Is It Over Yet?

Have you ever told a friend, “wake me up when this is over”?

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There are times when we just want to exit a difficult period and return when things get better. Unfortunately, life does not give us such gems. We can’t say wake me up when this is over, we have to deal with it sooner or later.

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But sometimes we just need a moment to catch our breath and come again. It’s impossible to keep going when not stopping means your physical and mental health could suffer. Sometimes we have to turn our backs to everything and take some time to get ourselves together before we go again.

But remember you have to wake back up and finish what you started!

About Labels…

Be a person and not an adjective!

Me

labels can be damaging; so can we get rid of them?

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People will label you no matter what you do. I remember many times when I was younger when I was the head “cook and bottle washer”, in giving unflattering names to my numerous victims and afterward go about my business content with my lot in life. Today, I realize that I hate labels. I dislike intensely when persons view me in a particular way and expect me to be that way for the rest of my life – this from a girl who is indecisive about what I want to eat, wear, be and the list is endless. The irony is, I accept their typecasting because unlike when I was younger, what people thinks matter to me. So, we assume the labels given to us because we suddenly realize that people don’t want you to be yourself, they want you to be what they want you to be, no matter if you like it, yes or no.

So what can we do?

I really don’t have THE ANSWER.

All I have is the belief that we need to unlearn some of the most damaging things we have learned and practice as we get older since; one those things is our acceptance of being labelled.

I realized today that I was thinking one week behind the actual date!

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I had always told myself that I can’t concentrate and really cannot focus on anything for long and I believe that this is catching up with me. So when the end of December came I did not register that it was not the last week of November even though I had seen the calendar; my mind did not catch up to the fact. I have also said for many years, that I have a problem remembering names, and guess what this has gotten worse over the years! Another case involves my hearing. Since high school I have been telling all who would listen that I have a hearing problem and you guessed it, it has gotten worse!

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The labels that others give us can be damaging – even those that seem good too – but that is not makes them stick. When we belief we are those labels then they become true. So do I have a hearing problem? No but my ears have gotten lazy – I guess it was tired of me always putting it down. Do I lack the ability to focus? No, but I have taught myself to be that way.

I heard and then read a story of a trans man, Lee Harris, who wanted to reverse the procedure, after being on an 11 years journey to becoming what he thought he wanted to be. The story appeared on the Metro website in 2018 and again on the BBC website, in November 2019. The point is that Lee/Debbie saw a new identity,a new label, as a savior from years of trauma as a result of being sexually abused as a child. However, gender reassignment did not provide the new lease on life sought. Instead it resulted years later in a desperate cry for help to change back into what he was trying to run from; the true self.

For us labels can seem good. they may elevate us in the eyes of others and we may have a sense of belonging; but, if we decide to change in anyway, those same labels may imprison us and create more problems than we can deal with.

It’s easy to assume labels: we fail at doing one thing out of everything we did right and suddenly we are failures, or incompetent or stupid and it becomes impossible. We need to learn not to be a part of the hype in order not to be destroyed by it.

If you don’t want to be stuck, limited or misrepresented forget about the label and show up as yourself. All of you. Be a person and not an adjective!

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Are You A Boxer?

Many will say that Boxer in, Animal Farm by George Orwell, has many admirable qualities that we aspire to have. He is loyal, kind-hearted, hard-working and always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty – an enigma for too many of us. It is also important to mention that the story also acts as a political allegory about revolution and power and those impacted by such events. Specifically, it’s an allegory of the Russian Revolution from 1917-1923. This revolution has been described as a violent one (Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1905), which saw the end of imperial rule and the beginning of Communist rule and the formation of the soviet union.

What starts off in Animal Farm as a successful uprising and promise of a better future losses momentum with the replacement of the old, (Old Major), with the new (Napoleon and his minions). Things quickly go sour as the pigs, in a position of power, manipulate the legacy of Old Major (Animalism), to control the other animals, while solidifying their power and wealth.

And this is where we bring in Boxer…

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I was talking to a friend of mine about working hard at whatever we do, and he mentioned Boxer; ” yuh remember what happened to Boxer, from Animal Farm? Dem tun him inna glue!”

Yes Boxer played a vital role in the development of the farm in its new era. His indomitable spirit inspired the other animals when their fortunes changed and he worked relentlessly for the good of the farm. But at what cost?

