The Good, The Bad, and the Perception

My Top 10 reasons I like being a single mom

10. I have saved a small fortune in toilet paper.  ??? and, Ewww!  What is up with that?  Is there some kind of study out there that can support this theory of mine that men have some kind of fiber gene that helps them out?  I mean…have you EVER seen a man on one of those Activia commercials?  Ok…enough already, but a noteworthy and strange enough phenomenon to keep on the top ten list (Honorable mention – the sinks and toilets stay much cleaner!).

9. No more waiting around on someone else’s agenda…Just like Dr. Seuss put it best in Oh the places you’ll go…the waiting place is the most dreaded places of them all.  Now instead of waiting, we are actually LIVING.   Also strangely enough, and positively, he admitted himself that he is a more present father than when we were married.

8. I know where my tools are!!!  AND I don’t have to be afraid to use them and offend or embarrass anyone. 

7. I hear that I am pretty more now than I ever did when I was married.

6. Listening to music I like.  However, I am starting to lose this battle now with my 8 year old. 

5. I don’t waste hours of my life watching TV – just to sit with someone to feel like I am close to them (Now I waste hours of my life blogging and feeling close to a few hundred someones).  Although, I do admit watching some kid shows just to snuggle and provoke interesting conversations with my girls.  My oldest recently discovered Touched by an Angel and Little House on the Prairie reruns.  They have been great chat starters and is such a refreshing step above Dora the annoya. 

4. I get ME time.  This was very hard initally, especially after not really having it before.  Now that I am over the guilt and getting the hang of it, the hardest part is figuring out HOW to spend it…oh so many ways…

3. I can be my goofy, corny self – and make up silly jokes and parodies without getting that “you are so stupid” look.  This also means I can use the dustbuster on my 2 year old without any rolling of the eyes.  On the flip side…I don’t have to listen to random lines of movies I have never seen (because I have not logged in as many pointless hours watching every film known to mankind) and feign laughter or feel stupid for not knowing what the heck the person is talking about.  

2. Rediscovering flirting!

1. The awakening, the clearing of the eyes, the stirring up of the soul.  The realization that the things you want to accomplish most in life are not going to fall out of the sky…you have to make it happen.  And most importantly – happiness is a choice.  (Yes…did you see that?  I crammed like 5 good points all in the number 1 spot).

Of course there are so many negatives to being a single mom.  I don’t want to dwell on it here, but I can highlight a few of the things that hit me hardest.  Number one and most obvious – the foundation of the family rock that has been ripped right out from under my girls’ feet.  My girls will always carry the burden and pain of having to “miss” someone…this is a pain that I knew as a child and prayed my children would never have to experience.  This part sucks the most.   

But there are some odd and minor times that it hits me too, like: Trash day – taking it out and bringing the empty bins back (why does this make me feel lonely?); Putting groceries away; Sitting in church alone and feeling like EVERYONE else in the entire congregation is apparently married;  Eating dinners alone…night after night; Changing lightbulbs way up high; Those times when everyone in the household of 2 kids 2 cats and a dog all need you at the same time; Realizing that no one really cares where you are at any given time (except my girls – which are thee most important thing to me, but admit it – it is a different feeling to know that someone out there cares for you “just because”…not out of genetical linkage); Lonely Sundays when everyone on the globe is having family time. 

Oh, for crying out loud…didn’t I just say I wasn’t going to dwell on it?  Geesh.  But you know…even these things are losing their sting (except the foundation thing).  I also realized how much I did all those things alone anyway when we WERE married.  The truth is, he was gone so much – all he did by leaving was to officially cut the cord.  He was already gone months if not years prior to him physically leaving.  And honestly, in many ways these things are actually easier being single.  Now I have no expectations, or let downs – I know that no one else is going to help and that I have to do it.   Too many times he was physically here, yet mentally or emotionally 1000 miles away.  Being lonely right beside someone is WAY worse than being lonely because you are actually alone.  Myheart aches for all the lonely wives out there.  My only suggestion to you is – don’t isolate yourself.  

Even as I look out at the sea of happily married couples, the truth it, nothing is at it seems.  We all have our issues.  There is no perfect marriage and being single is not all it’s cracked up to be…we are not perfect people.  Though I would have preferred hanging in there, fighting the good fight and being temporarily miserable with my mate now and then, I didn’t get to make that choice.  So, I can either focus on what I don’t have, or realize that this is a new beginning.  I don’t have to make exuses for him anymore.  I am released.  Though I have been known to live vicariously through some of my married friends, the funny part is…they are doing the same to me! 

So where ever you are…IT’S ALL GOOD!!!  It’s YOUR choice to be happy!  The grass is not greener anywhere else…and if it really is, it’s just more to mow.  So just be thankful and bloom where you are planted.

The Crazy Truth

Mental illness is a strange, sad and elusive phenomenon.  Thankfully we have come a long way from the days of just locking people up in chains and to chairs and beds.  I visited Colonial Williamsburg this past year and stumbled upon a “museum” of old mental institution devices and equipment.  It was horrifying.  Making matters even worse was the fact that I was there with my mom, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was very young.  It was a surreal moment.  And a bit (side step, side step)…awkward!

She has battled with the disease since she was probably in her teens in all reality.  True to a classic text book case, major symptoms didn’t start showing up until her 20’s, coincidentally shortly after she married dad.  Dad spent the next 14 years in denial about it all and trying to “fix” the situation.  He is such a sweet, caring and loyal soul and just wanted everything to be right.  To this day, sadly, he still carries around some seriously misplaced guilt and sense of failure that he didn’t succeed. 

After multiple hospitalizations, a few doses of shock treatment therapy (now there is an archaic torture method) suicide attempts and eventually mom just flat out leaving, he was left with no choice but to let go.  I hate even going into it.  But I have to face some of it again.  When her medication is right, she is fairly normal (wickedly funny and smart) and she can go for months and even years episode free…almost 5 years for her now.  But she’s going back to the hospital and she is in a different state with new doctors.  They need to know some of her medical history, and I am just the lucky girl that gets to do it.

So I am wrestling with ghosts of the past that I would rather leave behind.  That causes sleep to evade me…so why not blog it out.  This blog is slowly becoming my new BFF.  And honestly with as many readers as I am gaining at this point, I am sure at least one person may relate or benefit from it.  I’m at a place in life where I’d like to use some of the negative experiences in my life as positives by reaching out to other folks in the same boat – or at the very least, raising some awareness of this sensitive and almost taboo like condition.

