Tied

Do I live for the fire
Strive for the rain?
Do I crave hanging by a thread
Losing myself?
My heart tied to your disaster
Souls without escape
All this pain, all this joy
Interlaced
Can I live outside this space
You have my heart
But maybe I need you to let it go
I thought you were my wings
But now I no longer fly
Because I’m tied
To this thing called “You & I”

 

I Wish You Could See

I wish you could see

All that I see in you

I want to find a way to

Connect the dots

So that you can find the path

To loving yourself

You sit under such a heavy weight

You bear so great a burden

Let love soothe your soul

Though your mind

Is chaos and turmoil

My love is steady and true

I can’t erase the damage

I can’t undo the pain

But I can sit here with you

And love you all the way through

l. perez

 

The Grief, The Growth

For the past few months I have been contemplating a lot of the transitions and changes I experienced throughout the past year. This is the first time I’ve been able to write about it and it only touches the surface of all that I lived and learned.

I experienced a significant amount of loss on an emotional and personal level in 2016. The emotion surrounding that has often bubbled to the surface. At times I have found myself in tears as I continue to process the grief and move into the growth sometimes the tears still come. I want to fight the feelings, to ignore them, to have them not exist but one of the things I learned best this past year is to allow myself to feel – feel it all, good, bad and ugly. Don’t pretend it’s not there. The only way to deal with it is to actually deal with it.

I thought I had given up on fairy tale endings long ago. I thought that I had come to terms with the fact that life and love are far more complex than the stories that we read and the dreams that we dream. Last Summer though, for what feels like a moment now, I thought that fairy tales might be true after all. I was giddy with it. I was head over heels, all in, and I let go of all my inhibitions. I am not usually one to let go and just give in but this time I did. I don’t let go easily but when I do I am someone who loves with all their being, I don’t hold back love, I’ve never been able to.

My heart had been broken very recently so it seemed a little crazy to open up to someone new. Maybe it was crazy but I was willing to take the chance because I wanted to believe in something more and to this day I do not regret taking that chance. I wanted crazy, head over heels, love more than anything in the world. Even now, months later, my throat closes up with the sadness and it feels like a million little splinters to my heart. The healing is beginning though – I am finally able to find the energy and the words to write again. I haven’t been able to write a single post since last year. My heart was far too heavy with the weight of all the sadness I experienced in such a short time span. My mind was filled with the confusion and conflict I was feeling and it drowned out my creativity for a long time.

There were so many magical moments, so many seeming coincidences that led my heart to believe and to hope again in this new relationship. My heart was still a bit fragile from the pain of my past relationship but I was committed to living from a place of courage and vulnerability. “He’s charming until he’s not,” one of his friends jokingly said and I laughed not quite realizing how true this statement was. I wanted to believe, I wanted to love, so I did. The connection was intense and sudden; at times it was overwhelmingly beautiful yet other times it was painful and confusing.  I began to question myself, to feel as if there was something about me that was either too much or not enough. I reminded myself that love is never easy and continued to try to understand, to love, and to be myself even when it was painful. 

At the time, I needed a place to rest, a place where I felt at ease and cared for. There were moments of love and care; little notes, flowers, poems, dinner, coffee dates, and day trips … Those are the moments I cherish still, the moments that make me feel as if it was worth it even though it didn’t end the way I had hoped at the time.

But months later I still wrestle with the unanswered questions, I wonder why it all ended almost as quickly as it began and with such finality. Why my truth was never accepted as truth. I wonder why I was critiqued and criticized, questioned and doubted, isolated and shut out. I wonder why I felt that every move I made was under a microscope and why towards the end I began to feel scared – scared that I would end up again in a relationship that would try to tone me down, change me, control me, and require me to paint on a smile when I was dying on the inside. I let go in the end, just in a different way, I let go of the fairy tale because it wasn’t true.

I stood my ground for myself even though it felt like my last dream was dying and the tiny flicker of hope the relationship had provided was being extinguished. I stood my ground because I had fought too hard to become myself, to be free, to remove myself from toxic relationships, and to be fully alive. I stood my ground because my daughter deserves to have a mother who knows who she is and walks in it with confidence despite what others might say or do. I stood my ground because I am enough as I am. I stood my ground because growth is the most important piece of all that I am becoming and I refuse to go back. I stood my ground because I will not dumb myself down, quiet my voice, or change who I am to make someone else comfortable. I stood my ground because although the fairy tale has died, I believe in love, a love that is tough as nails and all encompassing. A love that embraces me as I am while it allows me to become all that I am meant to be – a love that holds me secure and gives me wings.

