Our “Fat Guy In His Little Coat”

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    Dash: a symbol of continuum that connects words together, a quick move or sprint, in our case, a short stocky brown and black mutt that I drove across the state of Florida to bring into our lives, and into the picture he did, Dash, hence, his name was bestowed. He was an adorably cute roly poly mix of Dachshund/Weimaraner/ Black Mouth Cur and I thought for sure some German Shepard, and they thought possibly some Bassett Hound, though to me, I did not see it, his short legs were from his Dachshund genes most likely. I based my addition of GSD on his coloring his protective nature and his devotion.  

     Dash quickly pushed open the door to the room in our hearts that he would occupy, and barged in with exuberance and the pure joy of being alive.   He was funny, stubborn, brave, smart, every trait that finds its home in the positive column.  We have and have had, many other pets, I love/loved them immensely, each has their own room in my heart, something about Dash, made me hang an extra picture, paint his room a special color, he just touched me that way.   

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     When he was a puppy, my son and I would laugh, as Dash rolled like a ball, as I gently pushed him with my foot to lay down.  Instead of just laying down, cozy on the rug, his long, chubby puppy body would just roll until he stopped, such a comical chap he was,  from the very beginning.


    He got along best with our larger female dog and smaller female. Our older male, Alabama, was gentle with him when he was a pup, but as Dash grew, I thought his own pushy fearless nature in the presence of other dogs, might start a tussle, so he was usually out in our yard in the company of the females.  He would pounce on Jetta, our Border Collie/Chow mix, even though she was four times his size, or more, when he was a pup, she always was almost double his size, even when he reached adulthood.   She would endure his mock attacks, even though they were quite rough, as, she loved him too. 

    When Dash was about two, I rescued a small terrier mix, Stella.  In some way, I thought I did it for him,  as Jetta got impatient with him, and Gem, our Papillon mix rescue, much smaller than him, didn’t care for his rough play.  She was an absolute pistol, she would tear around the yard with him, he was in heaven.  I became ill for a couple months and had less contact with the dogs, when I recovered, it seemed Stella had lost interest in Dash, and preferred to dig up our yard and bark, sadly which led to me finding her a new home as I realized she just didn’t “fit”.  I think I also decided to re-home her, as Dash would look so forlorn and unhappy that she no longer played with him, it almost angered me, and I had to remove the source of his sadness.  As I sat thinking of him after he had left us, trying to make myself feel better, and convince myself that I had been a good pet parent to him, I remembered this event. I had less time for him over the last year due to family events you see, and have felt great guilt over that.  But I realized that I had removed Stella partly for him, I had taken her out of our families picture, I had tried to chase out and protect him from any sadness or hurt that came his way.  My heart felt a bit more at peace, but not much, as I could not save him from the final hurt nor pry him from its grasp. 

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    Over the short 4 1/2 years that Dash was with us, our walks to the park, our visits to the beach, our ” toss a toy” game in the yard, I found joy and comic relief watching his actions.  We always wish we had more time to spend with those we love, including our pets, in the day to day struggle which is life.  We have many pets, and Dash was the one I gave most of my limited time to.  I have lost many pets over the years, companions that I wept buckets over, four legged friends that I still mourn, many, many years after their passing.  In Dash’s memory, I will never bring another pet into our home.  I will always wish I had spent more time with Dash, he loved us so, he would jump clear off the ground when we were together out of joy, which with his short legs was not an easy task.  He deserved more of my time, he deserved more time on the couch with me, in his ” tv” spot.  I also have felt a very deep grief that I have felt only with a couple other pets, and it simply hurts too much to bring it yet again into my life.  I love all my other pets dearly, I am sure as much as I loved Dash, and I will feel grief when we part, but losing him for whatever why or wherefore, has caused an overwhelming sadness that I will always carry.   His legacy is, he will be that last addition.  Quite a feat to halt the unending stream of pets brought in by my hand, but Dash has done it. His spot in my heart has left room for no other pet, save for the others already there.  

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Thank you Dash for protecting our home, being our companion, our walking partner, but most of all, for making us laugh. We will indeed forgive you for making us cry. 


Copyright 2018 © Thoughts From Outside the Box Shelley Ann Klukiewicz All Rights Reserved.

Discovering Our I and Me


         We all start our journey at birth, or possibly before depending on your beliefs.  We are born each holding an invisible slate, upon which the world and our experiences in it, carve a story.  Of course, our choices, our “luck” if you will, and misfortunes, share an equal task in creating this narrative.

