A Binding Curse

We’ve come a long way from where we began

But not without congeries of heartache, betrayal, and pain.

Time dissipated quickly, slipping past us in silence

Leaving nothing to show except the darkening blood stain.

We pushed and we pulled, a tumultuous battle of wills

Rising high with the moon, then crashing low with the tides.

Broken and beaten by life and one another, alike

Yet bound at the soul, determined; headstrong to survive.

The road less traveled took us so far off-course

Losing dreams of hope and trust in blind faith along our troubled way.

Struggling to breathe when the air between us became too thin

We trudged right through the raging storms, vehemently vowing to stay.

All that we fought to overcome, all the perils we experienced

This love should’ve drowned in the shallows of illusory passion.

A magnetic force instead fused our hearts to beat in rhythm

Stronger than Earth’s gravity, defying even Sir Newton’s laws of attraction.

No one else could have made it together this far,

A stacked deck, a magician’s curse, and the devil’s kiss sealed our ill fate.

I wish I had had a crystal ball way back when

Because I’m in too deep now, escaping your spell is beyond much too late.

Looking back in vain, I can only shudder with horror

My heart was hijacked by our wishing stars somehow misaligning.

I made you my everything, gave you all of me there was

Bleeding from my wounded soul, my heart cannot stop its painful crying.

Your love is simply Hell in disguise

Bound to you for eternity, stuck together with the ultimate super glue.

So many questions for which I’ll never get answers

My sanity lost within this nightmarish dream come true.

 

Advertisements

Seeing The Gray In A Black & White World

children-542104_1920.jpg

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My subject is “Tell us a story from your childhood”.  It was submitted by http://Bakinginatornado.  Here goes:

Like many others, my childhood was the foundation for the person I grew to be today. My mind swirls as clips of memories dance around, each highlighting a frozen piece of time before my innocence was lost and the harshness of the cruel world became a frightening reality. There were good times and bad times aplenty- some seemingly storybook perfect and some so ugly, they’re best left buried within the hidden passages of lost time. Still, they are mine. The index which precedes the multitude of chapters my adult life has written.

A police officer’s daughter, I was kept sheltered from the evils that lurk around every corner, hiding not only in the shadows but plain sight, as well. We lived in a predominantly white, upper-middle class suburbia on the outskirts of Detroit, where it was easy for my parents to pull the wool over my eyes about the ways of the world. I believed that everyone, everywhere, worth a damn, lived the same way we did or better. I thought to graduate high school, attend a good college, establish a career which would provide financial security, get married in a church and begin a family was the circle of life which only the good people of the world followed. That anyone who didn’t adhere to this plan were the bad people I was warned about, time and time again.

I was the epitome of privileged children across the nation.

Then the house next door to ours was put up for sale one day when I was 8. It was bought by a pretentious, ornery, fur-coat-wearing old lady who’s rouge could be spotted coming towards you long before her actual face was distinguishable. Only, she never moved in. A family with four young children did. The oldest being a girl who was going into the fourth grade that school year, just the same as me. I was swimming in my humongous, above ground pool the first time we met. Her mother had just talked to my step-mother and she was promptly sent to introduce herself to me. Like any kid, I immediately invited her to go grab her suit and come in with me. It struck me as odd when she turned down my proposal and sadly went back home. What kid wouldn’t want to jump in and cool off on a blistering late-August afternoon? Strange, indeed.

As the days rambled on, she continued to make excuses for not wanting to go swimming. We played tag, hide-n-go-seek, red rover, and dungeon master with her three siblings and my brother without a hitch. She came inside to play Barbies and house with me in my bedroom, but I had yet to go over to hers. They were still unpacking, she would say. Her mom wasn’t ready for a houseful of kids, yet. All the while, still refusing to go into my pool with me. I didn’t care, though. I was beyond thrilled to have a new friend. And a girl, at that. All the kids my age within a few blocks were boys. She was right next door to me, nonetheless, and that was just the coolest thing ever in my youthful naivety. We quickly became inseparable. Besties.

