Sandy Hook National Moment of Silence Fri Dec 21 930am EST

image

Join the nation in observing a moment of silence tomorrow, Friday, December 21 at 9:30 am, EST, to remember the victims of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut. Please join in the national moment of silence called for by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and spend several minutes reflecting quietly on this terrible tragedy.

image

Advertisements

Please pray for my dear friend Kym

kym

As many of you know my dear friend Kym has been healing from a severe case of Shingles as well as Viral Meningitis. She was in the hospital but is thankfully home recovering. They gave her heavy antibiotics and she is currently on bed rest. Overall she is getting better. She still is having quite a lot of pain from the shingles and is having light sensitivity due to the Meningitis.

Kym needs some extra prayers and healing energy tonight as her Meningitis symptoms are worsening tonight. She is having a bad headache, nausea, and severe eye pain.

Kym is the dentition of survivor. She is just like my Mama, a warrior queen. Earlier this year she had a Carcinoid tumor and part of her lung removed, the same surgery my Mama had. A month prior to that she had a full hysterectomy. So she has been through a lot this year and is deserving of some well needed comfort.

She has two beautiful young children. Please keep her family in your prayers as well during the holiday season.

Thanks. Huggs

7 years in hiding

******trigger warning, I talk about my sexual abuse in detail******

From 5th grade until the summer of graduating High School I carried a deep dark secret, one that as each day passed by it slowly chipped away at my soul… I was sexually abused by a male cousin of mine.

For seven years I had to pretend like nothing was wrong. I had to lie. I couldn’t let anyone know the bad thing that happened to me, all while my the person who did the bad thing lived down the street.

He lived with my grandmother who didn’t drive. That meant my mother had to drive him everywhere he wanted. I had to face him on a weekly basis and couldn’t say a word. I had to pretend like everything was hunky-dory when deep down inside I was dying.

I would cry myself to sleep at night feeling that my parents loved him more than they did me. I even questioned if they loved me. Which wasn’t that difficult to do when my father was around him. My father was the hunting type, so was my abuser. My father loved sports so did he. I desperately needed my father’s love and he seemed to give it to him so easily.

The whole family loved him. He could do no wrong. He was the golden boy. He was popular in school, he was captain of the basketball and football team. Even when it came out in the open what had happened many in the family still saw him in that light, especially my grandmother.

When you hide something so big and hurtful it has a way of seeping into everything you do. A secret is like a balloon the more air you breath into it the more it will expand, until eventually there is more more room to grow and it explodes.

I took the money from my graduation party and I bought a computer. The internet was the first time I could reach out to other survivors of sexual abuse. It was hope for me. I also started to come to terms with being gay as well. The computer was my connection to the outside world. My parents didn’t understand why I was always on the computer and they were about to take it away.

That was the last straw that broke my back. I went into this danger will robinson mode and burst out my two secrets in anger. I couldn’t lie anymore. It was destroying me and I wasn’t going to allow them to take away the one good thing in my life.

The summer of 1995 I came out of the closet and told my parents that I was molested when I was younger.

I don’t remember much about that day, other than my Mom cried a lot.

I do remember my father went hunting with my cousin the next day. When I confronted him about it he told me that you have to forgive and forget. I was devastated by this.

Though my parents finally knew about what had happened, no one else knew… At the time I didn’t realize how much it had affected me. I guess I still had a lot of shame over what had happened. In seven years you learn to hide very well.

I guess in a way I was still afraid of my cousin. I had to pretend like everything was normal. So much when I was asked to be the usher at his wedding I felt I had to say yes because saying no would make people suspicious. Looking back I wonder how I had the courage to do something like that. That is the thing about hiding a secret, you do whatever you have to make it not obvious…

Once I hit puberty, being a gay youth (that didn’t know it at the time) I attached myself to the only thing I knew and that being the sexual abuse. The painful became pleasurable, and then painful all over again… When boys have natural fantasies that boys do at that age, I was having them about the abuse. That is where the shame started to grow. It was a double whammy. Sex turned into pain, pain into love… I was groomed into that lifestyle because I didn’t know any better. I thought he did those things to me because he cared/loved me. So I found myself purposely trying to get in those situations again. I was desperate to feel that way again.

Not only was I dealing with feelings of being gay but they were towards my male cousin who had sexually abused me. I can remember praying to God after I was successful in getting him to have sex with me, promising to never do that again. I was full of shame but then that would wear off and I was back to trying to get that connection again. I didn’t know it was unhealthy.

Then there came a time where he was done with me. He made it very clear that he didn’t want me anymore by biting my penis so hard that he left cut marks, I still have the scars.

