Predicting the Weather

The weather is a tricky thing.  You can watch it and think you have a good handle on what is going to happen.  You dress for it.  Cute jean shorts and a soft white tank top, paired with Grecian sandals will look stunning today.  You curl your hair and use just the right products.  Today’s forecast is a perfect 74 degrees with an occasional high cloud and a gentle breeze.  The day was made for walking around.

You’re out on the patio laughing, having a cocktail with your friends when a cloud appears.  You notice it but it’s nothing to alarm you.  Yet, you feel the air pressure start to change.  The others might not notice but you’re sensitive to this change.  The hair on the back of your neck starts to stand up.  Could the forecast have been wrong?  The day looked so perfect?  You looked at the map!  Clouds tumble in from every side and suddenly it is pouring on you.  Everyone is scattering around yet there you stand, helpless letting the rain soak your core.  All the work you have put in has been ruined…and you never saw it coming.

Sometimes, you will sit for days watching the Weather Channel.  Storm predictors, wall clouds, El Nino…you will stock your cupboards, collect kerosene, have candles.  You will have everything possible prepared because you know the storm is coming.  You know in advance trees are going to be uprooted, floods are going to occur, lives are going to change.  You are thankful when you are in the eye of the storm.  Thank you Weather Channel for giving storms names.

Mine is Anxiety.

I wish my storms were always predictive.  It seems as of late they are the 74 and sunny kind.  My storms are the ones that are coming in the middle of my sleep that wake me from the toy soldiers trying to march out of my chest.  My storms are coming in the names of loneliness.  They come with moments of suffocation and raining eyes.  My storms are coming in the names of darkness.  They are coming with moments of deafening silence in rooms full of noise.  My storm is anxiety.  I wish it was predicative.

When I don’t know the storms are coming, everything in me stops.  I am caught in the rain.  I’m standing on the patio stuck.  I don’t remember how to make my way inside to save myself.  I know the rain is hitting me.  I can feel it.  I know there is danger of lightning all around me.  I see the people running.  I know I should move.  I know standing there, the rain fall is going to drench me.  I am going to get sick.  I can’t help myself in that moment.  I want to call out for help.  SAVE ME!  I want to scream it.  I can’t remember the words.  Is it really that I can’t remember the words? Or do they get stuck on my pride?  I watch everyone save themselves from the storm.  The patio has become a pool and suddenly I’m drowning.  My storm is anxiety.  Please save me when I can’t save myself.

 

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The Little Magical Box

So Jack Pearson DIDN’T die in the fire.  Can we all just sit back for a minute and take a minute a mourn the loss of a great man.  If you’re reading this and haven’t watched the Super Bowl episode of This Is Us.  I’m sorry.  I’ve given you time.  This isn’t a spoiler.  I took time to process before I could even utter the words.  JACK. IS. DEAD.  We’ll get back to that.  That isn’t the crux of everything yet that stirred some shit in my soul.  It stirred shit in everyone’s soul.  The world shed tears.  I however needed to take some time and actually break down and sob for a while.  Let’s get in our Delorean and travel back in time, shall we?

 

Pool table
Becoming a rad pool shark…look at that form.

Most readers know, I grew up on what some would call, “the wrong side of the tracks.”  I did not know they were the wrong side.  They were just the tracks.  They were the only side I knew.  There were lots of things in my life: friends, sunshine, laughter…drugs, abuse, neglect…

One of the rarities growing up in an environment like mine is new clothing.  Somehow (don’t ask me how or why) I ended up with a brand, spanking new Philadelphia Eagles t-shirt when I was little.  I remember getting that shirt. I wore that shirt with pride. (Not so easy being in the land of the Purple People Eaters.) It was grey with forest print.  It was so soft like your Grandma had washed it a hundred times with the Snuggle bear himself.  Every time I put it on, I felt as if I was getting a hug.  That shirt was never owned by anyone else. It was only mine.  I was so proud of it.  I was an E-A-G-L-E.

Then this weekend, Super Bowl 52 came home.  Not only did it come to ME (yes, they were bringing it directly to me) they were bringing my birds.  My little girl dreams were coming true.  Something, you may not know…I am HIGHLY competitive.  To. A. FAULT.  Honestly, it is a problem.  I should seek help.  I spent the weekend Downtown Minneapolis celebrating with my fellow Eagles fans (hating on the Patriots…boooooooo) and reveling in all the excitement.  It was something to FINALLY be with my people.  My emotions were high and truly, it is hard to put into words the culmination of what it meant for me.  It was like finally having that something.  Personally, I have worked so long to not be that little girl for so long to not have the hand me downs and am JUST getting to a place in my life where I’m not.  I feel like the Eagles were kind of in the same place.  They would get just close enough…and something would happen and they would fall.  Sunday, they beat the shit.  I, too am going to beat the shit.

