Sunsets and Memories

As the clouds blanket the sky, it serves as a reminder to shield and preserve the embers of hope in my heart. Not everyone earns the merit of such illustriousness as rekindling the flame that was smothered with complete abhor.

The blanket begins to dissolve right before my eyes as I open myself and allow quantums in. This is done with countenance and solicitude just as you would when starting a fire.

The flames of hope ignite with fervor.  Ravaging and defacing the diffidence and dubiety which had built up over the years. Hope burned that day with ardor.  The usurper no longer had grapple or sovereignty, for hope regained her kingdom. Hope embellished herself with the crown she so ever deserved.

The Colors of PTSD

How long must I sit here and ruminate? What seems like a century in and of itself, has only been 8 years. The pain has gotten better with time, yet it still haunts my never-ending thoughts. The songs that play invoke the memories of what once was, which brings about anger and fear. What was once beautiful, seems like a dusty dull painting. When will the pastels turn vibrant once more? As I search for the right pallet once again, I am met with more grays and reds. I add more white to soften the hue, yet it burns brighter. Perhaps if I paint this picture, it will stop invading my dreams.

Memories turn into flickers of what once was as they fade into the abyss. A learned pattern of black painting over the ugliness in an attempt to erase the unwanted panorama. However, we all know that even underneath the darkness, the strokes that make it so, are still there. It still exists in our gallery, even if no one sees it anymore. Is that sufficient enough to change our history? As hopes turn into distant dreams, newer brighter ones trickle in. I search desperately to find that perfect spot to paint what could be, ever exploring. The possibilities are endless! Will they see what I see as I paint my future?

I find the perfect pallet and start a new, a fresh canvas is hard to come by. The blank stark white staring back at me, creates the infinite dreams and desires I once had. There’s no more darkness, yet it still is always behind me waiting for the opportune moment to engulf me again. Shine from within and look for the stars. Stock up on those blank canvases and the perfect pallets, I am going to need them. Instead, paint it all black, turn it into something beautiful. Beauty is in fact everywhere. Add some light to the darkness, paint the night sky. There is always something bright to look at, you just have to look hard enough.

As days go by the colors fade once again. I slip back into the black and white dull monotony of life and wonder, is it really worth searching for those colors… again?!?! Maybe if I just turn off the lights and let my rods take over, the pain won’t have to return. I try and try without ceasing to keep the colors at bay, albeit little by little they start to bleed through. Small blips of color pop and the seething red and orange come back if only for a nanosecond. As time passes, the duration of the pops diminishes and I attempt to return to the black and white. All the while I hear “Don’t give in, why don’t you use more color?”

I try and fail at letting other opinions of my paintings rule the roost. Until I finally snap back and realize once more, this is my painting and I wield the brush. So I paint my picture just as I like, only this time, its not as dark as you think. What once was dim now shines even brighter a second time and a third time, even the fourth time. Finally, I see the masterpiece, and let it dry. As I spray the sealant on, I feel the relief washing over me, this canvas is finished. While the painting dries, I pack up my colors for safe keeping. Maybe one day I’ll use those colors again, but for now I lock them up and throw away the key. As beautiful as the painting is, I never want to see these colors again.

~Caitlin Pfeifle~

Through The Eyes of a Hermit

Sometimes we lose sight of what really matters around this time of year. The lust for material objects takes over and we are quick to forget the importance of family and the time we spend together. I know by now you guys are sick of spending time with the people in your house and you just want to be left alone, am I right? I really hope not! I believe that this situation happened to teach us how to be humble and show others humility. We have been so wrapped up in the digital age with the “I want it now” attitude, that we forget what the world around us has to offer. When’s the last time you went out for a walk on a nice nature trail, or the last time you just sat on your porch reading an actual book? What about just watching your children play? It has been tough to step away from technology during this time because of how things are going, and the being forced to work from home and adapting our ways of communication. Maybe someone you know is stuck at home, isolated because of their high-risk category… If you know someone like this, I suggest bringing the world to them. Grab your phone and go take pictures of the world around you have them printed and mail them to that person. Call your local nursing home and ask if you can mail a card to someone stuck inside? Let’s help each other out of this funk, you never know what being humble can bring you! Perhaps you can make a new friend that you wouldn’t have thought of. This is so important especially now with the lot of us feeling isolated socially. Did you know that the suicide and mental illness rate is growing along with the number of positive cases? It’s such a shame! Be the person who saves someone from this fate, duo someone or simply send them a card. Let’s prevent this number from growing, because it is equally as important as the positive cases we see increasing by the day. Mental Health Matters!

