From Fear to Fearless: This is YOUR year!

devil

When Amy was alive she always told me, “Be fearlessly you!”  She was a woman who lived by her words and yet for all the years she told me this, I never grasped it.  I lived constantly in my own self doubt.  The shadows of all my mistakes and shortcomings over-rode any light I thought I might possibly have buried deep down somewhere.  No matter what I tried to do, whether in career or relationships, it seemed like I was a vacuum sucking people dry because I hungered so much for validation.  I never stood independent of how I thought others thought of me.  So how could I change that?  What could I do differently this year?

What could I do so that when I looked into my children’s faces I didn’t see all my regret that I could have done it better before they left home?  What could I possibly change to see my husband take  a sigh of relief that he no longer carried all my pain or purpose?  My friendships, how could I operate in love in such a way that did not demand reciprocity?  How could I possibly be independently fearless and stand in my truth that while I’m far from perfect, I’m a beautiful being with something to offer?

I think we all struggle with this at one time or other in our lives.  We look around at those closest to us, those we’ve lost through filters through the years, and those we hope to become closer to in the future and we wonder … do I have what it takes?  Am I good enough?   Do I have value?

Fear.  Fear of being wanted, loved, and liked.  Fear of loss, fear of gain.  Fear of failure and success.  We become stagnant in our doubts, almost sometimes to the point of being frozen in it.  We stop going out, we are isolated with work and friends.  We shy away from socialization.   Then the voices really start up, man, they can be harsh.  See?  I told you, no one cares.  See?  I told you, no one notices you.

How do we overcome that kind of fear?  I went to my bedside one day and knelt, shaking, on my bedroom floor and I prayed, “Lord, my precious Father, you did not have this in mind when you created me, did you? With Amy gone now, I feel lost to courage and bravery.  I feel lost to me.  Help me to see myself as someone who can love as you love. Change my heart.  Mature me.  Please, give me opportunities to shower my world with faith and friendship and love and laughter and not do so with a selfish heart.  Train me up to stand in the gap for those I love, rather than whine about being the gap myself.  Let me be the light.”

After I was done praying I heard the word, “Act.”  Then, from Scripture, “Do not be afraid.”  In my mind I could hear the trumpets of Jericho.  Bring the wall down.  The wall of insecurity, fear, and doubt.  Shake it to its core so it has no hold over you.

I heard Amy, “Be Fearlessly You!”

I’m determined that this will be a year of letting go of fear and falling fearlessly in love with my life, my family, friends, and the path I am so blessed to be able to be on.

I pray, for all who read this and can relate, that you have the courage to stand on your knees, be humble to God, and become an action person verses a reactive person!  This is going to be a great year.

 

 

 

Retail New Year Confessions

 

She seemed to be somewhere around 75 or so, her white tipped grey hair thinned over a paled, wrinkled face that told stories I’m not sure I am worthy of hearing.  Her back was bent slightly and her knuckles clung to the cart, white as she wobbled forward. I watched her for quite some time over near the necklaces and earrings.  Then, feeling I should check on her, I meandered over and asked, “Is there anything I can help you with?”  She didn’t smile at me but more kind of oomphed and huffed, “No one can help me,” she gruffly spoke under her breath.  I reached out, put my hand on her cart, “I can.”  She stopped, looked up at me and laughed.  Not a small laugh, but a big, hearty laugh like when you survive the big roller coaster and realize you loved that feeling of almost puking your guts out.  Then she handed me the necklace and said, “I don’t even need this.  I just get out to prove to them I still can.”  I told her the necklace was cheap anyway.  We laughed for a long time.

He was upset that no one was in jewelry to help him when he hollered at me from across the way.  I ran over quickly, helped him pick out a watch.  It was between the silver diamond watch or the gold plated watch and I asked him, “Is this for your wife?  Which color does she wear more often?”  He lowered his head, “I’m not sure she even knows anymore.”  I held the silver one close in my hand and moved it towards him, “I like silver.  I think it reflects the light well.”  His eyes misted up.  He reached into his front pocket and slowly pulled out an old handkerchief, gently wiping his nose and dabbing his eyes before returning it, “She used to be filled with light.  Before I had to put her in that God awful home.”  I took the watch, put it into the box, and smiled, “Then silver it is.”  He thanked me.  As he walked away I saw my own husband, possibly many years from our own blessed time now and wondered … would someone comfort him too?

