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.  

 

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WWJD

What would Johanna do?

It is a question I ask myself everyday. I am not talking about the things that are clear but more so the things that are unlike myself. When I don’t want to be moral or do the right thing, I ask myself. . .What. Would. Johanna. Do? Being good comes easy, being positive even better and yet there are times when I just want to crawl into my own shell and hide from the world. Making decisions. . .the right decisions, is exhausting. Even so I choose daily, sometimes it doesn’t come easy, sometimes it is pretty clear but no matter the what or when I must decide.

So here I am on the eve of another Monday. I have had some tough decisions to make and I couldn’t help but to feel alone in them. No matter what I decide I have had support but I am reaching that point that I am so tired of having just support from friends and family. . .I feel alone. . .lonely. I don’t like to admit it but it is true and I have become a worse liar by the minute so I shall spare the lies for one who knows how to tell them.

It’s Christmas again, my favorite holiday in the world and the other night I found myself walking hand in hand with my little brother. While it is sweet, I couldn’t help but notice all the couples and families strolling through the park enjoying the holiday festivities. I don’t get jealous but I found myself rather envious that night of the people who had a person. Whether they walked hand in hand in silence because their company was sufficient or if they walked hand in hand speechless because they were the fighting type. How funny is it that I even regret not having someone to fight with.

I’ve been single for quite a bit now, with a few bouts of dating. I have been alone long enough to understand my own silence but that silence is enough to crowd my brain with a million thoughts and my heart with a wrenching pang of solitude. My son once asked me if I got lonely when he wasn’t around and at the time I said no. I needed the alone time to get to know myself and to figure out what I wanted and to also learn how to love myself. The time has come that his question is ringing in my head and I am afraid to say the answer has changed.

When my son is around, nothing else in the world matters. It is as if we live in this world and it is only he and I, but when he is gone my life feels empty. It is as if he is the sun and I am the moon wishing to see his light. When he is back, that frozen time that feels like an eternity comes to a halt and I can breath again. I love my son above everything else but we all have needs. The need to be loved for our quirks, for the silly way we say hello or how crazy our hair looks in the morning.

The past few years I have said I wasn’t ready for something serious and that I was ok with being just a portion of someone’s life because I had goals of my own. . .but. . .things change. I don’t want to rush into love, I don’t want to rush into anything but my tune has changed and I know I am ready for something more than the occupancy of someone’s time. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Truth is

When your dream is to write, how do you get around to writing about things that aren’t related to writing? Sometimes I feel like I am not writing enough and lately my frustration and emotions have gotten the best of me.

Blogging has always been one of my favorite things to do and the amount of time I dedicate to it has dwindled down to nothing. I don’t write to be heard, I write to feel through every emotion, thought and frustration that lingers in my body. I no longer can tolerate keeping things in. Writing is a release and for some time now I have been confined to myself. I find that my writing and my life goes best when I am the most honest.

There is a common misconception about honesty, and that is that it has to hurt. I disagree, I believe the dishonesty packs a harder and more painful punch than the truth. . .with that being said, here goes.

2013 wasn’t a bad year, it just wasn’t the year I really set out for myself. For the first time in a long time I allowed myself to be lazy. However, lazy isn’t something I do well. I didn’t invest as much time in my health as I could. . .all because I invested my time in less than ideal things. I fed into people and their negativity. I found reasons to be lazy, I found reasons to be negative, I made exceptions and I met excuses with acceptance and dressed them up as reasons.

2014 is a huge year for me. I will be 30, which in all honesty is just a few candles on a cake, the aging doesn’t mean much to me. The milestone that will accompany my birthday month is what makes it all worth it. This is the year I become a first generation college graduate and it is an incredible and overwhelming feeling. 2013 was a stepping stone toward progress in this goal but the completion of it is going to feel like such a sweet victory for just and average “Jo,” from Tampa Florida.

Going to school and taking care of my son has never been more important to me. Every day that goes by I realize that my son grows an inch taller and years further away from the little boy born 12 years ago. I look at him and it amazes me how incredible he is. When I look at my son at times I wonder, “Did I do that?” We are by nature our own worse critics and even when things are marvelous the negatives burden us with the magnitude of their weight. Why is happiness so dense and sadness like the weight of the world? When things do not go as well as I would like, I question how well I have truly done.

A couple of months ago I faced some challenges. I allowed my personal life to affect my parenting all because I wanted to save face. I didn’t listen to my son and things turned out sour. That experience is behind us and even though I feel as though I lost a nice pair of friends, I believe it was ultimately for the best. I learned from that experience and I realized that I have to advocate more for my son. He does not have to toughen up, he does not have to be a man. I know I will not be around forever but while I am, I am going to make sure I am front and center when my son needs me.

