Feature photo by geralt
NETFLIX THRILLER WAS JUST SO GOOD
*SCARY STUFF WARNING*
*TALK ABOUT RELIGION WARNING*
Time goes way too fast for me. I saw Midnight Mass on Netflix about eight months ago and have wanted to write about it, but I’m just now getting around to it.
If you haven’t seen or heard of it, Midnight Mass is a seven-episode miniseries created and directed by Mike Flanagan. Flanagan’s inspiration came from his Catholic upbringing and recovery from alcoholism. The genre is supernatural horror, the same as The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, both of which he created previously for Netflix.
David Fear of Rolling Stone magazine called Midnight Mass extraordinary. A critic on Rotten Tomatoes called it “gorgeous and unsettling.” Tomatoes revealed it had an 89% approval rating.
Okay, some felt it was too much of a Salem’s Lot rip-off, paying homage to Stephen King. Those influences were there, sure, but, in my opinion, that’s a good thing.
Anyway, the filming of Midnight Mass took place in Vancouver, at a seaside public area called Garry Point Park. Garry Point Park became Midnight Mass’s fictional Crockett Island, a small offshore fishing village whose inhabitants are trying to recover economically from an oil spill that devastated its fishing industry.
Riley Flynn is the main character who comes home to Crockett Island from prison after his drunk driving resulted in a woman’s death.
The supernatural element stems from the arrival of a stranger; a priest called Father Paul. And while Father Paul is charismatic, he is not exactly normal. He performs miracles amid tragedy with winged, blood-sucking creatures lurking. I’m not a fan of gore, but if a series is good, I’ll endure whatever I must (Hello, Game of Thrones) and, if necessary, resort to covering my eyes. (Of course, I’ll peek out of one eye.)
Ultimately, Father Paul seduces his whole island of followers, pushing them to poison themselves with cultlike devotion. It reminded me of the preacher and mass murderer, Jim Jones, who was solely responsible for the Jonestown, Guyana massacre in 1978. Some viewers complained about Father Paul’s profound monologues from beginning to end, but I enjoyed them. Honestly, I found the entire series brilliant and thought-provoking.
Hamish Linklater as Father Paul received widespread acclaim for his character portrayal, and yes, he was great. Jen Chaney of Vulture called his performance “phenomenal” and believed he elevated the series to “moments of greatness,” writing: “he speaks as if he’s discovering his way through every sentence and wants you to come with him.”
Other noteworthy performances include Zach Gilford as Riley Flynn, Robert Longstreet as Joe Collie, the town drunk, Rahul Kohli as Sheriff Hassan, Kate Siegel as Riley’s childhood sweetheart, Samantha Sloyan as a high and mighty zealot, and Henry Thomas as Riley’s father.
There was tremendous praise for Flanagan’s directing.
However, many Christians found Midnight Mass offensive in every regard.
Sherriff Hassan, as a Muslim, feels like an outsider, with the townspeople forcing Christianity on his son. And Riley questioned his faith, which I thought seemed normal after what happened to him. Even the most devout have struggled to keep the faith. We’re supposed to be human and flawed, right?
Another complaint was that Midnight Mass portrays a vampire as an angel. Father Paul is romanticized and sexualized, ranging from benevolent to malevolent. But doesn’t the Bible have angels who rebelled against God? The fallen ones who’d decided God was a despotic, unmerciful tyrant and got sentenced to eternity in hell?
I read a comment that “priests would be able to recognize evil and not succumb to it,” yet they’ll defend the pedophile priest with arguments that the devil targets him, relentlessly tempting and “tricking” him. That’s just bullshit, but in the holy books, Satan is a powerful and ruthless rebel—a trickster who will constantly aim to manipulate and deceive you. While I may not believe these things, I learned while growing up Catholic that the devil will have his reign upon earth. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that one. So, it’s hardly shocking that Midnight Mass presents you with a version of the legendary Anti-Christ, who predictably fools people.
Midnight Mass also explores humanity’s desperate quest for eternal life, which is the “gift” offered to Father Paul’s followers in this story. The gift, in addition, relieves them of pain and suffering. I believe that’s why vampire lore is so popular. It dangles that gift and explores its consequences.
Midnight Mass presents the idea that “we must do evil to combat evil.” That misguided belief system is out there. Just look at the justification for people denying others fundamental human rights, justice, and dignity. Consider the lengths they will go to oppress and punish people for not being what the bigots say they’re supposed to be. No, not every religious person is like that, but no one can deny the mentality is out there. People believe they are combating evil and might have to resort to atrocious behavior themselves to accomplish that.
At the same time, some believe in a loving, merciful, forgiving God and opt for the perception of him that is consistent with the caring and compassionate Jesus. Others fear God as a cruel, unforgiving, punishing entity who is offended by slights to his ego and will ask that you do horrendous things to prove your devotion to him, and they obey him to avoid punishment. Well, Father Paul is a depiction of the latter.
Of course, I can’t tell people what should or shouldn’t offend them. None of it offends me, but I don’t share their belief system and so reserve judgment. I will say that some of the best characters in Midnight Mass were Christians and made admirable sacrifices rather than succumbing to all the madness. And most were victims of a psychopath leader. Except, in this story, people fought back.
I believe Midnight Mass is still on Netflix. If you enjoy this kind of stuff, check it out.
SUPREME COURT OVERTURNING OF ROE V. WADE
I’ve been pregnant only twice in my life and the first time ended in a miscarriage at about four weeks. Of course, I didn’t know I was pregnant until I’d lost the baby. In my second pregnancy, I carried to term, and though I didn’t realize I was pregnant until the third month, I was thrilled every step of the way. The pregnancy was easy, and I raised that beautiful boy to adulthood. I have never been in the position of not wanting a child I was carrying, but understanding the enormous responsibility of raising another human being, I get it.
Women seem to be damned if they do sometimes and damned if they don’t. I can’t imagine having a life inside you for nine months and giving it up for adoption. I applaud anyone who can do that because who can NOT fall in love with this little one when it’s moving within you and listening to your voice? It’s like a part of you for so long. It’s such a tremendous sacrifice, yet there are always these stories about the kids given up for adoption searching for the bio parent filled with resentment. People ask, how can you give your child away?
No matter what women do, they are criticized by someone or another. Whether you abort a fetus, give up your baby, or practice birth control, it’s like, how dare you! It’s no excuse that you can’t afford it, are not ready, or have a career.
Of course, holy books written by men are all about procreation. If homosexuality was forbidden and they oppressed certain groups, it helped their cause. Make taxpayers and soldiers and worker bees for the king. Of course, some will die because you can’t feed them or afford them, or maybe they’ll get killed in a war, but if you keep them coming, enough of them will survive to suit their purposes. How they live is of no concern. Win/win for them.
Otherwise, why would they care if you’re gay or whatever you are? You’re not harming anyone.
I read one comment that if we keep aborting babies, no one will be left on the earth. Really?
Others say people are overreacting to the decision. They’re not, but even if you missed how quickly several states moved to ban abortion after the ruling, you must have noticed they are pushing the envelope further and further. They’re testing the waters. Just ask Clarence Thomas, who has his eye on birth control and same-sex marriage. If you think people going after fundamental human rights ends there, think again. People were outraged when asked to wear a mask during a plague! That scared the crap out of them but not this. Go figure.
The same people who talk about not wanting government intervention in their lives won’t rest until they have complete control over women, gay people, and minorities.
