Elegance?

What is elegance? How does one show elegance? Is elegance achievable?

Miriam Webster defines elegance as “A: refined grace or dignified propriety. B: tasteful richness of design or ornamentation, the sumptuous elegance of the furnishings. C: dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style, the essay is marked by lucidity, wit, and elegance. D: scientific precision, neatness, and simplicity, the elegance of a mathematical proof.”

And Wikipedia defines elegance as “beauty that shows unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the aesthetics of mathematics. Elegant things exhibit refined grace and dignified propriety.”

What is it about elegance that calls for me?

I think as I write tonight that elegance appeals to me due to its simplicity, its calm, it’s poise all showing a lack of chaos. Chaos is how I’ve often described my life, my thoughts, even myself. I’m a storm, a thundering mess of noise inside. So elegance speaks to me. A quiet, peaceful, graceful beauty to be attained. I want elegance to be how I describe myself: I want it to be how others describe me. “She is the elegant one.; the one there who has no fear, no care for things but who is always peaceful and happy.” That sounds good.

Being elegant would mean that I would be noticed for my calm rather than the storm that I’ve brought with me. Or maybe I will be the calm before the storm? Or the peace afterward?

It’s an interesting place to be. I love who I am becoming and I love helping others to find peace and sanctuary in my writing. Yet, I am the storm; the hurricane has been me. Can I be both? Can I be the fury when needed and the calm when necessary? Can I continue to be who I am while allowing others the room to be who they are meant to be? Chaos, after all, is still beautiful. Should I tame the chaos?

I know the chaos well now. I’ve marked its passage through my life and I am intimately familiar with it. But have I now mastered my chaos? Does it rule me no longer? It is still there. I can feel it sitting, waiting to pounce. But does it no longer have the control it once did? Have I made chaos my friend?

These are some of my thoughts tonight as I prepare for bed. I entertain the idea of elegance, such that, maybe I may attain it. Yet, now loving myself, I no longer fear my chaos, my personal storms that have made me this way. Shall I truly transition from fear to peace? Shall I stand taller, quieter now that my storms begin to pass? Shall I be elegant?

thank you for reading,

me

Standing at the Gate of Hell – Part 1 of 2

A story I wrote – It’s long so I’m posting in parts.

Walking Through the Gates of Hell…

Here she was hanging out with no idea she was in hell…
She was tired, and depressed, she had no hope, no willingness to live, no reason to keep on going.  Nothing went in her favor, everything was against her.  The world was dismal, dark, there was no sky, air, no trees, flowers, just darkness…except for this tiny spark of something that just sort of sat in her gut that when she focused on it she began to get a little bit of hope.  Yet the hope was too much, and so she closed her eyes to it, shut her brain off of it… she wouldn’t see that spark for days, for weeks, for months… but once in a while that spark would glow. Once in a while she would get a glimpse of something, a sunrise, a sunset, a baby bird in a nest. Something would catch her attention and she’d smile and she’d forget all of a sudden that she was living in hell. She had no clue she was living in hell.  If hell was anything to define, she imagined it’d be much worse than what she was living.  She was wrong.

But there are different stages of hell I imagine, hell being kind of nice sometimes where you just can’t do anything you want to do. Where you just give up on everything. Hell being a place without love, a place where there’s no hope.  Hell being a place to lose hope. Often people go to hell full of life, no idea that things are going to change.  The day-to-day ho hums of life they live in, hell is just so normal and so blah and nothing exciting.  But then there’s other stages of hell.  Stages of hell  where you know you’re in hell.  Where there’s screaming, and biting, gnashing of teeth, blood, and broken bones.  There’s crumbled china, crumbled bodies. There’s the place where you scream and no body hears. There’s that hell too.  And every once in a while she found herself there.  She found herself screaming, on the verge of crumbling into nothing, found herself crying and not knowing why.  She was just wishing, wishing that death would come sooner. Still when it was back to the calmer hell, she’d be like “oh, OK, I can handle this”, again.  And so she was happy with her ho-hum, no love, boring, unhealthful day-to-day life.

Except some years those visits with the harder hell would come more often, and some years those visits with a glimpse of light would happen too.  And so she started to think, that maybe the glimpse of light might be better, might be possible to see more than every couple of months, or on a weekend when she was a way.  She started to think  there was something else possible.  She doesn’t know when that thought started, she doesn’t know how many times she thought about it, or how often she dreamed of a better life.  It just sort of crept up on her, kind of like the warmth of a sunny morning.  The sky just starts to brighten slowly, and the air warms, there’s still ice on the grass but you know that it’s going to be a warmer day because the sun was coming out.  Those kinds of days happened every once in a while and she started to believe again, in something else, even though she wasn’t sure what it was she was believing in.

