New Year’s Intentions Revisited

The saying always goes, “be careful what you ask for”. I wrote down my intentions for the New Year with every intention on accomplishing those tasks, but I really wanted to spread them out over the year. I did not want to realize all of them by February. I actually haven’t realized all of them, but the biggest item on that list was reconnecting with my father. Well, I thought I could get around to doing that in July, but of course that is not what is happening.

I got a call not too long ago from a strange number. Typically, I wouldn’t answer, but something told me to see who it was. I think I knew who was on the other line because I wasn’t totally shocked to hear my father’s voice. He seemed shocked that he heard my voice. I can only assume that it must have been quite odd to hear someone pick up the line after being blocked for almost 2 years. Yes, I blocked my father’s calls. No, I don’t feel bad for it, not even a little. My father and I have the strangest relationship where I love him deeply, but neither understand nor agree with his actions in the past or present. If you go back a few blog posts, you will see an article I wrote on domestic violence. He was not the nicest of men when I was growing up and I had to make a decision of either distancing myself from him or living in the hurt. I chose distance and I am better for it. So…he was shocked to hear my voice and I was a bit amused. I don’t know why I was amused, but I was. He changed his number or rather, my little brother bought him a new phone and this was a way for him to get in contact with me at least one time before I blocked the new number. We spoke for maybe 5 minutes and it was pleasant. I don’t intend on blocking his number from this point forward, but I do intend on stopping his rants before they get out of hand.

My father raised me. I did not have an absent father. I do not remember a time when he was not involved in my life. For a period of time, he was my only parent. My mother had to leave to get better. My father tormented her and if she would have stayed, I doubt I would have had either one of them. He eventually would have been arrested and she would have eventually lost her battle with life or her sanity. It is hard to come to terms with that as a child and surprisingly as an adult. It is even harder after having children. I do not even want to argue in front of my children much less raise them in a chaotic environment. There were times I did not know what house I woke up in because of the constant back and forth. I was overjoyed when their relationship was over, a fact that still baffles the both of them. They swear it was because I wanted more gifts for my birthday, but the truth is that I was happier when they were apart. I was filled with anxiety when they were together. It made me physically ill when they hugged or kissed. Words cannot begin to describe how at war you are with yourself when you love the abused and the abuser.

It becomes worse when you realize that the abuser is someone who loves you and isn’t all monster. My mother wasn’t the only one my father hit. I had a number of step-mothers who came and went and suffered at the hands of my dad. I just became numb to it all, but when I got married, I could no longer push it down. I had to face what I had been through or I wasn’t going to make it. Up until my marriage, my father and I had a cordial relationship. My husband met me when my father was completely out of my life. Because my father did not agree with the Iraq war, he never wrote me and did not accept my calls. I was without him for 14 months. My husband says that Iraq recovered me from my Stockholm Syndrome. I think he may be right about that.

When I came home from Iraq, I no longer felt obligated to be at my father’s beck and call. Our communication became less frequent and my father became more intent on having his time uninterrupted. If I did not answer one phone call, he would continuously call. I showed my therapist my call log once and he was shocked. In a 24 hour period, my father would call maybe 30 times along with leaving 3 to 4 minute messages. It was obsessive and the more we communicated, the more my marriage suffered. I was always irritated after talking to my father. I always wanted to pick a fight. My normal was not being good or happy. I reached a point where all of it was exhausting and with the help of my therapist at the time, I made the decision to let him go.

When I made the decision to stop communicating with my father, it was never with the intent for it to be permanent. I just needed to heal and not be affected or infected by him. I had to do the work to get past my past and learn to accept who he was and not what I would like him to be. I needed to stop viewing my husband as my father. I needed to learn what love really was and what it wasn’t. I needed to breathe. I did it and I thought this would be the year. I wrote it down. I put it in my heart and then my father called. Isn’t it funny how the universe words?