He took what he wanted and when he was done, he threw me away like a piece of garbage. It was then I learned I was just a sex object for men. He got me to love him and rejected me, leaving me with a million miles of wounds.

As an adult I took the blame because I enjoyed and initiated the second part of the abuse. I felt such shame. I also feared that if I told anyone this that they wouldn’t believe me that the first part was not mutual. Which I had already had people in the family take light over what happened. My one aunt made a comment like boys will be boys…

It took someone pointing out that I was just a child and that I had been groomed to realize that it wasn’t my fault.

I didn’t tell anyone about the second part of the abuse until 2000. That was when the shit hit the fan. That was also the year I confronted my cousin by phone who told me that I was drunk. Why would he do something like that he said?

After that everyone knew and I became an even bigger black sheep of the family. My Mom’s side of the family had a way of pushing that kind of stuff underneath the rug. Anyone that tried kick the dust out was looked down upon. Afterwards various family members still saw him in that holy light, including my grandmother.

From that day on I find it hard to hid my feelings. During therapy I recently realized that reason why.  When I try to hide my feelings it reminds me of that horrible seven years where I had to hide.

I believe during those seven long years I was desperately needing someone to come rescue me and they never did. So when I go through something painful I feel like if I don’t lay down like I am dying no one will save me. I think in a way I am trying to save that boy in present day.

Hiding in my bed also became a survival skill both during the abuse, as well as during other traumatic times in my childhood. I would hide until my pillow until the scary thing was over. While I am no longer a boy, I still try to cope with my feelings in the same way but no matter how long I hide in my bed my problems never go away.

Everything is connected to how I feel about myself.

I have been hiding most of my life. The outside world is a scary place. Those 20 beautiful children who were so brutally gunned down in their prime has been a confirmation of that.

My Mama was my rock. She was always there, no matter what. She represented everything good in my life. When she died it felt like I had lost all of that. After my Mama died, I went back into hiding and I am still not sure I want to come out of my cave.

As much as I try, I still feel like I am stuck back in that time. I need to rescue my inner child from that time. I keep waiting for someone else to save me and I am the one who needs to rescue me. I guess all this time I haven’t been sure I deserve it.

I have been living on the edge of wanting and not wanting to be here for too long. I wish I could just break free and live my life the way I want. I just feel like something is holding me down. It is probably me…

Fake it until you make it. I struggle with faking it. I guess in a way I feel like by faking it means I have no reason to feel the way I do. Maybe I am trying to convince myself. By having various people in my life not give me the validation in my life, have I in returned felt I needed to show the world my pain???

The fact of the matter is these people will never give me the validation I need. They aren’t important and are no longer in my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself.

It just takes time to let go of all the false things I learned during those seven years. I have to keep moving forward. Eventually the tide will turn and the parts of me that believe I deserve better will out way the parts that don’t. Now that I am finally unearthing all those horrible, unworthy feelings about myself it leaves me in a vulnerable place. So I have to ride out the storm and realize that I am in for a bumpy ride. If there is anything I have learned the past twenty years is that I just have to keep swimming, paddling through the rough seas. They say when you are going through hell, to keep going and that is what I am going to do. This time I am going to toss the untruths about myself in the sea. They no longer suit me and only cause me harm.

Eventually these bad feelings will go away and there will be nothing but blue skies and sunshine. I will have a firm foundation built on love so that the next time a storm arrives it will no longer knock me down. I will be safe and dry inside my home.

I once endured a hurricane of a storm and kept myself in that storm for way to long. It is time to step out of that storm, I deserve so much more…

I just have to hold on…

Wear Green and White on Monday to remember those involved in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

Monday Green and White Facebook event page

On December 14, 2012, 20 children and 6 adult staff members were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Newtown, Connecticut.

image

In remembrance of the 20 beautiful children and 6 brave staff members, as well to show support for everyone involved especially the survivors of this horrible tragedy… Please wear the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School (Green and White) on Monday 12/17/12.

image

Please share this with everyone you know to let the families who are grieving that they are not alone.

Why do bad things happen to innocent people?

As I woke up to read about yesterday’s tragedy on my Facebook feed I could help but swear out loud in my room. I did it loudly enough that my nine year old nephew came into my room to make sure I was alright… I was so angry I felt like punching the wall, which I didn’t. For the next thirty minutes the only words that came to my mind were fuck, fuck, fuck…

Oh and why??? why??? why??? I couldn’t make any sense of what had happened and the fact that this monster took his his psychotic issues out on poor defenseless little children!!! Now with losing my Mama I was already at a breaking point of anger and wondering why, so this just put me right over the edge.

