This was a great reminder for me…
I saw a meme on Facebook that said something like, “I’m an open book in a world full of people that don’t read.” This speaks loudly to me as I can relate so well. I’m so much different from most of those around me. I’m a deep feeler surrounded by those that are numb. I’m a master communicator surrounded by those that just remain silent when I so badly just need to hear their words. So what do I do? I hold so much inside. I hold it inside until it feels like it’s all going to make me crazy. I hold it in while it eats my soul. I quietly cry tears of loneliness and frustration in the dark. I privately meltdown feeling I’m just too much for others. Then, I do the only thing I know how to do to cope, and I write.
The biggest problem in all of this is that there is just no changing it. I can’t water myself down. I have no idea how to be any different than the intensely feeling, fiercely loving, caring with my entire heart woman I am. Sometimes I feel like that is empowering, and other times, I feel like it is a lifelong punishment. I can’t help but wonder if this is every really going to pay off, or if I’m just going to spend my life with this complex heart that no one truly understands…
I don’t have much choice in anything though, other than choosing to try to be positive, choosing to keep my hope and faith intact, choosing not to allow the world to make me bitter, and choosing to continue writing. The rest of life is left up to powers bigger than mine. One thing is certain, I’m just always going to be that open book, and maybe someday, that open book can become a real written book and will make an impact on others for the better. This is my biggest life goal.
So, here’s to the open books…
*Photo from J. Warren Welch*
So many times, I have been hurt in major ways. So many times, I’ve given my heart to others, platonically and romantically, and been burned. So many times, I’ve felt like my tender heart was a major downfall and weakness. Somehow though, I always wake up still full of love, hope, and determination. I just cannot change.
What this crazy intense heart of mine craves the most in life is connection with others. I thrive on it. As a nurturer, my heart loves to love and care for others. Unfortunately, this has also caused so many hurts because others’ hearts usually are nowhere near like mine. But…one time in my entire life, I have met another person that seems to mirror my own heart so much. He is so much like the male version of me…tender, full of love, strong, soft, loyal, nurturing, trusting, a true giver, an incredibly pure heart despite so much pain endured.
I met this man at a time where in both of our lives, our hearts were hurting. One chance meeting turned into conversation that quickly grew into many conversations and emotional intimacy. The comfort of another that is so much like me is almost indescribable. To be able to spend time talking, bonding, laughing, and healing together is one of the biggest blessings I’ve had in so very long.
Through my own tender heart, I’ve realized how precious other tender hearts are. When I can recognize a sweet soul so much like my own, I realize that this is a person and friendship that I just can’t let go of. Over the last several months, as I’ve endured bumps in the road, he has been my person. He is the one I want to run to with everything exciting, and he is the one I want to run to when something hurts. Just as much as he’s been there for me, I’ve also been there for him. We’ve had each other’s backs and been a rock for each other where others are trying to build foundations of sand. We are kindred spirits, and he blesses my life more than I can ever express in just a few hundred words.
If you have someone in your life like this, if someone popped into your head reading these words here, then I’m asking you to tell that person. Tomorrow is never promised and the important people need to be told that they are cherished. Life is short, so embrace the comfort, embrace the friendship, embrace the loving soul that makes you happy. Embrace your kindred spirits.
When writing from the heart with truths of one’s own life, that sometimes requires throwing one’s self under the bus. So, in true Moonshine Niki fashion, here goes…
I am selfish. Well, I mean, not all of the time, but in the ways that I am selfish, it’s more of an issue than I would care to admit to. I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now. You see, at work, I spend a ton of time trudging all over what I affectionately call “the back 40.” Most of my time at work is spent out on the massive property alone, and of course, while alone, this allows for so much thinking time that sometimes I think I’ll make myself crazy. Lately, while doing all of this thinking, I’ve thought a lot about something my sister said when we argued. She had said that I was unable to see a situation beyond my own feelings. In the moment, I totally disregarded it because I’m about as empathetic as they come. Here’s the deal though, once I’m in an emotional state about a situation or a person, she’s totally right. This was solidified by me when remembering an argument with my longest known friend a while back because she said pretty much the same thing too. I so very much see the situation from how ~I~ feel, and not the other person.
