My Life in Song and Religion

I know my posts tend to be, “woe is me-ish”. but I’d like to hopefully depart from that… sort of.

I wish I could insert pictures, but for some reason that hasn’t been working for me of late. Pics seem to want to accumulate at the bottom of the post. I’d like to change my site photo, but I’ve yet to figure how to access that feature as well.

So, until I figure out the changes WordPress made two years ago, I keep posting, as is. I know I might start out sounding like I’m in despair, but that is not my intention. So, this post I hope will end up being a departure from that.

I survived my abusive childhood listening to music, you could find me singing out in the wilderness to my hearts content and at the top of my lungs. That’s how I got through life and interestingly it was enough to brighten my day and lift me up. I salute the artists who wrote the songs and the many artists who produced the many films I sought refuge in. In life, if you met me, you would not see a down spirited person. I’m always upbeat and cheerful. I used the tools and gifts God gave me and that is why.

Religion and church offered me sanctuary, a safe haven. Attending meant I wasn’t home and God was pretty neat to talk to. I prayed so much as a child. I was baptized Catholic only to have mother adopt the Jehovah’s Witness religion when I was five, I didn’t grow up learning Christian Hymns, but I love singing hymns. I didn’t learn those until I was in my 50’s when I joined the choir in Alabama. Southerners love to sing. In high school, I snuck out and attended the Catholic Church with my Catholic friends. Being a Jehovah’s Witness was not easy, but it provided me a place to feel like I belonged. The downside of attending the Catholic church then was that everything was in Latin, so not easy to sing to. I attended a Pentecostal Church once as a child when I was being babysat by a neighbor and that was totally different. I would go on to study the LDS faith. Church was my safe place and God my protector. Even as a child, I’d sit in a corner and daily, close my eyes, open the bible and point and that’s where my lesson or bible readings would start and I did this on my own. God and I were buddies.

When I was in Alabama, a friend I’d made there introduced me to jamming in country barns where all the farmers gathered with whatever instrument they played. Those who didn’t play, sang. Then she took me to a FaSoLa gathering. I guess knowing I grew up in California, she oughta teach me my heritage and get a taste of the south. Once a year in summer, there would be this remote, really remote church in the middle of nowhere, where followers would meet, some coming from all over the states and globally. FaSoLa, also referred by some as Sacred Harp or Shape Note singing, uses basically just those shape notes and it is acapella. The one in Alabama would take a whole weekend where everyone brings a dish for potluck. It’s very old timey and the origin of Shape note singing is heartwarming. Dang! I sure wish I could transfer my clips. No matter, check it out.

See: fasola.org/singings/

MUSICALS AND OTHER SONGS –

If you want to know my favorite songs and the early ones I remember singing often, were those that talked about escape. The Wayward Wind, was a favorite. I’d climb a tree and belt it out. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Someday My Prince Will Come, Singing in the Rain, to name a few. I love the To Kill a Mockingbird soundtrack, as well as many animated Disney soundtracks. Soundtracks of the old musicals in general were so cool. Even if I didn’t know the words, I’d love to sing loudly with the one or two words or phrases and lines I knew well. Usually the refrains. Ever done that? I even sang to foreign singers such as Yma Sumac and Miyoshi Umeki.

I got a picture in. lol. A sunrise from my backyard Yay!

When Daddy had his electronic set up, I could sing using the microphone and blast the neighbors, when no one was home of course. I especially liked the vocal range of Yma Sumac and would challenge myself to mimic her songs and hit all those notes. I almost had them, but my voice was still young and I managed fairly well, but not well enough. Still, it was an outlet and it served me well in school, because I always got to do the solos, no one else could handle.

Rock songs were for fun. Musicals like Westside Story, with the typical youth misunderstood lyrics, were sad but catchy and passionate. South Pacific, Oklahoma and sadly, My Fair Lady were just a few I loved. I hate to say and wish it wasn’t true, but I’m horrible at memorizing words, so as much as I would have loved to sing professionally, I’d fail… but I follow along well. I can’t carry a tune on my own but I can read music, so if you give me a sheet of music, I can do it. Some people can belt a song out without anyone giving them that first note, but I can’t. Just so you know, I know my limitations.

If it was a musical, be it with Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Gypsy, Music Man, the King and I, Guys and Dolls, Meet me in St. Louis and Porgy and Bess. Summertime was a favorite and for fun, oldies like Oh Susanna! I can’t dance well, but I can pretend I do.

I remember once embarrassing the hell out of my step-dad when, after watching Westside Story, I was hanging out the window on a warm summer day, singing Officer Cruptke and shouting, “I got a social disease!” and summarily being yanked back into the car, not knowing what it meant, of course. I still get a chuckle out of that memory. When I learned what a social disease was, I too, was deeply humiliated. How could they put that in a song? I will admit, that even though mother was prone to much verbal abuse, my step father was much loved. To see him, he looked kinda grumpy, but when he smiled, it was like sunshine and even though we had a rocky start, he turned out to be a good guy. I can say I loved and respected him and even though I was, by then in my late teens, I at least had enough time to appreciate him and his endurance and care for mother, who was so difficult.

Later in life, of course there were many tunes that I took shelter in. Music and song are my sanctuary.

Phantom of the Opera got me through many a long trip, but didn’t show up in my life until I was older. My son, Ian and I would split the vocals. I’d do Christine and other female parts and he’d do the Phantom and any male parts. He has a beautiful voice. I miss singing with him. We used to have the best time in Alabama because people were always fighting over him to carry the tenors. I’ll never forget his first time, he sat with someone that was so flat, that he had a hard time tuning the poor guy out and we went home laughing so hard. He eventually got strong enough. Singing in parts is hard at first, but we both loved singing enough to give it all we had. It was fun.

I’ll never forget the time, I tried to keep from falling asleep while driving cross country by rehearsing songs from our upcoming Easter pageant. I’m singing at the top of my lungs thinking I’d stay awake. Trust me, it doesn’t work, you can sing while asleep. Unfortunately, it was raining and I spun out and ended up in a ditch. I remember facing oncoming traffic and thinking, “oh shit, I’m dead!’ as this huge semi, looking like it was coming at me, went past me. Nothing wakes you up quicker. Another thing, my life didn’t pass before me. No, it was just, “oh shit, I’m dead”. Not funny, but funny.

