A Year in Reflection

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On August 23rd of last year, I was in the hospital undergoing the biggest decision I have ever made in my entire life…prophylactic double mastectomy/breast reconstruction. At the time it seemed like the obvious choice, in hindsight, it was the most intensive rite of passage that ever plagued womankind.

 

I’m a strong woman. I know women claim that every day and then something trivial throws them into a panic attack of mega-proportions. I, myself, have been there. Where do you think the words Drama Queen came from. But, I digress. I AM STRONG! And as a woman who has idly strolled through several neighborhoods of Hell, I tell you I was not prepared for the emotional torture I would be facing during this reconstruction. It turns out even strong women can have weak moments.

 

They say, “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.” I hate that saying with the entirety of my being, not because it isn’t true but because it is quoted repeatedly by people who have not been through a sliver of what I have. Am I comparing my struggles to the lack of theirs? No, I’m just reflecting on those moments that transpired along the way. Like I said in the previous paragraph…“Weak. “Drama Queen.” “Hell.”

 

Feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, comparisons, bouts of deep depression… just a few of the bullshit moments I had in the past year. After all of that work I put into myself in the last few years I was undone by my f**king breasts. That’s right, like a teenage boy, I lost my ever-loving mind over breasts. Apparently, my vanity knows no bounds.

 

When did I, the woman’s woman, turn into an exceedingly breast-obsessed man? If I had to pinpoint it, I’d say roughly between birth and the total hysterectomy 12 years ago but, I am just guessing here. Seriously, though, why the hell are we as a society so obsessed with oddly placed sacks of fat hanging off of one gender’s chest? And why did I get sucked into that absurdity? Because, that is what happens when you make a choice to save your life but still want to have some sort of normalcy… and FFS, I just want to be a woman, something I feel like PCOS, being raised as a boy, and an early hysterectomy robbed from me.

 

But, have I been robbed or have I just fallen victim willingly into the societal princess programming that all females are force-fed?! I’d like to think I am no victim let alone a willing one. But, yes I fell into the world’s biggest trap, allowing society to dictate their idea of what a woman is. Funny, I don’t remember signing up for that in my contract. Yet there it is in all its hideousness.

 

My surgeon told me this was a journey. I knew what I was in for, well, I thought I knew what I was in for. But, I was not ready for all of that. I didn’t know that my breasts were directly tied to my emotional core. An explosive core that was clearly ticking and this “journey” was the detonation. That’s what I get for holding on to 40 years of trauma. There has to be a better way to “let it go.” I’ll work on that.

 

So on Tuesday, I’ll be in my surgeon’s office getting the final touches on my breast reconstruction…purple glitter tattoos on my reconstructed nipples. Because why not? A girl should be a girl any way that she sees fit, not forced into being what society tells her she should be. And that is how you become a strong woman!

 

 

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2014 in review

A big thank you and happy new year to all of my readers from InJensMind.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,800 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Chopra Center – Global meditation

 

Come join in on the world’s largest meditation for peace. Click the link to find out your local time. Hope to see you…Ohm!

Chopra Center – Global meditation.

Grief Awareness: From One Broken Soul To Another

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Tomorrow is 3 years since my sister, Jessica Rae was suddenly taken from us by the cruel and indiscriminate clutches of cancer at the age of 33. Then 24 hours later, it  is a year since my grandfather passed. How delightfully poetic that his last gift to our exceedingly dysfunctional family, was that he waited to die as not to overwhelm us with double grief or overshadow that already painful day.  It was a definite gesture of love if ever there were one.

The beginning of the year is especially draining on me. I let those emotions flow where they will and then continue in my daily life. Not to say I don’t have other draining days of the year…because I do, several in fact. Nearly every month of the year is scattered with painful losses for me.  But, this time of year is absolutely the hardest.

Losing a loved one {I’m an expert in this…I’ve encountered more than my fair share of death} is a difficult and excruciating part of life. One that nobody wants to speak about lest they become the next victim of loss. Many have no idea how to handle a friend in mourning, let alone  are they aware that grief has no time constraints.  The mere idea that someone could suffer so much from their loved ones end of suffering is not only unfathomable to them it is difficult for them to give loving support to the person grieving.
   
 
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The pain that is commonly accompanied by thoughts of guilt is torturous. There is always questions…ones that can never be answered, not in a person’s lifetime anyway. Questions like… why did this have to happen to them, did I do everything I could to save them, could I have done more, why didn’t I spend more time with them, why…why… WHY???

