In my case…

Bitter sweet is an over used phrase that describes a moment a feeling sad and happy at the same time. This is double the work for the over thinker. I become living proof every time a teardrop follows dead flowers into the garbage can. And every time the predictable post vacation sadness kicks in.

I thought that clarity would stop the head spins. But this empty room’s memories of little heads in my lap are not fun to be with. In a minute though, when I stretch my legs and dominate the remote, the solitude won’t feel so bad.  If walls could talk, I would be in the middle of a never ending dispute. One like peace while the other misses chaos. One likes cleanliness while the other misses fingerprints.

Like anything that is not good for you, unwanted thoughts are a bad habit. You know you shouldn’t do it, but you still do. Time has made it a part of you. And while you know you have a choice to stop, a twisted comfort doesn’t let you.

If you are afraid of change, you are not alone. Choices become repetitive when we realize that we like how they make us feel. In my case that’s vanilla over chocolate…drama over comedy…sweatpants over skirts. In my case it’s pinching a piece of skin to stop tears with a dam called pain. It’s better than being falsely accused of being unstable or under the influence.

In my case it’s working every single day on creating new and better habits. It’s praying for karma over plotting revenge. It’s dismissing over dwelling. It’s appreciating more. I asked a question in my very first post and I ask it again. Will you go treasure hunting with me? You don’t need a shovel, just a mirror.

YOU are a treasure!

 

Crazy Talk

When or how did you last say or think of the word crazy? Did it describe a situation, a thought, a person? Was it a circumstance that threatened your comfort zone? Was it someone who, Heaven forbid, didn’t think or act the way you thought they should?

Is crazy a mental status as described by our dictionaries? Or, is it an insensitive reaction to contrast? Crazy according to Sarah is allowing differences to weaken relationships that we want and need. The selfish will not understand this. Allow me to share some real life examples:

Parking lots make me nervous, so, I almost always get front door service while my husband walks alone. I have turned many perfect moments with him into unprepared therapy sessions. And, the poor guy will probably never see all of his bucket list destinations because I am afraid of…well…just about everything.

Do my “issues” make me unlikable or give me character? Is this selfless man crazy for putting up with me or am I crazy for letting him? Is he crazy because he can ignore clutter or am I crazy because I can’t?

If we allow differences to limit our interactions, we accept a risk of loss; loss of more knowledge, loss of more companionship and so on. My daughter puts ketchup on her eggs. I find that completely disgusting, yet she will always be one of my favorite people to be around.

Ask “why” more often. You may find that adventure lies ahead. You may find a reason to feel sorry for that person who treated you poorly. You may find a reason to love yourself more. You should because…

YOU are a treasure!

Shift

Words can hurt when they hide behind devices and screens. That’s why verbal communication is still sometimes preferred. But for some of us, the keystrokes are therapy through brave expression. It’s a risky opportunity to connect with people you may never meet, because they just get it.

Fellow blogger Brittany Morefield’s descriptions of anxiety and depression are brilliantly unfiltered. In a recent post titled “In Case You’re Still Wondering About Anxiety,” I learned that she too is often asked for advice on “getting through it.” Her response reminds me of why I started the journey. I also had to “learn to help myself first.”

The following piece was written many years ago. It’s words represent the first sign of hope that I was going to fight. I recently blew the dust off and would like to share:

Today I smiled at my face in the mirror

For the first time in years

I picked up the pieces of what was a future

Whose weight once brought me to tears

I’m trading in my mask for some new mascara

I’m letting go to put time on my hands

The fog is thick and coated with wonder

But, the clearing tells me I can

Shift into gear and drive out of this haze

Where demons dance on the roads of a maze

Where temptation dangles from every tree

And sin lives in shadows that no one can see

I wasn’t dizzy today when I lifted my head

So, I stretched to pat my own back

Reintroducing myself to myself

To forget how to run with the pack

My goals spread their wings because I’ve given them choices

So, I unite a need with a plan

While on my knees watching stained glass reflecting

I believe that I can

Shift into gear and drive out of this haze

Where demons dance on the roads of a maze

Where temptation dangles from every tree

And sin lives in shadows that no one can see

Shift into gear and drive out of this haze

The new air delivers her pleasures and praise

The truth doesn’t hurt because it wears a new face

And I breathe to fill my soul of this place

While I sing goodbye…

Thanks for reading. YOU are a treasure!

