Writing Joys

Writing is something I never wanted to do when I was younger. I always put off to the last-minute anything that had a due date. I always needed to feel the pressure before I bothered to put pen to paper. Looking at myself now? I cannot believe the amount I have written in the last few years! Now? Now, I am a writer.

Writer? What does that mean? This is a blog, after all. Aren’t we all writers? Maybe. For me, it’s having that impulse, desire, can’t stop what I’m doing, have to finish, feeling of putting thoughts on a screen. That uncontrollable urge to share my thoughts, my desires, my dreams. It’s an obsession of sorts.

I started writing as an outlet, a way to speak. My muteness in my life was killing me and I needed a way out. As I carefully began to write, as I began to edit everything that came out of my mind, I began to see that my writing was still stifling me. I was still unwilling to be vulnerable; I was unwilling to be honest with myself. I feared what others might say or think, and I had no strength for rebuttal and no knowledge of how to deflect anything negative. It was hard.

Then I started letting myself breathe more. I began writing only to myself. I began being honest and vulnerable, with the knowledge that no one would ever read it. Occasionally I’d put something I liked out in public, or I’d find myself editing something more personal and put it out there. Slowly I began to trust myself and I began to write more often.

I began to be a writer. I began to love my writing. I was finally finding my voice and it hurt. It was a wonderful pain, though; the pain of growing. I began to love the challenge and my words began to flow. Writing has become such an outlet for me now that I would rather, sometimes, to sit on my computer for hours than do anything else. When I write, time is still, meaningless, years go by in my mind. Sometimes I am only a child, others I am here as I am now. Time has no meaning at all. When I write, nothing else matters.

Now? Now I remain vulnerable but I am willing to put some of it out there. Now I am truly letting the unknown masses see peaks into my soul. It’s scary, it’s frightening, it’s often terrifying, but I keep doing it. Why? Why do I put myself out there? By being honest, others may find the courage to do so as well. By living into me; I give others room to be authentic. When I am able to give words to something tragic, when I am able to give others their voice, it makes all of my fears and tears worth it.

Writing? Is it worth it? Yes.

thanks for reading,

me

Bumps, Scrapes, and Faceplants

For one or two weeks each year I get to run around with a bunch of teenagers more than half my age. I get to pretend to be 15, 16, or 17 again. I play as hard as I can and I never regret a moment. These kids are amazing. They are willing to try new things, new challenges.

They get on the back of a tube behind a boat and they hold on for dear life. They do it even if the water is cold, or rough. They do it because of the thrill of being alive.They put on their life preservers, jump into the dark water, and climb onto the large tube… then with a thumbs up they begin to ride. They ride through the water holding on with all of their might. They slide from one side of the boat to the next and then back again, over bumps and turns. They try to hold on and not lose their pants. They try to hold on longer than the person before. They try to prove to the driver that they cannot be thrown, but they will be thrown. And so they fly. They fly through the air and land on the water, down they go and then pop back up. When they pop up they catch their breath, wipe the water out of their eyes, thumbs up and do it all over again. I love these kids!

They get on a jet ski, they take their time and learn how to drive it. They are careful at first, slow. They learn to ride the waves and to stay away from others. They listen and watch and drive cautiously. And then? Then, not much later, they see the leader take off and follow as best they can. After a few minutes, they find their courage, they find their speed and they race across the water; their faces covered with a smile. Dolphins are spotted and everyone slows to a crawl and watches, waits, looks for more. There, again, there’s another dolphin! What beauties! Such freedom! The dolphins swim by, ignoring us all, but we saw. What a delight it is to watch them!. And then I look at my kids, for they are mine for the week, and I see the smiles, the awe, the wonder, and I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Fireworks. Thunderstorms. Which do we watch? Fireworks of course, there’ll be storms again tomorrow. Across the river we find a place to sit and wait. People are everywhere, kids and parents, elderly and dogs, boats in the water… everyone waiting. The sun sets, the lights go out and then the fireworks begin. How do they do it? Such colors, such patterns! The beauty created in the night. The storms on the other side of us are dancing with lightning, far away; but in front of us? In front we are mesmerized, each beautiful display, the people as one, oohs and aahs and applause. My kids again, hope. Hope and peace. No one is upset, all are enjoying the night. How is it to forget the troubles in this world? How is it to know that right now, just for a moment, everything is good?

