On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Great Escape

There is a new moon on Saturday.  I will breathe deeply and exhale slowly as I make a plan to begin my life anew.

A few posts back, I mentioned a premonition I had in December about January and February, that they would be dark, dark days, that things and people would go underground, that life would be rough and it would seem as though all would be lost and that by March, it would begin to turn around again.  I didn't know at the time that March 1st would be a new moon.  I also didn't know that I would be in a different state, attempting to make a plan for my family.

Kisikelia, who has been following my blogs for many years made, the astute observation that I have sounded depressed.  Yes and no.  I never lost sight of hope and I never stopped dreaming.  I didn't want to die and I have always seen a light, however distant it seemed.  That said, I have definitely walked through a a pit of despair  I have felt lost, empty, lonely and overwhelmed.  Most poignantly, I have grieved bitterly the revelation of what I never had in my relationship with my ex spouse.  I realized, completely, how little he gave me and how  significantly troubled that relationship was because I had a comparison to hold that relationship to.

I have learned that I am awesome. I am an amazing woman that is ready for relationship and that I have so much to offer.  I have learned what works for me and what doesn't.  I have learned that some rules can be broken and that there is so much of life I have not lived yet. I have learned that there is love and hope and healing all around me. I have learned that paradigms can change but only to a degree because there are governing morals and values we individually ascribe to.  I have learned what it feels like to be accepted as I am, and to be appreciated.  I have learned that I help make a good team. I have learned that I am strong and encouraging, positive, funny and desirable. I have had so much fun and happiness.  And all of that?  I never had with my ex.

So it hasn't been drepression, it has been grief.  Hard, bitter grief and despair that I have spent so much of my life not living but believing I have lived.  I have been in a chrysalis for a long, long time but a friend, whom I will always cherish [1], showed me the way out, how to beat my wings and to take flight.[2]

I leave on Friday to travel to my home state, Pennsylvania, to knock on doors and see what I see.  I am terrified but I will make this great escape, I will fly on my new wings, I will embrace this new moon and the words of my premonition.  I will shake off the clinging dust of my grief and break the rules that should be broken.

There is a new moon on Saturday.  I will breathe deeply and exhale slowly as I make a plan to begin my life anew.

[1]For my wondertwin:  If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. ~Sir Issac Newton

[2] for all of my other incredible, amazing friends that have watched me grieve, hugged me, cried with me and encouraged me to get up and try again: I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better. ~Plutarch

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Patience Part II

Guess this is my new Sunday ritual.  I used to go to church on Sundays but now that feels like a stupid ritual.  I prefer meditating, enjoying the peace, nature, the silence in the house while the kids sleep, the sound of the wind chimes that I have hanging at both entrances to the house, the birds chirping, the wind blowing, the clock ticking. 

*takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly*

I can't put a finger on it but Sunday mornings as a single parent are the hardest, loneliest, scariest times for me.  My bed is empty.  There's no one there to hug me or kiss me awake.  No quiet pillow talk, no snuggling, no plans for brunch, no one to make coffee for, no discussions of how to spend the day as a family, no Sunday paper to share.  Just, one more day of how to make it through without feeling lonely, overwhelmed, listening to Sissy scream at me, AB pacing and talking and pacing and hugging and pacing and WG inviting all the neighbor kids over to play until she melts down because she can't actually deal with that chaos for more than few hours.  And me?  By myself, no adults, just another week of responsibility staring me in the face, my coffee getting cold, my loneliness haunting my thoughts and hugging myself hoping that human touch from at least my own arms will warm me up.

I lie to myself until I believe it (and sometimes I still don't believe it).  I tell myself that this will pass.  I tell myself that I'm a strong, amazing woman.  I tell myself that I can do this.  I tell myself that I'm not truly alone.  I tell myself that I am worth it - worth the effort, worth the price, worth the sacrifice.  I tell myself that I'm beautiful and funny and smart and loveable.  I tell myself to look around me and see all the wonderful things I've created and done with my life.  I tell myself that I am a loyal friend, a hard worker, and that I'm patient, kind, giving and selfless. I tell myself that when people think of me, they see all of these things in me and more.

Then I collapse into a heap and cry and cry and cry because I don't believe it.  I WANT to, but I don't.  I know it's true but I don't feel it.  I hear the words but I don't see it.  I give until it hurts because I want people to give back but that's not how it works, is it?  I should be pouring into myself with the same measure of love and respect that I give others but that feels counter intuitive.  It is the nature of abuse - to never believe that I am worth anything, to take blame when things don't go well even though I've done nothing wrong.  It is the lies of the years of abuse that haunt me and tell me in a louder, stronger voice that I am flawed, unlovable, worthless, wrong on all accounts, need to atone for my misdeeds in order to get the good things I want,  to believe that if I give enough I will finally be worth something.

Which is why church doesn't really fit in my thought process anymore - Christianity as whole is set on the premise that if we do good, we will have good things.  It's one more abusive paradigm in my already challenged, hurting soul.  I can't. I just can't do that anymore.  I fight so hard to keep my head steady as it is.

I wrote this poem in November.  It still applies.  I wish it didn't. I wish I could get past this hurt but no matter how hard I try to shake it off, it just keeps hurting, I keep feeling lonely, I keep feeling scared, I keep feeling like I'm missing something that will make this life turn around for me at last.  I know that just last week I was writing about hope.  I still have that hope, but today that river in my soul is muddied and murky with all the sediment and runoff from the hard things in life.

PATIENCE  (11/26/13)

copyright laws apply, this original work is the property of this blog owner.  Copying, claiming ownership or redistributing is an infringement of the author's rights and will be prosecuted.

Just hold my hand a little while
let the fear leak out my shoes.
Hold a tissue to my tears
Let the trees be my muse.

Don't say a word, the wind will talk
It whispers hope to me.
Please don't look me in the eyes
I fear what you might see.

A warm embrace might do the trick
Then I can smell your love.
The fear pummels my every thought,
A punishing iron glove.

I'm sorry that I'm broke this way,
Filled with doubt and anxiety.
I know you're never out of reach
But alone, don't let me be.

So hold my hand a little more
Please don't leave my side.
And tomorrow I will laugh again
My smile bright and wide.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


*long, drown out exhale*

deflated balloon much?  yeah.

I thought the universe had given me a green light several months ago, thought that my life had found it's course and direction finally, FINALLY and then KABLAM!

Universe is so snarky.  Pulled the carpet out from under me just as I was standing tall on my feet.  Now I'm back down on my arse and in think, plan, do mode but a little more wounded and weary.

I could get my head stuck up my butt and curl into a ball and fuss it out.  (ok, i've done that a bit already) but, all around me my friends, both virtual and real-world, have had one hell of a time lately.  It's as though universe is blowing up on all of us.  Maybe universe needs some of the love and energy back?  Kinda hard for me to do that when she's been so wretched to me.

vague enough for ya?  Wish I could be more specific.  Don't feel like I have the liberty to be brutally honest on this blog anymore.

Sissy is spiraling down again.  She will likely get another short-term placement in the next few weeks like she had in November.  Which, all things considered, is good for all of us.  I know the next few years with her as she wends her way through puberty are going to be hell but I don't really want to do it.

AB is so tall now.  So grown.  So teenager.  *rolls eyes*  But really, I can't complain.  He's a good son.  He tries hard most of the time.  he loves unconditionally.  He helps without being asked.  He just needs a lot of direction.  And redirection...and redirection.  and please, PLEASE do not put that young man in running pants because when he starts pacing, the *swish swish swish* drives me absolutely insane.

WG is all energy. I wrote this poem for her today:

 a whimsy, a sprite
she jumps with delight.
with gossamer wings
she bounces on springs
and ascends into flight

And Jennie?
Pissed.  Mad as hell.  Tired of life crapping out on me.  Tired of fighting, fighting, fighting for what I want and need.  Tired of having to reevaluate.  Tired of having to stand up for myself and my rights.  Tired of being the one with the short end of the stick.  *sigh*

Sometimes I get a premonition or "vision" or insight.  I have an intuitive nature.  Call it whatever you want to.  I know that many times I have dreams or random thoughts that pop into my mind that give me hope or energy to carry on when it gets dark (and sometimes to send energy, prayers and love to people I that are hurting).  The first week of December I had one of those premonition events.  I was in my thinking spot (the bathroom), stepping out of the shower and this:

hold on.  It's about to get really bumpy.  Everything that is working right now is going to look like it is getting turned off, shut down, like you are getting blocked out and cut off.  All of the universe's "Yes's" are going to become "No's" and it will look barren through the end of February.  Then it will turn around and the "yes's" will return but modified and better than they are now.

I don't subscribe to my intuitions as a exact measures but I also use them for hope and sometimes, guidance.  The thought of "better" yes's is good but yeah, it's dark right now!

So to all of you, because I know I'm not the only one that is hurting, in fact, just about everyone I know is hitting some gosh darned hard low spots right now, hang on.  Just hang on.  The tide will turn and we will all get back on our intended courses once more.

Just take my hand and sit with me
Make joy and mirth from misery.
We'll dance as though the day has come
When happiness joins the setting sun.

For Red 
Beloved Tennessee Walker
You made us all smile

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What will I find?

I dream I had two weeks ago has stayed with me.  It has given me hope and strength.

