Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Gifted Life

I don’t think there was ever a time I wasn’t grateful for at least something unless maybe when I was sick. Even then I still remember being awed by a pillow or moved to tears at the ice cold touch of a commode.

Throughout my younger years, there was rarely a moment I wasn’t abandoned, neglected, abused or taken advantage of. But by grace, I didn’t always know it at the time. Youth comes with it the gift of naivety, with me especially.
My mind thought in flowery ribbon rainbows. No matter what the hell was going on, somehow a little switch would flip, misfiring bullets of pain and offset them with pink bubbles. They acted like tiny shields of crystal armor, forcing my eyes toward beauty through tears to a different picture of hope and to believe in the best in people. Everything would be alright. Somehow believing even at the tender age of nine, the intention in my big heart would make it so. It did.

The channeling of cartoon noises may have doomed me to a giddy up Pollyanna perspective. But somehow I think it served me well. Perhaps it was a way of keeping positive. Also from the time I could walk, I heard music in my head. I now have a treasure trove of art songs, each one providing therapy all along the way, giving me sanctuary. Moments of art I could create like a painter paints on canvas. Only my heart was the canvas and all I needed was a pen. They alone birthed their own little world inside of me. In the face of life’s brutal realities, my mind cut me a break. The combination of trauma and fantasy, gave me the ability to create something beautiful beyond it. Even to push boundaries past everything which was locked up in my skin.

Ok, so what, my parents abandoned me leaving me with burdens much too big for my tiny shoulders. I stood tall with my three foot self and grew inner muscle. I also didn’t have to answer to them. As a result, I learned to cultivate who I wanted to be as I ran in the opposite direction of their behavior. In truth I was spared the possibility of becoming an addict/alcoholic. Even though I was not always completely dependable in every situation, I was resourceful and no one has ever had to be responsible for me.

Ok it’s true, I did wish to have someone to fall back on once in a while. But I didn’t.
Surrounded by flakey people, I cultivated my own sense of values. Even morphing inner abilities to create footholds which gave me planks of foundation I could count on. Being a nurturer, it brought me great comfort when I became the something from nothing girl.

Ok, so what, I suffered abuse. No one deserves it and I don’t think I needed an extreme experience to figure it out. But I did learn how to be a friend to myself, eventually. Now I am a cushion of comfort to others as well.

I am an extremely flawed parent, but I am honest and in the end, I never gave up. So, I thank my sweet children for loving me anyway. When I look at them, I know the world is a better place because they’re in it. Their benevolent cores raise higher banners than I could have ever waved in my lifetime. My ability to make them laugh is one of the greatest gifts to my soul, I could ever ask for.

So I never had a golden net, but I became one by default.
No one has ever had a right to judge me. My overall survival is not even by chance. I believe I exist because my heart was full of love no matter what.

So, thank you selfish controlling husbands and lovers who failed to value me. I appreciate my own time now.

Thanks mom and dad for giving me just enough of your good stuff and leaving me in charge of the rest.

Thank you so much lunatic abusers. You gave me a deep appreciation for irony, the ridiculous and absurd. Now I am the life of the party.

Thank you, sorry excuse for a healthcare vortex I once called a career. Even though you gave me a nervous breakdown, it taught me how to be nicer to myself.

Thanks to you; stupid dumb broken production company. Because of you I am finally learning how to rest. A gift of time I am using to reflect, forgive and create the life I have always wanted and didn’t realize I deserved.
The list goes on.

As for the really good stuff:
For every hand that held mine with intention of fusing hope into my heart. I am so grateful, thank you, the magic worked.

For the precious eyes of my children and all of my family and friends; I can see you and know you love me deeply. I hold you inside me. I light candles for you to be blessed and cared for. You are kissed and adored and my love for you back can fill up the universe to bursting. What gifts you are. Not just to me, but every person who is blessed to know each of you.

More of my own gifts are becoming apparent to me, but at forty nine, I don’t know where I belong or what to make of them yet. Perhaps my songs will create their own path of destiny, warming others in friendship within, they way they do for me. After all, a song can save a life, even in the face of complete devastation. I am living proof.

