Archive | October, 2014

Sunday –

Posted on 27 October 2014 by Valkyrie

woman-reading-a-book-on-park-bench-autumn-fall-401x349Claire sat on the park bench all alone. Her soul felt as if it had been alone, in the dark, and unattended to for quite some time.

She sat there, with her journal opened, hoping something would flow out of her nimble unsure fingers onto that empty, glaring white page.

She used to be so good at expressing her thoughts on paper. But, lately nothing has been able to flow. An extreme disconnect.

How could it be that being surrounded by all of her friends, all of her coworkers, and all of her extended family, that she could feel so alone inside.

Her loneliness was palpable. She even experienced bouts of grief as if there was a sharp loss of sorts. Then she realized she was mourning a loss. It was a loss of self; a part of her that was not being taken care of, a part that was not being entertained.

She knew exactly what it was too. It was lack of intimacy. Something she hasn’t had in quite some time. A deep meaningful touch of a dear friend, a long lingering hug where it is the other person that does not want to let go, a coworker to look in her eyes and actually want the answer to that proverbial question we all automatically ask when passing, “Hi! How are you?”

She sat there feeling flawed. As if she was not made well to fit on this earth. She felt like a square peg trying so hard to fit herself into that round hole.

So many questions – Who am I? Do I matter? Does any of this matter? Why do I feel so alone? Why do I feel so emotionally clumsy? Will anybody ever understand or even want to unwrap me to see who I am, in my entirety? My stories, my experiences, do they count for anything at all?

She looked up from her journal page and just stared. She felt as if she was in a coma state of staring lately. Looking so serene and peaceful, all the while her mind is waging a war it has not been able to win as of late.

Frozen in a state of deep thought, she realized she needed to snap out of it and try to put on that mask of, “I am ok”, and assimilate back into the hustle and bustle of getting things done; those menial life errands.

The Farmer’s Market was on her ‘To Do’ list, so she decided to get that done. She felt it pointless as she has even lost the zest for creating and cooking meals lately. But in order to survive, one must eat. So she went.

She perused the outdoor aisles of brightly colored displays of produce and artistic goods. In the distance she heard flute music playing. Musicians were always there to share their life’s passion and sell their latest CD. She always appreciated the energy coming from these outdoor markets. It made her feel alive. She could actually feel a small smile on her face as she witnessed an Italian family that ran a produce booth, bicker back and forth about who knows what, as it was all spoken in deep Italian.

She always had an immense admiration how people could squabble back and forth and stay through it all. She has never experienced that. She came from a family that didn’t communicate their feelings well, it was swept under the rug. She always struggled with that mindset. It is not her style to argue to get her point across, or yell to feel heard, but nonetheless she had a great gratitude towards it. She even smiled at the Italian family that was still entrenched in their diabolical disagreement – so expressive… so alive.

She had given up in the relationship department for over a year now. It was all too fleeting at this time in her life. She loved that she never feared being alone or that she never ‘needed’ to be with somebody just for the sake of being with another. Her quest for finding true intimacy was no longer a path she wanted to travel at this time. She was tired of playing the game of dating that never went anywhere. It was always the same outcome, just different faces.

Tomatoes were next on her list, her mental list anyway. As she strolled towards the tomato stand, she felt an energy shift; something light, something that almost whispered for her attention. She looked around – right to left, left to right… saw nothing.

She then felt a small tap on her right shoulder. She darted around quickly as it took her by surprise.

There stood a man she was very familiar with. She embarrassingly forgot his name due to being caught off guard. She usually just referred to him to her friends as the ‘apothecary guy’, as she bragged to all of them about his products. He was the one that owned the Apothecary booth. She loved that booth and always saved it for last, as she was a product junkie for anything that actually proved to be of good quality. She also enjoyed chatting with him when she’d purchase his things. She loved to ask questions, and he never seemed to mind… whether it was regarding his product line or even his life. He always answered with no delay, no walls.

“Hey! I have new things for you to try, I think you are going to love them! My best work yet, amazing products!” He declared enthusiastically.

“I’ll be sure to come by after I pick up the remaining things on my list.” Claire responded.

“Nope, my booth is unmanned and at GREAT risk for me to lose all my life’s work and products due to me walking with you!” He said very exaggeratedly.

