A place to clear my head…

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He used to tell me, “No one will ever love you… No one will ever want you…” I always told myself he just said it to keep me there. He just said it to control me. Eleven years later, I’m still alone. For a long time I told myself it was by choice. I didn’t want to be tied down to someone until I had my life together. Here I am eleven years later. No one chooses to be alone that long. We go through life searching for someone to share our life with. Someone to laugh and cry with. Someone to share in the ups and downs. Someone that sees us for the person that we want to be. I don’t want to face the fact that he was right. So I get into “relationships” that have no future, because feeling something is better than feeling nothing… At least I thought it was. Feeling nothing is so much better than feeling empty. Feeling nothing is better than knowing that no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be enough. You can give all you have to give, but they’re still going to see you as broken and damaged. And I can honestly say, there is no worse feeling in the world. You tell yourself to just hold on, because one day they’ll wake up and realize that you’re everything they have ever wanted. Some day they’ll wake up and see their whole world in your eyes. But deep down you know it’s not going to end that way. Because deep down you know you’re nothing more than a place holder. You’re something to pass the time until something better comes along. Deep down you know you’re always going to be damaged.

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Most kids have hopes and dreams growing up. They want to be athletes, lawyers, doctors, musicians. They look to their future and see limitless potential. The world can be anything they want it to be. From a very young age, I looked to my future and saw nothing but struggle and hardship. Good things didn’t last in my life. Not for any length of time, at least. So when I fell into an abusive relationship, I assumed I didn’t deserve anything better. I spent four years with a man that needed to control every aspect of my life. I was a perfect target. I was just out of a relationship with my high school sweetheart. My self- image was low. I was 18 years old and had never been on my own. In the beginning, I saw him as rescuing me from my nightmare. It didn’t take long for things to go downhill. We lost our jobs and he took that as an opportunity to keep me locked in the house. I wasn’t allowed to get another job. I met him at work, so what was to stop me from meeting someone else and leaving him. I wasn’t allowed to get my driver’s license, because then he would not know where I was or what I was doing while he was at work. He couldn’t hold a job, so we became completely dependent on his parents to pay our bills and keep groceries in the house. He constantly accused me of being unfaithful, but I was never alone long enough to be. There wasn’t much physical abuse, because I made sure to be the obedient puppy. I never questioned his authority, never stood up to him, even if he was wrong. When I did try to stand up to him, I was slapped across the face, thrown over the couch, or choked. He knew I had mild claustrophobia, so he would lie on top of me and hold my arms so I couldn’t move. He cut me off from all of my family and friends. He told me that if any of them actually cared, they would come and see me, instead of expecting me to go to them all the time. He told me I was alone in the world, and the only ones that cared were him, and his parents. And I believed him. About a year and a half into our relationship the unthinkable happened. I was pregnant. I can still remember how thrilled he was. I also remember having to fake the same excitement. I was devastated, but there was no going back. I thought maybe a baby would change him. Make him softer maybe? He told me every day that I was worthless. I was good for nothing. I used to be beautiful, but I wasn’t anymore. No one else would ever want me, and no one would ever love me the way he did. Six months into my pregnancy his parents began putting the pressure on to get married. I didn’t see life getting any better, and no one else would ever want me, so why not? We exchanged our vows on November 8, 2006. As I walked down the aisle, my stepdad kept telling me I didn’t have to do it. I could run if I wanted to. We could be gone before anyone even realized what happened. I laughed as if he was joking. I hoped that wearing his ring would convince him once and for all that I was his, and didn’t need to be controlled. That he had nothing to worry about. Two months later I gave birth to our son Daniel. I fell in love as soon as I laid eyes on him. He was beautiful and perfect. And he would love me without question and without motive. We spent two days in the hospital. All I asked from Dave was to put the bassinet together before we came home. I spent two hours putting it together myself when we came home from the hospital around midnight. He slept on the couch. He rarely changed a diaper, or made a bottle. If he had not had dinner yet, and the baby was hungry, the baby had to wait. There were nights where I didn’t even get to eat my own dinner until the baby was asleep for the night, because he could not be bothered to help. About a year after Daniel was born, devastation hit again. I was pregnant again. He was thrilled again, and all I wanted to do was cry. I didn’t want another baby. I made my first prenatal appointment, and then two days before the appointment, I miscarried. The miscarriage