I have made it no secret that I am an emotional person. I get so caught up in how I feel that I can’t see outside of that viewpoint. I am mislead by how I feel and am unable to realize that another isn’t seeing the situation from my view, my emotions, and my heart. I get hurt or angry because I’m only seeing my own point of view. Not only that, but then I selfishly expect others to feel the way that I do, because their hearts should automatically be like mine, right?! *sarcasm*
The worst part of all of this is that I get so caught up in my feelings that I then get upset. I take it as a personal insult. My emotions get carried away and run off with dramatic flair that can only be rivaled by things like a teenage girl finding out the boy she likes has been passing notes with the popular girl in Spanish class. You get the idea. My feelings sometimes make me a little dramatic.
Here’s my big realization though; no one owes me anything. So much of what I set myself up for with being upset is thinking that others owe me something just because of how I feel about them. They don’t though. This realization hit me like a ton bricks this morning when I woke up. It’s been a recent lesson in my life with more than one person, especially my family. The good thing about realizing it though is that I can change myself.
By knowing that there’s nothing owed to me from anyone, I am not setting myself up for letdowns by expectations. I also know that when I do get into those emotional situations, instead of being selfish about what I feel I deserve, I need to take a step back and check myself. I need to remember that others don’t have my exact same heart and feelings, and just because I don’t get the response I feel I deserve does not mean that the other person doesn’t care.
Sometimes the first step to happiness and change is recognizing one’s own faults. The key to a happy life is inside of myself. I absolutely cannot change others, but I can change my own reaction to others. There is power in this realization. Like anyone else, I am constantly learning, constantly growing, and constantly striving to become a better woman than I was the day before. I can choose not to be selfish. I can choose to be more empathetic even when I feel intensely. And mostly, I can choose to recognize my own BS.
As I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve watching the snow dumping from the sky through the window, while some things in life are really coming together, I feel some pangs of sadness. This last week has been a doozy…
I decided that it would be better to have less money than to continue working 7 days a week, so I quit my second job. It means that money will be tight, but I will have more of a life again. I couldn’t continue on without being completely burnt out. The problem though…within two days of my last shift there, I got a call from the agency that runs the rental I live in. The man told me that the owner is “getting up there in age” and wants to sell some of his rentals, including my home. Not only that, but they wanted to do a walk through with a potential buyer in a couple days. The manager explained that the house was not going on the general market and that they were seeking a private buyer to continue the house being a rental, but when I saw a young family get out of the car for the walk through, I knew it wasn’t good. It was awkward to allow them in to walk through what I feel is MY home, and while I just stayed in the kitchen preparing dinner, I could hear them making comments about different features of the home. I’m fairly certain I need to start looking for a new house now. This crushes me. To explain, I’ve lived in my house almost 8 years. Most of my children’s childhoods have been in this house. Most of our stability as a family has been in this home. And even more importantly, because I’ve been here so long with only one small rent increase, losing this house would mean a HUGE increase in what I will have to pay in rent somewhere else. This is all devastating.
To make this last week even harder, there was another fight with my sister. Just when I was hoping our relationship was on the mend again, it all crumbled in ugliness. This, among many other things, made me decide that I want to do my own Christmas dinner with just my children and I and not go to my family’s dinner. I talked with my kids and asked their opinions, and they were all on board with doing our own thing. Without going all into my family history, it’s impossible to explain how the dynamic is or why this is the best choice for us. Not only do I not feel like writing a book about all of it, but I want to keep some semblance of privacy with it all, so I’m not going to lay it all out here. What I will say is that the decision caused another fallout. During this second fight, my sister pushed the exact buttons she knew would hurt me the most, and so I lost sleep crying over the hurtful words. Every day since this argument, I have had to work hard and not allowing her words to eat at my heart. I have had to remind myself that while I have not made the best choices in life, I’ve come such a long way in the last 10 years and I have every right to be proud of who I am today.
With all of this chaos, with it being Christmas and feeling so alone, I am naturally feeling a little blue. But while there is some sadness, I also have things going on to be happy about. I am reminded again that I have a 100% track record of getting through hard times in life. Things might be a little crazy, there might be some hurts going on, and there might be some tears, but I’m strong. I’m proud. I have so much to be grateful for. The current speed bumps are just that–only speed bumps, and I am still filled with so much fight to keep growing and going up in life. So even though I started typing this blog out with tears in my eyes, I’m ending it feeling empowered, strengthened, and filled with hope and optimism for our new life journeys. I’m going to be all right. In this faith, there is peace. Even in the hard times, life is so good.
And, I mean, snow on Christmas Eve, does life get any more perfect than that?
