Thoughts

Moral of the Story

The moral of a story is the lesson that story teaches about how to behave in the world. I suppose if it’s a sad story, then we might behave that way. But the truth is, we don’t have to. We can choose to take the moral of a not so happy story and make sure the next story we tell, is a really good one.

My middle son played this song for me yesterday. Two days ago he played a song called, Too f#$%n nice by Victoria Justice for me. I think he’s trying to tell me something, don’t you? I love that kid and my two other ones and they are a great source of strength and support for me.

When we go through a major life change, especially a not so easy one, it really is a great opportunity to look at what we have gone through and see the lesson in what happened. We might be asking what was the point even, especially if it was really painful.

I have been on this path of self discovery for awhile now and the only truth I know, is this: it is paramount that we see the lesson, embrace it, learn from it and grow from it, else we are going to repeat it. And I can tell you from personal experience that I never ever want to repeat this particular lesson again.

As I sift through 20 something years of stuff and try to find storage space for it, sell my house, look for a new place to live with my kids and end a marriage through mediation, I am a bit overwhelmed. It’s a lot and while I would appreciate someone’s help as I am going through this, my family does not live close by, so I am doing it on my own.

So to that end I will be taking a break from writing on my blog for a bit. It is something I have made part of my daily routine and well, since my routine has now been replaced by a mire of non-routine, my mind cannot be here right now.

I’ll leave you with this song and this message. As I look around my house and all of the material things I have, I realize that the only things that are of real importance or value are my photos, kids art projects, letters and cards from them and family, my cat and of course my boys.

The rest of my things are just things and can all be replaced. But the memories…I have many from living here. Some good, some really bad. The moral of this story is this: we take our memories with us wherever we go. We get to choose which ones we replay in our minds. If we are choosing painful ones than we aren’t allowing new and joyous ones to come in.

And when you look around your life you realize the things that really matter the most, are the ones you can touch and hold.

May my next story and yours have no moral, just a happily ever after.

xo Gretchen

Chaos is a Ladder

This is a very powerful piece of music and an amazing monologue.

“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, never to try again. The fall breaks them. And some given a chance to climb, they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love, the illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

Are you ready to go deep with this one? Let’s talk about chaos and the thing that creates it; lies.

Let’s think about a lie. Why do people feel the need to tell them? Some people do it unconsciously like breathing, while others do it to hide who and what they really are or how they really feel.

Who are we without the lies? It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Pretending to be something we’re not is one form of a lie. Saying things that are not true to make yourself feel better is another. Showing one face to the world and looking in the mirror and seeing another is also a lie. Disparaging someone else to make yourself look better is probably the worst.

You can look around your neighborhood, family, close friends, and see that there are people who seem to be going through the motions, pretending everything is okay, but if asked in private to a trusting sort, they might spill the beans about how miserable they really are. They are in fact living a lie on a daily basis and make a hundred excuses as why they do it.

I have friends who do this. They tell me they don’t like their spouse but would lose too much money if they divorced and are fearful of what life will look like without them, so instead of trying to climb the ladder of chaos, they stay in a miserable marriage, living a lie. I have a neighbor up the street who had the police called to the house a few weeks ago (by one of their own children), but when they arrived they acted as though nothing was wrong. I have even lived a lie myself. I’ve been told to shut up, that I’ll have to get a “real” job when my marriage is over, as if being a mother wasn’t one, for the past 22 years. I’ve been laughed at, judged and made fun of and told I have no friends, all by someone who said they loved me. I put on a smiley face to the world and then cried myself to sleep when no one was looking.

It never ceases to amaze me how we will act as if everything is perfect when it is anything but. We convince ourselves that things aren’t that bad and that our partner didn’t mean the horrible things they have said to us or the horrible things they have done, so we can continue to live in a pit of despair. Anything, but take that first step towards the ladder of chaos which is simply the unknown and a way out.

We cling to these lies because often times the truth is too unbearable to accept. And because we are clinging so hard to the illusion of what we wish was going on instead of what really is, instead of climbing the ladder of perceived chaos, we choose to stay in a world of deception and ironically chaos ensues.

