Big changes

IMG_0650 (1)There comes a time when you know you have to say goodbye. When you have tried and tried and the same things keep coming up. When the trying is exhausting and you realize you have built a wall around your heart without really knowing you did it.

I moved out. Packed up many of my possessions, the ones I had hid away in my private space because they were not welcome in the main part of the house. I took myself and my hopes and dreams and said no more and left.

I feel bad for the carnage I have left behind. The tears, the sadness that some are experiencing in my absence. Sometimes, no most of the time, it takes a gap, to appreciate the presence.

I remember years ago when I left my first marriage. I desperately wanted someone to grow with me. Be by my side, as I was by his to see what we could really do in this world. I had spent years taking care of others. My time used to help, be there, foster and mother my two daughters. I took care of the house.

Then as the immense needs of the girls lessened and gave me space to breathe finally; I took a look around and realized I forgot who I was.

What do I like to do?

Who am I?

The process of getting to know yourself all over again is a valiant one, but not one for the faint of heart. You have to get quiet. You have to be still, you have to try things.

Lots of things.

And you have to claim it. Demand that you will take the time, and your life has just as much value as everyone else’s.  That may be the hardest of all.

For the nurturer, we get a lot of our value by being in service to others. We see their successes and accomplishments as our own.

But then when they don’t need us so much, what’s left?

A shell of a person who has to figure it all out again. To say yes to what comes along in the hopes of finding our light again.

I had lost my light.

My daughter today, (she always tell me the truth, the kind that really stings) said to me.  “When you were there, I would be in the same room with you and wonder where my Mom was?”

I wasn’t myself. I had played a part that I learned and believed I needed to, in order to make things easy.

Not that anyone asked me to, but I fell in line and lost my self.

I cast no blame. If I was going to set blame, I would set it on myself as I allowed it to happen in the first place. Again.

I decided. Months ago, really.

But things weren’t lining up, I needed a job.

I leapt anyway. Into the unknown. Believing my wings would pop out on my way. And thankfully they did. The job came, the new place to live came; with a built-in friend and supporter and people were nice to me.

“You are so brave to do what is best for you.” “It will be ok.” They said and I believed it, and it is.

I am okay. I wish things were easier on the people I left. Even now, I know it is for the best. He will find someone that will be exactly what he needs. He will get to be himself too.

I have learned the importance of being able to be our one true self in the arms and heart of another person. To be able to dance to our own music. To reach for our dreams and believe we can have them. To explore every nook and cranny of ourselves.

These lessons we learn, they can be rough. But man, they are important.

Celebrating me. Again. And hopefully for the rest of my life. ❤ hazel

 

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Two creatives

IMG_0294Had a conversation with a friend about what she wants to do with her art business. As I sat with her I asked questions to point her into a mission. What she really wants to see. What we could build upon.

I write a heart on my paper waiting for her to tell me what she loves about her business, so I can write a word or two, beside it. She goes on to tell me that she has postponed doing certain things and had filled her life up with stuff for others in order to avoid the new mission. Automatically avoiding the real success she could have if she just did it.

I push back, and say she can do it, then in my next breath I said I get it. I feel the exact same way. The excuses build up everyday until time is wasted that you can’t get back.

I have been “home” for almost six months. Plenty of time. A real long respite from everything. How did I spend it? Helping others with their dreams.

Working on my own creative endeavors; some, but mostly I would find projects helping others which very conveniently took me away from my writing.

“I’ll get back to it.” I’d say. “Tomorrow.” Then I walk away from the computer. And another day is gone.

I will make a generality here for the sake of this post but I do realize not everyone feels this way. ( Don’t argue with me about this. I don’t care.)

Many of us are absolutely terrified of living up to our full potential and we are all afraid of rejection.

I have two other novels I could have worked on, literally with outlines. Good concepts. If I sat down and really let the words fly, I imagine I could bust them out in about six months. But then what?

As a creative, you make things. Ideas come from your heart and your mind and you put them out into the world, and sometimes the world is not hospitable. It is like holding up your child to the family for the first time and having them say your baby is ugly or stupid. These big things that we share, are our children, are our very hearts. We have carried them with us for months or years. Maybe a lifetime.

Rejection is rough. I have over twenty rejections from years ago with my children’s stories. Now trying to play with the big boys with a novel that I feel, and believe with every part of my being, could give others a sense of peace and acceptance of us being one.

