Living Life on Life’s Terms

It’s all about perception.

Hey all.. I hope that you are all shiny and well and that you have been kicking major arse on whatever you got going on.  I want to apologize for falling off the radar for the last couple months… it seems all writing and reading without working a solid program and keeping myself in a good place left me kind of angry and hostile.

But I am back.  I just found a new sponsor last night.. I have seen her around for a little while and I really like what she has.  I also discovered al-anon.  I went to my first ever meeting of that sort Wednesday night and just… wow.  It’s amazing the things we realize when we shut up and really listen.

So, here is what I discovered in the last couple months while adjusting to living life on life’s terms.

  • I have no control over anyone.
  • I can’t tell people what to do; I can make suggestions.
  • If something/someone makes me feel bad, I need to see my part in it FIRST, and then take action.

Seeing my part in all the stuff that has happened to me has really done wonders.  At first, I blamed everyone for my life.  Right down to my children!  How crazy is that?  When I realized that I have a part in how people treat me (how I let them treat me) and that I can stand up for myself…man, let me just say:  HUGE EXHALE.

Children are innocent victims of their circumstances, but as we grow older there comes a point in which we become responsible for our lives….

Living Life on Life’s Terms:  Life just keeps on happening.  It doesn’t stop.  There is no Pause or Rewind button.  There is no: “wait, this can’t happen to me!  I’m not ready!”

There are two choices:  either change the circumstances or change the self.  If we don’t change the self, chances are we’ll wind up back in similar circumstances.

Thanks for letting me share.  Enjoy your weekend!

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It’s Better, It’s Worse… It’s Both

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I joined Oprah’s Lifeclass a few weeks ago and I have to say… I love it.  I am about ten classes in and am learning a lot about myself by answering thought-provoking questions that only I can see the answers to.  There is also a Daily Life Question that we have the option of answering.  It is linked to the users Twitter account.

As I read some of the answers (a lot of them anonymous) I shuddered at some of the things a lot of people have been through usually in great part by their parents.  I saw remnants of abuse, both physical and sexual, mental anguish, alcoholism, abandonment… 😦

It just got me thinking.. like.. what the hell do I have to bitch about?  Ok, yeah.. my childhood wasn’t the greatest.. I have always been socially awkward and put a lot of my worth on my physical beauty (but am too lazy to do any upkeep on it).  I tend to talk way too much when I get nervous and yes.. I am an alcoholic.

BUT – I am sober!  I AM beautiful!  I grew up poor.. but I have character.  I have small boobs.. but I have a great butt!  I can be very indecisive, but when I know what I want.. no one is stopping me.

It is so important for me (and you!) to look at the silver lining in the dark, looming clouds that hover over our heads from time to time.

We have all been through our own share of hell.  I remember years of self-pity, beating my head against the wall as I cursed and screamed “WHY ME?!”

Well, why not me?  Bad things have happened to me because I have the ability to help others.  If all I can do is take my experiences and share them with another, then whatever I have been through is not in vain.

Whatever doesn’t kill you – makes you stronger. 

What experiences have made you stronger?

Ooh Ooh.. Growing Up..

When I was a teenager I thought I knew everything.. I guess most teenagers feel this way. I have a teenage daughter, and I see a lot of myself in her.

Remember when we were fourteen or fifteen and we thought our parents were idiots, totally uncool and basically, had no idea what they were talking about?  Yeah, that’s where I am now.  I find myself repeating a lot of the ideals that were told to me at that fork in the road age.

I remember my first heartbreak.  Ugh.  I was so devastated! I was totally head over heels in love with a boy that lived around the corner.. he was kind of cocky, super cute and really wanted nothing to do with me.. I am not sure why it was this last quality that attracted me most to this boy.  Perhaps it was the fact that my father ignored me for most of my childhood and since I couldn’t get his attention, I could try to get a boy’s attention.

Needless to say, he wanted nothing to do with me.  So I decided to date his older brother.  Yeah, not the best idea.  He was a really nice guy (ack!) and I just didn’t pine for him like I pined for his brother.  Strike one.  I dated the older brother for about three weeks and then the kid I crushed on decided to test my loyalties to his older brother.  He told his brother (I came to find out later) that he was going to flirt with me and that I would ditch older brother.  Younger brother nailed it.   He was pretty smart for a sixteen year old, and I was devastated when he said to me, “I knew you didn’t like my brother, so I tricked you.”  Nice, eh?  However, I did like his older brother.  He was tall and he made me laugh with his Peter Gabriel and Kinks impressions.  But his brother liked me too.

I was so crushed by the “trick” played on me (which was one of a few different boys played on me) that I had enough and decided that it was time to get on with it.  It was time to die.

I went into my room, I put on some Pink Floyd, took the razor blade I got from my dad’s top drawer and slit my wrists.  Extreme, I know.  But no one knew who I was.  No one understood me.  No one got what I was going through.  Certainly not my parents.  They were never really around at that crucial teen stage and it didn’t matter anyway.  I felt it was too late for me. I was screwed.

I still have those scars on my wrists.  They are a haunting reminder of how unhappy I was.  The pictures of me around that time (none of which I am smiling in) are haunting reminders as well. I now use those scars to remind people about depression and suicidal thoughts should they ask.  Not many do.

