This Thing We Do

There’s this thing we do.  Not all people.  Not just men or just women, but many people and most at some point in their life.  We fight.  We stay.  Long after tears were shed and words exchanged and locks turned on doors.  Long after blame was placed and punishment doled and we shatter to the floor.

This is true for romantic relationships, friendships and family alike.

We were brought up on the idea that you never give up.  You always keep trying.  You find a way and you make it work.  We are so afraid of failing, that we fail to care for ourselves and we allow ourselves to fight for unhealthy relationships.  Because we want to win.  We want to make it right.  We want to “succeed”. To succeed in what?  Oh, yeah, to succeed in living a dream that we imagined as children. Because that’s what “good” people do…right?  They “make it work”.

bad relationship

But what does “working” mean? Where does our happiness lie? Do we feel it and breathe it and know we deserve it? DO WE?

What we were supposed to learn as children was how to compromise.  How to be patient.  How to listen and understand and support our partners/friends when they are down and out.  This does not mean we stand around and take verbal and physical and emotional abuse.  This does not mean we allow ourselves to be doormats and taken for granted.  That isn’t “making it work” – that is making you sick and wounding your heart.  And you deserve better.  We all do.

I don’t care what your disagreement is about.  If it’s about sex or drugs or money.  If it’s about the house or the dog or your mother-in-law.  About your boss or your ex or your dinner plans next week.  You can respectfully discuss these matters.  You can feel loved and supported and understood even if you don’t get your way.  You can know that the other person has your back and honors your opinion (even when they respectfully disagree).

That is winning and making it right.  That is success.  That is “making it work”.

I’m not saying to run away the first time a friend or lover or family member is harsh with you.  What I am saying is there is a way to approach and handle matters.  A way to work through conflict and miscommunication and times of troubles. A way to respectfully and lovingly manage the muck and curve balls that life throws at us.  We can do it together and be stronger than before.  But we must be respectful of one another and honor the people in our lives.

We must be respectful of ourselves and honor ourselves.  And we must ask ourselves when is it time to stay?  And when is it time to walk away?

Just a little food for thought.  Love and hugs.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Okay, okay the picture is a little intense… But what else was fitting?  I tried.

Mothers are a Gift

I remember a time as a child when I asked my mother if I was an “oops baby”.  If I had been a surprise.  If I was the baby that so fondly found her, instead of her finding me.  I was not asking out of concern, as if there was anything wrong with it, but more out of curiosity.  More because I am the kind of person that is always curious. Curious about who I am and why I am here.  About why you are here, we are here, life is here. Just a natural born curious soul… It’s how I roll – now and always.

The way in which she answered me was quite unexpected.  My mother is a very kind and loving person.  She is the type of woman one would describe as greatly generous while being entirely selfless.  She radiates positivity and has a softness is her eyes and in her embrace that sets people at ease.  You know that she is someone whom you can be yourself around and that you will not be judged.  She is loving in a very natural and accepting way; evident by her actions more than her words or efforts.

She speaks softly and with care towards others sensitivities.  Her words are rarely abrupt and never harsh; her tone radiating joy and compassion.  She is not serious or heavy in her conversation, but rather keeps her words to those which are soft and light, packed with hope and the promise of something greater.

Because of this, I was surprised by her response to me.  She quickly stopped what she was doing and turned to meet my gaze.  Her smile dropped and she gave me a serious look.  One I had not seen before.  It wasn’t the look of anger or disappointment or regret, but a look that let me know that what she was about to say was something that I needed to hear.

All of a sudden, I felt silly for asking and became grounded in the moment.

Her voice became soft and stern as she told me that I was planned. That I was wanted.  That she and my father knew they wanted another child and had very deliberately tried to have me. As she stood there explaining this to me, I knew how true it was.  It was a brief conversation, but a powerful one.  She took time and care discussing it with me since she knew it was important that I truly hear what she was saying.  And in a way, it was.

motherdaughter

Babies are blessings however they come.  They are.  Whether it is recognized at the time of their birth or years later or never – they are.  We are all gifts and lucky to be here.  Life is a gift, and we are lucky to live it.  We all know this.  We do. Whether we choose to recognize it now or later or never – it is.

