Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 days ...

view from the top of the WTC 2 September 2001
it's not the end of a challenge
it might be the end of the month
but tomorrow is a new day
a new challenge
a new dawn
a new sunset
a new everything
step up to it
don't be afraid
this day is all we are ever given
nothing else is ever guaranteed
don't wait for a perfect moment
make the moment perfect
with happy memories
live life
laugh
enjoy
forgive
love
love
love

Friday, October 30, 2015

vulnerability ...

I am a firm believer that it is important in all our relationships to accept responsibility for our actions and apologize for hurting someone.

But admitting we aren't perfect can sometimes give us a feeling of vulnerability that we try to cover up and excuse away by apologizing for who we are or what we've done.

For eleven years I apologized for being a fast reader, and said that I wouldn't read books anymore if it upset him because he didn't read as fast as I did.  I apologized for not liking the same music that he did, and stopped listening to the music I enjoyed.  I apologized for not liking the same genre of television shows or movies, and learned to watch (but never enjoyed) the shows he wanted to watch.  I apologized for not having the same hobbies; for not controlling his RC cars as well as he did and crashing them; for not being able to play video games and shoot the creatures in Doom and never getting past level one.  I could have no friends, other than his friends.

It took me a long time to realize that I needed to stop apologizing for being myself.  To stop taking responsibility for things that were not mine to accept.  I shouldn't have had to apologize for the things that I liked.  I shouldn't have had to apologize for what interested me that didn't interest him; or for not being interested in the things that he was.  I should have been able to vote how I wanted to vote, to stand for the things that I believed in ... but instead for eleven years I put two absentee ballots together and punched the chads exactly the same because he was worried that my vote would cancel his.

For eleven years, I didn't exist because his concept of marriage ~ when two become one ~ meant that one ceased being an individual and assumed all of the likes and dislikes of the husband.  It was the husband who was the head of the household, the wife was there to serve.  Only.  We never walked side-by-side, literally or figuratively, because my 'place' was always behind him, my 'station' in life was beneath him.  I could not have an opinion of my own without finding out what his was first.

You might wonder how someone would ever put up with such control, and the truth is that I never saw it coming until it was too late to get out.  It began in subtle ways that made me feel like there was something wrong with me for not thinking like him.  He was manipulative, cruel in his remarks, belittling, possessive, and jealous beyond measure.  But he was very skilled in making me think it was all me.

It was his desire to control me even after death that freed me.  He wanted me to get my college degree to become a teacher so that I would never need a man to support me when he died.  He felt that as his wife, and widow when the time came, I should always be committed to him, and dating anyone or even marrying anyone after he died was not to ever happen.  Ever.

While I was going to school for my BS in Social Sciences (major in Psychology, minor in History), I took a great interest in my psych classes and began to see my marriage and my husband in a different way.  But most importantly, I began to see myself in a different way because my fellow students saw me for me.  Not as his wife, but just as me.  I could have opinions.  I could voice them.  I was listened to, and respected.

The door that had been bolted shut, locking my inner Amazon away, began to warp and crack.

When my supervisor at work encouraged me to pursue my MBA, he agreed when he found out that the company would pay for all of the tuition and books.  I began to meet with my classmates to study, and I began to speak up at home.  I listened to the music I liked in my car.  I snuck books to work to read at lunch.  I voted how I wanted, and the first time I just chose anyone, and any issue that was opposite of his ~ because I wanted to cancel out his votes.

The door that had begun to crack, was weakening against my inner Amazon pushing on it every chance she got.

When I finally left him, I fled to the opposite side of the country and for a year slept with a gun under my pillow.  When he would call, trying to convince me to come back, trying to convince me that he had changed ... the Amazon would answer the phone and what she had to say to him was far from what he expected to hear.

I am not sorry I left you.
I am not sorry I don't want to be like you.
I am not sorry.
I am not sorry.
I am not sorry.

I am not sorry.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

getting hit by the truth ...

Amazingly with all the imperfect days this month, I've managed to keep up with this challenge.  I might have hit the publish button at 11:59p, but it has been good for me to be able to focus on other "things."  Writing has always been an escape for me, almost as much as reading has, but not quite.  Books were my best friends, libraries my secret hiding places, and authors my idols.