The woman had been seen putting a shirt up her shirt, after trying to rip off the security tag.  Managers were called to monitor the customer, to carefully and without being too obvious, watch from a distance until security could be called.  She went from one department to the next and I could hear her cursing other employee’s for “stalking me because I’m black,” and I anticipated her coming into cosmetics.  She went to the men’s cologne counter.  I stepped gently towards her, “M’am, is there anything I can help you with today?”  She reared back, knocking several bottles over, “No you can’t f&*(ing help me you sorry stupid white girl, what do you think, I’m stupid?  What do you think, I’m an idiot?  Can’t even come into a white girl store without being accused of stealing.  F&ck you and the horse your shi&t rode in on.”  She began to come at me.  I put my hand up and said, “I am not doing anything but asking you if you’d like some help with cologne.  I do not deserve this.”  She walked to the make up counter and knocked over several bottles of make up, throwing my brushes, “Bullsh*t, b(tc&, you are accusing me like everyone else.”  I wondered, was I?  I didn’t see it, only heard about it.  Now, this enraged woman was coming at me and throwing my stuff everywhere.  Was it my fault?  Did I do something wrong?  Wow.  This sh*t is really real.  The security guard was called and she made her way out of the store, security blocks beeping like crazy as she exited, screaming profanities and giving everyone the bird.  And I thought to myself …. “I wish we could just all be kind.”  One of the employees made a comment afterwards about that customer having “gone bi-polar” and I whispered, “I’m bi-polar.”  And then, that was the end of all of that.

My best friend died this year.  Her favorite color was purple and her favorite family symbol was the tree of life.  A customer came up to purchase a lot of items and I admit I was upset because none of it was anything I could get commission on.  She piled my counter high and then handed me five jewelry boxes that I had to, one by one, open and price.  I opened the third one and lost my mind.  Crying – not the kind where you slowly get the sniffles and your eyes barely tear over and drip slightly like in the movies but the kind of gutteral cry that comes up and out from a place in your soul you didn’t even know existed.  The tears fell hard and the snot followed fast.  I felt bad for my customer who was leaning over the counter, “Are you okay?  Do I need to call someone?”  I finally got myself gathered and though I debated telling her why I was crying, I felt her.  I felt her hard, fast, and gently all at once.  She said, “Hi Corky.  I’m here.”  I told the woman.  I told the woman why her purple stoned bracelet with a tree of life symbol in silver shook my world.  She smiled, “Well, we have to get you one!  C’mon!”  She led me to the place in the store where they were but sadly, it had been the last one.  Back at my register, she whispered, “Take it.”  I didn’t want to put her out but she said, “If I take it and wear it I’ll only feel guilty.  Please, take it.”  I did.  Later than evening driving home with the bracelet I heard Amy again, my Angel.  She whispered, “Will you please give that to my mom for Christmas for me?”  So I did.  Thank you customer.

Retail New Year.  It’s not always good but when it’s good its great and when it’s bad it’s a reminder of how much better we can truly make our world if we care enough.  Be that next customer.  Be that next person that someone goes home and tells their family about. Or their blog.

Happy New Year Retailers!

 

 

 

2016 I hate you. I love you.

You took my best friend.  This a year I will never want back, except maybe the parts when we laughed as she garnered the strength to get up and out of her bed and pretended to me, well, to most of us, that yes, she was fine.  Just a little heartburn,she’d whisper in between smiles.  The cancer never took her spirit.  I remember telling my boss at the time when I needed to be back to work, “I can get another job, I can’t get another best friend.”  Needless to say I have a new job.  I still don’t have another best friend, not like Ames.  Not ever.  Irreplaceable.  She is with me, I know this to be true.  I still rely on her.  As always.  But F U 2016..  Not fair.

