Monday, August 31, 2015

Preset Reset

I knew I was going to wind up coming back to the place I've called home for the last 20 years. How did I know? Well, you see, I've moved to a few different cities and not once did I ever change the radio station presets in my vehicle. Not one channel. I'd find a station I liked and would stare at my crappy car radio thinking "I really should change these channels. None of them apply here." But I never did. My subconscious knew I'd make my way back and I'm certain my mini-tank agreed. 

I moved, and moved, and moved some more. I had plans and plans and plans. Not one of them ever worked out. While some may see these moves as failures I see them as a process of elimination. I was eliminating what didn't work. It's a little embarrassing because of (often well meaning) judgements and remarks. But still I'd move. You see, I'm a runner. And I'm quite alright with that. At least I can say I gave those cities and those goals the good ole college try. I know stability is important, but fact is we're not all built the same. I am very scared of change but I'm even more scared of regrets. I don't regret the lessons I've learned nor do I regret the bumps and scrapes along the way. Hell, I'm still licking my emotional wounds from the Big Flop in The Big Apple. 

I have been rebuilding my life for almost 4 years now. It wasn't easy to do the first go round and it's even more trying with a teenager, a preteen, and an Autizzy in tow. Every city I had been to I did the best I could and made mini versions of my life. But New York was definitely the most difficult. I was there for months and months and had not been able to get solid footing. My life was missing. I was a lesser version of myself. I felt trapped in someone else's life. The hustle and bustle, no eye contact, no acknowledgement of one another, people just droning through their crappy days, I couldn't do it anymore. To some that's home, to me that could never be home again. I would look around at all the brick buildings and think "They're large versions of solitary confinement and denizens here don't know they're not serving a life sentence. They can leave any time they want to". And after a not so grand exit off of an emotional roller coaster I realized that I can leave any time I want to. I was done. 

With my tail tucked between my legs I loaded my mini-tank and bid the Apple a not so fond farewell. The hardest thing to load was my damned pride. After I made such a big announcement of my previous moves I vowed that New York was the last time. No matter what I was going to make that my home. So when I added that vow to the list of vows I have broken over the years I was quite frankly humiliated. So I didn't make a big announcement. I just packed my things, loaded them up, swallowed my pride, and left before the sun came up. I was not sad to say "Good riddance" to the Apple and the bad seeds that were rotten to the core. I was pissed at myself for being so foolish. I was judging myself harder than anyone else had. No one else was doing this to me, I was doing this to myself. 

I'm not sure at what point in the over 800 mile ride I finally cut the sh*t, but I did. Like many things in my life I started to let go. I let go of another city, another try, another struggle, another person. I let go. The further I drove the less the tears fell. The farther I drove from the Red Delicious Mausoleum the closer I got to familiar life. MY life. My loved ones didn't laugh at me. Not once did I hear "I told you so". What I got was "I'm sorry it didn't work out. But I'm so happy you're home" full of love and sincerity as evident by the eye contact and lung crushing embraces. 

Since I've been back I have once again been giving myself time to heal. This has been one crazy ride. I've had to get the Minions settled in our old new lives. School registrations. School supplies as the schools here are three weeks in as opposed to New York which hasn't even started yet. Tons of paperwork and meetings for The Autistic Avenger. Making the bedroom our own complete with bunk beds I put together myself thank you very much. Work a little here and there to put some money in my pocket. I have been busy busy busy and one more task might do me in. It's a good thing I don't have to change the presets on my car radio. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Work in Progress

