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self-help

Shadows In Your Face

 

Far too old to be living like this, but don't tell him that. He's happy. He sleeps in his truck in parking lots all over North Florida.

Far too old to be living like this, but don’t tell him that. He’s happy. He sleeps in his truck in parking lots all over North Florida.

 

Many of you have followed my excursions for a good year now. You know that I try to keep things as real as possible. I’ve shown you all some of the good things about life and some of the things that truly stink sometimes too. In the end, I’ve always tried to keep my messages positive. I do believe that life is what you make of it.

That said, when I went through my horrible year last year, I was reminded of how much we all depend on each other and how hard like can be. I felt that God himself had spoken to me and I came to an immediate realization – an epiphany – that I’d wasted a great deal of time that I hadn’t put to good use. I made a promise to myself and to the Universe that I was going to work harder to help others. My purpose is now to do what I can to help others and speak for those who have no voice of their own.

I’d like to tell you about my latest project. This is in alignment with my goals and my passions. I’ve decided to put my author skills to work on a project of almost epic proportions. I’m going to re-enter my life as a homeless person, in order to tell the story from their point of view. How can you tell someone about being hungry if you have never truly been hungry? How can you describe the fear of having no roof over your head if you have never known this fear yourself?

Not only am I going to do a book, but also a documentary while I am living in the life. When I am finished, there will be a book, a documentary and a photo book complete. ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY AND BOOK WILL GO TO THE HOMELESS. The money will go to organizations that help to feed, clothe and provide medication to those who are homeless. I will be very selective over who gets funds; making sure that 100% of the money goes to the people that it is meant for. If not, then I shall set-up a separate charity entirely for this purpose.

I’m currently working on some products for sale to help raise money for the documentary. I’ll be opening a Cafe Press store to the public in a few days. I’m working on product designs at the moment. I have an IndieGoGo campaign set-up to take donations at the above link. I implore you to consider helping this project come to fruition. Not only will it bring to light some of the issues happening with the homeless community, but it will also help to set in place some programs that can offer more assistance to these people. Too many are falling through the cracks because they can’t qualify for help. Some can’t even seek traditional help because of mental issues that prevent them from even trying, much less even being aware that there is help available for them.

Today, I simply ask you to take a look at the campaign page and to do one of two things: 1)Donate if you can or 2) pass it along to others who may be able to help.

Thanks for your time and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

DONATE HERE

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Categories: equal rights, life lessons, love, Politics, self-help | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Lost And Found – Getting Home

 

This is the type of thing I love to write – part of this is based in fact, but told like fiction. Emotions dictate, music added to set the mood for you to match what I was feeling as I wrote … and in the end – a message. I hope that you enjoy! Take the time to listen to the music and let the messages sink in.  ~ Jesse

 

A wall paper

 

 

 

 

I Keep Holding On

I was awakened by the smell of ocean air and the sound of waves softly rolling up onto the beach. The breeze blowing through the screen of my camper was cool as I snuggled down further into my comforter and pillows, not quite ready to give up on my cozy slumber. My mind began to drift as it always does in the early morning hours; half in and half out of sleep. I thought about the day ahead and what I would do with the hours. So much time on my hands left me with constantly seeking something to keep myself busy. Boredom truly can become exhausting.

I began thinking about my last conversation with Raleigh. She truly left me puzzled sometimes. Raleigh was that sort of woman who would tell you to not try to fix her problems; she just wanted me to listen. She would clearly tell me that she had boundaries. This wasn’t what puzzled me – I was glad to have a forthright person in my life who wasn’t afraid to talk about anything. What left me confused was the way that she would jump in, whenever I was trying to vent about something, and start offering suggestions and tell me what I should do. I sighed out loud and thought to myself that it was probably my own fault for not setting my own boundaries. I decided that day that the next time we talked, I’d address this issue and the way I felt about it.

As I swung my feet out of bed, I made my mind up that the next time we talked, I was going to have to tell her how this was making me feel. I didn’t like feeling like I wasn’t allowed to share my feelings about something without being chided for being negative. I knew I was not typically a negative person, but felt that everyone deserved to feel down sometimes and should be able to share that with someone they they trust. Getting told what to do and told not to react the way I did, just made me feel like I had to close part of myself off…and I hated that feeling. It didn’t feel safe. I spent a lot of time being “up” for other people…fans, friends and sometimes suicidal people that I volunteered to help listen to and encourage to get proper help. I felt like I had to maintain for them all…but in private, I needed to feel safe to be able to just “be” however I felt. I shook my head because it made me feel sad. I had to get the thoughts out of my head and I decided that a walk on the beach was in order.

I stumbled past the galley and into the tiny bathroom to relieve my bladder before making my way back to the coffee maker and starting the morning brew. As it slowly dripped and steamed, the coffee began to emerge in the pot. I put creamer in my big plastic coffee mug and then went to go put on some board shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. As I was slipping on my flip-flops, the coffee maker groaned and gasped for air as it gave birth to the last few drops of caffeine that would start my day out perfectly. I poured my cup of coffee into the large mug and walked out into the world.

The campground was beginning to stir with evidence of life. I could smell someone’s breakfast cooking on an outdoor grill. I saw another family stowing gear and rolling their hose and electrical cord. They were just passing through; probably on their way to some attraction or theme park.

My flip-flops tossed the sand into the breeze and I could feel it on my shins as I made my way to the beach, only a short walk away. The closer I came to the water’s edge, the finer the sand became and eventually my toes were baptized by the cold water creeping onto the shore. It only took a moment for my feet to grow accustomed to the cool water and it began to feel so good that I slipped my flops off and tied them to the string hanging from my waistband so that I could walk with free hands. Why is that as soon as your toes hit cold water, you feel like you need to pee?

My toes sunk into the cool, wet sand as I enjoyed the walk. Every so often I would feel a hard shell and stop to take a closer look at it. While I rarely picked them up, I was always on the look-out for the perfect shell. Sometimes I would come across a clam but never had the heart to remove them from their environment and eat them. Typically, I tossed them out into deeper water to ‘rescue’ them from other clam hunters. I hadn’t killed a spider in years. I’m not sure I honestly have a mean bone in my body, though I was able to show my Scottish temper from time to time. I knew I could get testy about some things … especially when it felt like I was being judged or told that I was living my life “wrong.”

To be perfectly honest, I’d never gotten over the dominant rule of a mother who was abusive, ill-tempered, quick with a fist and even more vicious with her tongue. It took me so many years to believe that I was capable of anything at all, that anyone even questioning me immediately put me on the defense. I was aware that it was an issue … but not really sure how to fix it. I didn’t like being that way. Raleigh said that it often took an equal number of years to get over the amount of time you were in a bad situation. My mother was a dark spot in my world for almost thirty years. I sighed deeply and become aware that my forehead was creased and my eyebrows were furrowed. I brought myself to the present moment and consciously relaxed. Still, I knew that ‘just letting go’ wasn’t so easily done in this case. I walked on.

Closer To Fine

By the time I had returned to the camper, the sun was getting high in the sky. I had no idea what time it was because I’d almost completely stopped wearing a watch. For so many years, wearing a watch had been an anal part of my personality. From years of working in fields that required I manage others and know what time to start projects, I had always worn a watch. Knowing what time it was had become an obsession; almost compulsive. After becoming a writer and deciding that I’d live by my own rules, even if that meant going without a lot of things sometimes, I also gave up caring about the time. Recently, I’d become so carefree about it that I often forgot what day it was and holidays came upon me with complete surprise. Every day of my life was a holiday in so many ways now.

