Letter To My Son: Bad Dreams

Hello my little man,

It’s been some time since I last wrote you a letter. A year and some months, to be more precise. I wish I was better at writing down these little thoughts for you to read when you are older, as you are now while reading this one.

You were 10 1/2 and growing like a weed when you finally flew by yourself for the first time. It was a tough decision and one we didn’t make lightly. But the trips to your dad and stepmom’s for the holiday visit twice a year were becoming tough on all of us. 8 or so hours of driving in one day were putting more than just miles on our cars.

After years of putting it off, we finally booked you your own tickets and flew you to your dad. He greeted you with warm hugs and lots of love. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear that you touched down safely.

Even though you were in good hands and probably having the best time ever, I always worried. Every hour of every day that you were apart from me.

It didn’t matter that we would speak on the phone or send messages to each other while you were gone. The moment you left my side, the worry set in.

And when I started to settled down to sleep each night after worrying about you all day long, my brain would wander and I would begin to have bad thoughts. Much like dreams but without the being asleep bit.

I am the reason you had (and probably still have) an overactive imagination. In those brief moments of quiet awake-dreaming, my mind would drift to dark corners where you were no longer with us and I had to find a way to live without you.

In those moments, I would lose control of my thoughts and fear the worst, as silly as it could be. And I would hurt from my head to my toes. Tears would trickle down my cheeks quietly. Life without you would not be worth living because YOU, my son, give me purpose.

Those nights without you still haunt me. The realization that someone on this planet could mean so much to me that a life without them would be meaningless, was devastating. My world felt like it was being torn apart just at the thought of something bad happening to you. Thankfully, it never did.

As always, you’d come home, chattering away about how great things were and how much you loved sleeping in and staying up late, watching movies and playing video games while you grew closer to your dad and stepmom. Together you all made memories that would never fade.

While it was great to hear you so excited, my one thought each time I took you back into my arms after a long trip away was that I could start living again. My bad dreams had been nothing but just that: dreams.

And my purpose had returned to me and, it was you.

With all my heart,
Mama

 

A Piece of My Past

Last night I learned of the passing of Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and The Wildabouts. The news didn’t sink in right away. If anything, in these days of technology and instant media coverage, I worried about this being a hoax or a mistake. But soon we learned the truth; Scott had passed away in his sleep.

I was instantly saddened by the loss of a creative life but also the loss of a part of my childhood. You see, I was a teenage in the midst of the 90’s and as most teenagers do, I found myself in the music that radiated through the radio. We sat by the speakers of our boom boxes and stereos with a cassette tape cued up so we could quickly begin recording our favorite songs. So many songs with the missing first few seconds due to our fingers not being fast enough to punch record when we heard the song we had been waiting anxiously to catch. Then, slowly, CDs made their way into our hands and we played them relentlessly on our skiddish, chunky CD players that we handled with extreme care to avoid any skipping.

His death is an instant reminder that, while my teenage years will always be a part of me and who I am, the past is stretching farther and farther from me. It’s now a distant memory to be retrieved and reminisced about when a part of it dies. My teenage years wearing flannel mixed with sunflowers and listening to alternative rock on KROQ is fading and only comes to mind when I hold a memorial for another piece that has passed away.

So in honor of Scott and STP and my angsty, teenage self, I’ll listen to his sultry voice and remember all the times I sang with him. I’ll remember the all lyrics that felt personal to me then and still have an impact on me today. I’ll uncover those dusty memories and hang the pictures in my mind once again as if they are fresh and new. I’ll live like I was 14 again and I’ll try not to dwell on the fact that in a day or two all of these pieces will again fade into the storage deep in my heart and mind to be forgotten again until another part dies and we are forced to hold another wake for our past.

Unending Cycle

It’s Sunday. A day of football and relaxing. Time to reset for the week and enjoy your time off before starting over again on Monday.

It’s Sunday and here I sit in an apron, smelling strongly of bleach and cleaning supplies, sipping a mild tea meant to help boost my ability to conceive this month.

This month marks a year and a half of trying to have a baby. That’s 19 months or about 82 weeks. Roughly about 575 days of the same thing each cycle: hoping, wishing, trying, logging, monitoring, and then nothing.