Well, except for that time when I had a crush on Donnie Osmond, wore purple socks, and painted my room purple... then there was the DeFranco Family and the Bay City Rollers.  Hmmm, I should probably just stop there.

As I was saying ... reading was my first love.  My first kiss was in black and white, on paper that smelled just incredible.  Books took me around the world, to the future, and to other planets.  I devoured them.  The summer after my 2nd divorce I went on a reading binge because I hadn't been allowed to really read for almost 11 years.  I read almost a book every other day for the whole summer.  It was like overdosing on the written word because I had been jonesing for so long.

But writing ... that was my second love.  I always had pen pals, and wrote to friends I left behind when we moved.  When my parents divorced in 1977, I wrote to my dad every chance I got, telling him my hopes and dreams, what I wanted to do when I graduated and when I grew up.  When I moved to California as an 'adult' in 1985, I started writing a monthly newsletter to family and friends, detailing our lives, places we went, the things we did.  For almost 30 years I sent letters, monthly newsletters, cards for every birthday, anniversary, and holiday.  When I sent gifts, they were gifts specifically selected for them because all year long I listened for hints that told me their hobbies and interests.   I thought I was the perfect daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and sister because I paid attention to everyone's life.

2001
My dad kept every letter, card and newsletter.  I found them after he passed away in 2007 and I was cleaning out his house.  There was a note with them saying that he thought I should publish them one day in a book format.  At first, I seriously considered it.  Reading them going back in time, I thought about trying to publish them as they looked on the paper... handwritten in my childish handwriting through the typewriter era, to the dawn of the computers.  But as I kept going back in time it became more and more painful for me to read the letters.  I read letters written from abusive marriages asking for his help, both straight out and hidden between the lines, knowing that he had never responded.  I went back to high school, broken hearts from first boyfriends, an abusive step-father, and anger ... so much anger at him - my father - for not responding, for not letting me go live with him until my senior year, for not buying me a bicycle so I didn't have to walk three miles to my after school job, for this, for that, for oh so much that 30 years later didn't matter one iota in time.

I wondered if publishing the letters could possibly help someone.  The teenager who feels unheard.  The abused wife who feels invisible.  The daughter who wonders if her father ever really read the letters, if he ever really understood how much she loved him, and how she never meant all those angry words, all those times she said she hated him.  The woman who finally realizes that she wasn't perfect.

In the end I burned the letters, and buried the ashes.  I was ashamed of the things I had said to him, but also because I knew that all those cries for help, when I really needed him, were ignored.  I didn't know if he kept the letters because he had seen me grow up in them, or to let me see what a horrible daughter I had been at times.  I hadn't always been a perfect daughter, but he hadn't always been a perfect father either.  Whether or not my story of growing up in letters could have helped someone, I don't know.  But I know I wasn't ready to share it then.

But because sometimes, when the truth hurts ... it can also heal, it is easier for me to talk about now.  I wish I had kept the letters, and I wish I could publish them and fill in the back stories.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Whatdoyado?

Whatdoyado when you realize that there is something so much bigger than us, someOne who can answer prayers, perform miracles, and heal bodies?
You walk in the rain to see His amazing creations, and you are grateful, grateful, grateful.
 Lake of the Clouds
 Big Carp River
 procrastinator
 Nawadaha Falls ~ Porcupine Mountain State Park 
 mountain sunshine
mountain sunset

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

imperfect roads...

I thought this road we've been on for the past year was so that we could heal.  Emotionally.  Spiritually.  Heal our marriage.  Heal our souls.

It has done that in ways I never imagined.  This has honestly been the best year of my life.  The best year of married life, and if the rest of our lives together are like they have been for the past year ... I can't imagine anything more satisfying.  I've never been this content and happy before.  Ever.  It's not been picture perfect, but it has been amazing.  I'm so grateful that we both fought for each other, that we didn't walk out, that we didn't miss the miracle.  I am so grateful for what we have found here on this road.  So grateful.

