The Road I Travel

With Mother’s Day hours away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to say goodbye to A Righteous Revival. I began this blog back in the summer of 2013 when it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong in my life had gone wrong. It served as a platform and medium of therapeutic outlet. My dedicated readers – you know who you are – have been supportive and encouraging these last almost four years and I hope that you will follow me on to bigger and better things at my new project.

I recently launched The Road Linds Travels to merge my two passions of writing and travel. Similar to A Righteous Revival, I continue to share my personal growth through candid stories, anecdotes, and memories. My dear Mother is still very much a large part of the motivation and subject of my posts. I believe she’d be very proud to see how far I have come since laying fetal position on the floor of my bedroom in Eternal Sunshine. I am very proud of myself.

Much of my strength is innate and learned but much of it, I got from my mama. She stressed how important it was to be a self-sufficient woman, never relying on a man’s emotional or financial support or anyone’s support for that matter. She showed me what hard work meant – the literal kind and the figurative kind that comes with simply living life. She was why I was able to remove myself from a toxic marriage, to pick myself up off of the floor that night, and keep on keepin’ on. She was a much-needed reminder in the form of an electrical wire when I wanted nothing more than to just give up. She’s forever my deepest inspiration.

With that being said, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the comments, dedication, and energy you all have put into following and reading A Righteous Revival over the last few years. I do hope you’ll make the transition with me and subscribe to The Road Linds Travels, as it is sure to be one hell of a journey! Much Love and peace.

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Failure, Gratitude and Other Stuff of Life

We wouldn’t be living life if all of the decisions we made were good decisions,” I suggested to a coworker after he chastised himself for a multitude of poor decisions he had made in the past. I began to firmly believe that statement as each syllable rolled off my tongue and simultaneously decided that I should probably take my own advice.

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Why is it so easy for me to remind others not to be so hard on themselves but no one is harder on me than me? Why do I beat myself up for not making it to the summit of the tallest mountain in the San Gabriels when I could barely stand due to nausea? Why do I feel like such a fucking failure sometimes when I tried, I gave it my best? I tell others, “You’re trying. That is all one can ask of another human being,” and I believe that with my whole heart though, somehow, in my warped way of thinking, those same rules do not apply to me?

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I have asked myself these questions and then some and the answers vary from the unknown to the complicated to the understandable. Being easier on myself is something I have been and will continue to work on. As a natural people pleaser, I find myself doing things I don’t necessarily want to do just for the sake of making others happy which isn’t such a terrible thing until it involves my mental and physical health. I’m a work in progress, people. Fuck, we’re all works in progress.

I sound like I’m attempting to justify my actions, which isn’t what I’m trying to do at all. I know there’s no need to justify any of my decisions, perceivably good or bad, to anyone unless, again I am harming myself or someone else. I just recognize that part of my growth involves being honest with myself and writing it out and sharing it with you aides in this process. With that, I thank you. Whoever and wherever you may be – thank you. Practicing gratitude is something I don’t do enough of and am certainly making a concerted effort toward.

Up until now, it may appear as if I’m just babbling and in part, I sort of am. My mind has been all over the place lately, er always, which brings me to this: This afternoon, I allowed myself to do some grieving. Notice how I write the word, “allowed.” I’m obsessed with being able to control my emotions, my actions, my thoughts and my surroundings. It’s maddening because every experienced, intelligent person knows that this does not result in any desired outcome whatsoever.

As I expressed my feelings in an abrupt manner, the tears soiling the inside of my ears with that annoying wetness, anxiety threatened to take my breath away. Inside, I was destroying material things and screaming until I was red in the face. I am grateful for the hands that wiped those tears from my face and the embrace that reminded me, “It’s okay. Let it out.”

I feel abandoned,” I confessed. I felt abandoned by my dad as a child and I felt the ultimate abandonment after my mother died. I am so utterly alone inside this mind most of the time and I cannot control it.

You have so many people that care about you,” said those same hands that continued to comfort me amongst my admissions.

And he’s right. I am blessed with some of the most amazing people in my life. My words could never do these people justice but I will always try. These folks are my family and many of their kin have welcomed me into their family with open arms, always telling me they’re praying for me, thinking of me, and so forth. For this, I am beyond grateful. Their sentiments warm my heart and make me feel a little less misplaced.

I am frequently involved in some sort of correspondence with friends near and far, expressing our love and longing for each other’s company. I do not ever take these sincere exchanges for granted. So many people care about me and I, them. Many of these friends I do not speak to on a regular basis but we always pick up right back where we left off as if it were only yesterday. My heart is full and I feel a little less alone when I contemplate on these special relationships.

It’s okay not to be strong all the time,” the comforting hands brushed the hair behind my ear and I repeated his words in my mind like a mantra. It’s going to take some time to fully believe that one but I’m intensely appreciative for those who care enough to be there to remind me of that in the midst of my weaker moments.

For those of you who know who you are, I dedicate this song to you…

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Unlearning in Progress

I, hands down, just experienced one of the most emotional weeks of my life to date. Perhaps triggered heavily by the culmination of Aunt Flo’s monthly visit, Father’s Day and Mercury in retrograde, there were definitely specifics that influenced the intensity of these emotions. Single acts, be it a statement, an unspoken glance, the hardships of an acquaintance – all came along with the ability to bring me to tears, to my knees, to a complete sob fest. Analogically, I feel like an exposed live wire, an electrical current of mega-wattage walking around on two feet – extremely sensitive and emotionally charged.

I was born with an exceptionally compassionate, empathetic heart. This has proven to be both a blessing and a curse in that I am effortlessly affected by the energies, moods and emotions of others, even those whom I am not even particularly close to. This equates even more powerfully when it comes to those whom I am particularly close to, those with whom I have shared an intimate moment with be it of a physical nature or purely platonic.

