Posted in Truths Revealed

Who I Am

By Jeannie Yee Davis

Truths Revealed – April 2, 2024

The human in me has a hard time loving me, who I am, the way I am. I’m more flawed than I care to admit and so far away from not only perfect but from the image of who I want to be, who I think I should be, and, more so, who I see myself as. Today’s devotional reading reminded me that I must first love myself before I can love someone else. Knowing this truth for quite a while doesn’t make it easier—just another reminder of my imperfections.

None of us talk about it, but we would learn that we are all the same if we did. We’re all imperfect, with flaws and bents, and we struggle with loving ourselves to some degree. Am I right? I don’t know. I only know this is my truth. 

I’ve spent my whole life feeling like a nobody. For starters, growing up a year behind a beautiful sister who was the flame of every fire, a star in everyone’s eyes, the smartest, most entertaining, outgoing, eloquent, and most loved, it was easy to fade into the shadows of self-worth. When you do something long enough, like they say about forming habits, if you do something for 21 days or longer, it becomes a habit, so how you live your life becomes a habit, good or bad. In time, you lose not only who you are but also your voice when you live in the shadows of someone else’s life instead of being your authentic self.

In all my growing-up years, I didn’t know any of this. All I knew was I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel I belonged anywhere. Yet, these resounding questions echoed, “Why am I here?” “What’s the point in living?” “Will I ever measure up?” “Where is home? Being a nobody felt senseless, hopeless, and a waste of air. Yet, my curiosity kept me searching for answers.

Growing up and becoming a grownup failed to give me satisfying answers, as I relied on people as mentors, which we all need, but I’ve learned we need discernment on whom to depend. As part of the human race, we are human by default, which means we have beliefs, opinions, views, and bents that may mean well but may not be appropriate for us. Even parents may have favoritism, whether they are aware of it or not, which may scar their children for life. There is no blaming here. Everybody does the best that they possibly can with what they derive from; thus, we’re all the same.

Not until I became a child of God, and many years after, did I learn who I am and belong to, and my eyes opened. My heart filled with joy as God wrapped His loving arms around me and told me I am loved and His. Suddenly, I was home. No longer alone. I belonged to God, who created me in His image for a purpose. Yes, I am here for a reason. I am thrilled that my curiosity kept me searching for answers, and now I get to see how the story unfolds. 

Before I can love others, I need to know my self-worth through His everlasting love for creating us just as we are. We see ourselves imperfect and flawed, but He made no mistakes when He created us. We are His masterpieces! He loves us just as we are, so who are we to question that? Knowing our worth impacts everything we do and every being we touch. 

He created us for a purpose, which He reveals to us at the right time. We have a job to do, and that’s exuberant for someone who used to ask, “Why am I here?” “What’s the point in living?” “Will I ever measure up?” Everyone needs a purpose to make it through the day. I’m thankful that even though it took decades, I eventually discovered my purpose, and this chorus feels so spot on right now.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives.

Why am I here? What’s the point? Whether I measure up or not no longer applies. God, as my heavenly Father, has me covered. Unlike human parents, He is unmovable. He will never forsake me and will be there for the good and bad times. He loves me unconditionally, and He does everything for my good. He only asks that I know who I belong to and choose Him first every day. I have all I need to love me because I am worthy, and I can love everybody else because now I know who I am.

Footnote: (Because He Lives – Song by Bill & Gloria Gaither)

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“You Never Know”

A Moment in My Life – February 8, 2024

Jeannie Yee Davis

I exited 2023 and entered 2024, jumping for joy. Excited, enraptured with all the possibilities of 2024. Happy. No, not happy, but ecstatic. I had the best New Year’s Day ever. How could anything bad happen after that grand entrance? You never know. Anything can and will happen. You simply never know. That’s the plain truth.

Shortly into the new year, something didn’t feel right inside me. Something else didn’t feel right before I got to the bottom of that first ailment. And so it began, my trek down the path of fears and scares of possibilities, which I chose the path of denial. Not wise, but a human trait. Anyway, this is not about that. That will be a story for another day. I will say that eventually, I dealt with reality and am on the mend.

During my trials, a couple of friends passed away. The first friend, Mike, had battled with cancer for several years. It was still sad losing him, but it was inevitable that one day, he would be freed of his suffering. Soon after, I learned another friend, Don, lost his fight with pancreatic cancer. However, the most recent loss was unexpected. Margarita was fine just days before when I saw her last. She had a stroke while attending her granddaughter’s school event, and nothing could save her. Just weeks earlier, she lost her son suddenly. So painfully sad for her family. When I heard this shocking news, I was still in the middle of my challenges, fearing that maybe my time was near, so learning about Margarita’s passing hit too close to home. You never know when your time is up. Her passing spurred me to write this column.

