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An open letter to my biracial son from a white mother who did not see color.

An open letter to my biracial son from a white mother who did not see color.

Dear Son,

I did not know then, but as Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I want to accept my shortcomings and failings, my ignorance, and even those things I chose not to see even though they were visible. You know I try so hard to be a voice against racism and have since either of us can remember. This year I have spent many hours trying to learn more, listen more, and think more about my path and how I can be the best advocate/ally I can be. I know that it is in continuous work that we unpack the nontruths we are raised with. In all of this, one day about a month ago, I was given another moment of enlightenment, of realness I had not known with this kind of clarity before that moment. I was given a glimpse into your current world and it has taken me this month since that moment, to open that vision more and look around inside it before I could write this letter to you.

This ‘vision’ gave me a fuller understanding of the difference between racism and white privilege and why white privilege is what holds racism together. I thought they were the same thing, even as I understood more and more about white privilege; even as I knew and you knew and everyone that knows me knew that I am not racist, what I didn’t know is how pervasive white privilege is in that even if you are not racist, racist crap is done in the ignorance of white privilege. I chose to walk around inside that moment and realized, understood some of my part in your pain. It helped me separate racism and white privilege so that I can examine them independently. And it is from this new understanding that I offer my apologies.

I am sorry that I raised you with the “I don’t see color” brand of racism.  It was not fair. I did not even realize it was racism. I thought it expressly wasn’t. But because I chose not to see your color, I did not prepare you for being a black man. I did not understand that you would not be seen in the world as my loved son, but you would be seen by all the world, except me, as a black man. I did not see color, I saw my son, and as beautiful as it is to have you as my son, I should have seen your skin. I raised you with white privilege, not just my own but I unknowingly bathed you in it as well. Your ability to see the world with open eyes was blanketed by my white privilege.  I did not learn the difference between non-racist and anti-racist when you were young. I fought for nonracism. I thought by not seeing color I was doing the right thing. I am sorry.

Your “knowledge” of what white and black “are” was dipped in that invisible white privilege tub. I was not ‘there for you’ the moment you realized you were black, because I did not get it. I understand now, but that moment is gone. It is part of the past that makes you who you are today, and it happened without my love for you as even capable of being part of it; because I did not see color when I should have. My lack of color-vision, my lack of intentional choice for you to see good black role models, my ignorance and the pervasiveness of racism told you that your being black made you all the negative connotations white privilege puts on black people.

I did not raise you white or black or brown. I raised you as my son. I thought that was right. I loved you from second one. I raised you in love, you know that. I supported you every way I knew how. But there was one especially important way I did not give you what you needed; I did not give you the knowledge of how to maneuver in the world as a black man, how to be proud of yourself as a black man. And now I can see how incredibly difficult it must have been for you to identify, articulate, or even really understand what and where that lacking was and came from.

You could not have said to me, no one could for that matter, that I was racist or that I did not love you, or that I wasn’t trying my best to overcome racism all around me. So how could you explain to me the deep injustice you felt, the injustice I did? The injustice I served out as love. I still do not fully understand and honestly never can. But I can apologize and hope that we can come to a mutual understanding of where to go from here.

I apologize for not being a strong enough advocate for you against the racism that permeates the family of the man I was married to. I chose not to see it because I thought I could love you enough for all of us. That was not fair to you. You had to grow up not aware of why you were seen as so different, treated so differently. To be honest, though my ‘not seeing’ was partially in ignorance, and thinking that mistreatment was due to how you were conceived, not that you were black, it was also partially from wanting to not have to see it.

I was 16, married almost a year when I was raped. Then as a stupid 16-year-old with no support system, I went on the only kind of spiral I knew. The kind of spiral that screams Help Me but is only ever seen as “what a stupid girl”. But when I discovered I was having you, that spiral came to a screaming halt. Nothing in the world could stop me from giving you the best mother I could be, in every circumstance life threw at me. So, when I say I raised you to be my son, it was with all the love I had. I tell you on your birthdays, “You’re the first …. year-old I’ve ever had. You’re my guinea pig, I’m probably going to screw it up, but I’ll try my best and we’ll love each other through it.”  I never saw you as black, or white, only ever as my son. I was trying my best. But not seeing, not identifying, not allowing you to own your skin was not fair, and it was not enough. I see that now. It was all I had and all I understood. I do not berate myself for this. I cannot feel guilty about it either. I did not know any better then. But I do now, and I can apologize for what I did in my ignorance, and for what I did not do. I can apologize from now and where I am now and what I know now.

I am sorry for thinking that trying to explain away your blackness, because that was “on me” and my circumstance, rather than try to help you accept who you were no matter what, was enough. It is not that I did not accept your being black, I just did not understand that accepting your blackness, seeing your skin, went beyond the shame I felt for my circumstance. I spent decades trying to understand how to release my shame. Part of my healing is to speak out and not hide, and that remains true, but I did not see that I projected that shame on to you whenever I talked about it. I did not understand that not only was I not protecting you from that shame, I was creating it for you. I did not see how the rest of the family’s underlying racism deepened that shame and that my not speaking out for you hurt you.

