Does Everything Really Happen For A Reason?

fork in the roadLife is just a series of events, both unfortunate and remarkably notable.  There are many paths from which to choose.  If I decided 20 years ago not to take that job at Starbucks to help pay for my college expenses, some defining moments would not have revealed themselves which determined the circumstances of my life.

So does everything really happen for a reason? Are decisions really bound to destiny?  Is there such a thing as destiny? Or is it all just coincidence?  Throwing your hands up in the air and saying “I guess it was meant to be” is a comforting crutch we use to explain why something didn’t turn out as we had hoped.  Something which we cannot conclude sense.  On occasion, I will look back at all of my choices, something as simple as deciding to engage in a conversation with a new person, or as serious as leaving the house 10 minutes later than usual only to find out I escaped a horrible accident.  I am sure we have all pondered what year or time frame we could go back to and start over.  Some of you have already been through this game in your mind, and have come to realize you wouldn’t change a thing.  It is our mistakes and what we have accomplished and how many times we fell and got back up that determine who we are right at this moment.  That is a tough thing to see at the time.  Sometimes, I wish I could go back to 1998 and erase my memory and begin again.  Wouldn’t it be great to have one do-over?

If I could go back and take that do-over, I would never have had my wonderful kids, now 9 and 11 (I would absolutely take the do over if not for them)  Even their father, whom I call the sperm donor with sarcastic indifference, caused me years of pain and frustration.  I would immediately take all that back.  Why would anyone choose a failed marriage?  I didn’t choose it.  At least I don’t believe I did.  Some ignorant people will say “Why didn’t she just leave?”  It’s not that easy.  In fact, it’s one the hardest and scariest things a woman can do.

Well, I can’t undo the marriage, because I would be erasing my kids.  Despite what they have been through, they are the most amazing children.  I may be partially biased, but they are affectionate, caring, aware of others, and grateful.  I am blessed beyond words.  Sometimes this leads me to think I don’t deserve them.  Parents who make $100,000 a year and live in a big house with a yard and send their kids to private schools, those are the parents who deserve great kids. Right?  Someone like me deserves a child with some kind of defect, or behavioral issues due to an unstable home life.  I disagree adamantly.  From my observations, the kind of parents I described above have spoiled, ungrateful, entitled, and often rude children.  Parents such as myself raise kids to be grateful for what they have.  They may have seen or heard things most kids their age have not been exposed to.  My daughter is wise beyond her years.  She holds herself well and is strong minded.  She doesn’t hesitate to defend her little brother on the bus.  She is the opposite of me as a child.  I was so shy and scared, I could hardly make it through the day.  She gets A’s in school and reads a book every 2 days, not because she has to but because she wants to.

My intent is not to brag about my children, I am just making the point that without the the choices I made along the way, often being led blindly down paths which were unfamiliar to me, I would not have had these 2 amazing children as a result. If their dad wouldn’t have tracked me down at Starbucks that night, I would have gone down a different path. I had my future planned out.  In fact I was just starting the coarse. I was standing at the fork in the road when he came along.  I had just graduated from college with a BA. I also worked at a law firm.  My goal was to decide which branch of the criminal justice system suited me so I could take the next step.  My mother told him where to find me.  He had just broken up with his girlfriend, mother of his 3 year old.  He offered to give me a ride home that night. We had been friends for years.  Just friends.  Once I stepped foot in that red fire bird, the fork in the road changed into a one way street.  And I couldn’t exit until 4 years ago.  That’s 16 years of crazy ups and downs.  Just plain insanity with the exception of my children.

So, no, I wouldn’t take any of it back.  I wouldn’t accept the do over.  I’ll admit, I have some resentments about the career I missed out on.  I have always taken responsibility for my actions, but I do resent him for that one.  I’ve tried reasoning with myself not to blame him, but I repeatedly go back feeling resentful and angry. That’s a huge thing, a career. For reasons I don’t need to specify now although I am sure I have written them before, I cannot get a job without my past haunting me. I think that’s fair reasoning to be a little peeved.

