My niece is coming to stay with me for a long weekend and I'm sort of baffled on what we'll do for entertainment. I've been stuck in 2-year old mode for awhile so I doubt she'll enjoy putting on a princess dress and dancing around my living room. When I was fourteen the only things I wanted to do were locking myself in my room with the music on high, veg out in front of the tv with a bowl full of cheese puffs, or be somewhere that there were cute boys to flirt with. Although I can probably accommodate with the first two, I honestly have no idea where cute fourteen year old boys hang out these days. Plus, her father would probably kill me if he found out I was actually promoting flirting with boys in any sense of the word.
You know as old as I am I still remember exactly what it felt like to be fourteen - hell. Your hormones are raging, your emotions are running high, and absolutely no one in the whole universe understands how you feel except your best friend. This weekend should be interesting...we can't even go outdoors since the temps are soaring to 98 with heat indexes to 106. It's really too bad because I'm quite positive one of the best cures for those raging hormones is to get thrown into a freezing pool of water.
Have a great weekend....
I was thinking that maybe if I where a sign like this....someone will actually give up their seat on the train each morning. Probably not...my luck no one would be able to read. :-)
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
So here I sit...two less wisdom teeth than a couple of days ago and I still feel a little wise. I'm not a wimp but let me just tell you that if you ever have to have your wisdom teeth pulled and you can't get anything except local anesthetic, run ten miles in the other direction. And when anyone tries to convince you that you can handle the pain...since you've been through child birth, laugh in their faces. I hate when anyone compares pain to childbirth. One big difference, when you are in labor you know you are getting something good after the pain subsides. When you get your teeth pulled, you get two less teeth and that's about it. No comparison.
I'll admit I was feeling a little sorry for myself after the procedure. My mouth hurt and I wanted someone to take care of me but there is no explaining to a 2 year old that mommy needs to sit and rest. I told Alice I had a boo boo in my mouth so she politely kissed it better (on the outside of course) and then told me to get up and play with her. As I sat there playing with Princess Barbie I have to admit that I forgot about the pain for awhile. As Princess Barbie danced around singing her lovely princess song, somehow my weariness became the last of my worries. We rarely do that, keep on dancing to the music even when we'd rather be hiding under the safety of our duvet. And while we're stuck under the covers, life goes on with or without us. It still amazes me every single day that I can learn something new from my toddler. I'm convinced we're born with common sense and it's the growing up that makes it dissipate. We get caught up in our pain so much so that we close ourselves off from the world, we numb the pain with whatever anesthetic we can find, and we do anything but cope.
I hope that Alice can keep teaching me the lessons I need to learn and I hope with all that's in me...that life never goes on without me.
I did it...I made it through an entire weekend without apologizing for something that wasn't my fault. At times it was stressful because a certain somebody kept looking at me waiting for me to say I'm sorry. I never realized how often I must say those words for someone to expect them so easily. It's hard breaking a pattern you've become so accustomed to but it also feels wonderful being able to walk away with your self respect in order. I also ended up talking to my dad last night as I usually do on Sundays and I asked him if saying your sorry makes up for things we've done wrong. I suppose I was asking because he's said those words to me so many times but they never seemed to make a difference, the pain was still there. He told me that he'd told so many people he was sorry in his lifetime that he'd lost track of what he was supposed to be sorry for. Part of me wanted to remind him but the larger part understood exactly what he meant. And then he told me something that did make a difference, he told me that beyond his sorry's he was ashamed that he relied on words to ease his own guilt. Instead of telling me he was sorry he should have said, I want things to be different, I want to take back the actions I've thrown into your world that caused you to ever feel sorry for things you had no control over. That's it isn't it? Us people that apologize for actions not our own, we are trying in our own desperate way to gain a tiny bit of control.
Someone told me recently to make it simple, go with the flow, avoid conflict. I've been doing that my whole life and what I really ended up with is a whole mess of complications. I've said it before and I'll say it again, be accountable. Own what is yours and leave the rest behind.
Hope you have a fab Monday...I'm off to get my wisdome teeth pulled. Let's hope I come back at least 1/2 as smart as I was before. :-)
I'm not in a good mood today. I know that there are trials and tribulations to every relationship but when do the trials get verdicts and a sentence handed out? To put it plain and simple, I'm tired of asking for things to get done and it never happening. It's a vicious cycle, the task remains unfinished for days that turn into weeks, I end up doing it myself because I can't stand the fact that it's not done. I get pissed off, my mood shifts, and somehow I've now become the executioner and my husband the martyr. I'll be honest, most of my life seems to go this way and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I've formed this bad habit of apologizing for things that are not my fault. Like...I'm sorry that you lied to me and now I don't trust you. I'm sorry that you can't love me. I'm sorry that you broke your promise to me and now I have lost all faith in you. Why or why do I do that? You know what's more frustrating than apologizing when you are not at fault? That the people responsible actually let you feel sorry. They not only accept your apology, they expect it. Well, things have to change for me. Whether it be a broken promise or as small as not doing household chores....I am not going to apologize for something I have no fault in. I've played the big bad wolf too many times when in reality I'm just the little girl in red too frightened to stand up for herself.
