Sunday, December 16, 2007

...grandma's swing...

Almost all of my relatives and immediate family were born in San Antonio, Texas. I am no exception. There is one difference though. While all of my relatives lived in San Antonio, my family moved to Arlington, and that's where I grew up. Every year, or even twice a year, my family would drive to San Antonio as our vacation. My mom would stay at her parent's house, and me and my sisters would stay with my Dad at my Grandpa and Grandma's house. We would visit my mom's family, but because we stayed with my dad's parents, most of my memories are there.

My Grandma's house was very old. My great grandfather built it himself. It was a unique house because of it's age. There was a bathtub that stood on feet, tall ceilings, and even a bathroom that had an old toilet with a chain up high that you had to pull to flush it. My grandparents were German. Sometimes my Grandma would speak to my Grandpa in German, especially if she didn't want us listening. She also gave prayers in German. Grandma raised Dachsunds. Her favorite one's name was Schatze, which is German for sweet heart.

My Grandma had lots of costume jewelry in lots of old, fancy jewelry boxes. My sisters and I would sneak them open and look at her jewelry. If she caught us, she'd say, "Uhhh, Uhhh!" in a deep growly voice, and we would close it up quickly. Oh we wanted to try it all on so bad, but we knew we better not. It was special to Grandma.

We had to be creative or it could get boring at Grandma's house. My grandparents had a detached garage and a big open, square drive way behind their house. Grandpa would go out to his shop and get down an old, red wagon and we would take turns pulling each other around the driveway. Our favorite thing about Grandma's was the swing that hung from the ceiling of her front porch. My sisters and I would sit on that swing and just go back and forth, back and forth for hours. If I close my eyes, I can still feel the warm, humid air and hear the way that the chain creaked every time we swung back and forth. My grand parents had that swing there the whole time they lived there. After Grandpa died, Grandma moved to a townhouse to be closer to my aunt and to be in a safer neighborhood. The swing stayed behind.

A few years later, my grandma moved here, closer to my parents, because her health had started to decline and she needed help on a daily basis. She was not ready to give up her independence so my parents got her an apartment within five minutes of their house. They helped her pay bills, took her to doctor's appointments, and took her dinner every night. They basically did anything she needed because she could no longer drive. One of the highlights of Grandma's week was Sunday dinner at my parents' house. She loved to see my three children. They also loved her dearly. Over the years, Grandma's health got worse, and a few years ago she passed away in a hospice home...right before Christmas. I made some precious memories in the last years of my grandmother's life. As I helped care for her and enjoyed her, I grew to love her in a different way. When Grandma died, my sisters and I got to split up her costume jewelry and jewelry boxes to keep as a special memory of her. It was the first time we got to really see all of her precious things that she had protected all those years. I keep it on my bedside table and it reminds me of her.

As I think about all the things I remember, her dogs, the old wagon, my grandma's jewelry, my mind always returns to that creaky, old swing. I cried on that swing, and I laughed on that swing. I talked to my sisters on that swing, and I sat alone and rocked back and forth...back and forth. Over the years, I grew up. I outgrew the old red wagon, but no matter how I changed during the years we visited my grandparents, young or old, I never outgrew grandma's swing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

...LiaR, LiaR paNts oN FiRe!...

It's always kinda funny to me that when you ask a woman what qualities she is looking for in a man, she'll usually always have honesty in the top three. Honesty is important and I do believe that it is a worthy attribute to look for in a relationship for obvious reasons. It's interesting though...I always wonder how many "honest" guys never get a chance because they are not attractive...or rich...or funny...or addition to their honesty. People are ashamed to say, "I want a good looking guy." or "I want a great kisser." We think it seems shallow, but is it not true? There HAS to be some sort of attraction to get things started. We want honesty, but we are afraid to be completely honest. In a sense, we are all liars.

When I was in college, my best friend Kiem used to say "96% of all jokes are true". Me and Kiem had a...funny relationship...almost like the boy and girl that like each other...only the boy pulls the girl's hair and the girl pretends to be disgusted. We were never anything other than friends...inseparable friends. We had a funny quick witted relationship filled with lots of playful banter, so of course I had to argue and disagree with this philosophy the first time I heard it. A joke is a joke. Jokes aren't true...or are they?

How many times do you say something that gets a reaction that is unexpected, only to say "Oh, I was JUST kidding!"? As I think about this, I realize that this happens ALL the time. Sometimes we are afraid to be honest, so we jokingly say what we mean. Then, if there is any sign of upset or confrontation, we can always say we were "just kidding". I went through a whole day....conciously paying attention to what I said...when I was "just joking". Many times...I wasn't joking.

No one wants to be considered a liar. I know I don't. Maybe my friend WAS right...maybe we should "joke" less and just say what we mean.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

...sHaTTereD gLAss aNd sUpeRglUe…

The memory is so vivid…so clear…I remember what the classroom looked like…the other kids’ faces…especially his. Mostly, I remember the way I felt…the painful lump in my throat…the flush of my cheeks…the surprise…the way I held back the tears and masked the pain with a confident shrug. I remember hearing those 2 words, over and over and over again that entire day. I’ve heard those words in my mind at various times in my life for the last 25 years. I was 13 years old and in 7th grade. I was insecure and I never felt pretty, so when those words confronted me…in front of the entire class…they shattered what little self-esteem I had. 2 words…that’s all it took…”YOU’RE UGLY!”

His name was Scott Coppinger. He wasn’t good looking. He lived in a small run down house on a street near mine. He was skinny. He wasn’t popular or looked up to, but it didn’t matter. In fact, those facts made the situation worse, because if a skinny, ugly, nerdy guy thought that, I could only wonder what other people…people that “mattered” thought. I remember walking in the classroom and hearing someone teasing him. I laughed as I walked in, and then everything went in to slow motion as he turned and shouted those two words at me…loudly…in front of everyone. I remember the way I felt. I remember taking my chair, but I can’t remember the rest of that day. I do remember that I did not go home and tell my parents. I was too ashamed.

Childhood and adolescence is brutal. It’s almost like wild animals or a primitive culture…eat or be eaten…kill or be killed. Most everyone has had an embarrassing moment in school or been put down. It’s what people do with those words that help define them. Some people use the torments or unkind words to excel…to succeed or to become better than they were. Some people choose not to believe…to ignore. Some people cling to the hurt and feed it and nurture it until it has become a part of who they are. I haven’t been called “ugly” in a long time, but I still feel that way sometimes. Some people would be surprised to hear that…think I’m lying even.

It’s like going to a thrift store and seeing a beautiful crystal vase from a distance. You are drawn to it…can’t believe it’s not taken…that it’s in a thrift store. You turn it over to find that it’s Waterford crystal and it’s being sold for pocket change. How can that be? Don’t they know what this is worth? And then…you see it. You see that this vase has been broken and glued back together. It is no longer perfect. What was once an expensive, fine piece of crystal, has no real worth any more. Sometimes I feel like a shattered vase that has been carefully super glued back together. If you don’t pay attention or look closely enough, you won’t notice the cracks…the hurt…the disappointment…the pieces of my heart that have been shattered over time.

It seems like a depressing thing to say, but it’s true. Until I sat to write this, I always felt worthless, because I am broken…damaged…from all the times I was dropped…shattered. As I remembered that terrible day…the one that had a real impact on my life and the way I see myself…I realized that if I treated myself, the way I treat others, my life would be so much better. I would never in a million years think of my children as worthless just because they make mistakes and they are not “perfect”. I would never turn my back on a friend, because of bad choices they made in the past. If someone told my daughter, what I was told, I would tell her not to listen to hurtful lies. I would tell her about all the wonderful qualities she possesses. I wonder why I can’t…won’t do that for myself.

