I am a procrastinator. I get down to the very end of the wire on papers (anyone seen my crazy-ass Tweets lately??), I avoid the laundry, and if it has to do with statistics or research, I will wait until the bitter end to read it.
I do not ask for help nicely (just ask my husband about this). I just don't know how to. For someone who makes helping others the very crust of her existence, I sure don't know how to take help from others. I always say 'No thanks' when it's offered. Very rarely do I jump at someone's offer to take my kiddo for a bit, or anything else for that matter. And when I know I need help, I just can't figure out how to ask. I worry so much about others' perceptions of me, and the last thing I want it to be considered naggy, bitchy, or whiny. So, if I think I will come across that way when asking for help (say, in folding the laundry so I can get some school work done), I.will.not.ask.
I am probably considered an enabler by some. I help my brother when he is short on cash. I help my mother when she is stressing out. I tend to put a band aid on some things, rather than help the person how to figure it out on their own. I am their 'out', in some ways.
I am a klutz. Not an hour goes by that I don't stub my toe, crack my knee on something, run into a wall, trip over NOTHING, or pinch my finger in a drawer or some other open-close type of device. I have bruises and scars, most of which I remember getting. I spill things all the time. I cannot wear white (yet, duh, I still do). To make things worse, I have passed this gene on to my girl.
I over analyze some things. Sometimes people, too. And those that are close to me, I am pretty sure, worry that I over analyze them. I pick apart every situation, every social problem, and try to come up with a reason why and a solution. I am my own worst enemy , because I over analyze myself as well.
I forget little things that seem unimportant, but end up being necessary. However, I remember things that I don't need to remember: the pain of my heart conditions, the sound of my father crying, the weight of my brother's body (in my arms) when he was 7, the hurt some people have caused me, the kiss of a lost love.....my brain is overflowing with things that just don't seem to have a real purpose.
I am sensitive. I am empathetic. I absorb others' emotions too often. I stress myself out. I miss appointments. I am late all the time. I love to sleep more than I love to be on time, apparently.
I have a vision of what I want to look like, but it's easier to keep eating pastries and avoid mirrors, than it is to avoid pastries.
I am my worst critic. I don't see a 'photogenic beauty' like some people say they see when looking at pictures. I don't see an intelligent, independent person when I look in the mirror. Well, not often. I know these things to be true, but convincing myself on a daily basis is a task that I cannot always complete.
I am loyal. I am loving. I am fun. I have a great sense of humor. I am caring. I love to help. I love to care for others. I love to make people happy. I care about the safety of others. I want a solution for children going to bed and waking up hungry each day. I am attentive to those I care for. I am outspoken. I am confident in my abilities to help others. I seek out the weak, to make them strong. I know, without a doubt, that I got the best parts of both parents' genes. I also know that I got some of the bad genes. I know that fear is what limits me. I know that anything is possible with a little faith....as small as a mustard seed. I am intelligent. I push myself to be better. I am a good mother. I am a devoted wife. I am a loving sibling and daughter. I put others before myself. I believe people have the capacity to change for the better. I give people second chances (and sometimes 3rd). I have hope for the world. I am slowly coming to terms with my faults, and finding positives in each of them.
This is me. Take it or leave it.
So, I'm driving to an interview this morning, at the butt-crack of dawn (since I'm jobless, I like to sleep past the butt-crack of dawn, especially since I'm up all hours of the night, counting stars, sheep, and whatnot), and I'm in a decent mood, considering the whole waking-up-before-the-butt-crack-of-dawn (it was still dark out, for crying out loud!!). Traffic isn't bad, I know where I'm going (I loooove that I know pretty much all of Tarrant county), my daughter went to daycare all dolled up, without tears, in her daddy's truck, and I'm going to be early!!!! This is a feat all in itself since the blessed arrival of Grace into my life. I truly believe my mom is right: kids suck up all of your time. So, getting out of the house early and arriving somewhere early is such a great achievement around here (too bad they don't pay me for this kind of stuff).
So, I'm driving by one of my Pisces areas-I love it and I hate it all at the same time (I'll explain later)-the area where I-35, I-30, 287, and Lancaster all come together in Fort Worth. This is where all of the shelters are, where all of the homeless try to live, if anyone around here doesn't know.
