Today, I became a writer

How many times does one begin to write, quickly decide they have nothing worth while to say, and shelf the idea for another time? The number is different for all of us, I’m sure. For myself, it’s excruciatingly high and I dare not try to count them all. Today, however, I decided to show up for myself. I have no idea where we are going or how I might get us there, but I do know it’s going to be an adventure.

The adventure of a 40 something, almost empty nester, who may make learning a second language her New Years Resolution. I am definitely an expert in those areas. Never mind the part where I’m the mom of 3 boys: One all-American college graduate; one overachiever; one that is an extraordinarily high-functioning dude with autism; all of which has taught me how to be a grounded, insane-ly proud mother. I wasn’t born with that set of skills, that’s for sure. I suppose I could thank my eldest son for nudging me… Uhm, shoving me into motherhood. As a 19 year old, unwed, college Sophomore, he was not on my immediate to-do list. I made the tough decision to become a mother. And, yes, for me, it was a choice. But, that’s a topic for another day. Guilt, like spite, can be highly motivating emotions. Fast forward through a plethora of mistakes coupled with undeniable pride and that’s about where I sit today. I’ll get to that “plethora” later, no doubt.

It’s funny, the direction a story can take as you begin to retell it. I have no preconceived notion of where mine is going. Shoot, half of it hasn’t happened yet… Assuming I live the length of a natural lifetime. That morbid thought aside, I have a great deal of interest in how my story is told. So many moments… So many twists… Good and Bad. Life is truly a roller coaster and I’ve had a ticket to ride since 1972.

 

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Not her shame…

Heartbreak was not easily recognized by her. She could relate to disapproval, disappointment, and dismissal, but the warmth of affection required an understanding she had not acquired. Too little experience; too many memories to the contrary. Being a tough one to break seemed to be par for the course and exactly the armour she would need to survive her youth. She had danced with the devil by the light of the moon… Hell, sometimes, she had been the one to invite him.

The recollection of first loves, first kisses, first base, innocence lost… It all meshed together. In fact, her first love had nothing to do with her first kiss, and first base was remembered more like a football fumble. Laughter seemed a more appropriate response to that memory than some ideal fondness of BS. The truth is, she was allowed to laugh because none of it had much to do with love. It was just your run of the mill coming of age moments… except for when it wasn’t. There was a sting to her story. A bitterness that became built on bad judgment, egos, and nowhere to run. Tears get ignored; drunk chases sometimes end with missed classes, bruises, and apologies. Of the great many experiences she could recall during this time very few brought on laughter. So, she would hold tight to those… The one’s that were par for the course of adolescence. She buried the others under stone like a professional mason. Heartbreak is hard to recognize when you build your heart out of stone.

It takes bravery to keep showing up for another round with shame. No one told her this, of course. In fairness, no one would have known what to tell her. She didn’t need advice. She didn’t need protection. She didn’t need her parents. She didn’t need anyone. Most of all… She didn’t need love. Shame and love don’t belong in the same category. She preferred the cold. A trait she probably picked up from her father. One of many that could explain his absence. She didn’t need his explanation either. She had herself… Why would anyone ever want more, she thought. There is peace in the darkness. Young hearts don’t break in the cold… They shatter…

She would later pick up a pen and laugh, unashamed.

 

Until next time… xo

‘Ish, Accordingly

Perseverance or Crazy?

Today marks day 9 of my first 10 day water fast venture. I’m beginning to think I would have made for an amazing warrior… If I had been born in a different time, of course. What is it about those of us who would rather eat someone else’s chewed gum than admit defeat? I assure you it is not always the smart route. I recently read a book by Angela Duckworth, titled: Grit. She dives right into the meat of this subject. Good read should you ever want to learn more or figure out how to find your own.

I have no doubts that grit is quite a determining factor. We compete with ourselves, the people around us, the world… We dig deep with a will to win. In fact, I expect no less of myself. That part might teeter a bit on crazy, but it keeps me pushing past obstacles. It has nothing to do with your education level, IQ, or want to succeed. It has everything to do with your drive, focus, self-disciple, and perseverance. I don’t recall ever being “the best” at much, but I give myself credit for having the grit to keep going regardless. To me, it came naturally. I have a competitive personality… and a brother who was up to challenge. We both have a strong desire to master skills. I think it has been cultivated along with our natural traits. I should give some credit to life’s hard knocks, too. Those will often teach perseverance. I’m learning to be grateful for those kind of childhood scars; I spent many years being bitter. However, I will say, spite can be one heck of a motivator… Ha! It’s true. Though, I am not endorsing such. Happiness is the way to go.

