Consciously leaving my creative mark.

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Inspiration Found…..

I have been a visionary artist now for about 2 years, well that is not true. I have always been artist, just a part of me was afraid to claim my gift. I have always wanted to inspire and help people, although like most I wasn’t sure what the best way was to go about that. I’m not sure I have figured it out yet but what I have learned is that there are small things everyday we can do for people. Things that sometimes take no money. You never know what small action you take could totally change a person’s day. I had one of these experiences just the other day.

As an artist, I truly believe all people should be able to buy and own art that they love. That is why I always work with people who want to buy a piece of my art. I have also decided that given this gift sometimes it is nice just to share it and maybe make someone’s day. So once in awhile I leave free art around the city and tweet about it. If you find it you can keep it but I digress. lol So the other day my wife and I were out at a coffee shop and I decided to leave one of my small pieces of art there. I usually put a small quote on them and my url to my FB art page, not to get more likes but in hopes that someone will post that the new piece of art has found a home. After leaving the piece and heading to the bookstore for a bit, I see a notification on my phone. It reads as follows: “Found…My son & I think it’s a sign of good luck, as my wife goes in for surgery tomorrow…Thank you!”

small art piece I left

small art piece I left

I would be lying if I didn’t say it brought tears to my eyes. Not for sadness but happiness that this little piece of art meant so much to this family! You see we really NEVER know what people are going through, or what our small action, kind word, or helping hand can really do for someone. My little piece of art was a sign for them that everything was going to be ok. No amount of price tag can be put on the feeling that gave me and how much he gave back to me. He will never know what he did for me as an artist, as a person, as a human being. Honestly, all we all really want is to be acknowledged. To know that we are loved, not alone and that this big bad world has not forgotten about us.

So no matter what your circumstances are, try to find something small to do for someone and if you feel so inclined leave a comment here and tell me about it! I love hearing stories, not to toot our own horns but to inspire others to do that same. I promise you, you will get far more in return than what you gave. So hold the door for someone, smile, buy someone a cup of coffee, acknowledge another human being, no matter how put together they may seem… you may just be the difference in their whole day that they needed!!! Namaste and love and light to you all!!!

The Reality of Love….

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If we are honest with ourselves we spend our days and nights looking for that one love… the one that ignites our soul, that makes us feel butterflies, and takes our breath away with the one look. The one with the slightest glimpse of that smile that starts to run across their face when they see you, can make our heart race faster. Yes by most accounts I am a hopeless romantic but honestly as I have I gotten older, I thought this idea of love was growing further and further from my reach. I was starting to think that maybe it really was just my imagination, coupled with the images of what the movies tell us love is supposed to be like. Like my previous post I was so shattered by love, endured so much heartbreak the year before that for the most part my heart literally felt like the last bits of it would disappear if I even attempted to fall in love with anyone. Instead I learned to love me, not in the  egotistical way but in the spiritual way. And why not? I always have heard if you don’t love yourself how can you really love another?

So for that year, I read, I learned and I did things I had never done. I did what fed my soul, sometimes that meant crying until I could no longer stand it, eyes hurting, collapsed on the floor, just a flood gate of hurt, pain and destruction, flowing, bleeding out of me, like a river of broken pieces of me, that the past year had consumed and spit out. Some pieces I recognized, others I was seeing for the first time it seemed. As the year went on, through listening to my heart, and literally shutting off my brain …I began to heal. I began to shift. I was starting to emerge out of the ashes someone new, whole and with a fresh new perspective on life. I was happy again, content and enjoying my life as it was.

I have never been someone who needed a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them but I do not NEED them.  After about a year and a half of literally NO Dating, not even flirting, my heart decided it was ready to love again. I was going to “date around” for the first time in my life. I had no desire to be in a full-blown relationship but hanging out with someone would be nice. Now if you if you know anything about lesbians, this is almost impossible BUT I was going to try. Hell I am not like most lesbians anyway. I don’t uhaul, I don’t do drama and I don’t say I love you on the first date.

