Missing You

 

I miss my morning email from you, like a big hug from far away.

I miss the thrill that it gives me, the lift to my spirits

I miss your eloquence, your intelligence and your point of view

I miss your stories of everyday activities, dearly held dreams and even your darkest fears.

I miss the connection, the history and what we’ve built together.

I miss the knowing, the laughing and the encouraging.

I miss the reminiscing of happy days, the sharing of hopes and dreams,

seeking out our truths, discovering life is not always what it seems.

I miss you, every bit and part and piece of you. Like an addict without her drug,

I feel your absence like a painful wound; darkness where light used to live.

I’d almost forgotten what life was like before I met you.

I’ve become addicted to your wit, your humor and your unique perspective; your point of view.

I crave the conversation, the debate, the exploration of thoughts and philosophy of living.

As with most creatures rare and beautiful, you seek solitude and safety when the world becomes too much;

too much noise, too much pain, too many voices, too much chaos.

I know you are hurting and I wish I could make it all go away.

But you are there and I am here, you walking your path and I, on mine.

I can’t promise I’ll be here forever, no more than you can promise me.

But I know we’ll meet again one day.

Maybe not this at this time and in this place,

perhaps not in this body and not with this face.

I found you once before and I truly wish no more

than to find you once again.

I miss you

and wonder

do you miss me, too?

 

 

Things I Strongly Dislike About Being a Girl (Everyone grab your sense of humor and feminists take a Xanax and/or just relax)

1) Crying. I really thought I was over this once I went through puberty and stopping caring about That Boy. Little did I know that having your face leak is a constant for girls and women alike. We can be wearing our Prada power suit, Christian Louboutin shoes and look like solid steel, but wait until the tears start falling; immediately a strong, successful woman morphs into a hysterical female who cries at the drop of a hat. All the tough talk of independence and man-like behaviors (never let them see you sweat/cry, talking constantly in sports terms) goes right out the window. Instantly the division of the sexes is reinforced; no matter how tough the talk, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Tears are not welcome, tolerated or even understood. Of course, I am making sweeping generalizations and I’m aware of that. I know not all men are stoic, dry-eyed and emotionless. But the majority of the ones that I have met just channel their hurt feelings and wounded pride into anger, the acceptable emotion for manly men. I get angry and somehow it’s unacceptable. Go figure. If you cry, you’re (again) a hysterical female but if you get angry you’re just a bitch. I love that kind of wacky logic. 

2) People think I’m cute. I’m physically pretty small, apparently. In my mind, I’m 6 feet tall and bulletproof, but in reality, I’m 5’5” barefooted. Not a huge, overpowering form and no, I do not strike fear in the hearts of men when I walk in a room; it’s more like, “Oh look! How cute. She must be helpless and fragile and must need someone to take care of her.” Nope, that statement is completely false. I can take care of myself and while I may not be able to lift a VW bug off someone, I have the intelligence to avoid dangerous situations. Should I find myself in one, arm myself not with guns and bullets, but with intelligence in plotting, disarm them with dimples and cripple them with my cuteness.  

3) Everything else:

• Not being able to take off my shirt on hot days

• Not being able to (effectively and neatly) pee standing up

• Not being able to go my entire life without putting a razor to my legs, armpits or whatever else women are expected to shave off. (‘nuff said on that subject)

• The obvious monthly issue that even when it ends, another wondrous event occurs – menopause. Which brings more:

• Hot flashes

• Night sweats

• Mood swings

• Anger issues

All that being said, as I near turning 50, I think I’m finally starting to embrace my girl-ness. Nothing like a strong girl growing  into a strong, beautiful woman who is beautiful because she loves herself, estrogen (or lack thereof) included.

Thanks to all of you who have lifted me up when I was down, picked me up and carried me when I couldn’t walk and gave me love when I had none for myself. 

Thanks as well to each and every soul who has fought for all Americans and allows me the freedom to write this post.

