Jane R’s Click

I received a click story in my inbox the other day and at first felt terrible that I had not found it sooner, but as I read it I realized the timing was just right.  I wrote about marriage on Monday and when I published that post I wondered about any readers who might be thinking that they’d been looking at the big picture and were tired of living in a black cloud and desperately seeking that silver lining.  I know there are people who put all they can into their marriages and still find that the only way to achieve joy is to leave it behind.  So this amazing post about the end of a marriage and the awakening of a creative, thriving, beautiful woman is for you. You can read Jane’s blog here.

One of my biggest personal changes happened when I got divorced from my ex-husband.  We had been living in a renovated carriage house on his parent’s property for 10 years.  His parents were adamant that the kids and I should stay and he should move out.  I had my chance to get that UHaul and move but I passed on it due to my own fear and self imposed limitations.  I simply didn’t believe that I could ever make it on my own out there with two children.  On July 1, 2004 my husband moved out.  As the kids ran to the window and watched the moving van pull out of the driveway, I sat there in a half empty dismantled home feeling envious that he got off that property instead of me.  He had the freedom while I put down the scissors after clipping my own wings.  It would be four more years of living next door to the main house and a soured relationship with my ex-in laws before the tides changed and I got that UHaul.  But in the mean time, those four years were the biggest gift from God that I ever got.  In that period of time I unearthed so many wonderful things about myself that I thought were long dead.

In the beginning of our divorce there were some adjustments to be made.  If you’re a woman who’s been through a divorce you know that no matter how happy you are to be free of a bad marriage there is a period of grieving that goes with it too.  For so long I was tied in to the identity of being someone’s wife.  Even though I was in a bad marriage, it still gave me a sense of feeling complete just knowing that I had a husband.  With the new title of “single mother” I really started looking closer at what it meant to be a woman.  Sometimes as a single mother I felt like I had scarlet letter on my forehead.  Other times women would approach me privately and tell me that they envied the freedom I had gotten because they had been in horrible marriages for years but were too afraid to leave for financial reasons.  It was then that I realized I would rather be single and struggling a bit than to stay in a loveless marriage for the next twenty years just so that I could hold on to the big house and tennis lessons.

It didn’t take too long after my ex husband moved out to realize that a huge mountain of weight had been lifted.  Granted, I was still living on his parent’s property and terrified about how I would make it as a single woman with no real career but I was still amazed at the sense of freedom for just having that weight taken off me.  I suddenly had a sense that if I could feel so much lighter despite those restrictions, imagine the real sense of freedom once I cut my ties to my in-law’s property entirely.

The greatest thing about my new found freedom was watching all the goodness in me resurface again.  The creativity that had no pulse was suddenly bursting out of me.   I replaced every piece of store bought art with my own original work.  My house was like a little art gallery.  I replaced white walls with vibrant yellows and reds.  I took up kayaking and entered in to the MS 150 bike ride from City to Shore.  For a woman who was constantly criticized for her bad cooking, I was suddenly finding myself devoting Saturday mornings to making Linzer Torte and homemade spinach pasta.  No longer fearful of being condemned for a messy house, I was elated to put my infamous little stacks of books and papers wherever I wanted.  I was creating a space and life that was uniquely mine and for the first time in my life I didn’t mind being without a partner.  During my first marriage I rarely went anywhere.  I isolated myself in our bedroom for hours.  Now I was taking every chance I had to go out and throw myself in to social situations that would allow me to talk and connect to everyone.  It was marvelous.  It truly was.  But the turning point that started me on a long path of self-discovery happened when a co-worker challenged me to pick up my camera and get involved in a Flickr project which involved taking and posting one self-portrait a day for a year.  The first time I picked up the camera and turned it on myself I cried.  It was actually joyous because what I saw staring back at me was a beautiful woman who had locked herself away for years.  It’s true that the eyes are the window to our souls.  Once I took that first snap shot I was hooked and it wasn’t because of some vain ego thing at all; it was because each photo revealed more of who I was on the inside.  I needed to take those pictures to continue to evolve.  Of course the posting on line lead to connecting with other people globally.  Now a whole new world of endless possibilities to connect was at my finger tips.  I started a blog and realized that I could actually write.  Five years later, I’m still blogging and continuing to build and connect in ways I never could have imagined if you asked me six years ago.  I’ve since remarried to an amazing man and life is so good.  I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at living.  I’ve been rebuilding my life slowly.  Writing, I’ve discovered, has a voice inside of me that needs to come out and share itself with others on their journeys.