I remember not telling anyone what was going on because I was embarrassed and certain I or mom would be made fun of.  I was afraid of rejection because things seemed weird…which made ME weird – or worse – maybe like her (Ironically, however, now that I am older I realize that I am both weird AND a little like her, which isn’t completely terrible on either accounts).  I was so confused, yet so desperate for some kind of help or attention that I ended up getting in trouble sometimes.  I dreamed of running away or escaping all the time.  While most kids were being grounded from TV, I would get grounded from electricity, “Because the aliens were in the walls and could enter through the outlets”. 

Once she went to my closet thinking it was hers.  She got so angry that the clothes didn’t fit her that she ripped every single item to complete shreds and threw them at me.  Granted, we were struggling financially, so she didn’t have a ton to shred, but that made it even harder because those were my favorite special dresses.  No one quite understood why I didn’t wear dresses for years after that.  To this day, in fact, wearing a dress is really big deal to me.  Some of my closest friends have rarely seen me in one.  I think I am going to make a point to by some dresses some day. 

Those are just some examples of the milder things that happened to give people insight to what other families might be dealing with.  I’m not going to get into some of the more graphic/gore things I have been through.  I’m not ready for that yet.  That is between me and her doctors for now.  But I can say that during those times she would become someone else.  Her eyes were like black holes…there was no trace of my mom.  I can totally understand where horror flicks get some of their material.  It did honestly feel like a battle between good and evil at times…as if she were possessed or something.         

Of all the diseases, this is the one that gets swept under the carpet or placed in the secret files of things we don’t talk about.  I mean, there are not a lot of prayer chains going out for “crazy people” or their family.  This kind of news usually spreads by more of a gossip trail where the typical conversation goes something like this, “Oh, did you hear about so and so…my, my, what a sad pity.  SO! Did you hear there is a sale at Kroger’s this week”?  It’s usually not an honest, heartfelt or constructive kind of thing.

Victims and their families can feel very alone.  Seriously…when is the last time you heard of some 5k race or awareness event for “Mental Illness”?  See?  All kinds of comical possible names for these events are coming to my mind too (The 2009 Bike for Nuts or the Crazy Run – and the route would be all tangled up and confusing) Yes…you HAVE to have a sense of humor about it, or you will go crazy yourself.  It isn’t well publicized because the faces of this illness are not usually really cute, or pretty and tug at your heartstrings, so it is hard for people to get behind it.  There are no meal deliveries, gift giving collections, or any of the things that families might receive from the community when someone has surgery or a well known “respectable”  illness.

Mental illness is so misunderstood and carries such a negative connotation to it…like it is something to be shameful about.  People with mental illness feel weak, and like it is somehow their fault and that they should just be able to “will” it away or something.  It’s probably the most alienating, scary medical conditions out there because there are so many undefined variables and it is not easily measured.  It’s not like Dr’s can say, “OK…you have this stage or level of the disease and here is what you can expect”.  It can keep changing.  And the treatments keep changing.  It’s all very mysterious, subjective to interpretation and exhausting.

The saddest thing to me is to watch HER struggle with it…she KNOWS she has it.  She WANTS help.  But then she fights so hard against it.  She becomes like a wounded wild animal that needs help, but when you get too close she lashes out and personally attacks you or the doctors trying to help.  Everyone is the enemy because she also has some paranoia, anxiety and other symptoms that come into play. 

Even though there is a proven chemical imbalance, a malfunction in the brain or glands supplying certain needed proteins or whatever, it is still a hard concept to fully comprehend – especially when the person suffering from these conditions can seem so normal one moment but then be hallucinating or become a completely different person the next moment. It is easy to think the person is faking to get attention or using it as an excuse to act out in a completely inappropriate way.  And it doesn’t help the cause when some people actually do fake it.  But there are so many families who are living with the real nightmare.

I have forgotten so much of my childhood.  Huge chunks are just gone.  But some things I can’t forget as much as I try.  It has taken me years to distance myself enough from the situation to analyze it for what it is, remove my personal feelings from it and be able to forgive her – and just let it go.  I also had to face the hard fact that she will never be the kind of mom/mentor/model that I wish I had in my life.  But at least I have her and that is more than some people have.  AND I have a step mom that has done a great job of filling in the gaps and becoming a beautiful mix of guardian angel/friend/mom.  

If you’re reading this, HERE is the take home point…if you or someone you know is going through something like this – be cautious and choosy of whom you confide in, but don’t isolate yourself.  My hope for you is the courage to face it and not be ashamed.  I can’t offer specific advice – I’m not an expert.  I can only speak from my perspective.  And if you have children, ironically one of the best reasons why you SHOULD seek help (the first reason is for you…the second best reason is for your children) is also the main reason people DON’T seek help – because of the fear of losing them.  And that plain sucks.  And the truth is, that may be the best thing for everyone at least temporarily if the situation is severe enough.  But in many cases when approached with honesty and integrity children can remain in the home and everyone benefits from the help being sought out.      

And if you are on the other side of the equation and know of someone or a family going through it – treat them humanely and offer the same kind of help you would anyone else going through a medical condition.  But also know this…don’t take it personally if you are not greeted or thanked properly.  And know that it can be long term chronic issue.  Family members – especially children should be given the chance to talk about it now and then.  While the person suffering from the condition is surrounded by doctors, psychiatrists and therapists, the children left at home often feel alone, confused, angry, and isolated.  We also moved a lot, which made making friends hard and only increased the loneliness. 

Sorry for the long, downer post this time – but I figured you could handle it after the Grover post.  I almost trimmed it down, but I am doing this for me and wanted to be true to myself.  It’s good to get this out though.  Now it’s time to move on, let it go and think about happy things.  Like with anything in life – don’t dwell on the past or even the present trials.  Deal with it, but don’t forget to live, laugh and find the beauty of life all around you.  I promise a funny, light hearted post next time.

Why I should have married Grover

Yes…THEE Grover…Adorable furry blue monster from Sesame Street.  It just hit me recently.  I mean – honestly…he looks GREAT for his age.  He’s gotta be, what…like 50 or something, maybe more?  He’s a world traveler and loves to experience all kinds of cultures.  He loves kids.  He’s smart – he knows ALL his ABC’s and numbers of the day.  He’s not afraid to make a fool of himself because he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  He’s compassionate, empathetic and is a great teacher.  He makes me laugh out loud.  He’s even a super hero, with a big touch of clumsy.  All that fame and he is still the same, humble, down to earth fuzzy little guy. 

Ok…it IS sad that some girls dream of princes, knights in shining armor and such and here I am dreaming of…Grover?!  Yes, I wholeheartedly admit I may have some issues.  Princes are overrated anyway.  But I do have to say that Sesame Street has done a great job of incorporating some seriously funny stuff on there that even adults have to laugh at – skits like Desperate Houseplants.  And they have cool folks on there like Heidi Klum and REM and stuff.   Like…you know you’re kind of a big deal when you get to guest star on “the Street”.  True, dat.   

