Full Circle – Some People ARE Full of Surprises (wonderful surprises)

As I sit here on this fine Fall day, I’m elated with the recent event of reuniting with an old dear friend.  We had a falling out of sorts some time ago (it was stupid really and I lost my temper… ).  These past few GenuineFriendsweeks I’ve reached out to old lost friends; call it age, but I’m finding that life is too short to hold onto grudges or past hurts.  And, I’ve been told by these old friends, in no uncertain terms to F… Off, We don’t want you here.  Well, I guess I can’t blame them.  Then again, it left me feeling a bit sorry for these individuals – I sort of pitied them.  I mean, if I was receiving an email or call from an old friend (especially someone I’d known since childhood or for over three decades, let’s say) with heartfelt apology, asking if we can get past this… I would call them and talk.  Forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones (that is unless they sexually assaulted me or killed my mother…); however this was not how these individuals decided to treat the situation.  They chose to clutch their pain/grudge and proudly wear it like an armor, thereby warding off anyone (mostly me); like garlic to a vampire.

Being the tenacious person that I am, I recently reached to this friend that I heard from today… Giving her my apologies and asking if there was anyway we could move forward – realizing that it had been three years – I fully expected the same reaction as with the other lost friends.  I was working on my computer and sipping my coffee when my cell rang (I was actually expecting a male friend who said he would be calling sometime this weekend… though I thought it was a bit early as he was to be taking his student for an ocean swim), so I answered this unknown number and to my surprise it was her.  “Thank you for reaching out”, she said.  “Well, thank you for calling; usually I just get a ‘f..k off’ and get defriended”, I replied and the tears started to flow.  We talked for close to two hours as if no time passed.

I’ve spent a great deal of time dealing with those voices in my head that told me, “you’re a bad person, Ann.  You don’t deserve to have friends like them.”  “You expect them to forgive you?  You aren’t worthy.”  But some strange things came out this week as I’ve said ‘good-bye’ so some toxic people who really, not only recently decided I was not ‘good enough’ for whatever reason, NEVER felt the love I felt for them for three decades or more!  I felt cleansed, and felt those ‘voices’ flushed away.  It was as if, suddenly, I could see my worth.  Because, I DO forgive, I do keep my word and don’t spread gossip – hurtful, horrid gossip.  I used to think to never do that which you don’t want done to you (or…on the positive slant – treat others as you would like to be treated).  It doesn’t always work that way as people are going to talk no matter what… But this I do know and I’ve said this before – TRUTH always wins out.  People will show you who they are.  And these individuals have shown me who they really were, I just didn’t have enough faith in myself to trust it.  I knew they didn’t love me… I could feel it in the way they treat me and the way they treated those ‘friends’ around them. I knew they were ashamed of me and that I didn’t ‘make the cut’ with their other friends who had more money and owned cabins, boats, vacation homes… but again, I couldn’t allow myself to see the shallowness in them.

Those people are my past… They don’t define me and no longer have any hold on me.  From now on I only care for and look forward to all that are in my life now.  Those individuals that lift me up, make me laugh and truly care for ME as I do them.  Friends and acquaintances will always come and go – this is true, but it is a certain blessed person that will realize that life is too short; people get older (we all do) and sometimes you just need to let bygones be bygones and realize that there was love and deep friendship there.  To my friend today – if you read this (you know who you are) I’m so very grateful for you and Love you with all my heart… This is my best Birthday present.




Be Careful What You Wish For (or so they say…)

Riches!  That is what many wish for.  A new car… bright, shiny and fast; that will do.  A huge wardrobe of fantastic clothes (Vera Wang, Mark Jacobs, Isaac Misraji, Christian Lou Bouton shoes, and the list goes on and on) with a fantastic body to wear these fantastic clothes (yep, you guessed it, I wish to be a walking hanger…).  Fame!  Walking the ‘Red Carpet‘ and photo shoots!

But, truth be told, the only thing I craved was to have a ring of friends that were so gifted that I didn’t know what to do with myself while in their 13618094presence.  I wanted nothing better than to be surrounded with talented, creative, sensitive people who I was only too proud to call friends.  So much so, the other day, after performing for a concert with my band, I ended up leaving a bit early (my migraines are reliably inconsistent and this one was a doozy); as I walked to my car, with music in hand and my head down thinking of the faces looking up at us as we sang, I smiled a huge smile as I realized that dreams actually do come true.  I am living my dream!  You see, I have discovered that I am surrounding myself with fabulous people who build me up and who stand for what they believe in and, most importantly, who pull together and put their money where their mouths are and give to those in need.

