I keep coming back to this song, the one playing in the background. Last night while riding the train home I had this song playing while I thought about what I wanted to post today. I wanted to post something meaningful, something you'd remember when you left this place of mine. This song, "Into the Light," by Alice Peacock really sums up what I want to tell you all. So listen to it. Stop what you are doing, close your eyes, and listen to the words. If you like it you can download it or some of my other songs I've had on this blog by clicking here.
This year has passed so quickly, at least for some of us. Some of us have endured pain, some joy, but no matter what has brought you here, this is where we are - together. We've shared the scars that sometimes have kept us from moving forward and struggled against letting them define us. We've watched natural disasters unmask a world we know existed but rarely took the time to examine. Some of us cried, some of us looked away, whichever you did - you still felt something whether you wanted to or not. Sometimes we've been allowed to step inside the shoes of someone else, to look into their windows, peek under the covers, see - what they see. Even though those moments fade quickly, sometimes they leave a trace of their existence behind and we remember them, for whatever they are worth. We've met your children, your loved ones, your parents, your pets, your people. We've laughed and cried and cursed and blushed - at all the parts we've so graciously been given access to. Some of us have revealed more than others, whether it be the skin that covers the outside or the scars that decorate the inside, we've shared - something. In a couple of days you will be given a chance to start a new year, a new beginning, a new attitude, a new outlook. Some of us will use our new beginning to put an end to something else. An end to heartache, an end to loneliness, an end to the misery we sometimes think we deserve. Some of us will learn to forgive ourselves for the very first time, while some of us learn new forms of punishment. Some of us will move forward, some back, some will stay still for fear of failing no matter what direction they choose to go. Whichever path you choose, do it with full conscience. Know yourself, even if you are scared of not liking what you find. We are so rarely given second chances in this lifetime, or maybe we're given them but choose not to use them out of fear or stupidity. Don't be scared this time, you've got shoulders to lean on....come into the light and you just might be surprised at what you find.
Have a wonderful New Year.
I posted this ear before so you'd whisper something naughty. Yes that was nice but then I realized these ears of mine have something else they need to do...
Shhh, can you hear me?
You ask so many questions...I have the answers.
Why can't you trust me?
Is it because I've let you down, I've caused you pain?
What you seek to know, it's right here.
You've cursed my existence and sworn to put an end to my life.
But you can't do it can you?
Sometimes you succeed for awhile, but eventually you turn to me again.
Maybe some days my judgment seems clouded, but really that's just you not listening again.
I have scars to prove my worthiness.
Look at them, they'll show you how far we've come together.
When you've felt like ending it all, I keep beating, breathing life back into you.
I do it for you, not for me.
Thump, thump, thump.
That rhythm can calm your fears.
That's what I'm here for.
Forget my mistakes, everyone makes them.
Mistakes are the lessons that make us remember, the reasons we change.
If you would just listen....to me, you would hear me saying - I love you.
Every year about this time I sit down with pen in hand and try to think up some New Year's resolutions. As much as I like to think I'm creative, almost every year my resolutions seem to mock each other....save more money, eat healthier, spend more time with loved ones, work on advancing my career, do something just for fun. Every year I make these resolutions and every year I fail to fulfill them. In my thirty some years of living I can remember exactly one time that I actually accomplished any of my new year's goals. What's wrong with me? Probably nothing, I'm just like the rest of the population. We set goals for ourselves, call them resolutions, and rarely do we ever fulfill them. Most times we don't spend more than a couple of weeks even thinking about them. We celebrate on New Year's eve and before the clock strikes midnight we all get ready to vow to change our lives or our behaviors the next year coming. Maybe where the problem lies is that we only set these sort of goals once a year. What kind of ambition is that to only take a looksey at yourself once a year, set some resolutions, then check-in on your progress when the calendar and the clock are about to throw us into a new year? I think a much better idea would be to make some resolutions on a monthly basis. At the start of each month sit down with yourself and say, "these are the things I'd like to accomplish this month." Don't you think those goals would be more obtainable? It would also force us to look at ourselves a bit more often than once a year. I know the hype and tradition tell us that we have to set New Year's resolutions but honestly, how many of you actually keep those resolutions? We most times get well into our adulthood before we realize it's all a load of crap. New Year's day isn't about what promises you are going to make to yourself for the next year, it's about taking a gander at the year's past and being able to not only realize, but admit, the things you could have done differently that would change the outcome of the next year to come. History will only repeat itself if it's never contemplated. Before you take that pen in your hand this year, before you pull yourself up a chair in front of that computer screen - ready to scrawl some heart felt resolutions, remember what brought you to this place you are now. Study each decision that paved the path you followed to get you to this reality. Contemplate your history. When you've remembered enough, make some resolutions, some promises - to yourself and when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, make a pact with yourself that next year you'll contemplate your history at least 12 times. Inch by inch life is a cinch, mile by mile - life takes a while. Baby steps dear friends, baby steps.
Well it's almost over, the holiday season that is. I hope the holidays brought smiles to all of your faces and that whatever holiday you celebrated, it was a happy one. I'm actually glad it's almost over. Although I loved spending time with my family, I must admit the holidays have brought a bit of stress to my otherwise semi-calm life. It's so hard splitting up your time between families so each one feels equally compensated. Anyway, thank goodness it only happens once a year. Now the new year is almost upon us. I get a double dose of 'whammy' this time of year because I not only get to make some sort of 'resolutions' for the next year, I get to do it while turning a year older the very next day. You know I've always hated my birthday, January 2nd, because people are broke and hung over. I usually get the, "I'm too tired to help you celebrate." Oh well, I suppose I'm reaching those years where the day of my birth is better left hiding in the shadows of my mother's memory. It's true what they say, getting older really does suck.
Tomorrow I've decided to work on my New Year's resolutions...so stay tuned.
Merry Christmas my sweet child, today Santa came and left you lots of toys. I hope you learn soon, that you cannot measure how much I love you by the number of presents you unwrapped this morning, although they were plenty, my love for you cannot be found in them. Instead measure the magnitude of my love by how many times I greet you in the middle of the night when you cry out to me. How often I hug you just because you are there, kiss your nose because of it's roundness, or smile at you when you look at me. Measure my love through the attention I pay to every detail of your incredible little self, and know that those details are stored safely in my memory. My love for you knows no limits and no boundaries, it will exist long after both of us leave this earth. I know it's nice to have toys my darling, but know that it's the love I have for you that will keep you company, keep you warm, keep you safe. Love is the most wonderful gift I could ever give you and I hope you learn to cherish it more than any material possession. Merry Christmas dear child, my hope for you is that on every day you celebrate my love as if you've just unwrapped a present.
Today instead of posting HNT pics we were supposed to pick 3 bloggers and tell about what we'd get them for Christmas. I was ready, I had a mental list in my head of who I was going to pick and what perfect present I'd get them but as I stood in line this morning waiting to pay for my coffee and oatmeal, I saw this. It's the story of abandoned twin babies left in a church. Damnit. I was actually in a good mood today but as I stood there sneaking a look at the article my heart began to ache. I suppose we should give the mother some credit, she did leave the babies in a semi-warm place where they were sure to be found instead of the freezing back yard that the baby a few weeks ago was dumped in. Generous right? Being a mother, I cannot fathom even entertaining the thought of abandoning my child. Yes things happen, children are born into this world unplanned, into families that cannot afford them, but come on people are we really that damn selfish? I'm not even sure selfish is the right word. Being selfish is more like eating the last doughnut or taking the last cup of coffee when you know other people might want it. Leaving a helpless child in a backyard, a trash can, a church - is not selfish it's evil. I don't know what else to call it. We live in a world where there are choices. Choices to use birth control, choices to give a child up for adoption, choices to ask for help. There are even choices to leave your child at a fire station or a hospital with no questions asked, but apparently the effort it took to find one of these establishments was too hard of a choice, too much to give up. We are always taught that there are consequences for our actions but I'm starting to think that maybe those consequences are not tough enough. The mother who left those children, if found, will most likely get a second chance to reclaim her children. Why? The chance she had when they came into this world wasn't enough of a chance? I think when you treat your babies like old shoes that don't fit your feet anymore so you discard them, you lose all hope of getting another chance. If they don't fit today, they won't fit tomorrow.
I'm angry, can you tell? I wish that every day was filled with happy thoughts, especially around the holidays. I wish I never had to pick up a paper or turn on the TV and hear stories of children being thrown away like trash. But that's not possible is it? I've decided that I don't want anything for myself this Christmas. That list I wrote to Santa yesterday, well I need to change it. Santa, if you are listening I'd like to change my wish list. If you can Santa, will you please teach people that a human life is the most precious gift in the world. I know most of us know this already, but somehow there are still those that didn't learn that lesson, maybe they were absent that day, maybe they just can't read. The next time a child is born into this world and no one wants them, can you just take them to someone who does? There are so many people in this world with so much love to give, can't you just send a little cosmic vibe connecting them to every child that needs someone to be their savior? I know it's a lot to ask Santa, but right now, this world really needs a miracle.
I know what you are thinking, I'm kind of old to be sending you a Christmas list, but I need some help. You might read this list and think to yourself, NWC these are things that cannot be bought or made. You'd be right in your thinking Santa, but somehow I keep losing the directions on how to fulfill these wishes of mine. Maybe if you could just leave a nice simple set of directions next to the plate of cookies (double chocolate chip mind you) I would be forever grateful.
