Category: Solo Insanity


Song of My Future

I want the melody of my future

  To contain the deep timbre of your chuckle

  And the smooth comfort of your voice

I want the rhythm of my future

  To keep time with the beating of your heart

  And the strokes of your hand over my hair

I want the lyrics of my future

  To repeat the words you whisper in my ear

  And the vows we spoke at the altar

I want the harmony of my future

  To rely on the strength of your arms

  And the devotion conveyed in your shining eyes

I want the song of my future

  To be sung each morning as we open our eyes

  And on the day my soul slips away to Heaven’s gate.

Parental Struggles

dyslexiaI find it ironic and extremely frustrating that I have two children that have learning disabilities that inhibit their ability to communicate effectively.  I always excelled in writing and public speaking throughout my childhood and college years.  I even majored in Communication Studies (after the evil administrators at UNC-CH thwarted my desire to go into television.  But that’s a blog post for another day).  I realize that I take for granted my ability to put my thoughts to paper and, more times than not, effectively speak my mind.  David was blessed with the writing ability but struggles with the public speaking only because of his lack of confidence.  Once Hunter’s speech delays were identified in first grade, I had imagined that he would blossom into a vessel of self-expression.  It was upsetting to acknowledge and embrace that there were neurological causes for him to struggle with reading and writing.  While he can speak his mind, he now lacks the confidence to do so with conviction because of his issues with dyslexia and dysgraphia.  Hunter has made ASTOUNDING progress in the past year to overcome these obstacles academically.  Tests show that he is now reading on grade level, but tests do not illustrate the amount of effort it takes him to do so.  His writing abilities have improved as well now that he utilizes a computer for most of his school work.  The keyboard does not present the same challenges as a pencil to his dysgraphic mind.  It is by sheer force of will and work ethic that Hunter has achieved so much.  We are fortunate that he is surrounded by teachers that believe in his abilities and do everything in their power to assure Hunter that he is much greater than any of his disabilities.  I struggle as a parent in walking the fine line between wanting to make school work as easy as possible for Hunter while making sure he/we do not take advantage of any modifications to his academic work plans.  It is also a struggle for me to understand what Hunter experiences because the written word has always been so easy for me.  Luke seems to be on the same path as Hunter.  We diagnosed Luke’s speech developmental delay at four and began his speech therapy two full years ahead of Hunter.  While we have seen vast improvement with Luke’s speech, we know it greatly affects his relationships with peers his age.  Adults attempt more patience at conversing with Luke.  Other five and six-year olds don’t have time for that!  Since beginning kindergarten in July, it is has become obvious that he has issues with recognizing letters and numbers.  He is currently well behind his classmates in his writing and pre-reading skills.  Luke will have several diagnostic evaluations completed this week so we can determine what other services may benefit him.  Of course, whatever we discover with Luke, we have the advantage of having “been there, done that” with Hunter.  I can’t help but wonder how I have failed these two children — they are extremely intelligent, outgoing children that should not be hindered in their abilities to interact with the world.  I know there is no fault to be assigned, just as there is no miracle cure for their issues.  While I grieve the opportunity to wield my red ink pen on their assignments, I am grateful that they have not let their learning disabilities define the boys they are and the men they will become.

Novel Excerpt

It is no secret that I have been working on a novel for the past several months.  This journey is much more difficult than I ever imagined.  I have become emotionally invested in my characters and have a very difficult time deciding their fates, as I want to protect them from heartbreak and pain.  In a lot of ways, they have become like my children.  I am struggling with the direction of the novel because I am trying to follow my literary instincts instead of emotionally manipulating the outcome.  Since I have hit a wall of frustration, I thought I would share a short excerpt from the story.  I am hoping that if I release some of the protectiveness I feel for this story, I will free myself to write more effectively.  Plus, I just can’t get enough of Devin.  🙂  

Devin propped his long legs on the weathered pallet that served as a coffee table on his private dune-top deck. This was his favorite place in the world.  Well, second favorite, barely losing out to being in his bed wrapped up with a beautiful, voracious lover. He brought the chilled bottle of Buckshot Amber Ale to his lips and drained half the bottle, lost in his thoughts.

He had visited the Kindred Spirit mailbox that afternoon and enjoyed perusing the many entries that filled the journal’s pages. Most days he just skimmed the random musings but today his attention had been drawn to the sweeping lines and curves of an eloquent, cursive handwriting. He had run his fingertips over the pencilled words that flowed over the page like calligraphy. He was curious what the passage contained and imagined a flowery pledge of love. He was touched by the plea hidden in the artistic writing. This Genesee woman seemed to be lost but intent on finding a direction forward.  Devin knew better than most how helpless a soul could feel when discovering your life’s compass had malfunctioned. Devin’s desire to gain back control of his life had led him to Sunset Beach ten years ago, against the wishes and demands of his family. Somehow, the day he first crossed the pontoon swinging bridge, he knew he had found his way home.

