30 Sumthin’


At the ripe age of 30 sumthin’, life has taught me valuable lessons. Some were harsh and unforgiving. While others were beautiful and lasting. Yea, I know what you are thinking; did she say 30 sumthin? Yep. Sure did. I know. Don’t look it. Thank heavens for good genes. Lmao. Through it all, like anyone else, I have laughed. Cried. Been driven to anger. And desperation.Denied some were happening. Loved. Lost. Begged for forgiveness. Persevered. Overcame. The entire lot. I can’t imagine what the next few decades will bring my way. Permit me to share some bits with you.

1) No one can take the place of family, but some people come pretty close.

2) You can’t change people. And some people will never change.

3) Sometimes, you have to stop waiting for the perfect moment(s) and take the risk.

4) People will let you down. They are only human.

5) Things always look better the next morning.

6) The only person you should compare yourself to, is the person you used to be.

7) You cannot please everyone. Don’t bother trying.

8) Sometimes you have to lose to win.

9) Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. It actually cleanses the soul.

10) If you are stuck in one place, perhaps there is trouble ahead.

11) Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

12) Everyone makes mistakes. If it happens again, it’s a choice

13) Don’t judge, everyone is fighting a different battle.

14) We teach people how to treat us.

15) Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can come together

16) Today will never come again.

17) You know their name. Not their story.

18) In every heart, there is sorrow the eye can’t see

19)” When someone has a problem with you. It’s their problem. Not yours”.

20) Don’t change to impress anyone.

21) Tomorrow is not promised to us.

22) “Don’t take people for granted. No matter how much they love you, people get tired”

23) No matter how much you guard and protect your heart, you are still going to get hurt.

24) You cannot love another, until you love yourself.

25) You are fabulous! Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

26) Try to live each day as if it was your last.

27) No matter how bad things look now, they will get better.

28) “No matter how much you revisit the past; there is nothing new to see”.

29) Everyone has skeletons in their closet.

30) It’s okay to ask for help.

31) No one can take your place in this universe.

32) If something is meant to be, it will always find a way.

33) Treat people how they could be.

34) If you walk away from a relationship and he/she does not chase you, keep walking.

35) “Everyone comes with baggage; find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack”

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

“If Only:Two Of The Saddest Words In The World”


According to the dictionary, the word regret means “To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn”. Recently, I made a spate of bad decisions. Bordering dangerously close to regret. And “If Onlys”. A few blogs ago, I also made a promise to myself to live without them. Working on it. After much thought and deliberation, I came to a conclusion. I would not have known the outcome, had I acted differently. If you are frantically scanning the post for those decisions, I have to disappoint. They will not be divulged here. Or anywhere else. For that matter. Things come back to haunt us. One less “If Only”.

The situations are done and dusted (a British slang for it’s over and done with). There is no turning back. No return to sender. No RIP’s (return if possible) Nada. Likewise, the Brits would say : just get on with it. And so it will be. I don’t follow horoscopes religiously. I am going somewhere with this. Promise. I mentioned this because, ironically, a few days before the biggest ill-fated decision, my horoscope specifically stated: “Think carefully, before making a big decision this week. You might have to live with the consequences for a very long time” WTH? The “stars” were right. Dead right. Say what?

I made these decisions because “You cannot always wait for the perfect moment. Sometimes, you just have to jump”.  And jump is what yours truly did. Had to. Underneath it all, the doubt lingered. Yet, I steamrolled straight ahead.Why? Because my life has been littered with “safe decisions”. Some worked. The rest? Runaway train wrecks. Admittedly, sometimes, it’s not a good idea to tempt fate. Not to ignore the small voice which clearly whispers “Don’t do it. Please don’t”. You might not be able to handle the consequences. Some of which lasts a lifetime.

