Accepting Yourself

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As I work on learning to love myself again; I realize just how much effort it takes. Frankly, it shouldn’t. I am a good person, loving parent and partner, pay my taxes and volunteer. I don’t kick the dog, I praise little kids, and treat people pretty darn well. Yet, somehow, whatever I do or what I say is never enough to erase the tape it my head that says I am not “good enough.” The “maybe divorce” doesn’t help either. My husband’s questionable love for me taunts me with the false belief that if I was really “good enough” I wouldn’t be going through two years of marriage hell when in fact it may have everything to do with him and nothing with me. His fears, his disappointments with himself, his worries that he could die tomorrow and his wondering if this is all there is?

Sometimes I think it was easier to love myself when I was younger. I was naive, granted myself grace because of my youth, and I didn’t have a lot of living and experiences under my belt. With age comes plenty of time to look back over the past and see all that you “should” have done better. All you could have done differently. And as you get closer to death you start thinking about how you want to be remembered and shudder to think of some of the ways you might be.

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As human beings we spend years cultivating relationships. We spend inordinate amounts of our time pleasing others and trying to prove our worth. We nurture those we love and spend time working on issues we feel are important because there are people who are involved that we respect and love. Yet, often we neglect to cultivate the most important relationship that there is…the one with ourself. We forget to take care of our needs, seek out those things that sooth our soul, and refuse to give ourselves the breaks that we grant our friends and loved ones. Finally, I am realizing that the internal relationship we have with ourselves must be maintained, nurtured, and worked on just like the external relationships that we share with others. In fact, we must put more into building the relationship have we with ourself simply because we are 100 times harder on our soul than anyone else. Most often, we are our own worst critics and that criticism that we direct inwards does more damage than anything anyone else could say or do to us.

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When we are in love we love in hopes that it will last forever. When we cultivate friendships we hope that those relationships will be satisfying for each other until our last breath. We accept the flaws that we see in others so willingly; why can’t we do the same with ourselves?

I think it is because we resist acceptance of ourselves because there is nothing we have to do when we truly accept who we are and what is going on in our lives. We think that acceptance is too easy so we attempt to make it harder by telling ourselves we have to change and be something “better.” We have to make ourselves a new and improved version of our old selves to love ourselves and have others love us back. And while change may do us good we still need to just learn to accept ourselves with compassion and love no matter where we are in our journey. No more self criticism and no more beating ourselves up because we should be different than who we find ourselves to be or because we should have behaved differently than we have. If we accept ourselves we don’t have to fix, improve, or do it right all the time. We just have to focus on the here and now and who we are at this moment in time while accepting that we are doing the best we can within the confines of where we find ourselves today. It doesn’t mean that we won’t change it only means that we don’t have to in order to be lovable to ourselves and others.

Of course it is much easier to write all of this rather than live in a way in which acceptance of ourselves is the name of the game. It is hard work. But as we set aside uninterrupted time to spend with ourselves each day concentrating on who we are instead of who we are not; acceptance will creep in slowly until one day we finally understand that we are enough. Period.

So be it!

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Pioneer Woman

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It is hot here. I mean so F***ing hot that you could cook an egg on the side walk. Like 110 degrees hot and I am complaining like there is no hell for me in sight. Why? My air conditioner went out. Yes, while it is 110 outside, it is a balmy 101 inside and there is no relief in site. Meanwhile I am sweating like a dog trying to install a ceiling fan. That is not going so well either. It has been three hours and it still isn’t up but my blood pressure certainly is! I’ll probably die of my head exploding rather than heat stroke any minute. All of this begs the question….how did those women do it 120 years ago in the Southwest? I mean seriously…how?

Now I consider myself to be somewhat of a tough old broad. I can do a little plumbing, drive a nail or two and can give an evil eye to someone to raise the hair on the back of their neck. I can survive an “almost divorce” and come out of it almost sane. But when I think of doing laundry on a washboard in the sun, tending to a huge garden big enough to feed a family for a year, canning all that food, beating the rugs, sweeping the floors and making dinner in an oven that raised the raised the temperature of the house 30 degrees, well, sometimes I think I truly don’t know the meaning of tough.

