“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”— Carl Jung

If you grew up going to church (or even if not), you know about heaven and hell. One is good and one is bad, seemingly two different places. One paved with streets of gold and flowing rivers, while the other filled with fire and evil. I’m not sure what, if any, of the stories we are told are true. This world we are in seems like a bit of both to me. You can have one person that is walking in the clouds, living the best life and someone right next to them is in the pits of their own hell. People say if you look, you can see God everywhere. What if that isn’t true for everyone? What if heaven and hell exist in the same place?

There was a show called “The Good Place” that was a simulation for people who thought they were in heaven, when they in fact were in hell. It was a test of humanity in sorts. I watched because it starred Kristen Bell and I love her, but it plays into my point of heaven and hell existing in the same place, the same reality, it is just personalized. I know many people that have questioned why this is happening to me or to such a “good” person – I’m guilty of this myself. Maybe the “good” person wasn’t as good as we thought, or maybe someone’s hell is seeing a loved one suffer or in pain or removed from their life. I don’t know, I’m not a scientist or philosopher or even a religious leader, but it makes sense that those two places, Heaven and Hell, can exist in the same place. What better way to “punish” someone than to have them be able to see bliss but not have that same bliss?

Maybe this is me grabbing at straws trying to understand why things happen. Life can be amazing and beautiful, but it can also be dark and dreadful. This is heaven and hell existing in one person in one place, which is a reality for so many people. It is like the scene from the Lion King where Mufasa tells Simba never to go to the shadow lands – his kingdom next to dark, dreadful places where he is not King. I saw a TikTok where this woman was telling about a family discussion about favorite childhood foods. She said her favorite was Tuna Casserole, to which her mother said she hated it. They began to talk about why. For the daughter, tuna casserole was a yummy, warm comfort food from her childhood. For the mother, tuna casserole was a reminder of struggling financially and that being the only dish she could afford at the end of each month. So what was light and happy for the child, was dark and sad for the mother.

I don’t think that life is what you make it, because some people have a better hand to start with than others – blackjack is the perfect example here. I don’t remember where it was from but there is the story of a grandfather talking to his grandson about having two wolves inside of him – one good and one bad. The grandson asks which one wins in the end and grandpa says, ‘Whichever one you feed.’ I don’t agree with his ending point completely, but I do agree that we all have light and dark, good or evil – whatever you choose to call it – inside of us.

Why are you writing about Heaven and Hell, light and darkness, good and evil? Honestly I don’t know. There have been personal trials lately and it has been a dark road. I’m lucky that I am not traveling this road alone, although it can feel that way at times. Mostly because I don’t want to spread my “darkness” to others – not wanting to burden anyone else with my emotions. I think putting down my thoughts in writing, even if they are random is my neutral ground. I write for self healing, but I share in the hopes that it might help others who have similar thoughts, experiences, trials, etc.

We truly do not know what others are dealing with or going through., it could be dark and heavy, or light and amazing. Treat others how you want to be treated and keep moving along. In the end, what if it is all a test? How would you score, where would you rank?

As always – Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.


Can I Ask You a Question?

What do I have to say that others might want to hear? That is the plaguing question I constantly have running through my thoughts. Then I try to remember, that my writing is a creative outlet for me, not for others. I didn’t set out to reach the masses, I just wanted to write about my journey and personal life lessons. If my journey or thoughts help someone else, that is an amazing bonus and truly what I would like to happen. As a high school friend recently told me, “I shared my story and journey in hopes that it would help others.”

I am making this post in part to get your input on posts. You can message or comment if there are topics you would like to see discussed or questions answered…disclaimer this will all (obviously, but iykyk) my personal opinion, unless otherwise stated. SOOOOOO………the floor is open. I am all ears and can’t wait to hear what you have to say. I can assure you that unless I have your permission, you will not be mentioned by name or identifying facts (I was a read ahead and practice the paragraph kid too), so I understand nerves!

If you are writing and want an outlet to have an audience or just a guest post, I am here for it!! Just let me know and we can get to working on it immediately!!

I recently started watching a new series on Netflix. I am not going to mention it just yet because I am still in the middle of the series and to be completely honest, still processing a lot of it. It did make me want to think of creating a series on a topic to post and build from there, although that has absolutely nothing to do with the show at all….ehhh, that is my brain for you.

I am honored and thrilled that you are reading my post(s) – first time or returning – truly. I hope you will be on the lookout for upcoming posts!

