Wtf?

Okay I have written more that six blog posts in the last three days trying to post my blog and every single time it won’t work. I take a deep breath and think, okay, maybe I wasn’t supposed to talk about that.

But what I am trying to discuss is important. It’s about doubt. Specifically, doubting yourself. 

Doubing yourself can be so impactful. It can decide your future. I’ve spent the majority of my life doubting. It wasn’t always me that created the doubts, often I was listening to others and absorbing their doubts as my own. But this summer I decided to work through all that. This summer I was going to become doubt and insecurity free.

I leave tomorrow on a spritual retreat because I knew with this much work I needed some help. And I’ve had the Universe’s tests and challenges course to get through, too. And I made it through. 

So, why now? 

Because I have set some lofty goals and to obtain those goals I need to clean out the cupboards, closets, and storage spaces in my soul. I have to, once and for all, release the negative that clings to me making sure I don’t succeed. Yes,  my friends, we are usually the biggest reason we don’t succeed.

But no longer, because I plan to stand on the Oscar stage having my statue handed to me by last year’s winner of Best Screenplay. To do that means I need to move out the old and unwanted doubts and insecurities, wash everything clean, paint the walls, and get ready for the amazingness to come.

So who’s with me? Isn’t there something you want that you just can’t get because something, or someone (


 you) is holding you back?

See technology tried to keep me from speaking my peice, and doubt played with me as I had to face the insecurity gauntlet, but here I am a seventh time to actually post this blog. 

Join me in never letting anything steal your dream. Join me in banishing doubt and insecurities. And I’ll see you at the Oscars….where will you be?

Lorena

Where are you???

You know, I seem to start and stop this blog. I get busy and I forget. But I thought about it and it’s a great outlet, and even more, I may just be feeling the same things others are feeling. So…let’s do this.

It’s been almost two years since my husband died. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, new experiences, and heady and hard challenges as I learned to live again. Cause it is learning over. The place of comfort and acceptance I found from my husband went away. Again, it was just me. All alone. Starting over. Hustling my ass to make ends meet.

Now I have to say that I have had some really good times. I’ve laughed a lot. I’ve learned a lot. And I have grown in ways that surprised me. Biggest thing I learned – I don’t give a shit what people think any more. I don’t. I just don’t.

I spent the majority of my life caring what people felt about my actions, were they happy, did they have what they needed, and after all the mess I’ve been through I have fully and completely decided that they can all go suck rocks.

Okay, that sounds harsh. But you gotta be harsh. Listen, we women, and men too, are always worried if we are doing the right thing, are we being fair, and is everyone okay? But what happens is that we aren’t. We’re suffering or spinning  multiple plates in the air trying to make everyone else happy. And guess what, they don’t give a rat’s ass if you are happy. Really…have you noticed this in your life?

So I decided that now this time was going to be all about me. EEEEKKKK!!! I can see the clenched looks on people’s faces. Asking: How can I be so selfish? What about your kids? What about your friends? What about the guy at the grocery store? What about that random stranger at the gas station?

See, I’m not saying to become a callous individual that does mean things, I’m just saying that it’s time to put myself first. My happiness depends on it. Too often we put everyone else’s happiness and approval before our own. And I’m done with that.

Does that mean I may lose some people from my life? Possibly. But I feel pretty strongly that those who truly love me understand.

Okay, I broke the ice. I told you I was going to be all about me from now on. I know you want to join me…don’t you? What will it take before you decide that your happiness is as important as everyone else? What will have to happen before you decide to move yourself to the front of the line instead of being at the back waiting for something you may never get because you were too afraid of offending anyone to make yourself a priority.

Well, if you’re for me, I’ll be up at the front of the line. I’ll save you a place, okay? P.S. The pink ones are mine 🙂

SONY DSC

Yummies at London’s Brick Road

 

 

 

Grief…what is it good for?

IMG_1706I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been in the throes of working and establishing myself again. That has been good, bad, and ugly.

I started substitute teaching back in November. I like it. It also had solidified that my idea for the next stage of my life is a good one. I have decided to become an English teacher. It incorporates a lot of things I need going forward in my life. Doing something I love. Having a stable income and a plan for my future. And it affords me time to continue to follow my passion, writing. It’s a huge plus that I really like it.