I thought my love for you automatically removed the shame for you. But it did not. I thought every time I told you how much I loved you I was creating a safe harbor. Instead I gave my shame to you as an undercurrent, something you could not speak of, or see, or name because my words forbade it with every proclamation of how much I loved you. I am sorry. I didn’t know.

YOU have nothing, NOTHING to be ashamed of.  I am sorry that I created that in you. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but my lesson, my healing should not have caused you pain. I am sorry. The part of my life that was before you, was erased because of you. You brought me life; your life brought me to life. You taught me how to love. Do not ever feel ashamed of that.

You are allowed to feel all the feelings associated with the complicated mess of being black in America, of the only father you’ve known being racist and having a mother that did not understand how to navigate raising a mixed child in that environment. I wish that shame was not part of it, but I understand now that it is, I put it there. I am sorry, I did not mean to.

Son, be a proud black man. Be the strong black man that you are. You have love, strength, compassion, empathy, tenderness, and intelligence. You are talented, brave, and work hard. I am sorry I did not tell you before this that you are all those things as a black man. That you are worthy as a black man. YOU ARE WORTHY just because you exist, regardless of any misdoings, and in spite of anyone’s words or actions that say otherwise. You are worthy of the love you were denied because of your skin color. You are worthy, you are enough.

I am sorry I did not prepare you for things like shaving the right way, putting your hands on the dash, having people follow you around a store, or the understanding that you were given the worst ‘end of the stick’ in so many situations because people thought the black in you made you naturally ‘bad’.  That is not true. You are only inherently awesome. Nothing about your skin color determines the kind of person you are. I should have advocated that more for you.

I am sorry that your white privileged upbringing set you up for the belief that ‘black’ means violent, untrustworthy, and prone to criminal behavior. It does not. That is a white privilege talking point, a way for uninformed white people to categorize and maintain a level of ‘fear’ and therefore keep power. It is an unspoken belief that underlies the family you know. The truth is, for you, the violence you know came from watching and being part of abuse at home. That abuse came from a white man, so do not chalk that up to some inherent blackness. But also, do not allow it to be part of your life. You are better than that.

I am sorry I did not see color when you were young. I am grateful I do now. I have always been grateful you were given to me. From your first flutter, you have taught me how to more fully love everyone. Being your mother taught me to SEE COLOR in that moment when I learned what I should have taught you about shaving. That was my first understanding that you are black; and you were 19 or 20. That sucks.

I am grateful that you are my son and for the many ways you have helped me see the very different experiences people have in life, simply because of their skin color. I have understood through 30 years of being your mom, I need to remove the white privilege blanket that covers everything. To step out of that bath. I keep growing, being your mom helps me know that seeing color is the only way to create change, to see the disparity, the real world as it is. I am grateful that because you are my son, I had that moment of clarity a month ago to help me better understand the pain you are in now because of your childhood.

Without you, maybe I would have kept on in my invisible privileged life, but I am not because I have you. It’s a long process, but with each new layer I can uncover, each new thing I can pull out, I learn how to love better, how to be a better human. You are the reason I choose to keep looking for those layers. I am grateful that maybe I can help others see too. I am, have always been, and will always be proud to be your mother. I love your skin.

White privilege is a crap sandwich. It is known as invisible because, it’s like the people who have never been fired unjustly and cannot see why that person is so upset. Or like people who do not have children yet, make all kinds of judgments on parents who do things differently than they think they would. White privilege lives in the ignorance of not having been through a thing. It’s subtitle should be white ignorance, but that would probably go over less well than white privilege….

Just like people who haven’t been catcalled, whistled at, hollered at through a passing window, followed, and know to hold their keys a certain way, don’t understand why other people do that; white people do not see the complexity of being not-white. I did not see the complexity of your not being white.

 Just like people who have been raped, see the world more clearly and try to survive in it anyway, black people, people of color do see. They live and survive in the world they can see better, more clearly. They see it and I did not give you that sight when I should have. There is this world in which you live that I did not prepare you for but put you out in it thinking I had.

Healing requires us to speak about the wrongs done, put it in the light and examine it. My recognizing each piece of white privilege as I see it does not induce disgrace, but spurs the choice to move ahead doing better because I know better. White privilege is a not-knowing. And where racism can be examined, seen, explained, and criticized, white privilege is unseen, unfelt, misunderstood, and hidden. It is all the ways we do not know we cannot see.

