What Do You See?

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What Do You See?

Is it really just an offer of embrace happiness or is it just spam disguised with a red bow?

I recently had someone post a comment on my Facebook page asking me ”Do you really have to spam every MS support group?  It is annoying!”

So I am left to ponder this post from what seemed to be coming from a somewhat disgruntled, prickly man who chose to try to let his own negativity penetrate another’s happy aura.

What has our society come to when people get angry when someone is trying to spread hope and happiness to others who are suffering from a chronic illness?  I am not out to spam anyone to death or to be obnoxious in trying to get people to notice me!

I started my blog because I thought I might be able to help others who are going through exactly the same things I have and want to encourage others to have the strength to believe that you have to go through the bad times, to get to the good. 

When I was first diagnosed almost twenty years ago, I did not have access to such a vast support system that is now available on the internet.  I felt isolated, downcast and that I was alone in what I then perceived an equivalent of a death sentence.

To be honest, there probably was a time in my life when a comment like that would have sent me running back to a place of safety.  Back to a quiet corner feeling hurt and unsure of myself.  Now I can accept any negative comments secure in the knowledge that I know who I am and cannot be intimidated into feeling insecure.  

I deleted this comment from my timeline not out of embarrassment  but because I started this group so that people would have a place to come and exchange positive, healing thoughts only.  There is already enough negative sites out there and I refuse to let anyone contaminate this vision of wellness.

I have had so much positive feedback from both men and women who are happy to let their own voices be heard and say “Yes, I am still worthy of love, still capable and darn it, still sexy!!!!! 

For any nay sayers, I say your negativity cannot touch those of us who are happy in our own skin and I will still be here when you have learned to love yourself. 

For all of you lovely, inspiring souls who believe in staying positive and helping others to stay strong in the face of adversity, I say bless you!

Life is too short to be hostile.  Life is to valuable to be wasted.  life is too good to be bitter. 

Embrace the good in others and forgive any hurt others try to inflict.

For anyone who thinks my posts are spam, i understand you are coming from an unhappy place.

For those who enjoy my posts, love and hugs!

cindy Lee Lothian

June 29, 2013

 

 

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Last Dance

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Last Dance

I had a dream I was dancing,

dancing with my Father

who has been dancing with the

angels for the past fifteen years

He left when I was lost,

drowning in a chasm of fear.

I was unable to see the path forward,

knowing that the way back was forever closed.

He came with his smile when all seemed bleak

words of encouragement as the IV dripped.

I watched him go, this Father of mine,

who could not seem to make things okay again.

If I could have a last dance

I would whisper in his ear

“I am okay,” that I will be strong

enough to handle whatever tomorrow brings.

I would tell him the stars he showed me at night

while he held me in his arms were magic.

The safety I felt in his arms as he carried me home

is still my constant cocoon.

Dance my dear Father, let your beautiful spirit shine.

cindy Lee Lothian

June 16, 2013

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Sleeping Beauty

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Sleeping Beauty?

Like Sleeping Beauty, I sleep the sleep of the dead waiting for not the kiss from my Prince Charming but  for what? 

As I lay in a half state of consciousness, drifting in and out of the dream world I can hear my son laughing downstairs with his teenage friends who are about to turn into men as they graduate from high school in two weeks.  They are about to emerge from their cocoon of childhood comfort and protection to be set free into the world to blossom into all they can be. 

I drift back into sleep, dreaming of my mother again who visits me from the angel realms.  Sometimes I want to stay in this place of comfortable bliss, with no worries and in the midst of my mother’s love. 

The cawing of the raven which sits atop my rooftop brings me back to this world of reality but the bed feels too good to get up.  I am still so tired. 

Forget how much wood could a woodchuck chuck the real question is how many hours can I sleep? This worries me as I lay in bed knowing I should be up and doing something  productive. After all, isn’t the saying “I will sleep when I am dead?”

I often wonder when I am having  one of these tired days, am I really that tired or am I trying to escape from my frustrations and limitations from MS?

Is the sleep realm where I can drift and sometimes talk with my mother a more attractive place than the one I am living in this life? 

