Emotional Healing. Child of an alcoholic. Young adult depression. Inspiration.

I was once told by a wise woman that emotions are a strong force to be reckoned with. They breathe their own life and have their own destructive force. If one does not allow their emotions both happy and sad to escape and feel acknowledged, they will eat away at the life they live in. My journey in life has been a road filled with many peaks of happiness and many valleys of depression. But through it all I have held those words of wisdom with me. I have always found it easy to release my anguish, my depression, my sadness, and my happiness to those around me who love me and to my best friends “pad and paper.”

With this blog I hope to inspire others to write their emotions on paper, let the forgiving page hear all the words of hurt, pain, contentment, joy. With this blog I hope to inspire myself to forgive all that hurts in my life, to let go of old grudges and to grow, from the inside out.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Zesty Zephyr

I’ve recently decided that my life is rather mundane. That my life has become to scheduled and regimented. I hardly ever do what I want, because I feel the need to please everyone else and am worried what people will think of me. Or I become too worried about grown up responsibilities to allow myself to do something. I want to travel to New York, but how expensive is the ticket? How can I get the out of work? Who will go with me? Every decision I make has so many factors to take into account that spontaneity isn’t something I know much about. I’m 21 and already an old maid.
So as the season of change is upon us and resolutions are being made, I too will join the masses to make a resolution for the New Year. I here by declare that I will allow myself to be selfish. I will allow myself to be spontaneous. I will not over analyze every situation and I will do things for me. I will be a breath of fresh air. I will be a Zesty Zephyr in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I’m generally a very optimistic person. I don’t allow negative things to effect me. I try to always see the positive in a situation. But for some reason these past few days have been some really pessimistic ones for me. At work I say “Happy New Years” to my customers, and almost always their reply is “Lets hope its better than 2010.” I remember saying something very similar for the past few years, but I’ve been proven wrong every time. In 2008 my dad got his first DUI… “Let’s hope its better than 2008” In 2009 we lost our house and my mom lost her job of over 25 years… “Let’s hope its better than 2009” In 2010 my dad got his second DUI and we moved a second time in under a year. So as this year comes to its final few days, thinking that 2011 is going to be a better year almost seems to be a futile effort. I’m afraid to get my hopes up for 2011, because I don’t want to see myself a year from now adding another unfortunate benchmark to that list.
However, as much as I would love to shut up the optimist in me, and just wallow in these pessimistic view, because they are much easier to conjure than optimistic ones, I can’t allow myself too. Yes, life these past years have been hard. It can bring tears to my eyes just thinking about them. But with the bad, also comes the good. And although it is hard to see the silver lining on what seems like a cloud that will not move, I know it has to be there. So although I do not want to read this a year from now, and say “I told you so” to myself, I will hope for better in 2011. 2011 will bring me and my family strength, happiness, serenity and more optimistic days.

So to all I say Happy New Year. Lets hope its better than 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Xmas & Xanax

Christmas in my house has always been a big to do. Our holiday schedule was always packed and our hearts filled with happiness for the season. This year however has been a much different story from the rest. Stress and dips of depression with a mix of “this came way too fast” have all added up to a Christmas that doesn’t feel like Christmas. With my dad being in rehab and it just being my mom and I it never really felt like the season was going to come. As if our lives were going to fast forward through these months. So when the actualization that it was here finally hit us, I think we both went into a tail spin. Decorations. A tree. Gifts. Family traditions. Christmas Carols. Stockings.  It all became a bit overwhelming. But my mom, ever the warrior, was determined to make our humble home feel like it used to. Finding bits of our decorations hiding under beds, she decorated our house with a little cheer. And even became very inventive when it came to getting our Christmas tree. My mom helped bring the true meaning of Christmas to my eyes. Its not the material things that we celebrate. It’s the laughter, the love, the family and being thankful for what you have. This year more than any other I should, and will be most grateful to just wake up tomorrow morning and have my mom and my dad all sitting and enjoying each others company, because that’s the biggest gift I could have asked for this year.  I guess you can call this Christmas in my house hold “The Miracle on
Riverside Dr

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wakeup Wonderful

Have you ever gotten up one morning and just felt like it was going to be a bad day? Where the moment your eyes opened and looked to see that the sun was shinning you knew you weren’t ready for it. Lately I feel like I have those mornings rather frequently…okay pretty much everyday. I feel like as soon as I wake up there is one problem or another that is going to slap me in the face. I guess that’s all in line when the stress of the holidays pairs with the stress of being the daughter of a recovering alcoholic. But whatever the reason may, waking up is becoming a depressing chore. And please don’t get me wrong, I have never been a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but when I did get up, being awake didn’t seem so bad; It’s probably because my mom used to sing to wake me, “wakeup my lil baby, wakeup!” best way to wake up ever! How can you have a bad day when you’re being sung too to wake up?

