Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

8

The last few weeks this true story has come up on more than one occasion, so I thought I would dust it off and share it once more. Enjoy!

The sound of the waves, the sand beneath his feet, the warm ocean breeze were all a part of him, ingrained into his very soul. He was a true island boy, climbing palm trees in the blink of an eye to retrieve a coconut, catching fish with his homemade spear in the most primitive manner. It was the only manner he had ever learned…not from his father, as he had never met the man who had given him life. His mother never spoke of him. He carried his questions in his little heart, the one place they couldn’t cause the fleeting glimpse of pain he sometimes saw in her eyes…the pain she thought she hid so well.

Puerto Rico, Army Jeep, Black and White Army Military Photo

He studied the only photo of his father he possessed, memorizing every detail. Even when he closed his eyes he could still see the way his father looked in his uniform, the way he slightly leaned into his military jeep as though someone had caught him on his way somewhere. Where was he going? Who held the camera that provided the only piece of the puzzle that was his life, his story? He held the tiny black and white photo, yet held not a single memory of this man…a stranger to him.

Mike and Mom Rita early to mid-1950's

It came as no surprise when the little island boy grew to be a soldier as well. He and his mother moved to the United States so he could join the army at the age of eighteen. It wasn’t long before the island boy fell in love, married and had a family of his own. His young bride, wanting to know everything about him would ask him to tell her about his father. She wanted to know if he ever thought of him, if he ever wondered what became of him, if he was ever curious to meet him. His response never wavered. He had a good life, a loving family, and no need for anything or anyone else. After years of seeing the hint of pain in his eyes, she stopped asking him. Many years would come and go before she would tentatively broach the subject once more.

It was the age of computers now, when the internet was becoming all the rage and she had embraced the technology. She loved being able to communicate with all the friends she made during their numerous military relocations. And, she had become interested in a genealogy website where she could build a family tree. Once again, she asked her husband about his father. This time, he handed her the tiny black and white photo his own mother had placed in his small hand a lifetime ago. She scanned it, placed it on the site and listed her husband’s name as someone looking for his father. Neither one of them thought anything would really come of it. Yet, life has a funny way of making connections so intricately weaved, they leave us mere mortals astounded.

Across the ocean, a secretary at a military base happened on that very website. She gasped when she saw the photo and immediately printed it. Her boss arrived shortly after, and headed straight to his office. The first thing his eyes landed upon was a printout of a tiny black and white photo of a man in military uniform. There was no mistaking it was his father. He immediately took the contact information his secretary provided, and made the call that would forever change the life of a little island boy. He never doubted for a moment this man was his brother. Their father had shared a story with him, and the time had finally come to share it with his brother.

Their father had been stationed on a small island and had fallen in love with a young girl. He had returned home at the end of his assignment, but headed back to the island during the first military leave he had only to find that young girl gone. He questioned friends, family, neighbors to no avail. In the end, he found one person willing to talk. The news he was given was heartbreaking. The young girl died giving birth to a baby boy who also didn’t live.

Their father had refused to believe it. In the following years, he made several more attempts to find what his heart believed to be true, but all attempts ended the same. With a heavy heart, he returned home, went on with his life, married and had children, never returning to that island.

Somehow his heart knew what no one was willing to tell him when he sought answers so many years ago. His son lived, and one day he would know their story. He had hoped to look in his son’s eyes, and share this history with him, hug him and let him know he had gone back for them. While on his death-bed, coming to terms with the fact he would never get that opportunity, he shared this story with his youngest son. Their father requested when the brothers finally found each other, the story be shared with the son he never met.

There was silence on the other end of the phone line as a lifetime of questions were finally answered. The island boy, whom my husband calls Dad and my children call Pappa, found a family he never knew he had and a story he never believed could be his own.

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Reflections

RIP C.R. – Gone But Not Forgotten

8

Dear C.R.,

It has been one week since you departed my side for the after life. I have opened my eyes each morning refusing to believe it is true. They say time will heal and each day will become a bit easier to bear without you by my side, but how can that be true when all my most memorable moments are ones we captured together, memories we created for many years to come. I’m not sure I can go on without you. I know you were tired and it was time for you to go, but selfishly I wish you had been able to hang on just a little longer.

