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Leaving 2020 behind, welcoming 2021 in. (image by Shauna Millar)

As we slowly limp toward the end of 2020, watching the slow drag of the hands on the clock tick away, perhaps it is time to reflect on this past year. Sometimes moving forward means looking back to see where we have come from to help us analyze the things we did right and wrong. In the hope of not making the same mistakes as well as keeping our good memories in tact.

I will go first. In order for me to introduce you to my year in 2020, I have to go back a couple of months to 2019. In November of 2019, I came down sick. I went from one day being healthy and helping a friend who was sick to being ‘can’t get out of bed’ sick. I was sure I had the flu. As with most flu like symptoms, I wasn’t surprised I was still sick in December. The chills, the hot and cold flashes, the lack of energy, the constant coughing; I figured were all part of this terrible flu I had. Since I generally don’t get the flu (and no I don’t get flu shots as the only time I did have one I got the flu. …

We Need to Be Willing to Open Ourselves to Differences

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

‘Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover’ is Something Often Heard but Rarely Practiced.

I am so glad I live in a country where we base our opinions on facts rather than media bias. Where we see people for their actions, not the elegance of their speech. Where we do not use memes to make our decisions about who people are. For we are all perfect people who don’t say stupid things or act like idiots at any time. Where we can easily cast stones based on what other people have said about someone, rather than taking the time find out for ourselves, not using social media as our gauge, but putting in the work it takes to find out. I am proud to be around all these non-judgmental people, and I aspire to be as perfect as everyone around me seems to be. …

Learn to live with depression before it can overtake you

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Photo by Isaac Castillejos on Unsplash

I don’t know when depression moved into my life. I can’t pinpoint the exact time or date. I know that for most of my life I have been fighting it in one form or another. I even married a man who admitted not only to being depressed but having constant suicidal thoughts.

One of the biggest issues with depression is we don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want our family to know because they will worry. We don’t want our boss and/or Co-workers to know because it will affect the way they view our job performance. The crazy thing is, that most depressed people, are also very good at hiding it. …

A beautiful outside doesn’t always translate to a beautiful inside

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Photo by on Unsplash

Women the world round fight with the idea of not being beautiful. Even women who are drop-dead gorgeous on the outside, don’t necessarily find that view coming from the inside. I stand in front of a mirror and look at myself. I am not beautiful. I am not even pretty. I am cute. I know this because they have told me my entire life that I am cute.

I can find every flaw in myself. Everything out of place. I find the qualities that the media doesn’t translate to being anything special. I am used to it. …

Are you building for yesterday, today or tomorrow?

Man sitting stair and waiting.
Man sitting stair and waiting.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Here is the thing I am learning rather quickly. I need to stop freaking out about tomorrow and focus on today. Yesterday I made mistakes and it is easy to focus on those too.

My distractions come in the form of future tripping. How will I pay my bills? What things can I sacrifice not doing to be able to buy food? Gas? Go on a trip? How will I focus my energy when I have all these things floating around my head that I am worried about? How do I stop worrying?

I put a lot of pressure on my shoulders and in my life because I am so busy worrying about tomorrow and criticizing my performance yesterday. I am worried about my bad decisions and how they brought me to the point that I am at. …

We make mistakes when we don’t know what we are doing.

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The sky the day of his memorial service.

Here are a few things I would like to share with you. Death is something that reaches out and touches us, whether we want it to or not. When it is someone in our immediate family; in particular a spouse, child, lover, etc. We generally aren’t prepared.

  1. When you lose someone, don’t do anything.
  2. Impulse is not your friend
  3. Losing someone is painful enough, don’t add regret to the mix.
  4. We don’t all grieve the same way.

Don’t DO anything.

The first thing that happened after the initial shock of my husband’s death; I went into hibernation mode. I was very fortunate to have family and friends who supported me during this time. I took two weeks and hide away from the world. Literally. …

Five things I have learned

Things I have learned about grief in the last three years
Things I have learned about grief in the last three years

It is coming up on three years since I lost my husband. September 1st. It almost taunts me at times. Every day I get a bit more together.

Here are the things I have learned about grief;

It never goes away. Never.

There is a truth that time will ease the pain. I am not convinced that it will ever completely heal the wound. There will always be a scar on your heart. The pain of loss is something I am learning to co-exist with.

