Dear Dad…Letter From A Deadbeat Daughter

Dad,

Yesterday was your birthday and for the first time, I forgot. In my defense, I did not exactly forget, I have just been completely self-absorbed, living with my head up my ass, and I neglected to notice the date. I was advised of my oversight via an early morning text message from Mom, which I’m sure bothers you more than my unintentional thoughtlessness. Everyone in the family is aware of your loathing for technology; however, it is the very thing you detest that keeps me on point so things—like your birthday— do not fall through the cracks. Had I taken the time to make use of my phone calendar, I would have received a reminder regarding your birthday. At that point, I would have initiated the group text to my brother and your grandchildren, reminding them to reach out on your big day. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball resulting in not just me, but everyone, forgetting to call you so for that I am loaded with guilt. (Insert therapist’s voice asking why I feel responsible for the actions of others or why I feel it is my responsibility to remind adults to be considerate. Control issues anyone?)

Party guy remembers birthdays...

Party guy remembers birthdays…

 

 

Thank you for not making me feel even worse when I was finally able to reach you this morning, a day late and fumbling for a reasonable excuse. Also, it’s always a treat to attempt a heartfelt discussion while you are on a construction site with electric saws, nail guns, and drills in the background. Of course, I do have to disagree that the new outfit mom bought for your birthday is for the purpose of making you look handsome in a casket. Mom and I have already discussed this and when you go, we are going to bury you in one of her ugly dresses (you know— the ones you thought she threw away) so it would be in your best interest to outlive as many family members as possible because it will greatly cut down on your public humiliation. My advice: stop complaining and learn to enjoy your new clothes because they are probably nicer than anything you would have picked out for yourself. While we are on the subject, life is short so I think you should start to enjoy it a bit more. You have worked hard your entire life, and even though you are convinced that the grim reaper is just around the corner, try embracing all that life has to offer. You might like it. [Read more…]

The Color of Emotions

A week of summer storms left my social media streams littered with impromptu pictures of rainbows. People love rainbows, and why not? They’re beautiful, eye-catching, colorful, and usually unexpected. They also remind us that authentic living takes place between the polarities of black and white. Even hazy shades of gray don’t suffice because our experiences, and emotions, are meant to run the full gamut. In order to reach our potential, we need to tap into every color in our rainbow. We will continue skimming the surface until we allow ourselves to venture beyond superficiality and find the space where truth blossoms. This can be scary for folks that prefer to avoid certain feelings but for me—it’s where I like to play.

Life is more than black and white...

Life is more than black and white…

 

When I think about a medium that expresses emotion, an example that comes to mind is the art of Abstract Expressionists. Their pieces are rich with color, dynamic brushstrokes, and explosive splatters that appear to be random and spontaneous. I find myself drawn to this particular style because the artist’s intentions are palpable; emotions leap from the canvas of each free-flowing piece. The end product of this seemingly-haphazard technique draws the observer in, demands attention, and elicits a reaction. We are captivated by the beauty in art that reflects intense emotions because the ability to freefall to our soul is an integral component for living life to the fullest. [Read more…]

The Urge To Purge…Rid Yourself of Toxic People

Purging is good for the soul. Who doesn’t look forward to the yearly spring cleaning, making a dent in that ever-growing pile on the desk or dragging the heap of recyclables to the curb? Any cleanse holds the promise of leaving us invigorated, which in turn, allows us to breathe, refocus, and forge ahead. Removal of anything that no longer serves us will pave the way for opening new doors, providing clarity, and fostering new beginnings. However, without the occasional drag and dump, we run the risk of being encumbered by the crap, both physical and emotional, that keeps us tethered to people, places, and things that no longer meet our needs. We have to take control, become empowered, and let those fuckers go.

Learn to let go...

