Retrospect

Retrospective

Every day I look for my joy and I find it in rare glimpses of children’s laughter, of sunshine, the spring air on my skin. I find these momentary bits of happiness, but mostly I just feel like I am grasping at straws. Watching the sand fall through my fingertips. The time slips by and I just stand here and watch my life drift on like some sort of bystander. I do not know when I gave up the fight.

Gave up on the fact that I had some sort of control over my own destiny. My head is stuck in the clouds. What could have been, what should have been, versus what is? My ideal life competing with the one I have. I do not even know what my ideal life it. I just know that this huge sense of dysphoria comes from the clash between the two.

If I have given up, what does that mean? Is life over at 36? Did I miss it? How can you miss a life you never were even part of? Part of me gets angry. Angry at myself for not doing this right. Not “doing life.” I used to think there was some sort of pressure placed on me to be this pinterest perfect mom and woman, but there is not. And I know that. It is just an excuse. I do not even put pressure on myself. I just try to run away. Run away from what? The inevitable? Mortality? Maybe I should be running toward it. I do not know.

I am like a broken record. Trying to fix something. I am not even sure it is broken or how it got that way or how to fix it.

Sometimes I am happy here. I have a good job, a big house, and so many nice things. A good family. People who love me. People who support me. And sometimes I am happy here. Everything in its place. Content. But mostly I just want to burn it all down. Get rid of it all, these possessions that are drowning me and move far, far away. I do not know what that will get me. Moving away, I will just be bringing all this baggage right along with me.

Somehow, I want to teach my kids how to live a simple life. That things are not important, that relationships are more important than things. That things and not people are meant to be used and that people, not things are meant to be loved. Maybe that is the thing. I know I am failing at that myself so there is no way I can teach anyone else to do what I say and not as I do.

Part of it is guilt maybe. A life full of guilt. Of not living up to expectations. Of being too selfish, too greedy, of everything in excess. I am not sure how to live a life that’s not full of remorse. I just want to be content. To have my family content. And I am not sure how to reach that goal.

We live in a house in a nice subdivision. We have a nice lawn, a fence, a sidewalk…but also have all the things that go along with it. We need to mow the lawn, clean the gutters, repair the fence, fix the roof, a new deck, a new ac unit, power wash the house, check the sprinkler system, clean the million bathrooms, shampoo the carpets, the dryer is broken, and now the fridge, and clean some more and declutter, find homes for all these useless things we have bought. The more we have, the more it takes to upkeep and the deeper hole we dig.

I guess I just want out. Out of the machine, out of the monotony, out of being enslaved to technology, connected to my cell phone 24/7. I want to be free. Want us all to be free. In retrospect, have I done it right? Am I doing a good job? I wander outside. I talk to my tomatoes. I feel the earth under my toes. The sun kisses my skin. I am alive. I am not done. Right now, it is ok.

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Mother’s day

Core It’s mother’s day. The cemetery is busy. I think they are planning some sort of event today. I’m not sure why I felt like I needed to come today, but I am glad that i did.

I saw a little pack of big red gum in the junk drawer this morning. It brought back a quick flashback of when i was little. I always remember your dark brown, tall dresser. Stacked on top was a pack of big red gum, Kool smokes, spare change, a worn wallet, and your silver Seiko watch. your room 25 years later is still crystal clear in my mind. The tattered pink ribbon tied to your bedpost. The one you liked to cling to when you got anxious at night. Your thick brown belt. The old spice in your bathroom. Your red close up toothpaste.

I think about your mom. Grandma Martha. I have few memories of her. A couple Christmases here and there. Klondike bars in the downstairs freezer. Pink plastic chairs we got for Christmas one year. Wandering down the halls of Potomac point nursing home after she was confused and broke her hip. I don’t know how old she was when she died. But I was just in second grade, so I think you must have been just a bit younger than me when you lost your mom. I wonder why you didn’t tell me more stories about her. I know you loved her fried chicken. You told me many times how one summer you came home from college to find she had sold your prized mustang and boat. But that’s all I really know.

