Tricky Times

This is a tricky time of year for me. They say “the body keeps the score“, mine certainly does. Thankfully my body doesn’t seem to manifest the score it keeps in physical ways. My score keeping comes in the form of waves of emotions and flashback memories of images. I am grateful for not craving substances to dull it and for not suffering in the pain of panic or the dark fog of depression.  When I think back, “these days” during Oct. & Nov. remind me how every day I had to choose – choose Fear or Love. Facing the most difficult days, worst decisions, and most horrific realities, I had to choose Fear or Love. I chose Love! What mom wouldn’t choose love? The Mom in me knew Fear was not an option. Fear was ever present, believe me. It crept around in the dark crevices ready to pounce the moment I slowed up a bit to catch my breath. Fear is the worst kind of terrorist, it really is infectious. I stand on this side of “those days” and shiver when I recall the decisions I had to make all the while knowing the probable, most definitive outcome. As a Mom I did my best to be normal-feed the family, get everyone to school, do laundry, run the household as if we would just keep growing and healing like we were supposed to. We did not sit around and talk about our fears, not with each other, not with Robert-we kept choosing Love. I call it choosing Love because to me Love is Life. Even now, I rarely share the true details of those days, I have shared them publicly for the sole purpose of bringing light to a world that most never have a glimpse into. I do not share to garner sympathy or to frighten anyone, simply to awaken minds and hearts to a reality that many of my dearest friends have faced. It was utterly bizarre, unrealistic, unimaginable and insane to live these days knowing Robert would die. We made decisions no one should ever have to make: no more lab work meant mercy to us-we could not bear to watch numbers that told us what we imagined going on in his body as it was consumed by disease; pain patches or morphine; diapers or not; Tylenol-antibiotics; platelets or bruising; die at home or in a hospital…Fear? or Love? Fierce. The only other person in the world who “saw” what I did was my husband, Robert’s dad, and sadly we could not bear to speak to one another. There was a sort of glue in our silence, our silence seemed to be fuel denying the inevitable. I suppose in our way we believed if we did not speak it is simply would not happen. I respected our silence, still do.

This is an excerpt from the journal I kept online:                                                                           Friday, October 11, 2002 at 08:05 AM (CDT)
***UPDATE: It is 1pm; Robert’s lungs are not improved, they look to be about twice as full as yesterday. At 4pm they will take him down for his intrathecal procedure; administer methotrexate into the spinal fluid, check the spinal fluid for signs of disease; flush his port line,and give him a shot in the leg of Lasparinginase-a very commonly used effective drug. They are also going to stick a very small tube down into his lungs to get a sample for testing. They feel the risk involved in putting him under is much less than the risk of not knowing what is in his lungs…it could be: pcp(pnuemonia), fungus, or leukemia. Please pray for Robert, this procedure may cause him to be on a breathing tube for a time. ***
Robert is doing fair. He had to be moved into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for monitoring. Yesterday’s x ray showed some type of fluid in both lungs. They are “speculating” that it is blood due to his low platelets and the fact that he is spitting it up. It is not the usual old blood that he was vomitting up in the past…so, they are monitoring him closely, giving him lots of platelets, red blood and such. Of course this creates another very precarious problem in regards to the amount of fluid going in to the the body. Too much fluid too fast can be very bad for the lungs and create all sorts of other problems. Robert is mainly frustrated and very tired. To say that he “hates” the PICU is putting it lightly. It must be very hard for him to cope on such little sleep and the constant in and out of the place up there…I guess they are used to babies who sleep through everything, because they simply have no regard for privacy or rest. We have had to put a sign on his door about his lack of an immune system, we are constantly having to remind them to wash hands, wear gloves, use alcohol wipes on his lines…etc.! Makes for no rest at all for any of us.
I came home last night to try to rest. I was so physically tired from the driving and such…I actually feel worse today…but, I have felt this fatigue before, and many of you parents out there know exactly the fatigue I speak of…Tylenol works wonders! Jeff is doing well. He seems to be holding up I am sure needs rest.
We are hoping that Robert’s lungs look better and are clearing up with the x ray this morning. They believe that giving him the platelets should stop the bleeding in the lungs. Sort of like when he had the bleeding from the bladder in the past. Dr. Gowda is planning on doing an intrathecal procedure this afternoon to administer chemo directly into the spinal fluid. Robert’s wbc was at 18.0(very high!) on Tuesday, and they already have managed to get it down to 4.5 as of yesterday…who would have thought we would be praying for wbc to go down!
I must go, and thank you for checking in…I will be back later with more news of the situation…God bless you and thank you for being there…being on the computer and for the many people who are giving us the human touch we need to have right now…Peace to you all, Kathy and Jeff
Remember those “friends” who lowered the man through the roof and Jesus told the man “the faith of your friends has healed you…” in case you did not know, you are those “friends”…this page has become a sort of lifeline connecting all of us together…you all are so faithful to follow along and cry with us and pray and plead with us, the very least I can do is write to you everyday…I will be back later with more info. Kathy (pray this page updates!)