       Yet again another long pause in between posts. My sincerest apologies to my one reader. In my defense, if you haven't gotten used to my disappearing act by now...
       The last couple of months have brought new changes into my life. I am officially divorced. You wouldn't think paperwork would make an impact but it does. It solidified the direction in which my life is headed. It brought a closure and a sense of relief. I was worried that after months of no contact that I would have had an emotional rush at the sight of my ex-husband, especially in the company of my replacement. However, when he appeared, I felt nothing. In fact the mini anxiety attack I had at the thought of what might happen was the most difficult part of that day. When I looked at him I felt nothing, not even anger. It was like looking at my past incarnate. I realized that I am fully at peace with the choices I have made including the one to separate my life from his. The proceedings moved along at a glacial pace but compared to how long it took to actually get in front of a judge I suppose it was swift. There was nothing left to fight about. Nothing left. Who knew I'd be at peace with nothingness.
       After my divorce was finalized I took up residence in a new city that is 40 minutes away from the ocean and 4 hours away from my past. My Pisces soul has never felt more at home. I have met many challenges up to this point, and after many mini meltdowns I've met them all head on. Every time I've said to myself "I don't know what I'm going to do" somehow I've figured it out. Whether it's been from me pushing forward or someone helping me along the way, I have kept going. I cannot express enough gratitude for the people in my life that have been there for me despite my attempts to scare them off with my enigmatic peculiarity.
       The children are adjusting well to their new environment. The only complaint they have had was when they realized their schools require uniforms. My younger daughter cried out, "I am in individual! They are violating my individual rights!" I'm certain my smirk didn't help the situation. Even my little Autistic Avenger attempted mutiny by pulling off his polo shirt the moment it touched his skin and making a face as if to say "What the heck is this mess!?!!?" They are all now used to it and thriving beautifully. I couldn't be more proud of my not so little ones. With all they've been through they still manage to be their goofy little selves. Such resilience is rare in adults and here they are setting an example for me.
       Since the move I scored a great job as a cook. It's grueling and I'm limping by the end of my shift but I love it. Not having to stress and panic over finances for the first time in 3 years has been such a relief. I still struggle but no longer to the point where I'm panicking at the thought of not having enough food for my children. Now I can bag their lunches and get those yogurt covered pretzels my picky eater loves so much. And living 40 minutes from the beach means great stay-cations! We've been to the beach twice in the last 3 months and the only difficulty was a jellyfish sting which was also incidentally the funniest part of that day because Mini-Me said "Please don't pee on me".
       I am currently living with my brother and a roommate. They both have tried to push me out the door to socialize and enjoy being a single woman for the first time in years. That's the only personal difficulty I'm having at the moment. When one has been part of two how does that one become one again? The reality is that I have been a wife for so long that I forgot how not to be one. I had gotten so used to checking in and asking permission that it feels weird to not to have to do that. One night I ventured out to a friend's housewarming and I was checking in with my brother. He said, "I'm not your husband I'm your brother. Go be a grownup." At that moment I thought to myself, "Holy Shinobi! I don't have to answer to anyone!" Yet another epiphany. I'm having a lot of those lately. I'm realizing that being single does not equal being wild and meeting new people does not make me a loose woman nor does being an adult make me a bad mother. I am not on the hunt for ex-husband number two but it's quite alright to open myself up to the idea of meeting someone.
       I am still healing and growing and I am forever a work in progress. I admit that I am quite proud of myself these days. I feel strong. Over the last few years I have morphed from that scowl faced banshee that used to pitifully greet me in the mirror. Now I see a lively woman that I never thought I could be. I still get nervous and struggle with anxiety but I'm working on those flaws. I've also been allowing myself to feel like a woman. Not a wife, not a mother, but a woman. Being less than girly I have been embracing my femininity and it feels beautiful, even on my bad hair days. 
      

