Category Archives: Starting Over

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

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

 

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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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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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Now what did you say was a virtue?

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“You can’t hurry love, you just got to wait.  Love don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take.”

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I have to say, I think these lyrics are actually pretty true.  I’m sure I haven’t always been the best at following them – patience is a virtue I only seem to have some of the time, but for all those little girls out there waiting for their first kiss, first dance, first boyfriend…just keep waiting.  Your first everything only comes once and when it does, well…..it’s gone forever.

There are a million and one thirty-something women out there still hoping to meet the “one”.  But, you know what?  Today’s version of life just postponed it.  Less and less people are getting married young and more and more people are truly waiting around for their most compatible match.  Once upon a time, if you didn’t meet your soulmate by the age of 26, well you settled for whoever was around at the time.  Now, women have the choice whether or not to marry that man and often, as a result, we end up single.

Being a single women isn’t always easy, but then again, is it any harder than being a single man?  I guess we have the inevitable biological clock that men don’t really have (Alec Baldwin just had his second child at 55) and traditionally men still make higher salaries, but really, why would the life of a single 32 year old woman be any worse than that of a man?

For all the times I think “where are you already?”, I also have to remember that often I choose this.  I have been lucky enough to have loved not only once, but many times and in fairly healthy relationships.  I have also had the choice to walk away from things when timing was wrong and to settle or not settle for somebody who doesn’t make my life better. I may in the end be my own worst enemy because frankly, I’m a loyal and dedicated girlfriend, but I’m petrified to be a wife.  I think the reason is that I know marriage is more than the wedding and your life is more than the mortgage and kids.  Until death do you part can be a very long time in today’s day and age (damn you improved healthcare) and the impending fear of this vow scares me away from the idea of the altar each and every time.

Still, as I raise my flag to women’s lib and commend all those (men and women alike) who haven’t settled, in a childlike way I still hope to meet the person that may not be the one, may not be my side until the death bed, but that I feel comfortable enough to at least try to commit to.  Fear is a nasty thing and it can come in many forms – fear of being alone, fear of being single, fear of being stagnant, fear of starting over, but without fear there is nothing to propel you to the next step.  You need to know bad to know good, you need to know happy to feel sad.  So, whether I relish in my single life and continue to casually date, give up until I stumble into the next thing, or miraculously find Mr. Right or at least Mr. Right Now is still to be seen.  But, I think it’s true.  You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait…and I think that even reigns true when it comes to loving yourself.  Maybe the reason things haven’t worked out so far is that I was seeking the wrong love.  The love I needed most in order to find the right match was in fact, my own.  Patience is a virtue, but so is self-preservation.

And it takes no time to fall in love
But it takes you years to know what love is
And it takes some fears to make you trust
It takes those tears to make it rust
It takes the dust to have it polished – Jason Mraz

The Ginga Ninja

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A Mind Unburdened

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redhead writing

A year or so ago I wasn’t as peachy keen and shiny as I am today.  I was hopeful, I was pensive, I was as positive as I could be, but I was a bit lost.  Also, not long ago a fellow blogger liked one of my posts – Coco J. Ginger, and I was delighted as she has an incredibly popular blog.  I hoped to learn something from her – some advice on how to reach people, touch people and relate to people.  The only problem is – she had already healed.

You see, Ms. Ginger started her blog because of a broken heart.  Many years and many posts later she no longer felt a need for it.  It became a possibly cumbersome task that though she loved doing, no longer needed doing.  It had been a place to put her hands, her mind, her time and her heart.

If I’m being completely honest, I do find that a saner, calmer, happier version of me has evolved.  Now, please don’t misunderstand, this wouldn’t have happened had I not gone through lonely nights, uncertain days and a health scare or two.  But, these days, things just don’t seem like that big of a deal.  I mean, I’m more broke than ever, I’m facing unemployment and I just cannot seem to get on top of cleaning or my love life.  Then again, I haven’t really wanted to get on top of my love life.  I’ve been pretty damn content on my own, for the first time in….EVER.

So, like Ms. Ginger, I guess I could say that the line has been cast, I’m not sinking anymore and I no longer need a voice.  But, I won’t.  The reason for that is somewhere along this crazy journey, I’ve fallen in love with writing.  It is an outlet, a surprising passion and a useful waste of my time.  You may wonder how it can be useful if it simply wasting time, but if you break life down to its absolute minimum, well….really everything we do is a waste of time.  But, wouldn’t you like to think you wasted that time well?

This is not to say I am not going to need to vent, or cry, or overthink every now and then.  This is not to say that a bright shiny sun with sunglasses is smiling down at me while bluebirds sit on my shoulder, but it is saying, for today, I’m okay.  And for today, I have no intentions of giving this up.  It has opened up a new world to me; one I didn’t really know existed.  It has actually helped clear my mind and even influence my career.  How many people can say that?  I am not writing out of angst, anger or boredom, but out of love.  It was a loss of love that started this journey and a newfound one that will continue it.

I wish the same for all of you.  I wish for everyone to stumble into something they love and continue to do it simply out of joy.  Not because you are forced to (hello, piano lessons anyone), because it makes you money (nothing like marketing credit cards for a living) or because there is pressure for you to present well.  Who hasn’t put on a beautiful spread or applied to a job at the urging of a partner or parent?  Guilty.  I’m sure you are too.

So, this year I find that I’m my same bumbling self.  I lock myself out of the house constantly and bruise easily.  I gab too much, think too much and pee too often…but it’s different.  It’s better.  So, good bad and ugly, I`m currently here to stay and right or wrong, I hope you can say the same.  There is no perfect version of ourselves, only a good, bad and better and each and every one of those personalities depends on the day, the year, the month even the season.  Remember that the saying, “There’s always tomorrow” was written for a reason, because what you feel today may very well not be what you feel tomorrow.  Remember that when you are at your worst – once upon a time you had a best and one can’t co-exist without the other.

I guess my girl Coco realized that she had found a love too. I don’t think it matters why something started, only why it continues.  10,000 followers strong; her hiatus was short-lived and her blog has lived on. Lucky for us.                                   http://courtingmadness.wordpress.com/

                   Words, words, mere words, no matter so long as from the heart.                                                                                    – William Shakespeare

The Ginga Ninja

Sometimes A Cliché is Just a Cliché, and Sometimes it’s Not

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Neil Patrick Harris, comebackNothing is impossible.  I may not always believe this every day of my life, but there are a million clichés  to go with this, “all things are possible”, “never say never”, “tomorrow is a new day”, “today is the first day of the rest of your life”….

But, it’s true.  Comebacks from teen idols, millionaires who started from nothing, my cat that seems to get healthier as he ages and the fact that I can keep rediscovering myself and find new goals in this game we call life…it all points to you never really can tell.  Though I think to be honest, our rediscovery is less about changing and more about accepting the things that have always been there.

“And when you think it’s all over, it’s not over, it’s not over” – Tears for Fears

The Ginga Ninja