All posts by cagedmoments

(Guest Post) Inducted Member

The following piece was written by my beautiful friend Tracy. I have been lucky enough to know her for 19 years. She is the mother of three amazing children. She is the most compassionate, loving, nurturing and gentle mom I know. My youngest daughter once said “I wish Tracy was my mom.” Not because she was mad at me or being mean to me, but because she was being genuine. Tracy is so incredibly soft and gentle. If you could pick a mom, I promise you’d pick her.

She is hurting. She is proud. She is strong. She needs the world to be gentle with her. And, she needs other moms to hear her. I share this here for her with love and pride and support. Please leave comments for her to read.-Heidi xo

INDUCTED MEMBER written by my friend, Tracy Faye
I have had this echo of a song inside me for all of my lifetime. As if I can feel it in every fiber of each hair on my head. It is written on my bones, the stories that would become mine are so familiar.​ Shaded, slightly murky and always waiting.
My daughter placed me into a club that I never wanted to be part of. Without my consent, forced by the breath she breathes, I have found myself in the “Mom of an Addict” club. Never crossing my mind even for a moment during my time spent wiping her nose, teaching her the alphabet, answering all of her “why” questions from the back seat as we drove.

I taught her our phone number, address, my name and birthdate so if she was ever lost she would be able to find me. I warned of strangers. I showed her pictures in magazines of smiling grandmothers and told her they were even strangers if you don’t know them. However,it escaped me to teach her about the worst type of predator that would appear in her life as her dealer and take her from me as they wrapped their heroin arms around her like a snake.

I held her, consoled her, fed her, clothed her…Watched TV with her, read to her, made mud pies, rode bikes, colored in coloring books, gave her music and dance. Dreamed of my fantasy life: her and I against the world as we grew together.

My heart, My whole entire heart existed outside of me.

I cried the first time she slept over her Dad’s house when she was two. I couldn’t imagine me not tucking her in or brushing her thin wispy baby hairs out of her eyes as she chewed her pacifier on the side of her mouth, “goodnight momma” whispers in her sweet raspy tired toddler voice. She would ask for her blanket, tell me she loved me “bigger than the sky”. The Lion King song “Circle of Life” was translated by her into “Circle of Love”, her and I were the circle. Sometimes she would include other people but mostly it was her and I, as she grabbed my hands initiating the circle. Sometimes she insisted on wearing a hat to bed. Often she choose to wear her tutu out into the world and I let her.

She was loved, snuggled, missed, thought of, celebrated and disciplined.   

I talked to other parents before she went to her friends homes. I secretly followed her through the mall the first time she thought she was there alone, checked up on her, paid attention to her grades and her friends. She expressed herself, different clothes for the different people that she tried on. Each time encouraging words to her were spoken: to be herself, whatever self she felt at the time, knowing someday the clothes would fit just right and be a second skin, but she had to try on every color first to see what one felt best and most like her own uniqueness.

I am left without knowledge of the first time I stepped through the door to this club. No recollection of a first impression or what it looked like or the people there, just empty echoes, cold gray memories. I have resented, contorted, anguished, and died in my head throughout the course of one day inside the metal, stuck, swollen walls of drugs. I have told people to fuck off that I care about. At times the heartache swells; consumes me in its entirety. Yet I still nod and empathize with someone sharing their bad news or bad day with me. The car didn’t start or they spilled coffee on their shirt in a morning rush or they are upset about the weather and the price of groceries. I have to remain part of society, blend in, so I cannot scream, hiss and run like the animal that is inside me. I never want to compare tragedies. I sometimes cannot have another paint brush stroke of sadness on top or the weight will shift and cyclone me into another reality.

I keep this rock that I carry with me all day to myself, I protect it, I do not show other people my rock or ask them to hold it for a minute. The fear of judgement pokes at me with an icy sting.

Being a Mother is something I have always given my all to and excelled at. I love being a Mom. For someone to think I didn’t do all of the Mom things right or out of order is terrifying, as if some magical cocktail of parenting exists where one is guaranteed to not set an addict free into society.

Some members of my club have meetings to support each other & others have social media groups. Nights have turned tirelessly into birds chirping while searching for the answers alone in my bed, light shining from the glow of the phone that connects me anonymously to the world of addict moms.

Some people write truthfully on these pages. I read them, gaining awareness of others that are in my club makes me feel less alone. However, it magnifies my sadness to be aware of all of the other people walking around with half hearts, pieces missing from every place. Taping on their shoes, filling them with rocks to keep their feet heavy and grounded. They are gluing together their body parts because they feel like they may fall right off. In rare moments when the fear was bigger than me I did share things with the world or an individual just so someone somewhere would know I am not whole.

I am not what you think I am.

I am broken with jagged shards protecting my skin. Armored more than I ever have been and looking for something solid and unbreakable at every angle.

Shuffle one two, shuffle one two, through the days.
Keep moving.
You cannot stop.
Do not stop or you will stay there.

Don’t forget to sign the boy up for camp. Don’t forget we don’t have his favorite breakfast item. Don’t forget to tuck him in and hold him tight and breathe all of him into you so he sticks right there in the place he can never leave.

Remember the other girl needs you too and she asked you for that thing. What was that thing she wanted? What did she say? Remember to console her too because her heart is just as broken as yours. We are both mourning a person who is still breathing. I have lost my daughter and she has lost her sister. She is growing, too quick, don’t forget to teach her that people’s opinions do not matter because she shines. She glows and shines and you can feel it in her presence ever since day one. She leaves a trail, a path to find her always. Her glow softens me.