When school started, the icing on the friendship cake came when we discovered we had been placed in the same teacher’s class. Life couldn’t have been more perfect at that moment. At least, for me, that is. I had no idea of the truth was hidden behind her closed front door.

You see, the difference between kids and adults is the fact that children live directly in the moment, unaffected by either the past or the future. They don’t care where you’ve been or where you come from. They could care less about what hasn’t happened yet or what’s predicted to happen at a later date. Their only concern is the here and now unless it involves the anticipation of Christmas and the presents Santa will bring. It was months into our relationship before I ever wondered where my BFF next door had lived before moving in next to me. It had never really interested me enough since it wasn’t like she had come from someplace exotic in the mind of a newly turned 9yo- like another state.

Her revelation began the unveiling of the wool my parents had so carefully placed over my eyes.

My new best friend had come from Detroit. Whereas most major cities across the nation are flourishing to some extent, with only the inner-city areas reflecting the underprivileged, long forgotten about, outcasted members of society, Detroit is different. It is all one giant inner-city except a small protected area in the middle of downtown, where corporate businesses and entertainment arenas are sheltered away from the slums (especially at this point in time). No one with financial stability resided within its borders; a fact that even the most privileged and well-off rich kids knew about, regardless of how thick the wool was layered on fresh outta the womb. I actually thought this girl might have been lying to sound cool in an era where hip-hop and gangsta rap began flourishing across the airwaves with hits from NWA, Tupac, and Biggie Smalls. (Ahhhh….the early nineties. Good times, eh?)

She wasn’t, though. It wasn’t long after this that I was finally invited inside of her house. Fall was changing quickly to winter and the weather was getting too nasty for us kids to play outside. Walking in her front door for the first time presented a huge shock for my culturally-impaired, suburban brat self. Her home was nothing like my own – and my own was on the lowly end of what other classmates homes looked like on the inside, to begin with. Being shielded from the ugliness of the world on the wrong side of the tracks, I had never come face to face with anyone who was truly living in poverty, until I saw inside my best friend’s home. Worn out couches and crooked-legged end tables filled her living room. Outdated curtains hung limply across the windows. Shabby rugs, beaten out more times than they could withstand, lay scattered across the floors as if they had died in vain.

I instantly felt ashamed for every time I had ever wished my family was more well-to-do, for every tantrum I ever threw for wanting more than I could have, for every complaint I ever made because what I had wasn’t good enough.

My best friend never came swimming in my pool because not only could she not swim, she had never even owned a bathing suit before. My best friend “borrowed” all my Barbies and the piles of extra Barbie clothes I had for them because she had never owned more than one, with only the outfit it came dressed in. My best friend begged to eat dinner with us every night because there wasn’t enough food to go around at home. The most humbling moment came at the beginning of spring when her mother shamefully asked my father to pull our garden hose over the fence and into their kitchen window. They couldn’t afford to pay their water bill and their service had been shut off. They only lived in this pretentious suburbia of white privilege because their great-grandmother had taken pity on the kids being raised in the ghetto and bought the house for them.

The more I learned about her family, the quicker my eyes began to see the world as it really is- a cruel, heartless place where people only care about what directly affects them. Where people would rather have the best of everything and squander in greed than lend a helping hand to those who were dealt a shitty hand. Her mother had grown up poor, as well, and was forced to drop out of school to support her own family. She married young because of this, trying to escape the life of poverty. Her husband, however, was an abusive drunk. She had no choice but to leave with her four children after her youngest twins were born, to save her life. No matter how hard she worked, life was continuously hard on her. There was no privilege to fall back on. 

Opportunity had never come knocking at her door. 

My best friend and her family wiped the privileged attitude right out of me. I vowed never to turn my back on those with less than me. To always do what I could to support the underdogs in life for as long as I lived.