I hate this so much.
Feature image by Robert Jones from Pixabay
THAT CRAZY DESIRE TO CONQUER HATE WITH LOVE
by Kyrian Lyndon
If you are defending the rights of others who
are denied whatever privilege you enjoy, does that mean you have a savior
It’s one of many questions I ask myself, given the fact that I’ve been doing this since I was twelve. It was instinctive then, and it’s instinctive now because I don’t want to live in a world where bigotry seems to be the norm. Whether people were happy or unhappy about this stance I’d taken has never made a difference to me.
I have also questioned my own motives at
It’s not about being politically correct. As far as I’m concerned, it is simply right, and I’m so confident of that that I’ll stick to it no matter who or what I stand to lose in the process.
Is it about tolerance? Nope. I would not…
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CAN YOU HEAR THE WAILS OF AGONY?
seagull photo by geralt / 24478 images at Pixabay
woman on beach photo by Tomas Jasovsky on Unsplash
HAVE YOU SURVIVED YOUR LONG DARK NIGHT?
by Kyrian Lyndon
You see through shadows and fog. So much obscured. It’s a murky reality where confusion reigns—crisis after crisis, unending drama, boundless pain. You bury the fear that would deplete your strength. It’s become harder to function, wearisome to hope. You sink into despair. Light peeks in at the top of the hole, but every move toward it overwhelms.
You thought the cavalry would have arrived by now, ride up on rugged horses, but there is no cavalry.
You think you can’t do this. You want to die.
Think about it.
If you can’t do this anymore, all the stuff you don’t want to do, you can’t do the other stuff either—the beautiful, incredible, and amazing stuff. Those things that make you smile, laugh, ooh, and ahh—all the blessed wonders that fill your heart with joy will be gone along with the pain.
People say the best thing you can do when you’re feeling hopeless and powerless is to take the focus off you and help others. Bring smiles to people’s faces with a random act of kindness. It works!
But if you’re feeling too weak right now, not quite ready to save yourself, hang in there. We’re human, and we don’t always have to be strong. The world feels cruel and cold right now, and the suffering around us hurts. The suffering of the world is too much, yes. We’re all so vulnerable, but you’re not alone. We’re here with you.
We call upon the earth’s angels to construct the symbolic pyramid that surrounds, protects, and guides you. We send you the healing white light of unconditional love. And you’ll be surprised at what a difference a day makes.
If you’re not too defeated, maybe that sink or swim moment has arrived. Perhaps this is where you surrender. So, get up and take the fierce warrior stance. You’ll know when the time is right. You’re going down the rabbit hole to dig in and dig out, regain your clarity and calm, and restore your peace and joy.
And then the long dark night comes.
You approach it as what you’ve become, the persona that provided the armor you wore, the persona you constructed to protect you in the darkest of times. It was a godsend that’s slowly become a fire-breathing monster, diabolical and dangerous. It’s time to kill it before it kills you.
But it’s turbulent in this period of darkness. You feel disoriented and bewildered. There is so much to grieve.
You may be broken now, and things look rather bleak. I know. You may not believe me when I say you can heal because your heart is breaking in a way it never has. It’s like every broken heart you’ve ever had has come together to magnify the brokenness.
It seems everything has fallen apart, but then it will all come together again, I promise you, the way it was supposed to be. Deep down, we have the answers. When we are ready, we’ll align our will with the will of our highest power of love and of light. I’m here with you.
So many memories come to mind—the child you were, the adult you’ve become—so much anguish for what happened all those years ago.
You never wanted to let anyone down; I get that. You feel everything so intensely; I get that, too. Just don’t tell me you don’t deserve better. You do. Don’t tell me you’re a failure. You’re not. We learn from every mistake. That’s not failing; it’s growing. You are a beautiful, empathetic being of love and light. And don’t say hope will damn you; it won’t always, I promise.
It’s okay to acknowledge regrets and feel every wound that keeps hurting and the sadness of the torment that has yet to subside. Yes, it’s agony. You cry harder than you ever thought you could. Every version of you that’s existed cries with you. Especially that child in you who’s waited so long for your comfort. That small child who was thrilled by the universe in every waking moment—he’s still there! He wants you to fight for him. You care so much about everyone. Care about yourself, too! You help everyone, my dear; help him. The child is fragile and wailing. It’s the ghost that’s haunted you for many years, but she doesn’t unnerve you now. Your sobs are hers, as are your tears. This child is releasing your pain. Hug that child.
Every version of who you’ve been will need that comfort and compassion. Don’t be afraid to wrap all of those former “yous” in a blanket of love and show them they are worthy of that! They were just trying to survive. YOU were just trying to survive. After years of taking hit after hit and getting back up, maybe you learned how to compartmentalize, stay calm, and protect your energy, as I did.
It’s hard to fight the urge to share words of wisdom, some of which you may not be ready for, but I can plant a seed. I’m here and don’t you apologize—not to me. It’s not too much for me ever. I’ll never regret a moment with you. Just breathe. Take deep breaths as often as you need. You have to trust a little. Let me help you. Let me hug you. I got you, my friend, and you’re going to be alright. I love you so much!
And when the light of day shines on you after this long night, you are a warrior and a conqueror, too, who will conquer one thing after another in life.
You slay your demons so that the fierce dragon you desperately needed can transform into the beautiful paladin that champions your survival. And here you are now, a weightless dragonfly with mesmerizing beauty!
They say home is where you wake up and try again. Well, you’re home now.
Author Kyrian Lyndon
Trees at Sunset image by Jan W. from Pixabay
Heart/Angel Wings image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay
Child ghost image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay
Dove image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Lightning/Darkness image Lochie Blanch at Unsplash
BINGE READING THE THRILLERS I LOVE
This blog is a tribute to female authors in the dark thriller genre, whom I’ve appreciated more and more in the past few years. There are many good ones, and I’ve been going through their books like they are a giant bag of Twizzlers. I just can’t stop.
One of my best discoveries is bestselling British author Rachel Abbot. She writes psychological thrillers, most of which are set in Manchester, England, close to where the author grew up.
According to her bio, “After being turned down by several literary agents and publishers, she decided to brave it alone and go into self-publishing.” I’m so glad she did because her success story encourages us writers and thrills her readers and fans, including me!
Her books are suspenseful, page-turners I can’t put down even when dinner’s calling! They are the type of books you can lie with for hours, snug under the covers on a wintry Saturday morning, or what have you. There are good characters to root for, especially detective Tom Douglas and Becky, his partner. Ms. Abbott’s books are well-written with believable dialogue and good pacing. I enjoy the plots and how they unfold. Just as I think I have it figured out, there are brilliant twists. Her books are addictive. I’ve read them all, and I’m waiting for more.
RACHEL ABBOTT’S BOOKS ON AMAZON.COM
Freida McFadden is another new favorite and quickly catching up to Rachel Abbott. I’ve read many of McFadden’s books, and they are fantastic reads. Seriously, you can’t put these books down.
Also on my list:
If you love thrillers, check them all out. You’ll be glad you did.
Skull/books image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay
BURNING BRIDGES, LETTING GO
Parting is rarely peaceful or the sweet sorrow of Shakespearean poetry. It can be an ugly and torturous process. It’s not unusual either to be called selfish for walking away from toxic relationships and environments.
