Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A hole in the sidewalk

There is a story by Portia Nelson that goes:

"I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street."

I've been doing a lot of self reflection lately. Just when you think you've got things figured out something happens that pulls the rug out and you've got to reassess and figure out your next move.

I've thought I had a plan. I had everything figured out. Turns out I was back in the hole in the sidewalk. This time however I know it's my fault and now I'm going to step around the hole.

I have made some crappy decisions in my life. I've treated people bad. That was a long time ago.

I like to think I'm a nice person. While I'm actually very shy and it sometimes comes out as standoffishness or bitchy, it's just a defense mechanism and I've tried very hard to get past it. I believe people are good even if they make choices that don't make sense to me. I like to advocate for people to get what they need and stand up for people I hear others talking down on. I'm one of those people that actually feels very guilty if I don't use my turning signal when I drive. Like so much so that I have to turn it on late.

I think it's easy to be a good person. To say nice things to people. To help people out. One of the problems I have is apparently I am not a good communicator. I will try standing up for someone and however I say it will often be taken wrong and I get people's feathers so ruffled.

For example, recently I was in a group of people that were going to be doing something nice for another group. There was much confusion and many people were unsure of what to do. I asked one question. A very simple question like who is doing XYZ and it started a chain of events that to this day leaves me stunned. A big disagreement happened between two people in the group, they were yelling and actually being assholes to each other. I told them both to calm down and let's figure it out. Forever one person will always think of that moment when I told them to calm down and act their age. The rest of the group was able to pull it together and get things done. The one member though to this day will not look at me and only speaks to me if needed to in a professional setting.

Later in the day after the "big blow up" I overheard the group member talking to another person about what had happened. I was surprised at first to only hear bits and pieces and some exaggerated at that. Then I thought about it all night and into the next day. I told that person I was sorry if what I had said caused her to feel bad. That my intention was to stop the arguing and get on with what we needed to get on with. After reflection I can see how I hurt her feelings and that I was sorry because that was not my intention. Still won't even look at me...

I've had a relationship with this woman for several years now. At least five. And looking back I feel like I am still in the early stages of walking down the sidewalk with the hole in it with her. I start the journey fresh and optimistic then BAM I fall in the hole. There have been countless times when she has said and done things that have hurt my feelings, belittled me in front of others and made me question my own worth. I've never heard her say she was sorry.  I'm looking at it differently this time though. I have tried different ways of communication with her, I've tried apologizing when I've been in the wrong, I've tried everything I can think of and nothing works for longer than a month at most. Now it's time to stop expecting a different outcome. Now it's time to either walk around it or simply find a different street.

I have found the best way for me to continue with personal growth is to reflect and say thank you when I should, I'm sorry when I should and so on. What I've not gotten very good results up until this point on is when I try standing up for myself. Also for other people but mostly for myself.

I'll deal with something until I've got it worked out in my head. Then I'll try to rationally speak with whomever I need to. Sometimes it's one of my children. Sometimes a coworker or supervisor. Sometimes my significant other. Sometimes it's whoever. I've noticed that when I try to stand up for myself that people automatically get defensive. It almost feels like rather than trying to get anyone to do the right thing I'd be better off accepting it for what it is and let them figure it out.

I've been inspired by my son Kevin recently. He decided to roll the dice and try his luck in Georgia. Some days have been extremely challenging, others have been so fun. The thing is that he has decided that is what he wanted and he did it. I don't need to keep walking down the same sidewalk. I can change the street so to speak.

I've become so passionate about some things that I'm forgetting the real priorities here. They are my inner peace and growth. My continuing to serve people in a capacity that feels comfortable and like I can make a difference. Maintaining the close relationship I have with my children. Figuring out my future and who should be in it and where. I love Western New York. Every evening when I drive home I am so very thankful for the breathtaking view that opens up as you round the bend. No matter what season or what time of day it is stunning. I have been given some extraordinary opportunities both in my personal life and at work to do amazing things and meet amazing people. But it's a big world out there. Maybe there are stunning views in other states. Maybe I'm meant to just stay here. Time Will tell I guess. In the meantime I have no choice but to keep searching for the good in people and circumstances. I'll keep those with the same vision close and look for the good in those that have different ones and try to understand their vision.

