What a life I live! Those were words I started writing in my diary when I was thirteen. Sometimes it seemed sarcastic: other times, very hopeful.
Recently, I looked back in some old diaries I kept at age 13 and 14. I was quite innocent then, but man, did I ever write a lot about crushes I had on boys! Even in church and in the private church school. These diaries covered looking back at 1979 when Dad told me he and Mom had to work some things out, then skipped to me writing about the divorce happening, but NOTHING about my feelings. It covered the closing of my private school, starting at a public high school, the sale of my childhood house, moving to an apartment where I had to make new friends, and navigating the public school arena and seeing my dad maybe once yearly, yet my posts seemed mostly hopeful.
I didn’t express my feelings or opinions much, as if I feared someone would peek at my diary. Through all the changes, I never mentioned crying, except when Beth, a character in Little Women, died of a long term illness. My dad had given me the book, and I’d started reading it over that Christmas break when my brother and I went to visit him.
Never did I mention crying when my dad said they’d divorce if they couldn’t work it out, never when they divorced. I didn’t even write that day . My posts seemed like simple recountings of my days overall. I wrote a lot about boys when I was 14 too, as if I thought they would make my life better. I wrote funny stories about my friends and sounded like I responded to many things with the attitude of, “Oh well,” which seemed different than before. I mentioned getting ignored by a boy and feeling glum, then being cheered up by a friend or some other boy.
Man, was I shallow, or what? Even then, I was pondering being a writer…you have to start somewhere, I guess. Honestly, I think I didn’t express my feelings well until they hit me over the head. It seems I avoided my feelings a lot. Maybe I was afraid of them. Funny, I didn’t write much about my beliefs, just about my activities with church and youth group.
Well, I guess things have changed! I was disappointed with myself, though, because I can look back and remember the feelings I had. Maybe it just took me a little while to learn how to express them, even to my diary. Guess what? I lived through it all, every growth experience. What a life I live!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Good morning! Join me with my V8 and green matcha tea. Yesterday was coffee day, and I needed it to handle that middle school energy. It is gray outside, but my home cafe is playing The Bandit, new from The Kings of Leon, and it brightens my spirit. That voice…From their new song, Supermarket:”I’m going nowhere, if you’ve got the time.” Why, yes, yes I do. Needless to say, their new album is on my Youtube playlist.
This song played on my car radio yesterday on my way home from work. It had been such a stressful day, and if I’m not careful, I’ll feel old because of it…but I am resisting! The Bandit reminds me of a mix of INXS and U2, bringing thoughts of the Spring of my 15th year, a time of so many changes. Changes are not easy, but they are the hallmark of growth. So, I am going to focus on that today instead of talking about the stresses of my job. I feel I am managing them appropriately, and that’s all I need to say on that today. 🙂
I am surrounded by middle-schoolers going through vast changes, some growing wiser with their struggles, some consistent and solid yet growing taller or exhibiting voice changes. Others are struggling and reacting, and all I can do is try to reach them. I remember a lot of my ups and downs in the pre-teen and teen years and am able to look back and see the good in it all. This is a part of my job, to empathize and treat them with understanding. Again, if I focus on this instead of the stress of teaching in a pandemic in a system that does not have adequate resources, for instance, only two guidance counselors for a school of 1200 students. I play many parts at times and have learned to embrace that.
My son seems to be doing well on his own. His job and responsibilities are perhaps keeping him focused. I text him every morning. He always replies quickly. So, I know he is waking up and going to work. Working keeps him on a straight path, gives him purpose, and this is good. His 25th birthday is Monday. Yikes! So many memories will come back. My doctor, the doctor who delivered him, is retiring this year. Fitting, in the year my son is reaching for independence. May this reach be successful!
Have a great weekend, friends and fellow bloggers! Keep it light, keep it hopeful, and always carry some sort of shovel for the days that the murky depths which you must navigate are especially thick and deep. We’ve got this! Namaste!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer, accompanied by the music of Agnes Obel. It’s a good day to invite tranquility in. I’m getting my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today and following up an eventful, slightly stressful wake packed full with just, well, too much for my liking. Still, I managed.