So, anyways…as I am fantasizing over possible marital bliss with a fictional blue, furry Muppet…in the back of my mind I am thinking maybe I should be looking for some of the same qualities I like about Grover in a real man.  But then I also think that Mr. Clean is an ideal catch – especially after I got my hands on his Magic Eraser, and I am here to tell you…it is mind blowing.  But then he came out with Magic Eraser two – new and improved – and I am thinking…what is THIS?  Mr. Clean on Viagra?  I mean come on!  I haven’t been able to bring myself to use that one yet because it just seems like he’s trying to hard now and it’s a bit of a turn off.  I loved what we HAD…he doesn’t have to go changing and reinventing himself already.   

So…somewhere between one extreme to the other maybe I can find some actual traits that I can hang on to in a real human.  And it’s a good thing, because though I am very happy to see the strides our country is making in racial acceptance, I am not so sure the world is quite ready for interracial relationships between humans and puppet monsters (or creepy fictitious bald guys with a cleaning fetish) just yet. 

How did I get here?  Because nothing is as good as it seems in the beginning.  Marriages fail mainly because the puppy stage of love fades and the reality sets in along with all the flaws and imperfections of this incredibly irresistible person you had to have.  You are stuck with the decision of hanging on and honoring a commitment or giving up.  Giving up has become too easy and acceptable in our society.  When things get too hard or are not how we thought they would be – we wave the white flag and surrender the ship.  It really sucks when kids are on that ship.

But you know…along with that thought, things are not always quite as BAD as they seem either.  Surviving a divorce, getting older, being single mom – they aren’t as terrible or life ending as I once thought they might be.  I think I’ll coin a term here “Emotional Equilibrium”.  Though I am sure it is not a new term or thought, but here is my take on it:  

We’re like pendulums.  During great moments in our lives we swing hard to the right, caught up in emotional bliss.  Over time that bliss wears off and when reality sets in we start heading back towards the middle.  In times of crisis, we swing a hard left, bogged down in the awful details of a situation beyond our control.  Over time we eventually find ourselves recovering and getting beyond the horrific emotional state and again…heading towards the middle of our equilibrium.

The real problem is when we make decisions before the pendulum stops swinging.  Making decisions on an emotional high causes all kinds of problems down the road.  That is how you end up with tons of crumbling marriages, unwanted babies, suicides, abuse, and all those ugly things I don’t want to talk about…all actions and decisions done before we can calm down and come to our senses about the real situation.      

 Wow…this took a really deep turn.  SO!  Why is Grover REALLY the ideal mate?  No, not because he is perfect or that I actually have a thing for skinny, blue, furry guys.   Because he is a loyal, stable and consistent dude.  He would have stuck with me. When our pendulum would take a swing for the left…he would have known what to do.  He would march me over to Cookie monster and we would have cookies and milk (which helps nearly every problem).  We’d chat, have cookies, defuse, and laugh or cry and move on.  And THAT’s why I should have married Grover.

The dress of many colors

first day of school 034

 

The inevitable has come.  School starts back tomorrow.  As much as my soon-to-be 8 year old sometimes drives me crazy…she is still MY girl and I love being around her.  I tried the home school thing for Kindergarten.  I figured that was the time to try it without causing too many repercussions in case it didn’t go well.  I’m glad I did so I wouldn’t have to “wonder” or have any regrets for not trying it.  But her first grade year in public school went so well we are doing it again.  

I am not going to get into the debate of right or wrong school choices because guess what folks…we are all different.  So are our kids.  Home, private or public – I think they can all be right or they can all be wrong.  There are so many variables.  It is the same for working verses stay at home parents.  Every situation has its pros and cons.  Deal with it.  It comes down to what is right for you and your child.  I can only say this because I have been on both sides of both equations.  And the bottom line is you make the decision and then make it right.  If you see red flags…tweak your plan and try something new.  We are in a great country with lots of choices.  Take advantage of that. 

The truth is she is only in public school because I made a deal with God.  I had never done that before…it was more like one of those “Give me a sign” fluke kind of deals.   I was looking for some kind of direction.  I was aimless and unsure and resolved that if she was chosen by the lottery for a particular magnet school then that was my answer.  l had no real expectations because I don’t ever win anything by chance…never…I mean never ever.  So when her name was the FIRST called – I had a little private moment and laugh just between me and God.  Umm, yea – that would be a loud, resounding YES to public school. 10-4 God…got it.  

A few months later my husband took me to PF Chang’s for what I thought was a much needed dinner date a few months after the birth of our child.  But surprise!  It was actually where he decided to tell me that our marriage was over.  Yes…right there in public.  As you can imagine I wasn’t very hungry after that and as tears started streaming down my face he was frustrated so he commanded that I “look normal and try to eat something”.  Wow.  Really?

It took my slow processing brain a few days to fully comprehend the shock.  But the following days, weeks and months I slowly fell apart at the seams and became a sobbing, bumbling, idiot as more details came to light and I found out that a good portion of my marriage was all just a lie.  A marriage ending is bad enough.  Being replaced during a pregnancy and delivery is a whole new level of degradation and rejection that you cannot comprehend unless you have been there. 

So, to say the least homeschooling was the last thing in the world that I could have attempted in that state. It seemed that the magnet school lottery WAS a sign (IF you believe in that kind of thing…if you don’t you are thinking to yourself that it was just a random act of good fortune where numbers, math, and maybe even the string theory could have come into play).  I have thanked God over and over for that answer he gave me so loudly before I had any idea of what was to come. 

The REAL point here is that my big girl is off to school tomorrow.  She is more ready and excited than I am, of course.  We have waited until the last possible minute to get all our supplies, clothes and stuff.  Maybe we were both trying to squeeze the last possible days and hours out of summer.  But tomorrow reality begins.  Well…today.  We met the teacher, dropped off school supplies, stocked her desk and checked the room out.  It was fun and, yes…even exciting.

It was nice to feel at peace.  Though I still struggle with the public school decision it’s not because I’ve had a bad experience…it’s just plain selfishness.  Maybe some fear mixed in there too.  What she sees, hears, learns,  does, who she talks too…it is all beyond my control for 7 hours a day.  The bad part of that is obvious…we have all heard the horror stories.  But how about the good part? 

My child is exposed to so many different personality types – teachers, students, administration, janitors, etc.  She is learning so many skills beyond just reading, writing and math.  And when problem situations arise they are opportunities to work through it with her – and yes, I honestly believe that.  And I am also thankful for the many opportunities to help out and be involved in so many school and PTA activities.  It doesn’t feel so mysterious or scary to me that way.