Damn those were horrible days.

I HATED that day. I hated when they decided to perform a bronchoscopy to check his lungs. I was elated when the elite trauma surgeon in our region came in specifically to do this procedure on Robert because he had heard his story and insisted on doing this procedure himself. I HATED when the Dr. pulled me aside to talk to me. He was in his scrubs, mask down around his neck, “I need to know what you want me to do if Robert’s heart stops during this procedure? He is very sick and we do not know what will happen when he put him under. I need to know if you want me to bring him back because I can. I have brought back many people when they die on my table and I am not proud of it. I can do it, but need to know what you want me to do. Also, his vocal chords will be damaged and he may not heal and not be able to speak again…” I recall standing next to this surgeon hearing his humility as he shared the power he knows he holds in his hands. He continued, “I am convinced when someone dies on my table and they get a glimpse of heaven they don’t want to come back, and I bring them back, all the time-I am not proud of this, and I do it all the time.” WOW. The reason I HATED this moment was, well, obviously, who wants to have to make this decision to keep their son alive! In the end, the WORSE part was Robert’s throat was torn up and he all but lost his voice. From this point on Robert could hardly speak. He would get so frustrated when he tried to talk, words hurt and he had no voice; between the pain, and the oxygen it was torture. I would skoot in close so he could whisper in my ear and I could feel his breath…ah the precious breath of my son on my ear…he and I became even more masterful at the unspoken language of his “look.” I knew who was welcome in his room, and who I needed to ask to leave. I became his voice by reading his nods and eyes. Robert’s mind was sharp until the day it stopped working November 17th. His last words he clearly spoke were, “Mom, Mom…” Who has time for Fear in days like this? Fear knew it was only a matter of time before it had its opportunity to overtake me…Fear is very patient. Fear loves to drag dog days of time out to torture us. Love is more patient. I chose it every moment in these times.

Damn those were horrible days.

Here I am, all these years later, every single day making the same choice- choosing between Fear and Love. Only now the choice between living in Fear or living in Love doesn’t have a child’s life hanging in the balance. The life hanging in the balance is my own. Live in Fear or live in Love?  Seems kind of selfish to decide what to choose for yourself doesn’t it? A few years back I realized how I walked around in Fear. The world had no idea. Today, I realize here I am again-Fear or Love…The tricks and treats of this life are very scary, the memories of days gone by can freak us all out. I can no longer choose Fear. It took some digging to realize I was choosing to live in Fear. Seems we become brilliant at hiding from the world and ourselves. My brilliance was being dulled in many tangible ways-migraines, vertigo, bones feeling like they were decaying, no appetite…it took everything I had to find a way out of my comfortable place of living in Fear. I told you Fear was patient, it waited a long time to overtake me, and it was winning. Fear had overtaken all the tenacity I had as a child, my determination as a teen, and now my Mom Magic was fading fast. Fear was winning. I had no idea what “happy” meant, no idea what “joy” was and my body lived in this strange place marking a calendar by the days of Robert’s death in a private torture chamber…

Gratefully the roots of Love planted generations ago fought to bring me back to life. Robert’s surgeon can bring people back to life, well it seems, so can the “unseen” stored deep within. It too can bring us back to life if we let it. I was being resuscitated, revived. I decided, “I cannot live in that place any longer.”

