Whatever you call her, Mom, Mama, Mother, Mommy, Ma’am……. she’s the woman who brought you into the world and shaped you like no other woman could.
It’s Mother’s Day and my social media feed is full of blooms and boisterous thank you notes. I also read posts from women who wanted children but didn’t have any; women who raised children they didn’t birth and women who grieved the death of a child. Mothers and Motherhood is a complicated subject.
Speaking of complicated, my relationship with my Mom fit that definition — or at least from my perspective. We weren’t allowed to use the “F-word”, you know FEELINGS, so communication relied on the “oh so reliable” mind-reading and making assumptions. God forbid we’d talk about how we felt! It was so much more exciting and dramatic to rely on nonverbal communication and hunches.
You see, as a child all I wanted was my Mom’s undivided attention. I wanted her to love me OUT-LOUD.
My cousins remember my Mom as warm and happy. That’s wonderful and at the same time quite weird! For as long as I can remember, my Mom was never at ease. She cried A LOT – every emotion brought tears. Only with a skilled eye could you decipher if her tears were sad or mad, proud or pissed. I didn’t realize her only coping mechanism was to cry; serving as a pressure release valve for everything she had trouble processing. If I had known this I would have had far more empathy than embarrassment. In fact, we were told not to cry! Crying was weak.
I came to appreciate my Mother much more in my adulthood; especially when I become a Mother myself. While I felt increasing gratitude; there was some slow simmering resentment on the back-burner. Why didn’t she want to be more involved as a Grandma? Why didn’t she want to visit us? Why did she forget to call on my birthday? Yes, even adult women want to be called by their Mama on the day of their birth!
At some point in my forties, I knew I’d have to change my thinking if there was any chance of closing the emotional gap between us. The first order of business was forgiveness; I’d have to accept that Mom was doing the best she could with what she had at the time. It is what it is. Make peace and let that old shit go. I chose to soften my heart before another twenty years flew by.
Another thing, I would have to learn how to communicate with Mom in a way that didn’t feed my resentment but healed my hurting heart. I would speak up lovingly but firmly. It may be dangerous with only one of us speaking a new language but the danger of buried resentment is far more toxic.
Finally, I’d have to let go “the big O”; the OUTCOME. I have no control over how she will respond to me. I cannot choose her words. I seem to be a repeat student with this whole surrendering thing. You’d think I be better at it by now!
What does your bedtime routine look like? Personally, I prefer to read for a bit then go to bed early. Geez though, you have be careful what you read as the day’s headlines are so damn depressing.
I was too lazy to get out of bed and walk twenty feet to the living room where I’d left my magazine so I picked up my phone. The phone at bedtime! BIG MISTAKE. I made the all too familiar mistake of looking at my email and two hours later I was too worked up to sleep.
To educate myself about the Opioid Epidemic, I have Google alerts which provide me links to daily news articles. Tragically there are so many daily alerts that’s it’s hard to keep up. So why do I put myself there? Because I chose to and because I’m a Fierce Mama turned Advocate. I will advocate to reduce the stigma of substance use disorders and influence policy makers to provide more effective and affordable treatment options. Incarceration is not the answer.Just like Bob Marley said, “get up, stand up, stand up for your right.” I have a right to be me and follow my passion just like you have a right to be you.
I’m exercising my right to speak up. I believe one person can make a difference.
So why opioids? My family has been and continues to be impacted or shall I say devastated by my son’s misuse of opioids. It’s hell. Actually hell sounds nice compared to our story. It’s impossible to describe the gut wrenching nightmare we’ve endured. The pain has sent me to my knees a million times over.
Please note. I do NOT want your pity. This is NOT why I’m writing about my experience.
I write because it helps me cope. It grounds me. Writing heals me.
“My Girlfriend Voice” arose from my frantic attempt to survive the chronic stress of my life. Not only did I have a child suffering from substance use and mental illness, I had another child who desperately needed his Mother’s attention and love. I was depressed and ending a long term marriage. I dreamt of running away.
Now while I don’t claim to know everything, I know I am resilient. I am wise because I learn from my experiences. Yes, I make mistakes. I cry big ugly snotty cries and I swear like a sailor. I rage, although not as often. I have bad days just like everyone.
Despite all of “this crap”, I’m happy and optimistic. It’s hard work but a terrific return on my investment. I am grateful for my deep compassion and perspective.
Thank goodness we gain wisdom as we experience pain!!
