Thanks NRA

Dear NRA,

For decades you have helped mold our country into what it has become today.  We live our days cowering in fear.  The fear you have caused by your redundant whispers of danger. They are trickled subliminally into our minds each day.   Throughout the years the acceptance of your weapons has been funneled down our throats and now we are all gasping for air.  You have kept silent because that’s what you do best.  But the sounds of the weapons you provide will one day haunt you in your dreams.  Thank you NRA for the  false ideas you keep pushing.  Thank you for not taking responsibility and being the cause of the horrific nightmare we keep reliving.  Keep up the good work.

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I know it’s not Halloween but….

halloween 2014

 

Halloween is perfectly magical.  It comes around one of my favorite seasons of the year.  Something about the crisp air and the smell of the autumnal leaves reminds me of school as a kid.  My son, now 3, adores Halloween. Last year he was dress as the Hulk and I was Black Widow, both from the Avengers. Two years ago he was Yoda and I was Princess Leia from Star Wars.  Pretty great times.

Halloween wasn’t always so much fun for me growing up.  When I was about five years old, my family converted from Catholicism to Born-again Christians (look up its differences).  Being a born-again christian basically sucked the fun out of everything in life. Secular music now became the devil’s music.  TV shows were now a form of brainwash to get you to forget about Jesus. But one of the things that broke my heart as a child was not being able to celebrate Halloween.  Yes, as a born again Christian I was not allowed to celebrate Halloween or as they called it “the Devil’s Birthday”.   One Halloween I  was pulled out of class and sent to the principle’s office. The reason: The second grade Halloween Parade.  How can a religion twist something so innocent and simple?  I felt deprived and like an outsider among my friends.  I really wanted to be like the “cool kids” in school with their costumes and buckets for candy.  I would have settled for any costume.  I wouldn’t have been picky. But there I was sitting in the principal’s office with a cupcake to make me feel like I wasn’t being left out.  It sucked.

It only got weirder as I got older.  We eventually switched churches.  This church was a bit more liberal but still slightly on the crazy side and really into christian rock (listen to some POD when you get a chance). Halloween was still considered the devil’s holiday.  But instead of banning it, they held their own costume party at church.  We played games there and had candy and even got to wear a “bible-themed” costume.  I was the dressed as the Virgin Mary.  I’m sure God was pleased with my attire on the Devil’s birthday.

The origin of Christianity, the bible, and many christian beliefs come from places that Christians don’t even know about. I am glad that I have educated myself enough to know that there is  no such thing as the Devil’s birthday and that Halloween is a holiday created by Christians themselves.  As an intelligent and non-God fearing adult I am glad that I was brave enough to dip my feet into the darkness.  I feel like I have to catch up to all the years of not partaking in the “diabolical” festivities. Last year I  watched my son walk at his first Halloween parade at school. His class even put on a musical number. He sang his little heart out while he flexed his Hulk muscles to all his friends. It was fantastic.

I was guilt-ridden by religion fanatics for so many years.  Every little thing was seen as a sin and it guaranteed you a one way ticket to Satan’s bubbly cauldron in hell.  I think that if you live a life of helping others and contribute to society you really have nothing to worry about.  I now have what I call freedom from religion. My mother, on the other hand, still locks her door and hides inside from trick-or-treaters. She’s come a long way from the days she used to pad lock the front gate and display a sign outside stating that we didn’t celebrate Halloween (embarrassing). I guess you can say she is getting better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something Quick

When I was about 12 I saw a picture in a magazine of bedroom with clouds painted on the ceiling.  I loved it.  I really wanted my room to look like that room.  Magical and peaceful.  A serene setting just like it was painted in that picture.  So, I bought some paint, brushes and sponge.  I researched how to paint clouds on ceilings as best as I could (there wasn’t any google back then).  First I painted the ceiling blue.  That was actually the easiest part.  It was the perfect blue.  I let it dry a bit and then went on to my cloud preparation. I poured some white paint into a paint tray and dipped my sponge in it.  Then I slowly began to make circles that took the shape of clouds.  They looked extraordinary.  They looked real.  Then I just got carried away and made way too make circles and swirls and the clouds just looks like a mess.  I try to fix it but painting is so exhausting.  I stopped, and realized this needed to stop. I left it as it was for a few weeks.  Then I decided to paint over it.  I used the blue paint and began to paint the walls and the atrocious clouds that I had made.  As I was finishing up my paint job I ran out of paint.  Good thing I decided not to move any of furniture in my room.  I came up with a genius idea.  Paint around the furniture.  I know.  Terrible.  I was 12.  Words of advice… Painting clouds on your ceilings is never a good idea. Painting around furniture might oddly be brilliant.

