Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fighting Like Mother Teresa

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."  -Mother Teresa

I am reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Cancer Book, and it sucks, mostly because I could be part of this anthology now, and not because it's written poorly.  It's actually very good.  This quote from Mother Teresa, so fluidly placed at the beginning of chapter two, is the first thing that makes me sick to my stomach.  Is that what is happening to me?  Should I be honored by the massive amount of chaos that is my life?  Well, I'm not.  And if you're up there, you can stop anytime.

I haven't prayed for a long time.  In fact, my spiritual journey kinda stopped after Ryan died.  I let it all go.  Didn't seem to be doing me much good anymore.  Recently, though, eastern philosophies, as opposed to religions, have peaked my interest and I signed up for a class on Buddhism.  But I have had a spiritual setback, from which I don't know how to bounce back. That day I laid, strapped in so tight, on the table, going in and out of the huge dunkin donuts looking sign they call a PET scan, I prayed.  I cried inside, and maybe once or twice outside, and prayed the whole time.  I didn't know to whom, but I did it with my whole body and my whole spirit, every piece of energy that I was in those moments, prayed.  It was the first time I was scared, really petrified.  This machine was going to tell me my future, and it was capable of destroying me.  I don't know if I was extremely tired, or the radiation was affecting me, or if something else was going on, but I went in and out of consciousness a lot in that hour.  And when they unstrapped me, and helped me off the table, I was as sick as I had been up to that point.  I felt like I was bargaining for my life. 

In  college, the story of Job was assigned to me more than anything else.  I wonder sometimes if it wasn't for a reason.  For those of you who don't know the story of Job, he was God's most faithful servant on earth, and God had blessed him for his faith.  Satan challenged God with Job's faith by saying, anyone whom you would bless so much would be that faithful to you.  It's not fair.  So God came back at Satan and said, if I took everything away from Job, he would still be just as faithful.  And God did just that.  He took everything, little by little, leaving Job a jobless, family-less, unhealthy mark of a man, until he finally said, as in the final words of Jesus himself, why have you forsaken me?  God killed his entire family.  He destroyed his business in a warlike manner.  He ostracized him and covered him in disease.  I sit and I think, this story sounds all too familiar.  I used to say, there was nothing that could shake my faith.  It was grounded in truth.  I don't say that much anymore.  What kind of egomaniacal monster would destroy someone to prove a point?  To make himself feel better about being loved?  I've been in codependent relationships before.  They never work out. 

I want it to.  I think it's odd how in my most frightening hour, I called out to a deity I hadn't spoken with in some time.  I have questioned, since that day, why I did that.  And I am working on an answer.  I am certain I will never get it.  I don't believe that when it comes to our spirit, we will ever know the truth.  It's there, we are more than physical beings.  We are more than just an intellect.  Emotions, energy, motion, is more than just matter; it's more than just pointlessness.  It has to be.  I believe my spirit is greater than my body.  I believe it existed before me.  I just do. 

But then I wonder why?  Why hasn't any of my deceased friends or family ever tried to contact me, comfort me, make me feel like things will be ok?  Why haven't they made it a point to let me know they have passed on, that they are ok?  Surely they loved me enough to want to comfort me.  Or maybe it doesn't work that way.  What if Freud was right, and religion was a hapless method that humanity created in an attempt to fill a void within us that life hasn't been able to touch?  Three thousand gods have been created in the history of mythology.  Are we really that imaginative?  Are we that perpetually incorrect?  Were none of them real at all? 

I am sure the answer will elude me my entire life.  I don't actually wish to find the answer to one of life's greatest questions.  I don't assume that much greatness for myself.  It's insurmountable for my feeble mind; I have enough going on.  In my life, I have taken on more scars than most of the people whom I know; all I've ever tried to figure out is why.  Why must I be the one who gets the burden of these crosses when others move so smoothly throughout their lives and never understand the weight of a real struggle.  I know so many of these people.  And I trust, that they truly do not know me. 

