Coffee In Bed

Dear Readers, 

This is one of those days that I am grateful for singlehood. I live in New York City, it’s Saturday, rainy, chilly and cloudy. The small apartment complex I reside in is unusually peaceful. I slept late ( 12 noon). I woke up to my cat, Hamlet angry 😡 cries for food. I decided this is the perfect day to spend in my bedroom. I prepared my coffee tray, grabbed the laptop, bottles of water, and positioned myself in the middle of my bed. 

Oh, the joy of peace, coffee in bed, and living alone affords me the space and quiet time to recover from the wear and tears from the outside world. At 57, I would appreciate a partner who understands how to benefit from quiet time. I’ve experienced marriage once and it didn’t afford me quiet time. I’ve lived with roommates and don’t care to revisit those horror stories. My last relationship two years ago, I was engaged and lived with my fiance for 30 days. I realized it wasn’t going to work. 

He did not understand quiet time. He had big screened Tvs in every room except the bathroom. He woke up making noise, talking, talking, he was 6 feet 2 and had a loud voice. He misunderstood my need for silence as anger, I moved out in a hurry into a roommate situation. It was a spacious apartment, clean and bright. But my roommate a tall handsome man in his 60s and a retired carpenter, was an early riser  7 days a week, and he was VERY noisy. I endured living there for a year, over time he caught onto my need for quiet time and toned down the noise.

Dec 13, 2019, I moved into my own space. The apartment complex has three floors and unfortunately for me I am on the first floor. I have noisy neighbors who walk like beasts. My landlord has done an amazing job of helping to keep the peace, so on the rare days of silence I enjoy coffee in bed and movies. 

After the fiasco with the last relationship, I’ve been paying attention to how I enjoy living something I’ve never done previously. Here’s what I learned. I like being alone 75 percent and the other 25 percent,  I like to cook and entertain friends and family, and after two years of being free,  I don’t want any males in my living space, and there are no plans for dating in the near future. I’ve rediscovered the joys of sleeping alone, the benefits of having my own bathroom, and the delight of coming home to silence.

This has been a great weekend starting with Friday, the weather was amazing, warm, sunny and all the snow has melted. I cooked and cleaned, and  I had a visitor who brought me my first house warming gift, a glass chess set. The food, wine and company was just what I needed to end such a glorious day. So, here I am in the glory of a beautiful, mellow, silent Saturday, now this is what it means by living in the moment.  

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

The Narrative of Worth

Dear Readers, 

When was the moment you discovered the narrative about being unworthy. By narrative I mean the private conversation that you have in your head about being unworthy. Then there is society and all the confusing voices measuring and judging your worth according to your net worth, education, class status, your circle of friends, where you reside, and whether you are a renter or a homeowner. 

What relationship were you in when he or she told you that ” you were fortunate to have taken up space in their life” and they made you feel that  you were beneath their standards, and you brought into that lie. Who was the family member or members who told you as a child that you were ugly, undeserving, mischievous, and wasn’t going to amount to anything good? Did those voices of negativity follow you into adulthood? 

At your place of employment you grind to shine only to be demeaned, belittle, devalued, and told that the work your produce isn’t good enough, and you are barred from membership in the office clicks, thus you brood and begin the narrative that your not good enough.This game of labeling individuals not good enough leads to feelings of being unworthy, and it’s a form of bullying. So what do you do? When all the arrows of being unworthy point at you, beating down your self worth, self esteem, and breaking your spirit.

Night and day this narrative of being unworthy haunts you, and you doubt who you are and what you’re capable of achieving. Then you become trapped in a ugly cycle of trying to fix yourself to become the ideal image of worthiness. You seek approval and hope others will build up your confidence. You buy name brand clothes, and shoes, you become an addict staying neatly groomed, you eat at the right places, buy membership into health clubs, and network with people who are only name droppers. 

You strive and strive to the point of frustration because you don’t see progress in being worthy. You continue on this cycle of trying to prove that you’re worthy, until you’re so beaten down and deep into the abyss of untruth that you’re willing to accept anybody’s truth about your worthiness. 