Today, I get lost in songs by Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran and yes even Justin Bieber. I love Maroon 5, the Weekend and have added them to the many old artists, I used to listen to. Peter and Gordon, Beatles, Elvis, Animals, Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, Louis Armstrong and more.

For awhile I was collecting vinyls and one time I got the mother lode of vinyl at a yard sale, but before I could go through them, when I awoke the next morning, my grandson had already tagged the ones he wanted. Music has given me life, dreams and sustained me through three marriages, raising children, grandchildren and now three great grands. What’s interesting is how much music transcends our generations. It’s something we can all share and love.

Latest Great Grand, Jovi Olson and her momma. Like I said, I’m having trouble with photos, but pretend they are side by side, lol. SIGH… BTW, how many of us can say we looked that good after giving birth?

Yeah, I want to say, sometimes I sound like I live on the dark side of the moon, but truly I have a lot of good in my life. My life isn’t Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaverish, but I have great kids, siblings and family. Despite some of our rough patches, love does abound, we love to sing and dance in our own fashion and I’m grateful. There’s nothing like it when we get together and Tina tells Alexa to play 60’s 70’s favorites that we don’t all break out in song.

Is there someone in my life? Too soon to tell how that will work out, but who knows? I’m taking a page form my friend Caralyn of Beauty Beyond Bones who always says, “trust God” and how it got her through tough times and how, in so doing, she’s now got her happy.

I’m doing my best to “Be Optimistic”… and not be a grumpy – Another great song (Shirley Temple) did I ever tell you about my nice visit with Shirley Temple Black? And so it goes. There’s always going to be a memory attached, right?

I get much uplifting support from my fellow bloggers, some old, tried and trues and new ones now. I thank you all!

Try singing and I’ll keep singing because it’s how I get through the tough times. Try it!

PS

If you want to be inspired, try some of the songs from The Greatest Showman, I love A Million Dreams, Never Enough and well, all of them!!

The workman on my street, love it when I walk by belting these songs and Keith Urban’s Blue Aint’ your Color or Wild Hearts. They tell me I have a good voice. I guess anything they can hear over their jackhammers has got to entertain, lol. These are easy songs to download and walk and sing. I’ve been known to get a few Kpop tunes out as well. Free yourself up!

Guilt, Broken People & Stolen Childhoods

I was reading an article on Quora about a woman who discovered the past of an odd uncle she barely knew.  In going over his belongings after his passing, the family discovered his hidden past.  He had been a victim of  sexual abuse by a priest.  The why of the idiosyncrasies and oddities of this relative came to light.  Her putting the pieces together after going through his stuff was a feat in of itself.   She says about his life:  “It was a lousy life filled with sadness, failure, misplaced loyalty, an inability to nurture relationships. ” The person writing felt guilty even though she had not even been born at the time all the abuse transpired and obviously had nothing to do with it.  Why is it, abuse makes the victim feel guilt when the guilt is not theirs?  Sometimes this carries over to others who care about us. It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, isn’t it?  Please understand, I am not a therapist.  My observations are that of a former victim.

Guilt.  It is a sad burden to carry, why does it torture us?  I can’t imagine her why.  Perhaps, because of their shared DNA, she felt compelled to shoulder some of his pain? I can’t say because I just don’t know.

Some people can overcome the trauma of abuse even if not forgotten. Some cannot. I can only imagine the suppressed anger and guilt, he must have kept inside all those years which stymied his growth, kept him from successful relationships and contributed to his reclusive later life.  One never knows what was in the mind of this person.

What many people don’t know is how much guilt is shouldered by victims and how that guilt affects all facets of their life. Guilt?  Yes, guilt. 

I have been doing my three pages every morning as my assignment and as I study the book, The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  My assignment in Chapter Three is to describe my childhood room and what it was I liked best about it and what my favorite things were.  I had none.  NONE!  No memories. I could not describe my room! After stretching my memories a while, I could only remember a bunkbed that we kids would roll off the top of and that’s it!  Did the room have windows? Were there other beds?  I don’t remember anything other than my dad sneaking into the room at night to single me out for his perversity.  I’ve always wondered, where were my siblings? I couldn’t say.  I couldn’t sleep tonight, mourning the loss of innocence, the loss of not having a fond memory, no special toy or anything.  My loss. The earliest images I have of a bedroom, were later as a teen and not of my room, but my brothers and his model airplanes suspended from the ceiling. I have been searching my brain for a memory, but obviously I blocked it out.  All of it.  It’s no wonder my only fond memories as a child were being outdoors, far away from the house.

I’m not a therapist and I can only speak from experience, but a victim always wonders what it is about them that abusers seek out.  What did they do to “invite” the abuse?  Did they do it intentionally or is there an invisible brand on their forehead that tells others they are easy targets?  Do they trigger something in certain personalities that draws the perpetrators?

Victims experience so many false starts in life others cannot understand. Their self talk tells them they are not worthy.  Even when things start to look up and success looks like it’s coming their way, they inadvertently do something to self sabotage.  It is not the same for everyone and it doesn’t just relate to sexual abuse.  Like the uncle above, a life of constant fails seem to follow them.

They can be accusatory and suspicious.  But, it all stems from their own guilty feelings.

I had an attorney tell me once, while I was going through my divorce and in regards to my ex-husband’s philandering and infidelity, he said “you can’t put guilt unless guilt is there”.  I now think back on that statement and wonder if perhaps that wasn’t just to make me feel better but a narrow and prejudicial view of his own?  

Let me back track a bit here.  His comment was in response to me telling him that my husband, who was a constant cheater, blamed me for his affairs, saying I always made him feel guilty, as if to excuse his cheating.  I couldn’t understand it at the time, but the issue between us was obviously more complex than any of us knew.

Knowing what I know now and years after the fact, there were several dynamics going on.  We were both broken and because we were broken, and neither of us knew to what extent, we couldn’t help each other.

His background:  I don’t know his early, early years, but I do know his father was a womanizing alcoholic and was gone a lot.  He died the year we were married of cirrhosis of the liver.  The ex was a middle child, with an older sister and younger brother.  His mother was a nurse and worked hard to provide for her family.  She was obviously depressed because one day she shot herself.  She was found by his younger brother. That young man suffered tremendous trauma and died at a fairly early age of drugs and alcohol.