To climb the ladder of chaos is the heroic approach of course and not one for the faint of heart. Few of us are brave enough to do it. We would rather stay where we are and live a life of lies and deal with the chaos we have now created because of our refusal to accept the truth, rather than taking steps on the ladder of perceived chaos that will lead us out of it.

The meaning of chaos is complete disorder and confusion and behavior that is unpredictable and random. So you can either choose to continue to live a life like that every day of your life, or climb a ladder that will have its moments, but will eventually get you free of it.

I choose the ladder, because no matter how scary, daunting or chaotic it might seem at first, it is far less scarier than remaining in constant chaos and accepting the unacceptable. And I know that each step I climb brings me closer to the light and further and further away from chaos that was created out of my refusal to see the lie that I was living.

Don’t be afraid to climb the ladder. Eventually you will reach the top, throw the ladder to the side and never look back.

Do You Love What You Feel?

“If I don’t love how I feel or how someone makes me feel, then I’m not doing it.” This is going to be my motto going forward.

When I have ignored this basic feeling, I have found myself in situations or in relationships that are toxic, painful and disempowering and wind up getting hurt. Because I have gotten to a place of loving myself, I am very in tune with this inner guidance and completely trust it.

But when we don’t trust it, we will be offered opportunities all the time to go out with people, to functions, on trips, business meetings, family gatherings, etc. and we will say yes to it all, even though we may not want to. It’s like we are on auto pilot and don’t even consider saying no.

Often times we accept these invitations out of guilt. You can tell you’ve done this because when the day arises, you feel like you don’t want to go. You may not understand why, but there is a feeling in your body that says it doesn’t want to participate.

This is because you have been conditioned to accept anything and everything that is asked of you. God knows you don’t want to disappoint anyone, so you commit to everything, even when you may not want to. You may even convince yourself it won’t be that bad, but it always is. This is because guilt is a very low vibration and if you are accepting invitations out of guilt, chances are the people who are there are pretty low vibrational as well.

I did this all the time. Made plans and then cancelled, which is why I do not make plans anymore. Unless it is a trip or an acting and modeling job. I do commit to those ahead of time because they are something I look forward to and I love how I feel when I am doing them. In short, they light me up.

But the things that don’t light me up or the people who bring me down, are not things I am going to ever commit to again. There are far too many people in the world who want what I want, to accept invitations from those who do not.

Here’s how you know when you’re doing something you love. You feel excited. Hopeful even. It’s electric. You might feel fearful, but you face the fear and make it your friend. You have realized that fear will shut down your prosperity and at the end of the day fear is simply excitement without breath.

And if you realize this, you will never be afraid of anything again. Especially saying no to anything or anyone that doesn’t make you love how you feel.

Turn the Page

to make a new start after a period of difficulties. I like this song because it’s all about love. Love is what keeps all of us turning the page, even when life gets difficult.

If you are in a relationship and going through a rough patch, if your foundation is strong enough, the love you have for one another will get you through it. If you are ending a relationship like I am, the hope of new love in the future is what gets you through that.

We are all meant to love; to have love, to be loved. And when we go without it, we wither. We are not the best versions of ourselves because we are withholding a basic need which is to express our feelings. And while we might try to express it in other ways, it’s not the same.

We all want to spend our life with someone. We want that person who has our back and laughs with us. Someone who rises us up instead of bringing us down and perhaps even pushes us out of our comfort level from time to time because they see how special we are even when we don’t.

Sometimes we think we have met this person and for one reason or another it doesn’t work out. We might beat ourselves up about why it all had to happen, but when you do enough work on yourself, it becomes pretty clear.

I wrote a post about “the one” awhile back, so I though it fitting to mention “the one that got away” since I recently spoke to a friend of mine who was talking about this very thing.

It’s pretty natural to do a mental sweep of all of the people you may have had an opportunity that you passed on, especially when “your one” turns out to be “the one” you’re moving away from. There is always one that comes to mind when we do this.

We might even mention them to a friend and say, “the one that got away.” But did they really get away? Or did you let them?

