Category Archives: 30 days of truth

Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living.

Oy. Really?

I hate this shit.

You know I am going to say the Hotband. You know I am going to say Nick. You know I am going to say Samantha. You know I am going to say my grandkids. Have you not read at least 604 posts all dedicated to them, the love they give me and the way they have held my head above water for the past five years? Writing this post will bore me to tears and, more than likely, that will trickle down to you.

So, instead, I am going to write it about someone who doesn’t hear my accolades too often.

Esther.

If not for Esther, half of the posts I write on here wouldn’t be worth reading. She is truly a gift in my life. Not because she’s a great mom (which totally depends on the day) but because she is so spontaneous, so without tact or forethought, so “from the heart to the lips”, that she is literally entertaining. Even at her most cutting, she is undeniably funny. No matter how rotten she is being, there is something hysterically funny about the things that irritate her. She is quirky as hell. I mean, who cleans the house because they don’t want the cleaning lady to see her house dirty? Who does that? Who designates an entire bedroom of a house to her dog, complete with monogrammed Lazy Boy chair, monogrammed towels that say “Max”, more photos of her precious pitbull in frames than of her own grandchildren and, mind you, his own SONIC CARE toothbrush?

Let me tell y’all. If you believe in karma, pray hard to come back in your next life as my mothers dog. That’s all I’m saying. She leaves the house for a few hours and she calls a babysitter for Max. I recall being 9 years old, my brother being six…and her going out for dinner with a boyfriend. No babysitter. Just “here ya go kiddies” as she put the TV dinners on the TV trays for us. “Be good, I’ll be home soon. I’ll have Sonja next door check in on you.”

But Max…a 13 year old Pitbull gets a dog sitter if she’s gone for more than 2 hours.

Pretty good life, if you can get it.

Overall, my mother is not a bad person. She doesn’t have much of a mind of her own. Her politics depend on whatever my father’s thinking involves. Her logic on certain subjects in incredibly flawed and dare I say on occasion, desperately uneducated. If she didn’t hear it on Fox News, it couldn’t have possibly happened. But, despite this, she is a source of a lot of the laughter in my life…now that she and I no longer live in the same state.

I will say that I have taken some of her best and worst traits for my own. We are both terribly and often inappropriately outspoken. We both don’t sit idly by for injustice. We will get involved when we see someone in trouble without much fear for our own personal safety. We are both crusaders that way. Very strong woman. On the flipside of that coin, we are both easily angered. We tend to get involved in things that don’t necessarily require our input. We can both be incredibly overbearing to the point of overshadowing others.

The difference that separates us most probably is tact. Spend 10 minutes with both of us, and I will come off looking like one classy dame. She’s got a mouth like battery acid and while I know how to flip the “off” switch on that…she does not. But if she did, what on earth would I ever have to write about?

So, Mom…this one is for you. Someone who has made my life worth living. You gave me life despite all the craziness in your life. You were a single parent with two little kids doing the very best you could. Was it always the right thing? God, no. Did you fuck up quite often? Definitely. But, in doing so…I learned from your mistakes as well. I am not saying I would be a better mother than you were…but a different mother. I know you grew up in a very abusive household, as did I. But you inspired me to break that cycle. And, while I didn’t always do a fantastic job of that, I did well enough so that now, when I see my daughter interact with her babies, I know for sure the cycle of abuse is officially broken. It’s over. No one will ever get hit again.

I forgive you, Mom. I DO love you. I know I don’t say it enough. I don’t know that I ever will, but as I watch you grow older, becoming a bit more reserved and not as quick as a whip with that vile tongue of yours, I find myself softened. Something in your eyes have lost that edginess and I see the first signs of an older, more frail human being. It allows me to let my guard down a little.

And, just when I become afraid that I will never see that side of you again, I wait for you to come visit, just so I can say “Bill O’Reilly sucks and Obama is the best President ever!” It winds you back up, you lose 25 years in your eyes…and you’re back to calling me a stupid bitch who doesn’t know shit.