I recall later telling my then husband,  “You’re just like your father who you’ve always hated”.  Even though he admitted it was true, did my saying it aloud reinforce his own lack or self talk of not being worthy? I don’t know.

I wonder if for some, like myself, guilt comes from not doing something or the inability to notice that others might need help and perhaps fall short of helping them?

It is my belief that broken people can’t help broken people, yet we tend to gravitate to one another.  I truly believe that.  Not because they don’t want to but because they just don’t know how.  They’ve not had the template of what a successful relationship looks like to go by.  So, guess what?  I felt guilty.  I really didn’t have the tools to help him. This person married several times since and once before me and each time, he created circumstances that obligated all the women in his life to leave or give up on him.  He is now living a loveless life with no one. He even pushes our children away from him.

I also always wondered how much is genetics.  I think genetics plays a part in our temperament to receive and counter information.  Perhaps its a conditioning from the womb, environmental absorption pre-birth? Theory.

Perhaps not though. My father beat mother, he beat us, but there was no way in hell I’d let anyone do that to me. When the ex raised his hand to me one time, I stood straight up, my 5’2″ to his 6’1″ and looked him straight in the eyes with my finger pointed at him and said, “Don’t you dare!”  He backed down immediately. The memory of that day still makes me chuckle.  He apologized.  It apparently wasn’t in his DNA to be a hitter.  Yet, he sabotaged every relationship he ever had and drove people out of his life.  Sad.

For some time, I felt guilt and a sense of obligation to not give up trying, despite the fact I did take him back three times.  Since that marriage and before this one and after the last one, I had extensive therapy and realized I was in no position to have helped him.  At the time, I was too broken. It took a while to learn and realize that.

When my sister died and after her diagnosis, I shared with all of you the burden of guilt I felt that fortunately has lifted since. I just couldn’t shake it for a long while.  The guilt of not having been around to help her and/or recognize her illness.  At some point, we have to let people make their own decisions.  We cannot force them to see the doctor, which I tried to convince her to do.  The guilt is not mine.  Resentment?  Yes.  I miss her and I am angry she left me too soon, but I will not feel guilty.  I believe her choice was intentional and the consequences of that choice was realized long ago.

I think of myself as broken china mended with gold. Each crack makes me more valuable.

I am okay, but then… maybe not yet, but I will be.

PS

Let me counter what I said earlier on about broken people not being able to help broken people… the truth is many therapists are former broken people, so I think broken people may be able to help other broken people once they’ve been fixed .  I could be wrong.

Guilt and shame prevents growth. I’m digging deep and though I may not have many years left, I intend to clear out the junk and live wholly.

Like I said, I AM NOT A THERAPIST  and this is not therapy.  I’m only sharing this because I’ve had to come to terms with a few things in the last few months and I can tell with this new workbook, I will be delving deep and as I grow, I’m sharing. I hope you don’t mind.  It’s MY therapy.

 

I still wonder what my room may have looked like.

Firefighting Hero

I want to dedicate this post to my granddaughter’s love, Benjamin Polson, who died January 13 when the roof of a home he and two other firefighters in St. Louis, had gone into collapsed. The other two sustained injuries, but survived. He was only 33 years old.

I wish, I could have met him, since I always felt he was instrumental in impacting my granddaughter’s life in a positive way.

Every day, Firefighter’s and Police risk their lives to save and rescue our towns and communities, but somehow get taken for granted. Shortly after Ben died, three other firefighters in New Jersey did not.

Firefighters hold a special place in our hearts because, my brother was a firefighter before becoming an airline pilot and even after becoming a pilot, he would serve as a volunteer, in Virginia, I think it was. So, firefighting is lauded in our family.

Because I didn’t know Ben, I can only share pictures of him and my granddaughter and wish my friends will at least say a silent prayer for his loved ones who are grieving and all firefighters and police.

I was kind of late in posting this because I didn’t know how to access the photos, but here it is. I hope you enjoy. Portia is back in Vail, Colorado. From what I gather, she’s doing okay. I know when I lost my sister, it took so long for it to hit hard. This little gal has cried heart and soul out, which I was unable to do for Diana, so I hope her healing will come quicker. Thank you for reading.

Living in the Shadows

I got to talking to a friend of mine who was having difficulty coming into her own. Like myself, I believe this person selects partners that though may be verbally encouraging, are in fact enablers.

I have felt that way on more than one occasion.

Then I thought of this one couple in particular, but I’ve seen it in others as well, who had, what appeared to be the same level of fame or success in their careers, until they married.

Suddenly one of them skyrockets with success and the other is relegated to living in the background, their identity and success, no longer a priority. Is it a choice or did they find themselves relegated to being great cheerleaders? Did it just happen? It could destroy some marriages.

I have often said, when I see someone who failed and that includes me, “they just didn’t want it bad enough.” There’s also a saying, you can’t have two roosters in a hen house.

I don’t see this as much when two people already famous get together, but more so when they are on the rise. (then, you might have the competitive ego to contend with) <big smile> I could be wrong.

With this one couple, who will remain nameless, the famous spouse is always pushing the other front and center by including them in their shots or commending them in one way or another. for being part of their support system They, for all intense and purposes, appear to be heroic and admirable. Perhaps they are. Guilt can play a part in this is my guess. How can they not know their partner lost their luster? If I, and possibly others, can see it in their partners face and demeanor, why don’t they?

I have often wondered, how did I get here? How did I not see what I was doing? Because the reality of it is, we choose these people. The enabelers. The crazymakers.

I told a special friend, that my biggest fear is losing self. For many years, I forfeited self in all my relationships and family. Me. I made that choice. Was it fear? Was I afraid to live my life honestly?

Sometimes that’s all it is. I was talking to a loved one and she admits to doing poorly in relationships. Sounds like me. It’s too easy to lose self and one’s goals in a relationship. Without even thinking about it we find ourselves working toward their goals, while ours get abandoned. Then there’s the person with no goals but is not there for yours either. There’s always going to be someone unfulfilled. Would we know it? Retrospection is not something new, but it is only in this day and age that it is being permitted to have and/or express. Dissatisfaction, was something we accepted, not exclusive to but mostly in women. There has always been the guy who when learning that his girlfriend was pregnant, didn’t run away, but sucked it up and did right by her and the child. You don’t see that as much anymore, but there was a time. There was also the woman, who gave up her career choice to stay home and raise kids. What about the woman, who was hoping once her kids were grown to live her dream finding herself suddenly caring for the child of her unwed daughter or son? Like I said this is not exclusive to one gender over another. Men are doing that now as well, when the woman becomes the highest income earner, he can sometimes, especially once the family is started, giving up his career choice. I could go on, and on. The thing about it is, are we asking too much to want to be fulfilled? To want what we want?

