Thursday, August 28, 2014

The struggle to forgive

Yesterday was Global Forgiveness Day. The subject of forgiveness is one that I have struggled with for a long time. Being able to forgive others for wrongs done to me, being able to forgive myself for hurting others or making mistakes (sometimes by accident) that hurt or upset others. I have also been thinking about how some people try to use some sort of reason or another to explain why somebody did something to them and so this makes it easier to forgive them.

And for some very interesting reason, I have seen a lot of pins on Pinterest of quotes on forgiveness.

All of these things are issues I have struggled with in coming to terms on whether or not I can forgive certain people in my life – and those who are not in my life anymore.

For one thing, I kept asking myself this: Why was I able to forgive some people but not others? On one hand, I would say to myself, ‘well, that was just a bad person who MEANT to hurt me and that’s why I can’t forgive that person.’ But, you know, most people change, so I can’t think that thought for the rest of my life. The person may be sorry. Or, not. That person could have changed, or not. So that reason really doesn’t hold any merit.

The pain of what happened with those people stayed with me for a long time. And in some cases, I had nightmares. But I recently decided that, you know what? There is no point in dwelling on a wrong a person has done to me. It was done and it’s all over with. I’m on a new chapter in my life. Carrying that burden around will only hurt me, so there’s no point in allowing it to continue to exist. Grudges are uncool. So I had to let it all go. The lies, the manipulations, the betrayals, the physical harm, the hurt and anger. I just had to let it all go. This is the story of my life. Those things happened because, at that particular time, that is how it was supposed to happen. Those people who have hurt me in the past and are not exactly seeking forgiveness for it are not in my life anymore and they won’t ever be in my life anymore because I know for a fact that those particular people have not changed. And I had this belief that I cannot forgive them unless they ask to be forgiven. I have not actually SEEN them make right what was made wrong. There’s no communication or anything. So maybe that’s why I could not forgive them. They’re not exactly asking to be forgiven.

And, really, all they DO need to do is ASK to be forgiven. If someone apologizes to me for a wrong, I’ll forgive it. I’ll wipe the slate clean. You know, it takes a really big person to admit they made a mistake and even more so to say they are sorry. So, you know, I feel totally fine in forgiving them.

And I thought that, having said that, I could move on. But it bothered me that there were people out there holding grudges against me, refusing to forgive me and hating me for the rest of their lives because of mistakes I made, my personal security methods or because of something I meant to do – At That Time. (I am not the same person I was 10 years ago.) So, when I have prayed, I asked God if he would help those people to come to terms with what happened and find it in their hearts to forgive me, to stop hating me.

But then I read this one quote on Pinterest and it really made me think. The quote went like this: “Forgiveness does not make the other person right. It makes you free.”

That quote made me realize that I had to accept that those people may not forgive me and they may not be sorry for what was done. But I had to be okay with this because if I was not going to be okay with this and let it bug me, then I would only continue to carry around the pain they inflicted or this grudge they still have against me. By accepting that they are not sorry or that they won’t forgive me, but I forgive them, then I can break free of all that. I’m not gonna be on good terms with EVERYBODY in the whole world.

Still, I wondered, was there something I could do to encourage them to forgive me? I have said I was sorry and tried to reconnect with them (even when there was no response to my reaching out). I have tried to make things right with those people. Was there something I could DO to fix things? Bring about their forgiveness? I have been reading this book for research. It is called How to Pray Without Being Religious by Janell Moon. (Side note: I am not exactly a religious person anymore, but mainly spiritual.) Today I read something that really affected me. It was this: “She wants to be free of this guilt and be better friends with her sister, but she is pushing the river by wanting her sister to forgive her. That is not her business. … Her sister will forgive her if and when she can.” (Page 130) So I realized that if there was someone out there unable to forgive me for a past wrong (my dad, maybe??), I have to let them decide on their own if they want to forgive me. If they chose to forgive me, that had to happen on its own.

The best way to do that was to step out of their lives for good. Just don’t communicate with them, don’t try to get messages to them through other people and just “disappear” from their lives. Leave them to live this journey their life is on right now. Stay silent. In time, they might remember me. They might be able to forgive me or stop holding this grudge against me. (Whatever it is!) And I have to just let that happen in its own time.