That being said, I got out there and yes I met some great women, but no one that actually captured my attention. Call me picky but I had done a lot of work on myself and I was NOT SETTLING.  Then one day out of the blue, this girl left a comment on one of my pictures on Instagram. She had a confidence, the right amount of sarcasm and of just enough wit to capture my attention. Yeah ok and she was easy on the eyes.. lol.

What would come to ensue the next days following was something I had never experienced. First off, I should state she lived in Canada and I lived in North Carolina… yeah um can we be any further apart?! Yet our connection was one that you could not ignore. We talked for hours, everyday. Making each other laugh, and hearing her voice instantly brightened my day. We exchanged pictures and her smile instantly made me smile, without me even thinking about it. I found myself falling, and falling quick and hard. Was this what everyone was talking about when the said when you meet her you will just know? But how does that happen when we haven’t even laid eyes on each other?

I won’t say our “romance” was an easy one. There were obstacles that life threw at us, some out of our control some very much ones we created but for 7 months we were in each others lives on and off. There was a time we tried to go our separate ways, to forget that inner most connection and chalk it up to maybe it was all in our head thinking. Yet every time we found our back to each other. One of us inevitably contacting the other and each time I had the same reaction to her, except each time it got more and more intense. She became that girl that I had to meet, I had to know either way… was what we felt for each other real? I didn’t want to go through life wondering what if. Oddly enough I had made a promise to myself this new year that if something scared me to go straight for it and she scared the hell out of me.

Needless to say on Labor Day weekend I decided to pack up my car and drive to Canada, this trip wasn’t just for her, other opportunities had popped up for me, and honestly we weren’t even talking really when I decided to go but I knew she would have to be part of that trip. Needless to say when she heard I was coming we decided we had to see each and at least talk. I was going to follow my heart and whatever was meant to happen would. What I encountered next is not something I planned or even expected.

Seeing her for the first time every part of my being lit up. It was like I was blind and suddenly got my eye sight back. I had NEVER felt this way about anyone! Could this really be real?  Her smile, lights up the room and I find myself smiling at her. I felt like I had found my home. I could feel her presence always but having her this close, was almost too much for me to take in, yet all I wanted to do was inhale her. She could make me laugh in ways I never know of, and when her hand comes to my face right before she kisses me I feel myself lose my breath for just a moment. She completely disarms me and yet fills me with such love, I feel like I can take on the world.  What was happening to me? I don’t get like this, this is for the movie’s, this stuff doesn’t really happen. Yet I couldn’t deny it nor did I want to.

See what I have learned in this past year is the universe will bring you that which you are. I have no desire to be her world, just one of her favorite parts. I finally feel like I have someone who is rooting for me and yet has no interest to hold me down, or steal my light. When I catch her looking at me, I can see my soul in her eyes and I can see just how much she loves my very being. To say I adore her doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings for her. I adore every moment I get with her, not because I have to, or because it is what I am supposed to do but because being with her enhances my very soul. All I want to do is see her fly, to shine her own light because that in return makes me want to shine mine. I adore her for all of her faults, as well her loving and compassionate heart. I love her for exactly who she is and in return she loves me the same way. There are moments, where I have my arms wrapped around her and I honestly feel my whole body take a breath and relax into her knowing at that very moment, there is nothing but pure love between us, for exactly who we are.

She is the reality of love. It is not always rainbows and sunshine BUT I can promise you that it is real, that is genuine and that is possible but I do believe that had I NOT taken time to get to know me, to love me, I would have never attracted her. She is my soul mate without any doubt in my mind. She is the rock, that when things seem so uneasy her laughter has a way of making the sun shine again. She is that unconditional love and I am hers. You have to love the darkness in people as well as their light, because if you don’t then you are really missing out on what true love really is. It is not what the movies tell you.. it is loving someone for ALL of who they are.. and being able to remind them what a smart, beautiful, amazing human being they are when they have seem to have forgotten. She is that piece in my life that I now know I cannot live without, not because I couldn’t survive, because I could but because why would I want to live my life without her when I can it with her? She has helped put color and darkness into my world and I love her even more for doing that.