These are the reasons I volunteer here. For a week, I get to help these forget their troubles, I get to play with them and to love on them, I get to provide them a new way to express themselves. I get to be there when they learn something new, try something hard. I get to do it alongside them. I do it for me and I do it for them, for we are both blessed.

thank you for reading,

me

I Will Write

Write – 1. to trace or form (characters, letters, words, etc.) on the surface of some material, as with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means; inscribe. 2. to express or communicate in writing; give a written account of. (Dictionary.com)

Create – bring (something) into existence, cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions (Google)

With a simple press of my fingers, flick of my wrist, using multiple muscles in an intricate and careful process, I have discovered my own ability to create.

In the beginning God created… and so, we, as children of God also create.  We create with our words that we speak and, if we find ourselves mute, we create with our fingers and hands by writing.

Being mute, I found myself my outlet in writing. And so, I write. I write when I cannot understand my emotions. I write when I cannot think clearly. I write when I have something I must say. I write when I cannot breathe. I write when I have no other desires. I write. I write when I fear that I have failed. I write when I want to give up or give in. I write when I have not yet decided to write. I just sit, touch the keyboard and begin. I write.

With my writing I have created a new life. I have found my voice. I have become a woman who once again believes in herself (maybe for the first time). My children bless me, they live and play and run and never give up, and so they bless me. Of this blessing I also write; write so that I do not forget.

My friends they bless me. They bless me with their time and their energy, with their spirits of determination, with their free gifts of love, and so of them I write. I write of them as an honor to them; I have no other way to thank them. I write.

Why write? Why? There is no other way for me. I may someday speak but not yet. I am no longer mute but I am biding my time. Waiting. And so I write. I write of stories of me, my stories. Stories of my trials, my failures. Stories of my pain and of my power. I write to give others voice. Others who are still mute, others who still have not found their way out. I write for them; for me. I write. I will not stop. I will write.

I write. I write for you so that you may know the wonders that I see. I write to share my story and my perception of this world. This world that is so hard and cruel, and yet so gentle and forgiving. I write so that you can see; write to give you hope. I write.

I will write.

thank you for reading,

me

Rotations continue

I have one more week and then this rotation will be in the books. As these past several weeks have gone by I’ve found myself discouraged. I know that hospitals are necessary, I know that many medicines are necessary as well. I know people get sick and people die. But. But how can I help? What difference can I make? Any at all?? I wonder how these became so sick? What happened? Some of them seem like they just don’t care anymore. When did they give up? When did they lose hope?

And then… am I being overly critical? Am I really any better? Sure, I’m healthy, for now. Sure, I think I have my act together. But really? Three years ago? Four or Five? Did I have my act together then? Not really. I had some who would ask me why I put up with so much? Why did I stay for so long? Why didn’t I leave when things went bad? I’ve been asked why didn’t I change things back then? Why?? Why did I stay 25 years with a man who couldn’t love me?… these questions are kind of like asking someone why do you bother breathing? Why do you bother eating? There’s no real answer except it seemed the right thing to do at the time… (Please don’t stop breathing or eating, by the way.)

So, an outsider, someone who hadn’t lived in my shoes, who hadn’t any way to compare her life to mine, would probably wonder why I didn’t change for so long. I wish I had an answer. I wish I did. If I did then maybe I could help another lady find the answer too. I know, in part, some of the reasons. For one, I loved him despite everything. For two, I had hope for things to get better. (It wasn’t until I gave up hope that things started to change.) Three, I felt like it was wrong to leave… no… matter… what. The church is very vocal about leaving a marriage. (And because of that, many, many women are still in abusive marriages, with no hope for a way out, thinking that somehow they can pray their husbands to treat them well… But that’s another post.)