I’m willing to let you witness to my process. I’m willing to share my thoughts and my tools in hopes that these stories will help you. I don’t want you to ever feel alone and hopeless.
Do you think this is weird? Narcissistic? You have a right to your opinion! I respect that! I don’t have to defend my motives or intentions.
In the spirit of sharing, here...
Dearest Delightful Cara,
It’s almost your birthday and I wanted to write you a love letter.
Not so long ago you used to have a secret.
You never wanted to tell people how you felt.
To struggle was to fail.
To fail was unforgivable.
There were many times that your heart said, “I can’t take any more of “THAT”!
You hurt so badly that nothing held your head above water.
Your thinking was black and white and your words were void of color.
You got sick and tired of being strong.
The sadness settled into your cells and paralyzed you.
That was before. That was then.
Your saving grace is that you vibrate with curiosity.
Pausing, I see you breathe in gratitude.
You soak in the rays of your blessings.
You embrace reality, not perfection.
You do not attempt to have it all; to be a super woman.
You have sad days and feeling dumpy days.
You can be stubborn and impatient.
Rather than hiding, you let the discomfort move through you.
You consider the message it provides.
You also have radiant days.
You exude passion and promise.
I hear you shout, “I AM ENOUGH in my perfectly imperfect world”.
You are willing to pull back the curtain, to share your stories with the world.
Vulnerability is the biggest gift you can give yourself.
Let the world be motivated by your courage and character.
We are celebrating that you, Dearest Cara, are a gift to the world.
Your Loving Girlfriend Voice
My positive, supportive, wise inner voice! She is my advocate. She is invested in the “authentic me”.
Last week I wrote about how I wanted to find an image to illustrate the concept of My Girlfriend Voice. Here is how I see this wonderfully positive, supportive and wise woman who resides in my Soul. This is what I see today and perhaps the look will change with the seasons……. Putting a face with a name helps me connect with her!
What does your Girlfriend Voice look like?
In this moment, she is telling you that you are beautiful and everything you need to be. You are good enough. You are a gift to the world! Can you hear her speaking to you?
From the heart,
There are times when you just need to be alone. Decompress, evaluate, cry, binge on TV, sleep, eat cookies, fret, eat more cookies and then WRITE about it.
I’ve found myself requiring more solace than usual lately. Respite and quiet times are healing but to the outside observer, this may look like isolation. In a way I guess I do isolate myself but this is a necessary part of my self-care regime. BUT, if you don’t see me surface after a few days, please check on me. I may have been arrested and hello, there is no internet in jail.
I don’t want to complain but let me take a sec to give frame to my need for space.
The job I have loved for the last 29 months came abruptly to an end on Friday. While I knew it was likely, I told myself I had at least six more weeks before it ended. It isn’t that I haven’t been looking for a new position because I have! My heart was still tied to the company because I worked with really good people (minus one)! Good people who work hard, play hard, laugh at themselves and laugh at me for my creative (a.k.a. critical and controlling) ways. I salute you!
You see, I have only been unemployed once and just for six months. I had a husband to rely on then and my bruised ego didn’t have to worry about paying the bills. Now it is just me. JUST ME and no safely net. Will I be OK? Yes. I will figure things out. I am going to make the most of this opportunity.
Last night I started watching a new series on Netflix where the main character goes to federal prison for carrying drug money once when she was 22 and very stupid. Looking at 15 months in the pen, she tells her fiancé that she plans to get ripped, read all the books on her Amazon wish list and maybe even, learn a craft. I think that this is perfect advice for me!!
- Time to exercise. No excuses about my schedule.
- Read, read, and read. My favorite thing to do!
- Craft– you bought a vintage sewing machine. The possibilities are endless.
- I will add one more to the list.
- GET SHIT DONE.
I am starting a list of the things I want to tackle like get a serious grasp of my finances. God willing, I will move from the UNdivorce to the DONEdivorce. Further explore my love of storytelling and find a writing mentor. Boost my visibility as a voice actress and launch a self-marketing campaign. Organize the photos. Get a will. Date, cook, dance and enjoy the company of amazing friends.
Hopelessness is contagious but so is gratitude. I could be angry or I could be happy. The choice is mine. Watch out now, here I come.
