Blessings Among Tragedies

For those of you who do not know, 13 days ago my brother was taken to the hospital and had been unresponsive for more than a week.

He is healing now and so are we as a family. Over the years some of us have drifted apart and although none of us wished to come together like this, this tragedy has come with many blessings.

My siblings and I have always been a little rebellious (somewhat of an understatement). All three of us chose paths that varied greatly from the way we were raised.

We march to the beat of our own drums and that has at times lead us in very different directions.

It’s a struggle finding your place in this world and it has been harder for some of us than others.

However one thing has never changed, the amount of love we have for one another.  The evidence of that has shined brightly as we have all come together in this most difficult time.

When I heard the news all I could think of was that it couldn’t be true. I didn’t know how to process. My brother and I have never been the type to stay in constant contact, but we didn’t need to. Years would go by when we wouldn’t see one another but then one of us would reach out and it was like no time had passed.

Family has always been a sensitive subject for me. As much as I have been loved and accepted by others, in the true sense of it all, I’ve always felt like the odd one out. My brother & sister share blood and they were adopted by my God Parents, those who I consider to be my parents, but my time with them was cut short (not by my choice or theirs). I treasure every moment I was able to have with them, however short it may have been. Had I been given the choice way back then I never would have left, but I realize had that been the case, I may have become a very different person…and I rather like the person I have become.

I didn’t have the childhood my brother & sister had. I was always on the outside looking in on the family I left behind. And over the years, many others have graciously accepted me into their families as one of their own. Yet even still, there has always been something in the back of my mind reminding me that at the end of the day, I am still an outsider.

I am sure they would disagree, but I can’t shake the feeling. I’ve never been able to. I know I’m loved, but it feels like that always comes with a caveat of some kind.

And so, I have allowed myself to embrace life behind the scenes. I shut people out as a defense mechanism for fear I will be reminded that I am not truly part of the pack.

And as I’ve learned, that will only cause them to drift farther away.

I was young when my sister had her kids and our parents would still help me out from time to time with the expense of the trip, so I was able to visit more. And although we are not super close, I know they know I love them and they understand.

My brother’s kids are a different story and my heart breaks every time I think about them, so I try not to. His ex’s have made it indirectly clear they don’t really consider me as part of my brother’s family. Once they were no longer together, I no longer mattered. I just hope the girls know that is absolutely not the case. I love them just as much as I love my sister’s boys,  I have just sort of been cut out of their lives.

And not for lack of trying on my brother’s behalf. He doesn’t have them all the time, but he keeps me updated as do my parents. So I have resolved to watching them grow up in pictures and the heart breaking fact that they may never get to know their other aunt nor I them.

I guess the point that I am getting to is this family has a lot of healing to do.

It can be so easy to pass judgment on those who live a different lifestyle than you and I am not saying that my brother is perfect or that any of us are for that matter, but I think it is so important not to forget that from the outside looking, things are not always what they appear. We all make mistakes, some of us over indulge, but all of us deserve a second chance.

The last time my brother and I talked, we were on the phone for hours. We opened up to one another about how we were trying to deal with our demons. And the biggest beast in particular, never feeling good enough. All three of us siblings have always struggled with the knowing that we didn’t and may never live up to our parents expectations.

Although rooted in love, the higher they were the more difficult it was when we couldn’t reach them. I am realizing now that what we should have been doing all these years, instead of being afraid to be ourselves, was to embrace our true selves and stop looking for this constant approval from everyone else.

My sister has almost mastered it, so I think we may both need to take a page from her book!

A few months ago we almost lost dad and now, almost losing my brother too, has made me realize even more how life as we know it can change. Anyone can be taken away at any moment.

It can be easy in a situation like this to put some of the blame on others or project our anger in the direction of the things we do not completely understand. But the truth is what happened to my brother happened and we can’t change that. What we can change is our reaction to it, to him. We need to be supportive, understanding and root our actions in only love.