I'm not sure where everything is heading in the future. Not sure if I'll be living in the same town or state, not sure if I'll be working or volunteering in the same capacities. I am now I'm not sure if I'll cut my hair Brittney style or grow it out but I can assure you I see the hole in the sidewalk, I know it's my fault I landed in it and I will not be doing it again.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trials & tribulations

Being a Mom has always been my dream, well that and a country music singer. From a very early age I discovered when I sing people's ears would bleed (or so my eldest brother said). In those days and since I could always picture myself as a mom. I've poured my heart and soul into the job. There have been times I wondered if I would make it through the moments and times I prayed for moments to last.

I can't remember any more challenging of a time than right now. My youngest is in her final days of her senior year. It's been a challenging couple of months. First she had a terrible relationship that ended badly. It has taken months for him to stop harassing her. He has taken her confidence away from her and left her looking over her shoulder and questioning everything. She has been the subject of much gossip. Everything from her being a drug addict, to being pregnant to even worse things (if you can imagine).  She has been pushed to the edge of her ability to cope with it all. Just when she thinks it is settling down another round of rumors appear. She has cut herself off from nearly everything and everyone for fear of what will be said next. It's not just kids spreading rumors either. Some one turned in that she is using drugs so she had to be tested (someone must not have knows all of my kids have always been on a random drug pool kind of thing), questioned and watched, her teachers were told as a result and have treated her differently. No one bothered to tell them not only did she pass but she has also passed the weekly one administered at home (at $45 a pop). Friends of mine that haven't bothered to say two words to me in years all of a sudden send me screen shots of conversations about her (nothing noted where they stood up for her of course). She is struggling to hold it all together. Now should be an exciting time for her. She has worked very very hard and these last few days of school should be exciting, instead she gets anxiety at the thought of going to school and being treated differently or hearing more crap. She doesn't want to make plans and hang with friends because of what will be said next.

I've tried coaching her to ignore the gossip and to live her life to prove people wrong. I've tried proving the rumors wrong by tests and things. I've tried being an asshole. I've been angry at my daughter because clearly this crap must have something to do with who she is hanging out with or something she has done. I've tried medications, doctors appointments, apps on her phone, everything I can think of. The end result.... A 17 year old girl who wakes up a bundle of nerves, afraid to go to school and work who couldn't care less if she walks across the graduation stage with her classmates or not, or if she ever steps foot in work or goes to another event with friends again.

So what does a mother do? I've tried all I can think of and it just keeps going on and on. I alternate between wanting to take a few vacation days and hold her hand at school so she can get through the remaining days, to saying to hell with it don't go if you don't want to, to packing what I own the car and relocating. I'm at an actual loss. I don't want this time to set the stage for her future because we all know life doesn't really begin until after highschool.

Everyone I've spoken to has an idea. Some say tough love it and force her to go to school and deal with it head on. Which I've done and depending on the rumor of the day she may get through she may end up in the nurses office in a panic attack. Some say find the source and take action, which I have an idea but have been unable to prove.

The saddest thing about the last six months or so is to see the change my daughter. She has gone from being confident and sure to insecure and sad. I would give just about anything for the smile to be back in her eyes.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How quickly we forget

I've been on a journey lately to find the perfect underwear for a fat girl. For real this is a problem. I won't go into the details but it's really not as easy as one would think. This past year I have gained almost all of the weight back that I had lost. It's  upsetting that I'm starting back at square one but the truth is I did what I had to do to survive.

The day before yesterday I started having anxiety. It's really nothing new for me as I've had it for years, usually around the time mother nature visits. I've been able to manage it very well with magnesium, and some other things, however this time it wasn't working. Yesterday it got really bad. I have some rescue medication I got when my mom passed away that didn't even touch it. I was very near a full blown panic attack by the time I left work yesterday. I ran to Walmart to get yet another type of undies to try and decided if I was going to snap out of this I had to try everything I know to do so. I reached out to a friend, I did positive self talk, breathing exercises and I headed to the gym. I haven't been to the gym in a long time due to financial reasons & let me tell you it was just like the first time. Sweat appeared about half way through my first set of reps. I pretty much kept my head down and plugged away and guess what, by the time I headed out to my car my anxiety was gone. I got the best night sleep I've had in a long time & this morning I feel fantastic.

The familiar feeling of sore muscles makes me happy. I had forgotten this wonderful side effect of going to the gym. The anxiety reduction side. For me it's not about fitting comfortably into my clothes (which is way better than not), it's about being healthy. Mind, body & spirit. I haven't made that a priority in a long time, and I see now how big of a mistake that was.

