Poop-gate

Luke has aroutine. A routine that he attempted to get me used too for the last five years. The hallmark of this routine is the morning walk.  A long one is nice, but a minimal walk around the block is required.  The potty run which is the shortest of walks is only done when his human isn’t feeling well.

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Our standard walk takes us down the street up one block and past a lawyer’s office.  This is Luke’s favorite place to relieve himself. It isn’t a statement on his feeling on the legal profession. They have the best bushes.  Luke loves pooping in bushes. They have big ones, little ones and fat ones.  It is doggy heaven. Most of the time, he just sticks his head in the bush practicing if I can’t see you, you can’t see me philosophy of most politicians.

This morning was no exception.  As many dog owners know, you quickly become intimately familiar with the quality and quantity of dog’s excrement, their favorite places to go and frequently at which they need to go.  Today was a two-poop morning.  He went first right by the apartments at the end of the street.  This is his second favorite spot.  I did my duty and picked it up.  Luke has no opinion on this practice. Everyone is into different things.  Some people like cats after all. (Luke by the way loves cats and wishes we had more.)

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Mom, this kitten is trying to eat me.  

He did have an opinion on me walking back towards the house. Our walk was not done. I however was trying to deposit the refuse bag in the dumpster so I did not have walk with around the entire block with it.  I hate doing that even more than I hate picking up warm gooey poop.   Once we cleared up this misunderstanding, we proceed.

It was a beautiful morning. Not too hot, not too sticky. The sun wasn’t shining directly in my eyes.  No random dogs or people came up to us.

Time for the second poop, which was not so much a solid as a semi-liquid demonstrating that someone had been eating kitten food again. It was in a bush, I was out of bags and there was no real way to contain it so I was prepared to move on. Then a woman in an eggshell colored SUV, stopped, rolled her window down and declared that she hoped that I was going to pick it up.

I waved the empty bag holder and explained in an equally passive aggressive tone that I was fresh out.  She mutters back and me and mutter shouted at her.  I blame my behavior on a lack of coffee and three and a half hours of sleep.

This marks the second time that someone has told me to pick up Luke’s leavings.  The first time like this time, it was a two poop walk and what he left was not solid. The first time, I went back to the person’s house and picked it up.  No, that’s not true, I drove there with Luke to take care of the problem. The first time is why I have one of those poop bag containers attached to the leash.  My immediate reaction to this incident was to be cranky. I wanted to rush on to Facebook and complain about her rudeness.

Then I decided to write about it.

Not to shame the woman, she was passive aggressive and I am sure that she was unhappy about being at work 20 minutes before everyone else this morning. We all have our issues.   But to thank her.

Thank you, Passive-Aggressive Eggshell lady for reminding me that I am member of a pretty awesome community and that means that I have to take care of my responsibilities and duties to the community.  Picking up poop is just one of those duties.  Taking in my trash cans and maintaining a safe vehicle are others.  Along with being an informed voter and paying taxes.  And there isn’t always a good way to address someone when they are violating community standards or norms.  Often when you do, you are made out to be the villain.  I don’t think you are a villain.  Everyone needs some level of accountability to the community.  Thank you for reminding me of mine.  Seriously, thank you.

Returning to the topic of poop, have you called your Congressman lately.  Here’s a link to help you.  All you have to do is type in your address and violia, you have a handly list of your representatives.

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The Writer & Heartbreak

My heart broke recently.  If my life was a book, the reader would have seen it coming before me.  They might have been screaming at me to see what was a happening.  Cursing at me for seeing it myself. Most of my friendseyes did.  They saw the doom on the horizon and braced themselves.  But, I am stubborn  and kept sailing toward it; right off the edge.

Once I love someone I don’t know how to stop loving them.

So I cry. I write. I cry. I plot and I write.  I’ve done a lot of writing in the past week.  Last night is the first night since it happened that I got any sleep.