So, I apologize for what I did not know, what I did not see, what I did not do. I apologize for what I did in my ignorance. I apologize for those things I pushed to the side, so I did not have to confront them. I apologize for not standing up within my home the way I stood up outside of it. I apologize for not giving you what you needed to be a proud black man. You know I love you. You know I have always given you everything I could. But I can see that everything I could was not always enough, and I am sorry.  

Sincerely,

Your ‘thought she was woke but realized she’s still waking up’ mother

Is “White Privilege” a useful concept in the current UK context ...
Trying to pull out what I can every time I see something in there.

#inspiration #motherhoodrising #honestlymothering #doingthebestican #onceyouknowbetterdobetter #blacklivesmatter #iamnotcolorblind #seecolor #unpackingwhiteprivilege

 

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An open letter to my children: Life is a learning process, so learn the good and let go of the rest.

To my beautiful adult babies,

Once upon a time I held you deep inside me.  I cradled you and kept you safe.  I loved you from the second I knew you were.  That hasn’t changed one bit.  I still hold you deep inside my heart, cradled and safe in my love.

I didn’t always do everything right as you grew up, but I tried, and I’m glad.  I always did the best I knew how to at the time.  I wanted to do my best for you.  You brought out the best in me.

I gave you everything, all of me, especially when you were little.  I was always there.  I rarely let you cry because I was right there for you.  Every moment that you looked for me, I was there.  I wasn’t anything for myself, I was only your mother.  I spent every moment doing all I could to help you see how loved, wanted, cared for, and cherished you were.

But because there wasn’t any part of me that was just for me, I allowed abuse to grow.  I turned a blind eye, justified, and felt I had to lie in the bed I’d made.  Because I didn’t nourish me, I didn’t know who I was or how to be, or how to stand up for myself or you.  Because I had become so dependent, because I didn’t believe in myself, I stayed longer than I should have.  Once I saw how far it had gone, how much it was becoming part of how you saw the world, I knew I had to stop it.  For your sake, I found a way to stand up.  Because I love you, I looked for a way to discover me.

I ended a heartless place so that you could have two places that could love you, instead of one that sent the message that abuse was ok.  I love you, so I fought for you.  I can only account for my place, and for my place, I gave you all I had to give; discovering and maintaining only the smallest part of me, for me.  Thankfully, you have also received love from your fathers home.

I gave you everything I could.  I fought for what I feel were injustices toward you.  I fought for continuity, for safety, for fairness.  I held you when you felt the pains that came from the unfairness and purposeful deprivation meant to punish me through you.  I tried to support you and let you feel the freedom to be yourself that I had never felt.  I cried for and with you as the abuses changed but continued.  And I started to search for myself.

I should never have given up all of me.  It made me blind to the beginnings, the place where I could have stopped the abuses before they affected you all so much.  I should have finished school no matter what I was told back then.  I should have gone to College even when you were all little.  I should have not made you so dependent on my being there for everything, instead of helping you know you can stand on your own feet, feeling that you could trust yourself.  I should have maintained enough self that I could have stood up for you when you were little, and stood up for myself from the beginning.

Not everything was bad.  I am grateful for all the love and good that has happened in both homes.  I am grateful that much of the abuse has abated and that you feel loved by both your parents.  I am grateful that you have multiple places you can feel cared for, wanted, and safe.  I am grateful for the many examples you’ve been given over your lives of the good in people.  You have strong characters in your life to draw example from.  It is ok to see the bad, walk away from the bad, and still love the person.  Often the reason I hurt so much is because the pain was being sent from someone I cared about, someone you cared about.  But that doesn’t take away from the good.  You have been given much good along with the abuse.  One does not negate the other.  Appreciate the good, always.

Learn from my mistakes.  When you go into your future, your relationships, maintain YOU.  Remember who you are without anyone else, who you are all by yourself.  Be ok by yourself.  Determine the things that are important to you, and don’t compromise them for your partner.  Get your education, get experience that will help you maintain you.  Those two things, education and experience, are the only things no one can ever take from you, without killing you.  Don’t make anyone dependent on you and don’t be dependent on anyone else.  Make sure that you can survive without anyone’s help.

Build yourself up so that you can be a good person, friend, partner, and parent.  Don’t give up who you are to be in a relationship, add to who you are, and be the kind of partner that adds to who they are.  Don’t accept manipulation, coercion, degradation, belittling, threats, or any form of abuse from anyone, but especially not from the people you love.  Know who you are-so you are not easily swayed by others. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.

And also learn from the things I did right.  Let everyone be who they are.  Support those you love.  Fight for those you love.  Maintain boundaries for yourself and for others.  Set yourself routines and goals. Get your education and go see the world.  Learn from your mistakes instead of lashing yourself over them.  Recognize your strengths AND your weaknesses.  Listen to people, watch people, and learn from everyone around you.  Try your very best to put aside your ego and think what it must be like in their shoes, think from their perspective.  Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.  (yes, these two are both things I did wrong and things I did right)

Recognize and stay away from abuse and abusive people.  Don’t be an abusive person.  Reflect on yourself and see where you can change things.  It’s not only ok, it’s really important to reinvent yourself as you mature.  Look for the good in people, it’s usually there.  Give a few chances, but not so many that it becomes acceptable.  Know how to walk away with dignity.  Stand up for what you believe in.  Know how to step in with full intention and love.

