Peas and Acid

Fairytales aren’t real, and yet we each have a story to tell. Prince Charming might not exist, but I certainly do. And I have been vigorously trudging myself through this life in search of adventure and love. I’ve found a little of both.

Some days, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Like I have been drinking tea, laced with acid, and even though I can’t find my way home, I find happiness inside my own hallucinations.

Once in a great while, I have moments where I feel like Cinderella at the ball. Those moments are rare and fleeting… but when they arrive, all the other moments become worthy. I’ve never fallen in love at a ball before, but I have fucked a few guys who were way out of my league. And that is pretty much the same thing.

Today, I feel like the princess and the pea. I can’t get comfortable. I can’t sleep at night, because I constantly feel the vicious prodding of an inconvenient truth, buried deep beneath the layers of my bed. My bed used to be such a precious sanctuary, but it hurts just to lay in it now.

Four inches of tempurpedic memory foam lay across my pillow topped mattress. All this layered with the softest polar fleece sheets I could find, and still I feel like a knife is piercing through the middle of my back. Maybe it’s an emotional pain, a nerve tingling metaphor to represent all of the people who have betrayed me. Maybe it’s just a fucking kidney stone. I don’t know.

What we all need to know about the princess and the pea, is that she isn’t some spoiled, ungrateful bitch. Maybe she really was in pain. Maybe she just felt things too deeply. Maybe she needed seventeen layers of padding to feel safe from the harsh world she tried to block out every night, as she laid her head on her pillow.

Sadly, no matter how she tossed and turned, she could still feel the uncomfortable pinch of the pea buried deep beneath her attempted protection from it’s penetration. Whoever planted the pea, surely had no idea of it’s magnitude. They could never understand that the actual size of the tiny pea didn’t hurt her nearly as much as the heartache of knowing that someone would deliberately plant that pea in her bed. The idea that someone would go out of their own way, simply for the purpose of her discomfort, was a painful reality that haunted the princess and manifested into agonizing back pain. The princess was most definitely an empath, too sensitive for her own good.

The senses are a funny thing. Sometimes I bleed from happiness, always falling so madly in love with the cactus versions of people. I’ve tricked myself into believing that I need to feel pain in order to feel real. And the more I venture down this rabbit hole of illusion, the more pain I find myself subconsciously craving.

Yesterday my dad called. We haven’t spoken much lately. He called to tell me that he has been diagnosed with cancer again. He was an agent orange survivor. This will be his third encounter with cancer.

Immediately my mind fell back into high school. I remembered giving a speech about the most important person in my life. He had just been diagnosed for the first time. Halfway through my speech, I lost my voice. I couldn’t speak. My eyes welled up. I ran out of the room, crying because I didn’t know how to process the feelings I had. Yesterday, I sat in silence for a moment as I tried to process the news. Again, I don’t know how I feel…except uncomfortable and sensitive and I am hurting. I feel like I am sleeping on an entire fucking field of peas.

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Safe Haven

I spent today in an old mansion that used to be a safe haven for escapee slaves in the Underground Railroad. There was a little door under a beautiful spiral staircase that led to tunnels deep underground. I had always admired the mansion in my many years of growing up in the town where it resides. Today I had the privilege to go inside and participate in the mansion’s current role as a safe haven for women with cancer.

The woman who currently lives in the mansion, opens her home once a month to anyone undergoing treatment for cancer. She cooks and serves a beautiful meal for them, and has volunteers on hand to offer manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages. Today I showed up for an orientation, and got straight to work. The other volunteer therapist ended up calling in today, so my timing was perfect. It was the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.

I gave two massages in the morning. And at noon, all the guests and all the volunteers stopped everything and we all sat down to a beautiful lunch together. It was the most profound lunch I’ve ever had. Listening to these beautiful souls expressing the agonizing heartache that they have endured throughout the process of cancer treatment. The room is dramatic and elegant with dark walls and intricate crown molding. Giant green plants bathe in the light of the large windows. The room itself, quietly suggesting the beauty of life. The loving exchange of empathy between a group of women who understand each other on a primal level. The room carries an energy of sisters lost and sisters who have moved on from this sacred sisterhood. I’m that room, nothing else really matters, except love and gratitude. These women are the bravest I’ve ever met.

After lunch, I ushered two more clients upstairs for massages. Each one, sharing pieces of their heroic journey through hell. Each woman that I worked on seemed to fall into the table, relieved to have some quiet moments of peace. Some had finished chemo and begun to heal. Some currently going through it, with all the horrible side effects it brings with it.

I was humbled by the women that I worked on today. All of them fighting a battle that I could never imagine. It felt good to know that I could offer a little bit of my time to give them the gift of pampering and even just listening. I will do this for the rest of my career as a massage therapist. I will never not volunteer at this old mansion, so long as I am able.

Coming from the sort of family that I come from, it’s a breath of fresh air to witness a group of women coming together with the purpose of helping others. Today has restored my faith in humanity and filled me with gratitude for everything I have in my life. I’m on the right path now, for sure. I feel it in my bones. That old mansion has a beautiful soul, and I am honored to have shared this experience with her.

Gilmore Girls

Today I got home from work, moped into the house, and began making spaghetti for dinner. I’ve been incredibly depressed lately. My chest has been caved in, aching, and empty. I’m not sleeping well. I’ve had numerous emotional breakdowns. I faked a smile, hugged my kids, and got on with stirring the hamburger.

As we sat down at the table, my daughter told me that she had finally made a decision about whether or not she was going to move in with her dad. My heart stopped. The make it or break it moment of my life. She said she wanted to stay with me. I felt instant relief from her declaration. My eyes began to tear up.