Remember to always practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.” — Robin Williams

The pain in your chest – You can’t decide if it is a vice grip being turned tighter by each ticking second or an elephant sitting on your sternum. All you know is that it is hard to breathe. The bigger the breath you try to take, the harder it is to push this invisible weight away. Clutching your sides, bending over and screaming. So loud are your screams, you go to cover your own ears, only to remember you’re standing silently in a room full of people. How can you feel so alone and be surrounded by others?

Some days it seems like you are in a bubble, able to see the world passing by, but not able to participate fully. One part of you is dark and sad – unsure as to why, when to the “world” you seem to have it all together. One part of you is questioning why you are feeling this way when so many others have it “worse” than you. Another part secretly craves to have others there for you, almost like being back on the playground and not wanting to be picked last for the teams in recess, but all the while still isolating yourself. You suffer in silence as to not be a burden to those around you. You take care of your loved ones and give to others, but what is left for you?

The seemingly insignificant suddenly becomes Mount Everest, and only continues to grow until you can’t see the light anymore. The bubble you were in turns into a long, dark tunnel surrounding you. You want to scream for something, for someone, anything but your voice is silenced. Silenced by fears brought on from past experiences and trauma, not to mention society. Who would understand anyway? Why would anyone else care when they have their own lives to live and issues to handle? Does everyone feel this way? How do you find the light when it is gone?

I am YOU. Is it you too? I am this way for many reasons – mental health issues (anxiety, panic attacks, and sometimes depression), the product of my raising (most everyone bottled up their emotions), trying to keep others happy, and pretending everything is ok. I was a total Disney kid, so I am placing some blame there too. (Slightly a joke, but if you know you know. Haha!). I’ve been working on myself and trying to make sure I don’t get into the dark tunnel again. It is not easy and is a constant battle, but for me I want to keep fighting. I want to keep fighting not just for myself but for YOU. I am in no way an expert, but do have some things that have helped me over the years:

  • Can you CONTROL the situation? I try to focus on things I can control, everything else is going to find a way to work out or not. You can control how you react, not the actions of others.
  • Find an outlet. Walking, yoga, meditation, writing, painting, etc. Find something that is just for YOU. Make time for it, but do not put too much pressure on yourself about your outlet.
  • Realize you are NOT alone. There are so many others that have similar issues, and it is ok to not be ok. Give yourself some grace. Take time to feel what you feel and then come up with a plan to improve the situation.
  • Talk to someone. A professional is always an option, but if you are not ready for that just yet, talk to someone you trust. You need a judgement free zone.
  • Decide when you are talking to someone if you want solutions (their help/opinions) or just to vent. This will go a long way in you being able to open up more freely.
  • Seek professional help. When I finally talked to my doctor a few years back, she let me know that I did not have to “white knuckle” through life and situations. Also, if you have a family history of mental illness you are more likely to have issues as well. So it is OK to seek help and even take medicine if needed. I do and am so thankful as it helps – it does not take it all away, but gives me a better ground to start on.

Mental health is a topic that is still a bit taboo to discuss. This needs to change. I share my story in hopes that others will see it and know they are not alone. That sometimes even the ones you think have their shit together are falling apart too. I usually end my posts with “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” I’m going to end today with – don’t be so quick to judge others, you truly do not know what they are dealing with; life can be hard and it does not cost anything to be kind. If you can’t be kind, keep your comments to yourself and move along.

Thank you for allowing me to share a small part of my journey.

One of a Kind

On display, like a piece of borrowed and precious art. The line of those who have come to see this one of a kind, seems never ending. Many are in disbelief, some are in shock, most are crying. Each one knows, though do not want to admit, this is the last time any will see this work in person. From now on they can only recount memories, look at old pictures, and tell stories over and over again.

She walks around speaking to those that came, a smile on her face, but sadness in her eyes. In a state that is somewhere between reality and imaginary, not wanting, not able to believe that she too is left with memories for the rest of her days. Sleep is fleeting, and when it comes is restless; filled with dreams and nightmares. Not knowing if she should cry or scream, she sits, smiling as others walk by, in silence….her memories on a repeating loop.

Overcome with an onslaught of emotions, a young lady falls to the ground. She is surrounded by ones she loves, but it is not enough at that moment. She is only a teenager, old enough to understand but still young enough to not be able to grasp the situation fully. She takes her turn in the line and doesn’t understand.

