Monday, September 7, 2015

5 things my angry, bruised and lost inner self wants to say

Today feels like a "mentally throw up all over my blog" sort of day, but I can only hope you find something inspiring here.

1. I used to have three happy, healthy dogs. They were my family. They were my friends.

We had to put one of them down in November of last year, which pretty much destroyed a part of me. I will get to honor him in an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book. But not even a full year later, another one had to be unexpectedly put down. And she was only 5 years old, even though the average lifespan of her breed is up to 15 years. She only got 5 of them.

I don't understand why time feels so brief and loss feels so heavy, but I do know that the people and things you love can be yanked out from under you at the drop of a hat. Stop fighting over shit that doesn't matter. Stop sticking your nose in business that isn't yours. Stop digging holes of drama and resentment. Stop waiting to tell someone what they mean to you. Stop believing that you have all the time in the world. And stop believing that having feelings and caring deeply about something/someone is a weakness. It's not.

2. A creative or freelance job is still a job. Don't ever let anybody tell you different. Creative people work harder and pour more of themselves into their work than most people realize. I constantly have to wear a filter when talking about my work, whether I want to complain about it a little or simply explain it to someone who doesn't get it. I hate the redundant questions, the blank stares, and the silent judgment. When I tell certain people about my job, I might as well be telling them I'm secretly an alien or something. Is it really THAT hard to understand? I write things, I submit those things, and then people pay me. If you get paid to produce something, you have a job. Just because it doesn't fit someone's narrow definition of what a job is doesn't mean it's not legitimate. So if you're a disheartened fellow creative screaming at me to "PREACH IT" right now, I tip my hat to you for working hard at what you truly love and daring to be different. It takes a lot of courage, passion and resilience to do creative work for a living. You are on the right track, and you will change lives. Not very many people can say the same.

3. I think love should be greater than fear, pain, confusion and conflict. Call me a hopeless romantic, but simply having pure love in your life is worth the risk of the messiness that comes along with it. I used to feel differently. If I had the slightest inkling of uncertainty about someone, I pushed them away before later coming to realize that there will be some degree of doubt and uncertainty with EVERY person you become involved with. You have no possible way of knowing how something will turn out unless you're blatantly surrounded by red flags and warning bells.

It is a beautiful thing to love fearlessly and unapologetically. You may get hurt more easily than people who guard themselves, but guarded people miss out on so much in the end. Love is messy no matter what. But I will always welcome it, regardless of timing, questions, risks and obstacles.

4. I sometimes wonder what happened to the person I was before the reality of a writing lifestyle and the discouragement of paying my dues swept into my life at breakneck speed. I was so full of hope, possibilities, and faith in myself. I was overflowing with ideas, and I did something every day to bring myself closer to a more successful tomorrow. That self still comes out every now and then, and I've managed to accomplish some pretty cool things, but I am most definitely not living up to my potential. And I wish I was. I wish I could go back to the self who was unscathed by writer's block and the harsh realities of a creative life.

5. I posted this on my Facebook page the other day, but I want to post it again here because I think it's an important reminder:

Every person you meet is on their own journey and experiencing life in a way and at a pace that makes sense to THEM. The only life experience you need to be focusing on is your own.

Calling someone ugly doesn't make you any prettier.
Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter.
Calling someone slow doesn't make you any faster.

Every SECOND you spend criticizing someone else could instead be spent improving yourself. Judging others is such an energy-sucking and futile activity. If you can't contribute something positive, don't contribute anything at all.      

<3 Madison 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Should feelings have an expiration date?

Raise your hand if you've ever been in one (or all) of the following scenarios:

~ Crying over something/someone you lost several months or years ago

~ Getting angry over something you thought you had adequately resolved last week

~ Feeling like a radically changed and empowered person one day and a weak, hot mess the next

*awkwardly raises hand on all counts*

It has been said that grief does not have an expiration date, which is totally true. But what about our other feelings? Should they have an expiration date?

Are we allowed to get angry over something that once felt resolved and justified? Are we allowed to be embarrassed about something that happened days or even years ago? Are we allowed to suddenly be afraid of something we thought we weren't afraid of anymore? Are we allowed to get our feelings hurt all over again by the mere memory of something that hurt our feelings in the past?

I'd like to say yes. I think we are allowed. But that still doesn't stop me from occasionally feeling like my ever-fluctuating emotions aren't justified. Sometimes I drag people through the mud with me without meaning to. Sometimes I behave in an overly dramatic manner. Sometimes I analyze the absolute SHIT out of something that may be better off left alone. And sometimes I simply feel like I don't have the right to have intense feelings about something that is over and done with.

I don't have the answers to this emotional phenomena, which is why the title of this post is a question rather than a statement or an idea. I rarely know how to deal with my own feelings. I'm rarely able to tell the difference between what's worth bringing up and what's worth letting go. Sometimes I wish my feelings and thoughts had an off switch, but if that were the case, blog posts such as this one would not exist.

So with that said, I'm handing the torch off to you guys today. Should certain feelings have an expiration date? How much past analyzing is allowed without getting a slap on the wrist from the personal growth industry? How can you tell the difference between what should be fixed and what should be left alone?

I need a friend.

<3 Madison