Some may disagree and that’s okay, but regardless of that, at the end of the day, it is what it is and the road to recovery for all of us is going to be acceptance and understanding, not anger and blame.

That’s what got us all into this mess, the judgement, this distance, this separation from one another. It is harder to reach someone or help them in anyway when they reside in a state of fearing disappointment.

And the way we get through all of this, the way we all heal, is to love without expectations, to accept those dear to us not despite their faults, but inclusive of them.

It can be helpful to remember that we are all doing the best we can with what we have at any given time.  I am not saying we completely forget bad behavior, but chastising people for the struggles they are fighting will only push them further away and the further away you push them the harder it is to mend those fences (or stone hedges in some cases).

When my brother wakes up and I say WHEN! I hope we will all do well to remember that. I know I’ll never forget it.

I love you big brother, keep fighting, I miss you so much.

 

 

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Thank You Bright Star!

Two weeks ago, I received a call from my sister very early in the morning with news that my brother had been taken to the hospital from asphyxiation and was currently unresponsive. Just like that my life stopped. He lives in PA and I in IL, so not only was I far away, but I recently quit my job to start my own business, so my financial situation was not the best and to make matters worse, my car was currently not working either. I felt helpless in a seemingly hopeless situation and it was tearing me apart.

So, I reached out to Brittany for help. Brittany (Bright Star), is a spiritual healing and self transformation teacher, who believes, “Your wound is your greatest gift” and I couldn’t agree more.

She told me about the Kundalini Yoga meditation: Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung and explained that it was a mantra for sacred healing from a distance. It is believed to cut through space and time so you can send healing energy to someone many miles away.  She offered to send me several instructional videos to get familiar with the chant, posture and offered to do it with me to magnify the healing whenever I was ready. I had no idea it would have such an amazing impact, not just in healing my brother, but mending the many broken branches in our family tree.

While she pulled the information together for me, she suggested I take some time to do some basic healing meditation on my own. As she instructed, I began the meditation by envisioning that I was in the hospital room with my brother and my family. First I imagined standing beside him and projecting healing light that surrounded him as he fought for his life. As the meditation continued, the light expanded to encompass all those in the room with him, until it spilled over into the hallway of the hospital. I held that for some time and ended with words of love and acceptance for my brother. I came out of it feeling more in control of my inner power, something that can be difficult to tether in tragedies such as these.

Feeling ready to proceed, I opened the instructional video Brittany sent me on the Kundalini Yoga meditation and began. The mudra (hand position) I used first was with my hands on my heart (an intimate centering of the energy within). I did this for 15 minutes, envisioning the healing light as I did while meditating before. Coming out of it, I felt in a way that it is hard to put in to words, but I will try.

Physically, it felt as if I was lighter. There was this sensation that I was no longer fighting against anything, but rather that I had surrendered and become woven into the fabric. And for a short time, it was as if the hairs on my body were acting like antennae radiating static light in all different directions.

Mentally, I felt more in control of the situation (and every other as well). Prior to what happened to my brother, I was already in a state of unraveling it seemed, recently trying to start my own business had left me a bit fearful of what was to come and I no longer felt that. It was clear that in an attempt to heal my brother, I was also healing myself. I was charged up!

I messaged Brittany and let her know that I was ready to do the Ra Ma Sa Sa Say So Hung meditation simultaneously with her (to enhance the healing power) and so we synced up and meditated together for 15 minutes more.

This time, I used the mudra with my hands out to the side to create an arch line of expansion for healing.

Wow! Coming out of it, I felt in a way that is even more difficult to put in to words, but I will again try.

The most notable physical feeling was in my ears. It was almost like a ringing, but not quite. It was like sounds were magnified causing them to echo, but not in the way we normally understand things to echo, it was more like they echoed in my mind, if that makes sense. It lasted 10-15 minutes or so and I wish it would have been longer.

