Your Shoes for My Feet (or Visa Versa)

As you know, these last couple of weeks haven’t been my best – to tell you the truth, if this year was wiped off the calendar I don’t think I would miss it – but it is what it is and, feetForMyShoesPicthanks to some wonderful friends and family, I have made some great strides in getting my life back on track.

There was a quote by Wally Lamb “I cried because I had no shoes; then I met someone who had no feet.”  This seems to be my point of focus lately – which is great as it brings me back to ‘center’ and allows me to see that, though the grass may appear greener on the other side of the fence, you just might find as many (if not more) areas in need of as much TLC as on your side (i.e. brown spots, crabgrass that has grown in).  Life for others isn’t always as it appears.

As I go through my own closet of skeletons and try to get to the bottom of some recent issues that have arisen, I’m being reminded that we are all dealing with varying sizes of bones.  Each bone houses its own painful memory (be it grief of the loss of a loved one, our own loss of our innocence, our struggle to hang on to our own self-worth) there can be a multitude of pain and sorrow in all of our closets.  And just as I am trying to decipher my own, I’ve come to understand the pain and suffering of others, so deep, it left me feeling for them – ALL of them.

Children are such fragile beings and must be nurtured and guided.  But, let’s face it, we can only give the amount of love we have for ourselves.  If all we know is pain and abuse, there is an even greater possibility that we will pass this on to our own children, leaving them the legacy of passing it on to their children (and so on, and so on, and so on).  One thing is that these ‘heirs’ might very well be thinking of their legacy as not “AS abusive”, thinking instead, “well I never laid a hand on you, you don’t have it near as bad as I did!”  But abuse takes on many forms.  So how do we stop the “Cycle?”

In an article written By TOM McCARTHY and ROBBIE GORDON via 20/20 When Children of Abuse Become Parents; there are ways of ending the cycle.  However, it takes discipline and work – but it can be done.  Positive reinforcement seems to be the winner over any negative or punitive forms of discipline.  This seems so obvious, yet, we do become creatures of habit, don’t we?  I can still hear my mother admitting to me how often times, while still a youth, she would swear to never do to her children what her father had done to her; only to later find that she unwittingly passed the torch.  At any rate, there is hope and I do believe that we all have the capabilities deep within ourselves to overcome our demons (however deep the scars may be); we can prevail, be it through the help of a therapist, medication, regression, spiritual guidance  (or all of it) – we can prevail.

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” ~ William James

“When you stand alone the chances of withstanding challenges and overcoming are low. But when there’s unity victory is certain and overcoming challenges is possible. Two heads are always better than one.” ~ Frank Matobo

As I write this I am brought back to the level plain of ‘rationalization’ and reminded of all the friends and family I love and love me.  Those who only want what is truly best for me.  I’ll be going on the journey into the depths of finding out what really happened oh, so many years ago – but until then, the shock wave of my new world has subsided and the acceptance of this reality of what I have to face is becoming easier to swallow.

Today I’m in the Austin airport awaiting my plane to arrive and boarding to begin and as I sip my last Bloody Mary, before making my way, yet even further, down the ‘rabbit hole’, I’m anticipating my journeys of tomorrow and what they will bring.  Will they bring me more clarity?  A better understanding of what is and what has been?  Or will they leave me even more distressed?  As I was talking with my friend on the way to the airport this morning, many times we can only take our steps in faith that the next brick of that ‘Yellow Brick Road’ will appear and be in the direction we are satisfied with.  I truly have no idea; for the first time in so long (years and years) I know not where I’ll end up.  What I do know is that, like all that is living (the wild things of nature and of the ocean and rivers/lakes), I will be directed and will survive just fine.

Much of the time, as I know I’ve written before, (if you would envision a river) faith is knowing that the current will take you where you need to go.  And in these times of grief and sorrow and even uncertainty, sometimes you need to give yourself permission to take in the oars and let the current take you and enjoy the ride – relax a while and listen to your heart.



Skeletons In The Closet – Buried? Or Dispersed?

Skeletons are in all of our closets – sometimes we’ve buried them so deeply that we’ve suppressed them (forgotten they were there completely).  And we go unicef-ignored-3on about out lives as if nothing happened.  Nothing ill willed, nothing traumatic – all those feelings have been placed into its neat little compartment and set aside and placed way in the back.  Unfortunately, as with that ‘coat’ closet that we love to stuff everything in when we do our whirlwind cleaning before company comes over; that door will one day open and “BLAM!”  They all tumble out and you are forced to look at them.  All those unpleasant memories come flooding out at you – some might topple on top of you, laying you flat and seemingly helpless.

Apologies to all my readers for not being as diligent as I had hoped to be on this site.  Problem is, I’ve not been as diligent in any of my duties.  I’ve been faced with just too much (again, wonderful observation Ann!).  I know, but, these recent awareness’ are different and I thought I could get through them by myself.  Without medical help or without the help of therapy.  Instead, I’ve found myself falling deeper and deeper in the spiral of the whirlpool that many find themselves spinning in.  Before you know it, you are at the bottom.

Fortunately I’m not at that dark space I found myself in back in 2011 – a place I hope to never find myself.  But I’m there.  Is there ever going to be a day where I will no longer need the help of modern-day medicine to keep me from these nightmares?  Will there ever be a day when I can simply go forth, each morning and believe in me; Ann?  Be happy with the adult and the child?  Understand the parents, the brother and the sisters?  And finally come to understand and forgive all who had forsaken me; will that day come?