I wonder what it would be like to get to know someone on such a level.  But my general disposition has always been a little lethargic and dark.  I have days where my optimism consumes me and I want to implode and let it flow through me as if it were my own blood.  But it doesn't last.  I believe in self-fulfilling prophecies and mind over matter.  I believe my mind has caused the majority of my own problems in life.  It has caused the depth of my disease.  Ignorance is bliss.  And many of those whom I know who flow through life with little problems under their belt, don't reside inside the curse of constant reflection and the perpetual inward turn.  Sometimes, my mind, my ever so exhausted, blackened, scarred mind, envies them.  Sometimes, it's pity.  I'll continue on, knowing too much instead, thank you. 

So what do you do when you are in the midst of a spiritual, financial, physical, emotional crisis?  When every single part of your life is turned on its head and you have zero answers?  How do you face each day and assume to be okay, relaying calmness and self-sufficiency to those with whom you interact?  There's only one answer to that, Fearlessly.  Any other option ensues more chaos than is already in play in your life. 

That doesn't mean that you can't have mini-breakdowns in your private moments and break things will ball bats inside your own mind.  It's healing really.  But the only outlook you can have on  your life is fearlessness.  Anything else is going to get you killed, sooner. 

I guess it has come easy to me.  No, I don't know why.  It's just a mindset.  I dive into anything.  When I first got diagnosed with cancer, I immediately went online and researched the hell out of it.  Doctor said not to, but how could I?  I know that about 130,000 people each year get diagnosed with melanoma, mostly females between the ages of 19-29, and that about 10,000 people die of it each year.  90% survival rate, I'll take it.  Knowledge is your greatest asset in any situation.  Beating something, anything, has more to do with what you know and how you apply that knowledge than it ever has been about trusting allies, though they're nice to have.  I trust my doctors, I honestly do.  But I also know that they're busy and overwhelmed, and deal with this so much, that it is depersonalized to an extent for them.  If I don't ask the questions that plague me, I may never know the answer.  There's trust, and there's dependence.  Never make yourself dependent on anything or anyone.  No one is available all the time for you, except yourself.

Yes, I've lost friends and family.  I have dealt with health issues perplexing to the greatest medical minds of our time.  I've been beaten by the same hands that have held me in their most gentle state and felt safe through the night.  I have confronted suicide in the face and fought it off.  I have had my heart broken into miniscule pieces by indestructible forces.  I have been left alone for so long, that I have become almost awkward regarding attempts at communicating with others.  And I am still here.  I may have a heart only capable of beating, rather than loving; a life capable of moving on, rather than existing in the moment; conversation capable of type, rather than small talk; and memories capable of giving me stepping stones rather than comfort and glee, but, still, I am here.

I don't assume to know the reasons why I am given so much to overcome.  I only know how to overcome it.  Whether it is tests from a deity, the randomness of life, karma at its best, or my mind defeating my body, I continue to fight for my life every day.  I know that essentially, it is pointless, but I appreciate a good piece of art, and artful conversation, the love of an animal, the triumph of an underdog, facing a new challenge, the memories of loved ones, and, the best and the worst of it all...the hope of something greater to come.  Even if it never does, at least I can say, I was here, waiting for it, faith in hand, fight in my back pocket, always ready. 


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Living with No Regrets, But I Haven't Done It All Just Yet

Facing one's mortality is an exhausting experience.  Every day you begin to think of things differently that you ever had before.  What about this, what if I do that, what if, what if.  Frankly, I'm worn out.  The topic of regrets alone is enough to overwhelm a person with a functional life.  Yes, I'm still functional.  I think.  I suppose that would require outside affirmation.  But in terms of regrets, I've always felt like I have lived my life on my own terms.  There are just a few things that I'd wish would have gone a little bit differently.

I wish the concept of family would have meant more to my own.  I believe everything turns out the way it is supposed to; otherwise I would have been declared utterly insane years ago.  However, at this point, even the small things seem superficial when it comes to family.  I don't mean they don't matter; rather, they are no more significant to me than any other relationship.  Maybe that is a good thing.  I am 100% certain that my lack of a family has allowed me to appreciate my friends on a deeper level than most.  I do endure a severe amount of compassion towards those whom I love.  But I always hear people talk about family as if it is something "more than" and I often wonder what that is like.  Maybe I already know.  I just don't know that I know. 

I am also 100% certain that it is why I never had children of my own.  Family was never a priority.  It wasn't required to know love; it wasn't required to feel happiness; it didn't seem to offer any additional benefits to life.  So I refrained.  I don't regret it.  I am entirely positive I would not have lasted as a mother.  Though I am motherly to a fault to those whom I chose to love, I do not believe that I have the concept of full time relationships built within my making. 

