Bankrupt

I haven’t been this exhausted since. . .fuck, I have never been this tired. I want to get to the part where I am catching my breath again but you can’t really read ahead in life. There is no back of the book blurb to tell you how things will turn out. All I know is I am emotionally and physically bankrupt with very little left to give.

I’m trying to find a work life balance with my day job to finish my days early or at least on time so that I can figure things out in the evening. I didn’t want to commit to a 2nd job completely because, I can’t see myself doing this forever. So instead I decided to start driving for Uber, I already spend a great deal of time on the road driving to clear my mind. My brother suggested doing Uber when I was trying to find a way to pay for the deductible for Jonathan’s surgery. Which up until the beginning of last month we thought was completely covered.

I think I’ve been living on about 5 hours of sleep a night. I work my day job, rest at home for an hour, eat dinner and then leave my house. Never something I thought I’d do but as a parent you do what you have to do. I try not to do it too late because Jonathan begins to worry when I’m out there at night. I also know in great part he feels guilty because I’m out there trying to save for his surgery. So I tiptoe around that, he thinks he is the man of the house at times and although I like the mindset he is forming, it is still my responsibility to pull through for him no matter what. I see him in pain and pushing through and it makes me feel sad that he goes out of his way to act okay because he doesn’t want to financially burden me. I could keep things up and save without Ubering but it would take maybe two/three months to save up what discretionary income I have. But the time it would take to cover the out of pockets is not worth the wait at the expense of him further injuring himself and going on in pain for another few months. I also want him to be able to start school as planned. For now I am trying to save enough to get his surgery back on the schedule. It sucks, I have pride, but I have to bite the bullet.

When I discussed things with his dad he said he doesn’t have the money and for some reason feels like Jon can push through. I for one don’t have the patience to deal with him anymore when it comes to Jon. I try to understand that he has 4 other children and try not to dabble in how he handles his finances, but it’s hard to avoid the anger when you have no support for a kid you didn’t create alone. I have people, my, “let me know if you need anything people,” but sitting around talking shit about what he should do and what I should do because of his lack of help is a waste of my time. Complaining and venting to them won’t get this shit paid. I know that I put myself at a disadvantage when I refuse to ask for help but I’m so accustomed to doing everything on my own for Jonathan and I, that anything outside of that feels strange. I don’t fully mean financially either, emotionally I take the hit on everything just to avoid unnecessary questions. I just don’t know how to ask for help, it’s part pride and part knowing I’m his mother so he is my responsibility. If I had saved money, if I were better prepared for emergencies perhaps I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

I plan on doing this for a few more weeks, maybe two months at the most, just to pay for the deductible so that we can finally reschedule this and also prepare for whatever physical therapy costs I may incur for Jonathan post surgery. It’s doable, I’m just having a hard time pacing myself. I’m tired, grouchy, I miss my bright eyes immensely. I am completely maxed out and frustrated with myself. In between the working, mom responsibilities, driving, and writing for the contest, I have little to no time to spare. I know I won’t rest until Jon has had his surgery so I have to figure out some sort of balance because I can tell I am taking things out on everyone and am short on patience these days.

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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

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.

Pulse

My brother and cousin wanted to go dancing this weekend; after complaining and backing out of the plans 18 times in one afternoon, I was finally guilt tripped into going. I wasn’t happy about it but I got outnumbered and called old for turning down the plan. I hate going to clubs, it’s never been my thing. People smell like ass, act out of pocket when they are drunk and most importantly I don’t dance. I think it’s weird for a complete stranger to walk up and ask for permission to basically grope me. I’m very uncomfortable in situations like that but find it very easy to say no when approached which gets me either cussed out for being a prude or they respectfully smile and walk away. Thank you polite fuckers for not making it weird. However my disinterest for going to the club has been heightened. Since the pulse shootings I do not like being in bars and clubs like that where there is little access to the point of entry and exit. What happened at Pulse hit way too close for comfort.

