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The Big D

Everyone at some some point will get depressed or a little down.There could be so many different reasons – a death, loss of job, loss of a relationship, or a thousand different things. And this is perfectly normal. I think it is a fallacy in life that we should never feel anything but happy and shiny Because that just is not realistic. And who says it is bad to feel bad sometimes?

Sometimes feeling down can motivate us to make much needed changes in our lives. Because depression is a place to visit not a place to live And eventually we will get sick and tired of being sick and tired. The problem is once we are in a funk, how do we get out of it? Especially when the funk makes it hard to get off the couch, much less be motivated to be a mover and shaker in your own life.

But that is indeed what we need to be. And sometimes getting a root canal seems easier than getting motivated. But you just have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. But how?

I really don’t know exactly, but I do now what worked for me. First, you have to get very quiet, and go deep where the heart meets the soul and you listen. At first you may not hear anything, but eventually you will. That is God’s voice, your gut instinct, your intuition. Remember what brought you joy before, and concentrate on that, and on following that inner voice.

When I was 19, I went through an extremely difficult time. And when I did not feel like getting out of bed, I would decide every single morning that I would find something to be happy about. I would decide on a winter day that I would search for a flower, or look for children playing happily in a puddle on a rainy summer afternoon. Sounds stupid or silly? It probably is. But those little goals are what would get me out of bed.

And every day there would be a goal, and I promised myself that I would smile once completed. I also made a decision, every single day, to find moments to specifically enjoy on purpose. If life was terrible, I would at least find solace in a sunny day, or in the three minutes of my favorite song playing on the radio.

When I got older and lost the rest my family, even those goals were hard, so I cried a lot. And then there were no more tears. I started having a few moments of not being in a funk…and then the moments would last a little longer. I put up a goal board, and I refused to watch depressing or sad movies, and I watched funny TV shows and I made sure that I was around good, positive people who were supportive. And anyone who wasn’t supportive was cut out of my life.

I also decided every morning hat I was going to be happy that day – maybe for only a few minutes, but I was going to find some kind of happy. And I wrote things (affirmations, if you will) around the house to help keep my positive mindset. “I am stronger than the grief.” I am stronger that the depression.” “I can and I will”

And eventually, slowly the clouds started to break and the sun would shine. But it starts with you. Because it is easy to get into the habit of depression, especially if you are alone. And that is where your will power comes in. It takes a lot of strength, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or pull others in. Even when you are tired, ask a friend to come over. They don’t have to go and do anything big. Because your friends can help dust off the cobwebs and help you smile…maybe even laugh.

There are many who say that you have to find it all within yourself. But I disagree. Yes, you yourself have to be committed to getting out of the funk, but that doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers or face the challenge alone. Those who love and care for your will be more than happy to help.

It may be a long road but it is not impossible. Take baby steps, and soon your will look back and see you have traveled miles. Each heartbeat gets you that much closer. And in the space between the seconds, you will find the inspiration to hold on.

Life is short. Make a decision every single day to make the best of it. Most people think that happiness is easy, but it’s not. It takes a lot of work, every single day, to be and stay happy. And some days are easier than others. But we can do it together, holding hands as we cross paths and share time in this life.

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Sitcom Moments: The Dark Crazy Family Comedy

One thing almost everyone has to deal with in their lifetime is aging parents and health issues that come along with them.  It’s no secret that my parents have faced their share of health issues  – my mother diagnosed 15 years ago with stage 4+ Ovarian cancer, my father with liver cancer.  Bother of them are in remission.   Obviously I come from very strong stock.

One of the many reasons my parents have beat the odds (the first reason being a lot of faith and prayer), is the fact they are simply stubborn as he-ell. Notice the hyphen in there…that’s two syllables, because one syllable isn’t enough to describe that level of stubborn. And I think it increases with age.

Another thing that everyone must deal with is the fact that their family is crazy. Yes, including yours.  At some point in our lives, we must come to the realization that our families are insane.  And there is no shame in it, because we are all in the same boat, paddling up Crazy Creek with a broken paddle. My family is crazy. Just take a deep breath, repeat that statement and let it wash over you. I’ll wait.