That must be it; my mom would wake me up with positivity. Even when times have been rough in the past, which they have, my mornings were started dazzlingly with a song from mom. I’ve got to find a way to wake myself with my own song. A positive message in the morning to tell myself that no matter what the day will bring, I can handle it and it will be a good day. Now because I cant exactly sing myself awake, and also because I don’t have a great voice, I will start my mornings with two simple words. “Wakeup Wonderful.” With these two words, my mornings will start with a positive spin and I will have good days. So to everyone out there, I say to you wakeup wonderful!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vividly Vacant

mellow yellows reds and blues
colors blurring
flowing from his open mind
beauty flying
flapping and drifting
through space and time
seeing fully
no cover to the experience
no top to blow off
just being
allowing the colors
to bleed from his open mind
and float away
on a parasol of flowing air
a peaceful state of mind
closing his eyes
as the butterflies
escape his tired mentality
free of restriction
free of judgment
as the muted colors
become nothing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Umbilical Underachievers

We all love to hear a story about a person who despite all challenges in their life is able to emerge from their struggles a strong, independent person; a person we would see on Oprah bearing their heart and telling their story of success.  We all love an underdog. However these stories are not nearly as frequent as we would like to hear. Rather for every one person who may make it out of their situations there are at least one hundred who are waiting to be cast on the Jerry Springer Show. People who despite growing up in a situation that hasn’t worked for those around them, haven’t learned enough to try a different path in life. It may sound mean or crass, but I call these individuals Umbilical Underachievers.
I vow to myself that I will not have the same life my parents have led from themselves. I am smart enough to take their life lessons and teach myself what in life to do or not to do. I’m in no way saying that they have led less than satisfactory lives, but I am saying that I will take what they have given me and make it better. And I feel that that is a gift that ever parent should wish for their child, and every child want for themselves.
It astounds me when I hear another heart breaking story of a girl who is pregnant at 15, whose mom had her at 16 and so on. I am flabbergasted that the cycle was never broken. And granted this situation works out wonderfully for some, those are the Oprah stories, it doesn’t for all.
Do we as a society glorify these situations? Do we say it is okay to not break the cycle by giving publicity like, Teen Mom, True Life, Jerry Springer or Steve Wilkos? Yes, they make good drama but those are real people, living real lives, who aren’t making life better for themselves. Instead of having shows where we just sit and watch these people stay stagnant in life, I believe we should all go out and try to better our lives. Don’t look toward those shows that showcase a mundane life to justify your life. Rather look towards those people who have been able to surface from their lives dirt as a inspiration and a goal to work towards.
We have it in us all to make a better life for ourselves. We just have to believe that we can and not loose sight of that goal. And when it comes time to give the gift of hope to your children, please oh please don’t allow them to be umbilical underachievers. Allow them to blossom. And allow yourself to blossom too. Don’t be afraid!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Terrific Turkey Tanya

For as long as I can remember I’ve never had one of those tame families that you see on T.V. that sit quietly at a long banquet table all eagerly awaiting the head of the house to carve the turkey and once the first bites of their thanksgiving feast are taken everyone applauds and says “Terrific Turkey Tanya” or “You must give us your secret.” Never!
Instead my Thanksgivings are loud and boisterous. Lively music plays and a cacophony of voice create a beautiful Thanksgiving Day Carroll. We don’t pass around the mashed potatoes and wait for the person to our left to finish filling their plate. We eat buffet style, serve yourself and everyone then sits at one of the many tables set up to accommodate our large clan. But instead of digging in right away, we all wait for everyone to serve themselves and sit down. We wait to pray and share with all what we are thankful for. And we appreciate that moment. That time that we are all together as one big crazy, happy family.
This year unlike many others, I don’t know what to say. Not because I don’t feel that I have anything to be thankful for. Quite the opposite, I am overwhelmed with thanks. And how could I not be? I am so thankful to my whole family for all the love and support they’ve shown my mom and myself. I truly don’t know how I would have survived with out it.
I am thankful for my Tia Lupe, who has inspired me to write. She has pushed me to realize my passion and take the reins in my life. This blog would never exist if it weren’t for her.
I am thankful for my Tio Mario, who with no questions asked, jumped into action when my mom and I were in need.
I am thankful for my Tia Norma, for making my mom laugh. My Tio Fernando, for always being a listening ear. And my Tia Rosie for her continual love, prayers and support.
I am so grateful for my Uncle Gary and Aunt Janet. For taking care of my dad, and giving him the love and support he needed when my mom and I couldn’t give him that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say thank you enough.
I am so grateful for my Uncle Larry and Aunt Betty for always being ready to help my mom and I with anything we need. And for being there for my dad. It means so much to me.
I’ve had amazing friends who have been so understanding of everything I’ve been going through, who have been my shoulder to cry on and have allowed me to breathe when I am with them, Matiana, Daniel and Ellie, I am thankful for you.
I am Thankful for my dad for finally positively focusing on himself, and taking the steps he needs to help his family. I am so grateful to have my hero make his comeback.
But most of all I am thankful for my mom. I’m crying as I write this, because the constant love, support and smiles she gives me everyday help me know that no matter what everything will be okay.