From the heart,
Hello friends! Another week goes by and despite the stress of my life; there were some really funny moments. These are the best things from my week:
At a local senior center, I lead a Friday discussion group with early stage Alzheimer’s patients. I asked the group, “What is something that you should never lie about? One lady said, “Your shoe size.” Another lady said, “Why are we talking about suicide?” This reminds me of the joke where three seniors go out for a stroll. The first one says, “It’s windy. Another one replies, “No, it’s Thursday.” The last one says, “Me too. Let’s get a drink.”
At another place I hear an older lady say to friends, “I finally picked out the photo of myself I want to have on display at my funeral. My daughter said I was too much of a bitch then. She has only liked me for the last few years so she suggests a more recent photo.” This is a true story!
At an uber cool Oakland diner, a tall drink of hot chocolate introduces himself by saying, “My name is Greg, Gregory or Big Daddy.” (Did he really say that? Uh huh!) My friend responds with, “I am an overly educated black woman.” I tell her no, no! You are an HIGHLY educated black woman! Big difference! Her name has been withheld to protect the slightly inebriated and innocent.
Another laughable moment is my dinner with my retired bachelor neighbor. I will call him Mr. Delusional as he is crazy with a capital C. I am not making fun of him—just the situation. Mr. D. has invited me for dinner every week since I moved in 2 months ago and because my mother raised me right, I agreed to go. (maybe I am the crazy one here?) I made sure my son was within ear shot in case Mr. D. decided to make a pass or cut me up for the freezer. The highlight? Watching a 68 year old legally blind man playing air guitar to the Moody Blues telling me it was him in the video. I ended up leaving two hours later with half a bottle of wine and raw salmon. He never got around to cooking so he sent dinner home with me to make myself! Mom tells me it is OK to stay away from Mr. D now and I wholeheartedly agree!
Always do what your Mother tells you to do.
Last night I came downstairs feeling quite sexy in a black jumpsuit and statement earrings when my son tells me that I remind him of Cruella Deville. I said first of all, “She is not a real person and second of all, what part of me says “puppy killer?” (Cruella is the villain in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians) He claims the resemblance stems from my sassy hair style and not my sassy outfit.
I have white blond highlights around my face which may be more reminiscent of a halo or wreath of laurel. Just kidding! This isn’t the first guy to say this and he also meant it as a compliment. Let me set the record straight. Her…… Me…. No #%&% resemblance.
By the way, I was headed out all to a...
Hello there friends! Wondering where the heck I have been? Well, let me tell you, I have been “embracing change”. So as I nurse my heat wave induced headache and my second pineapple margarita, I am happy to bring you up to date.
My friend Jo asks me what is going on with my divorce or rather the “UN-divorce”. Don’t you love that? The divorce that never progresses! Despite the tease of mediation, I still have nothing substantial to report. I got sidetracked when I found out I had to move. I will get to the divorce as soon as I recharge my tanks. Lesson learned? What does a piece of paper have to do with my happiness? Nothing unless of course we are talking about a settlement check. :0
Let me say a little more about Jo, a friend from my first days in California (notice how I didn’t say OLD friend?) We haven’t seen each other in a very long time. What is miraculous is that we had lived in the same neighborhood for the past two years without running into each other. As soon as I move to a new place, we see each other at a local grocery counter during lunch! Twenty six years ago she gave me a place to stay when I arrived here all white bread and corn fed from the Midwest. She is still as genuine as ever and I consider it such a gift to have reconnected. Lesson learned? It was’tn by chance we ran into each other. It was meant to be. I needed to feel grounded.
Yes, my big move. With little notice, I was told the house I was renting was going on the market. Nothing like being thrown head first into a big stressor but then again, I firmly believed that there would be something good awaiting me. Three weeks later when another friend Katy found me at the gas station searching for a Tootsie Roll at 10pm in tears, she reminded me of the power of visualization. After sucking down the candy, I wrote out exactly what I wanted in my new home and hung it on my refrigerator. One day later the perfect townhouse was listed on Craig’s List and I grabbed it. It was meant to be. Lesson learned? VISUALIZE while eating a Tootsie Roll.
Now that I had the move conquered, it was time to put a little attention to romance. Why several gentlemen couldn’t see my “fabulousity” (a Real Housewives word!) is a mystery to me but it is clearly their loss! Finally I met a fine man I’ll call Mr. Sweetness. We had a record three dates only to find out that there is this little thing between us that I find incompatible. Today I am bummed out, feeling the letdown. The excitement and attention made my 50 year old brain feel 15 again. Mr. Sweetness gives me hope that there are other wonderful, communicative men in the world! I will get back on the horse (stallion preferred) and keep trying! Lesson learned? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
There were a few other things going on too like a minor surgery, seeing a loved one’s resilience after relapse and wondering if I would still be employed by end of...