You might still be confused as to what piece of art could cause this type of reaction, or you might have figured it out by now….the one of a kind is a person – a son, a father, husband, friend. A life gone far too soon. A husband, no longer there for silly fights and lazy day cuddles. A dad, not there to answer questions. A brother not there to laugh about crazy family. A friend, not there to catch the game. Old or young, the one thing we know for certain is that we will all pass away, we just do not have our expiration dates.

Death is a hard topic, almost taboo it seems. It leaves no one alone or untouched, yet it is not a dinner table discussion. Why? Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is final. But it is one thing that happens to every single living being. Death is what triggered my anxiety. I was too young to understand why, and didn’t feel comfortable discussing it either. We also do not talk about those that have died near enough in my opinion. It is ok to tell a story and cry or laugh, but tell the story. Share the love you had and keep the memories alive.

Those that are left after a death, have to try and process as best as possible. Grief is not linear, it is a journey. A journey that begins when you hear the news of the passing and ends upon your own expiration. I don’t think you ever truly get over a death, you just learn with each passing day how to live life in a new way, without that person. It is not easy, and some days are harder than others. Don’t compare your grief to others, some hide it well, others are more open with it. I don’t like to say life sucks, but it sure can be one heck of an asshole at times.

Remember life is short, no matter how long it lasts. Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

“How can I help you to say goodbye?”

There are few things in life that I can say for certain will happen – hunger, sleep and death. It could never rain again or the sun might not shine, happiness is not guaranteed and life can deal some shit hands sometimes. I hate knowing that in a short amount of time, because honestly even forever wouldn’t be long enough, that I am going to have to find a way to say goodbye again….

This time my goodbye is for George. If you don’t know George, you truly are missing out a little bit. George loves unabashedly, enjoys all the foods, and has perfected the cuddle and snuggles. I could go on and on about how wonderful George is, or how unfair it is that something out of our control is going to make us have to say goodbye so soon. Why are goodbyes so hard??

In 1993, Patty Loveless released the song, “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye.” It is a progression of a young girl moving away from her best friend, that young girl growing up and going through a separation from her partner, and then the death of her mother. In all these times her mother asks how can she help? The truth is nothing truly helps for a goodbye – whether it be from death, or separation or some other change. One line says “it’s ok to hurt and it’s ok to cry,” and it is ok to not be ok.

It will take some time for me to be ok, but one thing I know is that I will eventually be ok. I’ve had some big goodbyes in my lifetime and I’ve managed to get through them all. Knowing, even more so because it is extremely evident, that the remaining time with George is so finite, it has changed my view on life. Life is too short to be miserable, not just one or two bad days, but consistently not happy, NOT OK! There are a lot of options for help to get things better. Do not be afraid to make a change because of the unknown, live like George. Remember to reward yourself for even the small victories, remember to take time to “stop and smell the roses” along the journey, and above all practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

I know this was a little off course from my previous posts, but honestly 2022 was a year full of gut punches. I’m working on my outlook for 2023 and hope to come out with a few less bumps and bruises. This means being more honest with myself when things are just plain crappy and when things are great. Acknowledging both is one change in my mental health journey and it’s helping me so far….I’m still learning to let go of things that are not in my control and rolling with the punches a little easier. I’m blessed to have a great support system, but that doesn’t mean I utilize them. I’m a silent sufferer you see, and don’t want to “be a burden.” I’m learning and trying to be better about that as well.

So if you are one of the “waiting for a sign” type….HERE YOU GO! Make the change, take the class, binge watch a silly show over the weekend, go out, stay in, just try to make yourself happy in a healthy way! It truly is just one step at a time.

“Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart”

It has been a while since I sat down to write anything. There are reasons and excuses, but it is time to get back to it. I’ll start this post by saying that 2022 was not the best year, by far. For many reasons, which I won’t be writing about just yet, it was one of the hardest I’ve gone through in all my years.

I was on TikTok and watched an interview with this man and he was talking about his depression and anxiety, and how he always felt like he was a filler chapter or side character in everyone else’s story. He was discussing this and was asked, what about your story? Why are you focused on where you stand in others’ stories, and be the main character of your own? Well damn dude, thanks for holding a mirror up and making me step back to refocus. Because of this, I’ve started to evaluate the relationships in my life and adjust accordingly.

I love the saying people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I’m bad at giving the same amount of energy to each relationship and that isn’t sustainable, doing this will empty your cup and with an empty cup….you have nothing left to give. Growing up my grandfather would tell me, you have to take care of yourself first, and then help others. I asked him why once, because that isn’t what is usually taught. His reply? Because if you take care of everyone else first, eventually you won’t be able to take care of you or them. He knew this from experience, and again, his reply made me step back and refocus.

