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

Advertisements

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.

Have You Seen This Woman?

Who am I?  I have been asking myself this question a lot lately.  The answer really is I don’t fucking know.  That is the most truthful way I can answer.  I can really only answer the question in relation to who I am for someone or something else.  Yet, holding the mirror up blankly, I don’t really know who I am.

Last Winter, I was finally able to identify myself as a writer…as soon as I did that, writer’s block hit me like I was Hiroshima.   My writer’s block has been so great I have questioned if I should call myself a writer any longer.  How long do I get to go between actual writings and still get to consider myself an authentic writer?  I occasionally will whip out a bit of poetry or a mini thought…but something worth reading is coming few and far between.

I am a displaced woman.  That is what I am.  That is the only thing I truly know that I am as I sit here at my favorite Starbucks (I call it my other office.)  I watch person after person walk in…it’s literally  like watching a cookie cutter factory roll through.  Please understand, I mean a sugar cookie factory.  Here I am in the corner, earbuds in, blasting Biggie doing a hip roll.  I am not meant for small town Wisconsin.

When people talk to me about growing up I’ll say I grew up in St. Paul.  People will always ask “What part?”  I will respond with, “I’m a Frogtown girl.”  It always gets a reaction.  If anyone knows anything about the Twin Cities, they will know Frogtown was the hub of drugs, gangs and prostitution in the 80’s.  To me, it was just home.  I loved living there…so there was a drive by now and then.  My neighbor was dating a gang leader.  He was good to me.  There was always a neighborhood BBQ and I am not talking about mayo salads.  I mean REAL chicken, mac and cheese, collards…mmmm…I miss home.

My Mom moved me to the great white conservative fields when I was in high school.  I never really recovered.  I hated it.  I didn’t fit in.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.  My vernacular was different.  My music, my clothes…I didn’t like ketchup (country spice.)  When I left college, I took off to Manhattan.  I have never felt so free in my life.  I felt like I could be myself.  No judgement.  Culture.  Movement.  Diversity.  I came home for 5.5 days…all it did was remind me how much I hated small towns.  I took off to Miami.

Nevertheless, responsibility found me in the form of a little boy.  The chaos of a big city is too much for him and back to small town Wisconsin we are.  My heart longs to be in a place I feel at home.  While I am here I am constantly looking for myself.  I can not find it here.  I don’t know who I am.  I can not relate.  I can not find myself.  I am lost.

 

Dear Body

Dear Body,

It wasn’t just one day.  It was a whole bunch of days and a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of words and images…they were all shoved at me.  They were all shoved at me and fed into my brain telling me that YOU were less than some of the other skin coverings walking around. They were telling me that YOU were not as beautiful.  They were telling me that YOU were less worthy of love.  They were telling me that YOU needed to change.  They were telling me that YOU would never be loved looking the way you did.

Dear Body,

It is not up to me to apologize for the people who touched you without permission.  I do want to say I am sorry for that burning sensation you get whenever a hand grazes your vagina in the wrong way.  I want to apologize for the way your heart beats without a chance of escape from it’s cage when you see someone who looks like them.  I want to soothe the mind that you hold when you wake up in a cold sweat from the memories that forever haunt you…but it not up to me to say I am sorry.

Dear Body,

I know I have been hard on you.  I am not talking about all of the times I fell down and bruised you.  I am speaking of the times I did not give you the nourishment you needed to thrive because I was willing you to be smaller.  The times I deprived you of the energy you needed because I so desperately wanted to walk in a different skin because I believed you were not good enough to contain the soul I was given.  The days and nights I stayed awake so I did not need to sleep in you knowing that when I woke up…my skin would still look like YOU.

Dear Body,

Please forgive me for all of the terrible things I have said to you.  I did not know the power you contained within you.  The power to carry me through illness that would of killed others.  The strength to hold the hands of others needing love they could not find anywhere but YOUR skin.  A tenderness, so soft babies beg to fall asleep against it but so resilient the broken beg for it to accompany them into battle.

Dear  Body,

Thank you for not giving up when my brain begged you for release from the pain in my soul.  YOU carried demons meant to release me from this world.  Yet, YOU told me I had work to finish.  I was not ready to give up.  YOU reminded me I was bigger than the pain that was plaguing me.