Well life goes on, doesn’t it? “The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar”. Life has two certainties: Death. And Taxes. Everything else is pretty much up for grabs. I have made my bed. I must lie in it. Maybe I am in this place because I couldn’t learn these lessons any other way. For instance, to know that sometimes it is better to wait on the Lord. And trust his promises. Pray harder. Realise a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots.The whole kit and caboodle.

I’m not alone in wondering why we need to learn the same lessons over and over again. Is it because we have emotional baggage to empty?Weaknesses to overcome? Maybe, it’s because good things fall apart so better things can come together? Or perhaps, it’s because we must finally learn to stop kicking against the pricks. Add to the list.

I’ll tell you what I wont regret. Decades from now. Not taking a chance the outcome might be different. Being afraid to try because the odds were stacked against me. Not giving people the opportunity to prove themselves. At the end of the day, I did it my way. I was happy. For a bit. Then reality knocked. And I woke up smack in the middle of it.

One last note; decades from now, I dont want to look back on these decisions and say “If Only”. Simply because “No matter how much you revisit the past, there is nothing new to see!” However. If that happens. It won’t matter then.Will it? I will remember at one point in my life, it was exactly what I wanted. I thought it would make me happy. And I went for it!

Until the next post…

Best,

Juan

When Death Collects It’s Dues…..


The past month and a half has been tremendously difficult. False starts. Stops. Losses. And second thoughts. All of which has left me questioning my ability to find lasting happiness. Once upon a long while ago, I just tossed things aside. Compartmentalized them. And move on. However, it’s becoming more difficult to do so. Perhaps I am getting old. And soft. This post will deal with one issue. Death. In one week, I received word my 25 yr old cousin had finally succumbed to the effects of cancer. Next, an accomplished and well-respected friend, who I absolutely adored, passed away in Utah. Then, my younger sister also lost her father to cancer.

Everyone has been, or will be touched by the death of a loved one. Or friend. Many times over. When someone we love dies, inevitably we look at our own mortality. It’s hard to avoid knee jerk reactions. To make promises to ourselves. And to others. Some we keep. Others are forgotten. And after time passes, the rest is no longer important. For some unexplained reason, these recent deaths have affected me, more than most. In light of recent weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on life. Regrets. And the need for personal housekeeping.

My cousin, and my sisters’ dad knew the approximate rest of their days. They had time to prepare. To accomplish last-minute goals. Say  final goodbyes. Get stuff in order. Many of us wont. On a personal note,  if I knew when my number would be up, I would go out with guns blazing! But alas, I don’t. I wondered how many couldas, shouldas, and wouldas I am likely to have. It’s impossible not to have regrets. However, I can try to minimize them.

I pondered what I would do, if I knew how much time I had remaining. How would I handle relationships which do not make me happy. Make amends. Or finally get something “off my chest”. How I would live out the rest of it. Below is a list of things which immediately flooded my thoughts. The ones beneath my subconscious. I hope to slowly, and methodically, check them off my list in the coming months.

Here is a sample of things I plan on changing:

  • Finally getting on that terrifying roller coaster ride which catapults more than 5 feet in the air.
  • Make amends for things I knew I did wrong.
  • Do not accept scraps of attention and affection from a partner who is either unwilling or unable to give more.
  • Diligently seeking a partner who “gets me”. Patient with my faults. Willing to try hard to make things work.
  • Get over the fear of sky diving. And just do it.
  • Visit the places on my “List of places to visit before I die”.
  • Make it clear what I want in a relationship and in the same vein refusing to settle.
  • Going solo to a club or activities.
  • Doing what everyone expects of me.
  • Being the one to ask a chap out on a date, instead of waiting for them to ask me.

There is a bit more! However,these should keep me busy for a few months. You get the idea. In closing, the dawning of a new day represents  another opportunity to make use of the time allotted to us. Untold numbers did not see the sun rise this morning. There is no time left for them carry out their plans. They won’t get to apologize for a harsh word. Hold their loved ones close. Whisper words of love and encouragement. They won’t get to see their children grow up. Nor will they attend another wedding. Graduation. Etc. But we did. We have today.