I thought the day had come and passed by.  I thought I had come to closure with all of those demons.  Then, a few days ago something surfaced – something deep within.  Some might call it a “repressed” memory.  But the helpless feeling is there just the same.  And the guilt and all of the ugliness that came with it falls on me like an evil ghost that would come over a child’s bed at bedtime.  And no night-light will scurry away the horror; for nothing that calm these nightmares.

I wish I could go into everything, I can’t – not here and not now.  Trust me when I say the memories are simply too troubling and run far deeper and far longer than even I could imagine (I only hope they aren’t true).  Trouble is, I have no one to speak to about it.  No one!  I do have my therapist.  But how do you know what is memory and simply your mind playing tricks on you?

When is it that we should simply leave those proverbial skeletons in the closet; forever?  Can we ever find closure with that?  Is it possible to find the closure we need within ourselves?  This new discovery has been paralyzing to say the least.  I’ve not been able to get out of bed.  Again, I have made steps to seek help and will.  But the self-loathing, the dirty feelings I have; not just for thinking such things but from that little girl.  Logically we know (her and me) that she had nothing to do with it, that no one was there to take care of her and that she was the victim.  But there is so much anger; ANGER that I could be ignored.  And I was – I was ignored by so many in our family.

Still am – by our cousins especially.  Though one could argue that they’ve never showed much interest in our family for years.  The only connection was their mother.  I didn’t hear from them when my apartment went up in flames, and haven’t heard from them much since, not even Ann, who I thought we had become pretty close friends; but, I’ve not really heard from her for a year and a half (at least).  It’s strange because I was really hoping we were getting so close, now; nothing.  Barely a comment on Facebook.  But, again, as much as I’ve tried, there really hasn’t been much of an interest.  I think my father would have been really disappointed to know that his brother’s children and his children are as distant as we are.  And our other cousins (daddy’s younger brother’s children), well, we couldn’t be farther apart.  Not even a Christmas card.  But, I’m getting off the subject (or am I?).

Anyway, there are so many emotions going through me; emotions that I thought I confronted and closed many years ago.  But these emotions have come to an even higher peak.  I’m so ANGRY!  When I’m angry I cry (so you can only imagine the amount of tears) and when I cry I get migraines… it’s a vicious cycle.  I’m just so tired of being ignored, being invisible.  And the ‘defriending’ didn’t help, it just heightened this ‘unjust’ feeling I’ve been harboring my whole life.  I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and thinking I don’t have any friends.  Which, in truth, I have to ask, do I?  I’ve been locked away like Miss Havisham and have not received one phone call.  Not one person to call and say, “Ann, just checking on ya; hadn’t heard from you in a while.  How are you doing?”  That can be pretty lonely.

So how does one get out of the “Miss Havisham” mode of life?  Well, I’m going start.  First thing; I’m signing up and starting my training to be an Ombudsman.  They will send me the info; it’s forty hours of class time and ten hours of field time.  It’s one baby step toward my business, but it’s got to start somewhere and sometime.  Somebody told me that he gets over his self-pity by serving others; getting involved.

I’ve also made my appointments with my therapist and doctor – that’s a great step in the right direction and I’m looking into adopting a dog.  Yep… finally found a little girl and she is a cutie.  This is the most excited since I lost my little one from Kidney failure back in 2011 and had to put her down.  I don’t know if I’ll be accepted for this one, but there will be others.  With my new baby, I will get back on my routine (you just have to… dogs have to be walked, fed, go potty, be loved and played with).  I know me… I’ve go tons of love for my new little girl.  I’ve also got a plane ticket for a trip in a week to see one of my best friends.  It’s just for the weekend, but some new scenery is just what I need.  And my dear friend is obvious medicine.

These last few weeks have scared me, but the memories and the news that I’ve found these last couple of weeks have been overwhelming; so much so, that I just don’t know what to do with myself.  I’m forced to ask; why me?  And in true Ann’ism forum, “why not me?”  This is all part of life.  What we do or don’t do is a true sense of our character.  It is all about growth and learning.  We can hate it, be angry with it (sure, get ANGRY, we deserve to!).  But the time comes where we must look at it and learn from it.  Decide what the most responsible thing to do with it is.

Then, after all of the confusion has settled and we can be quiet, mediating only with our heart and with God; then, hopefully we can come to forgiveness.  Forgiveness for everyone – especially ourselves.

I can feel, and keep on feeling sorry for myself and that little girl that everyone ignored; that little girl who was violated and bullied.  I can blame that little girl for not being smart enough, not cute enough, not talented enough or rich enough to gain the admiration of friends and family.  But it wasn’t her fault, just as it wasn’t her family’s fault.  Not her mother’s, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends.  Everybody did as best they could and what they knew in that time and space.  We all did the best we could do for what we were given.

So, still, I’m given much information that I must syphon through and figure out if these skeletons should just stay as they are, skeletons to be kept buried deep in the closet and never to be unleashed again; or if they should be released.  Sometimes, so much time has elapsed that that is where they should be; buried.