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Tricia’s Click

I’ve connected with Tricia through the Owning Pink Posse.  I’d read some of her blog posts on the Posse and intended to ask her to write for me.  When she sent me a Facebook request a few weeks ago I immediately asked her to write for me.  She sent me the following story and I was pleasantly surprised by the similarities in our journeys.  We’d both opened up and changed our life as the result of a particular episode of a TV show and we both enjoy a similar hobby.  I have been extremely inspired by Tricia and can’t wait to get to work on some ideas I have thanks to her!  Here are all the places you can find Tricia and her art work:

http://www.seeyourvisionart.com/

http://twitter.com/trishlee1969

http://www.cafepress.com/visionartdesign

http://www.image-is-us.com/visionartdesigns

http://www.image-is-us.com/visittwinports

I’d spent twenty years working the trucking industry as a dispatcher and operations manager.  The last five of those years, every day, I would fantasize about hearing, “Sorry, Trish but times are tough and we’re going to have to let you go.”  I knew it wasn’t my destiny, I knew I was no longer fulfilled, and I knew I just didn’t care anymore if that pallet of water heaters made it to New York or not!  Even though, I was paid well, appreciated, could wear jeans, never had to worry about parking, AND had free time to read on the job.  The first 8 of the 10 years I worked there I read an average of two books per week.  Sorry corporate!

One day on Oprah, she was featuring, “The Secret” and it sounded so interesting that I ordered the DVD with the last $30 I had.  While watching the DVD, eyes huge, mouth open, I just couldn’t believe that after every self-help book I’d read under the sun, that this particular wording or phrasing had never clicked the way this did.  What stuck out the most was, “We always think about what we don’t want!”  DING!  I immediately thought of my list of “don’ts” in the dating world…then it spread out further into the way I’d thought about most things!  It just seemed so simple and so profound at the same time. This began a 3-year (ongoing) journey.

I had to know more.  I’d watched “The Secret” in March and soon after was the garage sale season.  The very first garage sale I went to I found, “The Power Of Positive Thinking” and I picked it up and read it right away.  Every sale, every Goodwill, every Salvation Army had books of the similar genre and very soon I had a library that I became obsessed with reading cover to cover, doing all of the exercises, and stopping to ponder over the ideas and philosophies expressed by many different authors.  I had my nose stuck in a book for two years straight.  I’d always been a big reader but THIS was something different.  Suddenly, I understood the books I was reading about physics! Physics!  In high school, to give you some perspective, I took classes like Home Economics, Shop, study hall, anything easy just to get by.

One of the exercises was to make Vision Boards and being the literal-minded person I am, I found a stack of magazines and started crudely ripping out anything that interested me or anything I ‘wanted’.  I made over a dozen vision boards about all areas of my life.  One in particular was about a romantic relationship that I wanted and there was something about the way I had taped flowers resting against this lady’s cheek that rung another bell loudly in my heart and soul.  DING!  I wasn’t just patting myself on the back on how pretty it looked, but I thought, “I really like that.”

Then my best friend was having the hardest time of her life and I thought if my vision boards make me feel good, perhaps if I made one for her, she would feel good too.  So I made one for her, put it in a frame, and gave it to her as a gift.  While making hers, I connected with her in my mind and picked out the perfect sayings and images that I thought would appeal to her the most.  I was right, she was very touched, and another bell went off.