We get involved in something or with someone having the best of intentions. Often, we don’t realize what issues we bring to the table. There may be parts of us still in need of healing. When we look back, we may see we could have handled it all better—not simply because hindsight is 20/20 but because we can’t be objective. We’re busy drowning. Everything is clouded, including our judgment. Being oblivious to what motivates us and how others can manipulate us, we fall into traps. We may even trust the wrong people, people who take advantage of vulnerabilities and unresolved needs. They push buttons we didn’t know we had and, after a time, we don’t recognize ourselves.
We walk away, because we don’t know what will happen to us if we don’t. We choose sanity and serenity over endless battles. The exit becomes the way of saving our lives, reclaiming it along with our dreams, putting our needs first after years of trying to please people who cannot be pleased. We are no longer in a place where we can be or do our best. The kinder thing is to go on and heal what needs healing. Who says we can’t bring our best efforts somewhere else? We can take our kindness. We know, too, it’s never going to be enough to walk away. We may need to burn that bridge, so we don’t get sucked in again.
The place we escaped from may haunt us from time to time, what we left behind. We can leave those dead things wailing in the dark and shut the door. That part of our past taught us many things we needed to learn, and it’s over, done, dead. As long as we didn’t lose the lesson, we’ll be fine. We needed to be there and experience what we experienced, but we’re free now. It’s time to celebrate our freedom.
Nine Things We Don’t Owe Anybody
Selfishness: 10 Myths You May Be Relieved To Debunk
SENDING LOVE TO THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE
Since its first season, I have been a fan of the television show Dancing with the Stars, so I am pretty familiar with Ukrainian-American pro-dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who appeared in many earlier seasons and recently as a judge. When the Russian invasion began, Maksim was a judge on the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars. For days, he took refuge in a bomb shelter, and his frequent Instagram videos revealed how distraught and heartbroken he’s been, barely able to hold it together. At the same time, he kept us informed and advised people of ways to help. As of now, he’s trying to leave Ukraine, making his way to the border, and I pray he arrives home safely to his loved ones.
So many courageous people, including Maksim. are coming to light right now. And we’re seeing an extraordinary display of empathy with people speaking up and reaching out, a great measure of love and support. That moves me to no end, as does the unity among the Ukrainians and overwhelmingly on a global scale.
Someone posted on Twitter that “Ukrainians are not fighting with each other over issues like vaccines and CRT. They are fighting FOR each other so future generations will enjoy the freedoms that exist in a true democracy.”
That’s true. These things I mentioned above—empathy, love, unity, etc.— have been lacking here throughout the elections and pandemic and one crisis after another. So, yeah, I find it hard not to cry when I see good people fighting back against corruption, cruelty, and greed.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has stepped up to be quite the courageous leader whose humility allows him to see himself, not as an idol to be worshipped but as a patriot who refuses to abandon his country or his people. It reminds us that humans can be amazing.
Every day I send all of them love, light, and prayers—and to the whole world. Wherever there is suffering, we suffer, too, because we care about each other.
Ukraine flag heart feature photo (way at the top) by Сергій Марищук from Pixabay
I CAN TELL YOU, SHE HATED FLOWERS!
SHE HATED FLOWERS
She hated flowers, and I wondered why
When diamonds less radiant
Diminished her gloom,
And she delighted in the fragrance of her favorite perfume.
She hated that they withered and faded,
That their petals broke loose,
And they barely hung on.
She hated that they were thrown away,
With every trace of them gone.
They were delicate and fragile like her,
The kind of thing
She felt so undeserving of.
It’s such taxing work for the weary,
Simply to nurture and love.
She clung to her own greenness and vigor,
Exquisite as they were,
They brought too much sorrow;
She detested caring for those that,
Would not need her tomorrow.
She was too oppressed to provide refuge,
I heard heartbreaking stories,
Where she had it rough.
She did the best she could, I know,
But it was just never enough.
She is every bit like the flowers,
Warms your vulnerable heart,
With kindness and grace;
Brings happy tears to your eyes,
And the most joyful smile to your face!
She regales like a queen, and she stuns,
And I love her,
As I do those flowers she hates!
Some have penetrable walls, you know;
She has padlocked iron gates
Author: Kyrian Lyndon
Top feature image by Hong Zhang from Pixabay
Black rose image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay
Purple rose image by GLady from Pixabay
Orange flowers image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay
A LOVING LETTER TO A FRIEND
What are we going to do about the fact that I’m dying?”
She asked him.
“There’s a lot we haven’t resolved.
There’s so much we can’t say to each other,
I don’t think I’ve done enough for you,
Or that I ever deserved you.
“I keep trying to let things go,
Let it be,
And I think it works, most of the time.
Wisdom is crystallized pain,
And my greatest pain has been your sadness.
I worry so much about you.
When you entered my world.
You led me to the right path,
Revealed my inner shadows.
You made me a better human.
And, I love you.
And, I just want you to be okay.
More than anything, I want you to be happy.
But, you’re not, and I can’t leave you like that.
You deserve to find your joy.
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WHEN YOUR HEART IS BREAKING 😔
Feature photo by Felipe Galvan on Unsplash
Celebrating What Is
A beautiful, uplifting blog from my writer friend, Amy Henry.
Comedian Robin Williams’ famous quip “Reality… what a concept!” has played in my head like a tape loop on steroids during these past—count ‘em—22 months of pandemic pandemonium.
I mean, do we even know what reality is anymore? Do we want to know?
Add to the COVID powder keg a toxic sludge of gun-toting fascists (some of them members of Congress!), a slew of anti-voter laws designed to finish off our crumbling democracy, plus the skyrocketing threat of climate change, and it’s easy to understand why reality has gotten such a bum reputation. It’s not an accident that my local supermarket has stacks and stacks of snack food in every aisle. We want so much to MAKE… EVERYTHING… THE… WAY… IT…USED… TO… BE.
To the point where we run the risk of missing the good stuff that’s right in front of us. The actual hope, the joy, the positive progress…
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TOUCHY FRIENDSHIPS: PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION AND CARE
I remember this story from about ten years ago.
A young college girl decided to track down her long-lost cousin. Their families hadn’t spoken to one another for over a decade, so she hadn’t seen or spoken to him since he was six years old. When she got him on the phone, she began the conversation by telling him that whatever his mother had told him about her family wasn’t true. She defended her family and told him he could visit them anytime.
All the guy wanted to do was shut her down. The assumptions she’d made infuriated him—that he didn’t know the truth, that he hadn’t witnessed any of what happened for himself, and that he’d be open to hearing someone trash the mother he loved.
She didn’t understand his anger. Instead, she blathered on, offending him more and more with every word. She was like I was once, rushing headlong into a minefield she didn’t have a clue how to navigate. The result was he never spoke to her again. That’s sad because they might have become friends.
While someone discussed this story with me, they called the situation between the cousins “loaded.” It came to mind recently when I thought about other loaded predicaments between people.
Sometimes the relationships are precarious for simple and obvious reasons, and one of you had to set boundaries. Maybe it’s an intolerable but understandable behavior issue or substantial differences of opinion. Maybe one of you is married and the other single. Perhaps one of you wants something the other can’t provide. Or you’re at odds with a friend of theirs or a family member and can’t defend yourself or your position without talking trash about the other person.