was rough. I lost so much blood, that I had to be rushed to the hospital. I remember lying in the hospital bed drifting in and out of consciousness. I could hear my breathing alarm go off every time I started to fade out. I was losing so much blood, that I no longer had control over my body, and all he could do was berate me for sleeping, and leaving him awake all by himself. I thought I was dying, and I didn’t even care. The last thing I remember as my eyes closed, was thinking that I would finally be free. I woke up the next morning, still in the hospital. The bleeding had stopped, and my vitals had stabilized. I was free to go home. I asked him again about getting a job, and again he shut me down. I completely shut down, emotionally. I didn’t feel anything anymore. Sex was no longer consensual. It wasn’t exactly forced, it was just easier to let him do what he wanted, than to fight. Even if I said no, he took what he wanted anyway. For all intents and purposes, my husband was raping me every night. Six months after my miscarriage, I was pregnant again. I prayed for another miscarriage, but it never came. During one of my prenatal appointments, they discovered precancerous cells on my cervix. The doctor strongly suggested terminating the pregnancy, so they could eliminate the cells that were growing. Dave refused to allow that to happen. He didn’t care what happened to me, but they were not ending the pregnancy. The delivery was horrible. The baby went into distress, and every time I had a contraction, his heart stopped. When he finally came out, he wasn’t breathing. When I finally heard him cry, I didn’t know what to feel. I was emotionally numb, and I felt ashamed that I didn’t feel that instant love that I felt the first time around. I felt like a horrible person. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t ask to be born, but I felt like I was taking it out on him. I didn’t want to hold him. I didn’t even want to look at him. Eventually the love came, and I felt somewhat normal again. As normal as I could have felt in my situation, I guess. I just didn’t care about life anymore. I started standing up to him and fighting, just so I could feel something. The more I did it, the stronger I got. The more I realized that I wanted to live. I wanted happiness. I wanted normalcy. Mostly, I wanted to be free of him. I started to realize, I DID deserve better. I started picking fights, instead of waiting for them to happen naturally. I started talking about getting my GED, going to school, and getting a job. When he shut me down, I fought back. I fought back with a vengeance. And eventually, I told him I didn’t love him, and I wanted to leave. He responded by calling his mom. His mom came down and told me that I NEEDED to work things out because we had children together. I told her I did not have to do anything, and I called my dad to come and get me. His mom took the kids so that I could not take them with me. I spent a week at my dad’s, experiencing freedom for the first time in 4 years, and it felt amazing. I started to reconnect with old friends. I was smiling again. I remember going to watch a friend’s softball game one day, and getting back in touch with a very dear friend from high school, in the process. His first words upon seeing me were, “Holy shit! Did the warden give you a day pass?” It wasn’t until that moment, that I realized how disconnected I was from everyone that I cared about. I finally realized that no matter what he had said, these people DID care about me. It mattered to them that I wasn’t in their lives anymore. I don’t think my friend knows just how much those words impacted me. To him it was a simple joke, but to me it made me realize that I mattered. I was not forgotten. As happy and free as I felt that week, it was short lived. I went back, because my children were still there, living the nightmare I left behind. For three days he would not let me out of his sight. His parents didn’t trust me anymore, and did not want to leave my kids alone with me. He finally went back to work, but he called me every hour to check up on me. His mom would randomly stop by unannounced; to make sure I was still there. My every move was watched, and I felt even more like a prisoner than before. My final burst of strength came from an unexpected source. I had been talking to an old acquaintance on MySpace. I began opening up to him about the issues I was dealing with. I don’t know why I chose him to lay my burden on. He was the best friend of my dear high school friend. We didn’t know each other very well, but he had always been kind to me. He had a lot of the same qualities as my friend, and at that time, he was more accessible than my friend was. The strength I needed came from him. He barely knew me, but he expressed genuine concern for my well-being. He never once told me it wasn’t his problem. He never ignored me. He was always there, to listen and give advice. He was a friend when I had no one. If he hadn’t been a steady voice of reason in that moment, I may have stayed forever. I hope he knows how much his friendship meant to me. In a way, he saved my life. I walked out the door eleven years ago and never looked back, but the psychological trauma took its toll on me. I’m still trying to work through a lot of it. I’ve avoided relationships because I don’t ever want to be in that place again. I guess I still don’t trust myself. I know now that not everyone is like that. Not everyone wants to hurt you. Not everyone wants to control you. But how can I be sure who is genuine, and who is not? It seems easier to keep people at a distance.