When we finally got around to school shopping just yesterday we went to our favorite store – Once Upon A Child.  She found a dress that at first sight looked like something a vagabond would wear – or maybe something Cyndi Lauper would possibly wear on stage.  The dress is composed of a million 1 inch layers of different colors of cloth and they are all…let’s say, bright.  Very bright.  It is also long so the effect is amplified.  I held back my initial reaction when I saw that she was serious about trying it on. 

And when she put it on it couldn’t have been more her.   A bit zany, quirky and really silly…but also profound.  I said, “You know…this dress reminds me of Joseph’s coat of many colors”.  She immediately got the reference and lit up.  She knew that meant it was “special”.  More importantly she understood that I was specifically saying SHE was special.

After that pivotal dinner at PF Changs over a year ago, I had to let go of control on SOOOO many levels, by letting go of my “plans”,  naivety, personal agendas or ideas about “how life should be”, and yes, even my child’s sense of fashion to a certain degree.  And here is the really big one – the realization that I simply can’t be all things to my child all the time.  I was dumb for even thinking or feeling like I had to be.  Though it was a terribly painful process, I am enlightened…open…ready.  The serotinous seed awakes through the fire.      

ALL THAT to say this…Life is like this huge tapestry…we all have different threads and colors to weave into each other’s lives.  If you limit yourself your tapestry is going to be a bit boring.  Maybe you like it like that.  But if you step back and let go of some (not ALL) of the control and stop being so afraid of letting other people weave their colors into yours and your children’s lives…you just might get an interesting, bright, colorful tapestry…just like her funky new favorite dress. 

So, brace yourselves any of you mommies out there that might see my daughter this year.  And when you see her coming your way in her dress of many colors, just smile and think how very beautiful she looks in it.

Sibling bliss with mild scattered fussiness

 

 

I wish I could honestly say that this was the normal emotional forecast and climate of our household.  Days like that are so wonderful and lately too far and few between.  Maybe it is global warming, or cooling, El Nino, La Niña, or any other phenomenon (true or fabricated) that I can blame/apply here.   But lately a more accurate forecast for my household would be 90% chance of sibling rivalry with a mix of instigation, attitude, selfishness and frequent screaming and blaming.

As if that’s not bad enough there is no warning sirens or Doppler radar to give me a heads up.  We can be going along all happy and peachy when suddenly a loud clap of selfishness and instigation hits from out of nowhere followed up by a thunderous screaming and blaming episode.  Yes…even my dog runs for cover, as all dogs are terrified of storms of any kind.  His ears go back and he quietly tip paws out of the room as he tries to become invisible and sink into the carpet of my bedroom corner…poor, sensitive soul. 

Can I jump on the wagon and chalk it up to the terrible twos?  I could.  But that’s not true.  I love two.  Sure – there are the occasional episodes where she gets so angry that I wonder if she might levitate right off the ground and spit pea soup, but they are brief and usually laughable moments…usually (unless I am really tired and ready to levitate myself).  

The toddler stage is amazing…new words daily, and some of the funniest jibber jabber known to mankind.  The silliest spastic movements – be it dancing (Elaine style), running (or should I say tip-toe-galloping), or just sitting there…two year olds are hysterical.  Their chubby little bodies, short arms that barely even reach above their oversized heads, chunky toes and sweet breath – it’s all so irresistible.  Even their armpits are kissable at this stage!  

I call it their superhero self defense power (insert cheesy game show host voice here) the Power of…Cuteness! or the P to the C times 3.  That is how they stay alive and avoid harm when they sneak below the radar and go on their curious expeditions…their insatiable, very busy and stealthy quests for knowledge where they may be known to; (more cheesy infomercial voice over right here) color on the walls with markers, put toothbrushes in the toilets, tear books to shreds, and sneak up and pull hair…really, REally, REALLy hard.  Or when they raid the pantry or junk drawer, or find a basket of freshly folded laundry and scatter the contents all about the floor (ok…end cheesy voice already, will ya?  Geesh!).  These attacks only take seconds and are usually done very, very quietly…and effectively with a true sense of mission. 

But I love seven too.  Seven is amazing in itself in very different ways, of course.  She is witty, and starting to understand sarcasm and humor, which means she is making up jokes that are actually funny, not painful.  We have shared some of the best belly laughs I’ve ever had (little hints of “friend” moments).  She can ride her bike like the wind.  She teaches me something new at least every week (or more often) just by asking good questions, or sheer fact or discovery.  She is deep – we can talk, and reason, and chat.  And what an imagination! 

Her super hero power is…I think she said she had the magical fairy power of water plus animal transformation.  Not sure how this makes her less vulnerable to being harmed, but at this point I think the long term effects of genetic linkage comes into play (You adoptive parents are just plain saints in the first place and admirable on so many levels that I’m not even worthy to suggest any alternate ideas here – I can only speak on my own limited capacity).  So I guess sheer acceptance keeps her safe when she shines her newly acquired attitude right at me, or how she has digressed and completely forgotten all her manners, how she has developed selective hearing along with debate and justification skills, and how she can muster up tears effectively enough to earn her a soap opera drama award at choice moments like when being asked to clean her room or finish her dinner.      

So when these two worlds collide…Doppler radar would probably be useless anyway.   The nit picking, double standards, jealousy, instigating, revenge-seeking attitudes is enough to send anyone into evacuation mode (Especially grandparents and fringe friends).  Oh Calgone…wait, I’m sorry…Calgone?  No…Calgone is simply not good enough.  I have contemplated Craig’s list or eBay – “two bickering girls to the highest bidder – bids starting at…free!”  I mean this is the 2thousands for heaven’s sakes.  Grandma’s little helpers are not applicable here…we have to keep up with the times, stay ahead of the curve.       

But when the sisters are aligned and united I bask in the moment of sweet, sibling bliss.  It is sooooo sweet, peaceful and heartwarming that I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.  Like the moments when my oldest daughter and I are snuggling before bed and talking about flying off to dreamyland.  She asks, “How will I find or recognize you?” and I answer that I will be the butterfly/fairy with the purple wings.  I ask her, “And how will I recognize you”?  She answers, “I will be the one with rainbow wings holding a cocoon really, really tight because it is Evie and she can’t fly yet…she doesn’t have her wings”.  Yes…I’ll wait…get that tissue. 