1. Patience - I expect the whole world to rotate on its axis at a rate that I feel best suits me. As much as I try, I cannot seem to find the patience to just let things be, let them happen at someone else's pace. Please show me how Santa.
2. Optimism - I tend to see the negative side of every situation. I don't think I've always been like this but somehow this pessimism thing has snuck up on me and wrapped itself so tightly around my being that sometimes I struggle to breath. Please Santa, show me how to see the bright side of things.
3. Forgiveness - Santa, I have a really hard time with this one. I tend to scratch the memory of every painful moment and the person responsible for inflicting that pain into my brain and into my heart. Sometimes my resentment for that person, for that pain, changes the direction of my life. I spend too much time being angry and if it's possible I'd like to learn to forgive that person. If you could show me how, maybe I'll learn how to forgive her, I mean myself.
4. Love - Most times I don't think I need help with this one Santa. I've loved quite a bit in my lifetime. I love my daughter, I love my significant other but where I fall short, is in the ability to love myself. I thought I knew how but sometimes I think my perception of what loving myself really means, escapes me. I am my toughest critic and I often forget to give myself a break. I want to be perfect but I am not. I hold myself up to such high standards that most times I fail to meet them. Can you help me Santa? Help me love this person I am inside and out? Help me love the flaws and celebrate the beauty of who I am?
5. Red Corvette - ok, so this one isn't really on the same level as the wishes above but honestly if I had a red Corvette I'm sure I would be patient when sitting in traffic, I'd be optimistic that I wouldn't get a speeding ticket, I'd forgive the nice police officer who pulled me over for going 10 miles over the speed limit, and darn it I'd love myself. What's not to love about NWC sitting in a red Corvette.
Ok, so that's it Santa, my grown up Christmas list. Please help me. Thanks
P.S. I'll understand if you can't fit that red Corvette under my tree.
When I was 9 I heard Santa Claus on the roof of our house. I stayed up all night waiting to hear those reindeer or catch a glimpse of Santa. I remember my mom coming in my room to check on me and I laid perfectly still so she'd think I was asleep. She touched my cheek to see if I was warm enough then gently kissed my forehead and tiptoed out of my room satisfied that I was off in dreamland. As I lay there contemplating my 9 year old life while trying desperately to stay awake, I heard tiny little scratching noises on the roof of our house. I was convinced it was Santa so I climbed out of bed, put on my pink barbie slippers and quietly shuffled across the room sneaking out into the hall way. I never realized how dark our house was at night, there were no soft moonbeams dancing across the walls, just dense blackness. Suddenly I remembered that I was scared of the dark, my heart began to race, I wanted to retreat back to the safeness of my bedroom but the anticipation of seeing Santa was enough to keep my feet moving onward. Slowly I felt my way along the wall and finally made my way to the living room. There were more windows so finally the moon cast a glow and illuminated the fireplace mocking a stage where the show was about to begin. I stood in front of the fireplace running my hand up and down the cool stone, it was rough, would Santa hurt himself as he slid down the chimney? I planted myself on the floor, the dying embers of the fire still allowed a bit of warmth to penetrate the knobby knees barely hidden by my nightgown. I was warm but I was so tired, maybe I could just lay down in front of the fire for a few minutes, surely Santa would be coming soon. My eye lids grew heavy and as much as I tried to force them open, I could not stay awake. I tucked my knees under my nightgown and curled up in the fetal position, warm and safe I drifted off to sleep. I dreamt 9 year old dreams, running through the pastures behind our house as my horse Snow chased me, building a fort out of pillows and sheets - hiding for hours until my mom called me for dinner, failing a test at school and being sent back to kindergarten, watching my father's face harden with disappointment. I felt someone brush my bangs off my forehead, slip their arms underneath my limp body, and carry me away. Soon the warmth and heaviness of the duvet on my bed was cradling my body like a glove on a hand. Was it Santa, I tried to force my eyes open but the lids were so heavy as if ten million pins held them shut. Something soft brushed against my face like the velvet feel of a kitten's fur. My mother is calling me, is it morning? Did Santa come? I jumped out of bed and raced across the room and down the hallway. "Mom, mom, did he come, was he here?" As I bounded into her arms she held me tight to her chest, "yes NWC he did come and last night I heard a sound in the hallway so I got up to see what it was and do you know what I saw?" "What, what mama, what did you see?" "I saw Santa carrying you back to your bed." I gasped with shock, "I knew it, I knew I saw him." "Yes NWC, you saw Santa." I looked at my mom, her hair in curlers, her bathrobe pulled tightly around her frame, she smiled at me and in that instant I loved her more than anything on earth.
I will always remember that Christmas not because I saw Santa, but because I saw my mother loving me and me loving her. I will carry that moment with me for the rest of my life. Every Christmas I still race down the stairs filled with anticipation at seeing what Santa left me, and every Christmas I'm thankful that right there next to that decorated Christmas tree, is my mom, grinning from ear to ear, holding her arms open welcoming me home.
On Saturday night I had to share my time with my sig. other's parents at a Filipino holiday celebration. I was a bit put off by the whole idea since I don't get much time with my daughter I tend to be bent out of shape at the thought of sharing it with someone else who isn't my family. Yes that's a selfish thought, but at least I'm honest about it. Maybe it's hard for me because I don't feel like a real part of their family, maybe it's hard because I feel it's mostly me that gives up things, maybe I'm just being childish. Whatever the reason, I was kind of angry. I went anyway but I'm sure my reluctance showed through the facade I'd constructed. It was cold, I was tired, but I dressed my daughter in her Christmas best and headed out to a church hall where I knew exactly 3 people. I smiled and pretended to be the happy about being there, I did it for him, not for them. Of course they wanted to hold Alice, but she wasn't having it, she wanted mommy which secretly made me jump for joy. Of course I tried to get her to go to them, but she wouldn't. Maybe she could feel my invisible heart strings pulling her closer to me, maybe she felt as out of place as I did. And then the music started. Her little body started to move back and forth to the beat, she clapped her hands and smiled. I let her down, stood her in front of me, not too far, not too close, but my strings still securely attached. She began to dance and suddenly every bit of anger and resentment I'd felt, disappeared. I spent the next two hours watching my daughter dance as if nothing else in the world mattered. It was then that I realized, nothing else did matter except that little person out there moving her feet to the music. People watched her in amazement, she was happy and free, she'd learned to let herself feel things, music, love - with no regrets. I'm supposed to be the parent, the teacher, but it was her giving me a lesson. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the injustices in this world, the infractions on our precious time, that we forget to stop and listen to the music. I have to listen more often, to the music, to myself, to my daughter. My hope for all of us is that when life seems to be too much, we remember to stop and listen to the music, and dance as if nothing else mattered.
As far back as I can remember there has always been one day that I live the rest of my week for, Friday. Even as a kid I'd wake up on Monday morning thinking, "I can't wait until Friday." Fridays signify the end of one thing and the beginning of another. On Friday we can take off our 'grown up responsible mask' and put on our 'I want to be a lazy oaf mask,' although somehow my mask has become torn around the edges because I still manage to have a portion of the 'I have to clean the house' mask on underneath the 'lazy oaf' one. Not fair. On Fridays most people seem to be in a good mood regardless of how crappy a week they had. On Fridays we get to stop being someone else's puppet, cut the strings, and act out our own play. Well at least most of us do, somehow my opening act seems to be dictated by a very small puppeteer named Alice. On Fridays broken hearts seem less painful, maybe it's the relief from making it through the days before, maybe it's knowing you can drink yourself into oblivion to numb the pain or find some unsuspecting bandaid to doctor your wound for awhile. Fridays mean freedom. We get to unlock our cell door and take a gander at the outside world - at least until Sunday. So here is your hall pass for the weekend. Use it wisely, you only have a couple of days before your back in lock-up.
Happy Friday everyone.
Sometimes don't you just want to close your eyes? Why is it that the mere action of closing an eyelid can bring peace or calm? Are we really blocking out the bad stuff just because we can't see it? I'm not sure, but I know several times a day I like to sit back and close my eyes, close the rest of the world out, and just exist - inside myself. Sometimes you can see more clearly when your eyes are not open at all. Happy HNT!
Thank you for sharing your fears with me yesterday, it helped me realize I'm not alone and fear is something we all experience. After I wrote that post yesterday I wrote an email to my sig. other about me being afraid. I was scared to send it to him, but I did, I was scared to read his reply, but I read it anyway. Turns out that he's just as afraid as me. I think this blog helps me more than I ever realized. It's sort of become this place to pour my thoughts, pain, emotions, into a place that I cannot be judged. The thing about releasing what's inside of you, it allows you to look at it, feel it, and let it go. Sometimes the letting go part takes more than one post, sometimes it takes many, but as the words appear on the screen it's a step toward something else. Most times that something else is freedom. I wrote my fears here on this blog and then I told them to the person I should be able to share everything with - but most times am too afraid too. He didn't judge me, instead he shared his own fears. I'm still afraid and I probably will be for a long time, but at least it's out there around us instead of between us. Fear is only as powerful as you let it be.