        We each search for peace and happiness, that can sometimes be the quest of our lifetime.  This is always evolving depending on where you are in your life, to be different things, leading to various paths, each creating their own chapter in the story of our I and Me.

          In this journey, the one who is always there, who will accompany us at every step, is ourselves, our I and Me.  I have always found it interesting learning about, my I and Me.  I differentiate the two as I is the more driven declarative independant part, “I will do this”.   Me is more nurturing, emotion driven, living closer to the heart, “That makes me feel sad”.   We learn things about ourselves all the time, our feelings, our passions, what drives us, and what can cause us to hesitate, sometimes even to stop.  Being open to our complete I and Me, the parts that are easy to look at, as well as the ones that we can barely face, is what makes I and Me  finally become one in the same.


        I have always had a creative side, I sketched when younger, but was always better at writing, words were always the forte I ran to when I was searching for, or trying to understand I and Me.   Whether it was the sad “me” on the verge of tears, the angry “I” who stood “engarde” ready to protect my vulnerable psyche, or maybe the curious “Me”, trying to learn and understand, people, reasons, or sometimes just, “Why”?   My search would sometimes lead me to, at that time, pick up a pen, now it is to sit at a keyboard.   The words would come, and lead me to further understand both I and Me.  It has taken me many years, only now do I feel I have completely found both.


      Here are three poems of mine, from many years ago as well as more recent.  I have included the ones in this post that fall under the basic idea of finding all aspects of ourselves and how we see the world around us.  They all have varied flows, as each one comes from a different facet, be it I or Me.   

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  I have included some early sketching I did as well, many years ago before writing became my chosen method of expression.


Gaze at me

take me in

my face, my body


Turn to me

relish my voice

accept my words


Touch me 

my skin

my hair


Smell me

my scent

my essence


Hold me

take my vows

accept no other


Support me

be my brace

never falter


Taste me

the bitter

as well the sweet


Caress me

pull my strings

hear my music


Take my hand

leap across

don’t look down


Accept me

my past

my future

my whole life



I thought you were the sun

You more resembled the moon.

I thought you were the stars

You were just a fleeting comet.

I thought you would soothe like warmth

You burned more like dry ice.

I though you would taste as steak

It was more like ham off the bone.

I savored you rich as Godiva

You chose to be Dollar Store chocolate.

I thought you sparkled as diamonds

Guess it was just obsidian glare.

I thought you would walk beside me

Turned out, you couldn’t keep pace.

I thought your door was open

You closed it with a deafening latch.


Some words cannot be spoken

they have to be kept to oneself.

Some feelings cannot be expressed

they have to be locked deep inside.

Some heartaches cannot be shared

they have to be suffered in silence.

Some anger cannot be unleashed

it has to be quietly dealt with.

Some injuries cannot be healed

they have to be taken in stride.

Some events cannot be altered

they have to be used as a lesson.

Some tears cannot be dried

they have to be swept away.

Some people cannot be forgiven

they just have to be forgotten.


Copyright 2018 © Thoughts From Outside the Box  Shelley Ann Klukiewicz  All Rights Reserved.






Know Your Bandwagon


      This post was prompted by some recent “bandwagons” that have been in the news and my desire to delve into the psychology of them and those who gleefully jump on, most without really knowing why:   

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         Thank you, englishnotes@mail.com. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

       All causes and crusades usually have noble beginnings, or at least the thought is pure.  Some stay that way, others become ” bandwagons” that when researched properly, are found to be detrimental to their chosen cause in some way, or at the very least, no real help at all.  They take on a life of there own driven by false applause and the shallow mindset of those who want to be thought of as crusaders, but are really just looking to put forth a mirage of caring and compassion so they can climb aboard and gain some of that applause for themselves.

       Most of my causes or crusades involve animals, not all, but most.  I think because while many human predicaments are worthy,  and I have always been an advocate of any underdog, or person I felt needed my help, animal causes hold a special place in my heart.  This reason being, that although they certainly speak, it is not a language we all understand therefore help is harder for them to ask for, and not all will hear.

