Category Archives: Standards

Vulnerability…Recovered

 

A page from my journal entry:

“Dec 1st, 2014

I spoke with my sister this evening and I recalled a memory my mom shared with me, of me, when I was a child. My mom described me as this little girl who just did not want to go into the sandbox with the other kids, to play and get dirty, but would instead cross my hands behind my back and observe the other kids playing. It’s an image that parallels a lot of the struggle I experienced as an adolescent, a young woman and an adult in my friendships and relationships with others. I was the observer who didn’t really feel that I BELONGED anywhere, but instead observed others and their interactions, but was somewhat scared of being ‘known’ so I simply kept my true self hidden from others. It wasn’t until recently that I thought about displacement as a result of war (I am from former Yugoslavia, the region of Bosnia), and what that truly did for my spirit, understanding of self and others, my lack of the sense of belonging anywhere, and its effect on any relationship I attempted to participate in, that it dawned on me… THE one thing I thought I wanted, truly wanted, was the one thing I was truly afraid of – BEING LOVED.

 

I was afraid of being loved.

 

Why? Well I did not love or like mySelf for a long time, which is a starting place for reflection. But when I looked into it deeper, I realized that: 1. being loved means that someone is making a ‘commitment’ to me which they may not be able to maintain consistently; and 2. that would involve vulnerability on my end, and on that person’s end, and I simply wasn’t comfortable with it. That basic human essence – birthplace of creativity, love, nurturing and mindful relationships, a true display of courage – was very uncomfortable for me.

 

Why was it uncomfortable? Why is being vulnerable so scary? Because you put your true Self in the spotlight, on display and it may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, so you open your Self up to criticism, rejection, ridicule… Except when you decide to face your fear, be vulnerable in showing who you really are, you find that people respect you more and are more accepting OF you. And that’s love.

 

So I’m stepping forth on my intentions of building mindful, respectful, nurturing, loving relationships, and allowing mySelf to simply BE ME, my true self, in all situations and people I encounter.

 

That does not mean that everyone deserves, or will be given, a backstage pass to my life, but it does mean that the right people will be invited to know ME.”

 

In order to get a hug, you must give a hug…

 

Love, T

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VOICE

 

 

This poem is for every person,

who is scared, that there may not be

something even better out there.

There is.

Fly!

T

**********

When the heart is in your throat,

Where does your voice go?

I wonder, darling,

Do you love me enough,

to let me go?

To let me be?

To leave me in my flight of life?

 

The truth is so clear to me:

What we had was special,

Deep,

Real,

Sweet…

And bittersweet.

 

But I taste the lack of lifetime in it,

Every time I think of it.

Of you…

Even though I know,

You still haven’t fully let go of it,

of me.

 

It’s not something I can help you do,

It’s a choice;

An understanding and respect of love.

A knowing that one must let go of a love,

Because love is free,

And everlasting.

 

Perhaps it’s not easy for you to see this,

but I must let you know:

Daffodils bloom,

only in springtime.

Just like my love for you,

It bloomed only once.

Our love, was never my lifetime.

 

We are done now,

Have been for a while,

So let it go;

Let me be.

I am a bird in the sky.

I was meant to be free.

 

I hope you figure out

your own flight,

and soar the skies,

enjoy the horizons.

It’s beautiful up here.

Believe me.

 

Go on, love.

We are both free.

 


My 5th…

Photo © T.Nikic 2014

Photo © T.Nikic 2014

On the 15th of August 2009, I followed through with a decision I had made which had ended a reality, that for me, I did not fully understand how it came to be. I mean I had understood that the choices I had made actually contributed to it, but it seemed like something you’d see in a movie or a music video or something not real life, and definitely not MY life….

On that day, five years ago, I had moved out from the apartment I had shared with my ex boyfriend. It was a space I had tried to make into a home, but I was sharing it with someone who did not understand what that means, and I’m not sure he quite experienced HOME, in the full sense of the word, himself. This person, who I had spent two and a half years of my life with up until that day I moved out five years ago (the last 11 months of which we shared that space together), contributed to the misery and terror of the energy that space carried. I did not know what a mature, mindful, nurturing, adult relationship should look like, nor did he. My perception and understanding of love was absolutely skewed and his was very superficial. But I had wanted a home outside of what my parents had provided at that time (no it was not bad, I was simply ready to leave) and I had chosen him because….because I was young, and stubborn, and felt like I had something to prove to somebody, and because I was in my mid 20s which meant I should be in a stable relationship and think about marriage and kids and a house….but also because I was stuck on all of those ‘wants’ and I just went with the guy who seemed to have been really into me.

