Bittersweet Symphony

I don’t believe in sitting around feeling sorry for myself. In life there are really only two kinds of people, those who take responsibility and those who don’t. I had a shitty childhood. I did. I grew up feeling unloved, unwanted and unnecessary. I held those feelings in my heart for a long time, but the big thing for me is that I never wanted to end up like my parents. My parents never learned in the entirety of their lives how to take responsibility. I had to let go of the anger and the hurt, but most importantly the sadness that became the theme of my life for far too long. It wasn’t until I accepted that no matter what had happened to me in the past, I was responsible for my actions in the present that I began to overcome. And more importantly, if I wanted any kind of positive future, I would have to learn to move on and become the adult that I had wanted so badly in my life. So, I did… or more accurately I’m trying. I’ve made my share of bad decisions and mistakes. I am not always, and sometimes honestly very seldom, the person that I want to be. But I love my kids, I take responsibility for how my actions shape my life and affect the people around me, and I never try to stop fixing the things that I know I need to fix. Maybe I’ll never have all the answers, but that’s okay. It’s just important to keep asking the questions. There’s still a part of me that hates the heartache and the disappointment of letting people into my life. But you can’t hide from life, and the more you try to, the more life lets you know that it’s not done with you. I won’t sit idly by and let things happen, because then you are giving up the control of your life to the circumstances you helped create. Instead I choose to believe that I can make things better, and I will try and never stop trying. Life truly is a bittersweet  symphony. But the sweet isn’t as sweet without the sour. No one can truly appreciate happiness without going through sorrow. And it sucks, but in the end it makes sense. The best thing anyone can do is accept responsibility for one’s self and make any changes necessary.

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Burning Love

It is said the average person falls in love four times in his or her life. I think this is bullshit. It seems like there must be a very broad working description of falling in love involved here. I think most people are just caught up in attraction, and they are content to decide on a partner based on mutual affection and regard. There is nothing wrong with this method of finding a partner or spouse. But it is definitely not the same thing. Falling in love is a much more violent affair. There is a magnetism between two people that is overwhelming. It feels as if you’re drawn not just to another person, but into another person. It’s as if two black holes converge. It’s not just your emotions that’s involved. When you give of yourself all that you are, body and soul, what is there left to do but just fall. A lot of people don’t believe that falling in love is real. I myself was a skeptic once. I thought the idea was rather quaint. Honestly, I just said all the right things in order to make other people happy. But having never fallen in love myself, I had decided the whole idea was just kind of hokey. And then it happened. I fell in love. Just utterly, ridiculously, no turning back fell completely head over heels. It was amazing, crazy and frightening all at once. And after the whirlwind whisks you up and changes your life in a way that you cannot imagine what life was like before, as if everything before was a dream and real life just began; what happens then. What happens when life becomes an Olympic marathon of obstacles set in the path to being happy and being with the one person that you feel like makes your life complete? What happens when the honeymoon is over, and the real shit begins. Because life always has a way of saying “uh uh uh… you’re not quite there yet. Let’s enjoy this awesome time of absolute struggle you’re about to go through.” Yeah, life has a way of just kicking you in the teeth. What then? What happens when it feels as if the entire world is trying to keep you apart, and then you’re not sure if everything is as solid as you once had hoped and believed. What happens when all the whispered affections and impassioned promises are met with life’s bared teeth resistance? When do you say I give up? When do you just throw it in and walk away? When do you just chalk it up to a good effort, but not quite making it? Well, if you’re me and any other dope hopelessly in love, the answer is never. You just don’t quit. You can’t. It’s like this happiness that shone the most beautiful light into your sometimes just drearily dark world, and you are convinced you can’t live without that light. You can’t face one more dull, lifeless day pretending that you don’t want with all your heart to just bask in the warmth of another person’s unfettered love. You find a way, and you fight. Because being in love, truly in love, means you never give up on the other person. It means you’re stuck like glue until things work out, or until someone cries uncle and gives in. Either way, you know that every minute spent with that person is a minute you treasure in your heart, because whether life is a bitch or not, life is unfathomably better when you are in love. It may not be simple, easy or sometimes a whole helluva lot of fun, but life without that person would just be so much worse.