My little brother Joe used to go to Pulse every Friday and Saturday without fail. Having dragged me out there twice I too knew the insides of that club very well. On June 12, 2016 it was nerve wrecking for me to wake up to the news, my brother Joe called me in hysterics telling me that he wasn’t there. He wanted me to know he was okay. Thank god he called me because the uncertainty of not knowing would have destroyed me. He was on the way there when he decided he really wasn’t in the mood to go out and opted to stay home and watch a movie. That change of mind is what may have saved his life but I don’t think we’ve all fully recovered after that.

When that happened I was relieved and was okay externally but because of the recent and frequent shootings we had in Florida that year I grew afraid of being in crowded places. I don’t know what it was but my coworkers and I went as far as planning active shooter exits. I sized up every room I entered and figured out ways to get out. It got to the point where I wanted to pull Jonathan out of school. That’s when I decided I needed help, the friends I spoke to didn’t think I had a torch in the fight, my brother Joe lost friends that night so I didn’t want to burden him with my concerns. I tried blogging and nothing helped. I remember one night I was organizing my closet when my son asked me a question and I snapped for no reason whatsoever. I was overwhelmed. I was feeling the world all at once. So that same night I called the employee resource group and scheduled an appointment with a counselor. I went to a few sessions, which I found helpful and never went again. I can’t fix the inevitable or plan for every possible outcome, so I had to slowly but surely get back in the rhythm of things.

I’ve been fine the past few years since then but this weekend when I was sitting there in a place I didn’t want to be in, for more reasons than I can list, I sat against the wall with my drink in hand for what seemed like an eternity. I smiled and had fun singing along to songs with my cousin and brother but in between the distractions, the music went silent and I looked at every individual that walked through the door. The night felt like it was dragging in slow motion. I wanted to get out of there the moment I arrived. The anxiety of it all was not worth the night of “fun,” I hated it and felt anxious until the moment we got back into my car. I detest that feeling of helplessness and doubt I’ll ever step foot into another club again. It’s just not for me and not worth the panic for something I wouldn’t have done prior to the shootings. It’s different, we make sacrifices and shouldn’t let people or circumstances turn us cowardly when it comes to the things we love to do, this situation is not that.

17 Miles

I was driving with my brother the other night when suddenly at the red light I realized and said, “yesterday was my dads birthday.” I’m really good about dates and numbers so I’m kind of surprised I noticed a day late, but in any case. He is 64 years old now, I don’t know what kind of health he is in and I haven’t seen him in years. I just know that I’m aware that someday, he may be gone and for some reason I still haven’t made sense of my relationship with him. On days like this I usually check online to see if he is still alive, admittedly every time I hit submit I am afraid that he will have a date of decease on the site. Today is one of those days when I couldn’t check for the life of me. By definition he is a monster, I understand that, but sometimes I don’t know if I am doing the right thing. At the end of the day, I have a problem knowing he may be sad that his daughter wants nothing to do with him. I don’t like to be the cause of hurt for him. . .it feels pathetic at times, but that’s the way my heart works. I hand out the benefit of the doubt like it’s on automatic renewal.

