O.M.A. – Other Mother Always

My ex-husband’s mother, Margie, passed away last month and her birthday was yesterday. I am still coming to terms with what that means to me personally and to those who knew her and loved her. She told me once that when someone new comes into your life, you don’t kick anyone out, you just make more room in your heart for them. That was the essence of who she was; loving, all-inclusive, funny, fiercely protective of her loved ones and generous to a fault. She was my rock when I felt I like the riptide of mental instability was pulling me under; she reminded me I was more than a diagnosis and she never gave up on me. She is one of the first people to give me a mirror that wasn’t shattered, distorted or warped; I could see the beauty, the promise, the goodness and the strength that she saw. For this and for too many other reasons to mention, I will carry her with me in my heart, speak her words of love and compassion, make room in my heart for those who need a safe harbor and I will continue to talk to her, sing to her and if I ever do get married again, I know she will be wearing her dancing shoes and dancing up a storm, as promised. Until we meet again.

Fate’s Saving Grace

There are those who go through Life blindly trudging their way through each day, with no direction or purpose in their stride, just trying to make it through until they can escape into the refuge of the night and the fantasy of sleep, only to rise again in the morning and repeat the monotony of another day. They seem to believe that this is their destiny, to accept what is offered to them, no matter how incomplete they may feel, for this is all that they deserve. They like themselves, but do not truly love the person they are; they do what is expected of them and never question what they are told. They exist, but do not enjoy or love the life that is theirs.

If Fate looks kindly upon these people and if they can keep their eyes and hearts open, someone will enter their life who will help them to realize that they are indeed a very special person; that they can realize their hopes and make their dreams a reality. This someone will not tell them what to do, but offer them a way to accomplish what they desire; or maybe by speaking to them, listening to their words, can help them help themselves. By being a different kind of mirror for them to see themselves through, without all the insecurities and faults they see; with a clearer reflection of who they really are.

To encounter a person such as this is a very rare find indeed and should be treasured for their talents and dedication. In a world that is mostly negative and cold, it is exceptionally refreshing to find someone who is positive and warm, genuine and caring and truly desires to help those who do not know how to help themselves.

Such a person may sound like a dream or a character from a child’s book of fairy tales but I have found a person who is all of this and more; she has helped me to realize that I was one of those people stumbling blindly through my days and has given me the praise, encouragement and wisdom that has enabled me to love myself enough to demand more from Life than what is offered, to realize that dreams can become realities and to know that nothing is impossible so long as you believe. I do believe.

 

Building A Better Me

The beauty of Grace Kelly with

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the compassion and grace of Audrey Hepburn

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shining through those Bette Davis eyes.

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The humor of Gilda Radner,

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the faith of Joan of Arc powered by

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the bravery of Rosa Parks

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along with the beautiful mystery of Ingrid Bergman.

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The confidence of Katharine Hepburn

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blended with the chameleon-like talent of Meryl Streep.

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The natural elegance of Helen Mirren

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alongside the patience (long lost many times) of my mother.

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I’ll keep my curls,

my unique brain and unquiet mind along with

those other qualities I’ve learned to appreciate

throughout the years.

In building a better me, I can be

whomever I wish to be.

 

 

 

