And Now…Something Completely Un-Original!

2014 – The Year in Review

I had the title typed before I saw the email with the gift from the WP helper monkeys that I assume we all got.

And I know this is a bit longer than usual, but if the ultimate goal is to kill a baby (the new years baby silly people…calm down) one can’t skimp on the details ūüėČ

At first, I thought I’d just make the WP Review public and call it a day, rather than come up with a review of my own.

It does, after all, highlight our most popular posts, our busiest days, how many views, and how many countries.

It also…
Reminds us that this year has been spent like yesterday’s paycheck!
Proves in black and white that 2014 has slipped right through our fingers.
Shows us that we blinked and there it was….G O N E!

None of which are bad or surprising. Just not a true enough picture. At least not for me.

Can I say there’s something that makes me think it has been “The Best Year Ever”?

Not even close

(Though, I AM content knowing there were a couple events that will be remembered fondly. One of which was welcoming a beautiful new friend named Sadie into our hearts and our home and the landscape changed for the better)

If you are, or know, A¬†Mama of Mayhem, A Deb of Destruction, or A Brittany of Breakage like me…then you understand!

Being a title holder of all three…this year is one for the books.
I actually shutter a little writing this ‘pre-midnight 12/31/14’ little tale, as it scares the SHITE outta me a bit! ¬†Lord knows, a LOT can happen in the 36 hours that remain!

For example…I sit here writing in a room that houses nothing that could hurt me, yet I still feel as if I am in a militarized zone. I almost want to ensconce myself in the bathroom, where, if I manage to not fall into something wet and drown, I’ll be good to go.

There will be no daily, weekly, or monthly, blow by blow review of the past year here.¬†Not even a highlight reel. ¬†You’ve heard all of that before. No need to rehash old shit storms.

However, it appears this almost year-old ‘baby 14’ is not done with me.

He did, yet again, set his sights on my ample bottom, reared back his infantile, yet strangely fat and hairy leg, let loose, and kicked me in the ass.

Yup, this over-grown, tantrum throwing, troll doll, is still flinging the contents of his dirty diaper my way, and frankly, I’m sick to death of the little shit!

I Am, in fact, celebrating the fact that in 36 hours, this mini monster will be
D E A D

D O N E

H I S T O R Y

W O R M F O O D

But, before his happy demise, the little bastard thought it would be funny to inflict a bit more madness and mayhem into my life.

How you wonder? Ooooh, he’s nothing if not imaginative, the little Attila.

(cue dreamy, going back in time music now…)

Saturday, 12/27/14
2:30am
I left Virginia in Mini Me, primed and ready for my 700 mile trip to the frozen north to spend time with Superman and Lois

Well prepared, reasonably rested, I hit the nearly empty highway in good form

350 miles in, I was awed by the mile long caravan of flashing lights; cruisers, suvs, vans, and buses, of law enforcement vehicles from all over the south, headed to New York City for the funeral service of two fallen comrades

I cruised through NYC (okay, the Bronx) in record time
(Guess everyone had the same thought…no troopers on the road)

I reached the interchange of Interstates 95/91 in New Haven at 11:30am

Considering I’d stopped for breakfast and a fill-up, I was making good time

The GPS said I’d be there by 2:45pm, just a bit over a 12 hour trip

Right on schedule (Lobster dinner tonight!)

Then…that big, bad, baby decided to wake up

With a shitty diaper

And he reached into that shitty diaper

Grabbed a handful

And flung it in my direction

It was a direct hit!

Round I

At 75 miles per hour
Traveling in the left lane
Interstate 91 Northbound
Exit 5 (I can’t get away from details)
Mini Me died
Foot on gas pedal…nothing
I was surrounded by flying traffic by this time of the day, and just north of New Haven, CT
No where to go that didn’t already have a vehicle occupying that same space
There was no left shoulder
I had no choice
One look over my shoulder resulted in a “FUCK” and prayer to God that I had enough forward momentum to reach the right shoulder alive
I shut my eyes and turned the wheel
I drifted…just drifted…amid honks and screeches which I had no choice but to ignore in an effort to get to safety, but sick to my stomach and shaky with fear of being Johnny Hot Rod’s New Year’s Roasted Road Kill
When I opened my eyes, I realized, had I waited to do that one second later, I’d have landed in the middle of the entrance/exit ramp and been no better off, and just as likely to be creamed
But, as it happened, I opened my eyes just in time to two-foot the brake and stop right before the shoulder/guard rail ended

Round II

After regaining the ability to breathe and pick up my phone without dropping it from shaking, I realized I only had 27% left on my battery with no power to re-charge
Panic set in, knowing I had to have my phone to get out of this mess

I tried to call my husband at his job in Virginia
I didn’t have the damned number in my phone as he’d just been transferred
SHIT  (not that he could have done anything, but I needed to hear something, anything, besides whizzing traffic)
I called Lois…hoping she answered and not Supe, because I didn’t want him to worry. She was gone, he answered
SHIT
He reminded me his best friend lived about an hour away, was a mechanic, and calmed me a bit.  (so much for me worrying about him eh?)
I called this friend, but he knew nothing about good ol’ Mini Me, but would pick me up if I needed
All I knew was I needed off the road but was not willing to leave the car sitting there
I called my insurance company thinking I had roadside assistance coverage
NOT (but she offered to sell it to me, the bitch)

After a Google search, found the number to hubby’s new location, called him and cried all the way through that conversation (ugh, what IS that anyway?)
He too reminded me (needed a lot of reminding that day) that I had an extended warranty that included roadside assistance (duh)

So, I called them and after a lengthy discussion, was relieved to hear that by 12:50, there would be a tow truck there to take us to a service location.
PHEW because I was down to about 12% on the phone and sweatin’ bullets

Round III

12:53pm
Tow truck arrives
Mini Me quickly and expertly man handled onto the flat bed
Passenger (moi) rudely told “IN. Don’t Smoke. Don’t Eat”
Passenger (moi) just as rudely yelled (in my head of course) Fuck You. Drive.

