Tag Archives: self worth

This, too, shall pass…

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Someone I love deeply is under fire.    Undeserving, but not unexpected fire.    As I read the comments, I thought about who this person is.   What a good person he is.

When you were little, you were so kind to others.  You’re intelligence showed at the age of 3 when you and I were driving to Town at dark, and you were humming “Twilight Zone” as you looked at the sky, and smiled.

Well, the time you stole the money from your friends and brother, that was more out of madness, and I’m sure we can all look back on that and laugh.  It was corrected.  You were feeling pushed and didn’t like it.  I want you to remember that time.  How old were you?   There is a huge difference between then, and who you are, with what you are currently facing.  For one, you know right and wrong.  You may not like them, but you are a law abiding citizen surrounded with those that know nothing of the person you are, or who you will be by the end of this.

The stabbing lies, the vindictiveness, I’m shaking my head as I’m thinking about it.  Dear soul, you have been swimming with the likes of vultures, with that heart of gold of yours.  You are by far one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever know.  I am so proud of you, every day.   I was so disappointed with what you settled for, but I’ve been there, too.  And I’m sure, no, I have no doubt, that the spitting and vicious attacks will continue.  Why?  My dear child, it isn’t about you.  It isn’t about you at all.  It is about them.  You just were “throwing pearls to swine”.   They didn’t value you, they raped your kindheartedness, stole not only every cent you ever made, were given, but celebrated their own victories on your earnings.

I am so relieved to hear that you are making changes.  I am proud of you, again.  I’ve no doubt this decision was the hardest one you’ve ever made in your life.  I know why you stayed, and one day they will, too.   And hopefully they will not fall (more than they already have) to the likes of these, I hesitate to even call them “people”.  Perhaps one day, they too will be relinquished from the evils, the spite, the lowest form of beings I have ever known.  And I’ve known a few.

So, when they go low, you go high.  There were many things I didn’t like about the Obama Presidency but I will say, this?  This has stayed with me, and I’ve packed it away to pull out for the very times that you are walking through right now.   You will get beyond this, because of who you are, and all of us who love you, and will help you find your way out.

Never ever ever ever give up.   Even when you feel like it, and I’m here to tell you, my dear child, that you will want to.  There will be days the snakes have surrounded you, and the evil will be so strong that you’ll want to not fight, but you will.  You will because of the very two reasons why you stayed.  You will never give up on them.

I love you more than I can say, and I am sorry you are in pain, and in this place, but I am so proud that you are here, that you are finally here, and even if for this one evening you feel your own worth, I promise you, you only recognize 1/200ths of your worth.  You’ve been told and mistreated so, you haven’t even a clue as to who you are, or what you are capable of.  But you will.  I promise you.  You will.

The past is the past, and it will sting for some time, mostly from the likes of those who only know how to piss, moan, bitch, and steal.   Leaches, really.    How many times have you EVER treated anyone like they have you????    And my wish for you is, you will never know this, and I don’t believe you ever will, because of who you are.

So you rest, and you do your best every day, in every way.  When they start pissing on you, you ignore, and remember the two reasons why you will always be the better person, with morals, standards.   You are a good person, and some part of you knows that.  Some part of you recognizes that you didn’t deserve this treatment, nor to be in the likes of these snakes.  Because you have walked in courage the last few days.   You will never, ever regret walking in courage.

And when you have your doubts (and you will), you remember those who love you, and you lean to them to remind you of our worth, your strength, and what a beautiful, amazing person you are.   Some of the best times of my life were with you.    I love you.  You’ve got this, and when you feel you don’t?  We’ve got your back.

 

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Like sand through the hourglass

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The past couple weeks I’ve had to take a hiatus from working on my house, given that I lifted my mantle off the gas fireplace and wrenched my back.   So I have found myself sorting, tossing, and thus, revisiting my life with notebooks of writing, poems, boxes of pics, and more.  Where the hell did the last 54 years of my life go?