What are you scared of? Anything? Through my life the answer to that question has changed many times. When I was a kid I wasn't scared of the dark or high places, I was scared that my dad would leave my mom, and he did. It's strange how you can fear something and then once it happens, it either stops being scary or it changes you forever - makes you tough in ways you never anticipated. As a teenager I was scared of getting caught doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing, sneaking out, drinking, skipping school. I wasn't scared of getting my heart broke because I thought love lasted forever. I wasn't scared of dying because when you are young you think you're invincible. When I became an adult my fears got more complicated. When you are older most fears come from something you've already experienced, not the unknown. Your heart gets broken so you become afraid to love again, you lose your job and it makes you scared of failing, you lose a friend and suddenly you're terrified no one likes you. Fear is a powerful thing. It can stop you from living, from loving, from being the person you long to be. One thing I know has changed from my wonder years to now is that most days I don't think about the things I'm scared of. I'm not sure that's actually a good thing. If we deny being afraid, does that makes us stronger or does it put us in denial? How can you ever overcome something if you don't admit it exists? Maybe it's too hard, maybe we are actually afraid of being afraid. I need to change because right now I'm tired of being scared. So here it goes, I'm afraid.
I'm afraid that my significant other won't marry me. Damn that was scary just saying it. It's not that I believe marriage is the answer to all my problems, it's that I want someone to think I'm good enough to marry.
I'm afraid that people won't see me. I know they see me physically but do they see what's on the inside, and if they do, will they stay?
I'm afraid that one day my daughter will grow up and make the same mistakes I have and I won't be able to save her from the pain.
I'm afraid of crying. Once, I went two years without crying - because I was afraid that if I started, I'd never stop. I'm afraid that my tears will take me nowhere except a place that I might never escape.
I'm afraid. Are you?
I took my daughter to see Santa over the weekend and as I stood in line waiting for 30 minutes convincing myself it was for her - not for me, I started thinking about all the things that fill up my life, take my time, make me tired, empty my pocketbook. Inevitably when contemplating these things the question of why always follows. Sometimes I feel down right envious of those people that only have to worry about themselves. Those people that can sleep as late as they want, go out any night they want and stay out until 3 - not wake up at 6 every morning because someone is calling out for you or stay in on a weekend nights because you don't have a babysitter. Those people who only have to spend money on themselves - not a nanny for their daughter, not toys to put under the tree, not groceries to fill the fridge. Those people that can spend their Sundays reading a book, watching a movie - not rocking a sick baby or watching the Wiggles for the tenth time. These things sometimes make me envy those without dependents. For a moment I allowed myself to think selfish thoughts but then it was our turn to see Santa. I was afraid she'd cry as I sat her atop Santa's knee. She looked at me with those questioning eyes wondering if it was ok, could she trust this old guy dressed in red? He touched her cheek and spoke to her in a soft voice, she smiled and started giggling. "Ho Ho Ho," she said...just like I'd taught her to do. My heart melted. How on earth could I ever be selfish for one moment of any day? I picked her up off of Santa's knee and hugged her tightly, she smelled of pine cones and baby powder. "Alice see Santa," she told me as she grinned from ear to ear. "Yes baby, Alice saw Santa," I responded. We walked down Roscoe street looking at the lights and listening to the carolers. We stopped for a moment so she could sing along to 'jingle bells', my life was full but I thanked God for that, before I was empty and given the choice between the two - full was always better than empty. I had my answers to my questions:
I wake up early every morning to the sound of a little voice calling, "mommy, mommy," and it's the music that carries me through the day. I stay home most Friday and Saturday nights not because I can't find a babysitter, but because I just don't get enough time to soak up every wonderful little bit of my sweet child. I go to work each day so I can pay for her college, know she's safe at home with her nanny, I can buy her toys, feed her food, buy her nice things because buying things for myself just doesn't make me as happy as buying things for her. I spend my Sundays rocking my child when she has a fever because I cannot stand seeing her in pain. I watch the Wiggles over and over because seeing my sweetness smile and dance is better than any movie I could ever watch.
I am so lucky. I have this little person that has pieces of me and the man I love tucked safely inside of her. I know now that I'm the one to be envied, my life is full.
Last night Chicago received 9 inches of snow. At 7:15 p.m. a plane at Midway airport skidded off the runway on landing, broke through a barrier wall and rolled into traffic on a busy street. Surprisingly no one on the plane was injured but those on the street were not so lucky. Most were minor injuries but some were critical. It's amazing how the word 'serious' can be a positive thing when you add the word 'critical' as the alternative. I sat and watched the story unfold on the news eager for any bits of information I could obtain. I think we're all 'drama hungry' like that, wanting to watch other people's misery. Remember 9/11, of course you do, remember sitting in front of the TV for hours on end unable to tear yourself away from the images flashing across your screen? You were horrified, yet still you couldn't look away. You were angry, you were sad, but mostly you were a statue unable to move your arms and legs to carry you away from the horror coming through the airways. Have you ever driven past an accident and slowed down so you could see what happened? Why? Have you ever over-heard someone telling a tale of woe, and listened more intently to ensure you captured every detail? Why? Or are you one of those people that can turn away, turn off the TV, shut off the radio, not read the news headlines? What does that make you - self absorbed? The majority of the rest of the world thrives on trauma. Hurricanes, tsunami's, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, plane crashes - we have to watch, we have to know, what happened. Why? Will it make us stop and re-evaluate our lives and the importance of each person in it? Will it make us realize that life really is short and make us live each day to the fullest? Will it make us pick up the phone and call that friend we have not spoken to in years, just to say hello? Will it make us hug our children tighter, kiss our significant others more often, be kinder to our neighbor - will it change us? Maybe. Mostly it will make us sad for a moment but then our lives will pick back up exactly where they left off without anything changing at all. We're a breed that has compassion but often lacks the will power or strength or patience or desire - to turn that compassion into a daily chore. I can't point fingers or lay blame because I've practiced the same behavior. After 9/11 I remember telling myself that I would act differently, I'd be kinder, I wouldn't be in such a hurry - yet within a month I was back to my old ways. I pushed my way through crowds on the train, cursed at the other drivers while in traffic, wasn't any kinder to the butt kiss guy at work, stressed out because I didn't have enough time for all the things I wanted to fill my life up with, and forgot very soon how quickly life can be ripped out from under you. I wanted to change but I couldn't.
Last night a plane skidded off the runway at Midway airport, there were casualties but only one that made me right this post. A 6 year old boy was killed. Never again will he lay awake at night on Christmas eve anticipating Santa's visit, he won't experience a first kiss, a first love, a first anything. His parents will mourn his death and forever be missing a part of their hearts - one they will never be able to fill. He was taken from this world for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I sat there watching the news unable to tear myself away from the story unfolding. The news finally ended, as all stories do, and still I sat there watching the snow falling outside my front window. I sat there and I cried, for him, for me, for my own child. As I type this a lump forms in the back of my throat and I ache for that little boy. Part of me wants to feel that ache for the rest of the day, for tomorrow, for the next, until I change. I can promise myself that I'll be kinder to my neighbor, that I'll hug my child tighter, I'll appreciate my sig. other more - but promises are only wishes, not contracts. I'm not sure how to end this, how to make the next step I take mean something that lasts. I guess I'll do what my mom always taught me to do, try. Maybe if we all tried to be a better version of ourselves, every casualty would be something else besides an ending.
This is the only part of me that doesn't hurt today...once again I'm sick on HNT and I want my mommy. So this is a short HNT...but here's my advice for the day - go out and lick something you like (even if it's the person sitting next to you). We really must learn to use all our body parts to the best of. their abilities
It's Christmas time which means long lines at department stores, crowded malls, busy streets, and the sound of bells ringing. I'm not talking about the type of bells that ring when an angel gets her wings. I'm speaking of the person standing outside your favorite store ringing a bell with a red bucket near by, taking donations. You know the ones I'm speaking of. They're the reason you walk a bit out of your way to get to the door that's not directly in their line of sight. I'm guilty too, I've gone out of my way to avoid that "ring, ring, ring." I'm not sure why I avoid them other than the obvious fact, I'm selfish. I don't like to admit that, heck, most days I'd deny that. But what other reason could there be for not dropping a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket? Am I poor, not most days. Do I hate helping those less fortunate? Not really, I think SA is a good organization. Am I afraid they'll judge me for not giving enough? No, I doubt they'd judge anyone. Then why can't I walk right up to that bucket and drop a few coins in? Why can't I use the money that I spend every morning on that cup of coffee from Caribou and force myself to drink the free coffee at work? I could drink water instead of pop, $.75, I could eat a bagel from home instead of buying one, $1.75, I could read the newspaper online instead of spending $.75 for a paper that lays on my desk untouched then magically makes it to the recycle bin nicely folded as if it's never been read. How about I make a sandwich at home, just for a day, and save $8. If I just stopped being so selfish I could donate at least $11 every day. Wow, I spend a lot of money on myself. I'm not saying I'm not worth it, I am. But this is Christmas, the time of giving, can I put my needs aside for one month? I'm going to try...after all it's just a drop in the bucket. A little generosity goes a long long way. How about you, do you hear any angels getting their wings?