Okay, so I love it because it reminds me how blessed I am, and how fragile our lives really are, and all that other sentimental, feeling crap. I hate it because, well, of all that sentimental, feeling crap. It makes me hurt. It makes me so sad. It pisses me off. It gives me the goose bumps, even on my face! It makes me cringe. I feel like I live in excess when I drive by and see people sleeping under the bridges or lining up outside the shelters.
I f-ing live in excess.
I just want to cry, and fix it (because that's what us social workers were born to do), and at the same time, there is a silent place in my brain that goes 'Whew! Glad that's not ME!' See, I don't have enough self-confidence to think that if I lost it all today, that I could survive on the streets alone, let alone with my bossy toddler. I'd go insane from the bossiness, and I would be a basketcase due to fear.
So, get on with it long-winded girl.
On the grass, next to the highway, behind one of the shelters, is a woman sitting on a blanket. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought that two birds were sitting in front of her blanket, and she was talking to them. I had the briefest thought of 'Oh, she must be Pocohontas!'
Upon closer inspection, I realize that she has her legs straight out in front of her, no shoes, no socks on her feet. She is sitting on her hands. She is rocking. Her arms look uncomfortably twisted. Her hair is wild.
But what gets me the most is her face. It is contorted in pain, agony, and probably some sadness. Her eyes were squeezed shut, and her mouth was moving quickly. I couldn't judge her age, only her agony.
Her face is haunting me today. I can't close my eyes without seeing her. This happened around 8am, and here I am the middle of the afternoon, still thinking about her.
She could have been cold, she could have been praying/meditating, could have been watching traffic drive by. I would believe any of those if it weren't for her face. I think she was probably trying very hard to handle being 'sick' from lack of a drug. It appeared that she needed a fix. I am not judging her, I am not mad at her, for this. I fully believe that being addicted to drugs is an awful situation that 9 out of every 10 people would not choose to stay in. Yes, there is that one person who would much rather stay f-ed up than handle reality. But most don't have full intentions of becoming junkies, or homeless, and truly don't imagine themselves sitting on the side of the highway strung out.
As much as I loathe the crap that strung-out drug addicts do to get another fix, I cannot really blame them. I do believe what I have heard addicts say, time and time again: 'If you knew just how sick it made me feel to be without the drug, you would not deny me the ability to take it again'.
And honestly, aren't we all addicts in some sense? We taste, feel, see something that makes us feel better or feel more clearly than we ever have before, and we spend the rest of our lives chasing after that feeling again, which can never really ever be re-created. Not to put it lightly, but keylime pie will never taste quite as awesome as it did the first time I tried it (in Florida, on vacation, when I was a little kid). Yet I keep eating it. And it keeps putting the pounds on my hips.
Or how about your first love? That racy, exhilarating, electricity that you felt when the person liked you back...when you kissed the first time-that buzz in your ears...when the phone rang....when you held sweaty, nervous hands....it was all so exciting and new, and well, great. Does anyone every really feel that first love feeling again? Of course, juvenile love is different than adult love, or realistic love, or whatever the hell you want to call it, but really-do they match up at all? Yet, most of us (okay, most of us women, usually the sentimental, feeling type of women) search for the return of that feeling in ourselves. I'm not saying adult, mature, married love isn't great. I'm just saying that it is not the same as first love.
Or, how about this: You get the honor of seeing a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The sky is blue, red, pink, orange.....it is so brilliant and extraordinary. But, if you take a picture of it, it just isn't the same. I have a few pictures of awesome sunsets, and looking at them is not the same as actually experiencing it the first time, live, alive. Yet, I still look at them, hoping that some day the pictures will do justice to the real thing.
I gave up a silent prayer for that woman, on the spot. Each time I think of her, I just think 'Please, God'. I don't like to think of all the other drivers who saw her this morning, and probably shook their heads, or didn't even allow their conscience to recognize that their eyes just saw her.
We are all so wrapped up in our lives that we don't like to hear 'sob stories' or see things that make us uncomfortable. We want to protect ourselves from the pain and ugliness of anything that has to do with the homeless, the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the mentally ill.....