Today, I am saying goodbye to Scott Coppinger, once and for all. I have chosen to carry his mean words and the hurtful memories of that day around with me for 25 years. I don’t want to lug them around anymore. Yeah, I’m a mess…broken…no where near perfect, but I’m not alone. I haven’t cornered the market on pain. There’s no such thing as a perfect person…one that has never been hurt…or damaged in some way. We are ALL full of cracks hidden by superglue and we are all probably stronger because of it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

...hUrTs So gOOd...

From the time my kids were old enough to crawl, I've taught them to be careful. It's for their safety; their protection. I gave them plastic utensils with rounded edges. I "kid-proofed" my house. I was there to catch them when they fell taking their first steps. I taught them not to touch a hot stove, and to be careful not to shut their fingers in the door. I taught them just like my mom taught me and her mom taught her. No matter how careful a parent is, accidents happen. Bones get broken. Eyes get poked. Knees get scraped. Hands get burned, and fingers get smashed. It's a part of life that all parents try to protect their kids from for as long as they possibly can, but in the end, all kids get hurt and feel pain.

By the time we're adults, it's an accepted fact of life. We know that we will get hurt and feel physical pain somehow...somewhere...sometime, but we are programmed from an early age to avoid all costs...just like I programmed my children when they were babies. We are taught that pain is bad. Pain is scary. When we feel pain, we do everything we can to numb packs...medicine. We want the pain to go, and we are careful never to repeat the action that caused the pain in the first place.

My body is sore and tired today and my heart hurts. Today, I feel pain, but I guess that's not so unusual for me. I workout...hard..and everyday I feel pain because of this. Sometimes, it's my back. Sometimes, my arms. Sometimes, it's my heart; my soul. Sometimes it's hard to tell where it hurts. I just know I feel pain. It hasn't been until recently that I learned to appreciate like pain. No, I'm not some kinky masochistic freak. I'm someone that has learned to respect understand work through live in use it for my own benefit rather than fighting against it.

Pain teaches me. It refines me. Sometimes when my muscles ache, and I scramble for the Advil and ice packs, I stop and take a step back. My body is sore...hurting...because today I used it. I worked hard to make myself the best I can be. When it hurt, I didn't stop...I pressed on and grew stronger. When it was hard...I rose to the challenge and built endurance; confidence. The pain, the hurt is an affirmation that I did the best I could. When my heart breaks and my soul is battered, it is because I have been someone...maybe an unkind word or a disagreement...maybe loneliness or disappointment...maybe unrequited love or even betrayal. This pain is much harder for me to embrace. It is very tempting to do whatever I can to ignore this find a way...any way that I keep from feeling this stuff it build a wall and shut myself off from the possibility. I've learned that it is important not to push this pain down but to feel acknowledge learn from it, because this pain also teaches me...even makes me better...stronger too. I am learning that it is better to risk this pain than it is to be alone and sacrifice It may be harder for me to accept the pain of heartache than it is to accept physical pain, but surviving heartache helps me appreciate those that truly love me...that handle my heart and soul with care. It reminds me that the way I treat others really does matter.

Pain is a part of life. It comes whether we invite it or not...embrace it or reject with it or against it. Everyone has experienced the strange phenomenon where pain actually feels good physically. An example being the fact that massaging a sore muscle can hurt so bad and feel so good at the same time. It only takes a moment, but if we jump up at the first touch, afraid to feel the pain, we cheat ourselves out of the pleasure that follows. I will continue to see pain as a positive force in my life; a catalyst for change. I will use it as a gage for progress. I will be patient and brave and wait until the misery subsides and allow the pain to "hurt so good"...again...and again...and again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 a hamster on a wheel...

Making beds...washing dishes...doing laundry...taking kids to soccer...these are just a few of the repetitive tasks that I do almost everyday. They never end. Even if I make beds and do laundry everyday...I'm never really finished, because more clothes get dirtied everyday and those beds get unmade again every night. Many days it is mind numbing. I feel like a hamster on a wheel...feverishly running as fast as I can...around and around and around...not sure where I'm going...never getting any further than I was before...just keeping up.

Sometimes I fantasize about how my life would have been different had I chosen to stay in college...if I had chosen an exciting career path...stayed single...possibly even traveled the world. I try to imagine how different things would be had I chosen this cosmopolitan lifestyle. I imagine a very clean, modern, expensive apartment...with a view...I don't know what the view would include or where it would be...but there would be a view. I envision shiny stainless steel appliances...a fridge with no calendars or hand drawn pictures. I imagine peace and quiet...time to read books uninterrupted...and restful nights of nightmares or monsters in closets. I imagine myself in expensive high heels and designer "power suits". I imagine gourmet dinners and lots of parties...glamorous parties full of important people.

Before I know it, my fantasies are interrupted by the cries or demands or giggles of my three children...and I reenter MY world...the one where traveling includes kids that whine and can't carry their own carry on baggage, a beach right here in the US, and days spent doing nothing but lying in the sun reading novels, building sand castles, and breaking up arguments...not hiking the Inca trail or sailing the Mediterranean on a yacht...the one with a comfortable home rather than a modern apartment...the one with a view of the elementary school from my back porch rather than a cityscape...the one that includes jeans and the occasional high heel bought on sale at Macy's rather than Manolo Blahniks and Armani suits...the one that includes McDonald's Happy Meals and Subway sandwiches, not gourmet meals...the one that includes parties, but not glamorous parties...these parties include jump houses, balloons, birthday cakes and squealing children that have had way too much fancy hors d'oeuvres or important people. I wonder what I've missed all these years that I've been living as a suburban housewife...and then I realize that I'm looking at my life all wrong.

I have missed out on the glamour and excitement. I have missed out on exotic travel and gourmet meals because of the choices I made...the choice to leave get a minimum wage job and help support my husband while he finished his degrees and accomplished his goals...the choice to have quit my job and stay at home...the choice to spend my days in parks on water parks...and on field trips, not in a board room...or an expensive restaurant for a lunch date...or the first class cabin of an airplane on my way to a business trip. I try to turn my thinking in another direction...I wonder what would I have missed had I chosen the other life I sometimes dream about???

I would have missed out on the miracle of hearing the heartbeat of the life growing inside me for the first time...the surprise of the first kick inside my belly...and the overwhelming feeling of love that washed over me the first time I held my newborn baby in my arms and counted their ten perfect fingers and toes. I would have missed the sweet smell of a baby's neck after a bath...the ability to stop a cry with one kiss...and the feeling of two small hands wrapping around my neck to hug me tight. I would've missed out on the excitement of the Easter Bunny...the thrill of the Tooth Fairy...and the magic of Santa and his elves. I would have missed out the on pictures drawn with crayons that say "I love you, Mom! XOXO" that hang on my white fridge...the one I keep hoping will grow up to be stainless steel someday. I would have missed out on the comfort of my leather couch...the one that I chose, because it was distressed and I knew it wouldn't show the scratches and spills that come with having kids. I would have missed some of the most precious moments of my life...ones worth far more than a pair of Manolos or an apartment with a view.

So, while I still daydream about what could have been...and while I still hate the mundane, repetitive tasks I perform everyday...I am grateful for the choices I have made. What I have is priceless...more valuable than gold. So, I'll continue to get up everyday and wash and clean and do the same tasks that I did the day before, but now maybe I'll stop and be grateful rather than resentful. I'll continue to make the same beds and I'll calm familiar cries. I'll cook out of obligation...not desire...and I'll drive a minivan (the one thing I adamantly said I would NEVER do) to swim and soccer practice...even when I don't want to. I'll be a hamster on a wheel, because the laughter and the hugs and the kisses that come with the job, make it all worthwhile.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

tOp tEn fUnNy tHiNgs aBoUt mE...