If you chose someone else, you needed that lesson. Perhaps it was one of self worth. So if you are ever thinking about a person who you think got away, this simply means you have evolved enough to be looking at them again and asking yourself the following questions:

What was it about them that was so different? Did they question your values? Your faith? Your ideals? Did they look different than your usual type? Would your family not like them? Did they have a job you didn’t care for?

You see, if you read all of those things, they don’t really matter when it comes to love. Love is just love. It doesn’t put a label on things or judge people based on what they look like or what they do. It just loves.

The one that got away was the one you should have loved because your heart knew, but we get so caught up in our egos, we tune out our heart and follow the ego instead. This is why when we finally wake up to “the one that got away” it is so painful.

But the truth is, no one we are meant to be with will ever get away. Nothing and no one can ever stand in the way of unconditional love. It could be years since you have seen someone and if you reach out to them and the timing is finally right, it will be as though no amount of time has passed at all.

We are all on different journeys. We have lessons to learn in order to evolve into the best versions of ourselves. And while we are evolving people are either evolving with us or they aren’t.

When you get to a place where you understand that no one we are meant to be with can ever get away, then you’ll probably simultaneously find yourself not only standing in front of “the one that got away” but “the one” as well.

Can’t Stop the Feeling!

You gotta love this song! You can’t not feel good about life when you hear it.

We all have a choice to be electric, but it can only happen if you choose to focus on all of the good in your life. Personally, I feel like a freaking lighting bolt.

No matter what is going on around you, no matter who is trying to mess with you, if you stay focused on what you are doing and give little to no attention to what haters are up to, you can stay in this little bubble of happiness and nothing will bother you.

This lazer focus is a true testament to how committed you are to self worth, self love and self empowerment. It is also what will keep you sane amongst insanity.

You can’t stop this good feeling when you are in touch with yourself. You can literally smile like a fool just thinking about all of the blessings in your life. I do it all the time. Sometimes I just think of someone I like and I smile. It comes from a place deep inside me. It is internal and therefore it becomes external.

True change only comes in your life when you work from the inside out but most people go about this backwards. They think if they move, exercise, diet, etc. that their sad life will transform into a better one. But there is a saying about this, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Simply put, if you have not changed who you are internally; meaning reflected on your life and why things haven’t gone so well for you, then wherever you go, you will still be taking your old, sad, miserable self with you. Because you are internally the same, you will only attract old, sad, and miserable people and the cycle of misery will continue.

Or, you can become electric.

You light the fires within, feel the feels and begin to see that everything and everyone is always a lesson, a test and a blessing. Once you realize this, it becomes very easy to release what no longer serves you.

Triggers become a thing of the past because there is no need to give your precious energy to anything or anyone that is not vibing where you are. If someone doesn’t like you, you just don’t care. You know that you are not for everyone but those who are, are electric too. You also understand that is doesn’t matter what people think of your choices, because when you operate from a place like this, you know that everything you do is for the highest good of all and never selfishly motivated.

This is electric my friends. And it is uber powerful.

What Is Love?

What is love? Hmm…I guess that might be different for everyone.

Love certainly doesn’t involve someone hurting us, yet many of us seem to suffer with this in our relationships.

We certainly don’t choose to suffer. I mean, who would do that? Or do we? The answer of course, is yes. We do choose to suffer, but not consciously.

When we are afraid to feel those wounds of abandonment, we will attract people who bring those feelings to the surface. And like a pot of water on a stove that simply exists until you ignite it, the water starts to rumble until it is a full on boil.

Our feelings, when trampled over time and time again, ignites something within us. Initially we might do anything to try and avoid them, but at the boiling point, they can’t be ignored anymore

If you are currently in the boil phase as I am, simply remove the pot. Whatever is causing this chemical reaction needs to go. No one should be in a position in any relationship where they feel so completely disregarded, unheard and under valued. This is not love. This is toxic.

Real love involves another party knowing your worth and never ever making you feel unsafe, unstable and insecure. When you do enough work on yourself there is not need for these lessons anymore and anyone who keeps trying to bring you to their level instead of rising to yours, needs to go.