This brings me to my point.  What can I do?  What can you do?  Nothing.  Let’s make the best of what we have left, then look around and appreciate what we have gained. Sometimes we don’t even notice the good because we are so fixated on the negative.  I do that too, and need to remind myself to soak up all the good things I have acquired.

The kids and I have gained a loving family because I finally met the person I didn’t know I had been waiting for.  The 4 of us moved out of the apartment where mountains of bad memories were formed…That’s a ‘fork in the road’ story on its own… life changing events transpiring beyond our control that led to us move. Now that seems like it happened for a reason.  It’s a crazy feeling when you’re my age and realize you waited your whole life to feel like everything finally fits.

I have been through a lot in my life. Since childhood, I have been suppressing very intense and painful emotions.  There’s a lot more to unravel and sift through. I wonder sometimes how I endured all that pain, physical and emotional. Although I know that our brain works in a way to protect us during times of duress, I have desperately wished for that do ever because the pain I felt seemed too much bear. But I am still here. Stronger. Wiser. Better.  I do not regret my choices.

 

 

 

Let Her Go

Twisted world

Let her be

Too see her smile

Make me bleed

Fly far away

but take his hand

If there are tears

Turn to sand

Perceptive views

Hers are a must

Don’t shadow her life

You turn it to dust

Ruining she’s not

Living with pain

Look in the mirror

Does not see the gain

You started this fire

Now you watch it burn

Take two hands

And never return

Don’t cry on my shoulder

Don’t feed me your lines

Don’t tell me you’re hurting

Can’t silence my mind

My truth it lies

And the tears that don’t show

To let her be

To let her go

The day I will fall

The tears from my eyes

To silence the whisper

The day I will die.

Harbor Avenue

You thought I was bulletproof

But now you know

Can’t play dumb this time

You reap and you sow

 

Don’t want to hear your voice

Please just go

I am not who you thought

And It’s starting to show

 

The armor I wear so well

Underneath burns a fiery hell

But you’ll never know

Because I let you go

Before you could see through my shell

 

Now that my armor’s down

You’re trying to come back in

This isn’t for you anymore

You can’t touch this skin

 

You are a stranger now

Just a part of my sin

A page from my story book

I will not let you in

 

The freedom to fall resides

But I’m still alive inside

You thought I was broken

You think I’m alone

But here I am doing just fine

 

We are so different

Yet we agree

Living without you

Is how it should be

 

The armor I wear so well

Underneath burns a fiery hell

But you’ll never know

Because I let you go

Before you could see through my shell.

 

 

 

Where’s The Wart Remover?

ImageFamily. What comes to mind? Comfort? Craziness? There are a million words and feelings associated with that word. It’s a complicated dynamic that encompasses a lot of baggage.  It’s like one of those 1000 piece puzzles. I am consistently “almost there” in understanding my family, then Aunt Catastrophe bumps into me and a few pieces fall off the table. Uncle Scapegoat throws a fit along with his coat, while cousin cautious tries to pick up the pieces and put them back in place before anyone gets hurt.

In life, we experience ups and downs with our family. Major events such as marriage, childbirth, sickness, divorce and death, in addition to those come holiday drama, infertility, affairs, parenting issues, etc… Not placing more or less importance on any of these, but you follow what I am saying, right? Most of these occur over the course of a life time. What is the absolute here? Family. Some people do not know their biological parents. Myself, for example, only met my father once. I never knew his side of the family. We all come from the same thing, an anxious egg and a lucky sperm. After that, we all have a different experience. Regardless of how big or how small, happy or miserable, blood related, adopted or married, we all have a family.

I mentioned not knowing my father or his side of the family. I spent most of my life feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have a father. At 38 years old, I am beginning to see his absence as more of a blessing than a curse. An entire extra family I don’t have to deal with. The less dramatic bullshit I am in the middle of, the better. My mom’s side, the side in which I grew up, holds enough craziness to fill up 2 families. Getting caught in the middle of family drama is like accidentally standing in front of a dart board at the bar. It is neither planned nor intentional, but there you are.  Front and center. Dodging the darts and beer. But there is too much to evade and you only have two hands.

