Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When it Hurts to Trust so Much

My general disposition has always been to believe people. That is what my instincts tell me to do. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. There have only been a handful of times when my initial reaction was to be skeptical rather than trusting. Even when people are joking with me I believe them. Yes, I am gullible. I always have been. It is something I have come to accept about myself over the years. When the joke’s on me, I have learned to simply laugh and shrug it off. Until now.

This time, I can’t seem to shrug it off. This time, I am angry. This time, I wonder if I need to change my trustworthy nature to one of doubt and suspicion. How could he do this? How could he lie to so many people, making them believe that he was an amazing athlete, an amazing cancer survivor, and an honorable man? How could he lead so many people to look up to him, to believe that he was a superhuman, knowing full well that it was all a scam?

Back when I was taking Exercise Physiology for my Master’s degree, my professor made reference to Lance Armstrong many times. His physical fitness abilities were a model example of how the human body can change and adapt through training. The statistics were awe-inspiring. Lance Armstrong became a person I admired both for his physical talents and for his perseverance through his bout with cancer.
Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/lance-armstrong-fall-grace-gallery-1.1241359?pmSlide=2
Last year when news reports started to surface about Armstrong’s doping and use of performance enhancing drugs, I didn’t believe them. I thought there must have been somebody out there who was simply out to destroy him for some reason. He couldn’t have done such a thing. He couldn’t have knowingly betrayed so many people.
Now, we all know how truth. I cannot begin to explain the disappointment I feel in him as a person and the hurt I feel for his deceit. I put my faith in him. We all did. He took advantage of it and made us all look like fools.
Source: http://www.thehungryandfoolish.com/2013/01/15/lance-armstrong-told-oprah-he-used-performance-enhancing-drugs/
Now, I can’t help but wonder who else out there is doing the same thing. Who else is pulling the wool over my eyes? Who else is using my gullibility to their advantage? Who else is falsely trying to prove himself as a hero and an idol? Perhaps it is time for me to stop believing and start questioning.  

How do you feel about Lance Armstrong's deceit?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

People Are Not Always How They Seem

I know how the way I act can seem sometimes. My shyness can make it seem like I’m arrogant. My comments can make it seem like I’m judgmental. My lack of laughter at a joke can make me seem snooty. My perfectionist ways can make it seem like I think I’m better than everyone else. My fast-paced nature can make me look like I’m too absorbed in my own life to care about anyone else’s.  
I am my own worst critic. But the reality is that sometimes we act in certain ways or say certain things which, to someone else, can cause us to be perceived as someone completely different from who we actually are.
Military wives often have the pleasure of meeting new faces. Sometimes they are introduced to an entirely new group of women after a move while other times there are a handful of newcomers into their current group. Though we always miss our old friends, it is such a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, new military wives who surely have something valuable to share with us. But for many of these women, including myself, such a situation causes our insecurities to flare—insecurity over whether or not they will like me, insecurity over how they will perceive the things I say or do, and insecurity over whether or not I will fit in with the group.
One thing I have noticed about myself over the years is that I am very protective of myself. Many times, I opt to stay away from the large crowds of fellow military wives because of my fears of not being included. Instead, I become comfortable in my small group of friends where I know I am accepted. This, I know, is one of my biggest faults. Allowing my fears to get in the way of knowing some amazing women and developing great friendships is something I need to change.
So I ask you, please know that if I seem shy, I am not arrogant but am just nervous and secretly hoping that you will talk first to get me warmed up. If I say something that seems judgmental or offends you, know that such a result is never, ever intentional and I really do just say stupid things sometimes. If I don’t laugh, it’s not because I’m snooty but I’m probably tired or preoccupied or am having a rough day. If you are put off by my perfectionism, understand that my effort is not to be better than everyone but rather it is a bad habit I cannot break and overpowers my ability to relax. And if you sense that I am constantly in a rush, please, please tell me to slow down because I do care to hear what you have to say.
I promise you that I will do the same for you, because I know you, too, are fighting your own insecurities.
 I want you to know what’s behind how I can sometimes seem.  I am kind. I am honest. I am funny in my own kooky way. I am outgoing once I warm up a little bit. I am sensitive. I am positive. I am faithful. I am humble. I am smart, but have so much more to learn. I am someone who values family and friendship and quality time with the people we love. And I, just like everyone other military wife, am trying every day to find my place in this military life.
Before you secure that first impression, please give me a chance to let my guard down, to get past my fears, and to show you the real me.   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When a Mountain is Smaller than You Think

You know those moments when, out of the blue, you see or hear something which inspires you to the point of tears? For me, those moments come when I am watching a Hallmark card commercial, or even reading through cards in the store. They come when I see the spark in children’s hearts. They come when I am driving in the car and hear that song which makes me to reflect on life and rethink my priorities.