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be the Change

       Earlier today as I crossed a parking lot I noticed a man struggling with an arm full of groceries as he was trying to get a rebellious shopping cart to cooperate. I told him I'd take it back into the store for him. He asked, "You need it?" I said, "No, just picking up my license that I dropped inside the other day. But I'll park it for you." He replied, "Wow! Thanks darlin'. Not many nice people nowadays. Especially taking one look at me." I smiled at him and his matching girlfriend and told them it was no problem at all. He had no idea that his metalhead look was something I actually admired. I grabbed the shopping cart and said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." They both gave a hearty "F*** yeah!" complete with metal hands. I threw up a metal sign and went on my way with a smile. I don't know if the couple I saw earlier today would have helped me had they seen me struggling. All I know is they were struggling and needed a hand.
       A couple of months ago I was visiting a dear friend. I was heating up my coffee in the microwave. When I had the mug in my hand I swung the microwave door closed and it smacked into the mug breaking it off of the handle and spilling coffee all over her counter and onto her very expensive cellphone and tablet. I began to apologize over and over as I cried in frustration because not only was I embarrassed at my klutzy self but also at the fact that I cannot replace these things. My beautiful friend said "Honey, calm down. It's just stuff. We can always fix or replace stuff, we cannot replace people. Don't ever think I'd be mad at you over stuff." This woman not only reassured me of my own value to her but also her honor.
       The way we treat people should not be based on anything other than how we would like to be treated. Even if we're not being treated in a kind way. If a person is polite only to polite people does that really make him polite and kind? If a person is only generous to generous people does that really make him generous? Is someone truly honest if they are only honest with honest people? Does that mean that they lie to only liars? And if so, does that really make it okay? No, no, and no.
       People are so damned justified in everything they do. Tit for tat all day long. This is one of the many things wrong with society. There is such a lack of humanity in humanity it sickens me. Please, do not think me some righteous person as I am just as guilty as anyone else. Because I am aware of my ethological flaws I hold myself at an impossible standard which I always fall short of. I often ask myself "If I wasn't such a terrible liar would I lie more often?" I am honest to a fault and it often bites me in the ass. But would I be so honest if I were more gifted at deception? I honestly don't know. My convictions are strong. There's no denying that. However there are times when I wish I could just not care. But I do care. And since becoming a mother I care now more than ever.
       As a mother I aim to teach my children the lesson of honor. And you see, that's what is lacking in this fast paced world. Honor. My lessons to my children are simple:

  • Always tell the truth. Even if you're afraid of getting in trouble or hurting someones feelings. 
  • Be kind to people even if they are not kind to you. Don't let the bitterness of another person sour you.
  • Follow your heart. Your brain is important however it is your heart that will never lie to you. You may not get the results you want but you'll have certainty in your decisions. 
  • Give with a happy heart or don't give at all. If you give out of obligation that does not make you generous. And when you give don't look for anything in return. We give to give, simple as that. 
  • Humility is honorable. Arrogance and vanity are damaging. 
  • Dignity and pride are two different things. We must learn the difference. 
  • It's okay to not agree with someone and to not like someone. Just because people are seemingly nice doesn't mean everyone is going to be friends. Tolerance and acceptance are key. 
  • Give love freely even if it's not returned the way we hope. To love someone is a beautiful thing. Just don't be a doormat. 
There's a lot more but I'm running out of steam and I keep mistyping. The point is that somewhere among the technology, the wage earning, the instant gratification, and the constant entertainment we have forgotten how to live and how to treat one another. For such an advanced species at the top of the food chain no less we have become more and more primitive as our attitudes have basically come down to every man for himself. The sad part though is that not many people are willing to start the change we so desperately need. We think we are guarding ourselves when what we're really doing is disconnecting from our better selves. We're so quick to point a finger at one another not realizing there's fingers pointed at us as well. We need to change within ourselves in order to see a real change. It's not easy and the results may not be seen for another two generations but if we really try there will be results that will have been worth the effort.
       My philosophy is simple, "Be the change you wish to see in the world". Okay, so it's Gandhi's philosophy, not mine, but I've adopted it. Even though I struggle with the people of today it's refreshing and heart healing to know that there are a precious few that strive to be the change.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Waiting Game