Loss has a way of spiraling you into deep contemplation. Nothing is infinite. We are finite. As Franklin said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and other versions of this saying, like “The only thing you have to do is pay taxes and death, and anything else you think you have to do, you made up,” which is a nice segway that sums everything up here. 

We don’t know when it will be our time to line up at the gates of heaven. We don’t know if we get to do it all again tomorrow. Every morning, I say, “Thank You, Lord, for this new day,” because I get to wake up again. My dear friends Betty and Lenore and my cousin Tina went to bed one night and did not wake up the next day. Each day truly is a gift from God. I don’t take it lightly. For the longest time, I was afraid of death. I was so not ready and feared dying before I was ready, but when will I be ready? Especially being human, I tend to procrastinate doing things. I am a busy bee and consistently productive, but I do the priority things first, and I confess that I put things off when I don’t have to deal with them right away. I’m working on it, people. I give myself grace because I am human, too. However, regardless of when I get the call, I will never be ready at this rate. 

Losing someone is like a car battery jumpstart that jolts us out of surviving day-to-day like we’ve all the time in the world. We don’t. Our days are numbered. We aren’t privy to the end date. In a way, it’s good not knowing. Knowing may give us the sense of urgency we need to avoid squandering our time. Maybe? Maybe not. I don’t know. I know that loss makes me reevaluate what I want my life to be about and what legacy I want to leave behind. It makes me ponder whether I am living the way I like to live or not.

Too often, we aren’t living the life we dreamed of, but we wait until tomorrow or another day to do something about it. As we get older, the battery life runs lower. Do you want your battery drained before you fulfill your dream life? 

Living the life we dreamed of with as few regrets as possible is essential. This life is it. One life only. It’s not a dress rehearsal. We all have dreams, but few of us pursue them. We settle into a life for various reasons, and our dreams evaporate with time. The dream life is subjective and personal. The only thing in common is that it takes work and effort to make it possible. I recently read a devotional, “How to Dream Brave with God.” It taught me that our dreams are valid, meaningful, and blessed by God. After all, He gave us everything we need to live our dreams. He wants us to succeed and to dream big. Knowing this allowed me to dream bravely.

When we lose someone, we should try harder to live better because we can. They can’t anymore, but I know they would want us to live fully and boldly and make each day count. 

Sometimes, we get a second chance with nudges that sit us up straighter and make us rethink what we are doing and, if not, on the right path to set us on the right course. Or, in your heart, something isn’t right, and that’s your second chance to make changes and stop making excuses because tomorrow may be too late.

We never think about this until we get that nudge, and that’s when we ask ourselves what legacy we want to leave behind. We don’t want to be remembered as ones whose job was their priority, and we never had time for people. Or that all we did was have fun without considering paving a future for our loved ones or doing anything that mattered. We must have balance to provide for a future, spend time with people, do good work, live a good life, and care for what matters. Spend time at work to build a future and help those in need. Spend time at play for social and wellness. Spend time building relationships with people and God. 

Balance is the teeter to moderation, the totter. You must balance your efforts with things you enjoy each day and the work you must do to make everything possible. Moderation in everything will allow you to appreciate life and do important things: people, projects, social work, earning a living, realizing your dreams, and making time with God. Then, you’ll have few regrets and live a good life.

I don’t take anything for granted, especially as I get older. Nothing is ours forever—our five senses, mobility, faculties, and health we rely on without thought, like breathing, but will we always have them? Will we always have our independence? You never know. People and things come and go without warning. Our lives are like a drawing on a chalkboard, fragile, with one brush stroke, erased, a deleted scene in a movie. You never know. Take nothing for granted. You never know until it’s taken away from you. Then, all you have is regret that you didn’t appreciate what you had while you had it.   

The best caregivers I know are too busy caring for everybody else and seldom themselves. You do nobody any favors by neglecting yourself. You matter, too. Once you care for yourself, you’ll be a super person in caring for everybody else.

For those who are blessed with loved ones, never part with anger, hurtful words, or unresolved issues. Scripture says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” because that might be the last words between you, which would be sad. The purpose of this piece is to encourage you to take this opportunity to reevaluate whether you are living a good and balanced life that is filled with love and gives you peace, knowing that when your time is up, you will have very few regrets because this is your one life and not a dress rehearsal. Will you wake up tomorrow and get to do it all again? You never know.

