You

I gave you my heart,
And I asked you for wings.
To be the angel I can be.
I had given up hope,
I’d given up pride,
I quit looking beyond my door.
I began to see hatred stamped everywhere,
Even the people I loved most in the world.
And in the depths of despair,
You whispered hey, look here.
You saw what I thought was gone.
You looked well beyond.
All the judgements of the past.
I found my smile,
I found my laugh.
I no longer cry everyday.
I don’t always feel insane.
I flew to the window,
I felt the sun,
I saw a smile,
When I saw none.
You cracked the shell,
You knocked on the door,
You dared me to believe in more.
You opened the door to second chances.
You light up my life.

The Cycle Continues

In my previous post, I explained how my life, and the lives of the people I love, were changed forever in thirty seconds.

And, after 16 years, they are tired of it, and think I need to get over it.

With that said, there are some things you can’t get over.

When this injury first occurred, I didn’t want to leave the house. I was terrified of the embarrassment that I would feel if I was standing in line instead of in front of the refrigerator when my body decided that like it or not, it was time to urinate. I couldn’t sense it, I couldn’t feel that my bladder was full. Or my personal favorite, when I had a bowel movement in my pants like a two year old because I could no longer sense that region.
I’m sure if you put two and two together, you can figure out other things I could no longer sense.

Now, on the flip side of all that, there was the pleasure of fire burning my legs. There was the pleasure of knives being repeatedly stabbed in my body. There was the pleasure of feeling those stabbing knife sensations being dragged down my body like I was being filleted like a fish.

That was in the beginning.

Today, 16 years later, I have given up the hope that I will find a cure. I will continue to do the things that work for me. I will go to the grocery store, and I will leave the DMV and come back later. I will wait for the line to not be 3 hours long, and I will eventually achieve my goals. I will do it in a way that I am comfortable with, because I refuse to stand in a line, knowing that I will have to go to the ladies room prior to getting to the end of that line, and holding it, well, as stated above, doesn’t always work out. And well, I’m sure the people in line appreciate the patience and persistence and the working within my limitations.

After all these years, I still have days that I am in absolute agony and all I can do is lay in the bed and cry. Those are the bad days when I question the reason for my existence on this planet. Those are the days when I believe that the people I love would be much better off without my presence holding them back.
But, then I have good days, and I bake cookies, or I plan a garden, or I teach myself something new, whether it’s how to crochet, play a guitar, delve into the deeper mysteries of theology, plan a garden, and so on.

Though I am constantly reminded of my limitations, I try my best to navigate my world.

I didn’t do anything to deserve this injury and my family didn’t do anything to deserve the fall out.

It’s been a hard, grueling process of having hope one day, only to feel completely hopeless the next.

It’s degrading to have to tell your children that they have to help keep the house clean because you can’t keep up with the pace required to do so all by yourself, not that my children were too young to pick up their toys, they were too young to understand. Even now, they can’t.

Nonetheless, I strive everyday to have a good day. I strive to achieve something every day, no matter how small it might be.

I get up every day, I brush my teeth, comb my hair, and I try. Some days, I achieve greatness. Some days, I fall flat on my face.

But, I am lucky. I am lucky enough to be with a man that sees what I try so hard to pretend does not exist. I am lucky that he has given me the tools to achieve the goals I try to set for myself. I am lucky that he will go outside and help me to do the hard labor aspects that, though I try, I can’t do. I am lucky that he stands beside me, and says it’s OK baby, I got this. I am lucky that he gets up every day, goes to work, and pays the bills. I am lucky that he keeps the baking cabinet stocked with the supplies necessary for me to do those little things. Those little marks of success. Those moments when I can stand up all day without tears.

I am lucky that he is patient. I am lucky that he is kind. I am lucky that he is understanding.

And for that, and a million reasons more that I have not listed, he has my love. He has my loyalty. He has my gratitude. He has everything I have to give. And, for whatever reason, I am lucky that he loves me in return. I am lucky that he is kind, giving and understanding.

He’s one of the many voices in my head telling me that I can do it when I am struggling to just put one foot in front of the other.

And, ultimately, he’s the genius behind my success, along with the group of people that have also challenged me over the years (they know who they are).

Though, for most, my measure of success is not enough, it’s enough for me and the people who live in this house.