As unfortunate as it is, there is/was nothing more or different that could alter what transpired. They had to go and we had to stay. This realization doesn’t remove the pain. Nothing completely removes the pain and nothing ever will.

You can choose how the pain affects you though. You can choose to be mindful or you can choose to let the pain consume you.  It’s painful, don’t deny yourself to feel that pain. But don’t let that pain take away from the joyful and beautiful moments happening all around you.

When you need to grieve, do it. Feel the pain from losing them, feel the joy that they gave you while alive… let the emotions come but most importantly let those emotions go. Don’t allow yourself to be swept away into the dark abyss of depression…because the painful truth is, their earthly ties have been undone because their physical job is over. But yours, my dears, is not.

Your work here is still needed. There is a job for you and only you can deliver  it. I know that offers you no comfort…as I sit here teary-eyed over my own losses…I know exactly how little my words soothe that throbbing ache in the pit of your stomach or mends even a fraction of your now irreparably damaged heart. I really truly get it.

Just know that there is no time constraint for grieving. And forgive those who don’t know any better than to say offensive words under the guise of compassion. They know not what they do because they have never been in your shoes.     
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Don’t suffer alone in silence. Feel free to add me on Facebook . Also  “like” the page,  National Grief Awareness Day where you will find others who know how to listen and how to be a friend.  Life is too short to spend it alone in pain. Love, understanding, and compassion can heal us all.     

All photos courtesy of National Grief Awareness Day’s Facebook page. Link provided above. Please support their page. Thank you.     

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Is Pain Robbing You of Happiness?

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It has been a long excruciating year; between the death’s in my family, to the robbery, to the new house…an agonizingly long year.

I made friends and lost friends, found out what is important and what is nothing more than time-consuming f*ckery.

My husband and children have been troopers through this whole ordeal. And let me tell you I have been anything but a wonderful human being. I’ve had meltdowns, tantrums, scream fests, depressive episodes, and moments of divine clarity… I’ve been in indisputable pain.

Just when you think you have a grasp on life, you find out that life isn’t yours to control…you’re just an irrelevant passenger.

Don’t get me wrong, your life belongs to you and you make of it what you will. But, when it comes down to controlling what happens in it, well… you can only control how you react. And my reactions were far beyond spectacular…I should have been a dramatic actress, I had some very award-winning soap-operatic moments, to say the very least {and I am}.  

It’s funny how complicated we make our lives. Every single detail has to be perfect and completely under our control. Why? Because we honestly believe that we have some god-like influence that enables us to change things that we don’t like and turn them into something we desire. But it isn’t about what we want, it’s solely about what we need.

Nobody needs supremacy; we need to learn how to be kind and gentle, loving and supportive. We need to be a far better person than what we expect our family and friends to be.  

We expect all of these ridiculously unreasonable things of others, yet we don’t budge an inch to be better people ourselves. And on top of that, we have the audacity to give hundreds of pathetic excuses as to why we can’t be more than what we already are. Oh yes, we are quite incredible, aren’t we?

So why can’t we be better people? Why are we so demanding of others to be more, but so incredibly fearful of our own impending greatness?

It’s like I once told a friend of mine… “I’m afraid that if the pain is gone I won’t be able to write with such passion anymore.” My pain is why I am passionate… or maybe my passion is why I am in pain. Either way I was in pain.

I enjoyed pain; it was the only thing I knew to be real. It was the only thing that could allow me to stay hidden from happiness and love. It was effortless to blame those that hurt me instead of being responsible for allowing them to continue hurting me.

Pain is addicting, it is a beautiful justification for everything. But pain is self-inflicted…let me clarify that. Emotional pain is self-inflicted. Yes, it initially hurts when someone uses you, or ignores you, or takes advantage of you, or talks bad about you, or tosses you aside like a rag doll. That hurts like hell.

But, it is brief. We hold on to something far longer than we need to. Why do we hold tight to something so insignificant and unworthy? Why do we torture ourselves? Don’t we deserve to be pain-free? Don’t we deserve happiness and love?

We do! We deserve happiness and love…from ourselves. Who cares if some imprudent former friend/family member/stranger hurt us… hurt people hurt people. What they need is forgiveness and time to learn from what they have done. It may not be today or tomorrow or even this lifetime, but they will learn.  

When you grow up in a society of revenge, you can’t possibly expect that the world will wake up one day and just be forgiving. It takes education, experience, and a strong will to grow and learn. It will take better people to teach others how to be better people… learning via example.