20 children. 20 pure souls. GONE!!! Just like that…

Obviously this monster had an insurmountable amount of issues but why take the lives of others. If you hate life that bad just kill yourself. Why do you have to bring others down with you, especially those you don’t even know??? I know these are all rational questions for an insane person.

It is ironic that this happens on the same day I write about the END OF THE WORLD… Well when something tragic like this happens it makes me question are we at the brink of something? It is scary to think of.

For my brain to wrap around that we live in a world where nut jobs will take multiple guns into public places and start playing their own version of a shooting game. It makes me want to pack things up and go into hiding. My heart can’t take that there is that much evil out in this world.

Then you see the various responses to the tragedy mostly sympathetic and heart breaking.  There are those who feel that this tragedy happened because God is punishing us. I saw a picture floating around that says this:

644188_526552814037754_1413004826_n

It is hard for me to believe that there are those that believe 20 children were killed because the USA won’t allow school prayer??? Like seriously are you arguing that the blood of these poor innocent children were because God was trying to teach us a lesson? It goes back to this idea that some believe that God is only available to the few select. If you aren’t white, christian, heterosexual and are literate then you don’t get to go to heaven? In a world filled full of multi-cultured human beings why would go create a vision that was so narrow and restricting???

If anything that this world needs is love. Even atheists who don’t believe in God believe in love. That is universal. Look how we treat each other. Let’s start with that.

Then you have the other extreme who put down those who are praying for the victims and families, etc. Here is picture I found on facebook related to that:

556687_570101726352618_1609054451_n

Then you have those who are so desensitized by violence that they don’t see the connections and just move on like nothing happened. One of the businesses that I have liked on facebook posted this item available for sale on the same day of this tragedy:

148641_390978807650509_951602111_n

Personally I didn’t think it was very sensitive to post something like that on a day where 20 children today. Well the person running the Facebook page didn’t see it my way and proceeded to let me have it for saying he was disrespectful. Another person defended him by saying  “the Freddy Krueger statue is a statue of a fictional character nothing more.”

Yesterday was a day when fiction came reality. They just didn’t get the symbolism of this statue.  Sure I get that Freddy is a fictional character but the fact is that violent acts like this one only prove that these characters do exist and the fact that he is holding a supposed doll just in my eyes represents the victims in this case. Violent acts like this are nightmare’s come true. This businesses Facebook page never once offered any support or condolences over this tragedy. Posting a product on a day like this is not only insensitive but very disrespectful to the victims and families, whether the owner wants to see it or not. The country is in mourning, as well as this is a reminder of those survivors of other mass shootings.

Then you start talking about gun control and people really start arguing. People are worried about others taking their guns away.

10043_10151171241885823_1175972857_n

In Michigan alone our legislators just approved a measure that would allow concealed guns in our schools and churches. Granted I know if a crazy person wants to kill people they will but why make it so easy for them? Why are assault weapons available to the public? Another picture on facebook said that you can take away weapons but you won’t disarm evil. Sure that might be try but there are things we can do to better protect ourselves.

Like why aren’t schools locked? Granted I live in a small town but I know for a fact that the doors are not locked. Anyone from the outside can come in and out whenever they please.

Sure gun control won’t fix everything but it is a start.

The ultimate goal should be to protect and keep our children safe. We are failing at this and I am not just talking about this tragedy.

Public shootings are becoming a common occurrence. Just this week we have had two of them.

The children and staff who survived will be forever changed. It is the end of the world as they knew it.

I think the polarization of the different sides only causes more harm than good. You have the liberals vs. the conservatives and the believers vs. the non believers. Even in the believer group the various religions are against each other. This is a message of anything but love and acceptance…

Trust me as someone who had religion crammed down his throat as a child and teenager I get how so many people are turned off in regards to prayer and God, but why do to them what so many have done to us. A lot of people are grieving. You don’t have to know any one involved to be connected and feel loss. It is about caring about your fellow brothers and sisters. We might not can agree on much but most everyone believes in love.

Essentially that is what a prayer is… The energy behind it is love.

I struggle to with all these questions. Is there a God out there. Why does he/she allow things like this to happen? Look at Holocaust? Over 1 million children were killed during the Holocaust. With over 6 million Jews being killed during WWII. So I can see why some would stop believing in God. I know I have struggled with my faith.

Then I start to think where do these monsters come from? Are they born that way or are they groomed into the monsters they are today? It is scary of me to think that some people could be born evil. I would like to think of monsters like Hitler were born that why but then that only confirms that true evil does exist. So either people are born evil or life turns them evil, either way isn’t good.