Semper Fidelis

  

I am Anita’s Daughter

My mother has been my hero, my dearest friend and my biggest fan. She was also the one who was (unfortunately) the recipient of my rage, toxic mood swings, the childish behavior. She has witnessed first-hand the destructive powers of the demons that dwell in my unquiet, brilliant, mad, mad mind. She has seen me through thick and thin, even when I have tried to hide the dark times, the times when there was no light, no way out of the darkness. Her faith, unconditional love and absolute refusal to give up on me are the only reasons I am here today, alive and relatively well. Mom did not allow me to feel sorry for myself, nor did she allow me to use my “magical mad mind” to be an excuse for not realizing my potential. She could see the woman I had the potential to be, she knew the gifts that had been bestowed upon me and believed I had strength in me that would carry me through whatever life gave me, so long as I kept faith.

I have said before that she was the strongest woman I have ever known and that still holds true. Sadly, dementia came in with silent steps and stole her away from all of us. Slowly at first, leaving us with questions that had no answers, until one day, I was not recognizable as Michelle or even as her daughter. But even with that diagnosis, my mother remained loving, caring, gentle and pleasant to all those around her. We don’t know what happens to our loved ones who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s or any other memory-related disease/disorder, but I prayed that she was in a good place within her memories. Now I know that she is where all God’s faithful children go, where she will be reunited with those who have gone before her. You can call it Heaven, call it The Other Side, call it whatever you like, but I know that all of the sacrifice, all of the turning of the other cheek, the prayers, the sleepless nights and the rosaries and penance she offered up are now being returned to her on a grand scale. She believed with all of her heart and soul that by living a good life here on Earth, she would be rewarded in the afterlife. I can’t say that I understood that philosophy growing up, but as I grow older (and hopefully wiser) I tend to think I understand a little better now. It’s not even so much about going to Heaven, but is more about looking within to discover your riches; extending your hand, not in asking or demanding something, but in giving. Giving comfort, giving the touch of human kindness; living by the Golden Rule –
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That means when you see someone who is having an absolutely horrific day, instead of jumping to judgment *hugely guilty of that, I am* give that person the benefit of the doubt; they had a hard day, lost a loved one, found out they have cancer or just feel like they are unloved. Make the effort to put yourself in that person’s place and know that the last thing they need is to be judged. They need understanding, compassion and yes, even love. Not to say that you need to go up to the person and be all, “Hey baby – how ‘bout I rock your world and make you forget all your troubles??? but just to think of sending them love, peace, calm and acceptance. It sounds like cheesy, new-age goofy stuff, whatever. The bottom line is – it works.

I can’t tell you how many of my friends who met Mom told me that I was so lucky to have such a loving, accepting mother. They were not so fortunate; their mothers competed against them, made them a real-life Cinderella (without the ball, the fairy godmother and prince) or punished them for being beautiful, intelligent and kind. Seems like one of those Grimm fairy tales, but I have witnessed such interactions and always feel so sorry not only for my friend, but for her mother, who I think may be simply repeating what her mother did to her. My mom was a breath of fresh air to these girls and her kindness is remembered to this day. Not to say that Mom was a saint; she had a wicked temper, a sharp tongue when needed and rue the idiot who thought he could mess with her children, any of us. I remember her telling me that she had that same response when anyone messed with her brothers. I guess I take after Mom in more ways than I had thought. That fierceness is born out of love, absolute, unconditional and pure. There is no substitute, nothing can take its place; it can’t be faked, it is something that comes from within.

Money can’t make it, power can’t take it, hate can’t break it. Let us not forsake it.
Love.
Love is all we need.
Love is what I think of when I remember Mom;
Love is the legacy she left us all.
Share it, speak it, tuck it in your heart and keep it.

Mom was the best example of what true faith, unconditional love and a mother’s devotion looks like, lives like and loves like. If I can be a shadow of what she was, my life will be an absolute success. I will strive to be more loving, less judgmental; I will strive to find forgiveness, not only for others, but for myself. I will continue to learn what it means to be a good person and not turn my eyes when I see someone in need. I won’t be perfect, I won’t always bite my tongue or hold back those snarky thoughts, but I will make the effort. When it seems the task is too great, I will remember you, Mom. I will remember your sacrifices, your strength of belief, your faith in God and your family. I may falter, I may find myself off course and I may even fall, but then I will remember that I am Anita’s daughter and I will get back on my feet, dust myself off and keep moving forward. I know you are with me, your words are in my mind, your love is in my heart. I am never alone.