I’m here.

The whisper of the wind faintly reminded me that I wasn’t alone. I was standing in what felt like a winter waste land, but with headstones peeping up at least 2 acres around me. I never felt colder in my life, and yet I felt the warmth of the sun on my cheeks allowing me to stand outside a little longer.

And there she was. Standing no more than 20 feet away. I could hardly believe my eyes. She was standing perfect still in a royal green dress that swayed back and forth across her ankles. Her sleeves passed the tips of her fingers as if it were a waterfall flowing from her arms, or maybe that’s just the style.

But she was there. And my voice was shattered. I could barely form Hello.

I have never seen her glow so loud before. She was elequent in every way. Her hair was fixed and swirled with the dirty blonde highlights bouncing around. It’s as if she hadn’t aged since I last saw her. Why would she?

She’s suppose to be six feet down, I thought. 

And then she spoke, softly. 

I’m here. 

She was more like 10 feet away now. Approaching me slowly, to not scare me.

Here I am. Almost 21 years old. I haven’t spoken to her since I was 12. My whole world has changed. And she wasn’t there for any of it. So what am I suppose to say? I’m an adult now. And she doesn’t look a day past 36.

We could be friends,I thought.

But she’s my mother. And I want to squeeze her. And tell her I love her. And wish that things could stay like this forever. And she could braid my hair, life before. And she could help me with my homework. And she could drive me places. And we could go shopping. And she could tell me all about her teenage years. And tell me all the things she never did, but I wish she would have.

And then I realize, I don’t want any of that. Because I’d rather just be with her.

But it’s not real. And suddenly I’m alone. And I rub my eyes, because my contacts fooled me. And I’m in focus again. And the only thing left is her tombstone.

But her voice lingers. I’m here.

And I know, she’s here. Even if I can’t hear her. Or see her. Or touch her. She’s here. Because she could never really leave me. And so I believe she has all the front row seats to all my big life events. And she knows what’s going on in my life. And she’s going to help me through. By reminding me that I’ve grown into a strong, loving, caring human being. And that she’s here. Always.

[that was about a recent dream I had, it was unbelievably vivid. my mother was seriously so beautiful and I could make her out so clearly as if I saw her yesterday in the flesh. it was so magical. and i think it was a message to remind me that i’m not alone. even when i feel so utterly alone. she’s there. thanks mom. i love you.]

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My Grown Up Christmas List.

Another year passes and I’m another year older, and I realize that the things I want for Christmas cannot be bought.

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This year I thought I’d put into words, like I often do when I can’t seem to do anything else, and write my grown up Christmas list.

#1. To eliminate hate. 

If I could spend a day with a stranger who is filled with such hate toward the things he does not know, I feel the world would be a better place. Because I could listen to his reasons, and he could listen to mine. And maybe, just maybe, we’d come out of our conversation with a new perspective. A more balanced and accepting perspective. A perspective where we come to an understanding, that I believe the things I believe–and he believes the things he believes. And we can coexist. And live in harmony. Because harmony is such a beautiful sound. And it makes things a little less boring, a little more bright, and things go a little smoother.

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#2. To end this battle between right and wrong.

This idea of right or wrong is older than Jesus himself. Since the beginning of civilization, whenever that began, the “I’m right and you’re wrong.” battle started. It’s just within us to fight against others who don’t believe what we believe. And for some reason we are too stubborn to stop talking and start listening. Maybe if we could start listening to our neighbors, we’d have a better understanding as to why they do the things they do. Instead of putting up a wall between those we disagree with, maybe we could embrace them and thank them for their opinions. After all, life without opinions would be as dull as everyone having the same hairstyle or the same shoes or the same clothes or the same smile or the same…you get my point.

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#3. To teach unconditional love by example.

I’ve always believed that if hate can be taught, then so can love. I believe that as human beings it is our job to spend more energy loving others instead of hating them. I would love it if we could find the good things about every person we meet in life and love them for those things, rather than stubbornly hate them for the things we don’t understand. Surprise people. Do something they wouldn’t expect from you. Show up at their house and give them a hug just because it’s a Wednesday. Send a quick text telling them that you miss them. Accept them for the people they are. And never doubt them, especially when they doubt themselves.

#4. To give and expect nothing in return. 