So what does a person a do? What does she do? How do you decide to start living when you’ve been dying all this time? How do you decide that you’re going to live one day? Instead of go to that hell that you know is hell every couple of months? How do you realize that the hell that you’re living in is really just another hell, a trick, a lie, another excuse, to not be alive? What do you do? When that shows up on you? She didn’t know, she didn’t know what to do.  She just started hurting more in the little hell she was living, it felt worse.

It wasn’t like it changed a lot, but when you see something you really can’t un-see it. She’s smart.  She couldn’t lie to herself very well, not when she realized she’d been lying to herself for years… she didn’t realize , or she didn’t believe, there was anything else possible… she just lied to herself and understood that every body’s life was that way and everybody had their skeletons in their closet and everybody had their difficult marriages, their husbands that didn’t love them, their children that didn’t respect them, their wives that treated them like crap… she knew that people lived horrible lives, at least she thought that people did… Every once in a while she’d see a couple that looked like they were happy and she’d think “what are they hiding… there’s no way they’re that happy…” she’d think it’s not possible, they must be hiding something, or she’d think ”just wait a couple of years, you’ll regret it one of these days… not the children of course, but you’ll regret the marriage”, ”it happens to everybody”, she says to herself…

So what do you do? When you realize you’re living in hell and you don’t know where to go, and find out you’re all alone, you are in a house that doesn’t show any love…in fact its borderline violent, you’re scared all the time, you don’t know why you’re scared, but you are…so what do you do when your living in hell? How do you get out… she had no idea… so what did she do?

She tries to leave.  That apparently was the wrong way to do it, because leaving hell wasn’t possible.  You have to grow out of hell, you can’t just walk out.  You can refuse to walk in, but to get out of hell you’ve got to grow.   One step at a time.  She didn’t know that then, but she does now.  So what did she do when she tried to leave?  What happened to her?  She found herself abandoned and alone yet still surrounded by people.  People who were supposed to love her. She found herself wishing that she could just die, because there was no escape.  She tried.  She was left crying at her church, no one bothering to figure out why.  She cried out to her family, they had no idea what to do. They loved her but they didn’t know how to help.  Her father suggested she figure out something, make her life better, so she doesn’t need to be in hell.  She didn’t have any idea what to do.

The one thing she was, was stubborn.  One of the things she got punished for the most too. The things that are a person’s greatest characteristic are also a person’s greatest downfall.  Goes both ways.  Her stubbornness is what kept her in hell so long in the first place.  She just couldn’t believe it was hell, she refused to believe it.  Her stubbornness is also what will get her out.  So what is she going to do now?  She knows she’s in hell.  She tried to leave.  Hell grabbed her, kept her close.  Hell said “here, go kill yourself.”  Hell said “here, you don’t need anything.  Throw away those things.  They’re not important because you’re not important”.  Hell made her believe that her things, her life, her health, her happiness, her clothes, anything that she had was not hers.  She was not deserving of it. Basic needs, food, water, taking a shower, getting dressed, why do any of those things? You’re in hell.

Thanks for reading… more to come.

me

 

Life and Death

I have always wondered about life and death.  I’ve considered both and what they mean.  Living?  is that Life?  Dying is that death?  I’d hazard a guess, no.  Just because your body is breathing and because your heart is beating and because your brain is performing functions, that’s not living.  And death?  Death is what people think of when all of those functions stop.  But my thoughts? no.

Living is when you get up in the morning and you cannot count your blessings because there are too many.  Living is when you are willing to be hurt in order to be happy.  Living is when you use your brain and your body and your heart and your lungs in order to dream, play and love and cry.  Living is when each and every day is a blessing, whether disguised or not.  Living is recognizing that you are in fact alive and not just a random robot performing predictable, habitual activities every moment of every day.  Living is thinking outside of the box, trying new things, loving even when it hurts.  Living is caring so much that you feel powerless.  But living is Not powerless.  That would by dying.  Living is full of power.  The power of knowing emotions that have so many names that you never say your “OK” anymore.  You feel what you feel.  You feel anger and hope, love and despair, excited and bored.  Living is knowing that pain actually has its place and doesn’t have to be avoided.  Living is learning new things.  Living is the power to make life meaningful.