       The loudest bandwagon that got my attention recently was the bill introduced in New York State, my former home, to outlaw the declawing of cats.  Now, in a perfect world, this would not be necessary, but our world is not perfect.  In my home over the years, our pet cats have literally done hundreds (actually thousands) of dollars in damage to our furniture, drapes, rugs, anything they decided to sink their formidable claws into.  Yes, we have always had multiple cats, so our damage was worse than those with one or two.  We have always had scratching posts. but for all cat owners, we know, they like the things we DON’T buy for them the most.  Yes, of course they help, especially if you spray catnip on them, but they don’t STOP all damage.  There are also those that say, ” cats can be trained, just do it”, I 100 % agree.  All the cats I ever owned have come running to me when I call, save for my beautiful RIP Zelda who lived in her own wild world, where she bowed or catered to noone and our Theresa, named for the town our lovely Splendid Isolation still inhabits, our thought is being she was half feral, and her yowl is like no other of our cats, she has a bobcat gene, and they don’t answer to names.   So, yes I have trained my cats, but stretching and sharpening their claws is instinct, which you can not remove.  

       We have owned three declawed cats, two of my husbands, who were happy and healthy  as much as any clawed cat, they lived inside. Our Lucy who we were blessed with for 15 years, was declawed and even though we had planned to keep her a house cat, she would have none of that.  She ruled the neighborhood with her declawed front paws, no dog or other cat dared enter her turf, she fought off foxes and ate rabbits whole, she lived a glorious happy healthy life as a declawed cat.  I would not recommend declawing most cats that go outside though, as they are not Lucy.  My point is they might have had sore paws for, it seemed one day with Lucy, but they suffered no other malady or pain or problems. Declawing is most certainly not the evil deed these bandwagon junkies try to paint it. 

       This is extremely important to me and should be to all, as it is only reasonable to realize that many people have generous hearts and would love to rescue a shelter pet and save it from euthanasia, but they cannot afford to replace furniture or other valuables, they don’t want to let the cat outside where so many dangers lurk, and contrary to these bandwagon jumpers, even the most docile cat can turn into a slippery cagey beast when you attempt to cut their claws.  

       These bandwagoners list all these alternatives: cut their claws, get scratching posts, let the cat outside, or simply don’t get a cat.  One even was so naïve (or stupid, I’m still trying to decide) as to say that “If declawing is outlawed, people will not get as many cats, breeders will stop breeding them, and there will be less going to shelters”.  After I stopped ripping out my hair, I posted back to her (this was on Instagram) “My dear, number one: breeders are the most greedy heartless creatures on earth, they breed for money, they don’t care about the animals, they will never do anything that would actually HELP, number two, most cats in shelters come from people not spaying and neutering their pets” (a subject for another post). We learned much about breeders after our Zelda suffered and died at two due to breeding practices she was an innocent victim of, which led to my crusade against breeders. 

        What the supporters of this bill do not realize, is the reactions of their actions.  If people lose the option to declaw a cat to make it an easier fit into their household, there will be less adoptions, more kittens and cats put to sleep, or gassed, simply because there are millions in shelters and not enough homes for them now, this bill will make it even harder for some people to want to add a cat to their home.

         The anger and hate that was hurled at me via this thread on Instagram when I tried to reasonably state the reality of this bill to people who just want to wave their ” look at me doing something that will help animals” flag and will stop at nothing to silence those that point out the REAL truth of what this bill would do, was astounding.  I don’t respond to attacks well, so I gave it back to them, but it did no good as some people refuse to take the “self” out of what they think is selfless.  My way to help is to use social media, where if a few agree with me, they will bring in a few more to my side, those few will bring in a few more,  etc. etc. etc.  I have protested for years on foot, in the fray, now it is more this media where my crusades are fought, though I will never pass up a protest dear enough to me if I can get to it. 

         The second  animal bandwagon is the outlawing of tethering your dog, same blind self centered look at mes ride this one, and outcome is the same: most people work, they don’t have time to walk a dog as much as it should be, especially the large or active breeds. If they cannot tie their dog out in the yard, of course in comfort, with shade shelter and water for part of the day,  something we did, something that has been done for generations, they will just chose to not rescue a dog. Another life lost due to false good done by false people. 