It began at a church gathering in a fellowship hall of sorts.  People were just arriving and without any specific task to complete, they were standing around greeting one another and laughing.  I had been assigned a task but didn't know where to go as I had never been to the church before.  And because the task was nonspecific, I didn't know what I was expected to do or what person was supposed to give me directions and put me to work.

I stood in the background, assuming the proverbial wall flower posture.  A gentleman was laughing and getting along with everyone, making the social atmosphere light and easy.  Someone came up to me and said, "your husband is so funny!"

I looked at her quizzically and said, "He's not my husband."  Then I walked away, following the hall to a stairway that led me downward.  The stairwell opened into a vast, open space with floor to ceiling windows on three sides.  The view out of the windows was breathtaking.  There was a pond with manicured gardens surrounding it, a stone walkway to the left, tall reeds in the back obscuring the surrounding city vistas and an overwhelming sense of tranquility.

I walked slowly toward the glass and whispered, "wow.  that is so beautiful"  Then I saw that the room was actually the pastoral staff's private study.  I backed up and returned up the stairwell, still remarking how amazing the view had been.

At a landing on the stairway, I took a turn and ended up in a hallway filled with tables of desserts.  A frantic woman dressed in her Sunday best was talking hastily on her phone about some issue with the food preparation.  She was agitated and annoyed.  She gesticulated for me to start tending to the problem at hand, pointing in the direction of the dessert table.  I could not see any issues there which made her frustrated with me because I was clearly no help and therefore one more annoyance.  While she argued with the caller and rolled her eyes at me for not tending to her problems, I shrugged and walked away.

Feeling lost and confused but knowing I had a purpose, I wandered into a sitting room that was occupied by four women in a heated debate over some biblical study they had been doing together.  No one was in agreement and the debate went in circles with each person simply restating the ideas expressed but insisting her wording wasn't saying the same thing as the other.  I chose to interrupt, knowing I was needed somewhere to be helpful.  Asking if they could please point me in the direction of someone that was in charge, i got only blank stares.

All of these scenes and encounters left me bewildered.  A husband that wasn't mine.  I breathtaking scene that I should not have been privy too.  An angry woman that wouldn't be pacified.  A group of women arguing the same point.  A job to do but no information for how to do it or where to go or what it was or from whom I might get direction.  An overwhelming sense of loneliness and being lost but at the same time knowing I have a purpose, I needed only to keep searching on my own.

I continued to wander the seemingly endless rooms and halls.  It was as if the church was one addition after another with no true architectural clarity.  There were people hustling and bustling about or talking amongst themselves but none of them noticed me, or at the least, none were concerned that I looked lost.  Then, I entered the original sanctuary for the building.  That is to say, like some old churches, the original sanctuary is not torn down but remodeled and repurposed but the congregation meets in the new, improved sanctuary after renovation.

I stood in the empty room, the vaulted ceilings high above me.  The room was barren and plain and had a feeling of sadness, as though it had acquiesced to being an all purpose room after so many years of hand bells, pipe organs and acapella choirs.  I sighed heavily.  The contrast of the beauty in the sequestered pastoral study that was off limits to all to the ordinary, dull, now lifeless sanctuary struck me viscerally.  A sound, something like a gasp or a cry or an echo of emotion from deep within me escaped my mouth inadvertently.

Then the plaster walls began to dissolve and fall away, silently.  The ceiling drifted slowly to the floor like snowflakes.  People began to enter the room but said nothing.  They just watched with me.

Falling, falling, the room around me was transformed.  Above me ascended the most ornate and breathtaking masonry.  Chiseled archways high above the pews, stained glass windows even higher still, a belfry and pipes from a long since forgotten organ, all of it, for everyone, covered up, hidden and taken for granted.

"Wow" someone said.

"I didn't know all of this was here." another said.

"did YOU do this?" another asked of me.

Slowly, a smile crept across my face as the last of the plaster fell to the floor, the dust still floating in the air, now illuminated by the sunlight filtering through the stained glass windows.  I had found my purpose: to find the hidden beauty in the loss and pain and give it back to everyone that needs it.

I'm not sure what the dream means but it fills me with so much hope.  I know that as my immediate future looks uncertain and I approach huge changes with trepidation, it will be beautiful ... for everyone that needs it.  I know that the wandering and the feelings of loss and loneliness, uselessness and frustration, thinking that I don't belong - that I'm a fish out of water, will fade away and though there be special places for a select few, the more beautiful things in life are those that are available to everyone.  The discovery and revelation is what makes the journey, though it be hard and long, worth it.

Toward beauty I will set my path
To things of good and not of wrath.
To Hope and Grace,
With gentleness
I will find my joy at last.