We all want to think that her situation is so very far away from us, so far removed from our lives. 'It couldn't happen to me'. 'I'm way smarter than that!' But it is right around the corner, right on Lancaster, and but for the GRACE of GOD, I am not sitting on the blanket with her, in the same boat.
A few years ago I met a little boy with large, dark eyes, and my life was changed forever. His name was Romeo, and no pun intended, he stole my heart.
Romeo was a little boy. Very little, to be exact, considering he was about 9 months old, but looked to be about 5 months old. He was neglected, malnourished, underfed, ignored. No one cuddled, baby-talked, rocked, snuggled, or loved him.
It seems no one made eye contact with this little angel. Until he met me.
He had never been sung too, until he met me.
Nor had he been rocked, cuddled, snuggled, or touched, I swear.
Romeo had a stinky blue body cast, from his ankles to his underarms. His skinny little feet stuck out, and there was a hole to assist in diaper-changing. He had broken legs or a broken pelvis-I don't remember which it was, but it doesn't matter anymore.
Romeo had a young mom, that was too busy with all of her boyfriend drama to take care of him. In fact, boyfriend drama was what caused the injury to little Romeo. Mom didn't make him much of a priority, if he even made it onto her priority list at all. Long story short, Romeo was removed from his mom, and I was assisting a co-worker by caring for him while she did all the necessary paperwork to take to a judge.
I made a little pallet on the floor for Romeo, thinking I would get some work done while he was playing with some cute, noisy infant toys. Of course, that was before I saw the body cast, and saw his little face.
Romeo was laid on the pallet, and he just, well, laid there. No cooing, no smiling, no eye contact, no movement at all. When I touched his little hands and feet, he flinched, like he didn't know what the hell it was. I crooned his name, seeking eye contact, but he made none.
For those of you who don't have kids, 9 month olds aren't normally like this. Normal infants are not like this at all! They coo, they smile, they are learning fine motor skills while reaching for things, kicking their little legs, struggling to turn over and pull up on furniture. They suck on their hands, they drool.....they do not just lie there!!! I read a lot on attachment in college, as well as on a regular basis as part of my job, but I had not, up until that point, ever seen a child who was not attached, who was the epitome of a neglected infant. It shocked the hell out of me, and I vowed right then and there, to myself, that I would never be so down or caught up in my own life that I would hurt my children like that....I always knew I wouldn't physically hurt my children, but I guess I didn't think much about how my possible inaction could cause serious harm as well.
I still get the goose bumps when I think back to my realization that Romeo was basically just put down on a bed (or maybe the floor) and ignored, utterly ignored. He didn't even cry when he was hungry, but went right to sucking when I put a bottle in his mouth.
It took me roughly 10 minutes to get him to look me in the eye. I held him (not so easy with a cast on), touched all of his little fingers and toes, and kissed every part of him that wasn't covered by the cast. I sang to him, which startled him at first. Some stupid song I'm sure, considering I never worked without the radio or CD player going.
I don't remember how long he was in my office, but I do remember being in awe. I remember being totally shocked, and infuriated, that a MOTHER could ignore her child to the extent that he was more like a doll than an infant. My heart still clenches in my chest when I think of his little face, and those black saucers for eyes, when he finally looked up into my eyes. He had no idea who or what he was looking at. He showed no emotion, but his big eyes locked with mine for several seconds.
He never smiled, cried, or made any other sound the entire time he was with me. He didn't fuss about the lack of movement due to having the cast. And I'm sure he had to be itchy somewhere under that cast, but he made no noise to show his discomfort.
I truly was in awe. I hurt for him. I also cried for him, although no one saw me do it. I prayed for him, for a long time after that, and I still do think of him, not every day, but pretty often. I have no idea whatever happened to him, his mother, his abuser, his injury. I have no idea if he is a comfortably-attached toddler now, or if he is in foster care, or if he is even alive. I have no way of knowing.
I don't claim to be a healer, or the fixer of all that is broken in people's lives, but I hope that the little time he had with me did something positive for his little soul. He has a part of mine, that's for sure.