You don’t have to understand it. It’s not truly possible unless you have walked a mile in those shoes only to end up feeling like a failure because you couldn’t work, and some days, brushing your teeth and hair was all the success you could manage.

And finally, to all the people who have had all their dreams sidelined due to no fault of their own, keep trying. You’ll find where you belong and you will find that though you are not capable of earning a paycheck, you have are capable of offering solutions to the financial problems that exist in something like this. You will have to think outside of the box, but there are options. Ultimately, support, patience and love go a long way.

Chronic Pain

To my family,

Please understand, I am not whining here, I’m explaining. I’m trying to help you understand the impossible. Because if you haven’t been there, you don’t understand.

I was injured, permanently, by a moment. A moment that lasted 30 seconds. My whole life changed in thirty seconds.

I was on the right track, the road to success. The road to a good life for my family. 30 seconds later, nothing was ever going to be the same, no matter how hard I tried. Failure is a bitter pill to swallow.

Over the next few years, I pushed. I pushed with everything I had until I sat there one night, holding a hand full of pills, the very pills they gave me to help relieve the pain. I sat there contemplating my family’s future. I sat there contemplating whether I was going to be capable of raising my 4 children. They were young, so very young. What kind of effects was this going to have on my life, and more importantly, my children’s?

Today, 16 years later, my children are grown, for the most part. And, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t swallow those pills.

I’m glad I was there all those years. I’m glad that even though I was a shell of a person, trapped inside my own personal hell, I got to experience the greatest joy in my life. I got to see my children grow up. I got moments, fleeting, brief, moments. An Easter basket of absurd magnitude. Surprise, mom made cookies, she had a good day. Here, let’s take a walk, it’s a nice day. But, my all time favorites, were the days my little girls came home, and some boy had pulled their hair, or said something mean, those days, I let my words do what I physically could not. I walked them through. I told them what is normal boy behavior and I told them exactly where it crosses the line. I guided them, often from my bed, the recliner, or the kitchen. I did the best I could.
And, all the while, when they were at school, I spent years chasing a cure. Searching, hoping to one day to stand in the sun with my children. I got that! It wasn’t permanent, though I hoped with all my heart that it would be.

I got to go play in the park, I traveled the roads to see my children, as some were already adults. I worked a job, even if it was only part time, and I have just about finished raising my children.

You take the good with the bad. That’s the lesson I learned. Never give up hope.

I cannot ever remove the grief that this condition causes, and yes, it causes it. It causes you to chase down every form of therapy. I causes you to scream for help. It causes you to ask your children to clean up their rooms because you can’t. It causes you to make your children grow up a little faster than you wanted to, and it causes you to lose faith.
It can be a soul sucking abyss of hell, and all the while, the light in your eyes, the hidden glint of a smile, the aww that you experience, the envy, the jealousy. How you’d give anything to achieve a cure, even your life.
Those days were hell on my children. They have seen their mother go absolutely mad. It will drive you literally insane and their is no pills for that. Trust me, I’ve tried everything!
No, it takes a sheer will of determination. My will is stronger than my body. I push myself to be better than I was, I rip muscles, I break toes, and I fall down.  It’s excruciating and mental. It’s good days and bad days.
Because I am not in the hospital, because I am not receiving chemo, because I am not dying, doesn’t mean that it’s not hell.
Yet, I endure my worst days so that we can enjoy my best days.
You are all grown, mostly. You are all capable of achieving your dreams. You are all strong enough to endure the bad and find the good. You will light up at the glimmer of a smile. Ultimately, you will live, and with that will, you will succeed.

I believe in you.

I have loved my family, the best I could, through hell and back. There’s nothing they are not prepared to handle. Most of my children believe in themselves. They are confident. They strive for excellence, and know that they will fall, but they know how to stand back up. The strength has been there all along.

It’s your life. It’s your path. You get to chase your dreams and I want to hear about them.

Find love, find faith, and find compassion. Find someone who will hold your hand on a bad day, and will challenge you to try harder. Find that hope within a smile and strive for excellence. Even if you fall, you can land among the stars, but don’t ever quit shooting for the moon. You just might get it. And if you don’t, that’s ok too. I still love you. I just want to see you smile.
Live, Laugh, Love

As for the decision I made all those years ago, I don’t regret it. I’ve been lucky to have a family that helped me through. That helped me endure. That helped me do the one thing I could do. Raise my children. It wasn’t perfect, but I was there, watching, guiding. I tried to teach you. I tried to show you that life is painfully beautiful, but to stand up for yourself. Know your strengths and know your weaknesses. Let your strengths shine. Never give up.