One after another I made what I began to call “Vision Art” for every friend I had, even shipping them off to Omaha, Fargo, and Raleigh as a surprise.  There was something so deeply meaningful and purposeful while making the individual “Vision Arts” even though they took hours and hours to make, my heart-mind-soul had never sung so loudly and clearly.  Every fiber of my being said, “YES YES YES!!! You have something here!”  It felt so good to put myself into their shoes for the 3-7 hours it took to make, dreaming their dreams and intuitively knowing what they wanted to improve and strive for in their lives, I just knew it was special.

Then came the reactions! The tears! The joy!  One by one, my girlfriends expressed to me how they felt gazing upon their framed pictures saying things like, “I look at this every day and it makes me feel so good!” and “I start each day and end each day looking at this to put myself in the most positive frame of mind” and “Every day I see something different!” and “HOW did you know??”  Tears were common, something in each had touched them so deeply and in return touched me that when I actually heard the words, “I’m sorry Trish, but we’re going to have to lay you off…” (my poor boss, I thought HE was going to cry…he said this to me elbows on knees and head down) and it was stunning.  All I heard was “lay off” and I said “who?” and he said “You.”  OH!

I began packing up my belongings and box after box was filled with all the books I had picked up about positive thinking, the law of attraction, doing what you love, a purposeful life, etc and told my boss, “I didn’t read all of these books for nothing.  Don’t worry about me, I’m going to be just fine.”  Every thing I packed had NOTHING to do with my job, ringing yet another bell.  I was FREE, released, been given a tremendous gift, and it wasn’t too long before I was in my car, tears streaming, doing my happy-clap dance, shouting, “I’M FREEEEEEEE!!!”  It was truly a defining moment in my life.  I knew my attitude meant everything, how I looked at this was going to make or break me.  Guess what? I’m not broken.


Thoughts on Equality

This is my post in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day.  I have just returned from seeing Avatar and I am processing yet another very deep movie with lots of layers.  One quote that stands out to me from the movie is:

“The strong prey on the weak and nobody does a thing.”

Unfortunately this is the truth about so much that has happened throughout human history.  It is the people with money or political standing that get to decide for the rest of us.  It was someone with money and power that sent explorers to the new world and encouraged them to steal an entire countryside from the Native Americans.  It was someone with money and power that sent ships to Africa to bring back human beings for slave labor.  Generations later it was someone with money and power that decided the descendants of those human beings, that were stolen from their home country and forced to America, were not human enough to have the same quality of life as white people.

And I think a lot of people get convinced it’s all OK.  They decide that because the “powers that be” are doing it, then it must be just and right.  Sometimes those “powers” convince them that it is for the greater good.  They turn regular people with feelings and beliefs into enemies.  Once you are convinced that people are a threat, you can ignore the tug at your conscience that tries to remind you they are just like you.

Sometimes though someone is strong enough to stand up for what they believe in and risk it all for change.  It starts with just one person brave enough to do this.  Eventually people start to take notice.  They hear the truth in the message.  We are all equal.  Flesh and blood.  Thoughts and emotions.  Souls.  In these ways we are all connected.  Anything I do to another, I do to myself.  Every prophet, mystic, Master has told us this.

Midnitemonologues’ Click (2)

My dear friend over at Midnitemonologues is back with another moving click story.

Love and Loss: Redemption

By midnitemonologues

Ok…so…I am pulling a “Star Wars” feature here and I started with my first “Click Story” entitled, Love and Loss which started somewhere in the middle of my life’s saga…and now we will take a step backwards in time, to several years earlier…

Picture this, the glory days of college life; happy, single, making new friends, a totally new chapter in my life of “independence”.  Free to make my own choices, free to do my own thing without my delightful…yet overbearing (or so I thought at the time) parents getting in the way.  For example, I remember my mother, banging on the bathroom door shouting “7 minutes”!!!… repeatedly.  Yes, that was the time allotted in my household in which to take a shower.  So, naturally, what did I do when I went to college?  Oh, I indulged…heck yeah I indulged in 30+ minute, hot, steamy, wonderfully relaxing showers…which I had never been able to enjoy before.  No, I wasn’t the typical college student (I say that with all well meaning and intent) that totally indulged in drinking, perhaps drugs, etc.  No…it was the showers for me…I had absolutely no problem going to a frat party with my can of sprite or coke in hand – and yes – I played the drinking games – with my coke in hand…and was very well respected and received.

