If we all stand together we do not need to be afraid…

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom

I am afraid.
Afraid that time will forget
nay that people will forget
the history of our world.
They will cease to be concerned
about the bloodshed
the rapes
the murders.
Instead they will applaud the decimation
of cultures
of peoples
of lives
not like their own.
I am afraid.
Afraid that by the time my child grows
there will be no ozone
there will be no polar bears
no water falling from the sky.
I am afraid.
Afraid that the world will be overtaken
by egomaniacs
by thugs in suits
by the brainless insensitive ones.
I do not want to be afraid.
I want to stand up
not only for myself as a woman
but for the men and women
the children
that have been made less
by the powers that be.
We have forgotten 
that we….
the people are the ones with power
not those in the sandbox.

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I Do Not Blame You For the Assumptions I Have Made

I made an assumption. My mistake. It won’t happen again.

I assumed when you said you loved me, you knew what love was. Silly really.

I assumed when you said, “for better or for worse,” you wouldn’t be the cause of the “worse.” I was confused.

I assumed when you held your baby, you would cherish her as if she mattered. I was blind.

I assumed some day we would be enough for you, that you would be happy. Completely my fault.

I assumed when you fought for equal custody, it was because you wanted to be with your children. Laughable now that I think about it.

I assumed you would be happier with your new girlfriend, your new wife. Ridiculous of me.

I assumed when you had a new baby, you might feel complete. I overestimated your ability to change.

I assumed when you told your children you would take them one last time to see the home where they grew up, that you would follow through. Preposterous of me.

Why do I continue to assume that you will ever be anything except what you are? Why do I believe some day you will stop disappointing your children? Why do I ever give you the benefit of the doubt or think you will follow through?

You are who you are. You continue to blame everyone and everything except yourself; and so you will never change. Your life will never get better. If I continue to hold faith that you will be anything except who you are, that is my mistake. I will probably make the same one again, but I do not blame you for my poor judgement.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Assumption

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What Amazing Discoveries Are Just Around the Bend?

Come, hike through the forest with me. There’s something magical about it, like entering a secret world. Anything could be up ahead where the path bends and disappears. What will we encounter?

Maybe we’ll find a meadow full of wildflowers, butterflies flitting from bloom to bloom. Patches of pink, purple and blue contrast against the green grass. I want to run through it, arms spread wide in the sunshine.

Maybe there will be a dead end, a rocky cliff overlooking a vast valley with a peaceful stream running through it. Deer and other small creatures fearlessly drink their fill. I want to leap from the stone, soaring high with a bird’s eye view.

Maybe we’ll discover an abandoned cabin, moss growing up the ancient wooden walls. Wood lays stacked in rows next to the rickety door. I want to build a fire in the stone hearth, cuddling together in front of it.

Maybe there will be a cave, a thin fissure just wide enough to squeeze through. Markings on the walls show that someone was here before. I want to explore, unlocking the mystery.

Maybe we’ll stumble upon a wobbly footbridge, spanning the gap formed by a narrow gorge. The wood and rope sway in the breeze. I want you to hold my hand as we cross, easing my fears with your touch.

All too often I walk this path alone. Just for today, won’t you join me?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Disappear

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How Do You Overcome Paralyzing Fear?

Nervously, I check my phone as I walk into the restaurant. I don’t know why I look at my phone, there’s nothing to see but the time. There are no missed messages, no texts from friends, not even an email left unread. But it gives me something to do with my hands, something to occupy my mind. I take a deep breath and open the door with shaking hands.

The hostess smiles at me and I tell her I’m with Meetup. She points me toward the back patio, like that’s enough information for me to find this group of strangers. With resolve, I slowly put one foot in front of the other, wishing the floor would swallow me up, looking more like I am going to my own execution than a party.

It’s New Year’s Eve and my kids are with their dad. I had spent the day at the beach, writing messages in the sand then watching the tide wash them away. “Goodbye 2013, hello 2014.” I was feeling lost and alone, adrift with no course charted. For hours I watched the waves crash against the shore, wondering if my life was always going to be this lonely, completely unsure how to make anything better.

One thing was certain, I couldn’t sit home feeling sorry for myself. I had to do something, anything, but wallow in my own self-pity.

My options for the night were limited, which is why I find myself inching toward potential disaster instead of celebrating with friends and family. Almost everyone I knew was still back in NH. After moving to Florida and getting a divorce that was admittedly long overdue, my life changed dramatically. By the end of 2013 I had failed at my rebound relationship which had,until that point, consumed my lonely evenings, leaving me suddenly alone on the one day of the year I find myself most introspective.

I reach the opening to the patio, my heart pounding in my chest. I desperately look around for a familiar face but find none. The room is filled with smiling, laughing people celebrating the past and welcoming the future; but nobody I know.

Could this be any more awkward?

Feeling my cheeks flush with embarrassment I scurry to a seat at one of the long, high tables reserved for our group. There are supposed to be more than 50 revelers at this party. I am afraid to count, but I know there are a lot. People all around me are chatting and having fun, while I look on in utter terror.

My eyes brim with tears but I don’t let them fall; it would be too humiliating to start crying here at the table. My stomach is churning with panic and my breath is shallow. I close my eyes for a moment to collect my thoughts and gather my courage. I can do this. I NEED to do this.

When I reopen my eyes, I pick up the menu in front of me so that I seem occupied, but I’ve been unsuccessful in my camouflage. The person sitting next to me is a rather large man with a kind smile, who has chosen this moment to introduce himself. I quietly mumble my name in reply. He attempts to engage me in conversation but I am simply not able to speak; words fail me and eventually he turns back to the person on his other side.