         The third noisy bandwagon, that I noticed quickly disappeared when it was found out that one was only started due to of course, money and greed,  was the protest against horse pulled carriages, this particular stunt was in New York City.   Horses are meant to run, to pull, to carry, again, with reason and good care.  A well treated  carriage horse is not an abused animal.  Most of them also provide a way for people to feed and house their families, so most of them are cared for acceptably, and there are laws to protect them.  This protest was started when a real estate developer wanted the land that the stables were housed on, it was found out that if this law passed, most of the horses would be sold to slaughterhouses as there would be nowhere for them to go.  Thankfully, when it was discovered that greed led that false cause, it went away.  The people that jumped with glee on the bandwagon, again, did no research, or just didn’t care, that the horses would be slaughtered if that law went through, and people would lose their source of income.  Again, the noise and glitz of the bandwagon was all they heard and could see.


       In all these cases, no real good would or will be done by these laws passing, only animals and people will suffer. Those who have the love to rescue an animal but are not allowed options to bring them comfortably into their home will miss out on the happiness a pet can bring, and more animals in the now far far too overcrowded shelters, will have their life ended before it ever really began.  Let the circus of these bandwagons pass by, ignore them and let your silence make them fade away.  Know your cause, and make it a real one. 


Copyrighted 2018 © Thoughts From Outside the Box  Shelley Ann Klukiewicz All Rights Reserved.

Images: pastandpresent.com  tropicalcyclecross.com  gypsysisters.com 


Creative Determination: A Pathway To Idols

       We all have our idols, those we look up to, admire and sometimes emulate.  Many times they act as our guidance, our support,  or in some way shine the flashlight that illuminates our dark and unseen path. My idols come from all walks of life, some as close as to be within my own family, some are of the rich, famous and usually unapproachable. Many of my idols are musicians.   They speak through their lyrics and this is how we get to know them, to connect and share beliefs and experiences.   This post is about some of my idols, how I got to meet them and what I took from those amazing encounters.

      My lifelong concertgoing started when I was 14, Elton John at the incomparable Syracuse War Memorial, a place where my young musical memories started and to this day, a place that holds a special room in my heart. This small icon made of stone, glass and tile would set me on my path of finding solace and strength from the unparalleled experience of connecting live with a musician that through their words spoke to my spirit and soul. That first show of watching Mr. John strut out in his signature big glasses and long robe, which was his attire in his early career, opened a door for me of  fun, excitement and adventure, adding priceless memories to my life.  I became hooked on this “drug” then and at 62 have not given it up, and never will, it is an innate part of who I am. Over the years, my girlfriend and I, sometimes just her and I, sometimes with others in tow, would see a multitude of famous musicians, all in their prime, all well known and at the top of the charts.  My partial list as I recall, some I know are left out, forgive me: Elton John, Alice Cooper, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, Ten Years After, Badfinger, Rod Stewart and The Small Faces, J. Geils Band (numerous times)  Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes, Uriah Heep, Grateful Dead, Bad Company, Sonny and Cher ( this one my Dad working as police security, got us stage side) I know I am missing some, those were just at the War Memorial where it all started, many more were to come.

      I like most people, never thought much about meeting any of my idols, but in 2001, the first chance came to me.  I had entered a contest online on ” Why I would like to meet Bad Company. ” Contestants were asked to write out why and what it would mean to them, lo and behold, I won!  The show was to be  in Chicago at the Tweeter Center, a wonderful place and a city that had special memories as my husband and I had taken our honeymoon there.   At the time, I was very sick with a flu, even had missed some days of work at my new job.  This was very unusual for me, but I had laryngitis and was an office manager, how do you run an office if you can’t talk?  I was so ill my crazy mind even wondered if I could make it.  I then thought, “Are you daft, this is Paul Rodgers!” I gathered my strength, we took the kids to their Grandparents Klukiewicz, and off we drove to our adventure.  After the concert, we were taken to the backstage meeting room with Dawn, the woman who had put on the contest, along with a small group of others.  I was extremely, nervous, I saw Dave ” Bucket” Caldwell, who we met later, then in walked Simon Kirke. I knew others would jump in front of me and take up his time if I did not act fast so I quickly walked up to him and introduced myself, my husband not far behind. We talked for about 20 minutes, he was very kind and humble.  We then asked where Paul Rodgers was, he said Paul was meeting very few people but that he would find him for us as we had driven 11 hours.  I told him as fans, that was nothing but he was quite impressed by it.   He tracked down Paul, came and waved us to follow him, and in we walked to this tiny back room to see Paul Rodgers himself.  I was quite starstruck, barely able to speak, but as the time went on, I did manage to talk and got to hug Paul twice, which he enjoyed so much he wrote me a special autograph about it!  He was extremely warm and kind to my husband and I, nothing pretentious or phony about him, a true legend.  He listened to us patiently as we excitedly told him we have been fans since Free. I proudly told him Free is and always will be my favorite band. We even  found out later, he took my husbands advice when he told him he had been a DJ in college and that in his opinion, Paul should hand out his ” Now and Live” cd at concerts as it is such dynamite.  We read in later weeks he was doing just that! We had taken a picture with Simon and Dawn, but were so starstruck that we forgot to take one with Paul Rodgers, but we did get great conversation and wonderful autographs.  After we left Paul, we hung out with Simon for about an hour longer just chatting and enjoying the moments. Both of these men were true gentleman and humble despite their worldwide fame.