We’ve been given one more chance. What will we do with it? If there is someone in your life that you need to reach out to. Do it. Do you need to settle a misunderstanding. Do it. Perhaps the need to express love and appreciation to. Do it. Say goodby to someone in order to make room for someone or something better. Do it. Don’t wait for tomorrow. There are no more tomorrows for my cousin. Respected friend. My sisters’ father. None. Tomorrow is not ours. We live on borrowed time. One day, it will run out. As it always does. This has never been clearer to me than in the past few weeks.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

I Was The One


On my page “Think to Thank”, I find something to be grateful for each day. No matter how small. Or trivial. The going often gets rough. Often, it’s often difficult to see the blessings. Many days reviewing small daily miracles offer consolation. And hope. They serve to remind me I have so much. In this post, I wish to share some experiences which have affected me over the past few months. The times when I was the one.

To Louise, the owner of Passionate about Flowers on Lower Bristol Road in Bath. I thank you. A few weeks ago, I was invited for a job assessment in Bath. If I was successful, it would mean returning the next day for a face to face interview. Upon arrival at the station, I went against my better judgment and decided to walk the 15 minute journey to the destination. Well, after getting hopelessly lost and asking for and receiving wrong directions more than once, I was about to give up. However, I decided to try one last business.  I walked into Passionate About Flowers  and explained what I was about. Louise immediately got online in an attempt to pinpoint the location. Taking it a step further, she asked if I wanted her to give me a lift there! And she did. This one simple act of kindness derailed all the bad luck I had moments before. Louise left her business, to help a stranger she might never, ever see again. I will never forget her act of kindness. Thanks Louise.

In another instance, while waiting for my BRP to be finalized, I was hired on a temp basis for a local health and social services organization. I relied heavily on public transportation. One day, I changed handbags, and to my chagrin discovered I somehow forgot my money purse on the bus. I am person who has never forgotten her keys. Run out of gas. Or locked herself out of her car! To make matters worse I did not discover my purse was missing for more than 8 hours. To my utter amazement, when it was in my possession again, everything was as I left it. Down to the 1.50 pence I had received as change that morning. I called the bank and made the necessary cancellations, but no one had tried to use it or withdraw funds. I was stunned. The chances of this happening in the USA are nil. To the unknown person who turned my purse into the driver, I thank you.

Once last experience. I got the job in Bath. It meant relocating. Bath is a lovely city! I was helped in unimaginable ways. Perhaps the one-act of kindness which has left an indelible impression on my mind, is the moving process itself. Paul, a kind bloke drove 500 miles round trip to do just that. To be ready for the return trip on Saturday, he spent Friday night at a local hotel. All on his own dime. Moving company fees would have cost me approx 250 pounds. I contributed to his petrol cost. He was not done. Yet. Going the extra mile, he took me around to find items for the new place. Cheered me up during challenging times when I could not see perspective. Checked up on me often. Reminded me over and over that even though things were not what I expected, greater things were happening around me. Paul, I wont ever forget this. Thank you.

Amidst all the ills in the world and the people who perpetrate them, it’s gratifying to know good people still walk the earth. I am acquainted with them. I am grateful for people who make the world a better place for the rest of us. If you are one of those people: NEVER cease to do good. NEVER underestimate the power of your actions upon the lives of others. NEVER think that your contribution does not matter. Because it does. I have been on the receiving end. The one whose life was affected. The one who, because of your kindness, my struggles were easier. Thank you.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

#growingupwithoutafatherthewayitwas


I long for the days, when the only decision I had to make, was which dress to clothe the one doll I owned. Life was different then. Carefree. I am a 70’s baby.  Busy doing what kids do. I did not “notice” my father’s absence. You can’t miss something you’ve never had. But children grow up. don’t they? Become aware of things. Ask questions. I did. Like why mom was always working. Who was my father. Why he didn’t live with us.

