In This Time of Darkness, Send In the Snow

I am a snowflake, I stand tall and proud. I’ve fallen to the ground, from an ominous cloud. I’m cold on arrival, but I melt when I hear. The drums of injustice, pounding very near.

The world seems so much darker since Donald Trump was sworn in on January 20, 2017. His first 80 days in office have been a disaster, and have incited many people to protest often. He continues to harm and insult countless individuals and communities, just like he did on the campaign trail. Some were anticipating that he’d magically change once he took the oath of office, but I never had that hope. I saw what he was, because I listened to who he told us he was. Many didn’t listen close enough or believe it. They just chose a few things they liked about him, and dismissed all the rest. Some of these people are regretting their decision to vote for him, but not many of his core supporters who seem to stick by him no matter the cost. Even through the threat of nuclear war.

That makes me very sad. Sad that people support such a hateful man, who surrounds himself with cruel, divisive people. Sad that he was elected even though Hillary Clinton had almost three million more votes. Sad that the world’s opinion of the United States has now changed. Sad that I cannot let my own children listen to their President speak. I will not let them hear his hateful rhetoric. I will play back old speeches of Barack Obama so that they can hear the words of a wonderful, eloquent man. An intelligent, devoted family man whom I, and many citizens, loved and will always love. He will always be my President.

I will teach them about compassion, and the difference between legislation that is created to hurt us, and legislation that is created to help us. I will show them how people’s actions speak louder than their words. I will show them all the progress that was made during Obama’s Presidency. I will show them how the Trump Administration is desperately trying to erase all of that progress, and target certain people/communities with a big smile on their face.

I will teach them the value of voting in every single election.

I will show them what love is, and that helping people is an essential part of being human. I will teach them not to judge people by the color of their skin, or by what religion they follow, or by the amount of money they have. I will teach them that we are all equal and should be treated that way.

I will teach them that snowflakes are beautiful, and to be called one is not an insult but a compliment. It means that you care about the world and all of those in it, not just yourself or people like you. It means that you will speak up when necessary, and won’t let your kindhearted ideals get trampled to the ground.

When I heard about the Muslim Ban and saw all the chaos and inhumanity at the airports months ago, I cried. I cried for all those affected, for their families, for our country, and for my children.

I was so happy that they were born while Obama was President. The world seemed so much better, safer and happier. I know that some terrible things still happened, but having Obama at the helm was very comforting. He strived for peace, equality and the greater good. He was a kind and decent man, and when he spoke I got chills down my spine. I knew that I was witnessing greatness. I feel sorry for those that didn’t.

I do believe some people are coming to that conclusion now, and are realizing that harmless emails were actually a diversion from a sinister plot to make America fascist not great. Many people made a mistake by not voting, or by voting for the wrong candidate. Now our country is in great peril. Now a traitorous egomaniac is at the helm.

I believe Michelle Obama said it best when she spoke to Oprah “we are feeling what not having hope feels like.”

I know exactly what she meant, and that is the feeling I have had since the election. I am left with a giant hole in my heart now, and a feeling of dread that I have never felt before. I am scared for my country. I do not support Trump as President and I never will. That is a hard thing to admit and have to deal with, for I consider myself a very patriotic person. I love this country. But, I love it so much that I will not support those who try to destroy it. Things are not normal right now. I have always watched every Inauguration, and wished every President well. Not this time. This administration is like no other. The hate, intolerance, discrimination, and fear it perpetuates is unacceptable.

That is why I am a snowflake.

I was born with a lot of compassion, even though I was not treated well for many years. I was always able to try to put myself in others shoes. I cried easily at the sight of pain or injustice. I always wanted to help, though I wasn’t always able to.

Some are not born with a lot of compassion, but it can be taught, it can be practiced, it can be developed. It can be learned by watching others who exhibit it. It will not be shown during this administration, that is why I hope it doesn’t last long. I hope it doesn’t have to time to destroy people’s lives, jobs, families, healthcare, and the environment.

I don’t want to watch the country I love burn. I want the beauty that Obama and those before him created to remain.

I was very sad on January 20th. I am still very sad about what is going on, and about how Trump is trying to move our country quickly toward fascism. But on January 21st, during The Women’s March on Washington, I found hope again. Hope came in the form of millions of snowflakes wearing pink hats. I could not get enough of the coverage, the speeches, the signs, the women and men who marched for a better, more fair and diverse world. A world I believe in. A world I want to live in.

