Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn’t Help You – Be Brave Friday

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn't Help You - Be Brave Friday
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It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s unedited, unfiltered stories, so we can all celebrate the big and little brave things we do all the time.

Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re being brave.

Here’s Jordan’s brave story and we are so grateful, Jordan, for you trusting us and sending it in. So much love to you.

So I don’t know how long this is going to take me to put this together. I’ve really thought a lot, back and forth, about whether or not to even reply with this, but I think I’m going to, just for a sense of talking to someone outside of my normal circle.

I know this isn’t probably what you were looking for when you mentioned a story, but this is something that’s just been weighing on my mind for a little while now.

Back in 2014, when I was still a freshman in college, I made the decision to start coming out to my family. My mom had been estranged for reasons that is a whole other story. She’s not the same person she was when I was growing up, so it’s hard to really gauge who she is as a person at any given day.

When I wanted to open myself up a bit and come out to her, she responded in a way I assumed she would, being married to a southern church-going bible-thumper–she told me “I don’t agree with that” and to not bring it around my sister (who was 10 at the time).

I was very disappointed and went on with my life. I kept my mom at a distance because if she didn’t want part of my life to be highlighted, I wasn’t going to filter that. She just wasn’t going to get any of it.

I went through my college career. Struggled, thrived. Made friendships and experiences that have changed my life completely. I reluctantly invited her to my graduation, not even knowing for sure if she’d come–simply because that meant that she would actually have to make the trip.

Cut to 2020, where it’s the hell year for everyone. I’ve moved back to where I grew up to be closer to a few family members of mine. My mom begins communicating with me to inform me that her marriage has fallen apart due to infidelity and other personal things going on.

My concern only lied with my sister. She’s a young adult now but she still has no skills of being able to navigate the craziness that will surely come about with my mom. My mom never knew how to do anything for herself, and she always burned any bridges she made with people, so no one was ever at the ready to help her if she needed it. I knew that if I didn’t step in, my sister was really going to have an even worse time than she was already.

I took time off of work to get my aunt (her sister) to help me find a place where my mom could live. Having no income and no job experience in the last 18 years was going to be extremely tough, but time was of the essence. I managed to find a place and help her get moved in.

Honestly, I wanted either two things to happen. I wanted her to just leave it at that, and not communicate with me any more, or I wanted her to change back to who I knew she was when she was someone I looked up to.

I find it hard to find that kindness inside myself and have to go out of my way to constantly help her when she chooses to not help herself. I don’t know if its actual “trauma” but there are so many hurtful things and happenings that she doesn’t acknowledge or anything.

In her mind, she may believe that it never did, but the things she said, she still said. My mom has never accepted any kind of responsibility for herself and that just takes a toll after a while.

My mom has shoulder surgery next week and I’m dreading it more than anything because I know she’s going to need help and the only one who can offer it or is even remotely even willing to, is going to be me. It’s hard enough working in the public during an ongoing pandemic, in a southern state where the government could care less about the constituents dropping like flies.

Now I have to find a balance of keeping my income at a steady rate while also babysitting my impossible mother.

The past year and a half or so, I made a vow to myself to try and keep a positive outlook and not to lurk so much in negativity. This situation kind of makes me feel like I can’t do this without kindness but it’s so hard for me to feel like I can put kindness forward in this. I know this isn’t your problem, and this may be heavier than what you expected in any kind of responses to this?

I’m not even 100% sure that this message is a solid, coherent thought. At times in this scenario, I feel like I’m a bad person, but at the same time, I don’t care if it does. Even growing up, I always felt like the kingpin of my family. Like, if I wasn’t there to hold everyone together, it would all just fall apart and the damage couldn’t be undone.

To the point where, now, I would rather be isolated and alone than have to worry about it. I guess my question through all of this is how can you put forth kindness in a situation that just constantly drains you? I know it’s not really a comprehensible question but a part of me just wanted to type these thoughts out because I feel like if I mentioned it to anyone close to me here, it would make me seem (for lack of a better word, this really isn’t the right one) like a sociopath.

