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Sunday, May 31, 2020

I Miss Hugs



I'm a hugger.  I've always been a hugger.  I'll hug you if you reach out to shake my hand.  I can't help myself, and while I understand that many people are hugphobic or don't like physical touch, I'm not that person.  I crave hugs.  I crave administering hugs.  Physical touch is in my DNA. It is part of my culture. That notwithstanding, even if it weren't part of my culture or in my DNA (which I will argue the point most passionately) I would still be a hugger.  I've been told that I am the huggiest of huggers. I will never be the one letting go. You'd have to let go first.

I'm a fucking great hugger.  And I want to hug again.  I miss hugging.  This whole thing sucks.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

"I Love Me Too!"



If you ask my kids to tell you a favorite memory of my dad, other than the one about O J Simpson hiding in our attic, I think one of the first things they would say is they remember how whenever they would say; "I love you, Grandpa", he would always respond; "I love me too!"

That scenario didn't begin with them. It was a long-standing script that Dad used all the time with me when I was growing up as well. I still hear his voice saying it.  I even remember my response would be to go and punch his arm, or roll my eyes.  But I knew that if I said it to him, I'd always get the same response.  Once, in my teens, at one of those Daddy-Daughter moments, I said it while I hugged him, my head nestled against his big, broad chest. The moment rushed over me in my affection for this father of mine that I adored and the words came gushing out. In return, he gave me his typical response, and... I broke into tears.  His eyes widened in horror.  Dad never responded well to tears.

     "What?  What did I do?"

     "Dad, can't you just once say; 'I love you too'?  Just once?"

     "Oh. Umm. Yeah, yeah, ok. I uh, I love you too. Ok?"

After that, I think he avoided hugs from me until after high school, fearing overt teenaged emotions and angst and that he might actually have to say that dreaded phrase again.

Even when the kids were born, one after another in what felt like quick succession, he couldn't deliver those four words without his usual rift.  When he came to visit each one of them for the first time, I'd say upon his departure; "I love you, Dad". Smiling with the pride of a new grandfather who'd been doting over the babe in his arms, he'd respond in the usual way. I smiled as he'd leave. As they grew, the kids came to expect that response and it always made them giggle. He'd look at me when the exchange would bring about the giggle fits along with "Oh Grandpa! You're silly!"

I don't know exactly when it changed.  But I do know that the very last time I saw my father alive, on a visit to his home in Nevada, we were packing the car and preparing to make the drive home. The kids all gave him hugs and they laughed when the usual "love banter" transpired.  "I love you, Grandpa!" and they all responded in chorus with him; "I love me too!"  Standing next to him on the curb, I leaned in for a hug. He held me longer than usual. I held on longer than usual, my face nestled into his no longer big, no longer broad chest.  "I love you, Dad."  The longest pause, and then; "I love you too, Pua." And right then and there, I knew I'd never see him again.  I think we both knew.

I miss that guy more than anyone could ever possibly know. The truth is, as annoying as I thought his response was to those four little words, I'd give anything to hear him say them again.

Friday, May 22, 2020

A New Lifeline

"If you love deeply, you're going to get hurt badly. But it's still worth it." - C. S. Lewis


I've taken the leap away from FB on social media in the past.  But I never got rid of the icon or uninstalled the app on my phone before. I've also never made "the big announcement" on those occasions that I "tried" to leave either.  So this is new territory, and I have to admit I'm so happy to have this place to run to.  It's like an old friend. It's always here. It doesn't judge me. Well, ok. It has judged me when I've stepped over the boundaries and tried to pretend I knew how to write code or maybe spruce things up. So I stopped doing that. I know my blog designer is out there somewhere. Occasionally peaking in to see if I'm still here mucking about (Hi Matt!).