I once worked with someone recommended by a woman I admired tremendously. He was her partner. When he and I spoke on the phone, he eventually divulged very intimate details about their romantic relationship. He seemed to adore her, which was beautiful, but I didn’t think she’d like me knowing what he was telling me. It made me uncomfortable, so I suppose I put up some barriers, which made him uncomfortable. Suddenly, he used the withholding punishment—not keeping me updated about the project, dragging his feet on it, and ultimately not delivering quite what I’d expected. I used someone else for the next project, but there’s now a barrier between the woman who referred him and me. I have no idea what he told her, but the additional weight hampers any interaction with her, and I hate that.
It gets heavier than that. There are situations where people grow up with devastating trauma. Family members have different outlooks about what happened, maybe different experiences. One may still feel the agony of the hurt they or someone else caused in doing what felt right in their heart. Things said may remind you of the pain they caused you or the pain you caused them. There’s a lot of re-traumatization within the same dynamics or dealing with the family.
I believe it’s crucial to become fully aware of all this because situations aren’t loaded when you don’t care about the other person. You could easily blow them off and never have anything to do with them.
To this day, there are people I’d love to drop a line to and ask how they’re doing or just to say, “I miss you.”
You can have so much love for a person and at the same time have to handle your interaction with them like you’re holding a piece of glass.
There are no-fly zones.
And sure, it’s painful. You wish things were different. We grieve relationships like that. It saddens us that there was so much good, and we cherish the memories to the point of tears. We may wonder, can we ever get it back? If we did, would it ever be the same? Both parties have to come to the table with an open mind. There must be a willingness to walk hand in hand through that mine together. It’s hard because quite often, the trust isn’t there any longer. And you have to be willing to trust someone to do that.
Plenty of people out there can discern these situations, I’m sure, but many of us had to learn that. As I alluded to at the beginning of this post, there was a time I’d have flown my plane right into that restricted zone and not for a moment realize the potential damage I’d cause. I’d gotten used to a cycle of being hurt and fighting back. These days, I think of what I might say in these circumstances and recognize how it could go wrong.
Often, I decide I can say nothing. Or I wonder how to rectify a situation, resolve a conflict, and every way I might think to approach it, I see a flashing red light, and it’s just no. Don’t. You can’t. There’s a need to tread gently, take care.
One might ask themselves:
What are safe topics we can discuss? Should we stick to a public forum in responding to one another rather than talk on the phone or text? Can we support one another in ways that don’t involve us in their lives?
I find these things helpful in dealing with others where the cautions may apply:
It’s often the difference between reacting and responding. Realize you’re communicating with another vulnerable human being who likely has had their own trauma. They are not bulletproof. Sometimes we are blinded by rage, and we keep firing at someone, but we don’t realize they’re bleeding.
There’s a difference between reaching out and setting a trap. We can’t be condescending. We may feel we’re in a better place or farther along in our healing, and it may or may not be accurate, but it doesn’t matter. We all have our paths to walk and on our timetable. It goes in that “Not all who wander are lost” category..
It helps to be genuine and sincere under these circumstances, to let go of any bitterness or resentment, and respond only from a place of caring and love. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s tragic, but we can accept it and be grateful these individuals are still in our lives in whatever capacity. We can still love them with all our hearts and send that love to them whenever possible.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Feature Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
YOUR DREAMS ARE NOT JUST FANTASY
Friends inspired me to write this post, but so did my son, Jesse, whose job has him working nine hours a day or more. It’s what happens to the best and most reliable employees these days. He gets calls for help on weekends and holidays and can’t even take a vacation without the whole place falling apart. Meanwhile, he has dreams of other pursuits.
For people in this position, the idea of taking those first steps toward change can be overwhelming, even terrifying, because it means taking risks they can’t afford to take.
Sometimes I think almost everyone has a dream—one that’s always in the back of their minds. They would love to achieve it or pursue it, but they see nothing but obstacles. I lived that life myself for decades, working at okay jobs. Some were fascinating or fun but not what I wanted to do.
Great opportunities came along, but I knew I didn’t want those things badly enough to make the type of commitment and investment I’d need to make to be a success.
Writing, for me, was different. I loved it so much that I was determined to find a way. I was more than willing to take risks and make the commitment and investment. Nothing could stop me. When we feel that way about something, the odds of making it happen are better, but we need a plan!
One thing people say to me a lot is they don’t have the time.
Of course, we juggle many, many things in life. For me, it’s writing, cleaning, cooking, the household infrastructure, exercise, reading, taking good care of myself and the people I love, etc. Time management is everything, as we know, because time is such a precious commodity.
I’m a big fan of schedules or “to do” lists. It’s my way of making sure everything gets done. If I begin to fall behind in one area, I’ll work out a new schedule. They are easy to update in Word documents, rearranging priorities as necessary.
To that effort, if you make a list of what you spend your time on, you will likely find you devote hours to stuff you don’t want or have to do so much, if at all. The same goes for people who will drain you or upset you for hours or days afterward. Some will even waste precious moments arguing with people on the internet. There has to be a way to make less or no time for those people.
It doesn’t matter if you find only fifteen minutes a day to work on your dream goals. Find the space to make your dream come true. Use whatever time you’ve got. You will expand as necessary and adjust, ultimately realizing it does fit in.
For many years now, I’ve been waking up early (4 a.m.!) and writing in the dark with the moonlight. It’s always something to look forward to when I turn in for the night. When I had to, I did my writing before work, whatever time I could devote to it, plus a workout. Before heading to work, I’d already been up seven hours. For night people, you may be able to set aside time after dinner or before bed. Make it a romantic adventure just for you, your coffee, tea, whatever, and what you love doing.
And you have to guard that time! Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m working.” Tell people when you’ll be free. Treat it like a regular job, even if others don’t.
Of course, the time you spend working toward your dream is a priority but not the only priority. How would you respond if someone approached you or called you at work? Is it important enough for an interruption? How would you respond to an invitation that conflicts with your work schedule? You get to decide if it warrants the afternoon off or not. Avoid losing momentum. Sure, you can be sick or take vacation time, but you don’t let it go for months or years. It has to be a constant in your life.
Of course, we have to have a backup plan always—a job to fall back on. Most people know to save as much money as possible.
Many years ago, however, I loved curling up with catalogs and making lists of what I wanted to order, and I intended to pay off my credit cards, but I ended up filing for bankruptcy. It took years to rebuild my credit score, and now, they give me a nearly perfect score. Imagine that!
But I’m the last one to get “the latest thing” if I decide to get it at all. I’m not looking to impress or keep up with anyone. I get to decide what’s worth it. For example, people love to go to the movies, the thrill of being in theaters and being among the first to see it. I’m so over that. I watch movies at home and save money there. Living in New York, I’ll rarely shell out the price of a ticket to a Broadway show, and I love Broadway shows. It’s just expensive, so I’ll splurge only now and then. I’m not too fond of concerts because I don’t like crowds, so I save money there, too. In short, I’ve learned, we don’t need everything we think we need.
And when you get good at saving, start investing. Your investment account can be growing toward buying you more time.
Take it seriously. Build a website. Create a Facebook page for what you do, an Instagram account, etc. Keep doing your thing no matter what. Share what you do with people who enjoy it and are likely to encourage and support you. Vision boards are great. I’ve used them in the past.
Believe in yourself. You can do it. Work hard, and don’t let people discourage you! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Strive for humility. That helps. Above all, learn, learn, and keep learning! Keep getting better at what you do. It’s a love affair, a relationship. Devote yourself to it, heart and soul.
UNMERCIFUL: A POEM FROM MY NEW BOOK
My body was a useless entity.
In your presence, it betrayed me.
Like dangerous waters beckoning
In their mystifying beauty.
Their tantalizing fluidity caressed my body
As I resisted taking the plunge.
My body betrayed me,
Ignored me like a preoccupied stranger
With a will of its own.
And, I cruelly learned,
I could control what happened
Only if you were merciful.
But, watching you,
Listening to you,
Was not merciful.
It was a torturous joy.
Feature image above by Stefan Keller from Pixabay
“Unmerciful” is from Awake with the Songbirds Available on Amazon.com
DAMN THE LIES AND TRUTH BE TOLD
THE ELUSIVE TRUTH
Fantasy often bests reality. Sentimentality can provide us with an illusion of innocence in a safe and familiar world. That’s fine, and it’s not hard to understand why people, in their everyday lives, cling to illusions and delusions that comfort and protect.
That said, most of us would say we are honest. Webelievethat we are. The trouble is, we can’t be honest with others until we are honest with ourselves. And we can’t be honest with ourselves until weknowwhat is true—until we confront it, accept it, and deal with it however we must.
So, why would we not know?
Many of us grow up indoctrinated with a built-in belief system. The beliefs we hold may lead to harsh judgments—to the point of shunning, oppressing, and hating others. There is often an unwillingness to understand people who are different. And these core ideologies can…
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IS FACEBOOK MORE BAD THAN GOOD?
Let’s put this massive collection of egos in a fishbowl and see what happens.
That’s the gist of it.
We never before had so much access to one another’s thoughts and opinions, which can be unsettling if not altogether frightening. If we ever entertained the notion that telepathy would be a great superpower, we now realize it would be a fate worse than death.
Is Mark Zuckerberg putting profits before people, creating a deep divide among users, and manipulating our emotions? The fear, rage, stress, drama, frustration, etc., we put out there are undoubtedly good for engagement and subsequent profits. But, at least part of the blame for the insanity has to go to some of the users, right? “People” tend to mess up everything.
Relationships that had seemed unconditional are not really. Many want you to validate their core beliefs, never challenging or opposing them.
It’s similar to working in a corporate office where someone or another spreads misinformation about a situation, and it goes “office” viral. The initial gossip spreader and everyone who passes it on has no idea what they’re talking about, nor do they care. I hated working in corporate offices for that reason, yet that’s what we have here on Facebook. Often, too, when Facebook flags someone’s posts for providing false information, the poster doesn’t remove it. People insist on believing what isn’t true because it’s what they prefer to believe. The truth doesn’t matter.
Part of the problem is how addictive Facebook is. I am a person who can get addicted to water, cough drops, you name it. (I know what to stay away from.) Here, we get addicted to the dopamine effect—that little blast of euphoria from getting likes on our posts. Addiction, however, does often distort things, and it often impairs our judgment.
People don’t realize there’s no absolute privacy when you voluntarily publish stuff on the internet. They’re not aware of what rights they surrender when they create a Facebook page. They think they can get around the privacy issue by posting disclaimers. Disclaimers do not override Terms of Service, but, having created networks in the past, I realize most people do not read the Terms of Service. Some don’t even know there are terms.
Then, of course, there are the trolls. People stress themselves out arguing with trolls and then complain that said trolls are threatening their family or that they have three brain tumors and this and that, yet these trolls won’t leave them alone.
Don’t talk to trolls, FFS! Please don’t sit there answering them all day! They will never feel sorry for you. You may as well tell them your house is burning down as you tweet, or you’re tweeting them from the ICU. That would be hilarious to them. The more misery they cause, the happier they’ll be. These are not people you can reason with or convince. If they can’t get a rise out of you, it’s not fun for them, so, yes, don’t feed them. That is all.
Troll lecture aside, we fight mostly over politics here, taking our anger and frustration out on people with opposing views. Personally, I always hope, more than anything, that some post or another will help someone see the light. Don’t we all? Of course, that doesn’t usually work. In the meantime, we’re questioning and attacking one another’s integrity. Sure, you only wear the shoe if it fits, but many are determined to squoosh those shoes onto your feet any which way they can.What’s worse is, we’re not changing people’s ideas. Instead, we have them digging in their heels and becoming more vindictive.
What I know is, I don’t want to participate in this kind of thing any longer. I want my contribution to the world to be love, strength, compassion, empathy, and whatever wisdom I can muster.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal recently said, “The damage to self-interest and self-worth inflicted by Facebook today will haunt a generation.”
Over the years, I’ve dealt with people who were in the throes of agony because they can’t help comparing themselves and their lives to what they see posted on Facebook or Instagram.
There’s a syndrome out there—people having a sense that there isn’t enough to go around, and it extends to everything. You get attention; you take from my supply. You succeed; that means I can’t. Now, you’re getting more dopamine effect than me, damn it!
The adverse reactions may often be about envy, sometimes jealousy, but other factors come into play. People-pleasing is one. Preoccupation with it is born out of trauma and persists with societal pressure.
For example, I had the affliction of body dysmorphic disorder for most of my life. Despite the incredible progress I’ve made, there are lingering components.
I’ve often hesitated to post photos because almost every picture I see of myself is hideous to me. Many people feel the same, I’m sure. We may put up an image of us we’re happy with, and then the next day, we see it again and think, ugh, that’s awful. Why did I even post that?
It’s funny because my son once told me, don’t do that fake smile people do when they’re posing for pictures. Usually, when they do that, they look like serial killers. (We were laughing about this and not entirely serious because even he understands my sensitivity about photos.) So, I had to add, try not to look like a serial killer to my picture-taking goals. 🤣
Every now and then when I found a photo that I thought was good, I got pushback or shaming—someone or another saying it was fake, narcissistic, etc. Over the years, I’d heard it all. So, I’ve gotten confused over the whole picture deal.
And my insecurity seems to be a contest I have with myself because:
- I have zero interest in dating.
- By this point in my life, I know I am enough—more than enough and worthy.
- I don’t get jealous of people. There’s so much joy I feel in appreciating how beautiful others are, and I’m not just talking about hair and lips or a body type. Beauty encompasses everything about a person and radiates from within.
- I live the life I created for myself, so I’m happy to see others enjoy themselves.
For me, it’s the people-pleasing thing. I don’t want to disappoint people. It’s an old obsession that seems to be taking longer to go away than any of my other obsessions. I say that because it’s a good reminder that most everyone has their issues and insecurities and their reasons for feeling uncomfortable.
I once thought I didn’t like people in general, but I realize now that I love people; I just don’t know how to deal with them. That’s my issue. Sometimes, along the roads we take in life, that message gets reinforced and stuck in our heads because of what people we care about say to us with or without realizing, or what we see happen when we reach out.
Being against anyone isn’t my thing. Wanting the best for everyone is very much my thing. At the same time, it’s essential to know the difference between being genuinely kind and caring and pleasing people to ward off someone’s hostility, ridicule, or indifference. When I wake up every day, my goal is to be a better person, and I think if we focus on that, the other stuff won’t matter so much.
But if Facebook is making you feel like you’re not enough, remember that your time is precious. So is your energy and your peace. Don’t let anyone have you questioning your worth! There’s a reason we don’t fit in with certain people, and it usually means there are other people out there who are better suited for us. I know it’s hard, but lots of people love and appreciate you. Don’t forget that.
SAME OLD NEIGHBORHOOD
My new book, “Awake With The Songbirds,” which includes the above poem and many more, will be available by the end of next week. I’m so excited!