Eagles

**Deep Breath**  So, I was riding high on adrenaline. I thought I could handle This Is Us.  I knew it was going to be emotional. (Between you and me, I always cry but don’t tell anyone.  It’ll ruin my image.)  This episode hit me two fold.  It hit me as a child and it hit me as a Mama.  I was watching it with my best girl.  When Jack came out of the house and handed over the photo albums, I turned to her and said, “Do you know I only have a few pictures of me when I was little?”  I had never told her, my house burnt down when I was little.  What I wouldn’t do have had a Jack Pearson.

The episode continued, Rebecca was on the phone and the staff started to scurry.  I felt it happening.  My heart started pounding.  I could feel sweat on my neck.  I wanted to yell at the television even though I knew it was fictional and already filmed.  I knew she would not have heard me.  I knew she wasn’t a medical Mama.  I saw the movement in the background.  I knew.  I fucking knew.  My stomach was turning.  She had never been in a hospital.  She would have heard the movement in the scrubs.  She would have felt the air change.  GOD DAMN IT REBECCA.  TURN AROUND.  I knew.  I know the movement.  It is a television show.  It is on a magical little box.  It is my life.

As I am typing this, my chest is tight and my eyes have sprung such a leak I can hardly see through them.  This is post traumatic stress disorder.  It will never leave me.  The doctor said to her, “I’m sorry Rebecca, Jack has went into cardiac arrest.”  Rebecca’s response of, “No.  We’re just here for a burn” was the most spot on line I possibly have ever witnessed on television.  In THAT moment, I was suddenly transported back 5 years.  I was standing outside my son’s room, the ER was informing they were sending for LifeLink to transfer him.  My response, “We’re just here for a fucking headache.”  Flashforward 5 minutes to the breeze way, the next thing I remember saying, they’re moving us and they think he’s going to to die.

Monitors

The little magic box.  Within 20 minutes brought me elation of childhood dreams coming true and down to the depths of my hell.  The thing about the little magic box is…I always have the power to turn it on and off.  I clawed my way out of hell…Like an Eagle.

Better Than Me

I remember the day you told me I wasn’t equal to you.  We were sitting on a bench in the park.  You said you were sorry.  I may of had all of the other things but I would never equal you because…you know…you were a successful business owner and I worked in the nonprofit world.  You didn’t want to stop seeing me.  You didn’t want to stop being able to ravage my body.  You didn’t want to stop escaping your life.  You wanted to keep telling yourself you hadn’t fallen in love with me.  More than anything though, you wanted to feel powerful.

There were several times, I had seen warning signs.  At first, I convinced my gut I was being crazy.  I just was overthinking things because that’s what I do.  Working in the sector, I was so use to seeing those things…I HAD to be looking for it.  Growing up watching abuse, I was just seeking it out.  You were so sweet.  You were so respected.  You are a pillar in our community.  Mental abuse and superiority doesn’t come from people like that.  Of course it does Sunshine.  That is a prime grooming factor for a narcissist.  Damn it.  You’ve talked to a million clients about this.

I love you.  I’ll hurt you.  I’ll love you.  I’ll make you depend on me for your esteem.  You’re vulnerable without me.  Tell me about your past.  Let me know about how bad it was.  Let me know where the breaks in your armour are.  I am polish…let me shine it for.  Little do you know I am actually finding how to get in between those cracks and slip you poison.

I would find myself in positions to walk away.  That is when the charm would up itself or the repentance would happen for whatever hurt had happened.  In retrospect, I blame myself…which is just another thing I need to forgive myself for.  I remember sitting with you one time and saying you were slightly narcissistic.  You chuckled and said, “I think anyone who makes it has to be.”

I don’t know if there is really a purpose to this writing except I’ve been think a lot about you saying you were better than me lately.  I hope you find your way to this writing.  I want you to know, you are not better than me.  You never were.  You have more money than me.  Our lives gave us different circumstances, passions, thoughts, etc.  Something else it gave us was different characters.  When I do something for someone, it is out of goodness and love.  I never do it for accolades or for a time down the line.

You are not better than me.  My heart isn’t always .  I know I make mistakes but when I make mistakes, I apologize and mean it with a pure heart.  I hope this writing makes it back to you.  I hope you hear my apology.  I am sorry you think you’re better than me.  Money is never going make you happy or silence your demons.  I’ll continue to work on mine.  I hope someday, you work on yours.

More Pieces Dropped

Birthdays.  Once upon a time…they were my favorite.  I didn’t have a birthDAY celebration.  I had a birthMONTH celebration.  Why were we celebrating?  Because it was my birthday, damnit…or damn near close to it.  Why wouldn’t we?  I think we should always celebrate how special someone is and the fact they are here.