I've written alot about my disappointments...and my regrets. It seems that my mind is always working overtime...I probably over analyze everything in my life. Sometimes I think I'm the weirdest person alive. I do strange funny things all the time. I use to be so overly sensitive that I could never laugh at myself or my mistakes. I would get all embarrassed and mad. In the past year, I've learned to laugh at myself, because as strange as these things may be, they really ARE funny. So, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to write something that isn't sad or thought provoking or cynical. I thought it would be fun to make like David Letterman and make my own "top ten" list. Here are the top ten funniest...quirky...possibly annoying things about me:

1. I do "tests" in every dressing room, EVERY time I try an article of clothing on. I turn around to look at my butt in the mirror. I bend over. I sit down in a chair. I sit and THEN cross my legs. To me, this an essential part of the decision to buy or not to buy the clothing. I mean come on, who wants to walk around looking so good in the front only to learn later that those jeans really do make your butt look big!

2. I qualify every statement I say or suggestion I give...with a LOT of words. An example would be that if I were talking to a friend about a relationship issue, I would say something like this," Now I know, I don't know everything about your relationship, and I'm not trying to speak badly of your girlfriend because you know I really like her. I mean I really do. You know that don"t you?...and I know I'm older and I've been married a long time and I'm a girl and you"re a boy and I'm seriously not trying to get in your business or say I'm an expert, because we both know that's not the case. Oh, and even if you ignore my advice, I'll still respect you, but.....I don't think she's right for you." It takes 5 minutes and hundreds of words to preface a sentence with seven words. Hey! I'm just tryin to be nice!

3. I am awkward. I trip and fall off my wedge shoes all the time. My knees bow in. I've been caught doing jumping jacks wrong...YES there is a wrong way to do case you were wondering. I've been told I jump rope "like I'm in third grade". When asked by a store clerk, "Are you sure you have hold of all those bags, before I let go?" (worried look on his kind face) I reply, "Oh yeah! I got it!", turn to walk away and all the bags fall in the floor. The worst part is my awkwardness rubs off on people. The poor man bent over to help me immediately and got stuck and had to struggle to get in the face. I just giggled and thanked him as I turned to walk away...and tripped.

4. I am not stupid, but I'm such an airhead sometimes. Once when I was at a Cowboy's football game with my husband, sisters, and friends, a man approached me at the bar where I was standing with my sister. Mind you...a few minutes before he walked up, he winked and smiled from afar. He said, "What are you drinking?" I replied,"Oh, I don't drink. My sister is just waiting to pay." He then said, " Well (wink-wink), you must be ready to go then. I can get you outta here real quick!" I was excited because the thought never occurred to me that he was picking me up. I thought he had connections and could, in my own words, "expedite our order". Because of my inability to notice that I was being picked up on, the man walked away scratching his head. My sister smiled and said, "You really need to get out more." Another time...Me and my personal trainer were talking and joking about his superhuman, "beast" like strength and abilities. I giggled and got all wide eyed and said all excited, "Yeah. I saw a guy wearing a shirt that said 'HALF MAN. HALF HORSE. and I immediately thought of YOU!" He gave me a kind smile and a shocked look, and replied, "Uhhhh...I don't think that's what it meant!" I was like "What????" and suddenly, moments...days later, I got it. I was so embarrassed and we couldn't quit laughing. mind was not in the gutter, it was an honest mistake!

5. I ask a ridiculous amount of questions and say weird stuff like my dad does. I say things like, "I intellectually know Brad Pitt is good looking but I still don't like him." or "I understand the words you're saying, but I don't know what they mean to me." or "I intellectually understand this workout, but I'm not sure how to really do it." What can I say...I like to be sure, and the saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." applies very well here.

6. I am such a fidgety person. Whether I'm going to sleep at night, doing an exercise, or sitting in my car, I fidget until I feel just right. I never just lay down and sleep. I never get on a mat and start working out. I have to adjust my legs, and my butt has to be in the right place, and I have to be in a certain position. It doesn't matter if someone's waiting or trying to sleep...I gotta make sure it feels just right. I rest and work better when I'm comfy...even if it does take hours out of every day to do so.

7. I NEVER go out to my car and leave my house on the first try. It seems that EVERY time I go to get in the car, I've forgotten something. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 attempts to make it out. Even then, I've been known to make a u turn on my street to go back for my bottle of water or an item I need to return or my cellphone. I am simply trying to multitask with a one task brain!

8. I always think people are staring at me. And, I always think it's because they think I'm weird or gross. You might think I'm paranoid, but they ARE I tell you!

9. I never order a sandwich or burger and then pick it up and eat it. I have to open it up and straighten the ingredients out or "fix" it in some way...ALWAYS. Look, a perfectly good sandwich can be ruined if the ingredients are not centered and in the right order!

10. I never just order off the menu. I am so picky and I don't like to be disappointed so I try to get things made the way I want them (only to rearrange them later). I mean what's wrong with asking for double rice, no beans? Or bacon extra crispy, eggs and bacon on a separate plate from pancakes? Or queso on top of my cheese enchilada instead of the regular sauce? Or ordering everything on my baked potato but ON THE SIDE so I can get it on there like I like it? Or a BLT without the L or mayo? Or gravy on the side of my chicken fried steak instead of on I can dip it in there anyway? The list goes on. I'm a girl that KNOWS what she likes and is not afraid to ask for it!

I could feel bad, but what good would it do? I could change, but then I would not really be myself. Soooo.....I may be picky, and neurotic, and weird, but I can say this...whether people love me or hate me, one thing is true...I am definitely UNFORGETTABLE!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

sHiNglEs aNd sEcrEtS...

I found out last week that I have shingles. I have three spots on my face and a sore on my eyelid, but if I keep my bangs hanging just so...carefully apply coverup to my face...and apply my eye makeup just one can tell. I just have to control the intensely overwhelming urge to scratch my scalp and leave my itchy eyebrows alone. If I put on a smile and wear a confident expression...I can go out and no one can tell that I have shingles. No one can tell that I feel ugly...that some days I have literally wanted to tear at my head and face until they bleed because they itch so bad. No one knows that I get random shooting pains on different parts of my head...or that when I do give in to the urge to doesn't feel better or bring just hurts. I think it is so interesting that I can walk around suffering and sick and people can think that I am fine...even those closest to me. It is not because they don't is because I only show people what I want them to see...and when I want to be...I am very good at hiding the way I feel.

I recently came across a blog called "POSTSECRET". I think I might be the last person alive to discover this project, but when I did...I was amazed...disturbed...comforted...and fascinated all at the same time. For years, people from all over the country have been mailing anonymous, homemade postcards with their secrets written on them to an address as part of an ongoing "community art project". Some are silly...some are gross...some are thought provoking...some are sad...many are heart breaking. They are not for young viewers...that is for sure. I read and I laugh. I read and I'm scared. I read and I think. I read and I cry...I cry for strangers...and I cry for me...for the person I am...and the girl that I once was.

I think that what has made the "POSTSECRET" project so that we can all relate, because we all have secrets. We have all been one way or another. We have all been hurt...and created hurt. We've all done things we wished we hadn't or that we don't tell anyone...things that we didn't realize could change us forever. We all have desires...good desires...and desires that we know we shouldn't have. I'm not sure I could muster the courage to mail off my secrets for the world to see. The thought of having my most private most painful memories exposed...put on scary. It's scary because it's anonymous to everyone...everyone except me. I would always wonder what if...fear being recognized...feel vulnerable; naked in front of millions...worry that those people that I care the most about would see me differently if they knew how I really feel sometimes...if they knew my secrets. So, I cover them up with a smile...give people the answers they want rather than the real ones...and try my best to keep my secrets hidden.