In years past, I would have pour everything into expressing that heartbreak as if that is all I am a broken, tangled heart.  There would have been lots and lots of bad poetry. Some drunken texts and heartfelt emails.  Tears in the grocery store and at red lights. Days and weeks where I would gave shut down.  My work would have been suffering.

Whether it is an increase in maturity, a lack of fucks to give or the way it ended, I am not a hot mess.  I am still a mess. You don’t love someone for over a decade to be over it in a week.  We first got together when I was twenty-eight.  A year out from a devesting heartbreak and I fell completely and utterly in his thrall.

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A young Lu when I first fell in love with him. It was my birthday and he made sure that even though he was out of town there were presents waiting for me. I was 29 years old.

Maybe he is fine, right now. I don’t know.  He had been pulling back over the last couple of months. He would say he has just been busy and this is true.  As a writer and director, he has a ton of work obligations on top of other things.

From his perspective, I am the one to blame.  I see it as both of us, but ya mostly him. I didn’t speak up when things bothered me.  He keep putting off phone calls and visits.  I looked for and saw reasons to explain his behavior. A recent health crisis only added to the list of reasons. But the postponing of things I needed to stay health in the relationship was a constant. Samantha on Sex in the City might just have turned to me and said “Honey, he just isn’t that into you.”

And she would have been right.

It is also true that I set the pattern where that behavior was acceptable. I was always waiting for him.  I wanted to do it.  I believe that by doing so I was being supportive.  I own my own behavior.  I own it so I can forward.

Asking some of my friends, why I got so much venom tossed my way at the end? Why did his last message not only kill our relationship but scorch the earth.  It didn’t make sense. I wasn’t asking for much.  I wasn’t trying to put anything on him.  I just wanted to see him.  Yes, I am just as naive and innocent as they statement sounds.  That really was the intent of my last communication. I just wanted to see him.

I have waited for the time to be right and finally I got tired of always waiting.   I have been supportive over the years to his career. If a job meant that our time together had to be rearranged, I was ok with it.  I helped in any way I could. He did support me just not to the same extent.  Truthfully, that bothered me.

The physical distance didn’t do communication any favors.

I accepted a smaller place in his world just to stay in it. A place I now realize means that many of the people who call him friend, don’t know about us.  So why when I asked so little did I get so much venom.

The answer is simple. It makes this whole thing easier for him.  If I am the villain or at least trying to make him one then it is easier to move on. He doesn’t need that negativity. He really doesn’t.  If I am crazy and obsessed then he doesn’t owe me anything.  It is in his best interest to get the hell away from me.  People will congratulate him on getting away from me. If I was cheating on him, something he insinuated more than once over the last couple of months  then even more reason to do the hell away.

I am not any of those things.  I didn’t cheat on him.  If I was approached by someone, I told them I told them I had a boyfriend. I didn’t make a big deal of it. Still I would get text implying that I was?

I did distanced myself as soon as realized what was happening.  When I realize that this was the end. I didn’t wait. Weeks ago, I had decided that if we broke again I would do what I needed to make sure this break was for good.  I only begged a little and tried my best not to demand answers.  Mostly I was in shock.

Would I like those answers? Yes and no.

Yes, because my heart wants to understand. No, because the mind knows that even with the answers the likelihood that I am going to be comforted by them is slim.

Heartbreak gives me insight into my own character as well as how to write characters. Fear has ruled me for most of my life. I could have moved to New York, I was willing to move, I just needed a word from him.  I was afraid.  Afraid that he didn’t really love me. Afraid I won’t be able to find a job.  Afraid I couldn’t deal with being up close to his other partner. Fear of rejection was a big part of the decisions I made.  Some of which he didn’t ask me to make. I did it because I thought it would help.  I was wrong.  Hear that I was wrong.

While he has been in New York for the last couple of years, I dreamed of seeing New York with him. I wanted to go to shows and see the Met. It is one of my favorite museums on the planet.  I daydreamed about the changes that live in one of the greatest cities in the world. I didn’t voice those desires to him.  I didn’t say that I wanted more than to visit. When he mentioned me being there as an aside. I jumped on it. I didn’t discuss it. I was too afraid. I kept waiting for him to say more.