I will make this promise to myself now and do my best to never, ever break it.  I won’t stand to be ignored again.  I won’t stand silent again.  My voice is for speaking and I have two ears for listening.  I speak out for those who cannot, and I will (and have) stepped up against and for those who could not in their own defense and will continue to do so.  But I will be heard in one form or another.  As for all that has been done to me, to all my offenders (my trespassers’), I forgive them – it’s the truest way to my survival.

Friendships – Reflections Of Our Parents? Or Us? (or is it Karma?)

We go through our lives meeting people, from as far back as toddler to present day.  Every day, while out and about running errands, in exercise class, at the brokenfriendshiptumblerlocal coffee shop; we bump into potential friends.  Some of these acquaintances will soon become friends, and some will simply fade with time.  Some of these friends will stay through the years and some will leave.  A dear friend of mine gave some great advice to me.  She said, “All relationships end one way or another.  They leave, you leave, they die, or you die; but they all end.  It is inevitable.”

I got to thinking about this as something very disturbing happened to me just yesterday.  I had a friend – one that I thought was a dear friend.  This person was a friend and neighbor of my sister Kimball and a person who basically brought me back to my soloing.  I will forever be in her debt.  Somewhere around last April (she and I had a concert in March), I was gearing up for a gig in June and she informed me of her sister.  Her sister had a brain tumor and that she would not be able to be doing any rehearsing or gigs at the moment.  My concern was immediate for her.

Later as I was working on Kimball’s home (which is right next door), I saw my friend as she was just returning from taking care of her sister.  She looked so tired and I was very concerned.  I walked over and spoke with here.  She was spending the week-days with her sister and weekends with her family; I could see the concern/worry on her face.  All I could think of was myself in the same position a couple of years prior and what did I want?  The best I could do was to at least give her a smile/laughter/family time.  So, I started buying up all the cards I could that were (in my opinion) hysterical!  Just for no reason cards… Had done this for a friend before – he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and, like now, feeling helpless, I was determined to at least continue to let him know I’m thinking about him.

So, I started off with a card and a couple of Gift Certs to her families favorite restaurant (ah! Family time! Very much-needed, you think?).  Then tried to pop a text or a card, followed by another…  I wasn’t very consistent, but tried.  But then it was eerily silent on the other end.  No recognition of the cards being received.  No return phone calls, no return texts.  No “hi thanks for thinking of me!”  Nothing!

Again, she accompanied me on the piano, so I would occasionally inform her how much I missed her mighty fingers tickling those ivories, and things like that… but nothing.  Finally, on Facebook, I was posting a post of a fantastic rehearsal with this incredible singer/songwriter and… you know how when you place a friend’s name in your post it ‘highlights’?  Well, hers didn’t… After a couple tries, I looked her up and saw – “+Add As Friend” button… I was crushed.  I checked my other page (yes I have two… a personal and professional) – gone!

As you can imagine, I was extremely upset, though not surprised.  Call it a ‘gut feeling’ but I knew something was up and I’m not usually wrong in cases like this.  I’m still pretty upset and am forced to ask myself; why oh why do I seem to pick people in my life who are so passive aggressive?  Do we pick those around us who emulate our parents?  Or who emulate our actions?

My mother, though I loved her very much and knew she loved me, never utter the words “I love you” until I started uttering them to her when I was eighteen years old – and even then she didn’t initiate those words until a couple of days before my wedding when I was twenty-five!  She was not a woman of conflict and I can remember a time when she didn’t speak to me for two maybe three weeks.  Not even uttered my name.  It took my brother, David, to scream and yell at her; asking “What could Ann have possibly done that would make you do this to her?  Can’t you see what you are doing?”  Gosh, I can still hear that night… I don’t believe I ever saw him so angry or my mother so mute.

Later, when I was around thirty, she and I had a conversation about those horrible weeks.  I came to find out one day when I was clearing out my dresser drawer…  I remembered:  It was back in the fall, I was with my girlfriend Elaine, who was also great friends with my boyfriend Craig.  Craig and I had been an item for almost two years and I was going on sixteen.  Elaine and I were talking under the tree, sipping our lemonade when she was telling me how concerned she was about Craig and I and that I hadn’t gone to the Doctor or to the clinic to get protection.  I told her there was no need – I was still a virgin and we weren’t going to do anything (blushing as I was talking).

Later that night, she drove me over to her place.  She told me she had something for me and really felt that I should have it.  It was a Spermicide (in those days the company was called Semicede).  She had used one, didn’t like it.  She told me how to use it.  The whole case was so small, could fit in the  palm of my hand.  She dropped me off, I went in to bed, dropped it in my top dresser drawer and forgot about it…

Back to clearing out my dresser drawer, I saw the small plastic box entitled “Semiced” and it hit!  My mother must have seen this…

Fast forward to age of thirty; I’m sitting with my mother and I tell her that I have to speak to her about something.  I bring up the whole debacle and when I explain how it was given to me and that one was already missing, I swear it was as if a light went off in her.  Suddenly she understood and felt so, so sorry.  We hugged and cried for a good thirty minutes that night.  Then talked more until about 2:00 in the morning.

To this day, I’m grateful to have gotten that right with my mother.  But when things like what has happened, such as being unjustly cut out of someone’s life and our friendship is tossed, I am brought back to those painful weeks in high school.  When judgment had been cast and I was given no way to explain myself or to declare/prove my innocence.  And I’m forced to ask (since this seems to be a repeating pattern with the friends I choose); am I choosing those that exemplify my mother?  Or me?  Or is it some Karmic justice that I deserve?