My mother can relax now that my father’s cancer is in remission in theory. If only she would.  Don’t get me wrong, I love her with all my heart, but she is 5’3”, 80lbs of pure, unadulterated stubborn. And she will argue with you that she is not stubborn all day long…and into the night. And the next morning. And next week. And next year….

So now that she is getting older and has some health issues, life is interesting.  I do my best to keep in mind that she is very old school southern, very proud, very private and can take care of herself, THANKYOUVERYMUCH (all caps on purpose). It’s like a dark and twisted comedy, because there are many moments that you cannot believe are actually happening.

She is only 80lbs because she doesn’t eat…and seems to like it.  Conversations usually go something like this:

{I can see this conversation happening on Modern Family or Raising Grace, or similar show, where the characters are so over the top that it’s funny. Welcome to my world.}

Me: So what did you eat today, Mom?

Mom: I ate an egg with cheese and toast, like I do every morning, had an energy shake for lunch and  then your dad and I ate pork chops and mashed potatoes for dinner. I eat like that every day.

Me: That’s a great day of food Mom. How much do you weigh?

Mom: 82 lbs.

ME: Mom, you’ve lost 4 pounds in 1 week…so you are either not telling the truth about how much you are eating, or you are very sick and we need to get you to the doctor right away…

CLICK

The reason for the hang up? Because you are not allowed to say that your mother might not be telling the truth. Oh yes, I received a firm scolding on respecting the woman who carried me in her womb for 9 months, endured a painful birth, and sat with my in the hospital as I was so sick as a baby. Yes, Ma’am.  But I still say if you were eating the way you say you are you would be gaining weight…CLICK.

She has a very bad back – spinal stenosis. Excruciating pain.  There is a doctor who will do laser surgery on her back, but she won’t go.  Too busy, she says. Same thing with getting her cataracts fixed.  So here she is, hobbling, wobbling along, feisty and stubborn as he-ell, not really able to see, but can still see well enough to point a finger at you to say mind your own damn business! I’m your mother, you don’t have the right to tell me what to do.

We went to talk with a cancer counselor at the hospital about how Dad’s cancer has affected the family.  I explained that it has been very stressful, since we nearly lost him 10 times in the past 4 years. Once the doctors even telling Mom that they were sending him home to die and he would be more comfortable at home. I cannot even imagine what that was like.  After I described, in detail, all of the family issues, the counselor looks at my mother and asks what her how does she feel?

Mom: “I’m fine, not stressed at all. This has not been hard on me, I’m fine. I don’t need therapy. But she does (meaning me).  If she wants, I will go to therapy with her to discuss anything that she wants, if that will help her.  Because she needs LOTS of therapy.”

I nearly fainted.

Me to Mom:  You mean taking care of Dad when the doctors said he was dying and nursing him back to health was not stressful, at all?

Mom: No.

Me to Dr:  Yes, I need therapy. Lot’s of therapy. Can we set something up, immediately?

Welcome to my crazy family. Grab a cup of coffee, or even better, a glass of wine.

Simple Little Words

This simple little poem

that you shall not see until I let you

is just to say how wonderful

Life is now with you

You make my heart happy

when you hold me so very close

you make me smile each day I’m with you

And I enjoy this falling for you

Yes, I cannot wait to see you

hear about your day

I cannot wait to plan together

Whatever the next adventure brings our way

Wish I possessed the vocabulary

to truly communicate the feeling

but all I have are perfunctory words

which seem so small in comparison

But if I could write

the way you make my heart feel

No doubt they would be the sweetest

words ever written for another

but all the words I have to say

are so very simple and small

a confession of types:

That I love you

and that is all.

The Destination in the Journey

It has taken a minute, a long minute actually, to get here. Many say it’s the journey and not the destination. I disagree. I think it’s both. First yes it is the destination, because we are all working toward something…a vacation, a better job, a family, a better life, a college education. If these things were not worth our time, why would we be willing to take the trip in the first place? The destination is what starts the journey in the first place.

The journey is what life is all about. The working, the experiencing, the travel before the vacation. That is where we meet the best and worst parts of ourselves and humanity. That is where we learn, grow, decide and Live. And when we get to where we were intending, if we get there at all, because we may change our minds along the way…sometimes we realize our dreams have changed, and that’s ok.