We can assume that all families are dysfunctional on some level. Nobody is perfect at communication, therefore a perfect family is impossible. Happy families are, however, a possibility. For example, I imagine families gather all over America for holiday dinners without screaming accusations or tossing chairs across the living room. I know these ridiculous actions take place in some families over a he said /she said argument, or jealousy and entitlement over which crystal vase grandma left to whom. Back when my family functioned as a healthy family, I’ll say 25 years ago, all 16 of us crammed into Gramma’s one bedroom apartment for a Turkey dinner. I am the youngest in the family, so I don’t remember the fighting, but something huge happened. After a couple years, we no longer gathered together. There were 4 siblings and 8 grand kids. Gramma and Grandpa, who were already divorced, ended up turning half the family against the other half. Most likely over money. Which in hindsight, is always trivial when you consider people’s lives and feelings. I imagine on my death bed, I won’t be thinking about money. It’s a shame we spend so much of our lives stewing over it.

To this day, the 4 siblings: my mom, two aunts and one uncle, will not speak to each other unless it is an absolute necessity. Grandpa and Gramma are both deceased. The cousins are scattered. And our children don’t even know they have second cousins. It is very sad what happened to our family, especially for the kid’s sake. I am sure they wonder why no one is together. One day when they are adults, they will realize that acting like a child only makes things worse. And of course they will need to explain to their future family why our family is dysfunctional. Hopefully the cycle can be broken. I am doing my part to ensure my kids and their kids don’t end up arguing like they are on the Maury Povich show.

I envision my family in three branches. My mom’s side or the blood side. My girlfriend’s family which is my newly adopted family. And lastly, my ex husband’s family or my kids’ dad’s family. My ex’s family is what brings me to write this. They are the source of my eternal frustration. How can so much hypocrisy exist among a few people with the same last name? I am overwhelmed by their shallowness and continually surprised at their ignorance.

Briefly, let me explain why my current situation allows me to see clearly how screwed up my past situations were. Hind sight is a beautiful thing, realizing what was missing is a gift. Problems or major issues do not plague my current family. There is nothing that hovers over all of our heads with gloom. In the end, love always prevails. In the morning, the light blinds us, in a good way, to what the previous night entailed, if by chance there was a disagreement. It is a beautiful process I am blessed to be a part of, and only hope to remain inside it’s warm walls. My children are finally seeing what a happy relationship looks like, what a healthy disagreement sounds like, and what unconditional love feels like. And most importantly, that family is not defined by or confined to blood relation.

Okay, those are the tolerable ones. Now, the ex. I always knew my ex’s parents were flaky and oblivious. My father in law is from a small town in Montana, and I mean really small. The kind of place with one Post Office and five taverns. Nothing to do in an old mining town but be a drunk. I think when he moved here he never checked out, never bothered to absorb any new intelligence. He just opted to stay in the dark. My mother in law is from here in the city, but something must have happened, like too much tanning bed exposure, or possibly the disappearance of too many brain cells from Grey Goose Vodka. Maybe it’s Jesus. She claims to love Him, but that, in my experience, tends to leave people a little dumb. She’s one those “Christians” who looks at you with the deepest concern and says she is going to pray for you. And you just know she doesn’t, it’s just something she rattles off in every birthday card  and before you know it, you’re rolling your eyes every time she says the word “pray.” This religious facade has become the biggest turn off for me. The only hypocrites I know are unfortunately individuals who claim Jesus as their co-pilot. I am patiently awaiting the inevitable crash.

My ex’s family can be compared to a wart I cut off and it just keeps growing back. They continually push their way to the front of the list of things that give me a headache. And warts are ugly. I associate my ex husband with ugly things and ugly times. Lately, it seems, circumstances are accumulating and I need to cut off this wart for good. It’s not healthy. Oh, and did I mention it’s ugly?

