“The ones” and dreams

There’s usually a hard-earned story behind every dream that comes true.  A dream is that one thing that is so completely unbelievable, yet we look for it in almost everything that we do.  If we are not watchful, things can go from dreaming to obsessing.  I am not speaking of social issues that make our hearts stop, our eyes burn, and our courage to surge.  I am speaking of the thing that burns a hole in your heart with desire, with the want, with need, and with hope.  No, not the sexual desire.  The “thing” that makes you look to the horizon with wondering.  The one thing that continues to make you feel small  The reminder of the impossibility that our human capacity holds.  The thing that makes you catch your breath because it is so far away that you can only dream of it.  You can only hope for it.  You can only reach for it, but never touch it.

If I could just…If things were different…If time were on my side, I would…

The truth is that we are never prepared to receive the dream as a reality.  To achieve the dream, is to move it from the ‘want’ to the ‘have.’  Yet, a dream is so much more than a ‘have’…even when you get there.  Even if you dare touch it.  Because this dream is never about achieving, but about having something to hope for.  To have the one thing that you can never ever reach.  Because if you reach this dream, then you will search for another one.  Dreams are our enemy; dreams are our friend.

Think about the ones.  What happened to the ones that did not achieve their dreams?  Their most esteemed dreams.  The ones went on to a better life, away from here.  Away from you, away from me.  They will never know what would’ve been, if only they would have…

Life is fair, yet unfair.  Because we cannot get everything that we ever hoped for.  Because if we did, what would be the purpose of hope?  What if you could achieve every single dream that ever crossed your mind, soul, and heart?  Where would you place your hope?

You see?  I believe that dreams are the very thing that keeps you and I going forward.  Because we will never stop chasing our dreams.  Because we don’t know that we will never get there.  Because we don’t know that getting there, achieving the entirety of that dream would also mean the end of us.  Because the ones never intended for us to get there.  It was intended that we would dream up another dream so that we could hand it off to the next one.

What would you chase if not a dream?  Ask a next one.

The voices

The voices.  They are never gone; always present.  These are the ones that attempt to remind you of who you are.  Nevertheless, all they do is tell you who you are.  I say “tell you” and not “try to tell you” because we usual listen to the voices.

Do not give in.  Close your ears.  Shut down their volume.

Do not give in.

To the ‘too-soon-to-be-yellow’ leaves

I have felt like a failure for such a long time that I feel that all motivation has completely left my body.  There are two sides of me:  the one that wants everything to be okay, and the one that believes that something went really wrong with me.

I started to question this thing that’s been happening to me for about 2 to 3 years.  I used to be so strong, almost invincible.  I have been through so much that I always felt the need to fight for what I wanted until exhaustion.  Fighting and motivation are very important elements of surviving, but I do not think they are helpful in truly living a life.  This is because having a defensive stance at all times makes you be naturally dependent on being alert.  That same level of heightened alertness soon becomes the only way in which you can live your life.

You start questioning EVERYTHING.

If someone does something nice for you:  you question their “true” motivations.  If someone says something good about you:  you question whether its real, or you simply laugh it off.  If they want to do something positive for you:  you question what exactly they will want from you in the future.

Soon enough, your self-esteem is pure crap and you end up asking yourself:  how did I get here?  And that, my friend, is where I find myself today.  Some of the questions that I often ask myself:

  • How the heck did I end up so on alert?
  • When did it start?
  • Who did this to me?
  • When did I decide to think that I’m not good enough?
  • When did I decide to stop believing in myself?
  • When did I start believing that everybody hates me?
  • When did I start diminishing myself?

Whatever you do, do not fall into the trap.  The world has a lot of problems and ugly things, but you must admit that there are a lot of awesome things going on in the world.  Even the worse life can find a ray of hope in something small.  I even believe that the smaller things can bring so much light and wonder into a life.  I can share a very personal thing here:  I love the leaves in the Fall.  But not just any leaf.  I’m talking about the ones that you discover at the very beginning.  The tiny yellow leaf that peaks through all the green ones.  The leaves that decide to be different at the seemingly wrong time.

yellow leaf

Because change happens little by little.  The smaller times are the biggest ones.

Cheers to that ‘too-soon-to-be-yellow’ leaf in you.  Things will change.  I have to believe that for myself.

The withering sun

withering

Dried and shriveled are exact verbs that describe the decomposed state in which I find myself today.  There is no music that can make me want to dance, laugh, or see the sky.  I finally understand why I have always believed that the stars never existed.  I can see why the stars are (‘are’–this is a fact to me) just bright things that we can only perceive from far away.  Fool’s gold.  Mermaid tales.