State testing was the first challenge, though nothing compared to handling the emotions of my son moving out ON THE VERY SAME DAY. However, I focused all day on the positives and paced the aisles as the students whittled away at their thoughts and words for a state writing test. My ex had flown down to help my son move and get all things in order as possible. The students had my attention; I kept the thoughts at bay. I felt happy that my son is stepping into independence, happy that I may have a new sort of freedom now that my son is moving out on his own. All the while acknowledging that I felt relief and a little worry at the same time, but knowing that this is a necessary step.
I got to see it after work on Wednesday. The place is small, a studio apartment, but the landlords put in a new stove and ceiling fan. There is faux wood flooring which looks very nice. He got his bed and long dresser in there, has to keep his bike inside, and there’s a bookshelf. There is no room for a sofa. Mom and I decided to get him some folding cloth chairs and TV trays.
After seeing the place, my ex-husband took me, my mom, and my son out to eat a steak dinner. My son was so tired, and my ex was talking a lot about details and ways my son could improve his life, get a car, etc. I’ve mentioned before that my son had a bad car accident three years ago. He also has a mood disorder that is mostly kept in check. He gets lost in the details, and it is not wise to throw too many at him at once. He truly needs to take it one day at a time, but I am proud of how he lined up all he needed to do to get this apartment. He does not have a high-paying job but makes enough to pay me rent, so now he’ll see what true independence is.
It is true that my ex-husband can worry a detail down to a fine thread. Sadly, I guess that is one thing we had in common. He is more of a “You’ve got to do this” sort of person. I am more of a “You need to do this, and if you don’t get that done, what is your back-up plan?” gal. Obviously, we did not get along well enough to stay married; it only lasted 5 years, so dating and marriage for us lasted seven years, and my son was only 2 1/2 years old when I had to leave that marriage, after two failed marital counseling attempts. I felt controlled, manipulated, trapped. He would get onto me about who I befriended and talk them down to me, also accusing me of affairs with male co-workers (which did not happen at all). He stressed me out a lot.
In the years we were together, I had some depression, had a rough post-partum year, and his drinking was problematic. Sometimes I wonder if stress during pregnancy led to my son’s emotional state. I have often been very wary of my ex when he’s back around. I sent my son to live with him one summer six years ago, and it did not go well at all; my son was anxious to come back a month later. I have to try to avoid blame, yet I do feel I’ve forgiven him.
There’s a funny thing about forgiveness. It means “to grant pardon” or “cease to feel resentment.” It is healthy for us, they say, and can prevent the toxicity of such feelings to ruin us. Still, I want to point out that forgiveness does not mean letting down boundaries, which exist for a good reason: self-preservation. In my past year of self-improvement and looking inward, I have been re-establishing and exercising boundaries in relationships with family, at work, and with others. You can forgive someone, but still keep the boundary up. I’ve given past relationships a second chance and learned things didn’t work the first time for a reason. It is not a lesson lost.
My mother is impressed in the changes she sees in my ex. Yes, I’ll admit there is some goodness in that man and he seems to have straightened up. He is here when my son really needs him. I am allowing him to do that. He bought a microwave and some other things for my son’s apartment. The two of them may be bounding, and that’s good. So, I sat at dinner and enjoyed it whole-heartedly, telling him what a handsome son we have and how I love my son.
It is notable that, I have been divorced from my ex for twenty-two years. I dated a few other men after, but I have currently been dating the same man, Kenny, for eleven years now. That relationship provides me some freedom to be my own person and has allowed me to determine what I want: to come forward in my writing, to communicate with the world instead of hiding. I relate to others more freely and have found it benefits my teaching by showing I care and have empathy, benefits how I relate to co-workers, and not being afraid of relating to others makes me feel better about myself. I had a past full of secrets kept from my mom, a therapist, friends. Where I learned I shouldn’t tell my husband everything for fear of being judged or having it spun out of context. I have learned I’m imperfect but pretty awesome as I am.
My current boyfriend, Kenny, has boundaries and likes an amount of time to himself. I am finding that, so do I. Therefore, I am happy with all that has come about. I do wish some things had happened differently and had gone better for my son, but I am going to make the best of today and perhaps make it better.
