September 29th, 2016 | No Comments »

Today I am being a mom.  Sure, we are swimming in an ocean of grief right now, but I am shaking my fist at the sky and choosing to let love and the breath of life prevail.  I saved myself a 3+ hour commute and stayed home today.  Thank you salaried-job-gods-of-payroll.

live

live

When the kids return from school, they will be greeted with a smiling mother with open arms.  The house smells of freshly baked banana bread.  The washing machine is contentedly agitating the residue of fun times from their skanky dirty clothes.  When dinner time arrives, their tummies will be filled with the warm yumminess of ‘taco rice’…   …whatever the heck it is.  They love it, and by golly, I’m serving it to them tonight.  Their stepmom or grandma makes it, and they both rave over it.  I’m pretty sure I can come up with something at least, if not more, tasty.

Yes, I know that I am filling holes with bandaids.  But that’s the thing.  We are alive and breathing and we have today.  I am embracing today with all the love and all the energy and all the gratitude that I have.  I don’t get to be a stay-at-home mom every day.  But today is special.

Today I do.

Posted in family, love, thankfulness
September 29th, 2016 | 1 Comment »
let there be light

let there be light – photo credit to the Resonant German

Depression is an ugly beast.  It’s incomprehensible.  It is vile.  A trap.  It is a vile trap.  And it’s an experiential thing that others who haven’t tasted it can even begin to understand.  You want to be reached, but you don’t know how to let yourself be reached, because you’re trapped, in the dark.  You want to be helped, but you don’t know how to let yourself be helped, because you’re trapped, in the dark.  You want to live, but you don’t know how to let yourself live, because you’re trapped, in the dark,  where you’re running out of air and you can no longer breathe.

Sometimes, it’s too late.

There aren’t any do overs.

LIFE IS SO FRAGILE!!!!!

Life is such a beautiful and precious thing.  We all get it, a gift, without asking.  It’s so random, who we are, where we ended up when we entered this world and took our first breath.  We got what we got.  Nobody asks to be a Star Bellied Sneetch.  Or a North Going Zax.  We just are who we are.  Why is it so hard to just be?

I AM SO ANGRY!!!!!

I am angry because I am helpless.  And because it’s too late.

There were signals that drifted to me and through me from across the universe, but I didn’t pay enough attention, or I didn’t understand.  I reached out, but not far enough.  In retrospect, it’s as though her spirit was crying out from the place where she was trapped and otherwise unable to call for help, and those were the messages that drifted to me.  Because I have been thinking of her.  I wish I had reached her.  Maybe, just maybe, it would have made a difference.

So yes, I am angry.  Not at her, not at myself.  I am angry with the ugly beast, and I want to wage war against it.  I want to tell everyone I see, everyone I know, everyone at all, that THEY MATTER.  I don’t know where it comes from or how it happens, this despicable beast called mental illness, but I will battle it any way that I can.  I want to pierce the darkness that any part of any person might be trapped in.  Because that’s all it is.  A trap.  A dark, despicable trap.  The con of the ages.  I want to blast it apart with nuclear force and set it ablaze with the brightest of lights so that the preciousness of who they are is evident, that their life is treasure, and that I am privileged to be someone with whom they share breath.  I want to infuse hope and vigor, to spark enthusiasm and joy.

Who can ever truly know what’s going on within another?  How many people do we know who are suffering inside, wrestling with incomprehensible things?  What if we were to take a moment to just say hi, or smile.  An unexpected greeting can disrupt the grip of the ugly beast, and it only takes a little light to break the darkness.  It could save a life.

My heart is broken for her, for our family, for everyone.  Her anguish is over, but in its place is a heavy blanket of sorrow and new anguish in the hearts of those who love her, those who need her.  It’s a shame.  A complete and terrible and horrible shame.  A beautiful, vibrant, strong, loving, courageous, intelligent, capable, talented, and amazing person with so much to live for has been tricked out of her own life.  Nobody saw it coming, so nobody was there to help.  Nobody could help.  It’s a tragic deja vu.  History has repeated itself, and I wish I had been paying better attention.

I’m holding my children tight, taking extra moments to make sure that they know they matter, they are important, they are wanted, they are loved.  I’m listening more.  I’m sending out my love.  To everyone.  Because everyone matters.

