You Have to Believe It

Hello, and happy Monday friends! Yeah, I know, I know, Mondays aren’t exactly happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed. I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, a reset of sorts, every single week. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“What makes you think you deserve to be happy?”

Thigh High

I read this some weeks ago, and my immediate thoughts were not positive ones. What does make me think I deserve to be happy? Who told me that and why do I believe it? Maybe none of us really deserve it. What does it matter in the grand scheme of the cosmos whether or not any of us is happy, or suffering miserably until death? It doesn’t.

So, why do I think that just because I was born, and I am here, I should get something out of it?

A feature of the human condition is endless frustration between ourselves and the universe over what we feel we deserve but are not getting out of life. We’ve all heard that life is unfair. We don’t want to believe it when we are young, but we learn it as we grow older. We learn that you don’t always get what you want and that good doesn’t always win. We learn that our hard work and sacrifice will more often than not go unnoticed and that the universe doesn’t owe us a damn thing.

We come to understand this, but we draw the wrong conclusions.

We grow bitter over time and sometimes, having nowhere to direct our pain and feeling a desire for understanding and control we turn the bitterness inward and believe that we don’t deserve happiness. It must be something within us that makes the world hate us so. There must be a reason that the scales are so tipped against us. There must be a reason that other people get ahead and we are stuck where we have always been, doing what we always have, and feeling shitty as ever.

But the real truth is, sometimes it is that shitty feeling that keeps us from moving forward.

Sometimes we hold on to these toxic worldviews, worldviews that, often, other people have put into us. People who didn’t believe they deserved better or happier either. People who were frustrated with the indifference and unfairness of it all. Those people drew the wrong conclusions too. They thought that because they didn’t deserve something, that you don’t either, but they are wrong.

The sad part is we all deserve better, but that doesn’t mean we’ll get it. The good news is, just knowing that can give you a better perspective and change things. Just knowing that you have the right to reach out and pull all the good things that come your way into your life and that no one has the right to take any of it away, can make your world a very different place.

If you think all you have is all you are ever going to get, you stop looking for more. When you think that this is what you get you think of your life as a punishment you accept and even seek out pain as a punishment. When you think that you don’t deserve to have the same as everyone else you set yourself apart as less than anyone else and inflict the greatest cruelty on yourself. If you do this and expect that some sign or someone will come along, tell you differently, and magically change things, you will be disappointed, because even if they do, it won’t make any difference.

You have to be the one to say it. You have to be the one who tells yourself that you have earned every breath, every joy, every hope, and opportunity. You have to be the one to tell yourself that you deserve more and better, and you have to believe it because no one else can make it so.

No one has the authority to tell you what is for you and what isn’t. No one is judging you or weighing what you have given against what you get. There is only you up against a very harsh and hard world. You may not be able to have it all, the world may not open for you and suddenly show you the way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can and get what you can, while you can.

This week, walk like you deserve to be here, work like you deserve more, and talk like you deserve to be heard. Love and accept love like you have earned the right to. Imagine a life where you are happy in all the ways you aren’t now and simply tell yourself that is what you deserve. You deserve more money, more consideration, and more respect. You deserve not to have to hurt so much, worry so much, stress so much. You deserve to feel good about who you are and what you look like. You deserve to be confident and to be accepted.

I’m not asking you to do anything different, I just want you to know, you are deserving of better and more. I want you to tell yourself that until you believe it, and when you hear your mind ask back, why? I want you to have an answer.

Maybe the universe doesn’t care, and maybe it doesn’t really matter either way in the long run, but I care, and you care, or you should, because you only get one chance at this, one chance! If there is no other reason why it is that. You get one chance, and no one has the right to limit you or give you less than what you’ve earned.

You, like everyone else, was born, has lived, and suffered. You were given a beautiful but limited gift and whether or not it was only down to chance doesn’t matter, because we all have the right to make the most of our miracle.

But you have to believe it to make it so.

***

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Passion and Pale

I paint with shades of
Passion pumping under pale skin
And make a masterpiece of you and me

***

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Written in response to The Daily Post prompt: Pink

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You are What You Cook for Me

I’m easily lured by food
bad for the body
but good for the soul
You are what you cook for me

I’ve never had the self-control
To choose what is good
Over what feels good

Sweet, and savory
Spicy, and so soul comforting
You really are what you cook for me
And I will ever over-indulge

***

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Written in response to The Daily Post Prompt: Fry

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Five Minute Friday // In the Slow Time

Nothing feels slow anymore. I’m rushing to work, rushing through the day, rushing to get home, rushing to clean up, walk the dog, eat dinner, watch tv, and go to bed where I rush to sleep, to rush back to work the next day. Going, going, going, but getting nowhere I guess.