Meanwhile, maybe I could finally start to forgive myself? There have been MANY times I reflected on those instances and think, WHY did I do that?? Or, I was such an IDIOT! Or, I’m a terrible person. (I counter this with, I was a terrible person THEN. But not anymore. I don’t like to talk too much about what life was like for me growing up and why I was the way I was in my 20s and early 30s. But I know better now because my life is better now.) Well, I usually know WHY. I jumped to conclusions. I was afraid. I felt I could not trust people. I was overly cautious. I was mad. I was drunk. I was distracted or tired. I was influenced by others. Etc., etc. The key word is “was.” As in, not that anymore. That was all in the past so there’s no point in dwelling on THAT part of the situation, either. This, ultimately, helped me to forgive myself. It is true it can be so hard to forgive oneself but I knew I could not completely move on unless I did. That’s just the way it was at the time. The way I was at the time. I have to accept that and forgive myself for playing that unfortunate role in that unfortunate experience.

Of course, these do not explain away everything wrong or bad that has happened in my life. They are reasons, yes, but that does not make the bad stuff better. It does not make it easier for me to forgive or seek forgiveness. All it does is help me understand the why. By understanding that, I can make peace with it. I can find closure and move on. I prefer to live in the now, for today. Yesterday is over with and gone. All that matters now is moving forward. Being able to forgive everyone and everything, and accept that forgiveness may not accepted or returned, will make it easier for me to do that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Health update

Ever since I blogged on here about having HPV, I have been paying closer attention to my health and how I am taking care of myself. Or, rather, actually NOT. That whole experience was just an eye-opener for me. It made me realize that now, at age 40, I REALLY do need to start taking better care of myself.

Unfortunately, I fell behind on my workout regime. I just got too busy with a bunch of other things and never made time to exercise. That combined with a poor diet meant I gained a few pounds, right after I had lost a few! So I am going to work on getting back on track with working out. In fact, I have spent time this week looking into where and when I can do so. This new program will start next week.

That doesn’t take care of the diet thing, though. I have been seriously thinking of changing my diet. I have researched several and I am considering one in particular.

I hope these changes will get me to eat healthier and live healthier. Weight loss is my goal, but ultimately, I just want to be healthy.

I recently got some good news in other areas, though. I recently had my first mammogram. My maternal aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer some time ago (she is currently cancer-free, thank God), so I felt it was time for me to go through with a mammogram. I got good results back. No problems at all. Yay!

I also have had a couple of tests where my doctor was checking my progress since the LEEP procedure. She has been telling me that, so far, everything looks good and I am healing well. She also had some good news for me: No more HPV! I am totally HPV-free now. Woo-hoo! I was so thrilled by this news. The LEEP was a nightmare but it meant getting rid of pre-cancerous cells and ultimately getting rid of HPV. So it was worth it! I did talk with a nurse recently and she said she herself had it 4 times. Each time, she had to have the LEEP to get rid of it. She doesn’t miss it! I so hope I don’t have to go through that again but I have heard of that happening to other women.

So now that those worries are not an issue anymore. I can go back to focusing on reinstating a workout regime into my daily schedule as well as eating a healthier diet. Those two things – working out and eating a healthy diet – are important to me and I am going to make them a more stronger focus in my life. Things have been hard for a while there but they are improving and I am definitely planning to make some changes and have these two things become a more permanent mainstay.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Skating -- cuz that's how they roll!

“Mom, can we go skating? Pleeeassseee?” This was a question my kids often asked me, especially whenever they saw commercials or coupons about Skate World, a rollerskating rink in a nearby city. I kept telling them I’d take them sometime but never actually got around to doing it.

Well, it seemed like skating was in the cards for them. We recently made new friends, and one of the kids was REALLY into skating. They invited Jennifer and Jesse along to Skate World with them not too long ago. Of course, I was concerned the kids might not do well skating, or that they even might hate it, but I decided to allow them to give it a shot. Why not let them just TRY it? Just try it and see what happens.

Well, it turns out Jennifer is a natural at skating. She LOVES it. Jesse enjoys skating too, although he is not as good at it as his sister. But he refuses to give up on it, no matter how often he has fallen down. He gets better at it the more he practices.

Well, they first went to Skate World a few weeks ago, and they are hooked on it. They LOVE going skating! I am so glad that the opportunity to try this new thing came into their lives, because I know I’d only would’ve kept putting it off and would never have known how good they were at it.