February 6th, 2016 | No Comments »

Put your dreams away for now, I won’t see you for some time…
I am lost in my mind, I get lost in my mind…
Mama once told me “you’re already home where you feel loved”
I am lost in my mind, I get lost in my mind…

Oh my brother, your wisdom is older than me.  Oh my brother, don’t you worry about me!
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, don’t worry about me…

all you need is love ... love is all you need

all you need is love … love is all you need

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Again.  I’m making a serious effort to understand myself and the way I form my thoughts and the channels that I follow… I’m very conscious of time these days. I’m very aware of the years. I’ve arrived at this place called mid-life. My indentured servitude spans nearly 30 years. I have two young children. It’s up to me to shape them, form them and prepare them for life. And how can I do that, if I don’t have it figured out myself?! There’s a whole new generation of young people in my life, looking to me for guidance, and what can I give them? I’m fumbling along under a facade waving the fake it till you make it flag and hoping that nobody notices that I really don’t have it all going on. (To be fair to myself, I do actually have almost everything going on –I’m just trying to wrangle this emotional thangggggg…..)

I’ve been thinking about human behaviors. I’ve been observing the way insecurity manifests in people and myself. I’ve been thinking about self destructive thoughts a lot lately, and wondering where they come from, why they’re there, how to obliterate them, etc… It occurs to me that they are entirely manufactured! Not that that is any big news. I’ve known that all along, but somehow I am beginning to let it sink in, that any negative thoughts originate within myself. So if they’re coming from me, I can change my mind, and turn that ship around.  Easily enough said.

Certain thought streams tend to short circuit to emotionally unattractive destinations.  I intend to repair my mother board so that my thought streams lead to healthy destinations.

One of the show stoppers is that dangerous zone of caring what others think.  Why so much concern?  Why ANY concern?  Judgment…   It’s such a slippery slope!  The reality of the matter is that I don’t know what another person thinks or feels. Those thoughts are entirely theirs. Am I spending my time passing judgment on the people in my sphere?  Or  do I simply love them?  Ummm.  I simply love them.  So, uhhhh, hello?  Stands to reason, doesn’t it, in the most simplistic way, that not too many, if any for that matter, are spending time passing judgment on me.  Why would I bother to waste any brain space on wondering or dreading what others might think of me?  Good grief! And even if I were to play the devil’s advocate, what kind of ugliness might someone dredge up on me?  Her.  Yeah her.  She goes to work every day.  Yeah.  Imagine that.  She pays her bills.  Amazing. She lives within her means.  Unbelievable.  She takes care of her family.  Whoa.  She saves for a rainy day.  What the what?  She tries to make people smile.  Crazy.  Oh sure, she gets emo once in a while. She’s a sensitive creature with an empathetic nature, so of course the travails of others can take their toll if she’s not careful, but she’s wicked smart and kind of funny, so hey.  She’s all right.  Mmmmm hmmmmm, yes ma’am.  She’s all right.

Seriously.  It’s ridiculous to waste time and life energy on wondering what others think, and worse yet, assuming what they think.  That’s a one-man-band, honey.  It’s ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!!!  SMH…

Okay.  Sure.  I have issues.  Daddy issues.  I’ve written about it before.  WHY DIDN’T HE CARE ABOUT ME?  WHY DIDN’T I MATTER TO HIM?  etc etc etc.  The thing is, I did matter to him.  I just didn’t recognize it.  Where he could display his love, affection and admiration to and for my sisters, somehow he was unable to convey it to me.  Maybe, all along, I’ve felt irrelevant only because I’m not the charming vivacious spitfires that my sisters are.  Maybe it was difficult for him to find a way to reach me.  Who knows?!  But the fact is that I’ve carried an invalid assumption along with me for most of my life, that I somehow just don’t quite measure up to what I should.  And don’t you see?  That’s the comparison game!  Comparing myself to my sisters!  We are apples and oranges (as well as peas in a pod).  Oh how I love my sisters!!!  They are amazing people!  And we are beautiful in our differences and in our similarities.  As beautiful and amazing as they are, I am as well!  I just wasn’t tuned in to the same bat channel.  So I didn’t get the message.  That is SO tragic!!!  Fifty years old and only now just dawning.

Anyway.

One way or another, this post was meant to be about love, and how you’re home where you feel loved.  All this blah blah blah about the great “why am I the way I am?” question, but the crux of the matter and the bottom line is that happiness is that place where we feel home, where we are home.

I feel home.

This.

This is what life and love are all about.  This is everything.  Now is now. I’m living it. Now! I laugh, I smile, I hug my children. I listen.  I act silly.  I cook. I eat. I work. I take care of business. I keep up my home. I do laundry. I do dishes. I love.

I am happy.

December 5th, 2015 | No Comments »

I am so incredibly blessed.  My life is beautiful and amazing.  I have two gorgeous children who are full of zest.  Joie de vivre – it is ours!  We live in comfort.  Our needs are met.  I have the best friends that anyone could ever hope for — all so true and solid.  I am privileged to be partnered with a wonderful man with whom I connect on so many levels and in so many ways that I can barely comprehend, let alone attempt to describe.

