep. 

Her mind continued to drift back to him time and time again. 

Just when she thought she was finally over him, he always popped back into her life. 

A phone call. 

A text message. 

An unexpected visit. 

She rolled her eyes toward the Heavens. 

“A little help down here.”

“That’s not funny.”

“He’s going to break my heart.”

She declared lots of things to God. 

Truth is, she was never sure if she really liked him or not. 

Maybe she wanted to but didn’t know how. 

They were friends and everyone thought they should be more. 

But were they?

The subject had been danced around for years – neither one committing to making a move. 

She often felt like he was expecting too much from her. 

He wanted her to give up things she felt the need to hang onto. 

They weren’t bad habits. 

He felt she was too busy and wouldn’t have the time to commit. 

She knew that she would always make the time for anything and anyone if it was important. 

Friends tried to set her up with other people. 

“I don’t have the time,” she complained. 

“That’s never stopped you before.”

They were right. 

A lack of time had never stopped her before. 

If she wanted to date someone, she always made the time. 

However, this guy didn’t think she had the time. 

She knew she did. 

But something else nagged at her soul. 

He doesn’t support her. 

He says he wants what’s best for her but he doesn’t understand she needs to hang onto this just a while longer. 

How could she be attracted to someone if she don’t believe he would support her in anything she does?

The question rolled around her brain. 

Her cell phone buzzed. 

Another text from him. 

“A little help down here,” she begged God. 

She needed a sign. 

She needed to know what to do. 

Soon the texts would stop. 

She knew they would. 

She would find herself crying in the shower once more. 

Crying for what could have been. 

Crying for what was never meant to be. 

Crying for what she continued to allow herself to be put through. 

No, this time she wouldn’t get caught up. 

She would except the relationship for what it was, even if she didn’t know what it was. 

What happens when she lets go?

She’s scared she’ll never find the one. 

There’s not enough time to find him. 

“A little help down here.”

She begged God to answer her cries. 

Show her the way. 

Lead her to where her heart belonged. 

Learning to Love My Body – I’ll Figure it Out

I’ve let a lot of things slide lately – my health, my friends and family, my blog. When I’m  working 70+ hours a week – multiple weeks in a row – sometimes it feels like I can never be caught up with everything else. I work so hard because I know that it’ll help me get where I’m going financially faster. Sometimes I find myself questioning at what cost? Am I scarificing myself in the short term to get where I want to be long term? Is there a way to balance everything?

Here’s the thing though – I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure out how to keep my health on track even when I know I can’t make it to the gym. I’ll figure out a way to stay in better contact with my friends and family, even if it’s just a quick message to let them know I’m thinking of them. I’m continue to write in this blog because it’s one of the things in life that has always helped me clear my head. When you love something, you hang onto it. You hang onto your friends and family because of that love. You have to hang onto your health too – hang onto where you want to go and what you want to be and who you want to become. It’s able figuring out how to be the best you there is. 

Sometimes learning to love my body is about figuring out how to accomplish everything in a day and not feeling guilty over making sacrifices in order to get to where I want to be. It’s about not having guilt about going to the gym or missing a day at the gym. It’s about understanding that taking care of my body is one of the single most important things I can do. It’s about figuring it out – how to balance jobs and gym and dogs and family and friends. It’s about the choices I make when I’m not at the gym and realizing they’re just as important as the choices I make when I’m at the gym. Learning to love my body is about figuring it out – no matter how many times I stumble and fall. It’s about getting back up every single time. It’s about taking care of myself every single day. 

Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

There’s an entire playlist in iTunes devoted to ‘love’ on her phone, yet she’s never been in love. 

Pinterest is filled with love quotes and engagement rings and wedding inspiration and ideas for the children she longs to have, yet she keeps this a secret. 

Her favorite shows rarely have to do with the actual show and instead involve the love story that is often secondary. 

A list of kids names in hidden in her phone and she wonders if she’ll ever get to use even one of them, if the children she longs to have will be named from the list she’s kept for years. 

She puts up a happy face for all the world to see, claiming she’s too busy to find time to settle down. 

Still, she wonders if the problem is her – perhaps she’s so uncomfortable in her own skin, that it makes everything else impossible. 

Her only goal is to live a happy life – learning to be comfortable with herself, however, she still longs for more. 

Laugh at Funerals

My dad gave me a lot of advice when I was growing up, advice I still find myself clinging to some days. The earliest piece of advice I remember was to “always laugh at funerals.” Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions like I did when he spoke those words to me, let me explain the reasoning. My dad told me that funerals are supposed to be a happy time because your loved one has met Jesus and that’s pretty cool. Funerals are sad for those of us left on Earth, but they’re a joyful time for your loved one because they have finally met God. He made me promise to not cry when he died, but instead, to laugh and be happy for him. 