This journey has taken me quite a ways, and I am finally where I want to be. But it has taken many miles, over many roads, some paved, some dirt, some gravel. This journey has taken many years, much thought, lots of laughter, more wine, and more love, so much more love, than I ever thought possible to even hold. It has taken me in the woods, on the inside, around the outside, over the ocean and below the ground.

It has taken kisses, thousands of hugs, friendships, break ups, make ups, break downs and marvelous mornings. It has taken coffee. And pieces of my soul. It has taken scraped knees, dirty nails, messy hair, a cluttered home, hours of writing, and every single heartbeat, every breath, inhaled, held and let go. It has taken hopes, fears and a lot of prayer. And it has taken you, yes you too.

And finally, here I am, this place I so wanted to be, where I dreamed I would be one day, in the not so distant past. Yet at the time, this place seemed so far away, almost too far. But after many steps, and so much life, I have arrived. Just where am I?

At a place called Happy. Finally. And it is fabulous, and joyful and wonderful and amazing and a thousand other words I say softly at night, in my prayers, in your ear, to the sky, … And the sun is shining.

And I have to say, while the journey has been everything and so much more than I ever imagined, as I wondered down those long, hard, twisted roads, sometimes uphill, sometimes down, I am enjoying this destination so very much. While every trip is a mixture of both good and bad, when you can look back and say “what a ride!” Then you know it’s been a great experience. And it makes the destination all the more sweet.

Childlike

I swam in the ocean and played like a child. I did back flips, hand stands and the back stroke. I let the current of the ocean carry me as I floated on the surface. I swam underwater, like a fish, seeing how long I could hd my breath before coming up to the surface for that first gasp of air when my lungs felt like they are going to burst. There was an excitement, an innocents that coursed through my veins as I felt the water against my skin.

At first the water was almost too cold, but then as my body adjusted tot he temperature, it felt refreshing and I was energized. The entire sea in front of me, with all the mystery it holds. All it’s secrets being whispered to me in the currents.

It had been almost two years since I swam in the ocean. Almost two years since I did back flips and let the water carry me. And it was wonderful.

It makes you appreciate the cool fresh salty air of the sea. And to feel the soft breeze across my damp face was pure heaven. And I saw God, in the sea, int he sky, in the everything of the moment. And I knew He had me in his hands and that all was well in my world.

There were hot Krispy Kreme donuts in bed, melting in my mouth from the first bite to the last. There was laughter, wine and dancing. There was the innocence and playfulness of a child. It was freedom.

The Time in the Space

I have a pretty big place where I live. Almost 1,800 square feet. That may seem small to many, but to a girl who used to live by herself, that is a lot of space. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths plus a garage (which is now the computer lab and workout space). My nephew, sister and I all have own own space. We all have our own space to go to when we need. I have always lived in places like this. Where I had my own space, and anyone who stayed with me had their own space too.

My boyfriend has a wonderful place. I love staying with him because his place is warm, comfortable, beautiful and intimate. He has a great house that is like an efficiency – it has a bedroom with his wonderful comfortable king size bed, a kitchen with beautiful custom cedar counters he with his own hands, a laundry area and a bathroom with the best jacuzzi tub ever made. Walls, ceiling and floors that are of wood, laid with his strong hands, exactly in their place. And there is no place to hide.

I have always had a bit of trouble being vulnerable, being intimate, letting someone into my space and knowing how to be close. And here is my boyfriend, when I stay with him, in a place where I cannot hide. I cannot hide when i am feeling lost. I cannot hide when I am feeling fluffy and bloated. i cannot hide when I am board, or aggravated, or happy, or sleepy, or hungry, or thirsty. I cannot hide when I have to use the bathroom, or am cold, or am feeling insecure.

The time in his space, forces me to be intimate. And I love it. I find that in his space, where I cannot hide, where I am naked, where I am bare, is the place where I run when I need refuge. This place, warm, solid, warm, dark and sensual, is where I go to be protected, held and comforted. Yes, the time in this space, his space, has taught me a great deal. About myself, about intimacy, about sharing, about life and about him.