It’s really as simple as that. It may not be a simple process to remove them from your life, but the first step is realizing it’s over. The more you linger there, the more you are now consciously choosing to suffer and that my friends, is called insanity.

Choose to loose anything and anyone who brings you down. It might be scary, believe me I know, but trying to make something work with someone who doesn’t do any, is far scarier.

What is love? It’s knowing that you deserve more than what you have allowed yourself to settle for. The water might be hot now, but it will cool. And the haunted woods you have found yourself lost in will eventually turn into your happily ever after.

Stay positive! If I can keep being burned and rise like the phoenix time and time again, so can you. And I will never, ever let anyone who didn’t know how to love, harden me from loving another again; nor should you.

A New Lease on Life

In case you haven’t noticed, I write a blog that coincides with a song. It’s actually pretty easy to do. Sometimes I hear a song and think of something to write and other times there is something that happens in my life and I am astonished at how there is always a song that coincides with it.

This song, which I think is awesome is coinciding with an event in my life that is happening right now.

A new lease on life! Literally! The house is being looked at by a realtor this afternoon and I will be finding a lease on an apartment, probably in Jersey City. Maybe Manhattan, don’t know. But the countdown has begun!

I am actually excited! It’s not too often you move and completely start over. Of course this will not be my final destination, but a layover none the less. My son is happy, all my kids are. We’re good.

It’s times like this where you need help though, so I will be accepting help from everyone who is willing and able. If they know of someone renting a place, want to buy me a drink, a dinner, make me laugh; I’m down! I know you read this my dearest friend in the world, so Philly is definitely on my agenda. Poolside with margaritas and my best girl. We’ll put a date on the calendar!

It is amazing and very telling of who comes to your aide when you are in need. Those who do not, you realize were never important to you anyway. Those who do were probably always there and always will be. And for that you should be grateful.

I won’t be telling any of my neighbors or towns people about the move, they will hear soon enough once a story is told. I care nothing of stories anymore, in fact, I am bored to death with them. Most stories are merely lies anyway. And I will not tolerate any more of those.

A new lease on life doesn’t have to mean a lease, but with a new lease comes a new neighborhood and the opportunity to meet new people and have new opportunities as well, which in my book are all good reasons to celebrate.

May you be blessed with a new lease on your life! It doesn’t have to be as drastic as mine, but if life is nudging in you in a direction that you’ve probably thought about already, don’t wait for the tower moment to make a change.

Get after it!

Drama!!!

I mentioned that I went back to work in a salon one day a week. One day is a lot! They asked me yesterday if I wanted to work more and I gave a big hell to the no!

I’m assisting. This means I do all of the work colorists don’t want to do. They know nothing of my past and the glamorous clientele I had or the money I made, blah blah blah, they only want to know if I am available to tear foils or wash color out. I’m a humble person (you’re laughing of course), so I comply.

The reason I decided to go back into a salon and be tortured by people barking orders at me and throwing their dirty bowls in a sink to be washed, is because I have a license and do absolutely nothing with it. I did at one time of course, but now it just sits there in a drawer collecting dust, instead of collecting me money.

Because of my lapse in the business, my brain doesn’t work like a colorist anymore. But it’s amazing how one day back back in a shop my brain immediately picked up on formulations. The owner is a protege of a famous colorist I know and the way the job came about was very serendipitous, so I took it.

My first day there I was skeptical. I felt like I had been transported back to the first salon I worked in with all of the drama. Jessie (who was taking female hormones) spinning across the floor, Thee Vyron Roe with his cowboy hat on, Derek who had his nose bit off by a scorned lover, Eric (who once did hair for porn stars) sitting in is chair flipping his golden locks to and fro, and Betty (backstabbing Betty) trying to mess with my color formulations.

I hate drama and I especially don’t like people who bring drama. My life has been full of it and I am done. D-O-N-E! I don’t want drama around me, I don’t want drama people in my life and I certainly don’t want drama in my work. Stability is the name of the game for me now. Anything that doesn’t smell like, look like or act like stability is a no go for me.