I wish I would have learned the true meaning of respect for others at a younger age.  Being a handful is an understatement when you are referring to my behavior as an adolescent.  It wasn't until I was thrown into the bowels of society to fend for myself that I realized the importance of the utmost respect of others and begin to act accordingly.  Regardless of whether or not you depend on others, you do depend on others.  I am one of the more independent people I know, and I depend on a TON of people to make sure my life continues to run "smoothly."  Ha, that was comical to even type.  But you know what I mean.  I need to make sure that I don't have a bad reputation.  I need to know that people can view me as dependable.  I have to ensure that I am hirable, trainable, and valuable in the workforce so that my life may continue on at the level of independence which it currently does.  Respect is key.  One must honor the nature of each human being which they encounter; one never truly knows what purpose that person is about to serve for you. 

I wish I had opened up and loved more people earlier, the way that I do now.  I am surrounded in my spirit by the love of so many that it seems worthless when I look back on the days when my heart was sealed off, my mind was closed, and I thought I was content with what I had.  Even though having more people in your life means, directly, that you will have less time with each, it is a remarkable feeling have nonjudgmental, pure, non-discriminate love and desire for the people who are in it.  Before, it seemed as though everyone who came into my life was scaled and graded based on what I might need them for.  How ridiculous I feel now realizing that about myself.  Had I known the amazement of loving people simply for who they are, and how they contribute to the world, rather than just my own pin-dot sized life, I would have jumped on that bandwagon with fury.  Since my mind has been opened to clean, unadulterated love, I have met more people, smiled more often, laughed harder than imaginable, and felt encouragement about myself, than I have known for the culmination of my life.  Me, the one who never thought she judged anyone.  Truly, though, I didn't.  I shut out everyone equally. 

These days though, I quite literally SEE people in a different light than ever before.  Everyone has a glorious purpose to love and be loved.  Everyone has a beauty within them that shines, if only you are looking for light.  What I had been doing is accepting people who complimented the person who I was, again, on my terms.  It left out so many opportunities for memories and tenderness, love and chaos, charm and spiritual enrichment, that I am left wondering, does anyone feel this way?  Does anyone know what it means to want nothing from anyone but for them to love one another?  My heart aches for it.  And its an utterly indescribable notion.  The notion to not judge someone at all, for any reason.  We are all we are; flawed, confused, hungry, tired, scared, alone, pessimistic, chaotic fucked up masses and yet we are all the same in that right.  None of us get it right all the time.  None of us get it right half the time.  If we could see that, and come together with our renewed sense of humanity, the entire world would change in an instant.  Yes, I am idealistic enough to believe that.  I never said I thought it was plausible.

I wish I had stayed single through my 20's.  Maybe now I wouldn't be too jaded to try again.  Marriage ruined my concept of romantic love, the exact opposite of its purpose.  Got to love irony.  Now all I have left to idolize is natural love, the love of a friend, the love of a laugh, the love of a pet's affection, the love of memories.  To think of entering into a romantic relationship with someone at this point in my life seems, self-defeating at best, torturous at worst.  It isn't that being loved by someone doesn't cross my mind.  It certainly does.  I am human; the human condition rests upon the precept of being matched perfectly to another and acquiring affirmation of one's complete worth and total value from the perspective of another's mind, heart, soul.  I logically know that this idea, is just wrong.  To chase after it, to me, would be to live in a way that is counterintuitive to my ideologies.  But maybe, just maybe, had I not gotten married too young, in a state of rebellion against my family's wishes, and struggled to make life work in a codependent relationship for the better half of a decade with someone who knew only how to love himself first, maybe I would be able to let someone love me today.  Maybe I wouldn't have to face this world alone.  Maybe someone would show me the compassion I wish to show others, and provide to me the idea that my life has remarkable value. 

