Beginning Motherhood

The first time our eyes met,

My breath held tight,

I wore my heart on my sleeve,

As time took flight.

The evenings ahead were rough,

Daybreak gave no reprieve,

Yet it all felt so magical,

I’d stare at you in utter disbelief.

A creation of my very own,

Innocence ready to mold,

Nothing could’ve ever prepared me,

A fairytale yet untold.

Sleeplessness fueled with pride,

Filling me to the brim,

Squawking cries reverberating,

Soothed by my gentle hymn.

Sour milk breath smelling so sweet,

Nuzzling closer skin to skin,

Wonderment over this tiny miracle

Effervescence illuminating within.

With your arrival, though, time did gain wings,

Passing swiftly with a blink,

Ups and downs, milestones good and bad,

It goes too quick with our lives moving in sync.

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Blogger and Blog: Karen of Baking In A Tornado
Name of Poem: Motherhood
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Name of Poem: Mother’s Wish
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Name of Poem: Mother’s Day Poem: I Love You Mom
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Lost And Found Freedom Seeker

It really is no surprise that I was found. I’m not very good at hiding. In fact, I was always the first one found during endless rounds of the game we loved so much as children; playing well into the night to distract us from the blistering July heat smothering us with rancid summer boredom. Not that I was really trying hard to conceal myself, like when I was a kid. Part of me knew I would have to face the music eventually and just wanted this updated adult version of the beloved classic over with already.

When I set off on this haphazard trek in search of my freedom, I had no idea what would be in store for me along the way. I knew there were huge risks involved when it came to choosing the path less traveled, but I was too naive to see just how dangerous those risks really were. My body and mind were that of the adult I had recently discovered I had become, but my soul was still that of a child- unaware and unassuming. Wisdom was still such a long ways off for my seventeen years; seemingly more of an old wive’s tale, passed down from one generation to the next, to ease the burdening fears people have about aging past their youthful prime.

I always knew something was different about me. I wasn’t cut from the same cloth as the others were where I came from. Those people were wholly satisfied with their cookie cutter suburbia and the pretentious societal box requirements – instilled upon us the very moment we took our first breath after the cord was cut. They thrived in this realm of standardized constringency and predicated stringencies. I wasn’t. I couldn’t. No matter how hard I worked to try, or, sometimes even not to try, I could not find happiness, belonging, or purpose within the confines of this imperiously scripted life.

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So off I went, set to rebel against the system, The Man, the middle-class suburban mindset, and anything else which forced conformity while promoting monetary dependence and materialism. It was my mission not be another Suzy Homemaker who had gone to some Big Ten university to establish a respected career and, immediately following, married a man who only focuses on growing investments and expenditures which add to his precious nest egg, coupled with golf getaways and strip clubs on the sly. There would be no dreaming of minivans, book clubs, or being the perfect Soccer mom with the perfect, but boring, life. Those were nightmares to me. Exactly what I was running away and hiding from. My dreams, I believed, would always be about adventure, emotional connections, and tapping into the well of passion within my fiery soul. About discovering my purpose, my sexuality, and who I was from one day to the next. About a life governed by my desires and regulated by my experiences. Freedom. Resistance. Feeling alive.

I wanted to get married and have kids, still, but on my own terms. Without the pressure to adhere to the strictly structured plan society had created simply to define one’s worth. I didn’t want to live by the book or be conventional in any shape or form because then THEY would win.

For a long time, I stuck to my guns and traveled anywhere that would lead me far from the life expected of me. I crashed on various people’s couches, worked jobs that would only sustain my most basic of needs, and took risks that reflected anything but the Good Girl image my childhood peers had strived to maintain. I had no rules, no boundaries, and no desire to be defined by the tenuous labels of someone else’s standards. There was no stopping me. Drugs, drinking and partying with other freedom-seeking souls trying to escape the democracy we never asked to join fueled my mission, and a fresh tattoo coupled with alternative piercings were displayed like a scarlet letter to show the world I would not live in compliance.  

I lived on the edge, defying everything that had been drilled into my existence from the moment I began to develop in utero. Anything to escape the nightmares dreams of mainstream suburbia haunted me with.

