Category Archives: new memories

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…

How do you measure a year?

The song would suggest you measure in sunsets.  Perhaps daylights?  Cups of coffee? 

I would have to go with their ultimate conclusion of love.  And there has been a lot of that in my life.  Never more than there has been this past year.  2008 saw me falter.  2009 saw me climb.  2010 will be the year that I surfaced from under the drowning pool I was swirling around in for the past two years.  It is the first year that I rose up and gasped for air.  The first time I can recall my head being above the surface.  It marked the birth of my second grandchild in January.  My 10th Valentines Day with my husband in February.  It saw the reuniting of myself with many old friends and my letting go of some who should have never had the privilege of even speaking my name.  It marked my triumphant return to school on a career path that will both help me, heal me as well as allow me to share my special gifts with the world. 

There were amazing trips:  Israel.  California.  New York. 

There was the foreclosure fiasco of 2009 that led to the final goodbye to our home in March, 2010.  Our new home is far more beautiful, far more homey and has none of the haunting horrible memories that plagued our old home.  Nothing was more terrifying than not knowing if today would be the day you pulled up to your house to find chains pulling the front doors closed.  Though it was through no fault of our own, it was still a cringe-worthy way of living. 

May of 2010 marked one full year of sobriety.  An accomplishment that back in 2008 wasn’t even in the cards for me and in 2009 seemed like it would be an unattainable goal.  I am still on that path. 

August was my 44th birthday and sometime in September, I chose to forgive myself for a lot of things I had done wrong.  I gave myself that as a gift.  I am sincerely looking forward to my 45th birthday, as I have always considered that number to be the mark of “halfway through” my life.  Only halfway there.  I’m still a baby.  I still have so much more to do. 

October of 2010 saw me have to confront the very real prospect of not having full control over the things that happen in my childrens’ world.  It was the first time I had to protect either of them from bullies and it was entirely too terrifying in light of all the suicide induced bullying incidents that it coincided with during that month. 

November.  Sweet November.  November would bring my parents, Esther and Harold, back into town.  It would be the month of the Turkey.  It would be final exams, final projects, final papers.  It would also be the last and final time my blog would ever be so uninspiring.  My friend in love, Janice, would turn my plain Jane blog into a bucketful of beautiful, where a princess would be happy to flounce around in once more.  Since she changed it, I have begun writing again.  That is always a beautiful thing. 

Then, finally…December.  I hate the holidays.  If you’ve read me for any length of time, you would know that.  But somehow, this year was a little different.  This year, there was hope in the air.  Laughter in my home.  And, to sound entirely too cheesy, perhaps a song in my heart.  My grandson celebrated his first Christmas/Hannukah.  My kids are happy.  Healthy.  My marriage is good.  So, so so so so good.  We went on our yearly anniversary cruise.  11 years together, 8 of them married…both taking place in December.  It’s a special time for the hotband and I.  A time of reflection.  A time to bond.  A time to kick back in the sand of some tropical island, look over at one another and realize…we made it.

Wow.  We made it.

Through tears.  Through pain.  Through strife.  Through uncertainty.  All the while, never letting go of each other’s hands.  Together…we survived it all, weathered the storms and sailed away on seas of contentment and joy.  We made it, my love.  We truly made it.  And look at all we have to show for it. 

Sitting perched on the precipice of a new year, I can’t help but reflect and can’t help but rejoice.  More than anything, I can’t wait to see what else the future brings.  So, yeah…it begs the question:

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…how do you measure a year?

In love.  Definitely, in love.  

Yes, I could continue 30 days of truth…BUT WHY????

When there is all this brand new prettiness all over my blog!!!

Are you dying??

Five years, this blog has looked EXACTLY the same. Then I hired me some TwoScoopz goddess, also known as my beloved friend “J” and THIS was the result? Hello? Pinkness? Prettiness? Lipstick? Shoes? Purses?

Does this bitch know me or does she KNOW me? *shaking my head*

I turned over the reigns to her. The only thing I asked to keep was the banner of my Princess marching down 5th avenue in NYC and of course, the little Princess herself. Other than that, she had carte blanche.

