While we tie our own shoes…

Your search for answers is exhausting and it’s also not the best use of your time. What exactly do you think will happen if satisfaction really is connected to the person or circumstance you blame? Will you stop crying for no reason? Will you stop overthinking? Will you stop craving physical pain with hope to escape the mind and body you despise? Probably not.

Blame is a band aid. If you want to heal for good, take responsibility. Get help. Turn your cheek to excuses and take time to educate yourself and others.

If someone you cared about were injured, would you deny them help? Would you make them feel bad for having unplanned, inconvenient needs? What if it were someone you never met? Would you roll your eyes as you held open a door?

Some trauma leaves wounds that will never be seen. Some trauma is not relieved by means of Motrin, a gauze pad or a cast. Those of us who battle mental illness are well aware of our traits. We know that we are oversensitive, controlling, and sometimes distant. We know that we are annoying.

But, while we are tying our own shoes, sometimes running marathons, we have pain. We need help. Sometimes that help is respecting boundaries. Sometimes that help is attention. Sometimes that help is compassion. Sometimes that help is motivation. Always, always…that help is knowledge and understanding.

Hey, you. I understand.

YOU are a treasure!

Balancing Act

On a recent vacation, I stood in awe while watching a man do a hand stand on top of five stacked wooden chairs. What we sometimes take for granted while being entertained is the time and effort behind each performance. Did Beethoven come out of the womb playing a symphony? Of course not. Did the brave balancer succeed on his first attempt? I highly doubt it.

Remember this. One of life’s treasures is the ability to start over. A setback does not define you.

You read a great book because the author didn’t quit.

You danced to your favorite song because the artist didn’t quit.

You watched your favorite team win because the athlete didn’t quit.

The world is a better place because you didn’t quit.

Back in the day…

Bald eagles and wheat pennies are proof that with rarity comes appreciation. Some may say that verbal communication can join the club. Why is it that conversation feels like a dying art while our voices still remain?

Severed words and animated emotions are here to stay. They were birthed by devices that have been keeping heads down at the dinner table for years. Back in the day, bonds were formed with utensil filled hands and sharing sessions. Expressions were read. Listening changed moods. The togetherness I’m referring to can be described in many ways; beautiful, limited, missed, forced.

We can’t fault our children for what they have resented or never known. Were you always the best company? Did other less important things disappoint a waiting better moment? I know I would turn back time if I could.

I also know that for twelve long years, my husband and I worked opposite shifts. Therefore, for twelve long years, a group text was our families virtual dinner table. Technology has turned spontaneity and frequency into treasures. Back in the day, we had no clue that we were being thought of because thoughts in their prime were lost in the lack of delivery. Before text messaging, the worried mother lost needed sleep. Morning spats lasted way longer than they needed to.

Don’t judge the electronically dependent world without prioritizing your own personal values and boundaries. Though I embrace differences, I pray there is one thing we can all agree with. There is no message or thought that is more important than a life. Do not ever, ever text and drive. But, if you’re not behind the wheel and need to compose some hurtful words, go ahead. Then, delete them without sending. Revenge is a misunderstood reaction. If you need a filter to make you feel pretty, then use one. Just know in your heart that you don’t need it.

Remember that a beautiful world surrounds you in the form of voices, paper and nature. Take advantage of them. If you love someone, pull out the earbuds and replace the podcast with a kind whisper. Send a heart emoji when distance challenges you. These simple pro active gestures have more power than you know.

YOU are a treasure!

Memories and Milestones

Memories…the scrapbooks of our minds that can be opened at any time, by anyone or anything. Think about it. We all have that song…that one song that can instantly erase the moment at hand with a good feeling. Think about it. We all have that someone…that one person we haven’t seen physically in years, yet their image takes us time traveling to a place far beyond their recent Facebook post.

Memories hold everything from nostalgia to learned lessons. Some will never be worthy of a glue stick and expensive paper. But, is it possible to turn things we want to forget into opportunities for appreciation? What if instead of wishing for the re-do we focus on building integrity? What if we stopped letting poor decisions and unfortunate circumstances define who we are today? When we admit fault and ask for forgiveness, bravery strengthens our soul. When we decide to own our decisions, confidence strengthens our posture.

Memories… the best of the best bring with them a feeling that we desperately wish would last forever. But, they’re not called the good old days because we are living in the bad new days. Today, we can turn memories into milestones and continue to appreciate. Every moment is an opportunity to create the happiness we deserve.

If you miss the way you danced on your honeymoon, play the song and find your groove. If you miss someone that passed on, talk to them. And, if you miss holding your child’s hand, then grab it. You are in control.

YOU are a treasure!

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!