And, learn from others.  Learn from those you love, those you like, and those you don’t like.  Sometimes we don’t like something in someone else because we’re hiding that same thing from ourselves.  Take a look; see if that’s the case before making a rash decision.  Understand that people will hardly ever see the real you because they are living their own lives, and that’s ok.  First impressions are rarely real and other people’s opinions are only their own.  Get to know someone before making any decisions about them.  Become friends with everyone.  Sit down and have real discussions with people.  Watch others for the sake of learning, not comparing and judging.

You are all adults now and the transition is complete.  Who you continue to become, how you choose to treat yourself and others is on you.  You have good and bad influences from everyone in your life so far.   You get to choose what influences to keep or to let go.  Letting go of a certain trait or way of doing things is not letting go of the person that demonstrated it.  I hope there are things that you choose not to follow my steps in, because I know there are better ways now too.  I hope you see things that you do choose to follow my lead in.

Life as an adult isn’t always easy, in fact, quite possibly, it is rarely easy.  We’re here to learn, we’re here to become the best we can be.  So don’t give up.  You’re better than that; you’re worth more than that.

Being a mom isn’t easy.  I’ve cried and felt like I was ripping apart over your lives at times.  I don’t see that changing, I care as deeply as any mother can.  I’m not the mother of children anymore, I’m the mother of adults.  It’s a weird new universe we exist in now, and I’m excited for what it can bring.  As we all go about living our adult lives, creating our own spaces and ways of being, the most important part of our relationship will be communication.

I’m grateful for the wonderful communication we’ve had most of your lives.  I think we’ve been luckier than most in that department.  It will be even more important now, so make sure you do your part.  We are all each other’s support system, don’t be the weak link in the system.  Let’s stay lucky.

Every day I am grateful that I am your mom.  I was blessed with three wonderful souls to care for.   My love for you is how I have finally come to find and love me.  I am who I am because of each of you.  And I maintain who I am so that you can have a better example than I gave before

Go be the best you can be.  Draw the best from all your resources, let go of the things that harm you and others.  I am proud of the people you are and excited to see who you continue to become.

 

I love you,

Mom

 

 

Who’s side are you on anyway?

Who’s side are you on anyway?

She asked me, “Who’s side are you on anyway?”

I’m not on anyone’s side.  And here’s why:

As soon as we believe we have a “side”, we take ourself out of the relationship.  There are no “sides” in relationships, only points of view.

If we have taken our self out of the relationship, then we need to look at what we’re expecting.  Are we expecting a specific response?  an apology? a coming over to our side, in order to be ok in the relationship again?

What we really need is to feel heard.  We don’t have to agree.  We don’t have to “give in”, or expect, or demand, or acquiesce, or call a truce. We just have to hear each other.  To take our personal feelings, our ego, set it to the side for a moment, and look at another point of view -without our own agenda for what the result of that look should be.

I can listen to someone who feels passionately about a subject, in direct opposition to how I feel about it.  We don’t have to agree.  We DO have to respect.

We are not actively taught how to hear other people.  And we should be.  Think about how different the world would be if leaders could hear each other, respect each other, and then allow for disagreeance.

We wouldn’t see forced acceptance of the beliefs of the controlling powers.  We wouldn’t see violence in the interactions between disagreeing groups.

And in relationships, in our special personal companionships, being heard is what we need, not sides.  That “other side” still wants the same end result, to be heard, and to be with you.

Take a minute to hear your people today.

Love and light to you

Fun_Friday_Agree_to_Disagree

 
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Posted by on 27/10/2015 in partners, relationships

 

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As my bruises heal

On Sunday night I left the pier where I’d been sharing some fun photo ops. Using light to create hearts around the newly married couple. Laughing, dancing, having a good time.

The man I was having to live with, had been drinking all day. He had been being rude and belligerent all day. He was still.

I decided to leave. I made my apologies to everyone and headed back to the house.

I was working on school work when he knocked on the door. I let him in, he lived there after all.
I quietly went back to my work when he started verbally assaulting me.

Without saying a word, I quietly got my purse and shoes. As I headed for the door, he asked where I was going. I calmly replied I was leaving.

The next half an hour consisted of his locking the only door out, being slammed up against walls, while he spewed threats and profanities at me, twisted my arms and wrists, having my arms repeatedly wrenched back and up towards my ears, being picked up and thrown on the floor over 20 times, being thrown up against walls, strong-armed onto the floor where he put his forearm against my throat while telling me he was 4 times as strong as me and twice my size, repeatedly hit me while telling me it was too easy, held me down with his knee in my abdomen.