My own motivations are messy.  How could I think that my ex or my characters motivations would be simple?

Sometimes they need to be messy.  If they are too straight forward then they are boring. They need have layers just a like an onion and they don’t alway smell pretty. (Thanks Shrek) They have to have that human quality of relatablity.

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One of favorite reads for this summer.

Recently, I finished reading the Prisoner in his Palace by Will Bardenwerper.  It is the story of “Saddam Hussein, his American guards and what history leaves unsaid.” History leaves a lot unsaid.

Saddam Hussein was sadist, a tyrant and a whole lot of evil things.  He had two of his son in-laws gunned down after convincing them to return to Iraq.  He was also an affable old man who expressed concern for the soldiers guarding him. He even gave one of them his watch before being excuted.  He is a villain, but he was also a husband, grandfather and friend. Although, the latter provide to be quite dangerous to many Iraqis.

The book showed the complexity of Saddam’s character and how even knowing the evil that he did, it was hard not to like the guy.   Reading it was eye-openoing in a lot of ways.  Saddam was a villian, but his motivations were complex.  He did awlful things because he thought they were the good things.  He wanted the best for his people. His methods were evil. His intents according to him were only good.

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Thank you, my love, my characters have just gotten a whole lot more interesting.  The character that I patterned after you will still continue to make appearances in my work. I know you were pissed when Anthony was created.  You thought people would judge you because of him.  You didn’t see that Anthony was one of the heroes.  I promise not to take my heartache out on him.

And thank you for all the things that you did to help me on my journey as a writer. This blog is here because you encouraged me. You gave me advice when I needed it. You are an amazing man, writer and friend.  I miss you, but I get it.

Be well.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.  You can also find her on Instagram where she posts pictures of foster critters and other adorably evil things. 

 

 

The Not Quite So Lost Writer

Issues, I have them.

But, they aren’t as bad as I thought.  I made a mountain out of a foot hill.

I felt so lost because I didn’t know where I wanted to be.  My heart, my love was in New York and I wanted to be with him.  I also wanted to be in the mountains.   My last message to him didn’t go well.    Now,  I still don’t know where I want to be as I look around  but I know where I am going and things aren’t so bad. Don’t get me wrong my heart is broken.  Tears are pretty constant right now.  I wake up wanting to have another conversation and re-write my last messages to him.  I wanted him to see my intents were good and change the narrative he has about me.

These are things I have no control over.  The control I do have is where my focus is.

My narrative. What I tell myself about myself.  The way I see things.  I don’t see him as a villian or myself a victim.  I won’t paint him that way or myself for that matter.

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My life, my narrative. Not a victim or a villian.

I live with depression and anixety.  They are constant companions.  Sometimises they invite friends. A panic attack came to visit last night and ended ump staying for hours.  It pressed on chest while I was trying to sleep. Flashed images on my mind that forced my eyes open.  So I wrote for hours and got most of the way through today’s word count goal.

The moment where I felt so lost I couldn’t take it anymore happened twice.  Once for the things I could talk about and once for the things I couldn’t talk about which ironically I can talk about now.  Both moments were poured into writing.

Yes, I don’t love the fuck out of my job, anymore.  But, I know this and I know the reasons why.  I needed to admit how lost I was to be able to come up with a plan.  It is a ever evolving thing.

Quitting just because I am not in love with it or because I am stressed out isn’t an option. It goes against everything I was taught growing up.  And I have prided myself for my increased ability to take care of my own messes.

A year from now, I plan on quitting my job.  Why a year? Why not now? Well, I need to put some things in order before I quit and go on the the next chapter.  I have some serious life editing to do.  Not everything I want to do is going to get done.

Change is painful and taking a year to make this change isn’t going to make it any less painful.  What it will do with a little luck and a whole bunch of work is give me a few more things to deal with that pain.

 

F Cancer

I had a glass of wine before noon, today.

