Death; what is normal?

The last time I posted it was about the normalcy of life and how we’re in a simple yet satisfying routine of sorts. And then, because the philosophical side of my mind is always hard at work, I started to wonder what really quantifies normal?

Several months ago I went into the hospital for a minor, planned procedure. The procedure went terribly wrong and I was not only in the hospital for several weeks, but at times, there was the question of whether or not I would actually make it. I recall being transported to the local trauma center where I was certain I was being taken because I was dying. I felt as though I were dying. I can’t think of better words to describe it other than I simply had no energy left to fight. I could feel anything that once resembled me slipping away. I remember telling the Nurse if I were there to die that was fine, I could handle that, but that I needed her to contact my family as I wanted to see them all one last time. It was my way of accepting what I felt was inevitable, but also being allowed to take everyone’s face with me when I left. Several months later, here I am. Home. Healthy. And feeling about 90% ‘normal’ again.

On the left column of my blog home page, I have a ‘blogroll’ or a list of blogs I followed often. I created that list when I first started the blog and haven’t updated it in a few years. Some of those blogs still exist, others don’t.

When a person starts a blog (something that has been replaced by vlogging) we generally do so because we love to write, find our minds are often filled with random thoughts; sometimes important, others not at all. But most importantly, I think many of us started blogs as a way to not just vent our frustrations, but to share our experiences with others. Perhaps it was our way of offering guidance or advice even if no one was asking for it. Either way, blogging allows random strangers worldwide a glimpse into our lives. And when people follow blogs regularly we begin to feel as though we know the writer on some level. We can identify with some of their ideas or thoughts, or even accidentally find solutions to our own problems through their mistakes. We often feel some kind of ‘like’ towards the writer even if we’ve never communicated with them at all.

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A couple of years ago one of the bloggers I followed religiously passed away from cancer (Americanbedu.com). She was married to a Saudi man, lived in Saudi for years, and moved back to America once her husband passed away. Neither of them was old or unhealthy. They simply both lost a very long, painful battle to cancer. Carol (American Bedu) had friends and family who attempted to keep the blog alive after her passing, but it just wasn’t the same. I believe the domain has since expired and the content is gone. Every one of her thoughts, memories, and life stories — gone.

Just last week another blogger passed away from cancer. Nicole Hunter-Mostafa (thesamerainbowsend.com) was young, also married to a Saudi, and was pregnant with their second little girl when complications started. Because I don’t know her or her family I can only speculate about details, and, well, that’s just disrespectful. So I’ll share what I do know based on her willingness to tell her story to us readers. Nicole appeared to be a very happy person. Her blog posts were always uplifting and upbeat. She wasn’t one to do much ranting, even if she had things to rant about. She was so in love with her husband and their gorgeous little girl Lavender. She was thrilled to be pregnant again but her blogging slowed down immensely. She had a number of complications which resulted in extensive pain for her. She cut her summer USA trip short to get back to Saudi for pain treatment in the last few weeks of her pregnancy. Her last blog post was an overview of all she had endured but no mention of cancer. Her daughter was born not long after and she shared that with everyone on Instagram. Then, suddenly, all of her social media accounts were gone and months went by with no updates on the blog. Obviously, considering we don’t know one another, this shouldn’t have made a difference to me one way or another. But as I said before, we develop a ‘like’ for the writer of the blogs we follow. We wonder about them and hope they’re doing well. Sadly, in Nicole’s case, she wasn’t doing well. And last week, she too lost her battle with cancer.

Perhaps this is incredibly selfish of me, but because Nicole was such a brilliant writer who created beautiful images in my mind with her words, I wish she had blogged. I wish she had shared her last months with us. I wish I had known whether or not she had known. Did she know she had cancer but chose to avoid treatment as a way to save her daughter? I wouldn’t be surprised — she was deeply in love with her babies. Or was the cancer diagnosis as unexpected for her as it was for her readers? Again, I didn’t know Nicole but I am deeply saddened by her death. I loved her style of writing. The way she could create a picture book of stories with just her words. Magnificent. My heart aches for her family.

I’m not going to end this post with a sappy cliché about hugging loved ones, last days, etc. But do that anyway. And do it often. We really never know when our normal may not be recognizable.