Miraculously I was, “allowed” to make a phone call while in the bathroom, where he stood watch as I changed the pants I had peed in, and finished emptying my bladder where he had held his knee into it moments earlier. Afterward, he tossed me across the room again where I begged him to let me go. Then, as I crawled across the floor he picked me up and threw me again, grabbed me by the throat, tightened his grip to the point I couldn’t breathe and began banging my head against the concrete wall.

Caroline came just in time. As she knocked on the door, he had his hands around my throat, choking me until I was unable to breathe.
I remember thinking if he hits my head one more time against the wall I wasn’t sure if I’d make it.

As he shoved me out of the house, screaming at me, Caroline was amazed at the state I was in and the amount of sweat he showed.

I did nothing, NOTHING to provoke this attack. I did nothing to prolong it. The only words I spoke were “Please let me go”, “we’ll talk tomorrow”, “you’re hurting me”.

Nothing short of someone else’s arrival was going to stop him. He was planning to kill me.

I tell you this because I need to get it out of me. I need to realize I didn’t cause this, I didn’t deserve it, and he had no right to do it.

And also because I want all of you to be aware. If you hear anything like this, like my neighbors staring out their windows as my friend came to get me, DO SOMETHING, don’t just listen.
If you’re in the position like I was, it’s not your fault, press charges, IT’S ASSAULT!

When I was married these things happened because he felt he had the right as my “partner”. This time it happened, though I refused to be/ wasn’t his partner.

It doesn’t matter the relationship!!! Assault is assault. Period. No-one has the right to hurt you. No-one has the right to keep you locked in a room against your will. (except police) No-one and nothing justifies these actions, ever.

And I write because I REFUSE to be a victim. I will not step back from reclaiming my rights as a human, to not be afraid.

Though the humanitarian in me believes that he also needs help, and for my own well being I need to forgive, I also recognize that forgiveness does not mean tolerance. Forgiveness does not mean allowance, or justification.

And though I know I will be back here, – I strongly feel for the people of this island and their education, – for the time being I need to leave. It will take a while. I need to finish classes so that I can raise money for the trial, flights, etc.

Who knows where to next, but wherever I go, I will be stronger yet. I continue my journey and get stronger and stronger.

I am a Phoenix, rising brilliantly from the ashes, my tears will heal others, my song will lead heroes.

 

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It’s 8 days until Christmas

It’s 8 days until Christmas

I’m not necessarily religious anymore as you know.  But Christmas for me is about the tradition of decorating, lighting, candles, gathering people, gift giving, baking, cooking, laughing, and being with my children.

This will be the 3rd Christmas away from them.

I miss those moments with them.

Cori and I would have already started on our annual bake-a-palooza.  The boys and I would be soon starting our gingerbread houses.  No one would be allowed to look any where for any thing without first making the general announcement question if such place was OK to look in.

Someone would usually say no and have to go hunt for the needed item themselves.

The Harry Potter marathons, the traditional movies on TV, the stupid silly song-fests as we sing and dance around and cook.

The typical family nonsense.

Taking gifts to friends, wishing everyone happiness.

I miss those moments.

And, snuggling with them.  Yep even as grown up kidittos, they always snuggle with me.  And I love it.  It’s my favorite.

Hot chocolate or cider a big blanket, a book, and my favorite people all puppy piled in.

I hope that never changes, but I suppose it might.

Tonight, I am missing my babies.

My first Christmas away this is what my Sweetpea wrote me:

 

“This is the first year I haven’t been with you for the holidays. The first year we didn’t bake holiday treats for a week straight. The first year we didn’t go into a sugar coma from baking those treats. The first year we didn’t set up the tree together. The first year we didn’t get into a fight about how long we can leave the Christmas decorations up before it gets tacky. The first year we didn’t tunelessly sing Christmas carols to annoy the boys until they finally joined in. The first year that we didn’t get obnoxious Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. The first year we haven’t unsuccessfully attempted to take decent Christmas pictures. This first year I haven’t been with my mom for Christmas. I’m proud of you for everything you are doing, but around this time I just kinda wish you here for the holidays. Christmas kinda isn’t the same with you half way around the world. I love you mommy, Merry Christmas”

I read this all the time, not just at Christmas.

