A Relevant Reflection

Exciting news! I am just about finished putting together the timeline for the Insane Roots book series! So far it is looking like there will be at least four additional books. I am down to the last two journals!!

Sadly, I stopped consistently keeping a journal around 2008, so hopefully my memory doesn’t fail me filling in the gaps between then and starting my blog 🙂

Anyway! I found this little gem in one of my journals from 2002 and I thought I’d give you a little teaser…

Without giving too much away (hopefully), I wrote this when I was living in West Seattle and dating a man I almost married. There is a huge crazy story there, but you’ll have to wait for book #3!! Teehee.

It was untitled, but the first thought that came to my mind was that it was a relevant reflection, so I changed it!

A Relevant Reflection

February 9, 2002

Mr. Serious Man,

Why so sad?

Your eyes are turning that lighter shade of blue.

These are the times I fear for you.

Are you pondering a million questions?

Lost to the answers.

Perhaps… you think too much,

Or should not think alone.

Clarity comes from the ability to clear your mind.

Do the answers really matter?

The day is at hand!

If you waste it by thinking of tomorrow,

You’ll never enjoy today.

And as time goes on,

You’ll never know the true joy,

In this crazy beautiful life.

 

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This Could Get Controversial…

As I write to  you now there is a chainsaw raging just outside my window.

And it has been for the last few hours.

I was so looking forward to sleeping in today, but as the sun awoke this morning, so began another day of construction and the slow destruction of what used to be the neighborhood I grew up in.

What was once a few small houses hidden from the street is slowly losing the war against one’s desire to expand an already massive parking lot. A fight we have all been fighting for many years.

To give you some background, every family occupying this neighborhood has been here since the tiny village of Roscoe began. In most cases, all of these houses have been passed down from generation to generation. To us, maintaining that close nit small town feeling is not just important, but it is tradition.

For example, my house was originally the home of my great grandmother. She raised her six children here.

When she passed, my grandparents purchased the house and made it their own. My grandfather expanded the main house, put up a two car detached garage and built a customized woodworking shop out back.

As most of you know, my grandparents raised me through my high school years, when my mother disappeared yet again. Up until that point, I had never lived in one place more than a year or two at most.

This was the first time in my life where I  truly felt secure in knowing it wasn’t just temporary . I was finally able to take a breath, relax and settle in.

When most people step through the door, it is just another house, but to me it is so much more.

Every corner is a memory and every memory a reminder of the unwavering love my grandparents not only shared with one another, but for me as well.

Every morning when I walk down those same steps I did as a teenager, I can almost see the two of them still sitting at the kitchen table. A view I never thought I would miss as much as I do.

For me, this house is what helps to keep their memory alive. And not just the house, but the whole property. From the lilacs my great grandmother planted in the front yard to the lingering smell of saw dust in my grandfather’s shop, it is a familiarity that in times of  distress it is all that gets me through.

And that is just my story. Each neighboring house is filled with its own set of memories and traditions. All of which, we as their residents will fight to preserve at all costs.

It is a way for us to feel close to those we have lost and in our own way to make them proud by carrying on in their absence.

Over the last few years, an entity that I will not name just yet has been on a mission to take over our neighborhood and expand what is already an over excessive amount of occupied space.

As time passes and generations end, they have tried their best to scoop up any house that goes on the market. First it was the house just across from mine, which happened when my grandfather was still living.

What was once a cute little red house surrounded by trees became pavement and the ability to see our house from the main road an impending reality.

When my grandfather passed the house along to me, my neighbor came over to fill me in on what he knew of this entity’s future plans. He told me that when the elderly woman down the street had passed, they tried to purchase the property at half the asking price with the plans of burning it down and you guessed it…adding more pavement. Seeing as this would basically put both of our houses in the middle of a parking lot, he purchased the house before they were able to make a deal with the family.

We agreed that neither of us would ever sell and if for any reason we came to a place where we had to, that we would let one another know first to keep them from having the option to scoop it up. I assured him there was no way I was going to be selling this house as I had made a promise to my grandfather the year before he passed that I never would.

Not to mention how hard I had to fight for it, but that is a story for another day.

We sat together at the kitchen table as he begged me with tears in his eyes to keep this house. He said he wanted me to find someone to share it with as they did. To carry on the tradition as they had. It was a moment that will forever be etched in my mind.

Seeing the strongest man I knew that vulnerable absolutely broke my heart. He loved my grandmother so much, the kind of love I think we all long for. And they had it.

