Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…

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My Truth

I am socially awkward. I am that one who CAN talk to everyone in the room, but probably won’t. The wallflower that is vibrant and vivacious, but would rather stay to myself. That one who loves everyone, but still gravitates to seeking my own company. I used to wonder why God gave me the personality He did. Why did he make me quiet and observant as opposed to outgoing and the life of the party? Why couldn’t he make me to be the one with a whole lot of friends and associates, rather than the one with very few friends and even fewer associates? I have watched those who seem to be well-liked by everyone, and I wondered about their secret. Then I tried to mimic who they were, but it made me feel fake and out of pocket. Eventually, I came to realize that the me the way God created me to be would have to do.

If you think about it, all of us having the same personalities would make for a very bland world. No differences. Same way of doing things. There is a place in society for all of us. For the quintessential wallflower, the gregarious life of the party, the easygoing in-the-moment participant…all of us. Now, I know that our lives sometimes shape who we are. Looking back at my childhood, my experiences shaped me to be unnaturally suspicious of anyone I encounter. Trusting someone is not always first on my list. Then as I grew older, my own mistakes led me into hiding. I used to think, “What if they knew all the things I have done. The wrong I have done to others…THAT mistake? Would they still think I had value?” But that is a mindset that has to be broken. Our lives lead to us portraying ourselves in certain ways, then we project that on others and stop being true to ourselves. I decided I would live my truth.

So now, when I say I am a wallflower, it is not out of fear of what people think about me. It is because I have learned to speak when I have something to say. But, I am the one in the gathering who will most likely be off to myself. Not antisocial. Not standoffish. Just comfortable in who I am. It took years to get here, but it has been worth the journey. Spend time getting to know yourself, and being comfortable with who you are. Your experiences shaped you, but they don’t define the rest of your story.


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What’s Next

Emotions are running rampant. Frustration and fear, disbelief, uncertainty, and in some cases jubilation and hope–all of these emotions coming on the heels of one of the most serious rollercoaster rides in U.S. history, involving the 2016 Presidential election.  I would be fabricating the truth quite a bit if I were to say that I was not disgusted by some of the low-down and dishonest things said and perpetrated by both major candidates. I would also be lying to myself if I said that I was elated at the choices I had to pick from for U.S. President. I am one that was mostly tired of the back and forth, and tired of the negativity from both sides. The hatred and ridiculous things spewed made me realize that America still has a long way to go. To be such a powerful nation, this power seems to be pushed aside to almost act like middle schoolers who have to have the last word. The end goal is forgotten in the effort to have the best for one’s self, and to make sure that no one else can have what you believe is your own. Childish tendencies for sure, but this behavior became the status quo. Now, as we soak in the fact that we have elected a President with no prior political experience, and one who is known to say and do whatever he likes, the call now is for unity. On the other side, we could have elected a President who is seemingly dishonest, and it is difficult to determine her exact motives and thoughts. Yes, indeed, we need to be a unified nation. I agree that we are stronger together than we are apart. But how do we become that unified front without first healing the wounds inflicted from all sides? This election has brought out the worst in everyone. Hurtful and distasteful commentary has flown from side-to-side, but now we are standing in the aftermath, and we have to confront the fact that the commentary did nothing but divide. What we forgot in the midst of our childish tantrums, was that we are all one people. We all bleed the same blood. We all hurt the same way. Our experiences may be different, but one thing remains regardless of the color of our skins or the distinguishing characteristics of our persona, we are all human. When will we decide to see beyond the skin, beyond different experiences, and beyond our own selfish mentality, and understand that the fate of humanity is within our own grasp? If only love would abound, and understanding would emanate from the pores of people, what could our world be like then? So, what’s next is up to us. Will we be better or stay bitter?