In all his time on this island, he had never bothered writing or responding in the Kindred Spirit notebook. Today, he succumbed to the yearning to offer some solace to the mysterious Genesee.

Dear Genesee,

Our Kindred Spirit is still in residence here. At least that is what I tell myself when I feel there is no one else to listen to me. I hope you enjoyed your wine and were able to celebrate the breathtaking sunset yesterday. I must admit I find myself very skeptical of the everlasting love and soulmate quest. Perhaps the closest we ever come to that is another Kindred Spirit passing through our life … for a few weeks or even a few decades. Enjoy your return to Paradise, my forever home. I will raise a beer and toast you moving forward in life.  In Passing, The Wanderer

As Devin finished the last of his beer, he surveyed his island home.  For far too long he had been plagued by a sense of deja vu while walking through the dunes and down the barren beach at Bird Island. He often felt there was a deeper pull for his life to be anchored to this place but so far he had been unable to figure it out.  He set the empty beer bottle down, settled back in the wooden swing and let the ocean breeze and lapping waves of the low tide sweep away any lingering thoughts.

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Mighty Fine Men

I cannot deny that I have always been a bit “boy-crazy”.  In preschool, my free play consisted of bullying the cutest boy in our class into playing house with me.  In kindergarten, recess was spent dragging scared, innocent boys behind a tree so I could kiss them.  (Not to worry, guys.  I didn’t go to Bunn until the middle of first grade!)  I fondly remember each of my elementary grades by the boy that I was crushing on or “going with” at the time.  My parents memorialized my first love by wood-burning into our front porch railing my pathetic cry of “But Mom, I’ve loved him since the third grade!” when I found my heart broken once again in the sixth grade.  Amazingly, I even had boyfriends during middle school while I was in the midst of ear and facial reconstructive surgery.  High school opened up a whole new sea of possibilities for me as I found myself attracted to various jocks, nerds, skateboarders and smokers.  Even though I may have treated each break-up as a world-ending drama, I can honestly say I never had a bad break-up.  Yes, we may not have spoken for a few weeks or even months, but each boyfriend ultimately remained in my heart as a friend.  Since the end of high school, only two men have taken hold of my heart and I married both of them.

Looking back at all the guys that I have given a piece of my heart, physically there are very few similarities among them.  There has been tall and dark, short and red-headed, lean and blonde.  But it’s the qualities that we can’t see outwardly that made each of these guys special to me.  You will have your own list of non-physical “turn-ons”.  This is mine:

1. He must be able to look me in the eyes.  I’m not sure if it is my Aquarian nature or just a genetic glitch, but I can discover a lot by looking into a person’s eyes.  The eyes can show dishonesty when words ring true. Eyes shine with passion even with the body makes no moves.  Eyes show pain when we plaster a smile on our faces.  If a man is unable to look me in the eyes, then he and I will have nothing to build a friendship on as hiding one’s’ eyes is more obvious than wearing an unwelcome sign!

2.  A man that makes me laugh is sure to be a quick friend.  I have appreciation for humor that ranges from goofy slapstick to dry, sarcastic wit.  While it is rare that I am impressed by gross body noises, I do have three sons and know when a well-timed snort is appropriate.  Laughter breaks down walls, erases insecurities for a few seconds and allows our hearts to extend outside our bodies.

3. I am a talker.  Seriously.  And I happen to be opinionated.  I enjoy having a conversation with a man that has opinions and can intelligently discuss them.  I also appreciate a man that understands that while I will engage in controversial conversations, there is no need to attempt to convert me — in politics, sports, religion or philosophy.

4.  I really like  a man that is unafraid to show affection in public.  No, that doesn’t mean I am drooling over your man if he holds your hand in the grocery store.  It does mean that I know that your man is very secure in his feelings for those he loves.  In church, I find myself mesmerized by the men that unconsciously rub their partner’s shoulder or pull their wives/girlfriends closer while singing a hymn.  Of course, I was a huge supporter of PDA’s, even in kindergarten.

5. Compassion for others.  Wayne is probably the best example of this particular trait.  And I will suffer from sharing this so publicly … no more PDA’s for me for a long while!  Wayne cannot watch any commercials, telethons or charity concerts that show people in need.  Whether it is a child that is suffering from leukemia, a family that needs a mosquito net in Central America, or a woman that is starving in Africa, Wayne’s heart bleeds for these strangers.  There are many times he has been brought to tears and it has stunned me to my core.  The Youngsville Blue Coach Pitch All-Stars witnessed Wayne’s tenderness when he was so choked up during his final speech to the team, he was barely able to speak.  I have needed men like this in my life to teach me to be more empathetic.

