Thursday, October 29, 2009

Defining Life


I have seen the words "life on life's terms" a lot lately. As I see it, this envelops surrendering a range of some or all of your control over aspects of your life, with the belief that there is an area completely out of reach and beyond control. Of course there are always factors beyond control, but those factors produce the ever present opportunity for choice.

One of the hardest lessons I have learned is being accountable for my feelings and realizing I have control of how they are affected by others. Sometimes I make the choice to feel negatively about myself or another or their actions. At one point in my life I had no control once this happened. I did not have healthy thought processes. I was more concerned with controlling other people and manipulating the situation back into my comfort zone. I was too selfish to realize that I had no right to do this and it took years of emotional discomfort and failure in my communication and relationships, before I realized something had to change and that something needed to be me.

It was not pretty. I had to let go of so much. I had to work so many feelings. I had to apologize to myself first and then others and then let go of the guilt. When damage was done, it was my habit to harbor the guilt, refuse to move forward, and lose sight of the lesson. As I worked on changing me, I started to let go and oh how all of those horrible life choices started to work for me. I became life's student, eager to learn, with a light heart.

I started focusing on my emotional health and let go of all of my labels. The table's started to turn and I became capable of defining my own life... making my own terms. I stopped waiting for anyone to come save me and make it better. How empowering it was to realize my own capabilities. I had allowed so many people to use me and shape me for their own selfish needs, as I was doing to them. What toxic relationships I had.

One of my biggest achievements has been learning to manage my mental illness. I was diagnosed bipolar 8 or 9 years ago. Again dates in the past elude me these days. I spent years in medicated turmoil. Up the dose, add this to help the side effects of that, sleeping pill, a pill to return sex drive, wean yourself off of the one that makes you feel ok.

I decided I was not going to let this illness define me. I spent a lot of time in therapy, classes, groups. I was hospitalized because I could not go on anymore. I started looking more towards tools to help me through various weak points. It is so much more complicated when you are bipolar because the extremes are SO EXTREME. Medications that work during the depressed times seemed to have negative effects on me when I was experiencing mania. Another thing that I struggled with is that I was actually so in love with parts of me in both conditions. When I was manic, some of the grandiose feelings resembled self esteem. I got so many things accomplished. I dreamt big and felt uninhibited and very sexual. When I was depressed I had a great capacity for empathy. I was very emotional and expressive. This is when my writing was at its best.

The problem was that when I was manic, I had poor judgement with money and was promiscuous. When I was depressed I had no self esteem and I was very needy and often felt worthless and suicidal. If I had to work so hard to identify these things so that my medication could be adjusted, why couldn't I work to identify them and find tools to work the problem areas. The medications made me so emotionless that I didn't have the drive to work on anything. I was neither here nor there. Happy nor sad. I just existed, waiting for my next appointment, my next medication check, with vague hope of getting better.

I did something extreme and I quit all of my medicine. This probably wasn't the best idea and it was quickly followed by extreme depression and a an immense struggle with my fighting inner voices, and a bottle of trazadone. Somehow my voices overcame my weakness that night and I slept it off without overdosing on trazadone. I woke up the next day ready to fight for the right to exist harmoniously within my own head.

It was a long long road. I lost both my grandpa and my kids' Dad that year. I was on autopilot for so long. I had no energy to feel much of anything other than sad. I simply went through the motions each day for my children's sake. That is where my first big tool presented itself. As time went on I realized how many big decisions I had put off and that even though I hadn't accomplished much, I was in fact alive. How had I made it through such huge life events without medication?

Life started happening again. Sadness stayed present, but it got in the backseat. I was so scared to start feeling again. I was sure I would start cycling (a term that refers to alternating between periods of hypomania and major depressive disorder). I was known to rapid cycle- meaning I had four or more episodes of both in a year. I asked myself if i should prepare to get medicated again. This is where my tools came in.