Then, my life blew up.  My son was on life support and I was getting text messages that said “Happy Birthday!”  What in the actual fuck.  How?  How do I have a happy birthday?  How do I celebrate my life when I am begging for his?  How am I grateful for my life when I am pleading to exchange my life for his?  Stop.  Just stop.

Don’t worry, it will get better.  Next year, your birthday is going to be awesome.  We will make up for it.  Flash forward, year one…his legs don’t work.  Year 2, there are complications with his brain surgery.  Year 3, brain surgery #2 infection. Year 4, brain surgery #3 recovery…No it doesn’t get better…just more complicated.

Let’s add a few things to this mix.  My adult life has been volatile with my family, my Mother, in particular.  There are many reasons for that dating as long back as I can remember.  I’m sure if she were writing this the perspective would be very different.  There came a point during my son’s illness that I couldn’t deal with drama that came with being involved with my parents anymore.  I chose to walk away to make myself and my mental health better.

I was doing everything I could just to hold the pieces of myself together at that point.  I honestly couldn’t handle anything or person who was not being supportive in my life.  Everything was falling apart at the seams and there were constant reminders of what a disappointment I and my life were to my parents.  In that, I chose I needed to step away.  My son was in a constant battle for his life and I was handling my own very serious health crisis.  I didn’t know in doing that, I would be walking away from my entire family.

There have been a few times in the last couple of years I have tried to extend the olive branch…the olives were eaten and I was left with a broken branch.  It came to a point where I decided it was more important to preserve what was left of my tree.  Although, being the only tree can be very solitary, it has enabled me to grow strong roots.  I’ve learned a lot about who I was and what I would and would not stand for.

Which brings me back to my birthday.  I see the days on the calendar start to tick off and I feel the anxiety start to build.  It is almost as if The Great Nothing from The Neverending Story starts to loom closer and closer.  I know memories will start to flood through me.  Memories of what happened, memories of my life before, memories of the person I use to be.  I tend to limit myself on social media because everything is so live and in living color.  I can actually see the memories and moments.  I see others living our old lives.Crown

This year they day approached and for the first time in 5 years I greeted it with glee.  I was not spending it in the hospital with my child.  There would be no tears this year.  Although I had no plans, nothing special going on…I was going to do laundry and dishes…my heart was not going to be broken this year.  Then I opened my email and saw my Mother’s name.  This year, I didn’t have to offer prayer for my son’s heart to keep beating…I needed to ask for mine to start again.  Why?  Why this year, when I felt like my life was finally coming together, was she dropping more pieces into my puzzle?

Puzzles have never been my thing.  I do not have the time, energy and frankly, above all, patience to do them.  They frustrate the fuck out of me.  So, for the first time in, possibly my life, I finally feel like I am figuring my shit out.  A new puzzle box is being not only being set on my table but strewn across the one I was just finishing up.  All the pieces messed together, bringing up all the anxieties and self doubt I’ve worked so hard to calm.  She wanted to extend wishes for a happy year and hope to resolve our unpeaceful relationship.

In that very small email, the only thing that happened was a restirring of chaos that had finally settled in my heart.  My joy of being home was overshadowed by remembering all of the broken branches.  Being encompassed by the heaviness of once again feeling like a lost child.  I had to question if I ever had finally made peace.  If once again I was going to fear falling asleep because I knew the nightmares would come.  My birthday was no longer a celebration.

I wonder if it ever will be.

Snakes

 

 

The Day The Olive Branch Broke

The Christmas season has been difficult for me for many years.  My daughter should be turning 12 this year.  Instead, I place an ornament on the tree for her front and center.  Reminding me that a star shines bright for her.  I keep waiting for the ache to dull…somehow, it never does.  Every time I hear her name, place her ornament, see a girl her age, a million other things, a sword…not a dagger jams through my heart and spins, gouging the freshly healed hole.

This January will mark the 5 year anniversary of my son’s brain injury.  In many ways it is a celebration yet in some ways I can not explain the amount of mourning I am in.  There is no way to truly grieve a child who is still alive.  I often hear how lucky I am he is still alive given that he was given his last rites.  I am grateful for him, his effort to recover, this strength, his tenacity.  I mourn the child he was, the dreams he had, the future he wished for, his independence.  I mourn for the infant they placed in my arms the day he was born.  He is not that same child.  He carries the same eyes but not the same spark that was in them.

Several years ago, I made the decision not to have a relationship with my parents as they were toxic for me.  I felt in order to make a mentally healthy life for myself, I needed to separate from them.  I didn’t know if that would be a permanent decision or until I was healthy.  What I didn’t know in making that decision was I would lose my entire family.  I would lose my siblings as they would feel that they were “cheating” on my parents talking to me.  I felt I needed to remove myself from my Grandparents in order to not make them “in betweens.”

