Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Just Keep Running

So, this weekend, I called myself making up for the times when I have been slacking in my personal workout routine. I had been teaching my fitness classes all week, but I had not been weight lifting like I used to, so I agreed to workout with my husband on this past Saturday. Now, why in the world did I agree to that?! My husband’s nickname is “the hulk”. He loves weight lifting and is amazing at it. I enjoy weight lifting, but nowhere near on his level. So, I decided to be crazy enough to join him. It felt great while we were working out. I remembered my love for weight lifting, and it was awesome just being in the gym with him, but I forgot the after effects of a grueling workout. That next day, my body was tight in places I had forgotten existed. I was shuffling along and sore, and I tried my best not to move too much because everything hurt. EVERYTHING! Sunday night, hubby was talking about running the next morning. Before I knew it, I had blurted out that I would join him. Again, what was I thinking?! So, the next morning at 5:30 we headed out for the run. Now, I had just BARELY rolled out of bed because it felt like my entire body had locked up, but I was determined to run. As I stretched, I second-guessed my entire life in that moment, and visions of me falling face first on to the pavement flashed through my head. Yet I pressed on. As we began to run, I slowly shuffled along behind him, just content to at least follow his lead. My legs groaned. My muscles tried to lock up and rebel, but in my mind I was telling myself I could do it. Step-by-step I grunted, groaned, sweat began to pour profusely down my face and back, but I kept going. I realized along the way that my body did not hurt as much anymore, so I picked up the pace. As we ran, things became easier. I still felt a throbbing ache in some areas, but I figured I had gone too far to quit. Before I knew it, we were headed back home. As we came up the final hill towards our house, I felt such a huge sigh of relief. That’s when hubby decided we would run PAST our house to the end of the road, and then turn around and come back. I stared at the back of his head without saying a word, but I kept going. Then, it was over. All of the pain, the heavy breathing, the moments when I thought I would pass out…it was all over. I had made it to my final destination. It may have hurt. Things may not have felt good along the way, but I picked up momentum, and eventually the pain could not stop me from racing towards my goal.

Life is like this. Sometimes things just hurt. Sometimes you cannot believe that you can take one more step and move forward. Maybe the “hill” seems insurmountable. Maybe that thing they did to you made you hard-hearted and unrecognizable. Maybe life has beaten you up so bad that it seems whenever you move, it is with more difficulty, and sometimes it’s just easier to roll over and “sleep” rather than face the world. I get it.. I have moments when I don’t want to put one step in front of the other, when it seems easier to ignore what is going on that facing the problems head on. Sometimes my own doubts and fears get the best of me, but there is more to life than this. Maybe, in those moments, we need to get so focused on the end goal that we press through the pain. Maybe we need to remember to keep running forward because if we just keep running, we can make it where we need to go. Maybe…I just know I learned something about myself that day. In the midst of my hurt and pain, I kept pressing. Yes, that was on a physical level, and I know that emotional pain sometimes goes much deeper, but if we can apply this principle to our physical pain, it only makes sense to make it work for our mental/emotional as well.

So, I challenge you to keep running. Push through. Finish Strong.

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Speaking Into the Silence

Lately, I have been a bit discouraged. Yes, even me…the motivator, the one who encourages others, the one who always has positive things to say and pushes others out of their low moments, yes me…and it has been one of those times when only those who are closest to me, or those who cared to really pay attention, have known just how discouraged I have been. Built in to the discouragement has been hurt, disappointment, let downs, and being looked over–a convoluted concoction of negativity. It almost made me give up, not just “throwing in the towel”, but burning it to the point where the thought of doing what I am supposed to do does not rise again. At least, those were my thoughts. Even the most optimistic people get down when it seems support is overwhelmingly lacking, when it seems “everyone else” gets the attention you wished you could, or even when those you count on to be there when you need them have better things to do. We are definitely all human, and no matter your purpose/passion, you still have a heart that can be hurt. So, I contemplated giving everything up, figuring no one would miss what I have to say or what I do, and just when I got to that point of give up, I heard something within me say “Speak to the silence”.

