3.1. I Write…

Because the ink is my air

And the words are my breaths.

Because it hurts to stifle the gypsies that dance in the catacombs of this mind.

Because the thirst is vampiric

Primal and raw.

Because nothing is so delicate as the clacking of keys

Stroking of pens

Slide of paper

Visions of a visionary

The bird that soars within me

Free to speak and preach and be

Free

To give and tell and share and project

Images onto the wall

Because they are real

Each character and place

The plot has happened within me

The souls linger

Begging to be recognized

Acknowledged .

Forget the rest. This is not about poetics but the dream within the dream that runs from a brutal reality of living nightmares.

This is my ladder out of the dark hole. This is my rope of redemption. Pulling myself from the grave I was shoved into from the womb.

Because of a family tree that has rotted and withered in the darkness of secrets.

Because I want to be more than a dealer, a player, a con, a liar, a manipulator, a thief, a criminal, a user, an abuser.

Because these words are the seeds to plant new trees.

Of shade and fruit

That will bare the souls of stories and stories of souls.

Because my son will NEVER go to sleep hungry.

Because my son will NEVER know the shame of monopoly money.

Because my son will NEVER hide in a school bathroom, stifling his own cries within a stall as the remnants of their words bloom into scars upon the fleshy self-esteem they devour.

Because my son will NEVER will never be asked to be a part of the con so tomorrow can be easier. And I still wonder if those debilitating migraines stem from her wicked demands of bashing a broken piece of wall against my adolescent skull because “you’ve got to make it believable so we can sue.”

Because my son will NEVER curl his toes to fit into a shoe two sizes too small while I live lavishly.

Because it is my job to use what I know, those voices, those stories, that pain, and the creative juices that flow through my veins like the blood that trickles from their lips to make something beautiful.

To keep a promise that his tomorrow will be the rainbow to all of my yesterdays.

Because the pain of my past is worth the glory of his future.

Because I will make this life count.

Because I will build the foundation of his greatness.

Because he will NEVER know those types of tears.

My hands slam against the keys with purpose.

With conviction.

Because my hands will do for him what no hands have ever done for me.

I write…

Because I have to.

2.38. I Am That Mother…

I will laugh with my son for hours.

I will encourage my child to make a mess just because we don’t always have to live inside the lines.

I will blast the music mid-afternoon and dance with my boy until we can’t stand anymore.

I will sing with my boy, at the top of our lungs, until our throats are hoarse…while driving down the highway.

I will spend lazy days, on the couch, in our pajamas, eating cake and ice cream for lunch because we can.

I will have an all night movie fest with my boy while eating popcorn and telling stories under our make-shift tent.

I will not have a heart attack when my son draws on the walls…his art isn’t doing any damage paint can’t eventually fix.

I will let my boy pick out his clothes, even if they don’t match and they include my pink cupcake bandanna.

I will enjoy listening to my son tell me stories, sing me songs, read to me in his own silly language.

Nevertheless,

I am that mother that will pay the bill at a restaurant and leave without eating a bite if my son gets out of hand.

I am that mother that will put back an entire cart of groceries if my son decides to have a full blown tantrum over not getting the ice cream he demands.

I am that mother that will take my son to the restroom for a moment of discipline if he decides the aisles are a good place to throw himself on the floor, hit, kick, or throw things.

I am that mother that does not believe in hitting when angry BUT I will give my son one swat to his behind if he remotely thinks it’s okay to say a potty mouth word he’s heard from who knows where. (I know my curse words of choice and those are not it).

I am that mother that will send my son to his room and leave the tv off all day as punishment.

I am that mother that will raise her voice when my boy does the exact opposite of everything I have asked him to do.

I am that mother that will ALWAYS talk to my son about why he has been disciplined/punished. I will ALWAYS explain to my son that I love him and I want his behavior to always reflect the wonder of his amazing spirit.

I am that mother that will correct my son when he is misbehaving AND reward him when he is doing wonderfully…or at least trying to.

I am that mother that doesn’t have all of the right answers.

I am that mother that struggles to find the line of nature and nurture.

I am that mother that tries every day to strengthen my sons ability to communicate his feelings instead of acting them out.