Patience: /ˈpāSHəns/: noun: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

       If my life was a movie I think this would be the transformation montage. The bits and pieces of scenes that would show the passing of time ultimately revealing the grand transformation. But life is not a movie and we can't speed up the time to hurry to the end where I'm bursting through the finish line in a form flattering fashionable outfit that represents my inner metamorphosis. No. Now we wait. And I'm losing my patience.
       Here's a candid moment for me: This divorce is kicking my ass. While I pride myself on my strength and patience I admit that I'm about ready to wring someone's neck. As a precaution I've been avoiding people at all costs. Nothing has even happened with the divorce as I have yet to have a court date. What's driving me absolutely bat poop crazy is the waiting. I'm a take action kind of chick and I have taken action. My moves have all been made and now I'm at a stale mate with the powers that be. C'mon Universe, your move. Every passing day has me more and more anxious for the next phase of my life yet with every sunset there's no change. I can control my actions but I cannot speed up the judicial process. For anyone that's ever been through a divorce, my sincerest condolences.
       Long after the heartache is gone, long after the ego has been bruised and healing has begun, there's still the gap between the beginning of the end and the actual end. And it's not like you go on an emotional hiatus relieving you of any suffering or anxiety. These feelings although still present are easier to deal with if there's a distraction. This is why so many people rebound or have a wild phase. That's not my style. I'm not promiscuous nor am I a party animal. Besides, I have children to take care of. My children have always been the best distraction for me however being stuck in a crossroads traffic jam with no sign of a detour has me wanting to shout "Don't make me come back there! I swear I will turn this car around!"
       I have goals and plans and I can't seem to get anywhere because I'm waiting...and waiting...and waiting. My mother told me "Maybe there's something you're supposed to learn from this time of waiting. Maybe patience?" Are you freaking kidding me??? Any more lessons and patience and I'll be so enlightened that the Dalai Lama will come to me for philosophical quotes. Come on, Cosmos, I don't want to be the next great guru I just want to get on to the next chapter of my life already. Enough with the lessons in patience already. I have a child with Autism, trust me, I've got patience.Then mom said something extraordinary and whether she meant to or not the woman blew me away. She said, "Baby Girl, you are not the only one going through this divorce. Your children, their father, and your families are all going through this divorce. Did it ever occur to you that the lesson in patience is not yours but any one of these members of your life? And if that's the case then that would make you a part of their lesson." I do believe Mom was saying that the universe does not revolve around me. Ouch.
       So, the universe does not revolve around me. Who knew? *Sigh* The humdinger is I actually said something similar to my own children not too long ago. They asked why their father was acting out the way he was. I said "Your father and I are going through the same thing. I just handle it differently." Holy Schnikes I'm turning into my mother. How's that for a blog entry? Anyway, back on track. Okay, so not only does the universe not revolve around me but I have to be understanding to the time it takes for those in my life as their lessons may pour over into my life making it seem like it's my life that's at a halt when in fact it's theirs. Did I just therapize myself? I think I did.
       I suppose the best thing I can do is find ways to occupy my time. Being a severe introvert I'm quite good at that. Boredom hasn't been the issue really, it's the anticipation of what's to come. So, I think I'll work some more on my crafts, my plans, and of course my personal growth. I'll do my best not to wring any necks.
***The two most powerful warriors are patience and time***