Funny Thing…

I refuse to get upset. I’m not gonna do it. I’m not going to give in and get depressed. I’m not going to lose my shit and go postal. It’s just not gonna happen. Sure people are trying their best to stress me out. But after two hours of sleep, I figure the best I can do is just be amused. I am pretty amused about the fact that I went to sleep at 2 am only to wake up at 4 am. This is amusing to me, because it’s becoming clear that I am at least somewhat of an insomniac. It takes true insomniac dedication for your body to wake itself up after only 2 hours of sleep. Thank God this is my last week of work, because I can’t do it on the paltry 4 (and in today’s case 2) hours of sleep that I am getting. I am choosing to be amused that I weigh exactly 104 lbs this morning. I am super amused, because I’d really like it if my stupid GI doctor would return my calls and tell me if there’s anything in my colon biopsy that gives a clue as to why I am not doing so well gastrointestinally speaking. But I refuse to get upset. I’m not going down that road. I’m not going to cry or freak out. Life throws shit at you, and you gotta catch it or duck. That’s it, you put on your big girl panties and you move on. I can deal with the no sleep, and I can deal with the no energy and the weight loss. I can even deal with the fact that I really have no idea what’s in my health history since the who’s your daddy question is ever a mystery. And fuck that shit, not going down that drama road. Lol. Not gonna happen. So, I’m going to laugh. I’m going to say, some day I’ll look back at this and just laugh. And that someday starts today. Because what’s the point in being all bent out of shape? I don’t see a point. I am going to make everyone else as happy as possible, love the heck out of my kids, and just say fuck it. Whatever happens happens. Just go with it for now, and whenever possible make a run for the woods, or the beach, or the movie theater. But I’m not going to give up and be unhappy. Nope, you gotta keep on truckin.

Dream a Little Dream…

I can’t sleep. After trying rather unsuccessfully to fall asleep for a disappointing three hours, I’ve decided to give in to my wakeful brain and write. I took a short stop from my bed to the computer to check on my two daughters. I found my five year old cocooned in her blanket. Her head was completely covered. I had to unwrap her just to see her face. I was amused, yet somewhat concerned about her ability to breathe submerged in microfiber softness. I freed from her from the fluffy entanglements and inadvertently wakened her briefly. She told me she was thirsty and asked about her earrings. Then she went back to that place I find myself no longer welcomed to… the land of dreams.

I dream of forgotten people and possibilities that never came to fruition. My dreams are a strange land of bittersweet revelation and constant recap of all things negative. If Freud was right, then I punish myself most adequately in my dreams. Maybe my id is saving myself from the super ego’s stern response to my day’s shortcomings. All I know is that sleep does not want me. So, I shake my fist at sleep, and come to the computer to write. I write to no one, and anyone. But mostly I write to occupy myself from the dreaded past that creeps up behind me. I feel it’s icy breath on the back of my neck, and I think to myself, sleep is no friend of mine. If you cannot hide from life in sleep, where can you hide? 

I slept fitfully last night, and I was without want for getting out of bed. I finally let my dog out of his kennel, only to find that he had peed a most ambitious amount. He was absolutely soaked. I began my morning cleaning his kennel, the floor, and him. Then I took all four kids to Starbucks for breakfast, because after that hour long fiasco of cleaning and being totally pissed, I decided the hell with making breakfast. Then I went to Home Depot and bought more cleaning products to finish the job. This whole ordeal would not have been quite so frustrating if I hadn’t just cleaned the entire house two days previous. No matter, though. I love that big stupid dog, and he knows it. Poor guy is only just a puppy still, and I probably didn’t take him out soon enough before bedtime. He’s a good dog.

I try thinking about the future. I try thinking about if I could do things over again. I try to think about sleep. Nothing works. I tried Motrin PM the other night, no go. I drank Neuro Sleep last night. Damn the whole thing, I just can’t get to sleep. I’m not sure what to do. I really don’t want to find myself back in the doctor’s office asking her for help going to sleep, but now that I’m the dread 3-0 I need to actually sleep in order to function. Just like I need to diet and exercise to avoid gaining weight. I wish the Sandman would just come and give me the big K-O so I could go off to la-la land, and be damned, super ego, give me all the bad dreams you want. I can take it. As long as I get a little shut eye, give me those dreams where you are about to be eaten by sharks, anything. I need sleep.

Death Becomes Her… or Me, whatever

I think I’m dying. Okay, I know technically we’re all “dying”. What poet said that the moment we are born we begin to die? I don’t know. Honestly, it’s a bit melodramatic for me. And yes, I am being a bit melodramatic myself saying that I think I’m dying. Good catch on your part. Nonetheless, I am mildly concerned that my body is giving out under me.