That is what I am focusing on, being the person that I want others to be. I’m ready to be pain-free and happy. Will you join me?    

Thank You: A Friendship Day Poem

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To the friends who’ve been here and never leave….thank you.
To the friends who just arrived….thank you.
To the friends that I now grieve….thank you.
To the frenemies I’ve survived…thank you.
To the friends who still believe….thank you.
For the friendships that have been revived….thank you.
Here’s to ALL of you. Happy Friendship Day! ~ InJensMind

Changing Expectations

expectationIt has been a long while since I have posted on my blog, 8 months to be precise. When I chose to take a hiatus from writing, I had a few good reasons. Ok, I had a few horrible excuses.

One of those horrible excuses being… I was distraught. I was disappointed by all the work I had put in to my writing and not scoring a job. What did I expect? A job…with money coming in…paid bills…recognition. It is what every writer expects.

As the months went by and my life took every single U-turn, side road, and dark dirty alley that it could find. I found out several things about myself and other people. I never imagined that I had high expectations. Hell, compared to most people I’ve ever known in my life; my expectations were damn near invisible. But, there they were, in their obnoxiously repugnant glory.

I expected friends to be friends. Friends like I am with people. It never occurred to me that some people have a different view and belief about the meaning of friendship. Facebook taught me that many people don’t even consider strangers to be their friends. That was an alien concept to me. Because a friend can be anyone, and some of the bestest friends you may ever have will turn out to be that unlikely one. The person that you didn’t even think you needed, the shy one in the corner with an occasional glimmer of fun times and tomfoolery. The one who picks you up so you both can stalk their ex in low-cut tops at a bar while he is on a date with some insignificant hussie… YES>>>that one!People

Friends are friends are friends. Until they aren’t…and trust me, lately, I’ve found that many that I thought were…weren’t! The reasons given for breaking a long-standing friendship were asinine, to say the least. Well they were to me anyway. Because, as I said, friends are friends are friends. They are similar to a marriage, without all the fighting. Nothing can get between two friends…or so I believed. But, as with many things in my life…I got educated quickly and painfully on the subject of true friendship.

It seems to me, that when I was a lowly nobody…let me clarify that. When I believed that I was a lowly nobody, I had friends that stuck beside me no matter what. However, when I started believing that I was somebody and even worse, when I began telling them that they are somebody and could do better…well, that was the end of that friendship. This happened repeatedly. Something was clearly wrong here.

The thing about changing, growing, and becoming a better human being, is that it is a lonely road… it is a path that one can only travel alone. You cannot take anyone with you, even though you desperately want to. People cannot be forced into changing. No matter how much you shove your opinion down their throat…I am guilty of that. No matter how many inspirational/motivational photos you share on Facebook…I have done that. No matter how much you try to make them see that the only people who can make them happy are themselves. No matter the extent in which you try to convince them that they are hurting themselves and everyone around them as well. No…you cannot force anyone into changing!

But…I could change me, and I did. I changed how I viewed friends and how to distinguish between real and fake friends. I changed how I allowed others in my life…positive in, negative out. However, the most important change was about expectations. I didn’t lower them and I surely didn’t raise them. I got rid of them entirely. Expecting others to be someone they weren’t or in most cases, couldn’t be was what I had bitched about them doing to me. They were expecting me to shut the hell up and I was expecting them to speak up. They were expecting me to stay the same and I was expecting them to grow up. It was becoming a vicious cycle of why can’t you be more like me and less like you. What the hell? Who had I let myself become?!

I was always angry, sad, depressed, and worried because of the expectations that I had of other people. All of which had nothing to do with me really and everything to do with them. I wanted them to change and become people of their word. They weren’t that. They couldn’t be that. It was an alien concept to them. If only I had let them be who they are.

But, in that lies the problem. Not everyone is supposed to stay in your life. It is just not possible to keep people in your life who no longer mesh with you. I am not saying they ALL have to mesh, that would be boring and nobody could grow that way. However, some people are just too low on the rung of the ladder of life to notice anymore. Not that I am calling them lowly nobodies…because I’m not. I am just saying as you make your climb up the ladder you do not keep looking down and expect to keep going up. You would fall off the ladder and then where would you be? At the bottom, on your back, looking at where you use to be and having to work even harder to get a portion of the way back up there. Nobody wants to fall off the ladder of life…NOBODY!

