Bent, But Not Broken

EPSON DSC picture
EPSON DSC picture

Dear Friend,

You are on my mind today. Honestly, that is nothing new. You’re on my mind a lot. But today is different. Today I am stuck on something you said recently in a text, and I cannot move past it until I address it with you.

You made mention that you need some time to work on you and “fix” you. I believe we all need that time to pause and work on ourselves, and I commend you highly for not wanting to become stagnant and stay where you are. It was the word “fix” that trapped my mind and wouldn’t let me move past it. You see, in my mind, in order for something to need to be fixed, it has to be broken.   So in case you’re feeling like you are broken, I want to show you what it is I see in you.

Many times in Martial Arts we turn to the story of the oak tree and the bamboo… how an oak tree can stand tall and strong, but when the winds come it can be broken; whereas, the bamboo, while smaller in stature, is flexible and can withstand even the strongest of winds. However, this time, I’m seeing you as more of a bridge. Let me explain.

Bridges are amazing structures. They are built to withstand massive amounts of weight. The architects that build bridges take everything into account; weather, weight limits, and even ground shift and sway. They intricately construct these bridges, paying  attention to even the smallest of details, so they know exactly what they can handle.

You, my friend, are one seriously amazing bridge. You are being asked to carry so much weight right now, and it seems to keep piling up from both sides. But what I see is that, even though you may bend and buckle from the weight of things, you are flexible and strong like bamboo, and you will not break!

I also see that you have an amazing set of pillars under you. Your best friends are as incredible and strong as you are, and they are right there with you, lifting you up and supporting you as you’re going through this. They will help you carry the load when you feel like you can’t anymore.  I want you to know I’m here, too… and I’m not going anywhere.

Rest assured; You may bend under the pressure, but you will NEVER break. You have an awesome support system that will make sure of that. 🙂

 

 

 

When Love Fails

(Written 4/22/2017…one year ago today)

Nobody likes to fail. But when love fails, its much harder to choke down. Promises I’ve made for “forever and always” suddenly ripped from my control. Promises I can’t keep— not because I have failed to do so, but—  because love has failed me. The constant nagging of “how can I move on when I promised her that I could never love someone else?” If my love is TRUE, how can I possibly even THINK about breaking that promise? I promised to wait, but she’s not waiting. I promised forever, but she walked away.

Failure has always been unacceptable to me. I am beyond a perfectionist, and I have found that true for my loyalty as well. If I truly love someone, I’m all in. And for the most important thing of all to fail, it’s a constant nagging in my heart.

I honestly believe that when love fails, the knife starts as deep as the trust ran, and cuts outward.  When you trust 100%, it cuts clear down deep into the core, and it hurts like hell. However, once the wound begins to heal, it starts on the surface, and heals from the outside in, which is why it takes forever for the deepest parts of your heart to heal. The more you trusted, the longer it takes. Even so, when it’s healed, it’s all scar tissue. Much harder to penetrate than whole tissue.

So, When love fails, how do you trust it again? How do you decide what is worth the risk? How do you truly open up and believe people when they tell you they love you? It’s the same old line you’ve heard 1000 times. The same line that has failed you 1001 times. So how do you get past that?

Ive heard it said that the definition of insanity was to keep trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I’ve always looked at insanity as a bad thing, but maybe it’s not when it comes to love. Maybe being insane (in love) is a good thing.

A chance of being hurt? I’ve come to expect it. I’m sure I will be. But being alone is it’s own form of insanity. I’m doomed either way. But with lonely insanity, there’s no hope.

Ive had enough leave. I just wanna find someone who loves me enough to stay.

She has given me that hope. Ive tasted how good it can be, and I want that again. By leaving, she has given me the opportunity to find someone who can be my forever, and I love her everyday for that. Easy? No, not at all. But then again, when has anything worth it been easy?

I may end up in the end with nothing but scar tissue, but I’ve gotta take that chance. So here goes nothing…

(((JUMP)))

 

Love you much… ❤️

Always Never Good Enough

There’s just some phrases that stick with you forever. “‘I before ‘E’ except after ‘C'”.  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” “Never say ‘always’ or ‘never'”. And the list goes on and on. But this time, I beg to differ. This time, I’m gonna say “always” and “never.”

I’m always never gonna be good enough.

(I can hear my friends gasping…. but hear me out.)

I’m ALWAYS NEVER gonna be good enough.

Let me explain.

When I was born, my mom was constantly telling people how she had always wanted a girl. She had three boys before me, but she would tell people she always wanted a girl. Great for me, eh? But not so great for my brothers.

My mom set me up to fail with my brothers. Every time we would fight, it would come up. “Your mom’s favorite. The one she ‘always wanted’.” From the time I was born, I was never gonna be okay with my brothers.

Let me just explain something. It wasn’t just something my mom said in passing. It was constant. I’ve even heard that she took a picture of one of my brothers in a dress to see what he’d look like as a girl.

So, yeah. My brothers resented me from day one. My mom even talks about how my middle brother wouldn’t even look at me when they brought me home from the hospital. Great.