Keep working. Pay bills, in slow motion. Does it matter if we have electricity?
You need light, sunlight and air. Maybe you need yoga. Maybe you need to try to become a runner again? Lose weight, Have a drink, remember how much fun you had when you consumed all of the alcohol everyday… Maybe a good book? No it is ice cream..a whole tub of ice cream. On second thought it isn’t, it is a good walk in the woods with the dog…laughter you need to laugh, where are those friends? Find them, you have them, remember, can you remember anything before this, before the smoky glaze that covers your eyes appeared.

Unsure if the cloudiness is from too many tears or not enough. Forget this, if only for one minute, I want to forget.

God please do not let them ask me how she is doing, I will need to cry and look for an exit or feel as though I have a mouth full of salt and have to talk at the same time.

Shuffle one two, shuffle one two, skip, hop.

A glimpse of the exit shines through the haze. My body believes that I am somehow carrying out a sentence, doing time, that will come to an end point and return to life before the drugs, when all of the freckles on her face showed all of the time. When she knew her way home.

There is no end. There is a circle, rough, unevenly textured, differently colored circle. There is no choice to be caged within the circle. No soft spot to break through, no comfortable place to rest.

I love Free Will. I hate stuck. I hate not controlling my own mind or ways that I spend my time. Too many nights furiously searching for anything that will give me a glimpse of her viability left my eyes crazed and my heart on the floor out of my body. In my life I have been many people, had many roles, many jobs, many styles, many friends, many favorite things, many pet peeves, many happy hours and much laughter. This person in this club was never a thought.
Trying to explain to someone not here in this room of grief with me is impossible. If you are not in the club you do not comprehend the rules, no instructions are given nor would they teach you this game or how to do the dance of the shuffle shuffle step, two, five, one…

I have become someone I once judged and thought I knew all about.
My daughter has become someone I once judged.
The NEVER has happened.

The NOT my child IS my child.

“Opioid Epidemic”, “Heroin epidemic” or now just “THE epidemic” will do.
… has swallowed me, whole, my brain, my beliefs, my heart, my whole body at times as it is crumples into bed, atrophied.

Tough love, Rehab, Section, Detox, Sober House, Meetings, Commitments, NA, Convention, Narcan, Vivitrol, Clean time, Home drug test..I only had vague relationships with these words in the past. All words I thought I understood the definition of.

Two, three, eight, shuffle, fall, clap….this is all wrong…..

Compassion is MISSING from THE epidemic, for the addict & for those who love the addict. COMPASSION IS MISSING FROM THE DEPLETING, EXHAUSTING, SEVERITY OF THIS DAILY LIFE I LEAD. Compassion only comes from weary eyes who know your battle. Compassion seldom comes from the institution of the moment.

The Choice VS. Disease debate has rotted and hollowed out my heart.

Onlookers spew their filth to those whose hearts are already slowly beating and weak. Does it matter to you if it is a choice or a disease… MY BABY IS STILL DYING EVERYDAY.

You will still judge her and me.

There are no casseroles for this. Food is reserved for births and deaths and I am somewhere awkwardly in between.

In my paranoia that exists within me, at least once a day my baby is dead, somewhere. Versions create themselves in my non stop brain, sometimes she is found by me, sometimes found by people who only like her for her ability to survive, Or only like her for her beauty. Or her ability to find a way to obtain anything she wants, including drugs and they do not help her. They walk over her.

Sometimes she is in a coma and privacy policies prevent me from receiving a call or no one knows who to call because even though she knows her name, address, mom’s name and phone number you can’t tell anyone when you are half dead.

There is no medical alert bracelet for heroin addicts.

Sometimes she is never found, just alive and part of the sky that just vanished under a cloud. How something so concrete has turned into an oily slick on water leaves me glaring off at the sun to sting my eyes so that I know I can still feel. You can see that shiny slickness, twinkling on the water, colorful, try to grab it or shake it or hug it, you can’t, you end up sinking under the darkness of water holding your breath searching for the beauty that was just at your fingertips.

Detox..rehab..program..sober house..my baby is the one who will beat this, see she is already doing it, shuffle step, step, skip, 3, 4,8…beg..this dance is making my insides raw…plead, cry, …

What parent would not do all they can to save their child’s life? Who? I want advice, I hate advice, I want love and support, I hate love and support. It feels better alone. No judgement, no questions. No talk to remind me of how far the wind can carry something away that you once believed to be anchored to you.

Time doesn’t mean anything. 3 am..shh… 4am..Squeeze eyes tight..Clocks hands do not care, they keep moving. The boy wakes at 6 and will know I forgot the breakfast I promised and he will cry. The girl needs to go to school, with her self-prepared lunch, reminding her mother of the day ahead. Work comes at 8, school after that. Somewhere else laundry and food shopping in zombie like fashion dark eyed. Are you sick, what’s the matter, are you sad, you’ve lost weight, are you ok? How are you? Good, I am good, Just don’t look me in the eyes and ask because you will see the crack in my soul.

Draw on your smile girl because you have to face the world.

END THE STIGMA

We are all humans we all crave love, belonging and compassion when we are defeated.

I am the parent of an addict who suffered long, who was lost, who did not know the way out of her own rabbit hole. My hand was there always at the top of the hole quivering, fading, aging, she just needed to choose to grab it.
I will hold the rusty chain of the anchor tighter, I will not let you go as quickly next time. I will hold you, sit on you, drive into you and sew your arms to your sides to SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Counting days has a new meaning..14 days, 30 days, 45 days..60 days!