I had ignored all the signs which said “this guy is lost and hurt, and he will hurt you”. I ignored the proof that the universe was sending my way to warn me that this guy is not a person of heart, integrity, honesty or truth. (But who am I kidding – back then, neither was I – I was lying to my Self the entire time.) I ignored those signs because I wanted what I wanted and that was that. I don’t need to tell you the details of that situation for you to truly relate to it, do I? You’ve been there too. We all get there at some point. And then something happens and we snap our Self back to reality. I awakened to the reality of my life not long before the day I had moved out. As soon as you know better, you start to do better. My ‘better’ at that time, was to leave, which was the right thing to do. But I didn’t bargain on all the Self work that I had to do since then.

 

I’ve not been in a serious relationship after that one. It has taken me five years of soul-searching, of getting to my truth, of growth, of learning, of dealing with my past (and unexpectedly with other issues I was not aware of), to become a human being I am proud of. I love me. I respect me. I honour my soul, my spirit, my heart, my mind, but most importantly, I have learned to not just listen to my intuition but to follow it and allow it to guide me. Yes, it took me five years to do all of that. It takes a long time to return to your Self after you lose yourSelf and allow someone to break you down. It’s not about anyone else’s journey or experience that we have to live out, but our own.

 

My return back to self involved many incredible travel experiences (including India, a solo trip to Europe and a few other destinations), great books by human beings who have also gone through turmoil in their life (Maya Angelou, Paulo Coelho, Brenda Shoshanna, David Richo, Bell Hooks, Rumi, Sonia Sanchez, Pablo Neruda, just to name a few), teachers and lessons who came in forms of strangers and friends sometimes, a great counselor who provided therapy that was right for me, and as part of my human experience, I also made some bad decisions from which I had chosen to learn from.  The biggest returns to my Self involved starting this blog and sharing my love journey with the world (so to speak) through writing and poetry, my engagement in the poetry community via performances, and my rediscovery for my love of arts, being creative and painting. I really spent time with me, getting to know me, facing the mirror and stepping up to the ownership of MY being.

 

Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. Read again: Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. Just once more: Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. I’m not saying withdraw from the world and become a monk (although for some, that is what they feel they have to do), but really spend quality time with YOU without any stimulants or distractions. Yes, it can be painful and hard, but YOU are worth your journey back to YOUR SELF. And let’s face it – it is YOUR work to be completed by YOU.

 

As much as solitude is necessary, we have to be mindful of the fact that we are our relationships. Translation: the circle of people around me changed as I got back to me. And that was perfectly okay. Sometimes, we outgrow people, sometimes they remove themselves from our life, and at other times, we remove our Self from their life. So long as I engaged with others always with the intention of learning something from that interaction, the ‘goodbye’ wasn’t sad, and was often simply organic and necessary. Letting go of what no longer makes sense, is part of our return to self, too. That may include some friendships and relationships.

 

The greatest thing that I can say, has happened during these last five years for me, is the understanding that the essence of our spirit, is love. My return to love truly allowed my soul to soar and reach incredible heights. I am so glad that I didn’t give up on my Self, and as tough as I have been on me, I really like and love, me. And that was the point of all of this.

 

 

Much thanks to every soul who was a part of my journey thus far. I love you.

Fly, love!

T


“You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”

Until a few days ago, I didn’t realize that this post was necessary…

I regretfully thought that it was ‘men’ who act inappropriately and without integrity when dating. My eyes were opened this week when my friend and I started chatting about relationships and dating values, and he proceeded to tell me about a girl (‘cuz when you act like one, I cannot refer to you as a woman although you’re of age) who did some things that MEN and WOMEN consider to be wrong.

There is a lot to be said about integrity and treating others with respect. You really cannot do that until you figure out who you are, what you want your life to look like and the kind of people you want to have in it. But that’s really an aside note…

As per my standard, this post will not sugar coat.

Here’s the situation: A man met a girl whom he liked and she liked him. They exchanged phone numbers and started chatting. A connection was established as well as a comfortable vibe. He asks her out on a date and she accepts. Later he finds out that the entire time they were ‘talking’, she was seeing someone else. (This story could also read “A woman met a boy whom she liked and he liked her…Later she finds out that the entire time they were ‘talking’, he was seeing someone else.”.)