In the past year my son has been bullied and treated terribly by not only peers, but by some members of his family. On occasion I have attempted to address the issues but I was met with resistance. I have no intentions of exploring the option of mediating among other parents and children. I cannot change people, but I can do my best to show my son what really matters; his perception of his self. I used to try to talk things through but I realized that sharing your child’s weaknesses sometimes harnesses the opportunities for people to use them to build a case against them. If a child lies once, some people stick to that and run with it. My son comes home sometimes crying because he has been called a faggot by someone who is supposed to be family. When asked if they are my son’s cousins, they reply with an eye roll. My son is noones puppet for popularity. Children lately use more profanity and vulgar language than I ever knew possible at their age. I hear children calling one another bitches and hoes, and faggots. I can’t believe the types of things coming out of their mouths. Children like this are the reason why my son cries on a weekly basis and I will not allow it. Perhaps this is my own vendetta because I didn’t feel heard as a child, but I will not allow my son to go on any further without a voice. Children need to learn that good grades mean nothing when you have a rotten spirit. You have to teach your kids to be good people as well as smart people. My son is my life, and I will no longer allow my life to be messed with.

Why

When I was a little girl, my father made decisions that would alter my life forever. His choices ultimately left me a fatherless daughter. That was a void that almost no one could fill. I don’t remember it all but I remember minor details prior to his departure. I was a daddy’s girl. I resembled him in spirit and in my appearance. There is no denying I am my fathers daughter if you’d have looked at us but he was up and away before he could leave a lasting impression. At 14 months of age my grandfather Felix became an integral part of my life. As the time went on I became a grandpa’s girl and the semblance of my father in my smile was all that remained of my father.

Over the years I convinced myself that I did not need my father because my grandfather Felix was the only man I felt I needed. Grandpa raised a good girl, a tough girl and helped heal a very broken little girl. I wish I could repay grandpa for everything he has done for me but I know all too well that if he were around he wouldn’t take as much as a moment away from me.

There are so many things that I didn’t learn from my father Jose that I was able to learn from grandpa Felix however there are so many things that shall remain unlearned and undone.

Last week I went to a wedding, it was beautiful and filled me with so much joy. I witnessed two wonderful people joining their lives and I felt honored to be in their presence. Yet, not everything was happy tears. There are those moments when you realize you are not as okay as you’d like to be with the hand you’ve been dealt. I am in the habit of recognizing the positives but once in a while I do think about the things I will never have, by no doing of my own of course. . .those very things stripped of me because of other peoples decisions.

I have always thought of the day I will get married, who will give me away, what my dress will look like, how my hair will be, the list goes on and on. As a little girl I always imagined that my grandfather would give me away, not realizing that he was going to leave me before he’d be given the opportunity. He passed away when I was 13 and after that my idea of a wedding changed a bit. I have some wonderful brothers whom I know would be elated to give me away and I actually look forward to that.

I take everything as it comes and while I made adjustments in my mind about what I picture for my perfect day, there is a moment I over looked. I sat at my friends wedding and soon after being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time, they began to dance as a newly married couple. I stood there with tears in my eyes as they sang to one another. It was incredibly sweet and then the groom passed the bride to his father for the father daughter dance. See, I do not know why her dad wasn’t there but at that moment I realized I wasn’t alone.

I didn’t sign up for a fatherless life but still on my wedding day I will be at a loss; I will not dance with my father and it crushed me that night when I realized it. The whole wedding is supposed to be special and the thought of not having my father dance with me at my wedding (whenever that may be) brought me to more than tears that night.

I cannot control everything that happens but I can try to make sure that history does not repeat itself. I have a responsibility to raised a good man. Everyday I instill morals and values into my son. I teach him to never lie, cheat or steal and to always be a boy of his word, until he grows up and becomes a man of his word. He is kind, he is compassionate and even though I know he cannot be perfect I am doing my best to make sure that he knows how wonderful it feels to be his mother. I do everything I do, all in the hopes that one day no one in his care will have to alter their life because of his deliberate absence.

I know how much it hurt to self sooth, I know what it is like to raise yourself and I feel I am a stronger person for it, but honestly sometimes I wish I had a parent to turn to. After all we are always going to be someone’s child and what child doesn’t need guidance from their parent?

Thank you, come again!

I go about my daily routines without a sitch. Morning, Jon to School, work, home and bed. . .It is the day to day. For me it gets boring at times and I begin to wonder. . .how did I get here. . .It is natural for me and practically everyone in the world to be driven by negativity and to often see more of that bad and ignore the good.