The way in which my mother told me that I was wanted and loved and planned helped me realize early on just how lucky I am.  How incredibly amazing life is and how beautifully it can be designed.  There is beauty in the chaos, but there is a profound beauty in the design.  The planner in me loves this.

Just this morning, my mother told me that I have always been a “plotter and a planner”.  We were discussing my next life move and how she hopes I find a career that allows me to “plot and plan” since I love it so much.  How poetic then that I was “plotted and planned” for.  Perhaps it is why I am that way, or perhaps it is why I needed to know if I was planned or not.  But her response was beautiful. It was exactly what I needed to hear.   Exactly what I needed to know.  Exactly what I needed to understand.

Mothers so often have a way of doing that.  Not all women that bear children are true mothers, but for those of us that are lucky enough to be born unto women that are loving mothers, we know what a gift it is.  One that should be honored and cherished and never taken for granted.

I love you, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

I Vow To Hold You In My Heart

Nothing is coincidence, I know this to be true. Each step and breath and instinct, has lead me straight to you. Already we have grown and changed, and loved and learned and saw. The greatest moments we create, when no effort is placed at all. Within your arms I build my home, and there I will reside. And should I ever lose my way, your eyes will be my guide. On this great day and each to come, I vow, my dear, to you. To love and cherish everything, that flows through all you do. I choose you as my friend and partner, lover, constant guide. I vow to hold you in my heart and to these truths abide.

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marriage vow

*This was written for a very dear friend of mine. May she have a lovely wedding and a lifetime of love.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Believe

I believe that people are inherently good.  That darkness and cruelty comes from hurt within – from our heavy and unhealed emotional wounds.  I believe that if we heal ourselves, and release our buried wounds, we can heal the world.  That if we can get to a place where we see others with our heart, rather than through our lenses of pain and insecurity, we will see the beauty and light within all beings.  I believe that once we can see that light, we will share our love, forgive our neighbors and walk the earth with renewed purpose.

I believe we are far more wonderful than we realize.  That we posses an infinite amount of love and that we are hopeful beings.  I believe we can all access this hope, love and light by taking the time to care for ourselves and by following our intuition.  Once we have begun to heal ourselves, we will begin to see a world of hope, love and light.  From this place we can work together toward building a peaceful and harmonious existence.  One in which all are loved, cared for and at peace.  I believe this is possible.  I feel this through every fiber of my being; from the depths of my soul, through the corners of my heart and within the folds of my mind.

believe

I believe that within all of us lies the magnificence of the Universe and the ability to feel the joy of it all.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

I Wish I Were Able

The Daily Post has issued a Weekly Writing Challenge to finish the sentence: “I wish I were”.

I have spent a lot of time learning to love and accept myself for all that I am and not to dwell on the things I wish I were.  I have made the choice to change the things in my life that I wish were different, either by action or perception.  But for the sake of the question, I will play along. Maybe I wish I were able to fly? Maybe I wish I were wealthy or a Nobel Peace Prize Winner?  Yes, those things would be nice, but the answer does not satisfy me. In order to find the answer, I quieted my mind.  Completely void of all thought, I posed the statement again. Ah, yes.  My answer. My truth.  My greatest wish.

I wish I were able to share the joy of loving yourself. 

If someone had asked me five years ago if I loved myself, I would have rolled my eyes, answered “yes” and thought to myself what a ridiculous question that was. Of course I loved myself.  Maybe someone with low self-esteem or battling depression would answer that they don’t love themself, but c’mon, the majority of us love ourselves. Don’t we?

