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.

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2.46. The Wounded Soul – My Proudest Failure

This post is not about the many known names who have died over the course of this year from apparent suicide. Their deaths are sad and a loss to the world but there is nothing that can be done for them.  Their chances have ended. It’s sad but what can you do about it now? This is not about the unknowns who are gone from this world. Their story is no different. This is about the ones we can save. 

When I was 26, after my son was born, I suffered from postpartum depression while simultaneously suffering from an infection, which caused me to lose part of my right breast. The fake glue that was holding my doomed marriage together melted away. My world crumbled very quickly. I recall sitting in a bathroom and penning a letter to my child in which I apologized for failing him, for not being strong enough to have the desire to continue. I remember calling a crisis hotline while sitting on the curb of a dark street and telling some stranger I was a horrible piece of shit because I had a child but I wanted to die. I remember going to a hospital and asking for an evaluation. I sat in a cold, bare room, and waited for someone to tell me I was insane. After talking with Tom, he informed me I was suffering from PTSD, from events earlier in my life,  and Postpartum. When I said I wanted to die, he explained, I was simply asking to sleep…for rest…escape from pain I could not seem to get away from. I was released and attempted to pull myself out of that darkness. 

When I was eighteen, after being caught in the act, I admitted to battling Bulimia. It was a slow way out but I often hoped I would just become extremely frail and collapse and that same sleep would come. My mother told me to get over it. 

When I was 13, my father found me in our trailer in Clintondale, New York. I’d swallowed a ton of his painkillers and anything else I could find in the medicine cabinet. I was ashamed of my life. I was scared of being a nothing. I wanted to quit. 

When I was 11, I was admitted to a mental health ward, against my will (and my parents) for a mere 16 hours (a lifetime to an 11 year old btw). I’d gone in after a referral from a childhood therapist. Because I wouldn’t discuss things that were happening but implicated myself in several acts of self-harm, I was held for evaluation. I can still remember the screams and belligerent rants of those held in rooms next to me. After those 16 hours, I conned my way out of that hospital, claiming it was all an act and absolutely nothing was wrong with my home life. I learned how to lie on that day. 

When I was 5, a sibling found me on the ledge of our apartment window. When asked why I was up there, I said I wanted to die. My mother beat the ever-living piss out of me and sent me to bed. 

I have tried to die, thought of dying, hoped for dying…TOO MANY times in my life. I’ve purposefully put myself in dangerous situations, in the hopes that I would find release. Through those years and failed attempts…I never found it. 

I’m not telling you this because I want pity. Because I want you to think I’m epic and strong for “surviving.” I don’t know why I wanted to die from such a young age. I don’t know why I wasn’t “built” to better deal with the hardships of life. I don’t know why the unknown seemed so much better. 

What I do know are two things. 

  1. I was already dead. My body didn’t have to perish. TRULY, I believe I was a walking tomb. My son gave me my soul. I still struggle. I still panic. I’m still a hot mess. But I have never hoped for another breath the way I do now…as I have my son in my life. 
  2. Someday, I will die. I will not try. It will be against my will. And I will not want it to happen. I will feel pain as it all slips away because I will not see the tomorrows of my child, his children, the life I will miss. Someday, I will not have a choice. 

All of that being said…

I AM NOT AN EXPERT but I know the helplessness. I know the desperation. I know that feelings of sad hope that the damn phone will ring and someone…ANYONE will pull me back from the ledge and say, “I care about you. Please don’t go.” We all want to know that someone wants us to stay. That someone NEEDS us to stay. That our fire lights another persons world. We all need a reason to have no desire to step on that ledge. It’s ALL about love. 

The trauma that happened in my life, very early on, stunted my growth in MANY ways (so the doctors say). There are many times that I am stuck back in that mind frame of a child and I am terrified. I am frail. I am lost. It’s a fight to not go back there. To train my brain that I’m not reliving those traumas. That things are not repeating themselves. That I am capable of dealing with it IF they are. 

I am telling you all of this because we all know someone who struggles. Who is fighting. Who may be too quiet. May say the wrong things. May lash out at the smallest occurrence. May come off so angry. May push people away. May be an emotional punching bag. May live a lifestyle that is reckless. May be unaware that they are begging for help. May be pleading for rescue in their eyes but not their words. 

If you are that person…tell someone. ANYONE. Talk until your blue in the face. But keep talking. If you’re talking…you aren’t dead. AND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL. If you know someone like that…listen. Listen and really hear. You don’t need to fix it all. Just listen. Sometimes, that is all a wounded soul needs. 