Alas…I digress…

One day…minding my own business…walking to class, I see him; those dreamy brown eyes, that thick brown hair…and his football uniform.  Yes…it was love at first sight.  I was hooked…line, sinker and all!  (And…sink I did indeed…no pun intended).  He was my first “real” boyfriend.  He was my first love.  He was the first man I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life with.  We had been together about a year…and had decided to get married.  Over the course of our year of dating, I realized that his mother had a very strange “hold” (for lack of a better word) over him.  She had told him at one point in time that he was her “favorite” son.  He was the middle of 3 boys.  She had also said different things to make him very insecure and in a way “need” or “depend” on her…their relationship reminded me of the strange rumors about Elvis and his mother; and because we were in college together and didn’t see his family often…I pushed this warning sign to the back of my mind.  His family lived in Spartanburg at the time so we were together in college and as I lived in Charlotte…we did the “long-distance” thing over the summer.

Well…the gown had been purchased…the invites had been sent…and then one day, we had a disagreement over the phone (his mother had been the cause of it)…and decided to talk face to face on whether or not to pursue the marriage, I was so distraught.  We decided to meet under the giant “peach” in Gaffney…that was about half way for both of us.  Much to my chagrin, he seemed hell bent on wanting his way…and the issue was so strange involving his mother, that I just could not agree with it and move past it.  As we sat under the starry sky…and the lights of the giant peach…during our conversation, a realization hit me…this man is not the right one for me.  His problems are too deep rooted…and there was nothing that I could do to help him as long as his mother had this “power” over him.  I remember deciding then and there that the marriage should be called off…ugh…the dread of it all.  We parted with tears and wished each other well and went our separate ways.  I made sure to tell him not to call or try to contact me at all…as I knew I was too weak to stand my ground if we spoke again.  He called…but thankfully my grandmother (who I was living with at the time) honored my wishes and would not let him speak to me.

During the ride home from Gaffney, I had an “ah-ha” moment.  I realized that I was only pursuing college because that is what my parents wished for me to do.  I knew that after this (the first extremely emotional, humbling, and difficult time that I’d experienced yet in my short life)…things would never be the same.  I didn’t want to go back to college and face the friends who I’d parted with an engaged woman…but not only that…I just didn’t want to go period.  I wanted to see the world!  So…I went to the airport and picked up flight attendant applications, mailed them off, and told my parents that I was going to chase my dreams.  Boy…was that an interesting conversation…in the end, they wanted my happiness and agreed to send me to a local travel school.  Did I mention what a delight my parents are? (smile)

Making the phone calls to all of the folks we’d invited to the wedding was such a humbling experience.  To have to tell someone that your wedding has been called off ranks high up on my “most embarrassing/humbling moments” list.  I remember with my last phone call to my Great Aunt Joyce, the first thing she said to me was “I am so proud of you for doing the right thing, that takes guts, Kasey.  I love you and let’s go fishing next week.”  After that…I felt so much better…I knew that I was loved…I had a great family and wonderful friends.  Soon after all of the drama died down…I was hired by US Airways and was scheduled to go to Pennsylvania for my training.

As I set foot off of the plane in Pittsburg, I felt a jolt of positive, wild energy run through me.  We rode a bus to our hotel…and I remember stepping off of that bus in February and lo and behold –  big, huge, beautiful snow flakes started to land on my head.  As I looked up into the beautiful gray sky…gazing upon the snowflakes that surrounded me…I felt a sense of release and cleansing.  Thanking God for His Divine Providence in my life…I knew that He had me on the right path…His path…and that I was in store for an incredible journey and many wonderful and exciting adventures.

Thank you for reading my story.

Godspeed –

mm