And thank you 2016 for my husband.  The deployment two years ago and the one we face that lies ahead this year … can all go to h. e. double l. hockey sticks.  This year though, this year I watched him drink his bailey’s and coffee while he opened up his nascar driving experience and shook his head, “NO WAY!” He exclaimed.  Oh, that smile.  That smile I love even more since the first of the 22 years I’ve been seeing it.  Next year he won’t be here.  Thank you 2016 for him this year.

I hate you. I love you.  You gave me the worst and the best.  You gave me a reality that I often detested but a truth that I couldn’t avoid.  You taught me to stand strong, to be courageous, to fight for what I believe in, and to be forgiving and accepting of other’s in their fight as well.  I have learned much, cried often, laughed hard, grieved more grief than I ever thought possible, and heard the whispers of a beautiful fighter angel.  I hold my husband and my children close and pray prayers of gratitude because I am blessed.  And I don’t deserve it.

As my father said to me after my bestie went on to Heaven ….

“It is what it is and will be what you make of it.”

Dear 2017 …. Here I come.  And I’ve got an Angel at my back so watch out. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tipping Point: You’ve Climbed the Mountain, Now What?

Why reaching the goal and overcoming can push you out of your comfort zone, reveal new truths about who you are and leave you feeling frustrated – all in this episode.

Listen on iTunes >> http://bit.ly/12FK7Rm
Listen online >> http://bit.ly/17p997a
Listen on Stitcher >> http://bit.ly/13YLs6W

TIPPINGPOINT_EP07_IGNITEYOURTRUTHPODCAST

Why Won’t You Stop Talking About Your Past?

Why Won’t You Stop Talking About Your Past?

Questions like this one, and others like, “Move on already … no one wants to talk about abuse.  It’s over, grow up – it’s done with,” are often responses from others who find out I’ve written an entire novel about my history with sexual abuse, my having bi-polar disorder, being a teen mom, and other issues that I have the audacity to bring into the light.

As my “real” job, aside from being an author, I am the Editor in Chief for Disability Loop News, a national media platform for the advocacy, information, support and unity of the disability community.  One of my jobs is to write book reviews.

book-mockup_newToday, in the mail, Harilyn Rousso’s book, Don’t Call Me Inspirational, came in the mail.  Bless her heart, she even signed the book for me.  Now, at first I looked at the cover title and saw the sub-title which reads, “A Disabled Feminist Talks Back,” and I thought … whoa … this is going to be a wild ride.  However, as I nestled in with my coffee and my morkie in my lap, I was absolutely floored by the words in her first chapter.  It was as if she were saying them right to me.  It was as if she was telling me, “KEEP GOING – there is a REASON!”

For anyone who shares their story in the purpose of greater connection to self and to others, for those who reach out with their stories of survival and recovery, KEEP DOING IT.  Don’t let the nay-sayer’s who are “uncomfortable” with the topic bring you down.  Perhaps, just perhaps, they aren’t ready to heal quite yet.  I bet, however, your courage makes a difference and that you are a light – even when it doesn’t seem like it, in their dark places.  This is what she writes in Chapter One ….

“So that’s my story, my journey in a nutshell.  Having come to a place where I not only accept but at times appreciate and celebrate my disability status, I’d like to offer support and a bit of advice to young people who may be struggling with the fact that they have a disability and who may be hoping beyond hope that it will go away or that no one will notice.  I’d like them to consider the possibility that they can stop hiding and pretending, that they can claim disability and be all right.  There’s no magic pill to get them to that all-right place – if there were, I’d gladly give it to them (and take one myself).  But there is a path, their path, to get there.  Maybe my journey will help them.  Even if nothing I did makes any sense to them and they have to forge their own direction, I want them to take heart.  They should trust themselves to find their way – and call on some of their older sisters and brothers with disabilities to help them.  Most important, they should know that there are some great moments of self-discovery and freedom ahead of them.