We all have something in our lives to be grateful and thankful for, no matter how hard things may seem. In this season of giving and thanks, I ask you all to give me one thing, and that is to let someone in your life know that you are thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sweet Surrender

I surrender.
I surrender to powers greater than my own.
I surrender to knowing that I don’t know everything
I surrender
I surrender trying to be the best
And will allow myself to be me
I surrender trying to make others happy
I will make myself happy first
I surrender control over every aspect of life
Please, spontaneity, hit me like a ton of bricks
I surrender
I surrender my self consciousness
I surrender my anger toward the past
I surrender
I now throw up my white flag on all of the negative in my life.
Universe, it is now yours to take.
Bury it in the bottom of the ocean
Or send it high into the sky to join the stars
But no longer will they be mine, or a part of me
I surrender it all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Right & Resistant

Whether it is a simple game of chess or a heated argument, no one likes to loose. It is human nature to play to win, you’ll never hear “Play to loose” from a coach to his team as they’re about to go play for the championship. And arguments are never settled by both sides giving up; unless the person playing or arguing is me. For as long as I can remember I’ve never liked to win. A part of me has always felt guilty winning against someone, as though I am hurting their feelings or making them inferior due to my win. That doesn’t mean I don’t play games, or that I don’t argue, cause trust me, my parents or close friends will tell you different. But the closer I get to winning a game or an argument, the more guilty I begin to feel.
I’ve boiled this resistance to winning down to my underlying issue of always needing to please others, and putting others happiness before my own. I feel that the person I’m playing scrabble with will get more joy out of playing if they gain the most points from their tiles than if I did. I don’t allow myself to enjoy the same happiness someone else may receive from winning because I feel I’ve stolen it from them, even if I won fair and square.
Doesn’t that sound absolutely insane? Well it does to me too. So now that I’ve verbalized my insanity I will change it. I vow to myself to feel the joy of winning. No longer will I let guilt get the better of me. I will stick to my stance in an argument, and I will play my hardest, cause I deserve to win just as much as the next person.
Any one want to play a game of Scrabble?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quitting Questions

Questions, I have so many. Some are silly and some may never be answered. But still these questions have taken up residence in my head. I can usually satiate my need to know the difference between “GREY” and “GRAY” by looking up the answers on Google, or if its one of those questions that has no true answer I just leave them behind like dirty laundry to be dealt with on another day. However sometimes I toss so much in that pile that it explodes. And when these questions won’t be quiet I am hit with a barrage of “hows” “whys” and “whats.” It is in these explosions that I am most vulnerable, because then the most deadly question is brought out of the depths of my mind, the “what ifs…”
My mind immediately fills with thoughts like, “what if I was thinner,” “what if I didn’t act like that,” “ What if I let him go when he wanted to leave,” “WHAT IF…WHAT IF…WHAT IF…” I could drive myself crazy with all those thoughts. And I do.  With every “what if” that enters my mind a new layer of insecurity seems to cover me, like a poorly designed blanket that makes you colder instead of warm. As these layers pile up on my mind I fall into a dark place, a sad place, a place I’ve seen to often in my mind. I lie there in my pile of dirty laundry questions and create my own worst scenarios for every “what if.” It is only ever when I am tired of thinking that I begin to ascend out of my collection of questions. Upon my ascension I always feel the same, relieved that its over, and confident that I never want to do that to myself again; yet somehow I always do.
But in a effort to slowly change aspects of my life that I am unhappy about, I will keep myself out of that hole of quandaries and deal with each question, no matter how difficult, silly or unanswerable it may be, as it comes, and no longer allow them to pile up and take me over. I will no longer allow “what if” to have control over me for I am now quitting those questions.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Painfully Perfect Part 2

I was recently sent a personal story from a reader, who has begun in their journey to heal from the inside out with her own letter. Her words fit so perfectly into this entry that I felt it was necessary to share it here.

