Life Poetry

In Hiding

I loved a man, and then I lost,
and now I have to pay the cost
of life alone in solitude;
a constant dark’ning of the mood.

It’s not the loss that I can’t face
but haunting mem’ries of loving days,
so filled with lies and subterfuge
‘twould make another want to lose.

Perhaps I trusted much in haste
and now I stand amidst the waste
and try to face reality
and slay the dragons to set me free.

But still I’m bound with all my chains,
and I’ll learn to cope with all the pain
and agony I feel inside –
there is no haven; I cannot hide.

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Fiction Life

The Conversation

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or place is unintentional.

“I don’t know who I am” the young boy said.

“Why? Do you have amnesia? Do you remember your name?”

“You don’t understand. Nobody does. “

“Listen kid, I do understand. You might be making things more complicated than they need to be. You’re still a kid – you have lots of time to figure out who you are. Hell, some of us are still trying to figure it out in our seventies. There’s no deadline, no quiz at the end. You figure it out as you go along and until then, just be you.”

“That’s the point, I don’t know who I am, I’m different from other people.”

“That’s the beauty of the world – we’re all different. Yet we’re all the same. Just be yourself – focus on being who YOU want to be and never mind trying to fit other people’s idea of who you should be.”

“I get teased at school and called name. Once I got beat up on the way home. The girls understand – they treat me like I’m just one of their girlfriends, but I get picked on almost every day by bullies.”

“Bullies are bullies. They act that way because you threaten them – by being different. That’s where racism comes from and all those religious wars throughout history. Some people think different is bad. Bullies will pick on people for being too short, too fat, too black, too anything that isn’t like them. Heck, in some countries they have a vendetta against people with red hair.”

“You’re not like most people your age. Most of your generation is the worst.”

“I always thought racism and hatred was a learned behaviour. Can you believe I never saw a black person until I was 11? Tells you what kind of community I grew up in. I wasn’t racist though – mostly curious. I was the same way when I met my first gay person when I was 20. I was curious. I never understood why people got so upset at others being different. They always say put yourself in other people’s shoes. Well, how would we feel if we were white in a predominately black country and we were treated that way.

“Treat others as you would like to be treated. That’s what my mother taught me. She didn’t say only if they’re white, and tall, and thin, and blond, and straight.

“And let me share a little secret with you kid – the most famous or successful people are those who dare to be different, who embrace who they are 100%, that rise above the others. Those bullies at school? Most of them will end up being losers in life. Look at Gandhi, Mandela, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Howie Mandel, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. And that’s just a few.”

“Yeah but they weren’t gay. I wish I wasn’t gay.”

“And I wish I wasn’t 72. Wish all you want but you are what you are. Sometimes you just don’t have a choice. I used to wonder about that; whether people were born gay or whether they chose to be gay, or even if something happened to make them gay.”

“What did you decide?”

“I decided it didn’t matter. I decided to accept people as they are. As long as it doesn’t affect me, why should I care? Live and let live and all that stuff.

“Besides, being gay isn’t the end of the world. Look at musicians like Elton John and Freddie Mercury, CEOs like Tim Cook, chef Ted Allen, and let’s not even start talking about designers like Giorgio Armani and Adolpho. Do you really want to be like everyone else? Or do you want to be happy to be completely yourself. Spend your time figuring out who you are and be that. Don’t waste time trying to be like everyone else.”

“I guess you do understand, sort of.”

“I don’t need to understand. I just need to accept people for who they are, like you should. And start by accepting yourself – as you are. And anytime you need reminding, here’s my name and number. Call me. I’ll listen.”  


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Life Pet Peeves

Pet Peeve #1

Today’s pet peeve is programs that scan your computer for one purpose or another – like your antivirus program or a disk utility program. Very few of them tell you how long it’s going to take and that is what peeves me.

