Over a week ago I spent time with my family in Ocala and some time in Orlando dealing with some personal things (from what I often refer to as my “past life”). I had several days of steady driving to reflect on my life, where I’ve been, where I am, who I was and who I am now. I started thinking that if we face our fear, allow ourselves to take big steps rather than small ones and challenge ourselves, results can happen so much faster than taking baby steps. They can also be positive or negative but the important thing is how we deal with the outcome. We have to take accountability that WE make our own choices and those choices pave the road to where we end up. I took some extremely BIG steps 11 years ago and it led me to the happy place I am today.
It is hard for me to believe sometimes how different the person staring at me in the mirror was 10 years ago compared to the one staring back at me now. When I think back I do not like the person I was. I was selfish, unkind, self-absorbed, dishonest, ego oriented and negative. I built my career on drive, appeared to connect with others but did not allow others inside my heart. I felt that vulnerability made people weak, that being vulnerable would not allow me to have the success I wanted because I knew the only way for me to succeed was to stay completely focused on the carrot no matter what. Not allowing my self to be vulnerable also kept me from allowing real love into my life which also made me an un-loving person.
As I age I continue to learn what this journey of life has presented to me. The reality of my past is apparent in all of what I am today, I am the only one who can truly take the responsibility for past decisions, there can be no blame towards anyone else. Yes, other people do bad things at times but I allowed those people into my life in most cases and had a choice weather or not to do so. My mindset, coming from a small town, when I was younger was that I was going to be different, I was going to be something big for the people in that small town to admire, to relish. There was a lot of wealth there and I did not come from it so I felt I had something to prove. I worked my ass off, worked many different jobs but always pushed for that career as an artist. I never did any thing I would regret, never allowed myself to make a hasty decision for the sake of advancing in my career. Being a woman made it much harder, I had to prove myself, I had to work twice as hard and I had to work in a male dominant world with the odds against me. When my life came to a sudden halt in 2001 due to my decision for change I had gone from a small town girl with nothing to a self made woman with what appeared to be the perfect husband, the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. We had boats, cars and lots of toys and most were due to my success. I took trips, traveled, had big parties and I felt at that point in my life I had made it to the level of where I had strived to be, I had reached my mountain top. What I didn’t realize is that all those things that I thought mattered we’re superficial. I awoke one day with everything I thought I ever wanted yet felt as lost and empty as I had the day I graduated from high school. I felt lonely at the top of that mountain and after looking at my life realized I was living a superficial existence. Everything on the outside that people saw looked perfect just as I had wanted but on the inside my life was filled with sadness, unhappiness and pain. All that stuff meant nothing.
Today those early decisions are why I have no kids, why I was in a verbally abusive relationship for 10 years, why I feel sometimes like I missed out on those life things most people either brag about or take for granted. Family, kids, unconditional love, the understanding that something outside of yourself is more important, being there for others and giving back rather than always thinking of yourself.
In that week I spent in Florida I learned that a friend who had passed was hurt by some decisions I had made back in that selfish time. I was so self absorbed in “ME” that I failed to realize I never sat down and talked with her of the details directly related to my decisions that negatively affected her. Today I am struggling with things that went unsaid to a friend I loved dearly who is now in heaven. It sucks to know I can’t sit her down, look her in the eye’s and talk to her, tell her how much she means to me and that I am sorry. There is some relief from the call I made 2 years ago with an apology when I learned of her heart bypass, but at the time I wasn’t aware of what she didn’t know about my earlier decisions so the apology had to have felt a bit shallow to her. What ever the case I can take back time and it saddens me. All I can do is believe that she hears me now and understands.
So why am I sharing this with you all? Over the years I have said over and over again to tell the ones you love that you love them, to forgive those who have hurt you and to realize that our time is limited so be sure you have no regrets. I still believe in all of those things but now have the apprehension that sometimes we may not realize that others may be living with a different understanding of something from our past. We may never learn such things exist but if we do somehow gain insight to this kind of discrepancy as I did on my recent trip we must have to ability to forgive ourselves in a loving way. Although I am struggling with this now I know in time aIl will be ok with what I have learned even if I can’t change anything now. We are human, we are not perfect but when we allow ourselves to live in a loving way, even when we stumble we have the potential through sharing to teach others from our mistakes. That is really why I am here, why each time I share openly and why I hope those of you who do read know I want my words to make you think about yourselves and open your heart accordingly. These words are really no longer about me but a reference to think about the possibilities for you. My goal is merely to make you think. Sending love out to all of you….pass it on!