While it was true that I really had little money and couldn’t afford the finer things in life, I was predominantly happy now. It was a little unsettling to me that I had become so reclusive, but there was no drama that way. I avoided drama and stress almost as passionately as I wrote. Sometimes it bothered me that I may just be avoiding a natural part of life, instead of learning how to just deal with it in a healthy way. I considered that perhaps I was just ‘taking a break from it all’ and that was okay … but how was I going to re-emerge? When would I know the time was right?

Raleigh and I had seen a lot of each over the summer. There was a relationship between us that was deeply rooted in friendship. It was more than a friendship …  but then it wasn’t. There was really no description that fit. We had both reached places in our lives where we resisted being labeled, placed into boxes or having expectations placed upon us. Neither of us did well with that sort of thing. We never talked about how we felt about each other, it was just the way it was and we accepted it the way that you accept the breeze upon your face … it is welcomed but understood that even the best of breezes don’t last forever and one cannot fully depend on a good breeze being there for you all the time. This was how I thought of her. She was a gentle breeze at times, that made my life a happy place. There were times that she was a hurricane force wind that made me uncomfortable or knocked me off my feet, but I still relished the adrenaline rush that came from it. Other times … there was no breeze at all and I knew that she was still out there and patiently awaited her return. It was free, as all things should be. I respected it as something that was not to be controlled or always understood. It was imperfect, in all the most beautiful ways that something, or someone, can be – it was, in fact, perfect.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

 

I poured another cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer. As I pushed the button that would connect me to the world beyond, I was still pondering how I’d come to be where I was. Home is something that I’d sought for most of the last twenty years of my life and it had only been in the last year of my life that I’d come to realize that home is inside of me.  I’d been getting ‘my house’ in order now for a few months and it hadn’t been easy – once your shit falls so far apart, it takes a while to go through all the pieces and figure it out. What I was coming to realize was that I’d been running away from so much, for so long, that finding my way back to the beginning was like following a trail of tears that had long since dried-up. I got lost sometimes.

Raleigh had confronted me about spending so much time in my home town earlier that year. Apparently, I’d been sounding pretty negative about the place over the phone and she didn’t understand what it was I’d been seeking. I supposed that she’d known me well enough to know there was a reason? At that time, until thinking it over, I hadn’t been sure either. It was just a gut feeling I’d had. Visiting my hometown was something that I had always been compelled to do, but it was less about the present and more about reclaiming my past. That was the place I had been abused, traumatized and belittled behind closed doors. It was a place that I should have felt safe … but I never did. It was a source of angry energy that I had been drawn to, like a moth to a flame. I’d either burn alive or the flame would be extinguished. That had been my resolve.

As an adult, I was able to stare at the house I grew up in and reclaim some happy memories. I had made a journal, with a list of all the bad things I remembered. Back in Florida now, I intended to burn those memories to ashes in a can, take them to the cemetery my parents were buried in and spread them over their graves. With this ritual, I also meant to forgive them once and for all. I knew that when I did this, I’d never return to their graves again. I was cutting the cord and releasing the Karmic debt. I would be absolving myself of the past and freeing myself to move on – burning the symbolic bridges and breaking the invisible chains.

For some people, I supposed this could be seen as walking away from the past and therefore just running again. I imagined that some people may view my way of dealing with it to be very extreme. I didn’t really care. For me, it had become a trip towards something – a return of my soul to self. This had been my way of ‘going home’ and finding my way back to who I was when I was not burdened with the memories. Who says you can’t go home? Don’t question the trip, question where home really is!

For now, life was coming back together. I used my walks along the beach to call my energy back to me. Every ounce of energy that I had freely given to others for so many years, I was now calling back to me. I stopped to look at shells on the beach and I savored every breath that I took, knowing that it could potentially be a last breath at any time. My house was getting in order and though I had no idea where tomorrow would lead me, I was happier than I had ever been; I was home.

 

If you enjoy the writing, please consider purchasing a book. Everything I earn from my writing allows me to have the time to publish this blog and write more books. Remember that independent authors are also artists and our work is how we earn a living. Thanks for coming by to visit!

Amazon Author Central Profile

 

Categories: abuse, child abuse, death, Free Books, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Today Marks a Year Here For Me! THANK-YOU ALL!

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I’D LIKE TO THANK PHOENIX PHOTOS FOR PROVIDING ME WITH THIS IMAGE TO SHARE

One year ago, today, I posted my first blog here. I started as a means to promote a book but it grew to be far more than that. At this very time, a year ago, I was dating someone. She was a nice enough person, but she was dry, spent far too much free time watching television and she didn’t have the same world views as I did. I used this blog to begin expressing all the emotions – the ups and the downs – that I felt.

The day I really knew Laura and I weren’t suited for each other, she called me from downtown Ft Myers. She had gone to meet friends for a walk/jog after work. She finished first and was sitting on a bench waiting for the others and talking to me on the phone. She had gotten a pizza slice at a street vendor in the area. She didn’t like the area of town and was complaining to me about how unsafe she felt. A man came and sat next to her, on the bench and she became totally freaked-out and informed that he was probably homeless and she could feel her skin crawling. I finally said to her, “Maybe he just wanted a slice of pizza because he was hungry?” S I L E N C E. She thought I was nuts and I thought she was out of touch.

Here I am, 365 days later. I’m free and single, 1500 miles away from where I was. I’m now in Illinois, but I am planning a return to Florida in the winter. I’m thinking of making it my permanent home again, but I’m playing it by ear – as I always do. I’ve learned to do what feels right in my gut. It’s sort of a “I’ll know when I get there” sort of thing for me.

At any rate, I’ve met some truly amazing people over the last year. I’ve met writers, hitchhikers, homeless people, truck drivers, and made friends on Facebook with people from all over the world. I have people in my life that I’ve know for forty years and people that I’ve never met in person  – and they all touch me in wonderful ways.

In the last year, this blog has received fifty-eight THOUSAND page views. I’ve posted one-hundred twenty-one blogs which have received six-HUNDRED fourteen comments. I’ve gained seven-hundred  fans to my Facebook fan page, two-thousand four hundred blog subscribers, published ten books, traveled in five states, dated one person but broke-up with two , put two thousand miles on my RV and I lost my dog. Through it all, you guys have been there. Some of you have been there the whole year and some of you just hopped on this train. Let me warn you newbies, it’s fast moving sometimes!

This all humbles me very much and it makes me smile. I never thought in a million years that I would have come so far in a year. I simply wanted to do what made me happy. I’ve always been a drifter and I’ve never been one to work anywhere at a j.o.b. for long. I get bored with that sort of stuff. Writing allows me to use my imagination. Fiction work is a way that I can escape reality and use my artistic side. Non-fiction work gives my inquisitive side a reason to learn more about the topics that interest me. I truly get the best of everything as a writer.

My friend’s four-year old is at that stage where he asks about everything. When he asks, “what is compost?” and then follows it up with, “why?” I can answer him. Sometimes he asks me things like, “How do combines work?” I do my best to answer him in ways that he can understand but are truly informational. I don’t believe in talking down to children if it can be helped. He once looked at me and asked, “How do you know so much?” *insert HUGE smile* I took the opportunity to tell him that school played a large part in it (because he also doesn’t like school very much yet) and then I followed with, “I’m writer, that’s just what I do. I put things into words so that other people can learn about things too.” He smiled and paused before the onslaught of questions started again. I love that he asks questions. It reminds me to stop and look at the world through his eyes sometimes. Children can give you a very unique perspective.