Posted in An Itty-Bitty Romance

Paint Me a Dream

by Jeannie Yee Davis

He sat there, brush in hand, fast strokes up, down, and across, and a golden sunlit sky appeared across the canvas on a wooden easel. With a few skillful dabs, puffs of clouds soften the sun’s rays, casting a shadow on the deep blue ocean waves the painter laid beneath the sky. With precise, quick strokes, thin fronds came to life, swaying from the canopy of the palm trees, suspending above the glistening sand. And the sounds of the low waves and gentle breeze waft into his ears as his toes hide in the warm sand.

The bespectacled painter grabbed his water bottle from under his stool, breaking the young man’s trance from painting to painter. Their eyes lock, each curious about the other. The artist gulped short sips into his parch mouth. He wiped the drool off his shaggy pewter beard with his hand and nodded, “Son, would you like me to paint you something?”

“Can you paint me a dream?”

“I can paint anything you can dream of,” he said.

“Can you paint a hammock swinging from that palm tree with me lying in it wearing a bird of paradise aloha shirt, Bermuda shorts, straw hat, and shades? Paint a pretty brunette in a cotton dress and put her right in my arms?”  

As quickly as the young man spoke, the scene appeared as he described. The young man stared in awe as the brunette emerged on the canvas wrapped between his arms in a long purple hibiscus cotton Hawaiian ruffled sleeves dress. “How did you know to paint that dress?”

The painter finished the last strokes, put down his brush, and pointed behind the young man to the pretty brunette modeling a long purple hibiscus cotton Hawaiian ruffled sleeves dress. “Son, I said I can paint you anything. I did my part. Now, you do yours.” He nodded to the brunette. 

The young man smiled at the brunette. Thanked the painter, “You are a magician. You sure did paint me a dream.”

Posted in An Itty-Bitty Romance

“I Love You!”

by Jeannie Yee Davis

If only you looked into my eyes, you would see my heart pumping in vain the words you can’t hear. I love you. I love you. I love you! I long for that day your eyes zoom into my heart. You will find an album of memories; every moment is you and me: sacred memories, dreams, wishes—a novel written for your eyes only. Moments of simple pleasures lovers enjoy—holding hands between fluttering butterflies, dancing on the grass on a warm spring night, sharing melting ice cream on a merry-go-round one hot summer’s day, giggling to teasing kisses and rubbing noses, savoring the sweetness of love, seeing our reflections in each other’s eyes, snuggling before a fire, sipping hot cocoa, and listening to our favorite songs, never wanting the moment to end.

Every morning. Every night. I dream of looking into your heart and seeing my name engraved at the center. Yet, it’s only a dream I’ve dreamed a hundred times. I want my life to be with you, but what can I do when you don’t know what it’s like to love you as I do? Can’t you feel my love reaching like corn stalks in the fields of gold as your hand almost brushed against mine when you passed by? Do you not feel the vibrations of my heart drumming when you are near? We pass each other every day. Do you not see me? How do you not know how much I love you? 

My eyes smile when I see you weaving through the couples on the dance floor coming my way. My hand is ready to join yours and let you twirl me onto the dance floor to a slow song. You get nearer and nearer, and the bass in my heart gets louder and louder, deafening the speakers as you arrive. I pivot, inhale the scent of fresh laundry, and watch you pass by, and I mentally take a picture of this moment for my album.

Loving someone who doesn’t see you is not for the faint-hearted. I’m a woman in love, not unbreakable, not weak, but rich with so much love saved just for you. There’s a way people say, but what can I do when I want you to love me, too? I won’t push. It’s meaningless unless it’s in your heart the love for me. One day, you will look into your heart and find me there. When you do, you will open your eyes, and I will be here with arms wide. Until then, I will wait and be true to you, and one day, I will hear you say the refrain in my heart every day, “I love you!”  

Posted in An Itty-Bitty Romance

This Time Last Year

by Jeannie Yee Davis

This time last year, his trip home to spend Valentine’s Day with his wife was interrupted by an assignment. The assignment to restore the fine wood tables at the Divine Mansion kept him away longer than he expected. He lies in his bed every night and every morning, picturing her smiling, blowing kisses, and saying, ‘I love you,’ as she drifts farther away. He reaches out to her and is encouraged to keep working. 

