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Note to self

Last week I took an Uber from my hotel to the airport. It wasn’t the happiest ride I would say. I was leaving my heart in California and not in the best conditions. But the Uber driver and I had a conversation we both needed. You know one of those right place right time conversations. I for the distraction and him, I guess to realize he isn’t where he wants to be but he can eventually get there.

Clyde was let go from his job a couple of months ago and he decided to go backpacking with his severance. Which I found fascinating. There are so many things I would have done if I didn’t have Jon so young, backpacking is one of them. A couple years ago I even wanted to join the Peace Corps once Jon was off to college.

Clyde went to South America and was telling me that people over there are so passé about work. If they don’t like their jobs they quit, whereas us Americans are so attached to our jobs we can’t imagine a life without them. He wasn’t wrong. I was sitting right next to my backpack that contained my work computer and the things I thought couldn’t wait for me until I got home. Although I’m not as attached to jobs as I used to be. I’m very career and goal oriented but after losing my job and being unemployed for a year, I realized a job doesn’t define who we are. I told Clyde about the year I took off after my lay-off. I had been in social work for over a decade and suddenly I found myself in HR as a contractual casualty. That is the year I studied abroad in Belize. After working from 14 through 27 without much of a break, it was time. Of course panic set in but in that year I learned lessons I would not have otherwise learned if it weren’t for unemployment. I began to appreciate things differently.

When you lose a job that feels like your identity, you feel sort of distraught. I spent years honing my craft and being a member of the community. I envisioned myself retiring in social work. But. . .admittedly I was relieved the moment I was let go. Social work was taxing, it took over 12 hour days away from my son. I could barely sleep trying to help families keep roofs over their heads, delivering groceries in the evenings, cribs for babies. I loved it but I was tired. After the initial shock I accepted that I was unemployed and I made some adjustments at home. Finally I was able to see my son get off the bus, I was one of those moms that could cook a full meal without rushing to finish case notes. I played games with Jon, I worked on my degree full time and I studied abroad. There were some major sacrifices in that year but when you live off of the bare minimum you realize how much “stuff,” you don’t need. I kept my apartment and my car, paid my bills with scholarships and grants and still managed to live a complete and happy life. I would do that year all over again.

Clyde told me he felt like he was failing because he’d get interviews but never the call backs. So when he gets down he reads a letter he wrote to himself in the peak of his happiness when he was backpacking. The note to self reminds him of where he was and helps pull him out of depression. I thought that was dope, I do things like that all the time. Although they aren’t notes to self but these blogs serve as a time capsule of where I am in certain points in my life. We can go from the happiest high to the lowest low in a matter of hours. So when I’m not feeling my best or if I want to remember a great time, I revisit my blogs for the memory. Writing makes me feel a sense of release and tension, rereading causes a sense of relief I suppose.

While I was sitting in the backseat I started to reminisce about Belize. As a class we agreed to come back the next year, it has now been 7 years and I haven’t been back once. I told Clyde that and he said, well it’s because traveling is so expensive. I agreed but told him, I think we owe it yourselves to travel and explore. Think about when you get a speeding ticket, it’s an obligation and no matter what you find the money and pay. Suddenly the money for that exists but the money for a weekend getaway seems so far away. We pay so much for obligation and so freely that we neglect ourself. He started laughing and said he needed to hear that. It makes sense. . .it’s also advise I need to take for myself.

For years I have wanted to see the northern lights but never get off my ass to go. I’m not saying I am going to have a sudden eat, pray, love Julia Roberts year and go out and do everything I’ve always wanted, but I owe it to myself to do things for me more often than I do.

Before writing this I went back and reread my post from Belize, it was nice to read and remember that person, a person that saw the world like this:

“There is a unique kind of silence in the Cahoon Trail that gives center stage to the insects and birds to create a symphony of noises. Back at home we tend to live on wants, in sitting here in this unfamiliar place, where the natural way of living is giving back, I can see the beauty in it all. This place is home to a symposium of creatures. Tree’s enveloped by thorns, vines and moss, while leaves of all shapes and sizes sprout from the ground and fan the sky. Musky water and a kaleidoscope of greens decorate this environment of natural unaltered beauty.”

Holy shit I was a cheese ball, but I miss that nerd that saw the positivity and beauty in everything.

Belize Dat!