For all these things, I’m thankful. I am thankful for the people who remind me that a writer sees the world from a different view than others do. An artist looks at a flower and pictures it on canvas. A photographer sees things in still frames. I see the story in everything. Words are my paint and my laptop is my brush. I don’t strive for perfection, only the satisfaction of telling the story. Today, I thank YOU for allowing me to tell my stories. I value your input, your comments, your thoughts and reflections on my work. and when you tell me that something I have written has helped you in some way. I treasure the emails from fans who tell me that I’ve helped them with a struggle or that I’ve put something into words when they could not.

Thanks for making it a wonderful year of growing, learning and sharing. I hope the next year is filled with much more of the same for all of us.

~ Jesse

My latest non-fiction was published yesterday.  “Incredible Edibles – Field Guide To Free Food. Please, check it out. 

EdiblesBook

Also, the follow-up book to “Twisted: Flashbacks” will be coming out soon. If you have not yet read the original, you can pick-up your copy here. This is a fiction novella with a follow-up novel coming very soon!

NEWTWISTEDCOVER

 

Categories: erotica, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It Is Time

 

A couple of years ago, I embarked on a journey. This has been a spiritual journey for me, as well as one that has taken me to Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and all the way back to Illinois. I uprooted myself in a somewhat semi-permanent fashion, got rid of several hundred pounds of personal belongings and moved into this RV. I’ve lived a very minimalistic lifestyle for a all this time. I enjoy it, but I have found that this was a learning time for me – a time that I very much needed – and it is time for some change.

I often come back to Illinois to “regroup” and I have been blessed to have my friend Sheila here. She understands me in many ways. She knows that I have been on a soul journey these past few years. She knows that I feel things that are hard to explain and that life touches me in ways that some people can’t feel it. I try to pull the positive lessons out of every encounter and each experience, sometimes when they are painful I learn the most. That’s really life. The painful things can help us grow by moving us beyond our comfort zones. I’ve needed that and I knew that I did.

I spent the better part of seven years in a relationship that pushed me to the brink. We had a home, two cars, splendid furnishings, jobs, pets, ate out too much, got a college educations and better jobs … but the relationship itself was awful. There was no trust, no compassion, no joy in it at all. We just went through the motions of what we thought it was “supposed to be” when you were in a relationship. The person I lived with was narcissistic and detached. Lies of omission were part of daily life with her. It drove me crazy. Literally, I was crazed. I ended-up on medication because she told me I was crazy so many times that I started to believe it myself. I was on a whole host of prescription drugs that were meant to ‘make me normal’ when all the while they just made me more crazy.

When that relationship finally came to an abrupt halt, I was still very shaky. I’d tried to kill myself twice and contemplated it a third time. I was an emotional and psychological train wreck. I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t know what I liked to do, how I liked to spend my time, what I thought about the world around me anymore either. I’d been living in a bubble, like a hostage, for seven years. Like a baby, I had to rediscover myself.

There have been many mistakes since then, but I have spent the better part of the last six years alone. There have been dates and a few flings but nothing of any sort of permanent nature. It seemed like everyone wanted me to change or conform to their idea of what I should be. That scares me, after having gone through what I did. I did see a therapist for a long time who told me that I definitely had PTSD from the previous long-term relationship. I had more trauma over that relationship than I did my father’s suicide, which seemed to amaze her. This is why I’m so outspoken about domestic abuse now and I stress that it does not need to be physical abuse. Mental abuse is far more damaging in the long run.

So, with no roots, no real family and no reasons to stay anywhere, I have let myself be blown from here to there. I’ve lived in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Florida and spent short periods in every state in between them all. Yes, many of you think it is an amazing way to live and that I am lucky. In some respects it is, but it is also very tiring. This RV is small, has no heat when it isn’t plugged in to a power source and I have been so cold that I wonder how I didn’t die a couple of times. I remember waking one morning and not being able to feel my feet. I tried to get out of bed and I couldn’t walk for a few minutes. I staggered into a Starbucks to warm myself and actually checked my feet in the bathroom for frostbite. No black or bright red – I was good.

There was the time in Alabama, exactly a year ago, when it was so hot that the RV hit 136 degrees inside and all I could do was sit. It was too hot to cook or move and I closed the curtains and stripped down to my boxers and sport bra and prayed for rain. It was that weekend that I wrote my first book, “Butch Sexology” with just a pencil and a legal pad. I published it on May 29th, if I recall correctly. What a year it has been! I’ve learned that I can do anything that I want.

So…I just had to figure out what I want. I know I don’t EVER want to be so cold that I can’t feel my feet ever again. The things that are important to me are not possessions by any means. Lifestyle is important to me. I believe in living a purposeful life and a simple life. In talking with Ellen again, she has told me about the city of St Pete’s stance on sustainable living. I was immediately intrigued. I can have a small house, a big garden and even raise chickens in my backyard. I can be warm year round. I can have peace and quiet and still be in a city that offers me all the things I love, such as theaters, beaches, performing arts, museums, fishing, fresh food, sports and so much more. I can have a little home office, where I can hide in the evenings and continue to tap out my books. I can have BOOK SHELVES again. 🙂 The thought of it all is almost mind-blowing to me. I haven’t had anywhere I have thought of as “home” for a long, long time. Well, it is time and I am ready. I’m making the leap.

There you have it! What lesson have I learned? That in attempting to change the world, the world changes us. It’s up us whether this is for the better or for the worst. I think I finally hit “for the better” and I am officially going to park the RV in storage this fall. I’ll be hanging up the keys for a while. It will still be there so I can enjoy weekend excursions and I will still fly here and there when I can. If I can park it in a back yard, it may just become my “writing cave” but who knows?  I’ll never fully give traveling up, because I do love to see the sights and explore places … but this butch is ready to hang her many hats somewhere with a permanent hook for a while. 🙂

(I’m seriously gonna need some furniture! o.O)

Categories: life lessons, self-help | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Food and Your Health

The sun is just beginning to cast its fiery orange hues over the horizon, with a dramatic foreground of black trees and a blue sky that lies somewhere in the middle of the layers of the Illinois sky. Our weather here is like it is everywhere … unpredictable. This week we will have a low of thirty-two degrees (last night) and a high in the upper eighties; a fifty degree swing in temperatures for the week. It seems inconceivable that people still don’t believe that climates are changing all over the world.

For those of you who remember the earthquake in Haiti, you may not have heard the little talked about result? The earthquake was so powerful that is actually moved the entire planet. Yes, the earth shifted one whole degree on its axis. One degree doesn’t seem like much, but it is certainly enough to throw the calendar out of whack a bit and delay seasons here and there. My advice to you is to roll with it because there will be more changes, due to the fact that global warming was already beginning to make some changes.

This morning, as I sit here, I can hear the birds happily chirping from the nightly roosts. Here in the country, there is no sound of cars. Once in a while, a car will go buzzing past, interrupted by the seasonal tractors that are beginning to be seen in fields. In the city, people judge others by what they wear. In Illinois, people judge each other by their favorite type of tractor. Are you an International Harvester fan? John Deere? There are others….but I can’t bring myself to mention them. I’m a John Deere country girl. Yes … the only green I care for is dotted with yellows and probably on a combine. Even when I am in the city, as I often am, I can be seen wearing my camo boots or even my Carhartt baseball hat. If you are very lucky, then you may even find me wearing my cowboy hat and leather boots. You can take the girl out of the country, but I assure you this – you can NOT take the country out of the girl!