Finding a way to make an income has made me become a workaholic of sorts. It’s twofold, I believe. For one, it creates a stability that is paramount to my survival, both in now and in the future. Second, it keeps me busy. Gets me out of the house. Allows me to interact with people again.

What it also does is diminish the time I have to grieve. While some of you might be shaking your heads right now and thinking, uh oh…slippery slope. I think it has been the perfect way to blend my grief with a positive action of moving forward.

When you lose someone so dear to you that has been so much a part of your life, there is a huge, gaping hole that you’re not sure how to fill. Most often you just put a big tarp over the hole and try to go on. But that rarely works because one day a blustery day of hurt arrives and blows that tarp off and there’s the hole bigger and more gaping than before.

With working, I have found my grief arrives in weird increments and at times I wouldn’t think possible. Driving home, for instance. That one hit me hard. I would finish a day of work and as I drove home I would feel this horrible sadness descend. It was troublesome and I tried to fight it, but then I realized. Deal with it, Lorena.

So I did. I listened to the hurt. It was missing my husband. It was missing what our life plan had been. It was knowing that the life I had invested in was no longer viable. Ah ha! Eureka. I  had discovered it. The life I had planned was now null. It was void. That was the festering sore that seemed to rip its Band-Aid off during the half-hour commute home.

Okay, so what do they say about Band-Aids? Better to just rip them off, right? So I did. I ripped off the painful loss and asked myself, what was at the core. I didn’t choose this life. Ouch! Okay, but it was the life I had so I better find a way to be happy with it.

Once I addressed one of the elephants in my grief room, it got a lot less crowded.

Next grief elephant, it’s okay to move on. See this one is a tricky one. First off, moving on means leaving them behind. How do you do that? Leaving them behind means you can move on. Doesn’t that mean something? If this person was so significant to you, how do you, how can you, leave them behind? Doesn’t that make you a traitor to their memory?

What happens if you find yourself ready and very willing to take the ne next step into your life? Doesn’t that mean you’ve left them behind?

And when you find yourself excited about where you’re going, how do you jive that with the loss and the sadness you still carry with you?

And  is it fair to beat yourself up? They aren’t here anymore. They left this world and you’re still here. You have to live. You have to be happy again. Right?

See slippery slope.

This is how I’ve chosen to deal with it. My way. It’s my grief and only I know how to deal with my grief. I’m not advocating that everyone needs to do it my way. But I have to do it my way. But that borders on the evil and horribly awful word selfish. But what if I only do the self part and don’t do the -ish?

I don’t want to take care of myself at the abandon of others feelings. But, I do need to take care of myself and in my self-care some people may have their feelings hurt. It’s not intentional, but it might happen. Does that stop me from progressing on in my decisions and plans?

All this is treacherous waters to navigate. And finally I came to a decision.

This is my is my  life and so I have to do what’s best for me. I will not do anything with an intention to hurt anyone, but I have to do what brings happiness and joy to my world.

Lorena

http://www.LorenaBBooks.com

A Good Day

Yesterday was a very good day. Actually this whole weekend has been wonderful. That feels very good. It also feels a bit like betrayal.

????????

The Ferry Building in San Francisco. I took this picture on a family visit to town.

Yesterday I spent the day with a good friend enjoying San Francisco. We walked the Embarcadero starting with the booths outside the Ferry Building. I came across an artist that made beautiful paintings and interestingly he was an author, too. Then we entered the delicious realm of delicacies and savory treats that abounded. Armed with pork buns and bomboli we found a wine bar and enjoyed the delectable taste treats washed down with exciting vintages. Conversation was wonderful and stretched across many themes.

Then we walked the Embarcadero. It was a perfect day weather-wise (those that know San Francisco know that is the actual San Francisco treat) and while jockeying around tourists and families we enjoyed conversation and friendship.