1:30pm
Reach our destination
Driver takes Mini Me off the rig, gets her safely into a parking spot behind the dealership
Waves me off and drives away
I go into the dealership to seek guidance
(after noticing the service department was closed baby closed)

Information desk girly pages the manager who informs me they don’t service Minis, so even if they had been open, they could not have helped me
Water works begin in earnest

To say anyone within spitting distance was a tad uncomfortable with this 54 year old lady, blubbering in the middle of a BMW dealership would be an understatement
(and worse still-they were having an ‘event’ and the place was packed!)
To say I gave a shit would be a lie

Round IV

After being herded off by the dealership manager
(to a padded, all but sound proof, cubby hole)
Where I was to sit and get things figured out
(offering to keep me in coffee and food, a power outlet, and a phone at my disposal)
I called the warranty eeeedjit back

One point five hours later, having listened to this dickhead tell me it was my fault I’d landed in “A place no Mini has gone before” (really?)
I told him to shut it…get me a new tow to somewhere that could actually SERVICE my car, and I’d deal with his incompetence later

Got a text ten minutes later that the tow truck would be there at 3:50pm to tow me 45 miles further north, to Hartford, where there was a Mini dealership whose service department was closed, but they were open until 5 and I could get my car checked in and arrange for a rental to continue the 300 miles I had left on my journey north
That left me about 10 minutes to spare, provided the tow truck arrived on time

The truck did NOT arrive on on time, and I knew I needed a new plan
I couldn’t be stuck at an empty dealership in Hartford, CT with no way out

Lois to the rescue…she calls my cousin in Massachusetts and arranges for her and to pick me up in Hartford and drive me to Brattleboro, Vermont where my visiting brother would drive to and pick me up to take me the rest of the way home

All told, cousin Shari and brother Allan would spend 3 hours and 4 hours respectively, driving on my behalf, all because a warranty roadside assistance representative didn’t think it was necessary to find out if the destination HE chose to have me towed to, actually serviced my vehicle

(I’m lucky to have the family I do…at least there IS that)

Round V
4:30pm
The second tow truck finally arrives
Getting to Hartford in time to talk to a person was already completely out the window
A talker
Good God, they sent me a fucking jaw bones!
(In an antique truck to boot)

5:00pm
The driver (Randy) finally gets to doing what he’s there to do
While he’s putting her on the truck, I notice the driver’s side window slowly inching down
And of course, there’s no power to raise it back up
OMFG…wanna guess the forecast for that night and the next day?
Yeah…like that
Oh well, another phone call to Shari to let her know I wouldn’t be in Hartford by 5 and to go ahead and get something to eat in the meantime

Sometime after 5:00 but before 6:00
Arrive at dealership in Hartford
Hugs and kisses for Shari and Jimmy
Off load Mini Me to spend the night, the next day and night, and the next morning exposed to the elements
Transfer all my shit to Shari’s car
Pay Randy (a.k.a. driver jaw bones)
(and I hugged him actually…he turned out to be good company and a much needed source of laughter and companionship on the drive to Hartford. He told me I was his ‘best tow ever‘ and I told him that’s only because I like to use the F word, tell raunchy jokes, and smoke (so he could smoke and he was good with that!)
ūüôā

Round VI

We meet up with Brother in Brattleboro Burger King
I got a drink while he sat staring at what he dubbed his “ass burger”
After a few minutes of visiting for the brother and the cousin, the eventual garbage can burial for his ass burger, we hit the road for our 2 hour trip home
ps…My brother is a genius! He brought me a bottle of wine and a plastic cup for the ride home. Does he know me or what? Update: ¬†I’ve been informed that it was brother number 2 who told brother number 3 to bring the wine!
Could they both be geniuses?

Round VII

It is now Tuesday, 12/30/14
I know absolutely nothing more today than I knew Saturday about the state of Mini Me
All I know is she’s there and I’m here
I’m already $260 bucks in the hole for which they called me to authorize, yet they’ve not even looked at her
Unsure if any or all or none of her ailments are covered by the warranty or if it’s gonna cost me an arm or maybe the one good leg I got left

So…let’s try this again:

2014 – The Neverending Story?

2014 – The Worst Story Ever Told?

2014 – It’s A Wonderful Life For Somebody Else?

2014 – Kill Me Now and Get it the Fuck Over With?

Sure…they all could work

But, since the little cuss ‘Atill-ito de Hun-o’ seems to like it when I get upset or angry or depressed when he slings his excrement my way…I’ve decided to take his poo and make poo-ade

I’m looking for and looking at, the positives that came out of this.

