Sometimes I am so completely selfish. I put my own woes up at the top of the list as if they could even compare to the plight others suffer. The little boy I spoke of before died this morning. He lost the fight to Leukemia and now God has one more angel in heaven. It makes you sad, it makes you open your eyes, and it makes you feel selfish and stupid and incredibly small. Dax died today, one day before the start of a new year, and I have to believe that he wanted to make sure his parents didn't start a new year hanging on to something he knew they could not have, him. I want to be different, not just for today, every day. I want to lay down my selfish ways and be grateful for the gifts I have so graciously been given.
Rest in peace little man and thank you for the miracles you left back here on earth.
I'm sitting here now wondering how it is that I got back to this place I swore I'd never be again. The place where trusting someone seems impossible because the person you trusted is absolutely not the person you thought you were trusting. Trust is a tricky thing isn't it? We are born with it but somewhere along the line it becomes less of an innate ability and more of an achieved one. Can you remember the first moment when you realized that trusting someone also meant putting yourself on the line? Can you remember how it felt the first time someone you trusted proved unworthy of that trust? I can. Let me tell you that the pit at the bottom of your stomach feels exactly the same as it did the first time someone let you down. I suppose one might think you would get used to getting hurt but the truth is that the one hundredth time you get hurt is just as bad as the first time.
I thought that by now I'd be a master at discovering someone's dishonesty but I suppose we get so immersed in our daily lives that those skills tend to slack off. Well, I know now and that's what counts right? I'd like to say I'm a big enough person to forgive, to hand out another chance, but I am not so sure I am. It seems like there have been so many times in my life where I had to forgive someone, had to give them a second chance, that at some point I'd be fresh out of both.
As I laid my head on my pillow last night I knew only one thing for sure, God is the only person I can put my trust in and even that is hard sometimes. He must have a plan for me but I'd really like to have a clue as to what it is. Surely it can't be this...what it is at this moment.
A long time ago I never thought about death. It wasn't that I thought I was invincible it was that I was young and when you are young you believe life will go on forever. Young people are not supposed to die. I was woken up today by my phone vibrating from a new e-mail from a journal I signed up for about a little boy named Dax. Dax is two 1/2. Dax is dying. He has incurable leukemia and just days to live. I don't know this little boy, he lives down the street from my mom, but I cried when I read how weak he has become. I wanted to scream at God and honestly the only reason I didn't is because my kids were still asleep. There have been many times in my life when I've questioned God's intentions, his reasoning, his compassion. This little boy is suffering, his parents are suffering - where is the compassion in that? There have been other times I've questioned God's plan like the time when I laid on the floor with a broken heart, in so much pain that I could not lift myself up off the floor. I figured that one out, that broken heart made me stronger, but how can taking a child's life, making him suffer his last days on earth, make anyone stronger?
I'd like some answers. I've been patient through my life waiting for His agenda to work itself out while my own faded into the background. I can't imagine any sort of good coming from losing a child and I don't think I ever want to understand.
Recently someone posted a comment on a post I made back in 2005 "I stayed for me" which made me want to read it again...even though I remembered exactly what it said. As I sat there reading the words about the struggle I went through to find myself after a bad break-up I realized how much I've changed because of those struggles. It seems like a million years back to that person I was before; the person who let a man define her. But even though it seems so long ago I still question how I became that person opposed to this one that I am now? Do we learn it from someone or do we just happen upon it like the lottery except you don't win anything wonderful? I remember watching my mom as a strong career woman where she was respected and even feared yet in her personal life she let men convince her that her worth would only be determined by them. My mom lived as two people, the strong single mom who provided for two kids, became the first woman vice president in her company, and the woman who never believed she controlled her own destiny. Do we consciously teach our kids that they alone determine their fate or do we teach them that everything else except them is responsible for where they end up? Money, education, status....these are what we place so much importance on and we're idiots. Money can't make you a good person, education can teach you how to add two plus two but it can't teach you to have morals. Status can make you appear important - on the outside, but it can't actually make you important to yourself.
Now that I'm a mother I pray my daughter will not have the same heartaches, the same struggles, or the same anguish I had over trying to convince myself my self worth was only determined by me. I know she'll feel the pain of a broken heart but I want to teach her to let it hurt and then let it go...something it took me years to master. I don't want to have to teach her that she's in charge of her own destiny, I want her to know it instinctively.
To that young woman who reminded me why I am who I am right here right now, thank you. Sometimes we forget how hard we struggled to get to the place we are now which also makes us ungrateful for the circumstances that surround us. Circumstances change but what we are worth no matter what moment we are in - does not.
Self Actualization - the process of establishing oneself as a whole person; the ability to develop one's abilities or to understand one's self.
Have you done it? Have you even tried or did you give up long ago when you realized what an uphill battle it was? Call me an optimist, call me stupid, but I have been trying to get there, to get 'self actualized' for a very long time. There have been moments when I thought I was close, the birth of my children, success in my career, and then just as I felt the moment was near - 'Plop' down I slid right onto my ass. So what do you do when all those self admiring thoughts you had of yourself become MIA? You kick yourself in the hind end, hold your head up high and begin the climb again. Recently my backside has taken quite a beating as I try desperately to convince myself I'm worth the effort. I'm there...self actualized that is, at least I think the end is near. So how did I finally manage to grab the gold? I stopped listening to myself and went back to the beginning - the place where I began my journey and low and behold there I was, the parts of me I thought were lost or buried or burned beyond recognition. We get lost in our expectations so much so that expectations become the reminders of the failures that have filled our lives. We let them define us, shape us, envelope us until there isn't much left for anyone to recognize.