I will always love you for that.

Day 5: Something You Hope to do With Your Life

This is going to sound so trivial. The answer came as quickly to me as the question did. What I hope to do with my life, I am already doing. In a lifetime, 44 years worth of drama, heartache, pain, suffering, highs and lows, etc., the only thing that I wished to be doing with my life right now is celebrating it.

That is precisely what I am doing.

For the first time in my life, I can look in a mirror and say “I’m happy”. Not just a little happy or happy with certain aspects of my life. No. Truly and legitimately happy with every single portion of my life right now.

Truth be known, I am one lucky bitch. I have a husband who absolutely adores me and lets me know this consistently through not only his words, but his actions as well. He is loyal, a hard worker, dedicated to his wife and kids, generous and above all, he is kind. Kind almost to a fault. He is the kind of man who buys a homeless person a sandwich on the street. He pulls over to give stranded motorists a boost even if he is running late for something. He calls 911 when he sees a car swerving all over the road and follows that car to make sure that no one is harmed until the police arrive and take over. He is a good soul. He makes an effort every single day to do something in the name of God and his family. He is truly a selfless human being and I am utterly honored and blessed to have him as a partner in life. My best friend in every single sense of the word.

My children. They are growing, thriving and are two of the most amazing young adults I have ever seen. My daughter is a fantastic mother, raising her two children under the age of two so adeptly and with such ease and grace. She makes it all look so easy, balancing her children with her responsibilities as a wife and a full time employee. Her husband has proven himself to be a good person and a very doting father. They just celebrated four years of marriage and seem to be happier now than ever before. My son. My son…my little musical prodigy, just began his first year of high school, leaving behind a football for his Les Paul. He is an individual through and through. He doesn’t take shit (like his mama) and he is thriving in school. He is polite, yet sarcastic. He is funny and articulate. And while he tries to act like he gives a shit about nothing (typical teenage boy AND he gets that from his mother as well), he is a caring, noble and honest person.

My grandchildren. Oy, the lights of my life. Sadie will be two years old soon. She drives everyone nuts with her independent attitude and her impatience. She is a diva in the making. Loves to climb, run, jump and do everything all the boys do. She is an absolute angel. Liam, my little chubster. The little man. Bubba Schwaz as we call him, much to my daughters chagrin. The most docile baby you will ever meet. Always happy. Just wants to be held all the time and loves to snuggle. The two of them are absolute blessings in my husband and my life.

My parents. God love ’em both. Esther and Harold. Both alive and kicking, driving each other crazy. They are insane, loud, boisterous, annoying…and I wouldn’t have them any other way. Dad turns 70 years old this year, a huge milestone for someone who was very ill once upon a time. I am grateful to have them in my life and to have them be as supportive as they are. I also am grateful to have Esther 1200 miles away. 😉

My home is large and inviting. My cars run. We have a savings that allows us to vacation once or twice a year. My husband makes a good enough living that it has allowed me to go back to school and work towards my Masters degree in Social Work. I want to work with addicts and also with GLBT and Questioning Youths. I am doing a lot of volunteer work with The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org), an organization that is working with gay and lesbian children and teens in the hopes of protecting them against bullying and taunting. With the recent rash of suicides that have taken place among this particular demographic, it is more important than ever to me to dive into my volunteering head first and make my education really count for something.

My dogs are fine and shit in my kitchen on a daily basis. My cats are wonderful.

Lastly, my friends. I have spent the past year weeding out the poison, carefully cultivating the garden so that only the most voluminous flowers will bloom there. Sure, there were some tricky spots along the way. I pulled a few weeds that were really flowers in disguise. I planted some gorgeous flowers that turned out to be venus fly traps. But now…now I think I’ve got it to where I need it. To where I want it. To where I can be the great big oak tree and be surrounded by the beautiful landscape of my carefully formed and nurtured friendships. This has been a year of surprises for sure. Those I would have never thought I could have trusted in a million years turned out to be ferociously loyal friends. Then, there were the friends that I thought I knew oh so well, who turned out to be nothing more than the fertilizer…the absolute SHIT in my field of beauty.