And she totally nailed what I wanted. Totally.

If you need a new face on your old space, I HIGHLY recommend my girl, J. She is so hugely talented. And, even if you don’t need sprucing up, head over there anyway to see her amazing photography. She doesn’t know this, but I have stolen SO many of her photos to use as my desktop background. Ooops. Did I just say that out loud? Don’t STEAL her shit, ai’ight? I will brown bag your ass in a parking lot if you head over there and steal her shit. Grounds for a shank to the solar plexus, you got it? Just lay down a nice comment…and maybe she will share a pic with you. But you ain’t me, bitch, so don’t just go taking shit that ain’t yours.

*sighs*

Man, I can’t even be MEAN here any more. It’s just too. fucking. pretty.

Thank you, J. Not just for taking my “house” and turning it into a “home”, but for being a guest in my house for so long. From sitting on the porch, to walking through the front door, to hanging on the couch, to snuggling in the bedroom…the very heart and soul of where I live and breathe. You have always been there for me, through good times and bad. We’ve shared a LOT of laughter and tears over the past few years. I couldn’t even dream of putting my beloved memories in anyone elses hands. Thank you for treating them as though they were your own.

I love, love, love you to the stars and beyond.

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.

Long time gone…

I haven’t written in here since May. I said I was going to take June, July and August away from writing. I’ve missed it and while I have had a lot to say, the words were escaping me. It seems my inner voice has been a bit battered as of late. I wanted to write on September 11th, the way I always do. I couldn’t. I couldn’t even bring myself to honor the people lost on that day because I have been utterly swallowed by my depression lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had reasons to laugh in the past three months. Lots of reasons. There were a lot of fantastic things that happened over the summer. There were also horrible things, like my trip to Israel. There was pain, rejection, loss of connection and the annual celebration of the day I was torn via C-section from Esther’s pristine uterus.

44 years old. Happy birthday to me. Another day closer to death. The way I figure it, I am probably halfway to dead by now. If the average woman lives until 88 years of age, I am dangling on the halfway point this year. I did a quick assessment to see if I am anywhere near where I wanted to be at this age. The answer was a resounding…perhaps.

I’m a grandmother to two beautiful babies. I am married to the most amazing man to roam the earth since Christ himself…if you believe in that shit. My children are thriving in their lives. My daughter is happily married and a fantastic mother to those to babies I mentioned. My son just started his first year of high school at a brand new school and loves it. I am on decent terms with Esther. My dad is well, not healthy, but well enough for now. So those things are amazing and incredible and perfect.

But where am I? I’m not really any where. I am clean of my drug addiction for well over a year now. I gave up my nursing license and now, in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized how miserable nursing made me and how it contributed to my depression. Whoever tells you that nurses get to help and heal patients, well, they obviously never worked in long term care. You don’t get to do any of those things. You get to shove pills into their incoherent slack-jawed mouths and then onto the next. There is no comfort. There is no care. There is no time to sit at a bedside holding a hand. All that bullshit you see on soap operas…it’s a fantasy. A fairytale that surrounds the beautiful myth of the nurse. At least it is in that setting.

So, back to school I went. Off to get my degree in Social Work. I decided I want to go for my Masters in Social Work and Human Services. Why? Because I need to hold that hand. I need to bring that comfort. I need to smile into pained and troubled faces. It does them good. Selfishly, it does me good. I decided that I am going to be an interventionist and work with addicts. Does it scare me? Definitely. I am scared shit to be around those who are using actively again…but now that I have been there and by the blessing of my Higher Power, found my way back…I feel this is the path I am destined to walk.

I love being in school because it is something I am good at. I am an “A” student, a perfect 4.0 GPA. The professors love me, they always embrace the returning adult students more than the new, fresh out of high school kids. They know we care a lot more and are a bit more hard pressed for time. There is no room for us to fail. We don’t have the opportunity to fail because we don’t have the time. The money. The lack of desire. Our grown up hearts are on fire to do something, anything relevant with the time we have left, however much that might be.

