A Look Into Me (Part II)

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye and see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ~Frank Herbert~

There are two categories of fear: 1. The fear we conquer, and 2. The fear that stays with us throughout our lives. There are two ways to conquer our fears: 1. Face it head-on and overcome – for example; I had a fear of heights, so I rode roller coasters and learned how to climb rock walls which eventually turned into mountains, or 2. Find a way around it, like I have done in starting this blog in regards to my glossophobia. Of course there are set-backs and the initial stage of “I don’t want to” but eventually, if you want it bad enough, you will get there.

The fear I face now is a little more difficult to do anything about. The fear of disappointing, well…anyone. In the past, it has held me back from finishing writing projects, it has led me to holding my tongue when I knew I should have spoken, as well as a dozen other instances. So, now I am facing it head-on, the best way that I can. Step one – acknowledgement: check.

For those of you who know me, know that my sister and I were raised by our paternal grandparents. I lived in fear of disappointing them, for surely they had lived through enough disappointments already in their lifetime…right? But then, as I got older, I realized to err is human, and disappointing someone is to err. So, like any growing person, I erred quietly. I remember one time, I had just gotten my driving license, and my parents had banned me from driving on the interstate. Well, that presented a problem, because I had to go pick up one of my friends from Richmond to attend a concert down in Norfolk (I lived somewhere in the middle of those two cities and there was no way around getting on the interstate). So I stressed about it, I ho-hummed about it…then I got into my car, and I did it. My punishment? Horrible traffic and annoyed calls from said parents in which I had my friend answer and give bogus excuses as to why I couldn’t answer my own cell phone, but we made the concert, and it was awesome for being my first ever to attend.

After that, my erring in quiet started escalating. There were parties attended, vacationing unchaperoned, nights of staying out and drinking with friends. I thought I was getting away with all these things, but really, my parents aren’t stupid…they knew, but they still let me go out and live “out loud” as they called it.

There was one subject in the household, however, that was ‘taboo’ and we did not speak about it: Our biological mother, Michelle. I remember bringing it up once while I was helping my mom teach her preschool class…it didn’t go well in my favor, so, I just never brought it up again. But the memory of me sitting in the judges quarters when I was three years old, was always with me when I closed my eyes. I remember the feeling that something huge was happening that would impact our (my sister and I’s) lives forever. And it did – from that day forward, we were under the guardianship of our paternal grandparents and were banned from trying to reach out and contact our biological mother. Well, until the ruling didn’t have any weight in our lives any longer at age 18, when we go off and live our own lives.

Here’s another tidbit about me: I am the kind of person who HAS to hear both sides of the story before I make my mind up about something. Yes, it is slower, but so much more effective. So the final few years were somewhat chafing because I knew she was out there, the other half of the truth just at my fingertips somewhere in the USA. In fact, I remember wondering so many times while we were in that state or this state (each summer, we vacationed in a different state…I’ve been to all but 3 states in the good old USA), that I wondered ‘Is she here, somewhere?’

Then came the time of every little girls life she wants to share with her mother – her wedding day. I remember asking my dad what he thought about pulling some resources and finding my mother so she could come and watch me get married. I remember he gave me that doting daddy look, and said, “I will do what I can, but do you really want her here? Your mother will not come to your wedding if she is here, who do you want to attend more?” You would think that the answer was an easy one to make…the woman who had raised me and watched me grow, but I still tried to figure out a way for Michelle to be there. However, in the end, it turned out to be unimportant, because I ended up calling the wedding off a couple weeks before it was to take place.

Now I bring you up to present time, and I can say that I have found the woman with the other half of the truth. Though, I am afraid to ask or even refer to it – what if just a little bit of it is true? My mom could hold one hell of a grudge, and with grudges come the astounding ability to think of extraordinary lies. Another tidbit: This is why I cannot hold grudges. I saw what they do, and what they can do to a person and I cannot willingly do that to my son or myself.

So, last year, I actually got to meet her when I was down in Albuquerque – for the first time in 27 years – and she got to meet her grandson for the first time. We had actually been talking online since the year I moved down to Georgia, in 2009…through Facebook actually (which was how she found me). I’m not going to lie, I was apprehensive and, well…scared. But it all turned out alright in the end. I got to meet her hubby, LaRue, who said the moment he stepped through the doors, he knew who I was…there was no doubt I was Michelle’s daughter. It was a good visit, good to ease the soul, and the mind. And to this day, we keep in contact everyday. We text back and forth…she is my biggest follower on my blogs, and my greatest encourager in my writing. The computer I am typing this on was actually a gift from her and LaRue to help with my writing process.