I wish I had been better to my body.  This is hard to rest all blame entirely upon myself.  Habits start with children and we weren't an exceptionally healthy family.  Hot dogs and macaroni and cheese (I'm not knocking it, it's still one of my favorites, I just refuse to eat it), were a staple in our home.  Pop was always accessible and continues to be a thorn in my side to date.  I have underwent hypnosis, twice, in an attempt to get off the stuff.  It is my greatest vice.  Nothing works.  Though I know my mind is great and powerful, I do not allow it to conquer this irreparable condition.  I eat more cheese than any one person should, weekly.  I eat more often that I should.  I know that.  I'm bored, what can I say.  I absolutely love to cook and try new foods. Ree Drummond is the greatest she-devil who has come around in ages.  But I do love healthy food.  Again, if I had someone to cook for, maybe this wouldn't be an issue.  However, as a single woman, it is wholly pointless to buy healthy (aka expensive) food, thinking that you will make it all before it goes bad.  You won't.  You will waste hundreds of dollars a month and eat out anyway.   I don't care how many different ways someone tells me to cut the recipe in half, it's always too much food.  I give in.  I'm fat.  Live with it.  It hardly makes me a bad person.   

Now this one, eh, I could go either way.  I wish I had saved more money.  Do I really though?  I have always done what I have wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and have had an excellent time in the process.  If I had saved more money, I would have done less, but bigger things.  Maybe I had been to Europe already.  But I wouldn't have had the greatest shoe collection of any of my friends, or the tattoos I wanted which enable me to experience immediately gratifying catharsis on any number of topics, now imprinted on me like art.  Who is to say which is the better bargain?  I have always had more; smaller, but more.  Being cheap has allowed me to go to Niagara Falls, Put-In-Bay, Virginia Beach, and five concerts all in one year.  Or, I could have done none of that, and went to Italy.  Who knows.  I don't regret what I have, but I want what I don't yet have.  My only solutions is having both, and that just doesn't work.  I am selfish in that I require immediate gratification of a need almost at onset; saving isn't compatible with my needs.

I wish I had understood the basis for gossip during the times it affected my life.  Being a child is difficult.  We seek affection and affirmations from so many different sources.  Gossip is an attempt by young (immature either by age or intellect) people to forge a connection with someone through sultry admittances or tales that negatively affect another person's sense of worth.  Granted, the strong can survive a tale or two, and having a healthy perspective on one's own contributions and status in society will easily eliminate any impact the aforementioned gossip may have attempted to soil; but that is rarely the case during the times in which it is in play.  Gossip hurts; find friends by being a decent human being instead.  They'll last longer anyway.

I don't want it to seem as though I have a ton of regrets.  There are things you just cannot control in life.   You have no way of knowing that they will eventually affect you or make you feel a certain way.  I wish I had said I love you more often and to more people.  I wish I was stronger in the face of adversity.  I wish I wasn't as quick to anger during certain situations in my life.  I wish I had answered the phone. I wish I had walked away.  I wish my list couldn't be nearly as long as it would if I would type it all out for you.  But it is.  And there is absolutely jack shit I can do about it now.  Except, let it go.

Try not to dwell on regrets.  Life is always set on a certain path, but with each choice you make, a new road is carved out for your consequences to venture upon.  It will never be more than you can handle.  It will always be worth it.  Take the time to reflect on your life so that you may understand the why's of your choices.  Regret as little as possible.  Live by your standards and die with a smile on your face.   

Monday, December 14, 2015

Best of Luck to Us All

In 2004, living in the hell that Ohio calls Toledo, I began testing for lymphoma.  The doctor said the word to me within a two minute conversation without asking me any questions about anything!  Casual as they come.  I was 24 years old.  I think of how the world has changed and I'm dumbfounded.  In 2004, when you took an HIV test, they had a five page questionnaire they took you through like a multiple choice test, including questions like, have you ever engaged in sexual intercourse with animals including but not limited to primates.  Then you wait three days on the results.  Three grueling, horrifying, nauseating long days.  I don't care how safe you think you are, waiting three days makes you feel guilty, sick, and utterly distracted.  So when I go to a doctor's appointment and some of the first words out of his mouth are, "we're going to test you for lymphoma," all of the same feelings came rushing back to me.   Mortality.  How many times must we meet?

Eventually, meaning, five years later, my official diagnosis, (since 2005 I had the diagnosis of "mixed connective tissue disease" which means they knew it was autoimmune, just not sure which one) of scleroderma came back.  Again, it felt like a death sentence.  Today, when you take an HIV test, they swab your mouth and you wait 20 minutes and know your fate.  It took five years to find out what was going on with me from my first visit to the doctor.  I blame it all on moving to Toledo.  If you go to hell, part of hell will return with you.

Lying on the first couch I ever bought, so proud of that, it was black leather of course, binging on some tv show I was obsessed with then and have no idea what it was now, I noticed my lymph node was terribly swollen in my neck.  Not being sick, or having felt sick anytime lately, I went to the doctor, because I had free insurance through the university.  "We're going to test you for lymphoma."  Super.  Thank god when my next appointment came around, he was in Maui or somewhere absurd and I was transferred to a female doctor who knew a little more about handling patients with care. She tried, and luckily identified enough about me to get me on the right track.  And then, my contract was up with the school, which meant my insurance ran out, and I moved back to Cambridge.  Start all over again.

Found a rheumatologist in Zanesville; she's the one who gave me the "mixed connective tissue" diagnosis and began putting me through a myriad of medications basically as a trial and error methodology.  Then she transferred to somewhere in Pennsylvania.  I got notified by a letter in the mail.  The person who took over for her diagnosed me in my first visit.  I love him.  I saw him for seven years.  He has since moved on as well.  I have no luck with physicians. 

I have had general practitioners, rheumatologists, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, gynecologists, hematologists, cardiologists, I mean, what else is there?  Here I am, at 35, adding to the list.  Next week I get a surgical oncologist.  I don't have a problem with that.  I have been lucky to know so many doctors who are committed to their craft.  What I have a problem with is requiring such a plethora of medical personnel in my life!  I know people my age who don't even have a dentist.  I can't fathom the peace, or ignorance, of that life.

But after days like today, I almost understand my fate.  I've done nothing.  I do nothing.  Life will be taken from you when you take advantage of it.  Life requires motivation.  I believe I have lost most of mine.  Life requires love and purpose.  Life has beaten me to an inch tall thumbtack waiting to impede the soles of others' mobility. 

I try to write, nothing of worth comes out.  I try to do, my brain restrains my motions.  I try to think, life gets in the way.  I don't want to think about this life.  My life.  When someone comes to me about their own life, I beam positivity and motivation.  I apparently do not credit my own with the value which I do others'.  So at this point, I must ask myself, is my mind deteriorating my body, or is my body creating the rot that resides within my mind? 

I believe the purpose of life is to love and to give of yourself until there is nothing left to give.  I believe it with all that I am.  I believe that work is a way to manipulate us into feeding the upper pendulum of society.  I believe that kindness is the only thing that will allow you to feel free.  I believe that if you love something, you will only gain from the experience, if you do it selflessly.  I believe the world is now designed to mechanically deteriorate our brains to the point of maintaining our life and unteach us how to live it.  I believe their forces are much stronger than ours.  It takes someone special to conquer the obstacles they have erected against us all. 

Where does that leave me?  Still contemplating that.  I have cancer at 35.  It's getting redundant.  My adulthood has centered around doctors.  I know more about the Hippocratic oath than most premed students.  I've had nearly every single brand of insurance that is currently offered.  I can recite my twenty four pills in both generic and brand name forms.  I can talk to any doctor like a champ, and get "good question" as a response from most.  I'll always have medical debt.  I have as many "health" apps on my phone as I do shopping apps.  And I've had my will and final wishes done since I was 25 years old. 

What a bleak and dark perspective on my life, right?  I don't see it that way.  I am strong.  I am prepared.  I love to crochet. I love to watch marathons of tv shows I was obsessed with when they were on tv in real time.  I love reading three pages of a book and putting it down then playing solitaire for hours.  Then picking up a completely different book.  I adore the smell of English lavender and hate French lavender.  How are they so different?!  I love making travel plans, and I'm completely obsessed with checking out different hotels.  I think swimming might be the greatest thing to do in the entire world.  And I couldn't give two shits less how I look in a bikini, because I'm wearing one regardless.  I love learning.  Anything.  Absolutely anything.  I am a knowledge junkie.  Give me something new to learn everyday and I feel complete.  It's all I crave.  Information.  Give me what you got.  Because of that, I know this much is true:

; My story isn't over.  It may not be exciting.  It may not be uplifting to most.  I may not have anyone to share it with, and to some of you, that makes it worthless.  But to me, it's not over yet.  I have meaning to find.  I have meaning to provide.  So in the deeply poetic words of my television soul sister Max, from Two Broke Girls, know this, "I'm fine.  I'll always be fine."  Life's never been easy.  But it's almost always worth it.  I wish us all the level of success we see for ourselves.  Best of luck to each and every single one of us. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

If I Could Accomplish Anything At All...

