I’m going to preface this post with no, I’m not okay … but yes, I really am okay. 🙂 Being this vulnerable makes me want to throw up - I’m putting these words into the world - not just for me, but for someone who might come across them and find some solace in knowing they’re not alone – that dreams never die, and emotions and tears are okay.
Never, never give up! Don’t let people or circumstances silence the work you were put here to do. Sometimes life forces us to press the pause button – but there comes a time when we have step back, let go of the shame and regret, and be bold enough to press play.
PLAY my friends; live each day to the fullest, let your own heart feel the feels, listen to the music, dance in your kitchen, write the book, paint the picture, start that business. If you’re holding on to regrets, it’s time to let go. Give them one last embrace then set them free, let them float away, like feathers on the wind. Begin again. And again. This is life. Live it boldly. And if you need a friend, call me. I BELIEVE IN YOU. I really, really do. ❤️
I can’t remember what I was searching for on YouTube this morning when I stumbled upon music I haven’t heard for more than two decades. For whatever reason, the songs were just there, sitting on my screen like they were supposed to show up for me today. Recognizing the artist and song titles, I clicked on the playlist … and every cell in my being woke up to listen. The visceral reaction was unexpected and overwhelming. More than twenty years have passed since I’ve heard "Believe in You" and "Let it Rain" by Amanda Marshall. My heart, mind, and body became a triad of emotion that made me collapse into a weepy pile of mush. I remembered every word and every note – the songs so familiar, it was like I’d listened just yesterday. Melodies and memories go hand in hand.
I live on a playlist of songs a mile long that have been the go-to soundtrack to my life. They’ve brought me to my feet, brightened my mood, lifted the loneliness and reminded me that love and happiness are still alive in the world. But today, the music knocked the wind out of me. A song has the power to heal. It’s also powerful enough to open old wounds … two decades worth.
As “Believe in You” started to play, I could feel myself being triggered. I blinked and took a long, deep breath, feeling flashes of what I was going through so many years ago. I can also remember sending this song to a close friend who was struggling with their own life and purpose. Today, as I listen, I’m looking back at a lifetime of what-ifs.
Part of me wanted to turn it off – both the music and the emotion. Something else in me wanted to listen. I closed my eyes against the tears; they came anyway. In that moment, all I could do was let it go and be thankful I work from a home office and have no coworkers here to witness my Monday morning meltdown. From somewhere beyond myself, I heard a voice say, “It’s okay. Stop trying so hard to be strong. Let your guard down and feel your way through this.”
The painful knot in my throat softened, and the dam broke. The armor fell away and Amanda’s voice and lyrics washed over me.
I know I needed to feel it, cry it out, and let myself experience the emotions that have been locked up in my body for so long. But that didn’t make it hurt any less. It’s maddening, actually, because I’m not a crier. However, the past couple weeks have turned me into a liar – it seems like every little thing makes me cry. Sunrises, hard decisions, my age, new friendships, work challenges, and the way summer is fading into fall … this year’s seasonal farewell seems to be bringing on more sadness than ever. ☀️
The other day, I told a friend I feel like I’m at a crossroads. I can sense big change happening in my life, but I’m not sure what it is – and I don’t know which path to follow. I’m just sitting here with my hazard lights blinking – doing nothing. Maybe that’s where so much of the frustration is coming from. If I were to look into the backseat of the metaphorical car I’m driving, I’m sure I’d see all those past dreams and unfinished projects … boxed up and stacked neatly. Waiting for me to just drive – pick a destination, pull over and open them up – to have fun and play with those passion projects again.
One song faded into another. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to work/write with background noise. Today, the volume is turned up, the lyrics are loud in my mind – but so are my own words. The songs and my brain are working tandem as my fingers clack away at the keyboard – my bleary eyes following along on the screen. This is either a breakdown or a breakthrough. Maybe both.
Although I couldn’t stop the onslaught of tears and overwhelm, I could feel from the very core of my being where they were coming from. This pain isn’t for the thirty-year-old me who escaped a violent marriage all those years ago. Nor are they for the loss of a second marriage – riddled with emotional toxicity and fractured trust. These are painful, grief-filled tears. A broken dam – two decades of uncried heartaches, disappointments, and discarded aspirations. You grieve when you lose someone close to you – and over the years, I’ve lost myself, time and time again.
Every time I let go of a dream, I said goodbye to a little piece of my identity. I gave up my creative calling. I gave up songwriting and poetry. I stopped writing weekly humor. My novel, paintbrushes, notebooks, and scribbled ideas were packed away. I was pushed to work harder, make more money, manage a household, support someone else’s ambitions – and to do it quietly. Very, very quietly. And every time I obliged the demands of the world, a little piece of me died; over the years, I evolved into someone else – a person who pretended everything was fine. (Pretending is exhausting, by the way.) I allowed myself to be conditioned, and it pisses me off. I’m so angry at myself for letting go of what was important to me – my faith, my creativity, and my love of words and music … all faded away.
These are tears are for adventures that weren’t pursued and chances I never had the courage to take. This is my heart and mind coming together – ganging up on me, and letting me know the dreams are still alive and well, they’re in there, buried deep and worth the digging and hard work it will take to uncover them again.
The hurt and abuse of past relationships is healing, my wounds are but scars. But the hurt of abandoned dreams is fresh and painful. Today, I grieve not for lost love, but for lost dreams – well, maybe a little for true love that never was. Some days, I wonder what makes me so unlovable – and other days, like today, I can’t even find reasons to love myself. The mind and brain are funny that way. But as I look inward, I can see, no I can feel, I still have love to give. And there’s room in there for love to be received – an empty space I’ve been protecting for a long time. Maybe it’s time to dust away the cobwebs and turn on the vacancy sign.
It breaks my heart to know that of all the people I’ve encouraged and believed in over the years, I wasn’t one of them. That I’ve spent my entire adult life afraid of someone or something. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the work I’m currently pursuing isn’t important or fulfilling. I’m saying I know there’s more – there’s always been more. Here I am now, 50+ years old, and finally ready to wrap my arms around what’s been missing – fear or no fear, it’s time to step up to the edge of my comfort zone and look down.
Here's what this morning gave me … actually, it’s something I’ve known all along; maybe I needed to experience this to be able to hear my own advice. It's okay to fall apart. Sometimes, in order to start over, you have to do more than walk away from someone or something – you need bulldoze the crap out of what already exists - break down, clean up the mess, and rebuild.
The breaking down part is finally out of the way, certainly not how I planned on starting my week. And I’m left sitting here in a pile of rubble. But I can see over the top – I can see those boxes of dusty dreams, ready and waiting. And I can feel a renewed sense of hope and faith – grace and grit – that I’ll carry with me as I journey on beyond this crossroads and toward something new. I know it’s never too late to begin again. I'm a dreamer, and maybe all the hurts, regrets, and lessons learned are just what I need to pave my way to the next adventure.
"Somewhere there's a river looking for a stream. Somewhere there's a dreamer looking for a dream. Somewhere there's a drifter trying to find his way. Somewhere someone's waiting to hear somebody say I believe in you."