I am still not sure what the answer is to this question but I know that unlike sleeping beauty, I need a magic pill of energy.  Or maybe a kiss and a hug from a loved one would work the same as a magic pill? 

Nevertheless, I have now arisen from what seems like a two day slumber, like a phenix from the ashes. I feel recharged again and not only ready to face, but to embrace, my life with all of it’s ups and downs.  

So sleep, my sleeping beauties and know that you will once again awake feeling reborn with or without your prince charming. 

Cindy Lee Lothian

June 7, 2013

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Why Can’t You See My Pain?

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If I smile, will anyone know how much I am hurting inside?

Sometimes you have to smile, when you are about to cry. Laugh to hide the pain. Look up to the heavens and pray, something good is on it’s way.

We all sometimes feel isolated in our own pain, set apart from the “healthy” crowd as sure as the nerd at school feels when shunned from the popular click in the school’s cafeteria. 

I recently spoke to one woman who related an incident when she was in a crowded supermarket she caught sight of a young couple in love laughing together as if nothing was wrong in the world. As she fought off the vertigo which threatened to leave her flat on her back beside her shopping cart, she wondered “why don’t they understand that I am suffering?” 

You are not alone if you have felt this way. You may think that the young couple laughing lives in a perfect world full of candy canes and rainbows. But you don;t know. You can not be sure that underneath their smile, hides a pain of living in a house of violence, or a fear of not being good enough. 

The point is, everyone no matter who they are, have their own invisible pain, whether it be fleeting and shallow or chronic and deep. 

Try not to let your hardships leave you feeling like no one understands, that no one really cares what you are going through.  Someone else is feeling the same as you, it could even be the person standing next to you in line at the post office. 

There is also the old saying “fake it until you make it.” Putting on a smile when you feel like crying doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you are living a lie or denying to feel your true feelings. It can simply be a method of changing the way you choose to deal with your emotions which are vying for attention

Do not assume because someone is laughing as they pass you by on the busy street that they are not struggling. For to judge that they are living a life of ease could be an utter falsehood.

When I was first diagnosed with a chronic illness, I felt like I was alone in my hell.

I wondered why did everyone else  around me got a free pass? It wasn’t fair that my young adult life should have been suddenly thrown off course. My inner panic crept higher as I retreated further into depths of “why me?” My husband lying in bed next to me could not see my panic as my eyes tried to make out images in the dark. My son climbing onto the yellow school bus with his Inspector Gadget backpack did not know that my throat ached with pain of suppressed  sobs. 

In the end, dealing with my pain alone was how I came out the other side a better version of myself. I was still me but one that now had the ability to face whatever life had to throw at me. this might not be the way for everyone, if I had been able to speak aloud all that I was feeling maybe that would have worked.  How you choose to deal with hardships is as individual as you are. 

Stop worrying about whether others understand or see your pain.  Getting through your trials and heartbreaks are inevitably, what are going to make you a stronger, more indestructible you.

If you don’t feel like smiling today, then don’t. If you feel lousy but want to laugh in the face of adversity, go for it!

The next time you are in a crowd of people and the feeling of isolation threatens to send you running, remember that not all things are what they appear. 

The woman at the next table laughing as she talks on the phone might be laughing to cover up the pain of a recent divorce.

The good looking  couple in the corner holding hands might be offering comfort and strength to each other to face an ongoing health challenge.

In the end all that really matters is how you deal with your pain.

It is not a contest of who has the greater amount. 

Pain is normal. Pain is life. Pain is growth! 

Cindy Lee Lothian

May 25, 2013

 

 

 

 

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Do You Think I’m Sexy?

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Do You Think I’m Sexy?

“I find the whole concept of being “sexy” embarrassing and confusing.” ~ Emma Watson

If Hollywood stars are confused and uncomfortable about what the definition of “sexy” really means, what is the average woman supposed to do?

Maybe we can all learn something from Emma Watson’s belief that “the less you reveal the more people will wonder.”  In this age of pencil thin Victoria Secret models, women are being made to feel that if you ear anything bigger than a size 0, you are not considered sexy and therefore undesirable.

What does the word “sexy” mean to you?

