Thursday, November 27, 2008
Meanwhile, I am very grateful to have a job in this economy! I am am thankful for this home of mine, even if the security of it may be an illusion. The illusion is warm and cozy at the moment, so it is working for me. I am mostly thankful for my family and the joy they bring to my life everyday! I feel so supported by their love. Also, I feel utterly blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life from coast to coast. I only wish I had more time to spend with them all! Finally, I am grateful to have art in my life. It helps to make me feel whole and engaged with the world, creatively, intellectually and spiritual. This is a great gift.
My daughter built her first "Build a Bear", yesterday, which is actually a cheetah. She was so excited to pick out rollerskates, clothes and a backpack for her cheetah, named Tofi. She keeps forgetting this creative name. She has asked me at least 4 times today, "Mama, what is her name again?" I made a recording with my voice saying, "Mommy loves you sooooo much! You are the best girl ever and Mommy and Daddy are sooooo very proud of you!" This morning when my daughter pressed Tofi's paw and played the recording, she said, "That makes me cry happy tears!" Ahhhh, what more could a mommy ask for! Blessings to all on this great holiday!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
So, it has been over a year now since my third miscarriage. It is very difficult to come to terms with the fact that I will never realize my chosen path. You remember Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”. Well here it is to refresh your memory:
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I studied this poem in high school and I remember interpreting it as Frost lamenting about choices in life and the difficulty of not being able to do everything we might want in this lifetime. I concluded that he was ultimately happy with the choice that he made, perhaps because he had the freedom to choose.
I have had great difficulty coming to terms with the loss I experienced with my last miscarriage. This has been in part due to the bitter pill that this event was not a choice. I was raised to believe that I had the power to create my own reality, but this is not my chosen reality.
I think that I will always feel sad about the road not taken, but I am beginning to appreciate the road that I am on. I didn’t choose this path, but low and behold here I am and it ain’t so bad, and it surely could be worse.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I am 41 and a half. I just realized tonight, for the first time in my life, my half birthday came and went unnoticed. I have to say I feel a little gypped. Not that I ever celebrated my half birthday by cooking half a birthday cake or anything, but it was always acknowledged, at least by myself. Missing this nonevent seems very poignant now that my daughter is almost five and a half and the halves are very significant to her. She asked a few months back, “If you are five and a half, you are really just five, right?” “Yes dear.” “Then I can say I am five and a half, because I just turned five.” Ah the powers of deductive reasoning, I can see losing arguments with her in my future.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
My mother quit smoking twenty years ago. Last month she quit Nicorette Gum. She always told me that nicotine was more addictive than heroin. She also told me that if I ever used heroin it would end up killing me. These cautionary words discouraged me from ever trying heroin, but parent modeling is stronger than words of wisdom; so for a period of my life I did smoke.
I fancied myself a social smoker; I smoked when I was out drinking with friends. I also smoked when I felt down or depressed, which made me feel even worse, both physically and emotionally. It allowed me to wallow deeply in a smoky cavern of self-loathing.
Call it denial, but I never considered myself a real smoker. I could get away with it, because whenever I felt myself getting sucked into the addiction, I quit. It usually took a few days with a migraine headache, but I was able to quit repeatedly without too much torture.
I would know it was time to quit when one of two things happened. One was when I started to have asthma attacks. I know you probably think it is crazy that a person with asthma would smoke in the first place, but the allure of that modeled bad/cool girl behavior was too tempting. I think that kids’ brains get subconsciously hardwired to do stupid behaviors like smoking when they are teen-agers if they have grown up around it. Of course peer pressure is huge, but I think parent modeling is even stronger.
The other way I knew it was time to quit was when I noticed my every thought being taken over by plans for having my next cigarette. I realized that I was expending an exorbitant amount of mental energy thinking about smoking. When was I going to have my next cigarette? Where was I going to smoke it? Will other people be able to smell it on me if I do it? Should I change my clothes or brush my teeth? Do I need to buy some more? Should I have just one or two? How about just one more? Etc, etc, etc ad nauseum, literally!
I realize now that this is the thing with addiction and I don’t care what the addiction is to; it could be to heroin, to food, to nicotine or even as the song says, to love. The thing with addiction is that it takes over your mental life. Ultimately, I found that fact more disturbing than the physical manifestations of addiction. I just thought that there were so many better ways I could spend my thoughts. Even if I didn’t actually smoke that often, I didn’t want to use up anymore mental space thinking about it.
So when my mom was agonizing over chewing her last piece of Nicorette Gum, I shared with her my thoughts on addiction and the mental space it takes over. She found this perspective illuminating and helpful and she suggested I blog about it. So here it is. I just hope that the cycle of addiction in my family is now broken, for my daughter’s sake.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
So, I was reading Allure magazine while getting my hair done yesterday and I came across this article written by the hairdresser who gave Jennifer Aniston her famous look. Turns out he has struggled with drug addiction for the past decade or two. He decided to write about his experience in hopes that it might help someone else, as well as him, to stay on the straight and narrow. He talked about his esteem issues and how having positive feedback about the work he was doing helped him to be in denial about how his addiction was affecting his life. This led me to start thinking about my own insecurities and need for positive feedback.
I was wishing that I could just do anything in my life without looking for any kind of reassurance or acknowledgement from others and I thought what a great challenge that would be. This could be a new year’s resolution or what I would give up for lent, if I was Catholic. I thought how great it would be to announce this plan in my blog, which would kind of force me to do it. That is, not seek out positive feedback on anything for a period of time. Let’s say 7 weeks, since that is the amount of time it is suppose to take to make anything become a habit.
Now, I have to admit that I have already broken my resolution as of last night. I went about 4 hours before succumbing to the need to get feedback. It was a struggle. I am taking a painting class and last week I completed my first watercolor painting. My mom had come over last night for dinner and I wanted to show it to her. I realized that in showing it to her, I was hoping she would say that she liked it. I was completely conscious that I was breaking my brand new pledge to myself and yet I succumbed. This is going to be hard!
I am declaring that my pledge was not official since I hadn’t posted this blog yet. So, I am starting fresh today with new resolve. My hope is that I will learn to find inner satisfaction in the things that I choose to do and that I will find that to be enough to satisfy my ego. Ultimately, I envision building true self-esteem and soothing my soul. I will let you know how it goes.
Friday, January 25, 2008
This was no easy task for my husband whose father was Jewish and whose mother was born a Baptist, and converted back and forth between Episcopalian and Unitarian more than a few times, nor for myself whose father was born a Catholic, but proclaimed to be an atheist during my formative years and whose mother was born an Episcopalian, but practices Buddhism. So, we started our search for a church, more for the purpose of wanting some form of religious education for our daughter, which we both found lacking in our upbringings, and less for the purpose of having an answer to the question, "So where do y'all go to church?"
Despite my lack of religious education I always have considered myself a spiritual person. Ultimately, I believe in a higher power (I don't care what his/her/it's name is), I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe in Karma. I don't believe in exclusionary dogma, which I find many religions to practice. So, I was particularly alarmed when my daughter came home from school the other day and asked, "When God comes to Earth, does everyone die?"
I have to say that this question has led me to feel a great sense of panic. I wondered whom the source of this information was and I knew that if it was an adult, there would be Hell to pay! I had visions of marching to down to the school, righteously indignant, because one thing I had learned, was the separation between church and State! Turns out the source was a classmate. Welcome to the South!
Now, I knew that in moving here I was going to risk my daughter having exposure to many ideas different from my own. And I knew that my best line of defense would be to raise her with a strong moral compass and sense of compassion. In knowing this, I think she should be alright, whatever religion she chooses or doesn't choose to subscribe to. So I won't bother telling all of the details of the conversation that followed, but I will say that I tried to get her to understand that I didn't believe that a loving God would leave people behind who believed in God by another name. While covering her ears and looking out the window she asked, "Can we stop talking about this now?"
This experience made last night's lecture by SCAD's visiting painter/professor Steve Locke particularly poignant. He is currently working on a body of work called "Rapture". Part of this work includes paintings of gay men engaging in sex acts where one of the partners is no longer there because he has been chosen to go with God and the other partner is left with a puddle of clothes knowing that he did not make it to the Kingdom of Heaven. He also juxtaposes these images onto anti-homosexual religious propaganda. It is very powerful work and speaks to part of my struggle with religion. Check out his website at: www.stevelocke.com. He has several socially relevant powerful projects that have inspired me greatly. I feel very fortunate to have met him and learned about his work.
I know that in telling this story I haven't explained why I lost faith this year. I don't want anyone to worry though. I don't think I have completely lost faith, but maybe I have just misplaced it temporarily. I promise to explore the topic more in another posting.