“Then I recommend you go back to manning your booth.” She said lightheartedly, with a bit of fun loving sarcasm.

“Nope, staying with you until you finish perusing and purchasing all you are here for. What you fail to know about me is that I am in dire need for a new experience. So seeing and living your exact experience, here, today is precisely what I want to be doing at this very moment.” He said confidently and so matter of fact.

“You sure are laying it on thick.” Claire retorted back with a roll of the eyes and a smile. She never minded a bit of flirting and this interaction seemed harmless enough, even a bit fun.

“What you are failing to understand is that I want to see through the eyes of you, if only for a moment – nobody else, just you.” He said with a different tone, this time more tender.

“Well, you are in luck, I have always been up for new things and not afraid of adventure. Although, I must warn you… for you are now entering the mind of Claire – all I can say is hold on tight, because it’s going to be a crazy ride.” She said with humor, regarding the mind thread she’s been on lately.

He declared as he grabbed her hand at the same time, “GREAT! I’m not afraid… Let’s do this!”

Claire smiled. Paul! His name is Paul… she remembered to herself. Sunday seems to have just gotten a bit more interesting.

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Dating, Relationships, and that thing we call Self-Love

Posted on 17 October 2014 by Valkyrie

red dressDating and Relationships. Those two words can cause so much emotion in a split second – dread for some, elation for others.

I am married now, and have been happily so, for over 15 years. Thank God I finally got it right. Or, it was my husband that got it right for me. All I can say is that I have travelled that path that 99% of the population takes. For me, that path was through lots of trials and a ton of errors.

I have not dodged the concept and physical act of dating, relationships, love without earning my Purple Heart. Okay confession, I’ve earned many Purple Hearts in this venue and have been deployed, gone to battle, and waged many a war. Sadly, I cannot say that I have not gone unscathed. The battlefield of traversing a love minefield has left me with shrapnel imbedded in my being, wounds that have left deep scars, and PTSD that is just now starting to fade.

I’ve had 5 serious relationships and have casually dated 20+ men while in the trenches. Eight years of trying to figure it out, figure me out, and try to make sense of this crazy journey towards “love” that we are all on.

It’s an instinct in us all – to crave love, to be loved, and to give love. It is what makes the human experience that much richer, in my opinion. But sadly, that “rich” experience can turn to heartache, despair, loss, and confusion for many of us, more than once.

I’ve always been boy crazy from as early as I can remember. Even in Kindergarten – I had a crush on a boy named Caleb (my first born is named Caleb, not because of that innocent crush, but in his favor, he never tainted the name for me either). I also grew up an extreme Tom Boy, so I was surrounded by boys more than girls most of my early school years, playing all the ‘boy’ sports. Being around the male gender was my comfort zone, I guess one could say.

I am also not one to shy away from challenges, experiences, anything new really. I go into this mindset with excitement and eagerness. My motto in life is “I’ll always try something once” (there are a few boundaries in there, keep in mind). I like this side of me, but this mindset has tripped me up in the dating arena.

That could be the reason why I got into so many relationships that I never should have entertained past a first date. But, that girl in me that loved new challenges, forged on. See, I am not one of those girls that ever tried changing a man. Instead, I opted for something far more detrimental. I changed and altered myself to be right for that person I was with at that time. I guess you could say I was a chameleon of sorts. I sadly did not have a strong sense of who I was, so I became what I thought would work out well in the current situation I chose to commit to. And let me tell you, that mindset put in the wrong hands of another person, made me moldable like clay. I abandoned my inner gut, my sense on what right from wrong was, and the ability to have my own back. To gain love from another, I stopped loving myself… all so I could feel those small moments of another finding value in me for very short spurts of time, on their time. And I sadly waited, patiently, for them to fill my cup.

I dated men that never found me to be of much value. I dated men that had no problem telling me that. I dated men that were not faithful. I dated men that were emotionally and verbally abusive. I dated men that were emotionally unavailable. I dated men that had so much baggage that at times, all of it seemed to become my fault.

Trust me, I am not bashing men here, I love the male gender. It takes two to tango and I easily volunteered to go down that madness ride with them. There were great moments in those times as well. But the sad part is, I didn’t know that love is supposed to have an ease to it. I was never given those tools to articulate life’s experiences. I created my own tools, and as much as I had to use them, they did not serve me well.