He stooped over the oblong table like a pool player, his face mere inches from the surface. His eyes fixated on the spot amid opaque shavings that looked like large dandruff flakes. He worked the pointy tip of the toothpick into the varnish. “You have to be careful not to damage the lacquer finish beneath the varnish. You see, if you damage the table, that would mean overtime. They won’t like it. They will make us repair the damage, you see. Quite frankly, I don’t have the time to do that. You see, I have a deadline I’m trying to meet.” He spoke in almost a hypnotic whisper without looking up. He repositioned his arm, tensing his grip in preparation for the rapid strokes needed to graze the top layer. 

When he worked up momentum, the varnish flicked off the table like pieces of rice paper. “Removing the varnish from these fine tables requires a master’s skill. Not just anybody has the knack for this. We’re lucky, we do.” He chuckled. “The whole table can’t be treated the same way, you see. Believe me, I know. I’ve encountered a dozen different surfaces. The varnish comes right off with just a flick of the toothpick in some areas, but others require more persistence. But don’t worry; you see, I have devised ways to get around them.” He continued talking at the table, inhaling the vapor or varnish. A page from the PA system periodically drowned out his voice. Cellophane crumbs covered the surface of the mahogany table, and snowflake shavings dusted the hardwood floor beneath him. 

He scraped each spot with determination, following it farther and farther across the table in steady momentum. “When the momentum is broken, we refocus and work another area for a while. I like to come back to these tough spots later. You see, I get a lot more done that way. I like to finish parts of the table quickly, but tough spots slow me down. I’ve got to hurry, you see.” Just then, he came upon a stubborn spot that wouldn’t budge. He rubbed at it with his fingernail, and it cleared a path right through. He held a finger up to his sweaty lips, “Shh, and that’s the secret to how you do it.”  

“Be careful now. Can’t push too hard. You see, don’t wanna dent the table and don’t wanna break another toothpick.” He let out a breath that blew the flakes about the table. “Supplies are hard to come by depending on the staff. There seems to be a high turnover around here.”   

The body of the toothpick dug into the flesh of his fingers. It didn’t bother him. He has become numb to the pain. “I have to finish this one last table, and then they’ll let me go.” Sweat soaked through his white tee shirt. But he kept going.

He stopped to change hands when he couldn’t press down anymore. He swung his arm to release the toothpick onto the table, but it didn’t fall out of his grip. The toothpick embedded itself into the flesh of his fingers. He had to yank it loose from his right hand before tossing it onto the table. He rubbed at his calloused fingers and massaged one stiff finger at a time. He stood up straight and became aware of the tension in his back. He arched backward and stretched as he surveyed the table. He groaned. He took a deep breath and sucked in the familiar medicinal musky dampness. He rubbed his eyes to refocus, drying the beads of sweat from his lashes.

“Oh God! I’ve still got half the table to go. I’ll never finish in time. Wrong attitude! No choice. I must finish, and then I can go home to my wife. It seems forever since I’ve spoken to her, but she’ll understand. I’ve been busy. She’ll appreciate that I’ve devoted all my efforts to getting home to her. I know she’ll be surprised.”

He wiped his wet hair and face with his already-dampened arms. He licked his salty lips, changed hands, and returned to scraping the varnish.

“Excuse me. Excuse me,” she tapped him on the shoulder. “Could you tell me where the office is?” 

“Oh, you startled me.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

“The office is that way.” He pointed down the hall.

“Thanks. What are you working on?”

“I’m refinishing this table. That’s my job.”

“Your job is to refinish this table?”

“Not just this table. All the wood tables here.”

“Really? How many have you already done?”

“I’ve done nine. Once I finish this last table, I get to go home to my wife. Gotta finish this project in the next couple of weeks. I will surprise her when I show up on Valentine’s Day.”

“That’s really sweet. Well then, I’d better let you get back to work.” The young woman walked in the direction he pointed. She padded along so her clogs wouldn’t pound against the wood floor. She reached the office where a heavyset woman wearing a pale blue sweater sat with her back to the door. She knocked even though the door was open. “Excuse me, Mrs. Bennett, is this where I report for duty?”

“You must be Kimberly. Hang your coat over there, and I’ll show you around.” The elderly lady stood up, pointed to the coat rack, and led Kimberly outside the office.

Kimberly heard mumbling coming from the man at the table. She tried but couldn’t make out what he was saying. “Mrs. Bennett, who’s that guy over there?”

“That’s Peter. You give him a box of toothpicks, and he stays out of trouble.”

“He said he was trying to finish that table so he could go home to his wife. That’s so sweet.” Kimberly caught Mrs. Bennett’s frown. “What’s wrong?”