Since an early age, I was taught like so many by various scenarios and experiences, that crying in public, the visible display of any type of perceivably “negative” emotion was a sign of weakness. Self-control and composure properly trumped being emotional, raw – being real.

I can recall the threatening tone of my dad’s voice at the tender ages of four, five and six, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” On more than one ill-fated occasion, I discovered what that “something” consisted of and I lived the next twenty-four hours, post crying, with the imprinted reminder upon my ass. I quickly “learned” that crying greatly disturbed others, made them uncomfortable – it was wrong. And when that show of emotion couldn’t be controlled then unfortunate consequences ensued. Several years later, my husband would “teach” me that crying was a manipulative act that could be avoided and was once again, wrong.

Today, I am confronted with the inner conflict of my rational, secure self actively attempting to “unlearn” that crying in front of others, showing extreme emotion on either side of the spectrum is “wrong” – That it is, in fact, a sign of a big heart, of strength. As many of you are aware, unlearning something that has been engraved in your heart and mind for many, many impressionable years is, perhaps, one of the most difficult feats one can endeavor to take on. I’ve been reminded of this several times in the past seven days and I’m certain this is only the beginning…

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I Don’t Fuck with Peoples’ Lives

I was relaxing, bathing in the pink bathtub of my West Hollywood apartment, excitedly talking on the telephone with David.  He had told me he loved me as we sat on a rooftop while the New York skies began to rain upon us.  I had yet to reciprocate a response utilizing those eight letters that make up those three words.

Instead, I was on the telephone, thousands of miles away, asking him how he could be so certain about me, about us – how he knew I was “the one,” how he knew that he was in love with me.  Needless to explain, I was quite the skeptic at the tender age of twenty-five.  Though I knew in my heart that I, too, was madly in love with this twenty-one year old from New York, I was scared as shit!  Foreshadowing, again?  Perhaps, I’ll never know.

While I eventually verbally returned the coveted sentiment of love, it wasn’t until David uttered six other words that I was certain about him, about us.

I don’t fuck with peoples’ lives,” David matter-of-factly declared verbatim.

And I believed him with every ounce of my being.  As the water from the tub whirled down the drain, that statement became the world to me – it meant that David and I could happily sustain a long distance relationship for as long as we saw fit.  It meant that I could pick up the last eight years of my life, my home, and move it across the country.  That declaration substantiated what I was already feeling in my heart – David was the one.

I took those six words with me throughout our relationship and I silently repeated them to myself whenever I found myself beginning to doubt David’s less than ideal actions or intentions.  They were powerful – short but packed with so much influence, they would often justify what can now be perceived as a lot of bullshit.  Hindsight is a motherfucker, aint it?

Three years after David offered up his word that he did not fuck with peoples’ lives, he sat on the floor of what was once our bedroom scarcely trying to convince me that he never wanted any of it – the marriage or the commitment.  Around the moment that he stated that he was only doing what he thought was the “right” thing to do, my face was flooded in tears.

What happened to not fucking with peoples’ lives?”  I abrasively asked him, cutting him off and placing angered emphasis upon each syllable.

My mind was spinning.  Within seconds, I was back bathing in the pink tub, on the telephone, followed by lying in David’s bed of his shared Williamsburg apartment. He was asking me to move to New York, to move in with him.  Finally, I was in a stark white hotel room in Las Vegas, him on one knee, proposing for the umpteenth time with one of the most beautifully sincere, impromptu speeches I have ever heard.

I hastily repeated myself as the brash silence between us thickened with sorrow, “What happened to not fucking with peoples’ lives, David!”

I would never receive a response because he knew and I knew that it wasn’t true.  He wanted all of it, as did I.  He wanted to be the husband that I deserved, but he wasn’t strong enough to work toward it, to meet me halfway.

In Memory of Colleen Denise Dellinger, April 8, 1955~August 30, 2011

Circa Easter, 1986
Circa Easter 1986

I recall being attached to my mother’s hip as a wee one and I mean literally.  If she was sitting on the couch, I was laying my head on her lap as she gently brushed my hair behind my ear.  If she was grocery shopping, I was sitting in the cart she was pushing down aisle four, reaching for various items a child would typically crawl on the kitchen counters in search for.  If my mother was crying her eyes out on a park bench on a brisk autumn day, I was sitting next to her, doing my six-year-old best to console her.  Unknowingly, twenty years later, I would be sitting by her bedside, consoling her through the inevitable depression that ensued after the shock wore off from the tragic diagnosis she received days before my 26th birthday.

Through the many years of this undeniable bond with my mother, or mama as I called her, she bestowed upon me many life lessons, words of wisdom, values and morals.  I dedicate this blog to her.  In fact, I dedicate my life to her for she gave me this life and it’s about time I picked myself up from the many falls I’ve taken over the past few years.  She taught me how to do that.  Most importantly, she taught me the meaning and action of strength.  My mama was the strongest woman I know and my words could never do the depth of that strength justice, but I will certainly do my best.  I was fortunate enough to witness it, to learn from it and to become the strong woman I am today because of it.  Not a day goes by that I don’t give credit where credit is due for that.

It may have taken over a couple of years, after her death, for me to sincerely feel this, but my mama lives on inside me.  I carry her in my heart, in my stories that I share with the utmost candor and humility and in the decisions I’ve made in my life that have led me to this very moment that I type the word, revival.  These are some of the uncensored stories of my journey to a renaissance, if you will – I share in the hopes of reminding one human being that he/she is never alone.