I wrote a post awhile back about my step-dad who has Alzheimers. I was home visiting over the weekend so I got to spend some time with him. Sometimes I don't know how my mom does it, being his wife, his caregiver, his boss, his mother. That's what Alzheimers does, it takes away everything you know, everything you've learned, and turns you back into a kid that doesn't remember how to tie their shoes, take a shower, make a meal. It's heart breaking to see someone that once was so self reliant turn into a person that must depend on everyone else to survive. My mom gets so frustrated and she feels cheated. Her life now revolves around him whether she wants it that way or not. She loves my step-dad but she's only been married to him for 8 years so her time with him, healthy, has been limited. I guess it's harder to give up your life for someone that hasn't been present in your life forever. I wonder, if we knew that the days we spent with someone were limited, would we spend them differently? My step-dad tries desperately to remember his life, while my mom tries to forget hers. Some of us think remembering will set us free, some of us know forgetting is our only savior. If we had a choice, which would we choose, remembering or forgetting?
Someone recently asked me how I write the stories, the posts, I put on my blog. They reveal so much about me, the pain I've endured, the battles I've encountered, the heartaches that have sometimes consumed my life. How do I cut myself open and let the rest of the world watch me bleed? At first, I didn't know the answer to this question. I have a lot of things inside of me, thoughts, words, feelings, and I honestly don't know what else to do with them except write them down. I guess I'm lucky that I have the creative ability to share them in such a way that they might move someone. You see, I know there are other people that exist in this world that have had similar experiences. I believe that most of us are scared to death of revealing too much about ourselves partly because we fear being rejected for what's inside of us, partly because we fear that if we give up too much, we'll lose some part of our lives that we desparately try to keep private. I guess I've never been good at revealing only pieces of myself and keeping other parts hidden. I mean it's easy not to let people in, but it's damn near impossible to want them to know you, see or understand how you ended up strong or compassionate or empathic without unveiling the road that led you to that place. It's a road that I've often waivered from. Hell, it's much easier to paint your life pretty and pretend everything matches the expectations people set for you. I've never liked easy. When I write my fingers move with fluid motion, pouring from them are the pieces of me that I know I must share. I share them to free myself, to make myself strong, to remind myself that every moment of every day I have something to say whether it's just me listening - or the whole damn world. Once, my English professor asked me what I wanted to accomplish with my writing. I told him that I wanted people to read my words and feel something. It didn't matter if it was pity, anger, empathy, happiness, as long as it was something. Think about how many words pass through your day without causing you to feel at all.
I write my life on the pages of this blog so that one day someone might come to me and say, "You know what NWC, I feel something when I read your words and somehow it helped me." If that can happen, I'll know that as hard as it is to rip off my mask, it was all worth the pain.
I became a 'saver' at a very young age. My father is an alcoholic. Wow, that actually hurt typing those words out. I wonder if it's as painful for the addict to admit their addiction as it is for their child to acknowledge it? I'd love to be able to put the words 'recovering' in front of that word - alcoholic - but I can't. Although my dad doesn't drink nearly as much as he did when I was growing up, he is not 'recovering'. This time of year always ties me up in knots. Maybe it's the stress that comes from trying to divide my time between three sets of families (my parents are divorced and remarried), or maybe it's the stress that comes from knowing I'll have to be around my dad while he's knocking back a few 'hot totties' to get in the spirit of the holidays. I love my dad, there's never been a doubt in my mind about that, but I cannot erase all the years of damage his drinking has done to me. I can't remember the first time I realized my dad was an alcoholic, but I do remember the first time everyone else discovered he was. I was 14 and my dad came to see my gymnastic meet, he was intoxicated. He kept trying to talk to me in that loud voice that was supposed to be a whisper, only everyone else on the planet could hear him. I was embarrassed, not for me, for him. I knew that no matter how wonderful I thought my father was, all anyone else would see was his disease. My dad wasn't one of those stereotypical drunks, you know the ones we see the actors on tv portray? He was never violent towards me, he never missed a day of work - in fact he was a respected English Professor at a state college. My dad was a drunk but people still liked him. He was handsome and smart and knew how to be the life of the party. It was when he came home from the party too wasted to remember how to pull in the drive way without hitting the garage door, or take his shoes off, or his clothes before getting into bed. It was the hangover he had the next morning that made him too tired to watch cartoons with me, or play outside, or be - a real dad. It was the realization that alcohol would always come first and I would follow with a distant second. It was all these things that made me hate him, love him, want to save him. I tried to save him. I begged him to stop drinking, I hid his booze bottles, I took his car keys so he couldn't drive to the bar, I stole his wallet so he wouldn't have any money to buy more alcohol - but somehow he always found a way to drink. The person that ended up needing saving, was me. My mom divorced my dad and that left me, the one and only person my dad had in the whole world. He reminded me on a daily basis which put even more pressure on me to save him. I can tell you this, a life line can be pretty heavy for a 14 year old to carry. The weight of my dad's disease almost destroyed me many times. Once, he went to AA and I saw bits of hope. He stopped going because he said 'those people' were not like him, he could stop drinking whenever he wanted. If that was true, did that mean he actually chose to be a drunk over being my father? I've actually lost count on how many attempts I made to save him. They all sort of blur together from the first time he called me from jail after being picked up for a DUI to the last time he called me at 2 in the morning to tell me he loved me. I've discovered that words mean less when they come from the mouth of a drunk person. Eventually I stopped trying to save my dad, when I realized I had to save myself or risk losing a part of myself I may never be able to regain. It was so hard letting go of that burden, letting the life line go, and I felt guilty. One day I woke up and I felt broken. Broken from the string of failed relationships with men who reminded me of my father, men I tried to save but couldn't. I was broken from failures that were not my own, broken from failing myself. Then, I got angry. I was a kid, how could anyone expect me to save him? I was mad at my mom for leaving him and putting the burden of being his savior on me. I was mad that I never really got to be a child, a teenager, a young adult. I was forced to skip right over what were supposed to be the best years of my life, into the years that would scar me for the rest of my life. I did all I could do. I broke all contact from my dad for an entire year. He was devastated, he was pissed, he was lost. I could not find him, lift him up, make him happy. Eventually I was able to heal. After many therapy sessions I learned that the only person that could save my dad, was himself.
It's been many years since that 14 year old self blushed with embarrassment over my dad's drunkenness. My dad actually doesn't drink much anymore, at least not around me. I know he's still an alcoholic and yes, that realization still hurts, but I've learned that I cannot change who he is. I've learned that when he's determined to have those 'hot totties' to get in the holiday spirit, it's time for me to go, to leave that place that ties me up in knots and return to the sanctuary I've constructed for myself. That place used to be built of steel, miles and miles of never ending barricades, but now, it's built of love - for myself. Now I'm the one who can put the word 'recovering' in front of her name.
I'm not sure why or how I came to this belief, but I tend to believe that men don't suffer heartaches the same as women. Maybe it's because I've been on the recipient end of those heartaches too many times and the one responsible is always a man. I realize that's probably a narrow minded view but most times we develop opinions based on our own experiences. I've known men who have gotten dumped but I rarely see them locked up in their apartment, eating a quart of Ben & Jerry's, and swearing off women for the rest of their life. Men seem to bounce back faster. Why? Why can a man stuff all his feelings deep down inside without fear that one day they'll pop back up and cause a whole world of hurt? Why can a man move on to another woman within moments of being with the last? I'm not saying women can't do that, just that men do it more easily. Do men carry loads of baggage from their last relationship into the next? Or is their baggage just disguised as something more subtle? I know there are men that exist that have had their hearts ripped from their chest but why are they fewer and far between? If you want to find a woman with a broken heart - look to your left and I'm sure you'll see one. Why? Is it true that we love differently? Do men ever cry themselves to sleep? Do they look through old photos, read old emails, listen to sappy love songs, talk endlessly about their loss with their friends? Or do they wake up, wash their face - and go on? Why do women find it so incredibly hard to move on? Why can a man just stop calling, stop emailing, stop - everything when a woman has to leave one more voice mail, send one more email, drive by his house one more time? Are we weaker, more vulnerable, more fragile? I broke a man's heart once and it damn near killed me. When they break our hearts, do they suffer? How long? Because when I broke his heart I felt the pain of his heart cracking in two for....well, I still feel it. Do they feel it - forever? If love can't last forever, can pain?
Your friends are mistaken. When we are children we possess the most wonderful ability to believe in things we cannot see but as we grow older we adopt the cynical views that most of the world possesses. NWC, I want to assure you there is in fact a Santa Claus. He is as real as the wind that moves the branches on a tree, or the rays of sun that warm your face, neither of which you can physically touch but still believe exist. He is as real as the love you have in your heart or the devotion you have to your child. Santa exists in the hearts and minds of those brave enough to have faith, brave enough to trust in themselves. Instead of feeling chastised for believing in Santa, pity those that don't. Those that cannot believe are the same folk who never make wishes on stars. How dull would our night sky be if stars were only flecks of light instead of tiny bits of hope? NWC, this world we live in needs something to believe in. If we rely only on what we can hold in our hand or behold with our eyes, we become one dimensional human beings who will lose the ability to believe in anything at all. Remember my darling, the most real things in this world are those we cannot see.
Believe my dear NWC, believe that Santa exists, that fairies light the night, that wishes on stars do in fact come true. Believe in fairy tales and happily ever afters because if you stop having faith in the existence of these things, you become one of the small minded creatures that inhabit this earth.
NWC, there is a Santa. Believe.
I'm 30 something and I was told there is no Santa Claus. I need to know if my friends are right, is there a Santa? I really want to believe.