For now I'm still on a quest for great undies, but I'm also on a quest for a better me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It all matters

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my biggest pet peeves is to come home from work and have the TV turned onto the news and loudly hearing the twisted troubles of the world. My entire day is spent hearing peoples hard times & untangling messy situations for them. I love what I do & it brings me more pride than I can explain to be a part of peoples lives in such a way. For my own sanity however I must sometimes tune out current events. I need to come home & be busy with dinner prep or clean up. I need the biggest problem to be if Kevin studied for his test or Liana turned something in. I need to banter with my family and make memories that will carry me through the days when they are gone living their own lives. At least for a little while.

I've been watching the news here & there, reading articles & noticing posts on face book. Truthfully there is little question as to where I and my family stand on most subjects. If you aren't sure just check out the stickers Kevin has plastered all over my car. Truthfully my take is this: do what's right & it will all work out.

My explanation may cost me some friends & that's fine. To me it is simple. If you break the law you should have consequences. If you break the law or are suspected of breaking the law & run from police there is a very good chance you will be shot. Don't break the law & don't run & you won't be shot. I can not see where a person would need to break the law. Even if you are homeless and hungry there are alternative solutions to theft. Perhaps if a person is backed against the wall & has children to care for but even then there are options. Don't break the law. Simple. If you do break the law be a stand up kind of person & own it. You know you did it, own it & face the consequences. Just because someone has made bad choices once does not mean they will again. People deserve another chance, in most cases.

Don't be an asshole. For real. When you are an asshole apologise. I mean come on, at times we are all assholes. When you are one tell someone you are sorry. If people tell you that you are an asshole & you can't understand what is wrong with everyone, think about what you might be doing. Perhaps you are being a jerk. How hard can it really be? We all make mistakes. On that note a persons mistakes are not the fault of their children or future generations. By that I mean that I am sorry for things that happened years ago like the Native Americans having their land taken. I am sorry that people owned slaves. I'm sorry for the problems the Jews went through. I  sorry for a million things all of our ancestors did, none of that however is my fault. I am not to blame for any of it. I am not responsible for any of it. The truth is if we look into everyone's past there is a good chance we all have situations where there has been discrimination or miss treatment. I've been researching my ancestors & I haven't gotten all the way back to find out where everyone has come from but I so know I have some that were survivors of terrible situations. I don't feel entitled to a single thing based on their trials. There is a good chance someone, regardless of color or sex or any of the other labels we put on people will have had to deal with something that is not right. To me it feels like as far as race has come we, as a nation, have taken a giant step backwards in recent years. I can honestly tell you that I grew up thinking & believing every person is equal. It doesn't matter what color they are or who their parents are, everyone started with the same slate & how it all played out depended on the choices you (not your ancestors or those around you) made. Sometimes along the way shitty things happened & you just had to reevaluate and retry.

Growing up my family was one of the poorest in town. Often times we were the brunt of peoples jokes. I can't tell you the times I overheard teachers talking about our family. It was difficult to make and keep friends. Guess what.... I turned out pretty good. I have worked hard my whole life. It is not the fault of my parents or their parents. In fact the lessons I learned from my Mom & Dad have helped to build my life now. Good & bad. People need to stop having excuses & do the right thing.

I have seen many posts about republicans & democrats. How the problems of the world are a result of one or the other. Bullshit! When I see a post like that its all I can do not to point out how discriminating that is. One entire group is not responsible for the downfall of anything. Its a group effort. If you are 100% behind one group or another there is a good chance you are being closed minded. That is like saying all cheerleaders are dumb or all woman are bad drivers & is not only untrue but ignorant. One group be it Republican or a religion is not full of all good or all bad. Every group is equally mixed.

The bottom line is we all just need to do the right thing. When we don't do the right thing we need to correct that. Make good choices & for the love of God stop being assholes.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fear is a liar

Today is the day! Today I stop standing by watching life pass by & I start rejoining the living. Almost a year ago...wait I guess its been two, I worked very hard at changing the way I looked, felt, thought & ate. I was the happiest I remember being in a very long time. Then everything got turned upside down.

For the last little bit I've just been sitting by watching the trains pass me by. Every once in a while I attempt to hop back on, however I've been unable to.

Today that changes. I am embarrassed by how much weight I have gained back but that is not going to define me. I am standing in the middle of the tracks and the only way that train is getting past is with me on it. For me it's more than just a few pounds I need to shed. Its life and death & I choose life!  I'm not looking to be anything other than healthy and a little bit badass.

I have signed up for a 16 week challenge to make changes. Kind of like a jump start back on the train I fell off. If you see me trying to slip or jump, feel free to throw rocks at me or whatever it takes.