The main ingredient missing was self-love. It sounds so cliché, but it is so true. If you don’t know who you are, know what you stand for, what you desire, what makes you cringe, what lights you up, and what tears you down, then life will give you those paths to get there. Life is funny that way, unless and until you are ready to learn the lesson that is being taught, the universe will see to it to keep sending you a repeat lesson, packaged in a different form. My lesson was not being learned, thus being shown to me with different faces, time and time again.

I remember how odd a feeling it was and how alien it felt to have a man not try to mold me like clay. But it was only that one time did I internally say before committing to date this man, “I am going to be ME, 100% across the board, no matter what”.

I could give my significant other all the kudos in the world for showing me the way, and in many ways he has. But the real truth is is that I finally decided to claim who I was 100% in bravery and in love. In doing that, the Universe no longer needed to keep giving me the same lesson plan over and over again.

I cannot say that claiming yourself 100% with love and respect will win you the right person to commit to the first or second time out of the gates. That road is different for all of us, we all have our life lessons to learn, according to what we need to learn. But I will guarantee this, keep that internal compass pointed to strong north, and in time, you will be shown that a significant other isn’t “needed” but it sure makes the ride more fun when two can ride it together.

I don’t look at my life’s experiences as a mistake, or anything to be shamed about. It is what it is. I did the best I could do with the knowledge and skillsets I had at that time.

Just a few weeks ago (while washing my face in the bathroom), I was able to gain full acceptance of that journey – the twists, the turns, and the detours. And in that moment I felt immense gratitude and appreciation for those exact experiences. Because in those times, I have found that the the kindness, the loyalty, the truth, the respect, the honor, the love is that much sweeter and richer and I will never take it for granted. I have also gained full love of self, and enjoy being me 100% of the time… good days and bad.

A dear friend of mine told me this not long ago, “There are two sides to every coin. To know lightness, you must know darkness – you can’t have one without the other”.

Well, I have known both. And I can joyfully say now, the lightness is so immense, that I need sunglasses.


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The Last Time

Posted on 17 October 2014 by Thraxxus

CT-Caress-SPOTLIGHTWe die. According to my father you were born with a death sentence, and that none of us get out of here alive. Rather macabre way of looking at things, albeit realistic. Many people focus on this concept – one could argue that Religions were founded because of the unanswered questions that we have:

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Why do we have to die?
  3. Where do we go from there?

The catch being of course that the questions are, at present, and as far as we know, unanswerable. Acceptance of that fact is not easy as the clock ticks forever in the background – time of course being a human construct based on the space we live in. How pathetic.

The alternative to pondering the unanswerable questions is to just live every single moment like it is your last. We have all heard that perspective before but really, what does it mean? The concept seems obvious. There are Latin terms that describe the importance of it: Carpe Diem – seize the day. What in the hell does that even mean? Seize what and why am I expected to seize it at all? What does it get me? Upon further inspection, and retrospection, the answer becomes clear if you flip the entire equation upside down.

Let us face it, we take almost every single thing we experience entirely for granted. Meaning, of course, that we just assume that what we are doing right this moment isn’t going to be the last thing that we ever do – there is always more time. Ironically, at the same time that statement is entirely false. The young believe they are indestructible, and I have said many times that the universe is rather forgiving of the youthful, children especially, but the truth is that nobody is indestructible. We all have our Kryptonite and most of us don’t know what will actually do us in when the time comes – nor do we know the actual time that it will happen. What if you did? What if you knew?

Consider the death row inmate for a moment. He knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when he is going to die the moment that they set the date and time. He knows exactly how long he has left. He knows how he will be spending that time. He knows who he will interact with, and who he won’t see ever again. He knows things that most of us dismiss daily. He is offered a last meal – the last food he will ever eat in this lifespan. He knows the last sleep he will sleep – the last dreams he will have. He knows the value of life as he is about to lose his.

This leads us down an odd path of questions. As previously stated, most of us consider that what we are doing right now is not the last thing that we will ever do – but it could be. What if that meal you just had was the last one you will ever have? What about that night’s sleep? Those dreams? What if that goodbye this morning was forever? What if that kiss was your last kiss? What if that gentle touch was the last one? The last caress of a loved one. What if that drive in your car, and the song you were listening to at the time, was the last drive and the last song you would ever experience?

What if it was to all end for you 60 seconds from now?