I am that mother that talks to her son like he is a human being. Not a puppet. Not a dog. Not a baby. A human being. With a heart. A soul. Feelings. Thoughts. Emotions. Opinions.

I am that mother that will never stop working at being better and encouraging my son to do just the same.

2.17. The Purpose of A Life

Fingers across the sky

Ten paintbrushes designed to nurture dreams.

Fingers digging in the dirt

Ten shovels to clear your path…

The path to get you there.

Kiss the wind and taste the air

in which aspirations bloom from seedlings of hope.

A mother is your river.

One that flows for you, ethereal child.

This heart of mine is yours.

I breathe, solely, for you.

2.13. Tragedy Is Our Reality

There is NOTHING that justifies killing a child.

There is NOTHING that explains away how someone could rip a gaping hole into the future,

There is NOTHING that makes me believe in the concept of pure evil as the capability of slaughtering the innocent.

There is NOTHING that makes me lose faith in human kind more than innocence being so blatantly debilitated.

There is NOTHING that scares me more than knowing NO ONE is safe from the insanity of an angry, over-privileged, self-righteous, greedy, egotistical world and its inhabitants.

There is NOTHING anyone can say to make tragedy better, easier, calmer, more bearable.

There is NOTHING that will bring those children back.

There is NOTHING that will erase the nightmares, terror, fear, and trauma from the survivors.

There is NOTHING that will ever make this make sense.

My heart breaks for the pain, the sorrow, the agony shrouded over the memory of those lost. My mind reels in pure loathing for the despicable disregard for others so easily displayed by the shooter(s). The facts are still unclear. But the only fact, the only relevant piece of this puzzle, is that children are dead.

The media is going to dive down on this like vultures. They will analyze the killer(s) as if they are specimens to be understood. They will try to make sense of this just as they have tried with every other act of terrorism on our soil. They will blame mental illness, the economy, music, TV, movies, a failed marriage, the turmoil in the lives of the assailants. They will put a stamp on it and in six months…no one will be talking about the 18 dead. No one will remember their names, what they wanted to be when they grew up, their favorite foods, their letters to Santa. No one will remember.

And the day after WE forget…THIS WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

This is not an epidemic. This is not something to work toward curing. This isn’t Cancer. This is Death. This is now an inevitable part of our reality. Because when you do the same shit – you get the same results. This is something that isn’t going away. No matter how many poor attempts at understanding and discussion we pretend to have.

With every form of social media sending out condolences and cries of dismay…ask yourself…what are YOU going to do to stop this? What are WE going to do?

Because I will be damned if my son is going to be shot up at a movie theater. I will be damned if my child is shot up in the halls of his elementary school, his high school, his college. I will be damned if my son leaves this world before I do! Point blank period.

I don’t have the answers. I have only one suggestion. WE, as a society, need to realize that EVERYTHING we think we’re doing right – nix it. EVERYTHING we think we know – null and void. Throw away all of the options of normalcy and forget it. It’s gone. It’s time to think outside the box – because innocents are being shot up inside that box. Inside the confines of our little minds and our shortened attention spans. Inside of the walls of a world WE have built.

It’s bullying, it’s hatred, it’s killers, it’s the anonymity of evil. It’s that we live in a world in which ANYONE is capable of covering our children’s lives in veils of red. Ending a better future before it has a chance to replace the reality we SHOULD BE ashamed to call our own.

This post means NOTHING in the grand scheme of things.

These words are just those of a heartbroken, shocked, appalled, terrified mother. A woman who doesn’t know how to save her child. A woman who wants to figure out how.

 

1.198 – Dear Single Mothers

It saddens me to see so many single mothers proclaiming their anger, toward themselves, for the lack of influence left by bad/half-ass/disappearing fathers.

Yes, you’ve made mistakes. No, you aren’t perfect. You can be a bitch, troublesome, lazy, annoying, needy, obnoxious, and oblivious. You can be many things BUT weak is not one of them. Not now.