Manifest Destiny

Currently, in the media, race is a very hot topic.
So, I decided to address the issue.
I’m a 40 year old white female. By all accounts and standards, America should have been handed to me on a silver platter. Guess what, it hasn’t. Just like everyone else, I have been expected to carry my weight in society, however, it’s more than that.
My household is a middle class income generating household. My parents were an upper middle class generating household. Both my parents worked. I was what they called a latchkey kid.

My parents planned for the future, paid their taxes, and lived a good life.

Now, to add a bit more dynamics here. I’m disabled. My monthly check comes from the stipend of money that me, my parents and many other hardworking Americans paid towards a dividend with the government in the event that we retired, or in my case, got injured.
This is not money just given to me. And every year, they cut into the social security budget in order to fund the government assistance programs.
Now, I’m not necessarily against government programs per se.

With that said…
I don’t care about the color of your skin. Never have. I care whether or not you are a kind, decent, human being. I care about social constructs. I care about my heritage just as you care about yours.

Yes, the KKK was a racist group, but so is the black panthers. Martin Luther King, now that’s someone to look up to. He never used violence, he used his intelligence, and frankly, I think that he’d be very disappointed seeing where his legacy has led.

I blatantly find it offensive that you feel that you have a right to your cultural pride, but because I am white, it’s racist. Yet, I’m also proud of the Native American heritage in my ancestry.

I’m Irish. I’m German. I’m Native American. Ultimately though, I’m American, and so are you.

Manifest destiny was achieved through the shedding of blood and tears, if you look back at the whole known history of the world, you will find that this is a very common theme, no matter what it was called.
You would also learn that African Americans were sold into slavery by Africans, meaning black tribes. You would learn that the deciding factor was whether you won or lost a physical confrontation. Apparently, if you’re here, it’s because your ancestors lost the battle. Now, there is also the chance that you were kidnapped, just like the Irish-American slaves were, yes, there were white slaves. The fact that you don’t look at this speaks to a guided narrative of poor me.

To me, manifest destiny was about more than achieving a land grab, and it culminated in the Civil War. A war where many white Americans died to help your ancestors gain their freedom. All they wanted was a chance to create their own destiny.

This country has been desegregated my whole life. Yes, in the beginning it was tense, change always is. Yet, by the 90’s, we were sharing cultural differences at concerts and every where else. Acceptance was the goal. Respect was the hope.

Equality, that’s what you’re after, but did it ever occur to you that so do we. We want the right to manifest our destiny, just as you do.

I propose, we remove the laws governing enrollment. Remove the laws governing hiring. We remove the question about race all together from every government, employment and educational document. I propose that we let the hard work of each individual stand, regardless of skin color. I propose that if you want to achieve success, stand up and earn it. I propose that we stop funding social programs for able bodied people. I propose that we require mentally ill people to get a job. It’s good for them.

Ultimately, I propose that we stop making excuses and start with “The Man in the Mirror”, yes, I quoted a Michael Jackson song. I propose that we stop blaming white America for the problems. Because, like it or not, we don’t control the world, but you do have a more than fair chance to obtain a better life. Though all black colleges are a standard, all white colleges are banned, yet we’re the racist.

I’m sorry, but your narrative does not hold up to scrutiny, and you are not the only culture to have worn chains.

Stop blaming the world for your problems and take responsibility for your life. I know I sure can’t blame the world for an injury it had no responsibility in, so why should I bear a sympathetic ear to your arguments that predate my birth?
I am responsible for me just as you are responsible for you. If you’re not happy with what you have achieved, stop blaming my skin color for your problems, man up and manifest destiny with peace, love and good old fashioned elbow grease.

Otherwise, we all lose. Is the color of skin truly worth fighting another war, another round of family and friends rushing to their deaths? Or should you learn to not only speak your grievances, but to also listen to where your grievances have been addressed, and you still believe that white America is holding you back. From many perspectives, the only people holding you back is yourself.

