THE Note to Self, an epiphany.

Sometimes, when I’m recovering medically, being alone let’s my mind wonder to dark corners. I get really hard on myself. 

My Dad called tonight and he wasn’t having any of it. 

As I cried to him about all the things that keep a middle-aged, single mother up at night, all the things I put away from everyone else, but Dad, he stopped me in my tracks. He told me that HE. ADMIRED. ME. That I was was one of the strongest women he knew because I have survived multiple wounds and sufferings beyond what most people would be crushed beneath singularly. 

I said, “Dad, I just feel like I’m always trying to do the right thing and I keep on coming up short.”

He replied, “You have an adopted special-needs son who would likely be dead if not for you and who you treat just like your own biological children, because he is to you and anyone else who knows you. You advocated for him through everything. You might not have much but you always get what your kids need. You raised some incredibly resilient kiddos. You have life long friends because you’re a wonderful friend. That’s incredibly rare, Stephie. C’mon, give yourself some credit.”

Just as I was going to bed, I started thinking that I had not accomplished as many things as I had wanted to today, when my dog, Zeke, walked into my room. I just looked down at him and smiled, realizing that even on my worst days, I’ve rescued five animals. Things may not be the way we want, but yet, still we have what we need; and no matter what ANYONE else may think or say…my kids still say “I love you, Mommy” and that’s all the things. 

The smallest act of kindness outweighs the grandest intentions.

I’m going down

Sometimes life pushes us down because there’s something we’re supposed to find something down here.

OR at least that’s what I’ve heard and keep telling myself, but for the life of me I just can’t seem to sugar coat all this shit or even just turn it into fertilizer. 

I’m tired. I didn’t sleep last night and I don’t know if I can tonight. It’s getting harder and harder to sleep without him, but getting more time in his arms just doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now.

 I got spoiled having him completely to myself last week in Florida and unfortunately, I think that was expected to suffice longer and maybe it would have had I known. I tried to give him down time and keep to myself as much as possible since it was a work trip. We stayed in, instead of going out, which was totally fine, because I was in great company. I stuck to the agenda, but I could still feel his anxiety rising. I noticed his drinking increasing, but vacay. I drove us to the airport last Friday to  try to help alleviate it in whatever way I could, but going through security seemed to dissipate that. I thought maybe it was being away from his boys, but when we got home, it still didn’t seem to alleviate. 

Yes, I understand all the circumstances were back but it just seemed different, he felt distant, like he was checked out. Like last Saturday with the Craigslist fiasco. I tried to recover the time we had together  by pulling everyone in over a shared family dinner, engaged and giggly. I actually remember being proud of myself. Wait… am I delusional about what I bring to the table, literally?

He said he felt better after some down time with me at my place on Monday. Then, he went back to juggling the week, while I was recovering from a medical procedure. He even fixed a pretty major plumbing issue for me before  he had to rescue the boys.  He was busy and I was lonely, but it just felt like …intentional distance. Admittedly, I needed him more than I conveyed and that is my own fault, but his boys needed him more and recovery isn’t going as planned. I tried to deal with my own shit because I genuinely thought he was getting maxxed out. Also, Im not good at saying, “I need you.” 

Yesterday was his youngest’s birthday and I couldn’t be there, not just because of the procedure recovery, but because they were having a “family dinner” and integration is a tricky process for all parties involved. I know that it was harder for him than it was for me, I was trying to be supportive, but after becoming priivy to all the conversations he and his ex shared over the upcoming birthday, her near death experience…. (even as the nurse was trying to find him to update him on me) I reached my max in insecurity and my girl brain spun up and in a frustrated effort to brush off anymore unnecessary worry on my part and anxiety on his, I was curt, misspoke via text and created a whole other problem. One in which, his response, completely rubbed me the wrong way and left me raw. So now, even with two days off from work, he’s seemingly still without “downtime” and I’m beginning to suspect that I may be more trouble than I’m worth to him. 

I feel like my insecurity would better mend with his presence and his anxiety would better mend without mine?

What the fuck does that even mean?

It’s really hard to cope with things having to be so complicated when I desire such truly, simple things. 

Are we making it more complicated than it needs to be? Are things complicated because these circumstances are too unreasonable to navigate?  

Or is there something else down here I need to see?
                                  

A loving reminder

Friday morning as I was preparing to head home from Orlando, I pulled out the Bible in the nightstand drawer to complete a daily devotional. It opened to a page where a piece of paper had been placed and I was emotionally accosted by a racial slur. Just one word and disgust turned my stomach. Sadness filled my heart. 

There I was: “Where dreams come true” and yet, somehow in the year of 2017, Martin Luther King Jr’s dream has yet to be realized. People are still hung up on color of skin rather than the content of character? How is that possible? 

I don’t have an answer, but through life I’ve learned over and over again that the solution to most of life’s problems is LOVE. So, I crumbled hate up and replaced it with love. 

Sundays for me have always been about Jesus and football. As I watch the opinions on social media regarding #takeaknee I just wanted to offer a loving reminder that empathy>opinion and Jesus’ greatest commandment was to “love one another”.  

And I quote …

      Not everyone is okay with living like an open wound. But the thing about open wounds is that, well, you aren’t ignoring it. You’re healing; the fresh air can get to it. It’s honest. You aren’t hiding who you are. You aren’t rotting. People can give you advice on how to heal without scarring badly. But on the other hand there are some people who’ll feel uncomfortable around you. Some will even point and laugh. But we all have wounds.

Warsan Shire

Would you rather be touched by fire – or ice?

This week was suicide prevention week. It occurred to me that for all the mental health awareness there is in the world, it still seems lost on the people that you want most to love and support you … your family. For the life of me, I cannot understand it.  Ive seen my own family reeling from a suicide, all of us asking ourselves what we could of done differently and wondering where we went wrong, regretting not reaching out sooner or more often. 

Yes, it’s too late to change anything about  those who were lost to the depths of depression along their own life’s path, but, No, you do not get to ever go back to being naive to the darkness which swallowed them. Please remember, you cannot forget.

What about the ones who have grappled with the depths of despair that are still among us? 

Maybe in your truth, you see this as a consequence, but  for what exactly? Being touched by fire? Do we deserve to be burned? And if the opposite of this is you…are you touched  by ice?

Seems like a zero sum game. 

Perhaps we could just trust each other to pay attention to our own truth. I’ll stay out of yours, you stay the hell out of mine? Maybe family could learn to treat other relatives with slightly more dignity than a complete stranger? 

Is that the best we can do? 

That saddens me, but then again what do I know, I’m the sick one …

                                                   right?