I'm trying very hard to find the new way of life that I've got now that everything has changed. Today, while I feel nervous about stepping on the scale & worried I won't be able to keep up and make it through the workouts, I feel excited & alive & full of energy. I can't wait to go grocery shopping and prep foods again and be in control.

Today is a good day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mamma warned me there'd be days like this.....

I've been very nostalgic today. I had the day off of work and decided to spend it sorting and reorganizing my closet. I came across lots of old art projects from the kids and different things that brought back memories.

Midway through my day I had to go to a doctors apt. I really didn't tell anyone in my family about it because I didn't want to worry them & I already knew the results if my stress test. I am glad I went. My mind is at ease now & I have a clear understanding if my cardiac status & how to move forward. For the first time in months I feel as if my fate might actually be different than both of my parents.

After my apt I sent Kevin & Liana the same messages I do every day about that time, asking where they are & what they are doing. Liana was quick to respond but Kevin didn't for about half an hour. When he finally did he said he was sorry he was with the recruiter for the past 2 1/2 hours. I knew he was going but didn't expect to hear that he is scheduled for MEPS the first week in August. OK I  mean I know its going to eventually happen and he will be leaving me for the United States Marines however its just happening so fast. My Mom (& every other adult I ever knew) said this would happen. They warned me that when I was complaining about the terrible two's I  would blink & they would be gone. That one day I would realize that was the most magical time.

Then Liana sent me a message which I can't even remember what it was now, but it made me remember when she was younger & was afraid to go upstairs by herself. How everything in her life I was a part of. Now I'm lucky if I get 5 minutes a day with her & if those 5 minutes she isn't in her phone or something. I'm loosing all of these kids to the real world & I don't want to just yet. When Kevin told me about his August date I felt almost a panic. All I can think of is the summer I sent him on a 10 day camping trip to the Adirondack Mnts. While he had great adventures, he clung to me so tight when I picked him up. For the next week he was like my little side kick, actually wanting to spend time with me. I Invision him that little boy who will go and miss his mom but is stuck. I envision all of the stuff they will put him through and I can't help him.

He will be fine.....its me that might not make it through.

Then one by one all three of my children have needed something from me today I have been unable to give. I am going to bed wondering if they even know I exist outside of being a checkbook, deliverer of forgotten things, doormat when they are pissy..... It helps sooth the hurting heart when I'm angry though so I'm going with that and the realization that one day I'll probably look back on these days and wish for them back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

To Everything..... There is a Season

Last week I got a letter in the mail addressed to the parents of Kevin. I joked with him that every time I get one of these it causes anxiety & fear that it will tell me he has skipped to many days to graduate. As I opened it, with butterflies because I really was worried. Much to my delight & surprise the very first word was Congratulations!!! Kevin got an award that would be handed out during a formal ceremony and blah blah blah.....

For real! Kevin is going to graduate! For the first time this year I allowed myself to relax & believe it to be true. Every day since the letter arrived I've been hassling him about what he was going to wear & how he had to go. I've been telling everyone that would even pretend to listen about how my Son, the graduate, got an award. Poor Kevin. Its been a long week.

Tonight I rushed home from work, changed my clothes. Changed them again. Then bolted out the door just in time to sit in the auditorium packed with seniors who looked uncomfortable with their fancy clothes on, parents who looked at their offspring with that look of pride. We watched the touching power point with all of the baby pictures and senior pictures set to music and waited through the introductions. Finally they began announcing the awards. Mid way through they presented the awards to those from the graduating class planning to enter the military. Kevin was given an award for entering the Marines.

He looked so good walking across the stage in his dress clothes, shaking hands with whoever it was. I just realized I have no idea who presented his award. Anyway. After that he rejoined Jeff and I and we waited and waited for the ceremony to finish.

When it was time to leave my handsome young man realized he locked his keys in his truck. I left he and Jeff to figure it out, came home & as I was changing my clothes it hit me! Kevin is graduating & joining the Marines. Its not something that is happening in the future. It is happening now. My little kid who can win anyone over with his crooked little smile & smooth talking. The little boy who has always preferred to be outside than in. The kid who has given me heart palpitations all year because his "free spirit" has kept him out of class. He has told me since he was 8 years old what his plans were, I just always thought I had time to worry about it later.

Tonight I realized its later.

I am so very very proud of the young man he has become. He has so many qualities I value in people, like honesty, even when its not what I want to hear or its difficult. Willing to help anyone out without asking or expecting anything in return. Hard working.....I could go on and on. The point is this kid has made me so proud & so sad all in one moment. Love you KVT