I think you’re a wonderful person, Carrie, and I’m very sorry if this was exhausting to read or just too impersonal in any way, but thank you for even just presenting me with the idea of being able to just send a thought out to another person, whom I weirdly I feel I can trust with that thought. I hope life is treating you properly, and I am wishing you all of the peace and joy that I can. 

– All the love,

  Jordan

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Life is About More Than How To and How To Be.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Life is About More Than How To and How To Be.
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

We don’t edit these because we want people’s stories to be heard as they tell them.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.

This week, I’m telling one of my stories.


“How do I become an artist?” I used to ask my mom this all the time when I was little.

“Nobody in our family has an artistic bone in their body,” my mother said every time I asked. She’d light a cigarette. She’d take a drag. She’d offer me a Pepsi, cold from the fridge, always poured over ice and never in a can because we weren’t that kind of people either. “Not one bone.”

“Our family” only meant her family. One of my grandmothers painted all the time, hiding away her canvasses, horrified by how bad they were. None were ever bad, but they were dark, dripping with sadness, a sadness that also came out in her poems. One of my father’s sisters did batik, made jewelry. Another aunt did ceramics.

That wasn’t about me though. My only genes, according to my mom, came from her. And so I was left wondering, “How do I be an artist if there isn’t an artistic bone in my body?”

And I gave up even though I was a kid who didn’t think with words, a kid who was haunted by images and color, the smash-up of form and hope always twirling around in my head.

And then my mother was dead. And my father was dead. And a brother and aunts and uncles were dead and grandparents and two best friends.

The grief grew in my fingers and writing stopped being enough. But I was lost because I still didn’t know how to be an artist.

I googled it. Google did not help.

And then I just started. I’d paint out the images in my head, disappearing women, angel-women (never men) watching landscapes, cruelty hidden as trees, shapes in the water that nobody would ever see but me.

A local artist that I love asked me about my oil technique and I said, “Oh, I’m too cheap for oil. I use acrylics.”

She gasped. I figured I was doing something wrong and didn’t post a photo of my art for a long, long time. I assumed that gasp meant that I was breaking the artist guidelines, the rules somehow.

Where could I find the rules? I wondered.

We all tend to look for the rules, the how-to-do-things when we first start out in our careers, our relationships, our lives.

“How to be a . . . ” is a pretty hot topic, right?

And it makes sense that we do this. We go to school. We learn that there are rules to abide by, ways to think, certain methods we should follow to solve math problems, right essays, grammar rules, behavior rules, etiquette rules.

Do well with the rules and you might get As, high marks, praise from the teacher.

But there is a certain joy that happens when you don’t know the rules, when you aren’t typing away every day on your masterpiece even though you don’t know about three-act structure, painting skies that look like envelopes drawn by three-year-olds, and singing songs that are completely, unintentionally offkey.

Art is like that.

Being brave is like that, too.

Art is when you see/read/hear/feel something and your emotions become bigger or even better? They become something you’ve never felt before. Art is something that pushes you beyond your own self. It can make you remember. It can make you think. It can make you forget to remember all over again. It can make you brave.

Because yes, there is a certain bravery to put yourself out there in your art. But there’s also just a bravery in putting yourself out there and living—living a whole, big, amazing life—a life where you’ll mess up massively and succeed hugely and fail and love and lust and fall down and sometimes not want to get back up again.

Being brave is determining for yourself who you are and not caring if you don’t fit the genes, if there aren’t artistic bones in your body. Being brave is doing things despite the rules. Being brave is being you. The real you. You can do that. I’m positive of it.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Be Brave Friday: Don’t Small Down Your Self or Your World

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Be Brave Friday: Don't Small Down Your Self or Your World
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.


This week’s Be Brave Story is from the wonderful Sheri Boggs!

Sheri, thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

You are so brave and so wonderful.

xo Shaun and Carrie


I have a story of bravery to share. It isn’t big, bold physical bravery but rather small, mild bravery in which my foe WAS MY OWN MIND. 

