Realizations, and an open apology

For those of you that have been reviewing my occasional updates following my gastric bypass surgery, I thank you.  I understand the information I share isn’t for everyone.  Some people don’t get it, others are very supportive and a few have been inspired.  For that, I also thank you.  I’m doing very well, showing a weight loss as of today of 114 pounds since I started my journey (50 of those were lost before the surgery because that is what happens when you get mad and scared).

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Over these many months, I have noticed small things that people of average size take for granted. Being heavier was all my fault.  I can’t blame genetics.  I can’t say it didn’t matter if I was bigger as long as I was “healthy”.  I can laugh at that now.  I can’t blame my sedentary job.  I can’t blame being depressed over losing my mother, or over anxiety in my relationship with my Dad.  I can’t, but I did all those things.   I had tried pretty much every fad diet, every liquid-only diet, and medical weight loss with shots in my butt.  Obviously, if those things worked and were the healthy way to go, everyone would be doing them and legitimate doctors would be advocating it.  It is hard to change what you have allowed your entire life.  No joke. It is easy to make excuses.  All you are doing is undermining your own health.  I can say that because I did it for the first 50 years of my life.

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Here are a few little nuggets of good stuff that I have noticed over these many months-

  • I no longer have to be concerned if I will fit into a restaurant booth
  • I now sit shorter than my husband when he is driving
  • I can turn around when I am seated to look at something behind me
  • The doctor doesn’t have to assist me with sitting up on an exam table
  • I can see behind my knees when I shave my legs
  • I can sit with my knees bent or my legs crossed and it feels really good
  • I can get up off the floor
  • I no longer need an inhaler; my lungs are clear
  • I have knees, and calves that don’t resemble tree trunks
  • My ankles don’t swell anymore. I have veins in my hands and my feet
  • I can hug my husband and get super close
  • I can step out of the pool without groaning!

These are just a few of the gifts that I have given myself this year.  When are you going to have that “Aha!” moment?  The one that makes you take a step back and say to yourself, “Holy hell, what am I doing to myself?”  You are worthy.  You are so worthy.  We were given life and there is an expectation to take it and make it the best life ever.  You don’t have to cure a disease. You don’t  have to be famous.  You don’t have to be rich.  All you  have to do is live a true, authentic life and be the best possible you.  Stop discounting yourself.  Why do you do that?  Who taught you that you are anything less than glorious?

Maybe I sound preachy.  No, I am sure I sound preachy.  I had had a “Come to Jesus” epiphany regarding my self and my worth, so yeah, I tend to get up on my soapbox especially when I see someone I love making horrific choices.  However, the most important realization I had to accept this week and I will learn to love is the following-

  • only offer advice if someone asks for it

I am sorry to those who have experienced me trying to school you.  That has never been what I am about.  People tried to lead this horse to water but I refused to drink it for 50 years.  Why should I expect my moment of clarity to impact anyone else unless they, too, have had that metaphorical slap in the face that I had?  I can’t.  I won’t.  Sorry.  Keep doing what your doing.  All I ask is that you never prove me right.  I don’t want to lose you to something you had the power to prevent.  I love you all too much, just as I was loved.

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teehee 🙂

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My journey towards Gastric Bypass Surgery

 

On Tuesday May 2, 2017 gastric bypass and I became best friends.  I was extremely hesitant to share this news.  My surgeon warned against it, saying social media could be detrimental to my mental wellbeing.  Everyone has an opinion, and not everyone would be in my court for the big game.  A few days post surgery, I changed my mind about sharing.  I am in a very strong place in my life and I knew this was the right choice for me.  In sharing my story, I hoped to help someone who might also be struggling.  Just one person, that would be enough.  I had someone tell me good job but also wonder how in the world I got to this place.  Good question. I decided to share that here, to help those who love me understand why I chose to take such a drastic step to regain my health, and my life.

Let’s take a step back to third grade.  Yes, third grade. I was never sure what happened. I was still an active kid. All of a sudden my head looked larger in my school picture. My teeth were out of control, I had a giant forehead and I could no longer fit in clothing that kids my age were wearing. My mother had done nothing differently as far as what food we ate.   I went from a sweet little girl to a girl who felt inferior to the other little girls.  I never showed it. I decided that boys were better friends then girls and buried how I felt.