There was this amazing sensation throughout my whole body that echoed peace, power & alignment with the world. I had this overwhelming knowing that my brother wanted to live, that he was fighting to come back to us, I don’t know how I knew, I just knew.

I could not be more thankful to Brittany. She helped me find my center and work towards not just healing my brother, but mending the wounds within the family as well.

Everything fell into place after that. I was able to go see my brother and spend a week with him in the hospital. There were good days and bad days and days where I began doubting whether he would wake up, but with meditation, I squashed them out, re-centered and continued healing. As did he and my family.

The day I left, although he was slowly making progress physically, the doctors were growing more and more concerned about his mental status. He would blink his eyes, shake his head & even squeeze our hands from time to time, but there was no real evidence that there was intent behind these responses.

Every day in the hospital, I held his hand and talked to him as if he could hear us and understand us, because I believed he could…I knew he could.

The day I left to go home, the doctors were still operating as “cautiously optimistic” and so saying goodbye was not easy to say the least. My heart ached so much for him, knowing he must be frightened and confused (something I tried to reassure him about every day).

We were no more than four hours out when my dad called to say, He’s awake! And he is responding with intent to the doctor’s questions.

The doctors told my dad that his room is now what they call the happy room in ICU because they are so amazed by his progress. He is not quite strong enough to be taken off the ventilator, but he was awake all day yesterday and is trying to talk now! I feel so very blessed and thankful.

For anyone looking for spiritual healing & guidance, I highly recommend @21brightstar!

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Insane Roots & Pro Floor – Partner Up To Drive Change!

Insane Roots is now partnering with Pro Floor to raise money for our local community & give back to our roots!

Currently we are working to raise money for  Team Brock  & Rockton School District #140.

Whether you are in need of carpet cleaning or looking for a new addition to your reading list, 15% of the proceeds from both will now go directly to charity.

Pro Floor is a family owned and operated business located in the Rockton, Illinois area, who, like Insane Roots, are striving to find ways to be the change we all wish to see in the world.

What a better way to do that, than to give back to the very community where it all began!

Our main focus will be helping the Scarpettas,  “Team Brock” reach their goal in raising the funds needed to help their son.

Brock is a sweet 12 year old boy who is battling a rare and fatal autosomal disease with no known cure or treatment; Batten Disease CLN8 variant.

But there is hope! He is participating in a new therapy called Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy that works to regenerate the cells in his body.

The expense is astronomical however, which is why they need our help.

Please visit InsaneRoots.com or ProFloor for additional details on how you can join the fight!

Partner Picture

Thank you for your support!

Insane Roots: The Missing Pieces

The story continues fall of 2020…

The memoir series continues with the 2nd installment, Insane Roots: The Missing Pieces.

Readers will follow Tiffany, now a teenager, as she navigates her way through the wake of her mother’s many con-schemes in an attempt to discover the truth behind the mystery of the woman who left her behind.

And so, as promised, below is the first of many glimpses of what is to come. Thank you all for your continued support and patience. It has been a long wait, I know, but soon you will understand why.

Insane Roots: The Missing Pieces

Introduction (working excerpt)

In the summer after my eight grade year, my mother disappeared. Something she had done many times before, but this time there was one detrimental difference.

This time, she left me behind.

It was rumored she hooked up with a local biker at a bar in Rockford and planned to hit the open road for the rest of the summer, but knowing my mother, if that were true, she wouldn’t be with him long. He would either become suspicious of her intentions or she would bleed him dry and move on to the next. It may sound harsh, but reality is not always pleasant.

The fact is that no matter where she was or who she was with, there was no real trail to follow and there wouldn’t be for years.

I thought the first book would be the hardest to compose, seeing as I was a child in those pages and my recollections were foggy at best. However, I was fortunate to have had the help of loved ones to fill in the blanks.

This time, there were years and years of missing pieces and no one who knew anything about where she was or what she was doing.

