Listening to road sounds can really make you think

He was the sunshine to my night when we first met
the one I loved the most, my John
became my Judas.

Sometimes it’s like this with people. An odd contrast. I was thinking about it pretty deeply the other day on my way home from work. Since I have no radio, (as I explained in an earlier post, it was stolen) I am forced to listen to road sounds, which lull me into deep thought. I was thinking about how I have been betrayed in the past, and how those betrayals play into my inability to fully trust people. We all have our John’s and our Judas’…what lessons do they teach us? How does our time with them change our lives…our perspectives…our ability to be open and to trust others? 

As I was forming the words to this poem in my head and thinking thought after thought about the role certain people have played in my life, I began to reflect on the times I have been John, and the times I have been Judas. I realized it’s not a “them” problem. It’s a “me” problem. How can I be better…how can I love, despite my fear that I could be let down? The truth is that wholeheartedly loving another person can not happen when FEAR exists (and here, I am not JUST talking about romantic love, I am talking about LOVE period), because fear holds you back. It prevents you from giving 100 percent of your heart. I can love more if I let go of the fear of being hurt. I can love more if I let go of the fear of loss…I can love more if I forgive myself for the times that I have been Judas to another…I can love more if I forgive those who were Judas to me. Not an easy thing to do…but I have to because I realize that to be fully alive, I have to LOVE without fear. Even if it means loving Judas. 


When the tears fall…ask yourself why

Schools are closed and the office is closed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m home with my kids, and when I woke up with them this morning, the first thing I did was ask them “Do you know why you are home from school today?” Of course they gave the right answer. They’ve been learning as much as a 3, 6 and 12 year old can over the last week about Martin Luther King and his legacy at school. I wanted to start the day with a lesson on the truly backbreaking and often dehumanizing work Dr. King and all who struggled and fought for Civil Rights in this country endured. I began by telling them a little bit about how not so long ago, people were separated in this country because of the color of their skin; that they could only live in certain places, go to certain schools, eat at certain restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised to see them all really listening. It was quite a moment for me.

I talked to them about standing up for what is right, about Dr. King’s stance on non-violence, and about the ugly reality of racism, hatred and segregation. How people faced dogs, fire hoses, being spit on, beaten, battered, all because they believed that everyone, no matter what the color of their skin, deserved to be treated equally. As I was speaking about the bravery of the people who had endured so much, I could feel my throat tightening, my chest hurting…and I began to cry. I struggled through, talking more about Dr. King’s legacy and how it lives on today through us, and about how we should always feel gratitude to those people who fought and died for what is, by it’s very essence, truth. We are different, that is true. But we are all human and no one, no matter how many letters they have behind their name has ever been able to define race in a way that denies that fact.

When the lesson was over, I began to reflect. Why was I crying? I cried because I want to be that brave. I want to be that strong…to sit in the face of hatred and anger and know that I am on the side of justice. I am humbled at the bravery of all those men and women. I am humbled by their grit, their honor, and their knowledge deep in their hearts and minds that they were struggling for something bigger than themselves…

I am humbled by the knowledge that they weren’t afraid to die.

I will end this with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. King. It’s a reminder to me to always speak. I do, for the most part. It’s time to make my voice louder. Time to do more. Remember:


Fear, the other F word

One of the things I’ve been pondering lately is the role fear plays in my life, and how it affects the decisions I make, especially the decisions that are life changing. I was scrolling Pinterest a few days ago and I saw this quote:


Everything? Really? Because there are some things that I want that have absolutely nothing to do with being afraid. For example, I would like the laundry to magically wash, dry, fold and put itself away without ANY effort on my part. Laundry is exhausting! And it’s NEVER done. I have no fear of laundry, unless of course, I haven’t been able to get to it in over a week and I know that the mountain of clothes gathered in the laundry room will be damn near insurmountable!

I realize that I have taken the quote out of context but I do it to show how silly some of the quotes we take to heart and use to guide our lives can be. Is the quote important, sure. Should it be a guidepost for some of the struggles we face in our lives, sure. Does it apply to every aspect of our lives, no. My point in all of this is that there has to be some line, some balance, some critical thought so that we can apply this wisdom to our lives in a way that makes sense and is actionable. I see a lot of quotes pinned on Pinterest. I am guilty of pinning a number of quotes that I read and think “Wow, so true!” and then never really think about again. I am almost positive the majority of chronic quote pinners are guilty of the same. But, back to fear.

