On Writing Blood

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Hemingway. HEMINGWAY. A man of unfettered passion. He lived his life fully, he wrote from his vast experiences; he dominated his life.

I was having a conversation with a friend last night about the poetry I write. I generally don’t share it because it is often intensely personal. I write it when I’m feeling strongly. I write it from experience or longing. I write it when I HAVE TO GET IT OUT.

Hemingway has a quote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” To which I say YES. YES.

I write from my heart. It’s not going to always make sense to somebody else. Sometimes it barely makes sense to me – these mutterings that sometimes only resemble coherent sentences – but they are the words that cascade from my heart, tripping through my brain and down through my finger tips.

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I want to live my life and feel every moment and then I want to write about it. Fully. I don’t want to apologize for the things I felt. I don’t want to hide what I felt and not be honest. I want to say this is what I did and, dammit, this is how it felt! And I’d do it again. Or I wouldn’t, because it hurt too damn much, but at least I felt something. I didn’t hide away and forget to live my life. I want to love and be loved. I want to feel and experience and when I’m 90 I want to say, boy, I can’t believe I did that but it sure was fun!

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I’m so practical. I’m so inhibited, most of the time. But I’m also such a romantic and I can be very creative – but I bury it. Because.

Because . . . why? I’m scared. Of doing the wrong thing. Of hurting others. I’m scared of judgement & condemnation.

I want to live without apology. Without guilt. Without worry. I want to LIVE. Why should I apologize for wanting to make the most of my life? To celebrate life? To love, to dance, to kiss. To have Wednesday afternoon dance parties with my sons. To have midnight walks with friends. To have adventures. Why should I apologize for that?

Ernest Hemingway Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hemingway. I want to be Hemingway.

 

With love,

Stef

 

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Recent Inspirations, part deux

Hello my lovelies!! Happy Sunday! Happy Spring Break! Happy vacation!

I’m feeling a little giddy because I have the next week off and I’m looking forward to fun, fun, fun with my little men.

I’ve had a lovely weekend and, honestly, I’m feeling much stronger than I have recently. I’m so thankful for the support I get from friends in both small & large ways; you never know what a difference a quick text, FB message, blog comment or a hug can do. Just having that support, YOUR support, makes all the difference!!

Here are a few awesome things I’ve seen recently that I loved:

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I hope these nuggets of wisdom help you like they have me. It may seem small, and even silly, but the reminders are so helpful to me.

Be kind to one another. We need more kindness and less pain & misunderstandings. I wake up everyday with good intentions and the desire to give & get love in return. I hope most of us wake up and say, “what good thing can I do today?”

Love,
Stef

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A dark poem

Wrong, wrong, wrong
March 18, 2014

Everything I knew is wrong;
There’s no end in sight.
The road is long;
Dullness, stupidity, like night.

Up, down, right, left;
Nothing where it should be.
Dammit, so bereft;
Don’t you know me?

Run away then, old friend!
Act like it’s not real.
Don’t expect me to bend;
I didn’t break that seal.

Ha, I did it right, as always!
Smug little bitch, I am.
Now stumbling through this daze;
Who are you? Ma’am?

Open up the wine;
Consume it all.
Overindulge & dine!
But don’t bother to call.

That’s enough, like she said:
Crumpled up piece of paper.
Help me, I feel like lead;
Lift me up out of this labor.

Head down, mewling.
Didn’t I do it right?
Right is wrong, soothing.
Hell no; trampled in the night

On Jiggly Butts

My 10 year old, little J-man, is Autistic. One of the most awesomest by-products of his Autism is his lack of artifice. He doesn’t know how to read facial expressions and only tell people what they want to hear. He just calls ‘em like he sees ‘em. He’s no Eddie Haskell.

For the last year or so J-man has had an obsession with my butt. Flattering . . . . except he’s 10, and my son.

When I’m laying on my tummy he’ll come up on the bed or couch next to me, start pushing on either side and say, “It’s so squishy!” or “It’s so jiggly!” Then he says he loves it and “hugs” it. It’s so silly. And cute. And, you know, it IS squishy and jiggly so he’s just making an observation.

So a few days ago we were getting ready for school and work in the morning and I was flying around my bedroom in my panties and bra looking for the rest of my clothing. J-man came in so I could help comb his hair. As I was spraying and combing he started poking at my tummy. Poke. I shifted away. He followed. Poke. I shifted, he followed. Poke.

“Stop!” I said.

