but only to sledgehammer them away with breaths of unfathomable strength.
Unleash the beast within you,
lying dormant in wait for you to believe in the gifts that you yourself hold the power to.
The weights of this world have nothing on a beautiful,
Take that power,
face the demons in your mind,
and those standing in the vicinity of you,
and say the word that will send them to their final resting place…
When I wrote this, I had no idea it would become a mantra that I would find myself reading back to myself time and time again. I actually wrote it to encourage and empower a girlfriend of mine. It’s crazy how, as writers, sometimes we can write things that are meant for others, and the individual piece ends up changing our own worlds.
It is true as women, we haven’t always felt as though we are at the top of the food chain. At times, just based on our genders, we are shoved aside, not picked or not first pick for the careers that we are the most qualified for, ignored by majorities under the assumption that we are dumb, underestimated on a daily basis, and largely just expected, even in 2021, to simply pop out children and stand in the kitchen.
Ladies, retribution is in a firm, brave, and courageous flip of your hair. A stance of a warrior. A sway of a big, beautiful, wide set of thick-woman hips strolling down this path with a strong mission. We don’t always recognize the power that lies within us. It is there. Waiting for us to grab it and use it. Waiting for us to own it.
I will always wear my scars like a beautiful lipstick. Smooth in color, strength in a smile, and unstoppably confident knowing that at any given time, I could power up, look myself in the mirror, and know that even in a battle for one, I am the lion who comes out last.
I’ve been up and down on finding a whole new level of positivity. This is a whole new journey I am on, and it’s one that did not start off with good news or a positive look for the future.
I would give anything to find my circumnavigation for this nightmare. A way to pull the ultimate trick move and have the final prize be a clean health slate. The ultimate 2nd chance of a lifetime. But this is my reality. I constantly have to remind myself to stay focused mentally. Because right now, unfortunately, if I lose focus for even a few seconds and let the sadness of my health creep in, it will cause such a negative mental health domino effect.
On top of fighting this health battle, I have never felt more worthless than I do currently in my life. I spend all of my time, even when I feel at my worst, waiting on everyone else hand and foot. I am by nature, a natural caregiver. It’s just something I do.
I don’t have a job that pays a paycheck. My life up to this point has been a flop, if I am being completely honest. The only thing I truly have to show for anything I have done in my life, and that I have ever accomplished, is my daughter, who is so incredible, and an incredibly frustrating Criminal Justice degree that did more harm financially in my life than it ever did helping me.
Now that I am not well, I don’t know how I am going to work. I don’t know how I am going to make it. Yesterday, I went to the store to get a rotisserie chicken for dinner and when I got in line to check out, I had forgotten that food stamps (yes I currently have to get food stamps) do not cover hot food from the deli. I then proceeded to have to count $7.00 in change out at the register out of my zip lock bag I had been saving change in, to be able to take the chicken home. Very low moment indeed. It gets better. I then had to drive home, count more change, and go back to the store and pay for tampons and pads with change as well. Because every woman knows that no matter how bad your health already is, your female parts have no boundaries.
I’ve always found a way to make things work. I’ve never felt as though I needed anyone, even when I feel at my most rock bottom times. It’s because I’ve spent the bulk of my life with walls I purposely built around me protecting me.
A lot has changed over the past 5 years however. I really started working on myself and doing a lot of hard work mentally the most. I’ve let more people in than I could have ever dreamed I would have. And in turn, I let people go that had been in my life for what seemed like forever and that I could have never fathomed parting from before. It’s been a trying yet, freeing experience. I have, for the first time ever, began to embrace people and the love that they offer. And I have truly and wholeheartedly learned to love people exactly where they are at. Anyone who knows me knows that I have always been a huge touch-me-not. However, after doing some soul searching, and learning to pick and choose battles in my own life, and with my daughter, who struggles with mental health issues, I learned that some things are just not worth hanging onto. It has taken me years to fully achieve and appreciate the depth of that kind of realization. Now, I love other people’s ability to love. And I have learned to truly love them. Even when it’s hard to.
If I would have known that forgiveness was such a huge cure all for so many things in my life years ago, I could have saved myself so many years of ruination. I’m sure I can get more into that in another entry one day. Most of all, when you get such a life-threatening diagnosis, things you used to think were so important, or pain you had hung onto for so long unwilling to let go of and forgive for, just seems so small now. I am lucky enough to had already been working on forgiveness and loving in my life for a few years now. I had to. If I am being honest, I spent most of my life being so angry. I mean so angry that everything made me angry. I expressed every emotion with anger. And I plowed through years and years, destroying everything in my path. I wish I could go back now. I am free of it. I never, in a million years, would have ever thought I would be able to say it.
