Success is Being Able to Not be Afraid Successfully

For several nights, for several reasons, this has been the look on my face as I lay awake and thinking about… far too much and not enough.  It has also shown a bit about how I know that there are still pieces of the woman I was the day I was raped by my (now ex) husband.

Yesterday a friend posted a link to an absolutely wonderful project endeavor: Project Unbreakable.  It is my plan this weekend to add my voice to the project.  It is a voice that has felt so frozen and paralyzed… but doesn’t want to be afraid anymore. As cheesy as it sounds, I have learned through these years just how much success is the ability to not be afraid successfully… even if you are.

So many people have approached me over these years and said how strong I am.  So many people have said that they value my dedication to this city, my goals, my passions, my art, and…

But I feel like a phony sometimes.

People handle their pain in their own way.  It is not ours to tell them that their way is wrong or right.  It is, however, our duty as people to be there for them or not if they extend their hearts to us… respecting the ways that they would like us to do that.

Monday I nearly didn’t go out.  I was invited to attend a mini conference.  I have been feeling physically dreadful for the past few weeks.  Feeling physically ill does not necessarily make for the happiest of Jenas.  I have been on a fair amount of personal quarantine this week as I cope with it.

Going to that conference made me remember my strength.  I was just.. me.  Little did I know that doing just that was enough to be remembered in a substantial way I would find out later this week.  It is humbling to even think about… and perhaps, nearly as scary.

I think about those people who believe in me.  About the strangers that have me in confidence.  Of the new faces I met because I decided to shove the pain to the side and just… wake up and walk out there.

You motivate me.

You give me hope.

You give me strength.

 So why am I so damn scared sometimes?

A couple of wonderful things came into view this week.  Reminders of all the impact I have done.  Reminders that that girl laying in bed sick and scared is also bold and brazen and confident and… strong.  Reminders that… the scars are still there but they are not to be afraid of.

This is my day.

This is my year.

The scared girl doesn’t need to be forgotten.  She needs to be remembered as she is the reason why the strong one that exists is here in the first place.

 

Editors side note: the movie images used in this post are from a movie which I knew would become one of my favorites before it came out.  It was, as fate would have it, a movie my ex husband would refuse to watch with me.  I didn’t end up watching it until after he was no longer around physically.  Perhaps that was a little sign in itself.

Midday musings: From the Eyes of a Child

A reader of my blog is a recovered alcoholic father.  I went to his blog and found an entry with the video below.  It touched my heart and I felt that I needed to pass it on here as well.

Yesterday I sent this to two important dads in my life… my own and the one of the future little man in my belly.

The message inside applies to more than just dads.  It applies to all parents.  Especially those who are facing their own inner battles.

There is a beacon of hope in a childs’ eyes that is far more magical and real than anything you will ever experience.  It is the greatest gift you will ever be able to give and receive.  It is worth the struggle.  It is worth the change.  It is worth opening your heart up and changing your ways.

Get your hankies and click.

Cracked Lights and Cassette Tapes

Lately I listen to more Cohen than I do Waits.  I’m not sure how to feel about it.  Mr Cohen just seems to pop up more and more fluidly.  Like he did this morning.

I saw a word referencing a leak about a video game news story coming… down the Valve. And instead of following immediately to find out the news, I immediately thought of this quote and subsequent song by Leonard Cohen.

“There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.”

This year has had so many life changing moments.  This past week… oh my… it’s been a shark week…

I woke up to a phone call from an office in a land of enchantment.  A land where, coincidentally, someone is returning to as if to take the other’s place.

I thought so much more of that one… and the magic that I thought he helped create.  Like the nuclear explosion in a white dwarf star that makes the world brighter by its occurrence.  And he was, if only for a moment at least.

It wasn’t good news about either non sequitor situation.  It was… a snag in progress.  I have hit so many snags with all of this.  I’ve been starting to lose a bit of hope throughout all of it.

The holiday weekend brought with it so much affirmation and perspective it was mind blowing.  My mind goes through it again and again analyzing each moment and trying to: make peace with it, make sense of it, and change it.

I feel like a jammed cassette tape.

My brain.. under the microscope

(Ps if any of you feel compelled to do so I also wouldn’t mind getting this t-shirt)

I’m about to hit the showers.  Analyze why the phrase hit the showers exists.

(I mean, what did the showers ever do to me beyond get me all clean and smelling good?)

Head downtown to a courthouse with a pen, several notepads, my computer, chargers, and… this heavy heavy heart I have as I trudge through it all.. on the bus system… with an entourage of naysayers strewn across my path.