KAB, thank you for sharing a piece of your journey. I hope this inspires others to do the same, because we are not alone, rather a community of thrivers. Let your story be told.

Ever since I was a little girl, my role was to be the perfect one and my family’s saving grace. The hero. The one who was always put together, always social, always presentable, always involved. I did what I thought I had to do – got good grades, had good manners and went to etiquette classes at our beach club, did my hair, wore the right clothes and smiled A LOT. Too much. I even won “Most Put Together” in Kindergarten and this is something I would brag about for years to come.
My mom is a recovered alcoholic who has seemed to trade her drinking for relationships, and my father is still active in his addictions, especially gambling and alcohol. When my mom got sober, I felt like I lost a friend. I loved the mom I grew up with and when she got sober, I felt like I had a totally different person in my life. I still do.
My dad’s addiction to money, gambling and alcohol has completely paralyzed me in different areas of my life. Growing up, I was completely surrounded with opulence and excess, or the opposite. More than anything, I craved stability. My dream was to live somewhere in the middle and have that “happy family” that I saw everyone else surrounded with. My dad comes from an old wealthy Pasadena family who to this day believes that appearances are everything. My grandma now lives on the East Coast and she has a kitchen filled with Williams-Sonoma kitchenware, but the only thing in her fridge is vodka. Totally normal, right? I acted on this pressure to be perfect (and still do), and fought like hell to prove to everyone that I had it all together. I grew up thinking that image was everything and it is still something I struggle with. A smile hides everything, and over the years I have gotten so good at this that I totally fool everyone around me and myself. At a certain point, you get way too good at this game. I was the surrogate parent who took care of my sisters and continues to take on the role of the second mother. It is a role that I both resent and protect at the same time. I became so perfect that it started to kill me internally. I became the neurotic type-A perfect oldest daughter… so hell-bent on being perfect that I never slept and was always making to-do lists in my quest for sleep. Through this drive for perfection and filling this empty abyss in my heart, I developed an eating disorder – to be specific, binge-eating which progressed into bulimia. As the oldest daughter of an alcoholic, I love achieving and taking on the title of the perfect daughter. I became obsessed with achievements and being the “good girl”. I am learning more and more every day that there has to be a balance… we are neither good nor bad, perfect nor screw-ups. Right? It all sounds good, but I still feel the need to be perfect for them. Who are “they” anyway and where does this need come from? I am in recovery for my eating disorder, desire for perfection and my parents’ alcoholism but every day it becomes more obvious to me that what the experts say is so true – addiction is a family disease, and I am living proof of that.


Painfully Perfect

Brown Eyes. Artistic Spark. Caring Heart. Family Values. Genuine Laugh. These are just a few of the amazing traits that I’ve been so fortunate to receive from my mom. But there is one trait, that I am glad was not passed down to me, and that’s her need to always have a façade of a calm, cool and collected woman. Through the toughest times in our lives, when uncertainty was all we knew she would talk to her brothers and sisters as if our family were a part of a sappy 70’s sitcom.  She could never let them know that things were slowly crumbling, or that maybe she couldn’t handle what was being thrown at her. Instead with a false smile on her face she would say that everything was Hunky-Dory and never allow her family to try to help her.
I don’t know why she never felt that she could let others in on everything in her life, the good and the bad. Maybe it’s because if its said allowed, then she has to admit it to her self as well. Or that she’s afraid of what others will think when they hear about what has been happening. In either case, it was not healthy.
Lately however she has started to turn a new leaf, partly out of necessities and partly because of my own loud mouth when it comes to such issues (I have no problem letting people know the good, the bad or the ugly in my life). And even if it was an unwanted change, it was a change that she needed. And I think finally she is beginning to see it pay off. No longer is she burdened with all her woes on her shoulders alone, she is starting to realize that there are people who love her and who are willing to help her carry it. And that in its self must be a freeing piece of knowledge.
So to all those out there who have a veneer of painful perfection, I ask you to please allow someone else into your life and introduce them to the skeletons you’ve been hiding in your closet. Because as soon as you do, it will no longer be just you against the world, rather a brawling bash filled with laughs and tears and most importantly, you being free.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Overcast & Overjoyed

No sun peers over the majestic mountains. And summer rays cease to strike the warm earth. Instead grey lays over head and the cool whispers of wind breath all around. People in the streets wrap their coats tightly to their shivering bodies to keep out the cold breeze which has triumphed over the warmth. Murmurs of discontentment with the shadowy sky and soft lighting escape so many mouths, but not mine. I rejoice a day that the sun sleeps in and takes a break from being a bright being. I delight in a day that I’m able to lie in bed staring out the window and let my mind wander as far as the damp clouds cover. I let my fears fall with the rain and my insecurities slither down drain pipes as the overpowering clouds cover me and protect me. It is in these rare days of California weather that I truly feel happy. So as the cool beads of heaven hit my window and the earth’s chorus of zephyrs and droplets chime together to form a harmony of sounds that lend so beautifully to a freeing dance in the rain, I leave all my worries behind, go out side and dance a beautiful rainy day boogie.

