Monday, April 23, 2012


  I'm not very good at organizing.  I wish I was.  I hate clutter, yet I'm surrounded by stacks and stacks of papers and books as I sit here at my computer.  I struggle to move the mouse to my computer around because there is an array of sticky notes hanging from the bottom of my computer screen and tons of mail...some opened and some not...and pens and cords to various devices all piled on my tiny little desk here in my bedroom.  I was just thinking this morning that I need to see if I can get a file cabinet that wouldn't look bad and some boxes to organize my work life.

As I thought about this, in between making more "to do" sticky notes and putting on makeup in my bathroom, I began to think about people...the ones in my day to day life...the ones I care the most about.  I was thinking about how I organize people into imaginary boxes with labels.  I expect different things from different people, and I give of myself in different ways depending on the "box" that people get put in.  So I started to review the people closest to me (besides my children) and before I knew totally normal, good, strong, "everything is just fine in the world" kind of mood took a turn and the tears began to fall.  Then, they began to flow.  I was filled with disappointment and sadness because I realized that a few of the people in the most important boxes...the ones I keep closest to me...don't really fit in those boxes the way I thought they did or the way I want them to and they take much more than they give.

As high maintenance and demanding as I can be at times...I am a giver.  My greatest desire in life is to help people and make others happy.  It's like the old Girl Scout camping should always leave your campsite better than you found it.  I try to leave people better than I found them.  I guess where the problem arises is that not everyone lives like a girl or boy scout and while the "Golden Rule" is what I try to live by...I don't get the same in return very often.  My first reaction was to blame the people that have let me down, but you know what they say..."When you point the finger at someone else, there's three pointing back at you!".  So, I had to put down the mascara brush that was now useless with tears flowing and take a good, hard look at the unhappy girl staring back at me in the mirror.
It may seem strange that I talk about this on a blog dedicated to strength.  It may seem to be a personal pity party or a rant and have nothing to do with being a strong woman, but I disagree and I know I'm not alone.  What I realized as I looked at myself in the mirror with tears streaming down both cheeks and wet spots on my t shirt where they fell, was that it's not everyone else's fault that I feel unfulfilled in many of my relationships.  Sure, people should be less selfish and be more willing to do what it takes to be there for the people they say they care about.  And yes, it would be nice if just a few of my daily interruptions were just someone that wanted me to know they were thinking about me...not because they need something, but just because they care.  I wish that the people that I listen to and give advice to, were as willing to listen and offered the same support that they are given...not because they have to, but because they want to.  At the same time, I realize that I have chosen who I give access to and how much I give them.  Some of the people that have had the most access in my life, really don't deserve it anymore.  This makes me sad and leaves me with questions.

After I stop trying to figure out what is wrong with ME, I finally ask myself the question, "WHY?".  Why are these people where they are in my life?  Why do I do the things I do and give the way I give when I am smart enough to see that there is little or no reciprocation?  I think there are 2 reasons.  The first is that sometimes it is because I want so desperately for a person to have a certain role in my life or fit into a certain "box".  It's like Cinderella's step sisters trying to force their feet into the glass slipper.  I try to cram the person where I want them and hope that somehow they will surprise me and fit.  I make excuses for them, even though deep down I know the truth.  I want people to care about me the way I care about them, but I know that I have no control over other people's feelings.
Probably the most important reason that I am struggling with my relationships is because I am taking the seemingly easy way out and choosing to ignore the problem.  I'm letting fear and grief take the reins.  It's like it's easier to muddle along and have half a** relationships that leave me unfulfilled, than it is to "clean house".  I can lie to myself and fantasize that someday it will be different...better.  I cry when my feelings are hurt and then I quickly suck it up and pull myself together in an attempt to feel strong and in control.  The problem is that as long as fear and grief are taking the reins...I don't have any way to steer myself towards another path.  I have to take the reins back and make some tough decisions.  Maybe a very few people and their "boxes" need to be tossed out, while others need to be put in different "boxes"...the kind that have very limited use...the kind that I don't give so much time and attention to, but that I can still access for very specific purposes with no expectation of anything in return.  These are the kinds of boxes that don't sit so close to me, but find a new home in the attic or garage...somewhere far enough away that they won't be so distracting..somewhere that they won't get in my way or drain my strength when I have to move them.