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It has been a while since I shared a little piece of me with the world. I had such an amazing time in Belize and met a wonderful group of people. The fact that we got to know each other under such bare and raw circumstances made us all vulnerable to show the people we typically are. It was a great feeling to be among my peers and to see professors outside of their usual elements. These experiences took me away from home but I couldn’t help but to feel at ease with my surroundings.

One day we were in the Cahoon Trail, after getting over mosquito bites and taking in the environment, I found myself at one with my location. Belize was not home but it was an island much like that of my grandfathers and in that I found comfort. After our field observations in the Cahool trail we had a discussion back at Hill bank and had to share our observation. Here is what I wrote and thus shared with my classmates:

“There is a unique kind of silence in the Cahoon Trail that gives center stage to the insects and birds to create a symphony of noises. Back at home we tend to live on wants, in sitting here in this unfamiliar place, where the natural way of living is giving back, I can see the beauty in it all. This place is home to a symposium of creatures. Tree’s enveloped by thorns, vines and moss, while leaves of all shapes and sizes sprout from the ground and fan the sky. Musky water and a kaleidoscope of greens decorate this environment of natural unaltered beauty.”

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. . . .I am so grateful that every day I am faced with new experiences that allow me to take in the world I know and make it just a little better day after day. I continue to learn from my mistakes and experiences and Belize was another one of those moments. My experiences in Belize were a fraction of the life of a true Belizean but I can admit that I came home a little less me and a bit more island girl.

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In the forefront, yes I came home and appreciated my flushing toilet and flat iron but Belize was something I wish I could share with everyone back home. At no moment while in Belize did I tell anyone they just had to see my flushing toilet, or experience all of my vanities from Tampa. I found that when I returned back to Tampa I was wishing I could do more than just tell my story of my experiences in Belize. I took picture after picture but nothing captured the feeling of being inundated in the beauty and day to day of Belize. When we went to the Belize Zoo I saw a sign that said, “We live in a Beautiful world.” I agree that the world is beautiful and I am sad to say that I had to strip myself from my self-taught behavior to truly realize the beauty of the world. Sky scrapers and flashy lights certainly catch the eye but nothing beats swimming harmoniously among the reefs and seeing beauty eye to eye.

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I never thought in my life that I could see the world from the top of a Mayan Temple. I look at myself and often wonder, how I, just the little girl with the big smile from Tampa has been able to meet so many people and do so many extraordinary things. I am truly blessed and continue to find the beauty in life!

*posted out of order, originally posted in 2012

I miss you more

I just want to go to sleep and wake up pain free. I feel like an idiot and a hypocrite. I can’t have things the way that I want them, so I hurt. I quit because I can’t handle things, so I hurt. Either way I’m fucking hurting. What is the point?

I worked maybe an hour today combined. I’ve been nauseous for a week now. Nothing is appetizing. I want to crawl into a hole and never come back out. I sit here waiting all day for a lifeline. I can’t clear my thoughts because every little thing reminds me of us. I can’t turn on the damn radio because every song reminds me of him. I can’t even listen to hip hop without remembering the reason why we clicked right away.

Our last two days weren’t enough. Nothing will ever be enough. Monday I was happy laughing about the silliest things, now I don’t even want to look at another comic book again. I don’t want to rehash a memory only to smile then cry because it’s over. I miss him so much, it makes no sense because it’s not like I see him everyday anyhow but with us being done, my heart misses him more every passing second. I just want to be in his arms again cracking stupid jokes just for the chance to see a smile across his face.

I don’t even know what to call this. A breakup? But you can’t lose what you never had right? Month after month of the most incredible feelings and I have nothing to show for it.

People would never understand what this is and I can’t fault them, but their suggestions and making light of the situation only makes matters worse. I think that people often make light of things to make themselves feel better. But I’m not in the habit of lying to myself. I know what I had, have. It’s still in yesterday’s messages. He’s in my time zone, sleeping under the same sky and I send and unsend messages because I don’t want to further complicate things. But I’m so far from fucking okay. I want to say screw logic and follow my heart. But my heart has already taken a beating. I can’t sleep. I can’t focus. I feel like I’m dying and all I can worry about is how he is feeling right now. I don’t want him to feel what I feel. It’s unbearable. I hate this and I want nothing more than to say forget it, let’s try. . .but I don’t even know what that would look like. I have shitty coping skills, and I end up hurting him time and time again.