Or the times when the little one finds one of “sissy’s” toys or blankets and stops to take the time to take them directly to her.  Or when it is dinner time and the little one makes sure sissy has a plate and cup handpicked by her.  Or when my big girl wants to rock little sis to bed and somehow this usually-very-busy-anti-snuggly-little two year old sits still in her big sister’s arms and they snuggle for a surprisingly and very endearingly long time.  And how when they play hide and seek and they ‘find’ each other, the squeal and roar of laughter flows intoxicatingly through the house. 

I guess those sibling rivalry moments are hard because my brother and I never had any of it.  We were kind of separated through the divorce but we were also 8 years apart.  We were surprisingly very close in mind and spirit despite any distance when we were young.  We held onto each other almost desperately.  So this rivalry thing is new, challenging, exhausting…and hurtful.  So, I do what all clueless moms do – I read.  I also spy – I mean chat with other moms, and join mommy groups to gather information and help me brace myself against future rivalry-nadoes

It’s life.  A crazy balance between mild and critical weather.  I studied meteorology for a short time in college.  I changed my mind when I realized that all the science and technology in the world still can’t accurately predict what nature has planned (that and the math that was required that I am highly allergic to…ooh – starting to itch just thinking about it).   But our world, our lives, our relationships are all intertwined like that.  Some conditions may make certain predictions more likely, but the reality – no one knows what the future holds

It comes down to this.  When the storms brew up – brace yourself, build on your past experiences, and know that it will pass…storms do not last forever.  And when you are in the midst of a beautiful day or moment…hold on to it.  Breathe it in.  Take a picture, choose to remember these times.  Because you will need those memories to get you through the next inevitable storm.  It’s this dichotomy of good and evil that somehow feeds off each other.  You need the bad to appreciate the good.  You need the good to get you through the bad (And there you have it…I’m singing the facts of life song now…must be time for bed).

If you have actually read this far you are indeed a diehard blogger friend and I love you for it.  I’d love to know your thoughts or comments on all this.  I honestly love hearing from other parents going through this stuff.  We’re brothers and sisters in arms – in the trenches together.  Hugs, tears and giggles to you and here’s to hoping for you and your household mostly sibling bliss with only a mild outside chance of scattered fussiness.

Say what cha need to say

John Mayer has a song called ‘Say what you need to say’.  My daughter has developed a little skit that she does during the song.  Everytime he says, “Say what you need to say”, she tries to ‘say what she needs to say’ (pretending like she is having a little dialogue with him) but before she can finish her thoughts of course he breaks into another line of “Say what you need to say” and sings right over her.  She acts all exasperated and dramatically tries it again and again until she just shouts out at the radio, “I’m trying to say that I need to say, but you won’t let me”!  And we both crack up…every time.

But it’s not as funny when it happens in real life.  It hit me hard when a few weeks ago she was practically in tears yelling to me the same words she screamed at Mr. Mayer.  It was heartbreaking.  Sometimes we don’t ‘listen’ to each other.  We have our own agendas or the 2 year old hobbit of the house might be a wee bit distracting at the moment we are trying to converse.  I find myself having to ‘make’ the time to have opportunities to just chat.  And it’s getting a bit trickier as she enters into the age of social awareness,  etiquette and awkwardness.  Because sometimes now…she DOESN’t say what she needs to say. 

I remember watching a movie with mom when I was young.  Some equivalent of a Lifetime Network movie nowadays.  There was a scene where a man and woman obviously loved each other but neither of them could find a way to say they were sorry and that they loved each other.  As a child I was in agony and simply couldn’t understand WHY they didn’t just come right out and say what they needed to say.  I asked mom and she said, “When you grow up you will understand”. 

I remember how her words scared me and I thought, “well that kinda sucks”.  Why is it that when we grow up things become so complicated?  Why do we make it so hard to see things simply and childlike, let go of pride, and just be?    What really stinks is that I have not only come to understand what she meant but I have actually lived it out.  During the crumbling of my marriage I can point out plenty of times when I should have said something but didn’t. 

Growing up sucks sometimes.  I guess it has it’s perks, but in many ways I am trying to hold on to a child like perspective more now than ever.  Ironically while my little girl is stretching her wings and ever striving towards maturity…I am trying to hang on to innocence and simplicity.  So our worlds collide now and then.  But I am learning to give her the space she needs to become her…and the art of letting her come to me rather than me driving or pulling something out of her. 

And when she does come to me there is a fine line between being over critical and squashing a spirit verses being too lenient and appearing uncaring.   Active listening, I think I remember that term from some college psych class.   As I get older and (hopefully) wiser I also realize that I don’t always have to be the ONE she can come to.  I try to make sure she has some other folks in her life she can trust and feel comfortable with – namely her Dad and grandparents at this point.  I even arranged for the school counselor to meet with her periodically just to chat if she felt like it.  And that circle will widen as she grows.  At least I recognize the importance of sometimes getting out of the way and not being so self centered to think I am the only person she can come to – though admittedly that was hard.         

I am striving to learn from my own mistakes and be brave enough to say what I need to say in my own life too.  Drowning friends with TMI is not good, but neglecting to tell them something important can be detrimental too.   It’s all a delicate balance and I know I will fall off the beam ungracefully plenty of times to come.  REM put it best in their ‘Losing my religion’ song.  I relate a lot to the line, “Now I’ve said too much, I haven’t said enough”.  It’s good to know that I’m not alone in feeling that way.  As a busy single mom, nowadays I may not personally get to say everything I need to say – people are busy.  So…I just blog what I need to say.  Thanks to all of you that have been reading and commenting.  It’s been amazing so far.

99 White balloons

It’s hard to even know where to begin this post.  I am overwhelmed tonight with confusion, sadness, irony and so many questions that I know may have no real answers.  Yea…look out…tonight is a deep thoughts kind of post. 

My moral compass has been so shattered this past year through the divorce that I admit I am a little confused by the once black and white standards I used to hold that have now turned to several shades of gray.  Somehow I still believe in God.  Probably more in some ways than ever before.  But what sucks is that there is a tiny part of me that actually wonders…is He real?  I am surprised and disappointed with myself for even entertaining the thought, let alone blogging it outloud.  

I guess once I became a Christian some 20 years ago, I just accepted everything blindly.  I HAD to believe.  I needed to.  Now I CHOOSE to believe.  I have moved to a different place in life where I am not threatened to at least ask the “are you real” question.  And the God I believe in can handle it.  I think he appreciates honesty.  Especially when I have news like I have had this past week.