It’s been about a 2 weeks and he’s only called one other time. He has left some interesting messages, but he is an interesting human being. We did have a heated conversation in which he apologized. I am thankful for that, but I know it won’t stay this way. I know he’s going to go crazy when he doesn’t get his way. He requested to see my children and I remained silent. I did not have these children alone and the one time my father was around my children, he said some horrible things about my husband. He basically called my husband a murderer for being in the Army. It took a very long time to explain what he was said to my daughter. In order for him to see my children, he will have to agree to some rules and he will have to speak to my husband. That may be too much to ask for, but it’s what I’m comfortable with.

All of this has led me to evaluate some things. First, even with all the bad that happened, it warmed my heart to hear my father’s voice. I know that he loved me the only way he knew how. I know he could have left and been absent and I am grateful that he tried his best. Next, relationships are what you make them. A relationship can be toxic if you let it be. If it is toxic, let it go, even if it is a parent. Toxic relationships will only screw up other relationships. You, me, he or she don’t owe anyone our happiness. Lastly, my parenting has nothing to do with the outcome of my children. That’s weird, right? I know others feel different, but reevaluating the relationship I have with my parents made me see something that I think I did not see before. Who they were as parents has everything to do with them, not me. Yes, their actions affected me greatly, but their mistakes affect them even more. The way I parent is my choice. It is what I want out of it, not what I expect to raise out it. When it is all said and done, will I feel good about how I treated them, loved them, listened to them, or nurtured them? I make those choices as I make all of the other choices in my life.

I am very curious to see how this all turns out between my father and I. Hopefully, things will go well.

Love and light y’all.

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Sunday Intentions (1/25)

As you can clearly see, it is not Sunday. Yesterday was one of those days where I found myself so tired by the end of the night that I could not even will myself to stay awake. I sat in my bed to watch a movie with my husband and next thing I knew, it was morning.

To be quite honest, I set my intentions for the week under the first full moon of the year. My cousin reminded me by showing her little set up in a text (pic below).

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As you can see from the picture, I forgot about the whole full moon intention thingamajig. My cousin is so much more into the concept of sending out into the universe what you want and then believing that the universe will conspire to make those things happen. I’m not quite there yet, but everything she has told me to do seems to be working and the proof is in how my Sunday went.

My intentions/goals were:

  1. To reconnect with my husband romantically.
  2. Continue to explore my writing by submitting articles to online magazines or blogs.
  3. To focus on my fitness and wellness.
  4. To find better ways to communicate with my children when angry.
  5. To be the friend I want others to be to me.

That’s it!

Maybe if I hadn’t forgotten, my list would be longer or deeper, but at that moment in time when I sat down to write out a list, this is what I came up with. I had spoken to my cousin and a friend about the first item on the list and I received some very good advice. My friend told me we needed some time separate from the kids, even if it was for a few hours. My cousin in all her unmarried wisdom told me to start being more romantic to my husband without the expectation of anything in return. To be honest, it took me a while to receive that one, but I got what she was saying. A few years back, me and a friend orchestrated this whole husband appreciation week where we surprised our husbands on different days with different things. We were new stay at-home moms and still in the stage of recognizing all that our husbands dealt with on a daily basis. Fast forward about 5 years later and I think that appreciation is still here, but not expressed. In a way, maybe I have begun to take him for granted. Not to say that we are arguing or not in a good place, but lately things have been feeling very “parenty”(that’s not a word, but you catch my drift) and that’s cool, but I would like to have moments where we remember why we like and love each other, separate from the kids.

So, I wrote it down on a piece of paper and you’re not going to believe what happened. Saturday night (the full moon night) I get a text from one of my favorite moms reminding me about a playdate we had sort of set-up for the next day. She has all girls, so we weren’t sure how my son was going to go for that, right? Sunday morning comes and he’s game for the playdate. We drop them off and just like that we find ourselves alone without children on a impromptu date. We just went to the mall and sat at Starbucks and talked, but boy was it nice. I got to hear him and it wasn’t about work, money, or the kids. Like, I really got to hear him and take him in. I also felt like he heard me. I didn’t have to compete with his phone and I could tell he was happy. We laughed and held hands. We did a little shopping for ourselves without anyone telling us that they were hungry. We sampled all the teas at Teavana without looking to see if anyone was breaking anything. Romance is different for different people, but that morning was a romantic time for me and it was just what we needed. You see how this universe stuff works? Crazy!