We love our children. We care about our children. We stay up through the late nights, the vomiting, the fevers, the hospital visits, the potty training, the picky eating, the tantrums, the laughter, the “I want to play even though you just worked a ten hour day,” the needy moments, the gimmie gimmies, the life lessons, the emotional breakdowns, the breaking of furniture, the drawing on walls, the night terrors, the diarrhea, the piss, the shit, the constant questions of why, the cries for someone who doesn’t have the time or energy to do what we do full time, the bath times, the lazy moments, the “I don’t feel like wearing clothes five minutes before you are supposed to leave for work mommy!!!”, the chaos, the joy, the sorrow, the pain, the triumphs, the failures.

We are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, cousins, friends, teachers, nurses, therapists, trainers, nutritionists.

So, have that moment of wtf. Have that moment of damn, this is hard. Have a moment of I wish I could have given my child better.

And then…STFU and give your child better. Continue to be the very best.

As mothers, we beat ourselves up for what we can’t do on anothers behalf. We forget all that we do all on our own.

Trust me…I’m the first to kick my own ass. But I will continue. Because my baby needs me to.

1.190 – Quality vs. Quantity

“If you can’t handle me at my worst…

…You don’t deserve me at my best”

The clouds have rolled in and the storm is set to begin. The forecast is calling for guaranteed thunder, lightening, tornadoes, tsunami’s, and typhoons. The damage will probably be irreparable and the casualties of family bonds and friendships will be countless.

Fair-Weather Friend: A friend who is only a friend when circumstances are pleasant or profitable.

Fair-Weather Family: Someone who is family or acts like family when it’s easy for them to be, them change on you when it’s through thick and thin.

I could cry over what I feel my son and I have lost. Instead, I want to really focus on the people who HAVE been invested in the calm before the storm, the upcoming mayhem, and the potential rebuild that awaits.

 I want to say thank you to the friends and family who don’t depend on Facebook to be real friends and real family. The people who call to ask how Hunter is doing. The people who have set aside time in their busy lives to reach out and stay in touch. The people who have reached out more so when the clouds have set in INSTEAD of playing the vanishing act. The people who don’t just say “I love you,” “I care about you,” “I hope to see you soon,” but actually show that as fact.

I want to say thank you to the people who believe in me as a person. The people who don’t focus on my past and every mistake that I’ve ever made in my entire life. The people who appreciate me for the person I am striving to be. The people who have taken the genuine time to see beyond the hype. The people who have supported me as a dreamer and have motivated me to be a doer.

I want to say thank you to the people who have shown my son UNCONDITIONAL love. The people who have PROVEN that they love my son. The people who do not allow trivial adult nonsense to prevent them from reaching out and engaging with my son. The people who have opened their hearts, homes, and ears to my son. The people who have put forth effort to include my son in the happiness of their own lives.

I want to thank the people who have not shunned my son for the simple fact that he came out of my vagina. The people who do not put my son so far out of sight that he will inevitably end up out of mind.

In April 2012, my son and I enjoyed an amazing trip to Disney. It was the most wonderful trip of my life. Watching my son show such excitement to see all of his favorite characters, to play with his cousins, to laugh hysterically…it was magic. But the moment that stuck with me the most was seeing my sixteen year old nephew sit on the balcony and watch his brother and my son play. My nephew reached out to me and gave me a hug. He refused to let go. He cried. He held me tight and let the tears flow. He cannot speak. He has Cerebral Palsy and has never been able to say “I love you, titi.” But he told me. In that moment. Just as clearly as my son tells his tia that he loves her every time she calls.

These children are beating the adults. They are the real inspiration. The real conveyors of what it means to love unconditionally.

Thank you to those who have given me strength and hope. We’ve done the good. We’ve done the bad. The ugly is on its way. We may not have the masses supporting us but what we’ve got is real and will be there long after the storm passes.

1.188 – Beyond Scared

Watching Beyond Scared Straight on A&E and I suddenly broke into tears. Teens filled with anger and self-hatred. Teens committing crimes with no sense of remorse. Teens shrugging off drug use, drinking, being expelled from school. Single parents sobbing while their children are carted around a penitentiary…sobbing with hope that something will change.

And I am shattered. After five years of marriage, I chose to walk away. I felt like I was doing the right thing – avoiding a tumultuous relationship that would only teach my son what harm a match and gasoline can really do. I walked away, thinking change would come, either in the form of growth or divorce. I had always secretly hoped for growth but it never came.