Please let me know if you are interested in obtaining an advanced review copy or if you’d like me to notify you about any upcoming giveaways. There will be a few chances to win a copy in the forthcoming months!
WHAT DOES HAPPY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 🥰
We hear a lot these days about your “happy place” and “living your best life.”
Your best life may be nonstop traveling or vacationing in a tropical paradise. Many are content going through the years with their extended, continually growing family, enjoying all the milestones and get-togethers. For some, it’s tending to their garden or going on a cruise, maybe taking photographs of nature. It may simply be achieving your professional goals, especially a long, fulfilling career helping others.
Ten years ago, when both of my parents were ill at the same time, I had panic attacks—even in my chiropractor’s tranquil office while listening to her soothing music. She was a gentle soul with an ethereal beauty about her, and she told me, “Don’t think about it. Just go to your happy place. Visualize it. Focus on it.”
For a lot of people, that happy place is a sun-filled or moonlit beach. Some find immediate comfort thinking about God or Jesus or prayers while surrounded by nature. I pictured a magical place with flowers, trees, birds, and a glistening lake. Taking out a rowboat was a nice thought, too.
Of course, we can have many happy places. I picture people—ones who make me smile and laugh a lot. Then there’s reading books, watching dancers, hearing people sing or play music. I love all of that.
Now, what about that timeworn phrase “happily ever after?” Is it what fairytales have dictated, something we’ve held onto since we were children? There’s a bit of societal pressure, whether it’s your dream or not, but I think most people do genuinely want to find their ideal partner and live a comfortable life with a house, pets, and children.
As I see it, the problem is what others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves. I’ve encountered many people who automatically assume everyone wants what they have. Have you met anyone like that? At best, they feel sad for you. At worse, someone thinks you want to take what they have away from them. Sure, that happens in some instances, but, more often, we’re not reading each other or reading the room, as they say.
I learned, long ago, that I don’t want what most people want, plain and simple and don’t necessarily like what most people like. I never felt the need to run out and get the latest thing because everyone else had it. I got it when and if I needed it. I’ll say, too, another of my happiest places is writing. Any artist might understand that, but a great many others may think that’s just pathetic!
What’s evident to me is, people often envy a life they don’t even want. They may see themselves as failures. It often happens that they didn’t succeed in creating that life because they never really wanted it in the first place. If so, they might have tried harder to get it. They think they should have gotten it, and that maybe something’s wrong with them. Or course, they worry, too, about what others may think.
Well, I agree with those who say, “You do you.” The truth is, it is 100% okay for people to want everyday, traditional things or to want something else entirely. That’s hard for a lot of people, I know. They want to fit in. Me? I only want to fit where I belong—where I’m welcome, accepted, and embraced as who I am.
LETTING GO (WITH ❤️LOVE FOR YOU)
Did you know you could die?
Did you want to die, or simply not care?
All that bravado,
A hellion in rebellion,
But you knew things.
And, everything you said was true.
We smoked in the factory corridor,
Played ball in the streets.
Through summer school and Nok Hockey,
You were everything.
Just like those caramel nut sundaes at Klees
And the old rooster we cried for.
You taught me to be tough
And gave the best advice.
Looking after me
When it wasn’t your job.
You needed your space,
Your own place.
You didn’t need a pesty shadow
I didn’t understand.
We all loved you.
At least, I thought I loved you—
But I couldn’t see you then.
Ghosts can be so many things.
Whatever haunts you.
And, sometimes, what brings you
A silent joy and blessed peace,
You can’t share it with anyone
But the one who shares it with you.
I see you now.
And, so, I released you
When you needed to go.
Like a balloon to the sky.
Or a butterfly,
Or one of those Wish-niks
You and I loved to cling to.
I do love you now,
And I’ll keep sending love to
Wherever you are.
I’ll cherish them forever.
And, I hope you forgive me,
As I do you.
You always did amaze me.
Letting Go from Awake with the Songbirds by Kyrian Lyndon
Photo of sisters in hammock by Janko Ferlič at Unsplash
Photo of rebel woman by Tibi_Varzaru from Pixabay
Photo of caramel nut sundae by chotda on Flicker
Photo of ghost girl by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay
Photo of red balloon in window by Alfons Schüler from Pixabay
Photo of dandelions by InspiredImages from Pixabay
One of The Most Inspiring Videos Ever – KEEP GOING
This is so powerful and on point. I wanted to share it for anyone who needs uplifting and motivation! It’s well worth the ten-minute time investment.
Speakers: Stuart Scott, Steve Jobs, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Les Brown, Andy Frisella, Denzel Washington, Eric Thomas
BEST FOR ALL OF US TO DO THIS TOGETHER
As one of those people who believe kindness is a key to survival and, yes, empathy and love, I see that as more evident now than it ever was.
Once upon a time, I worked in a hospital where nurses, children, and hemophiliacs were testing positive for HIV along with heterosexuals who got it from an infected partner. People were saying that quarantining the infected was the solution. Of course, they believed it affected only drug addicts, gay people, sex workers, etc. Some decided it was God’s wrath.
I think most of us agree that law-abiding people with addictions, afflictions or different sexual preferences and ethnicities do not deserve punishment or anyone’s wrath. It’s just the opposite. They’re entitled to the same rights and to be treated with equal dignity and respect. We embrace them and love them for who they are because they’re as worthy of that as we are.
But when HIV was the biggest concern, I heard people say that quarantining the infected was the solution. They, including our leaders, saw no need to aggressively fight the spread of HIV because they didn’t think their own communities could be affected.
Now, here we are with COVID. Many people who might have thought it was an excellent idea to quarantine people back then are talking about their freedom not to wear a mask or get vaccinated. At a time when the disease seemed to affect minorities they’d deemed undesirable, they didn’t question the government or the existence of a pandemic. They somehow found methods of complying with safer sex.
Meanwhile, I guarantee those people infected with HIV would have loved to get vaccinated if it meant the disease going away or not being transmissible. I’m sure most of them willingly did what doctors asked them to do to prevent the spread of this disease.
Thanks to scientists and the gay community who fought tooth and nail for help, effective drugs came along, making HIV no longer a death sentence. Many of those infected live normal lives with the virus and achieve an undetectable status where they can’t infect others.
So, what is the thing about COVID that people suddenly want to be so defiant? I’m sure they’d be outraged if anyone tried to quarantine them or discriminate against them the way they did people with HIV or AIDS. And COVID is so much easier to transmit than HIV. Why would they not, at least, wear a mask?
With all I’ve seen throughout my life, I firmly believe this is not a thing to fool around with, and ego/pride is not anyone’s friend in this sort of crisis.
Please, please, everyone, be safe!
BOOK REVIEW – THE KEEP by F. PAUL WILSON
“Something is murdering my men.”
Thus reads the message received from a Nazi commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims.
When an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find something that’s both powerful and terrifying. Panicked, the Nazis bring in a local expert on folklore–who just happens to be Jewish–to shed some light on the mysterious happenings. And unbeknownst to anyone, there is another visitor on his way–a man who awoke from a nightmare and immediately set out to meet his destiny.
The battle has begun: On one side, the ultimate evil created by man, and on the other…the unthinkable, unstoppable, unknowing terror that man has inevitably awakened.