Regrets along the way for some missteps with a few of them? Certainly. But none so compelling that I feel the need to make further amends than I already did. One managed to surprise me…but what surprised me more was how little I ended up caring in the long run. As long as I have those who know me and love me, flaws and all, I am a-okay in my little world.

So, something I hope to do with my life? I’m doing it. I’m living it. I’m living it happily and I am living it well.

It was a long time coming.

Day 4 – Forgiving Someone Else…

Forgiving someone. Not as hard as forgiving yourself, but a challenge nevertheless. There are a few people I could put under this category. A perfect example would be my own father, who selfishly left my family behind only to succumb to a cocaine induced death back in 1986. I think I have made peace with that. He was a man-child, who never really wanted the ties of marriage to bind him let alone the children that came along with that commitment. I have let that one into my mind back and forth over many years and believe I have long since come to terms with the fact that the man lived the best way he knew how, fast and on the edge, and eventually died the same way. I have a lot of his traits only I feel I am stronger than he was and his death was an example to me of the road I could have taken had I not been more careful.

But, with this being Domestic Violence Awareness month, I carefully thought over the aspect of forgiveness. Some might be horrified by my choice, but for me, this just feels right. The person I am trying to forgive is Tony. If you are a long time reader of this blog, then you will know that Tony is the man I was with for 2 and a half years, who beat me within an inch of my life. It started with a slap in 1989 and ended with my being in the hospital in November of 1991, bleeding in my skull from a brain hemorrhage.

My story about Tony is told here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

For all these years, I couldn’t bring myself to feel anything but hatred for this man. Now, nearly 20 years later, all I can do is feel pity. Pity for him. Pity for the fact that he had such a hard and traumatic childhood that he felt the need to take it out on the flesh and bones of a woman he supposedly loved. When people would ask me “is there anyone in this world that you absolutely hate,” my answer would be Tony. Not even a pause. Not even a thought. It was something I had programmed my mouth to say.

Now I realize that hate is such a wasted emotion. I don’t hate him any longer. When I think of him, it is with sadness. Nothing more. I used to have deep-seated regret stemming from my time with him. Now, I feel he has done me some what of a service. He has made me a much stronger woman, knowing I am capable of living through a situation that others might have died in. He let me know that I am the type of mother who would protect her children at all costs, no matter how horrible the situation might be. He made me an activist, working diligently for rights of women everywhere. He made me rise above, showed me how powerful I actually am and what I am capable of when cornered.

To me, forgiving him is the ultimate. It is like forgiving the person who stole your child from you. He stole a huge portion of my life. Not just the two years that he beat and battered me, but many years to follow. All the years of self-loathing. All the years of physical pain from my various injuries. All the mental and emotional pain that had to be treated by doctors dumping various and sundry drugs down my throat to right my wronged brain.

But now, all that is gone for me. And I think, if I ever encountered him now, I would do so without fear. I would be able to look him in his eyes and where once upon a time I might have asked “why”, I find that that doesn’t really matter any more. I would be able to tell him that I forgive him. He was a child of abuse and neglect. He related to me the only way he knew how, with fists rather than words. It was his only way of having power in his life, the power that was stripped from him as a little boy. I understand that now. I can empathize with him…

and I believe with empathy comes forgiveness. And Tony, I forgive you. My nightmares about you are long gone and I wake up every morning with a huge smile on my face, knowing what an amazing life I have since created for myself. I hope somewhere in the world, you are living the same way and are released of the demons that caused you to brutalize the things you loved best in all the world.

I wish you peace. I hope you have found it.

600th post! Day 3 – Forgive myself.


