straight from the heart

Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Life’s Pain, Vulnerability & Re-Discovery

In Love, Relationships, Self-Improvement, Spirituality on January 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Life has a way of humbling you. When you think you have it figured out, it reminds you that you don’t know shit. We think we can control things, steer the outcome to how we want or need. However, what I keep learning, as shared by a good friend of mine, is that all we do is control the process, but not the outcome. We can try a plan for things, try to make things work, save, love, work hard, but ultimately we have no control over what happens. Too many variables can interfere with the ending. Real talk, I have gone through some rough emotional moments recently, culminating in a dark sad moment where I felt lost, alone & broken. Where I felt sorry for myself & asked why me? I thought I had done all I could, was a good man & deserved better. It has put me in a bad emotional place where I want to disappear, be alone & not hear about anything or anyone. When you invest yourself totally in something, someone or in everything you do, but it never seems enough, it gets rough. When you are shunned, ignored, disrespected or taken for granted, even though you know you have extended & exhausted every fiber of your being, only to result in failure, what do you do? How are you to feel? Recently, I have been unable to focus, to overcome this feeling of emptiness. It resulted in real tears. Yeah, those who know me may be surprised, but I cry too. Maybe it was the realization that in this world of billions, I felt alone. I have been trying to dig into my spirituality, to find some meaning, but have yet to come across the answer. I went to church in my search, but instead of contentment, it bought me an overwhelming sense of loneliness, of questions & of confusion. I lost it as an overwhelming feeling of sadness enveloped me. A recent loss suffered just overtook me & I broke down. I became embarrassed; how could I feel this way? Why do I? Life gets painful when you feel pulled in multiple directions, always there for everyone when they need you, but find what you need is never fulfilled. It’s painful when you realize you can’t find happiness where you want it most. I felt like I had nothing left inside, nothing more to give anyone. Like a piece of me was gone, taken & never to be regained. I became reflective, thinking of my experiences & failures, my triumphs & goals. I wondered what the good Lord’s plan was for me & why were my plans not good enough? I tried to suppress the oncoming feelings, but couldn’t. I hated the fact I had gotten to this point, had allowed myself to become vulnerable. I had always prided myself in the belief I could handle anything, but now I had reached a level of brokenness I could not contain any longer. I fashion myself a private person, strong minded & tough. But here I am sharing a piece of me with you, with the hopes of reducing some of the burden. It’s a hard thing when reality hits and you realize how regardless of your efforts, other factors influence outcomes. How what you think is right is wrong, and what you thought was wrong was right. How you can love completely, but still be left empty. How you can work tirelessly, yet be stunted. Somehow, someway we have to overcome this & solider on – never allowing these unexpected feelings to become permanent. I had reached my limit I suppose & just realized I had to keep being me. Stay true to self & maintain my dignity no matter the situation. I have to start thinking of me, living for me & doing me a little more often, while still being who I am, keeping my essence. By this I mean, not sacrificing my personhood to please everyone, thus leaving myself depleted. It might be a long road, but I have no choice. I have always been this way & it has lead me to this point. I have to move forward, learn & grow; accept, persevere & be strong. I am not sure if you all have experienced a moment like I described, but I can tell you it is a deep cleansing of the soul. A cleansing I hope leads to happiness, freedom & inner peace.

I broke down a while ago, picking up the pieces; memoirs of how the undefeated can feel depleted.

– Joe Budden

Heartfelt, Struggles & A Daughter’s Love

In Family, Love, Parenting, Relationships on January 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I have been going through some deep emotional strife recently, things that have caused me to call into question many things. It has caused me to question my spirituality & my life’s meaning. Sometimes, I can’t understand why things go the way they do or how people can allow them to spiral to a point of no return. Although my heart is heavy folks, I have tried to keep my mind clear. It’s just that my heart has a strong current, a strong pulse & has been messing with my mind. It happens to the best of us. In one of my most vulnerable moments, I remembered a passage my oldest daughter wrote to me last Father’s Day. It brought me solace, a reprieve from my sad & troubled soul. I share it with you all now hoping it can show you how one’s child can bring you comfort when it is most needed.

Three days ago, you shared with the world a blog honoring your father. A blog that showed how close you were with him, the struggles of a true man, the appreciation you had for him and still do til this day, but never getting the chance to show him how much you really admired him. It’s funny how God works because all those things you felt about your father, I feel ten times more about you. I believe I know one of the biggest reasons I was put on this earth, and it’s to be there for you. You’re the most amazing, hardworking man I have ever met. Through your “daddy jewels”, discussions, inspirations and lessons, you have showed me what a true man looks like. I’m here to protect you, love you and always remind you that you did turn out fine- a man, just like your father. You know what they say, “they wait till your dead to give you your roses.” While sad, it’s true; so I promise myself everyday that I’m breathing on this earth, to show you how much I appreciate you pops, that I love you more than life itself, and that I understand. Words will never truly express what you mean to me, but if this rose can help make your Father’s Day a happy one, this brings more than you know, but not as many as you truly deserve.

Thank you princess, you mean the world to me. I love you…

Do your job so well that when you’re not there it speaks for you.