Only Happy When It Rains

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Needing Nana

My family is cast of characters, a cornucopia of individuals who other than a few key features are very different. But even through their differences my mom’s brothers and sisters have a bond so close that I, an only child, envy so much. My aunts and uncles all have a spark of genuine love, life and caring that holds them together like the binding of a well read book.  I attribute this connection they all share to their mother, my grandmother, my namesake and truly one of the most influential people in my life.
My Nana has had a life of heartache, pain and trials, but that never interfered with the way she raised her kids. Despite her husband leaving her, alone to raise their six children, losing a baby or working two jobs to keep her children in catholic school so they would have a chance to get out of South Central Los Angeles she made sure to raise them not to pay attention to the negative in life but rather giving them a life full of love, laughter and light.
I feel that it’s through the strength that my Nana gave my mom and her siblings and even myself that my mom and I have been able to survive the craziness that our lives have been for the past few months. I thank my Nana for giving her children the strength, love and wonderful sense of family that she has, because with out it I know our lives would all be so much different. And as of right now, I wouldn’t change my life for anyone in the world.

We all have that special someone in our lives that has helped shape it and make it what it is today, for me it is my Nana, who is it for you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Moniker, Magnet

After a hectic day at work a co-worker and I decided to go get a drink at a local bar. This co-worker had recently gone on a spree of nicknaming our other colleagues, but had yet to figure out what fit best for me. In the middle of a conversation over our beer he had a “eureka” moment, “MAGNET” he exclaimed, “That’s it, your Magnet.” When I asked him why he decided this would be my name he said because of the strange people I seem to attract. Well that’s perfect I thought, a man that I’ve really only known at work already knows about my propensity to attract the strange in the world.
This however has been something that my family has known about me for years, they used to call me the Mother Theresa of the freaks, geeks and whores. My friends could have been described as a menagerie of characters ranging from the drama kids, to the outcasts, to the girls in school who gave “it” up to easily. And yet I didn’t fit into any of those groups. I didn’t have the dedication to be part of Drama, I was too much a social butterfly to be part of the outcasts and I was as pure as the driven snow. But despite that I still seemed to attract people from all of these different groups.
My aunt asked me once what it was about all these different people that I liked in them. After thinking about it for a while I responded to her saying that I think I like projects. We laughed at the idea, but then the realism of what I said set in. I did like projects, I have an ability to see the positive in people, glorify them and see their potential in life, and then I try to help them reach that potential, whether they want it or not. And that became a problem, because although I always had friends in my life, I never had them for very long. And in retrospect it is most likely because I did try to change them or mold them into what I thought they could be. Though this pattern ended years ago, I still try to keep a check on my high expectations of others, and understand that change can only come when it’s wanted.
So although my friendship projects have ended, that doesn’t mean my magnetism toward weird and wonderful individuals hasn’t. As my coworker said best “if there’s a weird-o in a ten minute radius, they’ll find you” now I just don’t try to make them my friends, or if I do, I don’t change them.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Learn to Laugh & Love

Tough love, sometimes it’s the only thing that will snap you out of a bad place; sometimes even though we hate to hear or admit it to ourselves, it the only thing that will save us.
My mom is a warrior, a true fighter in every sense of the word. Not only has she dealt with my dad’s struggle with alcohol and mental illness for close to 20 years, but she has also dealt with watching her only daughter fight some of those same inner demons. From a young age I have battled depression and fits of anger or rage, to the point that I wanted to die. How hard it must be to hear your child yell about life not being fair, and not wanting to be a part of it. But I regrettably put my mom through that hell. Yet my mom, in a situation where others may have sent their six year olds to child psychologist, gave me tough love.
My mom would not allow me to go into a “woe is me” moment, instead my mom taught me to laugh. And laughing may not sound like tough love, but when she walked me to her second story bedroom window and told me to jump, I had to laugh. She taught me not to take the bumps in the road so seriously. Rather embrace them as another reason to smile. Because as one part of your life seems like it’s falling apart, you’ll surely appreciate the pieces of your life that aren’t. Those pieces that maybe you never appreciated in the first place. And the first step is laughter.