Supporting one another…

The other day I was talking to a wonderful woman who, like everyone else, is facing some unique challenges. She has a lot on her shoulders but is handling it all like a champ. She doesn’t quite realize how well she’s doing and I get the sense the stress is starting to affect her self esteem. She had mentioned to me something she’s become involved in and really invests a great deal of time and talent into doing the best she can. And she’s doing awesome! However, she’s feeling a bit hurt by the lack of support from her friends. She’s not asking people to spend money, invest their time, or lift a finger. She’s simply asking people she considers friends to show a little emotional support. It’s shameful she even has to ask.

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That being said, where do we draw the line in showing emotional support for one another? Just because someone isn’t one of my dearest, best, closest friends doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy for them or support them in something they have an interest in. Heck, I would do that for a stranger. 

So why is it so many people (especially women) seem to be so bitter and hateful towards one another? Isn’t the goal to share the limelight with someone equally deserving? Or even step aside and let someone else shine every now and then? What’s the harm in saying a few kind words? What are women so afraid of?

I was raised in a family of incredibly classy women who had a great deal of self esteem. I can’t recall ever hearing my mother, grandmother, or aunts being malicious or nasty to anyone — even if they were given reason. I was taught to ‘take the high road’ and it’s always worked out rather well for me. And by ‘taking the high road’ I mean either completely eliminating negative forces from my life or just outright ignoring the source. I have a theory — if you don’t pay my bills or feed my pets then how important is your opinion of me? Eh. Not at all.

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Of course ignoring those filled with hatred and negativity doesn’t always take me out of their line of fire. It simply means I rarely know about it, and when I do I certainly don’t allow it to affect me emotionally. After all, when someone feels negatively about us then obviously their opinions are skewed as well. And sometimes, well, they’re outright delusional.

But the question still remains; where do we draw the line when it comes to supporting one another? At what age do women stop cheering one another on and start attacking their peer? And what prompts the lack of support?

It’s often said ‘if someone hates you it’s because they can’t have you or can’t be you’. Is it really that simple?

I’m truly blessed to be surrounded by a group of great friends who happen to be very strong, confident women. We empower one another. Support each other’s ideas. And always reach out to offer a hand, a smile, or a word of encouragement. And I like to think we do the same for random strangers. Like me, they avoid negativity.

Some would say the ability to remove yourself from shallow, petty, bitterness comes with maturity. I happen to think it comes from a good upbringing by self assured, successful women.

“Girls compete with one another. Women empower one another.”

The disposable friend

The other day I called a friend of mine who I hadn’t talked to for maybe a month or so to see how they’re doing. I know they’re facing some challenges and I like to check in on them from time to time. Sometimes, even if there’s nothing a friend can really do to help, it’s nice to know someone cares enough to call and ask. Well, after this most recent call I’ve learned not to bother myself again. It went something like this;

Me: Hey there, how ya doing?
Friend: Fine.
Me: How are the kids? The family? Work?
Friend: Good.
Me: (feeling a bit awkward by this obvious one-sided conversation) Are you busy? Were you sleeping?
Friend: Nope.
Me: Hmmm. OK. How’s the significant other? (a new person my friend had mentioned previously and expressed how happy this person makes them)
Friend: Good. And why the interrogation?
Me: (trying to make light of their rudeness) It’s interrogation day! 
Friend: Not for me it’s not.
Me: Look, I simply called to see how you’re doing as I know you’ve been dealing with a lot lately and have always been here when you’ve needed me. Thought it would be nice to let you know I was thinking of you and hope all is well. However, I certainly don’t need this drama or negativity and have no intentions of tolerating it. Take care. 

Perhaps there were a few more questions (attempts on my part to hold a conversation) and maybe my final response was a bit more expressive than I’ve written here. I can’t remember verbatim. But I do know it’s terribly rude for someone to provide one word responses without any further explanation. Busy? Tell me! Don’t feel like talking? Tell me! Bothered by something? Tell me! But don’t dare treat me as if I’m bothering you or being intrusive when I’ve always been there when you needed a friend. It’s rude and terribly disrespectful. And quite frankly, I’m not interested in being made to feel ‘disposable’.

I firmly believe friends are people we can turn to for anything. We laugh together, cry together, share secrets with one another, lean on each other in times of need, and most of all… we’re loyal. Just because life changes or new people have entered doesn’t mean the loyal friends should be disposed of. And definitely not this loyal friend! I’ve really reached a place in life where my friendships are truly valuable. I absolutely love my friends and the time we have together. And I like to believe they feel the same about me. So when someone disrespects that friendship then I take it personally. It makes me feel as though I was only ‘good enough’ when they needed me around… on their terms. But otherwise there’s just no place for me in their life. Then to be rude on top of all that? Eh. No thanks. It’s best to wish them well and remove yourself from their toxicity.