And so I think of the patients I have met these past two months… Did they decide to quit? Or give up? Is it too hard to dream of better things again? Does it hurt too much and they just want it all to end? I see the man or woman who is my own age and at the same time I see them as they may have been as a healthy child… or if not a healthy child, as a child with hopes and dreams, none the less.  I guess, the hardest thing, is seeing each individual as a person, a creation of God, who, for some reason or another finds himself or herself in a lonely hospital bed staring at the ceiling with wires and tubes attached everywhere wondering what on earth to do next. I wish I could show them a picture of themselves when life was good and full of possibilities and dreams, so that I could remind them that they don’t have to give up. I want to remind them that they are worth the effort of getting well. I want to be able to sit with them and listen to them and to give them hope again.

How? As a student I have no power, and I have no permission to just talk to them. So, with determination, I move on, and I continue to dream. Partly to dream of the day when I am no longer the pee-on that I am and am able to do exactly that. Until then, I offer them a smile, a soft touch, or a gentle ear when I can.

thank you for reading,

me

 

Sunshine and Rotations

I’ve been busy these past couple of weeks. It’s like I barely have time to breathe. As a Student Pharmacist I am required to do rotations, and the last year of school is all rotations. I’m not complaining. I love it! I love actually having a chance to use all of the things I’ve learned. I love being able to work with real patients, real people, real lives. It’s hard work. This rotation is in the hospital environment and so my patients are sick, really sick. If I can do something that helps them to get better or to feel better so that they can go home then I have done well.

Each person, each patient, is so very individual. There is no one who is treated exactly the same because no one is exactly the same. Pharmacy is intricate. I love it. This week I’ve already been touched by the lives of dozens of people. Elderly mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers… in their 80s and 90s. Men who are forced to the hospital by their wives. People who suffer chronically from pain. And people who have lived such lives that it’s not a surprise they show up in the emergency room.

I look on and I wonder how they got there. I wonder what went wrong, what could make them better. It’s not all about the medicine. There’s a man who is an alcoholic and now has nowhere to go, another who is recovering from cancer, a lady who doesn’t qualify for a transplant. There are many who go home well, and there are others. These others who now have to face the end of their time here. Who now have to face the reality of death. Life is 100% fatal and there’s no way around it.

I’m reminded to be grateful for my health and yet I am also reminded that my health is not a mistake. I work hard for it. I eat healthy food, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I drink a lot of water. I take the stairs frequently. I exercise. I sleep… I try to balance my life in a way that keeps me healthy. It’s not an accident. Health is only maintained on purpose. Sure, there are things we cannot control, but those in the hospital? Most of them had more control than they knew. Most of them could have prevented themselves from needing to be there. The smoker could have quit, the obese woman could have gotten help sooner, the alcoholic as well.

So, I wonder, as I go there each day, how did things go wrong? What happened? Why did these people quit taking care of themselves? Or why did no one ever tell them they had a choice? Please don’t bash me. It’s true. Absolutely true, there are things that can not be avoided. But, trust me here, you (and I) have a lot more control of how we end up than we believe. Even the smallest of positive changes can be celebrated for every little change can be built upon and then, then, our lives can be full and healthy.

thank you for reading,

me

Going it alone

“Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

I’m at a new crossroads. The one on the left is full of possibility, it looks bumpy but it could lead me to a place that is full of wonder and delight. The one on the right is predictable, it looks rough and rugged but I know where it goes. I have to choose. Left or right?

If I choose left I go on my own. I have to rely on me. Only me. I have to trust myself and my abilities to pull myself out of the mud. I have to prove to myself that I am capable beyond what I believe.  The possibilities of an amazing life and future follow this path.