Today is one of my bad days as far as my health. In a support group I have recently joined with others who have similar diagnosis’s as mine, they advise that there will be bad days; and that on those days, you should rest so you’ll be prepared to enjoy your next good day. I’m trying. And looking forward to my next good day. I cried today though. I want to walk the driveway. Simple right? No. Not for me, at least not right now. I also cried because I hit a bird on the way taking my daughter to school this morning. I’m honestly quite unpredictable right now lol. But I’m not giving up, and that’s what is most important in my eyes.
I’m fighting for my personal odyssey. My own eventful and adventurous journey. I hope to one day look back and say that I visited this nightmare portion of life, and that it was my sojourn in this time for the greatest of lessons…… humility.
Feeling numb in the way that life is going. I feel like my life is a train, but I am stuck on the caboose, and no one is driving it anymore. I feel used up in a way that is so lonely. And I’m fighting every single day to remain optimistic and faith-filled about how I feel about the future. I just simply want what everyone else wants in the end…..hope.
I am closing my eyes, wading into these unknown waters. You can spend years of your life contemplating what you’re gonna do with each portion of it. Then, out of nowhere, you get news that makes you rethink everything. You question how far ahead you should plan, or if you can plan at all as far as career because of your health. Yet, here I wade, deeper and deeper.
There’s a drive in me. I’ve noticed that it comes and goes, depending on my mood. One minute, I’m unstoppable in my mind with what I plan on accomplishing going forward, no matter the obstacle. Then, all of the sudden, I feel brought down to my knees with mourning for my own self. This sadness comes over me and it becomes everything I can do to not just give up.
My lungs feel as though they are turning to stone. As if I turned a corner and stared straight into the eyes of Medusa herself. Or could it be possible that I have became instantly related to the tin-man? Only as a distant cousin, and there is no oiling up for me…
I have been so many different dark and horrible places in my life. However, this is by far the scariest I have ever felt. I try to focus the most on keeping faith and optimism. But unfortunately, I am still a human. I fear and worry.
When you’re a little younger, you think you have all of this time to stop doing the bad things you’re doing and start taking care of yourself. I call it the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality. I am only 36, almost 37. That’s quite young. It matters not however. I’ve been diagnosed with stage 3 COPD this past Friday. Specifically, my doctor informs me that if I don’t quit smoking, within months, I’ll be on fulltime oxygen. And I’ll be on a lung transplant list before I am 40.
The feeling that came over me while that doctor was saying these hard facts gave a new definition to shock in my book. It turns out, there is no time to waste. Having the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality can be absolutely life or death.
You begin to look back on each and every opportunity that you had to change your ways, or your situation. Even times when you could feel your body beginning to change in a negative way. Yet, you ignored it. Or you think back on the hundreds of times your grandparents lectured you about certain things, but you just rolled your eyes as you searched for the exit door closest to you.
But, I regress. Thinking back doesn’t change where you’re at now. So, you must focus on the hard work ahead of you. You must not dwell on anything negative. Especially those particular things that will absolutely get in the way and hinder the process towards a possible recovery and/or extension of life.
So, I write, as I always have. And I will continue to. Being as raw and open and honest as I possibly can, sharing my progress and even the rawness of things if they get worse, God forbid. And I won’t give up.
I’ve been zoning out again, in my head, feeling inspired, or maybe it’s just pure stress. Either way, here I am. I find that during this time, could be a great time if you listen very closely to the small faint voices in your spirit, and all around you, for it to be possible to hear answers you were seeking, and sometimes didn’t even know you were seeking. It is also a time when you can replay your day, and deal with things you may have been putting off dealing with. A time for evaluation and soul stirring moments if you let it really soak in.
So, here I am.
On a day like today, it is so easy to droop down in your seat and feel sorry for yourself. However, it is sobering to instead, to look at yourself in the mirror and admit that you are not the best version of yourself. Try as you may, you may find that small blips of what you did or didn’t do have all but led you right here. But it’s also nice to know that as you look at yourself, as far as long-term relationships in your life, you have done all you can to solidify and reassure those, times two. And also have done everything you can to fully invest yourself into these relationships. And in recognizing that, it is important to reach a destination inside of that thinking and accepting that no matter what you want in a lot of those situations, sometimes goodbye is the last action needed, if a resolution still has not presented itself.