At the age of 10, the awareness began to take shape. I began to feel a sense of loss. By then my responsibilities had increased tenfold. My sister came along. I took care of her. A lot. Life changed. Dramatically. I remember seeing fathers walking hand in hand with their young uns. Teaching them how to ride a bike. Giving “piggy back” rides. Little girls my age, showing off christmas gifts given to them by their dads. My sister’s dad coming to visit. The cousins with dads at home. Back then, my under developed thought pattern, could not formulate a logical explanation for my father’s absence. My mother never offered one. And I was afraid to ask. At the time.

The high school years were the roughest. We were dirt poor. But then again, who wasn’t?  On multiple occasions I went to school with only a hope. That one of my friends would share their lunch with me. Bus fare was all my mother could afford. In the third form, I wore the same pair of shoes until they had holes in the soles. And then some. Students made fun and snickered. Of course. They had no idea.  A roof over our heads was priority. All these experiences and a lot more contributed to the stifling resentment which began to stew. Towards a man I never met. One that would slowly simmer beneath the surface. For decades.

More than a decade ago, I immigrated to the USA. One day while channel surfing, the Maury show caught my attention.  I stared at the screen. Captivated. On this particular episode, a young woman obviously in pain, bravely shared her story. Desperate to find a father she had never known. After searching for decades, she contacted the show. I saw in this stranger a replica of myself. Someone who wanted closure. A beginning to an end. A face to the name. To have what so many take for granted. Their father’s identity.

A storm was brewing in me.  My heart was heavy. The heaviness got worse. After several minutes I gave up trying to focus on the screen. I decided to listen instead.  The tears which were threatening to fall, did. Unchecked down my cheeks. I didn’t think it was possible to cry harder at that moment. The DNA test revealed the man was her father. The search was over. She said her life could begin. The first meeting between father and daughter was nothing short of phenomenal. Days later, I cultivated the idea of taking similar actions. The thought passed. Let sleeping dogs lie. I reminded myself. You don’t know if the man is dead or alive. He could be anywhere. Really.

I always dreaded Fathers Day! In my church, its tradition to recognize the contribution and role of fathers. There are talks. Special dedications. Even small gifts in some places.  No other day in the year ever reminded me of my situation than this day. Unable to sit still and listen, I left the room on many occasions. How could I explain to my friends why I was crying? One year I decided to boycott the meeting altogether. It was too painful.  I didn’t have a father in the congregation to walk over to. Give a hug. Or kiss. And wish him happy Father’s Day. Dark times.

Today, I look back and wonder about many things. I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I think I am better off not knowing everything.  Would it change anything at this stage of my life? I remember getting the same answers from my mother when I asked where he was:” We did fine without him. You are better off without him now”. Was I really though? I was not. I know this now. But too little. Too late.

Childhood impacts almost every aspect of our lives. Visit a psychologist with any problem, and they will enquire about the circumstances surrounding your childhood. The remaining scars. Which affect your decisions to marry. Have children. Your relationship with friends. Even family. Fortunately, these scars don’t have to rule our lives. Change is painful to come by. But it’s not impossible. No one’s childhood was perfect. We don’t have to become a victim of our circumstances. It’s been a long journey. It’s not over.

I am grateful for a mother who worked tirelessly to support us. Made unbelievable sacrifices. Taught me the value of hard work. To never give up. My life could have turned out differently. In so many ways. I no longer wonder about it. It’s not healthy. Things are the way they are. As the Brits love to say : “Sometimes, you just have to get on with it” 

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

I’m Losing It!


I follow Dr Kelly Flanagan’s blog Untangled. Good stuff. Apart from sharing the same career interests, he speaks with frankness. And honesty. I read Marriage Is For Losers with avid interest. Divorcées will recognize past mistakes. Married? Take mental notes. Single? Ponder habits and behaviors. After reading his post twice, I reflected on how we can lose in other situations. And still end up winning. More on that later.