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I guess I could say I tried to eat less but I didn’t.  I didn’t see anything wrong with how I ate. I didn’t recognize that when I went to the store with my Mom that “if you are good I will buy you a Snickers” was negative reinforcement. Neither did my Mom. I am not blaming her. I am not blaming anyone . When you know better, you do better.  Both of my sisters were super thin.  Always. And there was Diana.  I struggled to feel a part of my family.  Again, they never knew that. Both of my sisters were high achievers. Both in Who’s Who Among American High School Students. Both Honor grads. Both receiving scholarships to college. Both thin.  Both better than me.  I never said anything.  I think the biggest thing I ever did was steal my sister Darlene’s clothes and put them in my backpack for school.  I would take her cool wrap dress and her sandals and change in the bathroom. I wanted to be like her.  She was 7 years old than me and I could fit in her clothes. I didn’t see a problem with that.  I got into trouble, and I am pretty sure that started me eating my feelings.

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In high school, I felt HUGE. Now that I look back, I really wasn’t that big. Compared to the other girls, I was a giant. I couldn’t fit into the cute Ditto jeans.  I wasn’t invited to parties. According to my parents, it was my job to be a good student. I could not participate in extra-curriculars. I could not get a job. I was amazed they allowed me to have a boyfriend and I took that and ran with it.  He got me out of the house.  I tasted a carne asada burrito for the first time.  It was love for me…..me and that carne asada burrito.

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I married that boy.  He got me out of the house. I finally had control over my life, what I did and what I ate. I wore a size 18 wedding dress.  I felt so unattractive.  I guess this guy I was marrying didn’t care. He never said anything, so I better hang on to that.

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Two babies later and I was hitting 200 pounds.  I took diet pills. I tried a weight loss center where they injected me with B-12 shots in my butt. I tried a type of Optifast through Grossmont Hospital where all I did was drink liquids (ugh why did I put my body through that?).  I did lose the weight.  I flipped out.  Where did my childhood go? My teen years? I started hanging out with single friends, going to clubs and dancing 3 nights a week.  I was a decent weight. People stopped looking through me. This felt good. Until it didn’t.

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Jump forward a lot of years. Of course, I gained all the weight back and then some. I was miserable. I kept inserting myself into other people’s lives hoping to find mine. That never works. It NEVER WORKS. My Mom had Alzheimer’s.  The toll of watching her deteriorate and helping with her care was overwhelming.  I ATE.  My oldest child was grown and had moved out on his own.  I was married and I was suffocating.  You can be lonely within a relationship.  No one cared if I came or went. I hit my wall. My teenage daughter and I moved out.  If I had to start my life all over again, I was going to take myself to a place that made me truly happy.  Where did I always head to on my days off?  Where was my escape?  We rented a beach house in Encinitas. We exercised.  We ate well. I slept and I would walk to Moonlight Beach after work. We would play on the swings in the sand, sometimes at 11 at night.  My weight started to drop, my skin looked healthy and I could breathe.  This was my life. Mine. The one I had always wanted but was too afraid to get.  I took a leap of faith, and the net appeared. I was finally living a true and authentic life for myself.  It was scary.  It had to happen, and it was absolutely the right decision to get out of my comfort zone (was I really comfortable?) and find the courage to go for what I wanted.

That’s when I met this guy 😉

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Fast forward almost 6 years.  My Mom died.  It was the worst thing to ever happen in my life. It was ugly and unkind.  My kids both had weddings.  My daughter had a baby.  My Dad teeters with bad health.  I had to move to another State to keep my job.  The stress. THE STRESS.  So much was out of my control.  I ate and I ate.   I saw this picture of me at my son’s wedding, and I sobbed.

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Pneumonia hit me for the 5th time in my life last year.   I was sick for 6 weeks. It left scarring on my lungs.  I was told I would need two inhalers for the rest of my life.  Are you serious?  Ok, so I did it.  Rick and I planned a trip to Page, AZ.  I wanted to hike to the edge of Horseshoe Bend.  I thought I was going to die. I refused to stop.  There was no way we were going to be this close and not go to the edge.  I did it.  It hurt.   I needed my inhalers 6 to 7 times just to make it back to the car.  I couldn’t breathe. I was angry. This was crap. I am too young, what is happening to me?