I looked back on everything I had learned about signs and symptoms and I started making a plan. I committed to getting to know me. The real me with all of my emotions, all of my feelings, and all of my strengths and weaknesses. Medication free. I addressed the major problems I faced with both depression and mania and promised myself when I started sensing either I would do two things. I would not make any big decisions (relationship, money, life, etc) and I would continue to go through the motions no matter how I felt. This meant simple days filled with only routine. Get up, shower, get kids ready, school, work, clean, eat, sleep. I would not discuss my feelings with people or seek input during these times. I limited physical and emotional stimulation to that of common courtesies and light conversations and internally rewarded myself with praise when I would make it through a day.

As time wore on I became incredibly aware of myself. I could feel both the mania and the depression coming on and it started feeling like a gentle warning instead of an unplanned attack. I started welcoming my "go through the motions days." Even though I would still feel the same things, I started to control the actions of those feelings. As I began to know and trust myself better, I started to reign in some of the power of each cycle. I used the times of mania to express myself in writing. I used the times of depression to be thankful for life's little comforts. The cycles started to become less apparant and less often. The area of normalcy started to invade both cycles and it was taking less and less work to live. Light was invading the darkness.

My bipolar disorder is sacred to me (thus the name of this blog). It saved me from myself, because I chose to define it instead of letting it define me. There is a little part of it that is everything my mother was, only she was defined by her mental illness and she lost her struggle to live because of it. I hold sacred that little part of me that can relate to her.

Amazingly enough this process happened BEFORE my addiction to pain medicine and meth. I think it is what made my recovery so much easier than it is for some people. I didn't use initially to cover up pain in my life. I was actually pretty happy and stable. I used because it just felt euphoric and became physically addicted. I ended up using to cover up the pain that supporting the addiction caused.

I recovered from meth without mental health treatment or medication. Am I saying this is normal? No. I do believe that there has to come a point of discovery in any affliction of the mind or body in which the afflicted must do the emotional work. Of course self medicating is easier, and sometimes clinical medicating can be what a person absolutely needs to allow them the capabilities to do the emotional work. The medication will never do the work for you.

I am just expressing how I have defined my life. How do you define yours?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recovery: testing temptation


It has been more than 3, but less than 4 years that I have not used meth. I don't know exactly how long. I am not even sure of the day we got arrested. I used to obsess with remembering everything, knowing everything about any event in my life, having a point of reference for everything.

Something so extreme snapped that day that I just looked forward and couldn't look back. I tell myself I am going to find my discovery (from my arrest) and look at the date, just because it really IS an important date... but I never do. What happened that day is more important and whether I know the exact date isn't what matters. Choosing to never figure it out is my own way of confirming that.

What has happened since that day? I am reminding myself, because lately I have felt temptation for the first time in a long long while. I will have a brief thought kind of sneak in and linger in my head... almost whispering.... making me chase it to let it materialize... Shawna you are strong enough to do anything... you could use meth just one time and not do it again.... one time wouldn't hurt anything... It would be fun... everyone is doing it again... it could just be a social thing... I look around, afraid, almost as if I think someone else might have heard it too. I quickly resume normal thoughts, dismissing the evil whisper, haunted by its existence.

I am realizing that I have become too comfortable with my life. The fear of my past has faded away. I am living anxiety free. I have confidence in myself and I don't look to others for approval anymore. As a whole this is a great place to be, that I have worked hard on developing. Now that I am here, I am not using those strengths and all of their capabilities.

What do my positive outlets consist of right now?

Writing is one of my tools that helps me to actualize everything- thoughts, feelings, accomplishments, strengths as well as weakness.

Reading gives me the opportunity to gain perspective, develop my own thought processes, and learn. It also gives me a mental break from the transgressions of each day.

Praying allows me time to reconnect with my inner peace and to channel positive energy. My faith is still developing and praying is like my reset button when my thoughts are overwhelming.