High five to the universe, but now I’m behind in my Motherhood Monday post, so I’ll get that out in a bit.

Love and light y’all.

Sunday Intentions (1/17)

I thought this day would never end. It has been a great day, but a long one. I have been longing to get in front of my computer and set my intentions for the week. Last week, my intentions were to be thankful. Intentions don’t mean anything without action behind them, right? I can confidently write that I held to my intention in recognizing and appreciating the life that I live. My ability to do that made my week much better.

Last week included so many things that I normally take for granted. I got to walk with friends and have meaningful conversations. I had the opportunity to go on a shopping date with my daughter and listen to her share her thoughts and fears. I sat down with a friend to discuss history, which was probably the highlight of my week. I was able to chat with friends across the country. Best of all, I have had the chance to spend time with my brother in-law who is visiting from England. I have so much to be thankful for. What stands out to me are the connections that I put effort into and what springs from them.

I was reminded last week, somewhat indirectly, that I need to listen when people talk. When someone says they are not your friend, even in jest, believe them. If someone’s spirit is the direct opposite of yours, then it is best to let them be. I tell this to my daughter almost every week, but for some reason I still haven’t completely grasped the concept. Sometimes we are so busy trying to usher people across to our happy place that we don’t realize that it is not our job. Everyone arrives at happy or joy in their own time and sometimes they do not arrive at all.

The connections that I have built with people are not by accident. I know that the universe or God conspires to put certain people in my life for different reasons. The goal is to let the universe work its magic and stop trying to make people fit in my pretty little categories. Everyone isn’t going to fit. I’ve been blessed many times over with friendship. I am thankful for that and I plan to nourish the connections I have and let go of the ones I thought were going to happen.

Soooo…my intention for this week has nothing to do with what I just wrote. lol! Well, sort of. My intention is to go to yoga class and get back to my center. I’ve been missing yoga and since I’ve just been released from my doctor to continue practice, it is important that I do so. My plan is to concentrate on my breathing, enjoy the transitions, and apply my struggles or ease on the mat to my life. I also plan to enjoy the connections that I have. I thoroughly enjoy my walks around the neighborhood and park with friends. I enjoy the text conversations I have. I enjoy the occasional at home lunch date and I enjoy the fellowship of positive women. I know I am blessed. I’ve come an extremely long way and for that I owe it to myself to always take inventory of what I’m putting out as opposed to what I’m getting in return. Rule #1 is to always love myself…no more martyrs.

Love and light y’all.

Always be Thankful

Every Sunday, I like to sit down and set an intention for the week. I usually set this intention in the morning, but as usual things (my children) prevented me from getting in front of my computer. As I type this, I’m on the phone with my 89 year old grandmother. We have probably been on the phone for about 2 hours. My children and husband are asleep and I am sitting here in the dark listening to my grandma tell me stories about her life. We have discussed family, racism, Donald Trump, eating other people’s gumbo, weight gain, and death. I desperately need to get to bed, but the way I was raised, it is disrespectful for me to end the conversation. I enjoy these talks anyway, so I welcome the loss of sleep.

The theme for tonight has returned constantly to being thankful. I have heard it so much that it dawned on me that this is probably what I need to be mindful of this week. I have a tendency to overlook my blessings or get frightened of them. I need to stop being frightened of being happy. Happiness is something I worked really hard for and instead of finding fault in the smallest things, I need to acknowledge the goodness in all things.

As I sit hear listening to my grandmother talk about her life, I have this extreme sense of gratitude for her. She has probably told me she loves me three times in my entire 37 years of living on this Earth. We do not hug. I don’t remember ever getting or giving kisses on the cheek, but I do remember and still see her eyes light up when she sees me. I know she sees herself in me. I know without a doubt that she loves me and I know with certainty that without her I wouldn’t be alive.