Further depth came after the tragedies in Orlando.   I will not even go here.  I will say that I have been and am praying for all those affected by such monstrosities.   I am saddened beyond words, of what has and is transpiring in this country, in this world.   I pray for ALL of us.

But I will admit, there is something more going on with me.   I don’t fully understand it, nor am I questioning it, but I am at peace with so much, even in spite of all that is going bad in this world.   I FEEL something coming.   I have random thoughts of what it may be, but I’m not going to go here either.  What I want to share is, I’m accepting myself for who I am, where I’ve been, and finding peace with all that I wanted to be, do, but probably never will.

While looking at pictures from my past, I feel the moment, I recall the times, the feelings, the good, the bad, and the beautiful.   I am aligning with who I am.   And while I want to lose 75 lbs, and more, I am finding peace even with that.  What if I don’t?  Do I want to spend another minute of what’s left of my life worrying about or condemning myself for NOT  BEING PERFECT?

It’s interesting, the story of my life told in pictures.   I have known great love.  I have known great pain.  I have accomplished a lot on my own, without formal education, and I have met SOOO many wonderful people in my life.   Many friends have come and gone, and that’s okay, it is just the ebb and flow of life.  Today, tonight, as I write this blog, I am right with all that has transpired in my life.   I have found peace, and for that I AM TRULY THANKFUL.  If my life ends tomorrow, I am okay with it, because this place where I am is amazing.

I am grateful I was there with my sisters through the illnesses that stripped them of life.  I am grateful that I spent almost a decade of my life with a man who shortly thereafter, drank himself to death.  I am grateful for this “fat” that encompasses my body, because it helps me feel protected from an uncertain world.    Feeling safe anywhere today, is a big thing.   But most importantly to me, I am thankful that I am a good, honest, hard working person who finds pleasure in the simplest of things, in nature.   I don’t spend my time wishing I was in a relationship, or with anyone else, I am happy with my life.   I have learned the most through every tragedy and laughed immensely through much.

In many ways, where I am right now reminds me of surviving and completion of treatment for breast cancer.  It was freeing.   I had (and still have) no room in my life for luxury drama, or bull shit.   It’s actually a little frightening how vocal I can be now regarding this.   The tiny filter that I once had is almost entirely invisible now.   The older I get, the freer I feel about speaking my truth.

Long gone are the days when I worried about someone liking me, or what they thought of me.   I’m right with myself, with God.   I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and it feels good.

I hope that you are finding peace in your life.  I hope you are, too, realizing how precious life is.   How every second of every day is not promised to anyone, and in the blink of an eye your life, and those lives around you, can be altered drastically.  Anyone hearing of the massacre in Orlando, can you help but think this?

Sending you love, light, and as I mentioned earlier, prayers for the world we live in.

 

Who am I if not a teaching artist?

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Here I sit on a Saturday night with my animals and a dictionary I bought in 1984 as companions. 30 years ago? Where the hell has 30 years gone?

I am amongst change, and for the most part, choosing to make these changes. There is truly much excitement, happiness, a new challenge is exciting and I will grow from this, become a better person. But I have realized that my identity, my self worth is tied up in what I have done for the past 15 years of my life. Who am I if I’m not a teaching artist? A publishing artist? A self employed artist?

I remind myself that no matter where I go or what I do, I will always be an artist. It is up to me to keep my hands engaged with creativity, which I am pretty good at doing so. I design jewelry, I write, I bead, I paint, I draw, yada yada yada. Am I poo pooing my own talents? I know I have in past. In my teens and twenties I thought everyone could do what I do, that there was nothing special about my abilities. In my 30’s I realized, I was different. I realized that the years that I spent feeling “different” than my siblings, than my friends, than school mates, thinking different, coming alive at night and sleepy in the mornings, a lifetime of being called “overly sensitive or emotional”…. well, that is all part of who I am and who I was designed to be. And perhaps my feeling different than others was all a self centered narcissistic thought process?