The past few weeks with my mother have been taxing. I’m sure that is what warrants this recent concern for my father. I rarely feel like I’ve been handed more than I can handle. I don’t need things from people, all I ask is for an ear and if all else fails a shoulder. When it comes to support speaking to my mother is like reaching a detour without GPS. I could speak all the languages in the world but getting through to her is challenging. It feels like I am talking at her at times. As a mother I always try to make sure I’m doing my best for Jon and in moments when I have been unsure, she has made it impossible to turn to her. Some people don’t have any parents and because of that I do my best to appreciate what I do have but reaching out without reciprocity is hurtful. Jon needs surgery and although it’s not for what could be a serious condition, as a mother I am nervous. The last time I spoke to my mother about it, she started telling me about her ailments. It’s as if no one else exists except for her. She then blamed me for allowing him to do sports as if it weren’t possible he could get hurt doing something he didn’t love. It’s a constant back and forth because she didn’t push her kids to succeed, on the contrary she tried to push us toward a C average life. So naturally I tell her less because I don’t want to continue to frustrate myself hoping that she will change. After 62 years of the same, she’s pretty set in stone. But again as the glutton for punishment that I am, I reach out. I sent her photos of her grandson from Prom and here we are days later, she has yet to bat an eye. I cannot stress how much things I don’t need. I’ve been taking care of myself since I was 14 but still the hope that she will wake up one day and be supportive doesn’t seem to go away. At times I’ve given up on her being present for me and hope that she’d at least be there for Jonathan. But she rarely shows up. Yet his paternal grandmother came to see him before prom, took pictures and was very excited about this moment in his life. She checks in when he is sick, she calls to ask if I ever need anything. They are worlds apart and I’m thankful my son has that kind of support. . .but I feel responsible for the things Jonathan doesn’t have from my family. He has never had a real set of grandparents on my side and although it’s not my fault I wish I could change that. My mom has had moments, MOMENTS of clarity when she has apologized for the way she is but she cries to the point that it’s very difficult to jump in and tell her things from my perspective. We have an emotional language barrier, one that I’m afraid will never be broken down.

I have been in Florida my entire existence but it’s not a place I’ve always loved. The world I know is always within reach but a bulk of my family make it impossible to be happy and frustration free. It sounds terrible but the two years I went without speaking to my family were on record the best two years of my life. They are the reasons why I always wanted to run and I’m not a runner. All of my friends that have become family are in Tampa, I know the ins and outs of this city. But the idea of being too far for most of my blood born family to reach me sounds so incredible that I’ve fantasized about it ever since I was a child. When I was in high school I was ready to move out at 18. I had many reasons for wanting to get out but one of the big ones was that home didn’t feel like home, there was nothing calming about being there. It’s no wonder that I’ve always tried to be as distant as I can.

I have 3 siblings from my mother and we were always at opposing ends because that’s how we were raised. I hate fighting and being angry, it drains the shit out of me so living that way constantly was burdensome. I haven’t spoken to my sister in maybe a year now, I miss the idea of her but again, just like my mother she’s a forlorn conclusion. My family gossips and celebrates other people’s failures at times, they live in the I told you so mentality or that’s what you deserve. I’m not like that in any sense. As I write this I realize that if these people weren’t family, they wouldn’t even be friends. It’s a harsh reality that I live with. The one exception is my brother Jose, he has been the constant reminder that I need to do what makes me happy. A few years ago when I graduated he told me that he knew I would be the one out of the 4 of us to “make something out of myself.” I feel like I’m on my way there but far from done.

A few months ago my mom was on the hunt to purchase a new home. I helped as much as I could, took time off to translate, no big. You do what you can to help family. However somewhere in the process she began to pressure me into moving in with her and her husband. She started to say that they were getting older so if something happened to her I could help because my child was almost grown. It makes sense on paper but it was also kind of insulting. I have 3 other siblings, one is married with 4 children, one is legally blind and disabled and my sister has 3 grown children of her own. Then there is me, one child, no husband. I guess when Jon goes off to college it appears as though I have nothing left. . .but that cannot be far from the truth. I’m only 34 and I have goals in mind and destinations that I want to see, places I want my career to go. I’ve been waiting for the day that I don’t have to worry about removing Jonathan from his home for my own dreams. That time is fast approaching. I don’t know how to say this without sounding condescending but the others don’t have any of that. They are happy with their lives and I respect that but if their lives stayed the same for the next 20 years they would be fine with this. I’m full of ambition and take risks with the goals I want to reach. So I guess I let this be known in a way. I told my mom I didn’t want to live there because I’ve grown accustom to my life and I like the way I run things, I do not want my life to look anything like hers at the end of the day. She insisted about her and the husband getting older and I reminded her that although they may be headed in that direction, they are still solid and require no help. It’s true, they don’t need people at this moment. I also cannot accept the responsibility of taking care of him in her absence. I did not have the same experience with him that my siblings did. The idea of taking care of him nauseates me but it’s not something I feel ready to discuss. So again, I’m ready to run because I refuse to be an option. I know my disinterest in helping isn’t selfish, I have my reasons that any sane person would understand, but rather than open up that Pandora’s box, I rather plan ahead for the great escape.