My first thought after that was, “Why should I? What difference will it make?” But when I thought about it more, clarity began to come. I began to remember the times when I have literally thought I am writing, speaking, or advocating to myself due to the lack of response, but then from nowhere someone would comment or write to me telling me how something I said had touched their lives. I then began to remember the times that even writing down what I was feeling was cathartic for me and got me out of my feelings. From there, I thought about how many times I have not responded to something others have said or written, and how they too could be feeling like I have recently felt, but the fact was that their words had meant something because I remembered them. So, as I thought, I realized that while the silence can be deafening, there is still life in the silence. There are still listening ears and watching eyes in the silence. Lives can still be changed, and passions can be built just by me deciding to do what I am meant to–even when I feel unheard and unseen.

Maybe you have felt that you are unnecessary, or that your words mean nothing. As you look around, it seems others have support, but you are alone…and maybe if that is the case at the moment, know that you were built for this. Who you are and what you do is necessary for SOMEONE on this vast planet of ours, and if you stop speaking/writing/motivating/marketing/encouraging, you will miss your opportunity to put an imprint even on that ONE person’s life. I know the process is difficult. I understand wanting to be embraced and encouraged. I also understand wanting to just sink into the background not thinking you will be missed, but keep speaking even when the silence gets deafening. Keep being even when it costs everything within you to be. Keep believing when everything around you makes it seem that what you are believing in and for will never happen. As long as you are alive, there is a possibility of having everything your brilliant mind could ever imagine, so get back to speaking to the silence. One day, there won’t just be echos, but a response. Keep going.


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Depths of My Mind

I learned something today. Want to know what it was? If you’re still reading, I assume you do, so thanks for joining me. 🙂 I learned today that I am not crazy, and that’s just as I thought. Today I took a Trauma/Brain class, and in the class we were discussing the effects of Trauma on the brain. We talked about how trauma can be chronic and something that can change the very nature of our DNA, as well as how we think. As we delved into the topic, I began to remember things that happened to me as a child, and I began to understand the reasons behind some of my actions since childhood. The trainer asked us to give examples we could think of regarding some of the effects of trauma, and as people in the class gave their guesses on what the effects could be, I remembered vividly my lived experiences.

I remembered being separated from my mother and being put in foster care. I remembered, even before that, before I was taken away from my mother–the environments in which we lived and in which my brothers and I developed. I even went back and thought about the big, black snake that caused me so much fear as a young child. Most vividly though, in the discussion of how certain experiences change our DNA and how we think, I remembered the molestation. I thought back to the first time my brother’s friend got a little too friendly, then to another time when a friend of the family tried to show their “love” for me, but it would not go as they planned, and then to another time when my supposed “cousin” at one of my foster homes tried to make me feel good…and while I longed for love and attention, some part of me just knew that none of this was right. But, it all came from somewhere. There were others, but those experiences specifically gave me a distinct distrust for men, and even for anyone who claimed to love me. In the depths of my mind, I began to think that no one could just love me without first wanting something from me. I even thought that maybe if I let people “love me” the way they wanted to, I would feel something other than empty. My experiences changed my life, and they made me weary, but they also left me vulnerable.

So vulnerable, in fact, that I made many mistakes as an adult because I really just wanted to be loved, and when I did not feel loved, I took whatever I could get. I hurt others because my voids were so deep that it did not allow me to understand how others could feel. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to feel something besides empty, but the emptiness grew.

Many years have passed since the molestation and since the moments that stole my childhood, but the trauma was still there. I have noticed through the years that I have reacted a certain way to people and situations, and I have seen things a certain way because of my past. Ideally, I could snap my finger and change the circumstances of my childhood, but that is not realistic; however, I have learned to be intentional about changing my mind in specific moments. Now that I have matured, I have come to understand that my life has purpose, and every experience has built me into the woman I am today. I am perfectly imperfect, and my experiences have grown me in a way that I may not have if I had not gone through what I did.