Here’s the reality: THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. Do not treat others as if they are disposable. It is NOT okay. If you are seeing someone, give that relationship your full attention. If you are unsure about it, leave – you are not a tree.

Let’s look at things objectively… One, if you are involved, you have no business exchanging numbers with those who you have a non-platonic interest in/connection with. It’s basically a prelude to cheating. I am sure that you would not appreciate it if the person whom you are dating did it. Two, if you are involved, you shouldn’t be ‘talking’ to others with whom you have a non-platonic connection. It’s pretty much cheating because you are allowing someone new in your life and you’re not focusing on the relationship you’re already involved in. Again, imagine if the person you are seeing did that with others behind your back. Three, if you are involved and someone is showing interest in you, you are accountable to yourself, the person you are already involved with AND the person who is interested in you, to disclose to them the fact that you are involved. It is YOUR responsibility to disclose that information. Don’t hide behind the infamous “well you never asked,” followed by *shrugged shoulders*. You knew you were doing something wrong. Four, this type of behaviour must stop. Our society is losing basic relationship values because they are no longer being shown, practiced and taught by those who date.

Each of us should ask ourselves these questions: What kind of relationship do I want to have with another person? How do I want to feel within the realm of that relationship? What values are really important for me to have in a relationship? I bet if each person was true to their heart, being cheated on, dealing with their partner’s inappropriate behaviours and being made to feel disrespected and disposable would NOT make that list. And if that isn’t how we want our relationships to look like, then we need to act accordingly. After all, the energy that we put out into the universe, does end up coming back to us. We must be mindful of that.

I think that often, those who are seeing someone but are secretly talking to other people, show a lot of insecurity because they need to know that they are desired by many people. But the truth is, desirability by others should not be the driving factor of whom you spend time with or talk to or the number of people you talk to. I think we each owe our Self, our relationship and our society to really spend time alone and understand Self before venturing out and dating. Period. We should know what we want in a partner and be clear about it upfront.

What are you doing with your life?

T

 


Can we talk about something else…please?!

I must admit – there is nothing like having a day to yourself to do whatever it is you want to do. Currently I am sitting in my living room/studio space, sipping on some hot chocolate (made with almond and coconut ‘milk’), enjoying the view of the lake. And I think to my Self *in Louis Armstrong voice* what a wonderful day!

I reflect on the current state of my life and I can honestly say that I am happy. Of course my life is not perfect, and there are things that I am working towards making better, but I feel good about who I am and how I’m living.

There is no shame in that, is there?

For me, there isn’t. For some looking in, I – a woman in her early thirties who lives on her own, has a full-time job, writes and performs poetry, paints, has obtained two degrees, a woman who is LIVING her own life – I have not achieved the two most important (according to THEM) things in any woman’s life. That is I am not married and I do not have any children…yet.

In recent months, the unnecessary conversation with those who ‘know’ me, usually goes something like this:

THEM: “So T, what’s new?”

ME: “Not much, I’m just working and focusing on my paintings right now. I really want to complete enough work to exhibit.”

THEM: “Oh that’s nice. So do you have anyone in your life?”

ME: “I have lots of people in my life.”

THEM: “Well no, do you have that ONE person in your life? You know, it’s time to think about getting married and having children.”

ME: “Um…no I do not.” (And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t tell YOU. That is what I think, not say.)

THEM: “Well you’re young, you have time.” (Voice full of pity.)

END CONVERSATION.

Now there will be a different interpretation of that exchange depending on who is participating, experiencing or witnessing it. But as the person on the receiving end of the unwanted exchange, I’d like to share how I feel about it.

NOTE: If you are reading this, and you fall into the group of ‘THEM’, I do not hate you. Thank you for reading and learning about MY point of view.

We, as women, are taught by society, culture and family, to look for stability and that the most stable thing we can enter into with a man is marriage, especially if we follow that up by giving birth to other lovely human beings. I began questioning this a long time ago. Since when does a title guarantee stability? Who came up with this ‘idea’ centuries ago? Why do women have to be married and with children to be stable? (And who said that being married means that you will always be happy?) A committed relationship, is a committed relationship. A ring, or a big wedding marking this commitment will NOT make it BETTER. Yes, for those who have exchanged vows in front of their family and friends, have affirmed that it is special but their relationship did not necessarily change for the better. NOR DID GETTING MARRIED MAKE A WOMAN, A BETTER WOMAN (OR A MAN, A BETTER MAN).

Yes, there is value to the institution of marriage. But entering into a marriage or becoming a mother does not necessarily equate to stable and better.