Over my birthday my Boo wrote this:

“well, just don’t internalize it mama your an amazing person. You don’t need a man in your life ‘ Find yourself a good woman, they’ll love you more haha  ‘ it is hard but your such a strong person, we all know it. I owe so much of my strength to seeing you mom and I love you so much for it. I know you’ll get through this. You’ve gone through worse”

And my Monkeysan, well, he just makes me happy with this one:

“well i don’t care what day it is i just wanna hang out with my mamma”

They were so little not so long ago!  And freakishly cute fyi

They were so little not so long ago! And freakishly cute fyi

 

 

 Best Christmas Present Gift faces EVER!!   Unplanned and in the moment awesomeNESS

Best Christmas Present Gift faces EVER!! Unplanned and in the moment awesomeNESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aboard our only (so far) family cruise in May of ’12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I make good humans, I can’t lie…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweetpea made us Christmas Baking Headbands! Oh I love this girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At David’s graduation this summer….. They’re turning into good, good people.

 

 They keep me strong even when we’re apart.  So this week, in tribute to my amazing children, who are becoming amazing adults, I am going to put on stupid Christmas songs, sing and dance around my apartment, make a few goodies, and spread some general cheer to a few people.  Whether they like it or not.

I can handle one week of this without going too nuts  🙂

Peace and happiness everyone

 

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12 Ways to Move From Powerless to Powerful

As I read this I realized that I am trying to do the things that good leaders do while feeling completely powerless…..   So I’m going to really work harder on numbers 3 and 4 especially.

 

And realize that those things the weak people are doing are not in my control.  It’s a good read from one of my favorite bloggers and something I really needed to read this morning.

 

Thanks Dan for yet another great post.

12 Ways to Move From Powerless to Powerful.

 

^^^  Yeah click there to read it  ^^^ up there  ^^^

 

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A Countdown of Me

As we head into the end of the year, here’s a countdown, feel free to use the same topics and add your own list of things.

AND   This is apparently my 200th post!   Wow  🙂  cool

Day 8, done,   I have no idea what happened to the formatting, but I have other things to do today, so there it is.

Ten Things I Wish I Could Say to Ten Different People Right Now:

1~ Listen to yourself, seriously.
2~ Bastard, you f$%&ing bastard, WTF?
3~ I wish we could be friends, I miss your friendship.
4~ It would be nice if you could act like the adult you’re supposed to be.
5~ I didn’t really mean it when I said I don’t believe in it any more.
6~ Family doesn’t mean carpet.
7~ Thank you.
8~ I’m sorry if I haven’t made you feel like I’m there for you.  I really am.
9~ Believe in yourself.  You are a fantastic person.
10~ Wear your smile more often, your soul shines through your eyes when your lips smile.


Nine Things about Myself
:

1~ I’m scared more than I should be, I worry about more than I should
2~ I’m really smart. I didn’t even realize how smart until I began school and started listening to people who are more “educated” than me, then wonder how it was they got so far ahead of me and still be stupid.
3~ I’m not very good at sticking to a schedule for several weeks, then I can get it, but it takes a while…
4~ I am finding it very difficult to do school/ homework at home
5~ I didn’t ask enough questions at the beginning, what was I thinking???
6~ I love to paint,  I just need to learn how now.
7~ I really am addicted to Grey’s Anatomy
8~ I like life clean and uncomplicated, but my life does not work out that way.  It would seem the more I try to un-complicate my life  the bigger the next complication is
9~ I procrastinate by doing internet stuff


Eight Ways to Win My {Friendship} Heart
:

1~ Realize that I will give you anything I can, use that whenever you need it, but never take advantage of it. Whether we just met or we’ve known each other for years, when I call you friend you have found a little pocket in my heart where I will keep you safe.  Don’t abuse my friendship, I won’t abuse yours.

2~ Be understanding, I am pulled in so many directions all the time

3~ Be honest, I will be honest with you
4~ Come cook with me, it’s one of my favorite things to do
5~ I will always do my best to keep my word,  do the same for me, let me know I can count on you
6~ Keep in contact, (I’m really bad at this, I need your help)

7~Let me share in the things you like to do, I love getting to learn new things and spending time with friends whenever I can

8~ Talk to me, I spend a lot of time alone, even when I’m with people, I get caught up in my head, talk to me so that we can share

Seven Things that Cross My Mind a Lot:

1~ What do I have to do next

2~ Crap I forgot to do that too

3~ I have so much f*%$@ing work to do

4~ Have I eaten yet?

5~ I wish I could sleep

6~ Is there time to take a nap?

7~ What do I have to do tomorrow?

Six Things I do Before I Fall Asleep:

1~ Shower, Brush teeth

2~ Take sleeping pills if around

3~ turn on alarm clock even though I know I’ll be awake before it goes off

4~ Climb in bed, realize I forgot to pee, climb out of bed, pee, climb back in bed (why does this happen every night?)