I have 2-3 people that I talk with on a regular basis that provide positive affirmations of similar beliefs, life goals, and encouragement to continue making practical, productive, and progressive decisions. I communicate endlessly online to give and get support.

This may seem a bit out of place to some, but it really is something that I take very seriously and is quite the occupation. Oddly enough I am far from the "typical" mother. My mothering is not defined by a schedule, a huge extracurricular agenda, mass amounts of housework or cleaning, or a system of expectations. I quite honestly spend the majority of my day here- at the computer doing the afore mentioned activities (okay praying happens during the night usually) with intermittent periods of cooking, cleaning, and supervising.

Our family life revolves around open communication and there is a very simple code of courtesy that is in place. It was not so easy GETTING it in place, but it is here now. Give and take is visibly present, and everyone does thier part to make sure all persons' needs are met. Some of those responsibilities are obviously parental by nature, but the older kids do an exceptional job of participating in whatever areas of day to day life that they are capable.

It all comes together rather seamlessly which is what I always hoped for, but now that I am looking at it present day, it is almost TOO easy. I have a pretty serious fight or flight response, and at one point I was basically an adrenaline junkie that thrived off of creating fight or flight responses. Even worse, meth turned me into a mini sociopath. I only wanted the end result (to be high) and I convinced myself of all the reasons it was okay and justified all of the ways that I got there. Once I did get there it didn't matter because it all went away, lost in a superficial euphoria. A lot of the healing processes and tools that tamed the addictive personality in me, also addressed my addiction to creating problems and then solving them. My conscience returned as soon as I came down those 7 miserable days in jail, and has been a strong voice, ever present in my healing and recovery.

I believe that there is a certain amount of "life energy" if you will, that a person needs to expend before they become bored. For me boredom creates opportunity for old or bad habits. I have spent much of my life energy in the past 3+ years healing, growing, recovering, evolving, and creating new thought processes. Now that a healthy existence seems to happen by means of auto pilot, I have created a void that needs to be filled.

Its complicated, but gainful employment cannot work in our situation right now. As much as it would be welcomed, it is a damned if you do, damned if you don't outcome, and after weighing heavily the options, we have decided me staying at home is best.

Volunteering is highly appealing to me. There are so many areas of my life that I could share to benefit others- speaking at weight loss surgery support groups or addiction recovery support groups, volunteering hours at the Action center (community center, shelter, and food bank, that helped us). The problem lies in working it around my 2 year old's needs and schedule and my husband working nights and weekends (a bar schedule).

My goals for this week are to brainstorm ideas of activities that will give me a sense of personal accomplishment outside of my life as wife and mother, to materialize a plan of action that will make some of them possible, and to solicit the support of my husband and friends, as needed, to allow me to accomplish these goals.

It feels so good to have enough insight to recognize that I am experiencing a test of my will and to develop a plan to overcome a weakness that I have recognized.

A poem I wrote about Meth


Hell's Door

Urges so overwhelming

Self control the main factor

Get through the pain

or regret my judgment after

Discouraged about the future

Guilt over past choices

Desperate to quiet

my fighting inner voices

Determined on life’s path

Feelings I didn’t ask for

Looking for strength

Walking past Hell’s door

I am thankful everyday for the choices I have made and who I have become.


Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have a lot on my mind. I guess most people can say that most of the time. For me today has been especially challenging. My own morale challenges that of everyday living all of the time. When it constantly has to look in the face of the people that we are related to, it gets seriously imposed upon.

The sad truth is that we have no parents. My mother died... my Dad is an alcoholic that has rarely been involved in my life. Bryson's mother and father are on again off again meth addicts (long separated- with other children). The even harder truth is that there is and has never been a connection or any exchange of love. The depths of my motherly soul that care for my children in that way, have NOTHING in common with any parent me or my husband are realted to.

I have a whole lot of positive in me. I have to. I take the best from the worst and I am so... so... so thankful, humble, and proud (if those all can be possible together) to be here today and to be me.