I think about my mom. How much I love her. How much you loved her. Even though you bickered and fought and yelled. You loved her unconditionally. I don’t think I really saw it when I was younger. I thought you were selfish and mean and not nice enough for her. But now that you are gone I really see all the all the things you did for her and all the ways you showed her you loved her. It makes me proud to know that I came from a family with a love like that. It kind of makes me sad to know it’s something I will never have. Not that I don’t have a loving family, but the pure, unconditional, unrelenting, eternal love that you and mom had is so special. It’s one in a million.

It’s really getting busy here. All the children visiting their moms. I cringe inside when I think of the day I will have to visit you both here. The only palpable evidence of your presence the cold cement stone behind my back.

I hope I am doing it right. I hope I am making you proud. I hope that my own kids will grow up and carry a small piece of you. Be able to love like you loved. Even though it was sometimes hard for you to express. Thank you for being my dad and thank you for loving my mom and raising us together with her.

I look at the grass every time I am here. It reminds me of the seasons of life. A year and a half ago it was grass, then mud and seeds and then new grass that has already grown in and died and is now browning in the hot sun. It reminds me that life is short. That what was here yesterday is not here today. That tomorrow is not guaranteed and that things are never too late to change.

So I get up and I go. I know you wouldn’t like me spending too much time here. I have new life to grow, seeds to cultivate. Seasons to share.

The bootcamp tales

Abrupt
so fitness is an interesting thing for me. I’ve been overweight my whole life. A few years ago I found out all the random stomach ailments I had been dealing with were a result of celiac disease, and after diagnosing it, i was forced to cut out gluten. Boy was that a bitch. Telling a fat girl she can’t have cake or bread or pizza or beer. Might as well have been a death sentence. But it was a blessing in disguise I suppose. When the doctor told me i had celiac on the phone I didn’t believe him. I was at the beach and I ate like three donuts after he told me. Guess he was right, cause I paid for it. I am a nurse, too. I always thought of the typical celiac patient to be young and underweight and I was pretty old and plump. I really didn’t believe him.

I definitely loved food, especially wheat and bread and baked delicious goodness. It was hard to cut all that out. I got a second opinion and then a third. I definitely had celiac. And I lost a lot of weight when I quit eating gluten, it was kind of neat.

About the time I started long weight I went on a cazy diet. 1200 calories at most. I filled myself with mostly protein shakes and oikos triple zero yogurt. I managed to start looking pretty damn good.

Then I started running. I have never been an athelete. Growing up, chocolate and ice cream were used to pacify any unpleasant feelings and healthy eating and exercise were never a priority. But I enjoyed running and the fast gains I made. Not only was I getting quicker but also looking and feeling better.

Fast forward to recently. I feel like I’m losing all the gains I made. Old habits come flooding back fast. And I’ve been eating junk and too much crap and carbs and alcohol have been turning me into a fat girl again.

So I’ve tried various exercise routines along the way and discovered I really like the bootcamp style work outs. Something about them is motivating and it makes me happy when I’m working together with other people. I guess I’m back on my fitness journey and I just wanted to speak a little about things around town.

I first joined m2 fitness about a year ago at the request of a friend. We went together at 5 am three or four or even five times a week. We got up at 5 am to make it to bootcamp at 6 am. This class combined the best of group exercise and CrossFit. It was fun and uplifting and challenging. There was always a dose of friendly competition and everyone knew my name. I had a blast there. When I was introduced to Olympic weight lifting, i fell in love. But on the first of January they abruptly closed and I found mysef glum and sad. Full of grief alomst like something close to me had died. They ended up moving about thirty min down the road but added to the thirty minutes I had to travel already it was way too far to drive for a work out.

I left m2 and went to some place they recommended. A local boxing club. It was fun for about a week, but then I found the whole venture stressful and just too much to handle. No one knew my name and no one was nice.