I went to my primary care doctor.  I was the heaviest I had ever been.  My cholesterol was through the roof.  My blood pressure was out of control. I was borderline diabetic. Me?  That’s when I had to take serious stock of my life.  This is not the life I had envisioned.  I finally had a supportive, loving husband and his fat-assed wife was not going to live long enough to learn to paddle board with him, or scuba dive, or hike Sedona.   I was going to die before we retired.  I was going to be the lady at the grocery store who needs the motorized cart.   He didn’t deserve this, and neither did I, and it was all my fault.  My sedentary life was going to rob me of a happy life.  I asked my doctor about the surgery.  He was supportive.  My anger outweighed my fear.  My anger removed all of my excuses for why I shouldn’t do this.  Was a cookie in my mouth more important than waking up to Rick, feeling his loving arms around me?  Was that bowl of ice cream more important that seeing my grandson grow up?  I was angry. I am still angry.  I need to be.

I had my consultation last October.  I received information on how I should be eating, what I should stop doing, and what the journey would entail.  There were no deal breakers.  I had to lose 15 pounds before surgery would be approved and my insurance required me to see a  nurse practitioner, a nutrition specialist and an exercise therapist for 4 months before my surgery would be approved.  I had to have a full psychiatric evaluation to make sure I was mentally in the right place.   Ok.  Let’s do this.  I lost the 15 pounds along with another 32.  My A1C went from 6.3 to 5.4.  I was no longer pre-diabetic. My cholesterol was in the normal range.   I was THAT angry.

If you can lose that much on your own, why the surgery?  I needed this as a lifelong tool.  I have lost weight before. I know it is an addiction that I needed to break.  I have proven over a 50 year period that I suck at doing it on my own.  I cannot reward myself with food for doing a good job.  I made a list of goals that I want to achieve alone and with my husband.  These are my rewards.  This surgery was my answer to getting my life back.   It was not easy.  I made myself get up and walk the hospital halls 3 hours post-op.  I wore a shirt that said Everything Hurts and I am Dying. This brought my husband and I closer than ever before.  I needed him and I let myself need him, and he was and has been there for me. Every step.   I needed help.  I took it.  I am worth it.

Now you know how I got here, and now you will  see where I go from here.  I need the accountability.  I need the support.  Think about what you need?  Excuses are just that.  Reasons for not doing the best for you.  MAKE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE.  There is no one in your way except yourself.  🙂

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Who Do You Think YOU Are?

Some of you know I have been actively searching for information on my husband’s biological father, to no avail.  Without a date of birth, the roadblocks have met me as well as friends who have tried to help me, at every turn.  We have sent away to have his DNA tested, and are anxiously awaiting the results.  In the meantime, I have become a fan of Ancestry.com.  What began as a search for one person has turned into a dive head-first into my husbands biological tree, as well as my own. It’s fascinating to discover your history, and surprises seem to find me around every corner.

My husband has felt, for his entire life, that he is primarily Mexican, possibly some Spanish or Indian, and he wasn’t sure about the background of his Caucasian biological mother. One of his siblings recalled a grandparent that spoke Hungarian, but we had no information.  Not only have we uncovered that his biological maternal grandmother was a Hungarian Jew that lost most of her family in Auschwitz, but I have been able to trace his biological maternal grandfather’s lineage back to 12th Century England, and I am still going!  Rick had no idea he descending from the British, and in going over the well documented history of his family, he came from quite a prominent family.

I want to share one story that I found about Sir Robert Goushill, Lord of Hoveringham, my husbands 18th great grandfather.  Bear with me through the facts of the history.  You will see where it goes.

Sir Robert Goushill was knighted by King Henry IV at the battle of Shrewsbury on July 21, 1403.  At the Battle of Shrewsbury, the loyalist forces of Henry IV were opposed by the rebel army of Henry Percy (Hotspur). The army of King Henry IV won the day with the killing of Hotspur during the conflict.  Casualties were high on both sides with estimates of 3000 killed or wounded on  both sides.

Sir Robert Goushill was knighted the day of the battle for his gallantry, but he would be badly wounded. Found lying wounded by his servant the evening of the battle, Goushill asked that his armor be removed and a note sent to his wife Elizabeth should he die. The servant stabbed and murdered Sir Robert Goushill and made off with his purse and ring. Another man that was lying wounded nearby recognized the servant, who was later caught and hung for the crime. The arms of Sir Robert Goushill would be placed in the Shrewsbury Battlefield Church by King Henry IV (ouch).