So now they go skating twice a week. Today it was my turn to take the kids skating and I really enjoyed watching them have a blast on the skating rink. And I am so grateful that skating is now a part of their lives. Not only is it a great exercise but a fun activity!

The skating rink invites adults as well as children to skate, but I’m not so sure about me joining in on the fun. I might try it out later on. Meanwhile, I’ll be pinning skating-related pins on my new “Skating” board on Pinterest. And taking the kids skating when the opportunity comes up!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Five days without Internet

Last weekend, I spent some time trying to finish up a project I’d been working on during the week. I had another on my plate waiting for me to get around to it, but with my very limited time on the computer during this summer, and a hundred other things requiring my attention, completing this one was slow going. I figured I would finish it over the weekend, when my husband would be at home to watch the kids, and then I could upload it and, on Monday get to work on the next one.

That was the plan, anyway!

The good news, I did finish this project (formatting a manuscript for Createspace). The bad news? There was NO Internet! I got online to try to upload it but there was no connection.

Turned out we had no cable, either. Jesse was so upset because our cable was shut off while he was watching SpongeBob and he cried when he missed out on the rest of the show.

What happened was that my husband thought he had paid the cable bill (we have a cable/Internet/phone bundle), but it had been our electric bill he had actually paid. And the funds to pay our Very Expensive cable bill were NOT available. So the cable company shut off our Internet, phone and cable. Without any warning, either! They didn’t even send a reminder. Sheesh!

To be honest, given a choice between having electricity and having cable, I was glad we had electricity! Still, I had things to do that required an Internet connection. For one thing, I have been in the process of editing/revising/updating a manuscript I had to get back to my publisher. For another thing, I had to upload this other book! I have another one waiting (actually, two more) and that one was time-sensitive. So I was pretty darn nervous each day I could not do those things.

Of course, I worried that my email inbox would overflow. This is where my smartphone came in handy. I contacted my publisher through my smartphone to let her know what was up, and I also got some other work done for other books. I managed my email account in the best way I could, but could not get done everything I needed to do to keep it from filling up. But, that’s okay! No biggie! I realize I could’ve gone to the library to use Internet there to handle email, but I’m too paranoid to use library computers for email.

I was also unable to post anything at my picture blog, for some reason, so I could not share the picture of the moon that I took on the night it was orange on account of the fires in California. Again, no biggie. Sometimes I can post on the blogs and sometimes not!

Jennifer, however, had a harder time dealing with no Internet. Surprisingly, she winged not having cable. (The kid has had to live without cable before!) But no Internet was another thing. She and a friend have been emailing each other new passages they write in a fan fiction story they’ve got going on, so no Internet meant no more writing the story! She also creates short story booklets on another site, and when she was inspired to write a new story, she was upset she could not upload it. (I told her to just write her story then she could upload it when we had Internet again.) She also missed out on using tumblr and Pinterest.

Jesse was also not happy he could not use Internet. He likes to play games. Still, the games on my smartphone were enough to satisfy his gaming fix.

I also managed to use Netflix on my smartphone, as well as Pinterest.

So, basically, we DID survive not having Internet, but it was hard. (For those five days, I was practically biting my nails off thinking Mustsendbook.Mustsendbook.Mustsendbook.)

Our Internet was finally turned back on today. (They turned on our cable first. Jesse was happy he got to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again.) I finally got to send my book back to my publisher. (Yay!) Getting THAT done lifted a HUGE weight off of my shoulders, believe me! And Jennifer was happy she got to do her Internet stuff again today. I am happy I got to do Internet stuff again, too. My email inbox still needs some attention, but I hope I can weed through it over the weekend. (That’s when I get caught up on email!)

This has definitely made us take a closer look at just how we spend our time on the Internet, what we can do when we don’t have it, and, ultimately, WHY it is important to us. What can we do on the Internet that we can’t do on a smartphone or in some other way? Indeed, the Internet does play an important role in our lives, but it’s not the end of the world if we have to do without it for a short time. There are just some things we need a computer with working Internet for that a smartphone will not be able to do for us. (I will say that it is insanely annoying typing on small keys and squinting to read the tiny screen on my smartphone, so blogging on my smartphone is definitely OUT!) Given there are flash drives, there are other solutions if we lose Internet. But it’s still a nice thing to have.