Though I live close to Washington D.C. I could not march due to my health, but I felt like I was right there with them. I found the light I was looking for, I found my fellow snowflakes.

Many conservatives use the term snowflake in a derogatory manner. I don’t care though, I am proud to be one. I am proud that I, and so many others, care about our fellow citizens, and about our world. I am proud that we want to help others, and to make the world a better place for our children, and for everyone. We will march, protest, call our representatives until the cows come home, because we know that many things in life are worth fighting for, and our country is one of them.

I am so proud that so many people in our country, and around the world, are standing up to the injustice that surrounds us. It gives me hope, it helps me sleep at night. I am able to look in the mirror knowing that I did my best to try to be a good person, and to make a difference, no matter how small.

I don’t know how our new President, or many of his followers look in the mirror at night. I don’t know how they post about how glad they are that the refugee children that have been turned away have nowhere safe to go now, then kiss their own children good night. I don’t know how they say “build the wall,” with such glee, and turn their heads while other’s are bullied and beaten because of such hateful rhetoric. I don’t know how they cried while Angels were shot down in Newtown, but cheer when Trump talks about removing gun-free zones at schools, and while he gave a Sandy Hook denier a seat in the White House Press Room. They looked away while the people of Flint had no drinking water, and voted for someone who will allow all of our water to be polluted. They believe all of the alternative facts and have no idea what the truth is anymore. What examples are they setting for their children?

I will follow the marchers, the scientists, the environmentalists, the civil rights activists, those who fight injustice, and those who dream of a brighter future for all of us. Those who realize that the swamp has not been drained, it has been filled with unscrupulous billionaires who are okay with following a tyrant who is beholden to Russian interests. Money is their God, and their savior Jesus, is just a poor immigrant.

I am glad that the world is watching. I am glad that those who were banned from our country know that the majority of Americans do not agree. I am glad that most of us do not agree with the deportations of Dreamers and non-violent immigrants. I am glad that they see that most of us care. That we will keep protesting and fighting for them, and for what is right. Fighting for the heart and soul of the nation we love.

They say a storm is coming. It is a storm of millions of voices starting to rise. Winter is here. A winter that could last many years.

We are the winter. We are the snowflakes. We will fight injustice. We will spread love. We are indivisible. We are stronger together.

We will try to replace all of the pain that will be created, and all of the woe that we feel, with a beautiful bright layer of fresh fallen snow.

And as we march, we will leave millions of footprints in the snow that will never melt.

snowflakepoem

I Am Not A Great Mom Right Now

As I sit here writing this, my two children are asleep next to me on our giant couch. They barely ever make it to their own beds in their messy rooms, in our messy little house. We are currently living a messy life, and I am not a great mom right now.

It has taken me awhile to admit this. I dreamed of being a perfect mom, with the sweetness of Caroline Ingalls, the brilliance of Claire Huxtable, and the cooking skills of Martha Stewart. But truth be told, I’m becoming more and more like a chronically ill Roseanne.

I always thought I’d be an awesome mom, and I was doing okay during the first few years of my daughter’s life until I was struck hard by illness and other circumstances. I had to suffer through a bad car accident and bruised ribs, five miscarriages, gall bladder surgery, Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis, severe PMDD, Fibromyalgia, frequent pneumonia due to asthma, Chronic Lyme Disease, multiple bilateral life-threatening blood clots on my lungs, panic attacks and anxiety.

I am so fortunate to have survived all of these things, but I can feel the dream of being an amazing mom slowly fading away. The stress of being in pain and chronically ill has taken its toll.

Like tiny grains of sand sliding down an hourglass, I am very aware of time slipping away. I realize that I can’t reverse the hourglass, I can only catch some grains of sand before it’s too late.

I can’t bring back the things my children have missed out on, I can only provide them with some new things to look forward to.

I may not be able to show them how to keep a perfect house, but I can show them how to be good people.

I may not be able to show them how to run a marathon, but I can show them how to leave beautiful footprints in the sand.

My family is everything to me. Though I am disappointed that I am not able to be a great mom right now, I will never stop trying to be one.

I will be the best mom that I can be at this moment, and share the best parts of me when I am able to.

When I glide around the ice skating rink with my daughter, I hope she remembers the glow in my eyes as I looked at her. My heart melts when she is near.

When I go bowling with my son, I hope he remembers how proud of him I was after he knocked down a few pins. How proud I will always be.