Mom, thanks for teaching me to laugh

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kinship of Kindness

For as long as I can remember my dad has never had someone that he could have considered a friend. He’s an introverted man, a man who likes to keep to himself, and who has always seemed content watching his Basketball games or perhaps reading a book. I believe my dad may have felt that others couldn’t satiate his intellectual pallet, and regrettably due to this closed many doors.  But, like so many things in life, that was just one fading and worn facet of my dad. I was never able to see the social part of him, the part that likes to interact with others or enjoys a conversation about something other than music or sports. I never knew that part of John existed. And I was naïve to think that my dad was, for lack of a better word, a “loner”. “No man is an island unto himself.” And my dad is no different.
It wasn’t until I visited my dad in rehab recently, that I finally got to see that part of him that loves to have people around. It may sound cliché, but it brought tears to my eyes. My dad was so happy to talk and to interact with those men who are all fighting their own demons and fighting for their second chance. Those men carry the very same demons that my father possess’, and those men are my dad’s friends.

“My dad has friends.” I don’t think I can express how good it is to say that.

These are a group of extraordinary men who all have their own unique stories to tell, and whose paths in their lives have brought them all together. In a selfish way, I am so happy that their lives have led them here, because without them, I don’t know if I would have ever seen my dad as happy as he was. He’s now become part of a brotherhood, a brotherhood of recovery.
From this visit I believe my dad is starting to teach me life lessons once again. I take after my dad, in judging others too swiftly, and in alienating myself because I feel they may be inferior, or that maybe I might be inferior. My dad has genuine friends now, friends he wouldn’t have if he didn’t take down his fences and allow them into his life. Friends who when they knew my mom and I were visiting him, all came in to wish him luck, and even gave him shoes so he’d look nice. It really makes me wonder how many doors I’ve shut due to my own insecurities. I’m now vowing to take after my dad, let down my walls, and enter into the kinship of kindness.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just one Journey

“Imagine all the people living life in peace.” At some point or another we’ve all heard those words sung by music legend John Lennon in his iconic song Imagine. And there are those of us out there that have dissected the words and turned this song into an anthem for peace. I’m guilty of doing it; imagining a life where people are equal, there are no wars, no bullying, no hate or discrimination. And I’m guilty of thinking the only way to do this is for people to love each other, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. But this way of thinking and trying to live life hasn’t worked so far. The Quakers tried, The Hare Krishnas have attempted it, and most notably the Hippies have created entire movements for it, and despite all the efforts people are still bullied, entire races are considered sub par, women earn less for the same jobs and people in love aren’t allowed to marry. Despite everything every inner hippie has tried to do, we’ve been unable to change the world, and I think I’ve figured it out.
            We’ve all worried too much about the world. We’ve felt that we are the world and we need to change it to make life peaceful. And I must admit, I feel that may the wrong way to look at it.
I commit to this new way of thinking. I am the world and I need to change my world to make my life peaceful. If I can stand up for my rights, and help myself than I have a better chance of creating a greater more peaceful world around me. And in turn if we all are responsible for our own lives than we will no longer have to simply imagine all the people living life in peace, we will actually have the opportunity to see it happen.
            So I ask you to try improving one part of yourself. Make yourself happy first, and then see what a difference it makes in the lives of those around you.

Ignoscency & Insipience

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks where nothing felt right? That was my past week. I didn't feel like me. There was so much running around in my head. My worries and concerns for what was to come and my insecurities for what was happening. I ignored my own words of wisdom and internalized what I felt, cause that's what I know how to do best, and I shut down. I didn't write, I didn't talk, I just sat like a couch potato and did nothing. And that's not okay. I know I have to let out what I'm feeling otherwise I spiral into a place that no one should be. And so I say sorry to you and sorry to myself. For not allowing myself the pleasure releasing everything I was feeling. This is a journey I am traveling on and I hope you can forgive me for when I travel down the wrong road, and have faith in me that I will find my way back. So here I go again, my journey awaits.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Holy Halloween

