Looking Back

Do you ever stop and think back over your life? Remember what your dreams were when you were young? Do you ever just sit and wonder how much different your life would have been if you had followed those dreams? Or did you follow a different dream and are happy with where you are in this moment in time?

If you follow astrology at all you know that we have several planets in retrograde which for me seems to be a time for reflection and letting go. Although, the last 2 years have been about nothing but letting go. This year though, it has been about facing my past and feeling the deep disappointment I feel in myself and then letting go of all of it. This last week it has been about looking back on what my dreams were and letting them go. After all you can’t make room for new if you are holding onto the old. Even when you don’t realize you are holding on.

I was in the middle of a conversation this week when it hit me. The conversation was about having a 25th wedding anniversary. Something I don’t ever see myself having. It hit me in that moment that all of my life I wanted two things. I wanted to be married and I wanted children. Well I was married, to many times. I never wanted to be married more than once but apparently that wasn’t in my cards. Then when I actually found love and happiness, he died. Now, well now, I am in a new relationship. I am in love, something I never thought possible again, but lets face it, I am 53 and the chances of having a 25th wedding anniversary is pretty much slipping away. There are no wedding plans and honestly I don’t really believe marriage will ever happen again for me.

This made me cry. It was a dream. It was something I always looked forward to and now I am looking back and working on letting it go. It is hard to let something you wanted all of your life go. It is hard to face the realization that your dream is dying day by day and will never come true. It is hard. Yet, the only thing you can do is shed your tears, feel your pain and work on letting that dream go. What is ahead of me is beautiful so why so much sadness over a number? A question I have yet to answer.

Going through the process of looking at my dreams when I was young I realized that there were many dreams that I never achieved. I didn’t go to college to become a forest ranger. I didn’t marry and have the happily ever after. I didn’t travel. One of the things that I always thought would happen in my life is to have life long friends. Yet, I don’t. Really when it comes down to it most of my life has been lived alone. Yes, I was married, yes I had children (that is a whole other story filled with immense pain) yet, I didn’t have many friends. I still don’t. I love the few that I have. I have one best girlfriend. She is 2,900 miles away and I miss her every day. Here, the women I thought I was building friendships with well as so many others, they have disappeared. I am alright with it though. It isn’t that I don’t care about them but honestly they were friends before I came along and when you have an issue with one you apparently lose them both.

My whole thing with friendship is that it is a two way street. I have learned that I only have so much to give and once I feel that I have been used or taken advantage of I walk away. So, here I am, 2,900 miles away from my family, my best girlfriend and I am working on letting go of my dreams.

It has been a long, arduous journey, this life of mine, and each day I find more of me and let those parts that I pushed away go to make room for new. I refuse to give up. I refuse to believe that my life doesn’t serve a purpose. I refuse to believe that in some small way I don’t make a difference. I refuse to waste this thing called life with living in the past and not embracing the future. So I move forward. I feel my pain. I embrace the woman that I am becoming each day and I know that it is time to start dreaming new dreams all while looking back and letting go of what was and what never will be.

In Her Service,

Sage

Hurricane

Mother Nature is powerful. That statement is an understatement. I have lived through fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and now a hurricane. It was something I will never forget.

Let’s face it, when you move to a new area one of the joys is learning the land. Learning the weather and finding out what you are made of. Can you handle it? Will you survive it? How will you react? What will you learn? There are so many unanswered questions when you are facing something you have never faced before. Much like life the weather can show you things about yourself that you never knew or help you rediscover things about yourself that you have forgotten. That was the case this past weekend when facing a hurricane named Matthew. An experience that was not only exhausting but also exhilarating.

In my last post I talked about the women in my life. The lessons I have learned and the friends I have made. Hurricane Matthew hit here in South Carolina and I found out what the women here are made of. Pure grit and amazing love.

Having never been through a hurricane I was rather feeling out of step with life. Yes, natural disasters have hit my world many times and many times I have faced situations that not only scared me but also taught me. This is no different.

