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?