It All Starts With Me

Confession: I still don’t know what I am going to be when I grow up; I am not even sure that I will grow up; or that I even want to; especially if it means giving up my dreams and settling for the status quo.

I suppose in some ways I have always gone against the grain. Not because I want to be difficult, but more because I pondered the various possibilites, not readily accepting all of the conventions set before me. Why must I have a successful job or career in a field I dislike while I struggle to juggle my responsibilities at home, and try to make time to raise my children? I have several Supermom and Dad friends who do just that – and well too. I think of them with admiration; which turns into guilt that I too don’t do it all; which promptly turns into relief that I do not have to; and gratitude that I may choose not to. I digress…

What I want is to be happy, and to raise happy children, who will grow into happy adults. I don’t believe there is a prescribed method to achieve this dream. The path to such bliss is different for each of us. One thing is for certain though – it all starts with me. Each day, we are given another opportunity to improve ourselves, to make necessary changes and adjustments, to strive for goodness – greatness even.

Two of the most important lessons I have learned (mostly the hard way) to be true are: The more I express gratitude for each of my blessings, the larger the list of things to be grateful for becomes. And, whatever I devote my time and attention to will expand, whether positive or negative in nature makes no difference, it will grow in any case.

It has taken me a while to understand that where I am and where I am going is a direct reflection of the choices I have made and will continue to make. And I choose to follow my own heart’s bliss, regardless of the accepted cultural standards that whisper to me, “The Jones’ do it best! Why aren’t you keeping up with them?”

I always found the Jones’ to be a bit of a bore anyway.

photo credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TeMrI-sBUqM/VCArKAQ-eJI/AAAAAAAABCg/Qx8ER2c2DoY/s1600/happiness-is-an-inside-job-90.jpg

What The FEX?

Let’s just get it out in the open. Maya Angelou was right all along. (Yes Jill, my most vocal friend, you were right too!) And I was terribly, dreadfully wrong. That’s the bad news. The good news is…I have evicted FEX from my basement! (Wild applause, cheers and a cartwheel-finish into a split!) Yep! I made a huge mistake, and then I rectified it! (More wild applause)

A lot has transpired in the last few months. Without exposing the disparaging details, I will say that FEX had managed to successfully break every verbal agreement we had made regarding our co-parenting (only) living arrangement. As FEX is fond of saying, “Things change man,” in his careless, dude-like manner. And change they did.

Drumroll please! And the great epiphone! I woke up and realized that being a good Mom does NOT mean I have to sacrifice my personal space nor my peace-of-mind. Having their Dad in my house was draining my happiness. It was like a black hole with a thousand Dyson vacuums inside of it, easily sucking up my joy, like dog hair on a hardwood floor. And that my friends is never the best way to be a good Mom.

I fell into the trap of believing that I should keep their father around at all costs. Mainly and specifically, the cost of my sanity. My children will still see thier father. If I have my wish, he will always remain in their lives. However, I will no longer be dragged around by his agenda. This realization and emacipation feels amazing. I could scream from the rooftops, “I deserve to be happy too!” And I am just that. Happy.

I will promptly resume all joyful activities, including but certainly not limited to getting back to you all, my wordpress family. Thanks for the support. I have missed this place. The possibilities are winking at me. Things are looking up. I think Maya would be proud.

Photo credit: http://imunsinkable.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Scream50sWoman2.jpg

F O R G I V E N E S S

Forgiveness, so pure,
Untouched, unsoiled
Unsullied, she soars.
Forgiveness symbiotically
Residing in Peace,
A seed within,
Beckoning our reach.
Her song beguiles,
Unheard, she cries
Patient, unmoving
Through her grace,
May we rise.
Unyielding in purity,
Woven in truth,
Forgiveness, a gift,
Serenity the proof.
To the beholder
And those who bask in her light,
Reaching for forgiveness,
Through suffrage and slight.
Within my grasp,
Never obtrusive,
Unencumbered by ego,
Ever-elusive.
Forgiveness takes not
Offense, nor slight,
She, never a slave
to the notion of “right”
Clinging tightly,
Fingers strained,
Holding her dearly,
I release the pain.

Photo credit: https//calmclarityproject.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/forgivenessisfreedom.jpg:

V I S I O N

Is it easier not to see me?

Arm extended,
pained, and painted
restrained, ill-fated,
reinforcing the gap.

Is it fear?
That onerous culprit,
slyly lurking about
the soul’s recesses,
perpetually postulating,
promoting propoganda
and plight.

Rigidly restrained,
boasting barricade,
taut and steadfast,
against all possibility
of seeing me.

Though the span
of space you
cling upon,
fixedly stares at me…
With hawkish reflexes,
I stare back, unafraid.
My vision clear and
unfettered by your
optical illusions.

I see you.

photo credit: http://hdw.eweb4.com/wallpapers/7922/

For the Doubters, Haters and Naysayers

My life hasn’t been picture perfect. Yet, my blessings have been, and continue to be innumerable.