Sometimes things happen that we do not understand, and many times we act without delving into the reasons why we respond to others and situations. Traumatic situations change us, and they scar our hearts/minds. We have to remember, though, that we are not our pasts. We are more than what happened to us. We are no longer that person who was powerless. We are valuable and loved. We deserve love, and we deserve it in the right way. Acknowledge your past and the effects it has had on your present, and work to change your behaviors as you can, but also give yourself some slack when things trigger a memory. There is more. YOU are more.


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Beauty From Ashes

Sometimes life can be strange. Things are going well, then they are not. You’re happy. Then you’re sad. Life can become an emotional roller coaster. This is especially so when you watch everyone around you being seemingly successful while you seem stuck right where you are-even more so when you have just one desire that you want the most, but that one thing is THE thing that eludes you time and time again. For once, I’m not writing about something I have already lived through. I am writing about something that I am living daily. A struggle. A deep and hurtful thing. Yet, it is my path to walk. What do you do, though, when it seems that your path means you have to celebrate everyone else as they get what you want? How do you respond and mean what you say? You just do. I know that is difficult because our human nature is to live by emotions. We give in to what we feel, many times regardless of the consequences. Quite often, we only think about the consequences when it is too late to take back our initial reaction. We sometimes end up acting out in hurt and hurting others. That way of living only leads to greater hurt, and  not being fulfilled. One thing I am learning while walking my path and watching others get what I desire, is that sometimes your strength is built by being able to stand in the midst of the pain. That means keeping a smile on your face, and finding something deep within you that makes you truly joyful and happy for those around you. Yes, that can take time, but when you find that place, hold on to it. Your path is your own to walk, and though it may be difficult, don’t despair of what you are meant to walk out. Just know that, as it is said, delay is not denial. You will get everything you are meant to have, but first you have to journey to a place where you still BELIEVE. Regardless of anything, I still believe that I will see beauty for my “ashes”, and that this journey will be worth it. Stay on the path.


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Never Alone

We all have those moments. Yes that moment. The one you just thought of. At least that is what I just thought of. The moments when you feel like you are all alone on an island-the only survivor from a plane called life. Sometimes it seems that everyone else gets all the attention, and like no one truly sees you. You watch seemingly everyone else around you get affirmation and applause, but you are the outsider looking in. You walk through life, often hurting, but it seems that no one sees you. You wear a pasted on smile, wondering if anyone will notice that your eyes are just a little too bright, hiding the sheen of tears threatening to fall down at any moment. You spend your time giving everything you have to everyone else around you, yet it seems that when you need someone, they are off giving someone else what you so desperately need. Inside you scream, but outside, you are the epitome of happiness. You have become a good actor/actress, so good in fact, that you can almost fool yourself. Almost. There comes a point though, when everything seems to weigh you down. That pasted on smile begins to droop a little. Still, it seems that no one sees you. You feel like the weight of the world is all on your shoulders, and if even a feather of a thing dropped on your shoulder, you would fall and never get back up. You feel alone. Yet you are never alone. Someone else is dealing with the same thing you are. Someone else is feeling your pain. I have been in this place when it seemed that I was the one no one seemed to see. It was almost as if even if I walked into a room no one would notice me. I convinced myself that no one cared, and that I was not important. I believed that if I were not around, no one would even miss me. I flirted with suicide. I thought about how I would do it, and what I would use. I even planned out when I would do it. Alas, it wasn’t to be. God had other plans for my life. Sometimes we get in such a low place, and we allow our emotions and negative thoughts to talk us into decisions that we can never take back. It is only because of God that I am still here today. That’s one of the reasons I believe in Him. Even now, when low thoughts try to come, and when it seems I am all alone, I have to remember that I am never truly alone. My circumstances may seem that way. I may not have a plethora of friends, or a list of people I can call on at any given moment. What I do have is the belief that God loves me, and that the people who are supposed to be in my life are. I also remember that regardless of how it may seem the complete opposite, someone in this big world does need me. I am never alone, because someone else is waiting on me to remind them that they are not alone. The cycle goes on, but only if I continue the movement. You may be in a low place. You may feel like no one cares. Know this. I care. I believe in you. You are never alone.