1. I’m alive
2. I’ve got great family
3. I made a tow truck driver’s year
4. That same driver made my fucked up day not so fucked up
5. I still made it up north to be with Superman and Lois
6. Mini Me is where she needs to be – in a Mini Hospital where she’ll get the care she needs

So, little baby butthead, go ahead ya filthy animal
You’ve got 36 hours to do your worst

But remember…
I’ve got a hell of a lot more time than you do, so there IS that, right?

In a little while, the world will be celebrating YOUR demise and your REPLACEMENTS arrival

How does that feel?

new_years_baby_crying

For me…it’s p r i c e l e s s

Happy New Year to all of you

As for you Baby 2.0.1.5.

Good friends?
Maybe, maybe not

But I’ll tell you what I’ve told your predecessor…

“I’ll be around a lot longer than you (God willing), so¬†go ahead…

Bring. It. On!

Sometimes you just need to change your underwear

Have you ever had one of ‘those‘ days?

A day where nothing seems to go right?

One where you spend way too much time fighting with hair that refuses to stay the course, ride the center line of your head-road because it has another destination in mind?

Somewhere…out there ——–>^<<^>>^<>>>

Where no hair has gone before?

(ooooh weeeee bum bum bum bum buuuuuum)

Yeah, out there

mommy hair

What?
W A I T 
What?

The bags under your eyes are big enough to hold your winter wardrobe and dark enough to draw questions like “Hey, when’d’ya have a nose job?”

black eyes

One of those “I have nothing to wear” days because everything you put on feels both to small and too big at the same time?

Even your SHOES?

Does anyone else see Sigourney Weaver hiding in a space closet here?

I could have SWORN these fit yesterday!

I could have SWORN these fit yesterday!

So gawdawful a day that whatever you put in your mouth tastes like yesterday’s leftovers of last week’s Sunday supper?
(so bad that the furball the cat gagged up would be more appetizing?)

Do NOT ask!

Do NOT ask!

The blind man driving the thought truck through the dirt roads in your head is making you dizzy from all the twists and turns and stops and starts while he tries to figure out where the hell he’s going?

Pull over you idiot I'm gonna be sick!

Pull over you idiot
I’m gonna be sick!

Okay, you get the idea.

I had one of those days yesterday.
What didn’t make me cry, made me mad
What didn’t make me mad, made me cry

I stood looking out the back door
Leaking like a sieve, both from the eyes and from the mouth (#$%^$$%^$)
But, as luck would have it, we were ready to leave
We had made arrangements to meet Supe and others at the only watering hole in town

To raise a glass to the glory of the day, as every day Supe’s willing and able to be out is a good day
And here I was, bitchin’ and moanin’ about it

So…I turned my thoughts inward

And what do you suppose came to mind?

I HATE my underwear

I HATE my underwear

Then I wondered what I could possibly do to help turn this day around
I stood there searching and feeling every inch of myself

Physically and mentally

Wonder what men feel like in THEIR underwear? (oooooh...eenie meenie minie mo' mo' mo') :)

Wonder what men feel like in THEIR underwear?
(oooooh…eenie meenie minie mo’ mo’ mo’)
ūüôā

(Ooops…wrong mental picture. This was not one for you)

Heeeere Kitty Kitty

Heeeere Kitty Kitty

(Damn, not that one either…)

I left the doorway, went upstairs, stripped from the waist down, and got redressed

Having changed but one thing

…and you’ve likely guessed what that one thing is by now

Ahhhh, that's better!

Ahhhh, that’s better!

But, by God it helped.

It helped a LOT.

So…I’ve come to this conclusion:

When you have one of ‘those‘ days?

Check your underwear…it all starts with the foundation!

Baaaaaaad Foundation

Baaaaaaad
Foundation

(don’t laugh…we all know the foundation is key!)

Goooood

Goooood
Foundation

I’ll leave you with one last thought…

The power of positive thinking is a great tool Рan awesome tool   and one I try to take out of my tool box every day

But on those days when the thoughts can’t be tooled with tools alone?

Go down underwear nothong….(hehe – nevermind!)

You get the idea ūüėČ

Go in peace and good fitting underwear

(*thanking the internet for the images this time, for once, they are not my own.  phew)

How To Dismantle a Life

Leave a 3 decades long marriage to the only person who ever knew everything about you, but forgot you were there while he got on with his life

Meet and fall in love with another, heart first, sight unseen, and for whom there was no question that he was my future and I his

Make plans together for that future

Share every detail of yourselves and your lives with each other

Become THAT vulnerable

Learn too late that you love too much, yet are not enough at the same time, and figuratively get left at the altar

Wonder why you are not worth loving, while you fall apart, feeling in your heart, it must be true…for the old one forgot you and the new one didn’t want you

However, be asked to return to that 3 decades long marriage to that one person who knew all along you didn’t belong anywhere but with him, no questions asked

Spend months trying to come to terms with being tossed out of one heart and not understanding why

And allowed back into another and not quite trusting why, but feeling grateful and wondering if that feeling is justified

Working to keep a friendship alive while the question still burns “where did the future go when I wasn’t looking?”

Working to keep a marriage honest and true, yet at the same time, struggle with the two questions “how can he still and how come he can’t” love me?