Heavy Heart & Prayerful Soul

It is with a heavy heart that I wrote this post; yesterday I heard the news that Robin Williams had taken his life. I cannot imagine the pain he must have endured all the 63 years he lived. I cannot claim to know him, to diagnose his condition (if one existed) but I do know that with great brilliance and talent there is often a heavy price that is part and parcel of those gifts. Whether it’s mental illness, loss of privacy due to fame, addiction, or simply the demons that all mankind must bear, each as one different as the person who carries them. What the public sees and what the individual experiences are usually two completely different things. If we were able to see the demons, snarling and snapping hateful, vile things in our ears, then perhaps we would be able to know that no matter how pretty, how rich, how handsome, talented, or morally just a person is, they are not immune to suffering, be it mental, emotional or simply a haunting memory of regret. All too often, we see what we want to see and believe what serves our purpose. People with mental illness know this and it is as if we all have a script of how we are to behave, so as to not appear different or worse, UNWELL. That’s the word that means a trip to the Not So Funny Farm, a series of new medications that make you fat, flat, and absent. Absent of passion, of creative thoughts, pleasant dreams and restful nights. Robin Williams was a genius in making people not only laugh, but FEEL. He was a Live Wire of energy, emotion, humanity and love. I have yet to watch one of his movies or hear an interview of his and not feel moved either by laughter, sadness, hope or just plain love. He delivered, Big Time. It is said that we treat other people the way that we want to be treated and I believe that he loved us as much as we loved him, but the pain was greater than all of us. I cannot condone nor critique his choice, only pray that he has truly found peace and can feel all our love reaching out to him, like a Live Wire.
You have fought the good fight and now I pray for you Eternal Peace, Ever Lasting Love and a return of one thousand fold the kindness and compassion you’ve shown others. God Bless You, Robin Williams. You will live on in our hearts forever.

Note: Please join me in the Out of the Darkness walk if you are in the Sacramento area. For more information, please click on the link below:

http://www.afsp.org/

Anger Revisited

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. 
Buddha 

I have shared with you before how I have issues with anger and how at different times in my life it has almost been my undoing. I had heard the quote above before (Kevin?) and it really spoke to me. I had been holding anger against so many people, situations and just in general. To me, there was no other emotion that made me feel so alive, humming with emotion and intensity. The only problem is that it was a very damaging state to maintain for long. Anger is like battery acid, eating away at anything it comes into contact with and it wasn’t long before it began to eat away at my self-esteem, my outlook on life and how I dealt with the world in general. I was like a walking furnace of anger, radiating negative energy all around me. People instinctively pulled away from me, as if knew that getting too close would be harmful to their well-being.

There is a seductive pull of anger, the absolute power of it; it made me feel as though I could fight the world and win. I could blaze a path through a crowd, scare the Hell out of any fool who had the bad luck to try to make me feel better. But, at some point, the anger turns inward and the acid eats away at me. I had managed to wound myself seriously, push away all those who care about me and put myself in a position of great unhappiness. This would be the time I would go out and drink until I blacked out, trying to numb myself from that unhappiness. The unhealthy behaviors would gladly jump to the forefront of my consciousness and before I knew it, things had gone from bad to worse.

It has taken me a great deal of time to fully understand where this anger came from, why I felt justified in blaming others for it and how to undo or heal from the anger I’ve inflicted upon myself. It’s very easy to blame others for my feelings and my failings and very difficult to turn that critical eye inward. Accepting responsibility for my choices, my thoughts and my actions is the only way that I believe I’ll ever find true happiness. Forgiving myself, loving myself and learning from those bad choices are the healing balm for the burns of anger. 

I recognize that a lifetime of behavior cannot be undone in one day and that I will more than likely spend the rest of my life adjusting my thoughts, pulling back the reins on my anger and finding ways to cope with the consequences of my actions that are not self-destructive or destructive to those around me. I believe that anger comes from a place of powerlessness, of feeling as though fighting back is the only option. I no longer believe that I am powerless; I know that I have no power over others’ actions, but I do have power over how I respond to them. Rather than judge them, I need to have compassion and understand that they are driven by things that I cannot see nor can I understand. But just like me, they are doing the best they can with what demons and limitations they carry with them. It’s hard work, though. The force of anger is always right on the surface, while forgiveness, compassion and understanding are further down and take effort to access. I cannot expect things to change if I continue to follow the old behaviors and thought processes. I am no longer the victim, the wounded child or the misunderstood manic-depressive. I am just me, a child of the Universe searching for my destiny and my own self-realization. The people that I meet along the way are on their own journey and when our paths cross, I believe we each give something to the other. My gift will no longer be red-hot, scalding, soul-killing anger. I have many gifts to offer that are healing, understanding and loving. I will do my best to holster the anger and reach deep to find the positive. 

One day at a time.