Today, as with many other days, I attempted to touch the sun.  I saw the rays shining outside of my window.  I dared and thought that perhaps today I could.  I rolled down the window of my wondering mind, and reached my hand towards the ocean.  I could not touch the ocean, I knew this, but if I could only feel the sun on my hands as I tried to reach it–it would mean the world.  To touch the sun.  Its warmth, the promise of life.  But there was nothing out there for me.  Because when I reached my hands out, it was cold.  Similar to the hug from my father that I imagined, but never came.  Like that one night that I dared to imagine this embrace so vividly that I felt it.  But he was like the stars.  Warm up in the sky.  Beautiful and bright.  Unreachable.  Unreal.

The sun; the sun was gone.  The sun was there, but not for me.  Hands like these never get to touch the sun.  At least not for a long time.  Just for a bit, so that I can treasure the memory deep inside my very hidden and secretive heart.

Yet, I reached for the sun.  There were shadows, and these shadows were not caused by the small presence of a light source somewhere.  The shadows were caused by the same imagination that causes the stars to be seen from down here.  Warm up in the sky.  Beautiful and bright.  Unreachable Unreal.

And I screamed at the sun, and I reached my hands out.  I screamed at the sun, because if it is such a powerful force…why couldn’t I also feel it?  To feel the warmth, to burn in it.  To die in it.  But I could not bare that I could not feel the sun.  I could not see the rays, I could not feel the breeze.  Because it was over, and my spirit was dying.  Because I caged my spirit away, in an effort to protect it from the rays that would never come.  From the waves that my soul would never see.  From the clouds that would laugh at me because they would always be all I could see.

Yet, I tried to dance.  In the darkness.  I raised my arms high above my head.  I moved to the nothingness of the empty stars.  Warm up in the sky.  Beautiful and bright.  Unreachable.  Unreal.

And I lived!  I lived one more time!  At least for another night.

 

I lived because tomorrow the sun would come.  And perhaps tomorrow, I would reach towards the sun instead of the waves.  I would go searching for my fool’s gold.

I danced.  I felt ridiculous…but I danced.

I did not dry.  I was not shriveled.

I was the sun.  I was the warmth.  I was the ray of light.

Mighty Eagles

When the other yo* takes over things become unpredictable.  She cries, smiles, and gets angry all at the same time.  The faces of post traumatic disorder can be confused with those of depression.  This is potentially why the depressed, the suicidal, the traumatized tend to speak similar languages.  They try to encourage each other by getting angry at each other.  Ever seen a suicidal person encourage another to live?  I think this is because they are looking in the mirror.  The image in the mirror is not as pretty, but if you put another face on your image then it can be easier to backlash.

This is why I am not afraid to share the rants that consume my soul.  Because if this energy is not let out, something else may emerge.  But yesterday…I was great yesterday.  

Opposé à formidable

Getting back is not the cure.  It is not the cure because I always come back.  There are times when I wonder if I will ever make it.  Those days when my faith is predictably strong.  Those are the same days when I question if my faith is as strong as it should be.  My steps in the Christian life have been methodical; I have detected how to prove and disprove things.  Perhaps not the most intelligent way, but the way that has kept me sane and present.

I blame the machine.  The machine?  This dangerous machine that has been given to all of us:  the brain.  

How do you control it?  It is constantly running, pumping, spitting out information, shitting out dreams.  I know…that last one sounded pretty gross.  I just couldn’t find another way to describe it that would hit the target where you’d understand.  Sometimes the painting of graphic pictures is what it takes to get attention.

Attention…the thing that introverts hate yet have to get used to.  It doesn’t matter at all…we are all still eagles

mighty eagle

*yo:  Spanish for “me”

Faith can be a shitty place

There is a point when you really have to look at yourself and accept that having faith that things will get better may be the thing of fantasy books.  Child’s play.  Not real.  Fairy tales.

Have you ever had that situation when you felt that you were getting somewhere; that things were working out.  That feeling that things were finally coming together?  You sort of get the feeling, but you are very careful with the notion.  You guard your heart, your mind, your soul because very deep inside, somewhere in there you know that disappointment is just about to hit you.  It’s a matter of time.  Sometimes disappointment will stick around, like a thief in the night and wait until all the lights in your house are completely out.  Disappointment will sneak up onto your house, and it will listen in to see if you are smiling.  Any signs of happiness would be FANTASTIC because that is how you crush someone.  You crush them hard when they are at their best.

The fall is so much sweeter.