Here’s the thing. I’m confident that I can be successful at that which I am choosing to participate in, that which I am shifting my focus and committing to. I KNOW I can… I already am! I see the opportunity, I have the vision, I was guided here, I WANT this! So why am I questioning my identity? Why is it (if it really is) wrapped up in what I have done in my past.

I guess it’s normal to feel this way, or to be thinking this way. I guess it’s because in some way I’m walking away from what I once believed was my “purpose”. Why can’t I have more than one purpose in my life? Why do I question that my purpose will not reveal itself to me just as it has done in past? And then again, will my future endeavor be much different than my past? Perhaps not with brush in hand, but with my heart, my outreaching arms?

In past I have habitually given more of myself than I had to give. In relationships, in work, in all. My passion provided me with the endurance to do this. Perhaps it is aging? Perhaps it is being guided (which I do believe is true) that I am shifting away from that which I know to that which I do not know. But then again, as a person with a sixth (and a sick) sense, I truly believe this is the natural evolution for me. This is what I’m supposed to do.

I remember in my 20s I was constantly seeking purpose. It was ridiculous. As I aligned with that which I was being guided to, I didn’t question it. I just “knew” and all that was laid out in front of me provided the path to purpose.

I am grateful I no longer see myself only being worthy in a relationship. I have, and what I hope will be the rest of my life, realized that being in a relationship, a committed relationship is certainly nice, and would fill lonely times, but it does no longer defines me. I am not who I am because of who I am with. My sense of self, my identity is not as someone’s girlfriend, wife, fiancé. I guess that is why I’m feeling tripped up about my identity being tied up in my accomplishments as an artist, as a teaching artist. The truth is, I will hold dear to me all the years, every student (well, minus a couple) that I had the privilege to teach, to introduce them to their creative side that many never knew they had. What a beautiful thing! So many wonderful memories, so many wonderful friends. And I’m not planning on leaving this industry totally, but certainly stepping away from it on a much larger scale than I have in past.

I’ve known for several years that I want to teach art, painting, drawing, whatever it may be, to cancer patients. I want to provide them with something fun, something healing as they go through the many challenges of treatment. This is how I want to teach now. I have not the means to do so yet, but I will. If it’s Gods will, I will. Am I feeling guilty that I’ve chosen to now seek financial stability in my life? I want to live out my days with no worries of disconnects, overdrafts. Do I feel like I am selling myself out? Hell, who knows. I don’t think so. Just as I have always known there was something else out there for me, and I am having a lot of fun in doing so. I have a reunion with old friends, meeting new ones… I AM happy with what I am doing…. so why am I feeling this conflict within myself?

I have been particularly bad at giving due credit to difficult days. When sick, or tired I rarely would attribute these things to my foul mood, or my lack of ambition. It was because I was lazy, or because I was bad, wrong, yada yada yada. You cannot see this, but I am sitting here nodding. Perhaps this is just a difficult day? Perhaps I am tired? Perhaps I am getting ill? It doesn’t have to be something monumental, nor do I need to be critical of myself. It just IS how I am feeling today!

I love it when people who hardly know me will “diagnose” my feelings. Seriously, like really? The thing is, I can be this way with others! I think I know what is best for them and I’m sure in some cases, I do! It’s much easier to see another person’s problems and solutions to those problems than to brave my own.

I have been thinking today that what if my purpose is to just be? What if I take all the pressures of perfection, of production out of my life and just wake up each day, take it as it comes, and do my best and feel that my best IS good enough?

Now, see, aren’t you glad you stopped by to read this sorted tale of confusion? I was asked the other day how I was….. My reply was “Well, given that my biggest problem today is deciding whether to keep my hair long or cut it short again, I think I’m doing VERY WELL!” Tis true. If that is the only thing on my mind, then I have a pretty good life, don’t I? So am I CREATING this internal conflict to sabotage my happiness? Oh yeah, I’m fairly adept at that. I think we all can be.