Last year at this time, my son asked if we could have Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma’s.  I swallowed my pride and told him of course we could.  I never wanted him to be effected by my relationship with my parents and made that clear to them.  I contacted my Mother and relayed that my son would like to attend Christmas and asked if we could come.  She said she would be happy to have my family.  About a week later I had a Facebook voicemail from my Mother.  I didn’t know you could buttdial on Messenger but you can.  The voicemail was a conversation relay discussion a family conversation about how I had finally decided to put my son above myself and do what was best for him and come to Christmas.  It continued on about what a bitch I was and how horrible my family was.  That was the last time I heard my Mother’s voice.

The hole in my chest gets bigger when the calendar hits December and I don’t know how to make it stop.188519_517263575499_925022334_n

Body Acceptance

I am fat.  SHHHHH…I can hear you screaming in your heads.  It’s okay.   I know it. You don’t need to reassure me that I’m not.  You don’t need to tell me that I’m not.  You don’t need to tell me that I’m curvy or that I’m plus size.  I’m fat.  I’m still a lot of other things.  The fact that I’m fat doesn’t mean I am not pretty.  I’ve accepted that those two things can coincide together.  It has taken a long time to realize that.  Fat acceptance has had to become a thing in my life.  There are other things about fat acceptance I am still learning though.

I will see other fat people and find them GORGEOUS.  Absolutely stunning…for example Tess Holiday.  WOWZA.  She is one of the most beautiful women on the planet.  Fat women.  I look at her, see her body…I love and accept it.  However, I will look at myself in the mirror and see my stomach and wish it gone.  I see the wrinkles, the scars, the sag and feel shame.

I love being a curvy woman.  I wouldn’t want to be stick thin for anything.  I love the roundness of my thighs.  My ample breast are wonderful.  The curve of my hips are life.  Yet, my stomach is a source of embarrassment in my life.  The thing about being fat positive and body accepting is realizing that my body is MINE.  Once upon a time, there were zero parts of my body that I loved.  I would cry if someone said I was fat.  That defined my worth.  I define my worth…Not my stomach.  Someday, I hope to love it.  Until then…I’ll remember it is a part of this beautiful person that is me.  This fat beautiful me.  And that is okay.

Body positivity doesn’t mean you have to love every part of you all the time.  Love as much of you can and keep working on it.  Every minute is a new minute.

38

Women start approaching their 40’s and start losing their fucking minds.  No, seriously.  I see it with my girlfriends.  Creams and lotions and potions.  Hair coloring, botox, lipo…There is an obsession with keeping youth.  It confuses me.  I don’t understand it.  I am absolutely baffled by it.  I don’t know if it is because my youth wasn’t great or because I am just starting to hit my stride now.  However, take it.  Take my youth.  Bye Felicia.  (Are we still saying that?)

Americans try to capture youth.  We do everything we can to stay young.  Why?  What is so great about?  Really…please someone tell me.  As I am aging I am finally coming into this person that I am.  I am discovering this person under all of the trauma other people laid upon me.  Trauma I had no choice in.  I was too young to fight back.  Too young to say no.  Too young to go out on my own.  Too young to make it.

As I am aging, I am finding the beauty in my scars, mental and physical.  I’ve had them for years.  When I was young, I thought they were what made me ugly.  I didn’t recognize the people who gave them to me were ugly.  I didn’t recognize the people who teased me for them, the people who were cruel to me because of them were ugly.  My scars were never ugly.  My scars formed me.  My scars are strokes from a masterful paintbrush.  My scars indicative that I am a masterpiece.

As I age, I am finding my voice.  When I was young, I hushed myself because my voice was different than those around me.  My voice voice was loud.  My voice spoke words that were unconventional.  My voice told my truth.  My voice angered others.  When I was young, I would let others speak for me because I did not know my worth.  It has only been as I have aged I have come to recognize to not only the importance but strength in my voice.  I will never hush myself for someone else again.

As my years come, a crown of silver has started to adorn my face.  Evidence of laughter surrounds my eyes and lips.  There is not a single person in the world that has these exact marks.  Growing up, I remember being enthralled with a photo from Time Magazine.  I believe the woman was from India.  She was severely wrinkled and I couldn’t get over how beautiful I thought she was.  I wondered what she had seen in her life.  Why do we try so hard to erase evidence that we have lived?

So, as everyone tries to regain their youth…just know, in 53 days I will be 38.  I am so good with that.  I am appreciate EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I am given to age…because like wine and cheese…I’m just getting better.