Here’s where it is a true bitch:  uncontrollable circumstances.  This is what I’m referring to:  at least when someone is evil with you, you can seriously point it out.  You can put your finger on it because it is tangible.  But what happens when you can’t really put your finger on it?  What happens when the evil comes from the very good that you are trying to achieve.  You dig yourself out of the damn pit, you tell yourself that things are going to be better this time.  You tell yourself that you will not allow anything to take you down!  Why?  Because you are a lion, you are a leader, you have what it takes….no, no, no !  You don’t have what it takes, but you are working towards it.  ‘Cause this world can be forgiving of those of us that at least keep on trying.

But no.  That’s not how it works.  Deep in your mind, you know that it is BAD to lose your faith.  What sane Christian would go there?  Isn’t doubt bringing dishonor to God?  What about the cross?  What about Jesus?  He died for you…and you pay back this way?  ‘Cause you are supposed to wait faithfully.  Why?  Because what’s behind the curtain is so much sweeter, so much better, so much stronger, so much…

But you don’t know that.  You wonder about tomorrow, yet…will tomorrow ever happen?  How could you know?  You are directed to wait faithfully.  I mean, isn’t that what the Bible says???

Lamentations 3:25 “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”

Hmmm…so, what’s going on here?  If Jesus is your Savior, the Lord of your heart, the One that makes all things new!  If that is so, what is happening to you?  Why aren’t you new?  Why is your faith so shifty?  Are you as dirty as Judas?  Is it true that, perhaps, you will not go to the kingdom?  Because, after all, your faith is simply not there.

We operate under this notion that God will respond to our requests.  Again, the Bible tells us that

Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Who are you going to blame?  DO LIKE ME, BLAME THE DEVIL!

It sounds funny, stupid, delirious, yet somehow fun.  Fun because it is a dislocated thought.  Who blames the devil?  Shitty Christians…count me in.

This is not criticism.  I told you this blog can either make you, or upset you.  I feel that part of what keeps me sane and alive is the fact that I can speak my mind this way.  I feel safe.  I feel strong.  And I get to be a shitty Christian that speaks her mind.

BLAME THE DEVIL.  He is already wicked (Yeah…I still think the devil is a he).

 

I promise you…I’m not an asshole

Life is comprised of a series of experiences that gives us feelings.  Those feelings are truly important because we use these as a lens by which we perceive life.  As I always say, perspective is key.  The way that you respond to a specific experience depends tremendously on how you are feeling at that very moment.  There’s been times when I knew that something was truly not that serious and I ended up responding like a true asshole.  But I tell you right now…

I’m not an asshole.  And I am inclined to say that you are not either.  But then, why do we do it?  Why do we respond so rudely?  Are we suffering from bipolar disease, are we out of touch with reality, are we bullies?  Are we assholes?

Nope.  There’s a little thing that we all suffer from:  human nature.  Mind you, this is not an excuse to act out and hurt people’s feelings.  Absolutely not.  Some people have managed to regulate feelings in a way that we cannot tell what they are truly feeling at that moment.  It is not about being fake, hiding, or becoming unauthentic.  It is about self-regulation.  Think of it this way:  if you allow others to see exactly the things that bother you the most…you are left open.  This has never been about becoming a plastic person.  Self-regulation helps you better explore yourself and understand reasons for your reactions.

I think that performing a count down from 10 or 5 may help.  Nevertheless, if you are hot headed like yours truly…then this is not going to work.  You simply need to get a true sense of the things that make you go nuts.  It takes nothing but seconds to go from 0 to a million.

Self-regulate; otherwise, you may be mistaken for a complete asshole.

Have the Courage to Just Be…Be Still

I’m pretty certain that we’ve had those times when we simply didn’t know how to fix a problem, conflict, a screw up.  The human struggle.  Yet, it is a bigger struggle to those that we know as “fixers.”  These are the folks that we look up to; they always seem to have an answer to the problem.  It doesn’t matter if their solution is right or wrong…they have an answer.  The problem with a fixer is that sometimes they may end up playing the role of the savior, the Jesus.  In all honesty, we were meant to care, but we were not meant to take on all the pains of the world.  This sounds drastic, but if you know a fixer…if you are a fixer…then you will know exactly what I am speaking of.

It is as if somehow you were assigned the task to make things alright.  You just want everybody to get along, to be civil, to be happy.  But what happens when those that you seem to be helping start clashing with each other?  Your world is turned upside down, you don’t know how to start fixing stuff because it’s just NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY!!!!!!

Have the courage to just be.  Breathe, and be.  This may become truly stressful for you.  Fixers are supposed to be fully employed at all times.  You are not supposed to rest, what?  Rest?  Nah.  NO.

Then again:  YES.  You are not here to fix all issues.  You are not a savior, you can’t fix everything, and I have a little secret.  Come closer….you will never fix the majority of things.  Sssshhh.  Just be.  Have the courage to be.