Reading other people's "secrets" has made me realize that I am not alone. I am not alone in my suffering or in my ability to keep a secret. It has made me think twice about the way I judge people or react to people based on what I see externally, because sometimes a person can be suffering in the worst way and hide it with a smile. I wonder how many people I walk by everyday that might have a secret or be suffering in a way that I will never a way that is hidden...hidden like the itchy, painful spots on my face.

Friday, October 26, 2007 fail...

Why is it that a NASCAR race is so much more exciting once someone crashes? The Miss Universe pageant has never been so amusing as when Miss USA fell on stage and popped right back up. A hockey game sucks if no one throws a punch...and while we all agree it's sad...we glue ourselves to the screen during the Olympics to watch both great accomplishments, as well as, heartbreaking failures. If we miss one of those tragic events, we turn to the internet so that we can watch "the agony of defeat"...over and over and over again. Why is it human nature to love to see others fail?

We all want to be more...the best. We all want a better car...a bigger house...a more impressive job title...a skinnier waistline...more intelligent children. The desire varies depending on the person...but EVERYONE is always looking for more of something. We hate the people that we perceive are better than us or that have achieved what we want to achieve. We work hard and if we're lucky...we make it too...only to find out that it's not as great as we expected it to be.

It's not as great, because when we are succeeding...there's always someone hoping...watching...waiting for us to fail. People smile and congratulate you to your face, while privately they cut you down and secretly hope you will faiI. I feel that way sometimes. For years, my husband and I were so poor. We worked so hard and went without for so long. The hope of a better, more secure future is what kept us going when we didn't know how we were going to pay the bills or when we had to wear coats inside our house, because we couldn't afford to heat it. I dreamed of the day that I could have a nice purse or drive a nice car...the day that I could be proud to bring people to my home...the day that I didn't cry when it came time to pay the bills. After many years, lots of hard work and sacrifice, and thousands of dollars in student loans...we have achieved a lot of our goals. We are not millionaires, but we are more than comfortable...successful by most people's standards. There are many people that have more, but we have a lot and we appreciate it, because it was not easy to obtain.

There are other successes, besides monetary successes that people resent as well...especially women. We women have to be the meanest, most competitive creatures to ever walk this earth. I know that there were people that were much more likely to approach me and like me when I was beat down and overweight. It was easy, because I was no competition. I made the person standing next to me look good. When I took control of my life and problems...lost weight...and gained a bit more confidence...everything changed. People stopped approaching me. I went from being invisible to being talked and whispered about. The sad part is...I'm still me. The inside is the same. I'm still nervous and insecure...I still struggle not to over eat...I still have the same worries as every other 30 something mom. I think that's one of the reasons that I'm so scared of gaining weight. I know that there are people that would revel in my failure, because then they could feel good about their own short comings and weaknesses. People don't always see the successes of others as simply a success to cheer for or congratulate, but as a personal failure...a reflection of what they, themselves, did NOT accomplish.

I have found myself actually being embarrassed at times...embarrassed when a fellow PTA board members husband complimented me instead of her...embarrassed when my children's friends come to the house and say, "Wow! You have a nice house! I wish I had this house!"...embarrassed to admit that I have a nanny even though I don't work...embarrassed of the amount of shoes and purses and belts and clothes in mine AND my childrens' closets. Personally, I think that sometimes I am embarrassed and I fear success because I don't feel worthy. Failure is comfortable in some sick, twisted way...familiar. Maybe part of it is in my head...maybe it's me...the dark insecure parts of me...that are waiting for...fearing...expecting failure. It would be easier in some ways...but would I be happy...settling for less?

As I sit and think about the dilemma between "having it all" and being hated for it or being just like anyone else and easy to like, I realize that while it hurts to know that there are people waiting for me to fail...people putting me down in whispers...I could never live with myself knowing that I didn't try to be the best I could be. I realize that deep down people don't really think of me as a jerk or think I'm bad, because if they did...they wouldn't be talking...they wouldn't be competing...they wouldn't care. So, yeah people might love to see other people, but personally, I would rather be Miss USA and fall onstage in front of millions, then be the fat girl eating popcorn and laughing from my chair at home. I'd rather be the Olympian that trips and loses the chance to win a medal...the one he has been working for his whole life...than the guy with a spare tire...sitting alone...watching it over and over on youtube. It hurts and it's hard, but I'd rather be the best version of myself, then wonder what could have been. So, I'll keep working while others sit and wait...for failure.

Monday, October 22, 2007

i'M tHe GirL...

I'm the girl that always tries to remember birthdays. I love to buy cards...send a text...give a card or a small gift to celebrate life's little accomplishments or to ease everyday pain. I'm the girl that thinks of the ones I love all the time...everyday. I'm the girl that worries when my loved ones worry...hurts when they hurt. I try not to ask for anything...I demand nothing in return. I say I don't need doesn't matter...but somewhere deep inside it does.

I'm the girl that is forgotten. I'm the girl that only receives cards on her birthday...and even then, it's just a's family...the people that have to remember. I'm the girl that men always looked at with desire...but never asked out or wanted to date. I'm the girl that no one ever worries about, because they think I'm tough and strong. No one asks how I am...and if they do, they assume I'm just fine and don't stick around long enough to hear the real answer. The everyday pain that I try to ease or prevent in others...goes unnoticed in me. I do not ask...and I do not receive.

It seems so sad, but that's just the way it is and will always be. I have to believe that in order to survive...because when I hope or trust or think things will change...history repeats itself...again. Then, I feel even worse...more alone...invisible. It's like dying a slow disappointment at a time. So, I have to try to look unfazed and perfect...put on a smile...hide when I cry...and say, "It's okay." I have to do this. I have no choice, because I'm the girl...that just wants to survive.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

if the SHOE fits...

I LOVE shoes...the higher the heel...the more impractical...the girlier...the fancier...the better. I have over a hundred pair. I actually counted once. I have them arranged by color in my closet...and yes...I have about every color in the rainbow. I can't even begin to describe what it feels like to find a pair of shoes that perfectly matches an outfit. It's almost as if they were meant to be together...and I'm bringing them together...fulfilling destiny. Sometimes I find a pair of shoes that doesn't match anything I all...but these shoes are so fabulous and unique...that I buy them anyway...even if it means I then have to search out and buy an outfit to match them...perfectly. Again, it's almost like they were meant for ME. I mean, not many people buy high heels with swirls of blue, green, and black, or hot pink boots, because they are not practical. When it comes to shoes, I am NOT practical.

I ask myself when this love affair with shoes started? Where did it come from? Will I ever be able to walk leave this unhealthy relationship behind? Why don't I just avoid shoe stores or departments? When I put my mind to something, there's no stopping me. When I decide to conquer...I destroy. I guess it's not really such a mystery. I know why. I don't stop buying shoes, because I don't want to overcome this obsession I have. I love it like a junkie loves his drugs. The drugs numb his pain and free his mind of the things that drove him to the drugs in the first place. Just as the drugs change the way he feels as soon as they enter his veins, shoes help me forget and they change the way I feel as soon as I slip them on my feet.

Different shoes make me feel different ways. When I used to wear my pointy toed, black cowboy boots in college, my sister always said I acted tough...and in retrospect...I felt tough. Now...when I wear my green and silver running shoes, I feel fast. When I wear my 300$ Donald Pliner boots, I feel special. When I wear my leopard wedges, I feel stylish. When I wear green 4 inch high heels or my hot pink, pointy toed boots, I feel sexy.

