Of Faith and the Eternal Struggle

There’s no shame in the struggle. It means you haven’t given up. Please visit my post at:

<a href=”https://medium.com/@pamschloessercanepa/of-faith-and-the-eternal-struggle-f626c18f0a93″>https://medium.com/@pamschloessercanepa/of-faith-and-the-eternal-struggle-f626c18f0a93</a>

Lies Women (and Girls) are Told

Silencepexels-photo-568025

Why do you feel this way? You feel this way because you chose to.

You’re just giving me a guilt trip.  It’s wrong to try and give someone a guilt trip.

You’re overreacting.

You’re such a calm girl because you’re quiet. (Ha.)

You just need to relax.  (As in, It’s not me making you uncomfortable, you just need to relax).

You should say you’re sorry (for being in the way, for feeling like you do, for expressing your emotions)

If you dress that way, you’re just inviting trouble.

When you get married, he’ll settle down and shape up.

Your marriage will be stronger if you have a child.

He’ll be so thankful and treat you better if you have his child.

You need to have another child to keep the first one company.

A second child will really make your husband grow up.

You can’t be friends with him, it means you have a wandering eye.

You can’t be friends with her, she’s a bad influence.

You aren’t woman enough to wear that.  Countered with, all that red lipstick makes you look like you’re trash.

He didn’t mean it, and you should get past it.

Men are just like that.

*****The list is extensive and goes beyond this, but I believe this is a start.  Dads, husbands, boyfriends, friends, think about what you are saying to her.***

Next time, try, for a start: “You have a right to your feelings.  You are allowed to express your feelings.  You can be, and do, whatever you choose.  Your can be trusted to make the right choices.”  Let’s rewrite the narrative.

(c) 2020, Pamela Schloesser Canepa

 

 

 

 

 

The Coconut Village, A Self-Love Story

Coconutsbeach-1281680_960_720

I had just spent a whole year single after a devastating break-up.  My job came through with a bonus at the end of the year, so I was going to travel.  The Bahamas became my destination.  Beautiful beaches, 80 degree weather, sunshine, and beautiful people with rich accents would fill my vision and my world for a few days.  Travel by cruise ship was my choice.  As we are stuck in our various hometowns due to COVID right now, it does me some good to look back on these memories.

It didn’t take long to decide who I would take.  There was no one I really wanted to go with me, no girls-gone-wild trip for me, and I wasn’t convinced I’d want to meet a man on a cruise ship.  This vacation was for ME.  I didn’t want to leave my ten-year-old son with my ex-husband, though, so I took him with me.  He was such a great kid for a ten-year-old.  I did not regret my choice.

Being the only adult in my partner, I got to make the decisions on where we would go, what tours we would take.  It all worked out! I kept track of my charge, planned our tours and agenda, and still had fun.  We took a tour of Queen Mary’s steps, a flamingo farm, and other lovely sites. Then, we took time to enjoy a beach a little bit away from the tourist hotels.

I paid for a cab which was more like a mini-van that could hold several people.  We found our beach that was riddled with gnarled trees, white sand, and coconut trees.  We sat, waded in the water, he swam, and I just wanted to relax on my towel.  Looking back, I feel as though I forgot to worry about a thing in the world, except keeping an eye on my son; but he was keeping track of where I was and did not want to wander either. I was home base.  I don’t remember us arguing about a single thing on that trip.

After a while, a woman is walking by and says to me, “Do you want’cha hair braided?”

“How much?” I ask.

“Six dollars per braid.”

“How about the whole head, just across the front?”

“Fifty dollars.”

I pulled the cash out of my pocket and said, “Okay.”  I explained to my son that I could not turn my head, and he HAD to stay in my sight.  He did. He sat and gathered some coconuts.  She began to braid. We talked about my son, her family, where I was from, and I forgot to worry about her fingers in my hair.  I forgot to worry about people I don’t know walking up to me.

A man came up with a box. “Coconut and rum! Two dollars.”  I forked out the money and forgot to worry about drinking something from a box carried by a man on the beach.  It was tasty.  I forked out more money and I don’t know how many I had, but nothing too crazy.

My son started going a little further and gathering more coconuts, adding in what I drank from.  I bought him his own coconut (minus the rum) to enjoy the coconut milk. He kept gathering more and when he had gone a little too far, came back when I called.  I explained that he had to stay safe and I couldn’t get right up.  When she finished my hair, I looked like a blonde Caribbean girl, or just like me trying to look Caribbean? It was cute, anyhow. 🙂

As it got closer to evening than afternoon, we had to walk back to find another cab.  No problem.  We got into a cab that was full of young guys having a party time.  Oh great, I thought.  They were a little noisy, but I joined in as they started singing old Motown hits.  It was so fun, and my son just looked at me and laughed. I can still picture the look on his face.

