The Player

Emotional manipulation really chaps my ass. To me it’s just half a notch down from the tie for loser slot number one of physical or verbal/emotional abuse of one human being to another.

It’s such a hard boundary for me now that for a while I was over zealous about not allowing anyone to know how I felt or when I was struggling. I was so horrified by my own experiences that I couldn’t let my people be my people when I needed them.

I have since learned the difference between allowing love and using love for gain.

To be fair, (and I struggle mightily with this topic) it is a sometimes subconscious skill learned when a person gets what they want by crying, or whining, or weaving a sorrowful tale of childhood, or mommy or daddy weren’t what I needed, life’s been hard on me…

blah, blah, blah.

You don’t know my story and I don’t know yours, but I do know this. There comes a point in every life where you are old enough to choose who you are going to be. You had a bad childhood? Decide to be the parent you always wanted. Belittled and bullied growing up? Make the decision to uplift and protect those weaker than you.

You decide whether to perpetuate or change your family legacy. You. Decide.

Here’s the hard thing, the thing I personally struggle with every damn day. I can’t save you. Nobody can save you but you. You may not know you’re being played the first time, but after that baby, you are a supporting character in the show of their sob story.

I know these things because I’ve done them myself. 

You’ll despise yourself for it while you keep the game in motion. You’ll rationalize how they just need a little more love, a little more time, a little more understanding. You’ll keep giving them what gratifies them and feed the monster that feeds their weakness and your own.

You’ll tell yourself that you gave everything, you understood, you were supportive, you were loving and gracious and forgiving. You will say you deserved better than the stomping you took from this person. Originally, yes you did. Yes, I did. But did I deserve the injuries I sustained? The damage I had to repair? The ass-kicking I took emotionally?

You bet I did, and nobody is taking that lesson away from me.

My only hope in writing this is that someone, somewhere will stop and wonder for just long enough, if they are allowing themselves to be manipulated instead of loved. To ask themselves honestly if they are actively helping in the injuries to their own hearts. To consider that maybe they are worth more than the life of involuntary servitude that they have given themselves over to.

We each have such heart, beauty, love and courage inside of us. Please see it. Feel it.

Pull yourself free and give who you truly are to us. 

We need you.



Good Friday (from the Book of Shell)

Good Friday is an appropriate time to consider dying to those behaviors, feelings and actions that are toxic don’t you think?
If you’re sad, lonely, depressed, anxious or angry…
Consider getting out of yourself and reaching out to someone who needs you to step up…
There are two reasons we go through trials and tribulations. The first is to learn something we have refused to accept about our lives, beliefs or behaviors. The second is to help another through the minefield we just survived.
That’s it.
Don’t waste your time weeping, wailing and gnashing your teeth, (yes, I have a biblical theme flowing in honor of Good Friday) get away from the story of you and lead a brother or sister through the desert. Or dessert. Both have a positive influence on your state of mind.
It is scientifically proven that gratitude and generosity to self and others positively changes your physiology, your brain function and your emotions.
Give your time, lend your ear or shoulder, sister can you spare a dime? Do something, even if it’s to save yourself and see what happens.
I have a friend heading just now into waters that have almost overcome me the past 2 years and I realized with some relief that there was a fucking POINT to it all. We are here for each other and to teach each other to stand for ourselves! Our people need us, WE need us.
We are here to be a light for those we love, a lesson, a witness, a support, a hand to hold, a loving silence that says…
“No matter what, I am right here.”
On this wonderous Friday, I worked late when we normally don’t work at all and as I was just heading home, the poor guy I was married to for 29 years texted that his battery was dead in his new truck. I did a u-turn, allowed him to jump his battery, and followed him to the grocery (where we picked up a few things each of us needed) just to make sure his truck would start again. He would do the exact thing for me. And he bought me some wine! Win/win.
We are here to learn love never dies, it just transforms.
My point is this. When it is time for something to “die” there is a mourning and learning period (I will call this Saturday) and then we rise again, less our ignorance and more than we were capable of being before our trauma.
Self-imposed or not.
Think of this in the tomb-like silence after the heart-break, in the wtf wondering of it’s purpose, in the slow and appalled realization of the knowledge you have previously chosen to ignore.
There is a reason to rise again, to move the stone, to appear as the you that may not be readily recognizable to those that knew you before. They need you to spread the good word. They need to know the way to stand back up when life has beaten you bloody and killed your spirit and who you thought you were is nothing but a distant memory.
They need to know there is that time to rise.
They need to know it’s possible.
Happy Easter…I bid you rise, and go forth.

The Power Of Grace

It happens if you’re very fortunate, that all of your accumulated “lessons” from your shit decisions are revealed to you all at once, wrapped in a big ass bow surrounded by grace, which is by its definition completely undeserved.

I taught myself at a very young age to forgive immediately anyone I felt had harmed me in any way. I found that I was able to find joy in life easier by letting go and understanding that the more free and generous I was in redeeming the behavior of others towards me, the more the universe would be pre-disposed to offer the same to me.

Glory halliyooyer.

