Category Archives: Inspirational

Some things make you smile whether you want it to or not. Hopefully I can too.

Coming up Thistles

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red-roses-1410101You know that old saying everything’s coming up roses – well, what happens when everything is coming up, well, not roses? Is it lemons? Is it worms?  Ticks? Nightmares? Daffodils? Toilet Seat Covers??? We definitely have that cliche saying about “when life hands you lemons…” on second thought, how come everything is related to flora? Like what about garbage, water, clouds…when life hands you clouds…sounds catchy – no?

Either way, that old cliché  about roses doesn’t even make sense because roses have thorns. So, maybe whoever thought about that was really thinking…when everything is coming up with the beautiful wonderfulness that can be life, but there is still a thorny little thing to avoid buried underneath…well, that is really life now isn’t it? So, maybe when everything is coming up thistles there is some weird flowerly goodness or beautiful scent just lingering nearby.

I can tell you that my day started out great and very quickly, well, everything started coming up thistles (it’s my new saying and I’m sticking to it). Just one hiccup after the other – one drama, conundrum, temporarily unsolvable problem, letdown, stress inducer and this poor little mind can only handle so many. But, I know, just like I knew yesterday, just like I’ll know tomorrow…I just have to get through the day. Tomorrow starts anew yet again. In the show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt she says you can survive anything for 10 seconds. So, even in a lengthier bad moment, she just starts over when she reaches 10. Count to ten, begin again.

So, thistles, thorns, fruit, or flowers, well today is today. I gotta just get through head held as high as I can keep it  (without losing it on any poor soul) and be sure to remember that today isn’t tomorrow and tomorrow isn’t yesterday and so on and so forth, motivational blah, blah, blah.

Just checking to see if you are still paying attention. But, seriously, you can weather any storm, there’s always tomorrow, today is the first day of the rest of your life, without the rain there is no rainbow..really, the ending is up to you.

The Ginga Ninja

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Cyclical Life…

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Hmmm. The wheels in this head have been turning (a dangerous pastime I know). God, I hope somebody out therethe_red_bicycle picked up the Beauty & the Beast reference. Anyway, it’s kind of strange how many things in life are cyclical in nature – the seasons, our social lives, aging, and well…sadly, breakups too.

It’s always been amazing to me how I can feel soooo strange when the seasons change, kind of like a stranger in my own surroundings. I always feel like something is incomplete, something is still coming and there is something whistful and bittersweet about another year that comes and goes, ebbs and flows. BUT, I realize (in reminiscing by reading my old creepy journals), I feel like this every single year. Oh damn, so not even original in my very own life.

I need to remind myself that this weird, thoughtful, almost unexplainable feeling…has happened before and it will happen again. And for anybody joining this conversation late, I just defined the meaning of cyclical.

And ya know what? Feeling the passing of the seasons over and over again isn’t the only thing that reoccurs. I have clued in to the fact that when you are a child you have organization, rules and timelines. You wake up early, go to school, do your homework, go to bed. Life can be fun, but super routine.

As you get older and you start to make friends, you go to their houses, watch movies, get takeout and eventually start throwing raging house parties (or at least pretend to unless you are blessed to be a popular kid). A few years later you try out pubs, bars, expensive restaurants, musicals, brunches and even trendy clubs. Now you know you have made it…THIS is the cool version of life you couldn’t wait to fast-forward to when you bored and sitting in your parents’ basement. Finally kid, you can say you made it.

However….a few years go by and you begin to watch your debt grow as you accumulate assets and realize that you appreciate your friends more than strangers, some good music more than a cramped bar and hanging around in your sweatpa blue jeans more than stilettos. You can afford nice groceries and have learned to cook, preserve, bottle, marinate, ferment, so what surfaces once again? Movies, pre-drinking and houseparties: The Sequel.

Sadly enough, many may even bypass this version of life and go straight to married with a mortgage and (gasp), children. These people then return right back to waking up early, going to work, helping your kids with their homework, and going to bed….

So, this thoughtful red lass can’t help but notice, for all of those out there constantly trying to reach that next goal, benchmark, stone, phase, manic breakdown…remember…well, everything that goes will come again and every feeling you overcome will be back. There is no such thing as perfect and there is no such thing as complete, so I’ll leave you with this deep thought:

Man appears for a little while to laugh and weep, to work and play, and then to go to make room for those who shall follow him in the never-ending cycle. – Aiden Wilson Tozer

….And this funny one:

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first; get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating…and you finish off as an orgasm.” – George Carlin

That’s the thing about this bicycle we call life; it’s not that easy to get off.

