To be a Colossus

Colossus of Rhodes

Friend, our existence is full of rules – all the shoulds – that never ending list of things that we’re supposed to do, or be, or have.

Gradually it begins to make us feel inadequate and lost. As though we’re wading into a pool teaming with razor sharp claws hell-bent on ripping us apart, pulling off all the hopes and dreams, the things seen as insubstantial, thus leaving us feeling small.

I am tired of feeling small, friend, of feeling that my efforts are not enough and that the things that I pour my energies into are going unnoticed or unappreciated. I want to be seen as mighty and powerful.

I want to feel like a giant, a Colossus.

However, as my legs are stretched between all the things that are required of me, and the dreams and hopes I aspire to, I can’t help but feel shaken and damn near collapse.

Even the great Colossus of Rhodes collapsed one day, shaken by a mighty earthquake.

So too, could I.

With every criticism, every raised eyebrow, with every veiled insult I feel the tremors.

Perhaps there are some who are automatically geared to want to tear people down, to test the fortitude and perseverance of the dreamers. For, while my heart may ache with the harsh words, I can’t help but want to try harder to be more.

I strive to be firm and resolute.

Unwavering.

There is a danger therein, when one becomes so firm and resolute so as to be stubborn and unmovable.

“In flood time you can see how some trees bend,

And because they bed, even their twigs are safe,

While stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all.

And the same things happen in sailing:

Make your sheets fast, never slacken — and over you go,

Head over heels and under: and there’s your voyage.”

Sophocles, Antigone

Perhaps this is why we were not meant to be giants, or Colossus’s. For this goal leaves us in danger of collapse. Of falling under a heavy burden we are not meant to carry.

Friend, we only need to be big in the eyes of a select few. The close ones that see us and our accomplishments, though minor in the eyes of the masses, as amazing and wondrous.

Maybe this is what each of us craves?

To be special, important and worthy.

A Colossus to one.

Maybe, just maybe, I need to harken Haemon’s words from Sophocles’s Antigone and be flexible. Perhaps that is why there I are times when I feel so shaken.

Because I want to be seen as great to all.

Instead, I need to appreciate that there are people in my life to whom I am a giant, in whose lives I live large, whose lives wouldn’t be the same without me.

There is is a little one that is my heart, and to her my kisses heal wounds.

There is a girl that gives me joy, and to her I am an ear that always listens.

There is a girl that is my muse, and to her I am inspiration.

There is a girl who is wild abandon, and to her am a trusty side-kick.

There is a girl who is strength and resolve, and to her I am whimsy and fun.

There is a family who is my core, and to them I am their pride.

Friend, we need to stop trying to live large in the eyes of everyone… trying to please and satisfy and be everything to everyone. This will leave us exhausted and broken.

Let’s be conscious of the fact that the people whom we really let see us, the people who become our friends and family, those are the ones in whose hearts we are a Colossus.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

To See

Photo By: @brienne.kristen.photography

Friend,

Today I saw me.

One wouldn’t think that this would be any sort of revelation, but for me it was. Today I saw the me that I’ve left behind, the me that I used to be, and I realized with a certain amount of awe, what a stranger she has become to me.

So often I am able to see the events behind me for what they are, experiences that have become a part of who I am, melding together to form the me that I am today. It is even difficult to look back and remember that girl that I was, for I am looking through the eyes of the woman that I am today.

Due to this I’ve been able to look back on those things I once saw as failures with a new appreciation. The hurt of being left behind by a loved one, the devastation wrought by betrayal, and the sense of not being enough in so many ways, has plagued me.

However, I am constantly reminded that it is all about perspective. It all comes down to how we see ourselves, our experiences, and our journeys. This, and only this, is what determines how those things impact and affect us.

We decide this. No one else. We decide to wallow in the filth left behind, or to pick ourselves up, dust off, and move forward.

When I truly observe my past, the experiences and people that have had a hand in creating the person that I am today, I am able to look at the people around me with profound appreciation and to, also, be thankful for the former wounds.