So next time you are looking for love, don’t. Look within. Do you love yourself? Are you the person you would like to date? If not then I would say you have some work to do… then watch how amazing the universe can be when you shift and see in what way love shows up in your life. I honestly could not have dreamed a more perfect person for me, and I don’t mean she is perfect she is perfectly flawed, but flawed in such a way that together our life creates this magnificent explosion of love that intoxicates my heart and makes my life just that more amazing knowing I will always have her by my side.  She is my heart, my soul, my light and I am forever grateful and blessed to be able to have the privilege to call her mine. I love you baby, forever and always.

DO the work…..

When people ask how did you change your life, how did you get where you are right now.. my answer is always the same: I did and am doing the work. Do the work doesn’t mean post a lot of positive quotes that sound good but behind close doors I am far from that. Do the work means sitting with yourself in silence and dumping out ALL that you are on the floor, so to speak and coming face to face with that. Doing the work means, on your darkest days, when you feel like your bleeding from the inside out, you don’t grab a bottle, or take a drug, you sit with the pain. You let it cut, ooze, bleed. You let the tears flow, you clench your chest, you cry your eyes out and pray to find the strength. You feel every minute, every ounce of that pain and you let it flow through you. Until finally your not bleeding out, now it’s just wound, one of many, that will heal just like the others. 

Doing the work means learning to be ok with being alone. It means being able to stay single when you are broken yourself because it would be unfair to expect someone else to fix you. It means not jumping from relationship to relationship because your too scared to be alone. It means realizing if you are doing this, that you’re too scared to be alone with you, to face you, to look in the god damn mirror and see you for what you are. It means not losing yourself in someone else to avoid the reality of the life you have created. Doing the work means that hiding in someone else is not only unfair but disrespectful. Playing with someone else’s heart when your’s is incomplete and broken is one of the most selfish acts one human can commit to a another. 

Doing the work means writing down your thoughts, it means sitting in silence and listening to what your gut, the universe is telling you. It means to discard anything that no longer serves you in a positive way. Friendships, lovers, jobs, partners, family members, addictions, faults anything that weighs you down and keeps you in that darkness. Doing the work means when you are on your knees, broken feeling like the darkness is all you can see around you, that you learn to ask for help, for that hand that will help you stand when you know you do not have the strength to do it yourself. Doing the work means that although with every fiber in your being, and every bone in your body, with every breath you just want to give up, that the pain has become so excruciating that you would rather succumb to it then fight it anymore, that in the midst of the storm you find that dim light that still shines within you. For a moment you catch a glimpse of it and among all this turmoil you remember who you are. Doing the work means reminding yourself in any way, shape, or form, of who you are. It is feeding that small spark that is like beacon in all the darkness and the pain that will lead you out of the darkness and back into the light. Doing the work is doing WHATEVER it takes to make that flame grow and with each passing day, the tears will lessen, the pain will start to subside and the darkness will start to turn to light. 

Doing the work is looking in the mirror and being completely honest with YOURSELF, no more lies, no more excuses, no more drama, no more holding yourself down. It is hard, and on days you forget why you are doing the work that is taking so much out of you but then you realize that as you do the work, your life begins to change. Amazing and beautiful things start to take over and the clouds start to dissipate. 

Doing the work is learning to really love you, to take care of you and to be good to you. Only then are you really good for anyone else. Until one day when you look in that mirror again the relfection this time is different. Yes there still may be tears but this time they are tears of joy. You have battle wounds, you have scars and you have overcome it all. You have grown and you can look at yourself and really say I love you. You realize just how strong, amazing, and able you are. You realize you will not ever let anyone love you or treat you any less than you love yourself. You will find that you will grow into the human being you are mean’t to be on this earth, for really isn’t that the whole point of being here? To grow, to change and to learn…. anyone can do this. We all have the same opportunity, but you have to be willing to do that work and know that it’s not going to be easy but dammit it will be so beyond worth it!!! I promise you if you do the work, you life will be beyond anything you could even have thought up yourself… so have faith and just do the work.