 

 

 

Hand in Hand 

I loved you

Despite your broken wings

Because I knew

What it was like to be a broken thing

All the ways you didn’t make sense

We’re OK by me

Because I didn’t make sense either

So for once I felt free

We tried so hard

In ways no one quite understood

We were labeled lazy, we were labeled crazy

Together we stood

But I don’t understand you

And you don’t understand me

And this connection we’ve made

Feels like a stormy sea

Tell me now dear, do we have what it takes

To move beyond the need to understand

And find the deeper meaning of simply

Walking hand in hand

l.perez

Reframe It

I appreciate structure, I feel at my best when I have a plan and know what is going on. But that’s not life. I am reminded on a an almost daily basis that despite best effort, there are no guaranteed outcomes.

Life has a way of stretching me past my comfort zones pretty consistently. Sometimes I handle this well and just “roll with the punches,” still other times, sudden and unexpected change throws me into an emotional tail spin.

I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking. I read an article recently on the concept of Reframing. Reframing is a way of looking at events, ideas, concepts and emotions that could be viewed negatively and instead changing the perspective to a positive one. Finding the good. “Positive thoughts give rise to happy, contented emotions and negative thoughts result in sad and depressive emotion. These emotions than affect biological changes in the body. Basically, the quality of our thinking affects the emotions we experience  and the state of our physical health”

When circumstances do not go the way that we hoped, intended, or wanted them to, it is easy to slip into a negative headspace. But what is the benefit of that? Sometimes we get so caught up in what “should” have happened that we miss the real meaning of what actually did happen in all of the chaos, beauty and pain. All of our experiences in life hold value, even those that make our heart hurt when we think of them. “Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we can always ‘reframe’ our situation. So – no matter how bad everything appears to be, we always have the choice to make ourselves feel better by changing the way we view our problems or situations.” There are no guarantees in life. For someone, such as myself, who likes structure and order this often creates a sense of anxiety and stress. However, I believe that there is a strong coorelation between the ability to reframe your thinking and a heart of gratitude and forgiveness. When I find reasons to be grateful for the good in any situation, I am then able to deal with the negative aspects of the situation in a healthier way.

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
― Oprah Winfrey

We have to make a concious decision to choose happiness and find the good. We have to actively choose to reframe our world view. We have to make the choice. Our quality of life depends upon it.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
― Seneca

 

Love Shows Up

Tonight as I scrolled through Facebook, I came across the hashtag, “Love Shows Up.”

I began to think about these words … and of all the ways that showing up is worth it despite how much it may hurt and of the many people in my life in the past couple of years who have showed up when I needed them the most.

As I have gone through my divorce, the intensity of school/work/motherhood, and most recently the move I am making from my home as we prepare to put it on the market, never once have I been left hanging. Even in the moments that felt the darkest, love showed up.

There have been moments too where I have had to make the choice to show up, although the cost often felt greater than the reward. Heart breaking, gut wrenching, moments where I had to actively make the choice to not give in and give up but rather, to fight for what I believed in, to fight for love, to fight for my happiness.

Love doesn’t wait for the right answers, love actually doesn’t really wait for an answer at all, it simply shows up and says, “I am here, not matter what, no matter how rough this gets, you can kick and scream all you want but I am not leaving.” #loveshowsup

And sometimes showing up and loving looks a lot like weakness from the outside. In a world where we are taught to put ourselves first and fight for our rights, putting others first, extending grace, and loving anyway doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But at the end of the day, I can promise you this, you will never, ever, ever regret showing up – You will never regret love, no matter the cost.

Love will always come full circle. As we extend ourselves in love, we will find that love is extended to us as well. It may not come in the way we are looking for it or the way we had hoped it would, but if we open ourselves up, allow ourselves to be broken, love will find a way to bring healing and hope to us again.

There’s a certain sober, honest way that you see the world, you know what it can do to you …You’ve seen the kind of pain that life can bring. And it is easy to let it crush you, it is easy to let it take away every reason to get up in the morning. But the real art of life is to see all that, to feel it. Not to stuff it, not to avoid it, or to numb yourself … You let yourself feel it all and then you make room for it so that you now contain the summation of all your experiences. You make room within yourself for the immensities of the Universe. And when you do that … you will transcend that experience and include it. You will not leave it behind, it will be a part of you, an integrated part of you. You will not be longing to go back to how things were because you have gone through it to the other side. – Rob Bell

There is a love that never fails,
There is a healing that always prevails … #loveshowsup

xo

Leah

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Many thanks to A Diary of a Mom, who I very recently starting following on Facebook. I have been continually inspired over the past couple of weeks by the raw, real, and beautiful words that Jess posts. Thank you for your inspiration this evening.