So when in the first hour I was at this salon and I looked up at the front desk and saw two police officers, I felt a pit. It all came rushing back to me like Roy Scheider in Jaws when the camera zooms in on his face at the beach. Why in the hell was I here? What had I agreed to? Who in this joint had the police after them? Was it a customer? An employee? I drove 45 minutes to get here. I’m shampooing people! I went about my business and shampooed the next person with color on their head, thinking I would grab my keys when I finished and get the heck out of there.

But then the owner came in the color room as I was grabbing my bag and I saw that she was visibly upset. She said she had called the police because she had fired an employee and he was threatening her child now. She’s such an awesome lady and I really like her and I know if I stick around for a bit I can learn some really great new techniques from her.

If I keep this in prospective, then it’s easy. You can do anything for one day and let’s be realistic, I am never going to color hair there. I’m only doing this so that when I move I will be able to color hair anywhere. It’s just another tool I have in my kit to make my wallet grow.

So as I resigned to this philosophy, the Universe sends me a test. I have a moment, so I read my email. Two emergency auditions from two separate agents are in my in box. This never happens on a Friday. Ever! I snuck out to my car to do a voice over but had to pass on the other one. I do not ever pass on auditions, so you can imagine how I felt like turning on the ignition and leaving.

But a test is sent to us for a reason. It asks, “How bad do you really want this?” I don’t like being tested, but I do have an end game, so a test is only natural. Being back in a salon and working as an assistant is a true test to how far I have ascended. There are people who work there who don’t even say hello to me. One colorist got angry at me yesterday because I didn’t keep her foils in when I rinsed someone, even though she didn’t tell me to. Some clients don’t even tip. Is there any other way to test your self esteem? Your self worth? Your commitment to a goal?

If you can be in an environment where people treat you like you are less than they are, you have two choices. You can react and walk out, yell, talk back, get angry or you can respond with a smile and understand that everyone is always going through something and usually it has nothing to do with you.

Besides, this is one day out of my life. I do make some pocket change that I generally give to my kids, but I am there for the education. And I am learning a lot. How long will I be there? Couldn’t tell you. I have resigned to living in the moment. I do not plan a thing anymore. Wherever I am today is where I am. Tomorrow? Couldn’t tell you where I’ll be. I only know that it will be wherever I am meant to.

But I do know, wherever I go, it will include peace, love and happiness, because that’s just how I roll now.

Sweet Dreams Can Only Come When You’re sleeping

I don’t know when your day starts, but mine does around 5am. I feel like I live on a farm! I always said I wanted to have a farm with dogs I adopted because there is a lot of space there, but in a house it’s a bit much.

I currently have a resident who came from Mississippi. A dumpster dog as he is so lovingly called. I think it’s a horrible term and probably has something to do with his personality. He eats cans, bricks, stones, plastic, whatever he can get his teeth on. Yesterday he ate a book cover. I guess he didn’t like me reading The 48 Laws of Power. Perhaps he thought the intel would not bode well for him.

He is my oldest son’s dog and since I talked my oldest into staying for the summer instead of going back to UConn, Beau stays with him. Actually Beau stays with me most of the time because we all know that a kid having a dog generally means the parent watches it.

This charmer has a thing with ambulances. The town I live in loves an ambulance! Beau either hates them or is calling to them because he howls at the top of his lungs at them. My other dog, Archie, a ridiculously anxiety-ridden dog will bark too when he howls. The cat, Milo simply looks at the two of them like they are mental because cats are superior and Milo is superior to everyone.

I wake at 5 because I go to bed at 8:30. I’m not usually asleep, I just shut the door to my bedroom and sprawl across my king size bed, grateful for the alone time. Actually I’m not alone. The two dogs and cat seem to be grateful for the respite as well.

Yesterday, as I lie there, unwinding from cooking meals and doing laundry for three kids and cleaning a house because my oldest is having his girlfriend this weekend, there was a knock on my door. It was my oldest holding his computer.

“Hey, Mom! Do you think you can listen to my podcast?” “I would love to!” I love it when he shares his work with me. It’s very good and I tell him so. “I’m going to go out with some friends for a bit. Love you! Sleep well!” He says, and shuts my door.