My mother remained missing for the duration of my high school years. At a time when I needed her most. Milestone after milestone without her to share them with. There were homecoming dances, boyfriends, sporting competitions, and all of the usual coming-of-age moments one would expect in a young teenage girl’s life.

What was she doing all that time? And how in the world would I be able to find out enough (if any) to write a book about it?

And here is where it becomes a bit comical…

The one thing I know to be true about my mother, is that no matter where she was or who she was pretending to be, it was a sure bet that she would meet up with law enforcement somewhere along the way. Depending on how serious the crime was, they may never discover who she really was, but I also knew that she had a habit of reusing her aliases by mixing up first and last names or perhaps using one of her real married names with a previous first name alias or visa versa.

All this is good information, but it didn’t point me in any good starting position. After all, my mother had 27 known aliases at this point. That is a lot of name combinations!

And then I remembered one night hanging out with a few friends that gave me just the jumping off point I needed. We were talking about the book and the number of aliases my mother had been arrested under and decided to go to Mugshots.com to see how many we could find. Three of us searched simultaneously on our phones and began yelling out as we found them. There were so many, spanning years!

This is where I needed to start.

I began going through each listing one by one, cross referencing the date/location of her arrest with the name(s) she was using at that time.

Once I had a list of dates/locations and names, I was able to start narrowing down where to start digging for information on what she was doing during the time she was missing.

And let me tell ya, my mother did not disappoint!

While I was battling my teenage angst, my mother was living a whole new life, several of them actually.

A part of me was delighted by my investigative skills and relieved to feel like I had finally made some headway in piecing it all together.

On the other side of it though, I felt a bit defeated. I wonder now if perhaps it was better not knowing.

During the time she was gone, I think it helped to believe there was some legitimate reason she left me behind. As if that made it better.

It was certainly better than what I now know.

I thought I had worked through my resentment for my mother and for the most part I have, but I think there will always be a piece of me that will never fully heal from the abandonment I felt when she walked away.

And that’s okay, because it is the reason I am writing this today. It is what made me who I am and why I have chosen to share my story. For all those years, I felt like I was the only one fighting this battle. The loneliness I held on the inside was crippling and held me back from so much for so long.

Until the day I realized I wasn’t alone and that everything I was feeling wasn’t something to be ashamed of or hidden away from the world. It was a message to share, because you never know who may benefit or what kind of inspiration it may offer to someone else in the same position.

So, as with the first book, this too has been an emotional journey and a growing experience. One I had not anticipated, but that I am extremely grateful for.

 

 

 

 

Are You All In?

Does being single for too long make you more selfish? And is that wrong?

Does being in a relationship mean giving up your freedom? And shouldn’t it?

Or are all of these simply mental constructs we have learned over the years in accordance with nostalgic ideologies and values that have no place in today’s world?

I would argue that all these questions can be answered with…yes and no.

In other words, it just depends on those involved.

Before my current relationship, I had not been in a serious relationship in almost ten years.

When we first started dating, I would joke that I didn’t know what to do with him. 

But you see, I was only partly joking…

I got so comfortable with being alone or in most cases left behind that the idea of sharing my life with someone was both terrifying and exciting. Not only was I not used to factoring someone else into my decisions, but I didn’t really know what it felt like to have someone else factor me into theirs.

In most cases, in most relationships, if I am being honest with myself, I was always more of an after thought than a priority.

They hardly cared about me, let alone what I said or did. So, I just sort of floated through life with no regard for myself or understanding that it was okay to demand a certain level of respect from others.

Being with someone who genuinely cares for me as much as I do him is a bit of a shock to my programming. I have always felt like I wasn’t good enough; either I didn’t have the looks or perhaps I was just a bit too thick to be anything more than a passing fling. And I know that may sound childish, but one after another, the successive girlfriends of past lovers seemed to validate my insecurities.