Then the bough breaks. All the emotional damage, mental stress, physical hardship, sleepless nights, tears, fears, come rushing forward all at once. What do you do? 

The only thing you can. 

You stand still, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are worthy. You block out the voices and

images in society that tell you that you need to believe the hype that buying into someone else dictating your self -worth isn’t an option for you. You greet each new day with you head up, shoulders squared, and walk with the stride of a Naval officer, erect and determined. You keep staying to yourself that you are worthy and then you create your life based on what you know your worth by your own standards. 

You refuse to play this dangerous game of  giving your soul over to others who will mishandle you. You play by your own rules and refuse to bend to the cries of conformity. And at the end of the day you can look those naysayers in the eyes not with anger and resentment, but with pride and strength because they know you know your worth and there is nothing they can do. 

Thank you for stopping by dragthepen

At the heart of the Matter

Dear Readers,

I want to love the world through the heart of a child. To experience unconditional warmth, acceptance, to embrace life with pure openness. To love with the heart of a child is to be brave, adventurous, and unassuming. To love with the heart of a child means to be fearless, playful, selfless, and bold. To love with the heart of a child means to forgive, hold no grudges, to be curious, and ask why? When children love they embrace you with hugs that melt your heart and chase away the boogeyman. Children love with deep loyalty, and their love is not conning or wonders what they will gain or lose by loving. 

Unlike the heart of adults that have lost its warmth, locking out hope and possibilities. The heart of adults is weak, selfish, cold, and holds grudges. It’s been traumatized by disappointment, neglect, abuse, broken promises, lost love, anger, and resentment. Adults love with a heart that questions loyalty, and loves with the mindset that questions, ” what’s in it for me”? Unlike adults when children love there is no plan B, or leaving options open. 

The heart is an organ that is the center of life,  yet we are careless and neglectful in the way we take care of our hearts. The majority of humanity is guilty and careless about expressing,  practicing and showing authentic love. We take love for granted like we do our hearts until there is a breakdown then and only then we perceive how important authentic love is, and how vital it is for our survival. Nothing grows ( Matures) without love, every creature and human needs to be nurtured. But, sometimes we wait until the very thing or person that we claim to love departs from our lives to understand that love is much more than a momentary feeling, and that love is healing just as much as it is destructive. 

Are we a society that has given up on understanding the sacred power of love? I loved once it was sweet, joyful, trusting, and as blissful as the rising sun after a spring rain. I shall love again because I believe in a child like love.

Those Eyes

Dear Readers,

I rather see the world through the eyes of a child. To see the world with innocence, joy, playfully, no judgement, bright and smiling. Eyes that believe in fairies, and laughs at the stars. Eyes that are amazed at discovery and are in awww at silly things and butterflies, lady bugs, and rainbows. Eyes that don’t lie about emotions and sleep with angelic peace. The eyes of a child are unbiased, clear, and blameless. The eyes of a child uplifts, heals, and gives hope. 

Unlike the eyes of adults that are dark, unfocused, unsure, and they frown. These eyes are tinted by experience, they stop believing, they are filled with mistrust, and evil. The eyes of an adult beam with betrayal, anger, bitterness, shame and guilt. These eyes are serious, dull with responsibility, pain and suffering. Lost is the ray of hope, joy, happiness, and trust. The eyes of an adult are bleak, and have lost direction. 

I rather look at the world through the eyes of a child then I could wipe the tears from my adult eyes, smile and giggle at the funny man in the clouds. 

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen

My Week

Dear Readers, 

I have a week off. No remote teaching until February 9, and job number 2, where I worked as a Director Support Professional in a group home only scheduled me for one day.  My first reaction was anger, I had planned to work a few extra days to pay for my birthday trip in March. I thought this sucks, what am I going to do with myself for an entire week?