My mom always wanted to show me off. She was a very good seamstress, so she would make me all these frilly dresses, and even made hair bows to match. She would dress me up like a little porcelain doll, and she called me, “Her Darling Daughter Darla.” What she didn’t know was how bad that made me feel.

It wasn’t the nickname. It was the fact that all those frills weren’t me. I liked hearing her praise how I looked in the dress she made, but I had a secret. I didn’t want to be a “darling daughter.” I could play the part, and the character I would play would be enough for her, but I knew from a very early age that the person I was inside would never be good enough. So I just kept playing the part.

As I got older, I realized just how right I was. I would never be good enough for her. I would hear her talk about my friends, and many times the talk over dinner was about those “gay-bobs” and how horrible they were. God’s gonna give them all their “just rewards” when they burn in hell.

Yeah. She never knew she was talking about me. Or maybe she did, and that was just her way of keeping me silent.

I kept silent for 37 years.

I’m not so silent anymore, but I’m still not good enough. However, this time I’m not good enough for me. I’m trying so hard to be real and genuine, but many times I retreat back into the comforts of pretending to be someone else if just to stop the harassment for awhile.  But I hope to get to a point someday that I won’t retreat anymore.

So why will I “ALWAYS” “NEVER” be good enough??? Because I’m always gonna strive to be better me. I’m always gonna keep pushing myself to be a better person today than I was yesterday. A continuously upgraded version of myself…. the REAL me.  I don’t want to just be “good enough”, because that’s not enough.

I want to be BETTER.

So, when I say that I will always never be good enough, it just means that I have finally come to peace with who I am, and I’m gonna continue to strive every single day to be a better “me”.

 

 

 

Baby Steps

I took the stairs tonight.

I didn’t want to. It’s much easier just to push the button and take the elevator four flights up.

But tonight, I took the stairs.

I have to admit, I’m the kind of person who likes to take the quickest route from point “A” to point “B” in every area of my life, whether driving in my car, going on a crash diet, or even working on a relationship. But where has that brought me?

Divorced, overweight, and stressed out.

Hmmm. Seems the “quickest route” has gotten me nowhere, quickly.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is where I’ve been until now. Time to try something new.

—-

I woke up early and took my time getting ready for work. I spent extra time on the details since I wasn’t in a hurry. I was calm and steady instead of rushed and frantic. I looked good, and I felt good.

I kept the pace when I was driving into work. I decided that since I had time, I would take the back way and take my time getting there. It was amazing. Traffic flowed nicely, and the river looked amazing as it glistened in the sunset. Hmmm… I wonder how many times have I driven over that river and not even noticed it?

—-

There’s an amazing chapter in my life being written right now, and I don’t wanna miss the sun shining on the river. I don’t wanna miss one single opportunity for me to learn, and to grow; to be a better version of myself. I want to be present for every single moment, and notice every single beautiful detail. This is it. Time to stop, look, and listen as I cross the road ahead.

Time to slow down, and do what it takes to be a better me.

Everything worth doing is worth the time and effort of doing it right.

This…

THIS… is worth it.

 

 

Baby steps

 

 

 

…love you much…❤️

Scared Loveless

I remember when I first started karate. I was scared to death. What if I look ridiculous? What if I can’t do it? I was VERY overweight at the time, so the thought of exercising in front of people terrified me. But I remember my trainer sitting in front of me, telling me we would take it one step at a time. Her words gave me the courage to make a decision that changed my life forever.

I started slowly. Actually, slowly doesn’t even describe it. I couldn’t do one sit-up or one push-up. All of my exercises were modified, and even so, I felt like I was dying. There were so many times I wanted to quit, but as soon as I’d miss a couple of classes, my trainer, KT, would call me and somehow convince me I could do it.

One night, I was lying in bed crying, and I told myself two things: It was now or never, and it was all or nothing. I decided it was now, and I was all in, so I added kickboxing aerobics to my classes.

Sixty-nine pounds later, KT walks up to me and says, “I’ve been watching you in kickboxing aerobics. You have some pretty natural talent. What would you think about joining the actual kickboxing class??”

Okay. That’s not aerobics. That’s where people are actually hitting me, and I’m hitting back. I laughed. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t like getting hurt. The thought of that put that same fear in me I had had before, and there was no way. Until she asked me again. She then reminded me that I didn’t think I could do karate, either, but I did, and I was good at it.

I told her I’d join the class, but I didn’t want to fight.

Then she asked me to fight.

What the hell? Does she not listen? I’m not good enough to fight!

But I did. And I LOVED it. I was hooked. It changed my life in ways that I never knew possible. I am a much stronger person now than I ever was before, and I don’t just mean physically.

Fast forward to now. My life is changing at an incredible rate. There are things that I’m having to face that scare the hell out of me. Like trust. And love. And living authentically. All TERRIFYING to me. I’m right back there at that white belt mentality, faced with all the “what if’s” my mind can conjure up. And I’m scared to death.

I’m scared of being hurt. I’m scared of being alone. I’m scared of not being good enough. I’m so scared that I’m paranoid beyond what is reasonable. I’m overthinking the ridiculous, and under-thinking reality. I have GOT to get a grip.