Now, as this country is at odds again with race, equality, and political and religious beliefs, with discontent and unrest rippling from coast to coast, I couldn’t be more grateful for the girl who moved in next door from my childhood. She changed my life in ways I could never have comprehended as a young child. Without her, the wool would have remained firmly in place until I, too, became another Sheeple who was blindly led to chase the pretty things falsely valued in this world. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to see beauty on the side of life deemed ugly by those of privilege.

My childhood best friend freed me so I could see the many shades of gray hidden beneath a black and white world.

Writing this as the world is today, I can’t thank her enough because I can’t think of anything worse than living in the lies of the privileged. Even living in poverty like she had, as I, myself, experienced first hand not that very long ago.

love-262307_1920.jpg

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Having Girls, Becoming A Boy Mom

All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mother.

That is exactly what I told my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lacy – I was going to grow up to be the mom of six kids; three of my own and three adopted.

So when the time came and I became pregnant with my first child, I didn’t care what the sex of my baby turned out to be. I was happy just to be having a baby.

He turned out to be a son.

Baby 19003 1920

PICTURE PERFECT FAMILY

Not even six months later, I got pregnant again. Since I had already bore a son, I thought it HAD to be a girl this time. Nothing else was a conceivable notion to be toyed with, even momentarily. A girl would make my little family picture perfect complete.

The first twenty weeks seemed to take forever to pass by, as I grew more and more excited by the day.

When the day of my ultrasound finally came, I was certain that everything in my future would be pink and purple, paisley and floral-patterned. Princesses, ballerinas, ribbons, and tulle would rule my world.

Having a little girl was all I could focus on; my heart was set on having a daughter.

To continue reading, click here…

This post was published on https://www.wisdom.ninja

The Paradox of Darkness

imprint-868979_1920

Feeling so small and insignificant, lost and floating in empty space.

Wishing I could dissipate, leave behind nothing. Not a trace.

The sounds coming in are deafening, my head is left to spin.

Always at war against the world, a battle I will never win.

So different from the others, a mistake of genetics, perhaps.

Eyes seeing more than they should, time passes in a lapse.

Moment by moment, always searching for a purpose beyond the box.

I drift along in vain, suffocating in this emotional paradox.

A Convenience Of Love

rain-1567616_1920

Simply a convenience. Like microwave popcorn. Or cold water from the faucet.

A remote control or even socks. Won’t know what good you had until you’ve lost it.

Hard to see past the image staring back at you. Your own beloved reflection.

An ego so large it devours everything in sight. Even your discernable discretion.

Mocking from your stately throne. Sitting upon that fine, high horse.

Delegating orders, commanding attention from peasants. Never showing remorse.

Wickedly charming. Like a pied piper. Or a white collared politician.

Taking all that you can get without a care. Self-fulfillment seems your only mission.

Ignorantly unaware. Trampling over anything, in a frenzy to feed.

Selfishly forgetting the one who dares love a man who desires only his needs.

Simply a convenience. Like shoelaces. Or the warmth of a favorite sweater.

Unnoticed unless wanted in the moment. An umbrella for times of bad weather.

 

Overgrown Insecurities

Never did I imagine as a young teen that I would still be dealing with my insecurities well into my thirties still. Bright-eyed about the future with all my youthful naivety, adulthood seemed like a magical place where all my issues would disappear with instant maturity.  

When I thought about what it would be like to be a mother back then, I imagined myself being a responsible and level-headed, calm and collected photocopy of any late eighties and early nineties family sitcom mom. Never did I consider the possibility that emotional growth wouldn’t just happen the same way my body grew and changed overnight with puberty.

Here I am, over fifteen years later, and I am still struggling to get a grip, fed up with the insecurities consuming my mind.

Growing up, I had the stereotypical child of an alcoholic thing going on. My father was a police officer and my stepmother his wannabe Barbie doll barely over the legal age. Both were seasoned drinkers with no time for raising children. It’s easy to conclude that my self-esteem never quite developed and my ideas, views, and values were a little skewed after growing up in their care. There was no one available for nurturing or guidance, after all. I was left to raise my brother and keep the house the best I could for a young girl because when my parents weren’t working they were at the bar and when the bar closed they brought the party home until it was time to go to work again.

