Apr 28 2014

Tracey Jackson



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Change, Emotions, Letting Go, Longing




Many years ago I had a friend named George. George had been through a lot of therapy. It was before most people had. He was full of ideas and theories. And despite his own life being a bit askew he always had a cure for yours.

Sometimes you just had to let it go in one ear and out the other. And there were other times where George was the conveyor of some true wisdom.

I remember once when I was stuck again in yet another dead end relationship. I was unhappy yet trying to justify the other person’s poor and neglectful behavior. George looked at me and said

“When are you going to stop settling for golden crumbs.”

I had never heard this phrase before. Golden crumbs. He continued. Now with more enthusiasm and a deeper baritone, as I was actually listening to him for a change. “People toss a few golden crumbs your way and you go about trying to make a meal of it. You will never get what you want from them. Yet you settle for these little nuggets, and turn them into gold. It will never work, Tracey. You deserve more than crumbs. But until you believe that crumbs you will take golden crumbs.”

I have gone back to this time and time again over the years. While I listened to George in that moment; It took me many years of my own therapy until I was able to take what he said to heart and implement it in my life.

But despite all these years there are times when I still do it. There are relationships in my life I am so desperate to work out the way I want, I take every crumb tossed my way as a sign that the person might be different than who they are. And with just a little patience and more understanding and accommodation from me those crumbs will suddenly turn into a giant cake.

Well, you know what – it just doesn’t happen.

It only happens if the person doling out the crumbs decides to go to the cooking school of life and learn how to cook authenticity and empathy.

There are people capable of giving others a full course meal and for whatever reason they just don’t feel you worthy of their emotional culinary skills.

Either way, you only have two choices. You come to the conclusion that you are worthy of more than crumbs and you take yourself elsewhere for nourishment. Or you accept the crumb tosser’s limitations, and understand you are never going to get from them what you need and merit.

But don’t sit around expecting it either.

It’s always in the expectation that the pain lives.

The two word text our mind can turn in to a sonnet.

The lie we know is a lie but we pretend is the truth.

A few moments of someone’s time that we hold up as a sign of their devotion. And end up making excuses as to why they are so busy they cannot possibly have time for anything, us included.

And today with all the technology golden crumbs are easier to manufacture. Phone calls don’t have to be made. Language, one of the great transmitters of feelings and intent has been reduced to letters.

A belly laugh is now LOL. A heart felt thank you. THX. CUSoon.

I love you. Xoxoxoox. And then those stupid mojis. Smiley faces have stepped in to express our feelings for us and make them all generic.

The point is, how many of us undervalue our worth and accept golden crumbs?  How many of us want something so badly we are able to let our imaginations spin those crumbs into cake?  How many of us have lived on golden crumbs from all sorts of people in our lives and wondered what is wrong with us? And why are we always hungry for more?

So take a look at your life and the people in it.  See if you can identify the crumb tossers.  If they are important to you, then you need to find a way to deal with them and lower your expectations.  If they are not vital to you then you don’t need them around.

Man cannot live on crumbs.

Souls cannot be nourished by crumbs.

Even mounds of crumbs eventually crumble. That is what they are meant to do.

Tracey Jackson

Tracey Jackson is a screenwriter and blogger at traceyjacksononline.com. Her book Gratitude and Trust is now available.

  • michele

    wow, I love this. I am blessed with cake, lots and lots of cake. There was a time I thought myself unworthy of anything more than crumbs. I settled for whatever was tossed my way, like a pigeon would in the park. But then my Larry came into my life and showed me that I had value too, so I tossed those crumbs aside a long time ago. Whether it is through “real voices” or text, the I love you’s I send and those I receive along with those XXOO’s are heartfelt and genuine and for this I am grateful. The relationship I have with one of my closest and dearest friends is rarely with spoken word, usually text or email, yet the depth of our friendship is honest and true.. no crumbs there, it’s a seven layer cake!! XXOO

    • You always see the glass as half full. And the cake plate as overflowing. One of your great charms…. among many.

  • Zachary Goodson

    Ah yes crumbs. I am all too familiar with them. I’ll take a gift from someone, lets say a watch, and turn it into a prized possession. Do I buy myself that watch? No way. I’m not worthy of that my head tells me. But if someone gives me something? I will baby it like it’s gold. Treat it like I worked my whole life to get it. The work for me today is giving myself these gifts. I’m worth it. Thanks for this article Tracey!

    • You are so worth it Zachary. And if you ever doubt it you log on here and a chorus will remind you….

  • Wow….just, wow! Goes hand in hand with my feeling of late that I’ve spent my whole life trying to live someone else’s. (Some VERY good people and influences)
    I find myself validating what I accept from them because I tell myself..”My father would keep hanging in there.” Or “What would my best friend do?” I think finally living my OWN life means not letting others tell me what to do re: crumb tossers… (Except You, of course! Lol ) Thanks

    • I so get that Jim. I really do. We do have to look inward and do what we know is right. Or if we don’t know.. something inside us does.

  • Michael Gullickson

    “Souls cannot be nourished by crumbs.” Wow. We learn to accept crumbs because that’s all we think we deserve, after all who are we to think the cake was baked for us . Us? Are we baking cakes for anyone? I like to think I do. I like to think that the woman I love turns the oven on each morning, mixes the exact ingredients I need for the taste I love (Honey Spice.. sounds almost Freudian, Huh?) Then it’s my turn to show her what I’ve been cooking..