The next day, we woke up on the cruise ship and went to the pool.  I just took in the sunshine and the breeze. I was a little hungover.  He sat there quietly. When he went in the pool, he told me where he was going. I kept my eyes open, still relaxed, and soon, our dinner table partners, a woman with her grandson, came up and said hi, so my son had someone to play with in the pool.  He had a ball, and I sat there and relaxed.

It was a buffer time between a bad break-up and my son’s angst-riddled, terrible teens.  But this vacation served to show me there are rewards when you just let yourself do WHAT YOU WANT to do. It also gave me a focus to look back on when those teen years happened, to remind me that, yes, my son really is a good person, and we can get along quite well. Sometimes, making time for my son has been an important act of self-love.

 

 

 

 

 

Lofty thoughts. #RDP

Nature, Landscape, Kaçkars, Mountains

Photo via Pixabay.

“Lofty thoughts” by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

When I was a child, I seemed to have a pleasant ability to lift myself out of my current reality and imagine things that would take me away from boredom or desperation.  It may not totally fit the definition of ‘lofty,’ but this is what I think of when I hear that word.  Some of the later experiences were not all positive as a teen, but I’ll focus on the ones that “lifted me up.” I only remember a few incidents, and I don’t know why.  Are they all that I can remember?  Perhaps they were all related to dreams, and having such a vivid imagination, I of course would see wild things when my subconcsious took control?  I read somewhere that the conscious actually does control the subconscious.  Still, some dreams mean nothing other than giving a vivid picture to some feeling, fear, or hurt that already goes on inside.  That’s what I believe, anyway.

  1. We were on a cross country trip when I was four, maybe five.  It was early morning, and I looked up in the sky to see that the sun was coming out, and the moon was trying desperately to fit itself, squeeze itself,  back into the curtain of darkness that was already fading away on one side of the sky.  It had to try quickly before the sun chased all the darkness away.  I have a feeling I probably dosed off again, because this situation never resolved itself before my eyes.
  2.  I was about eight and attending a summer camp where we tried to get closer to God.  I was falling asleep at bedtime, and some noise woke me up;  it was like I felt myself fall down back down into my body from where I had been floating.  Holy smokes! Did I have the ability to levitate at age eight?  No, it was more likely a vivid imagination, a dream so real I had the sensation of floating up until I awoke out of it.  And no, it wasn’t a near death experience, either.

The image of the sun and moon seemed so real to me, I  did not believe it was a dream.  Some dreams seem so real because they are trying to tell you something, for me, that I was compelled to try to bring things to life with my words. I want to make it as real for you as it seems for me.  I’m still trying, depositing a stone of reality within every flood of fiction.

*You can join the daily prompt fun by following ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com and you can view other entries to this challenge at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/rdp-tuesday-lofty/

In the Nineties. #poetry

mosaic alien on wall
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

(c) Pamela Schloesser, 2019

It was the nineties,

I was young, and you were bold,

I just wanted to be told

How beautiful I was.

My brother skated, my mother worried,

And I tried not to seem so smart.

 

It was the nineties;

I just wanted to be cool

and I wanted to be pretty.

I married someone

who was the life of the party.

We were all about

Chinese takeout

and a thirteen inch t.v.

Californians were cooler than us

Moulder and Scully were

more interesting than us.

We’d finish our X-files and takeout

and sit on the back porch

watching for our own aliens.

 

I’d retreat to some Stephen King

you’d escape somewhere partying

with people cooler than I.

You’d always return,

whether I liked it or not;

I was home base.

Whether you walked straight or not

if you howled at the moon or not,

whether you were seeing two or three,

I was still home base.

 

Starting a family didn’t help.

Threatening to leave didn’t help.

It was the nineties and we were

just who we were.

But I didn’t like you interpreting

my place anymore.

 

It was nineteen ninety eight

and time to get things straight.

Growing up is important.

We do what we must do,

and it was time to acknowledge

that I couldn’t grow with you.

 

It was the late nineties

and I’d dashed your world,

split up our family, taken your son.

I was many horrible things

all rolled up into one.

But I walked on that broken glass

with a toddler in my hands

to freedom on the other side.

 

It was the nineties,

and then it no longer was.

A new millenium,

The crossing of a threshold.

I was thirty, and wise

but not at all old.

I look back, glad Iit’s in the past.

But still, I learn when I look back.

**The nineties were an important part of me, and such a very interesting decade on their own.  This timeframe has shown up in my writing, particularly in the book, Detours in Time.  You can find out about this book and series at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ZW6XF  Thank you for stopping by, and I do hope you will return to my blog.  I offer a little bit of everything here.  Cheers!

