Show Up

Sometimes, life is unfair and downright fucked up. This is something most of us learned as children.

For me, I was in elementary school and had to pull my card for allegedly talking. I actually wasn’t talking, but my teacher did not want to hear me out and I had to pull my card anyway.

The smug little girl who WAS talking and knew full well the injustice that was happening right before her devious eyes just sat there.

While I knew she clearly wasn’t getting into Heaven, I was still upset. In fact, I was so upset that I began to cry and my teacher made me pull my card AGAIN for crying. The satisfaction of knowing that now both of them would be rotting in Hell still wasn’t enough to console me.

This memory stuck with me. Sometimes unfair things happen. Even worse still, we usually can’t do anything about it. It’s a part of life. I get it….but still, fuck that.

I am happy to tell you that the evil little girl who didn’t own up to talking in class grew up to be a woman whose husband left her for another woman. Sad, really. She could have avoided all of that pain had she just admitted she was the one talking and pulled her card. Let that be a lesson to you all.

I know, that’s a silly story and a minor injustice, but what do we do when the really unfair things happen, and we can’t do anything about it? What do we do when we can’t console ourselves or the ones we love? What happens to our hearts and minds when the unfairness is too much to bear?

I don’t have any answers for you. Many of us have faith in a greater power and that brings some peace and comfort, but not always right away and very often we are still left not understanding why certain things happen.

Here’s what I do know…

When times get tough and things are unfair, it helps to have amazing people around you. By amazing, I mean strong people who have empathy and give love. If you don’t already have these people in your life, get some.

I’ll share some of the best parts of the people who keep me sane (sort of) and give me a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen when I need it.

They dance. They dance like fools and like everybody is watching, but they don’t give a shit.

They laugh. Not only do they laugh at my jokes to the point of snorting (you know who you are), they also make me laugh and know how important laughter is. This includes enjoying stupid/lame jokes that only we think are funny.

They sympathize. Even if they don’t know exactly what you’re going through, they listen with compassion and try to understand.

They empathize. Even better, they know exactly what you’re going through, and you don’t feel alone.

They drink. Let’s face it, I’m gonna need you to have a cocktail or three with me because days are hard.

They sit by your side. They’ve seen your ugly cry face. They’ve seen you overreact. They’ve seen you without makeup. And still, they sit next to you.

They don’t judge. There is no “right way” to do this thing called life and they know this. They’ve made the same mistake 12 times, just to be sure it was really a mistake. We’re all still figuring some things out and that’s ok.

They dislike all the same people you do. We don’t wear pink on Wednesdays, but you still can’t sit with us. Like, ever.

They think you’re beautiful, inside and out. They not only think it, they tell you. We build each other up. The world will tear us down, but we won’t do that to each other.

They believe the best of you. Others will assume the worst of you, but your people should always see the good in you and tell you so.

Most importantly…

They show up. At a moment’s notice and sometimes without you even asking because they just know.

To my people who are all of these things and more, I love you and thank you. We have a safe place to go when we need to unwind or vent or cry or laugh and that place is with each other. We can’t always fix each other’s hurt or make the terrible things better, but we can show up and be with each other.

There is something devastatingly beautiful about the pain that makes us vulnerable in life. We become so open and exposed that others have a chance to pour love and healing into our hearts and our wounds.

Even when my heart is heavy, it is full. And that is a gift.

Accepting What Is

I think I have some pretty good friends, but then I see a reflection of myself in a door and notice a piece of my wild, curly hair sticking straight up and realize that I have no friends at all. Thanks a heap, guys. I can’t wait until you have something stuck in between your teeth so I can carry on a long conversation with you, then simply walk away with the satisfaction of knowing I’ve sentenced you to death by embarrassment.

Anywho, I have been listening to a weird sounding German/Canadian man talk to me about The Power of Now and it may be changing my life. Yes, I’m aware it’s very “New Age” and spiritually out there, but if you know me at all then this should be no surprise. Please withhold your judgment. In fact, just pack it away in the box of Hopes and Dreams stored in your parent’s attic. I’m gonna keep listening and then read it old school style, so deal with it. And for the love of God, why does the “Insert” button on the keyboard even exist? WHO is using this button?! And for what purpose? Please don’t answer, I’ve already stopped caring.

As I am attempting not to be so concerned about the future (which is going not great so far by the way), I find myself becoming much more self-aware which actually is great. Sometimes, I think God said, “give Melissa feelings, give her ALL the feelings” and then He did.

I’ve accepted that I just feel things deeper than most people. I know that’s a strange statement coming from me. I’m the sarcastic girl, the anti-social one who would rather talk to your dog than you, but alas I have tear ducts after all. Truthfully, once you’re in my circle of concern, my love knows no bounds. My capacity to forgive is damn near endless (not always a great thing), my loyalty is fierce and I will protect you with everything I have. There is a downside. Sometimes, that same love, loyalty and forgiveness is not returned. Fortunately, I can count on one hand how many times that’s been the case and I have gained wisdom from that pain.

Speaking of pain, let’s get back to The Power of Now. Mind you, I am only a third of the way through and my pal has promised me a book club type of discussion after I read the entire book (which he will soon regret), but I’ve already had some “AHA” moments. One is about pain so here we go…

“The pain you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.”

Wait, humans are resistant to change and things they don’t want? Whaaa? Just kidding and that may seem like a no brainer, but really think about it. When something we don’t want to happen happens, we don’t tend to be passive and just let it be. We fight. We fight for all kinds of reasons. Maybe it’s a painful change, maybe it’s not what we want and maybe it feels unfair or unjust.

What does our non-acceptance and resistance do though? Does it change the circumstance? Does it change the person? No, it changes nothing. It does however cause a great amount of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and disappointment. Yet still, we resist. I don’t even think it’s on a conscious level, it’s reactionary and illogical. I’m so very guilty of this and believe me; it will take quite some time to kick this habit. However, I will try.

I’m aware of the connection between our minds and our reality. I understand the importance of perspective and what we think, but sometimes I still have trouble accepting what is. Damn my humanness.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

That’s a tall order, Tolle…but I will try because it all makes so much sense to me. It speaks to me on the deepest level. The place where my soul is at peace and I know what is true.

Everyone’s truth is different and I’m no expert, but I do know myself very well and I know what I need. The hardest thing for me has always been to stop overthinking and listen to that part inside of me that knows exactly what to do. Call it intuition, God, your subconscious, the Universe…all I know is it’s the truest part of me and the best guide I have.

Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..”

“Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events” – Dalai Lama

No matter what you believe, I think most of us can agree that our thoughts have a great influence over our lives. Those who don’t agree are most likely mouth breathers. Anyway, if you find yourself in a church pew on Sunday mornings, then more power to you and I hope it feeds your soul. You may want to avoid this one though because I’m still confused.

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I never feel the need to explain my beliefs, but when someone is genuinely interested, I do and I’m grateful for the conversation that led me to this book. I’m grateful for people who are open minded and enlightened. I’m grateful every day that I’m alive and have an opportunity to evolve even more. I am far from perfect, but I never want to stop learning or challenging myself and I’ll always be weird so deal with that too.

I’m also grateful for sunshine and music. This gem is from Emeli Sande’s latest album and if you’ve followed my blog, you know I adore her. I love how vulnerable she allows herself to be and the poetic nature of her lyrics. Ok, I’ll stop. Just listen..

I love how much she craves a deeper meaning and connection. I get that, I crave it too. I love that some people are just drawn to one another. It can’t be explained, it just is.

I get that some events and pain are unavoidable and unpredictable, but if there is some pain that we can lessen or avoid by accepting and not resisting what is, I think it’s worth a try. Also, underneath it all I absolutely believe that what’s for me will always be for me.

Wherever your journey takes you, I hope you find what’s meant for you. Choose your humans well.

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Just a tip though, it will never be a pair of Crocs or a man bun. Those aren’t meant for anyone.