But, I have no audience. No one even gets back to me. The lack of answer is the standard rejection, these days. That in itself is painful. You are not seen. Not heard. Not a person, you stand vulnerable and naked in front of them, and they turn away. Ok, that was a little dramatic, but it feels like that sometimes. Dammit.

Getting up and finding someone else to hand your heart to, then more hopes or wishes that they will get you. Trying again. Then silence. More time goes by.

Then the thoughts that eat at you. Who am I to try to put something out there? Who am I to expect an invitation to Oprah’s house to talk about my book. ( I still see it)

A lot of creatives are also “afraid” of the other side too. What if I get totally successful? What if people will then expect more from me, than I can deliver? The original came from the heart, maybe from trying to heal a dark secret or get over a painful love. What if we can’t perform on command again. What if we can’t deliver?

Many artists are especially tortured with the idea of creation. It can feel like a burden. It is because you feel compelled to do it, you have to get it out of you. many times you cannot sleep, eat or do anything until it is done. Out of you.

I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s story in her book Big Magic that someone relayed to her. I can’t remember who it was. He looked at ideas as if they are always floating around, just waiting for someone to land on. Once he was driving on a beautiful coastal highway, when the words to his next song came to him. He screamed back “Hey! can’t you see this is not the best time for me to write this stuff down?!”

Love that. I do believe that there are always more ideas and thoughts behind the ones that get away. Sometimes I don’t even write things down anymore, I just let it go on to land on the next person. You have to prioritize, man.

I don’t even know what I am writing about anymore. Basically it was two creatives, drinking tea at an antique oak table and venting about the crap, the excuses we come up with to not do our biggest art. And it was f*&n magical.

Love days like that.

Hazel out.

Boogie down

DSCN3002I wrote this when the Baltimore riots were going on. Years ago.

Went to the gym last night. My latest campaign for fitness and losing weight. I strolled in and moved my key fob over the reader and analyzed my options.

Stair climber, elliptical, treadmill?

I focus in on the treadmill, second to the end. I walk past three people, on stationary bikes, one on the treadmill closest to the entrance, and one woman on the stair climber. I step up onto the treadmill and pull out my earphones. The wires are tangled. Figures. A short battle with them and I win. I place the buds in my ears and set the treadmill to Quick start, climbing up to 4.3 mph. A nice jog.

It is dark outside as I face the window; the reflection is my own. I watch myself, and look at the people behind me. We all have ear buds, there are many machines between us and we are all in our own worlds.  No one speaks to anyone else. I said hello to the counter person, but after that, I might as well be alone.

I turn up the radio on my iphone to listen to a particularly catchy tune. I imagine others are listening to their own catchy tunes. I think how I would like to dance to this song, but I don’t bust any moves because of what others might think of me. And, they can’t hear my music.

They can’t hear my music.

They can’t hear my music, and I can’t hear theirs.

We are orbiting planets in different universes.

It starts me thinking about how we all walk the planet.  With a lot of our interactions done on the internet; it is rare if we even reach out to new people daily.

This disconnection; I believe has led us to feel isolated as an individual, a community, a country and as a people.

I wonder what can be done to bridge the gap?

And then I thought of something.

In every culture there is a dance, or many dances. Dance has long been a way to communicate, tell stories and come together. It is used to spread joy; in celebration and in ritual. One of the gifts people have is the ability to move their bodies for no other reason, but because they can, and they hear the music that makes them feel like it. It makes them feel that they are a part of something.

Something bigger than themselves.

What this world needs is a Dance party. A Worldwide dance party where we can see our similarities, and the way our bodies move. Music is powerful. It mellows, it excites depending on the rhythm that it carries.

Ten minutes at a time,  all over the world simultaneously. So we can share something. Something amazing. Together.  We can see that we are all people, who love, dance, share a smile. Move together in a great unison of humanity.

If it were ever up to me, we would dance. And be one.

Crossroads and Trust

DSCN0892

I have been unemployed now for five months. I know it is that long because I am bound by a pesky non compete contract that I signed with my previous company. It has become an even more bitter ending to my time there.

Being at home for that long with having so many interviews, I cannot even count and no offers made has been very hard. I left my last position when I heard someone say “Die on your own sword.” It struck me that I was going along with things and struggling in ways that didn’t gel with who I am or who I wanted to be. So I guess I am dying on my own sword in that way.  I eat girls scout cookies in threes while I write this. But I digress.

