Empathy & Emotions

Being empathetic is a sign of maturity. If that is the case, I’m mature to the point of being old. Sometimes I feel like I have far too much empathy. I struggle to read or watch the news, as the terrible actions of others makes me sad and angry. Even movies, with only a slightly emotional story can bring me to hard and heavy tears that come quickly and last too long. Not only does this happen often, but nearly daily. Previous pain still haunts me. There is a lot of pain in my past. Pain that I’m not quite ready to put on the table, but pain that affects everything I do. It has affected the relationships I have been in, how I meet new people, how I deal with my pain, and more. But the one thing that it has done, that while frustrating at times, has given me the ability to see the potential of others. It has shown me how to reserve judgement, to be kind, and to help others when I am able. I understand pain. I understand that everyone has a story. Everyone withholds pain and everyone struggles with something.

Next time some cuts you off in traffic, or parks in a handicap parking space, or fails to apologize for running into you in the halls, try to cut them some slack. Maybe they are having a difficult day. Maybe they are dealing with a death, or abuse, or bad news. Maybe they are just being a jerk. Who are you to judge them? The more we can reserve judgement of others, the more peaceful our lives can be. Just because they are different from you or they make a mistake, or they just seem like a mean person, does not mean you are better than them or deserve more.

Patience. Love. Kindness. Generosity.

Empathy.

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To Settle

I have spent my whole life settling.

In seventh grade I ‘dated’ a boy because I didn’t believe I could do better. Only now I look back and realize that boy was funny and fun to be around, but I never enjoyed going out with him, because I constantly felt as though I was being judged. In the end I was made fun of so much by the other kids in my class that I finally broke up with him. I was mean. It embarrasses me now. The funny thing is, I saw pictures of him about 10 years later, and he had…aged nicely, to say the least. I’m sorry I thought I settled. You deserved better than my self esteem issues.

After years of odd comments, modeling swimsuits and clothes, awkward requests, and strange touching from my stepfather, he did something that I knew was wrong, and it scared me to my core. I settled for years with these odd occurrences to avoid confrontation with my mother and family, but I finally felt that this event was too much to keep to myself. I am extremely introverted, and I go out of my way to avoid confrontations. But, when I was 16, and he finally did something that I KNEW was not appropriate, I spoke to a counselor. I told her of everything I could remember that made me uncomfortable. I even told her about a memory of him, that I wasn’t sure if it was a memory or a nightmare, and that I still don’t know for sure which it was. She called social services, and police came to the house. My mother and stepfather denied everything. I’m not even sure that anything happened following that, because they never came back to speak with me. Instead, my mom kicked me out and made me live with my biological father. Later, I found out my sisters had experienced much of the same things, but after telling my mom, she denied and nothing was done. After high school was over, I was kicked out of my dad’s for lying about where I was one night. I ended up getting an apartment with a boy I barely knew. After he moved in, he decided finding a job wasn’t necessary. After a few months of barely paying the bills, I only finally forced him to leave when he hit me. I moved back in with my mom, because I was completely broke and didn’t know what else to do. My mom and stepfather made me promise never to call the cops or social services on my stepfather before I could stay there. I settled for being scared. After a year or so, I moved out on my own again. This time I had two jobs and school, but I managed to make it on my own. Not long after moving out, my stepfather died unexpectedly. My mother still denies the things he did. I settle for ignoring how much that hurts to be able to have a relationship with my mother.

When I joined the Air Force, I signed up for an Intelligence position. I settled for going in as Open General. For those that don’t know, that means that I could get any job that falls under the ‘General’ Category. I ended up with a Supply job. Eh. It was alright, but highly deployable.

When I got married, I settled for a tiny ceremony since we were living oversees, with the plans for a ceremony including family a year later in the States, which was planned and cancelled three times. I settled for no real wedding. I regret it.

After being with my spouse about 5 years, I wanted to divorce. Because we were about to be reassigned to a new location, I didn’t. I thought maybe a new location would help. Ever since, I have regretted that decision. I have settled in because it is easier than leaving. I am scared to say that I am done. I am scared to say that I want to move back to my home with my kids. I’m scared to take the kids from their father. I have settled in to avoid.