My sister and I started writing a few years before our parents required our attention. She wrote stories and did crayon art. I wrote stories and screenplays and sang in the choir. It was great. Once they were gone we went different ways, but not a day went by that we weren’t on the phone cheering each other on.

My sister’s passing left me feeling less than whole and unable to express myself like the two of us together could. I felt often that I no longer cared and I received no such interaction from anyone else. It was crippling.

After a bout with Covid, it took all the energy I had to stay here. I often wished to be with my sister. It was like get it over with by golly! I’m still tired a lot but I now want to get back to writing. I have so many ideas overflowing out of my brain, but … and there goes my but. I’d love to have someone to talk to and bounce these ideas off of. I’d like someone to interact with about what works and what doesn’t. I haven’t found that. Oh, I had one such online person that started out like that and he sounded excited about my stories, but not having someone live makes a difference. Online, it’s hard to tell sincerity. It’s hard to say, yeah, that could work but no it won’t work and hear the intonation of their voices, their laugh.

Oh, to have someone live to share these moments. Someone, who will free me and not steal from me, my spirit and my joy.

It can happen.

Living in the shadows sucks.

Do Overs and What If’s (Is it Fate?)

This is a post I started two years ago. I was in a contemplative mood apparently and to be honest, I have no idea where I intended to take it or where it could have gone, <big smile> but here it is.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

What if I had my life to do over again, would I find myself in a different time and place or would I be where I am today as an inevitability of FATE? 

My childhood, I know, I cannot change because my parents would have been the same, having endowed me with the same hangups and insecurities I have now so that when I finally grew up, which would later influence the decisions I made in life.  Wow!, that was a mouthful. Yet, there were turning points in their life that could have been different.  In those known cases, my childhood could have taken another turn.

For example:

Turning point #1

What if when mother left my dad early on in their marriage and fled back to Mexico only to learn that she was pregnant with me and had decided NOT to go back to her abusive husband but instead stayed where she was and do her best by me and her life in Mexico? What would my life have been like then?  For sure I know I would not have had the three siblings that followed.  For sure I would not have suffered an abusive father or would that have been a destiny either way? Curious thought. Would I have managed to end up back in the states? Would my mother have married a Mexican fisherman or farmer, or would she have managed to hook a rich guy somewhere else? Had she been an educated woman, perhaps, but she wasn’t. 

But no, she did go back to my dad and she did have three more children by him.

Turning point #2

What if my parents had not divorced when I was 15 and I had been able to stay in Hollywood, auditioning for parts to be an actor.  Would I have made it?  Did I even have a chance?  I never got to find out one way or another. I never got to know.

Again no, they did get divorced and she married a man with four kids of his own and  had another child between them, so I became “mother” to 8 younger siblings and Hollywood was no more.

Turning point # 3

What if I’d not been abused and looking for love in all the wrong places but instead paid attention to my studies, where would I be?  According to testing done in the short time I was in college, (before I got pregnant) I scored high for an aptitude in scientific research studies and/or teaching.  I would have loved to have pursued those as a career. Scientific research, I mean.  Perhaps even become an archaeologist, a botanist or in lieu of current events, a research scientist. Except for the math part, I loved science.

Turning point #4

What if I’d married my college sweetheart?  Where would my life be? Would the marriage have lasted?  Given each of our backgrounds as they were, probably not. Once again, if we could change the baggage we were each carrying, could we have made it work, who knows?  Also, had I become an actress and/or a research scientist, I would not have gotten pregnant in the first place. LOL  Worse than that, I wouldn’t have my(our) sweet, loving daughter, who I love immeasurably.

(I tried to find a picture of the SST to put here, but failed miserably, so look it up, it’s an amazing obsolete jet). Picture that.

Turning point #5

If I’d taken up the offer to become a mistress to one of the French designers of the Concord SST, what would my life have been like?  Let me make it clear, it was never a consideration but… what if it had been?

For one, I would have compromised my ideals of marrying for love for money. I was taken aback by the proposition in the first place because I thought a mistress had to have certain “talents” and we had not bedded.   He said in his country (France) it was customary for a man of means to take one. There was no leering or unseemly behavior before the offer was made.  His offer was all business-like and respectful if you can believe that. He said he liked me because I was “an innocent” despite the fact I was an unwed mother.    He offered me a villa on the Riviera and of course more children and a place for my family and he would accept my daughter as his own and she would attend the finest schools in France, as would our children.  I would be his courtesan to events.  What a temptation, you might think.  NOT!  There was so much more to our conversation but I firmly told him I could not deliberately enter into a relationship that was in conflict with my beliefs. We parted and that was it.  I sometimes wonder if he ever found his “innocent”.  I might add, this man was extremely handsome. Movie star handsome but I turned him down anyway, but I never forgot it.  Keep in mind I am an American Girl, so such a proposition couldn’t be anything but memorable. LOL

Turning point # 6

What would my life had been like had I not walked away from a good man who just happened to get drafted and sent to Vietnam?  Would he have made it home safe and sound? Would we have made a happy family?  Would I have been able to deal with his horrid mother? Why didn’t I wait?   But sometimes destiny takes a different turn.  Think about it, all those in my life now would not have been.  Weird huh?

Turning point #7

What would my life have been like had I not been raped and had I not married the man that raped me?   She was a gift and though she and I  had a rocky start, we love each other dearly today.  Yes, it is possible to love a man who hurt you repeatedly and it is hard to love the child that was a reflection of him, but anyone determined to, can.  Had we not married he would not have adopted my eldest nor become the father she never knew and he was good to her.  It also, however, would not have caused a deep seated rivalry and competition between the two sisters vying for his love, as we all were at the time, but I got over my effort and they are still working through theirs.

Turning point #8

What if I’d never married husband number two?

Turning point #9

What if I’d never married husband number three?

