My so called 'advice'

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You get what you pay for...

Nothing about my life seems ‘average’ or normal, yet, nothing about me seems unique.I’ve had my fair share of trials and misfortune, but whom among us cannot say the same? Everyone has suffered, endured, and withstood their fair share of pain; we’ve all overcome or conquered grief or experienced loss.

Some people don’t feel talking about their problems is beneficial and many feel as though talking about their feelings is dwelling or feeling sorry for themselves. Some people go through life burying their emotions and feelings and convince themselves that this is accepting and moving on with their lives. I am not one of those people, I see no problem with talking about my feelings, or sharing with those around me, what I have been through or gone through.

Doing nothing changes nothing, talking about nothing changes nothing, maybe if we talk about everything, everything will change. Maybe if we just talk about some thing’s something’s are bound to change. Talking about or sharing with others our experiences, traumas, crisis, trials, past and or present is not dwelling on them or seeking pity from others, at least not for me. Talking, writing, and acknowledging my past and what I have managed to overcome is my way of healing, coping, dealing, and making peace with it. When I go to people or talk with people about these issues and trials I am not seeking pity or advice, I am merely seeking love and support and compassion, for that is what uplifts and strengthens me. I feel comforted and assured just knowing I have someone to validate and or acknowledge my feelings, and find solace in knowing that someone will love and continually support me, whether they agree with my choices or decisions or not.I’m not seeking approval, or permission, neither am I seeking criticism, ridicule judgment, or contempt. I’ve made my bed, I own my mistakes, I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me, I have nothing to be sorry about. Oh, I have a lot to be sorry for, but that’s between my God and me but as for sympathy and pity, thank you respectfully, but you can keep it or reserve it for someone else. I may have no car, money, job, career, I may have caught a raw deal what with finding out the love of my life is gay, I may have been molested, raped, beaten, abused mentally, physically, emotionally, betrayed, disowned, and degraded, but so what. I’m still here, still laying it down, just not taking things lying down anymore. I’m not ashamed, embarrassed, sorry, regretful, bitter, angry, or sad, in fact, for the first time in my life I am happy. I am hopeful for a job which in time will lead to my own car, and then I can have my own money and means with which I will be able to support me , my mom, and my son’s. We may never be rich, we may never have what everyone else has, but whatever we have, or will eventually have, will be as a result of a lot of hard work.

Which is why I returned to school; I made the choice to be a stay-at-home-parent, which leaves me with a resume that is not exactly stellar or impressive, in the sense that any potential employer would, will, or even should, take a chance on hiring me. Therefore, school seemed to be the answer for me to develop the skills necessary to land me a job, most if not everyone seemed to support my decision and respect my choice. However, there are those that feel I should just take or accept whatever job or position I could get, or can get, that somehow choosing school instead of a paying job is irresponsible, or unrealistic. I will and would accept any job at this point, feeding my kids and paying bills is first and foremost, however, if I have no hope for growth or potential for growth within the place that employs me, I see no sense in it. I may as well continue to go to school to improve my chances of getting hired somewhere that can or potentially can lead to a career, not just a job.

This is usually when those individuals that disagree with my decision to return to school, or whatever other choices I have made or am making, feel like they have the right to voice their opinions or advice. Generally these individuals are not directly involved with me or my children, they think they are because they are related or older or wiser or whatever, that it somehow puts or places them in the position to advise or tell me what to do or how to live my life. Why is that I wonder…

Why is it when we are coping or dealing with whatever ‘crisis’, hardship, or trial, we happen to be going through, do others find it necessary to advise us as to how they would deal with it? When the truth is, no one knows what he or she would do, or how he or she would react, or what choices he or she will or would make, until they have lived it. Even then, none of us can speak to another person’s pain, suffering, grief, loss, experience, etc. because we are not the same.

I am assuming when someone, anyone comes to me, it is not for advice, but for love and support, a listening ear, but advice? I was molested, raped, beaten, abused emotionally and physically, and I was, as it turns out, happily married, to a gay man for more than 18 years. Of course I didn’t know he was gay when I married him or while I was married to him, but that is precisely why I assume when people come to me, it is not for my ‘sound’ advice. Nothing about my life or the choices I’ve made or make would qualify me or place me in any position to advise someone, anyone, on how or what they should do pertaining their own lives.

I have been on both sides, needing to talk, open up, share, fall apart, and vent, and being there for those that needed the same thing from me. What I have learned is that often times in our efforts to ease or alleviate the pain and suffering of those that seek comfort, we wind up adding to their pain by inundating them with unsolicited, well intended, advice, and opinions.

Therefore, do not mistake my lack of advice or opinion as signs that I do not care or do not want to help, I am not a ‘yes man’ nor do I seek to surround myself with ‘yes men’. I don’t want to be placated or patted on the back or told I am making or have made the right choice or the worst decision of my life, nor do I want to say or be told “I told you so.” Everyone has his or her own way of coping, dealing, healing, etc. what works for some may not work for others, but just because someone does not do things the way I would, or share the same ideas, beliefs, or opinions as I do, does not make me wrong or them right, or vice versa.

Suck it up, deal with it, get over it, it is what it is, these are all familiar phrases within my family. Talking about feelings, expressing emotions, is considered signs of being ‘weak’ in my family, which is largely why I have always felt like an ‘outcast’. I write, talk, and share openly about my painful past because I was ‘silenced’ and ‘shamed’ for so much of my life. Talking about it is ‘dwelling’ or feeling sorry for myself in many of my family members, opinions and they are entitled to their opinions. However, living my life feeling ashamed, embarrassed, and keeping silent about it did nothing for me, so I encourage others to talk openly about their feelings and I choose and have chosen to do the same. I listen, love, support, and make myself available to my family, friends and loved ones, to come to me and share with me whatever they are feeling, going through, experiencing, enduring, facing, without fear of being judged, ridiculed, condemned, belittled, berated, or ashamed. Perhaps if they know I have their back no matter what they too may find the strength to overcome and endure, whatever it is they may be facing. As for advice, I’ll advise anyone or everyone only this, stay clear of ‘free advice’, we’ve all heard the saying ‘you get what you pay for’.

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