But like all roads, especially dirt ones that show how hard you've had to travel, there are sometimes bumps and ruts in the road.  I hit one today that has me scared in ways I don't usually share.  It has filled me with "what-ifs" that don't have fairytale endings where they all lived happily after.  Where they all live.

On another blog, in another place, I wrote about an uncommon cancer that I have.  [Be Proactive!]  Today, all those fears came back when I found that I was bleeding from somewhere that I shouldn't be because they removed that part in 2006.  I still have my ovaries, however, and that is what I'm afraid of now.

I have an appointment first thing in the morning.  It's going to be a long night.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rock strong

The only souvenirs I brought back from Colorado were these rocks ... and the rain.

I love the round one.  Just so ... round.  Sort of flat, like a glob of putty left out and stepped on.  The white one looks like a quartz and I wish I had a rock tumbler to round it out and see what it looks like.

I've been toying with ideas for my moss garden and have been 'pinning' them to my Pinterest page.  I saw a very cute gazing ball and was thinking I could make a small one with a marble, but now I think this quartz would look better.  The dark stone is triangle shaped with a flat end that would perfectly hold a marble ... or a polished piece of quartz.

I think the reason I've become so fascinated with rocks is because they are just so ancient.  At some point in time, they were pushed up from the ground, or washed ashore from the sea, a lake, rolled down a river, or tumbled from a mountain.  Melted.  Crushed.  Molded.  Cooled.  They might have even fallen from the sky.  Each one is unique.  Each one with a story.  A fossil hidden inside, or the magic of an agate or geode.  They don't grow on trees or come from seeds.  Perfect, imperfect, large, small, variegated, solid, fragile, strong, weak ... unique.

Just like every single one of us.

Pushed, pulled, washed, rolled, tumbled, crushed, molded.  Perfect, imperfect, large, small, strong, weak.  Unique with a story to share.  We are shaped by where we come from, and where we are.  We are molded by pressure.  But no matter how much someone tries to crush us, we bounce back.  We are stronger than we think.  We are unique.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

home stretch...

We are in the last week of this 31 day challenge, and I've let stress and travel take their toll on me.  I've slept for about 15 hours so far today, off and on, and still have not gotten out of my jammies or put in my contact lens.  My head is pounding, tho I'm sure not from a turtle headache, and even tho I haven't had any coffee yet today, my caffeine consumption has decreased over the last few weeks to the point where I wouldn't have a withdrawal migraine either.

I'm running out of things to write about, and think that I've probably covered every topic, obsession, dysfunction, and character defect I care to admit to that involves my lack of perfection.  I guess that means I'm not even close to being perfect since a "perfect" writer/blogger would have outlined a month of posts back in August, and probably would have written everything a month in advance and scheduled to post so that October could be spent writing November topics.

Yeah, seriously NOT me.  I write on the fly, on the cuff, and wing it every time I sit in front of the computer.  Sometimes the topic comes to me from dreams or nightmares, or things that have happened that day, or the day before.  There have been times when I've scribbled a note to myself about something to write, and then later that day have crumpled it up and tossed it.

I used to think that I wanted a job as a writer, or a journalist, and while sometimes I still wish i could make some money with my writing, I'm afraid to pursue it because I don't ever want my writing to feel like a job, or become something I dread with a deadline hanging over me.  When I was in the 9th grade and working on the school newspaper for the Everitt Eagles, I got an end of semester award called "Is 10 Minutes Soon Enough?" for always finishing my writing assignments long before they were due.  But by the time I was in the 11th grade and taking a speech class, I was procrastinating my assignments by not writing my speeches until the day they were due.  I would wing my speech and ad lib most of it.  The only way I could get away with that, however, was by choosing topics that I was already familiar with that didn't require a lot of research.

When we write about things that are close to our hearts, or things that we've personally experienced, the words just roll out of our finger tips.  When we share our stories with people we meet, the words just roll off our tongues.  It isn't perfect because it isn't meant to be.  We share our pain, our mistakes, our lessons, and our trials so that hopefully someone else will learn from them, or so that we can comfort someone.  Comfort comes in realizing we are not alone.  Lessons come in admitting we are human.  Our perfection comes in admitting we are imperfect.