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.


Writing and Reading, and not reading.

Feather from JonathanI have a favorite author, one I watch, and follow and listen to, but I have never read her books. I have picked them up and purchased them, but I always set them down.

She has a highly intellectual, academic way of writing that really taxes my brain. Big long words. Many of them. Too many of them per sentence.

When I read a paragraph, I end up putting the book down, going to the dictionary three times and having to sit and let it sink in. It just doesn’t move me, like it should. Like I know it is supposed to. Like I know it does for others.

I wish it did.

Maybe it’s because I am a story teller myself. The way I write is the way I talk, I can use big words; but I rarely do, as the simple ones do just fine.

Sometimes, it feels like these academically charged self help books are for an upper class of people only. The ones that went to college for fifteen years, have multiple degrees and huge boxes of vocabulary at home just for fun. They sit at the breakfast table and discuss hyperbole, and what they will have for dinner in the next fortnight. Ugh, who talks like that?

When you are working on yourself, you don’t want to have to work to think as well. Your brain is already rearranging a lot of inner thoughts and judgements about the way you are; into the way you want to be. That is hard work in itself.

I appreciate everything she says when I hear her speak, but the way she writes, makes me nuts. And it’s ok. Because others like it. And she’s successful. And that’s great.

I am grateful for TV, and the internet for showing me who she is as a person, and for being able to hear her say the things that are in her books. Sometimes with big words because she cannot help herself; but also with regular words that the brain can digest when open.

Gratitude that there are all different types of people. Grateful for the many ways to see and hear them.

There is room for us all. ~ Hazel

Me unleashed

I showed him my new leopard print shirt on the hanger and he laughed. A belly laugh that told me that he thought it was ridiculous. I asked him what he thought, “I didn’t think you were that kind of girl.” then retracted his thought with “it doesn’t matter what I think, its your shirt.”

Huh. And the whole exchange was no more than a minute and it caused so much thinking to happen in my head that I thought it would actually explode.

It made me feel like he didn’t know who I truly was. But the big truth is that I have never shown him. It’s my fault. I have dulled down my shine for years in an effort to be the person I thought he wanted. To get by. To make it easy.

When you are acting, it’s exhausting. Always a part to play. A negotiation of your own internal feelings and an external readjustment. Serpentining of the soul.

I am bucking this situation. Hard. Screw this.

I will dance, I will listen to the music that I love and I will share time with people that think I am funny. Because I am damn funny. And I laugh, and I sing loudly in the car. I swear and I make funny faces. I crave adventure and new things. To push the limits of what I can do and be.

From now on, I will be my silly fun self and if he can’t handle it. Too damn bad.

More leopard print clothing is coming. ~ Hazel

me in leopard print

Challenge your thoughts

I have noticed that some people are harder to bring back from the brink. They hear things that may or may not be true, but they hold them as true because they are the worst possible scenario for them. They believe that life, and the world in general are not their friends.

Today I thought of someone in my past, who took his life. I wonder if there was anything I could have done to stop that from happening. If I could have helped him. Before it was too late. He was in my life a long time ago, so many years had passed since we had seen each other and he was not in my closest circle. I still cared about him. I doubt he knew.

We spend a lot of time telling ourselves and others that everything is ok.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine.”

But are we fine? Are we one bad day from wanting it to end? What is the tipping point? Is it friendships, love?

I think it must be the overwhelming belief that nothing will ever be ok again. Mixed with timing and opportunity.

What would happen if we all just got very real, and said when things were shitty? If we reached out with a hug, to a stranger in tears on the street? We spend so much time in our own head that we miss what challenges others are having. We walk on by.

Some just have it harder. Certain circumstances, hardships. No support structure. This country doesn’t have a good way to help people through mental illness and depression.

We are losing people. People that have something to give and to say.

They are gone. They leave behind questions, regrets, that we didn’t do more.

Ask them out for a cup of coffee. Send them a note.

I’m sorry.

We need to stop assuming that because someone says they are fine, that they are.

And all of us, need to challenge the bad feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness that we feel and know that the sun will rise, and a new day will come. Things are fixable and we are not alone. We all have a place in this big wide world.