A man died this past week.  Well, lots of people died this past week, but this man in particular was a man that overcame unbelievable obstacles.  He survived an accident that left him severely disfigured, blind and dependent on others to function in daily life.  He was the kind of person that little kids stared at in awe and wonder.  My daugther was one of them.  She was fascinated and drawn to him…luckily in a sweet, innocent, and kind manner.  She wanted to be close to this man.  Underneath his mask she could sense the sweetness of his soul.  He beat unimaginable odds by surviving the accident, endured countless surgeries and was just at a place where it seemed he was getting a bit of independence back in his life and was on the up.  Then…suddenly he died.  He left behind 5 beautiful children.  That sucks. 

Also last night a little boy was enduring his first round of chemotherapy.  As I was home in the comfort of my own cluttered surroundings with my healthy girls tucked safely in their own beds, this little guy started the fight of his life.  While I heard thunder softly rolling through and the rain on the windows, he and his parents were surrounded by nurses, beeping electronic medical devices, needles, monitors, nurses, doctors, and a host of other unfamiliar sights and sounds.  I could tip toe over and kiss each girl as they slept peacefully, smell their freshly washed hair and touch their soft cheeks.  This other family was in a room smelling of antiseptics and were probably experiencing unimaginable cries and wishing for it all to be some kind of terrible nightmare to wake up from.   Our worlds couldn’t be more different.  And just a few weeks ago…they were having the same kind of normal moments I am right now and probably taking it for granted like I have done more than I care to admit.  But not tonight.   

Tonight my heart is broken for a little boy that should be getting ready to meet new class mates and teachers this fall but instead is meeting the doctors, nurses and other patients in a pediatric cancer wing of a hospital.  God…are you there?  Why kids?  Why?  I also see 5 little faces weeping as they said goodbye to their dad for the last time today.  And again I struggle with where God might be.

Near the end of the funeral the pastor and family handed out white balloons to everyone.  He said, “When Jesus comes back he is going to give one command”.  And in the pastor’s interpretation he said he thought that one command would be, “Come”.  And when he said that he asked for all of us to let go of the balloons.  The result was a profound and beautiful image…soul-like balloons rising to the heavens…obeying the simple command…come.  Whether you believe or not – that was an awesome image, thought or wish.  To be released from any chains of inhibition, doubt, cynicism, sickness or bitterness…or even death. 

Some people think that believing in God means you are weak, stupid or juvenile because it shows that you “have to believe in something” that – in all honestly could be fiction.  Some people think it is just a list of rules and have been turned off by hypocritical Christians out there that may have meant well, but came across as narrow minded, judgemental, opinionated, brainwashed, nut cases.  I am guilty of “not helping” the Christian cause at plenty moments of my ungraceful life.  Because I very, very human.

I can’t tell you or convince you what you should believe.  I am not that girl.  Because it has occured to me lately that I just might be wrong.  I can only say what I believe, or what I want to believe, or yes perhaps – what I need to believe.  That there is something out there…something, someone bigger than me.  When I am alone, which I am a lot, I have to believe there is someone out there watching over me and my girls (no…not a stalker).  I have to believe that one day my soul/balloon will rise to the heavens…or somewhere and be released from this world riddled with pain, anguish, tears, and death. 

You can call me a fool.  You can disown me.  You can belittle me and determine that I must be a pea brain to stoop to such a level of stupidity.  You could limit your interactions with me or walk on eggshells around me and really mess up a great friendship.  But I am still the same person today as I was 8 blogs ago.  I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me.  I’m just trying to figure it out too.

Maybe it IS juvenile.  But for me it beats the heck out of the alternative.  Nothing.  Just science and life cycles.  If I am wrong…so what?  I lived a life believing in a beautiful idea.  Non believers, you get the last laugh.  But if I am right?  Then…wow.  The image of those balloons today will probably stay with me for a long time.  And I almost missed it.  My daughter was the big reason we were there.  She wanted to be there to say good bye.  I am so glad.

Ah…Blogwash!

I have recently had a revelation.  I am a neat freak trapped inside a messy person’s body.  To make matters worse, I have also discovered I am a “doer” at heart, but suffer from severe and chronic episodes of procrastinationosis – which is a symptom of my other previously mentioned affliction, libranitus (a previous post).  I am not sure any of these are covered under a health care plan because 1, I couldn’t find the paperwork anywhere because I am so unorganized and 2, even if I found it I would keep putting off actually reading it.  Reading manuals of any kind is enough to put me into a deep coma and then I would have a whole other set of problems.

I can’t find the term in any medical website, but I am going to name it…Messywants2bneatfungitus.  In my research so far I have found that it can cause serious anxiety issues and even depression when left untreated.  This kind of condition can be caused by a lot of things and a person can show early signs of it.  There is evidence it can be a life long chronic condition, but there are also cases of this affliction happening with a sudden onset after child birth, new employment, and other life changing events.  Symptoms can increase and become unmanageable when planning for events or parties, especially within the home.

Maybe with the new health care reform, if we petition hard enough and pull together – just maybe we could get this disease recognized as a real and clinical condition.  I think our time is now.  Also, I need to look into what drug companies out there would be willing to do the research to come up with some kind of pill to help cure it.  In fact, maybe I could be the front runner in raising money for the cause.  Oh wait…that would actually require some up front work and advanced planning.  My procrastinationosis  puts me out of the running for that job.  I am the…idea girl, yea, that’s it.  Now, all I need is for someone out there reading this to jump on board and actually DO all the things I am talking about. 

So is anyone getting where I am going with this one?  Really?  Underneath all of the silliness I kind of think that half of the diseases or conditions that we have come up with is merely hogwash.  Sorry.  I think sometimes it seems like we make up these names for conditions that we have kind of created ourselves, or maybe they are merely part of who we are.  I am fairly messy these days.  It has become a chronic problem.  Whatever I actually do constructively to alleviate the problem, my 2 year old comes right behind me to undo it all.  Though I at least vacuum and try to keep the grime to a minimal, there is clutter.  I hate clutter.  Maybe it is clutterphobia. 

I just don’t understand why we are always so quick to blame something else or someone else for some of our issues.  If I name it…if I can chalk it up to this or that, then I have an excuse for why I am a certain way.  I am not talking about valid proven medical issues here.  I am talking about some conditions, or states of being, that we don’t like.  I am going to open a huge can of ADD worms here and I’ll probably get some flack for it.  I know there must be some valid cases out there??? Maybe??  I do admit I am a bit ignorant on the “disease”.  But I do have a hard time at the level of medicating going on in the schools these days.  However, I have never been one to turn to drugs for a long term answer.  I look for other ways if at all possible. 