She missed out in so much while we were growing up, it gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to let her be a part of my son’s life as he is growing up. And with the connection we have now, I have learned so much about my other half of family. Like, health problems and risks I run…but also the fun stuff, like that side of my family was related to Martha Washington, my great aunt (I believe it was) had been good friends with Audrey Hepburn, horseback riding truly runs in the blood, and not only do I have Irish ancestry but also Scottish, Czech, and Norse.

So, taboo or not, I am immensely glad that the opportunity presented itself that I could get in contact with Michelle, and finally start to lay some questions to rest. And even though I am afraid to ask the others, one day, I know I will ‘bite the bit’ and ask, because without that piece of the puzzle, I cannot fully understand what had happened those many years ago.

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A Look Into Me

“Any change, any loss, doesn’t make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can’t prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you’re presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice, and the choice could be power.” ~Blaire Lee~

As the thunder creeps closer, I sit and reflect. I love storms and the rain they bring. After the rain, everything looks new and clean. But with this storm, I find my reflections take a deeper, darker turn than usual. Which is confirmed by the quote that pushed to the forefront of my mind as I sat to write this blog. I can recite it from memory, it has been with me so long. You say: “They are just words…” but to me, they are so much more. At many points in my life they were my life-line. You say: “Gee, that’s just a bit over-dramatic don’t you think?” I say: “No…let me show you a little of what I am talking about.”

I don’t know when I found them first, but I know they were with me back in the 7th grade, when I lost my best friend – my soul sister, Cassandra, to suicide. During that time of loss, I was also dealing with daily trips to the heart hospital in Norfolk, to see my dad, who was waiting for a ‘new’ heart. They were with me when my dad got his ‘new’ heart, but then suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed on the right side; however, they were still with me when we got the news that his paralysis had disappeared over night. Seeing the power of these words, I started incorporating them into my everyday life – and I started looking at my past in a different light, and I realized that no fault could be laid at my feet any longer for the wrongs that had been done to me. I had found my power, my drive, my way in coping. Those few words spoken by a diplomat in the early 1900s.

Later on, I found that even though I had found my drive, it would forever be tested. The tests started again at the end of my senior year, when I lost a wonderful friend, Stephen, during a horrific car accident. Then continued on during nursing school, when I was pulled into the Dean’s office and accused of cheating because of my grades. I wanted to sing those words to the Dean when she handed my diploma to me when I graduated with honors with my one and only classmate standing next to me – from a class that had started with 28 people. Then shortly after my graduation, I lost another wonderful friend, Daniel, to suicide. After the loss of Daniel, I hit a lull…a blissful lull, in which I still had the power of those words with me, but they had burrowed deep into the back of my mind, just waiting for the day I would need them again.

That day came when I was pregnant with my son. After a day of monitoring at the hospital 3 weeks before he was due, I was informed that to keep both of us safe, they would have to induce labor first thing the following morning. Nine and a half hours after I was induced, while holding my son for the first time, those words were still with me. Even today, when I wake up and find myself restless because of the monotony of my daily routine, those words are with me – but now I have my son, and a new drive. The drive to watch him grow up, the drive to raise him in a way I can be proud of him when he’s grown and off conquering his own demons. To know that I gave him the tools to not shrink from change, loss, and disappointment.

So in closing, I wonder…what gives you the power, the drive to continue my fellow bloggers? Is it a someone, something, or a phrase, a quote? What makes you set your feet and dig in deep so you can hang on?

The storm is over now, and as I look over my shoulder, I see a beautiful rainbow. My little corner of the world is shiny, green, and clean again…and I can’t help but to feel a little better on the inside also.

Life…and Shrimp

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~Lao Tzu

There is never a dull moment in my household. My son got some shrimp to put in his tank yesterday due to the fact that his plants were growing green fur…among some algae eating fish and assassin snails…yes, I said assassin snails…sent in with direct orders to ‘take care of’ the other snails that came with his plants and seem to be asexual because they are EVERYWHERE. Anyways, I just spent 15 minutes rescuing shrimp from his filter (3 are accounted for…the 4th is MIA). For some reason these things love getting sucked into the back of the tank and getting stuck. *sigh* To top it off, they wiggle and squirm when you try to catch them…not my favorite type of animal AT ALL.

So now, I am sitting with my cup of tea, finally starting my day, the right way.

Since the last time I have blogged I have gained a green striped cat due to efforts in painting the kitchen with said cat under my feet. But have no fear, I washed it off during a watering accident out back. (The cat was outside apparently while I was out back watering my plants…it did not end well, but the cat is now green-free). We are thinking about adopting a puppy (Border Collie and lab mix) instead of another cat – we meaning I with my son chanting puppy puppy puppy in the background. I’m just wondering if I would be biting off more than I can chew…Border Collies are herding dogs however, so it just might work out in my favor…maybe.

Well, the day is calling me and I just finished my cup of tea. So off I go…to the next adventure! Do I dare wonder what it might be?

Seeking and Finding Happiness

“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder.” ~Henry David Thoreau~

Today, I was asked what could have been the most significant question of all time, and the hardest ever to answer. Are you happy? It threw me into a tail-spin. How can such a small, what seems to be simple, question cause so much havoc in someone’s life? But then, how many of you have sat to specifically think about your happiness and what gives you that much sought after feeling of completion? Have we all just become complacent in our everyday lives, so much so, that our minds have tricked us into acquiring new ‘happiness’? Why is this one emotion so elusive to the human race?

So I sat for a minute or two, and I actually thought about it. Am I happy? The answer: I don’t know. I know that I am happy while doing certain things (no, no, no…now get your mind out of the gutter, gee) like…well being a mommy. I can say that is in itself true happiness, but it’s a double-edged sword. Am I happy when my son doesn’t do what he’s told or when he gets hurt? The answer is no…so I’m back to square one. Another happiness I have is writing (like you didn’t know that one was coming). Once again though, it’s double-edged. Am I happy when my plot doesn’t accommodate my story-line JUST the way I want it to? Am I happy when my characters get all weird on me? *sigh* Back to square one.

So I thought some more about it…and realized that the answer was sitting there right in front of me the whole time. Happiness is what you make it. There is no real answer to what makes you happy, because what makes you happy also has the ability to make you sad, mad, or a thousand other emotions. Happiness is in the moment and what you take out of that little piece of time.

Now, I leave you – my WordPress friends, and all others who read my blog – with the same question I was asked today with the hopes that you will also find the time in your busy life and think, I mean really think, about your happiness. Bring those memories out from the dark corners of your mind that you stashed away for a rainy day. Remember your graduation day, being accepted to that one college you wanted to get into so badly, (for some) saying I do and tying your life to someone elses, holding your little bundle of joy in your arms for the very first time, or just those great times you had out with friends who have come and gone…and think about what makes you happy. What brings you true happiness??

Good Morning All…

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Last to go to bed, first to rise…the mark of a mother. All but the cat and I are still asleep, so I figured I would sit and write a bit as I sip my (yes…you guessed it) hot tea. This is my reflection time…sit back, breathe and plan the day that will never happen. Yes, as a mother anything that you plan for the day will magically not happen at all…especially if your child is stuck in NO stage. But really, I wouldn’t change my son for the world…no matter how rowdy and argumentative he is, I just have to remember that patience is the key…and that stubbornness had to come from somewhere 🙂

He’s got a few scratches from a run-in with the cat. It’s one of those “NO” things. You know “Little man…stop chasing the cat…don’t pull on her tail…let her out from under your bed…don’t pick her up that way please!” *sigh* One day it will sink in…hopefully. Until then, I have the antiseptic on hand, and have stocked up on bandages. Crazy me though, I am thinking about getting a little brother for Luna (yes the kitten’s name is Luna). Then maybe his attention can be directed and divided two ways. Oh and did I mention that the kitten is teething? Huh…who knew?

Since my last post (before last night) we have moved, once again. For a person who had lived most of her life in Virginia (20+ years)…this is a big deal. That was 3 times of relocation within a year…though honestly I had no idea I would wind up back where I began…here in this little town. No, don’t worry, I am not complaining…I’m just saying 🙂 The new house has a pool in the backyard and is covered with a Lanai…so I’m looking forward to teaching my son how to swim this summer. For now, he sticks his feet in the water and holds onto mommy when we decide to take a nice refreshing swim.

So, I am taking life and what it has to throw at me, one day at a time. Starting the day with my tea, making my plans. Here’s to the plans that never see the light of day. The memories that are made instead. And the patience of the mother and kitten with a little guy who just wants to have fun.

A Little Catching Up…

Happy New Year

Happy New Year (Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps)

“Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive.  One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”~Eleanor Roosevelt~

I know I had promised to write more previously, and I am not in the habit of making light on my promises…I have to confess, life got in the way.  However, the world did not stop while I was dealing with what my life had thrown at me.