Don’t Be a “If only….”

I want to be in bed right now sleeping soundly but as I try to lay there and sleep this blog keeps running through my head, so I have decide the universe it telling me it needs to be written. There was a very unfortunate death this past week of someone, who I did not know personally but knew of. Sadly this person took their own life at the age of 36. I have noticed more and more of these posts seem to be popping up on Facebook. Not only are the teens falling victim but it seems more and more adults are as well. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news. Shocked because this person seem to have a know a lot of people, and seem to have many friends. Sadden because this world lost a human life that can never be replaced, and to those who loved her, an ache that will never really go away. 

It has made me stop and think, what is going on? I was chatting with another friend over the incident and we both seem to ask the same question, ultimately ending with the same answer. How can someone who seem to be doing so well, with so many friends, take their life and NO ONE know it was that bad?  

Although I do not know the particulars in this case, and don’t claim to even begin to explain it, it made my friend and I both come to a realization. We are a society that cares more about how many friends we have on our Facebook friends list, then how many will actually show up at your door when we are on the floor in tears, wondering if and how we will ever find the strength to rise again. We are a society that would rather put our heads down and walk into our house, pretending we don’t see our neighbor, rather than wave and take two minutes to say hi, and how are you. We are a society that will watch a poor helpless animal, hurt, injured remained tied to a pole in the blazing sun without food or water, instead of going over there and rescuing it. We are a society that has become slaves to social media, texting and twitter. It is much easier to have a fight over text, where you can ignore, block, delete rather then sit in front of the person and actually DEAL with the conversation and the issues. We are a society that allows our children to be parented by our phones, the TV, a computer, video games, rather than us actually have to get off our asses and get involved in their lives. WE in essence have become, selfish, self-serving, impatient, and overwhelmed. We end up being the people who say if only I had called more, if only I had stopped by to see them, if only I had known, if only I had watched her more closely, if only I had room in my house to take that dog in, if only, if only, if only…. and yet the next day comes and we keep doing exactly what were before. 

I took my step-daughter to the park the other day, ( she is my “daughter” so to speak from a previous relationship) and as I watched her play in the sand building a volcano I noticed just how content and happy she was at that very moment. When she told me she needed a stick to create the hole, I jumped up found her one, and helped her create that every exploding hole that would make her sand volcano complete. As we laughed and I looked up, I glanced around the entire park, which was extrememly busy due to the weather being so nice, and I noticed that almost every mother was on her cell phone. It was then that it just hit me. A park full of children and their parents and most of the parents where on their cell phones?! At the end of that thought a mother came running up behind me over to her friends carrying her son, saying “I found him, thank god.” Her friend replied, “Thank god I was just about to call 911. See I told you you shouldn’t be texting so much.”  They somewhat laughed as she hugged her son tightly. Really?!!! You almost LOST your child because you were too busy on your phone. I am not saying I have not been victim to this myself, being consumed by the social media bug, it is in fact almost our way of life. What I do know is that I am trying to better about it. Although it has it’s benefits, it is also tearing us apart. 

Kids get no breaks from bullying like they did in my day. Now it can happen in school, over text, on facebook, over twitter. It can go on all day and all night and if parents are not paying attention they don’t even know their child is struggling. How do we teach our kids, it gets better, and you can overcome this, when they look to us and what they see are adults, using drugs, drinking until they pass out, or worst yet deciding to end their life because it all was just to much. What is that showing or telling them if WE cannot handle it?

We need to stop preaching haters gonna hate, and yolo, and that if you wear your pants dragging, and live off the system, and have a few tats that your badass and you are cool. No one has haters, no one wants to be you, most “haters”, are dealing with insecurity issues themselves, or they are calling you out on your own wrong doings, that you yourself do not want to face. Yolo means to seize moments, to grow, to learn from your mistakes to be a better person than you were yesterday. We need to represent this and stop letting the media make yolo out to be a rappers delight. We need to start actually getting to know each other, TALK to each other, work out our differences in person or on the phone. We need to put down the computers, the iphones, ipads, and actually spend real time with one another. We need to take a sunny after noon and build a volcano with a 5 year old and realize in that moment, there is such a peace and love and happiness, that we can learn and take from. 