This is completely new territory for me. I would be much at home in this current awareness of bodily dysfunction if I had say, been a hypochondriac all or at least most or in the very least some of my life. Nod to you on the run-on sentence. I won’t bother with it, though, since between you and me, life and death puts the whole grammatical correction thing kind of in weak comparison (and yes I didn’t really say what I was just trying to say. Kudos to you, oh critical one. The point, my friend is that you GET IT. And if you don’t just smile and nod. That what I’d do). In fact, that’s what life has been. One tedious smile and nod. They should write a parenting book that says just smile and nod. It works in just about every situation a parent faces (especially when dealing with the dreaded OTHER parents). Nothing is scarier than other parents, except just maybe perhaps dying. Which brings me back to my original supposition that my body is slowly and almost unnoticeably deteriorating before my very eyes. Well, not my eyes, because I don’t look in the mirror that much. Thank GOD for that, because the sight of the enormous bags under my eyes would just cause me more anxiety, and we just can’t have that now can we?

I get headaches almost daily. Which in and of itself is not a precursor for death. Not at all. But I’m not in what you’d really call a “stressful” career. I am a stay at home overseer of children. That’s it. I stay in the same general space a 2-4 generally self sufficient children. I’m just here to feed them, make sure they’re clothes and washed properly and to ensure they don’t impale themselves on some random and seemingly innocent object (like a sharpened pencil, which in the hand of a running child quickly becomes an eyeball seeking missile. Ah, childhood). It’s not just that, but I’m dog ass tired. Is dog ass a term, probably not. But there you go. My life’s mission complete, to leave my mark upon the world in a lasting and great phrase. And you have it, dog ass tired. And I thank you. No matter how much I sleep, I am exhausted. It’s an olympian effort to raise my limp and lifeless body out of bed. My mind (also limp and lifeless) makes no great effort to help. It’s like it checked out, leaving a note to the body that clearly states “dude, you’re on your own.” And so I get up ever so slowly, just before 9 o’clock, usually achieving at least 8 hours total of sleep, and I feel like I’ve been run over by a dump truck, with an emphasis put on inflicting as much possible trauma to my head.

I still have to get up and be a mother. If it weren’t for that, I’d stay in bed until noon, hoping that some extra sleep will help (it won’t). I had blood drawn today. If my doctor comes back and tells me I have a brain tumor, I would not be surprised. I’m probably just anemic or some simple thing, but it literally feels like my body is shutting down or in some kind of weird power saving suspension mode (you know, like your computer when left on but unattended).

I’m not depressed. I’m not in much pain (except the headaches and the odd muscle ache, oh and the piercing feeling I get in my ears sometimes). Never you mind all that, though, I’m sure it’s all in my head which is host to a greatly overactive imagination which constantly contemplates death (not mine, just the meaning of it and the like). I don’t really think death is scary. I’m not really bothered by death, as long as it’s not brought on through violence. I just wish I didn’t feel like an extra cast member of AMC’s hit show the Walking Dead (love that show). It’d be nice to greet sunshine with a sense of energy and possibility instead of “oh great, here we go again.” Gotta get out of this funk.

Why can’t we be friends?

I’m so tired of politics. I really am. I honestly am so tired of the lying, the cheating, the stealing. The blatant ridiculous claims that have no basis. I hate that my country is divided into to two camps of people that are completely blind and deaf to logic and reason (and each other). The problem with believing one is absolutely right is that you ignore the fact that life does not depend on your understanding of it. The unknown is not to be feared, but to be studied and explored. The world does not exist in the confines of your experience. The technology that is supposed to bring us together has instead further divided us by creating for us a world that is a completely contained universe of self-actualizing egotism. I think therefore I am has morphed into a zombie-like, I believe blindly therefore it is. No thinking required. No understanding. No one has to understand what they believe and why. No one has to challenge their thoughts with differing opinions or opposing experiences. Our lives are now fully contained. Even science picks and chooses data to support the outcome desired. What happened to truth? What happened to logic and reason, and what the hell happened to the American way?

Freedom is simply the right to take control of your own life by accepting responsibility for making your own choices and dealing with the consequences of those choices. That’s it. Nothing is owed to anyone or guaranteed. Happiness is not a right. There’s no way to guarantee success. There’s no way to make people believe what you believe or live the way you want them to live. Once we begin to accept our differences and celebrate them, we will finally be on the way to working and living together in harmony.

The left wants everyone to agree with their definition of what it is to be different. You’re not really a woman or a minority unless you ascribe to their liberal mantras. The right wants you to live as they believe you should. You shouldn’t marry unless you live and believe the way they live and believe. Love and marriage is defined by their world view. They are both WRONG.

The Constitution is supposed to guarantee that a person’s individual liberty is preserved in order to allow a person to determine his or her own destiny. Once the government oversteps protecting a person’s life, liberty and right to pursue happiness, the government is no longer serving the purpose of the people, but rather serving its own purpose of exercising power over its citizens. Efforts from the left and the right to try to define morality or force unnecessary restrictions or actions is against the whole purpose of everything this country is supposed to stand for. Our country would be better served with a government that only has two functions: enforcing laws that protect its citizens from bodily harm and protecting our country from foreign threat. That’s it. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The government should not have the right to try to control anyone’s personal choices.