After thinking long and hard about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is very possible this person has cast me out because I’m a painful reminder of the possibilities of a loss that she cannot face.  Kimball died of stage four cancer (something that her sister has).  Unfortunately, you cannot make your pain easier by cutting reminders of ‘what could be’ out of your life just because you can’t face the possibility.

Then again, maybe I did do or say something; I’ll never know.   But this has given me great insight as to how I’ve been picking those around me – I deserve better.  But this is a two-way street, and perhaps it’s time for this old girl to take inventory.

In closing – I found this…

To a friend…loved and lost.

Foolish Friendship

© Carmen Harlan

Today I stopped trying to be ‘someone’ for somebody who never thought of me as anyone appreciated and important to them.


Inside I know the space I had for them is now crushed and broken..


Let the facts be out in the open and the truth be spoken…


In time it will be for the best…although I feel an emptiness…knowing what I considered worthwhile..proved shallow and unreal.


I’ve learned sometimes emotions seem clearer than perception..and eventually can lead to a heartbreaking revelation that someone cherished proves that their friendship was in fact deception.


I cry tears of realization that once again I believed the lies that were in disguise and covered up…


Honesty was masked with coy flattery. Why was I so darn naive?


I can and will move on…but I won’t forget I was forgot and actually believed a lie. Not a lie out of the mouth…but of the heart.


That piece of friendship is now many torn apart….


I mustn’t be sorry for the encouragement and love I shared…because I know what I offered was itself a dare. A dare to let someone be a part of me…who didn’t find a reason to care.


Moments like these are rare… moments that I feel what I felt to be ‘nothing’ now and bare.


Thanks for the lesson learned…and always remembered. You were a ‘lucky’ someone who successfully got a part of the best of me. Now I’ll throw away the scattered and useless pieces and leave you be.

He’s Just Not That Into You (Wow – Are We Really Back Here Again?!)

TextDumpEver since my classic dumping during Christmas of ’12, I’ve not dated, haven’t even had any interest to date – what, between my moving, my fire, the closing of Kimball’s estate/house (this isn’t enough ‘stuff’ going on?).   But recently, there was some interest.  So a friend of mine gave one of my business cards to this guy we both know… He called the normal “3-days” and said he was going to take that Sunday off, “Great!”  I said, I look forward to it!”  Well, we were to meet before that day on a Tuesday, to which he cancelled the day before – not a good sign in my book…

Still, Sunday should be open, right?  Right.  Then he calls later to tell me that he won’t be taking Sunday off and will call me by Friday to make another date… I hear nothing.  Then I get a text asking if I’m free on Monday, I text back say sure!  He asks for me to call him when I have a chance (uh… excuse me?  You have time to text, but you can’t call?  What is this supposed to tell me?).  Actually, he’s simply not into me… and that’s fine.

Here’s the thing:  I’m beginning to believe that all my mishaps and there have actually been a few others aside from ‘Honey’, are supposed to tell me something – I’m supposed to be alone.  This is it.  I’m going to be one of those crazy old ladies that everyone talks about.  I’ll wear funny looking hats and comfortable shoes (yikes) – and plaster on the weight, let my boobs just hang down and wear big dresses and I might was well start smoking again, drink gin and play mahjong all day…  In this new age of the “internet”, it is simply too easy to be in contact, AND you have that many more options of getting rejected.  You not only have the phone or in person, but you have texts, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, Pinterest (you name it…) – it’s humiliating!

So, I’m just going to stay focused on my businesses (my writing, music and Foundation).  I should be doing that anyway.  I’m not ready for (nor do I


deserve) a break yet, no rest for the wicked.  They say that life happens while you’re busy making plans… perhaps that’s when my love life will pick up?  They always do say when you least expect it… I’ve never been good at the “hunt”.  I don’t remember a time when I ‘hunted’ anyone.  I was always the ‘prey’ – unaware (well, mostly).

I am lonely though and think that I’m just one of those women who are happiest when they’re with a loved one.  When they’ve made a house a home – I remember those early years of our marriage.  I was happy then…

Maybe that’s ‘who I am’… that woman.  Maybe I’m more my mother’s daughter than I ever thought.  She was truly happiest when she was Daddy’s wife and our Mother.  So what does that say about us?  When we are defining ourselves by the definition of the ‘better half’ of someone else?  I mean, I’m still very much devoted to my writing and my singing – the arts.  I’m still very devoted to getting my Foundation off the ground and going.  But, I still feel as though I’m missing a limb.

No, I couldn’t live with my ex and yes, I will always love him; but I still want the life-style (hey, maybe even a better one).  One with intimacy and shared chores and togetherness… I know I once said I settled, but I’m not sure that’s the case.  I do know that I spent almost fifteen years trying to salvage what was going down quickly.  We had great times – all marriages have them – and we had bad times.  But, the bad times were out weighing the good, so much so that I felt suffocated.