5~ put in earplugs and put eye mask on head, something about hearing my own breathing over the sounds of the street outside is helpful

6~ play solitaire on my phone until my eyes can’t focus, position eye mask

Five People Who Mean a Lot:

1~ My kids, all of them equally

2~ My mamma

3~ My co-workers

4~ All my friends and my housemates from Taiwan

5~ My dad

Four Things I would ask for if I could ask for anything and get it:

1~ my school loans paid off

2~ have a guarantee that I could see all my children twice a year, once where they are, once where I am

3~ to have a year to not have any work/ school obligations and get my self caught up, work on art, writing…….  Time to just heal myself

4~ clean drinking water for everyone everywhere

Three Songs I Listen to Often or 3 bands/artists:

1~ Caravanserai, Loreena McKinnet

2~ Waka Waka, Shakira

3~ Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson

Two Things I Want to Do Before I Die:

1~ Use my passport as often as possible

2~ Find the love of my life

One Confession:

I used to think about giving up more than I ever let on.

 

What?!?! How did I get this lucky?

What?!?!  How did I get this lucky?

I just sent Sven back to Germany, some could say it is a sad moment, but amazingly it is not. I am not sad, though I miss him already. How can I be sad when I am this lucky??!!

Two and a half years ago, I was graduating with my teaching degree, preparing to go to The Czech Republic, and ready to begin teaching abroad. I had just ended a relationship with no plans to have a new one. I was heading out on my own, happily.

During my time in CZ and in Taiwan, I was not without male suitors, don’t get me wrong. But I had no need to make any of them permanent, in fact no real desire to. I’m not the one night stand gal, but you know, being with someone more than once doesn’t mean I needed a relationship. In fact I was quite happy without one.

And then somehow, this guy changed everything. All my flying solo, make my own plans, don’t worry about where I’m going next, do my own thing outlook got turned upside down. Completely out of the blue, with someone I never expected it to happen with.

AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER!!!!!!!!!

How did I get this lucky?

I’m still a little turned around at it. But here it is

I’m engaged – I’m going to marry this amazing German man.


We have so much in common and still so many things to share with each other.

Sharing two weeks in Jamaica was beyond amazing!! We laughed, played, swam, kayaked, hiked, drank, went sight-seeing, and learned about how we work together through new situations, having nothing to do, and having too much going on.

We make a pretty damn good team. Now for some Jamaica photos!


I’m pretty much in love right now and am so excited for our families to get to know each other. I am blessed. Hope you all feel that you are too!!!!!!

 

To my future friends

SO I’ve been finding myself blocked again as to what to write about. I want to keep doing the Taiwan posts  -but because I think I’m supposed to, and that very fact is stopping me.

I’m finding myself yet again, caught up in the idea that have to write this thing or that thing in order for it to be ok to put up.

Here I am in the fear zone again….. dah dah dahhhhh

Then this morning, as I was laying out in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather, and reading yet another wonderful book my mama recommended, I happened to notice a thought.

This blog is called “My life in words“. It’s the story of my life. It’s not just the story of my travels, or the story of my family, or the story of the wonderful food I find as I roam around. It’s the whole of my life put into words on a page online. And my life has SOOOOO many different aspects to it.

It doesn’t have to conform to any one thing, just as I don’t.

As I pondered this and let it roll around a while, I let myself listen to music, continue to read, feel the little ants crawling on my feet, notice the breeze sending my hair all over, and talked to a fly or two.

I came up with the idea of what I want to write today: a letter to my future friends.

 

Dear Future Friends,

I am so excited with anticipation to meet you! Whoever you are, I willingly offer anything I have to help you find your joy. I don’t hold back, I will be your friend completely and without reservation from the first smile. I will instantly love you and trust you. The longer we are friends the more deeply I will feel that way.

Please tell me your stories. I want to hear about who you are. I have many stories, good and bad. I am the compilation of my success through those stories. I know our stories are not what define us; rather the way we choose to respond and grow is what shapes who we are. You are who you are today, not who you were yesterday, as am I. I will only see who you are at the time I meet you. I will have no preconceived ideas about you. Feel free to present yourself as you are, I surely will.

Please tell me your hopes. I want to hear about the things that make you happy and keep you striving. I know that the more we talk about the things we want to do, see, and try, the easier it is to obtain them. I already want you to make your hopes into realities. Trust that I will do anything I can to help you achieve them.

Please share experiences with me. I want to make memories with you. Reminiscing experiences is one of my favorite things to do; second only to experiencing. Silly, serious, ridiculous, poignant, small, large, usual, new, or trippy, it doesn’t matter. Let’s experience life together.

Please teach me. Teach me language. Teach me craft. Teach me a game. Teach me a new way to see things. I don’t care, but teach me, I love to learn.

Please help me grow. We all need help. I will help you too.

I am quirky, silly, grounded, caring, daring, a combination of quiet and energetic, goal-oriented, and sometimes funny, sometimes serious. I like to laugh. Let’s laugh together.

 

Yours truly,

Mari

 

 

Maybe, maybe not

So, as I sit and work on my Good-bye Taiwan posts, going through hundreds of pictures, resizing, sorting, deciding, etc…. I’ve had this one thought keep running through my head.