I've been fat and I've been thin. I've been somewhere in between. I've been attractive and I've been average. No matter what I look like or what I matter what size my jeans say, shoes ALWAYS fit. The size doesn't vary or disappoint me. If I try on a pair that feels tight or too small...if they just don't look right, I don't feel guilt or regret. I don't tell myself that I'm a failure or that I'm fat. I put them down and move on...walk away...without another thought. I can't say that for jeans.

I think that's when it began...when I was fat. I couldn't wear sexy tops or trendy jeans...but...I could wear fabulous shoes. I could wear the kind of shoes that make people stop me and ask me where I got them...the kind that other women whisper about and point at and admire in the airport (true story). I pretend not to notice, but inside I'm secretly jumping for joy. I know that any obsession is not healthy, but I also know that shoes are the one area of my life that I don't beat myself up over. Shoes make me happy and everyone deserves to be happy...even me. That's why I'll keep shopping for the perfect shoes...and when the shoe fits...I'll buy them and wear them...and be happy...even if it only lasts until I take them off.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What is a SUPER hero?

Wouldn't you like to be faster than a speeding bullet?...more powerful than a locomotive? to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Sounds pretty good to me. What about the ability to cling to walls?...or to have superhuman speed, agility, and strength? These things would certainly come in handy most days at my house. I can think of many times in my life where being able to stretch my body into different shapes and lengths, or being able to become invisible, or to fly would've been incredibly helpful. I can't do these things because I am just a human. I am mortal. I walk on the ground. I can be hurt, and one day I will die. I don't possess any of the characteristics of Superman, Spiderman, Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman or any other of a long list of super heroes. I guess that makes me regular...nothing special...nothing super.

Everyone loves super heroes. Men want to be them, and women want to date them. They give us a glimpse of greatness...of what it would be like to be better than everyone make a difference in the world. They make us feel safe and give us hope for a better tomorrow. When Lois Lane falls, Superman is always there to catch her. When she is in trouble, he saves her from the bad guys.

My kids always need a band aid to make them feel better when they're hurt...or think they are. We go through band aids like you wouldn't believe in my house. Whether it's a scratch or a cut...bleeding or barely noticable...a band aid is ALWAYS a neccessity. The only thing that can calm their cries or heal their hurts faster, is a kiss. As a Mom, my kisses can dry tears and soothe pain. It's like magic. I started thinking about this one night as I held my daughter in my arms and kissed her stubbed toe. Yes, I really did kiss her toe with my lips. Her crying got quieter until it went away, and soon she was back up and running around. She still had a tear sitting on her cheek, but she had a smile on her face and her toe, the one that was ruined for ever, was working just fine from pain. For a moment in time, I held a super power of sorts...the power to calm. I made her feel safe, just like Lois Lane feels when Superman cradles her in his arms and places her feet carefully back on the ground.

When one makes a list of super heroes, there are certain men that come to mind first. I always think of Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. Those are my top three. Until, I started to think about what powers they each possess, I had never realized that while Superman and Spiderman have numerous and specific superpowers, Batman does not. Batman fought crime and saved people just like the other guys, but he did not use special, super human powers. He made use of what he had. He used his wealth and his intelligence...his love of technology, his detective skills, and his physical abilities to accomplish many of the same things his fellow super heroes did.

This leads me to the thought, that in our own way, we can all be some way. A mother is a super hero to the child that she comforts with her kisses...that she catches as they fall...not from a tall building, but as they take their first steps. The businessman that stops on the highway, rolls up his sleeves, and changes a tire for the woman with a van full of small children, even though it's hot and he's tired, and it will make him late for dinner, is a superhero. The doctor that heals the patient...that saves his life for yet another day, is no less of a hero, than if he were Superman. It doesn't take real superpowers. It takes using the talents that we each have the best of our ability...for the good of others. I can...I am...I will be...a super hero today.

Monday, October 8, 2007

...perfection...a possibility?...or just a perception?...

Everyone has seen "that" person. You see her in the grocery store with her beautiful kids, perfectly dressed, shopping cart full of healthy food...every hair in place. She's perfect. You see her at the gym in her matching workout clothes and shoes, tanned skin, freshly highlighted hair in a neat ponytail, and a thin, strong shape. She's perfect, too. You see her in the mall...lots of shopping bags...just the right outfit, matching jewelry, and high heels. Once again...perfection. You quietly say things to yourself like, "Who does she think she is anyway?!?" "She's pretty and I bet she's rich." "She's so skinny. I bet she never eats." "She isn't smiling. I wonder if it's because she thinks she's too good for anyone...for me." "She must be a snob." Your thoughts and opinions vary depending on the circumstance.

You're not perfect like her. You wonder if that's why she's all alone...maybe all her perfect friends are busy...or maybe she hasn't found anyone perfect enough to be her friend. You peel off the label, stick it on, and walk away...hating her. We have ALL done it. I'm ashamed to say that I have; more than once.

My dad has lots of sayings. One of his classics...his favorites is: "Perception is reality." Sounds all new agey, but it is probably more true than any of us want to admit. I know that the way I see things or people has changed and evolved over the years as I have. I've been the stressed out, over worked, under appreciated, overweight, out of control, sloppy, unhappy stay at home Mom. This is not to say that stay at home moms are these things, but I was. I saw "that" person...that perfect person all around me...everywhere I went. I didn't know her, but I hated her, because seeing her made me swell with regret. The way I felt when I saw her, made me not only hate her and look for ways to put her down, but it made me hate myself. It was a twisted, self imposed revenge of sorts. I saw her as perfect and myself as imperfect...her as lucky and me as unlucky...her as in total control while I was completely out of control...her as care free and me feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. She...whoever she was...was the enemy and I was the victim. Poor me...helpless...afraid. My perception became my reality.

One day I realized that I didn't have to be a fat, miserable, unhappy, out of control victim. I didn't have to be trapped in a body; a persona that wasn't really me. I realized slowly as I took control of my life, not all at once, but piece by piece...methodically, that I could be better...stronger...healthier...happier. I never expected or dared to think that I could be thin or strong or beautiful, but I knew that I could be better than I was. It took years, and I'm not sure I'll ever be completely satisfied with who I am, but I am so much better than I ever dreamed I could be. I have become "that" person...just like those people that I hated.

People think how great it must be to have accomplished goals, to have lost weight, to look good, and be in the best shape of my life. It is...sometimes...but I never realized how hard it could be to be "that" person...that seemingly perfect person. I'm the one that people pick apart. I'm the one they hate. Now I know that sometimes that perfect person that you see in the store does have beautiful kids, but they fight and misbehave and get into trouble just like everyone else's kids. I know her cart is full of healthy food, because she feels regret over eating that candy bar earlier in the day...the one that will haunt her until she goes to sleep. I know that that perfect person you see at the gym in matching clothes and shoes...the tan, skinny there at the gym because she is not naturally thin and she is deathly afraid of being fat...fat like she use to be. I now know that the perfect person you see in the mall has lots of bags because she shops to fill a hole...a hole with no bottom. I know she painstakingly chooses the "right" clothes, shoes, and accessories just to feel okay...not great...or perfect...or better than everyone else...but just to feel okay. I know that she is alone because she has no one to go to the mall one to talk to. I know that she does not smile because she is really sad and really lonely. I wish I didn't know those things, but I do.

Sometimes even when the outside appears perfect, the inside isn't. I've learned that no one should ever jump to conclusions or shut someone out or place a label on people we see for a brief moment in time. We shouldn't rely on our perceptions and discount knowledge...knowledge that we could gain by taking the chance to know "that" person. I've learned that perfection is an illusion...a mirage...a perception. Every living thing has a flaw if you look close enough. There really is no such thing as perfection...but still, everyday, I open my eyes and I try. I try knowing that I can never have that which I desire...need...crave. Perfection.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"the hEarT of a LiOn"...

