Wake up, Sleeping Beauty…

…this ain’t no fairy tale.

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I’ve had this thought swirling around in my head for awhile. The pieces and parts. And the other day it finally clicked. Disney has ruined me.

I spent my life growing up thinking “Some day my prince will come” and that we will “live happily ever after” despite all odds. I know I’m not alone in saying that as a girl, I – on more than one occasion – spent a wish on “I hope so-and-so and I live happily. EVER. AFTER.”

So far, a couple relationships, a failed marriage, and two dates in…I think my life is more like Mulan’s: “I’ll make a man out of you…”

Is it so darn hard to find a man with a backbone and his sh!t together? Driven and compassionate? Strong and loving? Or did Disney make them all up?

Is this one of those build-a-bear things, but instead I build-a-man?

I have to think that he’s out there somewhere. The guy who can handle my stubbornness, and see that it comes from an intense drive that also provides intense love. The guy who will stand strong for us and our happiness, and yet delicately cradle and care for the heart I give him. Who will keep me on my toes intellectually, but also make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. Who will provide, protect…and love.

Perhaps that thought is just my own Disney movie playing in my head.

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Another’s brave journey

A dear friend lost his job today. I know this blog is about me and my journey, but so much of me is given strength by the close knit group of friends I am lucky to have (see here and here) – so for me, his journey is my journey. As he is my friend, I am his. And today I feel for him.

I almost don’t know where to begin; all of the thoughts seem to be swirling like an unkempt merry-go-round, tumbling around with the mismatched clothes in the dryer (because why the hell would a merry-go-round be in the dryer? My point exactly. Bag o’ cats up there). I pained that I didn’t know how to come to his aid today, and I myself have heard – and been frustrated by – too much of “I know how you feel” lately to be able to utter those words to him as he shared the news with his friends. I’ve had to leave a job, many jobs in fact, in the past because of military moves, but have yet been stationary and without. So I don’t, truly, know how it feels. I found myself wanting to say it, and bit my tongue as we spoke. Remembering how those words felt like a hot hand on my cheek when others said them to me.

But I empathize nonetheless.

The world of architecture right now, and in recent years, is not an easy one. While most of the nation struggled/struggles under a max 8% unemployment rate, architecture has been almost double that at times – and still sits above the national average. Even so, he is a talented architect. He is goal-oriented and attuned to details. He is so worthy of a blessed future and I can only imagine how downtrodden he feels tonight.

He is one to always see the design in things, how something relates to another. Another friend described him recently as “the big picture” guy. When I saw this quote today, I immediately thought of him.

I hope he realizes the support structure he has. His family. His friends. His peers. I hope he realizes his value to the profession. I hope he sees this as a chance to redirect the journey, rather than a collapsed bridge. I have many hopes, but mostly I hope he finds peace in the unsettled moments, both now and in the immediate future.

I know he is a believer, so I will end with this, because no one ever says it better than He does.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

We’re all in your corner. Know that, if you know anything.

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Thursday Video: A diamond, a rose, a most precious material

A military friend sent me this the other day. It’s amazing how God speaks to you. This video is a reminder I need to give myself daily.

I am beautiful. I am smart. I am funny. I am kind. I am unique.

I am worthy. I am worthy of being treated like the most precious of gems.

I am worthy of a love and affection most powerful.

I am.

And until I am blessed with that love in this human life, I am secure in the knowledge that I have that love in Him. Unconditional. Unfailing. Without hesitation or question.

He gave me strength, and still loves me in my weakest moments. He gave me talent, and still loves me when I’m silly. He gave me a great love to give. A great love worthy of loving.

While I seek to find that person in me, those characteristics, again – the strength, the love, the talent, the kindness, the patience – I have hope because I know He already sees it. While I journey to find a person to share my life and my love with, a person who will love me as God loves me, who will show me happiness in the darkest of days and be my partner, my equal in my life’s adventures – I have faith because I know He already sees not just the journey, but the destination.

I am awesome.

And when I forget it, I have awesome friends to remind me. I have me to remind me. I have HIM to remind me.