The longest club free, cage free time we have seen is here right now .. the light has returned to her eyes, her freckles re-appear as specks of glitter that I want to touch to remember the time they first graced her soft face. I always have wondered if I witnessed any of those freckles landing in their spots as she slept. Her hand holds mine and she remembers me, she really remembers me…and magically she remembers herself.

Right now there is no road map on her face to read that says I am broken, so broken that I am willing to take the chance of death just to feel better momentarily.

This is my life. My name is Tracy, I am the Mother of an addict.

Today was the first day I was glad to be in this club.

It gave me a chance to give compassion.

I had a conversation with a stranger. She told me her daughter was a recovering addict. Flatly. And paused. Waiting for it, I know, waiting for someone to find the words or the gesture that is supposed to come after hearing someone announce that. I met her eye and said “mine too”. Her face relaxed and we knew each other, heart mind and soul with just those few words exchanged, knew the broken sleeplessness of a shadowy life.

If everyone can reach the point to say my child is an addict or my child is a recovering addict and have a real conversation about it, my face wouldn’t twist up so hard and the knot in my belly would not feel so heavy when I say it out loud.

I am proud of my daughter. I want everyone to know my daughter is a recovering addict. I am completely 100 percent happy that she is my child. I will never disown her or judge her, or shut her out of my life. This is her life to live, with her path to make. I did teach her to take the one less traveled. Everyone has demons, everyone has made bad choices, not one person leaves this earth without some amount of suffering, struggling or internal conflict. This is OUR struggle. I do not need to explain if you do not understand that this is my child and that I am proud to tell you of the things that she has endured and rebounded from.

I am proud to stand next to her at a meeting and be introduced as her mother.

Through it all-she does fall and stagger, catch her balance, then forcefully rises again, she continues to sway and splash ferociously against the tide. She has been knocked out, dragged through, walked on, left for dead and has walked this earth in ghost form. Yet she reemerges with the gust of a hurricane with lists of contacts, Doctors and therapy appointments, with clear eyes.

How hard are you fighting today just to breathe? Clinging and swaying every single day just to be alive? Some are fighting to get ahead or to get more things, more money, more titles, more of what they think they should have. The timeline laid out by society, stay on the path, stay on the path.

She fights her own mind everyday for her life.

I am fighting every single day to not make a nest in my bed and stay there.

Every day is a question of if we will get to count it and stack it on top of the day before that. Every day I take time to remember her pure heart, her softness that exists underneath her coating of makeup, polish, hair or attitude. I revel in the days she strips her coating away, with glasses and messy buns when I can see her. That is my favorite version of her. I want to put the tutu on her and go for a walk and pretend she is a ballerina.

The courage of my child to say to the world “I am an addict”, this is me and I am trying is beautiful and courageous. There is not one other soul in this universe that I would trade her for. She is mine, next to her I am whole, my body finally relaxes, the spaces she carved out inside me as she grew fill up the hollowness and the world makes sense again for a minute.

Every Single Day my daughter is a mother fucking boxer in the ring. She wakes up knowing she will fight all day.

Sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she doesn’t. I think those sleepless nights are the days that she just wants blended into one another to feel a rhythm of consistency, to not have to start the fight from the beginning because it is still the same day if she never fell asleep. Eyes wide on the lookout to keep the demon at bay. She is thrown and tossed about in her own sea of emotions, in the memories that are imprinted inside her of the lives she has had, the people she has been, the masks she has worn. And of all the people she has known that have lost the fight and no longer have the choice to lace up the gloves. She knows more people who have passed on than I do. Yet she stands in her stillness, braces herself, waits for the storm, the flurry and rage to pass all around her right on through to the calm.

  

She still remembers that her momma likes her freckles.

She remembers to let me know she is OK.

She knows I hold my breath easily.

The people I have been in my lifetime fade in the shadow of how tall she has become to fight this beast.

She is my daughter and I love her for who she is. I am the mother of an addict who is now in recovery.

~Tracy Faye

Please share with love and compassion.

Autumn’s Gift: FALLing in Love

Thursday is the first day of Fall here in New England. On September 22nd we’ll experience the Autumnal Equinox. There’ll be an almost perfect balance of day and night, dark and light. The sun will cross over the celestial equator and the days will become shorter as our evenings arrive earlier and stay longer. As they do, I’m planning my next love affair.

I said good-bye to my short but passionate Summer. I hung on until it was clear Summer left me. The night air has cooled and darkness comes noticably sooner. As a woman from the Northeast, I consider myself hardy, hearty, and resistant. Each season requires some kind of preparation, and no amount of holding on to the last can either make one stay longer than it’s supposed to or do any good. Change is inevitable. Necessary. Expected, even when we don’t expect it.

It’s no secret I fall in love. I love, love. I fall in love with gestures, images, music, ideas, words and most recently, the wrong lover. Like Summer it was a a long build up but a short affair. Now, Fall has arrived, and I’ve begun to let that go. I am so tired from the heat and from holding on. I’m ready to fall into Fall.

I’ve been attempting a very intentionl shift to do something different, something for me, something that fills the space I kept for him and absorbs the energy I reserved to love him. Something that starts on the first day of Fall and wakes me with renewed energy. I’m looking to smile, feel passionate and alive and excited. I am tired of being tired. I want to fall into something beautiful.

I’m taking all my mislaid attention, energy and affection and turning it in toward me, the human I am and the mother I fight to be. A shift in focus. I couldn’t find a reason not to give to myself everything I’d given to him, to everyone. Everyone except me. I always thought I was honoring me by giving of myself, instead of to myself. I’ve been depleted, though. I need to fall back.