The warm winds are beginning to blow. And scary faced jack-o-lanterns are adorning porches all over the country. When I was younger this was my favorite time of the year. My mom would make me my costumes, more often than not I wanted to be a cat. My dad and I would decorate our house, one year we even decorated while we were angry at each other. And it was tradition to carve pumpkins the night before Halloween.
When I was younger I looked forward to seeing decorated houses and Halloween stores sprout up like weeds in abandoned store fronts. And I wish I could say that I still did. But this Halloween hasn’t been the fun and games I remembered from my childhood. It’s hard for me to see the jack-o-lanterns lit, and witches crossing signs leading up to doors adorned with fake cobwebs. Halloween has always been a holiday for my dad and I. But this year he isn’t here.
My dad is in rehab, and I am so happy for him to finally be putting himself where he needs to be. But there is a part of me that is so angry and so sad for the mere fact that he isn’t here to help me decorate our house. I know that if he had a choice, he would be here helping me hang our pumpkin lights and making sure that the house looks just the perfect mix of scary and welcoming. I wish my dad could be here to help me. But like I said, I know he’s where he needs to be.
So I’m going to put on my big girl panties and decorate this place, just like my dad would like. Ill push through the sadness and of course I’ll mourn the passing of a holiday with out him, but Ill celebrate it like he were here.

                  Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good Grief

Good Grief, does that not seem like a picture perfect definition for an oxymoron? Upon first hearing such a phrase I immediately think, how can grief be good? Grieving is sorrow, heartache, and anguish. Good is superior, excellent, outstanding even. To force these two words together seems a stretch of the imagination. I don’t remember feeling outstanding when my heart was broken for the first time, and my grieving tears fell upon the broke pieces. I can’t recall feeling great when I was overcome by sadness when my grandmother passed away.  
However upon sitting at my computer and really thinking about the phrase so commonly used in ‘The Peanuts’ comic strip I began to realize that this saying is actually in no way an oxymoron. It makes perfect sense.   Grieving is a personal process. A journey in which we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, a moment in time that we give ourselves to sit in our rooms with Ben and Jerry in tow and let our feelings flow over us like a blanket, and then melt away like our uneaten ice cream.
Through grieving we release our pain, and those emotions that we didn’t even know we had. If you’ve been lucky enough to love, you too will experience this voyage. However you have the power to realize that it doesn’t have to be this depressing experience, you can allow yourself to have a pity party and feel sad, because in essence that is what grieving is, but grow from it. Don’t let the seed of sadness create cheerless flowers; instead allow them to blossom into a beautiful bouquet.

And remember if you are going to have a pity party, bring your chips and dip.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Forever Fine, Finally Fabulous

“How are you doing?” This is a simple question asked millions of times every day by thousands of people all over the world; and chances are, the majority of the answers are simply stated as, “Fine.” As for myself, it is almost the only answer I know how to give. If you look up fine in the dictionary the most basic definition is given as, very well. But unfortunately I have to think that every time someone says that they are simply doing fine, they surely don’t mean that they are doing very well.
            Why is it that we can’t say how we are truly feeling? Why after a bad day at work when asked how I am doing, I can’t say that I’m not doing well. That I’m frustrated with work, that I’m anything but fine. Instead I bury my feelings, my frustrations, and my irritations. Letting them fester inside me like a bad “ju ju” soup.
            From now on, I say we all start a movement. A movement to be truthful with ourselves and to those we encounter. At least once a day to whomever is asking, tell them, how you truly feel. What you truly are. If the girl at the checkout counter asks how you’re doing today, and it’s been a sub-par day, then tell her. Maybe put a positive spin on it, so she doesn’t think you’re a little crazy. Instead of saying, “My day sucks”. Say that “It’s been a rough day, but the weather is nice outside, and that I’m sure it’ll turn around.” Hopefully by allowing those small feelings to escape and by adding positivity to them, we can stop walking around with our bad “ju ju” in us. And hopefully one day when we are asked how we are doing and we say fine, we can actually mean it.              
Please feel free to share your moments of a day of being just “fine”, or if you happen to try to let someone, anyone know how you’ve really been feeling lately, feel free to share that experience as well.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eternal Echoes

It is said that our cells and genes have memories. That while we are being created and our parent’s genes are combining to generate our one of a kind person, not only are they passing us their physical traits, but also their emotional. We are now discovering that we are more like our parents then ever and not just the typical “you have your mom’s nose or your dad’s eyes.” Rather those small quirks, those fears, insecurities or things that brought them joy, that are being passed along with the same genes that are shaping our eye color, or the size of our feet.
 As a child I would willing place myself in time out, because I didn’t do as my mom told me, or I did what I wasn’t supposed to do. I would ground myself or restrict myself from things that I loved to do. My family all laughs at this now, and they did then too, but realizing where this may have come from adds a new level of complexity to my life.
My self punishment and  my overdramatic nature, didn’t come upon because I watched to much T.V. or because I was competing for attention from another sibling (I’m an only child). And although it is a sight to see and a story to be told of the young girl who puts herself in time out, to realize the meaning and the story that it all stems from seems a much more serious matter.
I have been battling with my father’s demons in my own body for years, growing up my father had told me of how his dad had been hard on him. How he never felt that he was good enough for him. I wonder now if my feelings of always being in trouble are because my dad felt that he could do no right in his father’s eyes.  Is this why I always penalized myself even if it was unprompted? Could this be the reason behind so many fits of angst and anxiety?  In a strange way I feel more connected to my dad now, knowing that this insecurity we both share is something we can both battle together, and overcome. It is an interesting premise and one that I would ask everyone to think about. How many of your personality characteristics have come from memories that your parents cells have given you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Desultory Dreams & Demiurge Desires