“Tsk, tsk, he’s not going anywhere.”

“Why not?”

“His wife was killed this time last year. Her death sent him here to Divine Hope Sanitarium. He’s been doing that since he got here.”  

Posted in Uncategorized

“It Never Ends”

A Moment in My Life – December 5, 2023

Jeannie Yee Davis

I’ll be happy when I finish this task. When this event is over, I’ll be satisfied. Once I land my dream job, I’ll rest. When I meet my soulmate, then I can be happy. Once I finish this, I can begin living the life I want. So on, and so on. Is this you, too? I’m so guilty of it. Maybe not these particular comments, but I live and breathe looking toward the finish line. Always. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

 I have a girlfriend who I admire, but as I try to be more like her, I fail every time. I’ll tell you why she amazes me. She said, “Oh, I am having such a wonderful time. I want to savor this moment. I don’t want it to end.” Wow! Her words awed me because I hadn’t known anybody who lived in the moment, but I knew I wanted that. Instead, I’m more prone to “I can’t wait until this is over.” It doesn’t matter if I’m having a blast. I still can’t wait until it’s over. Why am I like this? I often ask myself this question but figured it’s part of my DNA, and I could do nothing about it. It is my constant battle that drove me bonkers. I hated feeling that way but did not know how to remedy the situation except to live with it.

Then, I read a devotional on Psalm 34, which gave me a new perspective to view my situation candidly. A prevailing thought jumped out at me, “it never ends.” It often hit me as a complaint. After I finish this “whatever,” something else will come up and take its place. Something will always pop up, preventing me from reaching “the finish line.” I kept pushing off “living my life” until I got the paperwork done, the stacks of projects that needed my attention, and the tending to the domestic tasks that never ended. Then, it was waiting until after the holidays. Then, there were the family events, church, friends, and so on. It never ends. There will always be something else that I need to handle. So, when do I begin living my life? When will I be happy?

When I read Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips,” it was as if David was talking directly to me. I’ve read this verse before, but it had a new meaning this time. It made perfect sense. This is life. Life is perpetual. It will go on with or without me. It’s a hamster wheel. It’ll spin around and around, and the little guy will jump on and off. Such is life. There will always be something happening. Good. Bad. Ugly. Beautiful. It will keep going. It never ends.

I finally understand my need to reach the finish line. I’m a doer. I get things done. I thrive on completing tasks and doing them well. While in the process, I am stressed out worrying about the outcome. Thus, I can’t wait to get to the end to see how everything plays out. Once I reach the end, I will know if my efforts paid off. It’s a good thing to be a doer, but if my attitude is not grounded, it is a stress-inducing lifestyle. I’m always stressed. 

David in Psalm 34 held the solution I’ve been looking for by showing me how to find peace by praising God for today’s mercies, regardless of what tomorrow brings. That’s it. That’s the long and short of it that I needed to hear. I must praise God in everything I do and every moment I live. Praise Him. Praise Him. Praise Him. That’s it. Instead of waiting until the end to be happy, I must be satisfied regardless of what prevents me from reaching my happy place, which I will never find because there will always be something else that will impede my goal. So, I must be happy as I go. Now that I understand this, a change of attitude is the golden ticket to life, where everything keeps coming at you, whether you are ready or not. It never ends.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Never Say Never”

A Moment in My Life – November 27, 2023

Jeannie Yee Davis

I don’t think I’ll ever understand how life works. It’s a good thing that’s not my job responsibility. If it were, I would excel at goofing it up every time. What am I talking about? Good question. I’m meeting up with a few of my high school girlfriends soon, which got me reminiscing about the conversations we had back then. One in particular weighs heavily on my mind: the one about dating and marriage. 

This is where life comes in and finds me rolling on the floor, laughing my head off. Okay, maybe it’s not that funny, but however you look at it, it’s laughable, and I’ll tell you why. In school, one girlfriend shocked me when she said she wasn’t interested in dating and did not believe in marriage. Whoa! Knock me down and keep going because I needed time to mull it over. How do you expect a girl who always had a crush on some guy and her interpretation of life was having someone special to spend it with to understand that concept? Thus, it blew me away. 

Yet, she prepared me for real life. I’ve met many people over my adult years who I never saw go on a date, let alone get married, which no longer shocked me. One of these people was another high school girlfriend who never dated or married. I never understood why but never asked. Hey, we have to exercise boundaries. If they want to share, they will. Otherwise, it’s none of my business.