I have not, until recently, offered myself the same kindnesses and it has taken a horrible toll as a result. I have found that people walking all over me were merely following my footsteps, kind of like the saying that people learn how to treat you by the way you treat yourself.

If I don’t care enough about myself to eat, or rest enough, or exercise or balance work with life, or have fun or set boundaries for how I’m treated…why would anyone else care? And if they did care, why would I let them? If I put everyone else’s well-being in front of my own, why wouldn’t the rest of the world do the same? If I act like I don’t deserve better, why would anyone else believe I do?

If you’re brave enough to raise your standards, the first ass you kick is your own.

Do it, and the world will follow your lead, or fall away.

Both are to your benefit.

I promise.




The Mirage of She – Hiding a Heart of Thunder

No more back-sliding. Pinky swear.

Shelly Aspenson ~ Living Write

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She made an art of her disguise, although her greatest yearning was to be recognized, known, and accepted by those of like and thunderous hearts. She walked in the world, but not of it. She participated, and contributed, but did not belong. She worked, and laughed, and fulfilled her duties so flawlessly that those in her circle accepted the mirage; the illusion of her that would disappear if one were to reach out to touch her.

She remained concealed behind the reflection that allowed those around her to see what they were comfortable with, instead of the truth of her. She gave them their comfort in this, as her heart thundered in her chest, and her downcast eyes hid the flashes of lightning that preceded each rumble of the imminent storm of her.

She began to know, as her self-awareness grew, that the storm could not long be…

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Fist Fight

I am in an oddly happy place now. Odd to me in light of the circumstances, experiences and emotions of the last 3-4 weeks. It has not been pleasant or entertaining to be me. Had someone been foolish enough to attempt to steal my identity, I would’ve let them and just hopped in my car, changed my name and started a new life somewhere else.

Alas, I take myself where ever I go, so I had to absorb a few things instead.

I’ve learned there is a big difference between emotional intelligence and emotional fitness. The intelligence I have, the practice of applying it, not so much. Knowledge is no good to me if I don’t put it into play. That just makes me a target, an enabler and a fool.

I can keep the soft spots in my heart without allowing them to be weak spots.

I’ve learned that boundaries don’t mean I’m holding myself back. They are an indication that I’m holding myself sacred, that I am willing to protect what is valuable from those who have not proven to understand who I am. Love, or even caring for another, doesn’t mean I have to say yes, sometimes it means I need to say no for both of us.

I respect myself enough that you have to do the same or move on.

I’ve learned to see my work as an investor in my life and not the reason for it. It doesn’t define me, or draw from me anything other than the desire to give my best and let it go when I leave to enjoy the rest of my day. I don’t worry about it at night anymore, nor am I exhausted from fruitless attempts to intervene and steal another’s lesson that is theirs to learn.

I recognize that as a type of ego/arrogance now. Each of us reap our own rewards.

I’ve learned to ask questions until I’m satisfied with what I know and understand about any given thing. If you think that indicates a lack of intelligence, I’ll let you field that boomerang you just tossed and leave it at that.

When I see/hear judgement and unkind behavior, it just clears my vision. I see you.

There is a mountain of shit I no longer carry, and I’m in an oddly happy place without it. So in that annoying way that always made me want to slap someone when I heard it myself, I am grateful for all of the repetitive kicks in the ass that brought me here.

The fist fight in my head is over now. I win.



There are those

who will never be loved

as they could,

hearts that will never be lit

from within

and eyes that will never see

what was meant to be

without you…

Do not hold so tightly

to your past,

or protect yourself

so fiercely

from all risk

that you lose your


to see the possibilities,

to engage with

the mysteries of life,

or feel the whispers of hope

as it swirls around you…

Who will fill

all the spaces in the hearts

you were meant

to love

if you let yourself lose

your capacity to be

the original

intended creation

of you?



Driving home from my successful unicorn day, I was half singing along with the song “Scars To Your Beautiful” when I actually listened to the lyrics for the first time.
I had tears in my eyes the rest of the way home.
There are times it gives us comfort to know we are not alone in feeling less, in thinking we’re not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to stand as we are and be worthy.  The times we offer praise, support and affection to another as we silently acknowledge that we suffer the same wounds. 
But there are moments when there is no comfort in that, we only know it hurts.
In my lifetime I’ve been ugly, plain, cute, thin, fluffy, and the girl with the hilarious personality. I learned to clean up pretty good at times as an adult, but to this day when someone says I’m beautiful I wonder what it is they see. Are they looking at my smile or the joy in it? Are they looking at my eyes or into them? Do they see the heart I offer or the body that carries it?
I wonder if you want me to look good on your arm, or feel loved in them?
These are the things we wonder, the things we want, the things we all feel. We have no control over our DNA. I have never been, nor will I ever be, centerfold material. But there is no other heart like mine, and I built that from scratch by  making my own way. There is no other like it. It is beautiful.
So is yours.
That song broke my heart today. So, of course, I downloaded it to my playlist.
To remind myself that I am beautiful, no matter how you perceive me.
So. Are. You.