(response to letter follows tomorrow)
I'm so tired. I've worked through the holiday weekend and my spirits are just about broken. It's hard you know, being a grown up. Part of me wants to jump up and down, stomp my feet, scream "life isn't fair" at the top of my lungs, but I won't - because I'm a grown up. When we are grown ups we're expected to hold emotion inside and become great 'pretenders'. Why? When my daughter is upset she cries, I pick her up, I hug her, she feels safe, she stops crying. I want someone to pick me up and make me feel safe. Why does that stop, the comforting? Who made the rule that it's ok to express frustration when we're children but by the time we've matured, we're expected to contain our emotions. If we're angry we must discuss it in a sensible fashion, why? How about if I'm pissed off I run outside and kick my feet in the dirt, run ten circles around the house, lock myself in my room - until I've cooled off? God I'd love to lock myself in my room! It may not be productive but it would sure make me feel a hell of a lot better. Who the hell has to be productive 100% of their life? We do, grown ups. If we're not productive we're labeled - loser. We are forced to fit into this compartmentalized version of a human being. Stuff the bad feelings down, turn the other cheek, treat others as you would want them to treat you, and deal with life. Most times I can play a pretty good grown up but today, I've decided I need a break. After I'm done typing I'm going to hide under my desk with my flashlight and my book and pretend there is no outside world. When I decide to play a grown up again, I'm bringing my teddy bear with me, damn it.
I'm still working...and have been all through the holidays. I didn't realize how much I'm addicted to my 'blog thing' until it was so selfishly snatched from my grasp the past few days. I can't wait to get back to normal. Anyway, I have about 5 mins.to say something meaningful which is really hard because I like to contemplate things...I'm strange like that. So without much time I'd just like to wish you all Happy Holidays. It's the season you know...Santa is making his list and checking it twice so it's time to be nice little boys and girls. Any special toys you'd like Santa to bring this year? I know I've got a few on my list.
All week I've been posting bits of my history, things that have changed me, things I am thankful for. Today as I sit here typing it's hard to be thankful because I'm actually working. Part of me is bitter. I've educated myself, worked extremely hard to excel at my career, yet here I sit on Thanksgiving Day while the rest of my friends and family get ready to celebrate and give thanks for the things in their life. I must dig deep within myself to overcome this anger - because being angry is the easy way out. So in an effort to remind myself that I am very lucky and there are many things in my life to be thankful for - here's my list:
I'm thankful for my sweet baby girl. She's the light that leads me through the darkness.
I'm thankful for my sig other, he loves me even though I'm a pain in the ass.
I'm thankful for my family, they love me without limits, without expectation, without consequence.
I'm thankful for my friends, they have helped me endure the heartache, the broken wings, life.
I'm thankful for my blog readers, they read my words, listen to my pain, help me realize that I do have something to say - worth listening to.
I'm thankful I have a job so that I can provide for my family.
I'm thankful I have been able to overcome the many obstacles in my life and come out the other side a better person.
Happy HNT and Thanksgiving everyone. Eat and be merry.
I have not always been a strong person. Eight years ago I moved to Chicago for a man. I know some of you are already shaking your head in disapproval. I was divorced, dating a lot, and searching for the next love of my life. Unfortunately I thought I met him while on a brief weekend get-a-way. We met coincidentally at a small sandwich shop in the neighborhood my friend lived in. He was actually wiping the tables down when we walked in. I thought he was cute...but I liked to date men with a bit more ambition careerwise. We sat down and he brought us a couple of menus. He smiled at me and said, "this one's on the house." I thought he was sweet but he was probably going to get fired for giving out free food. My friend saw me giving him the once over, "so you like what you see eh NWC?" "I do, he's cute, but he's a bus boy or something." Yes I know that sounded completely snobby. "No NWC, he owns this place," she replied. Oh, the potential became clear. We ended up exchanging phone numbers and went on a couple of dates before I headed home which was 3 hours away. Instantly we had this connection. We talked about all the things that are supposed to be taboo on a date, politics, religion, sex. He said he'd never met a woman so intent on speaking her mind. I was flattered. We tried to do the long distance thing but it was hard. When you only see someone on the weekends you tend to be on your best behavior so you never really get the 'feel' of a real relationship. He decided it was just too hard to keep seeing each other so he told me it was over. I was devastated but I knew I'd survive. It had only been a month, how serious could we actually be? One night about two weeks later, I'm sitting at home and the phone rings, it's him. He tells me he misses me and asks me if I'd ever consider moving to Chicago. I thought about it for exactly 30 seconds before I responded, "Maybe." Two weeks later I had found a new job, quit my old job, found an apartment, packed my things and headed to the windy city. We became the super couple. Everyone in the neighborhood knew me...I was dating the sandwich guy. I immersed myself in his life, gave up my free nights to help him out in the restaurant, let him practically live in my apartment, did his laundry, cooked his meals, loved him with all my heart. I loved him so much that my heart ached for him when we were apart. I didn't care that my life lost most of it's originality to become a shade of gray in his world. I was happy. We dated for one year and the day before our anniversary I came home from work and his dog was at my apartment but he wasn't. No note, no voice mail, just a dog and an empty apartment. I paced the room, I called his friends, his restaurant, his cell phone - no one had heard from him. Dog and I sat on the couch looking at each other with eyes full of confusion, neither of us seemed to know what was going to happen next. Three hours later he came through the door with a bewildered look on his face. He sat down next to me and proceeded to break my heart. He didn't want to get married, he was confused, he wanted to do so many things he hadn't yet accomplished and all his time was spent with me, he just couldn't be with me anymore - but, he still loved me.
I'd like to say the rest of the memory is a blur but I can't. It's burned into my brain, every moment that it took me to get over him. No matter how hard I tried to forget him, I couldn't. We lived so close to each other, 1/2 block to be exact. I'd see him walking his dog, driving past my apartment, working at his restaurant. He was there in my life, yet he wasn't. I tried dating other men but I was labeled, the woman who used to date 'sandwich guy'. I had no idea how to live my life because for a whole year my life - was his life. My friends were his friends, my hobbies were his hobbies, my hang outs were the places we used to go 'together'. I absolutely could not see myself separate from him. It's a dangerous place to be, that place where you can't see any purpose to your existence. The friends who did choose me over him, tried to help me, comfort me, make me see that it was his loss not mine. I was blind, I was deaf, I was dumb. I stumbled through the days making myself think that one day I'd wake up and it would all be over. I'd be happy again, I'd be able to walk down the street and see him and smile and not cry and not feel - broken. It didn't get easier because I started spiraling out of control. My love for him began to border on obsessive. A friend of mine who had a loft apartment right next door to his restaurant decided to move, she let me take over her lease. I became suicide bomber except the target was my own life. If it was hard to get over him before, it was near impossible now. I would see him several times a day, I'd hear his voice when he'd walk out of the restaurant, I could see his car from my front window, I could see him - and that was almost enough to pretend he was still a part of my life. It sounds crazy doesn't it? But when you wrap yourself in so much pain, it's very hard to see anything outside of the pain. You don't think rationally, hell, you don't think at all - you feel. That August there was a street festival in our neighborhood. I tried to immerse myself in the festivities. When we saw each other we tried to be friendly, but as much as I wanted him, I did force myself to keep my distance. He wasn't innocent through all of this, he often still called me, still asked me to have a beer, still gave me tidbits of his life - most likely to keep me hooked like a bass with a lure through its' mouth. There were men, lots of them actually, trying to get my attention. They bought me drinks, fed my desire to numb myself, showed me how to masquerade as the someone I used to be. And then it happened. I saw this woman hanging on his arm, she was rubbing his back, playing with his hair, she was - what I used to be. Anger came rushing up through my chest, I wanted to scream at him, yell how much of a liar he was, punish him for leaving me. I wanted him to hurt as much as I did. He walked by me, I grabbed his arm, he turned to look at me, I cried. Looking back at that moment I can imagine that I must have looked pretty pathetic. His reaction, "NWC you need to get a life." "A life, you mean one like the life I used to have before you," I screamed. "You took me, took my love, took my time, took everything I had to give, and then you left, never once looking back to see the path of destruction laying at your feet," I yelled. He walked away. My friends took me back upstairs to my place, they comforted me, they told me love sucks - and this I knew was true. They stayed as long as they could but they knew there were no tools powerful enough to heal me. I laid their crying for what seemed like days. I pushed every memory of him through my brain and forced myself to relive each one second by second. When the sun came up I dragged myself into the bathroom to splash cold water on my face and when I saw the reflection staring back at me, I stopped crying. I did not recognize this face, those eyes - they did not belong to me.