When it was done, I had another one.

Twenty odd years ago, a woman saved my life. She got me help when I was lost and hurting.  Today, she lost her husband.

First glass raised for the love they shared.

The life they built together together.

The critters and friends they mad e

Second glass raised for the light they shared.

The light that remains.  The light that shines in all of of us because the two of you loved each other.

Light that will never die out.

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Making a New Map

How does one get unstuck in life?

How does one deal with being so lost that they have finally gotten tired of throwing their hands up in the air? Of starting all over once more.  Of staring at the end and knowing how much work it is going to take to make it a beginning. If one is a writer, you write.  You talk about it with people and then you write some more.

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My to-do list will always exceed my can do list.

This is me doing just that.

This is me working it out.

Today, I crossed off 11 of the 14th things on my to-do list off.

I did good, today.

All and all, it was pretty spectacular for someone who has been sleeping through much the last month of her life one of two sofas.  My living room is a mixture of items I have been given over the last five years.  There are only a couple of items in the room that I purchased. A lamp shade I purchased with an ex-boyfriend  from Ikea that looked vaguely like one of the chocolate oranges you see around the winter holidays. It is absolutely hideous.  And fits perfectly.  It works in the space.  It adds something to it  The rugs and one of the bookcases as well as the TV make up the rest of the items that I purchased.  Well, beyond the books which even some of those were passed on by the dearly departed.

There are a lot of things in my home that came from death.  The death of a friend or loveIMG_8514 one has filled my living room with furniture.  My favorite lawyer bookcases and the desk where my TV sets all came from a friend’s parents.  They gave me these things after her death because I needed to furnish my new home and they were moving. It was too much for them to stay where she had died. So much of the last two years of her life were spent with them watching her.

I wear a set of rings they gave me everyday. These belonged to my friend. It is my way of remembering her. Of honoring her. I feel naked without them. If I forget these things then I will dash back into the house.

Death and the past are constant companions. Maybe that is why I have such a hard time mapping out my future direction. So much of the home I cherish has come from the past. When you walk in my house, it is clearly that I have an affliction for darker things.  I stopped repacking the entirety of the Halloween decorations years ago..  My living room, the first room, that you see has seven skulls in it.  One witch, two bats and a couple of dragons. The only room without a skull or something Halloween in it is my bathroom.

Then there are the books. Lots and lots of them.  A great deal of them are histories from around the world.  Scattered among these are the skulls and various nick-nacks.

My house sometimes scares my landlord. I have been a good tenant for the last five years which combined with being a writer as well as teacher has ensured the good will of the landlord.  Thus he has learned to humor me. I may be odd, but I pay my rent on time and don’t cause trouble.

Drapped in death and the slightly macabre my home gives most visitors a sense of peace. What is more peaceful than death?  The long sleep.  The goal for me in decorating has been to create a place that is inviting.  So far,   it seems to be just that.  I have worried in the past that my collections and love of skulls would turn people off, but as far as I know I haven’t scared anyone away.  And if I have then I have no problem with it since they didn’t tell me they were uncomfortable.  I can’t fix what I don’t know is a problem.

The map I am trying to layout currently is going to take me away from this place sooner or later. This is the second place that has been totally mine in adulthood.  I have lived here longer than anywhere else since I graduated college.  Before that I lived with my birth father after my mother and I lost our home.  I would spend the next three years living like a guest in his house.  My picture rarely made the wall of family photos and when it did, it was only for a short time.  If you walked into my father’s home, you would never know that I was his child. There is no evidence of me there at all.

The house I live in now is home. I love the idea of the life that I have built for myself.  I am proud of  how far I have some in the last couple of years.  And then there is the shame I feel for not having gotten farther. Why don’t I own a home? Why do I live so close to the edge?  Truth be total, my family won’t allow me to fall too far. They have always been there to save me from rock bottom.