When I went to go live with her, I was a shell. I had been a shell for so long that I do not even think I realized I wasn’t really living. I did not know joy. I didn’t even know what it felt like to be safe, but she provided the space for me to find my way. I could be bitter about certain things that happened in my childhood. I could find fault in my parents. I could even use a number of things as a crutch, but because of my grandmother, I can be thankful.

My grandmother said to me, “Life is what you make it. One day you wake up and realize that you don’t have to take this crap, so you change it. You stop letting other people make your life and start making your own“.

My intention this week is to carry my grandmother with me and acknowledge that I am making my own life. I am going to be mindful of my complaints. I am going to be mindful of my fears. I am going to acknowledge how far I have come and I am going to tell that young girl who showed up on my grandmother’s doorstep 23 years ago that she is safe, loved, and no longer just existing, but alive.

Love and light y’all.

 

Happy New Year…Again

Wow, it is hard to believe that the last time I entered this blog was a full year ago. I kind of took a very serious break from many forms of social media. I wanted to refocus the time that I spent in these areas on my family, but mostly on my husband. After he came home from his deployment, I think it was important to me to make an effort on my part to consciously add him back into our lives. One of the major issues that plague military families is the balance between life while your spouse is a away and life when they return. The last deployment was my husband’s third. I was with him on the first deployment and the second deployment almost ruined our marriage. We both did not know how to balance his coming home. He did not know where to fit in and I continued living as if he had never came home. I am thankful we got over that rough patch, but I am even more thankful that this last deployment was living proof that we learned from our mistakes.

So…he’s been home for over a year now and it’s time for me to return. I kind of laugh typing that last sentence. I am known for starting and stopping a many of projects; however, I’ve written this one down. If you write it down on a piece of paper, then it will more than likely happen, right?

Right! It will happen and with the New Year comes new hopes, dreams, and possibilities that can and will be achieved. My most important goal for the New Year is to write. I want to write like my life depended on it. While I have a few fears, writing is the one that keeps me up at night. Writing haunts me. It is always watching. It is always standing around a corner peeking in with eyes of judgement. It is the one thing that opens my heart and flows through me. It is when I am most honest and it is when I am most vulnerable. It is me.

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I believe in New Year’s resolutions or maybe New Year intentions. My intention is to be me and all that entails. My intensions are:

1. Attend yoga at least 3 times a week

2. Learn how to design in Adobe or find somebody who can (sign-up for a class)

3. Launch my crazy ideas/designs (look at that, I’m too afraid to write them in detail)

4. Let my daughter be her own damn self (why do I struggle with that?)

5. Nourish my son’s passion of art (sign him up for art camp in the spring)

6. Call my mother more (at least three times a week)

7. Love my brothers without judgement (a loved ones addiction and distance are difficult to get over, but I am trying)

8. Listen to my cousin in all her hippie wisdom (be open to things I do not know)

9. Make an effort to communicate with my father once a week (figure out if I have healed)

10. Make a mala

11. Read at least seven books (one cannot write if they do not read)

12. Save more money (beasted this goal last year, but then I got a tummy tuck, lol)

13. Love my husband without fear (stop comparing him to my past hurt)

14. Nourish friendships lost and gained in 2015 (deal with my PTSD)

15. Listen

16. Write, write, and write

That’s it! Not a very long list and not a list that cannot be done.  What are some of your’s?  My hope is that everyone achieves growth and joy in the New Year. Until next time…

Love and light y’all.

 

Sunday Intentions

Okay, so I’m really not doing too well with this 30 days of blogging every single day.  I missed Friday and Saturday, but technically it wasn’t my fault.  I wanted to post a poem on Friday, but I wanted to do a slide show.  I still haven’t figured out how to put my voice with the slide show and I’m such a weird person that I didn’t feel right blogging Saturday because I didn’t do Friday.  I’m a bit weird; however, I’m going to get that together. Anyway, on to my Sunday Intentions for the week.