 

Stupid S!*%# I Did When I was Young. The 80s.

Moon Landing Buzz Aldrin America 1969 Flag Photo credit, Pixabay.

As an avid member of the MTV generation, I saw this sort of image every night.

It was somewhere between 1983 and 1984.  I was fifteen and landed a steady, or, quite regular, babysitting job.  I mean, it was every night and sometimes on the weekends, too.  This couple lived in our apartment complex and had two or three kids.  Yeah, I’m hazy on whether or not there were two brothers, because the one or two of them presented very little problem except once, however, there was also a little girl who still wet the bed and had a pile of dirty clothes in her closet.  These two parents were very busy.

The mother was pretty with dyed blonde hair, and she dressed well.  She worked in retail, you see.  That meant working several nights and weekends.  Her only issue was not being in shape.  The little girl told me someone compared her mom to Santa Claus.  She was also a cheery woman; I liked that.  But the pile of smelly laundry in her daughter’s room bothered me.  Mind you, many of us in that neighborhood had to go to the laundromat to do laundry.  Her daughter was no trouble and very sweet, she just wanted a lot of attention.  Mom worked a lot.

The father was some sort of adjunct professor at night and may have also had a day job; I am not sure.  He also was sometimes gone on weekends; I don’t know why.  I did not find him attractive at all, and he was fairly quiet, and, in my opinion, seemed a little lecherous.  Though that could have been my teenage imagination.  I remember one time I had an out of town relative visiting and had to babysit that Saturday morning.  Expecting to go home at noon and have lunch out with my family made me quite miffed when the dad got back around 3:00 p.m.  He stopped at a store after work to buy a stereo.  I felt like this baby-sitting assignment was taking over my life, but I stuck around for the money.  After all, I just had to be there, the kids went to bed at their assigned time, and I’d get to watch MTV for a couple of hours.

Once, a friend was hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood and brought them by.  I told the kids these guys were my cousins, and I let them come in.  One of them was acting funny.  That’s what the boy said, and he told his parents later.  I don’t know why, and I didn’t suspect foul play; I didn’t really like these guys but thought I’d earn some popularity from letting them ‘hang out.’  It was wrong.  I got a talking to by the parents, but I still had my baby-sitting job.  They were very busy and needed someone to watch their kids, you know.

I hated not having fun on my weekends.  I can’t tell you how many hours I worked for them, but I recall an $80 week and buying a good amount of clothes and shoes.  Some of my friends would want to go and do things on the weekend, but I’d be baby-sitting most of the time. Well, it got to the point where I wanted a weekend off and asked a week ahead of time.  I was told I needed to find a replacement for that weekend.  I had no idea where to turn and did not think that was my responsibility.  So I told them I could not find a replacement, but I was going to take that weekend off.  They found someone else, and she became my permanent replacement.  I wasn’t too upset.  It was too bad I lost the job, and it was 6 to 12 months before I found a real job, but I got to hang out with friends a little more.  I also stopped falling asleep in my first Mod class.  Still, I couldn’t use this job as a reference after the way we parted.  It didn’t seem to me they’d give a glowing recommendation since I felt like I left them in the lurch.  For a while though, I had been feeling trapped in that little apartment with those kids who really needed their parents, not a distracted teenager warming up frozen dinners for them.

Maybe those parents, in time, got where they needed to be and finally were able to be at home more.  I felt sad for their kids; my parents were divorced and Mom had to work odd hours at first, so I understood that.  What I didn’t get was why they were living like that.  Did they really have to?  Two parents in the home; I thought they were being selfish, but maybe that is also my naivete.  Looking back, I know I was more judgmental with the dad, especially when he could have been home to have lunch with his kids but instead went shopping.  My own dad was pretty absent from my life, phoning it all in from long distance and forgetting my birthday more than once.  I still love him, though.

All in all, I learned from the experience.  I suppose the parting needed to happen when it did, and I was the catalyst for that.  Still, I should have quit a good while before that.  I should have given two weeks notice to give them time to replace me.  I wouldn’t have felt so irresponsible.  When I started driving, I worked a few other babysitting jobs but nothing as regular.  That lasted until I got my first real job, that of a fast food cashier and burger slinger.  By then, I had learned the right way to resign from a job.

Maybe I wasn’t so stupid in this situation.  Perhaps I was just an average fifteen year-old, reacting to way too much responsibility put on me too quickly.  I should have been studying more, participating in clubs, and enjoying myself.  Instead, I had a learning experience.  Go figure…

%d bloggers like this: