Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Stress of Tradition

A pay day loan provider, "Think Finance" did a recent study and found that 45-percent of Americans would just as soon skip Christmas because of the financial stress. This, of course, got me thinking... Why do we do it?

While driving in town this morning I noticed that all the Christmas lights are being hung, Santa's Workshop has already been installed at Mission Plaza, all the store windows have been decorated or painted with some kind of Holiday motif and I looked to my phone to confirm the date and YES - it IS only November 20th. There is a whole month and 5 days until Christmas and yet the town is painted red. Everyone's geared up for Black Friday and all the cheap deals it has to offer. Sadly, some stores are opening on Thursday night to beat their competitors out of sales. So on Thanksgiving, after having eaten coma inducing turkey; Walmart, Kmart and Target employees have to get over to the department store by 7pm to start setting up for a frenzy of cheap people who will do anything for a discounted television. Just more proof of how horrible our economy is. We will do anything for a bargain. 

As I looked to all these shops and how sparkly San Luis Obispo is becoming, I didn't feel the spark - not even a little bit. I didn't feel that warm, "oooooh it's the holiday season" feeling. I'm so not there. I'm not ready for this whirlwind that drains my bank account and depletes my emotions as I think of childhood Christmases and simpler days. Days at work where people have to have us come "before the holidays" and yet they call to make an appointment the week of. Christmas cards, stuffing your face, driving all over just to be at everyone's Christmas so nobody's feelings get hurt. It's alot. I'm so not ready for this time of year. 

So, 45 percent of America would rather skip Christmas and yet that same 45 percent will be lined up this Friday outside of department stores everywhere. I even saw on the news that there are people camped out NOW. Is a TV or a camera or whatever you're getting really worth it? To sacrifice your whole week? I don't understand it and I'm probably one of the most cheap people I know. Stuff is just stuff to me. I appreciate all I have, but I don't need the latest and greatest ANYTHING. 

 With so many people saying they'd rather skip Christmas - then why do we do it to ourselves? Why must we buy so much? Why must we break our backs to see everyone on one day? The logic is definitely lacking. I know each year our families say we're going to have a low key Christmas - meaning we're not going to spend much on each other and keep it simple. But, by the time it all rolls around we've been hooked. We get lured into all the sales and all the feelings that we have to have something nice for each other to open. Where once a tree only stood, now a zillion gifts are strewn around it and you think to yourself - I hope I got "insert name here," enough for Christmas. 

It's the thought that counts, but more than any of that - it's the time that matters. Seeing everyone and being together is the whole point of these holidays and yet that's what is highlighted the least. I treasure Noche Buena with my extended Cuban family. Just to see them and hear how their year was. Since I live so far away I rarely see them and luckily we just pick up like it was yesterday and laugh and joke and hug. Those are the best moments. Love Christmas morning. Especially, if someone got my Pops a CD of some sort because it goes directly in the player and he's dancing and loving life. Best memories. When the pups get their toys unwrapped and within 10 minutes they have pulverised the gingerbread squeaker and all you see is his gum drop button hanging by a thread. Love our 2nd Christmas when we take 3 hours just to unwrap all the stocking stuffers Mom wrapped. Or when we dance around like Irish Men to Flogging Mollies in the living room. Seeing what amazing crocheted masterpiece Gma has made for someone this year... Moments. That's what keeps me warm during the holidays. Precious, once in a lifetime moments. 

It is a catch 22. In order to see everyone, you must travel all over the place in 2 days flat. You must be thoughtful and find gifts for each person on your list. You must find a way to fill your heart with Christmas cheer and eventually it just happens. You were just sitting at your computer venting about how stressed you were about the holidays and then all of a sudden you are wearing a reindeer sweater, sipping hot cocoa decorating your tree. As you put the star on the tippy top you most likely will be in the spirit and say, "How I love Christmas." That's just the way it goes...  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Relationships of the Romantic Variety

I recently rented the film - "Take This Waltz" - which was a human drama about marriage, love, and the tests of a relationship. Michelle Williams played Margot, a wife for over 5 years to Seth Rogen's character Lou. Margot became bored in her relationship with her husband - mostly in the sexual department and she was tempted by another man who lived near by. Margot never acted on her feelings of lust with this other man while married to Lou. She would always talk to Lou about what was lacking in their relationship, but Lou never changed. Eventually Margot leaves Lou to be with this other man. The sequence that followed was sheer genius though a little risque. They showed the excitement of Margo and this new man's relationship - how it starts so passionately and so touchy feely. Then throughout this 2 minute sequence it showed how eventually the "can't keep your hands off each other"phase dies out. The way she felt with Lou after 5 years is the way she felt with new guy after that same amount of time. The new always gets old.

So, why is everyone always looking for that feeling? You hear it all the time - the passion was gone so we called it quits. Desire can falter, but if you have a good foundation, a friendship, a fun relationship that you can't imagine ever living without - isn't that a different form of passion? Perhaps I'm naive, but I think you have to keep the spark ignited. Life gets complicated, time passes and people change. Still, if you see the good in this person you've chosen instead of finding all their flaws, I believe you can get through any roadblock or disagreement. As humans, we sometimes lose sight that we've chosen this person to be in our lives. We invited them into our hearts because we saw something special in them. That foundation should be enough to re-build, if need be, somewhere down the line.

Everywhere I turn I see divorce or break ups and it's really trying on my view of marriage. Vows - they are a BIG deal. They mean something deep and profound. The promise of your love forever. So it's really important never to enter that stage of life lightly. You've got to be all in and certain. It's hard for me, coming from a Divorced family to see an outcome that can be any different than that. I know it's a foolish way to think because we each have the power to do different than those who have gone before us, but irrational fear gets the best of me at times. Fear is a constant in my life, but that's a whole other blog.

So, when I explain all this to my closest friends, their immediate response is that I must not be in love or that I haven't found my perfect person yet. Well, that just isn't so. I'm in love and happy as can be. When I say that to people, the next question is, "So then why aren't you gonna get married?" I'm not ready. Plain as that and that doesn't mean I don't love my Mister with all my heart. It doesn't mean I want to stay unattached to see what else is out there - I seriously don't even look at other men. All that it means is I haven't seen marriage to be a fit for my life... yet.

Back to divorce and relationships - I have a hard time believing that some have tried enough to save their marriage. Now, I'm not being judgmental, honestly I know that some people just REALLY shouldn't be together. I get that. I also know that when someone cheats on another, that's really hard to recover from. There are many exceptions to the rule, I'm mindful of that. I just feel in certain relationships, people leave for the wrong reasons. Especially if there are children involved, you should really try to see the positive in that person instead of all the negative you're running from. Luckily, I can see that in the case of my Mom and Dad - they tried... I mean they really really tried to make it work and it just wasn't in the cards. I can commend them for that. It's still hard on the kids after all these years because we're all fragmented. My Brother and Papi are always together and My Mom and I are always together. Because of our common interests, that's just the way it is. Thankfully my Brother and I are very close and can keep a balance in our lives. Being adults and seeing the big picture more fully now we have healed and appreciate each parent for all they've given us. It's funny though, in a lot of ways my parents' personalities presently parallel each other. They are into a lot more of the same things then they were back in the day, but had it not been for their divorce and what followed, they wouldn't be who they are now. So it's one of those catch 22 thingys. They just weren't meant to be and that's easier to accept when you get older. Especially when I see how long it's taken me to become a whole person. I'm 32 and when my Dad was 32 he'd been married for 5 years and had a 4 year old daughter. When my Mom was 32 she'd been married for 12 years and had a 11 year old daughter and a 5 year old son. That puts a lot in perspective. I'm finally ready for some adulthood - can't imagine ever being ready at their young age. You haven't even become who you're gonna be yet...

In life so many things change your scope of view and it's really all about how you let it all affect you. If your ideals are mounted on high expectations, you will always be disappointed. You will never have enough and you'll constantly be searching. One ideal that I feel gets over used is "You only live once." True, we only get one shot to have a happy life and experience all we can while we're here. I just think that when you're 80% or 90% happy with a few things to iron out - why leave? Growth comes from compromise. Quitting keeps you limited to being the same person again for the next relationship. If you never have to bend to make something work then you're never going to learn or grow.