We ended up by the water watching crazy people swimming, sailboats heading out under the bridge, and recalling memories. Of course my mind went to the constant of the loss of my husband. But sitting there I could feel the joy and the satisfaction that my husband felt at my happiness. It’s interesting how we often feel that we need to be constantly sad by our loss. But as I sat there truly reveling in the day, I felt peace. My husband was with me and he was happy that I was enjoying life.

That’s what I believe those that pass on really want for us. They want us to remember them of course, but they don’t want us to stop our lives. They don’t want our life to be like a watch stuck on the time when it was shattered. I know that Terry never wanted that for me. In fact, I know that because of his way of being and the love he had for me, he felt he could leave because I would enjoy days such as yesterday.

It feels a bit counterintuitive to say that. But it also feels very right.

Oddly enough I didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt for my enjoyment yesterday. I think it’s the first time I have experienced that. Every other time I was enjoying myself I felt a twinge, and sometimes a down right punch in the face, of guilt and loss. Yesterday I realized that my loss will always be with me. The insurmountable feeling of something missing will be constant as I move through my life.  But the point is that I move through.

It’s not dishonoring them to be happy. To enjoy the sweet taste of nutella wrapped up in a delicious sugared pastry is actually celebrating them in some weird way. Laughing, being joyous, truly submerging in this world is what I believe they would want us to do.

It takes courage to go out into the world after great loss. It takes strength to decide to live when you’ve lost such an integral part of your soul, but that is what living on is about. It’s seeing the beauty in the world even though you’ve been battling through the pain, suffering, and torture of losing the love you had with the person who as departed.

I know my husband wanted me to be happy and to go and live completely. He wanted me to eat, drink, be merry, travel, stretch my boundaries.

So this weekend when I played with my granddaughters enjoying their sweet giggles, ate dinner with my daughter and her family in their new home, and basked in the sunshine in one of my favorite cities, Terry was right beside me and happy in my contentment and peace.

What we think those who pass want for us is not what they truly want. When I am in sorrow and so sad at my loss of the man I loved, I actually feel him at a distance and its far more painful. But yesterday in my bliss I felt him sitting right next to me, smiling at my laughter and happy that I was out in the world enjoying it’s beauty.

The week after Terry died I sat down and watched the movie, We are Marshall. It’s the story of a college football team who loses almost everyone on the team in an airplane accident. The story focuses on the college’s desire to rebuild and to honor those that had passed by not giving up. The movie spoke to me so strongly the first time I watched it and today, as I was writing this blog, the movie came on again. It was at the end scene when the team pulls together and wins. I sat watching and seeing the joy on the faces of those on the team as they watched their once decimated football team rise up out of the ashes and actually win and to honor those they loved by playing the best they could. I don’t believe in coincidences so I know I was meant to see this as I was writing this blog.

It was a confirmation that what I am feeling and writing about is true.

I know tomorrow I may not be able to leave the house because I will be lost in tears and sorrow. But today I am celebrating life. Celebrating my husband’s memory by being fully immersed in the world. It is the best way to honor the love that we shared and truly the best way to carry him with me.

Lorena

Stages of Grief – Denial

????????

I’ve always heard of the stages of grief so I thought I’d take a look at these and see how I am doing this as I go through this horrible and vital transformation in my own life.

Denial. This word immediately brings up the very tired joke of “What is denial? A river in Egypt.”

Well, I think my denial is in grief as wide and long as the Nile. And I guess if I wax poetic, it’s filled with the currents like a river. I don’t think we go through these stages in order. I know that I went through all the stages sometimes in several minutes. All of them at the same time. And even some of them for a whole day.

But denial. That’s a hard one. How do I deny that my husband, the love of my life, isn’t here anymore? His absence is like a screaming thing that lives in my house. His chair remains still. There is no roaring sound from his computer. The bed next to me is empty and cold. And most of all, his smile and warm arms don’t encircle me any longer. This I cannot deny. There is no way to do so.

But maybe if I look deeper the denial comes from my decision to create a future. In a matter of a couple of days I had a plan. A penciled out plan that has been reconstructed and redone several times since I first etched it in my mind, but still a plan. Perhaps that is the denial that they speak of. That my life, as I knew it, isn’t over. I’m moving forward. Because he wants me to. Because I have to.