And yet.

I’ve said it before.  Nobody makes it through life unscathed.

it's a dog eat dog world out there

it’s a dog eat dog world out there

On the matter of motherhood, there are times that I wish that I’d simply gone to a sperm bank and opted for artificial insemination.  Certainly I wouldn’t be enduring the chaos to which I am far too often subjected, had I chosen such a route.  However, I understand that all these twists and turns in the journey of my life were necessary to place me here, now, where I am SO GRATEFUL to be.  (Oh dear Lord, me and my stranded prepositions.  Bless my soul.)

I get it!  I wouldn’t change a minute, a moment, or a circumstance, if it meant I couldn’t have the now that I have.

So what’s up, Buttercup?  Well.  Let me tell you.

I almost want to post verbatim the things he says, because it’s very hard to describe or summarize.  It’s just a bunch of drama and blah, blah, blah, and oh, so tedious.  But what the hell.

—Dec 3—

HIM.  “I have to work the next two weekends and NewWife has to work the next two Sundays. Just because I have to work does not give you the authority to take my weekend away from me, that is contempt of court which you did when you all of a sudden forgot that you weren’t coming back the day you told me from your trip. It doesn’t matter if you made the mistake accidently, it is still contempt which my lawyer expressed to me which he has already drawn up the papers for.      You may not like some of the things on my end but I also don’t agree with some of the things you are doing either!  What upsets me the most is your letting things happen with other people around the boys and when I was around it was a different story but yet you let total strangers have the same things around the boys that you bitched about me having which is so hypocritical of you. Example is the reason why you asked for only every other weekend was because of the guns that I had. Which I practiced good gun safety and respected it as I still do. so you lied about your reasoning why you restricted me from the boys which gave you no right to do so and then the bullshit you tell BB that all I did was sit on my ass and ate gummy bears every day or all the time which is a total bullshit lie in itself and why I bring that up is that he keeps repeating that you keep saying that. You seem to like to not address any concerns I have and and ignore them all together.”

To which I recoiled and reacted, when I probably should have just considered the source and dismissed it.

ME.  “I didn’t lie about anything, and I don’t keep telling BB that about gummy bears.  I really did have the trip dates wrong.  Good grief.  Also, I have a responsibility to protect them from emotionally abusive treatment, which is what I heard they endure with NewWife.  So if I knowingly send them to an abusive environment, then THAT is a breach of my responsibility as a parent.  I didn’t know how badly things were with how they were treated, and then BB spent some time with Auntie and opened his heart to her with things he’s never told me, and she relayed that to me.  So no, I never considered it was awful for them when they were at your place, until I was given reason to question it.  I did know that they seldom feel like the time they’re with you is quality time.  Their comments are generally something to do with ‘NewWife and the kids’ or ‘Daddy and NewWife stay in their room watching tv all the time and we don’t see them much’, etc.  What they want most is to spend time with their dad, YOU, and more often than not when they are there, that doesn’t happen.  I am NOT keeping them from you.  I am trying to keep them from being bullied, which is how they feel with NewWife, or feeling like they’re pushed aside, which is how they feel when they’re at your place but don’t get to spend quality time with you.  They were so hopeful when they learned that NewWife had left, because it gave them the glimmer of hope that they could spend some real time with you.  They were crestfallen to learn of her return.

Contempt of court is deliberate disobedience, and I have NOT done anything of the sort.

Further to all that, regarding contempt of court…  Why do you suppose the parenting plan has written into it the portion where you have to coordinate with me to confirm you will SHOW UP for YOUR visitation?  How many times have you had some reason not to take the kids on your scheduled visitation?  So for you to suggest that I am in contempt of court (and I can only assume you are referring to the parenting plan) because I want to ensure my kids are not placed in an emotionally abusive environment is ludicrous.

All I have asked of you is to BE THERE FOR YOUR CHILDREN.  I don’t know why you are so hungry to turn it into something ugly on my part.

Further still, in the interest of giving you more time with them and to make up for missing the time that was missed, I offered Thanksgiving break, to which you didn’t respond.  You also did not respond to my inquiry about this coming weekend, until I got your threatening email below.  You say I ignore your concerns.  You’ve called me a hypocrite and you’ve not clearly expressed specific concerns.  If I could tell what your actual concerns are, then I could respond.  I am not interested in throwing accusations back and forth.  We should have a mature and calm discussion with each other to bring up and address issues and concerns.

I like to think that I am being reasonable.  I wish I would be more vigilant, and less apt to react and acknowledge his aggression by immediately placing myself in defensive mode.  Had I completely ignored him, he might have just dropped everything.  Alas.