Instead of receiving trophies, incentives and other accolades for his effort, and retiring in bliss, he is sold off to be made into glue when he is of no more use! His worth? Whiskey for Napoleon and the other pigs! All that he receives is the title of hard worker, “he was a true hard worker”. He was loyal to a fault and though he was the strongest animal on the farm, he used his strength to serve those who exploited him and not to improve the conditions of the other animals facing the same exploitation. The worse part was that when something went wrong he always blamed himself and vowed to work harder. He had become too use to taking orders, to trying to get things right and always being obedient and never disobedient.

Sometimes we think we are acting independently and never realize that we have been programmed to follow a path created for us; the mind has been programmed.

So, the lasting image of Boxer is his effort to make the mill:

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To see him toiling up the slope inch by inch, his breath coming fast, the tips of his hoofs clawing at the ground, and his great sides matted with sweat, filled everyone with admiration

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Then again, it could be for me the most tragic scene in the book. This is when Boxer taken away to be slaughtered; for Boxer it is the last time we will see or hear him…

…Although the animals warn him, it is too late. Boxer is already loaded into and locked in the truck for the glue factory. His strength is compromised by his failing health. His desperation is apparent by the sound of “tremendous drumming of hoofs inside the van, but he is too weak to break free.

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There are many lesson here:

  1. Be careful who you trust they may take advantage of you!
  2. Never follow anyone blindly, even your friends.
  3. Even the best of us can be controlled and manipulated if we let it happen to us.
  4. Know your worth and never compromise.
  5. Make your own path and lead the way.
  6. Make your dreams a reality and don’t die on someone else’s
  7. Be the best you can be but never be someone’s ladder.
  8. Know and embrace your limitations and never see them as a negative but as a reminder that you will never be unemployed because you’re always working on yourself!

And many more if we think hard enough.

I read Animal Farm when I was fourteen years old and I was so inspired by the revolution carried by the animals, brought to tears by the sacrifice and ill-treatment of Boxer and the other animals. Saddened by the anti-climatic nature of the revolution’s aftermath, especially after Old Major’s death. Angered by the greedy, heartless and corrupt pigs – a suitable animal for such a role! And the really sad truth that there are people who lie, deceive and undermine those who for whatever reason find themselves at a disadvantage. Also, there are many who trust too much, give too much and receive very little or nothing in return, just like Boxer. Their lives become tragic.

Although Boxer had the ability to be an inspiring hero, in this story he is a tragic- hero figure; one to be pitied and pointed at,

“that is what not to do!”

Life teaches hard lessons, never be too gullible to learn them, and learn them well.

Your Happiness. Your Responsibility.

Who told you that you had the right to depend on someone else to make you happy? There goes another fallacy!

– S Grant

I know, I know, there is this one person or thing that can make you smile no matter what. Also, being around your friends or family or who ever, makes you happy! But here is the thing, you cannot rely on someone else for your happiness.

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First, that is asking way too much. Remember, that person wants to be happy too, and if they are busy trying to make you happy, who will do the same for them? Certainly not you because you depend on them, because you can’t make yourself happy.

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Sure, they may love you enough to try for a while but if its a constant game of play and repeat, they are gonna end up resenting you. Behind your back they may start grumbling, then they complain then they really get fed up and start finding little ways and things to say to stick it to you. Then ultimately, no one is happy and things fall a part, spectacularly.

Or think about this. That person who is your all, and who is your source of joy and who gives you contentment, may not see you the same way. There you are on a sad day: you can’t eat, sleep or work; you need that person. And there they are, on the other end of the spectrum , they are having a great day, they are living their best live yet!

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For many reasons, sometimes we think we can’t be happy with the things we surround ourselves with: we just can’t live without them. Until they’re not there and we have to live without them. I know I spoke about not being an island, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a vine that sucks the joy from everything and everyone. That does not make anyone happy. So, be happy with what you have and who’s around, but don’t expect your happiness to be based on them.

At the end of the day we have no control over how others behave, but we have control over ourselves: Never search your happiness in others. It will make you feel alone. search it in yourself and you will feel happy even when left alone (e-buddhism.com).

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Your Turn!

Do you ever feels its your turn?

What happened? Did things change? Did you work hard for it or did you just hope and pray?

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We may have felt from time to time that it’s our turn to do what we were destined to do!