Obviously, if you are really unhappy... like you've tried and you've grown and you're still going out of your mind... Move on. I'm not saying that every relationship is worth saving... I just think that people's egos keep them from appreciating what they have and selfishness KILLS relationships. When a serious relationship forms, you can no longer only think of yourself and your needs. You are a team and you need to be there for each other. These days it's so casual to be girlfriend/boyfriend. It's no big deal to a lot of people. They'll break up, get back together and break up again with no real reflection on why it didn't work. The worst part is when they talk badly about their Ex to all their friends/family and then 2 weeks later they get back together. It makes everyone wonder if the horrible things they said about him/her were even true and if so, why in the world would they get back together with them? Responsibility for choices - that's really lacking in society these days. It's always everybody else's fault!

In every aspect of life, it's important to be mindful. If you move along merely on how you feel, yes - you will have an exciting life constantly full of change, but very little growth. We must realize there's always enough time to value something and give it new life. If you take an extra couple weeks or even a month to try and save something that was once precious to you - why is that bad? Yes we have one life and the clock is ticking, but do you want a pocket full of rocks or diamonds? If you polish something, it may shine... and if it doesn't - hey at least you can say you TRIED! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cookie Cutter Life

Do you ever feel like that spider in the shower who is desperately trying not to go with the flow of water down the drain, but eventually he has no choice? I completely know how he feels - well not completely because I'm not dead nor drowned, but just before he slips to the abyss, that feeling - I'm feeling it... 
I watch as the world around me does exactly what we're supposed to do. As a human you go to college, get a career, find your mate, buy a home, have babies and watch your kids do all the same exact things. Why is this so? How has this been so ingrained into society that it's just what is expected of a person? How did we get so robotic? I try so hard NOT to fall into the "norm" of society, but I feel more inclined every day to get sucked up with that current of tradition...

I often envision the birth of children who are all born on the same day as a batch of cookies in the oven. Some are soft and sweet and some get a little crispy. It's all determined by the care and love put into the baking and yet sometimes you've done everything right and there's still complications. Each baby that comes into the world is a gift and unique to his or her surroundings. Though, as the child grows up, the girl/boy see the same images of what the world has in store for them. Love, marriage and baby carriages. It's all so scripted and molded. These ways of life get confusing for the boy who finds boys more attractive than women or for the woman who falls in love with a man who wants a lot of children, but she is baron. If the mold wasn't held up so prominently - some folks might not have to feel such pain or feel so inadequate. 

I'm all about kindness, acceptance and love. In many ways we've moved forward when it comes to equality for all, but in many ways we are still so very archaic in our thinking. Still it's not a human rights thing for me. I know Brad and Angelina are not getting married until everyone can and I totally commend them for that. My reason for not wanting to marry or settle down and have kids is because it's what's expected and I don't do things for that reason alone. I am so in love and happy in that area of my life and that's that. So many people ask us, Paul and I, when we're going to get married and why haven't we settled down and had any kids yet? It's none of anyone's business. I am happy for ANYONE who sees their dreams through and if getting married and having kids is truly their dream - that rocks - not knocking it. Each person should be able to do what they feel and what they envision their life to be. No judgment. 

We are told to be unique and be creative and live our lives the way we want within the given laws. Then, later in life the unique goes out the window. Now-a-days everyone wants to "keep up," which means have the latest gadgets and gizmos, best cars and beautiful homes. If you look around certain neighborhoods - no one is unique - it all looks the same. Again, I'm not saying it's wrong, it's just an observation. Uniqueness isn't what matters anymore - even the music you hear on the radio all blends together. Stand out actors and actresses - there are some, but it's faint compared to the glory days of Hollywood. The mold is very much set.

So, as I watched the little spider nearing the water spout and trying so desperately to hang on, I felt like him. I am trying so hard to pave my own unique way, do what I feel and not care so much about material things or frivolous needs. Still, I feel the pressure, holding on so tightly to the side of the water spout. Don't want to conform, don't want to fall into the ways of the world, but I'm here living in it. I am expected to get married and maybe someday I will, but at the moment it is not part of my life's dream. I am expected to have children and give our family more generations, but today I am scared to bring a child into such an unstable world. I am expected to get going with my career - do something with my talents and have a much more notable job, but at this moment I'm gaining more experience and using my free time to better myself emotionally and physically and I do believe there's something great waiting around the bend for me... Once I’m a whole and healthy person.