September felt like the month that was never going to end and then I finally went on vacation. I spent 2 weeks in Canada with my family. One week I was with Jaybird. . .Jean Gagne. Jay is one of my favorite people in the world because he understands what it is like to be a Jo-hanna. Jay and I had a good time eating and looking around. Its a shame thought that I had to travel outside of the country to have a friend like Jay around again. This brings me to the same place of wondering where has everyone gone? I remeber spending late nights playing games and talking to friends and now it seems like the world is too busy to sit down and catch up.

While in Canada I also had some time with my older brother Richard. When I went to California over a year ago we did not have much time because he was busy working and such. This trip was fruitful, I was able to get to know him better and meet my nephew Alexandro. Who is one of the cutest babies ever!! I had fun getting to know everyone and spending time with a family that enjoys eachothers company. My sister in law Olga and her sister were great compnay when Richard went back home. . .but before my trip was over I was able to attend my nephews baptism, something I would have never imagined possible. I sat in the reception while my brother and his wife danced to a song they dedicated to their son. It was amazing and I was overwhelmed with happiness because of what it meant. This meant that I finally found my brother, that I could say that no matter what details I have yet to complete in life. . .he is here and I am grateful for that.

I have been back home now for a couple of weeks and the Canada high is gone. I have been back to the same day to day boring. Well or so I thought. It is easy to say life is boring but do nothing about it. I have my moments when I forget what is important. This Saturday was an opportunity for me to snap myself back into perspective. Life does not have to be full of fireworks to be bright. Life is full of those moments that carry you on to the next.

Saturday after Jonathans soccer game I decided to take a road trip with my two favorite boys. Jon, Joe and I packed up snacks and got in the car to support Georgi’s daughters event in Kissimee (Side note: Georgi is my car dealer, his daughter drowned when she was under 1yr). We arrived to Blackstone Landing Community to a family day of balloons, bounce houses for the kids, food and raffles. Georgi was collecting money to continue treatments for his daughter who is now about 3 years old. I drove there happy and proud of myself because I was able to go and help support. While I was there I realized some of the things I take for granted and some of my worste habbits lately.

While I sat at the table I saw Georgi cooking. He was happy to see that we came what seemed to him a distance from Tampa to support his daughter. I was happy to be there no matter the distance. After a while of sitting there I started thinking and shamefully judging. Here I was supporting someone and I began to have my own reasons and excuses. In reality the truth of support is that we must not agree entirely with what people choose to do with their lives. If I choose to be a doctor for example it is not up to someone else to decide if I have it in me. . .it is up to them to just be at my side if and when things go wrong. This brings me back to Georgi and his daughter. Midway through the event Georgi brought his daughter around and I realized how sick she was. I was sad and truly uncomfortable seeing her there. I felt terrible and began to wonder was I doing the right thing supporting him and his journey with his daughter. I began to judge and I was wrong.

Georgi finally came to my table with his daughter and explained to me that when Gory drowned she was pronounced dead. The doctors worked on her and after what seemed an eternity they declared her dead and said nothing else could be done. Georgi and his wife were devastated and had faith and hope. Shortly after being pronounced dead Gory began to show life signs and was immediately taken via helicoptor to another hospital. . .and from there her story has grown. Georgi looked at us with tears in his eyes as he expained his story and he completed it with, “you sit here and you do not understand and I understand that but I, I understand why I am here. I understand why I am here with her.” That hit me like a ton of bricks and put me in my place. He was right. I will never understand why some people do what they do. I may never understand peoples decisions yet it is not really my call. I have no right to understand that his love for his daughter is what keeps him everyday. I was never lucky enough to have a father to give his world just to see a smile on his daughters face. I may never understand but I support him and that is what I needed to do yesterday.

I am lucky to be at a place where I can grow from life. I took a lot of things for granted. The family that regardless of what I do, they do not understand but they support me. The family that I support no matter what they do in life regardless of how they have treated me or let me down. I always did things for others because it made me happy. I help others as often as I could no matter what. No matter if people stare down on you and repay you with betrayal and do not appreciate what you do. I will continue to do what has come natural to me. I have to get back to basics and stop expecting so much.

What I thought was a boring day turns out to be days that I can sit back and watch life. I listen to my son play in the background and realize that some people do not have their children. I have a little brother who takes notice when I am feeling less than myself. I realize that I do not need to go across the world to be with people that make me happy and smile. Those people, that life full of smiles in Canada is an addition to an already complete simple life. Loneliness is after all a feeling. . .why be lonely in a place that has so much promice.

We are far from Thanksgiving but I have to say that I am thankful to you all. . .everyone and anyone who takes a moment to kneel in and read a moment of my life. . .

I love you all!! 🙂