Be still, buddy.  You’ll get through this.  For what its worth, I am a Christian and find comfort in many things (not a lot of them, but some).  Biblical verses help me get through a lot of things.  I’m not sure what help others, but this works for me.  I find it comforting to read about stillness.  I have so much noise in my mind, heaviness in my heart.  It gets loud inside.  It is comforting when a Biblical verse is encouraging.  Yet surprisingly, I find strength not in the precise words but in their ability to Sssshhhh my internal loudness.

Exodus 14:4 “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Your best day + shittiest day = eternity

Ever feel like you are having a fantastic day, yet you sense that something is about to happen.  It is not a bad feeling, not a good feeling either…just a feeling.  A “thing.”  It gets to the point that you become afraid of enjoying the good moment.  Not so much in a paranoid way, but in a watchful way.  It’s like expecting an email that isn’t coming, then suddenly realizing that maybe the message ended up in your bulk mail.

I have news for you:  this doesn’t make you paranoid.  I bring this up because it is the one answer that you are most likely to get if you share this experience with someone else.  This is especially true of you are a Christian (not sure about other religions).  Usually, these struggles will come out during a Bible study.  Once the “prayer requests” portion of the study begin, people start to open up with their current struggles.  The Christian in me directs me to listen to the whole prayer request—so that I can pray.  The PhD researcher in me directs me to listen to how the person ends the prayer request.  If the individual is going through one of those situations that seem unending, the individual will close out their prayer request with:  “trying to see God’s will.”  It is as if the concept of “worry” was sinful in itself.  Nevertheless, this thought process does not recognize the Christian principle that explains how emotions were given to us by God Himself.  Yes, self-control is a very important factor in regulating oneself.  Let’s not all be messy and go out there parading every single one of our emotions!  (Little nerdy giggles and snickers).

The bottom line is that worry does not make you sinful, evil, negative, or wrong.  It makes you authentic and real.  There is nothing that can make your body feel more alive than a true struggle.  Am I right?  The peaceful times that you’ve had in your life are truly unrecognizable, unless they were experienced after a great challenge or struggle.  However, if you look at the times that you had a large struggle….you remember exactly what it was.  You may even remember all of the emotions that you experienced in the process of remembering that particular experience.  This is because we were meant to experience these types of emotions.

On the flip side of this, there are struggles that should take place to perfect us.  I would like to give you the ‘churchy’ part about this message:  take your troubles to God.  I know that it sounds trivial, and I know for a fact that I am not in your shoes.  But, what do you have to lose.  The world is owned by the ones that try, not by the ones that succeeded.

Your best day can be your shittiest.  But your shittiest day, can bring eternal living.   I know that I use some language here:  I’m giving you the real me.  I’m not cleaning this up; I’m not filtering this information.  I think that we would all be better if we dared to be authentic.

Perspective.  Perspective.  Perspective.

 

I’m sorry…or am I?

“I’m sorry.”  One of the most overused phrases you can encounter.  What to they mean?  I am not sure, because they seem to always be said as a filler.  There are no emotions behind the phrase, it is hard to tell what is meant versus what is just used to be said.  Ultimately, the point of using the phrase is to achieve something.  That something is usually forgiveness.  

Forgiveness is a human need.  This is my personal opinion.  It is as needed as air, food, water, and other things.  To me, knowing how to forgive and ask for forgiveness are two things that keep people alive.  The baggage that comes from lack of forgiveness in any life is synonym of sickness and mess.  I speak from personal experience.  I have been offended before, yet I have offended back.  There have been times when I have offended just to be “nasty.”  In all of those times when I did offend, I noticed that I could not start thinking about it.

When you offend someone, they run around your mind endlessly.  Your mind tries to justify why you were right, where they were wrong, and there are times when you’ll even go as far as thinking of additional ways in which you could’ve offended further.  The problem is that:  this is not about being right.  Who cares if you were right or wrong?  Let’s simplify this:  if you were so right, then why are you still thinking about it?

I think that you continue to think about it because you wish things would have turned out different.  It’s like the child that begs for a toy over and over.  The parent does not respond, so the child throws a temper tantrum.  Finally, the parent gives in annoyingly.  The kid gets the toy, but nobody’s celebrating the toy.  I bet you that toy tastes like shit.

My point here is not to make you feel like a fart, and I am certainly not stating that you should allow others to run you over.  The purpose of this essay is to encourage you to study yourself a bit closer.  Are you sorry for something?  Or are you seeking out true forgiveness.  Ultimately, you are looking to have peace in your heart that, eventually, things will work out.

Cheer up.