– Consuelo Kickbusch

Celebrity, Athlete’s & A World’s Perception

In Society, Spirituality on January 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

My daughter works for a high end clothier in the Center City section of Philadelphia, PA, often calling or texting me about some celebrity or athlete who happened to patronize the establishment. Recently she told a story of how the actor Harrison Ford had come in to shop & was attended to by an older female sales associate. He was alone & casually dressed. Apparently, the sales associate had no idea who he was & dealt with him as she had with countless other shoppers. When he left, my daughter walked over & asked her if she recognized whom she had just tendered too; to which she replied in the negative. Upon learning of who it was, this associate acted as if she won the lottery & became quite excited, panting while she quickly made it to the exit with the hope of catching him before he disappeared into the city’s fabric. While trying to catch up with him, she was heard shrieking, “I love Harrison Ford, OMG – it’s Harrison Ford”. I couldn’t help but laugh at this as when the associate had no idea who he was, even while looking directly at him, she found him unremarkable & had no interest other than making a sale. However, once she learned of his celebrity, she professed her love & affection for him, running after him like a teenage girl at one of the boy band concerts. What is it about celebrities or athletes that bring people to incomprehensible behaviors or reactions. They could see these people in any setting & think nothing of them, but once it is learned who they are, they are treated better & fawned over by most. It seems they become prettier, sexier or more handsome once their celebrity is recognized. It’s sad & funny to me at the same time. Now, I am no hater – more power to those who can attract all this attention by the sheer perception of who they are, but why exactly to they elicit this type of reaction? Is it because people fall in love with a character they portray, the income they make or the perceived fantasy life they live? Does it ever dawn on most people that these celebrities or athletes are regular Joe’s with ordinary lives away from the spotlight with many of the same problems or life circumstances we all deal with. Just read the news or watch the shows depicting how these individuals sometimes live toured lives, have numerous failed relationships, commit crimes or end up bankrupt. With some, when their stars dim & they are no longer in the limelight, depression, angst & recklessness can often overtake them. They sometimes become incorrigible, thrill seekers looking for their past glories, causing all types of issues, heartaches & woes. I say all this only to point out how even though we should appreciate their skill at entertaining us, we should not expect them to be any different than other people. They should not be held to different standards or treated better because of it.

You can fool some of the people some of the time – and that’s enough to make a decent living.

– WC Fields

A Life, A Death & Good People

In Friendships on January 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Yesterday I said goodbye to a dear friend of mine, who after a long battle with chest cancer, succumbed to this horrible disease. He was a type of dude loved by all because he accepted everyone just the same. Never judged, always open armed & with the biggest of hearts. The type of person who made a positive footprint in your life, in his own subtle ways. He celebrated often, loved freely & enjoyed his life always. Even during his recent battle, his spirits always seemed good. When I would call, he would greet me as he always had – Roger Baaabyyy…. We met about 10 years ago while on vacation in Mexico, both New Yorkers, from different boroughs, different nationalities, but with a passion for food, friends & travel. We hit it off rather quickly, becoming quick friends & celebrating holidays together. We shared friendships & families. I used to say I didn’t need new friends because I had my old friends from short pants days that I still hadn’t figured out, but I was wrong, because I was glad to have befriended him. We shared many laughs together. I always looked forward to his July 4th BBQ’s – still the only person that could get me to eat a hot dog. I don’t know what it was, but those hot dogs sure were good. He brought people together, always ready with a plate or glass, not caring where you were from. It’s unfortunate that good people like this die at such a young age. He didn’t always take care of himself, struggling with his weight & smoking his cigs. But he lived a full life all the same. Life is short folks, we are promised nothing. Enjoy what you can, love what you do & live how u want. Take care of yourselves so you do not contribute to an unnecessary early demise. Enjoy those around you & learn something everyday. Stop sometimes & take in your surroundings. Watch a rainfall, a flower bloom or a kid smile; find the beauty in all things. Appreciate those who show you love as you never know when the good Lord will come calling. Rest in peace my dear friend, you are already missed & will never be forgotten.

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting ‘…man, what a ride!’

– George Carlin

Time, Resolutions & New Beginnings

In Education, Friendships, Parenting, Relationships, Self-Improvement on January 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm

2012 was an interesting year with many ups & downs. It started with such promise, saw it’s share of turbulence & potential then ended with a thud. Once the new year rolls around we get reflective, thinking about what we can do the following year to improve upon our lives while making positive footprints in the lives of others. The problem with resolutions, noble & full of promise as they may be, is they are often short lived. One starts with such enthusiasm to accomplish it all, but inevitably it fizzles, causing us to fall back into our old baits & routines. It is hard for most people to sustain the energy to change everything they feel the need to change; it is why I suggest people take small gradual steps, toward reasonable attainable goals, to fulfill their souls. Focus on the most important goal or needed change in your life & gradually work your way to achieve it. Truthfully, we should not feel the need to wait for the new year to hold ourselves accountable. I guess the new year allows us to hit the reset button, to forget any transgressions and to build on the positive steps taken. Time can be our ally, allowing wounds to heal & resolutions to be reached. Everyday is a new beginning; an opportunity to grow, strive & accomplish. If the new year is when you decide enough is enough on anything, then be definitive. Stay the course, know what you want or need, then take the necessary steps to achieve. Everything that happened the preceding year had a purpose; learn from it. Embrace what was learned or gained, not what failed or was lost. What one considers failure others may see growth. I will share a few of my resolutions with you all to hold myself even more accountable. I hope to become more spiritual & patient. More understanding & compassionate. To read more & develop a long term life plan. But most important, the same resolution I hope for year after year, is to find freedom & inner peace. Being true to myself going forward is a great start.

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

– Henri Bergson