One With The Ocean, Beach Calls Me

 
I know I must find a way to let you go, but today I simply can’t bring myself to do it. It was you who showed me the world in a way I had never experienced before you came into my life. It was you who encouraged me to share my vision with the world and allow them a glimpse into my mind and the randomness of it. Through the years, you were with me at so many of the big occasions. Most importantly, I knew I could always count on you for life’s little moments.

It was you I turned to time and again through my children’s many stages, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You never questioned my views, yet somehow managed to always bring me back into focus on what’s really important. You helped me see the details even when I was intent on the big picture. If not for you, I shudder to think how much I would have missed out on.

I hope you are resting and in a better place, a place full of color because it was you who taught me that color can instantly brighten a mood even though seeing things in black and white can evoke a level of emotion some people just aren’t prepared for.

May you rest in peace C.R. As I continue my life’s journey, I promise to carry your lessons and memories close to my heart in all I do. I vow to create many more memories because I know it’s what you would have wanted. And, although I will eventually find another because after all life goes on for the living, you were my first and I will always have a special place in my heart reserved just for you.

Canon Rebel

RIP Canon Rebel. 

Gone But Not Forgotten

Do you have something you’ve had with you through the years that you find difficult to let go?

Rubber Meets Pavement, Fat Personal Trainer, Fat2Fit, Running Shoes

WANTED: FAT PERSONAL TRAINER

19

JOB TITLE : FAT PERSONAL TRAINER
JOB ID#:4866
JOB TYPE: Personal Training
Position Type: Full-Time Regular

Rubber Meets Pavement, Fat Personal Trainer, Fat2Fit,  Running Shoes

JOB PURPOSE:

To provide a comprehensive one-on-one educational fitness program to assist client in REALISTICALLY achieving their fitness goals without spending half a day at the gym EVERY day and eating like an effing bird. Those who can currently eat their weight in bread and not gain an ounce need not apply. You’ll just piss off the interviewer.

 

JOB DESCRIPTION

As a FAT PERSONAL TRAINER, it is your responsibility to provide a comprehensive one-on-one health fitness program through realistic goal setting and education. Produce independent exercises by providing the client in-depth information on equipment usage, lifestyle management how to quit stuffing their face, and ultimately how to shake the fatty mentality that is ever present outside the gym.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS:

The qualified FAT PERSONAL TRAINER must possess at least five years experience and hold a personal training certificate from a recognized provider or a bachelor’s degree in a sport and fitness-related field. Trainers without either must acquire a certification within six months of their hire date. Certificates are nice, but the most important requirement is that the trainer was fat at some point in their life and is now at a healthy weight in order to truly relate to their fat clients and their lifelong struggle with fitness and diet. The more years of experience the applicant has had as a fat person, the better the chances of getting the job.

Fat Personal Trainer, RealityCheck, Running Shoes 

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:

1. Responsible for understanding what it’s like to have a bad day and crave a tub of Ben & Jerry’s to make it better.

2. Attend all in-service trainings and meetings.

3. Able to understand the overwhelming wave of guilt that immediately follows said face in ice cream session.

4. Accurately record client-training sessions for payment purposes.

5. Must be able to relate to the dreaded daily morning weigh in, butt naked so as to not add another ounce, eyes squeezed shut, praying the Ben & Jerry’s hasn’t registered quite yet giving client enough time to burn it off before the next workout.

6. Given the need to relate to above, FAT PERSONAL TRAINER must not possess a metabolism that burns off calories like popcorn kernels hitting the sun’s surface. Skinny Minnies need not apply. 

7. Conduct personal training sessions within the policies and guidelines established.

8. Set realistic goals. Be aware of client’s realistic beach body not the one health magazines keep promising on their front covers. There will be major imperfections that will be glaring in a swimsuit The goal is really to disguise those with a good tan, while feeling good mentally about having hit the gym for that “beach body.”

9. Successfully complete and update CPR and first aid training (for those times when client will look like they are about to go into cardiac arrest in the middle of a workout) CPR will likely not be necessary, but client will feel better knowing FAT PERSONAL TRAINER is prepared.