I wanted to be free of the fighting. But what has my freedom cost me? My son is a statistic. My son is a product of my failure to fix the broken. I am the first to say it takes two people to make a marriage work and two people to make it crumble. But I am a mother before anything else. And I will carry every burden that is put upon my son in the wake of my actions.

I am scared. The world is a cruel place. The world is hard and unforgiving. My son was born with a united front and now will live with a scattered army – more focused on hurting each other than protecting him from the tyranny of the worlds inevitable pains.

My heart is breaking, breaking as I type. Because this was not supposed to be his start. I prayed for my son. I begged for him. I planned my pregnancy in marriage. And delivered my son to a broken home.

I can try my hardest. I can do everything humanly possible of me to show him love and to give him opportunity. But it will never be enough. He will hate me. He will resent me. He will be ashamed of the fact that I am not an accomplished individual. He will feel for me what every teen feels for their mothers at one point in their lives. And all I will be able to do is say how sorry I truly am. Because he didn’t ask for this. He didn’t ask for me.

I love my son. More than this blog, any blog, words, thoughts, tears or screams can convey. My son is my only reason to breathe. I failed in saving my marriage. I failed in giving him the dream. The dream of a child who came from a broken home.

All I can do is spend the rest of my life showing my son unconditional love, supporting his dreams, listening to him and respecting him as the unique individual he is.

But is that enough to give him the light he needs to avoid the negative influences so prominent in our world?

1.187 – Evils Voice

He berated her; calling her names for all the world to hear, mocking her in the presence of strangers. She didn’t say a word. She avoided all eye contact and just held the money in her hands while the cashier waited for some form of tender. The cart was full and she didn’t have enough money. And he humiliated her for it. He took out all of the things she had wanted and asked them to be removed from the final bill. He insulted her with each item he removed from the cart.

The transaction was over. And he continued. Vocalizing her inability to get a job. Blaming her for the job he was forced to take to provide for the household. He told her just how dumb she really was. Every time he walked by her, he leaned into her ear and mocked her a little bit more.

Their son sat five feet away.

This is not my story. This is the story of an unheard voice. One that has not had the courage to say “no more,” to the abuse. Purposefully demeaning someone for the sheer gratification of establishing control is sickening, repulsive, and pure evil.

I hope that girl finds her voice. I hope that man loses his. I hope that child learns that his father is an example of what NOT to be.

We have all heard the voice of evil. We have all been the voice of evil. If not our children, what is worth making the change?

I hope that woman figures it out. I know I have.

1.144 – Heavenly Earth

Sitting on my lunch break, I read an article by Jon Meacham entitled Heaven Can’t Wait – Why rethinking the hereafter could make the world a better place and it got me thinking. So much so that I had to reread it. And then I had to read it again, only this time, with a highlighter in hand. And then I had to give a copy of it to someone I know…because I had to share this…whatever this was.

Meacham starts his article with a synopsis of Heaven Is For Real by Lynn Vincent…a book I’ve never read. He quotes John Blanchard, founder of Planet Rock Youth Ministries…a ministry I know nothing about. He talks about N.T. Wright,  Billy Graham, and Stephen Hawking…people I know nothing about. Realistically, this article…in a magazine I’ve never read…should be of no significance or interest to my silly little mind. However, this article…in a magazine that I’ve never read yells at me. Forces me to think.

“Heaven isn’t just a place you go-heaven is how you live your life.”

“…people who are motivated by heaven are also people motivated to make a positive difference in the world.”

“”Seeing heaven as the world beyond this one can offer powerful comfort, particularly in life’s most dire circumstances.”

“Gods love…should inspire the religious to open their arms more often than they point fingers. Heaven thus becomes, for now, the reality one creates in the service of the poor, the sick, the enslaved, the oppressed.”

“Our entrance into heaven has nothing to do with how good we are; what matters is how good Jesus is, and what He did for us.”