So, I sat across from my ex-husband, with my son to the left of me who looked quite tired from working the usual hours and moving in the afternoon. My mother was to the right of me, raising a glass of wine, wishing for a good transition and new life opportunities, smiling at us all. I smiled and thanked my ex-husband for the dinner. I hugged my son and said “I love you” as they left. Then, I went to Target and happily bought some chairs and TV trays to support my son in his move.
Thursday I had a usual workday with Spring-springy middle schoolers and evening time to myself for exercising. Friday after work, I had dinner and caught up on my sleep. It has also been a wake-up-at-2 a.m. and struggle to sleep again week. I made up for it last night. So, this morning it is coffee and a vaccine shot at 11 a.m. I look forward to more rest later!
Have a good weekend, my friends. I wish you all a reconciliation with your past events and/or decisions, a present that cannot be controlled but only appreciated, and a belief in a hopeful future!
But then there is the process of becoming an adult,
And the moments of awakening you may be fortunate enough to reach.
You are influenced by the words you choose to let in, you influence the world with the words you send forth and share, and you may negate the power of any words aimed at you or nurture them in your heart and soul. Don’t grow and nurture the vitriolic words that bring you down.
Nurture in your heart the words that help you grow as a person, just like a flower grows toward the sunlight.
This thought comes to me on this Holy Week as we head toward Easter weekend, and I feel I’ve been neglecting my faith.
Perhaps a change is coming, or maybe this is just a phase. Hopefully, we are near the end of COVID’s rule over our lives, and I can get back to fellowship with my church friends instead of watching church or talking to heads on a screen when I actually choose to participate in Book Club. The fellowship sometimes feels two- dimensional in this era, but of course, that’s just me being like a stubborn child when my routine is upset and the things that I like change. So, I’ll ask forgiveness for that, but I will not judge myself for the way that I am.
The stories of the love of Jesus fed my childhood imagination. The judgment of my childhood church stifled my growth. Nonetheless, I am past that paradox and I hold the stories of Jesus dear.
On this Easter weekend, I feel it is helpful to think of what Jesus would do. He would love my troubled son no matter what. He’d work to get along with those who seem difficult to take. I don’t always feel up to it, but it’s worth a try.
I started today listening to a positive affirmations recording. It was an awesome start to my day. I don’t feel very churchy lately, but I am seeing the benefits of putting the right words in our mind. So I’m going to try to frame my life with words of gratitude.
Noting the sounds around me is part of a mindfulness exercise from the book, Mindfulness Journal for Beginners. This exercise can help you to be more in the moment, especially if you are a worrier or an overthinker like I am. Here’s my top 10 for this morning:
1. I woke up hearing my son’s steps in the hall on his way to work. That gives me an idea of the time, and there was no need to sleep late, I had a good night’s sleep!
2. The pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor, excited to wake me up, or is he urgently needing to get outside?
3. My dog’s sneeze and snuffle as he’s telling me he wants to go out. He doesn’t use his bark much to communicate, but rather, uses facial expressions and other sounds.
4. Geese flying overhead as I step out back with the dog. Those geese just love Northeast Florida, don’t they?
5. Soft rain drops, not even a sprinkle; well, actually, I think it is just drips from the roof. No…now it is sprinkling. A peaceful sound.
6. Some construction machine, probably blocks away, but not a bothersome sound.
7. My Keureg Coffee machine brewing my half-caff Hazelnut. Yes, it’s time for a coffee day! You may have whatever you like!
8. A Youtube mix containing Of Monsters and Men hits, one of my favorite bands. The urgent Winter Sound will wake you up and fill you with determination; the mysterious Slow Life could just take you into deep sleep. The lyrics of many of their new songs are quite thought-provoking. I may switch to Miles Davis when the coffee is done brewing.
9. There is the usual tick-tock of the clock, but I can drown it out by turning the music up, and sometimes that is what I prefer.
10. If this were a real coffee shop, I’d hear the lull of voices discussing how good their coffee is, our wildest dreams and goals (owning a farm with many dogs and creating a writers’ camp, becoming a comedienne), or the antics of an interesting member in their family. It all sounds good, as I am vowing to have some me time later and not to focus much on my job today.