So, are we comfort zone pushers crazy? Nah… We just know there’s more within us and refuse not to achieve it. The growth I have discovered within myself over the past year and half is reason enough to share my journey. Dig deep. Find your inner warrior. Go for it… Whatever your IT is. Don’t put taking chances off because of fear and complacency. Being comfortable is easy. Being complacent is lazy. A well lived life shouldn’t be either. You are welcome to call those of us who push limits the real life Goonies… We never say die.

Until next time… xo

‘Ish, Accordingly

The Horizon of 2020

     In the wake of the #metoo movement comes the landslide of truths all the way from Hollywood to the political arena. Are we woke, America? I dislike the term “woke,” I was not asleep. I was ill informed, naïve, surviving life, and silent. How dare we tell our stories anyway. The tales of fear, embarrassment, sadness, anger, survival… The tales that cast someone we may know in bad light. We have it so good in comparison to other countries. We are free; we can divorce; we can work; we can speak… So long as it doesn’t shake the system. So long as we are willing to take on the role of being lessor paid while being primary caretakers. After all, we are being given the whole cracker and not just a crumb… right?! Except who’s eating the meal we prepared?! It’s interesting what one is willing to settle/be grateful for given our past freedoms. How long has it been since women were no longer deemed property, socially… 1882?! That’s nothing; a mere few generations back.

   This is a subject thwart with controversy. Though I personally fail to understand a female standing on the opposing side, they exist, and I am baffled. None of which carries a hoot of weight into what I will say next. I commend each person who has stood up for themselves in recent light. Cheers to their courage! Yet, here I sit not entirely willing to speak my truth. That’s not altogether true… I have a  willingness, but it’s difficult to be transparent for the armchair judges of society. After all, I was a sexually active teen in the 80’s and early 90’s. I’m far from having walked the straight and narrow. According to the southern society of my youth, I’m without much worth.  Bad things obviously happened because of something I did… Like, walk home from school with my spelling book. That’s precisely what I was doing the first time I recall being sexually targeted. I was a 10-year-old latchkey kid making my way home. This green car was creeping toward me; my gut told me to stop walking up the street and move into a neighbor’s yard. I bet I was 100 ft from my front door when this man stopped to ask me a question. By this time, I was not only in my neighbor’s yard, but I could have reached out to touch the brick of their house. I couldn’t understand him… I paused… he repeated, “do you want to be my girlfriend?” He had a child’s car seat in the back. I began walking faster to just get around the corner of this house… Then, I would have been able to see my front door … run to it… get away. I did exactly that, too, I was fortunate. The man pulled away and I spent the next hour calming myself down. I never told a soul at that time. I had little grasp about what had actually transpired aside from being scared and little trust in the adults within my own home. I risked taking care of myself rather than be visible. It’s possible that story could have ended with a heartbroken family and missing child. It also wouldn’t be close to my last tale to tell in this series of BS I should never have had to endure

    So, yeah, I do hope Oprah runs for president. Shoot… I hope The Rock runs against her. It will be the first time in my adult life that I believe the candidates will work their hardest to learn the job; make real change. It will also be the first time I may cross party lines to cast a vote because I care what they stand for more than I care about partisanship. That’s why I like them, by the way. They aren’t paid for by politicking lobbyists… The public has willingly paid them all along. They are the people. People who started with nothing and built their lives. In the carefully chosen words of Oprah, “a new day is on the horizon.” One where we are teaching our sons to have respect, self-control, and not subscribe to an unequal future for their counterparts. One where there is no longer a need to say, #metoo.

 Until next time… xo

Ish, accordingly

    

Must There Be Order

Is it possible to live a life out of order? Must stories always be told chronologically or does time allow for getting sidetracked? I asked myself these questions before starting this particular post. This journey began as a way to tell my story. Well, today is a part of that story, thank goodness. So I positively do not have to tell you about the time my brother almost broke my nose. We can save that for another day. This time, I just want to be joyful about finding my words. That’s the thing about writing here… I can do exactly as I please. It is my blog.

I never would have guessed the amount of jubilation experienced as my fingers click at this keyboard. Perhaps I would have done it sooner; doubtful, but one will never know. I’m giving full credit of this literary return to my recent New Year’s to-do list as resolutions were not for me this January 1st. In fact, I’ve waged a full on war against procrastination. It plagues me in almost every aspect of life. It has kept me from writing these words for far too long. I’m taking responsibility for my time wasting habits. Period. Wasted time is a crutch I have leaned upon for decades. Sometimes, time well wasted, but wasted nonetheless.