After having asked this question to many women, I am convinced that although every woman has their own opinion, there is still a quiet inner voice whispering what if I am not sexy enough?

Sexy can be defined by many different criteria.  Having a sense of humor and a brilliant wit is what some consider to be the winning recipe.  Others will say that being confident and powerful in the business world is a real turn on.  Yes, there are even those that admit that they do think their size “small” and triple cup size is what makes them beautiful

All this can leave your identity spiraling in a confusion of marketing media ads depicting large doe-like eyes staring at you from a hollowed face.

“Is the willowy blonde judging you as she seemingly watches you from the cover of Cosmopolitan?” you wonder as you load your groceries of mixed greens, vegetables and nuts onto the grocery counter.

Okay, now I am going to throw another ingredient into this cauldron of confusion.

What happens to your sense of “sexy” after being diagnosed with an illness?

What happens is that everything you thought you had figured out about what made you sexy up until now, vanishes in the length of time it takes for your brain to absorb the doctor’s words.

The identity you have worked so hard to create is suddenly no longer valid.

Your fit, toned body might now begin to gain weight due to the inability to exercise like you once did. Fatigue might make it impossible for you to be as active as you had once been before a life altering diagnosis.

Rest assured, you have not been doomed to a life of feeling sexless and as desirable as a used condom.

I think “sexy” is all about being confident in who you are, knowing that you are happy just the way you are. Obstacles in life can give you a deeper understanding of yourself and what it is that you want out of life

There is nothing sexier than a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.

This statement is free and clear of any size requirements, physical ability, hair color, or age

If we lived in a time before the advent of film, tv, newspapers and radio, we would have probably been able to feel good about ourselves just by determining if we were happy with ourself

As women age and fine lines start to appear, we are once again forced to test our beliefs in what we think makes us “sexy.”  Some might go running to the nearest botox clinic, others get out their juicer and convince themselves they love having veggie juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Others even  decide to proudly embrace their new lines as badges of honor.

However you choose to embrace your ageless sexy, there are no losers.

Every woman’s sense of sexy is as unique as their fingerprint

Sexy starts with being happy. Sexy thrives  by not letting anyone else tell you what you should be. Sexy never ends when you no longer feel the need to figure it out and just be it 

Cindy Lee Lothian

May 20, 2013

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Five Ways I Turned Lemons Into Lemonade!

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Five Ways I Turned Lemons Into Lemonade

When life goes drastically wrong and you find yourself hurtling uncontrollably on a crash course to disaster, what do you do?

Do you put your hands up in surrender as you become a unwilling passenger on a one way ticket to hell?

Do you scream for your mother only to hear your own voice echo back in the vast darkness that you find yourself in?

A third option and this is what I recommend, is to put on the emergency brake and stop the spiraling chaos your emotions have become.

When I found out I had an incurable illness my first reaction was despair, fear, anger and a cry of “why me?”

After having lived through each of these state of beings, I can now reflect on what I have learned.

I have transformed into someone I never could have become without such a test of spirit. I love who I now am. I am happy with how I see life.

Five unexpected lessons having MS has given me when I wasn’t looking.

Appreciation:  I have a new depth of appreciation for everyday that I am able to wake and experience life and all that it has to offer. When you are healthy you do not appreciate the ordinary things like simply being able to go the store, to go to Starbucks for a latte, or to sit in the warmth of the sun under a blue filled sky.

Gratitude:  I am grateful for all that I have and do not dwell on what I have lost.  I  am thankful for having loved ones to help me when I need a ride rather than angst about not being able to drive anymore. I am grateful for the eyesight I have and choose not to dwell on the perfect owl-like vision I once had. I can see my sons beautiful eyes, I can see the faint twinnkle of a star on a velvet night sky.

Love:  I love deeper than I ever thought possible. I cherish the loved ones in my life knowing that to give love,  to simply be love, is the greatest gift. I have lost some of the ones I loved the most but I still carry them in my heart. I can no longer touch them but I have absorbed their love into my “self” which I call “Cindy.”

Courage:  I am comforted in the knowing that whatever life has in store for me, I will face it with a calm, clear determination. I know that I have already gone through some of my darkest moments and I came through them stronger and more certain of who I am.