Dear Suicide – I am proud to have failed you. 

Sincerely not yours…this girl. 

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.

2.37. In All Honesty

Spring is near…hell it’s Kansas so Spring may show up in August for all we know, but the overall symbolism of the season has set into full blast…kinda. Actually, it should be the opposite…the beginning of Winter. When life is ending, things die, everything is cold, quiet, and gloomy.

People say divorce is comparable to a death. And it is. The death of something you thought would last forever. Now, don’t have me mistaken with someone else; I chose to go through with my divorce…I asked for it. But I imagined it would be a rebirth. An opportunity for two miserable people to find their happiness again. What has manifested is a full blown war…a spiteful display of tyranny and a chaotic concert with nothing but hate blasting through the speakers.

 

I recently attended a class called FOCIS. Focus On Children In Separation. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case in the demise of my union. It has been an icy exchange. Something embedded with vengeance. Something VERY hard to deal with.

Before I go any further, let me make it very clear that I have no clue what I’m doing. That I’m making tons of mistakes. I am emotionally screwed right now. I have no idea how to have friendships, family ties, interactions with the adult species. The epitome of my understanding is with that of a three year old (my son) and even then…I get lost sometimes and just wish he would understand that I want to cry, to hide, to fade and not deal with the agony of breathing. But he will not understand my pain. He shouldn’t have to. He didn’t choose this. He sure as shit didn’t choose me.

During that FOCIS class, the instructor went over the 5 stages of grief, first really introduced by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression/Guilt
  5. Acceptance

According to the instructor, the journey through these stages…on average…can be between 18 months and 4 years. 4 YEARS!!!! I slip into each one of these stages, depending on the day.

I have isolated myself despite playing the open book. I have walked away from friendships without so much as a tear. Because these people will leave sooner or later. It always happens. It always will happen. So fuck it. There is no use in holding on to people who will throw me away like garbage.

I become so angry, it’s sickening. I hate people who are happy. I hate people who complain about petty shit. I hate people who have it all figured out. I hate people who have no emotional understanding. I hate people who assume I should just deal. I hate people who pass judgement on my every fucking move. I hate people who think, for one second, they could deal with this pain. I hate people who have never been single a day in their adult life telling me to not feel completely lost. I hate people who have no courage to be alone telling me to stay strong…ALONE. I hate people who use that bullshit line, “you think you’re the only one in the world who…” No shit I’m not the only one going through shit. But I’m living my life. Is a rape victim supposed to think, “well, someone else went through this and worse so I should just get over it.” UM, NO! I hate the bullshit optimism and then the continuous “whatever” mentality when everything doesn’t go as fucking wonderfully as you’ve tried to convince me it would. You were wrong. Accept it. Admit that being a part of my life was a mistake and walk away. I’m giving you the option. Because I hate, more than anything, anyone who will stay in my life and is miserable because of that connection. Just walk.

I have bargained. I will do anything. I will die if it means peace for my son. For people around me. I will shut up and take it. I will forget. I will forgive. I will pretend to be happy when I’m not. I will do whatever…if only…

I have fallen into depression. I feel guilt every fucking day for existing. For just being alive. Wouldn’t people be so much better off if I were gone? Wouldn’t they all just be happier if I never existed? I have cried myself to sleep and screamed to a God I don’t believe in. I have begged for mercy. I have prayed on the phone. I have called hotlines. I have puked out the remnants of an empty bottle. I have lost myself in the pure feeling of being a mistake. I have been ashamed of my feelings because I have a child and I should never think of my own end. What kind of mother am I if I don’t want to jump out of bed every day to look at my beautiful boy? I feel guilt that he got such a pathetic ass excuse of a mother as me. I feel guilt that I am not better. That I don’t even know how to be better.

Acceptance is supposed to be that one when things make sense and there is a sense of peace and clarity. But in my acceptance, I have come to an understanding that none of this pain will EVER go away. My life is meant to be shit. And it will never change. It will always be this hard. It will always be this dark. It will always hurt this much.

Feel free to have a rolling of the eyes session, a “this bitch swears” moment…I seriously don’t fucking care. These are my emotions. These are my thoughts. This is my life. It is not and does not have to be a part of yours.

In all honesty, there is only ONE thing I am certain about…just one…but it is the most important thing for me to know – I love my son. I love my baby boy with every ounce of my being. I do not care if not one single person on this planet cares about me as long as my son knows I love him and I live ONLY for him.