I’m left sitting here wondering how long it’s going to take. Is it going to be 2 minutes or 20 minutes? Do I have time to start (or finish) something else while I’m waiting? As our disk drives are getting larger (and fuller), scans are taking longer and longer. Even those useless progress bars are better than nothing, but still useless. They take forever to finish less than halfway, then you blink and it’s at 100%.

It must be a fairly simple mathematical equation. Since it should know approximately how long it takes to scan 100 MB for example, it should be able to see the size of the drive and estimate a time for completion.

And while we all hate generic messaging (causing us to just go glassy-eyed and click OK without reading), why not make messages more relevant? Here’s some ideas:

Now might be a good time to get a coffee.
Do you have a dog? Now might be a good time for a walk.
No dog? Are you sure you don’t need a shower?
Morning: See you when you get home from work.
Evening: Have you heard how important 8 hours of sleep is?

There! I’ve shared my idea with the universe, so in the words of Jean Luc Picard,

“Make it so!”

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Life Poetry

Why Are You Here?

If people come into my life for a reason,

Then why are you here?

Are you here to give me solace?

And to comfort me?

Or to heal my heart and soul?

To touch them?

Maybe you’re here to remind me who I was?

And who I can be?

To remind me I’m still alive?

And still a woman?

The most important lessons we learn

Are the most painful ones.

So why are you still here?

And why am I?

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Life Poetry

A Secret

It was over
Before it could even start,
And I was safe again
Before I could lose my heart

Don’t say a word,
I know exactly how you feel.
I’ll make it easy for you –
I’ll paste the final seal.

I won’t cry
(At least you won’t see the tears)
And I’ll be very strong
No one will see my fears.

Inside my heart
The truth is locked away forever;
No one will ever know
The feelings I had to sever.

Is it goodbye?
I guess it must be so,
But will it make me sad?
No one will ever know.

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Life Poetry

The Beauty of Simplicity

With the gentleness of a stirring breeze,
I am awed by the simplicity.
In God’s creations, all but one
Can live in harmony under the sun.
But God’s most complex creature is doomed
To live amidst the strife and gloom.
Ambiguous, they thrive on war;
They kill each other and then keep score.
With no respect for nature’s neutral state,
They fill the world with a cancerous hate.
Destroying everything they meet,
The human race will face defeat.
And once they’re off this planet Earth,
The world will have a wond’rous birth;
For nature conquers over all;
T’would take a lot to make her fall.
She’s learnt to live in harmony
And the death of man will set her free.
She’ll bare her soul so all can see
The beauty of simplicity.

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A False Sense of Normal

We’ve all heard about people growing up with alcoholic parents becoming alcoholics themselves. We’ve also heard about people marrying people exactly like their parents – consciously or subconsciously.

The same is true for dysfunctional families and for children who witness emotional or physical abuse. Most will swear that they’ll be different parents, but they don’t account for a subconscious comfort level.

I’ve met people who either dislike or completely hate the type of person their parent was, and vow to be completely different. As they age though, and their children grow, they often look back and see that in some ways they were exactly the same as their parents; maybe not as obviously, but on a emotional level, and they didn’t even realize it until then.

The same can be said for the people we marry as well. We will swear we’re marrying someone who’s the polar opposite of our parent. As our marriage progresses though, we realize we’ve married someone with the same traits. Have you ever had a friend whose second spouse was almost the same as their previous spouse?

Why is that? I believe it’s because dysfunctional childhood breeds dysfunctional adults, and when we’re dysfunctional, we don’t know what normal is.  We’re seduced by the level of comfort we feel with a person, we con ourselves into believing they’re our safe harbour, our calm in the storm. How could it be wrong when it feels so right?

Because our behaviour has been conditioned. We don’t know what right is supposed to feel like. The “comfort” comes from the feeling of familiarity; that’s why it feels “right”.

Life is all about learning and growing. If you find yourself in a dysfunctional relationship with either your partner or your children, the first step is to recognize it and change it. If we didn’t like certain behaviours in our parents, and we find we’re acting the same way subconsciously, own it and apologize, and actively try to change.

If we’re in a relationship with a dysfunctional person, draw the line. Figure out if the relationship can be salvaged, go for counseling, either as as couple, a family, or individually. Have limits, know what you will accept, how you will respond, and what your deal breakers are. Then have a plan B. Always have a plan B.

If we’re starting a new relationship and we start to feel too comfortable too fast, run faster, much faster. The fact is you probably can’t trust your judgement. If you don’t realize it until it’s too late, see the paragraph above about being in a relationship with a dysfunctional person.

We can usually recognize a dysfunctional relationship if it:

  • Makes us feel bad
  • Makes us feel sad
  • Makes us cry
  • Makes us nervous (and not in a good way)

Sometimes these types of feelings have actually been triggered by some behaviour. Don’t accept it. Figure it out. Some people do that by keeping a journal so they can understand what triggered their negative emotion, and some people meditate for clarity and understanding. Find what works for you.

Some people never figure it out or they figure out the extent of dysfunction after the fact, when there’s some distance between themselves and the dysfunctional situation.

No matter what the situation, forgive yourself. The subconscious is a powerful thing, and self-discovery and understanding can take a lifetime. Thankfully, we have one. A lifetime.

We’ll get it right. Once we understand it.

And repeat after me:

I am strong
I am worthy
I will be okay

I found that when a situation triggered an anxiety attack, I would close my eyes and silently repeat that to myself. It is true for me and it is true for you too.

Just a piece of life experience and wisdom for you to think about.

7 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship
7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Relationship
Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore
Psych Central: Dysfunctional Relationships

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Life Poetry

A Defining Moment

There is a defining moment in everyone’s life,

When we see things as they really are.

When the veil of confusion and darkness is lifted

And Truth stands before you.

Blinding you.

It will not be ignored nor pushed aside

It cannot be denied.

Eyes now open, they cannot close.

Truth may blind you, it hurts you so

But there’s nowhere you can go.

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Fiction Life

Just Rewards

Wayne Dickson had been working at the engineering firm for the past year. He had taken a lower position than he was used to and that fact continually irked him. He constantly had the feeling that others were condescending towards him; they obviously didn’t know how senior he had been at his last job.
Dickson’s attitude made it difficult for anyone to like him. He acted like he believed he was better than them and after awhile they stopped even trying to be friendly and avoided him as much as possible. Wayne noticed and he didn’t let it bother him. He faithfully showed up early for work each day and stayed late. He resented the people who only worked 9 to 5 because he thought they just saw it as a job, and didn’t give it any extra effort.
Two months ago, the owners of the company had called him in and offered him a promotion. Peterson said they’d noticed his extra effort and had a special job they thought he was perfect for. The company was planning a reorganization and could really use his help. They had a list of employees they were going to shuffle around; some would be redeployed to other departments, while others would be made redundant and offered packages.
Finally, they had recognized his experience! He thanked them profusely and said they would not be disappointed. He stayed up late that night and pored over the list. Who had valuable experience? Who was old and outdated? Who had been dismissive to him? There were many factors to take into consideration. He used different coloured highlighters – green marked the ones that were safe, red meant they had to go, orange meant he needed to think about them more.
They needed to cut 30 percent of their workforce and they were planning to do it over the next three weeks. He met with senior management to review the list and make the decisions. Then it was time to call each employee in, a few each day, and give them their final paycheques. Wayne relished this part; this was where he could really shine. With each employee that was called in, he struggled to supress his smile. He knew he was better than them, and this was the evidence. He puffed with self-importance, finally he was someone special again – he was management material.
Those three weeks were the most enjoyable weeks of his time with the firm and when they were over, they had accomplished a very lean, efficient workforce. He wondered what promotion they’d give him as a reward? Would they make him General Manager? He could almost feel his success as he walked around the office wondering which office he’d ask for. Perhaps a southern exposure would be better, not too hot during the day but still enough sunlight to light up his office.
He’d seen artwork and figurines in many of the partners’ offices, so he traveled to art galleries on weekends to try and find something suitable. He needed something that represented culture and class, something that said he was a person of importance. He put a deposit of a few significant pieces.
The day finally arrived when his phone rang.
“Wayne, it’s Peterson. I just came out of a meeting with the senior partners, and I’d like you to come to my office if you have a moment.“
“Of course, Mr. Peterson, I’m on my way.”
Wayne Dickson almost had a skip in his step as he walked down the hall, past the boardroom, to Peterson’s office. He knocked lightly on the door before gently pushing it open.
“Ah, Dickson, come in” Peterson said cheerfully. “Have a seat.”
“The firm would like to let you know how much we appreciate your help with the reorganization. We chose you for the task because we noticed you stayed professional in your job and didn’t form any personal relationships. That can always make these decisions very difficult.
“As a reward, we’ve come up with a very generous severance package for you. As you know, after a year’s employment the usual severance is one week but to show our appreciation, we’ve cut a cheque for one month’s pay.”
Wayne sat as still as stone as Peterson slid the envelope across the desk.
When he looked at Peterson, he saw he was smiling.

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Fiction Life Memory Lane

Tending the Garden

Sara watched him drive away and waited until his car was out of sight before she felt the warmth of her tears on her cheek. When she met him, he had been a stranger to her and after all this time he still was. But there was something about him.

They’d both been through bad marriages and were both still figuring out how to move on. When they’d met, they had found a common thread that connected them; this shared grief and confusion about how to go on.

Victor was a strong and stoic man, and she’d never really had the chance to see his emotions. He did what he did best – he worked. He saw that she needed help, that she was feeling lost and he’d started showing up at her door early in the morning on weekends. There was work to be done.

He motivated her to get things done, to get fresh air, to go outside and walk. He helped her fix things in her house and had even taken to calling her late at night during the week to ask how much she had done. She’d resented it at first; she knew she was lost but he was making her feel inadequate, as if she was lazy. She wasn’t lazy though – she was scared. Scared of the overwhelming task that was facing her.

But even though he pushed her, he was there to do the heavy work. There was furniture to move and walls to prepare and paint. In the spring, he’d helped her edge the lawn and trim the trees and bushes. And when summer came, he told her to plant a garden.

“A garden?” she thought, “I don’t have time to garden”. She planted it anyway though. As Sara and Victor worked in the garden together, they talked about their childhood and the different paths they had taken. She found out that he wasn’t actually that knowledgeable about gardening – this was something they were learning and discovering together. Even the choice of plants was new to him; they weren’t things that grew in his country. Squashes, zucchinis, kale and swiss chard were all new to him and together they were learning how to make them grow.

She found herself going outside daily to weed the garden and she watched with delight when her favourite vegetables grew. She shared what she couldn’t use with friends and made new friends along the way and all her friends dropped by to help tend the garden. She created create new dishes for him to try, and made soups and stews and sauces, and filled mason jars to share with friends.

Weekends became a routine; Victor came over and whenever the weather wasn’t nice, they worked together inside the house. When the weather was nice, they worked in the garden or went on long walks. He talked about his childhood, about escaping a communist country, about his love of history. Sara had never left her country, or even her county and was fascinated by his stories of growing up in a communist country, of fleeing through Austria, and arriving in Canada. Just as she had needed help, he did as well. Sara became his confidant and with her he’d learned to be appreciated and cared for.

They talked about their childhood, their marriages, their disappointments and their successes. They talked about their children and the kind of people they had become, about the importance of remembering your heritage and language. They held hands on their walks, awkwardly at first, and then comfortably. They were learning to be friends, and to trust again.

He promised her nothing, but gave her so much and she knew she’d never forget all that he’d shared and all that he’d given. He was leaving now, but he hoped to be back in six months. He was going to visit his children and then he was going home to Poland for a few months. He hadn’t been back there since he’d left and it was time.

Summer was over now, and the last of the garden’s produce had been gathered. The leaves had fallen from the trees and snow was in the forecast. It was time for the soil to rest, and to wait for spring.

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