I have to wonder, if we stop apologizing for the things we have no fault in will those people that gobble up those apologies stop expecting them? Probably not. There must be a way to own only what is yours and leave the rest by the curbside.
Here's wishing you a weekend with no apologies.
Well here it is...my head after I cut all my locks off. Today it was raining and it's humid but you know what? My hair still looks half way decent even after standing in the rain ....I forgot my umbrella. Although I still have moments when I go to flip back my hair and nothings there but air, I still feel a heck of a lot 'lighter'. It's amazing how good you can feel when you let some of that baggage fall off your back. :-)
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
Have you ever noticed that people are meaner when it's hot? It's been pretty darn hot here in Chicago for the past week nearing temps of 100 and with the humidity famous in the Midwest, it feels like 110. As much as I'd like to stay locked inside my house basking in the wonderfulness of air conditioning, I can't. I have to go to work downtown which means I have to ride a train...where there are other people pissed off that it's so darn hot. I have to walk a couple of blocks to our building and stand on street corners waiting for stop lights to change while people brush up against you and it pisses you off more because IT'S TOO DARN HOT to be touching bodies. I've managed to stay in a decent mood regardless of the heat but I have noticed that most of the people I encounter are in anything but a good mood. Yesterday I had three different people let door slam in my face because they were in such a hurry to get inside to the A/C that they didn't much care who was behind them. I had a bus almost run me over because the driver tried to speed through a yellow light. I see people yelling, I see people with frowns, I see people pretending that no one else exists except them. Although I live in a city of 3 million and it would seem that having that many bodies crammed into one space would make people mad in general, generally it's not like that. People usually are pretty friendly. We say hello or smile when our eyes meet, we hold doors for the people that are coming through behind us, we still might yell but we tend to have a bit more 'tact' when the heats not turned on high. I'm not sure why the heat affects us so negatively. I know it sucks to be hot but isn't it worse to be cold?
It's like that old saying states....If you can't stand the heat...get out of the kitchen. Ok so it doesn't exactly fit but you know what I mean right?
Have a wonderful HOT Wednesday.
They say when you are pregnant you tend to have vivid dreams and I have to agree. Lately I've been dreaming things so vividly that I wake up sobbing or angry because I can't figure out if it was real or a figment of my imagination. Supposedly I'm a text book case because when you are pregnant you tend to dream about old relationships and unresolved issues from your past. You can probably imagine that my mind is in overdrive when I sleep because I seem to have a plethora of both of those things. The problem I have with dreaming about old relationships is that I seem to be reliving the pain along with the memory. The dreams are not exactly historically correct but they are pretty darn close. Sometimes the faces change or the names, but the result is always the same...someone is always leaving me. The strange thing is that sometimes in my dreams I put someone that's never left me, like my husband, into a memory where I was abandoned. The pain feels familiar but worse if that makes any sense. Sometimes I wake up so pissed off at myself for falling into the same old pattern that I spend at least half the day trying to convince myself it was just a dream and nothing else. I'm not sure I believe that theory though. When you sleep your inhibitions are low so every insecurity you have surfaces. If I wanted to spend more time analyzing my dreams I could probably come to the conclusion that some part of me fears being alone. Some part of me believes that this guy will also leave me stranded. I suppose fear resides where insecurities thrive. I better work harder on laying those parts of me to rest so I can actually get some rest.
Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. I think my book will be a best seller.