A few days ago, I was listening to my playlist while working out and a song came on which brought me to tears. Maybe I was crying because the words unveiled a new truth in my constant quest for contentment, or maybe it was a gentle reminder that the troubles and anxieties I face in my life are so trivial in the grand scheme of things. Whatever the reason, I knew that the message was one I would need to hang on to. The song, So Small by Carrie Underwood, goes like this:

What you got if you ain't got love
The kind that you just want to give away
It's okay to open up, go ahead and let the light shine through
I know it's hard on a rainy day, you want to shut the world out and just be left alone
But don't run out on your faith
 [Verse 2]
It’s so easy to get lost inside a problem that seems so big at the time
It’s like a river that’s so wide it swallows you whole
While you sit around thinking about what you can’t change
And worrying about all the wrong things
Time’s flying by, moving so fast, you better make it count 'cause you can't get it back
Sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand
What you’ve been up there searching for forever is in your hands
When you figure out that love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else seem so small.
Verse 1: I cannot even imagine having a heart so heavy that I had no love to give. The love I have for the people in my life is what keeps me going. It’s true that all I want to do is keep giving it away and making those people feel special. As a military wife, I have often hidden in the comfort of my home during times of struggle trying to avoid interaction. I tend to always have that “I’m fine” response when asked how I’m doing to put off burdening others with my problems. But the truth is, that’s what those people are there for and the reason they care enough to ask in the first place is because they, too, have love they want to give. This verse reminds me that I need to let that love in just as I want others to let mine in.
Verse 2:  I cannot count how many times I have gotten swallowed by a problem that I made bigger than it actually was. And, even if I know it is something I cannot change, it continues to happen. I get sucked in to the negative thoughts going through my mind and I become irritable. All the while, I am making everyone else around me miserable and I end up spending valuable time on something worthless. Hearing these words in the song reminded me that I need to stop focusing on what I can’t change. It made me stop to look at my kids playing together and think about how fast they are growing up. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize I spent their childhood years preoccupied with things over which I have no control.
[Chorus] When I heard the first line of the chorus, I was humbled. In reality, most of my mountains have just been grains of sand. When I think back on the big deals I made out of trivial things, I realize how little they matter in my life now that they have passed. When I think about all the things I have complained and still complain about, I see that I am guilty of forgetting about all the blessings in my life. I spend so much trying to figure out what would make my life perfect, but the truth is I already have it. It really is already in my hands. I love and am loved. One of my most basic human needs is fulfilled. When I put this in perspective, I realize that this is enough to overcome any other desires. It is enough to know that if I lost everything I owned I would still have love in the end. It is enough to turn any mountain into a grain of sand. Because when love is all that matters after all, everything else surely is so small.    

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When the Holidays Leave You Longing for More

 It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written, but the break was much needed so that I could focus on celebrating Christmas and New Year’s and to simply be with my family. The kids, husband, and I travelled to Rhode Island and New Hampshire to spend Christmas with my in-laws. What a wonderful week it was. We went sledding and skiing and saw Disney on Ice. We relaxed next to a warm fire, thankful to be on vacation. On Christmas morning, we swam in a pool of wrapping paper and boxes and packaging as the kids insisted on taking every new toy out of the box so they could play with it right away. I took too many pictures with my new camera in hopes that I could capture all the memories. It was a week filled with fun and laughter and the comfort of having a full house at Christmas.

 Now that it is over, I am longing for more.

A few days after we got home my daughter told me she missed grandma. I thought about how confusing it must be for her to spend a whole week with her grandparents and have so much fun just to have it all suddenly come to an end. I thought about how often I got to see my grandparents growing up and never had to worry about when I would see them again. I thought about how my kids have not just one, but two sets of grandparents who they miss desperately. I thought about all the other military families who don’t have the luxury of living near their families, but must travel hundreds or thousands of miles just to see them at the holidays.
As I looked at my little girl’s sad face, I wished that I could just get in the car and drive her to her grandma’s to play for a few hours. I wished that our trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house could end with a hug and a “see you next week!” I wished that we didn’t have to choose one family to spend the holidays with, but could have the ability to visit with both sets of families. On New Year’s Day, I wished that we could join my parents at their house for dinner and head back home at the day’s end. I wished that the military wouldn’t take us away from the most special people in our lives.
The fun and fulfilling time we spent with family this Christmas should have left me feeling content. But instead I am left with a longing, perhaps because of how great it was. It has left me wanting more of that kind of time together. More family dinners, more stories, more laughs, more pictures, and more full houses.
Over the years, I have learned to adjust to nearly every change and challenge that goes along with military life, and being separated from family is one of them. But the holiday season is a time when, no matter how well I have adapted, I go back to missing the years when the week between Christmas and New Year’s meant seeing everyone we love—grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins—on both sides of the family. It is a time when simply wishing each other a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year over the phone is just not enough.
I dream of a time when we have the ability to visit with all of our family during the holiday season. But I am also thankful for all the family we have, even if we can’t see them as often as we’d like. And I will rejoice in the memories we made this Christmas, the one which has left me longing for more.