I’ve worked in sales for twenty years so I am used to rejection. I audition for voice over gigs almost daily. It is uber competitive. Again, I am used to rejection. I celebrate the process—I really do!
Now I am experiencing rejection in another dimension, my love life. It sucks big time.
First let me vent. If you use an on-line dating service and someone takes the time to write you an email, please respond EVEN IF it is to say no thank you. I can’t believe that these guys have hundreds of responses to wade through. Where are people’s manners? Thank you. I feel better now.
I took the plunge and expressed interest in a man and after an incredible first date, we still haven’t connected for our second date. There is a steady stream of texts assuring me of his interest.
“Maybe you are just not that appealing to him, you know or maybe he already has a girlfriend?” WTF? These are the words of an old voice, but a voice new to this blog. Let me introduce you to Nikki Not Good Enough. She is perfect in every way–it is me that is not good enough. I thought I left her behind at a previous address but she’s baaaaaaaack!
Yes. Nikki Not Good Enough is an old acquaintance. She’s quite familiar as we spent the first forty years of my life together. My Girlfriend Voice taught me a new strategy for dealing with her and for Perky Penny Perfectionist and all those other “biatches” that haunt my head. I talk back.
“Well, Nikki, at least I recognize my discomfort. That’s progress! Am I sulking and hopeless waiting on a man? Hell no!” I shake my fist triumphantly in the air!
“Now let’s look at Mr. Chemistry. He did say he would be available to date in March and it is only the 11th. I told him to call me when he was ready and available. If he doesn’t call then it is his loss. So Nikki, I am in perfect control of this situation. “
She says, “Well if he was really in to you he would make the time.”
Ouch. The thought had crossed my mind.
I calmly reply, “I am not going to read into anyone’s behavior but my own. This is what I control. This is what I own.”
I see a pattern here. The two men I had long term relationships with were dependent on my loving care and attention but they were incapable of reciprocating. Last fall I fell hard for someone who turned out was still in a long distance relationship.
It is really no surprise that I am triggered to feel less than good enough in the dating scene. I have been the giver and not the receiver. At fifty and fabulous, this is going to stop. If Mr. Chemistry does come a calling, I will trust MGV to guide me and by the way, Nikki– you can go now! Bye bye.
From the heart,
Tonight I came home from the gym at 8pm to find my son and five of his friends watching TV and doing homework. Here is the positive: I like these kids and I am happy that they are comfortable in my home. Now that they are no longer using Axe Body Spray, they also smell pretty good. The negative: Mommy hit happy hour before Zumba class so she is a little cranky and WOULD LIKE SOME QUIET TIME PLEASE!
I can’t help but reflect on how parenting is so much different than I thought it would be. Let me share my thoughts with you.
A is for APPRECIATION. I want to thank my parents and family for shaping me into the person I am today; especially when it comes to parenting. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am not one of those people that can say I love every minute of it because there are times when it really sucks. (Do you know how hard it is to admit this publicly?) I am ever so grateful that I am strong enough to stick with my convictions and do what it takes to shape my boys into good men.
A is for AWESOME. The two things I remember my parents saying are:
- “If you don’t know, look it up”. We had a set of encyclopedias, a dictionary and the public library. No Google!
- “You’ll figure it out”. I hated this one because I felt it was so much more efficient if someone told me the answer!
I thought my parents were lazy when they put so much responsibility back on me. Today I think they are awesome. I could only appreciate their savvy when I became a parent myself. Even if you do not have children, please know this. Parents do the best job possible with what they have to work with.
A is for AGELESS. Parenting continues throughout the lifetime of your child. I joke about my 22 year old son moving back home with me but I am lucky to have his company. I was ready to launch my adult life at 18 and never moved back home. This isn’t the right recipe for him. We are crammed into a one bedroom place and most days, we love each other’s company. It is also funny when I hear my words coming out of his mouth. “Mom, it’s late. I was worried.” I say, “Oh sorry, time got away from me. He says, “You know you could have called me!” Role reversal can be pretty darn weird!
A is for ARTICULATE. You are not guaranteed another day or another chance to tell someone how you feel or to right a wrong. Possessing the ability to understand and admit you made a mistake and then sincerely apologize is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your relationships.