I don’t know how a post about my father led to this, but I guess it’s the decompression I needed. He lives 17 miles from me and it’s a surprise I haven’t bumped into him in the 17 years he has been out of prison. I wonder if he would recognize me, I wonder if we’d have the same language barrier I have with my mom. I wonder often. In the past 17 years I’ve seen him once and although at the time I didn’t think it would be my last, I haven’t seen him since. I changed my phone number and moved, not coincidentally. It was just life and things changed, he has no way of finding me since I don’t ever attach my complete name to social media. I know that I’m this guys daughter and perhaps the good qualities in him are parts of who I am but I can’t help but to feel guilty, for at times comparing and looking at my mother like she’s not enough when I should appreciate that she did the best she could with what she had.

Love Shouldn’t be Blind

We are all different, but there are some of us who feel a bit more peculiar that others. I am one of those people. Being different makes me happy, even if it makes me stand out. That is why I feel that the phrase, “love with your heart and not with your eyes,” makes no sense. Of course I want to be loved and appreciated for everything I am, my character, my heart. . .but I also want to be loved for everything that people can see without looking within.

I feel as though we are constantly reminded to ignore looks so much that we negate the possibility that anything that is not normal can be beautiful. Flawed smiles and imperfect teeth, round bodies or thin physiques become the subject of apology and exception. We have become conditioned to love despite and not because.

When we first meet people it is impossible to take a look deep into their soul without first acknowledging and embracing what we see as a whole. The way they frown, the way they squint when they are thinking deeply. There are so many visual characteristics that we pass up when we apply the notion of loving blindly.

For a very long time I wanted people to give me a long enough chance to realize that I am more than the sum of my looks. I was loving myself despite. I was wrong. I don’t want exceptions to be made for me. I stand tall at over 67 inches, I have child bearing hips and my hair doesn’t fall perfectly in the morning. There are days where my smile is the quickest and easiest place to hide because all the things that make me who I am are hidden inside of a body that people are trained to accept, not love.

I was one of the many who missed out because I learned with exception. This is no longer acceptable. It hasn’t been for a long time and I realize now how damaging that perception has been to my own decision making.

One of my favorite things of getting to know people is memorizing the curves of their face, the pigment in their eyes and cementing the way my heart feels when I see them. The way their thoughts are emitted throughout their body. All these idiosyncratic things about them that I would not know if not by body language.

If I’d carry on ignoring the things that people closet because they aren’t perfect, I would miss out on the beauty and profound touch of the human condition.

 

About that 

Time passes you by and before you know it you’re wishing for a break from it all. . .but then life slows down and you can see the leaves falling to the ground ever so gently and with no rush in mind. Life falls as it may and pieces land where they should and after you wanted a break from the madness you realize the madness is your life. . .and what is life but a little bit of madness.

What do you write?

There is a common thread among people who learn of my writing. “What do you write?,” they ask. . .sometimes I immediately want to say, what don’t I write but that does not satisfy the answer. I feel as though I write everything, so to me what matters most is why I write. I am a very spontaneous person in my every day conversational life. I say things unfiltered, I have my foot in my mouth half of the time and I mostly prefer that things be that way, with my foot as far away from the brakes as possible. I guess because at the core I am after all open to most people who ask questions with the right intention, however that is a very raw version of me. Yet, there are times when I like to sit back in my thoughts and let things process and do all the feeling that 100 mile a minute me does not give herself the opportunity to sort through.