I think about the words of Mr Cohen once again.  I think about the beauty of enlightenment.  About how the greatest things to happen and the greatest works of literature and art seem to have come from cracked places like this one.

Is it weird that I’m smiling through tears?  That it’s not just society’s’ force that guides me to that smile right now but it’s… this silly stupid optimistic heart?

Maybe I’m just stupid.  Hell I’ve heard that in the past before too.  Either way?  Fuck it.  This is important to me and it’s worth fighting for.  If I don’t, the potential for it to change really is zero.

So here goes [hopefully not] nothing.

Fat Lil’ memory Notebook

Lots of time on buses and what not running errands and dealing with Dr’s shit and, forgetting my Kindle in my friends car meant some quality time with the ole Fat Lil’ Notebook today. I bought it a few months ago for on the fly notes and what not as it’s essentially only a little bit bigger than two Post-Its (5 1/2 x 3 1/2).  You see, I have a little bit of a Post-It fixation as previous co-workers can attest to… but that’s for another entry.

On occasion I will flip back towards previous entries. Today was one of them as I realized my book was beginning to get a bit thin.  There’s only about 20 or so pages empty left in it and so, another is likely needed in the pretty super near future.

This notebook says so much it’s a bit crazy. There’s notes on an abundance of things from the everyday directions list to meetings to.. little snippets and memories of things from when I first found out I might be pregnant.  Reading the entries brings about thoughts that, although fragmented, show just how much brevity can still weave a story.  Reading this I’m able to watch the excitement and happiness I felt initially to…my latest entry which is, suffice to say, not.

I’m curious how much one could assess about my mind and it’s inner workings from seeing these little notes and blurbs. About the other notebooks that have been lost in moves. Who knows what happened to those old pages? Perhaps they never saw anyone else’s eyes before they were tossed into a trash. Perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps it’s for the best either way.

These pages are evidence of a life lived. They are a reminder of why I ALWAYS will have a notebook and a pen on me… and why that hasn’t changed for as long as I can [not always] remember.

These pages are why I know that I know that what I am before anything, first and foremost, is, and ever shall be: a writer.  Till death do I part.  And that ain’t bad even when it is bad.

Behind the wheel again

Yesterday was another edition of Techzulu‘s Tech Crawl.  This time, people hit the streets of tech startup playground Sillicon Beach.

I didn’t know exactly what to expect.  In full disclosure, I haven’t been going to as many events over the past year.  It didn’t feel as shiny.  I didn’t see the need to go to five nights a week… like I used to once upon a time when I first arrived in Los Angeles.

A friend of mine offered to drive.  He didn’t know anyone in the startup scene and was also looking for a new gig.  His experience is different than mine (in IT and networking), however, and so this was even more so a whole new crowd for him to explore.

It was really amazing seeing some of the older faces from my tenure and love with this industry.  It was also amazing to meet new faces (or new-to-me faces) behind the ever growing sector that is Sillicon Beach.

I goofed around and thought that when someone puts the words tech and crawl together, there would likely be booze.  As with any networking event, some was to be expected.  Holy hell that was a lot more than I remembered… or maybe it partially because I was extremely sober and recovering from dating an alcoholic.

As the night progressed there was more and more booze at each stop on the crawl.  Some of the crawlers exploited this and went to town.  Others were extremely moderated.  That was not the case, however for my friend.

To get this completely out there as well-  I’m not one to judge with how anyone attends an event.  In other circumstances, I’d have loved to indulge in a couple of beers or what not as well.  We’re all adults here after all.. even though there were some underage kids looking for internships there as well.  Hey, not everyone was there to drink and I give those kids a lot of credit for being brave and attending to look for work like that… it’s great.

At one point I confiscated my friends keys.  I wanted him to be safe.  It wasn’t a big deal if I had to drive us back.  Except that, well, he drives a Prius, and it had been over a year and a half since I’ve been behind the wheel of a car.

It was, suffice to say, mildly humorous.

Some of you may have had the pleasure to drive a Prius or a Mini.  Both have some weird ignition systems.  Late at the end of the night with my friend in no way able to help me, it was a rather comical sight.  In hindsight, I wish I had filmed that.  I was extremely nervous.  I fumbled around with the keys looking in the dark for how to turn it on, how to shift it to reverse, etc.

I felt like I was sixteen again.

I did, however manage to get a little snippet of video on the drive.  Note, I apologize in advance for the format.  I was more focused on driving and less about the phone, which, I’m sure that the other drivers on the road could probably appreciate.