This is who I am. I know there are many like me who watch The Kardashians for a good laugh and to see the superficial perspective some have. We don't want to be zillionaires ever, but we do want more for our purpose and our soul. To be fulfilled by kindness, charity, creative workings and never by money or status. We don't hold judgment on anyone in any realm of life - be it wealthy or poor - because we never want to be judged for our stance. There is more to the world than black and white. There is more than seeking material goods. Personally, I am happy for anyone who has what puts a smile on their face. Whatever your dream is - dream it, hold it, nurture it and honor it. Respect and acceptance should be given to anyone who is moving forward and doing their best. I think it's time we threw the cookie cutters out the window and realized that it's okay to bend the rules of "normal." 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Motivation... Or Lack Thereof...

Talking with a friend this weekend, I realized that my lack of motivation is like a Catch 22. I am mature and honest with myself enough to know that my weight holds me back. I never thought I'd become such a heavy person (though it's taught me a lot about myself and others) and it's a battle to rid myself of the weight. Where does the Catch 22 come in? Well... that's simple really and I'm just now realizing it. In order to shed the weight, it's best to get outdoors and get exercising which I do occasionally - on a good day, but most days I hate my body and therefore I don't want to put it on display in public. Sad. No one to blame but myself and I take full responsibility in the fact that I couldn't control my emotions. It's great when you can pinpoint your reasons. I ate and ate and ate my feelings away back when I was forced to move out of the home I shared with my Mom here in SLO. I was angry and very sad. There was no time to compute it all. My Mom just moved to Palmdale and I moved into a place where I couldn't even have my Cat. Dobbie went to live with my Mom and Gma for almost 6 months. Such an awful time and all I did was go to work, come home and seclude myself away and eat. It wasn't like I binged horribly, but the lack of exercise and care for what I put in my body made me gain inch by inch until I couldn't believe how far it had gone. So easy to pack on, so hard to sweat it off. I've tried so many fads, ways of thinking, just getting out and exercising at least for 30 minutes each day, but I have a setback and then it all goes to hell. I'm not done trying though and I realize my errors and am very truthful about it all. Something needs to just click and whenever I "fall off the wagon" - I need to just get back on the horse and fight for what I want. 

So, this weight is not only annoying for appearance reasons, but it's insulating my creative spirit and hiding it away. I don't want to put myself out there because I loathe who I've let myself become. Mind you, I have a great day - every now and then, but as a whole I just feel so disgusted. I'm not the free and open Jennie I used to be because I don't want to be judged for superficial reasons. I cannot tell you how many cruel people I've come across. Judgements are many and when it involves appearance people are ruthless. I'm so proud of my parents for instilling a kind soul in us kids... we would NEVER make a joke at someone else's expense and to see people do that to you is hard. It's like the golden rule is void. Even though I would never do that to anyone - they'd do it to me... how rotten! I have learned a lot about people at this inflated weight though - like ALOT. People say things to you and it's like, "wow - you are superficial." It's eye opening. I think these lessons about yourself and others is what these life struggles are all about. To have people you love and trust say hurtful things about the way you look shows you who really values your heart and soul. 

So, in order to succeed, you must have a goal. In order to obtain the goal, you must have a plan. In order to draw up a plan, you must be realistic and motivated. Motivation is key to anything in life and I am really lacking in that crucial area. I do well when it comes to commitments because my New Year's Resolution was to keep every commitment I make. I've done pretty well, maybe 1 or 2 slip ups, but for me it's been a great resolution. I'm motivated to keep my word. Keeping your word is so important and I usually just don't commit to anything so that I won't let anyone down, but that was a cop out. Now, when it comes to showing up for MYSELF - that's where the real trouble lies. Working out, singing, writing, creating, or learning things for me. I can't seem to find the extra push from within to shove me forward in life. I am idle... I have been for about 3 years and it's so strange to me. I've got a wonderful and beautiful man in my life, a cozy little beach bungalow, a job that allows me time to work on myself and yet I just worry about everybody else. What gives? I want everyone else to be happy and for everyone to get along, but what about me? I've let me fall by the wayside... completely! My over emotional side takes over and I feel so much for everybody - sometimes they're not even feeling as bad as I do. I often need to talk it out, but have very few ears to listen and that's hard. I don't want to bring people down, but it's like if I could just talk to someone who was really OPEN to just hear me that'd be great. I'm missing that and so I well up alone and eat a candy bar... That's not a constructive way to live.  I need MOTIVATION. How does one come about obtaining that? Well, I know now that you can't find it in a store or in a magazine... Motivation lies within and you create it for yourself. You have to want success more than anything and you have to have that tunnel vision that makes it clear what you're aiming towards. It's tough, but possible. 