I am also regrettably struggling with the WHYS. Why can't I have one solid and consistent family member? Why is all of the wisdom of my elders already dead and simply a memory? Why is there no one who I can talk to and rely on for information, guidance, and support?

Living is hard work. Living and looking back at my past is really hard work. I know I am not weak and I know I have overcome a lot to create this life, but sometimes.... just sometimes... I get tired, and I wish there was someone I could just talk to and trust and look up to. Someone constant and predictable that WANTS to be a part of my life... that cares about my tomorrow. A mom or a dad or a grandparent, aunt, uncle, RELATIVE.

It is so hard for me that I do not know or speak to anyone that knew my mother or grandma (besides evil step gma that I don't speak to) that can even verify they existed. That feels so surreal. I cannot even talk about, or verify my experiences because no one was there... they were cremated so no grave to remember them. Its all up to me and my memories.

I have Bryson (and so thankful don't get me wrong) and I have a few very close friends (peers), but is it so wrong to want and need my mother, my grandma, a PARENTAL FIGURE between us both?

I feel so alone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Suicide Changes Life

Wanting what I couldn't have developed into idolizing what I didn't know. Everything my mother was intrigued me. I was so little, but I knew too much. The truth is at seven years old, I really knew very little, but I already had seen so much. Every moment with my mother was like an emotional adventure. There were no guarantees and I never knew when I would see her next. The only promising sign that she was coming was the sound of her keys in the front door of my grandparent’s house. That sound. I can still hear it, but only in my head.

The last time I saw her, she came over unexpectedly which was not so unusual. She was there to visit with her Mom for grown-up reasons and so I didn't get too much time with her. I still loved seeing her. She always smelled the same. She never looked the same. She always had something different on. "Cool" clothes, long earrings that I only dreamed of being allowed to wear, cute and sexy outfits. I never wondered why she cared so much about herself and so little about me. I knew she was a "dancer" and it made sense to me, as told to me by her, that she had to look good if she wanted to make money.

Whatever time she had left over for me was always good enough. That day it wasn't much. I was doing a great job of being my doll's mommy when I heard parts of her conversation with my grandma. Something was wrong. She and her boyfriend were fighting... blah blah blah. Same problems, different boyfriend. The details didn't matter too much to me. The last time I had spent the night with her she had told me again about how things were going to change. They were getting a bigger better house and they were going to get married on Valentine's Day. Then I could come live with her. She always told me these fairy tales. I loved her no matter where we lived, even if it wasn't together. She told me because she needed to believe it. I know that now.

It was already time for her to go. Nothing seemed any better or worse than any other day. She was in a hurry and had to go. I got a hug. I felt satisfied with her smell left lingering on me for a short while. Back to playing with my doll.

I had complete and predictable discipline during the day when my grandma was home and trying to balance her meticulous housework and getting some sleep before she went to work at 5. My grandpa worked Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and got home around 3 in the afternoon. He would begin his yard work and take me outside to play while my grandma got ready for work. The evenings were filled with sweet manipulation because I was Grandpa's little girl and I always got my way when Grandma was at work. The next morning was a Tuesday and so I woke up to both of my grandparents. This day there was new tension in the house.

I heard my grandma on the phone earlier, but hadn't paid much attention. I started listening to the grown up conversation she and my grandpa were having as I was getting my cereal. They were talking about the quick visit Mom had paid the day before. They were talking about what people they could call... who might know something or have heard from her. I decided I belonged in the conversation and asked what had happened. My mom was missing. Missing. That word was new. I had gone weeks at a time without hearing from her before, but she had never been missing.

Knowing that I just seen her in the last 24 hours, it seemed ridiculous that they would call her missing. Missing is what kids on milk cartons are.
Grandma explained that Mom's boyfriend, Geoff, had called and he hadn't seen her since they had been in a fight on Sunday night. She hadn't been to work. He had called anyone who might have seen her or been with her, and no one had. Taking in this kind of information is hard when you have a big girl mind at 7 years old. As many ideas as I was getting, my grandparents had their own agenda of worry. I was quickly being hustled around the house because there were phone calls to be made and things to consider. My questions were not so welcome anymore; likely because there were no answers.