If I could accomplish anything in the world, it would be to teach people how to not hate.  Love is so much better.  In my own life, the things that I have been hated for include being poor, being redheaded, being sexually promiscuous, being outspoken, being smart, being on drugs, being friendly to the less desirable class of people, being happy, being myself.  I’m sure I could think of more, and I am certain there are things I am unaware of, but that, was actually kind of exhausting. 

There is always someone willing to hate you for whatever it is you are doing at the time.  I just had a stint with cancer.  I am sure someone hated me for that.  That, I was asking for attention, or that I was getting attention that they wanted, or something else equally absurd.  I know that there were some that hated that I told everyone and made it public rather than keeping it between close family or friends.  But really, I don’t mind.

I heard an old adage years ago that said something like, “if you’re not being hated for something, then you’re not doing it right.”  I believe that is true simply because of the way human nature works; however, that doesn’t mean I think it’s right.  I also heard one that goes like this, “I am not competing with anyone; I hope we all make it.”  I prefer the latter. 

But how do we get to a place of loving one another continually, including ourselves, rather than putting envy, jealousy and hate out into the world for others to feed off of?  It’s not an easy process that is for sure, but it is possible.  And take it from me, it’s just like anything else.  You have to practice. 

Jealousy and envy are two of the ugliest emotions a person can have.  Mostly, because they often are being taken out on someone who has little or no control over what it is that you want.  I have struggled with these over the years, plenty.  I come from meager means, to say the least, and was inadvertently made to feel as though I was quite special.  My ego did not match my means.  I felt shorted, like the world was making me work for things I should have been given naturally.  I won’t go so far as to say I was unattractive, but looks will only get you so far, especially if your personality boasts an idea of being owed. 

The older I got, the more I saw people who came from backgrounds similar to mine, but seemed to have their shit together.  One friend of mine in particular has always managed to make me feel dreadful about myself, on accident of course.  I had it easy, I was smart, I was relatively attractive, I could make people laugh, I could talk to just about anyone, I, consequently, didn’t work hard for a whole lot that I ever had.  This girl, she busts her ass all the time with motivation I will never be able to wrap my head around, and she has a life to show for it.  I love her and I am so proud of her and though I used to harbor some jealously toward the things she was able to accomplish, I now honor her effort and take pride in the fact that she is my friend. 

When I finally was able to come to terms with the fact that I was a jealous person, it was an ugly, black day.  People often questioned me as to why I didn’t do this or that.  Why I wasn’t somewhere else, doing something great.  The potential is there.  The work, isn’t.  I have made poor choices in my life.  I have made lazy choices in my life.  I have received the life I worked to get.  And surprisingly, it’s been hard.  I believe the reason it’s been so hard, is because it isn’t the life I am meant to have.  By that I don’t mean that I am meant for wealth and fame and beautiful things.  I mean that I am meant to be happy and joyous and surrounded by love.  Yet for now, I am not.  Though I see things changing every single day.

Hard choices came first.  I was in a profession that made me miserable.  In addition to making me miserable, as hard as I tried, (and I did try here), to find a sense of integrity in the financial industry, it just isn’t there in big enough segments to be able to live off of it.  You can feed the system every day with your effort and it will take it and chew it up and spit it out.  The financial industry is for the dirty, devious, and deceitful at its worst, and for the completely apathetic at its best.  It took a decade of my life, and a whole lot of my fight, but I finally realized, I wasn’t going to change the system; rather, it was only changing me, at least, suppressing me.  In order to save my soul, (yes, I believe that’s true), I had to get out, and move on.  That meant two things, starting over financially / professionally, and removing a certain sect of people from my life.  Of course, a lot of hate came from that decision. 

Upon leaving the bank, I made myself a promise.  I would never again hide who I was, or what I wanted or needed from this world, for anyone or anything.  I would wear what I want, look how I want, and do what I want.  This concept of professionalism isn’t a look, it’s an attitude, and I’m well equipped with the ability to treat people correctly.  But people have such a massive misconception of me because of the professional fa├žade I had to put into the world to keep my job in the industry for so long.  And I don’t mean to say that there are no good people left in the field.  I met some.  They are stronger than I am because I couldn’t split my life into two pieces anymore.  Freedom rushed over me and I began doing what I wanted.  It has been such a sweet release.