There are some slow times in there, and I savor them. They mean the world to me and when I guard it fiercely. So often it feels like that is all I have.

My favorite is every evening when the time comes for me to stretch out on my side of the couch, and the lovely woman who loves me back sits close by. We might not be paying much attention to each other, we may be looking at tv screens, iPad screens, laptop screens, or phones but it’s ok. We are together. The world is outside of these shitty, shabby walls and none of it can get it. This is our slow time.

There are pillows are piled up, and more blankets than we need. There are snacks, and drinks, Netflix, and chargers for every device. The dog joins on the far end and the cat squeezes in wherever she can. There is everything we need right there.

I stretch my feet out to rest on the lovely woman next to me, and she asks me what we ought to watch. We chew our dinner and enjoy it, not like the breakfast that comes in liquid form or the lunches that may not come at all. We talk about the day and finally find our feelings for it. At work, with others, there is no time to decide what you should have done or felt, but it all comes out in the slow time.

***

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Written in response to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt: Slow

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Embracing Uncertainty

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a fresh start, every week. Mondays are our do-overs, our reset buttons, our first days. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

For me, this Monday is a super easy one, and, hopefully, if I can focus, a productive one too. It’s the first day of my winter break from work, and I hope to spend it writing as much as I can since I blew off the whole weekend laying on the couch or visiting family. I still have to work a few days over this week and next but today I am home. I am relaxed but focused. I have coffee, and I have set up shop in the spare bedroom, far away from the TV.

I am trying.

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to grow up and grow old with another person.

I feel lucky to have lived as close to a fairy tale as most people can ever hope. It has been—and continues to be a roller coaster ride of emotion and uncertainty by as time go one the highs are less high and the lows aren’t so low. It’s a good thing to be slow and steady and secure in each other. We are like one person with two brains. We fight, we confess, we whisper sweet nothings, and sometimes we want to get away from one another. It is all very lovely and typical.

We wanted to be secure with each other, but we became too confident in the trajectory of our lives. Lately, things are beginning to feel repetitive. Lately, things have started to feel like they are over.

We wake up, we work, we come home, we watch Netflix, we go to bed. We grocery shop, we see family, and we go to the movies. We pay our bills, we have food, we have a roof, we have water and heat. We have fun, and we laugh, but we have fun and laugh in all the same places with all the same people. We love each other, and we love the life we built, but it’s beginning to feel a bit too insulated I think.

There is no more uncertainty, and we have found that instead of making us any happier, it’s actually driving us a little insane.

Last night, just before we fell asleep, we had a bit of a joint existential crisis and decided that life feels too much like life is already over like we did everything everyone is supposed to do, or that we can do, and now we are just going through the motions until the end. It was sad, and I realized that to be feeling like this before we’ve even lived half of our lives is so awful. We are not supposed to be feeling like this!

So, I proposed that we make a joint New Year’s resolution. We will resolve to start, right away, doing all the things we’ve always wanted to do. All the places we’ve wanted to visit, all the experiences we’ve wanted to have, all the things we wanted to learn, they are going on the list. Some of the things on the list will be easy, trips and classes to take, some will be big, like changing our careers big.

Life may become a little less certain for us, but just thinking about this list and where it might lead us feels so exciting. It feels like life can begin again for us, together, as it should.

Life should never feel stale, and I regret letting things go on the same day after day the way I have. I grew up in chaos, and so this calm felt good. It felt like I could finally breathe. I could stop and look around, I could get my bearing and figure what it meant to exist, to be me, and to love, and suffer, and learn. But I have done that, and now it is time to shatter everything I think I know and let my life become something new again.

This week, we should all start thinking about what your life has become and what you always meant for it to be. How do you feel about where you are and what you might have thought was good and it turns out was not what you wanted after all? Think about what you have learned over your life and what you still hope to.

Think about how much time you have left and how you might feel when the end comes, and you have continued just as you are for the rest of the time you have. How might you feel?

Make a list of the things you want to do, see, and learn. Put them in whatever order you like and make it your mission to check off whatever you can—however you can—until you can’t anymore.

Think about how good that will make you feel, when the end comes, and you had the courage to let go and give into a little uncertainty so that you could really live!