He’s unfazed, “I didn’t know your tummy was jiggly & squishy too!”

“Hey, buddy, people don’t really like to hear that,” I said, feeling the familiar disdain for my own body.

Jamie seemed perplexed, “but why? That’s what makes you unique, momma.”

And I may have teared up, hugged him close and told him he was so very right. *sigh*

What a kid. We could learn something from him. He hasn’t been sullied by the magazines and tv and everything that tells us beauty is about appearance, and only a thin, unwobbly body is what makes a woman beautiful. To him, I’m his momma, his beautiful momma, who loves him and whose round, squishy body is unique and it’s what makes my hugs and my cuddles so very soft.

I often feel like my body holds me back. That I could be further in my career, I could have felt stronger and more confident, that I could have kept the attention and love of some people in my life who may have been disenchanted with those exaggerated curves. I think those things at my low points.

But, you know what? Screw that. I am so much more than my body.

I’m right where I need to be in my career – and it’s not a bad place to be! I am just as confident in my professional life as I need to be, and that’s only growing over time and as my expertise increases. I’m realizing at a certain point in your career your appearance really doesn’t matter as much. To say that another way, if your appearance still does matter then you haven’t proven yourself yet.

Also, not insignificantly, I’ve been told that my curves are pretty enchanting so, you know, those people who don’t like them can go take a flying leap.

My curves are ME. They are who I am. I have been curvy as long as I can remember. Even when I was super-thin, I was curvy. It’s the way I’m made. As J-man said, it IS one of the things that makes me unique.

I’ve been within the same 10 lbs for the last 3 years. No matter what I do. I can sign up and train for 5Ks, I can cut out carbs, I can eat a box of Milk Duds twice a week, and I will still stay within the same 10 lbs. There comes a time when you just have to say, “this is my body.” This is me. Accept it or not. Love it or not. I choose to accept it.

(Except at the beginning of bathing suit season when a certain amount of trepidation is perfectly normal. I think).

Disclaimer: Health is important. There is body acceptance and then there is just being in denial to health problems. A happy medium is recommended.

You don’t have to love my body, but if you love me then you need to know that this is the package that the fabulous gifts that are my brain, my heart, and my soul are wrapped in. Love me or don’t -  but I recommend that you do.

Below is a video of a women, Allison Hatfield, telling her story of summoning up the courage to pose naked in front of a stranger and the life-altering thing that happened when she saw the end result. It’s truly powerful so give it a watch/listen:

Or read the transcript here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oral-fixation/i-hated-my-body-until-i-let-a-stranger-draw-me_b_4860925.html

This is also a good time to remind you that April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day! Light it up BLUE! More to come on this, but if you want to prepare your home for Autism Awareness month, April, then blue lightbulbs are available at Home Depot.

Remember: Different, Not Less. (And that applies to sooooo many things!)

All my love,

Stef

Struggling

I’m reclining in my bed, drinking a delicious mix of Alka-Seltzer cold medicine & Emergen-C while my boys are in the living room apparently trying to bring the house down around us.

I’ve been sick with an off/on cold since the day after Christmas. So, essentially, for 2 months.

As I’m laying here, in the dark, I wonder if this sickness is a reflection of the illness in my soul. I’m struck with so much unhappiness right now. So much strife and negativity. So much sadness. So much parting of ways.

I hate this.

I’m a lover. Of people. Of good feelings. Of good conversations. Long kisses. Meetings of minds & souls. Sipping Starbucks together. Going on adventures together. With my friends. With my lovers (using that term loosely to mean people I love).

This ickness has invaded my heart & my soul. I was so hopeful last year. I felt that through, and after, all the pain we would, all of us, find joy and peace. A niche where we fit, where we figured it out. Where we made our own love & happiness. But through blow after blow I have just grown so weary, so sad. So bereft.

I wish finding the joy everyday wasn’t so hard.

I have some wonderful people around me who I’m so grateful for because, without them, I can’t imagine where I’d be now. I can’t imagine the pain if I didn’t have the relief they provide.

Laughter really is the best medicine. Smiling is a balm for the soul.

I am a very strong woman. I know that, and I’m so very glad for it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel “all the feels.” That doesn’t mean I’m strong enough to will the heartache away. I’m just strong enough to know right from wrong and stay on the right path as much as I can.