The Ginga Ninja

 

One Step Forward

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87ef4bb5285651aac583cf360568816fThe other day I was feeling intense panic. Panic, anxiousness, nervousness, stress…whatever word you want to put to it, but the reality is that I was prepping for a big weekend of hosting and starting to run out of hours in the day. The need to go to the pet store, liquor store, grocery store and Asian veggie vendor was suddenly intensely, ridiculously, unnecessarily necessary and the seconds were ticking down on that old mental clock of mine.

The thing is, I realized that a lot of this was pressure I put on myself. When family visits does your place need to be perfect? And by whose standards is perfect measured?

This little scaredy-cat approach was handed to me by my social anxiety momma. Her heart is in the right place, but maybe not always her head. The need to do every little last thing humanly possible before guests arrive seems to be one that I was inherently taught and inherently think is a real thing.  Truly, they are there for you, not your food, not your clean sheets, not your vacuumed rug or newly trimmed cat. It’s nice to be cleanly, but it’s cleaner to be nice…at least for your brain. (Sure, let’s pretend that one was witty).

I decided in that moment, the intensely asthmatic moment… as I was getting into my car after my final errand, knowing that I may leave myself short on time and scrambling amuck… that I was going to take a step back, lock the car, cross the street and go to a yard sale. A plain, simple, off-the-beaten-path yard sale was enough to bring me back to my youth, to a simpler time, a time where I bought things used, bought them cheap, relished in haggling off 50 cents and simply enjoyed the moment, the weather and the promise of the future. While there, I met a la75489809dy who realized I was having an off day and what she said to me was “one step forward” little girl. There are no steps back.

That’s an interesting take on things. Maybe it isn’t two steps forward and one back, just smaller steps forward. What if there were no such thing as steps back? Would it change your outlook on the world? Either way, it sent me away with a sweet little message, a reassurance that nobody is alone, that we keep trying and no matter what, you need to keep walking ahead…no matter how detoured, shaky or limping that walk may be….

The Ginga Ninja

Even shallow cuts still hurt

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tumblr_mtebtc9AEc1r475q6o1_500Why do breakups hurt so much? You were living your life before they came along and for some reason some fool and his fake version of your future is enough to throw you into a tailspin. They love you one day, not the next. How can that be?

And no amount of lamenting, crying, caring or drinking is going to change the outcome. You are only one half of the equation and you can decide to either get up and get on with your life or never let go. Now, what the head knows and the heart feels don’t always align, even when it’s a “no brainer” that you need to move forward – the process and transition can still be a difficult one. Now, I have successfully let go of my ex-bf of 4 years and the one prior to that of 2.5. I don’t particularly like seeing their photos with wives, girlfriends or houses, nor do I especially love getting messages still from an ex mom-in-law to be. But, the pain of losing them (well, letting go and then later second-guessing) and the feelings of missing them are long gone.  No, now I’m struggling to let go of my bf of 5 months.

5 months hardly seems enough to miss. They never had the chance to fully become part of your life or fully know you and what makes you tick. But, the visions of the future to come started to build and therefore, so did the actions you took in your daily life. Constant contact, sweet words and gestures, saving towards a future – these are all things you do not have without them. Will you get them again?  Perhaps. Will it be a better or worse match? Only time will tell.  But, I can tell you that the older you get, often the more accelerated the relationship. So, sadly, it can be almost as hard to let go of a short, but serious one as it is to let go of a long, but detached one.  The pain feels the same, but hopefully the timeframe doesn’t.

I know a couple that had to leave a 10 year marriage and 18 years of memories. That ended 5 years ago and they still grieve at times. It’s amazing how hard those chemicals in our brains can hang on. It’s amazing how poor our ability to just shut out the past is. Unless you have a lot of practice. And unfortunately for me, I have a long memory, and my ex-bf…well, he’s had a lot of practice. Sometimes it would be nice to get a temporary lobotomy like the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” because we start fresh, we start anew. We start eager for love and untarnished by pain. Our walls are low and our egos aren’t bruised. Our hopes are high and our sense of self is still strong. I would love to start over 15 years old and do it all different. I would love to start over never needing the white picket fence or the validation of another, but sadly, this is something I cannot truly do. You can’t undo your past, but you can…

Well, you write the ending.

The Ginga Ninja

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The Best Things in Life Aren’t Free

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x354Money makes the world go round. It’s sad, but hell, it’s true. Truer than true in fact. There are so many old sayings about money that it’s not even funny (maybe I should go back to sad), but that’s because it is so integral to our everyday life. Long gone are the days where you forage the land for food, trade services for survival or even when just having one income, one car in the garage and a roof over your head were the definition of success.