Oh, I would be happy to share how I found a way to overcome Fear, it was life or death time for sure. Today I choose Love again. Whatever that means…For me choosing Love means: smiling a lot, laughing out loud, hugging tight; fighting to ignore the old crappy self defeating thoughts that pop into my head; some days the Love I choose is to kindly greet each of the children that come into my classroom daily, some days that is all I have. All days I let it be enough.

15 years ago I faced making a decision to try to extend my dying son’s life…it was Love that chose to keep fighting a losing battle. Today I am faced with making a decision to Love and not Fear, I hope I always choose Love. 1393003_10151886681268711_930283670_n

4th of July, Independence Day

July 4th, Independence Day.

14 years ago a boy watched for fireworks out the narrow window of his hospital room. He had asked for special permission to step outside of the hospital which had held him captive for the weeks prior to this day of celebration. He just wanted to sit outside, hear the sounds, and see the lights in the sky. They said, “No.” But, at least he tried. He always tried. He learned early on in his life to ask for whatever he wanted, even if he knew the answer would be “No.” I am still learning how to do this.

So, on the 4th of July, he tried again. Being told “No” didn’t stop him. I watched as he tried again. Head cocked sideways, on his tip-toes, he tried peering out the narrow window, looking between the hospital and a giant research building that blocked his view of the world outside. He tried to see fireworks. I watched as he shifted his weight, stretching his neck and finally, giving up. Shrugging his shoulders, he put his head down, I could see he was sad. He just wanted a glimpse. He just wanted his freedom. He wanted his independence, too.

He was attached to an i.v. pole; 4 lines attached his body to this pole that controlled his existence. Three of those lines ran straight into his heart. His heart that wanted to be free and independent, was being held hostage by these lines. He, is my son Robert, and my mind’s eye still sees him on that night 14 years ago.

He was fighting hard for his freedom and independence. Forgoing fireworks seemed a small price to pay for his life. He knew that, but he still tried, I love that about him.

Robert was smart. But, he was more than just smart, he understood the words that he overheard in all the meetings he sat in on with his parents and doctors discussing his disease. Robert knew if he ever wanted to live, to be free, to be independent, he had to be attached to this pole, and survive this horrible ordeal. At 11 years old, this boy understood that this was his last chance, his final hope, it was truly a matter of life and death, his.

Yet, the gravity of his condition did not keep him from wanting to see fireworks that night. He surely never imagined that would be his last chance to watch them light up the night sky in his lifetime. It was his last 4th of July. I should have lit up fireworks every single day he was alive. He deserved that.

But, you see, when you are in the fight for your life, you believe in the unseen. You believe what you are doing to save your life will work. You do the work, and you have faith.

Little did we know, the very next day was “do or die” time. The next morning they woke us up before the crack of dawn informing us the marrow was being delivered and would be ready to be infused into Robert in the next hour. We did not know it would happen this fast, or without notice. There were no labor pains to warn the arrival of my son’s new life. What we did know was, it was his last hope. His body had been stripped down to nothing but cells dying off from radiation, chemotherapy, and countless other concoctions administered for this purpose, to seek and destroy everything that was old in order to receive new life.

It was surreal to stand by my son’s hospital bed as the doctor walked in his room holding a bag of marrow that could save him; that bag was my son’s only hope for living. And my son knew it. He wanted to see the bag. He studied it, I think he wanted to kiss it like it was the best fish he ever caught. He could not touch it, but he studied it. He asked them to turn it around so he could see all sides of it. He nodded his head, acknowledging it, bowing to its power, knowing he had to be ready to receive it-that was his job.