Monday, December 30, 2013

Precious Time

Anyone can give a gift. A token of affection or a meaningless bauble. But to give your time, now that truly is priceless. Time is something that is incalculable. Society may put a price tag on your time such as in the workplace, but wages earned is merely a means of survival this day and age. Every trinket ever given to me has value not because of the price tag attached to it, but because of the person attached to it. That person worked and earned a wage to gift me something. You see, it was their time that they put in that ultimately paid for their gift. Truth be told, I am just as touched by a warm embrace and a moment of laughter as I am a token. Time. Something so simple can bear so much meaning.
My time is precious, because I know that what I give is something that I can never get back. When such a gift is returned, my heart smiles. When we give each other our time, whether it be helping with a chore of some sort or simply hanging out watching a movie or talking over coffee, we are trading time, pieces of our lives that will never come back to us and have been traded in for a moment in our lives as memories. This is an amazing gift to give one another indeed. And the more effort put into use of that time adds more value to an already invaluable entity. To me, this is colossal.
Think about it; if you had a certain amount of gold coins that could only be spent and never regained, you would spend them wisely. You would cherish every single doubloon. Only things vital to your life would be worth spending on. Now stay with me; your time is worth more than said doubloons and how it is spent is entirely up to you. Should you choose to bestow some of that precious treasure upon another person, know that what you are giving is permanent as is what they are giving you in return.
I can be quite selfish with my time. In my quest for personal growth I have made it a point to work on this flaw, but not to the point that I have no time left for myself. I try to give my time to those that wish to give their time to me. And believe me, I am truly honored to receive such gifts from my friends and loved ones. However, I still take out time to sing and dance and draw and write and even nap. These moments are precious to me because I'm giving to myself of myself. My time is something that I deserve as well. But I am no longer exasperated at invitations or social engagements because I realized that a person that I care about wants to give me something. Time. They wish to gift me some of their life. And how foolish would I be to refuse such a treasure. I have come to realize that it is not only my time that is precious.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Broccoli

Have you ever tasted something so delectable that you savored it for a moment before swallowing? And throughout the rest of the meal you find yourself savoring each and every single bite until you're down to one last morsel and that's the one you savor the longest. Chewing slowly and possibly even making inappropriate sounds as you're enjoying it. Well, that's how I try to live my life, savoring every single morsel. There is an enormous amount of life in life and I want to appreciate and enjoy all of it, even the parts that quite frankly suck. But what is a meal without a vegetable? The parts that suck are the lessons of life. It's as if The Universe is saying, "Okay, enough dessert, here, have some broccoli". And that's alright. Broccoli is not the end of the meal, it's actually the best part. Despite the fact that it may not taste good, it's the nutrition you need to keep going. See where I'm going with this? Once you've had your veggies, you get dessert!
Alright, enough food analogies, I'm getting hungry.
What I'm saying is, life is meant to be enjoyed, including all the hiccups. Life, however, will not be enjoyable if all you see are hiccups. Life is hard, no doubt about that, but if all you have is hard you may want to revamp some things. People are so set in their ways and afraid to break out of their comfort zones that they just drone on and have absolutely no fulfillment at all. I refuse to be one of these drones. Don't get me wrong, I have bad days just like anyone else, but I do not have a bad life. Ah, that's the difference. Too often do we accept a slew of bad days as a bad life. This is tragic. My philosophy is quite simple. If you don't like something change it. I have heard the arguments, "You don't know how hard that is!" "I can't just change it!" To them I say "Stop making excuses!" Who says you can't change things you don't like? If you don't like where you live, save money and move. If you don't make enough money, work more and then move. If you don't like whom you are with, break up. But you don't want to be the bad guy? Trust me, staying in a bad relationship makes you the bad guy. If you don't like your job, quit. Want to take on a new career path, go to school. No money for school? Student loans, second jobs, and grants. Trust me it will be worth the effort in the end.
And don't give me this bull-pucky about the time and effort it would take to change because that's just an excuse. According to you your life already sucks, right? So, wouldn't making it suck for a positive change be worth it? It's going to suck anyway, so why not make it suck to your advantage?
My life is in shambles at the moment. And I'm okay with that. Why you ask? Well, because the end result will be spectacular! Chaos almost always precedes change. And really, isn't change what I needed?
What we need and what we want are too often confused with one another. I wanted stability but I needed some change. Can't have change without chaos. Don't misunderstand me, stability is quite important, but the right kind of stability, not of the mediocre variety. Getting by is simply not enough for a big spirit like me. For too long was I being stuffed into a box in which I simply didn't fit.
Here's where I am now, I am on a journey. My journey has taken me to new places and I've encountered new people. Some have given my life value and some have taught me about the type of person I don't want to be. Taking a shot is scary, especially when you don't know where to aim. So, I'm taking random shots just hoping to hit a target. But man oh man is it something to hear the gun go off! (Got that last line from a movie)
I have told a few people my life story, and it's a doozy! There are times when a person hearing my story will get a look on their face that I know all too well. To them I have always said the same thing, "Don't pity me. I don't do pity." And when told of my bravery I always say the same thing, "Are you kidding me??? I'm not brave! I'm scared out of my mind! But I have to keep going! I can't have come this far to turn and run back now!" My end result may still be far off. In the eyes of naysayers I may be lost, but I know for a fact that I am more found than they can comprehend. I stay true to myself and savor every morsel of life. Right now, I'm just finishing my broccoli.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Morning Ramblings