What would you look back on? What would you think? Who would you remember? Who would you miss? Would you have regrets? Would they be grand – like why didn’t you finish college? Would they be small -why didn’t you stay with mom for just one more cup of tea? She asked you to, didn’t she? What was more important that those last few minutes?

That is the trap, you see. We don’t really know what is important until those final moments. We don’t know the value of that last bite. We can’t comprehend that last hug. The last kiss. The last look. The embrace good bye. We don’t know those things because we have never experienced the last of something in such a grand fashion. Sure, there are smaller instances. The last time you will kiss a particular person. The last time you will see someone, or some place. And those instance can be relatively grand in themselves.

Me? I distinctly recall the last time that I saw my mother alive. It was trivial really. I was in my car, about to drive away, and my father was helping her out of her wheelchair to get into their car. I waved. She waved. She smiled. I had no idea that would be our last interaction – forever. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have driven away. I would have stayed, I would have taken in every single second of watching her struggle to get into the car. I would have gotten out of mine and helped. I would have hugged her again. I would have kissed her forehead. I would have told her how much she meant.

… but I didn’t know.

There is a saying “You don’t know what you’ve got, until its gone.” At some point isn’t it all gone, for all of us, because we are the one that is gone?

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Ebola – You should start paying attention.

Posted on 06 October 2014 by Thraxxus

ebolaspreadsEbola is a serious matter when it is contained in the middle of a jungle in some country that no American can remember even exists. When Ebola walks out of that jungle and enters an African village some where a few Americans raise an eye brow, hear the death toll, and go about their merry business figuring quietly to themselves “at least it is not me.” When Ebola finds its way into a major city in Africa we take a little bit more notice. We talk about it. We talk about how horrible it must be.

We go back to what we were doing.

Then Ebola gets on an airplane and comes to the USA. Some American doctor got it, and someone in the USA figured that the only humanitarian thing to do was to try to save the fellow American. It works. Then it works again with the same back story. A doctor went to help in Africa, got sick, we saved her.

We go back to what we were doing.

Then Ebola sneaks a ride inside a man on a plane bound for Dallas, Texas. It hangs out inside him for a few days before it starts to tear him apart. He goes to an urgent care center, they look at him, figure he has the flu (because really, who could possibly have Ebola in the USA and be walking around the street?) and they send him home. He gets worse over the next two days, showing more and more signs of something worse than the flu. He spends time with people. They are around him. He touches them, and they him. He goes back to the hospital and they admit and quarantine him.

The story breaks and we sit up and listen. Ebola here? In Texas? In Dallas, Texas? A Massive metropolitan area? Can’t be! How could this have happened? What can we do?

Then the CDC tells us that all will be okay. They will take care of it. They will find everyone that Patient Zero interacted with, and they will watch them. They will quarantine them. The CDC will do its job.

We go back to what we were doing with this icky feeling in the back of our heads that something should really be done about that Ebola thing.

Today it was announced that a lady in Spain contracted Ebola, and died. This, at first glance, seems like no big deal, after all over three thousand people have already died in Africa from this outbreak, with many more to come, but then, that is Africa, and this lady was in Spain, a thoroughfare of Europe. So she had Ebola and it killed her – so what? The real news here is how and where she got it – she was in Spain when she contracted it. She wasn’t in Africa, it didn’t hitch a ride inside her back to Spain. Nope. She was in the country where she lived when she got it, and that is scary.

Gone back to what you were doing yet? You shouldn’t, you know. Not this time.

See in the USA people are notoriously stand offish. Americans like their space, and we love it when others don’t violate that space. Furthermore, America is huge, not Africa huge, but basically the exact same size as Europe, except we are far more spread apart – with a full 75% of the population on the coasts. Because of these simple facts it was noted, by some scholar whose name eludes, that Ebola won’t spread that quickly in the USA, if it does at all.

Still here?

Europe is entirely different. Europeans are notoriously more physical. They hug. They embrace. They kiss cheeks. They enjoy life and each other. It is because of these reasons that if Ebola finds a way to spread, even a little, in Spain, it will spread through Europe like fire through gas drenched straw and the world will be changed forever. You will be changed forever. was nice enough to discuss this case here. The video they posted on their site is here, in case you can’t be bothered to click the link.

Come for the popcorn, stay for the show, it is a real barn burner.

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