I live a block and a half from the beach. I can literally walk there in a matter of moments. When the hurricane headed our way they ordered evacuations rather quickly. I have to say that I was rather annoyed that I had to leave so soon but I packed a few clothes, grabbed my cat, Seth, and headed inland to my girlfriend, Jesse’s house. Little did I know that this would create an adventure of a lifetime.

So Matthew decides to show himself. I, along with Faith (an old acquaintance from California) and her daughter Anna are all at Jesse’s so we have safe shelter. We are doing alright. We make food to have in case the power goes out. We have an ice chest to fill with water and essentials. We have our blankets and pillows and we are all fairly comfortable. Then the storm hits. Next thing we know we are flooded! Literally.  The water is flowing into the house. We are calf deep in water and it is still flowing in. Faith’s car has water up to the doors.

Our first priority was to get all of the animals to safety. Once we managed to figure out where all the animals were going we loaded what we could in my Jeep and we headed out. Yes, I know you shouldn’t drive in flood waters. I get it! You don’t know what is underneath but I also know the feeling that if you don’t drive out you aren’t getting out alive. We took the chance. Obviously, we survived because I am sitting here writing. It was scary and heartbreaking all at the same time. I am watching my best friend’s house fill up with water and there is absolutely nothing I can do. Feeling helpless is one of the worst feelings in the world.

There is a woman. Her name is Carol. I met her when I came to South Carolina. She has an amazing story in this thing we call life. She is a retired soldier and police officer. I have talked to her many times and each time I have gotten to know her a little better. She now owns a bar, along with her husband Larry, called 707. Every time I had seen her I had seen her at 707. Although I have had many conversations with her I had not spent any time with her outside of the bar.

I have found over the years that generally bar friends are just people you sit and talk to but when push comes to shove they aren’t really friends. I learned this lesson many, many years ago and it was a tough lesson to learn. It is also a lesson I have never forgotten. One thing I can say is that I am finding that to not always be true here in South Carolina as the people here tend to meet at the bar and share life outside of it. The bar is more of a “hey let’s go have a drink and then we will go bbq.”

Sometimes lessons need to be relearned with a new twist on them. That is the case here. Carol and I have always gotten along really well but I didn’t know her outside and although I adored her I just didn’t know what she was like outside of the surroundings I had met her and gotten to know her in.

Something you may not know about me. I take the word “friend” very seriously. I do not consider everyone a friend. I have many acquaintances but my friends are few. If I call you my friend I mean it. I don’t take it lightly. I make friends and keep them for life. It isn’t a matter of accumulating people it is a matter of giving my heart to them. To me a friend is someone that I would risk my life for. A friend is someone that is there through thick and thin and someone that can be depended on. I just don’t use the word flippantly and when I call you my friend I mean it. I have committed to you for the rest of my days. It is who I am. Acquaintances come and go, friends last a lifetime.

Back to the storm. So we have to evacuate Jesse’s house. Carol had offered her home to me before the storm and she was a few blocks away. We made it there and she graciously opened her home to Faith, Anna and I as well as my cat, Anna’s dog and one of Jesse’s dogs. Yes! We had a houseful. Already there was Carol’s daughter Tiffany, her husband Sean and their 2 cats as well as Carol, Larry and their dog Jazzie. To say we had a houseful is the understatement.

We got there and the first thing offered were warm pajama’s. I have to tell you that nothing on the face of this earth feels better than a pair of flannel pajama’s when your blue jeans are soaked from walking waist deep in water! I have never been more thankful for the warmth of a pair of pajama’s!

There were many adventures on this day. I will have to write about them on a different day. This is more about what I found that day than the storm and the adventures I had.

Here is the thing. I found 3 women who are no longer acquaintances.  They are friends. Carol has over the last few months protected me on levels that others may not understand. She has opened her heart as well as her home. She fed and clothed me in a time of need but beside that she showed me that just because you meet and know someone elsewhere does not mean they won’t be there. She has been there for many things, slow and steady. One of the things that hit me during the storm happened when I went to give her a hug. She wrapped her arms around me and held me while I cried. I was so overwhelmed with all that had happened it was a sweet relief to let it out and know that this beautiful, kind woman understood and shared her heart with me. She shared so much with me in that moment that words can’t rightfully describe it.

Her daughter, Tiffany, had always been around but I think that on many levels she is like me. She just doesn’t trust a lot of people and she sits back and watches people before she decides if she wants them to be a part of her life. Friendship means something to her too. On this day I believe we became friends. We faced adversity together, we laughed together, she made the best hot chocolate (in the fireplace with 2 cups, a teapot and a sterno) that I have ever had. By the end of the storm she went from someone I knew to a friend. We have already gone all in for the next storm! Tiffany, if you read this I will gladly go on any adventure with you!

The third woman was Faith. I had known Faith from California. I didn’t know her well but I knew her well enough to always be happy to see her and just enjoy her company. During this storm we found ourselves side by side facing adversity unlike anything I have experienced before. If we were going to die we were going to do so together. She stood by me, side by side, through all of it. We had quite a few adventures that day, Tiffany joined us for one of them. Imagine 3 women in a foot of water, wearing flip flops or no shoes at all, wind blowing, rain falling, pulling a downed tree out of the road so they could get by. Yeah that was us! We laughed through it all. We rocked it!

We experienced a lot of things during Hurricane Matthew. Yet, for me, the most important thing I experienced was the love and true grit of 3 women who stepped up and showed me that friends come in many forms. I would go to war with any of these three women by my side. I would sit with them in their darkest times and am happy to stand by them in their good times too. To me, I made 3 beautiful friends. They showed me, once again, how beautiful it is to have strong, intelligent, caring, loving women in my life. They taught me to leave all preconceived notions behind and to just be in the now. They also taught me that not all lessons learned in the past are set in stone, change your perspective and you change your world.

Thank you Carol for being that slow and steady friend that understands that friendship is worthy of many things and sometimes you just have to be willing to accept the whole situation for what it is and be thankful for all of it.

Thank you Tiffany for confirming that watching and waiting to see can produce extreme beauty and the beginning of a good and firm friendship.

Thank you Faith for having my back, making me laugh in the worst of times and showing me as well as allowing me to show you that we can surround each other and always know that we’ve got each other.

All of the individual thank you’s could go to each of these women in totality. Each of them showed me the same things over and over. Each of them have offered their hearts, their friendship and their laughter with me. Each of them are unique in who they are and allow me to be me. I love you each more than you can possibly know. Not because you gave me anything but because you showed me that friendship comes from the heart. I am honored to call each of you my friend and I am looking forward to many years of growing, laughing, crying and standing side by side with all of you. You women are phenomenal.

Yes, then there are women and these women, well, they are AMAZING!

In Her Service,

Sage

Then There Were Women

I hate to say it, but it is true, for the majority of my life I have not trusted other women. I have always been a tomboyish kind of girl and now woman. I love sports, working on things and have always related to guys better than girls. I could, and have, sat in a room full of women and been extremely uncomfortable. I could, and have, sat in a room full of men and never felt uncomfortable.

Here is the thing, part of this, is because of society. I see it now. I didn’t before. We pit woman against woman. You always have to be the sexiest. The prettiest. The smartest. The fill in the blank. I just couldn’t relate. Maybe because my dad was one of those men that always stressed knowledge before beauty. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. I had to keep my grades up. I played sports. Oh, I did girl things, I cooked, still love doing so for that matter. I didn’t wear a lot of dresses. I was and still am a blue jean girl. I just never felt the need to compete. I couldn’t compete. I have always said I am just me and what you see is what you get. No hidden agendas.