I had big plans to lose a ton of weight before a family wedding this Fall, but it's fast approaching and I'm not much different than 3 months ago... At the bridal shower there were these young girls looking so skinny and beautiful and even with my best outfit on, I felt lousy. I saw pictures of myself and cried and cried and cried. It's awful right? Not as awful as NOT doing anything about that feeling.  I plan to do so much and fall so short. My plans have been too grand and so I proclaim to do less, but achieve more - if that makes any sense. Well, to me it does and that's another thing to work on. Stop trying to make sense to other people. Why do we constantly want understanding and approval from outside forces - do what you do that makes you happy and fills your life with joy and stop worrying about OTHERS... 

Lots to work on, but I'm WIDE AWAKE... Aware of my downfalls, my mistakes and able to change my life because I'm honest about what needs changing. When you tell yourself the truth, truth can be dispensed in all avenues of your life. I'm owning my life and my lack of commitment. I'm ready to make things happen. Now, emotions - please stay in check and don't fail me now. I not only need to lose the weight, but all the baggage of insecurities and horrible things I have heard from people I dearly love. Just because they are your loved ones, doesn't mean their words can't be weapons and vice versa. Disregard that which you truly DO NOT BELIEVE and move on. Truly and fully... MOVE ON... Get motivated and get right with yourself!!!! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Peace of Mind

      You're born. Then, everyday after that you are building. You're building your personality, your morals, your dislikes/likes, and sometimes you build walls. From an early age, outside voices seem to penetrate your character and get ingrained in your way of thinking. If someone tells you that your dream is unachievable, that you aren't beautiful or that the way you feel is wrong - you believe them. You are young and though you try to hold onto your self esteem and confidence, negative words can chip away at your psyche. When you feel that others don't truly want to protect your spirit and don't think before hurting you - you build walls. Walls in your soul, in your spirit, in your heart are the hardest walls to break down. Walls become part of you. You are no longer open to everything life has to offer because you've closed off parts of yourself. Fear of being hurt keeps you from moving forward with others who have never hurt you or who have nothing to do with those walls. Once those walls are built you are keeping the "whole you" from the world.
      The tricky part is breaking through those walls. To free yourself from past experiences and only keep the lessons you learned without the scars which cause pain. How do you only keep the good part of an experience? Like on a day like today where multiple negative things came up, how do you find the good? It's all about constantly talking to yourself - inside your mind, of course - finding the greatness and joy in life. Nothing in life besides death, is un-fixable. Everything can be mended - even broken hearts and broken legs can function again - over time with great care and devotion. So walls can be knocked down as well. It's all a matter of finding the root of the scar. Why did you build that wall?
      So, in my present life I'm open to discovering the "Whys" to my behavior - I believe that's the first step. To truly acknowledge that you are indeed causing the way you feel and act. I think that constantly believing that others have made you to be a certain way is a cop-out. Nobody, but you can make you do anything. You choose to be pissed of, you choose to hold onto resentments and you even choose how you react to those around you. If they indeed control you - they'd have you by some strings and you'd be merely a puppet, not human at all. Humanity is what makes us think and feel. This is what separates us from animals and other species. We have the ability to choose how to act - to be kind or not to be. We are our own - undoing. I have unraveled myself so many times at the expense of no one, but myself and slowly I am putting each layer back in place.
        Reinvention - who do I want to be? Most of it comes from hard learning. Who I was and how it failed me creates my new way of thinking. I am BIG on words and many people in my life have used that to get to me and boy did they get to me good. They saw me spouting off such stupid things that only anger fueled. Did I mean the things I said, perhaps a few things, but as a whole - definitely not. In the interactions I learned a lot though. I learned that I give too much power to words and I give too much power to outside sources.
      In a particular relationship, where I am supposed to "respect my elders," I didn't. That's so not like me. I love and respect everyone and in this relationship I failed. But this cycle has gone around and around like a carousel - a dark and gloomy carousel filled with resentments and crimes I didn't even commit. I was being held accountable, by this person, for things that happened when I was a mere baby and child. Once I realized the patten of our madness, I realized that just as they were adding up resentments from way back into the past, I had added up every hurt tied to their name too. We were/are both in the wrong. Still, every time a conflict comes between this person and I, separation results, then I usually end up being so bothered by it I apologize and they never do, but all goes back to normal for many months at a time. Yet, we'd having falling outs again and it would play out the same way over and over and over again. This last go round - a light bulb finally surfaced in my mind and I came to the harsh reality that I was empowering this person to treat me this way. I wasn't holding them accountable and they weren't taking on any responsibility. They hadn't earned my respect. I stopped blaming myself because I had already apologized. I already said what I could say... Walls aren't needed because I healed my own scar. I came to terms and I lifted myself up and away from the pain. No more power given. It's a huge relief and weight off my shoulders. 
      Sensitive souls have many walls because they are scared to hurt, scared to feel, and scared to put themselves out there, but as you grow older and reflect about all you've been through - the less you need walls. When you can hold your heart safe in any situation, you've grown up. Don't get me wrong, there's bound to be times I'm still hurt, but what I'm hoping to achieve is a sense of "I know who I am, I am doing my best, and life is good." When you can take a knife that's coming at you and turn it into a lesson and not a scar, you have achieved a powerful place. To stop blaming others for how you feel, to stop taking blame for anyone else's resentments towards you and to stop accepting yourself to be treated in a way you'd never want to treat someone else - that is when your life is your own. For the first time, in a long time, my life is 100% mine and I'm cherishing my peace of mind.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Angles, Lines and A Million Questions...