I haven’t had the best luck with cars to say the least.  My last car, in particular, had a couple of “lovely” incidents due to its age.  So did the truck before that.  And, well, so did my freeway legal motor scooter which I had the pleasure of popping a tire not once, but twice, and in both parts of those videos you will see that I had heels on.  Needless to say, I have come to have a little bit of a fear attached to driving any vehicle really.

I should know better.  Fuck that Fear crap anyway.

Driving is not something I hadn’t done obviously.  This was a moment that I had been anticipating returning to for a long time.  It was, like so many other things.: nerve racking frightening, exciting, exhilarating, and empowering.  I was hoping it was going to be behind the wheel of a new Ford Fiesta as part of the Fiesta Movement.  Maybe that still will happen.  Maybe not.  But if it does, it was good to get some practice.  Not just at driving, but about facing my fears over silly things.

It’s good to be finally getting back behind the wheel navigating potential again… one way at a time.  

Food for thought: On birthdays and the detached connected generation

So this week I turned the page on yet another chapter of my life.  I officially entered my 30s.  Last year was the BIG “dirty thirty” turnover and this was the step in.

As I had been not single for a majority of this year, I haven’t seen as many of my friends as I’d have liked to.  Add to it last year’s awesome birthday trip to Seattle was not in the works as I’m currently a Muse for Hire as well as teensy bit pregnant.  (Read: not even showing just yet)

As things have been a bit all over the map and tumbling down as well as riding up (I will go into them in other posts but you can start by reading this one here and this one here to get an idea of where to start) I started to have a few rain cloud thoughts about this year’s birthday.  A couple of shitty phone calls later from my past and, well, I wasn’t exactly feeling the most bubbly about everything.

Granted: there were TONS of birthday messages on my Facebook wall and a few of you even reached out to me on Twitter.  And that was fantastic and completely appreciated.

Despite the TONS of friends and wishes, There were only a few people who even asked what I was up to… less than I could count on one hand… and one of them lived cross country.

I felt crappy about it.  Silly as it were, and knowing that I had dropped off the radar a bit with my relationship, I still was bummed.   Moreso, I felt bad about being bummed- worried that it was potentially just another case of pregnancy hormones trying to get the best of me on my otherwise productive day.

It wasn’t until I ended up telling my current roommate about my plans for the evening that things really came into view.  As it turned out, he had talked to another friend of mine who also knew what was going on and they were trying to arrange a small little outing for me.

I felt like a total asshole.

“People probably assumed you already had plans because, like me, you’re always so busy.”

I bucked up a bit and helped pull the reins.  I reached out to a few close friends and asked them to dinner.  As it turned out, there will be more dinners in the works in the next coming days.  Friends were happy to go and hang out with me and have dinner and what not to celebrate.  They, like my friend commented, just assumed that I had other plans.

At dinner I mentioned the whole thing to friends as well.  It was a unanimous thing said amongst everyone.  As active as we are in our daily lives, how often, unless you have a set group of friends that you do things with CONSTANTLY how often do you take the time to ask someone what they are doing for their birthday?  Really take a moment and step back and think about it.  You might be incredibly surprised.

In a day and age where we are so digitally connected, we too often forget just how much it means to someone (who yes might totally be busy a lot of times) to even get asked the question of what they’re doing.  It may seem petty in a the scheme of things, it could mean the world to… even the people you think might think are social rockstars.

Special days are special because of the people we share them with.

While it’s true that social media is a great tool to stay connected with friends it doesn’t replace the power of going one step further and showing you are also real life person outside of a page.

 

If I hadn’t left that night

Sometimes (read: often) I think about that last fateful night when…

And I wonder… what would have happened had I not left that night.

But I needed to leave.

You needed to feel my absence a bit.

I needed to feel yours.

When I left that night, I was just as upset about it as you are now.

I didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to fight.

I just wanted things to stop.

I’m not sure you would have done anything to change those things

If I hadn’t left that night.

I wanted you to be better.

I thought that by me leaving, you might appreciate me more.

That I might appreciate me more.

In several ways I have found one of those things to be true.

As breakable as I feel like I can be

I’m not.

There are amazing souls that appreciate me.

I used to be one of them.

I should have been more of them than I had been.

I don’t know if I could have remembered that as strongly

If I hadn’t left that night.

In the midnight hour I still dream of you

Of the person I believed in you

Of the love that I hoped would return to me

Of the happiness that I thought might appear again

But likely couldn’t…

if I hadn’t left that night.

And the texts keep coming

The answers are painful

So very very painful

And knowing might be half the battle but it still hurts wondering

Would it have been different?

Would we have been different?

Would I have been different?

If I hadn’t left that night.