FishOutOfWaterDid I do the right thing?  When we leave, and doubt, are we doing the right thing in questioning?  Or am I just glorifying the ‘good times’ and down playing the bad?  I believe that is exactly what I’m doing and need to stop this analysis on my own self esteem.    This is getting boring; I apologize to my continued readers who must be shaking their fists – I’m even bored with it…

It’s normal to question one’s own decisions; but to constantly go back and question – well, that’s – Obsessive!   And I don’t want to be that way.  I want to continue to learn by my decisions of my past and present and roll on life’s highway, with the wind on my face and the sun on my back (I think that’s the way of it…)

Bottom line, I’ve had some wonderful loves in my life, and one of the greatest was for most of my life.  It had to end.  A dear friend of mine said to me that all relationships end.  They all end one of three ways.  Either we end it, they end it or one of us dies.  And neither of us knows ahead of time how that will be.  And that is the truth.  So, honestly, I’m lucky, I’ve had some great love in my life (and still do).  So, stop me when I start whining again, won’t you please?

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was always my favorite growing up – it was about an independent woman who didn’t need a man to make here life complete.  So, again, as a reminder “you’re gonna make it after all!”


Car Trouble – What Is It Really Telling Me About Me?


I just got back from a fairly long journey and all was running well with my little car.  I pulled into my little complex stopped by the mail boxes, turned on the hazard signals, went to get what was quite a bit of mail and proceeded to my parking space.  I unloaded Frank Sinatra (my cockatiel) and the rest of our belongs and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Next morning I worked a bit, had an appointment by 1:pm and marched my way down to my car clicked to unlock the door (no response).  So, I used the key, then proceeded to place the key in the ignition, turned it and – blip – nothing.  Not a sound!  Oops!  I believe I’ve left the blinkers on all night (would that be what drained my battery?  I sure hope so…).  And to make matters worse I managed to forget to ‘check’ the box to add Roadside Assistance onto my auto policy or to get AAA (what a dolt I am, huh?).  It is at times like this when ‘singledom’ isn’t my favorite way of life.

I hate car trouble – always have.  Car trouble to me is one of those annoyances that just drives me to drink – now we all know that I’ll drink to mourn the death of my house spider  – mechanics-9703but car trouble makes me especially angry.  I think it goes back to the old days (pre-marriage) when I would get responses from mechanics like “whatcha gonna do about it?”  Really, they would say that to me?  As if holding my car hostage.   Whereas, somehow I don’t believe they would ever say this to a man.  Perhaps that’s what I miss about my marriage.  My ex-husband would take care of all the car stuff.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I used to tune up my Ford Pinto… changed my spark plugs and everything which was a real challenge on that V6.  Because, half were covered with hoses (whew!).

I think this is why I hate car trouble and mechanics.  It’s that misogynistic attitude that makes me CRAZY!  “Well, what are you gonna do about it, babe?”  After I already told them what was wrong with my vehicle, they made me pay for a scan that cost me close to $120.00 to find out what I already told them!  I just know if I were a man, they would never had treated me that way.

They say that you can tell the true character of someone by how they handle the smallest of irritating situations.  If that’s the case, my character must need much improvement.  On the contrary, I really am a patient, kind and grateful person.  I just don’t need the attitude thrown at me, that’s all.

So what does all this say about me?  What do the car break-downs and plumbing problems and all around general break downs in life of the irritating sort, tell us about ourselves?  Are they just an annoyance?  Or are they for a higher purpose; meaning are they to teach us something – such as patience, faith (faith in ourselves and others), courage (courage to face whatever or whomever you need to in order to get through your issue).

It is quite funny when it comes to true tragedy – my sister’s cancer, my mother’s dementia, my fire – there’s no thought about it I just go on ‘autopilot’ with a smile on my face; in fact I can be downright cheerful (for their sake).   But these little blips can leave me feeling so helpless; interesting.  Maybe it has more to do with my needing help and having to trust that help than anything else.  Not so much in the asking for that help – I’m learning that, but it’s in the trusting that the help I receive is with an open, honest and earnest heart.

Deep down I think this has been my issue, not trusting people – truly trusting those when I’m in need.  Somehow I need to strike a balance, a balance between knowledge and trust in those with the knowledge.  Where and when this all started?  I do not know.  But I’ve had issues as a child because the so-called ‘adults’ in my life weren’t entirely honest with me and, hence, the seeds of doubt were planted.  Sound good?  It could have happened… Oh, who knows, I only know I need to work on this and put on my “Big Girl Panties” and move forward.

So, here I sit, puzzled, confused and trying like the dickens to stay with positive thoughts.  Positive thoughts have always helped me in manifesting the life I want and they continue to work daily.  I continue on my meditation every morning and every evening; again, manifesting the life I intend to form for myself.  Perhaps I should include “trust” in that manifestation.  That might do the trick.

Seriously, how does one become more trusting, especially with mechanics and tow truck drivers?  Is knowledge really all it takes?  Or does a bit of attitude need to be in the mix?  Would love to hear your opinion.  Since this seems to be overflowing into my dating life, I do believe I need to nip this in the bud.  I found some quotes to help place things into perspective.

“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784);
Poet, Essayist, Lexicographer

“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Indira Gandhi (1917-1984);
Prime Minister Of India

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.”

Frank H. Crane (born 1912);

I will get to the bottom of this too… as I’ve done (am doing) with all my other “issues” – of what I have so many… (oy vey!).  Regardless, peace is in the air and hope fills the space around me.  I am tranquil and am learning each day.  Still, I would love to hear from you… either by comment or through email, feel free.

