Perplexed

As I sit here, starring at my fingers calmly placed over the keys of my keyboard, I am overcome with a sense of calmness. Perhaps it is the familiarity of the keys under my touch, bringing peace to the convoluted thoughts spinning around my mind, I’m not too sure. But I continue to sit here patiently, willing my fingers to decipher my thoughts.

InternetofThingsI’m not sure how I feel. As I look around the world around me, I see that everything is in its correct place. My clothes are tucked neatly in my closet at home, my car is parked in its regular parking spot at work, and everything is as it should be. Yet, while I know that everything is the same as it always has been, everything has changed.

My outlook on life has changed. The person I am is different from who she was just a couple of weeks ago.

I  have always been a person who loves clothes, and any method of self-expression for that matter, but recently I can’t help but think “what’s the point?”. What is the purpose of establishing your individuality?

Recently, we experienced the loss of a family member. She passed away quite young and as I walked around her home, I couldn’t help by notice many of her possessions neatly organized in their assigned homes. A thought flashed across my mind,

“once upon a time, she had gone to a store, and picked out
each item because it spoke to her in some way”.

Days after her passing, the items remain, and she is no more. It’s true that she exists in our memories and left behind a legacy of learned lessons, but we can’t touch her. Instead we are left with items that she purchased to express who she was as a person, and that person no longer exists.

This realization has left me with an internal void. What is my purpose? I believe that my family member passed away young because she had fulfilled her life purpose. She had fully blossomed into the most beautiful flower and I believe god always picks the most beautiful flowers in the garden. But what is my purpose? Am I fulfilling it? I don’t want to leave behind a house full of things if I didn’t use them to make someone else happy. I don’t want to become so fixated on the things in my life that I become sidetracked and neglect fulfilling my life purpose.

I love my job and feel that I am making a valuable contribution to the world around me. The company I work for changes lives for the better, and that inspires me to work to my full potential every single day. The technology this company creates saves lives, and makes an impact in the world that I could never make as an individual. But, I can’t help but feel like there is more that I can do.

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Volcano of Emotions

There is a very big hole in my heart filled with sadness. I’m saddened by the way you treat me, disappointed that you didn’t take the time to get to know me, and frustrated that I am giving more than I am receiving. I don’t know how to open up and tell you how I feel and that frustrates me. I can see my weakness and yet I don’t know how to overcome it. I wish I could tell you that I don’t like how you treat me without having a tsunami of tears stream down my face. The tears would show I am weak, and my current persona of being a strong person would instantly fade away.

Instead I lash out, hoping that maybe you would listen to what I’m saying and not how I am saying it. I admit that I come off as harsh when I express my feelings. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much, and I wish I didn’t. Maybe if I stopped caring, my heart wouldn’t hurt so much. Perhaps then I wouldn’t feel like a prisoner of my mind, and I could spread my wings and be free.

Doctors have told me that I need to learn to let things go, because the unnecessary stress that it creates in my mind is causing my body to shut down on me. But, I don’t know how to get over things without getting closure. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to overcome my fair share of loss, and that’s left me with so many unresolved dead ends. I’m not too sure, but I feel like I need to discuss things with people in order to move forward with the relationship, and I’m not strong enough to have that discussion with you. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection, or the fear of not being heard that is acting as a barrier, preventing me from voicing my feelings. I’m not too sure.

What I do know is that I am a strong person, and just like any other obstacle that has been placed in front of me, I will overcome it. The way I see it, I have two options, I can either work on my relationship with you by expressing how I feel, or simply walk away. I know the latter would be the easier option, but how would that help me grow as a person? Isn’t the purpose of life to grow and become the best version of yourself that you can be? If I simply walk away from the relationship, what would I learn? How would I grow? I would be doing myself an injustice. Maybe the best approach for me to take is to express how I feel whether I am heard or not. I need to do my part and try. I can only control my actions and reactions to events. If I am not heard, or if you don’t care, at least I know I tried. At least I will know that I tried to fight for myself.