I do NOT think that MY life’s value or my worth as a woman, is determined with/by entry into a marriage and/or motherhood. I am not for or against either. I just don’t want to be married to just anyone nor do I want to procreate with just anyone (or simply for the sake of getting married or procreating). I don’t think my life’s value is decreasing as I get older and am not married or a mother. Nor do I feel the pressure to follow societal, cultural or familial ‘norms’ in any way.

I do not feel self-pity for not being married. I am a complete person and I do live a fulfilling life, even ALONE.

Marriage or motherhood isn’t for everyone.  I am absolutely happy for those around me who are married and/or mothers. I think it’s lovely to experience that. Perhaps one day I will as well. But you better believe that I don’t spend my days imagining or thinking about it. Sure it has crossed my mind and I have spent time thinking about if I’d like to experience either, but at the end of the day, marriage and motherhood is about with WHOM you enter into marriage and create a life with. (At least to me it is.) And you better believe that I DO NOT have an age in my head that I need to ‘achieve’ this.

As individuals, we all have different concerns in life. Being married or having children is not one of mine, at least not at this moment in time.

I have a brain. Like an actual functioning brain. I am capable of thought, and I do exercise that capability. ON A DAILY BASIS. I reflect, I think, I analyse, I consider different ideas, view points, happenings, decisions, etc. As stated above, I have thought about marriage and motherhood but I really don’t feel ‘stuck’ there, in my thoughts. I have two science degrees and actually enjoy reading about physics, chemistry and the cosmos. I read a lot about psychology, physiology and development. Especially physiological development of a fetus…which is also something I had studied in university. I often ponder and am intrigued by the idea of energy. I READ. A LOT. OF REAL BOOKS. Perhaps not the same books you’ve read but I do read. I create. I cook. I exercise. I practice yoga.

So I CAN hold a conversation about things other than the weather….or marriage…or motherhood. Silence does not make me uncomfortable either. And I do know of many other young female professionals who will say the same thing.

There is NOTHING WRONG with discussing marriage or motherhood. At all. Ever. But I do think that there is a need to grasp the idea of other than, which can be considered for conversations, but also for grasping the greatness and capability of a woman. I think that everyone’s path in life is a choice. And just because someone’s choice doesn’t coincide with yours, does not mean that theirs is wrong or bad. It’s just different. I pass no judgement on those who are in a marriage and miserable or those who are miserable because they are not. Those are all individual choices and circumstances. Just because for centuries (and still!), women were placed in a box labeled “WOMAN” which only included the words “WIFE” and “MOTHER” in it, does NOT mean that that is all that a woman is capable of doing or thinking about, or that that IS her actual definition, OR that that is her only value on this planet.

So next time we talk, can we talk about something else…please??

T


One Day, It MUST All Make Sense…

It’s past my bedtime…kind of. I’m sitting up in my bed, with my old laptop on one leg (can’t have both legs go numb…yes my laptop is quite old…but it works!), and with my hair still wet from my shower, I am reflecting. Looking outside of my window, I’ve decided that mother nature is creating some kind of a winter wonderland that we’ll all wake up to. If I look up from my laptop, a painting I bought in India a few years ago, greets me. Even as I write “a few years ago” (which it actually was), I shock my Self, because that trip to India seemed to have happened a lifetime ago. In fact, this entire year, feels like it encompassed more than a few…at  least to me.

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I know that for me, 2013 was a tough one. As I reflect back on it, I am still in awe that so much had happened. And yet I am able to look back in pride and say that I DID IT! I not only survived but in some ways, I thrived! And I can honestly say Thank You and FAREWELL! without any regrets, sadness or anger. I’ve learned a lot, and I’d like to share my lessons with you. I’ll list them. Maybe you’ll find something good in them. Maybe you’ll want someone you know to read them. In either case, I am sharing them here, and wishing YOU a VERY Happy New Year!

Much love!