Ask for help.

We love you. IMG_6395


Friday night

After a week of pouring out creative energy for my job, I have little left and plop in front of the TV. My mind numbing design shows waste my time, and help me decompress, as I pop in and out of my Facebook page. No likes.


I am on a roll at work, not that I am getting much credit for it. My ideas are being drafted into a large presentation that will be given by someone else. I asked for the position of doing this full time, with the title that would come along with it. It was not answered.


The rain continues to fall. Late winter, spring when we have made it again through the cold, but not seen near enough sunshine to put a permanent smile on our faces or flip flops on our feet. I try to enjoy the rain and the gray days. But this is getting ridiculous.


What about my book? The one I have spent almost 15 years writing. The one that is inside me? Not much time for that. If there is time, my brain is just too tired. Too tired to remember where I was in the story without taking an hour to read it first to get into character. Not writer’s block exactly but writer’s fatigue. The creative place in my brain is alive and kicking but being taxed by another purpose. The purpose that pays the bills.


I spend my nights waking up with ideas to fuel the fire of the campaign for my job. Names and epiphanies about how to convey this information to the masses. I wait for it to stop. It is good that I can bring something else to the table than that of which I was hired. I can develop my own position with the stuff I come up with for the company and I have no serious guidance or overseeing. There is a freedom in that.

I know that I could get up early and write for myself, look out over the morning mist with the sun peeking it’s rays up over the park across the street. That would mean missing sleep. Without sleep I couldn’t do what I need to do. The stuff that pays the bills.

Paying bills is a very significant reason to use your brain cells and tire yourself out trying to impress.

So tired. But at least I wrote something.

Whatever. fullsizeoutput_3137

Maybe tomorrow~ Love Hazel

Filling my children’s tool box

I remember a day years ago when my oldest daughter had a friend over to play. It was hot outside and they wanted to go on the Slip-n-Slide and they were very excited.

I gave them an instruction as I finished up the dishes. “If you go out back and clean up Curly’s (our dog) poops I will set it up.”

My daughter moved towards the door to grab the small shovel and bucket for the job in an intentional way.

Her friend Sarah however had something on her mind.

“That’s your job.” she said to me.

I got closer to her and simply said “Actually it is my job is to teach my kids how to do everything they will need to do in their life, so that they will be able to take care of themselves one day.”

“Oh,” and she ran off to help with poop patrol. They were slipping and sliding in no time.

I had never quite put those words out there before. That was my goal. I didn’t want them to have to suffer with not knowing how to do things. Not knowing how to do their laundry when they went off to college. Not know how to cook. The lessons changed as they got older. From washing their hands and brushing their little tiny teeth to knowing how to figure out a budget when moving out. It’s all about filling up their individual toolboxes so they can fix whatever comes up.

Years ago when I was doing whatever I was doing, I would gather my daughters and say, “I am going to impart wisdom.” I never had to define the word impart nor was it a regular part of my vocabulary except at these moments. Sometimes it would be at a time of great importance but mostly it was when I was doing something mundane that I had figured out a trick to. Opening a new sugar bag over the sink helps contain the messy granules, etc. To this day as they are 22 and almost 19, they still gather around if I say “I am going to impart wisdom.” It makes me happy to see how independent and self sufficient they are. I feel comfort as I know they are walking out in the world making good choices.

From my tricks when they were little to get them to keep their coats on- ask them if they want to be silly, then put it on backwards and zip it up. They can’t get out, and they love being silly, to encouraging them to get dressed by putting their socks on my hands and saying “Is this right?” To which they would say no and then put the sock on their foot where it belongs. Silly Mommy. To the big stuff, how to get home when your friends are drunk and they were your ride. I am glad I made this my job.

Working parents carry so much guilt, they are away from their kids, they have to be in daycare, you name it, and sometimes they end up doing everything for their kids to make amends in their own heart. Yes, I totally understand. Guilt is a mighty large rock that hangs around your neck. However, the real noose is putting kids out there who don’t know how to do anything. That is hard on them.

So that is my thought today. It’s about filling your kids toolbox, with as many tools as you can. So they can make their way. And about the guilt, skip it and go teach your kid how to do something. And then they will also teach you.