If you or someone you know is suffering and needs someone to talk to here are some resources below.

SAMHSA Hotline: 1-800-622-4357

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Who Are You Really?

In today’s world, everyone is a people pleaser. I admit even I am to a fault. Over the last year, I have learned that this is toxic to myself. Think about it, you spend your life worrying about what other people think and making others happy or proud. Are you really happy? When’s the last time you did something for yourself? Now I am not talking about being selfish and completely ignoring others, by all means, continue to nourish and flourish those healthy relationships you have. I am specifically speaking about what makes you tick. We need to stop putting on the mask and be us, and yes I know we are all tired of wearing masks out in public. Whether it be a real mask or metaphorical. Focus on your life, because you’ll end up living it for someone else if you can’t master yourself. At the end of the day, the people you are trying so hard to impress aren’t paying your bills or living your life. Picture this: You can be you and still be loved and appreciated for your own strengths, you can thrive just by being you, and you are happy and content with your accomplishments and your life. Chasing your own tail to get attention gets you nowhere… Trust me! I have been there done that!

So take a moment to master yourself, focus on what you like and don’t like and build from there. People who are confident in who they are, are the ones who are the most successful at the end of the day. I encourage you to start a journal or private blog and start finding you. This is something I have been working on since I have started my life over in the last year. Here is a little back story, without getting into the drama and gory details.

A year ago, I moved from FL to NC. I really didn’t have much of a choice unless I wanted to live on the streets. Someone’s choices turned my little family’s life upside down. Now everyone makes mistakes, and the key is to learn from the mistakes and be a better person for it. Sadly some people don’t grow from their mistakes and stay in their immature alternate reality. Thankfully I have a great support system that helped us. Long story short, My kids and I moved and uprooted our lives to start over. Looking back I can definitely see that I was a people pleaser always seeking validation and approval because I wasn’t confident with myself and I hadn’t even considered myself because I didn’t feel worthy enough. The same person who made this choice without a care, is the same one who taught me I wasn’t worthy enough and enforced that daily. After cutting ties, I realized and hated myself for even letting someone like that to have that affect on me. This is where I grew, this is where I realized that what Eleanor Roosevelt said is true. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” A painful truth I had to learn and admit to myself.

Once I was able to admit this and realize that I let someone control me to this extent, I finally was able to take off the mask. A mask that I retired and burned! This year hasn’t been a walk in the park. Which is to be expected, because when you face your problems you learn to grow and fight through them. Since then, I have gone back to college and work two jobs. (Three if you count raising two kids.) If I can break free of a toxic cycle and better myself in the process, so can you!

I was inspired to write this post after watching a keynote speech this evening by Dr. Zitty Nxumalo, where I learned what it means to be a woman and how to thrive. The one thing that really resonated with me in this hour speech is the advice given at the end.

Weigh your options. Know what you like and don’t like.

Own your choices, blaming others will leave you stuck.

Make a decision! Pause, Pray, Breathe, Think, à Then Go!

Always analyze yourself before analyzing anyone else. Master yourself!

Nurture your valuable non-romantic relationships.

This way of thinking should help you blossom into who you truly are. Don’t let anyone control who you are, and most definitely take off that mask!

Don’t get lost in the sauce!!!

It’s so important to be your own anchor, no one else can live your life. You were given it for a reason, and its yours. Own It!

If you would like to watch this speech please go to http://edgefactor.com/aatc-takeover and look for the keynote speaker link. It was truly an amazing speech and so inspiring for me, I hope in sharing it with you it will help you as much as it helped me.

~Caitlin