Thursday, November 22, 2012

The big lesson on big mistakes

One of my closest friends used to make terrible decisions. We aren't talking matching the wrong blouse with a leopard print skirt kind of bad decisions, I mean decisions that sometimes put her in danger, in trouble and in at least one case, resulting in criminal charges. She was an intelligent woman. She wasn't dumb by any means but yet, incredibly impulsive and essentially a free spirit that maybe, at times, was a bit too free.

However, regardless of her many errors in judgment, people loved her. They were drawn to her warmth, her understanding and most of all, her acceptance.

See the thing about a person who makes a lot of big mistakes is that sometimes they are more accepting of your mistakes. So while I thought that the incident involving her hitting a truck than attempting to outrun it in a high-speed chase was insane (although, admittedly, successful) and her judgment on men was absolutely terrible, I also knew that because she had made some huge mistakes that there was literally nothing that I could've done that she would've judged and let's face it, how many people can you tell your deepest, darkest secret to and feel safe and accepted when doing so? 


The secret is that is why everyone loved her. Nobody wants to feel judged and it's actually quite rare to find people who don't judge us. In fact, I don't even know that I would fall into that category either (although, maybe I was reasonably understanding since I did have a friendship with this woman for most of my adult life....did I mention she once 'borrowed' her brother's roommate's CD.....and you know, failed to tell him?) 

And really, the stories I'm telling on here are the tip of the iceberg. 

The point is that acceptance is key. It's easier said than done. This is something I struggle with daily. Where my friend was known for constantly picking up strays in her travels on the road of life, it really was a testament to her warm personality. She gave everyone a chance. Everyone. It's a lesson I'm still trying to learn. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The End

Endings are never easy. I don't think finding yourself at the final scenes of any situation in life is simple. It's shocking even when you suspect it and regardless of how strong you think you are, the ending of anything important hurts.

With a heavy heart, I recently deleted my deceased friend's phone number from my iPhone. It was much more difficult than I expected because it felt so final, almost the last step to accepting that she was really gone. There is still a part of me in disbelief that the past few weeks weren't just a horrible dream. And today when I went on Facebook and found out her profile was deleted, it was another reminder that I will never see her wall posts, comments or emails again. I obviously didn't think her profile would stay up forever, but it was hard to see her recent comments made on a photo of us together completely had disappeared. I still have her emails though and that's something I plan to save forever.

This was probably the most difficult year of my life. I won't miss 2012 when it's gone. I guess it's not over yet and there's still a chance that things will improve, but overall I've not been feeling really optimistic lately. I know that there has been a lot of positive things that happened this year too, but it almost feels like they came at a huge cost. It was the end of my writing career, dealing with a lot of personal issues, the loss of friends (not all deaths) and a part of me is kind of scared that I'm about to see another difficult ending lurking around the corner.

One of the things that really grabbed me about the emails my friend who recently died was how she almost seemed to know that her life was about to end. She talked about how she felt this was her life to fix her karma and that maybe that meant that her next life would be much better. She always looked for the meaning in everything and took everything with an opened mind and opened heart - a quality that I always admired most about her - mostly because I struggled with having compassion for people and became defensive instead. It was always about self protection and in the end it created walls that a lot of people found almost impossible to climb. She had the opposite problem which was that she was quick to let people into her heart and in the end, she took a lot of chances. I'm trying really hard to learn from her example, because I know that is what she would want.

I know that grieving will eventually get easier. This wasn't the first person in my life to die, not even the first young person to die long before their time and not the only sudden, tragic death I have seen. But every person brings something different into your life whether it be a challenge or a lesson. But the people that really matter brought unconditional love even when you aren't easy to like, let alone love.

In memory of Nadine Bujold

Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

The circle of life

Anyone who has been following my blog will know that the past year has been very challenging for me. In fact, the last two years have not only tested my inner strength, but also forced me to take a good look at myself in the mirror. It's something I managed to put off for most of my adult life. I found every possible opportunity to run away from myself. If I wasn't out partying (or living for the next party) I was overworking in order to consume all my waking hours. That my life of avoidance. It was easy.

Eventually I got tired. Exhausted, in fact. And just like someone who has run a marathon, I found myself emotionally and physically drained in a way I didn't think was possible. I slept all the time. I was depressed. My life suddenly didn't make sense. I was faced with questions that I couldn't answer. I went from being a person who had all my ducks in line, to someone who saw them all running in every direction and had no idea what to do. It wasn't a pleasant experience.