Addiction

Addiction is a horrible nasty disease.  It strikes without warning, and without prejudice.  It does not care if you are young or old, sick or healthy, rich or poor.  Everyone is a potential victim.  I’ve watched many fall, and few climb their way out of the abyss.  Once you become an addict, you are an addict for life.  There is no cure.  If you are lucky enough to find the right help, and have the willpower to kick your habit, you will spend the rest of your life battling to stay clean.  If you’ve never personally battled addiction, it’s easy to pass judgement.  It’s easy to write them off as junkies, scumbags, lowlifes, and losers.  It’s easy to say that they will never amount to anything, to turn your back and walk away.  But what do you do when it’s your own loved one?  I myself have never personally dealt with drug addiction.  However, I have watched several family members fight their demons.  I’ve stepped in and tried to help.  I’ve begged them to go to rehab.  I’ve even reached the point where I simply sat back and waited for the inevitable. Over the years, the most important thing I have learned is, You can not help someone that is not ready to help themselves.  You can not force an addict to see the error of their ways, and get the help that you, and everyone around them can clearly see that they need.  They have to see it in their own time.  They have to hit rock bottom first.  And sometimes, they’ll hit rock bottom, grab a shovel, and start digging deeper.  And all you can do, is sit by helplessly, and pray to whatever deity you believe in, that they’ll put the shovel down and stop fighting.  Sometimes I think loving an addict is just as difficult as being an addict.

It’s important to remember that every life is worth saving.  Everyone deserves that chance to turn things around.  No one wakes up one day and just decides to throw their life in the garbage.  They’re all fighting a battle that we know nothing about, so don’t be so quick to judge.  Taking just a second out of your day, could be the difference between life and death.  Sometimes all someone needs, is a kind word.  A friendly face letting them know that they do matter.  Knowing that in some way they have impacted your life.  Knowing that without them, your life would not be the same.  Sometimes, a person just needs to know that they are loved.  To the addicts in my life: I love you.  You are more important to me than you will ever know.  I pray that you find the strength to pull yourself out, and make things better.  I hope that one day you understand, we are not fighting against you, we are fighting for you.

Enough is enough

In case you have been living under a rock for the last few months, there is a racism problem in America.  I’ve been keeping my opinions to myself up until this point, and now I need to speak my mind.

I got home from work this morning and found this story on my facebook newsfeed.  I normally don’t get involved in discussions like this, because the only thing you’re going to accomplish is a lot of anger, frustration, and maybe some strained or lost friendships.  But this is getting a little out of hand.  Is racism a problem in our country?  It sure is.  It’s always been a problem and it always will be a problem.  Mainly because of people like The Reverend Al Sharpton.  This man has made a career out of making sure black people hate white people, and frankly I’m tired of hearing about it.  I’m tired of the whining and crying.  I’m tired of  overly sensitive crybabies who feel the need to rally against something, rather than look at the real problems we the people are facing.  I’m tired of hearing about “white privilege” and “black oppression” when the man screaming about black oppression and white privilege has a net worth of 5 million dollars.