Rock Bottom

The last few years for me have been a time of self discovery.  In 2013 I gave birth to my son, Luke.  He is my world. I’ve heard that women suffer from postpartum depression long after they give birth.  I never gave it much thought.  But for some reason I felt like something was missing in my life. Or that I was missing out on life.  6 months after giving birth to Luke I developed a terrible drinking habit.  It started off pretty slowly and innocently.  Soon after, I began rewarding myself with alcohol.  Then, it just spiraled out of control.  This went on for about 6 months.  I think it just made feel young again.  I felt free.  As soon as my son fell asleep I would drink.  I was drinking heavily every night.  It was a vicious circle.  One day after being exhausted from hangovers, I felt that I couldn’t live like this anymore.   I guess you can say I hit rock bottom.

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December 09, 2014 was the day I had my last drink. I am now approaching my two-year anniversary of sobriety and I am in awe at how resilient the body and spirit are.  I found my strengths through my weaknesses. The human mind is capable of so much. We push it constantly with our thoughts and emotions.  Sometimes to the brink of insanity.  The thing that helped me have so much willpower was my son, Luke.  Drinking every night was affecting my days.  I wasn’t being the best mom that I could be and I knew that.  He was getting older and I knew that sooner or later he would begin to understand what was happening and I didn’t want him to ever see me in that condition.  He was the one thing that saved me.

Perfection Will Have to Wait

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I have an extremely neat father-in-law. Cleaning is his obsession. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is his life’s motto.   Things are so well taken care of that he has even managed to preserve my husband’s childhood toys that now my son plays with.  Of course when he’s done playing with them he puts them back into their assigned bin. They are then stored in the toy closet.  Seasonal decor is also stored accordingly and taken out when the holidays come along.  Boxes for Christmas decorations, and boxes for wrapping paper.  A box or bin for everything. Where does this man find all this time to keep his house so neat and organized? I envy his perfection.  I try to emulate his organization skills. But honestly, with two 110LB dogs, a cat, a 3-year-old, and a husband who has the time.  I surely don’t.  The other day I found a Captain America shield in my tupperware drawer.  I keep the house as clean as I can.  Cleanliness is most important.  But the mess…oh the mess…. I fear it will never dissipate.  I have to accept that.  But as long as everyone is fed, clean, and healthy then I am content.  The mess can wait and so can perfection.

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Here’s a terrible picture of Boomer and kitty cat

 

Less of a Grownup

This morning I dropped my son, Luke, off at school.  For the first time, in a long time, he cried as I left.  (I think it was because he saw another little boy crying while being ripped from his mother’s arms.) Leaving him there broke my heart.  But I knew I had a day full of errands to run. Hedges to trim and whacking of weeds to do. Things that he would definitely not let me start or finish. I got back in my car and turned on the radio to the news station as I always do.  As I started driving back home my mind was racing between thoughts.  I listen to bits of the news and thought about Luke every few seconds.  The news spoke about segregation of public schools in the city and how it has had a terrible impact on children. Then they jumped to news about the current comical presidential race. I listened on and thought about how stressed everything I was listening to was making me.  All I could think of was Luke.  He’s at a point in life where he doesn’t have to worry about anything.  He doesn’t understand what wars are. He has no idea what poverty or starvation are. His thoughts travel between the real and make-believe. I love to watch him not have a care in the world. When did we start caring about serious things?  When did we turn off our playful imagination?  His innocence amazes me. He sometimes  makes me feel like a 3-year-old. (Especially when I am wearing a red wig with a Captain America mask or a way too small Ninja Turtle costume) All the nonsense in the world disappears. He helps me to be more like him. Less serious. Less adult.

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The Creases of Writing

Ernest Hemingway once said “We are apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Every time I write I find myself constantly hitting the backspace key. I know it is a terrible habit.  Each sentence that I have written has probably been rewritten about four times.  It not only stresses me out but it worsens my constant writer’s block.  I know there must be a way to disable the backspace key. However, in doing so, I might end up in a sanatorium.   There was once a time when there was no backspace key. In the pre-backspace key era if we made a mistake when writing we would cross it out and continue to write on the same piece of paper. Sometimes we would crumpled it up out of frustration and throw it in the waste basket.  When our frustration cooled off  we might go retrieve it,  flatten out the creases and finish what we started.  Hopefully in time I will be able to do the same. Finish what I start without stopping in between.  Give my writing a chance and stop second guessing each thing that is written.  (BTW just wrote the last sentence three times and this one twice) Whenever I feel like throwing that failed paper into the waste basket I will try to remind myself that writing is just that, a craft.  I will become better at it but I have to accept that there will always be errors. But through my many mistakes my writing will be less crumpled and more smooth.

