writing

When I was a Tree…

 

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” Jim Rohn

Recently I picked up a camera, and found that I really like photography. It’s finding art in the world around me. The colors, shapes, lines…I love it. Going through photos today, I saw this picture. Silent sentinels, rooted to the spot, always the same as the world changes around them. And this quote popped into my mind.

I’ve recently made a lot of moves in my life. Moves that have been amazing for me. But moves that haven’t come without their own storms, and losses.

These losses have been a lot, including a good friend that I’ve now become estranged with, and have been plaguing my thoughts recently at night. But when this quote came into my mind I realized something. I’ve been a tree for most of my life. Yet I got tired of that life. I got bored. And I changed it. I became something else. Something better. And sometimes that change means leaving behind things that were a part of your past. It made me think that maybe there should be a second part to that quote. Something along the lines of “Don’t remain a tree just because that’s what all your friends are. You don’t have to remain a tree just because that’s what you’ve always been.”

Tomorrow I’m going to get up and go running. I don’t particularly like running, but I needed to do something to start working out. So three days a week the last two weeks I’ve been going for a run when I get up. I run slower than a turtle through molasses, but I run. The first few days were rough. But now I find myself looking forward to the run. To those moments of peace. Of running past the pond, seeing the cormorants. Those surprising mornings when the pelicans show up. Watching the magpies hopping around. Feeling the energy of the mountains in the distance. The warm sun on my skin.

Right now I’m sitting here editing photos. A new plot twist for a book spinning through my head. Sitting on the deck with my boyfriend, looking out at the hazy mountains in the distance. Thinking about my story that made the finals of a contest because I finally had the guts to enter one.

The point is that my life has changed. And it changed because I moved. Not just physically, although that’s been a big part of it to. But also mentally. I moved from a place where I thought I was worthless. Where I thought my life was nothing. I moved from a place of guilt and shame and to a place where I started believing in myself. Standing up for myself. Fighting for myself.

I stopped beating myself up over things that had happened in the past. I stopped blaming things, other people, myself and just moved on. I set down all the heavy emotional baggage that I’d been carrying for so long. I took control of my life.

There’s a lot of things I can’t control in my life. I used to waste so much energy on them. What people thought of me. How other people acted. Other people’s expectations of me. Living by other people’s rules. Worrying about other people’s opinions. Letting people do things to me and not making a fuss because I didn’t want to be a ‘bitch’. I used to worry and obsess (thank you anxiety) to the point I would become paralyzed. I shut down, including my life. In my private mind, I was worthless and dumb and no matter what I tried I was a failure in other people’s minds. I became a tree. I stopped living. I stood still.

And then one day, I had enough. I was tired of being told I was wrong. I was tired of paying for other people’s issues and insecurities. I was tired of putting my life on hold so that other people didn’t feel bad. I was tired of people putting me in molds and then getting mad at me when I didn’t fit. I was tired of letting myself down, of not being the person I knew I was because of the person that I had always been. Of always apologizing for everything. Tired of running around the hamster wheel, spinning around but never going anywhere.

So I grew up. I got rid of my roots. I moved.

Is it always easy? No. Even though I’ve been enjoying running (more than I thought I would), it’s still a struggle every time I hit those first few strides. I still have to push myself up that hill. Still have to push myself to keep going. Past the doubts and fears. Past where my body starts making excuses, wanting to stop. Past that point, and onto the point where it starts to become fun and relaxing. To where my body stops complaining so much. To where I feel the positive energy. Feel it refreshing me. Feel the rush of endorphins that make me excited to get back home and start my day. And that’s just one small change I’ve made to my life recently.

It’s not easy shedding things that you’ve had for a while. Thoughts. Habits. Friends. Memories. Familiar places and things. But sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have to drop the baggage. To rip up your roots, to move away from the spot you’ve rooted yourself to. To try new things, even if you might fail. To dare to become something new, even though it’s something completely different from what you’ve been before.

Some people like being trees, and for them, that’s fine. But I think I’m done being a tree.

Don’t let people make you feel bad for not wanting to be a tree anymore. I’m really lucky. I have a boyfriend and friends around me now that push me, even on the days when I fall back into old habits. Who support me. Who love exploring and adventuring and trying new things as much as I do.

Those people who try to make you feel ashamed for moving? Usually just jealous that they can’t find the strength to do the same thing. To change their life.

I used to feel shame for changing. I thought for a while I was pretending, or being something I wasn’t. But then I realized that being a tree was when I was pretending. That the old part of my life wasn’t being true to me. And any person who wants to make me feel ashamed for changing, really doesn’t understand who I am at all.