 

The Right To Play Dress Up

For a couple of years, my best friend was a floppy, red-haired figure named Raggedy Ann. She loved me no matter what. I knew that because her heart told me so. One day, with the help of some fabric, yarn and a creative mom, I became her. I made those around me giggle and smile. I was “cute” instead of buck toothed and awkward. That was the very first Halloween I remember.

As years changed, so did the fads and costume changes. I have stayed true to my appreciation of the day that society says it’s OK to be something other than yourself. Though my children now have memories of embarrassment and questioning my sanity, I selfishly have no regrets. It felt good to step away from the roles of maid, chef, homework checker and nag.

The right to responsibly have fun and escape from routine once in a while has no age limit. I strongly suggest you exercise this right as another Halloween draws near.

To the princess: Let that sparkle make you feel like the beautiful person you are every day, but forget as chores and deadlines wear you down.

To the villain:  Here’s your chance to be the bad ass you sometimes wish you were. Be proud that respect and professionalism lead you to the right choices when things get tough.

To the superhero: Enjoy the cape and shield, but remember you don’t need them to fight sadness, worry, disrespect or any other emotional intruder.

And to you, no matter who you are or choose to be. Every day. Remember.

YOU are a treasure!

MSCT

A hand made sign hangs by our bathroom mirror and it reads “Make Smart Choices Today.” Purposely, the first letter of each word also begins the first name of each member in our family. You could call it our motto. Over the years, I am certain these four words have been read and interpreted many different ways: “Do your homework,” “Avoid peer pressure,” “Eat well and exercise,”Fight that depression.”

Choices are not just actions, they are also reactions. They are opportunities to peel back ugly layers that hide some really valuable treasures. These layers call themselves jealousy, selfishness, denial, and defeat. Victory does not satisfy temptation and negative emotions. They never go away. But, each time we lift our chin to the sky, the devil will raise a brow. Our strength makes him nervous.

You can chase rainbows, or you can chase rain.

You can forgive, or you can hold pain.

You can seek vengeance, or you can forget.

You can recover, or you can regret.

The choice is yours.

YOU are a treasure!

 

 

The Bodyguard

I have bodyguards. Believe it or not, so do you. They are just not easily recognized because they don’t look like Hercules in a suit and sunglasses. Because we are not royalty or of celebrity status, we may not purposely seek protectors. But, we are worthy of them and, like the treasures I speak of so often, they are around us.

Indeed, the bodyguard that responds to the ad on Monster will most likely need to know how to throw a punch to qualify. But, we are made of more than skin and bones. We can be hurt without being hit. Harm’s way does not always lead to large crowds or dark alleys. For some of us, an idle mind is a scary predator.

I can throw some darn good pity parties, but I don’t subscribe to them. Instead, I seek out distractions. I call this treasure hunting. It has made red lights, pumping gas and long lines much easier to deal with.

These words are dedicated to some people who will probably never read them. This includes the woman who started a conversation with me at Wegmans, the co-worker who talked me through what was not a real crisis, the guy who broke out in random dance while waiting for his bus to arrive, and whoever posted the most recent adorable monkey video. For a few moments, you fought off worry, my worst enemy. You lifted some weight off my shoulders by just being you.

Thank you, strangers. Thank you, friends. Thank you, inventor of those tiny televisions at gas pumps. You sparkle like diamonds.

YOU are a treasure!

Lost and Found

Maturity has a lot to do with how we perceive our treasures. One day when I was young, my Grandpa gave me a five dollar bill for polishing his tools. It was the most money I ever had at one time. It represented pride and about ten Kit Kat bars…until I lost it soon after. I think that may have been when I learned what guilt felt like. I was young, but my pain was very real…until Grandpa replaced it. He never liked to see me cry.

The real treasure in my memory was not that five dollar bill. It was the hug that followed my “thank you.” It was the “I love you” he said in response. I think that may have been when I learned that it was ok to be imperfect.