I know we ALL have demons from our childhood we are all trying to overcome. We all want to be loved for exactly who we are and we all want to feel needed and accepted. Being gay, I have dealt with all of these things at some point and know them well and what it has taught me is that we need to be leading by example and we need to be teaching our children how to really love themselves first. How we do that is by showing them that we really love OURSELVES first. They imitate what they see their parents doing, they soak us in like a sponge, and they understand a lot more than we think they do. Then maybe as they grow into adults they won’t ever feel so desperate that they need to take their life to stop feeling the emptiness and pain. We are all worthy of love and acceptance and we all deserve it. Beauty should be defined by what we want it to be not what society puts in a magazine. We have the power to do better, we have the power to help each other and really change the way we are as human beings. 

So as I end my Jerry Maguire tirade for the night, I am going to pose a question to you that was posed to me by my spiritual mama as she likes to call herself. I adore her and she is helping me in ways she doesn’t even realize and I am forever grateful. Ask yourself this: If you had all the money in the world, and if you knew that everyone would love and accept you for exactly who you are without question, what type of person would you be? How would you look? How would you dress? How would you carry yourself? How would you show up in this world? Sit with that and when you figure that out, be that person in this world. When you do that, you draw to you the love you think you deserve in amazing ways. We all need you, more than you may ever realize, because there is only one you, and you are amazing. You are loved and you are worthy. 

That question has changed my life and I hope in some small way it changes yours. Don’t walk around anymore being a “If only” person… walk around and be you, be present and I promise you together we can change the world. 

From the Depths Within

One of the questions I get asked the most is what inspired this painting? At times I find I am hesitant to answer that question because for me it is not what inspired me to paint it but rather what it inspires in you, who is viewing it. 

Everyone that knows me knows this past year has been one of the most, if not that hardest year I have gone through. I lost a lot this past year more than I could ever imagine or I ever saw coming. To give a brief history my girlfriend and I broke up, which yes I know happens everyday but for me I thought she was different. The other hard part is she has a little one, so not only did I lose her I lost the child or so I thought. I lost my family, something I hold very near and dear to my heart. Shortly after that my job changed, the woman who was like a second mom to me passed away and a week after that my beloved dog, who was my baby, I had to put down. By the middle of July last year I had lost everything that was “my life”. I never thought this is what my life would look like now at this age. Last year brought me to my knees, and although we all like the believe we are that super human that will just rise again, there were times I was not so sure. I didn’t think a human heart could feel so broken, so in shambles, so scattered. Painting oddly enough was the furtherest thing from my mind. I could barely get out of bed some days, others breathing seemed to just be a chore. Yet the universe found ways to speak to me, that I could never imagine. People who I would have never thought, showed up in my life, to guide, to hold me, to listen, to make me laugh, to give advice. Many of them who are artist’s looked at me and said, “I know you feel you cannot paint but just put the paintbrush in your hand and just start. Paint for you, not for anyone to see it, but just for you.” So finally one night, alone, tears streaming down my face, I did just that. Of course the first color that I grabbed was black. As soon as that paint hit the canvas, something in me just ripped open and poured out. Every emotion that there are no words for came to the surface. You know those emotions. The are in every extreme of our existence. To love someone so much, to say “I love you” doesn’t seem enough or to feel pain so deeply that the tears pouring from your eyes do not even come close to capturing how you feel in your soul. 

That is what painting is for me. It is the deepest part of me that human words cannot find expression for. It is those pieces of me that are so rare, so vulnerable, so tucked away that maybe my loved ones get to see them or may even get a glimpse. They are pieces, that until this past year, I didn’t even know were there. They sometimes rise to the surface like a cool breeze, ready to flow onto the canvas. Other times they are bubbling, until something inside is cut, or ripped and they flood out like a fresh wound, uncontrolled but unable to be stopped. My paintings are my soul’s exposure in it’s rarest form. If you look there are bits and pieces of me that you never knew, others will smack you in the face they are so obvious. My artwork is my love, my pain, my tears, my happiness, my joy, my comfort, my sorrow, my very breath of who I am as a human being. To know my art is to know me, if you really look and see the painting, if you feel it’s breath, if you hear it’s whisper, you will have heard me speak to you from the canvas. 