Okay, I suppose I must share one thought from my week, as I challenge myself to form a mindset that helps me survive the everyday stress and the pandemic distance:
“Don’t grow up too fast, but if you must, save the good moments of your childhood: running through sprinklers, dressing up as imaginary characters, laughing at ridiculous things. They will help you through many hard times as an adult.” -Pamela S. Canepa
Or, to quote a more famous author: “Don’t grow up too fast, Darling. Age is inevitable, but if you nurture a childlike heart, you’ll never, ever grow old.” -Beth Hoffman
My most important goal.
How are things in your world? I thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend and an even better week!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. I’ve had three non-coffee days this week. I can’t believe I survived! I substituted matcha green tea for coffee. My worst day this week was a coffee day, not because of the coffee, it’s just that having had coffee did not solve the issues. Seriously, I love my daily coffee, but I already have enough tension in my body and my brain. To reduce this, I am trying to reduce the coffee.
Lately, I’ve been working on my peace of mind and staying active and healthy goals. This Spring and Summer were all about that. Exercise is great for me, but my job is taking over. I’m going to manage it. It will not take over a healthy me! So, let’s not talk about work.
I look at myself from two years ago and see the difference. I suffered with my shoulder issue this summer but got past it! I look more confident. Emotionally, I’m doing better because I have tackled some problems that were failing me. I also recall that the 2018 picture was in Rhode Island.
My son and I stayed in RI to visit my dad, a self-described bull in a china shop, a thirty year recovered alcoholic , and a very admirably active senior. He kept us very busy, and we’d walk for miles touring his town (Middleton), which was lovely.
But we won’t forget his bull-in-a-China shop attitude. He took us sailing with a buddy, out to the choppy sea where we both almost hurled or passed out. Growing up a people pleaser due to my dad’s alcoholic anger and the sexist things he would often say, I kept the peace. But that does not keep peace inside me, and it doesn’t sit well with me now. He certainly does not talk to people like he used to. Still, I learned something from this rough sailing and my non -reaction; this sort of thing shaped me as a child. Now that I have processed it, I’m going to change it.
Don’t ask my mom about the time in Iceland when I was four, and Dad took us mudding in his Landrover, heading for a rumored bottomless pit.
“It’s just a rumor,” he said, or something like that.
“We’re getting out of here!” Mom took me out of the truck and we went to dry land. She never told me the rest, but this experience also shaped me. I was not safe in the hands of someone I should be able to trust.
Thus goes the journey I’ve undertaken in this last year dealing with the results of distrust and feeling so out of control of my life. I’ve been so good at sweeping traumatic, stressful family events of the last 6 years under the rug, that it all blended with past experiences to make a green soup of indigestion, pain, stress, tension, insomnia, etc. I’ve found some helpful online groups for venting. I use a meditation and pain app. Does it all work? I am still at the start, learning to be mindful of my brain’s usual reactions.
In other, lighter news, I had an appointment with the orthopedic doc about my shoulder. He says I’m almost at 100% healed of the frozen shoulder based on my mobility, and I don’t need to place limits on myself! It’s not time to get lax, though. I have to monitor any aches but not let them stop my living. I will stay diligent and keep up the exercises; I also have other health goals to meet or maintain. I can do this! I am feeling good overall and staying active.
I hope you all have a great week and progress toward any goals you may have!
I like the fact that most of Stephen King’s author photos include him wearing a t-shirt and sometimes a leather jacket. They don’t always shows his pants, but I assume they are jeans except for the one photo I saw with him in a tux. He is a good example of what the author business is really about. It is about the writer being a good writer, and I am aspiring to that. It doesn’t matter that my hair can’t be symmetrical!
Seriously, I have no business wearing a power suit for my author photos. It is just not me. I wore those briefly as a retail manager in the 1990s, at a time when I could still wear heels and pantyhose didn’t make me feel claustrophobic. I also had a better waistline. Twenty years later, sciatica sometimes bites (as well as robbing me of comfortable sleep), and I am not built like I used to be. I also believe, in all my earned wisdom, that I deserve to be comfortable. So, here are my most current author photos. Sarah at Pace Photography did a great job, and we went to shadier spots when the sunlight and greenery made my eyes water; that’s also when we decided on some cool looks or fun shots. We battled the eye bags and puffiness as well as my allergies. The right lighting was everything. Her pricing was quite reasonable! This is who I am now. My author photos were last taken in 2016; my hair was darker and longer and I look a bit different now. Time to show the world, this is who I am, please read my book! 🙂