Profound right? Ha! So, what if these relationships are more complicated than just a simple goodbye? Like a last page you just can’t seem to turn so you can close the book.
But I regress. Because the truth is, we don’t ever really get back what we put out do we? I guess that if you are being selfless, then you really shouldn’t be expecting anything in return really.
I bite my tongue a lot. I sit back in my mind and am sometimes flabbergasted at the way people just spew out of their mouths the first vomit that chokes up, without ever considering that you may be standing on that cliff with only the back of your heels left planted on the edge because the weight of everything is leaning you forward. And, the wind is blowing you so brutally that you don’t really want to fight it much anymore. Maybe they don’t realize that the simple phone call you make to them in the middle of the workday, or the middle of the week, is your soul’s way of just trying to cry out to them. Just to say, I’m scared. I’m small. I’m feeling beat down. Or they post on social media things they don’t realize actually really hurt you. Or they don’t even call when it’s public knowledge that you are 100% not well. But people don’t think that way. Especially when it’s not them going through it. Humans are selfish and disgusting creatures.
You can feel them judging you. Why aren’t you working? Why are you doing this? Why aren’t you doing that? It’s so easy to do that isn’t it? To push those hurtful questions on someone who isn’t you. Especially when they truly will never know the extent of what you’re going through.
Or to think you know better for my child too because you think you could have done it better? Nah. In order to know exactly how everything would’ve turned out with you doing it instead, you would need to go back and live every moment. Starting from being the abused pregnant mom-to-be, to the abused new mom, all the way through each and every heartache your child went through, the bullying, rejections, watching your child be admitted into a mental ward and having to leave her there, the autism diagnosis, multiple mental health diagnosis’s since then, daily suicide talks, daily crying, cutting. Do you know what it’s like to have to go in your house and take every sharp object, or things that could be considered weapons, and any form of medications, buy a padlock, and lock everything up with a key? Or the horrible emptiness in a house the first week you bring them home from that hospital and what torment is trapped in your house? and I could go on and on. You absolutely can’t say you would do it differently or better unless you go back and live in every second of our lives, of my life. You just can’t.
Up until some people made me think different, I had always been thoroughly proud of the mother I was. Proud of coming through what I did and still loving and caring for my daughter unconditionally, always doing my best, although admittedly, it wasn’t much sometimes. A lot of kids that have mothers who have been through what I have, don’t get so lucky. So, I’ve always been proud of at least that small accomplishment. Well, at least until the past few years. At the end of each day, I have only tried to do the best I can with what I have. And I hope one day, my daughter is able to look at it that way and find a way to be proud of me.
You have to, especially if you are sick and limited to the amount of anger and emotional intake you are allotted each day, make the word acceptance a massive part of your everyday life. You have to really get to know yourself on a level you never dreamed of wanting to. Because in the end of each “middle of the night, hard day, faint voices, spirituality time,” it is inevitably you that you are there sitting with.
Personally, a lot of nights, being alone with me is hard. And that’s hard to describe. Because I absolutely don’t hate myself. I think no matter which way I went or roads I took, I would have ended in this same place, here, with myself. However, I want to make myself clear. I am unapologetically fucking sick. I don’t have to beg you to believe it, or care about how you feel about it anymore. I may live 100 more years, and I hope I do. But what a shame if I don’t? Well, shame for you, not me. I’ll be dead. (Insert wink)
One thing I do love about these new standards I’ve set, and these new lines I’ve drawn in the sand, is that I don’t have to settle anymore. I won’t limit myself to life-sucking friendships, drama, and complete two-faced bitchery and fakery! I can take my time and only accept people into my life whom I have things in common with, and who put just as much into things as I try to. A whole new story to write.
I am finally ready to rid myself of the outside bacteria that has long held me back. I don’t have to deal with it anymore. That is at least one think I can finally say I’m free from. And if you know me, that’s so huge.
It’s amazing when a hard, unexpected rain falls down, that that’s right when you have no umbrella. Life is very much like that. Family is very much like that. And most of all, love is very much like that.
In theory, most want love and family, friends and a social life, and great success in life. However, there are some of us out there that find it profoundly moot to follow the same path over and over expecting different results.
