Constraints Of Happiness- SSS July

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.

Your “Secret Subject” is:

If money and time were no object, what would you do and why?

It was submitted by: https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/  


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I’ve been going around and around in my head for two weeks now, trying to figure this one out. And I can’t. I can’t wrap my head around this one and come up with anything as specific as traveling the world, buying a private island escape, or meeting someone from the past like other people would.

You see, time and money are the two things that I hate most about this life. The two things that threaten the well-being of my marriage and my family. For someone like my husband, I could go as far as saying that they are the root of all evil because they are the two things that simultaneously haunt and drive him in life. He can never get his hands on enough of either one.

And I can’t blame him for that, either.

Living right at the border of the National Poverty Level for a family of six isn’t easy for us. Considering that my husband works over seventy hours a week to makes ends meet for us because I’m unable to work at this point in time, it’s not hard to understand why we covet time and money so damn much on a daily basis. We never see enough of one another, we don’t get to share the experience of raising our children together, and we are constantly struggling to keep our finances from drowning us on dry land. Our children don’t have the opportunities to explore their talents and interests because money is the golden ticket they lack, and the only thing required to participate. They’ve never stepped foot in a mall. Or really any major name brand retail store for that matter, beyond the scope of Dollar General or Wal-mart that is. And, even then, a store like Wal-mart is a rare blue moon treat for them.

It just doesn’t seem right that someone who busts his ass for twelve hours a day, six, sometimes even seven, days a week in a grueling steel production machinery shop (making the base for which parts that are critical for building everything from washing machines to hardware tools to automobiles) doesn’t bring home enough money, even with 30 hours of OT on each paycheck. Or has to even put that much time and energy into his job for the measly pay that keeps the bacon on our table. No one should have to sacrifice THAT much only to provide by society’s standards, a meager life. Not a good one. Not a comfortable one. And most certainly not a happy one. I believe Eminem’s infamous “Lose Yourself” song sums up the struggle we face pretty well.

Lonely roads, God only knows, he’s grown farther from home, he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter…                                                                …All the pain inside amplified by the
Fact that I can’t get by with my nine to
Five and I can’t provide the right type of
Life for my family ’cause man, these God damn food stamps don’t buy diapers
And its no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer
This is my life and these times are so hard

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So, if time and money were no longer part of the equation, I think it’s safe to say that all I would want is to just live happily, peacefully with my family in our own version of dystopia. I would give my family the experiences and opportunities life hasn’t afforded us the ability to have thus far. We would take trips together. Explore our community together. Eat dinner every night as a family unit at a kitchen table big enough for everyone to sit at- something most people take for granted these days. There would be sports practices, art classes, dance lessons, and martial arts training. Everyone would be able to embrace their own unique sense of style as their clothing options would no longer be limited to whatever is available in their sizes at the local secondhand thrift shops. We would be free to focus on our relationships and create the unity we lack as it stands right now. Our family could be the family we all dream of having right now.

And with that dream come true, my husband could finally find some relief and breathe deeply without the weight of providing for his family sitting heavily on his shoulders. Because he deserves to enjoy the family he made just as much as I do. He deserves to see his kids grow, learn, play, and love. He deserves to have a life that isn’t ruled by a paycheck which will be gone before the bills can all be paid in full. Time and money are the two things that bring him the most pain and strife in this world and it breaks my heart to see a great man suffer under their constraints.


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                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Cognitive Script                     https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog                     http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon                             http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom                    http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle                 http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen                  http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom           http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Climaxed                                           http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

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Crumbling Foundations At The Crossroads Of Life

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Never have I felt more lost and confused about life before. Everything around me is falling apart and spinning out of control. I’m struggling to breath as the world as I know it crashes down on me like the Twin Towers did on 9/11. Some might say I’m having a midlife crisis of some sort, but I’m barely halfway through my thirties and this isn’t about figuring out who I am rather than how this all went so terribly wrong.

My marriage is faltering, my children have lost their sense of family unity, my mental health is deteriorating, and the foundation for which a happy, comfortable life is built upon has crumbled. Everywhere I look there is nothing but failure and disarray and everywhere I turn, I hit another brick wall square in the face. My soul is battered and bruised and my heart is bleeding on the sleeve I have always worn it with pride. I don’t trust my judgement and my confidence is waning. All I can do is cry, wishing some magical fairy godmother would appear out of thin air and fix it all with a wave of her wand. I’m so tired of fighting.

Having a Borderline Personality diagnosis compounds this mess until it becomes a category 5 hurricane. My emotions are skyrocketing off the charts as they bounce between black and white, never pausing to heed the gray in between. Love and hate, love and hate, love and hate- there is no middle ground to hold steady to anymore. My mind is held hostage with racing thoughts which want to overanalyze everything. Breaking down, filling in the blanks, concluding the worst case scenarios, and piecing the structure back together again over and over until I finally fall asleep at night just to wake up and start it all again. Nothing makes sense and I cannot fathom a reason to justify why anything is the way that it is right now. There’s no good answers to quench my thirst for enlightenment so I can find the path to lead me out of this hell.

I just want it all to stop. I just want my life to be happy and content. I want the security I used to have knowing that I would be all right in the end. But it’s seemingly impossible right now.

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What is one to do in a time like this? When the roots they’ve laid down deep are suddenly ripped from the earth and everything you’ve latched onto for support and nourishment is gone? How do gather so many fragments of the universe that keep you whole and force them to stay where they belong? Never have I felt so disconnected and isolated before. Never have I felt so insecure about what the future holds. Everything I’ve ever known, everything I’ve ever wanted out of life, is hanging by a thinning thread over the darkest abyss I’ve encountered thus far. I cannot bear the thought of what would happen if I lost my grip.

Maybe had my foundation been more solid and less hollow to begin with, I wouldn’t be in this place at this moment. But shoulda, coulda, woulda’s don’t do anything but waste more of the strength and energy I’m already severely lacking. I need a plan of action. One that doesn’t catapult me face first into steel-enforced concrete barriers that keep me trapped where I am. I need a way to save my life from complete and utter destruction. I need a break from this test of my fortitude and the impact my mental illness has over everything I have ever loved unconditionally without reservation.

I know that everything happens for a reason and very few things last forever. That it’s not my choice how life plays out, though everything I do affects the outcome. If only I had some clarity. Or a crystal ball to show me this isn’t the beginning of the end, as I fear it is, and I’ll wake up one day to feel the sun shining brightly upon my face once more. Miracles don’t really happen to people like me, however. My fate is cursed, after all. Cursed to live with the misery of abandonment, instability, and betrayal; the basic recipe needed to elicit my mental illness in the first place.

Maybe my black and white emotions have simply hijacked this crossroads I’m at and acted as a catalyst to make the state of my affairs worse than need be. But I don’t think so. I think they are just the end result of the pieces of my life shattering as they came down on me on their own. Either way, I’m left to commiserate all alone in this void while trusting the universe to navigate me back to where I belong. I just really hope it doesn’t kill me in the process.

 

 

Failing Success – UYW March

In between birth and death, every human is tasked with making choices which will directly affect their future. However, we aren’t born with the maturity or wisdom necessary to choose right and guarantee a stable, secure, and comfortable life as an adult. We are given parents to teach and guide us until we are competent on our own. But… not everyone is so fortunate to be born into a family with both parents present, let alone have them be capable of providing the nurturing and support a child needs to tame the wild oats they love so much to sow. This can make a difference in the kind of life one will come to have as an adult.

Sometimes, it’s not even about the parents. Sometimes the child is just too adventurous and independent to be tamed by anyone other than himself. Either way, not everyone has the early foundation put in place to ensure they are prosperous in what they do. Sometimes their fixations with living on the edge will lead them down dangerous or unorthodox roads. When realized sooner, rather than later, it’s much easier to jump back on track and rebuild again. Eventually, though, time catches up with us, as it always does, and the hope for an easy, comfortable life is lost on them forever.

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When one has to learn the hard way about everything, there’s undoubtedly a price to be paid. No amount of begging the universe, praying to a higher power, or wishing on a lucky star will change one’s fate – every choice, every decision, every action that is taken – leads us to where we are. People like to turn a blind eye while promising that it’s never too late, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Take my husband, for example. He was a mischievous little rebel who partied way too hard throughout his teens and twenties. This led to him spending the majority of his thirties battling various addictions, as he only managed to escape one by substituting it with another. From alcohol to prescription pills, excessive exercising/body image obsession to gambling, this man has experienced more layers of Hell in his mind then I even knew existed. He ended up with a pretty decent rap sheet on file with law enforcement, labeling him as a three-time felon, by the end of his wild oat sowing run.

There’s no taking any of it back. He would sell his soul to be able to, believe me, but he can’t. There is nothing more he can do but accept what is because of what was and make the most out of the situation he is in. Life is anything but easy or comfortable. Financial stability, not even security, is a merely a fantasy which will never come to fruition. Job options and opportunities are extremely limited for those like him, for the system was not designed to give anyone a second chance, let alone the benefit of doubt for their change of ways. Our justice system may have been founded on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, but society runs on the opposite line where people are always guilty until they prove, but, also, demonstrate and rescind their innocence for eternity to come. They call this, Democracy. I call this, bullshit.

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No wonder mental health issues are on the rise. No wonder so many people are angry, cynical, and jaded. No wonder poverty is a cycle that sucks in generation after generation after generation of families. There is no wiggle room in the equation necessary to have the stereotypical successful life we are taught to covet through constant subliminal messaging about materialism and image projection. While there’s always an example of an exception to be found, those are merely an aberration formed in the alignment of perfect circumstances which rarely develop for the majority of folks. A stroke of sheer luck, to sound cliche if you will.

As it is, society’s definition of a successful life reads like Darwin’s theory on Survival Of The Fittest and Asch’s Social Conformity experiments merged while a blind eye was turned to the history of humanity which proves, time and time again, how oppressive this structure is for all but a select few.

I will never understand how such a superior animal species became so entirely self-serving and greed-driven. So neglectful and uncompassionate towards the well-being and comfort of their fellow citizens. Why there is only one respected avenue for success for which we judge all others by? To me, it seems, humans are not worthy of the superiority label they have claimed, for our standards of living are more barbaric and inclusive than any other species I have studied during my years of education.

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Your words are:

late ~ job ~ fixation ~ star ~ make a difference

They were submitted by: http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado 

Spatulas on Parade  

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 

On the Border 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 

The Bergham Chronicles 

Simply Shannon   

Confessions of a part time working mom 

Southern Belle Charm 

Climaxed

Not That Sarah Michelle

 

The Dreaded Hat I Wear Today

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Over the years, I have worn many different hats in the working world. I was 12 years old when I took on my very first job as a babysitter. I moved on up through the ranks over the course of middle and high school- as a Mother’s Helper over summer vacation to part-time live-in Nanny. One year, I think I was in 8th grade at the time, I had so many clients I was balancing at once, all of whom needed my services on New Year’s Eve, that I ended up turning my living room into a temporary overnight daycare with the help of my best friend. Eight families worth of kids and the ultimate sleepover we provided them with earned us just under $400. Each!

When I turned 16 and got my license, my father and stepmother laid down the law in a manner that made sure I would continue to be a hard worker in life. They were sticklers about ensuring that I would always earn my keep because there are no free rides in life without a trust fund. And I certainly was not a trust fund baby, nor were they. In order to have unlimited access to my recently deceased grandfather’s almost decade old, teal-colored 1990 Ford Astro minivan- complete with a wheelchair lift installed in the trunk- I had to work for their in-home small business. A Security Guard service, of all things. (Makes sense, if you realize my father was also a police officer.) For the next four years, even after receiving my own first (gently used, lol.) vehicle as a graduation gift from my mother and stepfather, I dutifully fulfilled my commitment in exchange for free gas and full-coverage insurance. My job was to drive a 25-mile long circuit around a neighboring city at the ass crack of dawn and again at dusk to unlock and lock the gates for the 16 different parks they have for community use so no cars could be in the parking lot after hours. It was one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had because it was actually a lot of fun, though it took a bit to get used to getting up before the sun every day. Oh, the stories I could tell you of my adventures, but that’s not what the subject of this piece is supposed to be about.

Of course, since I was only being compensated by my parents for the gas and what not, I needed cash in my pocket to live off of. At this point, I was getting too old for watching other kids at the same times during the weekend that my friends were out partying, so I found a real job which would give me a real paycheck. At the local Bingo Hall. I ran the concession stand, providing hundreds of ornery and intolerant old ladies with coffee, popcorn, hot dogs, and candy. Again, I could tell you some hilarious stories about working there. It was another of the greatest jobs I ever had. I was heartbroken when the building was bought out by the neighboring car dealership and closed down for good.

After that was my job as a cashier at an upscale Fruit Market and Deli. Most teens and young adults in my community have worked there at some time or another and have many horror stories about how awful it was for them. I guess I’m lucky, because I loved it there, even though it wasn’t nearly as exciting as the other jobs I had had. It didn’t last more than a year before my college schedule of classes became a conflict with my scheduled shifts and the bosses wouldn’t budge an inch to work it out with me. Onto the beloved local deli-based diner as a hostess and carry-out girl. The owner was a dick, but alas, I loved that job, too. Eventually, I became pregnant with my oldest and couldn’t keep up the pace and found a position with my friend’s home daycare where I could bring my baby to work with me and focus on finishing my schooling.

It was right after the birth of my second son, one year and a day after his big brother’s arrival, that I finally got my certificate and passed the exam to become a Health Unit Coordinator. I was hired into one of the 3 major hospital corporations in our area, working the Labor and Delivery/Post-Partum/NICU/Pediatrics circuit. A Health Unit Coordinator is just an extra fancy term for the person who is in charge of the Nurse’s Stations and does all of the behind the scenes work with decoding patient charts and the doctor’s orders within, procedure scheduling, and admission/discharge paperwork. They are the backbone which keeps the nurses and physicians from having nervous breakdowns. Again, this was an amazing job full of excitement and good memories made. Unfortunately, I was hired in on a contingency basis, so after 2 years without being offered a permanent position with benefits, I had to make the choice to leave for another of the 3 hospital chains who would give me the job security I needed for my growing family. I loved that job, too. After finding out I was pregnant with my fourth child, though, my husband and I decided it was more practical for me to become a stay-at-home mom. So I did.

Almost 6 years later, I’ve yet to return to the working world again. So, if I have enjoyed all the jobs I’ve held over the years as much as I have, what could possibly be the worst job I’ve ever had?

The one I’m doing now… as a SAHM.

It sucks for me. I’m not a Pinterest kinda mom, not in the least. Nor am I well-organized, patient, or calm. I’m a blubbering hot mess of a woman and dedicating every waking breath I take to four tiny humans who push my every button, test my resolve constantly, and fire demands at me faster than my brain can process the whine, is just not fun for me. I’m eagerly counting down the days until the littlest of all begins kindergarten this coming fall so I can go back to work without exorbitant daycare costs rendering my income useless. Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore my tribe of mini-me’s more than anything, but I don’t have what it takes to spend my entire day chasing, hovering, teaching, and disciplining without any adult interactions to stimulate my crazy brain and relieve the boredom of endless monotony. I need to be more than just a Mom.

 

I have 197 days to go as of today…

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 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 was “ What’s the worst job you’ve ever had. Why?”.  It was submitted by http://www.southernbellecharm.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 

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo 

Simply Shannon  

The Bergham Chronicles

Confessions of a part time working mom

Not That Sarah Michelle 

Southern Belle Charm  

When I Grow Up 

Climaxed

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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 Paradox of Darkness

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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.

Dear Boys: A Letter On Love From The Original Keeper Of My Sons’ Hearts

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Right now, you two think I am annoying, nagging, and bothersome. I am invading your space and spoiling your free time with my mundane requests. Long before I am ever ready to let go, it will come time for you to leave my nest and build one of your own.

I hope when you finally spread those wings to soar, all the lessons I have lost much sleep over and salted my stale, reheated coffee to teach you, become transparent. That they stick to your ribs like the gumption you currently have for Call of Duty.

You are simply too enthralled with the discovery of your own egos to see past the hormone-inflated, phantasmal factualism of presumptuous assumptions you bellow before slamming your bedroom door.

And that is perfectly okay for the moment. I know when the time is right, you will discover the treasure chest I have so carefully filled for you over the years. There are some things in life I cannot teach you about directly. So listen up now, because I need to tell you a little something about love before you go.