Reckless Heart

I will not stop giving my heart away

Recklessly

I will not stop loving with everything

I have

I will embrace this gut wrenching pain

I will take it and run with it

I will breath it in as fuel

To power my journey

It is the force that pushes me forward

Outside of myself

Into places I never thought I could go

It’s terrifying

The plunge that my heart continues to take

But it gives me life at its fullest

It spills over and washes my world

In full color

It allows me to see life

In all its bittersweet glory

And I’ll come to last leg of this journey

Knowing that I never gave just a little

There was no half way

And the reward will be in knowing

That there is no regret in love

Only brokenness made beautiful in the end

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect …

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I was thinking today about how often in life we seek some unattainable level of perfection. We believe that things should follow a certain pattern, we try desperately to fit in so that we can be “normal,” and spend so much wasted time on planning every little detail before we act. Not that I am saying you shouldn’t plan, of course you should! However, at some point you have to, A. Realize that every plan will in some way, go differently than anticipated and B. Get up and actually do what you’ve been talking about doing! We can wait around our whole lives seeking for the “right way” or we can move forward on this journey and trust that we will figure it all out as we go along – the important thing is to keep moving forward.

I lived for many years trying to maintain a perfect image, I was the “good girl,” and I lived to please people. Somewhere along the way though, I began to realize I really had no idea who I was or even what I wanted to be. I was so focused on this image of perfection I was missing out on the beauty that comes along with all life’s quirks and imperfections. I am learning to not only accept myself, but to embrace myself for who I am despite what other people may think or say. What has been most surprising is that the negative reactions I thought were inevitable were mostly my own mental hang ups and insecurities. I spent all of last year focusing on the word, “Authenticity,” which led to a deeper understanding of what it means to be open and vulnerable. And I started to really be brave, to take risks, to dive in to life … So much of the anxiety I had been holding onto for my entire life fell away and now, I feel that I am finally experiencing True Joy. Joy that is not based on how perfectly everything in my life may be going, rather joy based on recognizing beauty in the midst of chaos and choosing to laugh every day, even on the worst days.

I recently went through a bit of a rough patch so to speak and there were certainly moments of deep, heart breaking sadness but you know what? I laughed every single day, I made space in my life for joy, for dancing, for silliness, and I never drowned in the sorrow because my heart was too full of happiness. The happiness did not erase the pain, but it carried me through and ultimately set me free to move forward.

There’s no such thing as perfect, it just doesn’t exist – The more energy you invest in trying to attain it, the less energy you have to focus on Joy, Love, & Laughter. When you let go and focus on Joy, life has a way of surprising you …

Sometimes in life, the things that happen along the way can be difficult and often, they can be extremely painful. We must push through those moments where all seems lost. When we do, we can find a new us on the other side that is more beautiful and wise than we ever imagined. By working through these difficult changes in life, we grow into something new, better, stronger.  – Ernest Dempsey

Wishing you Joy!!

xo

Leah 

Authenticity – That One Powerful Word

When I chose the word “Authenticity” as my word for the year, I had no set plan. I went forward blindly and without thought. At some points, I even forgot that it was my goal for the year. However, life did not forget. In fact, life seemed to think it was a pretty funny joke to play on me. You get what you ask for let me tell you! Just last night, in conversation about my chosen word, I said, “Why didn’t I pick a word like “Peaceful?” Yes, indeed. Why didn’t I? However, I am sure that no matter which word I had chosen, I would have been challenged in some way because that is how growth occurs and that was after all, my ultimate goal.

What I had never considered before I started this journey is that Authenticity and Vulnerability walk hand in hand. You can not have one without the other. This is both a deeply rewarding and deeply painful journey at the same time. I am always convinced though that the benefits of growth far out way the discomfort and pain that precede. As a fellow blogger wrote:

A big part of my journey has been to become better at expressing myself. At sharing my thoughts, feelings, and honestly bearing my whole heart and soul sometimes. Vulnerability has been a biggy for me too … This is me. This is how I feel. This is how I feel about you. I love you. You’re beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re awesome. I’m not afraid to hug. To cry. I want to feel life and all its emotions. Good or bad, how else can I grow? What lesson is this teaching me? I face plant regularly, but each experience makes me a better person. – Brittany Paulin

Yes, exactly, how else can we grow? And if we are not growing, than we are not fully living.

I grew up trying to be anyone but myself. I wanted to make everyone happy even if it was at my own expense. I thought that being “good” meant keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself so as not to rock the boat. My need for affirmation and acceptance was greater than my need to be true to myself. I was willing to live without freedom because it seemed so much easier to pretend that I was fine, everything was fine, and everyone liked me. I would like to say that I no longer care what people think; but, I do. When you choose to be yourself and stand up for what you believe to be true, not everyone is going to applaud you for this choice. In fact, you may lose people in your life that you thought would always be there because they don’t like the “new” you.

Let’s examine the options though … You can continue to be a people pleaser and never live fully alive, never grow any deeper, and never change or you can step off the ledge and learn to fly. The learning curve is deeply painful and at times feels like it costs more than it’s worth; but, trust me, you will actually begin to like yourself, be yourself, and eventually love and trust yourself.

You are enough. The Authentic you is Beautiful and expressing your self wholeheartedly and unashamedly is the Bravest choice you could ever make.

And so …

I wish you joy in the pain and and hope in the darkness of your journey. BE BRAVE!

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