Once upon a time women really were tough. They came overland by covered wagon with all their worldly possessions on board; unsure of just exactly where in the world  they would end up. My GGG grandmother’s dresser sits as a testament to her wagon travels in my daughter’s room.  Clarissa was a smart one, I’ve been told. When she married she received a cow for a present which she promptly exchanged for a handsome wood dresser. It was probably a good exchange for any woman during that time. For Clarissa knew if she kept that cow, she would be the one put out of the wagon, walking along beside the beast while prodding it along to lands unknown.

We now live in a world where we no longer know how to grow our own food, grind our own grains, make our own furniture, or have the stomach to butcher our own meat. Which makes me wonder what would happen if the world as we know it ceased to exist. Would it be dog eat dog or would people band together to act as a community in a land that really hasn’t known what one is for a very long time? I would like to think that community would prevail but with all the violence in a world where people tend to look out for #1 to the detriment of neighbors and friends; I cannot be too sure.

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And so this not-so-tough old broad worries sometimes. I worry for my children and my grandchildren making it an a world that gets more confusing everyday. I fear the madmen of the world who would just as soon blow us up as take the time to do what is ethical and just. I an concerned that companies are willing to destroy our environment in the quest for the almighty dollar. I am uneasy that antibiotics are fast becoming resistant and that coral reefs are bleaching out and dying. But most of all I worry that I haven’t done a good enough job making my kids tough enough to survive with less material things and more experienced in the arts of carpentry, making their own soap and butchering a cow should hard times fall upon us.

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Yes, I am a tough old broad…but is my family tough enough to live off the land should they have to?  Could they survive on the six months of dehydrated food that I keep for just this occasion? Could they do the back-breaking work that so many women are forced to do to eek out a living in these times? Dirty, hard work that I have watched women do while I sit in the back of an air conditioned car during my travels. Work the likes of which I most likely will never experience.  And would the few books I have on making your own chicken coop and creating a below ground garden help? I hope I will never have to find out the answer to that question.

 

 

Straight Out Of Compton

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The “Maybe Divorce” has changed me. Some for the good and some of it for the bad. On the good side I am communicating better with everyone in my life. I try to put thought into my words instead of allowing them to just out like the overfill on a dam. But on the negative side is the sense of impending doom and the inability to trust what I see right before my eyes. Whereas before I believed what I saw now I over analyze EVERYTHING and it is getting me nowhere but confused and unhappy.

Take this morning. I told B I loved him. There was no I love you back. Before it would have been, “okay, he is thinking about the meeting he has this morning” types of thoughts running through my head. Now, it is that is the third time in two days that he has not “loved me back.” Now, if I could leave it at that…an observation…it would not be a problem but instead the mind starts working overtime.

“What does this mean. Is he saying he doesn’t love me because he is not saying it?”

“Oh no, it looks like we might be going back to the abyss again”

“I’ll try again tonight and see if that same non-response is there and if it is I will…”

 

And so it goes. A downward spiral into believing that he doesn’t love me, we aren’t staying married and the whole list of things that my brain hops to when this sort of thing happens. Frankly, it makes me sad. Sad, that I no longer believe that our love is invincible. Sad that at times I am like a wounded bird afraid to fly. Sad that I am no longer that confident “go FUCK yourself” kind of woman that I once was. Sad that I take myself to those places that I do not want to visit…the COMPTON of my mind.

My therapist says that I am getting there. That when I learn to trust myself again I will be able to trust in what I have and not worry about it. I will become secure in my truths and will know that what I see really is what there is out there and that I am recognizing those things I need to concentrate on for myself. But I am two years in and I sometimes I think, “enough is enough. You should have this down by now. No more going to COMPTON…a dangerous and slimy place. No more going anywhere but somewhere you WANT to go. A pleasant place and a place that makes you feel warm and loved like a batch of cookies right out of the oven.”

Maybe one of these days I will treat myself right. Stop letting the negative grab hold and start believing in myself again. But I am unsure. I am heading into my older Middle Age and sometimes it seems to me instead of becoming wise I am becoming dumber…not doing those things that I know I should be doing and not thinking in a way that brings joy and peace. Frankly, I hope I learn how to do this positive spin sooner than later because I want to be headed to Oregon and COMPTON is the opposite way from the direction I want to be taking.

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A Nasty “Pornographic” Post

So here’s one for you. A nasty pornographic post by nasty-gram Grandma.

So last week I took my daughter and her two adorable but somewhat whiney kids to the airport. We stayed at a very nice hotel by LAX. It was the Marriott Residence Inn. It was there that my very pornographic thought began to take shape and a few days later it morphed into something quite disturbing. By then the grandkids had been gone for four days and it felt “safe” and not so unseemly to be having thoughts that consisted of anything less that coloring books, reading fairy tales and giving my arms a workout by pushing the little squirts high into the sky as they chorused “Higher, Grandma” at the local playground. Seems I needed a little down time from Doc McStuffins to get my mind back in the gutter.

It was at the check-in at said hotel that I first noticed Wally. He was one of those slick and shiny kind of dudes. You know, the kind who you pay just a little bit of attention to and he is at your beck and call for life. The kind your mother always warned you about, yet, I couldn’t help myself… I found him fascinating at first glance. We got to “talking” which was a little difficult because of his accent but his manners were impeccable and he was easy to talk with…straightforward while saying all the right “feel good” words. I fantasized inviting him to my room but unfortunately I was not alone. I had my daughter and the grandkids sharing my room. And so I reluctantly bid him goodbye knowing that had the circumstances been different I might have taken him out for a little test drive. Frankly, I have rarely felt that kind of electrical current with anyone and never with someone like him before.

I went downstairs a little while later with my granddaughter just to see if I could get a glimpse of him. Sure enough, he was standing by the elevator. While perfectly polite he seemed a little nervous around “the little one” acting like he was afraid she might just push his buttons. I didn’t know what to make of it. That and the fact, he kept waiting for the elevator and if anyone came to use it he wouldn’t get on and would wait for another. Strange. I began to doubt my initial impression. Maybe it was my punishment for being a little too friendly with Wally when I am, in fact, still married to B. Come to think of it, it did feel kind of like cheating but he was so cute and the flirting was harmless. Frankly, what is good for the goose is good for the gander and B would never know any better. I began to fantasize about letting Wally park his boots under my bed for a night of fun.

“This is how affairs begin! Shame…shame…shame,”  giving my conscious a bit of a flogging while saying ten “Hail Marys” for good measure. Sure it seems all sweet and innocent now, I reminded myself, but we know how these things go…broken hearts and tears. Buckets of them. Families ripped apart by lust. It just wasn’t worth it. But still….

Fast forward two hours and I was parched. I decided to call down and order room service. After I placed my order I heard some background noise and the clerk replied, “Wally will be bringing your order up shortly.”

Wally! My Wally? Oh crap I thought. How am I going to explain this to my daughter. I was mortified. I tried to get her to take the kids down to the pool but she wouldn’t. I offered her $50 bucks to take the kids to dinner but she wasn’t biting.

“Geez, mom. Are you trying to get rid of us?” she said with a laugh.

If she only knew.

Ten minutes later the phone rang and Wally told me he was outside of my door with my order. I suddenly felt weak at the knees and a little faint yet my body began to feel slightly tingly all over. Wally wanted me! I mean, what sort of creature did this sort of thing? It was something straight out of a Hollywood Movie.

So after a slight hesitation, I opened the door, and there he was in all his glory.

“I have your order, Madame”

I wanted to die right then and there.

“Who is it, Mom.?”

“It’s Wally the Butler”

” I didn’t know this place had butlers,” she called out from her bedroom suite.