As for the confederate flag bullshit that has been clogging my newsfeed…  In a world where we can’t even send our babies to school without the fear that some psychopath with a gun is going to go in and shoot everyone.  We can’t go to the movies because some lunatic might run in with a gun or a bomb and kill everyone in the theater.  Unemployment is at an all time high.  We can’t afford to feed our children or put clothes on their backs.  Our soldiers are still dying overseas so that you have the right to whine and cry about things that don’t really matter.  When you take a step back and look at the real issues facing our country, does an insignificant flag really matter?  Really…  It’s a flag.  Let it go…

The Boogeyman is real

As parents we need to stop teaching our children that boogeymen and monsters are not real. They are absolutely real, and they lurk in every shadow and every corner of our lives, waiting to steal our innocence. Waiting to take all the pieces that make us who we are. They take until we are nothing but a shell of the soul we once were. It is our job as parents to teach our children how to defeat their boogeymen.  We must teach them how to rise above the bad things. And to hold onto the good. I almost forgot. And I almost lost myself in the process. I’m finally finding the power to defeat my boogeyman. It’s taken me 28 years, but I finally did it.

My childhood looked pretty great from the outside. I had friends. A loving father.  A loving mother. My parents provided my brothers and I with everything we needed. Plenty of food, nice clothes, a nice home. From the inside, I was living a nightmare. My parents were divorced, and I was living with my dad and my stepmother.  My stepmother was a drug addict. And her hatred for me was never a secret. I reminded her of my mother And she took it out on me constantly. My childhood was full of abuse. I had my hair ripped out, my head held under the water in the tub,  I was beat on a daily basis.  My doorknob was turned around so she could lock me in my room all day until right before my dad came home from work. Until she finally had enough of me, and she threw me away. I was sent to live with my mom and life was good. I was part of a family again. And then my dad came to me one day and said the boogeyman was gone. He asked me to come back, so I did. And for a long time life was amazing. He had the greatest girlfriend Kristi. She was  patient, and loving and kind. She loved us without question. Without expectation. She asked for nothing but our love and respect in return. And we gave it to her without a second thought.

And then one day, she was gone…  Life was still good, but not as happy as it was when she was still there.  We did all the things normal kids do.  We played football in the backyard.  We played manhunt at night with all of our friends in the neighborhood.  We had family dinners and game nights.  Then my dad got a job offer on the other side of the country.  So we said goodbye to everything we knew and loved, and went to start our new life in Arizona.  And then the bad news came.  The Boogeyman was coming back.  Things were ok for a little while.  She seemed like a different person.  The monster that she was, seemed to be gone.  This was the first time I figured out how deceiving appearances can be.  It did not take long for the two headed monster to rear its ugly head.  The physical abuse never returned, because I was older, and she knew she couldn’t hurt me that way anymore.  But the mental abuse returned.  Only subtly at first, but it was there.  Lurking below the surface.  After living in Arizona for about a month and a half, my dad’s job transferred him to New Jersey.  So we travelled back across the country again.  Once we were settled into our new home in New Jersey, the two headed monster came back with a vengeance.  I was banished to my room, only allowed to come out for meals and to go to school.  She searched through my things looking for anything I wasn’t allowed to have, which was basically anything I could use to occupy myself.  She took all of my books and threw them in the garbage.  I was left with nothing but 4 walls and a ceiling to stare at.  The only break I got was going to school.  And school wasn’t much better.  I was so emotionally withdrawn from life, that I kept to myself.  I didn’t make any friends.  I didn’t participate in class discussions.  I spent my time fantasizing that this was not really my life.  That I really belonged to another family, and that one day they were going to come and rescue me from my nightmare.  I wanted to die, but I didn’t have the courage to end my life.  And then one day, my nightmare ended.  She threw me away again.  I made the trip back to Pennsylvania to live with my mom again.  She was about to get married to an amazing man, and he welcomed me into his family with open arms.  He did everything he could to win my heart.  And my mom tried so hard to make my life better.  Unfortunately for them, I was broken.

Nothing they did was good enough for me.  I always wanted more.  I acted out, I ran away from home.  I fought with my little brother.  I did horrible things.  Because I didn’t know how to deal with the life I had left behind.  I didn’t know how to let go of the hurt.  I didn’t know how to let go of the anger.  So I lashed out and took it out on everyone that cared about me.  I hurt the ones I loved because I was hurting.  In my head, if I couldn’t be happy, no one else was going to be either.  I pushed my mother to her breaking point.  She had no choice but to send me back to my father.  When I got back to New Jersey, the boogeyman was gone again.  And life became normal once more.  I started making friends, I was doing well in school.  I had my dad back, and although I hated South Jersey, life was content.  Until the boogeyman came back.  AGAIN.  This pattern would occur two more times over the years, until I finally broke free 13 years ago.  I met the man I eventually married, and pushed the boogeyman out of my life.  Unfortunately all I did was trade one monster for another.  I continued my pattern of abuse victim into my marriage.  It was mostly mental. Some physical. Major psychological.  It’s taken me years to get past the horrible image he imbedded in my head about me. It’s still a working progress. After four years I found the courage to leave and start my life over. Little did I know I was jumping from the frying pan, directly into the fire…

To be continued…

Sometimes it’s okay to be broken

I always thought there was something wrong with me.  I always thought that wanting to get married, and have babies, and the whole white picket fence thing, was normal.  That is what I was supposed to want for my life.  So I got married.  I had babies.  And somewhere along the road, I realized that this was not the life I wanted for myself.  The babies are great.  They’re my world.  But the husband was not.  The white picket fence did not exist.  Now, I can place the blame on my husband all I want (and believe me, he deserves his share of the blame) but I’m not without blame either.

My husband and I were together for 4 years, married for 2.  Six months in to our relationship, I realized that it was not what I wanted.  I did not love him, and didn’t see myself ever being able to love him, but I stayed.  Because staying seemed easier than going.  Over the next three and a half years I did nothing to really hide the fact that I didn’t really care for him.  Life was what it was, and I was just going through the motions.  Doing what I thought I was supposed to do.  Doing what I thought was normal.  A year and a half in, I was pregnant with our first son.  I didn’t know what to think, or how to feel. What I did know, was now I was stuck.  Any chance of ever making a clean break was done.  So, what was the point in trying to leave now?  We got married two months before Daniel was born.  His parents choice.  Not mine.  As soon as the ring was on my finger, the two headed monster came out.  I was supposed to flip a switch and love him all of a sudden, and when I couldn’t do that, he became a control freak.  He cut me off from everyone I cared about.  My family and friends only existed when he said it was okay for them to exist.  He was my family and I only needed him.  If I couldn’t love him on my own, he was going to make me love him.  Daniel was born, and he got worse.  And I let it happen.  Because it was easier than trying to fight against it.  One month after Daniel turned 2, Dylan was born.  Now I was REALLY stuck.  That was about the time that the real abuse started.  Not so much physical.  There was some, but nothing major.  It was more psychological than anything else.  Oh, you have claustrophobia issues?  Okay, I’m going to hold you down so you can’t move.  I’ll let you up once you’re on the verge of a panic attack.  I eventually gave up on my appearance because, “You used to be good looking, but you’re not anymore…”  “You want a job?  Too bad.  You don’t need a job.  I’m the man, I provide for this family.  You belong in the kitchen.  What do you want a job for anyway?  You met me at work. What’s to stop you from meeting someone else at work, and leaving me?  If you ever left me, I would kill myself. Because I can’t live without you.  What do you mean you wouldn’t do the same for me? Doesn’t matter.. Not like anyone else would want you anyway.”  About 4 months after Dylan was born, I finally decided that I wasn’t content just going through the motions of life anymore.  I wanted out.  I wanted to live my life on my terms, not someone else’s.  So I left.