Living is a technology driven digital age, people are oversaturated with information so you may need to repeat your message in order for it to stick. There is nothing wrong with...
Sadly, no one has responded to my post on Craig’s List to barter my saavy advice for an Ipad! I will not give up hope. Good things come to those who wait!
Today I see there is a 1974 hearse with a free casket offered.
There is also an 8′ wizard sign valued at $1700! Just thought I would pass this along in case you were in the market!
Go out and giggle–enjoy your day! From the heart, CaraW
Girlfriend time is the very best medicine! Friday night, my hottie friend, we affectionately call her “Mama”, joined me for Zumba class followed by dinner at a new place close to the gym. The food was phenomenal, the eye candy delicious but the laughs we shared were the highlight of our evening. Thanks, Mamacita!
I related to Mama that earlier in the day I had shared stories with the Seniors I work with related to the theme of the three R’s, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. For a little flavor, I had looked on Craig’s List to see what categories were listed if you wanted to buy or sell something. This in fact how I have proudly purchased half of the furniture in my home. Why buy new? The thrill is in the hunt.
Under the GENERAL sales category, I could buy a Columbarium Niche (Ground floor, Historical) for $7500. I had to Google this term as I had no idea if they were selling a car or a timeshare in a tropical climate! For a lack of a better description, it is similar to a locker for your loved one’s remains at the cemetery. Seems pricey for a single purpose cupboard but what do I know!
There is a FREE category with things like mattresses, home appliances, moving boxes and dirt. There is a 16 foot trailer missing both axels and wheels—If only I were in the market for a big box!
What intrigued me the most was the BARTER category! There lies a cornucopia of treasures like a set of red Puma shoelaces. Yes, just one pair with an estimated value of $5. There is a pommel horse needing a new home as well as 50 rolls of very delicate blue tape. Yes, delicate. Here is the posting:
50 rolls of scotch blue 2″ 60 day tape very delicate,
sells for 9 to 13 dollars a roll .. (300 is lowest I’ll go)
would like to trade for Ipad … but open to other ideas
Or this posting….
Robots need home! These robots come from a smoke free home…willing to sale or trade for a working freestyle bmx trick bike or working Ipad or something i haven’t thought of…take them all or just your favorites…
(thank goodness they haven’t lived with second hand smoke!)
Well hells bells. little lady! I want an Ipad and bartering may be the perfect avenue for me. What can I trade?
Since I became perimenopausal, my psychic abilities are rather inconsistent so I am taking that out of my repertoire. I have publically confessed to being a part time people hater so I can’t do anything face to face or with happy people. My best asset (drumroll please), is My Girlfriend Voice! That smart little voice in my head that lovingly supports me through thick and thin, the highs and lows.
Let me support you! Yes! Ask me a question. Seek my advice. You can only get it here from Yours Truly! I am going to post this ad:
I am willing to trade...
Having survived two very stressful weeks, it is no surprise that my immune was overcome by a “major mucus maker”. The nasty cold germs I have been avoiding finally caught up with me so here I am—a sloth in cute PJ’s. In between my drug induced naps, I am attacking a pile of unread magazines and this month’s book group selection, “A Confederacy of Dunces”. I may even finish this hysterical master piece in time for Wednesday’s meeting!
This virus imposed house arrest has wreaked havoc on my creativity so I am going to keep things simple and provide you with My Girlfriend Voice’s tips to help you reduce stress and stay healthy.
1. Word association. Like colors, words have a positive impact on my psyche. Delicious and lovely are my two favorites right now. Slowly I repeat these words and let calm settle in to my body. Last month my favorite word was cinnamon roll. I couldn’t say it without a smiling. Why? I have no idea but it worked! What word do you like?
2. Body and breath. There is a correlation between the calmness of my mind and the degree of stability I feel in my body. Whenever I wait in line, wash the dishes or brush my teeth, I use this technique. Standing still with your weight evenly distributed across the feet, shoulders pulled down and back and pelvis tucked in. Let your breath warm and relax you. Settle in to your body. Do you feel your strength?
3. Memory recall. I’m guaranteed to smile when I take a journey back to in time to when my Grandmother and I stayed up late watching TV and talking about everything under the sun. A hug, a joke, her silly outfits! She loved me unconditionally. Sometimes I feel her presence and her wish that I take more time to enjoy the things and people I love. What memories bring to you to a place of bliss?
I wish you a week filled with wonder, joy and a healthy immune response! Stress less, smile more. Your body will thank you!
From the heart,