I’m sure we can take each of our what if’s and visualize the best and worst that could have been and  imagine it’s possible results.  Mine are as follow: 

#1 would have been drastic. It would have been a life I can’t even fathom. I know mother would have worked hard to give me a life free of the burdens she endured as a child. She hated being a beggar and being poor, so those were things she would have never settled for.  I could possibly have ended up a street urchin, or working and running a restaurant? Mother was a determined woman and always had the entrepreneurial spirit and liked to cook, so that was a viable option. I know I would not have been barefoot, because shoes for some reason were important to her.  I, for sure  would have gone to school (she was big on education) and maybe she would have managed to return to the states. She did it once before, so there was that. But… would her husband there have stifled that?  Nope! She was too strong natured, even for that culture to let a man stop her, which is interesting because, I let everyone stop me. Beyond that I can’t really imagine what it would have been like.

#2 Had I had the opportunity to be an actress, I think I would have been a great one.  I say that because the other night, working with a film group, no female actors showed up, so I got to read the part.  It was a dramatic scene, where I pleaded and cried and I could see the camera man nearly crying with me!!!  It was the best complement ever. And… I am now making my own films, such as they are and I’m not great but the fire still burns.

#3  Had I kept my head on straight and finished college, I would have loved being a research scientist.  I love animals , so there’s a good chance I would have found a critter to advocate for.  Maybe I could have made a profound discovery or two.  The cure for Covid, maybe?

#4  If those elements that would have destined us to fail had not existed, I imagine we could have perhaps had one or two more children, lived in a number of foreign countries and continued our travels, exploring the world together today, living happily ever after.  He got to live that dream and is now retired in Bali, lol.

#5  I think had I chosen 5, my children may have been happy, well placed, but I doubt that I would have been happy.  Any time you go against your true nature, you cannot be happy and my true nature is what it is and likely to continue to death.  Isn’t there a song,  “you gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”. – Aaron Tippin/John Mellencamp

#6 So many things could have changed the dynamics of this relationship. It was the Vietnam Era and it may have turned out fine, but it could have gone south.  I really have no ideal speculation other than perhaps I would have given this young man something to come home to.

#7 In pretty much all the above cases, I would not have had the children or life I have today had things been different.  I think our experiences make us who we are.  The compassion I have today may have come from the pain I went through before. It’s a tough call. Our history is who we are.

#8. It’s interesting but husband number 2, being the religious man that he was, actually turned me away from God.  It was ten years after that I would even pick up a Bible to even look at it.  There is so much wisdom in the bible but when it’s used as a whipping tool, it can sour the stomach. Yes, there are verses about reproof, but I like to think of it as forming.  Yet, that’s not how it was.  If my values seem conflicted sometimes, it’s because of that.  A part of me longs for the faith I used to have.

#9 Husband number three was an atheist, but that didn’t last because there was still enough belief in God for me to turn him into a believer, albeit it a weak one.  He may go to church if I insist, but I never force anyone to do anything they are uncomfortable with, so I accepted the discomfort. I long to have someone at my side that shares my faith in God and who will encourage me and sit with me in church and sing praises as loudly as I do.

Since the previous information, so much has happened…

I fell out of a relationship and in love with someone I can’t imagine ever getting to be with and every day is painful.  I am trying to accept this.  My heart feels like that of a teenager trying to get over her first love.  How can that be, I ask myself?  Did I never really love before?  I can’t imagine taking hold of my life deliberately and that’s where I want to be.

Now, my what if is, can I go for a life that is too unreal and be happy, like I’ve never known?  Or am I looking at the grass is greener on the other side?   Have you ever seen a picture of a pasture?  Well, it looks green, even and beautiful, right?  Wrong!   My cousin’s cow pasture looked that way, but if you walked it, it had dips and cow pie obstacles you had to navigate through, so nothing is at seems and I haven’t lived this long not to know it.

It’s like the acting, my writing or any other endeavor anyone goes for, it’s not all smooth sailing.  It all requires effort, but can I do it?  ME!  Can I?   Do I have the guts to change my what if? 

I have always gone with safe, but safe has left me wanting.  I guess, I’m my mother’s daughter to the end.  <big smile> 

What are your what if’s or do you ever think about them?

 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s No White Knight Coming

Harrumph!

When I was a girl, all my fairy tales had me believing that one day I could count on being rescued. They lied.

One of the selling points and one of my favorite lines from Pretty Woman, was her dream that she wanted the fairy tale. The prince on a white charger, who she would rescue back. Ah yes, the fairy tale.

Today’s young women are seeking to be empowered without a male. Society has emasculated the men of today. In some instances, it’s hard to tell gender. Men are being portrayed as either weak, idiots, suppressive, as well as oppressive. I grew up in a period where I was taught I am not complete without a male. It’s a hard habit to break, I must admit.

Since I made that decision to leave my husband, I did it not counting on being rescued.

That was one of the questions he posed at the time and a question I have pondered since. I think I’ve touched on this before but because I’m going through the trials presently, it’s back on my mind.

While I was on my walk, I thought of all the things I wanted say to him and believe it or not, I was quite witty and eloquent but now, head on, it’s gone, lol.

I think part of my problem is that I’m a negative nelly. I can see it in my son, but I have to admit, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I wonder if I don’t sabotage my relationships. I’m a pretty neat lady and lots of fun, but when it comes to relationships I fail miserably.

On that note, my intentions for this new year, is to give of myself abundantly, smile often and bring a smile to others whenever and if at all possible.

Easier said than done. Even though I’ve not driven often since my auto accident and because of Covid; I think I got it unknowingly though unconfirmed. How do I know? Well…

I did the unthinkable. I had my Covid test as required before my colonoscopy and it came out fine. Ideally, it would have been two days before but that would have had to be on Christmas day, so instead I had it done on Friday, the day before. ON Sunday my results were negative. By Monday, I had a horrible headache and some slight sniffles, so I did a nasal wash. I called the on-call nurse to verify and confirm the pre-day procedure. She noticed my congestion and was focusing on Covid rather than the questions I was asking, so I decided to hang up and talk to the doctors nurse.

How many of you have, like me wondered if colds and flu have been lumped together with supposed Covid cases? I thought she was making too much of it, I’m sorry to say, so I blew her off.

We spent Christmas with my mother in law.

After the colonoscopy, I went home and was miserable the next few days. I slept and ached nonstop.