Ok…getting really controversial here…the “disease” of gambling.  Really?  Not saying that it isn’t a very destructive problem, but I struggle with calling it a disease.  Even Alcoholism (I know several and in some years of my life I may have been considered one)…again a very serious issue that should be addressed with all kinds of support, honesty, rehab, whatever…but is it a disease? I have also recently heard the term “Rage-a-holic.  Seriously?  If this is the case, my exhusband has a pattern to prove that he is a “Cheataholic”.  Is it easier to explain when these “episodes” happen?  “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to beat the crap out of you, it’s just that I am a beataholic”.  Does that make it any easier for the victims?  Where do you draw the line between self restraint/decision making and an uncontrollable medical condition or even a chemical imbalance, which I also consider valid. 

No.  It doesn’t make it easier.  Even though my mom has been clinically diagnosed with several mental illnesses and I know there is a valid medical condition to validate it…I still struggle with some of the things that have been done and said.  Even though I know she didn’t “mean it” or her “condition” made her do it…it has taken years to be at peace with some of the horrific images and words that have been done and said to me, my brother and others.  Sometimes I hate to admit, that I still feel like “some” of it was just done because she had an excuse to let go and say and do anything she wanted just because she had a label.  I am older, wiser and have finally completely forgiven her…but some things I can’t forget.  But I have at least moved past dwelling on them…or worse yet…using THEM as an excuse for my own behavior.  The dreaded “repeatacycletosis”.  The chain has to stop somewhere and just because something has been done to you doesn’t give you the excuse to do it to others.  Get help for your disadvantage…address it and conquer it, but don’t play the victim and make others pay for it in the process.    

I admit I am thankful that both my children and I have been fairly healthy.  But normal?  Now that is questionable.  Should I seek out some kind of medication because my soon to be 8 year old has started talking back and showing signs of attitude that I don’t like?  Her sensitivity has gone through the roof and she cries at a simple request like, “please put your shoes in the closet”.  Should I be worried?  Should I pursue some kind of drug that might make her less vulnerable or tougher?  Do I need a drug that helps me not get so insanely angry when she does turn that attitude directly towards me or her little sister?  Ah…sibling rivalry…now THERE is a condition that should be addressed with drugs.  Can I get a drug for my 2 year old that helps get me through the stages of mine-itus.  Because she has one of the worst cases I have ever seen.  She also suffers from severe independence-osis, (I self, mommy…I self).

But my oldest also has snugglie-ousenus and my little one has the funniest episodes of wigglinosity you could ever hope for.  And they both have goof-a-silliness that I fear I may have passed on to them.  I have two sunshines in my solar system.  (well…3 counting the real sun).  I also wonder if I treated their other less desirable symptoms if it would change who they are and some of the other traits that I love about them.       

I don’t have the answers here.  I am no expert.  I’m just a blogger writing my mind for my own selfish reasons.  If nothing else, maybe I could find a little support group suffering from some of the similar issues I have just admitted that I have (except that the procrastinators would never show up).  My dad never goes to the doctor.  He thinks it’s all a bunch of hogwash and that once you start going in for one thing, it turns into 3 things and before you know it, they kill ya.  Yea…he’s old school.  I’m not that bad.  But I do agree that a lot of these conditions, and probably my ignorant opinion is all just a bunch of blogwash.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Desperate House Pets

Umm, yea.  Hi.  This is Charlie…the alpha cat of the house.  This is what happens when our lame owner goes off and leaves the computer unlocked.  The truth is we (Isaiah the other cat and I) kind of run this place.  I mean, you know, we’re kind of a big deal.  Lee just hasn’t come to terms with it yet.  We read her little story (see “I’m a sucker”) about us and how she is a bit of a cat hater.  Paws down to all the haters out there…can I get a meow, meow on that one brothers?

Agh…excuse me…need to spit up a hairball on the keyboard here…ah…that’s better.  Now where was I…oh yes…about my cat hating human.  If only she knew our secret plot to kill her and the rest of the humans and take over the world.  I have tried several times already by weaving through her legs while she is coming down stairs.  Once I thought I hit the jack pot when I almost tripped her while she was holding the little noisy dwarf of the family in her arms.  I still don’t know how she managed to avoid that one.  Ok, ready for a big, cat hairy secret?  My real plot isn’t honestly THAT evil, but I DO have a plan which I will reveal in a few minutes…or seconds in cat time. 

I do kind of like the middle human.  She sneaks whole packages of treats upstairs to her room and has these tea parties while feeding me dozens of these delicious morsels.  All I have to do is sit there and endure some annoying brushing and occasional over cuddling.  But life is not all bon bons and feline coifs.  We have a serious mission. 

The REAL mission is not evil at all like some people think.  The Persians and Siamese ruin it for the rest of us with their annoying screaming, finicky ways, and love-me-or-hate-me attitudes.  Some people think we are all stuck up and that we want to rule the world like in the old days.  BUT… my real mission (given to me straight from the heavenly cat himself – if you believe in that kind of thing) is to try to convince tough cookie cat haters like Lee to change her mind and love us.  Oh, and let’s not even mention people like her parents who ABSOLUTELY hate us.

My entrance to her life was key, if I dare say so myself.  Being abandoned by my mom and completely helpless at 3 days old was brilliant, don’t you think?!  Then having her daughter be the one to find me…ah ha ha…it is just too delicious.  See, Lee thinks she saved me…but really I saved her…or at least am trying to.  Trying to save her from being one of those cold, uncaring humans that only care about their own children and themselves.  It’s a tough job though.  Lately, I have been losing heart that I may be failing at my mission. 

Our Canine companion has it made.  His goofy, happy, pathetically loyal and cowardly disposition makes him irresistible.  He gets/demands lots of attention by getting in her face and just not going away until he gets what he wants.  When I try the tactic of throwing myself at their feet, I get scooped off the table or counter top or bath tub edge or whatever.  She really gets annoyed when I try to rub on her face while she is putting mascara on, or when I try to lick all the lotion off her legs right after her shower.

So a few weeks ago I had to do the last resort.  I Feigned running away.  I had to see if my mission is working at all or if I am just a complete failure.  “Like…hello? Am I invisible here?”  I needed a scrap of hope or faith that I am making some kind of difference in the world for cats everywhere.  I was about to give it up.  I needed some kind of validation, an accolade, sense of achievement.  So at my first opportunity, I snuck out the door.    

And it seems that there is some evidence that I would be missed.  She cried.  Ha!  Even though she acts all tough and talks big…I know the REAL her.  Sometimes when no one else is around she lets me crawl up on her and give her lots of kisses and she holds me.  She never lets us miss a meal and even gave us some couch cushions to use as beds in our little hideaway downstairs…super comfy.  Though I understand these cushions belonged to the man that used to live here and he was not at all happy about our new snugglies.  But, that is not my problem. 