T

“MY BIGGEST LESSONS OF 2013”-LIST:

– finding forgiveness in your heart for whomever hurt you, gives you your power back

– the universe nurtures and protects you when you listen to your heart

– connections with others can come about randomly and unexpectedly, but relationships only willingly

– know your worth and speak your truth

– secrets erode relationships along with your mental health – free your Self of the burden and start healing

– it doesn’t make sense to keep doing what you’ve always done when you’ve learned and grown from who you were before

– if you want it, go for it

– learn to let go…and learn to listen to your Self on WHEN to do so

– NOTHING is promised or guaranteed – not even this moment – find gratitude in everything

– you have to learn to save your Self…often from Your Self

– do you

– there are some really amazing people out there

– not everyone is, nor has to be your friend

– people come to your life for a reason, season or a lifetime – know when to end a season tactfully

– listen to your intuition

– there is nothing wrong with seeking help of a professional (counselor etc) to help you deal or get through something

– family isn’t perfect but that won’t make it or break it – communication, respect and effort (or lack thereof) will

– addiction kills spirits – of the addict but especially of those who allow the addict in their circle

– know and state your boundaries when needed – those who care will respect them

– laughter. is. necessary.

– love can happen when you least expect it but don’t use it as a reason to knowingly start a going-nowhere relationship

– there is SO MUCH MORE to relationships than love

– love DOES NOT make a relationship

– crying is a good release

– do what you love – everything else is secondary

– be with people who make you feel good – anyone else is unnecessary

– don’t be afraid to face your fears – you grow and become so much better as a result

– a good hug goes a long way

– when you follow the truth in your heart, the universe helps to guide you to your dreams

– there are omens for everything

– stop and take in the sights, sounds and (SOMETIMES) scents around you

– take pride in your work

– stand for something

– love. just love.

– honesty really is the way to go

– know your worth

– being present alleviates the stress over what was, and the uncertainty of what will, be

– being present in each moment of now is tough but extremely rewarding and fulfilling

– what often hurts us the most is not expressing our Selves AND the thought of how something SHOULD be

– heart smiles are wonderful

– YOU ARE IMPORTANT

– YOU MATTER

– YOU ARE LOVED

– YOUR ABILITY TO LOVE IS NOT ALTERED OR SUPPRESSED BY PAIN, BUT BY YOUR CHOICE


A Moment In Time Reflections

Note: Painting is original work of T.Nikic ©

Note: Painting is original work of T.Nikic ©

 

I suppose that sometimes the most obvious choice to make, is the hardest. You can’t exactly see it clearly until you’ve truly let go, and distanced your Self from it. Completely.

Real life stories of dealings with addiction gave birth to this poem.

One life. One love.

T

“You’ve got to learn to leave the table, when love’s no longer being served.”~Nina Simone

“When you come from trauma, survival seems like self-care.”~Afra Karen

*****

It was Sunday.

I awoke to find her looking at me.

I held her gaze for a long while before she spoke.

Her eyes spoke of love and sadness;

her voice, heavy with emotions.

*

She said:

“I realized this past July

that I met my best friend

and the love of my life

a few years back.

It wasn’t the right time for us then,

nor was it the right time for us now,

but every time I saw his face,

his smile,

met his eyes,

I simply knew that there was something there…

always…

there was something there that I could see

– a secret –

which I didn’t understand back then.

Anyway, this summer we got to hang out.

Just him and I.

Quality one-on-one time.

And we talked.

Our hearts danced.

Together.

We loved.

We sang.

Shared stories.

Shed tears with each other.

Made love in the form of art.

Or is art created only by making love?

I guess that piece shall remain a mystery to me.

I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t be in a relationship with him.

He just wasn’t ready for me then…

I doubt he’s ready for me now.

I’ve cried so many times

listening to his stories,

feeling his pain,

observing his attempt

at the escape

of what he felt.

Distancing myself was hard in the beginning.

I knew that he was draining me

but I couldn’t make sense of walking away completely.

I didn’t want to.

He didn’t want me to.

Truth is I missed him every day.

I shed thousands of tears since our last embrace.

But it’s not the fact that we’re not together

that makes me sad.

It’s the fact that I’ve lost my best friend,

to a drug.

Tho, looking back now,

he wasn’t such a great friend at times.

Addiction truly is hard….and selfish.

In my heart, there is sincere hope that he will get better,

an infinite belief because I know that

if he wants to he can.

I used to wish that I could talk to him,

hear his voice every day,

sometimes I still feel that way,

but his voice of addiction is always so loud.

So I remain,

with the knowledge that I won’t ever again BE,

simply be,

with this incredible man

because his path of choice included addiction

in whose presence I could not remain.”

*

I felt her heart,

watched her cry as she shared her truth with me.

I turned away for a moment,

just to gather my thoughts,

to be able to comfort her,

even share a few words.

But when I looked back,

I met my own eyes in the mirror,

filled with tears.

*

Only the knowledge that I saved ME, comforted me.

*

I LOVED.


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