Learn to let go…

 

For me, one of the most productive and healthy purges involves rooting out and excising toxic people. Running the risk of sounding like the neighborhood curmudgeon, the chaos that certain personalities consistently bring to the table leaves me feeling cranky, frustrated, and exhausted. I’m too old for their bullshit, and insightful enough to see the red flags sprouting up when they put it in gear. Perhaps it’s my gut instinct or the fact that I’ve spent too many years on the psychoanalytic spin cycle—either way, there is no room at the inn. [Read more…]

Anxiety: Avoid Hitting the Wall

Structure. Routine. Consistency. These are the things that keep the peace by quieting the demons in my head. Any deviation from my stabilizing regimen creates an open invitation, which rouses the sleeping shit storm that has the potential to devour my brain. Doing so inevitably leads to the resurgence of self-destructive patterns that pave the way to a rapid downward spiral. Anxiety has the patience of a saint so, it waits. It waits for that moment when we take our head out of the game by allowing the focus to drift from center. This position of vulnerability provides the necessary gaps required for anxiety to seep in, dominate the daily thought process, and wreak havoc on our lives. Decades of managing my anxiety have taught me the importance of being mindful of my surroundings, patterns, and digressions. Diligence about maintaining balance is the essential component to avoid unleashing an unbridled wave of anxiety that causes all hell to break loose. But hey, I’m human, flawed, and sometimes, we all screw up.

Check yourself...

Check yourself…

 

 

Welcome to a 90-day free fall…

 

Start with ending a long-term relationship then add a pinch of dating, dash of sleep-deprivation, copious amounts of caffeine, side order of tranquilizers, and full departure from everything that lends itself to staying grounded. Guess what you’ll be sitting atop? A grenade. [Read more…]

Mommy Issues

Last week, folks everywhere celebrated Mother’s Day: a day of recognition and appreciation for the person who is responsible for giving us life. I held out until 8pm to make the call that, as expected, went straight to my mother’s voicemail. This was fine with me because I’d spent the day searching for reasons to explain my reluctance towards making what would have amounted to a five-minute call.

Make that call...

Make that call…

 

There were no earth-shattering revelations, issues or arguments that fueled my inability to reach out; I just couldn’t. The truth is, my mother and I have never found the path to an authentic bond, which leaves us floundering through most interactions. We avoid conversations that go beyond the superficial, which causes our relationship to be fragmented, distant, and strained.

 

Our exchanges are cluttered with fashioned distractions, nonsensical yammering, and random histrionics. The mutually defensive posturing, coupled with our reluctance to address any elephants in the room, prevents us from having that mother-daughter connection that I hear referenced by others. At the risk of sounding like a shitty daughter, I believe I’ve grown tired of the ambiguous dance so, avoiding the obligatory Mother’s Day call was my equivalent of raising the white flag. [Read more…]

Top Five Drains On My Emotional Tank

Keeping our emotional tanks full is just as important as making sure you have gas in the car before heading out on the highway. If we allow ourselves to become too depleted, we’ll eventually wind up stranded on the side of the road— resentful, tired, and frustrated. I know because I’ve allowed myself to land there, more times than I care to count or admit. My wake of misguided decisions has taught me to focus on the main areas that, if taxed, will lead to my tank being tapped out. Although my list might seem simple, if neglected, the inevitable shit storm is nothing short of catastrophic.

Remember to fuel up...

Remember to fuel up…

 

We all have needs. It doesn’t matter if we are talking physical, emotional or a combination because when those needs are drained, our energy reserves will eventually run dry. Just like a car, if you plan to drive, drive, drive, you have to remember to do routine maintenance and always, fuel up. How/what rejuvenates us is unique to each individual but knowing what we need to sustain ourselves is vital to our continued happiness and well-being. Here’s my top five categories that keep my head above water because if these run low, I might as well call the game.   [Read more…]

Fear And The Unguarded Heart

“We can spend our whole lives escaping from the monsters of our minds.” ~ Pema Chödrön

 

Life makes us tough but there are always options for how we choose to deal with the muck that gets hurled our way. I tend to forget this, which often leaves me stuck, and floundering to find my way out of the weeds. There are currently some areas of my life that are in a state of flux. It’s not a bad thing, it’s as it should be but the circumstances don’t always lend themselves to living a quiet, composed existence. The ambiguity of the path ahead has me questioning everything, which inadvertently opens doors that invite my monsters to the party. That’s when I remind myself that monsters have nothing to offer because they are merely, taxing distractions. My solution to warding them off is to be diligent about recognizing when it’s time to let go, breathe, and allow the universe take over; that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It means I have to remain present. Aware.

Who knows...