While my husband embraces all of these qualities and I’m certainly NOT looking for anyone else, I do appreciate these qualities in my friends’ husbands, my boys’ coaches, the school dads and our extended family.  These men are the ones that I seek out to be role models for my own sons.  These are the ones that helped me make it to forty with my heart intact.  These are the finest men I know.

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Reaching Out

ImageI must admit I am completely stunned and humbled by the response to yesterday’s post.  I never imagined how many of my friends would be affected by my story.  I also never realized how many people cared for me during that time in my life (and years afterward) and never found a way to share their feelings with me.  As youngsters, most of us had insecurities that prevented us from sharing such sentiments.  But what is our excuse as adults?  What drives us to bury our thoughts, feelings, desires from those we cherish the most?  

Many of you know that I was blessed to marry one of my best friends, Christian.  Before we dated, we shared everything with each other.  I knew all of his secrets (yes, he had plenty) and he preserved all of mine.  As friends, we hurt each other with selfish actions, but we never doubted our love for each other.  As we grew older and our relationship changed to one of intimacy, we became more guarded with our feelings.  We were hesitant to share our moments of sadness, fear, regret, temptation, etc.  Eventually, our conversations grew less meaningful, our silences became more profound.  When I felt Christian withdraw emotionally from me, I responded by building a concrete foundation to secure my own doubts and pain.  After a  time, when Christian found that he needed to reach out to me, he was unable to cross the barriers I had erected and I was too stubborn and prideful to tear them down myself.   We lived in the same house, but there was an ocean dividing us.  

It wasn’t until Christian’s dreadful diagnosis of lymphoma in 2002 that we were forced to “get real” with other.  We had an infant to think about.  We had to put aside the years of mistrust and decide how to move forward to secure a future for our son.  There were attempts at complete reconciliation, but the time for us to mend our internal wounds for a successful marriage had passed.  We poured our hearts out to each other, claiming responsibility for our marital carnage.  We extended a friendly truce to each other, not just for David’s sake, but for the sake of two kids that had once been the best of friends.  When Christian died in 2003, I was distraught.  I was unsure how to make it through the days without hearing his easy-going voice or endless jokes.  The one thought that made Christian’s death more bearable, was knowing that he and I had made peace with each other.  I have never had a single night of regret that Christian did not know how I felt about him or that I would have to live on this earth without his forgiveness.  He and I had overcome the worst of circumstances to become the best of friends again.  But we had to throw away our insecurities with each other, open wide the doorway to our vulnerabilities and lay claim to the love we could resurrect from all of our years together.  

A life-threatening illness, an innocent child and a wrecked marriage motivated our conversations.  You would think that I would have taken that to heart and used that as a learning opportunity to never let another day pass by without telling everyone I love — on whatever level — how much they mean to me.  I should know not to overlook an opportunity to express gratitude, extend a congratulations, share heart-felt sympathy, say a simple “Love you”.  But that childish fear holds me back, makes me question how my sentiments will be taken.  Will they be embraced or thrown back in my face?  Will I be laughed at or turned away?  Looking into that 12 year old girl’s face yesterday, I realize that I have faced much worse in my life.  No one can make me feel as small, lonely, and terrified as I did 28 years ago.  I have nothing to lose by reaching out to those around me.  And honestly, neither do you. 

Conversation with Myself

I am doing something today that I never thought I would do.  I am going to share a very open, emotionally raw conversation I had with a photograph of myself, taken when I was 12.  I wrote this conversation as a form of therapy.  I wanted to acknowledge feelings of pain and loss in a safe environment.  But I am just now realizing that I am living life too safely.  I am not allowing people to get to know ME … I only allow those around me to get the fabricated strong, sometimes bitchy, version of who I am.  I feel as if I should apologize to those that will be uncomfortable with this post and most likely with some of my future posts.  But I can’t be sorry for being myself.  I am not perfect — not even close.  I don’t always make the wisest decisions. I sometimes hurt the people I love the most.  I am not always emotionally present in my children’s lives.  I often pull away from close friendships in an attempt to protect my heart and this 12-year old girl you are about to meet.  But maybe if I begin to open up, you will understand me better.  It doesn’t mean you will like me more (if at all) — but at least you can base your feelings for me on the truth.  