The following weekend, New years day, we spent the day with mother in law and everything was fine.

Last weekend she did an at home test and tested positive. My daughter the nurse, says those are actually 90% accurate and, get this, do not have to be reported.

I’ve sent my doctor my symptoms and that information and gotten no response, so who knows? Did I have it? I don’t know. All I do know is how miserable I felt.

Being sick and miserable, I did ponder once again my intentions. Husband doesn’t want me to go. He figures 30 years were wasted, if I do. Hmmm. Something, I thought of as well, is, I’m no spring chicken, so what am I going to do out there in the big, bad world all alone? Would I be okay? Will I do better or worse? But… I’m not sure I want anyone. Right now I think, no.

We live modestly, but are by no means impoverished. We lack for nothing, really.

There are so many things I want to do. Can I do them with him? He’s not a bad person, but he never looks happy. He is fretting that he’ll never find a replacement, because he knows he’s not a handsome man. Which I find curious. Why do I need to be replaced? Which makes me wonder why he liked me to begin with. He has a dry wit and that can be cool. In sports and games, he just has to win. He has to be the best. Always. The men in my family like him fine, the women not so much, but then I come from a long line of free spirited women.

He once told me I was the foo-fooiest girl he ever dated. Most of the women before me were competitive cyclists and looked and acted like guys. When he spent $60 on our first date, he said he’d never spent that much on anyone! When we mountain-climbed and I had trouble keeping up, he never waited. It was always his friends that would stop and hold until I could catch up and then everyone would immediately pop up and keep going. They’d rested and snacked and I barely got a drink. I chalked it up to his toughening me up. I eventually got better and could keep up, but it always felt like I wasn’t important enough. Now, suddenly I am. It’s funny but the sport I was good at, rock climbing, he didn’t like as much and he was good at that too.

So, I’m at the crossroads. Do I settle for being the page and this is what the prince really looks like?

Photo by Daisa TJ on Pexels.com

PS

I’m saying this somewhat tongue in cheek, because I’ve talked to several couples who’ve made similar discoveries since Covid. It’s funny how when you live your day to day life, coming and going and interacting very little, you can put up with so much more. Suddenly confined, you realize, that’s what you’ve been doing. Putting up. For many couples, it went one of two ways, they either fell back in love or realized they had nothing in common.

In all fairness, I’ve noticed in myself, becoming a whiney bitch and that’s not me. Somewhat. I’ve always thought of myself as a glass half full kind of person and yet I find myself grumpy and fussy. I found myself picking at little things like whether or not after 8 years in this house, he still doesn’t know what dishes go where in the cupboard or that dishing the rice from the middle of the pot rather than neatly from the sides is irritating. Leaving the lid off when he dishes himself something to eat and letting it cool off is not considerate for whoever might come after for seconds. He loves to make up words, like a child would. Everything has an adulterated version of the real word. His mom thinks it’s cute. The thing is, I guess some women might actually find it funny or cute. Why is that? I find it annoying. Poor guy, he can’t win. He does have warm, comforting hugs though. I guess that’s something.

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

Merry Christmas!

I was hoping to say something encouraging and insightful, but it was not a good year for me. I’ve incurred a great deal of losses and disappointments.

I would like to say I met all my goals, fulfilled all my dreams but I did not. I’ve been the lowest I’ve ever been and have, on more occasions than I care to admit, wished on numerous times to have left with my sister. I have never understood how people can mourn so deeply and for so long.

I’ve questioned God’s love over and over again and wondered what I did wrong that he would abandon me. I remember Job feeling that way and reminded myself not to curse God for what I didn’t achieve or get nor for his perceived abandonment.

I remember one time, telling my daughter how often I had felt that I gave and gave but had never gotten anything back in return. She asked me back, “Is that why you do it?”

Wow! Was that a slap in the face! I responded immediately, with, “No, but I’d like to feel appreciated once in awhile”, and I did. My childhood left me with many scars and lack of praise and worth were the most damaging. Even so, that question has always haunted me, because the truth is, I am no angel.

There have been many a time, when I did things because I wanted to be a hero and wanted someone to think I was better than I truly am. Not a good thing to learn about myself. I sacrificed years, being the good daughter to parents that had treated me horribly and although it brought me closer to my sister who I lost recently, it also filled me with such bitterness that I’m still working through.

I’ve spent too many years living my life to please others, including what I thought God expected of me.

That too, is something I’ve not figured out. What does he want or expect from me?

So, even though it is said, with age comes wisdom, it has not been true with me. I’m still learning.

Despite that, I am still hopeful that the year to come will prove to be the best year yet.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve written some, which has been a good thing. A big plus in fact.

I know the past two years have been rough on everyone. Being alone has never felt so lonely. We’ve all had to deal with unprecedented circumstances and for some of us, reason and common sense went out the window because of our confinement.

I’ve mostly made many a bad choice this past year and a very few good ones … Here’s to making fewer bad ones in the future and hopefully having my wishes and dreams coming true in the coming year.

I’m hoping as well, that common sense will come back to the human race and the people of this country. We all want love to dominate, but it can’t be forced. Give others the benefit of the doubt and not be so quick to be judge and jury. We’ve all been guilty of saying things that could be misinterpreted and why are people being held accountable for things said many years ago? That is so wrong. People change. Attitudes change. We learn, we grow. What we may have thought or done before are not necessarily who we are now. We were given free will for a reason. It is why Jesus set the example, when he asked, “he who is without sin, cast the first stone!” If nothing else, let’s remind ourselves of these things. The days ahead are hard enough.

So, I guess if I can remind you of anything, remember the reason for the season. Why we were sent a redeemer for our sins and show our appreciation by becoming better people.

Wishing you all the best now and in the future. May God bless us all.

What Next? Me, Catching Up

As I said in my earlier post, I’ve been rather scattered. The following post was actually started in February or March, so even though I’m a day late and a dollar short, I still wanted to share my sentiment of the time.

______________

I keep hoping things will get better, but hell no! 2021 has other ideas.

The other day my brother had a stroke and my father in law died. All in one frikkin day!!!

