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.

 

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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.  

 

One Day

She sat upon a dream sometime

Afraid to bring it back to life

Awaiting for one day She kept

The dusty little dream at rest

So abandoned she lie

On the cutting room floor

Surpassed nine lives

Yet dead again once more

If not by her lips

To reintroduce her to life

Imagined in thought

She clung for her life

For one day she’d dance

And frolic once more

Once the fear left her thought

The dream life could soar

This dream that was dungeoned

And knew nothing of light

No longer dead from inaction

Now clambering to fight

A raspy old tone

Came from the hollow within

Let today be the one day

Dream doesn’t let fear win

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. 

Hey Stranger

I see a glimpse of you, In the shadows of stranded hair, a glimmer of hope, despite past despair 

Just a short time ago, there was nothing left, but ashes and memories, from the hole in your chest

But now I can see it, Through the glow in your eyes, You block out all the negative, Pessimism and lies 

You’ve accepted the truth, That you can change the path, Despite failed attempts, Now lesson plans

You don’t ever give up, Even when you should cry, When you’re broken and scared, But never ask why

You were the perfect stranger, But I now know you well, Fought through all kinds of soot, With your story to tell

A reflection of courage, The wrinkles in your smile, Bare skinned knuckles, And determined eyes

How far we’ve come, My reflection and me, I can cast a high shadow, Or cower in thee

Yet I fear not who I was, For the she that’s become of me, The former and the present, Now dance candidly 

Calling

There is no stutter

in the words that I write

There is little fear

not even a fight

 

I feel I say I scream

From mountain tops

indented phrases

elapsed in thought

 

No holding back

Once silent murmurs

The light of day they see

Words formerly unheard of

 

No coward stance

behind closed palms

Nails are strengthened

no more clenched jaws

 

The fear of failure

Is not even a thought

as soon as pen touches paper

fearlessness in foot

 

what makes you stutter?

what holds you back?

rejecting rejection

before it begins

 

Paper can crumble

it can be torn down

Yet it is a release

Of all my thoughts

 

To scribe is my calling

No matter the doubt

Every word I’ve written

Has somewhere to be found

 

For those of us starting over. . .

There is this crippling certainty of what we don’t want. We spent over a decade in a relationship knowing what it’s like being attached to the hip to someone. The very same someone who once knew us better than anyone else and yet never seemed to remember after countless conversations that, “no thank you, I don’t like peanut butter.”

The peanut butter wasn’t that much of a big deal it’s just the little things.

Day after day you found yourself taking the same route home, dropping your keys in the same spot and unwinding in a way that can only be done in a place called home. . .but little by little home dismantled itself and it was no longer your happy place.

So you let go, you live and you claim the type of independence that only comes after years of captivity. This is me now! This is how we spread our wings! We kindly decline any offers from others to assist because we have this innate desire to take care of ourselves. No I’m fine, I can get my own check, nope I am capable. I can, I will and I don’t need you!

I don’t know if it is because we left ourselves as precious cargo in the arms of someone who dropped us countless times. Maybe it is a post traumatic relationship disorder. . .I haven’t a clue.

But. . .I realize that independence can be found in a group, in a pair and even in a solitary walk to the park. Independence is the freedom to choose and be who you want regardless of what others say. Independence is knowing that you can change your own tire but you can choose to allow someone to do it for you because they simply want to help. Help is not weakness, it is not ulterior motives. . .it is what it is. . .it is, “I know you can do this but let me make it easier for you.”

There are men and women out there determined and willing to make another persons life easier and more pleasant but we are always so willing to say, “no thank you.”

We’ve been given such a big dose of reality that we fail to realize the fact that our once now past reality is just that. . .it is in the past. Not everyone is out to take advantage. There are people who offer to hold the door for you and place their hand in the right place and walk side by side with you, not because you’re their trophy but because they can see you. They see a potential equal. These guys don’t look at you like you’re only a woman and one to be desired but more of a worthy companion, someone who elevates them and also someone who is worth standing side by side with because we complete them. We are capable of fulfillment if we allow it but first we have to stop saying no and start accepting the offer to potentially be someone worth taking a walk with. Someone whose silence speaks volumes and whose embrace means the world.