If I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell me that it was all going to be okay.  That I was going to grow up and be a beautiful woman so smart and too wise.  I would tell myself that everyone goes through  a heartbreak or two and that it is the heartbreaks, failures and things that don’t work out that make us wiser and keep us strong.  It is those things that help us to grow into strong, resilient individuals.  I would tell me to have faith, it will all work out.

It always does.

Picture courtesy of www.weheartit.com

What Does Music Do For You?

I love music.  My grandmother frequently told me an interesting story about me as a baby.  When I was about three or six months old, I was lying in my cradle, crying.  She picked me up, she put me down, she fed me, she changed my diaper.  Still I fussed and cried.  At her wit’s end, she wound up a tiny Fisher Price music box and tossed it in the cradle.   To her amazement (and relief) I stopped crying.  Since I was just a wee lass, I can’t say that I remember this.   However, I know it to be true.

At my grandmother’s, there was an organ that once belonged to my mother.  I would sit at it every chance I got and play whatever songs were in the sheet music book.  I got bored with that easily.  To resolve my boredom, I began sitting under the organ and reaching up to play the songs without looking.

Music has always been my outlet.  I have tried my hand at a few instruments.  I played the flute in grade school but didn’t like it.  I switched to the violin, and played that for four years.  I gave up the violin.   I went into junior high school and none of the cool kids had instruments.

Eventually, I wound up lying in front of the clock radio in the back bedroom with pen and a notebook.  As I listened to the radio, I would write down the songs that came on.  I once did this for an entire weekend only getting up to eat or pee.  Hot hits played twice an hour, semi-hot hits played once every sixty to ninety minutes and the rest was up for grabs.  I must have had 30 pages of songs.  Yes, I was that dorky.

As I progressed into early adolescence, I found that I could release any emotion I was feeling by listening to music.   If I wanted to stay sad, I’d put on some Pink Floyd.  If I wanted to be happy, I’d pop in some 80’s pop or rock.

Since I had trouble speaking my mind as a young girl or showing emotion, I found that Def Leppard or Simple Minds could do a better job.  I would tape record songs and push rewind and play at least thirty times so I could write down the lyrics and eventually sing along.

Somewhere around the transition from junior high to high school, I discovered heavier rock and eventually heavy metal.   Little angels sang in my head the first time I heard Judas Priest singing “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”  It turned out those little angels were the voice of metal god Rob Halford.

I am still hooked.  I went through a brief rap phase, I went through a briefer country phase but still there were some songs that I truly loved from both genres and I have them on my ipod.   I suppose they are my guilty pleasures.   Hell, I even tap my fingers sometime to muzak when I am on hold.  I know, I know… so sad.  But so true.

What does music do for you?

Infected By Football

When I was seven, I had been out playing Barbies with my little friends down the street and had enough of the girly power trips.  I sat with Barbie in hand while Barbie was ordered around by my sprightly friends.  “I think my mom is calling me for dinner,” I fibbed as I picked up Barbie’s belongings.

It was a Sunday, and that meant a big spaghetti and meatball dinner with my family.  Well, my family and about three of my dad’s good buddies.   My mom, sister and I would sit at the dinner table while my dad and his pals would sit on the couch with t.v. trays coupled with ice-cold cans of Bud as the sounds of whistles, boos and cheers came from the television.  Those were the sounds of professional football.

I noticed something on that first of many increasingly cold Sundays and that was that football was important.  I mean, to sit on the couch and not move except to run up the steps to go pee or to play darts for about ten minutes in the middle of whatever this football thing was, football had to be very important.

So one cool day in November, I sat on the floor next to where my dad sat on the couch and I started asking questions.   What were the flags for?  Why did that guy hit that other guy?  Why did a guy in an opposite uniform catch the ball?  My dad and his friends answered my questions while chuckling.

Some years went by and I was twelve now.  I remember being in English class and our teacher for the day was a substitute.  That substitute thought he’d keep us amused for the whole period by handing us a paper to match “NFL teams with cities”.  I matched all of them correctly in  six minutes.  The teacher couldn’t believe it.  The class couldn’t believe it.  Hell, I couldn’t even believe it.

It seemed knowing football was important.

When the Philadelphia Eagles went to the Super Bowl in 1980 and lost to the Oakland Raiders, I wasn’t too upset because I hadn’t quite grasped the devastation of losing a championship at such a young age.

When the Denver Broncos went to the Super Bowl in 1987 it was five days before my 14th birthday.  I’m not sure when or why I grew a fondness for the John Elway and the Denver Broncos.  Still very much a child, I had hand crafted signs on notebook paper doodled with orange and blue D’s and stick figured horses.  The number 7 was doodled on those pages as well, and even though I was a Philly native, that 7 was not for Ron Jaworski.

Denver was crushed by the New York Giants 39-20 that night in Pasadena, California.  When the game was over I ripped down my signs made with great care and cried.  My mom hugged me as she stroked my long, brown hair.  My dad and the rest of his slovenly crew were guffawing in the front room as they played darts.

I cried myself to sleep that night while I couldn’t get next season off my mind.

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