For the past few weeks I have been enjoying hunting wild morel mushrooms and wild asparagus. I have found a stand of cattails and I am anxious to try some recipes for those, so I will be waiting for them to come into season later in the summer. The berries won’t be ready to pick for a while, but the bushes found are plentiful. I can taste the goodies now. Yes, I love this country way of life, I admit. No doubt, the way I was raised and where I grew-up has a lot to do with the way that I view the world and the way I prioritize things in my life now. You see, I LOVE this planet and I really want it to last. I want the next generations to see what it is like to admire Mother Earth in all her beauty and to know the pure, untainted joy of reaping the fresh fruits and vegetables that she provides for us.

Cat tails in Indiana.

Cat tails in Indiana.

I see so much that is wrong with the world to be a result of getting away from nature and “country” by people today. I see people beating themselves up to work 40+ hours per week to earn as much money as they can. For what? To pay for the car that they need to take them to work! To pay for groceries that are poisoning them with GMO crops and pesticides. As a nation, the United State’s health is declining. We have become a country of people who are over-stressed, over-worked and have no time to raise our own children. This I see to be a snowball effect.

When I was a restaurant manager, part of my duties were the hiring and training of new crew. I considered myself a “people” person and I managed from the viewpoint that my employees were the most important part of my business. When customers come into a restaurant, it is the employees who greet them, seat them, take their order, make small talk and laugh with them that will keep them coming back. The food is only part of the equation and the fact is that even if your food is mediocre, people will return if the customer service is outstanding. So … for that reason, I set aside time in my schedule to personally train and mentor each new employee. Other managers would ask me how I found time. They considered it crazy on my part with all else we had to do. My response to them was always, “If you don’t make time to do things right in the first place, when are you going to have time to fix mistakes later? By training them exactly the way I want, I save time in the long run.”

Getting back to our children, this same philosophy applies. So many parents are working so hard to pay mortgages, car payments, grocery bills and utility bills that they scarcely have any time left for their children. What if everything you had been taught was wrong? What if life wasn’t about having a “career?” What if you stayed home, had a garden large enough to feed your family, raised a milk cow and a beef cow? Maybe you have a hog for bacon if that is your thing? Not only would you not get out of bed with an alarm clock ( an extremely offensive way to start any day!) but you would also be able to plan your day around your own schedule. That means you can plan around your children. What a novel idea!

“How would I pay for my SUV,” you ask. Well my answer is simple – “who says you need it?” Now I realize you are thinking I am a little crazy right now, but I assure that if you stick with me you will begin to see what I am saying here. The average SUV is never driven off-road. WTH do you need it for? I mean REALLY NEED it for? If you live in the city, you can plant a yard full of vegetables. If you are an apartment dweller, you can plant vertical gardens on patios, balconies, etc. Even if you have to work to pay for other necessities like rent and power, you certainly would not have to work as hard if you supplied all your own food, now would you? In fact, the average family could work HALF as many hours as they do right now, if they didn’t spend money at the grocery store.

Cities all across the nation are allowing people to grow gardens in their front yards. In large metropolitan areas that have little grass, people are planting community gardens in empty lots and using strips along curbs and sidewalks to plant ‘free’ gardens for the entire neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to live on the outskirts of town, raising one goat to supply milk for your family will give you more than enough milk to even make your own soap! A small goat can yield more than a quart of milk per day. As soon as her kid is weaned, you can sell it to pay for having the goat. Incidentally, goats will exist on grass if you have room to graze them. Goats will eat bushes and most any ground cover, small trees and whatever they can reach. Fence them away from what you don’t want them to eat! As far as them eating tin cans and “anything” – nothing could be further from the truth. While they do ‘mouth’ things, they are very selective about what they eat. Grazing a goat with cattle is good because goats tend to eat what the cows will not eat and they both eat things that benefit the other. For examply, goats will eat the parts of plants that tend to harbor  parasites that are harmful to cattle. Grazing them together or one right after the other is beneficial!

Let me talk about foraging for food. This is one of my favorite pastimes. Walking along the bottom of ditches in the spring, April-May, you can find a lot of asparagus growing wild. This is FREE FOOD. This is my favorite type of gardening….the kind I don’t have to plant, weed or water. Mother Earth provides a lot of free food if you are willing to look for it. Morel mushrooms grow in the spring as well. Both asparagus and mushrooms can be frozen. Berries grow wild too. This foraging can and SHOULD be a family affair. Walking is good for the soul and it is fantastic exercise. The food you gather is GMO free and good for you.

When health issues plague us like they do now, shouldn’t the food you eat be considered your most important investment?  Let me go to some statistics, taken from the article referenced below by Eva Jacobs and Stephanie Shipp. In 1903, a full ninety-seven percent of a household’s annual income went to the food that they consumed. By 1960 that percent had declined to only seventy-nine percent. People were making choices to spend money on mortgages, cars, gasoline and other non-necessity things. By 1987 only seventy-three percent of income was spend on food. These figures certainly do not mean that the cost of food went down. We all know better than that. A gallon of milk in 1980 averaged $1.25. A gallon of milk today will run anywhere from $3 to $4.50, depending upon where you live in the country. So, what these statistics mean is that people are opting for more of what I call “crap food.”

More and more families are existing on Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper to fill their bellies, while nutrionally starving themselves. Not only do we, as a society, not eat properly but we also pump ourselves full of soft drinks for numerous reasons. The makes of soft drinks have laced them with ingredients designed to make you crave more, for one thing. Secondly, it is often cheaper to buy a soft drink than it is to buy 100% juice or even a bottle of water. People choose what is cheap. Period. For many years, this resulted in increasing cancer mortality rates. In 2003, cancer and heart-disease fully accounted for 51.1% of all deaths. That is an astonishing number. In the 1930s, just over 50,000 men and 50,000 women per year died of cancer related illness. By the year 2000, this number had grown to almost 300,000 for men and just over 250,000 for women. Is it purely coincidence that we are now relying on what the grocery stores sell us, rather than eating fresh foods? I highly doubt it, personally.

Companies like Monsanto have virtually taken over our food. Small farmers are being put out of business because of these corporate behemoths. This is a true David vs Goliath problem, with us being David. I’m trying very hard, this morning, to show you that there are other ways of living. There are choices that you can make, no matter where you live, to simplify your life, give yourself some relaxation time, have more time for your family (which is a whole ‘nother blog) and truly be more healthy! We cannot let companies like Dow, Bayer, Monsanto, Proctor and Gamble and so many others take over the food we put in our bodies. Americans have sold their souls and their health to corporate America. Not only should you be worried about it, you should be angry! This is another freedom that has been taken away from you – the freedom to be healthy and choose what goes in your body. Bit by bit, Americans have given up their time to work more hours to pay for what amounts to less, only to find out it is starving them and killing them in the long run.