—Dec 4—

HIM.  “With what is written in the plan if I don’t respond then I lose my right to have them.  That is not contempt. I am very tired of people talking crap and negative bullshit about me and making crap up to make themselves look better. Futher more when you keep the other parent from seeing the kids what ever the reason is considered contempt. I have protected the boys and will always will and I question you when I hear things going on from your side. When we were together you had issues with motorcycles and guns and I have never shown a lack of responsibility and the safety. You were always preaching against those then all of sudden you turn around and do the opposite when I’m not in the picture. And then when I voice my opinion you don’t care to respond or even talk about you just do whatever you want no matter how I feel about the issue like taking the boys out of school for a week when they should be in school learning. But my opinion as usual doesn’t matter to anyone and never will unless I am made to yell and make a big stink about it. Why am I being made to do so. I have brought up many concerns about a lot of things and as usual you could care less about them you have shown that many times. Just like when I got laid off from j.b. hunt. I had to keep asking friends and the church to help pay the rent and groceries and other stuff to help but yet did you care at all. No! you just kept taking child support and didn’t care what so ever. but it doesn’t matter now anyways because you simply don’t see anything how I see it and never will or don’t care. Just like when you moved did you care about me getting to see the boys no  it took months for me to get to see the boys. I tried talking to you but no you made your excuses and didn’t give a crap.”

Interesting.  So much to say.  Gun safety.  The man does not have a track record that inspires confidence.  My former opinion remains intact.  And the rest?  Exhausting.  I know I’ve blogged ad nauseum about many of these points before.  It’s the same old stuff, regurgitated for some reason.

ME.  “The process for dealing with contempt or perceived contempt is to follow the parenting plan’s dispute resolution process.  We can schedule to meet with a mediator to resolve disagreements about carrying out the parenting plan.  I am not keeping the kids from seeing you.  Through all of this back and forth, you haven’t actually informed me of your intent to pick the boys up this weekend.  I’ve told you that we have dentist appointments today.  We can meet at McDs on 44th Saturday morning at 9.  Please confirm.”

Note that this email conversation is in parallel with a phone text conversation.  It’s a thing of beauty.  Really.  Wait for it…

—Dec 3—

ME.  I can’t tell from your friendly email whether you are or aren’t planning to see the kids this weekend. They have dentist appts Fri. I mentioned this in IM yesterday and haven’t heard from you. Also, I’d like to coordinate Christmas plans.

HE.  How do you think that crap would make you feel if I told them that crap of lies. And as always you evade what I say as usual

ME.  I don’t tell them a load of lies and crap.

HE.  So you honestly think that’s all I did? I Never did anything for anyone i never busted my ass to do things never looked out for anyone. I never went out on a limb or bent over backwards for anyone… That’s pretty much what your telling them!!!And as you normally do you ignore the facts why. Because I’m not white collar like you so since I’m considered a blue collar you get to spread lies and crap about me. If that’s how you want to play the negative crap game two can play at that game

ME.  Why do you out of the blue think I’m spilling a constant load of negative crap about you? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

HE.  I dont know why you even make it an excuse or whatever your doing when you tell him all this crap. I have never said anything negitive about you in frontof them or to them what so ever but i can start. But then again im just a blue collar loser lazy ass that doesnt do anything.Then why does BB say you say that all the time and that’s the reason you did certain things was because I was so Damm lazy and never did anything for anyone and aged video games everyday all the time .

ME.  You flatter yourself if you think I spend any time at all telling BB all about you.

HE.  Yeah just the negitive lies and bullshit

—Dec 4—

ME.  Please confirm if the boys will be picked up at 44th Mcds at 9am Saturday.  BB wants to have a friend over tonight. I need to know what time to meet tomorrow so I can tell his mom when I’ll drop him off.

HE.  I would only have them til sat eve

ME.  ?

HE.  I work sun and so does NewWife.  Plus I work sat also

ME.  You said she works Sunday, not you.

HE.  Plan states sat morning to sat eve as per what you put in there

ME.  No. Every other Sat 8am to Sun 7pm.