I remember when my dad died – a memory forever ingrained in my brain. I remember thinking of my promise to him – to laugh instead of cry. I must have cried a million tears since that fateful day my world turned upside down. However, I didn’t cry during his memorial service – partly because I was too exhausted to cry anymore tears and partly because I wanted to uphold my promise to him. 

Fast forward a few years and I was recently faced with one of the hardest funerals imaginable – a baby funeral. I went to support the friends who are family. Like so many times before, my dad’s words played in my head. 

I didn’t laugh this time. Not that I’ve ever actually laughed at a funeral, but usually my dad’s words help me keep my emotions in check. However, as I sat there looking at that tiny coffin, thinking to myself that I didn’t even know coffins were made so small, tears started to well in my eyes. And when I watched the baby’s father lean over to kiss the coffin, I couldn’t hold back anymore. My heart was absolutely breaking for the pain of this wonderful family who lost their baby way too soon. 

I don’t think my dad ever meant that you should actually laugh at funerals – that’s rude – it was his way of trying to help me deal with the numerous funerals we attended when I was a child. He often told me how when he died he wanted to be sitting up in his coffin with a camera so that as people walked up, he could tell them what he thought of them – and I would laugh every time. My dad had a sense of humor about everything – even life altering things like death. He was so firm in his belief in God, that death didn’t scare him – and if it did, he never let it show. Even so, as an adult, his words still ring in my head, and although I know it’s okay to show my emotions, remembering that my dad told me to laugh helps me to stay strong and support those around me when they need it most. 

Resolutions and Such…

Five years ago I had just survived the worse year ever (no, 2017, that is not a challenge). In addition to losing my dad, I had broken my promise to God, failed classes, moved, and tried to figure out how to make it in my new world. I had started therapy. I felt lost. 

There was this website I used to be involved in – moreloveletters.com – the normal objective was to write letters to strangers and send those letters to them. However, at the end of 2011, the creator of the site issued a new letter writing mission for January 2012 – write a letter to yourself, mail it to them, and they would mail it back in January 2013. Craft the perfect love letter to yourself. It was exactly what I needed to do at that time. 

I spent a good part of January working on my letter. For me, it wasn’t just a letter, it was everything that I wanted for 2012. I mailed it off at the end of the month and wouldn’t see it again for a year. 

I don’t remember the exact contents of the letter, and I know I have it somewhere. It wasn’t really a letter – more like an art project – I made a book, filled with hope for the new year. One part that I held onto, even after I mailed it, and I still hold onto to til this day. “This year – I didn’t wish to get a boyfriend or to save money or to lose weight – I just want to be happy.” Although the order I listed those three things in might be off, those were the ideas I most often associated with happiness when I was younger. However, as 2011 became 2012, I found myself not wanting any of those things, I only wanted to be happy. 

Happiness seems like such a simple idea from the outside. Of course anyone can be happy, but when you feel like you’ve lost all your happiness, when you can’t even figure out how to be happy anymore, that’s when you find yourself starting from square one. That’s where I was – I spent the year focusing on taking care of myself and doing things that would make me happy. I began to learn to love myself and the new life I was thrown into. And when things started to drag me down, I reflected on my only goal for the year – be happy. 

I made some big decisions in 2012. I prayed about them a lot. I talked to my friends about them a lot. I thought about what was best for everyone else. Then I asked myself what was best for me (and my dogs). I chose the things I thought would get me to where I wanted to go, while refusing to let my dogs go – somehow, someway, all three of us were going to make it through 2012 and I would determined to always give them, and myself, the best life possible. 

I stopped making resolutions after that year. Instead, every New Years, I think about the resolution I made so many years ago – be happy. When something in my life has me down, I reflect and decide if it’s truly making me happy, and if the answer is no, I make a change. When my only resolution is to be happy, all the other changes take place when they need to, not just on New Years. This year, while I stopped making resolutions years ago, I continue to reflect on the last one I made – be happy. 

Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

And perhaps that’s what she was most scared of – admitting that she really did want it all. She wanted to fall in love and she wanted to get married and she wanted to have children with the man she loved. It’s that stuff that filled her dreams at night. But she knew that once she admitted she wanted it, she was taking a chance with her heart – a risk of admitting her dreams and fear they may never come true. And that, that is what scared her more than anything.