Dating – How Thos Skelton’s of Our Past Can Still Hurt

WhyRMenLessAffectedByBreadkupsDating… it’s one of those funny things.  I’ve never, ever had an issue with getting back on the horse and riding off into the wild blue yonder.   But, since my encounter with Honey (y’all remember him?), I’m not sure if I’m suffering from broken heart syndrome, or just plain don’t trust men; but I’m really, truly unwary.

I’ve got a date coming up with a really nice guy (REALLY nice guy – cute as a bug), and I’m afraid of spoiling it.  I’m nervous.  What if I did something in the last relationship, I mean, let’s face it, we all have our part.  So how does one get over their past and stop with the questions so that they can move forward to their futures?  How can we throw out the skeletons?

This will have been the first date I’ve had since Honey and though I’m excited, I’m fearful, nervous.   What if something is truly wrong with me?  What if I’m just not the ‘loveable’ type?  What if I’m too demanding?  What if I’m just insane – like he insinuate…  [sigh].  There were so many unresolved issues, and perhaps he’s right and I should just save the men of the world and stay alone the rest of my natural life.

I found one man who was willing to put up with my craziness, for over twenty years!  Only problem, he was an alcoholic…  (so what is that supposed to tell me?)  One thing, he still loves me and I him; we just can’t live together.  He’s not going around telling everyone (including me) that I’m a nutcase and that the end of our relationship was all my fault.

So, who and what am I to believe?  The ex-husband of over twenty years or the ex-boyfriend of six months?  Who, when we met seemed so fun, funny, caring.  Had the image of the good father, the protector.  So much changed in that time.  This was the man who told me he would love me forever and take care of me.  He would never let anyone hurt me.  But he did and it was him.

I think what stings about this is that I did have a man who did love me, who showed me that his word was his bond (well, most of the time… when he wasn’t drinking).  But, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved me and would never let anyone talk against me; he would defend me to the end.  And I’m just wondering, will I ever find that again?  Am I asking for too much?

I see couples all around me, some are obviously wrong for each other, while others clearly show that connectivity.  That ‘spark’, that ‘something’ that tells the on-looker, “those two are in love.”  I used to have that and thought I had that with Honey, but came to find out through my friends that they weren’t too sure about him – really?  Now you tell me!

So how do we get past the past hurts of our past loves?  I’ve been so out of the game it’s scary.  I’ve been hurt before, but not like this.  I truly feel that this was my fault.  How do I change something I have no idea of how to change?  There was no closure… come to think of it, I’m not sure I want to know – could be too hurtful and I might be scarred for life (what life I have left).

I’d like to hear from you, what are your dating scares… hurts and how did you get past those?  How did you finally throw out those skeletons?

I will go on my date and hope for the best.  My ‘Mr. Right’ is out there.  I was once told that talking bad about you is what ‘exes’ do… it’s in the make-up.  I must say, I haven’t necessarily been the kindest.  But I did have a wonderful marriage and divorce… both ended with class and my ex-husband and I still talk and are very civil with each other – we love each other.  He’s been in my life for about half of my life, has been a part of my family – knows I’m nutty and I guess that is what drew him too me.  Used to say was what he loved about me.  So, I guess I should take it from someone who knew me best and chuck what was said by the person who knew me least?  Life goes on… I think it’s time for some horse riding.


I’d love to hear from you and your thoughts on the subject…

Am I What I Dream To Be? (how do we know?)

pathwayWe all have dreamt of being something in our lives… Some of us it was of being doctors, other’s had dreams of being teachers, while other’s dreamt of being performers.  I always dreamt of performing and somehow got side-tracked on the insurance career (boring!).  Now that I’ve been blogging for almost three years, I’ve come to realize that I have a voice and wonder, is it outlandish to think of myself as a writer?

I do write, even write for others, and do so with much excitement and enthusiasm; often times I can’t wait to get to my computer and see what comes out onto the screen.  But what makes us the career of our choice?  Is it special schooling, scholastic accomplishments and awards?  Or is it simply the desire to do (with the obvious know-how – obviously one must have a certain knowledge).  I often wish I were like my sister Kimball, she knew what she wanted to do with her life at a very young age.  Her desire was teaching.

Now, my desire was performing (acting, singing, dancing).  I was quite good at it – if I do say so myself.  Got quite a few awards at the local and state level.  Why I didn’t take that trip to New York and follow my dreams I just don’t know.  But we can’t go back.  I now have a new dream and I no longer need to keep that child in me happy.  So what makes us our dream?  I wish there were a manual for this ‘life’ stuff; you know the kind?  Something that you can flip through to the section under “How Do You Know If You Are XYZ?”  And voila!  You have all the bullet points’ right there, neatly listed.  Boy wouldn’t that be keen, huh?!

Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way, you must have confidence in yourself.  Ah, yes, that ‘confidence’ thing.  You can get all the outside support you need, but unless you truly believe in yourself, you really are going blind.  And I guess you could say I’m at that place – again.  I’m at that plane in life called “doubt” and I’m not so sure how to get out of it.  I’m doubting everything about myself.

It used to be that I had my dear older sister Kimball who was in my corner, plugging me along; and perhaps that is where much of this doubt is coming from.  I’m alone for the first time and I really must go on my gut – my own gusto.  I can no longer go on outside influences.  But how does one pull that self-confidence in?  How do you rein it in and keep it around you like a bubble?