Dying on the other hand is quite different and more common than living.  The person who gets up in the morning, drives to work, works all day, drives home… only to sit in front of a TV and then go to bed and do it all again… So many people have no life at all.  These are the dying.  These people have given up on living, it was too much work.  These are the people who grow “old”.  Or think they are old at 30, 40, 60, even 80.  These do not realize that life has opportunity, even as we age.  Dying is waiting until some future that never comes before doing something you love.  Dying is giving up on being healthy.  Dying is never trying to excel anymore.  Dying is pessimistic, vile, and ugly.  Dying is accepting the fate of the doctors rather than fighting for life.  Dying is sitting in the dark waiting for sleep to come, wondering why you even bother anymore.  Dying is giving up.

I found myself dying.  I had just the tiniest spark of life left in me.  When I left my house for a time, a weekend away… that spark would ignite again.  But just as soon as I returned the spark would nearly vanish.  This scenario repeated over the years until I started to feed the spark inside more.  This tiny little spark of life, of hope finally began to flame.  The fire inside of me grew over the next several years, scorching the despair, scorching the cobwebs in my brain.  This fire grew and grew until I was finally able to break loose of my chains.  Chains that wanted to drown me.

The hard thing about living is that living has extremes.  Living has hate and love, fear and peace.  Living hurts.  Living allows pain to have its place, but with pain comes happiness.  Living is hard.  It’s easier to ignore your feelings, it’s easier to stay with the devil you know.  Living is scary, too.  Living means going into the unknown and trusting that it won’t at least be worse than what you do know.  It means trusting that there is a chance now for something better.  Living has hope.  Living means you allow yourself to be vulnerable.  So many who are dying have built fortresses around themselves in the hopes they would never feel again.  But I learned something today.  I learned that those fortresses don’t stop the feelings they just don’t let you define them.  Instead of feeling the pain you feel tired.  Instead of hope you quit before you start.  Instead of being vulnerable you feel lonely.

I enjoyed my fortress that I had built.  I enjoyed it so much that I protected it, guarded it.  I let no one know who I was.  I refused to allow the slightest hint of vulnerability.  Now, though, with my vulnerability I feel fragile.  My walls are but crumbles of ruins now.  My feelings are so many I cannot even count them.  In a single day I may feel sad, happy, angry, lonely, scared, tired, exasperated, love, hope, despair, loneliness, pride, peace, and even hate.  Being alive means feeling the extremes and accepting that they will pass and return again.  It’s hard, it’s scary, it’s wonderful and it’s worth it.

Are you alive or are you no more than a robot pretending to be alive?  Are you willing to take the chance again?  Are you willing to let your walls down?  Allow the possibility of peace and love and adventure again?  Yes, you might get hurt but pain is so much better than nothing at all.  Are you willing to trust yourself like a child does?  Children are the best at being alive.  Be like a child and trust your heart again.  We adults trust our brains too much.  Your heart will not lead you astray.  It may lead you to things you’ve never thought of before, it may lead you down roads you’ve been scared to go… but it will always lead you in the direction you should go.  Is it easy? No.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Thank you for reading,

me

Scared

Scared.  What is it that is so scary? The leaving, the going it alone? The chance of being hurt, physically, emotionally? The fear of making a life long mistake?  The fear of the unknown.  What if you had done something different? What if you had tried just one more time?  What if you didn’t give up? Give up?

They say insanity is trying to get different results by doing the same thing over and over again.  If you’re like me you have done everything you could think of, you’ve tried what others have suggested, you’ve done everything in the book… Speaking of books, you’ve read them all too… Maybe you were too sensitive or maybe you really did misunderstand? You can question yourself until you die but it won’t do any good because the truth is you really have done all you are capable of and you really do deserve to be happy and it really does take two to make a relationship better.  I’ve said I’m on this train and it’s your choice to either get on with me or get run over.  My husband decided not to participate.

Truth is you made the best decisions you could, given the circumstances. Given the way life was, it made sense. Sure, some of those decisions weren’t really good in the end but that’s OK too.  So many of us are used to being held to an impossible standard, first by those who we thought loved us and then by ourselves.  Does it really make sense to expect perfection when you don’t even have all of the information? Why is it our spouses didn’t have to live up to the standards they expected of us?  If yours is like mine he expected quiet when he wanted quiet, to play when he wanted to play, sex when he wanted sex. He wanted so many things but he never actually told me what it was… “If I really care I’d know him well enough to actually know what he wants.”… I’m sorry. Last time I checked I don’t read minds. I’m fairly certain you don’t either.