So, to the fair-weathered ‘friend’ who doesn’t see the value of the friendship we once had… your loss. And don’t act like you’re not reading; we both know better.

Diversity and the open mind.

Growing up in a military town I was surrounded by people from all over America. My peers came in every color, shape, and size yet no one ever seemed to notice. I didn’t identify my friends according to their ethnic background or color of their skin. As a matter of fact, my parents would have been mortified if I had. I was taught that prejudice is tacky and outright classless. As I’ve aged and become wiser I happen to agree with that sentiment.

Upon moving abroad, especially the Middle East, racism seemed to run rampant. People exhibited signs of xenophobia on every level. Yet as often as I witnessed it I never became comfortable being around people who outwardly judged others based on their nationality, religion, family name, or job title. I even found myself openly speaking out, to complete strangers, when witnessing such negativity. Sadly, even some Westerners took on the ‘I’m better than you’ mentality when it came to service workers and would often treat them horribly. Surely a sign of poor upbringing, no class, and insecurity.

One of the first things that attracted me to my husband was his open mind. And though he comes from a comfortable lifestyle he is very humble. His circle of friends consists of people from all different backgrounds yet he only sees their heart. He treats the Tea Boy the same as he would an owner of a large corporation. He has never once indicated he thinks he’s better than anyone. To me that’s the definition of intelligence, cultured, and classy.

Unfortunately racism is still alive and well among some. We really don’t experience it and if we do neither of us have noticed. Perhaps we just have zero interest in what others think to the point we’re happily unaware of the negativity which may attempt to creep in? 

Surely I won’t be alive to see the day when everyone is judged from the inside. But I have faith that day will come.

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Sunshine and warm weather

After what feels like the longest Winter in history, we’re finally experiencing some very welcome Spring weather. Sunshine, warmth, and even a little tan while working in the yard.

My husband and I have spent the last few (freezing) months discussing our plans for Spring landscaping. Strange how motivated one can get during ice storms with no electricity. We’re off to a really nice start with the Organic herb garden already planted and the veggie garden starting to sprout. I’m finally on board about getting chickens after a year of convincing by my husband, The idea of hormone/chemical free eggs is appealing and much more in line with our healthier lifestyle. He also wants goats but we’re not quite there yet.

Overall I’m feeling like a completely different woman than just a couple of short months ago. My entire outlook has changed. I’m far more positive. And a feeling of peace and happiness are pretty much the norm now. I’m still struggling with a bit of anxiety — waiting for something bad to happen — but I’m beginning to let that go. I’ve been wondering if I might have been suffering with a bout of seasonal depression. As much as I love rain, snow, and cold weather, this Winter was painful for me. Physically and emotionally. I also attribute better food choices and more exercise to my overall ‘good’ feeling. Amazing how ‘blah’ I felt while consuming processed sugar and simple carbs.

Oh, and social media has caused me to want to vent lately but I’m just not in a vent’y mood. Though I admit, I do occasionally call a friend just to have a good bitch, moan, and complain session — about everything under the sun. My husband has zero interest in the ‘girly’ things going on in life.

Speaking of social media, I called a dear friend of mine last week only to feel as though I was speaking to someone I had never met before. We’ve known one another since we were 15 years old, remained really close regardless of how many miles were between us, and if we would lose touch for a few years we always managed to find one another and catch up in no time. We’ve always been excited to hear from one another so this ‘attitude’ I was getting just wasn’t cool… at all. We’ve been speaking a couple of times a month quite regularly lately and all seemed to be going just fine. Yet with this last call there seemed to be a lot of underlying hostility, ie. them: “I’ve always known who I was and I haven’t changed one bit since we were 15 years old. You, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue.” Ouch. I mean, no, I didn’t know who I was when I was 15, who did? My friend didn’t either but who was I to shoot down their egomaniacal moment? But more importantly why attempt to insult the 15 year old me… that was ages ago. And what did I do that was so horrible then? And WHY would someone still be holding onto it without making an attempt to resolve it over the past couple of decades? Perhaps I’m just being sensitive. Either way it felt a bit hostile. Oh yeah, social media… my friend has a blog about a topic I find to be rather interesting so I commented. Nothing offensive or out of line, just a comment from one friend to another. I received a phone call explaining that their social media life and me are two different entities that shouldn’t cross paths and how terrible I was for commenting on their blog — though the comment was never approved or posted. Whaaaaaat? Ummm, not my fault if who they portray themselves to be in social media land is different than who they are in the real world. But wait, they’ve always known who they were, right? OK, so I vented… a little!