Phases leading to the BIG 30

Phase

Life is immensely complex. It constantly changes from the time we are created to when it all ends. How are we taught to deal with all these changes? Sometimes I wish there was a simple manual. Something with a title like “How to Never Make a Mistake You Will Regret for dummies”. Yeah, that would have been great.

From the beginning we are solely dependent on our providers. For me it was my mom and (for the fun stuff) my dad. As a baby I was carefree.  Being fed, read to, bathed, and tucked in at night.  Life was grand.

Then I turned five. I was put in this strange place with strange children. Kindergarten.  They really should remove the “kind” from the beginning of that word. Many interesting experiences occurred here. Like the time someone brought blanks for a toy gun into the classroom. I drove a pair of scissors through it which caused in explosion so loud it  scared the kid next to me off her chair.  Or the time I watched a boy push a girl off the monkey bars where she then landed on both of her wrists and broke them. Traumatic for all who witnessed it. What an oasis KINDergarten was.

Now we’ll skip forward to middle school. This is the time when school became extremely serious. Some not-so-healthy relationships were made. The first tastes of debauchery began. Boys became a dominating factor in my life. Hormones were raging all over the place. Middle school was a jungle and I quickly became entangled in its vines.  School was no more the place of the occasional shove off the monkey bars. It was real life. Drugs, alcohol, and sex.  As far as the education  part went, teachers tried their hardest to keep kids occupied and interested.  But we were ruthless. I wish I can find every teacher I ever wronged in that school and give them a hug and tell them I’m sorry for everything they were put through. Middle schoolers are living an awkward part of their lives where they are being pushed away from childhood  towards adulthood and don’t know it yet.Definitely do not miss those pre-teen years. That “dummies” manual would have been a savior in that moment.

Moving on. My twenties.  Glamorized in magazines and movies, the twenties are a time when you go away to college and maybe end up with an envied high paying job. My twenties were none of that. They were filled with dead dreams and more drinking.  I ended up going to a local college and stayed at home for a few years. I eventually (half-heartedly) finished school. I lived with a few boyfriends until I finally found the courage to live on my own.  That was one of the best decisions I ever made in my entire life.

After a month of living alone I got a puppy. A beautiful white pit bull named Max.  He was a handful but it was nice having some company and I really enjoyed taking care of him. He brought substance to my life. One day , just when I thought it couldn’t get any better,  I met a guy walking a puppy. After a few conversations with him I learned that not only had he just gotten his puppy, he had also just moved to the same street that I had just moved to.   Every time I saw him felt like that first time. Very cliché. I thought Maybe I love this guy.

I did and we married two years later in September.  The following year on Father’s day, I found out I was pregnant. So we started the exhaustive search for a house.  We eventually found our forever home and moved in fairly quickly. Finally settled in, we waited for our son, Luke, to arrive.

On March 3rd I became a mommy. Luke was born at a healthy weight of nine pounds and six ounces! My life was truly complete. Every pain and mistake that I had lived through was vanished from my life. I felt as if there were a reset button that was pressed somewhere in the universe. I knew from that moment that we would love each other unconditionally no matter what problems arrived in our lives.

We swim through the sewage that is poured over us in life.  We scoop our way through the trenches and salvage bits of hope. We hold on to all those lessons big and small taught to us by our parents and teachers throughout the year. I look back and wish I would have listened more. It would have kept me away from many sticky situations. Phases are something that we must go through. It’s what makes us human.  Even though some are tough, the outcome of some are worthwhile.

Pensive Cat

Pensive

I watch you take a few steps on the cold kitchen floor.  You rub against my leg and breathe out a single “meow”. You then make your way towards the door.  You stare at me. Finally understanding what you are getting at, I get up and walked towards you. I take hold of the doorknob, turn it, and slowly pull the door open to the world outside. There you can chase chimpmunks and enjoy one of your many turf wars with the neighborhood cats. Maybe find a few fledglings from a nearby tree. Whatever your little kitty heart desires.

But to no ones surprise, you decide not to go out. You turn around as if  I were playing a trick on you. You make your way towards the middle of the kitchen and I watch your eyes wander into the nothingness of the air around you. Oh my absent-minded cat. What do you want? What are you thinking about?

Suffocated Dream

Darkness settles in. You’ve lost your way. Your mind loses its radiance. It’s slowly suffocating. Everything around is growing but you remain still. The years pass. The gloom lingers.

Thoughts begin to form. Your mind begins to expand. You feel again. After years wasted, a lost piece of you starts to break through. The piece of you that connected your strength and fears. You break the cycle.

Your mind was once a vacant paradise filled with mirages that could not be materialized.  Anger and shame brought you back from despair. They made you feel and with it let you live.