To find the silver lining means to see hope under the gloom, the positive under the negative, the something to hang on to that is hidden beneath the layers of ugly and unpleasant. Sometimes these layers become lessons. In the case of my Grandpa, it took me years to realize just how special of a man he was. A long time ago, I lost a five dollar bill, but I found a man who made me feel secure. Last year, I lost what I thought was a friendship, but I found my self-respect. And soon, I will lose a child to the world of adulthood, but I know I will find a young man that I am proud of.

Peel back the ugly layers and if they are too heavy, ask for help. You may be pleasantly surprised at what is waiting for you. It is not easy. I struggle with this often. However, each moment we choose optimism over despair is a treasure in itself.

YOU are a treasure!

Hello, Dolly.

Imagine, if you will, a doll…any kind of doll. How do you see her? Is she on display with other still and delicate conversation starters? Or, is she an heirloom…an imperfect focal point whose value is in her journey, not her ribbons and lace? Is your doll a female or am I stereotyping? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

As beholders, we want to protect our treasures. If we don’t, we become vulnerable. Just how vulnerable depends on how selfish we choose to be. You see, often times it is ourselves we are trying to protect. The fear of loss and the guilt of being irresponsible are unpleasant emotions, to say the least.

The right relationships are a multitude of irreplaceable treasures that mesh together over time. These are treasures in the form of good emotions such as support, forgiveness, appreciation and, most importantly, unconditional love. When your treasure is perfect, the fear of losing it can sling unrealistic scenarios at your mind and turn just about anything into catastrophe. The result of being too protective can lead to an unhappy treasure.

The porcelain Scarlett O’Hara cannot be admired without the risk of falling off the shelf. The durable Raggedy Ann cannot truly comfort without soaking in some snot and tears. Let your treasures do what they are meant to do. They, will then, treasure you in return.

YOU are a treasure!

Two More!

“No pain, no gain.” four words we’ve all thought or said to maintain motivation. But what kind of gain are we referring to? Think about it, people gain things all the time, often not on purpose. Just this past week I gained a new friend and the process was actually quite joyful. There was no pain involved at all. And last month I gained a cool cutting board. Before that, an extra hour of sleep. Am I the person I am today because of these? Of course not. What is needed to achieve progress that has real value? You guessed it…pain.

My fitness instructor reinforces that popular motto several times a day through words of her own. Just when I think I can’t possibly do another squat thrust, she predictably shouts “two more!” I’ve wanted to scream. I’ve wanted to cry. I’ve wanted to vomit. But, the result of countless “two more’s” has been less worry and fewer unexplained tears. That is a gain that means something.

So, what is your “two more?” Four years ago, mine was two more minutes without a negative thought. Pain takes more forms than just physical. There was pain involved in making my decision to fight after ignoring and denying for so long. I did not wake up one day and say “I’m going to work out.” I woke up one day and said “Enough is enough.” Before taking two more steps towards the studio (plug: Power Fitness Group Exercise), there were two more minutes spent researching a regimen that would work for me. And before that, there were two more affirmations reminding myself that I deserve to be a happy person.

You deserve to be a happy person. Start your journey with your own personal “two more,” whether that means steps towards your front door or miles on the treadmill. The end is value added gain.

YOU are a treasure!

In Memoriam

In reality, very few figures of the past actually buried their treasure. The tales of these notorious buccaneers evolved into a fantasy that there are random riches underground where “X” marks the spot. My friends, by now you should expect what is coming next. A treasure is not just a box of riches, not just a bag of loot. A treasure is anything that has value to someone. Sometimes a treasure is obvious and sometimes, like the myth, a treasure needs to be discovered beneath the dirt, the rubble, the unpleasant.

Devastation can show up unannounced and wash away satisfaction, progress and hope. But beneath the fallen branches, there will still be roots. Beneath the crumbled structures, there will still be foundations. Beneath the worst of the wreckage, there will still be treasures. Some may be as short as a two second smile. Some may be as small as a brief distraction. The light of hope that shines with each “little treasure” carries a power that is truly massive.

With the help of others, rebuilding is not impossible. The pieces of your future weigh less when others help carry them. Do not ignore your ability to help someone find their treasure when the “X” is nowhere in sight. Unselfish, genuine care in a time of need has the power to change a life. When one gives this, it is not work.

YOU are a treasure!