My toes were hands balled into fists...oh, I was so tense! Every week I tune in to watch one of my favorite shows, "The Contender"...a boxing competition. I'm yelling...hoping...wishing...encouraging someone to win that doesn't know me...will never meet me...and can't hear me. "GET HIM! KNOCK HIM OUT!", I plead with my eyes glued to my TV screen. Then, the bell's over...the one I was cheering for has lost. I knew it before the referee announced the decision. This man...this boxer...this warrior...lost the fight...but he was certainly not a "loser" in my eyes.

I love to watch boxing and I hated that the fight didn't end in the way I wanted it to. I usually tend to cheer for the underdog...sometimes they pull through and surprise everyone with a win and other times they don't...either way...I express a lot of emotion. I'm either jumping up and down screaming, "YES!" or I'm ranting about how my fighter coulda won. Last week, there were a couple of things that occurred during the show that really got me thinking. This man I was cheering for, was in the worst physical shape of any of the boxers. It was obvious even just by first appearance. Amazingly, when he was called up to "tow the line"...he did so willingly...without any hesitation or fear. I wondered, "Is he brave...or stupid?".He was determined to give all he had and he did. He fought like a true if it were the last fight he would ever if his life depended on it. He was shorter and weaker, but he didn't just fight, he went to battle and gave it all he had. After the fight, one of his fellow "contenders" said to him, "Man, you have the heart of a lion! I'm proud of you. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of.".

Many times, when the losing boxer returns to the locker room to be interviewed, he is sad or frustrated or regretful. Sometimes, they even cry...these big strong men...they cry...they express regret. This man did not. He fought in a way that allowed him to hold his head high and make no excuses. When his children came in to see him, he sat them down and taught them. He didn't cry or ask their forgiveness. He told them that he gave it all he had, and he told them that in life they should always fight for what they want...that they should go after what they want with all they have. They didn't lament his loss or hang their heads...they were so proud of their dad...and rightfully so.

There was one comment this boxer made at the end that made me reflect upon my own defeats in life. He said, "If I had had one more round, I coulda had him." I think about the times when I lose...when things don't go according to plan...when life "knocks me out". How do I react? My first natural to give up...feel bad...change direction...think of myself as a loser. I'm not there, but I'm trying to learn to have the "heart of a lion". I want to live my life in such a way that even when I am defeated, I can hold my head high with no regrets...knowing I fought...knowing that I gave it all I had and feeling good whether I win or lose.

I sat down to watch my favorite be entertained...but I learned something and gained a new resolve. I made a decision. I want to live as a warrior...with a brave heart...and an open mind. I want to live in such a way that even when I am defeated, others will say of me..."She has the heart of a lion."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

saving my day at a time...

I am a mess. I'm awkward. Sometimes I'm a bit neurotic. I truly am a walking contradiction. I'm afraid of being noticed, but I stand out in a crowd because I refuse to go with the flow and be like everyone else. I crave order and stability, but I create chaos. I'm not unhappy, but I don't smile much. I like for everything to have a place, yet I put things in piles and shove them into closets. I hate to be late and stressed, but I always have to do just one more thing before I go and in turn, I am ALWAYS late...everywhere...all the time...and stressed when I get there. I can't stand weakness...hate "wussys"...think people shouldn't take everything so personally, but I am overly sensitive. I like to be in make decisions, but I waffle, doubt myself, and constantly worry about making the wrong decision or getting lost. I want to be look do things perfectly, but I hate it when people fear being around me because they think I'm too perfect...which is funny, because part of the aggravation is that I see myself as so imperfect. I am as they say in one of my favorite movies "Clueless", "a full on Monet". From far away a Monet looks perfect, flows and is pleasant to behold...everything in place... but when you get too's confusing...not at all what it seemed...some would even say, a mess. It takes just the right person to appreciate a Monet both far away and close up.

I've always felt no one "gets me". Every now and then I find a friend that sticks around long enough to see through the facade I carry around...likes me enough to find my faults charming...and even kinda "gets me". But, that's a unexpected bonus...and even then, I am guarded and careful. I hide the parts of myself that I am afraid will taint my image and I keep the secrets that I worry will scare or confuse them to myself. The sad part is that I think every time that I've done that, I kill a little piece of me...a little piece of who I could be.

I've never been stabbed...shot...or terminally ill. I've never been in a life threatening car wreck...never been in danger of dying physically...but my life has been saved...more than once. I met someone that I discounted ...someone that I put a label on. I never thought of this person as someone that could really be a part of my life or even make a difference. He was a distraction...something amusement. I realized that I was wrong within weeks of knowing him. This person became my friend. Every day that I worked with him...I changed. Some days I went in happy and ready to work...some days I went in beat down and broken. When I was happy, I left happier...laughing. When I told him things that I was afraid were weird or that I didn't think anyone would understand...he understood...he "got it". When I was broken...he put me back together with his encouragement. When I had secrets...they stayed with When I expressed concerns...he offered hope. When I went in physically hurt...sometimes I actually left pain free. When I was awkward and clumsy...when I tripped or messed up...he laughed...we laughed...and it was

Every time these things happened, he was in a sense saving my day at a act of kindness and friendship at a time. Neither of us expected to become friends. I wanted to look better...he wanted a client. We got way more than either of us thought we would. He taught me...changed me...built me up...saved me. When I left, I was better...okay...for one more day. I know that I didn't even give him a fraction of what he has given me. All I can do now is do my best to be what he convinced me that I can keep pass on what I've been emulate his example. I want to be the kind of friend that saves a day at a time...just like he did.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


In golf they call it a "mulligan", but I refer to them as "do overs". There's probably not a single person out there that hasn't wished for a "do over" sometime in their life. I have. In fact, I wish for them all the time. Sometimes I wish I had a "do over" when I make a mistake as a parent...when I let an opportunity pass me by...when I don't have the courage to share how I feel...when I don't react to a situation in a way that I am proud of.

Although l have often wished for "do overs", I have always lived with the knowledge that sometimes...most of the time...they are not possible. I live with the regret. Opportunities pass us by. Words stay in our memories. People move on. Some mistakes cannot be undone. These transgressions can be forgiven, but they cannot ever be totally erased. That's what I think of when I think of a "do over"...the ability to expunge the mistake from my record...erase the poor score...make it all it never happened.

I learned a valuable lesson recently. I behaved in a way that I wasn't proud of. I didn't do anything mean or wrong or on purpose. I was overcome with emotion and I ended a situation in a way that left me disappointed...regretful...uncomfortable. As I drove away, all I could think about was how bad I wanted a "do over"; another chance with a different ending...a happy ending. As I wiped my tears and wallowed in my misery and regret, something occurred to me...a option...a possibility.

I asked. I swallowed my pride and I took a risk. I asked for a second chance. I decided to take charge and do what I could to create a different outcome...a better outcome that I could feel good about at the end of the day. I was surprised to find that it wasn't so impossible. I got a "do over" of sorts. I realized that most of the time, we can't get a "do over", because we don't ask for one. There are obviously exceptions to every rule. Some things can never be repaired or undone, but many things can...if we ask...if we try.