As luck would have it this week off worked in my favor. First, I live in New York City. We recently experienced a snow storm that dropped 12 to 18 inches. Second, I compiled a list of things I really needed to accomplish, however, I’ve been in procrastinating mode. Here is my story. I am planning my retirement by building a tiny house ( 200-250 square feet) during my research and online chats with people in the tiny house community. They recommend that I begin to downsize and decide what I can and can’t live with or without. 

So, I began with the filing system. I never knew I had so much old paper. In three hours I shredded six ( 13 gal sizes) garbage bags. I will need to schedule another to reorganize new files, but the good news is all the old stuff is gone. And the new rule is check the filing system every six months. I took a coffee break and moved onto the next project, my CD and DVDS.

I can’t live without my music. I am an oldie but goodies kinda gal. I was able to let go of ten DVDS, but I know there will be more. I let go of 20 CD’s and kept about 40 of the classics. That was easy, now for the hard part my books. I had previously downsized my collection twice over the last three years. I don’t buy new books, but if I see a good deal I read them and let them go. I have about 80 books, including photo albums, I don’t think I can let them go. Therefore, when I build my house, space for my books is very important. I didn’t mention the box of journals that I’ve been keeping in an airtight container in my closet. I’ve kept a journal each year since 1992. My goal is to hire a typing pool of college students and have my journals bound into books for my grandchildren. 

I have always lived in small spaces because of affordability and I’ve learned to buy only what I need. I was also advised by the people in the tiny house community to preserve and recycle any items that can be included in building my house. The hardest part of this downsizing is going to be my kitchen, I want to keep everything. I like to cook, bake and entertain, so this will be my last project. 

In the meantime, I am learning from the people in the tiny house community, to cut spending as much as possible, only buy what’s necessary, clean up my credit, pay off all credit cards, and practice living like a minimalist advice that I am taking very seriously. 

Before the sunset I ventured outside for a fifteen minute walk in the snow and rewarded myself with a muffin. So, this is day two of my week at home. The next three days I will spend completing two books I am reading at the same time, and preparing for next week. I am ready to get back to teaching and going outside traveling to work at least two days a week.

I enjoy this time at  home, but I do need to have interaction with others and not so much isolation.

Thank you for reading. How is your week? 

The Joys of Freewill

Dear Readers, 

While I was out on my 1 hour pandemic walk, something I’ve been doing since being ordered to shelter in place. Although my gym is open I’m afraid to go back, so I created a daily workout routine indoor and my outdoor activities consist of walking the outside perimeter of the football field near my house.

 I was listening to Miles Davis and my mind wondered about the life of prisoners and the limitations they struggle with. I know that there is no comparison to the limitations placed on our lives due to the coronavirus, and the striction placed on a prisoner due to crimes committed against society.  

I began to think about what it feels like to lose privileges and freedom of choice, to be able to  make decisions based on what we feel we need or want. For now our so called normal has been turned upside down, we have to put great thought into who we are around, where we can and can’t go, but we still enjoy some freedoms, as we sit, hope, and wait for the day when we can exist in something that resembles what we use to know as normal. 

 In the case of some prisoners they have no hope of life returning to normal. Once branded a criminal, this label sticks. When a person who has been incarcerated serves their time and is released back into society they have conditions placed on their lives that seem impossible to overcome.They have to check in with a probation officer, can’t live in public housing, is denied  the opportunity to apply for government assistance, difficulty finding employment, and they no longer have the right to vote. All the rights and privileges endowed to all individuals. To add insult to injury their criminal record follows them for the rest of their life.  

I said that to say this, all the privileges that we might moan and groan about missing during this pandemic like, dining out, broadway shows, sporting events, going to the gym, and meeting friends for cocktails or coffee. Although at this time we have to be careful, we can still exercise  making choices by free will. Oftentimes when an event like a pandemic occurs we are often reminded that what we think we are missing or can’t live without, we should be thankful for what we do have and for the freedom of choice.