I have never heard our phone ring so much. I heard "missing persons report" among the same questions and answers I had heard all morning on every other phone call. Each phone call was met with anticipation, eager for my mother's voice. A disappointed shrug and a disheartened head shake let me know she was not the caller. I guess people started running out of questions and answers and the phone quit ringing. The day grew into evening. My grandparents were talking like I wasn't there, discussing what I might be thinking or feeling, seemingly unaware that I could tell them if they would just ask me.

We would be participating in a normal daily activity, talking about anything that wasn’t my mother and then abruptly, one of them would have a new consideration. These contemplations ranged from uneasy worry about horrifying what-ifs, to encouraging, self-assuring explanations of how and why she would be okay. Neither of them could remain functional for long and they finally started talking about how to protect me from all of the uncertainty. They wanted me to go spend the night with our two elderly neighbor ladies, Blanche and Carol. I didn’t want to go. Why did I need to go somewhere else? It wasn’t going to make anything better or worse.

It was already getting late when my grandma made the phone call to ask Blanche if I could come stay the night. I liked the company of these two old ladies in moderation. I spent every Wednesday evening over there, watching Highway to Heaven and drinking my ginger ale in a cocktail glass while Blanche and Carol sipped liquor in theirs. Why did I have to go spend the night on a Tuesday just because my Mom was missing? The only way I was going to go was if my best friend Sebrina, who lived up the street with her grandparents as well, could stay with me. I don’t remember the details of why not that night, but it was decided that the next night would be spent with Blanche and Carol, Sebrina included.

Still Tuesday… still the longest Day of my life yet… still no phone call from Mom. Evening worry turned into night time exhaustion and brought bedtime with it. I had no more thoughts to think and I was tired of seeing everyone so upset and so confused. Sleep came easy and morning came quickly. The distressing atmosphere remained, but little was said. The night had brought no answers. Grandma was getting ready to take a shower with me to get ready for the day. I sat unfeeling on the steps, with my night gown still on, my towel in my lap, waiting for my cue to get in the shower. The phone rang; the first phone call of the day. All the anxiety in the world suddenly captivated my previously unfeeling heart and I just HAD to answer the phone.
“Hello, who am I speaking with?” the man on the other end asked.
“This is Shawna.”
“Shawna, are you Cathy’s daughter?” was the next question.
“Yeah, yes… I am.”
“Shawna, this is Detective (somebody).” “Can I speak with your grandma or grandpa please?”
“Yes, hold on.”
Grandma was already coming in the bedroom door, with a questioning look on her face as I yelled upstairs for my grandpa to pick up the phone. I am not sure if she was questioning why I had answered the phone, or what had been said since. Either way, my Grandpa had already picked up the phone upstairs and so I hung up the one in my hand. My grandma reached out her hand, never asking me anything. I took it and we went up stairs together. Grandpa sat in the kitchen chair, not saying much, still listening to something being said by Detective Somebody. Grandma pulled out the kitchen chair on the next side of the table and sat down, pulling me onto her lap as she did. We sat together and waited. It was only moments I’m sure. Moments of that special time… that never ending time that feels like an eternity in just moments. I saw the color drain from his face. The last thing he said into the phone was, “Ok, Thank You,” and he was shaking before he could hang it up. This time he didn’t shake his head. He nodded and slowly the words fell out of his mouth.

“Cathy’s dead.”

