Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wearing Your HEART On Your Sleeve

Lana "Love Story" Wearing Josephine's "La Divina". I Borrowed RuPaul's RED Gloves To
Represent Wearing Your HEART On Your Sleeve. ;-)

I just realized this weekend (while watching a marathon of Inyanla episodes on OWN…the only good network left on cable) that I have been passive aggressively holding a grudge against a person I love for about a full year now. I had an "a-ha" moment.

People that really know me, understand that I have many acquaintances but consider few people REAL friends. Basically, it's because of two main reasons. The first is as a young person I was "stabbed in the back" by many "friends" and when I grew older I learned (mostly due to my mom's advice and mentoring) that eventually everyone disappoints you and that all we truly have in this life that we can count on is our "family". 

Sadly, when I came OUT (of the closet) even my family turned their backs on me. So, because I did not cultivate friendships easily and due to my family turning me away when they found out I was gay, I created a wall around my heart and I told myself,"I don't need anyone." That's a very sad existence. It's lonely and depressing. I've been working on tearing down that wall around my heart for years now…with Peter's help (he is much more open and optimistic than I am)…but every once in a while, when I feel like someone has let me down or hurt me, I inevitably put a couple bricks back up. It's a slow process, but I'm "doing my work" like Iyanla says.

Now, because Peter and I have owned and published a popular GLBT nightlife and entertainment magazine (www.whatshappeningmagazine.com) for seven years now, we are fortunate to get many perks. We've gotten used to people being "nice" to us in order to be on the receiving end of one of the perks (like free tickets to concerts and events, meeting celebrities, VIP status as bars…trust me…it's not as glamourous as it sounds). We've had people "use us" for those fringe benefits and it hurts. Nonetheless, we understand that it comes with the territory and after this many years in the "scene" we can now see individuals with ulterior motives coming a mile away. 

Peter and I are by nature generous. We like to share and enjoy our life and all the bonuses that we are blessed to have with those we care most about. That is how we were both raised. Not to be greedy, to give the shirt off your back to someone who needs it and that good times are made better by sharing them with others we love. But, I would be lying if I didn't say that MY (not Peter's) antennas are not constantly up. It is as if I keep EXPECTING people to disappoint me….and that's when I got it. I'm allowing other peoples actions to change ME and take ME back to being the completely closed off person that I fight becoming again. Ding-Ding-Ding! My "a-ha" moment.

Last year, around this time, I was hurt (unintentionally I believe) by a person I had been getting to know as a REAL FRIEND. Slowly, I went into protective mode, which was to pull away from that person. I didn't even realize that I was doing it…but, instead of speaking to that person and saying,"Hey, I really didn't like what you just did…." or "Do you know that what you said really just hurt my feelings…." I did what I normally do and just started taking inventory of this person's actions and words becoming more and more sensitive to them. I was hurt…and hurt turned to passive aggressiveness. Which lead to distance I feared that having another injury to my heart at the time would be fatal to my faith in humanity as a whole. I was going back to my corner…my safe place.

I don't want to LIVE in that space anymore.

I learned a few things, out of this experience and from Iyanla's wisdom:

1- Our family, friends and loved one are NOT MIND READERS. If they do something that hurts or upsets us WE MUST LET THEM KNOW and not carry the baggage with us that will eventually hold us down and ruins the relationship. Plus, they might not even be AWARE that they did anything in the first place. All that leads to is building resentment towards those we care about. And let's face it, our loved ones deserve honesty not resentment. 

2- We ALL do the BEST we can…and when WE KNOW BETTER…WE DO BETTER. 

3- You can't control other people's actions. You can ONLY control how you respond.

4- Give of yourself and expect NOTHING in return. Not even gratitude. WE SHOULD GIVE TO OTHERS FOR OURSELVES.

5- Be who YOU are….if you are a "natural spring" that enjoys to openly share of your blessings with others….YOU MUST CONTINUE TO DO SO. The river of blessings must be allowed to flow so that it can continue to grow. Be grateful to God for granting you the blessings to share with others.

6- DON'T BLOCK YOURSELF OFF. No one can hurt you…unless you let them. Live in the sun. Remember, sometimes you'll get burned…but without the sun - NO LIVING THING CAN GROW.

7- DON'T TAKE INVENTORY OF WHAT YOU DO FOR OTHERS....and what they do in return. It's not a contest. 

8- BEFORE YOU BLAME SOMETHING TOTALLY ON SOMEONE ELSE….look in the mirror and see what part YOU had in the misunderstanding. It takes two to tango!

9- WASTING TIME arguing over small issues with family or friends is STUPID. They can be taken away from us at any moment. Our time together in this life is precious…spend it enjoying each others company and not harboring petty grudges. 

10- We are NEVER to old to learn or change your course of life. When we stop evolving and learning is when we are truly done in this life.

I leave you all with one last piece of advice from one of my new gurus and spiritual mentors Miss Iyanla Van Zant.....


1 comment:

  1. I love that you have this avenue to express yourself. I feel that it not only benefits but I hope many of your loyal readers. There is so much that people post these days where they focus on the negative it is refreshing to read a blog that is substantial, well worded and reflective all while trying to share a personal lesson. I'm blessed to have such an inspirational person as Frank in my life.