10. Be understanding when client decides to reward their hard work all week with a glass of wine on a Friday night.

11. Be punctual and conduct yourself in a professional manner.

12. Be even more understanding when client explains how that one glass turned into two bottles.

13. Maintain personal training certification through continuing education. Really, just continue to recall your fatty days and be sympathetic.

14. Ideal candidate will understand client’s daily struggle to stay on track and have a life too in an industry full of unrealistic role models, going to extremes to maintain an impossible fitness schedule, while living off air and water. 

15. FAT PERSONAL TRAINER must be able to hear the fat little voice in the back of client’s head that is constantly telling them they’re just a Big Mac away from being fat again.

Destiny Isn’t For Victims. Fate Isn’t For Fools.

8

Destiny

Fate

They softly flutter about us like windswept leaves dressed in autumn hues painting a picture of approaching change that will alter our landscape with a future we never envisioned, but one we readily accept because after all it was meant to be.

And yet, these same letters come together, stringing words with a weight bestowed upon them by others – promise and hope. At times rolling about like the ocean waves crashing to the shore, they lure us closer, mesmerizing us with their soothing sound and endless expanse of mystery. Reeling us in and pulling us under their spell we relax once more. Weightless we float in its sacred buoyancy, one with expectancy and prospect until we are thrust back onto solid ground, bewildered and breathless.

Squirrel Trying To Get A Nut

Why do we place so much importance on these words, this idea that no matter our actions things will be how they were meant to be? We have become a society of victims, idly sitting around waiting for the next event or discussing the latest one and how it affected us. We rise with the sun, and rather than letting it warm us in its promising glow, we focus on the shadows that will cast darkness on us all day.

The traffic jam that will ruin our morning.

The guy/girl who won’t return our call.

The boss that won’t appreciate us yet again.

The unruly child who will surely try our patience all day.

The busy schedule that will stop us from our workout.

The aches and pains that remind us of our age.

The spouse that will disappoint us.

The co-worker who will sabotage our project.

The deadline that will come too soon.

Path of Dreams

Destiny isn’t for victims. Fate isn’t for fools. They are for those who choose to remain steadfast on a path whose obstacles will merely be footholds, a brief pause to become fully aware of their surroundings. Then, registering every detail with undimmed focus they will clothe themselves with the armor those experiences provided. And, with a tool belt full of lessons face the future, not as a victim of life or a fool to the inevitable. Rather as an equal partner, walking hand in hand with their destiny.

Water Droplets

Misplaced Artist

8

She was an artist. She was a mother, a daughter, a wife, a teacher…but what I remember most about her was that she was an artist. She loved to paint and as I sat beside her, I found myself watching her more than the canvas she was bringing to life with her brush strokes. With each stroke she seemed to come alive as though transported into the very scene she was creating. Mesmerized by her dreamy look, I longed to join her and with the fervor of an eight year old I wished for her to take me along on her journey.

Water Droplets

I wanted to feel the wind in my hair as my feet carried me over the rolling hills she painted or dangle my legs in the ocean water as I lay back on the wooden pier and stared up at the pale blue skies born of her imagination. I wanted to be aboard that ship, my hands on the captain’s wheel steering the vessel and myself into uncharted waters, traveling toward the unknown and embracing the anticipation that comes with not knowing where you’re headed. I wanted to be a part of the story she was telling by simply dipping her paintbrush in her palette of colors.

From a young age, I was often told I was “born old” as though misplaced somehow in an era that didn’t fully embrace me and my complex personality. I thought the same of her. Not that she was born old, instead that she was born young. Looking back I wonder how different she may have been if she had been born in more modern times when freely expressing oneself was more acceptable. A time when she didn’t have to consistently maintain a proper exterior, instead allowing herself to just be, lose herself in her art, live out those scenes she meticulously created. Embrace her passion and soar.

Stairway to Heaven, Landscape Photography, Nature

What would her life have been like if she wasn’t born in a time of horse drawn carriages when suitors came to call and ladies were obligated to always look their best, abide by the rules and never rock the boat? What if her adventures weren’t limited to the confines of a frame?