Intimacy:  Intimacy with my partner has taken on a whole new experience.  Sexual intimacy is not just all about reaching physical orgasmic pleasure but it is also about connecting with your partner spiritually and emotionally. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable you open the door to true giving and receiving of your “self.”

Take stock of what your hardships have taught you. You might be pleasantly surprised what gems you might unearth.

You are strong. You are precious.

Wear your battle scars proudly and look forward with a calm spirit and a secret, knowing smile.

Cindy Lee Lothian

May 14, 2013

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Sacred Kisses

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Ten little  toes brushed my mother’s lips

as she blessed them with her kiss.

She could not foretell where they would take me

but her love was the shield I would carry.

When I wandered too far from home

all alone

Scared and lost my little girl self frightened

I had only to turn and find my mother’s outstretched arms.

It was to her I ran when my young  adult life as I knew it

crumbled and fell into splintered shards.

She could not fix  my broken pieces

but her strength helped me to learn to heal.

Life cruelly stole her from my earthly orbit

in the blink of an eye she had vanished.

Her love is still the shield I carry

as I walk my path on blessed kisses.

Cindy Lee Lothian

May 11, 2013

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You Are Calling! Are You Listening?

 

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 You Are calling! Are You Listening?

“”Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”

With the morning comes a stiff neck, two skinned knees and a skinned elbow.

Why do I wake with whiplash?

These are all the battle scars from my nocturnal wanderings which included a not to graceful fall from a missed last step on my darkened staircase.

I am always shocked at how my brain is slow to react in a crisis. Instead of it sending out the normal signals of “put your arms out stupid, you are falling” instead it seems to go into a shut down mode. Leaving my poor body to it’s own defenseless flailings. Where and how badly it ends is anyone’s guess. 

As I lay in bed with the sun streaming in the window warming my face with the first kiss of summer, I wonder.

What is it that makes me feel like I can keep going on when life seems to put so many roadblocks in my path for me to stumble upon?

I know there is an inner voice that urges me on to keep moving forward with the certainty that “I can do this.” That there is nothing I will not be able to overcome. 

It is my oldest son’s birthday today and I smile at this as I hear my youngest son in the shower getting ready for school.

My body is sore, my perseverance tested by my nightly adventures, but the sun this morning fills me with it’s warmth and promise.

I do not know what challenges will await me tomorrow.  What I do know is this.

Today I am going to  call my son on his birthday and tell him  how much I love him and how proud of him I am.

I will send my youngest son to school with a wish for a great day.

 I will write. 

I will breathe in life. I will soak in the sun’s rays letting it’s warmth seep in my skin. 

I do not expect to unlock the mysteries of where my inner strength comes from, but I will nourish it and flame it’s fire.

You too have your inner voice cheering you on. 

You just have to know how to listen.

Cindy Lee Lothian

April 17, 2013

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When He Doesn’t Love You Anymore!

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When He Doesn’t Love You Anymo

“Lips that taste of tears, they say are the best for kissing.”

When he says he does not love you anymore, you question.

Is it you he doesn’t  love anymore, or the disease that he thinks you have now  become?

When his arms do not reach out to hold you, is it your touch he is avoiding or his own fear?

Do you feel that he no longer sees you when he looks into your eyes but instead a damaged version of who you used to be?

Love is easy when it is uncomplicated. 

Love is fun when all that awaits is the anticipation of playful adventures. 

Passion runs hot when healthy vitality surges through your body empowering you in your sexual prowess.

When you like what you see when standing naked in the mirror you thrill at the thought of sexual pleasure. 

But what if you no longer like what you see in the mirror?

You might now think your hips are far too wide or your breasts are no longer the perky peeks they were when you were first married?

When you look at your bed rather than thoughts of wild carnal pleasure, you are lusting after a good night of eight hours of sleep 

When hardships crack the surface of your perfect world you are left gazing at one another without false illusions. 

What are you now seeing? 

You are seeing who that person really is and has been all along. 

They are not always the happy,  self assured, fun loving, playboy playmate you thought you married. 

Instead,  they might have insecurities, weaknesses and God forbid, a chronic illness.