So often I see people ready to do just about anything to serve. But other times I see people who will only give their time when there is something in it for them. Incentive is wonderful. It gets people motivated to do something. But I think they best ways to serve and get the full experience is when we do it, simply because we are willing and able to give. Even if it’s as simple as smiling at a homeless person, or as big as donating to a family in need. There is almost nothing better than giving simply just to give.

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#5. To have everyone home for the holidays. 

Sometimes we take for granted the many Christmas’ we’ve spent in the perfect atmosphere with the people we love ready to rip open the gifts under the tree. I think we forget that not everyone can be together for the holidays. Some people have a family member over seas serving this great country, and others have family members who are spending Christmas behind bars. Others can’t travel because the weather is bad, or they don’t have gas, or it’s simply just too far away. So although this one may be nearly impossible, just be thankful to be surrounded by those who join you on Christmas day. Because that’s the greatest Christmas gift. Flat screen TV’s and iPhones can be replaced. People can’t be.

Cherish this year with the things you do have and everything else is a bonus. That’s my grown up Christmas list.

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Dear friends, thank you.

Maybe it’s just that time of the year, but I’ve had the sudden urge to reach out to all the people in my life who have ever crossed paths with me, good or bad, and thank them.

Dear friends, thank you for any and everything. Thank you for spending time out of your life to do things for me to make my life a little more livable. How can I ever repay you?

It’s so easy to spend hours, days, months, maybe even years adding to the pile of crap we’ve all been victims of. And it’s probably one of the hardest things to burn that pile of crap and start building a beautiful work of art created from the goodness in our lives. 

I can’t count how many times I’ve allowed myself to add to my pile of crap.

It’s seriously so easy to do. It’s so easy to throw a pity party. And at times, it’s the only thing to do.

But it’s what we do after that shows the kind of person we are, and who we want to be.

I was once told that when we are working our way up to the “top” of the mountain, it won’t be an easy achievement — and it’s guaranteed that we will fall. We will trip and fall. It will be unexpected. And we will do everything in our power to prevent it. But it’s going to happen. And I always thought that when we fall, we fall hard and fast and all the way down to the very bottom where we started. But that’s where I was wrong. When we fall. We only fall so far. When we think we’re hitting rock bottom, we’re really only a few steps away, instead of at the bottom. And I think when we believe we’ve hit the bottom, we get really sad. We get down on ourselves. And our motivation is lost. And the more and more that this happens, the more reasons we have to give up. To tell ourselves it’s not worth it. 

But as I look at the optimistic part of falling. I see that it is never as bad as we make it out to be. And we will make it back to where we once were. And this time, we’ll be stronger, and wiser, and better individuals altogether. 

Anyway, back to thanking everyone who has ever made an impact in my life, big or small…THANK YOU. Seriously. You’ve made me a better person. You’ve changed my life in ways I can never fully thank you for. I seriously want nothing more than to spend time with you…but alas, life calls, and usually doesn’t ask permission to use up all our time. But thank you for your patience.

Every year I make a resolution to stay in touch. I want to be the kind of person who sends cards to everyone on their birthday. Or just to send a sweet little note to remind my loved ones that I’m still alive, and that I love them dearly 😉 But something happens. It’s called life. And one way or the other I talk myself out of it. If I can’t keep up for some reason due to the crazy beautiful life we live…I feel bad to give one person a card, and not another. I want to be fair. It’s one of my flaws, I guess. So again, I’ll try, but we’ll see. I’ll stay optimistic, and try not to fall too far behind.

I’m looking forward to the New Year. This year has honestly been one of the hardest years of my life. But it’s also been a year where I’ve learned so much about myself I never knew I was capable of.

And I can’t wait for the next trial life has in store for me, because I know in the end — I always come out with a new enlightened perspective.

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And I’m stronger. Vis Vires ❤

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Faith without religion.

After I finished watching this, I couldn’t tell if I was watching a news station…or at church.

Fox can claim they are a news station all they want. And of course, they slide by with “real” news every once and a while just to stay under the news category. But their credibility is decreasing in my opinion the more and more I watch it. (Believe me, this isn’t just Fox, but since Fox News gives such great examples, I’ll use them to make my point)

After Megyn Kelly claimed with “facts” that Jesus was white on Fox “News” for the world to see, that was the last straw for me.

