Break Gently

“funny how our hearts
were designed
to love
so fiercely.

but break
ever so gently.”
― Sanober Khan

Break gently, heart of mine.

I will not love again until I am certain I won’t make the same mistakes.”

But I can never be certain of that, for I am always the same person.

And I will love again.

I will.


Photo Credit: © Prakapenka — Bigstock


Fierce

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Layers & Secrets, Part 3: You Will Always Be My Friend

Dear Friend,

I know you have a secret, and I’ve got an idea what it is. Whatever it may be, it doesn’t matter to me. You will always be my friend.

AdobeStock_108510898 [Converted]We’ve had ups and downs in our friendship, and I’ve taken the blame at times when I wasn’t at fault. I finally figured that out. But here’s the thing: I don’t blame you, either. Life is complicated, and the blame is widespread. You’re doing the best you can.

You’re a complex person. I like that.

When you want to talk, I’m here.

Your friend,

Belinda

Image Credit: ©geosap — Fotolia

Carefree and Campy

During our “break-up” talk, my now ex-boyfriend did everything he could to hurt me. One comment, however, had entirely the opposite effect.

“You’re kind of…offbeat,” he said, in a tone clearly not meant to be complimentary.

“Yes, I am,” I replied with a smile. Truer words were never said.

A junior high crush worded it differently, and at the time, it did hurt. “She’s different,” he told my friend when she asked the crucial question, “do you like her?” I felt like an outsider then.

As part of my offbeat side, I’ve always been drawn to the campy. While my wardrobe is actually fairly conservative, in fact, at this point, one might say, boring, I easily could have become known for a flamboyant style. Back in high school my life-long love of classic films began, particularly the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers films of the 30s. Their second to last movie with RKO Pictures, Carefree (1938), featured Ginger in a couple of outfits I desperately wanted to emulate.

carefree2
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Carefree is not the best Astaire/Rogers film, either in plot or dance numbers, but this sweater caught my attention. It’s actually a bit, well, tacky, compared to what Ginger normally wore, but is true to the character, who has the hearts & minds of a variety of men and can’t make up her mind whom she cares for most.

If you can’t tell from the picture, it’s a picture of a heart with numerous arrows aimed straight for it. It also has what is, on me, a flattering neckline, and slightly puffed sleeves, a look I favored for a time in my teens (hey, it was stylish then, I swear.)

I probably wouldn’t wear it today, but the sweater still makes me smile. It reminds me of a time in my life that, like the title of the movie, was carefree. Yes, I had my concerns and burdens. It was not an easy time in my life. But when it comes to adult responsibilities, I had few.

Life was ahead of me. Choices were exciting, opportunities were boundless. There are still choices and opportunities for me, but my life no longer stretches in front of me. My health limits me at times.

Still, I look for that desire in my life to create something new and exciting, modified for the times yet not compromised. Perhaps it’s time to watch Carefree again.


Carefree

Reality, Thou Art a Factor…and a Blessing

Drive. Motivation. Passion.

“Find your passion, then do it. If your passion is your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

typing-690856_640Oh, baloney. You are going to work, no matter how much you love your job. There are going to be days you dread going into the office, or workplace, regardless of how much overall satisfaction your career provides you. There are going to be parts of your job that annoy and dismay you.

I believe in finding a job you care about and can do well. That isn’t always easy to figure out. For that matter, those perimeters can change as you age and grow. Then there’s always those factors over which you have little control: your boss’s style of management, your company’s business standards and ethics, the economy and its effect on your chosen profession.

Sometimes you have to take a really crummy job to make ends meet, to fulfill your obligations to yourself and your family. Following your passion doesn’t necessarily pay the bills, so you’d better figure out how you’re going to do that as well.

I’m a creative person. Typically, creative jobs don’t pay top dollar. Yes, there are exceptions, and God bless those who can make a fortune with them. But for the most part, even in the creative fields, you don’t make as much if you’re doing the actual creating. The jobs that bring a measurable amount of income to the company get the big bucks.

Bureaucratic Red Tape ProblemIf your passion is in social services, and that’s a field that has a lot of passionate people in it, you can make a decent living, but don’t expect to get rich. And do factor in a lot of pain and frustration as you face red tape and roadblocks in your efforts to change your corner of the world.

Here’s the payoff, though: if you’re creative, chances are you can do a lot of things for yourself that may otherwise cost a lot of money. I sew all of my dresses, and even factoring in the projects that don’t work out, I save tons there and have some really cute clothes to boot. I make my own curtains, throw pillows and any number of other home accessories for a lot less, too. And my home is nicely decorated.

If you care about helping people, your job can change someone’s life. The woman who, until a recent job change, ran the local Head Start program, made some major differences in meeting nutritional needs for my poorest neighbors.

She tells a story of two little girls whose mother had a job doing housekeeping for a local fleabag motel. Part of her compensation was a room for the small family.  There wasn’t too much of a paycheck after that was deducted from her earnings. As a result, the girls, who got two meals a day when in school, didn’t eat at all over the weekend. At all. Nothing.

Their mother was eligible for food stamps, but didn’t have transportation to make it to the local DHS office, or any of the food banks. Besides, she had to work seven days a week from 7 in the morning to 6 at night. Illegal, yes, but she wasn’t going to complain and lose the only job she’d been able to find.

people waving hands

So Brenda went to local businesses and came up with a program that gives these children at least some food to take home on the weekend. It might not be the most nutritional fare, but it’s reasonable enough. It’s food that doesn’t require electricity to prepare, because a lot of these families don’t have power in their homes.