While you may not be able to do like I did and move yourself into an RV that you can park most anywhere for free when you need to, you can learn to forage for wild food. You can grow vertical gardens in very little space and you can begin making small changes in your diet right now … today. You will not be sorry if you do. My own personal experience on soft drinks should ring true with some of you:

Diet Mountain Dew was my drink of choice for a very long time. Not only is it a diuretic, but it is also laced with chemicals that are used in embalming bodies after death. Artificial sweeteners used in it are not only addictive, but very harmful. Aspartame has been linked to many issues. There are NINETY-ONE symptoms of Aspartame poisoning.  Here are a few:

*numb-tingling hands and feet

*combination carpel-tunnel/tennis-elbows 

*Fibromyalgia-like hot spots (all over)

*chronic-fatigue like exhaustion

*sleeplessness

*memory loss

*depression 

*blackouts

*vision problems/blurry vision

*burning/tingling in feet and legs

*shooting-stabbing pains in my legs and other joints

*tinnitus

I stopped drinking soft drinks about a month ago. It was a HARD habit to break but here are the results for me: No more body aches, the chronic back pain has completely subsided. The shooting pains in my shoulders has completely stopped. My energy levels have stopped. I am not running to the bathroom every 30 minutes anymore, even though I still consume over a gallon of water and/or juice each day. My vision has cleared up so much that I have stopped wearing bifocals to read and type. My focus is getting better, the mind fog has gone away. My bones had stopped creaking. Just in a MONTH!

So stop and think about. How many of today’s chronic illnesses are a result of the things we put in our mouths? How many of you are investing more in the car(s) you drive than you are in your food each month? Shouldn’t YOU be the biggest investment in your life? I challenge you to make just ONE change your dietary habits this week. If you are a soft drink lover, perhaps you should start thinking about removing it from your diet and see how you feel? If you have space to plant a garden, even on a balcony, try growing something…anything to start!

Forage for food, even in urban settings. I used to walk all over Denver and pick wild plants.In fact, I knocked on doors and asked if I could pick apples that I saw going to waste! People are happy to not have to pick them up! Get yourself a good guide book. If you would like to get a copy of my newest book, “Incredible Wild Edibles – Eat For Free,” send me a message or comment here and I will send you a link to the book that releases THIS week! Full of pictures, information and even recipes for enjoying your findings, this book will take you from start to finish and show you how to slow down, enjoy nature and appreciate the food you put in your mouth.

Jacobs/Shipp article http://www.bls.gov/mlr/1990/03/art3full.pdf

Aspartame Poisoning http://rense.com/general10/term.htm

Cancer statistics slide show http://www.slideshare.net/MiamiDadePA/5-cancer-statistics-2006-presentation

Categories: self-help | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Life Has A Way of Humbling Us, Why Fight It?

 

Know what is humbling? Logging into your blog for the first time in almost two months and seeing that you are still averaging almost 200 readers per day and that you have surpassed the 50,000 hits that you had initially hoped for in your wildest dreams – and it isn’t quite yet a year! THANK YOU!

You all know that I write about life and that can be so many things! My readers tell me that what they find most endearing is the way I let people in and share how I really feel in the most raw way possible. I don’t hold back … even when it doesn’t paint me in the greatest of lights. Life has humbled me to the point that I just don’t feel a need to try to look good. I’d rather be myself, in all my screwed-up glory. I’m imperfect. Ask all three credit bureaus. I’m honestly thinking of contacting Guinness Book of records to see if I may just have the lowest credit score in the nation. Seriously. That bad. In the words of a four year old that I love very much, “Guess what?? NOBODY CARES!!” (followed by MUCH giggling) Joshua indeed has his own unique way of looking at the world and it is amazing what you can learn from children. Keep it simple. Focus on what is in front of you. Don’t get hung-up in details. If you can get someone else to do it, that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about. Keep asking for what you want until someone gives it to you. The word ‘no’ has little meaning if you choose to ignore it. Yep…that’s wisdom right there, folks.

I’m sorry that I’ve been out of touch and away from my usual posts. I’ve had a LOT of emotional things going on and I don’t really talk these things out. I stew on them. I let them sink in. I allow pain to seep into my veins and turn the blood of my soul from red to black from time to time. Once all the sludge turns to goo, it is time to sit, write and let it all out. That’s the way I work – it’s how I roll. Now I can breathe again and let that oxygen flow and cleanse me, from the deepest recesses of all that is me!

I don’t believe that one single minute of any day is wasted. Even if I choose to just sit or nap all day, that is not a wasted day! Rejuvenating the spirit, the soul, having time to think and learn and take a look at our progress is important. I’m always reminded of a line from an Indigo Girls song, “…every five years or so I look back on my  life and I have a good laugh…”. That is important. We are new people each day. You are not the same person that you were yesterday. You have new cells, your are chemically not exactly the same because it fluctuates and your thoughts today are not exactly the same as yesterday. We are in a constant state of flux. That is life. If things didn’t change, then we wouldn’t be growing.

Did I mention that I’m 45 now? Yep…I had a birthday! Nothing like a birthday to remind you that your body is getting older and more worn out. Thinking I need some maintenance. Where to start? For one thing, I gave up soda (or ‘pop’ when I’m here at home in Illinois). Would you believe that my vision is clearing up? It is! I don’t need bifocals to see my computer or to read! I’ve been drinking over a gallon of water, with grape juice, each day for several days and I am sitting here typing away without reading glasses on! Amazing. My joints are day to day. My shoulder is feeling much better since stopping the Diet Dew too. I’m beginning to think that there is more to that stuff being poison than I ever realized and from now on I am going to envision a skull and crossbones on a bottle of it and think of it as drinking rat poison!!

Now…how do I heal my soul? I’m gonna lay it all out for you. Jo hurt me a lot. She lied to me in ways that I honestly trusted her not to. I flat-out asked her to promise me that she’d not play with my feelings when we first started talking again. She did anyway and while it hurt me extremely deeply and I’ve needed much time to heal, I’m out on the other side of it and I feel good again. The biggest thing is that I forgive her and I realize that I need to follow my own blog! Somewhere along the line I wrote that ‘people only love you as much as they can’ and I got that line from Laura. Laura is the woman I went to Florida for last year. Wow. She must have been telling me a lot about herself when she said that. I forgive Laura too. Even though I spent three days in a hospital, scared and in tears a time or two and she never visited me once, I forgive her. I hope she forgives me for not being able to be the person she needed me to be. Her idea of my life and my idea of my life were two very different things. I’m not cut-out for living in a house with someone, being tied down to bills, routines and time clocks. It just isn’t going to happen. She kept telling me that she was waiting for my life to ‘settle down’ and I kept waiting for her to love me as I was. Two different people, two different paths and it took me realizing that it wasn’t meant and it wasn’t going to happen. That didn’t mean I didn’t care for her…anymore that it means I don’t still care for Jo. I do. I don’t turn-off feelings and emotions for people that meant something to me. People think I do, because I walk away but that isn’t true at all. I simply put myself first. I have a conscious and sometimes it gets the best of me, keeps me up at night and makes want to sit down and write an email and just say hello. I’m getting better at not sending them.