I think most people I’m close with know my stance on religion. I haven’t claimed one over the other simply because I don’t think any of us living in this world can know and claim for certain what happened, especially while Jesus was living. It’s all written in books now. Books written by man. I’m not saying it’s not true. I’m just saying, I can’t know 100% what happened. But I can believe, as do many Christians, what his life was like and what he did. But at the end of the day, it’s just a belief.

It’s one mans word against another.

And that’s the battle we are seeing here. Atheists can believe whatever the hell they want.

And so can Christians, or any other organized religion.

Ken Ham stating that “we” (christians) knows the “truth” that God exists and shutting down what atheists believe, is an attack of itself. He may not like to admit that, but it’s true. So Ken, don’t get so butt hurt because of that ad that the atheists put out. You’re just as “bad”.

And for the comment about atheists and what they believe. “Do they even believe anything” Are their beliefs hopelessness, blah blah blah…

Really? Just because somebody can’t or doesn’t turn to GOD or JESUS or a higher power, does NOT mean they don’t have a freaking heart that is filled with hope and emotion and love and FAITH.

I believe in God. Not the God that many religions speak about. But I do believe.

But this isn’t about me.

This is about those who don’t have a religion and claim themselves as atheists.
They believe in something. They are hopeful. They have hearts. They love. They are human. And they can have faith in things without religion.

I believe this, because I have faith without religion.

I believe this, because I feel this every time I sit down and speak with my mother out loud. I’m not thinking about where she is, in Heaven or whatever. I’m thinking about her beside me. As if she could touch me. And listen to me when I’m hurting. I draw comfort when I feel like I can speak to her. I’m not talking to God. I’m not thinking of prayer. I have faith that she is listening. And that’s where I draw comfort. Believing my mother can hear me in death.

Now that’s most likely not an atheist belief, because they don’t believe in the existence of deities. But I can almost understand what they are thinking.

We as a human race face challenges together in this world and individually. Where we draw our strength from, is frankly nobody’s business. And it’s not a requirement that the strength come from a religion, or a god.

Wherever you find strength and faith that things will work out, is your business. And that’s a beautiful thing. Because I believe that we will face challenges in our lives where we will want to curl up in a ball and die simply because we’d rather that than face the unknown, or the realities of what’s to come. But I believe that the reason we carry through each day is because we all have something keeping us together. Whether that be a religion, or a god, or a family member, or a child, or our pets, or whatever it might be. Something is holding us together.

And we can have faith that things will work out and not necessarily believe that God is the Puppet Master.

Faith is believing without seeing. Our future is unseen. We can have faith in our future, with or without a god.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Bittersweet memories.

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When you know it’s coming, it’s almost like time hitched a ride on the fastest train South bound and you couldn’t afford the ticket, so you’re stuck at the station knowing that life is going on all around you and sometimes without you. And all you want to do is invent a remote to pause your whole world just to have one more Christmas without the bad news hanging over your shoulders.

Christmastime of 2004 is a blur. I can’t remember the details of the way the tree was decorated. Or how much snow fell to the ground. Or the songs that were sung. But I do remember the way time refused to be on our side. And I remember her bald head. And her green snowflake pajamas. And her pink baseball cap with the Nike logo on the side. And I remember wanting to hold onto her smell and her sounds. The way she laughed. The way she cried. How many times she told me she loved me in a single day.

As if I’d forget.

She’d been in the hospital for so long, I almost forgot what is was like to spend quality time with her. I wanted to make every second count, but she was content with laying on the couch and listening to me sing karaoke or watch Russell Crowe in the Gladiator for the hundreth time. And I felt guilty for doing the things I wanted to do. And I knew whenever she left the couch to go back into her room, she was too tired to tell me the truth — but she was sick. And I think she didn’t want to show that part. She wanted me to remember her as a smiling human being, full of life. 

When people are dying, you want to walk on eggshells, careful not to say anything you’d regret — just in case they take their last breath in the following hour. But what you really do is shout really mean things at them, because you’re mad — but not at them. And you need someone to blame. And they’re there. So you shout. And then you spend silent minutes apart. And the following days, the days that are left, are spent holding each other without saying a word — and telling them you’re sorry by staring into their dark green eyes without blinking. And begging them to stay, even though you know they can’t fight any longer, but you’re holding onto the hope that is left. And you beg anyway.

As if your persuasion is enough.

