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Placeholder People

Some people embody placeholders. They see themselves as having no purpose, no fate that betters the world. That their purpose is to just keep quiet, keep moving, have a couple of children, make money to feed their family, and just be. Their subsistence and distractions are their definition of happiness. Perhaps those babies will grow up to have a bigger purpose, to do something amazing. Maybe not. Either way, there are people who aren’t meant to shake the world. And they too are very necessary.

I respect your claim that you don’t want to look inward, work on your soul, look at your fears, or be accountable for much more than you have to. And in return, please don’t mock those of us who can’t contain our craving to grow out of the pot we’ve been planted in. We are doing our darndest to make a difference and be brave for our children and maybe yours. Placeholder people on Shalavee.com

If you judge me, you then judge me for the risks you are unwilling to take. And while I respect other people’s fears as I respect my own, there’s no room anymore for “us and them” especially at the price of bravery. There is room for “you and me” and the acceptance of our differences, our fears, and our driving truths. Let’s agree to live our lives simultaneously and respect one another’s efforts. Because life smacks of effort all the time. And tolerance starts in our hearts.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Just Because You’re Afraid Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Brave

Fiona was inconsolable with her self-pity after her recent round of shots. I thought she needed them for Pre-K but it seems we got them a year earlier than necessary. They’re done now. And those band-aids that I couldn’t remove from her thighs for days were proof that she wasn’t brave.

Don’t even suggest it to her because she’ll begin to cry and tell you she wasn’t. Still isn’t.Just Because You're Afraid Doesn't Mean You're Not Brave on Shalavee.com

In preparation for the day at the doctor’s office, I had read her a few books on going to the doctor’s and she found one in her bookshelf about the little turtle named Franklin who needs to go to the hospital. He’s had a soccer accident and needs a pin put in his cracked shell. And there’s a charming conversation between he and Dr. Bear where he doesn’t want to have an X-ray taken because he’s afraid it will show that he’s afraid inside.

The very wise doctor says,”An X-ray doesn’t show feelings. It only shows shells and bones.” Franklin says,”You mean no one will know I’m afraid?” and Doctor Bear answers,”No one. But just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you aren’t brave. Being brave means doing what you have to do, no matter how scared you feel.”

Being brave means doing what you have to do,

no matter how scared you feel.Just Because You're Afraid Doesn't Mean You're Not Brave on Shalavee.com

Umm. How about that for a little applied wisdom in our lives. What are we putting off today. Not speaking up or risking rejection or telling the truth because of the scary risk of it all. How proud would any of us feel if we stepped up and did it anyway. Did it so we could hear ourselves say,”No thank you.” Or “I’m afraid of what you’ll say but I need to say this anyway.” I need my bravery way more than I need your approval. I need to keep braking through my fears until they fall away and I become as invincible as I will ever be.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Quitting Made Me The Bravest Person I Know

First published in August of 2009, I was reminded of this piece because today, November 15, is the Great American Smokeout . I used to hate this day back then as any addict would hate the mention of giving up their drug of choice. Happily, I wont birth this baby in a cloud of smoke (sorry Eamon).  I was my own hero then and hope I will always be.

A year and a half ago, I, Shalagh Hogan, officially stopped smoking. That’s right, I did it. I ceased to light up . I quit. And let me tell you, I was the poster child for smoking. I was the quintessential, make no apologies, completely entitled to my addiction kind of smoker. At parties, I’d be outside with my fellow smoker whom I found way more interesting than the inside people. We had tales to tell. We oozed interesting conversation… or maybe we were jacked up on nicotine and grateful just to have someone to talk to. We were united.

My smoking habit was a product of my hard-earned neuroses and soothed this as well. Of course, at age fifteen, I wanted to impress the peers and I could afford the $1.25 a pack habit with my babysitting/counter help money. I was a punk and loved the disapproval of everyone, especially my mother. One of my sister’s fondest Shalagh memories is of me emptying my purse abruptly onto a sidewalk frantically exclaiming, “I just dropped my lit cigarette in my purse”.

The thought of existence without smoking was silly. It was my comfort and my friend. When I had a baby and thought my head would pop off, it was no time to quit. And, yes, after delivering my baby, the nurse with the raspy voice mentioned that the baby might be going through nicotine withdrawal too.

And then, a sinus infection from hell that lasted from Thanksgiving 2007 through past New Year’s Day 2008, had me on my knees weeping and swearing to change if my pain would just end. The fear of never being well again as each consecutive antibiotic failed to bring back my sense of smell, had me asking myself, “What can I do to be my own hero?” I answered, “Quit smoking”.

I reread my journal to cull some truths about my habit and wrote fifteen down on slips of paper. I then put them in envelopes accompanied by five dollar bills, the cost of a pack of smokes. Then I got my apparently incompetent doctor to write me a prescription for Chantix, an anti-depressant used as a smoking cessation drug, and that was the beginning of the end. I had a quitting buddy at the same time. My new routine was to sit in a new chair with my coffee every morning and open one of those envelopes and read one of those truths (It will set you free). These were not someone else’s truths but one’s I had “coughed up” for myself. And here are a few of them:

· I don’t specifically remember any of the cigarettes I ever smoked.

· I often chose to run away for a smoke break rather than start creative projects and as an avoidance tactic.

· It’s who I used to be, not who I want to be.

· If I get through this, I’ll be the bravest person I know.

My quit date will forever be February 9, 2008.The even better news was that my husband quit three weeks later. My son has no memories of us as smokers. This is not to say, as a teenager he won’t come in contact with it. My parents were militant non-smokers but my sister and I became smokers. I’ll miss my outside friends at parties. I don’t go to that many parties anymore, however. I started running as a way to keep up my metabolism and but have neither gained nor lost any real weight. I do have pucker lines around my mouth and that is, thank goodness, the only regret I have. I made it out alive.

Keep on keepin’ on

Perseverance. Stubborn single-mindedness. That’s what I can be made of. Holding on until the knuckles whiten.  A first marriage that went on and on. Self definitions playing out beyond a comfortable exit.  A shop that was opened at exactly the wrong time but stayed open for a year and a half. We all are guilty of not seeing the exit signs. Enter a new beginning. Contrary to my expectations, my blog-gable life starts now.

But my site’s URL was shalavee.com/wp. Note the extra w and p at the end. The additional anxiety of fixing this was not what I’d envisioned, and paid too much for, as I began my life in the blog-asphere. Again I am indebted to an It guy. This round was Robin’s. He held my hand as we copied, checked, and did until my integrity was saved. Shalavee.com is the address again. Although the passwords will be the death of me.

I find it funny how sometimes we just have to fight to be ourselves. As a child growing up with the name Shalagh (pronounced Shay-la), I had to fight to be me. Correct the authoritarians on the pronunciation of my name and essentially the address of me.  I did the same to my kid. Gave him a funny Irish name that will have him correcting people throughout his life. And establishing who he is in his own mind.

I had a dream last night that I had some presents, maybe x-mas presents, that got taken by a girl who had a sister. The sister didn’t know what was going on but I knew the other one had taken them. We searched everywhere and finally I asked her for them in a way that I hoped she’d know I’d forgive her. She brought them down from the upstairs. I was happier. Presents are otherwise known as gifts.  Among my gifts, writing and sharing my thoughts with the world. I have held back from sharing these and enjoying the outcome. And I may be ready to forgive myself for not getting here sooner. Meanwhile, I will build a palace from ashes.

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