This house wasn’t just special to him because it was her family home. It was where he felt he was finally able to give her all that she deserved. Every corner in the kitchen was customized to her liking. Except that the counters are a little lower than she wanted, something she always joked with him about.

It was the place where he was able to make her visions a reality. “Handcrafted with love”, he would say.

Not only that, but this was also the place where they grew old together.

And it was at that very kitchen table where she told him, she didn’t want to fight for her life anymore.

At that end of my grandmother’s life, she was taking so much medication that she couldn’t keep anything down except bread and milk. She had very little energy and was dizzy most of the time which prevented her from doing much of anything.

So, a few days before my 21st birthday, after her talk with grandpa, she decided to stop taking her medication and let nature take it’s course.

Could you imagine, the person you have spent the last 60+ years with coming to you and basically telling you they have made the choice to end their life? It must have been so hard for him to support her in doing that, but he did.  Even in the end, he put his needs behind hers.

That kind of love doesn’t come around every day.

I was living in Seattle at the time, but was planning to fly back two days after my birthday to see them.

The call came just several days shy of my original departure date, which was now the day of her funeral.

I walked through the door that day to a broken man. And the days that followed were even more painful, but we powered through it. Here, in this house, together.

So now you can understand why selling this house, at least for me, is not an option and I know I am not alone. As I mentioned before, it is a feeling that echoes the neighborhood.

Which is why most of us were not concerned when one of our neighbors decided to sell. This entity originally offered her something insulting like $25,000 for a property that is worth well over $100,000 and she of ‘course said no. They then tried pressuring her, as they have done with many other properties they have consumed, by stating that she would be doing a good service to her community by selling.

The house sat empty for a few months after they moved out their final items, but a sign never popped up.

Then it began…

Just to give you an idea…My house is located directly behind this entity’s parking lot. This property stretches the full length from our street (we share a dead end) all the way to the main road. My neighbor’s lot was filled with trees, some over 100 years old. The yard dips down from the street and the house is set towards the back of the property, so that it is 10-20 feet from the property line we share.

Over the last few months, they have stripped the house down to its bare bones in preparation for a controlled burn. All the trees from the house to the main street have almost been cleared, giving a clear view of my house from the main road. And now they are working to level the land in order to…Yup! Expand their parking lot!!

And here is where it gets a bit controversial, although it need not be. You see this has nothing to do with religion, which is why I saved this until the end.

I wanted you to hear the story without your opinion being swayed by the knowledge of said culprit.

The entity in question is a church. Does that change your opinion?

It shouldn’t.

The First of Many

In working on phase II in the Insane Roots memoir series, I have gone back and revisited some of the most devastating moments in my life. Some of which, were so damaging that I had almost completely blocked them out of my mind.

Breaking down the walls has been challenging to say the least, but it has also brought back a great deal of beautiful memories as well and reminded me of the many milestones that have had an extensive impact on who I am today.

As you can imagine, my journals as a teenager were centered mostly around boys & the fact that no one understood me. It’s hard not to laugh at myself, but it’s all about perspective and back then I had very little experience with life.

And for that reason, I don’t think I had a very good idea of what love really was back then either. Mostly because I realize now that I didn’t love myself and until that happens I am not sure you are really able to love someone else fully. It takes a lot to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the possibility that the object of your affection may not return the gaze. 

My past relationships were no cake walk, let me tell you!! With the exception of a very small handful of the men I have dated, the majority of them treated me like dirt.

They claimed to love me, but if they did, there would be no way in the world they would have behaved the way they did.

It wasn’t until well after high school that I can honestly say I felt real love and it was reciprocated at that! It was clear then that all those who had come before were merely practice for the real thing. And although that relationship didn’t work out as planned, it worked out the way it was supposed to. 

I was shattered for a while when we broke up, but I think anyone would be after having been with someone for as long as we were together. 

Eventually, I put myself back out into the dating pool again and well….Ya it didn’t pan out the best. So…almost 3 years ago, I  took myself back off the market (“closed for remodeling” as I called it). 

I knew there was something in me that I needed to repair before I was ready to get back out there again. I was clearly attracting the wrong type of men and allowing them to treat me like the ones in the past did.

Again, it was my own self worth standing in my way. I didn’t believe I deserved a different kind of relationship; one where the love goes both ways.

I also think that deep down, I am still battling with the feeling that perhaps I just don’t believe that anyone could actually love me. I mean all of me…right down to the crazy! 