At first I believed in many possibilities. Ways to use my creativity and ideas to start a new mission. To build something from my own hands, see it through and succeed. Who I thought were my partners, were not and I have been adrift ever since in my ideas and lack of confidence in going it alone.

I sat with my mom in tears as now on top of all other things, I am contemplating leaving my marriage. Eight years, we have been together. And on paper no one would ever believe we would make it that far. Different belief systems, different in as many ways as you could think, we had managed to stay together despite fights, hardships, and the everyday struggles life threw at us.

And I sit at a crossroads with no real firm ideas to hang on to, still thinking it is my time to leap. Then I worry, and hold on, try again. The cycle continues.

Yesterday, I sat in tears in what was supposed to be my office, my sacred creative space where I could write, ponder and develop into my best self. My mother now staying with us; has taken up residence there as she toils away on homework at aged seventy-five. She didn’t take my space, I offered it up. I often give up something of mine to others. It has become a theme.

I sat, pouring out my feelings. She told me to sit back and breathe. The chair is one I picked out from a stranger online, a bright harvest gold, mid-century recliner in desperate need of recovering. I love the chair. I love everything in this room, from my hand-painted art to my many photos of my daughters. The true lights of my life. I sat back as she picked up a pad of paper and pen.

” Who all have you interviewed with?” she asked.

“Mom, I cannot do this right now, I cannot handle actually writing down all of these rejections.” I cried harder.

She listed some, as I had told her each time I was trying for something.

“What else have you done?” she asked.

“I finished my novel.”

This list, now becoming something very different from what I originally thought it was intended for.

“You have been supportive of me, your husband, his kids. You have supplied a business plan for that guy, the artist.” She continued to write as I had stopped talking and was only listening.

” Honey, I am on to page two. You have done a ton of stuff on your journey to finding your new job. Look at this. No one can say you haven’t been trying.”

My voice broke as I reached for the toilet paper roll that had been left there for a month on the side table, seemingly waiting for this moment. I blew my nose and could speak.

“I have been trying. If only one thing would hit, I could build off of that. Just one thing.”

“I think the problem is that you aren’t focusing on the one thing you want. What is it that you want?”

The question is so much bigger than just the words strung together.

“I don’t even know anymore.” I say in response. “When you spend so much of your energy being there for others. Lifting them up, guiding them. You lose track of yourself. It’s hard to build back your own self when you have spent so much time being something else to others.”

“Yes, but what do you want? The question can be answered in so many ways. I want to take a walk, I want a haircut. I want to go to the beach. Start with something.”

Continue reading “Crossroads and Trust”

A tear.

A tear fell from the corner of my eye and streaked down my face. It was not a tear of despair, or sadness, but a tear of change.

For so long I have played small. Not doing everything in my power to shine. I hid, afraid of being seen and afraid to show up my loved ones. There is a passion in me. The essence of giving and of my storytelling needs to be seen, and felt and heard.

The tear was there as a reminder of time that had passed. Time that could not be retrieved, it was gone. There was only now, this moment. I stand at the gateway of my new life and gather the confidence to step through. A long sigh. More tears.
Years back I had let go of the shame of crying. I had seen my strong grandmother do it, my mother and my children. There is a flushing, a cleansing when it is happening that helps or soothes.

Tears of happiness, sadness, great disappointment and love. Watching your child walk for the first time, their first smile. When you graduate from school. Events. Events that are yours to keep in your heart. Things we have done.

Tears connect us.
They say “I understand, I’ve been there, I am with you.”
There is no shame in connection. I have seen tears of pride, tears of joy and tears of pain. How amazing it is that God has provided such a way for us to express our feelings. People fight it, they say crying means you are weak. I think when we fight this urge we are disengaging in the very thing that holds us together. The One.

Another tear falls, and another. It is the One who has made me, gifted me with the ability to tell stories, to speak my truth and to share with others. And I have hid it away. Ashamed of being different, ashamed of being me. Who am I to walk into the world and introduce myself, who am I to ask for more than what I have right now. Who are any of us?
Yet, who are we to hide away, to not live our most ultimate life? The gifts within ourselves nurture others, give life to others. Moments of inspiration, healing and courage. It is a must that we all shine as brightly as we are meant to. It is in honor of the world that we barrel through.