If I choose to take the path on the right, I get more support. I get to stay in the safety of knowing things will be fine. I get to rely on others and allow them to help me make my decisions. This isn’t all bad. The path on the right will lead to a good future, one that is predictable.

But the path on the left? It could go poorly. It could lead me through many, many trials. Trials I have to pass on my own. Am I strong enough? I don’t know. I’ve made it this far.

The right? It might go poorly, but probably not. Except, I’ll never find out how great I can be if I choose that way. I won’t have to deal with the extremes and it might be better than the one on the left, especially if the left path fails.

The question is am I willing to settle for “fine” or “good”? Or am I willing to challenge myself for a chance of “great” and “excellent”? What do most people choose? Most people choose to do the path on the right because it requires no work. People have given up on dreams and are “too tired” or “too old” to try anything new.

I know which path I’m going to travel. I know that I cannot settle. Already my life is amazing compared to a few years ago there’s no reason it cannot get better. Instead of thinking I’m in my 30s or my 40s, 60s, 80s… try thinking I have 70, 60, 40 or 20 more years yet to live. I haven’t even lived half of my potential life span! Why would I give up now?  And yes, I said “give up” because settling is quitting. And quitting is giving up. If my heart is beating anyway, might as well make it worth the while.

thanks for reading,

me

PS. The path on the right is a lie.

Mom?

Today marks 8 years since my mother died. Over the last four months I’ve loved her, missed her, hated her, loved her some more, and just wished I could talk with her. I’m glad she no longer suffers and I’m glad that she didn’t have to see me go through the things I’ve gone through the last couple of years. She would have been livid if she knew all the stuff her ex-son-in-law put her daughter through. I don’t think it’s possible to never need your mom again. I’ve wanted to ask her so many questions. I’ve written her a letter that she’ll never be able to see.

There are so many things I would talk to her about right now. With my eldest getting married in a few days, I’d start with apologizing for how I behaved when she was planning my wedding without my help. That would be where I start. But, if we had time to sit down over a cup of tea I think I’d go back to where things really went wrong. I’d ask her why she disappeared when I needed her the most. I’d ask her to explain what was going through her mind when her husband decided I shouldn’t keep my baby. I’d ask her how she could have possibly allowed me to let someone kill her first grandchild. I’d ask her where she went, after telling me that she’d help me anyway she could. I’d ask her why she wasn’t strong enough to stick up for me. I’d ask her why she put up with my dad. I’d ask her a lot of things.

I’ve forgiven her for most, if not all of it, but I still wonder why. I know my father was a difficult person to live with and one that you just never argued with. I don’t know what went on behind in private. I do know that I learned that I was to be subservient to my husband from him. And at the same time I never once doubted that both of my parents loved me.

It’s interesting, when I look back on it. My mother tried to tell me to love myself, but she was late on that. My father? He still lives and I’ve mostly forgiven him for many things yet I still want to know why. Why did he make me choose death? I’d like to understand what possessed him to think that it would be better. I know my mother knew, there’s no way that she couldn’t. I know she knew because she had already given birth to three babies. She knew what I was going to have to deal with. She insisted I get help, help I never got until this year.  My father, though? Did he not realize that forcing me to go through that would end up with me hating myself for the next 30 years? Did he realize that for all but the last three months that I truly believed that I was a murderer? How could a father choose to put his child through that?

Then, there’s the other side… If I talk to him will that open new wounds? Did he understand the implications and just think that he needed to make it happen anyways? Was he trying to protect me in his own way? There’s forgiveness there for him. Still part of me wants to know why. Why did you let your baby girl out of your sight? Where were you? Why didn’t you protect me? So many questions. No answers.

Questions I don’t really want answers to, not yet. Someday? Maybe. Maybe I’ll sit and talk with him on it one day. I haven’t yet, but I might. What would you do?

Thanks for reading,

me