No, today success comes in many forms. Unfortunately the most obvious being vacations, wealth and things. Do we really need so many things? Should there really be at a minimum THREE television shows about hoarding?  And since when did “likes” on Facebook mean more than actually liking your own life? Who cares if somebody else likes that you went to a concert or how you set up your new coffee table, isn’t all that matters that you do?

I’m as guilty as the rest of them. I’ve had periods of being pretty “modern-day” poor and I can worry like a champ. I can splurge and spend as well as I can save and thrift.  The funny thing when it comes to wealth is it’s all about liquidity. How much do you have access to at any one time? For some reason that integral point seems to be the defining factor between perceived wealth and actual.

I am as poor as I’ve probably ever been – don’t own a house, still have loans to pay, yet for some reason have started handing out dolla bills as though I’m a big deal. I think it’s because suddenly that money is in my hand and it is my choice as to whether it goes to debt, vacation, entertainment, stuff or savings. It is up to me what percentage goes where and for some reason, this empowering feeling is a misconception of being successful. In reality, I am no better off than when I made less money and spent less on things, food and “stuff” – but it’s all about quality of life, all about how much it feels like I have, not actually about how much I have on paper (well, online statement, let’s be green here).

It got me thinking. I have a very wealthy family member…remarried and up to his eyeballs in debt, yet the fact that he has an enviable yearly income makes him seem untouchable beyond compare. On a daily basis I also see homeless vagabonds – holes in their mittens, scuffs on their shoes, pride on their signs; begging with their coffee cups. That hobo, that scruffy bum with $10 in hand is in truth wealthier than that lawyer, doctor, entertainer or dentist with debt. It’s not about what you have on paper, but in theory, right?

Well, once upon a time credit wasn’t accessible, credit cards didn’t exist and people didn’t need so much space or so many things. Toys were baseballs and ragdolls, cardboard swords, tree forts and old bicycles. Once upon a time there was no social media – nobody cared about your boring trip to see your grandparents in Florida, or the time you went camping. Vacations for me were roadtrips, summer jaunts, campgrounds and cabins. There was no European cruise, or South American jungle tour. There was no credit card for kids or even education funds to prep us for the all important (and expensive) education we are now forced to obtain.

That brings me back around to where we started – money makes the world go round. Whether you are happy or sad often depends on money, which is too bad. But, all those things that make you happy – books, gaming stations, vacations in the sun, hell, even heat for your house – well, they all cost money. So, though money can’t buy you happiness, it can buy you the things that make you happy.

Oh the sad, sad irony.

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”   – Groucho Marx

The Ginga Ninja

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Time for a Wake up Call

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Dreams-come-true-Quotes-She-turned-her-cant-into-cans-and-her-dreams-into-plansIs it normal to hear the song “You Make My Dreams Come True” by the great Hall & Oates TWICE in one day?  Somehow, I think not.  In fact, is it normal to hear this catchy 80’s diddy, 6 times in a month?  I know not.  Is the universe trying to tell me something?

I recently had a job where every manager seemed to get pregnant shortly after starting the job.  I was warned to be careful, or I may be next.  I gave a little giggle because to get pregnant there’s a little secret (shhh)….to get pregnant, you have to be having sex.

As a woman who is up to her ears in rehab, consultation projects, cleaning her own apartment, interviewing, visiting friends and family, back at the gym and caring for pets…well, boys haven’t really been given a ton of time until recently. And you know what?  They seem to be a pretty big waste of it if I’m honest.

But, are all of these warnings and the crazy sign of hearing “You Make My Dreams Come True” trying to tell me something?  Should I be preparing for a life change, or….should I decide that the plain and simple message of that song is simply about me this time.  Maybe I make my dreams come true.  Plain and simple, isn’t that really the only person who can do that for you anyways?

For a long time…a really long time…I didn’t get that.  I didn’t understand that it wasn’t just a matter of being okay single or feeling confident when alone, but being okay alone.  For real.  Whether there is another person in your future or not, you have to stop envisioning one where another person exists and just try to be happy in yourself no matter where, when, or who that may be with.  Stop feeling like you have a void to fill and get ready for a much better problem – trying to actually make time in your busy and fulfilled life for another someone.

In a nutshell, “I make my dreams come true”…and if you are reading this, well, right now YOU are the only other one making my dreams come true because dammit, I kind of really like this writing thing.  So, go out and drink, dance, sing, cry, laugh, ponder, shake, fear, love and risk all the things that make you happy, but do it with the awareness that the outcome may not change your tomorrow.  It is the comfort, the acceptance, the challenge and the knowledge of these things, these pieces of you, that make life worthwhile.