Changing the Patterns

Dear Readers, 

Lately I’ve been paying attention to the pattern in my life. Not routines like getting up in the morning and putting the coffee on at the same time, walking in the same direction to the train station, or eating the same dinner each night. I am referring to the patterns that have led me to the same disastrous results. I have learned much from being sheltered in place, having time to examine my life and how I allowed patterns of my own negative thinking to develop into poor behavior resulting in negative consequences.

I’ve allowed myself to think that the universe is conspiring against me holding me back for succeeding in my career, education and personal life. I was wrong. After deep reflection ( 1 year) I understand how I allowed people, places and certain events into my life that did not support my growth. I blamed circumstances and not the unwillingness to look at myself and how certain patterns created a mentality of being a victim of my own destruction keeping me stuck in an emotional and mental rut of anger and resentment. Most of the drama and damage I experienced was because I didn’t change old patterns. Why? Because I had become comfortable in my sadness, complaining, and role as a victim, I was waiting for the world around me to change, so that I could have my time for happiness. My path to reflection is out of desperation because my life was spinning out of control. During my period of reflection I learned so much about myself some of the information is shocking and new, but most important is the pattern of neglect towards myself, and the challenge ahead is that I have a long way to dig myself out of this ditch of  “woes me”  that I was drowning in. 

I know that it is difficult for some people to actually look at themselves as being an active part of their self-created drama. It is important to understand the patterns of choosing the wrong partners over and over, making a pledge to lose weight only to gain back the weight, lose the weight, and gain it again is destructive. Patterns of making promises to ourselves that we do not keep, patterns of allowing other people to have power and authority over our lives submitting to them without speaking out, and standing firm on what we believe could cause devastating long term effects. These and so many other patterns are the root cause of unhappiness and feelings of being powerless to change. This is not true.  

Awareness is the key: take a closer look at the patterns in your life. The negative and vicious cycles in your life, and see where these patterns have gotten you where you are today. I am truly thankful that I’ve had time to seriously re-examine myself and my life. I am moving forward building a better and more enjoyable life with awareness, changing how I make choices, and making sure that I am not repeating negative patterns.

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen.

The Vision

Dear Readers, 

No photo description available.

It’s 6 days into the New Year and the feeling of relief and excitement of having made it through a year of turmoil is fresh in the air. The collective feelings from the masses is the hope that ” 2021 will be  a better year” and ” we are ready to move on.”  A New Year is when people begin to rethink their lives in the form of new year’s resolutions or bucket lists. I used to be a believer in both for years, I created a list of  resolutions, and posted them on my refrigerator. I was engaged in the hype that each new year was going to be the year that I would achieve my goals. However, after three months I will lose steam, my focus and the desire to do the work to accomplish my goals; so year after year I repeated the same cycle making new year’s resolutions and failing to accomplish them. 

Then I graduated to the Bucket List and for a while this worked. But over time it seemed that all I was doing was making a list of adventures I wanted to experience, places to visit, and I threw in some resolutions. Only to fall back into the habit of failing to stay focused on what I wanted to accomplish. I gave up and went about living life willy-nilly, enjoying good times and events, but my life felt like there was no meaning, vision or purpose.  

My life changed when I attended my first vision board gathering. Before you jump to conclusions or judgement here me out. I know some people’s opinions about vision boards is that they are corny or sound like hocus pocus nonsense. It’s taken me a few years to understand how a vision board has helped me to achieve more with my life than making resolutions or a bucket list. The difference for me is that I was making lists and never actually spent time using my imagination or visualization to genuinely see myself in the positions that I desired to be in. Silly me, my thinking was that somehow the universe would blink like a jennie and magically my desires would appear. 

Over time what I have learned from the process of creating vision boards is to ask myself questions about the purpose and intent behind what I want to fulfill. Creating a list of resolutions I didn’t understand that there had to be a plan, measurable goals, there will be setbacks and how to deal with distractions. Most importantly holding myself accountable for giving into the negative thinking that somehow I wasn’t worthy. Moving forward I have clarity and understand the difference between wishful thinking, useless resolutions and creating a long bucket list and then waiting a lifetime to achieve what is in my reach at this present moment.  