My mind is flooded with images that flow through me like a movie reel. A silver canister of random depictions, where one has nothing to do with the next, as accidental as a lamp post and a shooting star. They are each unique to themselves. But their own individuality doesn't make them any less interesting. Each of my matchless thoughts are strung together like beads of a necklace. The only thing that keeps the beads from letting gravity take hold and bring the crashing to the floor is the string they are on. Much like the only reason these incomparable ideas are appearing is because of me. I am the string that holds these metaphors together. A beautiful idea, that no matter how different one may be to another they are still connected. A hopeful idea that no matter how alone one may feel they are still linked to everyone else, like beads on a necklace or images in my mind.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cookie Cutter Casualty

“Your Fired” In a simple game of word association you probably relate that phrase with Donald Trump and his motionless hair. But for my father and our family it brings up a completely different memory. It was a tipping point from a life some could call cookie cutter with a wife and daughter to come home to with dinner on the table, to a life where uncertainty ruled the roost. After loosing three jobs in a two year period, it’s almost plausible to see where a recovering alcoholic could see the bottle as a valid option. He certainly did.

I often wonder what his thought process was when he took his first sip after so many years sober. Did he think of our trips to the beach or our long talks on the evolution of music as he touched the poisoned glass to his dry lips? I could drive my self crazy thinking about what I could have done to some how prevent that drink. How I may have been the butterfly that flapped the wings that caused the hurricane.

I know that at some point all of us out there have felt that there is something we could have done, that there was one moment that you could have stopped it all from happening. But something we all need to remember, although the lines of their disease may bleed over and begin to engulf us, is that it is their disease. The logical part of me knows that it’s not my fault that nothing I could have done would have been able to change the choices he has made. The emotional part of me still feels that I’ve let him down; I didn’t try hard enough or love him enough. But that’s where my head and my heart will always fight. Do you too have the external fight between yourself and the disease and the internal fight between your heart and your head?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baseball, Bows and Broken Bricks

My dad like so many others is a hero in my life. I have amazing memories of going to baseball games with my dad, wearing my Dodger Blues with an oversized baseball glove engulfing my hand and screaming out the baseball national anthem at the 7th inning. I loved “take your child to work days”; because my dad was so proud of me, I was always a trophy for him to display. And I loved having him help me with my homework, he was the world’s smartest man in my eyes, and the world’s best dad. And if I can ask, how many other fathers out there allowed their daughters to put curlers in their hair, blue eye shadow on them, with bright red nail polish on their toes, my dad did, and although he looked quite silly, he loved it, because I did it.

But like many things, that age of innocence came to an end, and I began to see my hero’s villain overpower him, till I could hardly see the spark of life in my father’s eyes.

There are 6.6 million children under the age of 18 living with at least one parent who is alcoholic. There are many of us who have seen our parents kryptonite over power them. We’ve all been privy to the downfall of our heroes and that’s not easy to see, remember or even talk about. But something we all should acknowledge on our individual road of recovery from our wounds of disappointment and hurt. In sharing this, my road begins

Friday, September 24, 2010

Again and Again and Again

For as long as I can remember I have know the words “recovering alcoholic” or the phrase “he’s ___ years sober.” When I was younger, these words had no effect on me, and they didn’t start to have significant meaning in my life till about 5 years ago when a new phrase was introduced into my life “he fell off the wagon.” Since that day my roller coaster of life has had more loops, ups, downs, and turns than the newest attraction at Magic Mountain. At the time I thought it’s going to be no problem for him to beat this again, he was successful once, I thought, there’s no reason he couldn’t do it again. And I still believe that he can, I just wasn’t expecting it to be this much work or take such a toll on my life.

For every five people walking down the street two of those individuals have lived with or are currently living with an alcoholic. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had the love for someone to hope and be so sure that they can change. Have you ever had such faith that after a relapse they could recover and be the person you know them to be with out the alcohol?