The thing I need to forgive myself for, well, I believe I have nearly achieved that. My drug addiction. The way it threw my entire family off kilter. The way it effected their lives, my life. The fact that I haven’t fully recuperated from the post traumatic stress that comes along with being a recovering addict. I did this on my own. No country club rehab facility. I laid on a couch for nine long days, near death, punishing myself for what I had done to myself. I suffered purposely, to make each moment an agonizing one. I wanted to feel every ache, every pain, every cramp. I wanted to choke on my own vomit. I wanted my head to feel like it was going to implode. I wanted to bleed out of my eyes and ears. I prayed for a heart attack to shut me down for good, the pain…both emotional and physical were unbearable.

But I chose to feel it. I chose to go through it without the benefit of the hospital so I would never, ever forget what the pain of addiction did to me, to my family, to my friends, to my career. God was incapable of punishing me more than I was punishing myself.

Even now, I find myself dwelling on the fact that I lost nearly two full years of my life, first to addiction and then, to my subsequent recovery.

I need to grant myself the ability to look in the mirror, 1 year and four sober months later and say “You did good, kid”. I need to be brave enough to walk outside, knowing full well that I disgraced myself as a nurse…but that doesn’t mean I have to give up my life. I sinned. I atoned. That should be enough. Enough for everyone…but most of all, enough for me.

I need to allow myself to start living again. Forgiveness is coming easily.

It is forgetting that’s a bitch.

Day 2…Something you love about yourself.

There are lots of things I love about myself. This list can go on for hours. I’ll try to keep it brief.

What I love the most about me is the way I love the people in my life. The people who I treasure. The friends and family who stick by me no matter what. The people who know me and accept me the way I am. The ones who know I would never do anything hurtful, harmful or disrespectful to them. That’s just not me. I may have a ferocious tongue, coated with battery acid…but to my inner circle, I have a crazy soft spot. I am a charitable person. A good person. I may not always come across that way because of my wildly big mouth, but there isn’t any one of my good friends that I wouldn’t lay my life on the line for if need be. If I tell you I am going to do something, I do it. If I tell you I am going to be somewhere, I will be there. If I tell you not to worry about something, don’t worry about it.

My word is my bond. Always. It’s really all any of us have in this world that we can give that is a direct reflection of who we are. That is why I take HUGE exception to being accused of being a liar…ever. I can be accused of being many things in this world, but a liar is never one of them. And, when you cross that bridge with me and accuse me of something like that, rest assured, I won’t even glance backwards in your direction.

The way I figure it is this…if you don’t know me well enough to know the things I would and would not do, then we have no business being friends in the first place.

I love that about me.

The other thing I love about me? The ability to admit when I am wrong. I have said and done some pretty heinous shit in my lifetime, but when I know what I did was wrong, I will always apologize for it. And not one of those insincere “Well, I’m sorry if you feel that way”, or better still…”I’m an asshole, let’s just forget about it”. No. If I went out of my way to hurt you and you didn’t deserve it, I will go out of my way to apologize to you. The right way. Not like the Fonz who can’t admit he’s wr…wr…wr…wrong! Likewise, I expect you to give me the same courtesy. If you fucked up, be a big girl and admit it so we can move forward.

That said, it is time for the…

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH INFO OF THE DAY:

Every 2 minutes, there is a new breast cancer diagnosis.

Every 14 minutes, a life is lost to the disease.

Over 40,000 people will die this year; about 400 of them will be men.

85% of all diagnoses have no family history.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.

Make sure to feel your boobies this month and every month, Ladies. The best time to do self exams is the same day every month. The time your breasts are the fullest are right before your period, so make sure to do it AFTER your period so you can get a better feel for what is going on in there. The days of having to do little circular motions with your fingertips are long over. Just pick the girls up and give them a good squeeze or two. What you are looking for are lumps, hard lumps…things that have almost a “coral” feel to them, like a sharp rock. Also, cancer generally does not hurt, so if you have a lump that’s sore, it is more likely a cyst or benign growth. Take ye to the OB/GYN and get it checked out.

Protect your girls. Save your life. Feel your boobies once a month…for life.