First, the tragedy of many lost children.  I will not rehash the horror that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th.  My heart will forever hurt for the families who lost so much right before the holidays.  I was actually informed on this past Friday, the 28th, that I am overprotective.  I will not deny it, but truly, is there any wonder why?  If I tell my son to not wander too far ahead of me, it’s not because I want to stifle him, I want him safe because today’s world is not like the world this particular person grew up in.  We no longer have any regard for the human life as we once did.  I may be overprotective now, but know that it is so he can grow up to be his own person.

Second, the predicted “Doom’s Day,” that was to occur on December 21st.  How many of these predictions have we lived through so far?  Add another tick for this one.  It went on like any other day without a hitch…and we all woke up the following day, December 22nd.  Actually, we (being my family and I) left on vacation on the 22nd.  So here we are heading into a new year…and what a year it promises to be 🙂

Third, I wish to extend a belated Christmas to everyone.  Between the Christmas shopping and wrapping and everything else that happens during the Christmas season…I got sidetracked.  After I sent a picture to someone very dear to me of my son surrounded by his gifts, I was informed that he made out like a bandit.  But, you have to understand, I may have gone overboard because this was the first Christmas in which my son could truly take part in the festivities.  I even wrapped the gifts from Santa in a different wrapping paper, not that he noticed the difference.  Actually we celebrated Christmas in Illinois, then proceeded to celebrate our little family Christmas after we returned home on the 27th.  It all fell together quite nicely 🙂

Fourth, I celebrated my (apparently) 29th year of life.  I do not know how accurate this number is…I lost track once my son was born.  The preggo mommy syndrome struck that part of my brain and it has of yet recovered it seems.  No matter, I suppose later on I can truly claim to be younger than I really am, just simply because I can’t remember my true age.  Yes, I know there is an easy way to remedy this, however, it involves math, and well, math and I just do not get along well at all.

Fifth, I would like to wish every one of you a Happy New Year!!  Seeing as I have no idea how long it will be until I will write another blog.  I do hope it isn’t too long, but you know…life may have a different idea as to what I am able to accomplish in the next few days.  So I would like to close this blog out wishing everyone a spectacular New Year, and many wishes for your safety.  Remember, it isn’t a happy new year unless you arrive with it for some people…

Live life, enjoy the little things, and indulge in compassion – for those less fortunate, for those who need a helping hand, and for those who are lost.

Oh and I forgot to mention that my son was able to enjoy his first snow while we were in Illinois.  He now knows the value of snowballs, and how to make them as well as what ice looks like, and what it feels like to slip on some and fall on your rear-end (not his favorite experience).  I wish I had some pictures to share with y’all but we only were able to get out to enjoy the snow one day and my phone had needed to charge.  But I will forever keep that memory stored in my heart, of my little boy struggling to walk in knee-deep snow and make snowballs with his mittened hands.  Oh the joys of being a mother!! 🙂

Added Projects

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

“You fail only if you stop writing.”~Ray Bradbury

As of yesterday, I took on another project other than my book, in attempt to broaden my non-existent portfolio for writing.  Well, if the truth be told, I took on two projects. The first project consisted of only a single sentence to begin the story of a picture.  “This looks simple enough,” says I; however, after 3 hours of perfecting the sentence I felt like a little child on Christmas morning when I hit the send button to submit my entry into the contest.  During those 3 hours, I had determined that my problem with getting my ideas down on paper is my brain goes 100 mph and my little fingers can only type 63 wpm – I wonder if they are on the cusp of developing those robotic hands that can keep up with my thoughts yet?

The second project  consists of a short story.  Oh but of course, I couldn’t keep this one easy either.  I had 9 ideas of different short stories, but knowing I would never get all of them written in time to submit them, I have narrowed my options to 4 short stories.  Each one will be written, then I will choose which one I like of them and submit that one. If my excitement over these contests were tangible, I am quite sure anyone who walked near me would be thrown across the room.  Have no fear though, I am still working on the book, and it is coming along just wonderfully!!

My wonderful son is just as patient with his mother as ever.  But I find the fact that now I am working on other projects, instead of not having more time to spend with my son – it is the very opposite! I have more time to spend with him, I don’t know if it is simply because I am splitting my energy into two projects and not focusing on just one, or what…but it is working in both of our favors. I am happy to say that there is more laughter and giggles in the house now, and how I love the sound of both!!

So, now I leave you with some insight that had me searching out different projects in the first place. Instead of quitting what you love to do most, add to it so you can truly know if this is what you wish to do for the rest of your life.  It could go one of two ways: 1. You dig in and you fall in love with it all over again and new inspiration comes your way, or 2. It becomes too stressful – and with that stress comes the knowledge that this just might not be the thing for you at this point of your life. Don’t quit – just postpone. 😉