Approaching the only mother figure I had when puberty began turned out to be the biggest mistake for my already fragile core. My stepmother fits the mold of womanly perfection, as her trophy wife status disclaimed. She was everything I wanted to look and be like. Naturally curvy, carrying an extra five or ten pounds around my middle, it was obvious to me early on that my body type was never going to be like hers. I still can’t say for sure, all this time later, if anything she said to me about accepting my differences was genuinely sincere or a calculated manipulation to keep me from coming under my father’s spotlight. She never took the time to show me how to care for myself or do any of the womanly things a girl learns from her mother. Never showed me how to feel pretty or how to love myself.

All I walked away with was more self-doubt and shame than I had ever felt before.

Uncomfortable in my own skin doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt. From that point on, I lived in constant fear of my flaws, seeking fault in everything I could find to validate the growing insecurities I gathered like friends- my looks, my personality, my intelligence, my worth. Nothing was free from scrutiny. My confidence and self-respect had been blown to smithereens.

Deep down, I really believed my daydreams of feeling whole and valuable would become a reality once I left home as an adult. That I would be able to fix all the broken pieces of myself just because I wanted to. I hadn’t the wisdom to know any better, yet. I lived in a bubble of fairytale hopes and aspirations too unrealistic to ever become a reality until the truth hit me in the face. The damage had grown rooted in the core of my being, becoming part of who I thought I was. It would be necessary to unthread parts of my identity in order to begin the re-stitching process needed to mend the insecurities which plagued my soul.

I fought against the truth for far too long, hoping, wishing, and praying I would wake up and be well. The idea of trying to find my true self under the false beliefs and self-loathing was daunting and overwhelming. Enough to make me contemplate suicide to end my miserable existence at one point along the way. Underneath my negative self-imagery, though, I was a fighter and always up for a challenge. Living was not going to beat me at living. No way, no how.

Here I am, a decade and a half later, finally ready to take action. No more ugly business. No more picking and poking at every little glitch on my skin. No more resentment and jealousy over the traits I do not have. No more comparing myself to The Mold I became so obsessed with – and for what? To live in fear of being disliked… rejected… tormented… because I didn’t fit within it? Fuck that.

Excuse my language, but I have had enough of some ridiculous stereotype defining my sense of worth and leaving me trapped in a void by my overpowering insecurities.

Looking back, I can now see what I never could see clearly when I was younger- those I knew who fit The Mold, had very little else to offer this world. Certainly not compassion. Something I know without a doubt I excel at. I may not be the prettiest, the skinniest, or the most breath-taking of female specimens to grace the planet with their presence, however, I am the most kind-hearted, caring, and selfless giver of them all. For me, those are much more valuable traits to possess and be known for than all the beauty in humanity.

Those positive traits are the key to unraveling the roots wrapped around my core, squeezing the ability to love myself right out of me. Focusing on what I have to offer instead of what I lack, I can find myself all over again. I can learn to live with who I am.

With enough hard work and dedication, I will lay these overgrown insecurities to rest once and for all. The challenge has finally been accepted, as terrified of taking on myself that I am, and I will not let life win this time, either. I can’t. It’s already taken away too many years of my life making me hate myself. I will not let another fifteen years go by living in fear of loving myself.

 

.

 

                                                                              

Hot Lunch or Starve

Say all you want about me, but I don’t give my children a choice –  they have to buy school lunch every day. The new government-instituted nutritional requirements have eliminated the mystery meats and bad carbs, so I’m not concerned about the quality of the food being served in the least. My kids can either get school lunch or starve. I received the old school hot lunches as a kid and survived, so I know mine will, too. In fact, the invaluable knowledge I gained from my experience has helped me transition into adulthood easier than my friends who were spoiled with craft-style lunches made by their moms.

Everything I needed to know about life was on that plastic tray laden with eraser bit macaroni salad and boiled gray hot dogs.