That denial is true. But denying this happened is impossible. The night runs through my thoughts, not as often or as vivid, but has to. It has to because my brain, in so much sorrow, has me thinking that he’s just at band practice. Or after seeing a movie, that I’ll go home and he’ll be they’re calling out when I walk through the door. Perhaps that’s the denial that they speak of.

The horror of knowing that he isn’t there is sometimes more than I can bear. I know he’s not. It’s quite definite. However, my mind let’s go for a minute or two, here and there and I have to relive the sadness and knowingness that my love is gone.

Denial. I wish it was just a river in Egypt. I wish I was sailing on it now with my husband looking at the pyramids and exclaiming at the history we’re surrounded with. That’s the denial. That I won’t get to walk down the streets of Rome eating gelato and trodding on ancient pathways with him. That I won’t get to kiss his face and make love to him again. That I won’t get to hear his voice tell me that he loves me.

I don’t know how the body, mind, and spirit truly processes such loss. I only know that I am doing it the best I can. One minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time. I go to bed each night missing him. I wake each morning missing him. I walk through my day finding myself living, as I should, but in those seconds it creeps in, the loss. The terrible, terrible loss.

I know that I am strong. I have been beat down, gotten back up, beat down again, and still I am miraculously standing.

Denial. Is it survival? Denial. Is it a passage way to healing? Denial.

Lorena

Loss

Since I last posted my world was turned upside down. My universe slowed. And the stars paled in the sky.

SONY DSC

Terry Whitington doing what he loved!

I lost my husband who was my soul mate (in all the right ways), best friend, partner, and great love.

It is very hard to stand up straight when you lose someone so significant. It is impossible to breathe. All that is real is the raw feeling of your heart. It feels as if it has gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. It’s bruised, cracked, crushed, and as if a part is missing.

When someone choses to die it is very hard to take. Why? Why? Why? Why? Is what you say. But when you know the why, it still doesn’t make it any easier.

Loss is all-consuming. But not in the way you might think. At least that’s what I found. It seemed impossible to believe that I would ever smile or laugh again. Days after the loss I did just that. I laughed. And I felt horrible.

I thought, “How dare I feel joy. How dare I laugh. How can I do that when I am so devastated.” I felt like a horrible person. Like I was trivializing what had just happened to someone I adored and loved. I was taken aback by the feelings.

I thought about this situation and spoke about it others. People said, “he’d want you to be happy” and “he’d want you to feel joy.” And I know all that, he would. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be happy. I wanted to be writhing on the floor in tears, keening in corners, tearing my hair out. I wanted to be wailing. Because that’s how I really felt. But I couldn’t. Something stopped me.

What was it? I don’t know for certain. But my belief tells me it is a lot of things. It is our love. It was buoying my spirit. It was allowing me to see joy even through all the pain. It is him. He was here in my heart, in my head, in my world. I felt him. I heard him. I KNOW he is here helping me get through this.

I know everyone has their belief systems and those systems have different takes on what happens when someone dies. But what I know, what I’ve experienced in the past, tells me that those we love don’t leave us right away, if ever. And that gives me peace. That allows me to laugh.

I talk to him all the time. I tell him when I’m mad at him. I tell him how much I miss him. I tell him what I’m going to do for the future. I wait for his response. I talk to him before I go to sleep. I talk to him when I wake up. All through the day I tell him that I love him. That he changed me. That our love was singularly wonderful. That everything that we went through made me the person I am today. That my strength comes from the fact that I loved him and he loved me.

That’s how I get through my loss. Some may say it’s wrong. I don’t care. Every loss is different and everyone goes through their loss in their own way.

Why? I’ll still ask this over and over. But what I chose to really work at is remembering. The way he said my name. How he loved to tease me and drive me nuts. His smile. The way it felt when he hugged me. The moments we bore our souls to each other. The joy we shared in laughter. The moments with our family. The day I married him.

Every night when I go to bed I turn off the light in my family room. As I reach for the switch I see our wedding picture. I see our faces and how we were looking at each other with just complete adoration, hope, truth, and love. That’s my last image of my day.