    • Nice point. We have to be very aware of the cakes we are baking as well. Nice thought. You are very thoughtful.

  • Cupcakes! Indeed!

  • Sharon Markwell

    When I had people that had something to say about anything and everything I do, one tends to grow up believing that making decisions for themselves don’t matter. Or that somehow not capable of making decisions for myself. Or worse, that they’re stupid and only deserving of not just golden crumbs, burnt crumbs. The kind that fall of your toast when left in the little appliance too long. Such was the case with me for the longest time and well into my adult life. Thankfully I’m now living my own life now that my Mom has been gone for almost 7 years. Now I don’t want that to sound cruel, because the day she passed was a day I won’t ever look back on fondly. Also I found myself given one major kick into independence, literally overnight. I was a little scared to say the least even though independence and me being able to make my own decisions for myself was the one thing I dreamed of up until that day. Mind you, I was far from an angel growing up or not even now for that matter. I can be a handful sometimes, especially if I feel I am being treated unfairly. I know it’s no excuse, but I attribute that to my utter lack of self-esteem and confidence growing up. I was never really allowed to nourish it. When my Mom was alive, and when uncle and cousins came to visit, I would even get asked about how much money I had in my account at the time (yes, you read that correctly). I would say, even from a young age, and as politely as I knew how, that I preferred not to discuss that aspect. My Mom saw that as a sign of disrespect. However I did not feel that way as, even back then, one has a right to keep their own little enigma about themselves. I think it’s what helps to make people, and life in general, more interesting. The final insult was when I heard them in the kitchen talking, laughing, loving and I figured this had blown over (My Mom had slapped me and sent me to my room for disrespecting “cousin Bobby” for not telling him everything he asked.) When I went to the kitchen to try to join in I was treated like a army of rats had just ran into the kitchen. If I was not the one chosen after a job interview or for the solo in church, they ALWAYS gave me a lecture, such as “shoulda, woulda, coulda”, and seemingly always in the most condescending tone of voice possible as if I had no brains for myself. I always say unasked for advice is like junk mail. You might quickly gloss over it once, and then throw it in the trash. A few weeks ago I got a voice mail message on my phone that shocked me. It was from cousin Bobby after a almost 7 year, and ongoing, estrangement. I, very reluctantly, called back. And although it was friendly enough, in our conversation I could tell by his tone that he thought he should be the one calling the shots when we live 800 miles away. The conversation was relatively short as I had to use the bathroom (an excuse) and I told him it was nice talking to him but I think we should just leave it at this for now. I can be as forgiving as the next person when I choose to be not because the person deserves it, but because I deserve the peace of mind that forgiveness can bring. Estranging myself from someone is different. It shows that I did not appreciate his constant ridiculing me and always gossiping about me behind my back. In my rough patches in my life, and sometimes even now, I tended to shy away from all things/people good because I truly felt I did not deserve anything positive. But I have made some fantastic new friends at the Animal Rescue I work for and they’re great. Our higher power chose not to populate the world with robots and there’s a reason for that (no offense to Daft Punk. I think they’re great!) By having the power to choose, and think for ourselves and being able to give the boot to people who bring us down by trying to run things for us is not only what makes us human but is also essential for our self esteem, building our confidence when we grow and learn for ourselves. And self esteem is vital to our well-being. I’m very much a work in progress, but with counselling that Im now in, I think I can get through it and be able to bake the richest, most delicious cake for myself and not settle for just crumbs. And for that I am grateful.

    • None of us are angels Sharon, but we deserve respect and for people to acknowledge our boundaries and to hopefully get love from those close to us. The last one sometimes does not come our way. But often not because of us. This can hurt our self-esteem especially if the injury goes back to childhood. It sounds like you are making strides in your journey. And you deserve a nice big cake and no crumbs.

  • Sharon Markwell

    Excellent blog Tracey. Sending much love to you and Paul.

  • Rosemary Connors

    I just love the crumb analogy – wow, that’s going to stick in my brain for awhile. Brava.

    • Crumbs to have a way of sticking. Or sometimes they get all over our clothes and the floor!

  • Steppie Royes

    Crumbs are also sought out by small creatures like bugs and mice. Settling for the broken up bread would be belittling yourself.

    We should picture ourselves and others like we’re at a wedding where the best of the best of cake is offered, received, relished and remembered. Treating each day like such an occasion would allow us to offer our hearts and expect the same from those in our lives.

    On top of a wedding cake, you find two people.
    The groom isn’t stomping the bride down to a lower level and the bride isn’t pushing the groom off the side of the cake.
    They stand equally on the top layer. In any relationship, each person has to show this equal support.

    Relationships are not a one way street. Responsibility falls on all involved. Those who toss crumbs shouldn’t expect deep relationships. Even pigeons don’t hang around after the bag of crumbs run out. As for those people who offer the best of what they have, well …let them eat cake! Great blog, Tracey!

    • Relationships are a not a one way street, though some people end up on the wrong side of the road.

  • a very thought provoking post, just love the crumbs analogy. Thanks so much