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Elizabeth Fitz-Alan, the Duchess of Norfolk, had been a widow when she married Sir Robert Goushill in the latter part of 1400 or early 1401.  They married without license, and on August 19, 1401, King Henry IV seized all of the lands that Elizabeth had inherited from her first marriage to the Duke of Norfolk for their trespass for intermarrying without a license. King Henry IV later pardoned Sir Robert and gave them back their land. Their daughter Joan Goushill was born in 1401 and daughter Elizabeth was born in 1402. Many present day descendants of these two daughters trace their ancestry to the Plantagenet Kings of England through Joan Goushill, who married Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley and through Elizabeth Goushill, who married Sir Robert Wingfield of Letheringham, Suffolk.

Rick’s descent is through the Goushill-Wingfield marriage.  Elizabeth Fitz-Alan’s mother was a direct descendant of King Edward I and Eleansor of Castile, and her father was a direct descendant of King Henry III and Eleanor or Provence.  Elizabeth Goushill would live until 1425 and it is believed that she was buried in the same tomb with Sir Robert Goshill.  Born in the reign of King Edward III, she would live through the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and into the reign of Henry VI.  Through blood and marriage, she would be closely touched by nearly all of the events of this period of turbulence, violence and political turmoil in English history.

 

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The 15th century alabaster tomb and effigies of Sir Robert Goushill and his wife, Elizabeth Fitz-Alan, Duchess of Norfolk, are found at the parish church of the village of Hoveringham in Nottinghamshire, England. The tomb is located just to the right as you enter the church. The effigies show effects of earlier vandalism and mutilation that occurred during earlier centuries.  The right arms of both effigies were broken off.  The couple had originally been holding hands. Sir Robert Goushill is shown wearing a camail and hawberk, and plate armor on his arms and legs. His feet rest upon the figure of a dog, and his collar shows the badge of his Lancastrian loyalty. Elizabeth is shown wearing a peeress gown with a coronet on her head emblematic of her rank as a Duchess. The tomb was created in 1403 after the death of Sir Robert by his widow Elizabeth, and she was laid to rest with him when she died. They had only been married a few short years, but they are together for eternity.

 

I love this story for so many reasons, the obvious being the love story of Robert and Elizabeth. My husband is part of lives much bigger than he could ever imagine.  I think we all are. You are not the sum of your birth certificate or your adoption papers. Everyone descends from a story…..a big beautiful individual story. A series of events may have brought you to this place, but that does not define you, EVER.

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I Am Not Where I Came From

This morning, I had planned to be cleaning my house.  When I woke up, the call to write was too strong, and I needed to answer that call.  My shower can wait.

I turned 50 this past November. I feel that I have spent much of my life trying to figure something out.  I wasn’t sure what that thing was.  Oddly, after my Dads visit this month, I was able to realize some really important things, and most of it hurt.  I did my best to internalize my pain and make sense of it.  I am too old to be feeling like the approval-starved child I used to be, yet here I was.

I had some serious days of self-loathing after realizing that the very things that people in my family do that frustrate and anger me, I do to myself.  Oh my God, when did this happen?  How did this happen?  Why would a rational, intelligent woman choose to mirror behavior that she finds so utterly distasteful?

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I sabotage myself. I say these words and accept them. I know what I should do to take care of myself and I willingly don’t do it. I say willingly because no one is twisting my arm to eat that cookie, so it is I that is giving myself permission to ingest that sugar, which I know will affect my mood, and my weight.  I say willingly, because no one is sitting on me to prevent me from going to a doctor for my various aches and pains.  The car isn’t going to drive itself.  Oh no……but I know better, right?  If family members get upset with each other, I will try to move mountains to make everyone happy again, even at the expense of my own emotional wellbeing.  It has become more important to me to insure that everyone else is taken care of than to take care of myself.  I should not need to set myself on fire to keep everyone else warm.  Where did this mindset come from?

As we were driving home from dinner one night, the sun was setting in the West.  It was gorgeous, and I knew once I got home, I would not be at a high enough elevation to take a proper picture of it, and I knew I was close to a good vantage point.  “Hey you guys, I am going to take a quick minute and drive up 16th to see if I can get a picture of the sun setting. I may not make it, but I want to at least try.”  My husband told me to go for it.  Dad replied, “You aren’t going to make it.”  I replied that maybe I wouldn’t but it was worth a shot. He said, “No, you aren’t. It’s a waste of time.”  I drove up 16th, seething on the inside from his negativity but kept moving forward, undeterred. As I got to the end of the street and turned the car around to face the sun, I was able to get my picture.  I looked at my Dad and said, smiling, “You owe me an apology.”  He replied, “For what?”  Exactly.