I hope they remember all of the good times we shared, and all of the magical memories we created like when we visited Disney World. Our trip there was the greatest trip of my life, and I will cherish it forever.

I hope they learn a valuable lesson from me about how when life drags you down, you must keep going and be the best that you can be.

I realize now that there is no such thing as a perfect mom. We all experience the ebb and flow of life and of parenthood. We must accept the fact that there are times that we will not be terrific moms. We must learn to accept life’s quirks, perks and failures. They will help shape who we are. They will make us stronger.

I remember holding both of my children for the first time. Those brief moments were the most powerful of my life. It is when I learned what true love was, it is when I became a mom. It is when I made a promise to my sweet little babes that I would love, protect and care for them for as long as I was alive.

I may not be a great mom right now, but I hope that when my children look back on their childhood, they will see that I kept my promise, and that I loved them with all of my heart.

And hopefully they will remember that love for the rest of their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

The Phone Call

On September 25, 2016 I was diagnosed with Multiple Bilateral Pulmonary Emboli. It was one of the scariest days of my life. I have been suffering from many chronic illnesses for twenty years now, but I was never given a life-threatening diagnosis before. I have faced many rough days, and have spent many nights awake with fear, but this hit me the hardest. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with this information.

I usually work through difficult situations by writing blogs and poetry. This was new territory for me though. I never had to write about a life-threatening situation that I was in the middle of. This was not fiction, or a distant memory, this was happening now, and writing about it would make it all too real. I had to try to distance myself from it in order to survive. I had to try to forget that there are currently blood clots all over my lungs which could kill me in an instant. Which could take me away from my family, this beautiful Earth, and all that I love. This time was different. I tried to distract myself, I tried to keep busy, I tried to rest, I fought to get through the day.

I am sorry to all of you who are currently facing life-threatening diseases or illnesses. I now know how you feel in my own way in regards to what I am facing. I can’t know exactly how you feel or what you are going through, but I wish you hope, strength and lots of love.

I was told that I would have to take blood thinners for up to six months. I am extremely sensitive to medications and was not able to tolerate the pill forms of Eliquis or Coumadin. I was able to tolerate Lovenox in the hospital so my hematologist agreed to let me take it though it wasn’t the normal protocol.

My husband who is a registered nurse injected me twice daily with this life saving medication. It prevents the existing clots from getting bigger, and it prevents new clots from being formed. The shots in the stomach are painful, and have left my entire abdomen bruised and tender. I bruise and bleed very easily now and have to avoid doing anything that could result in bad injury, especially to the head. Some people do fine on the blood thinners, but since I’m so sensitive it has been very difficult for me to stay on them. I have asthma, Chronic Lyme Disease and anxiety and this medication has made all of these conditions worse. I feel strange, dizzy, nauseous and not like myself. My life has been put on hold these past four and a half months and I haven’t been able to enjoy much. I’ve barely gone anywhere besides to take my children to school.

I have not been able to write much due to my anxiety, and the fact that I feel like I can’t put into words what I’m going through until it’s over. I’m so paralyzed with fear, that I can’t think clearly. I have many trapped words in my head waiting to be out of their prison. I look forward to the day when they flow freely, dancing around the page, unencumbered, raw and beautiful.

Though I’m so grateful and lucky to be alive, I can’t wait to truly live again.

And that brings me to the phone call.

Yesterday, I had a CT  Lung Angiogram with contrast. This test will allow the radiologist to see if all of my blood clots are gone. This test will let me know whether or not I can have my life back. This test will let me know if I can breathe again, with less anxiety, and more joy. With more happiness and fun times for my family, a family I have woefully neglected for a very long time. I’ve been sad, scared and angry for too long. I pray I get the chance to make it up to them.

My hematologist is supposed to be calling me today with the results. I jump each time the phone rings. My heart starts beating very rapidly like the Tell Tale Heart. Will I be free, or left with its maddening heartbeat?

And so I wait, and in between taking and picking up my children from school, I will hope, I will pray, I will try to believe that I deserve some good news.

Let’s hope it comes soon.

To My Daughter with Anxiety

I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. The way your freckles frame your beautiful face. The way you shrug your shoulders when you are unsure of yourself. The way your smile and laughter brightens up a room. You are a perfect reflection of love and all that is good in this world.

You are pure magic. You are the light of my life. Ever since you were placed upon my chest after birth, you have managed to fill up a huge place in my heart. I became a mom when you were born. I wouldn’t want to be anything else, for you bring more meaning and love into my life than I have ever known.