The Allegory

The past week has been trying to say the least. So much unknown and unexpected turn of events. It made me feel like I lack complete control of things that are happening in my life. I know that the person I am before I become the person on the other side of this will be much different. I understand that we as people tend to make things worse than what they are, or we brace for the worst impact when the blow doesn’t require that much. However, this blow was almost detrimental. I have this empty barrel feeling. My heart has taken a beating and I haven’t been able to take a deep breath for days. I am usually a lot stronger than this but as much as I say I know what I was getting myself into, it is never possible to prepare for something you have never experienced in your life.

I am usually an open person because I have no shame in the things I do. I don’t have hair on my tongue. . .but it was reckless of me to operate in the same fashion knowing that the public knowledge of some of my actions could cause a domino effect in the life of someone incredibly special to me. I want things to be back to normal, our normal, but this week was not only catastrophic, it was eye opening. I see people differently, I feel differently. I am having a difficult time getting back to normal.

I feel like the Allegory of the Cave. In Plato’s symposium, there was a conversation of the Allegory and it is one of those stories that cements that perception somehow becomes our reality. So, the extent of the cave is this. There were a group of prisoners chained facing a wall, they had no exposure to the outside world, the only world they knew of were these figures that were behind them that cast a shadow every time the sun shined. These prisoners remained chained to the walls out of fear of their own perception. The world they knew was the wall, chains, and shadows. At one moment a prisoner escaped and the remaining prisoners saw the shadow of the prisoner jumping at the reaction of the sun. Having never experienced the sun, the escaped prisoner was overcome by joy. He saw people just like him outside of the cave, living happily and looking at the very sun he once thought was the cause of his plight as a prisoner. When he went back to the cave to see the other prisoners and tell him of what he had discovered they ridiculed him, out of fear. Their perception was that the outside work was dangerous, and this monotony of the cave was the safe place to be.

Many people outside myself remind me of this allegory, not fully knowing what goes on outside the cave. Making assumptions and at times taking matters into their own hands because they wish to keep you in the cave with them. How did their perception become reality. I try to convince myself that their actions were harmless but, in my heart, I know they were malicious in nature. I feel so conflicted, because I try to understand where their head was, but I can’t for the life of me make sense if it all. I am a do no harm type of person, even if that means I absorb all the impact. No part of the person that I am would have agreed with their actions yet they did them anyway.

I don’t usually listen to my mother but one thing I will always remember was her telling me as a kid that, “a friend is a dollar in your pocket.” I hated that saying because it was limiting, it gave no opportunity for people to be people worth knowing. My mother trusts absolutely no one and for the betterment of me I thought it be best I refrain from being like her. However, I can’t help but wonder if I had listened, if I had not trusted so blindly, would today be different?

I am fully aware that people aren’t going to always agree with the decisions you make. I am people as well. I have been on that flipped side of a coin where I do not agree, but only give that opinion when solicited and even then, I always kick things back to people. I do not make decisions for others. It would be audacious of me to assume I know what is best for someone other than myself. 

As I sit here and write I realize I have yet to have any clarity on this whole situation. I don’t know that making sense of it is what is going to help.

A Dream Deferred

I think I was in 5th grade when my brother came home with a middle school literature book. I skimmed through the pages and bumped into Harlem, A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughs. It’s a short and simple haiku but the words ring true today. What does truly happen to a dream deferred?

This morning I called and asked for a late checkout anticipating that there may be a possibility I could get one more hug in until the next time. But as the morning went on and I sat in my thoughts alone, I got the best of me. When you say goodbye to the person that means everything to you, how do you recover?

The longer I stayed in the room the harder it got. I could feel my heart racing and I needed to get out of there. I packed as fast as I could and cleared my face to walk out. But just as I thought I was ready, I stood there and looked in the room as I tried to escape my own tears. I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible because I felt suffocated knowing I was no longer going to have him. At the same time I wanted to roll in the bed where our love laid one last time.

I feel like throwing up. My entire insides are raw. I don’t know how to feel. I think that my best trait is going to be my undoing. I’m an eternal hopeful optimistic person. I never give up. So walking away makes no sense to my heart. Five months of being up in the clouds, inseparable, well somewhat by the distance but we had each other, even in small doses.

I’m all out of words. I thought things would be different. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Je t’aimerai pour toujours mes yeux brillants.

Different

As I was walking to the terminal today, I felt this overwhelming feeling consume my body. I know what is waiting for me at the end of these flights, I know who and I know why. It’s a different feeling this time around.

