author moments

Lessons

In life we are given lessons to learn time and time again. Sometimes we may see them. Sometimes we can’t see them even if they smack us in the face, repeatedly.

Today I learned many lessons, but a few are below to share:

  1. Trust your gut and never waver.
  2. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
  3. Don’t stoop to the lower level of somebody around you. It never ends well.
  4. Show up for your friends when they need you the most.
  5. Don’t fear those who stand in your way.

This list is not all-inclusive but it’s what comes to mind as I sit down to recap the chaos of the day. Most of which I didn’t create but all of which circled around me in many ways.

To any adult that needs to use a child as a pawn, I pray for you.

To any teen that thinks bullying another is okay, I hope one day you feel what that feels like. Karma is a bitch.

For those who think mental health is a joke, think again.

Many will win a day, a game, or a trophy. Those things are just moments in time to celebrate. When you win at life you make others feel good time and time again. One does this through kindness, positive actions and without a malicious mindset. Others before self is a lesson I wished many practiced more often.

Sometimes putting others before you is hard. Sometimes it’s not hard at all. The thing is, if you never practice others before self you will not recognize the opportunity as often. Practice giving to others first. We all can benefit from building muscle memory in this arena.

Learn the lessons in life. Maybe something in this post with spark an interest in you to do more for others. Maybe it’s volunteering. Maybe it’s spending time with others. Maybe it’s offering a listening ear. Maybe it’s practicing forgiveness.

Today I forget the troubles of today. I forget those who were ignorant around me. I forget how mad I was at the time. I move on. I move the fuck on because the negativity is not worth even one grey hair on my head. 

This post is dedicated to my pal Brooklyn aka Brooklyn the bitch. The gal that says her inner Brooklyn is about to come out as she grabs the vaseline and takes off her earrings. Which translates to a street fight is about to go down. Best damn statement I’ve heard this year. Truth bombs from the girl from the city.

What lesson did you learn today?

awareness, challenges

My World Erupted

Shaken to the core.

Abruptly awaken.

All seemed taken.

I blinked. I sighed. I swallowed my pride.

One lonely night a medical emergency hit home. The challenges that go with this situation are taxing to say the least. This wasn’t about me, but it spiraled around me. Time spiraled to the east. Memories spiraled to the west. What if scenarios spiraled to the south. Family spiraled up north. The spirals met and formed a chaos cyclone. A circus show in my brain. Who? What? Where? When? Why? Oh my!

Amidst the chaos another lingering shit show keeps rearing its ugly head. Unfortunately, this one is a one and done meaning the gas tank is empty when it comes to help or support. No mental energy. No funds to spare. No support to give as it all falls to the wayside. The taker in life. The taker in my life. The mental strength it takes to keep the takers at bay is not for the weak. A wall of sorts is built. Carefully crafted to shield all my loved ones from the mayhem. Managing this on top of life and unplanned medical challenges is just wow. No words to really describe today. The now.

When I breathe deeply and let it settle in another blow strikes. This one is hard. Straight to the gut. Straight to the heart. Straight to the mind. All the feels. All at once. The pressure is intense. Every calming mechanism is put into play. Repeatedly.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup. 

One would think I just played a hard core tennis match, but I didn’t. It was just life. The uncertainty of life. The unplanned chaos that can ensue without notice. Sure there are worse scenarios, but in that moment my life was in disarray. It’s seems unforgiving. Relentless forces striking at once. Repeatedly.

Life is full of wonder. Life is full of surprises. Life is full of happy, sad, ugly, fear and so much more. Life is about living and living means shit happens. When life throws the shit show your way, it’s up to you to see the perspective. Don’t crumble. Don’t let fear stand in your way. Live through the turmoil. Learn from mistakes. Find opportunities in the chaos. Fight for you. Fight for those around you.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup.

Do it as many times as you need to. Be relentless. Be daring. 

challenges

The Real Struggle

The struggle is real in life sometimes. I confidently state this based on experience and nothing less. Maybe I should say the struggle is real for many in life, daily. Different obstacles. Different battles. Different consequences. Different choices. Just a different set of variables that create the real struggle.

Anxiety is real.

Depression is real.

Fear is real.

Anger is real.

The list could go on and on. Sometimes it’s one struggle. Sometimes the struggles are intertwined like a tangled web. When multiple challenges hit at once the struggle compounds and many feel helpless. It may take a special person in their life to help them find the hope they need to see or feel to push through the barriers of tangled web. This person could be you. Always be ready to help others.

Today I had a struggle. I was angry. I couldn’t let my anger go. My anger hand many prongs.

I knew better than to let anger steal my joy. My time. My energy. My productivity. Despite knowing I held onto it for longer than needed. I knew my anger spilled over to others around me. This poor choice didn’t define me, rather it consumed me. It took a few unexpected wrinkles in my day to realize I could just let it go. Bye Felicia. It was like my day started over at that moment. A fresh start of sorts at almost 4:00 pm after I was no longer consumed by anger. 

Then a shift to an in-person encounter a few hours later. There was a need. I could aid in the solution. I was called to duty. A young life needed my support. My time. My me energy. My positivity. I was on it. I knew what needed to be done and I plowed through the action items. This struggle was different in content or context but in reality the let shit go aspect was a common denominator. The struggle was addressed despite the curve balls of the day. If I didn’t let go of my anger I might not have had enough mental clarity to help this young person. A good reminder to just let shit go that is weighing you down.