I cut off my hair. That action was strictly prohibited for many many years of my life sometimes due to a controlling boyfriend who claimed to love my long locks and sometimes due to my own insecurity when I actually thought my hair made up 80% of the reason anyone would be attracted to me. Rubbish I tell you. It's been a long time since I cut my hair, almost 3 years to be exact. When I was pregnant the first time I cut my butt length hair up to my shoulders because...well I was pregnant and hormones do things like that to you. But, since having Alice I vowed to grow my hair long again. I'm not sure why, maybe I was feeling less than attractive since becoming a mom but the truth is that even though I'd still get the occasional glances from unsuspecting men, my hair couldn't quite live up to the task I'd placed on it. So this weekend while trying desperately to escape the near 100 degree temps in this lovely city I call home, I snapped. Well not exactly snapped but I couldn't get my hair up far enough off my neck to feel cool. It looked dirty and sweaty ten minutes after getting out of the shower so up it went into a pony tail. My hair had gotten pretty long, almost to the middle of my back, but honestly not many could tell how long it was because it spent the majority of its time up in some new fab doo. I came to the conclusion on Saturday that it's rather ridiculous to put so much importance on something growing outside of my head when the real meat and potatoes of who I am grows on the inside. I picked up Elle magazine and flipped through it with about as much interest as I have in reading one of my hubby's engineer magazines but...this picture of Halle Barry and Natalie Portman caught my interest. Short hair, a pixie, seems way to drastic but really, what do I have to lose? So I asked my hubby what he thought and he said..."honey you'd look good with a shaved head." I took that as a green light and I made the appointment. I walked in to the salon and said...cut it all off. My stylist had to catch herself from fainting but then she asked me if I was sure. "Well, no, but if I wait too long I'll lose my nerve." So she cut, and she cut, and she cut. When she was finished I hardly recognized myself but I wasn't nearly as scary as I thought I would be. She actually told me that I should never grow my hair out again because I have the face made for short hair. She said my head shape and my thick wavey hair are perfect and I should take advantage of the fact that I can pull off this short style and still look feminine as hell.
I love my hair. I feel sassy (not that I needed a new hair cut for that), I feel beautiful, I feel like I've cut off a huge weight - literally. It's funny when I think back to all the times that I refused to cut my hair because I thought I'd be ugly because now that I'm older, wiser, and less vain, I realize that being ugly comes from the inside of your head and no amount of hair can cover that up.
So...I'm exposed and you know what...I feel pretty damn good.
Beyond what is and what was there is what will be. There are rainbows after every thunderstorm and pots of gold waiting to be discovered. Birds sing their lovely melody as we listen in hopes of hearing words of wisdom. We open our ears and our hearts to be filled with something more than we possess in the here and now. I believe these things because of you. Although my vision often blurs and I have to blink a few thousand times to gain focus, it always comes when I hear your voice. The sacrifices you made so that my own debt would be less has given me strength that can never truly be measured.
Today is your birthday and I celebrate your life as you have so often celebrated mine. I love you mama....Happy Birthday.
Since I've been digging through this history of mine trying to make some peace with it all I've realized that I have overlooked someone, my mother. Sometimes I focus so much on the pain my father inflicted on me that I forget the many many years my mom spent trying to protect me from the inevitable heartaches she herself experienced. I love my mom not only because she is my flesh and blood, not only because she spent 36 hours in labor trying to bring me into this world. I love her because she was the shield or at least tried to be, that stood in the forefront of my life taking the brunt of all the blows. Of course she couldn't protect me as well as she hoped but honestly I do not give her enough credit.
My mom is the perfect definition of a self made woman. She married my dad two days before her 18th birthday. She lied to the judge and told him she was already of legal age, that's how much she loved my dad. Little did she know that she was signing up for a life of uncertainty. She survived his infidelity, his verbal and physical abuse, his alcoholism. She hid her demons from my brother and me so that the person we saw seemed in control. When I think back I can remember the times when her fragile facade was in danger of revealing the cracks beneath the surface. I remember when she kicked my father out for good that she lived on cheetos and jelly beans for almost a year because it was the only food she could stomach. I remember being angry at her for making my dad leave, for breaking our family apart, when in reality she was the glue that held it together. We as children are so naive aren't we? Of all the memories I have of my mother the one I seem often to forget or to place importance on is the night my mom stood between my drunken father and me as he tried to force his inebriated affections around my little body. I ran outside to escape him, he ran after me, my mother followed. It was pouring down rain and I jumped inside my dad's blue Ford truck and locked the doors. As my dad tried unlocking the door, keys fumbling in his unsteady hands, my mother grabbed the keys and threw them. I'd forgotten the next moments partly out of guilt, partly out of fear. My dad grabbed my mom's arm and twisted it, he threw her on the ground, I screamed and ran to her as fast as I could. My dad stood there unable to speak. I suppose he knew what he did and for one of the very few times in his life - he felt regret. I remember my mom driving to the emergency room steering the car with one arm, her wrist was broken in two places. I sit here and try to remember what came after those moments but I can't. My mind rolls around in the blank spaces as if the film has been spliced and the next things I remember are years later. God it hurts to remember pain doesn't it? I think at this moment what hurts me more is not the pain but the guilt over not being able to recognize how strong my mother was. She must have been scared out of her mind yet for her child, she remained whole - at least on the outside.
After my mom divorced my dad she worked as a secretary and mail room clerk. At night and on weekends she put herself through college, obtained a Marketing degree and eventually worked her way up to be nominated the first woman vice president in the same company she'd been an hourly employee. She didn't do it for herself. She did it so my brother and I could have a life that had some resemblance of normal. Although I often look back on my childhood and consider it anything but normal, I really didn't have it as bad as it could have been. When I hold my daughter, when I promise to chase away the monsters and protect her with all that is inside of me, I feel my mother's love bubbling to the surface, seeping through my pores to all those that touch me. Because of her - I'm not as broken as I could be. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday and the gift I want to return to her is my gratitude.
Yesterday I was going to post about the things I'm grateful for following CeeCi's suggestion of Grateful Tuesdays. Instead I wrote about my daughter and I suppose when I look back at that post it was about something I'm eternally grateful for - her. But then something happened, something that made me stop and realize I better get that list in order because it's not only important, it's necessary.
I usually leave work about 4 every night and I take the Blue Line El train home. Yesterday I was asked to stay late, until 5, to attend a meeting where they needed my input. Of course I agreed but I told them I'd have to clear it with my nanny first to see if she could stay late with Alice. When I called the nanny she told me she had a doctor's appt. and could not stay late so I had to tell my superiors that I had to decline the meeting and asked that they reschedule. I ended up on my normal train and I didn't realize how fate played a part in my commute home until I turned on the news last night and saw that there had been a train derailment and fire on the Blue Line at 5:09 two stops after my entrance stop. I would have been on that train because the train comes at 5:05 and takes exactly four minutes to get to the stop where the fire occurred. Over 100 people were treated for smoke inhalation, 2 are in critical condition. It's not that I think I might have died, chances are I wouldn't have, but smoke inhalation when you are pregnant is almost always fatal to a fetus or has a high risk of causing birth defects. I sat there watching the news and I told my husband that I was supposed to be on that train. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of what might have happened to my sweet baby to be.
I know that a lot of bad things happen in this lifetime and most times there are no answers as to why. But sometimes we're spared from the pain and the question of why seems much less important. Today I'm going to make an effort to stop asking why. I need to remember the good and the bad and accept it for what it is so that each of my tomorrows can be spent remembering the things I'm grateful for.
Have you ever watched a child sleep? Before I became a mother I never imagined how fulfilling watching my own child in her slumber could be. Last night Alice had bad dreams so I brought her into my bed. She immediately went back to sleep as I laid her beside me as if the heat from my body chased away all the monsters. I laid there for what seemed like hours watching the rise and fall of her little chest. She was so peaceful and I have to admit it was contagious. I thought about the life I want so desperately to give her. A life without pain or at least a life without pain caused by me. She's 'unspoiled', her canvas clean, her heart still in tact. I know some day I'll probably help pick up the pieces of that heart and it will hurt me just as much as it hurts her. I have to wonder if my own parents watched me sleep and wished the same things for me. I have to wonder if my father ever felt guilty when so much of the pain in my life was caused by him. I suppose it doesn't matter does it? Pain exists and whether someone owns the responsibility or not, it's still yours to endure. Alice is whole. She's unbroken. Her world is filled with possibility and my job as her mom is to make sure that I never take one single possibility away from her. I never want to the person she blames at age 38 while she lays in bed unable to sleep because her demons swirl around in her head. I never want her to ask the same questions I have pondered so many times only to be left without the answers every single time. I know we never mean to hurt people and as much as we try to always do the right thing, the fact is - we don't. I don't want to be perfect, I want to be accountable. Accountable to Alice, accountable to myself.
I'm convinced God put children on this earth to remind us that life doesn't start off painful. It starts off simple, with a canvas waiting to soak up the color of happiness.