I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. The thoughts suffocated me. How could my so perfectly imperfect mom be DEAD? I hadn’t even considered this option. Missing… missing was not dead. I cried. She could have run away. I cried harder. She could have been in an accident.The tears came so fast I felt like I was drowning. She could have been kidnapped. She could bemissing, but she could not be dead. I was hyperventilating and crying. If I cried hard enough it felt like I could cry the pain away. I remember my grandpa trying to hush me the way you hush a crying baby. Trying to tell me it would be okay, when he knew it was not okay. He got me a little glass of water and told me to take a drink. I cried harder. My Mom could not drink water anymore. Why would I want to drink water? I knew it would make my grandpa feel better if I drank the water. I picked up the glass. I realized the whole kitchen looked like it was under water. I cried and cried and cried.

A temporary reprieve from the crying came. It was long enough for me to hear my grandpa explain that Mom had killed herself. She had hung herself in a shower… in a hotel room… by herself… with the bed sheet… no note.
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Not MY Mom. I cried. I screamed. Nothing stopped the pain. I hadn’t even accepted dead. I surely could not accept that she had made herself dead. No way. I kept insisting it wasn’t her. It was a mistake.
“She had on her unicorn necklace,” he said.

Someone put it there. She was in trouble and had faked her death. Surely a stripper could get in enough trouble to need to disappear. Any minute she would call and tell us where she really was.
Now that other kind of special time came… the time where an eternity is gone in moments. So much crying and talking. Pain swallowed me up and I ran out of things to think. I sat waiting to be told what to do, because there was no feeling left in me for me to decide for myself. There were calls to be made. Plans to be made. Maybe it was a good idea if I went over to see Blanche now so they could “take care of things.” I didn’t want to go see her. I couldn’t. She was waiting for me and it was time for me to go over there. Somehow I put one foot in front of the other. I made it down the stairs. I got outside the house. I looked back at the house and wondered what “plans” meant. I made it to the sidewalk and there they were. Those words. Right out of my Grandpa’s mouth and into my head. Cathy’s dead. I looked at Blanche’s house. It looked like it was under water now. I looked at all of the houses and I knew all of the people in them. I knew I was supposed to walk to Blanche’s house. I knew I was. I couldn’t. I had to tell someone. I looked to my other neighbors’ house. I ran as fast as I could to their door. I rang the doorbell as many times as I could. Everything looked like water now. My friend’s Mom opened the door and before she could even ask me, I told her, “My mom is dead.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Have you seen my words?

I know I asked something like, what if I just thought I might vomit words and you would see 3 blogs in one day? Well today this is 2 and 3 just might happen later. I know where all my thoughts are- I think. I just can't seem to find my words.

I was so tired and was sure today would be a total wash. I found my way into the computer chair a few short hours after proclaiming my disgust with the day and just started to read. I read sad things, and hopeful things. I read stories of triumph and stories of disappointment. I read seemingly meaningless rants about daily life filled with humor and sarcasm. I'm sure I could write a whole page of the types of things I found sitting here in this chair, staring at this screen, reading. Today I was a student, thirsty for answers, and what wonderful answers I found.

Then without even thinking about it, I started feeling. I realized the sheer mangintude of what any one person writes. How important it became in my day of self pity to allow myself to be affected by others and simply feel.

So many things to consider. People considering their own place in life, their worth, their esteem, their sexuality, their weaknesses, their sobriety, their addiction, their strengths, life's blessings, illness, births, deaths, beginnings, ends.

I find myself asking myself, "Why am I here?"

I know I am looking to grow and continue learning. I don't find myself looking particularly for change. I find myself quite content with my life as it is. What is it? What is so sacred about my insanity? Why do I even consider myself insane?

I guess to societal standards, my behaviors and mental patterns can be abnormal. Thing is, I happen to like who I am and what I think and I also happen to think society is where the majority of abnormal behaviors and patterns lie.

I am a simple person, born of a complicated life. I have experienced far too many extremes for many people to consider, yet I have experienced extremely easily attainable staples in life that many people will never see.

I do not take for granted such things as shelter, warmth, food, hot water, love, and hot tea. I do not ever desire such things as wealth, prosperity -as defined as economic well being, or predictable stability created only to shelter me from the world.