So yeah, that’s life lately. Gardening, enjoying the outdoors, and realizing old friends might be crazy friends.

The 10 Types Of Toxic People That Mentally Strong People Avoid

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today and it’s definitely worth sharing. I like to think my husband and I subconsciously live by this rule and it’s part of what brings us so much peace and happiness.

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1. The Showoffs

Those who feel the need to be showy are always compensating for something and trying to prove their worth to themselves. Unfortunately for them, this is how you know they have little worth. Showing and trying to make other people envious is a waste of time, unless you’re trying to make yourself feel better about yourself at the expense of others. People that do such things are not the kind of people you want to keep around.


2. The Unintelligent

I’m not talking the kind of dumb that can’t be helped; I’m talking about the kind of dumb that is a result of an immense ego, voluntary ignorance and self-righteousness. Most of us know at least one or two people who are completely unintelligent as a result of continually making bad decisions and not learning from their mistakes for their entire lives.


3. The Leeches

Growing up, we’ve all had or been that friend who was always a bit broke and always happy to take a handout. When our friends are at a difficult point in their lives, there’s no reason not to help them out or to offer to pay for a few rounds of their drinks so they come out and have fun with the rest of the group. The problem is when the person seems comfortable in the position and is making little to no effort of improving their financial situation.


4. The Lazy

Laziness is a disease, one that is highly contagious. Lazy people make other people lazy. The more you hang around the immobile, the less you will feel the need to be mobile. The mentally strong are not impervious. Hang around lazy people too often and you’ll notice your productivity and general enjoyment of life plummeting.


5. Anyone Who Lives By The Saying, “YOLO”

Understanding that you only live once can put your life in perspective. In fact, it should put your life in perspective. Yet, the Biebers, Drakes and Mileys of the world somehow managed to get the message completely backwards. YOLO: Let’s get wasted and high, do stupid sh*t, throw up all over ourselves and possibly die while we’re at it! Yes, YOLO. The whole origin of this saying doesn’t suggest doing pointless, dumb crap. YOLO means you should spend your time doing something meaningful, with a purpose. YOLO: You have once chance; don’t screw it up.


6. The Big Talkers

Those that spend their time running their mouths spend little time doing anything else. It’s the mentally strong that don’t bother doing the talking because the work they are doing speaks for itself. The talkers, on the other hand, have nothing but the empty words they’re speaking.


7. The Constantly Depressed

Not those that have an actual chemical imbalance, but those who act like they do. We all know people who are always feeling bad for themselves, always complaining about how difficult their lives are and how unlucky they are. Bad luck is not a lifelong circumstance. If your life sucks, then guess what? It’s mostly, if not entirely, your fault. Don’t keep these folks around unless you want them to bring you down with them.


8. Those Who Stay Within Their Comfort Zones

If we wish to live a life of adventure, then those who aren’t adventurous need be avoided. All those you meet and come across in your life are partners on your journey, if only for a few seconds. Those we keep around more regularly end up steering our direction more than we realize. If you hope to leave your comfort zone regularly, then don’t hang out with those who aren’t willing to leave theirs. Their chain simply isn’t long enough to go for the ride.


9. The Non-Dreamers

Those who can’t dream don’t live. Life is about believing that things can be better — not just for you, but for everyone. What makes people human is dreaming and hoping that the change to come will be for the better. Those that don’t dream won’t allow you to dream, either, and will do their best to prove to you that your dreams are just that: dreams.


10. The Non-Believers

Worse than those who don’t dream are those who dream, but don’t believe that they can turn those dreams into reality. Those who don’t believe in themselves don’t amount to anything in life. They are the losers — those that are always there, but don’t influence the world. They live in a gloomy and depressing world where their lives are out of their hands. They go with the flow and never attempt to achieve any sort of success. Don’t rely on them to support you when you need the support, either. If they don’t believe in themselves, then they sure as hell won’t believe in you.

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The challenge of re-homing

I’ve often said I prefer animals over people, and sorry peeps, that hasn’t changed. There’s no love like the love of a pet; unconditional. I would say they ask for nothing in return but I know better… we currently share a home with 11, yes ELEVEN pets. And let me tell ya… they have some serious demands but I can’t imagine anything else I would rather be doing right now (typed as I hold a cat back from walking across the keyboard).