Back in April I was consumed by the constant what ifs my mind kept throwing at me. I was 100% sure about how I felt about him but I was self sabotaging and kept trying to convince myself perhaps his 100% certainty would diminish once he saw me. It was an incredible feeling to love him but the idea that he might love me less, made April’s trip somewhat different than today. Even after our day things didn’t seem all too real. I processed a lot and wondered if he had experienced everything the way I had. I wondered if his feeling had changed and worried that things would somehow be different once I was back home.

April is behind us and nothing is left but beautiful memories of our days together and of our firsts. Since April we have taken some time to talk and unpack our feelings, to ask questions and to confirm that yes, it was that incredible for both of us. I guess that is what makes this time different. Things have changed, for the best. We know who is walking through the door, we love each other in every capacity and we are very much on the same page. For me, there isn’t this overwhelming feeling of worry anymore about us. We are solid and strong together, I love that.

I know I will be made of questions when I see him again and have a million and one thoughts going through my mind but nothing like the first time jitters that my bright eyes might not want to be my bright eyes after we met. This time I get to enjoy his company without worrying about my own insecurities and lie confidently next to the person that has completely changed my life for the better. It’s an overwhelming feeling, to be loved and to love this way.

I can’t wait for the morning to come, to finally have my world within reach.

I will love you forever my bright eyes.

Dear 34

Thirty five is less than a day away. I’m not one to set birthday resolutions but I do hope that 35 finishes what 34 started. Thirty four has been an eventful year, full of changes, frustrations, excitement and unexpected turn of events. 34 has been similar to every year yet the one difference is him. I was completely blindsided by love. I didn’t plan to fall in love. I merely intended on finishing the year, working, raising a kid and eventually making my way back to some intrinsic educational goal. Nothing could have ever prepared me to feel what I feel every time I think of him and when he is around.

I met him a little over 4 months ago. The man that I know I’ll love forever, in every circumstance in life and despite any distance. I wish that I could remember the exact moment I knew he was my everything. . .my forever. While I cant pinpoint the precise moment, I know that it happened almost instantaneously. I still have my moments where it doesn’t seem real because the attraction and love is so perfect. To love is incredible, to be loved is divine. I’ve never been loved this way before, it feels like my heart has this never ending smile. I don’t have to acknowledge the times I’ve been loved improperly in my past to give this validity. If I had met him first, before all of the mistakes of my past, he would still be the one I will love forever, and the last man I’ll ever love. God knows I wish I had met him first.

We have the type of love that you want to tell the world you have, while at the same time, you wish to keep it to yourself and protect it. You don’t want it to be scrutinized and picked apart by those that would never understand it. There is no explaining once in a lifetime. This feels like what I can only imagine it feels like to be a star. Bursting at the seems with light and love and although at times it feels so powerful it can become unbearable, you crave and desire more of that power and love. It sounds super cheesy but that is what I can compare it to the most. It’s unbearable because of the distance. There are times when I feel like we are an impossible distance away. Patience is limited and I feel like a child about to throw a tantrum. Even when he is sleeping I miss him, I struggle even with the time difference.

So much has been surrounding timing lately. I feel like I’m extremely aware of this count down and how timing affects us all in many ways. Timing hasn’t been a huge indicator for me, because as long as I can remember free will runs ramped for me. I have always and will always believe that we choose the things we want in life and in the same regard, we attract them. I don’t believe anything is by coincidence. I do believe that there is a such thing as a missed opportunity, such as when fate has placed something or someone at your feet and you don’t use your free will to see them and better yet choose them. Such is not the case here. I choose him everyday, all day at multiple times a day. When it gets rough, when I’m about to pout again about how long I have to wait to see him, I choose happiness over convenience. I would do anything to have him close but the fact that he exists and we love in this way is a constant reminder that the distance is only temporary compared to that of never having met him. Patience, although it may appear to be in short supply, is in high demand and much needed. I need him in ways I cannot express.

What we have is something Incredible. I don’t proceed with caution, although at times I still ask if it’s okay to ask a question, it’s not an indicative of how I feel with him. It just feels so different to speak so freely, with understanding. Loving him is like looking into a kaleidoscope, there are so many pieces that have yet to come together but every time I look through the picture is beautiful.

Thank you 34, for being so good to me.

Je t’aimerai pour toujours mes yeux brillants.

Inhale. . .exhale

Last week was a trying week. I spent it sick working from home the majority of the time. In between work I laid in bed thinking of everything I cannot control, and even spent a great deal of time focusing on those things I can. I lacked motivation to operate and as a result I neglected writing for over a week. I think there is just something about being sick that draws attention to loneliness. Not having someone present to help you do the things you can’t do for yourself feels like you’re the last person on the planet. So I sulked for a minute.