I enjoy overcoming obstacles. I seek to have new experiences. I like taking reasonable risks. I like creating manageable mistakes for my children to learn from and teaching them about life. I hope they will never have materialistic values. I hope they will always have love to give deeply and meaningfully and be strong form within their hearts because of the love and honesty our family provides.

I don't ever spend a minute hoping for them to make a certain amount of money, or have a certain family, go to a collage of certain prestige, or achieve anything specific. I hope simply they have the courage to follow their dreams- actually first I hope they have the courage to dream, and will always work diligently to provide for themselves to whatever standard suits them, without taking advantage of another person's weaknesses. You could not pay me enough money in the world to spend 40 hours away from my children, selling someone something they don't need because it gives me a paycheck. I would hope my kids would never lower themselves to such a life either.

I don't even understand what happens in families where children are devastated because they have let their parents down. I take pride in knowing that my kids see failure as an opportunity to learn and look to me as their teacher. Even though I can only teach from experience and not education, I teach from heart and I look to always teach truth. I encourage my children to learn the things I did not, because I was too emotionally involved in life to actually get my education.

I have been too tired to come here and write for a little while. I was reverting back to the feelings of fear that come from when Social Services tried telling me I was unfit to be a mother. I realize, just as I did then, that my strengths come in proving myself to myself, not to another.

I start to question myself because I am at such a comfortable place in life. I am happily living and I am surrounded by people that love me and appreciate me. It might be a small group, us 5, but my family is quite self contained. They do not push me to do more because they love me for who and what I am. I like to be the support person. I like to find answers to their problems or better yet- help them find answers. The isolation I start feeling is because I see so many people I know struggling. Fighting to live happily, dealing with abuse, addiction, no support system, not enough money to support an unrealistic and unneeded means, and it seems to be far more normal and I start to ask myself what am I doing wrong.

Why don't I fight with my husband? How come he still loves me when I wear sweats for a week? How come I am just as happy in this home as I was living in a motel? Why is my old mini van just as good as the new SUV I gave up when I couldn't afford it? How can we still be a solid family when we don't have credit? don't have a mortgage? aren't in debt? don't have credit cards? How come my sex life is still great even when I can't afford to get my hair and nails done? How can I enjoy shopping at GASP a thrift store? How come my best friend wears designer jeans and still loves me? Why does cheap wine make me just as happy as expensive wine? How do I manage to give up just enough without losing myself and my family happily does the same? Where in the world did I get self esteem?

The front page of just about any woman's magazine promises to fix all of these problem's that I just don't have. So what is WRONG with me?

The answer is nothing. Nothing for ME. I am living how I want to and why I want to. My world can seem a little dark and lonely sometimes, free from the influences of media and propaganda. It isn't weighed down by wants of material possessions OR void of accomplishments. It is the simple life of a mother and a life teacher. The whole world may not be my students, but teaching 3 is good enough for me.

I think I found my words.

another day...

I will feel like being here.

I will feel like gettin up early.

I will feel like cleaning, organizing, getting ready.

I will be rested and my body will feel normal .

I will feel joy and contentment.

The sun will shine and warm my heart...

... another day.


I want to stay in bed.

I am tired, worn, not recovered from being sick, and facing the monthly woes of being a woman.

I am missing my 6th grader who is away at outdoor lab, worrying if he is warm, wondering if he has enough layers and warm enough socks.

My 4th grader is home sick for the 4th day from school.

My 2 year old is well and full of energy and doesn't understand a sick or tired mommy. She didn't understand when she was up at 3 am asking for juice, a snack, water, cartoons, or any imaginable reason to be awake at 3 am either.

It is cold and snowing and I am worried about the sprinkler system that "Grandpa of the year" never showed up to blow out.

I am bitter that the day he was supposed to show up just also happened to be his granddaughter's 2nd birthday party, the 2nd birthday party that he missed.

Today I am going to mute my mind, let my body finish healing, and wait for another day.