Today is Father’s Day!  I always call it the holiday that ends at about 3 p.m. or even sooner if the Dad is on the grill.  It always seems labor intensive for fathers, but I guess they enjoy it.  Here, we are without our fearless leader and father’s day was not celebrated in the typical fashion.  We heard from my husband early in the day.  The children got to talk to him twice because he kept calling back and I actually had the opportunity to have a long (about 10 minutes) conversation with him.  He unloaded on me and it was magnificent.   He was not telling me very nice things about his job, but HE OPENED UP TO ME!!!!!  I won’t discuss in this blog what he is going through, but I want to start a support operation for him with family and friends.  He needs to know that there are people back home that have his back and support him.

That brings me to the 2 things that I intend to focus on this week.  First, I need to start taking in the advice of my therapist.  Although I write this blog and can open up to my close friends, I am a guarded person.  I am even more guarded when I think you can hurt me.  My husband leaving felt like an abandonment.  Consciously, I know he did not just up and leave to get away from us.  It is the nature of his job, but one is still left with certain feelings.  When he left, I went into my shell and I just kind of wanted him to be gone without having any emotional attachment while he was away.  The funny thing is that, what I put out into the universe, I got back.  I was going out of my mind losing that connection of knowing what is going on with him and didn’t realize that I too had taken away my connection.  Last week and 2 weeks prior, I took my therapist’s advice and started opening up and I thought it wasn’t being heard or appreciated, but today showed me something different.  I need to be more vulnerable with this man I married.  I need to make an effort to share more and I need to make a point of letting him know that I have his back even if I don’t get the response I want.

The next intention I have this week is to love myself.  This may be an ongoing intention.  I have a friend here in California that says things to me that make me really think about what I say about my body, how I treat it, and what my insecurities are teaching my children.  Of course she can say all of these things because she’s gorgeous, but the message is still valid.  How we see ourselves sometimes transfers into how our children see themselves.  I know this to be true because I saw my daughter step on the scale too many times and I realized that she was only copying me.  I’m happy to say I haven’t been on the scale in a very long time because it is not necessary.  That number on that scale does not dictate anything that has to do with my life being fulfilled.  I refuse to pass this obsession with weight and looking a certain way to my daughter and son.  Truthfully, I have a bit of body dysmorphia. I am working on it.  It’s not an easy thing for people to understand when you are thin.  People don’t get it, but I get it and slowly I’m learning to let go of the negative image I have in my head and replace it with who I really am. I also consciously know that if I tear myself down and I am never happy with the way I am now, both body and soul, then indirectly I am teaching my children that they are never good enough.  It’s kind of the same approach that I took with no longer relaxing my hair. (NO JUDGEMENT ON THE HAIR THING) I knew I was not going to straighten my daughter’s hair very early on.  I didn’t have my first relaxer until I was 21 years old, so I wasn’t raised with the idea that straight hair was beautiful.  I wanted to give this gift to my daughter because I had met women who were literally afraid to go without their hair straightened.  I thought the best way to give her the gift of accepting her hair naturally was to give her an example of her mother being natural.  It was the same gift my mother had given to me and my grandmother had given to my mother.  Strangely, no one stopped to think that hair was such a small part of who we are and that an example of self love would take one so much more further in life.  I think back on how many bad dates I wouldn’t have gone on or how I might be able to look in the mirror at my body and see how awesome it is.  Self love teaches one that societies concept of beauty has absolutely nothing to do with how beautiful one is.  How one feels about themselves has everything to do with how he or she views themselves internally.  The external is just a small portion really.  People hide behind the external because if I woke every morning and realized that I gave birth to 2 children like a boss, that I am intelligent, that I am worthy of everything good in my life, then my perspective of who I am externally would change.  Instead of being disgusted by my stretch marks, loose skin around my belly and my surgery scars, I would feel honored.  Every single one of my so-called imperfections tells a story of how awesome I am.  I earned it all and I am a better person for it all.  I should be smiling when I stand before myself in the mirror, realizing that this body that I am in is just a vessel used in this life.  I should look at it in admiration because I am more than beautiful.  I am divine.

Love and Light