I took violin for a few years as a kid and started taking adult violin lessons in my late 40s. I was not great and probably would have given up a long time ago if not for my teacher, (let’s call her Ms.X), who is hilarious and reminds me of Candace Bergen. Half the time my lessons consisted of us ranting about politics or her telling me some marvelously gossipy story about when she played with our local symphony.

A few months before the pandemic we decided I was ready to join the New Horizons Orchestra. New Horizons is an international organization with orchestras in cities all over the United States. Anyone is welcome, regardless of experience or skill, and their motto is “Your Best Is Good Enough.” My first time there, however, I realized I would need significantly more than my best. Everyone seemed to be a music teacher, a retired symphony member, or someone who practices for three hours a day. I stared in bewilderment at the sheet music (a medley of tunes from Chicago) and struggled to keep up. My bow was barely able to land on the right string much less hit the right note. 

Needless to say, when everything shut down I was relieved not to have to go back and be so noticeably behind everyone else. I also quit taking violin lessons, falling into a Covid-related funk and reasoning that Ms. X would only want to deal with Zoom for her most promising, high school and college-aged students. I didn’t touch my violin for a full 15 months. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Ms.X emailed me to see how I was doing and to let me know New Horizons was starting up again. I wrote back that everyone had been super nice but I’d felt embarrassed the few times I went, I never had time to practice, and I wasn’t planning to go back. She wrote back that she would “entreat me to reconsider,” claiming that, “some of those people have no talent whatsoever and I would know because I taught some of them.”  She assured me that New Horizons is about the joy of playing and that I was already way ahead of some of them, even if it didn’t feel like it.

So, much to my own surprise, I went to my first practice this week! I was again completely lost in the sheet music and unsure what key we were even playing in but it felt good to be there. Everyone was so welcoming and if anyone heard me scratching away at the wrong string with my bow, they didn’t say anything. I came home, practiced, figured out the key, watched videos of other people playing the pieces, and practiced some more. I plan to go back next week. 

The takeaway for me is how, when I’m anxious, I try to make my world smaller and talk myself out of things where I have to experience being awful at something, but what actually helps me is to keep pushing outside of my comfort zone, and letting my world get bigger. I had fun, seeing a few familiar faces and occasionally hearing my violin blend in with the violins all around me. 

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Loving Your Way Through It And Being Brave – SEND ME YOUR STORIES (please) – Let’s Inspire Each Other

I am not a therapist or a minister an influencer or a teacher, a psychiatrist or a medical professional. At all.

I’m just a normal human living a pretty normal life where there are ups and downs and cataclysmic events and occasionally monotony.

But I’ve learned something.

I’ve learned that love is a powerful force and that even when you rage and sob, even when anxiety makes you pace across the bedroom at 2 a.m., you can still survive and that love? Love’s the reason that you can. Love and hope and belief.

That’s why I do BE BRAVE FRIDAYS here and on social media.

That’s why we started the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast. It forced me to have a voice. And it forced me to listen to my own voice when I mixed down the audio and get used to that voice

And then we started a live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which was even scarier because:

  1. It’s live.
  2. My face and my sloshy voice was out there.
  3. You can’t control live things especially not when your husband is the other person there with you. And that lack of control? It can be scary.

LOVING THE STRANGE is important to us though and that’s because we truly believe that people should feel okay with getting their strange on, to fly their strange flag proudly, to own it, right? You get to love who and what you want to love. No judgement. Just love.

How cool is that? Now, it’s just about all of us inspiring each other to live that, right?

So, I hope you’ll take this journey with me and that you can embrace the love inside of you and around you and love your way through it, too.

Here’s my work in progress for art this week. Hey! Don’t forget we’re all works in progress, right? So, um, don’t judge too harshly?

Yes, I did paint on part of a box from Man Crates. Canvasses are expensive!

And I would love to start telling your stories about being brave. You can stay anonymous if you want. No story is too big or too small. I’ll start sharing them every week on my Youtube channel and here. Let’s all inspire each other, okay? This isn’t about me. This is about us — all of us.

Continue reading “Loving Your Way Through It And Being Brave – SEND ME YOUR STORIES (please) – Let’s Inspire Each Other”