He laid back as he watched and listened. He was quiet. He was intentional. Robert was fully aware of every beep, every sound, and every breath being breathed in that room. He quietly stared at that bag and needle as they injected it into the line attached to his heart. I am sure he hoped for some sort of magical surge of “The Force” to bring him to life, yet, he remained quiet. He turned on his side when the doctor told him to. He listened as they watched him closely. I was glad he was on his side and could not see the panic and sense of urgency on the nurse’s face as she watched for signs of destruction; his blood pressure shot up, other expected things happened, he turned red and his skin became very hot. Robert did not move. He stayed focused and calm. No doubt he was doing his job, receiving his new life giving marrow.

The unseen hope became our only hope. Talk about faith. Imagine knowing you are at your last hope. KNOWING–you are at your last hope…

Fourteen years later I remember knowing this reality. I stood by watching as someone was at the end of their rope, their final and only hope, their last hope, their only chance at life, if this didn’t work then it was over…I stood and watched; I waited and  believed. As Robert’s mother my job was to believe. Oh, don’t think for one moment I did not have a million other responsibilities to help my son win his freedom and independence, but I chose to take it to the ends of the unseen realm called faith and believe. I believed that every single cancer cell was killed off, even the ones they warned us would hide in his big toe or testicles and try to kill him. I believed in the unseen battle that raged in his body. So did Robert.

The fight for freedom and independence is rarely won by simply fighting with what we can see. We know it is won in the dark shadows deep inside of our minds, hearts, souls and spirits. We do battle every day against things that threaten our livelihood. Insecurity, hopelessness, self-defeat, lies we were told, hurt, fear, harm done to us, lack, and my goodness whatever else we conjure up. Not only did my son have to kill off his own body to live, he had to combat all the unseen feelings of depression, lack, hopelessness, fear…Robert personified faith. That kid did everything he had to do in the physical world necessary to live; and he did everything he had to in the unseen world necessary to live. He did the work, he had the faith.

On the 4th of July, Robert asked the powers that be to let him go outside to watch the fireworks. When they said, “No.”, he didn’t give up. Instead, he dragged his weak, hurting body and i.v. pole and tried to peer out the narrow window in his hospital room for a glimpse of the life he was missing.

He never gave up.

Robert, thank you for never giving up and having faith…10400446_102926083710_255878_n

Slurping Some Soup

Slurping chicken noodle soup, Robert looked up from watching Saturday morning cartoons, “Robert, I need to leave for a bit, will you be okay for about an hour?” “Sure Mom, I’m feeling a lot better this morning. I hope I can get out of here today.” “I hope so too, I love you, I won’t be long.” “Love you too, Mom.” I leaned down and kissed Robert’s scruffy head of newly grown hair-I breathed him in a bit holding my face there for just a moment. 

Five minutes prior, I had been sitting with a doctor who informed me that Robert’s leukemia was back and he would die inside of 6 weeks.  As he spoke, I stared at my 11 year old son watching cartoons and eating soup; the doctor’s words traveled from his mouth, hovered in the air finally, piercing my ear. He offered no mercy, there was no hope, no clemency in his words. They were a death sentence for my young son. Robert had no idea what his mother had just been told. His fate was being sealed on the other side of a glass window…

I stepped out of the cold hospital to be greeted by a clear, crisp cloudless fall day. It was early October and as much as we hated being in Tennessee, the idea of watching the seasons change seemed inviting. Robert and I would drive around the winding roads taking in the lush green landscape and talk about how it will look once the season changed. It even smelled like fall that morning. I sat on a bench, looking into the cloudless sky, the words of the doctor resonating in my ears, the image of Robert sitting in his bed just like any 11 year old boy would on a Saturday morning watching cartoons.  All I knew was, I had to call his Dad and repeat the words of the doctor. 