So here we are. I'm having a really rough time. Nothing new, and nothing that won't transpire again. Again, I'm brokenhearted over things I really have no control over other than to re-evaluate and take that shitty self-inventory of where I may be at fault or have some accountability. I shrug my shoulders as I say that, like a petulant teenager who says "whatever" as they walk away. But the reality is that I don't really know where I went wrong. Actually, it goes back to a trust issue. I trusted too easily again and I let my guard down. If I ever had a guard. Charlie and the kids always tell me that I'm too trusting and I give away parts of myself too easily. It's a downfall. It's that damned tender heart.

Anyway, I walked away. Again. But hopefully this time for a long enough time to let some healing happen in a more permanent way. The wisdom of Epictetus tells us that it's not what happens to us but how we react that matters. I'm SO horrible at taking in wisdom and actually applying it to my life. I'm emotional and I react hastily. A character flaw that I am not proud of, and one that has NEVER brought me any kind of resolution that was satisfactory. It's puzzling to me that after all these years, I still can't seem to put this into practice. However, I think this time, for me anyway, things might actually change. I'm really going to try my hardest.

I'm in a pain right now that is mind-numbing and excruciating.  But that doesn't mean I have to take people down with me. That doesn't mean I have to lash out at those I feel have hurt me. Nothing will change from that. Nothing will be made better. Most importantly, that won't heal my hurt. I really need to come to the realization that things that are important to ME, aren't necessarily important to anyone else.

In that respect, I'm about to use this safety zone of mine for a teaching tool for myself.  Not as a mother. Not as a wife. But as Pua; the almost 60 year old woman who can hopefully, even at this late stage, find some way to grow from it. I have walked from FB. I've decided that even texting is something I hope to do less of.  If I have time to text, I have time to call. If I have time to complain, I have time to lift up. I will email less, and use stationery and a stamp more, even though I think I'm already someone who is damn good at that. I will pick up a book instead of watch tv. I will start writing again. I will TRY to complain less about things that no one really cares about...mostly because it didn't happen to them. So I won't burden them with my woes.  I'm coming here. I will run here. I will allow myself to do that here. Because this is mine. As long as this blog exists, it is mine.

Last night, I opened a book for the first time in a long time.  Last night, I listened to a meditation session.  Last night, I fell asleep without any "assistance". That is another thing that hasn't happened in awhile.  Hopefully I can maintain this method of self-help.

I can't change what is happening in the world, other than to do my part.  I can't change how people feel about what is happening in the world. I can't change anything about anyone but myself. I have to accept that I may never get the kind of reciprocity or acknowledgement that I hope for.  Change always beings with the person in the mirror.  As they say; better late than never.

A new journey begins.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Seventeen


When I started WCw/WC, Averie was 17 years old.  Today it's WCw/WC's 17th birthday.  My blog is the same age that my first child was when I started it.  That puts Caris at 15, and The Grommet at 13.

In case you can't read between the lines, this blog was the survival journal and coping strategy for wading the waters of parenting teenagers.  It gave me a place to sort out, vent, and ultimately share to wonder of raising humans into adulthood in a, let's face it, fucked up world.

We made it.  All of us.  We made it to an even more fucked up world.  But hey, I'm gonna say this about that.  My kids may have cringed a lot over the past 17 years of my blabbing about their worlds. That's ok.  I lived.  They lived.  If there was embarrassment, we worked through it.  I'm proud of the work I've done.  Not only as a mother, but as a war-time correspondent from the front lines.  Sometimes, it felt that way.  But mostly, it was magical.  I look back on these pages with pride, humility, and more than anything, a great sense of wonder that I was lucky enough to call these amazing human beings my offspring.  And even more than that, that I had the presence of mind 17 years ago to write it all down.

It still amazes me.  All of it.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentines They Didn't Know They Sent

I've spent the evening reading over blog posts.  I don't visit WCwaWC that often anymore.  That's sad.  I should.  I should still be writing.  I don't.  Again, that's sad.  It really is very good therapy for me.  I know this.  It's funny what you know you should do, but you don't.  Humans.  So unnecessarily difficult.  I digress.

I've learned a couple of things perusing through the old blog. One; February is a notoriously bad month for me.  And two; my kids are a tonic to my soul, and I miss them.  I haven't been well, so there has been no shopping for valentines, or mailing of love packages with artistic confections as I had so wanted to do.  I haven't picked up the phone and called because I can't say three words without going into a sputtering coughing fit.



So I want to put this down here, and out into the universe whether they see it or not.  Averie, Caris, and Bryson; I adore you.  I think you are amazing, beautiful, wondrous creatures that Daddy and I have been lucky enough to parent, to love, and to release into the chaos that is the world we live in.

Your lives are a treasure to our lives.  I am SO grateful that I took the time to sit down and document the years of your lives over the years here.  I know that sometimes this blog has probably been the bane of your existence and you would have preferred I not been so willing to share you with the blogosphere.  But, as I look back now, I realize that every moment chronicled here, where your names are attached, was written in love and admiration.  I hope you know that too. These days, every story I re-read is a valentine from you to me that you never knew you sent, and therefore a gift of value far greater than anything material or monetary.

I love the three of you to the depths of my being, and I will always, ALWAYS be so proud that I am your mother.


Thursday, August 01, 2019

The Relentless Bully Returns



Depression is a bully that lives inside your head.  I've struggled with depression my whole life.  For as long as I could remember it having a name, it has taken up residence in my brain.  It has gone on holiday at times and as a result it has given me a vacation from its hold over me. But it always returns.

I suppose the difference is that I'm a pretty high-functioning sufferer.  I CAN get out of bed.  There was a time I couldn't, but I do it pretty regularly now.  I CAN motivate myself to work, because as a high-functioning sufferer, I also have a very high, almost over-active sense of responsibility.  I CAN sit with "friends" and smile, and laugh and pretend nothing is wrong because high-functioning sufferers are very good actors. They also feel they aren't deserving of attention and allow those in their circle to claim attention for themselves.

One thing that I've come to realize over time is that once the ball begins rolling, it gathers momentum.  Small things become larger, situations that have simple explanations become mind-bogglingly baffling.  And the ball becomes larger and larger until it cannot be controlled.  I'm heading that way.  And I'm scared.  Right now, where I am, I feel I have no friends, no one to talk to, and as the disease is wont to do, it tells me constantly that no one cares.  Except my dog.

Funny thing is, I'm constantly worried about other people.  I constantly reach out to make sure people are ok. But the voices in my head tell me that those same people care nothing about me.  I'm a blip.  A red shirt on Star Trek. An inconsequential seat-holder.  Lately, I feel like I've been dealt some really difficult blows.  A revelation of a long-held belief by someone else has leveled me.  The passing of a friend's loved one has intensified my brain's testimony of my lack of self-worth.  The perceived lack of attention by those I hold dear who, if I made it known my heart hurts, would then begin the dissertation of why my feelings are silly, unworthy, or how I need to move on and then stand on their soapbox of philosophical rightness to tell me how that's done.  When really, just an ear and a hug would do.  An injury that has kept me from doing something I have desired forever is exacerbating an already difficult situation.

Yet, through all of this, I still function.  I still get out of bed.  I still check on people.  I still reach out. I still smile.  I still do things to make other people feel important and worthy and loved. And still, I'm dying inside.

Depression is a bully that lives inside your head and lies to you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Principle and Conviction


Today, I asked the Mindhive to share their definition of principles and convictions. I inquired as to what they had given up because of strongly held beliefs. It became an issue that my mind woke up to and hasn't been able to shake because of a comment on the place of faces on a page I used to frequent. "Used to" being the operative word. That page, along with quite a few others, are part of those things I've eschewed not just for my mental sanity, but for my emotional well-being as well. Toxicity is not a principle or conviction, but it's definitely something I'm willing to give up surrounding myself with.