Just when I accepted this concept, boom, my aromantic girlfriend moved in with a guy in college. Fast forward a few decades, and she surprised me again when she announced they eloped! What! This was the girl disinterested in relationships? What a trip she set my mind on! Hallelujah! That was great news for a romantic to hear. I was truly happy for her.

I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry because life has a sense of humor. Who would have thought that at seventeen, she would choose singlehood, and I would choose marriage; however, fast forward to the current day, she’d be married, and I would be single. Who wrote those cards? I’m laughing because it’s funny when you realize nothing is set in stone, so it’s better never to say never.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Is It Any Wonder?”

A Moment in My Life – November 16, 2023

Jeannie Yee Davis

It just dawned on me. It’s that time of year again. Yipers. I saw the patterns for four years straight. I tried hard to outsmart the circumstances and prevent them from recurring. Did I succeed? Heck no. Try as I might, it worsens with each year. The first year, it lasted two days. I thought that was bad. It was bad enough that I ensured it wouldn’t happen the following year. Ugh. Again, I couldn’t stop it. The next year, it lasted twice as long but eventually passed. The following year, a whole week, people! I thought that was horrible, but it turned out to be nothing because last year was Armageddon spiraling into the Abyss from sometime in November, and like fish, stunk through January to early February. As sure as the holidays came, so did depression, but I did not see the severity of that last one until it was too late.

Each year, I had a game plan put into action, but what did I know about depression? Sure, I had good days and bad ones, but depressed for a length of time? No, not me. I strive to live on the “positive” and “happy” side of the mountain. I feel for those on the other side and every day, I attempt to deliver a positive message to uplift those folks, but then, one fateful day in December 2019, a gremlin crossed the line and got me. What this tells me is that depression is indiscriminate. It can grab hold of anyone.

The only thing I know about depression is that it makes sense that people with a weakened immunity could fall prey to it. The world looks bleaker when we are tired, hungry, or ill. Being a one-woman act, juggling different hats, and never getting enough sleep made me a perfect target. That much I knew.

So, my game plan each year included getting more rest and taking better care of myself ahead of the bull’s eye. The first year, I also took a break from social media for a couple of days. It was refreshing, but it was a Band-Aid and did not fix the problem. Each year, I tried a version of this game plan. I was so clever being a step ahead by taking better care of my wellness and quieting the noise, but last year required major surgery, not just a Band-Aid.

Since nothing I did in the prior years solved the problem, yesteryear, I shut the world out to completely quiet the noise to reassess what was working and what wasn’t. At the time, social media, especially Facebook, was like heavy metal music between my ears; I needed to turn it off. I was so involved in Facebook that it felt like a high-stress, full-time unpaid job that ate up all my time, resources, and wellness. At least with a job, I left work at the end of the day, whereas Facebook was on call 24/7. I had too many voices coming at me from different platforms. I was alone but never alone, and that ripped at me. Sprinkle in some toxic relationships too close to home to spice things up when you have a sensitive palate—it’s torture.

As I listened to “Is It Any Wonder,” a song sung by Durand Jones & The Indications, the lyrics felt personal and haunting—they were—short, simple, and quite catchy. You can’t help but sing along to the soulful ballad that is moody and beautiful. For most people, it ends there. For me, the words grab me like a freshly sharpened sword, reopening the unresolved questions that I might never get answered. The singer ponders the profound path, questioning the complications of relationships sealed with intense feelings and emotions of longing and reassurance. It hit home for me—the core of my problem—unrequited expectations. Is it any wonder I fell into the Abyss and couldn’t climb out? Is it any wonder that I can’t change a darn thing? At the time, it felt like nobody cared, but the truth was, nobody knew what I was going through. How could they? I didn’t know. Is it any wonder it’s become an annual affair?

I made significant changes during last year’s reassessment. It was a necessary and insightful exercise where I offloaded the toxic relationships and activities that served no value but only created stress. As this winter approaches, what else could I do to prevent a reenactment of last year’s Abyss? I did considerable housecleaning, so what else was left? That question stressed me out because the answer was “nothing!” I emptied the toxic waste bin and had a pleasant year. What more can I ask? I’m all out of ideas. Yet, four years in the making, I landed in depression that worsened each year, which added to my fear of falling prey again. 