Robert was elated to learn that his dad and older sister were coming back early. “Jessica is coming too? She will have to miss school, I can’t wait to hear about school, heck I can’t wait to get back to school!” They arrived late that day. The drive from the airport was silent except for the short conversation where the 3 of us agreed not to say anything to Robert until after his bone marrow aspirate on Monday. I did not know who I ached for more, Robert, his Dad, or my 12 year old daughter, the oldest of our 4 children. I did not even bother to factor myself in the equation of pain. There seemed no grace for a Mom at a time like this. It seemed my fate was sealed as well. 

Robert’s excitement to see his sister and Dad warmed our hearts. He quizzed his sister about school, told her about his new backpack and school supplies, how it felt “kinda cool” to be in Tennessee this time of year, fall, back to school time. “They had a big party for us, they gave us school supplies, some dumb Barbie dvd and there was this girl dressed up like Barbie.” Robert talked and talked to his sister, they did what any brother and sister would do, acted like kids excited for new things. 

The 4 of us spent Sunday together. Robert wore his mask to protect himself from as many airborne things he could, he had no idea we were told it did not matter what he did now. We had as much fun and laughter as we could that day. At one point Robert kicked us out of his room so he and his big sister could watch one of his favorite dumb movies. His Dad and I stood outside the room listening to them laugh like fools…we cried and laughed when they did. Robert and Jessica were thicker than thieves, my “Irish Twins.” They loved being called that. I do not know how my 12 year old daughter kept the secret of her brother’s fate those days, but she did. She wanted to enjoy his laughter; her bravery humbled me and made me stronger. 

 Monday came too quickly. It was October 7th. The hospital had begun decorating for Halloween. The kids talked about their costumes and wondered if Robert would be home for trick or treating. Robert’s bone marrow aspiration was finished by late morning. His Dad and I were delivered the confirmation that his marrow was full of cancer cells. His transplant had failed. How were we going to tell him? Robert understood, as best as an 11 year old could understand, what it meant if his transplant failed. We all went back to our apartment. I knew I had to be the one to tell him. I also knew his Dad could never tell him, he could not even tell himself. No one offered us any hope, there was no mercy to be extended. Relapsed leukemia offered no leniency, and handed down a hefty sentence. 

Robert, Jessica and I were lying on the bed in our room, Robert’s Dad listened quietly in the other room. I had no words. What or how do you tell your 11 year old son he would not be attending the art school he had been accepted into with his sister, or that he might not be alive for Halloween? There we were, the 3 of us, huddled like puppies. Our heads together, me in the middle, my “Irish twins” on either side of me lying there anticipating an afternoon nap.               

                       “Robert, I have to tell you something…                                                                         Robert, your cancer is back.” 

As the words left my mouth they hovered above us as we hoped they would vanish into thin air, but they didn’t; they landed right where they were intended to land… 

                          ”Mom, my transplant didn’t work?”                                                                            “No Robert it didn’t work.”  

My heart slowed, I was gasping without making a sound…I could feel tears on my left shoulder where my sweet boy always laid his head. 

                          “Mom, I don’t want to die…                                                                                                I don’t want to die…”                                          

His words breathed out quietly, softly a plea for mercy sent into the thin air hoping not to vanish but to be heard to change his fate… 

*Robert lived to trick or treat that Halloween, he died 6 weeks and 1 day later. 

Literal Thinking in a Hypothetical World

Literal Thinking in a Hypothetical World

“I tried to tell you…” These words crack me up. What exactly does that mean? Actually, I get it, I have seen it happen time and time again. I have lived this. I am in the business of “telling” others things. I find myself repeating the same things, ideas, words, and thoughts over and over again in all manner of delivery. I use humor, wit, charm, intelligence, I even throw in a little Spanish and get really loud if necessary. I know how to TELL something. So, really I do understand when someone does not hear me, or pretends they did not hear me or understand me. However, when someone recently said this to me, I laughed out loud. And I don’t mean LOL, I literally laughed out loud.