Nothing is fair in this world. Nothing at all. Life gives what it gives and you have very little control over how much or how little you get if you don’t try speaking up. You’re not always successful at getting what you ask for, though. Sometimes you are forced to watch your mortal enemy get the coveted piece of pizza with two pieces of pepperoni while you get the all-crust corner piece, even though you hate the crust. It’s about learning to accept life on life’s terms – appreciate what you have, always work hard, and keep striving to reach your goals, making your dreams a reality.

You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

Sometimes every option sucks. There are three categories on the menu every day to choose from. Despite an array of choices, there are going to be days not a single thing sounds appetizing and you are going to have to settle for the least offensive to your taste buds. Life is good for that. There will be many times when you’ll find the only choices you have been given are nothing like what you had hoped for. Like the first apartment you have imagined moving into in contrast with the options, you will actually be able to afford when it comes time. Or, how you will expect to find work right out of college in the position you always dreamed of, just to discover your choices are nothing comparable for a multitude of practical reasons you’ll one day understand. You just have to pick the suckiest one and hope for a better circumstance the next go-round. Tomorrow is a new day full of new opportunities, so hang in there.

school-lunch

Someone else will always have it better. And someone else will always have it worse. Just because someone has a fancy looking lunch does not mean they have a happy home. If other kids get free hot lunch due to low-income status, it doesn’t mean their parents don’t love them or work hard to provide. Appearances can be deceiving- the piece of pizza with two pepperonis may be lacking cheese underneath. Life gives you what it wants to for a purpose greater than you could ever begin understanding. You can’t let your story give you room to judge others.

That lunch may not measure up to those handcrafted, creative masterpieces, but the option is still better than having no food at all. Enjoy what you have.

Step out of your comfort zone. Waiting in line, making a choice, placing the order, carrying the tray through the crowd, and finding your seat in the cafeteria is a daunting task for some. Whether they are shy, soft-spoken, easily distracted, or indecisive, the daily routine is helping them break out of their shells, one platter of rigatoni with meat sauce at a time. Without a trusted adult, like Mom, Nana, the principal, or a favorite teacher walking you through the process, you’re coerced into gaining independence. From speaking up to classmates who try to cut in line to making yourself heard over wanting a larger portion as you order to excusing your way through the chaos to your assigned seat, you are paving your own course in life. The opportunity often arises to try new foods, as well. Even if you find the food leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you can still taste the personal growth. The school lunch experience is almost as valuable as the education, itself. Outside the box of comfort is where all the good stuff happens in life and your true potential lurks in wait.

apple-256261_1920

Premium costs extra. Just like the real world, all the top-quality, highly coveted items from the snack cart are going to cost a little extra. ‘Tis price you pay for wanting the good things in life. You’ll have to work for what you want because nothing is ever truly free- even if it costs nothing monetarily. Your time, your dedication, your strength, your talents, your joy, your health…the list goes on and on. Only you can determine if the cost is worth the price to be paid and the work that will need to be done to achieve the prize you desire. I can promise you, though, hard work will always be worth it. Then, you can afford all the bags of chips, granola bars, popcorn, cotton candy, and novelty ice-cream your little heart desires. If not, you have no room to envy the kids who do.

My oldest is in sixth grade and has never expressed a desire to have a bag lunch. He’s responsible, outspoken, and driven to excel at anything he sets his mind to. I can’t help but attribute some of this to the lessons he has learned from getting school lunch; especially since his younger siblings are heading in the same direction. If you had any doubts that I’m the meanest mom in the world, I am sure I only reaffirmed you were wrong by now. School lunches are the way to go. Otherwise, it’ll be your Bento box problem one day when Junior grows up expecting his life to be balanced on a silver tray held by someone else while he dictates from his high horse.

I Am Angrivated

Motherhood was waging war against my soul, marriage was suffocating me, and I had lost all touch with the woman I had once known myself to be. I knew I needed to find my way back to happy again and old habits die hard for a reason. It was a struggle for me to make the decision to not only go back to writing as therapy, but take it to the next level and publicize it with a blog. I was in a dark place in my life and wasn’t sure of anything, not even myself.  The only way I had ever gotten through the pits of Hell before was by bleeding on paper and the familiar ache in the bottom of my stomach told me it was way past time to let myself at it once more.