***

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Quote via Austin Kleon

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Winter Dreaming

Her warmth snuggled against me, deep under covers
Scents of honey and cinnamon from wide-mouthed mugs
I sigh, sitting at work, dreaming of sweeter snow days

***

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Written in response to Ink in Thirds Three Line Thursday Prompt: Quiet

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I Hope I Die Before You

When you are young, and you say you will love someone forever, you have no idea what that means.

You never imagine that this beautiful fairy tale could ever end. Nothing could sever such a rare connection. You know, somewhere in the back of your mind, that people die, that people you love will die, and so will you, but your brain somersaults around logic, and you believe the rule does not apply to you, let alone the one you love. Love transcends all. Love makes all things possible.

So, with forever to look forward to, you build a home, you make a family, you share bank accounts. You fight, and you forget each other because you have all the time in the world. You never stop to consider the pain one of you will feel when one of you will leave this world and the other behind. You realize what you’ve wasted only after it’s too late.

After 31 years on this planet, and 14 years with the girl of my dreams, it is sinking in, one day one of us will be alone. Forever isn’t quite forever, not the way I thought. Life seems so much shorter than it used to and even if I got 100 more years with her it wouldn’t feel like enough.

***

I am scared.

I often dream that I am roaming from room to room in our home calling her name and searching, but I can’t find her anywhere. Sometimes I dream that I am in choking and sobbing telling her story at her funeral. Sometimes I am calling to her from some kind of white afterlife where I am alone and afraid, but she can’t hear me. Sometimes I hear her calling to me, but I cannot get to her.

I suppose my mind is playing out a trauma I might one day experience. Somewhere inside I am working through what I think it will feel like to be torn from her.

I talk to her about my fears of course, because talking to her is the only way I know how to work things out in my mind. I tell her that I can’t stop worrying about her and that my heart hurts when I think about one of us dying before the other. She tells me not to worry about it. She tells me she will be fine. She tells me we have plenty of time before we need to worry.

I tell her she doesn’t know that.

***

I become obsessed, trying to work through what will happen to each of us when the other is gone.

I tell her that if I die she has to go live with someone, preferably with family. I know her, she is very private and will try to cope alone. Someone will have to make sure to gets enough sleep, eats enough food and doesn’t work too hard. Someone will have to do all the things I do for her now. Someone will have to stand up to her for her own good, but I don’t know anyone who can.

I tell her that if anything ever happened to me, I want her to date again and find someone who will love her and take care of her when she is ready. She says the same back to me. I feel relieved. At least neither of us will have to worry that the other wouldn’t approve.

I tell her that I am afraid if she dies first my heart and mind won’t be able to handle it. There is no way I will be able to stay in our home, or throw away her things, or go back to the job where we both have worked for so many years.

I am certain I will lose my mind. I am certain I will self-destruct in one way or another. I will be desperate to find her in the place we all go when we aren’t here anymore. I will be desperate to escape. I know I will not recover.

She tells me again and again, we have time, we are okay, she is okay, everything is okay.

I only become more anxious.

***

We bury the pain that comes with facing mortality in jokes that aren’t jokes at all.

We laugh about double suicides and imagine ways we might die together. What will happen to the house and the animals if we are both in a car accident, a plane crash, an earthquake, a bombing, anything! Dying together is the best case scenario, and these are our secret hopes.

One life without the other makes no sense. How could the world will go on spinning? How could people keep doing what they have always done? How can we wake up again in bed alone? This is impossible. This is insulting.

Laying in the bed, both of us staring at the ceiling through the dark she squeezes my hand and tells me this is how she would like to die.

It is sweet.

***

More and more often these thoughts come to me, and when I look at her, I want to cry.

She is so beautiful and so strong. She has shown me so much love and made my life something truly good. I am sad that such beautiful and rare things have to end. I am angry there is no way out or around the inevitable. I am angry she would be yanked from this world, and me, the one who loves her best.I am angry that I must go too. I don’t want to leave her lost and alone in this world.

I tell her I hope I die before her.

She doesn’t know what to say anymore.

I wonder if I am crazy. I wonder if I am the only one trying to cope with the future. She never seems to be as scared, but I do notice that, from time to time, she clings to me at night too after dreaming I was lost to her. She lays on my chest and cries because it felt too real. I pat her back and try to soothe her, but I don’t know how.

I say the only thing I can.

I tell her I am here, I am fine, and we have so much time before we have to worry about anything like that.

***

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