Actually, the more I reflect on this, the more it feels like they have cut me off. While trying to figure out what my feelings are in this scattered puzzle, I realize that I am angry at them for judging me from a distance. If you want to make an observation and then a statement about my life, come and live with me. At least know me and see me on a regular basis before you throw accusations. Both of my ex’s parents have written me off, along with his cousins, among other family members who won’t talk to me. This hurts. Mainly because it is directly hurting my kids. I would assume that these people would want some contact with the two amazing children they once adored and saw on a regular basis. No. It’s like all of a sudden, their brains have been possessed by preschoolers fighting over crayons, and they are stomping their feet while saying, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore!”

They obviously have never heard of taking the higher road. I have never witnessed or been the direct lashing of such childish behavior. It actually shocks me. I should be used to it, and at the very least, expect it. It doesn’t matter to them what my ex did to me or our kids. In their opinion, I am the bad person. Maybe it’s because of my new relationship and family. I guess it’s okay to beat your wife and use her as a sex slave, but god forbid being a lesbian. If they are so disgusted by my relationship, maybe they should get on the next train back to Shallowville. I have no tolerance for ignorant people anymore. They just don’t realize how clueless they are. That says it all right there. You can’t realize you’re clueless if you don’t know anything. If you chose to walk the narrow and closed minded path, you’re going to end up in Mindlessville. 

 In closing,

Let me just say that I love my children. I know their father loves them as well.  But there are circumstances which follow all choices, in his case, thoughtless choices driven by drug abuse.  I may one day allow him a little grace if he ever proves himself, because I know the kids miss him terribly.    His family however, are a group of ignorant robots being blindly led by the blood of the lamb.  Go ahead and judge me.  I laugh at you and your stupidity.  I am going to hell because I sleep next to another woman?  I’ll shout that from the roof tops before I ever claim being a Christian.  It took a long time, but I can finally declare that I am where I am supposed to be. I am with who I am supposed to be with.  My kids are loved and secure. I am proud of how far I have come the last 3 years.  And for all the brave individuals whose families do not support them because of their own ignorance?  You can take that shit down the street in a package addressed to 123, Idiot Lane, Unschooled City, Cluelessville County, Misinformed, USA.

I Will Rise

pheonixWhat is wrong with me today? The sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky.  This is the first day this year the temperature has reached 70 degrees..  I love spring and summer. I complain about the incessant rain and gray clouds that hover over us most of the year.  Today is what I long for all winter. I should at least go a walk.  Even if it’s out to the mailbox.  I keep telling myself how much better I will feel.  I see smiling neighbors walking up and down the street with their dogs. I have been in my room most of the day, reading, scrolling through emails and facebook, and on my laptop.  I took a nap even after a full night’s sleep. I feel this pull in my gut, like a heaviness.  I don’t want to smile.  I don’t want to talk.  Why today?  Why on this beautiful day?

I am supposed to be training for a 12 mile obstacle course coming up in September.  I would consider myself a workout junkie.  I haven’t worked out in a few months.  My shins and legs hurt from previous injuries and I am afraid that if I start to jog, it will hurt too much and then I’ll really be depressed.  I tell myself everyday, today is the day to start jogging.  At least go out punch the bag a few minutes, lift up a dumbbell.  I haven’t.

Some of you, my allies in the war with mental illness, might conclude that my depression is worsening because of my recent medication change.

Others may say it’s because I am just unhappy with my life.  I don’t believe that to be true. Maybe it’s because I stay in the room all the time.  I suppose that is a possibility.

I posted something the other day about an observation I had regarding my son.  That he seemed sad and I wrote about my concern.  My family and friends adore him and his loving energy.   My facebook friends can see from pictures and the hilarious things he says, he is a happy kid.  He just has the occasional bad day. Don’t we all?  My concern was heightened only because he hasn’t seen his father.  This is the longest stretch of time my kids have gone without a visit.  Since December.  He violated a protection order. What can I do?  So yeah, my kids are going to feel bad from time to time.  I was venting just as I am now.

