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?

 

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Annie’s Canyon Trail

I went off this past Sunday to do my first lone hike. I needed to expend some energy and do something good for myself, so I thought, why not a hike?  I mentioned this to hubby, who quickly got online, (he obviously thought it was a good idea too) and he found this place called Annie’s Canyon…

Before I get into that, this is what my life has been like the past few months.  As most of you who follow my blog know, my sister was diagnosed with a genetic brain tumor that has recently started acting up, but for some reason, her surgery keeps getting postponed which has been extremely frustrating to all of us. Right now, she displays all the signs of dementia which is disturbing to me.  No one likes having a conversation with someone they care about and moments after you finish your sentence, she retells it to you in the third person, as though she is talking to someone else, about you.  Yeah, it’s a lot to handle.

Then… I had the flu, starting after Thanksgiving and for what lasted forever, so Christmas was pretty much a wash. Even so, we spent it with my in laws, who happen to be atheist. Yeah, I know, you don’t have to say anything because that’s how I feel too.

My father in law is in his 90’s and refuses to die.  Not that he doesn’t want to, he just can’t seem to get there.  He’s miserable, incontinent and hating his life.  My mother in law, can’t do anything or go anywhere because he’s so clingy and she feels trapped.  No, she doesn’t complain. EVER. I only sense it.  It wasn’t until my brother in law’s heart attack  that she opened up at how miserable it has been. She was beside herself, and said she just “can’t do this anymore” and detailed some of what she’s had to do.

Last Monday week my father in law ended up in the hospital, again. BUT, what’s worse is my brother in law had a heart attack on the same day and my mother in law couldn’t go to him!  He ended up in ICU and on a respirator and they couldn’t operate until they stabilized him which took a week. He was operated on yesterday and so far, so good.

What’s unfortunate is, I’m a first born and first born’s want to take care of everything and everyone and when you can’t and or shouldn’t, you take a hike.

ANNIE’S CANYON TRAIL

Annie’s Canyon Trail is tucked away in the middle of suburbia, near the beach and near the Interstate 5 Freeway in San Diego County, California.  The online pictures looked like snapshots of one of the many canyon’s in Utah or Colorado, so of course, I wanted to go. Here’s my photo log.

Excited to be doing my first solo hike, I got off the freeway and to the trailhead to find this:

Annies Trail 18

That’s okay.  I’ll head to the Rios Ave trailhead which was another couple of miles away. Fortunately, that was open.  Not a lot of parking since it’s all residential and many homes have signs against it, but I found a spot.

Annies Trail1

And, it was cold.  I should have thought of that.  The trail starts out on the north side of this “mountain”.  (You’ll have to excuse the quotations, but after having lived in Colorado where there are real mountains, these seem small.) I was in workout leggings, short sleeve shirt with a light flannel over that.  I was grateful I, at least had that. lol

The hike was interesting.

Annies Trail 20Annies Trail 22Annies Trail 19

To the left of the trail is a preservation of salt water marsh and wildlife. You do see the birds right? Parts of the area where the little blue flags are seen were recently replanted with indigenous flora.  As I walked there were a number of memorial benches honoring a lost loved one.  This one especially caught my eye because it had a “no smoking” sticker on it and behind were the charred remains of a slope that had recently seen fire.

Annies Trail

Later there was was a fork in the road. One was for a difficult path, the other more moderate.  I went for the difficult.  People on the trail were all friendly greeting one another with a “good morning” or “beautiful day isn’t it?”, so I was by no means unaccompanied.

I have to chuckle though because on my way there I’d debated taking mace with me since so many of our California canyons are filled with homeless and unfortunate dangerous characters, but as I parked, I could see I had plenty of company from families with children and dog walkers, so no worries.

 

Annies Trail 10

Annies Trail 17Annies Trail 16

My new found friend Levi was right behind me and his mama in the background below. As you can see the climb up that gorge was quite narrow.  I mean he’s a little guy and there’s not a whole lot of room on either side of him.  It was a manual free climb up until the last little bit where a ladder presented itself.

Annies Trail 15

At one point in the narrow gorge there was this tall step up and the soil on it was sandy, so needless to say, I hesitated. Because it was narrow, there wasn’t a lot of room or handholds to place my hands in order to lift myself up.  Levi was patient however, and I ended up relying completely on thigh strength (and a prayer) to push forward and not slip back down onto my little friend.

 

You can see engraved graffiti here, but one gentleman informed me that the whole area had recently been closed down to clean up sections covered with graffiti both painted and carved. Sad, that people will do that, but they do.

Signs and there were signs everywhere, directional and cautionary signs. Signs to warn against trampling areas that could impact wildlife.Annies Trail 12Annies Trail 9

Annies Trail 14

At the top you can see the ocean and salt water marsh.  To the right is the freeway overpass and it’s expansion site although construction crews were not present.

Annies Trail 21

My hubby is always saying how marvelous it is to find these little hidden gems in our heavily congested city.  I couldn’t agree more.

Annie’s Canyon Trail was not a long hike but there were so many little side trails to take to make it a bit more so, that I took them.  The elevation gain was approximately 540 feet, so for the distance, it is quite steep.  For more information, the link will show you areas I did not get to go on because they were closed for construction, but I will go back.

On a humorous note, funny but not funny… you had to see it.

As I was walking out, I saw a little girl of about 5-6 years old pitching a fit, crying, “Daddy, I don’t like this! I don’t like it here!”  He told her they could go back, and her response was, “It’s far, we came a long way!”  I felt sorry for this father and his prima dona daughter. I wanted to give him words of encouragement but had no clue what to say. I hated to think what his future with her would be like.

Funny, I had just been marveling too, at how many families were out  having such a lovely, educational morning together with their children.  It was such  a beautiful day.  I guess the outdoors is not for everyone.

I liked it.

PS I just learned that my brother in law had a quadruple bi-pass and is doing okay for now.  Because their father died of a heart attack at age 34, both sons were checked early on so he has always known he had to be careful. He has been on medication,  watched his diet and all that. Still…  I hope he will be fine now.