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TED Thursday

Most days at work, I listen to music. But in the mornings, or in the dead of the afternoon while I’m willing my body to stay awake, I turn to TED. Hopefully all of you know of TED talks. If not, you need to remedy this quickly. With an array of topics, I can listen and learn about an intensely specific topic in the span of 6-25min (the varied length of the videos). The presenters, and presentation locations, are from all over the world. You can learn about things that are culture-specific, or things that are pervasive of every culture. Today’s first talk that I’ll share has to do with happiness. I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you ;)

I thought it interesting how she touched upon the idea of happiness pursuit vs. ordinary misery. And moreover the fact that happiness isn’t just a lack of ordinary misery. That there are things that must also occur to create happiness. That happiness, to most people at least, isn’t just a sense of complacency. That being content with life is important, but there must also be things that invigorate you, that inspire you to live and love and continue to better yourself.

I think in a lot of ways I was stuck in a place of contentment. Except that I wasn’t content with that. I had given so much of myself towards creating the happiness in another that I lost myself. I lost myself in effort, but also because that effort didn’t feel as if it was being returned. And no matter how much I gave, it didn’t make the situation any better. Instead of working to climb a wall, I was digging a well. (Funny, the drastic difference a letter makes)

Unfortunately, this idea of “ordinary misery” and happiness being a lack of that is a common thought in society. It seems stupid, but it is. I know that for a fact because I ran up against it in my conversations with friends and family. And my inability to make them understand that lack of misery in my situation was not enough…especially when I was so quickly digging myself into misery in trying to help nourish a relationship that was not nourishing me.

And now? That happiness is on me. It’s daunting but relieving at the same time. I’m no longer killing myself to provide the happiness for two and making myself less happy in the process. I am focusing on the adage “you cannot help others if you do not first help yourself”….something like that. This is my “me” time, because I need to be happy in me before I can ever take that on again. And I can already see the effect of this; I’m smiling, laughing, and enjoying more…of life.

I don’t know what that has done to, or says about, my ability to receive action that creates happiness from others. Or my optimism/pessimism that that is even a possible outcome. I would like to think it is. I think I believed it at one time. I think love makes a person believe that until experience proves otherwise.

This has actually been a topic of conversation with a friend more than once recently. The idea of trusting another person to take action toward your happiness. Knowing they will fulfill and nourish you as you do the same for them. Not having to worry about providing for yourself and thereby safeguarding your heart. I think true, giving love from the right person can accomplish that effortlessly. I think love and happiness is an effort but should never feel like work. I think when two people connect on that level, the act of providing happiness for each other is done without even knowing it is occurring.

Is that outlandish? Is that an unattainable goal? I don’t think so. I see that type of happiness in some of my family members and friends when they interact with their spouses. The optimist in me says it has to be out there, otherwise – what’s the point?

Until then, you can find me out there creating my own sunshine.

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Over the Rainbow

Today’s Music Wednesday is brought to you by a (relatively) new lady to the broadly known singing world, or at least a new face to me, and I’m so glad I found her. Yet another strong vocalist with meaningful lyrical capabilities. I present to you Alyssa Bonagura.

The song is “Over the Rainbow”, on her new album, and is a lullaby about dreams that get followed coming true. It seems, especially considering yesterday’s “Rainbows of the future” post, particularly meaningful. The lyrics are as follows:

Over the rainbow waiting for you
Is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Beyond the rainbow, beyond the clouds
You can have it all. Anything you want.
You have the choice
You have the time
To have a voice
To make it right
So don’t give in
When things get grim
You can make your own sunshine
Find the truth, forget the lies
All you have to do is believe in you
Over the rainbow waiting for you
Is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Why can’t you send me over the rainbow
You can have it all, anything you want.
You have the choice
You have the time
To have a voice
To make it right
So don’t give in
When things get grim
You can make your own sunshine
Find the truth, forget the lies
All you have to do is believe in you
Over the rainbow
Over the rainbow
Waiting for you…
 
I think it’s important for me to remember that I can do anything. I have the time to figure out what I want; the ability to follow my dreams and search out the rainbows. I have the ability to make my own sunshine and my own happiness, after so many months without it.

This bright future is mine.

And that? That’s awesome.

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Friday Fun-day

The beginnings of what I hopes to be a continual post of fun things every Friday. Sometimes they’ll be inspiring, sometimes they’ll be funny. Enjoy!

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