Poetry

the bluest eyes,

rarely seen.

came today,

began to gleam.

they sang a song,

rarely heard,

broken hearted,

by broken words.

the instrument of their voice,

shed water from the broken host.

she hung her head,

she tried to hide,

the saddest tears lullaby.

she shattered down amongst her shame,

at the choices she has made.

she let love,

be her guide,

only to get alibis.

the saddest eyes,

you’ve ever seen,

sang their song,

then went away.

the piercing gaze,

of the mask,

has once again,

dawned its place.

colored eyes again changed

the fiery phoenix deep inside,

rose again and led her life.

Change

I see a time of great change ahead of this world. Fear is the one thing that will destroy the ability to heal. It will tear all apart. If we do not learn to sit amongst one another, with both acceptance and segregation, we will destroy the world as we know it. I can’t say I am a Christian, but, I can’t say I completely disagreed with the teachings of Christ. With that said, ya know, Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple. What temple exactly??? I would garner the suggestion as the temple being earth. Why, because money is the fundamental failure behind the global economy. It derives hate over acceptance. It’s fundamental use as a tool to create slavery is sad. We spend our whole lives working for a piece of paper. We have lost the true fundamental value that was behind the currency. Currency is legal tender for the easement of trade. However, this is where the problem lies, your trade is never as valuable as the monetary token. Why? Because there is no such thing as even trade. By the time the currency lands in your hands, it already has a fundamental debt attached, therefore the moment it is printed, it is not worth the paper it is printed on. You cannot create something out of nothing. That is exactly what money is. Something created from nothing. It you look at scientific research and theories, there was something prior to the big bang, now what was it?

Money is a computer program running the barter and trade system. It takes numerical values of zero and creates 1 -1 = 0 theory. You truly do not require money to live in this world, we have only become blinded to this fact. Everyone has a trade, skill, assets that is tradable. We have just forgotten how to live as a community of assets. Whether you have beautiful penmanship, and a neighbor needs wedding invitations. She grows a beautiful garden. Thus a bargain can be struck to create appeasement between the two.

We live in a world of “no haggle pricing” and have lost the art of humanity. Look at the work of the ancient artisans. What did we miss? What has been lost to the eons of time? That there is a better way. Humanity must adapt or die. How many times has war come down to one fundamental cause, someone is going to make money! We send our children to die for it, why? We argue about belief systems that have gotten so lost in the story that they can’t see the forest for the trees. God is in everything! Not just humanity. We are peons on a much bigger living system. We are the ants and the earth, she is our sustenance. We have forgotten the mother, and so the mother will forget us. We will reap what we sew, and thus far, it is a sad fate.

Socio-economic study needed…

I am not a professor, I am a student of the world. I don’t have a PhD in education, I have a PhD in life. And, I look at the state of affairs in this world, and I have wondered how we became such a lost and broken society.

This is where my answers have landed.

Women’s rights. I am not saying that women don’t have a right to be equal, we do. But, have we given up the very equality we so desperately perceived ourselves not to have???

Let’s look at the world since women’s rights became an issue. These are the socio-economic factors I have began to believe I understand.

Women went to work, and suddenly our time was scarce. We no longer had the time to tend to our children, so daycares became the answer. First, they were other homemakers caring for children while their parents worked, but as more women entered the workforce, daycare centers became a dime a dozen. Who is going to treat and teach your children the values you feel are important? The only people who are fully capable of this are the parents.

Since the women’s rights movement became a complete and total rally of success, we have lost so much. And the biggest break down is morality.

Though it seems like such a long time ago, it wasn’t. I am of a seriously transitional generation. My grandmother was a stay at home mother who raised six children. My mother was a working mother who raised 4, and I am somewhere in between the two worlds. I dabble in a bit of both, mostly out of necessity. This world requires two incomes, but why??? That is the biggest question I had to answer.

Women in the home just 50 years ago, had a tendency to create a community with their neighbors. One woman would garden, preserve and share the fruits of her labor. She utilized this skill to feed her family and keep the costs of the supplies needing to be purchased to a lower cost. How, by growing the fruits and vegetables necessary to feed her family. Now, does everyone have a green thumb? No. That is where community came in. The woman who gardened, she could trade for other skills she did not possess. Let’s say she could grow the food, but didn’t have the skills to cook it up to the level of delicious fashion that her neighbor down the street could. An arrangement could be met, I will give you ingredients if you teach me how to cook like that. Whoa, people working together for a common goal. Add the neighbor next door that can sew. What could she bring to the mix? And thus, community was formed.