It’s absolutely exhausting trying so hard to complete a pattern in your life with a fruitful end. True colors always show, and not many are truly capable of being selfless over selfish, although there are a select few, I will even admit. And in this real world, well, that’s a definitely deal breaker, being on the weighted selfish side of the stomping.
So, here I sit, alone per usual. Obviously a little bitter, and maybe even borderline pouting, and not afraid at all of expressing it. Currently extremely doubtful of a crowd-filled future, and seeing clearly the value and stone coldness of truth. But also humbled by the experience.
I’ve turned all of the lights off in my house. I’m quite sure it’s for multiple reasons. One being that I am all but nearing jump off of the cliff of losing everything, and lights turned off equals less power being used on planet USA. [Insert the echoes of my grandfather’s voice scolding me to turn the lights off at 10, here.]
However, I would say the reason that takes precedence over all others would be the fact that here, alone in this house, I wanted only the glow of the candles I have lit. Or the topper lit up at the top of my undecorated Christmas tree. I can bare no more light than that on this bitter night. It makes me feel less small, less abandoned, less sad.
And now, take part in this pity party with me.
I have never experienced such a deafness in my small world, as those around you hearing your cries of sadness and projected fear, and merely turning their head as if there’s something God-awful in my teeth. But, I regress. I, probably more than anyone, know that there are some paths in your life that are roughly designed for one. And I wholly and wildly accept that.
I also acknowledge that I’ve spent a huge majority of my life purposely pushing people away, needing isolation and enjoying being alone. But when you are sick, it’s different feeling. There is a complete difference in enjoying being alone, and being so very lonely. I realize that now more than ever. It’s humbling. A truly faith-sucking experience and not personally recommended by me for self-revelation.
I love everyone. But in another way, I have given up on everyone. I don’t expect them to understand. Because I never allowed them to, and that’s my own fault. They mean the world to me, in ways they couldn’t possibly understand. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I feel entirely let down, and lost on how to fix that. I would find it easier to go back in time and do it differently, rather than try and fix it now.
I guess, all I can really do is keep continuing to press on as I have. Remaining strong for the one person I have here looking to me to make sure everything stays ok. Even though, deep down, I don’t even know what that means anymore. I’m not truly angry or as bitter as I let on. I love everyone fully with my entire heart. And honestly, I know the trials of life can take us in 50 different directions. We get caught up in our own stuff, and sometimes, we forget that maybe there’s someone out there, very close to us, suffering, scared, and just needing to be told, “Hey, I am here, and I love you.” And, “You’re doing good.”
Well, I am here. And I love you. And you’re doing amazing. Whoever you are out there reading this….
Cusps of a wrist slit, and all of a sudden you meet a person who changes your mindset. Maybe you meet someone like that daily, weekly, or sometimes, it’s a once in a lifetime meet.
A somber song about whiskey blares out of another car at the pump station, and you think of the last whiskey binge you had giggling to yourself at the tripping of your feet, the way your clothes still smelled of campfire the next morning, and how you can’t quite remember how you showered before bed, but you did.
In these moments, it’s as though the hourglass flips over again to give us another go at it. Laughable and angering at times, because some of those cusps of a wrist slit moments are the only moments in your life where you were 100% decisive about something.
But no matter, because here you sit at the pump station, stealing the music notes of another, as if illegally downloading it to memory. Now, briefly cringing at the thought of understanding exactly what they are saying, and smiling at the prospect of it.
You laugh to yourself as it really hits you. No one has time for your nonsense like you have had for theirs. You recall endless phone calls, endless support on your end, seemingly withered away due to the annoyance of your constant mockery of a life and your bottomless chaos. Yet, you still see beauty in this tarnish.
You now design your brain another future night of whiskey, and you know just who it will be with. That brings a great comfort and even an excitement of what new whiskey adventures await you to piece together once they have came to pass.
You put the car in drive, roll the windows down, and secretly cheers to the silence. For the confinements of your mind, if nothing else, have gifted you the comfort of yourself.
Beautiful and raw, broken and wanting, sexy and explicitly ripped wide open, and smiling through it, even if only for these brief moments.
Love, even if it’s with your drunken body. Runs circles around the fire and all at once, jump over it. Savor a whiskey-fueled kiss with passion and smoke. Peel away your layers and dance naked and free. And cheers to you, on every whiskey Saturday.