 Which brings me back to the subject of most of my recent blog posts; sacrifice. I've learned over the past few years of either relinquishing things that give me a sense of calmness, serenity, or downright joy for the sake of health or humanity, that if the subject comes up whilst you are in the company of people who still participate in the aforementioned activities, eyes begin to roll. After giving up two things that I have dearly loved (smoking and eating meat) for years now, I've seen an evolution of behaviors. Not just in myself, but in friends and acquaintances.

 I've learned that I AM stronger than I ever thought I could be when it comes to myself. I've always been a strong wife, a strong mother, strong friend. I've always been able to be present when it comes to my loved ones. If I can move heaven or earth to help, I will do that which must be done. Many times at the cost of my own health or safety, both physically and emotionally. But, I have learned in a short few years that I CAN stand strong in principles I've held strong beliefs in, but never seemed to have the conviction to make happen. I can, and have achieved that goal.

I've learned that I'm more willing to sacrifice for OTHERS than I am for myself.  I can and will give up my own happiness in order to save lives. I can and will give up my own joy in order to bring joy to someone else.  I can and will stand in the fray to fight for the rights of people I care about.  But buy your own tater tots and martinis. These are mine.  Unless you're starving. Have the tots. Hands off the Cosmo.

 As proud as I am of these past successes, I've also learned that it has a bit of a snowball effect. I don't know if it's the times we're living in, or if it's just a level of late maturation. I do credit the current political climate and the horrific administration now in power in this country with opening my eyes in a big way. Everything that is being torn down and the uproar over that, and yet, I don't see a lot of change where, in my opinion, it counts. It's easier now for me to see more clearly that:

1. You can't complain if you're not willing to change.
2. Hypocrisy takes many forms and I've been very guilty of it in ways that make me ashamed.
3. It hurts WAY more when you know you've been complicit in the participation of causing harm and it's taken you your whole life to see it.
4. The more you've given up, the easier it is to continue to give up that which you know in your heart isn't right.

I've given up 3 major things in my life in my 50s. One of those things I wish I had never started. The second thing, I wish I'd given up sooner. The third thing is one of baby steps. I've given up a portion of it because I cannot take an oath to a cause when I don't think they're really adhering to their own stated principles, but I remain loyal to the mission statement. Baby steps.

 Now, Charlie and I stand on the precipice of giving up something we dearly love; cruising. Having discovered the extent of their atrocities and their criminal activity to cover it up, we can't in good conscience continue to participate or be complicit. We all know that money talks, and though Charlie's and my hard-earned vacation dollars are a drop in the bucket to them, at this point, it's the only way we know of to let them know we're no longer on board, pun intended. We're sad beyond the face value of this. It means we will not see friends that we've made over our decades of cruising. It means that we will more than likely not see the places we would likely have seen for a lot less money. It means that the one vacation value that we've always treasured is no longer a joy we will have. 

Therein also lies a measure of hypocrisy that I have had to face. In my heart of hearts, the ocean girl in me knew, even though I claimed to do my due diligence by being one of the first to sign up for their "Behind The Fun" tour many years ago, where they showed us their recycling and water treatment plants and lied to us about their commitment to be environmentally responsible, I knew. I have spent my life in, on, near, and surrounded by Mama Ocean. I have claimed to love her, to revere her, to respect her. But I loved to cruise and I didn't want to sacrifice the one thing that Charlie and I have enjoyed beyond measure. And way down deep, I always knew and I turned my face away from the truth. I buried my head in the sand. This whole environmental travesty has blown up in my face and I can no longer ignore the devastation I've been a party to.

This is no different to me than the explosion of truth that blew up in my face and caused me to give up eating meat. The years I turned my eyes away from the horrific slaughter of innocents because "that's what they're here for" could no longer be denied. The guilt is overwhelming at times. This is one of those times. I'm good at guilt. I'm even better at punishing myself. But now, I see that I'm stronger than I thought I was. I've sacrificed. I'll survive. My one fervent wish is that in the process of "survival", some good will come of the change, however small it may be.

 "It is a long way from the said to the done." - Sicilian Proverb