The next day I called a therapist. I remember trying to make every excuse I could to cancel my appointment but by the grace of God, I didn't. It was hard, sitting there telling a total stranger about my obsessive, destructive, behavior. She held my hand, she told me I'd done the right thing coming to her. It took months to feel better, but eventually the tears fell less, the pain in my heart took up only portions of my day instead of consuming them whole. I was able to hea his voice outside and not run to the window to catch a glimpse of him. I was healing. One morning I stepped outside my front door and ran smack into him. He looked at me and smiled. I said hello, he asked how I was, I said 'good' and I actually meant it. He asked me if I wanted to get a drink later, I said 'no thanks'. He looked surprised but I think he saw it, the strength in me. I walked away from him that day without regret, without a stabbing pain in my chest, without wanting to run after him and change my answer. Later that night while sitting on my couch watching Ally McBeal, tears started streaming down my face and I couldn't stop them. The pain I felt was different this time, it was the kind of pain you feel when you realize that you are visiting a place for the very last time. It's the pain you feel when you say goodbye to something that has kept you company for so long,even if that company was your pain. Pain can wrap itself around you and become more of a friend than an enemy, I was saying goodbye to a friend. I climbed out of that pit I'd thrown myself into. I clawed, I sweat, I scraped my knees, but I hoisted my broken spirit through the darkness and came out the other side a better person. I tell myself now when I think of that journey I took to this city for a man, I came to this place for him, but I stayed for me. I'm thankful for that.
When I was in 2nd grade Sister Leona pulled my braids. She thought I was talking during class when actually it was the girl behind me. "Ow, that hurt," I exclaimed as she grabbed a hold of my nicely woven braid. "NWC you need to pay attention," she screamed. I think she was having a bad day because typically she only slapped your hands with a ruler, she never resorted to the hair pulling tactic. I couldn't quite remember that it was better to keep my mouth shut then to respond, "You need glasses because it wasn't me talking." She didn't like my response so she pulled my other braid. "I said that hurt, are you deaf too," I yelled. "Go to the principal's office right now," she ordered. Sister Mary Ann, the principal, was actually a friend of my dad's. My dad was the president of the School Board so I was treated a little different than the other kids. I guess they knew if they pissed my dad off, he could really make life hell for them. So anyway, I march my tiny cheeks (Sister Leona's words - not mine) down to the principal's office. "NWC, what did you do now," Sister Mary Ann asked? "I didn't do anything, that crazy Leona pulled my hair because she thought I was talking in class but it wasn't me, it was the girl behind me," I answered. "Well NWC you must have done something or you wouldn't be sitting her in my office," she responded. "Well, I just told her it wasn't me, oh and I asked her if she was deaf too," I whispered. "NWC you need to learn not to talk back to your elders," she said. "Children should be seen and not heard," she reminded me. "So why did God give me a mouth and a tongue for if I'm not suppose to say anything," I asked. I think I stumped her because she didn't answer me. "NWC, please don't talk back to Sister Leona anymore, you need to be kind to her," she said. "Why do I need to be kind to her," I asked? "Because being kind to someone even when we think they are not using their brain, is the right thing to do," she said. I went back to class and settled in my chair. Sister Leona marched over to my desk and pulled my braid again. "What was that for," I yelled. "It was for that smart mouth of yours," she yelled. I reached out and patted her on the hand. "What was that for," she asked. "That was for your stupid brain."
I didn't wear my hair in braids for the rest of the year.
When I was in 2nd grade I learned to be kind to people even if I thought they were stupid. I practice that lesson a lot....and I'm thankful for that.
In a few days it will be Thanksgiving. I decided that I need to share some of the things I'm thankful for.
I ran away from home once because my mom told me that I couldn't see my 24 year old boyfriend any longer. I was 15. She constantly preached to me that there was only one thing a 24 year old man wanted from a 15 year old girl, and it wasn't a relationship. He wanted sex, she was right. I met him while cruising on main street, it's what teenagers in the Midwest did on Friday nights. He had a cool car, a hugger orange '69 Camaro with white rally stripes down the hood. God I loved that car. He was just out of the Army and he was cute and he was older - which made the offer to ride with him even more appealing. He told me I had a pretty smile, I pretended to be shy and told him thank you. He told me he wanted me to be his girl, it sounded romantic so I said ok. We actually dated - had sex, for almost 8 months until my mom found out and threatened to call the police. She said it was rape, I was a minor, he was a pervert. I cried, she didn't know him, he loved me, I'd run away. It was summer, my mom was at work, my brother was in the Navy, I was alone. I packed my bags and headed down the highway, literally. I hitched a ride to the next town over and walked about 20 miles after that. You have a lot of time to think when you are walking through corn fields and dimly lit side streets. I thought about how tired I was and how much I loved Billy, even though he didn't come after me when I left. After a day on the run, I decided I wasn't cut out for the 'run away' life, I stopped at a farm house and politely told the couple I needed to use their phone - I'd run away from home and now I needed to go home. They were so nice, they let me use their phone and fed me. I waited for a couple of hours and then a police cruiser showed up to take me back to my mom. I swear that was the longest ride of my life. It was actually a sheriff that showed up to take me home, I lived in a small town and the sheriff was actually my best friend's dad. At first, he said nothing, but the void of words soon got to me so I felt the need to fill it up with something. I asked him if my mom was ok, he said, "you don't get to know that." "Why," I asked. "Because when you run away from something, you give up the right to love it anymore." "That's not true," I cried. "Yes darlin, it is true." "If you love someone, you stay - even when staying seems the hardest thing to do." "But what if staying means you lose someone you love," I responded. "Staying isn't what makes you lose the person you love, leaving does," he said. When I finally made it home my mom ran out to meet us and she held me so tight that I almost couldn't breathe. I thought I was in for a long lecture but instead my mom told me I needed to get some sleep. She tucked me in bed, something she hadn't done since I was six. She didn't ground me, she didn't yell at me, she held me. It was then that I realized I didn't have all the answers. I thought I knew what love was, I didn't know anything.
It's been so long since that warm summer night when I tried to run away from home. I say 'try' because it was then that I learned that you really can't run away, you can leave, you can put one foot in front of the other and never look back, but you can't leave it behind. Whatever you left, it's always there waiting for you. I learned to be grateful for that.
I want to be selfish
I've worked 12 days in a row without a day off
I'm cold and it's spitting snow outside
I hate Winter
I'm glad it's Friday
I have too much to do at work - so I'm going to do nothing
a man on the subway asked me for money so I turned up my music
my ears are cold because I forgot my hat
my head hurts because I think too much
my daughter kissed me and said "Alice loves mommy"
my sig other asked me to hug him
I remembered - not to be selfish
I'm really getting good with Photoshop. This pic is actually taken when I was pregnant...can't tell can you? Happy HNT.
Some of you may remember a post I wrote awhile back about my niece who was being pressured by her boyfriend to have sex. She asked me for my advice and I was honest, I told her that giving up such an important piece of yourself for someone else, would affect her for the rest of her life. She listened to me, surprisingly, and her boyfriend stayed. I wasn't really surprised when her boyfriend stuck around because I remember that even at that tender age boys and girls, can be very manipulative. They know if they stick around long enough, apply enough pressure, the will most likely get what they want. My sweet niece, is no longer a virgin.
Her heart is now broken and she asks me why love hurts so much. I cannot answer. She asks me when it will stop hurting, I say nothing because sometimes it never stops hurting. Sometimes you just get so used to the pain that you don't notice it anymore. She wants to know if I still remember my first broken heart, I say yes because I do remember. She wants to know if hearts really do mend, I say 'sometimes'. She wants to know if loving someone will always hurt this much, I say yes, love knows no other way. She wants to know if love gets easier when you grow up, I say no, it gets harder. She wants to know why we keep falling in love if we know that it hurts, I say because falling in love doesn't hurt - at first. She wants to know if love can last, I say yes -sometimes. She wants to know how you'll know when you are loving the right person, I say when you can look in the mirror - and not be afraid of who you see staring back at you. She wants to know if it's ok to cry, I don't answer, instead I cry with her.
I've got a story, although it's not really mine to tell, but I will because I have the words.
She looked across the table at him, he was holding her hand. He was silent, she knew this was a bad sign so she tried to fill the space with words. For weeks she felt the distance growing between them and regardless of how close she remembered them being, there was a gap that she could not bridge. She smiled and squeezed his hand hoping that somehow he'd realize she loved him and sometimes that could be enough. His lips began to move but she could not bring herself to listen to what he was saying, maybe if she didn't hear him, he wouldn't have to leave - she wouldn't have to let him. "Are you listening to me," he asked. "Sorry, I was somewhere else just now," she answered. "I need you to hear me," he said. She knew she should be listening but the words were so difficult to hear, words can be so painful when they are not the ones you want to hear. "I'm listening, " she said. "We can't go on like this, we need to make things right," he told her. She knew the difference between right and wrong but choosing between them was more than she had the strength to endure. Choices, sometimes we're offered so many, sometimes - too few. What if she decided not to choose, would the choice be made for her? So many times in her life the power of choice had been taken from her and sometimes - she was glad. She admired the way his lips curved around each word, she didn't realize that breaking someone's heart could look so beautiful. "I cannot do this. My life is too complicated," he said. She thought about that word, what did it mean, was it something people said to explain their lack of willingness to accept or understand? He pulled his hand from hers, she felt the gap grow wider. Why couldn't she speak, tell him how she felt, say something, anything. She sat there, tongue twisted around the words she longed to say. Could she make him stay, did she want to? If he stayed, would she question why he never left? For the rest of her life would she contemplate this moment and wonder 'what if'? She felt his stare and for a moment, she was scared. She'd been told by many that she was strong, did she believe that was true? A plan had been laid out, mapped for quickest route to success, and now - everything had changed. He started to stand up and she knew her last chance was about to walk out of her life forever. She grabbed his hand, she pulled him back to her, she held on even when he tried to pull away. "I know myself," she said. "What does that have to do with anything," he answered. "Because knowing myself, makes me sure that if I walk away from this, I'll live to regret it the rest of my life," she told him. "I can be strong enough for the both of us, at least for a little while," she offered. "Tell me why I should stay," he asked. "Because even if you leave, a part of you will remain, right here with me, always," she answered. "You'll walk through your life forgetting what you left behind, maybe you'll succeed for awhile, but one day you'll be greeted by a version of yourself, a self you left here - with me." "You'll know that self belongs to you, because they will have your eyes." She knew he might still leave, but she'd be here because that version of his self, would have her heart and her courage. "I'll try," he said. Then he stayed.