When Sultana arrived from Kuwait in late October she had packed a little too much baggage that no one was aware of. By early December, and without notice, she gifted us with 6 little bouncing bundles of love. Even our Vet who had seen her just 3 days earlier was surprised. She hid her pregnancy rather well.

Mommy & Son

Mommy & Son

Since having the puppies Sultana has come out of her shell, embraced her new home with us, and her personality is really shining through. She’s a true pleasure to watch. Yet at the same time her babies have also taken on personalities and become a very special part of our family. Hubby and I have had numerous conversations about the possibility of keeping them all. We have the land, we have the space inside the home, we have the means to care for them properly, however, what we don’t have is more room in our bed! And realistically keeping 6 puppies would just be too overwhelming. They’re only 7 weeks old now and already into absolutely everything they’re not supposed to be into. Cat litter? Yummy. Shoes? Yay! Every electrical wire in the house even those well hidden? Found them. Bones, chewies, and toys? Eh, not so much.

So, we’re left with no other option than to re-home. I can honestly say this is one of the most daunting, emotionally draining tasks I have ever taken on. You want to be stalked by me? Ask for one of our puppies. I’ve had a number of people contact us wanting a puppy who sound absolutely lovely and like a candidate to be considered. I get their full name and explain I’ll get back to them with further information. During that time I Google them and review every single little piece of internet activity they’ve ever been involved in. And people thought my hiring process was tough. Ha! I’ve reached a whole new level of scrutiny over here. Maybe I am being unrealistic and maybe the ‘perfect’ homes just don’t exist. But what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if I can’t find ideal candidates? We keep them until we do find the right homes.

As I watch my 6 babies run around here with nothing but love in their hearts (and the desire to chew shoes), I realize how much purpose they’ve given me. At a time when I desperately needed to be needed they came along and filled that void (Hubby ‘wants’ me, he doesn’t ‘need’ me, totally different). I may not manage huge departments, or write government policies anymore but I do still play a very important role in life. And the unexpected arrival of the puppies has been a stark reminder of just that.

Sometimes what we’re really in need of is given to us in the most unconventional ways at the most unexpected times. And as lovely as that is, Sultana’s spay appointment is already scheduled for March 🙂

Blogging for closure

I was recently directed to a blog written by an American woman who is seeking a sense of closure regarding a previous marriage to an Arab man. She’s written several entries which outline her entire experience with her former husband as well as the abuse she endured. Her hope is that writing it and sharing her story will bring some closure to a very painful event in her life which ended as quickly as it started and with no explanation.

You’ll notice through each ‘chapter’ of her relationship the changes she points out which I’m sure she would now consider red flags. At one point she mentions smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, sitting and talking with his male friends… only later to be condemned for these behaviors. She also shares the emotional ups and downs so many Western women involved with Arab men complain about.

I found her blog to be very interesting, touching, and filled with raw emotion. I’m sharing it in hopes it might help other women in a similar position,

Remember, women, if something doesn’t feel right then it’s just not right. Don’t allow a man to impose a set of rules on you. Don’t allow a man to tell you what you can or can’t do. If your man is always changing his stance on something (drinking alcohol, certain friends, etc.) then beware. If you find your relationship to feel more like a roller coaster then evaluate the reasons. If you’re in a constant state of confusion and emotional discombobulation, then chances are something just isn’t right in your relationship. Don’t allow a man (or anyone else) dictate your self worth. True love comes with respect, compassion, empathy, and trust. True love isn’t confusing or painful. And true love doesn’t keep you on an emotional roller coaster filled with rules.

Hoping her blog brings her the closure she’s seeking while perhaps helping another woman along the way.

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It’s all about the attitude, baby.

Some people ask, “Is your life really so perfect? You always seem so happy and upbeat.” Well, no, life certainly isn’t always roses and sunshine but nothing is. So I have a choice; allow the negatives to bring me down or find the best in a bad situation and embrace it.