The fact of the matter we need more people to let their own light shine. We are suppose to be the country of the free but look at all we do to take away peoples rights. People are against making healthcare available to everyone. How many people die because they can’t afford to see a doctor? or fear of the cost associated with it. If my Mother would have survived she would have had a medical bill of over 1 million dollars. We aren’t a country that takes care of our people, we are a country of the haves and have nots. You don’t think that doesn’t affect children negatively? Look at our political landscape and elections, all that negativity that is thrown back and force. Plus all the laws being passed taking away the rights of others in regards to women, gay people, etc.

For example the states that don’t allow gay people to adopt or those that do make it nearly impossible to adopt. In a world where so many children go without many things especially love would you restrict two people based on their sexual orientation??? Two Dads or two Moms are better than one, or none… Many children grow up in households that don’t get the love they deserve.

I guess my point in all of this is that we do a lot in this country that represents the opposite of love. We let people know loud and clear what we are against.

Look at our school systems. Bullying has gotten worse. Kids are killing themselves. Many of these children don’t have the support and love they need at home. So what about those who endure the pain and don’t kill themselves? It is logical to think that some might turn the guns on others.

Obviously something is going on.

Sure we can’t protect our children one hundred percent but I believe that we are failing so far. Granted the country is mourning but we need to start to take responsibility for our actions and do what is necessary to protect ourselves.

Fighting will only get more fighting. You get more with love, than you do hate…

We have to come together for our children. We it owe it to them. We owe it to the victims of this tragic massacre, especially the 20 angels who had only started to live their lives. Put aside your petty arguments and think about them. Think about the future we are building for our children.

 

It’s the end of the world

as we know it…

As December 21st is upon us it has me thinking of the end of the world. Now don’t worry I haven’t gone all bonkers by believing the world will end on the 21st. The only thing that day does for me is bring up a lot of fears.

The whole idea of the end of the world has always been a terrifying thought to me. My father brain washed this fear into my mind, so much that I would have this reoccurring nightmare as a child of the end of the world. I still occasionally have it…

Watching the movie Signs probably wasn’t a good idea for many different reasons but it left me feeling full of fear and questioning.

I still struggle with my faith. In the movie Mel’s character says there are two groups of people. One who believes in signs and miracles, and one who believes in luck. For a time his character went from being a believer to a nonbeliever because of the death of his wife.

Personally I’ve struggled with my faith since my mother died. I feel abandoned and betrayed by God. The one time I believed and held onto my faith, god didn’t answer my prayers. At least not in the way I needed, as in to have my Mama home alive and well.

I wouldn’t have my Mama suffer but why couldn’t he heal her body and keep her alive??? Why???

I also wish I could have talked to her one last time before she died.

It honestly feels like my world has came to an end. It certainly has forever been changed.

I’m angry at God. I can’t seem to release it either. I think I have felt anger towards God for a very long time. It feels like the one time I needed him/her he/she wasn’t there.

If God is a loving force why are we put her to suffer? Why do people get Cancer? Why do they die from such a horrible disease after a lot of pain and suffering? Why does God take the good people but leave the bad ones?

These are just some of the questions I have.

I still have these end of the world fears. Mainly they play into my fears of not getting into heaven. Which means never seeing my Mama or the rest of my family again. Now that scares me senseless!!!

Revelations in the Bible is like a horror novel. I can remember as a child being petrified of what I read. Death, fathom and pestilence oh my! Not to mention the Devil.

My father and others used this book to inflict fear upon others, that was how they got control. If you don’t repent your sins you will forever burn in he’ll for them…

When in reality many of these so called men of God had closets full of demons hiding deep within them. These were the kinds of men who caused a lot of the evils in the world. Did they create religion just as a way to justify and make right the evil things they did in the past? As long as they created a lie and lived it, they could go through life. In order to do this they had to convince others this was the only way. Well it’s a lie.

Rather than preach repenting why not preach doing good in the world?

Instead they created this idea that washes away all the sin they have inflicted on innocent souls, many of them children.

If the end of the world is to come it will be between the light and dark. Those who have everything figured out will quickly learn how misguided they were. I guess anything is possible from an alien invasion, to a meteor, to a massive power failure… Not to mention war. If the end of the world comes it will more than likely come from the blood on our hands.

But I can’t concentrate on all of that or it will drive me nuts.

Though I do believe it’s good to be prepared for anything… Maybe not for the end of the world but emergency situations.

Now the end of the world I do believe in is the shift of our lives. My world prior to my Mama dying was drastically different and it will never be the same.

Sure the pain will lessen but nothing will fill this hole in my chest. Life will get different but I will always feel like something is missing… Nothing anyone says will convince me other wise!!!

It kinda feels like the end of the world right now and I have moment where I’m not sure I will survive the pain and suffering…

Then I have the few rare moments where I feel fine…

What is love?