I’m just a girl. A girl from the Bronx. A girl who’s gone through her struggles and in turn…sits in front of this keyboard with one million questions and zero answers. I’m just a girl who hopes to be better and doesn’t know how. I’m just a lost soul dreaming of something beautiful…hoping it’s attainable for someone like me.

After reading this article, I asked myself…what is heaven? Where is heaven? I will not consider what the world tells me. I will not consider the images painted upon walls and on the pages of old books. What is heaven? Where is heaven?

Heaven is seeing that glimmer in my sons eyes. Heaven is laughter. Heaven is a warm hug. Heaven is feeling loved. Heaven is feeling understood. Heaven is music, art, spoken word. Heaven is understanding. Heaven is giving. Heaven is the unconditional. It is what we search for every single day…in everything that we do…in every encounter we have.

I want heaven. For myself. For my son. For my best friend. For my father. I want heaven for people I don’t even know. But how do you reach something that defies all sense of logic? Religion makes no sense to me. There was a phone call between God and I at some point in my life but the call got disconnected.

He may…in some way…be trying to call me back. But I don’t know if I’m willing to answer that call.

I don’t know if God exists. Without a shadow of a doubt…no, I can’t say that I know. But do I know heaven exists? Yes, I do. It’s not a crown of jewels and a palace made of gold. It’s in our works. How we nurture our fellow man. How we inspire our kin. This is heaven. This is where I want to be.

1.142 – Away We Go

Tomorrow will be my first time ever visiting Disney World. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m antsy. I am many things. I look forward to feeling like a kid again. I look forward to seeing my son laugh and have a level of joy I have yet to gift him with.

But this trip means more to me than dressed up characters and amusement park smiles. If you told me, one year ago, that I would be taking this trip with my sister and her family…I would have told you that you were full of shit.

My family has always been broken. Someone is always not talking to someone else. The words “you’re dead to me,” fly around like a normal family’s “hello.”  I can’t count the number of times I was disowned in my adolescence. Hell, it still happens now. It’s as easy as saying “go ahead and block me,” on Facebook. Because, apparently, social media determines whether you act like you give a fuck about your family or not.

But this isn’t about the dark shadows. THIS is about something much more important. You can always talk about what you don’t have or you can treasure what you do. And what I have is a family vacation. A family bonding time. Children unified because their parents could get over their shit. Because everyone can look back and say, “I did fuck up and I’m sorry.”

When I was a kid, my mother was accused (and rightfully so) of stealing something from my dead uncles casket at his wake. That was the final straw and she was banished. Her siblings and her own mother detested her. In turn, my sister and I lost just about lost all contact with our family. Uncles and aunts vanished from our lives…not that we were ever close but fuck if we didn’t become nonexistent. Years passed without hearing a word about our cousins, babies born or any happenings of these people that were supposed to be family.

I blame my mother for this. I equally blame the adults who chose to give a fuck less about children who did nothing wrong. You don’t have to think I’m a great person…you don’t have to like a damned thing about me but at the end of the day; I was a child and those people gave up on getting to know me, being an influence or showing an inkling of humanity. For that I say: FUCK YOU AND THE EXCUSES YOU LIVE ON.

I swore I would not be like those people. But I was. I harbored pure hatred for my own blood. I swore I would never forgive for the pain I felt.

And then my father died.

I will protect my son from every source of pain, anguish, and unnecessary stress. That includes me. There is no reason to burden my child, no reason to stifle him, punish him, or deprive him because of mistakes made decades ago. And for that…in knowing that no day is guaranteed and I may never get the chance to be forgiven for all of the wrong I’ve done…I opened my heart to the possibility of things being okay. Of breaking the cycle. Of refusing to be like them.

I’m going to Disney World tomorrow. I’m going to share experiences with my family. I’m going to make memories. I’m going to see my son bond with his cousins and laugh the greatest of laughs. That is worth hours of self-reflection and compromise. Of hashing things out and admitting to mistakes. That is worth every damn tear I have ever shed. He is worth it.

Thank you Dad…for showing me what’s really important. For giving me back my sister. For giving my son family. For all of your love. I will do my part to keep this bond strong and return the favor.

And now…I’m off to my vacation. SEE YOU IN A WEEK!!!!

Much love, readers. To each and every one of you.