Friday, October 9, 2009

'mon mommy, come on

It has been a challenging couple of days filled with stressful events, people moving in and out (literally), and some serious accusations outside of the family..... and blogging is not compatible with a 2 year old still up at 1:11 am asking for cereal followed by mommy snuggles in bed with her. Guess I will have to enjoy my midnight cheerios and some baby snuggles and come back later :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Influence.... Intention

Wow... so as if I didn't have enough thought coming into this... I tried to research the actual meaning behind these words that seem to be so key in my life.

First, according to Merriam Webster online, the definition of influence:

Main Entry: 1
Pronunciation: \ˈin-ˌflü-ən(t)s, especially Southern in-ˈ\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin influentia, from Latin influent-, influens, present participle of influere to flow in, from in- + fluere to flow — more at fluid
Date: 14th century

1 a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans b :an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars 2 : an emanation of spiritual or moral force 3 a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain 4 : the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway 5 : one that exerts influence

Today has been a strong day of my meaning of influence- rather that is according to Shawna: "someone or something affecting you, your thoughts, beliefs, values, or actions"

I sometimes look at my past self (the weaker days of me) and wonder, "How did I end up here, strong and confident and capable?" I find it somewhat relevant to compare past vs. present in moderate doses. I am, after all, overly capable of dwelling on the past and making it the future. So on occasion I take a MOMENT of reflection to consider my journey.

Influence becomes a key word here. Intention is quick to follow.

In the past, especially as an overly emotionally stimulated child, yet an under emotionally developed child, I needed to feel constant influence as well as feel like I was influencing something (anything). I spent endless years in an unstable state of mind. I really believe I may have bordered on a schizophrenic/ personality disorder. It was as if I spent my time consumed with the thoughts and feelings of others and how to manipulate them into the thoughts and feeling that I thought they should have... the thoughts of approval and affirmation that I needed for my very existence.... and occasionally the thought ands feeling of disapproval to appease the rebel child in me.

The thing I realize today is that a lot of emotionally immature people still live this way. What is it that brought me to a new level of understanding? How did I break free of this cycle and find my own inner voice?

In all honesty, it happened in 3 parts. The first was the quick and painful loss of the 3 three most influential people to my manipulating thought processes. The 3 people's who's input I constantly needed. My grandfather and children's father who died the same year, and my best friend who moved out of state. Now she was not an actual "loss" and our relationship has actually grown into something very strong and beautiful, but at that time, losing daily verbal connection WAS a loss.

Left alone with my thoughts and lack of esteem came the next two parts, unconditional love and meth. What a combination.

How did those two things lead to who I am today? The truth is, they both freed my mind and rid me of all of my self doubt. the difference is that one was real and one was simulated. I think I personally needed that drug induced simulation in order to allow myself to feel that euphoria for a long enough time to get acquainted with it. Much the same way that a person temporarily uses anti-depressants to learn to feel okay again following a long bout of depression, I needed that high to allow myself to be happy again.

The scary thing is that meth is so deadly and addicting, I almost lost myself to it completely. That is where the unconditional love came in. It started with the love of Bryson. I am his first true romantic love. It was a wonderfully innocent, yet intense courtship. He loved me so truly and fully, not ever having an ulterior motive, yet he always had enough self respect to let me know he would not compromise himself for our love.

It astounded me that such a young guy (21 at the time) with no relationships past, could be so emotionally simple and strong. In the face of this, I wanted nothing more than to return the favor. I didn't know how.

Amazingly, we went through this crazy and fast journey of love and experience, getting high on drugs and each other, and the end result brought me here. A place where I can love myself for me in all of my entirety and allow others the opportunity to do the same. He taught me that. Here is also a place where I know even in the face of despair, hopelessness, and addiction, there is the power of change and growth in the future. I have something to give, without asking you, or you, or you, anything in return. I have love and integrity. Honesty and hope. The unconditional love of my family and myself. I have influence and intention.

Here I am.