Some day soon, you are going to discover what it’s like to fall in love. It could be the one and only time, but it could also be the first of many others. It could be puppy love or kismet. You will never fully know until it has already happened and nothing more can be done to change the fact. If you are anything like your mother there will be many loves, but you still have to go into each relationship as if it’s the only one you’ll ever have… because in that moment with her, or him, it truly is the only relationship you have and should be cherished as such. You have to continuously nurture your partner if you want to grow together –  and it must be done of your own conviction for your selfish delectation or else it will have been in vain. You shouldn’t stop taking care of your own needs, by any means, but a true partnership is strongly committed to staying conscientious of one another throughout the relationship. I promise you.

The efforts you have been forced to make at being conscientious of your three younger siblings will pay off later on – when you and Sleeping Beauty are bills deep and three kids into your happily ever after trying to trim the budget for the third time in six months.

There will also be plenty of occurrences in which you mistake simple attraction for true love; especially when you are young and inexperienced still. The butterfly tummy, skin tingling, firework kiss, tent pitching effect is not love, a sign of love, or a guaranteed precursor to love. You are simply horny because your body’s arousal system was activated on a hormonal level. It is perfectly fine to act upon it for the moment of pleasure it’s worth. Always follow these three hookup rules religiously:
1. Always be up front and honest of your intentions for relations of any kind- now and in the future. Never lie. You will avoid flipping many a girl’s ‘crazy’ switch if you are straight forward from the get-go. (And, while we’re here, let’s squash any misconceptions you may have gotten from your bruahs. EVERY girl has a ‘crazy’ switch. There is no ‘type’. We ALL have the ability to turn into your worst nightmare.) 
2. Treat every girl with the same respect. A girl who is willing to play with no-strings-attached as you asked her to do when you laid your intentions out in rule one, has the same value as a girl who only wants you in the boundaries of a committed relationship. Everyone is at a different point in their lives and wants different things where they’re at. If it is acceptable for you to want to satisfy only your physical needs without recourse, so can a woman. Don’t use words like slut, whore, or *shudder* cunt. (You are never too old for me to put soap in your mouths.)
3. When a girl says “No”, she means it! And you better respect it! If I have to actually be reminding you of this right now… then I haven’t done a very good job as a mother thus far in raising you.
**While I talk about the rules from a heterosexual point of view, they still apply if you choose to be in a homosexual relationship. No matter to me, as long as you get the opportunity to love someone with all your heart.

Love fully, live freely, and just be yourselves without restraint. Don’t waste too much time trying to mash yourselves into a box of social constraints that fail to meet the one-size fits all requirements of real people.

The pressures of social expectations will try and keep you from loving a woman gently, wholeheartedly, and dedicatedly- because it doesn’t fit with the unrealistic portrayal of idolized masculinity.

None of that hoopla matters, though. When all else is gone at the end of the day… when the shops have all closed down, when all the work has been finished, when the streets have been emptied out, and the house is finally quiet and still with the dark… all that will be left for you in the loneliness of the night, is the one you love. Not one other soul out of the rest of the world. Just the one you love. They will be the only one willing to stand both back to back and toe to toe with you all in the same moment, without hesitation. Not every love will be meant for you. Or meant to stay forever. The strain of the world will test whether or not your love will survive the fate bestowed upon you almost daily at times. Not every love can withstand the path you have been chosen to follow. Sometimes you have to lose a love several times and gain them back a few times over more, before figuring out what the deal is between the two of you and if they are meant to travel beside you forever. Letting go is a painful but necessary lesson to accept. Very few are lucky enough to meet their soul mate the first time they fall in love but, like I said before, you really don’t know with love until you actually know.

Love is such a mysteriously unpredictable, breathtakingly splendiferous, consumably beautiful, and painfully humbling thing. It is so much more than a simple emotion. Whatever you two do in your lifetimes- do not let yourselves stop loving. Give love all you’ve got every single day. You cannot be lazy with it. It’s not a mess that can wait until you feel like messing around with it. It does not and will not ever take care of itself. Love will only give you exactly what you put into it. Tomorrow is an un-promised gift everyone takes for granted more oft than not.

Make sure you take the time to fulfill the needs of your hearts while you’re out there in the great wide world chasing your dreams. Love is worth more than any of the riches you might make or possessions you might own – for it is what you were born of to begin with.

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Until your flying feathers finish molting and I am forced to let you fly off and find my successor,
Your Mother – The Original Keeper Of Your Hearts