    My next Rock and Roll Fantasy came in 2009, when as a fan of Extreme, I learned they were appearing on VH1’s, That Metal Show, with Eddie Trunk, filming in New York City.  Again, it involved sending in a request to be in the audience and meet the guys afterwards.  They asked for pictures, I suppose to make sure we were cool and hip enough looking. I sent my daughters and I in as we were going to go. We were accepted but due to school, she was unable to go, my husband took her place.  What fun that was!  We saw a couple good shots of us that are in the show when it aired, we were famous!  I even got Nuno to wave at me from the stage.  I was on cloud nine.  It was Valentine’s day so I had bought some PETA chocolate candy to give to Nuno.  After the show there was a line, which again, I had to really push my way in as there is only so much time allotted, and other fans will if you don’t.  At these events you need to claim your spot quick,  I had to grab my husband by the collar and pull him next to me in line which was quite funny to onlookers. When my turn came, again, I was quite speechless.  I told Nuno what an honor it was to meet him, he took a great picture with me, and thanked me very much for the candy.  He also signed my favorite CD of his, LOVE, in the exact spot I asked him to.  I am a bit of a control freak, it HAD to be written a certain way as I knew I was going to frame it!  We met Eddie Trunk and Jim his cohost who were also great down to earth people.  We still have our That Metal Show tee shirts as another momento. 





     The next pathway again, led to Extreme.  I am a huge fan, Nuno is to me THE best guitarist on the planet, as well as a great singer and songwriter.  They are one of the best live bands I have ever seen, pure raw energy and talent.  They were going to film a live DVD in Boston of their concert at the wonderful House of Blues, so of course we said, ” Let’s Go !”  The show was amazing, they also had a show the night before at Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire that we attended, and met them afterwards in the parking lot.  I was able to talk with Gary and Nuno, both so humble kind, and Nuno is quite funny, in a sarcastic way.  The DVD show was a total blast. Again, we managed to get on film for a few seconds being right up in front.   My blond curly hair at that time can be seen bopping around, it was SUCH fun.  I still have a black towel Nuno tossed into the audience, its around my neck in photos, a real-time concert memory!




     That year, 2009, was amazing in that we met Extreme, during the summer, again at Hampton Beach Casino, a great venue for concerts, we saw Paul Rodgers solo show where my son and I got to meet the fantastic Lynn Sorenson, Paul’s bassist at the time.  I had called to him as he walked by, he came over and kindly took a picture with my son and I, too bad my husband had the flash off, but it is still a good picture and great memory.


      Later that year I met the man that has been my idol for decades, Jackson Browne.  Now this one took some doing but me being the never say never creative thinker that I am, made it happen.  We had tickets to his show in downstate New York, I had seen Jackson numerous times, I lose track of what number this was.  I kept up with his page and saw that it was also a political fundraiser for a local politician in that area running for Senate.  It mentioned that there was a meet and greet after the show, the cost was quite high.  My wheels got turning.  I called the number from his page listed for information and talked to the campaign manager.  I expressed what a fan I was, that we already had tickets, and that we would be willing to pay extra to be included in the meet and greet.  It was a tough sell as we have a budget and I could only offer him what was within it, my angle to him was, “This was a fundraiser yes, you might not be getting the big bucks the meet and greet cost those that got it from the get go, but you will be getting a decent donation and isn’t that what this is all about?” He couldn’t argue with my logic, and we were in!