Because I am changing directions of my sails doesn’t take from me who I am. My god given talents as an artist will remain and I will still delve into them, perhaps enjoy them more without deadlines! Another thing I have done in my past is taken whatever enjoyable thing I was doing and turned it into a business. Seriously! I loved to crochet, so I took it the next level and published with Leisure Arts, McCall’s… I loved floral arranging so I became a department head and full time designer doing such! I saw decorative painting and said “OMG, I can do this!” So I did! I love beading, designing jewelry, so let’s start selling it! I love to write, so I am working on a book and going to write articles for women’s magazines. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with doing these things. For one, it kept me well stocked in supplies thus assuring my “fix”. Good God, even flea marketing with girlfriends became a business. They will tell you how well I did at turning over furniture and making a profit on it…. even after using it for a couple of years!

But the constant shifting of furniture, my three season porch constantly filled with my next “treasure”… it grew old. I now want to simplify my life, quit the hustle and bustle of producing and accepting each day as a gift, and as a person worthy of that gift without accomplishing, or conquering the world?

Many times I have heard “I wish I were an artist, I wish I were you, I wish I had your life”… Well, you know, I do have a good life. When all is said and done, I do have a good life. But being a creative soul comes with it’s pitfalls too. When I am not able to create, I become restless, irritable. I think of Ernest Hemingway, and how deadly his writer’s block became. Well that and a whole lot of booze. I’m not implying that I would think about slicing my wrist if I had artists block (again), but let’s just say you wouldn’t want to live with me then! OMG…. Oh my God! What if I am feeling this way today because I fear that I will become that bitchy artist who does not produce? And more? What if I am feeling this way today because I have only ever based my self worth on what I accomplish? Well, holy shit Sherlock! Perhaps I’m onto something!

Now, as Scarlet O’Hara said…. “Tomorrow is another day”…. let’s see what it brings! I do know one thing. I am planning to take back my maiden name and ditch the name that came with the ex husband. He’s not around now, so why should his name be? I think I’m coming home. I think the changing sails will bring new adventures, memories, and a return to myself. I only kept his name because it was my “published” name. That sucker is on it’s way out!

Beyond Cancer

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I’m sitting in my oncologists office in the fast paced city of Boston.   A routine checkup, I have every 6 months.  The trip down was uneventful, unless you count construction and detours and a LOT of rain!  As I was driving down I wondered what my kid sister would say or think of how much I’ve grown.  Once petrified of driving in unknown places, you can only imagine the anxiety that would consume my thoughts when I had to drive in Boston.  Well, long gone are THOSE days!   My sister was my main encourager, my witness in life.   She was also a mighty fine driver when it came to driving me into places I dared not enter! Five years ago my fear of driving in Boston ended when I was making weekly visits for breast reconstruction.   Long gone I tell you, Long gone!     I will now share with you the “survivor skills” of driving in Boston.   First, play your favorite music and very loud!   This is calming and also means you cannot hear others honking at you!    Second, wear sunglasses!   This way they do not get eye contact with you so the majority of them will not risk getting into an accident and third?   Have a gps.  It may loop you around and around like musical chairs, but it can offer a sense of confidence.

On the elevator coming up to the 9th floor in the Yawkey Building at Massachusetts General Hospital I shared the elevator with a nice looking young man, I would guess in his 30’s.    He asked if I was having a good day.  I replied “Yes!  Today my oncologist is going to tell me I’m still cancer free!”  He smiled the widest grin and said “Alright!!!!!!!”  He opened his arms to hug me and I obliged.  “Do you believe in God?” he asked.   My reply, “I don’t walk a step without him!”.  What a nice encounter!

The sweetest woman just came over to offer me refreshments.   We had the nicest chat.   Pushing the refreshment cart around in a cancer treatment center as large as this, I’m sure she has seen much.  God bless her.   I know her sweet smile has always brought a smile to my face over the years.  I’m sure without even knowing it, she has helped many.   Her smile, her kindness makes a difference in the world!    Never underestimate the power of a smile, a friendly gesture!