Loss. It’s a word that is inadequate in my book. But loss exists and we must get through it. I will get through it. He knew this about me. But how I get through it will be my own way and in my own time.

Lorena

Why Robin Williams Death Hits Us So Hard

SONY DSC

San Francisco, the city Robin Williams loved!

When I heard that Robin Williams had died I stopped breathing, moving, and even thinking for a moment. Everything stopped.

I felt tears welling up and my heart hurt. I couldn’t believe the news I was hearing. Instantly, I turned on the television where news stations were filled with talking about his death, who he was, his work, his life, and mostly his grace.

There on the screen was his wonderful smile with the crinkly eyes that made you know he had mischief brewing. I remained stunned.

That whole day I was so sad. I felt like a good friend had died. Not a man I’d watched on television and movies, but a friend I had meals with and talked on the phone to. I couldn’t do anything but watch clips of his standup and performances on You Tube.

I know I’m not alone. I know that countless individuals felt the same. I know because for two or more days, his death was the leading story on almost all the news shows.

I spent the next few nights watching his movies. Of course, Mrs. Doubtfire was first. Not since Tootsie has a man so perfectly encapsulated a role as a woman. And don’t we all want a Mrs. Doubtfire in our life?

I was stunned as his poor daughter was harassed by people thinking not of her loss, but of their wants. This poor girl had one of the biggest loves of her life ripped from her and everyone should understand and give her love, support, and prayer.

It is only now a week later that I am beginning to come to grips that this wonderfully caring and giving man is gone and won’t be gracing the screen with his unimaginable talent. Think about it, not only was he a comedic genius, but he nailed some truly stupendous dramatic roles. Two of my favorites, Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting show his immense and all-encompassing talent as you are awed by his believability and honesty in his roles.

I recall being in New York City many years ago and walking down a street and Robin Williams walked toward me. As he neared, my heart pounded. I didn’t say anything to him, really too shy and awed to bother him. But now I wish I had. I know it might have been an inconvenience to him, but I’m sure he would’ve taken the time to smile that smile at me and make me feel like in that moment I meant the world to him. Oh, that I had been braver when I was younger. I certainly didn’t take his advice and Carpe Diem. Had I done that, I might have a wonderful memory to assuage my sadness.

I send prayers to his family. I hope they can feel the huge outpouring of love that people had for this amazing person who shared their private world. We loved him too, maybe from afar or in dark theatres, but the love was true.

As a last thought. Remember that life is fragile. It is beautiful, wondrous, and can be so fleeting. Make the most of your life. Carpe Diem a little more and laugh as much as possible. I think Robin Williams would find that a good motto to live by.

Lorena

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Hello friends,

I have been pulled into a wonderful aspect of the internet, the blog tour. I’ve done one before, but this one is dedicated to writing so of course I figured this was the best way to try it out.

First, I want to thank Barbara Ehrentreu from Barbara’s Musings for inviting me to this tour. Here’s more about her. Just click her blog name above to visit her blog.

Barbara E at Muse's book signing_ copyBarbara lives with her family in Stamford, CT. She is the author of a young adult novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor and has another novel, After, also young adult, coming this fall. She has contributed to Prompted: An International Collection of Poetry and Beyond the Dark Room. Several of her poems are published in various magazines online. Poetry comes to her when she needs to express what she is feeling.

So here’s a secret look into my writing process:

What am I currently working on?

I am doing double right now. I’m finishing the very last fine tuning on my book, Meeting Ms. Monroe. It’s a novel about Marilyn Monroe, with a twist. I’ve also begun work on another novel about a police officer that can handle anything on the job and his only fear is losing his wife. This fear becomes real when she gets sick and he has to be her caregiver. Here he learns that all his skills haven’t prepared him for the battle against illness and the travails of taking care of someone you love.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, the biggest thing is I don’t stick with one genre. My first book was a memoir called Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy  Godmother. My next two books, Beatrice Munson and House on Plunkett Street, would probably be chick lit. My third and fourth novels, The X and Coaster, were thrillers laced with whodunnits. My next book is kinda a historical fiction about Marilyn Monroe. I guess that’s what makes me different. I don’t stay in one genre.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Well because the stories want to be written. I get an idea and I write it down as soon as I can. I write whatever I think or see about characters, situations, or plot. I don’t worry about anything but getting the words onto paper. Then I save it. When the time is right the book tells me it’s ready to be written.