I’ve been talking to my ex from twenty years ago. It is a long story and I’m not going to get into it all again. Ellen is the one person in my life that I have held onto all these years and wanted to talk to again. There was a Karmic connection and a reason to contact again. She’s grown. She’s different in a lot of ways … and in some ways she’s the same and she knows I know. <insert smile here> You see, the part of me that has grown is the part that no longer needs to force someone into a mold that I think is ‘right’ or ‘correct’ in some way. I do not judge and I don’t begrudge anyone living their life and following their path the way that they need to. I know how to keep a safe distance now. Fact is, I honestly LIKE Ellen. She’s funny, witty, smart, charming when she wants to be, sassy as hell (which I always admired – even when it was directed at me) and she is one of the most resourceful people I’ve ever known. I ADMIRE her … even when she doesn’t admire herself. Fact is, she is one of the few people I was ever involved with who has grown and I don’t mind her in my life again, because I don’t feel that it is a step backwards in any way. I feel like we’ve both grown forward and we just aren’t the same people anymore. Does this make sense? I don’t mind saying this, knowing that she’ll read it, but I still love her. I always have and I always held everyone else in all these years up to her as a comparison…which wasn’t fair to them and a hell of a lot to live up to…but it’s true. For what it’s worth, I’m not afraid to admit that. I believe that coming to terms with things in our lives is very much about being truthful and honest, with OURSELVES as much as with others. So, I admit it, I never got over her and I don’t truly know why. I just didn’t. I admitted to someone that I lived with for six years that if Ellen had shown-up knocking on my door and wanting to get back together, that I’d have left with her. Sad huh? I mean, I feel terrible that I SAID that … but it was the honest truth. That was EIGHT years after we hadn’t been together too. Strange to say it, but the only thing I ever believed in was her and I’m SO proud that she raised Amelia and made it when all the chips were down. Against all odds, she survived. I know it wasn’t probably pretty and it wasn’t easy or perfect by any means…but she did it and I’m honestly so proud of her and I really want her to know that, because I mean it so much. It was only when I moved into this RV that I threw away a lot of things from my past because I knew that clinging to the past is not the right thing to do….but there were a few things that I kept that were extremely important to me. This was one thing that I could never and will never part with…

Ellen and Amelia1

You can’t imagine with my life as scattered as it is and has been – the moving, the traveling and life I lead – how hard it may be to keep track of things. I always know where this photo is on a moments notice.

 

So here I am. Alone. I’m okay with that. I’m simply acknowledging how I feel today and the things going ’round in my head. I’m not trying to get back together with anyone, not looking for anyone new. I’m just happy to live today and to feel this breeze in my face. That photo may seem sad, but to me it isn’t. It reminds me that I had a very, very happy time in my life and I was lucky to have had it. I’ve been lucky for every day ever since. When I left her, I drank myself into a stupor for about three years. I practically lived at the bar, playing Garth Brook’s “The Dance” on the jukebox and wallowing in grief. If  I had all the money back that I drank away, I could probably travel well for a year. Paycheck after paycheck I pissed into the toilet, literally. I’ve come a long, long way. I’m sober now. I’m humble. I feel too much sometimes, but I am not afraid to face what I feel with quiet dignity and know that I have been blessed many times over. I choose to be thankful and yes, Ellen,  I choose to be proud of you and believe in you. You deserve that.

 

Categories: lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just Get Up

A strange fog has come over the world outside my window. It has been raining since yesterday, a constant trickle and pitter patter from the roof as a gentle reminder to me that there is a world outside, awaiting my return to it. I pour another cup of coffee and ponder so many things about this world and this life as my spoon disappears into the creamy mixture. I like a little coffee with my cream, thank-you very much. I’ve given sugar up almost entirely, but I am not giving up the cream in my coffee, it is one of those little indulgences of my life that I will be stubborn about.

Today, I think about the husband of a friend who is in the hospital. He’s in very bad condition, originally admitted with congestive heart failure and since admittance having suffered from a massive stroke. He has a clot in his brain. The doctor administered medication that he declared ‘will either help him or kill him.’  I think about this man in particular, and the legacy he leaves behind. His has not been a particularly good life and he’s not always been a good person. Still … he is a person and a child of this Universe.

Today, I think about the unborn child that is being carried by a girl who is but a child herself. She’s already had two such children taken away from her because of her mental inability to take care of them. She is due again, any day, and my heart is heavy with thoughts of what will become of this child. The first two were lucky enough to be adopted by family. This same family is out of financial resources now and simply cannot keep taking in children, especially when they are being delivered almost like kittens at this rate. The girl cannot be held completely responsible for her inability to cope with the world. There are many factors at play. The grandparents cannot be held responsible because she was raised as well as any other child. She is capable of making these decisions but not doing a very good job, I’m afraid. In the end … I mourn for this unborn child who is about to come into a world with absolutely nothing stable in her world. Yes, we know it is a girl. In fact, her name is to be Brooklyn ( I am unsure of how it will be spelled ) and she will have the same middle name as I was given at birth, Renee.

I suppose my heart is heavy today, like the fog outside my window. The heaviness crept into me just as unexpectedly and I only know to put it all down and share it … as I nearly always do. Things touch me deeply. Knowing the way in which all things are connected, I wonder what my role in all of it is? Recently I have thought deeply about those words, “it takes a village” and they keep rattling around in my head. Is it my hormones and the fact that I know I am soon to be beyond the ability to have a child that is bothering me? I don’t think that is entirely it. I never wanted to be pregnant. I never had the desire to give birth but I loved children none the less.

This all has me thinking about the circle of life, beginnings and endings and all the things that fall between. We make mistakes because we are human. Everything we do touches someone else. We can touch others in a positive way or we can be a negative influence. Most of the time, this is a very conscious choice that each of us makes. What about those times that we do something for ourselves and it inadvertently harms someone else in some way? What about the people who just aren’t “there” yet? I’m speaking about the ones who don’t see their place in the universe or understand how they affect everyone else. Do we all constantly create ‘Karmic debts’ that need to be paid in full or is the answer to being taught the lesson is simply that we come to the realization that our decisions have harmed others and have real regret for this? Perhaps changing our ways is enough? What an interesting concept that would imply that it is never too late for anyone!

Humility is a word that I’ve been introduced to in recent years. “What have you done with your life in the past sixteen years?”  These were the words I heard as if they had been spoken to me by God himself. My entire life flashed before my eyes in a matter of 30 seconds. I was reminded of every single time I’d been selfish. I literally saw the scenes before my eyes, as the Ghost of Christmas’ Past. As soon as I felt true humility, I felt that my burdens were lifted and my soul had been set free. Gone was the anger that I had harbored both in resentments and hurts that were well in the past. In a few seconds my view of life swiveled on axis like a camera on a tripod. Suddenly all the scenes were changed and everything became clear. I came to fully accept that I had been wasting a lot of time. I had to own it! When I fully accepted my role in this life, everything was revealed to me in a way that gave me direction. Suddenly I had a purpose – to reach people, to teach people and to bring those who suffer to a place of calm.

Now, it would seem, that I am haunted by the Ghost of Christmas’ Yet To Come. I’m gravely concerned for the sick, the dying and the unborn with nothing but chaos that awaits – yet, I am calm and steadfast in my faith that it will all happen with reason and with purpose. Each and every one of you is born with a purpose and a meaning for your life. It will reveal itself if you give yourself over to humility. So much can be accomplished when ego is removed from the equation. In the place of ego, add faith and you will begin to see the answers to your problems. I believe that God has a funny way of allowing us to make the same mistakes over and over until we get it right. Every parent knows that you can tell a child over and over that something is hot, but until they have finally been burned enough to cause real hurt, they often don’t get the lesson. Don’t be angry with God, or the Universe, or Mother God, or Allah, or Jehovah, or Buddha, or Jesus Christ, or Mary, or even with Cerridwen for letting you get burned. You obviously needed the lesson if you are feeling the pain. The reason may not be clear yet, but in time it will reveal itself if you remain open to being taught. That requires humility.