After the show, we spent almost two hours with Jackson as it was that long and you could stay as long as you want.  I spoke to him about his music, politics, how I admire him to the core, how his music has spoken to me in so many ways, for so many years.  I do believe he is the best lyricist of modern music, bar none. He truly has an aura ahout him you can feel.   He was like my “Jesus”, he has this ethereal calm and other worldly peace that you just feel soothed in the presence of.  We walked out with him and a few of his staff plus a couple other fans, it was absolutely a dream.  Later that night, I had not slept, was dehydrated, still nervous and could not believe I had met him, I got home took two Aleves (which you should not do) along with my sleeping pill.  Needless to say, I woke up heart racing feeling faint, we called 911, I spent a few hours in the hospital.  I tell it as almost being  “Death by Jackson”, though not that dire, it was a bad reaction to the above actions.  A true night I will never forget, as they all were.


     I continue to go to concerts, will for the rest of my life as long as I am able, as to me it is like nothing else.  The feeling of sharing music you love, with the artists you admire, and others who feel the same, is one big euphoric event that once you experience it, you want to do it again and again.  It is uplifting and has always brought me great joy.   Our idols are just people like you and me, but they have talents that bring us together, give us memories to last a lifetime.  It takes attention to detail, perseverance, creative thinking and just the right touch of pushiness to reach these many times unobtainable people, but it can be done.  Create some determination, your idols are waiting.

These two poems came to me not long after our lovely night at Extremes DVD filming.  It was such a phenomenal time, my brain was working overtime.  Though I have been to countless concerts, I was never a “groupie”, but I understand the mindset of where true groupies come from.  The first one was inspired by Gary and Nuno, told from a groupies point of view.   The second one comes from my great attraction to any wonderful voice, it was inspired by Nuno’s marvelous soothing yet seductive croon.  I phrase and put my words together in ways that hopefully help the reader flow through the poem  with the correct pauses I want.   It just comes to me that way, and I write it.  I was never formally taught, its just natural. Enjoy. 

Heaven On Four Wheels

Let us in

your den of sin

including him.

My, My,

with that addition

don’t even try

to erase

my ear to ear


No need to look farther

No need to wish harder.

You take one side

I the other

no preference, though

I may prefer the left

as is closer to the heart

of the man

the god

the ethereal Angel?

Maybe best to combine

the former and the latter

leave the middle out

as is the one that seems

to cause the most trouble, sometimes.

Lest not forget

our circle maker

our nightdream chaser

our sunshine keeper,

Two a couple

three a crowd

four a wall.

No one enters

noone leaves

Heaven on four wheels?

You’ve got yourself

a deal.

Sex Through a Microphone

Pied Piper, work your magic

the mic set low

softly start

your grand crescendo.

Paint with your musical art

Seduce with your musical passion

Leave me breathless

Leave me spent

Leave me touched

by sex through a microphone.



Helpless in its onslaught

I close my eyes,

bring up the image

all eyes and lips

Vulnerable yet erotic?

Strong yet delicate?

All at the same time.

Quite the package…fret not withstanding

How sweet.

What just happened

was somewhat sudden

The notes were sweet

The voice like velvet

I touched the tuner

and once again became

A victim of your sensuality

and your ability to perform

Sex through a microphone.

With quickened pulse

I took my stance

Parted lips, familiar touch

I braced myself

for sex through a microphone

My knees are weak

My thoughts are scrambled

Can I speak, not likely

I just had

Sex through a microphone

All images and writings property of Shelley Ann Klukiewicz Copyright (C) 2018 Thoughts from Outside the Box. All rights reserved.




Adversity: Does it Strengthen or Destroy?


           Adversity, a word with a meaning I and mine understand all too well.   This post will explore my thoughts and feelings on how it affects the lives it touches, how it has affected mine and those I love, and what I feel it has brought to us, and taken away.  This post is also not a scorecard if you will, of who has endured more, overcome more, or whose hurdles were higher to jump.   First line Adversity Warriors face serious obstacles: illness, high end stress occurrences, deep felt family struggles, personal demons and daily fights for survival in many forms.   Second line Warriors face minor daily stresses, small family quarrels, passing work problems, low end stress events.  We all know which level we stand on, though not all will admit it.  

          My adversity started pretty much out of the womb, born into what would become a smorgasbord of just about every family struggle invented.  We are all tossed into the ring of life to land in a certain spot, be it by God, the Universe, whatever entity we each chose to believe has flung us there, we are there, nonetheless. through no fault or doing of our own.  

