Be At Peace

Very early this morning, Gramma Alice left this world and her earthly body. My S.O.’s Mother said she woke up and looked at the clock, it was 2:22 AM. That was her room number at the hospital.  She said, Mom it’s time to go.  Less than an hour later, his sister came in and woke her to say Gramma had passed. It was 3:30 AM when his Mom woke us up. A fierce wind blew in for a good half hour at least.  I fully believe her spirit left on the wind take her to places she needed to go.

She is no longer in pain.  She can eat what ever she wants now.  She is with loved ones long gone.

The Hospice group that worked with us has been amazing.  I wish I had that experience with my own Grandma. My experience was less than stellar, but as my S.O. says “It is what it is”.

His Gramma was just shy of a month older than my own.  Alice was a wonderful story teller and delightful to be around when the dementia wasn’t in control. I often thought of my own Grandma’s stories and oh how I wish she was her to tell them.  Sometimes, I was jealous that she was here and mine own wasn’t. It’s ugly, but it’s true.  I felt robbed of my own Grandma.

To say this experience hasn’t been raw, would be a lie. I didn’t expect it to be this hard. It opened a wound I thought had healed. Losing a grandparent you are close to is so difficult. I asked for my Grandma’s strength and resolve to help them through this. I think she may have granted me some of it.  I may fall apart myself at some point, or I may not.  I don’t know.

My heart aches for them.  My S.O. has been for primary care giver for the last several years, especially as the dementia progressed. I think it is hardest on him most of all. I am grateful that she didn’t get so advanced that she didn’t know her family.  Even before she slipped into a coma, she knew all her great grands.

Be at peace dear sweet lady.  I will miss your laugh and your stories.  We all love you.

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Holding Space

candleinhand

I had been turning over a post in my mind for the last couple of days that would have been perfect for today’s prompt.  But instead, the Universe had other plans.

Instead I am holding space for my S.O. and his family. His Gramma is leaving us, her time is short. She is seeing loved ones long since passed.  My heart is breaking for all of them.  Him most of all.

She was fine on Sunday. Yesterday though, ended with a trip to the ER, a CAT scan, and an over night stay. Today Hospice has been called in and we are awaiting them to bring her home.

It’s opening old wounds for me.  But I know this pain, I have danced this dance. It is different but the yet still the same.

If you could, if you would please send strength and peace. It’s going to be a rough road for all who loved this precious old soul, who just 12 days ago we were celebrating her 97th birthday.

I pray that the pain meds help ease her pain.
I pray that the anxiety meds help ease her fears.
I pray that their hearts find solace and peace.

Ancestors

October 16 – If I were to build a beautiful altar to my ancestors, who would be on it? Do I know?

Who would be on my altar? Well, my Babci (Polish for Grandmother) for sure. I think I should put both of them on there, really.  My father’s mother, she was a strong woman. Fierce, I think. She was born here in the States, but at the age of 13 her parents took her back to Poland with them. She didn’t want to go, her sister begged for them to let her stay. But go she did. Her mother tried to see her married off to a man of her choosing. My Babci would have none of it. She told her mother in no uncertain terms that if she chooses to get married it will to a man of her own choice. And at the age of 16 she married my grandfather.

She gave him three children. Lived through the war and much loss.  In a three month span of time, she lost her uncle who was shot in front of her by the opposing army all because he asked for them to leave a milk cow for the children.  She then lost her infant daughter followed by losing her husband on the battle field. Soon after they lost their home to the German Army and were forced to move from place to place. She defied the communists by refusing to become one even under threat from the mayor of the town they were staying in at the time. From the time she left to the time she returned to the States, it took twenty five years.

When her second husband took sick and nearly died, she nursed him when he come home from the hospital. The nurses said she should be made an honorary nurse for what care she gave him. She buried her parents, her second husband, and both her sons. She battled breast cancer in 1990 and won. By the gods I wish she were still here. I have so much still that I needed to learn from her.

On the other side, I have my mother’s mother. She too, was born in the States and then taken back to Poland at the age of six.  I don’t know much about her life or family back there.  I didn’t seem to be something that was spoken about. She returned, alone at the age of 18, single and with child. She was a single mother until she met and married my grandfather.  He was a harsh and cruel man from the stories I was told. She bore him six children, lost one of them in infancy. But imagine how strong she had to be, to be a single mother in 1924!

I would also have my paternal great grandparents on there. Statues of the Virgin Mary. Why her? Because of all the stories my Babci told me. She was her Patron I believe. Perhaps one of St. Dymphna. My mother had a statue of her on her dresser. She said she was patron saint of nervous people.

And even though she isn’t an ancestor of my own, I should think I would like to have Frida Kahlo on my altar too.  She is my patron artist.

I think it should have roses on it. My great grandmother’s name was Rose and she love roses, well she loved plants and flowers.  And a rosary or two. My Grandmothers were all Catholic (I was raised as such), so it seems appropriate to have them along with candles and blessed water. I can’t think of much else off hand that it would have on it.

How About A 3 in 1

I missed a couple of days.  I just didn’t have the energy to write.  I could have forced it I supposed, but I didn’t know how to form answers to the questions.  Seeing all the devastation happening in California, the lack of help going to Puerto Rico…it’s overwhelming.

October 13 – How comfortable do I feel reveling in my own awesomeness?
I am not comfortable at all.  Tooting my own horn is totally not my thing.

October 14 – Who else am I proud of right now? How can I express that?
Just found out that my S.O.’s niece is taking advanced classes in her first year of high school. She is said to be doing very well at them and is enjoying them. I don’t how I express it to her as we don’t get to see her very often 😦

October 15 – What is my dream life like?

My Dream Life?  Oh I don’t know!  There are so many things, some grand, some cheesy. Some aren’t even essential and probably fall somewhere between the grand and cheesy.

In my wildest, probably most out of reach dreams I would be living in a cottage near the sea. I would have wind chimes everywhere! I would have a vegetable garden and an herb garden.  And a weeping willow!  I have to have a weeping willow somewhere! The inside would be wildly colorful in bold colors. I think I should like it to have one of those all season porches with windows that face the sea so I can watch the storms roll in and the tides ebb and flow. On that porch would also be my art studio, with my easel and canvases everywhere.  And cats! I would have many cats, maybe a bird or two.  I wouldn’t mind a couple of budgies.

The cottage would a have a room solely used as a library with bookshelves filled floor to ceiling. Some comfy over sized patchwork chairs in the room to cozy up in.  A large desk over near the windows, a bay window perhaps.  There I will do my writing.  I shall have a typewriter to clackity clack the words away on when the mood strikes.  But mostly I will probably hand write them using my quill pens.

The kitchen will be large, probably the largest room next to the bedroom. I think I would like a brick oven to bake in. I’d like one of those large stoves that look like the old style stoves to cook on.  A pantry filled with all that I need and herbs drying from the rafters.

But tis just a dream.  A place I can go in my fantasies.  I wouldn’t mind settling for a place to create, you know one of those little shed things that have the windows and a tiny porch. But I have to be able to see the cows everyday.  I love to see the neighbor’s cows. I don’t know why, but they bring me joy.

I don’t know how to shoot for a dream, especially one that I don’t think can be a reality. To dream and hope, but end up disappointed I don’t think I could handle it. Not well.  To dream and know it’s just a dream, I can be okay with that.

Owning My Story

October 12 – What’s on the top of my ‘kudos to me’ list?

I was going to say I will skip the prompt.  But….you know what, at the top or very
near-ish is kudos for learning to own my story.  For learning to change the narrative.

I was reading a blog post today by Kallan Kennedy about owning your story.  You can read it here.  I know so many of us are in different phases of owning it.  Some of us are just beginning to realize that HEY! that’s not how the story goes.  Some of us are at the point of voicing the corrections needed to the narrative.  Some of us are the Queens of owning it.  I think I am somewhere between waking up and beginning to change the narrative.

It takes a lot of courage to speak up. Courage that I struggle daily to find. Ever since I was a child, I have struggled to be heard. I used to be told quite often that children should only be seen and not heard. If my younger cousins did something, I got blamed for it because I was older.  If he bit me, it was my fault somehow. If she dug her nails into me, it was my fault somehow. No matter how hard I would try to tell my side, it didn’t matter. No one would listen.

I realized today, that one of the things I am just now seeing that I am need to maybe come to terms with is, of all the adults in my life no one ever stepped up and told my mother she was doing wrong or had a problem. No of the adults in my life ever said to me that I wasn’t any of the things she said I was.  No of the adults in my life ever said you CAN be this or you CAN be that. They never told me if I was wanted or that I could be anything I might ever dream of being.

Okay, my Grandmother told me I was wanted. That when she found out my parents were expecting, she prayed for a girl to replace the one she lost. My father wanted to name me after his late sister, but my mother would have none of it. But for as much as my Grandmother told me I was loved by her and wanted by her, I cannot remember a time where she may have told me that I wasn’t any of the things my mother said.  No one wanted to cross my mother.

So I grew up thinking I was the accident she said I was. I grew up thinking I couldn’t be anything. I grew up thinking I was worthless and less than. That I was just an extension of her, a pawn in her game. I grew up in her shadow with everyone who knew her assumed I was just like her, they wouldn’t even give me a chance to show that I was different. It was automatic.

Maybe it was a generational thing or a cultural thing.  Maybe telling a child that they are more than the negative words they are told just wasn’t done back then. But you always hear stories about this one person that made a difference in someone’s life. I don’t feel like I ever had that.

When I was in my teens, I ended up in a physically abusive relationship. Every time I  tried to end, my mother would get us back together. Even though, she knew what he was doing to me. It was close to two years before I finally got away from him. Even us losing everything we owned because of him, wasn’t enough for her to see me not with him. Him pulling a gun on me wasn’t enough. Him pulling a knife on me and holding me at knife point in a train station stairwell wasn’t enough. It made me think, that maybe I deserved it all.

Fast forward a couple years, I meet and marry my ex in less than a year. I knew I was probably making a mistake but I did it anyway because he knew all the right things to say. The following year, we moved out of state. I was miles away from my family, no friends. I didn’t drive. We lived with his sister which was a whole different nightmare that I had no idea that it would even be that. But that’s another story.

Little by little I was hearing the same narrative, from him. I couldn’t clean right, I couldn’t cook right, I pressed his clothes wrong. I was lazy, I didn’t know anything, our money problems were my fault. Any friends I made, would quickly disappear. They didn’t want to be around him is my guess. He supposedly wanted a godly wife, so I started going to church more often. Then he got mad because I was going to church and there was no meal ready for him. I was told I should have his meals ready for him before I left. I was told I needed to make myself pretty and dress up for him daily. I was told I was supposed to get up when he did and make him breakfast every morning. That’s not what it was supposed to be like. I stopped the church thing. I refused to be Betty Crocker and June Cleaver rolled in one.

It was years before I realized though that my life was a lie. That I was more than the narrative I was told. Learning how to live My Life, My Story, My Way is so hard.  The days I’m successful are so freeing and rewarding. The days I’m not so successful are painful. I can’t change the minds of those who have known me all my life or most of it. But I can learn to live my life that way it should be lived. Each day is a step towards changing the narrative and owning the story that is MY life.

The Voices In My Head

October 11 – When I get quiet with myself, what voices am I hearing, and what are they telling me?

I may have touched briefly about this here and there in last months posts. I probably have talked about it a bit more on occasion on my blogspot blog over the last few years.

Let me start off with a positive, they have never once told me that I was the reason my father drank.  Never once was it hinted that it was my fault.  I think that’s because my mother used to say how he started drinking heavily on a regular basis after they were married. So it was something he was already doing by the time I came along.  I never knew why he drank so much or what pushed him to it. I have my theories, but I’ll never truly know.

On the negative side, there are so many things they tell me. They say, “You’re
Not enough, unworthy, not good enough, ugly, selfish, self centered, undesirable, a whore, crazy, unstable, that I should be on meds, that things are all my fault, that I have no voice, no one wants to hear what you have to say, no one cares what you think or feel, you aren’t a writer-artist-photographer, you’re a bad mother, you’re kids hate you. The father of my daughters (the not soon enough to be ex) told me that if I ever tried to leave him with the girls, he would have me arrested for kidnapping and declared an unfit mother. Most are in the voice of my mother, some in the voice of the not soon enough to be  Ex or one of my other abusers.

The most popular, common one is the “not good enough”. Your art isn’t good enough, your writing isn’t good enough. You’ll never be good enough…at anything.

Vicious cycle, it is. Round and round and round.  Some days are better, some days are worse.  I have arguments with them in my head almost daily.  Sometimes they win, sometimes I do.  Some days I just say fuck it and curl up with Netflix, and that’s okay.

 

Pin A Medal On It

October 10 – If I could give myself a shiny medal for anything this year so far what would it be for?

I think I would give myself a medal for completing the blog along and for completing my first canvas.  Two things that I accomplished this year.

They may not seem like much, but to me they are a big deal. I haven’t blogged in months and this challenge got me to blog 30 days in a row. The prompts Effy provided for October have kept me going. The canvas was a first for me. I never painted on one before. It’s so different from canvas board. I was afraid I would go through the canvas with all the layering I did. It didn’t come out quite like I saw it in my head, but I am still pleased with it.

If I didn’t get a medal for either of those, then I would definitely give myself a medal for procrastination of which I am the queen. Or maybe over thinking. Both!

If My Life Were A Novel

October 9 – If my life were a novel, what would it be called?

I’ve honestly thought about this a couple of times.  I think I came up with something like “Shit You Shouldn’t Do” or something like that.  I might have written it down somewhere in a journal even.  I saw the prompt and was trying to think of something clever, but got nothing.

Truth be told, I don’t know what I would call it.  I would have to give it some serious thought maybe.  Plus I’m terrible with coming up with titles even for my attempts at writing fiction.

Coming up with titles is as bad as trying to name a character or a location. I can sit for hours clicking through name generators or pouring over the forums on the NaNo site looking for ideas.  It’s rare for me that the character will come to me with their name in hand.  I wish they would come to me and say “Hi, my name is Trixie and I would like you to write my story.  Here’s some brief details.”  But noooooooooooooooooo!  Instead I get the generic version. “Hi, I’m a female elf.  I had some shit happen and I need to get from this place to that place. You can fill in the rest.” That’s usually how it goes, but not how I wish it would go.  Such is a writer’s life I suppose.

 

 

 

Who Am I?

October 8 – Who am I, really? Right now. This moment.

I ask myself this question. A LOT! Sometimes, most times I don’t have an answer. I waiver. Cuz you know, those gremlins that tell you shit in your head.  They get to talking and you get to thinking what if they are right.  Then there’s this whole mental argument, am not, are to, am not, are to……shut up, no you shut up, no you, no you.  I’m sure you know the one.  I doubt I’m the only one who as had that dance once, twice, many times.

There’s a list of things I like to think I am.  Some of which I feel most times like I have no business thinking. See above argument 🙂

On the down side, I feel some days that I am lost, alone, crazy (thanks to my mom and my exes), silent, invisible, fake, a fraud.
You know the song, “you can’t call yourself an artist, you don’t make art everyday.”
“you can’t call yourself a writer, you don’t write everyday. hell you haven’t even ever been published.”
“you can’t call yourself a photographer, you go days….weeks without touching your camera.”
“you can’t call yourself a witch, you don’t even do ritual or have ALL THE THINGS like a real witch.”
“you can’t call yourself a druid, you don’t even study or practice like a real druid.”
“nobody wants to listen to you, nobody wants to hear what you have to say.”
“nobody wants you, you’re unlovable, unlikable. they’re only around you because they feel sorry for you.”

I feel like that a lot.  There isn’t anything anyone can do about it. Sure people could tell me till they are blue in the face that those things are untrue. But those are my demons to work through and only by doing the work and fighting the fight will I get passed them. Some days are better than others.

On the up side, on the good days, I am all those things the gremlins say I’m not.
-artist
-writer
-photographer
-abuse survivor
-lover, girl friend, friend
-a wild eclectic pagan who loves nature, but is afraid of bugs! but doesn’t show herself because she’s afraid of what others will say, do, think.
-I have a voice, wisdom from the experiences I’ve had.

Learning to be wholly and authentically me, to step into who I am and who I want to be is a long hard road.  But what’s the alternative? Living a fake life that only pleases other people?  NO THANKS!  Been there, done that.  I think I much rather be messed up and trying to figure shit out about myself than being what someone else wants me to be.

Release or Hold On

October 7 – What needs releasing? What needs hanging on to?

Two loaded questions!  So much shit needs releasing.   I mean really.  Every time I think I’ve let something go, some shit comes up and it rears its ugly head.   Most of it is trigger stuff, I guess there’s some things you just can’t let go of no matter how hard you try.  Some of it is anger or old hurts. There’s things I just don’t know how to let go of them yet, it doesn’t mean I don’t try.  I just don’t know how.

I need to hold on to all of my good memories.  The ones of my Grandma.  The one where my youngest was learning to crawl and big sister was trying to help her learn. My trip to the Oregon Coast and seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  The same trip I got to see whales swimming in said ocean and not in captivity.  Seeing all the seals in the marina, just a talking away.  I could have stayed all evening just to watch and listen.

I want to hold on to my dreams, no matter how unrealistic so of them might be. I saw a plaque at TJ Maxx today, it said “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” I am pretty sure I’ve heard that before.  But this was like a light bulb today.  I should have bought it.  Maybe I’ll find one at Ross or at my local TJ Maxx store.  All of my dreams scare me to some degree, both the big and the small ones. But the question is, is it the right kind of fear?  Now that is something to think about.

 

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