Daring to claim disability or any part of yourself that you have been taught to disavow can be an amazing adventure …”

I LOVE what she points out ….. ” … that you have BEEN TAUGHT TO DISAVOW …”

To breaking free from the mis-guided teachings of shame and secrecy and to a bright and purposeful future of empowering ourselves and others through the life journey of overcoming odds against us.

Write on fellow authors and reachers …. write on, and reach on.  You DO make a difference.  Now, excuse me, but I’ve got to get to Chapter Two …. she starts the Chapter with, “I was in a hurry to be born.”  Wow.  This feminist can WRITE! 🙂

To see the full review on June 3rd visit http://www.disabilityloopnews.com!

 

 

How Do I Reach Out For Help?

Pregnant+teenager

Snow fell into my footsteps as I walked, and when I looked back it was as if I didn’t exist.  Like I was just standing, out of nowhere, and there was nothing to prove I’d come this far.  My back ached, the only evidence that I’d been walking, and I rubbed my swollen belly.  I hoped my baby was not as cold as I felt.

I’d remembered there was a church up in the distance, my saving grace.  I didn’t have anywhere else to turn.  I was homeless and pregnant at sixteen.  Amy, my best friend of three years, had been letting me sleep on her couch but she was in the hospital now.  A pot of boiling water, tipping in one painful second, scorching her paralyzed legs – she would have major surgery.  I’d had to go.

The Vineyard looked desolate, but as I edged closer I could see a light on inside, up the grand stairs reflecting inside the expanse of windows.  The door was open.  A rush of warm air held me, and stepping inside I realized I was going to have to ask a stranger for help.  I shivered.

The Pastor was kind hearted, offering me warm tea and a chair in his office before asking me, “How can I help you?”

The question was too big for me.  There were so many things I needed help with, so many choices that led me to this very moment.  I don’t know when I started crying, but the tissue was starting to fall apart in my hand when he gently asked, “Do you have a place to go tonight?”

Nodding my head no, he immediately picked up his telephone and began making phone calls, telling the other person on the phone that there was a young expecting girl without a home tonight.  Would someone help?

I’d walked nearly three miles and my feet had swollen up, the tears fell so heavy they couldn’t dry, and my little baby was kicking against my ribs as if to tell me, “Someone will help us.”

_____________

helpAsking for help, in and of itself, requires us to be completely vulnerable – to let loose of our ego, to accept our limitations, and admit that we need.  For some of us, this is the most difficult thing to do because we fear that others will think us weak and incapable.  We have a tendency to pretend to the outside world that all is well and fine, but on the inside we are weeping and crying out … most of us convince ourselves that if people love us they will come to us, they will see our need, and we don’t have to admit we need them.

This leads to our feeling isolated, uncared for, unloved, and unseen.  We internalize not only our own needs, but now – we listen to the lie that if we were really truly loved; someone would have reached out to us.

Ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness, it is a movement in courage.  It is your standing up in your life, and for yourself, and in that one act of vulnerability … you are changing your life and the lives of those you reach out to.  You are creating powerful change.

Who do you reach out to?

Reach out to someone you respect, someone in your life who has a positive influence on you.  One of the mistakes we can make when we finally become vulnerable in our need is to try reaching out to someone who really isn’t equipped to help us.  Maybe, they are in need so much so too, that they just aren’t able to give you what you need.  So, when you think about reaching out, consider someone in your life who has the tools and the resources to really help.

How Do I Ask for Help?

Sometimes, we get ourselves so down and to the point of what seems like no return that our need builds and builds and before we realize it, even thinking to ask for help is impossible because if someone were to say, “How can I help you?” We wouldn’t even know where to begin.  One step at a time.  Choose your immediate need – sit down and write a list of areas in your life that you are struggling with.  What is the main issue you are dealing with?  Once you deal with ONE thing … the rest will fall into place.  You can even say, “I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to begin, but I do know I need help.”