This is not my story to tell because it actually belongs to my daughter. I'm not sure I'll ever tell her that her that daddy almost left. I think a better story, is how he stayed.
How often do you look at yourself in the mirror? I'm not talking about the glance (or stare for some of us) into the mirror each morning or the occasional 'primp' we take while taking a restroom break, instead I'm talking about a real looksey at who you are. Strip away the face you paste on each day for the outside world to see, take off the hat you've somehow been designated to wear - and look at yourself. For a long time I'd run when I saw that bare naked self but lately my feet have stayed planted firmly in place. The strange thing about self discovery is that along with the realization of who you are, you inevitably begin to see who the people you've surrounded yourself are too. Maybe it's because when we don't really know ourselves we tend to invite people into our lives that fit the self we think we are. I'm not saying everyone in your life won't fit after you take a good long look at yourself, I'm saying the reasons you needed them there - in your life, may change.
When I was weak, I needed someone stronger than me
When I was scared I needed someone braver than I
When I was lonely, I needed someone that could fill up the space around me
When I was confused, I needed someone with all the answers
When I was angry, I needed someone to blame
When I was happy, I needed someone to remind me - happiness isn't forever
When I was in pain, I needed someone who had deeper scars than I did
When I wanted to be needed, I found someone that was broken
When I had no hope, I stopped having expectations
When the scars began to heal, I needed someone to notice
When I grew strong, I needed someone to let me - be strong
When I became my own best company, I needed someone that didn't take up my space
When I grew wise, I needed someone to let me have the answers
When I stopped being angry, I needed to stop blaming myself
When I remembered how to be happy, I needed to let myself be happy
When the pain lessened, I needed to be reminded I was strong enough to handle it
When I found hope, I needed to believe in hope - then raise my expectations
I read on someone's blog not so long ago that when they think about who they are and who they wanted to be, the two self's are very far apart. There's only one way to bring the two closer, look in the mirror more than once in your lifetime, in fact - look often.
Can you believe I'm expected to walk the floors and ask people if they need help? Can you believe the people I'm asking actually ask me for help? So far this morning I've moved 5 monitors, crawled under a desk to move a computer, fiddled with 4 overhead lights that wouldn't light up, moved 3 printers because they were in the wrong location, got someone coffee - because they didn't know where the kitchen was....I've been demoted for a day. Forget the years at college that I spent actually educating myself so that one day - someone else would crawl under my desk, forget the years I spent working hard, being on time, being 'dependable' - I'm now a low man on the totem pole. It's not that I think I'm too good for jobs like this, it's that I've already done my share of grunt work, it's not my turn anymore.
Yes I'm spoiled. I sit at my desk every morning drinking my coffee, reading my favorite blogs and now today they actually expect me to 'socialize'. I get exactly 10 minutes to write a blog entry...so here it is, a whining session. After this weekend of working I've decided two things: One - slackers profit much more than us ambitious people, Two - I'm old and my body hurts from crawling around on the floor. I swear, if I'm going to get rug burns on my knees....I at least should be getting satisfied in the process.
Tomorrow I promise, I'll be better.
My office is moving to a brand new building. It's tall, shiny, has pretty lights, and cool artwork and I don't care about any of it. This building, is a place I go to work. I go there to do my job so I can take a paycheck home, so I can feed my daughter and put a roof over her head and that's it. I have to work this weekend to make sure all the servers work and that each desk has connectivity, sometimes I hate being depended on. When I was younger I wanted to be important, to know things, to be relied upon. Now, I've changed my mind. Knowing things can really be more of a hindrance than an asset. When you know things, people ask you questions - and expect you to have the answers. When you are the type of person that's dependable, people lean on you and expect you to have the strength to withstand it. Dependable, knowledgeable, ambitious people - get screwed. I've gotten a few perks from doing a job well done but no perk is worth the time and effort I've put in. This weekend instead of spending time with my daughter and my sig other, I get to come to work and be - dependable, knowledgeable, reliable, and pissed off. How's that for a perk?
I'd say I'm sorry for the rant, but really I'm not because the other thing I am - is honest. Life is fair - people are not.
I remembered last night how to get my way.
I remember the first time I heard about oral sex. I overheard my brother and his friend talking about how their girlfriends 'tongued their candy' and I thought they were talking about sucking on life savers. It did seem strange to me that they'd get so excited watching someone put their tongue through a little candy hole, but I was eleven, what the hell did I know. I remember the first time I realized it wasn't the traditional type candy they were speaking of, disgust was what filled my mind. Those things were so ugly, who would want to put one in their mouth? Then, when I was 15 a boy tried to get me to 'suck his candy'. He was so smooth in his approach. "Hey nwc why don't you kneel down there and give me a little head," he whispered. "Give you a little head, why, a big one doesn't suit you," I responded? Even back then I was quite the smart arse. I never did give him head, there was something about his 'approach' that left me pretty turned off. Luckily I wasn't that into him or I'm sure I would have done anything to please him. Later in my teenage years,I did fall for a boy and did what I could to please him. I guess it was then I developed quite a technique, one that would give me power I never imagined possible. Honestly I was pretty grossed out by the whole act but I was turned on by watching a boy come completely under my control. Men really are simple to please when it comes to their 'candy'. I learned to pretend that I was actually sucking on my favorite flavored lolly pop, savoring every curve, my tongue wetting the path for my hand to follow. I can't even count how many times I've been told that 'it's the best they've ever had'. I guess I used to take that as a compliment, now I know - men are easy. I suppose you can give someone a bad bj, grab on too tight, slobber too much, spit out what they hope you'll swallow, but it seemed I was able to use my tongue for more than speaking this language I've learned to master. I used my talent to get what I wanted, men are more willing to give you what you want if you know how to jolly their lolly. Long, slow, pleasure that they can't resist and won't forget. It makes them weak, it makes them ripe - for the picking. I'm bad aren't I? I may be older and not so single anymore but talents like that don't seem to fade and they always come in handy. I want what I want and I want you to give it to me. Yes, sometimes us women have to resort to some pretty low tactics to get what we want. It's funny though, I've never had complaints when a man decides to oblige me.
So quietly you lay
your power is waning
as I take you in my hand
my lips become your captor
deeply you plunge into the darkness
teasing you, I set you free
for only a moment
you fear the path you've chosen
yet you trudge willingly ahead
back and forth
we play this game
of cat and mouse
fullness fills my mouth
I cannot speak
yet you hear my words
warm and safe
your pulse quickens
sliding up and down into oblivion
and I wait
for my reward
I love words. I love to speak them, sing them, but mostly I like to write them. Sometimes people say things, things that make me think, make me want to run and get a pen so I can write them down - so I can remember them later. It amazes me the power words can possess. Words can change the way you feel about something almost in an instant. Words can evoke such emotion simply by existing. They don't have to be spoken to be heard. Sometimes writing words on paper or on a computer screen makes them that much more powerful. Sometimes we are deaf and cannot hear any words until we're forced to read them making us listen with our hearts instead of our ears. Words can harm and they can heal and sometimes they do both at the very same time. They can paint a pretty picture or color a scene ugly. It doesn't matter what language they are in, words have the same power whether their spoken with our tongues or our hands. They can inspire an audience of a thousand, or one, but both are just as significant. Sometimes words are twisted into meaning something other than their original intent but that burden lies more on the audience than the author. Words are communication whether they lay quietly on a piece of paper or slip beautifully off a tongue. Words are our salvation because without them, who would hear our pain. We shout them in anger, whisper them in love, write them in anticipation - of being understood. And sometimes we are understood and other times we keep writing, keep speaking, keep thinking - words. Words to describe how we feel, express what we want, and chase away our demons. Words make us something worth knowing. Words are power. Some handle their power gently, but some are foolish and never consider the consequences of their words. Words can be used as weapons - to harm, to maim, to tear down, the very self that some words helped build strong. Sometimes when it seems we have nothing else in life, words still remain. Love, hope, believe, strong, fail. succeed, run, hide, stand, walk, here, now, lift, heart, high, grasp, something, hold, this, never, stop, life, tomorrow, is, now.
Words - yield your power wisely.