Did you ever notice how much easier it is to reach 'in' than it is to reach 'out'? I'm talking about how difficult a task it is to let someone help you. I'm pretty sure I inherited my mother's strong will to take care of myself. I've spent so many years saying, "I don't need anyone to take care of me," that most of me actually believes it. I've often told people, "I'll just do it myself," as I angrily stomp off into the other room resenting the fact completely. Maybe it comes from being disappointed too often so I've learned this coping mechanism where I just refuse help all together and then the only person I have left to blame if something goes wrong is myself. It can be a simple task like sweeping the floor or emptying the dishwasher....instead of asking ten times I end up just doing it myself to avoid controversy. I've found that even when the task is a bigger one, like healing an old scar, I much rather just learn to deal with the pain than to open up to someone else and let them figure out a way to help me. Maybe it's that I believe there really isn't a way to help, pain exists and no matter how much you 'work on it' there's always going to be some remnant of it left behind. A perfect example is how Christine gave me some numbers to call for Alanon and no matter how much I really want to pick up the phone and dial, I've found an excuse every single day since I opened the email not to call. I want to call, I want to heal, I want to feel better - but it's the feeling worse first that scares the hell out of me. I've spent so many years carefully dressing my wounds so they blend in with the rest of me, that the thought of ripping off the band-aid and exposing the scar that lies beneath sends shivers down my spine. I remember how it felt after I had my heart broken...one of the many many times that clutter my history...I knew that before I felt better I'd feel worse. When you come to that point where it's finally possible to let go of someone or something it's almost like losing them or it all over again. We hold on to the pain of the loss and it becomes our comfort tool, without the pain we're forced to look ahead and that's scary in itself. So I'm here or there in that 'catch 22'. I want to feel better but part of me thinks feeling better will be too much work so maybe I'll just stay this way...it's worked for me this long right?
I know some days it seems like I've come so far and if I give myself the credit I know I deserve I can admit it's true...the miles I've traveled could get me across the US a few thousand times. But still here I am, in this place. I guess pain is like an onion...you peel away the layers to get to the edible part but layer after layer - as tears sting your eyes, you realize you still are not there yet and there's just another layer beneath waiting to be revealed. I've always hated onions.
When I was a child I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. I actually got pretty darn close...I competed and won 1st in the State Meet 4 times, I won Nationals twice and once I actually competed against Mary Lou Retton and came in 2nd place on the beam. I was on my way to trying out for the National Gymnastics team when the summer before try-outs I blew out my knee for the 3rd time. It's strange that although it happened so many years ago, when I was 14 to be exact, it still feels like a part of me is stuck in that moment where the doctor told my parents that if I injured it again I could end up on crutches for the rest of my life. At fourteen I wanted to take the chance because when you are young you feel invincible like nothing can touch you and life seems full of endless possibilities. I'm not exactly sure when it was that the invincible feeling subsided and the fear set in. I'm not exactly sure when life changed from being full of endless possibilities to being filled with endless lessons that I'd have to learn over and over again. Some say it's all part of growing up, the learning thing that is...but why is it that each time I learn a lesson the possibilities seem anything but endless? There is still a part of me that wants to be up on that podium in front of thousands of people while a medal is placed around my neck. I want someone to pat me on the back and say, "Good job networkchic here's a medal for your efforts." Sounds dumb doesn't it? But sometimes we need someone to notice how far we've come, how much crap we've waded through, how strong we are despite circumstance. I know recognition shouldn't matter but if I'm honest with myself, it does hold a tiny bit of importance in my life. Maybe that makes me shallow or flawed but honestly I think it makes me human. Sometimes it's really ok to be that way, a human with flaws.
I'm back...and kind of exhausted. Why is it that when you take a few days off you need a few more just to recover? Anyway, I spent some time visiting with some relatives that I don't see very often and it was pleasant except the part where I found out my cousin's husband of 3 years quit his job and is now selling everything in their house to get money for drugs. I wish I could say that I'm surprised but I'm not. He's been an alcoholic ever since I knew him and my cousin has constantly made excuses for him, promising that his promises of change will actually happen. But now, his promises to be something she wanted him to be have turned into wishful thoughts on her part. I'm not sure how he made the transition from alcohol to crack but whatever road he took to get there, it appears it was a seamless journey.
So my 4th of July weekend which I'd hoped would be drastically different from the ones I'd experienced as a child turned out not to be so different after all. As we sat around chatting about how we wanted the future to be, the past lingered heavily underneath a blanket of denial. Christine told me I should try Alanon and I think I might because no matter how hard I try to accept what was, what is, I still harbor unbelievable feelings of resentment and anger. For as much as I've learned on this journey I'm on, I realize there is still a wealth of knowledge waiting to be discovered. I swear, sometimes my brain feels as if it's at maximum capacity but it's the times that I sit and listen to someone else's heartache that my own memories come bubbling to the surface. Why can't we just forget and move on? Damn, life would be so much simpler if that were possible wouldn't it?
This holiday was about independence but I've been thinking about what that word really means. I used to think it meant being able to stand on my own without needing anyone because needing someone made you weak. I'm learning that it's not the needing that makes you weak, it's the unwillingness to accept help. My cousin is at that point right now where she will not accept help from anyone either out of fear or out of denial. There is a part of me that wants to reach out and hold her up but I know that even if I was strong enough to do that, she'd still fall the moment I loosened my grip. Maybe we all have to fall....so we learn how to get back up.
I hope you all had a fab weekend...and in two more days it's starts again.