You may not know this, and I am sorry if you cannot comprehend how much you mean to me. It is difficult to put into words how the stars came down from the sky when you were born. They brought you to me, my shining special girl. You are so amazing, and you have no idea of your worth. Never doubt your worth, never let anyone put you down or make you feel less than you are.

You have been struggling with anxiety on and off for a few years. I know it has been very difficult for you and I would do anything to take these feelings away. You are only ten years old and should not have to face such misfortune at such a young age. You should be living happily, frivolously and free of such adversity.

You are having a hard time adjusting to middle school and all the changes you are facing. You are no longer a small elementary school student, you now carry a heavy load of honors classes and much more responsibility. Recess is a thing of the past, and playtime is replaced with commitments and worry.

Your old friends are just a blur in the busy hallways, and new faces crowd the overwhelming corridors of your new life. You are trying to adjust, but your anxiety is holding you back. It drags you down, it clouds your brain, it holds you back from all you are meant to accomplish.

But, I have no doubt that you will overcome this difficult challenge and accomplish great things. Anxiety is tough, but you are not ashamed to admit you are struggling, you are not afraid to ask for help from the school counselor and from your after school psychologist. You are the bravest girl that I know and I couldn’t be prouder of you.

You are putting yourself out there, you are climbing mountains and you are breaking down the walls that are holding  you back. You keep fighting every single day, and you never give up. Though you leave the house in tears often, you come back better, stronger and more powerful than you have ever been. This will build your character, this will expand your ability to feel empathy for others.

I am in awe of our strength, your courage and your willingness to help others though you are struggling yourself.

You are the kind of person I admire. You are the kind of person I still aspire to be like.

Though you are still so young, you have such wisdom packed into your little soul, and enough love in you to change lives.

I know that you will overcome your anxiety and live a wonderful, fulfilling life.

Never be ashamed of asking for help when you require it, those who do are the most courageous people in the world.

I am so proud of you and always will be. From the moment I first saw you, you were my stars, you were my heaven on Earth, you were mine.

My sweet darling daughter, never forget that you can overcome whatever life throws your way. Always keep trying, always be yourself, always stay kind.

I cannot be prouder of you, and I will always be in your corner.

Forever walking by your side. With each passing moonlight mile.

My sweet daughter, how I love you…

 

To My Future Mommy: From Your Unborn Child

I’m just a little egg right now sitting all cozy in your ovary. I haven’t been thrust into your Fallopian Tubes, I haven’t been fertilized, I haven’t been born.

I may just be a very distant thought in your mind, or I may be close to being created or born.

Whatever point in your life you are at, please sit down and listen to what I have to say.

Please think of me when you choose your lovers, your partners, your spouse. They may become my Daddy someday. They may become my greatest joy, or my worst nightmare.

I will require a whole lot of care, patience and love. Please find someone who is kind and who treats you well.

Please choose someone who respects you and knows how amazing you are. Someone who walks beside you, who knows how to comfort you, who truly loves you. That love will greet me, it will keep me warm just like an amazing soft blanket.

Please do not stay in a situation where you are being abused, for that will become my destiny. That will become my living hell. That will become my prison, one that I will be unable to escape from. I will be an innocent child, I will be given no quarter.

Please understand that any abuse is not your fault. Please understand that there is someone out there who will listen and help you. Please seek them out, and make a plan to leave any abusive environment.

You do not deserve that kind of life and neither do I. You are a good person, you have great worth and deserve to be happy.

PLEASE RUN, DO NOT WALK, FROM ANY ABUSER.

Please take the time to heal your wounds. Please don’t give up. Please continue to walk a new path toward happiness and self-love.

I know it won’t be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.

You may be my future Mommy. Please set yourself free.

And, by doing so, you will prove how much you really love me. You could not bare to bring me into this world and see me abused.

So, you walked away.

And now we are both free.

I cannot wait to meet you, my incredible, brave Mommy. I cannot wait to hear your voice. I cannot wait to be in your arms.

I love you Mommy, and I thank you for all you have done before I was ever even born.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

Love and Scrabble: My Struggle with Chronic Illness

As I sit here playing Scrabble with my daughter, I am thinking of all the time that I have wasted. Quality time that I could have been spending with her, my son and my husband.

Time spent fighting Lyme Disease and Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, among other chronic illnesses.