This year I will be 57 and the priority is to work towards retirement ( retiring at 60 and relocating to start my own tutoring business). I’ve begun to downsize, cutting back on spending, cleaning up my credit history, and most important I know how I want my retirement to look like, feel like, and where I want to retire. I plan to use my skills and experience in Education to offer my

services as a tutor working on my own time for extra income and to stay active. Oh, and the most exciting part of this vision I am building a tiny house. On the road to retirement I will continue my love of traveling ( once this coronavirus is under control), saving, blogging, writing books, and all the other activities that bring me joy. It’s been years since I’ve been excited about a plan that I can actually visualize becoming a reality. 

So my question to you is Resolutions, Bucket List or Vision Board?

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen

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Resolutions or Bucket List

dragthepen

Dear Readers,

Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something.  A Bucket list: a list of everything that you want to be, do, have or experience in life.

Look at the meaning of the word resolution it’s a “decision” to ponder then worry about the consequences of making the wrong choice; or dealing  with the guilt of not following through with losing weight, limiting caffeine intake,  to stop smoking, and eat healthier the list goes on and on.

May I suggest considering a bucket list instead. Imagine the joy of skydiving, changing careers, opening a business, taking a dance class, traveling, and taking a cooking class to release that  gourmet cook crying to get out. A bucket list is about  “doing” “being” and “experiencing, “ all the things that people keep insisting are impossible because we are too busy being responsible adults.

A bucket list should be…

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We are beyond Cabin fever

Dear Readers,

Millions of people are voicing the same sentiment about their frustrations of the prolonged effects of this pandemic. The distress of limitations are very real for the people who fear this virus, so they don’t take chances to visit friends, relatives or gather in crowded places. They are not lured to travel to exotics places due to the cheap price of an airline ticket. These are the people who wear their mask at all times and are cautious about allowing people into their homes. The bottom line is that we have gone beyond the point of cabin fever. The mental, emotional, and physical toll caused by this pandemic is becoming frightening.

So maybe our old normal wasn’t so bad after all. An increasing number of people have declared that over time they have made certain adjustments under the assumption that this pandemic wouldn’t last. So, here we are January 4, 2021, almost one year since the day that the world shut down, then resumed some normal activities, and the numbers of hospital cases decreased, weather became warm and people felt a sense of relief and triumph. 

The reality is that we were never out of danger because the threat of the spread of the coronavirus looms at every corner. The individuals who broke social distancing rules, not because they have no respect for the law, instead, due to feeling the strain of being disconnected, and having limitations put on them. Look around and you will see the weariness in the eyes of the drained and confused. People are no longer making fat jokes about the coronavirus weight gain, and building home gyms, zoom happy hour, Friday zoom date night, drive by birthdays, and anniversaries celebrations have lost their thrill. 

How much more can marriages, relationships, friendships, and partnerships endure due to living in close quarters, and not being able to travel to see distant relatives?  Yes, the doctors and science professionals claim that we must remain socially distant, wear masks even in doors, wash our hands, get tested regularly, and stay away from sick people. However, what about the problem of the homeless population slowly returning to the streets and subways in New York City, and millions of people are threatened with eviction and the government’s second stimulus package is too late help. 

The day to day uncertainty is what’s causing so much emotional stress and hopelessness. So, with the dawn of a New Year, the vaccine, more social disconnection, restaurants shutting down, heavy travel restriction, majority of church doors closed, libraries remain shut, play houses still dark, and Winter, we are no better off than we were way back on March 10, 2019, when the world stopped. I hear many people admitting that they miss going into the office, teachers missing their students,  and people wishing they could turn back time and relive all the things they took for granted. I don’t know if people are losing faith in religion, politicians, or humanity, but we are at our breaking point, we are in need of emotional healing and a long, long vacation.

Thank you for stopping by Dragthepen

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