Sleep! Glorious sleep. I had forgotten why I came in here. I turn off my light and I hear a knock on the door. “Come on in!” I say. It’s my youngest.

“Mom, Can I talk to you about something?” “Of course!” He talked to me about football (which I know nothing about) but wanted to show me a kid who transferred schools and was all pro now. This is something he talks about doing. I’m on board. I’ve got less than two years with him and if my baby wants me to move to the moon, I will, just so he can have an opportunity to obtain his dream. He left feeling confident, so I turned out my light again.

They say the third time is a charm. Low and behold! The charm arrived via my middle son.

“Hey, Ma! Do you know the passcode for Netflix?” I hate passcodes! When did our world become so complicated? I didn’t know the passcode, but he stayed for a bit and we chatted about relationships. Why people settle; his theory on that then mine. He taught me a few phrases in Mandarin which I have since forgotten, asked if he could order some food and said, “Xiexie mama,” then, “Why are you in bed so early?”

Early? Because I get up at the crack of dawn! I walk for 45 minutes while the rest of the world sleeps, I clean a cat box, walk two dogs, feed them all, feed the birds, clean up messes left in the kitchen from the night prior, pack orders for my company, make a five course meal for my youngest before he heads to Jersey City for the day, write a blog, make Instagram posts, read emails and do any auditions I have been sent. I also went back to working in a salon on Fridays so I spend a but of time watching videos on the latest color techniques, all before my little darlings rise from their peaceful slumber.

It’s not easy being a mom but my children are my first priority. Because of this commitment, I have made choices that do not benefit me in the least, but my relationship with them is of the unconditional kind, so I forego a lot of me time for them time.

My kids have big dreams, but so do I. I would not be able to support them the way that I do if I didn’t understand their drive. This inner knowing of what is best for you and what is not is something I have always tried to instill in them. Sometimes we make choices that we know aren’t going to serve us in the long run, so we have to be brave enough to make different ones, even when others might disagree.

Life is always changing and if you aren’t willing to change with it, your chances of being a success are slim to none. Change can be overwhelming for people, but in this house, change is the name of the game. It can be exhausting and frankly, just too much at times, but when you have lofty goals, there’s no such thing as sitting idle.

So when the end of the day comes, it’s all I want to do! I’ve earned it. I slip away down the hall and climb into my big bed with big thread count sheets and breathe a sigh of relief. Until there is a knock on the door and Lucy is back at her station, doling out advice and giving pep talks.

And to be honest, I love every minute of it.

No More Tears

If there’s no crying in baseball, then there certainly isn’t any crying in the club.

We’ve all been there! Heartbroken beyond belief, tears streaming down our faces, gasping for breath in-between sobs. The ache so bad we feel we will never be able to love again.

We are often left with no answers as to why someone treated us the way they did. Most times we are just left with more questions. Mainly, how could we have been so blind?

Our vision gets blurred when the heart takes over. We only see the good in someone or what we imagine the good to be. When we fall in love we can romanticize a person into being something they aren’t, often times something they aren’t even capable of.

We want love so badly, we compromise, settle, forego our own feelings for another, accept less than what we know we deserve and try over and over again to make something work, even when someone else doesn’t put in any effort at all.

All of this wanting leads to disappointment time and time again. You reach out and they don’t reach back, you try to talk but they don’t want to listen, you try over and over again because you know what you feel is special but still they treat you like you’re some option they will circle back around to when they get bored with whatever else or whoever else they are busy doing.

When you finally figure out that you mean as little to a person as the guy at Starbucks who takes their coffee order, you stop giving. It’s sad really, that it takes buckets of tears in order to finally wipe your eyes one last time and never shed another for someone who treated you so callously. This is because you finally find the love you so freely gave to them and start giving it to yourself.

So cry if you must over that person who who made you feel like you didn’t matter. But just know that anyone who makes you cry that hard isn’t a person worth crying over. No one is hard to love, but there are people who love too hard and usually they manage to attract people who have hardened hearts and teach them a very valuable lesson in self love.

So thank those who treated you like you were less than human for the tears and go live your best life without them. There will be someone who values you for you and what you have to offer, because you value you now and will never settle for someone who doesn’t.