If your spouse says the words “you do not make me happy anymore” to your back because he is unwilling to see the hurt inn your eyes, it is okay. 

The sound of the door closing and footsteps on the outside porch are all heralding the new. 

The night my marriage ended, the rain beat against  the bedroom window as I gazed out at the wet night sky I thought my world had crumbled. The family I had built torn apart leaving me feeling lost and alone. 

I did not know if it was me he did not love anymore or living with the constant reminder that good health was a blessing and not a given. 

Did he feel like my illness was a third partner in our marriage?

What was I going to do with my small sons to raise and having an illness which left me fatigued and feeling anything but attractive?

I cried,

I screamed,

 I healed.

I grew.

Let the tears fall  until there aren’t any left.

Let your heart break into what feels like a thousand pieces. 

For in this letting go, you are rebuilding yourself. 

In each ending, there is a beginning.

Maybe love cycles are not meant to last forever?

This is your time to love and celebrate in who you are.

If he does not love you anymore it is not because you are anything less than perfect.

Love will find you. 

 Be ready.

Be open.

just Be you. 

Cindy Lee Lothian

April 7, 2013

 

 

 

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She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Lover!

 

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She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Lover!

“There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction. Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstances. ”

~Stephen Kendrick

If you love someone, shouldn’t it be wholly?

Love should not have conditions or “have to’s.”

When love is given with a you “must be” list, it is not unconditional.

It is easy when a relationship is new to feel madly in love and sexually excited just by the touch or a kiss from your partner. When arguments arise they are easily worked out and forgiveness is freely given.

But what about when an illness shatters the illusion that life is always going to be a carnival ride?

When financial strains cause conflicts and resentment? 

A chronic illness can leave you feeling tired, irritable and anything but desirable. Your pillow can often look far more inviting than lying in your partner’s arms.

One question I have been asked many times since I have started this blog is Do you still really feel sexy? 

The answer is yes.  Not because of the way I look in my jeans or how many pounds the scale says I weigh.

As cliche as this sounds, sexy is about knowing who you truly are and loving the beauty that is you. 

I do not need my partner to instill my inner sexy. Sure a “you look hot in that dress babe” is good for my ego but even single, I would still feel happy with myself. 

We are all  multi faceted beings, each unique with our experiences wrought with happiness, love, anger, and hurts.  These layers do not make you flawed, they make you human. 

I will admit that for a time after my diagnosis and my divorce, I temporarily lost my way.  My identity had until then been so based on my good health, appearances and role of wife, when these were all stripped away, I was left  feeling barren. 

The good news is trials in life that knock you down really can create a new, stronger you.  Along with this new strength can come clarity of vision where the way previously uncertain, is now lined with sign posts. 

When I was married and struggling to come to terms with my diagnosis, I could not help but feel that my husband deep down felt like I was a burden.  That he was a pack mule carrying the whole load of the responsibilities.  He was a workaholic and was never really comfortable about me being a stay at home mother. 

He tried to do all the right things, say the words he thought I wanted to hear. 

His unspoken feelings left me feeling resentful. After all, wasn’t I the one with the debilitating illness? 

I did not need to feel like I was a disappointment, a constant drain on the family finances and a not too sexy playboy playmate. 

When our divorce finally came, a part of me actually felt like I had been set free. 

I was free to just be myself without having to try to always put on a brave front. If I wanted to sleep all day, heck I would do just that.

I used this time of solitude to rebuild my own sense of independence. I decided that I would rather be alone than be with someone that made me feel less than whole. 

When I met my now new fiancé this is exactly what I told him. I was in no way going to get myself back into that same situation of feeling like I was a ball and chain.

This is me, love me or not. 

I recently had someone write to  me telling me that her husband laughed at the way she now walked because of her illness. I am still saddened by this knowing that she is probably in a relationship that rather than empowers her, it crushes her spirit. 

Is your loving relationship unconditional?

 Do you feel accepted for who you are? Cherished for better or worse? 

Even more important, is your self love unconditional? 

I am not advising anyone to follow the path I chose, I am just simply saying like that old song goes, He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. 

Shouldn’t that be doubly so for a lover?

Cindy Lee Lothian

March 29, 2013

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