The truth is life changes all the time. Every day is a new day to discover something new about yourself. And we are under no obligation to live our lives for anybody else other than ourselves. Or to continue living them a certain way. If you want to try something new, go for it. If you want to explore new things, go for it. If you want to shake a bad habit, good for you. If you are unhappy, move.

We are not trees, and I am so grateful for that. I never want to be a tree again.

Writing Wednesday: No More Apologies

I apologize a lot. I say “I’m sorry” a lot, even when there’s nothing to be sorry for. Maybe as a form of apology. A form of empathy because I don’t have anything else to say. A lot had to do when I was learning about my anxiety and depression, and realizing that a lot of what I thought was ‘wrong’ really wasn’t. It was just different from other people. And some was people making me feel bad for things, not because I was doing something wrong, but because of their own jealousies and insecurities. Well, I finally got to a point I got tired of apologizing. And that’s the story behind this poem.

 

No More Apologies

I’m done apologizing

For not knowing everything

I’m done apologizing

For falling down, for failing, for forgetting something

I’m done apologizing

Because I didn’t fit into some model in your mind

Of the way that things are suppose to be

Of the way people should live their lives

I’m done apologizing

Because I have a different view

I’m done apologizing

Because I walked off without you

I’m done apologizing

Because I wouldn’t let you walk over me

Because I called you out on your drama

I called out your hypocrisy

I’m done apologizing

For shedding my bad ways

For pushing myself to be stronger

Even though you thought I was crazy

I’m done apologizing

For taking action when you wouldn’t move

I’m done apologizing

Because I did what you won’t do

I’m done apologizing

And putting myself down

Just so that you feel better

Whenever I’m around

I’m done apologizing

For wanting to be free

I’m done apologizing

For wanting to be me

Writing Wednesday: Phoenix Wings, a Poem

One of the best ways I’ve found to deal with my anxiety and depression is writing. There is something soothing about putting words to paper (or screen). I have no purpose or form to my writing, other than to just write. Recently, the stuff flowing out of me has taken poem form. Even though I’m not a ‘poet’, and I don’t really study the form or anything. But I decided to start sharing some of my writing (Writing Wednesday). I hope you enjoy.

Phoenix Wings

You think you’ve got me down

But you’ve only filled me with fire

A Phoenix, eternally rising from the pit

No matter how many times you throw me down

I will rise up stronger than ever

Throw all the stones and sticks you want

I know the secrets that lie within your heart

For you might as well throw the rock at the mirror

For it is you who are afraid to look at your own heart

Blame me for whatever you wish

For the excuses and guilt will only live within your heart

You hide behind lies parading as truths

Masks that you wish to wear

Because you can’t bear the truth of your soul

That you’ve let yourself down

While I drag myself out of the pit

You wallow in the darkness because you can’t believe you’re worth more

Do not be jealous of my flames

For the fire that drives my soul

For the way that I have grown

So tear me down all you want

Throw all the chains you may

But I will rise on Phoenix wings

And simply fly away

Just Because You Haven’t, Doesn’t Mean You Can’t

“How will I know who I can become if I don’t give myself the chance to try new things, to push myself beyond my normal boundaries? Who might I be if I am away from the things that I currently use to define myself?”
― Eileen Cook

 

So for the last few years I’ve wanted a DSLR camera. You know, one of the ones with the interchangeable lenses which takes the really amazing photos you see in magazines. Or the ones framed up on people’s walls. Not that I really thought I could be a professional photographer or anything. I just loved the art aspect of it.

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Playing around with more Poetry

A little fun this Thursday to celebrate the beautiful day, before the cold and snows move back in. Some more of my attempts at poetry.

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Deep Thoughts for a Dark Night

I woke up this morning at 4 am. It was pitch black in the room, and I was alone with my thoughts. I’d had a bad nightmare, woke up breathing hard and scared, although I don’t remember what the dream was. Just this clinging sense that something was wrong. I was also roasting and sweating, feeling sick from getting too hot when I sleep. I was rolling over, trying to find a cooler spot on the bed when I noticed it. My boyfriend was ice cold. Which was odd, as he normally is radiating warmth like a heater. Especially odd when I was roasting and I’m normally the cold one. My senses sharpened and I noticed I couldn’t hear him breathing. I waited and waited. I’m used to him breathing shallowly, where I can’t hear it. But it’s usually only for a breath or two and then he breathes deeper again. But this was more than a breath or two. I put my arm on his chest, and I couldn’t feel it rise. I waited and waited and still nothing. Sirens started screaming in my head and I started to hyperventilate. I shook him a little, and with a sense of relief I heard him breathe and say “What?”

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One Brush, One Color, One Canvas – A Web Gallery

I have always loved art, and painting. It’s calming. It’s creative. And it’s inspiring. I love going to art galleries and getting inspiration for my writing. I love how things in the world inspire my paintings.

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