I am surrounded by lettered tiles, a smiling daughter, and much regret. The cardboard box says “when you play games, everyone wins.” I have not been winning the last three years, I have barely been in the game. But, I will fight my heart out to get back into the game. I will fight my heart out to be there for my family once again.

As I was struggling with Lyme Disease, I overlooked the damage that PMDD was doing to my body and brain. I had not taken my diagnosis seriously, and blamed all of my symptoms on Lyme Disease because Lyme Disease has many intolerable symptoms. What I did not realize was that most of the rage, imbalance and panic that I felt was caused by PMDD.

As soon as I learned that the only cure for PMDD was surgery, I signed up. I had a hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy. This decision was not taken lightly, and anyone considering it has to consult with many doctors, try a few other treatments, and do an enormous amount of research. There are many risk factors and no guarantees that the patient will feel better, but I was ready to take my chances.

My lowest point was being a prisoner in my house, in my own body. Grasping onto the couch for dear life as the anxiety and panic consumed me. Seeing my kids but not being able to play with or enjoy them. Letting them down constantly. Not wanting to be stuck in that prison anymore. Oh how I love my family, that’s why I kept going. That’s why I had surgery as soon as I could. That feeling of doom is gone, the towering prison walls are gone. Only anxiety remains. I will overcome that too.

I feel more hopeful now. The board is full of endless possibilities. Words float around like jubilation, contentment, and survival. Glorious text that I gleefully place on our Scrabble board, glad that it supplants words like despair, indignation and trepidation.

My daughter’s eyes sparkle as she looks at me. Oh how I have missed that look. She is pleased to be able to spend time with her Mama again. All these years she has needed me, I was unable to truly be there for her. She never gave up hope though. She never stopped loving me.

She laughs as she spells the word bunny. Her many freckles frame her beautiful face. I will notice these freckles more now, I will try to make up for lost time.

So many thoughts enter my mind as I sit in our kitchen. What words will I now put on the table? I will choose them more carefully. I will teach my children that words matter. That they are a reflection of who we are. That they can hurt, help or heal.

I will work hard to gain my strength back, to use my words to help bring my family closer, to help others who may need to hear them.

I have a long way to go, but I’m glad that I’m going in the right direction. The Scrabble board is in use again. My mind and body are regenerating. The words will keep flowing.

My life continues. The love continues….

Kathy ❤

Poetolgie

 

 

 

A Letter to My Children on Mother’s Day

I will always treasure every moment
I spent with you dear child
you are my baby and will always be
through many moonlight miles

I hope your days are always filled
with more happiness than you can accrue
and when I am no longer here
the moonbeams will send my love to you

Dear Children,

While you were in my belly I thought a lot about being a perfect mother. I dreamed of you under a starry sky and a bright full moon. I felt like I had been waiting my whole life for you, and I wanted to make sure you were happy. I pictured being Martha Stewart in the kitchen, having a house worthy of Better Homes & Garden magazine, and endless days of laughter, fireflies and fun.

When you arrived I knew the true meaning of love, and wanted to fulfill these goals more than anything.

What I didn’t know then was that I would not accomplish many of these objectives due to Chronic Illness, Lyme Disease and Anxiety. These dreams slowly drifted away as the pain increased, my brain got more foggy, and my strength diminished.

Though I knew that there was no such thing as a perfect mother, I wanted to be as close to perfection as possible. I set the bar very high, and I could never come close to that goal.

You are my little moonbeams, and I prayed to the moon for your forgiveness.

I read you books when I could, played games when I could, and took you to the park when I was able. I walked many moonlight miles with you, I would walk anywhere with you. I cooked you nice meals, and baked awesome allergy friendly treats as often as possible. I watched the sprinkles fall from your fingers, just like I watched the rapid passage of time.

I thought that despite my health issues, life sure is very sweet.

I would destroy the bar I set, and set a new one. This one would focus more on love than longevity, and more on feelings than frequency.

I would learn to enjoy whatever time we had together, and make memories that would last us a lifetime.

I knew that no matter what, I had already accomplished my greatest goal, bringing two incredible children into the world.

You are incredible.

Never forget that.

You show compassion when others are in pain, you hold your little umbrellas up to me to shelter me from the rain. You sit at the buddy bench with those who need a friend, you live your lives with joy and kindness that certainly does transcend. You help plant our garden with seeds of hope, you help me get by, you help me cope. You are as peaceful as little doves, have taught me the meaning of unconditional love. You are more special to me than words can say, and I will love you til’ my dying day.

I am so blessed to have you in my life.

I am sorry for my shortcomings, or for anything you have missed due to my illnesses and anxiety.

But I am not sorry that you failed to miss what the meaning of life is.

Being kind and true to yourself. Being able to put others in need before yourself from time to time. Spending as much time as possible with those you love. Never taking them for granted, never forgetting to tell them how much you care.  Love yourself, others and the environment. Never stop growing your mind, your heart, your soul.

I am so proud of you.

I am so happy that I get to spend Mother’s Day with you.

There is no one else I’d rather be with. There is no one else like you.

Thank you for all of the joy you have given me, and continue to bring to my life. I hope all that joy comes back to you two-fold.

I hope you will always remember what I have taught you.

Always live your life to the fullest.

Always remember how much I love you.

Always remember that that light that shines within you is greater than the light of any moon.

 

 

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Today I’ll Take Care of You: A Letter to My Family

It is a quiet Saturday morning in April. Rain falls softly outside, and the streets are covered with cherry blossom petals. Though all of you are sick with a virus, it is a good day.

Today I am able to take care of you for a change. Today I feel okay. I have the strength to make you some eggs, toast and tea. I’ll bring them to you in bed, and plant a gentle kiss on your forehead.

Today I will make some of my homemade tomato sauce that you love, and its magnificent aroma will fill the air. I will bake those nut-free vanilla cupcakes that you’ve been asking me to make for months. We will play Scrabble for hours since my brain is less foggy. We will cozy up on the couch and watch a great family movie.

I will be the mom/wife that I want to be every single day. The mom/wife that is not too sick to care for you, to cook for you, to be present for you, to explore the world with you. I will cherish this day, and pray for many more like it.

My many chronic conditions include Asthma, Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis, Anxiety and Pre Menstrual Dysmorphic Disorder.

Any one of these conditions are enough to make life difficult to manage and cope with, but together they are often debilitating.

You see me wince with pain, so you help dry my tears. You see me tired and hungry so you bring me food. You see me unable to do chores so you help do them for me. You see me suffer, so you bring me my medicine.

What you don’t realize is that you provide the best medicine in the world. The medicine I need the most.

Love.

You provide it in daily doses of hugs, teaspoons of tenderness, and soothing scripts.

There is no better prescription for happiness. You make the tough days tolerable, the painful days palatable, and the crazy days comforting.

You are there for it all, and help me get through the unavoidable rain. You rarely complain, you just want to help me feel better.

I appreciate every single thing you do for me. I appreciate all of the sacrifices you make. I appreciate your constant companionship.

It is nice to not have to feel so alone in this long journey of chronic illness. In this long journey of life.

It is nice to have all of you by my side. My sweet family. I love you more than words can say.

Today I’ll take care of you.

Today I promise to keep fighting to get better so that we will have many more days together in sickness and in health.

Today it is my turn to provide you with some comfort, warmth and unconditional love.

Rest your weary heads.

Mommy is here.

And I will be here until the last cherry blossom petals wash away.

 

 

 

 

 

The Race

I have moved slowly my whole life. I have been called a turtle and an Ent among many other things. I have never felt the need to rush, and my lifelong anxiety prevents me from acting quickly even when I try.

I was always one of the slowest runners at school, and the slowest walker on the crowded streets of New York City where I grew up. I cook slowly, I eat slowly, and I get ready slowly. I think slowly, and right now I am typing this blog slowly.

It has always taken me longer than others to get most things done. I was glad when I met my husband that this didn’t seem to bother him. My turtle pace was just fine with him.

When we had kids it was hard for me to keep up with hungry babies, fast moving toddlers, and now busy young children. I adapted and kept up the best I could.

Then I was bit by a tiny tick and developed Lyme Disease. Added on to my already full plate of Anxiety, Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, Pre-Menstrual Dysmorphic Disorder, Endometriosis, Vulvodynia, and slow-moving turtle syndrome, I felt completely overwhelmed. It felt like I was caught up in a never ending cycle of Chronic Illness.

How would I get anything done now? How would I get through this?

Slowly. One day at a time.

Lyme Disease completely took over my body and brain for awhile. I have improved about fifty percent over the last 3 years thanks to my doctors and antibiotics, but my brain is still affected, and it is difficult to remember certain things.

There is no cure for Chronic Lyme Disease, and so I continue to fight, and move even more slowly. The waves of Lyme haze run through my brain, and I still struggle to be set free.

There were many days when the guilt of not being enough, and not doing enough for my family was crushing. There were many days when I didn’t have the strength to cook or even take a shower, let alone play with my children.

This guilt followed me around like a shadow on the ground, the writing on the wall. Until I decided to stomp all over it, and to write a new story.

In this story, it is okay to be a sick, extremely slow-moving turtle. I still have worth, I still am able to give and receive love. I strengthened my shell, I developed new goals. I have a new outlook on life.

I decided to feel beautiful inside and out, even though I looked disheveled on most days. I decided to tell my family that I love them at least twice a day. I decided that it was okay to plan one fun thing a week for my kids to look forward to, for me to look forward to. I decided to try hard to brighten other people’s days, or to help others more when I am able to, through my writing and other avenues. I decided that was enough, I was enough.

Though I can’t do as much as I used to since my turtle power is low, I have learned to cherish all that I can do.

All of us move at different speeds. All of us are facing many difficult trials and tribulations. All of us are part of the human race.

We don’t have to win it, we just have to consciously and compassionately be in it.

 

 

You Were Supposed to Be an Abortion

“You were supposed to be an abortion,” was one of the last things my father ever said to me. It was during Thanksgiving 2004 that he uttered these words to me, and to all sitting at the holiday table. I was shocked, embarrassed and hurt, but not surprised.

I have felt unwanted and unloved my whole life. Like an uninvited guest burdening an ongoing dinner party. A dinner party with not enough food, joy or warmth. I was just one more mouth to feed, one more diaper to change, one more screaming child in a house on the verge of destruction.

I know my mom did not want this, but it was an easy way out for my dad who was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He was a cop who walked the beat in NYC, he was a man who beat his children when he was off duty. He loved a can of Budweiser more then he loved his own kids.

He suffered from mental illness but refused to get help. He spun out of control and we were all caught in his web. Sometimes he was an itsy bitsy amount of fun, most times he was as terrifying as Shelob the giant spider from Lord of the Rings. He was a spinner of lies and broken dreams, he was a predator to our happiness.

He called me Foe as a joke from Jack and the Beanstalk’s Fee Fi Fo Fum, but he was actually my foe. He was never truly in my corner, he never protected me, he never told me that he loved me. He even held a loaded gun to my head and asked me if I wanted to die first, on one dark night.

I like so many others was born into a home without love. The love had died, just as surely as my dad wanted me to. I was just a reminder of this fact, an exclamation mark to an unhappy marriage and life. When I was able to understand this, I suffered my first broken heart.

I have been trying to mend my broken heart ever since. I have not fully succeeded, and will spend the rest of my life trying. My past has led me to making many bad decisions, and to at least one unhealthy relationship.

It wasn’t until I matured and took the time to understand myself and my needs that I began to make better decisions. I learned to love the person that I thought was unlovable. I began to slowly heal. I learned to look at life through a new lens, I finally saw a path toward happiness.

There were many bumps in the road of course, and many wrong turns, but I managed to learn from my mistakes and get right back on the road. I steered clear of abusive personalities, and slowly found myself surrounded by kind, supportive people. People who understood pain, physical and/or mental, people who truly care about others.

This took awhile and was not easy, but was very worthwhile. It is much better to be alone than to be with people who constantly hurt you. It is much better to wait for good things, than to rush into bad situations. It is much better to take the time to truly love yourself. You are amazing. You are a gift.

I had waited my whole life for someone to tell me that they loved me. What I didn’t realize was that I needed to hear it from myself the most. When I was finally able to look in the mirror with pride and feel self-love, my life changed course.

I met a wonderful man and have two wonderful children. I try to tell them that I love them often, for I know what it feels like to crave these words. I try to show them how much I love them often, for I know what it feels like to be neglected. I try to hug and kiss them often, in the hopes that it will protect them from an unkind world. I try to show them kindness, so that they will show the same kindness to others.

I only saw my father once after that Thanksgiving. It was on his deathbed. There were no apologies offered, no warmth shown, no love for my unborn daughter that grew in my big belly, no I love yous, no big movie screen goodbyes.

I just leaned over him for the last time and kissed his forehead. I said a quick prayer for him to finally find peace and happiness.

I no longer needed him. I never really did. I walked out of that hospital room with all I ever really needed.

Myself, some self-love, and a whole lotta love to spare.