As the dinner progresses I surreptitiously watch what is going on around me. I listen to the conversation I’m unable to join, only daring to look up when my mouth is full of the poorly prepared hamburger I’d selected as my meal, a perfect excuse to remain silent. As soon as the waiter comes back to fill my water glass, I beg him for the check. I can’t take much more of this. I need to escape.

The second I can break free I do. I slide off my chair without saying goodbye and ease out an opening in the covering to the patio rather than walk past the other tables.

Outside I breathe a sigh of relief. I survived. I don’t know if this will get easier, but I know it’s necessary. I need to meet people. I need to have some sort of life to fill the gaping hole that is left when my kids are gone. I can’t handle any more empty nights.

This truly was one of the most difficult evenings in my life. But it was also a night that changed everything. The person who introduced himself to me has since become a close friend. Somehow, with relentless persistence, he broke down my walls, not that night, or even the next few times we found ourselves at the same event, but over time.

I have come a long way since that night, helped by several people I am now proud to call “friend.” I cherish each of them and I sincerely hope they know how much I appreciate them.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Awkward

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It’s Not Narcissism; It’s Self-Love!

Self-love is a concept I never contemplated until after my divorce. It didn’t occur to me that caring for or about myself was important in any way. I spent my entire life up to that point caring for other people, hoping that by doing so I would earn their love. I truly believed this was the way to feel loved.

All my life I felt inferior. I felt less than others. I felt unloved.

I’m fat.

I’m ugly.

I’m not “cool.”

I’m weird.

I’m shy.

I’m not good enough.

I’m unimportant.

Other people matter more.

I grew up with these labels and believed it was wrong to put my desires ahead of other’s, that it was selfish to want what I didn’t already have. When I had money, which wasn’t often, I would use it to buy ice cream for my “friends” or presents for my sister. I wanted them to have everything they wanted, hoping that by giving to them they would love me in return.

When I started reading about happiness and what it takes to truly feel happy the concept of self-love came up again and again. At first it made me uncomfortable. It went against everything I had done my entire life. Take time for me? Treat myself with compassion?

I didn’t even know how to begin.

The past six years have been turbulent, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. They have been years of tremendous personal growth and the idea of self-love is no longer a new one. I am learning to balance my needs with those of others. I have learned to take time for myself without feeling guilty.

And yet I listened to a guided meditation the other day that made me realize perhaps I haven’t come as far as I need to. The meditation is called “I love you; I’m listening.” During the mediation you’re instructed to repeat these words aloud to yourself. The first time I did it, it brought tears to my eyes. It was in that moment that I realized that even as far as I’ve come, I’ve never stopped to actually feel and acknowledge self-love.

Have you ever said the words, “I love you” to the one person who needs to hear them the most?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Narcissim

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I Absolutely Love my Overly Complicated Life!

My life is complicated. There’s no denying it. There are so many moving parts even my good friends have a hard time keeping up with what I have going on.

My kids keep me running with gymnastics, school projects and other activities. Every week when Friday comes around their first question is, “What are we doing this weekend? Who can we have over?” We always have something going on and usually one or two of their friends tags along. Weekends are a whirlwind of crafts, games, errands and general chaos.

It can be disorganized, but I love it.

I have a wide network of friends that expands ever more as I grow and make connections. After my divorce I was unable to hold a conversation with anyone, and now I can walk into a Meetup event with 20 or more people and hold my own. I’ve found that the better I feel about myself, the more people are drawn to me, and I end up with seemingly endless opportunities to build friendships.

It can be overwhelming, but I love it.

I believe everyone should volunteer, make their community better and so we’ve been fostering kittens. I have four little ones running helter-skelter around my house, climbing my curtains and terrorizing my cat. They have a tentative grasp on the concept of the litter box and I feel like I’m constantly mixing up food for them. The beasts will be here for a total of 4 weeks, with still a week and a half remaining.

It can be turbulent, but I love it.

Physical activity is important to me and I take every opportunity to get moving. I have been doing yoga and can feel myself getting stronger. I love bike riding and have gotten the girls new bicycles in the hope this will entice them to ride with me. I’ve finally reconnected with my paddleboard and will be taking that out when I’m finished here, so long as the weather holds.

It can be tiring, but I love it.

I have goals that will make my life even more fulfilling. Writing is part of this and I devote an hour or more to this daily. But there’s more I want to do, more ideas floating in my mind that will soon beg to be brought to life. I may have to give up sleeping for a while, but I will find time for these projects somehow.

It can be staggering, but I love it.

Add to this work, two houses to maintain, chores, travel, family and more, you can see why “complicated” is a fitting description. But it’s complicated in the best possible way, and I love it.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Complication

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How Powerful is it to Fearlessly Live in the Present?

I have made choices in life, done things I am not proud of. I should have known better; I should have done differently. I should have been someone else. I try not to regret what has happened; I can’t change the past.

Yet “if only” runs through my mind from time to time. If only I had gotten an education degree, maybe I would be a teacher now. If only I had stayed in better shape, I wouldn’t have to work so hard to get back into shape now. If only I had known how to invest better when I was younger, there’s a chance I could retire earlier. If only I had known my worth, perhaps I would have married differently.

What would my life be like now, if only?

Sometimes self-doubt has held me back, halted my progress. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Am I strong enough? What if my ex says something? I try not to jump the gun; it’s not good to act prematurely.

Yet “what if” invades my thoughts sometimes. What if I fail? What if they laugh? What if they realize I don’t know what I’m talking about? What if they decide they don’t like me? What if he retaliates? What if I lose everything?

Regret lives in the past; fear exists only in the future. In any given moment I have limitless possibilities to experience right now, without dividing my attention to what has already occurred and may happen. So from this point forward I will focus on today. I will leave the past behind me. I will worry about tomorrow when it comes.

Today I will celebrate this moment. Will you join me?

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This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Premature

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!