Well, one person, decided to chime into the conversation who I was really hoping wouldn’t see it.  She did, and proceeded to tell me that my son was unhappy in his circumstances, that I was a poor mother, and bullied me by throwing her religious beliefs at me. Which is a complete joke to me, because she is the biggest hypocrite I have ever known.  I have known her for almost 20 years and never once seen her pray.  I held my tongue and used my manners with her yesterday.  Something she failed to do.

So is it possible that she has affected me in such a way to leave me stuck in bed for an entire day?  I would like to think she doesn’t have the power to control me like that.  But here I am and I don’t want to get up.  The whole drama of it exhausted me.  I never intended for that story to end up on facebook. I had a gut feeling that it would backfire if my ex husband’s family saw it.  I need to stick with my gut more often.  What about the heavy weight pulling at my gut right now?  What do I do with that?

I am going to forget about that horrible woman and her wicked tongue.  I am not sure I am ready to get up.  I will wait for my kids to get home.  They are sure to put a smile on my face and give me a reason to get up.

 

What I learned from this:

 

Everybody hurts sometimes.

 

I will write what I want unfiltered.

If you don’t like it, stop reading it and move on.

 

My children are beautiful and precious individuals.

 

They have feelings and emotions just like us adults.

 

I will not assume where their feelings are coming from without talking to them first, just as I would not like someone assuming what my feelings are about without consulting me.

 

I will not let hypocritical, judgemental people affect me.  They are not worth it.

 

I am doing a phenomenal job raising my children, who are happier and more loved than they have ever been.

 

I am glad this incident happened because I have learned who the “real” people are in my life.

 

 

Hollow

depressed childWhile listening to a song in the car today, I realized how very worried I am about my son.  I interpret the song to be about not wanting to let someone leave you.  When I hear it, I think of someone taking their own life.  I myself have had many suicide attempts.  The first at 14 years old and the last 4 or 5 years ago. I was a sad child.  It feels like I was born this way. However, not having a father in my life since the age of one may have played a role in my joylessness. I have suicidal thoughts all the time and recognize my son’s demeanor.  He has become grumpy, argumentative and distant. He is only 9 years old and has lost his father.  Not dead, but gone.  I have an 11 year daughter as well.  She is easy and pleasant compared to her brother.  I always imagined this to manifest itself the opposite way.  My father left when I was a year old and I pined over him for years without even knowing him.  Of course my daughter misses her dad too, she asks occasionally when she’ll see him again, but her composure is, well, that of an older sibling.  She is very mature for her age.  Maybe her lack of a father will reveal itself later on.  I will address those issues and needs when they arise.  Presently, however, my concern is for my son.

As always with anyone, his mood is bound to have ups and downs.  Some days my son appears emotionally stable, others not so much.  It’s as though he wishes he could just hide in the corner.  He will not talk to me and does not respond when I engage him.  He pulls the covers over his head as if he is ashamed of his own feelings.  I know this reaction as I have done it myself when expected to answer someone and I simply don’t have it in me.  It’s like reaching up your sleeve for that ever flowing and colorful handkerchief like clowns do, and your sleeve is hollow.  Hollow. That’s the appropriate word.  There’s just nothing inside, but too much to sort through at the same time, leaving you listless and tired and feeling hollow.  So I get it.  I really do.

I don’t want him to hurt.  I don’t know what to say to him.  I can’t make it better.  I need him to know that I understand what he is feeling and where he is coming from.  I don’t want him to do what I did as a teenager.  I don’t want to lose him.  What if he gets really depressed and I can’t reach him?  What if he gets caught up in a group of friends who are toxic for him?  What if he grows up to hate me because his dad had to leave?  I need to put every ounce of energy I have into making sure he knows he is loved and understood. I don’t want to lose a child, just as I am sure they couldn’t bear to lose me.  I will never attempt suicide again because I know I am all my children have.  It is so unpredictable being a parent.  I have many difficult, yet beautiful, years ahead of me with these two amazing children.  And to imagine one of them being so sad that they couldn’t say anything breaks my heart.  My world would stop.  It’s a daily journey.  I will take this one problem, one bad mood, one tear, one awesome feat at a time.