Good Morning, 2018! I’ll just be over here taking ownership of my nonsense. I have a TON of it. It’s possible I will be battling my propensity to procrastinate for a lifetime… And even then, I wonder if I could list all of my nonsense?! Probably not. This is definitely the beginning of a new, long-term relationship with myself. The “New Year; New Me” title might be fitting, but it feels overdone and understated for this change. I’m not really a “New Me,” I’m just sharing more of me on a time crutch. We only have a finite amount of these minutes that pass by us. How the hell have I wasted so much of it… And with such little regard, too?! All of my questions are rhetorical, of course. Though you might find yourself muttering answers toward them on occasion. SEE. It’s so easy for me to get pulled in different directions. I lose track; I forget direction; I rarely come back exactly the same. Something has almost always been changed. This year, it will be my perspective. I will embrace the side traveling that is my wandering mind, but I will not let time, nor subject matter, keep me from writing about it.

Self-Love is so 2018.

 Until next time… xo

Ish, accordingly

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Divorce did not break my childhood

I came into this world happy, healthy, and with what I can only image as an incredible zest for life. I added that last one based on who I grew up to be… I’m positive that started at birth. The rest is par for the course during a normal pregnancy in 1972. Besides, I don’t think they can really gauge happiness, but from my earliest memories, I was most definitely a happy, carefree, rambunctious child. I had no idea my complete family would be short lived or that it was even in jeopardy, honestly. I don’t recall loud fights or times when my parents were apart. The truth is, I vaguely recall my dad in any of my childhood memories. Believe me, I’ve searched for him there. I found his voice calling me, “Babydoll” and, on my third birthday, he bought me this gigantic Winnie The Pooh stuffed bear. I can’t recall his face or the words that were exchanged that day, but the bear was hidden behind a chair I was sitting in and I recall my excitement upon the discovery. I can tell you about my friend, Kelly, and her mom, Rosalie. That there was a HUGE sheep dog who lived above us and how he once got struck by a car. I know the walk from my home to the 7-Eleven where my mom would buy me Bottle Caps candy. I know my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins lived just behind our apartment building and their pantry always had the best snacks. I remember my cousin teaching me to swim in their pool. Ooh and the black corvette that my Uncle owned. So many memories, yet, my dad was an enigma. Pooh, he stayed with me through five moves in two different states.

The divorce that surely ruined my life, according to pop-culture psychology, happened during my kindergarten year at James S. Hunt Elementary. Though I have no idea when my parents split up, filed divorce papers, or even decided to go their separate ways, I had just turned 5 the summer we moved backed to Indiana… Back to my grandparents, back to my cousins, back to a life I fit in without ever missing a beat. I had never been more happy, I don’t believe. I was literally engulfed by love. In fact, I had never been exposed to anyone that didn’t want greatness for me. I was a vibrant little girl… at school; at home; at church. I had a Grandpa who picked me up from school and was the only “dad” I was ever going to need. He made it possible for my mom to get on her feet. I’ll come back to his role in my life another day… One where I’m willing to end it emotionally depleted with a tear stained face and swollen eyes. Uhm… It wasn’t easy to be a twenty something, divorced, mother of two in 1977. As an adult, I can imagine the judgement. As a child, I had no idea. She made it look effortless.

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My mother was a beauty; stylish, smart, a cosmetologist turn science department secretary at Indiana University, AND, she drove a white 1967 Mustang with red leather seats and a 351 engine. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I know they had to put cinder blocks in the trunk so it wouldn’t fishtail. We would drive out to my Aunt’s house every weekend… two days of fun with cousins. These were truly the greatest days of my life. At this point, I had no idea my dad was missing? I didn’t know I was suppose to be upset. My brother is a few years older… I’ve heard the stories of how we would get ready to go for visits, but then our dad wouldn’t show up. I think my brother took those disappointments hard. I don’t remember a single one of them. Nope, not even one. I did not miss him. He very simply hadn’t been a significant enough figure in my life to have an impact at this juncture. Several years would pass before I’d realize his absence.

It’s weird to look back and recognize that I had no idea my father was missing from the picture. My picture was beautiful and filled with possibilities. All the people I loved were there as well as all the people who loved me. My family had been doing their job of protecting me and ensuring my well being. I didn’t need more. But it wasn’t all about me, was it? There were other lives entwined with mine and eventually I came face to face with my fathers absence. It would turn out to be the first time I was introduced to hatred. I was seven… So, I just needed to be polite until the visit was over. My mom would take me home soon and everything would be fine. She would be proud of how well my brother and I had behaved… or so I thought. Seven is a very naïve age, as well it should be.

Divorce did not break my childhood. It was something far more inconspicuous and enshrouded with cold politeness. A politeness that would blanket what has been the rest of my life up to this point. At 44, I don’t owe anyone my polite silence. I do, however, owe myself permission to tell my story. I’m sorry, but being polite is what broke my childhood. The irony of that statement is not lost on me, by the way.

 

Until next time… xo

‘Ish, Accordingly