The point is this…I am accomplishing my mission here.  I’ll let her talk her cat trash talk.  She isn’t fooling anyone around here.  Welp…my work here is done.  My paws are getting tired.  How can she do this and call it fun?  Signing off,

Charlie…the cat with a mission.

Unchained

It’s taken me almost 40 years, but I am finally starting to understand just how awesome it is to be a woman.  We are pretty powerful creatures.  I was always afraid of my femininity growing up and even most of my adult life.  I tried to downplay my features, cover up my body, and didn’t really make myself up or take the greatest care in my appearance (ummm…except for that brief modeling experiment in college).  But recently I am discovering how much fun it can be to get a “good” hair cut now and then, apply makeup and buy clothes that actually fit instead of swallowing me whole.  Now, I am not saying I am some exhibitionist (minus that little pole swinging incident on the houseboat this weekend), but I am not afraid to shine, er…try to shine, umm attempt to emit a bit of light…or maybe just dress up now and then and pretend like I’m hot stuff.

It made me think…when did this start, really?  Ironically and sadly it started happening when my marriage was falling apart last year.  It was a wakeup call for me.  I just responded to it too late (or maybe someone else didn’t stick around long enough to find out).  But, at any rate, I started coming out of my shell about a year ago…in many ways.  I started becoming more outspoken…speaking up for myself, fighting for what I believed in, for my daughters’ rights.  And yes, I started embracing womanhood and all the froofie frills that come along with it.  I started celebrating me.  I have even contemplated wearing…hold it…wait for it…wait for it…PINK!!!  I know…I hear the collective gasps out there from those of you who know me well…the woman in black. 

In general it happened because of this life changing marital crumbling event that I couldn’t stop from happening.  But I can pinpoint the very moment that it all started.  I had been a mess for several months.  Though I tried very hard to hide it from my daughters when you are with someone 24/7 it is really hard to hide everything.  My oldest could sense my heartbreak and had seen more tears than I wish she would have (sneaking up on me while I am having a private sob session in some inconspicuous place…like the middle of the kitchen for instance).  One day we were in the car she says, “Mommy.  Why are you so sad? Now we have been released from his high tower”.  

I’m thinking “what?!?!” (I literally heard a needle scratching across a record sound in my head) as I almost wrecked the car staring at her in the rear view mirror.  We had a discussion about it and I told her how in many ways, she was right.  But I am quite sure she has no idea with that statement, simple and profound as it was, she changed my life.  Up to this moment I had been fighting tooth and nail to keep our little disintegrating family unit together for the sake and stability of my girls.  Selfishly I wanted it too…I wanted the white picket fence, and the whole Leave it to Beaver thing.  But most of all, it was for the girls.  I absolutely hated the thought of them having to endure what I did growing up – always missing one parent or the other…always longing for the void to be filled, never feeling complete.

But with that wise and intuitive statement from my perceptive and wise-beyond-her-years 6 year old I changed my whole ideology.  Maybe it wasn’t immediately, but over time that statement reverberated in my head over and over at different times.  I had to finally get honest with myself and admit to ME that I had been very unhappy with my marriage too.  My husband had already moved on and told me flat out that he loved someone else.   Though I was fighting to keep it together for the sake of “doing the right thing” and to honor the commitment, and all kinds of other noble and honorable things, deep down I was very lonely and miserable.  Maybe it WAS time to wave my white flag. 

As I look around the whole world is new.  In some ways it is more fun, in some ways it is less magical.  But, either way, I HAVE been released from my high tower.  I was given a “get out of jail free” card.  I was in my own prison…a woman in chains.  And in my freedom my heart breaks to see so many other women in chains out there.  For some women it is the chain of a bad relationship…they are sticking with it and have for years upon countless years for the sake of their children, or a sick spouse, or some other self sacrificing reason.  For some women it is the chains of their past preventing them from moving forward with self confidence, self worth, and a lack of inner strength.  Maybe it was a traumatic event, loss of a loved one, overbearing or under caring parents.  So many women are walking around in their chains…hiding them behind smiles. 

I did for years.  I wore my mask.  I swallowed my afflictions and never spoke about them.  But the problem is that these afflictions, these unaddressed issues…they have a nasty way of seeping out…in our thoughts, in our words, in our eyes, in our touch.  I admit I wasn’t the picture perfect wife.  I said and did or didn’t do some hurtful things.  A lot because of what I am talking about right now.  Having said that, however, I still believe with all my heart that my marriage could have been saved AND I could have broken my chains as I am doing now.  But that kind of thing takes two.  Sometimes in life we just don’t get to choose every path.

But we CAN choose how we move forward.  How we deal with our past and present chains.  I could choose to be a bitter, angry person and keep asking, “Why? Why me”?  I could choose to blame something or someone else for my plight (I have plenty of possible reasons)  Or I could hide behind a gritted toothy smile and say, “Yes, thank you I am great, everything is fine”. 

OR…I could choose to cry, get it out, admit that it SUCKS, and then MOVE ON.  We don’t have to pretend like everything is grand and peachy keen all the time just to keep up the appearance that we have it altogether all the time…cause guess what?   No one really does.  Underneath we are all struggling with something.   Hiding it only stifles the sharing of the experience that might help someone else down the road.  It only robs the glory of the victory that might be if we only open up and show our vulnerable spots and lean on each other now and then. 

I can’t say I am the hero that broke myself free of my high tower…I was kind of pushed, and fell to the ground with a loud, hysterical, dramatic thud.  It was a thud that was heard by ALL my friends and family because for once in my life I didn’t just crawl off into the bushes and pretend like it was “just a flesh wound”.  I screamed bloody murder.  I had to swallow my pride and…dun, dun, dun…ask for help sometimes.   And some days are harder than others…but every day is new day.  Every day is a step forward.  Every day is a chance to try to do better.

Since the fiery turmoil of the divorce I have gone back and investigated the charred remains to try to piece together what may have caused the damage and learn how to prevent it in the future.  But I don’t recommend staying there, in that mode, in that past, in that bitterness and ashes.  Spend some reflective time there, cry and get it out and once you get to that acceptance place…move on.  Make your camp on a new site.

One thing I have hoped through this past year is that my pain was not all in vain.  At some points I had wished to die or thought I just might actually die from the hole in my heart that I could physically feel.  I thought…if I make it through this alive…may it somehow be used to help someone else.  I am not sure what that even means, or how that will happen, but maybe this is a start.  If anyone is reading this and finds some remote comfort that you’re not alone…that we’re in this together…than that is something.  If someone out there is encouraged or relates, or whatever…GREAT!  I don’t mind being the idiot that makes an example of myself for the benefit of others anymore.  That’s what happens when you become unchained…Yea, you hit the ground running (VH).