Did I not say it was glorious?  What the what?  Seriously, it’s perplexing.  Clearly he’s resurrecting squabbles we’ve had in years long gone.  I made a blue collar vs white collar comment several years ago during an attempt to explain why it might be so difficult for us to communicate.  Must’ve hit a nerve…

—Back to the email conversation, dated Dec 4—

HIM.  “So how is it that you keeping them from me on my weekend as the plan states not keeping them from me. Does not say I get the right or you have the right to make up for lost time. The plan was mainly done by you not me your thinking not mine. I trusted you to do the right thing and in the end you decided to limit visitation because of ridiculous thought of me having protection that they could not get to if they tried as you explained it to NewWife as to way you did that, there again disregarding what is right and what your selfish thinking put down on paper but I am supposed to idoly sit by and say nothing or have an opinion. Seems like when I do, nothing matters anyway. you can hire a mediator all you want those are for the rich people that can’t talk it out with other people on there own. again when you deviate from the plan it is contempt unless it was o.k’d by both parties with the correct information”

ME. “I am not keeping them from you.  This is the schedule.   [Excerpt from parenting plan, Sat 8 am to Sun 7pm, every other week.]  You’re telling me that you are working Sat and Sun, which essentially means that you are neither able to pick them up on Saturday morning, nor are you able to drop them off on Sunday evening.  Therefore, you are forfeiting your visitation.”

Oh my goodness!  So much blah blah blah!!!  After ALL of this, the picture emerges.  He is working the weekend and trying to find a way to turn his lack of making room in his life for his kids into my fault.  It also appears that perhaps he wants me to drop off the kids for a few hours at his convenience on Saturday, because that is his available window.

Such a tedious read!  And yet, in a way, mildly entertaining in a voyeuristic way, akin to crap fiction.  So this is a snippet of the waters I navigate.  Sadly, not fictional at all.

I actually had some valuable thoughts emerge from this experience.  First I was shaken and disarmed by the threats, and then I was mystified by the references to wild back talk.  I mulled things over and observed my emotional reaction to the onslaught, noticing how easy it is to get caught up slinging vitriol.  I don’t want to sling vitriol.  I married that man for reasons that (sort of) made sense at the time.  I had children with him.  These are choices that I made and for which I am responsible.  Now I have to find a way to live with the consequences of my choices.  He’s projecting his own inadequacies.  That is evident.  He is who he is, and I can’t fault him for that.  He is completely entitled to be who he is.  We have nothing in common, other than our kids.  Try as I might, I simply can not understand him, nor communicate with him.  I can wish that he were a reasonable and kind man.  I can wish that he would have the courage to look in the mirror and take responsibility for himself and his own choices.  I can wish that he would step up and be a dad to and for his children.  Those are wishes, and certainly hopes.  I have no control or influence on any of those things.  I do have control over my own thoughts and actions.

I want to maintain clarity where the well-being of my children is concerned.  I want to be a good example for my kids.  I want to take the high road.  I want to be able to calmly face opposition, impervious to attack and distraction tactics.  These are all within my sphere of capability, given vigilance and self-discipline.

~*~*~*~

Update.  Because, you know, NewWife chimed in with some golden nuggets of her own.

05 Dec 2015; 12:53pm
NewWife:  I will be picking up the boys at 3pm today at the mcds in renton..ty see u then

1:51pm
Me:  No.

2:11pm
NewWife: Then we will see you in court for contempt for two weekends in a row

3:00pm
NewWife: I bet the boys will love to know that you have kept them from seeing their Dad for 2 months

My immediate reaction is still far too visceral, and my vigilance to my emotions can stand to step things up a notch.  I glanced at my phone, read the message, and became internally livid, truth be told.  Having received no confirmation for meeting Saturday morning at 9, having clarified via both text and email that visitation is posted as Sat morning until Sun evening, and having concluded via email that his visitation is forfeited, the scenario seemed clear.  So to receive her demand at nearly 2pm Saturday, pronouncing in effect that I should jump in the car and drive immediately to the meeting place…  It’s an hour drive on a good day…  Let’s just say, in retrospect, that they seem perfect for each other.  Militant.  Immature.  Materialistic.  Self-serving.  Despicable.

Is there any consideration for what’s good for the boys?  They are sweet children, finding their way in life.  They have a yearning for one-on-one time with their dad.  Very simple.  They don’t want to go to his house and be sequestered with his wife and her four rowdy children.  The first questions they ever pose when visitation time is at hand is whether he will be home, and whether he will be the one to pick them up.  Before that, however, they both immediately chime in that THEY DON’T WANT TO GO.  And so often they have expressed, forlornly, that they would love to just SIT AND WATCH A MOVIE with him.  I don’t want them to see all this BULLSHIT that takes place when attempting to coordinate visitation.

It’s disgusting, really.  It mostly boils down to an issue over the haves and have nots.  It’s all about the means, not about the boys.  It seems that they consider the disparity between our respective means a catchall for any justification of responsibility.  It seems that they think, because I have more ‘means’, that I should kowtow to their shortcomings.

Ummmmm.  No.

I’m struggling with this.  I have to see and know and understand and DO what is best for my children, while honoring and upholding what the law requires, and somehow navigate through the flotsam and jetsam of attempted communication with their father.  It is a crock.  And it stinketh.