Tonight I started talking with a dear friend about love and my brain started to get into gear. I don’t always think about what is behind the many emotions I feel, love being one of them. I have lived my life with an open heart and that hasn’t always been met with appreciation. I feel first, think second… Usually my brain comes into play way after my heart has gotten involved… Then there has been times that I have ignored my brain and followed my heart, and that has lead me a stray.

I think the biggest thing I have learned about love and loss, is that you got to take the risk to get the reward.

So what is love?

My first thought was you can’t define love. It is just a force that just is. Like of like the universe. There is so much we can’t even see or feel. Love goes on and on…

I will be the first to admit that I have become very guarded with my heart these days. Some probably would call it being jaded. I try to put a more positive spin on it! 🙂 When I was young, like I am so old now, I was very naive about the world. When I graduated High School I had envisioned my life being a certain way. I am sure that is common. I never realized that with love came risk and with risk along came hurt and pain.

I had always known that I wanted to spend my life with one person, even before I realized I was gay. Well that certainly hasn’t worked out the way I expected. My first relationship was a love at first sight thing, well it might have been more of a lust thing but I was young. There was a huge spark between us, so much that when we first saw each other we both jumped. Well I mostly startled him while he was working as a night auditor at the hotel he worked at. He had his backed turned to me when I said hello. There was an instant spark and an instant boyfriend…

I feel for him quickly and deeply. Well two months later he dumped me in the most horrible way by telling me that he was never in love with me, nor was he attracted to me… and he had felt that from very early on. He also stated that he had been wanting to break up with me for weeks.

Honestly I thought this love was going to last forever. I believed in forever. After that night everything changed after my wings were clipped and I feel from the sky, crashing and burning… I had never been so devastated in my life. There was a hole in my chest and it ached deeply.

My views on true love were deeply impacted. Jump to fifteen years later I have come to realize as wonderful love at first sight feels it isn’t always meant to be, nor is the kind of love I want. True love like that is fine and dandy if both parties are okay with it but I have found that usually isn’t the case for me. Now I see true love like that for the movies, like a fairy tail. I know it exists but it sees too unreal and unobtainable.

I have learned that when you rush into love, that you don’t always get to see the whole picture and often times you miss out crucial pieces that could end up hurting you. Plus it is easy to mix lust and love together. When you rush there is a much higher level of risk. I no longer can take that big of a risk.

I am finally at a place in love when I want to take my time and experience all love has to offer. When you rush not only do miss red flags but you miss out the important beginning stages of love. Like the butterfly moments. The not knowings, as tough as they can be at times have their own wonderfulness as well.

The love I want and need is the love that grows over time. Love is very much like a tree, starting out in the purest form of a seed. With the right amount of rain, sunshine and weeding your love will only blossom in time. If you give it too much of one thing it will surely stunt the growth, or even kill it.

With love comes many different layers and types.

There is the general love of mankind. The way we think about the world around us. A sense of care towards those around us.

Then there is love you have for a child, in my case my two nieces and nephew. Prior to them being before I thought I knew what love was but I had only scratched upon the surface of what love was all about. I couldn’t imagine a world with out these three angels. For some 26 years I lived on this earth with out knowing that there were three little souls out there that would change my life forever. Love to a child is pure. They don’t know hate. They come to you with open arms. They are the true definition of unconditional love, well until they start to hit the teenager years then they aren’t as open with that love. 🙂

I think about that time and I didn’t have a clue of what love really was. The birth of my niece Paige in 2002 opened my world to something so pure and wonderful. I got just as much from them, if not more, than the love they got from me. During some of my darkest days they were my lighthouses beaconing me to shore from a very dark and dangerous sea.

After the death of my beautiful Mother I realized the depth of my love for her. There is something so pure about the love between a Mother and her child. It is a bond that no one can break, not even death. While the past three months have been very torturous I still feel my Mama’s love.

There is the love between two siblings. A sense of protection comes from that love. This kind of relationship is another bond that is unbreakable. A special connection between two souls that go through similar situations forever bonded together. I can remember from an early age feeling the need to always protect my sister, no matter what. I still find myself doing that. She will always be my baby sister.

My Mom, Sister and I were the three musketeers. During the tough times we formed this close bond out of protection, it is what kept us safe and sane. We didn’t have much but we had each other. That is love. As adults we may have traveled on our own journeys but that bond will always be there.

There is the kind of love where you imprint on the person. This can be both platonic and romantic. This an ultra special connection between souls. A depth that surpasses anything this world has to offer. Certain people I have felt from the start like I have known them before, like we have met in another lifetime. Though I don’t quite know what I believe in when it comes to all of that???