Helping a husband find a new path in life

And willingly so

While feeling the ghost of pain as the other follows another without you

Unwillingly so

Clearing your life of all material possessions because it’s all become too much

Watching your life put into boxes and carted off like box lots to auction

Standing in an empty shell that once held a family’s heart

Heading into the unknown in the second half century of your life with nothing more than you started with

Wondering if you’re strong enough to handle starting over

With the old love

Without the new one

And not sure you deserve either

And through it all, come to grips with your own past and its demons

Shedding light on a life spent in the dark in the most public way possible

Light that will hurt and help you…as it hurts and, you pray and hope, will help others more

Light that allows you to be okay with the similarities/contradictions of love and hate

But still leaves questions, burning questions, about whether you are doing the right thing

And needing

Always needing

That and whom, which does not want to be needed

No one wants the burden of constant reassurance

No one has the responsibility of convincing me I’m worthy

No one deserves the mantle of “someone to watch over me”

I’m a lot of work

And the only one up to the job

Equipped for the job

The job of re-assembling my life

Is ME

I’m sorry if these words or these thoughts spoken out loud hurt anyone

That is not the intent

As it is when assembling anything

We must first lay all the pieces out on the table

Take inventory

And (if female) read the instructions

I’ve found the instructions of my life are complicated, often in a foreign language, and perhaps even missing a step or two

But I’ll stick with it

Trial and error

Use my Yankee Ingenuity if I have to

So that in the end, I’ll be reconstructed, reassembled, or re-purposed…

Whichever it is…it’ll be me.

And it’ll be great

We must first break it down to build it up

Let the rebuilding begin

NO

Let the rebuilding continue…for this journey didn’t start today or yesterday

It started November 3rd Nineteen Hundred and Sixty

A long project…a lifelong project…with a punch-list of changes ten miles long

A worthy one?

You bet!

Did I ever mention “I had a hammer?”

Demon

There are times, quite often in fact, when we let our experiences dictate the path of our lives. Usually, the bad ones, or the self-destructive ones…it’s surprisingly harder to stand up than it is to fall down. I’m sharing Kyle’s post DEMON for the very reason that I struggle daily with my own demons and it’s always comforting to know I am not alone. Equally so, to have a friend who can bear the naked truth of the dark side of some of our choices yet show there is light to be found…IF we are willing to look. Thank you Kyle.

 

kyle mew

they’re a bunch of fucking natives, and they spout all this hippie shit about self-discovery and journeys into my soul and what-not. i nod politely and agree, but just so as to be polite. i don’t want to offend them, but its all a load of crap as far as i’m concerned. i’m here for the trip of my life. i’ve heard about these mushrooms, ever since i started taking drugs. the most powerful hallucinogenic on the planet. the trip of a lifetime. they are legendary and until now, i wasn’t even sure they existed at all.
i look at the pile of goo the old woman spits onto the plate. i understand why she has to chew the mushrooms first. she has been doing this for years, and there are enzymes in her saliva that will break down the mushrooms and prevent me from vomiting too much. novices have…

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Symbols and Signs ~ Signs and Symbols

Do you believe?

Big question.

There are signs everywhere.

Do you see them as such?

If you do, then you must believe they are signs.

But who determines what the signs mean?

To each his own?

Are there rules?

Some easy ones:

The palm of your hand itches:

You are coming into money.

You are going to have company.

I’ve heard both explanations and neither has been the case for me.

So far, it Just means my damned hand itches.

Ringing in your ears:

Someone is talking about you.

Oh yeah? ¬†Not anything to do with that 44 magnum you used for target practice, because it’s very important you know how to blow that poor tree to smithereens?

Whatever you say.

A black cat crosses your path:

Bad luck.

Well shit, I can have bad luck without a furry black puss within a 1,000 miles…so what gives?

But I’m guessing you get the idea.

Okay, so what of symbols?

Who decided what these ‘designs’ are symbols for?

Can we choose our own?

Can I say I like roosters so I’ve decided they are a symbol of love or happiness or well-being?

No…

The Greeks decided the cock was the symbol of victory over the night.

Hell…if anything I’d say he’s more a sign of him fucking up your morning (no pun intended)

But that’s just me.

We wear moons and stars in our ears…you wear one, he/she will wear one.

The universe is yours or maybe you see the moon/stars in each others eyes?

More like, I’m a cheap bastard and I’m only buying one set, you wear one and I’ll wear one. ¬†How about that?

We wear others too…either ones we’ve chosen, or others have chosen for us.

A bracelet with a circle:

Meant to symbolize the circle of life?

Karma?

Well, besides being ever thankful for the heartfelt gift and the generosity behind the giving…I can honestly say the one that’s been on my wrist for months now, has pretty much been my symbol for life going round in circles.

And personally, that fits.

Or hey…what of a piece with an infinity ‚ąě¬†symbol:

infinity

Always and Forever?

Hell to the No…not in my experience and don’t believe it likely is for many.

We wear rings on our fingers…left hand, third finger:

Til death?

It could mean death, certainly…see below

Symbol of fidelity?

Sure, but only if you remember to take it off first, or leave it on and face the possibility of death…unnatural death that is.

The beginning and the end with just one?

Sure…one at a time.

You kiss someone and you hear thunder claps and see lighting strikes:

That person is The One; your Soul-mate.

lightening

Um, listen up folks…it means get your ass inside dummies.

I don’t mean to be judgmental. ¬†I do believe in live and let live and to each his own.

But…

I also believe there are times when signs and symbols get in the way of seeing life for what it is; seeing things for what they are.

Not hoodoo voodoo.

voodoo

Not some preordained circumstance formed in the heavens waiting for the right moment to ‘come out’.

No…I think looking for / believing in / abiding by signs is too easy a trap to fall into for those looking for reasons for and meanings to, the things that occur in our lives, good or bad.

shit happens

Shit happens…now there’s a sign I can live with

And I also think attributing symbolic meaning to the shapes and designs of life, can lead you down a path of missing the forest for the trees.

Of letting someone else do the thinking for you.

For me, I’d rather see something for what it is, appreciate it’s natural (or man-made) beauty in its own light, for its own sake, than believe it means something someone I’ve never met…will never meet…and believe knows enough nothing of my life to have a say about what I should think of it.

At least, that’s me now. ¬†No signs – No symbols – Just life

Just a mind wandering and pondering on a Saturday afternoon.

happy saturday

Um, helloooooooo Saturday. ¬†ūüôā

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

~‚ô•~

If I Had a Hammer…and a paint brush

Hear the words….GET BACK UP by Toby Mac

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

I’m scared shitless.

A day that requires a strength I’m not positive I have.

Yet I’m committed to faking that strength if I have to.

A day to speak-up, speak-out, and step-up.

To use the tools I have; tearing down old walls, kicking open locked doors, and shattering the stained and grime covered glass windows that have kept the dark in and the light out for too long.

Then, I can put the sledgehammer down, pick up my paint brush, and add my own colors to the palette of those brave souls already building a sanctuary from the prisons of abuse.

If aiding those who have already begun fabricating the framework; the architects like Andrea Bredbeck, and the carpenters, masons, and painters who swing their hammers, glide their trowels, and stroke their brushes of truth; if that is all I can do, then it’s what I will do.

Support is the – KEY –¬†stock-photo-skeleton-key-symbol-31783060¬†¬†to this sanctuary. ¬†Without it, the door will remain locked.

Let your loved ones know, BEFORE they need it, that you’ll always be there.

Don’t assume they know…hammer it home it you have to.

That’s YOUR tool…use it. ¬†With love, but use it.

‚ô•¬†And to those I love and to those that love me…thank you. ¬†‚ô•

Number 3 – RAPE: Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity

The third and final post in the RAPE:  Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity challenge to join the movement to raise our voices in the fight again Rape and Sexual Assault, as well as lift our voices in unison toward helping women feel empowered to take charge and take action.

I particularly love this one because it’s¬†quintessential¬†Susan (the Green Thumb Goddess). ¬†She can always pack a¬†wallop in her poetry but I think she especially nailed this one. ¬†The seed planted here is powerful, visual, and easy to relate to.

I would also like to thank my daughter-in-law Lindsay for allowing me to use her beautiful face in this image. ¬†While she’s not a victim of sexual abuse…she absolutely ‘gets’ it!

A side note:

Women do not have to be victims of abuse to feel like and see that ‘stranger’ in the mirror…sometimes lost, sometimes less than, too often¬†unrecognizable. ¬†Because I know that feeling all too well, not just as a survivor, but as a woman in general,¬†there’s an added incentive to lead by example; to show that we must not be silent; we must not become part of the backdrop of someone else’s life; we must not lose sight of who and what we are…special, unique, and empowered to change the world by virtue of our voices, our minds, and not the least, raising our children.

We must step up and out of the supporting role and take the lead when we need to; show our sons and daughters that just because we plant and tend the garden, it does NOT make us gardeners.

And our choice to be housewives, does NOT mean we are ignorant of the world outside our four walls.

If our choice is to be stay-at-home mothers, it is just that – a choice. ¬†NOT an open door to disrespect, condescension, or a sign that we feel ourselves unworthy. ¬†If anything…it’s the complete opposite.¬†

Here then, for her, you, me, us….WE¬†

Stranger by Susan Daniels and Rhonda

Stranger

Number 1 РRape Hurts     Number 2 РShe

Thank you Susan, it was an absolute pleasure to be part of this with you.

And, thank you all for reading.

For the Love of a Damned Good Conversation

I was working on a post this morning, having to do with the tons of fun in the sun trying to sell a house in today’s market (yeah, right), when as often happens, a short sidestep away from the center line resulted in being led down another dirt road. ¬†But that’s life, especially my life, as I live for the treks down the less traveled dirt.

This particular step off the line was a conversation with a friend that began with small talk about the Gawd awful heat wave and remedies for sun burns, meandered to the pros and cons of having your home and all its contents spread all over the air waves for any ol’ burglar to scope out, tip-toed into current affairs generally and recent events in the Florida courts specifically, then naturally (!?!) morphed into what it must be like for a child to be raised in a Muslim household that forbids TV, radio, music, internet, and playing with children not of their own religion.

Don’t you just LOVE these conversations that sprout tentacles like a giant squid? ¬†I do…I love the random nature of them almost as much as the feeling of comfort I get knowing we can talk about anything…all at once! ¬†Very stimulating to say the least.

Anyway, post Muslim life discussion, from which we both came away thinking we’d like to try our hand at reading the Koran, the conversation jumped the broom to religion in general. ¬†While one of use believes and the other does not, one thing is certainly true: ¬†Where we find intolerance, bigotry, segregationist thinking, there is usually a religious aspect fueling it. ¬†If we are ever to see the day when our planet’s caretakers can live in true peace and brotherhood…religious fanaticism or extremists, of any kind, must see the end of days.