Me no likey.

June 9th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

Being the vain creature that I am, I like best the photos in which I look lovely.  It makes perfect sense.  If I feel as though I look good, I might actually feel good.  Why is self-esteem such a strange beast for so many?  From our earliest days we are bombarded with images and ideas of what is pleasing and acceptable, and God help us if we don’t measure up to whatever standards are presented.  All that aside, it’s always been somewhat interesting, the disparity between how people see themselves and how others may see them.  This could hold true for more than just face value.  Ha ha.  Face value.  I slay myself sometimes.  What I mean to say is that the view  we have of ourselves, be it our emotional element, our mental element, our spiritual element, or our physical element, may vary widely from the view others hold as they perceive us.

Recently my mother expressed interest in updating her profile photo on Facebook.  She imagined that she must look so much better now than she did last year, as she’s lost quite a lot of weight since then.  Last year my sisters and I ditched our families and responsibilities for a weekend and descended upon our mom’s lair to celebrate her birthday.  We had a wonderful grown up girls time together, and even subjected our poor mother to endure a photo shoot in which we, the artists, applied makeup, arranged hair, advised wardrobe and took photos.  It was a time to treasure, in so many ways.  It was the first time we’ve  had a photo taken together.  Ever.  We were being girly.  My mother is NOT girly.  We would giggle when we’d notice her peeking at her reflection when she passed a window or a mirror.  She would scoff and grumble, but secretly we could tell that she was tickled by what she saw.  We all looked so beautiful, and not one of us under the age of forty.

glamour girls

I always see my sisters as beautiful, regardless of makeup, hairdo, or wardrobe.  They are eternal to me, locked in my heart as silken beauties with intelligence and abilities that span the cosmos.  We are KIM GIRLS!!  But I know with certainty that they don’t see themselves as the radiant beauties and paragons of humanity that I see.  I wish they did, because THEY ARE!!!

This year, while visiting my mother, I took a quick photo and showed it to her.  She was dismayed, to say the least.  The face she saw in the photo clearly did not match the visage she imagined.  I love the photo, though.  I love it because it’s a facet of our reality.  In this photo, I see, almost for the first time, our resemblance.  For most of my life, much of this resemblance has been masked by the prominence of my Korean heritage, but in this photo, it is very clear that we are cut from the same cloth.  This is a reflection of our everyday selves.  Unpolished.  Untamed.  These are the faces of a mother and daughter, 25 years apart in age.  She is 75 and I am 50.

peas in a pod

We both look dramatically different from the earlier photo.  We’ve gone from Vanity Fair to Mother Earth News.  Regardless of what I actually look like, I still prefer to imagine myself in a similar light as I see my sisters — timeless exquisite beauties.  And so it is, that I continue to wear the emperor’s new clothes.  But I’m not so vain that I won’t share a picture like this, that is more likely a representation of reality than any of the other pictures I share.  I can look at a picture like this and see a different kind of beauty.  I can see that I am my mother’s child.  She is, and always has been, beautiful to me.  A glamour girl like her own (and only) sister?  No.  A winner of any sort of popularity contest?  No.  An old hag in her own estimation.  But to me?  She is and always has been indomitable.  A pioneer spirit who can make something from almost nothing.  A tenacious survivor.  These are all beautiful traits that I am happy to inherit, should Providence be so inclined.

Posted in ego, family, me, mental health
January 12th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

I’m tired, I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I’m feeling worn today.  As though the myriad fragments of thoughts of recent sorrows and former sorrows are all pooling together and finding their way to the surface, wanting to break through.  I’m feeling like a meltdown is pending.  Or else in progress.

I know that I’m tired, physically, and that a good long sleep would likely make these feelings go away.  Maybe they’re not so large at all, and would be nothing, if I could rest some more and let them drift off to a safe and peaceful place where they can feed my wisdom, but not hurt my heart.

So many of us are working through such struggles.  Some of monumental proportion. Some, not so much, but in their own estimation, they are monumental.  The struggle exists for us all.  Add to that the burden of misperceptions and misunderstandings.  All these unnecessary emotional struggles!

I think about the role I’ve played in other people’s lives.  The things I’ve done to give a helping hand.  Small things.  Big things.  In some ways and at some times it’s been sort of like helping a child learn to swing or ride a bike.  I give them a push, get them started, explain how to pump the legs or pedal the bike, so that they can go forth on their own.  Sometimes a push is all that’s needed.  And sometimes the push does little at all.  If they just move forward on the original momentum without adding their own force of pumping or peddling, whichever the case may be, inertia eventually wins and all things come to a stop.  In real life, with my own kids, in the same example of trying to teach them to swing or ride, I find myself frustrated when they give up and don’t try to propel themselves.  They want the easy road.  Mama, keep pushing!  But I don’t want to push any more.  I want them to learn and become self-sufficient.