I have been working as a temp in order to try and figure out what it is that I want to do with my life.  Well, I’ve always known I am a writer, but I need a day job.  It’s a struggle when your heart is in a place that won’t feed your life.  But at least now, I write. 

While this transformation has been taking place, I have also been making small steps in redirecting my thought process and taking it away from hate and jealousy and putting it on the path of love.  Immediately, I cut out everyone who I felt would be a negative influence.  Over the last year, I have been reintroducing people into my life as I have let go of some of my own issues.  A major lesson one must learn is this:  you cannot control the way a person feels about you; you may only control the way you feel toward them, and, subsequently, how you act toward them.  If a person hates you, that doesn’t mean they have no place in your life, or at least, they may not need eliminated from it.  Rather, it may be a chance for you to embark on a quest for truth.  Learn what it is that you have done to create such negativity.  If you come to the conclusion that you are not at any fault, then let go and move on.  If you are able to look deep into that looking glass and see an error in your ways, then you have an amazing opportunity for growth, and remorse.  Always apologize for the wrong you have done.  Even if the other person won’t, or isn’t yet willing to, accept it.  You are responsible for the emotions you emit to the universe.  If you do not transmit remorse, then you are allowing the hate to feed.

Once you know you have done what you can to remove the negativity from your spirit, then you have provided an open space for love.  This is the purpose for reintroducing people into my life.  Not that I want anything from them, but that I want them, the negative space they occupied or supplied, eradicated.  I have to take charge of changing the path of my thoughts.  If I can allow someone to be around or be inside of my life and not allow my positivity to be stolen by their existence in it, then I am doing it right. 

The most effort I can make is this, every time a thought leaves my lips, allow myself to process what it was.  Be conscious of my words.  It’s a struggle.  My sarcasm knows no bounds.  It’s almost as natural as breathing to me.  So this is a BIG effort.  But, I have done it.  Every time I speak, I think, “what kind of an impact might that have on the person it was directed to?”  If it is a negative impact, then I retract and redirect.  If it is positive, then I let it fly.  If you continue to make this effort, it will become more and more natural to you, and you will be able to stop the harsh words before they come out at all. 

Jealousy, envy, though, are different monsters altogether.  Like I said before, I was meant to feel like I was entitled to a certain lifestyle because of the way I was raised.  I put forth some effort into my life, and expected the rewards to come.  But things kept getting worse.  It wasn’t until I walked away from everything I knew, that I became aware of the hindrance life had on me.  Like Fight Club teaches us, “it isn’t until you walk away from everything, that you are free to do anything.”  There were so many strongholds on me that I wasn’t aware of.  Abusive relationships, work I hated, negative people who thought that appearances were everything, guilt from things I had done in my own past, ignoring myself and my spirit.  I let it all go.  The standards of others no longer have an impact on my day to day life.  When you live your life according to the standards of others, whether it’s your friends or your society, you are driven by a source of envy, a need to keep up with others, rather than a desire to meet the demands of your life, your soul.  And when we aren’t feeding our own soul, we will never be able to find anything fulfilling in the least. 

Today I stand and say, I live by the desires of my own heart, and that which I believe is the best and most progressive path for my existence.  I believe in other people and their potential.  I promote rather than suppress.  I live instead of exist.  I have taken time to learn who I am and what my soul desires.  Eastern philosophy, specifically Yogi principles, have taught me more than I could ever envision.  Our energies are everything.  We must honor them and progress with them.  Meditation allows us to live in the moment and honor that which is surrounding us.  We are not promised another.  There is no room for jealousy in such a place.  We have all we need within us.  Namaste-the divinity within me, honors the divinity within you.  We are all the same, made up of the same energies, moving toward the same existences.  Our paths may vary, our intentions may deviate, our words may falter, but our lives will always end up the same.  Knowing what I know now, jealousy is pointless because we’re all the same.  Hatred is pointless because we’re all the same.  I love myself.  And I love you as well.  Namaste my friends, my brothers and sisters.  May you know the depth of the love you all possess.