I have been “single” for almost 9 years now.  And I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  I can’t see myself being with someone for any long period of time.  I don’t see myself growing old with the same person.  Happiness to me, is not spending the next 40 years or so trying not to murder my significant other in their sleep.  And I’m realizing, that probably means I’m broken, but that’s okay.  Some people are meant to find the love of their lives.  Others are meant to find happiness on their own.  I think I fall into that category.  So why do people always feel like they have to fix you?  Like you’re wrong for wanting something different from them?  Listen, I respect your desire to tie yourself to the same annoying human for all of eternity.  If that’s what makes you happy, great!  I’m happy for you!  Please respect my desire to live my life alone.  Don’t look at me with the sympathetic puppy look.  Don’t try to convince me that “you just haven’t met the right person yet.”  If I wanted to meet the right person, I would open myself up to that possibility.  Don’t think that my choices in life are a cry for help.  I enjoy solitude.  I enjoy leaving my house and not having to tell anyone where I’m going, or when I’ll be home.  I answer to myself, and only myself.  I’m not going to say that I never get lonely.  Sometimes I do think that it would be nice to have someone to share things with.  But those feelings are usually fleeting.  They go as quick as they come.  Maybe some day I’ll feel differently.  Maybe some day I’ll grow up and want all the things I’m supposed to want.  But for now, I enjoy being broken.  Please don’t try to fix me.

Never too late…

People come into and out of our lives on a daily basis and we never really stop to think of the impact those people may have on us.  Some we forget as soon as they’re gone, but others…  Others stick with you.

One of my jobs is being a part time cashier at a convenience store.  I’ve worked there for the better part of 4 years.  Although the pay is not great, I have gained a lot of close friendships from this job.  Even the customers I have not become friends with, I am still very friendly with them.  We converse on a regular basis about life, family, work, relationships, etc…  We share jokes, we share sadness.  I have come to know them very well.  That being said, if I left that job tomorrow, my life would not be any different with the loss of these interactions.  They make me smile, they make me laugh.  They make the fact that I am simply a gas station lackey slightly more tolerable.

But once in a while you meet those customers that make your day better just by walking in the door.  They carry an energy that radiates off of them and it effects everyone in the room.  The mere sight of them brings a smile to your face.  That was Shane…

My first interaction with Shane is branded in my memory.  It’s something I will never forget as long as I live.  I was waiting on a customer and Shane came and stood in line behind him.  The customer paid for his gas and his cigarettes and walked out the door.  Shane comes up to the register with the goofiest smile on his face and says, “Oh my god…  He was just YUMMY!  I was going to get in line before him, but I thought the view from behind would be better.  I wasn’t disappointed!”  He always had a smile on his face and joke waiting to make me laugh.  I found out today that he killed himself.  My heart breaks for his family and friends.  For all the lives he touched during his time here. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of getting to know him on a more personal level.  But the Shane that I did get to know was an amazing and kind soul and I will miss him so much.

Suicide is a horrible thing.  I said it before and I’ll say it again, I understand how a person can feel so low.  So beat down emotionally that they feel like that is the only way out.  If you are having these thoughts, please talk to someone.  A friend, a family member, a priest, the neighbor’s dog.  ANYONE.  You have no idea the impact you have on the lives around you.  You have no idea how loved you are.  Even when you think you’re all alone, someone is going to be willing to put their hand out and help pull you up.  No matter how bad things seem, there is ALWAYS something to fight for.  There is always a reason to open your eyes and get out of bed every morning.

I can’t breathe

I close my eyes as the waves close in.  I take a deep breath and I’m under water.  I try to kick my legs but I can’t move.  Panic sets in as my lungs begin to burn.  A million thoughts race through my mind as the world around me gets darker…  I’m a failure…  Nothing I do is right…  No matter how hard I fight, the waves are always going to consume me…  I feel myself letting go.  I’m helpless and lost, watching my life unravel, powerless to stop it.  The world goes dark and finally my mind is quiet.