If you’re not ready to walk to a church, call a therapist, or maybe you aren’t even ready to leave the house and put yourself out there … that’s okay.  I encourage you to reach out to a life coach.  My own life coach, Jen Kelchner, who is a part of Restitution’s Creative Team, is available for online coaching.

In the meantime, if this story spoke to you in any way, please feel free to contact me.  We are all in this together.  Nothing is ever in vain, and you aren’t alone.

Reach.

 

 

 

On Tuesday

On Tuesday

She says to me, as I’m sitting in our neighbor’s living room, “I saw Jonothan.”  Mid-sentence, as I’m talking about cheese-cake I reply, “What?”  Her hands fall onto her tiny hips and she tilts her two feet tall body, “I saw Jonothan.”  I don’t know if I’m angry or if I’m about to cry.  Quickly running through my mind are the possibilities that there is a neighbor boy with that name, or if we’ve run into anyone, and she’s only three years old and hasn’t started school yet so it couldn’t be classmate’s, and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with the very idea… deep breath… that she really could be talking about the son I gave up so many years ago.

Taking another deep breath I ask, “When did you see Jonothan, Samantha?”

She smiles and whispers low, “On Tuesday.”

***

Samantha On Tuesday Being a Rock Star!

Samantha On Tuesday Being a Rock Star!

The guitar is over ten years old and even with new batteries the noise it makes sounds stifled.  But she plays it like Stevie Ray Vaughn on opening night to a sold out crowd.  I watch her, as she watches herself in the reflection coming off the stove in our kitchen.  She doesn’t notice me until I ask, “Are you going to be a famous guitar player Sam?”

She lifts the old, dirty guitar high into the air with a “Ohhhhh you got my heaaaart,” chorus, and then looking up at me beaming with confidence, “I will be famous.  On Tuesday.”

***

Let’s get you dressed Sam, “I say, taking her hand and leading her to the door of her bedroom.  I could hardly walk in; the floor was thick with mess.

“Sam!  Your room is a mess!” She takes a visual inventory and says, “I’ll clean it Mommy. On Tuesday.”

I laugh and reply, “I don’t even think you have any clean clothes, Sam.”  My three year old faces me and responds, “Mommy, you should not wait till Tuesday to do laundry.”

***

Her older brother watches the older boys at the skate park with envy in his eyes.  He is begging and pleading with me to let him try it.  He is so sweet, in his longing, but he is only five years old, “Bubba, we’ll come back when you get a little older, I promise.”

Lowering his head, his eyes begin to tear up.  What an unfair world it must be to a little growing boy, and I instantly regret stopping at the skate park to watch the tricks on our way back to the car from the park.  In the van, Brandin begins to cry harder.  Just as I look into the rear-view mirror searching for my own words of comfort, Samantha leans over to her brother and holds his hands, “It’s okay Bubba … you CAN go!  On Tuesday!”

***

Last night, as I cuddled in close to Samantha on her bed, we began to talk.

“Sam?” I ask.

She pulls her thumb from her lips, “What?”  I smile and take in her sweet scent, touch her soft warm cheeks, “When is Tuesday?”

She thinks for a moment, rubbing the corner of her favorite pink blanket across the bridge in between her nose and upper lip, “In four days.”

Mentally I add the days from today, which is a Sunday, and I almost tell her that in four days it will be Thursday.  But, I don’t.  She is running her other hand up and down my arm, a calming motion as she slips into sleep.  Her bright blue eyes are twinkling, and I wonder if Tuesday’s are just a symbol of things we hope for.

Just as she begins to fall away I kiss her sweet forehead and whisper, “I love you Sam … even more than Tuesday’s.”

Thinking she is asleep I crawl slowly from her bed.  Pausing at her door to look once more at my peaceful baby daughter, I hear her whisper with her eyes closed, “I love you Mommy.  On Sunday.”

What is your child’s “On Tuesday” moment?

Samantha @ 15 Still Being a Rockstar, just with her Trumpet!

Samantha @ 15 Still Being a Rockstar, just with her Trumpet!