Somehow, though, they found me. Deep down I knew I couldn’t run from those phantasmal ideals forever. I came to realize through the course of my rebellion that conformity is more omnipotent than individualization and true freedom. My escape was futile and all in vain at the end of the road. It was impossible to live freely outside the constraints of the societal structure without feeling the insufferable weight of financial dependency once children and marriage became part of the equation. Society is an altruistic prison in which humans entombed themselves within, long ago. There is no liberation from it. Not when parenthood comes into play because everything changes when you realize you’ve been tasked with the responsibility of raising the next generation of freedom seekers and emulators.

I never expected my nightmares to come full circle the way they have. Never did I imagine that the one thing I spent years hiding from would become the one thing I wished I could have, but here I am. I feel like the world’s biggest hypocrite for it, too.

Yet, I also feel strangely empowered, as I have gained wisdom and understanding which most others will never be privileged enough to sample a taste of. Things I can use, not to fight against the system as ineffectively as my youthful naivety set out to do, but fight to better the system from within so my children don’t have to rebel against the miscarriages of justice which keep us all imprisoned by the labels of a cookie cutter society. And I cannot do it without dreaming of the life that I never wanted to live because I have no choice but to play the game necessary to put me in the position to change the rules once and for all.emancipate-1779132_1920

Your “Secret Subject” is: Oh no, they found you. What do you do?

It was submitted by: http://dinoheromommy.com/

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:

Baking In A Tornado 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 

Spatulas on Parade 

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 

The Lieber Family Blog 

The Bergham Chronicles 

Never Ever Give Up Hope 

Simply Shannon  

Confessions of a part time working mom  

Southern Belle Charm 

Climaxed

 

Seeing The Gray In A Black & White World

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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.

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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:

The House Depression Built For Me

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Have you ever heard the saying, you are what you eat? Well, I’m living proof that you live in who you are, too. With that being said, one can presume correctly that, because my life is a gigantic blackhole of kinetically-charged chaos, so is my dwelling, my homestead, my address of residence.

It is a level of embarrassment in my life which I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with, but somehow I have. I never imagined that I’d be in this predicament, not in a hundred thousand dreams of nightmares, but here I am nonetheless. I’m living in a house built at the hands of Depression, decorated on a recovering addicts budget, and maintained in unkempt upkeep by chronic pain. It’s not what I had in mind, but it has to do for now.

Long before I was a married mom of four hoodlums, it was very possible I could have been classified with an OCD diagnosis. My home was always a spotless level of clean, worthy of magazine ad showcasing. Each and every thumbtack, sequin, and screw, had it’s own place separate from the toothpicks, bobbypins, and batteries. Everything micro-organized into labeled containers within containers for maximum organization. Everything was always nice and neat, nothing in excess, lost, or wasted. I vacuumed twice a day, every day. I swept the kitchen even more, scrubbing it down, by hand, every night after dinner. Not a single lacy cobweb or dingy dust bunny could be found hiding anywhere, not even in the unfinished basement with exposed rafters and beams throughout the ceiling. I would cut someone with my stabby self if they even thought about leaving their shoes on in my house.

These days, if I even let you get through my front door- after reading you the riot act and forcing you to sign consent forms releasing me from responsibility over your safety, I’ll warn you to keep your shoes on, unless, you want the Plague or Ebola, that is. Every single wall in this house has been colored on. Any cabinet below adult waist-level height has been colored on and stickered, too. The flooring, paint-splattered original-to-the-house wood flooring, which still desperately needs to be stripped and rewaxed, is a gigantic step up from the carpet I tore out of here over the last summer. The same carpet that was brand new to the house when I moved in. The house is totally done with, destroyed merely by living in it, as you do. There’s no helping it anymore. It needs to be nuclear bombed. Or radiated and evaporated. At the very least, quarantined in one of those little life-sustaining bubble thingies until someone finds a cure.

Four years ago, I was in the middle of a really bad time in my life. A time that was dark, cold, and isolating, full of burning bridges and severed ropes to the emergency lifeboats  I mistakenly thought were weighing me down. I was fresh in the aftermath of recovery from an addiction to pain pills, stemming from chronic pain in my spine. Physicians were so quick to throw prescriptions at me, even before the final diagnosis was made! They allowed me the misperception off the starting gate, that the meds could actually help heal the damage, without warning me of the serious dependency aspect.

When all I wanted was answers as to how/why/where I was broken and a plan of action for treatment, all I got was more meds to mask the newest symptoms and the beginnings of immobility issues. Every time I tried to get someone to talk to me like a normal human being, I was blown off with the same spiel and more meds. After trying to get second, third, and fourth opinions, I was accused of doctor hopping to feed my arbitrary addiction. You know, the one they created in the first place! Never any real answers or treatment options beyond the meds, only a name to call my problem- Degenerative Disc Disease with Spinal Bone Spurs.