Reading this, one might think I’m down; I’m not, not at all.  I’m just trying to figure out if I’m on the right road, have I chosen the right path?  There are many that tell me yes, but still I doubt.  I’m filled with questions of, “what makes me so special?”  I’m plagued with thoughts of –“If I can do it, anyone can…”  Is this normal?  And I began to think back at my other dreams and realized that those thoughts plagued me then too.

So, I’m faced yet again with this question; do I have what it takes to write professionally?  And, is there any such thing?  Well, there are the obvious jobs out there, the article/editorial writers, the social media posters, the professional bloggers.  But, perhaps it’s simply the desire to play with words and painting a picture with them.  I found a blog Jeff Goins Writer where he explains the difference between good writers and bad writers.  In it he states, The difference between good writers and bad writers has little to do with skill. It has to do with perseverance.

Bad writers quit. Good writers keep going. That’s all there is to it.”

He goes on to say, “It’s not about writing in spurts of inspiration. It’s about doing the work, day-in and day-out.

“Good writers can do this because they believe in what they’re doing. They understand this is more than a profession or hobby. It’s a calling, a true vocation.”

I believe the latter is what I will take with me.  I do have a true calling and intend to hone my skills and hone my skills and know that I will never ever be perfect, but I will strive for perfection.  I will strive for a better way of conveying a thought, an


image, colors.  That is what we are here to do, bringing the words alive to envelop our readers into the worlds we’ve invited them into.

What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear them, if a writer, what compels you to show up and play with the formation of words?  If a reader, what tantalizes you, keeps you interested?  Do you go for the more flowery author, or do prefer it when someone is straight to the point.  Still having a way with words, but getting a better bang for their buck using the “less is more” mentality?

One thing Jeff does point out in his blog is to make a choice and choose to be different and choose to be good.  Make that extra edit.  Go that extra mile.  Show up and be consistent, don’t assume you’ve written your best work, because your best work has never been written yet.  This has been my philosophy about performing.  I’ve never felt as though I’ve learned everything I had to learn (once I did that, I knew I was sunk).  There was always another vocal technique to learn, always another breathing technique to learn.  Once you believe you’ve reached your best, what else do you have to strive for?  So, I guess I’ve answered my own questions.  It really doesn’t matter what anyone else says.  If constructive, it is always welcome, as I continue to strive to better myself.



Facebook 101 (Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo) – The Rules and Etiquettes in Keeping Friends In Cyber-land

It used to be so easy, you wanted to talk with someone, you simply picked up the phone, rotary dialed a series of numbers, listened through some ringing until the familiar, WorldPic“hello?”   Or, you might get a ‘busy’ signal, or, the line will continue to ring, at which time you time you would simply hang up and call back later.

Now, with the invention of voice mail, call waiting, caller ID and the internet, we have a myriad of ways to get a hold of each other.   And, on the internet we have email, twitter, Facebook, Gmail… you name it!  But with all of this there appears to be certain etiquette’s; etiquette’s this girl is still learning and trying to wrap my head around.  Now, are they necessary, or just hype?  It seems that people are simply making up their own rules as they roll along.  However, etiquette’s or no, I believe they are necessary if you are to make it in the ‘on-line’ world known as Cyber-land.  As I wrote in my post just a few days ago, it seems that we are fearless in our cyber-world, doing and saying things we would never think of doing or saying to each other face to face.  Placing all of our personal information ‘out there’ for the world to see.  What are the ins and outs of Cyber-land?  Are we too transparent for our own good?

I looked for an actual “rule book” and was only able to find parodies.  I found Rules of the Internet|Know Your Meme where they place a list or it is anonymously listed by visitors.This was basically a spoof of Etiquette for the Internet and created an anonymous board for users to list their pet-peeves.   I found an article on CNN’s site that reminded me of other culture’s, cultures where freedoms that we take for granted (Freedom of Speech, for instance) are non-existent.  The freedom to speak your opinions about your government- for example- is practiced freely here in the west.  So much so in fact that one might think it has been taken to the extreme; almost as if polluting our belief’s on everybody else’s Facebook page.  But, in certain culture’s, you can be imprisoned for sharing such views; even killed.  The internet, it turns out, is no joke.


When discussing privacy, someone once said to me, “there is no privacy.  Everything is out there…”  And perhaps they are right.  But I have to ask, can we not, then control some of our social media?  At least to the point of not coming off too irrational or bitchy?    With our ‘friends’ and ‘contacts’, how can we introduce them into our world of cyber etiquette?   When you meet face to face for instance, you can usually pick up on a person’s mannerisms and figure out how is best to handle xyz situation appropriately (or what might be deemed inappropriate) in their terms.  But in Cyber-land, who knows?  It is simply too easy to take an innocent statement and blow it way out of proportion; or to fly off the handle.  I did manage to find a blog on Essential Facebook Etiquette: 10 Dos and Don’ts  and it breaks down the essentials fairly well and concludes with; “At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to us to follow these etiquette rules. I guess it’s about finding the balance between the being fun and sensitive to everyone. On one hand, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves with rules and regulations that would limit our creativity and spontaneousness of our social interactions. On the other hand, we ought to be aware of the publicness of Facebook to protect our privacy and at the same time respect the fact that each one of us forms part of the Facebook experience of everyone else. Find that right balance and you’ll not only better that experience yourself, but also help others enjoy it as well!”