As far as the specific things I ponder today, as the traffic grows heavier with people getting out of church, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is reason for all these things. When we lose someone in death, it makes us stand on our own two feet and forces us to make decisions that we may never have made before. When a child is born into the world, they are a new beginning, a new chance at mankind getting something right. She is a blank slate and this is a chance for her to touch the world in the way she will. How she is raised will possibly affect the way in which she touches the world, but the circumstances in which we are raised do not have to define us. Humility allows us to grow beyond any constraints placed upon us in this world. We are given minds and hearts to seek, question and constantly grow. My friends, may you all grow a little today and may the world around you not get you down. If it does, just remember to always fall forward and that you are never a failure until the day you choose to not get up. Today, I beseech you … GET UP!

*BELIEVE*BREATHE*BECOME

Categories: Adoption, child abuse, death, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

If I Told You That I Loved You

 

HEarts777

 

I wonder if I looked into your eyes if I’d see admiration, kindness and love?

Would you make me feel there’s nothing I couldn’t rise above?

When you look back at me, are the thoughts clearly written here upon my face?

Is it so very out in the open, the way I’ve felt this fall from grace?

If I told you that I loved you would it make you stop to change direction?

Would loving you make each day make it worth sharing a connection?

Should I put all my faith in you and trust that you are strong?

Or am I such a stranger to you that the feelings are all gone?

Today I choose to follow the path to making this world much clearer,

So I’ll look again and smile joyfully, saying “I love you” into a mirror.

~ Jesse MacGregor-Jones

 

This is for all of you who forget that the most important person in the world that needs your love is YOU! Always be kind to yourself, knowing you’ll make mistakes. Life is about learning and growing, for none of us was born perfect! Today, look at yourself in the mirror and find one thing to love, even if it is simply the fact that you had the courage to look yourself in the eyes.

Categories: equal rights, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Faith – What It Is To Me

 

Faith meme

 

 

 

I want to try to clarify some things about my life and my perspective for all of you. Many people write to me and want to “cheer me up” and give me pep talks when I talk about moving on, breaking up or things from my past. When I tell people that I’m fine, they don’t seem to believe me sometimes. In fact, I’ve been told by some that they do not understand how quickly I bounce back nor how I can move on and remain so positive. Well … let me try to explain it to you. I’m not really sure if I can, but I am going to try.

For starters, let me say that faith does not have to be centered around God if you are not comfortable with that. I believe that it is so much more than just God! It is about being connected to everything around you in a way that is spiritual but can be proven scientifically also, for those of you who are skeptics. Everything around us is made up of microscopic particles. Neutrons, electrons and ions surround you and ARE you. There is no such thing as a straight line. Anything under a microscope shows that lines are blurred. Why? Because molecules are moving, cells are not perfect shapes and everything is constantly changing, replicating and evolving before your very eyes. Nothing stays the same and everything is made up of the same particles.

When you consume food, you consume cells and these microscopic particles that have already been charged with energy of some sort. This is basic science from elementary school. Dig deeper, think harder, feel more…. you’ll realize the implications that everything on this planet and in the universe is connected. Right this moment, I’m surrounded by carbon dioxide that has been expelled by billions of other people. Quite possibly, I’m breathing oxygen that was created by a house plant somewhere in London. It is possible. We’re all breathing the same air, sharing the same sky, the same planet and the same solar system. We are mere pieces of an astronomically large puzzle, my friends.

Doesn’t it make sense if were all were to just get along that we’d all be healthier? Scale it down. If cells in your own body begin to fight against each other, what do you have? Sickness, illness … cancer and other things. So when harmony is removed and other things are allowed to take over, bad things happen. Right? When the body no longer maintains homeostasis ( balance and the ability to maintain itself correctly ) then the body becomes ill. The same thing happens with society, with the planet and with the entire universe. It isn’t such a big jump to understand that every single thing that you do in your life will touch the entire world. No matter how insignificant that you think you are, you are very important! The carbon dioxide that you expel is helping a plant somewhere on this planet. In your lifetime, you’ll be responsible for keep many of them alive. It’s symbiotic. They need you and you need them. Therefore, we all need you! You are part of the puzzle of life.

Even when you die, your body doesn’t disappear on a molecular level. Your molecules are changed, but they carry on. Part of you is here forever and can be carried on into water supplies, rain, in the soil that will grow vegetables for someone else – even a million years from now. So you see…it’s all bigger than just you … yet it is all about you.

My entire life I have realized that I was a deeper thinker than most people. I also realize that I’m very intuitive and more ‘spiritually connected’ than a lot of people are. There’s a side of me that I frankly cannot explain to you. I’m very perceptive of my environment, nature, people’s feelings and the way EVERYTHING is connected. Everything I explained before … its almost as if I can see the connections in bright colors all around me at times.

We are all connected to each other. We are all part of a greater ‘whole’ that most never feel. Either because of your life or your beliefs, you have shut it out. As children, we were all open to it. Do you ever remember having dreams of flying? My friends, this is because your soul certainly does. As we grow up, society and our so called civilization teach us that these things aren’t possible. We learn things like judging each other, hate, anger and we lose our belief in the things that would mend the wounds that are caused by this world. People are taught to lose their faith, hope and dreams by the world around them, yet time and time again they are shown how to come back to it….but many never do.

Last year, in the month of August, I was given a chance to look at my life through a new set of eyes. I call it ‘my epiphany’ and I’ve been inclined to tell people that I heard the voice of God. Here’s the thing…I heard something. Whether it was voice inside of me, a voice outside of me … or something from the matrix, it changed me forever. I’m not the same person and I never will be again. I don’t want to be!

In the time it took to blink my eyes, my life came fully into view and perspective. In one small moment in time, I realized that time is not linear and that my life had shown me opportunity after opportunity that I’d not taken advantage of. I saw the ways in which I could touch other people. Things flashed in front of me as I stood there. Everything became suddenly as clear as a crystal and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I wasn’t living my life for me! This is so much bigger than just me! I realized that I will receive true happiness and growth by helping others and by giving what I can to this world. In being alive, I take daily. I take oxygen, food and resources from this planet. It is necessary that I give back. One act of kindness can create thousands more in the people that it touches. It’s part of the spiritual pact we make with the universe for being here. Whether you want to be a part of it all or not, you are – there’s no choice in this. You’re only real choice is how much you choose to participate in this life and be the best that you can be. Happiness isn’t a destination! Happiness is the journey. Faith is about knowing what it takes to be happy and understanding that it isn’t truly about you.

When someone does something to me that I should be angry about, I choose not to get angry anymore. I remove them from my world and/or my space. I might try to teach them, but part of the wisdom that you acquire from life is to help you understand that you cannot always make someone understand something. Their path requires that they learn lessons on their own and when they are ready. You can’t force it. Learn to know when to walk away. This is best for YOU and best for maintaining that homeostasis that we talked about – both for you and the planet. When you realize that nothing is meant to personally harm you, but only to teach you and make you better, it becomes very hard to hold onto anger. For me, it is easier to just say to myself, “okay … lesson learned.” Then I move on. I shed no tears anymore over these things.

Do I have bad days? Why certainly! I don’t think I’d be human or have a soul if I didn’t cry sometimes. My tears are merely different now. I don’t cry because I feel sorry for myself or because I want anything different than I have. I cry from exhaustion sometimes and I cry when I’m confused about decisions I need. I cry when I feel hurt, because regardless of the things I’ve pointed out in the last 1364 words, as a human being I will get down and I will feel hurt from time to time. I’m not perfect by any means. I’m evolving and my cells are changing this very moment.