Suddenly, my eyes opened. I may be overthinking it. This year, I’ll be okay because I removed the harmful poisons from my life, picked up the broken pieces, and mended them. I’m feeling hopeful. It’s already mid-November, and I am well, strong, and feeling good. This year may be different, but it might be too soon to tell. Then, it dawned on me the real culprit here is Satan, trying to trip me up, stirring the pot—telling me lies. I believed him in my vulnerable state, but I’ll always have unrequited expectations because it is what it is and always will be. Nobody sees things eye-to-eye. I can’t expect people to respond a certain way. Thus, I will always face disappointments. There is little I can control. All I can do is to make the best of each situation. For starters, when Satan, the father of lies, pushes my buttons, and he knows when and which ones to try, I will tell him, “Go away! You are a liar!” I will repeat this as often as necessary and wear him down. 

My game plan for this year is to continue to form good, healthy habits, plus turn the table on Satan and give him a piece of my mind. It took me a while, but I’m on to him now, and I refuse to give him any more control over me. Then, it’ll be his turn for disappointment, but then, “Is It Any Wonder?”

Posted in An Itty-Bitty Romance

Feels Like Home

by Jeannie Yee Davis

“I can’t believe you talked me into this, Sylvester. What makes you think Bob will come for a blind date?” If I didn’t run out of excuses, I wouldn’t. Alexis thought.

“He’ll show, Ally. Bob always keeps his word.”

“You keep forgetting. I prefer Alexis,” she lifted her petite frame taller from where she stooped, hiding behind the sidewalk bookstand at the adjacent shop to the café for her date. The hairs on the back of her neck stood upright at the mere mention of Ally, her ex-husband’s nickname for her when he gaslit her. Two years later, it still caused an emotional response.

“Sorry. Old habit. You’ve been Ally since we were kids.” Sylvester groaned into the phone. “Whatever name you go by, it’s time for you to date again. There are good people out there. Bob is one of them. He’s a widow, a loving husband to the end.”

“How do you know each other again?” Alexis glanced at the café.

“He’s my judo instructor.”

He’s Sensei Bob? I don’t know. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. I should…” 

“You should shake off your doubt. That’s what you should do.”

 “You’re right, Sylvester. I need to do this.”

“Good. Go! Have a good time.” 

The call ended as Alexis was about to say something. “Never mind,” she whispered, blew the hair off her nose, and glanced at the empty table again. “He’s not going to show,” Alexis pursed her lips. She plucked a book off the shelf in front of her. She opened it, mindlessly flipping pages. Her eyes darted back and forth to the table, unaware of the tall man passing behind her, chuckling, entertaining himself watching her. 

“You know, there’s a better way to find out if he’ll show,” a masculine voice spun Alexis around just as he popped a mint into his mouth but not before she caught his smurfy grin.

“Excuse me?” Alexis peered at the too-well-dressed stranger to be shopping in a bookstore. His neatly trimmed short beard almost concealed dimples as he smiled, unhinging her. She lost her footing. 

He tenderly balanced her by her elbow, suddenly standing too close and locking eyes with her. “I noticed you playing spy and thought I’d play along,” his voice cracked to his dismay. 

“Is your idea of playing along by spying on me?” She flipped her hair off her shoulder. She kept her gaze on him and returned the book to the shelf. He crumbled his mint wrapper and tossed it in the trash bin on the curb. She checked off “neat” on her mental list.

“Do I look like a spy?” he opened his sports coat like a runway model, and Alexis giggled, noticing his purple suspenders. 

“Let me guess. You’re Bond. James Bond?”

“Bond. Robbie Bond at your service,” Robbie bowed, faking an English accent. “And who might this dainty spy be?”

“Alexis, barista by day, spy by night,” she curtseyed, feeling like a princess in her tiered dress. The simple play acting calmed her nervousness. Robbie felt like an old friend rather than a stranger she just met. “Thanks, I needed that distraction. I’m unsure about this first date since my divorce two years ago.”

“Ah, that’s cause for pause,” Robbie stroked his beard. “Before we were friends, we were all strangers. Your date might be Mr. Right. You won’t know if you don’t show.”

Seeing Alexis tense up, Robbie shared, “Ten years ago, I wasn’t crazy about a blind date either. My friend assured me that I wouldn’t be sorry. He was right. That blind date gave me nine wonderful years with my wife before she passed. I would have missed it if I didn’t go.”

“You’re right, but it’s hard when you’re learning to trust again. I’ve always dreamed of the love you two had. I thought I found it when I married my husband, but he was Mr. Wrong. I wanted to feel safe with him. For him to encourage me, cheer me on, believe in me, and love me on good days and bad. Someone who’d make me feel like…”

“…home,” Robbie finished for her. 

“Yes. Like home,” Alexis gazed into Robbie’s compelling eyes. 