I never know if someone is a reason or season until after that relationship has run it’s course. While grateful for the lessons and that person, it is still hard when they are no longer a part of your life. I had this exact conversation with my 16 year old niece recently. It made me think back on my life and those that were in previous chapters…..some good and some bad. We blame so much of losing touch on life and being busy, which isn’t a lie but more so an excuse (for the majority). I’m guilty too, so don’t think I’m sitting in my glass house throwing rocks. It makes us feel a little better about not talking to or seeing our friends/family.

While I think we all want to feel important to others, we can’t drop focus that we are the main character of our own lives! We are the one constant, and need to be better for ourselves. We need to remember to treat others with kindness certainly, but we do not have to put everyone and/or everything else before ourselves! For me, this means putting things on paper…well blog. It is time for me to get down some of the thoughts and feelings happening, to help process. To help me be able to focus on the important things and not let my anxiety overwhelm me.

Life can be cruel. It can literally feel like you’re crawling through the darkness just trying to find a little bit of light. Sometimes the light is your heartbeat and it has to be your guide. Keep going, even if it is crawling or sitting still, as that might be what you need anyway. To be still….

Finding Your Way

After turning 18, you are considered a legal adult – as in you can vote and join a branch of the military……if you do not go the military route, you are expected to decide what you “want to be” for the rest of your life. You have to decide a career path via work or pick a major and continue with your education journey. How in the world and why do we expect people that are only 18 to make this decision?! At 18, you are not allowed to legally drink and in most states can’t purchase tobacco either. Very few people at 18 can say for certain what they want to do with the rest of their lives, so why do we continue to make these “adults” pick a path and expect them to stay on it? We allow these young people to vote on issues far surpassing their experiences – that will impact the majority. We allow these young people to sign a contract with the military – in which there is the possibility of death. We do NOT allow these young people to drink or smoke (legally). We push these young people to decide on a path that will ultimately determine the rest of their lives. I barely remember being 18, but I know I was very fortunate, but I still had no idea what I really wanted to be or what major to choose. I can’t imagine how someone without the focus on education, life lessons, and family support that I was blessed to have makes any kind of life decision at that age.

My generation and the ones before mine are by far terrible at this notion of you pick a job and do it until you retire. We chose a career path and we remain on it, no matter how much we do not like it, if it is unfulfilling, just go to work – do your job – cash the check – pay your bills and taxes – maybe retire and then die. We literally take this beaten path forever, and then expect our children and grandchildren to do the same. Perpetuating this terrible cycle of you can only have one career in your life and you will do this even if you don’t truly want to anymore. WHY?

I started thinking on this recently because my oldest niece turned 15 and started talking about colleges. (Excuse me while I cry – as I was a Freshman in College when she was born!!). She has started creating a list of potential schools she would like to attend, based on a potential major she will pursue and ultimately what career…..at 15! Granted she is an over achiever, like the rest of us in the family, but it just made me wonder – why are we still asking people to pick a path and stay on it? Why are we, the older generations, so afraid to break off the path and try a new route? Robert Frost even wrote a poem about taking the road less traveled that has surpassed time and is still studied, discussed, and reviewed in education – why are we fascinated by this concept but too damn scared to act?

Are we as adults too afraid of the unknown? Maybe that is why we learn and try so much during our formative years, because we don’t know the fear yet. Is it the fear of failure? I honestly have no idea….I can tell you that in my career I have changed jobs, in the same field and similar positions, and it is scary! I think we get comfortable and settle, even if our situation(s) leave us unhappy, and wanting more. All of this leaves me with the question: How do we, as adults, get more comfortable with starting a new path? How can we learn to be OK with turning around and taking a different road?

For me to have an answer to those questions, I look to younger generations. These young adults are not afraid to try new paths, to speak out and say they need and want more. We are currently in what media has termed “The Great Resignation.” People are resigning, quitting and changing jobs more now than ever before. As someone in a position that deals with recruiting, hiring and HR, it can be frustrating. As someone that has been in a professional role for over 10 years, I’m in awe and impressed by most of the individuals that have used this crazy time to find a new career and follow their desires. We change our clothing styles, vehicles, living situations, and more to adapt to our evolving styles or needs, but not our career paths. When will we finally embrace the idea of working to live, not living to work? I just hope it is within my lifetime, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to retire early enough to still have lots of fun?

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