My anatomy screams with gratitude. Now I am not ashamed. I am raw authenticity and lucky to be alive. I give myself a little wink in the mirror. I dance in public and walk in the rain with my face up to the sky. I’m even that girl who sings in the grocery store and believe it or not, everyone smiles back and some even sing with me. Just think, the real journey has just begun … happy birthday to me ~
So blessed, so very blessed.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. - helping individuals and families facing addiction (800-622-2255 800-622-2255)

"The National School Lunch Program" -contact this agency to ensure nutritionally balanced meals for kids-

National Center for PTSD:

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Boxes of Joy

After almost four years, I’ve finally done it. Pulling out all of the boxes from my little shed was a task I dreaded and loomed over my head like a Linus cloud. I guess I really just didn’t want to do it. Go through my mothers things and donate them to her charity. Not to sound as she would say, maudlin, but I knew what was in there. The emotional tugs of heart had everything to do with the fact that her DNA was in them all. In her brushes, her decorative soaps and I could smell her essence as I sprung her clothes from their cardboard prison.

So many memories of hugging her in certain outfits, knowing these were all things she touched. I wondered how long she had some this stuff. It was likely years and years. In combing through these things of hers, I found myself spending hours trying on her clothes without looking in the mirror. When I finally looked up I realized I was looking like an old lady from Boca and said bubbye, to the purple silk jump suit, wild sparkly sweaters and Half Moon Bay sweatshirts that didn’t fit anyone in the family but me. I am as small as my mother was, all except the shoes. In trying to do the right thing, I left out some soft and squishy things that still held the smell of my mother for the rest of my siblings. Just in case. As it turned out one of my sisters was very glad I had cared enough to do that.

My mother cracked me up. She was a very funny woman and her sense of humor was also beaming from all of her belongings as well. My god, how many tubes of lipstick can one woman use in a lifetime. If nothing brought me to tears this did, as I recall her quirky way of saying Estee Lauder. A funny little rewiring thing began to happen to my brain as I chided myself for my own drawer full of happy purchases that came with free gifts. Which is every girl’s secret happy place the “gift with purchase” And I realized, my children would one day do what I am doing now. My goodness, they already think me as eccentric, they say they mean it in a good way, but I can only imagine what they would say about most of the things I’ve chosen to keep. This also became painfully clear when I actually put one of my mothers sweaters on my oldest son. Bless his heart, he kept it. But it was very telling to me I really needed to rethink my approach.

Holding on with so much intention to stuff was silly. But I also realized it was an over compensation for a lack of interaction. It was time to get real with it. Front zipper robes are not my thing. Knowing my mother I don’t think they were even her favorite either. She was too glamorous for them. I remember seeing her inner glow flowing about in negligees with matching slippers. It’s strange to me now seeing only happily printed flannel nightgowns. Her glamour finally revealed itself among her purses. The woman had little purses inside of each purse that matched, from her gold evening satchel to her cigarette cases. Anything I am choosing to keep, I don’t really keep for myself, but more for my sisters and our daughters as expressions of who Grandma was. As the oldest sister I feel it my duty to find a way to keep the best of my mother alive. It’s upsetting how a person can be reduced to boxes of stuff. She is not her stuff. When you walked into any room my mother was in, you had a particular feeling like something wonderful was going to happen. She had a way of creating an atmosphere of beauty around her and an aura as if company was coming.

My mother was special and will be remembered in the hearts of her children and those who knew and loved her. Not many could ever forget a woman named Joy who lived up to her name right down to the sparkle in her eyes. Even through all of the hardship and dysfunction, my mother somehow found a way to give her children something incredible. Aside from the fact that I can’t look at a kitchen tool without thinking of her, my siblings and I have each other thanks to her. We are all expressions of her. And now I’m letting go of her belongings as legacy, even though I am thoroughly convinced she haunts them. In doing this I learned something, the legacy of letting go. Oh but I did keep the lipstick, how could I help myself…

So Mom, if you can hear me, I’m sorry it took me so long to go through your things and fulfill your wishes. It was really hard to do because I miss you so much and I hope you can forgive me. I am also so sorry for other things that you know about, just between you and me before you passed, which were unresolved. Yesterday sister found a sealed card to me you never sent. It looks like Thanksgiving. I can’t seem to open it yet…

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