I can’t settle anymore. I need to Fight my own fears. I have slowly started allowing me to be me. I have started opening up about who I am and what I want in life, but it has made the marriage even more strained, as I have realized how different we actually are now, compared to many years ago. I am trying to be me. I want to live this one any only life I get the way that I want.

I don’t want to settle anymore. I want to love my decisions. I want to love my life.

E&O

Fight Song

After my last post, I found this song, which I hadn’t yet heard. Yeah, I don’t listen to music much anymore, as I always have audio books on in my car.

But man. This song. First time I heard it, so many tears.

It was what I needed.

It is time to take back my life and move forward.

E&O

Toxic

It has been some time since I have last posted. As I mentioned before, I’m working now. Since the last post, I was hired on as a permanent employee after more uncertainty. The work can be fulfilling at times, and painful others. I struggle to make it to the end of the day sometimes. I truly think I could have an amazing job. I think that I could help people and learn a ton. I try. Hard. But, it is difficult with leadership that is condescending and flat out mean. I am continuously struggling to stick with it. I hate to be a quitter. I hate to leave some of the people there, because we all need to help each other. I’ve never been in such a toxic environment though. I have never seen so many people afraid to speak up, afraid to tell this one person how much they are hurting. When nearly the whole office get together to vent about how a leader has berated them and made them feel belittled, useless, unable to do anything right, and has even put several people in tears, it feels like a support circle of emotionally abused victims. Never in my life could I have imagined working in such an environment.

I’m tired. It is exhausting. It reminds me of basic training, when the instructors purposely tell you the wrong thing, scream at you for no reason, make you do things that really have no purpose, just to keep you busy. But this isn’t the basic training or even real-world military. It is a non-profit organization meant to do good for people. So why are the employees so poorly treated?

In my studies, everything I am learning is related to leadership and management of organizations and employees. I learn about some great leadership practices, and wish that I could share them at work, but that is unrealistic. Especially since most have absolutely no idea how much I am actually capable of, and they never bother to find out, or even just ask if I know how to do something before just assuming that I don’t. I am no idiot.

Perhaps trust would allow for some good changes. Trust your people. Give them some freedom to be creative, to show what they can do, to really shine.

So I think I just started rambling a bit much, but it has just been a hell of an experience so far.

Until next time.

E&O

Dream Hard

One of the most important thing to me is to be able to dream. Some of my most memorable recurring dreams involves flying. Flying in a dream is the most freeing, amazing feeling. There have been some especially difficult days that have left me wishing for my flying dream before bed. I close my eyes and imagine myself standing on a cliff with the wind blowing, keeping me standing, leaning slightly forward. As I am standing there, I let my body relax and imagine being in the sky, able to go anywhere. And then I jump.

The exhilarating freedom is beyond compare.

When I wake up, I keep my eyes closed, willing myself to go back to the skies.

But in life, we need to be allowed to dream. Not just in sleep. I dream about making a difference in the world, about making a good, comfortable, happy life. I am working toward it. Each day, I try to stay on this path of trying to better myself. It is the reason I have been in school, well, forever. Every time I could stop, I don’t want to. I really hope that after I get my graduate degree, I can feel done with school.

Part of the reason it has taken so long to finish school, is the fact that I changed my dreams several times. Dreams don’t have to stay the same. But I think if you want to change them, you have to REALLY be sure that you want to change. I am one of those people that can generally do well at a lot of things, and I am very interested in learning about lots of different things. It is really hard to find something you are passionate about when you have interest in everything. I have found that in my life there has always been one thing I kept going back to: language, writing, reading, words. With my medical concerns, I have had to make some changes in my life. While I am not pursuing teaching anymore, I have found something that I haven’t lost interest. I look forward to learning. I want to read my textbooks, to research about it. I know I have found my place. I never would have found it, if I didn’t allow myself to dream, to dream HARD.

Additional note: I never would have been able to dream hard without others in my life respecting my dreams, and helping me find my way. Thank you.