The Keep by F. Paul Wilson is a supernatural thriller set at the beginning of WW II. The story is rich in history and has many elements I love—Gothic horror, immortal creatures, Romania, a creepy fortress, revenge on nazis, and a worthy nemesis in Rasalom. The book is brilliantly atmospheric.
Wilson’s descriptions are lovely. It’s a fast-paced tale with a great twist, never dull, and it has characters I loved, which is always a plus. In my opinion, it’s a fun but not a terribly scary read, but, then again, I don’t scare easily.
The best part is, I’ve found a new favorite writer in F. Paul Wison and feel as if I should have known about him long ago!
WONDERFUL! LET’S DO IT! WRITE A MEMOIR!
I enjoy a good memoir as a brief respite from psychological thrillers and horror books and have always gone for the human-interest element. What can I say? People and things fascinate me. The idea of writing a memoir, however, hadn’t occurred to me until recently. It seems somehow relevant now in these days of the pandemic, a time when people are still fighting for their rights and their lives.
I’ve oven heard people say, “Certain things need to be kept private.”
Hey, we’re on Facebook and Twitter. The Internet spies. They know what kind of shoes I like. You get messages like, “Don’t you want to give this another look? Come on; we know you don’t have any willpower. Go on. Get it.”
Everything I research for my writing shows up in ads. My character gets injured, and they show me compression wraps.
So, we are living in an age of transparency and accessibility. As an introvert, I never liked that, but I get over it when I’m writing.
WHY I WANT TO DO IT
Understanding is critical in the world we live in today. Oh, I know, some people think there’s way too much empathy in the world and that we need to go back to being vicious and cruel. Maybe even with a bit of medieval torture thrown in for good measure. As for me, I like the fact that time has taught us more about humanity. It’s part of evolving as a species.
The aim of sharing is not to gain sympathy but maybe help shed some light on how certain things develop and how we overcome those challenges even when the odds are against us.
One thing I’ve heard and can relate to as a poet and a writer is, “Don’t waste your pain.” Life is beautiful and tragic, happy, sad, and everything in between, and, as a poet, I’m here for all of it. The pain is often long gone by the time we relay things in poetry and books, but through the pain we once felt, there’s a collective empathy we feel for people trying to navigate whatever we’ve already sorted out.
Speaking of that, I learn from everyone. If someone doesn’t want to talk about a subject or hear about it, that’s okay. Others may be looking for answers to the questions we once had, wanting to survive and thrive as we managed to do and then become better and stronger.
WHAT I DON’T WANT TO DO
Some of the memoirs I’ve read have shown me what I don’t want to do. Here’s my shortlist.
- A personal grudge memoir – If the book is full of swipes at others for revenge, no thanks! As someone who has been on the receiving end of character assassination attempts, I don’t want to do that to anyone. I think it would hurt my soul more than it would hurt them. Write from your heart.
- Get into other people’s stories – Other people’s stories are theirs to tell, not mine. For the most part, I want to make every effort to respect their privacy. I won’t reveal real names (except for mine, but there are still those who would be easily identifiable, so unless I’ve found it necessary to get their permission for one thing or another, their secrets are safe with me.
- Name dropping – I’ve lived in New York all my life. When you live in New York, you see famous people. You meet famous people. None of them had anything to do with anything relevant in my life.
- List sexual conquests in graphic detail– Just no. Recently, I read a memoir where the author constantly got into what physical characteristics he liked and didn’t like in a woman. What body parts were his favorite, all the intimate details of his sexual prowess. It made me wonder, why am I reading this? What is the focus? Yeah, no.
I’ll ask my alpha and beta readers to check me on all of that.
And, don’t get me wrong, there are people who read memoirs for all of the above, and they love it, so I’m not knocking it. If that’s your thing, go for it, no judgment here.
WHAT I DO WANT TO DO
Memoirs have a focus, yes, and it’s not just to present your life story like you would in an autobiography. Mine is a story about addiction and recovery (from many things). I am one of the fortunate ones who lived to tell how it went for me—going from victim to survivor and beyond to what we call “surthriver.” That fits because we’re learning to do so much more than merely survive. It would focus on an all-consuming fight for sanity, peace, and recovery. I want to make readers feel like they are right there with me for all of it. But, fair warning, being right there with me is bound to get pretty scary.
And let me tell you, when people say they have no regrets, I’m sure I misunderstand what they mean by that or, perhaps, take it too literally. I can’t imagine not having regrets. Most of us do cause pain, even if we don’t want to, and the one thing I regret more than anything is the people I’ve hurt in my oblivion and ignorance.
Recovery, for me, has also been an ongoing journey toward authenticity, removing the veils layer by layer, discarding the masks. I was told, in recovery, we are only as sick as our secrets. Of course, we are allowed to have secrets. But if your hidden truth has you living a double life or creates a barrier between you and the world, and you tend to compartmentalize aspects of your life as part of the deception, it can make you sick. It can limit your healing. It can impede your goal of authenticity.
Oh, I’ve revealed my secrets to certain people and groups of people, but some of the struggles weren’t public ones, so, in this case, I will tell the whole story of my recovery. Unfiltered, I hope to include the humor and joy among the tragic madness.
My favorite memoirs have been well-written and inspiring with a powerful message. They are my inspiration. It makes me happy, too, when an author is aware of their patterns and vulnerabilities and seeks answers. That’s how we evolve as humans. The constant transition brings wisdom and strength. Raw honesty combined with accountability helps everyone, especially those of us who have gotten caught in a cycle of self-loathing and self-sabotage at some point in life. There is a need for truth and spiritual courage, as well as a need to remain teachable.
And what is the truth? For me, the truth is what makes sense to you after all your exploration and quest for authenticity. I say it all the time, no group, no matter who, what, or where is perfect. Some have seen the light, and others have yet to see it. Let’s hope they keep looking.
Joy Can’t Wait
Love this post from my friend, Amy. She has so much wisdom to share, and she’s not only brilliant, she’s funny, too.
Last month, I mentioned that I walked my hood daily during COVID as a healthy alternative to going completely bonkers (for which there is no vaccine), and that I continue to do so even though my local gym has re-opened. Yes, the gym has a range of equipment that exercises all of me, large flatscreen TVs with a zillion channels, regulated comfy year-round temps, and fluffy towels, but after nine years, it’s… boring. Not so the varied streets of my town, where every day brings something new and interesting to my view:
A jumble of tiny painted clay gnomes set beneath a maple tree.
An interweave of hedge branches so intricately constructed, so heartstoppingly beautiful, I paused in mid-stride, certain British nature sculptor Laura Bacon had snuck in and arranged it all moments before.
An eye-popping purple gate leading to a hidden garden.
The May morning everyone’s tulips bloomed, cued…
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A LOVING LETTER TO A FRIEND
What are we going to do about the fact that I’m dying?”
She asked him.
“There’s a lot we haven’t resolved.
There’s so much we can’t say to each other,
I don’t think I’ve done enough for you,
Or that I ever deserved you.
“I keep trying to let things go,
Let it be,
And I think it works, most of the time.
Wisdom is crystallized pain,
And my greatest pain has been your sadness.
I worry so much about you.
When you entered my world.
You led me to the right path,
Revealed my inner shadows.
You made me a better human.
And, I love you.
And, I just want you to be okay.
More than anything, I want you to be happy.
But, you’re not, and I can’t leave you like that.
You deserve to find your joy.
“Walking away from hard-hearted people is easy
Despite your impenetrable shell,
Are the kindest person I have ever known.
I could never walk away.