     There are so many different ways to look at the things that we experience in life. One person may be diagnosed with a terminal illness and all they can see is their death sentence, but another person who was handed the same diagnosis may feel like everything happens for a reason and they are going to live each moment they have left - positively. Some may think it's important to speak their mind while others think it's better to keep their controversial opinions to themselves. Some tell others that it's wrong to do this or that, but later on down the line - they do the very thing they warned others not to do. It's life - it's very gray and yet shouldn't it be black and white? Shouldn't it be cut and dry? No questioning about what is right? How is it that we all have a different (even if it's only slightly different) sense of what is right or wrong?
     Well, the basic reason we're all different is because we come from different backgrounds and everything we are has trickled down from our past generations. The younger generation is made up of all the people who came before them, but they are also on the cutting edge of the future. Old and new ways of doing things are molded into one. Each generation progresses and new opinions are formed as new issues and new ways of doing things arise.
     So my basic predicament is how does one ever find peace with everyone? A second question to that would be - are we meant to be at peace with everyone? I think that my idyllic and hopeful soul clings tight to the lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine," and believes it is a possibility... to have a peaceful world. To truly want the best for everyone instead of thinking so often about oneself - what a wonderful dream. Still, there is much work to do to even be on the cusp of such a way of life. The older generations are set in the ways of the land that were set in stone hundreds of years ago. Their stance is: "That's the way it has been done and so it shall continue." The younger generations are finding loopholes and faults in the systems created in a very different time then we're living in now. Changing the system is not meant as a disrespectful thought, but as a way to progress and best benefit the people as a whole. Fine lines are brought to the surface. Who is right? Does there have to be a right group or a wrong group? How do we all come to an agreement to create a happy society?
     So many angles and lines. Because we come from so many different backgrounds, we have formulated very different ways of looking at the very same thing. If every encounter in life was like a brain storming session then we'd be able to talk it out and come to some consensus, but in everyday life pride and tempers take hold before the thought of "coming to an agreement," is ever presented as an option. "If you don't think like me - then you're an enemy," is very much the law of the land. Politicians and political parties segregate and then you throw religion or money in the mix and everyone has the answer; and not just any answer - the right answer. 
      So, what is my point? Well, it's hard to have a firm point when it comes to people because we are so unique. Each person is made up of their experiences and their own pretenses. They have been shaped and have chosen to be who they are today. But did they really choose it? You know how it is said that if you want to be truly happy, you must choose to be. It is said that you have all the power to be any way you want to be. Well, that presents another question - are you solely in control of your feelings or can you blame others for the way you feel? I know I'm just full of questions today, but it's tricky. This line between responsible and affected by your surroundings or childhood can become a slippery slope. Let's take a harsh example - a serial killer. Say he/she was a bright and sunny baby and maybe even a warm and loving young child. It has been proven that as a result of their home environment, a child can become morbid and cold. Perhaps the parents are to blame for how their child turned out. Still, the parents didn't hand them a knife and instruct them to go killing people. That's the choice of the adult son/daughter, right? Another example, a child of a divorced family is emotionally juvenile and remains that way once she/he reaches adulthood. As an adult, they are choosing to be distant in relationships or wary of marriage. So can it really be said that the scars of divorce are ailing this person? All these instances are very gray and not black and white at all. Of course, at some point in your life, if you want to become a well rounded and purpose-filled person - you will have to make the choice to do so. Blame cannot hold you back forever. No matter how often we hear from society that you are the sum of your experiences. 