Sometimes you don’t realize you’re actually drowning when you’re trying to be everyone else’s anchor…

 I have made a lot of bad choices in my life.  I know that, and I accept that.  I make no excuses for what I was.  All I can do is spend the rest of my life trying to be a better person than I was before.  But how many times can a person get kicked in the face before they say enough is enough.  How many times can you fail before you throw down your sword and stop fighting?  I don’t have unrealistic expectations  when it comes to life.  I don’t expect fame, fortune, and adoration.  I don’t expect to have anything handed to me.  I expect to work hard for everything.  And that is exactly what I do.  I work two jobs, sometimes totaling 17 hours a day.  I rarely say no to working on my day off or taking on tasks that may be outside the realm of my normal responsibilities.  I work hard.  And I’m good at my jobs.  I don’t do drugs.  I don’t spend my life in a bar, I hardly even drink…  I drank two beers this week, and for me, that’s a lot.  I do the best I can for my children and my family.  I’m loyal to my friends and loved ones.  I strive to be someone who my children and my family can be proud of.  So why is it so hard for me to look in the mirror at the end of the day?  Why this constant feeling of inadequacy?  I am blessed to have a great support system.  I have a wonderful family that loves me unconditionally.  I have the best friends that anyone could ask for, but I feel so detached from all of them.  Everyone sees me as this strong person.  What they don’t realize is, I’m a coward…  I don’t give up because I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of what people will say about me.  I’m afraid of what my family will think of me.  I have a desperate need to feel loved and accepted because even when I’m surrounded by people, I feel like I’m alone.  I feel like no one really knows me.  Because I put on a smile, and crack jokes, and make everyone believe I’m indestructible.  But in reality, I’m a scared child trying to figure out how to fake my way through the rest of my life.  Because the minute I show a shred of weakness, no one knows what to say or how to react.  I’m told, “Stop it.  I’m not going to let you do that.  This is not how we solve problems.  There’s no crying.”  I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to be strong anymore.  I don’t know how to fake it…  I understand now how people get so consumed by their demons that the only way out is to end their life.  I’m not saying I could ever do it.  Because I’m a coward.  But I understand it.  Sometimes all the money and all the help in the world can’t shut out the voices that come in the night.  Those voices that tell you you’re a failure, and you’ll never be anything.

When you’re in the middle of your uncontrollable descent into depression and hopelessness, your problems do not seem temporary.  Your problems consume every part of you and the light at the end of the tunnel does not exist anymore.  It’s not as simple as just waking up and deciding to be happy.  It’s not as easy as “Just keep trying”, because you’ve been trying.  You have woken up and decided to be happy.  But at the end of the day, you just feel empty and alone.  So when your life is falling apart, and you have no one to turn to, and no religion to rely on, what do you do?  What is the next step?  Because I’m out of ideas.  Maybe I should just let go…

Dreams

I had a dream last night.  I don’t remember much of it, but the parts I do remember were pretty terrifying.  I had a dream I was pregnant.  Now I have to start by telling you that I’m not a huge fan of kids.  I have two little boys that I love with all my heart and soul.  I would not change that for the world.  I have friends that have kids, and I love them all. The children that are a regular part of my life, are great.  But I don’t like kids.  They’re loud, obnoxious, needy, and demanding.  They cry, they drool, they make messes that you have to clean up…  I just don’t have the patience for it.  Are there support groups for people like me???  Hello, my name is Rose, and I’m a baby hater…

So, with that being said, you can understand why this particular dream would be so terrifying for me.  I woke up in a daze scared, alone, and confused.  Now, the weird part about this dream was that I was only pregnant for about 15 minutes, and then I gave birth, and the bouncing baby girl just disappeared.  I didn’t even have time to think of a name for her.  She was gone that quick.  I remember feeling relieved.  I wasn’t concerned about where she went or what happened to her.  I was just relieved she was gone.  My relief was short-lived though, because before I knew it I was being chased through the hospital.  By what, I’m not really sure.  Some menacing unseen force was after me.  This happens frequently in my dreams.  That impending sense of doom.  Always running from something unknown.  I never know what I’m running for, I just know that if I don’t run, whatever it is will take my life.  I don’t think that’s normal…  I bet a shrink would have a field day with me.