*In June 1985, I was in a car accident along with a very amazing woman and several courageous girls.  To those that were there that day — I hope this doesn’t upset you.  That is not my intention at all.  I value the friendships that have endured this trauma as well as all the years in between.  

Me: I can’t believe I’m actually talking to a photo of myself.

Photo: Why not? You always talk to yourself in your head.

Me: But this is different.  I’m talking to a 12 year old me. I don’t converse well with children.

Photo: That’s nothing new.  You always preferred to talk to adults, even as a child.

Me: It’s hard looking at the picture, you know? So many bad memories, so much sadness, a lot of anger.

Photo: How do you think I feel? You’ve grown up, found a new life.  I’m stuck in this pained, scarred, bleeding body.

Me: You are awfully brave, though. You have so much strength.

Photo: You’ve got a really bad memory.

Me: No, hindsight is 20/20. The strength you possess has really carried me through some tough times as an adult. If you weren’t suffering, then I would have never been able to become the person I am.

Photo: But you still have problems – problems that you blame on this accident.

Me: I do.  I have a lot of bitterness about being abandoned by the church and not having any close friends that stuck with me through that trauma. But I want to know what you’re feeling.

Photo: I hurt … all over. Every breath I take feels as if my ribs are splintering through my skin. My head is constantly throbbing and itching from the scabs. And I want to take these wire cutters and snip the wires between my teeth so I can open my mouth and EAT. I just want a French fry. And chocolate cake. And maybe a little steak. I don’t want to look like a freak show. And this horrible figure 8 brace.  If only I could figure out a way to shred it so I can sit hunched over and hold my stomach and sides and give myself some comfort.  I’m not finding comfort from a friend that is for sure. Are kids staying away because they don’t care or because their parents don’t want them to see how horrible I look?  The swelling is finally going down in my face – it’s no longer the size of a basketball. But the road rash is so disgusting. Mom is picking pieces of glass out of my skin several times a day. I can also smell the blood and oozing from the scars on my ear and face. I truly do feel like a freak.  It does get better, right?

Me: Yes, it does.  I mean, I have always doubted my beauty since the accident, but I’ve been told all females go through that. Dr. Peacock once told me that even the most beautiful women find flaws in their faces and bodies – that is how he became a very successful plastic surgeon.   Again, without what you are going through now — I wouldn’t be so lucky today. 

Me: So, have you had your 30 minutes of pity time today?

Photo: So what if I have? Like 30 minutes is enough time for a 12 year old to grieve for her old life back? To make peace with not having any friends here supporting me? For losing my dreams? So yeah – I’ve probably had 2 hrs. of pity time today so far.  But what Mom doesn’t know, won’t hurt her.

Me: I guess I should tell you now that the limited and dwindling pity time does you no favors in the future. It just teaches you to put on a mask around others and pretend that life is “just fine” when we know we’re drowning with no life preserver in sight on the inside. If I decide to write about you, what do you want everyone to know?

Photo: That having years of reconstructive surgery SUCKS! And I am so sick of hearing, “This happened for a reason. God has a plan for you.” Or even better, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle!” I know people mean well, but seriously, those words mean nothing right now. 

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A confession … or an excuse

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My passion.  I keep it so wrapped up. I imagine it as a ball of aluminum foil locked away in a fireproof safe with a long forgotten password.  But the aluminum foil still picks up some type of electromagnetic signal from the atmosphere.  Now, I wish I had paid attention in science so I actually knew what I was rambling about.  

My passion is there — sizzling and tickling my brain.  It needs an escape, some type of pressure valve. I want relief. I want to be myself, but I no longer know how to achieve that.  I thought writing would be the answer but I believe it only antagonizes me because I am more aware of the passion I possess and I’m afraid to own it, be proud of it.  

Where do I go from here?

Soul Mate

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.” Elizabeth Gilbert

She sits in the sand with her knees drawn and her chin resting on her arms. She stares at the waves, wishing they could carry away her loneliness and feelings of despair. These feelings are not foreign to her and she’s not even sure who she would be without them. 

The only person who would understand her melancholy has been absent from her life for twenty years. Even with two decades between them, her bond to him remains. At times she wishes she could sever the ties that bind her heart to him, but most times she clings to that bond as if it is a life preserver in a stormy ocean. She is afraid that letting go will erase his existence in her memory although his presence in her heart is gut wrenchingly painful. If she sheds the guilt and connection, then she feels her disloyalty to him will be complete. 

She has yearned for years to have someone she can talk to about their friendship. But the few times she has attempted to explain his importance and role in her life, she has failed miserably.  Truth is she has never fully understood the dynamics between them. She knows that they loved each other unconditionally and accepted each other in their “as is” conditions. They had an extraordinary psychic connection that allowed them to communicate without words, even over a telephone. In a lot of ways, their conversations were most raw, honest and in-depth when they were silent. They had a mutual understanding that they would never be lovers, but there was always heat and passion simmering between them. 