I was blessed with redemption. My friend gave me a second chance; a "do over"; an opportunity to leave him on a better note...with dignity...with pride...with a sense of relief...a full stomach...and a smile on his face and mine. He thought it was just another goodbye; an apology of sorts, but it was more. It was an epiphany...a revelation...a renewed sense of hope. I'm never going to wish for a "do over" again. I'm going to try. I'm going to ask. I'm going to redo the things that are not right. I'm going to try not to make the same mistake twice. I'm going to start many times as it takes. I'm going to rewrite the ending to my story. I'm going to scratch my poor score and take my mulligan. I'm going to reopen the book and straighten the pages...reset the video game...and allow myself as many "do overs" as I need to soothe the pain, chase away the regret, and enjoy the peace I find therein.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

...the power of ONE...

There may be strength in numbers...but I believe in the power of ONE. The power of one phone smile. I cannot fight a war alone and win. I cannot play a symphony by myself. I cannot end world hunger with one meal. There are so many things that I cannot do alone, but I alone can make a difference in the world.

I cannot cure an epidemic...and when the people I love are sick, I cannot heal them...but I can comfort them. I cannot stop natural disasters from occuring...and when someone falls or is hurt, I cannot cushion or stop their fall...but I can lend the hand that helps them up. I cannot make the same noise as a stadium filled with fans...but when a friend has a victory, I can cheer, and when they are defeated, I will not boo...instead I can listen...I can be there...I can be their shoulder to cry on. I cannot stop abuse or take away the hardships that exist in the world...but when I see someone that is discouraged or sad, I can smile...I can care. I know that sometimes these small gestures can mean so much to others, because they mean so much to me.

The other day, I was feeling down...sad...lonely...forgotten. I felt like nobody had any time for me and I was wallowing in self pity. As I walked out to the garage to get in my car to leave, all I could think about was how bad I wanted to go back inside my house, unmake my bed, get in, and sleep away the rest of my presumably miserable day. I fought to continue and not allow myself to succumb to that desire, as I knew it would only make things worse. I left my house, ate lunch alone...feeling invisible. I noticed that the employees told everyone that left the fast food restaurant that I was in, "Goodbye!" and "Have a nice day!". When I one said a one even noticed. I felt as though I could disappear from this earth and not a single soul would notice or even care. I KNOW this is not true, but it was how I was feeling at the time...low and insignificant.

I went and decided to shop. As I ambled around without much of a purpose, my phone rang. I was surprised to hear that sound since it doesn't happen too often these days. I even said out loud, "Uhhh! Somebody loves me!?!" I was so happy to see the name on the screen...the name of one of my favorite friend that I was missing. We didn't talk for too long or about anything too special, but it was amazing how that ONE phone call...from ONE friend...changed my day.

I realized that I wasn't forgotten. I realized that while the people in a fast food restaurant may not notice my coming or going, the people that really matter in my life, DO think about me...DO care...and DO notice whether I leave or not. I snapped out of my negative state and put a quick end to my "pity party" for one. I appreciated that ONE small gesture. It reminded me of how important the "little" things that we don't always take the time to do are...the things that don't really seem to matter. It may take an army to win a war...or many instruments to make up a symphony...but I know it only takes ONE person that cares...that takes the make a real difference in the lives of others...and in turn change the world.

Friday, September 14, 2007

forget me not...

When you love someone, you're supposed to put that person's feelings before your own. Selfish thoughts should never arise. I remember years ago watching a sad, yet inspirational story on Oprah about a woman. She had a young child and a handsome husband that loved her. She had a beautiful home. She had a successful career. She also had cancer...terminal cancer. The story was about how she was creating dozens of video diaries for her daughter. Diaries that would teach her daughter all the things that she couldn't once she was gone...once she was dead. The videos contained advice on everything...from how to put on makeup... to how to survive a broken how to bake a cake. This woman wasn't concerned with her own feelings. She was all about helping her family survive without her...helping them move on and be happy once she was gone. She even talked of how she had encouraged her husband to find love again once she died. She looked into his eyes and held his hands...frail...sick...sweet...and told him this. People in the audience wiped their tears. How loving. When you see these types of stories, you wonder... Could I be so loving? selfless?...such a good partner?...such a generous friend?

I never wonder. I never wonder, because I know. I know how I would; how I do feel. I am not generous...or selfless. I'm ashamed, because I want to be...but I'm not. I should be...but I can't. I don't just let people in my heart. I don't easily trust or love, so when I do, I am seriously invested in that relationship. When I care for people, I care with all my heart...with everything that I have. I want my loved ones; my friends to be healthy and from sadness or pain. Mostly, I want to be cared for and loved and needed in return. I want to be their everything; just as they are mine.

When a friend leaves me, I want that friend to miss me...not just every now and then, or a little, but intensely...all the time. I want the things the we once enjoyed to be a reminder of me. I want the absence of my presence to be noticeable. When I die, I don't want my be happy. I don't want them to move on with ease. I don't want them to love that takes my place. I want them to be sad. I want them to miss me. I don't want there to anyone that could possibly replace me. These desires make me question my ability to love. Am I too self absorbed?...too needy to truly love? After the questioning, comes the worry.

When I try to figure out how I can love so much...and so little? How I can give so much...and demand more? How I can want nothing but complete happiness...nothing less than exceptional...and nothing but grief and suffering? When I worry, I realize that I don't really want the people I love to be sad and miserable. I want to know that I made a difference. I want to know that I am loved. I am not filled with malice. I am not incapable of loving. I'm just afraid.

I'm afraid of letting go and I'm afraid to be let go of. I guess I equate my letting go with my giving up. I'm afraid that if others let go, that it means they don't care...that maybe they never really did...that I was never really loved in the first place. I feel like it means being forgotten. Letting go is none of these things. Letting go is not an end, it's the beginning of something more. It's the beginning of new found independence, strength, and abilities. It's the ability to stand back and appreciate what I once had. It's the ability to have faith. It's gaining the ability to believe those that say they love me, that they care...even if I never see them again. Letting go is about love...not for another, but for myself. If I can learn to love myself, it will make it easier to believe that others DO love me. So, now I'm going to try. It won't be easy and I may not be successful at first, but I will say to those that I have to leave or that find it necessary to leave me..."forget me not"...and I will not worry about being forgotten. I will believe and I will be remembered.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Goodbye my friend...

Goodbye my friend.

Goodbye laughter... laughter that brightens the rest of my day. Goodbye shady trail... long talks... tall socks. Goodbye dirt trail... running... dodging... spider webs in my face... branches hanging low. Goodbye park bench... legs resting... story telling... breeze blowing. Goodbye dark place... skeleton staring... garbage overflowing... sweat dripping... stomach churning... legs burning. Goodbye stopwatch... anticipating... timing... racing. Goodbye texting... car swerving... fingers tiring... face smiling. Goodbye everything that I have known for so long...relied on...taken for granted...loved...enjoyed.

Goodbye my friend.

Monday, September 10, 2007

EVERYBODY needs a friend....

My heart is pounding. My legs are tired. My foot hurts. Sweat is dripping off my forehead. I gasp for air to give my lungs what they are begging...screaming for. People are cheering...encouraging me to finish my task. The sense of joy...accomplishment...relief that I feel as I cross the finish line is all encompassing. This was not my first race. This was not my fastest race. I will not get an award or a trophy. My name will not appear on a list, but I am proud. This was the best race I've run...ever.

I've always been kind of a loner. I'm not sure that it was on purpose or really always my choice...but that's always the way it has turned out. I've always comforted myself with rationalizations and lies. I tell myself that I don't care...that I don't NEED friends...that I am my own person, but deep down I know it's not true.

I've met very few people in my life that I've felt truly comfortable with. I am a different...unique person. It seems like I see everything in a different way than everyone else. I fight it and I embrace it. I love it and I hate it. I have people that come and go...from time to time...but for the most part I do most things alone. I shop alone. I eat lunch at restaurants alone almost everyday. I've even gone to movies alone.