Within that time, my life had flipped, turned upside down, into the darkness of addiction, setting off a domino effect of misfortune, consequence, and debt that continued to follow me, long after I got sober. Way longer than I had ever considered, but, then again, I hadn’t even considered becoming an addict the first time I chewed up two Vicodin, instead of swallowing one, whole, as the directions on the prescription bottle directed. The doctors and pharmacists also failed to mention the living hell on earth the withdrawals are, that happen when the medications are cut off, as well. It’s the second biggest reason why the majority of people who are addicted to some kind of opiate, from Vicodin and Tylenol #3 to Morphine and Oxycontin to  Fentanyl and Heroin, plus everything in between, don’t stay clean. Here it is, straight from the horses mouth for you: The actual reason why the majority of addicts of any kind don’t stay clean for long, is that domino effect of aftermath that occurs after getting clean.

There’s debts to be paid from all the financial responsibilities neglected to pay for more medication. There’s no support system left, because there’s no trust remaining with family or friends, strangers can peg a train wreck headed their away rather quickly, and other recovering addicts are not the greatest support system, regardless of whatever AA/NA preaches, because everyone has demons of their own they carry with them. Most former addicts have arrest records that won’t get through the background checks every employer uses these days, prohibiting anyone, even the most deserving and longest clean citizens, from getting a second chance at making an honest living. No job, no income, and then there’s more debt. More government assistance. More shame, embarrassment, and discrimination for mistakes long gone and done with.

So, why not keep on using drugs, numbing all of the downer feels, drowning out the life that’s too screwed up to be fixed into anything better?

If I’m gonna live dirt-broke and dirt-poor, might as well be down in the dirt high, too.

I can’t say I blame a lot of them for that kind of reasoning. Had I not had the fire burning fierce in my soul, never liking being on all of those meds, consolidated with the blessing of a husband I have, I can’t say with any certainty that I would’ve been able to get out of the vicious cycle of addiction, otherwise. It was a really hard battle with the DDD factor, to find non-abusable medications that would ease the real pain, still there, long after the withdrawals passed.

What better time, than this perfect storm a-brewing, to find out Depo Provera was no match for my Fertile Myrtle self. I was expecting! Child number four! Right smack in the middle of the declarable national disaster of my life. Someone, certainly had a sense of humor, above me. Now I had a fourth child on the way, with chronic pain to manage resulting from a genetically inherited disease, while maintaining my recovery. That’s right at the time we moved into this house. After all the destruction and mayhem I had experienced in my last residence, it was a dream to me to be able to start fresh in a new home. I really thought this place could be the beginning of something great for my family, a stepping stone back into the social ball game, a place to feel proud and accomplished of all we had overcome. Little did I know upon signing the lease, that the real landlord for this new house was going to be Depression and it was going to redo everything I blueprinted the way it wanted.

During the course of my pregnancy, and the first months we lived in this new place, I was feeling really rough. My body was thrown into a permanent withdrawl type ordeal because the pressure of the growing baby irritated the spinal injuries and the pain meds severely upset my stomach. Coupled with the morning sickness that grew in intensity with each one of my previous babies, I was so very sick throughout the whole pregnancy. So sick that I had to be on round-the-clock nausea meds, administered every 3hrs & 55mins exactly, to prevent it from fully wearing off before the next dose kicked in, or else I couldn’t even keep the pill down long enough to dissolve before I wretched it back up. I wasn’t worried about organizing the house as we moved in, I just threw everything that wasn’t necessary for every day use into the hall closet or basement, to be stored until after I delivered the baby and could take the time to sort it all out. Without puking on it.

Furnishing the house was just as big of a challenge with a baby on the way, as the organization. Like I said before, there was plenty of destruction and mayhem before getting sober, so I didn’t have much of anything worth bringing along when I was starting anew. It was the unexpected pregnancy of the child now known as Stinx Majinx, that really threw my game plan through a loop. Since I thought my family was complete after the third, I had parted with the baby gear as I went through each stage, never thinking that the Depo shot would one day fail. The triple-the-retail-price sacrifice of Rent-a-Center in order to get us nice furniture on weekly payments without credit check play call was uprooted for the Secondhand-Family-Freebie pass play, so the budget could make room for this new addition.