I admit it, I don’t know how to let the reigns go but I want to. I can’t be the only single person who wishes they had a companion to share the laughs with but who also is afraid of giving up another moment to someone who may be just wasting their time.

Happy Father’s Day

I have a paper and two quizzes due by midnight tonight, so I decided to bring myself to Starbucks to focus. If I were at home I would inevitably take a nap that turned into hours. Sure, I would wake up with just enough time to get my work done but it would be less than likely my best.

This plan to focus has backfired on me and here I am sitting in the coffee shop looking at everyone walking in and out the place and I wonder what their story is. I drift off into thought and wonder and assume where their father is. Who is he, why are you here alone? Maybe their father passed away, maybe he was never known or maybe the name father lies within a man that did not father them but merely raised them. Then there are those blessed few who walk in with their dads, dressed in their Sunday best to get a coffee with the man who set the example of manhood for them, or the man who gloriously failed at pigtails. Maybe he was the man who walked hand in hand with you on Halloween in your princess costume because you thought you were a princess all while he new deep down inside you would always be his princess.

Fathers Day has always been one of my least favorite holidays because unlike St. Patrick’s day where green is the only requirement to celebrate, on fathers day, you are required to have a man to celebrate. I can’t pick and choose like Valentines day and unlike Thanksgiving day it is hard to find other things to be thankful for. Today I am reminded that my father left my life by choice but by some stroke of luck I was then granted a guardian angel who was much more than a father. He was my best friend, my confidant and the melody to my day. My grandfather shielded me from any harm that came my way. I loved him with all my heart and he has been gone now for longer than he was in my life and undoubtedly he will always have an impact in my life. My worse was always good enough for him and now that he’s not here my best is all I ever try for him.

So this is my story, for those of you walking in and out of the coffee shop taking a glance at me. Who am I ? Why am I alone? Where is my father? Well here goes. . .The man who fathered me is only 15 minutes away from me. I don’t know him from Adam. He went to jail when I was 4/5 years old and despite having forgiven him for what he did so that I may live peacefully without resentment, I cannot help but still hate the things I do not have because of his absence. I had no other alternative than to look up to my grandfather, who was more than willing to look after the little girl he left behind. I love my grandfather beyond measure and I am grateful that I was raised by him. . .but. . .I wish I had both. I wish to always have love for Spanish guitar because I spent many days on grandpa’s lap as he played. I still wish to love Christmas because it was my last holiday with grandpa but I too wish that my dad had been present during that last holiday rather than living out his last few years in the correctional facility. I wish that now that grandpa is gone, dad could tell me all about grandpa before I was born. I wish to know all the silly things and sad things that made him the most incredible man in the world. I only have 14 years of actions to prove to me who he was but those 14 years do not account for the woman I am.

I look like my father. I act like my father. I am smart like my father. . .but I don’t know my father. I have this birthmark right over my nose. . .just like my father. My eyes close when I smile really big, just like my father. I know this because I have been told by my mother. Those few and far in between moments when mom had nothing bad to say and decided to share little tidbits of who I am because I would otherwise never know.

My curly tangled hair, sun kissed skin and smile are unlike anyone in my home. My mother is a fair skinned beautiful woman who barely smiles, just like my sister. They both hide from the sun and live their lives in the shadow out of fear of being exposed. I throw myself out there while pushing back the crippling fear of being completely exposed and burned. I smile through the pain of never knowing and wondering why I have such the need to know the man who broke my mother and my family into a million shreds. I want to understand who he is because there is a possibility I may understand why I am the way I am.

I sit here and maybe I go unnoticed or maybe people do see me for who I am. I smile politely as they walk in for their coffee and I may be nothing more than a stranger they saw today at Starbucks but I know I am that fatherless daughter wishing he had never screwed up.