the ups and downs of life

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

The Pain of Holding Back

I was always taught that if you didn’t have something nice to say then you don’t say anything at all. I am sure others were taught the same.   I try to do that for the most part because there are days if I said what was really on my mind that people would be shocked and quite dismayed. I went to the doctor the other day with the horrific pain in my jaw and into my neck. I know I have TMJ and it was really acting up. She asked me about stress and I told her what was going on and she said, “You’re clenching your teeth so hard that it is putting pressure on your jaw and sending the pain down your neck. Your lymph nodes in your neck are swollen.” I was shocked to realize my lymph nodes in my neck were swollen due to that. I knew my TMJ was killing me due to the clenching. I told her that I was clenching in order to not get in trouble at work or go to jail because of the fight my words would start. She said that I need to deal with the stress better. I told her that I needed something to take for the stress or I was going to start smoking again or start drinking. She chose a prescription for me.

But I told you all about this because isn’t it amazing how we can truly wind up hurting ourselves in such a way? I mean my stress level has been so high lately that I was clenching my teeth to the point my jaw was physically killing me with pain. And then it caused my neck to hurt, too! So I have been working on telling these people off in subtle ways. I told one off recently in a not so subtle way that had her almost steaming. She barely spoke to me afterwards and all it made me do was giggle afterwards. I’m not going to just speak my mind completely all the time. Lord have mercy! These people couldn’t handle the truth! Some people I know would be blown away by my thoughts. I do wish I could say them, but unfortunately that might cause some negative ramifications for me and I don’t know if I could handle them. So I will work on ways to do it where it gets it out of my system better. I wish I had been taught more how to do the Southern Belle backhanded compliment thing where you sound like you’re giving a compliment but you just dissed the hell out of someone. I can do it a little, but not so well. I’m more of a booyah-in-your-face kind of person.


Merry Christmas Everyone!

A Christmas tree inside a home.

Usually Christmas gets me down. For some reason, not this year. I have been happy, introspective, and reflective. I have not allowed myself to focus so much on myself and my usual grief. The holiday season brings up loss for me and how much I have lost. I could sit and whine and cry about the fact that I have lost 95% of the people I ever loved but I just didn’t want to this year. And I will say it probably took a good decade to quit that. This year my focus was on the reason for the season (I know how corny that sounds). It’s the celebration of the birth of my Savior and his life. Another focus for me was the way Jesus lived his life and how he helped people and loved people. My parents loved doing this, too. And at this time of year there are so many people in need. I am a bargain shopper and was able to look for great bargains and find some wonderful deals and wonderful gifts for some kids for Christmas.

I also found ways to give that didn’t cost me a dime. There were organizations that benefitted just by me “liking” something on Facebook. I can click a button! I can like something if that means they are going to get money!

Today if you want to give a present to someone you don’t know, you still can. You can go to an online group that has lots of people that needs help financially with applications requesting funding. It is a legitimate group and all you have to do is decide what dollar amount you want to give and pull out your money card and put it in! It’s that simple. It’s called Modest Needs and they have many people who have requested help. It’s a year round organization so don’t let my Christmas post fool you.

Merry Christmas! I wish your heart be merry and light and all your Christmases be bright.

Changes and Such

This year has been full of changes for me. Some have been of my own making and some have been made for me. I have wondered how to make life better and how to just live better in general. I was reading an article online that I felt was really interesting and was mostly beneficial to what I was wondering about. It was actually in a magazine I usually don’t read, Forbes Magazine. According to the article, you can change your life in 5 simple steps. I smile as I type that because I really don’t believe it is as simple as that. But it would be nice if it was. They do bring up some pretty good ideas. I agreed with 4 out of 5.

Beyond The Secret: Change Your Life in Five Simple Steps

Panos Mourdoukoutas, Contributor

The article says that you should:

  1. “Stop being self-absorbed, get out of your cocoon, and search for a purpose that will add meaning and excitement in your life.” This to me is so important because so often we feel so unfulfilled and we don’t look for what will add that meaning and/or excitement. I admit I have been guilty of this.
  2. “Move to a new neighborhood, a new town, where people appreciate different ways of thinking.” I don’t agree with this. I just don’t think this is possible for everyone. Not everyone can pick up and move. Sometimes you have to adapt where you are. Sometimes you have to plan and dream so that you can eventually move to a place where you will be more appreciated. But don’t drop everything suddenly just because you’re suddenly not happy. That is ridiculous!
  3. “Acquire new acquaintances and new friends, who appreciate who you are, and help you find your “element” rather than distracting you from it.” I totally agree with this! If you aren’t happy, then find new people who support what makes you happy. They will understand your dreams and ideas. For instance, I have a love of art and writing. I have made more friends who love the same things. Yes, some of them are online, but they are friends. They get it. They understand that urge to write when I have something in my head or heart that is just bothering me. I have other friends who appreciate my writing, but they don’t get the urgency of it. They don’t understand that it is something I have to do rather than something I like to do.
  4. “Develop good habits.”The article goes on to say: “Another way of putting it is this: very often we find ourselves involved in jobs and various occupations, which we derive little to no satisfaction or they don’t totally fulfill us. Yet we continue on the same line because this is what we have been taught to do and don’t have the guts to walk away from a well-paid job. There comes a time to move away from unfulfilling contexts.” Boy, do I get this! Not only have I done this, but I see this in others as well. The thing is that it isn’t so easy to walk away. If you don’t have a safety net, then you just can’t walk away and I think this article doesn’t take that into consideration at all. Normal people can’t just walk away and do whatever it is in life they want. But I totally agree with the statement of developing good habits. So if they can’t walk away from a job that is killing them, they can develop good habits and learn how to turn off the switch to that job at quitting time and quit letting it rule their life. It is a job. It is a means to an end. It is not their life.
  5. “To change your life, you need more than positive thoughts. You must find your element by changing the context you live in.” You have to make choices that are going to make things real. If you don’t, you’re going to be stuck. I understand because I have lived stuck for so long I can’t even believe it. I’m stronger than this. I don’t like being stuck. I can’t just talk the talk; I have to walk the walk.

Fiction Piece

Had a moment to start writing some fiction that I had spinning in my head.

She thought she imagined hearing her name and kept walking briskly. The wind was whipping and she pulled her coat tighter. Emmy was in a hurry and wanted to grab a quick gift in the bookstore before meeting friends for dinner. There it was again. She paused for a moment but kept walking. She didn’t want to stand out in the howling wind listening for imaginary sounds. If someone wanted to speak with her, they could catch up to her in the bookstore.

As Emmy opened the door to the store, she heard footsteps behind her as if someone was running. She did stop this time and turn around. “Emmy! I called for you but I guess you didn’t hear me.” She couldn’t believe she was staring at Chad. She realized she lived in a small town, but she had not expected to run into him, much less speak to him.

“Hello, Chad. How are you?” she asked.

He looked surprised. Her voice wasn’t friendly. It was almost as cold as the wind blowing. “I’m good! How are you? You look awesome!”

Emmy’s mind was racing and she had to tell herself to not react to him. For so long his voice could cause physical reactions. Her heart would quicken, palms sweat, breathing speed up. She willed herself to not react.


She didn’t know what else to say. When they had broken up, it wasn’t amicable. It was volatile and stressful and painful. When he decided he didn’t love her anymore he had given her the whole “let’s-be-friends” song and dance. She had loved him so much that she did want to try it for a while, but it was just too painful. All being friends meant was that he wanted her to be his emotional dumping ground and he could screw around with no guilt. For some reason that just didn’t seem fair to her.

Chad stood there looking uncomfortable. He seemed genuinely glad to see her but there was that awkwardness between them. They hadn’t spoken in almost a year. There had been a lot of changes in both of their lives during that time.

“Do you wanna grab a cup of coffee?” he asked hesitantly.

Emmy was uncertain of how to answer. She didn’t want to seem bitchy but she didn’t want to have coffee with him. First, she was in a hurry. Second, why would she want to sit and drink coffee with someone who had hurt her so much on purpose? Because he did seem to be sincere, Emmy tried to formulate a response that was suitable. It wasn’t easy.  Finally she just said, “I’m sorry but I have to go. I hope you’re doing well. Take care!”

Emmy began walking quickly to grab the book and a gift bag. She was ready to get out of here! She thought her interaction with Chad was over. She looked up and there he was. She raised her eyebrows in question.

Chad didn’t know exactly why he followed her. He just felt like there was something he had to say. “Look, I know you said you didn’t want to get coffee, but are you sure? I feel bad, Em.”

“Look Chad, I really don’t have time today. I have to be somewhere and I am already running late. I don’t have time for this. It was nice seeing you, but I really have to go.”

Emmy was starting to feel frustrated. It was one thing to run into him but now he was pushing her to have coffee after she said no. Why couldn’t he understand she had a life? He was no longer the center of her world. Unfortunately he had been for way too long.

She made her way to the counter to pay for what she had picked out.  Chad followed her. She was ready to scream at him. He was more attentive today than he was the last three months they were together. She almost laughed.

What do you say?


What do you say about what happened in Connecticut? It is something so horrific that I don’t know that there are words. My heart aches for those people who are affected by what happened. I cannot even imagine what they must be suffering. I can’t imagine what the survivors are feeling. I can’t imagine any of it. All I know is that there is a heaviness in my heart that is filled with prayers and support for these people who have gone through so much. I am so sorry for their pain and loss. I don’t want to write much about it because writing about someone else’s pain is hard. I just want to show love and respect for these people.

Sandy Hook residents, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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