The reciprocal of being in the business of needing to speak in such a way so that others understand and hear me, is that I must listen. I am one of those that is often described as a “good listener.” I cannot tell you how many phone calls in the middle of the night begin with, “I called you because I knew you would answer…” or how many conversations I have had where the person speaking to me said, “I can’t believe I am telling you that, I have never told anyone that…” You know when you fill out some sort of questionnaire and it asks “How would your friends describe you?” I always teeter between selecting “loyal” or “good listener.” In my world, they go hand in hand. As they should. No doubt.

So I laughed, and was mystified by this statement I recently heard. “I tried to tell you…” What did you send up smoke signals, tell me in sign language behind my back, did you hold up a sign on my blind side where I would not see it? But, you knew you tried? Really. What I have decided this really means is, “Actually nothing I said was real, or true and I didn’t mean any of it; it was more of a hypothetical than a literal thought, feeling, or intention. Got it?”

No, I don’t get it. I am a literal thinker. I am a literal listener, and I hear really well and have a penchant for recalling and remembering details. I am an invaluable resource to certain people who do not have this trait. I am the one they take places and count on to whisper in their ear the name of the person they are talking to and where they met them because they have no clue. I usually get high fived for this. My literal thinking and listening enabled me to follow the thread of conversations chock full of excruciating details with regards to my own child’s life and death. This person said the wrong thing to the wrong person when they tried to convince me they “tried to tell me…”

My literal thinking and listening scares people sometimes. It is an interesting ability to have. For instance, recently, when I ran into someone I had not seen in years and remembered their name, where we met, and all the intimate details of the conversation that was exchanged in a matter of moments. Their raised eyebrows made me realize they were caught off guard. At least they recognized me and then recalled the meeting from 6 years ago. I feel like a stalker sometimes. But I am harmless. I generally use my powers for good not evil. The details shared with me get trapped in the minute crevices of my mind and vast caverns of my heart. Maybe that is why people like to tell me “stuff.”

How about this one, “You only hear what you want to hear!” This is usually spoken from an exasperated, confused, hurt person who has either done something wrong, or feels they are being accused of some wrongdoing. A close friend said this to me one day and I pondered and pondered it. After much self-examination, I decided in a way, he was right. And he should be glad I only hear what I want to hear at times. Because, being so literal, I know exactly what is being said to me, yet, when I choose to hear otherwise it is a deliberate choice made to protect, hope, believe, or gain insight from. His words took me back to a tiny room, early one Saturday morning when a doctor told me my son was going to die and all hope was lost-his words “he might have 6 weeks to live…” were HEARD. I HEARD him loud and clear. Yet, as I listened intently to his matter of fact medical jargon, memorizing them all, I chose to hear something else too; maybe, maybe he has a 10% chance to get into remission again-and if you can get him into remission and keep him alive for a few months we will try again…I chose to focus on this glimmer of hope, but believe me, I heard him tell me my son was full of cancer and was dying right before my eyes. So, the next time someone I love is angry or hurt, lashes out, wants to quit, runaway, or says they hate me, I will hear them, and I will choose to hear what I want to hear too.

Literally, does anyone mean what they say anymore, or is it all just hyperbole? We live in such bizarre times a literal minded woman like myself finds it hard to stay literal. A person who says what they mean, means what they say, does not get far in the world of hypotheticals. If I say I am going to call, I call. If I say, I will be somewhere I almost always am, and if I cannot be there I am sure to follow up with a call or a message. It seems that we listen to our animals better than we listen to each other. If we can interpret their barks or cries why not try that with each other. Okay, I know what our pets say is much more basic and “literal”, but, surely you hear what I am trying to say. Maybe I am more animal than human seeing I am so literal. Maybe that is why I prefer the company of 5 year olds.