Have you ever seen a movie that has that one scene where everyone else is doing one thing but one particular character stands out. There they are moving around aimlessly while everyone else in the scene is either frozen in time or on the flip side, the whole world is moving around them and they are stagnant. That person is me. Not left behind so to speak or going in one direction without a particular goal. . .but merely in observation of everything and everyone. Right now what I am sorting through is perspective. We all have them. . .good, bad or illogical our perspectives make complete sense to us but sometimes it is good to see things from another point of view.

There are two reactions I receive whenever I tell people I have a son in high school. . .it is either “Oh my god, you don’t look old enough to have a teenager,” to which I always smile in delight, or there is the, “Oh wow, sorry must be tough.” I guess with the way that a lot of kids act lately the latter response is warranted however it is sad. Why do people have such poor expectations of teenagers, they must forget who raised this generation.

As my son has gotten older, we have developed a different kind of relationship, one that I myself am amazed with. I understand him better than I ever have. He can articulate his feelings and without using these exact words he knows how to let me know when I am being a jerk. I am definitely one of those moms who takes no crap, however, I am human. I have yelled too much, or expected too much and even at times shared too much. I hurt feelings, I brighten his day, I am sure I even inflict terror but those are all things of a very wide spectrum of parenting.

The first time I held him in my arms I was so afraid. How could someone trust clumsy little me with such precious cargo? I will admit, I dropped him a few times but never on his head, (Jon if you read this, sorry, I love you, forgive me). Yet somehow we have arrived at the age where I can say, in 4 years I will be done. Eighteen is not too far away but from here to then and from then and beyond there is no such thing as done. I cherish every moment with this boy. I could spend hours with him, recording videos on snap chat and playing them in slow motion just because it makes him laugh. . .not just any laugh but this bright smile straight from the heart laugh that makes anyone lose their breath because it feels so good to feel so alive in that moment. Moments go by so fast but I notice everything and there is nothing comparable to what I feel for my son. I look at him in awe because if not for me he would have never been born, I am responsible for him, but also I would not be here and happy if not for him.

I remember his face on my graduation day, it has only been about 8 months since then. I went back and forth in my mind for years. There were nights where I studied for hours, moments when I had to tell him, “not now,” long nights and early mornings and they all led up to that day. I always felt like I was taking something from him, the time and attention he deserved. I felt guilty and even still sometimes but the beauty of life is that you get what you get when you need it most. I walked across the stage as they called my name and in the crowd there he was with a group of my closest family and friends. I held my composure and my excitement. I crossed my tassel the the left and I made my way outside to meet my friends. I hugged everyone as they came out, and anxiously awaited my sons arrival from inside the stadium. Suddenly there he was, he rushed to me, hugged me and as he cradled my head in his hand he said to me, “everything you have done, has been for me, I am proud of you mom.” . . .and then I lost it. Why? Because perspective. We tarnish a lot of things because of perspective. I felt like a bad mother because of my perspective but Jonathan’s perspective was all I needed to realize that mine was clouded. I am so thankful for my son and happy to be filling the pages of our lives with irreplaceable moments.  

 