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It hit me like a ton of bricks, and it wasn’t just from my Dad, mind you.  This was my entire upbringing, as I can now see it.  I wanted to play a sport. Why? You won’t be any good at it? I wanted to join Girl Scouts.  Why? It will just take you away from your homework.  My job growing up was to be a good student, to do what I was told and to stay out of trouble. If I became too vocal, I got into trouble. If I wanted to try something outside of my parents expectations, I was wasting everyone’s time and I was being rebellious. I NEEDED everyone to love me so I didn’t dare color outside those lines, or they wouldn’t love me anymore. I would be a disappointment.    I couldn’t handle being a disappointment.  I still can’t.

All of this may seem like doom and gloom, Therapy 101, or that I am blaming my parents and my family for my shortcomings.   It’s actually just the opposite. You can’t do what you don’t know.  They were raised in a different time, and by parents who didn’t have all the answers either.  I accept that, but I don’t have to like it now. I am sure my family would deny it, but the negativity within our dynamic was stifling.  I am confident this is why I try to put forward positive energy and intent in my daily life as much as I can, and now  I have awakened something inside of myself.  I have spent my life trying to heal the wounds of where I have come from.  I am a product of who I came from, but I am not a product of where I came from.  The environment shaped who I am, and it has caused me to not believe and trust in myself.  It is NOT who I am.

When the soul does not develop within the experience of unconditional love and trust, there remains within us a child who is in a constant search for attention, love, understanding, and respect. If these needs are not met or are left unaddressed, they will fester and grow into disruptive and/or dysfunctional behavior patterns that will affect our entire lives.  I have to stop being the misunderstood, disappointing little girl and recognize that beyond that, in the core of my being, are generations of strong-willed, resilient people.  When you know better, you do better.  I chose to take a different path in raising my own children than the path I traveled, and I am grateful I made that choice.  I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me, and I have no idea why.  I gave in to that. I think at the age of 50, it is time to stop it.

So often, the things we teach, preach and share are the very lessons we need to learn ourselves.  I need to learn to trust myself.  There is a volume of evidence that I make good decisions when I look at the people in my life that I choose to surround myself with.  There is a mountain of proof that I am strong when I look at all of the changes  I have experienced.  There is a pyramid of affirmation that I am worthy of being loved for who I really am when I look at the man who chose to spend his life with me.

I will be OK!  It’s time to get out of my own way.

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Emotional Intelligence

Wow, for someone who loves to write as much as I love to write, it has been almost a year since I have written in my blog.  We need to make time for things that keep us flowing.  I made time today. 🙂

Earlier this afternoon, I became acquainted with an author named Daniel Coleman.  This man began his career as a science journalist for the NY Times.  Later in life, he wrote a book called Emotional Intelligence.  The title sparked my interest, and I watched an interview with him as he discussed his book.   Everything he said made so much sense to me, and some of the questions I often had within myself as they pertained to my own spirit and my own life’s journey were answered.

 

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You can be the smartest person in the world.  Valedictorian of your class; a college grad with many letters after your name and yes, even the author of many well-read books. You can have a very high IQ,  your Intelligence Quotient, but this does not measure your EQ.  The four factors of a persons Emotional Quotient are the perception of emotion, the ability reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion and the ability to manage emotions.  While I struggle with the ability to manage emotions, I have the other three factors perfected….and it’s not always me struggling with my own emotions. It is me struggling with processing what others are feeling and my desire to help them that I most struggle with.  I am learning some wonderful coping skills and soon, I hope to have that managed.

Your Emotional Quotient is defined by the level of emotional growth you have obtained over the course of your life, not in the number of years you have been on this Earth.  Your ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes”.  Your ability to give full attention to another; to open yourself to understanding another person’s feelings.  To be empathetic, show compassion and build rapore.  I had to laugh, because these are things that were emphasized in order to be a success in my own career.  Little did I realize that by practicing these things that were already inherent in my personality, I allowed for growth in a part of my brain that others do not allow for.  They are too preoccupied with their work, the cell phone in front of their face, the video game they are playing, and their own “stuff”.  In doing so, there is an important part of their brain that is not being nourished.