Dear Body,

Thank you for knowing the beauty YOU had when my heart could not see it.   YOU could see the jewel held within my skin when my eyes failed to relay the message to my spirit.  While the world was telling me YOU were not good enough, YOU continued to create a landscape of peaks and valleys and lines.  YOU left a roadmap of where I had been and where I can go.  YOU saw the uniqueness that only this skin can hold.

Dear Body,

Although I can not promise you everyday with me is going to be easy, I can promise I will do my best to love YOU and treat YOU than I did the day before.  I will not let this world’s view on what and who they think YOU should be effect who YOU are.  YOU are amazing and I will not let ME forget it.

With Love,
KateJust Be You

Three Years

Very rarely do I ever share any of my poetry.  Yet, I felt like sharing this.  Take it for what you will.

Three Years

His pale white chest
Strawberry red beard
Light washed jeans
Holes in the knees
Thinning fabric in the left thighHe pulled up my tee shirt
and then my panties down
Stopping at the knees
I laid scared on the couch
“You don’t need to be afraid.”

I looked around the house
It was silent as if we were the only two
The ocean rung in my ears
His hands grazed my legs
Fingers finding themselves to the flesh of my being

My eyes just closed
My breath caught in my lungs
Heart straining to be contained in it’s cage
Tears begging to escape
Three years of life dead inside of my body.

F.A.T.

“You have such a pretty face.”  Thank you?…I never know exactly how to respond to that statement.  I am never sure if that means I am pretty or if just my face is pretty.  Peter Paul Ruebens was a famous painter and considered the most notable of all French Baroque artists.  He WAS what captured beauty.  He painted beautiful full figured women.  THAT was what was considered beautiful.  Somewhere along the line straight silhouettes became prefered over curves.  Firmness was adopted as the sanctioned body texture of a woman over the softness.  Muscled stomachs and thighs are preferred over fleshy arms and backs.

Who is it that decides what is beautiful?  How does the standard change?  I grew up in the 80’s.  I was a chubby girl.  To be honest, I was a super tomboy!Thomas

Yeah, that little girl with the football and jean jacket, that is me (I had already started my jean jacket obsession…but that is another post.)  Looking at my body though, I already had broad shoulders, thick thighs and a tummy.  People were starting to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do, say and eat so the boys would like like me.  The boys already liked me though because I was awesome!

The older I got the more I heard that I wasn’t beautiful.  That smile faded.  I covered my body in layers and layers of clothes.  I was ashamed of my thick thighs and broad shoulders.  That tummy I had…that tummy I once so proudly begged to poke out of a bikini (I was denied because nobody wants to see a chubby girl in a bikini) never wore a swimsuit in public.  I never wore shorts in public.  It would be 90 degrees outside and I would be in jeans.  It didn’t matter how hot I was.  Somehow, I went from a carefree girl to a girl who was so ashamed of my body because of three letters.  F.A.T.

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?  I let those three letters ruin my life.  I let myself be tortured by the expectations of others.  I was in high school during the time of “heroin chic.”  Go back and look at that picture of my childhood.  I expected myself to look like Kate Moss.  I was literally starving myself at graduation time.  I graduated in a size 11.  I was 179.  I drank 6 Mt. Dew a day and would only eat the crusts of bread.  Kate Moss.png

I thought I could look like this.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t.  This was an unreal expectation.  My body, my bone structure couldn’t look like this.  However, I was being told in order to be beautiful, THIS is what I needed to look like.

Recently, I’ve been learning to love my body.  My body, all 200+ pounds of it has held strong through multiple offender sexual assaults, depression, anxiety, severe autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis, two bouts of cancer, PTSD, 17 surgeries, MOTHERHOOD, miscarriages, being a caretaker of a disabled child…and the list goes on.  I need to LOVE this body.  THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONAL BODY.

I’m learning to be okay with my scars.  My curves…and yes, even my F.A.T.  My pretty face belongs to my fat and pretty body.  My body is pretty remarkable and I need to give it credit.  We are so busy worrying what everyone else looks like that we fail to look at ourselves and be thankful for the amazingness that we are.  So in my summer of self-acceptance.  I am going to accept, be thankful for and love THIS body.  Lump, bumps, fat and all.  This cute tummy is coming out again!Snapchat-398359321