One thing that we talked about tonight was a level of love where you would go to the ends of the earth for… His response that he didn’t get statements like that because the earth is round… and I go, well that is the point. For someone I deeply loved I would go around and around and around and around and around the earth if it meant keeping the person I love safe. I would keep running around in circles forever if it meant my loved one was okay.

It is this idea that you would do anything to protect the person or persons you love, even if it meant you dying in the process. Where you put someone else’s life before your own.

I felt that way when I learned that my Mama was diagnosed with Cancer. My sister and I were willing to do whatever it took to take care of our Mother. Even if it meant driving all over the country to do so. I would have gone to Sweden if it meant healing her. Granted we didn’t get the results we had hoped for but she was cured of Cancer. It didn’t bring her down.

I have found this kind of love can be rather intimidating and down right scary to some people, especially if they have never really experienced it. The few guys I tried to offer that kind of love to felt they weren’t worthy of that level of love and ran far away from it. At the time I took it personal, like it was a reflection of who I was inside. I now realize it really had nothing to do with me.

Like I said before with love comes risk. Even the ones who love you are going to hurt you. We as humans are not perfect. We say things we don’t mean, we do things that we regret later and sometimes we push the ones we love because we know we can. Of all the hurt and pain I have endured from loving others, my Mama and Sister have always been there for me. That is what family is for. That is love, being able to look past the hurt and being there for the person you love.

I have also learned that sometimes you have to love certain people from afar, even family members. I have had to do this with my father. I would love to have a relationship with him but it would always be on his terms and there is too much risk for getting hurt for me to attempt to salvage a relationship with him. Some people are just too toxic, all they do is such the life-force out of you. I don’t believe in that whole philosophy of they are your parent and you have to respect them. You can respect them for giving you life but that is it. Respect is earned and it doesn’t mean you have to keep hurtful negative people in your life.

One thing I have learned about love is that we might not can chose the families we are born into but we can chose the families we grow into. Sometimes you have to love and respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better. Family isn’t always biological, it is what you make it. I haven’t always gotten the acceptance and love from parts of my extended biological family that I needed but have come to realize that I can get that from others. When I lived in Chicago in 2004 I learned this first hand. During my time in this wonderful city I meant so many caring people who saw me for who I was, many in which I am still friends with. These are bonds that even though we don’t always talk that when we do talk it is like we have been talking all these years.

My years in Chicago were two of the best and worst years of my life. It meant coming to terms with the sexual and spiritual abuse. I embodied what I talked about in a previous post about vulnerability, that it can be the birthplace of both negative and bad. Opening up my closet and letting other’s skeletons out meant being hospitalized a few times.

During difficult times it is natural to connect with others who are going through similar feelings, emotions and pain. I was blessed to be in a city that had a gay mental health ward to their mental hospital. As frightening of a time that was being there and all the feelings that surfaced, I am forever changed for the souls I met during the three weeks there. I will always remember the special bond we all shared, as well as the struggles as well.

A part of love comes loss. Another thing I have learned about life is that not everyone we encounter is meant to walk the same path forever. Sometimes we are only meant to cross paths briefly, like ships in the night. Early on I became very disenchanted by this, especially if the bond the great. I finally was able to realize that we each have our own journey, to keep someone on your path only takes away from theirs. Sometimes you just have to let someone go and hope that one day you will see each other again.

My therapist during my time in Chicago was one example. I saw my therapist for about a year and a half. I strongly feel that she was brought into my life. It was apart of the plan. I can remember going to meet her not for individual therapy but because she ran a men’s group for sexual abuse survivors. Instantly upon meeting her I knew that it was meant for me to see her for therapy. I didn’t end up joining the men’s group until six months later.

She showed me so much love and kindness during a time where I struggled the most. I not only saw her as my therapist but as a mentor. She opened my eyes and my heart in regards to my spirituality, my heart and so much more…

I got scared I ran from her, all my friends, my great job and the wonderful life I had built. All because I didn’t think I deserved all of the wonderfulness and happiness. I didn’t realize until it was too late that I was self destructing. Granted my leaving her was of my own doing, I have felt so much regret in leaving that bond we shared.

Thankfully it was meant for our paths to cross again. About four years ago her and her family moved to a city about an hour away from where my sister lives. At the time I lived in Ohio and I found it ironic that she would move to an area that I grew up in. I had dreamed of being able to rekindle the bond that we once had shared, though I never thought it would be over the death of my beautiful Mother.

Again I am deeply blessed and grateful that God has brought her back into my life. She has brought so much comfort and help during a great time of need. She has reminded me that we are worthy of second chances.