 

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I soaked up this author’s words like a sponge. There is not a long list of things I truly love about myself, but I have to tell ya, my ability to love, to care, to listen and to feel is one of the things I treasure most about my soul.  It’s how I’m wired. I have tried NOT to be that way, but it’s impossible.  For years, I spent an inordinate amount of energy wondering why I was the way I was; comparing myself to others.  As a kid, I compared myself to my sisters.  Why wasn’t I more like my sisters?  They were both honor grads. Valedictorians.  Both in Who’s Who Among American High School Students.  They both received college scholarships. Anything my eldest sister tried to do, she accomplished, and then some. Registered Nurse, Emergency Mobile Intensive Care Nurse, wrote college textbooks, ran an ambulance company then decided one day, gee….I want to be a real estate agent.  She did that.  Success around every corner.  My middle sister in her 50’s just graduated with her Masters degree, that she went back to college for after raising her large family….and now she is a teacher. Success.  Smart, intelligent women and I would wonder why not me?

 

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Comparison is the thief of joy. The reason it is not me is because THAT ISN’T ME, and it’s ok.  I didn’t go to college.  I hate sitting in a classroom.  The thought of it is just ugh.  For all my lack of textbook smarts, I more than make up for it in common sense,  in street smarts……..in acceptance, in kindness, in humor, and in the size of my ever-beating heart.

So I can’t hem pants.  Big deal.  I can sit across from you, at your worst possible moment, and hold your hand and let you cry and I can hear you.  I can remind you of the goodness and the possibilities and the shining light that is visible to us all if we just choose to look in that direction.  So I can’t sing.  I can remember the words to your song, and sing it back to you when you forget.  So I can’t run a marathon.  I can sit up all night with you if you need me to.  I can cook for you.  I can bake you brownies and watch your eyes light up as you eat them. So I can’t write a thesis.  I can write you a story about childhood, about being a military brat, about not being popular, about childbirth, about having a mother with polio, and then with Alzheimers, about being a single Mom, about re-entering the workforce after divorce, about divorce, about feeling unloved, about finding love within myself, about healing a child that has been hurt, emotionally and physically.  I can write you a story about adventure, about the ocean, about road trips, about cooking and about finding love later in life and how it’s so much better than I could have ever imagined. I can write about loss, and about how the sadness and the feeling of failure never lasts; about getting through it, about being stronger and rising above it. I can write about all of those things, and that makes me awesome.

 

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Needless to say, I owe some thanks to Mr. Coleman.  When life becomes jumbled or when we feel out of sync with our surroundings, we lose our flow.  Find something that brings passion to you, and do that.  Passion restores our flow and renews our drive as we  move forward in a life of learning and growing.  My passion is writing.  For a girl who feels everything, writing is a way to deconstruct the swirl of feelings within me and formulate them into something that makes sense.  My blog was calling me and I already feel better for answering. I promise to visit more often.  I love to write, and writing loves me.   I know that life gets busy and that often, we are taken on physical and emotional detours.   Hold onto your passion.  Put down your phone.  Pay attention to each other.  Listen.  Care.  Love.

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“Me” Time

The husband is working late tonight.  This afternoon, his words to me as he was heading to work were, “I love you.  I will see you tonight.  Enjoy your time alone.”  Woohoo!!!!

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I should be jumping up and down.  My time alone!!!   Hmmm, ok.   Growing up in a house with older parents, with all of my siblings grown and gone, I spent an inordinate amount of time in my room.  I listened to a lot of music.  I read.  I swam in the solitude of not hearing them watching a baseball game, or the news.  The sound of my Dad’s Zippo lighter as he lit his umpteenth cigarette.  My Mom in the kitchen, making him popcorn.  The time in my room protected my sanity.  Teenage girls usually do not find it fun to sit and watch 60 Minutes with their parents.