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“Insecurity” Done with acrylics, inks, spray paint
http://www.facebook.com/brokenpaintbrush

My paintings come to me, as weird as this sounds. I see them in my head before I paint them and oddly enough if I don’t paint what I see, it usually doesn’t work out. Sometimes, I am not even sure how I will paint what I see in my head. I literally pick up the brush and hope that some higher power will guide my hand to do what it needs to do. Painting now for me is like breathing. I cannot imagine not doing it and I could not have imagined that anyone would want to buy ANY of my pieces. The amount of gratitude, and love, and feeling of being blessed that comes with that I cannot describe, all it does is bring tears to my eyes. It is not something I take lightly or for granted. To think that a piece of artwork that I created has touched someone so much that they want to spend their hard earned money on it, to me is a powerful statement. It is inspires me more, and reassures me that no matter what doubts may pop into my head, I need to just keep picking up that paintbrush and paint. Painting is my  greatest language. 

Did you just call me an Artist?!

Painting donated for auction. Acrylics on canvas. www.facebook.com/brokenpaintbrush

Painting donated for auction. Acrylics on canvas.
http://www.facebook.com/brokenpaintbrush

So it has been awhile since I have used words to express anything I am feeling. Lately it has been a paintbrush and a canvas. I have been urged to pick the “pen” up once again.. so here we go. Life for me is drastically different from a year ago. I am sure I could go into all the heart breaking details but honestly now they are just that details. Stepping stones that got me to where I am now and I am forever grateful for each step I took.

Each step took me to this amazing person I have come. To finding my voice, to releasing years or hurt and pain, to finally loving, REALLY loving myself.  It brought me to the new title of artist. One of which I am still getting use to but finding so much excitement and love in holding that title.  It brought me to being asked to donate some pieces of art for a benefit the community was holding for another community member who has had a stroke and no healthcare coverage. I was happy to do so. I was honored to be asked in thinking that my artwork may draw enough money to actually help out. Without pressure on myself, I sat in my studio trying to come up with pieces that related to the benefit, always walking away with something less than lack luster. Finally when I just let go and painted what came to me, I came up with two pieces, one I loved one I disliked. I have learned though my feelings toward a certain piece are usually because I am too emotionally connected to it in a good or bad way, so I no longer judge my own pieces.

Regardless of my feelings I packed up the paintings and took them to the benefit. What happened that night was nothing I could have ever expected. Not only did we have a great showing of people who came out to support Moe, our community member who we were trying to help but people were really interested and intrigued with my paintings. Out of all the great things there to bid on people were still drawn to my work. They wanted to know the meaning behind them. In exchange for my story I got theirs and how the piece spoke to them in one way or another. Hearing their story meant more to me than they will ever know. This is what I have always wanted to do with my life. I want to inspire, touch, get people to think. I just never knew it would be through my art. As I watched the bids go up and up for my paintings, I found myself overcome with a sense of love and honor. Love that I could help raise this money for Moe and honor that people would want to take their hard-earned cash and spend on it on something I did. Money is tight for a lot of people these days and I know $30 can me a lot to some people let alone $100.  As the bidding continued, I was being pulled around the room, asked to meet people, explain my artwork and in one of the moments as a friend pulled my arm and said, ” I have someone you need to meet. She was talking about your painting and I told her I know the artist. Let me grab her. ”   The words I know the artist rang in my head over and over. It was me she was speaking of. I am the artist. I am the artist and someone wants to meet me because of something I painted.