The one thing that I have learned about the death of my Mom… (I try to not say lost or lose because I am trying to retrain my way of thinking) Is that when a person dies that they truly never leave us, especially if that bond is deep and strong. They are always with us, even after death. Both inside our hearts and spiritually all around us. The same can be said for those who go their separate ways not by any wrong doing but by individuals going on different paths. Regardless where they travel and the new paths they take they will always remain deep within our paths. Realizing that we don’t need the person to hold our hand for them to be right beside us is a huge gift.

I am trying to remember this with my beautiful Mama, just is tough. I still want to be able to hold her hand again.

I think true love is when another soul is able to look past all your baggage, skin, pain, thoughts and emotions, and into your heart. They see you for who you are, not for who the world might see you as. Sometimes they see more in you, that you see in yourself. That is love. That is unconditional. In the world we live in this is rare. When you find someone who is able to do this hold them closely in your heart. They are truly a gift, a blessing from up above.

It is so easy to get all your connectors filled full of junk. Sometimes it your own junk, while other times it is other peoples trash. If you don’t learn to pick up the trash you can very easy turn into a gigantic landfill. What once was a endless beautiful nature preserve is now a place for piles and piles of endless trash. The world is filled full of jagged edges that if you aren’t careful will cut you open, leaving you exposed. Often it is an event that happens at an early age. Many times we can’t help but get hurt. It is the whole bad things happen to good people scenario. I don’t understand why it happens, it just does. Like why do children get sick and die? Make no sense to me.

If you are someone who is heart centered it is very easy to have the love you possess change. Even after years after you have been cut, you walk around life with this giant wound. You learn that you aren’t worthy of the same love you give to others. You begin to give love to everyone but yourself. It starts out small and snowballs out of control. Usually it isn’t until you are in desperate search for your nature preserve and all you can see trash. You dig and remove the trash but you never seem to find the bottom. Plus people keep throwing their trash at you because you have made it clear that you are just one big ole trash can.

I have always been great at dispensing the medicine but often find it difficult to take my own advice. I have found in order to heal I must look deep within to feel and eventually see all the beauty I have inside. Plus I need to pick apart my landfill to see what baggage was mine and the trash that belongs to others. Learning to not personalize things instantly disintegrated a lot of the trash pilled upon me. After all of that I still had a lot of my own trash to sift through and throw away. Healing is another process that has a lot of layers and depths. Healing is just like a onion, you have to peel away the layers and eventually you will get to the core.

While I still have some more layers to work through I am closer than ever to my core. Now comes the real work and progress. Loving yourself I think is the one of the most parts to love. If you don’t take care of yourself eventually it will catch up to you and you will no longer before to care for anyone else. This happened to me. My friend said that maybe that was the only true love… loving yourself and I think he is on to something.

I will admit I struggle with loving myself, it is a daily battle. My depression certainly hinders me with everything. If you have lived most of your life not loving yourself it has a way of affecting everything from your health, how you interact with other people and the choices you make. Through the years of hurt I have become very much like a hermit, so afraid to get hurt that I have hid from the world. My solitude became my prison. I was miserable and very unhappy. Just like in the movie The Village no amount of protection from the outside world can prevent hurt from happening. It will always find a way in. As in the case of the death of my mother. In the end, my protection ended up doing the opposite and kept me from everything good and deserved.

Hurt is inevitable. As is death. “A Life Lived in Fear is a Life HalfLived

Love changes everything. It imprints us, planting millions of seeds deep within us. As they blossom and we grow, we are able to share that love with others. When someone has a deep impact on us we change for the good. I am who I am today because of my Mama and the love she gave me. I wouldn’t be the same person today without her.

As much as I am frightened in getting hurt again romantically I know that I must put myself out there in order to grow. The key for me is loving myself enough to protect myself. Allow myself to enjoy the moment and not rush the experience. As with healing this works for love as well… As my therapist says, you can’t attach a cocoon to a stick and whip it around, expecting the butterfly to come flying out… All that will do will harm the life growing inside the cocoon. Again it is not allowing the vulnerability of the moment to swallow you whole, remembering that it is that fearful place where happiness, joy and love blossoms from.

Having fears is natural. Keeping them bottled up is not. Nor is allowing that fear control you. Talking about it is key for me. When you face your fears you take away their power. Learning to build up your toolbox with coping skills is also very important. As well a not listening to the negative voices in your head and replacing them with positive messages of love, encouragement and acceptance.

Love is universal. Love is eternal. Love has no barrier or walls.

We are all worthy and deserving of love. You don’t have to believe in God to know what love is because love is universal. While two people who speak different languages might not can understand the word love, no words are needed when a hug or an act of love will do. While we might argue and disagree with each others religious and spiritual beliefs the one thing that remains constant is love. For me that is truly what God is, love…

Love many different things to many different people. It is a parent taking care of their child when they are sick. It is a man buying a homeless man a pair of boots in the winter. Love is pitching in and helping out your neighbor in a time of need. Love means calling making sure someone got home safe after a long trip. You don’t have to know a person to love them, nor do you need to say a word. Though hearing I love you is three of the most enjoyable and meaningful words ever spoken.