I left the boxing club and just tried to stick to the YMCA. We were already members due to my daughter being in after school care there and they seemed to offer quite a few classes. I tried their kettle bell class and some other dancing workout kind of class. But ultimately the whole place smelled like feet and weren’t many people there I could talk to. I saw an ad for a bootcamp class there that I decided to try it out. But jeez it started just after 5 am. Getting up at 5 was hard enough but having to get up before 5 was just brutal. And it was nothing special. The gym stunk and it was packed even though it was o’dark thirty out. The trainers were okay but I found unmotivating and underwhelming. This was definitely not like the bootcamp I knew and love.

Fast forward a few more weeks. I had still been running, even though I was slow as molasses and constantly searching for a better gym or bootcamp. I found a Groupon for a month at a crossfit near by and decided to check it out. Cross fit was what I expected. Much the same as the boot camp before. But the first night, I felt like I pushed too far trying to keep up. I hurt for like a week. I couldn’t even sit down to pee without wincing. It might have been okay if I was in a little better shape. I liked that pain felt with a good job done but don’t like to be incapacitated for weeks at a time. Alas, these poeole were too hard core for me.

I finally found burn bootcamp, it isn’t officially open yet but they are having free pop up camps until their opening.

Burn is an interesting concept. It’s totally built for women. Lots of high fives and women encouraging other women. Moms cheering for moms. But they are really focused on team building and friendship. The boot camp was less intense than I was used to, but pretty good overall. What I didn’t like was the, only compete with yourself philosophy. A healthy dose of competition never hurt anyone.

So I’ve been running in between bootcamp days and for the most part enjoying it. I like the exercises but could do without the super friendly instructors and false motivation and proprietary protein shakes and loud music. sometimes i just want to be left alone in my groove.

I guess there is no perfect solution. I turned down my PHD program so maybe I just need to reach out there and do it myself. Start my own gym and group fitness classes.

Why would a weird fat girl with no business or fitness experience want to open up a gym? I don’t know but it’s definitely a thought. I just hope I am giving my body enough chance at life and a chance at excelling, enough chance at doing what it was meant to do.

But what do I know? I’m just a fat girl without her cupcakes trying to start a fitness business. Anyone got any pointers? I’m glad to hear them.

Elaborate

So many things that we once desired, the dreams that we shared

We were so unprepared for what we have gotten

All that we wished for we never really wanted

We used to be young and we used to be in love

And nothing could stop us from becoming and dreaming and tackling the world

Everything we’ve acquired has turned to a noose around our necks

And the harder we struggle to escape what we have, the more that we choke and sink underground

All the small things that used to delight us, are tired and worn and no longer excite us

We chase the dreams right past the ones we had. And forget to stop and realize all that we have

Once upon a time, we were a team who worked hard

To pick up the others when they fell on the floor

But now we climb over and head straight for the door

I’m sitting on the ground, my knees bleeding and scabbed

how’d it happen to us
The elaborate planning just for a bust

And when we talk you make me feel small

And when we talk I feel like nothing at all

But a stumbling block in the way of your dreams

And our team is no longer together it seems

We are both traveling in different directions

Standing in the middle of the intersection

Waiting to get hit by a car or a bus

Hoping it might bring with it some luck

And I want to help and I want it to be right

But you’re quiet and you push and stay up late in to the night

Making plans for yourself while the team is on the bench

Waiting for you to call the plays, to tell us what’s next

And you are bitter and sad now that you’ve conquered us down

And your soul has turned hard and it won’t turn around

A smile that used to break through the cracks does nothing now but bounce right off of your back

And the pit eats away at the middle of my tummy

And my heart races, wondering just what is coming

When we talk it makes me feel sick

When we talk I can’t find the end of it

Cause that’s all it is, talk with no action

Meaningless words denied satisfaction

And you have lost god and you have lost love and you have lost joy and all that is good