But eventually I saw some light at the end of a long tunnel. I had a few people who help me along the way with words of wisdom and because they genuinely cared.  Unfortunately, I lost one of those wonderful people last weekend after a tragic car accident.

The weekend started off like most others do. I was busy. I was feeling apathetic. I had to get blood work done on Saturday morning and was drained by the time arrived home from a long wait at a depressing, clinic. It was a warm, sunny afternoon and so I decided to sit outside and enjoy my long awaited for coffee, relaxing and reading. I felt calm and peaceful in the backyard, away from the city.

Something happened that afternoon that I can't explain. For the first time in months, I actually felt really good. I felt at peace with my life and hopeful. I can't remember the last time I was so stress-free, in fact, maybe I never had before that day. And the feeling lasted the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday night, I had the a very bizarre and intense dream. I was looking for someone that I work with and couldn't find him. I was growing frustrated and then I believe he called my name because I remember finding him playing with three unfamiliar kids. He picked up one of the toddlers and held her to me. The little girl looked at me and in a very clear, almost adult voice told me that she loved me and then she kissed her tiny fingers and reached out for my face. I woke up.

The dream startled me. It wasn't the average silly dream, there was something very emotional and profound about it. I felt very strange as I started my Monday, but I continued to feel at ease, as I had all weekend. Ironically, I thought how I would have to tell my friend (who was in the accident) about it because we were both very much into signs, meaningful coincidences, karma and spiritual growth. I knew she would be excited to hear about it and see why it was so important to me. But I didn't have a chance to tell her because she was already gone.

I was on Facebook - of all places to learn of a good friend's death - I saw a photo posted on her page with RIP over it. There was someone else in the photo and so, being in the denial stage of her death, I decided it was the other girl that died and she had posted the photo in memory of this woman. I guess I wasn't ready to face it. On some level, I'm sure I already knew the truth. It was later that night, something told me to go back on her Facebook page and to look into things further and that's when I had to face the truth - it was my friend that was gone. The first thing I thought was my dream about the baby and I automatically knew that it was from her. I have no doubt at all. The dream was too powerful to have no significance and it is absolutely a way she would communicate with me.

Since that time, I've been attempting to digest the news, but it's not easy. She was one of the few people that I knew almost as well as I know myself. It was because she always showed the world who she really was without hiding any details or exaggerating the truth. That's a rare quality in people. She made a lot of mistakes, but never hid from any of them and felt no shame in admitting that she was only human and sometimes made poor judgements. But at the same time, she took chances most people wouldn't have dared and lived a full, carefree life. And that's one of the things that has really struck me since her death. Although my friend may not have had all her dreams come true, she didn't walk away from a challenge or miss an opportunity in life. If there was a concert - she went. If there was an invitation - she accepted. I always admired her zest for life and her strong spirit and I'm very happy that I've shared these feelings with her in recent months. I'm glad she knew how I admired her.

I know a lot of people have regrets when loved ones die, but I can honestly say that my only regret is that I hadn't called her in a long time. We kept in contact online, mainly through Facebook and I always let her know that I missed and loved her like a sister I never had, that I admired her fearlessness and wished her well. I recently put up a photo of us together on Facebook, just on impulse and she commented on the photo, referencing our fun times together and how she had coincidentally located the exact same photo of us, only a few days earlier. Little did I know that this would be our last communication. But I'm glad I followed my instincts that day because putting a photo of us together as my profile picture was a way of letting her know that she was in my thoughts and I was remembering the 'good times' while she was still alive to appreciate the thought. I'm also happy that I sent her a copy of my book earlier this year and also ordered her a beautiful book on angels around her birthday (this was a topic that fascinated her) just simply because I knew that these were gifts that would mean a lot to her. It was my way of giving her a hug from across the country.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm happy that I took the time to do all these little things. There are so many times when we could make an extra effort to call a friend, send them a card or present, even send an email and instead, we don't bother. Or we don't tell that person how much we care about them or let them know why we value having them in our lives. These are the things that really matter. The simple gestures and the kind words, even if it's a quick text message to say hello or a comment telling someone what we admire about them - it's those little efforts that add up in people's hearts.

The last week has forced me to reconsider a lot of things in my life. I know that my friend's death has shaken things up with me and I feel that I will see a lot of things much differently once everything settles. And while one life ended, I almost feel like mine is suddenly, just starting.....

Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing

Don’t let the fun stop here - sign up for the newsletter!