And, “bottom line” we do need to be aware (keenly aware) of the fact that there are other people involved.  Other moods, other minds that can and will interpret our interactions (however innocent); we need to remain cognizant of those facts and respond/reply/post in kind.  Understand that freedom of speech is a freedom; yes.  But it is one that comes with responsibility.  And is one that should come with prudence as well.  Let’s remember to be kind and to treat each other as we would so like to be treated; shall we?

The Internet By Gita Ashok

The Internet
is a great revolution.
Yet a great cause
of tremendous confusion.

Should I study?
Should I work?
Should I play?
Or simply online should I stay?

Everyone, everything
and every place:
all just a mouse click away!
Well, the Internet is surely here to stay.

It makes you smile,
it makes you laugh,
it makes you cry,
it makes you sometimes want to pry.

While the snail mail
takes several days,
the Internet offers
a number of cool ways.

At home, at work,
at school, at the airport,
we all stay with the Internet.
We do know why it’s still the best bet.

With the Internet
comes so much information explosion
that it often feels like
you’re searching in a vast, never-ending ocean.

Internet, Oh Internet!
You form bonds and break ties
easily all over the world.
There must be a million tales yet untold.

The Internet
never fails to keep me
busy as a bee.
I fear someday I shouldn’t become a zombie.

Internet, Oh Internet!
You give us a whole new world
for the meek and uninitiated
as well as for the robust and bold.

Internet, Oh Internet!
I plead with thee sincerely –
tell us how we can
live here more peacefully.

04 June 2010
9 am

Gita Ashok

Grief in Haiku


Tears, puddling pools

Grief envelops me; too close

We are confidants

Pals, soul mates, best friends…

Not forever, but for now.

Egress grief, dawn life!

The above Haiku came after I found myself under those trees crying… I was out running errands and magically  wound up in front of Kimball’s house (seen above).  I proceeded on to doing my ‘inspections’ of the work that needed to be done and then collapsed into tears.

Grief – we ALL have it and live with it (in one form or another)

Grief has been a part of my life – so much so that I’ve made it my friend.  I’ve learned to live with it.  For the past year, especially, I’ve felt as

Diagram of a Grief knot

though it took the death of Kimball to plummet me into the depths of grief’s pools – to the point of almost drowning.  But there comes a point when we must wake up and say ‘enough’; enough of the talking about it, enough of the living with it.  Enough, I’m fine!  It is at this point when we are better able to see those around us and become witness to what they are dealing with.  Many are dealing with grief, just in different forms.  Not all grief is caused by the death of a loved one, for many it is the lack of health – loss of bodily function (e.g. movement, loss of limbs, loss of sight, hearing).

There are many reasons for the feeling of Grief.  We can feel it for the loss of who we once were (in any form).  Be it, that we were that “take charge executive”, or the dancer who lost their grace.  Whenever we find that we’ve moved past a point in our life where we no longer are [fill in the blank] – we grieve.  And, as I mentioned above, we can grieve over the loss of our health, the loss of movement, loss of limbs, sight, hearing… the possibilities are endless when you think of how we could suffer loss when it comes to our health.  There is a quote that I was reminded of by Wally Lamb -“I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.”  It was a reminder that often we can go on about our own situations, so much so that the very words can put a stench into the room.  However, once we open ourselves up to the possibilities of how great we actually do have it… looking at our life through a different set of lenses, we can flip our perspective around.

From a different vantage point, you can now be open to new resources.  New ideas come your way and you start seeing new solutions to potential problems that were invisible before.  I can almost hear the readers now, “Ann, you just don’t understand my situation!”  Oh, but I do… more than you know.   You can bring a horse to water…  But, you know something?  There really is no ‘bringing the horse to water’ – the only way the horse will drink is when it’s thirsty.  Only then will it search and find the water and go, willingly.

As a writer I’m given permission to take on the role of ‘observer’.  This was something I’ve done since I was a child – this is probably the key reason for my success as an actress, as observing others and their mannerisms was key to my characterizations – I absolutely love sitting in a room and watching people.  Even my friends (fascinating!).  Everyone appears different; but one thing I’ve noticed is that we all handle our grief in the same stages (I know, another brilliant observation Ann!).  But, we do… hence the reason so many people have made so much money on the subject, I’m sure.  All of the stages are the same; but they are to be moved ‘through’, not to pitch a tent and have your mail forwarded as you’ve decided to take residence.

No, as I said before, we all have the right to complain, and the right to whine; but when your words become so rancid that the odor clouds around your mouth as you speak them, it’s time to stop.  It’s time to step back and take a long look at your situation.  Are you getting too comfortable?  Is there a phase in this little process that you’ve called home?  If so, then you need to pull up your stakes and move on out.

No, I don’t mean to be callous; I’m “grieving”, remember?  But, I am trying very hard to get a move on.  And there have been plenty of times where my words simply reeked of stink!  So I know firsthand.  “I cried because I had no shoes…”  I’ve met a great many who’ve had no feet and I count my blessings that I have the freedom to write my book, to sing, to perform and to live my life, my way.  Do I still grieve?  Certainly!  It will be a process that will be with me for some time.  But, with both feet in tact and plenty of shoes – I intend to count my blessings continually and make my shoulders available for those who need them.  Much of what was given me through this whole process can never be repaid – it can only be paid forward.   And I intend to do just that!

Death Without Denial Grief Without Apology: A ...

Death Without Denial Grief Without Apology: A Guide for Facing Death and Loss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)