Another truth be told, I have been coasting for the last couple of years.  I am smart.  This isn’t a bragging. It took me a long time to realize that I am in fact intelligent.  My mother and sister are genius so being an intelligent woman runs in my family.  I am not a Mensan like them. I haven’t bothered with the test or like my mother has suggested on more than one occasion when I as in therapy had a psychologist sign off on the paperwork.  She believes in me.  She has always seen the intelligence that has been bouncing around in my head. Years of being talked down to by my birth father, grandparents and the rest of my siblings taught me that if I wasn’t as smart as my sister and mother I wasn’t smart at all.   So I never pushed myself academically.  It was either sink or swim.  I am good at floating.

My mindset was that I only had so much intelligence. There was no way I could be as smart as other people.  Talent was something I lacked and could not develop.  Psychologist Carol Dweck calls this a fixed mindset.  I didn’t really see that I was coasting a great deal of the time just below success. I honestly thought that if I was meant to be successful it would just happen.  I never quite got there but I am never far off from it,

Don’t get me wrong, I do work hard.  Sometimes I work too much.  But that is mostly to make up from having coasted. Or when things really need to get done.  Or when I get the energy. Lack of energy has been the theme of the last couple of years.  Truth be told, I believe that I burnt out before I ever became a teacher.  Ironically, teaching is where I finally began to believe in my own intelligence.

I have been working since I was 12 years old.  Given the nature of the employment,  I worked long days and made little money (75 to 100 a week), which at twelve was big money since I didn’t have any money.  I saved pretty much every penny I yearned for either school clothes or my college fund.  I made it through college and went where life and opportunity lead me. I didn’t explore much. Kept waiting for a sign or something.  The course catalog was the sign I missed.

Kept waiting dreaming of that door to open. Kept dreaming of it.  Didn’t know how to manifest it.  People kept telling me I could do this or that.  I didn’t believe them. Seriously, I thought because  of my learning disablity (dysgraphia)  that I would never be a writer. Mmm, who was an Amazon Best Selling Author? And who is going to continue to write no matter what? Me.

I follow some very talented people online. Some of whom I am friends with and the thing about their talent. The secret to that talent is that they work at it. They keep working on it, made mistakes and kept working on it. They do the work.  (Thank you, Lisa from Halfmoon Creative Works  for reminding of this. )

I wrote Blood Child in a heart beat. I did the best I could. I got help from professionals and friends to make  and after months of hard work, there were mistakes.  There are always mistakes. No matter how hard you work there will always be typos and things you can do better.  You have to learn to do them better fix them the next time around.

The next book is coming slowly, but it is coming.  It is going to take more energy and way more work.  It is time for me to take the skill I have and begin to refine it.  I just need to shake things up and make a new map for myself.  One where I am growing.  Get out of the comfort zone and back to my happy.  My happy often comes from learning new things, traveling and having conversations.  Things that my depression and anxiety nearly robbed me of.  Things I can’t always do from where my life is right now.  From where I have directed my life.

IMG_8493Happy isn’t easy.  Happy doesn’t always mean that you feel well happy. There isn’t a glow to it always.  My happy maybe more of a flow.  When I am flowing, I am growing I moving with my life and better able to see opportunity when it presents itself.  I think though for me it is a little bit like the lamp in my living, not always pretty by itself but given a chance a thing of beauty.  The trick of manifesting that thing of beauty is seeing the potential, not listening to doubt and doing what is necessary to make it shine.  The lamp shade, didn’t natural fit the lamp.  The lamp itself had to be taken apart and reassembled.  It is still a little wobbly when bumped.

My new map is going to be made day by day.  Word by word.

 

 

 

 

The Lost Writer

For the last four weeks, I have been the type of sick that people dread.  The kind that makes your whole life slow to a crawl. There is nothing you can do but rest, drink lots and lots of fluids and hope that people don’t get tired of you asking for help. Help getting groceries, driving and  doing laundry.   My body didn’t have the energy to stand or sit long enough to fold my own laundry.  I had to ask for a lot of help.  Bronchitis turned into pnenomina.  My body forced me to rest.  It is still forcing me to rest.  While drafting this post, I took an hour nap.