A touch of his hand on her cheek was more calming than a bottle full of valium. He truly centered her and she relished the freedom he gave her to be herself. He was her anchor, her protector. He was the one person that did not expect her to be a caretaker or problem solver. She was not afraid to lay her vulnerability in his hands. Somehow she knew she was his greatest treasure and he would do anything to keep her heart safe. That is why he reigned in and denied his desire to possess her. His internal demons could shred her and extinguish the inner light that radiated from her unknowingly but constantly. She knew he could sense the fear she had of succumbing to their connection.

Neither of them could have predicted the end of their friendship.  The tragedy that tore them physically apart unfairly allowed her connection to him to remain, but in fragments.  For him, he no longer knew she existed.  And as the salt water tickled her toes, she conceded that he was better off for it.

“That is how love relationship is meant to work,  each partner transforming the other. The strength and power of each is untangled, shared. He gives her the heart drum. She gives him knowledge of the most complicated rhythms and emotions imaginable. Who knows what they will hunt together? We only know that they will be nourished to the end of their days.”  Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D   Women Who Run With the Wolves

These words touch a part of my soul that I cannot easily describe or possibly even identify.  It seems to sum up my young and idealistic view of LOVE — everlasting love. I am no longer naive enough to believe that love alone can sustain a relationship, but I still like to dwell in that mindset when the everyday world pours doubt and hardship over me.  My experiences become soggy, like corn flakes  left to soak in milk for too long. The edges lose definition and the flavor seeps away.

At forty, there are still so many unanswered questions about life, relationships, self-image, family, etc. Where is that talisman of wisdom that we are to be granted as we age? Why does it seem that life becomes more complicated? I want to charge into a sophisticated, upscale department store and demand to purchase the nonchalance and free spirit I was certain I would be draped in when I hit forty.

I don’t want to care about the disdainful looks I get because of my overweight figure or the snide comments when I color my grey roots an outrageous burgundy.  I long to be comfortable in my skin — as marred, scarred and stretched as it may be. I no longer want to look in a mirror and feel disgraced by my many imperfections, but I want to be overjoyed and confident in my attributes.  

The one stumbling block I constantly trip over is the very cliche truth, “You must love yourself before someone else can love you.”  Once I overcome this, then perhaps I can share a heart drum with my husband for the rest of our days.  But I will let him do the hunting while I am breaking the mirrors.  

Stranger In Her Bed

She looks over at her sleeping husband. She soaks in his peacefulness and marvels how sleep can erase the lines of worry and wrinkles of time that normally define his face. She smiles at the white hairs that now dominate his goatee and thinning hair. She knows they have both changed a lot physically since their first kiss eleven years ago. The deep rise and fall of her husband’s chest assures her he has escaped the stress of his job and his numerous responsibilities to his family, at least for the next six hours. As much as she wants to envy his ability to shed the restraints of the real world, she is actually very grateful that he is granted this reprieve each night.

She knows the physical features of this man better than she knows her own; however, she cannot shake the feeling that she is sharing this bed with a stranger. She no longer knows his deepest desires or darkest fears. She no longer knows what to say or do to bring the twinkle back to his brown and blue eyes. She knows nothing of his current nightly dreams or even who he considers to be his closest friends. She may still know what foods to prepare him or which shirts he prefers to wear, but she is clueless about the emotions that must pass through him each day. 

Oddly, although she has lost touch with him in so many ways, she knows undoubtedly that her love for him has not diminished. It is that love that makes the distance between them so frustrating.

She knows the shielded emotions are not to hurt her but are in fact a way to protect her from worry and additional sleepless nights. She sadly smiles at his slumbering form as she realizes that their conversations focus on the boys and their schedules and schoolwork.  They share funny tales of their friends or laugh over the latest celebrity debacles. Her finger gently travels over his scruffy cheek and down to his sleep-slackened jaw as she tries to recall the last time they truly shared quality time alone. They have had several one-nighters when all the boys were away, but they only used the peace to catch up on sleep, not each other. She sighs heavily as she realizes that it has been seven years since they got lost in each other and allowed the other to glimpse behind their protective walls.

She peppers his shoulder and tattooed bicep with quick kisses as she prepares her own mind and body for sleep. Resting her head against his, she silently pleads to the universe, “Bring us back together. Let us use each other as our safe havens and not resort to silence and reluctant acceptance. Let us not repeat our past mistakes!”