Today I would argue there are many people that do not truly love themselves.  Why do I believe that, you ask?  Every time I hear someone tease or bully, I do not hear love, I hear fear. When I listen to someone boast at length why they are the best on their team, the smartest in their office or the most good-looking person at the beach, I do not hear love, I hear insecurity.  When I hear people gossip or speak negatively of others and belittle other opinions, I do not hear love, I hear a plea to be accepted.

In my experience, realizing you truly love yourself is like the first time you have a serious crush, and you wonder if you are in love.  You think you might be in love.  You think you are.  This has to be love, you assure yourself.  Then one day, you really fall in love.  Head over heels, shout it from the rooftop, make your head spin and your knees weak, love.  And once you recognize that you are in fact in love with this person, you realize the time(s) you thought you were in love, you really weren’t.  Yes, you loved and cared for the person, but you were not in love with them.  This is love. Now that you know what being in love is, you can hardly believe you thought you were in love before.

When you are in love with someone, you want nothing more than for them to be happy.  Their joy brings you joy.  When they are sad, hurt, grief stricken or filled with sorrow, you would give your left arm for them to smile again.  Their success is your success.  You are willing to move cities, change jobs, cancel plans, quit smoking, lose weight, attain more education, all to make them happy.  Their happiness is your happiness.  This is love.

Here is a little food for thought. Are you willing to move cities, change jobs, cancel plans, quit smoking, lose weight, attain more education, in order to make yourself happy? Do you have faith in yourself?  Do you believe you are worthy of love and all of the good things in your life? Do you believe you deserve to be treated well, with kindness, honesty and compassion? It took me years of self-reflection and working on myself to reach the point where I can say “yes” to all with complete confidence.

A few years ago, I decided to finally put myself first.  I realized that the key to happiness could only be found within and that I needed to fully explore what that really meant.  I removed all previous notions about what I thought I needed to be happy and started to pursue the people and activities that brought me happiness.  During my period of self exploration (which is now ongoing) I learned a lot about myself, the need for forgiveness, the importance of acceptance and how to be patient.  I learned to just be.  I learned to exist in the moment and to be happy with who I am.

Years ago, I never would have been able to say out loud that I am proud of myself.  Now, I can tell you that I love how kind and accepting I have become. I think it is wonderful that people can change and that I give them a second (and sometimes a third and fourth) chance.  I think my sensitivity and vulnerability is beautiful and strong.  I think it’s endearing how gullible I am – it means I am a believer.  I love how open and resilient my heart is. I am grateful I see the world in all its many shades and revel in the beauty. I love that I enjoy spending time alone as well as making hoards of new friends.  I love that I love me.

This love I have found for myself has taught me to be patient, kind and accepting.  Loving myself makes me love the world more and all of the people, creatures and plants within it. I wake up alone every morning, feeling more loved than I ever could have imagined someone could feel on their own.  I wish that everyone knew this kind of peace.  This kind of joy.

I wish I were able to share the joy of loving yourself. 

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

A Rose By Any Other Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1600.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  How very true, this notion that it doesn’t matter what you call something; it only matters what it truly is. But do we all apply this in our everyday life?

Let’s say for example, we have a woman named Jane.  Jane grew up in Ohio, has two loving parents, three siblings, is a widow with a four year old son, and is wickedly smart, funny and kind.  She is a wonderful friend and the kind of person that would give her jacket to a shivering stranger.  Now, what does Jane do for a living?  Jane is a Politician. Jane is a Pediatric Nurse.  Jane is a Preschool teacher.  Jane is a Preacher. Jane is a Prostitute.  Is Jane by any other name, still as sweet?

Think about that for a second.

Did you hesitate for a moment on any of those occupations?  And if so, why?

People are complex.  It can never be as simple and as black and white as you may like it to be.  We all possess many character traits, attributes, strengths and weaknesses.  What is important to remember, is that you should not discount someone or their character because of one thing.  It is not black and white.  One thing does not cancel out another.

Jane is wickedly smart, funny and kind.  She is a wonderful friend and the kind of person that would give her jacket to a shivering stranger. 

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I am going to carry this thought with me today.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese