Thursday, May 31, 2012

LOVE: UNTAINTED


A month ago my granddaughter, Rylee, and I were spending quality time at one of our favorite places-the Cerritos Library. I was browsing through a bookshelf and didn't realize I was reading the description of one of the books aloud but it wasn't my kind of book. "Yuck, this is a romance novel. Blech!" Rylee looked up at me with a quizzical look and asked what romance was. Distractedly I answered, "Ummm...it's kinda like love." She clasped her hands together and put them up to the side of her face like in the picture above and in a sing-song voice declared, "I Loooove, LOVE!" In that moment I felt like the green-skinned witch, Elphaba, in Wicked. My granddaughter only knows love in its purest form and there I was tainting her innocence with my cynicism. 


I grew up without physical affection, positive reinforcement, terms of endearment, praise, and verbal expressions of, "I love you." Instead, I learned to fight against constant criticism, put downs, lashes of anger, frustration, and irritation. I was never told I was pretty or beautiful; rather, my behavior was always ugly, deplorable, and unsatisfactory. Praise was a foreign language and my incessant attempts at gaining approval were met with disdain and more anger. 


So I pursued love and happiness with a desperate ignorance. I made choices that shaped my future like the Jedi saying, "The choices of one shape the futures of all." (from the book Star Wars: Choices of One). My sojourn into relationships began in an abusive marriage that lasted ten years and produced three children, to several tumultuous years of single motherhood, to countless walking in and out of worthless relationships, to another failed second marriage that should never have occurred. I was the perennial flower waiting to bloom. 


Growing up in this environment I've learned to build indestructible defenses that prepare me for combat. I went from flower waiting to bloom to prickly cactus extraordinaire with the super power to blow torch anyone with my words. It wasn't until my present relationship that all the entombed wounds from my past were exhumed for examination. I had no choice but to face them and investigate their causes because the vitality of my present relationship hinged upon this. Essentially, I couldn't escape my demons any longer. It wasn't so much that I didn't trust another person; I couldn't trust myself. I lost faith in my ability to make the right choices.


I'm past the point of blaming others or using my past as an excuse for my dysfunctional behavior in loving people and receiving love. I don't have to wonder or sit through weekly therapy sessions to decipher my idiosyncrasies in relationships. I've been there and done that countless times. It has been established that my screwed up head and heart manifested from my non-existent relationship with my father. That is the bitter root from which my entire being has formed and why I am unable to act "rationally" in relationships. I accepted a long time ago that my dad will never change and the only person I CAN change is me. I've grown tired of defending myself against the same demons that torment me and I take each day that I'm blessed with to banish them forever.

Every day I work on what I've learned so far: 
  • Acknowledge my mistakes, apologize, and move forward to ensure I don't make them again. 
  • Forgive quickly. Don't hold onto grudges as if they were a commodity. 
  • Be slow to anger.
  • Apologize sincerely. (This is STILL a veritable battle with me.) 
  • Communicate promptly. (Another battle. I tend to wait until it's too late and I explode with a blow torch for my tongue.) 
  • Admit my faults instead of making up excuses. 
  • Speak the truth in love. Instead of waiting when I explode in anger and the truth becomes a hailstorm of destruction. 
  • When I begin to perceive rejection it is imperative that I speak up because THIS is the #1 trigger that releases the Kraken within me. 
On some days and weeks I'm on a roll and life is Paradise. On the bad days when I trip and fall I force myself to get up, to move past my steely pride and stare in that confounded mirror despite the disgusting reflection looking back at me. 

My worst nightmare (okay, one of them) is that Rylee will grow up learning from her Gramma Nette that love is to be feared, rejected, and protected from. I want her to know that love is a choice, it is work, it is honesty, it is faith, it is hope, it is enduring, it is patient (oh, so patient), it makes one courageous, and it believes in the good in people. I might not wear my heart on my sleeve anymore but I want my heart to be whole and healed. Untainted.





Monday, May 28, 2012

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

I didn't forget what this weekend symbolized and who was honored for their courage and valiancy. If you follow me on Instagram I posted a few pictures that served as reminders to remember the fallen. But I was far from feeling courageous in the mediocre life I live. Today, as my heart filled with gratitude for those who served our country, I forced myself to live and take advantage of the freedom that the fallen sacrificed their lives for. I don't know why but I've been telling those closest to me that I feel like I don't have much time left. The feeling is palpable especially when I work in a job that drains me, when I am surrounded by petty people and nitpickers, and when I place my happiness in the hands of others. I know that time is fleeting and it doesn't wait for those who squander it. 


I have a Muse playlist that contains all of their albums. Today, for the first time in years, I drove my car with the top down and programmed this song on repeat mode. It was my weekend anthem. 





I think I'm drowning
asphyxiated
I wanna break this spell
that you've created

you're something beautiful
a contradiction
I wanna play the game
I want the friction

you will be the death of me
you will be the death of me


bury it
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it

our time is running out
our time is running out
you can't push it underground
you can't stop it screaming out

I wanted freedom
bound and restricted
I tried to give you up
but I'm addicted

now that you know I'm trapped sense of elation
you'd never dream of
breaking this fixation

you will squeeze the life out of me

bury it
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it

our time is running out
our time is running out
you can't push it underground
you can't stop it screaming out
how did it come to this?
ooooohh

you will suck the life out of me

bury it
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it

our time is running out
our time is running out
you can't push it underground
you can't stop it screaming out
How did it come to this?
ooooohh

Friday, May 4, 2012

HOMAGE TO ADAM YAUCH, aka MCA, BEASTIE BOYS

I told my good friend this morning that I'm either overly emotional or habitually hormonal but the news of MCA's death (Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys) hit harder than I expected. The Beastie Boys were the uber cool homies I wish I had during my angst-filled teenage years. Music was and always will be my Prozac so BB got me through some tough times during my teenage years and continued into adulthood. I never saw them live and they were on my "to-see" list of bands. There will never be another band like the Beastie Boys and MCA was like no other. 


You fought against the monster, Cancer, but you didn't lose, MCA. You were just one of many valiant soldiers who battled against the war on Cancer. I salute you! (I couldn't choose a favorite video because they were all favorites.)