Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I don't even care

So I have often said that this blog will include confessionals, so here is one from yours truly.  I have spent way too much of my life trying to please others... Most of my life I have cared deeply about other people's opinions of me, from whether they liked my shirt to whether they thought I was too fat.  It really wasn't a conscious decision and had you asked me, I would have said, oh no I am my own person, I am not wrapped up in everyone's opinion.  Truth was, deep down, I was concerned.  I can remember when I was actively running and the cars would pass by I would think, "I hope they don't think I'm a joke, a pudgy boy trying to get some exercise." Also I would think "I bet these people are thinking "he needs some exercise!"

Yes, I have spent so much of my life secretly worrying about what everyone thought, until. I wish I could say I and some epiphany where I had a light shine from heaven and reveal to me how harmful my thought patterns were, but I didn't.  Actually it was just a new awareness, maybe it comes with age, maybe it comes with experience, perhaps it comes from feeling unconditional love from my wife, or maybe its all of these?  I don't know but as I was walking on a busy main st recently it occurred to me, I don't care!  I sincerely don't care!  I don't care if the people passing by are having negative thoughts toward me.  I don't care if they dislike my choice of shoes or if the shirt I am wearing clings to me and reveals my excess skin from all the weight I have lost.  I don't care!  For the first time I was just proud of myself, proud for actually getting out and moving, getting some much needed exercise.  I felt genuine appreciation and love for myself.  Wow, what a better feeling than shame, concern, or embarrassment!  

I want to let you know today it is ok being exactly as you are and feeling exactly what you feel.  I want to invite you to the place where you can embrace yourself and make changes for your sake not because of what others may or may not be saying around you.  I invite you to not care.  No matter whether your struggle is weight issues, the loss of a loved one, the grief of transition in your job or relationship, please accept yourself and what you are feeling in this moment.  I encourage you, surround yourself with friends and loved ones who love you like you should be loving yourself.  If they can't do that and they need to move on, then so be it.  Love your self to day and if others do not love you, don't even care ;)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

I never signed up for this!

I wish I could remember exactly how I Imagined my adult life would be when I was a child.  I am sure that I had aspirations of some fame and maybe a small fortune?  Or maybe I just imagined that it would be cool to set my own bedtime or to be able to drive my self down to the ice cream stand?  To be honest I can't remember, I wish I could, but I can't.  Even though my memory may be fuzzy here I am certain that I never quite imagined my adult life to be what it is today.  To be fair I have had experiences that have been amazing, breathe taking moments that still make me shake my head because I feel so lucky to have experienced them.  But also to be fair, I have had a lot of experiences that have left me broken.  Experiences that still cause fear and pain even in this very moment, as I write these words.   

It has been in these moments, the ones that leave life long scars that I have wanted to cry out, "I never signed up for this!!" Maybe I didn't "sign up for this," but I did sign on to this.  Sure we never planned for the pain.  Whether we contributed to its cause or it was completely out of our control, nevertheless it wasn't our plan.  However it is our life.  Whether our choice or not it is our journey (yes I realize how over used that phrase is in our culture) When as a child, I would lie under the stars on hot steamy July evenings in the foothills of upstate South Carolina, I never wished that "by the time I am 36 I hope that I can be divorced, remarried, have finical struggles, battle obesity, and wrangle with anxiety and depression!" Who in their right mind would dream of such!?  But this is my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

I find it peculiar about myself that I gravitate to the power of my fears and failures rather than my past successes. Whenever I have to make tough decisions, whenever I am faced with uncertainty it never fails that my mind is ravaged with thoughts of failure, mistake, and past regrets.  Once those thoughts cycle through I then project how terrible the future could be.  I love to play the "what if" game as I juggle future plans and decisions.  Of course some of this is just wise self-preservation, hopefully we learn from past mistakes, but so much of this for me is unhealthy.  So unhealthy that I can get so marred down that I can't move right or left!  But what about my successes!?  The reality is I have had some of those as well. 

I am at a stage in my life where I am challenging myself to live in possibility.  My personal work has been to summon up my memories of strength.  I know without a doubt that I stand at a crossroads today. (Ironic since my name means "at the intersection or crossroads") The joy I have is that I do not stand there alone.  I have an amazing partner in my wife, whose power, strength, beauty, and intelligence could never be adequately described with just words.  I won't even try.  I also do not stand-alone because I believe in a calling and I do believe in God.  I am not the one who quotes a lot of scripture or has nice padded sayings displayed but I do have a personal faith.  For those who know me you know that faith is hard to describe and it does not fit into many molds that we like to use when it comes to these categories.  This has led to much frustration for some whom both I love and love me.  Though I feel I have a faith firmly rooted in Christianity.  

Even though I stand at a crossroads and perhaps it is one of the most precarious crossroads I have ever faced, I do believe that that the God who loves me, and has guided me, and has provided the love in my wife and partner, will also be the God who continues to sustain and guide.  My hope is that I will make any decision as I move forward not based in the control of fear but rather informed by experience and ultimately in the belief that "I can by God's help succeed." Sure I may have not signed up for this but with all the twists, turns, dips, highs, and lows it has been an amazing ride so far.  I believe that it will continue to be so.  I never signed up for this, but I am sure glad that I signed on!

Travis (the one at the crossroads)