All the sad songs on the radio are for me. Not you, or you, or you – just me. Just a Fool, Drink You Away, Say Something, All I Want – these are the songs fueling my heart & soul right now. Sometimes I can’t bear it and turn on Gold Rush or White Walls just to get out of my own head. But the other part of me says, “yes, feel that pain. Let it permeate throughout your soul so that you know how this loss truly feels; when you come out on the other side you’ll be all the better for it.”

I loved so hard. Sometimes I think I won’t recover from it. The rational me says I will. My heart, though, is weeping over that gaping hole.

My, that was melodramatic! True, though, it feels. Thank goodness I’m not *just* a romantic.

Logical mind, please take over –

{{mental slap & a good shake}}.

It’s a 3 day weekend, my lovelies! Let’s go have an adventure and bury this heartache as much as possible, shall we?

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All my love,
Stef

Recent inspirations, part one

As with most people of my generation, I spend a good portion of my day online. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram – they are my daily companions. Not my only companions, of course, but my early morning, late night, midday break companions.

As I cruise around these sites I often find bits if inspiration. Lovely pictures, amazing words, things that I want to remember & feel for a long time to come. I generally save these to my phone to look at & weed through later, and I thought I’d share some of these with you:

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8:05 pm

It’s 8:05 pm, my friendly little angels. My darling, my sweets.

I’m waiting for truth. Strength. The power to fully be me. I feel a 1,000 lb weight on each foot, each shoulder, hanging from each hand.

Too much hurt. Too much sadness. Too much stinkin’ disappointment.

I’m working so hard to push through – to be a good mom, to do my job well, and to strengthen my faith in myself.

Too often I go to bed feeling beaten and wake up with the same reality.

I thought love was enough.

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“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.”
~Unknown

Sayonara 2013!

Adios! Hasta pasta! Bon voyage! 2013 can go suck an egg!

I say that with some disdain, with some negativity. I say it with a heavy sigh. But, in all honesty, 2013 can only be described as bittersweet.

The hardest year of my life has also brought out my greatest strengths. I fell to the deepest depths of my despair. I hit my point of no return. I got to numb and went past it. But without this strife, without the hard decisions I had to make, I wouldn’t be bravely standing here today. For that, I have to be grateful for the journey.

New Year’s Eve 2012 was the worst I ever experienced. A year later I’m in amazement at how significantly my life has been altered. Through pain, peace.

But since making those hard decisions I have experienced amazing joy & hope & satisfaction. A peace in my soul amid the chaos still rolling around me.

Through all that pain I experienced I have no anger left in me. Sometimes exasperation, frustration, but no anger.

I am still very sad. I still love my husband. Not in that first-romance-roll-in-the-hay way, but in a father-of-my-children and former-best-friend way. I miss that companionship sometimes very much.

It’s been a year of firsts. Or firsts, again, if that makes sense. I haven’t lived on my own in 15 years! I’ve never been separated with a likely divorce looming ahead. I’ve never had to really imagine or experience being “single” at this age, and with children. Not to mention with a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, wifi complications, cell phones, instant messaging, Facebook, data packages, middle school fundraisers, 4th grade school parties, soccer registration, business trips, and the insane and constant desire to just be on my couch, in my jammies watching NCIS reruns.

Side note: I hear so many divorced women say they never date, never meet anyone, etc., but I have to say that I think it’s just because they are exhausted!! And I don’t blame them! Jammies. Couch. Blankie. Remote in hand. Oh yeah, baby. Sometimes that’s all I need to bring my anxiety to its knees. Jammies, a blankie & a diet Pepsi: the modern mother’s anxiety-armor. (Substitute wine where needed!)

Some days I need more. Some days I crave more. And I know it exists. There will be love & romance again one day. But, hey, that’s a post for another day & another time.

For now, let me just say: I’m stronger today than I was yesterday. I’m sadder, yes – because something broke that I never wanted to break and all the glue can’t fix it – but I’m oh so much wiser too.

2013 – you had your place & time. Buh-bye!

C’mon, 2014! Let’s do this. It’s our year.

All my love,

Stef

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Grief is a tricky little bitch

One minute you’re driving along, everything is cool & moving forward and then – BAM – you get smacked in some unexpected way that knocks you on your ass. Before you know it you’re bawling, sobbing, full-on Niagara Falls, at an airport while the manager of the rental car place is giving you a hug. Don’t laugh, because that totally happened to me.

It’s over the oddest things too. Little remembrances that make you or break you; fortify your decision or make you crumble into despair.