Much of this I owe to the music we sing and so much of it I owe to age.  I’ve reached the ever blooming “halfway” mark and am realizing that there is a new path I’m forging for myself.  Some of that is in my music, but most of that will be through my foundation, helping those diagnosed with dementia and their loved ones cope with the disease and the responsibilities that go along with it.  I am embarking on a road that I’ve never had the confidence to follow; but that’s the point, is it not?  As I’ve written in past posts, so often we follow the same path because it’s familiar, we know the curves that lie ahead, we know the bumps in that road.  Sure, there might be a surprise here and there; but, for the most part, it’s a path that we are very familiar.

Often times through life, we come across a fork in the road or a cross roads and it is at this time that we must decide… we must decide to turn left, turn right or forge straight ahead on the same, safe, familiar path.  I mean, why change, right?  If we turn left, we might fall, break a leg, we might fail!  Same goes if we made a right turn.  We might meet some horrible people who bankrupt us and, fail.  But, truth be told, if we forge ahead, we might fall, break our neck, end up in the hospital, meet some really horrible people who mismanage our business and cause our medical insurance to cancel, thereby forcing us into bankruptcy and, fail.

Wow!  How grim!  However I think you get my drift… no matter what, there is always going to be the chance of failure (this is true).  But, there is also the chance for success and the possibility of meeting fabulous people who will become wonderful friends.  There are wonderful possibilities out there if we just adjust our direction.  I did.  And I am the happiest I’ve been in years.  Scared?  Certainly!  But this isn’t a daily occurrence.  I went Ziplining the other day with a friend of mine.  I found myself hyperventilating on the first couple of lines (well the first FIVE); but the most important thing is that I felt empowered and I finished with honors.

Life; be careful of what you wish for.  Really?  Rather, be grateful for what you wish for.  I had the pleasure of attending an honorary luncheon with my sister, Elizabeth.  The Organ Donor Society was honoring those who donated their organs in 2012 and our sister, Kimball, was one of the honorees.  They had a slide show at the end, showing all the faces of the loved ones who had passed, giving the “gift of life”, their organs.  Some were able to give to many, some, like my sister, were only able to give their eyes; but it was known that all these gifts were exactly that, “gifts of life”.  For even the eyes, they gave were a gift of site to someone who may not have had sight since they were very little and there is something very humbling in that.  Some had been given the gift of a heart, a liver, a kidney; and there were so much more.

But the faces, those were what touched me; so many faces, all belonging to someone or many.  All having touched others and leaving a huge hole in the lives of those around them.  Some of these faces were very young, their lives barely started.  While others were in the prime of their life, possibly leaving children, a spouse, parents, friends and a whole community.  These faces spanned all age groups and it left me grateful.  Grateful for my love of Kimball and grateful for my friendships (new-found and well seasoned).

355477So many times we hear it said (more often now than ever before), “Life is too short” and this is said as a message of some sort.  As if to say, “get over it, and move forward”; stop holding on to your anger and your petty disagreements and forgive instead.  Those that say this have a point; but to them I say that you can’t rush grief.  If people are hurt or angry, there is not a thing anyone can do to force them to heal, forgive, forget and move on.  They must come to that decision by themselves.

It is no secret that this time last year I was a mess.  The loss of our sister left me empty, angry and spitting fire.  I was trying to ‘get over it’, but that was a tall order and that is what I’m saying to all of you.  Grief is different for each and every one of us; and it will happen in its own time (again, different timing for each and every one of us).  But I gave it time (finally!), and have allowed my friends in to help, listen, talk and laugh with me.  That is really the ticket, laughter and talking.  We all need that release.  But the most helpful of all is time.  We must allow ourselves the time.  How much time?  I don’t know… Nobody does!  No one, but you.  Allow it.  No time is too long, but some time can be too short.  Don’t rob yourself of the healing needed.

It has been a year (actually a 13 months) since the passing of my lovely sister Kimball and I’m sure she is smiling down.  I know she was smiling that day of the concert I was participating in as I was realizing all the new friendships I’ve made.  These wonderful people who are now a part of my life, all of whom have their own wonderful talents (all musical and fantastically musically diverse as they are all part of the Greats of the Northern California Bay Area).  I am so proud to have been accepted in the “club” and to have been invited to sing among them.  They teach me every time I sit in the crowd and listen.  To do that is a wonderful experience; BUT, to have them in my home?  That is an exceptional experience, and this happens all the time now!  So, needless to say, I have my ears on and my mouth closed (unless ordered otherwise) and learn as much as I can.

Yea, be careful what you wish for?  I insist on, “be grateful for what you wish for” – as anything is possible and mostly likely probable.  Life is, as they20954921 say, but a dream.  So dream on!  I am so grateful for the turn my life has taken.  Thank you EVERYONE who has touched my life in one way or another.  Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear how you’ve been touched by a miracle (earthly or otherwise…).