Women are the backbone of society. We are the mothers of the earth. We are the moral compass, and yet, we have become so divided over what is wrong, that we can’t see the solutions staring us in the face. We have become too focused on our own identities, that we have lost the ability to fully see where we fit in the larger whole.

When women were at home, the crime rate was much lower. Teen pregnancy, though it existed was lower. Children were taken care of and the community was the safe haven to allow them to grow and learn. Our community is broken, and we are what is missing.

Men have always been the ones to go out, earn a meal, whether by their own bare hands with hunting and gathering, or by the sweat of their brow for a dollars wage. This is their role in this world and in the family. Women took on the responsibility of provider-ship, and began screaming at the top of their lungs, “I don’t need a man to make it in this world!” Yet, that is the natural order of things, and it is. It takes the combining of a man and a woman to create something that is precious and beautiful and the best thing that has ever happened to me. Children.

What is broken is the society that our children now grow up in. We send them off to daycare, then school, then college, and say ok, it’s time to be an adult and take care of yourself. But, we forget how much we are paying to outsource jobs of the household in order for women to work.

Childcare, food preparation and supplies, laundry, cleaning (the maid business is a booming industry), clothing, and so much more.

IT used to be cheaper to make your own clothes than to purchase them from a store. This is very backwards, as you are the one putting the labor into the items, yet it cost more money to make your own clothes? How is this not backwards? We have foods that are no longer wholesome and nutritious, we have a guaranteed heart attack in a box if you eat enough of it. We buy clothes only to need a specialty cleaners to clean them? Why?

All of these things is knowledge we have begun to lost, and have allowed to be taken from us because we have become a society that is taking the “easy life” for granted. Life has never been easy, but we have lost the skill to believe in the ability to fix what is broke, feed what is hungry, nurture what is hurting, and so much more. We have turned to drugs to make us happy, when the reason it seems most aren’t, is the crop in which they sewed their life.

Do I need a man in my life, no, not really. I am capable of making it in this world without one. We always have been. How many frontier women have you read about? What was always the key to survival if the husband died or became lame? Community and a gritting belief that the children can not go without the needs that are so important. And the most important is love.

Now, back to a little history.

Life was not easy when I was a child, but it was the community of family that made sure survival occurred. My aunt and grandmother grew a garden in their back yard. My grandmother sewed my clothes, and I loved them! The world was my oyster and she would make anything I designed. It taught me imagination coming to fruition.

My mom, the woman who is most directly responsible for the woman I have become today, she persevered. She overcame every hardship and always made sure that her children had food to eat, clothes to wear, and a warm bed to sleep. I never went without. I had her love, her compassion, and her strength, and I still do. So much so, that I believe I am capable of starting a conversation over what it would take to make the world a better place.

Love. It’s really that simple. We don’t have to judge one another to feel better about ourselves. We have lost the community, and by doing that, we have lost society. Our children have grown up tended to by TV’s, Xbox and internet. Look at what they are being taught. Women, take off your clothes and parade around because the only value you have is what someone sees when you are naked. We forgot that we are soulful human beings that have a deep desire to love, and be loved in return. Every person on this planet desires that. It doesn’t matter if you disagree about how they live their lifestyle, whether it be a man loving a man, or a woman loving a man. Life is hard enough without throwing harsh judgment into the mix. Yes, there are certain moralities that must exist for everyone to co-exist. That is the area in which the world has become so gray.

Michael Jackson said it best: I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways. No message could be made any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place, then take a look at yourself and make that change.

We have stopped seeing our own potential for flaws, and our own potential for growth, and that has been the biggest contributor to society as a whole. It became me, instead of we. It became a world of selfish, self centered, angry people, and I became the leading word. We, we are the world, we are the home, we are the hearth, we are the hope. When it’s we, and we agree on the lines of do not cross, we get a long so much better. Problem is, we have lost sight of where that line begins and a personal responsibility to morality ends.

I hope for the world, unfortunately, hope does not seem to be the light that all are guiding their hearts with. Because beyond hope, lies the seed of love.

Perhaps putting the heart back in the home is the solution  we need so badly. Maybe fathers would see their value and mothers not feel so overburdened with the responsibilities that their children get sent off to a machine to give the time necessary to get things done. We need to learn to work together again. Fix what is broken, and that, starts with family. Heal the family unit, and then begin to heal society.