And time tricks you. It gives you days filled with bright and beautiful mornings of sunshine and laughter. And then there are days filled with, I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed-today-because-I’m-aching-and-I-feel-like-throwing-up. And there are days that time rushes you through precious moments. And there are days that feel as if they will never end, and you want it to stay like that forever, but you know that the sun must go down, so you don’t shut your eyes — hoping if you can’t fall asleep that Earth’s rotation will automatically slow causing the sun to stay out just a little longer. But you know it’s impossible, so your insomnia kicks in. And it’s a bittersweet night, leaving you with memories instead of dreams.

And then the snow begins to fall. And the world becomes so much bigger than you for the first time in your life.

I was able to see the enormous toll it was taking on me. And my world was changing. And she was dying. But at the same time, living. And I was terrified.

And then she was gone in the dark of the night. And for the first time in weeks, I could fall asleep.

And all I was left with was bittersweet memories.

 

Proudly Pro-choice.

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I detest the idea of Pro Life. As if it automatically makes the opposite pro abortion. As if I’m on the bandwagon going 90 miles an hour rooting for abortion, saying it’s the ONLY option.

It’s stupid really. There isn’t any other way to describe how I feel when I hear Pro-life.

So I will fight to be associated with Pro-Choice. I’d much rather call the people against abortion, Pro-I’m-going-to-tell-you-what-to-do-with-your-body-because-it’s-my-business-and-anything-you-do-that’s-not-God’s-plan-is-wrong.

But there are two things a little off about that.
1. That makes me a hypocrite.
2. It’s far too long to write out.

So we in society stick it out, and decipher the two sides with the words of :

Pro-life and Pro-choice.

What I decide to do with my body, is my choice. So of course, when it comes to the bodies of others, I will stand firm in that belief and allow that person the same dignity and respect to make the choice they believe would best work for them.

Abortion is such a sensitive topic. And I wouldn’t wish facing that obstacle in life on my worst enemy. It couldn’t possibly be an easy decision. But I’m thankful that it’s a legal option for those who want it. Because weather it’s legal or not, if someone wants to terminate their pregnancy — they will find a way to do it, and I’d much rather it be done by professionals than a hanger or a flight of stairs, as awful as that sounds.

I value life. I know what it feels like to lose a life. A very important life. And I also know how it feels to want to take my life. And it’s far from easy, and it’s the scariest feeling — but coming out of those difficulties in my life have only increased my value for life.

So of course, I’m not the one holding the sign saying, ABORT YOUR CHILD HERE. Because I’m not too thrilled about the idea. But I’m certainly not against it either. For those who need it. For those who want it.

I think adoption is a wonderful option. If that person feels they could emotionally and physically carry a child for 9 months and give that child away, than go for it. Do it. There are so many couples who would do just about anything for a child of their own. But for those of you who couldn’t. I don’t blame you. That takes a toll on you and your body to carry a child. Don’t beat yourself up if that’s simply not an option for you.

If ever I were faced with a situation like an unplanned pregnancy, at a young age…or if I were raped and expecting…or whatever the case might be –> who knows what I would do. I’ve never had to sit down and think about making that choice, thankfully…

But I’m thankful for my options.

When did it become the world’s business what I do with my body?
And when did White conservative males get to make decisions about women?

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I’m disappointed that it has become such a blown up discussion in the United States, that we spend hours, months, half a year deciding on abortion laws — when we have hungry starving children to feed, and school shootings happening more often than not.

Our priorities are a little out of whack to say the least.

But I want to set one thing straight here…

Just because I believe in respecting one person’s right or choice over my own personal beliefs, does not make me automatically Pro-abortion. I don’t identify with Pro-life people. I think it’s a silly phrase anyway. It doesn’t make sense. And it somehow makes Pro-“life” people look like heroes. Because they were on the side that didn’t end in termination; therefore, they are in the right. But honestly, that’ s not up to us to decide. 

We can only make choices in our own lives. And we have no business fiddling around in the lives of others. We can show support and encouragement. But we cannot make decisions for people and we certainly should not bash or shame somebody, because they didn’t do what we personally would have.

So there it is. I’m Pro-Choice. I’ll always be an advocate for that cause. I’m proudly pro-choice. Because I know that something like Abortion, is not an easy choice to make. And I respect a person’s ability to actually make a choice. So whatever it is, I applaud you. And may you be blessed in all the ways possible in this life.

Thanks for hearing me out.