But you can’t take me down

Don’t hold me under water

Don’t sink the whole ship because you can’t steer

Don’t sink the whole ship for another beer

Bring out the buckets and scoop out the sea

Bring out the buckets we don’t want to drown

And I know I won’t let us

Even if we have to jump off, we will land on the rafts

And if the captain must go down with his vessel

Then I will wave goodbye and I’ll blow you a kiss

But I won’t let you take me back down that abyss

Title

I can’t get on your ship

Because I don’t support your cause

I can’t get on your ship so aidios, bon voyage

Ill stay on the shore and hope you don’t sink

I’ll stay on the shore and wish you good luck

But I’m not the girl that you once knew before

And I’m not the girl who will knock on your door

I’m not looking for love nor acceptance or truth

All I am looking for is some bulletproof

Glass to protect my head when I am

Sometimes intentionally misled

I’m looking for something beautiful

In a world that is dim

I’m looking for someone who will go out on a limb for me

And pick up the sticks and pick up the branches and offer me more

Than second chances

I need a third and a fourth and a fifth

Cause I’m batting a thousand

At the end of the game

But I am still losing and you aren’t the same

And I run and I hide and my face is in fear

But I’m not like you

It’s not a jacket I wear

I cant take it off

It’s something

It’s something

I really do care

But you have made me selfish and weak and discouraged

You have made my heart into a lonely forest

Fast forward twenty years and I am still here alone and together it’s one in the same

Alone and together I won’t play your game

For I am not weak and I am not old

And you cannot leave me out in the cold on your porch

And you can never forget that i carry the torch

Is it over or did it just start?

I need your answer right from the heart

For the clock is ticking and passing the time

While you keep on licking and towing the line

And you make me worse and you make me better

And you have me all covered with leather

But I am a bird that can’t fly away

But I am a bird who is waiting for her day

I can always escape but I’m in love with the cage

In love with the rage that you bring the a scowl

In love with the face that you make as I cower

Beneath the sheets, beneath the bed

I will not let you get inside of my head

My head it is pure and lonely indeed

My head is waiting for you to meet the need

But i don’t need you I can find it myself

I don’t need you I can reach the top shelf

The vodka is just right out if my grasp but the rum I can touch

I can taste I can swallow

And it will hold me for another tomorrow

Control

I’m laying in bed but I’m still awake

Thinking of the things I missed

That didn’t happen

Never exist

Been thinking that I miss you so

And wondering if you might know

Where I went wrong and why everything changed

And I’m sorry for all the things I have done
And I’m sorry for all the things I’ve become

And I thought it was love and I thought it was just and I thought maybe it was just a blend of disgust and interest and curious thoughts

But I bought you and used you and discarded the rest.
I bought you and used you and you passed the test

You gobbled me up as I sucked you dry

And I was always in control even though I let you think

You were getting what you wanted

I always had the power I was always in charge

I could bend you to my will

Make you do as I wish

And I used you and used you until I had my fill

And I threw you away like yesterday’s bill

And silly old you–you still asked for more

Wondered and wondered what was in store

You liked the pain and you liked the hurt

And you liked me to give it with all that I had

And you liked to beg and you liked to please and you liked to be the one down on his knees

And I called you over to fill the void

And I called you over to stop the pain

And only you could give me what I needed

Through your pleas and your cries and your feelings forever

It was a path I could never endevour

To wander down or explore

All I wanted was a dirty whore

To use and abuse and summon at my will

To control and demean to make myself feel good and right and the boss of the land

To make me feel I was much in demand

To make me feel anything at all

And you were naive and ripe for the picking

And you were naive and ready to listen

But you had feelings I couldn’t return

And you had feelings I wanted to ignore

But it was hard to ignore your puppy dog eyes

And it was hard to keep up with so many lies

And it was hard to be control when I was spinning out.