You want to get high. Get high. Go ahead. If you neglect your children, they will be removed to protect them from your poor choices. But go ahead. Do what you want. If you want to own a gun, then own a gun. Use your gun for violence against the innocent,you go to jail. That’s it. You abuse your freedoms to hurt others, you lose your freedom.  You don’t want to pay for healthcare, then don’t. You might end up in debt if you fall sick, but that’s your right to choose. You don’t like that a company doesn’t want to offer your certain benefits including health care, don’t work for that company. An employment agreement should be between you and the employer. A company should not need to show religious reasons for not wanting to provide anything. They should be allowed to offer what they want to offer, and you’re free to accept it or not.

Over regulation is how corrupt businesses thrive. The really bad businesses that thwart laws through loopholes are the only winners. Don’t believe me, check your facts. Do your research. Regulations only help the regulators line their pockets, everyone else gets to wade through a sea of b.s.

Immigration should not be hard. Build barriers to keep the criminals out. Make it easier for hardworking and the oppressed to become part of our country. Most of all, make countries that send their citizens our way due to their corrupt or inadequate ways of handling the wellbeing of their own citizens answer before the world. You don’t want us to police you? Great, then stop trying to get us to solve all your humanitarian problems. The world is too big to fit inside our country. We need to hold other countries accountable for the situation their occupants face.

The simplest solution is always the best. If people stop shouting their pre-packaged unoriginal bumper sticker political lines they regurgitate from misleading politicians maybe we could actually fix some things. It’s not that hard. Free your mind, think for yourself. You might find you have more common ground with your “enemy” than you realize.

Baby you were born to run

In high school I thought that people on the cross country team were just insane. Not even crazy, but full on insane. The track kids I could understand. They ran as fast as they could a relatively short distance. I still felt like this was a waste of time. I was the type of kid you’d find in a band uniform marching with a trombone. Now that’s exercise 🙂 But this whole deal about running, well, those kids must have been gluttons for punishment or something. Running long distances? Running through fields? This was sheer madness to me. Geez. What was the deal with these crazy people?

In college I decided to join the Marines. Yep, the Marines. First I had decided to join the Peace Corps, but then I decided to join the Marines. If you’re thinking that sounds weird, you’re probably right. But to me it made sense. So I started running two miles a day. Two punishing, hateful miles a day. I also took a swimming class twice a week and a weight lifting class three times a week (one of only three girls in the class, which is surprising, because women could really benefit from weight lifting). I was dedicated to getting myself into top condition, because I wanted to be an officer in the Marine Corps. Well, then after college, I was informed that due to my hearing (I’m 75% deaf in my left ear), I was not eligible for the Marine Corps officer program. Sigh.

So, fast forward to after I got married and had my second daughter. I told my brother (a truly amazing athlete, he runs ultras and even has shoe endorsements) to put together a training program for a race one year at Thanksgiving. So he decided to train me for my first marathon (which also happened to be my first race). He told me to start out slow. Really slow. Just get down two miles, then three, then five, and so on. It was very easy in the beginning. I felt like I could run forever, and I actually liked it. I thought about running differently, and I started to enjoy the accomplishment of each mile logged.

I like running now, because it’s a great way to escape from all the things that keep us from enjoying our lives. When you run, you can leave behind the stress of the day, or you can find new ways to think about a problem. You can clear your mind of everything and just feel the ground beneath your feet and the air filling your lungs, or you can let your creative juices flow. You are truly free. Go out for a run (or a walk) and you will find that the only thing that matters in that time is being alive in that moment. No future worries, no past concerns, just you and the open road to be alive and feel the world around you.

Think back to childhood, and one of your first memories will be of an adult telling you to stop running. All children run. They run with joy, they run in fear, they run to their parents, they run in the playground, and they even run in the house. Running just happens with kids. We have to teach kids not to run (in buildings, around people with crutches, near traffic). But we unfortunately lose part of the joy of what it means to just run. To be free and playful, and just to express yourself with pure movement. Think about it. When you were a kid, didn’t it feel like you were soaring like a bird when you ran? Why can’t it be like that again? The answer is, it can. We just have to get in touch with what it means to enjoy and be free. To just live in the moment that you’re in. To be move and feel your body in it’s happiest state – motion.

‘Cause, baby, we’re all born to run.