Charlotte honey, did you ever stop to think that maybe we’re the white nights and we have to save ourselves? – Carrie, Sex and the City

The Ginga Ninja

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One is the Loneliest Number

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lonely redheadI was listening to the song “I’m Just a Lonely Boy” by Paul Anka the other day and it got me thinking.  I never thought much about the lyrics as a kid and never related much to people who whined; I just sang the catchy tune that my parents seemed so fond of.  But is there more to it than that, could there be something I missed?

I can only think of a few periods in my life where I was really…truly…lonely.  I came from a family of 6 and was the youngest.  That meant that years of cute older-brother friends, neighbours, cousins, girlfriends and grandparents were around at all times.  Privacy was an unheard of thing and limits didn’t really exist.  I’m still scarred by my mother walking in during a bath to point out how her era never shaved “down there”.  I have since moved away to University residence, moved in with friends, had roommates for years and then lived common law with a boy. Rarely ever through the years did I really, truly…have a reason to be lonely…or even alone.

Lonely is a word for sad and pathetic people, right?  My friend was going through a separation and even though he had roommates, was in two sports leagues and had a girlfriend he told me he was lonely.  At the time I was really busy and thought that what he said sounded really silly.  I mean, how could he be lonely with all those people around?  So, when I tried to lift his spirits, he replied, “A different kind of lonely”.  I get it now.  It takes a really strong person to admit that.  Nobody wants to look weak.  Nobody wants to look vulnerable.

It’s not a word I have heard thrown around very much…until this past year.  Maybe it’s all part of growing up, who knows.  Now that we have baggage, now that we live on our own, now that weakness may in fact not be a weakness, but a strength…I get it.  I really do.  In fact, the girl that lived in my loft before me sent a text that read, “That apartment will bring you great things.  I spent many lonely nights there, but in the end I think it brought great karma my way”.   I was so surprised that this person I barely knew would confess that; what a deep dark secret…but what I can admit is that she knew herself and her insecurities.  Damn grownups.

Last year another friend told me that in the end, you can only rely on yourself.  In her words, “We are all alone, man.”  At the time it seemed a tad bitter and overly pessimistic, but now I get what she meant.  It’s not so much about you needing to be a loner, you know…”no man is an island” and all that jazz, but really that you can’t expect another to create your happiness.  Somewhere in that loneliness you need to learn to do your own taxes, read your own books, decide on your own TV shows and stop focusing on the fact that nobody is by your side.  Because, the only person who will be there for you your ENTIRE life…is YOU.

Your decisions only impact you (okay, okay…maybe your kids too).  You may not think so at the time, you may feel like you are failing your friends, your siblings, your parents and your teachers when you don’t get the job, run out of money or put up with crap from your booty call.  But, let’s get real…it took 32 years to realize the only person I am failing or not failing is me.  So, can I admit that I’ve been lonely over the past year and a half?  Sure as hell can.  Some days to the point I was climbing the walls…but in that silence, in that deafening stillness that needed filling…I found out a hell of a lot about me.  What makes me tick, where my loyalties lie, what I can rely on myself to do and as a friend put it, “how sensitive my bullshit meter is”.

I sort of always wondered how  people living in their parents basements wearing Star Wars T-shirts and counting out their Castleville prizes do it?  How do they spend hours, months, even years entrenched in meaningless crap without reaching out to the outside world?  Well, in some ways it’s sad and in some ways it’s survival.  Really, they are the strongest people if you think about it.

As an homage to all those lonely hearts out there, what I can say is that without emotion, emptiness or longing – a social person without a social life, a partner now single, a widow, an alienated friend, a postpartum mother…there would be a hell of a lot less memorable books and songs.  So, let’s relish in our loneliness and raise a flag to all it has accomplished…I won’t deny that it’s a lot more fodder for Country Musicians, but what you are about to find out is that loneliness doesn’t spare many and spans all genres.  This list doesn’t even break the barrier of lyrics implying the same thing.  After all, one is the loneliest number, but as long as we are all reading this, we are actually united…and really not so lonely after all.

*Songs about Loneliness*

Only the Lonely – Roy Orbison

Lonesome Town – Ricky Nelson

I’m just a Lonely Boy – Paul Anka

Lonesome Traveller – The Ofarims

Are you Lonesome Tonight – Elvis Presley

Another Lonely Day – Ben Harper

One is the Loneliest Number – Three Dog Night

I’m so Lonesome I could Cry – Hank Williams

Lonely Street – Patsy Cline

Mr. Lonely – Bobby Vinton

All By Myself – Celine Dion

I get lonely too – Drake

Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes

So Lonely – The Police

Tired of Being Alone – Al Green

Tea for One – Led Zeppelin

You are Alone – Flaming Lips

Lonely People – America

If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company. – Jean-Paul Sartre

The Ginga Ninja

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