My wounds have created empathy, common ground, shared experience, wisdom, strength, confidence, love.

Everyone has their own story. The true human experience is full of sorrow, joy, and the boring bits in between. Omit one and you cheat yourself from being made.

Our experiences make us.

My past has made me.

Now I see me, friend.

Can you, also, see you?

The miraculous ways in which you’ve grown and changed?

The ways that your former sorrows and wounds have shaped and created you into the person that I see before me today?

I do, and I am amazed.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥

The Lessons of Pain and Failure

Failure is scary, friend, but it doesn’t have to be. For through failure and pain, there is always a lesson.

Worry, anxiety, and fear are emotions caused by either a real or a perceived threat to our well-being — often something outside of our control.

Being out of control, I think, is the at the root of many of our hang-ups and contributes greatly to our overall sense of failure.

We create these well thought out plans for ourselves, often determined by what we perceive we are supposed to do, and when things do not go as we’ve predetermined we can often feel that there is something wrong with us, that we’ve failed by some degree, or that we are a failure.

At the age of 25 I felt old to be unwed and with no prospects on the horizon. I had measured myself against the people around me. I had watched as, one by one, my peers got married. I was the last one standing. Alone.

Which was very reminiscent of waiting after school for my mom to pick me up. I’d, inevitably, be outside in the rain (it is Washington)  — at first the wait would be pleasant, as I’d be playing with other friends who were also waiting on rides —  however, real fear would set in as the friend group gradually diminished to just me. Waiting for my ride. Alone.

There I was, 25 waiting for my man. All alone. To remember this now seems like such a ridiculous notion. I was raised to be strong, independent, and not need anyone to make me happy. It baffles me to think that I got caught up in this desire to be wed and felt any less about myself because I wasn’t.

I did eventually meet someone that I married. I thought I’d done everything perfectly. It was a shock when, after being married for two years, I arrived home from a business trip to find that he had packed his things and left. He wanted a divorce. He’d fallen in love with with my best friend. My carefully laid plans were in tatters, and I was completely out of control of the proceedings in my own life.

My initial feeling was a sense of utter failure, and I wondered how I was going to tell the people that mattered to me. How was I going to tell my friends and my family what a failure I was a marriage? How was I going to go to work and pretend that everything was normal? I couldn’t help but feel that there must be something inexplicably wrong with me for me to be left in the way that I was.

This was one of my first adult lessons in pain and failure.

There have been many others from that point to now, but this was the first time I felt my soul ripped to shreds. Where I doubted myself and my self worth, and I seriously questioned my desire to go on and my ability to get through the intense rejection and disillusionment that I’d suffered.

With the pain, I was advised to slow down and feel it. Let myself experience it in order to be able to let it go. What I learned from pain is that for it to be worthwhile, it has to serve a purpose. Pain can force us to reevaluate our values and priorities, and help to discover strength and wisdom we’d not known we possessed.

“Allow sadness to visit. allow sadness a temporary tour, allow sadness to come by and give you a few lessons, but never allow sadness to stay. once you’ve felt everything it’s had to say, and once it’s taught you everything you need to know, leave the door open for happiness.”

iambrillyant

Failure, while a bad word for so many, is really just one step along the journey. No success is gained without first failing. Through failure comes lessons. Failure can be the redirection needed to realign with the path we are supposed to be on. Failure, along with pain, teaches lessons meant to be learned. For failure to serve its purpose, we must lean into it to improve, grow, and become the best version of ourselves.

Life is a constant journey of self discovery and growth. For this journey to be complete, unfortunately, it cannot be without pain and failure.

Additionally, friend, we can survive any pain and heartbreak, even the darkest of moments when we feel we’re standing alone.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

Socially Awkward

Friend, I am going to confess something to you.

You see, I’ve not always been the suave goddess you now see before you.

I’m awkward, and not just a little bit, but full on embarrass myself on the daily, awkward.

I remember when I was young, how embarrassed I was by this fact. Perhaps, however, it would be best to provide a frame of reference for you as to just how odd I can be.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with social awkwardness, mostly because there is no middle ground in my thought process. I either do exactly what I am thinking or feeling, or I dwell and overthink to such an extent that I spend copious amounts of time in the bathroom due to self-induced stress caused by over-rumination.

As a preteen I used to pray for a boyfriend. I really hope this isn’t unusual. Perhaps you did this as well, friend? There have to be other ladies out there that spent their evenings fervently gripping their pillows as they asked god to; “Please, please, please send me a boyfriend so that I can finally be kissed!”

So far this all sounds very Judy Blume, doesn’t it?

Since my prayers went unanswered, I decided to take things into my own hands. I developed crushes. Many of them. I scrawled their names in my notebooks and fantasized about hand holding, shared private jokes and wearing his letterman jacket. I may have had my best friend drive by one crush’s house multiple times a day, just on the off chance that we would catch a glimpse of him.

My best moment, however, didn’t happen until I was standing in line at the Dairy Queen one hot summer evening with a couple of girlfriends and in walked…. Boys…

They casually begin a conversation and one — insert surprised gasp here — begins to flirt with me. We exchange our introductions and I remember something that I heard once. I didn’t think about it, I just said it.

“Did you know,” I said, “that if you say someone’s name 10 times you’ll remember it? Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt.”

His mouth slightly opens in shock as he slowly responds, “Okay. I have to go now.” He backs away, keeping wary eyes on me. I saw real fear reflected there.

As he leaves the Dairy Queen, one of my friend’s grips my arm, “What were you thinking!?”

I wasn’t thinking. Not really.

Whatever that special ability some girls have to be mysterious and elusive as they engage in conversation with men, I don’t have that. Instead I say men’s names 10 times, laugh too loud, and — probably — ask all the wrong questions.

You see. I just really like people. I want to get to know them, and I really want them to know and like me. Goofy, silly, smart, irrelevant me. Not someone that played at games in an attempt to woo, but me.

As a teenager I thought that in order for me to be validated I had to have a boyfriend, which is really absurd. I know now, friend, what is really important is that I have to like all the parts of me, and someday there may be someone else who is lucky enough to enjoy them too.

Because, friend, I’m a gift, something really special, and for me to even think about liking a man in return, instead of running away when I repeat his name 10 times, he will laugh with me and do it too.

Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda, Miranda.

“See, now you won’t forget my name,” I’ll say.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ❤

To Matter

You asked me today if you mattered,

and, to be perfectly honest,

I wanted to punch you in your damn face.

You asked me if you made a difference,

and I felt my body begin to shake.

For, of all the things you’ve done,

There is one thing that you have clearly won.

And that is my deepest, heartfelt respect and thanks.

You may wonder why, or when.

Maybe it was that one time

that you made me laugh through my tears.

Or when you called to assuage my fears.

So, I wonder, how is it you can look me in the face

and ask me of your place?

It’s here, though maybe it might seem small.

I hold you here, and think of you

in the midst of a rotten ass day.

So, you come to me with these stupid, silly questions

Thinking the world too big and vast for you to conquer

And, to be perfectly honest,

Maybe it is. Maybe it is.

Unless, unless, you see my heart as your world,

If so, then know, that is where you’ll live –

Like a giant encased in glass,

Because of all you give.

To Be Courageous

Our scars can lead us to live lives of regret.

Friend, it would be anyone’s wish to live a life minus regrets. To reach the end of the day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime… and be able to look back and have no thoughts of what you wish you would have done or said differently.

I wish that I could say that I’ve lived a life without regrets, but I can’t.

There are times when I wish that I would have walked away, times when I wish I would have stood up, and other times when I wish that I would have taken a risk and been courageous.

These are the thoughts that make me realize just how much bravery is required to live our lives, especially to live them fully, because life can be scary, and hard, and damaging.

Living leaves us with scars. The external and the internal.

The external ones that you can cover with clothing and makeup, and the internal ones that you cover with smiles and insincerity.

Insincerity because these internal scars, the ones that damage our hearts and minds, contribute to us behaving in ways that cause us to live a life that isn’t fully true to who we are at our essence.

Once we experience loss, rejection, criticism, or discouragement we begin to second guess ourselves, and live a life with self-doubt.

Sometimes even believing that we deserve less.

Friend, I have lived in fear because of the scars on my heart and mind.

There are times when I have felt inadequate, not good enough, and lacking in some way, and this has resulted – at times – in me not reacting as I should have or as I wish I had.

A boyfriend poured beer over my head after a disagreement. I excused this behavior and took the blame. I should have walked away.

I stayed.

The time I witnessed a friend being talked down to and I said nothing. I should have stood up.

I sat.

The times my heart felt something; hurt, love, confusion… I should have spoken up.

I remained quiet.

I didn’t take a risk.

I didn’t live courageously.

Life has risks, and they are not the ones that dare you to jump out of an airplane.

The risks come in loving someone, even though the other person could leave. The risk comes in starting a conversation with a stranger, even though you could be rejected… and in a thousand other, seemingly small, ways.

Courage happens when, despite your fears and scars, you live your life as you wish to, in a way that looking back you won’t have regrets.

You walk away. You stand up. You speak up.

You do all the scary things that life sends you way, both the big and the small.

This, friend, is to live courageously.

Silenced No More

Speak what you want into existence.

Establish and maintain your boundaries with vigilance.

It is no ones responsibility but our own to declare what it is we want, and to maintain those boundaries. It is our job, our most important one, to take care of ourselves.

Friend, it’s hard to share with you that at times I’ve felt voiceless. When I envision how I want to be perceived in your eyes, this is the very last thing that I picture. Yet it’s true. I’ve been in situations where I have questioned my right or ability to speak up for myself and I have neglected to draw much needed boundaries.

It’s important to speak about the significance of using your voice and speaking your truth because – unfortunately – there are times we do not trust our intuition and inner dialogue. We silence ourselves for fear of consequences.

I’ve done this much more than I’d like to admit in my interactions with men, in particular. There have been strangers whom have entered into my personal space or have spoken an inappropriate comment. There have also been love interests whom have initiated intimacy when I have not been ready, or my boundaries of acceptability have been pushed and challenged.

I’ve been made uncomfortable and have remained quiet.

I’ve not used my voice.

Friend, how is a man – or anyone for that matter – going to respect me or my boundaries if I do not speak them into existence?

We need to speak. We need to speak without fear of repercussions or consequences – for the consequences of not speaking are far worse. Not speaking costs us our sense of self worth and doesn’t allow us to lead our lives as we genuinely wish to.

And, if our words are not adhered to we need to scream and shout.

It doesn’t matter if your discomfort is caused by something as seemingly benign as someone entering into your personal space, such as, an unwanted hug or a brush of the hand – or if that discomfort is the result of much more things obvious infringements, such as, inappropriate words, advances, or images.

It is my responsibility to vocalize when a boundary has been crossed, and it is the other person’s responsibility to respect the limits that I have established.

I will say this again and again, anyone who would choose not listen to my voice is not worthy of my time, my effort, or my energy.

Period.

Friend, I have had my personal boundaries tested and destroyed. I’ve let this happen, and it’s occurred by force. These are wounds I have to carry with me as I navigate life, and it is my responsibility to learn and grow from these harsh lessons.

There is no trepidation in this journey moving forward, for I have you. I have your strength, support, and encouragement to bolster me forward.

Also, I know that I won’t lose my voice again. I won’t let it stay within the confines of my mind. I will speak all the necessary words into existence.

Please promise me that you’ll do the same.

Our voices deserve to be spoken. Our voices deserve to be heard. Our voices deserve to be respected.

Always,

Your Trusted Friend ♥