As I winded down for bed a close friend hit the “phone a friend” line. I was there on the other end. I listened with curiosity. We set boundaries. We discussed the value in seeing beyond 5 feet ahead. The what’s on the horizon visual. Hope was offered. Hope is free. Hoping for a better day tomorrow. Hoping for a new opportunity. Hoping to see what is ahead vs. focusing on what’s in the past. The past can’t be changed, but in the future you get to write your own story. A new chapter begins each day. It could be a happy chapter, a sad chapter, a progress chapter, a new beginning chapter or other fun stuff.

All three of these scenarios are real. The people are real. The problems are real. The pain is real. The struggle is real. Each chose the next chapter despite their burdens or struggles. Life’s path is never easy. Never uncomplicated. The adversity of life is part of the journey. Without struggles we could never learn about ourselves or others.

It’s easy to walk away from those who struggle. Many fear helping those who are struggling because it means sharing in their pain. Opt in. Offer to help others through the struggles. It doesn’t mean you need to give people money. It means you can help them see the sunshine in whatever is holding them back or weighing them down.

Do your part. Offer hope in any form.

This post is dedicated to my gal Patty. May everyone have the power of Patty as they overcome their next obstacle in life. 

awareness, challenges

Jail Time Revisited

Recently I had the opportunity to experience a county jail with an added twist. I’ve written about visiting the jail before as a contractor recounting an inside view. I visited the exterior as part of a jail run a few years back that included running the officer obstacle training course (so much fun) and the campus which bordered the barbed wire fences and guard towers. Both experiences were memorable and offered different views of the same place.

Over the past week I had yet another view. An unexpected view. I needed to try to visit an inmate. What started out as a simple endeavor ended up extremely complex. So many things I didn’t know, didn’t expect or just couldn’t wrap my arms around.
The first big blow is no in-person visitors which is the exact opposite of the county website, which states visitation Mon-Fri and Sat/Sun for under 18. I guess they are still under COVID protocols even though most other places are not. This was funny in itself as you don’t  need a mask to enter the jail but you can’t visit. The next option is a fee-based video visit, but figuring this option out almost requires an IT degree and a lot of patience.

That’s right. Get the app. Download the app. Set up a user ID. Add funds. Upload identification documents to prove who you are. Now wait. Wait until somebody in an office somewhere approves you. This took three days in my case. Once you have access, you can schedule a call. I almost forgot you need to deposit more money for the call and pay more service fees. Just when you think you are at the finish line you have to be patient again. It seems the schedule is not the same day. That means you wait longer and the person inside has no idea how hard you are trying to make contact. Big sigh.

What’s the other option? Send a letter. I was told happy mail is very uplifting. Okay, what’s the address? Well the address you mail to is far away. It has to be sorted to make sure there is no contraband. Well over the holiday, mail delays, etc. would lead me to believe this would be another dead end.

How about a phone call? Can the person make a call? Only if they have money they tell me. How do they get money? Glad you asked. There is a jail ATM. Never seen one of those before. You have to upload your picture, your social security number, address and so much more. Then you can pay money and exorbitant fees. Again, it’s not instant. It takes a day to process and the funds need to be deposited by 8am. That means if you put money in the ATM on Sunday at 4pm the inmate won’t see it until Tuesday after 8am. Delays galore.

Four days it takes to get any form of contact. This provides so much insight into what folks deal with when they are immersed in the jail system. I can’t even imagine if my parent was in jail, how a young adult could handle all the chaos associated with saying hi to somebody who probably needs some extra support during their incarceration.
This experience has taught me I for sure don’t ever want to spend time in jail. I also don’t want to have to visit anyone I know in jail. I like my freedom too much. I like to choose what I do and when I do it. I thought visiting somebody in an assisted living facility was hard in the heart of the pandemic however I would definitely say visiting a jail is 1000x harder current day. 

With mental health issues challenging society today, it is bothersome to me that inmates lose not only their freedom but their ability to get compassionate care. I define compassion to include communication with willing visitors vs. starving them of hope and friendly faces.

in summary, I’d always tell somebody think carefully about actions or inactions that can land one in jail. It’s not a place I’d recommend at all.

awareness

Flipping Your Sign

A long-standing local restaurant in an area out of state. Breakfast is their specialty. We settle in and start to scan the menu for something delicious.

As usual, I read all the reviews through yelp to see what people say is good, great, not-to-be-missed, and skippable.

Then I notice some reviews and a photo that mention little stands in the middle of each table. They are happy / sad faces…bright and flippable. When you need something from a server, flip to the sad face. If you’re all good, keep it happy.

As a former longtime-server, this made mountains of sense to me. A quick scan of the room and I can exactly which tables need something. I don’t have to interrupt people every few minutes and I don’t have to guess. Just flip the sign and I’ll come over to turn that frown back upside down.

Then I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if people just had these signs every day? If you’re having a tough time, flip to your frowny face. Need a lift, show us that pout. If you’re all good, beam that smile.

The trouble is, we often have to decipher what people need. People wear masks. Or they just plain hide. You can’t just scan the room and know who needs what and who is all good.

Lord knows I’d be happy to warm up your coffee or bring you extra syrup. I’d even be happy just to chat a bit if that’s what you need.

Here’s your invitation to just flip your sign over if you’re having a rough time. Reach out and tell someone.

And on the flip side, read the room to see if anyone has “flipped their sign” over – are they acting differently than usual? Has anyone dropped out of sight?

The signs are often there if we are paying attention.

A little life lesson from the breakfast spot out of town.