         Through my life I endured and fought through, as did my siblings and half-siblings, though all to different degrees: many family dysfunctions.  Alcoholism, domestic violence, neglect in many forms.  I do not blame my parents totally, as they were, as we were, a part of what I call ” the victim upon victim syndrome”.  Rather self explanatory, but for the layman, I simply mean, many are victims of what came before them, and they in turn place it upon those in their care, and so forth and so on.   Victims of abuse, neglect, hurtful actions and habits, often unknowingly foster and act out on those same impulses that they so distained when they were the recipients.   It takes a very strong individual to completely stop this “circle of victims”, I myself will not claim to be that person, as in some ways I am, but in many I am not.   So, for my first look at adversity, no blame is placed, it just was.  A place my soul landed, a place I was meant to be, my place, the beginning of my journey.


          My life as it unfolded had bright spots, and dark clouds, as most of us do, some more than others.   I fought to keep depression at bay, always more prone to anxiety and worry, depression was more of an easy fix for me, the other two were not.   Though depression would visit me in later years, requiring more of a frontal attack to chase it back behind its walls.  For those of us that fight these parts of our personalities, sometimes it seems normal, they are so ingrained in our beings, ourselves.  To those that are lucky enough to never see the dark faces of those traits, I sometimes wish they could step inside one who does, and see the true face of real adversity, and understand.  I believe the world would improve immensely,  if this occasional  “changing of the guard” could take place.

        I have noticed as the years have gone by, every adversity shapes you.  Some may strengthen a part of you, your resolve, your stubbornness, give you new insights into yourself and how to fight against lifes curveballs.  But there also are those that actually are only there to weaken, to cripple, to make you stumble and ultimately fall.   You only notice the latter when you have faced many of the former.  Most of us will face some adversity, many will face it all their lives. I do believe there are some that though they live many years, face very little.  I do not know why it sometimes seems lopsided.  No person I see living an easier life is no better than a person living a hard one. I have questioned God on this many times,  maybe that’s why he throws so much of it at me.  I will say, much of mine has ended up with the sun shining, the hurdle cleared, and I give thanks for that.  But it did not come easily, and never came without a price, heartache, pain, days that I just wanted to end, and nightmares I just wanted to wake from, the costs were usually high.

         In conclusion, I see adversity as both a friend and a foe.  A friend: one who makes your arm stronger by throwing you many fast balls, building muscle and style.   A foe: one who tries to trip you with ice under your feet, and if you happen to slip, laughs and certainly does not reach to help you up.  We have to decide what persona each adversity we face will be.   Sometimes the choice is not ours, and all we can do is slip on our Warriors T Shirt, and let the game begin realizing:  Adversity always both builds and destroys, no matter how you play, in the end its always a tie.

A poem about Obstacles from many years back.

My Unexpected Obstacle

You were a warm blast

Of swirling air

The force of which

Brought me to my knees

Somewhat to my delight.

For what is life without



People whose only purpose

Is to fall across your path

and insist that you armwrestle them

For your dreams

your desires

Your sanity?

I always did my best

to hold my own

Against my distinct and may I say

some quite lofty, obstacles to happiness.

As each one appeared

Descending sometimes slowly

Blocking my way

Sometimes subtle as a freight train

With as much steam and noise as such.

I sometimes had no problem

pushing them aside

I sometimes barely made it past

Feeling their cold touch

Losing grip upon my ankles.

The strongest one of all

Of course,

Came not with a cold grip or stare

But with a warming smile

a soothing voice

As velvet feels to skin.

I was caught off guard

I felt no need or urge to fight

The dreams and images

so long sought after

but never found

So I lay where I have fallen

Defeated at last I fear

Not by the cold and numbing Wind

But by the melting warmth of the sun.


Copyright 2018 (C) Shelley Ann Klukiewicz  All Rights Reserved

Images : Quotesgram.com  lightforcenet.com

Attraction To Angst: Life In The Intense Lane


         Angst is an emotion some may wish to avoid, after all:  “A feeling of anxiety or dread about the world in general or having  a specific cause”, doesn’t sound like too much fun.   For me though, I have always been fascinated by it, drawn to those who exhibit it, I suppose because it is a shared feeling?   Whether its a real life scenario, or on the movie or television screen, in literary form or expressed in art, it acts as a magnet for me. Experiencing angst is proof you have strong feelings and deep emotions, intense enough to unfortunately cause you pain, but also strong enough for you to appreciate all things at the highest level.