The results are a mismatched mix-up of styles that look like I hired the local white trash redneck garbage picker as an Interior Designer. Another one of those happenings I had no intention of keeping the way it worked out, but once I went into labor, all bets were off, all remaining rights to my blueprints, revoked. That bundle of sleepless nights joy brought home the Baby Blues with her. At first, I accepted it as the familiar gig from the past, knowing it would wander out the same way it came in, riding the changing hormonal tides of post-pregnancy and new life. I couldn’t have cared less about the nitty gritty details of housekeeping. I was beyond over-tired, exhausted, drained. I was a sauntering zombie, unable to think clearly, focus my thoughts long enough to care for the newborn, let alone, three other children and a husband who is gone 72hrs a week, trying to provide financially for his family. Everything in regards to the house and it’s upkeep was loaded onto my back at this point and there was no one else who had my back, but my hubs. What good can a man do at the home when he’s already out doing good for the home?

In light of this reality, I saw the Cyclic Depression I’ve always suffered from, had snuck in under the guise of the addiction recovery, hiding behind it all along. The imbalanced hormones from the very normal Baby Blues gave Depression it’s chance to announce it’s presence, rearing it’s ugly head with an intensity unlike any time before. My mind was consumed, overcome, by a darkness that had been slowly seeping back in through the cracks and crevices of my brain since I had stopped abusing opiates.

Now, after four years of chaos, turmoil, and solidarity, this house is better off on an episode of America’s Worst Houses To Live In. If that show even exists. If it doesn’t, then my house should certainly be the inspiration for such one after this! There are so many times I find myself looking around at all that needs to be caught up on and bursting into tears. It’s not that I wanted it to be this way, it’s not what I had envisioned, and it’s not at all how I wanted things to turn out to be! Depression took over, engineering it’s own blueprint and hiring the lazy, half-ass carpenters, Recovery and Chronic Pain, to carry out the plans and influencing the interior design of the place. There’s finger prints on every surface, boxes to be sorted full of old clothes, toys, and books just waiting patiently to be repurposed, and stacks of laundry baskets that sometimes get emptied out from living out of before it can actually be emptied out by folding and putting everything away.

My floors are lucky enough to be swept and vacuumed daily. It’s a good week if the kitchen floor gets washed. Accidentally. By Stinx dumping out the entire 2 gallon water jug from the fridge, trying to be a big girl. It’s a great month when I remember to not only vacuum the bedrooms, but change the kids’ sheets, as well. The living room window could use a good washing, but why bother when the dog’s gonna press her nose right back into it the second I move out of her way… besides, if I want to clearly see the outside, then I’ll take my butt out there and enjoy nature up close and personal. Forgive me, also, because I have flower beds that haven’t seen flowers in them since I took up residence. My inner green thumb self is much better at smoking green plants than growing anything of anything color.

This house Depression has built for me may not be the house of my dreams, but it’s still my home. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will take more work than I’m able to put forth effort for and more money for products, supplies, and equipment then I can afford to try to take back what Depression has created out of my home for me. Everyone and their mother’s uncle’s fourth wife, advises me to take baby steps to get ‘er done, but when you have four kids, presently all under eleven, you can’t complete such a large projects in pieces, without expecting everything previously done to come apart while you’re working on a new section. Because, well… life happens is why.

Life does happen, IS happening, and that’s what I focus on when the tears start to roll. Life is constantly passing by. What good would it do to wallow in the happenings that have already passed by instead of making the most of what’s actually happening right now? There’s comfort to be taken in the ever-changing moments of life, because nothing stays the same for long. That means the house that Depression built, with Recovery and Chronic Pain heading it’s crew, won’t last forever. There will be another house, another opportunity, another chance- to do things right next time, get life in order inside my life at home to go along with everything that I was able to get in order outside of my home during the time I’ve lived at this one. Fate is really pretty comedic in it’s ability to alter your perception of reality along with the course of one’s life.

Throughout the time I’ve lived in this house, I saw it as a cursed blessing, a positive turned negative, as my plans fell into what I believed to be the wrong hands. I now know that Depression was meant to build this house all along. Once it gets evicted and a new home to build, all by myself this time, in the works, it is going to be my turn to shine. This time. This time, I will have all of the tools the trio of Masquerading Contractors left behind, in my tool box. Those missing tools I never knew I would need until I learned from life that I did. Until I finally learned how to live in the moment, in the house, Depression had built for me.

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