                I understand that most people do not understand me. But really, isn't that how all of us feel on some level? If all of mankind feels misunderstood, is it safe to say that maybe we simply aren't trying or revealing our true selves? How many times have you thought, "No one understands me. They say they do, but they don't. They think they know but they're not in MY shoes". Well, truth is, no one is in anyone else's shoes. Fact is, pain is pain, hurt is hurt, struggle is struggle, and just because they are in different forms or happening to different people doesn't make anyone's pain or struggle greater or more important. I'm not talking about extreme abuses, injustices, and suffering. I'm referring to our daily "okay" lives. One thing I think we can all agree on is that there are people that are suffering so horribly, that they'd trade places with us in a heartbeat. Injustices of all kinds; famine, homelessness, beatings, human trafficking, loved ones vanishing without a trace, murder, despair to the point of suicide, modern day slavery, cults...the list is truly endless. And in this list I realize that my problems are small potatoes. Yes, I'm struggling, you're struggling, bottom line is, we are all struggling. And our struggles are what makes us similar, not different.
            Aside from sociopaths, generally, we all care about one another. No person with an ounce of humanity actually wants someone else to hurt. Think about a sports event. When a team wins, the fans of said team are celebrating and hugging perfect strangers inviting one another to a tailgating celebration. Everyone is happy for the same reason and wants to share it with one another, even perfect strangers. So, why do we assume the same isn't true for times of struggle? "You don't know how I feel!" but what if we really do??? Why do we get so defensive in our feelings thinking we are the exception to the rules of emotions? In my humble opinion, it is in those times of grief or pain that I think we should reach out to one another. But here's the kicker, no one really wants the emotional burdens of another person, do they? Ah...therein lies the problem. We want to celebrate with one another, that's when we all understand and know how each other feels. But give us a moment of grief and then you're suddenly an emotional burden. Why have we conditioned ourselves this way? I once got a message from a friend and what they said pretty much sums up how we are. They said, "Hey, what's wrong with So-and-So? I'd ask myself but then I may be forced to help." When dealing with a personal issue another friend messaged me asking how I was doing, this was our exchange, "I'm okay. Such-and-such is going on but I'll be fine. No need to worry about me." the response I got was this, "I wasn't worried, just curious". I do not believe my friends to be callous at all, I believe they simply don't know how to handle negative situations. To be honest, neither do I. Don't think me some enlightened individual, because I'm not. In fact, if there's emotions involved, it kind of freaks me out. I am aware of this flaw. I'm just wondering how we got this way.
              I have been in need, and people have come through for me in ways that are truly humbling and wonderfully overwhelming. Their actions speak volumes. In celebration I have laughed and danced and enjoyed friends, family, and acquaintances, but when things would get emotionally ugly I'd hide, not wanting to burden anyone thinking "they don't understand me at all". I know I'm not the only one that does this.
           Truthfully, I don't even know where all of this is coming from. Just something I woke up thinking about. With my lack of social skills I find myself trying to understand people and for the most part, I simply don't understand people at all. But I do know that I don't like seeing people hurting in any way. So, even if I don't understand how someone feels simply for the fact that I am not them, I do know that it hurts me for them. I have been told more than once "You think too much. Stop trying to understand people." But I simply cannot. I will continue to try and understand because all of us feel misunderstood and that's not a very nice feeling. I have set boundaries on habitual violators that would use me as an emotional dumping ground, however, I will always try to be a person available to someone else even if I don't understand them.