Love is defending the person you care about and standing by their side through the good times and the bad. Love is saying I’m sorry when you know you have done something wrong or hurtful. Love is giving enough to others but always making sure you have something left for yourself. Love is in the giggle of a child. Love is the thought that counts, the effort behind the act and not the act itself.

Love is not proud, nor is it selfish. Love is free, flowing like a river touching everything in its path.

This world we live in certainly could use a whole lot more love. It is how we treat each other. Words can sting and words can hurt. Bones can break and eventually heal but words are silent killers getting deep underneath the skin. Their wounds are silent and unseen. They linger like a disease slowly infecting everything…

But we all can make a difference. A smile is can do a world of good. Life is so short before we know it’s over. In this fast paced world it is so easy to take for-granted the love and relationships we share. Reach out to others, they might not have the strength to ask for help. Say to others what you feel, you will regret it when they are gone. For being only three words saying I love you isn’t always as easy as it should be.

Tell people in your life that you love them, often. Hugg them frequently. Make an effort to see the people you love especially if you haven’t seen them in a while, even if you don’t feel like it because you will regret it when they are gone. Forgive yourself, life isn’t perfect but love is.

Be gentle to yourself. Do nice things for yourself. Take a bubble bath. Go for a walk. Watch your favorite funny feel good movie. Laugh. Cry. Be silly. Go out into the rain without an umbrella and dance in all the mud puddles. Embrace your inner child be kind to him and her. Buy a helium balloon and suck in the air. Dance in your living room, dance in public. Dance like you don’t care.

Let go of what others think of you. Go to see a movie by yourself. Do what you love, even if people think you are crazy. Make funny faces in the mirror. Talk to yourself, who cares if strangers think you are crazy. If you could see into their worlds you could see how crazy they really are! 🙂 When traveling long distances make an effort to enjoy the ride, stop and have lunch at the local restaurant. Not only will you have a good home cooked meal but you will have a memory that will last a lifetime.

Plant a garden, even if you don’t like veggies. Sleep in. Post funny pictures to your facebook  because you never know whose day you might brighten up. My Mom use to love looking at the funny pictures that were posted to her wall. Volunteer in a children’s hospital. You will not only learn how resilient children are but you will realize your problems aren’t as bad. Write a hand written letter to an old friend or even a new friend. Buy lunch for someone homeless.

Dress up for Halloween. Bring a friend some soup when they are sick or even NyQuil. Everyone loves NyQuil right? 🙂 Rather than buying a gift for someone take the money and make them something. Glitter goes with everything. Using the excuse that you aren’t creative or crafty isn’t valid because that doesn’t stop a child, nor should it you! 🙂

Wake up early and cook a big breakfast for everyone in your family. During the various seasons and holidays you can cut out designs using cookie cutters to make special pancakes. I learned the hard way to cook the pancake first then cut out the design. Learn from my mistake. 🙂

Get on the ground with the children in your life. Let them climb over you like a jungle gym. Let them dress you up, put make up on you and brush your hair. Build a fort out of blankets and chairs. Put on a puppet show. Go outside with them. Push them on the swing set. Take them to the park. Make a gigantic wave storm in the pool with them. Take them to the beach and go into the water with them, even if it is cold! 🙂 Dance with them. Hugg them often. Tell them they are beautiful often. Make funny faces with them. Let them help you bake. My niece love to stir and pour in the ingredients. Cherish every moment you have with them because they grow up very fast.

Go for your dreams. If you have lost them, go searching for them again. Put out a search party if you have to. They are important and are of value to you. A life without dreams makes for a very dreary unhappy place. Keep reaching for them. Never give up. Follow your heart. Trust your instincts.

Keep moving forward. It is never too late. If you get knocked down, get back up. There is never a point in your life where you can’t try again, and start a new. Just because you have passed up opportunity it doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there waiting for you. You are worthy.

These are all reminders to myself as well…

Love doesn’t end when a person dies, it goes on and on. Death will never be able to touch true love. Love is pure light and stronger than anything seen and unseen there ever was and is…

With love anything is possible. I am possible because the people who love me.

Love will always overcome and conquer hate and fear. They don’t stand a chance because you can’t hide in the light.

Love is pure. Love is all around us.

I am who I am today because of love. It is who I am through and through.

My Mama gave me her heart, in order for me to give it to the world and that is what I will continue to do…