That stupid saved water bottle sitting by the sink. The absence of the expected creak in floorboards when your partner usually comes to bed. Curtains with memories. T-shirts with smells. Stumbled upon receipts. So many pictures. So many words.

All memories shared. Memories thrown away. Memories that have lost their emotional value. At what point in the grieving process do those memories become valuable for the experience itself rather than the emotion that was inevitably present? I’m waiting.

Yours, in love,
Stef

Emotion & Control. Because, dude.

I find myself in an unusual position tonight. I’m ill-prepared for my trip in a way that I’m usually quite over-prepared for, to the point of anal-retentiveness. It’s odd, for me. But oddly familiar too. I’ve found myself in this unprepared position more often than I would care to think about these days. It’s emotion, man. Nobody can prepare for it.

I’m on a plane. Flying to the East for a few business days and then flying home. Normally I bring at least one charger for my iPhone, but more often I bring two. Just in case. In case I lose one. In case one stops working. I depend heavily on my phone when I travel. I’m also usually very, very careful about making sure the phone is fully charged before a flight. And here, my dear, is where I find myself utterly unprepared.

You see, I had phone calls this morning. Errands to run. Texting to do. Then I raced home and finished packing with NO time to spare. I grabbed the iPhone lightening plug adapter off the docking station, (and then promptly put it down again . . . somewhere), I grabbed the old charger (that must be used with the adapter) and when I got in the car my stepdad grabbed the black, newer, charger and I handed it to my mom in the backseat to put in my purse. But on the way to the airport someone stopped short and I had to slam on my brakes and things flew forward. I’m willing to lay money on the fact that my black, newer charger is currently laying on the floorboard of my car. Grr. Gnash.

So, here I am, on a plane. 30% power on my phone.

I need good power to my phone. It is a need.  I need to text a few people to confirm my safe arrival. I need to use the GPS on my phone to take me the 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. I need my phone for my alarm in the morning. I need my phone, in short, to be connected with my life. Because, I need my people right now. I need to know that I HAVE people. At this time, especially.

I can’t help thinking that this is a metaphor for my life right now. The “plan as much as you want but I’m going to throw you a curveball you never expected” part of my life. Which is nearly all of it, to be honest.

When I sat down with my husband in the Spring and said, look, I think we need to separate and this is why, and this is what I think should happen next, a funny thing happened. Nothing went according to my plan. All my little miniatures in my Lego board of life did not move where I wanted them to move or do what I wanted them to do. I need to learn that I can’t plan someone else’s emotional response. DUH. That seems basic.

I recognize I have a need to control things.  It’s why I don’t do drugs, and never have. It’s why I drink very little. I can’t stand feeling out of control. I also realize I have a need to plan extensively for ALL OF THE THINGS. This ties nicely with the control issue; the more I plan the more I can control the outcome.

Someone recently said to me, “You have to know everything.” Meaning, I have to always be in the know. I wrote that down and I carry that note with me. I’ve been contemplating it. Yes, I know that I always want to know about the things I want to know about. (Follow that?) If it’s something or someone I care deeply about then, yes, I need and want to know. But there are many, many things I could give a rat’s ass about and absolutely do not need the details.

So how do I find a happy medium? How do I let go enough to accept not knowing what I absolutely don’t need to know?

Need to know, need to know. I want to know. It’s like the Cate Blanchett role from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. At the end she’s saying “I vant to know! I vant to know!” and she taps into the aliens brains and she just completely disintegrates.  Isn’t that always the way? (I sure hope that last part doesn’t end up being a metaphor for my life as well).

My life is in such a state that I’m paralyzed by my inability to plan. My actions are dictated by others right now. Dictated by one driving force: emotion. I’m playing defense and I surely wish I was playing offense. Though I’m using a sports analogy, it’s not a competition. Not by a longshot. I’m trying to relieve the pressure, the pain, the angst by not being on the offensive. I’m consciously letting things unfold and only playing defense when absolutely required. But I have a feeling that this isn’t working to my benefit. Not even remotely.

If only all those little Lego miniatures would have done what I asked. If only they had gone the way I needed them to go. But it’s not a game, or toy. It’s life. Life is messy. It’s real. It’s unpredictable. I can plan all I want but there’s this little thing called emotion that, I think, can both flatten cities and cause widespread devastation. At the same time, it can build gorgeous bridges, transport people to a higher plane of being, and it’s our DAMN REASON FOR LIVING.

Emotion. It’s no joke. People need people. They just do.

In contemplation,

Stef

P.S. Be kind to each other.