In all honesty, my son is the ONLY thing I’ve done right in my life. The ONLY thing I am proud to be a part of. The ONLY reason I have the tiniest glimmer of hope in my heart that this life can be beautiful. As hard as the days get, I know this life has possibility…for happiness, for love, for laughter, for growth, for beauty…ONLY because he is in it.

I am a flawed human being. I am struggling to find peace in this battle. I am lost, scared, uncertain, feeling broken…

BUT I am willing to continue my journey, no matter what, because my son will always know I kept going…despite it all…FOR HIM. Here’s to healing, to growing, to figuring me out. To fixing me. One stage at a time.

2.24. Parental Efforts

If you’ve gone through a divorce, you know life can be hard. If you’ve gone through a divorce with a child in the mix, you know life can be gut wrenching. But I have to tell myself, time and again, this isn’t about me. Revenge cannot exist when you have a child with someone because the only person you’d be punishing is the innocent. The one who didn’t ask for two parents who couldn’t resolve their shit.

I’ve been on the receiving end of the spiteful intent many times over the course of this divorce. I’ve been deprived of hearing my sons voice solely for the fact that it means so much to me. And as much as I want another to know what that agony feels like…I can’t.

He calls and I answer. But my son is somewhere between sleep and annoyance. He doesn’t want to talk on the phone and screams instead. The call ends. It could be just that. I answered. I did my duty. But is that all my duty entails? In my eyes, no. I sit with Hunter and talk to him. I ask him why he doesn’t want to talk on the phone. “I don’t want to talk to daddy because daddy is mean.”

And that breaks my heart. But I know my son can also say I’m mean because I won’t give him 5 cookies. So, I try again. I tell him that his daddy loves him. That his daddy called because he misses him and thinks he is very important. I tell him that his daddy is happy when he hears his voice just as I am when I call. I ask him if it’s okay to call daddy back and try again. He says okay. He calls and they share a moment on the phone. They laugh and say I love you. The conversation ends and it is good for them.

Now, my duty is fulfilled. At the end of the day, I may not like the person on the  other end of the line. I may feel that my son is being used as a pawn to punish me. BUT I know that despite my feelings, I cannot do the same things and feel good about the state of my soul. And so, I will encourage every phone call. I will encourage every visit. Because encouraging my son to love and know his father does not take away from our bond. It simply says that my son will know that I always put his needs before my own.

I can’t force anything. I can’t make strong bonds form. I can only nurture what is there. I can be strong for my angel and be there for him, to talk and work through the good and the bad.

Bottom line, we didn’t get stuck with each other. He got stuck with us.

2.18. For The New Year

Dear 2013,

Your predecessor sucked. I have high hopes for you and the possibilities you may bring.

  1. Finalize this divorce. 
  2. Move into a larger space so Hunter has his own room.
  3. GO TO DISNEY WITH MY FAMILY!
  4. Visit NYC with Hunter
  5. Get a better paying job.
  6. Take (at least) one college course.
  7. Start working out on the reg.
  8. Take a cooking/dancing/something class with my bestie
  9. Start a savings account solely for Hunter
  10. BUY HUNTER A DOG!
  11. Kiss the muse aka submit my writing for critique/publication
  12. Give Hunter everything he deserves.
  13. Be happy.

Sincerely yours,

…..

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.

 

1.194 – Happy Birthday, Mother.

Dear Mother…

Today is your birthday – a day I should cherish. A day that subsequently gave me life. It’s been quite some time since words were shared. It’s been even longer since I’ve cared. And yet, here I am, writing to you…wanting nothing more than to say fuck you.

For not knowing how to love your daughters. For creating for soldiers of hate instead of faces of love. For abusing the only man that ever loved us without defiling our bodies, minds, souls. For loving money and dick more than your blood. For teaching us to hate ourselves, our skin, our minds, our voices. For creating a path of destruction.

I could hate you but I don’t.

I will never understand how this all came to be….how you gave up without ever trying…how you infected us with your worst features and took pride in damaging us. Setting us free into the world like a flock of demonic doves – deceivingly beautiful to taint good things.

But I will not fly for you. I will not spread your tyranny. I will not infect my kin as you did with free will and conviction.

I’m blowing out the candles, all 58 of them. I’m blowing out the flames that have seared my self-esteem for 28 years. I’m blowing out the candles and spending my time loving my son so he never knows doubt in me…never knows your plague.

Happy birthday to you. May your last candle burn out soon enough so the world can be free.

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.