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My view from the last couple of weeks.  I did finally watch “The Desk Set” with Spencer Tracy and Kathern Hepburn.  Turns out my dream career was replaced years ago by a computer.

I am on the mend.  I am off the antibodies and codiene laced cough syrup and back to my morning coffee.  I’m  back writing in my office under the watchful eye of my Ghostbuster figures.  All good things.

If I take things slowly, I can get back to a normal pace of life.

The problem is I am not sure I want to go back to the way things were.  To be blunt, my life is comfortable and there are a lot of awesome things in it,but it isn’t working.  I am not happy.   I am lost.  I’ve been this way for a while.

It is the combination of a lot of things.  Things I am willing to talk about and things that I am not sure how to talk about.

Twleve years into teaching and I am not inspired to be creative anymore.  What is the point when I am never going to be really recognized for the work I do or paid fairly for it? It isn’t about being Teacher of the Year or anything life that.  It is about not having to worry constantly about money or what deeming thing is going to said to myself or collegues next.

I tried unsuccessfully to exit teaching this year. I figured that it was time.  My resume was met with an understandable silence.  I didn’t have on paper what they were looking for.  I would have loved the job, been good at the job but I have no one but myself to blame for not landing an interview.  I didn’t do everything I needed with my resume to show them.

I have tried and failed to develop a consistent writing routine.  I have also failed to complete any of the projects that I have going.   The list of unfinished work gets longers and longer.

The sequel to Blood Child remains unfinished as does my first novel.  Everything in my life is in the works.

I have craft and art projects that are collecting dust.

I am lost. Lost in my work life, in my personal life and pretty much everywhere.  I feel like if I really let someone know what is going on then I am going to break down the cry. And the tears won’t stop.

Because not only am I a mess, I am also deemed to be broken one.  Broken because I am over weight and depressed.  Lossing weight isn’t going to cure my mental health issues.  And curing my curing my mental health issues isn’t going to fix my weight.

I am lost because I want to move and at the same time I am terrified of it.

Leaving teaching means leaving job security and my health insurance.  It means abandonning the known.

My folks are fine with me moving if it is for a better position and place in life, but I don’t know that it will be.   I can’t guarantee that I will be making a move that is going to make everything better.

If I roll the dice and pack up my life, I fear that went the dice land they are going to come up snake eyes.

There is more.

I have a serious case of imposter syndrome. I feel like I am a huge fraud.

I am a poet who can’t snap her fingers.

I am lost.

Here is the point in writing that I would normally write something hopeful and inspiring. It is tempting to end that way once again.  We all like stories of redemption.  Stories where the underdog makes it to the end, finds their ray of sunshine and lives their dream.  I think in always trying to be the protagonist in that kind of story, by forcing life into that mold, I have lost myself.  I have lost the ability to admit mistakes, short comings and given into the notion that I must always put a positive face forward.

I crave being seen yet, I have been trained to hide myself and not be trouble.  Not to worry others.

When I talk about depression some well meaning friends are always concerned that I have gone to that dark place again.  The one where sucide is the only exit to freedrom.  I am not there, trust me.  I was never really there.  I saw the other exits can clawed my way to them, sometimes figuratively some times literally.

I am in a different place, where there are a thousand doors and the reality of happily ever after has forever been shattered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writer and Her Papa

1926734_10204222512019405_7922414794304983180_nThis is my Papa. I met my Papa when I was thirteen years old. I was already taller than him. And he still had some color in his hair.  Since then we have both grown quite a crop of steely gray hair.

According to legend, he fell in love with Momma over homemade spaghetti.  She didn’t cook it mind you.  He did and he had forgotten to stock up on red pepper flakes.  When he mentioned it, Momma pulled a large container of them out of her purse. .

I am not sure how a large container of pepper flakes made it into her purse.  Maybe she was using them as a cheap version of pepper spray? Throwing the whole container at would be assailants and hoping that her aim was true to hit them in the eye or at least the shock of seeing a flying pepper flake container would slow them down.