“Yeah, its a new feature,” I replied nervously as I grinned at the man of my dreams.

I reached for my order and as I did my arm brushed against him. Suddenly I felt him go cold as he turned to me and said:

And just like that he was gone.

It’s been a week since I last saw Wally and my heart aches. The things he could have done for me (that’s where things get a little x-rated). The things I could have programed him to do!

“That’s right, Wally, a little more to the left. Ohhhhhhhh….yes. Right there. That is perfect.”

Yep, welcome to the 21st Century, Grandma! If this is what the future holds then I am all in!

Unicorns And The Republican Health Care Plan

I just had to write about a friend’s post on Facebook and what it digressed into.

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Comment One: “I bet unicorns have better insurance than we do!”

Comment Two: “They aren’t covered. Having a horn is a pre-existing condition!”

Comment Three: ” No…a horn too much resembles erect penis…they love those!”

Comment Four: “You’re right, a horn does resemble an erect penis and they cover those…except in the case of Fred and Mary Trump and that was truly an uncovered disASSter!

 

RT

 

Congressional Rat Basturds

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It’s Been A Hell Of A Week

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Sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster. I pull the emergency brake and nothing happens and so I just keep going around and around and around.

Besides the usual weird school calls, the asthma attacks (come get your son, please) and the hiding of food in the most unusual places; this week Gracie is making my life hell because she doesn’t want to go to Disneyland with her school orchestra. WHAT KID ON PLANET EARTH DOESN’T WANT TO GO TO DISNEYLAND? Apparently mine. It figures I would have that anomaly in my family too.

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Then the other day….the worst. B was driving to Southern CA when he had a few chest pains but continued on because they only lasted a minute or so. Then when he was driving home from Southern CA, suddenly his hand and arm just quit working. He pulled over into a rest stop and his hand was contracted like when you have a debilitating stroke. He could not grip his phone or the steering wheel. This went on for 30 minutes or so at which point he got back into the car and headed home.

The next morning as he was heading off to work he suddenly got terribly dizzy and it felt like his eyes were crossing. He could barely stand. I got him in the car to take him to the hospital and asked did he want me to take him or call an ambulance. He wanted an ambulance which immediately told me something was VERY wrong.

By the time I arrived at the hospital blood had been drawn. He was sitting in a chair in the hall. There were no rooms at the inn. He had ataxia and the ER doctor ordered an MRI and several other tests to rule out a stroke. Luckily, everything came back normal and he was discharged five hours later (having never gotten a room due to the fullness of the hospital and ER). I took him to our physician and he made an appointment for him to see a neurologist.

During the day in the ER many things went through my head. First and foremost: I LOVE THIS MAN. Through thick and thin, sickness and health and even the past two crappy years. Seeing him laying there pale, sweaty and unable to control his body scared the crap out of me but I knew one thing…I knew I would stand by him no matter what happened because he is who I love and want to be with. The thought of losing him in this way…there are no words just feelings of immense pain like falling into a dark well.

My second thought was this: Oh shit, I hope this doesn’t scare him and he decides that he is getting near the end of his life and he has to change it. As in “I think I want a divorce.” AGAIN. Needless to say, when those negative thoughts appeared I suddenly had the urge to send his chair careening down the hall into the sharpest needle possible.

Being married for 30+ years is hard. Realizing that as a couple you will be spending more time in the ER and visiting doctors is even harder. We are nearing 60 and getting old is not like the ads on TV. We are running out of both mental and physical reserves. Things ache when we wake up and when we go to bed. Knees don’t bend and body parts start to become unrecognizable.  What the HELL…WHY DOESN’T SOMEONE SIT YOU DOWN WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG AND TELL YOU ALL OF THIS? WHY DON’T THEY WARN YOU THAT OLD AGE IS ALMOST AS BAD AS THE ALTERNATIVE? Had I known all of this I would have done things differently. I would have:

  1. Taken a thousand pictures of me in a bikini at 20. Unfortunately, I thought I was “too fat” or lacking in some area. NOW, I just realize how stupid I was to believe all the negative things I told myself about my body because, believe me, it all went downhill from there.
  2. I would have traveled even more than I have.
  3. I would have started meditating and practicing mindfulness years ago and reaped the benefits both emotionally and physically for the past three decades.
  4. Laughed more and taken everything less seriously. I thought it was the end of the world if my kids didn’t grow up to be college educated folk. Now I know that there are plenty of other things that are just as valuable and pleasing when you are traveling through life.
  5. Taken a year off before I married and had kids to roam. I would have been slightly more irresponsible, experiment more, and try new things at a much greater rate than I have. I would have tried new foods constantly and put more effort into discovering my “style” long before now.
  6. Maintained my weight vigilantly so I might have reduced the chance of having the aches and pains I have now.
  7. I would have taken every lesson known to man so I would have a much broader sense of life.
  8. I would have risked more and played it safe less.
  9. I would have had more sex.

 

So there you go. A starter list for you to improve your life NOW and in the future. Don’t wait until you are laying in a gurney somewhere. Life is meant to be lived. Do it now.

 

 

 

Stilettos

“Mom,” says Gracie. “I have an orchestra competition and I need black shoes with heels.”

Heels? I think. She can’t be old enough for heels, can she? There is no way. Just yesterday I was rocking her to sleep, picking out her clothes and teaching her to ride a bike. Heels? I am not ready for this! Heels means makeup, makeup means proms, and proms mean BOYS. Crap…not boys! Not yet! Not EVER!

An hour later we are headed for the store doing the joint mother/daughter thing to pick out her first pair of heels. As I drive a feel a pull in my gut warning me that I should just turn around and go home.

” I like these,” she says as she holds up a pair of 5-inch stilettos that any good hooker would covet.

OH HELL NO! explodes like white lightning throughout my feeble brain. My mother’s words of “No daughter of mine…” come flooding back to me and trip over my tongue on the way out of my mouth.

I feel compelled right here and now, in the middle of the shoe department, to the have “the talk” about what is appropriate and what is not at her age. As I drone on she grimaces, “oh moms” and rolls her eyes more times than I care to count but I think my point has been well taken until she whines…

“I’m not a little girl”

“You’re not twenty-five either nor do you have a job and you don’t earn your own money to buy the things that you want.”

“Of course I don’t have a job,” she shoots back. “I am only 12! But if I did I would be buying those shoes!” her hands gently caressing the soft black velvet.

I take this as a cue to hold up a pair of ballet flats figuring if I show her THESE, knowing she likes THOSE, perhaps we can find a compromise somewhere in this warehouse of shoes.

Gracie holds up a different pair with four-inch heels that climb up her legs like a vine on a tree.

“How about these?” she says with a smile that looks more like a dare.

“How about not.”

And so it goes until she shows me the 10th pair with heels that shoot you up towards the sky.

“Honey,” I ask. “Why is it that you are drawn to shoes with such high heels?”

“Come on mom, think about it. I am the shortest one in my class and on the diving team. No one sees me. Just once I want to look up at someone instead of them looking down on me.”

Finally, I get it. Her need for height is a need for being seen. For being like everyone else, in a world where Asians are often not seen nor heard. For being “looked at” instead of being invisible.

I give her a squeeze and suggest we find something that will give her lift but not up to the clouds. We finally settle on a two-inch inch wedge that gives her a little extra notice but not in that over-the-top teenage way.

As we drive home we talk about girl things. Things I once understood but don’t quite get now. Things I have forgotten as the years have rolled by. Big feelings that once threatened to overtake me when I was her age.

“Mom,” Gracie says. “I have a confession. I didn’t really want those big heels. I just wanted to see what you would let me get away with.”

“Really? Why would you do that?”

“Geez mom, I’m almost a teen. I have to start pushing the boundaries someday you know.”