This of course ‘evolved’ into, well, evolution. ¬†Which as a non-believer in religion of any kind, is in fact, the religion of choice. ¬†Past the talk of apes and chimps, we discussed how humans are¬†shown to have an innate ability to share. ¬†Yup. ¬†Share. ¬†Which of course led to whether being kind and empathetic is genetics or learned, and whether lesser traits, like competing in all respects, is too, learned or innate. ¬†Survival of the fittest after all, with no moral force guiding it? ¬†For the non-believer, the take is that we are just naturally a ‘nice’ animal. ¬†For me, the believer, I tended to agree, but still harbor some doubt. ¬†I do think, that while certain characteristics of humans are innate, most are learned behaviors. Basically, nature vs. nurture. ¬†An old and forever on-going topic of discussion that has its own, very long, dirt path. ¬†We discussed why certain behaviors occur in some animals and not in others.

For instance, the beaten dog. ¬†How can a dog who knows mostly pain from the hand of its human, still find it within itself to lick that very hand the few times it might be extended in what one could only marginally be described as love? ¬†It’s insane. ¬†Yet, it happens all the time. ¬†However, for a child to be reared in the same way, the risk is far, far greater, that the result could just as easily be a non-empathetic psychopath as it could be a loving, thriving, kind, and generous, human being. ¬†Is that a choice? Nature vs. nurture again? ¬†I used myself as an example, and even so, I still have doubts about it…or maybe doubt is too strong a word.

I have questions.

Being a victim of childhood sexual abuse (The year that broke the dam) from the ages of 5 to 14 and a victim of rape at the age of 19, one could imagine that I could have become a bitter, angry, mean-spirited, non-trusting, love-hating person. ¬†But I didn’t (Back on the Road). ¬†I’m like the beaten dog…and I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic here…it’s more a visual aide. ¬†I live a life filled with as much love as there is hate; as much beauty as there is ugliness; as much need for love, both to give and to receive, as distrust of it. ¬†So, it begs the question…was this my choice? Or was I bound by genetics to grow into a woman with a heart and huge capacity for empathy? ¬†I don’t know.

But here’s the rub, and ultimately, the reason for our long stroll down these particular paths…in speaking with this friend, it was pointed out ardently, that I do, in fact, have a wonderful heart, a good and strong personality, a huge capacity for love, and that (this is the key) I’m beautiful on the inside.

Ah yes…the beauty within vs. the beauty without (is that the term? doesn’t sound right, but you know what I mean). ¬†I, for one, actually HATE that phrase. ¬†I love that I am, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a double-edged sword for me. ¬†I fell into the trap long, long ago, that it’s more important, at least initially, to be more beautiful on the outside. It has been my experience, and I just may have to take the responsibility for it ¬†(Delusional Illusions), that people who could not see beyond the surface passed me by without a second glance and without having the pleasure of getting to know me. ¬†I’m not alone. ¬†I’m certainly not unique in my thinking this is the way of things. I say honestly, if it was a choice to be the way I am, it was not an easy one, but for me, the only one. ¬†Why? Genetics? Nurture? (shrugging shoulders still)

So while I do still struggle with this question, the conversation, for all its meandering, did help me see that hard or not, choice or not, I am on the right path. ¬†My path. And if Joe Blow from Kokomo chooses to walk by me because I don’t look like a Playboy centerfold…I say one thing (well, I say it behind his back ’cause I’m nice)…

Fuck You!

We are all beautiful…let’s get to the heart of it, shall we?

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Yes…my photo…and yes, I draw hearts in the snow…and the sand…and the dirt…it’s just how I roll.

 

Back on the Road

Inroads – encroachment

Crossroads – decisions

Dirt roads – tributaries along the way

Bumpy roads – the ups and downs

Detours – new direction to the same destination

Roadblocks – stop or find another way

Out roads – the place we don’t want to be

Every day, we choose the road we set our feet upon. ¬†Each inch we travel is a minute step in the right direction as long as that direction is forward. Don’t stand still, don’t hesitate, don’t stop moving.

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Others will make inroads against us…don’t let them. ¬†Do not allow anyone to take from us what we are not willing to give freely. Don’t let them sneak up on you.

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Do our hard thinking along the way so when we reach your crossroads you’ll know the direction you are meant to take. This will never be easy and we will likely be here more than once. If you take the wrong turn the first time, remember it well…and do better the next.

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The dirt roads are mere side trips; chances to meet new people, try new things, gain new insight, or just look for a place to breathe. These are the paths that make the journey worthwhile.

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There will always be bumps in the road ahead…there has never been a completely flat road and there never will be. Some are visible, some clouded in the fog of our mind’s eye…but there, they are. ¬†We must use caution on the way to planting our flag of accomplishment on the top, and always leave a word or two of encouragement there for the ones that follow. ¬†And remember, we are gaining strength with each step up and over to the other side. The next one will be a little easier and the one after that and the one after that.

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Don’t fear the detours, they are a necessary part of our journey. As long as our destination is clear, how we get there matters little and there’s nothing wrong with a change of scenery. Sights to be enjoyed, experiences to be treasured, lessons to be learned…Life recalculated.