A few weeks or months later, Momma came by to pick me up for an outing with Denny.  After Denny came into her life I saw Momma more and more.  If he did nothing else he brought my mother back into my life.  (But, he did do more)

You see a year earlier, we lost our house.  Momma went to stay with friends and I returned from my annual stay at my grandmothers house to live with my father. The separation would last nearly a year.  It wasn’t by choice on either of our parts.  In the meantime, life became a serious of events where I tried and failed to win the approval of my birth father and stepmother.  Every decision I made questioned and denounced as immature and lacking thought.   My interests were weird and I was disrespectful. I didn’t know how to please them and eventually just retreated to my books and imagination.

My father and mother had divorced when I was six.  He told my mother that he didn’t love her anymore.  And she told him to leave. I don’t know what it cost her to do it;  to go against everything that she had been taught about life and marriage. She came from the work it out generation. Her parents were married for over fifty years.  The only way out of marriage was death.  And she let my father go alive. She could have killed him for cheating on him.  She could have raged against him. She never did at least not in front of us kids. She told him to go.  Told him that he had to go that they weren’t just going to go through a divorce sleeping in the same bed or living in the same roof .  She told him to go and where the boundaries were.  I love her for that and everything she did that followed to do right by us. We never made it easy.

Sadly in the months following the divorce I blamed my mother and tried to fight her.  She rocked and held me close until I calmed down.  She didn’t understand that my father had just told me he was going on a business trip not that he was leaving permanently.

My father is not a man known for his sense of humor or love of literature. Actually, I don’t know why people like my father. I do know that he hated my nose was always in a book and wanted me to get out and do things.   I wanted to do things. The things in the books I was reading.  The characters had horrible lives to be sure (I was a huge VC Andrews fan), but their lives were filled with excitement and love.

Love is something  my father still has difficultly communicating to his nearly forty-year old daughter. He rarely says it and every time I hear it, I question whether he is sick or not.  Dying being the event that would induce an out pouring of emotion from his tight lips.

Papa has never had trouble communicating his love, frustration or anger with me.  It hasn’t always been smooth and he has been so angry at me that I am sure he was seeing cross eyed.   I was never the rebellious teen. No, I did all my stupid, worry the parents stuff in my mid to late twenties after I came home to live with them.  When I was a pain in the butt, he let me know.  And while we will never agree on politics completely (so far we both hate Trump), we always agree on the fact that I am his daughter.

Maybe he didn’t provide half my genetic sequence, but he did provide all the love and support a child could wish for. He showed me what it was like to have two loving and strong parents in the home.  He gave me what I missed as a child of divorce the feeling of a strong family unit.

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Father’s day is hard on a lot of people.  Some people like my Papa didn’t know their fathers or have fathers like mine who won’t accept them for who they are.  Papa doesn’t always understand me, but he loves and accepts me.  All of me. It is what a father does.

 

The Writer & the Interview

So after weeks of sending out resumes and expecting it to take weeks, I finally got a response from two principals in my district.  Ten years at the same school. Ten years knowing the boundaries and pushing them. It is time to push new boundaries and serve new students. Two interviews, two chances. Two opportunities to venture down new pathways.

Or in my case, new characters.

Keep pushing for your dreams, Keep pushing for something that fits better and as always ….

Keep writing.

 

The Writer and the Day Job.

Last week I had some out-patient surgery.  (No worries, I am fine and back at work.) The same day, it was announced that the BETA Center would be closing its doors in June. I have been a teacher there since 2009.

My day job for the last ten years as been as a teacher of exceptional students in Orlando. No, I don’t teach at the gifted program. My first assignment was at a mental health facility.  I was there for ten years.  And my students, all young woman, were there as a result of trauma.  I loved them and they loved me.  They learned and so did I, but it wasn’t until BETA that I really began to develop as a teacher and a writer.

Teaching me

Take in 2006 when I first started teaching.