As part of the meme, I have to give you 6 random facts about myself. So here goes:
1. I have reoccurring dreams. Not nightmares. Places I know I have never been to in real life, but places I go to over and over in my dreams.
2. I once slept with a guy who is now dead. Creepy, huh?
3. And let me just say, since I am being brutally honest, as usual, that, with the guy gone, the female population is without one incredibly sexy guy who knew what the hell he was doing.
4. I used to hate coconut with a passion. I think it was the texture. Now I love it.
5. I once got so drunk that I fell off a picnic table that I just happened to be dancing on.
6. I was a 'sexy kitty cat' for Halloween one year. Now? I find it annoying as hell that young girls use Halloween as an excuse to wear next to nothing. "Let's wear lingerie, draw some whiskers on our face, and bam! Happy Halloween!" Ack.
So, who shall I tag? Shit, who am I really going to torture?
And those are the only people I will torture for now. The rest of you: I still try to read your blogs, I don't get to comment often, but I love you all!
Enough with the lovey-dovey, kissy-face shit. Back to our regularly programmed blog.
1. The First 48-I know I've mentioned this before, but seriously, if you haven't watched this show yet, you are missing out.
2. Honey Almond Black boba tea-I get one every Wednesday, after I struggle through the hell that is my 2nd class. This stuff is just lovely, hot or cold.
3. The weather!! It is fanfuckintastic these days!! I have my top off on my Jeep (Pervs! You were thinking I meant something else, huh? Especially my confession, right?), and it makes me smile every day.
4. The last of the summer fruit-peaches, blueberries, and watermelon.
5. Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds.
6. My husband's sense of humor-Granted, sometimes I want to throttle him, smother him with his pillow, or flick his nose, but lately, his smart ass stuff has really made me laugh.
7. My brother-Having him live with us has been fun so far. He makes me laugh, he's easy going, and I adore the guy.
8. My daughter-Here's a rundown of the things she has told me lately:
~"Mom, you are SUCH a beatdown"
~"When I grow up, I will be the mommy, and you will be my baby, and I will put you in time-out if you say 'Shut your pie hole'"
~"Can I get married when I get bigger?"
~"Mommy, I love you."
~"Momma, you make me happy."
~"You are so smart to go to school."
~"I told the dogs that if they better stop barking, or you are going to kick their ass."
Yes, she has my mouth. I do really well around her, but sometimes a 'shit', 'damn', or 'ass' slips out, and guess who apparently sucks it up like a sponge??? That's my girl!
What's keeping you sane lately??
I apparently have some deep-rooted death wish.
My hubby has a truck with a 6 inch lift on it. I wear flip flops all the time. My driveway has got to be the most slippery thing I have ever been in contact with. It is also slanted. Really slanted.
How are these three things related, you ask?
Get ready to laugh.
My hubby parked in the driveway. I opened the door to get out. I put one foot on the step, held on to the 'Oh shit' handle, and stretched my other leg out to step down onto the driveway. Flip flopped foot made contact with driveway. Briefly. All weight put on this leg. Flip flopped foot touching driveway decides to stop all contact with the driveway. I fall out of the truck, flat on my right side. Hit head on step, bend wrist back trying to catch myself. This all happens in 2.4 seconds, but there is enough time for my brother, who is standing on the other side of the truck, to think I dropped my purse, and come walking over to my side, only to find me, not my purse. There is enough time for my girl to watch the entire thing, and say "Mom, why did you do that?". There is enough time for my husband to just sit there and shake his head at his klutzy wife. And me?
Oh, I just laid there, laughing at myself, because really, what else can I do at this point?
I'm not telling you this so we can argue the morality of hunting. I totally don't want to get into that with anyone, especially since I don't like to get into that argument with my own hubby. I'm telling you so that you know why I would have this picture, and why I would be asking you "What the hell???":
Take notice of the two little piggies on the left, ATTACHED at the butt. This is honest-to-goodness real! I wouldn't even know how to use Photoshop!! Nor would I have the spare time to Photoshop two piggies that share the same ass! Isn't it crazy???
1. For those of you who are married-What did you do with your wedding dress? I still have mine, and it has moved 3 times, in the stupid flimsy bag it came in. It needs to be cleaned. Currently, it is in a big ball on the floor of my study, which would lead you to believe that I could give two shits about it, but really, I just don't have a place for it since my bro lives with me right now.