At first this shift felt uncomfortable and forced. Actually, it didn’t feel like my choice at all…because it wasn’t. I would have given until my last day. I had to be hurt and alone to realize exactly how much of myself I gave up and how little I consider me. I was left as though in tree pose. Autumn’s wind blowing me around, leaves being plucked off, my balance was off…I lost my focus. My eyes darted around for something steady, something reliable, so I could regain balance.

I self-talked, wrote, willed, yoga’d and often cried myself through heartbreak, anger and grief. It was ugly. Making progress toward this Fall…from one love to another…requires intentional thought and provokes some tough-to-describe feelings about how it left me standing here. I am the only steady and reliable thing I had to focus on.

I turned off the hurt so I could analyze facts and reason. I had to cry out about my loss and then come out of myself, turn around, and respond sternly. These are the conversations I had with myself about this past Summer…about this passing love.

When he stepped out…

I lost the greatest love of my life. So far. Life is not over. How lucky to have loved someone like that. No one else could ever have loved you because you held onto and saved that space for only him. Now it is available, so do something for you.

I lost the love who is also my oldest friend. A friend shows up for you how and when you need him. Duration of a friendship does not determine its quality and depth. Let someone else in.

I lost the person I most enjoyed being held by. Let someone else hold you. There are a lot of arms out there, and some are strong enough to not let go. You will be okay.

I lost the person I most enjoyed being silently stared at by. Other people were staring, you just never looked back. Look around.

I lost the person I spoke to every day. Every. Single. Day. You did. You lost that. Very few of those conversations were about you, how you are, what your dreams are. You are okay.

I lost the person I was the most honest, the most comfortable and the most safe with. Yes, You did. You will be okay. You will find that again.

I lost the person who knows the most about me. And he used that knowledge to be hurtful. The list of negative adjectives he used on you were angry. Someone who knew and loved you would know you couldn’t survive that.

The rest of my life is still very much in tact. Not much changed at all when he left, I wasn’t getting what I needed from the relationship emotionally. I never had his time when I arranged it. I was very much an afterthought. A back-up option if something else wasn’t available. I only heard from him if he needed me. That’s not mutually beneficial. You couldn’t depend on him. Walk away.

I lost a love who didn’t love me, think of me, consider me or want me as much as I, him. Yup. That’s not awful. Someone will come along who wants your kind of love. Someone will come along and love you the ways you need to experience love. Let it go and be grateful for the opportunity to practice loving. Now go love yourself and your own happiness that much. 

So, as I enter Fall, the Autumnal Equinox, I decided to name it…FALLing in Love With Myself . I will focus on a regular yoga practice. I will bring myself to a safe mat each day. I will be the woman I need to be for me.

  


I have no intention of spending time analyzing any of the adjectives he used to describe me. I have no plans for personality changes. I have no desire to try to make myself fit into anyone, or anything. I have spent a lifetime being harder on myself than anyone ever could. I’ve spent decades giving attention to everything that is “wrong” with me and never deeply considered my own happiness. I  have no plans to do any fixing.

I do plan to spend a great deal of time learning and loving. I plan to appreciate the qualities I have to offer this world, my children, my friends and my lovers. I plan to embrace Fall and her long dark evenings, as I wrap myself up in a blanket of self care. I will meet myself on my mat every day. I will listen to my breath. I will pay gentle attention to my body and treat myself to kindness. I will calm my mind.

Not because I’m broken, but because I’m worthy. I want to fill myself and love myself. I’m looking forward to a season of supermoons, crisp air and beautiful foliage. I will take lovers and vacations. I will pick apples and eat pumpkin pies. I will walk the beach during full moons, naked if the air is tolerable. I will read, and write and sleep. But mostly I am looking forward to feeling what happens when I really, really FALL in Love With Myself. 

xo

She Gave A Warning About Me

I’m the one, she said. I’m the friend that follows a warning to the others that don’t know me.

“She says whatever she thinks.”

“She’s kind of crazy.”

(Maybe they leave the ‘kind of’ out.)

Both are true. I will say what I think. I am a bit crazy.

You’ll hate me or you’ll love me. You’ll be offended by me or you’ll not take yourself or this life too seriously and laugh with me.

Sometimes I’m fun crazy.

Sometimes I’m loud crazy.

Sometimes I’m my-face-should-be-telling-you-everything-you-need-to-know crazy.

Sometimes I’m leave-me-the-fuck-alone crazy.

Sometimes I’m screaming-yelling-and-overwhelmed-please-just-hug-me crazy.

I am always crazy loyal.

I am always crazy honest.

I always love like crazy.

xo

  

Fuck Crying-Namasté

 
It’s the letting go part of yoga that is so hard. The release. The submission. Letting go of thoughts, of negative energy, of worries and of everyday life is hard. It’s so fucking hard to free my mind of shit and my body of the tension built up from carrying that shit.

But, today, I did. I let go. And it wasn’t this spiritual beautiful thing at all. I fucking cried. During a practice. During Shavasana. What the actual fuck? I love Shavasana. I mean, not today, but normally I do.

I arrived with a broken heart and an intention to heal it. I was laying on the floor in Shavasana (corpse pose) wishing I never had to get up. Begging the universe to either make me a corpse or extend the class because I could feel myself losing it and I needed time to work through it.

I pretended the weight of the blanket was warm dirt. 

Tears and feelings were swelling and I wasn’t strong enough to blink them away. Twice I started to leak and was able to reel it back in. My chin quivered and my breathing was jagged, but I pulled it together and tried to just breath and clear my mind. I was trying to imagine just melting into the floor, or more dirt being added to my chest to calm me. 