It was in this dark place where I was angry with my life and aggravated with the circumstances that made it what it was, The Angrivated Mom was born.

My husband thought the name was silly and a little stupid at first. We looked it up on Google and nothing came up, which was a relief, because everyone knows a blogger is defined not by their author name, but by their brand. Coming into the blogging world late to the game, by about six years, made it difficult to find a name I would love for the duration of my writing journey; one which hadn’t been used in someway before me. I was terrified of encroaching on anyone else’s territory. We popped into the Urban Dictionary to see if it was a widely used word we didn’t know about and only found one listing for it which had been collecting dust until we came across it. I thought it was safe to say that word was available to use as my branding ticket in the blogging world.

Since becoming The Angrivated Mom, Google finally began to show that there was another site with my newly coined word in existence, but since it was a man’s site and he didn’t have any intention on banking off his site as a writer, I thought I was in the clear. I thought I would be the only mom blogger who was known as Angrivated and that it would stay that way.

Along the way, my little blog has picked up some momentum and reaching the goals I laid out for it. My following grew from just a handful of friends and family to a cozy couple thousand people. I met others in the industry and befriended a close knit circle of writers and page owners. It took me awhile to shake the newbie status, but I actually did. Quite recently at that, in all honesty. It was then that I realized how much good had come to me because I taken that first leap of courage by starting my blog.  I had found a new perspective on life as I found myself again in The Angrivated Mom and it felt great.

Then, in the blink of an eye, it all came crashing down around me.

While laying in bed at 1a.m., someone I believed was a friend- even after they began distancing themselves after a major life event for the better- and a fellow page owner who only dabbles with writing , sent me a private message on Facebook. In it she told me that she had already taken the word Angrivated and used it to change her Facebook page name. Not asked, but declared.  Looking back, I am relieved she did not have a blog to change name as well, because this whole shebang could have been worse for me. Being someone close enough to consider a friend, this person should have had the decency to come to me with her intentions – at a time she knows I will be awake, with certainty, and not the middle of the night when there’s a chance I wouldn’t be coherent enough to comprehend what was being said or awake to discuss the message any farther. But she didn’t.

This so-called friend has broken the sacred bloggers code of ethics.

You do not copy another writer in any way, shape, or form without permission. It isn’t even about stealing the word in itself, because I would love to see it become the next catchy slang term to take off, but the fact that she used it to RE-brand her Facebook page – something that is not on the same career-level seriousness as a blog website and would confuse people searching for the corresponding page to my blog. You don’t see other companies coming up with names like Tides, Targeting, or MacDonald’s to bank on the momentum of a more widely-known brand. It just wouldn’t be good for either company, big or small.

For someone to take the word of a supposed friend in the social media business, though, that really is stooping low. They have only proven how much of a friend they never were in the first place by doing this; especially when that person ran to play the victim the moment I stood up for myself and my blog name, acting like I’m purposely attacking her- bringing our issue to the public in a way which did not allow me to defend myself or my intentions without creating a keyboard war.  Besides all that, a real friend would have made contact during waking hours long before they considered putting the change into action. They would know and understand the importance of my personal writing journey and how critical to success the whole original blog name issue is. They certainly would know me well enough to know my heart and the nothing but good intentions I have for everyone I hold dear. Even when I am upset with them.

I never saw this coming. Not in a million years would I have thought I would ever have to worry about someone encroaching on my brand name. Someone I called “friend” nonetheless! Whether I’ve trademarked, copyrighted, or simply just branded Angrivated to myself, it has become the symbol of who I am on social media and it defines me as a writer. People know they are going to get me – raw, emotional, soulful, and vindictive of life me, because I am The Angrivated Mom.  My journey to insanity and beyond, and I, will go on. That’s just what I do.