“I believe Mr. Right is waiting for you. May I escort you to your table?” Robbie extended his arm to her. She weaved her arm into his.

Alexis pondered, staring at Robbie. “For a change, this feels like where I should be.”

Robbie flashed Alexis a smurfy grin and said, “You can tell Sylvester he did well.”

You’re Bob?” Alexis gasped. 

“I prefer Robbie, but I’ll always be Bob to Sylvester.”

“I’m so glad you’re my blind date, Robbie. Now, it feels like home.”

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Where the Big Kahuna Lives”

A Moment in My Life – March 23, 2023

Jeannie Yee Davis

I scrutinized Facebook for four days and three nights before I caved and accepted my first friend request to join the mega-addicting social platform. Why the scrutiny? Oh, I don’t know. The usual insecurities people tend towards, like what if nobody wanted to be my friend, for starters? I imagined how embarrassing it would be, like in elementary school, standing there feeling naked as the selection line petered out, waiting, hoping not to be the last kid picked for the softball team. Some scars never leave you. These memories help me empathize with people suffering from abandonment issues. Standing there with a thousand mocking eyes upon you, with some snickers adding to your already clammy hands, shaky legs, deafening blood pressure pounding on your temples as you realize you might be the last one standing on the other side of the playground was too much to bear. Nobody, especially not a kid, wants to be in that position, ever. The funny thing was that most of us have been through something similar, yet, kids could be cruel to other kids. 

Fifteen years and over 600 friends later, I still remember the anxiety I experienced as if it were yesterday. As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry about friends. I laugh now at the wasted time I spent worrying. The mood induction for reactions and comments to my posts replaced my fear of friendlessness. Like most things, you don’t even see it coming. It trickles in unexpectedly, like a slow leak in your basement, until the bacteria in the stagnant water become airborne. Then you know it’s there. Has this happened to you? Add a post, wait for reactions and comments, and become bummed when you don’t get the expected responses. I have. I know I’m not alone. It’s disappointing and dispiriting. Everyone wants acceptance, and positive reactions and comments affirm us. The more we get, the more we expect it. Although, like the weather, we can’t predict the same outcome every time. People don’t like or agree with everything. People are busy and only catch some posts. Many friends of mine look but don’t touch. I don’t get it. I think of voyeurs watching you, but I’m sure they have their rationality. There are various reasons people do or don’t do what they do.

Ultimately, none of these matters in the long run. None of this defines us. Social media is entertainment and a means of sharing and connecting with friends and family. That’s it. Plain and simple. At least, that’s what it should be. However, there is some algorithm that gets us addicted to social media. I don’t have an addictive personality but I am guilty of falling prey. I just learned about social media codependency, which explains why my mood depended on the reactions and comments to my posts. I was suffering from social media codependency. Once I had a label for this, it made perfect sense. My eyes opened, and that was my ticket off the funny train heading to Doomville, which was not the direction I headed towards.

Our lives go toward our thoughts. Our thoughts can change the path of our lives, and what we think shapes who we are. As the old saying goes, “the mind is a powerful thing.” It’s also a delicate thing where truth isn’t always black or white but can easily be a tainted shade of gray. A lack of response or an iffy one feels like rejection but may not be. We see what we want to see, which may differ from the truth. Each of us has an inner voice telling us a version of the truth, which reminds me of the Big Kahuna of the “Gidget” fame, where everybody respected and idolized Kahuna for being the super cool guy, a surfer legend. Later, at the movie’s end, he wasn’t as cool as we thought. He was just a glorified man—a version of who he wanted us to see. 

When others decide my thoughts for me, it’s as if the Big Kahuna lives inside my head, telling me how to think and feel—a version he portrays. That’s what I was doing when I let my mood depend on the reactions to my posts. Reactions are great. I love getting them, but I shouldn’t let them make or break me. That’s the addiction issue that leads to mood swings. Understanding this broke the social media chain that bonded me. I no longer expect reactions. Facebook is once again a fun place to visit with no strings attached, and I have a healthy relationship with social media again. 

Did you know about social media codependency? It opened a whole new world for me once I learned about it. It’s easy to abuse social media, which takes the fun out of it and messes with our minds. We must guard ourselves in social media and our minds, thoughts, and emotions. As wonderful as social media could be, it could be equally damaging if we’re not careful. With that said, enjoy social media, but stay vigilant. Protect your mind because your mind will make or break you. Nobody will watch out for you but you, so you must guard where the Big Kahuna lives.