“I tried to tell you”, Guess what, I tried to tell you too, I am literal, do not tell me you are going to do something and not do it. Oh the battles launched, relationships destroyed, feelings hurt over those words,“I tried to tell you…” Listen, hear me, hear whatever you want, but how about we try a little harder? Maybe, just maybe we can try to listen a little better, actually hear what is being said to us and what we say to others? Maybe, just maybe we can try in one small corner of our world put some effort into this. For the love of Peace, shall we?

Flawed. Perfectly.

Maybe everyone does this- when someone attacks me in a hurtful way- saying something mean to me- I want to defend myself; I want to protect myself, fight back, stand my ground…but what really happens is I hear them, and know they are right.

It’s never easy when to be called out about our behavior, attitude or actions.  No one likes their flaws to be used against them or exposed.  Having to stick up for yourself sucks. But, truth is, if we don’t, no one else will. Truth is also that usually they are right and we know it.  Yet we fight back, launch an attack of defense or maybe even try to turn the tables and get ugly with them; you know the old the best offense is a defense—throw stone for stone.

Not me, I have finally learned that when someone I love attacks me, I try very hard not to attack back; I don’t pull all the rabbits out of the hat that I have hidden to use against them to hurt them like they are hurting me…I know how bad it hurts to have my flaws exposed, twisted, perverted and used against me. It is not fun, and most people do not fight fair.

Maybe this is a character flaw of mine, but when someone attacks me, in my head I am usually agreeing with them on some level.  That’s why it hurts so badly.  I wish I was one of those really strong people with a thick skin that can stick up for themselves and not let harmful words permeate and paralyze them; but I am not. Never have been, guess I never will be…I have many childhood memories of being picked on and called out-and as scrappy as I was, as much of a fighter as I was, those words would cut into my heart like a sharp knife and I would not forget them. I took it very personally.

One day in high school I was walking down the hall.  I heard some girl calling out: “Slut, there’s that slut!” I was walking alone-she was talking to me. I was scared to death at that moment. The girl was a girl I knew pretty well; she and her boyfriend had just broken up, or so he said…so he had told me…I had known her boyfriend for many years through junior high-he was at a party I was at and told me all about it…he acted interested in me, he had liked me all through jr. high—he gave me a ride home—dropped me at my house, and drove straight to her house to tell her he had been with me…and here it was Monday at school and she was calling me a slut!  I felt like a slut and I had not even done anything.  I was about as “prude” as a girl could be in high school.  He cowered next to her as she attacked me; this guy, an old friend did not say one word as she poked me in the chest and accused me of all sorts of things.  I took it, wanted to kill him, not her.  Not her fault he was a lying snake in the grass.  I survived, my dance teacher helped pull me together and got us two girls together and cleared up the mess.  I moved away the next week. Surviving my worst high school nightmare was the icing on a messed up cake, and I bailed.

Fast forward a gazillion years-after many losses, much heartache, being and feeling abandoned, betrayed, and alone-I take it very seriously when someone I love says hurtful things to me.  I am flawed from the years of human abuse that we all have to live with; funny thing is, I am the first one to stand up and fight for the underdog-always the one who goes ahead in a crowd and keeps others calm in a bad situation.  I am called: confident, independent, headstrong, tenacious, stubborn and strong—I am also called: cold, detached, clingy, ungrateful and unattached…Truth is—I AM ALL OF THESE THINGS!  And sometimes, when someone I love feels the need to point out my flaws and use them against me because they can’t handle them—it hurts, it hurts very badly and my human soft strong loving spirit wants to bail-move away and quit.

I’m working on my weaknesses, trying to keep my strengths in check as not to overwhelm the world with my tenacious headstrong independent often mouthy personality—I’m trying to love others in the process and it is not so easy at times.  It is usually those we love the most who hurt us the most and expose our flaws and use them against us.  I don’t know, maybe, just maybe the next time you are ready to rip someone you love to shreds you will remember the words of a stubborn confident headstrong woman who gets her spirit chipped away a little every time someone calls her out and you will NOT attack, but maybe just maybe you will be kind and remember they already know all about their flaws…

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Still blooming after all these years