My oncologist is running an hour behind, no big deal.   I said a prayer for those she is helping, and for the emergency this morning that backed up her appointments.   It could be ME in there!   Take all the time you want, Dr. Kuter.  You will hear no disappointing words from me!    I love my oncologist.  She is a wonderful person and likewise, doctor.   Never rushes you out, sits as long as you need her to answer questions, etc.   Besides, this hour gives me a chance to jot down my thoughts, write this blog.

As mentioned above I have experienced much growth.   I can tell you that I wouldn’t wish the journey of cancer on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world.  I’ve learned that it’s the toughest times that bring the most growth and when you come out of it, it’s amazing how perspective changes, at least that is how it is with me.  As I sit here looking around at the people sitting in this waiting room it’s obvious, no one wants to be here.   No one.   But you make the best of what you’ve got, if you’re smart that is!  Sometimes I had to stoop very low to experience humility, thus gratitude.   These days I’m grateful every day for so many things and even in that I know there is so much more I should be grateful for!

I am writing this blog on my iphone.   I am hardly efficient with this keyboard.  I probably should proof this blog but its time to close it.   A young woman who is looking mighty scared just arrived and sat near me.  I think it’s time to give back what was given to me.  I remember the fear I had when I first walked into this hospital.  I remember, also, the kindness of others, the seasoned “survivors” who shared their story with me and brought some solace to a restless mind and soul.    If the auto correct has done it’s job I am sure there will be major errors.  Just know if it said something about a sex change, it’s not true!   My oh my how messed up auto correct can be, but it can add a lot of spice too!

I sure hope you are having a great day.  I am!    Today my oncologist is going to tell me I’m still cancer free!   Can it get any better than that?

 

 

Changes within me

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Thurs, March 25th 6:30am

I’m usually up at this time long enough to let the dog out, take my morning meds, feed the cats, let the dog in, and then back in bed for a few more hours….  One of the important (to me) perks of self employment.  This morning, however, I am heading to Boston to meet with my plastic surgeon, preop appointment, and some tests.

I am changing.  There are obvious changes in my body, but more important, inside, at my core.  The calmness and clarity that settled in me is comforting.   I still catch myself obsessing some about stupid shit, but in general, the diagnosis of cancer and the journey through it have brought about many positive things/changes.  For one, self worth.  I have never been the one to take care of myself.  I say I did, I believed I did, but now I know, it was superficial.  Somehow being diagnosed with a potentially fatal and quite chronic disease can bring you to a point of growth in about 10 seconds or less!  These are gifts.  Today I am eating right, I am exercising, I am active, I am resting when I’m tired, I am mindful of my time, my days, my life, and making much kinder and softer decisions for myself.  Those who love me are on the side lines rooting me on.  At this point (but it can change tomorrow), it isn’t about fighting the cancer, I have done that, it is about living my life to the fullest, growing, and actually doing the things in my life that I have said for years, I wanted to, or who I wanted to be.  I am becoming.  I am.  I am alive, today I am well, and excited as hell to have a second chance.

This morning I will see the sunrise, I will drive to Boston and meet with my plastic surgeon to discuss my exchange surgery scheduled for 2 weeks from tomorrow.  “Exchange” meaning, they will take out this iron turtle expanders that have been in now since July… the very expanders that every week I would go down and get an injection in the port that is inside of these suckers, of saline… to stretch the skin, tissue and muscle…. a grueling lengthy process… and they will be replaced with soft silicone implants.  Deep sighs.  This is exciting.  A new chapter in this journey, and one that will allow me to sleep on my side and belly again!

view from my oncologists office....

You know, there was one thing that stood out for me about myself after my mastectomy(ies).  I had just had my breasts removed, but after the healing from the surgery, I had never felt more whole in my life.  Interesting, huh?

I’m also scheduled for a bone density and I believe one other thing…. Lord only knows.  ?? ?

Please come to Boston for the springtime… I’m staying here with some friends, and they’ve got lots of room….. you can sell your paintings on the sidewalk.  Buy a cafe where I hope to be working soon… Please come to Boston, she said No, but you come home to me!”  Boston is not my home, but it is and has been an important “port of call” in my life.

Onward, upward, to a new day….