I am an artist, in my own right. I may not be a Picasso, at least not yet, but I am an artist by right. If being an artist meant I could affect the world in a positive way like I was tonight, sign me up. This is my truth; this is what I was meant to do and I know because the feeling of love and positivity that comes with sharing my art with the world is something I don’t ever want to lose. So as hard as this year has been, that night was one more stepping stone in me accepting and believing that statement that I can now say with confidence: I am an artist. I urge you to find your truth, because once you do, your life will change in ways you could never imagine. Life sure is a beautiful ride. I am happy to report on a side note both paintings went and ended up raising $400, to be added to the end of the nights total for Moe.

 

Tattered Heart

Mourning… the word itself when said seems to have a sadness sound to it. I have had my share of mourning in the past few months. First it started with the loss of my girlfriend and step daughter. Waking up one morning thinking we are going Christmas shopping to only end the day with her at a friend’s house and me alone in the apartment we shared, feeling like she had crushed the only living beating thing I owned..my heart. Mind you we were having troubles but I thought no matter what we would stick it out. I spent the next few months lost, in a fog and wondering what was my part in all this. To soothe myself somewhat I would spend the evenings before bed watching Moulin Rouge. Something about that film kept the small amount of hope I still had barely burning that maybe just maybe one day I would actually find someone who when they looked at me and said, ” I love you,” they meant all of me. The good, the bad and the ugly because at the end of the day the thought of living without me was more painful than anything else.  I took the advice of everyone, spent time alone, kept busy and met new friends and people. Still my mind constantly thought of her and of them and all the questions that go along with that played like a mix tape over and over in my mind. As time went on I healed…some …ok very little… we tried to maintain a friendship and through turbulent waters found ourselves all over the place. It’s interesting when your mind knows what you should do but your heart won’t listen….. At least I had my dog, my best friend.. the one constant in my life that through no matter what was always there.

Bailey was for a better lack of a term my baby. I bottle fed him when I got him because he was so small he couldn’t eat anything solid. He was a rescue. His momma dumped in the field because she was pregnant left on her own in the wild to give birth and take care of her pups. Luckily we saw her one day walking around our work and followed her. There in the field were 11 puppies. All got adopted as well and as mom and I got my Bailey.  He had been sick this past year, diagnosed with a rare disease that turns his immune system into a deadly weapon against his own body. It attacks his nerves and his esophagus stops working properly and then later his hind legs. There are all kinds of medicine he was on and my best friend had built him a special chair so he could eat. When he was doing good, he was great. He looked like a normal dog and you would never know he had anything wrong with him. Most nights it was him and I… he would sit next to me as I cried and tended to my broken heart and ever so gently lay his paw on my leg or come over and lay his head in my lap. He had seen this before ..he knew where this was going and it was his way of letting me know we will get through this mom.. we always do.

As I found the months passing by my ex and I riding waves of doing well, then plummeting down into the feelings of hurt and disappointment that still lingered, I was starting to somewhat feel normal that is until the month of July hit.  The beginning of July I found out from a dear friend that a woman who was like a second mother to me, had cancer. It was major and prayers were sent out. It was her daughter that messaged me and as I got the news that night, I lay in my bed again crying. Thoughts of my past with this woman, for all the things she did for me. It was because of her I was even living in North Carolina. Had I not met her my life would look very different than it does now. She was one of those people that you meet and your whole life changes. She offered me a job and a place to stay right out of college and I took the chance and took that offer. I lived with her family for a couple of years, working with them as well. Her daughters became my dearest friends, and their mom and dad my mentors. I spent endless Monday’s out on the lake with this woman, washing their boat and just talking about life. I learned from her, she taught me to water ski, the value of a dollar, and above all how to love people unconditionally. We had our debates over religion and I watched her weep as she went through her own life struggles. She was a huge influence in my life and now she was getting ready to depart this earth. Her and her family had moved to Virginia Beach awhile back so I didn’t see or talk to her as regularly as past years but I always thought of her and we would share the occasional banter on Facebook.

It had been a week or see since I got the original message about her situation that I later found out she had succumb to her disease and had passed on.  She was the core of her family and I knew there would be a great hole missing for all of them. I wept for my loss of her but for also the loss and hurt I know her family were feeling. She had touched so many lives and she was now gone. I was in NY at the time visiting my family when I got the news and leaving to head back to NC the next day. I spent the good part of the trip thinking of her, the memories and how fragile life really is. One breath taken away and we are no longer.  As I returned home I felt myself not so normal after all. I tried to go about my daily routine and then about four days of being back home in NC, my constant love, my best friend, woke up one morning and started throwing up. I panicked; I had been here before. Bailey had started to throw up the first time he got very sick and was diagnosed with his disease. The thing is with this disease most dogs die from getting aspirated pneumonia. He had it the first time and spent a week in ICU at the emergency vet. I knew if he got it again he would not be able to fight it. Trying to stop the vomiting hoping I was wrong in my thinking,  I put him in the kitchen. Sat with him and try to give him a little water. He threw that up and his body began to shake all over. I knew something was wrong.

I loaded him up into the car and headed to the vet. On the way there I noticed he stuck his head out of the window for a little bit but mainly just layed on the back seat with his nose to the wind just taking the ride in. This wasn’t like him at all..normally you couldn’t keep him out of the window. When we got to the vet he threw up two more times but still was able to wag his tail at all the dogs and people he wanted to greet. He still had some pep in him. Finally seeing the vet, I got the news that I didn’t want to hear. He had a fever and liquid in his lungs. He would have full-blown pneumonia within the day if not the next. Just when I thought my heart could really not break anymore, I felt the final pieces fall to the floor. I knew what I had to do, I had to let him go. Making that decision was one of the hardest in my life. I told the vet and she agreed, her only words to me were.. “My heart breaks for you. I am so sorry.”  I won’t go into details because really it wasn’t as peaceful as they all say it would be but I will say I stayed by his side until his last breath was taken and when he was gone, I do believe I lost a part of me that will never be found again.

To say I was broken doesn’t begin to compare to how I felt. All I could do was lay in bed and cry and cry and cry. It felt as if somehow had grabbed my heart and ripped it from me and with that pain came all the tears. I was done, a shell of a human being and barely making it through a day. I didn’t watch tv, or listen to the radio and each night to even try to sleep I went to bed watching Marley and Me. Somehow that gave me comfort and yet helped me to release the very pain that was living inside me. I had lost everything or though it seemed.  Loss after loss after loss. All I knew to do was surrender to my faith.

Mind you I am not a religious human being but more of a spiritual one. All I knew to do was surrender to the universe and say, ” You have broken me, now teach me what I need to learn. Show me how to heal and please guide me in finding my heart and myself again.”  I started writing in my journal again, I started just being in the world by sitting on my back deck and feeling the wind, hearing the bird and taking in all that I see. I had t remind myself to breathe and breathe out and with this surrender has come such an enlightenment even I could not have planned it.  Friends were sent to help me heal, I started back to church and I found a sense of peace I didn’t know I could feel. I am still a work in progress. I still have my moments of tears but I am also learning I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was.  A new dog has come into my life, and he was everything I didn’t want. Little, a puppy and not something I ever thought I would have but I do believe the universe has sent him to help me heal. My friends were giving him up and thought I might like him. It had only been two weeks since Bailey’s death and I thought it maybe too soon. I didn’t know if I could bond with him, yet I have. So needles to say Tank is now the new member of my family and I know Bailey would have loved him.

Through  all of this I am learning how to find myself, how to listen to my gut and how to heal in the deepest way possible. I have no interest in dating at this time although I know that will come but I do know that I won’t make the same mistakes I made in the past. My heart is still tattered, beat up and bruised. Stitched together my hope, faith and love from friends and family. It’s barely beating but it is beating stronger and stronger each day. I am learning that to suffer great loss although very painful also is a means of preparing you for great love. My old life is gone but I know my new life will be beyond anything I imagined or planned. Today in church they talked about when everything is going wrong at once, instead of losing yourself in the sadness find comfort in knowing that you have mastered this level and that the universe is preparing you for the next level of mastery..that really it is a blessing knowing you are growing as we human being and in the end isn’t that why we are all truly here?

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