I’d miss you more than
I’ve ever missed anything in my life.
“Oh, and what are we going to do about the fact that you’re dying?”
She asked him next.
“I think you’re afraid.
A lost soul who can’t find the path that leads home.
I see innocence,
Your eyes don’t light up.
I see the beauty you don’t see,
Or in the world around you.
“Believe me; I get it.
The world makes you angry,
Robs you of the will to fight.
What you say concerns me, though.
I want to talk to you about it,
But when I do, you shut me down.
You can’t forgive those people,
And you’re right about them:
They don’t deserve any more of your energy.
It baffles me that they were so unkind,
To someone so precious.
And, because of them,
You haven’t been kind to yourself.
You don’t love who you are,
But I love you.
“Thank you for continuing to live when
You wanted to die.
Maybe I had no right to insist
Life’s worth fighting for.
It’s your existence,
I can’t suffer it for you.
And, I’d never say you were selfish,
No matter what you chose.
Unbearable is just that.
But, in every blessed way, you transformed me.
You showed me unconditional love.
“Of course, I know, too, how hard you fought to survive.
I’m honored that you chose to stay with me.
And, though you’d never admit it,
You’ve come such a long way.
It still hurts, I know,
But you’re never alone,
And never will be.
“Promise me this, though.
Begin, once again, to cherish
The whisper of the wind,
The beauty of a clear day,
And the divinity in all of nature.
Hold hands with someone,
Sigh at the faraway places,
Laugh at yourself,
Find humor wherever you can,
And let somebody hug you.
Embrace your vulnerability,
Savor your progress,
Celebrate your triumphs, and
Learn from your mistakes,
“Promise me, too,
You’ll take a chance on love
Again and again.
Reach out, my dear one.
Find it in your heart to forgive.
You’ll be back.
I’ll be back.
We’ll cross paths again.
We are all dying, my friend, so, please
Begin to live.”
“My Friend” from Awake with the Songbirds by Kyrian Lyndon
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THAT DEVOTED GIRL SHATTERED BY YOUR TRUTH IS FREE
I had a dream about you last night and woke up crying. I couldn’t sleep after that.
In the dream, you were angry with me—full of anger, full of hate. You had shut the door on me and left me out in the cold. I kept calling to you with a child’s unbearable anguish. You didn’t hear.
At some point, I cried, “Help me, daddy,” and finally, you came. I thought you were going to hit me or hurt me with your scarred and violent soul, but you didn’t. You hugged me. Well, you didn’t just hug me. You gave me the kind of hug I’d wanted from you since childhood, the comfort I always needed, and I didn’t want to let go.
I miss your smile and your jokes, Dad, your handsome face, and all of your wisdom, but I have to ask. Does a father realize he is the first man a girl gives her heart to completely? The first man she trusts blindly and devotedly? Did you realize?
I used to think I was hard to love.
Whatever people said—men especially—I wanted to believe them. Deep down, I didn’t. Not a word. And every time a man took something from me that I didn’t want him to have, every time a man tried to silence me, belittle me, or make me doubt myself, I punished him, pummeling him with words and crushing him with goodbye. I could be angry with them but not you.
What if things had been different between us, though? Would I had been less vulnerable or had the confidence to be my authentic self, knowing I was worthy and lovable? Would I have chosen more wisely? Would I have stopped running and hiding, oblivious to my weaknesses and my desperate needs? Would I have respected myself more? Might I have found someone I could love, for real? Someone who could have loved me back? Because I didn’t let them … I made sure they couldn’t.
Well, no matter, that’s all changed now. I picked up the shattered pieces of my heart and began to love myself.
It’s hard not to feel that twinge of emotion when I hear father tributes of the heroes who boosted confidence and taught children to believe in themselves. I honestly wish everyone could beam with that pride, feeling safe, content, and protected in that eternal bond.
It’s easy to defeat someone when you have all the power, when you are on a pedestal from the start, and you make all the rules. You can create vulnerability and punish the very same, though you don’t mean it. You can erase one’s humanity because of your denial, your self-loathing, and your shame, though you’re not aware. You can damage a person almost beyond repair. And, after the wrecking ball, cleanup of that wreckage rests solely on those tiny shoulders. Yeah, those shoulders get bigger, but somehow it all gets harder and more complicated.
I cleaned up that mess, though. The void lasts forever, and many people can attest to that, but I got those things I needed. It just takes ongoing effort to hold on to them.
And by the time I had a child of my own, I knew all too well what a child needs. I was able to give him that, but I couldn’t give him YOU. Oh, he’s brilliant and kind and funny, and so very loyal. Like you, he’s hard and strong but with such a tender heart. He needed you, and he still needs you, though he’d never admit it now. He’d been shattered right along with me, but we rose to the challenge, and he loves with his whole heart like I do. I’m proud of him, and I’d like to think you’d be proud of him, too, but it doesn’t matter now.
Look, maybe you didn’t give me what I needed, but you gave what you had. I saw a brave and modest man, generous with assistance and advice—a hero to many, and I know why they love you. I know why I loved you. Sure, it’s easy to love someone when you think they are perfect; when you hold them up on a pedestal and pretend they are everything you need and always wanted. You fell off that pedestal when I was twelve, Dad, but I loved you so much, flaws and all, and I still do. That’s unconditional love, and though you couldn’t give that to me, you still get it. Because guess what? You deserved that, too, from the people who didn’t give it to you.
Yeah, I knew why you were the way you were, though you accepted no excuses from me when I fell short. You could never understand me, but I understood you. Though you couldn’t hear me, yours was the loudest voice I’d heard in my entire life—a voice that continued to bellow in my ear for a lifetime. It kept me from standing up. It kept me from fighting, and it kept me from winning until I did all those things because I couldn’t lose any more. I climbed in spite of you, because of you and for you, because you couldn’t do it yourself, and I understand that.
When you were angry, devastated, and tortured, I tried to tell you it would be okay, that I was sorry for you, and that I loved you, but it seemed too much for you to bear at the time. Then, in the end, I forgave you, and you forgave me. It took a lifetime, but we got there.
Sigh. There are many things we never got to do, Dad, and it’s too late now. You’re gone. But I do have some fond memories of you that I will cherish always.
And here’s what I wish.
I wish I could go back in time with you—to those boyhood days when you were punished severely for no good reason—when you were invalidated, shamed, ridiculed, and ignored, just to tell you how awesome you were, and all you could be and do with your life. I’d say I believe in you, and that you have everything you need to succeed. I would say over and over that I love you to the moon and back, so you would know how worthy you are of that love. And maybe you would have grown up to be what you wanted, and have felt no shame. Then when it was your turn, you could have done the same. You would have known I was not an extension of you and didn’t have to represent you or your ideals. Perhaps you would not have expected such a conformist “go with the flow” type of kid who didn’t make waves but sang to a song you couldn’t possibly hear. You would not have lost empathy. You wouldn’t have cared how others saw me or what they would think. You’d have simply treasured me for the person I am. Imagine that!
The aching in my heart is that I want that for everyone. I wish all men and women who didn’t get what they needed as children would give that and get it back in abundance however they can. And I’m infinitely grateful to every hardworking mom and dad who gets up every day ready and willing to get it all right, including you.
Rest easy, Dad, and know you will always be in my heart.
10 Ways Strong Women Move Past Their ‘Daddy Issues’
Why Dads Matter — Especially to Girls
© Copyright May 31, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com
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