I have been on the losing end of competition and I don’t like it. I always strive to be the best in everything I do. It has been something that has been a life long thing. I have been on the losing end of relationships where other women were trying to take whomever I was dating. I lost. Why? Because I generally wouldn’t compete. If you want someone else then I am not your girl. That is how I look at it. Yes, my heart has been broken but I survived.

I have very seldom trusted another woman with my deepest, darkest places within. I didn’t trust because let’s face it, women gossip. I am not one to put myself out there because I don’t want to know that the trust I had was broken. It has happened to many times.

Guys didn’t have a need to talk and for the most part they got me. So for the most part the most important people in my life have been guys. Not in a sexual way but in a friendship way. I knew I could share and it would stay right there. Somehow I found them to be more compassionate and understanding and really more trustworthy. This had been my life until a year or so ago.

A little over a year ago I was accepted into the SOA Seminary program. There were a small group of women and our assignments were very personal, very deep and really it was terrifying. As time went on I found solace in this group of women. They became true friends. They knew the deepest, darkest parts of my soul and yet they always stepped up and supported me. They didn’t judge me. They were there for me when I needed them most. There was no competition, it was all about loving each other through. It changed my life. It gave me a new perspective on the ability we have as women when we choose to be who we are with no apologies.  To these Sisters (and I use that word with a deep understanding that they are truly my Sisters of heart) I thank you for this beautiful lesson.

When you are able to so profoundly change a view you have carried for your entire life your entire life changes. Because of my SOA Sisters I have found my relationships with other women more enriching. I have made some beautiful friends. Women that get me. Women that know that I am not competing with them but rather loving them for who they are. I have been blessed with a handful of these women and ultimately it has made me a better person.

You hear talk of Southern women all the time. They are like no other women on earth. Well coming to South Carolina I have met many. Some have taken the time to get to know me and some have stayed on the fringe and are just acquaintances. Some are drama queens and some are down to earth and filled with love.

There are two that I can say are there through thick and thin. These two women are amazing women. I have learned so much in such a short time from both of them. First there is Miss Barbara. She is that woman who doesn’t need to compete with any other woman because she is her and you either love her or you don’t. She doesn’t care one way or another! She is 76 years old and she shines. She has zero problem sharing her mind and always, at least within our group, always says what she says in love. She will be the first to tell me that I am screwing up with no apologies. She has had some amazing experiences and her stories will have you rolling on the floor in laughter.

Some of the things she has taught me is that age doesn’t matter. You can do and be anything you want and if others don’t like it then that is their problem. Be you. She has also taught me that I am alright just being me. Please me no matter what others think. I love my time watching football with her (even though our teams are rivals). I love my time listening to her stories and I love her attitude.

Then there is our girl Jesse. She is 12 years younger than me. She just turned 40. She has had some life experiences that I wouldn’t want to have and yet through it all she is one of the most AMAZING, CARING women I have ever known. She is tough and soft all at the same time. She has the most beautiful smile and it literally lights up the room.

Some of the things she has taught me is that no matter what your past is you are not defined by it. Make life what you want it to be. She has shown me how to be kinder and gentler. She has shown me that I can trust a woman with my secrets and I won’t be betrayed. She has given so much of herself and never asked for anything in return. She has taught me selflessness. She has taught me how to be a better woman just by being her and not judging anything.

To both of these women I say with the deepest of gratitude, thank you. Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves with me. Thank you for picking me up when I fall. Thank you for being there no matter what. Thank you for loving me. You have changed my life for the better. I love every single second we spend together. You brighten my world in ways you will never see nor understand and I love you both.

To the women that feel there needs to be competition. To the women that feel that they can’t trust other women. I can promise you that there are women in this world that are not those women. There are women that don’t care if you have make up on or are dressed to kill. We see you for who you are and the outer shell isn’t it. Find your women and trust them. It is an amazing adventure that will enrich your life beyond words.