My brother’s surgery went well. I was more anxious for the next day, because that’s when my sister’s surgery went awry. Some time after the surgery, he texted me to tell me he’d had a stroke. That was a good sign. I laughed and asked him “why are you “fuckin’ texting me?” My bad. What kind of sister does that? Right? To be honest, I told him I knew and how much I loved him before I cursed at him. And, I told him that again and again. He tried texting me about our sister Diana. I didn’t understand what he was trying to get across and I didn’t push it. I already knew he was having trouble putting sentences and thoughts together.

The next morning was the same. But, as the day went on it was getting better. The doctor said there’d been three clots. One in the carotid, the other two in other parts of the brain. Oh, our brains.

I told my half brother he was lucky we didn’t have the same dad, because everyone on daddy’s side has had strokes and in my sisters case it may have been a stroke induced by the brain surgery. We really don’t know because with Covid locking everything down, we never got to a doctor again. Her doctor had indicated that given where they were working it was possible, that’s why they’d been careful not to get too close to the pituitary and also the ocular nerve as that could have caused blindness. Despite their best intentions, neither precaution worked. Who knows, right? Anyway, Grandpa, Daddy and my Uncle Tracy all died of strokes.

So, I guess I should get checked. I am on a statin, but so was my brother. We both workout diligently and eat right. I, however did smoke at one time. (I did get checked, but I’m good)

As for my father in law –

He went into the hospital Thanksgiving Day. It was downhill from there. He was four weeks shy of turning 95. He was ready but not in a bad way and he was tired. There were times he wished he could last to 100. Last year, however, when we left his usual birthday dinner place in La Jolla, the waiter warmly said, “Happy Birthday, see you next year!” Jack muttered under his breath, as we walked away, “I hope not!” I almost erupted in laughter, because I thought he’d never get around to it, so yes, he was ready. He and Marge were a team, so it’s just Marge now, that is sad. It’s always the one that gets left behind that hurts.

I think the hospital knew too because normally because of Covid, visitors are not allowed, but the last couple of days, they allowed Marge in so they could say their goodbyes. Up until he was taken away on Thanksgiving day, Jack, had been lucid, so even though his body was failing him, his mental faculties had been fine. It was only in the past couple of weeks there’d been noticeable changes.

My brother, in the meantime is improving each day. He looks great, but he says he still needs speech therapy. So, that’s still an issue, but his mobility has improved considerably.

Since then things appear to be more blissful on the homefront, so I’m good. I’m walking a lot and feeling better than I ever have, so that’s cool.

It’s interesting but I remember many years ago, one of my co-workers with my same name always had some drama constantly going on in her life. Do people draw in bad karma? Is there such a thing? I wonder.

In my case, I realize, a good deal of it is just that my friends and family, like me are getting older so some of these things happen or are bound to happen.

Today: A new day!

As this year winds down, I thought things would start looking up, but no, it hasn’t.

Today, I got a call from my daughter, who is headed to St. Louis right now. She said my granddaughter wandered into the police station with a stab wound.

She’s alive and doing well, as best she can, I suppose. No details. My granddaughter has had addiction issues in the past and like my fellow bloggers, who I follow and who follow me, her addiction has long been a concern for me and our family. I continue to thank them for their support.

Are these all a symptom of Covid?

As I ponder the rest of my year, here’s hoping it goes better and that this will be the end of it. Prayers needed. Sigh.

Brain Dead

I don’t know about you, but of late, I feel brain dead. I’ve not written anything of note in so long, I’m not sure I even know how to write anymore.

I’ve been in and out of love and heartbreak so many times, with the same person, mind you and at the age of 75 that can be extremely taxing.

I invested in two “mining” sites for Bitcoin and have yet to actually realize any income. Bitcoin is very hard, in case no one has ever told you. Not buying it, that’s easy. It’s transferring back into cash. There’s private keys and upfront fees and penalties and interests and… and stuff. At times I just want to give up. Then, I learn that Bitcoin is lost all the time because people give up and “lost” bitcoin goes to other Bitcoin holders. So I’ve read and so I continue in my efforts.

,I don’t know if I’ve been taken for a ride and perhaps that’s all it’s been, but it seems that just as I’ve paid in my fees, other fees show up and I never see any money, so here I sit, looking at two separate accounts with a total supposed value of nearly $200K, wondering if I’ve made a mistake and should I quit?

I don’t know why, but it’s far more difficult than I imagined.

Then, I fell in love with someone online. Is he real or just a scammer? Well, he hasn’t asked for any money, so who knows? Only time will tell. Maybe he just scams hearts and makes people like me feel valued? I haven’t decided on that either. I didn’t know I could feel this intense about anyone. From almost the get go, we seemed to be on the same wavelength and it felt pretty doggone nice. I don’t recall having ever felt this way about anyone. Ever.

For those of you coming in late to the drama I call my life, I’ve been married three times. The first marriage was a shotgun wedding due to the fact that I’d been date raped and ended up pregnant. Because the young man had a prestigious occupation, he didn’t want to lose his job for his less than honorable behavior, so he took responsibility. Shotgun, because when I refused his proposal, he went to mother and they ganged up on me. How do you hide a pregnancy? It was a different time then.

My second marriage was an act of rebellion and pride. My young suitor was 10 years younger, a virgin and his parents despised me. The more they fought us, the more we fought them. I wasn’t too bright in those days. Marriage three was a result of the #1 and #2 failures plus guilt. He was 13 years younger. I liked him very much. He was my friend and confidant and both of us married on the rebound figuring we got along fine, so why not? Guilt came in to play because we were sleeping together and that wasn’t the “example” we wanted to set for my children. Big mistake. So many things went wrong after that.

As you all may know, I lost my sister last year and not surprisingly, I’ve been quite numb about it. I hadn’t had my full on cry until recently. There have been moments where I thought the dam would break and it was always in the midst of another trauma, like a divorce, my brother having a stroke, or me plateauing on my quest for thinness. (see below) Disappointingly, I’ve been stuck 10 pounds shy of my intended goal. It’s only 10 pounds and I can’t seem to get there. Oh well.

What has kept me sane during this time is walking and taking pictures. I averaged about 3-4 miles a day, up until recently, that is. The hurdles keep coming.

I had intended to walk 75 miles for my 75th birthday. That didn’t pan out, as it would have taken a full two days and I think it was a bit much. Instead, I revised it to 75km, which would have been approximately 30 miles? I managed 15 miles instead, but I’m proud of that as I was carrying a heavy backpack which I hadn’t considered would change the dynamic of my stride and stamina. You may remember I did the sky diving thing, but I had a partner for support on that one. Each year I challenge myself with something new. I skipped last year, as did most people.