Years ago someone said to me, “You view life through rose colored glasses” implying I was naive and gullible. Their comment took me by surprise as I had never considered myself either of those things. I found myself pondering their words and questioning many of my own decisions. It was overwhelming that I allowed someone else’s opinion really get to me that way… and very out of character for me. So I called a dear friend, someone who has known me forever, I had to know if they agreed that I was blindly skipping through life without a clue. I chose a friend who is honest and blunt, not one who would tell me what I wanted to hear — that too was a difficult decision. My friend immediately said, “Yes, you do go through life wearing rose colored glasses”. Whaaaat?! Really? During my emotional breakdown they interjected and reminded me that my ‘rose colored glasses’ didn’t make me blind, they simply allowed me to see ugly things in a prettier light. Hmmm, OK, go on. They recanted many life experiences I had overcome and highlighted how I had made the best of what could have been a really bad situation. Not sure if they were stroking my ego at this point, but I was certainly enjoying it.

Since that time many years ago I do find I’m more conscious about my ‘Little Ms. Positive’ attitude. Telling a friend who is going through a really tough time, “Hey, this is a great thing! Wait till you see what tomorrow offers” isn’t always sound (or welcome) advice.

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In my personal life, where all the details are quite clear, it’s far easier to use little clichés to get me through a bad day. Being positive about any bad situation somehow magically makes it just a little bit better… for me anyway. Of course I cry, I yell, I scream, and I sometimes have a total and complete breakdown. But my goal isn’t to be ‘perfect’ on any given day, just to be a little better than the woman I was yesterday.

So yeah, life sucks every now and then. Nothing is perfect. I have good days and bad days. But instead of allowing the negativity to consume me I change my attitude. Otherwise I would become bitter, judgmental, angry, and crass. And who the heck wants to feel like that all the time?!

When something isn’t going as planned in life I try to find the reason for it, or at least seek out ways the new path is probably better for me anyway.

I don’t have to win every disagreement between my husband and me (yes, we do have them). It’s not necessary that I’m always right. Every conversation and interaction with friends doesn’t have to result in me making a point. I don’t have to put others down to make myself feel better. And I don’t have to dislike you to love me.

Bad things happen to everyone. I don’t question it. But I am proud to say I’ve learned to accept it and alter my attitude accordingly.

Since moving back to America I’ve slowly been letting go of my former existence and learning to really live again. I actually enjoy smiling at a random stranger and saying good morning. I love my morning meditation where even the chirping of the birds seems to disappear. I’m getting more in touch with ‘me’. I’m here because my attitude brought me here.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 
― Maya Angelou

Drama Free

This morning, while laying in bed wide awake debating whether or not I should get up or go back to sleep yet already knowing the answer, I realized how drama free my life really is. Let’s not mistake ‘drama’ and ‘stress’ here. I certainly have my fair share of stress.

Years ago if someone had asked what I was looking for in a man ‘loyalty’ would have topped that list. Now, after a couple of years of marriage I can’t say my answer would be the same. Of course loyalty is still important to me, but more important would be respect.

When two people are involved in a relationship with one another and respect exists, then loyalty is a given. One who respects you certainly isn’t going to betray you.

While mentally reviewing all of my former friendships/relationships. The one common theme they all shared (and the reason they can be defined as former) was drama. And that drama either stemmed from jealousy or insecurity — on either side, theirs or mine. And that jealousy and insecurity is almost always prompted by being disrespected.

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I think back to times when I felt absolutely exhausted and defeated. Asking myself what I could have done differently, or what I was doing wrong. Feeling as though I was on a treadmill in my efforts to keep particular friendships/relationships. It was as if I were holding onto a breaking thread, hoping to find ways to mend it, and the other party was holding the scissors. They were terribly painful experiences resulting in days, weeks, or months filled with drama. Yeah, I allowed these people into my life and even kept many around for entirely too long. But looking back I realize they were there to teach me exactly what I didn’t want in my life; allowing me to appreciate my husband more than I probably would have if I had never encountered those drama inducing people.

Fast forward to now — I am respected. My husband and I don’t have the perfect marriage, we have our share of bickering back and forth, and he has a tendency to pretend he’s listening when I’m talking but really not hearing a word… in turn driving me insane. But we love each other, and more importantly, we respect one another. And that respect allows for a sense of security. A deep ‘knowing’ that someone loves and cares for you enough to always have your best interest at heart and to protect you from hurt. That’s more than I could have ever asked for.

So, while still laying in bed contemplating sleep, a feeling of peace came over me in knowing that I can face my days without drama while also knowing what drama looks like and how to avoid it.

If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’re that person hanging onto a thread — let go. You’re not being respected and you’re placing yourself in a situation to allow someone to hurt you over and over. You’re better than that. Eliminate that person from your heart and mind so you can make room for someone who deserves that space.