This morning I went down to the local Caribou Coffee located in the building I work in. I love this place, when I walk in they already have my coffee (dark roast - with just enough room for cream), waiting for me at the counter. It's nice when people know how you like your coffee. Every morning I have non-probing conversations with the people that work there, sometimes I just love that type of communication, it's safe and easy. So anyway I remind the girl at the counter that this will be the last week that I'll be coming in for coffee. Our office is moving to another building - a whole block away. She said, "you'll come back, we're not that far." Well actually, I probably won't come back because walking one block really is THAT far. Now how lazy does that make me? Pretty damn lazy. But, I bet I'm not alone in my thinking. Our lives are about convenience. We shop at the closest grocery stores even if we hate them and they're more expensive because driving 3 more minutes to the one you really like, just takes too long. We eat at the restaurants in our neighborhood not because their good, but because they are 3 blocks from our home and we really don't have time to travel any further. Convenience doesn't only apply to the places we eat or shop, it spills over into our relationships. How many of you have dated or had sex with someone simply because they were 'convenient'? I know I have. It was easier to settle for the person who didn't meet all my qualifications then to go out and search for someone that did. Searching for Mr/Mrs right is a damn hard task and I'm lazy, I don't want to work that hard. We take shortcuts around everything in life and one day we wake up and realize we've shorted ourselves on some damn fine scenery.
I tell myself that I should get my arse in gear and stop doing things based on how convenient they are. Walk the block, drive the extra distance, stop settling....just put one foot in front of the other, and soon we'll be walking.....
I had sex over the weekend, and it was great. Some of you might think..so what but really when you have a kid, a full time job, a semi-social life, finding time for sex really is hard.
I was trying to remember the first time I realized that sex wasn't love. Maybe I should rephrase, I'm trying to remember when I 'accepted' the fact that sex wasn't love. It was a long time ago, I was a different person then. I almost laugh at that memory of a naive girl who thought her 'technique' could actually make a man love her, or worse - keep him from leaving. Who teaches us girls that anyway, that sex and love are intertwined with each other? Why is it that we girls grow up wanting to 'make love' and boys grow up wanting to screw. Ironically, most of the time it's the girl that ends up screwed when all is said and done. I should have learned that sex and love were separate after I lost my virginity to a boy who left me after he got what he wanted, but I didn't. I kept believing, kept convincing myself, that if I had sex with a boy/man - he must love me or soon would. That belief, caused me a lot of broken hearts. I can remember being devastated after I had sex with someone and in the morning I wasn't any more special that I was before I took off my clothes. I remember the walk back home, the walk of shame - some call it. I can almost bet that it was a guy that came up with that term. Eventually I was able to separate the two - love and sex. I was able to have sex with a man that I had absolutely no feelings for. Now that's an accomplishment isn't it? I even found some guys that fell into the same trap I'd been in, they thought because I had sex with them, it meant I actually wanted to date them. I broke some hearts, but I didn't care because when you decide that the world should pay for the injustices done to you, everyone's a casualty. So there it was, love and sex are separate and I thought that was fact. No more walk of shames for me, I walked with my head held high, at least for awhile. Then one guy, one time, told me he'd never met a woman like me. Maybe that sounds like a good thing, but it wasn't. Turns out he didn't want a woman unlike any other, he wanted one that believed sex was more than an act of pleasure. He wanted a woman like the girl I'd chased away. I was getting screwed again, only this time it didn't leave me with a smile on my face. It's hard to go back to something you ran away from, something you tried to erase because you thought it was a lie, only to find out it was the only truth worth believing in. I look back on things I've done and sometimes I'm ashamed. Ashamed that I gave up values and beliefs out of fear. Really that's what it is called when you stop believing in something just to protect yourself. Holding on to yourself, your beliefs, can be the scariest thing in the world.
So anyway, I had sex this weekend and you know what - it wasn't because I loved him but the separation of love and sex no longer exists. Now it's all wound up in each other and one part can't exist without the other. Ok, it could exist but it doesn't and the funny thing is if the sex part went away, the love part would still have a chance to remain but not vice versa. Now how's that for irony.
Maybe I told you, I play the guitar. I stopped for awhile when I was pregnant, it's pretty hard to hold a guitar close enough to strum when your stomach is out to....there. Anyway, I started playing again and it's such an outlet. Every Thursday I head out to my guitar class and sit with a bunch of hippies. Truly, that's what they are. There's the guy with ten piercings, I'm still trying to figure out ten places he'd be able to actually pierce himself. There's the girl who works in libraries playing music for children and she says f*ck every other word (note to self - do not send daughter to story hour at that library). There's the guy who works at the local coffee shop, considers himself an aspiring musician, and wears flip flops...even when it's 40 outside. There's the freaky tattooed guy who has more ink than skin showing. I like tattoos but not the ones on your forehead that say 'think', I like to think but it doesn't have to be labeled on my forehead to remind me. Probably my favorite girl is the one that smells like patchouli and tells me every week that God loves me. I suppose it's nice to be reminded that someone loves you - by someone you actually know, not some almost stranger you see once a week. The teacher, well he's a hippie too. He's a musician, a real one. He wears black almost every week, he wears big combat boots that are painted (not dyed) red. His guitar has Bush sucks carved on it which isn't really disturbing, but the pin he wears labeled "aborted fetus" kind of is ...disturbing. Generally I like hippies, hell, once I even pretended to be one complete with braids down to my arse and spliffs tucked in my bosom. Eventually though I had to take a bath and remove the contraband - it was hard to get a good job looking like Janis Joplin. Each week I get to be the little yuppie that sits in the corner, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. But, I have the coolest guitar - because I am the only one in the class that can actually afford a 'real' guitar. I have a job. I guess being a hippie has a downside.
I cannot cry
tears seem pointless when no one sees them
screaming for attention
no ears to listen
I gave something to you
can I have it back
place it on the window sill
when you walk away
but this is place belongs to me
you said you loved me
maybe I believed you
but believing in something
doesn't make it true
I promised protection
then I laid my weapons aside
to comfort you
did you feel it
the regret growing inside my chest
but I've become good at denial
wishing for something
can leave you hopeful
that a giver will come along
and take nothing
when there's nothing left
and still I wait
for you to change
except it's me
yesterday I cried
I wasn't scared
and no one saw me
but they fell anyway
bits of failures
fragments of guilt
I can see the surface
of something new
existing for purpose
that I create
when you leave
so you remember
where you came from
Stand up for yourself will ya? Why? Because I said. So what. Hey you better listen to me, I know what I'm talking about. So what. Don't you 'so what' me young lady, I'm your conscience and I can make things really bad for you. Oh yeah like how? Well for starters I'm going to send this picture to your mother, imagine how she'll react seeing that little bit of cheek exposed for all the world to see. Well I imagine she'll be proud, after all - I got them cheeks from her. Being a hardass is inherited ya know. Thanks mom. Happy Nekkkkid Thursday.
Um yeah ok, let's teach our daughters it's ok to be stupid, as long as you know how to use your breasts. Now that's exactly what I'm going to teach my kid. Boy, we've really worked hard at changing a woman's image haven't we? So I guess what girls learn - is what we teach them. Way to go Abercrombie.
She's screaming again, my mother that is. My dad has been caught red-handed with his hussy, that's what my mom calls his girlfriends. He's begging her to forgive him, he's sorry, he won't do it again - even though this is the fourth time he's been caught. I'm hiding in my closet, I like it there because it's dark and quiet and no one knows that I cleared a space where only a 11 year old can fit. I wonder if she'll let him stay this time. She asked me where we go after he picks me up from school, it was almost like she already knew - but I lied and told her we just drive around. Yesterday he made me wait in his truck for a whole hour while he called on a 'client', he sells life insurance on the side because being a teacher doesn't pay much - that's what daddy says. Sometimes I get so tired of waiting in that truck, but I don't want to make daddy mad - so I stay. I know I'm not supposed to lie, but if I tell the truth, daddy will have to leave again. Mommy seems so angry, she cries a lot too. When I grow up I never want to fall in love, it hurts too much.
I used to think my mom was the strongest person I knew. After all she endured a lot of pain from my dad and she stayed with him longer than she should have. I know now that staying is the easy thing to do, leaving is the part that makes you strong. I remember hating my mom for making my dad leave, and I told her every chance I got. I hated that she put me on the spot and asked me about his girlfriends, because she knew that my dad flaunted them in front of me. He called them 'friends' but even at 11 I somehow knew that his friends were much different than the friends I had; I doubt they skipped rope or chased butterflies. I loved my dad, so I defended him by lying to my mother. It still amazes me to this day that at such a tender age I learned to lie not only to my mom, but to myself. In our minds, people can become what we want/need them to be - not what they really are. My dad was my hero, but in reality he was the reason I have a hard time trusting people. I still remember the day he left, for good. My mom had just finished drilling me about who we see when we take these drives after school, I was weak that day, I told her daddy sees clients. I guess that's all she needed for confirmation because she marched right into the front room, turned off the tv and told him to pack his bags. He shouted at her to leave him alone, she shouted back that she knew where he went after he picked me up from school each day. Silence. I think it was the first time I'd ever seen my dad speechless. And then it happened. Daddy looked at me with the coldest eyes, the love had gone out of them. "This is your fault," he said. "When you are missing me, you remember that you did this," he shouted. I can still feel my heart breaking inside my chest. I can still feel the tears streaming down my face, they left tracks that I was never able to erase. He left ater that, and he didn't come back. Maybe that's when I started to hate myself instead of my mom.
I'm older now and more grown up. A few thousand tears and some very deep scars later, I'm learning not to hate myself and to love my dad again. It takes such a long time to forget things, and sometimes it never happens. That kid back then, that little girl who loved her dad - she believed that forgiving someone could change who that person was. I know now that forgiving someone is for you, not for them. So many lessons this girl has learned, so many more still waiting.