Nature Photography, Outdoors, Flower Photo

She was a graceful woman. She was a compassionate woman. She was a woman of elegance. She was my grandmother…but most of all she was an artist.

Subscribe to receive more great posts from Little Miss Wordy directly in your inbox.

Enter your email in the sidebar!

Red Circle Days, Blue Circle Days, Mental Illness, Calendar Days

Blue Circle Days – You Can’t Schedule Mental Illness

24

He called the other day. He doesn’t have a phone or at least not one from which he can make long distance calls. The Assisted Living Facility frowns upon that, and I guess it makes sense, but I can’t help but wonder then how all those people living away from family members reach out to someone in that moment. You know the moment don’t you?

I know it.

Red Circle Days, Blue Circle Days, Mental Illness, Calendar DaysI’ll be going about my day, some times all is routine, nothing new, and some times as the day progresses and Murphy’s Law seems to be in full effect, I think of how nice it would be to pick up that phone and call a friend. How quickly my day can get turned around with a simple phone call. At times, it’s just about laughing out loud at something and as I listen to the sound of my laughter almost echo in the empty kitchen, I feel the need to share it with someone, hear their laughter too as they smile on the other end of the line. That need to connect with someone instantly must be one that people have experienced for years. Otherwise, why would Alexander Graham Bell have found it necessary to progress from letter writing and long roads travelled to connect with a loved one, to being able to dial them up in that moment when the sound of their voice is something we crave.

And then, there are those other moments.

Through the years, I’ve answered many phone calls from him. Some were filled with grandiose plans of how he would one day rule the world, and as he described his dreams in the utmost detail for me I couldn’t help but wonder if given his intelligence those dreams may have become a reality if not for the fact that the brain filled with such promise was the same one who betrayed him on a regular basis. Maybe his big plans weren’t so much about taking over the world, but more about taking over his mind, allowing him some sense of control of his brain, his thoughts, his life.

I don’t know.

I’m not Bipolar or Depressed or whatever label the mental illness experts have come up with for him. I’ve never stayed awake for nights on end too afraid to close my eyes for even an instant, needing to keep watch lest my own mind betray me in the dead of night, giving life to my darkest of thoughts. I’ve never had to pick up the phone and dial someone’s number because I knew my survival depended on it.

Those particular calls are ingrained in me forever. The times he called because he had lost all sense of control and needed the sound of my voice to drown out the voices in his own mind. At times simply hearing me breathe on the other end of the line gave him a sense of calm. Seconds would turn into minutes as I was equally soothed by the sound of his breathing as he was by mine.

Then, there were the calls when he knew he needed more than my voice to soothe him and the call was simply a prompt for me to jump out of bed, throw on some clothes and go find him…get him somewhere that would provide the help I so desperately wished I could give him, but knew in my heart I couldn’t. Those were the times when I experienced my own sense of betrayal. How could I not help the person before me, the little brother only eleven months younger than myself, the baby who shared a crib with me? What did my own brain have that his needed? And, why couldn’t I find a way to share it with him much the same way I shared my bottle of milk? What was I missing?

Spiritual Calendar, Red Circle Days, Calendar Pages,

Many a calendar page has been turned since I’ve received one of those phone calls and I’m thankful for it. I am on my knees with gratitude kind of thankful. My brother is doing well, on the right meds, in therapy, living a normal life with assistance. He hasn’t had a “crisis” in years and his phone call recently (from my mom’s phone) wasn’t out of fear or desperation.

Instead, he had an idea his therapist had suggested during their last session and he wanted to tell me all about it. It was the first time in a long time I heard true excitement in his voice. I had almost forgotten what he sounded like when he was so pumped about something that he couldn’t wait to share it with me. His therapist suggested he work with me on a book about his life journey with mental illness. I can see why the therapist thought it might be a good idea.

My first book, Red Circle Days, is about those moments in our lives that are imprinted into our very soul. Moments that don’t require a photo album or memory book for us to revisit them time and time again. Some may bring to life the very feelings of sheer happiness they brought the day we experienced them. Others bring the heart wrenching sorrow we spend years trying to erase. These are moments that don’t need a reminder or a red circle on a calendar date, our hearts wrapping around them much like the tiny box on a calendar, keeping them contained only to bring them to the surface each year.