So why are we scared? We are scared because it makes sense to be. Finally we are listening to our own feelings and finally we are discovering that they actually mean something. We have been led to believe the impossible and so when we are confronted with truth it’s hard. It’s time to get to know ourselves. It’s time to figure out on our own whether we like country music or Japanese food or whether we like swimming or the color green. We have been told what is good and what is right, it’s time we decide that for ourselves. We wore things he decided he didn’t like and then tossed it away. We have kept our hair long, or short, because of how he reacted to it. We have let every decision we ever made be based on whether he approved or not. It’s time for a little insubordination, is time to try new things, meet new people, play new games, wear different clothes… Get our hair done or have our nails painted. Or maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll put our foot down and decide we are good enough, absolutely perfect, just the way we are.

What we won’t do though, ever again, is cower to a childish, pig-headed bully. We won’t ever put up with that again. We will learn how to take care of ourselves and we will do what we have always known was the right thing to do, what we were afraid to do before. Our children will respect us more because they will see our transformation and they will learn from our mistake. They will learn to have a certain amount of love and respect for themselves that will help them in their lives. They will be able to hold their heads high because they know that they are worthy. You and I are worthy.

We deserve to walk with pride, a certain self-confidence that others will envy. Think of it this way, the only reason you are alive today is because you chose to be. You could have called it quits many times, when you were harassed or abandoned. Even the fact that you didn’t kill him, that in itself is something to be proud of. You didn’t act on your hate, because I know there was hate. It’s impossible to live for years with someone who constantly chastised you and not hate them sometimes. And if you didn’t hate him it’s likely you hated yourself. Take pride in the fact you chose to live. Now it’s time we learn how to live our best. Now it’s time to love ourselves.

Wrote this a while ago, but felt that it might be of help…

thanks for reading,

me

Grief

What is grief?  Why is this something that is considered a difficult emotion?  Where does it come from?  What is it’s purpose?  Why must we experience grief?  I am grieving right now and I don’t like it.  I like the days where I can see the sun shining, where the weather is fine and the temperature is just right.  I like the days where my biggest thoughts are minor and unimportant, where my decisions aren’t a matter of life and death and where my memories don’t hurt.

But grief?  How can you describe it?  Is it the storm that sneaks into the night, that wakes you from your sleep with it’s first clap of thunder and rain pelting the window like little stones, the wind building into a crescendo as you wonder if the house will hold?  Or is it the morning that you wake where the skies are grey promising rain that never comes?  Days that are cold and air so wet that you can’t get warm?  I think grief is most like the grey day, cold, wet, miserable with no comfort with no end in sight.  Grief hurts.  It sucks the life out of you.  Grief demands attention and gets its way.  It refuses to be ignored.

Grief?  Why do you haunt me?  What have I left to learn?  Why do you sit there like a constant reminder?  Grief.  This feeling, this being, this ghost, is like all others.  It requires that you recognize it, embrace it, accept it.  It sucks.

Grief?  You haunt me with my past, you haunt me with my present.  You make me to pause and to cry.  You give me reasons to stop, to quit.  Grief!  Why do you come?  Did you not already know that I could not handle you?  I am ill prepared to deal with you and I cannot stand you!  Leave me.  You won’t.  A part of me understands you.  The part of me that is trying to grow.  You came along because I trusted me.  I trusted that I could handle you and so you came.  You came to test me.  You came to provoke me.  You came to kill me.

I have experienced you before and I have left you before.  I will do the same again.  Grief!  You will not hold me forever.  You will never gain complete control.  I will face you and I will cry.  I will sob, scream, and try to sleep you away.  You will not go, though, until I accept you.  I understand some.  I know that to love I have to hate.  I know that to smile I have to cry.  I know that to give I have to take. I know that to have peace, I must experience fear. I know that without you I fail to recognize the beauty around me.  Without your reminders I will forget to truly live.  I’m sorry, Grief.  I don’t want you but I do understand.  You will take your toll and I must wait until you are gone again.

I know you Grief.  I do not like you.  I do not like your reminders.  Your insistence on being noticed is worse than a spoiled child.  Grief.  I will give you what you want.  I will cry and I will stop and I will remember.  But Grief? When that is done you must leave, leave for a time or be quiet because I am still alive.  I refuse to die tonight and I will live despite you. Grief.  It’s time to let the living live.  You go your way and I’ll go mine. Grief, let me live.

thanks for reading,

me