When I woke up today I decided to “analyze” my dream.  According to the professionals, being pregnant in a dream is basically your creative side crying for attention.  I’m not sure how they came to that conclusion, but ok, we’ll go with it.  Who am I to question them?  I will admit, I have been seriously neglecting my creativity lately.  Life gets in the way of so many things and stress really prohibits my inspiration.  Between recent family health issues, moving, and unexpected house guests, life has been a little down side up lately and I’m not really sure when it is going to return to any sense of normalcy. But if my creative side is demanding attention, then I guess I should try my best to show it the attention it deserves.  If you don’t feed the monster every once in a while it will wither away and die, and I certainly don’t want that to happen.  So I’m challenging myself to write a story.  But I’m not going to do it alone.  It’s going to be a joint venture with a very dear friend.  I think it will be challenging, but very fun.  My friend is a very talented and creative writer.  I’m hoping that with his help, I can pull out of my “creative slump”.  For as long as I have known him, he has always encouraged me and tried to push me to continue doing what I always loved.  He’s always been my biggest fan and I want to show him that I still have it in me to do amazing things, so no more excuses.

And to my dear friend, I want to thank you for all that you do to encourage and try to inspire me.  I want to thank you for your years of friendship.  For just being you.

 

A day we’ll never forget

Twelve years ago today I was sitting in my Office Technology class.  The day had started out just like any other, but in an instant the course of history would change and thousands of lives would forever be altered.  The guidance counselor came flying into the class room and told the teacher to turn on the TV. “Any channel.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s on all of them.”  I sat in stunned silence as I watched one tower engulfed in flames, and soon to follow, a second plane fly into the second tower.  I watched in total confusion and utter disbelief as both towers crumbled.  I found out later that day that I had an Uncle who was a NYC Firefighter.  He was lucky to escape with his life.  My heart broke for the thousands of families that lost loved ones that day.  It was after this fateful day that a new word began popping up into our daily lives.  “Patriotism.”  Our government vowed to find the people responsible for this horrible tragedy.

Fast forward 12 years.  We found and killed the mastermind.  We have also killed and/or punished countless followers.  Year after year we take to Facebook, Twitter, and various other media outlets to honor the fallen and show the world we have not forgotten.  In the last few days something has been overloading my newsfeed that tears me apart.  A few weeks back I read about a two million man motorcycle run heading to Washington D.C. scheduled to arrive on 9/11.  As a member of the biker community it brings me great joy when riders band together to support a cause.  It shows the world that what you see on TV is not always what reality is.  It shows the world that bikers have hearts.  They have families, they live, breathe, bleed, and hurt just like everyone else.  However when we band together under the guise of “Patriotism” and lash out at an entire group of people based on nothing more than hatred, ignorance, and irrational fear, we become the very thing we’re fighting against.  When we let fear and ignorance take over, we have lost the fight.

I don’t hold many strong political views.  I do however believe all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, and religion should have the same rights.  Everyone should be able to live their lives and not have to hide who or what they are.  With that being said, it saddens me to know that the only reason two million bikers saddled up and headed to D.C. was not to honor the fallen, but to stop a Muslim march in our nation’s capital.  The collective thinking is that because the monsters behind the 9/11 attacks were Muslim, that makes them all terrorists.  To me, that’s like saying all Catholics are child molesters because a handful of Catholic priests spent their careers touching little boys.  As a country we have become very hateful and judgmental.  I’m not a religious person, but isn’t the religion our country was founded on based on love and forgiveness?  And this hatred and bigotry has not just popped up in the last few weeks, I see this on a daily basis.  Every time I open my computer.  We fear what we don’t understand.  We pass judgment on an entire religion because a few extremists took their beliefs a little too far.  We tell an entire group of people that they have no right to practice their religion because it’s different from ours.  I feel a better way to honor the fallen is through strength, love, and perseverance.  Not  hatred and anger.

I will honor those lost on 9/11 and all the soldiers we have lost to war by living my life and enjoying the freedoms they have died for.  I will have understanding, patience, and love for everyone, even if they are not the same as me, because no one should have to hide who they are.