He even threw out a title, Blue Circle Days, and immediately many a calendar day flashed before me… hospital stays, doctor’s offices, the nights the phone woke me in the middle of the night, and the nights it didn’t ring.

As my brother’s excitement travelled across an ocean to me, I couldn’t help but wonder if I am up for that challenge? Is he up for that challenge?

He says he believes his stories will help others out there, and I believe sharing them alongside the perspective of someone who loves him and shared in the journey would likely help many families who have stood where we’ve stood, afraid to take another step for fear of what comes next, knowing at times the only comfort comes from listening to each other breathe.

And yet, as I wrap up this post if not my thoughts, I can’t seem to catch my breath.

Also in Mental Illness by Little Miss Wordy:

The Hug

Dear, Mom Can You Tell Me How You’ve Done It?

Related Sites:

The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

A Canvas Of The Minds

Sheri de Grom

Your Reflection Never Lies

14

He cursed the traffic as he stepped on the gas and swerved left into the gas station. Another hectic morning awaited him at the plant, and he was already running late due to the baby having been up most of the night. His wife had nudged him awake every time the baby cried with no consideration to the fact that he had to go to work in the morning. Of course, he was too exhausted to make it to the gym…third time this week!

The lady behind him honked her horn yet again as though willing the cars lined up before her to magically disappear. Don’t people realize the sound of a horn doesn’t encourage someone to move out of your way? It’s not really what it was designed for, yet commuters seem to use it for solely that purpose. It’s about as effective as yelling at the drivers around you to “Move your ass!” or “Step on it!” How many responses do you think drivers have gotten when they angrily spit out the question, “Where did you get your driver’s license, a Cracker Jack box?”

Shaking his head he headed into the convenience store to pay since it seemed the option to pay at the pump wasn’t an option for him this morning. It was definitely going to be one of those days. Even the sound of the door jingling as he entered added to the quick escalation of his sour mood. Aren’t those annoying bells intended to hang on a cat not a door?

Heads turned and although people made eye contact with him, not one of them smiled, as though they couldn’t really see him. Cursing under his breath at the sight of the long line to the register, he took his place and sighed. Was he the only one in a hurry to get somewhere today? And, what was wrong with these miserable people? This was turning out to be the kind of morning he wished he hadn’t gotten out of bed for.

134598424_1bfb0335aa

Consumed with anger and impatience, he looked around the store as he waited. Looking up at the front counter, he caught a glimpse in the mirror. Wondering how effective those mirrors were for catching shoplifters, he studied the back of a man’s head who was quite clearly balding. He thought, “Hmmm, it could always be worse I guess. I could be that guy with that large, embarrassing bald spot on the back of my head. Glad that’s not me.”

Shifting in line as forward progress seemed to move at a snail’s pace, his eyes travelled back to the mirror and he suddenly gasped. He slowly turned around to find another mirror set up in the back of the store which could only mean one thing. His day had just gotten worse. That balding man in the mirror wasn’t some random guy. It was him!

As he looked at the people around him, he took in the woman dressed in a business suit digging in a diaper bag for her wallet while trying to balance her cup of coffee. A young boy with a sleepy look couldn’t stop yawning and he remembered a co-worker mentioning it was college finals week. The clerk behind the counter looked frazzled as she apologized profusely for the computer system being slow this morning.

In that moment, he suddenly realized that seeing his reflection was more eye opening than he thought. Obviously, he had a hair loss issue, but that wasn’t his only problem. Why was he complaining about getting up with his own child at night or feeling sorry for himself for not being able to get to the gym? His wife was just as tired as he was and it had been months since she had been able to do anything for herself.

And, normally he was one of the people honking and yelling at other drivers for not moving fast enough for him. He was the one encountering people throughout his day, yet never really seeing them, so self absorbed in his own misery. It took his own reflection in the line at the gas station to show him who he really was, and as shocked as he was that he was balding it was definitely something he needed to see.

It’s never “us” until we see a reflection of ourselves. Whether, it’s about how much weight we’ve gained, how we’ve let ourselves go, our attitude toward others, and even our parenting skills, we are quick to judge others not truly seeing our own reflection in what we are criticizing.

