Category Archives: peace

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.