I know that it is non-productive to let a thought sit and fester, so I figure, I’ll just write about it, get it out of my head, and then it will quit pestering me.

 

I say pestering rather than bothering because, I don’t know that it bothers me so much. It’s just a point of view, and I can fully respect it. It doesn’t hurt me or make me feel bad. Rather it just has me thinking and it keeps coming back, and I’m not being very productive as I ponder it.

So, here it is.

I was told recently, in a nice way, that I am a complicated woman. Maybe, maybe not.

When I was first told that, I agreed. But the more I think about it, the less I think it’s true. I could be wrong. The fact that I keep thinking about it may actually point to the fact that I am.

Here is where my thinking has been taking me; the reason I say, “No, I’m actually quite uncomplicated”.

Now, I, like each of us, am unique. I have my own set of circumstances, filters, patterns, history, etc. My particular rumbled past could very well be seen as complicated. With that I would agree.

But I, the person, am really quite simple. I don’t really understand the rules of all the social games people play. I don’t play them. I see them played out but I never quite have understood why. It doesn’t make any sense to me to act as if you are not interested in someone in order to get them to like you, or to judge another person based on your own past instead of their present.

I am me, plain and simple. I say how I feel when I feel it. I’m fairly incapable of hiding my feelings, though I will try to be happier if I’m feeling down. I live in the moment as the moment plays out. I ask for help when I need it. I give help whenever I can. I don’t judge people by their past or my past.

I am honest with people, I’m not brutal about it, but I am honest. I admit when I see a fault of mine. I try to work on issues in my life. I am open about myself, my past, my hurts, my triumphs, my goals, my hopes, my experiences. I don’t try to hide anything. I face life as it is and try to make the best of it.

I live for the joy. I want to give joy. I want to feel joy. Joy is nowhere inside the twists and turns of the social chaos and drama that most people wander around in.

Maybe what makes me appear to be complicated is that people who are wandering in the social “NESS” can’t figure out my “angle”.

But, that’s the thing, I don’t have an angle. I will share any part of my life with anybody that wants to hear about it. I will joyously be with the people around me, just because they are there with me.

I am not looking to manipulate, coerce, bend, change, or stop anyone from whatever path they are on. I will give advice if asked. I will be a listening board. I will play devil’s advocate in order to help someone else see another side of an issue they’ve asked me about. But I will also say, “I’m just playing this role, I’m not telling you to do this or that, just helping you see other sides”.

It’s not my place to tell anyone what to do. I have had a lot of experiences. I have lived a lot of roles, held a lot of jobs, and gotten a broad spectrum of education. I will happily tell a story about my life if it relates to something I have been asked about in hopes that it will help that person make their decision for their best interest.

I have also been called a “Yes woman”. I love new experiences. I love living in the moment. I love being with people. I am an avid learner. I love hearing people’s stories. I love watching the dynamics of interactions. I say yes to all kinds of new things as well as tried and true things. How else will I know?

I learn so much from my many experiences. Even the ones that don’t turn out the way I think they will, or others think they will. Every experience is a way to learn and grow. Every one.

I was in a short term amorous friendship not long before my change in relationship with Sven. I’m not sure I would have been able to recognize just how right Sven is for me if I hadn’t known this other wonderful man. Does it make me bad that I didn’t choose to stay with this other guy? No. Does it make him not good enough? NO. Just not right for each other. I’ve been in a small number of long term relationships that ended. And I have learned amazing amounts about me, about what I want and don’t want, about my interpersonal relationship skills, where I need improvement, where I need to stop accepting less than, and how to speak up for myself.

I have watched many mothers berate themselves for being bad mothers, when really they’re just normal mothers. We forget so easily that we are also just people. Just women. We don’t get super powers bestowed on us at the moment that baby cries for the first time. We are just fuddling through this the best way we can. I actually (sort of) think that no one should have just one child. It’s the next one that you start to realize that you’re doing just fine, in fact you were probably a little too harsh on them and yourself. I apologize every year to my oldest on his birthday, because he’s my guinea pig. I’ve never been the mother of a child his age before, plain and simple. We’re gonna tackle it head on, hope for the best, and apologize when needed.

I’ve made and lost friends over the years. I’ve held on and been held onto too long. I’ve let go and been let go of too quickly. I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt others through overlooking. But every experience teaches me. I let go of the negative and keep the lesson.

Through all the life, all the childhood, all the parenthood, all the womanhood, all the new and old experiences, through all this, I live each day one by one. I try to connect experience with new opportunities, but I pretty much just jump in with the best of intentions for myself and everyone with me.

I trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. I like everyone until they give me a reason not to. I think everyone is trying their best and I try to help. I am really, simply, just out there in the world to be. I like to be. I like me.

I don’t think I’m complicated. Maybe I am, but maybe not.

 

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