If we don’t do it now, when will we have a chance? There is only now, only this moment. Shine on.
Big love, HIMG_3912

Nostalgia is only for older people

DSCN4321Walked through the mown down forest by my home (soon to be a large, tight housing development) and thought, remember when these were trees, and you could hear the birds and animals scurrying about?

The sounds now were of children laughing in their small yards completely oblivious to the scalping of nature right next to their homes.

They will grow up with neighbors and have friends that they can go to school with through the years. Perhaps they will find their future spouses and have families of their own.

The current twenty something’s are into the latest technology, just as we were years ago. We had been dazzled with the VCR and a microwave that could cook our food in no time at all.  Cable TV and  movies you could rent anytime you wanted. Drive in theaters.

Every generation becomes nostalgic of what they had in their younger years. They watch with great excitement the new stuff that they got to see come into the world. The older stuff is set aside as obsolete.

Yet, those that came before, sat amazed, and felt nostalgic of the things that they remembered back in their time.

So is the cycle. Looking back and remembering.

My time was better than now, better than theirs who came before. We all feel like that. That our time was the best, feeling sorry for the rest.

It is only when you are older that you miss stuff. Moments, certain fragrances, clothes that were hip. Music is a big one.

The current generation has no idea what we had, and we have no idea what they have. It is my hope that each generation will feel the feelings of belonging and what life is really about.

I am nostalgic for the open spaces and the games played with friends outside until dark. The playing so hard you forgot to eat, and running next door to see if your friend was home.

Many of those things are going away. Life is complicated. Different.

That’s why I miss the good ol’ days.

~Hazel

Apples, oranges and bananas

orangeWith mid-life, one has some time and experience to look back and really assess the situation of one’s life. It is a good time to make sure you are being your best self. That the decisions you are making are your own and that you can live with them.

A big part of my decision making, has been my desire to make my daughters’ proud. I wanted them to see me succeed in a general sense. And I have at times done that.

Now, as I ready for a change again, due to circumstances I will not go into, I am faced with telling them I am on the move again.

I think the reason I didn’t want to tell them and the reason I maybe stayed longer than I might have, is two fold. I like the money and the stability, however, I really didn’t want to tell my daughters’ I was quitting.

I have figured out why. Their father, a very good man, is as stable as they come. In this disastrous employment environment called the 21st century, this man has managed to stay with the same company in similar roles for 37 years. THIRTY SEVEN.

Now in comparison, I have had numerous jobs, three start ups and am also writing a book. Sorry, four businesses.

If one would make a side by side comparison between us; obviously one would be a winner and one would be a LOSER. However, it came to me recently that we are measuring people as if they come from the same mold. Apples to Apples.

I must be an orange. I love the thrill of a start up. The brainstorming, the dynamic mind melding that comes when a small group decides to chase their dreams. If not dreams, an incredible idea that they want to share with the world. The creative juices flowing and overflowing until you look down at your sweaty, blistered hands and realize that you have made something. Made something from nothing.

There must be great satisfaction in having a nice comfortable life with plenty of money, a job you go to everyday and enjoy. The contentment of a nice stable, career. I applaud those who have that. I celebrate that you love that or have that. Go Apples.

But it is when it is not wanted, but a self imposed necessity, that I find sad. Some have a fire inside that they let become embers. That the societal belief that one should stay in the same place and for the long term, and the shaming that happens when one chooses another life than that, is what we need to change.

We need to start appreciating the ones who take chances, the ones who looked at the odds and made the jump anyway. There is bravery and pride in going beyond the proven way.

Oranges have made the Iphone, they have built up cars that run on alternate fuels. They have built empires, and have struggled, each of them, along the way. There are Oranges that never make it, but they just keep trying.

What I cannot get behind any longer is the shaming. The expectations that one has to fit into this mold to be considered successful. I hope my daughters will see a Mom that went for it. That she might have been a little more nomadic than some, but she was always excited about creating and searching for the next big thing. Something to build, something to make. Something to write.

Apples make a huge contribution to society, and I am thankful for apples. I am thankful for oranges, and my God, those bananas. They are fabulous. We all have a place, with a job in being in this world.

There is room for all of us in this fruit bowl called life. Enjoy ~ Hazel.