     There's an angle to everything. Who you support politically. What God you believe in. Which baseball team you cheer for. What you think of the Kardashians. What line of clothing you prefer. If you're set in what you think it all means and you judge or discount a person or their opinion because of your own views then aren't you seeing the world through your angle? As I look around there are very few open minded people. Most want to tell you what works and that their way is the only way. If they were told they can't do something, it must mean that you can't either. It would hurt their pride to say you might achieve what they cannot. That's a very selfish, one-sided way to live. Being open to possibilities and to different ways of life and different perspectives is such a liberating thing. Society begs us to have a stance though - each and every day. What do you like? Who are you following? Are you liberal or republican? It's a very defining population. We want to know what you are and that's it. If you claim to be one way and change your mind 3 years later, you're ridiculed and made a mockery of. If we all allowed each other to evolve and grow while accepting changes and lessons learned, we may find ourselves a little bit closer to a peaceful society. 
     I'm a fan of kindness. I think it is so very important to show love to everyone you can. To shower people with bright words and shinning smiles is so powerful and creates such a positive space for everyone to feel comfortable in. There is a fine line in the kind spectrum though. Those who are unkind should still find that you are a kind person. If you are living by that method and wanting to love and give light to all the spirits and souls you pass by - then shouldn't you in fact be kind to those who aren't? This is why many are rarely compared to the likes of Mother Theresa. She was so kind to everyone - no matter what they said or did. She held her pride, pain and self away from it. When you, a kind soul, wants to show unkindness to someone, it's because they've hurt you. They've scarred your pride or broken your heart. That is when they need your kindness the most. They need you to "Kill them with kindness," as the saying goes, because they are lacking compassion and the sensibility to be nice. Unfortunately, we're human and we bruise far too easily to instantly forgive the hurtful words. The fine line of practicing kindness and disliking someone for being unkind rattles me everyday. You have to try and suppress your ties to their words or actions and just smile and press the "Mute" button. Don't listen - just smile. Don't worry - I realize how much easier said than done that truly is. All we can do is our best. 
     Along the kindness avenue, we all must realize how much our tone and choice of words matter. It is so easy to say, "You got us lost again!"in an angered tone as you and a friend are driving down a deserted highway, but is that what you should say? Probably not. If you want to be treated well and with respect - you must show it. The best way to handle a situation like that would be to ask, "Have we gotten lost?" and then maybe aide them in finding a map or looking for a place to turn around. We, as humans, are so very hard on ourselves. We are already beating ourselves up about the mistake that we made that is going to make us late. So, when you use anger or an annoyed tone, just imagine that you're putting on a pair of boxing gloves and you want to show us how to really hit hard. Yes, just imagine that you're watching us get slapped around, but apparently that's not enough - we need the big guns to really give it to us good. We want to feel even smaller. Kindness is not only in your actions - it's found in your tone and in the words you say. So important to be mindful of everything that leaves your lips. Your words are your billboard. They show what you have to offer - make them count and ensure that they represent you correctly.
     So much about life is rushing at me and making me think and feel more than I have ever before. All these contradictions in life make it very hard to feel sound, to feel consistent and complete. I suppose that when I reach later years it will get easier because I am aware of all these traits and views right now. I'm expressing them and working through them so that I can be a more kind, open, and strong human being. We are all here for a reason and sometimes I feel that these thoughts are put in my head to ramble on and on - in hopes of touching someone else. I also know that my ramblings on paper help me to heal my soul and lighten my spirit. 

May you ache to be kind. 
May you love to listen. 
May you delight more in the journey than what you find. 
May you see someone you've been missin'. 
May you know the beauty that lies within you is real. 
May you never be without a hug. 
May you never take for granted, what you feel. 
May you always feel loved. 

~ Jennie Camile