I have to admit that I watch the people’s lives around me and I often feel jealous. I watch people so in love and I’m happy for them, but I want that for myself. I see women that are supported in life by loved ones, and I’m happy for them, but I want that for myself. I have friends that are so secure in themselves and completely happy and content alone, and I want that too. My own life is a mix of chaos and work and often times, pain. Lately, I’ve been working 7 days a week between both jobs, and I’m simply burnt out on top of everything else.
Every day, my alarm goes off at 3:30am, and I know that no amount of snooze button hitting is going to make me feel like getting up while still getting out the door on time. I make coffee and use it and music to pull me out of my sleepy stupor. I get ready, defrost my car, and drive to the plant where hundreds of us file in like cattle herded in for slaughter. My day job is physically demanding and even with coveralls, multiple layers of coats, and hats and gloves, it’s not enough to keep out the cold of the day I spend most of my hours in. If I have nothing going on after work, I come straight home, cold, dirty, and exhausted. I don’t have much energy to accomplish much in the evening. On a good day, I’ll cook, maybe do some laundry, shower, and get everything ready for the next day. But some days, it’s a minor miracle if I can even get myself into the shower. Because my kids are in after school activities at a school in another town, I’m lucky if I can even see them for a few minutes before I have to go to bed. It’s all so very lonely.
On the weekends, I work a second job. Even though the hours are far fewer than a full day at my day job, that job is also physically demanding. I come home from that one in more pain than any person should have to endure just to make a living. Chronic pain, plus working physically hard jobs 7 days a week, plus extreme loneliness is a perfect recipe for heartache.
When I work late at night on the weekends and the people I want to see are unavailable and I come home to a quiet, messy house, my feelings are… I’m not sure I can even easily describe them actually. In my moments alone, where my mind and heart can ramp up with sadness and anxiety… it’s not pretty. It’s downright ugly actually. As human beings, we are meant to have more than this in life. We need genuine connections. We need things to look forward to. We need love (in many ways, not just romantic love).
Sometimes, I crawl into bed and I can’t hold it together anymore. I take off the mask I wear for the world, and I cry. I do the ugly cry with body shaking, soul quaking sobs. I think about how fast my children’s childhoods have gone by. I think about how little time left I have with them in my home, and I’m working and otherwise wasting the remaining time away. I think about how badly I wish my family was closer and how my brother is going to have baby that will likely be no closer to me than my sister’s child is. I think about the things and people I desire. I think about every failure and hurt and pain in my life, and I cry until my pillow is soaked and I no longer have the energy to do anything but give in to sleep.
I post a lot on Facebook about being empowered and strong and taking care of myself, which is all true, but this stuff is the ugly truths that I don’t speak of. Even when I’m having a Facebook meltdown and dropping F-bombs like candy on Halloween, I still keep my most inner pain to myself. Even in this post, I hold it all close. I can weep as I write and think of all of the things that pierce my heart to the very core, but I don’t dare speak of them. This is why I have written less lately. I’ve been afraid. I’ve been afraid that if I write, I’ll tell you……my whole heart.
How much can one woman take?! Like, seriously, how much can one person be expected to take without completely falling apart…? I’m at my limit these days. I know that in my personal life and on my personal Facebook, all I talk about is working constantly. I’m boring and redundant, and I’m sure half of my “friends” have unfollowed me, but outside of work, I really have nothing. My kids are teenagers doing their own thing, and with work, I barely see them. I seem to be short on friends these days, and of course, always heavy in heartache. Why? Because I always give too much of myself to others.
We live in a day and age where dating is a difficult concept. We sleep with people we’re not committed to. We give our hearts away to people that don’t really want to receive them. We get close, spend time, put our hearts and souls into, and even fall in love with people we’re not even in a relationship with. Sex is free and easy and means nothing anymore. So many men want to spout off about how they’re not ready for a relationship, but they want the sex, the loyalty, the commitment, the support, the cheerleading, to be paid attention to, and everything else from a woman. They don’t want to give a title or their own commitment, but they expect it all.
As I’m working 6 to 7 days a week, and feeling incredibly lonely, I can’t help but see how I’ve let myself get used. I’m all too often the stepping stone woman. I am a nurturer and a lover and make it so damn easy for men to cling to…while they just need me to get better. I get wrapped up in my feelings and thinking that we’re on the same page, only to end up devastated later.
I have so much to give, and I give it freely. Unfortunately, the wrong ones take it. When is it my turn? When is it my turn to be cared for, to be appreciated, to be loved…? I really just want it to be my turn to be the one receiving all of a pure heart. I want a man to look at me with love in his eyes, the same love that I feel for him. I don’t want to be the stepping stone to be used. I just want to matter… And you know what? I deserve it.