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Bon Voyage Mon Ami

Growing up, I became accustomed to the people in my life passing away. Through the emotional trauma of losing loved ones, I learned to withdraw my emotions from the relationships I created, and to live my life with an inability to feel for those around me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had concluded that each individual’s presence in my life would be short lived. Until one day, I realized that I had created an invisible dome around me that prevented anyone from getting too close. I started to feel lonely and isolated, and I realized that I needed to make a change in my life.

Over time, I slowly learned to stop putting obstacles in my way, and to start fighting for myself. If I felt lonely in my life, I needed to evaluate my actions to see what I needed to change to overcome this emotion. I created strong, long lasting bonds with people, however, I never truly overcame my fear of abandonment. 

Recently, a very close friend of mine told me that she’s moving away. I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me until I digested what she was saying. She’s going!  While I know this is a great life decision for her, I can’t help but feel saddened by the news. She’s leaving me.  This news has caused me to experience a whirlwind of uncontrollable emotions. I feel sadness without purpose, frustration without cause, and a void that is bruising my spirit.  This is a great opportunity for her, and while I know there is no cause or reason for me to be upset, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.  I don’t want her to go. For some weird reason, I just always assumed that she would be near. If I ever needed anything, she would be there.

The best way to describe my emotions is that she was a pillar in my life, and her absence in my life will be missed. Yes I can rearrange the pillars in my life to make sure that everything stays in tact, but I’ll always know that I’m one pillar short. I know that she is only a phone call away; but it’s not the same. I feel defeated, and need to find a way to come to grips with the shift in my life, and be proud of my friend. She is taking a huge leap into the unknown, and as a friend, I need to learn to not be selfish, and understand the insecurities and fears that she is feeling. Venturing into unfamiliar territory can be scary, and I have to have faith in our friendship and ensure that I am strong enough to be a pillar in her life to help her be successful in the transition into her new phase. 

 

The Ticking Clock

I’m sorry – they’re gone. The words feel like an avalanche of rocks, causing you to momentarily lose your breathe. The words cut and it feels like a sharply edged sword that leaves you feeling at the peak of vulnerability. It’s as though, at the snap of a finger, the world as you see it has slightly shifted its axis, and you have to find a way to exist in this new world.

Like many, I’ve had close relatives move into the next realm of life, and each time it has had made an impact on my life. I hold my memories of each passed loved one close to my heart, and once in a while I catch myself fondly thinking about the great memories we created together. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet such wonderful people, and I appreciate the impact they have made on my life. But, that doesn’t stop me from missing them every day, especially during milestones in my life. During my wedding, I remember missing my grandfather and wishing he was there to share in the great memories that were being created. He was the only one I wanted at my wedding that wasn’t on the guest list. While I know he lives in my heart, I wish I could physically touch him, talk to him, and interact with him, in some way. But, I know that’s not possible. So I hold on to memories of him sneaking me chocolate bars when my grandma wasn’t looking, or shopping for my very first bike. Memories that I’m latching on to with more strength as I grow older.

I also had a friend who commit suicide when I was 11 years old. This was my first real experience with death – he was my age – and at the time I didn’t understand why he chose to end his life. Growing up, I learned that he was bullied because he was gay and had a hard time accepting it, and in retrospect if he was, I wish he had told someone how he felt.  I would have been there to support and listen to him so that he didn’t feel isolated and lonely. It almost angers me to think, ‘if you had just fought for yourself – the world is a different place now. If you felt shamed – you shouldn’t have! The tiny bubble of high school isn’t a reflection of the real world’.

Sometimes, in life, I feel that we unintentionally get lost in the present clouds of sadness. We look around, search for something to grasp on to, and when we finally think we’ve found our footing, we start to feel the turbulence.  Grief is the same, we feel it in stages. After the initial shock has worn off, and we start to regain some stability, the second bout of grief hits us. That is when we truly start to feel the pain of loss.  However, we need to accept that life isn’t a constant. People come and go. Life’s circumstances change. The only thing that remains constant is how we grow as people. What was the purpose of us undergoing events in our lives? What did we learn about ourselves? How did the situation positively impact us? My grandfather gave me my sweet tooth for chocolate. In general I don’t like to eat sweets, but I love chocolate. My friend taught me compassion. He taught me to never judge people and let them exist the way they are. Everyone has a life journey, a purpose and when their time comes to move on, you have to accept it. Take the lessons that you learn from them and the happy memories you have created and cherish them.