BETA, my current assignment,is part of a private public partnership that provides for the needs of teen mothers.  There is a day care on site run by the agency (BETA). They also provide counselors for the students and help with everything from diapers and food to career counseling.   BETA also houses a residential program.

Combined with the school, we have one of the highest graduation rates in the county.

My students aren’t statistics. They are real human beings who are working for a better future for themselves and their children.  They don’t need to “close their legs” as one commentor to the Orlando Sentinel article on the closing responded.   They need compassion and the one and one attention that BETA gives them.  They need to be seen a real  whole people not “breeders”.

My first year there one of my students was a victim of abuse.   She was nineteen.  A mom working her way to graduation.   When she was eighteen, she came home to find her apartment vacant.  Her parents had left her and her baby. They moved without telling her.   She didn’t let that stop her.  She continued to come to school.

The next year she had moved in with her boyfriend trying to finish school when things turned violent.  He didn’t care if the bruises showed or not.  He didn’t care.  She was his and he could do anything he wanted with her and to her.   BETA helped her get out.  She is alive today because of BETA.   She wants more for her life because of BETA.

Her daughter is in the second grade because of BETA.

She wasn’t the first and she wasn’t the last teen mom to face emotional and physical abused.  Every year students come into my classroom having faced horrors that no teen should ever have to face.   It isn’t just bullying that these young woman face.  Any parent can tell you how hard being a new parent is.  No image being a teen mom without the ability to provide the basics for your child.   Many of the students work and go to school at night.  One young woman, I taught for two years was worked until two in the morning at cleaning service.   She came to school and fought everyday  to stay awake.  She didn’t graduate with honors, but she did graduate.

BETA helped make that happen. My day job does this. Helps young woman find their voice and direction and beat the odds.  It is more than just a job. More than a career.  It is part of what makes me a good writer. My students aren’t one dimensional people.  They are amazing. They inspire me. And they all have stories.

My classroom for the last seven years.

My classroom for the last seven years.

Yes, there are other places that can serve the needs of the community but none of them are like BETA.  BETA is a place that saves lives and gives hope.  I have had students who have survived domestic violence and homelessness.  The BETA  serves as an emergency shelter and is currently the only local shelter that can provide shelter to  a minor with a child. My heart breaks for my students and their children. It is also breaking for the community as well.

There are efforts underway to try and keep the doors open.  If you can, I encourage you to donate by following the link.  Every bit helps.  It really does.

P.S.  BETA also helped make me the writer that I am today. It was working with my students that pushed me from just talking about writing to actually writing.  My students overcome so much just to get to school some days to reach their goals, how  could I complain that I didn’t have enough time to write? So I did and I keep doing it.

Back to the Work

When I posted the Work, I didn’t mean to come across as complaining and I wasn’t really in a bad place.  I was attempting to express what that one moment was screaming at me. I was just tired of feeling like I am trapped on the giant cosmic hamster wheel of tedium.

Things never seeming to get better. Just one day after another and no visible end in sight to the dilemmas and conundrums.

Things undone and needing to attention. Things that need to be seen.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I am being seen.  Like my problems and issues are too mundane. Too first world to count.

I know I am lucky. I know that I have been blessed with more than two decades of continuous employment. I have been everything from a model to a legal secretary.  Since 2006, I have been a teacher.

It was my dream job.  The dream that I let myself have.

The one that was acceptable.  Honorable.

But for the last thirty years of my life, there has been another dream.  The writing dream.

Many of us have it.  Many of us give it up to find things that pay the bills. Dreams are pretty good at not paying the bills.

Life shouldn’t just be about paying bills. It should be about living. It is easy to get caught up in the things that we do to make the money to live.  It is even understandable.  The electric company won’t take a free copy of my last book as payment for next months electricity.

Paying the bills is a necessity.  But, the life you choose to live doesn’t have to all the bells and whistles.  It just has to have the ones that matter to you.  Not to everyone will understand.

And they don’t need to do .

You just have to get to the work that makes you happy.  That work that feeds more than the bills.