In the adult world, I guess the wise thing to do is acknowledge that when another has allowed inertia to set them back to where they were, the consequential struggle isn’t my responsibility or my concern.  It would also be wise not to conclude that my efforts were ever wasted.  I shouldn’t rue the choices I’ve made, because always, in some manner, something positive and good comes.  Even if it doesn’t look like it, or seem possible.   Always it does.  Always.

It’s hard to watch the struggle.  I don’t know why so many people don’t believe in themselves.  What is there that can’t be done?  So much can be accomplished if one just tries.  Maybe we don’t know where to start, or how to start, but if we just try, we can get somewhere.  Maybe it’s not the right direction.  Then adjust.  And maybe that’s not quite right.  Adjust again.  Just keep on.  Almost anything is possible.

Of course, this only pertains to the struggle of managing our own lives in the realm of things that can be controlled.  It has nothing to do with the struggle of coping with things that are dumped on us from who knows where for who knows why.  Like cancer.  Or mental illness.  It’s an unfair battle.  The only thing I can see there is to do, for those who are caught in this kind of struggle, is to fight, and keep on fighting.  My heart aches and weeps for the unfair battles like these that people are thrown into.

I’m struggling with my own job of single parenting.  Wanting to nip things in the bud, and not knowing how to.  Wanting to impart harmony and peace, cooperation and consideration.  Not knowing how.

I’m struggling with my own sense of self.  I know who I am, but I wonder if anybody else does.  I spill out pages upon pages of words that describe my emotional being.  I have this cloud of emotion I’m swimming in right now, and I can’t fathom anybody else being able to understand it, and therefore understand me.  And that adds a sense of loneliness to the whole mix.  But why would it even matter if anybody understood what I feel and why?  This is just a part of me.  It’s my own journey.  It’s mine.  Why would a sense of loneliness even surface?  By definition it’s supposed to be singular.  Because it’s just me, and I am only one.  And that, by extension, makes me wonder how togetherness is possible, when it’s almost impossible to completely understand one another.  Maybe that’s the crux of it.  I want to understand (everyone, everything).  And I want to be understood.  It seems that I want the impossible, therefore the crushing awareness that what I want I can’t have.

I don’t know.  I’m blathering on about I don’t know what.  Today is my departed brother’s birthday.  Probably that has much to do with what I’m thinking and feeling.  He would be 44 today.  I miss him.

And I’m tired.

January 4th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

All in all, 2014 was beautifully and wonderfully life changing. Today I took a moment to open my gratitude jar, look through all the notes, and relive the joy.

a year of gratitude

I am smiling.

And so the jar, now empty, is ready to capture the joys of 2015.  It’s off to a beautiful start, and with this start, a new word to focus or define the year.  I’ve found my word for 2015.

A S S U R A N C E

October 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

I remember when we were kids there would be these  silly phrases we’d use.  Off like a prom dress (HA!  I was such a goody two shoes back then, so that phrase never applied to me…)  Dwayne the bathtub, I’m dwowning!  Make like a tree and leave.  Or maybe it was leaf.

Anyway.

It’s October, and the leaves are falling.  It’s October, and I’m not falling apart.  It’s October, and I’ve turned over a new leaf.  It’s October, and I’m rewriting the script.

amidst a rain of falling leaves

I don’t want to plummet to the abyss every October, because October holds so many monumental griefs for me.  I didn’t really plan it this way, but Providence made it such that new hope and new joys are embedded in October, and these things have begun to eclipse the griefs of other Octobers.

Thank God and His holy heavens for that.

I used to love October.  I used to revel in the crispness of the autumn air, and rejoice in the breathtaking colors that emerged on the leaves of the trees.  Oh, how I absolutely loved October.

But I lost my brother in October.  And I lost a very dear friend in October.  And another.  My marriage ended in October.  And just the other day, one of my dearest lifelong friends moved to the other side of the world.  I took her to the airport and said goodbye.  Will I ever see her again, face to face?  I don’t know.  I sure hope so, but I don’t know.  So you see, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the weight of October memories and grief.  In fact, September was very difficult for me, because October was looming.  I will admit, I had some moments of deep anxiety in September, but September has now gone.