Yet you still listened and did what you were told

Even though the game was getting so old

I inhaled your scent because I knew it would be the last

Things so tangled up I almost thought you were real

My dreams and my fears all come to life

But I couldn’t let it happen, couldn’t get away with being happy and in charge

Couldn’t get away, a fugitive at large

Escape from the feelings and go right to the whip

Escape from the love cause I draw from the hip

And it’s only real if it hurts more than it doesn’t

And it’s only real if you question it’s not

And I have the money if you have the goods

So let me use you like you know that I should

Let me deface you and give me the power

Give me control and charge by the hour

Give me a hug and squeeze out my guts

Give me some love and I’ll puke it all up

Give me some hate and I’ll love you forever

I’m lost and confused and just need some shelter

And you gave it to me and I stole it from you and now you are living in mother Hubbard’s shoe

While I live in your castle

And you have the goods, and I have the power

Fishbowl

You think you are strong and you think you can’t change

You think you are more than a pawn in a game

And you can’t remember what was lies and what was true

And all that you know is that they are coming for you

And you live in a fish bowl of sin and despair

And you live out your life completely unaware

Unattached

Undesired

And you live out your life completely on fire

Your skin is melting but it still doesn’t hurt

Because pain of the flesh is nothing in compare

To pain of the soul and what lies beneath

The feet of the ones you once loved

When you believed that love was real and true

When you believed in perfection

When you believed in the truth

And the rocks hit the glass

As you free fall to rock bottom

You thought that the worst had already hit

That you had weathered the storm and come out of it

Only it turns out that it was just the eye

And there is no one left to hear your cries

As you wait in the middle for the rest to hit

As you wait in the middle and calmly sit

Sitting for hours and days and weeks

Waiting for the shoe to drop

Off the foot

Waiting for a time you can peak and look

And the storm comes and swallows you whole

You are so glad of your little fish bowl

Though it’s rotting in mud and deceit

It keeps you safe when the hurricane blows

It keeps you safe between the thrusts

When the hand slaps your face the blow is softened by the water

When the hand slaps your face and your pillow is blood stained

The water in the bowl, though dirty and black will always be the blanket on your back

To tuck you in and keep your warm and safe

From the truth and the world and all that is fake

L

We can never travel back in time

We can never get out of place in line

If we had known then what we know for sure now

I wonder if things would be different somehow

If there was another path we would take

Or if this would always just simply be fate

I almost forget the thing we once had

The years feel like decades, heavy and sad

All that was light and all that was true

Got lost in a fog of searching for new

We wanted what was bigger and better and shiny and nice

Only know that we have it we are stuck thinking twice

And now we know that we wanted small, that old was ok,
That we would have been fine with nothing at all.

Now it’s too late to rewind the clock

And here we are stuck with all we forgot

And the love has turned bitter and the milk is so sour

And it no longer matters who has the power

Because we both lost the war of finding before

And now it’s only after and the after that follows

And all of our yesterday’s can’t become our tomorrow’s

We have grown hard and sullen and frail

We search and we search for the holy Grail

But how long will it take us before we really find out

That what we are yearning for doesn’t exist

And that true love is more than an exchange of a kiss

And when will we learn that happiness isn’t outside

And when will we learn our joy is the ride

And when will we learn the things that we know

By the time we get it, it might be too late

When we find understanding we may be facing our fate

Let’s go and let’s get it while there’s still a shadow of will left

Let’s go and let’s get it before we are broken beyond repair

Let’s go and let’s find it and sleep safely there

Dreams

When do dreams Parallel reality? Maybe I was delusional to think I could ever have it all. There is no such thing as being a good wife, and mother, and employee, and student. It’s hard to even be great at one of these things in concert with the others. I never thought I’d be one to settle for mediocrity.

I’m a nurse. I’ve always dreamed of one day getting my PhD in nursing. I pictured myself doing research, teaching, being on the cutting edge of science and emerging practices. On a bit of a whim this year, I took the gres, gathered up my transcripts, spend a good amount of time applying and interviewing to a PhD program. I thought for sure they’d laugh in my face. I am too old, too inexperienced, not smart enough. But somehow they didn’t and I got in. Achievement unlocked.

I’m sitting here tonight, the last night i have left to accept the offer and trying to see how it will all work in the bigger picture. I know how much just taking one statistics course last year stressed our little family to the max. I worry a little about money, even though my tuition will be paid for by the university, but mostly I worry about time and the impact 3 or 4 more years of school will have on my children. Time is our most precious commodity and I’m not sure I’m willing to barter something so valuable on a little more education, even if it is something I’ve always wanted.

I am trying to think of a way to fit it all in. School and work and family. It obviously can’t work the way my life is structured right now. Something has to give. But I am not willing to give up any of these roles that define me and there simply aren’t enough minutes in a day.

Is fair to my kids to spend even less time with them to chase my own dreams? Is it fair to my husband to put so many extra day-to-day tasks on his shoulders so I might have some time to read and study? Is it fair to those around me for me to withdraw even more I to myself, to become even more anxious, to be even more stressed out in the name of achieving a goal? Do the ends justify the means?

I had these same thoughts when I went back for my masters degree. We were a little bit younger and we only had one child. Even that was very hard and I wasn’t even working full time or running two kids to school and day care and after school activities. Why can’t I be satisfied with what I already have? Content in the here and now? Why is there always a hole in my belly looking for the next thing on my list to achieve?

So I swallow a bitter pill tonight. Maybe I’ve gotten selfish in my old age, but it hurts and it’s disappointing and it isn’t fair, of course life isn’t fair. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever given up on a dream or failed to reach a goal. I am competitive; I am fierce; I am driven; I am motivated. There is nothing standing in my way but time. If only there were more hours in a day. So i let go. A little like a balloon floating to the heavens and i say goodbye to that dream of mine.

I guess I should be content. I made the right choice. I sacrificed my desires for my kids and my family and the greater good. It doesn’t make it any easier. It feels so much like defeat. Maybe this is a milestone, giving up on something I’ve always wanted. But I hope it will bring some peace and some much needed stability. I hope that the time I don’t spend studying is spent playing and laughing and loving and simply being present.

I don’t claim to be the best mom or to even know what I’m doing. I know I called my mom tonight to help me work this all out. I know that even though I am 36 years old she will always answer the phone, always be willing to help. She is my best friend. I hope by having these few extra hours a week that will add up to days and weeks of more that I get to be present with my kids that one day maybe I’ll be a mom like mine. That my children will always know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. What it feels like to have a mom who will always be there to answer the phone.

Day 6

We arrived in Freeport around 7:00. I heard them make the announcement overhead, but mom was still sleeping so I didn’t wake her up. I laid in bed until 8:20 when I couldn’t stand being still and quiet anymore and woke mom up. We went to breakfast. I had an omelette and she had poached eggs and toast. After breakfast we went back to the room for a little bit to get ready and we headed out around 10:30. There isn’t much to do in Freeport and today is a short day anyway. Everyone back on the boat at 1:00.

We looked at the little touristy shops and strolled around. Everything was super expensive for stuff you could likely get at the dollar store and of courses no one had change. We bought two wooden flutes for the kids and some frozen drinks. Then I got a Pina colada inside a coconut. Maybe it was the heat or the drinking at 10:30 am or the super sweetness of the drink, bit I didn’t feel very well and there was nothing much more to see or do near the port, so we came back inside. We sat by the pool. It’s nice to have another warm sunny day.

We we’re getting ready for dinner when the sea sickness struck me. Yuck. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Luckily mom had an extra scopolamine patch that worked wonder and made me feel a lot better. It also made my mouth as dry as the desert but better than than being sick.

We went to the family friendly comedy shows again. The two comics were funny. We wanted to stay for the adult comedy show but it didn’t start till 11:15 and cruise or not that’s way past my bedtime.

We watched Mercury rising from our room and went to bed. One more day left of the cruise and I am sure missing my babies.