A year ago, I met an unlikely friend. I decided to hire a personal trainer at my gym. Maybe I was just bored, because I didn't really think I needed him. I didn't really expect to continue with him when my sessions expired. After all, I knew I could do it I always do. I was wrong.

He actually did make a huge difference in my overall level of fitness and my athletic ability...if you can call it that. However, his friendship and the difference it has made in my life has been the biggest surprise to me...a bonus...icing on the cake. I've learned something about friends in one year that I hadn't learned in the previous 37.

I do need a friend...a confidante...a sounding board. I do need a friend to laugh with and cry talk with and be quiet with. I need someone to make me want to be better; to push me, and someone that I can encourage and challenge as well. I think my friend and I leave each other better than we were each and every time we meet. He has taught me to submit to things that can make me better and to fight the things that hold me back. He has made me stronger both physically and mentally.

People all fall into roles. We come to expect certain things from certain people. We don't usually step outside of those roles because it feels sleeping on the wrong side of the bed. Our roles have always been clear. We have always been friendly, but he has always been my coach. I have always been his student. He is always in control. I do what he says. I never expected to be able to give anything back, but respect. Once again, I was wrong.

We started running together. I've run for years. It is a great release for me. I love being in control of my body...continuing when my body begs me to stop...going faster when I don't think I can take another step. My friend has always played sports or lifted weights. He did not least not very far...or for very long. For an hour everyday, our roles reversed. I became the teacher and he became my student. Through this experience, we learned to trust each other in a different way. We had easy days and hard days, but everyday we ran together was a good day. We had a goal; a 5K. We trained and we ran. He was inexperienced and I was hurt, but neither of us wanted to let the other down, because we are friends, and neither of us could bear the thought of disappointing the other.

It wasn't an easy race. He was winded and tired. My foot throbbed with pain. There was a time that it seemed like we would never see the finish line, but as we rounded the corner and could see the end...the end that we had been anticipating all these weeks...we knew what we had to do. He said, "Let's go!" and we ran as fast as we could, passing other runners to cross the finish line. We did it...together. I ran slower during the race to stay with him and he stopped short of the finish line so we could cross together. It was an amazing, life changing that will always stay with me...and I hope him too. In different ways, we learned to be more honest, both with each other and ourselves. I think we both learned that sometimes the people that seem to be the most different are the most alike. We learned that EVERYBODY needs help sometimes and that EVERYBODY needs a person; a friend that is willing to go the sacrifice their own do what it takes to cross the finish line together. EVERYBODY needs a friend...even me.

Friday, September 7, 2007

grains of sand...

Have you ever tried to hold grains of sand in your fist and carry it with you? It seems that no matter how hard you try, or how careful you are...whether you're gentle or forceful...eventually the sand slips through your fingers and it's gone. You can try over and over again, but the result is always the same.

Sometimes I feel like everything I love; want; care about is just like sand. I see it. I want it. I work to get it, and just when it seems that it is mine, it slips away and it's gone. I always thought that if I wanted something bad enough, and worked hard enough....if I was a loyal friend and a loving companion, that I could hold onto the people and things that I care about. I thought I could control my destiny; my future; my happiness.

It's taken me 37 years to realize that I have no control. I can share, but I can't make others give in return. I can trust, but I can't make others trustworthy. I can love, but I can't make others love me back. I cannot control anything. Just like that handful of sand, the more I try to control; the tighter I try to hold on...the faster the grains slip through my fingers until it's all gone and I'm empty handed; alone. I can cry. I can wish. I can want. I can try. I can beg. I can plead. I can work. But in the end, it's not up to me.

In the past, I've given up, become bitter; angry even. I've built a wall and shut people out of my life. The wall has been a shield to protect my heart. You see, I thought if I protected my heart that I would free myself from the pain, but I was wrong. When I shut people out, I don't shut out the pain. I merely trade one type of pain for another. I trade the pain of loss for the pain of loneliness and regret.

Is it worse to lose love, or to never know love? Is it worse to be betrayed by a friend, or to never have enjoyed the joy of friendship? Is it worse to say goodbye, or to have no one to say good bye to? When I lose someone I love; when I have to say goodbye, the pain is overwhelming. It consumes my thoughts like a storm cloud that darkens the sky and hides the sun. The sun is still there, but it's light is replaced with darkness and therefore changes the way I see things around me.

I'm learning that it doesn't have to be that way. I cannot control my circumstances or people, or the "clouds" in my life, but I can control how I feel. I can choose. I can choose to be happy in spite of my hurt. I can choose to learn from my mistakes. I can choose to be grateful for the time I have had with those I love and have lost. I can choose to take a chance again and again...a chance on love, friendship; a chance at happiness. I can choose to be grateful for the time I had to hold onto that which I love, just as I can enjoy the feel of the sand in my fist before it slips away.

So as much as it hurts, as impossible as it seems, as afraid as I am, I will not stop allowing myself to let people into my life. I will not waste the precious time I have with those I love, fearing the time when they will leave me. I will want and I will get. I will say hello and I will learn to care again...and again...and again. And every time that I go to the the beach and I take a handful of sand and watch it fall back to the ground, I will choose to cherish the opportunity that I had to feel the sand in my hands and the time I had with the people I cared for.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


When I was younger, I use to like to read self-help books. The subject changed as my own issues did. Sometimes it was because I was overweight...sometimes it was because I felt like a failure as a parent ...sometimes it was because I felt powerless...sometimes because I was depressed. It's funny that as I reflect; as I honestly look back on those times, I'm not sure I ever read a self-help book with the expectation of actually changing. I was simply educating myself on subjects that I was already, unfortunately an expert in.

People talk to therapists for many different reasons, but is it the therapist that helps them see more clearly? Or, is it the act of acknowledging, out loud, with one's own affirmation, if you will...that there is a problem; a problem in need of a solution, or at least a resolution that brings the problem and it's solution into focus? I've never been a diary kind of a girl. I've tried many times...bought lots of cute notebooks; even pens with fluff, but I never write for more than a week. I write like I talk...long winded and full of detail. I try to remember the minutiae of each day. My hand gets tired, and I become bored, tired, dissatisfied, and disinterested. It's not that I don't like to write. Sometimes, I write just about my feelings on my computer, but I never considered "publishing" my private...sometimes depressing...sometimes neurotic thoughts.

A good friend started a blog. I guess I didn't really understand blogs, at least not ones like his. I ignorantly thought blogs were purely to gather information on a subject from people far away...typing on computers...too lazy to get up and find out...too scared to ask in person. As I read his entries, I came to a conclusion; a revelation if you will. He thinks his blog is for others, but it's really for himself as well; a therapy session for one...and all. I love to read his blogs, because I learn things; honest, vulnerable, real things about him...and myself too I guess.

It occurred to me the other night at 1:30a.m. as I sat and mused at my own thoughts...quietly in my closet...that putting your deepest fears...thoughts...feelings out there for anyone to see is like self-help, only more productive than reading a book. Reading about a problem or a fear in a book, keeps us at arm's length. It keeps our secrets. It keeps it impersonal. It keeps us from being accountable. I can close that book and continue on in the same way as I have, day after day, with no change...feeling like a victim of circumstance; powerless to change.

Sitting at my computer... thinking...remembering...revealing...admitting, out loud in a sense how I really feel, is freeing. It's freeing and binding, because now I know. I know and others know. Once I know, I have a responsibility to least to accept and to find peace.

I've made lots of changes in my life...especially in the last couple of years, but I haven't always found the peace that my soul hungers for. So I will write as I feel inspired to...about whatever I want to write...serious or silly; important or petty...about thoughts...fears...worries...and joys, in hopes that through this introspective exercise, I will come to know myself; to like myself; to help myself.