And perhaps it didn’t help that my longest and most meaningful relationship prior was not one that most would consider of the ordinary variety.

We met when I was just a teenager. It was his first serious relationship and the first one in which I had ever truly felt loved. We were together for close to 9 years.

Neither one of us had any idea what we were doing, so we learned as we went. Or more accurately, we stumbled as we went really. And even in the end, we tried all we could do to make it work, because all that mattered to us is how much we loved one another.

For those of you who have been following along, you know that the man in question is the one I now fondly refer to as My Gay Husband. Ha, Ha! Clearly, we had one fatal incapability. The only solution to which was to separate and so we did.

But as painful as that was, it was the best thing for us both. We helped one another become the people we are today, confident in ourselves, in what we want and most importantly, how it feels to truly be loved.

Jealously was something, as you can imagine, we had to address very early into our relationship. The inner struggles he was dealing with in coming into himself, led us down a path of shall we say…being open.

Challenging at times, yes, but had I not experienced it, I wouldn’t know that it was something I could never be truly happy with. I learned what my values are and that what I needed from a partner was for them to be all in, full commitment and monogamy. In layman’s terms, I don’t like to share!

At the basis of it all, was that we knew that no matter what either one of us was doing or who they were doing it with, it would never diminish what we had or mean we loved one another any less. Emotionally convoluted at it’s best, it was how we stayed so solid throughout all the turmoil to come. When we came to the realization that staying together was no longer a healthy option for either of us, it was one of the hardest and greatest decisions we ever made. But even than, the above held true.

Parting ways allowed us both to align with who we were meant to be and to find new love with those better aligned with us. The dynamic has changed, but if anything, we are closer now than when we were together. He is and will always be my best friend.

How does all this relate to the questions above?

It is the reason I’ve stayed alone for so long. The basis of why I’ve found it so difficult to be vulnerable with another person.

I think a part of me assumed that no one could ever love me as much as him, not despite my imperfections or the tragic experiences of my past, but because of them.

And as with many things, I was wrong.

It is still hard to believe, but after all that time of painfully waiting, my patience has finally paid off.

It has been a bit of a mind melt for me to say the least. I went from a place of solitude and detachment to a place of security and unconditional love. I had been hurt so many times in the past, it was hard for me accept that there wasn’t something tragic waiting around the corner. I’ve had to learn how to allow myself to be happy, to be loved again.

I made a few attempts at opening up in my long stint of being single, but each time, in there eyes, I wasn’t good enough…for them.

Some of you may remember my post a while back, Let’s Just Be Honest where I talked about how love can be blinding and the need for it crippling. Which is why it is so important to learn to love yourself above all else before you will ever be able to honestly and wholeheartedly love another.

I shared with you the two very important lessons I had learned in love, in the hopes that the hard truth would save someone else from settling or even worse, wasting their time chasing all the wrong people.

When the last two guys gave me the line about not wanting anything serious, I was too blind at the time to see that what they really meant was they didn’t want anything serious with me.

Something I later realized was the best choice they could have ever made for me and for them! They both found partners better suited for them and I found the love I had been searching for all this time.

As I said in the post, if they were to meet the right person tomorrow there would be nothing stopping them, nor you. I believed it to be true when I first wrote it, but now, I KNOW it to be true.

When we got together, regardless of our fears, we were both all in. There was no question that we wanted to be together and there was no stopping us from making that happen.

And isn’t that what love really is? To give yourself to someone fully and unconditionally, with all your heart. If either party is not in it for the long haul, what’s the point?

If you are not able to talk to your partner openly and honestly about what you are feeling, than it is only a matter of time before things begin to fall apart.

And that is how I know this is different. There is nothing I am not able to tell him, no problem we cannot face, no part of us we have to hide from one another.

We are in this together, all in and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Every day I am more and more thankful for the love, abundance and prosperity in my life. I could have never imagined what was in store for me and I couldn’t be more grateful for how it has all turned out.