So tonight, I’m lying in bed crying, and I’m telling myself two things: It’s now or never, and it’s all or nothing.

I’ve been here before, and I know what I need to do.

I’m deciding it’s now, and I’m all in.

I have to try to trust again, but how can I? Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them.”  So, I guess I just do.

Am I scared? ABSOLUTELY!!! I hate getting hurt. I hate taking a hit, and I hate being kicked in the face. But you know what? That’s all happened to me before, and I’m still standing. And I have some of the best people in my corner, cheering me on, looking out for my best interest. I’m gonna be okay. 😊

In 2008, I received my first degree black belt in Kenpo.

My last fight I weighed in at 128 pounds (down 97 pounds), and I won by TKO in the second round.

I would’ve never imagined all of that in a million years. But I did it. I took the risk, and I did it.

I’m SO THANKFUL I didn’t let my fear render me powerless. And this time, I can’t let it render me loveless. Time to put the gloves back on.

Head up, chin down.

(((Ding, Ding)))

 

 

…Love You Much ❤️

A Glimpse of REAL Love

Today marks two years since my grandmother passed. Seems like just yesterday. It’s amazing how fast time flies when life gets busy. I wish I could go back in time and just sit with her awhile. There’s so much I never got around to saying, and there’s so much she never got a chance to listen to.

Even as a little girl, my grandma was my hero.  She always had a smile on her face, whether times were good or, uhm, not so good. But it was her eyes… Her eyes were a clear window right down to the innermost parts of her soul. I could read her. Complete novels hid behind those eyes. Stories of struggle, fear, doubt, and worry; but I never heard her once complain. My Grandma was a WARRIOR. She was the super glue that held my crazy family together.

My grandma was the model Christian. Church on Sundays, worked at the ORU Prayer Tower during the weekdays, and CBN at night. But there was just something different about Grandma’s “Christian”.  I didn’t know what it was as a child, but I know now. My grandma knew how to LOVE. I mean, lay the judgement down, look at the heart, and put-yourself-in-their-place kind of love.

There’s so many wonderful memories I have of this woman. Christmas Eve parties complete with bar-b-que dinners, Dirty Santa games, and what felt like a hundred children running through the tiny, yet just big enough, house. Saturday morning trips to the Swap-N-Shop flea market, and her prayer meetings. You can’t forget her prayer meetings. But the one memory that I love her for most, comes in the form of a bicycle.

My mom always prided herself in making me the daintiest little thing around. Home sewn dresses and bows to match, I was her “Darling Daughter, Darla”. After all, she had three boys prior to me. She was ready for her girl, and she was going to do it right!

It wasn’t just my clothes, however. It was pretty much everything I owned. Dolls, barbies, you know…”girl toys”. My bikes would always be the pink and purple banana seat bikes with tassels in the handlebars and flowery butterfly stickers. Oh, and of course, a basket. Gotta have a basket!

I put on a smile and said thank you, and tried really hard to be the girl mom wanted me to be. But inside, what I REALLY  wanted was my brother’s black and gold BMX bike with the black grips that kinda wrapped around your hands, and the really awesome pads that wrapped around the bars. It was really cool!!! I rode it when nobody was looking…

One day, I was playing in the yard when my grandma’s cream colored Buick boat appeared in my driveway. I ran up to her for my usual greeting hug, and she told me she had something in her trunk for me.

“For ME? In the TRUNK???” I knew if it was in the trunk it had to be big. I ran to the back of the car and waited for what seemed like an eternity. She said she had found it at a garage sale for 20 bucks. I’m sure my eyes were as big as baseballs as the trunk opened.

And there it was. An all-chrome BMX bike. Knobby tires; black and white grips. Raised seat (Not a banana seat!!!). The pedals were black metal instead of white plastic. There were no pads. It was a little more than gently used, but it was MINE. And there was nothing more beautiful to me.

It wasn’t the bike that was the biggest gift, though. It was the fact that my grandma saw me for ME…for who I WAS instead of who everyone wanted me to be. That would be the gift that drew me closer to my grandma than any other gift she could have possibly given me that day.

Fast forward about 27 years. I had just left my husband for a woman. My family, who always preached God’s unconditional love, had shut me off. My brothers didn’t speak to me. My nieces weren’t allowed at my home. My business was broke into by a family member, and other family members talked about me behind my back. The church I went to told me to “grow up and stop being so selfish.” I was homeless. I was cold. That winter was emotionally and physically brutal.

Until one night, when my cell phone rang.

“Darla? This is Grandma”… I could hardly talk, so she did the talking. “I don’t really know what you’re going through, honey, but I want you to know that I love you. I’m here for you. I don’t understand those feelings you have, but if you ever want to talk, I bought a book on it.”

A huge smile crossed my face.

She bought a book on it. My grandma had bought a book on it. She did that for me. My heart smiled, and I was laughing so hard inside.  She bought a BOOK on it!!! She didn’t understand me, so she was looking for a way. That’s all I needed. Someone just willing to listen, and to love me, and to “buy a book on it.”

I never saw that book.

I didn’t need to.

 

 

I love you, Grandma. And I miss you so much….

Love you more…❤️