I thought I’d try to take this quote and make it actionable by applying it to some of the concrete life decisions I am faced with over the coming months. One is applying for a position at my job that requires me to speak in front of a room full of strangers. I HATE public speaking and I am sure that places me squarely on the bell curve of the majority of people reading this. I am no outlier when it comes to speaking in front of people I don’t know. I’d rather not. But the fact is, I have a dream I’d like to see come true (a higher paying job with unlimited potential), and speaking in front of strangers is a stepping stone toward that dream. I’m scared shitless to be honest. But I did it.  I applied to the position because in this case, something I want (not everything because my laundry still lies waiting for ME in the laundry room) IS on the other side of fear. And in all honesty, if I let fear continue to guide the decisions I make, well, I’m fucked. You can only move forward if you push through your fear. Words of wisdom made actionable. That’s how life changes.

If you’re going to do it…do it my way


So here’s the thing: I am a perfectionist. I don’t say that in a snotty “I’m better than you” kind of way. I say it because it’s how I approach my work and the things I do in my life. If I cook, I cook to perfection. If I clean, I clean to perfection. Everything I do, I do to the very best of my ability so that, in my mind at least, it is perfect.

It’s a problem. I recognize it’s a problem and I will tell you why: perfectionists rarely get stuff done.

Now I know there are going to be some out there who will argue with this. “That’s you! I get stuff done,” they’ll say. I don’t doubt you get stuff done. Hell, I also get stuff done. Just not as much stuff as I COULD get done if I let go and allowed 1) other people to help me and 2) myself to ease up on the control I feel I have to have in EVERY situation so that things can be done “my way.” I venture to say I’d also have more energy to do some of the things I’d like to do (more writing, for example) if I gave myself permission to let go of my need for perfection and control.

With this in mind, I devised an experiment. I would start delegating some of the things I generally do myself because other people’s way of doing these things is not up to my standards. It began with telling my 16-year-old son to clean the bathroom. Now, cleaning the bathroom is a big deal for me. It has to be done a CERTAIN WAY. Otherwise, it is not RIGHT. I mean, even down to the way the soap and shampoo bottles are aligned. Right. As I am typing this, I can feel the anxiety mounting – even though this technically happened days ago, I can still feel the anxiety. Seriously. 

Did he do it RIGHT? Yes and no. He did the bathroom RIGHT according to his own specifications. He did a great job making sure he properly cleaned and disinfected all of the surfaces. The chrome gleamed, the porcelain shined, and the mirror was streak free. I twitched a little when I noticed that he hadn’t emptied and cleaned out the bathroom’s trash container. I could feel my anxiety reach new heights as I saw he lined the bottles and soaps up his way, not mine. I fought the urge to “correct” it.  I had to take a step back, for real because I realized something in that moment: The fact is, he did a great job. He did it his way and though it wasn’t MY way, it was perfection in HIS eyes. I had to appreciate the effort he made. I let him know he did a great job, that I was glad I could trust him with the responsibility, and that I would definitely be relying on him to clean the bathroom again. He was proud of his work. I beamed! I mean, I do have a great son. I’m one lucky mom!

Once he was out of sight, I fixed the shampoo bottles.

Baby steps.


Make me proud

I’ve been running for about 2 years now, and average about 3 and a half miles per run on any given day. Today I started training for a half marathon I am running this May, and as I was on the treadmill trying to push through my first wall (for me, I always hit the first wall after the first mile; for some reason, my legs get heavy and just don’t want to “go” anymore) a certain song came on. I told myself right then “just get through the song and you’ll be OK”. So I did. I dug in and I ran for the entire song, listening to the notes, the lyrics, and pushing through the wall. When the song was over, guess what? I was OK, just like I told myself. Best of all, another song came on, and I dug in again and again. One song at a time…

I realized this concept can be applied to any situation that requires movement. Choose a song, and do a chosen activity for just as long as the song plays. As you become better able to cope with the aerobic demands of say, walking for one song, then move up to two, then three songs and more. If organizing is your goal, begin with one task (cleaning out a junk drawer for example) and work for just one song. Then another, then another. Choose music you love. Music that motivates you and makes you want to get up and MOVE. That’s an important part of the process. I don’t think playing R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” is my thing in terms of motivation, but it might be for you, and if it is, then get up and MOVE to it. 

I plan to continue to use this idea to just push through with a song during my training. I’m taking note of the artists, lyrics and sounds that increase my motivation and give me the fire I need to push through when I hit a wall. Today at the gym, that song I mentioned, the one I heard through my headphones as I struggled just after the one mile mark, was Make Me Proud by Drake. Listening to some (definitely not all, because well, damn…) of the lyrics, reminded me of the things I have done that I am proud of. I’ve set lots of goals and made lots of plans in my life. I failed at some, but hey, I have also succeeded at MANY. I am proud of my accomplishments. And I will continue to work to “make me proud” as life goes on. Half-marathon, here I come, and cheesy as it may be, I’m gonna KILL it, one song at a time!