Who knows…

 

Change is inevitable but learning to roll with, and be open to transformation, is what offers us the ability to pursue, that which scares us. I’ve admittedly made running from my demons a full-time job but it occurred to me that perhaps it’s time to stop running, and just be. Maybe knowing what happens in the next chapter isn’t as important as knowing that the present moment is exactly as it should be. When worry takes the wheel, and I feel like I can’t breathe, I remind myself that the flash of fear is already in the past. Done. Gone. This is how I choose to walk through the moments of uncertainty, and be still while the storm around me rages on because eventually, it too will pass.  [Read more…]

Relationships Are Tupperware

My Tupperware cabinet is the most infuriating area of my kitchen. I routinely toss the plastic containers and random lids from the dishwasher to the cabinet, with no regard for creating compatible pairs. Sifting through the avalanche of plastic that tumbles from the cupboard reminds me that having lids matched with an appropriate companion always proves to be beneficial. Cooking sprees leave me frustrated because trying to force lids on containers that are clearly not compatible creates a no-win situation. A recent Tupperware free-for-all left me contemplating how my plastic storage debacle may be a mirror image of the stumbling blocks in relationships. Like our relationships, when we try to force a lid on the wrong container, even if it’s close, it is never a secure fit.

Empty? Not so much...

Empty? Not so much…

 

With the exception of my extensive history of failed relationships, I am no expert on the topic. I speak only from my experiences and disasters of my own life lessons. I tend to evaluate relationships in terms of pros and cons, and as long as the pros outweigh the cons, we’re good. And, by the time we reach a certain age, we inevitably come to the table with some amount of emotional baggage; hence the cons. We are comfortable with the person we are, we’ve become set in our ways, and it can be challenging to find the right lid for our container. Herein lies the challenge.

 

 

People change and forget to tell each other. ~ Lillian Hellman [Read more…]

Dogs vs. Cats…

New Age folks often speak of having spirit animals, which are supposed to be a reflection of our personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses. It is believed that our spirit animal is a guiding force behind how we work, live, love, and find our way in the world. For the purpose of this post, I’ve decided to forego my urge to sift through the entire animal kingdom, and instead, focus on just two—dogs and cats.

Spirit animal one...

Spirit animal one…

 

Dog energy vs. cat energy…

 

 

I love all animals but I believe that if given the opportunity, cats are the ones with the ability to achieve world domination. They observe, plot, and execute with ninja-like precision. Meanwhile, dogs are content with chasing tennis balls, barking, humping and digging holes. When it comes to comparing cats and dogs, we’re definitely talking about the extremes of the wag-o-meter.

Spirit animal two…(will kick your ass)

Spirit animal two…(will kick your ass)

[Read more…]

Let’s Talk LGBTQ Equality

One glance at news or social media feeds is all it takes to know that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has the nation in an uproar. Although it was later amended, this is but one of many similar bills/laws that have been in the works in states around the country. Rather than focus on a particular situation, I suggest doing a broad sweep of the movement underfoot that continues to foster discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. I try to avoid discussing both politics and religion because doing so often leads to heated exchanges that do offer little in terms of a resolution for either side. That being said, I also find it increasingly difficult to sit silent while the battle rages on, and injustices aimed at the LGBTQ community are entertained. It saddens me that in 2015, I have to look at a map of the United States to find out where I am welcome to travel with a partner and be treated with the same dignity as any other couple. I suppose I could go off on an angry rant but it serves no purpose in this discussion. Anger only perpetuates the polarization of folks who instead need to meet in the middle from a place of mutual respect and compassion. The bottom line requires a shift so the focus is not on right vs. wrong but instead, the need for everyone to be treated equally. No more. No less.

Have compassion...

Have compassion…

 

Gay as a lifestyle choice…

 

Some argue that being LGBTQ is a lifestyle choice, which I believe is not rooted in fact. It is no more a choice than it is to be left-handed, heterosexual or have brown hair; it is how we are born. However, intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination are conscious choices that are continually perpetuated by a vocal minority. So, before jumping to the conclusion that LGBTQ folks are a subculture of deviants ask this: why would any rational human being make the choice to live a lifestyle where our basic rights as citizens are constantly under attack? We wouldn’t, it isn’t a choice, and there is no room for shame when honoring your authentic self. [Read more…]