I would like to say I have learned to live with it but that isn’t true. When I think I have gotten past certain hurdles, it sneaks up on me and grabs me by the heart. I break down and cry. I am not ashamed of this at all. It is a part of my life.

Anyone who has experienced a deep, harsh loss knows that you just won’t fully get past it. …

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I look at you and see your face engrossed at the moment. Steadfastly you concentrate on becoming a better you. I watch you talk to other people, how you inspire them with both your wit and wisdom. How you reassure them with your presence.

In the simplest of moments, when you think no one is watching, you show kindness. You can be gruff on the outside and people may feel they can’t approach you.. until they do. Then they realize how open you are. How much you are willing to share your life experience and listen to theirs. …

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Sometimes we take “home” for granted. We say things like, “home is where the heart is”, “home is where you hang your hat”, “home is where you come from.” This, to me, signifies that ‘home’ is an intangible idea that means different things to different people.

Recently, I discovered I don’t know where my home is. Simply put, my other half passed away close to three years ago. My heart went with him. I have no physical location, as I decided to abandon ship when this happened and moved to my grandmother’s home in another state. Removing myself from the comforts of having family and friends close by. I did these things in the hope of finding myself again. …


I found my heart beats differently for you than for anyone else. I get excited to see you and my joy overflows. When you don’t share that enthusiasm, my heart breaks a little. A small crack, a small fracture, with time it will get bigger and harder to hide.

The thing is, I don’t blame you for not sharing my feelings. I knew from the start that I am not the one you want or long for. Yet, I told myself it was okay to feel this way. I wanted to show you love so you could experience it. I wanted to share what it feels like to have someone love you unconditionally. For someone to give to you without expecting anything in return.

The value of giving this way is watching you grow. Seeing you become more than you were. Watching you love others in the way I want to be loved. I hope that someday, I experience it too. That if there is such a thing as receiving what you give out, it will return to me in time. Full circle.

I know what it is like to set someone free whom you love so dearly. I know what it is like to find joy in their successes and happiness. What it feels like to be so proud of someone you would give your heart and life for them if the world spun just a little differently. I don’t regret it for even a moment.

What I never expected was the pain it would cause me. The fractures and sorrow that would come with giving away what you really want. I never thought about the repercussions. They do exist. Perhaps in time, I will learn from them. Perhaps given enough time, they will become works of art upon my heart and soul. Perhaps it will happen in the not too distant future before I fully break away.

Life is not about loving one person. It is about loving many. The one that got away. The one who broke your heart. The one who cheated on you. The one who loved another. The one who died. The one who loved you but you didn’t love back. The one you give birth to. The one you call a friend. The one you call home.

Love is a field full of plants, flowers, bugs, and bushes. It is filled with so much variety that it is impossible to not experience the good and the bad. Filled with jealousy and passion that can burn bright and hot. Too hot and it will burn the beauty out of everything.

It is finding a balance for me. The balance of not loving everything and having nothing left for me. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is like pouring water into a sieve instead of a bowl. Nothing comes back. You have to have something coming back. When nothing comes back you question not only your intentions but yourself. You wonder if you are unloveable on some degree. That what you thought or perhaps were told was special about you, doesn’t actually exist. Then how you define yourself as a person is called into question by you.

Self-doubt can kill. It will eat away at you a little at a time. All the while what it is feeding off of, you, is helping it to grow. Left unchecked it will grow to a point of being unmanageable. Nothing good will come of it. No, we need to face not only ourselves and our actions. The best of intentions don’t always equate to the best of results. We need to draw a line in the sand of how far we can allow our own actions to take us before they become detrimental to our being. We need to adjust our actions to represent the best of who we are and recognize that sometimes it really is just enough.

It is not that all people are greedy or selfish. It may be we put our love into causes that we know are lost to us. We aren’t the ones who should be making the move. We have to learn, I have to learn, to put myself first. It is okay to take care of my heart before others. It is okay to make sure I am taken care of. Then when I have enough love overflowing, I can give it away unconditionally without expecting anything in return.

You can’t run on empty and expect to love deeply, vastly, unconditionally — you need to refill. You need your joy refilled. You need your love refilled or you will have nothing to give. If you feel you must, if you feel you really want to show someone else, unconditional love, set a time limit on it — to allow yourself to refill. …


Shauna Millar

Student of life; mother, widow, sister, daughter, friend. Writing, photographing and exploring the world around me. Rediscovering life.

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