I laugh and I know that she does, but I hope she will wait just a little bit longer before the boundaries are pushed all the way to Siberia. For the truth is it isn’t the boundaries that worry me it is the fact that she is my baby and there is a small part of me, in a world that moves too fast, that wants her to remain that way forever.

Too Much

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When you really think bout it, it is amazing how we put so much trust in our love when we married when really, we had no idea what we were getting into or how it would all work out. It seems strange that we cannot do that now. We have just as many unknowns waiting for us now as we did then and yet this time we doubt our choice to love and give as freely as we once did.

Do we know too much or do we know too little?

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Storms and Baggage

I wait in the shallows

Like a fish hooked to a line

Splashing frantically

Mistaking love for oxygen

Your words driving me backwards

As you release the hook

That has pierced my lip

And held me still for so long

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Like a gale churning and throwing

Our life far, far away from

All we knew

I am here

You are there

Yet, your words

And sometimes the lack of them

Take me under

Scraping the sandy bottom

Of what our relationship used to be

I think I can no longer be with you

Because you do not know who you are

And in not knowing

You drag me down to skin and bones

Clinging to life, yet lifeless

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I am a soul who still wants to dance

Unafraid of your pronouncements

Of whether that movement

Is good or evil

I want to feel the wind for myself

Let life wash over me again

Unhampered by your sea walls

Meant to keep the shoreline in place

I have done the work

I was meant to do

Have you?

For now I wish

To let the unknown be born

Let the necessary changes occur

Which will free us both

As we are no longer one

We are now separated by a quay

Of hurts larger than the boulders

Which have created it

I want to find wisdom

In how I am living

In what I am feeling and doing

Touching and tasting

No longer content to munch on stale bread

I want the life force

Of action and touch

I want to look outwards

Not back towards your shadow

Which tries to hold on to mine

Refusing to free it

But now…finally

I’m throwing my baggage to the sea

So once again I can be me

Do not try to retrieve it

There is nothing new there for you

All it contains is what

You already rejected

Time and time again

No, let that baggage float out to sea

While I go pack again

With those things that are

Meaningful just to me

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Things

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Tomorrow I leave for my week away as a trial separation. It is a relief. I am tired of feeling like I am never doing enough, not being enough, not being who he wants me to be. Every night B comes home and it feels like there is more distance between us. The hurt and disappointment between us bigger than any wall Trump could envision and I don’t know how to get over that wall or if I would even want to anymore. Of course, this is how I feel now…in another hour…who knows?

Today I found out that while I am skydiving tomorrow he will be visiting his own lawyer. Somehow bringing his lawyer into the situation seems to create hurt and distrust for both of us if we had not. Or maybe it just makes it crushingly real and that the hurt you feel now could magnify 100 fold with lawyers involved. Or maybe its the anger that would sharpen its mighty claws. Either way none of it feels good.

About that skydiving trip tomorrow…I think it might be canceled due to the rain. Talk about being bummed. I have been looking forward to this kind of like going to the dentist and requesting no shots of novocaine before the drilling starts. Sometimes you just need a challenge that will show you what you are made of. Sometimes you just need to know you are made of steel instead of marshmallows and grit instead of rose petals.Sometimes you just need to reassure yourself that you are really alive despite the numbing pain you are feeling throughout much of the day.

By tomorrow night I will be sitting on the deck (probably in the rain) watching the waves. Maybe I will even be lucky enough to see some whales. And I will feel what being without YOU forever might feel like. I expect it might be akin to an addict who needs her fix to feel whole. But if I am where I think I am in this entire process I think this time will be mine…all mine…with no expectations and no feeling that I am disappointing YOU. And maybe I will even be thankful for all I have learned in these past 18 months which has made me stronger and more sure of what I do and don’t want in my life. I may be 56 but there is a lot more of life to look forward to. And I want to see where it takes me as I go slowly into my twilight years. Frankly, I think they will be a blast whether YOU are with me or not but I secretly hope that you will be holding my hand.

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