I’m what one might call a “late bloomer.” I dropped out of college right after High School and pursued acting, performing in local productions, and working with an improv troupe for several years. All the while, I was building my talents as a hairdressing waitress, with a penchant for mixing up delightful cocktails, and provoking endless amounts of fun. I parlayed that into a nice management position at a high-end steakhouse, with a regular clientele, and a close-knit staff. Very good times…

I began seriously dating my future ex-husband in 2000, (who I shall affectionately refer to as FEX from here on) and we eventually ventured off into our own business, in the home improvement field. The housing market was soaring in NY, (mind you this was around 2002) and FEX and I were living it up…vacations, parties, weekend getaways and the like. More good times…

We got the house in the middle-class neighborhood, got married, and had 2 healthy, beautiful babies. A boy then a girl. Picture perfect. Um. No.

Fast forward to 2008ish. The housing market was in a drastic, downward spiral and seemingly took our business and financial security with it, in what seemed like a blink. Eventually, our marriage was to follow suit.

Still trying to hold it all together, I returned to school, in 2010. Having already attained my Associates Degree while working at that fine Steakhouse, I began to chip away at my Bachelors in English (of course) in hopes of becoming a teacher. I was an excellent student, and the go-to editor, for my friends and family, whether they needed a letter, or a college paper written. I thought becoming a teacher would be the answer to our financial woes.

That is when FEX declared that he was unhappy and wanted out. Our children were 2 and 4, at the time. It unraveled quickly after that. 6 months later, FEX moved out and I really wasn’t sure if I could manage life, house, children and dogs, without him.

I made a decision, that no matter what challenges were to come, I was going to make my job as a parent paramount over everything else. FEX proved a disloyal husband, but certainly does still love and provide for our children. We do get along (mostly) and work together at parenting our offspring. I still do cut hair, and waitress and bartend, and I also continue to put parenting my little ones before all else. But now, I can see clearly that I have the need to fulfill my own passions, and purpose. Yes, it is an actual NEED, and I shall honor it.

Which brings me here. I realize that it was necessary for me to be brought to and through these challenges and struggles, so that I could learn of my own strength, and astounding ability to improve myself. Because when the material things, and the plans I had made for the future were abruptly stripped from me, I was left with myself.

I get by, with a little help from my friends, and a lot of help from my family. I am quite Blessed, in both departments. But the point is, that I choose to be happy. I choose to chase my dreams. I am writing, which centers me, and makes me feel that all is right with the Universe. I am editing a wonderful book for my fabulous friend, mamalisa4, which excites me immeasurably. I am on the right path. I can feel it in my bones.

For those who have doubted or judged my decisions, I say, “Mind your own matters.” To my supporters, who have been there with an open heart, through it all, cheering me on, I say, “Thank you. You’ve made all the difference in the world to me.”

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What treasures have you found among someone else’s “trash?”

One mans trash…You know how the old saying goes. What may no longer be useful to one person, may well turn out to be a cherished treasure for another. This rings true in numerous ways.

I was driving back and forth across my suburban town on a typical, putt-around Sunday, and several times passed by a house having a garage sale. The weather was a bit too frosty, in my opinion, to make that endeavor worthwhile. I was thinking this, as I passed the chilled figures working the sale. As a seasoned host of some rather lucrative garage sales, I have learned that you don’t rake in the customers, in temperatures too hot, or too cold. I have a great appreciation for the myriad of benefits that come along, from doing something as laborious and unglamorous as having a garage sale.

I had never shopped garage sales, and had certainly never hosted one, before my second child was born. I snubbed my nose at garage sales for the most part. Who would want to sift through someone else’s discards anyway? Or spend their day selling their own junk in their own driveway? What would the neighbors think?

Fast-forward to a 2-year-old son, and infant daughter later. “Oh no, all these baby clothes, and toys, and hoppy chairs, are designed for boys. What were we thinking? And what will we do with all of this boy stuff? And gee-wiz, replacing it with all girl stuff is costly? And wow, no baby shower for the second-born, to ease the financial bleeding a bit, that comes from baby-having, and subsequent child-rearing, kind of sucks…” And finally, “Heyyy, maybe those garage sale people are onto something…”

Needless to say, I have held my fair share of yard sales in the 6 years to follow that naive time in my life. It was amazing, I was decluttering my house, helping people attain some rather nice items, for which they had need or want, at a fabulous price, and I was making some extra cash to contribute to my family. And by-golly its a green thing to do, and in total compliance with the concept of reuse, repurpose and recycle. Amazing!

Let’s get back to the poor popsicles I saw running their chilly-day sale. On my last pass, at the end of the day, dropping off my daughter’s friend from a play-date, I see that they have shut down shop and carefully moved all that didn’t sell to the curb, for trash pick-up. Alas, the curious picker in my head forces me to stop the car and assess the situation. Well, my goodness, am I glad I did.

I am now the happy owner of a pristine and life-like porcelain doll, which my daughter was thrilled to receive (incidentally I priced it out and found it to be valued at around $85), an extra large, wooden-framed, backyard table-umbrella, in excellent working condition, and a perfect, unused, hardcover, copy of a book that one of my dearest friends, and cheer-leader for my writing, had been urging me for months to read, coincidentally (or not) written by a blogger-turned extremely successful author, writing about some sh*t his Dad says. Amazing!

As I think of all of this, I grow more certain that there are no coincidences. A dear childhood friend, whose first husband had told her on numerous occasions, that she was a piece of garbage, eventually remarried a man who absolutely adored her for the stunningly beautiful, kindhearted and imperfect woman she is. 10 years later, they remain madly in love. Amazing! Sometimes, what might appear to be “trash” in our lives, turns out to be a hidden treasure, waiting to fall into the hands or heart of just the right person.