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The road blocks are meant to test us. They will stop some in their tracks; end the journey because it just got too hard. ¬†Don’t let this happen. We must use them as tools to hone our skills of adjusting, ingenuity, imagination, and self-reliance. Don’t give in and don’t give up…give ’em hell.

Bridge 3 still there

There may be times we find ourselves on the outside, what I call the out roads. ¬†This is not a place to be. This is a place of indecision, self-doubt, fear of the unknown, and even fear of the known. The kind of fear that lives in the dark places, leaves us afraid to step forward, or afraid to move at all. ¬†Lost. ¬†If we find ourselves here…we must stop, open our minds, hearts, and eyes…for this is the time to ask for help.

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We can see them; the people in our lives we love and respect; lining the shoulder of the roads we’ve walked…reaching out. They are waiting, they are willing, they are there to help you back on your path. But they cannot do it for you…admit you are lost, take the hands that are offered, and begin again. One step at a time.

It’s never too late.

It’s never too late to reach for the moon.

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It’s never to late.

It’s never to late to get back on the road.

IMG_4456Safe travels my friends.

 

The year that broke the dam

Today’s post is the anniversary post I had planned for yesterday. As is often the case, life intervened. And in retrospect, I’m glad it did. Terrified, but glad.

You see, I was prepared to reflect on this last year alone. Lord knows it’s been a year like no other for me. But¬†over the course of the last couple of days, I’ve realized that’s not enough. Not even close. It must go beyond that. ¬†It must be shared how a photograph of an eagle…

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To have missed this would have changed it all.
To have been witness to this, did change it all.
Change is life.

a beam of light

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Light through the dark.
All you need do is look.
And believe…it’s for you.

…a kind word of encouragement from a friend,¬†and a blog can change the world. ¬†My world. And I hope, in some way, someone else’s.

I must talk of how my past blew a hole in my present and almost destroyed my future, yet didn’t. And I hope, somewhere in here, before I’m done, I will show too, just how much I’ve gained this last year; in love, friendship, self-esteem, self-reliance, …hell, let’s just say self. ¬†That’s the biggie.

The mirror I’m looking in today is one that goes beyond my image. ¬†Beyond the face that shows subtle signs of age in the soft wrinkles in the corners of my eyes and mouth, and the 50 shades of gray.¬†This mirror mirror on the wall…tells the secrets, tells them all.

Yes, and it’s been a long time coming. And I’m not alone in my many dimensional mirror. I see image, beyond image, beyond image times a thousand, of half woman/half girl, half man/half boy faces that all have the same haunted eyes, looking back at me, silently screaming.

The screams have been heard. ¬†The faces have been seen and are known. ¬†The old, the young, the gone, the living…mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and strangers; all once children, young adults, adults, of abuse. ¬†They are with me, in front, behind, and beside me. ¬†They are me. They are you. But since I’m the one on this side of the mirror, I’ll speak; for them; for me.

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All things in their time
The time is now
Open the flood gates

Why a dam? It’s built to withstand years of stress and pressure. To give that which is needed when it’s needed, and not before. It’s there to hold back that which is as deadly as it is life-giving. It has a built-in relief system…its flood gates.

We are very like this dam, we human beings. ¬†Our bodies and our minds are built to withstand years of stress and pressure. We can take a life as quickly as we can give it. We cater to those with needs, giving what is needed, when it’s needed, and not before. And we too have built-in relief systems. Plural. For we have many. Not all good, not all healthy, and certainly not all lasting. But we each do what we have to do to survive. It’s in our nature. To survive. Or try to. Some do. Sadly, a great many don’t. Some do their best to just survive. Some go beyond, make a difference, help others with faulty or stuck relief systems.

This last year of blogging; specifically, the meeting of a surprising number of kindred souls in this community, has shown me that whatever forces are at work, led me here for a reason. This is no accident.  Not even a happy one. It is just as it has to be.

Things happen for a reason? All things in their own time? I’m no expert on the human condition, nor am I a philosopher. ¬†But yes, these things I believe. At least, I believe them now.¬†There was a time not so long ago, my belief system was quite different. Why? Because there is no reason in this world or any other I could ever imagine a right reason or right time for abuse. Of any kind. Of any one. Most especially though, child abuse, and God forbid, sexual abuse.

It is of that I speak. Here. Today. Openly and for the first time, terrifyingly public; beyond the false walls I built around myself at a very young age. In this last year, the walls have begun to crumble, and I’ve found that the hands I reached out to others in empathy and compassion, have been taken and touched in kind, and placed safely into a human chain of compassion and support I’d not known until now. Not because it wasn’t there; because I’d never reached before. I was busy keeping my fortress secure. To say blogging helped change my life would be an understatement…it, an eagle, and a beam of light, saved it.

This is the sledgehammer that’s going to take down what’s left. Not just to set myself free, but to reach the one, or the ten, or the hundred, who need to know they are not alone and they are not broken. ¬†Bruised, battered, scarred, hurting beyond hurt, and isolated, yes. ¬†But not broken, and not alone, and not AT FAULT.

