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.