But somehow things just never worked out.

Maybe it’s because we need to click on the link that gets us to the place we need to be (there’s a thought).

Is it your turn?

Only you can decide that.

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No one can make your dreams come true, only you can, by putting the work needed. And even though we know this, we always could use a reminder. We are bombarded by all the things we have to do to get by. However, this state of affairs cannot be our end game. We need to do what we have to do, in order to do what you want to do. And sometimes when it’s our turn we may think we are not ready, but that’s because we do not know how strong we have become. All we need is the right timing to prove this to ourselves. Sometimes your turn is when you feel like you’re not ready!

What do you do when it’s your turn? Will you be ready to take advantage of all the opportunities waiting for you? We are good at dreaming about the things we want to do but we can defeat ourselves if we do not believe that we deserve our turn when it comes.

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So what ever it may be, believe that it is your turn and everything will always work out the way it is suppose to. All you need to do is remember that when your turn comes, it’s not just about you, it’s not just about what you can get and how much you can get; it’s about being true to you. Also, make sure that when your turn comes, you make the most of it!

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Your Thinking is Poor.

When you focus on what you think you can’t do or be, then you will never be who you could have been. No matter what you do, you will remain poor.

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Many of us have an escapist mindset. Every time something looks like it could be kinda hard, we say we can’t, we chip away at enriching our lives; we become poor in spirit and we clip our wings before we learn how to fly. We accept that we can’t and never try. We become the thing we most fear when we are eager to believe that we have limits.

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Maybe your frustration and unhappiness has nothing to do with anyone but your mindset about what you can do and where you can go. The limits we place on ourselves are the ones that stick because we are doing a better joy at chaining ourselves to our circumstances, than anyone else could.

It’s easy to tell yourself that there many things you can’t do but remember that when we do this, we become uninspired to dream big and reach for all the possibilities available to us.

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I too have to learn this lesson and so it is important to take some time to remind yourself of all the things you have done that say you could, can and will. It may be safer to remain in one place but we make ourselves easy targets for regrets and the very real crime of limiting ourselves. We need to put in the work to be more than a can’t. We need to allow ourselves to be limitless and free ourselves from our self-imposed prison.

No one ever got where they wanted to go by making their home at the bus stop. Maybe we need to get some words out of our vocabulary, and maybe, can’t is one of them. It’s never too late to start!

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Goodbye Stress!

You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.

― Steve Maraboli

If you’ve recently looked in the mirror after one hard day and wondered when you got so old – but you’re not, you my friend may be stressed.

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Today, we use stress as if it is a badge of honor. We talk about being stressed day and night, as if it were a prize that we have to brag about.

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This leads to little things happening that add up to becoming BIG problems:

  1. We remember nothing from moment to moment
  2. It feels like your bodies are attacking itself – literally, every patch of skin bones and organs are at war with each other.
  3. you can’t eat or you eat too much.
  4. You can’t sleep or you sleep too much.
  5. You nightly dreams become hellish – a monster you can’t escape.
  6. You can’t decide whether to sit or stand, go or stay. It’s all a mystery!
  7. A small bitter little monster is knocking away all day at your head. Trying to tear it off your shoulders.
  8. You get angry and then don’t know why and frankly you just don’t care at this point.
  9. Absolutely nothing is worth smiling or laughing about!
  10. You have a constant river of sweat pouring down your body. Even when you know the temperature should not allow this!
  11. And nothing you do ever turns out right!

There are so many things that can go wrong because you are stressed. The greatest of them all is that it can kill you.

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So what are you going to do about it?

What you are not going to do is continue this way. Because if you do it could be that you really have developed a tolerance for being stressed, which is not good.

The road that seems the easiest is often the most dangerous and the familiar can be so deceptive that your demise creeps up before you can fight it off. To combat stress maybe we need to stop leaning on the wrong people (yes frenemies, they may seems a strange breed but they are a dangerous one!) Also, we need to go to bed and get some sleep (even though I should have been at mine an hour ago, we will get it right). Next, stop overthinking things and just go with the flow. Stop giving people your time, and don’t stretch yourself – who cares what they think. Only you know what you are going through. And finally, stop overlooking great opportunities that may seems difficult but which will bring the desired results. Give back the title and trophy that is stress and live your best life. Shalom!

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