Life can be such a vicious circle of cause and effect when we do not make the right choices.  It's like I need to find the strength to make these changes, but my strength is drained because of the unhappiness that these problems are causing.  Change in any form is tough, but some changes are easier for us than others.  Everyone has their weaknesses and mine is the people that I care about.  I have survived some terrible things in my life that not many people know about.   I've conquered major weight loss, and I can always find the strength to workout or begin eating healthier, but it's people...sometimes the seemingly closest to me...that I have a hard time being strong enough to deal with.  It's hard for me to set boundaries and deal with the possibility of people walking away from me or getting mad at me.  Maybe some of you struggle with the same thing.  If so, it's time to make changes.  It's time to believe that you are worth being treated with love and respect.
I know deep down that I am strong enough to make these decisions, and here's what I know about strength.  My strength is not just about moving heavy weight or how fast I can do a workout.  My strength isn't just about the quotes and pictures that I use to inspire people.  My strength does not come from making changes that come easier to me.  Strength is about doing things that are really hard for me.  Strength is trying again when I fail.  Strength is knowing that I may have to stand alone and being brave enough to do it.  Strength is deciding what is best for myself and then taking action...real action...and standing tall in the matter what.  I know what I need to do.  I have some serious housekeeping and organization in front of me and I am going to dig deep to find the strength to do it.


  1. Really needed to read this today as I have been feeling the exact same way! Thank you!!

  2. Marsha --

    No need to release this reply to your post; it is likely very personal -- for both you and me. But nonetheless, you make the final decision. Several blog posts ago -- either here or on your other blogspot, I commented that you and I seem to be in parallel universes. We seemingly have very similar thoughts, lives, joy and pain.

    I will tell you, often times, even in your inspirational posts, I do see a sadness and grief in you. Where that derives from? I don't know because I don't know you however today's sadness touches me in a way because I have been there.

    Strength lies in knowing what is good for you - and while not wanting to address it -- doing so no matter how hard and painful it is. Fear of being lonely. Fear of having to defend your position. Fear of being rejected first. The reality of having to confront people and then allowing them to have their rebuttal is all very tough stuff. That said, allowing yourself NOT to have to face their words is likely being kinder to yourself and being stronger than you realize.

    Knowing when to say 'when' and walking away or retracting some of the latitude may be difficult, but in the end, you are bound to have more self love and self respect.

    You see, we allow these people to do this to us. We almost bring it on ourselves. For many of us, it is that we don't think we are truly good enough or deserve someone to be as good to us as we are to them. Sometimes, we are just too 'strong' thinking we don't need them as much as they need us. Sometimes, our fools' pride allows us to believe we can buck up and not need someone as much as we 'feel' in that moment we are disappointed by them. Sometimes, we allow ourselves to believe we are the bigger, better person for not worrying about keeping score. And you know, it is not about keeping score really, but investing in something that does not offer a rate of return, is self destructive.

    Marsha - you do so much for so many of 'us' that you don't even know -- I can only imagine what you do for those in your every day (real) life. Why is it that you don't believe you are deserving? And, you are hurting because you need to move on from these people but that is far less painful and disappointing than knowing when you need them, they are not there. Hard to see that when you are stuck in the middle of the vicious cycle.

    You are strong enough to get through this and you are smart enough to know when the time is right to do so. Be kind enough to yourself to know you deserve far better than you are allowing yourself to have.

    I send you tons of support and good vibes as you embark on your 'break ups' and 'cleaning house'. It truly does feel good when all is said and done. These folks don't mean to hurt you and quite honestly, I still believe we have people that float in and out of our lives to teach us valuable lessons, or allow us to right past wrongs in the face of paying it forward. Focus on releasing those you need to and remembering you are now making space for more fulfilling and satisfying relationships......and when we open the hand to set something free, our hands (and hearts) are then open and available to someone who has been waiting there all along; just looking for that vacancy.

    Good luck! And, I hope your tears are gone for a long time.

  3. This spins me out Marsha really it does. I don't know if it is something that happens at a certain age for some people yet every single post you have written i can utterly relate to and truly say i'm going through the same thought process and it is driving me wee crazy. I haven't had the greatest life through high school and growing up, i've had many trust issues with friends who i've given to and i've never received and to be honest i'm heart broken. I'm tough on myself and sometime i just need to know if someone else is going through it and what they do to get through it.

    I'm a personal trainer, i give, love and give some more and I ask myself the same question where on earth is that one person to help me when i need it. The answer is 'it's me' i'm it! it is me that needs to be at peace if that's the word, to love myself, go out and do things that fulfil my happiness. As you said it can be done, it might take a week or a month may be more to work it out but i will get there.

    Thank you for your posts they are so well written and you can tell they are from the heart.

    Thank you again.