But, more importantly: Save it, or sell it?? I love my wedding dress, and although I know I'll never wear it again (But wouldn't it be fun to have some sort of wedding dress gathering, where we could all squeeze into our gorgeous dresses for a day, and feel like princesses again??), I am not sure I should part with it. What if my daughter wants to wear it when she gets married? Which leads me to this observation: I don't think anyone does that anymore, do they? I just don't know what to do! If I sell it, I would probably just put the cash in my girl's college fund (although...that's been losing money too, thanks to this P.O.S. economy). But, if I'm going to sell it, where? And for how much? OMG-and what if I sell it, and then 20 years from now, my girl is all "But mom! I totally wanted to wear your wedding dress!!!" That would be my luck, let me tell you.
So, Keep it or sell it??
2. I am sick of cooking the same shit, week after week. I get so sick of it that I basically avoid cooking, which causes us to eat much less healthy (order pizza, go out to eat, eat cereal). My hubby and I searched online and found some new recipes a few months ago. And most of them were great. But!!! Most of them are not the healthiest. And believe me-we need healthy around here. Or, at least halfway-decent healthy? I'm considering buying the Hungry Girl book, since I get the daily emails, and love the recipe ideas. Also considering the Biggest Loser cookbook. Anyone have these already? Anyone have any suggestions for other healthy cookbooks? Or just healthy recipes? Help!! Or I will be 400 lbs. by New Year's!!
3. Does anyone have one of those bike trailers for your kiddos? I really want one, and have done some research online, but am still not sure which one to buy. I am a bit of a klutz (putting it lightly), so I'm thinking I need one that has some uh, reinforcement (read: "bubblewrap") to protect my girl.
I'm pretty sure that's about it for now. I'm off to continue working on 4 projects all due in the next two weeks. Oh, and another one due the following week. Anyone want to help me out with any of those? Any takers? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
I saw this video in one of my classes this week. It is phenomenal to me. Several months ago, I ignorantly said, "I'm surprised no one has thrown race into this election yet." Well, shit. And then I started to hear the whispers of people (fellow students!, acquaintances, an in-law) bringing it up. Like "Why waste your vote on him-he's gonna be assassinated anyway." and "Who is really ready for a black president?"
And then I saw this:
Look, I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for. All I'm gonna say is this:
Please, please, let's look at the issues, the person's qualifications, and where we want our country to go. Let's please not bring up the color of a person's skin, or where he grew up, or if she has a pregnant teen, or if she has a special needs child, or how pretty she is, or how 'white' he acts, or what religion he is.....
Yes, I realize these things matter, to an extent. I realize that. But truly, must we bring up race? Must we act as though he is not qualified based on the color of his skin???
I will stop this rant before I get too upset, but please, click the link, and watch the quick clip. I completely agree-We should not be forcing anyone to go backwards, to go to the back of the bus. It's 2008, for the love of Pete.
When I was younger, my parents were foster parents. They actually decided to become foster parents in the hopes that they would fall in love with, and adopt, at least one child. One of those wishes came true.
We had several little kiddos live with us over time. Two sisters that were silly, giggly, and a bit out of control. The older of the two tortured my dog for so long, that when she cornered him under our dining room table, he finally retaliated and bit her face. Stitches were needed. Not long after, my dog 'went to live on a farm', according to my mother, and it took me literally about 18 years to realize that he was put down, not sent to a farm.
A little girl who was quiet. I barely remember what she looks like; I only remember that she was found inside the cab of an 18-wheeler, hungry, cold, and afraid.
I think there were a couple of other kiddos, but it's all becoming a bit hazy now. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of muffled crying. It was always a surprise when I woke up in the morning, because I never knew if there would be a new baby, toddler, or child sleeping in one of the rooms down the hall.
L.M.* came to us when he was a little over a year old. He was malnourished, neglected, and little. He was blonde, with huge dark brown eyes, and he was a bit serious for his age. His parents were young, and his mother was actually in jail and pregnant with another child, when he came to live with us. He had a brother with special needs, who went to a foster home that was trained in caring for the medical issues he had.