So release your expectations of other people. Let them be who they are and you be who you are… And if it’s bad for your well-being, then stop looking down the ladder and let them “fall” out of view. You will be happier and they will be happier, the universe will once again be in balance.Happiness

2012 In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 23,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

The Mice Before Christmas

The Mice Before Christmas

Read the story of the three mice brothers reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. Will they finish the book before Santa comes?

Freedom For Father’s Day

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Father’s Day brings mixed emotions for me. One, for my kids who rarely see their dad because he is a workaholic; I guess if he is going to be an aholic I prefer it be work over alcohol. It would be nice if their dad realized that there is more to being a dad then providing a roof over one’s head. I’m certain one day he will grasp that idea but, the kids will be grown by then.

The other is for my father who is still alive but, I don’t call him or send him a card anymore for various reasons.

One reason being, he has disowned  me too many times to remember. Secondly, I don’t receive cards or calls on my “special” days including my birthday and neither do my kids; his grandkids. And lastly, I am just tired of trying to keep a relationship alive when it’s apparent he doesn’t care. Therefore, I have taken up the position of “You don’t know me then I don’t know you.” After all these years of trying what more can I do…

Am I wrong for this? I don’t believe I am wrong, I did my best most of my life to be a part of his life and in my opinion the road goes both ways. Yet, here I am, the one putting in the effort all the time. It just isn’t worth it to me to keep trying when it’s obvious I am not wanted in his life. I did the “Christian” thing; I forgave, accepted apologies and gave apologies but, did I get unconditional love back? No, I did not get back a fraction of what I put into the supposed father/daughter relationship. What we have here people, is a failure to reciprocate.

I’ve moved on now, there is nothing left to do but, move on and as my husband says; “Just say I love you and leave it at that.” (He can be a wise man sometimes.) I have bent over backwards to be included in the lives of people who swear they love me and my kids but, don’t actually know us. My kids have grandparents and they are a mystery to them. There are no phone calls, cards, or letters… absolutely nothing except, the occasional; “You know we love your kids” statement that I have heard during a phone call. Yet, still no effort is made on their part to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. I have a hard time with this because I was taught that family is everything; how strange… because only certain family was ever included in our lives when I was growing up the rest were “disowned.” Well, looks like I too am a part of the “do as I want or be gone” side of the family. Thank God I believe that the most important family is my husband and kids or I might just be torn up about being exiled…

I can no longer accept such half-assed attempts from anyone, no matter who they are. It is one thing to be upset at me for whatever you believe I have done wrong but, to alienate children just because they are my blood is not only ridiculous it’s asinine and childish. One day my kids will be grown and in my opinion better off for not knowing people who didn’t take time out of their busy little fantasy isle lives to acknowledge them and love them.

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So my gift this Father’s Day is the gift of… freedom. I am freeing myself of annoyances, games and intolerable trivial nonsense and I am giving my father the freedom to never have to deal with me or mine ever again; which is clearly the greatest gift for any father who constantly disowns people like they were material possessions.

What I will not give though is my silence; I have spent too many years not saying what needed to be said and watched while those around me were verbally assaulted. I know for a fact that neither of my grandparents raised any of their children to be bullies or to deny their grandchildren just because they were mad at their children for something their child did as a child. In fact my grandmother not only accepted all her grandchildren she also accepted step-grandchildren and would take all of us during the summer to stay with her at her house. So I know very well her children were raised better than to “disown” anyone.

It’s time to grow up; the child is almost 36 years old now and if I am being judged as an adult for something I did as a child, well I guess you just aren’t as smart as you think you are. Everyone makes mistakes and when you say “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” than that is where it ends. You don’t hold on to something that transpired 17 years ago. I am not the same person I was 17 years ago and it’s a shame that some people haven’t changed at all in that time. So I end this with; I love you and I wish you well but, I cannot keep being a part of such constant hatred and childishness anymore. God loves all of his children no matter what; I know those are big shoes to fill but, you might want to give it a try.

To all the dads out there… Happy Father’s Day, love your children unconditionally and treat them well so that one day they will remember the good things about you and pass them down to their children.

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I Can Only Weep

Just when I thought
I could laugh
mouth wide
open
Something smacks me in the face
like a brick
breaking my jaw
I cannot speak
I can only weep
Just when I thought
I was awake
eyes wide
open
Something hits me in the head
like a brick
breaking my brain
I cannot think
I can only weep
Right when I believed
I was alive
moving
on
Something strikes me in the chest
like a knife
piercing my heart
I cannot let go
I can only weep
Weeping Nude by Edvard Munich

My name is not Atlas or is it?