        Angst can come down many different avenues, from a personal slight, a hurt or a worry you have experienced, sometimes surfacing in the struggle during a family crisis.  Lest we not forget, sometimes the worst, which is the searing almost physical pain caused by a loved one facing their own demons.

       We all handle this fiercely strong emotion differently, depending on our make-up and our philosophies.  Some face it head on, searching for a solution to the root cause at every turn, in every dark corner.  Some find ways to live with it on a day to day basis.   Many times it does pass, as the seed that gave it life goes through its cycle, then withers.  Other times it becomes a permanent part of our psyche, some days almost nonexistent, other days raging at our door like an apocalyptic storm. 

       We seem to be able to handle this emotion the more we have been exposed to it, like a virus to the soul that we build antibodies to.  I base this on my own experience with it.   I seemed to walk hand in hand with it often as I grew up, and as years passed, it never did fully loosen the grip. Working with the cards life had dealt myself and my loved ones, on that occasion when I drew the angst card, surprise was not my reaction, and I played it, the best I had over the years, learned how.

      I feel that those of us that are familiar with this emotion, deserve much credit.  It is a difficult one to process, to work through, and if we are lucky, to banish.   It is strange how though it causes great emotional upheaval at times, when we see it in others, we are drawn to them.  Strength in numbers I suppose.  My favorite writer and poet is Edgar Allan Poe, my favorite films and characters are torn and troubled stories and the people who inhabit them.  My favorite art pieces are strong abstract images that wring out of me, excitement, joy, sadness and grief.  Salvador Dali of course is one of my favorites.

      For me, I have found a way to incorporate the dose of angst that it is my destiny to have, into using its grip on strong emotions, to my advantage.  The intensity it has brought to my life, makes colors brighter, music more beautiful, the world more interesting, and my part in it more meaningful.   It has made me listen more closely, and hear much better. To use my beloved metaphors again, I have never been a pale pastel girl, or a jeans and tee shirt fashionista in any walk of life. Bright bold intense colors and out of the ordinary funky garments are more my style of life and living, so I guess it’s just natural that when a bright bold intensity such as angst decides to toss me a few emotional curveballs, I put on my catchers mitt and say, ” Let’s Play”.  

Let all of us Angst Players give ourselves credit for playing so well on such a tough field.

My first image is one of my favorite paintings.

My second image is one of my favorite fictional embodiments of angst, though I have many. 

Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller Sons Of Anarchy  FX Original Series

Copyright 2018 SA Klukiewicz

Image Copyright Pinterest.com  Sons Of Anarchy FX Original Series

“The Scream” Edward Munch

When Rose Colored Glasses Don’t Fit


The donning of rose colored glasses, something that in some ways can make life simpler, but who said simpler is better? I myself never was even close to a pair. My life was never easy, I saw everything at face value. I never sweated the small stuff as was unfortunately too busy with the big stuff. If you have struggled through anything of significance, the rose tint of those glasses never come to rest on your cheeks.

I can always spot the ones who own a pair very easily. They have an unnatural cheerfulness. Small everyday occurences seem like mountains to climb in their world, and they act like only they faced that task. They usually dont get involved in any important causes because then they would have to face the harshness of the real world. They like to stay in a bubble of their own creation, often making much of their life seem like its simply perfect, all is right with the world, it couldnt be better. To those of us who prefer reality, as cruel and barren as it sometimes is, those simplistic views seem childish and silly. I also have found that those that wear their rose colored glasses so well, despite their frequent smiles, are quite shallow and unkind. They lack empathy and compassion. They turn their backs on all of us that have faced harsh realities because they have not. They dont want to reach out or understand, as it may shatter the safe little world they have created. Rather than remove their glasses to help a cause, right a wrong, change an injustice, they hold them tightly to their head, refusing to let the real world in. The rosy hue to me, makes them blind.

Life is full of challenges, worries, heartaches, as well as if your lucky, joys and happy times. To see all if it, the bad as well as the good, and lend a hand to those who stumble, or a shoulder to those who weep, you need to have clear vision. Rose colored glasses strip away the humanity of those who wear them. They distort what the world truly is just as they muddy its real colors with their own. I know those that wear them wish this to be so. They dont want the hardship of others to change the narrative of what they have made their life. They wear their fine pink glasses proudly, and have no desire to remove them. Me, I’m glad mine never fit.