The way I figure it, I will walk out with my degree in 2 more years from now. 46 years old. Still enough time to begin a life, still enough time to put in about 30 years worth of employment.

I ain’t quite dead yet.

But in the interim, I am suffering. I have stopped taking all my psych meds. I just don’t want anything to do with them any more. And, it has its good moments and bad ones. I don’t feel fucked in the head any more. I have my memory back. My sense of humor has returned and it is whip cracking sharp the way it used to be. On the flip side, I cry at the drop of a hat. I fall into depressions very easily. And, my old friend insomnia has returned to fight me nightly. And while the bottles of Cymbalta, Lamictal, Buspar, Xanax, Geodon, Ativan, Klonopin and Trazodone all look tempting…I mainly find myself having staring contests with them. They dare me to open them and to indulge. And the temptation is always there. But, I don’t. I could. Nothing wrong with taking one now and again when needed, but I feel like one will be death of me. Just one pill will open up a can of worms for me. I can’t revisit the days of bottle dependency.

I keep them all over the house. Some on my desk. A few in my purse. More on my bedroom dresser. They stare at me and say, c’mon CP, let us take the edge off. And me, I scoff and say “no, let me empower myself, dammit”. “But you have a disease,” they retort. “You need us.” And that may very well be, but I want to try to go this alone. I want to feel like myself at every possible moment I can, however fleeting it might be. For those few hours, life is so perfect.

Then, the depression comes back, wraps me up in its itchy wool blanket and says, “No, no Dear. You don’t get to make the decisions around here. We do. Me…me and all your pills. Come down the rabbit hole, CP. It’s not that long of a drop.”

But it is. I’ve taken the trip before. For the five minutes I jump into the deep end, it requires a lot of swimming to get out of the murky waters again and I simply don’t have the energy to do it over and over again.

I’ll probably be writing more frequently now, but not daily. Just when I need to…like in the beginning. And tonight, I needed this to be here, like an old friend with open arms letting me fall into them and just cry. Let it all out, rubbing my hair til I fall mercifully asleep.

I need this.

The Needy vs. The Greedy

In the past few days alone, I have come across some amazing stories on the internet. Really ground roots kind of stuff. It all started when a person put a tip cup on their page asking for readers to pay for a luxury item. Anyone who has been reading me…or many other people for that matter, know where I stand on the issue.

However, something really amazing has come out of it. Something bigger.

In the past few days, I have been getting some incredible emails. People who I do not know, or are mutual blog friend with someone else that I know, emailing me to tell me about their financial burdens and troubles. Are they asking me for handouts? Absolutely not. What they are asking for is a sympathetic ear. They relate to the fact that my husband and I just lost our home to foreclosure. They understand what it is like to have to go out of town just to get a decent job. My husband flies every, single week to California to his job because Florida wages are for shit. I am running into people who have sick kids. REALLY sick kids, who require chemo treatments on a daily basis and need financial help. I have come across a blogger who started a letter writing campaign for a friend of his who was in a terrible, debilitating accident.

My eyes are really opening back up where the blog world is concerned and it took a big slap in the face to get my reality check paid in full.

What a great thing we have going here. What a deep connection we all share with one another. The ability to share your pain with a stranger can be the most liberating moment of your life. To free yourself of the burden and say “Hell, yeah. I totally relate to that”, is so freeing.

I absolutely encourage those emails to my inbox. I love reading them. I love responding to them. I love that I can reach out and share a cyber hug with someone and let them feel understood. No, I can’t afford to give away money to friends for luxury items. I simply can’t. But, what I can do is offer you my ear, my shoulder and perhaps a piece of wisdom or humor you can walk away with.

I take a little away from each and every one of you. Over the years, I have been blessed with having a great group of people around me. Supportive above and beyond the call of duty. And, while I have been housecleaning, I have also found some new friends who I am looking forward to getting to know a lot better.

There’s always room in my life for another good person. Even the questionable ones. Far be it for me to judge.