There comes a time in everyone’s life were they have to decide who they put up with and who they don’t. I have been to that point and back many times. I am now at the point where I question if my loyalty is holding me back. Everything I have learned about myself since the beginning of the new year seems to be contradictory to my beliefs. The more I think about it or discuss it the more I am told that I need to start being selfish.

Not to the point of neglecting my children obviously but, to where I drop anyone who is not on-board with me for the entire cruise. I have been aboard many a vessel in my life and many times I have drowned while everyone else jumped ship. No, I wasn’t Captain, I was just sacrificing myself for the betterment of humanity. At least that’s what I thought, but humanity itself is indeed very selfish.

Turns out the betterment of humanity does not lie in what you do for others but, what you do for yourself. Day after day I struggle with all the poisonous toxins in my brain that keep me from being the best me I can be. Now I am beginning to struggle with my reasoning in staying loyal to anyone other than my own self. Exactly what do I gain from that? I thought I gained loyalty back. Hmmm, I guess in a way I do get loyalty back to an extent. I suppose it depends on that person’s commitment to me vs mine to them.

I am trying to make my own way, to feel the joy of success and the tears of failure. But, whether I fail or succeed it will be for me, by me, not by someone else’s hand. Nothing in life is worth a damn if you haven’t experienced it first hand. You can spend your entire life mimicking others but, you are never learning anything from the struggles they had. You are just a second rate human being, not just of them but, ultimately of yourself as well. You will never know the true meaning of life this way. You will continue to be a weak person, in body, mind, and soul.

I have considered myself a very strong person and up to this very moment I have shown my weakness for mankind as well. My unconditional love for my fellow people and my need to make their lives better has become the very thing that is undoing all I work so hard for. I see people in need and I feel an overwhelming and unstoppable sensation come over me. I must drop all I am doing and run to their rescue. This is not only time-consuming but, tiresome as well, and in the end all I want is set aside, be it dreams, goals, or beliefs.

I believe in a better world for us and our children. I believe that a day will come where we will all rise out of this oppression we hold ourselves in and like a family we will all unite for good. Funny, ain’t it? Not so funny if Martin Luther King Jr said it though right? But, if I say it well I must be psychotic. I am not psychotic in any way, shape, or form, I do however see that this dream that both MLK Jr and myself share, is just that a dream. Dreams can come true or so they say, but I have always heard dreams are just your subconscious mind trying to solve a problem in your life. So if it is an answer you seek while dreaming, how can a dream come true?  Somehow you would have to make a dream a reality but, if it’s a reality it’s real and therefore no longer a dream.

One person can spark the mind of another and so forth, but there will always be those who stand just as firm as we and try to stop it. Do we give up or do we continue this eternal tug-of-war, hoping that one day the side we are fighting will just grow weary and let go so we can pull them to our side? The thing is it does get tiring, always carrying the weight of the world and it’s problems on your shoulders. Point is though, no one person should be responsible for that alone. So where are the rest of the “Atlas” people at? Doesn’t it make sense if we all joined in and each held up a part of the world it would be lighter and we wouldn’t be so fatigued?

That is what friendship is suppose to be, all of us coming together holding up the problem and picking it apart piece by piece until there is nothing left but, a minuscule pebble too small to see anymore. You know what they say,”out of sight, out of mind.”  How do we join forces though? With all that I do in a single day, I know I sure don’t have time to even consider someone else’s struggles let alone try and help them carry it. I could just turn my back to it and only deal with my needs, but is that really helping me?  I have always believed we are a whole, how could I just go against my entire belief and not help those in need?  I wish I knew how to answer this, but alas this is my current struggle. To be selfish or not, is that even worth answering?

Something

Something only you do keeps me coming back
something only you give me that in my life I lack.
Something I cannot put into words
something that doesn’t go away but recurs.
Something I needed but couldn’t find elsewhere
something out of the blue I couldn’t prepare.
Something in the air that I must have breathed
something once hidden that only you freed.
Something so precious too rare to have a name
something from nothing to something it became.
Something keeps me thinking til I can’t think no more
something I thought about but never asked for.
Something makes me laugh when I would have rather cried
something has me living when I would have rather died.
Something touched me deeper then I have ever felt before
something brightens my day so much right into my core.
Something can’t be fake when it is obviously true
something isn’t a thing at all, that something is just you.