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Intrinsic Vulnerability

Today, at my husband’s urging, I decided to try something new-something a little out of my comfort zone, but good for me. I went to a Korean bathhouse/spa in my area. There were separate sides for men and women, as well as a unisex area. In the separate sections, it was suggested that you walk around naked. Now, this was something I absolutely did not want to do. I mean, who bares their all to a room full of strangers? Certainly not me. That is, until today. Beyond the nudity, I watched as the women walked around confident and relaxed, secure in who they were, and willing to be vulnerable to get what they wanted. It was amazing to see that there were no comparisons, no expectations of perfection, just utter bliss and a camaraderie even without speaking. Because I went alone, I was able to relax completely and make sure I took care of all that I needed. I meditated on my life and all the things that have happened up to this point. I thought about my purpose, and what I am passionate about doing. As I relaxed, I thought more about the seeming point of the spa-(w)holistic health and wellness and the ability to be present and vulnerable. What would happen if we, as a society, chose to be vulnerable to each other? Not in a way where one race, ethnicity, or group subjugate another into being vulnerable, but in a way that we each open up to each other willingly and collectively. What if we chose to show other’s how much we really care, or we chose to celebrate the differences and complexities of each other? Would our world be different? Would we be different? The spa made me vulnerable to others in a way that I usually shut down quickly, but I found that being able to be vulnerable allowed me to talk to people I may have otherwise walked by before. As we sat, lay, leaned, etc in our respective spa services, we talked to each other beyond differences. Some of them I will never see again, but just for a moment there was a connection just as a human being. What will it take for our society to realize that vulnerability and openness is not a bad thing, and we can heal from within which transcends to without? I’m ready for our society to be that vulnerable to one another. It’s time for each of us to be whole intrinsically, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. I’m willing to do my part to help make that so. Won’t you join me?


Winning the Battle of Me

I did not watch the Super Bowl game this year, not because I was not interested, but because it was not a focal point of my day. I did, however, watch the halftime show as I am a big fan of music and dancing. I was not entirely impressed with this show, but it definitely got me thinking. Each of the performers, Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars, gave their all in their performance. Maybe they had some situations they were dealing with off stage. We would not have known. Maybe they doubted how effective they would be. If so, we could not tell. All we know is that when it came time for them to perform, they did so regardless of what people thought of them. They performed under pressure, but still allowed who they were individually to shine. Now, I’m not a fan, necessarily, of any of them, but they did exactly what they were expected to do. What would happen if we each stood up in our respective places, and chose to “perform” according to the gift we have been blessed with? What if we did so regardless of people’s thoughts, denying our doubts about ourselves, and in spite of whether things are going the way we planned? Sometimes the battle within ourselves stops us from being the “greatness” we are supposed to be, and that person waiting on us to inspire and encourage them is left wanting. Each of the halftime performers won the battle within themselves. They performed no matter what. Life for them may not be as glamorous as it seems, because everyone has something they may not want everyone to see. Still, they showed up. So, what are you waiting for? It’s showtime.

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Admitting the Obvious

When I look back over my life I see that there have been times when I denied something so much that what I was denying eventually had a hold on me-and I had a difficult time letting go. We know how it is…we feel something but in our desire to forget that we ever thought that way we deny it. As a result of coming to this recent realization I made the decision to admit my thoughts and feelings, deal with them, and then move forward.  I understand that the longer I avoid admitting the obvious, the stronger the hold is, and the more harm I cause to myself. Those thoughts and feelings that I had to admit to were not really bad thoughts and feelings to have, but they were ones that I needed to release. As I focused and tried to tell myself that there was nothing to how I felt, my mind seemed to harp on those very things. When I began to acknowledge how I felt, that is when the feelings began to recede. I released myself by accepting that “it is what it is” and I can do nothing but acknowledge so that I can keep moving forward. We allow things to keep us bound because we like to pretend that some feelings and thoughts do not exist. Now to balance it out, I am not saying that we need to abandon all else to give in to our feelings or thoughts, but I am saying that in order for us to be able to focus on what is important in life we have to admit some things to ourselves. If we never tell another human being how we feel, that is alright. All that matters is that we have remained truthful to ourselves. Admit the obvious. In fact, I found that as I continued to deny, what I was feeling began to manifest itself in my actions–which was making it obvious to others. There are some things that no one else needs to know, but because we seek to conceal those things even from ourselves, they become apparent to others. It is past time that we take control of our thoughts, actions, and our feelings so that we can live the fulfilling life that we so desire. Admitting the obvious gives us freedom to be who we are without chains securing us to our past–admitting allows us to hope in our future.