Then, I quit that shit and just focused on not bawling my eyes out. Maybe even the hope of leaving with my shit together, maybe a little dignity because there is no way my sniffing and breathing was not heard.

  

When the teacher came to me to do an adjustment, which I basically pine and drool for, she held my head, and turned it from side to side. There was a remnant of a tear in the corner of my right eye that I couldn’t feel…and when she turned my head left, it slipped out. That was fucking it! That was all it took. As she set my head down, I mouthed thank you with eyes still closed. As she walked on I took a few shaky breaths and then couldn’t stop the avalanche.

Tears poured, and I sobbed…as quietly as I could. Like someone had died. Only, in real life when people die I don’t really cry that much.

It was not a “beautiful release” that people write about. It was a “get me the fuck out of here” moment. In yoga. My ears were full of tears, I wiped and wiped and wiped and couldn’t stay ahead of it. Boogers, stuffy nose, wet hair, red eyes. All the makings for a genuine and sweet “are you okay?” which would have been the end of me.

Thankfully, no one asked if I was okay, and I dashed out of there fast as fuck. (Fuck, yes, that’s a measure of speed now.)

I basically cried off and on, the rest of the day. That sucked.

Crying in yoga…not beautiful.

Fuck crying in yoga.
Namasté

xo

Fuck Laundry

I don’t do my own laundry. I don’t do anyone’s laundry, actually. And, I don’t give a shit if I lose any “mom cred” over it either. Fuck that.

I don’t spend a single Saturday folding little pairs of cheeky undies, hanging up dresses or putting creases in anything. Cries of “None of my socks are clean!” Or “Do you know where my black yoga pants are?” Are generally met with “At the laundromat!” Or “I’ll go see if Gen has washed them!” I love Gen.

I’m terrible at laundry. And by terrible at it, I mean I leave it around and pick through it, because I didn’t put it away after it has been washed and dried and put in a basket. It’s like some kind of amnesia that presents itself when the clothes are done and ready to be put away, and then…nothing. I grew up with a house full of dirty clothes and a mother who was a clothes (and everything else) hoarder. The kind you see on TV crying because the cat they were missing was found flattened and dried up under a pile of who knows what. Piles of clothes make me feel like a terrible person. Even if they’re clean they stress me out. In fact, I think when I’m dropping clothes on the floor I’m punishing myself.

I know how to use the washing machine. And the dryer. I have a small stockpile of HE soap, scent beads, dryer sheets and lavender scented fabric softener. It looks legit.  I do actually wash towels and sheets and shit. But, mostly, I just run an empty wash load so I can put washer cleaner through it so it doesn’t get smelly. That’s normal, right?

 
I own an iron, but do people actually iron anymore?  Isn’t everything basically wrinkle free or disposable? Mine was purchased mostly for the Girl Scout sash from 5 years ago. Also, because I think grown ups are supposed to have one, so….check! And, maybe one day I’ll decide to actually use it on those no sewing heat activated iron on hem thingers I bought at the fabric store 6 years ago when I bought this house. Aside from that, it’s best purpose is probably a weapon…in case I’m ever attacked in front of my closet.

I have two daughters and between the three of us we average 6 outfits a day.  Six. What the fuck? Our dirty (and sometimes not dirty but definitely “tried on”) clothes decorate our bedrooms, adorn every piece of furniture, and there are approximately zero door knobs on the second floor that aren’t draped with a bra, or seven. Anything that even remotely resembles a knob or hook, like say a bed post, is fair game for clothes and bras.

Gen has been doing my laundry for 6 or 7 years. She knows what not to dry, that everything that fits on a hanger is hung, and she separates my clothes from my daughters. She makes little smiley faces next to my name on my basket, which completely contradict her bad-bitch mean exterior. She calls me out when I bring in clean clothes to be washed, just because I need them to be re-hung. She’s mean to everyone, and she yells at people. Actually yells. But, I kind of love her crazy F word slinging ass because how do you not love the person who folds your underwear?

She recently quit the laundromat. Yeah. She fucking quit. Suddenly, my basement has a pile of clothes I have to walk over right in front of the machines. Some need to be washed. Some were washed, but then I left them in the washer for like two, no three days. And they smelled awful in there so I re-ran the machine and now it’s just a vicious cycle of forgetting and washing. Everything basically fucking sucks since Gen quit her job.

  
BUT I got a text message from her that said she was coming back one day a week. That was the absolute best day ever.

Things are looking up at my house. Fuck Laundry!

xo

Messy Lessons

I fell in love with a man who broke my heart, again. Everything is all messed up. Our dreams didn’t come true. And our story got ruined. I’m still moving through grief and anger and shock and sadness and hate and jealousy and regret and crazy and mean and lonely. ..I’m still hurting through all of that, but in an attempt to remind myself to keep moving, I captured a few of the lessons I’ve learned from my messy bleeding heart.

I learned I can be hurt and sad and angry, and still compassionately love and hope for wonderful things for him.

I still love him. A stupid amount. I can’t have him back. I can’t imagine ever being over this. He ruined our story and me. And, despite my roller-coaster responses to heartbreak, I’m still capable of love. I’m capable of loving and understanding him while, not after, being so hurt. I don’t want to or need to be his friend. But, having been his friend, and having really loved him, I can acknowledge and accept that what I bring to the table is simply not what nourishes him. I can still feel love for someone, without giving it. I can still hate what someone has done and love that person.

  

I’ve never been the person who loved more in a relationship, and I don’t want to be again.

I think in every relationship one person always loves one more. That can’t be me. I’m incredibly untrusting and therefor insecure about how people feel about me. I need to know, with all certainty, that I’m the one, always. Then, I need to be reminded often.

Heartache is real. It actually hurts. I can physically feel my heart hurt, ache and get hot, like it burst and is spilling out of me.

When I read the words “I can’t do this” it ached. It felt swollen or bruised.When I listened to Liz Longley’s Goodbye Love I had to hold my chest because it felt like my heart was leaking or falling out. Literally a pouring sensation. When I listened to this song written by Mark Seymour (and performed with Eddie Vedder) I thought of how I never got to hear him sing this one to me at the fire. Losing love hurts.

I learned that if I didn’t try with him, I never would’ve let anyone else in.

It’s true. I would’ve continued comparing everyone to him. I can stop that now, because I know it was our story of us, not us that he loved. If I didn’t take the risk with him, I would’ve been waiting for him to come claim me as his own forever. I would’ve wondered “what if?” I would never allow myself to completely love another man.

My period makes me a psycho. I have extreme PMS. 

Legit psycho. I actually put an entry in my calendar to remind me that the week before my period I’m crazy. I’ve been doing this for more than a few years, but without fail I get my period and think “Oooooh WellThatExpainsALot!” I’m a hateful, mad, dangerous, randomly crying lunatic who loves you, then hates you, then needs you, is hungry but can’t eat Monster.

I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful fucking people.

I have the love and support of fantastic friends, whether I take them up on it or not. I am able to look up after a few dark days and remind myself that “birds of a feather flock together” applies to me too.  I look around at who I surround myself with, and appreciate that I have a circle of strong, loving, protective and caring people. They’re truly good. Some sent me “You do not have to reply, but I just want you to know…” text messages.  Some left i-love-you voicemails that I was invited to not reply to. One drove 40 minutes to make sure I did yoga, and dedicated a breakfast to dream scheming my next 3-6 months. A few are angry and offered to give him a piece of their mind, I was offered girl-time, alcohol, a date, and other distractions. One offered to come over for the love letter bon-fire that I’m too sentimental to follow-through on. Some sat by me with honesty and told me to my face I could stand to be more open and tolerant. One just said “I’m sorry, because I know you thought he was the one.” They reminded me to write. And sleep. And yoga.  One explicitly reminded me that I am authentically me, that he has known me for 27 years and knows me, and that I haven’t changed. And while me may not be perfect, I never claimed or promised anything that wasn’t me. I don’t know if I picked them or if they picked me, but I’m fucking lucky. When I think of the people around me I love that they’re not pussies, they’re honest, and they have my back.

My children HAVE learned something about love from me.

I have two daughters and I have been a single mom for 23 years. I have always told my girls this…

Relationships must be mutually beneficial. You must be adding value to someone’s life and they must be adding value to yours or it is not healthy.

It must be give with take and take with give. I saw a note to him from my oldest daughter. I wasn’t happy that it happened or when it happened or that he engaged her. But, when I saw my daughter tell him how much I loved him, and how she’d never seen me love anyone except she and her sister like that, I felt happy to know she saw and recognized love from me. I felt a sense of relief. She knows I love her. A lot. And she saw me love someone else just as much. I also felt a sense of pride when I read “My mother is the strongest woman in this world…she raised us to not ever let anyone let us feel that way and I’m beyond mad that you’re doing this to her.” She thinks I’m strong. She saw me be vulnerable, which I wasn’t sure I’d shown, and she showed me that I did teach her not to let people make her feel bad about herself. I was also just proud that she would stick up for me. I think loyalty is gorgeous. I didn’t need it, and she never should’ve been in a situation to have to. But when I read that, I felt some validation. I raised a tough, protective loving girl who recognizes love and loyalty. My 13-year old knows I haven’t felt good. She knows the guy I’ve been loving forever is suddenly absent. She knows his calls have stopped, she doesn’t hear his music, and she has stopped asking where he is and if he’s coming over. From her, I got “Can I sleep in here with you?” And “If you want me to watch The Walking Dead with you, I will.” Not profound, but I fell asleep so still the night she snuggled me.

  

 

I have spent a significant amount of time, energy and money to nurture and take care of others. It is time to make a personal investment. 

I do want to do something nice for myself in a lasting way. I’ve always felt that helping or taking care of other people was a personal investment. It’s my way. It’s my default to solve other people’s problems. I want my legacy to be that when you needed something and I could give it to you, you got it. I will help you before you ask. I will surprise you. My thoughts will work for you and wheels will spin for you. I will know you well enough to know what you might need and do it. I don’t regret anything I’ve done for this man because I love him. What I do regret is the amount of energy I took from other spaces in my life to give to him. If I hadn’t, would I feel less shattered today? How different might I be today if 5 years ago I’d started checking things off my own bucket list instead of making “ours”? What if I’d not joined him in prison? If I’d gone to Kripalu for the summers by myself would I be a more peaceful person? If I cared about, or for ,myself more would I have waited for him and risk what feels like my whole future? I can’t answer any. But I fell hard, took risks, spent time, spent money and moved a lot of things around for him because I fell. There is absolutely no reason why I can’t shift all of that to something that makes me more comfortable. I want to fall for myself and see what that teaches me.


What Fine Feels Like: When I’m Afraid of Myself

I wrote this for the people who want to help. Please dont. People wanting to help me, scare me.

I wrote this for the people that worry about me. Please don’t. I worry enough for all of us.

I wrote this to try to describe the dark place that some go when we are hurt, or remember, or are triggered. It’s not a ticket i buy. It’s not an outfit I choose. It’s not a trip I want to take. But I go because I’m already on the train and the only place to go is the next stop. Sometimes I can get off. Sometimes I have to go a few more stops. I always come back. There isn’t an alternative. Perhaps some temptation not to, but I always come back because ther is more to make.

A little sad today. In a bad place. Anxiety attack. A flashback. Feeling crazy. Panic attacks. Coming undone. Whatever I call it-I’m fine-but I’m afraid of myself when it happens.

Perhaps of what I am, or what I think, or what I feel, or who might see, or what I’m capable of…but I’m afraid of myself. And I’m afraid for them…whoever they are.

I’m not out of control. I’m completely aware that I’m struggling. I don’t need help. I don’t want help. I want to dissapear. I know it will be terrifying, briefly, but I know it will pass.

I’m overcome by my own shadow and an overwhelming feeling of alone. My own brand of darkness and I wear it like humidity in August. A gown of grief and rage and sadness. Loose hems have been stitched up with shame over time. Memories heavily adorn the collar and add weight. It sticks uncomfortably to my naked skin. Buttons of anger poke into my bones when I move. 
It’s not an unfamiliar piece. It’s a staple in my wardrobe that I never choose. I wake up wearing it at times like this, and there’s no escape…until I’ve suffered it off.I try to be still, until I can practice the rhythm that brings back some form of peace. It’s a process. Suffering to feel easy. Dehydrated to recognize quenched. Starved to know what full feels like.

There’s a rush of heat in my chest that feels like hot clouds, and they feel nice for a moment, before they get stormy. My heart beat turns from time keeping to heavy, heavy stop-watch. A numb flutter happens under my tongue, and my breathing feels panicky before I take a breath. My first few inhales are fake-just a chest compression. No air comes in. There’s a pain, but it’s deep, and putting my hand on my heart would be a tell.

I’m afraid of something. Seemingly of my own feelings. Of how this dress feels on. I try to be still, because struggling is always worse when you’re stuck…in a web, in quicksand, in life.

My breath gets away from me only momentarily and I wince or quietly groan mostly to bring myself to attention. I breathe. Deep. Slowly. It’s shaky and the hot clouds have turned to water. My slow deep breathing contradicts the quick thumping in my chest and it takes a few minutes for them to come together. I’m holding back tears, and I feel like I’m underwater. As my chest rises and falls more steadily, the corners of my eyes leak. With every extended and forced exhale, salty tears streak down my face and under my earlobes. I taste blood, or metal.

I’m afraid I’m going to break somewhere irrepairably. I’m afraid I already have and don’t know. I’m afraid I might be mad. The only strength I have I use to breathe and sometimes to stay concious as my fingers and toes tingle. I know that oxygen and my blood want to dance, but this dress traps me and my capacity for air and movement is restricted. I’m overcome with a déjà u feeling. I know this exact spot, this exact feeling. There’s a memory I feel but can’t see. It’s something terrible, but I can’t tell myself what it is. It is scary and it is sad.

I’m absent from almost everything, except my immediate and present surroundings and need to stay sane. My sane stays on nearby like a child’s nightlight in the corner of the room. I  try hard to keep myself still. Together. Invisible. Unnoticed. The mute screamer begging not to be noticed.

I’ve met an edge in my sticky and pokey dress, where sanity meets an abyss of something else. Stepping in could be terrible and tangled. But I wonder if it could also stop something terrible. Heartache and worry? Sadness and memories? Shame and  regret?

I’m not sure what’s in there. I don’t know for sure how it could make me feel. It could be freeing, but my instincts keep bringing my face to the light in the corner of the room. Stay here, it reminds me. That in itself makes me wonder if I do the wrong thing by coming back to the light in the corner. Do other people reach this place and step in without contemplation? Do they let go of their mind and breathing and tears and shut off the light? Might that be why other people worry or hurt less? Are they more brave? Are they less crazy? Do they care more?

Pains are coming and going and I feel like a child feels like when she’s awoken, scared, in her bed alone, in the dark, and she’s screaming out for help. The kind of cry that makes a mom jump up and run in to hold her. The kind of scared inflicted by something she can’t remember in a dream, but knows it scared her. It felt real. Even if it wasn’t.

Whatever she feels like is what I feel like. I don’t scream. My cries sound like breaths in and out.  I never cry out. No one ever runs in. No one ever did. I rock myself. And the rhythm helps an adrenaline overdose start to subside.

I’m physically sick. And sore. And tired. I can hide behind that. But, mostly, my heart hurts. It’s not broken. It’s not shattered. It’s something worse. It’s exposed. Leaking. A torrent of something thick and infected is leaking out and can’t be clamped. I shamefully try to push it back in, and it’s like swallowing vomit. My stomach starts to hurt.

Whatever it is…love, regret, happiness, time, memories, fear, madness…I’ll make more, I assure myself. I’ll make more. I rock myself with a foot, with my waist. My breath comes back to me, and my heart relaxes. My stomach and my head hurt.

  
I could get up and move if I had to, but I want to come into myself physically as much as I do emotionally. I could talk if I had to, but I will avoid any and all chances. They deserve better than this, yet this is the absolute best I can be in this moment. Awake (sometimes) and alive (seemingly). The indignity of regret.

I will make more. And I say “I’m fine” to anyone who notices or suspects. I don’t feel well-but I’m fine. And I don’t, and I am. I will be fine. Unless it happens again in a bit, but right now I’m fine. Everything else is fine. Nothing around me has changed. I didn’t worry anything away. I didn’t fearfully move anything into better. My tears didn’t rust something out of motion. The adrenaline didn’t make the memory more clear. Nothing has changed. So, I’m fine.

Tomorrow I will make more. More love, regret, happiness, time, memories, fear, madness…I’ll make more, I assure myself, and, I assure you. I am scared. Every day. But there is no alternative except to come back.

You Save Me Every Day

There are times when I don’t think I can feel joy.

There are times that I feel things I don’t want to or know how to deal with.

There are moments when I am so crippled by a bad feeling, that it sweeps my emotional legs from beneath me, and I’m simply stuck in it. Emotionally. Sad, or mad, or hurt and stuck there.

There are days that begin badly and ones that end that way. Sometimes it is out of my control. Sometimes I am the reason.

There are times when I go through the promised motions of a day, willing myself to be present and fun. Reminding myself to smile and use inflection in my voice.

There are never days I don’t handle it.

There are never days that I quit.

There are never days that I don’t get through, but some are better than others.

Not figuring it out isn’t an option.

Without exception, I can find something beautiful in every day. Sometimes I have to look for it. Sometimes it whispers to me.

Like everyone, my ability to see the beauty and become “unstuck” varies. Joy doesn’t always feel possible, deserved or welcome. It’s this in between time that we have the opportunity to show who we are. Do we quit? Do we behave badly? Do we listen to the whispers of joy that life is trying to show us?

Sometimes it is the sunrise, the waves, or the sunset. There are days that it is the sound of rain or wind. Sometimes it is the sleepy smile or smell of someone I love.

It’s usually my girls that bring the magic. They usually silently whisper something beautiful-or help the world send me a message when I need it.

My Daughters save me silently everyday, because I need to be everything to them. I’m not. But I try like hell, like its my job, because it’s my job.

I need to be strong but not cruel. Stern but empathetic and compassionate. Rest but don’t be lazy. Work but don’t forget to live. Love and be loved. Keep someone in your life if they bring value-let them go if they don’t. Try really hard, accept what you’re not good at and never stop searching for things you are good at. Read. Don’t depend on other people…financially or for happiness. Be tender and gentle. Set boundaries. Have goals. Make wishes. Be ugly. Cry, but recover. Have self respect, but don’t only care what you looked like. Be kind but not weak. Say what you mean, not what people need to hear. If you mean something someone needs to hear, always say it. Be good. If you’re bad, recover. Make mistakes. Take risks. Be consistent. Always ask how you could be a good friend, and be there when you are needed. Be loyal but know when it’s okay to let go.

I don’t always to a good job. But I’m always trying. And, that…is how they save me. And, they never know it.

Today, it was this moment. A reminder that everything appears dark when the sun is at its back. An absolutely beautiful child feeling proud, having fun, allowing me to witness it, and looking to me for validation of her awesomeness.

 

Design Thinking My Ass Out of This Shitty Morning

I’m in traffic on Rt. 3 Northbound heading to Boston. When I finish writing, I’m at Mass Ave. & Harrison Ave. taking a breath…feeling pretty smart. (Insert crazy laugh)…

I’ve got a job opportunity and a App development idea I’d like someone to prototype. It doesn’t suck, I swear. Stay with me.
I just finished a two-day-dig-my-eyeballs out “Design Thinking Boot Camp”. Good stuff. So I’m applying it.
First, I fell in love with the problem: I’m in “developing blood clots” traffic alone in my  car, have to pay $42 to park…at my fucking job…and I can’t even estimate what time I might arrive at the office this morning-or home for that matter.)
Then I remembered to ideate! Fucking stupid word, right? Don’t try to make “idea” a verb, it’s perfectly happy as a noun. Anyway, my solutions mostly sucked, and weren’t feasible…

Tell the SVP commuting would be too stressful on my morning, and to meet me at the beach.

Hovercraft.

Cry.

Quit and eat cat food.
You get the point. Not feasible. But this idea may be testable…
It’s for a collaborative App where the end users are both working and stay at home moms.

Here are the end-users more perfectly described…the “Shit-Show-Working-Moms.” Not you ass holes who can’t find your check for the nanny and worry about when the X series SUV goes in for winter tires. I’m talking about the moms who cry after dropping F bombs on slow moving  6th graders and then cry when they realize they have to stop for gas and be late or be on schedule and maybe end up waiting for AAA in the breakdown lane.

The other end users are the “Stay-At-Homies” (a.k.a. “Front Row Moms” on some days. This is what I call them, in an angry voice, on select days. The days I fall into the school production late with one broken shoe, no charge on my phone to take one fucking picture that proves I was there, and stand in the back of the room hoping my kid sees that I showed up. By the way, can one of those Lululemon-and-a-tunic uniform wearing bitches get her perfect little ass up and offer the haggard slob moms like me a fucking seat, and high five me for remembering the thing was today as she scoots over to her pink-cheeked-cherub? Bitch.)
Anyway, here’s the idea that needs to be tested and prototyped…
A “Stay-At-Homie” could sign up on an Uber-like app to be paid to ride in the HOV lane. “Shit-Show Working-Mom” pays her less than said parking fee to listen to Eminem’s Lose Yourself in the HOV lane, and helps her get to work on time. Sure, there’d be fewer pet-sitting and house-cleaning posts on the “everything local” pages of Facebook. And, there’s some loose-end details to work out, mainly what do I do with her when I get to the city. But I’m counting on someone smarter and less aggravated than me to focus on the details.
So- I’d pay for that. For real.
Now, Insert a slew of “we work just as hard”, “don’t mom bash”, and “respect my choices” comments below, but please know i already agree with you, I love both sides some days, and I hate bitches on other days-both sides-it ain’t personal.
xo