That’s a job worth having. It’s frustrating, demanding and comes with a lot of criticism no matter what you accomplish. But you do accomplish something, some days, so your drive and motivation to accomplish more is fed enough to survive.

Pithy  sayings such as “Find your passion and do it” have their value, but life is more complicated than a six-word quote. Still, there is truth in them. Consider the reality and then, find your passion. Do it.


Photo Credits: (hands typing)  Pixabay; (red tape) © digitalista — Bigstock; (helping hands) © Syda Productions – Fotolia


Drive

Back Where I Started

Every few months I plan a trip to drive the 657 miles from my home to my mom’s. I don’t mind long drives, even though I’m worn out at the end (at least the drive home). I’ve gotten to know the radio stations in each city, what areas have no phone reception, and where to stop for both gas and a meal.

I’ve also learned to spend that time reflecting, pondering, thinking about things I don’t have the energy to commit to working through on a day to day basis. I pray and sometimes plead with God, and discover answers I didn’t expect.

Life is a journey, and sometimes, for me, it takes a road trip to put it all in perspective. I can live a lifetime in those ten-hour excursions, only to end up right where I left…literally. But the time on the road has changed me.

And it’s the subtle changes that bring me joy.


Photo Credit: © olly – Fotolia


Journey

Layers and Secrets: A Message to My Friend, Part 1

The day after my brother’s wedding reception, the family and a few close friends gathered at his and my sister-in-law Ann’s apartment.

It was about as a casual an occasion as you can imagine, so I took out my knitting. I happened to be using some beautiful hand-carved needles for a project made of angora and lambswool. Ann’s friend David, an artist, took note of the needles.

“They’re a piece of art by themselves,” he commented, and graciously asked me about what I was making. In turn, I told him how beautifully he’d sung the night before, something I’m sure he was used to hearing. David has a phenomenal voice; at one time he was a soloist in the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. Let me assure you that is an accomplishment.

We had a really pleasant conversation. Seventeen years later, I still look forward to the time we speak again. David later commented to my brother how nice I was, and my brother was  certain he hadn’t spoken to me. Nice? Not how viewed his sister.

I am nice, to a fault. But while I can be very, very good, I can also be horrid. Less so as I’ve gotten older, I suppose, but yes, I can be nasty. Family dynamics being what they are, I’m guessing this was a time when there was more tension between my brother and me than happiness.

December 2014
Friends typically are taken aback by this shot of me from Dec. 2014. I generally look so much “nicer.”

A few years ago I went through a hell I’m working hard to move past, and it changed me. Initially I found I was much better able to stand up for myself, and a layer of anger seemingly charged all of my actions. The anger still exists, but it’s only a small part of the whole now.

Sometimes, though, my anger and frustration can’t help but eak out, and I have to have a long talk with myself. I choose not to become someone who resorts to passive-aggressive tactics to communicate her feelings, but in order to do that, I have to monitor what I’m feeling and and why.

I am not someone it’s easy to get to know. I constantly surprise those who think they know me well with an offhand comment that reveals I’m not so naÏve or sheltered as they think I am. I frequently hide much of myself from others and conform to their image of me. It’s easier that way.

The blessing for me in all of this is I understand people are more complex than we often realize. I tend to be less surprised about someone’s hidden talents or quirks because I accept that that is the norm. We all have layers we hide beneath the everyday aspects of ourselves.

Layers, and secrets.

(A three-part series on Layers and Secrets.  Look for Part 2 next week!)

Layers

By What Authority My Decisions Are Made

I’ve gotten used to making my own decisions, and managing their consequences. It’s what I expect out of my life, and I can’t imagine another way of living.

In recent years I’ve seen first hand what happens when a person is no longer in control of his or her life, when others control every aspect of it and let power overtake their better qualities. It’s frightening, insidious and happening every day, all around us.
Hands in jail
It happens in jails and prisons. Clearly, there’s a reason the deputies and guards must be in control, but when the jail tells you when to use the bathroom and controls whether or not you have toilet paper, a big part of your humanity is taken away. Yes, these people have committed a crime, and some would say, “they’re getting what they deserve.” But jail and prison are meant for confinement from society, not beating one’s spirit until it is destroyed.

WomanIt happens, sometimes, between husbands and wives. Men who beat their wives, whose behavior is so erratic and unpredictable the women live in constant fear their simple comments will trigger a violent attack, have taken away a vital part of their spouse’s heart and mind. It doesn’t get better, not in the marriage. The women have to leave to regain their soul, and it takes a long time.

globe-304806_1280 pixabay smAnd it happens in some countries whose leaders make a mockery of human rights and dignity. Where you are born with infinite worth yet no one will ever let you fully express your own essential self.

Today, as Americans celebrate their independence, I am thankful for my rights to make my own decisions, whether wise or foolish, to explore my options in my choice of career and even hobby, to freely write what I choose on this blog.

I know many of you who read what I post here live in other countries, and it’s important to me you know I respect and admire many of the nations on this earth and the people who are loyal to them. Patriotism doesn’t mean you reject all others, for me, it’s an appreciation of what I have and a commitment to protect those rights.

God bless us, everyone.

 

 


Autonomy


Image Credits: (hands in jail) © zurijeta — Bigstock; (drawing of woman) © retroclipart — Bigstock; (globe) Pixabay; (fireworks) © Carlos Santa Maria — Fotolia