I had originally thought to do a K-pop video, but somehow gyrating in front of a camera wasn’t my thing even though I’m quite capable of doing the moves. At least some of them. Part of my reason for changing my mind on that had to do with me seeing an old Italian woman on TikTok doing a self video of herself, gyrating, half naked, in front of the camera. Some people dissed her of course, but many applauded her as well and even though I admired her gutsiness, I didn’t want that image of me pervading the internet, so I opted out of that choice. No, no, no! Not for me. I’m far too vain to subject myself to that.

So, I’m back to writing.

I’ve cycled in so many ways the past year and I’m not even sure I like the new me. I’m still on this journey of self discovery. Who would’ve thunk it at my age? I guess, wishful thinking and regret can come at any age.

I think and wonder if being alone all the time hasn’t played a big part in what I’ve been going through. Was it a byproduct of Covid? I don’t know. Maybe it was a combination of things. Seeing my sister give up on life and knowing how she never realized any of her dreams before she died, depressed me. And, there, go but I. I stayed in a marriage, I’d contemplated leaving almost constantly and instead continued settling because it was the road of least resistance. I mean he’s a “good guy” and we never fought. I realized it was because I didn’t care enough to fight. Sad. Doing anything else would require considerable effort. I guess I was lazy? Plus, there was always something else going on that took priority. I didn’t have time for my wants and happiness, so they took a backseat.

I have, my whole life accepted and paid the price of my choices or lack thereof. When I say accepted, I mean, I fell into doing what was acceptable and to please others. Like I said, I had a rebellious moment or two along the way, but I would always give into what others dictated for me. I dawned on me this past year, how often I’ve put my life on hold for others, so they could be fulfilled and I began to wonder, what about me?

A part of me feels guilty to want new or better, something others may not feel I should. I sort of feel that way about the guy I love, but damn it, I’m putting my life on hold again!

Then there’s the supposed money sitting in Bitcoin heaven… or is it hell? Is the reason, I’ve not seen anything because I don’t “deserve” it or is there a higher power telling me I shouldn’t? I’ve lived with a lot of God guilt in my time, but as one person told me, you can’t put guilt if guilt is not there. Raised to feel guilty when I don’t need to is a hard habit to break. I know God wants good things for us, so that’s not it.

I think in part I’ve had so many years of indoctrination that I psychologically resist having things go right for me. I’m not supposed to “want” or desire for anything more than what I have.

So I’m brain dead. Numb.

I’ve lost my direction and don’t know what to do about it, so I pray. But… I kinda forgot how to I guess, because I’ve not gotten an answer yet.

Or maybe, the fact that I’ve not succeeded in those quests is my answer? See?

There I go again. I’m the queen of self sabotage. GUILT! ARGH

35 pounds thinner and very tan.

Is This A New Phase in Womanhood?

Perhaps I’m overthinking this, but it did get me to wondering.

I decided for a change to instead of walking the beach or my usual neighborhood, I would instead walk the mall. It was quite interesting noticing the change in style and women’s fashion.

As you all know by now, or probably have figured, I’m a big fan of Korean Drama. Although many of the leads do wear pants, short skirts seem to be the rage there. Style and fashion is pretty typical except for the young farm girl that comes to the big city of Seoul. Of course, keep in mind, they only show the “beautiful” people, cute petite girls that look good in most anything but pants, because they are generally too skinny. Ha!

I’m not really too mainstream and I don’t do the mall much, but I do, do it enough to see changes.

Well, let me tell you, I saw dresses. Yes, dresses and skirts. Lots of them.

I wondered if this is because of the growing popularity of K-Dramas, plus Asian dramas in general and K-pop groups? I pondered that. I’m a fan of BTS (and others)- check them out!

BTS is a well known K-Pop group that played at the Super Bowl halftime and toured our beautiful country. They were invited to our country and sadly incurred some mixed reactions. Overall, I hope it was a pleasant experience for them and us. the reason I wondered is shortly after, campaigns against Asian hate kicked in which disturbed me, so I may have missed something somewhere. I did see a video of one hostile interviewer that I could see made them uncomfortable and made me saddened that their reception was not always pleasant. Granted, their understanding in some cases was not perfect, but you can’t miss the tone. The tone is a giveaway in any language. But, I digress! That’s not what my story is about.

It was actually supposed to be somewhat of a “fashion” piece, lol ooops! <smile>

Okay, it’s like this… the real story.

You know when your brain has lots of time to ponder and query everything under the sun on long walks? So, my-mind started going to town. I noticed in store windows, how so many displays and styles focused on dresses. Remember when dresses were in vogue? Well, that was my era, I guess.

I started checking out all the stores and taking pictures. I deleted some so what I share will just be a few.

I don’t know if it is in part the new foreign dramas or maybe it’s more than that. Bear with me.

I am not by any means a women’s libber and/or activist, that’s not me. I appreciate the strides women have made to take back their self respect and not be treated so utilitarian. Even though some of these groups go overboard, I appreciate that for the most part, they’ve given women the right to be treated with respect and not meat on a chopping block. That means a lot.

I don’t know why this pictures has been chopped off!! Grrrr!

I neither look good in dresses anymore, but wish I did, because there were some lovely styles out there.

It made me wonder if women are now starting to embrace their femininity once again, because they can? Women perhaps are getting more comfortable wearing attire that makes them feel well, like women.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding archaic and out of date. But quite frankly, when I was young, I was quite the looker as some might say and I hated more than anything that a man might make some nasty, vulgar remark because I was friendly and had a coquettish look. I wondered, on my walk, if women donned on pants to hide their beauty and to look less appealing.

Pants, put women on more of an even keel, I think. They really are not attractive, generally. They allowed us freedom to do things like guys do that dresses did not. As a girl, I was a tree climber. I climbed everything and in a dress! I got to wear shorts occasionally but never long pants.

With women no longer fearful of cat calls, they are now free to be women in all respects and still be recognized as being more than a pretty face or figure.

It could have all to do or nothing to do with Asian drama’s but instead that of our own emancipation and taking back our right to be beautiful and feminine.

I could be wrong.

PS, I apologize for some pictures being cut off. They aren’t in my media library, but didn’t transfer to the post well.