I know that it’s silly, but even now there is a lump in my throat as I think about it. And it causes me to overthink everything…this constant state of worry that breeds unhealthy habits. 

Habits of self defeating behavior, the need for reassurance & fear. 

Sometimes I really am my worst enemy! 

I’m stopping that! 

From here on out, I am going to focus on the fact that I have someone with whom I love spending time with & perhaps it will grow into something more & perhaps it won’t. 

Maybe he’ll feel the same or maybe he won’t, but either way when I am with him I’m happy and for now that is enough. 

Overthinking where it’s going just leads to unnecessary pressure and a ton of needless worry! 

I’d rather be thankful than fearful, so that is just what I’m going to do!!

Emotional Menstruation

We have all experienced it. You know…that moment of overwhelming emotion that brings you to your knees. There is nothing you can do, but let the levy break and ride out the wave.

Thankfully, these happen less and less for me now. Which is a great feat considering the intensity by which I feel.

For someone who spends the majority of their life hidden behind a mask of social acceptance, being vulnerable with someone is perhaps the most terrifying.

You grow accustomed to its ability to cloak your emotions, sturdy your walls and hold within the strangeness that is you.

It keeps you from being vulnerable or so you’d like to think.

It all works perfectly, until you find someone with the ability to see you and I mean really see you. When you are together, the rest of the world seems to fade away.

There is no fear in being vulnerable, because within these moments together, you have never felt more safe, more accepted, more true to yourself.

The state of my mind these last few weeks has been one that I had always assumed was no longer in the cards for me.

I am feeling things that are both exciting & terrifying all at the same time.

Sometimes, I feel like I have so much to say and not an ounce of the courage needed to say it. I am busting at the seams to dive in head first and never look back, but I am too afraid to take the leap.

Then other times, the magnitude of what I am feeling sends shivers down my spine and I am filled with the overwhelming fear that it won’t last and I will be left with yet another broken heart.

I am not sure I can do that again. I know I certainly don’t want to.

And what does all this lead to? …Yup! Emotional Menstruation.

I suppose its necessary sometimes, although not my preferred method of expression!

The worst of it is the fear.

Given my track record of misreading situations, I can’t seem to conquer the worry that the connection I am feeling is all in my head or worse, that it is real and they will change their mind.

After all, everyone else has.

 

Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Am Among The Strange

As you all know, I have been struggling with how to begin writing the next installment of Insane Roots; my story. And it truly is my story.

This time, it is more than a collection of memories from my childhood woven together with emotion and neatly printed on a page.

That was merely the foundation for the person I am today. The things I have experienced do not define me. Sure, they had something to do with the end result, but we all feel heartbreak. That in itself is not unique.

The real story, is how I came to find myself along the way.

It is in the journey of discovering my inner strength.

I have felt broken more than a time or two in my life, but every time, I manage to find the courage to pick myself up and move forward. THAT defines me!

Sometimes I may only muster up enough to put on my mask long enough to get through the day, but the point is that I do it.

Over and over again, I do it.

On the inside, I may be falling apart, but to the rest of the world, I have it all together.

Telling that story, means baring my soul. It means, sharing my darkest secret.

The secret…that deep beneath the surface lies someone they will never understand.

She doesn’t think like you. She doesn’t love like you and most of all, she doesn’t understand you.

This person goes out into the world each day hidden behind a mask of social acceptance.

Sometimes it is the only thing that gets them to tomorrow.

And let me be clear, I am not talking about just putting on a happy face. My closest friends can see right through that!

It’s something more. Something only another person wearing one would understand (and I’ve only met one in my life).

I alluded to it once in a poem and it is perhaps the best explanation I can give to the reasoning behind wearing the mask.

For A Moment – Insane Roots 8.30.17 (excerpt)

“Sometimes I feel as though I was not meant for this world

But rather a lonely spectator

Watching in the shadows

As the lives of others pass me by

Perhaps in another time

Or another place

Somewhere between tomorrow and today

I am lost

wandering alone

among the mysteries of the universe

…”

To sum it up, it is the feeling of constantly searching for your place in a world that will never understand you.

You are different and that is all there is to it.

There comes a day when you realize that you are among the strange. Unique to the composition of your current reality.

The intensity by which you feel will frighten even the bravest of lovers. So you walk alone.

Knowing in your heart that no one is coming to save you. That job is entirely yours.

And maybe there is more to all of this.

Maybe I am lingering in the doorway to something beyond our current human constructs… or maybe it is simply that I was never meant to be understood.