amidst a glowing rain

These are all such weighty matters, these October milestones.  But it was October of last year that I began (in earnest) my journey back to me.  It is October, here and now, where I find myself in a good place.  I have much to be grateful for.  I have new friends, and a new and well embraced sense of community.  I have a new sense of acceptance, in which I am at peace with the life that I lead.  Whereas I acknowledge it’s not ideal, it is a beautiful life.  And who am I to truly know what it is that I want and need?  I have so much already.  Even if there is no such thing as Mr. RightForMe, I have some beautiful experiences to cherish forever.  If I were to die tomorrow, I’d go to my grave with a wealth of rich life experiences under my belt.  I have a renewed sense of hope.  I may not understand the circumstances under which it has been kindled, but it is very clear to me that hope prevails and that I have been called to simply trust.

love, forgive, hope

T R U S T

I am making peace with my self and the life that I lead.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A word about the cheesy art…

I think I painted that glowing figure in the 90s.  It’s very juvenile, but I was thinking of immersion.  Immersion in love, in healing rain, in tears, in golden leaves, in grace.  I suppose the same sorts of things I’m always thinking about.  And even in the darkness, there is the light of healing rain.

Above a doorway are words to live by.  It’s rather sloppy, and didn’t turn out as I’d envisioned.  I still like it, anyway.  One day I plan to remake this as a mosaic, rather than a word collage.

Posted in art, depression, family, love, me, men
September 4th, 2013 | No Comments »

How’s that for a title?

I had quite a bit more stuff written here, blah blah blah, but I think the title pretty much sums it  up.

a bit morbid, yet a bit brilliant, and a bit apropos as well

December 31st, 2012 | 2 Comments »

I am happy to bid adieu to 2012.  I would say that 2012 took me for a ride, but it would be more honest to say that I let 2012 take me for a ride.  I could call it the ride of a lifetime.  Woohoo!  Put a bright spin on it.  A ride indeed.  I think I may have experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life in good ‘ole 2012.

It’s all good, really.  My life is full.  My children are happy and healthy.   We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food in our bellies, and warm beds to sleep in.

There is beauty and wisdom in all things, no matter the circumstance.  It just takes a certain perspective to be able to see it.

I won’t say that losing one’s children to the slaughter of a mad man has any beauty in it, but the shock and the horror force (some of) us to take note of our family circles, be more vigilant, hold our children more, and be more grateful for every little moment, and embrace it all.  Even when we’re at our wits end and drowning in frustration.  All these things are trifles.  I want to drink it all in.  Treasure. Every.  Moment.

The time that the children are children is fleeting.  I blinked my eyes and see so many of my nieces and nephews and my friends’ children are already grown.  Grown!  Where did the years go?

My hair is turning (more) gray.  My skin is starting to show its wear.

Professionally, I did well in 2012.  I had some lofty goals and I had actually admitted defeat to myself as well as my boss that it was unlikely that I’d be able to finish the super project before the end of the work year.   I pressed on, and somehow (by the grace of God and the skin of my teeth) I did it!  I felt like a superstar, and it was a great sense of accomplishment.  I don’t think it really mattered much to anyone but me, that I finished by the deadline, but it did matter to me, and I was/am pleased with myself  –pauses to pat self on back.  I suppose I ought to acknowledge that being a superstar for a moment barely compensates for all the days that my performance was distracted and disjointed from the emotional fray that I was buried in for the better part of the year.

Spiritually I’ve had some growth in 2012.  Not the sort of growth that a mainstream Christian might acknowledge or agree with, but I’ve learned some things and for that I’m grateful.  I thought that I wanted to settle into a church family, but realize that I’m truly not drawn that way.  I love the people, I love the worship.  But I belong to a church that is not made with hands, and that church is my home, wherever I am.  I don’t hunger for the company of a congregation, and I’m secure in the knowledge that I am a child of God.

This year has been a rough ride for me emotionally.  I’ve endured much.  I’ve made my loved ones endure much.  I tried so very hard to do more than I am able to do.  Like that image of a circus performer spinning plate after plate after plate.  I had so many plates spinning, but I just couldn’t keep it up, and they all came crashing down.  Lord, how I tried.  I gave it a good shot, though!

Physically, the twists and turns and ups and downs have taken their toll.  Whereas I’ve maintained my weight for most of the year, the past few months have seen a dramatic change in overall physical well-being.  From the moment that I made the decision to re-find myself, I’ve put on weight and my blood sugar has climbed.  Something’s got to give, I suppose.  I’m trying not to panic.  I’m attempting to take it in stride and breathe deeply, knowing that things will settle once I get a stronger grip on the emotional side of my life.

So where am I now?  I don’t really know.  In transition, I suppose.  I’m not settled.  I’m not where I want to be.  But I’m changing and standing faithfully where I need to stand.  I tell myself not to be afraid.  I tell myself that everything will be okay.  And it is.

adieu 2012