I didn’t know there was a better way to peel an orange until my oldest taught me recently.

Good stuff.

❤ Hazel



Hurt people, hurt people.

I have heard this numerous times before. It makes a lot of sense. When someone is hurting; for whatever reason they have at the moment; it is common to lash out at others. It doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t help things.

I have a friend that conveyed a story once about herself and a mutual friend of ours. Both of them had similar backgrounds, grew up in a city in the Mid West. Strict parents. More than strict,  I would call it physical and emotional abuse.

One became very “successful” in life. Excelling in school, college, graduate school and becoming a judge and professor at a college. She married and had three sons. Big house, nice cars, you name it.

The other friend had a hard time finding his place in the world. He bounced from one relationship to another, always looking to the other person to take the lead so he could follow. Doubting himself and his abilities. His God given talent of trumpet playing fell to the wayside. He had a poor relationship with his daughters and was left wandering his entire adult life. A failure. By his own words.

One day, the two of them had a conversation about life.

Failure asked-“Your parents were abusive too and they told you millions of times that you weren’t good enough, that you were a terrible person who didn’t deserve anything good.  All those years ago. I don’t understand why you are so much more successful than I am. What is the difference between us?”

Success said- ” Because I chose not to believe them.”

We have choices everyday to listen to other’s or to fight for ourselves. We get tired when we are beat down. When we go for something and it doesn’t pan out. It’s because we are bad. We aren’t good enough. Some live there. Where they struggle.  They can’t seem to climb out of the sadness.

They sit and watch everyone else have things, moments, epiphanies, success; fall into their laps. Or so it seems.

Other people are so busy being successful they don’t have time to think about failing. When they fail, they just keep moving through it. There is a bump, but they get over it. They move on. They have the capacity to understand that the life that they have is worthwhile. They have meaning. There is no question.

For those that were abused, it is with them everyday. Why was I placed in that family? What was it about me that made them treat me that way? What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me?

I remember working on my own stuff. I was molested when I was nine. That moment  has walked with me throughout my life. What was it about me that drew him to do that to me? Did I do something to invite it? Did I deserve what happened to me?

Years and years later, there were two epiphanies for me.

One, I told my father what happened, He was shocked. I had never said anything about it. I told him I had kept weight on my body as a coping mechanism to keep bad people away from me. I thought it would make me safer. He said ” If you live your life because of what happened to you, you are giving that person your life. Do they deserve your life?”

“No, that dirty old man at the amusement park does not deserve to spend any more time in my head or heart or how I see myself in this world. Fuck him.”

My next epiphany came when I was in counseling. Neuro-Linguistic programming. Working on the same stuff to try and rid myself of those memories.

I sat with the psychiatrist and he led me into a hypnotized state. My eyes were closed, I was peaceful and warm.

“I want you to see yourself on a linear plane in space. There is your past, it is behind you, there is the now, and there is the future, that is ahead of you. I felt safe as we talked about things.

Then he took me back to the moment in time when the molestation happened to me and how scared I was. He said, “I want you to know that you are safe. You are in two spaces now, you are back in time as the scared nine year old and you are there as your thirty five year old self as well. What would the thirty five year old say to the nine year old. Was it her fault that this happened? Did she do something wrong? Did she deserve it?”

I hugged myself and said “No, this little girl did not deserve any of these things. She was a victim of these circumstances and the man was bad. He did a bad thing. He was the one with the problem and it wasn’t fair or ok for me to carry it around with me anymore.

He further explained that I didn’t have the ability to protect myself back then, as I was nine I didn’t have the words or the power to get him away from me. But I did have the ability now and I would protect my inner child from being hurt by it anymore. I deserved a rich full life and it was that man’s problem and not mine to carry around anymore. Fuck him.

The baggage we carry around with us, is real. It hurts. It is hard work to get rid of it. To move past the idea of not being good enough into a spaces where we love ourselves is the most important journey we can take.

I like the quote. “You, yourself more than anyone else in the entire Universe, deserves your love and attention.”

Time to Love yourself.

Hazel out.