We live in a viciously competitive world. Hundreds compete for the same job. Neighbors are trying desperately to keep up with the Jones’s. Before they refinance. In neighborhoods across America, people spend thousands trying to outshine each other with holiday decorations. Parents are entering toddlers (under 3) in beauty pageants. In the workplace the best and brightest (in most cases) get promoted. Sports injuries escalate during national championship games. Why? No one remembers second place. Or so we are led to believe. We live in a culture with an insatiable appetite for the best and brightest.  Helpless to satisfy this hunger for success, society literally chews up and spits out the weakest among us.

Marriage is for Losers made sense. Too much, TBH. Personally, I want to lose in a marriage. I also want someone who puts my needs first. And vice versa. Think about it. If two people stop caring about winning. And place their spouse/partner’s happiness above their own, can you imagine the outcome? Can you even begin to fathom the level of happiness, fulfillment, and joy the couple will experience? Let’s expand this to other close relationships. And to a lesser extent, to other people, and situations.

Back to losing it. The media is notorious for sensationalizing acts of kindness. Honesty. Pure human decency. Often with good reason. We care less and less about others, and more and more about ourselves. About winning. Being first. We can change this. We can be winners, while losing. How so? Simple acts of kindness when we have nothing to gain. Swallowing our pride. Admitting fault, no matter how painful. Stop caring so much about how we appear to others. Apologize even when we are right. Forgive quickly. Putting another person first. For once. But wait, these are “loser” scenarios! That’s just my point. Losing to win.

Yes, we will lose. Time. Resources. And energies needed improve our own lives. Pride. Or the last vestiges of it. Selfish tendencies and desires. The temptation to look the other way. The need to win all the time. On the flip side, in losing these things, we will gain a lot more. A greater sense of self. Inner peace and fulfillment. The satisfaction of knowing we put someone else first. Often, it’s in the process of losing ourselves, where we find ourselves.

Pay no attention to snickering wet blankets who tease us for “losing all the time”. Heck, we might even be accused of being a “goody two shoes”!When we sacrifice to enable the growth of another, we don’t lose, we win. When we forgive readily and easily. We win. When we stop caring about looking foolish in the presence of others. We don’t lose, we win. When we compete and lose, yet cheer the winners. We win. When you and I rebel against the notion that winning is everything. We don’t lose. We win. That no one remembers second place. We win. In our selfless efforts to make the world a better place. We don’t lose. We win.

I know this post will not resonate with everyone. We’re all on different levels of spiritual growth and maturity. What’s natural for one,is painful for others. Be patient. Take small steps. Sometimes the destination is more important than the journey. Imagine for a minute, how the small corner of our universe would change if we lost more than we gained. But we ended up winning anyway.

Until the next post, what are we ready to lose today?

Best,

Juan

!Un Hito!


On Friday 13th, (go figure) Chindeepinlife reached a milestone! Views to the blog have surpassed the 1,000+ mark. While dedicated readers is the main goal of every blogger, just about everyone celebrates this milestone. Today’s post commemorates and recognizes this achievement. This number of views is peanuts compared to others. However, I would choose 1,000+ over a couple hundred any day. At the risk of repeating myself, I am grateful for the support. Encouragement. Comments. Votes. Visits. Followers. Dedicated readers. Messages. And of course friends, like Paul and Antje who have shared links to my blog (and increased traffic). I look forward to the blogging years ahead. To reflect. Ponder. Connect with you. Share thoughts. Help the one. And all good things. Which come about, because of something I love to do. Write.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

“Today Is The Yesterday You Worried About”


Worrywart. Neurotic. Anxious. OAD. Hypochondriac. Apprehensive. Uneasy. A bundle of nerves. Nebbish. Mess. Fusspot. Basket case. Chances are you and I have worn one or more of these labels. With the utmost familiarity. Helpless to ditch any, some of us still wear them. They hang like an albatross around our necks. Slowly cutting off our air supply. It’s a way of life really. We don’t know how to let things go. We have never known a life without worry. And have driven family and friends to distraction. Yes, this is a long-winded way of describing the art of worrying. Yep. An art. Because we are so good at it. What do we worry about? Everything. Whether our children will turn out alright. Money. How we appear to others. Achieving our goals. The works. Each label might not apply. At least one does.

How our kids will turn out. I don’t have kids. My limited experience with kids involves taking care of a black doll I owned as a child. And that ended badly. Well, not really. I was eight years old when my sister made her entrance. A working mother meant I was in charge of her care; changing diapers, cooking, cleaning, and babysitting. I have also dabbled in babysitting other people’s children. Does that count? I have offered a shoulder to cry on. Sat and listened as parents shared their worries and fears for their children. Will my “wayward” child attend college? Resist the cycle of drugs and violence? Hold a job? Overcome mental illness? They plead daily for miracles. And rightfully so. Any type of counsel goes unheeded. Feelings of helplessness turn into despair. And ulcers. Many interpret a child’s failure as a reflection of their parenting skills. I love this quote by Robert Fulghum, and hope parents will remember it: “Don’t worry that your children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you”

Meeting your financial obligations. There is never enough is there? For single parents with no support, it’s a double whammy. You constantly chase one bill after another. You shudder to think of the consequences of losing your job. The nights are sleepless. Peter gets robbed monthly. Otherwise Paul would not get paid. People often say you are doing the best you can. Alas, it falls on deaf ears. Think for a moment; if circumstances dictated we live on $10,000 per year, instead of the usual $30,000, wouldn’t we find way?.  Yep, we would make sacrifices. Adjust. Do without. Find ways to cut cost. And survive. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?”

Being alone. For years we have lived life on our terms.Had our share of relationships. Broken a few hearts. Had the favor returned. One day, we look around. The golden years are slowly making their way up hill. They have you in their sights.Well maybe that is a stretch. You’ve done it all. But you are alone. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Being single has immense benefits. However, can you ignore the pink elephant in the room?.

You work hard. Play harder. At the end of the day, you arrive home  to an empty house. And it’s ever present reminders. There are no weak-in-the-knees kisses. Passionate embraces. No companion to share your hopes and dreams, and passion for living. No physical, intimate, soulful connections shared by two people in love. Carry on. It’s difficult not to think about the ones who got away. Missed chances at happiness. Time will decide the wisdom behind those decisions. It might take an act of congress/parliament for us to find the person who compliments us. Not to complete us, because we already have that covered.

I have witnessed friends and family members settle. Because they don’t want to be alone. They are afraid in the twinkling of an eye; they will be the woman with more than 2 cats. Or the reformed player/bad boy, whose dose of karma, is being married to a woman who makes his life miserable. A word of caution, don’t settle. I have settled in the past. The result was torment. And years of misery. I honestly believe this quote:“What’s meant to be will always find its way.”

What others think about you. The social disease called people pleasing. We’ve all had it. No one is immune. The diagnosis is simple. Medicine will not cure it. Prognosis can be good. Depending on the severity of the symptoms. And willingness to get better. This particular disease can be touch and go. However, if it stays for the long-term, all bets are off. Especially, if it holds us hostage. And transforms us into something or someone else. Some of us worry incessantly about pleasing others. Saying and doing the right thing. At the right time. How we appear to them. We out do ourselves trying to bring happiness. So, they will like us. They have to.

We spend squander money, time, and precious resources trying to win approval and acceptance. It took me a long time to understand I will not get along with everyone. Not everyone will like me. Regardless of what I do, someone will be unhappy. There are situations where you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. This is a worry you can be free of. People will either accept you, or they can move on. At the end of the day:”Be yourself, everyone else is taken” Oscar Wilde.

Mistakes of the past. No one can change the past. However, we have the power to influence the future. With the decisions we make. Or the ones we avoid making. I am sure you and I have repeatedly “opened mouth, and inserted foot”. Changed our behaviors to suit a spouse. Love interest. Friend. Situation. Gotten into the same pattern with relationships. Hurt someone. Intentionally or unintentionally. Looked the other way instead of helping. We’ve made mistakes. Rather than letting it go and learning from the past, we let the past continue to haunt us. We simmer and stew. We have not forgiven ourselves. Stop it. Really. Stop letting blunders ruin special moments. Experience and mistakes teach us. Molds character. And refines personalities. Provided amends have been made, attempt now to move on, because “mistakes are the portals of discovery” Unknown.

In closing, sometimes we are powerless to stop the worry. We are humans after all. Emotions signify we are alive. We care. About ourselves and others. The trick is to maintain a healthy balance. To know when worrying about something will not improve the situation. To know when to let go. We might never be completely free of every worry. However, we can choose not to worry about the things we have no control over. Death. The actions of others. Disease. Etc. We can learn to simply accept things as they are.

Worry is an incapacitating emotion. It drains our mental and emotional resources. Precious emotional capital often needed, in other areas of our lives. Some of them in disrepair. Areas which have suffered neglect, because we are busy cultivating another worry. We have to know when to draw the line. To change only the things we can. Sometimes that means our responses to people and situations. Here is a list of things to Beat Stress. If you are worried you might need more, here is another Fifty Ways to Calm Your Anxiety

Enjoy this song by a true legend. One I grew up with. Danced to. And simply loved. Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Cheeky, but fitting.

Until the next post, ” today is the yesterday you worried about”

Best,

Juan

#growingupwithoutafatherwhynow.


I grew up without a father.Yes.There I said it.What a monumental relief.Question is:why now? Why after more than three decades I would choose to reveal something so private. And utterly personal about myself.Why the intense need to keep it a secret to begin with. Millions have shared the same fate. Some incredibly famous.Barack Obama. Halle Berry. Alicia Keys .Mary J Blige. Pierce Brosnan.What makes my story different? Nothing. Actually. It is unique. In my experiences. And the personal struggles I had to overcome. The resulting attitudes and behaviors. No situation affects two people the same.

This information will come as a surprise to many. Especially to those who have known me for an eternity + 1 day. I’ve never talked about my father’s absence in my life.When conversations did center on fathers, I made one of three choices. Changed the subject. Remained quiet. Or removed myself from the group or person. For a long, long time, I was ashamed. To talk about it. I believed I was not good enough. For him to want me. Watch me grow up. Be a part of my life. Ashamed I did not have a father to brag about. While others raved. Ashamed I did not know who he was.

Details surrounding why I never knew him will not be shared in this forum. I have other people’s privacy to consider. People get hurt. My only wish is to finally lay this matter to rest. I don’t want to carry this secret anymore. Let alone guard it like a watchdog. More than anything, I want to discard this inexplicably heavy emotional baggage, I have carried my entire life. I have fought with myself about sharing this. There is rarely a good time to discuss uncomfortable issues. In the end, I realized putting it off any longer would stifle the growth I desperately need.

Opening up become a battle of wills.On one shoulder, the little red guy seductively whispered: “Think of how you will be perceived now. Do you really want to spill these beans? Let sleeping dogs lie. Now everyone will know. Some things should stay private. You are opening yourself to scrutiny. And hushed whispers. Don’t give people weapons to use against you. This changes everything. You know that, don’t you?”. On the other shoulder, stood an angel, jumping up and down vigorously. Arms flapping.He practically shouts: “You will be liberated. You have carried this baggage for decades. It has enslaved you. From place to place. Country to country. Relationship to relationship. Aren’t you tired of dragging it around? The time is now. Deal with this. Get it out. Heal. Move on. You have to do this. For yourself”. Well, the red fella has moved onto greener pastures. Or so he thinks!

Recently, Paul, a friend of mine, shared his personal struggle with depression. It was open. Honest. And raw. Not an easy thing to do. By any means. Yet he found his voice.Undoubtedly, readers were encouraged to look inside. Shortly after reading his post, the wheels started turning. Seeds were sown. They flourished. Took root. And bore fruit. And here I am. So thank you Paul, for setting the example.

The older I get, the more freedom I crave. I want to be unfettered. Unrestrained. To live my best life. Words fail to express the level of relief I feel, by letting this go. To let everyone know what holding onto this burden has done to me. I no longer feel like a fraud.  This blog provided the best medium for me. It’s not as if I could call up my friends and say “Guess what? For as long as you have known me, you don’t know I grew up without a father. I met him for the first time about a year ago”. Writing offers me a better, richer perspective. It’s cathartic. I also can’t shake the feeling something extraordinary is about to happen in my life. Time will tell.

I know by doing this, I am subjecting myself to judgment. Scrutiny. Tongue wagging. Second looks. Hushed whispers. Back tracking. A collection of held breaths releasing “Oohs”. TBH, I am not worried. If you have worn my shoes. You will understand. If only you could taste the salty tears of freedom, which flowed the moment I made the decision to unburden. To finally begin to make peace with the regrets. Over bad decisions. Harsh words. And hurtful actions. To face the world as a newer version of myself.

Future posts will revisit some of my childhood and adolescent experiences. How I dealt with the fact I might never be able to put a face to the name. Our first meeting. The way things are today. And my hope for the future. Some readers will relate to this and later posts. Others will not. Others will follow out of mere curiosity. Hopefully, my reflections on this issue will help someone. We all have dragons to slay. Battles to fight. May each of us dig deeper. Search our souls. And find ways to be happier. To be free of the invisible chains holding us captive. Once. And. For. All.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

1 yr l8tr


A year ago today, I returned to the blogging world. What a literary adventure!We are here. First, some housekeeping. As of today, chindeepinlife have been viewed 912 times. I blogged 24 times.There are 29 comments. Not too shabby. Roll on next year. The freedom of self expression continues. Please know your views and comments are welcomed. And encouraged. Always. Furthermore, do you have a topic/issue you would like me to address? Want to write a guest post? In box me at jstarr2600@aol.co.uk. Come along for the ride.

So, here is my year. In a paragraph. Since March, I travelled back to the USA. Returned to my homeland (SVG), after more than a decade. Visited New York, Boston, Ireland, Italy,Tenerife, and other parts of the UK for the first time. I filed for and received USA permanent residency for my mother. I visited the birthplace of JFK. I was awarded my MSc in Psychology degree. Published my first anthology of poems. You can read a sample, purchase, or win a free copy here Bookbuzzr. One of my pieces,”Too Little Too Late was selected and included in Outskirtspress Fandemoniun Volume 1. For the first time in my life, I lost my wallet. Fortunately, everything was returned. I marched in a worldwide event to celebrate International Women’s Day. I was humbled to write a piece in celebration of it, aptly titled Meet Us on the Bridge. Received my UK residency permit. And oh yeah, I dated. After more than 8 yrs. One day it will happen for me. This mysterious, and elusive enigma. Called love.

Back to finding my voice.I started this blog to keep in touch with friends and family.It has evolved.Taken on a life of its own.Really.Being able to share some of my experiences, has enabled me to see the bigger picture.I am eternally grateful. I wish to thank those who return faithfully. Time after time. The ones following by email. The kind comments. The friends who mentioned me in their blogs. I appreciate every contribution. Every acknowledgement. Word of encouragement. Act of kindness. Help. And thought.

For my next post, I will share something of a very personal nature. A lifetime burden. One I can no longer carry. I have to get rid of it. If I hope to be truly free. To find any real happiness in this life. It’s the beginning of a healing process, that is decades late. A revelation which will surprise those who know me best. I am ready. Of course I could give a hint.But I prefer you to conjure up your own ideas. Some will never guess. However, I can no longer hide behind smiles. Or the stiff upper lip. Not when it comes to this.

Until the next post, let me finish with the quote from my first post: “Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth”

Best,

Juan

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