Jumping Over Hurdles

At times, I feel that we are our worst enemy. We create a vision for our lives, and when we unexpectedly veer off course, or are pushed into unfamiliar territory, we start to see our lives through a shattered mirror. Our vision of ourselves becomes distorted. Thoughts like “this wasn’t meant to be my life”, “this put my life back 5 years” creep up on us and without realizing it, we’re left feeling vulnerable, helpless or both. It’s as though we mentally confine ourselves to the walls of a padded room in a physic ward. We become so entrapped in the current state of affairs that we fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking as someone who has been pushed off a bridge into unfamiliar waters time and time again, I thoroughly understand the pain you feel when they splash into the icy cold abyss. The sharp pains you feel when the realization of where you are kicks in, and your inability to breathe as you look in every direction to find something to hold on to. We all have events in our lives that cause us to feel this way. The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, learning that pregnancy may not be in the cards for you, not getting into the school of your choice, we all have events in our lives that seem shattering, but they make us stronger people. When you finally accept the changes in your life, and realize that you alone are the only person to pull yourself from the depths of sadness that have been created in your mind, you take a retrospective look at your life and realize that you may have underestimated yourself and tried to create a life that was inferior to what you deserve.

Growing up, I didn’t know what course my life was going to take. I became involved with a group of friends that I had no business associating with. I was in a relationship with someone who treated me slightly better than the dirt on the bottom of his shoes and silenced my voice. I can hide behind the excuse that I had an ill parent and that left me feeling confused and vulnerable. But the truth is, I had created this life for myself. I allowed my thoughts to control me and make me feel inferior. My life would have continued down that path if I didn’t fight for it. I had to fight for the life I thought I could create for myself. I set a list of goals for myself: Complete my master’s degree, find a life partner who will be respectful of the person I am (I wasn’t going to compromise who I was. I had already wasted 5 years and I wasn’t about to waste any more time), and be myself (whether people liked it or not). It was only when I decided to fight for myself that my life turned around, and I truly believe that this is the truth for many people. When we stop playing the victim in our lives and start taking control over what we want to accomplish, it puts us in a better state of mind. Yes, there are going to be events in our lives that push us off course, but it’s how we get back up that defines us. We can’t let the events in our lives define us. Similarly to a hurdle race in track in field, life is about jumping over hurdles. Sometimes our foot gets caught and we stumble, but we have to get back up and finish the race.

To Bury Or Not to Bury the Hatchet

Life. Just when I thought I had it figured it out, it throws me another curveball, leaving me confused and isolated.  In my earlier blogs I had talked about a tongue lashing I received from a ‘friend of mine’. After that incident I had vowed to remove toxic people from my life. However, a few days ago I received a text message apology, which has left me frazzled. Does a text message apology even count?

I’ve been pondering over this text message for the past few days and the truth is, I don’t know how to respond. On the one hand, this person and I were friends for a very long time prior to the incident that took place last summer. But, on the other hand what was said is unforgivable. And more importantly, given the types of vile statements that were said to me, does a text message apology even count?

Personally, I think an apology received by text message shouldn’t be considered an apology. If one is genuinely sorry for the things that were said, wouldn’t one pick up the phone, or have a face to face meeting to express their remorse? Perhaps I am not as tech savvy as others, or perhaps I value human interaction, but I think there needs to be sincerity in an apology.

Granted that what was said was extremely mean (to say the least) and perhaps he was afraid to approach me, but I think that if someone is courageous enough to say those mean things, they should be brave enough to apology in the same way those initial vile words were spewed.  I don’t think that it is an unreal expectation to have of someone.