As time went on, my “Me” time became a must.  Drives to the beach, walks around the lake, and road trips carried me away to myself.  I lost her.  It was all my fault.  I had convinced myself that what everyone else wanted was way more important that the things in life that nourished my own soul.  I let myself leave, and I kept taking myself away thinking that would make it alright.  It generally didn’t.  Sure, it is good to go to places where no one knows you.  Even now, I find I am more myself when we go on vacation than I am at any other time.  There is nothing that says, “Behave this way because I am your parent. I am your child. I am your boss. I am in love with you…..as long as you like what I like, or do what I say, or don’t laugh at that joke. ”

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What was it that I wanted?  I mean, REALLY wanted?  I didn’t know.  I had spent most of my life ignoring it.  Why do we do that?   It’s insane.  There is no one like us.  No one.  That’s for a reason.  The worst thing we can do is exist within an unauthentic life for ourselves.  We are all worthy of a brilliant destiny.  We let other people convince us that our needs are not important, and we listen.  We hear it so much that we start to believe it.

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That’s what I did. I took myself out of the game.  I walked away and moved myself closer to where I could breathe without feeling like it was forced.  Slowly, I peeled back the layers of my spirit.  It is incredibly difficult to stare at yourself in the mirror and admit some things to yourself.  Sleep wasn’t my friend.  I had all the “Me” time I could handle, and I got very upset with myself for allowing others who do not have to suffer the consequences of my choices to have so much control over my life story.

And then it happened.  There I was, and I didn’t need my parents or a relationship to be happy.  Happy HAPPENED.  I went to the beach.  I played on the swings.  I hiked hills and lagoons and down long stretches of sand.  I bought my own dishes.  I ate when I wanted, and I slept in the middle of my bed.  You know what else happened while I was busy being happy alone? I stopped being alone. 🙂

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So now here I am in Phoenix, Arizona.  I am sitting in our rented house that I absolutely adore, and I get to have time alone.  I took a hot bath.  I get to sit at the computer and write my silly little thoughts.  As wonderful as all of that is, I find that I don’t need my alone time like I used to need it.  I love the time to write, but I don’t feel stifled by my own life. I am free to enjoy these moments without guilt, but I would trade it all in a heartbeat for Rick to be here at home with me.  You know what’s cool?  It’s ok to snort when I laugh, which I do quite a bit.  It’s ok to cry at every touching thing I see or hear.  We buy lots of Kleenex and he stopped being surprised.  It’s ok that I help other people when I am able without being made to feel guilty for caring. He tells me that is one of the things he loves about me; how kind I am to others.  It’s ok to have messy hair.  It’s ok to skip shaving my legs for a few days.  It’s all ok because I am enough and I don’t feel like I missing something, at all, anymore.

So hurry on home, Hubs.  I will be waiting up for you because this “Me” time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Not when I could be with you having “We” time. 😉

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Another Mother’s Day approaches

I have tried not to think about it.  I even lied and told my daughter the other day I didn’t know when it was, because I was trying not to think about it.  Here comes Mother’s Day, and with it, all the radio spots for spa days, all the newspaper ads for discounts on dinner or on flowers, and all the commercials about spoiling Mom on her special day. “Call your Mom”.

I can’t.  I can’t call my Mom.

This will be my 3rd “M” Day without her.  I won’t be bringing her the yellow roses she loved so much.  I won’t take her to Mimi’s.  I won’t be standing in the card aisle at Hallmark, reading pretty much every card to make sure it said just the right thing.

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You would think it would get easier.  After all I am a Mom too, and I have my kids to talk to, and now I have grandmuffin Wally.  It’s wonderful being a Mother.  I think because I am a Mom myself, I can’t fathom leaving my kids, and she had to leave me.  Even though my children have grown up and left the nest, they haven’t left my heart.  I sleep better on any night I have one of them under my roof.  I love everything about them.  Their laughs, their smells (well, most of those); everything.

So Mom is up there, under a different roof, but I bet she can hear my laughter and sometimes, I smell her perfume.   Prince Matchabelli Windsong.  I can picture her holding my hand.  My Mom had the most beautiful hands with long delicate fingers.  When I was a kid I would just stare at her wedding ring and think what pretty hands she had.  The same hands she held me with every year of my life.

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So here I go again.  I tell myself I am not going to be sad, and invariably, the grief returns. The selfish, selfish grief.  Onto paper it pours along with tears down my face, and here it will stay.  It makes no sense to wish her back here.  After all, here was painful. Right?  Yeah, it was.  So on this Mother’s Day, I will choose to immerse myself in the greatness of being a Mom myself.  It is the greatest gift.  EVER.  Mom would like that. She raised three strong women and if she could tell me, she would say, “Diana, knock it off!”.  Ok Mom, Ok!   I will.   I love you, Mama.

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