I woke up yesterday and realized that the very things that cause me to keep waking up, to keep climbing the hill - are the reason I am self actualized or whole or able to understand myself. I am whole despite the bruises, despite the pieces I've left behind because they were too painful to carry; I am what I am Sam I am. Acceptance....it is one of the hardest things you will ever achieve and the most rewarding. Now go look in the mirror and learn to love that reflection staring back at you.
When I was a kid my dad would always tell me that those willing to sacrifice will always be the ones first rewarded. I wasn't sure what sacrifice meant way back then and sometimes I'm still not sure.
When I was still working sacrifice must have been the horrible commute I unhappily drove every day to ensure my children had a secure future. Sacrifice must have been the lunches I never took because someone always seem to need something from me right about noon. Sacrifice most definitely were the hours I worked after I put my children to bed sometimes until it was almost time to start the day over again. I look back at these 'sacrifices' and start to wonder who the hell I was doing them for and when exactly are the rewards going to start rolling in? Surely the reward wasn't getting let go from a job that I dedicated so much of my life to just because it was cheaper to hire a consultant to do my job. And the reward isn't the endless amount of time I spend searching job boards, posting resumes, and trying to convince people I'm not as worthless as my prior employer made me feel. And the reward cannot be the fact that I am so damn pissed off that I even have to go back to work because I absolutely love being with my kids and it's just no fair that some women get to have husbands that bring home the bacon and it's enough to fill four plates. Maybe my dad had it wrong, those that sacrifice are not the ones rewarded first, they are the ones left stuck in the burning building because they let everyone else escape first.
Sacrifice should never be done in anticipation of a reward because trust me my friend, you'll be waiting a very long time to cash in. If you want to sacrifice just make sure you are doing it for all the right reasons.
Sometimes in non-particular moments of the day I get flashes of what my life used to be like and for a split second I feel envy of that 'girl' I used to be. It isn't that I regret having children or getting married, it's that I have not been able to combine the best of both selves into one. I used to be more creative writing songs and playing the guitar but now there seems to be little time to do anything more creative than making a Halloween costume for my kids. Yes yes I know those are important things and there is some gratification when their eyes light up and they prance around in their costume 24/7 but gratification has taken on such a different form now days. I remember when being gratified came from a few hours of Guinness and some hot...well you know. It is so amazing how a lifetime whizzes past you in a blaze of Glory. Don't misunderstand me, I do have many moments of happiness and peace when I look at my children but sometimes it is so hard to be someone's everything when you feel the emptiness creeping up inside you. Sometimes I feel pathetic for how I feel which seemingly all stems from being unemployed and unable to convince someone that your talents extend beyond a stay-at-home mom. I used to be that 'girl' that wowed everyone because there were so few women in technology. Now I'm just that women that used to do something that used to be important but it's gotten lost in the layers of the crappy economy.
How the hell do you take the anger and release it? I've tried that whole 'push it down and bury it' method and trust me....it doesn't work. I should be able to figure this out, to be happy regardless of the circumstances, but it is always just out of reach. I have to be somewhere in there beneath the anger, outside of the resentment, and inside a glass house that shakes in fear of someone with a stone in their hand.
It has been so long since I've been in this place but I'm so lost from searching where I belong or what meaning my life has that it seemed logical to start in the place where I felt it all made sense.
I've tried to begin so many times now that it seems I'm already nearing the end and I have not even figured out what goes in the middle. I lost my job last December, a job that I put so many blood sweat and tears into that I rarely had any left for myself. I suppose a person could take comfort that so many other people in this economy have ended up the exact same place I have but for some reason I find little warmth in that knowledge. I'm pissed off of course but less about losing my job and more about the way I was treated. Our company went through a reorganization and in with the new came the evil lurking right behind it. People that once were so valued were now worth less than a penny at the bottom of my purse. I guess I was lucky up until that point because hard work always paid off for me and I felt 'appreciated'. Isn't it amazing how you can have so much in your life, a great husband, two wonderful children, but the moment your job stops treating you like a human being you fall off the cliff.
So here I am exactly where I have been for months now, home with my children which pleases me immensely because they have been my salvation. So how then do I feel so lost? So pissed off? Because life costs money and although my husband is still working, thank God, I'm used to being able to purchase things I need without worrying. Today my cat died, he was fifteen. As I sat there next to him listening to him take his last breaths I shouted at God, "What exactly is your plan for me?" I'm so angry, at Him, at myself, at that stupid company that stole the future I had planned out. I used to be able to afford things like an ultra sound for a pet that needed one but now, I cannot. Now I have to weigh which life is more important, my children's or my pet's. Of course I pick my kids but the point is that before I never had to make decisions like that.
So here I am back to this place that gave me solace, a place that provided an outlet to years of pent up anger towards my parents, and a place where somehow I figured it all out and felt whole again. I'm not feeling so whole right now since pieces of me seem to be sputtering down the drain with the rest of my lost plans.
It'll help right? Writing words that total strangers will judge me by? Of course it will because right now being anonymous is exactly how I've felt for the past months.