Carrots

I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables from the moment (in the book and in the movie) when she smashed Gilbert over the head with a slate because he called her “Carrots”. I love every minute of Anne’s interactions with Gilbert. I love that he called her Carrots. I even love the fact that she has complete contempt for him through most of the story until she ultimately discovers she loves him. It’s a classic story. It’s a period story of innocence and raw, natural beauty. Her nickname is Carrots.

I love carrots. I do. I mean, it’s the perfect veggie. Raw it’s crunchy and delicious, just a little bit sweet. Cooked it can be mashed or just drizzled with oil or butter for a treat during the holidays. All my four kids (2 daughters, a step daughter and a step son) all love carrots. Not too long ago we bought a Vitamix (our Blendtec died, may it rest in peace). I found out that I needed to buy more carrots, because I couldn’t stop blending the little orange devils, which unfortunately led to a depletion of carrots for the kids’ lunches. Want a snack? Grab a carrot. I offer my five year old some grapes, and she demands a carrot. But she’ll drink the grapes, if I blend it up with some strawberries and (you guessed it) a carrot. I give carrots to my 7 month old black lab. He loves them. I give carrots to my husband, and even he tolerates them. (I think secretly he loves them, but he’s just a bit ornery when it comes to raw veggies). The trick is to buy the regular, whole, came out of the ground the way God and nature intended kind of carrots. All baby carrots, including organic (and I really hope you decide to buy organic, because it really is better for you, affecting the nutritional content in your food) baby carrots are all washed with chlorine. This can lead to a reaction (usually slight) such as itching in your mouth. This happens to my husband and my step son, so be aware that the best way to go is to just suck it up and peel the beauties yourself. Anyway, I have a membership at Costco, and I bought 10 lbs of carrots. Which, just so we’re clear, is really awesome. Yay! Carrots for days. The first meal we had after that featured a peeled, yet uncut carrot on everyone’s plate. Who doesn’t want to pay tribute to Bugs Bunny (the answer is no one. No one doesn’t want to pay tribute to Bugs Bunny). What’s up, Doc. Lots and lots of carrots.

So, in closing, I ask you, is there any reason to not eat a carrot? Unless you are allergic, in which case you have my deepest sympathies, the answer is a resounding no. So grab some and start munching. Pair with some grapes and leave the dressing behind. Carrots, like you, are great just they way they are.

Blog Me

I am not a social person. I try to be, but let’s face it, in today’s world of socializing you have to have some sort of entertainment value.  People only want to follow your tweets or like your Facebook posts if you have something interesting to say. I’m fresh out of “this is the best day of my life” and “look at this great picture of a grumpy cat on this earth-shatteringly funny meme”. The other option is to just have a ton of friends who think everything you say is of national importance. How anyone can get a bunch of likes out of meaningless missives following their mediocre meanderings I have no idea. I’m hopelessly inadequate at today’s version of small talk, the status update. I think it’s really due to the fact that I just don’t care about trying to socialize. Socializing has lost its appeal to me, because (call me old fashioned) I think friends should actually be friends. You know, in the real sense of the word: a person attached to another person by feelings of affection or personal regard (thank you, Dictionary.com).

So why start a blog? True, true. But here it is: writing is a form of mental breathing. I feel best when I can sit and unclog the dam of thought that builds in my mind. Putting word to paper (or to computer screen) is an act so pure in its form, it frees the soul. Emotion, intelligence, sensation have deeper meaning when expressed through thoughtful consideration that comes from your mind processing them into phrases. Psychologists will tell patients to keep journals, and this is probably the best diagnostic advice they can give on the road to self help. When you write you converse with yourself, with a reader, with a world so large and unimaginable that it breaks the confines of time and space and allows you to breathe across the centuries. The gaping maw of reality that swallows the vitality of so many living far from the world’s spot lights have a chance to be heard if he or she can commit thought to written word. Writing, from the first markings of cavemen to the expressions of medieval poetry down to the trashy writings of romance novels, captures the human experience, the human heart and the human mind in such a way as to illuminate the past and process the present. The entire world is at your fingertips in your local library, the hushed voices exploding to life within each text-bound narrative. I love the written word, and writers who I will never meet have carried me through heart sickness and deepest despair. Humans write, because writing proves that existence is more than survival; it is celebration. The triumph of overcoming, the abject disappointment of failure can be captured in a sentence and shared. Even the most unsocial being wishes to be understood, wants to communicate. Even if that communication exists only with a future version of yourself.

So there it is, that is what my blog is all about. Just the thoughts of one insignificant person yelling into the void so that some day it might all take on more meaning. Even if that meaning is lost on everyone else, it still exists for me.