Have you ever had a moment when you were surprised by an unexpected revelation of yourself?

Take a look at your reflection. Really look at it.

After you’ve taken in the physical, look a little deeper.

Reflect/Refract

Now, be honest with yourself.

sTrEet aRt: Through My Lens (Set 4)

7

The next set will be the last in my five part series, sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens.

It has been so much fun hitting the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico

and capturing these talented creations with my camera.

Also by Little Miss Wordy:

sTrEet aRt: Through My Lens 

sTrEeT aRt:  Through My Lens (Set 2)

sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens (Set 3)

#teamsports, #sidelines, #boystomen

Boys To Men: A Glimpse Of The Future

8

#teamsports, #sidelines, #boystomen

I watch them from the sidelines as they stand side by side on the edge of the field. Every so often they turn and high five each other, throw an arm over a teammate/friend’s shoulder. With the short attention span of little boys, a couple of them roughhouse with those standing closest to them until the coach reminds them to focus on the game. In these instances, I catch glimpses of their faces and can’t help but wonder if I’m catching a glimpse of their future as well.

My eyes methodically travel down the line, and come to rest on each jersey, seeing more than just their number. These boys already exhibit certain characteristics that will become prominent as they grow into men.

#boystomen, #teamsports, #lifelessons

Number 17 stands still, eyes directed at the field and his fellow teammates in action. He watches each play intently, tuning out the more restless boys on either side of him. Will he grow to be the kind of man who is focused and driven, eyes on the prize at all times? Will this cause him to neglect those he loves most, not understanding they need his love and attention more than his paycheck?

Number 23 is just as focused on the game, but expresses his enthusiasm not only for each pass completed. He also jumps in the air, his little cleats stomping the grass as he yells “Good job guys!” and “That’s the way we do it!” Will he be that guy who always encourages and supports those around him? Will he be the go to guy when someone needs a little push to overcome life’s obstacles or will he be the man who hides his true emotions behind a facade of smiles and cheers, always giving others, never sharing of himself?

Number 4 is more focused on the blades of grass at his feet as he pulls one, twirls it in his hands as though he’s seeing it for the first time, oblivious to the activity surrounding him. Will he grow up to be a man who takes pleasure in the small things in life? Will he appreciate all the parts that make a whole or will he get so caught up in the little things, that he misses the big picture?

Number 32 can’t stand still as he shifts his feet this way and that way. He alternates between watching the game and watching his teammates goofing around beside him. Will he spend his adult days always on the sidelines, watching but never truly participating? Or, will he be the type of man who tunes in to everyone around him, always fully present for each?

Whatever these little boys turn out to be as they grow into the men in our lives, our daughter’s lives, and our communities, I hope they take the lessons they are learning today and hold them close to their hearts.

The field may be a tough place at times, full of surprises, wrought with confusion, and a place of decisions both instant and well thought out, but isn’t that life? I hope these boys take their commitment to their friends and teammates today and turn it into commitment to their significant others and family in the future. I hope they apply the same drive and determination they display today to the things they are truly passionate about as they make their way through life. I pray they hold on to the pleasure they currently take in the small things and truly take the time out to embrace the little things that will tend to be harder to see as they get older. I wish for their future self to be the guy who encourages others from the sidelines when necessary, but also the guy who knows when to jump in and make things happen. More than anything, I hope they will be ever present in each moment life presents for themselves as well as those around them.

We, as a whole, spend so much time complaining about our youth today and the mistakes they make. We try to find a way to mold them into what we think they should be or what society needs them to be when they are all grown up. And yet, our children already hold admirable characteristics that they are applying on a daily basis, in sports, in the classroom, at home. They are exhibiting admirable qualities every time they help someone up, cheer someone on, show up for practice, commit to an entire season, and hang on to a belief that won’t let them quit. It is our job, as parents, teachers, coaches, to support and guide them from the sidelines, help them embrace the great qualities they already display today, because one day the little boys standing on the sidelines will take the field.