My job changed recently. I left the high stress job sitting at a desk Monday through Friday, 7:30-4:30 to a little less pay but a much larger reward. I’m stressing less and I’m home more. Plus I’m doing what I love and have passion for. I’m in the classroom teaching and touching lives.

Even with this change, each month is the same. We try and hope, crossing our fingers for a positive. Then nothing but the silence of one single pink line and another month gone.

We’ve done a lot on our own. We’ve changed our lifestyles, we’re keeping healthy (as we can) and we’re adding natural supplements to help boost our chances. But I’ve got to be real and accept that we may need the help of a doctor.

It feels silly to need help. Jake came into my life so easily and without even trying. But this struggle after having had a healthy pregnancy years ago is real and painful. I feel I’m failing and that something is wrong with me. And in some dark corner of my mind I also feel that I’ve done something wrong and this is my punishment.

Thanks Catholic upbringing.

We’ve been open when people ask about our goal to have more kids and we’ve been even more open about the fact that we’ve been trying for some time. This tends to be met with incredulous stares and confusion. They look at me and ask “But you’ve been pregnant already” like I don’t remember or that the thought hasn’t crossed my own mind, too. I know they don’t mean harm but it sucks to hear.

Oddly, as open as we can be, we don’t share much without being prompted first. I doubt more than a handful of people close to us know we’re trying and have been for over a year now. It’s kept close to our vest and if asked, we’ll chat. Otherwise, it’s a battle we fight alone.

Here we start another year, 2015. Another year, another month, another day to try again.

Little Pebbles

In the last couple of days, I’ve acknowledged that I am feeling down. I can’t put a finger on where it is coming from but it’s there, hovering around me like a soft grey blanket that holds all the warmth in and keeps everything else out.

It’s funny, since putting words to my feelings, I’ve noticed every little negative detail in the past few days. It seems that when you are down and feeling low, you notice every little pebble that normally wouldn’t catch your eye.

Lately (and I know it’s probably more my perception than reality) I’ve been noticing how insignificant I am. How little of an impact I make in the world. It all started when I realized a group of people I saw regularly are acquaintances more than friends. This all rolled together with my hermitude made me feel so isolated and left out. Why wasn’t anyone making the effort to be friends with me?

At first I was very upset and wanted to blame everyone else, that they were blind to the goodness that is my friendship. Then it came to me slowly; I had done this to myself. I make myself untouchable. Why? To keep my heart safe, maybe. I’ve lost a lot over the years, especially in the last 4, that I seem to have built a shell around myself. Also could be that I get so emotionally drained by people and tired in general after social interactions that it’s easier to keep people at arms length than to submit myself to a commitment I don’t think I can keep. And I hate being judged when I don’t want to socialize like others. I like my solitude and my space but I also like to be around people, just on my terms.

Suddenly I could see each and every little pebble of social awkwardness and antisocial behavior and anything NOT the standard I had done in the past and it seemed so overwhelming. All these little pebbles under foot, scratching at the bottom of my toes. And each time I picked up a pebble to toss away, I’d find three more.

So I began to wonder, out of honest curiosity, what it is that makes me a good friend? What draws people in to me? What do I have to offer? Right now, not much. But in the past when I had friends and people in my life that stuck around, what was it that kept them near?

I didn’t think I had changed much over time but I’m starting to see that the common issue with my social life is me so I must be doing something wrong, something different to keep people from wanting to stay in my life.

This all seems so dark and self deprecating but it is what it is.

Now to work on it.

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The Great Malaise

Ever get the feeling your skin doesn’t fit, nothing is right, and everything is wrong? But, when logically considered, all is right with the world and you actually have no complaints? It’s like feeling ill but having no fever or symptoms to prove you aren’t well, instead you just feel like the color grey: not black or white, just in between and void of any characteristics that make you stand out.

My life right now has a very mellow shade of grey hanging over it. I can’t tell if I’ve brought it on myself (which I acknowledge I’m wholly capable of doing) or if some outside force is wreaking havoc on my view of things. If something has painted my rose colored glasses a dingy color to dull my view of the world around me. Things seem blah.

I blame myself, as always. I can’t seem to handle the changes in our lives and for some reason I’m bringing the whole ship down with me. I know I’m not the only one feeling this deep sense of malaise. The contagion has spread and affected those around me and we’re all feeling a little under the weather, emotionally. Sensations aren’t as heightened and happiness seems to be hiding. Instead of feeling joy and anger, everything just feel… meh.