The wonderful part about faith is that I am able to put it all into perspective quickly. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am where I’m supposed to be, learning what I’m supposed to be learning and doing things that will affect other people on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years. That’s a pretty huge responsibility. Perhaps if more people realized this, they’d be better people? Then again, they are learning their lessons, the way they are supposed to and in the time frame that they are given. I’m okay with that. Faith makes me okay with things. Again, perhaps I’ve made zero sense to you at all tonight but I hope that I’ve at least given you some things to think about?

It truly is all about perspective. Try looking at your life from a different perspective and put yourself in the shoes of other people too. Be a little kinder and in the end you may find that you are stronger for it. In learning about others, you’ll realize that you grow to know yourself. We are truly all in this together and love really is the answer.

Categories: equal rights, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

My First Kiss – A Magic Night

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I like to say that I was a ‘late bloomer’ because it wasn’t until I was 23 that I kissed someone for the first time. Having grown-up in the small town of Tampico, Illinois – population 850 – I wasn’t exactly worldly. In fact, I was pretty naive and eventually she would grow to call me “Peoria” from time to time. It was her way of getting under my skin sometimes. At the time it was aggravating, but in hind sight I must admit that it was sort of cute and funny.

I moved into an upstairs apartment with a guy in the summer of 1992. That summer changed my entire life. One evening he and I were standing outside, smoking a cigarette. I looked up and saw this woman walking from the left end of the street and crossed over to the other side and disappeared into the house right across the street. I stopped in mid sentence and said to him, “Who is that woman?” He smiled and said, “That’s Ellen. She lives next door and that’s her cousin’s house across the street.” I was stopped dead in my tracks and as God is my witness, this is what I said to him, “I will be with that woman.” He laughed hysterically, but I was dead serious. I honestly never believed in love at first sight…but it was sure as hell lust. I was smitten, bitten and tongue tied, for the most part. I always felt like everything I said around her came out wrong and I felt so incredibly awkward most of the time.

I fell so hard for her and she wasn’t even single, though she made it clear that she’d prefer to be and that she wasn’t happy at all. Each day I would watch her drive by in that silly Volkswagen bus. You could hear her coming long before she actually drove by, in a flash of faded red that played background to the bright yellow daisy painted on the side. Just picturing it right now makes me smile so big. Those were wonderful days, the summer I finally started to become me.

One day, I got the outlandish idea to buy her a dozen red roses. We’d talked a few times, made small talk and drank a few beers one night out on the lawn. I have no idea what possessed me to think that I had any business buying her roses but I did. I took them to her cousin’s house and asked if she’d give them to her when she did her usual stop in after work. I stood in the upstairs apartment across the street and waited, chain-smoking with my roommate. I couldn’t take them to HER house…she lived with a guy and I surely didn’t want to start any trouble.

When she came home, I was having heart failure as I watched her walk into her cousin’s house. She wasn’t in there ten minutes and came marching out with her flowers, in the vase I had bought for them, and took them to her house. My roommate declared, “Oh my GOD…she’s gonna go flaunt them right in his face!” Yep, that’s pretty much how it all started. We played cat and mouse over the entire summer with nothing much happening…it was all very innocent at first, until that night….

It was growing into the last days of summer, when the nights began to get cooler and the stars over the St Pete sky glistened like diamonds in the black velvet of that night. I shall never forget it as long as I live. We sat on her deck, she had invited me over. The hour was getting late. She seemed to need someone to talk to and I hung on her every word. She told me of her life as a child, as a teen and how she’d ended-up here in this city – the place she’d ultimately grow to love with such a passion. She was fascinating to me, with all her world views and opinions on politics and such. She knew where she stood and I really didn’t yet. I was still impressionable and …. well … naive. 🙂

As she talked, my heart seemed to move around in my chest as if it was freely floating. As I recall, it was bumping into things and sliding up into my throat on occasion, making it rather hard to swallow with such a lump suffocating me. I was filled with feelings and thoughts that I truly didn’t even understand. My entire body seemed to be doing its own thing, while I tried very hard not to let it show. I doubt she ever had any idea how nervous I was that night, or how her mere presence before me caused my pulse to rise and my heart to skip beats. I remember thinking that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever gazed upon.

She had tears in her eyes at times, as she spoke about her current unhappiness and the things that she wanted to do with her life. She talked about the accident that had landed her in the hospital and physical therapy. Clearly she was in pain emotionally and had issues with the scars it had left upon her physical being as well.  I wanted to touch her, to hold her hand or even just to sit closer. To me, she was simply beautiful. She wore her hair in a French braid and it was lovely. Sometimes she wore it down and other times she used to pull it up over the top of her head, twist it and pin it. She had the most gorgeous hair.

I was frozen in my chair for at least two hours. It wasn’t until it was very late and she had tears trickling softly down her cheeks that something inside me took over. The entire world seemed to fade into the background as I stood and walked to her. There, in the cool breeze of the night, I gently lifted her chin to look into her eyes. I bent and softly kissed her right cheek, where a tear slowly made it’s way downward. I could taste the salt of her emotional wounds and  I softly kissed the other cheek, noting how soft her skin was and how warm she felt. I remember letting my cheek linger against hers. My heart was racing and to this day I do not know where I found the courage to softly kiss her lips but I did. I wasn’t even sure if I was doing it right, but I was so lost in the moment that I could have crawled inside of her and wrapped my arms around her very soul right then and there.

I can still, to this very day, feel how soft and inviting her lips were. It was a sweet, soft kiss that wasn’t meant to lead to anything. I was happy to just be there in that very heartbeat in time and want for nothing more. It was a magical moment for me and I don’t know what it was like for her, but I’m grateful that I have that memory. It was the first time in my life that I fell in love with someone and I knew it in that very moment. How many people can remember the exact moment in time that they knew they were in love with someone?  True, I was innocent and naive, but I was so in love with her in that very moment that nothing else  in the world mattered but her. To this day, I can close my eyes and remember the way she smelled and how she felt, with her cheek against my own. I was in heaven.

That night, I would leave her with that kiss and go home, a couple of doors down. We had a very sweet courtship that lasted for several months before we would finally end-up together and it was an amazing time in my life. Am I romanticizing things and being overly sentimental? Perhaps. 🙂 Shouldn’t we all remember our first loves in such a way?

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Is is coincidence that she JUST called me and we talked for two hours? After a crazy break-up and a LOT of water under the bridge, we recently started talking again and I have to say that she’s still got me hanging on every word and she’s still every bit as beautiful as she ever was, perhaps even more so now because she’s grown so much in the last twenty years. I hope that I have too. Once again, I’m happy to say that I’m lucky to have her around.

So many of you who have been following me and my writing over the last year have heard me say that it feels as if my life is coming full circle. I think that talking to her again has made the circle complete. In a strange way, it feels like I have been off on a twenty year adventure and now I get to tell her all about it over conversations where we catch each other up on the last several years of our lives. How amazing life is! What a strange adventure indeed!

As we ended our conversation tonight, she said, “Miss you” and it made me smile. I have missed her too….for twenty years. To this day, she’s the only woman who ever bought ME flowers – EVER. They were Peace roses and Godiva chocolates, because she said I ‘hadn’t lived’ if I had never had Godiva chocolates. I still remember the perfume that she wore – Magie Noire – and it took me years to stop smelling it when I closed my eyes. Suddenly, tonight, I smelled it again. Thanks, Ellen. 🙂

Categories: lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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