Last night I finally had a moment to really think about where I currently am. How my heart is feeling. I am conflicted and emotionally drained. I can’t wait to finally catch my breath in his arms. I miss our week in April and wish to be there again with him, smiling from ear to ear without a care in the world. Being at his side and being away provided a type of solitude and peace I needed. In the hours I spent alone, I was able to get a much needed break from my reality.

I started writing different blogs in the course of the last week and not one felt like the right one. Nothing had a common thread or theme. I have been in this cluster fuck of emotions lately with my family and it is draining, extremely draining. I have been experiencing a writing block unlike before. My feelings are all over the place, these people are driving me fucking crazy and unfortunately I have been letting them.

This should probably be a throw away post, but I am not going to get back to my writing rhythm if I don’t get all the things that are bothering me off my chest.

I feel as though I haven’t taken a real moment to bask in what is happening with my son. His college experience is temporarily on hold until after surgery, but he still has all these big things going on and I am allowing things with my family to trump all the life that is happening. His last day of high school is tomorrow, he turns 18 on Saturday and he graduates in a little over two weeks. My only child is growing up and I haven’t taken the time to be proud of everything we have accomplished as a pair. I’m extremely proud and I need to live life and be more present with him instead of letting it flash by me. I have been so focused on trying to make sure everything is perfect for him that I failed to realize that Jon is one of the most appreciative people I’ve ever met.

Planning everything hasn’t been as bad, compared to pulling everyone together. It’s been weeks since I last spoke to my mother and again, reaching out to her is this never-ending task and feeling of, “am I doing this right?” I reached out to her on Mother’s Day and again, here I sit waiting for a call back or a lifeline. It is utterly exhausting. I like to pretend I don’t care, but it’s painfully obvious I do.

I was sitting at my computer staring at the screen when my brother approached me. Obviously he knew something was up and so we talked about it. He is kind of like an outsider looking in and he could see how much guilt I’m carrying on my chest about my mother and family. To this day, I have no idea how I can put myself first without feeling like I owe it to them to try. How does someone close the book on their own mother. Is that even okay?

I remember when I was a kid, my mom was institutionalized at least 3 times. On one occasion the psychiatrist spoke to my uncle and family about someone in the home that was the cause for my mother’s digression. My mother’s relationship with my grandmother made my mother sick. I remember my grandmother crying and hiding in the closet and my mother constantly trying to please her and make her happy. That relationship was taxing and I never understood it. I see how my grandmother was and how over time my mother has become that same person. In return, my relationship with my mother has become this cantankerous situation that brings me little to no happiness. I am tired of being the good daughter for someone that at times can be so manipulative and hurtful. I find that if I’m of no use to her, I’m useless to her.

I’ve started to realize that when things don’t go well with her I pick apart at everything else that is going right in my life. It’s easy to throw my hands up in the air and say, this isn’t going as planned and try to quit. She makes me flighty, because that is the way she is. She holds me back and I have given her a pass because of the fact that she is my mother. I can’t keep doing that. There is no other time I realize this more than when it comes to Jon and now with my bright eyes.

When things picked up with my last job and my family was around more, I took a break from school. I thought it be best to focus on getting Jonathan in line. I wanted to make sure he was doing well in school and that I was present for every school activity. I’ve done that but it came at a price. When I’m not focusing on him, I give way to the bullshit and let my family try to occupy my time. I’m extremely school and career driven, and stopping school was the right move at the time, but my return to it is long overdue. So I’m going back in the fall, I’m finishing what I started and I’m getting back in my groove. The idea of it already has me excited. It’ll open more doors to get back into the field I love. I know that once I’m focused on myself again, I’m unchangeable.

Realizing everything that was piling up on me has helped me somewhat clear the debris and realize amidst it all, I have so much to be thankful for.

I have this magnificent kid that has grown into an incredible young man. Does he make me crazy, absolutely, but I think that’s because he is a living breathing embodiment of me. He has so much potential and I can’t wait to see the person he is when he is my age.

I also have my love. A person that I never in all my years thought I’d have. The love that he and I have comes without effort. He is my happiness and has been there for me even when I didn’t know how to ask for it. We understand one another even at a distance and it’s incredible. He is my forever, my bright eyes and I can’t wait to see him and kiss him again.