But this is life. The ups and downs and how we adjust to them. How we muddle through the crap and celebrate the good. We’ve been riding high for so long that I forgot what it was like to hit the bottom and scrape along looking for a morsel of joy. And I’m hoping this is the bottom and that I have no where else go but up from here.

The biggest issue is figuring out what is causing this malaise. I know I’m down (and I’ll refrain from using “depressing” or “depression” because that’s more than just a feeling, that’s a diagnoses) but I’m not sure what’s causing it. Could it be the expectations I feel that have been placed on me? Or the expectations I’ve placed on myself? Could it be the uncertain times ahead that, for some, trigger excitement at the unknown but for me trigger anxiety? Who knows right now. It could be anything and everything. Either way, I’m feeling down and lost and very much alone.

For now, I’ve taken the first step: I’ve acknowledged that there is a problem. And from here on out I just need to work through it with care and kindness for myself and without judgment.

Better Late Than Never

For a while now, I’ve felt compelled to write this note. To put down in words my apology for something that was done years ago.

So long ago I am not sure on the time and date. I just know small details like the apartment I was living in at the time had blue carpet and how little my son was when this all took place.

The time I hurt someone very badly, causing undue pain and sadness.

It wasn’t something I did but more what I didn’t do. I saw signs I should have paid attention to. Small ones, little inklings that something fishy was going on. That lies were being sown. My gut reacted, I put the ball into motion to get to the bottom of it all, to get some answers. But I my concerns were dismissed and instead of following through I dismissed them, too.

A couple of years later, I ended up hurt and emotionally battered after surviving a storm caused by someone I had loved and trusted. Maybe trusted a little too much because it was that trust that lead me to quiet my gut instinct and in turn hurt someone very much. Someone I’ve never met but someone who deserves so much more than the pain my inactions caused. Someone who was worth more than the lies they were given.

Fast forward to today and I still have moments of regret. It was never my intention to hurt anyone and though I’m not the direct cause, with hindsight being 20/20 I realize I could have stopped a whole lot of broken hearts, mine included. I’ve been working on accepting that the suffering so many went through almost 4 years ago was meant to happen because we all learned something from it.

I have over the last two years debated whether it would be a good or a bad thing to contact the injured party personally with this apology. But doubt held me back. I was worried that instead of offering peace it would instead open old wounds. And that’s the last thing I would ever want to do. Enough tears have been shed.

So here is my open letter of apology, my offer to the one that was left behind and hurt by someone’s carelessness and by my ignorance. I, to this day, wish I had listened to my gut and asked more questions. You deserve an apology from someone else, not me, but I doubt that will ever happen. And if it has, or does, I doubt it will be honest and sincere. But know this, as small as my role was and as little my apology may count, it is given with the utmost sincerity.

I don’t expect anything to come of this. But I can hope this reaches the eyes of the one it is meant for.

 

Time To Fake It

“Why are you sad, mom?”

My son hit me with this question this morning out of left field. Lucky for me, I was chopping an onion at that exact moment so I could blame my tears on the pungent scent wafting at me from the cutting board. But his astute observation made me realize that I was no longer doing a good job at hiding how I’m feeling lately.

And how am I feeling? Well to be quite frank I’m feeling miserable. I’m stuck in a hole that’s just deep enough to keep me contained while still being able to see the sunlight just above me. I’m frustrated and angry but still stuck.

I fall into this hole every couple of months when I realize I spend most of my day doing something I honestly dislike. Most of the time I can list the positive things about it and move on. I’ll go along, all fine and dandy, then I’ll get to a point when I trip into this hole where all the positive vibes wear off and suddenly I’m no longer able to mask my feelings.

When this happens I become a wild cat caught in a corner. I lash out, I claw at my surroundings, and just panic emotionally. Logic and reason fly out the window and I respond to life by shutting down and shutting out those around me.

It ain’t pretty and it’s probably not healthy but it’s my way of coping. In the end, after I’ve thrashed about and cried a good amount, I will suck it up and just deal with the hand I’ve been dealt. This is life, this is what being an adult means. Sacrifice, acceptance, doing what you don’t want to do for the sake of keeping everyone else happy and healthy.