    How does my writing/creating process work?

Usually I get an idea. And that idea can have been in my head for a while working its way to the surface or I can go somewhere and something can get triggered. But once I’ve done the initial purge of characters and such then I wait. When the story is ready I start writing. I don’t really outline other than the one page quick synopsis. That’s because a lot of time the characters take me in different directions. Then I just start writing. I don’t worry about the way it looks but what the work is saying.  I just write down what I see in my mind. After each time I’ve written I start at the beginning and read up to the point I’ve gotten. During this part I clean things up and streamline. That’s why I write every day so that I don’t lose the voice of the characters and writing.

It’s been fun to share a bit about how I work. I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful new voice on the writing scene, Peggy Nolan. Please go visit her and her take on her writing process.

peggy picPeggy Nolan is a self proclaimed vanquisher of fear, slayer of self-doubt and she’s determined to be courageously creative. Peggy recently published her award winning flash fiction piece, The Hunger, to Kindle. You can keep up with Peggy on her website, PeggyNolan.com, where she sprinkles love and magic into everything she writes. Peggy lives in Derry, NH with her husband, Richard.

 

 

 

Patience. A Dirty Word?

????????

Patience can often feel like this shot I took driving down the 5 freeway.

Oh my, how I have had to work on this aspect of my life, my WHOLE life. Patience has reared its head so often I feel like I should’ve just taken it as my name.

So how do you master this most exhausting of, what, attributes? Or virtues? Who cares what it’s called. We need it in our lives.

Patience for me has always been trying not to make decisions in a knee-jerk fashion. Anyone else do this? You know you see something, especially something that you’ve been worried about, and then just make a decision quickly? Thinking, at least I’m done with that problem.

My husband suffered a very debilitating disease and I have spent the last year taking care of him. Wanna learn about patience? Be a caregiver. It was frustrating that I couldn’t make him better. That one deliciously made grilled cheese sandwich wasn’t going to heal him. What is making him better is time. Lots of time.

This situation made me change my behaviors. I had to learn to slow down because my health was being affected too. I had to let go of things I couldn’t fix. Had to trust that something bigger than me had a plan.

I think patience and faith go hand in hand. One without the other really doesn’t gel. To have patience you must believe that there is a reason something is happening. And that reason often relies on your faith.

So join me on this journey to having patience in your life.

You can look at my post on the 24 rule to find a tip that might help you raise your level of patience.

Lorena

 

Lying is bad…and Other Things We Should Know

It’s astounding to me when people lie. I know…you’re thinking well I told that white lie to get out of going to that event. I know that at times in our life, we have lied. And perhaps the right/wrong factor is shades of grade. But I’m not talking about that “white lie” stuff.

I’m talking about looking in me in the eye and tell me a lie.

I have teenagers….ahhh some of you say I understand what you’re talking about now. Those who don’t, remember when you were a teen and what you thought you could get away with…tried to get away with?

But it’s not just my teenagers who think they can outsmart me with falsehoods. It’s grown men and women. They lie to my face, they even get caught in said lie, and still…there is no fault.

IMG_1933 (413x550)I’m not perfect. I’m no saint. I ain’t an angel. I have foibles and flaws. But I try, to the best of my ability to be honest, kind, and caring to those around me. It doesn’t sit right with me if I don’t.

And so in this society where it seems like everyone from banks, corporations, government, and fast food is lying, how do we stay strong in the truth?

Part of it is making sure you have your moral compass set to north. If lying doesn’t sit well in your soul, then you probably won’t do it. But more than that, don’t be afraid to tell someone, “Hey, I can’t make your event because I have to stay home and relax after my crazy week.”

Being strong enough not to lie means you can be strong enough to tell the truth.

And the truth of the matter is that most people get caught when they lie. Call it karma, payback, whatever you want. Basically when you do wrong, it very often comes back to you. Just saying.

As for me, I’ll continue to keep it real.

Lorena