I used to think remembering and reminding myself of the details were important. It’s not. ¬†It’s toxic. The devil’s in the details? You’re damn right he is. I kept each detail locked in my fortress, either framed and hanging on the wall like a treasured photograph, hanging on a hook in my closet ready to be taken out and worn like a cloak, or hiding under the bed enmeshed in those evil wind dancing, webs that have been catching and holding years and years worth of dirt; years of details wrapped in a cocoon and saved for later…

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Oh the tangled webs we weave
In our minds
Just to survive

…Enough! ¬†Walls down. Light in. Broom in hand.

Time.

Now.

There’s no more room.

I have always wondered, and I know other survivors do also, who I would have been had things been different. Who I was supposed to be. I shall answer the first here…the second, at the end.

  • Would I still feel the need for approval or validation for everything I do?

This is a hard one. And at this moment, all I can say is definitely/maybe not. I’m not there yet, but the more I learn of myself, the more I know that I am quite capable of deciding if what I’m doing is right, or good, and the only one I need approval from, or validation for my deeds or actions, is me. Same goes for consequences. Mine. As with the devil’s details…blaming the past or hanging onto past hurts only keeps me in the dark and they too need to see the fat end of the broom.

  • Would I still agree to do things I don’t want to do to make someone else’s life easier or happier at the expense of my own?

I’m hoping I would have been able to find a balance here. I don’t want to cause hurt or pain to others, but over the years this trait has been detrimental to my own sense of self-worth. ¬†I do believe this trait will be going out the door with the webs, with a more healthy one in its stead. ¬†Not born of conceit or over indulged self importance…one born of kindness and compassion yet with the awareness that I am worthy of the same consideration. ¬†This is a big one.

  • Would I still be¬†empathetic¬†to the point of physical discomfort?

Yes,¬†unequivocally,¬†yes. This will not change. And I don’t want it to. Or it won’t change because I don’t want it to. Either way, it stays.

  • ¬†Would I still be 100% confrontational within my own family circle, yet 100% against/afraid of confrontation outside of it?

I think I already proven to myself that this is history. (right service manager Denise?)

As for the family confrontational dynamic…well part of that is genetic (yes it is..we French love to argue).

Kidding aside, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel here.  A big part of this trait that can appear akin to someone with a chip on their shoulder; a (disguised) resentment born out of my sense of not being protected. But maybe even more, not being recognized.

For me of course, it was obvious. ¬†I knew the taint was visible, I saw it every day. ¬†But I know that’s not the way of it. ¬†And I will say something about that in a moment…but I do know, without question, it was not from lack of love. Still, I did harbor that resentment and anger for a very long time. Its departure is another recent event, and frankly, one I’m glad to see out the door.

What I wanted…needed…to say about the ‘not being recognized’ is this, and I’m coming at this from both perspectives, my own perspectives; as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, date rape, and as a parent.

Parents work. Yes

Now more than ever. Yes

One, both, inside the home, outside the home…work. Yes

We have no choice if we are to provide what we need to care for, and make better lives for, our families, if we chose to have children. Yes

Children require work. Yes

Now more than ever. Yes

Day care, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, primary school, elementary school, middle school, high school…sports, jobs, cars, dating, college. ¬†It’s never-ending. Yes

What do we need more of?  Time? Patience? Energy? Help? Yes to all the above.

What do we do if we are out of/never had any/can’t get any of the¬†all the aboves?

we see a child¬†crying or having a tantrum and tell her to please, please stop or go to her room – we see a shy little boy and make him go outside and play with the kids next door – we see a shy, chubby adolescent and enroll him/her into an activity or put them a diet because no one wants to have their child picked on for being fat – we are at our wits end with the surly teenager who never smiles and can’t wait for him/her to outgrow this phase – we see a young man or young woman making self-destructive life decisions and lecture them about the dangers of sex, drugs, and rock -n- roll (or rap, or heavy metal, or country…makes no difference).

These are all normal, everyday scenarios in the lives of most families. ¬†And will continue as long as we have children. ¬†So what’s the problem. ¬†This…

what if hers is a cry for help without the words to express it – what if his shyness is fear of being away from home or out of your sight because he’s been molested and told he will be punished if he tells – what if the chubby little darling is substituting food for the right kind of attention and hiding their perfect little selves in fat from the wrong kind of attention – what if that surly teenager has a dark secret and thinks no one will understand but knows if you really, really looked, you’d see it without them saying a word, please don’t make me say it – and what if those self-destructive decisions are just that…an attempt at self-destruction for fear of someone knowing, the pain of someone not knowing, and the shame with having said nothing.

We need to stop looking through our children. Stop making assumptions based on our own lack of time, energy, patience, or help. ¬†Things are not always what they seem. ¬†Sometimes they are just what they appear to be…but the time it takes to really look at your children, talk to them, is worth more than any paycheck.

We talk a lot about bullying. ¬†It is rampant these days. ¬†But is it really ‘these days’? ¬†Or have we just been too busy to notice it before. ¬†Bullies are not born. ¬†They are made. ¬†It’s not a stretch to imagine an abused child becoming a bully is it? ¬†Can one who is bullied, beaten, molested by an adult not just as likely to turn his/her anger toward someone weaker or smaller? ¬†We don’t always turn inwards. ¬†Some cope another way. ¬†There is never an excuse for bullying. ¬†But I’d be more inclined to ask my son or daughter the hard questions if I ever saw or heard of them bullying others.

And finally, to answer the second of the questions…Who was I supposed to be?

Well, that one is becoming more clear. ¬†Me. Right here, right now. Me. ¬†And that’s just fine.