Wooden Arch Doors, Metal Hinges, Ivy covered entrance

Always Go With Your Gut: 5 Tips On Recognizing That Gut Feeling

24

Wooden Arch Doors, Metal Hinges, Ivy covered entrance

She broke the silence. “I can’t do it. I can’t sign those papers.” The young woman shifted uncomfortably in her seat, never taking her eyes off her husband who sat across the mahogany conference room table, his own pen in hand. As silence hovered like a cloud of uncertainty over them, the gentleman in the three piece suit occupying the end of the table rose and leaning both hands on the shiny wood surface said, “What do you mean you can’t sign? This is what you want. You were so sure of it.”

Tip #1: Do not let someone else tell you what you feel. You know what you feel. You alone can fully understand your feelings. Uncertainty can be a gut feeling. Don’t dismiss it.

Eyes locked on her husband’s steady gaze, the young woman took a deep breath, the kind that starts in your stomach and fills your lungs and whispered, “It doesn’t feel right.”

She couldn’t explain why it didn’t feel right. She knew it must seem crazy to others, but she couldn’t shake the discomfort that had taken root in her. She knew. She just knew it wasn’t right.

Tip #2: When a nagging feeling is persistent enough to linger, don’t ignore the feeling. Don’t try to explain it away or justify it. Examine it. Let yourself really feel it.

She tried to silently convey all of this to her husband whom had been by her side for so many years. They had been together since they were just a couple of young college kids, but they weren’t young and naive anymore. They had each grown individually and matured into the person they each were today. Their marriage wasn’t a young marriage anymore either, having recently celebrated their fifteenth wedding anniversary. In those fifteen years, the man across the table had become all too familiar with her “gut feelings” and as they locked eyes now she hoped he not only recognized what she was feeling, but somehow agreed with her. She silently pleaded with him as the gentleman between them cleared his throat and realizing what was happening, leaned closer into her and said, “You’re making a mistake. You may come to regret this if you walk away. Don’t be rash. Impulsive decisions don’t tend to pay off in the long run.” On and on he went, but she tuned him out and focused solely on her husband.

Tip#3: Tune out everything around you, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to focus on what caused you to feel uncomfortable about the situation. Find the triggers. They exist.

It was then she saw the recognition in her husband’s eyes, the clear focus as a fog was lifted. He slowly lowered his pen and gently set it down. He pushed the papers slightly away, never taking his eyes off her and as she released the breath she didn’t realize she was holding, he simply said, “You’re sure?” With tears in her eyes, she nodded. 

Tip #4: Act on your gut feeling. Even if you can’t pinpoint the trigger in that moment, something caused you to not feel right about the situation. Do not dismiss it, but remove yourself for a few moments, a few hours, a few days until you can comfortably make a decision. 

That young couple did the right thing no matter what outside forces were pushing them to do otherwise. I know this because I was/am that young woman. It wasn’t a divorce attorney in that room with us. It was a realtor. My husband’s position had been eliminated a few months prior and the company had offered him another position that would require us to move. We weren’t strangers to relocation, but this particular one didn’t feel right. We had gone house hunting and not a single house had felt like it could be a home for our family. Amidst the whirlwind of house hunting, school visits and discussions with moving companies, we had finally settled on a house. Notice I say settled.

Tip #5: If you feel like you’re settling, it may not be the right choice. If you’re going through motions that don’t seem genuine to who you are, chances are your gut is telling you something. 

We kept plugging along, justifying and convincing ourselves that this was the right move…until it came time to make it official . Much to that realtor’s disappointment, I couldn’t sign those papers. I’m lucky to have a husband who is so in tune with me and my gut feelings. Two days later, my husband received a call out of the blue inviting him to interview for a position that was the right one, the right move for his career and our family.

We’ve all been there…that moment when an uncomfortable feeling begins to take over each cell of our body one by one. It swirls through our head, around our neck, travels down our spine and around our body until even our toes tingle with it. It finally comes to settle in our gut…hence the reference to “gut feeling” and too often we ignore it. All too often, we find a way to justify it or explain it away.

Next time you find yourself in a situation that just doesn’t feel quite right remember to go with your gut. Do not take another step in a direction you’re not completely comfortable with if you’re not sure what’s behind that door.

Do you remember the last time you felt that gut feeling?

How did you respond to it? Did you remain silent or did you speak up?