Nevertheless, I am doing my best to give my ‘friend’ the benefit of the doubt and like a broken record, I’ve been posing the question ‘Do I forgive my ‘friend’ and look past this incident, or is it too late?’ The truth is, I’m not sure. While I would like to say, ‘yes, I forgive you’, I am stumped at my own personal obstacle of my inability to forgive. I understand that there is strength in accepting an apology and forgiving someone, however I’m not sure on how to overcome my own ego. In Demi Lovato’s book ‘Staying Strong’ she writes, “when you are wronged, it’s better to confront it with tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance”. If I am truly putting myself first in my life, I have to forgive my friend. It doesn’t mean that we will become the best of friends. It just means that I allowed myself to forgive the sadness that was caused and let go of any negative feelings.

 

Something Needs To Change

This morning I was saddened by the news of a teenage boy committing suicide. I didn’t know him personally, but I have young cousins who are the same age as him. Hearing this news filled me with worry, concern and many unanswered questions. The most poignant question I keep asking myself is what could we do as a society to make a difference in the lives of our future?

Every study that I have read suggests that happiness levels increasing in people who feel that they belong to a particular group of people and by extension society. Perhaps we need to evaluate our society and how we treat the people in it, especially with the increasing number of teenage suicides. I think we need to start placing emphasis on looking out for each other and caring for one another. I know I sound like a broken record, but I think the root of many of our problems in society is that we spend more time competing with each other when we should be supporting each other. We need to make people feel safe and accepted. They won’t feel that way if we are constantly looking to beat them in every area of life. I truly believe that if we create a safe community for people and let them know that they are loved and cared for, that people will feel it is okay to turn to another individual to ask for help.

My biggest fear in life is that I could have potentially saved a life by listening, being supporting and missing that opportunity to do so because I was too busy trying to beat them. I am not sure if this fear steams from losing my own friend at the age of 11 to suicide. But one thing I do know is that we need to stop judging and competing with people. The competitive makeup of our society is leading us down a path of isolation and depression. The way to change this is by cooperating with each other and being supportive.

 

Lesson Of the Day: Treat everyone with the utmost kindness and respect. We don’t know what they’re thinking or the life they are leading. If someone needs to speak, listen without judgment. 

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Saying Goodbye

The death of a loved one is one of the hardest things that we have to overcome in life. It doesn’t matter how many promises we make with god to change the situation, the fact remains the same, this person is no longer in your life. How do you say goodbye to someone who once played a vital role in your world? Do you say goodbye?

I, like many in my world have lost loved ones, and we’ve all mourned our losses in different ways. We’ve been filled with indescribable sadness, emotions of anger, only to be followed by the inevitable acceptance of the loss. Why do we mourn our loved ones with such sadness? Perhaps our view of death and how we mentally process a loss is incorrect.

I have a fear of funerals. Not because I fear dead bodies, but because of how people react to the passing of someone. I view funerals as the opportunity to say thank you. I refuse to let my last memory of a loved one to be one where they are lying in a casket surrounded by people mourning them. A person’s funeral is the last time we will see them, why don’t we take the opportunity to say thank you for the joy they brought to our world and focus on the positive memories? Why not say goodbye with a thank you as opposed to through sadness and tears?

Religion teaches us to have funerals for people after they die, however society teaches us to cry and weep for a loss. What if didn’t weep for the loss, but rather thanked the person for being in our lives? I am a firm believer that god has a plan for all of us. We may not understand it, but a reason does exist. Perhaps I am naïve and that’s my way of accepting the loss of a loved one, but I do believe that everything happens in your life for a reason. When you are finished doing all the good you can do in the world, god decides to bring you home.

This is not to say that I don’t believe in mourning someone’s death. I believe that we as humans need to mourn the loss of a loved one, because we will be left with a void in our lives. However, I don’t think we should allow this this emotion to consume us entirely. Being stagnant in an emotion of sadness prevents us from being grateful for the happiness they brought into our lives. I think it is important for our own emotional and mental health that we focus on saying goodbye with gratitude than with complete sadness. By doing this, we are able to accept the loss of a loved one and move forward in life with all of the great lessons they have taught us.

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