When I asked her what made her decide, she said that she had been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls on Netflix and it reminded her of us. I asked, “Because Lorelai’s mom is kind of a bitch?” She laughed at my comment, “Well yeah, but we’re a lot like them.” She’s right. We are. In that moment, it felt like concrete had broken free from my heart and I literally started crying like a blubbering idiot. We finished our dinner, watched a couple of episodes of the Gilmore Girls, and I cried some more… tears of happiness for a change. After two weeks of absolute hell, my babies are officially staying where they belong. I’m not sure how or why we had to go through all of this, but I am so incredibly grateful that it’s over and my world makes sense again.

Mothers and Daughters

I’m laying in bed on this beautiful Sunday morning. It’s almost Spring time. I have survived another cold winter in this life of seclusion.

I’m thinking about skipping Easter Sunday with my family. I’m thinking about completely removing myself from my parent’s lives altogether. It would be easy. They never call, never come over. When I do make the effort to see them, they cut me down, yell a lot, and criticize me. I think my life would be easier without holidays, which are the most difficult times to be without a family. I’m not angry anymore. I understand that some people should be loved from a distance. Sometimes you just get born into the wrong tribe. It happens. I’ve made peace with that.

On the other side of things, my own children are still contemplating the possibility of living with their father. Two hours of distance between the only family I care about and myself. It still hurts more than words could describe, but I haven’t lost all hope. I’m still holding on to the lovely thought that everything will be okay.

And now I wonder how my own mother would feel about being abandoned. Would her heart ache for the closeness that my heart is aching for with my daughters? I doubt it. I was never loved the way my children are loved. My mother never understood the concept of love.

All I can do, is wake up every morning, and make sure that they know they are loved. Not just by me, but by their dad too. And his girlfriend, and all their grandparents and aunts and cousins. They need to know that they will be safe and loved, no matter where they live. They need to know that they will be my favorite people until the day I die, no matter what they do or how they choose to live. They need to know that the love that I pour over their precious heads is unconditional and infinite.

I’d give anything to be given that same effort. And that is how I can rest and find peace with my life. I know that the generations yet to be born from me will not have to fight with the demons that I have fought with. I am changing the pattern of hell that I was born into so that my granddaughters will walk this earth, never knowing the hypocrisy of conditional love.

Please Don’t Enlighten Me

If the path to enlightenment is detachment, than my map is the feeling I get, when I think about my life without the things or people that I love the most.

In the past few months, I have had an up close and personal look at losing the most important parts of my life.

One of my closest friends didn’t trust me. I’m so close to this person that I can feel how they feel about me. This person means the world to me. I thought I was losing them. I thought about my life without this person in it, and my heart broke. It hurt. But I knew I would be okay.

I nearly lost the massage job that I love so much. Every time I thought about my big mistake of moving to this town, I thought about that job, and how I turned my big mistake into the happiest thing that had ever happened. That job as a healer has healed me. I thought about my life without that job, and it hurt. Bad. But I knew I would be okay.

Not long after that, I almost got pregnant with a black man’s child. My father would have banned me from my family. I don’t spend a lot of time with them anyway, but I thought about my life without those people, and it broke my spirit. They are crazy and stubborn, but they are a part of me. They are who I came from. It hurt to think about my life without them. But still, I knew I would be okay.

Now my daughter is leaving, and I am certain my youngest will follow her. I don’t know who I am without them. I’m currently looking at how my life would look without my girls in my home, and it’s breaking my soul. I can’t breathe. I can’t function. And I don’t know if I will be okay.

This has to be spiritual. And I get it. I’m learning about the value of others, as I have learned about the value of myself. I have shed my old self away and I wonder if any of this is real. Or maybe I am just crazy. Maybe I am just dreaming. Maybe I will wake up from this gloom.

Enlightenment is a cruel beast and I want nothing to do with it. I want my attachments. I want my family and my friends and my home. I want love too. What kind of sick joke this universe is, to give me a heart and keep stabbing it with loss. I understand the value of love now. I’ve got it down. Please stop teaching me.

Love Hurts

My oldest daughter announced to me that she wants to live with her father, so she can go to high school in his town, two hours away. My younger daughter already wants to live with her dad. So, basically, just when I thought I could finally have it all, I am losing everything.

My heart feels like it’s holding up twenty-seven cinder blocks right now. I don’t blame her for wanting to leave. She can’t go to school in this town anymore. Regina George, the bully from hell, ruined that. I fucking hate that girl! And homeschooling is so lonely for her. She is sad. She is broken. I quit my job to spend more time with her, but she needs more social interaction than just her sister and I. She has one friend left, but that girl lives an hour away. It makes sense that she would want to go to school in her dads town. But the thought of her living so far away is killing me.

Life can be so unfair. I’m a good mom. She and I have a pretty great relationship. I’ve carved my whole life out around her. The past seven years, I have done it all on my own. It has not been easy. And now my ex-husband and his girlfriend get to enjoy the best years. And I am left alone with the world’s biggest heartache.

The worst part, is that I have to keep it all inside, because I don’t want her to have to live her life around me. I don’t want her to bend herself around anyone else’s expectations. And it fucking sucks to have to be on the other side of that one. I am trying to let go of control and be the mom I never had. But it’s definitely not easy.

And so I am in my room, writing and crying to myself. Wishing things were different. Wishing time stood still for a bit longer. This is the agonizing part of single motherhood. This is pain. This is love. And I have no choice but to let her go.