Father of the teen

I am so grateful for my late night bouts with insomnia. There is this world that has yet to be discovered that only reaches the light of day in the most deepest and darkest of nights. During the day I am a myriad of thoughts and emotions, which are rarely expressed in their totality. We are too busy to reflect and feel so as a result I find myself in darkness facing the ceiling with my back against the mattress sifting through years of thought through dark passages at night. I get paid to work & have to be super mom. . .it is in those moments that I forget the small stuff.
But here I am, sweating the small stuff because I realize in just a moments notice they can all be gone. These small wonderful things that we take for granted are not promised.
I am a mother. . .a single mother by technicality because I have never been wed, however I am also the other half of a parental duo. My life would be so different if I had not met the one other person responsible for me becoming a mother; my son’s father.
I look at my son and he is the age I was when I met his dad and it’s crazy. I wonder if Jonathan has met someone at this young age who will eventually change his life completely? I guess I will not know until I know. 
Father’s Day is here and while I pride myself in being an excellent mother, I wouldn’t be that if not because of the shared responsibility of my son’s father. There have been moments where being an ok mom had to be good enough. There are times when we are so clouded with responsibility that we can’t realize we can do better, and that is where no one has failed me. Jon’s dad is one of those parents that rolls with the punches, he’s taken a couple of south paws from me and I of him. We keep each other on our toes. Somewhere from inception to present day we have devised a friendship that is unbreakable. We are not perfect people, but we are perfectly constructed parents for Jonathan. We are human but most importantly we are friends. Father’s Day is so important to me. Jon’s dad and I did not come from a nuclear family. We had mom, kid(s), and grandpa(ma). The dad in our family portrait was not present and yet I sit in awe because of how we turned out. I admire him for who he is because of his journey and I am forever thankful for his presence in Jonathan’s life. 
I hear horror stories, child support stories, jealousy stories and every other story in between. There is no jealousy. The only child support we require is the emotional support of one another to our son. The horror in the story for me is when people ask the monetary questions and the divisive questions that quite frankly are none of their business. “How much does he give you?” Well to be clear. . .My sons relationship with his father is not dictated by monetary compensation. It is strictly determined by my sons need to be with his incredibly involved and loving father, and vice versa. We share a child, not own him. I realize that our life and arrangements are unrealistic however I wish more people were like us. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, as to suggest that we have it all figured out, however the proof is in our son’s eyes.
My son does not see his parents fight and rip each other to shreds. Instead when in the same room he sees his parents joke and get along. He sees us sitting side by side in conference night agreeing on how we should discipline him, teach him and guide him as he turns into the young man we wish he’d be. We do not have to be in a relationship to have a normal friendship or relationship after our couple life collapsed. We collaborate and sincerely wish the best for one another because if as individuals we attain the best then as parents the sky is the limit. Happy parents happy kid. . .it. Is. That. Simple.
If you’ve gotten this far you’re probably wondering why. . .why am I dwelling on this?
Today I had the privilege of helping out in the community. It’s been a little over two years since I left social work and because of that I do not have the opportunity to reflect as much as I used to about the things that go on in the world. There are so many negative things happening lately and they all circle around race and indifference. I’m not blind to realize it but I do refuse to look directly at the sun because it’s going to burn. However today reminded me of how much I have. I wish I could do more, sincerely, but the truth of the matter is that I struggle to make a difference in my own circle. It’s hard to find the time or to spare the money it takes to help others, so I pay with my greatest contribution, which is in raising my son properly and giving society another wonderful human being. 
I wish him to be kind and understanding, to never look down on others and to always see the bright side in everything. I hope that no matter how dark the path may be that he is guided by the light and love his father and I have shed upon him. I want nothing more than for him to reflect in his darkest hours about how life can be bright so long as you continue to shed light on the world. I do not raise him to believe any profession, sexual orientation, gender, or race is any worse than the other but I do raise him to believe he is better than that. . .”that” in which people assume he will become. He is no statistic. He is not a Latino kid from a broken home. He is not this socially deemed underdog with the odds stacked against him. He is a person.
Every day I see the fruits of our labor. This little person who now has a heart of gold and who makes our lives so full. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be this little persons mom but most importantly I am thankful for his dad. Thanks for checking in even when it is not your week, for never disappearing, for always returning calls, for cleaning up messy diapers, for teasing him, for making him smile, for making him laugh, for teaching him how to own up to his mistakes and for showing him how to do the things I can’t. Thank you for having many jobs but making sure this one is your best! Thank you for being his father.