Over time, he warmed up to us, and changed into this silly little boy, one who liked to laugh, loved to swing, and adored my mother. ADORED. They were very close. I was too young to understand the kind of bond between a mother and child, but I saw the love between them.
I cannot remember what his voice sounded like, and I do not know how he felt about us. I do remember he was born in January. He ate one thing at a time on his plate at dinner. He was afraid of my father. He liked to wear 'big boy' sunglasses. He had gorgeous eyes.
He stayed with us well over a year. He came available for adoption, as did his brother, and I believe my mother really wanted to adopt him and his brother, to keep them together. My mother could not bear the thought of living without L.M.
However, L.M. and his brother were adopted by someone else, someone who could care for his brother's needs, in another state.
L.M. was taken from us.
I will never forget it. I have snapshots in my mind of that time period:
My father sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of his stereo with headphones on, grief written across his face like graffiti.
My mother's tear-streaked face as we drove away from dropping him off. Her hands on the wheel, driving through a parking lot, turning back to look at L.M. one last time.
L.M., outside, screaming and crying for my mother, his mother.
His empty bed, empty room, the empty, silent house.
The lump that stayed in my throat for several weeks, the guilt that consumed me, ate at my skin until I was raw and worn down.
See, I loved L.M., but I did not always show it. I was young. I was 9. There were times that I didn't want to be bothered by him, which is normal for siblings. But I was so torn up about the fact that he might only remember my being mean to him because I was annoyed with him. I was so afraid he would not remember how much I loved to hug him, how much I loved his little feet, how much I loved him for loving my mother so much.
None of us were ever the same after L.M. Seeing pictures of him still puts a lump in my throat, and there is so much sadness in my mother's eyes when his name is mentioned.
There are many things I was too young to understand about the whole process, the entire situation, about the decisions that were made. As an adult, I understand them, but the 9 year old me is a bit angry about why it happened the way it did.
A little over a year after L.M. left, my brother Matt was born. His name is Matthew because it means 'A gift from God'. And that is what he was.
And I was so melancholy about having a brother again. I wanted a sister. Why? Not because I could dress her up in my dolls' clothes, but because, in my mind, a sister would be less complicated, less likely to break my mother's heart. Or mine.
But, he stole my heart with his serious little face. And any time I wanted to just scream that he was annoying me, I would check myself, because I knew I was lucky to have a second chance.
I jumped at the chance to feed him, rock him, change him, bathe him, parade him up and down the street.I didn't complain when he followed me around outside when I was playing with neighborhood kids, at age 3. I didn't mind that he got more presents than I did at Christmas. I loved when he snuggled on the couch with me, watching TV, at age 5. I'll never forget when he caught me watching Cujo one night, and he hid his face in my lap. It never bothered me when I would wake up early in the morning, to find not only his warm little body in my bed, but also all of his and my stuffed animals under the covers (age 7). And I have to admit that I was extremely annoyed when he hung my bras and & underwear on the ceiling fan in the living room to embarrass me in front of my friends (age 9), but I can laugh about it now.
There are other things I will never forget about my brother, which I won't detail here, because some things are just too close to my heart.
I am so thankful that we all had a second chance at having a boy in our family. I wouldn't trade him for anything, for anyone, in the world, even L.M.
I don't think my brother understands the enormous amount of love we all have for him. Or that he helped us heal. I think he gets annoyed by our love and attention, and feels we are smothering him, when all we are doing is trying to make sure we are never without him or his strong presence. We adore him. We are afraid to lose his love.
When I first wrote this, my brother lived a couple of hours away. About a month or so ago, he moved back, and is living with me while he saves up some money. We stay up late every night, snacking and watching The First 48. He regularly text-messages me funny song lyrics. He shares a very girly bathroom with my 3 year old. He lets my 3 year old call him 'Monkey Matt' instead of Uncle Matt. They chase each other around the house, and call each other 'poopy butts' or whatever other silly word my girl comes up with. I am overjoyed to have him back in town, and actually living with me. He makes me laugh, and makes my hubby laugh too. Although I am the older sibling, it is I who looks up to him.
(* I only used initials just to save us all a little heartache.)